The January rainstorms had come to the Utah high desert mountains, making it a perfect day to capture the storm clouds and rainbows that moved across the various mountain ranges. As I was driving on the outskirts of the small town of Gunlock, Utah, I came around a large mountain cliff ledge. To my surprise under the ledge were at least a dozen donkeys trying to escape the cold, freezing drizzle and get the warmth coming off the rock face. There were two donkeys in particular that caught my eye because of their noisy insistence on being in the same place.
Our Picture This! assignment was multiple exposures, combining two or more images either in camera or later in software. Multi’s take planning and exposure execution, and readers sent in images that show both that previsualization and the final work that was applied. Images ranged from bursting fireworks to imaginative constructions to tricks for the eye and mind. Some show careful alignment; others count on the seemingly random layering of effects and images that can always reveal a visual surprise.
On The Cover
In this issue we focus on optics, with a roundup of some of the most intriguing new lenses introduced in 2013 and tests on a very fast lens from Sigma and a special effects 8mm super-wide. We also feature some optical how-to’s, including using graduated neutral density filters and working some macro magic. And we’ve got lab tests on the Fujifilm X-E1, Nikon D5200, and Panasonic GH3. Coming attractions: next month is our Top Products of the Year issue, where we feature the best in class in 40 imaging categories!
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.