About this Blog

Photo Writing is the web version of the Photo Writing mini-magazine produced by Limephoto and Emil von Maltitz since 2010. As of 2015 it is now completely online. Feel free to browse through the articles and please leave comments in the comments section if you would like to engage with us.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Basic blending of layers in Photoshop


A simple tutorial recorded on location during the 2017 Composing The Dunes workshop in Namibia. This 7 minute video covers an easy workflow to blend two images in Photoshop using layers and masks.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The ethics of Travel Photography



Like a lot of photographers, I find it extremely difficult to approach complete strangers and photograph them. It’s the same if I am photographing an event - where I am supposed to be the photographer - or whether I am wandering down the street pretending to be Henri Cartier-Bresson or Eric Kim. I have lost images because I didn’t have the courage to simply raise the camera and press the shutter, or even ask the person whether I could take their picture. I am simply in awe of photographers like my friend Myllo Menorah who are completely at ease photographing strangers. More than that, he is able to create an instant connection that translates into the images that he creates.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Balancing The Light - Graduated Neutral Density Filters

The Fish River Canyon photographed using a Nisi 2 stop Hard filter on the Laowa 12mm ultra-wide with it's dedicated filter holder (Nisi also makes a filter holder for this unique lens)

Despite the incredible gains in photographic imaging over the last 20 years, one of the problems that photographers still have to contend with is the way that the visible range of tones in an image is recorded on a sensor (or film for that matter). Nowadays we talk about dynamic range as the range of tones that a digital sensor can faithfully reproduce without either blowing out the highlights in a burned out explosion of white, or sinking the shadows into unfathomable inky blackness. The way we have gotten round this for the last 30 to 40 years is through the use of graduated neutral density filters (or GNDs for short). These are particularly important for landscape photography as it is in this genre of that we most come across the problem of bright skies against a dark foreground.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Big Stoppers - Blocking The Light

Photographed in the early morning using Nisi 10 Stop neutral density and Nisi 2 stop reverse graduated neutral density filters

This is part two of a multi-part essay on square filter systems available to South African photographers (although this is applicable internationally as well). The first part on the holder systems themselves can be read here. An earlier article on shooting long exposure photography can be read here.

Prior to the advent of digital photography, film photographers relied heavily on the square filter system in order to balance contrast in a scene. More particularly, to balance the bright sky against the comparatively darker foreground. The graduated neutral density (GND for short) was the most important reason for having a square filter system. Solid neutral density filters (ND for short) tended not to be the primary reason you invested in a filter system to start with. In fact, it wasn’t really until digital still photography overtook film that solid neutral density filters became a ‘thing’ that photographers looked for. Looking back at an old Cokin brochure (which I think is from the late 1990s) there are only three options for a solid neutral density for their square system; these being 1, 2 and 3-stop filters. Now however, we get filters that block as much as 15 stops of light from passing through them.