It’s supposed to move you; to generate an emotional response. It’s about how it makes you feel, not just about how it looks. Anything from a single plain colour to highly complex dendritic patterns will have an effect of some kind. As photographers our judgement is sometimes so clouded by adherence to the strict parameters of good composition that we forget to see the subject and think about why we shot it. Was it really just about neatly filling a frame and fitting golden proportions? Or maybe something or someone intrigued us in that moment?
Let me first be clear. Anyone who knows me well would tell you I’m not a materialist and money is not my primary aspiration. I have food on my plate, a shirt on my back and a photographic imaging device around my neck; believe me, I’m happy. But if I had a pound (British Sterling) for every time someone asked to use one of my images for the reward of ‘exposure’ I could probably make a decent living as a photographer. Well, no, probably not. But often enough I get such a request from some organisation or company to use one of my images with the promise of ‘great exposure’ for my generosity. Presumably in the same way that a lottery ticket would expose one to the possibility of winning?
Just as the market is once again graced with higher resolution cameras, so too is the Internet awash with salivating consumers desperate to lap them up. Surely having a 50-megapixel camera will make them all much better photographers than they were 44 megapixels ago? The extra resolution must be the push they needed to take them from mediocrity to greatness.
A very warm and merry Christmas and upcoming Happy New Year to all readers of and visitors to Photography Life! Below is a selection of Christmas lights in London that I photographed tonight to celebrate the festive spirit (with the exception of the first image which was shot 2 years ago). Warm congratulations to all contributors and readers on their photographic endeavours this past year. May your success continue well into the New Year, with greater focus, passion and undiluted pleasure. Here’s hoping Santa brought you all the gear you asked for!
So this time of year in the United Kingdom, many people will be enjoying fireworks displays and bonfires to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night. For those who aren’t familiar with the night, Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses Of Parliament (Westminster Palace) on the 5th November 1605, but he was caught and executed. Thus every year on that date he is burned in effigy (less so nowadays due to health and safety concerns) and a fireworks display usually accompanies.
Back in May of this year Nasim visited London and kindly invited local followers of PL on a photowalk. All the participants greatly enjoyed that experience and came away with pleasing images. Well, a couple of months ago, I met up again with one of those participants, Theresa, for a photowalk in London and we decided to challenge ourselves to take the same route again and capture new images from it.
Let me show you what an old man can do. I’m not talking about myself, of course; rather that’s what my 8-year-old DSLR said to me before I went walking in Epping Forest yesterday. Given the rate of change of digital technology, 8 years may as well be 28 years. And most consumers are conditioned into thinking that only the newest and latest gear can deliver the best shots, and anything old is obsolete. But just because something is old doesn’t meant it’s not useful.
So, my poor little 35mm lens was looking a little despondent after I had finished extolling the virtues of my 50mm. The 35mm just sat on the shelf looking at me, forlorn and with a glint of sorrow in its glass. Had I forgotten how much I liked using it? Did I not have dozens of favourite images from around the world taken with it? Indeed I did, and thus I took it upon myself to ensure due credit was given to this gem. Well, that plus another request from a reader to talk about using it.
I know, I know, the 50mm again. There isn’t much more for me to add really. The attributes of this focal length have been lauded many times in many articles, including on this site. A (usually) cheap and light prime, very sharp with a fast aperture and beautiful bokeh. A useful portrait length on APS-C sensors (75mm – 80mm equivalent field of view), and on full frame it’s supposedly close to how the human eye sees (don’t know about you, but my human eyes see the almost 180 degrees stereoscopic vision they were designed for). Still, the 50mm is often claimed as a classic and an essential addition to our kit.
Walking around with my camera, particularly in the city, I inevitably spot many people like myself taking photos, sometimes solitary, sometimes not. Occasionally you bump into a friendly or chatty one, but many are somewhat aloof, guarded and in world of their own. Perhaps they are fully immersed in their craft, or perhaps they don’t feel confident in sharing their photography with total strangers.