Photography Podcasts

TransitionI do a lot of driving each year. Shortly after receiving an iPod, I found out about these wonderful things called podcasts. Photography-based podcasts for me have now largely replaced music while traveling, especially when I am traveling on photography business. These podcasts help to inspire, inform, and place me in a photographic frame of mind, ready to start seeing and photographing when I step out of the car. What follows is a short listing of my favorite photography-based podcasts. They’re intelligent, inspiring, and often uplifting. Give them a try:

History of Photography, by Jeff Curto. These are recorded from Jeff’s class lectures and should be considered required listening. You cannot stand on the shoulders of giants if you don’t know from where they came.

Camera Position, by Jeff Curto. NOT Jeff’s class lectures, but rather his own personal musings on a wide variety of important photography topics.

LensWork – Photography and the Creative Process. If you know the publication LensWork and Brooks Jensen’s writing, you can expect more of the same intelligent discussion and thoughts from his podcast. One of my favorites.

Thought on Photography, with Paul Giguere. Paul creates a great podcast, with excellent interviews, thoughtful questions, and intelligent insight.

The Candid Frame, by Ibarionex Perello. Ibarionex has smooth voice and is an engaging interviewer.

You’ll notice that absent from my list are any gear- or technique-based podcasts. The reason for this is simple: they’re not very interesting to me and they won’t make me a better photographer. With limited available time for podcasts, I choose to listen to those that inspire and inform me, and ultimately those that make me want to keep coming back for more.

What other good and creative podcasts can you recommend?

You are visiting the blog of fine art photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website.

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Lessons in Light and Visualization

There is no such thing as “good” or “bad” photographic light. There is just light.
Brooks Jensen, LensWork.

Just last week, while photographer Floris van Bruegel and I walked towards Death Valley National Park’s Ibex Dunes, Floris commented that I used direct light in my photographs more than most photographers. I harbor no shame about this, and believe that I’m at an advantage in being able to visualize photographs in whatever available light is before me. While many nature and landscape photographers would have you believe that we are limited to the Golden Hours or to the twilight found at each end of the day, there simply exists light that best benefits your subject or light that is less than ideal for your subject. If you’ll contend that the light is “bad”, I’ll counter that you’re just looking in the wrong direction.

VoyagerThe photograph at left, Voyager, was made in the extreme southern end of Death Valley (the Valley proper, that is) last Wednesday. The time was 9:30am. I was up at 5:30am that morning. I had already covered a fair bit of ground, and had even cooked and eaten breakfast by the time I found this scene. I would estimate that 99 of 100 photographers would have told me that this was horrible light and no photographs could be made. Were it not for my experience and ability to visualize a scene in the final print (there is no such thing as PREvisualization!), I might have concurred. Fact is, were it not 9:30am and had the sun not been beating harshly on this wet mud, I doubt that I would have ever been able to see this. Before you rule out “bad” light, rule out your preconceptions and make the exposure. For digital photographers, this costs nothing. For film photographers, it costs only a modest amount to expand your seeing and possibilities. What could you possibly have to lose?

Voyager - raw film scan

Voyager - raw film scan

I’m about to do something here that I don’t believe I have ever done online before: share a raw film scan of the original negative (no manipulation). A cursory glance at the raw negative might lead one could suggest that this is “bad” light, but the proof is in the final print. The exposure was calculated to preserve all highlight and shadow details (no bracketing; no guesswork; I teach my film exposure techniques during my film-based workshops). From the moment I found the scene, I visualized not “bad” light or a difficult-to-print negative; I saw a voyaging vessel in a distant galaxy and a luminous final print. When Ansel talked about “visualization”, he was referring to this ability to visualize a final print (not the “capture“). I would venture that this is one of the most difficult if not liberating ways of seeing. If one cannot visualize the final print, one is not seeing the light 😉

You are visiting the blog of fine art photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website.

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