On The Cover
In this issue we focus on optics, with a roundup of some of the most intriguing new lenses introduced in 2013 and tests on a very fast lens from Sigma and a special effects 8mm super-wide. We also feature some optical how-to’s, including using graduated neutral density filters and working some macro magic. And we’ve got lab tests on the Fujifilm X-E1, Nikon D5200, and Panasonic GH3. Coming attractions: next month is our Top Products of the Year issue, where we feature the best in class in 40 imaging categories!
Our Picture This! assignment this month was “Construction Compositions” and we requested images that incorporated the color, design, and abstractions that building and industrial sites offer. Readers sent in images that showed the complexity of potential for rich images these places afford through the use of an intermix of angles and textures, the hubbub of human activity that goes into building, and in some cases ironic images that show the effect of all that effort on nature and within the cities we live. We also received photos that were almost lyrical in nature, with plays of light and color that an abstract painter could admire.
As frequent visitors to the Gettysburg National Military Park researching the participation of my wife’s family in many different regiments during the battle, my wife and I had a strange occurrence one morning. We always arrive at our chosen point on the battlefield well before sunrise each visit. This particular morning we were set up on Cemetery Hill facing Culp’s Hill and the soon to be arriving sunrise. The morning had good promise as there was some ground fog in place already. Suddenly, from the lower part of the valley, a thick fog began rolling in. It didn’t appear from the ground up as normally happens, but was a dense mass pushing into the valley. It covered the ground up to a knoll to our right and just left parts of the treetops visible. From then on it was just scrambling around with the camera on the tripod, hitting the infrared remote and then moving again.
Our assignment this month was Urban Art, and I am happy to report, based on the wide range of images we received, that the art form is alive and well. Photos ranged from the wildly colorful to the nostalgic, with a good seasoning of irony and surrealism thrown in for good measure. A number of areas seemed to inspire photographs based on the artfulness and placement of work, which helped us create a list of places we’d love to visit someday with camera in hand. In all, we hope you enjoy the diversity of art and points of view as much as we did when viewing the work.
Walking on the Greenbelt along the river in Boise, Idaho, always presents interesting photo ops. This was taken when they were putting together the framework for a new building at Boise State University.
Photojournalists show us a world most people would never get to see. From war-torn countries to championship sports, their images convey some of the most inspiring moments as well as some of the most heartbreaking. The Museum of Photographic Arts, located in San Diego, California, through the Pictures of the Year International exhibition, celebrates the power of these images and the people who create them.
On The Cover
In this month’s issue we cover a quartet of software programs that can be very helpful to photographers. We’re also happy to present our annual “Weird and Wonderful” report that covers unique gear. Tests include the exciting new Sony Alpha 99, a “full-framer,” and the latest Canon PIXMA printer, the PRO-10. The cover shot is by Rick Dahms, who is part of our roundtable on professional associations, and who tells us that the shot is of “Pepper Fewel, innkeeper and trail boss, with daughter and wrangler Tiffany Fewel on the fence. Cherry Wood Bed, Breakfast & Barn, Zillah, Washington.”
Our Picture This! assignment was multiple exposures, combining two or more images either in camera or later in software. Multi’s take planning and exposure execution, and readers sent in images that show both that previsualization and the final work that was applied. Images ranged from bursting fireworks to imaginative constructions to tricks for the eye and mind. Some show careful alignment; others count on the seemingly random layering of effects and images that can always reveal a visual surprise.
The January rainstorms had come to the Utah high desert mountains, making it a perfect day to capture the storm clouds and rainbows that moved across the various mountain ranges. As I was driving on the outskirts of the small town of Gunlock, Utah, I came around a large mountain cliff ledge. To my surprise under the ledge were at least a dozen donkeys trying to escape the cold, freezing drizzle and get the warmth coming off the rock face. There were two donkeys in particular that caught my eye because of their noisy insistence on being in the same place.