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 26, 2016

Sirui K40x Ballhead Review

I have started to become quite familiar with some of the equipment that Sirui have to offer. I now look forward to playing with the various pieces of support gear that TheSunShine Company are kind enough to loan me for testing. Before even starting this review, I have to point out that my opinion of Sirui is that they manage to produce attractively priced, competent, professional equipment. At least for the South African, the concept of attractively priced is probably the most important feature of new equipment. The point though, is that the Sirui heads can withstand most of the abuse that we hurl at the European and American equipment that costs up to four times as much. Testament to my respect for the company is that I own and use some Sirui products.

So, I was excited to receive the relatively heavy package containing the Sirui K40x ball head. Unlike other pieces of equipment that I have reviewed in the past, I happen to have kept my hands on this unit for a relatively decent period of time. A year to be exact. The K40x has been my de facto ball head literally since the beginning of 2015 (I am finally writing this up in April 2016). Although it wasn’t a match made in heaven to start with, I grew to thoroughly respect this tough ball head.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sirui R-5241XL Tripod Review - The Three Legged Tank

First impressions are lasting apparently. That certainly seems to be the case with the Sirui R-5241XL tripod that I was loaned by The Sunshine Company towards the end of 2015. As soon as I received it I was gobsmacked by the size of the carbon-fibre behemoth. A casual observer could be forgiven for thinking that this is a field artillery piece rather than a tripod. It is seriously large… and heavy. This is not a casual tripod. It is not a ‘let’s go for a quick hike and bring the pod in case’ tripod. It is not a ‘keep under the airline limits’ tripod. It is not a tripod for the odd bit of photography. This is a serious tripod. It’s for photographer’s who appreciate serious support. It’s for pedantic landscape photographers, demanding cinematographers and studio photographers who feel like having an enormous set of legs to impress the models with. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

An Ode to the F

67 years ago this April Nikon announced the Nikon F SLR camera. To me, this is one of the most important cameras to have emerged in the 20th Century. Certainly, there were plenty of firsts from other manufactuers, such as Contax which produced the first pentaprism viewfinder for a camera in 1949 (the Contax S) as well as the first automatic diaphram lens in 1956 (the Contax F). The precurser to Pentax, Asahiflex, introduced the first automatic return mirror (the Asahiflex IIb) and of course the first true Single Lens Reflex camera was the German made Ihagee Kine Exakta in 1936. What made the Nikon F special was that it put a bunch of ‘firsts together’ and went on to become the professional system camera of choice for over a decade (some would argue for far longer). 

Street Photography Workshop with Myllo Menorah

Photographing people on the street has to be one of the most daunting things that a photographer can do. Some of us look at street photographers of yore as well as of today and are incredulous as to how they manage to do it. What exactly is that secret sauce that allows photographers to approach complete strangers in the street and create photographs of them? This has long been a question of mine too, and one which I grapple with constantly when I shoot on assignment. Enter, Myllo Menorah, a Durban based street photographer whose work is truly inspiring, brave and filled with pathos. Nagging and tugging on his arm and has finally relented and agreed to run a street photography workshop a small group of photographers. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Introduction to Nik Color Efex Pro and U-Point Selections

I have just posted an introduction video on using Nik on vimeo which can be accessed on this link: https://vimeo.com/161909460

A couple of weeks ago Google announced that their popular Nik Collection of editing plugins would now be free. Gratis. No charge. Originally, before bought Nik, the full collection was a whopping US$349! Photographers believed that it was worth it that price. A couple of years ago Google bought out Nik and began to charge $149 for the collection. Fantastic news for everyone. Then the price was dropped further to $99. At that price it was hard to ignore. Now that that the full Nik Collection os completely free it would be silly not to give it a try. Even if only to use the excellent Silver Efex Pro2.

The instant that the Nik Collection became a free to use application, I received a stream of requests on how to use it. Here is a short video on the use of Color Efex Pro 2, and in particular the use of the u-point selection point for localized adjustments. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Shooting A Personal Project - Faces in my Life

The advice that is given and often ignored is to shoot a project. From the conversations of David Hurn and Bill Jay to the more recent Angela Farris-Belt, to the ever popular internet sensations like Scott Kelby; everyone advises budding photographers and old hands alike to shoot personal projects. Personally I have always found this extremely difficult. My mind needs the crunch that is a client based deadline to be proactive. Otherwise I find myself swanning from one thing to another. Projects like the book I produced for Standard Bank or the timelapse video I put together for Nature’s Light are a lot easier for me to do because someone is relying on me to do it. Give me a project and it gets done. The fear of letting someone down is an extraordinary motivator. When it comes to personal projects the only person there is to let down, is yourself. Maybe that’s worse. What it has meant though that personal projects in the past have been non-starters.