Our Picture This! assignment this month was Stacking, the lingo used to describe the optical effect that makes subjects at some distance from one another seem closely packed together through the use of a telephoto lens. But given the right point of view and arrangement of forms, some readers also sent us successful shots taken with “normal” focal lengths as well. We received a wide range of subjects, from ancient towns to nature studies, all with apt points of view and good application of technique. It all goes to show us that there are simply some images that can’t be mocked up after the fact and that there remain many ways to create an effective image in camera via composition, the proper lens, and a good understanding of exposure control. In that we can all still take heart.
The light wasn’t right on the day John Conn saw the scene, so he came back the next day at a time when the shadows would work in his favor. Then he waited. The geometry of the legs of a trousered figure striding by was distracting. “I really wanted a woman because they usually dress in lighter, more colorful clothing,” John says, “and I needed a more solid form, with more of a flow. And she had to be the right height, too.” His next opportunity was a bicyclist…who veered away from the perfect spot, spoiling the alignment. Then a woman came by and John took the photograph you see here.
In this month’s issue we feature black-and-white photography in all its power and glory with portfolios of portraiture, location, and street photography. We also hone in on a series of tests covering dynamic new cameras from Canon and Panasonic, a look at a B&W-focused inkjet paper, and an exciting close-up lens from Tamron.
Our Picture This! assignment this month was “Going Around in Circles” and readers sent in what one could characterize as “active” and “passive” interpretations. The active ones literally show something or someone going around in circles, a kind of visual pun on the topic, while the passive ones are more found objects and scenes that use the circle as a starting and strong point of the composition. We appreciated the irony of the former and the point of view of the latter. We also are continually struck by the high level of image making we see from readers, and have to say that this was one of the toughest assignments for us to edit down to the images you see selected here.
A sense of scale is created by the juxtaposition of objects and subjects within the frame that establishes a size relationship based upon that juxtaposition. That sense of scale can be based upon distance, on the “true” relative sizes of the elements, or on the use of optics that exaggerate the relative sizes through near-to-far relationships that are established with the clever use of depth of field. While wide-angle lenses are most suited to creating the latter effect, in fact the setup can be made with virtually any lens, given a certain point of view of the photographer. In most cases a deep depth of field works best, since the mind can better grasp the intention when all objects within the frame are sharp. Readers sent in a wide range of images, some almost surreal and others that showed an awesome world in which we are merely the smallest of spectators.
The New Art of Photographing Nature: An Updated Guide to Composing Stunning Images of Animals, Nature, and Landscapes (Amphoto Books, $29.99) is from world-renowned photographer Art Wolfe and writer and photo editor Martha Hill, with Tim Grey. In this revised edition, the text has been updated throughout to reflect the dramatic changes in photography since this classic was first released in 1993. More than 50% of the beautiful images are all new, and a new contributor, digital imaging expert Tim Grey, shares sidebars throughout offering tips on digital imaging and processing.
On The Cover
In this issue we bring you a range of camera, lighting, and even pro-graphics-level monitor tests as well as an insider’s look at eBooks for photographers. And in keeping with our respect for and legacy coverage of camera classics, a look at a collector’s camera “bookshelf” and an exclusive report from Tokyo on prices garnered at one of the biggest user/collectible shows in Japan.
This month’s Picture This! assignment was Color Play, where we asked readers to include as many colors as possible within the frame. Interestingly, the large majority of images we received were of subjects of man-made origin, perhaps showing that as humans we are so taken with color that we see it as an essential element in all the things we make. All in all, this assignment was a colorful one indeed.
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.
August, 8:45pm. The sun just set and the mercury is still hovering above 95. Not even a whisper of a breeze. It’s hot. It’s too hot to sleep, too hot to work—too hot to think. My only hope sits out back, parked on a pad covered with pavers. I simply need to turn the key, press the start button, and my ride will roar to life with only a single thought—escape the heat! I head west on State Route 412, a lonely deserted road that goes nowhere but has lovely sweeping curves and hard level straightaways where my baby can cut loose. With my feet on the pegs, the wind blows my hair back and sweat evaporates from my skin. Blessed relief!