Archive for the 'Lighting' Category

Pro Photo Podcast #91 – Gavin’s Out – What’s Old Is New Again

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clear lake ca photography camp 600x397 Pro Photo Podcast #91   Gavins Out   Whats Old Is New Again

Gavin is on the road again for 3 months filming and photographing. You can follow their trip here. Barry and Dennis found the keys to the garage. Who knows what will happen. Good job guys.

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Today’s Panel…  Barry HowellDennis ZerwasRonn MurrayAndrew JonesSeth Hinrichs

Gavin is on the Road so Barry, DZ and their crew take the show for a spin as they talk about the latest in photography, then and now.

This show brought to you by the Seim Effects. And the new ColorFlow presets for Apple Aperture.

PPS #91 Forum Discussion HERE. Share Your Opinions.

Main Time Indexes:

  • 00:00 Introductions.
  • 02:22 What’s Old is New.
  • 33:10 News and Stuff.
  • 43:10 Barry Does Video
  • 46:06 What’s Our Next Camera?
  • 58:30 The Lightning Rounds
  • 1:35:50 Picks

 

LINKS…

Barry’s video on the Canon FTB.

Follow Gavin’s 3 month American road trip.

Sony NEX Series

Random PICKS:

iCandy phone video mount for SLR’s

SteadyCam Merlin 2 video stabilizer.

Also the smaller Smoothee version for GoPro/Phones.

Olloclip lens system for iPhone

Lumix GH3.

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Five Essential Elements to Mastering Photography:

PinExt Five Essential Elements to Mastering Photography:

This is an article I was originally asked to write for Professional Photographer Magazine, a good read – The problem was that editing department hacked it up so badly that it was barley even my words anymore. Such is life, but I opted to not have it published. Below is the full version of the article with a few extras since I didn’t have a word limit here. Enjoy – Gavin Seim

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I’m going to share a few things that can fundamentally change how we make images. NONE of them are new –  Sometimes it seems we arrived at digital and left behind a hundred and fifty years of photographic knowledge. I spend a lot of time studying classic techniques. Why? Because it’s not new – It’s time tested. It works. In this digital age we can get so caught up in gadgets, software and tools that we neglect how to make images beautiful from the start. I’m from the digital generation – So while I fully relate, I’ve learned to stop looking for buttons and start looking for light.

1. The Tones:

Ken Whitmire once taught me that “Tone” may be the least understood and least utilized factor in composing and finishing images.” He was right. With digital it’s easy to think “that’s easy”. But as a lover of film and digital, I’ve learned they’re not so different. A great photograph is light and shadows – We must see in terms of tone and how it relates to what we want to capture. Exposure, burning, dodging, finishing  – Proper use of tone can literally take the viewer anywhere we want them to go. Now that’s power.

Ken Whitmire by Gavin Seim 500x600 Five Essential Elements to Mastering Photography:

Ken Whitmire on the Oregon coast – I photographed this portrait of him while he was photographing a family. The Tone is essential here. Control of the dynamic range while retaining rich blacks gives balance to the scene.

2. The Zones:

2. Zones 2 600x56 Five Essential Elements to Mastering Photography:

The Zone Scale – A representation from black to white in one stop increments. The language of light.

I’ve been trying to decide how to discuss Ansel Adam’s Zone System in few words. Zones may be the most neglected tool in photography today. They offer a core to how we communicate and photograph light. Zones are not just for film or black and white. Once you truly understand them you never see the same again. The Zone System is broad reaching. But it’s core is the beautify simple Zone Scale, a representation from black to white. Combine Zones with a simple understanding of metering and there is no over, or under exposure. There’s only your exposure. Your intent. I can’t explain it all here, but there’s a free video covering the basics that I posted over at exposedworkshop.com. It’s an excerpt from my EXposed series and will get you started. Don’t ignore Zones because they will change your photography. You can also read my article on using Zones here.

Big Bend National Park Hot Springs Five Essential Elements to Mastering Photography:

Lost Oasis – I was using large format film here and took advantage of camera movements. Line, tone, space and position were all critical and while in retrospect there’s things I could have improved, taking my time paid off. I took in the full tonal range from black (Zone 0) to just shy of clipping (Zone 10). More on this image here.

1 Zones 1 600x403 Five Essential Elements to Mastering Photography:

The Zone System – Here is an exposure sequence metered on the highlights from Zone 1 to Zone 9. More on this in the Zone System discussions on my site.

3. Space, Position, Line:

Ken Whitemire, the pioneer and master of the wall portrait, showed me the value of tones in relation to space, position and line. He has an amazing lecture he gives about this at the Wall Portrait Conference each year – Essentially we need to think about the aesthetics of our image. For this reason I love studying masters like Bierstadt, Sargent and others. We must start by truly seeing our scenes. Think about the subject. How lines lead. Where are they positioned? Why? Is anything distracting? Should it be lighter, darker? Really – Truly – See!

River Portrait Gavin Seim 600x500 Five Essential Elements to Mastering Photography:

Morgan’s Song – I had a lot of things happening in this riverside portrait. Controlling the aspects of the scene, the position and the tone allowed me to show a beautiful scene while still keeping the viewers eyes on Morgan.

4. Visualize – Again:

Are you really “seeing” in the minds eye? It’s easy to let this slide in an age of instant previews and post production fixes. But nothing replaces visualizing. Ansel reminds us that “The whole key lies very specifically in seeing it in the mind’s eye”. Regardless of our subject, we must stop, if only for a moment. See what’s in front the lens and decide what the subject needs. Then use space, position, line and tone to make that happen.

Mission Ridge Portrait Five Essential Elements to Mastering Photography:

This was my turning point in visualizing. I used 4×5 film for this wall portrait that we printed at 40 inches. I needed to keep away the distractions in the space. I only used one frame of color film, but I took a breath first. I truly saw the portrait in my mind before I released the shutter. I’ve added a zone scale for the purpose of tone study.

 5. Finishing:

The image is captured. Win lose or draw we’ve done it. I’ve learned that slowing down throughout the entire process makes me a far better craftsman. That includes finishing. It’s easy to raise the bar in post if we stop worrying about making countless “decent” images and start thinking about how to take the “best” and make them sing. Fulfill that visualization, right up until the print is on the wall. That is mastering the photograph.

Until next time… Gavin Seim

Seattle at Night Gavin Seim Five Essential Elements to Mastering Photography:

This image was a PPA Loan Collection print in 2011. It’s actually a tone-mapped piece, but more importantly, it had careful attention to detail. Focus on line, tone values and finishing made it work. Planning and execution.

Pro Photo Podcast #90 – Orange Fondue Pots

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Today’s Panel... Gavin SeimBarry HowellBryan CaporicciJoseph Linaschke

Bringing in 2013, the panel talks about whats new and whats coming this year as they share ideas on raising the bar in 2013.

This show brought to you by the Seim Effects. And the new Color Fantasies 2 Presets for Lightroom.


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PPS #90 Forum Discussion HERE. Share Your Opinions.

Main Time Indexes:

  • 00:00 Introductions.
  • 03:00 News and latest
  • 13:00 Compact Cameras and Fads
  • 40:10 Adobe CS2 Adventure
  • 43:30 Ideas for 2013
  • 1:06:25 Copyright – Lighting
  • 1:25:50 Composition – Lighting
  • 1:39:20 Picks of the Month
  • 1:58:58 After Show

 

LINKS…

Follow Gavin’s 3 month American road trip.

Brother QL570 label printer.

Ifrogs BOOST

Powershot N

 

Olympus OMD

Sony NEX Series

 

Adobe CS2 Download Archives.

Wall Portrait Workshop 2013

Film is Coming Back.

Gavin’s LIGHT LETTER

PICKS:
Bryon
Herman Miller Aeron Chair

Barry:
Hassleblad 500CM

Joseph:
Eye-Fi SD Card

Why Mobile Photography is A Fast Passing Fad!

PinExt Why Mobile Photography is A Fast Passing Fad!

resting place compare 486x600 Why Mobile Photography is A Fast Passing Fad!by Gavin Seim: Fads always come and go – iPhoneography and mobile device photo exhibitions are no different. There is no iPhonography. There is only photography and whether or not you do it well.

I’m going to be frank. But let me explain the real issue I have. You see don’t hate mobile cameras. But the fact that industry leaders are on the road teaching “mobile photography” as a genre, singing the praises of cell phones being serious pro cameras, and suggesting that using said cheap camera is a “feature” is utterly ridiculous. Lets put aside for a moment the massive lack of quality in mobile images that we examined last month and just consider the fad aspect.

The fad is this ridiculous idea of promoting yourself as something special because you use the lowest quality camera you can find. The phone camera is just a camera. A very cheap one. And yes, it’s what we do with a camera that makes the image. So, we “can” make a artistically great image from a phone. The problem is that it’s rather like making the best sculpture ever carved out of crumbling rock. It’s very limited and it’s going to end up looking like dust next to the David.

Imagine if Michelangelo started carving with a butter knife and presented Butter Knife Chipping as the future of the sculpting world because it was so simple and elementary. What I’m saying is this: The tool used is irrelevant as long as it does the job well – If it fails to do the job well it should be replaced with something that works better.

Now I know that the cellphone camera is NOT going away. Right now it’s a useful point and shoot tool. In time it will likely achieve the quality we had in the compact 35mm point and shoots of the film days and it will likely grow as a legitimate tool for certain situations. It’s not even close yet.

At this stage I have not seen one mobile image with the technical quality I would attribute to a fine print. Oh, we might get an 8×10, and even stretch it a tad further. But it’s the most limited photographic medium I can think of. So limited that if you do get that once in lifetime shot, you can barely do anything with it beyond putting it on the web. And lets not get into the iPhone Time cover. The image was very low on technical quality and likely only made it because of this fad.

For the record, I use my iPhone all the time. I find it quite suitable for snapshots. The question I pose is this: Would a cheap disposable  110 camera from the drugstore (remember those?) be a suitable alternative to a pro system? Of course not. And yet it could arguably give better quality than our phones.

My point here is NOT that you cannot make an image with “artistic merit” from a cheap camera. It’s that an artist who’s serious about their work must go beyond the artistic and consider technical merits and capabilities of his tools. Saying “Look, I’m using a low grade camera!” as a feature in your art is utterly ridiculous beyond a fad. If you’re reading this years after I write it you may be thinking – “did that actually happen?” – The sad truth is, yes it did.

If you make a good image on a mobile that’s fine – And if the quality of mobile device images when you’re reading this is truly enough quality for the product you “want” to sell then fine. But what model camera you made it on is  irrelevant unless it offers some game changing improvement, or is being discussed between colleagues.

Someone will want to point to the photographer doing well with mobile images. They may well even be a great photographer. But if they’re to be taken seriously in the long run it won’t be because of the camera they used. Anyone with an art business that relies on the type of brush they use with is doomed to fail in the long haul. In the end what I’m saying is it’s what camera you use as long as you cane make a great image. Whether you did it on a mobile is totally irrelevant unless it causes a technical failure of the resulting image. Mobile photography is NOT a selling point.

We don’t need to learn or teach “mobile photography”. We need to learn, study and teach light. That’s what photography is all about.

I get in trouble for taking this position. But that will pass. This is an industry where just a few years ago quality was demanded and photographers needed at least medium format to be taken seriously in most genres. Now these same artists are out on the road teaching how would be photographers should make their millions with a cell phone? A $10 camera? If that’s not a passing fad, then I guess I’m not a photographer.

Gavin Seim

Pro Photo Podcast #89 – Christmas 2012 & The 33 Tips of Christmas

PinExt Pro Photo Podcast #89   Christmas 2012 & The 33 Tips of Christmas
MG 5356 600x335 Pro Photo Podcast #89   Christmas 2012 & The 33 Tips of Christmas

Gavin is hitting the road again for an early 2013 tour. Visit his website for details. More travel talk in the after show.

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Today’s Panel... Gavin Seim Nina BeheimKerry GarrisonBrady DillsworthMark TeskeyJohn Cornforth

We wrap up 2012 with our annual Christmas roundtable featuring loads of photography tips and gear favorite gear and gadgets of the season. Join the discussion on the PPS forums.

Brought to you by the Seim Effects. And the EXposed Photography Workshop.

Use code: PPSCHRISTMAS to save $30.00 on EXposed before Dec 31st.
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PPS #89 Forum Discussion HERE. Share Your Opinions.

Main Time Indexes:

  • 000:00 Introductions.
  • 005:30 – News Highlights
  • 023:45 – The 33 Tips of Christmas
  • 01:12:05 – A Visit with John Cornforth
  • 1:23:55 –  Picks of the Year
  • 1:59:30 – After Show. Sailing & More.

LINKS…

Nikon D5200 looks good. Also the Nikon D600.

The wall portrait article.

Gavin’s LIGHT LETTER

Lytro Light Field Camera

Sony NEX Series

Sigmas 35mm 1.4.

Zone System
Gavin’s articleFree videos.
Crash Plan Backup

Film is Coming Back.

Gavin’s article on signature and branding usage.

Picks…

Kerry
NEX 6
Sticky Filters Lighting Gels
Tripad Laptop Tripod Tether TableDojo Review

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