People frequently ask me what exactly is fine art photography? Before I answer, I usually take a big breath and brace myself to answer the question in the time it takes to ride a few floors in an elevator as they usually expect a quick answer. And, despite my apprehension to answering their question, I have come to realize that most good answers are the ones that are simple and direct. Hence, I begin by clarifying that fine art photography does indeed have objective criteria despite falling in the subjective and vast realm of art.
One of the things I find fascinating about photography is that it can be approached from a million directions and can mean a million different things to different people. I enjoy talking to other photographers a lot – I find it very interesting to learn what they personally see in this art and what they shoot for (pun intended) with their images. I have a friend who takes photos of kids and families; she has perfected her portrait techniques over many years. I know another photographer whose work you will never see – odd as that may sound, I get it: it is private, it is the imprint of his heart and soul, he prefers to share his art with his immediate circle only.
Utah has never been high on my list of places to visit. Having grown up in an arid, dusty landscape (northern Pakistan), I always gravitated towards greenery and the ocean. A couple of things happened that gradually changed that sentiment. First, as my interest in landscape photography grew, I kept encountering striking images out of Utah (and the Colorado Plateau in general). Then, along came an HBO series called “Westworld”. Shot primarily in that part of the country, the show opened my eyes to some truly stunning high-desert, Mars-red, weirdness-popping out-of-the-Earth scenery. Finally, a flight from Denver to Southern California on a crisp day with clear views of this otherworldly landscape below, provided the push I needed to mobilize and visit this place.
I am a novice photographer. I obtained my first DSLR, the Nikon D3200 in May of 2015. I decided to take at least one picture every day of 2016. Obviously, getting out and practicing every day is bound to make a fledgling amateur improve, but I was surprised at the specific principles I learned along the way, and thought I’d pass them on to any fellow novices thinking about a photo challenge of their own.
Islamabad is the capital city of Pakistan. Contrary to some negative media depictions, it is a clean, beautiful and well-planned city nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. I was born and raised there. I left at the age of 20, when I immigrated to the US. Like all displaced people, my place of birth has a special place in my heart and I try to visit as often as I can.
As I write, I’m looking back on my 36 years as a professional photographer with fondness and gratitude. I chose this profession because I wanted to travel and earn a living while doing so. It’s been an amazing three and a half decades and I’m still excited every time I walk out the door camera in hand. I’m looking forward to the next three decades! I travel in anticipation of serendipitous gifts; the unknown encounter. My camera is my passport to the world – a world I would not have known without that camera.
A few weeks ago, I visited Casa Mila, also known as La Pedrera in Barcelona Spain, which in 1984 was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. It was the last civil work designed by renowned architect Antoni Gaudi, who was the best-known practitioner of Catalan Modernism. When visiting La Pedrera, I walked onto the stepped roof called “the garden of warriors”; called so because of the chimneys which appear to protect the sky lights, and discovered to my disappointment that due to the size of the crowd and the presence of a fence, I wouldn’t be able to photograph the entire architecture of the roof in a single shot.
Back in August, we started a guest post challenge with our readers, asking to submit content to get $50 for a published article and get a chance to win a Fuji X-T10 kit. A number of great submissions followed and we published a total of 15 articles in total. While all submissions were great (and we thank everyone who participated), one specific post was surely the most talked about. Everyone I know who regularly visits the website would bring up this particular post, because it was unique and the idea behind it was amazing. So choosing the winner this time was relatively easy!
Working on your photos in Photoshop, you might have come across the situation where you begin to see weird lines appear in places where they shouldn’t be and weren’t before. This issue is especially common for very smooth gradients, such as skies, and can undoubtedly destroy even the most beautiful photo. And unlike other problems, this issue doesn’t seem to be triggered by anything particular; one moment it’s not there and the next time you look at the image – there it is. So, let’s figure out what this is, why it happens and how to fix it.
While part of the Photography Life team is on the road filming our next video course on landscape photography, we thought it would be a good idea to start a guest post month dedicated to posting content from our readers. Last year’s guest post month was amazing and we got so many great articles, which were both very educational and inspirational. Well, it is again time to give the chance for our readers to speak out and show off their work! Because many of our readers are as passionate as we are in sharing their knowledge, they often share articles with us in the form of Guest Posts, the best of which we often feature on the site. We would like to invite our dear readers again in participating in a knowledge sharing contest, in which we will reward every writer when their article is posted on the site. If your article is published, we will reward you with a $50 gift card from B&H, Adorama, Amazon or any other store of your choice as a token of appreciation, or if you prefer to be paid instead, we will transfer the sum to your PayPal account. This way, you are rewarded for your contribution even if you do not win the ultimate prize, which speaking of, is going to be amazing this time around! The person who submits the best guest post will be rewarded with the Fuji X-T10 mirrorless camera kit (see our detailed review of the Fuji X-T10), or the equivalent sum towards the purchase of any camera or lens valued at $900, in addition to a full year of SmugMug membership (see our review of SmugMug). We will not limit your contributions, so you could submit as many articles as you would like and get paid for the work. Sounds exciting? Then read on!