Oh Cr op! Issue 8: August 2011
Abby Thompson http://www.flickr.com/photos/aithom2 Page | 2
In Oh Crop! this month..
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Filtered Through Introducing you to 5 of the most popular filters, and how you use them.
Reader Profile The reader profile is back again for the final issue. This time we’re talking to Abby Thompson. Pullout For the final isue, we have included a special pullout jam packed with photos from our contributors over our past issues.
A History of Photography Phil Cohn journeys us back through time to when photography was a rarity.
In the bag... In this weeks reveiw, we take a look at a variety of carry bags for your cameras.
Contributors: Chi Lau Amanda Bunce April Smith Phil Cohn Dan Smyth
Hi all. This will be the last ever Oh Crop! Magazine. Due to a lack of support from certain writers and thus the amount of work I would have to do I am unable to continue the magazine. I want to thank the writers that have been a massive support to me over the last 8 months and in particular Annabelle Latter for being the designer for the first 5 months. I thank all our readers who have stuck with us though the last 8 months and especially those who contributed either articles or photos. I hope that our readers have, over the months, got better with their photography and I hope even more that it was at least partially due to Oh Crop! Magazine. If I ever have the chance to bring back Oh Crop! then I promise I will do so however for now leaving the past issues on the website will do! Once again thank you for your support and good luck with your photography endeavours!
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Designers: Joely Dicks Adam Pool
And if you have any questions, comments or photos you’d like to share please send them to email@example.com
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Daniel Milton http://www.flickr.com/photos/46705169@N06/ Page | 4
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Filters are often seen as a mystery to beginners and amateur photographers. When do you use them? What filter do I buy and most importantly what do they all do? Here you will find everything you need to know about five of the most popular filters. Generally speaking, you should always have a filter on the end of the lens you are using. Not only do they allow you to produce interesting photos, but they provide protection. However, for general use, you cannot just smack any old filter onto the lens, as different filters give different results. This leads me to the first filter:
UV (Ultra Violet): A UV filter looks just like a clear piece of glass. However, it does have a function. This filter stops ultra violet light entering the lens. When UV light enters the lens, it creates that haziness or fogginess you
can sometimes see in photographs. Using this filter prevents that from happening. However, if the effect you were going for was as atmospheric hazy image then this filter wouldnâ€™t be ideal. Many photographers, including myself, use this filter as protection because of the little effect it has overall and the general low cost to purchase them. Filters come in different sizes and forms. The images you can see are circular versions. However, this is restricting if you wanted to use one filter on various size lenses. You may have heard of filter adapters or filter adapter rings. Rather than having circular filters, you can purchase them as a rectangular piece of glass. You then put a filter adapter ring onto the end of your lens and slide the rectangular filter into it, allowing your filters to be used with not just one lens.
Polarizer: Polarizer filters reduce Page | 7
reflections on shiny surfaces. For example water. If you pointed your camera down towards the water without putting a polarizer onto your lens then you would just see reflections. When the filter is added, you can see right through the water. It also works on windows, mirrors, televisions or anything else reflective. The polarizer actually has two functions. As well as diminishing reflections, it also darkens the sky. It increases the contrast in the sky and emphasises the clouds creating instant drama.
ND (Neutral Density): This is one of my favourite filters to use. Have you ever wondered how photographers create that misty water effect, but in broad daylight? Using an ND filter would be the answer. This filter looks like a very dark piece of glass. It essentially blocks out light allowing the camera to expose for longer
Graduated Colour Filter
than usual without over exposing after five seconds. Depending on the amount of smokiness you want to achieve would determine what strength ND filter you would use. They come in different strengths ranging from a weak ND2 all the way up to an extremely powerful ND8192! I own an ND8. This one allows me to do a long exposure of five seconds during the day and twenty seconds plus at sunset. This filter doesn’t just have to be used for water; you can use it for anything you want to make into a long exposure. You could use it to create movement with figures, trees swaying and cars passing by. The possibilities are endless!
GND (Graduated Neutral Density): This filter does the same as
the above but is more aimed at altering just the sky or just the ground. Unlike the ND this filter is graduated, which means half of the filter is clear and the other half is dark. If you have ever tried to get a shot, but just couldn’t get the exposure of the land correct without overexposing the sky or vice versa, then this is what filter you should be using. Graduated filters come in two different forms: soft-edge or hard-edge. Both of these would be used for different scenarios. For example, if you were shooting a scene with a very defined horizon or an abrupt change in brightness, then you would use the hard-edge filter. If the subject you were shooting were mountains or a less obvious change in brightness, then you would use a soft-edge filter. Graduated Colours: Graduated Colour filters are aimed at altering or emphasising the colours of a subject, but mainly the sky. They allow photographers to be very creative as well as having more control over an image. Unlike full colour filters, they come in few colours, such Page | 8
as red, orange and blue. If you want to enhance or create a sunset or sunrise then use the red or orange filter. If you want to emphasise a blue sky or create a cool image, then use the blue filter. Keep in mind that when the sun is rising the sky is generally orange and when the sun sets the sky is more of a red tone. You do have to be careful though when using these sorts of filters, you place the colour exactly where you want it. I found this out the hard way. I had just purchased blue and orange graduated filters to take with me on holiday and wanted to try them out. On the first day of the holiday, I attached the blue filter onto my lens and took my photos as usual. I forgot I had this filter on and so all of the photos of people I had taken or any indoor photographs were ruined by a blue tint in the top half of the photograph. So, the moral is try not to over use them and definitely don’t forget when you have them on a lens!
April Smith http://www.flickr.com/photos/april_smith_photography Page | 9
Abby Thompson http://www.flickr.com/photos/aithom2 Page | 10
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Hi Abby! Tell us about yourself and your gear. Hello! I have been taking serious photographs since high school pretty much, where I started out with my dad’s old Pentax K1000 for a couple of classes. I received my first DSLR, a Nikon D40, as a high school graduation present, and as a result I started taking pictures of almost everything. I attended the University of Kentucky and graduated recently with a major in photography and art edu-
cation. I recently was fortunate enough to have a good friend purchase me a Nikon D90, and that has become a part of my body basically; it rarely leaves my side. I have even had nightmares about almost falling off a cliff, but the scariest part was that my camera ended up plummeting to its death, not me. I shoot with the kit lens on occasion, but for the most part my 50mm lens is always on my camera. I also have a Nikon SB600 flash that I use. And I have a Holga 35mm that I don’t Page | 12
shoot with as much as I would like (film is so expensive unfortunately). What is your favourite style/type of photography? That is a tough question for me. In fact I recently had a conversation with a fellow photographer about this. I so enjoy every aspect of photography, and I absolutely love learning and growing and so I like to try everything. I feel like it is impossible for me to improve if I don’t
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Abby Thompson Reader Profile:
sh myself in all directions. rrently though, in my own rk at least, self-portraits ve been hugely important d a definite favourite. It s been a great outlet for e. I also am absolutely fascited by photography that is nceptual; images that are cked with meaning always tch my attention.
our previous issue you wrote article on the 365 project. w did you feel once you mpleted it? I bet you were Page | 13
relieved! I was absolutely relieved! But I also felt a little like something was missing. I had been taking pictures every day for a full year, and suddenly I wasnâ€™t doing that; it was a bit strange. It was kind of nice to not have that pressure, but at the same time I did miss it. Which is why, not all that long after finishing it, I started my second one (which I am still going strong on!). Tell us a random fact about yourself! My laugh sounds more like crying than laughter. I have on multiple occasions been hanging out with people and laughing, and someone who could not directly see me would come check on me because they thought I was crying. Youâ€™ve taken a lot of portraits if you could photograph any famous person, dead or alive, who would it be? This is an extremely tough question. I could give quite the long list of people I would love to photograph. But if I had to choose just one, and just off the top of my head, I would say Lauryn Hill. I absolutely love her music, and from the interviews I have heard with her she seems like such an incredible and down to earth woman. I respect her so much, and it would be amazing to photograph her. Tell us a bit more about how you took the water splash photo. That photograph was actually mostly canola oil. I had done lots of water splash pictures before so I wanted to try something different. I had half of the container filled with water, and then filled it up the rest of the
way with oil. Someone gave me some old lead balls a while ago, which are great for dropping to create splashes, and so I wrapped each one in tinfoil. My camera was on a gorilla pod, and I was using my remote to trigger the shutter. I would drop the tinfoil wrapped ball and just try to time it right when releasing the shutter. It takes a bit of practice to get things timed correctly, and some luck, which I had with this shot. Do you think itâ€™s better to have a posed photo or a more candid spur of the moment one? Page | 14
It really depends on the goal of the image. For certain types of photography, like weddings for example, I love candid spur of the moment shots because they are much more real and genuine. However for my self-portraits and more conceptual work I think generally it is better to be posed, because a specific pose can add so much to the emotion and meaning of the image. Thanks for the interview! Lastly any words of advice for the readers of Oh Crop! Magazine?
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The main piece of advice that I can offer is to simply keep shooting and trying new things. No matter what, just keep taking pictures. The only way to improve is to keep trying and pushing yourself. The biggest improvements I made were when I was simply messing around with my camera and trying something new. Also be open to and willing to hear criticism. The best way to grow is to get feedback from others. We tend to get a very narrow view of our own work, and it is only when we hear an outside opinion that we can really begin to improve. And be willing to seek out and ask for advice or help! There was one project that I was working on last summer, that I was really stuck on how to make it work and how to get my idea across, and without the feedback I got from some friends and my professor I never would have been able to pull it off. But most of the time I had to bring my work to them and bother them with tons of questions and ask for their opinions or I would have been on my own. http://www.flickr.com/photos/ aithom2
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Allow your photography to blossom Amanda Bunce
Now summer is finally here (for some of us!) and the flowers are blooming, I bet most of you have been tempted to take a few snaps! Flowers and plants can be easy to photograph as they don’t really move and you can have as much time as you need to shoot them, and of course because they are pretty. The tricky part is when you want to take more then just a pretty picture, and take something a bit more imaginative and creative. But do you know how to make the most of your camera and the nature around you? Things don’t always go to plan, so here are my top tips to help you get that perfect shot. Shoot from different angles – Don’t be afraid to bend down low or reach up high to get a different perspective of what could be an ordinary and sometimes boring shot. Look for the unusual and search for something different. Bugs and wildlife on petals create good detail, even weltered or dead flowers can create a dramatic image. You might get some funny looks, but the end result will be worth it! Look at depth of field - Blurring out the background creates depth and draws the eye to the focal point of the image. Using Page | 36
the macro setting and choosing a wide aperture (small F-stop) will let you get close up to the subject and will minimize the risk of the image being out of focus. This can be especially effective when the background is busy; these settings can create a brilliant bokeh effect. Using a tripod - Always use a tripod. Not only does it keep your camera steady, but allows you to take your time and compose the shot. A good tip is to set a timer so that you can press the shutter button and stand
back, which will reduce the risk or camera shake and blur or alternatively use a remote shutter. Don’t forget a tripod can be used to take portraits and landscapes. Sunlight - It is very tempting to shoot a plant or some flowers in bright sunlight, but digital cameras can’t always cope with increased contrast and some colours can look faded. Using a polarizing filter will reduce glare from the sun and enhance the colours. However, sunlight can create shadows that look effecPage | 37
tive. Overcast conditions, dawn and sunset will naturally reduce glare and show the true colours in the flowers. Dawn and sunset are the best time of day to photograph plants and flowers, as these times are normally the calmest when the wind is reduced. The light at these times of day with also create long shadows, which can be used creatively. Distractions – Things like gardening tools, other people, signs, posts, things in the background etc. can focus the eye onto the
wrong part of an image, causing a distraction. It is therefore a good idea to remove these, or do your best to avoid them so that you get a distraction free image. Make sure you don’t break any steams or pull up flowers to do this, asking someone just to hold back the plant is a good idea while you shoot! Editing – Don’t forget that if an image doesn’t turn out how you’d hoped, there is always the option of editing. Cropping, straightening, colour enhancing, converting to black and white etc. are all good ways to changing a not so good image, to a lovely one. Using filters can change the image into something more creative and abstract. Too much editing though can ruin an image. http://www.flickr.com/photos/ amanda-bunce
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Carlotta Evangelisti http://www.flickr.com/photos/amyphoto93 Page | 39
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History of travel photography With the new found invention of photography came a great new potential for communication and information. With the rise of budget airlines and gap years/ international conferences, many people are now able to go on trips that would have been virtually impossible 100 or so years ago, at least with an equivalent budget/timeframe. During the late 19th century and early 20th century, international travel was still relatively lengthy and expensive, since no commercial airlines existed at that time. Despite the new invention of rail making local travel easier, travel even to other places in Europe was still a privilege of the middle and upper classes. To go somewhere further
afield, like America, required a lengthy journey on an ocean liner. Most people consequentially had little opportunity to experience the world, and it was thus immensely important and valuable that some of those who were able to experience a variety of far away places chose to document it through photography. The earliest travel photographers included among them Francis Firth, who took many photos of the Middle East. What is particularly impressive about his photography is that he used the collodion process, which required the photographic plate to be prepared on site. His photos are of particularly good quality, as this photo of the Hypaethral Temple in Philae shows. Page | 42
Travel photography in the 19th century was a lot harder than it is now, as problems such as the collodion boiling over would commonly occur. Perhaps an even more impressive achievement than the Middle East photography is his later ambitious project to photograph every town and village in the United Kingdom. In some ways this could be regarded as an early form of Google Street View; he later sold his images as postcards to shops throughout the United Kingdom, giving people making local journeys the ability to buy inexpensive mementos. Perhaps the most well travelled of the early travel photographers was James Ricalton, who travelled around the world seven
times. Again, the payload of 19th century cameras was much larger than of todayâ€™s cameras, and he had to carry his camera equipment around with him in a wheelbarrow. He befriended the famous inventor Thomas Edison, and consequentially was able to travel to many different places on financed expeditions, for example to the Far East to search for a new type of light bulb filament, and to Africa to test a movie camera. The photos he took on these and other trips were sold to textbooks and museums, and were very popular. Travel photography also enabled photographs of famous expeditions and international events. Herbert Ponting was the photographer for the ill-fated
expedition led by Captain Scott to the Antarctic. Although he was reportedly ill for most of the voyage there, he captured many outstanding images of the expedition before it set off. Among the images captured is this famous one of the Terra Nova, the ship that carried the team. After it was discovered that all on the expedition had perished, Pontingâ€™s career took a turn for the worse, as there was little demand for his work, especially after the outbreak of World War I. Although there was some later interest in his work, he never reached the high point of his career that was the Terra nova expedition. Travel photographers thus take risks in the job that they do, as travelling to far Page | 43
away places, especially this long ago, was a huge risk. Today, everyone uses some kind of camera to take photos when they go on holiday, and it can be easy to forget that what is now so easy was once an incredibly difficult and risky undertaking. But what these early travel photographers did ensures that not only were the people at the time able to appreciate different places, but that future generations can too.
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In the Tamrac Adventure Zoom 4 -April Smith Price: £15 - £25 Interior Dimensions: 15 x 11 x 15cm Exterior Dimensions: 18 x 16 x 18 cm The Tamrac Adventure Zoom 4 is ideal when you don’t need to carry all of your equipment around, but it only allows you to carry your DSLR with a lens attached. There is a pocket on the front that allows room for spare batteries and SD cards. I bought this when I was travelling to London. I wanted something that wouldn’t draw attention to myself or worse get stolen. It is a very comfortable bag to wear on one shoulder or across the body. It has a handy little feature: the belt loops on the side of the bag allow you to unclip the carrying strap and turn it into a holster. If you did want to add more bags or pockets, the Tamrac allows you to do this. It has extra loops connected so you could easily add more pockets if you wanted. Overall, a great bag for someone with little equipment, but not ideal for someone who wants to take more than just their camera out.
Lowerpro Nova 160 AW - Amanda Bunce Price: £49.95 Interior Dimensions 20 x 11 x 17cm Exterior Dimensions 24 x 17.5 x 22cm The Lowerpro Nova 160 is a middle of the range gadget bag. The main part of bag can hold up to 2 short zoom lens, as well as a camera body. The front pockets are large enough to hold spear batteries and small accessories, as well as an inner zip pocket and 2 Velcro memory card pockets. A pocket on the bag is useful for manuals and notes. An over-the shoulder padded strap can be connected to the back or side of the bag, making it suited to any need. The padding also makes it comfortable to carry for a number of hours. A rain cover that is hidden in the front pocket is tricky to put on, but covers the whole bag and the main camera compartment is still accessible once on. This makes the bag very practicable, as I know I can put on the cover if I get caught in the rain. Although this bag is quite bulky, it can hold everything I need on a shoot, as well as some extras. I know my equipment is safe in this bag as there are a lot of hidden pockets, as well as a zip and clip keeping the main compartment secure.
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bag... Lowepro Slingshot 202AW - Abby Thompson Price: £46 Interior Dimensions: 22.5 x 14.0 x 28.0 cm Exterior Dimensions: 25.0 x 25.5 x 45.0 cm It is a pretty roomy bag, with room for a camera body, accessories and multiple lenses. There is also good pocket space for things like batteries, filters, etc. It even has a place for a tripod to hook in, which is excellent. Another great thing is that you can buy extras like water bottle or lens holders that clip on so you can add on space as you need it. It is a really comfortable bag for how large it is. The strap sits extremely well and is nicely padded. It really is great for hiking, since it doesn’t move around even during vigorous hikes. There is an extra chest strap too in order to prevent any extra movement. The pack is a little bit pricey, but you are getting a bag with a lot of features. You can find similar packs for slightly cheaper, and with just a few less features you can cut the cost nearly in half. Overall though I would say it is worth the price for what you get. I think the bag is a very practical bag for serious photographers with lots of gear. The sling style allows for really quick retrieval of gear, which makes it very nice to work with. Combined with the roominess and features like the waterproof cover it is really a great bag to have.
Vanguard Up-Rise 48 - Dan Smyth Price: £90 Interior Dimensions: 30cm x 13cm x 25cm Exterior Dimensions: 35cm x 30cm x 51.5cm
Vanguard might not be one of your traditional camera bag manufacturer, in fact they’re mostly associated with their tripods and other accessories. This foray into bags has however seen the company gain widespread acclaim. 2009 even saw them picking up a TIPA award, the industry’s highest accolade, for the Up-Rise series. Now these aren’t easy to find. Most high street stores don’t stock them, many don’t even know they exist. This can make getting hold of them a little difficult. Once hunting one down I opted for the Up-Rise 48, the largest in the series. Lets start at the top; it’s got room for 2 camera bodies, 3 lenses plus 1 attached to a body, a flashgun or two and plenty of space at the top for whatever else you need to carry. There’s also room for a laptop for those of you that need to edit on the go! The bag is well built and offers good protection for the glass inside, while the expandable (up-rise) section offers the chance to carry larger lenses by opening a single zip. Being a bag on the larger side, it offers good back support through thick, breathable padding as well as solid straps. You can easily forget how much gear you’re carrying. Page | 47
Lowepro Fastpack 350 - Chi Lau Price £60-80 Interior Dimensions: 28 x 15 x 23.5cm Exterior Dimensions: 31.5 x 24 x 46cm So this is the Lowepro Fastpack 350! It is designed as a comfortable back pack that can fit over 3 lenses, a professional camera plus a slot for laptops. I can fit my camera, 3 lenses, a flash gun and still have room. You can adjust the Velcro padding to suit your needs but this only has a limited number of places you can put it. As far as comfortability is concerned this is a very comfortable bag and even with all my gear and laptop it doesn’t add any weight to it. Price is a bit high at around £60-80 however the amount of space you get it worth the money and thus highly recommended! It is also very practical in the sense that you can carry everything you need on a shoot however it’s not as practical as the Slingshot which allows you to “sling” the bag around for easy access but this doesn’t make it any less useful! Overall I highly rate this camera and while the price may be high it is certainly worth the money if you have a large amount of camera gear.
Lowepro Adventura 140 – Phil Cohn Price: £20 Interior Dimensions: 17 x 9.3 x 17.5 cm Exterior Dimensions: 21 x 15 x 21.5 cm A compact, convenient bag, the Adventura 140 is a well made DSLR carrier that is useful for everyday situations and carrying around on a wide variety of trips. It has adequate padding, and is reasonably weather resistant, meaning it is good for wildlife and travel photography. However, it would be advisable to carry a back up fully waterproof bag/cover if heavy rain conditions are expected, as the 140 is not fully watertight. This bag will hold a mid-sized DSLR and lens, as well as a few accessories in a side pocket (such as a spare battery, memory cards and cleaning brush). The fit is quite snug though, and it can take a few seconds to tease the camera out of the bag if the lens is in there too. A small tripod may also be held in the rear straps. Overall, at around £20, it is good value for money, and a recommended bag for outdoors and situations where you may not be able to carry too much equipment.
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