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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
On The Cover
This month’s issue features the latest on new cameras seen at the CES show, including the latest in “connected” cameras and a novel take on 3D shooting. We also have reports on some new film and film cameras, as well as a new test on a production model Canon EOS-1D X (our lab test on www.shutterbug.com was on a preproduction sample). Inside you’ll also find news on some accessories that may just catch your eye, plus a revealing look at the fine art photography market.