Our Picture This! assignment this month was Handheld Pan, a shooting technique that involves a long shutter speed and some sort of motion while shooting on the part of the photographer. We generally do everything we can to keep the camera steady and make sure there is no photographer-induced motion in a shot, including using image stabilized lenses, often elaborate tripods and heads, and even mirror lockup. The assignment requested just the opposite—adding motion to a shot that might include following a subject in motion across a plane, jiggling the camera to make lights record as lines rather than points, and even moving the camera in a circular motion to completely abstract the color and form.
As collectors of 19th century American paintings, my wife and I are very familiar with the wonderful twilight paintings of Frederic Church, Albert Bierstadt, Jasper Cropsey, Samuel Colman, and Jervis McEntee. While touring Grand Teton National Park in the fall of 2009 we passed by the overlook to Lava Creek on numerous occasions and stopped to determine the possibility for a good panoramic shot. I took several over the course of a few days but was not satisfied with the lighting conditions.
On The Cover
This month we feature lighting tools, techniques, and tips from pros covering new gear, new lighting options, and some great lighting setups and ideas. Each of our product reviews contain tips as well and can help you decide which type of setup is best for the type of images you want to create. We cover lighting accessories as well, those modifiers that can help you make creative lighting decisions that bring a unique look to every image. Finally, we cover the wide range of wireless TTL lighting systems that can free you to make great shots in the studio, or on location. Our cover shot, by Lindsay Adler, shows just the kind of great effects you can achieve using the gear and tips featured in this special issue.
Our Picture This! assignment this month was Industrial Design. While nothing can beat the variety and beauty of nature, where patterns and designs have their own rhythm and pace, certain objects have a beauty and grace that speak to an aesthetic that is inherently human. Products of handmade origin or the Industrial Age that satisfy the need for function while maintaining a beauty of form are sometimes taken for granted, and sometimes, with a photographer’s keen eye, transformed into sculptural objects that seem to transcend their utility. We can contemplate them less for something we would use as a tool and more as objects of wonder or beauty that appeal to a deeper aesthetic sensibility. That’s what we sought, and found, in this month’s readers’ images.
While in Kenya on business I visited the Nairobi Railway Museum, home to a variety of fantastic and rare trains from the Colonial Era, including the famed Lunatic Express. Yet little effort, if any, was made to preserve these historic treasures as they silently deteriorated in the equatorial heat and humidity. I spotted this one rusting train engine bearing the fallen Masai of Kenya nameplate (painted in Masai red) and thought it summed up the state of the museum quite well.
On The Cover
Renowned photographer Steve McCurry shot our cover image of a Rabari girl on the last roll of Kodachrome film ever manufactured. We are privileged to share with you the final frames taken with this beloved film. To see more of Steve’s images, turn to page 122. Aside from Kodachrome’s last windup, we have news about the Polaroid Collection of images being saved thanks to the Impossible Project and WestLicht Museum of Photography. In addition, we have D-SLR tests on the Canon EOS 60D and the Pentax K-5, plus an extensive roundup on backdrops and a lighting test on Booth Photographic’s parabolic umbrellas.
The Denver Art Museum (DAM) is the first US venue for Robert Adams: The Place We Live, A Retrospective Selection of Photographs. The exhibition will feature more than 200 black-and-white photos spanning Adams’s 45-year career, showcasing the artistic legacy of the American photographer and his longstanding engagement with the contemporary Western landscape. Adams lived and worked in Colorado for nearly 30 years. Many of his most acclaimed images were taken in the Rocky Mountain region and will strike a familiar chord with visitors. The exhibition, organized by the Yale University Art Gallery, will be on view September 25, 2011-January 2, 2012 in the museum’s Gallagher Family Gallery.
Editor’s note: One of the joys of attending photokina in Cologne, Germany every two years was the display at the Polaroid stand (they had a hall to themselves) where works by renowned artists and photographers on Polaroid materials would be displayed. When the old company went out of business many of us were concerned with what happened to that collection. Now, the International Polaroid Collection has been preserved, thanks to the Impossible Project and WestLicht. Following is their official announcement, plus they courteously granted us permission to reproduce a few images from the vast collection as well.
Composition dictates that we place a frame around the world before us. The lens we use, the depth-of-field effect we choose, and most importantly the elements of the scene we choose to include and exclude make up the final image. There are numerous compositional gambits, including sense of scale, where we include familiar elements in a scene to help establish size, distance, and, metaphorically, our sense of importance, or lack of same, of the object or subject used to establish that sense of scale.
Being a musician, a visit to the historic Sun Studio was a must-see tour on a recent trip to Memphis, Tennessee. I selected black and white on my Nikon D300 to capture an authentic feel of the 1950s era inside and outside. Upon leaving the building, a 1955 Cadillac pulled up to drop something off. I had just a minute to get set, compose, and snap off a couple of shots. This classic car under an historic landmark reminded me of one of my favorite country songs, “Guitars, Cadillacs.”