Is this shot considered cheating?

You’ve just cap­tured the most beau­ti­ful shot of a rare duck. Every­thing is per­fect — the com­po­si­tion, the color bal­ance, and the sur­round­ings. So do you tell peo­ple that you cap­tured this shot in a bird sanctuary?

Some peo­ple may argue that this shot is not jus­ti­fied because it was cap­tured at a bird sanc­tu­ary — ‘cheat­ing’ if you will. If a pho­tog­ra­pher gets a shot like this from a refuge, it’s far less of an achieve­ment (because it’s eas­ier) than it would be get­ting that shot in the bird’s nat­ural surroundings.

On the flip side, oth­ers stand by the notion that being in a sanctuary/zoo does not guar­an­tee great pic­tures. It just means bet­ter access and more oppor­tu­nity to cap­ture the beauty you are search­ing for.‚ You cer­tainly still need to have skills and a good eye.

So who wins this argu­ment? You tell me! See what oth­ers are say­ing in our pho­tog­ra­phy forum.

73 — Landscape photography tips — improving boring landscapes

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #73 is all about land­scape pho­tog­ra­phy and how to improve your land­scape pho­tog­ra­phy. Many new­bies and advanced ama­teurs con­sis­tently won­der if their land­scape pho­tog­ra­phy is any good. This pod­cast offers up a fair pile of tips to help get your land­scape pho­tog­ra­phy to the next level. Some of the things we talk about include; light­ing for land­scapes, the back­ground and the fore­ground, what makes land­scapes inter­est­ing, expo­sure and land­scape pho­tog­ra­phy, fil­ters in land­scape pho­tog­ra­phy, tripods and post production.

Landscape photography
Yosemite Val­ley, Win­ter 1940 by Ansel Adams

Note the points of inter­est in the fore­ground, back­ground and midground, note the full range of tones and note how skill­fully our eyes are being guided. This is no acci­dent, it’s the result of great plan­ning (the light) exe­cu­tion (exposure/filters/composition) and fin­ish­ing touches (dark­room post-processing — done these days using a graph­ics program).

Landscape photography
Fish­ing spot by Kat

Kat has a great han­dle on the range of tones, expo­sure and com­po­si­tion here and I really like this shot. It’s miss­ing just a lit­tle some­thing of inter­est IMO to get the big “WOW!” Per­haps if a large rock was dropped in the midground with mov­ing rip­ples that would have done it.… this shot is so close it just needs a hint of some­thing “extra”.

Landscape photography
Fly with me…across Aus­tralia (part of a series) by Mad Aussie

This one con­tains the “Wow!” fac­tor for me. Great colour, range of tones, expo­sure and com­po­si­tion. Note the reflec­tions in the fore­ground, the rocks in the midground and that awe­some sky in the back­ground. I love how the midground and back­ground seem to meld into one another.

Links /resources men­tioned in this podcast:

The Ansel Adams gallery
Dar­win Wiggett — Fab­u­lous land­scapes
Rule of thirds pod­cast
His­togram pod­cast
October’s “Scary-Mysterious-Halloween”‚assignment on the forum
Please join the fan page on Face­book
My Face­book pro­file — Feel free to “friend” me

My Twit­ter page — I will fol­low you if you fol­low me (Hey that’s a Gabriel lyric) — Let’s con­nect

If you are still lurk­ing on our forum,
feel free to join our friendly :) Pho­tog­ra­phy forum

Thanks to‚ jack­la­bel, and Kent Wil­son who posted a blog com­ment about our last pod­cast. Thanks as always to every­one that sent com­ments by email about our last pod­cast. Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board.

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3 days left — Mois de la Photo — Montreal

There are only 3 days left to visit Le Mois de la Photo (Trans­la­tion: photo month) in Mon­treal. Le Mois de la Photo is a pho­tog­ra­phy event that takes place in Mon­treal every sec­ond year. I’ve been going to this event reg­u­larly in Mon­treal for about a decade. There is always a HUGE vari­ety of pho­to­graphic styles (from pho­tog­ra­phers from around the world) in this event and most exhi­bi­tions (espe­cially this year) are what I would call ‘alternative’.

From Hand to Mouth, 1993. Instal­la­tion view, The Amer­i­can Cen­ter, Paris, 1995. Photo: Jeff Guess. Cour­tesy of the artist

The above pho­to­graph (and this is one of the many exhi­bi­tions that I per­son­ally vis­ited) is a great exam­ple of ‘alter­na­tive pho­tog­ra­phy’ and‚ think­ing out­side of the box. The goal of this exhibit is not sim­ple, it requires thought; active thought. Peo­ple will expe­ri­ence this exhibit in a per­sonal way. Some will like it, some will hate it, and oth­ers will scratch their heads and go “Hmmmm”. Per­son­ally, I dug it big-time. I like things that are dif­fer­ent. I like to think and feel. I’m not into McDonald’s and their freak­ishly annoy­ing main­stream clown.

Here’s the ‘offi­cial web­site’ write-up on Guess’s exhibition:

With From Hand to Mouth (1993), a 22-metre long pho­to­graphic series, Jeff Guess treats view­ers to an orig­i­nal visual expe­ri­ence. The piece takes the form of a cir­cu­lar panorama hung from the ceil­ing of a dark­ened room. The artist assigns a par­tic­u­lar place to view­ers, who are invited to step into the cen­tre of the instal­la­tion. With­out a priv­i­leged view­point that would make it pos­si­ble to take in all the images at once, the work invites view­ers to move about, to cir­cu­late. From Hand to Mouth is shown with a sin­gle, iso­lated pho­to­graph, Fonce Alphonse (1993).

This exhi­bi­tion is just one of many that make up this year’s Mois de la photo. So get your shoes on and get out there this week­end to see the work before the exhi­bi­tion is over. Bring an open mind, your brain but leave your cash at home. The exhi­bi­tions and men­tal stim­u­la­tion are free.

Shedding Some Light into Dark Rooms

We’re in the dig­i­tal age, so why mess with‚a good thing by set­ting up an ancient dark­room? Well, set­ting up a dark room offers so much ‘hands on’ knowl­edge; it’s far more prac­ti­cal for learn­ing pho­to­graphic print­ing than you may think. The prin­ci­pals and tools of Pho­to­shop were par­tially based on how pho­tog­ra­phers worked in the dark­room. Curves, lev­els, crop­ping, sharp­en­ing, mul­ti­ple expo­sure print­ing, dodg­ing and burn­ing are just some of the things pho­tog­ra­phers have been doing in dark­rooms for generations.

Here’s 4 rea­sons why dark­room print­ing rocks;

1 — There’s that spe­cial ‘some­thing’ that comes from doing the major­ity of the work with your own hands. It is far more sat­is­fy­ing to pro­duce a print in the dark­room than by press­ing the print but­ton on your printer. Ask any good dark­room printer that has done both, they’ll tell ya. It’s true that dark­room print­ing takes longer and its pre­ci­sion is less accu­rate than dig­i­tal; and yet it’s still more sat­is­fy­ing.
2 — Since every­body is going dig­i­tal your work will stand out if you stay tra­di­tional.
3-‚ YOUR work will never be doomed to spend­ing its life on a hard drive or on a few web­sites, you’ll always have beau­ti­ful prints to hold and show off.
4 — I have a sneak­ing sus­pi­cion that dark­room prints printed today will be more valu­able than the same image printed dig­i­tally. Why? Because every dark­room print is some­what unique and tra­di­tion­ally, unique items have more value than mass pro­duced ones.

If you decide to set up a dark­room here’s a few things to be aware of. Before you start your dark­room make a floor plan of the room so you can more or less know how to lay­out the wet side and the dry side.‚ Will you be pro­cess­ing b&w and/or color? Colour print­ing is more com­plex (and requires a dif­fer­ent enlarger) than b/w print­ing so it’s prob­a­bly best to start with black and white. A good exhaust sys­tem is highly rec­om­mended as the chem­i­cals you’ll use (unless you buy a pro­cess­ing machine) are toxic.

What’s great to know is that because every­body and their uncle has gone dig­i­tal, there are amaz­ing deals on used dark­room equip­ment. Ebay is your friend!So get your feet wet! Enjoy a get­away from the dig­i­tal everyday…More on dark­rooms here in our pho­tog­ra­phy forum