Book Excerpt

The eternal rule in photography


Book Excerpt:
The simple truth of it is that even the most experienced shooters still miss the moment, still make mistakes—sometimes mistakes so basic that they wonder if there’s ever any way to really and reliably learn this art and craft.

In this way, digital photography is no different from old-time photography. Good pictures are good pictures; you make some, you miss some…Digital has changed the game, to be sure, but as in sports, the same rule applies eternally: The one who performs best—the one with the most points—wins. Whether we’re talking football or tennis or photography, you play the game the right way, you win…
~Joe McNally from his book The LIFE Guide to Photography

Wishing everyone a blessed and spiritually-filled week ahead.

The frame vision


Book Excerpt:
Photographs are created within a spatial context, and that context is the viewfinder frame. This may be carried through unchanged to the final image, whether print or on-screen, or it may be cropped or extended. In whichever case, the borders of the image, nearly always a rectangle, exert strong influences on what is arranged inside them.

There is an important distinction, nevertheless, between composing photographs in the frame as they are intended to be, and planning ahead to either crop or extend the frame. Most 35mm film photography has been concerned with tight, final composition at the time of shooting, and at times this has led to a culture of demonstrating the fact by showing the rebates (the frame edges of the film) in the final print—a way of saying “hands off” once the shutter has been released. Square-format film…is less amenable to comfortable composition, and is often used for later cropping. Large format film, such as 4×5-inch and 8×10-inch, is large enough to allow cropping without much loss of resolution in the final image, and is also often cropped, particularly in commercial work. Now digital photography adds its own twist to this, as stitching becomes more widely used for panoramas and over-sized images…

Facility at using this frame depends on two things: knowing the principles of design, and the experience that comes from taking photographs regularly. The two combine to form a photographer’s way of seeing things, a kind of frame vision that evaluates scenes from real life as potential images…
~Michael Freeman from his book The Photographer’s Eye

The colors of nature


Book Excerpt: “Just as light has color, things have color. When light strikes a subject, some of the wavelengths are absorbed and some are reflected. The reflected wavelengths bouncing off the subject produce the colors we see. What’s unique about this quality of light is that it’s subjective. Each of us, and each species of animal, sees color differently. Fortunately, most humans agree on the general hues of common colors. In photography, red, blue, and green are the primary colors; yellow, magenta, and cyan are the secondary colors. How you use these colors, how you mix them in your photographs, can mean the difference between a boring image and a contest winner.”~Ralph A. Clevenger from his book Photographing Nature: A photo workshop from Brooks Institute’s top nature photography instructor

Without color you see other elements


Book Excerpt: “There’s something timeless about a good black and white, and in my mind there’s less to get wrong. Don’t get me wrong — I shoot plenty of color images. But getting color right and not dating your work in the process can be difficult. For me, black and white just feels natural. Without a doubt, there are some shots that are better suited as black and whites… It takes a lot of practice to learn to see in black and white, but it can be done. I recommend practicing as often as possible, and you’ll see that you’ll get better with time. The best part of this practice is that it will not only strengthen your black-and-white images, but your color images as well. Black-and-white photography gives us a chance to take away a very important element — color — and focus on the other elements that are harder to envision.”~by Laurie Excell with John Batdorff, David Brommer, Rick Rickman and Steve Simon from their book Composition: From Snapshots to Great Shots

Paying attention to the viewpoint

Book Excerpt: “One of the fundamental tasks of any image maker is to define what the exact subject of the picture is going to be. The capacity to compose succinctly is what gives clarity and cohesion to a maker’s experience. The decisions we make are sensitive to how choices are presented or framed. Being aware that this “framing effect” can influence decision-making, one should be attentive to the viewpoint, or vantage point, for it is a crucial basic compositional device that determines how an image is presented and in turn received by viewers. It is such an elementary ingredient that it is often taken for granted and ignored. The angle of view lets an image maker control balance, content, light, perspective, and scale within the composition. It also determines the color saturation and whether or not the hues form color contrast or harmony.”~Robert Hirsch, The Framing Effect: Viewpoint from his book Light and Lens


Character in monochrome

Book Excerpt: “Character is destiny,” wrote Greek philosopher Heraclitus back in the fifth century BC. And what better way to see character than to observe the lines of someone’s face?…in the absence of color you have shapes–and lines. Therefore, black and white emphasizes lines and portraits created using black and white can show character at a deeper level than those in which the structural issues are masked by color.”~Harold Davis, The Monochromatic Vision from his book Creative Black & White

This is just a sample of the many monochrome images that will be showcased by yours truly, together with four featured photographers, in the all black and white Issue #5 of Junsjazz Images & Inspiration Digital Magazine, coming out at month’s end.

Search for what’s cool

Book Excerpt: “After wandering around for a while and finding nothing interesting to photograph, pause for a minute and analyze the scene. OK, so you found nothing interesting to photograph, but did you find nothing interesting at all? If the answer truly is “nothing,” then perhaps you should go home. If your reaction though is, “This is a cool place!” then ask yourself what’s cool about it and resume your wandering now focused on what’s cool.”~George Barr, Rules for Looking from his book Take Your Photography to the Next Level