October Project

SEASONAL COLOURS

Each season of the year has its own colour palette associated with it. Take images that emphasise the autumn colours that predominate at the moment.

This project can be interpreted in many ways and the instructions are deliberately not detailed so that you can do them in your own way. Try not to limit yourself to one photograph for these projects, use the title to create a collection of images.

Lightroom Library Tips

There are some great Lightroom tips to help with importing, editing and organising your library here from Adobe Systems Principal Evangelist, Julieanne Kost.

She broadcast this at the Photography Show which was held online this year due to the pandemic.

Adobe Portfolio

If you are subscribed to the Adobe Photographer plan where you get access to Lightroom Classic, Lightroom and Photoshop for a monthly fee, then you might be aware that you also have free access to construct up to five websites on which to showcase your photography using Adobe Portfolio, an on-line website builder.

It really is very easy to set up and Julieanne Kost, one of the Digital Imaging Evangelists of Adobe has produced a .pdf that shows how to construct a Portfolio website.

It can be downloaded from here.

My own website constructed with Portfolio and directed to my own domain name can be seen here.

It has been just over a year since I made this iteration of my website, and I shall be looking very soon at a revamp with a new design.


September Project

DIFFERENTIAL FOCUS

Things can look very different depending on what is in or out of focus. Choose a setting or subject and take a series of photographs using a shallow depth of field and focussing on different elements of your subject.

This project can be interpreted in many ways and the instructions are deliberately not detailed so that you can do them in your own way. Try not to limit yourself to one photograph for these projects, use the title to create a collection of images.

August Project

ENVIRONMENT UNDER THREAT

This project can be seen as almost the opposite of last month’s. Find a location – it doesn’t have to be the same as July’s, although that would construct an interesting juxtaposition – and record what parts of that area could fall under the title. Show the area in a bad light.

This project can be interpreted in many ways and the instructions are deliberately not detailed so that you can do them in your own way. Try not to limit yourself to one photograph for these projects, use the title to create a collection of images.

July Project

TOURIST BROCHURE

A promotional brochure aims to show the best of a location and put a positive spin on it. Choose a location and photograph the best things that you can find and aim to arrive at a collection of images that set an upbeat atmosphere.

This project can be interpreted in many ways and the instructions are deliberately not detailed so that you can do them in your own way. Try not to limit yourself to one photograph for these projects, use the title to create a collection of images.

Olympus sells Imaging Division

So after over 80 years of making excellent cameras and superb lenses the Olympus Image Division is being sold to Japanese Industrial Partners (JIP), a private equity fund. At the moment Olympus are saying it is not a finalized deal but everyone is certain it is going to happen. One media commentator has said that he knows that all of the Olympus reps for North America have been let go.

The reasons for the sale are obvious. The smartphone has crippled the user market for small pocketable cameras and this leaves a much smaller slice of the market for the interchangable lens cameras. Olympus feel that they can no longer afford the losses.

So what will JIP do with the business? There are some pundits who think that JIP are more concerned with the value of Olympus’ not inconsiderable patent portfolio, obviously worth millions. Other point out that even if the Olympus name continues under JIP, the acquisition of Sony’s VAIO laptop business in 2014 and it’s subsequent rebirth under JIP did not mean the quality continued. Indeed the general opinion on the range of VAIO laptops since JIP took over is not good. The Olympus name has always stood for quality and Zuiko lenses have an enviable reputation for build quality and sharpness.

Will any new cameras be called Olympus? It is possible but unlikely. When JIP purchased VAIO, they obviously could not use Sony and this may be the case here. Cameras may well still be called OM-D and PEN but without the prefix Olympus. There is also a question about R&D in that JIP may not be willing to invest in such expansive research as Olympus did for new products. There are some in the industry who think that JIP/Olympus will concentrate on the enthusiast side of the business such as the OM-D E-M5 rather than the professional OM-D E-M1 III

So if you are an Olympus user, what do you do? Once JIP take over, will the range of cameras and lenses continue? Will there still be an international system of repair and warranty outlets? If the cameras and lenses continue, what will the quality be like? As with Gibson guitars where people talk of pre-Norlin acquisition, will people talk of pre-JIP acquisition in terms of quality?

For Olympus users, many who have stayed with the marque through decades there are some choices:

  • Sell up now and move to another camera manufacture
  • Stick with Olympus and buy a spare camera (there are some good second-hand deals around at the moment)
  • Stay with Olympus until bodies or lenses need repair and then move to another marque.
  • Stay with Olympus and support the JIP take over of the company by buying the products.

It starts with the subject

When we are taking a photograph what are we thinking about in terms of the subject? We have learnt photographic skills and techniques in order that we may best express what we see in that subject, but do we use them? With the current trend for a quick “turn around” for photographs in which they are taken and then uploaded to multimedia sometimes almost immediately it is inevitable that something can be lost within the message of the image. Instagram, for example, has almost become a flipbook where we scroll through the images one after the other hitting the “heart” where we think it is appropriate. So,  it is our responsibility, as photographers, as creatives, to ensure that the viewer engages with our images.

It is an obvious statement of fact to say that it is not easy to make a photograph that has the power to stop people in their tracks. I love looking through photographs made by photographers and there are probably only a score or so images out of thousands that have made me stop and go “wow”, or have affected me to the extent that I have to take a breath before I can look again. But that doesn’t mean we all shouldn’t be trying to achieve that state of photographic excellence every time we press the shutter – indeed I believe it is something we should strive for.

Considering that we then, as, competent photographers, have learnt camera, compositional and processing techniques, where then can we apply some extra creativity and skill to try and achieve the creation of an image which people would want to stop and look at on any media.

Perhaps we should be looking at the subject of our photographs. It is this that prompted the urge to record the scene in the first place. After all, the subject is the focal point of anything we produce. The subject, of course, does not have to be a physical “thing”. It can be a shadow, a feeling or a colour, but it is what we are basing our photographic creation on.

David duChemin in his excellent new book, The Heart of the Photograph, wants photographers to ask three very important questions about the subjects of our images to gain better clarity on what it is we are trying to achieve.

• Is there a clear, single subject?
• What is it about this subject that makes you want to take the photograph?
• What are we trying to show, point out and say about the subject?

If we can supply the answers to these questions when we take the photograph, then it stands to reason that everything that a viewer needs to know about the image will be available. They will have a connection with the photograph that we have placed before them. It is this connection that will prevent the “flipbook” approach that is so prevalent these days. They will want to look at the photograph longer; they will want to explore what it is we have shown them in the image. If these three questions are answered well, and we use our skill with the camera and the techniques we have learnt then there is a good chance that we have created a photograph that people want to see – and look at more than once.

June Project

THE FOUR ELEMENTS

Earth, air, fire (heat/energy) and water. Take one of these and make it prominent in your photographs. If you’re feeling adventurous do a series of images using all four elements and comprising of several shots for each. This could be a  perfect subject for a self-made photobook.

This project can be interpreted in many ways and the instructions are deliberately not detailed so that you can do them in your own way. Try not to limit yourself to one photograph for these projects, use the title to create a collection of images.