From Camera To Print… And More!
Thursday, December 22, 2011
I've been a photographer for as long as I can remember. I made my first darkroom print in elementary school, and since then I've never been more than a few feet from a camera at any given moment. But as comfortable and confident as I am with almost all technical aspects of photography, there's still one area that makes my knees weak and my lower lip tremble. It's the process of translating my photographs from nice digital images into beautiful prints. There's so much voodoo magic, it seems, in the technical necessities of the file-to-print process that I've prepared myself for the possibility of never fully understanding it. Consequently, my prints suffer. The point of all this is that I'm always on the lookout for information and tutorials that present useful digital printing in a way that I can comprehend—in a way that might actually help me to make better prints, but even more importantly a way that helps me understand how I should go about doing so. That's why I was so pleasantly surprised to discover the wonderful video series from Michael Reichmann and Jeff Schewe of The Luminous Landscape web site. In their series "From camera to print and screen" they've updated the tutorial for 2011, so not only can digital photographers learn to translate image files into beautiful prints, but into image files perfect for iPads and other digital displays. The point is this: for a small investment of time and money I can have the process explained to me in an easy to comprehend way by two exceptional photographers and teachers. I recommend that any photographer interested in expanding his or her printing capabilities invest in this tutorial. I know I will.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
I've been seeing a lot of beautiful animal images recently, and it's amazing how many of them come from the camera of a single photographer: Joel Sartore. From studio portraits of monkeys to documentary images like this one—which shows a wildlife overpass spanning an interstate near Banff National Park—from his Fragile Nature series, I keep gasping at the gorgeous photographs this man keeps making. (Even more, I'm incredibly envious of his aesthetic and technical skills, as well as his artistic vision and drive, too.) So if you're not familiar with his very fine photography, visit his web site at joelsartore.com. While there you can order prints of this and many of his wonderful images, or purchase Sartore's most recent books, Rare and Let's Be Reasonable.
A Good Place To Start
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Know any beginning photographers? Anybody looking for a little insight into the use of a brand new D-SLR? Both of these groups could benefit from a peek at this post from Digital Photography School. "A 15-minute lesson for the photography beginner" offers a few choice answers to a few common newbie questions. Should I use Auto mode? When should I try the other settings? How fast of a shutter speed should I use to stop motion? What about if I want to enhance it? A quick perusal of this introductory post by Peter West Carey is a great place to start figuring out how to use a new camera, or how to get better with one you've had for a good long time.
Photo by Peter West Carey
Time’s Top Photos Of 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
For those who appreciate world-class news photography—even when it's addressing distressing subjects such as war and famine—Time's list of the best news photos from 2011 is well worth a look. Filled with iconic images, as well as photos of the most notable and iconic world events of the year, the group shows not only that photojournalism is far from dead, but the power of an image to deliver news and information in a manner unlike any other medium. Be warned, some of these images are graphic in nature and depict events from Somalia to Afghanistan, Washington to Tahrir Square. One notable image was taken with an iPhone from 35,000 feet in the air. The photograph of the Space Shuttle slipping the surly bonds spread virally on the Internet and earned its rightful place among the best images of the year. Read about its creation, along with that of each of the ten images on this list, at Time's Lightbox blog.
Photo by Stefanie Gordon
The Speedliter’s Handbook
Friday, December 16, 2011
What December week would be complete without at least one mention of a book to add to your holiday gift list? The book I'd like to suggest today deviates from most of my suggestions in that it's not a monograph of one photographer's great work. It is a "how to" book, and it sure looks to be a good one. It's "The Speedliter's Handbook" by Syl Arena. From the image on the cover you get a great idea of exactly what this book aims to teach—the skills to make arresting images using only simple handheld strobes. There's a great little write-up of the book on the DPreview web site, which offers a glimpse inside the pages of the book to help give you an idea of the topics covered and the author's approach to instruction. Best of all, it helps to differentiate this book from the work of other notable flash books—namely, as you may have guessed from the title, this book targets the Canon system. (Speedlite is the Canon spelling for handheld flashes, whereas Nikon spells it Speedlight.) The principles are the same, for sure; good light is good light. But if you're a Canon shooter you'll no doubt appreciate the Canon-centric menu language and user information in The Speedliter's Handbook. Read the review, investigate the book, and learn to improve your flash skills.
The Best Of Space
Thursday, December 15, 2011
It's that time of year again. It's my favorite time of year, in fact. No, not the holiday season (although that's nice too). It's the end of year "best of" list time. Best songs of the year, best books, best new restaurants… I love these lists in all their permutations. As it pertains to my life as a photographer, there's no shortage of "best photo" lists within all sorts of photographic specialties. Today I'd like to bring you a list courtesy of the editors of National Geographic. It's their Best Space Photos of 2011 collection. I love the abstract expressionism of deep space images as well as the more human images from much closer to home that showcase man slipping the surly bonds. This gallery's got 'em all, and I highly recommend it as a great place to begin your "best pictures of the year" investigations. But be warned: I'm sure to suggest plenty more of these great galleries of images over the coming weeks as well, so pace yourself for the long run.
The Photo Society
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
A group of established National Geographic photographers have gotten together to form a loose organization called The Photo Society. Open to photographers who have had at least one feature story published in The Geographic, the Society's web site is built to promote the work of these tremendous photographers and help provide the general public a glimpse behind the scenes into the lives of these photographers with the hope of shedding more light on many questions about their work, including perhaps the most popular question of all: "What does it take to become a National Geographic photographer." The site is filled not only with stunning images, but with tremendous stories of harrowing adventures and near death experiences as well. It's a must-see for anyone interested in world-class photojournalism, National Geographic, or simply for another look at amazing images of the people and places that make our world so special.
Earth From Above
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
The Atlantic recently featured an interactive puzzle game based on Google Earth's satellite photographs of interesting locations around the world. Though the game itself is fun—quizzing viewers on their ability to guess a location based on its appearance from above—what really struck me was just how stunning these images are, and just how tragically beautiful man's influence on the land can be when viewed from this unique perspective. So head over to the Atlantic's In Focus blog to play the game and view these stunning photographs. It really is a nice collection of images that's worth a look even if you're uninterested in playing the game (you party pooper).