Our speaker this week was Richard Price talking on the very small and the infinite (at least the bit of it we can see) – Macro to Astro. As ever a hugely informative and accessible evening given to a packed hall.
When talking Macro (on a ratio of reproduction to actual size of the subject of 1:1 or greater) we will be including what is close up photography too as there is a technical difference but not, as far as next meetings practical is concerned, no difference worth the time.
These are both areas of photography that appear complicated but, whilst demanding, they can be easily accessed. And they are both absorbing aspects of photography and being both accessible and demanding they teach us a lot about our equipment and how light works with it. It also tells us a lot about our kit and can involve finding work arounds. For instance my manufacturers own 50mm lens will not work on anything but manual and with the depth of field preview button held down with my extension rings. My third party lenses work just fine. Took a while to work out how to get the nifty to work, but it was worth the effort. With a mirrorless camera like mine the DOF preview button is usually redundant -what you see in the view finder is exactly what you get as an image. Only it isn’t redundant at all and I am rather glad it’s there.
Of course, how near/far you want to go is a matter of budget but only really at the extremes. You can get some perfectly acceptable macro shots with a kit lens and a reversing ring (about £7 for a 52mm filter – size it’s written on the front of your lens, in the case of our 52mm example as Ø52). You can also use a coupling ring to reverse one and add another lens to it to make a longer focal length and a greater degree of magnification. In both case it might be advisable to take any UV filters you have off the end of the lens.
The next option Rich gave us was using screw in filters (lenses) of varying dioptres. These are available for around £15 (and upwards depending on filter size), but as with everything else you get what you pay for. Essentially these are like reading glasses for your lens, they are lenses that fit on the end of lenses. If you buy them for the largest filter size you have in your range of lenses you can buy a set of step down rings to fit them to your smaller filter sizes (usually for around £5).
Extension tubes, moving the lens away from the focal plane foreshortening its focusing capacity, use no intermediary glass at all, so there is no risk of flare or softening enhanced by putting more barriers between subject and sensor. By shortening that distance a degree of magnification results by getting closer to the subject. This is generally a more expensive route than the two previously discussed. this is because a certain amount of electronic communication has to be allowed for in the design of the tubes and this complicates the manufacturing process making it more expensive. It isn’t always effective either (see example given above) and work rounds result. However, the more you pay, generally, the more you get in terms of functionality and performance, though this is not an absolute guide.
Finally there is the most expensive option, the dedicated macro lens. Without a doubt this is the higher performer when it comes to producing quality of images in terms of sharpness and contrast, and without a doubt. But all that comes at a cost and even the cheapest all manual lenses cost several hundred pounds. Whichever route we go, macro/close up photography can be done anywhere and relatively easily and cheaply. One extra technique that might help is Focus Stacking. It can be done in Photoshop, as per the link, but failing that you might want to try CombineZP which is free and simple to use.
Now focus stacking as a technique makes a good link to the second half of our evening, Astro-photography. The reason being that photo stacking is an often used technique when taking photographs of the stars. It’s not an absolute requirement, though, and the basics are relatively straightforward. Rich recommended using StarStax, which is freeware, as you were wondering and developed with astro-photography in mind. But we get a little ahead of ourselves.
Dark areas in the UK are few and far between. Light pollution is a serious problem, not just for photographers but for wild life too, in our rather crowded island. Even in designated Dark Areas there are problems at the extremities where towns and villages emit a glow low on the horizon. So it takes some work.
The pollution part is best thought of as the light you would eliminate if you could. The night sky isn’t black, the horizon is always discernible. The sky itself is also quite bright. If we are trying to record as much detail as possible (known as Deep Sky astrophotography) we are going to be fighting the noise generated by the sensor of the camera, especially at higher ISO’s but even at the lowest setting because where there is a signal there will be noise. If we treat the sky as black either by exposing or reducing it to black in post production then the fainter details are going to get lost. The point is the sky isn’t really black, it’s closer to a dirty orange colour. Because of the light pollution and the reflective nature of Earth’s atmosphere.
We can get round this in post by adjusting levels, picking the darkest part of our image as a start point with the eye dropper and adjusting the levels. It’s a matter of trial and error really. As is white balance. Regardless, this will all be a matter of trial and mostly error at the beginning and that is actually part of the fun. Learning new techniques like this means we learn more about the competencies and capabilities of our equipment and allows us to do more things with it.
Our thanks again to Richard and good luck as he takes this and his other presentations on the road.
N E X T M E E T I NG
Macro and close up practical evening. Bring cameras tripods and that reversing ring you just ordered off Amazon.
Aaaaand we’re back. A happy New Year to you all. Two things to write about from the club this week. The first was a model shoot at Leigh Woods with Paul Walker and Kelly Wolf Rogers, (and Allison’s dogs Otis and Basil) Sunday last (4th Jan) and the second was the session on club night on the process of mounting photographs.
If nothing else, then the great outdoors in January offers inspiration, even if that inspiration is to keep moving to keep warm! In fact the weather was relatively good to the two models and dozen or so club photographers who spent an interesting and fruitful day in which the rain – if not the mud – held off. Overcast meant a fairly flat light, but that is a more of a problem when taking landscapes than details in portraiture, though keeping the grey sky out of shot (unless dramatic – or plain grey is the desired effect) certainly applies and lighting from the side and shooting when the sun is low are both possibilities, of course. What can’t be escaped is that the light is both cooler and more diffuse. The former can be compensated for via the white balance control on the camera and the tonality doesn’t have to be “natural” – that’s an artistic decision. Of course the ideas of “warm” and “cool” are psychological responses, they have nothing to do with the physics of light, but there is no doubt that the feel of a photograph is effected by its white balance.
Diffuse light presents different challenges. There is no doubt that a controlled, soft light can be a tremendous influence in the composition and interpretation of an image, as can a harsh direct light. The key word is controlled. The chief problem, if problem it is, is the lack of shadow. Light from an undirected source (the sun) is bouncing about all over the place. On the other hand it tends to be a fairly even light, background and foreground, unmodified, tend to be bathed in the same light. This can lead to a lack of separation between foreground and background. This, in itself, suggests that there may be a fairly straightforward option available. Get in closer and open the aperture, either or both depending on the focal length of lens available and the desired composition. A 50mm prime at f5.6 close in (say 1.5 meters) gives the same depth of field as a 100mm at twice the distance (3 meters) or a 200mm from four times the distance (with an APS-C 1.5 crop censor the depth of field would be 0.16 meters from nearest to furthest and F5.6 is a reasonable-to-assume achievable aperture on lenses covering those focal lengths). You would capture an area 71 cm high by 46 cm wide in portrait mode, i.e. with the camera rotated 90 degrees so the controls are on the side rather than on the top (as it would be in landscape) and keeping the frame tight would let you concentrate on the details.
Before zoom lenses it was the photographer who moved, see last blog’s Cartier-Bresson quote, something we should keep in mind. It also makes communication with your model easier if you are not having to phone in your requests for a tilt of the head or a sweep of the hair. More practically the logistics of moving angle are quickly and precisely in the hands of the photographer, leaving the fine detail adjustment, a tilt of the head, a slight angling of the body, a sweep of the hair and so on, with the model.
Flash, on or off the camera and a reflector, you know the one you didn’t leave on the settee (mea culpa), can be a great boon in getting some of the light contrast back into the scene. The flash on the camera can be limited, but DSLR/SLT cameras mostly have ways of altering the power of the flash. Failing that you can diffuse the light using material in front of the on camera light source, being careful that it doesn’t give you an unwanted colour cast. A Speedlight or similar is more flexible, just remember that the needs of curtain synchronisation limit the shutter speeds you have available to you. A reflector, especially a 5-in-1, can be a cheap and easy (if you have someone to hold it for you whilst you take the photograph) way of concentrating the available light onto your subject.
Using Camera RAW and post processing is another way of giving yourself options. RAW leaves all the details in whereas JPEG makes a certain amount of processing options away by making decisions about light levels etc at the image processing stage i.e. the click. Contrast, the available dynamic range that can be manipulated using RAW, is greater than in JPEG and for these reasons many people choose to shoot in RAW as default. There are interminable arguments about this, as you may have experienced and I have voiced my opinion before and regardless of format if you don’t press the shutter the arguments are irrelevant and the shot is lost. Forever. There are options for editing in JPEG they just aren’t as wide or flexible as in RAW. Or you can use black and white either to shoot in or post production. There are lots of options, either singly or in combination to try. So try them! There are also the creative styles that cameras, even basic ones, increasingly have built in, especially the ones where you can exhibit some fine control like saturation to experiment with too.
So your masterpiece has been captured, processed and printed and it’s now ready to mount. Mounting itself can be something of an art and there are little preferences that people develop with practice. There are some choices to be made at a basic level. In terms of increasing ambition we have to decide whether our pictures are to be Card mounted (as we have to do for entering prints in the club competitions, indeed for any print competition), foam mounted or canvas mounted, aka Gallery Wraps. We can even use wood (as per canvas but with some sort of clear varnish to finish) but I prefer the more recycled approach, well we are living in the European Green Capital for 2015, after all. Card mounting is the more traditional way. For club competitions prints must be mounted on card exactly 50cms by 40cms AND a digital copy following the 1400 : 1050 width/height convention must be submitted too. Rules are to be found here. There is no doubt that the mounts have their own contribution to the aesthetic and if anyone tells you that your print has “A nice mount” and leaves it at that they are probably leaving out “Shame about the picture”. Ignore them. That said the mount must complement the image not compete with it, so the most effective colours are muted and white (in various shades) and black are the most frequently found – for a reason. They are not, however the only option.
The link for Bristol Framing Supplies is http://www.bristolframingsupplies.co.uk/
Wednesday 14th 19:30
Club Battle: Bristol Photographic Society
Where: Basement, 12 West Mall, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 4BH (Downstairs Door)
Description: The return match for our club battle against Bristol Photographic. This time its at their venue. Turn up and support us.
From Myk Garton:
WOODLAND PHOTOGRAPHY DAY 2
On Sunday 1st March we are holding another Woodland Photography Day.
We’ll be spending a day photographing models (both male and female) in woodland and other settings at Blaise Castle Estate.
We’ll meet up at 9:30am at the main car park and start shooting by 10am. The plan is to use one location up until 12:30pm, stop for lunch and then shoot at another location until 4pm or later depending on conditions.
There will be a minimum of 2 models. one male and one female.
There will be a small charge of £10 to take part. We’ll shoot for 5 hours minimum, so you’ll be paying just £2 per hour. All money raised will be split between the models.
I’ll be adding more info soon as well as mentioning it at club meetings. We’ll work on a first come, first serve basis. If you are interested in coming along please reply below.
The date is Sunday 1st March.
Any questions, please ask Myk.
And from Eddie and Roger:
“Roger and I have volunteered (for our sins) to oversee the Reflex Camera Club entry to the WCPF Kingswood Salver Competition 2015.
The competition rules are as follows:-
Entry is five prints – colour, mono, or a mixture of both, and must be from five different photographers. Mounts to be 50cm x 40cm as per usual WCPF Rules. All elements of the work must be no more than 2 years old and not previously entered into this competition.
The ideal is that all of the images are good in their own right but must fit together as a panel of five.
Follow the links below to see examples from the 2014 competition.
Our target is to make up 3 panels of 5 with different themes and then pick the best of these to enter the competition.
To start the ball rolling we would like to ask club members to suggest themes based on what we could achieve as a club, we will then choose 3 subjects to target.
We are considering using our evening on the 26th February as a practical night when we would like to set up various still life studios (with a little help) and attempt to create a panel or two based on a theme of collectables. For this we would ask members to bring along items to photograph, more details on this to follow”.
In the week where the Guardian carries an article on the, probable, opening of the, possibly, world’s largest photo-gallery in Marrakesh, and the unexpected but entirely predictable problems that this has generated (avoidable if someone had bothered to do their homework, or paid someone else to, or maybe it was deliberate) we at Reflex Camera Club stayed a little closer to home and set ourselves up in true Santa-at-the-Mall-in-May spirit for a little Winter Festival commonly known as Christmas (which I understand is in December). Specifically, members were tasked with producing a club Christmas card in an evening. There was, dear reader, some controversy, about which, more later.
The original Christmas card, at least as far as the UK (and the world) is concerned, was introduced in 1843 at the cost of 1 shilling (5p to you non duo-decimalists), which was rather pricey at £4.28 in today’s coin (that might make me look like a cheapskate, but then I am). The average retail cost of a card in 2013 was £1.44 (4d in 1843 money) according to the Greetings Card Association (Yes, there is one). The original run of 1,000 cards was followed by another of 1,050 and the ones he didn’t use Henry Cole sold at a profit. He sold them all. Today Christmas is worth £130 million in card sales, according to the GCA. The original card was also controversial, for its depiction of alcohol, but it was a sell out. One of the 18 or so thought to remain in existence was sold in 2010 for $7,500. One of our cards (which went to a tie break on a show of hands) was controversial for its more, to use a period allusion, Scrooge-like qualities (which was also alluded to in another entry with the greeting, “Bah Humbug”, I’m beginning to think that the Xmas spirit maybe a little thin this year – we will find out on the 18th December which is our Club Christmas night). In the end we decided on a more traditional offering from Roy Williams (Photography), Myk Garton (Editing) and Alec Williams (Executive Producer).
Henry Cole, the man in too much of a hurry to write to all his friends and relatives in the first place, engaged the artist JC Horsley to illustrate his innovation. That, and a DPS article this week, set me to thinking about the relationship between art and photography (writing a blog will do that to you). There does seem to be a tension between the states of “Photographer” and “Artist”. As touched on in last week’s blog, the same rules and guides apply to painters creating an image as photographers. The term “Creative” as a profession is somewhere in the middle of this. Creative, as a description of an economic sector is worth, according to the UK Treasury, £8,000,000 per hour to the UK economy. Artists, the people who create the work, form a substantial part of this but not the only part. There is a further tension between the art itself and the industry around it that makes for its consumption.
Yet there is still a cachet around the status of artist – I bet your unmade bed made less at auction than Tracy Emin’s depiction of depression – that is part of the process of selling it, regardless of the message that you were trying to get across. Exclusivity, being the owner of that Van Gogh or that Rubens or anything else creatively produced, is also a driver, not least of market value – but once a photograph is published on line anyone can consume it (as opposed to own. Or steal). Possibly this makes photographers artisans, but in a week where “snobbery” undid three establishment figures (I am thinking Andrew Mitchell, Emily Thornberry, and David Mellor) one needs to be mindful of being “All the gear and no idea”. Maybe, after all, it isn’t anything but a sterile argument, as entertainingly exposed by Richard Thripp (do take some time to read the comments under his post, they do rather prove his point).
The number of photography books both about and using it (e.g. fashion) you will find in bookshop certainly underline the point that this is a visual medium that isn’t going to go away. The craft of art is there, but some think that because the process doesn’t involve fine motor-skills with a sharpened stick dipped in something then you’re not an artist. David Hockney is less of an artist for using a camera among his tools? Around about here we mostly get into a Vicky Pollard style argument. What seems to get neglected is the argument “Does it matter if it is/is not art”? Let me pose one half of an answer. No, because, if taken seriously, any artistic endeavour is about making it as best you can and next time better. The tools don’t make the art the artist does. Photography is a representative art. The camera is a tool, the image a story. A canvas, paint and brushes are tools, the image a story. The infamous bed and detritus so many berate Ms. Emin about are the tools for her to tell a (personally painful) story.
This brings me back to the news story I started with, the planned gallery in Marrakech. There are enough problems surrounding photography, even in the UK, especially street photography, however, one of the points made in the article is about the behaviour of so many people (tourists) towards the locals and a disregard of the traditions and culture they are snapping away at. Start from a point of respect and you learn a lot more. Both sides in the photography is/isn’t art take note.
Feel free to agree/disagree with me via the comments section on the club blog page.
WOODLAND PHOTOGRAPHY DAY
See Myk or contact him via the club Facebook Page.
UPCOMING AT THE CLUB
December 4th – Capturing Stunning B&W images plus Post Production Tips from basics to more advanced from Mr Mark Stone. Kindly take a few minutes to peruse https://www.flickr.com/photos/mark-stone/ and contact Mark via the club Facebook page with one you want to know more about.
December 11th – The second round of this year’s Reflex Open Competition (ROC) will be judged tonight.
December 18th – Christmas social evening. To quote Mark S:
” Thursday 18th December is our Christmas Social. We’re planning on doing an American Supper style evening which means we’d like you to bring some food & drink. So that you don’t all bring in a pack of Scotch Eggs we’ve created a list that will be on the sign in desk each week up until the 18th. If you’d like to take a look at what is on the list just peek at the PDF attached to this post.
It’s no good saying on here what you are planning on bringing you need to sign your name (in legible writing) next to the items on the list at the club meetings”. The List is via the link below. ‘Nuff said.
The year’s tradition of interesting and passionate speakers moved on and up with an evening with Damien Lovegrove last meeting, which was very well attended. Our thanks to Damien and a feather in the cap of the committee. Special thanks to Damien for his generous donation to the air show ticket draw.
Damien comes across as a life-long passionate and enthusiastic photographer who – and this does not automatically follow – can communicate with an audience. Once a clubman himself, he knows this audience and that ability certainly comes across in his photography. First rule of marketing: Know your audience. Second rule of marketing: Talk to them, not at it. It is all about communication. The story, the relationship between photographer and model, lens sensor and light, lines and shade, viewer and image, is key to the first impression, the impact. Damien does things big. That isn’t just about the size of the projected image, but the way the subject fills the frame. The intensity of the story being told is often ruled by it.
Trained in television at the BBC, Damien retains many of the traits of TV composition in his still image work and, of course, is quite happy to break them when the story demands. His first step out of TV was to bring those techniques to wedding photography. His guiding rule has remained the same. Keep it simple. He also made the point that there are sometimes several steps to go through, which could, of course, relate to a series of images. When you think of a wedding album, which is how most wedding photographs are viewed, there is a chronological order to the viewing. This idea of chronology can also take place in a single frame: think, if you will, of the use of dead space for example. Whatever else balance is something that needs to be maintained.
Damien is most insistent that his photographs are a journey just as he is a Get-It-Right-In-the-Camera-ista. These two propositions aren’t very far apart. That isn’t to say that he has no use for Lightroom but his style of work, grounded in Television which, of course has its need to get things right first time in live broadcasts. The visual grammar then boils to certain tropes (themes): Eyes are always off level unless intensity is being communicated, the brightest part of the scene is always the furthest away (aka the “Bright Horizon”), if there is a lamp in shot turn it on. Knowing these sort of effects and operating them means less time in Lightroom because they are part of Damien’s workflow. The outcome is part of his initial planning and the biggest factor in any final result is the initial set of circumstances pertinent to that particular action (Chaos theory if you’re interested). So if you know what your end result will be you don’t hit and hope, you get it right in the camera first. That doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t shoot for Photoshop, but if getting it right first time is in practice then there isn’t the need to spend a lot of time on post processing. As discussed last week, time is money. Because the marginal cost of another frame is low – and there are occasions a-plenty when that is something to be grateful for – doesn’t mean that it is more effective to take it.
On the matter of cameras Damien championed the SLT (Single Lens Translucent) or mirror-less, he using Fuji and prime lenses both for their compactness and, most importantly, because what you see is what you get. He likened the DSLR process to feedback, where you frame-take-stop-check the frame and the Mirrorless systems as feedforward, (when the result of earlier step is fed into a step occurring later in the workflow – and NO, that isn’t just something that you do post processing, it involves everything in any production process ) in this case frame-take. Time saving, he offered, is quite considerable. Similarly his approach to lens choice is how does it render the background? Is it what you want? There is a range of responses from bokeh to soft focus. His prescription is to use the tools that get the job done. Ken Rockwell wrote: “…Because it’s entirely an artist’s eye, patience and skill that makes an image and not his tools”. Which is true. A poorly skilled photographer is not any better behind a £5,000 camera than they would be behind a £50 one. Damien is referring to the workflow, his workflow.
In the matter of composition Damien looks for lines, curves, triangles, shapes to give depth to his images. Curves, shapes, circles, in particular that which has a roundness to it works for figures, especially when contrasted against rigid lines in structures. He readily admits that what would get you marked down in a club competition, such as burned out highlights, might actually be a feature he is looking for. Shooting into the light and using flash or continuous light to fill in can mean control over texture and tones. He professes himself undisturbed by such concerns if the overall effect is what he is after. Hard light isn’t something he necessarily avoids, it makes faces look wider and reduces the prominence of structural elements. He is most insistent that the light in his photographs have a pleasing balance because, again, it means less messing around in Lightroom. Know your light.
Damien expressed a preference for continuous light, because of the control that it yields. There are things that you just can’t do with flash, he maintains. It lets you set your lighting then move your camera angle to explore what alternative shots present themselves. You can structure the symmetry in your images by changing your angles in different ways, but, he insists, you must never ignore it, even when the effect you are after is asymmetrical. If that sounds complex he keeps to the mantra of less is more, you frame the detail, including how much detail, it is up to you to choose how and why and what. Damien favours working with a backlight and a key light.
The most important thing though, the thing that all the mastery of all the technicalities in photography will not compensate for, is the relationship with your subject. It is the essential that the photographer connect with the person, it’s a working relationship that exists outside of that fraction of a second recorded in an image. It is too easy for the camera to become a cycloptic barrier, to get in the way of the result and in this instance it is worth reflecting on the difference between getting a shot and getting the shot. You can’t share the private moment you are recording with the viewer if you do not privilege that moment you are recording by getting your damned camera out of the way. I said above that the First Rule of Marketing is know your audience and the Second Rule of Marketing is to talk to them not at it. Pretty much the same thing. First rule, know your shot, second rule make your subject part of the process. Then you can go about the technicalities, moving your model, moving your position (eye level rarely is the best level). Shooting from below eye level lends your subject a sense of power. Shooting from above makes the relationship softer.
When summing up his approach Damien made the point that in a competition between perfection and soul that souls works better. Go with what works, it makes for better art. In a link into the next meeting, more of which in a second, Damien advised to look and critique as many photographs as you can make time to look at. deconstructing others work, incorporating elements into your own, is a great way to keep learning and keep improving as a photographer.
And the next meeting is about critiquing. If you look back on the blog at the WCPF nights (two entries) I go into some depth about how to. They are not hard and fast rules and Dan Ellis, who is running the event, says that we are going to look at the basic elements such as exposure, focus, framing and give feedback about those sort of things.
So that we have something to critique, please Drop Box mark by Tuesday a couple of your images so we have something to work with. The instructions how to are on the club website and 2Gb of Dropbox is free with your account. It is also one of those things that you wonder how you got on without once you start to work with it.
See you Thursday
A decent turnout at the Langton Court Hotel for the annual social and awards event. The skittle alley thundered to the sounds of skittles standing resolutely in place. For a camera club there were remarkably few in evidence, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, less clutter to fall over and I don’t want to think of the consequences of joining consumer electronics with liquid (says he typing this with a cup of tea in one hand). Next year’s calendar was distributed, and I must say that it looked really interesting, and awards were bestowed thus:
Reflex Camera Club Overall Competition results for 2013 – 2014
|1st Place||82 Points||John Pike|
|2nd place||43 Points||Pauline Ewins|
|3rd Place||26 Points||Wendy Goodchild|
|1st Place||43 Points||Pauline Ewins|
|2nd place||30 Points||Mark O’Grady|
|3rd Place||26 points||Wendy Goodchild
& Angie Wallace
|1st Place||64 Points||John Pike|
|2nd place||55 Points||Mark O’Grady|
|3rd Place||35 Points||Alison Davies|
|John Hankin Shield
(Best Print of the Year)
|Stan Scantlebury Shield
(Best Projected of the Year)
|Photographer of the Year
(Overall Points Winner)
|85 Points||Mark O’Grady|
Thanks Julie for the table.
And the winner of the game of Killer in the Skittle Alley was —– Julie Coombs.
We have had a successful year in the number and variety of events, speakers and activities and a big club thank you to everyone who made that possible. The new website looks excellent and new members are joining. With the move to new premises everything seems set fair.
To a point we participate in the club in order to determine what makes a good photograph, so that we can go and take good/better photographs. Practice based learning. There are as many opinions on the “Good” as there are photographers. One of the reasons that there are competitions and judges is the idea of some sort of standard around the rules of composition, the exposure triangle and leave room for the imagination of the photographer. This year – and it is not very different year to year, nor I fancy, from club to club – we have had many different examples, from different sources. We have had competitions – the best source for individuals for what is known as reflective practice – speakers and practical evenings. We have had the benefit of the WCPF travelling show. These have also allowed us to look at wider issues too: planning, doing and reviewing, taking the opportunity, making the opportunity. We have also had the chance to talk about the giving of constructive feedback with one of our speakers and to practice it (and don’t I drone on about it every competition round?).
So, what have we learned this year? The point is the picture not the gear, Canon, Leica, Nikon, Pentax, Sigma, Sony anything else, not whether it’s a RAW or a JPEG or a TIFF (note that argument, not so very long ago was about whether it was film or digital, an argument that has just gone away) or any other format that counts. If there isn’t a basic structure to grab the attention then all of the above is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter about what it is you are taking a photograph of , it is how it is represented in the frame, what is included and, frequently as important, excluded that makes it so. Vary the angles, up, down, left, right (it’s not about your comfort it’s about the shot!). Keep the viewers eye engaged in the frame – this is why a vignette sometimes helps by keeping the eye from wandering to the outside of the frame on their way out of the picture. It should tell a story, a good one, with a punch-line. That the lighting is everything.
So, looking forward to next season? “F8 and be there”. See you next week.
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