The aim of this task was to capture your home.

Amanda Cottons beautifully framed and precisely captured entry Steps in the Sand finished first. This image draws you in, like you are sitting there on the sand, soaking up the sun, along with Amanda. I wish i lived near such a beach and to say the least, I am very jealous. It has been a very long time between dips in the salty sea. Not so for Amanda though as she is a big underwater and landscape photography fan. Her portfolio is well worth a visit.

Jemima (lovesbigted) is an avid Redbubbler and one hell of a street photographer slash graphic artist, and has pulled out a wonderful suburban urban image Night Scene 2. My favourite. The use of light is perfect, and composition well structured. Just like your walking down the street.

I decided to plaster my entry up. I love this image, which is rare, as I tend to be my worst critic. It is not easy to take images on the streets in East London. Just the other day, while taking a photo of the front of the pub in which the sign in the image is for, i was abused! Not the first time this has happened. It is not easy being a street photographer these days. No longer carries prestige, but instead seems to be seen as a threat. My image Home was taken a the top of my street.

Steps in the Sand by Amanda Cotton

Night Scene 2 by Jemima

 

Home by Adrian Rachele

Top of the list this week goes to Maria Medeiros with her entry Harmonious shells. A wonderfully simple and elegant image.

Nails and Nuts Figure by VashR31 is very well portrayed. The point of view and scale bring the little sculpture to life.

I just love Miron Abramovici image Want a bagel!. Not only a great find, but superbly created, and perfectly shot.

All profits from the purchase of these or any images in The Gift Of Art go to the selected monthly charity.

Harmonious shells by Maria Medeiros

Nails and Nuts Figure by VashR31

Want a bagel! by Miron Abramovic

For a long while I was happily loading images into the computer, and assuming what I see on the screen would appear exactly when producing prints.

Wrong!

Take it from me, if you wish to pursue the art of digital imaging, then monitor calibration should be the first thing on your list.

I will not attempt to explain how to calibrate your monitor. There is a plethora of information out there on the WWW. As a guide, there is the cheap and the expensive route.

For cheap monitor calibration for Apple users there is the Apple ColorSync Calibrator. I am not an apple user myself, so I have found this information with a little research.

For the Windows user, I have found a free and handy website from ePaperPress. They have a section dedicated to Monitor Calibration. This website has handy tools to get you on your way, along with explanations of the calibration process.

There is a free tool that come with Adobe Photoshop called Adobe Gamma which can be used for Windows and Mac users. I used Adobe Gamma with satisfactory results before I made a hardware purchase.

Up the scale of under £100 are hardware solutions from companies like Datacolor and Pantone. From Datacolour you have the Spyder 2 Express which is around the £55 mark or $65US, or the updated Spyder 3 Pro version for just under £100 or $160us (now Spyder 4 – 05.11.21). On my trip to America I purchased the Spyder 2 Pro, which is just under £120 or £150US. Used in conjunction with my Epson R2400, I have produced wonderful results. From Pantone is the Huey Pro for a little under £100 or £130US.

I recommend any of these products if you are home printing in small quantities, or selling via the internet.

If you plan on setting up a larger scale printing and selling business you may want to look into the higher rated products from these and other manufacturers. They usually consist of having to calibrate your monitor with the use of prints specifically from your printer, and depending on paper type, you create dedicated ICC profiles. You will get the most accurate results from this method, but for me it seems a little long winded for basic home printing, or internet selling. Prices from £300 to over £1000!!! The choice is yours.

Most printer paper manufacturers will have printing profiles for your printer type, available free from their websites. So as long as your monitor is calibrated, you should achieve harmonious results.

Top of the list this week is Rose Atkinson’s image Diagonal. I love this image. It is a great example of simple photography. Rosa has an outstanding and original portfolio that i highly recommend viewing here.

One of my favourite entries is Peter Hill’s entry Urban Lines Project – Pyrmont Path. To me this image is a fine example of lines and their effect on everyday urban life.

My entry was New York City 8. This image was taken at the previous World Trade Centre site. New York City is a architectural photographers wet dream. Everywhere you look there are shapes and shades, lines and shadows, reflections and of course, people. I have a journal about my trip to the USA here.

This time i will add another three more entries, just for my love of lines.

Redtempa’s image Movement Of The People. A wonderful example of a long exposure. If you love Black and White photography, i suggest visiting his portfolio here.

Adriana Glackin’s image drawing the line is a wonderful example of lines in nature, as is PeteG’s image Golden Reeds.

Don’t forget, all this work is in aid of exposure to The Gift of Art, where all profits will be donated to Cancer Research charity. You can purchase art from The Gift of Art, here.

See you next Challenge.

Diagonal by Rose Atkinson

Urban Lines Project – Pyrmont Path by Peter Hill

New York City 8 by Adrian Rachele

Movement Of The People by Redtempa

drawing the line by Adriana Glackin

Golden Reeds by PeteG

If you followed Guide No.1, you should have an idea about the lenses you might use, and narrowed down your first DSLR choices. Now, what about all those gizmos?

Bell & Whistle A – Megapixels

The big number one photographic sales term in this day and age is ‘Megapixels’. Lets discount the myth.

More Megapixels does not mean better quality images.

What more megapixels does give you is larger prints.

Most people will print up to A3, mainly at A4 and smaller (if you print at all in this age of the digital camera), so megapixels should not be of a great concern. Do not let megapixel count sway your decision. Most DSLRs are from 6mp and nothing new is under 10mp, which is more than enough.

You can also use a program like Adobe Photoshop or other cheaper alternatives, which are able to enlarge images without a large loss of quality (depending on enlargement size, billboard size might be a problem).

My advise is to do some research and have look for yourself at some images taken by those cameras you are thinking of buying. Most DSLRs are coming very close in terms of image quality. Only a very keen eye will tell the difference in prints at A4 size.

Finally, another corporate trick is quoting the total number of pixels on the sensor. This is misleading. Look instead for the effective pixels that are used. This is a more accurate representation of camera’s highest resolution.

For example, my D300 maximum resolution is 4,288×2,848 pixels. Multiply these numbers together you get the effective pixel count of 12.2 megapixels. Printed at 300dpi (dots per inch) standard, it creates a print size of 14.5×9.5inches or 36.3×24.1cm.

And remember, more megapixels does not equal better image quality.

Bell & Whistle B – Integrated Cleaning

One problem that you will find when owning a DSLR is dust on the sensor. This usually comes from frequent lens changes.

The Integrated Cleaning removes dust at the click of a button, without having to expose the sensor and blow or clean the sensor manually. This is no big deal. It is handy, but it should not be a deal breaker. I have this function in my D300. I have used the self cleaning unit twice in six months. One of these times, it failed to remove the dust, forcing me to resort to the age old process of exposing the sensor and using a blower to remove the dust.

Note that the integrated cleaning system only removes dust, not dirt. It’s not really cleaning, it’s a form of shaking.

This gizmo is nice to have, but it is far from a necessity. Most newer budget DSLR’s from mid 2007 have an integrated cleaning system anyhow.

So when the salesperson tells you it has in integrated cleaning. You say, ‘that’s nice, don’t they all these days?’, politely.

Bell & Whistles C – Frames per second

Frames per second is what it is, the amount of images the camera captures in one second. Usually quoted in RAW, but sometimes it refers to the amount of JPGs it can capture. Keep in mind the format quoted when this figure is given.

Unless you are going to be shooting sports or wildlife, this is a totally useless feature.

If you are going to be doing this type of photography, then by all means, get the best ‘Frame Per Second’ model. When you take into consideration this feature, check the image quality achieved at high ISO settings. A high ISO will allow you to use this feature to it’s full capacity in low light situations

Bell & Whistles D – Live View

Live view is the ability to compose using the LCD monitor. With no doubt you will have used this feature, as it is common to all compact digital cameras. You see on the back of the camera on the LCD screen, what you are taking a photo of.

In DSLR technology, Live view is very new, and does not work as well as it does on compact camera’s. Most manufacturers methods are nowhere near perfect, and are only really useful when composing using a tripod, and when there is a good amount of light. Even then, focusing is not speedy and usually involves the view blacking out. Unless you will be composing landscape or still life photography, this feature is mostly useless.

Most DSLRs have very good viewfinders which will be more than adequate.

Most new DSLRs have the Live View feature. I believe the Sony @350 has the best live view function to date, due to the speed of Auto Focus compared to the competition. Just this month, Olympus and Panasonic have also announced a Micro Four Thirds System DSLR body in development, which, it is claimed, will feature the most useful live view facility on a DSLR to date. So keep an eye out for future announcements by these two companies in regards to Live View functionality.

If you have anything further to add, or if you believe something needs correcting, please comment and let me know.

Next month i will look at handy features.