While weight is just one measure of a paper’s resilience and usefulness for fine art printing, it can also have an effect on how that paper is handled, depending on the printer. In the case of Red River’s Polar Matte Magna, which is a 96 lb (320 gsm) stock, it means working with individual sheet feeding rather than with a stack loader in almost every printer you might have. This feed-through also limits the printers that can make use of this nice surface—those without a single feed option need not apply, as well as, according to Red River’s notes, HP printers with front feed paper trays (which have also proven problematic with other heavyweight surfaces).
When a photographer deals with the emotions generated by black-and-white prints, and the methodology of creating and defining those emotions and how they are generated, he or she begins to deal with developing a sense of the aesthetics of the monochrome image.
The Pentax Optio WG-2 GPS is a rugged camera that is waterproof (maximum depth: approx. 40 feet) and shockproof. The camera offers a 16MP sensor and a 5x zoom lens with 28mm wide-angle and 140mm tele settings (35mm film equivalent). It is the follower of the WG-1 and shows some improvements in image resolution and configuration. Its unique body design is indicative of the “tough camera” class and is designed for use by photographers who want to dive or use this camera for downhill mountain biking or other “adrenaline sports.”
In this issue we offer a host of camera reports covering a wide variety of models and camera types, and this gives me a good opportunity to discuss the forms our camera tests take—lab tests and what I call “anecdotal” reports. In most cases we limit a model to one type of test, except when we feel that it rates a second look and that there’s more to add by using both approaches. We also make a decision about lab or field tests when we feel overwhelmed by new cameras coming our way, and simply don’t have the space each month to cover every one of them. Plus, we offer tests that never see the pages of the magazine that can be found under the Image Tech section of our website at www.shutterbug.com.
Travel and photography have been intertwined since the earliest days of the craft. At photography’s beginnings, photographers often carted gear on horseback and mule, bringing along tents for wet plate coating and processing in the field. Coated film changed all that, and amateurs and professionals alike soon discovered newfound freedom in where a camera could go, and a profusion of images showed us every corner of the globe.
While much has changed in the display and distribution of images you might like to sell, there’s no question that what has remained the same in making sales is first having work that’s marketable and then catching a few breaks to get the work sold. While the following may sound like I’m telling old tales, I thought relating how I got my first ever stock sales might give an indication of what it takes to get into the marketplace and start having your images pay some of the rent.
There are three general metering patterns available in most cameras—pattern (evaluative, matrix or other nomenclature, depending on the brand), center-weighted averaging and spot. Of all of them, spot gives you the greatest personal control over brightness and tonal values, which is how you become more engaged in your work. But being in the realm of personal creativity and decision-making means it demands more attention in return. In this article we’ll cover why you might want to give this least-used metering pattern a try.
There have been profound changes in lighting gear options of late, and each adds newfound ways to make images. You can work using hot or cold continuous lights, with AC or battery-powered units, and even choose between LED and strobe sources. Some “new” light sources are coming into their own. For example, we have been covering LEDs for a while, and now we see how they are growing in their use in both the studio and on location.
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.
The question is—does anybody really know what a given image would look like if they shot it on Kodachrome 25, or Fuji Acros, or some obscure color negative film that even in film’s heyday was little used or appreciated? Perhaps the more pertinent question is—how many people have made photographs using film? But film references are what a number of so-called film emulation software programs use for describing presets that can be applied to a digital image. Half academic and half nostalgic, the programs use film brand names to describe saturation, contrast, color nuance, and grain structure variations that are then applied to an image. Perhaps using film names is better than poetic fantasy terms, like “misty blue dawn,” but then again entirely subjective descriptors, rather than supposedly clinical ones used in these software programs, might be just as handy for today’s photography crowd. In any case, I recently tested one such program, DxO’s FilmPack 3.1, to see if it offered up creative variations that could be used as is or as foundation images when interpreting subjects and scenes.