Photo Notes

April 22, 2012

Bubbles in the glass.

Filed under: Photographic Education,Photographic Equipment — John Siskin @ 3:31 pm


Amazon is shipping copies of my second book: Photographing Architecture. This is really exciting! Of course you can also get my first book Understanding and Controlling Strobe Lighting. You can download copies of most of my articles and some do it yourself projects. I teach three classes at BetterPhoto: Portrait Lighting on Location and in the Studio, An Introduction to Photographic Lighting and Getting Started in Commercial Photography. I hope you’ll check them out.

I used a double exposure to capture both a soft and sharp image with different lens settings.

When I started doing photography bubbles in a lens was considered a good sign. They meant that the glass had been at the perfect temperature when the lens was made. There were really only two types of optical glass: crown and flint. Glass has always been critical for photography. The first lenses were very slow, which meant that exposures were many minutes long. Josef Petzval designed a much faster lens in 1840 that made portraiture possible. The first photographs were made on silver coated copper plates, for Daguerreotypes and on paper for Talbot’s photos. Soon photographs were made on glass plates, because this made it much easier to make additional copies of an image and keep good detail. The famous photographs of the Civil War were made on wet plates, which required very fast work by the photographer. The glass plate had to be coated, exposed and processed before the sensitive coating dried. Those photographers worked hard to make an image.

This image was originally made for an article in View Camera Magazine

A few years ago, before Photoshop, I used to rely on the glass to make an image special. I had about twenty lenses for my view cameras that would do things like close focusing or capturing a wider angle of view. I had several soft focus lenses, including a set I assembled myself. The biggest challenge was in making an image that was both soft and sharp. This usually required lighting the image twice and making a double exposure. It was really a great feeling when everything worked. Now you can make a second layer in Photoshop and apply Gaussian Blur. Then you can do whatever blending you want between the two versions. The tools we have today allow us much more control over our images, and more options. However, there was a wonderful sense of accomplishment in making an image with special glass and light. I’ve attached images from soft focus lenses this week. The ones that used soft and sharp exposures in one image are marked.

I mounted a 180 soft Fuginon on a SLR Graflex B, quite a combination!

If you want to shoot classic lenses with a digital camera you should check out this article. It will tell you how to adapt a dSLR to a view camera.

I’m going to be judging a contest for the Indianapolis Camera Club on Tuesday. I really hope to be impressed. I expect to be putting up a schedule for classes with Indy photo Coach here and on the website soon. Of course you can sign up for one of my classes at BetterPhoto:An Introduction to Photographic Lighting

Portrait Lighting on Location and in the Studio

Getting Started in Commercial Photography
I hope you’ll check them out. I have been told that prices are going up this year at BetterPhoto, so you might want to sign up soon.

Another double exposure with both a sharp and a soft exposure.

Nautilus Shell

April 15, 2012

Blog Updates

Filed under: Indianapolis,Photography Communication — John Siskin @ 9:32 am


Amazon is shipping copies of my second book: Photographing Architecture. This is really exciting! Of course you can also get my first book Understanding and Controlling Strobe Lighting. You can download copies of most of my articles and some do it yourself projects. I teach three classes at BetterPhoto: Portrait Lighting on Location and in the Studio, An Introduction to Photographic Lighting and Getting Started in Commercial Photography. I hope you’ll check them out.


This isn’t really much of a post, but more of a note about my blog. I went through all the blog entries in the last few days and added categories. I hope this will make it easier to find things, but it did confuse the chronological order of the thing. The categories are on the right side of the page, at the bottom of the lists. Please let me know if they are helpful by sending an e-mail. I had to shut down the comments, unless you register, as there was too much spam. I added a few random shots this week; I hope you like them.


A couple of other updates: first I will be teaching for Indy Photo Coach soon.  I’ll be doing business consulting with them and a seminar class to start. Probably a lighting class as well. This should be a great chance to get back to live teaching! Also I’ll be teaching at Ivy Tech next spring: a commercial class. I may have a general photo class in the fall as well. One more local note: I got a local client from the walk through I did at the home show a couple of months ago. Now I just have to do more business promotion.


Of course if you’re not in Indianapolis you can still take a class with me at BetterPhoto.com. I hope you’ll consider these:
An Introduction to Photographic Lighting

Portrait Lighting on Location and in the Studio

Getting Started in Commercial Photography
I hope you’ll check them out. I have been told that prices are going up this year at BetterPhoto, so you might want to sign up soon.

April 12, 2012

Back To Basics

Filed under: Basic Photo Technique — John Siskin @ 2:07 pm
Sky & Sun

Sky & Sun

I was talking with a few old friends who are also photographers. Both of them were complaining about younger photographers who don’t know anything, as they would have it. Now neither of the guys teaches or interacts with new photographers in any regular way. One of them explained to me that you couldn’t really learn Photoshop without experience working in a chemical darkroom. I am older than either of these guys and I don’t believe any of this. The reason is that I actually interact with new photographers all the time. Teaching here at BetterPhoto will do that.

 

Inspired by my old friends, I want to go over the basics. Cameras, regardless of whether they are digital or film share some characteristics, these are like the language of the machine. For instance whenever you use a variable size aperture in a lens, what we refer to as an f-stop, you introduce changes in the distances that are in sharp focus. We call this depth of field, not really a very good name.

Speaking of bad terminology, I will start with the word STOP. Now we all know what that means, but not moving has nothing to do with the term in photography. In photography it means a relative change in exposure: if you have twice as much light in your shot as you did previously you have one stop more light. It doesn’t matter if the change is caused by changing your aperture or shutter speed or because the sun cleared the horizon, if you have twice as much light that is one stop more light. If you have four times as much light that is two stops, well you only doubled the amount of light twice. If you have 1/8th as much light you have three stops less light, maybe the sun just went under the horizon.

I know that a lot of people don’t want to talk about math, but it is the key to controlling the pictures you take. You can take all the pictures you want on automatic, but if you want to MAKE pictures you need to understand the controls on the camera.

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