The image above is Hanging on to Life by Bruce Levy. Bruce entered it in our most recent Monochrome ‘competition’. Lovely, Bruce.
If only I had a better camera …
A couple of days ago I was talking to a photographer who explained a relatively ordinary shot by “I’ve only got a simple camera, and ….”
It reminded me of a story allegedly told by the photographer Sam Haskins:
“A photographer went to a socialite party in New York. As he entered the front door, the host said ‘I love your pictures – they’re wonderful; you must have a fantastic camera.’ He said nothing until dinner was finished, then: ‘That was a wonderful dinner; you must have a terrific stove.”
Another well-known photographer once said: “The six inches behind the sensor make more difference to the image than the six inches in front of it.”
A good book
Too late for the monochrome ‘competition’ I got a book I’d ordered online (from Amazon, I think).
It’s called “Black and White: From Snapshots to Great Shots” by John Batdorff, published by PeachPit Press 2012. It’s part, I believe, of a little series of books that are subtitled “….: From Snapshots to Great Shots”
I’ve got a lot of photography books, including other good, but hard, books on how to make good black and white photographs.
This one is really accessible.
It’s very good on what to look for in a scene that might make it a good black and white. It also covers black and white conversions in Lightroom, and the use of Nik Silver Efex Pro, in depth, in a straightforward and easy-to-follow manner. A lot of books and courses set out to do this — they tell you what the various controls do. Mr Batdorff presents you with images and suggests why you might want/need to do something to it to make it a better image. Then he shows the appropriate controls. It’s a very good teaching/learning approach IMHO.
His suggestions on exposure and exposure compensation to protect shadow detail and avoid noise are applicable to all kinds of photography. As are his to-the-point comments on composition.
More than that, his opening chapter on digital image quality and camera settings is a very well written, comprehensive, foundation to digital photography in general.
If you’re a Lightroom user his brief discussion of Lightroom workflow: importing, managing your files, key wording (sorry Sid!) etc. is another bit that’s worth the price of admission.
I don’t usually write book reviews, but at $US24.99 I reckon most camera club members would find enough that’s useful in here to make it a good investment.
PS John Batdorff has a blog too http://johnbatdorff.com which contains some excellent street photography as well as hints and tutorials.