Group 87 Bulletin Board

26 threads - 148 total comments

This page is dedicated to discussions about our theme (General) that are outside the scope of our monthly images.

Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
Tablet vs. Mouse

Does anyone have experience with a tablet (for example, the Wacom Intuos Pro) for editing images? I've been considering buying one; not sure if it's something that I would enjoy/use? Or if it's better to stick with a mouse (which seems to be meeting my needs)? Thoughts?   Posted: 10/24/2023 05:48:43
Chan Garrett   Chan Garrett
Steven, I had a small pad for a while and found the learning (usability) curve to be rather steep. I recently bought a Hulon graphics pad that works as a second monitor and uses a pen for drawing. I place my pen on the pad and watch my main monitor as the pen on the graphics pad act as the mouse. A must if you want to do fine selections.   Posted: 10/24/2023 08:32:51

Thread Title: Focus Stacking vs Choice of Aperture Settings

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Should I Use Focus Stacking?
How do we actually see in reality vs Artistic Vision

In a general sense, I suggest we never choose between using focus stacking vs aperture choice, because one has nothing to do with the other: Why?

Using different lens apertures affects the degree of Depth of field (Dof) and this actually translates back how we actually see in reality. That is, when you are speaking in front of someone in the street (or home) everything else behind the person is out of focus. Humans are unable to maintain infinite focus from front to back.

When using a camera with lenses that provide a wide range of aperture settings, we have the ability to increase and decrease this effect in our images; this is, every composition will have “point-of-focus” sharpness and everything else (in front and behind) this ‘point’ can have varying degrees of sharpness within a region we describe as Bokeh “ or the areas that are blurred. In many cases, Bokeh is used as an artistic tool or device and often renders beautiful circular bokeh around the subject (around the “point-of-focus”).

Alternatively, those who choose to incorporate Focus Stacking completely eliminate any consequence associated with lens Bokeh: this almost always includes a loss of depth, as the entire image is seen as a whole “ an effect from eliminating Bokeh “ and thus artificially making everything in focus.

This option is surely the option of the visual artist, but by no means has any place in a conversation that includes ... ‘use focus stacking in place of choosing a specific lens aperture’ ... this parity is misleading, and I have seen most often, photographers foregoing (and then insisting) focus stacking is the ultimate means in photographing a subject.

Instead, the question should be .... “what type of visual narrative is one trying to achieve through the use of using either focus stacking or the varying options in choice of aperture settings?” Each offer a unique visual experience: i. focus stacking offers an immediate, less depth and complexity in the overall presentation, and ii. using various aperture settings to create a wide scope of visual depth and thus often, more depth and overall complexity.*

*(So, I am clear, "complexity" is not about the details within the subject, but instead, how much artistic punch or variety one composition has vs the other).

If I am still not clear, as this is surely a very concentrated discourse, by all means, ask me to articulate further.

Lance A. Lewin
PSA Global B&W Photography Mentorship Program
  Posted: 09/21/2023 12:07:06

Thread Title: Photographic Society of America PTD Competition Corner

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Hello, everyone! After reading Nadia’s entry in the PSA supplemental Travel Journal, I thought it was important enough to repost in the Digital Dialogue group pages. Here, we are reminded that “changing reality” is not allowed in PSA Travel Photography competition. In addition, I also want to stress the need to appropriately categorize one’s work if using “composite” techniques (including sky replacement) by tagging the work as a Hybrid Image, primarily when competing outside the Travel Photography category.

Below is a shortened version of Nadia Filiaggi’s original post in this months Travel Photography Journal:

Photography Travel is a documentary medium, and our images must reflect what was seen when we pressed the shutter. Removing, adding to, moving, or changing any part of an image except for cropping and straightening is not allowed. This goes for adding a different sky even if you are the author of the sky that is being replaced.

(Please see the images below for reference).

(Note that using an element on an image that is not your own work cannot be entered into any section of a PSA recognised Exhibitions and is in violation of the PSA Ethics Policy).

Here are some examples showing the sky replacements selected from the Photoshop sky replacement facility: Here, it is evident how each Sky Replacement selection changes the mood and overall aesthetic of the original registered event below. Nonetheless, both examples are not authentic and thus ineligible to be used in PSA image competition.

The ‘2023 Photo Travel Guide for Judges and Chairs’ is available for download on the Photo Travel’s webpage:

The Photo Travel Division has also set up a Gallery of staged/set-up images which our members can peruse:

We have also produced new educational material that relates to the 2023 Guide:

If you are uncertain if your image adheres to the Photo Travel Definition, please make use of the free Photo Travel Evaluation Service which members can access after login:

We look forward to hearing from you and directing your questions to the appropriate PSA administrator.

Originally posted by:
Nadia Filiaggi MPSA EFIAP

Best regards,
Lance A. Lewin (DD83 and DD87 Admin)
PSA B&W Photography Mentor
PSA South Atlantic Area Membership Director
  Posted: 03/28/2023 17:31:37
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Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
  Posted: 03/28/2023 17:32:14
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Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
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Thread Title: Classic Tradition: A few words on “Bracketing”

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
This particular "practice" is something I often speak about, and there are many who still do not use it or completely understand what it is when I mention it, and this is common, as it is often mistaken for a technique born from 21st century Photography ... but it is not.

“Bracketing”, is an important tool (technique) I feel photographers do not use often enough and is critical in having a successful Photo-Shoot for almost every type of photography. It is capturing 2, 3, or 4 images of the same composition (the camera position, and thus the composition is not altered in any way) but instead, it is the process of using different camera settings between each click of the shutter release button, thus revealing different exposures and depth of field, to name two camera dynamics which can dramatically alter the overall interpretation of the composition.

This practice is equally effective for both hand-held and tripod use. Next, after you decide to do a test shot (and look at your review screen with digital cameras) to be sure the image is not over or horribly underexposed, do not look at the review screen again. 1. It waste time and will likely disrupt your visualization and composition skills (even if you are using a tripod). 2. The review screen resolution (and size) cannot match the clarity of your laptop or desk top monitors, as such, you may think a particular shot is not good and shot another or worse, delete it off the camera, when in fact, the frame in question may have been OK. Conversely, the review screen may appear to show a really good exposure and overall composition, thus deciding to leave the subject to find another ... when later in post-production review, you see this is not the case, and realize you may own more than one unusable image. A crummy day, for sure.

When everyone used film-based camera systems, it is easy to see how critical "bracketing exposures" was for a successful photo shoot. With absolutely no option to review each frame being exposed, bracketing was the most important tool in a serious (film) photographer’s bag. In my opinion, today we take too much time trying to correct the exposure or composition between every shot: I feel this is taking away from learning to “see” and becoming one with the subject and immediate environment, while also, can routinely interrupt the artist-photographers creative workflow.

This all said, every photographic situation involves many environmental and technical dynamics that in combination, must be considered when capturing a photograph: nothing is set in stone, and bracketing is highly recommended to ensure you capture the desired effect in a composition.

By all means reach out to if you have questions or want practical examples.

Lance A. Lewin
PSA B&W Photography Mentor
PSA South Atlantic Area Membership Director   Posted: 10/09/2022 16:40:01

Thread Title: Decisions, Decisions: the DSLR vs Cellphone Dilemma

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Decisions, Decisions: the DSLR vs Cellphone Dilemma “ by Lance A. Lewin

Two related questions were brought up by participants in the Digital Dialogue 87 General group, 1. carrying a cellphone for hikes, as apposed to larger (and heavier) DSLR or other full-size camera bodies and lenses, and 2. if in fact, current iPhone technology is making DSLR less prominent (or we can say, not the only pony trick in town) for capturing quality photographs. A surely unique question within 21st century practitioners of photography.

I can almost end this conversation before it actually gets started: most cellphones do not enjoy the benefits attributed to DSLR’s (and film based SLR’s) for being able to change out different lenses for capturing and creating artistic compositions. But we need to discuss all the other variables between the two photographic technologies: is cellphone photography results on par with the seemingly more complete and powerful, creative, dare I suggest, “serious” cameras?

Resolution: the latest/greatest cellphone resolution, for many, not most image captures, are well suited for beautiful online illuminated presentations, and from these examples, smaller prints seem to deny the fact they are products from a “photographic event” originally registered through cellphone technology. (footnote 1)

Presenting work online is one thing, deciding to print an 8x12 or maybe a 16x20 of the same image, is another matter. It all comes down to the quality (and size) of the sensor and size of the individual pixels: The larger the pixel, will allow more photons of light that can be placed into it; more photons of light, equals, for all practical purposes, better resolution. The newest and best cellphone (or Smartphone) camera sensors are achieving pixel size at around 2.4 microns (e.g. Panasonic Lumix CM1). While the vast majority of cell phones average around 1.5 microns.

Compare this to the average DSLR camera where pixel size are 4.0 to 5.6 microns (the size varies greatly, but these values come close to an average) and it is easy to see these larger pixels (or buckets) hold more photons of light, thus, all things being equal, will produce a higher resolution image file that can be successfully printed to very large dimensions.

(At the time of this writing new cell phone technology is coming that allows extremely high-resolution images, but we will have to find reviews on how these images stack up to actual printing, when compared to their DSLR cousins). In the meantime, let’s move onto software that can “Up-sample” small image files to larger ones, much larger ones!

So we do not make this discussion very long, I will make this section brief. Photoshop has the latest/greatest technology they call Super Resolution. Simply, it takes a smaller image file and using Artificial Intelligence (AI), can make larger (or up-sample) to a larger file. Some examples show 24mb image file being up-sampled to 50mb or 100mb!! However, the technique is still questionable as to how well it will up-sample an image file from a cell phone. In any case, my research indicated that moving from these small files (produced from small pixels of 1.0 to 2.0 on average) will be OK, but do not expect the same photograph (or print) be anything like using a better DSLR camera.

Interchangeable Lenses: we are back to discussing this most important factor between most cell phone, DSLR’s (and film based SLR’s) cameras. Simply, the user does not have this single and very powerful function with cell phones: the ability to change perspectives from behind the camera, outside of changing one’s position, which can become limited in a variety of situations and locations, indeed. It is loss of the majority of the user’s creativity, in my opinion.

As such, I strongly urge practitioners of photography, that plan on capturing engaging, even, thought-provoking compositions, to leave the cell phone in the back pocket, and instead carry (or lug) your DSLR, SLR or one of the newer mirrorless camera designs to ensure you do not miss out on capturing “The Shot!” during your casual hikes, and bring along the tripod on those other, more serious photography outings.

Let me stop here. I have left a lot open for further investigation and comments, suggestions and alternative views: add comments and questions so we can continue this conversation.

I look forward to hearing from everyone! Thank you.
(Footnote 1: The phrases “photographic event” which creates a “register” of photons onto a sensor or film negative, was from an essay by philosopher Dawn M. Phillip: Invisible Images and Indeterminacy: Why We Need a Multi-stage Account of Photography “ 2021)

Lance A. Lewin
PSA Black & White Photography Mentor
PSA South Atlantic Area Membership Director

  Posted: 11/08/2021 19:20:11
Tom Pickering   Tom Pickering

Smartphones are producing more high-quality output today. Mine has 3 lenses and produces images 5312 x 2988. With programs like Topaz Gigapixel AI, upsizing further for prints is very doable. I've taken some excellent landscape images with my phone. I do a lot of macro work, so a DSLR is needed for precise focus stacks, but I'm not averse to using my phone, which is always with me, rather than lugging my DSLR on a tripod with me everywhere.

It strikes me that this discussion is along the lines of film vs digital or SOOC vs post-processing/compositing. Just because you can't fathom a phone capturing meaningful images, doesn't make it so.

  Posted: 11/08/2021 23:54:19
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Hi Tom. Gee, I am not sure where you interpret any part of my research and opinion viewed in the piece, as Film vs. Digital. I am non-plussed by this reference.

Instead, the work is clearly, and I mean clearly, speaking and comparing digital Single Lens Reflex (or SLR's) to the ever improving technology in cell phone cameras. As Steve points out in his comments below, we have a way to go in securing full authority in presenting cell phone prints on equal footing.

As it relates to pre-visualization and composing the scene from behind the viewfinder, for most cell phones, this act is still deep in the shadows for what it can offer the artist, and of course, this depends upon the type of genre they are engaging. Alternatively, there are many other compositions created through the viewfinder of the cell phone that work as good, indeed. You see, composing or framing is one aspect, and the cell phone does an antiquate job, but like its range to produce spectacular prints, a compositional tool for matching a DSLR, is too, limited, for all the points expressed in the article. To reiterate, at this point, thankfully we have advancing software, like, PS's "Super Resolution" for up-sampling smaller resolution image files.

"Points to Ponder":
As an example, your Macro photography would seem to work well with what cell phone cameras can currently provide, but you choose DSLR because you engage digital software as it relates to focus-stacking. (You words sound if it is the only way to capture a particular Macro compositions). But of course, this is not so, at least when the creative intent is more Pictorial, than a full-focus representative image. Almost the exact same question/situation came up with a participant in DD-26 made a statement that.. 'the only way to do (it) was to use HDR'... and I knew quite firmly this was not so. The artist was stuck only knowing how to solve photographic issues through digital software/technique. I gave the artist a visual example (and text) how this could be achieved. In any case, this is moving past the theme of this Bulletin Board post. Thanks, Tom!

  Posted: 11/09/2021 10:31:49
Tom Pickering   Tom Pickering
You misinterpreted my remark and, frankly, I'm not surprised. If you like, go ahead and remove my comment as you feel it is not germane to your topic. Sorry I bothered.   Posted: 11/09/2021 23:45:44
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
No. Let the comments remain, it is all about constructive discourse, and rebuttals are part of the process, though sometimes the occasional bumping of heads is unavoidable. I very much enjoy your interactions with group discussions.

Thank you, Tom.   Posted: 11/10/2021 05:00:09
Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
My original question was about point and shoot vs. iPhone (and other cellphones). The "delta" between iPhone and point and shoot (for example, Fuji X 100 or Sony RX 100) is smaller than vs. full-frame DSLR/mirrorless. I was questioning the utility of the smaller point and shoot category.

I don't debate that the full-frame camera offers greater quality and functionality than an iPhone. The downside is cost, weight, bulk.

I agree that intended use of the image is a major consideration (print vs. digital, size of print/projection, extent of cropoing/editing needed). iPhones have gotten much better - the iPhone 12 and 13 have 3 built-in lenses; more than most photographers carry. Several manufacturers make external lenses (see that range from fish eye to macro to tele. Apps allow users to control iPhone ISO and shutter speed. Sensor/pixel size remains a limitation - but that is improving. I know several serious photographer who take amazing images with their iPhones.

I'm interested in thoughts regarding my original question - would you invest $1000 in a point and shoot? My plan is to stick with the full frame DSLR/mirrorless and iPhone as a combo that works.

  Posted: 11/09/2021 06:20:05
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Hi Steve, appreciate you commenting: No. I have no plans on moving past my Canon 5D Mark II and Mark III, and film system based on a Minolta XD-11. This past month I shot 90 percent film, and I must comment, yes, the super low weight was so comfortable while hiking! But in this case, I enjoyed both worlds: full creative ability and an easy to carry camera.

This said, I will admit, a small or compact 35mm BW digital camera has always been on my radar!   Posted: 11/09/2021 10:37:35
Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
As I mentioned in Group 83, I suggest small cameras like the Canon G. My G10 fits in my pants pocket because its lens retracts flat. It has full manual functions, 5x zoom, and 4 f stops. Sure, it is a compromise, and it suits me well not to lug around lots of equipment, and gets me more control and a better image that my phone. The flash is pretty good, too, from 7-12 feet.   Posted: 01/29/2022 21:52:33

Thread Title: The psychosis in visual narratives: Empty space in Photography Composition

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Jumping right into this discussion, we must point to French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004). In most of Cartier-Bresson’s work, viewers’ experience many different emotions: here we enter the psyche of the individual where certain visual cues inspire particular interpretations, not just what appears in front of our eyes, but more deeply, what can be extracted beyond the obvious.

For example, in Cartier-Bresson’s photograph, Island of Siphnos. Cyclades, Greece 1961, the lone running person has the ability to invite emotions of tension, mystery, and perhaps anticipation: where is this person running to, or more ominous, from who or what? Alternatively, a younger, more modern fan base may see this scene as less ominous, and instead, see a woman working out by running up the stairs.

In Seville. Andalucia, Spain. 1933 the unique use of space, light and shadow bring similar deep contemplation. In both photographs we see “two subjects”, 1. the what the space is showing in terms of location, and 2. a subject, one that is clearly contrasted against the larger more robust surrounding within the frame as composed from behind the viewfinder.

We will stop here for now to digest and contemplate these ideas. I look forward to everyone’s feelings on the subject. I want to thank Stephen Levitas (DD-32) for his inquiry based on my featured work for November in DD-83 mono.

Lance A. Lewin
PSA Black & White Photography Mentor
PSA South Atlantic Area Membership Director
  Posted: 11/05/2021 07:14:55
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Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
  Posted: 11/05/2021 07:15:17
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Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
Being mentioned here (thank you kindly, Lance), I must surely participate in this thread.
<br /><br />I am not sure the following corresponds to what you are saying, but I see 1) images in strong contrasts interesting in themselves for their composition and action, and 2) considerable implication about why the action is taking place, who the people are, what they are interacting with, and most of all, what is happening outside the frame.
<br /><br />Who is the runner running from or towards? Is the youth in the second image the same person, having topped the steps? What are they worried about? Both images have considerable staying power, making me want to look at them again and again--this latter is for me the most pure criterion of a good photograph--that I want to look at it again and again.   Posted: 01/29/2022 21:46:05

Thread Title: Film Lab: Dodge & Burn Technique

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Hello, everyone! We often speak of "Dodge and Burning" as part of our post-production routine (a term from the the most important wet darkroom practice of modifying exposure). Japanese photographer Nobuyuki Kobayashi made this video of fellow photographer-artist Masato Okazaki explaining film type and darkroom dodge & Burning methods. The most relevant part of the video is within the darkroom demonstration and I urge you to watch (at least) that section to the end where he shows examples of finished work. It will illuminate your further understanding of the skill sets and artistic training for this to be done properly. Hope you enjoy.   Posted: 07/08/2021 07:55:32
Chan Garrett   Chan Garrett
Lance: Thank you for sharing this. It did bring back memories, although his darkroom is much more advanced than the one I had, and I never worked with large format sheet film. His work is quite interesting and helps me better understand the direction you are pursuing in your most recent posts.   Posted: 07/08/2021 15:49:56
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Hi Chan...yes, the reason to post this is to connect our present digital darkroom workflow with traditional wet darkroom skill-sets: from here I hope it can bring attention to how we can better (more authentically) use the Digital Darkroom. More importantly, we see examples of how he saw the location and then his vision of the finished piece.

Overall a fine example of those virtues that help define the Art of Photography from a Traditional posture.   Posted: 07/09/2021 06:01:42
Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
Interesting to watch; I must confess that I have zero desire to go back to a wet darkroom. The implied comparison of his point-and-shoot image alongside the highly processed print from a 4x5 negative is a bit unfair. Nevertheless, the conclusion are valid and his prints are beautiful. I like the point about "slowing down" (he deliberately picks the film type to use for each image - and then inserts a single sheet into his camera for the picture). I'm trying to take fewer/more deliberate images - more rewarding than "spray and pray." Seems like whether I take 50 or 500 images . . . I usually end of with 1-2 that I'm pleased with.   Posted: 07/10/2021 17:19:00
Cindy Smith   Cindy Smith
I watched the video, and it was amazing! Seeing the color pictures next to his finished prints gave a totally different way of looking at the images. I am feeling VERY intimidated!! I never worked in a darkroom, although I remember my daddy did--hobbyist, as am I. I do not understand dodge and burn. I have heard other people talk about that, using digital post-processing, but I do not know what it is. I am slowly working through all of your "points to ponder," Lance, and I appreciate everyone's input. Thank you!   Posted: 11/09/2021 15:29:29

Thread Title: "Points to Ponder": Lens Distortion: is this a good thing?

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
An interesting (June) comment from Jennifer regarding how in the past, critique of photographs revealing an exaggerated field of view (or otherwise lens distortion) was directed in correcting this visual effect: where advice was to correct the distortion, and then proceed with other post-production manipulation if applicable.

Alternatively, I suggested to Jennifer (and others in the past) in many cases (but not all) these lens distorted photographs can offer more for the viewer on how the user (the photographer) felt or experienced the particular location when captured.

One of the hardest (and frankly, within Landscape photography, key for creating successful engaging images) the photographer-artist must somehow try to reveal the scene (the space) in which they stood and enjoyed at the time the shutter release was triggered.

Methods: 1. is to reveal more space around the subject and also place important and supporting artifacts off-center within the frame; something we have discussed several times in this group these past couple of years…2. shooting from an engaging perspective…3. lens choice! (Of course, there are other techniques, including shooting medium-format cameras, however today’s high resolution DSLR’s are doing a remarkable job in revealing as much as some larger format cameras).

Number 3. lens choice is a key component in any type of photography, but here I am discussing using wide angle glass on purpose to “Exaggerate the Field of View” in prompting more response from viewers’: using lens distortion to reveal more or “narrate” or delineate the scene in helping the viewer fall into the space and feel the “grandeur” or sense a Steep Slope, like in Jennifer’s June original photograph, for example. (My backup external hard-drive has photos I can use for examples...see attached with this article).

So, in the future, before you go and immediately correct lens distortion, take a second look and perhaps the shot really tells viewers’ more about the location/subject you captured through the lens of your cameras. Better, yet, on purpose, choose a wide-angle lens next time you are in the field, try a few frames, and a few frames from glass that would normally provide little or no distortion: compare and contemplate. Enjoy!

Best regards,

Black & White Photography Mentor
Georgia Membership Director
Admin DD-87 and DD83-Mono

  Posted: 06/10/2021 15:40:28
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Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
  Posted: 06/10/2021 15:41:17
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Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
  Posted: 06/10/2021 15:42:16
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Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
  Posted: 06/10/2021 15:42:54
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Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
This last image is very representative to Jennifers June photograph: revealing the severe slope was key in bringing the viewer into the scene. This was captured @16mm, as I believe the others were, too. Thank you.   Posted: 06/10/2021 15:47:51
Chan Garrett   Chan Garrett
Like Steven, I do agree. My personal approach is to make the need for correction the Default position. What I do appreciate in your approach is that you have allowed me to give myself permission to not make the correction if the the uncorrected distortion better fits my vision for the photograph when I pressed the shutter button. This is an artistic decision based on my "feeling" (vision) for the image. Others viewing the final image may disagree with my choice, but that disagreement is based on their vision instead of my vision.

I make the decision to correct the default decision because not correcting must be made for artistic purposes alone, and not out of laziness.   Posted: 06/11/2021 08:06:45
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Indeed, it is an artistic question. However, for me, correction is not a default, as I normally use between 14mm and 24mm glass as a creative tool and already know what to expect: this said, of course, nothing is set in stone and I will happily delete wide angle versions I deem non-engaging.

Thank you for your input.   Posted: 06/11/2021 13:58:59
Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
Lance: I agree with your conclusion that prior to correcting distortion, one should consider if the distortion adds to the image - or detracts from it. I have some images where the distortion helps create the feel of the scene - and others (for example, cityscapes with tall buildings) where obvious distortion is distracting and limits impact of the image. Like everything in photography, " . . . add salt to taste . . . "   Posted: 06/11/2021 05:33:56
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Absolutely! : )   Posted: 06/11/2021 13:59:48
Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
Lance, I understand what this thread is calling "distortion" is the effect of "perspective" of a usually wide-angle lens, which I think is the better term. I think the term "distortion" might be reserved for pincushion or barrel distortion, which can be corrected in post-processing, different from perspective alteration. In my view, not all perspective should be altered, as in the example of tall soring buildings where the perspective is true to what your eye actually sees and the unaltered image enhances the soaring effect.   Posted: 01/29/2022 22:38:38
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Just seeing this, Stephen...always appreciate your insights.

Yes, perhaps we should be referring to 'wide angle perspective effects'. Agree, so many photographers try to correct this, and in fact, take away the creative intentions (in a pre-visualized shot) or what is seen as (only) a distorted scene.   Posted: 03/11/2022 05:24:55

Thread Title: Why do we take pictures?

Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
I thought this was interesting . . . Most images on my hard drive will never get printed/shared/submitted/sold - and yet they give me pleasure. Like playing guitar when nobody is home . . .   Posted: 05/23/2021 15:12:45
Jennifer Marano   Jennifer Marano
Thanks for posting, Steven! That certainly describes most of my images! I enjoy capturing them and I enjoy messing with them on the computer and I enjoy looking at them, but very few are ever shown to anyone else. There is one other thing I like about photography, and that is how it makes me look at the world more attentively and with more enjoyment.   Posted: 05/23/2021 16:15:45
Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
Yes - that's a really good point! After rekindling my interest in photography, I noticed that I saw things differently; I'd be driving to work and notice clouds, shadows, reflections, etc. - stuff that was always there - but I wasn't seeing it. Another benefit!   Posted: 05/24/2021 06:13:14
Chan Garrett   Chan Garrett
Yes, most will never be printed. Back in the long ago days of film, we were more careful with our selection of subjects. One shot, and then move on to the next subject. We never really knew how the photo would turn out until the film came back from the film process and print place. Unless we had our own darkroom, we had no control over how the film was processed and printed.

Now with digital cameras, especially with the advent of the cell phone camera, we shoot more indiscriminately. Some will even photograph the eggs and toast they are having for breakfast. Anything to send to digital "friends" on Facebook. Others will set the camera for a rapid series of exposures and capture 20+ exposures in a brief few seconds in the hopes that one will turn out to be good. That may be a needed advantage if you are a wildlife or sports photographer. Some even boast of capturing 1-2 thousand exposures in a day of photography and hope to find one or two "keepers" in the total group.

I used to love working in my wet chemical darkroom. There was something magical about developing the film and then viewing the negatives. I would then print a contact sheet of the negatives to find images I judged to be worth printing. I would work for hours, and use up many sheets of printing paper to get the print to match my vision.

From that background I have come to feel that an image is not really a photograph until it is printed. Without printing, the negative is like a seed planted and cared for, but never harvested.

My computer is now my darkroom. I work with the image I like until I get it the way I envisioned it to be. Next, I print the image and it becomes real. Some will hang somewhere in my home. Many will go in a drawer, but to me they are real. There will be other images I will pass over only to return later and discover another crop to harvest.   Posted: 05/23/2021 17:10:09
Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
Morning Chan - I agree with your points! I should probably print more. I also noticed that I've been taking dozens (literally) of nearly identical images of landscapes/cityscapes - that serve no purpose. Film forces one to be more selective . . . since the roll had 36 exposures and developing/printing required time/effort.

For still scenes - I have now deliberately reduced the number of pictures I take - I think that has made me think more and shoot less. I don't think that the number of "keepers" has changed. Hope you are well!   Posted: 05/24/2021 06:24:09
Chan Garrett   Chan Garrett
Steven: Thanks for your reply. I know I have been influenced by my past experience of enjoying my time in my home darkroom, and my post retirement time as a professional wedding photographer where the job was not completed until finished prints were delivered to the client. Somehow I can't feel I have a real photograph until I hold it in my hand. I have found that I can print a quality print at home cheaper than Walmart or Cosco can do it. I can also have the instant gratification by printing at home.   Posted: 05/24/2021 08:39:46
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
During my time off I will take a look at the Link you posted, Steve. Appreciate this great conversation starter.

For sure there has been a definite paradigm change in the way users Click the Shutter release button, and also how we view image files online (and on our computers) instead of viewing through Slide Shows or presenting family and friends with hard prints. Of course, this shift in routine is directly connected to DSLR's unique operational characteristics and its digital image file offsprings.

But the most important aspect of this conversation surrounds Archiving all the work we produce, or at least finding the images we truly want to save out of the tens of thousands we capture: as we know, digital media will likely evaporate into thin air (within current 21st Century technology) and that would surely be sour grapes for our grandchildren and their children....and on it goes.

In this case, we need to make a definite plan on how we hope to keep these treasures intact for generations. For example, my wife prints all her underwater exploits into books (Shutterfly) I believe Anne uses, to at least save her most previous work off a computer or Cloud and instead enjoy the hopes these types of printing options save her work for generations. Another thing we both do is make careful selections of our best work and make traditional prints (matte/frame) and print for the home and/or exhibition.

One more note, I use 3 different backup options week: all my work is on the main CPU and two external hard drives - and recently I moved to the 4th. Again, this is just to save (keep safe) recent and historical work until sorting through and choosing ones for prints are completed.

  Posted: 05/25/2021 07:30:59
Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
Lance, as a retired IT person somewhat familiar with security and backup, be sure that one of your backup hard drives is an "off-site backup," located with a friend or family member, not in your home. You can use a bank vault for a physical backup. Some people use a cloud service. Be sure to refresh your backups periodically according to a schedule you choose.   Posted: 01/29/2022 22:46:36
Will Korn   Will Korn
Thanks for sharing this, Steve. I love it when someone puts things into words that I have thought but not expressed. Yes! Photography is a hobby for its own sake, and for my own enjoyment, and the answer to "what are you going to do with all those images?" becomes moot.

Having said that, haha, what am I going to do with all those images? When I am gone, what will be left of them? Surely no one will go through my lightroom catalog. I have been thinking of creating a collection (prints? digital image files?) which is representative of my work and which people can enjoy while sitting shiva and eating coffee cake.

Ok, dark humor, but don't tell me we haven't all thought of this.   Posted: 05/25/2021 09:17:21
Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
Will, this resonates with me. A close friend passed away recently, and the mutual friend responsible for his estate brought out a small album of about 50 images our late friend has shot over 30 or more years. Every shot was of a couple, usually married or partners or siblings or parent/child. I insisted on preserving this collection, even though I don't think anyone else in our group of friends was interested, because it told me the story of how our late friend viewed all of his friends. His personality was all over the collection, even thought he was not in any of the images. I scanned all the images, identified most of the names, saved an archive, and sent it out electronically to a few interested friends. You should by all means leave behind something that is "you" for your friends and family to look at as they sit together remembering you--they will value it.   Posted: 01/29/2022 22:55:13
Dale Yates   Dale Yates
Thanks for posting this Steven! This article really makes me think about a question I've been asking myself for a long time...what do I do with all of my photos? When I began taking photography seriously, it was a source of relaxation and a stress reliever. However, after many photography classes, assignments, and postings on facebook, I seem to have lost sight of the "journey" and the enjoyment that it brings. I still desire to share some of my photos as before, and perhaps print some of them(on my wife's insistence), however I must not forget the fun in the journey itself. I also want my children, grandchildren, and future generations to see this joy when they perhaps take a few minutes to look at the photos that I have taken. Again, thanks for sharing this, it really helped!   Posted: 05/26/2021 10:59:13

Thread Title: Illuminating Shadows for Creative Photography

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Illuminating Shadows for Creative Photography
“were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty”. (Tanizaki's Essay "In Praise of Shadows")

In my recent interview with Swiss Philosopher, Tea Lobo, we talked a lot about photographing urban landscapes and she asked me this question: “Photography literally means “light writing or drawing” (grafein can mean both in Greek). But for you I think it also means drawing with shadows, right”?

Drawing with Shadows:
Until Tea Lobo spoke of shadows in this way, I had only looked at shadows as just a component, but here, I am visualizing with the emphasis on shadows, rather than what we usually (and more comfortably) visualize with the prominence of light. The prominence of shadows is what we speak of today.

And allow me to paraphrase from the podcast….’I see as much (and perhaps even more) in the shadows as I do in the areas filled with light’. Shadows are, for the visual artist, a creative resource. Looking and finding shadows is something that is obviously not common or natural in our everyday lives, as artists, however, I suggest occasionally refocusing our gaze away from the light, as the focal point, and instead illuminate the shadows for photographic interest. In this way, indeed, the photographer-artist paints with shadows.

And when I say, illuminate the shadows, of course I am signifying my desire to make shadows the prominent (or anchor) component in the visualizing process.

Through my interest in the Japanese aesthetic, Wabi-Sabi, I see shadows more as a persuasive element or catalyst offering (more often than not) softer tones, I especially like in my own nature photography. And this leads into a few final words on the different levels (or degree) of contrast and toning in Black & White compositions.

So often we make comments in critique groups that embrace high contrast levels (e.g. many of the well-viewed landscape photographs by Ansel Adams, for example). More than once I heard PSA participant’s state...’dark contrast is the only way’…but I remind you, softer levels or relaxed grey-scales offer a softer, more intimate aesthetic: often the viewer elicits a more calming or relaxed narrative, especially in landscapes, but also within the scope of urban landscapes, too. This is compared to the very dramatic aesthetic created mostly by deep rich blacks and brightest of whites, offering powerful, robust and maybe even, intimidating narratives. Practicing these two BW photography looks (or finishes) gives artists’ a rich palette of aesthetics and narratives to work with.

Another area we sometimes see a heavy hand, Toning. Here, I suggest sometimes a very light touch, as it were, in the use of different color tones (e.g. sepia, copper, blue) are often added to the finished work without overpowering it. This said, the use of powerful prominent toning can often make an otherwise OK composition into something that “pricks” the viewer.

In summary, this short talk was designed to stimulate ideas and further conversations, together we can delve deeper into these special and important and powerful dynamics that help to achieve creative photography.

The sample photographs were captured via cell phone and then lightly processed including cropping as tests for a new architectural short series of work.

As always, your feedback and like experiences are welcomed here or email me at:

Best regards,
Lance A. Lewin
PSA Black and White Photography Mentor & Georgia Director of Membership   Posted: 04/27/2021 17:39:33
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Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
Lance, from your discussion and examples, I see that you are discussing shadows of varying density. I will add a personal fascination with pure black. I finish some of my images with about 50% of the frame in pure black. This is not the same as a pure black (or white) background. I mean that I like the deepest shadows of a composition to go all the way to pure black. It just moves me to see the subject emerging from pure black. But perhaps you are saying that the black is also the subject, not just the foil for an illuminated subject.   Posted: 01/29/2022 23:15:49
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Hi Stephen...yes, the Black (often found within shadows) can sometimes be salient or dominating. At the same time, and in many compositions, though salient, the blackness is indeed projecting the main subject, which, in most cases, sits less prominent, nonetheless, the main subject.

But how shadows contribute to a scene is always within individual interpretations. However, my lesson-plan directs the artist to search and create within shadows as we, more casually practice, creativity within well lighted portions of a scene. I am reversing the normal, "add fill-in Flash', for example, an instead, embrace the softness, often less detail and structure with the blackness of shadows: To "first" see the shadow, and second, its illuminated support.

To extend this conversation feel free to reach out to me:   Posted: 03/11/2022 05:47:28

Thread Title: Discussion: Urban Landscape (Podcast)

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin (Facebook Page Link)

Look forward to your feedback and common experiences!

Kind regards,
Lance   Posted: 04/08/2021 11:18:49
Chan Garrett   Chan Garrett
Thank you for the heads up and the link. I learned a lot about your photographic philosophy. Well done   Posted: 04/08/2021 12:34:51
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Appreciate your positive thoughts: this was hard for me, instead of checking notes, I just time I will look over to my notes to help me "move along" as it were.

Also, I overlooked an important concept within the visualizing urban landscapes, (which missed the Podcast), but you saw the additional information in my Comments.

My next talk or essay will be on what I see as the interdependence between Narrative and Aesthetic. Stayed tuned!! : )   Posted: 04/09/2021 11:58:08
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Jennifer Marano   Jennifer Marano
Hi Lance,

Thank you for the link to the Podcast! It was fun to see you as well as hear your ideas. I especially resonated with your comments about looking at/in the shadows rather than just focusing on the light! I intend to try out this perspective starting with a field trip my camera club is doing to the small city of Petaluma tomorrow. I am interested to see if I can get more in tune with Petaluma by opening up to it with all my senses.   Posted: 04/10/2021 13:42:05
Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
Lance - Thank you for sharing this. Two items I found interesting were thinking more about the shadows - and also the Wabi Sabi style (yesterday I photographed a withering tulip - quite different from the vibrant/youthful flower I enjoyed few days prior). Perhaps that's my image for next month!   Posted: 04/11/2021 11:06:01

Thread Title: Open All Your Senses for the Process of Visualization

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
As a child between the ages of 10 through 13, I moved from Brooklyn NY to the forest covered landscape of Springfield, PA, where I immediately found hiking to be an experience that opened all his senses: the aroma’s from a variety of plants, flowers and especially the strong Earthy scents from fallen and dried leaves of fall, opened my eyes - I learned to become one with my immediate environment. I still fall into this trance each time I hikes or rides my mountain bike, regardless if I am local or enjoying a sojourn to landscapes far away.

Through the process of “Visualization”, we learn to see what others often miss in their hurried pace: creeping along the forest floor or climbing tree limbs to explore often hidden spaces. Peering through bushes, thick grass and exploring behind rocks, or the crevasse of tree-bark and moss to examine the intricacies and interactions between light, shadow and texture. Alternatively, take a step back to encompass a wider view to capture a grand-scape perspective: together these different views bring to print, a swatch of the normally hidden beauty, mystery and foremost, reality, that surround our space. I look forward to your feedback and common experiences.

Lance A. Lewin
PSA BW Photography Mentor
  Posted: 04/03/2021 13:57:48

Thread Title: Subject Privacy

Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
Dale and I exchanged some messages on his recent image of the Mustang - regarding protecting privacy. I'm interested in opinions from the broader group and also if PSA has Guidance on the topic.

My understanding is that items out in public (including people's faces) are OK to photograph, submit the resulting images to camera club/PSA competitions and post on social media. Taking images where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy (for example - using a long lens to look into someone's home or flying a drone over a fenced in backyard) is not appropriate. Making money/commercializing images of other people is not appropriate without their consent. Taking pictures of children and other vulnerable individuals (homeless, handicapped, etc.) seem to fall into a gray area (I don't think the rules are different).

Of course none of this is worth getting into an argument over . . . I will always respect anyone's wishes not to be photographed. I've been asked few times by a passerby why I was photographing them. I've always answered that the images are for a Photography Class I'm taking . . . nobody has gotten angry - they uniformly chuckle and say ok.

What do others think?

  Posted: 03/12/2021 12:24:50
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Good Topic, Steve.

Without researching the latest/greatest documents, as of three years ago everything in the open is not protected by privacy, except within a business establishment, if I am not mistaken. 1. For example, if you are watching a band play at your local Tavern, you must get permission to photograph the people watching the show, but photographing the band is OK, with their permission. The establishment might not care, but I believe legally you can not without a Release from the owner and people in attendance...each and everyone of them. 2. Children are free to photograph (believe it or not; not sure if this changed, I doubt it). 3. Outdoor weddings are not subject to privacy. 4. Drones are forbidden in most states; i am not up to date with rules affecting this. 5. Chan's Mustang is "Openly exhibited" in a "Public event", I believe he is free to capture the entire car and not hide the plate.

Lastly, as you mentioned, of course it is much better not shoot during some of these events (or children roaming around an event) just because we normally want to respectful ones privacy. As a News Reporter, they are normally not respective of ones privacy.

Real Life Example: I came upon a major event with Swat Teams, police...the whole event was creepy because they came unannounced and had no flashing lights on...I said to myself, cool, i;ll get some photos and sell to the local paper....two Swat teams asked me politely...'you are free to take photos, but we ask that you do not.' So I agreed and left.   Posted: 03/12/2021 15:42:39
Chan Garrett   Chan Garrett
From the legal perspective (The last time I checked was back in my days as a member of PPA)any public figure, or anyone in a public place where there is no expectation of privacy may be photographed without first asking permission. The photographer may sell the photograph without a signed Model Release. If the photographer attempts to sell the photograph to an add agency or magazine, the purchaser will require and must have in order to use the photograph in an add campaign or publication, a properly executed model release.
From a practical/moral perspective, especially where children are involved, it is always good to ask permission.   Posted: 03/12/2021 16:32:04
Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
Lance/Chan - Thank you. I’ve taken a picture in my town that I’d like to enter in a local camera club competition. It includes a person’s face; hence my hesitation. Your responses make me more confident to submit - and also post on this forum. Stay tuned.   Posted: 03/13/2021 12:33:20
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Good Luck! :)   Posted: 03/15/2021 13:03:19

Thread Title: Hyperfocal Distance Principals (Lewin's Tutorial)

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Jennifer asked me some time ago to discuss this method of manual focusing and never got to it: I am writing another article for the NANPA and the following section was pulled from it: I am still finishing the actual paper. Now, Steven has brought it up again, so a perfect opportunity to discuss it.

Hyperfocal Distance Focusing Technique

One the best manual focusing techniques for landscape compositions is utilizing hyperfocal distance principals. Hyperfocal focusing allows for the greatest depth of field (in front and behind the point of focus). That is, to keep part of the foreground in focus, while achieving similar in-focus parameters in the back ground.

This discussion is based on a traditional photographic technique, opposed to a relatively recent challenge from a technique known as "Focus Stacking" (a product of 21st Century digital photography). Each technique enjoys great results, the former is started and completed in the field, and the digital approach is started in the field and later completed using post-production digital software. In addition, each technique will ultimately exhibit a different visual interpretation or aesthetic. Some compositions that used focus stacking can lead to a surreal aesthetic or a presentation that borders on what was experienced at the time of capture and a visual presentation that leans more towards an idealistic approach to realism. Results are of course subjective to each artist, and patrons of the arts viewing the work. (My father always said, 'that's why they make chocolate and vanilla'). Today we are discussing only one of the two flavors, as it were, the fast and easy Hyperfocal Distance focusing technique.

Now we can get pretty technical with this discussion, but I will try to present hyperfocal distance principles that are easy to understand and use. Our goal is to get into the field with a fast and reliable means to achieve maximum Dof in every composition. However, I must state, in my opinion, the Hyperfocal Distance principle is most applicable when shooting Landscape compositions. As such, my text and examples will refer to landscape photography. Hyperfocal Distance principles can be achieved using a wide variety of lenses. Some examples include, 16mm, 24mm and 50mm, for prime landscape lenses, and 150mm, 250mm and some longer telephoto lens, too. Pretty much any lens can be used when employing hyperfocal distance focusing principles. However, as I will be referring to landscape compositions, normal to wide angle lenses will be used in this discussion. An important consideration is the wider the lens used the deeper/wider the resulting Dof that can be achieved. As such, normal to wide angle lenses are most popular with landscape photographers. My favorite lens is the 24mm Rokkor-X prime lens for film and the 24mm setting on the Canon EF 16-35mm F/2.8L II USM lens.

With a simple Google search online, you can easily find several different types of Hyperfocal Distance charts and though they work satisfactory, I will suggest they often interrupt the photographic processes of visualization and composition, thus interfering with the creative process. In circumstances where quick decisions in the field need to be made to capture a specific type, and often fast moving atmospheric condition, it is necessary to be able to move quickly and decisively in capturing the scene or subject matter successfully: the sun begins to rise above the horizon, the rapid change in colors is amazing and quick decisions need to be made to capture this beautiful time of day. Similar opportunities involving rolling fog or a fast moving thunder storm offer their own special atmospheric aesthetics in helping to create engaging compositions. In these cases, let me offer a quicker solution that is also quite accurate, indeed.

The Composition: We have arrived at our cabin situated some 50 or more yards from the shore line of Lake Jackson in the Tetons " a lovely sunset has offered beautiful light and we quickly set up our tripod just outside looking west towards the Tetons mountain range, Jackson Lake and an area of pretty low cut flowers covering the foreground nearest to the camera: we decide to use a 24mm prime lens or the equivalent setting on a zoom lens. Composing through the viewfinder we decide much of the foreground flowers, the Lake and background mountain range must all be in focus for our composition: 1. If we manually focus on the distant mountains (even with the aperture set at F/11 for example) we will most likely not achieve near-field focus of the flowers. 2. Alternatively focusing on the flowers spread in front of the camera (again, even if using aperture F/11) will likely result in beautifully clear flowers and even the lake, but may render the mountain range less than perfectly clear.

The Solution: While standing behind or to the side of the camera, estimate how close from the camera we want the foreground to be in focus. If the nearest flowers are 10 feet from the camera, double this amount (in this case 20 feet) thus 20 feet is the Hyperfocal Distance and the point of focus. Again, we need to estimate how far 20 feet is from the camera " find some part of a flower, stem or other artifact within the 20 foot space to focus on. Continuing, we still need to decide on what aperture to use. As it pertains to this landscape example, and our desire to keep the foreground flowers (about 10 feet in front of the camera) in focus through infinity (which will include the lake and distant mountain range) a good starting point would be a relatively small aperture " say, F/8.

Now we will engage the practice of "Bracketing" discussed at the outset of this article. (I have omitted "Bracketing" from this post; contact me if you have questions) Maintaining the exact same composition as seen through the viewfinder, and keeping our 20 feet focus point, trigger the shutter release button at F/8, then F/11 and again at F/16 and F/18. (I urge photographers not to look at the review screen on digital cameras between shots " one, because of the reasons I pointed out earlier, and also viewing results on these small screens do little justice related to visual accuracy: we are far better off waiting to review work in post-production on a larger laptop or desk top monitor, and instead, while in the field, focus (yes, pun intended) on the work in front of us). In the end, bracketing the shots will provide a wide margin of error that likely yields excellent results. (Note looking through your viewfinder after focusing at 20 feet may show the nearest foreground, and at infinity, slightly blurred (out of focus) though be assured the final image will be reasonably in focus from about 10 feet through infinity for this example. However, cameras with a Dof button, once activated while looking through the viewfinder, will reveal a truer,focused, result of the focusing and aperture choices in this example).

As I mentioned above, these results (and also the results if using the values directed by a Hyperfocal Distance chart) only give reasonably good results for most popular print enlargements (i.e. 8x10, 11x14 for two examples). Meaning for larger, say, a full-frame 16x24 print some background details may be slightly blurred if closely viewed.

But I must comment that with today's higher resolution cameras and onboard digital processors, while bracketing a wide range of apertures, I am confident 16x24 and larger prints will reveal little to no actual visual discomfort to people viewing work in a gallery setting.

Which of course brings up an entirely different dynamic: the dynamics of resolution as it relates to the viewing distances of different sized prints. Something I will address in a future article. But for now, I am confident you will obtain fine results with the method I outlined above. By all means, if the in-the-field situation (i.e. weather, time of day, subject) allows for more time to develop the composition, using one of the many online Apps or a printed copy kept in your pocket of the many Hyperfocal Distance charts available will also provide more precise values for a given lens and aperture choice. However, I strongly suggest while using these alternative tools continue with "bracketing" your shots in a similar matter I described on these pages. Thank you, everyone!

  Posted: 12/04/2020 09:32:08
Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
Thanks Lance - helpful! Two suggestions that may help your future readers:
1) Introduce concept of "focus point" (by definition/physics - that can only be a point) vs. "acceptable focus" for intended use. You start to get at that at the end of your article.
2) Consider adding a diagram - for those more graphically inclined. The attached is adapted from photopills DoF app - where user enters key data (camera body, lens focal length, f stop and subject distance) - and the program outputs key data (left column).

Image 1 illustrates that if you focus on the subject at 100 feet (subject distance) - the photograph will be sharp from 19'2" to infinity.

Image 2 illustrates that if you instead focus on the hyperlocal distance (23'9") - the photograph will be sharp from 11'11" to infinity.

In this example - we gain 10 feet of foreground focus by focusing on the hyperfocal point which is 80 feet closer than our subject of interest!

I wish everyone a healthy/peaceful and likely quite different year-end.

  Posted: 12/05/2020 08:44:23
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Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
....thank you, Steven. Yes, my piece for NANPA will have a chart and also photos. Also, a section on lens barrel markings with photos of my Rokkor-X glass.

The issue of resolution and print size will not be discussed any further in the piece - it is far too deep for the intended article.
  Posted: 12/05/2020 16:58:24
Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
I used to use the lens barrel markings all the time in the old days. I guess now we need the hyperfocal tables in our pockets.   Posted: 01/29/2022 23:26:45
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
...indeed.   Posted: 03/11/2022 05:49:03

Thread Title: Creating a Sense of Place in your compositions

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Outdoor Portraiture

In recent months while attending several online and in the classroom photography critique sessions, it occurred to me how many of the participants suggested "cropping photos" - moving in closer, as it were - as a fix for the photograph that was being presented to the group. More than half of the suggested cropping (to get closer to the actual subject) in my opinion, would redirect the composition towards a snap-shot like appearance. In other words, sometimes cropping (and regardless if you are cropping an image file or the scene through the viewfinder) can actually diminish an already well balanced thoughtful composition that includes more of the surrounding space.

As such, a solitary subject can lack the presence needed to throw forth the impact the artist intended when originally composing the shot. My lesson plans always include discussions on the use of "space", an essential component in creating dynamic compositions. Elaborating on the environment surrounding the subject can result in projecting more "emotional value" to a photographs meaning: viewing more of the space in which the subject resides, helps the viewer develop an interpretation or narrative. Sometimes what initially may be deemed as peripheral artifacts within a scene (objects we may even want to delete) can actually "support" the main subject, and this also includes "open space", "white", "dead" or "negative" space.

Klaus Berger (1901-2000) was a German Art historian: a paraphrase of his statement on using open space in both paintings and photography, 'unpeople negative space in fact plays an important part in a carefully planned, overall composition, which reflects a dynamic and rhythmic equilibrium of patterns'. Berger continued to cite this type of perspective are integral in Japanese prints.

Portraiture: The heart of a musician (See Fig1-3) Including the extra space in these photographs is not exactly a portrait in the usual sense, non the less, it will perhaps, allow viewers to gain a little more insight into her personality and mood - both that help the viewer form a narrative. These are photographs to accompany more traditional portrait aesthetics.

In an attempt to try and capture the unique individuality of this 15-year-old sitter (Fig.1) I suggested this young musician take her guitar to accompany the photo shoot. Easy to realize this established a strong sense of security between the wide open space of the location, our subject and the photographer. Regardless if you know the person you are photographing, there can sometimes be a great deal of apprehension which will ultimately be revealed by the lens. A relaxed and trusting relationship between the photographer and their sitter goes a long way in producing strong photographic compositions that feel less staged and more organic.
  Posted: 10/18/2020 11:21:03
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Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
  Posted: 10/18/2020 11:25:52
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Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
  Posted: 10/18/2020 11:26:14
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Fig.1 was captured digitally with a Canon 5D Mark II. Canon F/1.4 50mm (my go-to-lens for both shooting flora and portraits) ISO-640 because the sun was low in the sky and illumination was limited; this said, I choose this time of day because of the lighting: soft and meditating which characterizes the whole composition and as an artist, what I was trying to achieve visually. Triggered at 1/4000sec, hand-held and manual focus. Of course I bracketed 2 or 3 shots with different aperture settings. The young lady is relaxed - very comfortable - I asked her to look away from me - she turned 3 or 4 different ways until I saw something I liked.

The space in front of our sitter (right-side of the photograph) opens up the scene to help reveal the tranquil mood and defines the location. The sitters gaze beyond the left-side frame adds an element of mystery that helps develop the overall emotional vibe, but also helped reveal the subjects character through expression.

Fig.2 and Fig.3 are additional examples of including more space. In Fig.3 our musician chills and begins strumming the strings on her guitar - again, isolating her to only a fraction of the frame, allows the viewer to become familiar with the location and the overall atmosphere she was exposed to, and thus, you can almost hear her cords in this visual-only musical presentation.
  Posted: 10/18/2020 11:27:47
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Portraiture: Rappelling in LaFayette, Georgia (See Fig4-5)

An hour North of Atlanta, Georgia is the city of LaFayette. Known for its numerous caves, including Petty John’s Cave, and also a great spot for beginner rock climbing and rappelling. My son, Max and his wife Ashley asked me to join them to capture photographs of them rappelling from a 60-foot waterfall. From roadside we hiked a mile, wish I had remembered to take my hiking shoes, big mistake, as the sneakers had little in the form of grip. Max and Ashley took the high path to the top of a beautiful waterfall while I hiked along the riverbed and took position. I shot off about 24 frames and chose the one illustrated in Fig.3 and Fig.4 for our examples.

The "cropped" photo in Fig.4 illustrates a nicely composed picture. The subject is off-centered to allow viewers to see the rock formations that identify the space in which Max is rappelling. But, something is missing that does not relay to the viewer the drama I experienced when capturing this image. We need to visualize and grab more of the the environment that embraces and defines the drama of the moment!

Alternatively, Fig.5 illustrates what we achieve when we back off the subject: here we can immediately sense the danger involved rappelling this waterfall we did not feel before: this photograph reveals height, the menacing rocks and cascading water confronting the subject. Backing off the subject and taking in the whole scene reveals more of the drama experienced on-site at the time I captured the original composition.
  Posted: 10/18/2020 11:52:27
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
  Posted: 10/18/2020 11:52:50
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Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
  Posted: 10/18/2020 11:53:13
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Chan Garrett   Chan Garrett
Thank you for a very thought provoking article. I am afraid I often fall victim of the fear of including too much space. I also fear that too often we believe that one approach is correct for every image. Years ago I heard it said that, "if your photographs are not good enough, you are not close enough." In some instances this may be true, but not in every case. I look at the three photograph you presented here and am taken by their beauty. I can also see very good portrait in a closer crop. The young woman will love the image of herself in the full environment. Her grandmother will love the closer crop. Grandmother will say, " why would I want a picture of the old red barn? I just want to see my granddaughter."
Thanks again for causing me to think about alternative choices.   Posted: 10/18/2020 12:39:49
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Happy Monday, Chan! I am glad you enjoyed the piece - and yes, it is all about learning there are many choices: and as you referred to, these decisions can be heavily biased depending upon the subject and/or customer who is receiving the work.

A lot of the one-line suggestions we have heard in photography for decades (and a whole new crop in 21st Century photography) is based on helping photographers that are weak in a specific area - but unfortunately, poor teaching methods forge these particular (tricks, hints and rules) as absolute, and they are not!

Another rule that is strongly placed upon students of photography is "The Rule of Thirds". While a fine tool/concept, in my classroom I only briefly review this concept, and then focus the remainder of the session on "Visualization". I want the photographer to become one with his or her environment - and in this way they begin seeing in a completely new and artistic way.

  Posted: 10/19/2020 07:03:11
Chan Garrett   Chan Garrett
Yes; rules, rules, rules. We all hate rules, but I strongly believe that it is only after we learn and appreciate the reason for the rules that we gain the freedom to sometimes ignore them.

As a young boy learning to play baseball I learned to always use two hand when catching the baseball. That rule served me well a I learned. Watch professional ball players today. They routinely use only one hand when catching a easy fly ball or other easy catch. But, I am sure they were taught to use two hands when they were young boys just learning the game.   Posted: 10/19/2020 09:02:24
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
  Posted: 10/18/2020 11:56:18
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
  Posted: 10/18/2020 11:57:24
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
(FIG.3) Sorry it is Posted out of order.   Posted: 10/18/2020 11:59:04
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Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Portraiture: Rappelling in LaFayette, Georgia (See Fig4 & 5)

I captured the scene with a Canon f/1.4 50mm lens; formatted vertically, holding the camera in a vertical or portrait position, captures the drama of the subject skillfully, and I may add, carefully, rappel this jagged 60-foot waterfall! Taking in more of the landscape gives the viewer more information to form an interpretation.

Let me share a painful reminder when not being careful during a photo shoot can get you in trouble: sitting on top of a small group of rocks layered on the river-bed, just outside the full spray of the cascading water, I just finished capturing the photographs in the above illustration, and not paying attention after sitting so long, standing up, I slipped, dramatically falling 3 feet onto my back - cushioned only by solid rock!

My Canon 5D Mark II flew in the air and landed some 10 feet to my left, thankfully, free from the gushing water, but broke the 50mm lens!
Banged up, but functional, I limped out of the forest and spent the next week recuperating in bed. Lesson: be cognizant of your immediate surroundings, not for just taking great photographs, but keeping yourself and your equipment safe from harm.
  Posted: 10/18/2020 12:01:36
Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
Lance: Thank you for posting these . . . I also crop in on people too tight - potentially losing the sense of place/scale. Maybe it's more natural to do that (focusing on the "subject") and takes conscious effort to pull back to include the larger scene.

Another spin on this topic is using people to improve a landscape/scene. Yesterday I photographed some gorgeous rock formations in a state park . . . taking pride in my ability to snap the image between passing hikers so as to avoid capturing them in my shot. I then saw a friends images of the same scene - where he included a person. That latter approach dramatically improved the photograph - really gave it interest a sense of scale/wonder.
  Posted: 10/19/2020 07:25:59
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Good morning, Steven!

And that is a wonderful alternative to this topic: as you saw, placing a person in the scene - even remotely located - will often have a huge impact on revealing "Scale" or perspective to the viewer. In these cases the Landscape is the main subject while evidence of human activity emphasizes scale.

Can't wait to see your Rock Formation series of work! :)   Posted: 10/19/2020 08:56:25
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
The NANPA just posted this article (via email Ad) on "Negative Space". I wish the author had used better examples, but feel the piece works very well and coincides with our discussion here. Please, CLICK on the link or Right-Click and Open Link Location. Its an informative read.   Posted: 10/20/2020 05:56:35
Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
My wife and I have a number of Chinese and Japanese prints (not photographs) at home. When we traveled in the East, we learned that human figures were often represented as quite small in the compositions, reflecting the idea that we humans are indeed quite small in the world of nature. This has influenced my photography--I like to give a lot of space around a human figure in nature.   Posted: 01/29/2022 23:35:07
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
....and at the same time the extra space provokes deeper contemplation. Here, the spectator views the work, leaves, and then returns to look deeper.   Posted: 03/11/2022 05:53:22

Thread Title: Points to Ponder

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
"Points to Ponder"

What makes Photography a special, and actually hard genre of art to master, is the very fact the photographer can not "rearrange", as the painter can.

In fact, it is this very limitation that spawned Pictorialist to manipulate negatives and prints in "creating" like the painter. Almost every technique (in today's standards) was still made from physical labor both in the darkroom and out.

Art critic Irina Khrabroff makes an especially important distinction in 1927: “The moment they (the artist-photographer) adopt the principle of straight photography, their medium becomes an extremely difficult one to master”. She continues...“Because all he (the artist-photographer) can do is to select, his ability to select must be brought to a higher pitch than in any other form of art. His eye must become keener and quicker than the eyes of other artists”.

In the 21st Century - within the Digital Photography Revolution - the use of digital software has quickly crossed the line from traditional photographic technique to one that manifests itself more appropriately to Digital Art.

And is why more and more Galleries, Museums and online regional and national Photography Competitions are more aggressively re-categorizing and putting into place new rules to separate work created through more Traditional means vs their extreme Digital Art alternatives.

The creativity of work created by Traditional Art of Photography values & 21st Century digital pieces of art are both beautiful, creative and within the Digital oriented pieces, an incredible show of imagination, indeed. But the line is clear, and the two must be presented as separate works of art.

Tonight is the Gilmer Arts National Juried Photography Exhibition which I spearhead - including designing the Prospectus; we are enjoying our second year where two distinct categories of photography are accepted (and two sub-categories Landscape & wildlife).

The work was judged yesterday (Thursday 10th) where the work was separated into the two main categories for the Judge: 1. Traditional Compositional Fine Art Photography and 2. Illustrative and Conceptual Fine Art Photography.

The response from artists and patrons has been overwhelming positive!

  Posted: 09/11/2020 05:47:07
Chan Garrett   Chan Garrett
Lance: I find the solution adopted by the judging to be most practical. I values the tradition of fine art photography that first drew me into the medium, and the creativity so enabled by the digital technology of today. My main interest continues to be with the traditional fine arts, but my creative nature also draws me to the conceptual when I feel the need to express deep feelings that must somehow be expressed. I offer for an example my expression of despair brought about by the addition of a major family medical emergency added to the already existing pressure of the current pandemic.   Posted: 09/11/2020 06:08:07
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Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
And I think your Artistic Direction (between the two) is right-on! In fact, I have not heard anyone really explain it this way until now...I like your explanation that clearly separates the two styles of creativity.

I also am aware this is likely a shared feeling with many other photographers - though I have not heard anyone share your particular and detailed response, I am sure glad you shared it here. Thank you!

  Posted: 09/11/2020 11:17:44
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
...and I love this actually very comical piece, Chan!   Posted: 09/11/2020 11:19:06

Thread Title: Principles That Guide My Work

Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
Lance/Chan: I read your posts with interest . . . my thinking on this has evolved over the last few years. I recall walking into my camera club with an altered image (I changed the location of the moon) - and felt a need to apologize or at least confess my sins. Leaders of the club told me that it was perfectly OK. I've also come to appreciate that EVERY image is processed (even if only by the camera manufacturer's software that converts sensor output to a file that be viewed or transfered). All images are altered and defining what is acceptable is personal/arbitrary.

I've landed on the following principles that guide my work:

1) Follow the rules and be transparent. If a club or competition/category has rules - follow them. Honesty is important. If asked, I always explain manipulations I did - and I don't hesitate to ask others what processing they did. The dialogue is educational and good photographers are not offended.
2) Don't import material into your image that was created by others. For me - that crosses a line and is dishonest. So changing the location of the moon is OK - but using a moon downloaded from the web is not.
3) Work hard to get the best images in-camera. It all start there. Post-processing can take a good image and make it better; it doesn't take a poor image and make it great.
4) We are producing art. Therefore we have a high degree of freedom to produce the most aesthetically appealing work.
5) Respect the freedom of others to adopt different views on what processing or manipulation is acceptable. Resist the temptation to judge one approach/style/genre as innately better.

  Posted: 09/10/2020 05:33:22
Chan Garrett   Chan Garrett

I do agree with your five rules. I remember entering, and observing the judging at PPA photography competitions in the early days of digital. I was concerned when I saw a high scoring print of a beach scene and learned that the flight of birds coming down the beach had been added by a digital expert to give added interest to the photograph. My first reaction was that cheating was taking place. I have sense made my peace with digital manipulations and leave it up to the vision of the photographer. I also realize that many painters will add elements to the painting that are not a part of the scene before them. It appears we are usually more accepting of a photograph where distracting objects have been removed than where interesting objects have been added.

I recently created a compositional photograph from three image files as part of my study of a lesson on an early phase of photography where some photographers began searching for more creativity by making prints by combining two or more negatives in the printing process. This image uses the file of me standing with my arms held high, plus two “free use” images of the moon. “The Marvelous Moon Catcher” was created for a one time example and I would never present it as my photograph without the explanation of the moon images.   Posted: 09/10/2020 08:28:49
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Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
Love that image - really well done!!!!!!!   Posted: 09/10/2020 12:41:23

Thread Title: Creativity Through Techniques

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Creativity Through Techniques: all the topics in this space hopefully Spark ones interest in seeking further study to expand their creativity.

The talks on both "Wabi Sabi" (in DD-83 Mono), this discussion on "Pictorialism" and Steven's question and talk about Photography Genres, are meant to introduce artistic concepts (and philosophies) and in general, spark artistic thinking and creativity. My intentions are to also highlight the very foundations (virtues) that define the "Art of Photography" from a traditional posture.

Everyone's contribution/comments and/or visual examples are encouraged. Thank you, guys!   Posted: 09/10/2020 04:44:56

Thread Title: Pictorialism Continued

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Pictorialism Continued....

As I already mentioned before, the great French Impressionist painter, Claude Monet wanted his canvas to reveal how we actually perceive reality: in this philosophy Monet would paint a series of work on the same exact subject (and usually the exact same perspective) at different times of the year. When studying his work we can easily feel (or react) to the Mood that Monet has captured with his brushes - and they often reveal a similar out-of-focus, unclear or weather-obstructed view of reality.

This very same process of capturing a subject at different times of the day or year are also familiar to many photographers, indeed: each offering sometimes a completely different emotion response from the viewer - an Aesthetic - born from capturing the subject through the viewfinder and often through different types of light & shadow, a consequence of the weather or time of day.

In this light (pun not intended) Stieglitz, for example, used these weather related devices, as it were, to manipulate an otherwise perfect "clear Blue" view of the world into something much more distracted, though hopefully, engaging - they very much mimicked Monet's Impressionistic canvases.

Attached Photograph: "Salvation" I captured this on film (grainy) and into the Sun to produce (Glare) the view & experience of squinting through the Glare: this Pictorial piece represents just one example of how Stieglitz, for one example, used environmental conditions that highlight a lot of his photography.   Posted: 09/08/2020 15:36:06
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
  Posted: 09/08/2020 15:39:56
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Thread Title: The Artistic Movement in Photography

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
NEW TOPIC: "The Artistic Movement in Photography"

The topic is inspired after I received and read Chan's September description about his photograph and PSA classes.

“Photographers must learn not to be ashamed to have their photographs look like photographs.” - Alfred Stieglitz

Alfred Stieglitz, made the above statement when darkroom manipulation was being practiced as a way for photographic artists to show they were ‘creating art’. Though Stieglitz himself used some types of manipulation he was adamant about how this was achieved: 'Stieglitz advocated an emphasis on the craftsmanship involved in photography. Most members of the group made extensive use of elaborate, labor-intensive techniques that underscored the role of the photographer’s hand in making photographic prints.’

What is normally not understood is "Pictorialist" were very active about 20 years after the invention of Photography, though in many text they only talk about the later 1880's as the "Movement". In around 1860 Henry Peach Robinson wrote his widely popular book, "Pictorial Effect in Photography" where he even advocated the use of "composite" techniques!

But I want to discuss here the many different techniques that quantify categorizing a Pictorial Photograph.
1. The most obvious are photographs that have gone through a deliberate physical change during development and/or print: i.e. scratching the negatives and coloring the print for two examples.

2. The next option (most famously depicted in Ansel Adams Landscapes) is a heavy hand in using Dodge & Burn techniques. Here, Adams heavily contrasted finals added a great amount of drama or at least added the extra "interest" in his compositions, even though the actual scene in real-time could have been quite different, but only as it related to atmospheric conditions - as his work still revealed an authentic aesthetic.

3. Within 21st Century photography we have moved past all these actual physical techniques to easily manipulate our image files using software that are relatively easy: some of these actions include the very Dodge & Burn techniques used by Adams.

Let me conclude this short brief by going back to the 1st decade of the 20th century with Alfred Stieglitz: he eventually ended most of his "physical" manipulation in favor of using natural environmental elements to "paint" or otherwise Pictorialize his work in much the same manner as Monet saw his painting. (My own work can be categorized in this light as well).

There is a great deal of inspiration in learning (and more importantly, viewing) these early painters and photographers, indeed, but more to learn about their interpretations of light and shadow, then the actual techniques in manipulation. Thank you.

“I do not object to retouching, dodging or accentuation as long as they do not interfere with the natural qualities of photographic technique”. Sadakichi Hartmann.
  Posted: 09/03/2020 06:22:59
Chan Garrett   Chan Garrett
Lance: Thank you for you article inspired by my recent photograph. In studying the History of Photography through PSA I have the opportunity to see how the evolving technology of the camera dictated much of the photographic style. I tried, in an earlier lesson, to create a portrait of myself with the long exposure required of the earliest cameras and negative plates. Through this effort I realized the impossibility of the task. My photograph for this month was based on improvements of emulsions and shutters that allowed for faster shutter speeds. These improvements allowed for more natural poses as compared to the very stiff poses we now see in the old photograph of people during and immediately following the Civil War period. My manipulations in LR and PS were designed only to mimic the look that would have been produced by the technology of the day.
This course of study has been of great help to me as a photographer. I highly recommend that any PSA member investigate the courses of study available through the society.   Posted: 09/03/2020 08:10:01

Thread Title: How Important is a Genre in Photography?

Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
How important is a genre in photography?

I consider myself undifferentiated (enjoying cityscapes/landscapes/beaches, macro, water drops, insects/animals, flowers, tabletop, etc.). The breadth is fun - but I’m an expert in none and even equipment needed varies across genes.

Is it important is focus to improve?

How do others see this?
  Posted: 08/05/2020 03:30:42
Jennifer Marano   Jennifer Marano
Steven, I find myself in the same place you describe, and not only with photography. I admire people who are passionate about a defined topic, and really explore it in depth. But if I had to choose a genre, it would end up being an arbitrary choice. I just don't feel a compelling draw to any particular facet of photography. For the time being I'm just continuing to explore and enjoy, but secretly hope I stumble on something that really grabs me. I'd love to hear what others have to say.   Posted: 08/05/2020 12:02:39
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
....and as I speak about in my post, exploring and finding your way (even for years) is OK. In fact, you may always enjoy and produce "good" and "great" work while exploring a wide scope of subjects within specific genres of photography.

And all this is OK.   Posted: 08/06/2020 07:43:49
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Great Topic, Steven!

For some teaching photography they suggest choosing a specific genre to focus their attention on - learn certain perspectives with different glass (lenses) lighting and other camera and/or environmental dynamics to eventually master.

Alternatively, I suggest there is no reason why students of photography need to adhere to just one discipline, but instead may actually increase the skill sets and do it faster by engaging into a multitude of photography genres.

In my case, I am foremost a Landscape photographer (including all types of Flora, Landscape and sea-scapes). However, in the past 3 years have begun to turn a lot more of my attention to more Intimate Details associated with nature, and now have move into a more Abstract genre with my new series, Metamorphosis: (METAMORPH0SIS where life experiences meet and mend together producing a cumulative whole: thus creating abstractions that are constructs of cerebral metamorphosis).

In this example we see I have stayed for years in one area of photography, but as my knowledge of the world, my personal life and skill sets (both technical and cerebral) have expanded and matured, has given rise to, I prey, my most (in my opinion) effective and meaningful work in 40 years.

It is these strong emotions and commitments that ultimately develop our skill sets and thus define personal goals - no matter what art, sport or other means one enjoys and looks for the ultimate satisfaction and maybe even a special voice different from others.   Posted: 08/06/2020 07:38:16
Dale Yates   Dale Yates
I personally believe that expanding one's horizon in various genre's of photography is more interesting and allows the individual to learn and enjoy photography. That being said, I do tend to shy away from certain genres, namely abstract and wedding (too much pressure). I have also generally stayed away from photographing people. However, in a photography class I am taking, the most recent lesson just completed was "people" photography. I confess that I learned a lot in this lesson.   Posted: 08/06/2020 07:51:04
Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
Thanks for all the ideas regarding the importance of genre in photography. Makes sense to keep breadth, until "naturally moved" to specialize (realizing that may never happen or could take years). No reason to push. Right now I'm really enjoying photography; it's keeping me sane and likely cheaper than therapy :)

I also realize that our group is not a random sample of PSA members; rather a subset that chose to participate in a "General" group. I suspect the answer might have been a bit different had I posed the question to a "Landscape" or "Macro" discussion board.

Stay well.   Posted: 08/08/2020 05:21:58

Thread Title: Silver Efex Pro-2 Toning: NOTES

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Silver Efex Pro-2 Toning: NOTES

When creating a strong tones (i.e. heavy blue or copper) I either pass the BW image through a color filter before or after the Toning process - as it relates to the particular photo and subject.

In this flower example, the image was passed through the filter before Toning - then I chose the Cyanotype-12 and started adjusting from there....   Posted: 07/02/2020 14:30:27
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Jennifer Marano   Jennifer Marano
What does the color filter do? Are you referring to the different colored dots that you can click on? Does it filter the color out or in?   Posted: 07/02/2020 14:40:10
Jennifer Marano   Jennifer Marano
Also, is it possible to change the order of postings in the bulletin board to have the latest appear first?   Posted: 07/02/2020 14:45:14
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Good question...I will talk with website Admin.   Posted: 07/03/2020 10:25:38
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Jennifer, this is a very important question and fundamental to learning about Black and White Photography. As such, you need to carefully read (study) some of the basic dynamics: as such, here is a good basic article written by a very popular manufacture of Colored Filters.

Copy and past into your Browser. "Hoya" makes (relatively inexpensive) filters that photographers can screw onto the front end of their lenses, alternatively, we have these (colored dots in software programs) as you pointed out, that do a remarkable job, too.   Posted: 07/03/2020 10:35:12
Jennifer Marano   Jennifer Marano
Thanks, Lance! I will study the article you referenced! There is so much about BW I don't know.   Posted: 07/03/2020 14:26:02
Jennifer Marano   Jennifer Marano
The article helped me understand why filters are used and what they accomplish - thanks so much for suggesting it! Since I don't use film, I expect that I will use filters in post processing. I know they are in Silver Effect Pro and perhaps they are even in Lightroom - I'll have to do some exploring. Also, I tried your formula for custom toning - it looked great! And now I can play with it to try other effects!   Posted: 07/04/2020 22:53:51
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Jennifer...I am so glad! Terrific!

It would be helpful for everyone if you post (here) 2 or 3 Toning versions so we can see the progression - even if the variations are slight. :)

  Posted: 07/07/2020 16:33:17
Jennifer Marano   Jennifer Marano
first one is preset 20, neutral toning   Posted: 07/09/2020 17:18:55
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Jennifer Marano   Jennifer Marano
second is preset 20, toning copper (16)   Posted: 07/09/2020 17:20:07
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Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Gee! I love this one, Jennifer.

Question, did you use the actual preset or did you custom modify it? In my opinion, it looks like custom toning. :)   Posted: 07/10/2020 16:42:06
Jennifer Marano   Jennifer Marano
The only thing I did was tone down the highlights a bit. The toning is pure copper (16).   Posted: 07/10/2020 16:46:11
Jennifer Marano   Jennifer Marano
Third one is preset 20, toning per Lance secret method!   Posted: 07/09/2020 17:21:24
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Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
  Posted: 07/10/2020 16:40:28
Jennifer Marano   Jennifer Marano
Fourth one is preset 20 with Selenium toning (4) and blue filter. Any comments welcome!   Posted: 07/09/2020 17:33:51
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Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Both the 2nd and 3rd examples are wonderful - and so is the 4th version....

So I am clear, did you try and Customize any of these?

Great work, Jennifer!   Posted: 07/10/2020 16:48:09
Jennifer Marano   Jennifer Marano
The only customizing I did was bringing down hightlights and, on number 3, plugging in the numbers you gave us for your custom copper/silver toning.   Posted: 07/10/2020 16:50:43
Graham Jones   Graham Jones
Lance thank you for the B&W tips using Silver Efex. And thank you a Jennifer for posting the different applications. This is very useful.   Posted: 07/10/2020 17:36:57
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Absolutely! Our pleasure! :)   Posted: 07/12/2020 07:09:43
Dale Yates   Dale Yates
Thank you Lance for posting these tips in Silver Efex. I have seen these controls in Silver Efex, but didn't know how to use them. This truly adds another dimension to B&W photography!

Thank you Jennifer for posting these photos to allow us to see how these filters are used! Of the four you posted, I personally like the 2nd (copper) the best. Thanks again!   Posted: 07/13/2020 09:44:47
Jennifer Marano   Jennifer Marano
Thanks for letting me know! I lean toward the copper myself, although I wasn't sure it was appropriate for a water scene.   Posted: 07/15/2020 21:49:51

Thread Title: CUSTOM TONING IN Silver Efex Pro-2

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
CUSTOM TONING IN Silver Efex Pro-2

1. Original or Base Color: (Copper-16) Study settings in the screen shot provided.

2. See next Photo....   Posted: 07/02/2020 14:12:43
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Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
CUSTOM TONING IN Silver Efex Pro-2

2. See photo of modifications I have made for my Custom Silver-Copper toning used on many of my BW photos, including ones captured on film.

a. Silver Hue was changed to 37
b. Balance was changed to 54
c. Paper Hue to 30
d. Paper Toning to 2 (sometimes 1)

These are the only controls I used to modify Copper-16. Each slider is carefully and painstakingly moved to reveal the exact Tone or color I am looking for. (Of course, I write these down for future reference). These values are used exactly as you see here - and never altered, unless I am looking for a heavy Copper hue, then I start over.

  Posted: 07/02/2020 14:19:10
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Jennifer Marano   Jennifer Marano
This is so helpful! I'm going to try it today!! Much appreciation for letting us in on your secrets.   Posted: 07/02/2020 14:32:05
Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
Lance - thank you for posting these tips/ideas. I purchased the NIK collection last month ($99) and followed your instructions for: toning. I had never used this feature - and the results are great. Really brings out textures/tones; makes the B&W images pop! Thank you!   Posted: 07/07/2020 04:57:48

Thread Title: Reflections

Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
I thought it was interesting that 4 of the 6 posted June images (including both of Graham's) have prominent reflections. They're a great subject for photography. I took a class last year - and each of us had to pick a theme for the semester and bring images for that theme each week. One woman's theme was "reflections" - she took some amazing pictures - with reflections in lakes, rivers, puddles - and even reflections of her jewelry in a water filled black baking dish on her kitchen counter. Creative/well done. And the water could be perfectly still/mirror-like or rippled.   Posted: 06/02/2020 09:12:27
Joseph Hearst   Joseph Hearst
It's awfully old now, but you might want to look at my November 2011 PSA Journal piece called "Reflecting on Reflections."   Posted: 06/04/2020 16:35:48
Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
I found the article on the PSA website; it has stood the test of time! The images are beautiful - and I enjoyed the fact that you point out looking for reflections in surfaces other than water . . . . Thanks for sharing it!   Posted: 06/04/2020 18:10:00

Thread Title: ArtTalk

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Good day, everyone! Hope you take time to copy and paste this link to a 3min read on my work and the other artist on the site, too. They recently highlighted my work. I also use this site to promote photography exhibitions scheduled at Gilmer Arts in Ellijay, Georgia. And please, leave a Comment after the article regardless if Pro or Con on what you read. Thank you.   Posted: 05/20/2020 06:45:41
Jo Kelly   Jo Kelly
Hi I will try to have a look later. Jo :)
  Posted: 05/20/2020 07:15:13
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Thanks, Jo!   Posted: 05/20/2020 15:25:31
Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
Thanks for sharing link. Pasted below is a comment I appended to the article. I'm currently taking a course in post-processing - and it's making me reflect on which edits are "acceptable" - and which "cross the line" to something that may no longer be photography in the conventional sense. The line is blurry. Very divergent points of view on this across camera clubs.

"Kudos to Lance for reminding us to slow down and look closely. His images are gorgeous (esp. the B&W renderings!). I wonder where photography will be in 20+ years; as fewer photographers recall wet darkrooms, the smell of the chemicals or glow of the safelight. How many today understand where the term dodging comes from? In a world where you can replace a sky and move the sun with few clicks (and those technologies will only improve!) - will we continue to drift away from documentary style photography? Or will there be a return to fundamentals . . . using photography to record the real world."   Posted: 05/22/2020 07:40:55
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Thank you, Steven. Your comments are central to the discourse between traditional and 21st Century photographic virtues.

One of the main components I feel should take more center stage is a discussion on the categorization of photographic work. And the conversation continues. Thank you.   Posted: 05/22/2020 09:00:09
Chan Garrett   Chan Garrett
You raise an interesting question that I often see raised. "...will we continue to drift away from documentary style of photography? Or will we return to the fundamentals ... using photography to record the real world?" My question: "Is 'recording the real word' really a fundamental of photography?" The first use of a photography type devise, the camera obscura, was used by artists to aid them in sketching the object they wished to paint. The resulting painting did not need to record the real world, but the way the artist wished to present the object. Was Ansel Adams violating a "fundamental" of photography when he captured an image of the moon rising over a small western town when the sun had not yet set, and used his darkroom skills to turn it into a night scene with the small town lit only by the light of the moon? Do we violate a fundamental of photography when we use a wide aperture to blur out a busy background, or use a post processing tool to remove objects from a scene that we feel causes distractions? Isn't photography all about the photographers vision of the scene? Now, if you are a news photographer, the rules change. And so the debate continues.   Posted: 05/22/2020 09:03:20
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Hi Chan! Really appreciate your detailed thoughts...they are all part of a deep and sometimes to me, concerning discourse, indeed.

My only issue is we are moving too far away from the real - and moving beyond the limits traditionally bound to the Photography Genre. As long as we develop and practice better and more consistent means of categorizing photography work (i.e. traditional, conceptual and illustrative for three examples) instead of mounting and displaying and discussing these variations as one - I will feel better. Please, enjoy the following read as we continue this conversation:

“To those who believe that beauty and meaning exist only in people's imaginations, photography would seem to be too closely bound to reality; to be too wingless an art to be interesting. But to those who love life, photography will appeal because of its very closeness to reality.” Irina Khrabroff

However, we are all aware in recall, our joy of an event, place or thing is not as clear as the experience in real-time, as such we tend to modify details which may be a bit left or right of what was experienced. Traditionally, and for the most part, in both words and pictures, we do our best to convey the deep emotional real-time experience in a clear and authentic manner.

A great example are the landscape photographs of Ansel Adams - Adams openly admitted his long time in the dark room ended in final prints revealing more drama than experienced in real-time. His heavy hand in Dodge and Burn techniques have produced many extreme variations of light and shadow helping him bring his deep emotional experience to the viewer. However, never is the work questioned of its authenticity: his darkroom techniques are pure as most (but not all) 19th Century and early 20th Century photographers during the Pictorialism movement, and the final print reveals an authentic visual experience - one that any viewer could have experienced and appreciated.

Another example can be seen in my many pictorial sea-scapes - as I tend to sometimes use a slow shutter speed to reveal motion of waves and clouds in attempt to bring the enormous emotion felt during the real-time experience.

And this is because, as you shared in your comment - environmental nuances that surround our space often reveal themselves only after time has passed or alternatively, as you also stated, through years of capturing photographs and learning to “see”: as experienced photographers’ have learned to visualize and capture all that lay before them.

“Art is hidden in nature…and that he who can tear her out of it, owns her”. Painter Albrecht DŸrer (1471-1528)

  Posted: 05/24/2020 07:38:28
Chan Garrett   Chan Garrett
Lance: I concur with much of what you say. It can be noted that the same discussions have, and continue to be, a part of the general art world. Whether it is photography, painting, sculpture or music, each has its variations. Some paintings and sculptures are very detailed and true to life. Others are so "modernistic" as to be totally unrecognizable as to "real life" or meaning. It helps, as you indicate to be able to recognize the validity of different "groupings" in each art form.
The same is true with photography. The only limiting questions are: What is your purpose? What is your vision? and, How successful are you in fulfilling your vision?
For a great many casual photographers, the purpose is to record where they are, who they are with, and even, as too often seen on Facebook or brief text messages on a cell phone, what they are having for Lunch. I suggest that this group is the majority of "photographers" at work today. While this approach is not my vision for my work, I must recognize it as legitimate and not simply dismiss it as "merely snapshots."
Then there are the rest of us whose interests and vision is less utilitarian. We can't view our vision as being superior to the first, nor can we expect that each of us will share the same vision with all others in the group. We fall into different sub groups with different vision. Some tent toward realism while others tent toward more self expression. Each vision is to be respected.
Our problem arises as we forget to accept the legitimacy of another vision and determine in our mind that "my vision is the only right vision.   Posted: 05/24/2020 12:04:36
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
  Posted: 05/24/2020 07:40:42
Comment Image
Jennifer Marano   Jennifer Marano
Lovely image, Lance. Very simple, yet very real. I agree with your comments, and Chan's also, regarding photographs as reflections of our personal visions, and I especially agree that it is important to respect other's visions, whether or not we personally resonate with them.   Posted: 05/24/2020 12:35:06

Thread Title: New Group Feature

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Hi everyone! Hope you like this added feature to our group. Again, this Space will be available regardless of the month we are reviewing: however, feel free to post specific questions on any photograph, from any month.   Posted: 05/19/2020 12:21:45

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