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.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Becoming a Better Photographer Through (Deliberate) Practice

The old adage ‘practice makes perfect’ is usually seen as a truism. The more you practice the better you will get at something. Except it doesn’t take into account that the word ‘better’ is the wrong qualifier in that statement. ‘Better’ assumes that there will be an improvement in what we do. It assumes that if I take a 1000 photographs I will be a better photographer than when I took the first photograph (make it 10 000 photographs since digital doesn’t cost us financially in the same way that film did). The oft-said truism has bothered me for quite a while as I often explain to photographers that one has to spend a considerable amount of time learning and practicing the art of photography. If we go by the 10 000 hour principle as espoused by Malcolm Gladwell’s book, ‘Outliers’ (based on research by Eric Anders), then we need to put 10 000 hours into any venture or skill that we want to master. Except this doesn’t work for photography anymore. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

How To Photograph Into The Sun

An image almost a decade ago using a a polariser and two graduated filters (and held-held) shooting into the sun.

As landscape photographers the inclination to shoot into the sun is overwhelmingly powerful. Funnily enough I haven't heard the term we used to use and which was the topic of many articles when we shot predominantly on film; the term being contre-jour (shooting into the sun). This despite the fact that often the best light is in the opposite direction, or that shooting into the sun almost always leads to a nightmare exposure with an exposure value range from pure black through to burned out highlights. Still, we feel compelled to turn our lenses directly towards our galaxy’s star and photograph it as it moves from dawn to dusk through the sky. How do we get to the point where our images are actually artful as opposed to a mess of inky blacks surrounded by flare and ghosting artifacts?

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Thoughts on the Nikon Z50

Last week while I was battling my way up a pass in the Drakensberg Nikon dropped the Z50 onto the world. As usual the commentary is fairly hyperbolic and boiling in indignant negativity towards the announcement. Which is weird as the camera looks fairly compelling to me.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Confusing Circles and Airy Disks: A relatively simple explanation of depth of field and hyperfocal focusing

After much searching of the internet and reading of photographic textbooks (the dense kind that have little if any pictures) I discovered I’m absolutely clueless as to how to actually calculate hyperfocal distance and little better at understanding it. My goal then became to reverse this if at all possible. This tutorial then is my attempt to wade through what I saw as rather complex math and distil it into something that makes sense to other mathematical luddites like me. I’ll start the article with the simple stuff, and move on to the more complicated matters after.