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.)
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.
When we received a review copy of Pring’s Photographer’s Miscellany (Ilex, $12.99, ISBN: 978-1-907579-43-1) we felt there was so much fun information about photography included that it would be great to share this book with readers. The excerpts here are just a few of the many illuminating, humorous, and at times arcane information Pring’s delivers. The book also contains numerous quotes to ponder from photographers and philosophers alike.—Editor
The Minox subminiature camera was invented in 1936 by Walter Zapp, a German living in Estonia (this modern Estonian stamp celebrates Zapp’s original patent). Unable to get it manufactured locally, he eventually established production in neighboring Latvia, but during World War II the factory was overrun, once by German forces and twice by the Russians. Production resumed in former West Germany in 1948, by which time the Minox had become the preferred equipment of real or imagined espionage agents worldwide. Grasping the attached measuring chain, the spy in a hurry could extend it to touch the secret item, shoot without using the viewfinder, and be assured of a sharp copy of, for example, an A4 or 8 1/2 x 11 inch document. The Minox uses specially cut, unsprocketed film which is advanced each time the case is closed, an action which also protects the viewfinder and lens.
This pair of cream-colored mountain goats presented themselves on one of my early morning trips to the Mt. Evans Wilderness in Arapaho National Forest, southwest of Idaho Springs, Colorado. They could have been mates, sisters, brothers, or rivals. The hair raised along their backbones, particularly the goat on the right, suggests they were spooked by the presence of people. At 13,000 feet above sea level, this scene, as well as the thin air, literally took my breath away. Only three photographers were privileged to shoot this scene, which changed a second later, for eternity. Nature and photography are funny that way.
Our Picture This! assignment this month was “In the Forest,” and judging by the number of images we received it’s clear that readers love to spend time and photograph in the forest as much as we do. As you’ll see, the photos ranged from mystical to magnificent, with patterns, color, and light and shadow play all playing a part.
Colors define a lot about our world and ourselves—the season, our personalities and moods can be reflected in the colors surrounding us. National Geographic Books is showcasing the power of colors in a stunning new photography book, Life in Color: National Geographic Photographs (National Geographic Books; ISBN: 978-1-4262-0962-8; on sale now; $40 hardcover) with a foreword by designer Jonathan Adler.
The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida will present an exhibition that reflects a transformative moment in photographic history during the tumultuous interwar years. On view from October 9, 2012 through January 6, 2013, The Modern Impulse: Photography from Europe and America Between the Wars will explore how the newly portable 35mm camera was celebrated as an instrument of poetry, analysis, and social change. Covering the years between 1918 and 1945, the exhibition will highlight over 40 artists who expanded the new medium and changed the way we perceive the world. Celebrating technology while embracing spontaneity and improvisation, these artists captured the spirit, vitality, and invention of a new age.
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.
During a recent photo shoot getaway at Joshua Tree National Park, my primary vision was a foreground filled with a Joshua tree and the background would consist of a large rock formation with star trails circling the scene.
While driving up to higher elevation searching for the perfect scene, it became evident that it had recently snowed and I spotted this snowman that a mother and her two young sons were just completing. I stopped for a while and enjoyed making a few images of the snowman and as I was walking back to my vehicle it dawned on me that this rare desert snowman would make a great subject for my star trail image.
This month’s assignment for Picture This! was “Made in the Shade,” photographs made solely in the shadow thrown by tree canopy or roof or even under overcast sky. While light levels might be lower, there’s nothing quite like the soft, diffuse light of shade to bring out every nuance of color and detail in a subject or scene. Using appropriate white balance and exposure settings, shade cast shots can look as if they were made using a large diffusion tent, all using natural light. And while HDR can help with excessive contrast, shade shots have the advantage in that they work entirely with one exposure and the most natural sense of light. Readers sent in a wide range of images covering nature, urban, and portraiture, all of which have a quality of light that bright, contrasty sunlit shots could never display.