David Saffir: Thinking and Seeing In Black and White (Part 1 of 3)
Mar 2013 14

From a photographer’s point of view, “seeing in black and white” means being able to look at a color image or scene, and visualize its appearance in black and white.

This isn’t, generally, a matter of innate sensibility or talent – it’s a matter of understanding what to look for, and practicing until one becomes proficient. And why do this? The best reason, in my view, is that black and white images offer the photographer different, and frequently better, avenues for expression and communication.

Black and white images offer simplicity, without necessarily “dumbing down” the image. Images rendered in black and white are reduced to their graphic elements, eliminating the influence and distraction of color. The emphasis shifts to shapes and patterns, texture vs. smoothness, the extremes of light and shadow, and mid-tones. And with color gone, content is king!

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David Saffir: Thinking and Seeing In Black and White – Part 2 of 3
Mar 2013 19

This is an image I captured in New York City, late at night – the original as shot in color at ISO 400. I braced the camera against a windowsill. I could see from the start that tonal values were differentiated to the extent that the image would require little post-production work for a nice black and white effect.

In fact, the only significant things I did in post included pulling the end points toward the center in a Levels adjustment layer, and converting to black and white using another adjustment layer.

The deep shadows on the left, the dark parking area at top, the shadow on the right, and the dark street at the bottom provide a frame for the rest of the image. The midtone values of the sidewalk are a wonderful backdrop, with light texture providing a bit more depth to the image. The shadowy, blurred view of the pedestrians adds a bit of mystery – who are they, and where are they going?

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David Saffir: Thinking and Seeing In Black and White – Part 3 of 3
Mar 2013 21

Some photographers might say that removing color from an image, and converting it to black and white strips its content to bare essentials. Some might even describe color as “distracting”, although I wouldn’t use that word – color often provides emphasis or a focal point in a scene, and can carry strong emotional content.

I feel that eliminating color often gives us an opportunity to concentrate more intensely on composition, form and design, and texture or other surface qualities. On an emotional level, black and white frequently can evoke strong feelings, but this is often the result of the what’s in the picture, not what color it is.

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Zenfolio’s Peter Urbick: Protecting Your Photos Online
Mar 2013 26

In the digital world, protecting data that we place online is of paramount importance. There are so many different types of software and tools available to capture images from websites that if you don’t employ some sort of protection for your work it is almost sure to be re-used without your permission.

In this article you’ll learn some of the precautions you need to take, and how to take them, to secure your work. From copyrights to watermarks it provides an overview of the methods you should employ to protect your livelihood.

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David Cardinal: Bronx Zoo Photo Walk
Jun 2013 25

Zoos are a great place to have fun photographing wildlife, without all the hassle of travel to remote locations. Of course, they don’t offer a truly “wild” experience, but even for those headed for a wildlife safari zoos offer great practice. So I’ve had a lot of fun leading photo walks to the Bronx Zoo for B&H Photo the last two years.

With over 200 participants on the walk, we got a large number of all sorts of questions from participants about the right way to photograph in the tricky lighting found in the Zoo. In particular, the question of white balance came up frequently, so we’ll provide some tips on it in this article.

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Seán Duggan: Phone Photography: Strategies for Seeing
Aug 2013 21

What makes a good camera phone image? As with many things in life, this often depends on the eye of the beholder, the type of photographs you like, and how you define “good”. There’s no right answer to the question. A favorite image for one photographer might barely move the needle for you. But when working with a camera phone, there are some strategies that can help you capture better photos, no matter what type of imagery you like. In this article, we’ll take a look at some useful techniques for seeing the potential for images that would work well with a camera phone. Hopefully it will give you some ideas for your own explorations.

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David Cardinal: New Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 OS HSM – The Ultimate Safari Lens?
Aug 2013 27

The original Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 was a favorite safari lens for many pros. It fell behind with the introduction of the Nikon 200-400mm f/4 lens with built-in Vibration Reduction. It’s subsequent model – including Optical Stabilization — regained it respect, but left it a bit behind the Nikon in usability and build quality. That has changed dramatically with the new version – the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 OS HSM Lens. Every bit the equal of the Nikon in both optical and build quality at a fraction of the cost, the Sigma is again likely to become the favorite safari lens of many pros and enthusiastic amateurs alike.

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David Cardinal: Safari Photography Webinar Follow-Up
Sep 2013 12

David Tobie and I had a great time co-hosting the Datacolor webinar on Safari photography. The generous giveaway of a high-end lens by co-sponsor Sigma Photo made the event even more exciting for the over 750 participants. As a result we got many more questions than we had time to answer live, and I’ve received some more from folks since. So, as a follow-up, here are some of the most popular questions with my answers…

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Seán Duggan: Black is the New Black
Nov 2013 05

Auguste Renoir, the French painter who was part of the Impressionist movement in the late 1800s, once made an interesting observation about color:

“I’ve been 40 years discovering that the queen of all colors was black.”

As photographers, we can learn a lot from that simple statement. No matter how you choose to portray color in your images, whether bright and vibrant, or more muted and subdued, it’s important to understand the central role that black plays in any photograph.

Black is critical in images simply because the structure of the dark shadow details creates a foundation, or a framework that carries the rest of the scene. Without a solid foundation in the form of strong blacks, the entire image can be affected, resulting in an image that looks muddy and indistinct.

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C. David Tobie: Time Lapse Photography – Give It a Shot for Free
Dec 2013 31

Time lapse photography consists of a series of still images, taken at intervals, which can be played back as a fast-motion video. Timelapses can be taken with a wide range of cameras, and don’t necessarily require much special equipment. This article will serve as an intro to the basics of low-cost time lapse.

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