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, March 30, 2013

Thoughts on the EOS 100D

Recently Canon launched what is claimed to be the world's smallest DSLR, the EOS 100D, also known as the SL1 in the North American market. To me, this is an important announcement as it suddenly puts a big wall in front of the onslaught of mirrorless cameras against their bigger brethren. For the past year a number of photographers have been commenting on the abilities of the small micro four thirds subset of cameras, in particular the Olympus OMD-E-M5 and the Panasonic GF3. These small, tiny some would say, cameras are capable of producing images that very nearly match that of full sized APS sensor DSLRs at a fraction of the weight and size - although not of the cost it must be said.

The downside to the mirrorless cameras has been limited autofocus ability and the lack of an eye-level viewfinder. This has been changing rapidly though with Nikon's V1 and 2 having fantastic AF along with a decent electronic eye level viewfinder (EVF) - in this stable, although without the AF performance, can be included the Panny GF series, the Oly OMD-E-M5, Sony's NEX 7 and 6, and Fujifilm's XPro-1 and EX-1 (with the XPro-1 having an optical viewfinder, or OVF, as its party piece). Additionally some of the Sony NEX range as well as some Pannys and Olys that lack the EVF can have an auxiliary bolt-on EVF added, at a cost obviously. When one considers that a camera like the Sony NEX5 along with Samsung's stable of mirrorless cameras have APS-C sized sensors, suddenly mirrorless looks very attractive in terms of image quality and portability, even if the AF seems lacking.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Try not to leave home without em

Camera bags are a little like a woman's handbag. Delve into them and you are likely to find all sorts of weird and wonderful paraphernalia that speaks to the needs of the individual and more than a little to their - maybe quirky - personality. I remember reading in a flying magazine in my teenage years (when I was besotted with anything that stayed off the ground for longer than 10 seconds) of the publication's photographers and how they literally spilled the contents of their Billingham bags out onto the editor's desk to see what trophies lurked inside. One of the chaps swore that he never left home without a barf bag (he did spend some time in the air to be honest). Pocket knives, small screwdrivers and various cleaning bits seemed to crop up regularly amongst the trio of snappers. One thing that was common though, was that of the bits and bobs that they felt were the most essential for a successful day shooting, hardly any of them were directly related to actual photographic equipment.

Check your equipment list - March Drakensberg Workshop

CHECK YOUR GEAR should be the the clarion call message from this post. For myself it was a comedy of forgotten bits as we headed toward the mountains. Thankfully I managed to remember most of the important things ( some of which I'll be talking about in next Monty's Photo Writing). However, inconsequential things like socks, of which I didn't pack a single pair, were left behind. There was more besides this. The point is that creating images more than just a camera and lens. There is a small surplus store of paraphernalia that goes along with the camera and its lens.

Like a tripod plate. As we were walking in the predawn to a shoot location ones of the photographers suddenly realized that she had forgotten to bring her tripod plate. There was no time to go back and fetch it without missing the dawn light completely. Thankfully I had my usual roll of tape with so we were able to strap the camera to the tripod head and she came away with some very nice images. I am usually of the opinion that your tripod plate an ever leaves the camera, but this is besides the point. Small, seemingly inconsequential, things can ruin the picture-creating experience. I make this mistake constantly. To try to minimize forgetting things, making a list that gets quickly checked before the shoot is often effective. Sit down at some stage and work out what exactly you need to have with you when you head out to shoot. Write it down if needs be. It'll probably be surprising how many 'things' you'll want in the camera bag.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Upcoming workshops for April and May

Introduction to Digital Photography (IDP) - 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd April 2013

This is an intensive 4 session introduction to the camera and the principles of photography. Classes are limited to 4 students and will take place in Hillcrest at Iphiti College). Students are expected to have their own DSLR for the course. The course covers basic to advanced camera control, understanding the sensor itself, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, metering, focus and a basic session on composition. After this course students should be able to approach digital photography with confidence and with a sufficient foundation to either teach themselves further, or understand more advanced workshops. Lessons take place on four consecutive Tuesday afternoons between 16:00 to 18:00. Homework and readings are given out.
Time: 16:00-18:00 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23 April 2013
Cost R3500 per photographer (limited to 4 photographers - students who have already attended IPPP receive a R500 discount)

Introduction to Photographic Post Production (IPPP) - 2nd, 7th, 14th and 21st May 2013

This 4 lesson course looks at the fundamentals of photoshop and post-production. The initial session will also introduce the concept of digital asset management and Workspaces Following sessions will give an understanding of the tools available to photographers in Photoshop; Adjustment Layers, Layers and Blending and advanced selection techniques. Classes take place in Gillits starting promptly at 16:00 on the designated dates and ending at 18:00. Readings and homework are given out.
Time: 16:00-18:00 2nd, 7th, 14th and 21st May 2013
Cost R3500 per photographer (limited to 4 photographers - students who have already attended IDP receive a R500 discount)

Bridal/Wedding Photography Workshop - 4th and 5th May 2013

The bridal workshop is an intensive weekend workshop to introduce photographers to the difficulties and pitfalls of wedding photography and how to overcome them. The workshop starts on Saturday with a series of lectures on equipment, fees, setup and production. The afternoon and evening is spent with two paid professional models (our bride and groom) going through the ‘Creative Shoot’ as well as scenarios for the actual event. Sunday is then spent doing post- production and looking at the finished product. Snackes and lunches will be provided. It is highly recommended that photographers have been on the IDP or similar comprehensive introduction to photography and/or flash use. An understanding of Lightroom and Photoshop is also useful.
Time 9:30am-19:00pm on the 4th, 9:30am-16:00pm on the 5th May 2013
Cost R3250 for photographers who have attended the IDP or any two individual Limephoto workshops, R3750 for photographers who have not attended either of the former (Space is limited to 6 photographers for the weekend)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Layering For Effect - Lighting The Side Of A Building

I recently did a shoot for a Ferrari dealership in Umhlanga. The brief was to photograph the dealership rather than the vehicles themselves (pity), but the idea was still to show off the cars in a small way. My idea was to shoot in the late afternoon as the light ebbed away, leaving a lovely glow in the sky while the street lights and the interior lights of the dealership would cast a wonderful light over the front of the building and onto the cars themselves.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Where's The Light- Wildlife Portraits and the March Thanda Workshop

Effective lighting in portraiture invariably adds drama and a sense of story to a good portrait. Portrait photographers hardly ever use a simple head on lighting approach and when they do it is through a heavily modified flash head. even the most simple of outdoor portraits taken with available light tend to be modified through shooting under convenient shade or by using reflectors or a well chosen wall to balance and craft the light that lands on the sitters face. So why should wildlife portraiture be any different?

It shouldn't. Yet so many photographers, especially those starting out in the world of wildlife photography shy away from difficult light. The reality is that the more dramatic the lighting the more effective the portrait. This is even more important since animal behavior in wildlife photography has become more of a photographic topic than portraits. Still, time and again, when approaching wildlife I see how the photographer or the guide that the photographer has hired will set the vehicle so that the sun is as much behind them as possible. The less of an angle on the sun seemingly the better. Not true!

Click through to continue reading....

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Inspiration in a Blade of Grass

One of the most valuable lessons in creativity that I ever leant was from Freeman Patterson’s book, “Photographing and the Art of Seeing”. It’s something that I have to keep reminding myself as it is all to easy to shrug off a scene as simply being not photogenic enough. The lesson that was repeatedly driven home in Patterson’s book was that everything has photographic merit...everything.

click through to continue reading...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Layering for Effect - (and) February Drakensberg Experience

I've been slack of late with the blog writing, trying to to catch up on things like paid work (someone has to do it) and workshops. At any rate the end of February was also the second workshop in the Drakensberg with the African Impact photographers. Apart from one dud morning where the clouds hung so low that we were unable to shoot the dawn we had absolutely splendid shooting weather. Of course the low lying cloud lent itself to macro work with dew laden grasses and flowers, so even that wasn't a problem.

It seemed the workshop was something of a 'layering workshop' this time round, so here are a few example images with a brief explanation as to the rationale behind them.

Click through to continue reading....