Almost Weekly Photo

Are We Lucky With The Weather?

On the road to Maymand, Iran.Fujifilm X-T3, Fujinon XF200mm f2…

Colours of Iran

Bakery, Kashan, IranFujifilm X-T3, Fujinon XF8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR…

Where Do You Crop?

Wangdue Phodrang, BhutanPhase One XF 150MP, 240mm Schneider Krueznach, f5.6…

Have you ever struggled with a photograph, knowing what you want to achieve, but not quite seeing it on your computer monitor, no matter how hard you try?

The process from the capture of an image to its completion as a print can be short and sweet, or long and laborious. Often it has less to do with the photographer's abilities in Lightroom or Photoshop and more to do with what he or she thinks the final outcome should be. You know what you want, but the finished result eludes you. What's the answer?

Practice. Now, I know you didn't want to read this, but it's the truth. The more we practise, the more we problem-solve and the more skills we develop.

Practice is one solution, learning skills from another can help too. In the current issue of Better Photography, we've published the steps taken to produce 'Under Coronet Peak'. Not only do we show you the post-production, we discuss the capture and the raw processing, plus the output to print. It's interesting how in the process, decisions can be made and unmade as we live with the image, listening to what it has to say. Sounds a bit odd, but the more I process my work, the more I realise that practice and time are the necessary ingredients.

So, when editing our images, why do we make these changes? Because we believe the changes produce a better looking photograph.

Why do we think the photograph looks better? Because in our memories, we have a database of 'good' photographs and paintings that demonstrate to us certain techniques and approaches that we like and these memories inspire us to produce images that look similar.

And this is what many photographers get wrong when they start learning post-production. They want to know how to apply a curve adjustment layer or brush. This is a good question, but it's only a part of the question.

A better question is, how do I make this photograph stronger? How can I lighten up the foreground so the viewer can see all the
wonderful detail more easily? How can I make the river stand out from the rest of the landscape, because I want viewers to take
notice of the river? Or the cloud. Or the person.

The more images we process to completion, the better equipped we are to process tomorrow's work.

You can read more about this image in Better Photography by subscribing to Better Photography magazine online. You'll find details on the www.betterphotographyeducation.com website.

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If you're a photographer, chances are you love a good camera. You've either recently bought one or you're planning to buy another, so what will it be?

Regular Better Photography contributor Nick Melidonis has years of experience as a successful professional photographer and in the current issue, he has some sage advice.

"Currently, you can buy amazing Phase One 150-megapixel cameras producing massive files and resolution. Do you need one? How big are you ever going to print? Are there other issues besides megapixels to consider in quality? Sensor sizes in many cameras seem to have maxed out around 24-megapixels and believe me, that’s plenty of megapixels for most of us. Let me explain why I think this because the megapixel myth has been around for a while."

Nick then explains the myth before discussing how megapixels relate to printing.

"When working out how big your sensor should be, a few more megapixels might not make a lot of difference. For example, with a 16-megapixel camera, you can already print photos with high quality (that is, at 300 pixels per inch or ppi) with a size up to 39x29 cm. A 20-megapixel camera has four more megapixels or 25% more pixels, but these additional pixels are spread along the width and the height, so at 300 ppi you could print up to 43x32 cm. The difference is not really that much more.

"If you’re trying to convince your loving spouse you really need that new camera body because of more megapixels, you may need to review your argument."

Fortunately, there are some arguments! You can read more about Nick's thoughts on buying new cameras and lenses by subscribing to Better Photography magazine online. You'll find details on the www.betterphotographyeducation.com website.

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Aspen Grove, Boulder Mountain, Utah, USA
Phase One XF with 150MP IQ4, 240mm Schneider lens

What do you do when the sun is higher in the sky than you'd like? Photographers enjoy shooting at the ends of the day because of the beautiful quality of light raking across the landscape (side lighting), but it doesn't take too long before mid-morning takes over and the light loses its magic.

One option is to shoot in black and white. Another is to head to the mountains because you can usually find an angled slope that is side lit. The third is to look for back lighting - where you point the camera into the light and hope your lens shade is up to the task!

By the time we reached this part of Boulder Mountain on our recent American South West photo tour with Tony Hewitt, the sun was hotter than I'd like for the 'big views', but it was perfect for detailed angles such as this. Three things make the image work (in my opinion).

First, there's the backlighting. You can see from the shadows on the ground that the sun is up to the right, so it's slightly angled. The light doesn't have to be perfectly 'behind' your subject to be termed 'back light'.

Second, behind the stand of trees is a dark background in shadow. The tonality of the background is important because it allows the lightly toned trees to be more visible.

And third, the wonder that comes from landscape in the snow, is the fill lighting provided. In a non-snow environment, the tree trunks would appear a lot darker and the 'rim lighting' around the trunks would be more obvious. However, there is so much light bouncing around in this scene that the trunks are lit up, allowing me to create a relatively 'high key' rendition (light tonal values).

Some of my favourite shots taken on photo tours aren't of the iconic landmarks we advertise in our brochures, but little images found on the road that simply take my breath away.

If you're interested in joining me and Tony Hewitt in the USA, keep an eye on these newsletters as we're working on our next trip for February or March next year. Optionally, email Kim (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and ask her to add you to the list and we'll let you know once the details are finalised. We're thinking about Yellowstone!

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