Some of the most haunting images of our time are those made in areas of armed conflict. Among the earliest war photographs were those taken by an anonymous American who made a series of daguerreotypes in 1847 during the Mexican-American War.
There may be times when you need to capture the action in a performance for a local newspaper, publicity shots, a memory of a child’s concert or simply because you want to capture images of the event. The first step is to make sure you are allowed to photograph during the performance; that’s easy if you’re hired to do so, but always check and find out the ground rules. Shooting during the actual performance has challenges so it is always a good idea to shoot the dress rehearsal—if you can. The shots here were mostly made during rehearsals of a dance recital, but the tips can apply to other types of performances as well.
Photographing small birds is extremely difficult because we can’t get close enough to them to fill a significant part of the frame and they are often so fast that it’s impossible to focus quickly enough. Autofocus is a great tool, and the AI Servo feature works sometimes, but neither can keep up with fast-flying birds.
I photograph natural subjects without manipulation when possible, but there are many instances when it is necessary to control a situation to show a subject in an artistic and beautiful light. Indeed, many times it is necessary to manage a subject specifically to make it look natural in the photo. Technical and practical issues are often present that make it virtually impossible to take the kinds of pictures we really want to take and that we can see with our eyes.
On The Cover
This month, in addition to our usual run of product reviews, we are presenting you with a bit of software magic, as we share new tools and tricks we uncovered in the latest image-editing applications. We are also featuring an assortment of photo essays by photographers who realize the power the black-and-white medium holds.
Below is a list of my ten favorite places to photograph in the world. There are still many places that I haven’t been, and even though I’ve been to 83 countries, as of the spring of 2010, I feel like I have hardly scratched the surface. There are so many wonderful places to shoot that in ten life times a photographer would still feel he or she needed more time. All of the places on this list offer such rich photographic experiences that you could return again and again and produce a different body of work each time. They never get old.
A word that is often associated with wide angle lenses is “distortion.” It is true that wide angles distort what we see, but that’s not necessarily bad. In fact, it can work to our advantage. Photographers who like to capture what they see—or as close to it as possible—shy away from wide angle lens particularly those that are extreme—say wider than 20mm. This is especially true for portraiture, where exaggerated and distorted faces and bodies may not go over very well with the subject. However, as an artist you should have all the tools and techniques at your disposal to create dynamic images, and I would like to suggest that if you have not explored the creative potential for shooting people with wide angle lenses, it’s time you try it.
If your primary goal on a trip is to photograph animals, say on a safari or “eco-tour,” this changes your approach to photography quite a bit. You have to think about many things that don’t apply to other types of travel work.
Like many photographers, I grew up beholden to the great color palette and brilliant results of Kodachrome 25 and the easily pushable, low-light capabilities of Kodak Tri-X black-and-white film. These iconic products are but two of Kodak’s remarkable achievements that come to mind as we ponder the recent Chapter 11 filing of the company that invented the hand-held camera and was one of the world’s most notable brands for over a century.
Three prominent industry organizations have just launched a comprehensive and long-needed campaign to permanently embed standardized metadata and copyright-status information in digital files. The program is intended to benefit those who create, as well as use, digital photos, text, audio and video files.
On The Cover
While we don’t offer a formal “Buyer’s Guide” for this time of year we thought we’d bring you a host of gift ideas that (only) a photographer might love, including tripod heads, tabletop tripods, and the always popular gimbal mounts. And for good measure we mixed in a roundup of today’s most fashionable camera bags aimed at the distaff side and a trio of cameras that cover the gamut from advanced amateur to semipro.
Photographers love telephoto lenses. We can’t always get close to the subjects we want to shoot, and a telephoto lens allows us to fill a significant part of the frame with them. That makes a picture with a lot of visual impact. Virtually all subjects are dramatized by the use of a telephoto—wildlife, children, sports, nature, architectural design, flowers, and more.
Shooting in a studio intimidates a lot of photographers, but the truth is it’s not hard at all. There are a few basic lighting configurations to learn, and with the immediate feedback from the LCD monitor on the back of the camera, you can see immediately if you have the lighting, the pose, and the expression you want. In addition, you don’t need a huge space and it’s not necessary to spend thousands of dollars on lighting equipment. You can even set up a mini-studio with a $10 photoflood and a background with a white wall or a piece of black fabric.
Monochromatic color themes have been around since the inception of photography. Toning black and white prints with a sepia toner was begun at a time when photographers could only dream of color. The noxious fumes made the darkroom work memorable, to say the least. With digital technology, we can get the same look of a toned print. When I first started learning Photoshop, I translated my knowledge of the darkroom into the digital world. In other words, I learned how to create in the computer the same effects that I had been creating in the darkroom.
On The Cover
Are you thinking of turning pro? You should go for it, but not until you read this issue first. Through our exclusive interview with Chase Jarvis and our Twitter tips for photographers, you’ll see there is a lot more to marketing yourself than in the past. Business aside, we have breaking tech news: a new archival DVD called the M-Disc. We also have tests on the latest pro equipment to help take your photography to new levels. Our cover shot, by Lindsay Adler, shows what you can accomplish with Broncolor’s Senso lighting kit for example.