Our Picture This! assignment this month was “At the Flea Market.” The amazing diversity of material found at flea markets and antique malls is grist for a photographer’s mill. Not only are there odd and unusual items aplenty—from castoffs to treasures unknown—there’s also the element of the yet-undiscovered art directors, the dealers and vendors who arrange these items in sometimes random, sometimes ironically intentional ways. When photographers talk about capturing “found art” they needn’t go farther than their local flea market to find all they need.
Traveling in winter on the train from Dresden, Germany, the mostly overcast countryside zipped by as the train quickly moved along on its way to our destination in Prague, Czech Republic. Occasionally the sun peeked out from the clouds and lit up the houses and the industrial areas we traveled through. At first I thought my images might be impaired by a too slow shutter speed and the reflection in the train windows, but I quickly decided to use those problems to my advantage. The photos I ultimately made (and named “Views From the Train”) clearly indicate movement, low light, and reflections; qualities that mirror both the literal and metaphorical aspects of the country we traveled through.
On The Cover
In this month’s issue we have lab test reports on two ends of the camera spectrum, the Pentax Q and the Nikon D800. The D800 will come in two versions, one without a low-pass filter, so we thought it a good time to also explore the low-pass debate and what might be ahead for digital cameras. We also look at a sampling of new gear, from lighting to lenses to software. New: Check out web-exclusive tests at www.shutterbug.com.
Our Picture This! assignment this month was “Things Are Looking Up” and readers responded with a great variety of images with a skyward point of view. Many were architectural studies, and the fascinating compositions we received transformed the spaces in which we work, visit, and live. The abstraction engendered by taking a new point of view was certainly visually rewarding in all the entries we saw. It reminded us that some of the best images we can make are those that are made by looking anywhere but straight ahead, and we think when you look at the images below you’ll agree.
Hiking through the mountains in the Poudre Canyon above Fort Collins, Colorado, I happened upon a small clearing. Up against a mountain and surrounded by a grove of aspen trees, I found this very old abandoned cabin. The sight of this stopped me in my tracks. I immediately felt chills and a sense that I was stepping back in time. I took very slow steps as I listened to the wind move through the cracks of this home from the past. I felt as though I was trespassing on a family from long ago. I stayed long enough to capture this image with the sun setting the front aglow.
On The Cover
In this issue we feature tests on a myriad of image software programs for everything from creating unique images to speeding workflow to aids in organizing and editing your work. We also continue our Image Tech series with in-depth tests on Nikon and Panasonic cameras plus take a look at a new trend in inkjet papers as well as a handy Wacom tablet that will make working with all that software in our tests so much easier. And visit us at www.shutterbug.com for more web-exclusive content added daily.
While it might seem odd to have fall colors in late winter, we thought we’d take advantage of the crop of image ops available when the contest began (those luscious fall hues) and to have a bit of color to fight off the winter blahs right now. In any case, readers sent in a host of images from all around the country showcasing the fantastic colors and richness of that very special season. Editing from all the photos received was tough, but we found numerous images that we hope that for you, like for us, was a reminder that seasons do change and that gray and cold (at least here in the Northeast) is not how it always is outside. Please note that while we did not limit the post-processing allowed on these images we tended to choose those where processing enhanced the image and did not overwhelm it.
Traveling by plane these days is certainly no joy, a bad situation made worse for photographers who never check their precious gear. Traveling on regional jets, and especially international flights, means not being able to lug large backpacks or roller cases filled with gear on board. And with flights so jammed airlines have gotten even stricter about carry-ons, despite the fact that their policies now make everyone want to carry on rather than shell out the extra bucks. It’s getting pretty nasty out there.
I captured this image on a backpacking trip to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan one wet, stormy morning. I’ll never forget rounding the corner to the beach at dawn, instantly getting blasted by 25 to 30 mph winds and standing in awe of the massive 15- to 20-foot waves that were plowing into the shoreline. I decided to start shooting what was becoming an amazingly intense sky when all of the sudden a rainbow—than a double—materialized in the frame. I never moved the camera when the rainbows showed up—they were compositionally perfect in the viewfinder!
The invention of the Kodak handheld camera in 1888 gave post-impressionist artists a new source of inspiration. Snapshot: Painters and Photography, Bonnard to Vuillard is the first exhibition to focus on how the new technology energized the artists’ working methods and creative vision. Presenting over 200 photographs along with over 70 paintings and prints from renowned international collections, the exhibition is on view at the Phillips from Feb. 4 through May 6, 2012.