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CM YK

INviting entries for INDIA’S FIRST WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2009 AWARDS ide 09 Ins 20 Y PO

BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY

www.betterphotography.in

ds ar r Aw fo 009 ies r 2 tr ea en e Y ing Th ll Of Ca her p ra og ot Ph

October 2009 • Rs. 100

CAPTURING the Essence OF FESTIVALS • EXCLUSIVE TEST: NIKON D3000 • SHOOTING citySCAPeS AT NIGHT

Better Technique. Better Insight. Better Pictures

5 Easy ways to improve images using only one Photoshop tool!

Dazzling cityscapes at night with your compact

Tested

3 Wide-A ngle Len ses

Vol. 13 • No. 5 • OCTOBER 2009

Panason Tamron 1ic 7-14mm Olympus 0-24mm 7-14mm

Exclusive Reviews Nikon D3000 Panasonic LUMIX FZ35 Casio Exilim Z400 Kodak Z915 Samsung WB550 ON ASSIGNMENT

Finding forms, shapes and colours in our surroundings

GREAT MASTERS

Celebrating the brilliance of living legend Albert Watson

Also Reviewed Sony Alpha A330 HISTORY

The evolution of photograms: photography without cameras

CM YK

PROFILE

Poras Chaudhary: On how he is a photographer by chance


October 2009

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SnapShots

GearGuide

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Website of the Month www.tmelive.com

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Look Who’s Shooting Mahipalsinh Vala

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Test

Nikon D3000 Simplified DSLR for the first-time user

A search for India’s finest wedding photographers For the first time in India

See page no. 52 for details

ON THE COVER

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Photograph: Sanjay Austa Design: Pradeep Kumar B Nambiar

Sony Alpha A330 The latest entry-level DSLR from Sony

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Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ35 The upgraded LUMIX DMC-FZ28

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Casio EXILIM EX-Z400 A small wonder with creative options

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Kodak EasyShare Z915 An affordable compact with big zoom

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Samsung WB550 A wide compact camera with 10x optical zoom

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Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 7–14mm f/4 The widest lens for the Four-Thirds format

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Panasonic G VARIO 7–14mm f/4 ASPH Lens A light ultra-wide lens for Micro Four-Thirds

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Tamron SP AF 10– 24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II LD A low-cost wide-angle lens for APS-C cameras

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MICRO TEST

Camera accessories, hard drives & camera bags


InFocus

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BetterPictures

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Shooting Technique

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Under the Night Sky Capturing the brilliance of cityscapes

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In the Festive Spirit Indian festivals every photographer must shoot

ShowCase

106 Poras Chaudhary Profile

On how he became a photographer by chance

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DIGITAL TECHNIQUE

Many Quick Fixes with One Tool Five applications of the Selective Color tool Tips & Tricks

Choosing backgrounds and shooting on streets

DIFFERENT STROKES

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MARKET SENSE

Photocriticism with a Gust of Wind Bringing Light to the Indian Studio History of Photography

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My Best Shot

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Great Masters

Milind Ketkar How he shot his favourite photograph Albert Watson The brilliance of this living legend

122 Shirish Shette Photofeature

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180 Photography Without

On Assignment

Colours & Geometries Finding shapes, forms and colours around us

PhotoFinish

On the Path to Moksha

a Camera! The origin and evolution of photograms

182 When a photograph Story Behind the Picture

creates awareness

Turn to page no. 36 for details

India’s Biggest Photography Awards

Regulars Feedback.............................................................12 PHOTOCRITIQUE................................................... 94 Q & A..................................................................104 1000 WORDS........................................................120 Your Pictures...................................................126 BP Buyer’s Guide...............................................162


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Samsung WB5000 Samsung’s newest superzoom camera offers a 24x optical zoom, a focal length equivalent to 26–624mm, 3.0-inch LCD and a 12.47-megapixel sensor. It can record HD videos in 1280 X 720 pixels at 30fps using the latest H.264 format. The enhanced Face Recognition memorises up to 20 faces in the camera’s internal memory and then prioritises them when focusing and exposing future shots. Other features of this camera include RAW format shooting; Dual Image Stabilisation and P, A, S and M shooting modes

GF1: Panasonic’s New Micro Four-Thirds Camera P anasonic has introduced the all new LUMIX DMC-GF1, which is claimed to be the world’s smallest interchangeable lens camera with a built-in flash. The camera sports an ‘artistic flat’ body design and is also 35% smaller than the earlier G models.The

shooting modes. The correlation between shutterspeed and aperture is shown with a colour-coded warning that alerts users when the settings are not in the proper range. This can help new camera users to gradually hone their photography skills.

main features include a Four-Thirds-type 12.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor, 1280 X 720 HD video recording in AVCHD Lite format, optional hot shoe mounted electronic viewfinder and 3-inch LCD with 460k dots. Some of the GF1’s unique functions include its exposure meter, Aperture Preview and Shutterspeed Preview through Live View. The exposure meter can be displayed in the P, A, S and M

There are nine Film modes, each of which can be adjusted in terms of contrast, sharpness and saturation. A custom function lets users store their favourite settings in memory. The GF1 also provides 16 Scene modes, including a new Peripheral Defocus mode that keeps the subject in sharp focus while gently softening the focus around it. These modes can also be used when shooting videos too.

Samsung ST1000

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This is claimed to be the first compact camera to offer a 3.5-inch touch-screen LCD with 1.2 million dot resolution and multi-wireless connectivity. The camera uses MicroSD memory cards and comes with built-in Intelli-Studio PC software to directly upload images online or email them. Built-in GPS enables recording the location data of each image. Additionally, the 12.1-megapixel camera has an optically stabilised 5x zoom lens (35–175mm) and HD video recording.

Casio EXILIM EX-450 & EX-Z90 Both 12.1-megapixel cameras feature HD video recording and scene modes like Landscape and Makeup. The cameras also have two unique functions: Intelligent AF and Handheld Night. While Intelligent AF can identify non-human photo subjects and determine the focus and exposure area for them, the Handheld Night mode automatically detects shake-prone situations like night scenes and backlit scenes and selects the most suitable settings. The Z450 comes with a 4x zoom lens starting at 28mm, while the Z90 sports a 3x optical zoom lens.

Every other artist begins with a blank canvas, a piece of paper the photographer begins with the finished product. Edward Steichen (1879–1973) Originally from Bivange, Luxembourg, Edward Steichen was a photographer, fine-art painter and art gallery and museum curator who lived most of his life in the US. Although skilled in all these diverse fields, he was a master of pictorial photography. He gradually moved on to fashion and portrait photography. One of his most famous portraits is that of actress Greta Garbo taken in 1928—which critics claimed to be one of Garbo’s most definitive photographs. In February 2006, a copy of Steichen’s early 1900s photograph titled The Pond-Moonlight sold for USD 2.9 million—which was then the highest price ever paid for a photograph at an auction.

Better Photography

Image source: www.nytimes.com

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snapshots

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Sigma 70–300mm f/4-5.6 DG OS Sigma’s new image-stabilised telephoto zoom lens can be used on both APS-C-sized and full-frame cameras. It incorporates Sigma’s Optical Stabilisation technology that enables handheld shooting at shutterspeeds up to four stops slower than usual, and also a circular diaphragm to achieve pleasing, out-of-focus backgrounds. The minimum focus distance is 1.5m and the maximum magnification is 0.26x. Unlike Sigma’s non-stabilised 70–300mm zooms, there is no extended macro focusing option. The lens will be available for Sigma, Nikon, Canon, Pentax and Sony SLR users.

Tamron SP AF 17–50mm f/2.8 XR Di II VC LD Aspherical [IF]

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The improved version of Tamron’s popular 17–50mm f/2.8 fast standard zoom lens is designed for APS-C-sized and DX-format cameras. It comes with Vibration Compensation (optical image stabilisation) and offers a zoom range of 26–78mm (35mm equivalent) in a compact design. Its optical design consists of 19 elements in 14 groups. The minimum focusing distance is 0.29m over the entire zoom range, with a maximum magnification of 0.21x. The Tamron lens will be available in a Nikon mount (with a built-in focusing motor) in mid September worldwide, and a Canon version will come out soon after.

Ricoh CX2 Featuring the 9-megapixel CMOS sensor and 3.0-inch LCD that were seen in its predecessor CX1, the CX2 has a larger 10.7x zoom (28–300mm), continuous shooting at 5 fps, Pre and Continuous-AF modes and additional scene modes including Miniaturize and High Contrast B&W. The superzoom camera also has the faster Smooth Imaging Engine IV processor as compared to the CX1.

Canon Selphy ES40 Photo Printer The Selphy ES40 compact dye-sublimation photo printer comes with integrated voice guidance in seven different languages. The voice guidance helps users through the printing process and also informs them of common printing issues. It features the Easy Scroll Wheel, large buttons for swift and easy control and a 3.5-inch LCD. The unique Creative Print mode provides 12 templates to create colourful calendars with your own images, add stamps, speech bubbles and more.

Better Photography

Panasonic Launches Pancake and Macro Lenses T he LUMIX G 20mm f/1.7 ASPH is a pancake lens that has been designed to complement the DMC-GF1. With a 40mmequivalant field-of-view, the lens measures just 25.5mm (1 inch) in length and weighs only 100g. Its optical design contains seven elements in five groups, including two aspherical elements to minimise distortion and chromatic aberration. When mounted on a LUMIX G Micro System camera, the lens allows the use of the advanced contrast AF system, which includes a Face Recognition function for convenient shooting of portraiture. Panasonic has also announced the Leica DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm f/2.8 ASPH Mega O.I.S. macro lens. This optically stabilised lens boasts a compact body that measures approximately 2.5 X 2.5 inches. It has an inner focus mechanism that keeps the lens’s overall

length constant. The optical construction consists of 14 elements in ten groups, including one aspherical and one ED element, and the aperture mechanism uses seven rounded blades to achieve smoothly blurred backgrounds. The minimum focus distance is 15cm, and a switch on the lens barrel allows this to be limited to 50cm.

Consumer-level Alpha DSLRs from Sony Unveiled S ony has recently added three new DSLRs in its Alpha range of entrylevel DSLR cameras. The A850 is packed with features found in its predecessor the A900, but is comparatively less expensive and will be offered along with the new 28–75mm f/2.8 SAM kit lens. The other two launches are the A550 and A500.

Sony A850 and 28–75mm f/2.8 SAM kit lens The A850 comes with a 24.6-megapixel CMOS sensor, 3-inch LCD and sensorshift image-stabilisation. Its Dual Bionz processor helps in shooting clear images with low noise. Secondary features include SteadyShot INSIDE that offers up to four steps anti-shake performance and 9-point AF with 10 focus-assist points. Along with this camera, Sony has also released a full-frame 28–75mm f/2.8 SAM kit lens, an affordable alternative to the 24–70mm f/2.8 ZA lens. It is made up of 14 elements in 16 groups. It features the SAM (Smooth Autofocus Motor) in-lens autofocus technology, rather than the SSM system found in the ZA lens. It has a minimum focusing distance of 0.129mm, giving 1:1 reproduction.

A550 and A500 DSLRs Both the 14.2-megapixel A550 and the 12.3-megapixel A500 come with a highresolution 3-inch tilt-angle LCD and are based around the new CMOS sensor that ensures sharp low-noise images. Integrated in both DSLRs is the BIONZ image processing engine, which offers shooting speeds of up to 4fps in Live View Mode. Other features include the Manual Focus Confirmation Live View mode using the main imaging sensor, and the Quick AF Live View system, a unique Auto HDR mode and ISO range up to 12,800. O c to b e r 2 0 0 9


GearGuide How We Test Product Categorisation We first segregate products into categories for the purpose of equitability in testing. The DSLR is divided into entrylevel, semi-professional and professional categories. For compacts, we distinguish between advanced and basic compact cameras. Similarly, we also test consumer and pro lenses, flashguns, printers, and other photographic accessories and gear.

The Process We primarily test for features, performance, build, ergonomics, warranty and support. While this remains constant, the weightage we give to these parameter differs from category to category, because different types of consumers have diverse expectations from products.

Final Ratings Under each main parameter, we 40 list out hundreds of individual variables (for eg. colour accuracy for individual colours in different lighting, individual features, dynamic range, center-to-edge definition, light fall-off, etc.) against which we either give points or simply mark ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Thus, we arrive at a score for that parameter, and then, the final score, denoted as a percentage. Additionally, based on the current pricing of a product, a star rating for ‘Value for Money’ is considered. Value for Money does not affect the final percentage, because prices for products change constantly.

test

Nikon D3000

Our Seals of Approval Any product that scores 80% or higher in individual tests gets ‘BP Recommended’—a seal test of approval from our team. In comparison tests, we also tag products as ‘BP Best Performer’ and ‘BP Best Value for Money’.

BP Excellence Awards At the end of the calendar year, the five highest rated products in each category automatically gets nominated for the ‘Better Photography Excellence Awards’. A panel of experts then decide the winners. This is BP’s recognition of the very best products launched in the course of the year, and the companies that made them. Better Photography

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A Simple Beauty Shridhar Kunte tests the Nikon D3000—the latest entrylevel DSLR to make its way into a highly competitive market.

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amera manufacturers are becoming increasingly aware of what a regular user wants—a camera of the right size with the right amount of features and ease-of-use. The Nikon D3000 is one example. Succeeding the D60 that was launched almost one and half years ago, the D3000 has been much anticipated. We find out if it was worth the wait.

Features The headline features of the Nikon D3000 include a 10.2-megapixel sensor, EXPEED processing system, 3-inch LCD screen and 3fps continuous shooting. Its autofocus system is based on the Multi-CAM 1000 module (first seen in the D200) and comprises 11 focus points widely spread across the frame (including a one crosstype sensor in the centre for improved o c to b e r 2 0 0 9


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Sony Alpha A330

Just Another DSLR? S Sony recently revamped their entry-level camera line-up by launching three DSLRs. Shridhar Kunte puts one of them—the Alpha A330—to the test.

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ony’s newly launched three Alpha DSLRs gives an indication that the camera manufacturer is attempting to reach novices and basic compact users who wish to upgrade to a more advanced, yet easy-to-use camera. The 10.2-megapixel Alpha A330 is the second in the line-up of the three, above the basic 10.2MP Alpha A230 and below the 14MP Alpha A380. It comes with built-in sensor shift stabilisation, eye-start autofocus and a 2.7-inch moveable LCD with extremely fast Live View and AF that I actually liked using, while I was testing it in a variety of situations.

Features

The Sony A330 sports a minimalist design— it has fewer buttons to avoid confusing the user. It also has a few additions over its predecessor, in the Function menu and display. But the feature that is most exciting is the new Live View with Quick Autofocus. It allows you to compose, focus and shoot pictures quickly, using the LCD panel, in real time—just as you would with a compact camera. The camera’s improved 2.7-inch Clear Photo LCD Plus screen can tilt downwards at 55° when the camera is placed overhead, and upwards at 135° for waist-level shooting. This is very helpful when

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Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ35

Zoom Reloaded The popular FZ28 has a replacement. Raj Lalwani goes shooting with the all-new Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ35, to see how it stands up against other superzoom cameras.

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he superzoom camera market is getting a little more crowded now. Megapixels, innovative features, video, zoom—manufacturers have been trying their best to outdo each other in this popular segment. There have always been a couple of cameras that have stood out amidst the various advanced compact cameras available in the market, one of which has been the Panasonic FZ28. The FZ28 was a camera that did not have any fancy offerings. It did not have the highest resolution, the highest zoom or any fun-filled innovative features. But it did consistently well in most aspects and scored highly in our ratings. Now that Panasonic has announced its successor, the

LUMIX DMC-FZ35, we were interested to see what it brings to the table.

Features At first glance, the FZ35 does not seem too much of an upgrade. We opened the box to see an all-too-familiar camera body—the camera looks identical to the FZ28. Once we dug a little further, we realised that there are a number of subtle yet significant improvements in this superzoom. The FZ35 has a new 12.1-megapixel sensor, as compared to the FZ28 that had a 10.1-megapixel sensor. Another improvement is the new Venus Engine HD5 processing engine. This processing engine ensures that the speed and image quality of the camera do not suffer,

What’s in the box • FZ35 camera • Li-ion battery, charger and cord • Lens cap with strap • Software CD • USB, AV cables • User manual o c to b e r 2 0 0 9


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Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 7–14mm f/4

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Wide-Eyed Optics

Raj Lalwani takes a closer look at the widest Four-Thirds lens—the Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 7–14mm f/4—and sees if it is worth its price.

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onventional thinking may suggest that the Four-Thirds system is a very telephotofriendly system. Cameras have a crop factor of 2x, which is why a 25mm lens has a field of view of a 50mm lens, while a 50mm lens has a field of view of a 100mm lens (in 35mm parlance). This is why it is a pleasant surprise to see that the system also has one of the widest rectilinear lenses in the market today—the Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 7–14mm f/4 lens. When I first read about this lens, its features seemed interesting. But I was particularly surprised at its price that is more than Rs. 1.5 lakh! Would this highend professional lens justify the fact that it is much more expensive than other lenses in its class? I was keen to find out when we received the lens in our office.

Features This Olympus ultrawide lens has a 35mm equivalent focal length of 14–28mm. This makes it one of only two lenses in the world that start as wide as 14mm and have a 2x zoom. The only other lens that has a similar focal length is the Panasonic LUMIX 7–14mm f/4. These focal lengths are a lot wider than conventional wideangle ones, and can help you capture some dramatic photographs. The lens has a complex optical design that consists of 18 elements in 12 groups, out of which two are aspherical, one Extra low Dispersion and two super Extra low Dispersion glass elements. A minimum focusing distance of 0.25m allows you to get really close to your subject, use the deliberate distortion that occurs at such close distances and also exaggerate perspective and distance to a large degree.

aLSO LOOK FOR • Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm f/4-5.6 • Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM for Four-Thirds O c to b e r 2 0 0 9


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Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 7–14mm f/4 ASPH Lens

The Wide Has Shrunk Raj Lalwani tests the Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 7–14mm f/4 ASPH lens, a lightweight ultrawide option for users of the Micro Four-Thirds format.

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ide-angle lenses are fun to use. But most ultrawide zoom lenses are large and heavy, especially if they have a fixed aperture throughout their zoom range. This is not really convenient for those who wish to carry this lens everyday. So I wondered if the Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 7–14mm f/4 ASPH lens—designed for the Micro Four-Thirds system—would still maintain the compact size that defines this format. I was pleased to see this lens when it arrived in our office. It is not miniscule, but it is definitely smaller and a lot lighter than ultrawide lenses in other formats. We put the lens through some rigourous testing, by using it on the Panasonic LUMIX DMCGH1 and the Olympus PEN E-P1.

Features With a field of view equivalent to a 14–28mm lens (in 35mm parlance), this lens is extremely wide, making it ideal for shooting architecture and expansive landscapes. You can also use such focal lengths creatively, by shooting in cramped spaces or by getting close to your subject for innovative portraits. Though a maximum aperture of f/4 may not seem so fast, its wide focal length and the inbuilt IS found in Micro Four-Thirds cameras help you shoot sharp, handheld shots at shutterspeeds as slow as 1/2sec. Despite its small size, the lens has a complex optical design, consisting of two aspherical and four Extra low Dispersion elements. Impressively, the minimum focusing distance is as low as 0.25m.

The Panasonic 7‑14mm f/4 lens is the smallest and lightest zoom lens with such a wide focal length. O c to b e r 2 0 0 9


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An Inexpensive Compromise? Raj Lalwani tests the Tamron SP AF 10–24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) lens, a low-priced wide-angle option for APS-C-sized cameras.

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he crop factor associated with some of the new-age DSLRs has resulted in the production of a whole new range of wide-angle lenses. Manufacturers have introduced lenses beginning at 10mm and 12mm, so that they continue to given a wide-angle view, even after counting the crop factor. Last year, Tamron introduced the SP AF 10–24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) lens, replacing their previous 11–18mm f/4.5-5.6 lens. With this, they became the first manufacturer to have introduced a second wide-angle lens for cropped sensor bodies.

Features When it was announced, the Tamron 10–24mm became the only wide-angle lens to have a zoom range of 2.4x. Other wide-angle lenses in its class either began at 10mm or ended at 24mm—not both. This

has only recently been matched by the new Nikkor 10–24mm, and considering that the Tamron lens is a lot cheaper, this extra zoom range is undoubtedly useful. This lens is available in four different mounts—Nikon, Canon, Pentax and Sony. Significantly, the lens has an inbuilt focus motor that will allow you to use autofocus on entry-level Nikon cameras like the D40, D60 or D5000. We tested the Canonmount version by using the lens on a Canon EOS 30D. When used with a Canon body, the lens gives a field of view that is equivalent to a 16–38.4mm lens (in 35mm parlance). If you buy the Nikon, Pentax or Sony version, you will get a field of view equivalent to 15–36mm. While this may not be as wide as some full-frame and Four-Thirds lenses, it is still wide enough for you to shoot vast landscapes and even experiment with subjects like architecture.

aLSO LOOK FOR • Tokina AT-X 124AF PRO DX AF 12–24mm f/4 II • Sigma 10–20mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DC HSM O c to b e r 2 0 0 9


Sho ot ing T echniq ue

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In the Festive Spirit Ekta Gulechha offers a glimpse into some of the most popular and colourful Indian festivals that every photographer must experience. Better Photography

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Shooting Technique

On Assignment

DIGITAL TECHNIQUE

Under the Night Sky Capturing the brilliance of cityscapes

Colours & Geometries Finding shapes, forms and colours around us

Many Quick Fixes with One Tool Using Selective Color tool

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Diwali This is the most glamorous and the most awaited festival by people of every religion. Literally meaning ‘the festival of lights’, it celebrates the victory of good over evil. Preparations begin days before, and people clean and decorate their homes, buy new clothes and jewellery, prepare delicious sweets and light diyas and firecrackers. When it is Celebrated October or November

Holi is the festival of colours. Capture colourful moments like the expressions and actions of the people as they celebrate with joy and more. Exposure: Details not available Better Photography

Sudip Bhar

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estive celebrations make the best subjects of photography, as they are a motley of genres and challenging situations. Colours, large gatherings, lights, decorations, a variety of foods and people’s animated moods are the perfect elements needed to create a photograph that truly represents a festival. Here are some of the most important Indian festivals that a photographer should not miss out on.


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ityscape photographs evoke certain mysterious yet magical qualities. But shooting such beautifully lit scenes can be challenging. On the bright side, mastering night photography will help you increase your awareness of different kinds of light. So when you are standing before O c to b e r 2 0 0 9

a spectacularly lit cityscape, keep some of the following basic tips in mind.

Choose a Suitable Viewpoint Before you set out to take photographs of your city at night, you need a good viewpoint. This depends slightly on the type of shot you are after. Sometimes, the

A concrete jungle scene filled with artificial lights can look stunning from a high vantage point. From this position, the busy streets become more visible and appear brighter. Exposure: 1/1.6sec at f/4 (ISO 125) Better Photography

Lars Sundström

Photographs of cityscapes at night can express a mood that cannot be felt with normal daytime photos. Amit Sheokand divulges some simple tips that can get you that perfect night-time shot.


Want to share your ideas and tips? Write to The Editor, Better Photography Infomedia18 Limited Ruby House, ‘A’ Wing J K Sawant Marg, Dadar (W) Mumbai-400 028, India E-mail: editor@betterphotography.in

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BASICS OF STREET PHOTOGRAPHY Blend in Street photography demands patience and a lot of moving around in search of the perfect subject. If you wish to portray the character of a place, be as unobvious as you can to the people around you. This is where wearing dull-coloured clothes and carrying fewer accessories will help. Walk around the place, let the people be familiar with your presence; but do not disturb or interrupt anyone. Once you are sure that no one is noticing you, start shooting with your camera. This will help you capture some truly candid and lively moments.

Practising street photography is like stealing moments. When shooting portraits, go closer to the subject and capture their expressions in your frame.

focus only on your chosen subject. To maintain the focus, make sure you have a clean path towards your subject and shoot against a background that will best complement that subject, or even make it stand out. If you are working with a cluttered background and you still have to shoot the scene, set your camera

Fill the Frame You will come across a variety of opportunities when shooting on the streets. For more appealing pictures, use your camera to zoom in close and fill your frame with what catches your attention the most. Isolating a single face or part of a large crowd will bring drama to your image, lend a better perspective and deliver a better impact.

Focus on the Main Subject The constant, bustling activity on the streets can make it difficult to keep the Better Photography Better Photography

Keep your composition simple and focus on a single subject. This man is sitting against a clean, monocoloured background, which adds strength to the composition.

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SHOOTING FIREWORKS Landmarks Add Context

Raj Lalwani

on a wider aperture like f/2.8. This will decrease the depth-of-field, thus blurring the background. For best results, keep your composition clean and simple. Sometimes, fewer yet striking elements are all it takes to create impact.

Try Different Shooting Angles Instead of following a straight-on perspective, enhance your street photographs by trying out unique shooting angles. Keeping your camera on a lower angle, for instance, will allow you to capture the foreground, middle ground and the sky too; thus helping you add even more elements in your frame. This can work well if you wish to make an individual or a group of people look imposing or overpowering.

Shooting from a high vantage point helped include many different elements, along with a beautiful play of light in the frame.

When people view your photographs of the fireworks, they would be curious to know where you shot them. If possible, include landmarks in your shots too, to give it a sense of place. For example, if you are shooting fireworks at the Gateway of India, including the Taj Hotel in your shots will show the viewers where the fireworks were taking place. You can also include surrounding elements like a cityscape or even a crowd watching the fireworks to give it a sense of perspective. Using a wider lens will help you capture background as well as foreground elements.

Quick Tip Shoot a tall building from a high vantage point and not too near to its base, or else the base will look too large as compared to the top of the building.

The Sky is the Perfect Backdrop To capture outstanding pictures of fireworks, concentrate on the aerial displays that fill the sky with colours. As the days are longer in the summer, you may find a hint of velvety blue in the sky when the display begins. This makes a perfect backdrop for the fireworks. A pitch black sky can also produce excellent images, but make sure to fill the frame as much as possible, so that there are not too many empty black spaces in your pictures.

Exclude Artificial Light Sources Always remember to exclude streetlights or any other artificial light sources in your frame, to avoid the possibility of light flare

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Using a wide frame and including the cityscape in this photograph has made the fireworks display look spectacular.

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Prof i l e

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Photographer by Chance Poras Chaudhary’s images take colours and celebration to a whole new level. But as Raj Lalwani discovers, photography is not the only thing he is into...

Better Photography

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Great Masters

PhotoFeature

Your Pictures

Albert Watson The brilliance of this living legend

Shiresh Shette On the Path to Moksha

Showcasing winners of the Laxmi Salon 2009

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Profile

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Poras Chaudhary

• This 28-year-old photographer has been shooting since the past four years. • He is originally from Kurukshetra, Haryana and enjoys shooting all over northern India. • His field of expertise is mainly travel photography, but he also enjoys shooting nature, portraits and photojournalistic images.

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he boy wiped the sweat off his brow, and decided to run in one more time. He had dreams in his eyes—dreams of flying wickets, of matches won, of wearing the Indian colours and playing professional cricket. Young Poras was a leg-spinner and had just been selected in the Punjab Ranji O c to b e r 2 0 0 9

Trophy squad. He knew that exciting times lay ahead. He looked at the stumps, his eye focused on the middle one and calculated the possibilities in his head. “Googly,” he thought, and slowly began his run-up. Cut to a few years later, and Poras Chaudhary played a slightly different role. But he still dreamt many dreams.

WALKING SHADOWS Poras’s photographs combine great colours with careful compositions, and capture the character of a place. Better Photography


Albert Watson

No single genre can define Albert Watson as a photographer. His obsession with photography is what portrays him best. Anam Karimi shares the greatness that resides in this living legend.

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“Your creativity is in your DNA; therefore you have to have a disposition towards it.�

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is Scottish accent speaks of many achievements, but humility is one of his greatest. He seems unfazed by the impact he has created on so many photographers, who respect him for his varied and impeccable body of work. His photographs are as striking in colour as they are in black and white, and his versatile talent has established him in every genre he has touched. It is uncertain what Albert Watson will do next to fascinate

the world, as he is ever changing. But you can be sure that you will want to trail him through the journey.

The Path to Brilliance Growing up in Edinburgh, Scotland, Albert learned photography on his own through books and trial and error. The foundation laid out for him by the college education he received further stirred his creative endeavours. Watson studied graphic design at the Duncan of Jordonstone College of

15 North, Exit 25, Las Vegas, 2001

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Photo Feature

Shirish Shete has worked with many of India’s leading dailies. Currently, he is a chief photographer with The Press Trust of India. The following photographs have been taken from his recently published book Wari: Path to the Divine.

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On the Path to Moksha T Shirish Shete walks with the Warkaris—the devotees of Lord Vitthal—to capture their activities while on their holy pilgrimage to Pandharpur. he Warkaris are a living example of boundless devotion towards their Lord. They follow a tradition called Wari, which is the holy path towards moksha or liberation from the cycle of rebirth. This tradition started more than 700 years ago as a bhakti (devotional) movement in Maharashtra, led by popular saints of that time like Dnyaneshwar, Tukaram, Eknath and Namdeo. Today, the Warkaris still follow this tradition religiously. Lakhs of these devotees come together twice a year to take the three-week long pilgrimage from Dehu and Alandi to Pandharpur,

Maharashtra. They sing kirtans and other traditional songs, as they take the long, arduous route to meet their Lord Pandurang (Vitthal). The idea of this photo series came to me by chance. I was photographing tamasha dancers in Alandi, Maharashtra, when I encountered the Warkaris. Their energy and dedication astounded me, which is why I decided to document them. Compiling these photographs into a coffee-table book is my way of paying tribute them. It took me six years to create Wari: Path to the Divine and I hope the book encourages readers to undertake and experience Wari.

Warkaris reach the top of the Diveghat pass near Pune. The pilgrimage takes place during the monsoons in Maharashtra. If the monsoons are good, the turnout for the pilgrimage is higher than otherwise.

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Lakhs of Warkaris converge at Pandharpur for the Ashadi Ekadashi celebrations. This was a very important photograph, as it marks the completion of the annual pilgrimage.

Two days before the final Ashadi Ekadashi celebrations, Warkaris perform the last ringan (an important spiritual Wari discipline) in a large open space called Bajiraochi Vihir. They play various games, chant and sing kirtans, while they wait for the Dnyaneshwar and Tukaram palkhis (palanquins) to arrive. o c to b e r 2 0 0 9

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Histo ry

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ost people have either seen or heard of a version of the photogram—the x-ray taken at a doctor’s clinic being the most common one. A photogram is essentially a fixed shadow of a three-dimensional object on a lightsensitive material. In simpler words, it is a photographic image made without using a camera; by placing objects directly onto the surface of a photo-sensitive material (such as photo paper) and then exposing it to light. The result is a negative shadow image varying in tone, depending on the transparency of the objects used. Conceptually, there has been an ongoing debate as to whether the photogram is merely an experimental, camera-less branch of photography, or if it deserves to be a standalone medium.

This early photogram was created on cyanotype material, for the purpose of creating a scientific record of the plant Dictyoladichotoma.

William Fox Talbot made photograms by placing leaves on photo-sensitive paper and later exposing it to the sun.

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Anna Atkins

In the history of photographs, the photogram holds a position of prestige since they were the first ever kind of photographs. English photographer William Fox Talbot is regarded as the ‘father of the photogram’. He made many of these images by placing leaves and pieces of

Photography Without a Camera! Amit Sheokand traces the history of a unique photo print called ‘photogram’, which was discovered long before the camera was invented.

Famous Artists Who Created Photograms Man Ray

Christian Schad

Susan Derges

An American artist, Man Ray intentionally used 3D objects in order to create unusual shadows. He used both stationary and moving light sources.

Schad, a German Dada artist, made photograms from discarded objects he had found on the street like scraps of paper, tickets and receipts.

An internationally recognised photographic artist, she used flashguns, night sky and even sound waves to create photograms.

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H i sto ry

objects like lace on photo-sensitive paper and later exposing them to the sun. The first photogram was believed to be created by Talbot. But recently, it was found out that an image of a leaf originally attributed to Talbot who made it in around 1839, was actually made by Thomas Wedgewood, a pioneer in the field of photographic experimentation, 30 years earlier. Another person who deserves the credit for the evolution of photograms is Anna Atkins. She was a botanist who made early photograms on cyanotype materials, to create scientific records of natural objects. She brought out a book of photograms titled Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions (1843), which is the first recorded book of photographs in the history of photography.

Development as an Art Form

Apart from making scientific records of natural objects, photograms were also creatively used in advertisements.

Photograms were initially intended to document existing objects. One of its first applications was documenting botanical specimens. The small size and intricate details of the subjects made them ideal for this unique form of recording. Post World War I (in the 1920s), it evolved into a medium for creative expression. Photographers Christian Schad, Man Ray and Moholy-Nagy experimented with photograms too, and each came up with their own name for the process. Man Ray called his photograms ‘Rayographs’ and Christian Schad called his work ‘Schadographs’. But it was Moholy-Nagy who came up with the name ‘Photogram’

Do it Yourself: Make Your Own Photogram in Just 6 Steps Take a black and white photo paper and place a plant cutting on it. Flatten the plant with a piece of glass. Expose the paper to direct sunlight for 1–3 hours (depending on the amount and intensity of sunlight). After the exposure, soak the print for a few minutes in water. Now immerse it in a dilute solution of fixer* and take it out of the fixer after four minutes. Enjoy your first lumen print photogram! *The fixer can be made by mixing adammonium thiosulfate in water. This is available at any chemical shop or old print lab.

in 1925. These artist’s photograms are among the highest priced art pieces today. Photograms were also used in media especially advertisements. A number of exhibitions dedicated to photograms were also witnessed sometime in the late 1900s.

Photograms Today If you look at some of the most impressive contemporary photography today, it is easy to believe that sophisticated gear is necessary. However, over the years, some would-be photographers have sadly been discouraged, just because they could not invest in the gear required to produce the work they envisioned. Despite that, amazing images have been made using only creative photogram techniques. Since each photogram is produced directly onto the printing paper, the results can never be replicated—which is why each photogram is unique. Even though it has been a century since the camera was invented, photograms still hold an importance in the history as well as the future of photography. 

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William Henry Fox Talbot

Anne Ferran

Anna Atkins

Talbot was the one who invented the positive/ negative photographic process. He created many photogenic drawings of natural objects.

Ferran, an Australian, made a series of photograms using period clothing from the permanent collection of the National Museum in Australia.

A botanist and the author of the first book on photograms, Atkins made photograms to create scientific records of natural objects.

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Better Photography October 2009 Issue Preview  

A preview of the October 2009 issue of Better Photography magazine

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