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Issue 39 28 Nov – 12 Jan

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Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com


News Tests Clubs

Exhibitions

Techniques

Interviews

Competitions

Reviews

Photography Produced by

Issue 39 28 Nov – 12 Jan

news

Your FREE newspaper packed with the latest news, views and stories from the world of photography

Winning shots from five major contests, starting from page 24

FREE DIGITAL EDITION every month*

*at absolutephoto.com

WIN!

Vote in our 2016 Awards Competition special

GET YOUR

Have your say in our Gear of the Year Awards, page 39

A Samsung 64GB Pro memory card

Low light It's time to get creative in the dark, page 44

King of speed

Enter the competition on page 76

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II can deliver 60 full-size Raws in a single second with its electronic shutter. Add a weather-proof body, 20.4-megapixel resolution and a five-axis image stabilisation system and Olympus’s new flagship model looks like a very special camera indeed

Olympus announced the OM-D E-M1 three months ago but at the time it was still in development so its specification was subject to change. The camera is now available to preorder and its impressive features list is confirmed. Most camera brands are striving for ever more rapid shooting rates. For Olympus this meant revisiting its core technologies; thus the OM-D E-M1 Mark II boasts a new sensor as well as a redesigned-from

the-ground-up autofocus system which features 121 cross-point sensors. These innovations have allowed a continuous shooting rate of 60 frames-per-second capturing full-size Raws in single AF with the camera’s Pro Capture mode using its silent electronic shutter. With continuous AF tracking this drops to 18 frames-per-second. Use the mechanical shutter and you get 15 frames-per-second in continuous shooting with single AF.

In Pro Capture, partially depress the shutter button and the camera buffers full resolution files and when the shutter is fully depressed to start shooting, the previous 14 frames are also captured to help you capture the decisive moment. Fast shooting is just one aspect of this astonishing camera so turn to page 3 to read more and to page 54 for a full review of this top CSC. olympus.co.uk

Camera Club of the Year 2016-17 Calling all camera clubs and photographic societies: entry for this year’s contest, sponsored by Fujifilm, is now open. Win a monthly round and your club could be joining us for a very special final shoot-out. See page 20 for full entry details


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com


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Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

News

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II The flagship OM-D E-M1 Mark II builds on its predecessor the OM-D E-M1 and offers a wide range of new advanced features. Key among them is its new high speed AF, which boasts 121-point all cross-type phase detection sensors that cover 75% of the vertical imaging area and 80% horizontally. The camera can deliver 18fps shooting in continuous autofocus or 60fps Raw in single-autofocus with its electronic shutter. You get 15fps with the mechanical shutter. Four AF target modes means autofocus can be set for different situations. Top image quality is delivered by a brand new 20.4-megapixel Live MOS sensor and new TruePic VIII processor and the camera offers a 50-megapixel high-res shot option. The 5-axis in-body image stabilisation system gives a 5.5EV benefit. Fit the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4 PRO lens which has 2-axis IS built-in and you get up to 6.5EV at the focal length of 100mm. In addition to this the Mark II features a high-speed smooth electronic viewfinder and is the first OM-D camera to feature two SD slots, one UHS-II compatible, and

Hands on Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II PN editor Will Cheung got the chance to use the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II at Ascot races on a crisp autumnal afternoon. Here’s his report: “After a short briefing on the camera that helped me appreciate what OM-D E-M1 Mark II offered, I got started on working out how to set the camera up in detail. “The menu is seriously extensive, as befits a flagship camera, and it took me a little while to find how to set focus zones and engage continuous AF options, for example. The quick menu certainly helped and while I would have liked more time to customise the camera further, I was ready to shoot after a few minutes of basic set-up. “I set aperture-priority AE, AWB, single zone AF, ISO 200 and simultaneous Fine JPEG and Raw recording. I had two lenses, the 12-40mm f/2.8 and 40-150mm f/2.8. “I must say I was impressed by the camera’s robust build and I am a fan of the security given by twin SD card slots which this camera has. The camera feels and sounds lovely. Mechanical shutter noise is low even when fast continuous mode is set and barely audible outdoors. “My personal hit rate with continuous AF tracking could have been higher but I think that was more user and set-up error. In tracking mode, the camera’s AF should detect what's moving and track that subject but it didn’t always manage that. There is no doubt, however, that the AF system is very fast and when I switched to single AF, my shots were spot on. “Shooting at 15fps is amazing and the 60fps of Pro Capture even more so, and it does mean you get plenty of choice when you go through your shots – on the other hand, you use a lot of card space very quickly.

“Exposure was generally very sound too and the system coped especially well with backlighting. The only time I got underexposed shots was when I had a few seconds to photograph horses walking back from the track to the paddock under the grandstand. The bright background sky and the very deep shadows made for a very challenging scene. If I’d had time I would have set some compensation because I wouldn’t expect any camera to deal with that situation without human help. “Generally, though, the AF, exposure and white-balance systems did very well. In fact I was very happy with JPEGs straight out of the camera. Colours looked spot on and well saturated even with standard colour mode. “I also did some 4K video shooting with and without the IS system engaged to see how effective the IS is. My word, what a difference it made to my footage. Bear in mind I was using the 40-150mm at the long end and I was almost shaking with cold and that combination made my panning footage very jittery but the IS did an unbelievable job of smoothing it out. “I also got the chance to try the Mark II with the 12100mm f/4 PRO lens. This new lens has 2-axis IS on board and that works with the camera body’s own IS to give a claimed 6.5EV benefit. In theory a 6EV benefit means you can shoot at 1/2sec and get pictures as sharp as 1/125sec. The image shown on the right was shot indoors handheld from a freestanding position at 1sec at f/18 at 40mm (80mm in 35mm format). As you can see from the enlarged section, it is very, very acceptable. Remarkable. “From my short time with the OM-D E-M1 Mark II it is clearly a first-rate CSC that has set new benchmarks in key areas such as continuous shooting speed.”

is the first in Olympus cameras to offer 4K video recording. Like other OM-D models the E-M1 Mark 11 has a rugged weatherproof design which makes it splash proof, dust proof and freeze proof. The Mark II’s shutter is rated at 200,000 cycles. Thanks to an improved battery life the OM-D E-M1 Mark II offers an extended shooting time and displays the battery life as a percentage. The OM-D E-M1 is compatible with a range of Micro Four Thirds lenses and accessories, including the newly available HLD-9 battery grip that can deliver up to an additional 880 shots, priced at £279.99. The OM-D E-M1 Mark II will be available body only for £1849.99 or with the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO lens for £2399.99 from December. With the Olympus Pro Service if you purchase an OM-D E-M1 Mark II you have the choice of three service programmes; Standard Plus, Advance and Elite. Standard Plus is free and offers benefits such as six months extended warranty. See our full test on the OM-D E-M1 Mark II on page 54. olympus.co.uk


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Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

News

New from Nikon The D5600 is the latest DX-format DSLR from Nikon. Available now, it is priced at f £799.99 for the AF-P 1855 VR kit and £989.99 for the D5600 AF-S 18-140 VR kit. The D5600 boasts a 24.2-megapixel sensor, an ISO range of 100-25,600 and a variangle touchscreen. It also features SnapBridge compatibility allowing you to shoot remotely and share your shots on the go using the Nikon SnapBridge app. Other features include a refined touch Fn function and a frame advance bar, a feature taken from the D5 and D500 which allows you to scroll quickly through images in playback mode.

Nikon has also announced its winter cashback promotion, offering up to £510 on selected Nikkor lenses and DSLR cameras. The offer runs until 15 January 2017. Find out more at nikon.co.uk/promotions. nikon.co.uk

Filters at Fotospeed Fotospeed is pleased to announce the availability of Kaiser filters. The range includes the Kaiser Vario ND filter, which can be rotated to adjust the neutral density strength from ND2x to ND400x (2EV to 8EV). Also available in the range are colour filters, polarisers, conversion filters and skylight filters. Prices range from £18.70-£38.99. fotospeed.com

More Manfrotto monopods Manfrotto has launched a new range of monopods for both video and photo. The XPRO Monopod+ range consists of five models, while there are six models available in the XPRO Video Monopod+ range. The dedicated video monopod kits feature Manfrotto’s new Full Fluid base and 3D fluid movement to help you achieve compelling smooth footage. The Full Fluid Base can also be purchased separately allowing you to convert the XPRO Photo Monopod+ range for video use. Both ranges include a quick power lock system for rapid set-up and also have rubber leg warmers to increase comfort and grip. Prices for the ranges start from £59.95. manfrotto.co.uk

Liking Leica Leica has unveiled the TL-System camera. Improving on the Leica T camera system the Leica TL features an improved autofocus and an internal buffer memory of 32GB. There are currently six lenses available in the Leica TL portfolio, three primes and two zooms, but thanks to optimized compatibility you can also use Leica SL-lenses with OIS and R-System lenses combined with the R-Adapter. The TL is available now in titanium, silver or black finish priced at £1450. Also new from Leica is the special edition APOSummicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH lens in red anodised finish. There are only 100 units available worldwide, priced at £7575, which are currently scheduled to be available from 9 December 2016. In other Leica lens news it has introduced a modern version of its classic Summaron-M 28mm f/5.6 lens. The new Summaron-M 28mm f/5.6 wideangle lens is ultra-compact and stylish and priced at £1900. uk.leica-camera.com

Mighty macro Adding to its line of OM-D accessories Olympus has launched the STF-8 Macro flash. Available from December 2016 and priced at £449.99 this compact and lightweight twin flash offers a guide number of six using one flash head or 8.5 when firing two. The flash heads can be moved or detached, allowing you to have more control when lighting macro subjects and thanks to it being dust, splash and freeze proof you can shoot in all conditions. olympus.co.uk


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Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

News

Save on Portrait Pro Portrait Pro v15 is a powerful software that lets you improve all aspects of your people pictures very simply and quickly. You can banish skin blemishes, add or repair make-up and even adjust and improve facial features. Making changes is done with sliders and clicking on your subject’s face, and you can let the software do the work or you can take control manually and make your own presets. If great portraits are your goal, Portrait Pro is an essential software and it can do wonders for your work. There is 50% off this software at the moment so it is available for under £30 but for a limited time you get an extra 10% by using the code PNGIFT. portraitprofessional.com

London Stereo The London Stereoscopic Company has launched the OWL Virtual Reality Kit, which allows you to use it with a smartphone to view online 3D images or those taken by yourself an adapter. The OWL features high-quality optical lenses and a fully adjustable focus. The OWL VR kit is

available for £25. Alternatively you can purchase the Victorian Gems Nest Set for £95 which comes with an OWL or the Queen set for £90 which includes the Platinum OWL Stereoscopic viewer. londonstereo.com

Luminar release

Get in for free

Macphun’s new Luminar all-in-one photo editor for Mac is available to purchase now. It offers an adaptive user interface, more than 35 fully adjustable custom filters and over 50 built-in presets. Other features include noise reduction, object removal and Raw file support. Luminar can be used standalone or as a plug-in to software such as Lightroom, Photoshop, Aperture and more. Download a trial or buy it for £44. Existing Machphun users can get an additional discount.

The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers’ (SWPP) convention takes place at the Hilton London Metropole, Edgware Road, London W2 1JU, on 11-15 January 2017. A trade show attended by many of imaging’s biggest names takes place 13-15 Jan and entry for this is usually £10 but if you book now, entrance is free. Visit the website for more details. swpp.co.uk

macphun.com/luminar

G-Technology expands its G-DRIVE portfolio Introducing its first portable solid state drive, G-Technology has announced the G-DRIVE slim SDD USB-C. Available in 1TB and 500GB capacities it offers speeds of up to 540MB/s and is compatible with Macs. The 1TB is priced at £329.95, while the 500GB is £199.95, and both sizes are available in space grey and silver. g-technology.com

Win in the night Photography News has teamed up with expert photographic printers LumeJet to bring you this chance to win £200 to spend on its website. LumeJet is passionate about printing great photographs and uses its own developed S200 printer for high-end photographic and commercial print use. This high-resolution printer features the LumeJet RGB Digital Print Head and Fujifilm professional-grade Crystal Archive materials to achieve a unique, ultra-high quality with extraordinary colour fidelity. Upload your best low light or night shot and you could be the happy recipient of this wonderful prize. Our technique feature is full of hints and tips on the subject of shooting in low light so if you’ve never done it before, now’s the perfect opportunity. Whether you go for a light trail shot, a candid in a dimly lit pub or even a street scene complete with festive lighting, you have to be in it to win it. Upload your entry to flickr.com on bit.ly/2eititO. Only one photograph per person can be submitted and the entrant must be UK-based. Images should be 1500 pixels across and we will contact you if we need higher resolution files to judge or publish. The editor’s decision in this contest is final and for full terms and conditions please see absolutephoto.com. The closing date for entries is 9 January 2017 and the winner will be announced in PN issue 40 out the week beginning 16 January 2017. lumejet.com


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com


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Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

News © Scott Sinden

Disabled winners show their talent

Mastering Street Photography Mastering Street Photography is an essential guide to the equipment and technical skills required to help you get the most out of taking street photos. Written by the principal and course tutor of Streetsnappers workshops, Brian Lloyd Duckett teaches you how you to capture candid moments. Published by Ammonite Press, Mastering Street Photography will be available from December, with a guide price of £19.99. ammonitepress.com

Scott Sinden was diagnosed with motor neurone disease two years ago, and his poppy image won him a prize in the Disabled Photographers’ Society’s annual competition. “I was shocked and surprised to win a prize,” he said. “It takes a lot of effort to take pictures because of my condition, so to be told I had won an award made me hugely proud.” Another winner was Brian Adam, who has had part of his leg amputated. “I loved the competition,” Brian said, “and it gave me a purpose to get out and about with the camera.” Scott, Brian and other winners attended an awards ceremony at Calumet Photographic’s London Drummond Street store. the-dps.co.uk

© Swales Parry

© Alan Warriner

Winning Army Photos

© Linda Pryke

© John Holt

The Army Photographic Competition winners have been announced with professional army photographer, Corporal Tim Jones being named as Photographer of the Year. His winning images portrayed military life over the past year. Speaking about his win Tim said: “I take photos for my job and at the end of the year I look through my archive and pick out my favourites. I wasn’t expecting it; it’s cool.” There were 13 other awards announced, as well as two runners up and the winners were announced at an awards ceremony held at the Imperial War Museum, London.

© Corporal Tim Jones

passing Bassenthwaite and thought it might be a good location to get a photograph of the sunrise the next morning. When I arrived there was little sign of the sun, but instead the lake had frozen. The contrast between the reeds and the ice caught my eye, and I ended up taking this shot instead." Three runners-up were also announced; John Holt, Linda Pryke and Swales Parry.

© Corporal Tim Jones

© Sergeant Rupert Frere

The winner of the 2016 Thomson Ecology Seasons of the British Isles competition has been named as Alan Warriner. His winning image, entitled 'Fire in the Ice' was taken on an early morning in the Lake District. The winning shot saw Alan collect the prize of £200, plus royalties for the use of his photo. Alan says, “I had some time off and had spent a few days in the Lake District with my camera. One evening I was

Exposure explained Award-winning photographer David Taylor helps you understand and master exposure in his new book, featuring enjoyable infographics. Photo-Graphics: Exposure published by Ammonite Press is available to buy now for £19.99. ammonitepress.com The Catalogue Raisonné Published by Phaidon, Magnum Photobook: The Catalogue Raisonné features the 1300 photobooks that have been published to date by Magnum photographers, offering an insight into 100 of these books including Robert Capa’s Death in the Making (1939), and Henri Cartier-Bresson's The Decisive Moment. It's available now, priced £49.95. uk.phaidon.com

army.mod.uk

Seasons of the British Isles

News in brief

iPhotography The Joy of iPhotography by Jack Hollingsworth offers tips on how to approach a variety of subjects when shooting with the world's most popular camera, the iPhone. It's available to buy now at £9.99. octopusbooks.co.uk

thomsonecology.com

Euronews © Nicolas Borel

Beats © Jasper Sanidad

Inside the world’s leading brands

roads.co

Target © Rottet Studio

See inside some of the most successful and celebrated brands' headquarters in HQ: Nerve Centres of the World’s Leading Brands. Published by ROADS, this hardback book offers stunning interior and architectural shots of over 50 of the world’s leading firms, such as Aston Martin and Beats Electronics. The book is available now for £40.


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Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

Tell us your club’s latest news, email: clubnews@photography-news.co.uk

Clubs

Camera club news If your club has any news that you want to share with the rest of the world, this is the page for it. Your story might be about your club’s success in a contest, or a member’s personal achievements; it could be about a group outing you had recently or when the annual exhibition is on show. Any news is eligible for inclusion, so club publicity officers please take note of the submission guidelines and get your stories in

How to submit

Deadline for the next issue: 2 January 2017

We need words and pictures by 2 January 2017 for the next issue of Photography News, which will be available from 16 January 2017. Write your story in a Word document (400 words max). Please include contact details of the club, exhibition or event: website, meeting times, opening times, whatever is relevant. Images should be JPEGs, 2000 pixels on the longest dimension, any colour space, and image credits should be included. If the story is an exhibition or event, please send a picture from the exhibition (not the publicity poster) or one from the event. If it includes people, please identify them. Attach the Word document and JPEGs to an email and send to clubnews@photography-news.co.uk

Camera Double honour for Farnborough Camera Club of Wokingham and Club celebrates the Year East Berkshire

Camera Club

FORMAT Photoforum: open session with Paul Hill Photography enthusiasts are invited to come along to an open session with Paul Hill at QUAD in Derby on 8 December, 6.30pm to 8.30pm, (tickets £5).
 Share your work and gain advice and guidance from Paul, a photographer, author and teacher. The session, part of the FORMAT Photoforum event running until 19 January 2017, is an opportunity to expose your work to an informed audience of fellow practitioners and enthusiasts, and get feedback that may help move the work forward, or even get it published or exhibited. If you want to show your work, please contact Paul in advance at paul@ hillonphotography.co.uk For more details visit derbyquad.co.uk

be featured, along with pictures from Oberursel, as well as displays on the club’s history and historical shots. Leo Rich from the PAGB will be attending to present a special 75th anniversary rosette to the best image. farnboroughcameraclub.org © Ian Newman

The search for Photography News Camera Club of the Year has begun! Look out for announcements about the themes over the next five issues of PN, and details of how your club can get involved. See page 20 of this issue for the latest information.

Farnborough Camera Club celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, and held a commemorative event on 25 October, hosting David Noton and his Chasing the Light Roadshow. Mayor of Rushmoor, councillor Jacqui Vosper, introduced David and 160 people attended. David’s roadshow was a great event, showcasing his amazing work over the last 30 years, whilst also presenting some of his most recent work. Other events to celebrate the anniversary included a special dinner with Tony Oliver from the SCPF and members from Farnborough’s twinned club in Oberursel, Germany in attendance. The final event will be the 75th Anniversary Exhibition to be held in Princes Mead, Farnborough on 28 and 29 January 2017. Some of the best images from club members will

Left to right Kathryn Graham, Terry Redman, mayor Jacqui Vosper, David Noton and Wendy Collens.

Hailsham member produces winning print Two members of Wokingham and East Berkshire Camera Club have been honoured in this year’s Landscape Photographer of the Year awards. Martin Pickles was commended for his image ‘Temple Island Flypast’. “To get so far is something else,” said Martin. “It means a place in the Awards book and my image will be displayed as a print in the LPotY exhibition. The image itself was both a bit of luck – beautiful winter morning, with the geese deciding to fly at that exact moment – and being prepared, ie having my camera set up and ready. I just had to lift the camera, compose, focus and shoot!” Matthew Cattell was named overall winner for his image ‘Starling Vortex’. “Winning Landscape Photographer of the Year has been a dream come true,” said Martin. “This was my second time witnessing the starling roost at Brighton and I knew before I arrived that I wanted to take a photograph from the pier to give the impression of being at the centre of the murmuration. The tones of the sky reflected the cold, winter weather and the wind had whipped up the sea to create large, rolling waves. I didn’t know if I had captured what I wanted until I got home. I was drawn to this particular shot because of the sense of movement created by the birds and waves against the static pier.” webcc.org.uk

The Kent County Photographic Association (KCPA) holds an annual print competition, the Ross Cup, to encourage the production of prints. This year’s event took place on 30 October. Gay Biddlecombe from Hailsham Photographic Society won the Lakeland Holidays Landscape Trophy for the best landscape print. Her print, ‘Volcanic Dust Descending’, was taken two weeks after the 2010 volcanic eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. The judge, Walter Benzie Hon FRPS, president of the RPS, said that landscapes depend on fine definition, an interesting viewpoint, timing and maximising the use of available light, and that this image had all the right ingredients. hailshamphotographicsociety. co.uk


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

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Interview Profile

Paul Legg

Flash gear has changed almost beyond all recognition in recent times, so we caught up with the boss of Profoto, a leading light in the lighting revolution

Biography Full job title? Managing director Years in the photo industry? Oh this will hurt… 34 years – I started when I was 16! Current location? Stockholm Last picture taken? Southend-on-Sea pier When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? I always wanted to be a lumberjack… no, as a child I dreamt of being a pilot Dogs or cats? Dogs Toast or cereal? Cereal Email or phone call? Phone call

For great image creators, challenges are there to be conquered

Try before you buy Profoto has an extensive dealer and rental network so if you want to check out its products see its website for your nearest dealer. A Profoto dealer will have ‘try before you buy’ equipment available so you can borrow a B2, B1 or newly launched D2 mains Air TTL monobloc for a couple of days to experience Profoto equipment in a non pressured environment. Profoto will be at next year’s The Photography Show at the NEC too.

Many of our readers will have heard of Profoto but the brand might not be familiar to all, so would you mind introducing everyone to what the company offers please? Profoto is the Light Shaping Company. We design and develop light shaping tools that enable the world’s best and most ambitious image creators to be more creative, take better images and turn their ambition into reality. How is business in the lighting market from your perspective? Business is very good. Since start up, Profoto Ltd, the UK subsidiary, has averaged 20% growth year on year. 2015 was a great year with a 40% increase and 2016 is continuing in the same direction. Have you had to increase your prices as many distributors have due to the weak £ and Brexit vote? Profoto Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary and as such, unlike some lighting distributors in the UK, we have direct communication with our owners in Stockholm. Working together we have tried to absorb any cost increases so far. If we do have a price increase it tends to be once annually around January/February. The market for portable lighting has changed enormously and Profoto has played its part with the B1 and B2 off-camera lighting systems. The two systems take different approaches, one with on-board power one with separate battery. What do your customers favour most? Both are both extremely popular. The B2 250 Air TTL with its small compact head utilising both offcamera flash accessories or the standard Profoto light shapers without the need for adaptors or the cord free B1 500 Air TTL monobloc. They are used for multiple applications and some photographers use both. The real beauty is that the image creator can choose which is best for them on a particular shoot. It is worth noting that both the B1 and B2 are supported by a ‘try before you buy’ scheme through our retailers. Profoto equipment is also widely supported by rental dealers. Profoto’s traditional customer has been the pro photographer, but with the B1 and B2 are enthusiasts buying your products? The groundbreaking B1 allowed for a new style of photography thanks to its power, lack of cords, TTL and High Speed Sync (HSS).

This functionality has brought large numbers of customers to invest in Profoto. Professional photographers, prosumers and enthusiasts are seeing the limitations in their existing equipment. With respect to TTL in the studio, some brands have stuck with manual only flash while Profoto has embraced it. Why is this and what do you feel the key benefits of TTL flash on studio type lighting units are? It really is the same conversation many people had when AF cameras and program autoexposure modes arrived. If the technology works, why not embrace it? Also, the B1 and B2 deliver significant improvement over speedlights on output power, recycling times and rapid bursts in the studio or on location, plus they are compatible with over 150 Profoto light shapers. Do not forget that with Profoto products the creative control is always the photographer’s decision. If they wish to shoot in TTL or manual they can and with the Profoto Air TTL hybrid mode they can shoot in TTL then switch to manual mode. In hybrid mode the first manual shot will be at the same flash settings as the last TTL shot. With the Canon, Nikon and Sony Air Remote TTL transceivers shooting TTL really is that simple. Looking at your product range, what is your favourite product and why? Wow! That’s a difficult question for me to answer but I would have to say that for its significance in the photographic lighting market, with its ground breaking design, full TTL and High Speed Sync functionality the Profoto B1 500 Air TTL monobloc is my favourite. We certainly have seen a huge increase in sales and a marked increase in awareness of the Profoto brand amongst photographers. Three years since launch the Profoto B1 500 Air TTL and OCF system of light shapers still does not have any competitors. What Profoto product feature are you personally most proud of and why? Even though Profoto constantly sets new standards in technology and design it is the simplicity of Profoto design and ease of use that is the real benefit for photographers. So for me it’s the open clasp 100mm reflector clamp mount on all Profoto heads. This not only makes fitting light shapers exceedingly simple

and doesn’t require an extra set of hands or any fighting to fit a softbox or reflector to a Profoto head, but also allows reflectors to be mounted in varying positions giving each reflector multiple light shaping possibilities putting creativity in the hands of the image creator. Your latest product launches, the D2 monobloc and the Pro-10 generator, offer incredibly brief flash durations in freeze mode of 1/63,000sec and 1/80,000 respectively. Why does Profoto feel such incredibly short flash durations are needed? And how have you achieved such flash durations? There are those amongst us who push the envelope. They say, good is the enemy of great. If there’s a limit – they step beyond it. If there’s a boundary – they cross it. This is our speed manifesto. For great image creators, challenges are there to be conquered. For them, speed is more than the ability to freeze a moment of action or matching the fastest camera shutter. It is about setting creativity free. Moving fast, delivering fast, capturing the seemingly impossible – fast. Taking light and shaping something remarkable with it. Setting the bar higher – and then doing it all over again. They redefine their craft every single day and so do we. This is speed redefined. As for how: flash-cutting TTL technology and superb Profoto Swedish design ethos. That’s all a creative photographer really needs to know. The Pro-10 Air TTL and D2 Air TTL just work beautifully, not just once but again and again.

How have the new products been received by customers? The D2 Air TTL monobloc has been really well received as it is such a significant step forward in monobloc design. It is a far more capable unit than anything on the market. Profoto market it under the ‘speed manifesto’ and it really is so easy and fast to use with its big LCD panel and Profoto open clasp light shaper fitting. It has a great balance of power and ultra short flash duration – 1/63,000sec in freeze mode. The D2 Air TTL also has a burst mode giving up to 20 frames-persecond capture rate. This allows the image creator to capture 20 versions of the same moment and often that is the difference between capturing a good or a great image. The reception from the market for the Pro-10 has been fantastic. It really does cement Profoto’s position at the pinnacle of flash lighting. Initially our focus with the Pro-10 is the rental market. As I write this we are delivering significant numbers of Pro-10 units to UK rental studios and outlets. What are your customers telling you about what they expect to see in future lighting devices? Image creators want technologically superior equipment but with uncomplicated user interfaces. They require future-proofed camera and computer connectivity and their lighting equipment to be sophisticated enough to more than cope with multiple disciplines. The future looks great for Profoto. profoto.com


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

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Profile Before the judge

Kevin Wilson FRPS Each month, a judge or selector shares their thoughts and experiences. This month we speak to Kevin Wilson, a multi award-winning people photographer

Kevin Wilson FRPS Kevin’s first camera was a Kodak Instamatic that he received on his 21st birthday. He used it to photograph a squirrel from his bedroom window. Years in photography Around 35 years. Many years ago, I was a prolific member of Kinson Camera Club, just outside Bournemouth.. Favourite camera Hasselblad 500 ELX. Today I use a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. Favourite lens Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 II. Favourite photo accessory My Lastolite reflectors, plural because I use several. Who is your favourite photographer? Norman Parkinson. His work was breathtaking and is still current all these years after his passing. I also love Don McCullin, David Bailey and Sebastiao Salgado. What is your own favourite photographic subject or technique? My favourite subjects are weddings and portraits in and around the Dorset countryside. I mainly use available light. If flash is required, I use the Quadra packs from Elinchrom; light, powerful and compact. What awards/distinctions/ medals have you won? Two Fellowships with the Royal Photographic Society (read the full story for more details).

Image The picture shown here is from Kevin Wilson’s project One Light, One Lens, One Hundred, on people over 100 years old.

What do you think? Have you seen a photographic judge at work who you’d like to see profiled in Photography News? If so please drop us a line to opinion@photography-news. co.uk with the judge’s name and, if possible, their contact details.

a colour or monochrome panel. By doing this, I feel I am allowing the applicant to convey his or her story, then I can open my eyes and view the whole panel. I prefer to view the application as a complete set – do the pictures work together, does the panel tell the story and match the applicant’s statement of intent? Once this has been viewed as a whole, I can then walk forward and admire the pictures, inspecting the panel in finer detail. At least this way I will have viewed the panel with impact in mind, which is always great to see. Occasionally a panel of judges will be split, offering differing views, and that is why I always love working with those that are willing to listen to fellow judges and change their minds, rather than being entrenched in their own opinions. There is nothing wrong in admitting that you may have overlooked something that is relevant to the panel of pictures once it is pointed out. In fact, there is much to applaud when this takes place. Fortunately, judges today are highly skilled and we all listen to different opinions. Organisations like the RPS also offer distinction advisory days and I highly recommend applicants attending one of these to discover the necessary guidelines and also to get expert advice about a submission. You will get feedback about the panel’s suitability, technical quality and presentation too. At the RPS we do get the occasional panel that has been submitted without seeking advice from an advisory day. Only recently during an assessment, I listened to the statement with great interest, conjuring up thoughts of days gone by, from someone that had spent pretty much all their life, living and breathing the project they described so vividly. I opened my eyes and there before me was a set of photographs that was completely at odds with the statement of intent. Poorly printed and presented, lacking in lighting and composition. It was obvious to me that the applicant had not bothered to seek advice beforehand at an advisory day. On the other hand, I witnessed a panel that was of a disaster, possibly in Saudi Arabia. The photographer had captured the horror of people dying in front of him, possibly at great personal risk to himself from family and friends that did not wish to be photographed. It had huge emotion and great content, but it was let down by printing. Two unsuccessful panels that for different reasons will stay with me for a considerable time.

© Kevin Wilson

Biography

During my professional photography career, I have been fortunate enough to win many awards and gain the highest photographic qualifications available. I have two Fellowships with the RPS, six Fellowships with the BIPP, an honorary Fellowship with the SWPP, a Fellowship with IPPA and a masters in the PPA. Having won many awards and achieved so many distinctions, I was asked to be a judge and selector. I have chaired the panel and judged the Kodak European Awards in Germany, Spain and the UK. Various organisations throughout Europe have also invited me to participate. Currently, I am chair of qualifications and awards in the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP) and for the past two years I’ve been chairman of its national awards. I am also a selector for the RPS on the applied associate and fellowship distinctions panel. Viewing other photographers’ work is a double-edged sword – some you win, some you lose. To successful applicants I am the best judge ever; those that fail naturally take a different view. However, if an applicant is unfortunate enough not to pass, I will endeavour to be honest and open, praise where necessary and point out the issues that need to be worked on. Honest feedback is the only way if an applicant is going to succeed in the future. I would advocate that if possible, the applicant for a live judging should bring someone along with them, for the simple reason that if they have been unsuccessful, they will not hear clearly what is being said or even sometimes disagree. I would put that down to passion and disappointment at the time. When assessing or judging I give my time to the associations freely, often a couple of days at a time, several times a year. Multiply that by three or four organisations and the time mounts up, so judges and selectors do not do it for the money. In my case I want to see new photographic talent bringing exciting and polished work to the day. When I am judging a submission for a qualification, in an ideal world I would prefer to be invited into the assessment room once the whole panel is on display, ready to be viewed. In some cases due to the sheer volume and time involved, it is not possible, therefore, as in the case with the RPS distinctions, I will bow my head and close my eyes as the panel is being positioned. I will then listen to the author’s statement of intent, forming images in my mind – imagining the photographer’s interpretation or whether it will be

Print quality has to be one of the biggest problems, especially colour balance, banding and artefacts. Prints can also look inconsistent, mainly through monitors not being calibrated, or using incorrect profiles for the paper. Or it might be the lab that produces them. All such issues could have been addressed at an advisory day. Nobody wants to fail and disappointment is natural. Panel members want applicants to pass and gain their distinction and move to the next challenge. However, sadly many applicants do fail and it is essential that the photographer learns what is lacking and the reasons for an unsuccessful attempt. It is difficult, but honesty and integrity has to be upheld along with respect for what has been attempted, no matter how bad. Currently, on the SWPP I am seeing far too many babies in baskets sleeping amid all sorts of props. Many do not meet the required standard because of poor lighting, camera angles not thought out, wrong lens choice and just

sheer lack of photographer input. I try not to mark this sort of work down, preferring to see how well it has been carried out. Unfortunately, the bandwagon that follows the few that are good at this type of work, often fails miserably. I find it sad that judges get bad press from clubs. After all, they are mainly amateur photographers that give their time freely. It is very easy for the audience to sit in judgement while their work is being assessed, then say “what a load of rubbish that judge is”. It’s totally unjustified. I would strongly advise anyone entering competitions or aiming for a distinction to first read the rules and requirements and make the entry the best you possibly can. If you are going for a print submission, print on a variety of different surfaces to see which gives the most effective result. Remember, if there is a fault evident, the judges will see it. Dare to be different and you will prevail. kevinwilson.co.uk


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

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Technique Part 3: Creative ideas

Reality check

VR and 360° refresher

Find out how photographers are using cameras like Kodak’s Pixpro 360 series to produce astonishing new images and immerse virtual reality video... One of the most amazing things about 360° and VR cameras is the number of applications they have; and how the burgeoning technology of these devices can fire your imagination to produce exciting and surprising projects. This month, in the third part of our introductory guide to 360° and VR shooting, we profile two

photographers using Kodak’s Pixpro 360 cameras in their work and see how the camera can be with you wherever you want to shoot, thanks to a wealth of easy-to-use accessories. And if you want to read up on the subject, but missed the first two parts, you can check them out online in issues 37 and 38 of PN at issuu.com/brightpublishing.

in association with

While 360° and VR cameras, like Kodak’s Pixpro series can, at first glance seem very much at odds with traditional photography, they’re actually tools which allow greater freedom in shooting than ever before. After all, many photographers love shooting with extreme wide-angle lenses and fisheye optics anyway, so these cameras are the next step, with possibilities way beyond the reach of even the most extreme fisheye optics you’ll find for DSLRs and CSCs. The Pixpro 360 4K, for instance, has a 235° field of view, which is unmatched by traditional lenses. But the real thrill is in how you view the 360° images, allowing you to put the viewer right in your shoes with a fully interactive and immersive version of the scene. Because while camera’s like Kodak’s Pixpro 360 series can shoot regular stills, the spherical images also created can be scrolled around using a mouse, trackpad, or a VR headset, putting you, almost literally, in the photographer’s head. You’ll also find, that, with a few minutes familiarisation, 360° and VR cameras are very easy to use. Sure, there’s no traditional screen and fewer inputs than you’d find on a regular camera, but functions are neatly accessed using combinations and streamlined menus. It’s also easy to connect the Pixpro SP360 and SP360 4K and 4KVR360 models to your smartphone or tablet using a Wi-Fi connection and use that as the screen; which also lets you change modes and trigger the movie or stills functions remotely.

Photographer #1: Asier Arranz on sharing ideas in virtual reality Asier Arranz is a Spanish photographer who’s been working with Kodak’s Pixpro 360 cameras for some time, and knows how important the technology can be in creating immersive and unusual views of the world. As well as acting as the lead in launching a big project at the IE Business School in Madrid, where he is head of the Technology Lab, he puts his Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K cameras though their paces around Europe, shooting stunningly fresh views of well-known sites, like the Eiffel Tower. “As an emerging technology,” he says, “360° video is growing quickly and VR is an exciting opportunity, allowing new ways of recording that haven’t been tested before. In traditional cinema everything has been done, and a lot of directors have a big prestige; in the 360° shooting there are a lot of empty places for new creative minds.” The project at the IE Business School is called the ‘WOWroom’, and it’s an idea that uses the capabilities of VR cameras like the SP360 4K to facilitate learning and discovery – you can see a video about it here bit.ly/2dsDnyM. In one application, many cameras are used simultaneously to make the biggest immersive video wall in Europe, showing how virtual reality can aid a working or teaching environment. In another, the VR is used to take the viewer to restricted places that would otherwise be impossible (or at least very difficult), a great example of which is the production line and clean testing facilities for satellites at Airbus. Asier praises the dimensions of the palm-sized Pixpro line and that “using one camera is great for scenes recorded from the viewpoint of the floor or the ceiling of a room, and when I want to put the camera in the middle of the air for a full VR effect, it’s easy to mount two SP360 4K cameras in combination. This helps us to create wonderful 360° videos for education at the IE Business School, and although my department has been testing a lot of cameras, for now, the Kodak models deliver the best quality and don’t need any extra time for setting up.”

Asier Arranz on shooting the Eiffel Tower “For this shot, I found the central point under the Eiffel Tower, and placed the SP360 4K on the ground facing upwards at the structure. I used some exposure compensation to extend the exposure time by +0.3EV, gaining a little bit more detail in the shadows inside the Tower’s legs, without losing the texture in the clouds. Then I took the shoot with the free Pixpro remote app, using a HTC 10 Android device. Easy!

“At home, using Lightroom I fine-tuned the angle to make the picture as symmetrical as possible, and to strengthen the ‘X’ shape. I also rotated the image because I appear in the frame. So putting me upside down means that the focus is the Tower, not myself. Finally, regarding the colour, this picture has a lot of contrast, so monochrome was the best choice, but I also wanted to give it a warmer, smoother feel so added sepia toning.”


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Technique Photographer #2: Charlie Case on creating virtual tours of London We caught up with photographer Charlie Case who’s been documenting London with Kodak’s Pixpro 360 cameras to find out how his amazing spherical views and VR footage was captured. Charlie’s motivation was the sharing aspects VR, which allows others to experience places they can’t visit in person: “Living in London has given us a great opportunity to go to some unique places that just aren’t available around the rest of the UK. I always thought it would be nice to digitally show what certain venues look like when telling stories about them – and the 360° view gives the user a more immersive experience that cannot be replicated using a conventional 2D image or video.” Having shot a variety of footage and styles with the cameras, including time-lapse video, 360° movies and tiny planets he thought this ‘tour’ application would be a great way of using the 360° capabilities. Using the Pixpro SP360 4K Dual Pack, which consists of two cameras mounted back to back (“this is how we were able to achieve true 360°”), Charlie shot a series of short videos in 2880k resolution and a square 1:1 aspect ratio: “this meant we had a choice of frames to pick from in very high resolution and could easily stitch it all together using the Pixpro stitch software.” “Shooting with the Pixpro SP360 4K is straightforward,” he continues,

“and we just had to consider where the stitch of the two cameras would be and judge how the lighting would affect the output. “We also had to think about the location of the camera as we wanted to position it to get the best view in each bar that was shot, but also give a realistic experience as if the user could be in the room themselves.” To keep himself out of view the cameras and dual mount were positioned on a tripod and shooting was triggered wirelessly using the free Pixpro app, “to control the cameras while I hid out of shot”. With the footage captured, a mixture of post-production software was used to create the final tours with “Adobe After Effects used to capture the final frame, Adobe Photoshop to remove the tripod and clean up any

stitching and lighting issues, and finally PANO2VR to produce the tour and Adobe Illustrator to create the tour controls.” Charlie told us that reception to the virtual tours has been excellent, particularly when the technology was showcased at this year’s Photokina event, using an iPad for control and a large screen to showcase the project on a much bigger scale. “The bars have also been very enthusiastic and want to use the project for themselves, so it shows how the world of 360 can be really integrated into multiple industries.” And his next project with Kodak Pixpro? “We’ll be exploring the world of 3D 360° video which, as you can imagine, takes user immersion to a whole new level”.

Pixpro 360s have a regular 1/4in screw mount, allowing them to be mounted to almost anything

Attach it to anything! It’s all very well shooting exciting locations in astonishing VR, but how do you mount the camera? Well, that’s just as innovative. To make the most of the Kodak Pixpro 360 range’s capabilities, each model in the series has a regular 1/4in screw mount on its underside. This allows it to be mounted to almost anything, and if you pick up the Pixpro SP360’s accessory pack along with the camera, you’ll have all you need to get started. The pack lets you easily position the camera on a headband, cycle helmet, handlebars, a surfboard, window pane, and loads more via a selection of adhesive pads. Plus you get a waterproof case to increase its protection from splashes and dust for shooting in those more extreme environments. You can buy the Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K along with the Extreme Pack for around £380, and the latter includes: Standard Housing, Waterproof Housing, Suction Cup, Bar Mount, Vented Helmet Strap for Top Facing, Vented Helmet Strap, Head Strap, Surfboard Adhesive Mount, Flat Adhesive Mount, Curved Adhesive Mount, Extended Arms and Quick Clip. For more information, check out kodakpixpro.com/Europe.


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

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Interview Pro focus

© Dom Romney

Racing start Written by James Abbott

From work experience with the press to editorial car photography, and from Formula 1 to advertising, Dom Romney has done it all. And he’s still only 26! to see what kind of photographer he wanted to be much more clearly. The idea that you should shoot what you love couldn’t ring truer. So with no job and little money, “I’d go and hang out with my friends who were involved in motor sport and would take a camera because I enjoy taking pictures. They would say, ‘I need an image because a newspaper is doing an article on me, can I put you in touch with them?’ And I’d say ‘yeah, fine’, and it just grew to the point where I knew this was what I wanted to do.” He continues, “I’d then approach magazines myself and say, ‘I’ll be at an event, can I shoot for you?’. They’d have three or four people taking pictures for them and would say, ‘See what you can get, if it’s any good we’ll use it.’ So where everyone else was doing the usual car on a corner, bogstandard kind of stuff, I knew I had to do something different otherwise my work wouldn’t get printed.” He adds, “I needed to make some money; I didn’t want to live at home with my mother so I had to find that different angle to make my work more interesting and stand out. I’d end up getting the opening image in magazine features and it just went from there.” With a healthy amount of sports editorial work coming in Dom was beginning to make a name for himself, but rather than carry on as he was

© Dom Romney

How do you go from work experience on the local newspaper to shooting high-end automotive advertising campaigns in just eight years? Making a successful career in photography relies on a lot of hard work, great images, being nice and having a sprinkle of good luck. In photography, being a great photographer isn’t always enough. Dom Romney has an incredible portfolio that has been developed over four distinct periods: press, editorial motor sport, Formula 1 and most recently, automotive advertising. And for each of these he’s certainly made his mark. Going back a few years, his introduction to photography came when he attended drag racing events with his dad. While his dad was working on the cars he would give Dom his camera to go off and shoot images to keep himself busy. The interest in cars and motor sport was in his blood and it wasn’t long before the photography bug had bitten, too. After leaving school Dom went on to work on the Lincolnshire Echo, where he completed his NCTJ at 18 and continued to work for papers, before taking on agency work in London. However, the industry was shrinking and Dom realised it wasn’t for him, so moved back home to work out what was next. It was at this stage that photography changed gear for Dom, and he began

he decided to shoot Formula 1. The only problem was F1 is a closed world where accreditation is often next to impossible, not to mention the sheer number of talented motor sport photographers fighting to get a foot in the door... “F1 came through the friend of a friend,” says Dom, a contact made during a sports event where a group of photographers, including Dom, shared a house to keep costs down. He explains how in this environment you have to get on with the people you’re sharing with, and more often than not

become friends. Dom strongly believes that relationships and being a nice person are two of the most important aspects of being a photographer. So after being passed along a line of contacts of contacts, Dom finally had a meeting with an agency one day, and was on the plane to the Monaco Grand Prix the next. You can read more on Dom’s story in the latest issue of Professional Photo, and check out his portfolio at domromney.com

Above Chris Hartnell launches off the line from Shakespeare County Raceway in his nostalgia slingshot dragster, Stratford-upon-Avon. Left Adam Gleadow performs a fire burnout at Santa Pod Raceway, Wellingborough.

Photo Professional This article first appeared in issue 126 of Professional Photo, on sale now. It’s packed with inspiring images and tips for aspiring pros and those already making a living.

absolutephoto.com

You’ll find more insight in the latest Professional Photo – the UK’s best magazine for full-time and aspiring pro photographers


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

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Camera Club of the Year

in association with

Camera Club of the Year contest 2016-17

Welcome to the launch of this year’s contest. Over this and the next four issues there will be the chance for your club to qualify for a very special photo event where the overall winner will be decided

The search for the Photography News Camera Club of the Year 2016-17 starts here. To be victorious, your club has to overcome two challenges. The first is to qualify for the final by coming top of the pile in one of the five monthly rounds. Then the final itself is going to be a very special day’s photoshoot, the details of which will be released simultaneously to the five finalists. However, what we can reveal now is that the final will be a unique event that will offer a tremendous creative challenge and a never-to-be-forgotten experience for the finalists. The overall winner will thoroughly deserve the prestige of being our Camera Club of the Year 2016-17. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here so let’s start from the beginning. For this year’s contest we have teamed up with long-established imaging brand Fujifilm

What your club could win

We’ll be publishing five subject themes over the coming months – the first is opposite – and we want to see five pictures from each club on each of those themes. The club that achieves the highest score qualifies for the final shoot-out, which will take place in spring 2017. Photography News and Fujifilm will host the final at a location to be confirmed. What each club has to do at the final will be kept secret until all five finalists are known and those clubs will be informed at the same time. What we can confidently say is that the final shoot-out will be a memorable event for everyone concerned. So read about each theme and register your club on absolutephoto.com to get the ball rolling – and good luck!

and over this and the next four issues we’ll be announcing a theme and inviting five pictures from each club. Your club’s competition secretary (or whoever is going to enter each month) must sign up on absolutephoto.com. Terms and conditions are also available on the website. Any club or group is eligible to enter so long as there are at least five members. Online groups, internal company clubs and those clubs not affiliated to the PAGB can enter. Once you have signed up to go the Members Area on the top menu bar, click on that and you will see Camera Club of the Year 201617 on the drop-down menu. Select that, then register your camera club and follow the upload instructions. JPEG files should be at least 1500 pixels on the longest dimension and, preferably, be in the sRGB colour space.

About Fujifilm Fujifilm has had a very busy 2016, kicking off with the worldwide launch of the X-Pro2 in January, following up with the X-T2 in the summer and finishing off the year with the development announcement of its mirrorless medium-format GFX system. This is due for a 2017 launch so much more on that product when it is officially launched. Along the way, Fujifilm also added several optics including the XF100-400mm f/4-5.6, the XF35mm f/2 and a 2x teleconverter to its expanding system. The X-system has found a serious following in a very short period – the X-Pro1 and three prime lenses were announced only six years ago. The lens system now has 23 products including high-spec zooms and superfast fixed focal length lenses.

A club can only enter one set of five images from five different members each round, while failure to enter five shots will mean the missing shot/s scores zero points; so it is crucial to enter the full number of images. After the closing date each picture will be scored out of 20 points and the highest scoring club each month will qualify for the final. In the event of tied scores, we will ignore the highest and lowest scores and average out the three remaining scores. The highest score wins. If scores are still tied, all five scores will be averaged out. When the issue with that month’s result is published, the scores for every picture entered will be published on the website so you can see how you have done. There is no monthly prize apart from qualifying for the final shoot-out and once a

club has qualified for the final it need not enter again. Of course it can do it for the challenge and pictures will still be scored but there is no reward for winning in this instance. In effect, because each monthly contest is self-contained, ie. it is not a league system over the period of the contest, you do not have to enter every month – perhaps it is a theme the club is less strong at or the club’s contest secretary has gone on holiday. Clearly it makes sense to give yourself as many winning chances as possible, however. So, good luck everyone. Read the entry details again, check out the theme on the opposite page and start gathering your entry. Qualify for the final and your club could be joining us for a very special photography event with the title of Camera Club of the Year to be won.


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

Camera Club of the Year

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in association with

Theme 1: Portraits

Closing date Midnight 8 January 2017

Damien Lovegrove, who is famous for his brilliant portrait work, runs seminars and workshops for budding portrait workers and has recently published an e-book on the subject. See below for details. We caught up with him as he was leaving for Amsterdam and got a few tips for portrait shooting at this time of year. “I don’t rule out shooting street portraits in winter but the cold and the lack of light need to be taken care of. If you need to shoot outside then consider making coats and scarves part of the styling and make sure your model is wearing a ski-grade thermal vest and tights. Take frequent breaks to warm up inside a café or in a car with the heater on and engine running – and have a flask of hot soup handy. “Most of my portraits are done indoors with interesting interiors. January to March is downtime for most wedding venues and it is usually quite easy to negotiate the chance to shoot for a few hours, perhaps contributing for the heating to be turned on.”

Portrait masterclass Damien Lovegrove has recently published an e-book on his portrait techniques. It is available to download now priced £40. You get perks like two cover options, the option to purchase the 92-page Fujifilm X System Guide for Portrait Photographers for only £10 more (usually £20), and the choice of a standard- or highdefinition version. Use the code dharkan to receive 20% off when you purchase the book from lovegroveportraits.com lovegroveportraits.com

At the heart of X-system cameras is Fujifilm’s X-Trans CMOS APS-C-sized sensor and its unique filter array design. Working on a grid of 6x6 pixels to give a random pattern rather than the regular 2x2 of the Beyer array, that means Fujifilm managed to do away with the need for an optical low-pass filter (OLPF) because the risk of moiré was minimised. This in turn eliminated the risk of artefacting and false colours from using an OLPF and maximised image quality because there was no extra filter in front of the sensor, giving pictures comparable to those from full-frame sensors.

Clockwise from top left “Two metres of wall is enough of a background to set up something creative. I lit this shot with sunlight reflected off a small Sunbounce reflector”; “I used a spotlight and a Scattergel to break up the light for this shot of Alicia in a converted church”; “Mina is standing right next to a door that is to the left of the shot”; “I used a Speedlight on my Fujifilm X-T1 to shoot this portrait of Zara on a hotel sofa”; “Thermal underwear and a coat are needed when shooting outdoors in winter. When it’s gloomy think about using the sky as a backdrop. I lit this shot of Chantelle with a Speedlight rigged high on a stand to the right of camera.

The dual flagship line-up of the X-T2 and X-Pro2 both use the X-Trans CMOS III sensor with a resolution of 24.3 megapixels and a native ISO range of 200-12,800 with the option of expansion to ISO 100, 25,600 and 51,200 – all available in Raw as well as JPEG. The sensor works in combination with Fujifilm’s latest X Processor Pro for very fast start-up, minimal shutter lag, superfast file processing and highly responsive autofocusing. While the X-Pro2 and X-T2 share a similar feature set, they do offer different approaches to image capture and handling to suit different users. The X-Pro2 provides a rangefinder experience with the optical/EVF finder offset to the left of the body while the X-T2 is more DSLR-like with its central located eyepiece that is EVF only. The X-T2 also has an adjustable monitor including a flip-out upright option and a bolder control design. It also offers 4K video capture while the X-Pro2 is Full HD. X-series cameras are supported by an everexpanding XF lens system, now comprising 12 primes, nine zooms and two teleconverters – and there’s more on the way. Until 31 January 2017 there’s a promotion on 19 optical products with up to £125 available as cashback. Four X-series cameras including the X-Pro2 are also part of the scheme. See fuji-promotions.com/gb/en/pages/cb1016/home for details of qualifying products, For a more detailed breakdown on the X-Pro2, X-T2 and XF lenses please see the Fujifilm website.

fujifilm.eu/uk

CLAIM UP TO £125 CASHBACK ON SELECTED X-SERIES CAMERAS & XF LENSES


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Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

Advertisement feature

Our world is beautiful CEWE’s photography competition is back and this time it’s even bigger! Get inspired by last year’s winners and capture the beauty of our world for your chance to win

© Agnieszka Gulczyńska

Last year the CEWE Our World is Beautiful competition received over 94,000 entries, showcasing photos taken in 208 different countries. This year the competition is back and it’s even bigger. Run by the CEWE group across Europe this international competition invites photographers across the globe to submit images that show our world in all its beauty. Categories include Sport, People, Landscapes, Architecture, Traffic & Infrastructure and Nature. “Our inaugural Our World Is Beautiful competition blew expectations out of the water, both from a quality and volume perspective, says marketing manager Sarah Brockhurst. “With nearly 100,000 photographs entered, our judges had an extremely tough job. This year, we hope to make it even harder for the panel by encouraging more photography

enthusiasts and professionals from across the world to enter the CEWE competition.” There are over 1000 prizes, with a combined value of over ¤110,000. One winner will be chosen in each of the six categories as well as an overall winner. The entrant awarded first place will receive the CEWE Photo Award and a package of prizes worth over €10,000, including a travel trip of their choice worth €5,000, photo equipment worth €5,000 and CEWE products worth €1,500. As if that wasn’t enough, the overall winner, the five other category winners and the top ten runners-up will see their images exhibited at various photography events across Europe throughout 2017. In addition, there is a monthly winner in each category. Each monthly winner receives a voucher for CEWE photography products worth

€50. There are also individual prizes for the highest placed photographs submitted from each country, so there are lots of opportunities for your picture to win! Last year’s first place winner and winner of the People category was Agnieszka Gulczyńska, who captured a truly special image of her son and their dog. Judge for last year’s Awards, James Abbott, offers his advice for photographers thinking of entering. “The judges are looking for eyecatching and technically competent images embracing the theme Our World is Beautiful. This can be interpreted in the broadest sense, and with six categories available there really is something for every photographer. When submitting your images don’t simply upload a snapshot – make sure images are visually engaging and tell a story. ”Katy

Last year’s winner, Agnieszka Gulczyńska, said: “For me the world’s beauty is whatever is hidden in a given moment, in the play of light and in almost imperceptible gestures. Photography is an inseparable part of my life combined with a strong need to capture what I want to keep in my heart. My advice for other photographers is to rely on your intuition, with the belief that a single picture can speak a thousand words.”


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Advertisement feature © Murat Ertem

© Devid Camerlynck

© Thomas Pedersen

How to enter The competition is open now to entrants of all ages and closes on 30 June 2017. Images must be submitted in JPEG format and need to be at least 1240x768 pixels and no more than 22MB in size. You can submit up to 25 images. For terms and conditions and to enter visit: contest.cewe-photoworld.com/beautiful-world-2016

© Adam Kováč

Opposite page Overall and People category winner, Agnieszka Gulczyńska. Clockwise from top left Nature category winner, Murat Ertem; Architecture category winner, Devid Camerlynck; Transport & Infrastructure category winner, Thomas Pedersen; Landscape category winner, Adam Kováč.


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

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Interview

Take a view Competition special

This year’s Landscape Photographer of the Year competition saw thousands of entries. We speak to the contest’s founder and head judge Charlie Waite to find out more about the competition and hear from this year’s winner Matthew Cattell © Matthew Cattell

Interview by Jemma Dodd How did the Landscape Photographer of the Year competition come about? I’d had the idea at the back of my mind for some time when we started serious planning back in 2006. It involved a real leap of faith by a number of people, particularly the AA, the National Theatre and The Sunday Times Magazine, who agreed to support us before the website was built. And ten years later, here we are. I’m very proud of it all and very involved. I think it’s easy to forget how isolated landscape photography was before the advent of social media; I suspected that many people found landscape photography to be important to their lives, as I did, but it was hard then to know how many. What are the aims of the competition? Originally, I just wanted to share my passion for

landscape photography with as many people as possible and provide a platform where their creative endeavours could be seen by a greater number of people. Before the internet changed everyone’s lives, it was hard for an individual to find an audience for their work. These days, we see so many images, but many of them in a very ephemeral way; move your finger across the screen of your mobile and they are gone, often forever, and so having an image printed in a book and shown at an exhibition is still of vital importance to a photographer. I also wanted to celebrate the amazing British landscape; we are increasingly disconnected from our natural environment and I believe that landscape photography can help us to feel more involved again. Can you tell us about the judging process for the competition? We have three stages of judging, including two where the judges actually get together to

discuss the images in person. As a landscape photographer myself, I know how much time and thought goes into the creation of each and every one of our entries and it’s hard when you have to disappoint people but, on the reverse side, there’s the feeling when you succeed. Does the competition see more professional or amateur entries? With landscape photographers, it is hard to define ‘professional’. Many people who are very professional in their approach also have to work elsewhere to supplement their income. It is a hard business to make a comfortable living from on its own and I believe the number of people who actually make their living entirely from landscape photography is very small. We try to avoid the word ‘amateur’ if we can, as even someone who is just getting their first camera can have ‘the eye’ and that is the most important thing. I feel that the standard of entries has been high across our first decade

I believe that landscape photography can help us to feel more involved again Above Starling Vortex by Matthew Cattell, overall winner. “I attached a 70-200mm lens to my Nikon D810 and mounted it on a tripod. As there was no immediate foreground I used an aperture of f/11 and pre-focused the lens – I knew the movement of the birds would play havoc with the autofocus. I used a relatively long exposure to capture the motion of the birds, but didn’t want them to be completely unrecognisable.”


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Interview but there has been significant progression in equipment and editing software, which has had an effect; larger file sizes and improved printers help with exhibitions for example. We are planning a book that will look back over our first ten years, with images from each collection, which will be out in April 2017. What elements were you looking for in a winning image? I think most of my fellow judges would agree that you don’t enter the judging process looking for specifics. Yes, there are certain elements such as lighting, technique, balance and composition that are crucial, but it is the emotion that you feel when looking at the complete photograph that determines whether or not it speaks to you and stands out from the others. With Matthew’s image, the shutter speed was perfectly chosen to create a different interpretation of an iconic structure.

There is still definition in the turbulent waves but the level of blur on the birds creates the spinning vortex that gives the image its title and a rather spooky Hitchcockian resonance. What advice would you give to anyone looking to enter next year’s competition? Britain has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world and so it is important to let the subject speak through your images. If you’re not emotionally involved in the process of creating your image, then how will others be? Consider the whole; don’t just focus on your central subject but check the edges of your frame to ensure that there is nothing there that wasn’t intended. ‘Attend and intend’ is rather a favourite saying of mine at the moment; attend to what you are doing and ensure that all in your image is intended.

It is the emotion that you feel when looking at the complete photograph that determines whether or not it speaks to you

Find out more at take-a-view.co.uk

Hear from the winner Matthew Cattell

© Mark Gilligan

“This is my second year of entering competitions, and having had no success the year before it had crossed my mind not to enter. However I managed to find some time to pull together a set of images and submit them. “For me, this photograph stands out from the others I have taken recently because it combines both of my interests – landscape and wildlife photography. The resulting image portrays an iconic coastal landmark in a more unusual way. “Charlie left me speechless when he first told me I had won Landscape Photographer of the Year. I found out a week before the official press release and had to keep quiet which was incredibly difficult as I wanted to tell everyone. “It has been quite exhilarating to see my image in print and especially among so many other fantastic photographs. “I’ve never been part of an exhibition before and it will be great to see all of the photographs together at London Waterloo. I am looking forward to meeting and discussing the work with the other successful photographers and the public.”

Images, clockwise from left: Finding Gold by Mark Gilligan, winner of the GREAT Britain #OMGB Award; Floating Feather by Henry Memmott, winner in the Youth Your View category; Shifting Sands by Tony Higginson, winner in the Your View category; Demolition by Lesley Smith, winner in the Urban View category.

See the winning images

© Lesley Smith

© Henry Memmott

© Tony Higginson

This year’s winning images will be exhibited on the balcony of London Waterloo station from 21 November 2016 until 5 February 2017, with a nationwide tour around some of Britain’s biggest stations planned for spring 2017. The Awards book, Landscape Photographer of the Year: Collection 10 (AA Publishing), with all 153 winning and commended images is available in bookshops and online now for £25. Landscape Photographer of the Year is held in association with VisitBritain and the GREAT Britain – Home of Amazing Moments campaign, with exhibition support from Network Rail. take-a-view.co.uk


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Interview © Tim laman

Competition special

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Chair Lewis Blackwell gives us the low-down on one of the world’s most recognised wildlife photography competitions, which received almost 50,000 entries this year Interview by Jemma Dodd What is your role within the competition? As Chair, it is my job to enable the judges to make good decisions. I find that I do that best by not expressing my own opinions but by trying to ensure all the jury members get to express theirs. I help with information and I help with creating a climate, I hope, that is friendly and hard working, full of respect for the work and each other. It’s obviously the case that all the judges are highly talented individuals but I need to get them to do something which is often very individual – assessing an image – in a way that is collegiate. We all need to stand behind the choices. How many entries were there this year? Just under 50,000 images came in… but while

it is great to see so many participating, and to know that it is incredibly international and accessible to all, it is not really about the quantity, of course. It is about quality. The competition stands out, I think, in having a real depth of talent represented in so many categories, and diverse in origin – we have outstanding professional photographers entering and also immensely gifted and committed non-professionals. I am loath to call anybody ‘amateur’ because a photographer who is, say, a doctor but has 40 years or so commitment to wildlife photography is an expert in that too. I think the credibility of the competition comes from the quality of the entrants but that quality comes from more than 50 years of carefully building the award, carried out by the Natural History Museum. This award has been developed by a fantastic institution with a great sense of values

This award has been developed by a fantastic institution with a great sense of values around wildlife

around wildlife and that shows through in the resulting competition. What’s your favourite category to judge? That is a ‘what is my favourite child?’ kind of question! Every category has reasons for me to love it! With my Chair’s hat on, I feel inclined to encourage entries of more bugs and plants and underwater subjects – in these areas there are certainly species and geographies that are more under-represented. I love that we are now seeing more entries of urban wildlife subjects because there are a lot of exciting stories and subjects there, with important issues to raise. What is it about this year’s winning image that really grabbed your attention? Three factors come to mind as to why it is a winner. Firstly it has simple impact as a ‘great

Winners’ words “Winning Wildlife Photographer of the Year is something I’ve dreamed about for at least 20 years – ever since I started submitting pictures to the competition. It’s an amazing honour and I’m very excited. My winning photograph has a conservation message to it; I wanted to photograph the orangutan in its habitat, showing how important the rainforest habitat is for orangutans.” Tim Laman timlaman.com


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Interview shot’ – you haven’t seen that before, indeed it would have been near impossible to do without the deep experience and skill of the photographer combining with technology advances, and then a fortunate moment. You won’t get it again easily. Second, it captures a scene that is charged with a very potent back story, the fate of the orangutans as their habitat becomes more and more depleted. Although this animal is fortunate to be in a reserve, somehow his perilous position on this isolated tree becomes charged with a great symbolic force. Thirdly, Tim Laman is a photographer who works so hard and long to arrive at the situations where he gets amazing images… in a way, this photograph has been 20 years in the making. How do you feel the standard of the competition is improving year after year? Does it make the judging process more difficult? Yes, the standard does keep improving: that’s not to criticise the past because we are all constantly building on the work of what has come before. I don’t think it makes judging any more difficult – perhaps it makes it more pleasurable, if anything. It can get a little painful when we finally prefer one great image over another but I think we manage to

do that, mostly, with unanimity. There was no violence around split-decisions! Are there any particular types of images that have been overdone over the years, too much repetition maybe? Yes, that does happen… the list is too long to itemise here. There is a tendency for some entries to be decent versions of what has already won in previous years. That’s a valid thing to do, to add to your portfolio or just develop your skills, but you can’t expect the jury to reward such an entry. I think it happens across all subject areas. It is a sign of the influence of the award that next year some entries will be rather too similar to winners from this year and last. When putting together an entry it pays to think about which images do have real points of difference. What makes a winning image? For those looking to enter the next competition what should they be aiming to capture? There can be no formula – if there was, I don’t think we would be getting excited about the results of the competition. It’s the very unpredictability of how you arrive at a great image that makes us all interested in looking and also makes photographers want to get up early and get out there. But my summary of

© Paul Hilton

© Simon Stafford

© Nayan Khanolkar

what goes on behind our overall winner this year is some kind of guide: the need to capture a special moment in an original way, with great technical mastery, and for that to give us a valuable and unique insight into the living world around us.

© Tony Wu

Previous page Entwined Lives by Tim Laman, grand title winner. Clockwise from top The Pangolin Pit by Paul Hilton, winner, wildlife photojournalist single image category; The Alley Cat by Nayan Khanolkar, winner, urban category; Snapper Party by Tony Wu, winner, underwater category; The Aftermath by Simon Stafford, winner, mammals category.

Why should photographers enter the Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards? Because it is always great to measure your work against your fellow photographers, take part in a friendly competitive environment that is all about good things. Even if you don’t get selected, you take part in something valuable. All the entries are helping the event take place and grow. It’s a key activity of a wonderful not-for-profit institution, the Natural History Museum, which exists to inform, explore, inspire, educate. Any final advice? Like many people, I salute single magpies and find this conducive to thinking I have had a hand in generating any incidents of good luck. It is a harmless superstition that gives me a (very) small sense of control of destiny. So besides working really, really hard at making your pictures as good as they can be, and having a lot of fun doing so, I would advise you to submit your entry with the blessing of some undisturbed wild creature. You can make your own rules on that one. Wildlife Photographer of the Year 53 is open for entries until 15 December 2016. For more details and to enter visit nhm.ac.uk/ visit/wpy/competition


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Interview

British Wildlife Photographer of the Year Interview by Jemma Dodd

How did you come up with the idea for the British Photography awards? I had thought about doing a Wildlife Exhibition after the success of Coast Exposed and Climate Change in Britain’s Backyard but had not found a way forward. Thankfully the idea came about after discussing it with a British wildlife photographer. What are the aims of the competition? By showcasing the very best of our nature photography to a wide audience and engaging all ages with evocative and powerful imagery, the British Wildlife Photography Awards aim to recognise the talents of photographers practising in the UK, while at the same time highlight the great wealth and diversity of Britain’s natural history. The Awards also aim to celebrate British wildlife, in all its beauty and diversity, through this collection of inspirational photographs. Finally, the Awards aim to encourage discovery, exploration, conservation and enjoyment of our natural heritage, and raise awareness about British biodiversity, species and habitats. There are so many categories involved in the competition, do you have a favourite? It’s important to show the full range of wildlife

we have. Having multiple categories also encourages and helps photographers to think about their subjects and choices. I am pleased to say I like all of them for many reasons. The categories that often surprise our audience the most are Hidden Britain and Coast and Marine – they are often surprised that the images are from our country. Because it is harder to see what is in the undergrowth, I feel the Hidden Britain category brings a wealth of wonderful creatures into the spotlight and close-up, many we may not know much about. The Coast and Marine category is also a particularly noteworthy category – I have always been fascinated by our coast and marine life and am very concerned about the threats it is currently facing. What did you think of this year’s winning image? And what about the young 12-18 category winner Becky? They are both fabulous. George Stoyle’s winning image of the giant jellyfish in Scotland, Hitchhikers, is stunning in so many ways. It captures the beauty of this creature perfectly. I like the soft light and painterly quality. It has an element of mystery, inviting you into its world. Becky’s Kung Fu Puffins image conveys the character and behaviour of the puffins brilliantly. A split second well caught on camera. It’s wonderful that she is so dedicated and I hope will inspire many other young people to get outdoors with their cameras. How has the standard of entries increased over the years? There have be strong entries every year but there are more entries now, so it will be more competitive than it was several years ago. Any advice for those thinking of entering next year? Observe wildlife near you. Learn about the behaviour of the wildlife around you and the best light conditions. There’s no need to travel far. Wildlife is everywhere. Top Great crested grebe at sunrise, Andy Rouse, Wales, Habitat – Highly commended Above The Supermarket Starling, Geoff Trevarthen, Cornwall – Urban winner Right Perched Damselfly, Oliver Wright, Leeds, Hidden Britain - Highly commended

© Oliver Wright

Can you tell us a bit about your background? I have worked in photography for over 30 years; as a photographer, picture editor, commissioning editor and curator for numerous organisations and charities including BBC Natural History Unit and the National Trust. I also curated and managed two major touring exhibitions; the highly acclaimed Coast Exposed and award winning Climate Change in Britain’s Backyard in collaboration with the National Maritime Museum, Magnum Photos and the National Trust. Before studying photography and taking that route as a career, I worked as a Museum Curator in Natural Sciences, where I developed my strong fascination for wildlife and the natural world. I am now a passionate advocate of our national heritage and hope to highlight its importance and need for its protection through the British Wildlife Photography Awards. In 2015 I was named one of BBC Wildlife’s top 50 most influential conservationists because of the awareness of British wildlife that the BWPA brought about to audiences.

© Geoff Trevarthen

Established in 2009, the British Wildlife Photography Awards recognises the talents of photographers and celebrates British wildlife. The competition has 15 categories, two junior categories and a special award for wildlife in HD video. We speak to founder Maggie Gowan

© Andy Rouse

Competition special


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Interview © George Stoyle

The Winners George Stoyle – Overall and Coast winner “It was through my research on coral reefs that I really became inspired to start using photography to tell conservation-related stories with the aim of raising awareness of some of issues facing the marine environment. I’ve seen many lion’s mane jellyfish whilst diving – they are a common species here in the UK during the summer months. However, due to the size of this one along with the fact it had a group of juvenile fish which had taken refuge in its tentacles, and was in relatively clear water, I figured it would probably be a pretty good shot if I got the lighting right. “It’s important to just enjoy photography for what it is and not go out to take photos specifically to enter into competitions. If you do enter don’t get disheartened if you don’t win anything – it doesn’t mean what you’re doing is no good. If the process of taking photos gives you pleasure that’s what’s most important…the rest is just a bonus.”

© Becky Bunce

© Alannah Hawker

© Cal Cottrell

Top Hitchhikers, George Stoyle, St. Kilda, Scotland – Overall & Coast and Marine winner Above Kung Fu puffin, Becky Bunce, Reading – WildPix (12-18 years) Far left Hidden Beauty, Cal Cottrell, Blackburn, Lancashire, Close To Nature Highly commended Left Admiration, Alannah Hawker, Surrey, Animal Behaviour - Highly commended

Becky Bunce – 12-18 years old winner “Considerable effort went into the trip to Skomer Island; research was especially important to ensure that the best was gained from the trip. I had been to Skomer island before on day trips before deciding to stay overnight to try and achieve some sunrise and sunset shots. Over the course of the weekend, I spent most mornings and evenings observing the puffins and capturing the birds in dynamic light conditions. During the day I further explored the island for other species of wildlife, including owls, rabbits and other colonising seabirds. On average, I must have spent eight to ten hours a day photographing and observing the puffins on the Skomer island. “I’ve entered the competition before as a younger teenager; a few years ago my image of a green shield bug taken in my garden was highly commended. This was my last chance to enter the category and so I really took my time in choosing which photos to submit. Kung Fu Puffins had been a favourite among family and friends and so I decided to enter it alongside a sunset puffin shot. “A career in wildlife photography would be my ideal job due to my love for wildlife and willingness to learn as much as possible about my camera. Being named as the 12-18 BWPA photographer has helped me significantly; it has given me a new confidence about my work and it has given me something to share with others.”

Buy the book See the best entries from the competition in the British Wildlife Photography Awards Collection 7 coffee table book. Available from bwpawards.org for £12. Next year’s competition opens for entries February 2017.


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Interview Competition special

Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2016 The fourth edition of the Red Bull Illume Image Quest saw a record-breaking 34,624 images submitted by photographers from 120 countries. We speak to those involved and this year’s winner © Denis Klero

© Jody Macdonald

© Vegard Aasen

Judge – Apoorva Prasad What’s it like being a judge for the contest? I’m the founder and editor-in-chief of The Outdoor Journal, and CEO of The Outdoor Voyage and was honoured when the Red Bull Illume team asked me to become a judge for the 2016 competition. I signed the paperwork immediately and soon after received the judging prints. It was incredibly hard to down-select from the incredible images that formed part of the main selection for us. I would say almost all the images that we the judges saw were good enough to win awards. After that it’s a matter of preference between the 50+ judges and what we as individuals see in the work in front of us. I had all the prints laid out on a

dining table and pored over them for a few hours, marking ones I liked. It was very hard.

powerful about the human condition. I look for all of these in the images I choose.

What do you look for in a winning image? Photography today is in a unique space in the history of the art form. We are inundated with all kinds of images and the process of creating them has become completely democratised. However – it’s still extremely hard to create incredible photography – it requires awareness, an ability to create stillness in the framing, yet capturing emotion in a single image. It requires connecting aesthetic form with a knowledge of art history. It finally requires an ability to express something

What was it about the winning image that really caught your eye? The image was aesthetically perfect, of course. But in addition to that, the framing and mirrorimage reflection creates something that wouldn’t be there without a photographer’s eye – the circle referencing the eye. The bike and athlete that draw the viewer’s eye are perfectly framed by colours of the forest around the frame. It was the right time, right place and of course the photographer and athlete’s work, all together.

What advice would you give to photographers considering entering the next competition? As you can see from the winners, a lot of work is put in – before, during and after. Before, it’s about spending time with the best athletes and creating a rapport with them; travelling and shooting endlessly to capture the soul of the experience you are looking to document. During – it’s more than just taking the picture – it’s about the set-up, the timing, practice, and endless shots you ‘lose’ because they aren’t perfect. I think in this case, the ‘10,000 hours’ rule, if you’ve read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, applies – practice endlessly and send in your very best work!


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Interview Overall winner – Lorenz Holder What is it in particular about the Red Bull Illume contest that drew you to enter? The Red Bull Illume is the biggest action sport photo competition in the world. First of all, photo competitions are always fun to take part in, because you never know if you’ll make it into the next round. So at the beginning it’s just a thrill of how far you will make it. I knew, that I had some stronger photos this time, but I never ever thought I could win again. My honest goal was to make it to the final prize giving in Chicago. It’s just an awesome time to hang out with the 55 best action sports photographers in the world. You never have so many creative people around you, that think and work the same as you do. It’s a great inspiration. This is the second time that you’ve been announced as the overall winner, how did it feel to find out? I was shocked to be honest. I never in my mind thought that I could possibly win again. Has winning the competition gained you more exposure and work? Yes of course. My images where shown all over the world in all kind of magazines and online

The creation of shots is getting more and more elaborate with each edition...

platforms. So there was a lot of exposure and also some job offers due to the win. But it’s still pretty fresh, so only time will tell if I gain more work because I’m the overall winner of the Red Bull Illume. Would you recommend that other action and sports photographers enter? What advice would you give to them? Yes of course. First of all it’s free – so you have nothing to loose. Second, it’s a lot of fun. My suggestion is to maybe analyse the pictures that made it into the 275 shortlist, so you can get an idea of what the judges like and what didn’t do so well. With this way, you can go out and shoot maybe in a more artistic way, than you would normally do.

Red Bull Illume founder and photographer – Ulrich Grill

Will you be going in for an attempt to win for the third time running? We will see. When I have the feeling that I have some strong images, then yes of course. But that’s still a long way to go – there are two and a half years till the next Illume.

How has the standard of the competition changed over the years? The number of entries to Red Bull Illume has grown quickly over the last ten years. The first edition of Red Bull Illume in 2007 saw 7202 images being selected, photographers submitted 22,775 images to the second edition in 2010 and 28,257 images to the third edition in 2013. For the 2016 edition photographers submitted a record-breaking 34,624 images. The most notable change in the images that are being submitted is the approach. The creation of the shots is getting more and more elaborate with each edition as photographers try and one-up the previous editions winning images. The effort that has been put into a lot of the images – not only the winning ones, but throughout all of the submissions – is incredible. However even with the increase in planning, sometimes it is still the spontaneous, raw moments that stick out. The balance between professional and amateur entries is hard to determine as there is no real guidelines as to what makes a ‘professional’ photographer in action and adventure sports. In 2016 a little over 25% of the photographers who submitted to Red Bull Illume classed themselves as ‘amateur’, roughly 50% have classed themselves as ‘professional’, the remainder had not specified.

lorenzholder.com

© Lorenz Holder

© Micky Wiswedel

© Ale Di lullo

Far left Jody MacDonald – Lifestyle winner Below Vegard Aasen – Mobile winner Left Denis Klero – Close Up winner Top Lorenz Holder – overall winner Above left Micky Wiswedel – Wings winner Above right Ale Di Lullo – New Creativity winner

Why was the decision made to include a mobile category? Mobile photography and the quality of mobile cameras has grown exponentially in recent years and with it came a whole new aspect to photography. They say that ‘the best camera is the one you have with you’ and with so many cameras around, so many more spontaneous moments were captured. Mobile photography isn’t about a plannedout shoot or a big set-up, it’s about capturing a quick, spontaneous and fleeting moment in time. The Mobile category was included to honour these moments and give them a platform within action and adventure sports. How does the judging process work? The Red Bull Illume Image Quest 2016 saw 5645 photographers from 120 countries submitting a record-breaking 34,624 images. The 53 judges were sent a set of prints that only contained the image, category and a randomised number. No information regarding the photographers, athletes, locations, nationalities etc. was provided to the judges – the judging was completely anonymous. Based on the prints the judges cast their votes in three rounds to give 55 finalists, 11 category winners and one overall Winner.

Get the limited edition Red Bull Illume 2016 Photobook from redbullillume.com


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Interview Competition special

© Amy Sinead Moran

Strength for Life UK charity Age International focuses on the needs and rights of older people in developing countries. Having announced the winners of its first photography competition Strength for Life communications manager and judge Judith Escribano tells us more Interview by Jemma Dodd Why was the competition set up? We ran the competition to raise awareness of what life is like for older people and their families living in poverty around the world. Age International works in more than 30 developing countries, helping older people with emergency relief and long-term development programmes. The charity helps older people in these countries to escape poverty, receive the right kind of healthcare, survive emergencies and have their contributions to families and communities recognised and valued. We also wanted to challenge people to think about older people in a different way. All too often, older people are invisible, ignored, taken for granted. We wanted to get to know the photographers out there who had captured images of older people that demonstrated strength and dignity.

How important do you think images are in terms of helping to raise awareness? I think images are essential for raising awareness. At Age International, we know there are many older people in developing countries. We know that they are incredibly valuable to their families, communities and societies as a whole. We feel it is vitally important to share what we know, and the

Andy W Langton won the amateur category with his Mermaids in South Korea image; what was it about this image that caught the judges’ eye? This image caught our eye immediately. We loved the positive and joyful faces of the older women in the image – showing a life well lived, but also showing older women in a pose seldom seen. We loved the reflection of the colourful buoy in the shimmering water, and the clarity and sharpness of the shot. But we also loved the story behind the image. What about Robin Bath’s winning image in the professional category? The panel loved the framing of this image, all the more remarkable when we discovered that it was a candid image that Robin had captured as he passed the woman’s home. We also liked the fact that the image demonstrated both dignity and pride in the face and pose of the older woman. How were the winners awarded? Andy won the opportunity of shadowing award-winning The Guardian photographer, David Levene, for a day. We hope this will provide Andy with invaluable experience. Robin won £500 in Calumet Photographic vouchers. Both of their images were also displayed in an exhibition at St Martin in the Fields, London, and on The Guardian website. They are included in an Age International calendar, which is currently on sale in Age UK charity shops. Will we see the competition running again ? As the first photography competition held we were delighted with its success, so we hope to run one in the future. What advice can give you for people wanting to enter? The best advice I can give is to follow the brief! We were looking for colour photos of older people from around the world but received a surprising number of black & white images or shots of children and animals which simply didn’t meet our criteria. ageinternational.org.uk

Above Silk by Amy Sinead Moran. This grandmother lives and works from her stilted home on Koh Dach (Silk Island). Below The drummer by Kenneth Gray. Kenneth Gray captured this image of an older man drumming at a cultural show in Kandy, Sri Lanka. © Kenneth Gray

How did you come up with the theme? Most of us hope and believe that retirement will be an enjoyable and relaxing time of life. But retirement isn’t an option for most older people in the poorest countries in the world. With few or inadequate pensions, most people in later life must continue working until the day they die. When you have to keep going and every day is a struggle to survive, you need strength for life. At Age International, we see older people as an asset to their families and communities, making a contribution that is often not recognised. We want everyone to see that older people around the world embody both strength and dignity; providing not only for themselves, but for their families; inspiring and assisting other people in later life as well as people from younger generations. We hoped that photographers entering the competition would share our vision.

competition provided a way for others to connect with the work we do and to tell stories through imagery.


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Interview © Andy W Langton

The Winners Andy W Langton, amateur winner “Defying convention when it comes to how the older generation are perceived, I had a strong feeling that these women perfectly epitomised the ‘Strength for Life’ competition theme. Song Ja Kang and Su Ja Hyun are Haenyeo, or diving women. At 71 and 72 they have each been fishing the waters around Jeju for more than 50 years. “Free diving through all seasons to catch abalone, octopus, oysters and sea urchins, these women endure the extremes of cold, water pressure and risk of drowning to eke out a living from the sea. Each year between seven and ten women are lost whilst diving the island waters on the southern tip of South Korea. “An occupational hazard, burst eardrums have left Su Ja Hyun (seen on the left) deaf. What stands out above all is the women’s energy, zest for life and sense of humour which enables them to maintain such a challenging way of life, particularly poignant when you consider their age. “Seeing my work profiled in this way through the competition has been very exciting. Being able to showcase these remarkable women and provide an image that could be used to promote older age in such a positive and inspiring way has also been a wonderful feeling. “Winning the competition has certainly raised my profile and enabled my work to be viewed by a much wider audience. Being part of a month-long exhibition in central London, global social media coverage and a centre page spread in The Guardian newspaper will help open up future assignment opportunities.”

© Pam Turner

© Robin Bath

© Robert Jones

Robin Bath, professional winner “My image was while on a trip to Myanmar early in 2016. The change from the UK winter to the warmth and brightness of South East Asia sparked my energy to capture images in a country I’d long wanted to visit. Here to my delight the people were open, friendly and at ease with being photographed and the landscapes were wonderful. “Surrounding Lake Inle are a number of villages, built on stilts above the shallow waters, that nurture local crafts, and in a window above a weaving room I spotted this dignified lady and her cat catching the morning sun. They were bathed in slanting light that contrasted with the darkness within the house, and the moment felt very special. A quick gesture with the camera to ascertain if it was all right to take her photo was greeted with a modest smile of approval… while the cat just simply ignored me. “It was a complete surprise to be called up with the announcement that I had won in the professional category. I felt so thrilled particularly since I’ve never been competitive as a photographer. I’ve never had to hustle for work, as I could also support myself with graphic design, so I somehow kept my love of seeing the extraordinary and unusual in the world around and the pleasure of recording things irrespective of whether they were of commercial use. “The competition galvanised my desire to keep on photographing. I am still a relatively new convert to digital cameras and processing software, but continue to marvel at the fine tuning that can be done to enhance the creative intent. “A while back someone said to me that you should always make time to keep going out with your camera, as you never know what you might encounter.”

Images, clockwise from top Mermaids of South Korea by Andy W Langton, amateur winner; Memories of Rajasthan by Pam Turner; The fishing village by Robert Jones; Companions by Robin Bath, professional winner.


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Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

Advertisement feature

Spotlight on Profoto Leading lighting specialists Profoto recently launched new lighting units, the D2 and Pro-10, that redefined the meaning of short flash duration giving creative photographers the ability to stop the most frantic action to reveal the tiniest details. The two new units join Profoto’s existing system of high-spec mains- and battery-powered lights and the whole range now offers lighting solutions for photographers whatever their needs. Join us for an overview of the Profoto lighting range and what it can offer you

Specs D1 250 Air Max energy 250Ws Energy range 7EV (3.9-250Ws) in 1/10EV steps Recycling time 0.2-0.65sec Flash duration t0.5 1/3700sec max power, 1/1400sec min power D1 500 Air Max energy 500Ws Energy range 7EV (7.8-500Ws) in 1/10EV steps Recycling time 0.2-0.95sec

Profoto D1

Profoto B2 250 AirTTL

The D1 monoblocs series features three models offering power, short flash durations and colour stability throughout the range at affordable prices. The D1 250 Air, the D1 500 Air and D1 1000 Air have outputs of 250Ws, 500Ws and 1000Ws respectively and that output is controllable within a 7EV range in 1/10EV steps. Also, all three units have Profoto Air built-in that offers wireless flash sync and full control of output and the modelling lamp from up to 300m using a Profoto Air Remote transceiver. The D1 series is fully compatible with Profoto’s extensive collection of over 150 light shapers and heads can be bought individually or in kits. The Basic kits include two heads while the Studio kits comprises three heads, trolley bag, stands and a selection of light modifiers.

The B2 off-camera flash has many of the attributes of the B1 including TTL flash shooting, an integral LED modelling light and a quick burst mode with 20 flashes in a second; but in this case all of this comes in an incredibly compact bodyform. Each B2 flash head is tiny so usable on a lightweight stand, held high on a lighting pole or monopod and can even be attached to the camera on a bracket. Power is delivered by the supplied cable from the B2 battery pack and should you need a greater

Flash duration t0.5 1/2600sec max power, 1/1000sec min power

Specs reach a 3m extension cord is available as an optional extra. The pack itself has output sockets for two B2 heads and features user-friendly controls and a full information LCD panel. A fully charged battery gives up to 215 full power flash bursts which rates at 250Ws and many thousands more at lower power settings. Despite the unit’s compact design, the B2 shares the same compatibility with Profoto’s extensive collection of off-camera flash light shaping tools.

B2 250 AirTTL Max energy 250Ws Energy range 9EV (1/256 to full power) in 1/10EV steps Recycling time 0.03-1.35secs (quick burst upto 20 flashes per second) Flash duration t0.5 (freeze mode) 1/15,000sec in (1Ws), 1/1000sec (250Ws) Flash duration t0.5 (normal mode) 1/9300sec in (1Ws), 1/1000sec (250Ws) Dimensions Battery (wxhxd) 16x8x17cm Dimensions Head (wxhxd) 10x10.3x10cm

D1 1000 Air Max energy 1000Ws Energy range 7EV (15.6-1000Ws) in 1/10EV steps Recycling time 0.2-2sec Flash duration t0.5 1/1800sec max power, 1/700sec min power

Profoto B1 500 AirTTL

Specs B1 500 AirTTL Max energy 500Ws Energy range 9EV (2-500Ws) in 1/10EV steps Recycling time 0.01-1.9sec (quick burst up to 20 flashes per second)

Flash duration t0.5 (freeze mode) 1/19,000sec (2Ws), 1/1000sec (500Ws) Flash duration t0.5 (normal mode) 1/11,000sec (2Ws), 1/1000sec (500Ws) Dimensions (lxhxd) 31x21x14cm

The B1 has an output of 500W/s adjustable in 1/10EV steps over a 9EV output range with flash durations as brief at 1/19,000sec and up to 20 bursts within one second. Power comes from the unit’s on-board battery so no need for any connecting cables at all so you have total freedom with light placement. A fullycharged cell gives up to 220 full power flash bursts and of course a great many more at lower power settings. Used with a Profoto Air Remote TTL transceiver – now available for Sony as well as Canon and Nikon – you have the option of fully auto TTL flash photography or manual, in both cases with wireless control from up to 300m from the light. Profoto high speed flash sync, compatibility with a comprehensive range of off-camera flash light shaping tools and a user-friendly control set are also key features of the B1.

B1, B2 & D2 available to

TRY BEFORE YOU BUY at dealers now (see website for details)


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

37

Advertisement feature Specs D2 500 AirTTL Max energy 500Ws Energy range 10EV (1-500Ws) in 1/10EV steps Recycling time 0.03-0.6sec (quick burst up to 20 flashes per second) Shortest flash duration 1/63,000sec in freeze mode

Profoto D2 Just launched, the high-end D2 Monolight has speed as one of its many key selling points. It offers flash duration as short as 1/63,000sec in freeze mode. It is also a unit that can easily keep up with the fastest shooting cameras around with 20 continuous flash bursts possible so if you are shooting action, take a sequence and choose the shot that fulfils your vision. Then there is highspeed flash sync with the D2 units offering correct sync with shutter speeds up to 1/8000sec so when you

Profoto Pro-10 want to mix daylight and flash that’s not a problem. You get these features with full TTL lighting control using a Profoto Air Remote TTL transceiver, now available for Sony as well as Canon and Nikon cameras. Available with 500Ws and 1000Ws output, the D2 Monolight gives an impressive stable colour temperature performance through its 10EV output range adjustable in 1/10EVsteps. It accepts Profoto’s vast range of creative light shapers with its excellent clasp mounting system.

Longest flash duration 1/2600sec Dimensions (wxhxd) 31x13x18cm D2 1000 AirTTL Max energy 1000Ws Energy range 10EV (2-1000Ws) in 1/10EV steps

Specs

The Pro-10 is Profoto’s flagship power generator with an impressive collection of game-changing features. It has the option of TTL flash convenience with a huge output of 2400Ws, lightning fast recycling allowing 50 flash bursts in one second and an incredibly short flash duration. In freeze mode, a flash duration of 1/80,000sec is possible and with plenty of power. Power is adjustable within an 11EV range so if wide aperture shooting is your aim using the lowest output setting gives a mere 2.4Ws. Two sockets are available with a fully adjustable 0-100% asymmetrical output possible with 11 compatible Profoto flash heads, which means the system’s huge range of light shapers is also available. The Pro-10 pack is fully compatible with the Profoto Air Remote TTL system so you get full wireless triggering and power control remotely from up to 300m from the pack.

Max energy 2400W/s Energy range 11EV (2.4-2400W/s) in 1/10EV steps Recycling time 0.02-0.7secs (quick burst up to 50 flashes per second) Shortest flash duration (t0.5 in freeze mode) 1/80,000sec Longest flash duration 1/800sec Dimensions (lxwxh) 29x21x30cm Weight 13.2kg

PRO-10

available at selected rental outlets now (see website for details)

Recycling time 0.03-1.2sec (quick burst up to 20 flashes per second) Shortest flash duration 1/50,000sec in freeze mode Longest flash duration 1/1600sec Dimensions (wxhxd) 31x13x18cm

Profoto Air System Profoto offers a range of options when it comes to wireless triggering and power control, so whether you have an TTL or non-TTL set of lights you still get great flexibility and a working range of up to 300m. The standard Air Sync gives wireless radio sync from any hot-shoe camera using any Profoto flash with built in Air. To control output as well as trigger the flash, you will need the Profoto Air Remote. While this transceiver does not give TTL or HSS capability, you get wireless control from up to 300m from the lighting unit. Buy a Profoto lighting unit with TTL and you need an Air Remote TTL to fully exploit it and Canon, Nikon and now Sony models are available. The Air Remote TTL transceivers give TTL flash for shooting simplicity but if you prefer to take control, the manual option is available at a touch of a button. A Hybrid mode is also available where you use TTL to determine the correct exposure then manual mode can be engaged with those power settings.

In freeze mode, a flash duration of 1/80,000sec is possible and with plenty of power

Specs Camera compatibility Canon, Nikon, Sony. See website for info on specific models Frequency band 2.4GHz Number of channels 8 (1-8) TTL compatibility Yes

Wireless range 300m (1000ft) Power Two AAA cells Dimensions (wxhxd) 80x60x41mm Weight 96g with batteries (Sony version)

Contact See the website for more information on Profoto products and to find your local dealer profoto.com


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com


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Photography News Issue 39 absolutephoto.com

Awards Gear of the year

Photography News Awards 2016 It’s time to recognise brilliant products, innovation and outstanding service in our prestigious annual Awards. The categories cover all key product areas, including everything from cameras and lenses to monitors, filters and memory cards. Voting is free and only takes a few minutes, so check out our nominations and get voting...

The experts at Photography News have made voting easier by shortlisting products in all the hardware categories while in the service categories you are completely free to choose the company that you think deserves the recognition of a PN Award. Voting is open now and will close on 28 February 2017, so you have plenty of

time to consider what you vote for. Go to absolutephoto.com and follow the Awards 2016 link to vote. We have kept the voting process as simple as possible and you don’t have to register or log in. You can vote in as few or as many categories as you want – it’s entirely up to you. But everyone who votes will be entered into a prize

draw after voting closes, and the first name picked at random will win a free 12-bottle case of wine. If you prefer to vote by post, nominate your products by ticking the appropriate box and send the completed form to Bright Publishing, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambs CB22 3HJ.


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Photography News Issue 39 absolutephoto.com

Awards

CONSUMER DSLR Canon EOS 80D Canon EOS 1300D Nikon D3400 Nikon D7200 Pentax K-3 II Sony A77 II

ADVANCED DSLR Canon EOS 7D Mark ll Nikon Df Nikon D500
 Nikon D810 Pentax K-1

PROFESSIONAL DSLR Canon EOS 5DS/5DS R Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Nikon D5 Sony A99 II

CONSUMER CSC Fujifilm X-E2S Fujifilm X-T10 Olympus PEN E-PL8 Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX80 Sigma sd Quattro

WIDE-ANGLE ZOOM Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM
 Pentax-D HD FA 15-30mm f/2.8 ED SDM WR Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art
 Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD

PRIME: TELEPHOTO Fujifilm XF90mm f/2 R LM WR Laowa 105mm f/2 STF Nikon 105mm f/1.4E ED Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4

STANDARD ZOOM Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Fujifilm XF16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR 
 Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD

MACRO Fujifilm XF60mm f/2.4 R Macro
 Leica APO-Macro-Elmarit-TL 60mm f/2.8 ASPH Olympus M.Zuiko ED 30mm f/3.5 Macro Samyang 100mm f/2.8 ED UMC Macro 
 Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Macro

ADVANCED CSC Canon EOS M5 Fujifilm X-T2 Leica T Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Olympus PEN-F Sony A6300

PROFESSIONAL CSC Fujifilm X-Pro2 Leica SL Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Sony A7R II Sony A6500

COMPACT Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II Fujifilm X70 Leica Q Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 Sony Cyber-shot RX100 Mark V Sony Cyber-shot RX1R Mark II

VIDEO LENS Samyang 21mm T1.5 ED AS UMC CS Samyang 50mm T1.3 ED AS UMC CS XEEN 50mm T1.5 XEEN 85mm T1.5 Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2

TELEPHOTO ZOOM Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Fujifilm XF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sport Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5.6-6.3 Di VC USD G2

SUPERZOOM Fujifilm XF18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR
 Nikon AF-S 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Olympus M.Zuiko ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6 II Olympus M.Zuiko ED 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD TRIPOD: TRAVEL Benro FTA18CC Travel Angel Gitzo GT1555T Kenro Karoo Standard Travel Tripod 104C Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Nest Traveller NT-6264CK Vanguard VEO 265AB

MEDIUM-FORMAT Hasselblad H6D-100c Hasselblad X1D Leica S Pentax 645Z
 Phase One XF 100MP

PRIME: WIDE-ANGLE Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D Nikon AF-S 24mm f/1.8G ED
 Samyang 20mm f/1.8 ED AS UMC CS Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
 Voigtlander 10.5mm f/0.95 Nokton Zeiss 12mm f/2.8 E Touit

TRIPOD: ALUMINIUM Benro COM37AL Manfrotto 290 Dual Aluminium 3-section Nest NT-6294AK Slik Pro 700 DX Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT Velbon SUB-65

PRIME: STANDARD Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Fujifilm XF35mm f/2 R WR Olympus M.Zuiko ED 25mm f/1.2 Pro Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
 Tamron SP 45mm f/1.8 Di VC USD
 Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 Nokton II

TRIPOD: CARBON-FIBRE Benro Mach3 TMA28C
 Gitzo Systematic 3
 Kenro Karoo Ultimate Travel Tripod 401C Manfrotto 055 3-section Nest Systematic NT-5303CK Novo Explora T10


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Photography News Issue 39 absolutephoto.com

Awards

ON-CAMERA FLASH Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT Kenro Speedflash KFL101 Metz 64 AF-1 Digital
 
 Phottix Mitros+ Pixapro Li-ION580 ETTL Sigma EF-630

EXTERNAL STORAGE DEVICE Drobo 5C G-Technology G-Drive with Thunderbolt LaCie Porsche Design Desktop Drive Samsung Portable SSD T3 Seagate Innov8 Western Digital My Book (new version)

INKJET MEDIA: FINE ART FINISH Canson Infinity Rag Photographique 310gsm Epson Hot Press Bright 330gsm
 Fotospeed Smooth Cotton 300 Signature Hahnemühle William Turner 310gsm Innova Fabriano Artistico Watercolour Rag 310gsm PermaJet Museum Heritage 310

SHOULDER/SLING BAG Crumpler Proper Roady Photo 7500 Lowepro Slingshot Edge 250 AW Nest Hiker 30 Tamrac Corona 14 Tenba Cooper 15 Vanguard VEO 37

COLOUR MANAGEMENT DEVICE Color Confidence GrafiLite DataColor Spyder5PRO DataColor Spyder5CAPTURE PRO X-Rite ColorMunki Display
 X-Rite ColorMunki Smile X-Rite i1Display Pro

PORTABLE FLASH Bowens XMT500 Broncolor Siros 400 L Elinchrom ELB 400 with Quadra HS head Phottix Indra360 TTL Pixapro CITI 600 TTL Profoto B2

MONITOR BenQ PV270 Pro 27in IPS Eizo ColorEdge CG277 27in
 NEC Multisync PA322UHD 32in Samsung 32in UD970 UHD ViewSonic VP2468 INNOVATION Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Dual Pixel Raw Fujifilm GFX mirrorless medium-format system Hasselblad X1D mirrorless medium-format system Nikon D5 – ISO up to 3,280,000 Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II superfast continuous shooting Profoto D2 and Pro-10 super-short flash duration

MONOBLOC FLASH Bowens XMS500
 Broncolor Siros 400 S Elinchrom ELC Pro HD Lencarta SuperFast 600 Profoto D2 Westcott Strobelite Plus MAINS FLASH: POWER PACK Broncolor Scoro S 1600 RFS Elinchrom Digital 1200 RX Profoto Pro-10 CONTINUOUS LIGHT Bowens Mosaic2 Bi-Colour LED panel F&V Z400S Soft Bi-color Ice Light 2 Kenro NanGuang CN-900CSA
 Litepanels Astra 1x1 Soft Bi-color
 Westcott Flex Bi-Color mat

PHOTO BACKPACK Lowepro ProTactic 350 AW Lowepro Pro Runner BP 350 AW II 
 Manfrotto Pro Advanced Rear Access Nest Diverse 20 Modular backpack Paxis Mt Pickett 20 Tamrac Anvil Slim 15


BEST INSURANCE PROVIDER If you insure your photo outfit with a specialist photographic policy, or you do the odd photography job so need public indemnity insurance, has your provider gone the extra mile?

PROCESSING LAB Which processing lab do you trust with your photos, albums or stationery? If they offer highquality and utterly reliable service at competitive prices, are they worthy of a PN award?

BEST BOOK SERVICE Creating your own high-quality photographic book has never been easier, but there are so many online services. In your experience, which book service offers the best choice of papers and finishes, ease of use and quality product?

MOVIE CAMERA OF THE YEAR Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon XC15 Fujifilm X-T2
 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Sony A7S II ROLLER/HARD CASE Lowepro PhotoStream RL 150 Manfrotto Professional Roller Bag 50 Nest Odyssey 10
 
 Panzer Conqueror 31 Peli iM2450 Storm Case Tenba Roadie II Hybrid INKJET PRINTER Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 Canon PIXMA PRO-100S Canon PIXMA TS9050 Epson SureColor SC-P400 Epson SureColor SC-P600 Epson SureColor SC-P800

MEMORY CARD Delkin Devices Cinema SDXC UHS-II V90
 Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC/SDXC UHS-II PNY Elite Performance SDXC UHS-I/U3 Samsung SDXC Pro Plus UHS-I
 SanDisk Extreme PRO SDHC/SDXC UHS-II Toshiba Exceria Pro UHS-II

BEST HIRE CENTRE Perhaps you’ve hired an expensive, exotic telephoto for an air show or lighting kit for a location shoot, whichever, nominate the hire company that has fulfilled your wishes, with a wide product range, punctuality and good customer service.

PHOTO WEBSITE PROVIDER For gallery websites or full-service ’sites with clientproofing and a blog, which provider offers the best range of templates and customisation options together with top-notch customer service?

STUDIO/LIGHTING ACCESSORY CamRanger Elinchrom EL-Skyport Plus HS Lastolite Urban backgrounds Manfrotto Digital Director Phottix Odin II Rogue FlashBender XL FILTER Cokin Nuances


 Hoya Fusion Antistatic filters Hoya ProND family Lee Filters Big Stopper
 Lee Filters Landscape Polariser Marumi DHG Super Circular Polariser

LAUNCH Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

 Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Fujifilm X-T2 Fujifilm X-Pro2
 Hasselblad X1D Nikon D5

BEST RETAILER Whether you shop for your photo kit online or in store, nominate the photo retailer that has you going back time and time again.

INKJET MEDIA: PHOTOGRAPHIC FINISH DaVinci Fibre Gloss Silk 310gsm
 Fotospeed Photo Smooth Pearl 290 Hahnemühle Photo Silk Baryta 310 Ilford Galerie Prestige Gold Fibre Silk 310 Innova Exhibition Cotton Gloss 335gsm PermaJet FB Gold Silk 315gsm

MOVIE ACCESSORY OF THE YEAR Atomos Ninja Flame G-Technology G Drive ev RaW Micromuff family Saramonic SR-AX107 Audio Adapter
 Shape Monitor Cages Syrp Slingshot 360° CAMERA OF THE YEAR 360fly 4K Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K Nikon KeyMission 360 Ricoh Theta S Samsung Gear 360

TRAINING PROVIDER From basic photo knowledge through particular tips and techniques to camera-specific training, in the classroom, studio or out on location, which provider offers the best learning experience, in your opinion?

The details How to vote Go to absolutephoto.com or fill in and post these pages to Bright Publishing, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridgeshire CB22 3HJ. Closing date is 28 February 2017. The results We’ll announce the results in issue 42 of Photography News and present the awards to their deserving recipients at The Photography Show, at Brimingham’s NEC, 18-21 March 2016.


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Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

Advertisement feature

Bowens Generation X: a new way to freeze time and motion Steve Brown has made a career out of capturing unique and captivating high-speed moments in time. He tells us how the Bowens Generation X flash system has been a game changer for him and for the photographs he loves to take

Steve Brown likes to come at life from a different perspective. It’s a commercial photo strategy that has served him well for the past 14 years – as he now boasts a client list almost as long as the 100ft converted barge he lives on, a stone’s throw from London’s Tower Bridge. This is a multi-talented photographer who thrives on working under serious pressure both in the studio and on location, and is obsessed with speed – or more accurately: the freezing of speed. Steve is a master at stopping life in its tracks – expertly capturing a single moment frozen in time using the fusion of experience, skill and the employment of latest imaging tools. After graduating in 2002 he assisted other photographers for two years and used the money he earned to buy equipment – a decent camera and a set of Bowens Gemini heads (that he says he knew would never let him down) while he focused on building his business. He inveigled his way into the music world and started shooting photos of small bands before morphing into the more profitable area of TV publicity work, photographing actors and the sets on which they worked. He was commissioned to produce stills for Dr Who

and later, the spin-off Torchwood. As he became better known in the TV firmament he found a rush of work coming in from the BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 5. Then big name blue chips like Sony, Hitachi and Shell started dialling his number. When Steve’s wife Lorna got involved with roller derby (a high-speed contact sport in which competing teams roller skate in the same direction around a track) he was hooked. He took pictures (at that time using Bowens Creo equipment) and then put out tentative feelers with other fast sports such as American football, ice hockey and baseball, that are still niche in the UK. Now Steve is also hooked on Bowens’ brand-new, state-of-the-art Generation X flash system – which he describes as ‘a revelation that will completely change the way I work.’ He says: “Now with these new Bowens Generation X lights (XMS for studio and XMT for location work) I can plan and execute much more interesting sports shoots. When you’re constrained by flash duration you can shoot portraits – nice static stuff – but sport is all about movement and energy so you need to be able to capture that fast motion. The simple fact is that the speed, precision and

consistency of Generation X is better than any other flash system I have ever used. These are 100% the best Bowens lights ever.” “I met Shaina, a high-kicking martial arts expert, in a Brixton gym,” he continues. I was mesmerised watching her practising some kata (patterns) with a bo staff – and I thought that capturing these fantastic roundhouse kicks that had so much speed and movement would just look superb. And to be honest I had also acknowledged that I didn’t have the facility to capture this at such high speed – but I knew the new Bowens system was coming.” In the studio shoot Steve used a total of five XMS heads, a mix of 750W/s and 1000W/s, with two strip softboxes plus egg crate grids on the back producing a sidelight effect; a small Octo90 softbox on the front and then two bare heads on the background. “We set up the lights and then ran through the various movements she could demonstrate,” explains Steve. “I knew that the amazing fast recycle times on the XMS would be vital. I could just get her to perform and leave me to just shoot and shoot and shoot – and just see what point in the movement sequence was most compelling. Before Generation X I would have had to take one

Generation X enables me to just shoot and shoot and shoot. I love it

Images When Steve met martial arts expert Shaina he knew immediately that her spectacular high kicks would make unique and innovative still images. It was just a question of waiting for the new system from Bowens to become available so he could make his vision a reality.


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

43

Advertisement feature shot, wait for a couple of seconds and then move on and shoot the next one.” He adds: “We agreed on a part of a movement that looked outstanding as a still image and then it was simply a case of trying to hit that right moment. There is probably one hundredth of a second within the sequence that is the moment you have to take the shot. I was just totally focused on capturing that nanosecond and hoping that the camera and the lights would just work. I didn’t have to worry about it. They did.” Explains Steve: “I had so much to think about in terms of tracking Shaina’s movements and pressing the shutter at precisely the right time that I just couldn’t afford any distractions – like worrying about my equipment’s functionality. With previous monoblocs I was limited to 1/125sec flash sync with a quite long flash duration so any kind of movement, other than very slow walking, was always going to start getting motion blurred. So being able to freeze motion like this with the new XMS is just fantastic.” Offering the highest specification available from a single flash head, with faster recycling times and shorter flash durations than any previous Bowens models, Generation X provides users with fully digital and completely accurate flash power and colour temperatures – enabling faster image processing times and more time for creative input. Says Steve: “This new system has definitely been engineered for speed, reliability and

cutting-edge aesthetics. The XMS looks great, works like a dream and is super-fast.” “My older lights have the dial system which was almost a case of suck it and see. You dial in what you think is going to be roughly right and then you hope it is pretty much there. If not, you just adjust it slightly. But now I have the ability to calibrate in tenths of a stop – and you just know every light is exactly the same because it’s 6.3 or 5.7, or whatever. When I looked at the results of the shoot everything seemed in sync: the colour accuracy, power and all the different elements of the shot were consistent throughout.” He notes: “That’s one of the great things I have discovered about Bowens over the years – everything just works. Their lights don’t have 500 different features. You just turn them on to the right power and start shooting. They just work right out of the box. And they will keep working for decades.” Steve loves the new XMSR radio remote control trigger too. “The amount of time I used to spend manipulating lights into position, then run over, take the whole stand down, adjust the power of the light, put the stand back up and then run back to shoot the next test shot, was ridiculous. It is so cool to now be able to adjust all that straight from the camera position. And the new ‘Sync Offset’ functionality means I can use any camera brand to shoot at high sync speeds up to 1/8000sec – and that is really, really useful. “The new easy-open and fast-lock adjustment latch also enables simple repositioning and fine tuning. The days of having to tighten up a wheel and then move it and then tighten it again are over,” he smiles. “Now it’s on or off – and you know it’s locked. And having the facility to just fold the stand

mount back into the light itself is excellent. One of the challenges I used to have with the old Gemini units was the large arm coming out of the side that then folds against the light. I tended to put my spill-kills over the heads of the lights and then fold the arm against them – so the reflectors all looked like they had been hammered out by dwarves. But this nicer, sleek shape on the Generation X heads is perfect.” Concludes Steve: “For me the three key things about these lights are: the truly amazing ability to freeze motion; the ability to adjust everything from the camera – and the sensational new recycling times are actually almost as fast as you can press the shutter. Generation X enables me to just shoot and shoot and shoot. I love it.” stevebrowncreative.com

Bowens Generation X The new system of Bowens Generation X monobloc flash heads comprises three XMS mains-powered units with outputs of 500W/s, 750W/s and 1000W/s and one battery-powered unit, the XMT500. They all offer the same sleek design and fast-lock adjustment system for fast, secure onetouch handling, and digital control means you get accurate output settings and constant colour temperature regardless of power setting. The Bowens Generation X system is available in-store now from £799. bowens.co.uk


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Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

Technique Shooting guide

Don’t be afraid of the dark

Night photography covers a range of subjects, conditions and locations; from moonlit landscapes to neonwrapped cities, it presents challenges and opportunities like no other style. To help, here are five top tips from Lance Keimig’s book Night Photography and Lighting Painting: Finding Your Way in the Dark... Introduction by Kingsley Singleton Techniques & pictures by Lance Keimig, various

#1 Get the right gear Choosing the right kit will go a long way to improving results at night, and so Lance devotes a whole chapter to the subject in Night Photography and Light Painting, discussing choices of camera bodies and lenses, as well as vital low-light accessories like tripods and cable releases. But most important, he says, is to understand your needs, then buy the best equipment you can afford. “Too many people get hung up on having the latest and best of everything without giving much thought to what they will do with it once they buy it. Consider your intentions: will you make large prints or simply show images online? Will you do primarily long exposures with star trails or short exposures at high ISO to capture star points and the Milky Way? Do you favour extreme wide-angles or a normal or telephoto perspective? Can you really afford that £1500 lens? Renting equipment from a online rental company (like lensesforhire. co.uk), is a great way to try out a camera or lens before committing to a purchase that may not be what you really want or need.” Camera bodies for night photography “Almost any camera that can be mounted on a tripod has a manual exposure control and the ability to do extended exposures can be used for night photography. The biggest advantage of the most recent DSLR cameras is that they produce less long exposure and high ISO noise than older cameras. Full-frame sensor cameras will almost always produce lower noise levels than smaller sensor cameras, but noise is becoming less of an issue with each successive generation. More megapixels does not necessarily mean better image quality, and megapixel count shouldn’t be a top priority when choosing a camera. Megapixels correlate more closely with maximum possible print size than with image quality, which is more a factor of the size of individual photosites on the sensor... a camera with 12-18 megapixels has more than enough resolution.” Lenses for night-time shooting “As a general rule, fixed focal length or prime manual focus lenses yield best results, and are the easiest to work with in low light. Autofocus does not work very well in low-light conditions. Even though autofocus lenses generally can be switched to manual focus mode, they are optimised for autofocusing. As a result, the ‘throw’, or amount the lens must rotate to focus from near focus point

to infinity, is reduced and this makes them difficult to focus manually with precision. Prime lenses also usually have larger maximum apertures than zoom lenses, which makes it easier to focus and compose with them in the dark. Additionally, astrolandscape photography requires pushing the limits of ISO, shortest shutter speed possible, and widest possible aperture. Prime lenses with a maximum aperture of f/1.4-2.8 are highly desirable for this sort of night work.” Tripods at night “Purchase a professional-quality tripod because inexpensive consumer models do not provide adequate stability and support for long exposures in even the gentlest breeze. It is important to consider stability against size and weight, as even expensive carbon-fibre tripods may vibrate or blow over in windy conditions if they are extremely light. Although these tripods may be adequate for exposures of a few seconds, the long exposures required to photograph by moonlight dictate that a sturdier tripod should be used. “Choose tripod legs that extend high enough that you rarely have to raise the centre column because doing so makes your tripod less stable, while tripods that have only three leg sections are more stable than travel tripods that have four or five leg sections.” Cable releases and intervalometers “The shutter speed range on most cameras does not extend past 30sec in manual mode, and although this is sufficient for brightly lit night scenes, most night scenes require much longer exposures. To take very long exposures, you’ll need to set the shutter speed or mode to bulb, and use either a cable release or wireless remote release. These are available for almost all cameras from the manufacturer and also as less expensive aftermarket products. “For Lenses Night photography tends to require fast wide-angle lenses. Models like Samyang’s 14mm and 24mm lenses offer an excellent mix of affordability and quality, while Sigma’s Art line-up also has some great options like the 35mm f/1.4 and 18-35mm f/1.8. At the top end of the price range, lenses like the Nikon 14–24mm f/2.8G ED AF is so good that “many Canon shooters use this lens with an adapter on their Canon bodies,” says Lance.

Above Steve’s Rock and Milky Way, Olmsted Point, Yosemite National Park. This is a 25sec exposure at f/4 and ISO 12,800, shot on a Canon EOS 6D and using a Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 lens. A low-power LED torch was used to light the rock.


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Technique anyone who will be doing long exposures on a regular basis, or anyone interested in star trails, an intervalometer, or shutter release with a built-in timer, is highly recommended. The great advantage to these timed releases is that they can be programmed to take single or multiple exposures of almost any length sequentially or at programmable intervals.” Other equipment basics “Flare from light sources just outside of the frame can be a major problem at night. For this reason, it’s essential to use a lens hood, hood, or another flare-preventing device. An alternative or complement to a lens hood is a hotshoe- or tripod-mounted arm with a clip that holds a dark card. With this the card can be placed in almost any position, and is more effective than a shade. On windy nights, simply hold the card to prevent camera shake. “A second or third camera battery assures enough power to last the night and a small torch (or head torch) that can be attached

to a lanyard and worn around your neck is an invaluable aid for finding things in your camera bag or controls on your camera.” Get dressed in the dark “Many people are surprised by how cold they get waiting for long exposures, so dress in layers, and bring a hat and gloves. Wearing dark colours serves a dual purpose. If you inadvertently walk in front of the camera, or intentionally walk into the shot to add light, wearing black will minimise the chances of showing up in the image as long as you don’t remain in the same place for too long. “Sensible shoes that offer a reasonable amount of protection when you’ll be putting your feet down in unfamiliar territory are also a good idea. Finally, keeping a few samples of your work with you may go a long way in explaining your motives should you be accosted by police or security guards – an occasion that is bound to happen at some point in urban areas.”

Right Shown here is an articulated hotshoe-mounted clamp for holding a gobo – essentially a piece of black cardboard for preventing lens flare that’s more effective than a lens hood alone. This one is made by Ebony, a Japanese view camera manufacturer. Other options have clamps on both ends, for attaching to a tripod.

#2 Be prepared Shooting at night requires a different set of skills from photographing subjects in the daytime; it’s a challenge but, with practise, one that you can rise to. After sundown and into the deep night, locations take on a wholly different look, and you’ll find dull-looking areas transformed by deep shadow or artificial lights. “As the light at night is such a huge part of what makes nocturnal photography special,” Lance says, “Scouting locations during the daytime is often ineffective. Returning to a location at night to photograph a scene observed during the day can lead to disappointment, as the circumstances at night may make the photograph you envisioned impossible to take. This is especially true in urban situations with artificial light. “Natural landscapes are less likely to offer up as many surprises at night, and planning these kinds of images in advance can be a big factor in capturing a successful image. There are a number of photo planning apps for smartphones that can help you to be in the right place at the right time. Try PhotoPills (photopills.com) which even has a feature that lets you visualise where and when the Milky Way will appear in the sky.”

Above Badwater Basin, Death Valley National Park; a 30secs at f/4, ISO 6400 with Canon EOS 6D and Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 lens. An LED glow stick was hung on the back of the sign. Right Apps like PhotoPills are invaluable in planning night shoots.

Moonlight methodology “Night photography is not a spontaneous act, and working in a methodical and deliberate fashion minimises user error. Simple things like always keeping each item in your bag in the same place means that you won’t have to fish around for it with a flashlight — you can just reach in and grab what you need. “Although some people prefer to use a head torch, they tend to be brighter than you really need, draw unwanted attention to yourself, and most importantly it can ruin your shot when you forget to turn it off and walk around inadvertently shining it all over the place. After 15 or 20 minutes, your eyes will have adapted to the lower light levels to the point where you may not need a light at all, and not using a torchwill preserve your night vision. “Another simple thing you can do to facilitate your fieldwork is to place a small piece of adhesive Velcro on the back of your cable release or timer and attach it to your tripod leg. Most releases have unnecessarily long cords, and Velcro will keep the device within easy reach rather than dangling from the camera. Simple things like this can have a surprising impact on your overall

shooting experience. Every step that you take to standardise your workflow in the field helps to minimise technical errors that can ruin a shot.” Getting familiar “In many years of teaching classes and workshops on night photography, the one thing I’ve seen most often that frustrates people new to it is the lack of basic familiarity with their cameras. “Being able to navigate the menu system, finding and enabling or disabling features, and knowing which buttons serve which functions may seem fairly basic until you find yourself in the middle of nowhere in total darkness on a moonless night without your camera manual. “At the very least, you should be able to adjust aperture, shutter and ISO in the dark, and be able to find the image review button and histogram functions easily, as well as to activate and use magnified live view for focusing without the aid of a torch. Learning how to program your intervalometer is key too. Ideally, you should only need to use a torch to illuminate your focus point or for light painting.”


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Technique #3 Master composition and focus “In many ways” says Lance, “composing a night photograph is no different from daytime images. The rules of design apply equally in the dark as in the light. Compositional devices like the rule of thirds, diagonal lines, and repetition make for dynamic compositions at any hour. “Sometimes though, it may be necessary to modify a composition to exclude bright light sources. Such a modification may be a compromise to the ideal, but if it restricts dynamic range to that of the camera’s capability, it may be justified. Bright areas at the edge of an image always draw the viewer’s attention, and this is particularly true at night… they can lead the eye away from the subject.” Seeing in the dark “Composing and focusing can be difficult in low-light conditions, simply because it is hard to see the image in the viewfinder. Fortunately, there are simple solutions to deal with these problems. Digital cameras afford us the luxury of being able to view the image immediately after capture, so setting your camera to the highest ISO setting and doing a series of handheld test exposures is a good way to refine a shot.“This technique is a great way to predict and correct for potential problems like flare, and also to spot stray objects at the edges of the frame that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. Live view to the rescue “Live view is an extremely useful feature that can be used in combination with a torch to make focusing in darkness more manageable. A bright torch can aid both composing and focusing your night shots. By shining the light around in the image while looking through the viewfinder, it may be easier to find the corners of the frame. Night photographers should pay extra attention to the entire image, both because it can be difficult to see, and because night photographs generally require a greater commitment of your time and energy. It is always disappointing to invest 15 or 20

A great trick for determining the edges of your image... is to shine your flashlight through the viewfinder minutes in a single exposure only to later find an unnoticed object in the shot that could have been easily avoided with a little more care before pressing the shutter button. “A great technique for determining the edges of your image in a very dark and confined environment, for example inside a building, is to shine your torch through the viewfinder and observe where the light falls. This can be a very useful technique, but it will only work with DSLRs and a very bright torch in a confined space that is almost completely dark. Light up the scene “Just as your torch can be helpful when composing, it’s also a useful for focusing. The most obvious technique is to stand behind the camera and shine the light on the area to be focused. Then focus manually while looking through the viewfinder. “Focusing utilising this technique in conjunction with live view is even better. The live view image may not be bright enough to use for focusing without the aid of a torch, but combining the zoom feature on live view with a bright torch allows for extremely accurate focusing. Canon cameras have a live view mode that simulates how the exposure will look with the camera settings as they are currently set on the camera. You should disable this exposure simulation option as it may darken the image and make it harder to see in most situations.”

Above Green Street, Bodie Ghost Town, CA; a 30sec exposure at f/4.5, ISO 800. Night scenes can be hard for you and your camera to see, but if you’ve taken a torch to illuminate the subject you can use that to help focus and compose, too. Below Gowanus Canal Bridge, Brooklyn, NY. In these 30sec, f/8, ISO 400 exposures, the image on the left shows lens flare from a streetlight just outside the frame; flare was avoided in the right-hand version using a card to shield the lens, but you can also make minor changes to the composition to mask light sources.

#4 Ace the exposure According to Lance, “extreme contrast and a wide dynamic range are the most challenging obstacles in urban night photography” and there’s a whole chapter in his book dealing with exposure settings to tame these problems, as well as giving lots of detail on white-balance settings and ISO settings for clean and natural-looking results. Contrast and dynamic range “The range between the darkest black and brightest white in a scene, digital file, negative, or print is called dynamic range. The dynamic range between bright and dark areas in artificially lit environments can easily be 15 stops, and if light sources are included in the image that range is greater still. This exposure difference between shadows and highlights is more than any camera sensor can accommodate without going to extreme measures (like HDR processing or exposure blending using layer masks). “Sometimes an image is worth the investment in post-processing time to try to recover a shot with such high contrast, but the best way to handle such extremes is to manage them in-camera whenever possible. A slight adjustment of the composition can often reduce overall contrast… it may be possible to

hide a prominent light source behind a tree, street sign, or an other object in the scene. An optimal exposure Optimal exposure for digital photography pushes the histogram to the right (in a Raw file) where the sensor is tonally rich. Such an exposure will probably appear overly bright straight from the camera, but will also have the information necessary to make a quality print. An optimal Raw file contains the maximum possible ratio of image information (signal) to data that is an unwanted by-product of capture and processing (noise). This is known as the signal to noise ratio (SNR) and providing the sensor with the greatest possible exposure without clipping important highlights is the way to ensure the best SNR. Expose to the right “Determining optimal exposure is based on an evaluation of luminosity and RGB histograms, the preview image, the flashing highlight indicator, and analysis of the scene based on experience. There is no such thing as an ideal or perfect histogram… however, a right-biased histogram – one where the bulk of the data is on the right side – is more flexible, and apt to make a better quality print.

Above Deer Island Sewage Treatment Plant, Boston, MA. Both images, shot 20 minutes apart used identical exposure (30secs at f/8, ISO 100) and white-balance settings; the difference is caused by the changing ratio of daylight to artificial light, while low clouds are also reflecting the sodium vapour lights, and adding a yellow cast in the second pic. Left Congress Street Bridge, Boston, MA. This shows how the white-balance setting affects the appearance of the exposure histogram. The top image was taken with white-balance set to Shade, the middle manually set to 2500K, and the bottom using the Fluorescent setting. Notice how the blue and red channels change dramatically.


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Technique “The histogram does not show where the image is clipping however, so the flashing highlight indicator function serves as a warning that highlights are being clipped and where. Typically in night photographs, highlight clipping occurs when light sources are included. In this case, clipping is usually unavoidable. Highlight detail in light bulbs is not particularly important, but the blinkies will show if there is also clipping in the areas surrounding the light sources. If there is, you will probably want to reduce the exposure to preserve detail in this part of the image.” White-balance “Mixed lighting is one of the things that creates so much potential in night photography, but it can also cause some of the biggest headaches. Digital cameras have a white-balance function that is generally set for the dominant light source in a scene. White-balance can also be refined with Raw processing software in post-production, but it is best to set the whitebalance in-camera as the white-balance setting will affect the exposure histogram, which is

your primary means of determining exposure in many situations. Therefore, setting the white-balance to a colour temperature that renders colours close to the way that you want them will also ensure a better exposure histogram. The AWB setting works well in most natural and artificial light situations, but when multiple light sources are present, the AWB setting averages all of the light in a scene, which does not truly correct for any of the light sources. In situations where the multiple sources are separated in different parts of the image, it may be preferable to balance for one of them alone.” Set image quality to Raw To produce the highest quality images, you’ll need to set your camera to save Raw files rather than JPEGs. Raw files preserve all of the image data that the camera records and it allows for more flexibility when the image is processed. Simply put, Raw files contain more data, are more malleable and provide the photographer with more flexibility, especially to bring out shadow detail.

To produce the highest quality images, you’ll need to set your camera to save Raw files rather than JPEGs... Raw files preserve all of the image data... ” Right Contrabando Movie Set, Lajitas, TX, by Scott Martin. Increasing exposure for a right-biased histogram improves quality; when developed the image histograms look similar, but full magnification (top) shows lots more noise after the darker images is ‘pushed’ in Lightroom. Far left Kathy’s Kosmic Kowgirl Kafe, Terlingua, TX. A 4min, f/8, ISO 100 final exposure compared with a 4sec, f/8, ISO 6400 test. “High ISO test shots allowed me to fine-tune the composition and exposure before committing to a long exposure,” explains Lance.

#5 Paint with light

About the book & the author

Above Exposure changes have a pronounced effect when light painting. Left: a high ISO ambient-only exposure, 8secs, f/5.6, ISO 6400; middle: long exposure with light painting, 1min, f/5.6, ISO 100. Right: 4mins and f/5.6, at ISO 100 with painting. In several of the book’s chapters, Lance examines light painting, both in terms of emphasing a particular part of an image, and also drawing with light in the scene itself to form patterns and light trails: “By using supplementary lighting,” he says “the photographer has greater control over how the image is interpreted by the viewer. Some well-placed lighting can change the feeling of an image and shift the emphasis to different parts of a scene.” Light painting and exposure “Light painting and drawing are inexact sciences and determining the right amount of light to use involves some trial and error. The most important concept to understand when working with added light is that time is used to control the ambient or overall exposure, and the intensity of any added light is largely determined by changing the aperture or ISO. “One of the most challenging parts of this type of photography can be finding the right balance between ambient and added light. If your exposure is too long, the background may look like daylight, and the light painting may be washed out or overpowered by the ambient exposure. If your base exposure is too short, you may end up with clipped or underexposed shadows and light painting that stands out too much from the background. “Consider reducing the time of your ambient exposure by one to three stops if you are adding a significant amount of light. The reason for the shorter exposure is not because the light painting will necessarily affect the background brightness but to ensure a better contrast ratio between ambient and added light parts of the image. How much light to add “There are several factors to consider when trying to determine how much and which type of light to add to an image. In addition to the

ISO and working aperture, you’ll need to consider the brightness of your light source, the distance from the light to the subject, the size of the object(s) to be lit, the reflectivity of your subject, the desired quality of light on the subject, and what colour light will help you to achieve the look you want for the photograph. “The intensity of your light source in combination with aperture and ISO probably has the greatest impact on the image. It is fairly obvious that you’ll need to paint with a pen torch for a much longer time than a big, powerful torch and that a flash set to full power will light a larger area from a farther distance than one set to 1/4 power. Additionally, the same amount of added light will appear brighter with a wider aperture, or higher ISO, than with the lens stopped down, or at native ISO. “Flashguns will maintain their intensity as batteries begin to wear out, but recharging between flashes takes longer as the batteries get weaker. Conversely, most torches become dimmer as the batteries are drained, and incandescent lights become warmer in colour. “Another consideration is the distance from the light source to the subject. When a light is moved further from an object, the amount of light reaching the object will decrease by the square of the inverse of that distance. For example, doubling the distance from light to subject will result in only 1/4 of the light reaching the subject (the inverse square law). “If the light starts out six feet from an object and is then moved to 12 feet from the object, only 1/4 of the light (two stops less) falling on the object at six feet will reach it at 12 feet. “Tripling the distance results in the light being only 1/8 as bright, quadrupling the distance results in the light being only 1/16 as bright, and so on. The inverse square law applies to any type of light source. Remember that if the light is reduced by half, the exposure will need to be increased by one stop.”

Lance Keimig has nearly 30 years of experience in photographing at night and has taught the subject since 1998 at venues including the New England School of Photography, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the School of Visual Art in New York. He teaches workshops around the US, leads night photography tours and lectures around the world. All of that experience is evident in his fastidious approach to Night Photography and Light Painting: Finding Your Way in the Dark, which not only includes a comprehensive technical guide to the subject, and many wonderful images and practical comparison shots (as seen here), but also kicks off with a neat history of light painting since the early days of photography. Published by Focal Press, the book is now in its second edition and spans 268 pages costing £21.99. focalpress.com


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Technique Lighting Academy

Brolly good show Start your journey into the exciting world of creative lighting effects with PN’s Lighting Academy. This is the place to find out all about how flash and continuous lighting works and how it can be used to improve your shots. This month, how lighting umbrellas can be used to create a high-key look on location Words & pictures by Kingsley Singleton One of the many reasons to shoot with flash is to achieve soft, even, almost shadow-free lighting, and this look is flattering as it reduces contrast and therefore hides imperfections. So, while a single unmodified flash will often give very harsh and contrasty looking results, if you use a single light with the right modifier, or two lights both fitted with softening modifiers, and position and power them correctly, you’ll get low contrast. It’s this flattering, low-contrast look that drives many starter flash kits to come with softboxes and umbrellas; both of which are modifiers that diffuse the light, spreading and softening its effect. But while softboxes are often perfect for this purpose, because of their design they still funnel the light creating a more directed look; umbrellas on the other hand throw the light much more widely, so if you’re shooting full length or wide-angle in an environment that you also want to light, a brolly is often the better choice. Light from an umbrella often looks more natural, too, and you can spread the illumination more easily than with a softbox, as, with larger boxes, more power is needed. Umbrella types There are two main types of umbrella modifier; bounce and shoot-through. In bounce umbrellas, the light is pointed into the umbrella’s interior and reflects onto the subject (or it can be directed at a wall to light the subject indirectly). Shoot-through umbrellas work with the light fired onto the subject through translucent material. For this month’s pictures we used Elinchrom’s D-Lite RX 2/2 Umbrella To Go set, which comes with two 85cm umbrellas (one a silver bounce model, and one a translucent shoot-through). Powering the flash Working with our model, Emma, in a lightly tiled bathroom location, the idea was to frame her in front of the windows, and combine the bright ambient light outside with the flash for a very high-key look. So the first thing we did

1/15sec shutter speed

Above In this location, with the large windows behind Emma, it was important to balance the flash as much as possible with the ambient light. As you can see below, at the same aperture, ISO and flash power, a faster shutter speed will underexpose the ambient light making the windows darker.

was set up one D-Lite RX 2 head either side of her position using the kit’s included clip-lock stands. Each light was set up to work with the kit’s included Skyport transmitter, so we could fire and alter the power settings remotely. The lights were then fitted with their umbrellas, which is a simple case of sliding the shaft through the tube in the head. To camera right we used the bounce umbrella and on the left of the frame the shoot-through umbrella. Next up it was time to set the power. This needs to be done carefully as, although the

Above Shooting with one umbrella-fitted light at a time shows how easy it is to vary the lighting, and the different looks brollies give. On the left, the bounce umbrella fires alone, and on the right it’s just the shoot-through brolly in use.

1/60sec shutter speed

Above Setting up the lights either side of Emma created a pleasing wash of light, and we gave the bounce brolly a little more power than the other for more contrast.


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Technique power output from the lights will be identical when set to the same level, the modifiers will change the strength by the time the light hits the subject. This is where a flash meter comes in very handy, and we used a Sekonic Litemaster Pro (for more on which see the panel). With an aperture of f/8 at ISO 100, we triggered the heads and measured to the left, middle and right of the frame, reaching balanced light with the right-hand flash at a power setting of 2.0, and the left at 2.8. This shows the light is stronger from the silver bounce umbrella than from the more diffused white shoot-through, and thus needs less juice. Balancing the ambient light With the flash power set, the next job was to find the right shutter speed to ensure a good mix of ambient light through the windows along with the flash. As the shutter speed makes no difference to the light from the flash (unless you go above the camera’s sync speed), this was simply a case of lowering the speed until the light from the windows looked good. At an initial 1/125sec, it was quite underexposed, looking like we were shooting in the evening rather than the middle of a bright day. Eventually, the speed was reduced to 1/15sec, at which point the ambient light through the windows looked fine. Changing the contrast ratio After assessing the look of the light, it seemed a little too even and we decided to introduce a touch more contrast. This just meant lowering the power on one of the lights, and as the silver was closest to Emma and providing some nice soft shadows, it was the power from the lefthand light (with the shoot-through umbrella) that we lowered. After metering again, the power of the left-hand light was set to its lowest 1.0, which metered at around f/5.6, a stop less than the light from the bounce umbrella. This gave the look required, retaining the high-key feel, but with a little more variation across the frame. Bouncing the light One thing to be aware of when using umbrellas is that the increased spread of light can lead to picking up colour casts from parts of your location. For example, if you’re bouncing the light from a white wall or ceiling you won’t have a problem keeping the light neutral, but if the brolly is firing near a deep colour, like a red or green, some of it will likely be picked up and show on the subject’s skin tones. Modifiers with a more restricted spread of light, like softboxes, don’t tend to have this problem.

Brolly or softbox? Have fun experimenting with modifiers The level of diffusion changes as you swap modifiers, creating subtly different looks, and with a wide range of light shapers in Elinchrom’s range we tried out a few on location. As expected, the softest results came from the 66cm Portalite softbox with its diffuser in place, while the hardest light came after removing the diffuser and shooting with the reflective inner revealed. The softboxes have a more direct look than when using the less-focused and more natural-looking shoot-through and bounce umbrellas, and therefore there was slightly more fall-off of light in the background, which could have come in handy for a more intimate look. When using the softbox we also tried out one of Elinchrom’s unique deflectors that slot into the light’s umbrella port, giving a look similar to a beauty dish (it’s the modelling lamp giving the warm glow below).

Shoot-through umbrella

Bounce umbrella

Softbox with deflector

Softbox no diffuser

Softbox

Next month: Spot lighting effects

Metering the flash Although many photographers will tell you there’s little point in using a flash meter these days when you can take a test shot and check the exposure on screen or shoot in Raw, there’s still a lot to be said for metering on location. Results will be more accurate especially when dealing with complex lighting ratios, and cutting edge meters like the Sekonic Litemaster Pro L-478 have a few handy tricks up their sleeves. The latest version of the L-478 incorporates Elinchrom’s EL-Skyport wireless functionality. The L-478DR-EL can therefore trigger lights wirelessly to meter the power, and change the actual power levels on all compatible units without going anywhere near them. It can meter both single lights and those in groups, while you can also change the mode and power of the modelling lamp.

Light from an umbrella often looks more natural and you can spread the illumination more easily than with a softbox

Thanks to: This month’s model was the wonderful Emma Davis, and we shot on location at the beautiful The William Cecil Hotel, Stamford, Lincolnshire.


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EL E FRRIA T m fro

Samsung T3 Portable SSD & SD Pro cards from £40

We all have great Christmas memories, but to share them with others you need reliable digital storage. And with the latest cameras and gadgets requiring more and more space, you need storage that can keep up. So this Christmas, consider the gift of memory. Samsung offers a range of reliable, high-performing cards and drives so you can capture and transfer all your festive moments and securely store them. Samsung’s ultra-fast Pro Plus SD cards offer UHS-I Speed Class 3 (U3) and Class 10 compatibility perfect for 4K video and high-resolution stills. With read/write speeds of 95MB/s and 90MB/s respectively, and a large 64GB capacity, prices start at £40. And for backing up there’s the latest in solid-state technology, the Samsung Portable T3 2TB SSD; a compact, powerful drive with a huge 450MB/s read/write speed, USB 3.1 connectivity, weighing only 51g and the size of a business card. Available from 250/500 GB and 1/2TB capacities, prices start at £105.

3 4 From

£169

.95

£749

5

From

£67

samsung.co.uk

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Pixapro flash & MagMod kit from £169.95

If you want to give a great present this Christmas, how about the gift, not just of light, but of shaping it to your will? Using flash creatively is one of the easiest ways to improve photography and by combining a superb flash with effective modifiers, you’ll have a great combination. The Pixapro Li-ION580II (£169.95) is a powerful TTL speedlite and comes in fits for Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras. Eschewing AA batteries it has a rechargeable 2000mAh Lithium Ion rechargeable battery which gives ultra-fast recycling times of up to 1.5 seconds at full power and can fire up to 650 full-power flashes per charge. With TTL metering and a built-in 2.4GHz receiver, it can also be triggered using the Pixapro STIII S TTL trigger, up to 100m. Allied to the new flash, it’s well worth checking out the MagMod 2 range of flash modifiers. These silicone rubber lightshapers are fitted using high-strength magnets, making them light, small and easy to use. Try the Magmod 2 Basic kit (at £71.96), which has all you need to get started. essentialphoto.co.uk

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Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K Dual Pro Pack £749

360º and virtual reality photography is an exciting new way to chart your travels, and its benefits extend to stills as well as video, so if you fancy taking on a new style this Christmas, and in the year beyond, read on. Some of the most exciting cameras forging the way are Kodak’s Pixpro 360 series, including the Pixpro SP360 4K. To record footage ready to make a VR still or movie, you can either shoot with the same camera twice, inverting the view second time around, or better yet, mount two cameras back to back. For the latter, the Pixpro Action Camera Dual Pro Pack includes all the essentials to get you started, with two 12 megapixel cameras, each featuring an ultrawide 235°, f/2.8 lens, and a Dual Camera Base Mount to hold them. These cameras can shoot in Ultra High Definition 4K video at 30 frames-per-second or produce rich 8Mp stills at a rate of up to 10fps. Once recording is done, you can edit and upload 360º content to Facebook or Youtube in seconds using the free desktop package or smartphone app. kodakpixpro.com/Europe

LumeJet Acrylic Box Frame Panoramas from £67

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What better way to celebrate the festive season than giving someone the gift of your photography? That’s right, sharing your shots is a great way to put a smile on your loved ones’ faces and to help LumeJet has just launched a range of Acrylic Box Framed Panoramas. These highquality panoramas come in sizes from 20in up to 39in, so there’ll be no lack of wow-factor on the big day and you’ll know you’ve created a gift to be treasured for years to come. Just load up your choice of image (including iPhone format), and the shot will be printed on Fujifilm DPII professional-grade paper. But that’s not all. The print is combined with a 53mm deep wooden box frame and precision-cut 2mm thick acrylic which produces a stunning 3D effect that really catches the eye. The frame itself also has a 22mm wide lip to give your image a clean, stylish outline. Available in black, brown or white, with prices starting from £67, make sure you order your unique panorama gift in time for Christmas. lumejet.com

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Novo CBH-46 head £99

One of the hallmarks of getting serious about your photography is switching to a high-quality tripod head. Manufactured from lightweight aviation-grade anodised aluminium, the Novo CBH-46 ball head has a huge maximum load capacity of 20kgs and low weight of 568g. It also sports large anatomical locking knobs to make handling easier, especially when wearing your new Christmas gloves, and to further personalise control of the ball joint, there’s a separate tension setting, while two panoramic controls further aid easy adjustments; one main control and a secondary adjuster where the plate sits. If you want to travel lighter, there’s also the new Novo CBH-34 with a weight of 327g and a maximum loading capacity of 10kgs (£69). What’s more, both heads use Arca-Swiss compatible quick release plates for greater stability and compatibility with other devices. A 20% promotion will be running on these heads and other Novo items in until the end of December. novo-photo.com

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Manfrotto and Gitzo tripods from £359

You probably have a tripod, but there’s always room for another if it’ll expand your shooting possibilities – and what better time to treat yourself? Here are two great examples. The Manfrotto 190Go! carbon fibre is a small, light and highly adaptable version of the successful 190XPRO and comes with a versatile 496RC2 ball head. Its four-section, twist-lock legs allow quick setup and with a closed size of 57.5cm and a weight of just 2.1kg it’s a great travel companion. At the other end of the scale, try the Gitzo GT3533LS, part of the exacting Systematic range, Gitzo’s strongest and most stable tripods. The Series 3 GT3533LS (£699.95) has a top leg diameter of 32.9mm for stability and its Carbon eXact legs keep it light at just 2.04kg. The legs can be configured with a flat disk, or a geared, or sliding centre column, before a head of your choice is added, and, like the 190Go! there’s an Easy Link attachment with a 3/8in’ thread to attach accessories like lights. manfrotto.co.uk

gitzo.co.uk


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Accessories test 9

£139 8

From

£34.95

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£99

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SRB Elite Filter Holder £34.95

Planning on expanding your use of filters next year (or know someone who should be)? Then SRB Photographic has just launched the brand-new Elite Filter Holder, which accommodates P size (85mm) filters. Attached via the correct Elite adaptor ring for your lens (free for PN readers when you buy the holder, until 31 December with the code ELITEPHOTO31), the mechanism has been engineered for easy mounting and removal. The holder rotates freely, allowing you to slot in grad filters and position them with ease, and can take up to two filters at a time. And to make using multiple filter types easier, the holder also accepts threaded Elite Filters; these screw into the centre thread of the holder, eliminating any light seeping, so you can use models like the Elite ND1000 filter without a gasket and combine its long-exposure effects with ND grads. The threaded system also allows for a rotating mechanism at either end of the holder, so the polariser can be rotated without moving the rest of the holder. srb-photographic.co.uk

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Samsung SmartCam PT £139

Fancy a camera with a difference this Christmas? Then take a look at the Samsung SmartCam PT, an advanced, affordable security camera with a range of uses. The SmartCam PT records highly detailed 1080p HD video and has a wide dynamic range to provide better quality in challenging conditions. The camera can also shoot in complete darkness thanks to its infrared LED and it will turn to track movement following anything that passes through its view. As well as monitoring your home (and keeping an eye on the Christmas presents under the tree), you can use it to shoot visiting wildlife in the garden on nights with good weather. And with real-time event notification you can also send alerts to your smartphone or tablet in the event that the camera is triggered (via the free SmartCam App). A live video feed can also be view on your mobile devices, and if you want to argue over rights to the mince pies, there’s two-way communication via a mic and speaker. samsungsmartcam.com

NanGuang CNR-480C LED 10 ringlight £170

Everyone loves Christmas lights, and here’s another to enjoy over the festive season, whether it’s as a gift or used to light up a beautiful portrait. The NanGuang CNR-480C LED ringlight is designed to produce a soft, diffused, well-balanced lighting making it ideal for a wide range of subjects, including macro, product photography, but perhaps most of all, flattering portraits and video close ups. The softness of the light from the CNR-480C removes shadows and its design, with 480 LEDs, means you need only one light to do it, rather than a more complicated set up and more to carry around. It has a fully controllable and stepless colour temperature (3200-5600K) and brightness via dimmer dials, and also comes with a clip-on diffuser even more softening. With a wide aperture at its middle, the 560x455 ringlight head can be mounted on a stand, allowing you to shoot through the middle, and there’s also a smartphone clamp in the kit for selfies, along with a mains cable and make up mirror. kenro.co.uk

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BenQ PV270 Monitor £897

Editing is such an important part of modern photography that if you have an old, worn out or inaccurate screen, you won’t be able to tell if you’re making the right colour and contrast adjustments or not. So why not invest in a first-class monitor to enjoy this Christmas, and benefit from new resolution throughout the New Year. The BenQ PV270 is designed to meet the demanding requirements of photography professionals and offers uncompromising colour performance along with powerful calibration tools to get the job done. At 27in size and with a 2560x1440 QHD resolution, the screen offers bags of crisp detail to display your shots and plenty of desktop real estate for your palettes, so you won’t run out of room when editing. For uniform brightness the PV270 meticulously fine-tunes hundreds of sub-regions on the entire screen for an authentic and consistent viewing experience, while the backlight sensor provides consistency over the lifetime of the display. gb.colorconfidence.com

Rotatrim Limited Edition 12 Trimmer £276

If you make prints at home, you’ll be well aware of the need for a good quality trimmer, helping you produce bespoke sizes and formats, and to mark tits 50th anniversary, Rotratrim has produced the Limited Edition Professional 24. Only 200 have been made, using the finest quality materials and precision engineered components, meticulously hand assembled by Rotatrim’s skilled technicians creating a precise, reliable lifelong trimmer. As well as the usual Professional 24 specs (cuts up to 610mm (24in) A2 landscape papers; cut capacity of 3mm thickness; twin guide rails to deliver a smooth gliding action; metal end frames and head; and solid laminate gridded baseboard with aluminium side rule), the limited edition trimmer has an Sheffield D2 tool steel flat blade engraved with ‘Rotatrim 50’, an ultra durable Sheffield D2 tool steel cutting wheel, stainless steel twin guide rails, fine crosshair paper size guides and 2mm extra thick protective baseboard edging. rotatrim.com


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Camera test Specs Price £1849.99 body only or £2399.99 for M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm 1/2.8 Pro kit Sensor 20.4 megapixels, 4/3in Live MOS, with TruePic VIII and Supersonic Wave Filter sensor cleaner Sensor format Micro Four Thirds, 17.4x13mm ISO Range 200-25,600 in 1/3 or 1 EV ISO steps, low ISO 64 Shutter range Manual shutter 60secs-1/8000sec; electronic (silent) shutter 60secs to 1/32,000sec Drive modes Pro capture H 60fps approx up to 48 frames, Pro Capture L 18 fps, anti-shock sequential shooting 8.5fps, sequential shooting H 15fps up to 84 frames, L 10fps

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Blink and you’ll miss Olympus’s latest flagship CSC. The speedy OM-D E-M1 Mark II can capture the most fleetingly decisive moment thanks to its 60fps burst mode with its electronic shutter or 15fps with mechanical shutter Words by Jemma Dodd

Metering system Digital ESP metering (324 zones multi pattern), spot metering, centre weighted metering, spot with highlight control, spot with shadow control. Range EV-2 to 20 EV (17mm f/2.8, ISO 100) Exposure modes PASM (and Art Filter) Exposure compensation +/-5 EV in 1.0, 0.5 and 0.3EV steps. In HDR and video, only +/-3EV. Bracketing available Monitor 3in Vari-angle LCD touch panel 1037K dots, EVF with 2.36M dots Focusing TTL phase difference detection system, contrast detection system. Manual AF, preset MF, single AF, continuous AF, AF tracking and single AF and MF Focus points 121 points cross-type phase detect and 121 point contrast detect AF. Options of all sensors active, group target (9 areas or 5 areas), single point Video 4096x2160 (C4K)/24p/IPB 3840x2160 (4K)/30p, 25p, 24p/IPB Connectivity Wi-Fi, HDMI micro (type D), USB 3 (type C), microphone and earphone jacks Storage media Dual SD slots. Slot 1 UHS I, II, Slot 2UHS-1. SD, SDHC, SDXC Dimensions (wxhxd) 134.1x90.9x68.9mm (without protrusions) Weight 574g (body, battery and card) 74g Contact olympus.co.uk

Above Splash proof and dust proof the OM-D E-M1 Mark II continued to operate fine during after some heavy showers.

The flagship Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II was first announced back in September at Photokina and it took the photo world by storm with its claims of extremely highspeed shooting. Boasting 18fps Raws in continuous autofocus and a whopping 60fps, again with Raws, in single autofocus, this portable yet durable camera sounds like an action and wildlife photographer’s dream. These high shooting speeds are possible using the camera’s electronic shutter. With the mechanical shutter, the top rate is 15fps or 10fps in L mode Its robust construction follows that of other Olympus OM-D models making it splash-proof, freeze-proof and dust-proof for assured allweather shooting. At £1849 for the body only, we expected great things, but that price makes it the most expensive Micro Four Thirds camera available. In terms of resolution it features a new 20.4-megapixel Live MOS sensor and offers a 50-megapixel High Res mode for static scenes. For video there’s 4K recording, a first for the OM-D range. And in another first for Olympus this

camera has two SD card slots, one with UHS-II compatibility. Boasting a new, high-speed, cross-type, on-chip phase-detection autofocus system with 121 focus points and a fast shutter response, the OM-D E-M1 Mark II is poised to capture the action. It also has a Silent Shutter mode allowing all electronic sounds to be turned off. In addition to this it features Focus Bracketing, Stacking, Live Composite and Live Bulb modes. One of this Olympus’s key features is its in-body image stabilisation. It boasts a newly enhanced, on-sensor 5-axis image stabilisation which claims to compensate up to 6.5EV when used with the new 12-100mm f/4 lens at 100mm. This lens has a two-axis IS system built-in. When it comes to size, Olympus has done a great job in packing pro features into a compact body. Even when attaching the 12-100mm f/4 lens to it, the camera was still comfortable to use in terms of bulk and weight. In terms of design, the OM-D E-M1 Mark II features a three-inch tiltable touchscreen monitor and also has an electronic viewfinder.

It boasts a newly enhanced, on-sensor 5-axis image stabilisation, which claims to compensate up to 6.5EV In most of the shooting scenarios that I put the camera through I used the electronic viewfinder, as I prefer being able to see a preview and adjust some settings if I have the opportunity. When it came to shooting at low angles, I found the monitor particularly useful. It’s also got three customisable options on the top dial, which you can program to your preferred settings for quick set-ups. The menu is extensive so takes lots of navigating and time spent setting up is worthwhile. The screen’s touch functionality is also a great help, while a control menu option gives very quick access to many key features. The Mark II claims nearly a 40% greater battery life than its predecessor with remaining charge

displayed as a percentage, and to test this I spent three to four hours shooting with the camera in total. This involved 4K video, numerous shots in the Pro Capture mode at 60fps, and also shooting sequences at 18fps. In addition, I was reviewing images regularly and taking other stills. By the time I had finished shooting the battery still had around 45% charge left. I was impressed with the battery life as I would have expected it to drop a lot more. Olympus states that the battery life will last up to 440 images, I actually took 1,235 images, in Raws and JPEGs and recorded just over two minutes of video footage. Most of these pictures were taken at a day event hosted by Olympus with opportunities designed to test the camera’s key selling points.


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Camera test Performance: ISO The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II’s ISO spans ISO 64 (low) to 25,600. When carrying out my ISO test I shot indoors where there was a lot of artificial lighting as well as some natural light coming from a window behind the miniature arena that was my subject. I set my aperture to f/8 and shot in aperture-priority mode, working my way up the ISO settings. Starting at the low ISO setting of 64 the images are perfectly clear and free from noise, and it isn’t until ISO 1600 that we start to see a slight bit of grain in the images. Moving on up to 6400 the noise starts to become more evident, with it increasing much more at ISO 8000. Finally at the top end of ISO 25,600 we can see that the noise has dramatically increased, with much of the detail within the image lost. Shooting with an ISO of around 1600 will give some noise, but its texture that can be easily removed in post-processing without impacting your images too much. If required, I’d happily shoot at 1600 and maybe even higher, but would aim to stay below 6400.

ISO 200

ISO 800

ISO 1600

ISO 3200

ISO 6400

ISO 8000

ISO 16,000

ISO 25,600

Original image

Right The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II performed well with noise only becoming evident at around ISO 1600. Noise was obvious by 6400 with a more dramatic increase from 8000 up to 25,600.

Comparison: Mark II v Mark I The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II’s ISO ranges from 64 (low) to 25,600

Original image

E-M1

E-M1 II

Above The OM-D E-M1 Mark II’s higher resolution sensor gives bigger prints without interpolation; 17.2x12.9in at 300ppi, which compares with 15.3x11.5in from the Mark I. The shots above were taken at ISO 200 with the 12-40mm f/2.8 lens at f/8 and enlarged to give the same image size. At ISO 200 the difference isn’t great but the benefit of the new sensor is more apparent at high ISO settings.

Left Bird of prey portrait taken with the Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 lens. ISO 320, 1/160 sec, f/1.8.


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Camera test Pro Capture The Pro Capture mode of the OM-D E-M1 Mark II allows you to shoots Raws at 60fps using single AF and 18fps with continuous AF via its electronic shutter. With the mechanical shutter the maximum shooting rate is 15fps which is still very impressive. This shutter type is better suited to action and avoids any risk of distortion. To test 60fps Pro Capture, Olympus provided an archer to shoot arrows at a row of balloons filled with water and powder, allowing us to capture the decisive moment of the arrow bursting the balloons. By half-pressing down the shutter release and focusing on the subject the camera automatically prepares to record the previous 14 frames. On the count of three, the arrow was to be fired. On three I pressed the release completely down and held it down for a full sequence of the balloons bursting. I was amazed at the result and the silent shutter makes it ideal for photographing wildlife. On reviewing some of the images you can see the arrow before it’s even fully pierced one of the balloons and then see the moments instantly after it burst. The camera’s ability to capture so rapidly is sure to appeal.

Performance: exposure latitude Correct exposure

While we always try to aim for the perfect exposure, sometimes we might need to do a little tweaking in post-processing. Shooting in manual mode I took one Raw shot with a correct exposure, as metered by the camera (1/500sec at f/8 in this case). I then adjusted the exposure at +/-4EV in 1EV steps. At the time of writing, Lightroom/Photoshop could not handle Raws from this camera so I used the Olympus Viewer 3 software. With this I was able to then correct the exposure of each image and compare it with my original correctly exposed image, but the software is limited to a maximum of +/-2EV correction. Looking at the -2EV exposed image once corrected there appeared to be quite a bit of noise and a slight difference in colour from that of the correctly exposed image. The corrected -1EV shot also had noise but a lot less than the -2EV image. In this slightly truncated exposure latitude test, the Mark II is okay rather than spectacular with underexposure while very good with overexposure. Above These test shots of Ascot’s grandstand were taken on an 12-40mm f/2.8 lens at ISO 200. The correct exposure was 1/500sec at f/8.

-1EV

-2EV

+1EV

+2EV


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Camera test 5-axis image stabilisation

Video grab

Olympus cameras are often highly rated for their 5-axis image stabilisation. The OM-D E-M1 Mark II features this mode, too and I took hand-held shots as low as 1/3sec and still got sharp results. When it comes to recording 4K video, the image stabilisation really stands out. Using the 12-100mm f/4 Pro lens with Sync IS, I shot footage of some horses, both with and without the IS, while sat in a vehicle moving along a bumpy track. The difference between the footage shot with IS and without IS shows a dramatic difference and I can see this camera becoming popular amongst videographers.

I took hand-held shots as low as 1/3sec and still got sharp results

Right The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II offers 4K video recording with on-sensor 5-axis image stabilisation to provide smooth recording when shooting hand-held footage.

Left Combined with 121 crosstype, on-chip, phase-detection AF points, the 5-axis IS helps you achieve blur-free shots when shooting moving subjects or using slow shutter speeds.

Verdict The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II has a range of features that’ll be attractive to photographers shooting fast-moving subjects. It offers great image quality and combined with Olympus’s Pro lenses it gives super-sharp results. Autofocusing is fast and the 60fps Pro Capture offers a high-speed shooting rate in Raw that no other camera does. Putting it up against DSLRs, it beats them in terms of speed and does it all in a compact and durable camera body. It’s quite pricey, but when no other camera offers such speeds it’s hard to compare on price. 25/25 Features Great features for wildlife and action photographers, lots of customisable dials to suit your shooting style 25/25 Performance Fast and accurate autofocus, Pro Capture with 60fps shooting Handling 25/25 Fast and intuitive, comfortable to use and not too heavy Value for money You get a lot of great features 23/25 for your money, but it’s still quite a heavy price

Above A miniature bull arena taken with the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 lens. The exposure was 1/15sec, at f/4 and ISO 1600. Right Pin-sharp results with the M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8. 1/160sec at f/2.8 and ISO 320.

97/100 Overall A powerful, portable camera that boasts rapid shooting speeds and great image quality. Pros High-speed performance for photographing fast-moving subjects and decisive moments, 20 megapixels, fast autofocus, tilting touchscreen. Image stabilisation and 4K video, improved battery life Cons Price tag is quite high


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Advertisement feature

Make the right choice Booking a photography workshop is a serious and expensive business and you want to make sure you pick the best company to get the most from your money. This isn’t easy – here’s our practical guide to getting it right Maybe you’re thinking about which photography workshop to go on next year, but how on earth do you choose between the many companies all heading to the same destinations with what certainly look like similar photography opportunities? You know what subject area interests you and you have an idea what you want to learn, but when you start searching on the web, you find loads of different companies offering courses, photo tours, photo workshops and photo holidays. The choice is overwhelming. First of all, it’s worth explaining the differences between a course, a photo tour, a photo workshop and a photo holiday. It seems the terms have become rather vague and are often used interchangeably. A ‘course’ is full-on tuition in a short session – it’s all about theoretical learning and often in the classroom rather than on location. A ‘photo holiday’ or ‘tour’ is what it says on the tin – a holiday with photographic opportunities throughout the day, although not usually with the early starts and late finishes that guarantee the best light and therefore the best results. A ‘workshop’ involves some theory but is coupled with exceptional photographic opportunities and experiences with handson tuition during the shoots. The itinerary is therefore flexible depending on weather conditions and light with both planned and unexpected opportunities. It means you won’t be doing the shoot that only works with a gorgeous sunset if there isn’t one! So start by knowing what you hope to achieve from your trip and then read the itinerary to ensure what’s on offer is what you want. An incorrectly labelled trip will be disappointing and a waste of time and money. After that, there are two simple rules. The first is: go local. Book with a company that is actually based where you want to go. You absolutely can’t fault on-site expertise from a locally based company that has the best contacts in its everyday activity. Why go to any country with a foreigner like yourself? Choose a company that is situated within the local community and you can’t go far wrong. The second is: select a specialist. Do you want to book with a photographer who goes all over the place and is a jack of all trades with no expertise anywhere? Pick a company that specialises in what you want to do and where you want to go. So if you like the idea of a workshop in the Camargue, then Create Away must be top of your list because it is the only photography workshop company actually based in the area. It has quickly become the number one specialist for the region, thanks to its strong and long-established links with the local people and its deep respect for the traditions

Create Away guarantees an experience different from the rest for awardwinning photo opps and wildlife of their treasured land, which adds greatly to the experiences you will enjoy during the various workshops they offer. With exclusive access to private areas, inaccessible to everyone else, Create Away guarantees an experience different from the rest for award-winning photographic opportunities. Create Away is run by founder and professional photographer Serge Krouglikoff. His family originate from the region and he spent most of his childhood growing up there before moving to Brussels to study fine art and photography. He later became a highly successful international fashion photographer based in London and travelling the world for advertising and editorial campaigns. This was in the days when you had to know what you were doing with your camera and understand lighting – no digital, no Photoshop, just your own skill and the ability to keep Joan Collins, amongst others, happy. Helped by Serge’s intimate knowledge of the Carmargue and his outstanding expertise you will come back with stunning pictures to be proud of. There is a variety of workshops and tours to suit photographers of all ability levels and interests including wildlife, landscape, street and action. Create Away has exclusively offered Photography News readers a 5% discount on any 2017 workshop if you book by 31 December 2016. Please quote ‘Photography News’ when booking to claim your discount. www.create-away.com

Find out more For further information, contact Ros Bennett, responsible for reservations and customer care on 01203 642 2448 or + 33 6 12 03 08 98 and she will guide you along the way. Or visit the Create Away website for full details of the courses and workshops on offer.


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First tests

First tests Accessories

We get our hands on the latest kit and share our first impressions – so you know whether or not to add it to your list for Santa Reviews by Will Cheung and Kingsley Singleton

Fotospeed Square & Panoramic papers from £17.99 Specs Prices and availability Panoramic Test pack £29.99 (24 sheets, four of each of the six available finishes) 25 sheets PF Lustre 275, PF Gloss 270 or Photo Smooth Pearl 290 £29.99 25 sheets Platinum Etching 285 £47.99 25 sheets Platinum Baryta 300 or Smooth Cotton 300 £64 8x8in 50 sheets PF Lustre 275 £17.99 25 sheets Platinum Etching 285 £19.99 25 sheets Platinum Baryta 300 £25.99 12x12in 50 sheets PF Lustre 275 £48.99 25 sheets Platinum Etching 285 £47.99 25 sheets Platinum Baryta 300 £66.99 Contact fotospeed.com

What do you do when you’re a paper supplier with an already extensive portfolio of sizes and surface finishes on offer? Explore the potential of different formats is the answer Fotospeed has come up with, and it may be onto something. I have certainly been enjoying the Panoramic and new Square sizes in its range. To be honest, you could ask what’s the point? After all, the Panoramic’s 594x210mm size is just A2 cut in half width-ways, and the square can be cut down from any rectangular sheet. But doing a professional job with a straight edge and sharp knife is tricky and not only that but if your printer is A3+ you’re unlikely to have any A2 paper on hand. Then there’s the health and safety risk of slicing off a fingertip unless you own a quality trimmer, so Fotospeed’s thinking works for me. There are three square sizes, 8in2, 10in2 and 12in2 so they’ll work fine with A3+ printers but only the smallest size works with A4 printers. The Panoramic paper’s width of 21cm means that it will go through A4 as well as A3+ printers no problem

As innovations go, offering paper in different shapes does not rate high on the excitement scale, but it is worthwhile and Fotospeed should be praised for that.

Verdict

although you need a back-fed model. You should check your printer’s instructions if you’re not sure. In both cases, you need to set up a custom template in Photoshop to print from. Fotospeed has PDF guides on its website to help you out and supplies generic profiles – a custom profiling service is available too. I’ve used Fotospeed products previously

so I had the generic profiles already in my system so it was just a matter of producing images that worked in the respective formats, dragging over to the custom templates and hitting the print button. The process is straightforward and even I managed it without getting the size parameters or print orientation wrong. Happy days! WC

I really enjoyed using both paper types and being able to produce a panoramic or square print without the faff of cutting down a larger sheet is a real benefit. My handheld panoramas vary in width but that wasn’t a real issue and I trimmed the final print where necessary or went for a thinner image to get it all in. With a good choice of surfaces in each format, these paper collections from Fotospeed are well worth exploring. Pros Saves the hassle and possible wastage of cutting down larger sheets Cons Nothing


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First tests

Tamron SP150600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 £1340 If you want to shoot sports or nature pictures a long telephoto is essential for capturing a decent image size of the usually distant subjects. Tamron’s second generation (G2) of its SP150600mm f/5-6.3 is certainly a lens that potentially fits the bill as it covers a great range of long focal lengths perfect for distance shooting. That said, it focuses as close as 2.2m so can handle close-up shooting too. Compared with the original lens, the G2 version features an upgraded optical design featuring a 21 element in 13 group construction instead of 20 elements in 13 groups. The revamped optics and some minor but worthwhile design modifications means the new lens is slightly heavier too. Looking at its price, the G2 comes in at £1340, which compares with the current £829 shop price for the original lens where stocks are available. The G2 lens has had a facelift so it has the same family appearance of recently launched SP lenses such as the 35mm f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.8 and

150mm

F/5.6

that is evidenced by the champagnecoloured ring near the lens mount and the design of the various controls. There’s no denying the lens’s handsome good looks, enhanced even further when you fit the hood to give a lens with some very nice curves. Handling is very good with the manual focus and zoom barrels working smoothly but with enough tautness so that nothing moves of its own accord. Keeping camera shake in check is the job of Tamron’s Vibration Compensation (VC) system. Three settings are available. Mode 1 for general shooting, mode 2 for panning and mode 3 when the lens’s emphasis is on stabilising the image rather than the viewfinder image. There is no real excuse to handhold such a lens at ridiculously slow shutter speeds unless you’re testing it which is why I took the lens out, set 600mm and took five shots at each full shutter speed from 1/60sec down to 1/8sec. I got two out of five sharp at

300mm

F/5.6

Specs Price £1340 Format Full-frame/APS-C

1/8sec and 1/15sec and three at 1/30sec and 1/60sec. I thought that was very impressive and knowing you can get away with shooting at such slow shutter speeds is reassuring. One nice design touch is a zoom lock that works at other focal lengths not just at the minimum, ie. 150mm. It’s not a strong lock at intermediate settings so easy to move off the locked position when you need to but still usefully firm. Another very nice touch to everyone using Arca-Swiss compatible ball heads or gimbals is that the supplied rotating tripod mount has a compatible foot so no need to fit an additional plate. It would be wonderful if more lens makers would follow Tamron’s lead. The gap between the foot and the lens barrel is also wide enough to let you comfortably carry the lens by its foot. I tried the Tamron 150-600mm mounted on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. The combination had an excellent balance and AF proved responsive,

600mm

F/6.3

swift and accurate – having a camera with a high-spec autofocus system obviously helped. The standard of the lens’s optical performance is high, notably at the wider lens apertures, and that is at the three focal lengths tested, 150mm, 300mm and 600mm. Stopping down to beyond f/11 and diffraction played its part and images from f/16 onwards were less impressive. Of course, long telephoto lenses are more often than not used at the wider apertures to allow the fastest shutter speeds and lowest ISOs for the best possible image quality so this aspect of performance is not an issue in the real world. Flare resistance is excellent. I took a sequence of shots directly into the sun – using live view, not the optical viewfinder – with and without the lens hood to try to induce flare but contrast remained high with no ghosting or veiling and no sign of any flare spots. Every situation is different but in my flare test I couldn���t help but be impressed. WC Left We used the Tamron 150600mm lens on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, often in combination with a Benro Mach3 carbon-fibre tripod. Lens handling is very good and the effective Tamron VC system does make hand-holding at remarkably slower shutter speeds easily possible when a support is not available. Below Tamron’s advanced lens coatings do a great job of combating flare even when shooting directly into the sun (using live view, of course).

Mount Canon, Nikon. Sony to come Construction 21 elements in 13 groups Special lens elements 3 low-dispersion (LD) elements Coatings Tamron’s eBAND and BBAR coatings, protective fluorine coat on front element Filter size 95mm Aperture range f/5-40 Diaphragm 9 blades Internal focus Yes. AF uses Tamron’s Ultrasonic Silent Drive (USD) Manual focus Yes Minimum focus 2.2m Focus limiter Yes Maximum magnification 1:3.9 Distance scale Yes Depth-of-field scale No Image stabiliser Tamron VC, three modes Tripod collar Yes Lens hood Bayonet fit hood supplied Weather sealed Yes, moisture resistant Dimensions (dxl) 108.4x260.2mm Weight 2010g Contact Intro2020.co.uk

F/8

F/8

F/8

F/11

F/11

F/11

F/16

F/16

F/16

F/22

F/22

F/22

Verdict Quality telephoto lenses don’t come cheap and while this Tamron costs £1340, it offers a very useful focal length range, great handling and a fine optical showing at the important apertures, the wider settings. If there is any downside it’s its modest performance at the smaller apertures. For what you get, the Tamron SP150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 is very good value. Pros Performance at wider apertures, very effective VC system, Arca-Swiss tripod foot, impressive flare resistance Cons Less good sharpness at the small apertures


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First tests Specs Price £95 Compatible cameras Canon, Nikon Guide number 58 (ISO 100, 180mm) Recycle time 2.3secs (stated) Colour temperature 5500K TTL function Yes (Nikon i-TTL/ Canon E-TTL) Power levels (manual) 1/128-1/1 step Power increments 0.3EV Zoom (Manual/automatic) 18-180mm Flash exposure lock Yes Flash duration 1/200-1/20,000sec Stroboscopic mode Yes Wireless flash functions TTL (E-TTL, i-TTL), manual (M), stroboscopic mode (multi), Slave (S1, S2), FEB Wireless groups/channels 4 channels, 3 groups Max wireless range Indoor 20-30m, outdoor 10-15m Modelling flash No AF assist beam: Yes Triggering options: Optical, slave, PC sync lead Flash ready indicator: Yes Auto power dump: Yes Vertical rotation: -7° to +9° Horizontal rotation: +/-180° Power supply: 4 AA batteries, external DC power supply Power Saving: Yes Dimensions: 70x65x200mm Weight (without batteries): 460g Contact kenro.co.uk

Wireless TTL flash It’s worth reminding yourself that triggering a flash wirelessly while it uses through the lens (TTL) metering to set correct power is a relatively new phenomenon. It’s very useful and highly adaptable thanks to flash exposure compensation, and the Kenro Standard Speedflash handles the feature well. I used it to backlight the subject, shooting from around ten metres away.

Kenro Standard Speedflash £95 Kenro, one of the UK’s leading photographic distributors, has launched its own flashgun, the Kenro Speedflash KFL101. Aimed at keen amateurs and enthusiasts, the flash has plenty going for it, but most surprising is that the same unit is compatible with both Canon and Nikon systems. This is good news for stockists, and for camera clubs where gear might be passed around; but also for anyone who owns both systems; say with a Nikon DSLR and a Canon creative compact. That’s where I started the test, and found the flash does indeed work perfectly on both systems; once fitted, the unit detects the system and the main TTL mode switches to E-TTL for Canon or i-TTL for Nikon. What’s more, it’s fully compatible with both camera systems’ wireless modes, which work optically using a pre-flash for power settings and triggering. Of course, you need either a body with a pop-up flash (like the D800 used here), or if there is no a built-in flash, you’ll need two units – one to use a master. I tested the wireless functions on a shoot at a local animal shelter where, due to overcast conditions, I used the flash for back-lighting, placing it behind the subject on a lighting stand (like most speedlights, the KFL101 comes with a plastic stand (or micro base) with a thread built in. Setting the flash up to fire wirelessly is easy; like all systems, you just need to set the same channel and group as on the camera. To do this on the KFL101 you press the Zoom button twice for channel and three times for group, but because it’s not marked with anything other than Zoom, it’s not clear until you delve into the manual. With the flash in

i-TTL mode, power was judged well in the shots I took, and it’s possible to increase or decrease this by +/-3EV (as opposed to the +/-1EV allowed via the D800). This can be done on the unit itself, or if you’re using two KFL101 flashes, by setting the flash exposure compensation on the master. To give more of a kick, I set it to +1. The range is quoted at ten to 15m outdoors (which was borne out), rising to 20m indoors. But like all optical triggering it’s less efficient in sunshine and has problems when the signal is blocked. To line up the sensor with the master flash a useful LED target is displayed, and if used correctly, it works well. I shot at ten metres from the flash with no problems. If you want to push it further you’ll need to use radio triggers. I tried it with a pair of Aputure Trigmaster Plus II triggers and it worked perfectly, although you do lose the TTL metering. The KFL101 also supports highspeed sync (HSS) flash, which works pretty much faultlessly, letting you shoot at speeds higher than the camera’s normal flash sync speed (usually up to 1/250sec). The mode needed to be activated on the camera, before it’s detected by the flash, showing up as a tell-tale on the LCD. It’s a useful feature, and the only problem encountered here (apart from the diminishing illumination as you reach higher speeds, which is common to the technology on any unit) was that, in manual flash mode, the frame wasn’t entirely covered at the lowest power settings; it showed a curtain mark from about 1/2000sec onwards, increasing towards the maximum 1/8000sec. Upping the power fixed this, and it wasn’t a problem when working in TTL mode, so not a huge issue. HSS also works off camera, but

Setting the flash up to fire wirelessly is easy... you just need to set the same channel and group as on the camera again due to the restrictions of the system itself, you can’t expect masses of power at very fast shutter speeds. There’s also a Flash Exposure Bracketing (FEB) mode, which is controllable from the flash and can be set up to +/-3EV in 0.3EV increments. This is a handy feature which works in manual or TTL mode, as it lets you to vary the output across three shots to pick the best. However, with Nikons you have set FEB on the camera and as with the wireless control it’s not marked up on the body, so you need to investigate the manual to find the order of button pushes. The flash power, rated at GN58 (ISO 100, 180mm) was plenty for the shots I took, but recycle times were a little sluggish: rated at 2.3secs, I only managed to get it as fast as 4secs when shooting at full power (1/1), with four fresh Duracell Ultra Power alkaline batteries. After 30-40 flashes this dropped to around 7secs, but reduce the power to half and it was back up to a very usable 1.5secs. Performance could be improved using Ni-HH or Lithium batteries, and certainly with a 6-8V external power pack. Build quality seemed solid, and the articulated flash head was stiff enough to mount the speedlight modifiers without much drooping or

wobbling, but it lacks a lock, and the integral bounce card had a tendency to get stuck in its housing. The rubberised buttons on the rear have a positive feel, but as mentioned it would be nice if they were marked more clearly; and while the screen is clear and lights up very well, illumination of the buttons would’ve been nice, too. The KFL101 also comes with a decent case that includes a useful ‘softbox’ attachment and loops to carry four spare AA batteries. KS

Verdict Dual Canon and Nikon functionality is good on one hand, but I felt it made setting up a bit more complicated until I was fluent in the menus. Take care to read the manual or you may be left in the dark by the buttons. That said, in terms of basic functions it’s pretty much plug and play and for under £100, there’s plenty to admire. Pros Price, features Cons Not the most intuitive handling, recycle times


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

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First tests

Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.2 PRO £1099 With its superfast maximum aperture you won’t be surprised to learn that the lens is quite large and weighty for a Micro Four Thirds lens and it looks more like a telephoto than a standard focal length. But of course Micro Four Thirds lenses are small to start with and this 25mm f/1.2 (equivalent to a 50mm in the 35mm format) is a pleasure to use and not at all unwieldy or cumbersome. When fitted onto an Olympus PEN-F or the OM-D E-M5 Mark II the pair made for a very nicely balanced combination and they were great to use. AF speed is very impressive and effectively silent – put your ear to it and you hear a whisper as the AF motor does its job. It’s ideal for street use because the lens simply zips into focus on scenes with contrast and is only slightly less effective in low light or with less strongly defined textures, such as painted surfaces. The surface of the front lens element lies quite close to the lens rim so using the supplied bayonet-fit LH66B lens hood is advised for physical protection as well as to help prevent flare. A high quality UV or skylight protection filter is advised too. There is only one button on the lens and that is a lens function (LFn) button that you can assign to a different function using the camera’s menu. I went for AF Area Select so pushing the button brings up the AF zone pattern and moving the AF point around can be done with the four-way control pad on the camera rear. The other lens control is available if you pull back on the focus barrel and you get manual focus. This is handy and good to use if you need to quickly switch over to manual focus but personally I felt it could be more firmly click-stopped to avoid unintentional use. I found, for instance, that I managed to slip into manual focus just by pulling the lens out of the bag on a couple of occasions.

Specs Price £1099 Format Micro Four Thirds Mount Micro Four Thirds

Quality does get better with stopping down but you know you are in for an optical treat when it starts so well at f/1.2 When in manual focus position, there is a minimal distance scale in feet and metres which explains the presence of the depth-of-field scale; in AF mode, the depth-of-field scale alone is visible. Infinity to the minimum focusing distance of 30cm takes just over one-quarter rotation of the lens barrel. Of course, there is no point having f/1.2 if it doesn’t deliver sharp images. No problem with this Olympus, though. Sharpness starts at a high level right from its maximum aperture and that’s across the frame. Quality does get better with stopping down but you know you are in for an optical treat when it starts so well at f/1.2. From f/2 to f/8 the lens delivers excellent quality images packed with crisply recorded detail with high levels of contrast. You might not need to add any post-processing sharpening but if you do, the picture literally gets better. I’d be perfectly happy using f/4 or f/5.6 knowing the results will be outstanding. Diffraction at f/11 and f/16 comes into play to soften the image and sharpness is noticeably down from its peak at f/5.6. I shot pictures in a wide range of lighting types, from bare sun to street lamps and had no significant issues with flare or ghosting and that was with and without the hood. WC

Original image

Construction 19 elements in 14 groups Special lens elements 1xSED (super extra-low dispersion), 2xED, 1 E-HR (extra high refractive), 3xHR, 1xaspherical Coatings Z Coating Nano Filter size 62mm Aperture range f/1.2-16 Diaphragm 9 blades Internal focus Yes Manual focus Yes, pull back focus barrel Minimum focus 30.5cm Focus limiter No Maximum magnification 0.11x Distance scale Yes Depth-of-field scale Yes Image stabiliser Olympus use an in-body system Tripod collar No Lens hood Supplied, bayonet fit Weather-sealed Yes. Dust, splash and freeze proof Dimensions (lxd) 87x70mm Weight 410g Contact olympus.co.uk

Above Clevedon pier exposed at 1/100sec at f/10 and ISO 80. The Raw file was processed in Lightroom and viewed at 100% on screen. The result is full of fine detail.

F/1.2

F/2.8

Verdict

Above The Olympus 25mm f/1.2 was used on the PEN-F and OM-D E-M5 Mark II over a period of a couple of weeks shooting a wide range of subjects. Having such a fast aperture is liberating especially when lighting conditions were less than perfect and you get a nice bokeh with suitable backgrounds. The end of Clevedon pier was the subject above.

F/4

F/5.6

F/11

F/16

Packed with high-tech glass, the ability to turn in a very fine optical performance and beautiful handling, there is no doubt that the 25mm f/1.2 is an excellent and deeply impressive standard lens. Of course you are paying for it, but £1100 for a lens of this spec and quality isn’t unfair by any means and if you want a first-rate fast aperture Micro Four Thirds standard lens, this baby will take some beating. Pros F/1.2 aperture, AF speed, image quality, smooth handling Cons Price


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First tests Specs Price VARIDESK Pro Plus 48 £375 (free delivery) Weight: 20kg (without batteries) Features Good for two monitors Separate tier for keyboard and mouse Footprint 121.9x75.5cm. See website for adjustment range Contact uk.varidesk.com

I often sit during the morning and after my three-pint liquid lunch I like to stand Above right As photographers we probably devote more thinking time to what lens to buy next than the environment we work in. Yet, a good working situation will make us more productive and even more creative. So, think about your desk, monitor position and more.

Specs Price £89.99 Operating system Windows 2000 through 10 Mac OS 8.6 through OS 10.9 USB port Direct or via a powered USB hub Hard drive space 9.3MB Compatibility Suitable softwares include Adobe Creative Suite, Apple Final Cut Pro, Avid Pro Tools, Avid Media Composer, web browsers and more. There’s a downloadable up-to-date Excel list on the website Dimensions 5.3x2x9.3cm Contact ergo.contourdesign.com

VARIDESK Pro Plus 48 £375 The very notion of standing to work at your computer might sound weird, but I think it’s a great idea. I’ve been using a VARIDESK for a few months and I don’t think I could do without it which is a total turnaround from my initial scepticism. The press release does make all sorts of claims: You burn off more calories standing rather than sitting and it means you are less likely to suffer from heart disease and obesity problems; you’ll also be 62% happier and 66% more productive. I’ve no idea how these stats were arrived at, but telling your boss that you are going to be more productive if you fancy a VARIDESK is sure to work. Perhaps. I tried a Pro Plus model which has two tiers – one for the monitor and one for the keyboard and mouse. I went for the 48 version as I use two 27in monitors. The Pro series has one work surface, and there are other options in the range, too. I spend upwards of eight hours a day staring at a screen, using a keyboard and a mouse – like many people. Also like many people, at the end of the day I know I haven’t moved much – except for comfort breaks, cups of tea and for lunch. The VARIDESK worked for me. My workflow now is that I often sit during the morning and after my three-pint liquid lunch I like to stand. That’s a joke, by the way. But I do find standing helps workflow and concentration even if it is just the ability to take a

stretch or step back and have a ponder. This definitely helps when you’re working on pictures. And the thing is, you can sit or stand as the mood takes you because changing the VARIDESK’s configuration takes seconds; you might stand for a few hours and feel like sitting, then when you want to stand back up again, no problem. To adjust height, you grip the two locks – accessible through holes on top of the work surface – and release them, then gently pull the desk to the required height. Release the grips and it settles and locks solidly in position. I’m no Mr Universe, but I managed to get it in place with little effort.

In terms of working height, the keyboard can be raised up to 48cm from the desk the VARIDESK is sitting on and that is plenty enough to suit most people. For me, I have the keyboard 31cm above the worktop. Build quality is impressive and it’ll probably last well in a typical office with constant use. If you do order one, be warned, the box is heavy and the unit arrives ready for use so no self-assembly is needed, although you might need a hand to lift the VARIDESK onto the base desk. Set up is as easy as that, although you might need longer cables to cope when the VARIDESK when used in its elevated position. WC

Verdict A VARIDESK is definitely worth thinking about if you spend hours in front of your screen, whether that is for word processing or picture editing. At £375 for the 48 version that’s a considerable outlay, but in the longer term it could be a very sensible one. Pros Build quality, easy to adjust the working height Cons Needs a mat for the keyboard to stop it slipping around

ShuttlePRO v2 £89.99 Most of my picture editing is done with a few clicks in Lightroom and I rarely, for example, make selections, complex or otherwise, in Photoshop. So the humble mouse works for me, but it’s by no means perfect so I am often on the lookout for workflow options. One option is Contour ShuttlePRO v2. It works with a wide range of editing softwares including Lightroom and accompanies the mouse rather than replacing it. Start by installing the software, which needed a restart afterwards despite what the website said, plug the unit in and you can start to configure how you want to work. It will take time, practice and probably a few revisits to change settings before you get a workflow that works for you. A downloadable button ‘map’ for Lightroom from the website tells you which button does what so that gave me a start and I went from there. There are 15 buttons, nine at the front, two to the side and four to the rear of the large jog/shuttle dial. A sheet of sticky labels is provided in the box to mark what each button does and a sheet of buttons is downloadable from the website. Applying them is a tad fiddly – especially with the latter because you have to mess around with double-sided tape – but the labels do very much help. Later, after much familiarisation, when you know which button does what instinctively, you might not need the labels.

The more you use the device the quicker you’ll learn its controls Open the app and you’ll see it has detected all the software installed on your computer that’s compatible with the ShuttlePRO and if you highlight each program you can see which controls do what. Using the app you can change the defaults to make them more appropriate to the tools and features you want quick access to. The more you use the device the quicker you’ll learn its controls. If you edit, say just once a week, that period of getting used to the Shuttle’s button layout is clearly going to be much longer. A crib sheet next to the screen is a good idea, too. The other option, if you have the space on your screen is to have the app itself open and you can see what the unit does as you move from software to software. It won’t help that features you assign to buttons might change as you get used to the device. So if you have time, before doing anything, prioritise what features you want to use before you start assigning buttons. You will, as I did for a while,

Above The ShuttlePRO v2 is not a mouse replacement; rather an accompanying accessory that can speed up your workflow, whether you are editing still pictures or video footage. wonder if the ShuttlePRO is worth the effort, but it is and it does make aspects of using Lightroom faster and more comfortable. Even something really simple like scrolling through images with the Shuttle’s jog wheel is an improvement on, for instance, using the keyboard’s arrow keys. A couple of months on, though, I am much more at home with the ShuttlePRO and enjoying it. WC

Verdict Is the ShuttlePRO v2 worth it? Yes, it is, especially if you are handling a lot of images/video and edit a great deal. But getting to appreciate what the ShuttlePRO v2 can do takes time, so don’t expect to plug it in and fly with it instantly. You have to persevere and set it up to suit you, but once done it makes a practical and worthwhile addition to the mouse in your editing set-up. Pros Works, versatile, great to use once you get the hang of it Cons Price, takes time to enjoy


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First tests Specs Price £430 Format 35mm, APS-C, Micro Four Thirds Mount Canon EF, Nikon, Sony FE (other fittings are available to special order from Intro 2020 – these include, among others, Micro Four Thirds, Fujifilm X and Canon M) Construction 13 elements in 12 groups Special lens elements Two aspherical elements, three ED (extra low-dispersion) elements Coatings Samyang Ultra Multi Coating Filter size 77mm Aperture range f/1.8-16 Diaphragm 7 blades Internal focus Yes Manual focus Yes Minimum focus 20cm Focus limiter No Distance scale Yes, feet and metres Depth-of-field scale No Image stabiliser No Tripod collar N/A Lens hood Bayonet fit hold supplied Weather-sealed No Dimensions (dxl) 83x88.4mm Weight 497g (Canon EOS version) Contact intro2020.co.uk

Samyang 20mm f/1.8 ED AS UMC £430 In a relatively short period of time, Korean lens brand Samyang has developed a fine reputation for delivering high-spec photo and video lenses at attractive prices. Although autofocus is a feature starting to appear on Samyang lenses, its photo lenses are mostly manual focus which helps keep prices competitive. Many of them sport temptingly fast maximum apertures too. The Samyang 20mm f/1.8 is a recent arrival and typical of the sort of specification Samyang’s latest products are blessed with. The 20mm is my favourite ultra-wide focal length and to have one with a f/1.8 maximum aperture is great news. I tested the 20mm f/1.8 on a Nikon D810 with which it makes a wellbalanced combination. The supplied hood bayonets on securely although I didn’t experience flare or ghosting with or without the hood in position. On occasion I took the hood off to use ND grads and a polariser. On the Nikon, for aperture control from the camera body the f/22 setting (coloured red) needs to be set so you get aperture control from the body. There is no lock to keep this in position. On the Nikon-fit lens, the aperture ring is close to the camera body which makes using it with gloves slightly awkward. The aperture ring itself is in halfclick stops and on our new sample it was slightly stiff in use. The same could be said of the manual focus barrel but that helped with handling and its smooth action meant you could be very precise. The long travel of the focus barrel helps too and it takes just over half a full rotation to travel from infinity focus to its closest 20cm focusing distance. In normal shooting very little travel is required to change focus from infinity to, say, one metre so most travel is with closer distances. The optical performance of this ultra-wide is generally impressive even wide open. The only downside at f/1.8 is in the extreme corners where detail is soft but this will only be an

Original image

Above We had a Nikon-fit Samyang 20mm f/1.8 to test and it was used on Nikon D810. We had no compatibility issues with the camera’s exposure system and the AF confirmation LED worked as normal. The scene above was the road bridge at Postbridge, Dartmoor, shot with the camera mounted on a Benro Mach3 carbon-fibre tripod.

Stop down to f/3.2 or f/3.5 and there is a clear improvement in terms of finer detail, resolution and contrast issue if you are cropping really tight and want the corners sharp. Stop down to f/4 and f/5,6 and any corner softness is banished. Central and edge sharpness is sound wide open but stop down to f/3.2 or f/3.5 and there is a clear improvement in terms of finer detail, resolution and contrast, and if you have the light to use f/5.6 or f/8 you will get the best from this wide lens. Stopping down any further for more depth-of-field means diffraction effects overall sharpness. I took this lens out to Westonbirt Arboretum, among other places. Getting in close at f/1.8 meant focusing had to be as precise as possible and the bright viewing image helped in this respect, as did the camera’s focus confirmation signal in the viewfinder. The benefit of shooting at f/1.8, even at ISO 100 on dull days, meant the shutter speed was around 1/500sec so I shot handheld and just swayed back and forth to get focus on the gently moving leaves. The bokeh looked good and circular which may be surprising as the lens only has a seven-blade diaphragm and there is some natural fall off in the corners to give some minor vignetting. This is easily corrected in post-processing if you prefer but I left it as I often add vignetting anyway. Any distortion can also be corrected in software too. WC F/1.8

Above Set maximum aperture and move in close for some delightful bokeh effects with the Samyang 20mm f/1.8. Default sharpening and no vignetting correction were applied in Lightroom for this shot. Exposure of 1/640sec at f/1.8 and ISO 100.

F/2.8

F/4

F/5.6

F/11

F/16

Verdict Whether you grew up with manual focus or have only recently learnt (or maybe you haven’t yet) to appreciate the involvement you get with it, lenses such as this Samyang 20mm f/1.8 are a delight. It is attractively priced for a lens of this spec, is capable of sharp pictures and delivers images with a bit of character. On the whole, I didn’t really find any serious downsides to the Samyang 20mm f/1.8 ED AS UMC and would happily use it for my own work. Pros Good picture quality, good close-focusing distance, long travel focus barrel for precise close-up focusing Cons Long travel focus barrel takes marginally longer to use


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First tests Specs Price £897 Aspect ratio 16:9 Type IPS backlight LED Native resolution 2560x1440 Viewable image size 596.7x335.6mm Pixel pitch 0.233mm Display colours 1.07 billion, 10-bit Viewing angle 178° vertical/178° horizontal Height adjustable 135mm Wide gamut coverage (typical) 99% Adobe RGB, 100% Rec.709/ sRGB Inputs 1xDVI, 1xHDMI 1.4, 1xDP1.2, 1x Mini PD, USB 3.0 (2x downstream, 1x upstream), SD card reader

BenQ PV270 27in IPS LCD Monitor £897 Physically setting up the BenQ monitor is dead easy and no tools are needed. Plenty of input options are provided, so too is a shade to keep ambient light off the matt screen. There is plenty of height adjustment available and the stand’s design is ideal if you have a Mac Mini (as I do) as it can nestle between the stand’s legs, saving desk space. The stand lets you swivel the screen 90° so no problem if you want to use it upright. Accessing the menu items with the small, easy-to-use touch-sensitive buttons is simple enough and the onscreen navigation prompts do their job well enough. BenQ supplies Palette Master software to help you calibrate the monitor with a compatible device or just use your usual software. The screen gives 100% of the Rec. 709 gamut, the current standard

colour space for TV screens, and 99% of the Adobe RGB colour space. In practice, images were displayed very nicely on the monitor and that includes pictures that were exhibiting subtle hues as well as some more richly saturated shots. Shadows were well rendered with plenty of gradation and the blacks looked solid while the highlights still had plenty of sparkle in them. After a good warm-up period, I did check illumination evenness with a light meter and it is very impressive in this respect. Metering across the monitor showed almost no variance when the readings from the centre and the edges were compared. In fact, the only variance from the central reading came at the edges directly below and above the centre point and that measured just 0.1EV different so minimal indeed. WC

Typical power consumption 73W, 0.5W in power-saving mode In the box DVI-DL, miniDP to DPI, USB 3.0, CD, shading hood Dimensions (wxhxd) 639x552.x164mm (landscape) Weight (with stand) 8.3kg

Price £229 Aspect ratio 16:9 Type SuperClear IPS LCD Native resolution 1920x1080 Viewable image size 527x296mm Display colours 16.7 million, 6-bit Viewing angle 178° vertical/178° horizontal Height adjustable 0-130mm Brightness 250cd/m2 Wide gamut coverage (typical) 100% Rec. 709, 100% sRGB Inputs DVI-DL, 2xHDMI 1.4, 2xDP1.2a, USB 3.0 (A type 4xdownstream, B type 1xupstream) Typical power consumption 22W In the box MiniDP to DPI, USB 3.0 (B to A), ViewSonic Wizard CD, power cable Dimensions (wxhxd) 538x519.4x215mm (landscape) Weight (with stand) 5.65kg Contact viewsonic.europe.com

Metering across the monitor showed almost no variance Images The BenQ PV270 offers an excellent viewing experience and your shots will almost certainly look utterly fabulous on it.

Contact benq.co.uk

Specs

Verdict This 27in monitor is a great investment if you have the budget and working space. It’s easy to setup and delivers impressive results. I also found it comfortable to work with over long periods. Pros Image quality, height adjustment range, calibration software, comes with shade, touch-sensitive controls Cons Nothing notable

ViewSonic VP2468 24in £229 ViewSonic has 30 years’ experience in the visual display market and the VP2468 belongs to its family of professional-grade monitors. It is a Full HD IPS monitor with a 23.8in viewable area but the key thing is that it offers a pro-level imaging performance at just £229. If you are currently using the monitor that you bought with the computer, this screen is potentially a great first upgrade. A key selling feature of this screen is its very thin bevel or frame. It gives the ViewSonic VP2468 unit a modern look and also means the viewing image extends to the edge of the screen. The versatile stand allows swivel, pivoting in both directions and smooth height adjustment. ViewSonic has a uniformity correction function to give even across-the-screen illumination. A test with a light meter on a plain grey image revealed some variation in light levels across the screen. Let’s say that if the centre is zero, the edges and corners were slightly darker in the region of 0.2EV to 0.4EV. To be fair, to the naked eye these differences are not noticeable in normal use. I used default setting as well as explored the photographic subject options. There’s a Landscape setting, for example. On the whole, the screen image looked good with subtle hues well defined, smooth tonality and high contrast levels. The screen claims to show 99% of the sRGB colour space

The screen image looked good with subtle hues well defined and smooth tonality but as that colour space is not as wide as Adobe RGB, I thought the greens ,where Adobe RGB is superior, would be less impressive. You might find that difference more evident with sideby-side testing but as it happens the ViewSonic images looked perfectly fine. WC

Verdict Start looking at monitors for photography and you’ll see prices that can buy you a top-end full-frame DSLR, so for £229 it is impossible to argue that the ViewSonic VP2468 isn’t great value, because it is and it’s well worth checking out.

Images This good looking screen displays a high-quality image and the thin bevel frame adds to the viewing experience. The unit also has plenty of interfaces to link up various devices.

Pros Price, thin bevel screen, low power usage Cons No hood supplied, 99% of sRGB not Adobe RGB colour space


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

70

First tests

Lastolite Creative Backgrounds 1.2x1.5m £118.95

Above The model for this shoot is Rhiannon Mawbey (Find her on Facebook) and she is dressed in an outfit by Dirty/Pretty Latex, etsy.com. The images were taken on a Welshot Imaging event, welshotimaging.co.uk.

The Fence/Wall option of the two – probably – has wider applications but that is a matter of opinion

Specs Prices Diamonds/Mosaic 1.2x1.5m £118.95 Fence/wall 1.2x1.5m £118.95 Magnetic Background Support Kit with stand £107.95 Stand for Collapsible Backgrounds £92.95 Magnetic Background Support £59.95 Dimensions Open 125x155x1.5cm Folded 62x62x4cm Weight 2kg (in carry bag) 1.8kg (out of bag) Contact manfrotto.co.uk

Backgrounds are essential tools in a photographer’s armoury and having a broad selection of them on hand for different occasions and subjects is an important consideration, whether they are paper, cloth or collapsible. Lastolite (recently rebranded to Lastolite by Manfrotto) has introduced two additions, Diamonds/Mosaic and Fence/Wall, to its range of collapsible 1.2x1.5m creative backgrounds range. Lastolite already has a wide selection of colours and sizes so the latest two provide even more options for the creative user. The collapsible backgrounds can be tied to a lighting stand or used with a magnetic holder and both options are available in the Lastolite range. Although not as convenient, versatile or as professional, collapsible backgrounds can also be used just leant up against a wall. In this test we used the backgrounds in combination with the Magnetic Background Support Kit with lighting stand that sells for £107.95. The magnetic holder is a neat piece of design and will happily hold the background in place. On this occasion I was shooting indoors so there were no problems with the wind.

Each fabric background is double-sided and mounted on a steel rim that opens up or collapses in a matter of seconds making using them quick to use. Because they collapse down to 62cm, they are highly portable too and come complete with a carry bag. It is fair to say that while the two offerings, Diamonds/ Mosaic and Fence/Wall, are not suitable for every subject or situation, on the right occasion they work really well. So, for example, for portraits of teenagers the Diamonds/ Mosaic version could be spot on. The Fence/Wall option of the two – probably – has wider applications but that is a matter of opinion. Well, of the two I reckon I’d get more use out of it. Using them is straightforward and worked equally well for head shots and three-quarter length portraits. As with every backdrop, subject positioning and aperture choice play major parts on how the background looks. So set the subject close to the background and use a small f/stop and the pattern is rendered more sharply. Move the subject further away and use a wide aperture and the pattern is less defined. WC

Images For the shots of model Rhiannon Mawbey, lighting was supplied by two 100x100mm softboxes with capture done using a Fujifilm X-T1 with a 56mm f/1.2 lens. The exposure was 1/125sec and f/11 at ISO 200.

Verdict Lastolite has plenty of experience when it comes to studio equipment and it is well versed with the needs of photographers, as exemplified by these two backdrops which offer something fresh and different from its existing products. Easy to use and full of potential, both are worth a look for people photographers. Pros Portable and easy to use, fun Cons Limited potential?


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

73

Advertisement feature Buyers’ guide

Take a photo trip Specialist bird photo trips in Catalonia, Spain, with La Sabina “I’m looking to get so close to raptors and birds from the plains that I can look them in the eye and take lots of photos.” That is what La Sabina’s clients want, and what the company has been helping them to get since 2008. Join La Sabina on a bird photo trip to Catalonia, north-east Spain, and prepare to photograph lammergeiers, Bonelli’s eagles, golden eagles, little bustards, bee-eaters, rollers, vultures and more from private photography hides. A standard bird photo trip with La Sabina includes hides, permits, en-suite accommodation, meals and guiding. Tailor-made programmes are also available for you to select the species and the pace. Within easy reach of Barcelona airport. Prices for a four-night trip start at €795 (£685 approx).

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Join Paul’s Events on a glamour and nude shoot in an exclusive location. The events are perfect for both beginners and experienced photographers. There’s a choice of shooting and booking options, choose to join a small group or an exclusive one-to-one shoot. All the models are experienced professionals, with a creative and fun outlook.

Snowdonia “ It’s all about the light” Workshop 3-7 October 2016 How to see “Photographically” Workshop in the authentic Spain 2-7 November 2016 Yorkshire Monochrome Photography frenchphotographicholidays.com Masterclass 33 (0) 553 485 2016 2800 November – 2547 December frenchphotographic@gmail.com andybeelfrps.co.uk 01275 839 666 07970 078 624 info@andybeelfrps.co.uk

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pauls-events.uk 07930 462906 paulseventsuk@gmail.com


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

75

Technique PART 4

Camera School

Here we lift the lid on all things camera related, showing how to get better results from your CSC or DSLR and providing all the info you don’t find in the manual. So, stick with us and you’ll soon be wielding your camera like a pro. This month, how exposure compensation can improve on the camera’s metering... Words & pictures by Kingsley Singleton When you’re shooting in any of the semiautomatic exposure modes – aperturepriority (A/Av) or shutter-priority (S/Tv) – the exposure settings that the camera picks are based on your chosen metering mode. So, in aperture-priority mode, the shutter speed is generated by the camera, based on the metering; in shutter-priority the aperture would be decided in the camera. In program, which is fully auto, both are decided by the camera based on the metering mode. If you want a little more control you can use exposure compensation. Exposure compensation alters the exposure setting that’s controlled by the camera, so if you apply exposure compensation in aperture-priority mode you’ll be altering the shutter speed set by the camera; in shutter-priority mode you’ll be altering the aperture setting as set by the camera. In program mode, exposure compensation affects both the aperture and the shutter speed at the same time. Taking control of the exposure So, why would you want more control over the exposure settings that the camera has picked? Well, despite how good modern cameras are at metering a scene, they do still get confused by some shooting situations. Due to the way that metering systems are calibrated to assume there’s a common level of reflectance in a scene (see last month), predominantly light or dark scenes will often cause them to under or overexpose the picture, respectively. That’s where exposure compensation comes in. So, if you know that a dark scene, like a candle-lit interior, is going to have the camera overexposing, you can dial in some negative exposure compensation (like -0.3, -0.7 or -1.0EV) to make the frame darker. Likewise, if you know that a very light scene, like a snowy field, is going to make the camera underexpose you can set some positive exposure compensation (like +0.3, +0.7 or +1.0EV). You can also use exposure compensation for creative effects, so that you’re deliberately under or overexposing a scene to give it a completely different look (see panel). Stops and go But where do those numbers come from,

Exposure as metered

Exposure at +0.7EV

Use exposure compensation for better sunsets As metered

and how much exposure compensation do you need? Like the other exposure settings, exposure compensation is counted in stops, so 0.3EV equates to a third of a stop, 0.7EV to two thirds of a stop and 1.0 to a full stop. EV simply stands for exposure value. Therefore, say your metered exposure in aperture-priority is 1/125sec at f/5.6; if you entered +0.3EV you’d end up with 1/100sec at f/5.6, and +0.7EV or +1.0EV would give you 1/80sec and 1/60sec – all of which lighten the resulting image. Conversely, using -0.3, -0.7, or -1.0EV would give you 1/160sec, 1/200sec or 1/250sec, and therefore a darker image. If your camera’s exposure settings are set up to work in ½ stops, you’ll have 0.5, 1.0, 1.5EV and so on. As to how much exposure compensation you need, it depends entirely on the subject and the look you want to create, but often +/-1.0EV is enough to make dark or light subjects look more natural. If you’re using a mirrorless camera or using a live view mode you’ll usually see the image lighten or darken in the viewfinder or on screen as exposure compensation is applied.

How to use exposure compensation Exposure compensation is usually found via a +/- button on the camera body, or on compacts via a similar icon on screen. Some cameras like Canon’s EOS 5D use a large dial on the rear, while cameras with retro designs like the Olympus OM-D bodies and Fujifilm X-series cameras use dedicated dials. When the button is pressed an exposure bar will appear, either within the viewfinder or on screen showing how much exposure compensation has been entered. The amount of compensation is adjusted by turning one of the main control dials and how much you can add depends on the camera model, but it’s often +/-3.0EV or +/-5.0EV. Make sure you switch the exposure compensation off after you’ve used it or you’ll end up applying it to all subsequent exposures and possibly not getting the results you want. If you need to go beyond the amount of exposure compensation offered by your camera (which is pretty unlikely), you’ll need to switch to manual mode and input the shutter speed and aperture independently, to under or overexpose the picture further.

-2.0EV

NEXT MONTH How your aperture choice controls depth-of-field.

Your choice Using exposure compensation biases the metered exposure settings as chosen by the camera. So, in the pics above, this frosty scene caused the camera to underexpose; but with some positive exposure compensation it’s fine.

Another instance where exposure compensation is useful is when shooting sunsets. As metered, the image can look a bit washed out as the camera tries to get a good exposure for the highlights and shadows, often failing on both scores. But try altering the metered exposure settings by -1.0 or -2.0EV and you’ll find that colours are more natural and intense looking than the regular shot.


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

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Competition

Editor’s letter

12 months on

WIN!

A Samsung memory card! Capture life’s special moments across all devices with the ultra-reliable Samsung SD memory cards. Samsung’s latest SD cards can write data at an impressive 90MB/s and read data at an even higher 95MB/s. The cards are also amazingly reliable being water, temperature-, X-ray-, magnet- and shockproof, so shooting in the most challenging conditions isn’t an issue. We have one massive 64GB Samsung PRO SD card to award to an eagle-eyed winner. Just complete the word search below, and you’ll find one word in the list that’s not in the grid. Email us on puzzle@photography-news.co.uk with that word in the subject box by 15 January 2017. The correct answer to PN37’s word search was Density and the Samsung 64GB card was won by Norman Waddell from Heswall in Wirral. It is usual at this time of year to reflect on the past 12 months and who am I to break tradition? So firstly, let’s look at some of the new kit that has arrived in 2016. Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon and Olympus have all launched flagship models which between them offer stunning innovations including stratospheric ISOs and staggering shooting speeds. In mediumformat we have seen the first mirrorless model, the Hasselblad X1D, and that will be joined in 2017 by a model from Fujifilm. We live in momentous times. In this issue we launch our Awards so in a multitude of imaging categories we have nominated kit that we feel deserves recognition. But now it’s over to you and your opinion. Vote in as many or as few categories as you want. It’s free, can be done online or by post and it’s your chance for your voice to be heard. Thanks in advance for your support. I’ve also been looking back at my own photography. At the start of 2016 I pledged to shoot more ‘keepers’. Well, with my projects on the country’s piers and London’s DLR, I have shot a great many exposures and my Lightroom catalogue is creaking under the strain. I have of course been rating and deleting pictures as I’ve been going along so I have a rough idea of how I am doing. My culling and editing will go on for some time yet and as my projects are ongoing, there is no rush. To help me assess progress more effectively and rigorously I had loads of prints made. I have an inkjet printer at home but rather than use that I used an online lab. I did a quick edit – stuff like clarity, recovering highlights and shadows – and uploaded the lot. It took several hours so massively quicker than using my home printer. Not only that but with the 6x4in prints costing about 10p each it was cheaper too. A few days later the postie delivered a large package with all the prints, about 300 in total,

and I got to work. A project at a time, laying them out on the floor to give me an overall feel of how I was doing. Amazingly, I gave myself a pat on the back because, you know, I thought I was doing pretty well. I identified plenty of weaknesses where I needed to work harder as well as gaps to fill so that was useful too and made the whole exercise worth the effort. One thing I definitely need to consider more is treatment in the final edit. I have any number of editing softwares and plug-ins so options is something I’m not struggling with, but perhaps that’s that problem. Anyway, while winter is still a busy season for capturing even more material I’m going to dedicate more time to working on a few looks to give my projects a stronger visual identity. That should make the long winter nights fly by. Have I achieved my goal of shooting more keepers? Yes, I think I have, but I know I overshoot – or obsess, if you prefer. I used to overshoot on film, but now with digital that has increased manifold, but at least there is no extra cost; just more files to delete. Before we consign 2016 to history, you will have noticed that in this issue we have also launched our Camera Club of the Year contest, sponsored by Fujifilm. The fundamental format is the same as last year but there are important innovations too. Read the feature for more details, but one thing I am going to highlight is that the five clubs that qualify for the final will get to enjoy a truly unforgettable day. Finally, from all of us at Photography News may we wish you a happy festive season and a snappy 2017.

samsung.com and search for memorycards

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Photography News is published 13 times a year by Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridge CB22 3HJ. No part of this magazine can be used without prior written permission of Bright Publishing Ltd. Photography News is a registered trademark of Bright Publishing Ltd. The advertisements published in Photography News that have been written, designed or produced by employees of Bright Publishing Ltd remain the copyright of Bright Publishing Ltd and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. While Bright Publishing makes every effort to ensure accuracy, it can’t be guaranteed. Street pricing at the time of writing is quoted for products.


Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com

Advertisement feature Canon cashback offers

Save cash with Canon Scoop a great Canon deal this winter, with up to £80 cashback on selected top-quality cameras, lenses and printers. You have until 18 January 2017 to make your purchase Treat yourself (or a loved one!) to a superb piece of Canon kit this winter and save cash too. What’s not to like? Buy eligible products, including cameras, lenses, camcorders and printers from participating dealers and you can claim up to £80 in cashback. The cashback offer gives you the chance to help the less fortunate, too. Canon is a proud supporter of the Red Cross and has donated over €1 million to help its work. When claiming your cashback, you will have the option to donate part or all of your cashback to the Red Cross to help continue its invaluable work for vulnerable people.

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Specs AF actuator Ring USM

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ISO range 100-16,000 expandable to 25,600, in still and movie modes Shutter speed range 30secs to 1/8000sec plus B (bulb) Rear LCD Vari-angle 3in, 1040K dot ClearView II touchscreen Dimensions (wxhxd) 139x105.2x78.5mm Weight 730g with battery and SD card

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EOS 80D This richly featured DSLR would suit users keen to take their photography to the next level. Its 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor with a native ISO range of 100 to 16,000 means it can deal with a huge range of lighting conditions and the advanced autofocus system means it’ll deliver accurate results even in the dimmest conditions. The AF system uses 45 all cross-type sensors that operate down to -3EV which is roughly full moonlight. It’ll also keep track of subjects, so with the camera’s ability to shoot at seven frames-per-second you will be able to keep up with fast-moving action. Tricky lighting won’t fool the EOS 80D’s metering system which uses an advanced 7560-pixel RGB+IR that detects visible and infrared light. In summary, whether you are an experienced DSLR user or a newcomer, the EOS 80D has enough features to grow with you and if you buy one before 18 January 2017 you’ll save £80 too.

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Close focusing distance 29cm Filter thread 77mm Dimensions (wxhxd) 82.6x112.8mm Weight 615g

EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Make the most of landscapes, architecture and interiors with this stunning wide-angle zoom. It boasts a constant aperture of f/4 and image stabilisation technology effective up to 4EV, which will help reduce blur from camera shake for crisper images even without a tripod. For getting you right up close to your subject, this Canon lens is capable of focusing as close as 28cm throughout the zoom range. UD elements and Super Spectra Coating help to ensure images are sharp and in high contrast. Add the EF 16-35mm to your camera bag and you can save yourself money at the same time by claiming a generous £80 cashback from Canon.

Specs Spec Print resolution 9600x2400dpi Number of inks Six Photo print speed Borderless 10x15cm 36secs approx, A3+ with border 120secs approx Wireless Yes, wired hi-speed USB available too Dimensions (wxhxd) 590x331x159mm Weight 8.5kg

£30

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Photography News | Issue 39 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News Issue 39