One of the most creative tools in photography is the FishEye Lens. It often provides that unique vision which takes an image from ordinary to extraordinary. However, sometimes a FishEye can be used as a rectilinear normal Wide Angle lens. Many programs provide a “de-fish” tool which crops and straightens a FishEye image into a traditional rectilinear image. Here is an example of where the different (in FF FOV) a 15mm FishEye was the only way I could get this image as my 18mm “normal” WA was not wide enough.
Perspective in Photography drives the perception in your viewer’s mind.
Learn to view scenes as if you were going to paint them and then select the proper lenses to give your image the perspective that you see in your mind. Go high, go low, which angle and perspective captures the scene you wish to create as an artist.
Cell Phone Photography
I am a pretty old guy and started imaging a very long time ago (but in the same galaxy). For a long time I was obsessed with the quality of my image, namely because Ansel Adams produced such fine images, both in content and technical quality. Working the darkroom and making great prints was a very hard thing to do. I also shot a lot of slides and always was concerned about the zone system to get properly exposed slides.
Then came digital and with the first Epson pigment printers, my prints looked like I wanted them. After my first DSLR technical concerns became less and I focused on obtaining “fine glass”. A funny thing happened when I went to M43 format – the kit and small primes were very good, and them the “PRO” glass came and while better, they were not light years better.
During that time came the rise of the cell phones as point and shoot alternative imaging devices. At first I must admit that I thought they were ok for personal history images but not for fine art. Recently I had to replace both my wife and my phones. Then I shot some images on a trip where I had a camera but I left it home to enjoy the experience in real time with the folks I was with.
I shot some images with the phone and during some down time I used the android version of Lightroom and photoshop to work with some images. I think I can say this (BTW I bought refurbished phone and both phones combined cost less than $600, so you can pickup a really good cell phone camera refurbished now days for about $300 or less).
Here are the Images:
I believe I could print these 11 x 14 or 16 x 20 and be very happy with the resulting prints. Here is what this means for photography: today it is possible for folks to acquire a imaging device that can produce fine art prints and stock images good enough to sell. Many folks who instruct photography like to see folks start out with a single, none zoom lens. I have always liked semi-wide normal lenses, and most cell phone have an equivalent 35mm field of view to around 28 or 30mm.
There are many free programs to process images on a cell phone. So with a device most of us use for communication if you have the desire you can become a fine art or photo journalistic photographer. There will always be folks who question new things in photographer – just read a photographic history book to see the various conflicts over time in photography.
The most important part of photography is a photographer’s point of view and his/her ability to capture an image the stirs the emotions through that point of view. Cell phones camera’s in my opinion are now a viable photographic tool which can be used to produce fine art images.
Using The Depth of Focus as a brush to impart focus of subject matter
As an artistic photographer one has many tools, both software and hardware, to help create the key message of an image use focus. You can use very fast lenses to create shallow focus or you can use what ever lens you have and software to modify the focal plane of your images. Simple things such as the angle in which you hold the camera can critically alter your plane of focus when creating an image. Many software programs allow you work with blur which can be used to simulate fast lenses or go beyond that by changing the actual dimensional plane of your focus.
As an Artists you need to get out of your comfort zone to drive your creativity.
We all have those things we feel comfortable doing. And doing those things may put the bread and butter on the table. But to grow as an artist you should force yourself to do things that don’t fit into your portfolio, expand your efforts to find creativity.
I find that using Black and White for emotion is one way to create new meaning in your images. I shoot in color and then do HDR (high dynamic range) before I convert to B&W to drive more contrast. The range of light in a B&W photo is what for me drives the image to show emotion, Adam’s zone system as shown in his book “The Range of Light” has been a tool I use to visualize how an image will look in black and white. Try losing color and see what your images say.
The Dark Art is not something from Harry Potter, it is something from the old masters. Not every piece of art has to be bright or sharply defined. The tone of an image dark or light often sets the mood before one comprehends the arts message. Don’t let the perfection of form drive the interpretation of your art, give your art a chance to digger deeper into the viewers soul. A palette can be the road map into deeper meanings or messages, seek the tones that deliver your message in a manner that is not hidden in technical perfection. The Dark Art is seeing things that live in the shadows.