Category Archives: Publications

“Photography and Luck” in Extraordinary Vision Magazine

Extraordinary Vision Magazine — Issue 24
Extraordinary Vision Magazine — Issue 24

My article, “Photography and Luck” appears in this month’s edition of Extraordinary Vision Magazine, available for iOS and Android platforms for free. This is a great photography publication that features images and writing by a wide range of photographers.

Download links:


(Post originally shared on December 25, 2014.)

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Exposure for Outdoor Photography, by Michael Frye

Exposure for Outdoor Photography by Michael Frye

Craft and Vision has just released Michael Frye’s new ebook, Exposure for Outdoor Photography. The book seems to be directed at the many folks who own DSLRs or non-DSLR cameras and are striving to advance beyond the point and shoot approach to their photography. The book takes a straightforward approach to some of the most important topics related to exposure. It begins with a basic description of, well, the basics of exposure – shutter speed, aperture, and ISO and some of the important terminology and concepts related to these factors. Michael keeps the level of detail to a minimum, but the basics are all there, including an explanation of the how and why of using the histogram display – which is probably just about exactly the right approach for his intended audience.

After getting the basics out of the way, the book moves to a series of ten “cases studies,” each of which uses one of his photographs to explore a particular aspect of exposure. The subjects of the case studies include using the histogram, dealing with both large and small depth of field, freezing motion or controlling motion blur, the tradeoffs of moving to higher ISO, recovering highlights in bright scenes, how to handle extremely bright highlights such as direct sun, and a nod to the zone system (in very simplified form) and HDR and exposure blending concepts. Rather than presenting the concepts in theoretical form, he uses his one photographs to provide practical examples for the case studies.

There are a number of things I appreciate about the book, and I think many readers may also agree:

  1. Rather than presenting rules that you must follow, Michael presents the concepts and explains/demonstrates the effects of some of the choice under discussion. He is careful to point out that there usually is no “perfect” exposure, and that there are different ways to get the result you have in mind. (Near the end of the book he even provides some examples of photographs that intentionally “violate” the exposure rules.)
  2. He strikes a good balance between too little and too much detail. He avoids the pitfalls of trying to make things so simple that they end up being simple-minded and of trying to cover all possibilities to the extent that many readers simply end up confused. This is probably an ideal balance for photographers who are taking first steps towards fuller understanding and control of exposure in their photographs.
  3. The case study photographs effectively illustrate the concepts that he covers. In addition, many of them are just plain fine photographs. (Two of my favorites are the Tuolumne Meadows photograph and one of geese in beautiful morning light.)

The ebook concept seems to be catching on quickly and there are plenty of good reasons for this. The visual quality of the text and illustrations is excellent. The books can be read on a laptop or a tablet. They are easy to purchase, and the cost is very low.

The book is now available from site affiliate Craft And Vision, and I understand that there may be a discount price during the first few days of availability.

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | | LinkedIn | Email

Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Apple iPad and Photographers

Unless you have been under a very remote rock today (and, of course, if you are a photographer you might have been… ;-) you heard about Apple’s announcement of the iPad, their new tablet computing device. I’m not going to rehash all of the specs, but I have thought a little bit about how this might (and might not) fit into the lives and work of photographers.

I think that one possibility is that many who now may create content (like some of the articles and/or photographs seen on this blog) may find an avenue for publishing in a more book-like format and perhaps even distributing content via the iTunes (or is it iBook?) store. While the big publishers are getting the initial press for porting their collections to electronic versions, if the iTunes store is any guide there will be some great opportunities for small runs of electronic books. In the same way that some musicians and bands now self-produce creative work and then sell it through iTunes (or eMusic and so forth) this may provide a way for photographers to distribute electronic versions of their photography and their related writing. Advice: if this makes sense to you, start working on it now!

The iPad might also be a wonderful way to carry around and share a large portfolio of work. Imagine that you have been asked to show some work to a potential client. She has some specific work in mind. You bring along a traditional portfolio or other method of presenting some work in this area. The conversation diverges to other areas of mutual interest and you realize that you have some additional work that the client might want to see. Imagine that you have a very large collection of your work organized and ready for immediate search and display on the iPad.

If the iPad will allow connections to cameras – and there is some information suggesting that it may – it could also be a very small and lightweight device for backing up memory cards on location, and it might also serve as a usable display device for these images while in the field. I can also imagine the possibility that it or something like it could serve as an attached “external viewfinder” for cameras with live view and similar features. (This is admittedly speculative – I don’t know whether the connectivity of the iPad will allow this yet.  It is also worth recognizing that with a maximum memory of 64GB that the usefulness for external file backup would seem to be a bit limited.)

Finally, photographers (like lots of other folks who travel) may find that the iPad is all the computer they need in order to stay in touch on the road. While a small laptop is great, an even smaller device with greater battery capacity could be better for many of us… as long as we don’t need to have our copy of Photoshop or Lightroom ready to roll. Those don’t work on the iPad as far as I can tell. Along these lines, I’ve been intrigued by the iPhone and the iPod Touch, but I haven’t quite felt compelled to make the purchase because a) I have wanted a larger screen, and b) the cost for cell phone access with the iPhone seems exorbitant to me. The iPad seems to address both of these issues – it has a screen that is big enough for real online access and it can come with (if I understand correctly) a much less expensive form of data-only access to the ATT cell system.

I wasn’t certain how I’d feel about the tablet concept, but after seeing what was actually announced I’m more intrigued by this device, and I’m sure there are other applications of the device for photographers. Other ideas, anyone?

Updates: Over the first few days after the announcement I’ll add to and modify this post rather than spawning a series of iPad posts at this blog – so don’t be surprised to see some editing here after the original post.

  1. I knew I wouldn’t be the only person thinking about this – Right away there was this post at Photofocus.
  2. Michael Reichmann on The Apple iPad: What it Means for Photographers.
  3. D-Day for Tablet Freaks at A Photo Editor.
  4. Will the iPad Save Photography? by Bastian Ehl at Black Star Rising
  5. I see that Greg A. Lato also has a very interesting post on this subject, too.

(And another update in mid-July: I finally gave in and order an iPad. I should arrive by early August or so, at which point I’ll be able to update this post with – wait for it! – actual use reports!)

First Light: Five Photographers Explore Yosemite’s Wilderness

So, you like landscape photography, right? And you are aware that some of the most beautiful photographic subjects can be found in the back-country of California’s Yosemite National Park, right? And you very much enjoy looking through and absorbing the work of photographers who know the place especially well, right?

You need to pick up a copy of First Light: Five Photographers Explore Yosemite’s Wilderness, published by Heyday Press.

The book features the wonderful photography of a group of photographers whose experience in the park is extraordinary and varied: Charles Cramer, Karl Kroeber, Scot Miller, Mike Osborne, and Keith S. Walklet. Right now copies of the book autographed by all five photographers are available from the Ansel Adams Gallery.

(For the record, I have no financial interest in this book and if you purchase through the links in my post I receive no compensation from the sale. I just like the book and the photographers a lot and think you might, too!)