Photography

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  • 1. A Brief History Of PhotographyFor centuries images have been projected onto surfaces. The camera obscura and thecamera lucida were used by artists to trace scenes as early as the 16th century. These earlycameras did not fix an image in time; they only projected what passed through an openingin the wall of a darkened room onto a surface. In effect, the entire room was turned into alarge pinhole camera. Indeed, the phrase camera obscura literally means "darkenedroom," and it is after these darkened rooms that all modern cameras have been named.The first photograph is considered to be an image produced in 1826 by the Frenchinventor Nicéphore Niépce on a polished pewter plate covered with a petroleumderivative called bitumen of Judea. It was produced with a camera, and required an eighthour exposure in bright sunshine. However this process turned out to be a dead end andNiépce began experimenting with silver compounds based on a Johann Heinrich Schultzdiscovery in 1724 that a silver and chalk mixture darkens when exposed to light.Niépce, in Chalon-sur-Saône, and the artist Louis Daguerre, in Paris, refined the existingsilver process in a partnership. In 1833 Niépce died of a stroke, leaving his notes toDaguerre. While he had no scientific background, Daguerre made two pivotalcontributions to the process.He discovered that by exposing the silver first to iodine vapour, before exposure to light,and then to mercury fumes after the photograph was taken, a latent image could beformed and made visible. By then bathing the plate in a salt bath the image could befixed.In 1839 Daguerre announced that he had invented a process using silver on a copper platecalled the Daguerreotype. A similar process is still used today for Polaroids. The Frenchgovernment bought the patent and immediately made it public domain.Across the English Channel, William Fox Talbot had earlier discovered another means tofix a silver process image but had kept it secret. After reading about Daguerres inventionTalbot refined his process, so that it might be fast enough to take photographs of peopleas Daguerre had done and by 1840 he had invented the calotype process.He coated paper sheets with silver chloride to create an intermediate negative image.Unlike a daguerreotype a calotype negative could be used to reproduce positive prints,like most chemical films do today. Talbot patented this process which greatly limited itsadoption.He spent the rest of his life in lawsuits defending the patent until he gave up onphotography altogether. But later this process was refined by George Eastman and istoday the basic technology used by chemical film cameras. Hippolyte Bayard alsodeveloped a method of photography but delayed announcing it, and so was notrecognized as its inventor.
  • 2. In the darkroomIn 1851 Frederick Scott Archer invented the collodion process. It was theprocess used by Lewis Carroll.Slovene Janez Puhar invented the technical procedure for making photographs on glass in1841. The invention was recognized on July 17th 1852 in Paris by the AcadémieNationale Agricole, Manufacturičre et Commerciale.The Daguerreotype proved popular in responding to the demand for portraiture emergingfrom the middle classes during the Industrial Revolution. This demand, that could not bemet in volume and in cost by oil painting, may well have been the push for thedevelopment of photography.However daguerreotypes, while beautiful, were fragile and difficult to copy. A singlephotograph taken in a portrait studio could cost US$1000 in 2006 dollars. Photographersalso encouraged chemists to refine the process of making many copies cheaply, whicheventually led them back to Talbots process. Ultimately, the modern photographicprocess came about from a series of refinements and improvements in the first 20 years.In 1884 George Eastman, of Rochester, New York, developed dry gel on paper, or film, toreplace the photographic plate so that a photographer no longer needed to carry boxes ofplates and toxic chemicals around. In July of 1888 Eastmans Kodak camera went on themarket with the slogan "You press the button, we do the rest". Now anyone could take aphotograph and leave the complex parts of the process to others. Photography becameavailable for the mass-market in 1901 with the introduction of Kodak Brownie.Since then color film has become standard, as well as automatic focus and automaticexposure. Digital recording of images is becoming increasingly common, as digitalcameras allow instant previews on LCD screens and the resolution of top of the rangemodels has exceeded high quality 35mm film while lower resolution models havebecome affordable. For the enthusiast photographer processing black and white film, littlehas changed since the introduction of the 35mm film Leica camera in 1925. Bringing Memories to LifeMany us of have many treasured photo albums that with just the flip of a page allowingus walk again down paths long since traversed. Dipping in and out of memories as thoughit all happened only yesterday – until we realise abruptly that our treasured memories are,in fact, from years ago, and we no longer remember where that snap shot was taken, orwhat year is encapsulated there in paper form. While it is quick and easy to write a briefnote upon the back of our photographs, the best way to rekindle those special memories isto log them all, each one, is in a scrapbook.Using scrapbooks is a wonderful way to raise the storage of photographs and othermemorabilia to a more personal level. There is little doubt that retaining keepsakes fromimportant events or occasions is the ideal way to recapture the essence of a particular
  • 3. moment once it has passed us by in time, but it is only in using a scrapbook that the storyreally comes to life. Our precious memories so often wither in old shoeboxes, clumpedtogether into confused bundles, where their special meaning fades. By gathering ourmemories into a scrapbook, we can suffuse life into them once more, and bequeath thejoy we once shared to a whole new generation.A scrapbook is nothing less than our own storybook, storing particular items that capturethe meaning behind the memories. The straw you kept from your very first date with theman you’ve now been married to for over twenty years, that’s a precious memory, butthink how the memory of that date comes alive when you scrapbook that straw with aphotograph of the new couple, and include your thoughts from that special night. Howmuch more meaningful does this memento become to your children and your children’schildren when it is conveyed as a part of the whole story of your love? What once was asmall plastic tube found at the bottom of an old box is now a living memory, conveyingfar more than you ever thought it could.A scrapbook can store your memories in the most precious and personal way. Don’t keepyour life to yourself; share it with a scrapbook, and relive your memories through theeyes of others. How to be a Great PhotographerTake one camera (digital or analog) and film as needed. Put film into camera (ifnecessary). Snap shutter. Before snapping shutter, point camera at a subject that will givethe viewer a meaningful aesthetic experience.For someone who has no idea of what a camera is, learning how to carry out the first partof the prescription should take anywhere from a week to a month. However, the secondpart will take from a few years to forever. Its this part that I want to discuss.There are several approaches to developing as a photographer.1. Do nothingA lot of people use their camera to record family celebrations and vacations and arecontent with the outcome.2. Study web pages that have tips for better photographsThese will often help to tighten up your pictures. If you want to get a few ideas in a fewminutes, this is the place to look.3. Get your photographs critiqued at an appropriate websiteThis is a good way to learn how others respond to your pictures. But be careful. Not allcriticism is equal. Some of your evaluators may be experienced professionals and others
  • 4. beginners. If you are going to rely on this method, it is important that you learn enough toevaluate the evaluators (see point 4).4. Study the work of acknowledged great artistsBy taking this route you can learn what elements contribute to a fine photograph. Thistakes time and study. Dont simply look at a few photos but read art criticism to find outwhat professional educators think and why.One drawback here is that you wont be able to see how your work measures up. If youplan to take this route and also join a critique website (see point 3), you will be in aposition to know which criticism to ignore and which to pay attention to.5. Join a photography clubClubs often have lectures, workshops, and juried shows. This can be a good hands-onlearning experience.6. Take a class (online or in person)There are all sorts of classes. If you choose one that has assignments and feedback, youcan be guided through the fundamentals by an experienced photographer.7. Get a coachAt this point I have to say a few words about the difference between a competentphotographer and a person who uses photography as an art form. The competentphotographer will be able to produce pleasing postcard- or calendar-quality pictures thatlook like postcard and calendar pictures. The artist will be able to take photographs thatrepresent his or her vision of the world. If you are after the former and not the latter, youshould choose among methods 1 through 6. A good coach should help you develop yourunique way of seeing.8. Go to an art schoolThis, for people who have the time and the money, is by far the best. I studied at the SanFrancisco Art Institute. Heres how it worked. I went to a photography class two or threetimes a week. At every class meeting each student pinned 20-30 photographs to the walland, under the supervision of an accomplished professional, we criticized our own andone anothers work. We also took photography history classes as well as courses in otherfields of art. Mine were film, drawing, sculpture, and printmaking. There were frequentguest lecturers. We never learned any rules. In fact, rules were never mentioned. Butthrough a combination of years of exposure to all types of art, classical throughcontemporary, and having to produce 50-60 new photographs every week, we eventuallylearned what art was about.
  • 5. There are many ways to improve your photography. Before you make your choice youshould decide on your goal. If you have little time and just want to tidy up your pictures abit, read the tips pages. On the other extreme, if your goal is to be an artist, there isnothing close to attending art school. Most people fall between these extremes. Keep Your Photos SafeAre your precious photos safe?Are you backing up your precious photos? our computers and removable storage mediaare full with experiences and precious moments. However electronic media is not safe.Hard disks crash and removable media fails.Disasters can happen. Digital photo albums are vulnerable and if not backed up you losethousands of photos and a lifetime of moments in just one hard disk crash.What are backups? backups are just copies of our files that are put in a safe place.Example of such copies can be photos put on a DVD and placed at a friends house. TheDVD could of course be placed in your own house but that would be less safe since incase of a disaster in your house you might lose both your computer and the backups.A few years ago backups were hard to make. You practically had to be a computer guru tofigure our those backup software. Today however backup was made easy using a numberof software solution and online service. Below you can find two main options for backingup your photo albums: burning them to a DVD/CD or using an online backup service.Backing up to a DVD/CDBacking up to a DVD/CD is done by using a DVD/CD writer drive and software that canburn files on such media. Usually using such solutions requires more technical know-how.Backing up to a DVD/CD is a cheap solution. You can buy such writer drives andsoftware for probably under a $100 and each DVD/CD media should cost in the cents.One such software that has been around for a while and used by many is from Roxio.When backing up your photo albums to a DVD/CD please make sure that you put theDVD/CD in a safe place a good option would be somewhere out of your home maybe afamily member, a neighbor you can trust or a friend. Another thing to remember withDVD/CD backup is that when you take new photos you should remember to refresh yourbackups. Ususally unless your photo album is very big the easiest way to do that is just toburn again you complete collection.Backing up to an online backup serviceAs any other service backup found its way to the Internet too. A number of sites providebackup services today for everything from digital photo albums to your word documents.
  • 6. Those services usually charge a monthly fee in the $10 to $20 but some provide a morelimited service for free. The idea behind the service is simple: instead of backing up to aDVD/CD you just upload your photos to a site and create copy there. The site stores thebackups for you in a safe place far away from your computer. If a disaster happens andyou need your files you can simple download them back from the site or ask them to sendyou a DVD/CD with the files (not all provide the latter option). A broadband connectionis needed in order to use this option.There are many advantages to using an online backup service. First they are usually veryeasy to use. Some provide software that you download and install on your computer. Youthen point to the folder where your photos reside and the software takes it from there. Itwill make sure new files are uploaded to the backup service and that your backup isalways fresh.Examples of sites that provide such service are: Streamload that starts with a basic FREE10GB space (approx 10,000 photos at 2 megapixels) and Xdrive that starts from 5GB for$10 a month. Top 5 Photo Accessories.There is a lot of photography accessories on the market today - some are very useful,but most of them are a waste of money. Here are five of the most important accessoriesfor landscape photographyTripod: A tripod is important for one main reason, keeping your images sharp. You’llwant to select a small aperture to maximise depth-of-field, so you should be using ashutter speed of less than 1/60 second. It’s impossible to get a sharp image holding yourcamera in your hand at these slow speeds.When choosing a tripod pick one made out of carbon fibres, these are light to carry butare sturdy in the ground. Choose a tripod that the legs will spread out far, this will help tooptimise the strength of your support.Filters: A small selection of filters is well worth packing when heading off for a trip.They don’t take up too much space and will definitely add a bit of spice to your images. Apolarizing filter should be top of the list, while a few Neutral Density filters will certainlyhelp with tough exposures. A 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 will help with exposure without affectingcolour.Bring a few warm-up filters to help when the light is cool. The 81-series are the bestchoice, which will give your images an extra bit of life. There’s a large amount of filterson the market today; these are the most important filters for landscape photography.Correct Film: Fuji Velvia is an obvious choice for me when it comes to shooting
  • 7. landscapes. This is a slide film that is high in saturation and is perfect for capturing thecolour of all seasons. It comes in two speeds of ISO 50 and ISO 100. It’s always handy to have a few rolls of Black and White film in the bag. You neverknow when you see a scene and know that it’s perfect for B/W. Whichever film youchoose, bring plenty of rolls; don’t be caught in the middle of nowhere without film.If you are shooting with a Digital SLR bring plenty of memory.Cable Release: If your camera has a connection for a cable release you should buy one. Itis a perfect accessory to minimise the risk of camera shake - especially if you are takinglong exposures. It doesn’t take up too much room and is extremely light.Light Meter: All modern day cameras have light meters built into them, but if you areserious about landscape photography it’s advisable to have a hand-held light meter. Theseare small and of light-weight, and when used correctly are extremely accurate.These are the most important bits and pieces for your camera bag; other importantaccessories include spare batteries, a grey card and a few spare lenses.