Underwater photography is a specialty that most of us don’t delve into, but I think it’s fair to say that most nature photographers are intrigued with the creatures seen in public and private aquariums. They are beautiful, bizarre, mysterious and often ethereal. Photographing them can be challenging because there are technical issues to deal with in order to get the best possible images.
Multicolored neon lights turning and spinning at night are irresistible to a photographer. Even though I have photographed amusement parks at night for years, it’s still exciting to do it again because the pictures I take are never the same. The colors are always dazzling, and the abstracts are captivating. Sometimes I am happy with these images as I shoot them, like (#1 and #2), and other times I use them as composites as in (#3, #4 and #5). When I took the latter image I immediately thought of a black hole, so I added “stars” to complete the concept. The star field is actually a picture of glitter sprinkled on black velvet.
In this issue we look at travel and nature photography with an emphasis on ops and issues in the colder regions. Covered gear this month includes a clever tripod kit, a new EOS Rebel, a fast Tamron zoom, and software for retouch and black-and-white magic.
I was recently reading about American documentary photographer and photojournalist Dorothea Lange and was reminded of one of my favorite quotes, in which she said “The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” Afterward, I thought it might be fun to take a look at what other luminaries have said about our craft.
Macro photography is endlessly fascinating. It opens your eyes to a world that most people never notice. Taking photographs of small, intriguing subjects, especially in nature, can be a life-long pursuit. It’s endlessly captivating as you can see in (#1), the foot of a poison dart frog, and (#2), a close encounter with a caterpillar. Macro photography is very technical, though, and it must be approached correctly or you won’t be happy with the results.
There are many fun and creative images you can create with flash if you allow yourself to think outside the box. In the past when we all shot film, we had to wait until the film came back from the lab to see the results. If the pictures weren’t what we wanted, we’d have to start over and figure out how to improve the images on the next roll of film.
Backgrounds are virtually as important as subjects in making a picture work. If they are messy and there is a lot going on, they tug at our eyes and pull our attention away from your subject. Just as you carefully consider your subjects, at the same time you need to carefully consider the background. For example, is it too light? Too messy? Too attention-grabbing? Does it have distracting lines or colors? Is it too sharp or too defined?
You have several Exposure mode choices on the camera, and they affect the exposures you get when using flash. They even have a bearing on the color balance in your pictures. For example, notice in the picture of my wife and Rexie, our great Pyrenees, that the color of the light in the background is yellowish while the lighting in the foreground is white without any apparent color shift. I was able to do this because I used Aperture Priority to choose a narrower aperture which, in turn, forced the shutter speed to be slower. Av helps to give you a correct exposure not just for the light emanating from the flash, but it helps make the ambient light in the room expose correctly as well. In so doing, it picks up the color of the room lights. In this case, since I was using a daylight white balance (which is the same WB as for flash—it correctly balances light that is 5500k degrees Kelvin) the tungsten lights in the room turned out yellowish.
On The Cover
In this issue we share the work of a number of photographers with a unique point of view on the world, as well as the exciting and challenging work of “pro bono” photographers. We also have some lighting tests, a report on an exciting new medium format scanner, and Image Tech reports on unique cameras from Canon and Nikon.
Everyone who loves photography should pick up a copy of the October issue of National Geographic magazine—a special edition devoted to “The Power of Photography” and a celebration of the publication’s 125th Anniversary. Unveiled in October, 1888 as the official journal of the non–profit National Geographic Society, this iconic brand dedicated to funding science and exploration across the globe has inspired countless photographers.
What makes us stop and say to ourselves, “There’s a photograph here!”? It really comes down to one element that is all around us—light. The play of light off objects, critters and people is what grabs the mind’s eye and makes us take note and sparks visual interest in the viewer. There are lots of processes that go into that final photograph to make it successful, yet none are as important as how we speak with light. And that’s all done through exposure.
This article is excerpted from “Creating HDR Photos, The Complete Guide To High Dynamic Range Photography” (ISBN 978-0-8230-8586-6, Amphoto Books, 2012, $29.99). In this comprehensive guide, Davis covers a wide range of exposure, composition and processing strategies for creating great HDR images, including both bracketed and single shot HDR images. He also covers a wide range of processing programs and how to get the most from them. This guide is one of the best and most current HDR how-to’s we’ve seen.—Editor
LED technology offers low power consumption, dimmable output with no color temperature loss and cool, long lasting lights. A number of different manufacturers sell LED units that fit on top of your camera as well as larger units that require a stand to safely mount the lights.
Green screens (and blue screens) are used to make it easy to blend in another background to a portrait or model shoot, anything from a plain backdrop to a scenic or cityscape. Many of us, myself included, have photographed models on a green screen background. The expectation is that it should be quick and easy to remove the green screen in Photoshop and drop in another image or color. Unfortunately, when you’re working with software, things don’t always turn out the way you planned.
On The Cover
This month’s issue focuses on new lighting gear and lighting tests. We look at a range of lights, including the new wave LEDs, and light modifiers, plus new products in on-camera flash. We also have a test of the premium Sony RX1, plus welcome a new columnist, Blaine Harrington, who will be covering the travel beat.