Bodega asador el lagar, Calle el Silencio, Pampaneira, Spain. November 2014. Fujinon 18-135mm lens.

 

 
In this post 
    • 4 Must-Have Photography Skills – the absolute fundamentals of photography
    • Composition Tools
    • Free Online Artistic Review
    • Olympus has fallen – who’s next?
    • COVID 19 Update 3
    • Read this if you want to buy a drink in a pub

 

 
4 Must-Have Photography Skills – the absolute fundamentals of photography

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a long time may recall I have used this title before, as a matter of fact in 2017. However, The original post talked about six must-have camera operating skills required to efficiently and effectively capture a picture.

 

Seeing a picture

The previous post rightly or wrongly made one basic assumption; the absolute photography fundamentals were already in place before picking up the camera. Put very simply, it is the photographer/camera operator must have the ability to see a picture.

Why do I mention the term camera operator? This is not a plea in a technocratic world for full manual control of the camera. Nor is it a cry for full automation leaving the person behind the camera to concentrate on seeing the picture. Moreover, conscious expressive photography is a balance of artistic and technical considerations.

 

 “The subject is something secondary, what I want to reproduce,

is what lies between the subject and myself.”

Claude Monet 

A photographer recognises their artistic and technical role in the taking and making of a photograph. Additionally, the expressive photograph goes beyond what the subject merely looked like to a personal interpretation based on the photographer’s personality, feeling and knowledge of the subject.

 

The Four Must-Have Photography Skills – the absolute fundamentals of photography

 

A photographer has these following inputs into a photo before making secondary technical choices:

1. What is the essence of the attraction?

2. Where is the subject matter?

3. Why is it visually interesting?

4. When is the appropriate time to press the shutter?

You will note how does not appear in the numbered list above. This is because the method of how is answered with camera technique, hence, the output of the photographer’s thinking process.

 

Camera Operators

A camera operator, on the other hand, has all the technical skills and knowledge but lacks the artistic input, through awareness and perception.

To tell the truth, I suggest the photographic process before pressing the button becomes lop-sided when it only consists of:

1. ISO

2. Aperture

3. Shutterspeed

4. Focus

These are all topics a camera can work out for itself! On the other hand, what a camera cannot do is read your mind to identify the defining artistic nuances. As I have written in the ABC of Camerawork, your camera does not know you or love you!

Composition Tools

Good photography is a melding together of passion, art and technique. But even so, just because your camera can do things like auto ISO for you does not mean it has too. Camera settings have to be appropriate for the type of picture sought. Picture composition is the glue that holds an image together. Another way the camera tries to help is by placing a framing grid in the viewfinder. Conversely, to me, this is not helping but providing a route to a pre-made composition. The phrase “one size fits all” comes to mind. More importantly, pre-sets such as this can stop you searching for a visually satisfying composition. As a consequence, there may be better but not immediately obvious compositions from a different viewpoint.

 

Hot Hint

One of my clients on an Art of Composition Workshop in Pembrokeshire found turning off the Composition Grid in the viewfinder helpful. Further, this is a way of learning to think about composition and visual balance.      

 

Free Online Artistic Review

If you desire to create more expressive photograph’s there is a good chance you need to increase the amount of artistic input into your work. Though, I don’t know what you don’t know. However, I have created a list of artistic topics that will be useful to you in progress as a photographer. You may like to see how you fare on the Artistic Awareness front with a go at the free survey that is on my website.

Olympus has fallen – who’s next?

With the recent demise of Olympus Cameras in its current form from the market, this is a look at who else might shuffle off this mortal coil in the medium to long term.

The top four in this group of now 9 (below) would appear to be relatively safe in terms of market share and profitability, for a while at least. Whatever happens, three of the top four are fighting each other with the same product range – full-frame and APS-C sensor cameras. Only Fujifilm has seen the strategic sense to distance themselves from the overcrowded full-frame market. They also offer a profitable GFX medium format camera. Fujifilm also has the benefit that only 10% or less of the corporation’s overall profits come from cameras and lenses. The Fujifilm Holdings Corporation is also trading in Document Solutions, Medical Imaging, Cosmetics, Regenerative Medicines, Stems Cell technology and Biologics.

1 Canon

2 Sony

3 Nikon

4 Fujifilm

5 Leica

6 Olympus

7 Pentax

8 Panasonic

9 Hasselblad

10 Phase One

Who maybe next?

My guess is Leica will carry on making a few hand-made cameras at an eye-watering price for loyal collectors. Pentax is in the full-frame and medium format battle with a very small sales base to build from. Therefore, their position may be precarious in the longer term. Panasonic’s parent company make movie video cameras this has helped boost their reputation for video in an M4/3 body. Now their M4/3 partner Olympus is gone, to tell the truth, that might be an issue for them.

 

Hasselblad and Phase One are both very niche products. Hasselblad is owned by the drone producer DJI who are keeping them afloat for now at least. Even so, they have reduced the price and upped the usability of the X1 D II but the speed of the autofocus makes it only suitable for landscape work. Phase One cameras are benefitting greatly from the sales of Capture One Raw Converter software. Nevertheless, both of these systems would appear to be trailing behind the excellent capability of the Fujifilm GFX range of medium format bodies.

 

The basis of this section came from the Luminous Landscape website in an article by Dan Wells called “Olympus has fallen – who’s next?” Read the full-length piece here.

 

COVID 19 Update 3

In Wales

  • Unrestricted travel started again for any purpose from 6 July.
  • Outdoor hospitality – Pubs and Cafes return on 9 July.
  • Indoor hospitality – Pubs, Cafes, Hotels and Restaurants return on 3 August.

 

Read this if you want to buy a drink in a pub

I have been in a pub for my first pint of beer since Sunday 15 March at The White Hart in Cheddar, and very nice it was too. However, just because pubs can open does not mean they are all open. Your choice of drinking hole may be restricted.

The new normal was a little strange at first. As a matter of fact, the giving of contact details, placing an order and making a payment was all done through an app. The app was downloaded via a QR code on the table. If you do not have a QR Code Reader app on your phone you may not be able to download one. Although, most pubs have reasonable public Wifi. Either way, to be on the safe side check you have a reader on your phone before you enter out.

Don’t forget to take a charged phone with you when you go!

 

Just to finish off my news, I went to the barbers today for a desperately needed haircut. Actually, no appointment needed, no queue, just a face mask and pay the 50% increase in cost!