Monday, February 15, 2016

Street Photography: Color v. Black & White

Walking home from a photo exhibit on Park Avenue last week, I stopped in front of the Met Museum and took a few photos of the doo wop singers with my Lumix G2.  Working with the images in Photoshop, it struck me again how much more powerful street photos are in monochrome.  Perhaps that's because street photography is in essence a form of photojournalism and better served by black & white's graphic impact.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

More Snow in NYC

Yesterday's snowfall was over and done by 1:00 p.m.  There wasn't anything left of it this morning.  It did provide a good photo op in Central Park, though, before it began to melt.  I shot these with a Lumix GH2.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Nikon Singapore Contest Snafu

There was an interesting article on the BBC website regarding an amateur photography contest Nikon Singapore recently held.  The original idea was simple enough.  Nikon had posted on Facebook:
"Enchant us with monochrome photography and submit your photo... for a chance to walk away with a Nikon trolley bag!"
This was obviously not intended as a serious competition but more as a fun chance to show one's work in hope of winning a small prize.  Note the absence of any rules in the above invitation.  There surely must have been some in the fine print when actually submitting images, but the BBC article doesn't reprint them and instead limits itself to stating: "The terms of the competition say the photos must be original works, though doesn't specifically bar editing."

What could possibly go wrong?

The problem was that the winner not only submitted a photograph that had obviously been edited - there was entire airplane pasted into it - but he allegedly lifted the idea, if not the exact image itself, from someone else's Instagram post.  

The result was as could have been expected.  A flood of recriminations on social media with a humbled Nikon eventually apologizing.

This is a funny article and the reporters obviously had tongue in cheek when writing it.  But it does bring up a serious point.  In these days of digital media when it is so easy to manipulate photographs and steal others' work, it is more necessary than ever to check for authenticity.  Any competition, no matter how casual, should always make it a point to demand to see the RAW image before naming a winner.  Not only would the RAW show whether an image had been edited, but only the photographer who took the winning shot would be in possession of it.

It used to be said that photographs never lie.  Not only is that no longer true, but these days we're not even sure whose image it is that's telling the lie.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Night Photography with the Nikon Df

One of my principal reasons for getting the Df was its reputed high ISO performance.  According to a DXOMark report, the Df outperformed even the D4 in ISO comparison tests.  It's also a much more compact camera than the bulkier studio cameras like the D810, a definite advantage for street and travel photography.  I've always wanted to photograph NYC at night but technical limitations have made exposures short enough to be handheld impractical.  Though with its outside controls the Df has obviously been designed to appeal to film photographers (I still shoot with an F3 myself), its real advantage is in the advanced digital technology that makes possible shots that couldn't have been achieved by film.

For consistency, I shot all photos using a Nikon 50 mm f1.4 lens set at f2.0.  (One neat feature on the Df that I haven't seen mentioned in reviews is that there's a custom menu setting that allows the photographer to rotate the lens ring  to set the aperture rather than use the body's clumsy front dial.)  The ISO for all shots was 12,800.  I felt the noise level at this setting to be acceptable; it was barely noticeable unless magnified. That pretty much agrees with the Popular Photography test results.