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, January 14, 2020

New Year, New Decade, New Gear

The last ten years have been extraordinarily good to us as photographers. The first ten years of the millennium saw an incredibly fast paced development of digital photography that was really exciting to be a part of. Digital photography matured in the last decade though. In particular, I would say that we reached a basic plateau in image quality in about 2012 that marks a kind of baseline from which we still judge images at the beginning of this decade. 

Friday, January 10, 2020

The Shoot More share Less Idea

As the new year rolled past I found myself taking a significant break from the internet and the constant flood of imagery that scrolls through our lives courtesy of our numerous devices. The break was both refreshing and eye-opening and was also unintended (I haven’t taken a complete break from work in about twelve years as all breaks invariably involve writing, shooting, social media and marketing). The unintentional nature of the break - thanks to an inundation of family, the virtual Christmas shutdown and lengthened holiday due to the serendipitous days that Christmas and New Year’s fell on - meant that I never intended to be away from social media, or any of the usual photographic related writing that I usually do when ‘on break’. The sense of relief and lack of stress that resulted was both unanticipated and surprising. It is now becoming recognised that social media has a darker side, causing anxiety and depression in its users (see this article in The Independent). Photographers, by nature of the fact that we produce imagery, seem to have to stay lock-step in sync with social media…or do they?

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?