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, April 30, 2013

Why I Call Myself A Landscape Photographer

For as long as we know, humans have had an innate desire to classify everything. Despite modernism we have, since Linnaeus, rigidly set objects, ideas and things into neatly ordered boxes. Religions, world-views and beliefs have suffered much the same fate. It was one of my university professors, Chris de Wet (he went on to supervise me through my masters dissertation) who pointed out to me the human construct that is classification. There is nothing under the sun that we do not try to classify. So too, do we find ourselves dividing our photographic niches into this or that genre, ostensibly separating ourselves from other styles, movements and photographic specializations. Why on earth would I then throw my lot in with landscape photographers, one of the least likely groups to earn a sizeable living (when compared to some of the better paid niches of professional photography)?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Mountains of Mist - April Drakensberg workshop

A four image stitch of the Amphitheatre as the rain lessoned slightly and the clouds parted momentarily to allow a view of the mountains. No filters were used, but exposure was calculated so that there would be sufficient detail in the shadows if they needed to be lifted somewhat in post.

The weather forecast was not exactly promising as our group of photographers trundled up the hills from Durban to the Drakensberg last week. Heavy rain set in as we left the city and stayed more or less with us until we reached Royal Natal at the base of the Amphitheatre. Wet and cold drenched the mountains in a heavy cloak of cloud so that one wag commented that they thought there wasn't actually a mountain after all. Ha...ha...ha

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


This is not a post for photographers. This is a post for the people who have to stand in front of the camera. The poor souls who get told to look into the lens and smile. I feel for you. I really do! I hate being in front of the camera. No doubt it's one of the reasons that I'm a photographer. There's this great big hunk of steel and glass thrust into your face and you are then commanded to smile at it as if it were an animate being with which you were having a discussion. The sod behind this contraption then starts to fiddle with knobs and buttons and mutter strange incantations under his or her breathe. Then to add to the ignominy a bright burst of light blinds you momentarily so that you start to wonder if your eyesight has potentially been damaged. Is it any wonder that there are numerous cultures across the world that completely shun the camera being pointed at them? It's seen as stealing the soul by some and other forms of wizardry by others. So it's no surprise that the natural reaction when someone points a lens at you and shouts smile, that you do the exact opposite.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Simple vs Complex - The ‘Single Shot’ Approach vs The ‘Build It In Photoshop’

Two photographers that I really admire both write about the pitfalls of putting together imagery in Photoshop. I have to admit that there is a part of me that winces every time I look at potential image and think to myself how I’ll merge a number of images together to create my final vision. The photographers in question that I’m referring to are Joe McNally and Joe Cornish.

McNally admits in both his “Sketching With Light” and his “Hot Shoe Diaries” that he doesn’t like using the multiple images approach as it’s too much like hard work, can be inelegant, can look fake (for want of better words) and just over complicates things. Let’s forget for a second the feeling among some viewers that if it consists of more than one image it isn’t real to start with. In conversation with Joe Cornish there’s again this feeling that if you can do it one, you should.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Concentrate On The Small (Common?) Things - Thanda Photography Workshop

The Big 5. The  raison d'etre for many international tourists to visit Africa. Local tourists too actually. Everyone wants to see a lion, an elephant, rhino, buffalo and the ever elusive leopard. Try as I might I cannot get it into my students' heads that these 5 prestige animals are the lesser of the image friendly animals. Yes, they are incredible animals and, despite my claim that they bore me, every time I see a lion my heart does quicken. The same goes for elephants which I feel are the true emperors of the bush. Nothing quite prepares you for the first time you see one of these majestic creatures. They are truly awesome in size and appearance. Yet a quick glance through my wildlife portfolio presents only a handful of big 5 animals. Why is this when I get the opportunity almost every month to photograph these 'trophies'?