January 2009 - The archive page

Welcome to the January 2009 archive of the dg28 pre-blog. The idea here is simple - every month I will remove the older copy and stick it into a dated archive... read on...


28.01.2009 | 13:40 GMT | Deliberate flash-lit silhouettes

The use of the silhouette as a deliberate ploy in photography was once branded as "the last refuge of the desperate" - a label that I have always contested. I have used the technique many times when I have not been allowed to identify the subject of the picture (usually children or vulnerable adults whose identity needs to be concealed) but I also use it when there is a need for an image with real impact. Creating a silhouette with flash isn't difficult, using the technique sparingly can be.



27.01.2009 | 10:36 GMT | A tale of two adapters

It is a sad day when you are forced to replace a tried and tested piece of equipment. It's a sadder day when that piece of equipment wasn't even broken. The saddest thing of all is when the new kit isn't actually as good as the old one. This happened to me yesterday when I had to replace my Paramount hot shoe to Pocket Wizard cords with some Kaiser ones. Why? Well, it's because I have switched to using Canon 580exII speedlights from Vivitar 285s or Canon 550ex flash units when it's not possible to use my Lumedyne kit.


22.01.2009 | 19:00 GMT | The obligatory bag shot

It seems to me that every web site about a photographer or photography has to feature a shot of the packed bag with an accompanying view of all of the kit laid out. I'm going halfway with the obligatory bag shot but you are going to have to settle for a bulleted list of the contents. We all know what an EOS 5d MkII looks like and I'm pretty sure that you can guess at what a pile of 8 Gb compact flash cards look like too. My old site has quite a bit of this stuff if you really need a fix!

So, what's in your bag mister? (sorry Mr Lehman, I know that's your line). The bag that I'm using most of the time is a Lowe Pro Stealth Reporter 650AW, and from the left the main items are:


22.01.2009 | 15:29 GMT | Photocalls... aaaargghhh!

On the day when several US wire services took the principled decision not to distribute images from the White House that they had not themselves taken I thought that the timing was right to resurrect one of my own opinion pieces which expresses how I, and many of my colleagues, feel about the pre-arranged photocall. At their very best they can provide useable photographs, but the rest of the time they merely offer up banal images. The question is...does it have to be this way?


22.01.2009 | 09:15 GMT | A big pale wall

A lot of portrait photography is done with large soft boxes or large umbrellas. The point there being that large light sources give a certain type of soft light that is reasonably flattering, nicely even and pretty good to work with. Bouncing a flash off of a big white wall gives a very similar effect to a large soft box which makes a big pale wall on location a very useful thing.


21.01.2009 | 23:25 GMT | Night shots, live view

I've been shooting quite a few architectural images for a specialist magazine. I have done a couple of night shots in London and have used them as a way of getting used to the live view option on my Canon EOS 5D MkII and EOS 50D cameras. I had been having problems with focusing in live view but then I bothered to have a look at the instruction manual where I discovered the option of zooming in on the LCD for focusing. Now I know about that, I expect to be using live view a lot more.

15.01.2009 | 14:20 GMT | Obama portrait - a pivotal moment?

I really don't intend to spend much time on this blog talking about the work of other photographers or the big news in photography but I really believe that the unveiling of the new official portrait of President Elect Obama is one of those pivotal moments in the history of our industry that allows me to make a comment.

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13.01.2009 | 19:07 GMT | Three things that make a photograph

In another blatant recycling of an old "opinion" article I have added a piece that I first published in 2003. I seem to spend a lot of time trying to reduce the mysteries of photography down to bite-sized pieces of advice... here I go again...

There are many things that help make a great photograph - a good photographer, the right equipment and luck can all play a part but there are three things that, in different proportions, are absolutely essential.


09.01.2009 | 16:21 GMT | Photographer or person with camera?

From time to time I deliver seminars to fellow photographers and I give lectures to students, PR people and just about anyone who will listen. If I get long enough, there is a central theme to what I try to say. It really amounts to defining the difference between a photographer and somebody with a camera. It's about how we see the world and how we show others that world.


07.01.2009 | 14:51 GMT | Subscribe to our newsletter

When we transform this pre-blog into the all-singing and all-dancing blog there will be an RSS feed and every other kind of web based technology so that you can keep up with the news and changes to the site as they happen. In the mean time, we will be publishing an irregular newsletter. If you want to get the newsletter go here to subscribe...


07.01.2009 | 13:16 GMT | Getting ACR right

Professional photographers who just use the equipment and software for work have a great deal to learn from the amateurs, software enthusiasts and geeks who populate discussion forums because these guys get into the real "nitty-gritty" of the software and work out how to do almost everything and then let the world know by writing about it on forums. I've just saved myself a great deal of time and heartache by searching a couple of specialist forums to sort out a few issues I had with Adobe Camera RAW and the CR2 files from my Canon EOS5D MkII...


05.01.2009 | 19:15 GMT | Back to Halloween

Just before Halloween, one of the national newspapers called me and asked me to shoot a portrait of a grave digger... in a graveyard... after dark. I'm not particularly superstitious (I don't walk under ladders) and I was genuinely excited by the prospect of the commission. I don't know if it makes the job any better but the cemetery in question happens to be the one nearest to my childhood home and be the last resting place of a number of my relatives.


05.01.2009 | 16:29 GMT | Happy new year

2009 has arrived and I am now back at work. Since January the 1st I have been having a break, getting over a very heavy cold and enjoying a few family events. I'm looking forward to my first January for fifteen years as a freelancer and I have a lot of hopes, goals and dreams for my professional life as we move into the new year. I also have a few predictions about how our industry might shape up and I will inflict those on you another day. So... happy new year, good luck, good picture taking and good health.

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