Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How These Hummingbird Shots Were Taken...

Also in this issue:
  • A New and Different Photo Magazine
  • London Seminar Update
  • Least Likely Place to License and Image
A New (and Different!) Photo Magazine

For as long as I can remember, the vast majority of the “Popular” photography magazines served as a vehicle for their advertisers.  And as I got older things seemed to get worse, as content took a back seat to both the latest gear AND the will of the graphic layout artist.

As an example, have a look at some of the sample pages of a photo magazine I actually used to write for.  Its layout is gorgeous.  It has the backing of the camera company whose products they herald.  But its content leads the crusade of mis-information the photo industry loves to impose on the masses: If only you had the latest gear, or if only you understood this obscure feature of the intimidating camera you can’t ever hope to understand, only THEN can you get the great shots you see in their pages.  (In one issue they had a FOUR PAGE spread on how to use the shutter release button!)  They would showcase a guest photographer and only talk about what gear he used, not the light or how he approached the shot in his mind (sending the message that if you bought gear like his, your shots would be as good).

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Where the Anti-jpg bias came from - Part 2

Also in this issue:
  • London!! (and maybe Malaysia!!)
  • The A37 / A57 Ebook is out
  • The Friedman Archives is hiring!  (Well, sort of...)
  • Least Likely Place to License an Image

I’m writing this from Durango, Colorado, where I’ve been asked by the local photo club to come and give a seminar and field workshop (which were quite successful, but I'll get to that later. :-) )

A few days before the event, the club’s president, Howard Rachlin, invited me to be guest speaker for the photo club.  “Why don’t you give a talk about your blog post, describing “Where the Anti-JPG bias came from”?  There are a lot of strong opinions about that in the club and I think with the way you explain things you might open a few eyes.”

So I did, but since I would be presenting in front of a live audience, I wanted to do something that would blow the audience away.  So I went into the studio and took a shot that would be the acid test of .jpg image quality: A high-frequency subject (lots of strong whites and blacks in close proximity) with a macro lens (which tend to be the sharpest lenses) with good side light (which makes everything look sharper).  The best of conditions.  My idea was to shoot RAW + JPG, have both made into poster-sized enlargements, and have people scrutinize them.  Could they tell which one was the .jpg?