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Archive for December, 2012

The Majestic, the Whimsical, and Some Advice for Collectors

December 29th, 2012 No Comments

“Minus 30 degrees.”  Those are the lengths some photogs will go to to find “their calling.”  Enter Camille Seaman who photographs the biggest icebergs in the worldSan Francisco Chronicle has just reported that the result of her passion is that “she has spent the last 10 years photographing enormous chunks of prehistoric ice in remote places across the globe.”

Seaman’s story is quite riveting and her photographs are awesome to behold.  How about this brilliantly composed, exposed and cropped image?  Weirdly, this iceberg looks like the prow of a listing vessel!  Look through the mini-gallery and you’ll find a gentle icescape and a frightening behemoth towering out of the ocean.

If those images turn you on, just click at this Corden Potts Gallery link to Seaman’s portfolio.  She will soon be exhibiting at the gallery.  Check out this blue, slabbish, tabletop of an iceberg.  Then click here, just for ‘contrast’.  Do you care for balance, perspective, and texture in iceberg scenes?  Click here.  

Seaman’s work merges guileless art with the majesty of nature.

From the majestic to the whimsical.

Some of the most recognizable photojournalistic and news photographs have now gotten a redo, thanks to Mike Stimpson and . . . LEGO!

Be warned, this story is nothing more than an ’empty calorie’ diversion.  Stimpson uses LEGO figures to recreate some famous photographs.  Just for fun, have a look at the Tiananmen Square tank stopper and his version of that famous Dali, water and flying cats photo.

To close with a more serious story, if you’re not a millionaire but want to build a collection of fine photographs, learn how one dedicated collector did it in Michael Hoppen opens his vault of photographic treasures.  He is a Chelsea photograph gallery owner but he got started on his collection the hard way, the painstaking old-fashioned way: browsing in flea markets, junk shops, and such.  

After taking off in the art world, Hoppen found it easier to collect the photos he loved at a knockdown price but the heart and soul of this piece is in the advice he gives to aspiring photograph collectors, starting with ” whether you trawl eBay or visit art fairs, collecting is all about spending time. . . . there are no shortcuts.”

See whether or not you like the results Hoppen achieved by viewing this mini-gallery of an exhibition of (part of) his collection, Finders Keepers


Top Tutorial: Dynamic Landscape Photography

December 26th, 2012 No Comments

What Everybody Ought to Know About Landscape Photography [Best of dPS 2012] is one of those year-end roundups.  Obviously, it is about landscape photography and is actually a Top Ten list of tutorials.  They are listed “in no particular order” with Composing Dynamic Landscape Images at No. 1, the top of the list.

And, boy, is it a ‘Number One’ ‘Top of the List’ tutorial!  Photography is primarily an art, not a science, a method, or a mechanical approach.  To the great credit of Todd Sisson, he manages to show the scientific, methodical and mechanical underpinnings of ‘an art’, or how to create a work of ‘an art’ (i.e. a fine dynamic landscape photograph).

Sisson modestly states “It must also be stated that what follows is not a recipe for creating great images” but if so, then what he provides is and ‘almost recipe’.  The ‘almost recipe’ has seven ‘ingredients’, from “Leading or converging lines” to “Suggestion of movement”, listed right up top.  Sisson dissects and explains the purpose of these factors, and illustrates them with numerous superb images. 

The author’s insight and understanding into how most persons interact with and react to a landscape photograph, and how the eye responds to lines, light/dark areas, intensity/saturation, foreground/background, perspective, etc. and his ability to get concepts and facts across lucidly, is unparalleled.   

This knowledge, and the ability to communicate it effectively to the reader allows one to go ‘aha!’ and grasp the nebulous principles of just what makes for a top-notch dynamic landscape photograph.  There is little doubt that this tutorial will take many intermediate landscape photographers to the next level.

Readers of this blog will know that we’re not given to superlatives here but this tutorial is quite exceptional.  What’s more, Sisson’s quirky sprinklings of humour make an exceptional how-to highly readable.  (“Try scrambling up banks, standing on cars and sitting on your wife’s/husband’s shoulders (sans tripod)”; “run around like a deranged prison escapee,” “mind-control experiment deployed by shady branches of the US intelligence community!”)


Street Shooting — and ‘Home Shooting’!

December 24th, 2012 No Comments

If you’ve got into the groove of ‘street shooting’, it’s no big deal to you.  But if you haven’t, the idea of pointing your lens at strangers may seem a little intimidating. 

In The Ethics of Photographing Random Strangers on the Street, Ming Thein provides, not only a sketch of the ethical issues involved, but, tips and techniques as to how to go about doing something that, according to him, “requires balls.”

The idea behind street shooting is to document a ‘slice of life’; to capture the unguarded moment.  For this reason, stealth is important; as Thein puts it, “the more subtle issue of ‘quantum mechanics’ . . . if you become a participant in the image, then the reaction you provoke from your subjects will necessarily disrupt whatever it was you initially wanted to capture.”

And that is the heart and soul of authentic street shooting.  The article lays out a few ‘hows’ and Thein explains what works for him.  To his tips one may add: either remain still or be constantly on the move, do not follow anybody, ensure that flash is off, wear clothes that make you invisible, and don’t look like a photographer – look like a darn tourist!

If street shooting’s not your cup of tea and Thein fails to convince you to take the plunge, let John Gravett show you how you don’t even have to stray from home to capture some amazing images in Photographing Household Objects.

Gravett’s imaginative techniques allow you to create fascinating, abstract, images without using anything more specialized than a sheet of polarizing gel or macro lens!

Shooting plastic cutlery through a polarizer introduces a delightful effect of interlacing colours.  (Note how Gravett arranged the cutlery and composed his shot.)  How about giving the same treatment to a textured or embossed plastic bottle?

The techniques Gravett brings to bear on a paperweight and a Slinky are nice but the pick of the bunch has to be his experiment with water, oil, colour paper and angled flash.  Not only are the forms, colours and ‘scene’ quite arresting, the final image makes for quite a pretty artwork that NASA may like to post on its website, if only to befuddle an astronomer or two!

Merry Christmas to all our readers!

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