Category Archives: Technique

iPad Photography at Quora

A little while ago I opened up the iPad Photography category on Quora, and it’s received a small bit of attention up to now.

As the March 11th release date of iPad2 gets nearer, I’m thinking there’ll be a bit more activity — especially as people figure out new ways to take photos with an 8×10 slab of glass and metal 🙂

Here’s a brief summary of the current content:

Head on over to Quora to check out the questions, or pose your own! I’ve got a question RSS feed widget in the sidebar to help keep it organized here, but as the category grows, I’ll reconfigure that into its own page.

Drawing (or blurring) the line – apps and journalism

Last month the New York Times ran this very interesting item on a photographer who won a prize in the prestigious Pictures of the Year International competition using an iPhone and the Hipstamatic app.

At the centre of the controversy was the legitimacy of the image and the discussion of the place for these apps in photo journalism.

The photographers rebuttal statement is a great read on its own — here’s one excerpt that brings home the issue as I see it:

At the heart of all of these photos is a moment or a detail or an expression that tells the story of these soldiers’ day-to-day lives while on a combat mission. Nothing can change that. No content has been added, taken away, obscured or altered. These are remarkably straightforward and simple images.

What has gotten people so worked up, I believe, falls under the heading of aesthetics. Some consider the use of the phone camera as a gimmick or as a way to aestheticize news photos. Those are fair arguments, but they have nothing to do with the content of the photos.

We are being naïve if we think aesthetics do not play an important role in the way photojournalists tell a story. We are not walking photocopiers. We are storytellers. We observe, we chose moments, we frame little slices of our world with our viewfinders, we even decide how much or how little light will illuminate our subjects, and — yes — we choose what equipment to use. Through all of these decisions, we shape the way a story is told.

Do check out the full article. I’m in the ‘anything is a tool’ camp — any tool is valid, but the artistic and journalistic integrety are paramount in the creation of the final image.

As long as the fundamental truths depicted in the final image are those that were present at the time the initial image was captured are represented, it’s all fair game.

Learn how to make the light work for you

One thing about being into photography; you quickly realize that there’s a lot to learn from other photographers.

A subject that’s always challenged me has been the concept of making light work for me rather than forcing me to adapt to the demands of the light sources.

Learning from other photographers through their lighting diagrams has helped me better understand how a particular tool (reflector, barn doors, snoot, etc) should be used to get a specific result.

And recently, I found some things that let me work through the thinking exercise needed to create better-lit images.
Continue reading Learn how to make the light work for you

Digital Images – Digital Darkroom – Part two

Earlier this week I started this series by looking at my digital photography workflow as applied to image acquisition (taking the picture). Today I’m going to look at what I do with the image in my mobile photo studio, my iPad Darkroom, if you will.

I’ve got the image, now what?
Taking the photo is just the starting point. Once you have a neat image, you can easily make it stronger by carefully applying modern digital darkroom techniques.

In my case, I shoot on a Digital SLR (Panasonic Lumix FZ-30), or a Canon Powershot Point-and-shoot.

On the FZ-30, I shoot RAW+jpg, which potentially gives me the most digital information to work with in the digital darkroom. The Canon gives me .jpg so I have to take what I can get.

I say potentially because currently, only a few apps support (or are planning to support) RAW. Editing a .jpg is adequate, but not optimal.
Continue reading Digital Images – Digital Darkroom – Part two