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Category Archives: Photography

Darkroom Heating

Fan Heater Not Suitable for Darkroom Heating

In times gone by I used a fan heater which was fine for drying the finished prints hanging on the “clothes line” but created a dust problem with negatives needing to be repeatedly dusted off. Sometimes I’d get hairy strands of dust sticking to the emulsion of negatives while hanging in the darkroom to dry. Eventually I abandoned this method of darkroom heating, the hassle to keep warm being just too much.

Warming the Developer with Hot Water

To warm the developer to a quick acting temperature, I have for some time used a second, larger tray of hot water with the developer tray sitting in it. Whenever the water feels cool to my fingers it’s time to add another jug of hot water, until after a few top-ups, the developer tray starts to float, at which time I tip out the water and start again with more hot water. This method has served me well for 15 years or so and is a good way to go in a low budget darkroom.

Electric Bar Heater for Darkroom Heating

Over recent times I’ve used a bar heater on the darkroom wall. With some care, given the colour and low level of light, the paper has been unaffected by this darkroom heating.

But today I just couldn’t stand the fiddling with jugs of hot water any longer. I unscrewed the bar heater from the wall and placed it on the darkroom floor, facing upwards, under the wet bench, to heat not only the darkroom space but also the chemicals.

About Outdoor Group Portraits

I want you to picture yourself and your family outside on a nice afternoon. It’s Thanksgiving, a great day for a family portrait. Unless it is a cloudy day, some nice shade will produce a flattering lighting ratio for your portrait. This means that the brightest part of the picture and the darkest part are not too far apart in value for the film or hard drive card to capture. Then choose a uniform background for you portrait. A stand of dark evergreens, a barn wall, a distant lawn, or a high hedge are all excellent backgrounds. The back of the house and patio, the driveway with the parked cars, or partially sunlit woods are too busy a background for your picture.

Next find something for people to sit on: a log, a small table from the patio, a picnic bench or a patio chair. The object is to have everyone’s head at a different level. Small children are, of course already low to the ground. Seat some people at chair height, others on the ground. Sitting like an Indian is not a viable pose. Try sitting the person down on the ground with their knees together, ankles crossed and to the side. Standing and leaning against something also provides a different height for your composition. Try to place the heads so that they do not line up either vertically or horizontally. Rather than presenting a square shoulder to the camera, a slight turn to the body is preferable. Eye glasses can be held in the hands or tilted down. Be creative in you grouping – two, threes and fours in a close grouping look better than one group of seventeen evenly spaced. Remember to overlap shoulders so that heads are closer together. One shoulder is all that is necessary to see.

Arms should never hang straight down. Instead, place some hands in pockets, around shoulders or holding hands. Diagonals in the composition increase the dynamic qualities of your portrait. Pay attention to the legs and feet. Natural looking positions include crossed ankles, placing the feet forty-five degrees apart (standing), and crossed knees. After the positioning everyone, stand back and squint at the effect with blurred eyes. Turn any straight on bodies and relocate any misplaced color or glaring whites for a more pleasing effect.

A broad, low light source is ideal for a flattering look to your portrait. An open sky overhead will result in dark eye shadowing. Reflecting light into the shadow areas or using fill flash will correct this situation. Take advantage of the light from a white building or a setting sun. A natural solution is to place your group under some overhanging branches.

Info of Digital Imaging Explained

Traditional cameras capture images onto film while digital cameras use an electronic chip known as a Charged Coupling Device (CCD). The CCD is actually a grid of miniature light-sensitive diodes. These diodes convert photons (light) that strikes them into electrons (electrical impulses). The technical name for these diodes is ‘photosite’. The brighter the light is that hits the photosite the stronger the electrical charge is that’s produced.

After converting the photons into electrons, a mini-computer, located inside of the camera, reads the stored electrical value in each photograph. Then a built-in analog-to-digital converter turns the stored electrical value into a digital value. These digital values are then stored on the cameras memory storage device. When these digital values are recalled by software, and displayed on a screen, they reproduce the image that was originally captured by the camera or digital input device.

The digital image that is created by the CCD is huge. It’s far too big to be easily stored in the relatively little amount of storage space that’s available to a digital camera. Accordingly, the camera’s computer compresses the image to make it smaller.

There are two basic methods for achieving this compression. The first method takes advantage of repetitive patterns in the image. For example, if you are taking a picture of an airplane that is flying in the sky, a lot of the picture will be a chunk of blue sky. The camera recognizes that there are multiple parts of the image containing the same digital information, so it only records a small piece of the sky. Then it simply creates a map to tell it where the rest of the sky belongs. When the picture is ultimately displayed the sky appears exactly the same as it did in the original image when it was first captured. The only difference is that the overall storage requirements were reduced thanks to the camera’s clever mapping techniques.

The other method uses a procedure called irrelevancy. This methodology automatically removes digital information that is not visible to the human eye such an infra red light.

Specialized Styles

–Wildlife photography

–Landscape photography

–Sports events

–Photo-journalism

–Fashion photography

–Black & White treatment

–Shooting Celebrities

–>Wildlife Photography

Wildlife photography is often assumed to be an exciting and high adventure genre of photography. In reality it is extremely challenging and wildlife photographers find themselves at the mercy of inclement weather and sometimes even face danger. Here are some suggestions for this specialized form of photography.

Understand the life form that you plan to photograph in terms of living habits, habitat and behavior. In other words you need a perspective on ‘a day in the life of’ your wildlife subject. Books and online research will throw light on your subject. The importance of getting acquainted with the behavior of the animal is a lot more important when you have to shoot dangerous jungle animals that can attack like lions or tigers or even bears. Animals will become aware of you when you enter close to their habitat but will usually not attack if you keep your distance. But you have to be clear on the distance at which an animal will begin to feel threatened by your presence and decide to attack you.

It goes without saying that you can’t expect any kind cooperation from your subject! You have to fit yourself in, place yourself in a vantage point and have your camera set and ready and then wait for the ‘right moment’ to take the shot that you are looking for.

You may have to wait many days before you can capture the right shot. Your subject could not care less if the light is diminishing or the light is at its best. You may have perfect light conditions on a particular day but your subject may not be in the right spot for you to take the shot.

You need telephoto lenses to shoot from a distance and other camera features like Center-weighted metering. The Center-weighted meter allows you to meter the wildlife subject at the center of the frame and vary the size of the sensing area based on the dimensions of the subject and its distance from you.

–>Landscape Photography

Taking landscape pictures within a city from atop a building or on the beach is one type of landscape photography. But if you want to get closer to nature and shoot unique pictures of nature and environment in remote locations like wild forest area or mountain ranges, then you have your task cut out for you just like a wildlife photographer. You need the spirit of adventure within you in order to travels around to different places and scour different regions for landscape opportunity.

It is tough to firstly identify the right spots, you may have to explore for days before you find an idyllic panoramic landscape to shoot. You then have to wait for the right light conditions while braving the weather and the rough living conditions. In terms of equipment, landscape photographers need to go in for a variety of wide-angle lenses since this type of lens is capable of lending depth in the photograph. A wide-angle zoom lens is useful in this type of photography because of the range of focal lengths it can provide while fine-tuning a shot. But there is also the need for telephoto lenses for certain shot though not of the high focal length required by sports photographers. Landscape photographers usually go in for telephoto lenses with focal length less than 300mm (a telephoto lens has a focal length greater than 50mm, a wide angle lens is less than 50mm, and a standard lens has a focal length of 50mm).

–>Sports Events

Those who have made a career of photographing sporting events have a different style of operation to capture the high action of dramatic moments in a game. The length of the lens, the location of the photographer taking the shot and the need to limit blurring are the three critical aspects in sports photography.

Sports photographers use a telephoto lens. This type of lens magnifies the subject. The focal length to choose from in telephoto lenses varies from 60mm to 1000 mm. A lens with a high focal length can give you a wider visual area which is a necessity when you photograph field events. Sports photographers by and large prefer 35mm cameras and use focal lengths of 300-600mm especially for field events like soccer.

The location where photographers position themselves to take different shots is directly responsible for capturing the relevant high-points in a match. It also helps if you have a good knowledge of the sport. This ensures that you identify the right moments and are alert and ready when a memorable situation occurs during the sport. You can get the right shots if you are able to move around and use the right location in different points in a game. However, quite often the areas of movement are restricted for photographers and the best way to tide over this problem is to use a lens of focal length in the region of 600mm to enable shots of the far end of a court or field. Though a good location is usually described by the angle and distance from the court or field, the other aspect of a good location is also the play of light from your vantage point. Most photographers have the task of avoiding shadows caused by the quality of light. The intensity of color in a photograph is reduced in dull light conditions while bright sunlight can create shadows in certain angles.

Shoot Less

I now realise that there was another cost. With all this constant snapping I was losing my skills as a photographer. Sure, I could see a scene, shoot it and make appropriate adjustments on the camera before shooting again. But I stopped thinking “before” I pressed the shutter release.

Digital had cost my skill. Or almost.

I gradually realised that I no longer viewed the scene before I put the camera to my eye. I didn’t see the components in their entirity and I didn’t compose as accurately as I should. I forgot to look for lamposts coming out of people’s heads and didn’t get the groups to all look at the camera at the same time. I relied on repeating a shot to get it perfect and when I downloaded my images I could have easily have discarded 90% or more of them.

This wasn’t what I wanted in photography and the digital medium, which was such a great advance in photography, had been taken and manhandled by me. I was becoming a bad photographer.

But now I have reformed. I still take shots that I am not proud of and I still discard a good proportion of my images. But I think more than I used to in order to harness the digital medium rather than ignore it.

Now I shoot less. And by doing so I put more thought into each image. I look for the right light, the right expression, the right patterns and the right timing. I look around the viwefinder to see what is there and try, where possible, to get an image that needs little or no manipulation after download.

I ask myself a series of questions: why am I taking this shot? what do I hope to achieve? what needs to be added or taken away to make the image better? where is the light coming from, where does it fall and what quality does it have? what adjustments do I need to make before taking the picture – how can I harness the power of my camera in order to get it right first time?

Taking Great Digital Photos

1 Take care to Focus and Expose on the Subject of the Image

Imagine you are taking a picture of your girl friend against the background of an interesting harbour. Your girl friend is six feet away while the harbour is around 50 feet away. You position your girl friend carefully – she is important to you – at one side of the picture with an interesting view of the harbour in the distance. Now do you want to focus on the harbour – or your girl friend? Position the square or circle at the centre of the viewfinder over the spot that you want to focus on and correctly expose – take a slight pressure on the shutter release – and keep that pressure while you move the camera to frame the image you want to take – then, and only then, push the shutter release fully down and take the photo. If you want to have everything in focus – then see 7 Depth of Field.

2 Carefully Compose Your Shot

Before taking the picture take a careful last look through the viewfinder. Check the composition, and particularly that heads nd feet are included, and that all faces are visible in anything other the smallest of groups. With the camera taking care of focus and exposure – you have the time to concentrate on getting the composition perfect. Photographic amputation of limbs is unforgivable!

3 Set the Colour Balance Correctly on the Camera

Digital cameras have controls that allow the operator to set the nature of the lighting illuminating the subject. In general they will default to daylight, since shots are likely to be taken outdoors. On this setting, pictures taken indoors under artificial tungsten lighting will look yellow – they will have a yellow cast. Pictures taken under strip lighting will look green. Setting the camera appropriately will produce consistent balanced photographs. Look in the camera manual to see how to set the control – it is very easy. Flash guns produce a light, which is very similar in colour ‘temperature’ to that of daylight.

4 Don’t Expect Too Much from the On Camera Flash

The on camera flash is designed for convenience when shooting a small group of people. It will not illuminate a hall. When
watching public events on the television it is somewhat surprising to see members of the audience in the Albert hall take a pocket camera out and shoot a picture with their flash. This is unlikely to be successful. Better to turn the sensitivity of the camera up – say to 800ASA – the ‘film speed’, or sensitivity. This might produce a better result. Do not confuse sensitivity of the camera with shutter speed. They are different. An on camera flash will illuminate only a short distance – as a guide pick up your cat firmly with two hands by the tail and swing it around at arms length – that is the sort of distance the flash will illuminate!

Nude Art Photography

Tasteful nude photography is often regarded as high skilled photography as besides technical knowledge and the ability to manipulate light the nude photographer also needs strong communication skills and the ability to build a positive relationship with his model. A modelling contract between photographer and model often includes additional remuneration to the model besides payment and publication rights.

Subgenres and Subjets

“Feminine nudity must be given to men by the teaspoonful, not with a scoop.” (Coco Chanel)

Nude photography divides into three basic forms: the “classic” full nude with a simple background, full nude model where model is completely naked; the detailed nude depicting certain details of the body, abstracting and making them anonymous, and emphasising the forms and structures of the nude; and finally the half nude, where the model is partially clothed or partially wrapped with accessories.

History and development

The nude is a classic subject in art. Already the early high cultures (Egypt, Crete, India among others) knew nude representations. Its development into other representation forms can be pursued from Greek clay to the art of the middle ages and on to the European art of the modern age. Since the renaissance, the study of the nude human body is an intrinsic part of art education at art academies.

Since around 1847 the nude has also become the object of photography, the first nude photographers including Philippe Debussy, E. Delacroix, Eugene Durieu and B. Braquehais. Models were both professionals and prostitutes and photographs were both artistic and “spicy”, which often invited the aversion of moral and law enforcement officers.

Important Nude Photographers

o	Bettina Rheims 					     David Bailey 

o	Eric Kroll 						Helmut Newton 

o	Hans-Peter Muff 					

o	Jan Saudek Meister der Koloriertechnik (kolorieren) 

o	Jeanloup Sieff 						Man Ray 

o	Paul Outerbridge 					Petter Hegre 

o	Richard Kern 						Roy Stuart 

o	Robert Mapplethorpe 					Sam Haskins 

o	Uwe Ommer 						G√ľnter Blum

Pre-Wedding Photo Shoot

1. Finding the right person for the shoot:

Hiring the right individual or the right professional is a must as this makes the amount that you have invested in the project a success. Ensuring that the photographer is capable of taking excellent pictures will make sure that the moments will be captured with all the right focus and light considerations. Go through the catalogs and the websites of the recommended professionals before zeroing in on one.

2. Finding the right places:

A list of all those places where the shoot has to be done should be made. This list should be the guiding itinerary of the shoot. A perfect photo shoot will involve all the places where the couple met, they proposed and other picturesque places in the city or abroad.

3. Finding the right weather:

The weather must be dealt with in the proper way. A proper timing for conducting the shoot should be decided so that the background that is naturally nature should be at its best. Even the environment of indoor shoot should be arranged well before time to avoid problems.

4. Finding the right clothes:

The right type of clothing is what should be the focus of the couple. Pre-wedding photo shoots look best when the attire of the boy and girl is delicate and simple. An elegant photo shoot is what suits the couples. They like such photo shoots. Photo shoots need proper dress up and shopping for the same should be done in advance in consultation with the photographer.

Info Wanna be Models

First are you really sure that this is what you want! If the answer to this is yes and if you are at least 1.7 meters (5ft.7inch) tall, slim and beautiful and self confident and between 14 to 18 years of age, there is just a slim chance that you might make it.

But you need something to be in your favour, in fact it’s so important that you stand little or no chance without it and you might as well give up right now and get back to your high school studies.

So what is so important that it will make or brake you, the answer to that is quite simple, it’s your Mom. Without her blessing and indeed her help your going nowhere baby.

Lets start with the law, you are a minor until the age of 18 and unable to be photographed without your parent’s permission and unable to attend a shooting session with a photographer unless your parent or guardian is present at the shoot.

Now you can understand the importance of this, as it not only safeguards the Model who is a minor, but it also safeguards the photographer as well.

After the shooting session is over a ‘Minor Model Release’ form has to be signed on behalf of the minor by the parent or legal guardian. This form is a standard document in the profession and it gives the photographer and his client permission to use the photos for whatever advertising purposes that are required, in exchange for a modeling fee that has been previously agreed upon and paid on the completion of the shoot.

How do you get discovered and believe me this is the difficult bit. Years ago when I was a full time Advertising/Fashion Photographer, it was sometimes just good enough to be found by the photographer and his opinion would add some weight when the model presented some recent photographs of herself to a Modeling Agency, providing of course she had all the above requirements. However today, things have changed with young model hopefuls posting their photos all over the internet and of course many of the model agencies keep a presence on line as well.

But I know of a story of a 14 year old girl in London, who at the time had no idea that she really wanted to be a model, but in the summer vacation was doing ‘Work Experience’ in the offices of one of the UK Fashion Magazines when she was ‘scouted’ by a model agency rep.

Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time, this of course does not prevent you from applying to all the top agencies yourself, getting to see as many as possible and if you are as good as you say you are and if they are looking for that special look you might just get lucky. But not without some hard work and discipline and dedication.

For example healthy eating and living, or put it another way eating correctly and getting to bed early. This healthy lifestyle would also include daily exercise to keep your body in shape.

Unless you become dedicated, when the time comes and you find that you have put on an extra kilo or two in weight, you’ve only yourself to blame if you didn’t get the job.

Last August I received an e-mail from a 14 year old girl who wanted to be a model. She had seen my website, read my comments on ‘want to be models’ and wanted my opinion about her looks. I replayed and explained that I would run some test shots in return for adding a page of these photos to my website.

I contacted her Mom and we set up a meeting to shoot at my favorite beech location, this page has now become one of the most popular on the website. I think you should take a look to.

Right Digital Camera

Regarding your skill level, first consider your willingness to learn the technicalities of photography. Do you simply want to point and shoot? If so, there are plenty of automatic cameras made to do just that.

Or, do you want to be creative — experimenting with self-timers, flash, shutter speed, lighting, and photo enhancement features? To fulfill these creative desires, you’ll need a camera with a full range of manual controls.

Of course, with the hundreds of digital cameras that are on the shelves, you don’t have to make a commitment — many cameras have both automatic and manual settings. It all depends on what you want to spend.

Speaking of budget, you should know what you want to spend before you shop online or in a store. Then, only look at the cameras that match the amount that you came up with — it will keep you from suffering buyer’s remorse later.

In addition to your skill and your budget, consider how you will use the camera. Are you planning to email more pictures than you plan to print? Are you uploading them for online auctions or to share with your best friend who lives miles away? If so, carefully consider whether the pictures need to last for the next 100 years, or just until your online auction expires or your friend gets a chance to take a look at them.

If you are looking for professionally finished prints, brilliant color and a sharp image, you will need a camera with high image quality. The quality of an image is directly related to how many pixels it can capture horizontally and vertically. To print quality standard sized photos that will last, you’ll need a minimum of a 1-2 megapixel digital camera. Larger photos will require 3 megapixels to get the same quality. With at least 4 megapixels, 11 x 14 enlargements will look sharp.

Zoom lenses can also play a key role in the appearance of your photos. Many cameras will have zooms, but the size and type of zoom are important to consider. The larger the zoom (a 3x would be average and 10x large), the closer you will be able to get to subjects like sporting events and wildlife. But for good quality photos, be sure the camera has a true optical zoom rather than a digital zoom, which merely enlarges the center of the basic image.

Also, be aware that not all cameras with the same megapixels are created equal. Some have better optics and better zoom lenses. Some have more features such as the ability to make short videos. Some have better LCD screens for reviewing photos. Some have batteries that are proprietary and expensive to replace. Some are more prone to needing repairs.

So before heading to the store or to your favorite online site, check out the reviews for the models that interest you. Simply state your need at a search engine — something like 4 megapixel digital camera+review.