Probably my favourite video that I managed to record during the football season
World Press Photo Exhibition
The best photojournalism created last year will be on display in Dublin from next week. The exhibition of the 2013 World Press Photo contest makes its way Dublin for the first time in more than 20 years. The images will be exhibited at the CHQ Building in the Docklands area of the city from 30th November to 22nd December.
This year’s overall winner was Paul Hansen from Sweden for his depiction of the burial of two small children in Gaza. Among the other winners were stills from Europe’s austerity demonstrations, Syria’s conflict, Central America’s gang problems and the Olympic Games in London. But it’s not just the big events – powerful glimpses of daily life are also favoured by some of the talented photographers.
Split into the nine themed categories, including contemporary issues, observed portraits, staged portraits, daily life, sports action, general news, sports feature, nature and spot news, the pictures reflect global life as it was in 2012.
Almost 105,000 images were submitted by 5,666 photographers from 124 countries in the 56th annual competition. For over 55 years the World Press Photo contest has encouraged the highest standards in photojournalism.
The contest creates a bridge linking the professionals with the general public. As the announcement of the winners’ makes headlines around the world, so the inspirational role of photojournalism is highlighted to an audience of hundreds of millions.
All the prize-winning photographs are assembled into an exhibition that travels to 45 countries over the course of a year, and published in the World Press yearbook. Over two million people go to a hundred different venues to see the images. The contest is judged by leading experts in visual journalism who represent various aspects of the profession.
I hope to make it to visit the exhibition over the coming weeks and see some of the stunning images on show.
Click here for more information about World Press Photo Awards
Click here for more Details of the Dublin Exhibition
Ok, I am going to try a little poll for a bit of fun. The perennial dilemma for a lot of photographers is which DSLR to use or which is better. Some people swear by Canon, other are firmly in the Nikon camp while some others don’t really mind as their decision is based on the camera they have. So which are you?
Equipment Review – Canon 7D DSLR
For my first ever equipment review I am going to start with the camera that has become the work horse of my camera bag over the last 2 years, the Canon 7D. This isn’t going to be a review of the technical aspects, but instead a simple users review, how I find the camera, its good and bad aspects that I have found from use and a simple recommendation at the end. I will include a link to a full technical review from Canon as well as a link to what I think is the best review site for all photographic equipment.
When I was on the lookout for a new camera a couple of years ago I had narrowed it down to a simple choice between a full frame Canon 5D Mk 2 or a crop frame 7D. As this was going to be my primary camera for sports it came down to frames per second choice. As I already had a 5 MK2, I got myself the 7D and now had options in my camera bag. With batteries, CF cards, motor drives and lenses all being cross compatible it was a good choice for me.
As Canon website puts it in their introduction, “The EOS 7D combines’ high performance, versatility and cinematic-style HD movies. 18 MP resolution delivers superb quality and 8 fps continuous shooting keeps you ahead of the action”. And I won’t disagree with what Canon say. The camera is an absolute joy to use and it doesn’t let you down in what it promises. The crop factor doesn’t really come into play for anything I do. I use it primarily with a 70-200 F2.8 lens on the front. For weight and balance this combination works superbly for shooting sport and even weddings or portraits!
The camera shoots superbly in normal lighting situations and you will even get a very usable shot in low light conditions, even during high action sport shots. Of course the draw back to the high ISO you will use is that the frames per second ratio drops away considerably but this is where the photographers eye for a shot or anticipation comes into play. It’s not all about the piece of equipment!
You can shoot in Raw or Jpeg, or a combination of both and file sizes are quite impressive and give plenty of latitude of printing to large sizes, I have printed a few shots up to 20 x 24 inches with no apparent loss of resolution. For reviewing images on the camera, a small 3inch screen is available but like a lot of screens on DSLRs it isn’t really ideal. Of course if an image is out of focus on the LCD screen the chances are it is going to be totally out. What the screen does allow is you to view the Histogram and this is something that has become a habit for me and something I would recommend for everyone to get into the habit of doing.
The camera has a video capability but it isn’t something I really use it for as I have a small camcorder for video, and at football matches switching back and forth is feasible so its easier to use a camcorder for video and the 7D for stills. And as such it would be unfair of me to comment a lot on the video capability but any time I have used it the quality has been ok to reasonable, the problems for me only happen when I try to upload, having to run the final video through a converter, while the camcorder can upload right from camera. I may be doing something wrong, but as I don’t use or rely on the 7D video I won’t use that as a drawback.
So overall you may have guessed I love the 7D, the controls are well laid out, menus are easy to navigate and the images are sharp and true to colour. It compares very favourably to my now aging 5D MK 2 and when the time come to replace the 5D I will have a difficult decision as I like have 1 full frame and 1 crop frame camera, but I wouldn’t go against having 2 Canon 7Ds in my camera bag.
Links to Canon Specifications:
Full Canon 7D Review and over all a great review site:
I will shortly do a review of the photographic equipment that I use, including cameras, lenses, flash, Tripod and studio lighting. To do this review it is better that I list the equipment I use mostly for my photographic outings and shoots.
Cameras: Canon 7D and Canon 5D MK2
Lenses: Canon 70-200 F2.8, Canon 24- 105 F4 and Sigma 100-500 F6.5
Battery Grips: Canon BG-E7 (2)
Flash: Canon 580EX2
Tripod: Manfrotto 190XPROB
Camera Bag: Tamrac Expedition 9X
Studio Kit: Elinchrom D Lite It 4 Set
Backdrop: Wex Dual Background
Canon Remote Trigger and Endeloop Rechargable Batteries (8)
SanDisk Extreme 2 CF Cards 16GB (4)
Samsung Galaxy S3 Camera Phone
All of the above is the equipment I have and use on most photo shoots. The canon 7D and 70-200 lens are never parted and the 5D MK2 is always attached to the 24-105 unless in really good weather at football matches and only then will the Sigma lens be attached to either camera, the 7D being first choice.
My studio kit is fairly portable and including the backdrop fits nicely into most sitting rooms in an average house so is ideal for family portraits. A full review will follow in a future article.
Full reviews of most of my kit will feature over the coming weeks. These will not be technical reviews as they can be gotten of good websites, but user type reviews and how I use the cameras and what I think are the good and bad.
Famous Photographers – Steve Mc Curry
One of my earliest inspirations as a photographer was Steve McCurry. It was one of his most famous photographs that appeared on the cover of National Geographic in June 1985, the striking portrait of a young Afghan Girl. I have already done a little article on my blog about the photo and it is still one of the most famous National Geographic covers ever. My previous post about this photo can be found HERE
Born in 1950 in the USA, McCurry career really took off when he travelled into Afghanistan from Pakistan just before the Soviet Invasion in the mid 1980’s. His photographs from that time were some of the first to show the world images from within Afghanistan during the conflict. I have travelled to Africa in my previous job, photographing villages in Chad and Liberia as well as United Nations Peacekeeping troops and I always found the images captured by Steve Mc Curry as a guide to what I was trying to capture, get my images to tell a story.
As a photographer with National Geographic, some of the images taken are truly a great inspiration for any budding or professional photographer. With awards the world over Steve McCurry has to be one of the most iconic photographers of the 20th century.
I consider McCurry as one of the leading ‘storyteller’ photographers. A photo journalist, a documentary photographer, a photographer that always tries to get the human side to any job he covers. Reading from the press kit on his own website, one of McCurry’s inspirations was the topic of my first Famous Photographers article – Henri Cartier-Bresson. I can only dream to be in the company of photographic greats like these two men.
My Journey through Photography 4 (Final Part)
So onto where I found my inspirations, what drives me, my ideals when it comes to photography and where I see my career going in the future.
As a young photographer I was lucky enough to receive National Geographic magazine each month. I always looked forward to the magazine arriving and I don’t think I read an article till I was in my mid-twenties, it was always the photography that grabbed my attention. This was in the day before the world found internet so it was a monthly wait for the next issue and my next fix of stunning images from the photographers of National Geographic.
It was through looking at these photographs and trying to find out about the photographers that my interest really spiked. One of my inspirations was Steve Mc Curry, who famously took a photograph of a young Afghan Girl for National Geographic. I will be writing about Steve in my next article so I won’t dwell on him now. Another inspiration was the postcards of John Hinde. These images of Ireland and its own stunning scenery and simple images showed me that it’s not always the sunsets and slow moving water shots but simple proper composition can also be used to make a great photograph. Don’t be afraid to copy postcard images when starting off, and then develop that image a bit different with different angles.
This brings me to my ideals as a photographer, don’t be afraid to take a picture that you have seen a 1000 times, get the composition right, get the in camera exposure correct as well and if you get this much right and you like the finished photograph, well then you have succeeded. This is not a recipe for award winning images, but it is a simple recipe for images that you will be happy with. And first and foremost that is the most important thing about taking photographs, you being happy with your images. Of course to make a living you need to start to take images that other people will like, but if you start of well and get the simple things right, all the other stuff can develop.
So what does the future hold for me as a photographer? At the moment things are very fluid. Having just started a new job, the football season coming to an end and my final year in college now is not a time for big decisions or changes. I will always take photographs, I will enjoy sharing them online and hopefully will continue to be paid to teach beginners and for my photographs. I won’t get rich but my photography will always bring me happiness and I hope some of the images I take also passes on some pleasure to my viewing audience.
I hope everyone has enjoyed reading my journey, from a young lad getting my first camera to a mid-forties man who still has a love for photography.
Famous Photographers – Henri Cartier-Bresson
One of the leading photographers in the early part of the last century was Henri Cartier-Bresson. Born on August 22, 1908 in Chanteloup, France, he was the oldest of five children. As a teenager, Cartier-Bresson rebelled against his parents’ formal ways. Early in his adult he drifted toward communism. But it was art that remained at the centre of his life.
Cartier-Bresson travelled to Africa in 1931 and it fuelled an interest in him: photography. He experimented with a simple Brownie he’d received as a gift, taking pictures of the new world around him. Upon returning to France later that year, Cartier-Bresson purchased his first 35mm Leica, a camera whose simple style and stunning results would help define the photographer’s work.
For the rest of his life, in fact, Cartier-Bresson’s approach to photography would remain much the same. He made clear his disdain for the augmented image, one that had been enhanced by artificial light, dark room effects, even cropping. Cartier-Bresson believed that all edits should be done when the image was made. His equipment load was often light: a 50mm lens and if he needed it, a longer 90mm lens.
In 1947 Cartier-Bresson was one of the co-founders of the Magnum Photo Agency which has become one of the world’s biggest photo agencies. Not long after, Cartier-Bresson travelled east, spending considerable time in India, where he met and photographed Mahatma Gandhi shortly before his assassination in 1948. Cartier-Bresson’s subsequent work to document Gandhi’s death and its immediate impact on the country became one of Life Magazine’s most prized photo essays.
Cartier -Bresson died in 1994 just short of his 96th birthday and his influence on modern day photography is still immense. As a pioneer in photojournalism and using photography to tell a story I have found his work inspiring over my career.
Over the years I have looked at a lot of photos by Cartier–Bresson and his style is something I still aspire to and take inspiration from. Capturing the image ‘in camera’ rather than relying on lots of post processing is something I do my best to achieve every time I take the camera out.
For lots more information about Henri-Cartier Bresson visit Magnum Photos
My next Famous Photographer will be Steve Mc Curry, whose shot of an Afghan Girl was made famous National Geographic.
My Journey through Photography 3
In late 2010 my career took a new direction, I was no longer employed as a photographer, I was now freelance. It was a step into the unknown, not knowing where the next pay packet was going to come from. But I had faith in my ability as a photographer I just needed to make the contacts and get the work.
I made contact with the boss of Extratime.ie and offered my services as a photographer for football matches, and in the couple of years I have been doing the games I have really enjoyed it, Cup Finals, Internationals and weekly league games are just some of the matches I have photographed.
Looking back over my catalogue of photos, and I think I have just fewer than 12,000 photographs shared on Flickr and the events I have covered since my departure from the Defence Forces include Civil War Re-Enactments in both Ireland and England, Motor Races in the Phoenix Park, Motor Cycle Show in the RDS and the Women’s Mini Marathon for the last 3 years. All these events are things I may not have covered while serving, but my experiences while photographing the Defence Forces gave me not only the technical skills but also the organisational and people skills to carry out the jobs.
As a photographer it is important to keep evolving and improving skills. I started off photographing on 35mm black and white film and processing and printing by hand in the darkroom and now I am using digital cameras and digital media with computers for processing. I do try not to over process on a computer just like I never liked over processing prints in the darkroom, a rule of thumb I have always kept is to try capturing the image correctly in the camera.
That rule of thumb is something I have brought into something else I have started to do recently, Teaching Photography to beginners. This is something I never really thought I would ever do, but after setting up a camera club in the local area as well as developing a course structure I found that I can pass on my knowledge quite well. I suppose going to college late in life and studying media gave me the confidence to develop and deliver classes to strangers and let my enthusiasm for the subject come across.
I have one more article on this subject to write; it will include my inspirations, my ideals and where I hope to develop my career in the coming years.
The Gallery of Photography in Temple Bar is a place I like to drop into occasionally. Situated just off Meeting House Square in the heart of Dublin’s Temple Bar it is easily accessible and has a wealth of books and images for any passer-by or photographer to look over.
Founded in 1978 it hosts various photographic exhibitions as well as training courses. With full studio and darkroom facilities it is a gem within the photographic arena of Ireland. The gallery is non-profit and relies on donations from members to keep going.
One of the upcoming courses is Wet Plate Collodion photography. It takes place over the weekend of 26/27th of October 2013 in the gallery. This intensive weekend workshop led by experienced wet collodionist Monika Fabijanczyk gets you preparing plates, making exposures, developing, and varnishing your own wet collodion plates. Ideal for any photographer who wants to try something new over the weekend you can achieve results you will be proud of, and of course you get to keep your work. Everything is supplied, including 5 x 4 cameras, lights, all chemistry, clear glass, black glass and metal plates. Bring a steady hand and be prepared to fall in love with this most bewitching of processes!
2 upcoming exhibitions that will be worth a visit are firstly STILL, WE WORK, an exhibition featuring artists Sarah Browne, Vagabond Reviews, Miriam O’Connor and Anne Tallentire and presented by the National Women’s Council of Ireland. The exhibition has been devised as part of NWCI’s Legacy Project to mark their 40th anniversary year. The exhibition will run from October 18th to October 27th.
The second exhibition is Aftermath, which runs from October 30th to November 10th. In 1969 the largest evacuation of refugees since World War II took place in Ireland as thousands of people fled across the border to escape the unfolding conflict in Northern Ireland. In subsequent years the border counties continued to be heavily impacted; many people were injured or killed in bombings and shootings whilst others were imprisoned or displaced. Following the Good Friday Agreement and the cessation of overt conflict the issue arose of how to address the legacy of conflict. Aftermath sets out to explore hidden histories, unresolved antagonisms, and personal hopes and dreams. The project brings together people directly affected by trauma to share their experiences through photography, film and music.
So add the Gallery of Photography as a place to visit in Dublin and enjoy all that it has to offer. Visit Gallery of Photography website for more information