Famous scenes — landscapes, wildlife, buildings — are famous for a reason: they are spectacular, and often easy to access. You have seen these photographs, undoubtedly: a sepia-toned photograph of the Eiffel Tower, perhaps, or a dusty herd of wildebeest in the sun. Glacier Point at sunset, and Mesa Arch at sunrise. These are some of the most incredible sights on the planet, and it is no wonder that photographers flock to them; in many cases, photographers are the very reason that these sights are on the map in the first place. I have nothing against photographers who focus on these beautiful scenes, and I wholeheartedly admire those who photograph them well. Indeed, as photographers, we too often get caught in the idea of taking unique photographs at a famous location, when the most beautiful scene may be the one staring us in the face.
Sincere apologies that this isn’t a gear review or announcement; undoubtedly one of those will be along shortly. In fact, in keeping with most of my articles, this probably won’t educate or inform you. But I’m hoping it will do something far more important than that. I’m hoping it will encourage you to take leave of your daily toil and do some actual photography.
Big thanks to everyone who supported us in our launch of our very first photography video – PL Level 1 Photography Basics. Since the launch, we have enhanced the video quite a bit by cleaning up the sound, adding more visuals and text to guide our readers better. In addition, we have just added a brand new Chapter 11, with detailed menu guides for four different camera types: Nikon Entry-Level DSLR, Nikon Pro-Level DSLR, Canon Entry-Level DSLR and Canon Pro-Level DSLR. That’s another 3.5 hours of video that we have added to the already extensive 5 hour course! And that’s the beauty of this course – we will continue to enhance it in the future and if we feel that something needs to be added or changed, we will do so, making our courses some of the most thorough, up to date and complete photography courses out there.
Your choice of focal length will affect what you see. Would you agree with that? What if I also said that your choice of focal length will affect how you see? That’s a whole different story, now isn’t it? Instead of discussing how focal length affects your view when you look into the viewfinder, I want to talk about how focal length can affect how you look at everything around you before you ever even see it in the viewfinder.
When it comes to photographing wildlife, I’m nowhere near the lofty eminence of John Sherman or Tom Redd (both of whom I had the privilege of meeting in Colorado earlier this month), but I’ll make use of any opportunity I can. Photographing the grey seals on the Norfolk coast was an annual autumnal pilgrimage for me but the last couple of years I was remiss in not making the journey.
After almost a year of hard work, John and I are excited to finally release our first photography course “Level 1: Photography Basics“. It has been an awesome experience creating this video and I can proudly say that we have done our best to produce truly educational material for our readers to learn from. Compressing years of photography knowledge and experience into a 5 hour course was not easy, but we managed to do it! Although this is our first commercial product, we have huge plans for making more of such videos in the future, as detailed below.
We don’t really get much choice here in the rain capital of the Universe (well, ok, it’s not quite Cherrapunji but it feels like it sometimes). But rather than avoiding the wet and water one can see it as … wait for it … yep, an opportunity to do some shooting.
I have never liked the phrase “rules of composition.” To me, it seems too formal, suggesting that such a complex topic as composition can be boiled down to a few quick tips. So, in a blatant attempt to out-do John Sherman’s provocative “Is Nikon’s New 500mm FL Too Sharp?” title, I have aimed this article at the heart of photography school’s most basic lesson in composition: the rule of thirds.
In this third installment to this series on visualization and film photography, I have selected a sample of photographs (mostly made in the 35mm format) to share and discuss. Although I heavily focused on technical aspects in film photography in Part I and Part II of this series, my goal with this article is to provide a more aesthetic description and simplified approach to the construction of photographs. I thought it would be of interest to beginning 35mm photographers to briefly discuss some of the film choices available. Although the choices of film stocks have dwindled over the years, fortunately there remain a plethora of excellent professional and consumer 35mm films from which to choose and enjoy. Even though I have used many – but not all – of the available film stocks, I cannot possibly discuss all of them here. For one particular film stock, I am delighted to share a pair of interviews with more experienced photographers that readers might find interesting and helpful. Of note, Photography Life contributor Vaibhav Tripathi has previously shared his experiences and beautiful photographs made on 35mm with Fuji’s Velvia 50 and Kodak’s Portra stocks in his inspiring photo essays on Acadia National Park, landscape photography, and Waterfalls of New England series that may also be of interest.
One of the common misunderstandings in photography has to do with the focal length of a lens, or its optical distortion properties. Many photographers claim that a wider angle lens will distort facial features either because of the lens distortion, or the focal length of the lens being too short. In this article and the accompanying video (which is extracted from our upcoming Photography Life Basics Video), we will prove that focal length has nothing to do with distorting a subject’s face and the additional information on lens distortion will explain in detail exactly what gets impacted by lens distortion.