After a horrendous couple of weeks where my planned trip away over the Christmas period has slowly imploded – problems getting visas, passport lost by Royal Mail, and finally the entire trip being canned – (hence the lack of posts recently) I could really do with some inspiration. So it was pleasing to discover some stunning shots from this years National Geographic photo contest.
The deadline was last Friday (sorry you’ve missed it for this year) but The Atlantic’s Alan Taylor has hand selected 50 great shots from this years entries and the standard is certainly high.
Check out the curated 50 shots over at The Atlantic or visit the National Geographic site to browse all the entries and be inspired!
Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that I’m a fan of Adobe’s Lightroom product. In fact I’ve even produced a collection of keyword lists you can download for it. If you also use Lightroom (and if you don’t, why not!) whether you’re a beginner with the software or class yourself as an expert then I’ve got a treat for you today.
Craft & Vision have traditionally produced good sized eBooks covering specific techniques, or to help you develop your vision. These have often included tutorials on using software but that hasn’t been the main focus. However they have now released a very large book – “Lightroom 4 Unmasked” by Piet Van den Eynde. At over 310 pages its far larger than any of the previous offerings from Craft & Vision and its also right up to date covering everything in the Lightroom software up to version 4.2.
If you’re stuck in a bit of a rut creatively now we’re well and truly post summer holidays but pre Christmas you might like to check out an article by Andrew Gibson over on the Digital Photography School website. In the first part of a two-part article “12 Ways to Inspire the Creative Photographer Inside You” Andrew covers the first 6 suggestions to help you shoot more creatively. They include:
- Reading a photography book
- Using a new lens
- Taking a photo holiday
- Being more critical
- Entering a photographic competition
- Setting yourself a photography project
He expands on each and provides links where appropriate to other material to help you.
And if you like Andrew Gibson’s creative slat on things, he’s also just released a new book over on Craft & Vision. “Slow: The Magic of Long Exposure Photography” explores the technique of longer than normal shutter speeds. This can pose a challenge as the final image is unlikely to be what you can see with your eye and so you need to move from recording the scene to interpreting it and having an understanding of what is going to happen over time. The book covers many techniques and creative possibilities around slow shutter speeds including capturing motion blur, panning, slow-sync flash and deliberate camera movement.
“Slow: The Magic of Long Exposure Photography” is available on the Craft & Vision site for US$5.
I wanted to share a documentary with you that’s just been posted to the Canon Professional Network site. It follows the legendary photographer Don McCullin, who traditionally has always shot on film, as he makes a transition to using the digital 5D Mk III. You can watch the film here (its around 27 mins long).
Interestingly, near the beginning the guy helping him mentions using the AF-ON button for focusing. Otherwise called back button focusing this is something I’ve been playing with of late and would heartily recommend it. Moving the focusing from the shutter button, disengages the metering, which happens as you half press the button, from the focusing. This means you can set the focus, recompose your shot, then shoot a well metered photo. I’ll admit there have been occasions recently where I’ve forgotten to focus because of this but I’m slowly learning and adapting my shooting style and for now think I will continue to use back button focusing. If you want more information on this then just do a search on Google and you’ll find loads of in depth articles covering this technique.
Don McCullin – Seeking the Light
Brodsworth Hall in Yorkshire ran its popular Enchanted Garden event again this week (they stopped for a couple of years) where they light up their gardens after sunset. You can see more photos from the night on Flickr or via Google+.