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.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Space - The First Frontier

For many photographers, the first mistake they make in composition is trying to fill the picture frame. I’m guilty of this myself, particularly with wildlife photography. There’s the big lens theory that you need to get a big fat piece of glass on the front of the camera so that you can fill that sensor with the leopard in a tree. For landscape photographers there’s the converse, little lens theory, that you get as wide a lens as possible so that you can fill the frame with as much of the landscape as possible. Then with all these wonderful big and small lenses we wonder why our images look dull and uninspired. It’s because filling the frame is not necessarily the best way to create a meaningful image. Sometimes, you need to leave it empty.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Bang On - Build Quality and Ergonomics - Part 3 of Choosing a New Camera

The Nikon F4s - what I consider one of the most ergonomic, easy to use and rugged cameras ever designed. It was a sheer joy to use and even ended up being my primary body when shooting film, despite owning a Nikon F100 (image from Wikipedia)
Oddly the way a camera feels in the hand is often the last thing that a potential buyer considers when selecting a camera. This is particularly the case now that the internet has become the great big mall in the sky. It's so easy to click on a button and 24 hours later a shiny toy arrives at the gate. Then the buyers remorse sets in as you quickly realise that although said toy looks like the pictures on the websites, it doesn't feel anything like you thought it would.

Monday, January 13, 2014

To see or not to see, the viewfinder is the question Part 2 of selecting a new camera

Left to Right: Physical size differences between the Olympus E5 (traditional DSLR with optical viewfinder), OMD-EM5 (Mirrorless with electronic viewfinder) and Pen EP5 (Mirrorless without viewfinder)

In the first part of this series (read it here) I discussed the size of sensor as a critical factor in deciding what camera to buy. I’m now going to look at the viewfinder as the next tick box in deciding what camera to opt for.

A few years ago the Four Thirds conglomerate (being Olympus and Panasonic) brought out what they called 'Micro Four Thirds' by removing the mirror from the camera. This meant that the optical viewfinder had to be done away with entirely. Thanks to digital, users could now see the image directly on the camera’s LCD screen. This meant for a considerably smaller and lighter camera than photographers were used to, while retaining most of the functionality of a full sized DSLR with optical viewfinder.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Decision, decisions, decisions - part 1 of choosing a new camera

It’s the start of a new year and photography has seemingly never been as popular. Everyone is capturing moments and creating imagery whether it be with a smartphone or a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera. What with the recent glut of new cameras, with more announced in the early round of trade shows, and the drop in prices that follows every Christmas, a lot of photographers are looking at buying new equipment. More to the point a lot of people are looking at buying their first serious camera. This article is primarily intended for this first time buyer, but might be of interest to anyone who has been asked for advise on what to buy in the past. My thoughts below are obviously subjective, but having taught photography at various levels since 2000, they form a marginally educated viewpoint.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The 'Rule' of Thirds

Over the next few months the Photo Writing editorial (sent out to subscribers) is going to be devoted to a tenet of composition. This month is going to start with the rule that seems to be taken as a biblical guidance caste down in stone as the 11th commandment for photographers: The Rule of Thirds (hereafter referred to as RoT). This piece of guidance is viewed by many as a starting point for composition. It’s muttered like a mantra at camera-club meetings (woe betide the photographer who dares not use it at one of these gatherings), and is often the first thing that is mentioned in books on photographic composition. The problem with such a strong term as ‘rule’, is that photographers will sometimes feel that they have to craft the image so that it fits the rule, rather than look at the elements and allow them to fall into place in a manner that works best.