Saturday, 28 August 2010

What is white balance?

Welcome to the 11th weekly edition.
I wanted to show you the photograph below. I had forgotten how beautiful it was until I saw it again recently. On his first time of seeing it Henri Cartier-Bresson said, "I couldn't believe that such a thing could be caught on camera, so I grabbed my Leica and went out into the street." In 1952, he published 'The Decisive Moment' in which he wrote: 'It is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as a precise organisation of forms, which give that event its proper expression'. 

Martin Munkacsi
Martin Munkacsi's easy image is such a fine example of  life giving us pictures.  'The precise organisation of forms' so aptly described is still as important today as it was in 1931 when the photograph was taken. This is probably the first of its kind and is a reference point for many when looking at this type of picture. Many photographers have taken similar pictures to this but  this was the impulse for many.
Photographic inspiration takes all forms from film to surrealist art.
As photographers we have seen images that filled us with a sense of awe and amazement. This photograph inspired one of the greatest documentray photographers ever and I hope you like it.

What is White Balance?
The pdf below explains what white balance is and how you can improve your photographs by understanding it. The important thing to remember is that a pure white does not exist.  If you are photographing a white plate on a white table cloth you will notice there is a difference in the tone between the two. If you are lighting this with daylight as the brightness of the sun changes so does the colour reflected down the lens. This shift in colour is caused by the 'White Balance.'
"The camera is my tool. Through it I give a reason to everything around me." Andre Kertesz

What is White Balance? -

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Which is the best lens to use? (Grotesque Portraits R Us)

Hi welcome to the 10th edition of the blog.

You already know the answer don't you. It depends on what you are photographing and what you want to say about your subject. Why not try photographing your sitters with a wide angle lens and light them from below, like the footlights in a theatre? This grotesque and dramatic style will get peoples attention. Can you imagine a portrait of Gordon Brown or someone similar using this style. My subject choice reveals a lot about my thoughts of the last Prime Minister!  Robert De Niro could be a great subject for this kind of treatment. It is important to express your feelings about your sitter and not just take a flattering portrait. You can always do a couple of variations to make sure that you have that 'Knockout' portrait that is going to get you noticed.
In the pdf below you will see outlined  the key factors that will enable you to make the right choice for your photographs and gives a break down of the important things to know about lenses. There is much more that could be added however it can all get quite technical and a bit dull.

What are 'Ghost Signs?'

Nicholas Brewer
They are not signs of the paranormal but hand painted signs on brick work that have faded with age. There are hundreds of them throughout  the UK and interesting as part of our heritage and a reminder of the goods that we used to buy years ago. Hovis is still going strong but many others no longer exist and help to preserve a part of our history.
Secret Britain.
There is a great new program on BBC 1 on Sunday nights (available on iplayer)  which provides many exciting ideas for photographers. One that caught my attention was the natural forest on Dartmoor national park.It is the last remaining natural forest and has a wonderful atmosphere about it. It is like something out of a fairy tale by The Brothers Grimm.
A photographer needs: creativity, style, elegance, wit and craft. [A photojournalist also needs that and] 
courage, stamina, 
cunning and luck. - Elliott Erwitt

How do I know which lens? -

Sunday, 15 August 2010

How to avoid camera shake.

Diane Arbus photograph, Identical Twins, Rosel...Image via Wikipedia
Welcome to the 9th edition.
This may seem like a lesson in the obvious as we all know the causes and solutions of camera shake. 
Or do we?
Before you look at the pdf consider what you think you know and then with an open mind think about if you may have missed anything?
When researching any of the lessons that I prepare I am always amazed about my assumed knowledge, especially my lack of it!
The photograph below is one that I took while Hackney Wicked was on, it was the shape of the A in the window and the almost surreal grass growing inside of the room that caught my attention.

Nicholas Brewer
I have included a famous photograph by Diane Arbus and is one that will be familiar to some of you. Have you seen Stanley Kubricks "The Shining" and can you remember the twins at the end? This photograph inspired him so it is easy to see how one medium informs another.
"The thing that's important to know is that you never know. You're always sort of feeling your way."
Diane Arbus.

How to avoid camera shake -