Make Chiangmai Mail | your Homepage | Bookmark

Chiangmai 's First English Language Newspaper

Pattaya Blatt | Pattaya Mail | Pattaya Mail TV

 
Update April 2018


Home
Chiang Mai News
AutoMania
Business
Classical Connections
Cartoons
Care for animals
Community Happenings
Doctor's Consultation
Dining Out & Recipes
Heart to Heart
Mail Bag
Mott the Dog
Photography
Daily Horoscope
About Us
Subscribe
Advertising Rates
Current Movies in
Chiangmai's Cinemas
Classifieds
Back Issues
Find out your Romantic Horoscope Now - Click Here!
Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 

SNAP SHOTS   by Harry Flashman

 

April 21, 2018 - April 27, 2018

Irving Penn

Irving Penn said, “I can get obsessed by anything if I look at it long enough. That’s the curse of being a photographer.” A curse perhaps, but one that Penn put on himself, not one that was placed upon him.

Irving Penn was one of the most famous American photographers, yet he started his graphic career as an Art Director, but leaving his position and taking up the camera as he was not satisfied with the photographs he was sent by the so-called professionals.

He showed that he could handle all formats and is probably best remembered for his stark black and white fashion images. He had an eye for photo and design that was unique, so it is worthwhile spending a little time looking at this great man and his works.

He was born in 1917 in Plainfield, New Jersey. Realizing early that his talents lay somewhere in the artistic world, he enrolled at the age of 17 in a four year course at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art, where he trained for a career as an Art Director. At this stage he had no thoughts of becoming a photographer.

He began being the office boy and apprentice artist for Harper’s Bazaar magazine drawing shoes, and worked his way up from there.

After graduation he had positions as an Art Director, but he was not happy or convinced that this was all that life was going to offer him, so he went to Mexico for a year to devote himself to painting.

One year convinced Penn that he was not going to make it as a painter and he returned to New York and took a job with Vogue magazine as a junior Art Director. His work was noticed by the senior Art Director, but the staff photographers could not deliver the pictures that Penn saw in his mind, encouraging him to take the photographs himself.

This was the start to a great career. He continued with Vogue, with just a small break for the war effort, and his first exhibition of magazine covers was held in 1947 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

For me, his work is unique because of his use of light and other devices to isolate his subject from the background. One example of this was his series, taken against a totally plain background, of workers in their working clothes with their tools of trade being the main item to lead the viewer to the industry concerned.

He was also the master of side lighting to produce a dramatic atmosphere to his photographs. Look at many of his photographs taken against a neutral background, emphasizing the subject. These are true Art Director material - but Irving Penn was an Art Director who could take the photograph as well.

His use of photographic equipment was also very varied. Since he would envisage a shot before he took it, he would then work out what he felt would be the best equipment to use to produce the shot. His formats were also varied, from 35 mm Leica and Nikon, through to medium format (6x6) Rolleiflex or Hasselblad and then all the way through to giant 8x10 Deardorff plate cameras.

His talents did not go unnoticed. He was voted as one of the top ten photographers in the world in 1958 and has had his work exhibited internationally as well as at some sell-out shows in his native America. Included in these are those in the Museum of Modem Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1975) and at the Metropolitan Museum (1977). Published books include ‘Moments Preserved’ (1960), ‘Worlds in a Small Room’ (1974) and ‘Flowers’ (1980).

Irving Penn and his extraordinary capacity for work, versatility, inventiveness, and imagination in a number of fields including editorial illustration, advertising, photojournalism, portraits, still life, travel, and television, is someone who truly was a “Master Photographer” and studying his work one wet afternoon will go a long way towards improving your own photography.

He died in 2009 at the age of 92 and his works are still being exhibited through the Irving Penn Foundation.


April 14, 2018 - April 20, 2018

Your next camera

“Social Media” has changed our way of life. I saw a wonderful cartoon with a Maitre d’ saying to a couple, “Didn’t you like the food? You didn’t take any photographs!”

I am not in love with social media to be honest (or TBH), used by most media watchers to publicly profess private feelings, with a photo of lunch attached. It always makes me glad that Margie loves Mary and hugs to everyone and no, I didn’t write Amen.

However, there is one area where it is very difficult to beat what social media offers – and that is instant access to people’s opinions.

I use the analogy of buying a car. Many years ago I was in the market and these were the days BFB (Before Face Book) and I was looking for a way to canvas opinions by the owners of such vehicles. Every time I saw one parked at the side of the road, I would wait and when the owner arrived I would ask him whether it was a good car or otherwise. The poor man’s opinion poll.

So what has that got to do with your choice of camera? A lot. Now you can go on line asking for opinions on the latest DSLR and within 24 hours you will have your answer, or at least what the majority thinks.

However, before you even get to that stage you should be looking at what type of camera you should be buying for your type of photography.

I read a most interesting piece of research which came from the Sony people. According to the Sony survey, 72 percent of DSLR buyers use their cameras to “capture family memories and for fun.” A Box Brownie will do that.

Also, the greatest spur to buying a camera at a specific time is an imminent trip. These people are not going to do a crash course in serious photography before they take off, so the requirement of competent, fully automatic mode is reasonable. And wanting to get the best possible images is understandable. Then there is weight. Who wants to lug a conspicuous brick around Venice when a small compact system camera will do the job?

The compact camera section of the marketplace is certainly the most volatile. As Sony found, only 28 percent of camera buyers are going to go for the all-singing, all-dancing DSLR cameras.

One of the problems when comparing cameras with cameras is people tend to read the magic number called megapixels and conclude that it is the deciding parameter between brilliant, good and not so good. 24 megapixels is better than 12 which in turn better is than 4.

Whilst the above is partly true, it really does depend upon what you want to do with the end result. Are you going to be blowing it up to the size of a barn door, or will it be a 4R (64) at most? If you have been hired to produce photographs for billboards, then look at a camera with megapixels coming out its strap swivels. Otherwise, anything from six to 10 MP is more than adequate.

So what should you be looking for when buying a camera these (electronic) days? To start with, a fast autofocus. Instant zip-zip, not “pause for a second while I get myself ready and then zip”.

I also recommend inbuilt image stabilization. So many photographs are spoiled by camera movement producing ‘soft’ images that can be overcome with image stabilization electronics. And as a further small advantage, these types of systems are particularly good for the senior citizen photographer with in-built shake.

You should also look at the shutter speeds the camera is capable of. 1/2000th of a second should stop a railway train (in Thailand, not in Japan) and be sufficient for 99 percent of action photography. It is also advantageous if any proposed camera has a time exposure setting so you can take photographs at night, including fireworks.

Sony’s advice is right: if you are not serious about getting to grips with the functions of a DSLR then don’t buy one. On the other hand, if you are deadly serious about your photography, don’t buy anything else. And see what other photographers think.


April 7, 2018 - April 13, 2018

Looking after your investment

Make no mistake about it – your camera is an investment, just as your car is an investment. Both can be expensive, and neither appreciates in value and both are expensive to replace. And quite frankly, a camera is merely a light-proof box with a lump of optical glass on the front to let the light in. Sure, there are electronic trick things these days with ‘auto’ adjustments to assist in getting the right exposure value, but the basic box and glass is still relevant.

How many times have you gone outside to take a shot and when you looked through the lens it was fogged up? This came from the condensation seen when the camera went from air-con cold to tropical humidity. That condensation is water, and cameras and water don’t mix.

Moisture and condensation are the easiest ones to counter, but the dampness comes from more than just being caught out in the rain. Thailand is a hot and humid environment. The best answer here is to keep small sachets of silica gel in your camera bag. When the silica gel changes color you can pop them back in the micro-wave and rejuvenate them very easily. Many bottles of tablets come with perfect little sachets in the top of them too.

There will also be times when you get caught in the rain, or you may even want to get rain shots (even Songkran). The camera body is reasonably water proof, but you should carefully wipe the outside of the case dry afterwards, and especially blow air around the lens barrel and the lens mount. A hair dryer set on the lowest temperature works well, but do not overheat the camera body.

So here are some tips on how to look after your photographic investments, with 100,000 baht commonplace these days!

The first concept is to understand just what it is that will go towards destroying your camera. Usually these are simply dust and grit, moisture and condensation, battery acid and being dropped. Looking after your investment is then a simple case of countering the above factors.

Being dropped never benefits any camera, so the first procedure in the camera shop is to fit a neck strap and get her used to wearing it. Even if not around the neck, the strap should be wrapped around the wrist. The strap is like the safety belt in your car.

Dust and grit are the ever present dangers in the environment. How many times have you got a small piece of grit in your eye? Often, I will wager. Particles such as that can be very bad for the lens focusing and zooming mechanics too. There is really no secret here!

That leads us to the even more serious type of corrosion – leakage from batteries. Just about every camera in the world these days has a battery, even if it is just to drive the needle on the light meter. There is a moral here, isn’t there?

In fact, there are two morals to be learned. The first is to check batteries every three months, I would suggest, rather than just waiting for the batteries to fail or become erratic. And secondly, you get what you pay for – so buy the best you can. It will serve you well in the end. Acid leakage (and even acid fumes) from a battery can totally ruin a modern camera, getting into the electronics so that it never works properly again. Finally, keep your camera in a soft padded case that can absorb some shocks. Not the original leather one. Buy a new one! They are very inexpensive, especially when compared to the cost of the camera!

A couple of months back I mentioned my daughter’s five month old Casio, on which the LED screen hinge had broken. Purchased at Eastbourne in the Central Festival shopping center, there was initially a bit of a communications breakdown, but that was got over and the camera was returned to daughter now fixed and the claim was made under warranty. Thank you Eastbourne. My daughter is once again happily accompanying me on photographic trips, and I am happy to endorse Eastbourne.


March 31, 2018 - April 6, 2018

Do You Want to Upsize?

Size matters! Never mind what you previously read about this – but size does matter in photography. Even more than it does at the take-away.

You see, photography is all about producing an image, and has been for the past 150 years plus. After getting a handle on the technology, photographers began to see that the image was the most important item, not how you got it.

After our intrepid snap shooters took all these facts on board, the composition of the imagery was next to be considered, and the famous name photographers of the last century were the ones who understood composition. Not only composition, but also ‘size’.

Go to an art gallery and look at the size of the paintings. Large and larger, all to give the painting more impact. But I suppose, you would be flat out getting the Battle of Waterloo into a 10x8 inch print.

However, you don’t need an art gallery to exhibit your photography. One wall in your lounge room will be more than enough, and here’s how you do it.

Having decided on the images, the next step is to crop. It never ceases to amaze me just how many photographers are willing to leave an image, as recorded by the camera, and act as if this image is sacrosanct. It isn’t. If you are working in Photoshop you will find there is a cropping tool amongst the capabilities, made of two “L” shapes and you can move these around to change the height and width. Remembering the Rule of Thirds, start with that as your composition assistant. Now be brave and make your image fit a vertical format, then change it to a horizontal format and see just how this makes the image very different. Not all formats will be the best one, but you may find that a landscape in a portrait format or a portrait in a landscape format quite different and very pleasing.

The next step in your art work photograph is the enlargement. Generally, the bigger the better in your upsizing, but the final size will depend upon just how “sharp” the image is that you are printing from. If the primary image is at all ‘soft’ it will become even more fuzzy and out of focus when it is blown up. Be very hard with yourself and your images at this point.

Only after all of the above, put the image on a memory stick and go to the photo-processors and tell them what size is the final print, and wait for them to tell you they have got it back from the printers. This is no One Hour process.

The final step is to go to the picture framers, of which there are plenty in Pattaya. This is the time to break out the champagne and hang your masterpiece(s) on the wall. You will be very proud of your work, and will be amazed at the praise you will get from visitors.


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Irving Penn

Your next camera

Looking after your investment

Do You Want to Upsize?
 

Advertisement

 



Chiangmai Mail Publishing Co. Ltd.
189/22 Moo 5, T. Sansai Noi, A. Sansai, Chiang Mai 50210
THAILAND
Tel. 053 852 557, Fax. 053 014 195
Editor: 087 184 8508
E-mail: [email protected]
www.chiangmai-mail.com
Administration: [email protected]
Website & Newsletter Advertising: [email protected]

Copyright © 2004 Chiangmai Mail. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.