Monthly Archives: April 2017

Digital Photography

As far as photography is concerned, the role played by technology and the eye of the photographer goes hand in hand. The history of digital photography is punctuated by several revolutionary changes and what seems most interesting is, the history of advances is still being written.

The process of taking a snap, recording it and transferring it onto a tangible, visible surface has remained the same from the very beginning of the era of photography when there was the gradual transition from glass plates to dry plates (using gelatin), followed by black and white film, and then color film.

The process in which a photograph is recorded has always been to allow focused light to fall onto a light sensitive surface. The light sensitive surface could then be processed using chemicals in order to produce a positive or negative image. The basic principle remains the same even after a century when the first photograph was developed on film. What has changed over the years is the means and methods employed to get a photograph.

BOX BROWNIE:

The history of photography cannot be written without special mention to the Box Brownie.

George Eastman (of Kodak fame) played a big part in the development of film, first produced in 1884. Four years later, in 1888, he launched the famous Box Brownie camera with the slogan: and you press the button, we do the rest! The name was derived from the popular cartoons created by Palmer Cox.

This slogan largely described what a revolution the Box Brownie had brought in the world of photography. The Box Brownie was first of its kind using which even an amateur photographer could take a picture. Using the Box Brownie anyone could take a snap and not worry about the chemicals in order to process the film. The photographer could take the photographs in a fraction of a second and it would get stored on the film which can be developed at a later stage. The camera could be given to the chemist who would develop the photographs for you. Can anything be simpler than this to cause a commercial boom!!

The first Brownie, introduced in February, 1900, was a very basic cardboard box camera with a simple meniscus lens that took 2ΒΌ-inch square pictures on 117 rollfilm. One of the most popular Brownie models was the Brownie 127, millions of which were sold between 1952 and 1967. The Brownie 127 was a simple Bakelite camera for 127 films which featured a simple meniscus lens and a curved film plane to compensate for the deficiencies of the lens. Another simple camera was the Brownie Cresta which was sold between 1955 and 1958. It used 120 films and had a fixed focus lens.

KODAK:

George Eastman, the man who is credited with the most major breakthrough in the picture of photography was from Kodak. Thus, it is but obvious that the name of Kodak is bound to be associated with many major developments.

Kodak has invented an array of products which are indispensable for photography even now. All the way back in 1936 the first color film was made by Kodak and called Kodachrome.

Later the world witnessed a series of inventions by Kodak. Starting from the mid-1970s when Kodak invented several solid-state image sensors that “converted light to digital pictures” for professional and home consumer use. In 1986, Kodak scientists gave the world the first megapixel sensor, capable of recording 1.4 million pixels that could produce a 5×7-inch digital photo-quality print. Immediately in the following year, Kodak released seven products for recording, storing, manipulating, transmitting and printing electronic still video images. Three years later in 1990, Kodak developed the Photo CD system and proposed “the first worldwide standard for defining color in the digital environment of computers and computer peripherals.” In 1991, Kodak released the first professional digital camera system (DCS), for photojournalists and professionals.

It can be said that Kodak single handedly enabled the digital cameras to reach the eager hands of the common masses. Several companies joined hands with Kodak to make its effort a success. Some companies helped its campaign to manufacture cheaper cameras and make digital photography affordable to the public like IBM collaborated with Kodak in making an internet-based network image exchange.

Some other companies manufactured the accessories useful for printing of digital photographs like Hewlett-Packard was the first company to make color inkjet printers that complemented the new digital camera images.

Kinko’s and Microsoft both collaborated with Kodak to create digital image-making software workstations and kiosks which allowed customers to produce Photo CD Discs and photographs, and add digital images to documents.

SPEED and QUALITY:

Ask any photographer about digital cameras and films, the sole two topics of concern would be speed and picture quality.

Film speed is the measure of a photographic film’s sensitivity to light, determined by sensitometry and measured on various numerical scales, the most recent being the ISO system. As evident from the name itself, image quality refers to how clear and natural the image is.

In all kinds of photography, film or digital, the reduction of exposure corresponding to use of higher sensitivities generally leads to reduced image quality (via coarser film grain or higher image noise of other types). In short, the higher the sensitivity, the grainier the image will be.

Photographs which were taken on glass plates required a huge time of exposure. It meant a person may have to sit motionless for minutes when a portrait photograph was taken. Even after that the image quality was poor and grainy. Such photographs were priced as high as a weeks wage!

From that stage, photography has changed a lot for the betterment. With the advent of digital photography, neither film speed nor the image quality is compromised. Cameras nowadays can automatically determine the correct film speed for the best image quality at a particular light intensity. Also, the cost per photograph as decreased drastically so much that several people have gained a hobby due to the ease with which the pictures can now be taken, and every family has at least one camera. Also the simplicity by which any person can take good quality pictures is outstanding!

LIGHT, GOOD, CHEAP CAMERA:

With digital photography at its very youth, there was steep competition to manufacture cameras with more megapixels which costs lesser than the competitors camera. The world witnessed yet another major development in the area of photography with the introduction of the digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) cameras.

Before the August of 2003, Digital SLRs (DSLR) was strictly for the professionals. The costly and heavy apparatus were too much for the common public to afford or use.

Canon developed a DSLR in August 2003 which was actually the first affordable digital SLRs. With canon giving keen amateur photographers what they have been desperate to get in their hands on, the stage of photography changed completely. One could just take their lenses from their old film cameras and attach them to the new Canon. The camera also offered fast response times unlike the compact cameras up until this point.

IMAGE MANIPULATION SOFTWARES:

With millions of photographs being taken worldwide, the need to edit and manipulate those images was the order of the day. Something that started as a program to display grayscale images on a monochrome display in 1987 by Thomas Knoll, a PhD student at the University of Michigan, ended up as a program for image editing purposes. Brothers Thomas and John worked on it to build ImagePro. When it was distributed as a short term venture, it was an immediate success. Eventually the Photoshop license was purchased for distribution by Adobe in 1988. In 1990, Photoshop 1.0 was released for Macintosh.

Never before even professional photographers knew so much could be done to a photograph that has already been clicked. The world of photography was revolutionized once more. What Photoshop did was it made image manipulation so easy that both amateur as well as professional artists could spend less time editing and getting better results. A simple computer was all that they needed to make ordinary photograph turn into something completely different and extraordinary.

As the image editing market keeps growing, more companies have joined the business of making image editing tools. While giants like Corel and Adobe launch heavy licensed tools for wondrous versatile image editing, few other companies have launched cheaper, less powerful image manipulating tools too.

Digital Photography Vs Print Photography

Often, it is heard that digital photography is better over print photography. Digital photography i.e. the advancement in photography is believed to be a far different concept than print photography. Nevertheless, the former has turned out to be a wonderful complement to the latter. It is akin to evolution of music cassettes into digital media players. While the traditional photography has its own features and benefits, the digital one comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Print Photography

Print photography indicates the analog photography method, which in simple words, means using SLR cameras to take pictures. These cameras use film for producing photographs, which later get printed in analog with the help of a chemical process. Also, these are economical when compared to a digital camera of the same worth. Film rolls, however, may come out as costly.

With greater film capacity, analog cameras have light that covers a greater area as compared to that covered in digital ones.

The one drawback of an analog camera is that people need to get familiar with the settings of the camera before using it. During the developing process, you need to keep an eye on the effects on the images.

On the other hand, this kind of photography has a great advantage to offer i.e. the quality of the pictures. It is simply unmatched. The pictures come out as sharp and clear owing to the chemical reaction that occurs due to fall of light on the film from the shutter. The process used in film photography helps obtain exact and inverted images.

Digital Photography

While digital photography does not differ from print photography in any other aspect, the one difference between the two is that a charged coupled device (CCD) replaces the traditional film. CCD comprises small grids with tens of lakhs of photosensitive elements.

These elements get in touch with a ray of light when a photograph is clicked. Thereafter, a particular level of light gets registered by them as an electrical charge. These charges, once transferred to an analog-to-digital converter, change into digital data. The software in the camera comes up with a calculated and well balanced guess on the basis of the registered value. In the wake of the same, the detail level of the pictures gets reduced and turns into image quality.

In case of digital photography, the installation process is really simple with no fear of any wasted frames or film exposure. The pictures captured are stored on rewritable memory cards. Also, you can view the images anytime you want. It’s up to you if you keep the image or delete the same. And all this can be done in no time.

Conclusion:

If you are a beginner, you will be recommended to go for digital photography, which is easy to carry out and holds a room for you to improve your errors in a few clicks. Photography is such a profession, which requires constant practice and enhancement, no matter how much expertise you have gained in it. It instigates your creative self.

When it comes to print photography, you cannot begin with it until and unless you gain proper knowledge in the field.

With varied features comprising anti-shake functionality, immediately available ISO speed settings, and more, digital photography has experienced a considerable evolution over the years. It is more convenient and provides for high quality pictures.

Number 3 In Digital Photography

Okay now I know you are wondering what the third secret to digital photography is….

I think I’ll wait till next week to tell you….just kidding! I’ll tell you now.

It’s technical ability. Is that all? You say. Well my friend, learning what things mean what on the camera feels like it can take a lifetime, so here are some simple ways to help you learn to refine your digital photography skills. Once you have the artistic side of digital photography covered, you can then fine tune the artist in you and work that camera.

Just before I explain the digital camera in more details, firstly I want to say this about digital photography; you need to learn the technical aspects of the digital camera so that you can become the master and controller, not the other way around. When you first start out in digital photography it feels like you are at the whim of the digital camera and it controls your digital photography. Once you start learning what does what on the camera, you’ll find that you become the master and controller.

Lets look at the common terms in digital photography and simplify them into plain English. (God knows you will be forever looking at the camera manual thinking “what the heck does that mean?” So read this instead…)

Hey the only thing I knew when I started digital photography 6 years ago was what a lens cap was so if you don’t know the basic stuff please don’t feel bad. That’s why I am here; to help you.
Firstly to be good at digital photography you must first understand how the camera works. Your digital camera is a brilliant device and is very much like the human eye. There is an “eye lid” and a “pupil”. The eye lid blinks open and shut- this is how the shutter speed works. The pupil- how far the lens opens to let light in is the aperture. The flash works as a torch light. It is a direct source of light to provide more light where the camera needs it. You can use this anytime of day or night.

So with that basic analogy we can define some meanings. Don’t get too stressed about trying to remember these things, just remember the basics of how the camera works to begin with, then eventually these things will become more and more attainable to you.

Exposure: This means, basically, the total amount of light falling onto the sensor in your digital camera. The way this is “measured” is by calling the level a “value.” Or in shorter terms for digital photography its called an “E/V”. The more E/V registered on your digital camera the more light is getting in. Think of it as a higher E/V means a higher concentration of light going in the camera.

On my Sony brick…sorry I mean my old Sony Cyber shot, if I take a sunset shot and need to have more light in the picture then I’ll increase the E/V to +2.0. If it is a sunny day, like a bright summers day and I want to stop the picture from being overexposed and reduce the amount of light coming in to the digital camera, I’ll reduce the E/V to -0.3 for example.

These numbers simply pertain to my camera, so don’t worry too much about them, but just understand the principle. The lesser the E/V number the less light. In effect you are making the pupil smaller so less light comes in and vice versa.

Aperture: The aperture means the actual size of the opening of the lens. It’s a lot like exposure but relates to size more than anything. Think of this as the opening itself and controls how much light gets into the cameras sensor.

Shutter speed: This is the eyelid, if you like. It’s the speed in which the eye lid blinks open and shut. A fast “blink” means you can freeze time and capture fast action shots such as a person running without blur, or cars racing without blur. So really it is the measurement of how long the shutter is open when the digital photo is taken.

You will see sometimes 1/125th or 125 for example. This means that the shutter is open for 125th of a second. The higher the amount of time, the longer the shutter stays open. So in digital photography picture-taking terms if you want a blurry effect then leave the shutter open for a second to ten seconds and see the difference in effect. The quicker the shutter is open, the more you will capture, such as race cars or peoples fast action suspended in time without blur.

Lag: I just know this as “pain in the butt”. It’s the time delay between when you press the shutter button and when the camera actually takes the photo. It’s been the problem with digital photography until recent years when the dlsr cameras have almost reduced this altogether. The higher priced cameras have very little lag.

Flash Fill: This is a saviour for day photos where there is over exposed and underexposed areas in a digital photo- in the same photo. Imagine a bright sunny day and you take a photo of someone on the beach with the sun behind them. The digital camera will actually “see” the bright sky and keep that in focus and reduce the light on the persons face. To combat this you can use the flash to compensate for the camera “forgetting” about the persons face. Its the best thing since sliced bread. This is how you get shots of people blowing out birthday candles and are able to see their faces clearly.

Rule Of Thirds: When I first started digital photography I thought ; “Gee I mustn’t take that picture unless I abide by this principle.” Well that didn’t last long. Now I don’t even think about it. But this principle in photography should be called a guideline, not a rule. However when you are just starting digital photography its great to learn- it really helps you.

The Secret To Online Digital Photography

What is an online digital photography course and how can I learn more about them?

Digital photography is an increasingly popular hobby that more and more people are taking up every day. The beauty of digital photography is that all it really takes to get started is a digital camera, and cameras are more affordable than ever. In addition to having a camera, it will take some technique and skill to take great photos so aspiring photographers are always looking improve their overall skill in taking photos.

One way to improve your digital photography skills is to take an offline photography class at a community college. However, I would recommend taking an online digital photography course first, as it will be cheaper and more convenient. You will be able to learn on your own time.

Where can I find an online course in digital photography?

The first place to look for a digital photography course online is to search for “online digital photography course” in your favorite search engine. This will bring up a number of results for you to choose from. However, before you decide on a course, you will want to do a little research on each of the courses to help determine which one is best for you.

Start by looking for an independent site which reviews online photography courses to see how they rate a given course. Try not to form an opinion on one review alone, but base it on an overall consensus from numerous sites. If the reviews for one course are favorable on numerous websites, chances are it is a quality course.

What exactly is involved in an online digital photography course?

Most online courses will start off by teaching you the basics of digital photography. Once you have the basics down, they will move on to more advanced techniques such as lighting, adjusting tone, and image editing. Whatever your current skill level is, you will certainly learn a few new digital photography tips and techniques that will result in much better photos.

Can I just take a free digital photography course?

Most online digital photography courses will require payment, but there are a few of them that are free. From what I have seen, the free courses only offer the most basic information and won’t really get into any advanced techniques.

If you are short on cash, than you should try to find a free photography course online first. At the very least, you will learn a few things that you probably were not aware of. Eventually, you will want to take a more advanced course to take your photography skills to the next level.