Photo Graph

Discussions in Photography

By

Why Photography

I developed my first roll of film somewhere around 1971. I seem to recall purchasing or procuring and Ansco development kit that had an adjustable tank for developing film and a small (about 2” square) contract printer thingie. I was a small metal box with a small amber light and a larger white bulb. The box had a clear glass panel on top with a door that would close to hold a sandwich of a negative and a small sheet of photo paper. You would put the negative on the glass, then place the photo paper, and finally close the little door to keep the film from moving. You would press a momentary switch on the side of the box that would turn on the light exposing the photo paper. You would then process your image in the usual developer, stop bath and rinse. In several minutes you would have an image. I used a Kodak Brownie something or other and exposed, developed and processed some pictures. The first one I remember was a picture of number one daughter in a stroller. It was pretty magic stuff.

This was a time when there wasn’t such a thing as a personal computer so other than ham radio there wasn’t a lot of things to keep a tech geek occupied. I fell in love with photography. As I do with just about anything, I immersed myself in all things photograph. I read every book that the library had on photography and photographers. I still have a complete set of the Time Life series on Photography. I learned about the technical side of making pictures. I somehow found the money for a Nikon Nikkormat camera and a couple of lenses. I cobbled together what I could for a dark room. Developing film in the bath room in the dark hoping that no one would turn on a tap some where and change the temperature of the water I was using to keep the chemicals at the right temperature.

It was a lot of work. It was more work because before each session I had to build a darkroom and then dismantle it into the bathroom, bedroom, or laundry room it was supposed to be. So for a long time I stopped doing photograpy. But I never stopped being interested in photography and the photographic process.

Around about 1999 I received a Kodak digital camera as a gift. I found a 256mb compact flash card so I’m pretty sure it was for that first digital camera. I could create 640×480 jpegs and process them with PC software into something that was a photograph. I was back. When Nikon came out with the D100 I was again (with many hints) gifted with a “real’ digital camera.

Since that time I’ve been back into photography with both feet. It is not what I do for a living but it what I do a living for.

I love looking at photographs. I love the feel of the photographic print. I love the look of an image presented well in a monograph, or as a print, or more likely as a book. I study the images, decide why I like them and why I don’t. And finally I am building a vocabulary that I hope I can use to discuss photographs in and intelligent way.

I’ve been spending a lot more of my photography time learning from video’s from well know, and some not as well know photographers. I’ve been learning their vocabulary. Now I can begin to take photos that I can judge for my self as good, still waiting, and can hold a conversation about photography good or bad.

I love that you can, through process, create an image of technical excellence and emotional value. I love that you can take that image and produce exact copies again and again. I love photography. Now all I have to do is learn photography.

By

Shooting in Sh*tty Light

The top 10 worst lighting situations and how to conquer them.

The top ten worst lighting situations and how to conquer them.

Interesting title for an interesting book. Unless you only shoot in a studio with complete control over your lighting you most likely shoot in light that is less than perfect. “Shooting in Sh*tty Light” by Lindsay Adler and Erik Valind takes you through 10 of the toughest lighting situations and explains best practices for getting the best shots out of each situation.
This is a easy to read book with plenty of illustrations of the ways to make a good image out of bad lighting situations. When most books talk about lighting it is usually about waiting for the golden hour or working in a closed environment. This kind of lighting doesn’t happen very often. The book takes you through the options for getting a good image in all sorts of situations.
Whether you are shooting in noon day sun or under low light situations where flash is not allowed this book explains ways to get the shot. Using light modifiers like diffusers and reflectors and small flash you can get good images in bad light situations. The authors have made this book very camera brand agnostic which I think is a big plus.
The first chapter is about shooting in Direct Sunlight. I’ve seen Lindsay Adler’s hour long Kelby Training video on Shooting in Direct Sunlight and the book covers just about everything in the video. There are plenty of images of the good and bad results of each topic.
This book has a number of good examples of how to tame the light with many examples of how the image comes out before you modify the light as well as the finished image. There is a lot you can do to take control of the light and each is explained well by the authors. In the end you realize each situation requires you take control of the light and gives you ways to do it. Good book by two good photographers.

By

Photo Graph

Today I changed the name of the place to Photo Graph. Not sure if it will stay that way but for now it is a two word title. I’ve been thinking about the changes that have taken place in photography since the advent of the digital image.  Thinking back to the challenges of film, the precision necessary to develop film, to the amount of time between opening the shutter to the contact print and I am glad I’m doing things digital.  I once had darkroom equipment, never really had a dark room just a bathroom with a towel under the door.  I would shoot mostly tri-x  as black and white was a whole lot easier to self develop than color film. And if I was lucky I would get one or two images that might be worth printing.

Now  you can look at time image instantly and go back for a second shot if you are out of focus or any of a million reasons why the last shot wasn’t good.  The cost of taking the shot is almost nothing.  Then there was a fixed cost each time you pulled the trigger.  And then there was an additional cost if you wanted to show your images to anyone at all. Now you make one copy of an image and send it electronically to any of number of sites and the one copy can be scene by twenty, fifty or even hundreds of people.

 

There still is the challenge of taking the good shot, of creating images the evoke emotion in the viewer. I love looking at the old images of photographers who were up to the challenge of creating emotional images and I’m excited by the challenge of creating a few emotional images of my own.

By

FreeWave Plus Wireless Remote Shutter Release

When I bought my D600 I got in on the last day of some really good price cuts from Nikon. I bought it thru B&H and a bunch of extra stuff was included which was one of the reasons I bought this particular kit.  Included in the kit was a battery grip and a wireless shutter release.  These were not Nikon branded so I wasn’t real sure how well they would work.  While it’s nice to have the Nikon brand on all your stuff, occasionally, money gets in the way. Anyway, I’ve played around with the remote shutter release and since I couldn’t find a review of it anywhere else thought this might be a good place to put one.

 

FreeWave Plus Wireless Remote Shutter Release for Nikon

The FreeWave Plust Wireless Remote Shutter Release for Nikon (can we just call it the FreeWave for this review) is produced by a company called Vello. It can be used on most Nikon DSLR’s that have one of the two types of accessory connectors that most of the Nikon DSLR’s have.  My D200 has the 10 pin connector on the front of the camera while the D600 has a 4 pin accessory connector on the side of the camera marked as GPS.

 

In The Box

The FreeWave comes with a receiver, transmitter, cables for both the 10 pin and 4 bin connections, 4 AAA batteries and an instruction manual. The items come in a box with a clear plastic tray that is not heat sealed so you don’t have to have major scissors to remove the items. In fact the plastic case is works well as a place to store the units between use. The case slips back into the box without major incidents. Vello FreeWave Plus

The receiver comes with a hot shoe attachment so that you can slide the receiver on to the camera where it is not subject to bouncing etc. You will only be able to attach it to the hot shoe if you are not planning on using a flash or flash remote. There is no electrical reason for attaching it but it will keep the unit secure while you are using it.

 

Using the FreeWave

The FreeWave can be set to any one of 16 frequencies but the transmitter and the receiver have to be set to the same frequency (obviously) thru small switched in both units.  I can imagine all sorts of comedy if more than one photographer is using their FreeWave in the same general area at the same time.  Remember how to set them for future reference.

To use the units insert the AAA batteries into the transmitter and receiver and connect the receiver to the camera with the proper cable.

Vello FreeWave Plus

 

Turn on the receiver by pressing the power button for 2 seconds. Now if all goes well, and why shouldn’t it, pressing the shutter button on the transmitter will fire the camera.  The transmitter can be pressed half way to focus the lens just as if you were pressing the shutter button on the camera. Press half way to focus and then all the way to fire.

Tricks The FreeWave Can Do.

A slide switch can be set on the transmitter can be set for single shot, continuous shooting, bulb shooting, and self timer.  This slide switch does not change how the camera shoots so if you are going to shoot single shot you need to set you camera to single shot and the transmitter to single shot. Using the bulb mode and setting the shutter speed to bulb with allow you to press once to open the shutter then again after an amount of time to close the shutter.  There is also a continuous mode where you set the camera to single mode and it takes a picture every second until you turn it off. In the self timer mode the transmitter delays the shutter for 4 seconds. This gives you time to put your hand down so you are not taking a self picture of your hand holding the transmitter.

The receiver can be also used as a shutter release.  Just plug it in and press it’s shutter button trigger the shutter. In this mode you don’t even have to install the batteries.

 

Conclusions

The FreeWave is a pretty solid piece of kit with an instruction manual that is straight forward and easy to read (the print is a little small but I think that is my problem).  It works as required and I’m looking forward to using it next time I’m out shooting fireworks from the backyard because I can stay in the screened lanai while triggering the camera that is out among the mosquitoes. You can get it here.

 

-Jim-

 

 

By

Is This Thing On?

This new site and blog is an extension of one of my long time passions, photography.  Right now it is just called “Photography” which is a rather generic name for a blog but I’ve not received any response to my insistant demands for a clever title to appear out of thin air.  I’m hoping that I can use this blog to explain, enjoy, and learn about what I know about photography as well as what I don’t know.  There is a lot more in the don’t know department so I’m guessing I will have plenty to write about.

 

So lets get started. I’ve got some new stuff to tell you about as well as some things that have been long on my mind.