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.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Panoramic Workshop - An EArly Morning Start

We recently finished up a workshop on panoramic landscapes near Durban's uShaka Marine World. Apart from the usual hassles from security that we needed a permit to take photos (I shouldn't get myself started on this, but uShaka and Moyo's little authoritarian control of the public pier is beyond ridiculous, as a passing lawyer pointed put to the poor security guard - who was only doing what his employers insisted he do). After patiently explaining that this was a workshop and not a professional shoot he moved on the litany of statutes that the lawyer spewed out at him might have had something to do with it as well :-) ). So back to the workshop. The images were fantastic! All the students managed to produce something that they were proud of, some of which are shown here. Most of all though everybody there just had fun. Some thoughts on creating panoramics:

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Building the Shot

I've been doing quite a few commercial projects lately where it has been necessary to 'build' the image. Building the image has two connotations to me. The one is to keep adding elements to a created setup until everything just hums and the image comes together. This is how the vast majority of professionals create an image. Some lucky, extraordinarily talented few manage to do it in the first shot, but most grind on at an idea until everything just comes together.

Building the shot can entail getting the props right, the pose perfect and of course the lights in the right place. Herein lies the point of today's post. Sometimes building the shot requires more than the usual buildup of elements so that that click of the camera can create something special. Sometimes we need to take multiple elements and put them together in a single shot.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wildlife Composition - Thanda Photography Workshop

A 6 shot stitch to create a panoramic view of the large herd of buffalo on Thanda coming to drink.

A colleague of mine, Sean Tilden, wrote an article for Photo Writing some time ago that commented that far too many photographers shooting wildlife try to get in close for the portrait, or simply to squeeze the entirety of the animal into the frame. Sean pointed out that really effective images can be created using wide-er angle lenses that show the animals in their environmental context. This isn't easy to do admittedly, but it makes for some new opportunities and also means that great images don't necessarily need an exotic chunk of glass plugged onto the front of the camera. It's something I should take to heart more often as well. Everyone shoots the individual animal, but what about the herd? What about the animal in it's environment? A brief glance through some of the best wildlife articles in the National Geographic and you will see that a great many of the memorable images created show not a close-up, but the animal and it's surroundings. Jim Brandenburg's incredible image entitled 'White Wolf Leaping' comes to mind immediately for me (to see this image navigate to his site and look for the image on the front page among a selection of his favourites that are available for purchase as prints).

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pros and Cons of the Strobist approach

When you start doing more than hobby photography, it fast becomes a reality that you will occasionally, if not often, require the use of artificial lighting. Let’s assume that you are doing the occasional portrait, maybe wedding or event or the odd bit of location photography. Very fast the realisation dawns that you are going to need the odd bit of studio equipment; some lights, a bunch of stands and a bag full of light modifiers. You essentially have two options ahead: full studio outfit with monoblock lights, or the strobist approach. 

Strobism is a movement that really started gaining ground around a decade ago with the advent of small, powerful, hotshoe flashes coupled with the emergence of an army digital camera wielding enthusiasts suddenly eyeing the opportunity of becoming professional digital camera wielding photographers. Strobism relies on the use of small flashes in lieu of large studio lights (also known as mono-block lights or monos). The supposed primary advantage of strobism is that of cost. Theoretically it is cheaper to set up a strobist outfit than a regular monolight outfit. So here I’m going to evaluate that as well as other supposed pro’s and cons of the strobist approach

Monday, June 4, 2012

Photographing Water Droplets - Workshop

We've just finished up a the high speed water droplet workshop this afternoon. This is one of my really popular workshops as the results are always beautiful. Below are two of the images  created by students during the workshop.

I'm not going to go into depth about the creating these images as there are a number of articles on the internet that are easy to access and basically cover just about everything there is to know about water droplet photography. Corrie White, whose flickr galleries make for some inspirational viewing, practically made a profession out of photographing water droplets. Articles like those DIY Photography and Kevin Lewis have created are a fantastic way to get to know the basics and run from there. Then there's the incredible imagery by Jaroslav Wieczorkiewicz that defies reason with clothing made of milk and water. These images use the same principles as those in the far simpler water droplet photographer. He just takes the technique to a whole new level. 

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