Our Picture This! assignment this month was Patterns, a subject near and dear to every photographer’s heart and eye. The challenge is to frame the scene so that the flow of the pattern is reinforced, or at times interrupted, in a visually surprising way. A pattern can be repetitive in terms of subject and rhythm, or it can be composed of diverse textures and forms that, through composition, become unified. Color, shadow and highlight, and creative use of depth of field all work together to create an effective image. Readers sent in images that covered nature, architecture, landscape, manufactured goods, and a wide variety of structures from all around the world. This was one of our most popular topics in terms of the number of submissions we received, so it was tough to narrow them down to the photos you see here.
This King Penguin chick, warm in his downy “fur coat,” didn’t seem to mind the snow, cold, or gray skies, but he plaintively called for his parents hoping to be fed. Larger than either parent he seemed to be well cared for, but his full-throated calls and beseeching body language made it clear that he wanted his parents and food now. It’s hard to make your voice heard among so many thousands I’m sure, but it made us smile. He has more in common with human children than he knows.
On The Cover
In this month’s issue we are featuring an insider’s look at the portrait photography business from a number of pros who have made their mark in the field. We’re adding in a number of lighting tests on strobes and monoblocs, as well as light modifiers, plus we’ve got lab tests on a Sony SLT and two compact cameras. Plus our photokina reports continue with a look at some really fascinating cameras.
While it’s true that photography is “writing with light,” shadows often play an equal and important role. They define form and space, create dimensionality, and concentrate the viewer’s eye on the main subject of the scene. Our Picture This! assignment this month was “negative space,” and we asked readers to send us images that use this important tool of the craft to good effect. We received portraits, landscapes, still life and abstract images, all of which display a thoughtful use of the “dark side” of aspects of the image. Exposure plays a key role in creating this effect, as does a strong scene contrast that allows the photographer to “read the highlights and let the shadows fall where they may.” All this stems from the old days when photographers were often forced by their use of slide film to create deep areas in their images in order to keep the highlights from burning up. Now that we have HDR and other contrast-fighting exposure tools it is a conscious exposure decision made to add so much to an image’s effect.
Growing up in Florida, I began playing golf at an early age. However, for many years the most important club in my golf bag was the ball retriever. Florida golf courses are notorious for their water hazards and I believe I found many of them.
Color in photography has had a checkered history. Although photographs in color had been desired since the medium’s invention in the nineteenth century, commercially viable color photographic processes were not available until the early twentieth century. By that time, monochromatic photography had become a common part of everyday life, so much so that black-and-white images seemed “real” despite their chromatic deficiencies. As color photographic technologies developed, discussions about the realism of black and white versus color emerged.
On The Cover
This issue features the work of a number of photographers who have dedicated their time and energy to a personal project that we are happy to share with you. We also have continuing coverage of the photokina show, with reporting on new tripods and heads and camera bags and carriers, as well as a very special report on the state of stock photography today. We also have lab reports on two exciting new cameras, the Samsung NX20 and the Panasonic G5.
Our Picture This! assignment this month was “Water Reflections,” and readers sent in a wide variety of images ranging from abstract to actual, with every shot showing the magical quality that happens when water and light interact. Often, images of reflections display the border between the real and the fanciful, and as the wind blows those borders become even less defined. In all, the images are a celebration of light and the fluid nature of perception. (Note: You have the option to view this page upside down as well, as many of the shots take on a whole other meaning when viewed that way.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has announced the publication of Eliot Porter: In the Realm of Nature (Getty Publications/November 2012), presenting work from the acclaimed American photographer’s illustrious six-decade career spanning the 1930s to the 1980s. Known for his exquisite images of birds and landscapes, Eliot Porter (1901–1990) was a pioneer in the use of color photography during a time when most serious photographers were working with black-and-white film.
Walking along the boardwalk at the Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach, Florida, I was taking pictures of birds when I heard a thunderous roar emerging from under the boardwalk. I also heard a huge splash and people screaming. I knew without looking that an alligator had emerged from hiding and grabbed something in the water. Looking into the water I saw the alligator with a turtle in its mouth. My emotions elevated into help mode and my impulse was to grab a stick and hit the beast in an effort to free the turtle that was attempting to escape but caught on the alligator’s huge teeth. I also realized the alligator could severely injure or even kill me.