Tag Archives: Book

Dictionary of photography – know the correct terms

We all love a good book.

Despite other reading technologies, books are still popular. For photographers we rely a lot on the Internet. But, there are great books for us. One such book is “The Visual Dictionary of Photography”.

A love of dictionaries

I am an unashamed collector of dictionaries. With over a hundred of them there is always a good definition around. Despite being so well served, I have never found a good dictionary of photography. An author for one needs to be a passionate photographer, a technician, an artist and a writer too. They have to be nerdy about the details. And, at the same time, they must be passionate communicators. David Präkel fulfils the above.

The dictionary of photography

I love this book. There are great diagrams and pictures. It is no surprise that there is one on nearly every page. In fact, to help keep us visually interested, the fonts themselves are also varied. It is refreshing to have a book that is NOT standardised. Dictionaries are usually very consistent. They are very uniformly laid out. They are SOooo… visually boring. This one is not. It has coloured pages. It has different fonts. There are pages of capitals. There are different styles of diagrams. There is LOTS of variety. It is an exciting book to browse. This book is about a visual view – as well as the photography.

But is this book any good? I think so. I love the impact filled text. It is on message and precise. Here is an example from the definition of texture…

Lighting that falls across any textured surface will highlight each protruding part of the material and cast a deep shadow behind. This micro contrast is what we see as texture.
The Visual Dictionary of Photography – David Präkel

That is the essence of ‘texture’ in photography. There is more explanation. There is also a great picture. But really that says it all.

Does size matter?

There are nearly 300 pages. There is a definition per page. So there is plenty of content. It is a small sized book. However, it punches over its weight in what it achieves. The explanations, the content and the visual presentation all make it a full featured visual dictionary of photography. It covers all the important things you need to know to learn photography… size does not matter.

A great present

With Christmas coming this book could make a great present. It would be a cool gift to yourself, or for a keen photographer in your life. Packed to the brim with information it’s fun and great value. It is definitely worth considering. It will be a useful addition to your essential photographic kit.

The Visual Dictionary of Photography is available on Amazon. There is a selection of pages for you to review. So you can make up your mind about it. Have a look now and see what you think. The Visual Dictionary of Photography.

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Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is managing editor of Photokonnexion.com with professional experience in photography, writing, image libraries, and computing. He is also an experienced, webmaster and a trained teacher. Damon runs regular training for digital photographers who are just starting out.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’
By Damon Guy :: Profile on Google+

Cliché in photography – are you guilty and what to do about it

• Hat Selective •

• Hat Selective •
Click image to view large
Hat Selective By Netkonnexion on Flickr External link - opens new tab/page
It is one of the things we have a go at… selective colour. But, is it really effective?

Clichés are fun but can blow your credibility.

Everyone wants to try some well tried ideas in photography. They help you learn the basics with great examples. Beware, some things have been done so often they are clichéd. It is not wrong to do them. It might be right to keep them to yourself in some situations. Here is some advice about cliché in photography.

Advice

Caring, sharing websites around the web help you get honest, fun and supportive comments made. They are great places where learners can safely post clichés and enjoy doing it. In fact it is a good thing to do. You learn by doing the photos that other people have done, and by example. You get the obvious shots out of your system then move on to more creative photography.

Developing photographers cultivate observational skill helping them get past the cliché. I think the lifetime challenge for a #photographer is to see what everyone else failed to see and were amazed they missed. Work to get past the cliché and publish the inspirational.

Photographs create the beautiful and – over generations of picture-taking – use it up. Certain glories of nature… have been all but abandoned to the indefatigable attentions of amateur camera buffs. The image-surfeited are likely to find sunsets corny; they now look, alas, too much like photographs.
Susan Sontag, “On Photography”, London, 1979

In a competition once I heard a judge say… “Ah, N – A – B – S – S!”. He didn’t say what he meant until he encountered the third sunset that evening. Several audience hands shot up to ask. He recounted the story of a judges seminar. They had seen so many sunsets the acronym stuck for “Not Another Bl..dy Sun Set! Taking a sunsets for the sake of it is not an achievement. It is a disappointment – unless something inspirational is included. Sunsets should set the scene, not be the scene.

If you publish a cliché on some websites, or in a personal gallery, you had better watch out for your credibility ratings. What else should we cut out from our online portfolio?

What are these clichés?

Bathroom mirror selfies: Doing “selfies” is fun. They’re examples of things we need to purge from our system. Lets face it most bathroom selfies are boring – of interest mostly to the person making them. Consider doing a mirror selfie in a truly palatial rest room (try the Palace of Versailles, Paris  External link - opens new tab/page).
Selective colour: I happen to enjoy some of these. But really, most of them are out of context. It is fine with a clear artistic point. Quite often there is not.
Black and white (B&W): Making a picture B&W does not make it artsy. A naff picture remains naff when converted to B&W. There are some well documented, excellent reasons to use B&W. It can ruin a shot, or doesn’t add anything. Use the technique. I love a contrasty B&W capture. However, make sure it works before publishing. The long history of B&W photos in street photography make a modern B&W look clichéd if done only for effect. It is NOT a “street photography” shot just because it lacks colour. There should be something else there that justifies that approach.
Flower: Your prize bloom is of extreme interest to you and your family. Most other people have seen stunning photos of blooms in magnificent gardens or with exquisite photography. These are the ones that capture the eye. If you have a truly inspired view of your blooms and a top technique, then publish.
“Perspective shots” in tourist spots: We have all seen them – pinch the Eiffel Tower between two fingers, Kiss the Sphinx, catch the sun between your hands; hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa  External link - opens new tab/page. These are fun. We should all have one in the home album. Online they are definitely a cliché.
Fake lens flare: Flare is great when used to good artistic effect. Faux flare is just a disaster and easily spotted. Do it right with a proper shot or not at all.
Vintage iPhone apps: They’re not great because everyone else does them. Several years ago they were fun and different. Now, I think “Phone apps” look tired and frankly embarrassing. Over done or what!
Naff borders: Powerful borders filled with character, exotic flushes or effects make strong statements. If your picture needs that then it’s probably lacking in some way. Don’t publish it.
Over-saturated HDR: HDR has been vastly overdone. We are beginning to see HDR photographs that are not super-saturated, heavily rimmed and tonally wrecked. That’s good. HDR is a post-processing technique that is beginning to mature. If you use HDR, try it as it should be used, to enhance contrast depth. If you really notice HDR – it has been over cooked!
Your car on holiday: After 1000 pictures of the Grand Canyon the vista is not improved by the presence of your car in the last shot. Great shot for the hard drive. Not one to publish.
Fake gang signs, peace signs, bunny ears and naughty middle fingers: These have been over done. If you find them funny keep them to yourself. Remember, employers often use social network sites to check on prospective employees. Do you want a potential boss checking out your gangster signs and middle fingers shots!
Duck face: The average snapper gets quite a few of these. The silly poser with the pouting smackeroonie kiss lips! Just not good photography.
Making heart-shaped hands at sunset, weddings, engagements: These are usually just embarrassing. If you feel an occasion is romantic there are a multitude of soft focus, colour casts and posing angles that do the job so much better. There are a few other wedding clichés too…

  • Brides garter around the grooms head.
  • Posing to cut your partners throat with the cake knife.
  • Selective colour on confetti, wedding cakes, brides shoes etc.
  • “Bloke shots” – doing silly things in lines, with beer and mock genitals etc.

A few years ago there were thousands of shots of rings standing upright in open books. The ring casts a shadow heart-shape. They are good in the right place – the wedding ring ceremony. Certainly learn about the light/shadow relationship and have a go at a classic. Otherwise it’s an idea with a limited time and place. For examples: Google Image Search = Heart Ring Book  External link - opens new tab/page.

It is not just the amateur

Professional photographers are guilty of creating cliché in their work too. Take two minutes to enjoy this video poking fun at “Stock” photographers.

The Clichéd Stock Photo Song


GerritAndKit

Inspirational is good.

Are there any more of these cliché shots? Yes, hundreds… some websites are filled with nothing but these types of shots. So how do you avoid the mistake?

The cliché is something we can all spot – we’ve seen it so often it’s tiresome. Quietly have a go at the techniques – learn – move on. Don’t infest your online gallery with it. Cliché tends to come and go. In 20 or 30 years the retro effect will re-birth today’s cliches! That’s the time to release ones safely stored on the hard drive.

Your time as a photographer is best spent looking for inspirational images and developing a unique communication with your viewers. You will learn more by ignoring the cliché and working on your unique vision of the world.

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By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

Zen in the art of photography archery

Combination of mind and camera can create more than a picture.
“Zen in the art of archery” is not about photography. But it has such strong parallels to the learning of photography that its meaning is unmistakable. Professor Eugen Herrigel explains how he took the path to Zen (a balance between the body and the mind) through the medium of traditional Japanese archery. His beautifully written book explains his personal journey, in a very-easy-to-read way.

In Zen in the Art of Archery: Training the Mind and Body to Become One (Arkana) the professor simply explains his experiences and the physical and spiritual lessons that he learned. His vision is clear and his insight instructive. The reader learns that the way of Zen is not learned through archery and the book is not a guide to learning the art. Instead his book shows us that the journey to Zen is about enlightenment, inner selflessness and clarity of thought.

For photographers the book shows us that there is more to taking a picture than the physics of holding the camera, pointing and pushing the button. Technique and thought become one and the art in the moment becomes a part of the of the shot. For beginners that may seem bizarre. For the experienced photographer it is a self evident truth.

The mere picture is the result of a harsh capture of the scene using point-and-shoot technique.

The making of an image is more than that. Creating an image in the viewers mind is the essence of communication. It flows from the photographers interpretation of the scene through the photographic process to the published medium. In its pictorial form it serves to conjure in the mind of the viewer an image that inflames feelings and passions, creating a lasting mental experience. A great image flows from interpretation, capture and creation through a work flow that is a smooth and practised extension of the photographers commitment to the communication. The creation of a great image in the viewers mind is as final and precise as the arrow hitting the dead centre of the target.

“Zen in the Art of Archery” shows us that in the physical process there is something deeper than is visible. Something that is a selfless act of complete focus. It is an act that is both totally committing and yet subconscious.

Zen in the Art of Archery: Training the Mind and Body to Become One (Arkana) is a short, beautifully written book. Its beauty lies in its simplicity.

Details:

Title: Zen in the Art of Archery: Training the Mind and Body to Become One (Arkana)
Available: Amazon
Paperback: 112 pages; Publisher: Penguin; Language: English;

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

Two great gift ideas for photographers

Christmas Bonanza

Gift Bonanza


 

Love and friendship is about giving!

The lead up to any major festival is always a bit frenetic. So you can use these ideas to take the pressure off. See what you think. I can recommend these things from my own personal use. I think you will find they will make great gifts.

 

 

 

 

Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision (Voices That Matter)
David DuChemin is not only a great photographer he is also a visionary. In this book he speaks about his vision and how it relates to his photography. It is much more than a personal journey however.

DuChemin is a talented and sensitive photographer who has a compelling vision passionately expressed in every photograph. His book is aimed at helping the reader to understand what photographic vision is and how it relates to the photograph. He looks carefully at the way each of his images is created and provides some excellent photographic tips and his professional advice too.

The essence of the book is aimed at helping the reader get past the purely technical aspects of photography. His main point is that any photographer can learn to visualise great images and then go on to create them. DuChemin is giving away a gift in this book – how to see your photograph with a passion and create it with a passion and vision of your own.

The book is a pleasure to read and is filled with many of his wonderful images. His emphasis on street and travel photography makes the book all the more colourful. The current interest in street photography also helps make the book a relevant buy.

The book was published in 2009 and it has already become a classic. He has written a number of other books which follow on from this one. All are worth reading. The book provides a great grounding for beginner and expert alike. Great tips, great photographs and wonderful insights make this book the perfect gift for a photographer. Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision (Voices That Matter)

Rogue large Flashbender
I just love this great flash diffuser. If you have an off-camera flash this is the best. It is the most adaptable diffuser I have ever used. You attach it to the flash with a wrap around grip. The big diffuser stands up above the lens of the flash.

The white fabric diffusion surface is used to reflect the light where you want it to go. It is really controllable. The fabric is reinforced with very versatile but highly bendable backbones. These can be bent to give any shape of deflection so you can point your diffused light almost anywhere. It will allow you to point the deflection up, down or to either side. More to the point you can control the light intensity because you can wrap the sides in a bit to control how much light can get out of the gap. You can even roll it up and make it a snoot, a really directional focus for your flash.

While this diffuser is only of use for off-camera flash, it is very simple to use. It is a great way to prevent those nasty highlights that spoil flash shots. It is also a daylight matched colour so the diffused light will not have any colour cast.

I have used this in many different types of portrait and group shots. I have also used it in studio and still life situations. The material is very robust and resistant to damage. The white diffusion surface can be wiped clean and is very durable too. The whole thing is extremely light and I keep it rolled up in my camera bag ready for any time I need it. I would not be without this diffuser now. Another great gift for a photographer. Rogue large Flashbender

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.