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.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Looks That Matter


Recently I wrote how I felt that the way a camera feels in the hand influences how we shoot with it; in fact whether we enjoy shooting with it at all. A friend wrote back to me that he also felt that the way a camera looked played a role in his enjoyment of using that camera. This got me thinking; not only about how the looks of a camera influence whether a photographer will enjoy, let alone buy a new camera, but also how the looks of the camera influence the person being photographed. The latter is probably the more important since it has a direct bearing on the final image. Will the person being photographed respond in a positive manner to being photographed, or will they act defensively or be intimated by the camera?

Friday, December 18, 2015

Composing The Dunes - the 2015 trip report



The Namibian landscape has an almost hypnotic effect on me. I keep finding myself drawn back to it time and again. The Composing The Dunes workshop that I run with Nature’s Light (a new venture between myself and Nick van de Wiel) is one of our mainstays for the very reason that Nick and I feel that this incredible country needs to be shared with visual artists. Simply standing and taking in the emptiness, the moisture sapping dryness and eery silence, can be a humbling experience. the act of crafting images in this otherworldly space is a true privilege. So I was extraordinarily fortunate to once again travel back to the desert in the company of two talented photographers during November for the second Composing the Dunes Workshop. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

In The Hand


I was chatting to a student recently and was taken aback to discover that she chose her new camera based on how it felt in the hand. This is something that I practically preach as gospel, but the number of people who have actually taken my advice when I suggest, ‘choose the camera that feels right in the hand’ can probably be counted on one hand (I’ve advised a fairly large number of people as it so happens, so the few actually choosing a camera based on feel are statistically very low). Yet today, more than at any other point in photography’s history, the real difference between cameras is how they feel.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Basic Selections in Photoshop

One of the strongest editing aspects of Photoshop is the way in which it enables layer based non-destructive editing. All the other finery and frippery of the programme is essentially just that: nice to have add-ons but nonessential. Even the impressive features like HDR blending and panoramic stitching can be done manually if you understand how to use layers and how to make selections. Without creating selections all that Photoshop can do is apply global changes to images. By creating selections photographers are truly able to process their images in new and exciting ways.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Is 10 000 even possible?


As regular readers of Photo Writing know I am a fan of the 10 000 hour concept as written about by Malcolm Gladwell in his popular book, ‘Outliers’. The basic premise is that to master anything a person needs to devote at least 10 000 hours to its practice. You want to master the violin? Spend 10 000 hours learning, practising and playing and you will have mastered the instrument. It is not dissimilar to the 1000 roll of film rule that Monte Cooper, a mentor of mine used to espouse. Intentionally and actively shoot through a 1000 rolls of film and you will have mastered a genre of photography, or so the theory went.

Friday, October 2, 2015

An Argument Against Real


Taking photographs is easy. Making images is not. The problem is that in the mind of the ‘picture-taking’ public the two are conflated. In fact they are considered one and the same thing more often than not. The camera manufacturers don’t exactly dispel this myth when they proclaim that ‘taking razor sharp images is now easier than ever’ or ‘never miss that shot again’. The mechanical and mechanized nature of photography are perpetually brought to the fore, as if they are the most important aspects of the picture taking process (as Susan Sontag and later David Ward have pointed out in their excellent critiques of photography; ‘On Photography and ‘The Landscape Within’).

Monday, September 28, 2015

Why my 30 year old lens is better than the new version.


Panoramic stitch created using an old 24mm f2.8 Ais Nikkor lens

Technically this post should really be entitled: “Why my 30 year old manual focus, slightly scratched and potentially fungused lens is better than the brand new nano-coated silent wave focusing, wide aperture version”, but it seemed a bit wordy even if strictly accurate. This isn’t to say that I am not a complete gear-head continuously trawling the internet for reviews, comparisons and even MTF charts. I meet new students with their shiny new cameras and lenses with the excitement of a kid in a toy shop (remember the admonition, “look don’t touch”). I drool over the latest gadgets and weigh up whether my perceived ‘needs’ can match my meagre bank account. The reality though is: is this new kit really better - in a fundamental sense - than the gear that I already own? Nope. My lens is better! Here’s why…

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Hide The Light



Working commercially to a brief can be really difficult when there isn’t enough time to create exactly what the photographer sees in their imagination. Sadly we just don’t all have the time or the client-base to be able to create photographic wonderlands like those of Ben von Wong or even Annie Leibovitz. Usually you are working fast and with minimal equipment. Knowing the limitation of that equipment is paramount to being able to create the images you imagine, or are inspired to create on the spot.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Return of the Megapixel Wars


First there was the D800. Then came the Sony A7r and so a new high megapixel benchmark was set at 36mp. The pundits roared that this was insane. 36 was too much! Then Canon launched the 5Ds this year with a 50mp sensor and we saw that it was good. Very good indeed (with several small caveats admittedly). Sony answered rapidly with their 42mp BSI (Back Side Illuminated - essentially placing all the sensor architecture apart from the light gathering sensel on the rear of the sensor, enabling supposedly better capture) A7Rii. Now Canon have announced the development of a new camera with their currently in development 120mp CMOS sensor. Yup, one hundred and twenty megapixels!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Posting to Facebook from Lightroom


Over and above everything else that Adobe’s Lightroom offers the photographer, convenience is the key attribute that brings people back to Lightroom again and again. In an age of social media, this convenience is once more evident in the way that Adobe allows integration between Lightroom and Facebook. The tutorial below offers a step-by-step guide to setting up Facebook as a publish service in Lightroom’s Library module

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Reality vs Photoshop

We all want to be beautiful. Very few people post images of themselves onto Facebook where they don’t actually look good. That is, unless they are trying to make a statement of some sort. For the most part though there seems to be a general feeling that we would like to be portrayed as better looking than we see ourselves in the mirror as. It is not uncommon for me to get the request to ‘fix something’ in Photoshop by the people that end up in front of the camera. The problem though, is where we start to look at magazines and advertisements and begin to feel that they are a depiction of reality. In some cases this can really mess with young peoples’ sense of self-identity and worth. In truly severe cases it can potentially lead to bulimia and anorexia…simply because of an attempt to emulate the role models on the covers of a magazines.

(Note:  there is a companion video to this post which can be watched here)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Breakthrough!


If I could only reach you
If I could make you smile
If I could only reach you
That would really be a breakthrough
Queen - Breakthrough

We all get it at some point...writer’s block. I find it happens towards the end of each month in particular when I sit down and try to pen the monthly photography essay for this publication. It happens in more than writing though, and photographer’s block can be even worse than writer’s block (at least for photographers that is). The inability to ‘find one’s groove’ and see the picture. It becomes frustrating and rapidly descends from there to demoralising, until we pack up our camera in disgust and stomp away from the scene we have been trying desperately to photograph. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Setting Up An In-Pool Studio


I really enjoy pre-conceptualising a shoot and seeing it through to completion. Often my ideas never really fully materialise due to a number of constraints (biggest being I usually have to earn a living first). However, I do quite a lot of work for a school in Durban and it often allows me room to play. One of their requests recently was to photograph two of their promising swimmers for web and newsletter material. I didn't feel like doing the usual 'stand in front of a wall' shoot, so asked whether I could have access to the school's pool. Permission granted. I proceeded to put together a studio in the pool itself. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Alternatives to Adobe for Lightroom and Photoshop


Last week Adobe rather unsurprisingly announced that the standalone Photoshop CS6 would no longer be updated with new features or have new codec supplied to handle the files from newly released digital cameras. It seems that they are now finally throwing the towel in with the boxed versions of Photoshop. Many writers predicted that this would happen when Adobe first launched their so called ‘cloud’ version of Photoshop, Adobe CC (Creative Cloud). No problem, say Adobe, you can still download their free DNG converter and convert your RAW files into DNG that can be handled with any Photoshop suite back to Photoshop 7 (in the pre CS days).

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

One modifier to rule them all.


Once you get into using flash in your photography it soon becomes apparent that you absolutely have to modify the light that is emitted from your light units; be it a great big 1000w/s AC powered strobe or a small 50w/s battery powered hot shoe flash like a Nikon SB910 or Canon 600EX. There are certainly times when bare flash has it’s place, but for the most part we tend to modify the light by softening it, bouncing it or colouring it. From the time that I started shooting lit commercial work the one modifier that seems to rise above all others is the incredibly versatile 140 or 150cm octabox.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Wandering The Wild Coast part 3 - The waves of Luphathana.

 
At the end of a long straight dirt road that seems to disappear over the edge of the horizon into the Indian Ocean, is the sudden drop down to mouth of the Luphathana River. Curiously, the drive from Lusikisiki seems devoid of the usual panoply of colourful houses that are the signature mark of the Wild Coast and Pondoland. Instead, there is this remarkable flat plain that stretches on for miles, populated by nothing but wandering cattle, the odd posse of donkeys and a resident family of ground hornbills. The road itself is flat and straight as an arrow, belying the fact that in the wet months it can be practically impassable. Now, with the dryness of winter, we sped across the top of the gravel surface, sending a plume of dust into the air like some wandering caravan of camels in the desert.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wandering the Wild Coast part 2 - Port St Johns - Hippy Central and home to Raconteurs

 
Only 70 more bends to the Spar, proclaims a sign some twenty or so kilometres from Port St Johns. Growing up, I remember the endless corners as dirt roads, soggy and slimy in the wet, sending unwary drivers to the bottom of the pass, often with mortal consequences. Our family experienced this quite terrifyingly as we slid into a spin on one wet corner in the early nineties, saved only by some dense thorn bushes that stopped our descent and the fact that it was so wet and slippery that the car didn’t go into a roll. Now the roads, once terrifyingly interesting, are tamed and smooth with asphalt and innumerable speed humps as the crawl through towns on the road between Mtata and Port St Johns.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Wandering the Wild Coast - Part one, Hole in the Wall


Travel agents use lots of hyperboles when they describe a place that they want to market. Unspoiled, untrammelled, idyllic, virginal and quintessential all come to mind when I think of coastal regions that have been written about in the quest to fill a few more bed nights. The Wild Coast isn't any of these though. That isn't to say that it doesn't deserve it's own set of hyperboles, but that the feel of the Wild Coast is completely different to say that of the Sunshine Coast, or Kwazulu Natal's Hibiscus Coast. Slowness is practically enforced and you need to take a deep breath before entering onto the hairpin bends patrolled by decaying pickup trucks and suicidal taxi drivers. You'd be forgiven for thinking that cattle are sacred as they wander to and fro amongst the traffic and dogs take on a death wish of their own as they run helter-skelter between dangerously swaying trucks.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Prestige and performance - thoughts on high end product announcements in the last month.


Back in the 90s camera manufacturers discovered that they had plateaued in their sales as pretty much every middle class family in the West and Japan had at least one SLR camera. The contraction that followed essentially saw the demise of Minolta, and Olympus very nearly disappeared as a camera manufacturer. Companies like Pentax struggled along and have yet to really recover in terms of market share. To all intents and purposes Pentax didn't recover and this has ultimately led to the sale of Pentax to Ricoh, a company they have been bedfellows with for decades.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Photographing the Other and Making the Unknown Familiar

Mukolfu, a young traditional healer, in trance during an all night drumming session ( a vigil to the Matweti spirits)

Two comments by two extremely talented and important American photographers have been influential as well as cautionary to the photographic images that I work to produce. The first is Diane Arbus, best known for her images of society’s outcastes, who wrote that, “Photography was a license to go wherever I wanted and to do what I wanted to”. The other comment was by Edward Weston when he said that, “Only with effort can the camera be forced to lie”.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Creating Movement with the CamRanger and MP-360 Robotic Head



Increasingly I find myself drawn to time-lapse photography. The inner geek in me seems to revel in the technical aspects and there’s something about creating a moving narrative that I find really compelling. As such, I have enjoyed using tools like the Triggertrap which have made creating time-lapses really simple. I noticed when the CamRanger came out that it too offered time-lapse as a setting, but the cost and the fact that it didn’t offer me anything that I couldn’t already do kept my interest to a lukewarm state. That changed when I heard about the CamRanger PT-Hub & MP-360 kit.

The companion video to this review is available on this link: https://vimeo.com/126256722 The video is shot to demonstrate what the CamRanger and MP-360 Head are capable of producing.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Connectivity of the Camera


It is often said that photography is a solitary pursuit. After all, a stills photographer only needs herself and a camera to be able to create an image. More so the case if the subject is a still-life, a landscape, or a building. A colleague’s recent images (see interview with Myllo Menorah) had me questioning this ‘given’ that one creates images in solitude. The idea is that, like the hermit artist, the photographer needs to be alone to contemplate the world through a lens. Then there is the fact that looking through a lens can distance the photographer from the reality in front of them. I wrote about this in Looking At the World Through a Lens. A lot of photographers I have known have been loners and often quite shy. Others, including myself, have used the camera as a shield between themselves as the real world as well as other people. So why on earth would I talk about the connectivity of the camera?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Wandering The Wild Coast

The spectacular waterfall at Waterfall Bluff in the early morning light.

The Wild Coast is an incredible and scenically rugged portion of South Africa’s coastline that runs south from the border of Kwazulu-Natal into the Eastern Cape Province; along the south-east coast of the country. This rarely visited region offers some of the most breath-taking coastal cliffs imaginable, as well as authentic rural African vistas. Nick van de Wiel of Tailor Made Safaris and I have teamed up again to offer a fantastic 8 night adventure in three superb locations along the Wild Coast. The photography workshop offers two skilled and passionate photography instructors in a very small group setting, ensuring that guest photographers get the fullest advantages of prime scenic locations and one-on-one tuition and guidance. 

The workshop takes place between the 20th to the 28th of June and only has space for 6 photographers. There are currently 4 spaces left!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Basic Workflow To LRTimelapse

Example clip and companion video available on this link
There is a growing interest in timelapse amongst stills photographers around the world. Thanks to digital and the abilities of RAW capture we are now able to create incredible sequences of footage with astounding clarity and detail. The problem of course is that stills cameras were never designed to do video in terms of ramping exposures. Essentially when we capture a single frame the exposure is for that one frame. Take a second frame with a slightly different exposure and it comes out ever so slightly lighter or darker. This is fine if you are shooting only stills images, not so good if you have 300 still images that you want to join together into a piece of video footage called a Time-lapse.

Enter Gunther Wagner’s incredible piece of software called LRTimelapse. The software is designed to work in conjunction with Adobe Lightroom or Bridge, but as the name suggests, it works best with Lightroom (and is compatible all the way from LR4 through to CC/6). At first I avoided the software as it is not cheap, but soon relented and my time-lapse clips improved as a result.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Running With a Camera - The merits of the venerable Sony NEX-5n

There's an adage that goes along the lines of: the best camera is the one that you have with you! Never a truer word was spoken. The irony of course is that we have cameras with us on a near permanent basis but we hardly ever use them properly and when we do, we never look at the photographs again. I'm referring to the ubiquitous cellphone and its narcissistic selfie-making propensities. Ah, but the image quality isn't as good I hear you say. It probably isn't, but it is good enough most of the time. Still, you are preaching to the devout when you say that the cellphone isn't good enough. So what is?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Enter the Cloud (Lightroom goes CC)

An example from the HDR merge feature in the new Lightroom CC. It seems to keep ghosting to a minimum and was fairly simple to create. This images was v=created from 3 separate exposures and rendered in b&w in Lightroom and Nik Silver Efex Pro.
Adobe unveiled the latest incarnation of their Lightroom software last month with the announcement and rollout of Lightroom CC, aka Lightroom 6. That Lightroom is part of Adobe’s subscription based Creative Cloud is not necessarily new - Lightroom 5 was included in the CC package - but that Lightroom is now too predominantly offered as a cloud-based application is new, and is significant. Already the internet forums are abuzz with how difficult it actually is to buy the standalone software dubbed Lightroom 6. At every opportunity Adobe tries to get the user to opt in to their monthly subscription package. More on this further down though.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Why Ansel Matters


About a year ago I was reading an interview with a rising landscape photographer whose work was really quite eye-catching. A comment of his grabbed my attention when he quite proudly pointed out that he didn’t even know who Ansel Adams is (quite clearly he did otherwise he wouldn’t have actually known the name to start with). For some reason it irked me and I didn’t really know why. It might have had something to do with a similar comment that photographers place on a pedestal certain other well-known photographers, and if you don’t know and understand their body of work, then you cannot possibly be an artist in your own right.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A New Perspective


Creating images allows the image creator the unique opportunity to impress upon her viewer a particular way of seeing. We each experience the world in our individual ways, with individual perceptions, singular viewpoints and our own set of standards and understandings of the world. Pointing the camera and simply pressing the shutter does nothing more than make a visual recording of whatever it was that happened to be in front of the lens at the time. But, choosing the viewpoint and the perspective in a way that begins to convey a message turns a snapshot into a painting of light.
When I say a ‘painting of light’ I am explicitly referring to the fact that pictures are made, not taken. There is usually a conscious act in creating a photograph. It may be as simple as raising one’s camera phone to grab a snap. The point is that something caught the photographer’s eye and had enough interest to warrant that a picture be created, or taken. It’s one of the reasons why there has been a relatively lukewarm reception to life-logger cameras and the like. Thousands, if not millions of images, showing the mundane and banal of an individual’s every waking breath are simply not interesting. They may show a unique viewpoint of the world, but only if they are curated down to an important few frames (as a side note, consider how many images we as photographers have to sift through after a day’s shooting to get anything worthwhile from the dross - now imagine sifting through a hundred, or a thousand times more images, in an attempt to distil the essence of what we have experienced through pictures).


Friday, April 17, 2015

Colour Grading in Lightroom

 
Tweaking colour is one of the most difficult aspects of the post-production workflow. Some photographers avoid it entirely and just go with what they are given by the camera and the software that they opt to use. The problem with this approach is that each software developer comes up with their own recipe in interpreting pixel data in a RAW file into colour information in a bitmap image. So basically, what you see is not what you get. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Basics of the Curves Dialogue

If there is one tool that every digital photographer should know and understand (at least a little) it is the curves dialogue. Concurrently the most asked question I receive when teaching anything to do with post-production is, “what is the curves tool and how do I use it?” To try and simplify this then, here is a very quick and dirty explanation of the curves dialogue that will hopefully clear a path through the murk that is post-production.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Review of the Sirui R-2204


I recently finished working with the Sirui R-2204 carbon fibre tripod. This is a relatively small and light but surprisingly stable basic tripod. I used it extensively on a workshop in the Drakensberg as well as on several short shoots around Durban. The full review is available on this link.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Interview with Myllo Menorah - A photographer's photographer!

On a sunny morning - one of those warm lazy Durban mornings where the air is crisp and clear thanks to the previous evening’s rainstorm - I met up with local photographer Myllo Menora at the Coffee Tree just off Alan Paton Road. I came across Myllo’s work about a year ago when he contacted me over a lens I was wanting to sell. When I saw his work I was immediately captivated. Myllo seems to have a way with his images of people that immediately draws the viewer into a priveleged viewpoint of the action. You feel as if you are in the frame with the actors. There’s an immediacy to his images that is hard to describe, but you know it as soon as you see his pictures. It’s like looking at the images of some of the best known reportage and lifestyle photographers of the 1970’s and 60’s. Myllo is just there, and his subjects either don’t see him, or are so comfortable with his presence that he becomes invisible to the action. When they do see him, he is still invisible, creating a direct connection between the viewer and the photographed. His compositions also remind me a little of Sam Abell’s - everything seems to fit just right. The composition isn’t forced, but it works beautifully and harmoniously.

My goal is really to plumb the thoughts on creativity, success and photography from several photographers over the next while. Intrigued and inspired by Myllo’s images, his is now the first in a series of interviews that I hope to conduct on a haphazard, but continuing basis. So as the sun bounced of the ridiculously green and lush verges of Alan Paton Road (even the pink storm lilies were in abundance as we were meeting shortly after the start of the new year and the municipal garden services hadn’t gotten around to shearing the grass to it’s usual stub shortness). Myllo Menorah is not new to the field of photography, having worked professionally for some time under another name. Then, several years ago he took a sabbatical from photography to work as a church pastor in his home community outside Amanzimtoti. He describes the move as just getting off the radar as the pressure of commercial photography was impinging on his personal life in a way that he didn’t want it to. (warning sidenote! - this is a long, largely transcribed verbatim, interview. That's what happens when you put two individuals absolutely obsessed with what they do together)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Defining Success in Photography


There’s an elusive goal that we all seem to strive for in our various walks of life. Success. We want to be successful in life, in our work, in love. We crave success, but are slow to actually work out what that success entails. It might be worded slightly differently, but I hear this clamour from photographers both amateur or professional, all seeking success. I am one of them, which is why I finally worked out that I actually need to sit down and figure out what it is that I mean by success.
 
Defining success it turns out, is very difficult. There seems to be three general measures of success: financial, recognition and fulfillment. Success can be to an individual any one of, or a combination of these three. So how do we define a successful photographer? Is it financial success? It seems to be the easiest measure of ‘success’ after all. If the photographer is wealthy they are successful. If a photographer is paid hefty sums to produce images (and some images which others may even question the artistic merit of - but this is art after all) are they successful? Conversely does this mean that a financially struggling photographer isn’t a success. Or do we assume that the struggling photographer lives through their struggle so that they become a success in their own death (the classic ‘appreciated after they are gone’ paradigm ala van Gogh). This also introduces the point that not all photographers want to make money from their art.  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A New Age?


In the latter half of January Sports Illustrated (The American magazine) laid off the last of its staff photographers. Perhaps the correct term should be retrenched which has less of the media hysteria that accompanies ‘fired’ or ‘laid-off’. Still, the fact remains that the premiere photographic sports magazine no longer has full time staff photographers. Rather, in an effort to cut costs, they have announced that they will continue to publish first class imagery, but that it will be provided by freelance photographers and wire services (such as Getty Images).

The announcement brings with it a certain sense of deja vu as we cast our minds back to the laying off of all the photographic staff from the Chicago Sun Times in early 2013 (28 staffers lost their jobs in one blow). The Sports Illustrated and Chicago Sun Times are perhaps two of the more prominent magazines to make such cuts, but they are not the only ones. In America USA Today and the Daily News have also undergone massive layoffs. Still in the US, visual professionals have experienced a 43 percent decrease in jobs since 2000.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Composing The Dunes Timelapse


Putting together a timelapse is a long and exhausting process. Shooting is really only the first part of a multi-step workflow that requires hour upon upon hour behind a computer monitor as you slowly stitch together scenes to make up a coherent whole. That said, it's an immense amount of fun and one of the most interesting ways to capture a scene. During last year's Composing The Dunes Workshop I shot several timelapse sequences with the aim of putting together a video of the locations that we visited. This video is the result of that: https://vimeo.com/119947394. 

 


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tonal Blending 101 in Photoshop


For several years HDR, or High Dynamic Range imagery, has sparked a huge amount of interest among photographers. The style came to be popular as a combination of the apparent ease of being able to merge different exposures in Photoshop along with the actual need to merge images due to the limited range of tones that a digital camera could record in a single exposure. Fast forward to 2015 and not only are digital cameras far, far more capable or recording huge amounts of tonal depth (bordering on what our eyes can see with certain cameras), but the actual style is no longer de rigour and the tastes of viewers has moved back to a more natural depiction, or at the very least representation, of the scene. Now photographers try to distinguish their work from HDR and its gaudy colours and hyper-sharpness/clarity by referring to tonal blending.

Here is an easy way to blend two exposures in Photoshop so that they depict a more natural rendition of tones than the automated software that tone maps and produces a 32-bit image for rendering as an HDR.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Moody Macros - February Drakensberg Workshop


I get so wrapped up in landscape photography that I sometimes forget that I actually started photography as a pre-teen so that I could photograph small things. Things that moved ;). So, on this last trip to the Drakensberg with a group of very keen photographers from the African Impact project that I work with, I found myself playing again with macro. Not just trying to photograph things, but specifically to try a particular technique that can heighten mood in the image.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

So You Wanna Go Pro?

Model portfolio shoot for Natascha

Although I am writing this article as a photographer, it applies to any vocational change where we have to consider whether turning our passion into a job makes sense. Obviously for some, making sense doesn’t matter, but for many others it’s a ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ call. You either shudder and turn your interest towards a different (possibly more lucrative) outlet, or you rub your hands together and say ‘right, let’s do this thing!’ I did the latter, but made some serious mistakes along the way, the first of which had to do with cash. So, let’s take a quick look at finances in that case.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Trigger Trap Review posted


I have just finished reviewing the Trigger Trap cable and app and posted it to this link. For a very quick summary: just go and get one. This is a fantastic addition to any gearbag. Although I have a few quibbles with the basic workings of the Trigger Trap, I have to say that it hasn't been left behind on a single shoot since I acquired one. In fact, I liked it so much I bought my own after being loaned one by the Sunshine Company. Read the review for more details.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sirui and BlackRapid Reviews


After several workshops including last year's fantastic Composing The Dunes workshop in Namibia, I have finally been buckling down to finishing up some gear reviews. There are still a few more to comr through, but for the time being the Sirui M3204x tripod, Sirui G20Kx ballhead and BlackRapid Backpack Strap reviews are now online (click on the links to go to the relevant reviews). 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Looking Ahead - The (Equipment) Year in Review


2014 was something of a whirlwind year for many people. But isn’t every year the same in that sense? It  was not the year for earth-shattering equipment announcements however, but there were several cameras that emerged that give us a firmer idea of the future of photographic equipment. I read with interest Kevin Raber’s comment on Luminous-Landscape that the Fujifilm XT-1 was the camera of the year for him. Announced at the beginning of the year this small APS-C sensor camera made some substantial waves with its birth. So much so that it is the first camera I have ever bought within the first few months of its announcement. Several photographers that I know who have played with my copy, have ended up going out and buying their own. To my mind, it is the epitome of the smaller, lighter, faster future.