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The Essence of Photography

Nikon D5 and D500 Thoughts

The arrival of 2016 brought an announcement of two major products from Nikon; one that had already been teased (the widely anticipated D5, in a brief press release in November 2015), and one which had caught the Internet rumour and forum communities by surprise (the D500). It is refreshing to see in this day and age of leaks and conjecture that Nikon could still keep something under wraps, and in some ways it is interesting that they left out the D500 from their […]

That’s a Lo Trick

Many modern digital cameras have a very wide range of ISO values, particularly at the high end where technological advancements have led to stratospheric ISO ratings that were once beyond a photographer’s wildest dreams. Black and white film users learned to live with the grain structure of TMZ or heavily pushed Tri-X to reach ISO 3200; colour negative users tried to get by with ISO 1600 results that were average at best, while colour slide film users would have been happy to […]

Some HDR Misconceptions

Adobe’s latest update to Camera Raw 9 (ACR) brought two eye catching features to the RAW conversion engine in Lightroom and Photoshop. Specifically, the ability to merge images into HDR and panoramic images from within ACR itself, while still within the RAW structure. The above image is an example of both; it is a panorama made out of several stitched HDR shots (although it was created outside the Adobe ecosystem). This introduction brought both those tools into the consciousness of Lightroom users, who […]

The Photography Show 2015

It used to be called Focus on Imaging. Last year it got changed over into The Photography Show. Not sure it’s the catchiest name in the world but otherwise not a lot has changed. Here are a few quick thoughts on the recently concluded 2015 installment at the Birmingham NEC. Where the last year or two saw a big push with stabilisers, shoulder pods, etc, this section was much more muted this year, although you could still find sliders and such like […]

The New Obsession

As photographers I suspect we are sometimes guilty of going through phases. Stints in our photographic journey where a particular style, technique or subject particularly captures our attention. For a while now I’ve been working on getting some images of kingfishers, with a few unsuccessful visits to a local nature reserve in County Durham where kingfishers are sometimes about. As seems typical with my general good fortune, each visit had yielded precisely zero kingfisher sightings, usually accompanied by stories from […]

Revisiting the Past

As photographers in the digital era, we spend a certain amount of time taking photos, and a certain amount of time editing those photos. The split between the two will vary from photographer to photographer, and some reckon they spend as much as 75% of their time editing images, and only 25% of their time actually taking pictures. As a result of the digital revolution, photographers frequently wind up with anything from thousands to hundreds of thousands of images sitting […]

Debunking Back Button Autofocus

Photography seems to go through trends. Camera clubs, and places like Flickr have at some point or the other, been overrun with examples of colour popping, HDR (more accurately, excessive tone mapping), and tilt-shifting (more accurately, tilting). But these trends aren’t always limited to image styles. One thing which seems to have grabbed the imagination of many photographers is the use of a dedicated button on the back of the camera to autofocus, instead of activating it through a half-press […]

Focus on Imaging 2012

It’s been a long while. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was writing about last year’s Exhibition, but here we are in the aftermath of Focus on Imaging 2012. In contrast to the hullabaloo last year over Canon’s last minute withdrawal, this year the noise was of a more positive nature. Although already previously announced, there were several as yet unavailable major new cameras for punters to get their hands on. Both Nikon and Canon had brand new […]

Digital or Film?

Alright, so maybe this post is about 5 years too late and that question’s already been answered. But I’ve just got a couple of things to get off my chest having attended a slide presentation recently. It was, in the main, a very good presentation. But on a couple of occasions the photographer, who is a staunch slide film worker, mentioned that certain things would have been easier to sort out if he had been “working in digital”. Things like, […]

It’s Good, but is it Photography?

Photography is generally defined as the practice of creating pictures by recording light on a light-sensitive surface. Yet increasingly these days in photographic circles there is plenty of imagery being proudly presented – and warmly received – that on a personal level I would struggle to classify as “photography”. This is one of photography’s contemporary grey areas. It is a matter of debate how much manipulation can occur whilst still preserving a photograph’s status, and this threshold varies depending on […]