On The Cover
This month’s issue focuses on lighting, with reports on gear, techniques, and a comprehensive roundup on the wide variety of lighting equipment available to photographers today. We also have a lab report on the exciting Fujifilm X-Pro1 and special book excerpts from two of the leading lighting/software practitioners today, Kevin Kubota and Scott Kelby. Please note that with this issue our Workshop and Events listings have gone online at www.shutterbug.com.
Aviation photography is on the rise, literally and figuratively. There are many reasons for this, from the ease and small expense of getting involved to the excitement and subject matter. I think it’s also because it’s a way we can all get in touch with our own history.
Fill flash can be used for a quick fix for contrast problems that can be solved without further image processing. It is a powerful aid that can even trump today’s in-camera or post-process heightening of shadow detail. It can handle the problem with one exposure, and not rely on HDR or other curve adjustment tricks. Keep in mind that the sensor in your camera has a certain dynamic range that cannot be expanded even with such processing magic, and with too much work on the shadows some noise may creep in.
A typical digital camera’s sensor sees a range of light in wavelengths from approximately 350 to 1000 nanometers. A nanometer (nm) is a metric unit of length equal to one billionth of a meter. Your eyes usually see a range of light from approximately 400 to 700 nanometers. Most digital cameras place a low pass filter directly in front of the imaging sensor to allow low frequency light visible to the human eye to pass through to the sensor. It blocks unwanted light from the infrared and ultraviolet spectrums (the high end and the low end wavelengths) from polluting a photograph’s color. As owners of early Leica M8 cameras quickly discovered, this piece of glass is very important for maintaining maximum color fidelity.
Most of us who are passionate about photography pursue the craft as either a career or a hobby for the simple enjoyment of creating beautiful or impactful images. Occasionally, however, a photographer picks up her camera with the lofty goal of changing lives or improving the world in which we live. Betsey Chesler is one such person.
On The Cover
In this issue we feature our annual Top Products of the Year awards, with categories ranging from cameras to lenses to bags to apps, and more. Shutterbug is the sole US member of TIPA, the worldwide Technical Image Press Association, and we’re proud to be part of the nomination and selection process. We’re also adding a host of product tests, including a special surprise, a silver printing out paper that will open new doors for pinhole, photogram, and street camera shooters.
The winds are kicking up and there is a chill in the air, a storm is coming. The afternoon light flickers bright to dim as the first clouds block the sun, racing east with the wind. The moments of sunshine get less and less as more and more clouds join the parade. The light changes from mellow to dramatic. I grab the camera and truck keys and make a dash down to the flats. This is not the first time, I’ve done it so much in fact that with the wind and light I know exactly where I want to be to shoot, so I step on the gas. Within a couple of minutes I’m in place and admiring the big battleships of gray ready to dump their load of snow on our home. A break comes in the clouds, the light comes streaming in as the camera goes click. It’s the perfect end to a fun chase.
I have always been of divided mind when it comes to printing photographic images on canvas. I have certainly seen inkjet canvas material in use at galleries and fine art fairs, where watercolorists, pastel artists etc use the material to create lower-priced copies of originals, making the art affordable yet attractive for many buyers. In fact, it’s a fairly easy bet that the great majority of the canvas coming off inkjet printers is used for just that purpose. The main use of photographic imagery on this material, in my experience, is for portraiture and wedding photography, where the image can stand on its own or gets painted over by artists for a premium touch, and price.
Fall is that time of year when we as photographers aspire to capture the splendid color burst that surrounds us. After a few years it can be difficult to come up with new and fresh approaches. Combining camera movement with backlight is one way to capture the colorful exuberance of a bright autumn day.
What began in 2004 as a social networking service for Harvard students has rapidly grown into an international phenomenon with social, political, business and cultural implications for users of all ages. With over 158 million users in the U.S. (and almost a million world-wide), Facebook now reaches nearly 75% of Internet users in our country.
On The Cover
In this month’s issue we have lab test reports on two ends of the camera spectrum, the Pentax Q and the Nikon D800. The D800 will come in two versions, one without a low-pass filter, so we thought it a good time to also explore the low-pass debate and what might be ahead for digital cameras. We also look at a sampling of new gear, from lighting to lenses to software. New: Check out web-exclusive tests at www.shutterbug.com.
In an age of abundant paint software and texture apps, it is easy to overlook other approaches to painterly image creation. Using moving sheets of textured glass with slow shutter speeds is one alternative approach. When combined with flowers I call the result “Floral Fusions”.
Working with color is one of the most common activities when editing photos. All photo-editors, from the most basic to the most advanced, have an abundance of tools available for altering colors. In this article, I’ll take a look at some of the basic tools that you’ll find in the most humble image processing software, even the one that came in the box with your camera.
Sometimes the lighting in your environment is too strong, whether daylight or artificial, and you need to soften it slightly—that’s where diffusion comes into play. In the following examples, we’ll look at how diffusion can soften “direct” light.
Ashleen is using a collapsible diffuser (26” Flexfill) to block the sunlight from falling on Anne Marie (#1). The semi-translucent fabric prevents the sun from falling on the subject, which can be seen by the shadow cast on Anne Marie. If we look at a medium close-up of Anne Marie we can see that the sunlight is filtered on her face casting an even, pleasant illumination (#2). Using this method is great if you want a one to one lighting ratio outdoors by just shading the sunlight falling on your subject. This method usually requires a helpful assistant to hold the diffuser, although some folks use a light stand and a C clamp to good advantage.
Nikon D700, Nikkor 24–120mm lens, f/9, 1/250th, ISO 250, daylight balanced 5600K.
Think of the image you capture with a digital camera as a digital negative and that you are a master printer who can take that negative and make as good a print as you have ever seen in a gallery and you begin to understand the potential of each shot. The expectation that you can do something more with an image can be built into every type of lighting condition, contrast and exposure problem you might face. It is not that you can “fix it” in software, it is that you should think beyond the exposure to what can be done to the image later, right at the moment you make the photograph. This approach can open you up to many other possibilities and make you take chances when you work; it can also raise expectations of what you have obtained beyond what you see on the playback right after the shot.