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Student Portfolio Cas Pretorius



Painting with Light



Editor’s Comment


Final Comment


Try Something New



All about what is happening in the photographic world locally and internationally

Student Portfolio

Final Photo



Rob Smit - Getpix



Painting with Light

Product Review



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Front Cover Image by: Rob Smit See Student Portfolio



ello to all our readers. We have had a busy month and pleased to bring you the latest issue of PhotoComment Magazine. If you have been following our blog at you will know that we attended Photokina, the world’s largest photographic expo. This show makes local expos look rather small. Imagine the largest expo you have been to in South Africa and multiply that by at least 5 and you will begin to understand the scale of Photokina. What a great experience! We have a brief wrap up of the main releases from Photokina in our Scoop section, for more

info on these great new products see our blog. We feature Rob Smit in our Student Portfolio. You may remember a few issues back we had an article by Lisa from, she returns and explain how to paint with light to create drama in your photos in our technique section. Bryan Powell then explains his love affair with his new Holga and shares the joy of shooting on one of these beauties. We hope you enjoy this issue and as usual please send your feedback to us at Cheers Greg Wrench - Designer\Editor

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@ Photokina 2010 with Sony Alpha If you have been following the updates on our website you will have seen a lot about Photokina. So to avoid boring anyone further, this will just serve as a brief overview of what we saw with a focus on some of the things we have not posted up onto the website yet. To keep up to date with the latest news see our blog at SONY Since our last issue Sony announced a shake up in the photography world with the introduction of their Translucent Mirror Technology which allows their first cameras to utilise this technology - like the Alpha SLT-A55 (SLT stands for Single Lens Translucent) - to offer 10 frames per second with continuous autofocus tracking plus autofocus in video. The Alpha A55 is a 16mp APS-C sized EXMOR CMOS sensor camera with GPS, and 1080 AVCHD video. You will find a detailed review of it from our Photokina Trip on the PhotoComment site. The exciting news from Sony really is that by 2012 there will be a total of 8 E-Mount lenses for the NEX system. We also learnt that the Advanced Model Alpha (the A700 replacement in essence) will utilise the new Translucent Mirror Technology and shoot AVCHD video.

The week prior to leaving for Photokina, Nikon announced there new game changing D7000. There are several discussions on the web about whether this camera replace the D90 or not but in order to help you better understand it, lets say it mixes the best of the D90 (like size and price - when compared to the D90’s launch price) with the best of the D300s (like robust build, dual memory card slots - both for SD Cards and high frame rate) and then goes on to improve on both by offers a new Auto Focus and Metering system plus 1080p HD video plus a 16mp CMOS sensor to round it all off. We posted a brief hands on preview of the D7000 on our website and look forward to a full review in the not too distant furture. In terms of compacts, Nikon announced the P7000 which like the D7000 tries to aim a direct shot at the main rival however in this instance it only wins part the battle. The Coolpix P7000 offers a greater zoom range (28-200mm) however it feels a fair bit bigger than the Canon G11/12 and sadly sees the demise of the internal GPS which the P6000 had.

Sony Alpha SLT-A55

CANON So while Nikon had been sitting in consultation, plotting how to create a model on par and better than Canon’s EOS 50D - or its possible replacement Canon seemed to be thinking how to better match Nikon’s D90 and thereby not impact too heavily on the EOS 7D sales. The result is the new EOS 60D which could be pictured looking over its shoulder at Nikon’s D7000 rising above it on its rapid decline to reach the lower mark Canon seem to have been aiming for. We are not saying that the EOS 60D is not a capable machine, it would just appear to us that once again, there is no level ground between the top two brands in the middle range models which has a number of Canon owner up set as they really were expecting more from the EOS 60D. To summarise very briefly, as everyone had hoped, Canon gave the EOS 60D the 18mp CMOS sensor they wanted from the 550D and 7D, plus the amazing video. What no one expected was a plastic only button - bye bye the magnesium alloy body many had come to love - and the canning of Compact Flash cards in favor of SD.

Nikon D7000

Nikon Coolpix P7000

On the compact camera side, Canon kept the G12 almost unchanged compared to the G11 bar 720p HD video, which is kind of the same story on the S95 vs the older S90. We had really hoped for these cameras to get the Backlit CMOS sensor they put in the new 30x Zoom SX30IS.

Canon EOS 60D Canon Powershot G12



s our student portfolio this month we feature Rob Smit, a student studying photography at Getpix. Getpix offer practical photography and software courses. It looks like Rob has a promising future in photogrpahy. Enjoy his pictures and comments on them. Are you a student? Get featured here, send your 10 best images, along with a short intorduction about yourself, and a short explanation of each picture to:

Pout – (Above) One of my sisters friends helped me out with a shoot. I really didn’t think that she was photogenic, until of course we had finished the shoot. The pout made this shot!

Fashion Shoot –(Below) This shot was taken at an old broken down building, with me balancing on an old rickety wall. It fascinates me how photographers will do almost anything to get the shot!


32’ Ford Hotrod – I also got this job by chance as I was getting pics printed a guy approached me and liked my work. He phoned me a week later with plans on shooting this Hot little car. I found a location and decided to go with the classic feel together with showing off the sheer prowess of the car. Two months later the car was on the cover of SA Hotrods magazine. I got commissioned by them to do another shoot, a fully restored Pontiac Stratochief, a few weeks later.

Horse in the fields – This picture was taken just outside Bronkhorstspruit, there are a lot of horses out there that are left to roam naturally without restraint. This was taken late afternoon with the sun behind the horse, which lit up the field. Makes it look almost dreamy.

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B&W Flower – (Above)This was taken in my back garden at around 12 midday. I used a really fast shutterspeed to get everything in the background black, showcasing just the flowers as well as using a shallow depth of field. Little Blue – (Right) This picture was me playing around with light and shutterspeed. I used a cell phone for this shot. F3.5 with a shutterspeed of 5 seconds. Begging Dog –(Top Left) My little nephew sitting outside, eating a bikkie, with the dog’s eyes glued to him. Corporate Vixen – (Bottom Left) I was sitting in a coffee shop after I had done a fashion shoot, going through the photos, when a gentleman approached me and asked for my number. I was contacted a week later and commissioned by YDE fashion designer of the year Kosi Nkosi to do a shoot for her. This is one of my favourites from the shoot.


Article and Images by: Lisa Solonynko


y definition, photography is the process of painting with light. In most cases, photographers utilize both ambient and artificial light sources to flood the scene. But, some desired effects call for a different approach. Painting with light, in this instance, relies on eliminating ambient light and illuminating specific areas of the scene. Using a flashlight, strobe, or other artificial light source, it is possible to control what is and is not lit. Modifiers, such as snoots, add to the element of control. This subtle difference in technique creates dramatically different results. KEY EQUIPMENT ? Tripod ? Flashlight and/or off camera strobes ? Shutter release cable, timer, or bulb mode ? Very dark environment ? A partner and extra lighting for safety when working outside at night ? Snoot Whether working indoors or out, a dark environment is extremely important. The goal is to eliminate all ambient light and only illuminate the subject. CAMERA SETTINGS Keeping the camera on Manual is very important because it is necessary to adjust the aperture and shutter speed as you go along. Painting with light is very much an exercise in experimentation. Keep adjusting until the desired end result is achieved.

To minimize noise, use the lowest ISO setting available. This is particularly important when shooting outdoors using longer exposure times. If shooting in a studio, manually focus on the subject prior to turning off the lights. If shooting outdoors, use a flashlight to light the subject enough to achieve a manual focus. Aperture settings will affect the brightness of the light source used. Widening the aperture (lower number) will cause the light source to appear brighter as it allows more light to reach the sensor. The opposite occurs when you stop down the aperture (larger number). Adjust the aperture until the light is bright enough but not blown out. PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER In order to get a better idea of the technique in action, let's look at three very different examples. The image of the vase demonstrates where I wanted to eliminate all ambient light and create drama within the vase. The goal was to showcase the cut glass by having the light travel through the glass instead of bouncing off of the vase's exterior. To achieve this, I set the ISO to 100 and the shutter speed to 1/100. A snooted strobe was used and pointed into the neck of the vase. To avoid hot spots, an aperture of f/4.5 was needed. In the end result, the vase almost looks like it is glowing. There are no distracting shadows but the vase still has depth.



PAINTING WITH LIGHT The yellow daisy image was achieved by using a snooted strobe to flood the front of the petals with light. The studio was completely dark and the daisy was placed far from the walls to prevent the light from bouncing. A shutter speed of 1/100 and an f/11 aperture maintained the dark background and prevented hot spots from appearing on the petals. The boat image was a bit more ambitious. This was taken on a beach where no city lights would interfere. Instead of using a strobe, a very strong flashlight was used to illuminate each part of the boat. Bulb mode was used to ensure that the shutter remained open for as long as it took to “paint� the side of the boat. I used slow passes of the light. A 30 second exposure was the sweet spot in this situation. With longer exposures, the possibility of introducing noise

increases. Keeping the ISO as low as possible was very important here. The goal for this image was to create muted, soft light. To achieve this an aperture of f/14 was used. The characteristic of the light is different than the vase or daisy. When working outdoors or with objects where you need to be within the scene, be sure to wear black clothing. Keeping the light pointed away from your body means you will never be detected by the camera. Painting with light is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the characteristics of light. It forces the photographer to only focus on the light and experiment with ways it can be manipulated and controlled. Using this technique creates drama for any subject. Start small, experiment, and have fun. [o]


Text and Images By: Bryan Powell

HOLGA Hey My names Bryan Powell. I’m 26 years of age and work as a photographer at a studio in Durban called Purestudio. I recently purchased my “li’l girl” the Holga on a trip to Cape Town, and what a Bute she is. Before now I’ve only heard of her and seen pics from her sister the Lomo. I must say she’s a lot more fun than she looks. With Holga she has no boundaries, And from what I’ve heard and seen she only gets better with age. My Holga came with some black tape. I thought to my self “why the tape?” Turns out she leaks light on occasions, and if u don’t like these light leaks just patch her up. I haven’t used the tape yet. And definitely have no intention to do so. I used to shoot film when I was at varsity, but now with digital around you get to view your images straight away. That’s what I love about Her, she keeps you in suspense, you never know what images she’ll give you . Just to finish There is so much more to her, Pointing and shooting has never been so much fun. This was my first shoot with her and I have to say. It was love at first site. Haha [o]


will admit that sometimes I wish I was a columnist for a news paper or magazine dealing in politics that perhaps it would not be as difficult to think of new topics to write about in this final page each month, and then I realise that there would be no challenge - and that each industry has its fair share of politics. That point aside, as you will have notice not only in this issue of the magazine but on PhotoComment’s website as well, we took a journey to Germany and attended Photokina, arguably the world largest photographic show. With Photokina taking place in the city of Cologne it is easy for one to feel inspired to create masterful images by the amazing Dom Cathedral in the centre of town which took over 600 years to complete, or the the Lovers Padlocks running the length of the rail bridge that crosses the Rhine river, or even the Chocolate Museum where you can indulge your taste buds in liquid Lindt chocolate. Okay so maybe the Chocolate Museum wont inspire more creative photographs but it could get your finger stuck to the shutter button on your camera. Here is my lesson from all this though, while I was surrounded by this history, architecture and inspirational street scenes, I don't feel I came away with the best images I could have. Why? Lack of dedication! For example, we took with us to Germany a fantastic, light weight, carbon fiber tripod, but when with crowded exhibition halls and many

miles of walking it spent much of its time in the hotel. Photokina is so big that when you have finished your day at the show you just really want to head to the hotel and relax, not walk another step. Compare that to the the lessons learnt at a recent Vega Image Evening where the guest for the evening was Koos Van De Lende. Here is a photographer who shoots on film, medium format, panoramic cameras to create amazing landscapes. He carries roughly R24,000.00 in filters, uses reflectors or torch light to paint the foreground of his images. Spending two months at a time in the field, building bridges to cross difficult terrain, filling muddy marshes enough to get a tripod stable only for it to sink away the next morning. That kind of dedication is awarded with images which inspire, and hold you spell bound. That is the determination that moves one from a snapper to an artist. This was my first time to attend Photokina, it was my first time travelling to Europe and from where I stand now, it could have been my last opportunity to see the amazing city of Cologne. In some ways I am left with great regrets. I hope that moving forward I - and for a matter of fact all off us - can give even just 10% more dedication to this craft of photography and treat each opportunity to shoot as if it was the that ‘one image’ which could define our photographic life. [o]

Image By: Greg Wrench - Sunset over the Dom, Cologne


PhotoComment Issue 19  

Photo Comment is a South African based website focusing on various different aspects of photography, from the technical to creative elements...