This page points to all recent articles published on dslrbodies.com, sansmirror.com, gearophile.com, and filmbodies.com, and is updated as new articles appear (most recent on top). For articles from previous months, check the Articles Index Archive.
Dec 6 The Question of Balance
Gizmodo's "Last Days of the DSLR" article is causing a lot of angst to show up in my In Box. But it's not just that article, it's virtually every article on the Web these days. Read the full article on dslrbodies.com.
Dec 6 The DX Wide Angle
Samyang today announced the 10mm f/2.8 rectilinear lens. Read the full article on dslrbodies.com. Note: versions of this lens are available for most mirrorless mounts, see the data page.
Dec 5 Optimal Data — Avoiding Entropy
Photography is about capturing data, manipulating data, and outputting data. Oh oh, I think I lost a few of you with that second item: manipulating data. Read the full article on dslrbodies.com.
Dec 4 The Nikon Sigma Kerfuffle (updated)
Two new Nikon cameras, two service advisories from Sigma. Read the full story on dslrbodies.com.
Dec 4 Why Japan/Asia Only?
With Canon announcing the EOS M2 only in China and Japan, the question I'm getting is why? Okay, here's the answer.
Dec 3 Only five spaces left for the Botswana August 2014 workshop. Don't hesitate on this workshop if you're interested, as it's likely to fill soon. See the workshop page.
Dec 3 (Some) Books Are Back
CD and printed versions of Thom's Complete Guides for the D40, D40x, D50, D60, D80, D90, D300, D300s, D700, D3, D3s, and D3x are back, at special "while supplies last" prices. See the deal page on dslrbodies.com.
Dec 3 Adobe has extended US$9.99/mo. Photoshop/Lightroom deal until December 8th.
Dec 3 EOS M2 — The Japan-Only Game
Canon Japan today announced the long-rumored update to the EOS M, the EOS M2. Read the full article on sansmirror.com.
Dec 3 Metabones and the Pocket Cinema Camera
Metabones has introduced a new version of its Nikon G Speed Booster, specifically designed for the Blackmagic Cinema Camera (0.64x) and Pocket Cinema Camera (0.58x) both of which use the m4/3 lens mount. Read the full article on sansmirror.com.
Dec 2 Will the Pixel Madness Ever End?
The very first sensor I played with in a lab over two decades ago wasn't even capable of a VGA-sized image (480x640). Today, we've got DX sensors at 18mp (Canon) and 24mp (Nikon), and FX sensors that go higher in pixel count. Read the full article on dslrbodies.com.
Dec 2 Siri the Would Be Photographer
Some of my Apple friends took me over to nearby Santa Cruz to show off some new photographic functions they’ve been working on. Read the full article on gearophile.com.
Thom's Monthly Teaching Point — What Are you Saying?
Composition, simply put, is the act of saying something. Sure, a photograph is visual, but it’s still a communication. You’re in full control, so show your viewers what you’re saying. In this image we have two basic elements and an interesting decision in how to place them. Eroding sandstone on the left, placid water on the right. Earth and water. The composition is what I call “half and half.” Two elements, with one dominating half the shot, the other dominating the other half.
Magazines often like shots like this because they can use it as a two page spread and put copy over all that negative space on the right without really ruining the impact of the shot. (We photographers hate that, as we think any text ruins our shots. We writers love that, especially if we get paid by the word, because it means we don’t lose a page to photos and illustrations.)
Framed the way you see it above, we have “equivalence” (remember: half and half). We’re making some sort of statement about water. On the left we see what water does when in action. On the right, we see water itself at rest (and bit of what sandstone does to water: note the faint threads of discoloration that extend into the water).
One thing pro photographers do a lot that amateurs don’t always do is rethink what they want to say and take other shots using the same elements to try to say something different, even if it’s only slightly different. So immediately upon taking a photo we’re challenging our brains to come up with different interpretations using the same elements. That usually involves changing the “formula” that got us our composition in the first place. What if instead of half and half we went primary/secondary? That quickly leads us to a composition more like this:
Here the statement is about what happens to the earth as water gets close to its resting place. This shot is about the journey of water, not about water per se.
I love attractions like I found with this shot. There are an infinite number of ways to frame what I was seeing here. There are mysteries (earth only shots, especially where the contours are convoluted), there is that strange boundary between the sand and water where fingers of earth protrude into the water but fingers of water protrude into the land. There are even patches of vegetation tucked away in there (difficult to see with the wide angle lens I was using, but I could have switched lenses). This is one of those situations where there are pictures within pictures within pictures, and yes, pictures outside the pictures I’ve shown you (is the water a lake, is it an ocean, is it a river?).
You can’t get to the composition unless you know what you want to say. That’s one reason why when I’m working with students in the field, I’ll often ask them to “name” their photo. What’s the name going to be on the placard next to the photo when it gets hung in a gallery? The less the name is about objects (Earth and Water) and the more it is evocative (Half and Half), the better, as it gets you to the proper framing faster. Consider Ansel Adams’ "Moon and Half Dome.” Didn’t really help him frame it, did it? Curiously, most people refer to the shot as “Moon over Half Dome,” which does start to talk about how the elements are composed. What if the shot were called “Two Rocks”? Or “Big Rock, Small Rock”?
So next time you go out to shoot, say something. Name your shot. Use adjectives, adverbs, and modifiers of any kind. Things that suggest rather than label. Then compose.
If you're wondering where the previous Teaching Points went, they're here.