Thursday, 12 March 2015

Out of Office

Well, that's not strictly true!

We're at our desks but we are busy putting the new issue together.  So bear with us.  Once the magazine is done normal service will be resumed!

Friday, 6 March 2015

Before there was Photoshop

A nice little video here showing where some of the Photoshop tools got their origins.  This is Konrad Eek making a black & white print.


Thursday, 5 March 2015

Influence & Inspiration - Robert Frank again!

Rober Fran is an American Photographer that we have posted about before.  However, I found this nice little documentary about him.

For more information about Robert Frank have a look at this wikipedia page.

But here is a nice little documentary about the man behind the photographs.

A Light Shines...

A new touring exhibition of films created to be shown in churches and cathedrals is set to open in Blackburn tonight.

‘A Light Shines in Darkness’ aims to bring new audiences into churches, some of whom may have never set foot in one, and challenge them to look at the building in a new way.

It seeks to provoke discussion around buildings now often overlooked and undervalued that nevertheless have a powerful architectural presence.

“Whether you’re religious or not you can’t help but be affected when you go into a place like this and the atmosphere the architecture creates. They deserve to have life in them and for people to have access to such special places,” Mike Jones FVU, curator.

Three films from the collection will be shown at the Grade I listed Gothic church Holy Trinity, built at the height of Blackburn’s industrial might.

They include LEAP after The Great Ecstacy an examination of worship of a different nature that of a major sporting event and Stable a film exploring what happens when you release a group of horses into a religious space.

A Light Shines in the Darkness can be seen at Holy Trinity Church, Brownhll Road, Blackburn.  BB1 9QY from tonight until the 28th March 4.30pm - 8.30pm.


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Film Photography Podcast - New episode

The new episode of the Film Photography Podcast has been released this week.

The show is packed with plenty of features including:

Leicas, old film and fixer problems
An introduction to medium format photography
A quick, cheap fix for broken bellows
The Argus A
Cambo 4" x 5" - The students large format camera
Book of a show

Once you start listening to these you'll be hooked and want to listen to the back issues.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Getting off manual

My first SLR camera was a Zenith 11.  It was a big solid Russian brick and for me it was the perfect introduction to SLR photography.  The camera was manual focus, with needle and ring metering  You had to set the aperture and shutter speed for appropriate for what he needle and ring meter was telling you.  In other words it was completely manual.

I now have a Pentax K1000.  That too is a fully manual camera.  The difference between the two is that the K1000’s light meter is in the viewfinder.  I don’t need to take the camera away from my eye.

My Micropress 4”x5” pinhole camera is totally manual.  It doesn’t focus.  It doesn’t have a shutter and it has a fixed aperture of f512.  It doesn’t even have a light meter.  I have to work that out in my head using ‘sunny 16’ rule or use an app on my mobile phone.  Generally, I opt for ‘sunny 16’.

I also own an Olympus Trip 35.  It’s a fantastic little camera.  It’s mainly automatic.  You use a zone focus system to focus the lens and the aperture and shutter speed are chosen by the selenium light meter.  It’s such a clever piece of engineering it doesn’t even need batteries.  I love using this camera.  It’s so much fun.  Even my kids like using this camera!

My DSLR is a Pentax KX.  I love this camera too (as you have probably gathered from previous posts).  It has these nifty little modes on it PASM.  I use PAS a lot.  I only use M on very limited occasions.  It has autofocus.  Again, I use this more than I have it turned off.

Does this make me any less a photographer?  The answer, in my honest opinion, is a resounding no.
I do find it amazing that some photographers believe they are not a photographer unless they are shooting in manual mode.  I would love to know where this opinion has come from because I do believe it to be utter nonsense.  Why?  Well read on and I’ll tell you why.

Let’s start with autofocus.  The autofocus on my KX works.  It nails the point of focus I am after 99% of the time.  The only time it starts to fail is if there isn’t enough light or scene contrast.  I know my camera well enough to know this and will then flip to manual focus.  That being said, there is absolutely no way I can focus as quickly and as well as my KX.

Now on to determining shutter speed and aperture; whenever I have seen someone using manual I have asked them how are they are measuring the light.  All of them have told me they use the cameras light meter.  Now forgive me if I am being na├»ve but as I understand it, in any of the automatic modes the camera measures the light and sets the ISO, aperture and shutter appropriate to the conditions in order  to give you the best photograph possible.  If the camera is in aperture priority mode then it will measure the light, and set the ISO and shutter speed appropriate to the aperture that you have chosen.  The same can be said for shutter priority mode where the ISO and aperture are set for the chosen shutter speed.

Again, my KX has software built in to it that can make these decisions in a fraction of a second.  I know I cannot possible read my light meter and dial in the appropriate settings anywhere near that.
I suppose that the point I’m trying to make is that the major camera manufacturers has invested millions in to developing Auto PAS systems that are quick, efficient and accurate; they have invested time and money to make it easier and more practical for you to go out and shoot photographs.  You have spent hundreds if not thousands of pounds buying a camera that has these capabilities.  Why turn them off?  If you want to learn how to shoot manually, why not buy a totally manual film camera?


Shooting in Auto PAS modes does not make you any less a photographer.  It makes you a wise and happier one!