PhotoBlography - JN Photography

Demystifying Black & White

Black & white photos are more than just pictures with no color, it’s an art form all about the tones in the photo.
A grayscale digital photo is created by stripping all color information from an image. A black and white artistic photo also has no color information, but it’s not indiscriminate. With black & white film, a photographer would put color filters on the camera lens to change the tones in the photo. The filters did not add color but filtered out what colors were reaching the b&w film, thus altering the tones.
For example a red filter will make a blue sky black on b&w film. By using yellow, red, green, and blue filters a photographer could decide which tones to augment or suppress in a photo.
Famous b&w photographer Ansel Adams could spend a month in a dark room modifying the dark and light tones of a single photo. Digital cameras can do the same thing. Photoshop is a “digital darkroom” and its b&w tool has options to apply color filters to the black and white conversion. This does not add color, but it modifies the tones in the photo.
It’s all about the tones.
In the photo below, the sky wasn't really black or even dark blue. A red filter was used, which reduces blue light. Thus the blue sky appears dark.

Does Your Camera Really Matter?

"Amateurs worry about equipment, professionals worry about money, masters worry about light..." -Vernon Trent

"A good craftsman never blames his tools." -Unknown

No matter what camera you use, your photos will look like you took them.
When I was younger I bought many new cameras that promised better photos, but every photo looked the same. Sure there were differences in resolution, noise, and color, but the overall photos looked like the previous camera. Any camera is just a light-proof box with an opening on one end. It captures the light from whatever you aim it at. To make a difference in my photos I had to learn to take better photos myself.
Don't get me wrong, a full featured SLR camera can do things that a cellphone camera can't. But you have to learn how to use those features. Likewise, a cellphone can do things that a fancy SLR cant. It's about using the right tool for the job and knowing how to use that tool.
A good example is this- When you go to a restaurant and enjoy a delicious meal, do you complement the chef or say the chef must have good pots & pans? The chef probably does have good pots & pans, but it is the chef that makes the meal.
So, if you want to improve your photography, don't depend on a camera to do that for you. Get a camera that you like, that feels comfortable in your hand, and learn how to use it creatively.

Demystifying Camera Sensors

You have heard the term "megapixels" used to describe cameras. A higher number DOES NOT mean the camera is of better quality. The term simply means the number of pixels in a digital cameras imaging sensor. One megapixel is one million pixels, so a 12 megapixel camera has 12 million pixels. But more is not always better.
The number of pixels is also called "resolution." A high resolution means you could print a photo larger than a low resolution photo. If you have no plans to print your photos then a high megapixel count may be of little value to you.
All cameras are light-proof boxes with an opening on one end. The light that enters is focused by lenses onto something that records the image. In film cameras the light causes a chemical reaction on a piece of film which produces a negative image. In digital cameras the light strikes an electronic plate covered with tiny light-sensitive dot called a pixel. That creates an electronic signal that is processed by a small computer and saved as a photo on the cameras memory card.
Which one is best? Technically large-format film is probably best, but digital is also good enough for most people, including me.
What size sensor is best? Small sensors in phones and small cameras can produce decent photos good enough for the vast majority of people, but they do have limitations. Small sensors also create a lot of electronic noise between the densely packed pixels. This noise is dealt with by the cameras computer and often results in smeared details in the photo.
Large sensors have more pixels but they are less densely packed, so there is less electronic noise and better fine detail.
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Cool Nature Quotes

  • The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. -Anne Frank.
  • The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration. -Claude Monet.
  • To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug. -Helen Keller.
  • Nature abhors a vacuum, and if I can only walk with sufficient carelessness I am sure to be filled. -Henry David Thoreau.
  • It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know of wonder and humility. -Rachel Carson.
  • I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars. -Walt Whitman.
  • The goal of life is living in agreement with nature. -Zeno.
  • In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. -Aristotle.
  • You cant be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet. -Hal Borland.
  • May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey.
  • Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. -Ralph Waldo Emerson.
  • I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. -John Burroughs.
  • Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. -Albert Einstein.
  • In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. -John Muir.
  • Mans heart away from nature becomes hard. -Standing Bear.
  • If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere. -Vincent van Gogh.
  • Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand art more and more. -Vincent van Gogh.
  • I experience a period of frightening clarity in those moments when nature is so beautiful. -Vincent van Gogh.
  • Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher. -William Wordsworth.
  • One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. -William Shakespeare
  • The clearest way to the universe is through a forest wilderness. -John Muir
  • I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. -John Muir
  • The question is not what you look at, but what you see. -Henry David Thoreau
  • For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream. -Vincent Van Gogh

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