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V O L U M E 1 8 • I S S U E 2 • J U L Y 2 0 1 4

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and techniques to get your work noticed. Follow
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J U LY 2 0 1 4 BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY
editorial The Relationship Within a Body of Work
“I wonder who that For some time now, I have come to regard the alliance between the
photographer and his subject, however transient or resilient, as
person is. It is as if the most profound of experiences in the making of a photograph.
in my one life I have Especially when the subject happens to be another person, the
lived many lives.” relationship is wonderfully enlightened and sanguine. The unique
-Georgia O’Keeffe on nature of two people coming together, one involved in a sensual,
cerebral process and the other in acquiescence to that process, even
her portraits made
if momentary, is incredibly fulfilling to both. I believe this is the reason why so many artists
by Alfred Stieglitz and their models have had intensely intellectual and even intimate involvement that goes
beyond the creation of works of art.
One such famous relationship is that of artist Georgia O’Keeffe, known as the Mother of
American Modernism in painting, and Alfred Stieglitz, renowned American photographer,
gallerist and promoter of modern art. Between 1917 and 1937, Stieglitz made over 350 mounted
prints of O’Keeffe, distinguishing his images with as much a deep understanding of his muse
as with his use of arduous printing techniques. “To demand the (single) portrait that will be a
complete portrait of any person is as futile as to demand that a motion picture be condensed
into a single still,” he had once stated.
O’Keeffe was married to Stieglitz from 1924, till he passed away in 1946. Tumultuous as
their relationship was, before and during their marriage, the two artists exchanged an
estimated 25,000 handwritten notes and letters between each other. In 1978, O’Keeffe had said,
“When I look over the photographs Stieglitz took of me—some of them more than sixty years
ago—I wonder who that person is. It is as if in my one life I have lived many lives.”
8 Most celebrated artists do tend to live many sequestered lives within one, with each life
contributing to a remarkable body of work. And amongst all the bodies of work produced
since and before, from across the world, I cannot help but see that the ones to withstand the
test of time are indeed born of powerful, heartfelt, enduring relationships.

K Madhavan Pillai
editor@betterphotography.in

Grandma Toppan,
sixth-plate
daguerreotype,
Philadelphia, 1841
by Robert Cornelius
From the beautiful,
ornately embellished
photograph holders from
over a century ago to
pictures in wallets stuffed
into the backpocket of
trousers, history has not
been kind to portraits
of parents and spouses.
Robert Cornelius did start
the trend though... apart
from being the very first
portraitist, he was the
pioneer of the selfie!

To know more about the


first ever self portraitist
and why he moved away
from photography...
Turn to page 114

Better Photography J u ly 2 0 1 4
July 2014

78 86
SnapShots GearGuide
24 Book Review
‘When Abba Was Ill’ 28 test
Olympus OM-D E-M10 48 Nikkor AF-S 300mm
f/4 D IF-ED
by Adil Hasan We test the most basic Pro optics priced for
OM-D and see how good the enthusiast

26 Look Who’s Shooting


Tosha Jagad and
it really is

Stuti Jhaveri

27 Visual Musings
by Diwan Manna 50 Samyang 14mm T3.1
ED AS IF UMC
The best economical
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How good is this NEX-6
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ON THE COVER update from Sony?


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MAKING THE PERFECT CELLPHONE PORTRAIT • TIPS FOR STUNNING LANDSCAPES
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54 Adobe Photoshop CC
IDEAS TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME INDOORS! • GREAT MASTERS: ROBERT CORNELIUS • EXCLUSIVE TEST: OLYMPUS OM-D E-M10

38 Canon PowerShot Significant upgrade or


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OLYMPUVERDICT ON THISS
OUR MIRRORLE
LITTLE NDER
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G1 X Mark II inconsequential change?
Pro food photography right
in your very own kitchen
Will it recapture
IDEAS, TIPS & TECHNIQUES FOR
the advanced
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AT HOME
46 Canon EF 200–400mm
Make every indoor space your private
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Sony Alpha 6000


Canon G1 X Mark II
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Replaces the burden of
PROFILE
Mustafa Qureshi and his
GREAT MASTERS
Meet the founding father of
VISUAL MUSINGS
Diwan Manna on the changing
PHOTOGUIDE
What makes a good image? carrying multiple lenses The tripod that does it all
journey to photojournalism selfies—Robert Cornelius meaning of photography & art Mukesh Parpiani answers

PHOTOGRAPH: DR MAYUR DAVDA Main Cover July 2014.indd 1 21-06-2014 11:06:26

DESIGN: SANTOSH D KAMBLE


InFocus

108 114
CellphonePhotography BetterPictures ShowCase
64 TEST
Gionee Elife E7 78 SHOOTING TECHNIQUE
Stuck at Home? 108 Mustafa QuraishiProfile

A camera phone targeted Photography ideas for The photojournalist’s


at serious photographers when you can’t journey as he treads on
go outside hostile territory

66 Oppo R829
Is Oppo being too
ambitious in its claims? 86 The Secret Ingredient
Explore still life subjects 114 Great masters
Robert Cornelius
in the kitchen The life of the first

67 CELLPHONE DIARIES self-portraitist


Amit Mehra on the
importance of quietness 90 ON ASSIGNMENT
Odds and Ends
122 Bird’s Eye Botswana
photofeature
The art of arranging

68 CELLPHONE TECHNIQUE
A Portrait Affair
monochromatic palettes Explore African wildlife
from above

94
Tips for photographing Splash Away!
simple and gorgeous- Innovative yet simple Regulars
looking portraits ideas to freeze splashes Feedback.............................................................12
READERS GALLERY.................................................76

72 CELLPHONE PROFILE
Feyza Ceylan
PHOTOGUIDE........................................................ 98
Tips & Tricks.....................................................102
Her fascination Q & A ..................................................................106
for dereliction 1000 words.......................................................120
your pictures...................................................128
Feedback Send your feedback to
New Era House, Opp Shamrao Vithal Bank, Mogul Lane,
Matunga (W), Mumbai-400 016,
Maharashtra, India.
Email: feedback@betterphotography.in

improve their photography. I would also


suggest that BP critique the pictures that
make it to the Honourable Mentions to
increase learning.
Arun Deshpande, Mumbai, via email

Cellphone Polar Panoramas


The Tips & Tricks section of the June 2014
issue had tips on polar panoramas that were
quite intriguing. I found the technique a
little complicated for me to attempt with my
DSLR, but I was able to find an alternative on
my cellphone. I realised that there are apps
such as RollWorld that allow you to shoot
and create polar panoramas.
Anniversary Issue Delight The cover story ‘20 Ava Zaiwalla, Mumbai, via email
Congratulations on completing 17 years Pathbreaking Women
Better Photography! It is a milestone truly
Photographers Share
Their Inspirational
Interest in Bird Photography
worth cherishing. Experiences’ appeared in I have always been a wildlife photography
The June 2014 cover story 20 Pathbreaking the June 2014 issue. enthusiast. Of late however, I find myself
Women Photographers Share Their Inspirational more interested in photographing birds.
Experiences was a stunning read. It was Generally during the holidays, I visit the
amazing to see stalwarts like Annie outskirts of Chennai looking for birds.
Griffiths, Anna Fox, Sheba Chhachhi, On one of these visits, I witnessed two
12 Lana Šlezic and others, featured in the Green Bee-eaters romancing. The female
magazine. Also, reading about the younger would perch herself on the branch and the
photographers like Manjari Sharma, Asmita male would bring her insects and flies to
Parelkar and Chinky Shukla brought its own feed on. I was pretty close to the birds, only
learning. There was a good mix of genres— about 10 feet away, but I did not disturb
from nature and social issues to portraiture their mating ritual. In fact, I even managed
and installation art. to photograph them.
In the story, Ami Vitale was quoted as C S Girish, Chennai, via post
saying “ ... we can discover the universal
truth that we are all far more alike than we
are different,” in reference to how humans
are the same under the surface in spite
of all differences. It struck me that this
thought is applicable to photographers as
well. While we may all have our own way of
expressing ourselves, we are all alike in our
love for photography.
Santana D’mello, Mapusa, via email

The Drive to Participate


“Particpating When I logged on to the BP website, I was
in contests is quite excited to find the photography
contests. I participated in the By The
important as Beach contest. Although I did not win, the
they help give prospect of having my image published in
perspective the Your Pictures section of the magazine, An enthusiastic
about how one will keep driving me to participate in wildlife and bird
photographer C S Girish,
future competitions. I realised that
can further frequently participating in contests
sent us this image he
made of two Green
improve their is important, as they help motivate Bee-eaters he spotted
photography.” and give perspective as to how one can outside Chennai. C S Girish

Better Photography J u ly 2 0 1 4
Twitter: twitter.com/betterphoto
FEE DBACK Facebook: facebook.com/betterphotography
Youtube: youtube.com/betterphotoindia FIND US ONLINE!
Website: betterphotography.in

Cellphone as a Medium for Reportage


This year the Indian general elections received a experience the enormity of the elections in a way
lot of coverage. The mainstream media followed that their predecessors never could. Write in to
the elections closely as befitting news publications. The feed of Scroll.in produced images very Better Photography
However, a very interesting online newsfeed different from what we are used to seeing in with your feedback,
Scroll.in was covering the elections in a unique the media. This is simply because the medium and if your letter
manner, via Instagram. I was aware of their feed is such, that it demands a different approach.
wins the Letter of
and was pleased to find that BP featured this Journalist Naresh Fernandes was very rightly
the Month, you
venture in the June 2014 issue. quoted in the story as saying “With a cellphone, you
Publications abroad such as the New Yorker don’t have a telephoto, you have to get in close and will get a Envie
magazine and National Geographic frequently hand look for the smaller details. The emphasis was to Speedster charger!
over their Instagram feed to their photographers, tell the story of the voter and not the politician.”
to cover topics ranging from environmental and Cellphone photography is yet to be considered
social issues to lifestyle and portraits. a serious medium in India. Only when a publication
It is refreshing to see Indian photographers like Better Photography features ventures such
embracing a new medium to disseminate news. as that of Scroll.in will it find acceptance and
In fact, by using an app popular with a younger its foothold.
generation, many first–time voters were able to Hansa Pant, Noida, via email

“I was able to Battery Conservation Measures The Real Story Behind


advise my mother The June 2014 issue of Better Photography I have been reading the magazine for

on how she can featured a very interesting article about


cellphone batteries.
four years and one of my favourite
sections is The Story Behind the
conserve her I recently gifted my mother a Picture. I was quite surprised to see the
battery life so that smartphone so that she could make June 2014 issue with the image of Che
14
she never missed pictures for her frequent trips around Guevara’s first visit to India. I was not

photographing a the country. aware that he had visited the country


However, she would often find her in 1959!
special moment.” phone running low on battery and would Similarly, the March 2014 issue featured
turn it off to conserve it. This caused a photograph of Swami Vivekananda’s
her to miss several unique moments on first visit to America. This brings me to a
her travels. I realised that turning off quote of his that I regard as my motto in
her cellphone to conserve battery was life. “Persevere on, my brave lads, we have
incorrect, and as stated in The BP Textbook of only just begun. Never be despondent!
Boosting Battery Life, I advised her to put her Never say enough!”
cellphone in the Airplane Mode instead. Another learning came in the form of
She is now able to get to a power source the March 2013 issue where I discovered
before her battery runs out, and I am even that Microsoft’s opening wallpaper titled
considering gifting her a portable power Bliss, was the most viewed photograph
bank. Thanks for the advice BP! in the world. Thanks to the section, I am
Sonal Rajapurkar, Pune, via email always enlightened with a new fact.
Suresh Nair, Kozikhode, via email

No Anniversary Team Shot?


Better Photography’s anniversary issues
have always been eagerly awaited, and
the June 2014 issue was no exception.
Seeing the cover with so many
respected names from the photography
fraternity, only excited me further.
However, I was really disappointed to
‘The BP Textbook see that the anniversary team shot was
of Boosting Battery missing in the magazine. I do hope that
Life’ was a Cellphone
you will be able to put up a picture on
Technique on how to
better preserve your the website soon.
cellphone’s battery life. Swastik Chatterjee, Kolkata, via email

BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY J U LY 2 0 1 4
w h at ’ s n e w

Fujinon XF18–135mm f/3.5–5.6 R LM OIS


Instagram Update Offers Serious Photo Editing
WR Lens
Fujifilm announced the XF 18–135mm
T he world’s most popular cellphone
image sharing app has emerged from
an overhaul. Instagram’s latest update
high magnification zoom weather-
sealed lens, designed to be a match offers 10 new features which has placed
for the similarly weather-sealed X-T1. it on the path of a serious editing app, as
It claims that the lens has the most
opposed to being just a fun sharing app.
advanced 5-stop image stabilisation
system in the world. It will be available for USD 900 To start with, editing tools include
(approx. Rs. 54,322). features like Adjust—which lets you crop
and straighten the image simultaneously.
Phase One’s Schneider Kreuznach The other features include the usual
40–80mm LS f/4–5.6 Lens

Supriya Joshi
Phase One launched their
contrast, brightness, warmth, saturation,
second zoom lens for their highlights, vignette and sharpen tools.
645 digital medium format Moreover, you can adjust the filter
system—the Schneider strength too. For a while now, these features have
Kreuznach 40–80mm LS
f/4–5.6 lens. The lens has There is also the Lux slider function, been available on other photo editing
15 optical elements, two of which are aspherical, which acts as a fill light for darker photos. apps like Snapseed and VSCO Cam.
arranged in 11 groups. It also has a fast flash sync The strength of this feature is adjustable However, it remains to be seen whether
speed of upto 1/1000 secs. It comes with a price tag
as well. However, no new filter has been Instagram’s new features will be used over
of USD 8990 (approx. Rs. 5,34,000).
added to the existing list. other cellphone photo editing apps.
16
Oppo N1 Mini and Find 7
The Oppo Find 7 has been released
in India and is powered by a
2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 Quad Core
processor and features a 13MP
Panasonic Releases World’s First 4K Compact
camera, along with a stacked IMX214
CMOS sensor. The Find 7 is priced
at Rs. 37,990.
P anasonic is
gunning for a fight
in the superzoom
aperture range of f/2.8–f/4.
Other features include
5-axis optical image
Oppo has also officially announced
the N1 Mini. For now, it will only go and bridge camera stabilisation, which is great
on sale in China. With a 5-inch display, the phone categories. Its latest, the for shooting both stills
is still larger than competing mini smartphones. LUMIX DMC-FZ1000 and video.
It features the same 13MP 206° rotating camera as
superzoom camera, uses The FZ1000’s built-in
the N1, but with an Ultra HD mode that can produce
24MP images. a 1-inch high sensitivity stereo mic and the option
20MP Live MOS sensor. It is amongst of using an external mic will please video
LG G3 the first superzooms to feature a large enthusiasts. Additionally, the camera has
The LG G3 will feature a 13MP CMOS- sensor. The most exciting feature is that an ISO range of 125–25,600.
sensor rear camera and a 2MP front
facing camera. The 5.5-inch True the camera can shoot 4K videos at 30fps, Viewers can also grab 8MP photographs
HD-IPS+ screen comes with a huge making it the first compact camera in the from the 4K video clip. Equipped with
2560x1440 pixels (QHD) resolution. world to do so. a 921k dot LCD and a high resolution
At 534 ppi the phone has one of the OLED viewfinder, the camera is priced at
The camera offers a wider 16x zoom
densest displays in terms of pixels.
range (equivalent to 25–400mm) and an USD 899 (approx. Rs. 54,000).

Anyone can shoot chaos. But the most perceptive


photographers can make compelling pictures out of
uninteresting moments.

Alex Tehrani (1970)


Alex Tehrani is a USA-based photographer who began travelling and making pictures when he lost his mother to breast cancer. He began his
photographic journey in the darkroom of his school and went on to study photography at the Tisch School of Arts. He shoots editorial and Image Source:
commercial photography, and is also passionate about travelling for his personal work which includes political reportage. www.alextehrani.com

Better Photography j u ly 2 0 1 4
S NaPS hotS

W h at ’ S N e W iPhone Photography Award Winners Announced


htC One e8 Argentina. Jose Luis Barcia Fernandez and
The newly launched HTC One E8 is Jill Messner were the second and third prize
similar to the previously launched winners of the Photographer of the Year
One M8. The One E8 however,
features a polycarbonate unibody award, respectively.
frame and uses a 13MP 1/3-inch BSI All three winners received an iPad Air,
CMOS sensor and f/2.2 aperture. and the first place winners in each of the
It has a 5MP front facing camera and
other categories were awarded a gold bar.
features a Qualcomm Snapdragon
801 SoC processor. Goa-based
photographer Sephi
vertu Signature touch Julio Lucas Bergerson, who

T
Vertu has launched its newest he 7th Annual iPhone Photography has judged several
luxury phone, the Signature
Touch, at a whopping USD 11,300 award winners were announced in New Better Photography
(approx. Rs. 6,70,200). The Signature York on 10 June. 54 winners were declared competitions,
Touch can store up to 64GB worth of in 17 categories, including three prizes for received an

Sephi Bergerson
memory, runs on Android 4.4 KitKat Honourable
Photographer of the Year. Julio Lucas was
and features a 13MP Hasselblad
rear camera. declared as the Photographer of the Year Mention in four of
for his image of the Perito Moreno glacier in the categories.
GoPro Releases two New Mounts
GoPro released two new mounts

Prix Pictet Winner Michael Schmidt Passes Away


for adventure enthusiasts.
The 3-Way is a tri-hinged arm for
users who want to capture footage

O
at an arms length. It is priced ne of the best into the ways in which we feed ourselves”.
18 at USD 70 (approx. Rs. 4500). post-war German His most well-known book is Ein-Heit in
The other mount is the Bodyboard
Mount which allows the GoPro photographers Michael which Schmidt mixed urban landscapes
camera to be mounted on the top Schmidt, passed away and portraits from Germany, along with
of any bodyboard or soft-top surfboard. It comes on 24 May at the age historical images from the National
with a price tag of USD 20 (approx. Rs. 1500). of 68. His death comes Socialist period.
just days after he won
Canon eF-M 55–200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS
the prestigious Prix Pictect Award, which
StM Lens
Canon has announced the fourth lens in its recognises photographers’ works on social
M mount lens series—the EF-M 55–200mm f/4.5- and environmental issues.
6.3 IS STM. It provides an 88–320mm equivalent He won 100,000 swiss francs (approx.
zoom range on the Canon EOS M camera.
Rs. 67,02,500) for his body of work titled
The 55–200mm lens features 3.5 stop optical IS,
Lebensmittel, translated as ‘food stuff’. Born in

Michael Schmidt
and the STM motor claims to provide near-silent
focusing. It has a metal exterior, a built-in Ultra-low Berlin in 1945, Michael Schmidt’s work has
Dispersion element and a seven-blade circular been described by the judges of the award
aperture. It will be available for 330 pounds
as “an epic and hugely topical investigation
(approx. Rs. 33,900).

Google Maps’ World Apple iOS 8 Gets More Serious About Photography
Cup Stadium Tour A pple announced their latest operating
system, the iOS 8 on 2 June. It offers
iCloud. Editing images has also become
simpler as tools like brightness, contrast,

A long with millions of fans, Google


too indulged in football fever.
Google Maps released Street View images
a whole bunch of features that will benefit
those who use their iPhone as a serious
shooting device.
exposure, shadows, composition, light and
colours will be available within Photos.
Apple has introduced a
of all 12 stadiums where the FIFA World To begin with, iOS 8 includes number of new in-built filters
Cup 2014 matches are being held. the Time-lapse video feature, as well. Every edit made or
The webpage provides stats about the previously available only to filter that is added to the
stadium, including its capacity and the iPhone 5S users. Photos—the photo, automatically updates
number of matches that will be held there. inbuilt gallery app, has been the pictures on iCloud.
Viewers can also see the streets that have updated too, allowing every However, iOS 8 will not be
been painted for the World Cup. device to access their photos via available for iPhone 4 devices.

Better PhotograPhy j u ly 2 0 1 4
E v e n ts

16 June–15 July
Here
Gallery Zinc, Mumbai

Vipurva Parikh
P ro ta lk

Barrel Distortion is
Photoshop CC to Release in Touchscreen Version
Here is an exhibit
of Vipurva Parikh’s
photography from
an optical distortion in
which horizontal lines
parallel to each other
A dobe announced a touchscreen
friendly version of Photoshop
CC at the launch of Microsoft’s Surface
North-East India and
in the image curve Pro 3. This version will feature larger
Bhutan. The images
to look literally like
are shot away from the User Interface elements, which will make
a barrel.
cacophony of everyday it easier to access using either the finger
life. They feature the
or the stylus. It will also support high-

ROTSE-IIIb, SMU
quiet, impressionable
moments of life in density displays like the one on the Surface
a monastery. Pro 3. However, they remained cryptic on
20 June-13 July further developments.
A Quest for
Cultural Nostalgia
Dakshina Chitra, Chennai
Leica T Allegedly Steals AppCam’s Interface
T
Khushboo Bharti

he recently released Leica T created an evaluation period. Leica has not yet
waves because it stepped away from its commented on these claims.
standard design. Now software developers
at AppCam are claiming that the company
Researcher Khushboo
Bharti’s exhibition stole their interface and used it.
A Quest for Cultural According to their prickly press release,
Nostalgia is a AppCam had apparently approached
documentation of the
Leica to include the operating system in
20 vibrant and colourful
public artworks of their products, but were rejected after
Jaipur that were
created between the Ca ll for e n t ri e s
period of 1960–2010.
The artwork she has Prize: The first prize winner will receive a Sony A7
photographed are ILCE-7 kit. The second and third prize winners will
present at various each receive a Sony A6000 ILCE-6000L kit.
spaces in the city, like Website: www.worldphoto.org/about-the-sony-world-
over bridges, railway photography-awards/united-competition
stations, road crossings Deadline: 13 July
or entry gates in the old
city of Jaipur. Open Road Photo and Design Contest
The Competition: The Open Road Photo and Design
21 June–29 June
contest by MINI Space celebrates the spirit of travel
Longing to Belong: by road. Entrants can submit photographs shot
Refugees in India anywhere around the world.
India International Centre, Theme: The great open road.
New Delhi
Prize: The first prize winner will win a 21.5-inch 2.7 GHz
iMac computer. The second prize winner will receive
The Photo Contest’s The Photo Contest 2014-2015 a GoPro Hero3+ camera. The third prize winner will
Raghu Rai

aim is to provide The Competition: The Photo Contest aims to provide a be awarded the B&O H6 headphones and the Popular
a platform for upcoming platform for upcoming photographers. Vote winner will receive a projector keyboard.
photographers in India. Category: Nature, Glamour and Abstract. Website: www.minispace.com/en_us/
On the occasion of Prize: Under the Judges Choice Award, one winner from competitions/28/?competition=28
World Refugee Day each category will receive Rs. 13,000 and 100 entries Deadline: 30 July
2014, the United Nations will be selected to form a group exhibition. On the
High Commission for
Refugees, India is holding
other hand, one winner from each category under the CBRE Urban Photographer of the Year
Peoples Choice Award will receive Rs. 12,000. The Competition: The CBRE Urban Photographer of
an exhibition of Raghu Website: www.thephotocontest.in the Year contest challenges people to change their
Rai’s photographs. Deadline: 10 July perception of what everyday life is like in the urban
They are of refugees
setting. Entrants can submit up to 24 photographs,
belonging to Afghanistan,
Myanmar, Tibet, Sri
The United Photography Contest one for each hour of the day.
The Competition: Sony World Photography Awards Theme: The life of a town or city at a given time of day.
Lanka and Somalia.
presents a contest that honours the passion of football Prize: The winner will receive a luxury photo safari
They show their resilient
fans. This is in celebration of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. trip from a choice of destinations around the globe.
lives, away from the
Theme: Images that show the spirit of football and Website: www.cbreupoty.com
homes where they
display celebration, community and unity. Deadline: 8 August
face persecution.

Better Photography j u ly 2 0 1 4
E v e n ts

21 June–20 July
Photography
Exhibition
NGMA, Bengaluru

Photos Raise USD 74,000 Against Trafficking


Raja Deen Dayal
P ro ta lk

A
Blowout is caused merican photographer Tanner that he was facing human trafficking first-
by overexposure, Wendell Stewart was volunteering hand and knew he had to do something
19th century which results in a
complete loss of in Bulgaria for an anti-human trafficking about it.
photographer Raja Deen
Dayal’s photographs highlight details. organisation—The A21 Campaign, when he He then went on to start an IndieGoGo
of the British rule in found himself in a strange situation. campaign that offered a book of his 365-day
India, portraits of While photographing in the streets, a project of stunning skies around the world.
royals, landscapes and
stranger offered him a baby for USD 50 All the proceeds from the campaign will go
monuments will be on
display. The exhibition will (approx Rs. 3000). It dawned upon him towards The A21 Campaign.
have a rare collection of
photos and glass plate

Hubble Team Unveils Image with 10,000 Galaxies


negatives and will be
inaugurated by historian
Dr Ramachandra Guha.

3 July
Tales From T he Hubble Team at NASA recently
released the second Hubble Ultra
Deep Field image which shows an
Merwan’s
The Pint Room, Bandra, Mumbai estimated10,000 galaxies in one photograph.
It is the deepest portrait of the visible
Kashish Parpiani

universe ever achieved by humankind.


The photograph is made from 841 orbits
that the telescope created in the period
Image Source: NASA
Starting at 5.30pm, between 2003 to 2012.
there will be a free-
Astronomers have combined images of
to-attend discussion
22 visible, near-infrared light and ultraviolet
around Tales from
Merwan’s (www. light to create the photograph.
facebook.com/
talesfrommerwans). It is
a social-media photo
project by Kashish
Parpiani and Raj Lalwani, A Retrospective on Raja Deen Dayal 46 photographer’s works were available from
about the shutting down Raja Deen Dayal’s black and white images were 17–20 June. Photographers such as Elliot Erwitt, Rene
of the 100-year-old displayed at IIT, Chennai. It was a part of SPIC Burri, David Alan Harvey, Trent Park, Susan Meiselas,
Irani café Merwan’s. MACAY’s 2nd International Convention from 8–14 June. Eli Reed and Bruce Davidson and several others, had
The conversation The photographs were made in the late 1800’s and made their work available for the flash sale.
will be on the use of showed the Nizam of Hyderabad posing with the skins
photography to portray of animals, dance girls in his court and portraits of Photography Exhibition: 25 Kilos
changing cities and the British generals, among other images. Salamat Husain’s exhibition titled 25 Kilos was a
dissemination of images montage of his travels to places around the world—
in the Facebook age. Mumbai, Dubai, London, New York, and Turkey.
Magum Photos Celebrates 67 Years
The renowned photographic cooperative Magnum The name 25 Kilos comes from the weight of the
4 July-6 July
equipment that Salamat carried with him during his
Albus Atrum Photos celebrated its 67th Annual General Meeting, by
travels. The exhibition was on display at Gallery 7 in
Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai offering signed prints at USD 100 (approx. Rs. 6000).
Mumbai till the 20 June.
The exhibition is a
showcase of the best
work of students from
Solo Art Show: Heritage
Israeli artist David Schoken showcased his artwork
Bharati Vidyapeeth’s
at the Instituto Cervantes in New Delhi till 30 June.
School of Photography
His work titled Heritage, displayed his representation
and New Media.
of everyday issues that bother everyone—be it the
wrongdoings of the government, problems in people’s
12 July
relations or the impact of globalisation. He conveyed
Photography this through the use of installations, paintings
Workshop and photographs.
Chennai
An advanced Photography Exhibition: Song of Sharma
photography weekend USA. Austin, Texas. Abhijith K V, an 11th standard student held an
course is being held by 2013. Lake Travis, by exhibition on wildlife and bird photography titled
Ambitions 4 Photography Eli Reed. This was Song of Sharma. The exhibition featured images that
Academy. To register, one of the images were taken in the Wayanad wildlife sanctuary, Kerala
send an email to admin. made on sale. Eli Reed/Magnum Photos and was held from 2–30 June.
ambitions4@gmail.com

Better Photography j u ly 2 0 1 4
s n a ps h ots

Pin-up Portraitist Bunny Yeager Passes Away Canon’s Cloud Storage


P hotographer Bunny Yeager passed away
due to congestive heart failure at the
for her erotic and pin-up photographs in
the 50s and 60s. She was a successful model for Photographers
age of 85, in a nursing home in Miami, USA.
A former model herself, Bunny was known
who popularised bikinis, which she would
make herself. However, she was always more
interested in photography and began
C anon has
launched Irista,
a cloud storage

Image Source: www.irista.com


her career by photographing model service, solely for
Bettie Page—who later went on to photographers.
become an international sex symbol. You can upload
Yeager shot most of her pin-up photos of any file
images outdoors, bold and uncommon format and size.
for her time. She was much sought It also allows
after by adult publications and had you to store RAW images regardless
also published several books of her of the camera make and additionally,
photographs. However, in the 70s uploaded images can be shared on social
and 80s, editors began demanding networks like Facebook and Flickr. A free
more explicit photographs from membership of Irista will give you 10GB
her and she stopped shooting of storage space and full access to all
nudes altogether. its features. It provides two other paid
Her work was di splayed at the Andy options as well.
Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, USA, However, ever since the announcement
Bunny Yeager and is today recognised as important was made the website has been temporarily
Bunny Yeager makes a self-portrait outdoors in Naples, Italy. in terms of its cultural impact. shut down for site maintenance.
23

j u ly 2 0 1 4 Better Photography
s naps hots

Konica Minolta India 27-Year-Old Photojournalist Killed in Iraq


Appoints New MD A gence France-
Presse reported
They do daily life. They do everyday news.
There are not only bombs and blood.

Image Source: Time Lightbox


Y uji Nakata has been appointed as the
new Managing Director of Konica
Minolta India Pvt Ltd. He was previously
the death of
27-year-old Iraqi
photographer
There are other stories too,” he said about
his agency. His photographs have appeared
on The Washington Post, Financial Times,
the company’s Chief Representative in Kamaran Najm Vanity Fair and other publications.
Thailand. He joins at a time when the Ibrahim, on 12 June. Despite the repeated requests made
company plans to launch new printers into He was killed near by local and international organisations,
the Indian market. the city of Kirkuk in Iraq. At the time the security forces have done very little to
of his death, he was photographing the protect the journalists in Iraq.
clashes between the Kurdish forces and the

Kamaran Najm Ibrahim Metrography/Corbis


jihadists. However, it is unsure as to whether
he was specifically targeted or was one of
the casualties during the firing.
Kamaran was the founder of
Metrography, Iraq’s first photo agency.
He established the organisation in 2009,
along with photographer Sebastian Meyer.

Iran Reinstates Ban “Our photographers are trying to cover


different stories of Iraq and Kurdistan.

on Instagram
24
A ccording to a news agency in Iran, a
court order that came from a private MET Museum Digitises Collection for Viewing
lawsuit was given to Iran’s Ministry of
Telecommunications to ban Instagram. T he Metropolitan Musuem of
Art in New York has made over
Image Source: www.metmuseum.org

The app joins Facebook and YouTube 400,000 high-resolution images of their
on the list of banned social media outlets in collections available in the public domain.
the country. Apart from Irani citizens, many The photographs can be used for scholarly
officials are active users of social media too purposes in any media.
and not all of them are in agreement with This digitisation features select
this. The officials opposing the ban are of photographic work of the likes of Henri
the opinion that the internet should be seen Cartier-Bresson, Diane Arbus, Walker
as an opportunity and not a threat. Evans and Berenice Abbott, among others.

Book REViEW

Title: When Abba Was Ill


Authors: Adil Hasan
Uneasy Notes of Tenderness
iSBn: 978-81-927943-1-0 I have owned a copy of When Abba Was Ill since the beginning of the year, and am still unable to complete the
Publisher: Nazar Foundation book in one sitting. That’s only a testament to the heartbreaking nature of Adil Hasan’s musings, a series of
Price: Rs. 1000 photos he made as he came to terms with his father’s cancer.
Initially, I wasn’t sure what to make of Sanjeev Saith’s painstakingly deliberate edit of Adil’s photos. The fact
that each picture seemed to interact with more than just one (courtesy gatefolds) seemed like genius, but
this was a time that I was looking at the book with a myopic eye, that of a photographer.
Half an hour later, I realised what Saith and Hasan had done. By designing the book the way
he did, Sanjeev handholds the reader into accompanying Adil. The gatefolds on each spread are
the metaphorical window into Hasan’s life, as we feel part-voyeur, part-confidante. Saith gets us so
involved in piecing together the story that in folding and unfolding each page, we become a part of Adil’s grief.
Adil shot the entire period with two malfunctioning film cameras, and the resultant aesthetic is a little like a faded family
album. Old-school practitioners may dismiss the seeming lack of technical finesse, but the visuals are much like our most
tumultuous memories, a little hazy.
When Abba Was Ill is a landmark photography monograph in Indian publishing for its daring edit and equally challenging
subject. Personal grief has been explored by several artists before, but only a few do it with the kind of honesty, vulnerability
and grace that Adil manages.

— Written by raj Lalwani

Better photography j u Ly 2 0 1 4
s n a ps h ots

Nikon Sets Aside 1.8 Billion Yen for D600 Repairs Better Photography’s
S ince its release, the Nikon
D600 has been plagued
government had to step in and
order Nikon to stop selling the First Contest Winners
with troubles. They have now D600 in the country.
announced the allocation of As a damage control
1.8 billion yen to cover the cost measure, Nikon USA offered
of repairs and replacements in free inspection, cleaning and
an effort to appease disgruntled replacement of the shutter
customers. The spots on the sensors assembly and even entire replacements of
were so problematic that the Chinese the camera.

MIT Project Mimics Greats for Cellphone Images T he first online contest held by BP saw a
whopping 2300 entries by enthusiastic

R esearchers at the Massachusetts


Institute of Technology along with
Adobe Systems and the University of
photographer that has similar facial features.
After which, it applies the same look as the
portrait to the cellphone image.
Camille Lepage
readers. Achintya Das, the winner of the
By The Beach contest and the runner-up
N Prasad, both have their images featured in

Image Source: www.mit.edu


Virginia, have developed an algorithm that the Your Pictures section of the magazine.
could bring the distinctive photography Two other competitions based on harsh light
styles of Richard Avedon and Diane Arbus and Father’s Day saw a successful run as well.
to your cellphone images. For the Love of Nature is the ongoing contest,
The algorithm first recognises the facial winners of which will receive Rs. 5000 worth
features in a cellphone image. It then of gift vouchers and free participation in
selects a portrait shot by an accomplished BP’s Secrets of Shooting Workshop. 25

www.photokina.com

COLOGNE | SEPTEMBER 16–21

DISCOVER THE MANY WORLDS OF IMAGING. Buy tickets


online and save up
When the global leading industry fair opens in autumn 2014, the entire photo world to 40 %!
will be casting its eyes on Cologne. photokina is the centre of attraction for experts photokina.com
from the industry and trade, for manufacturers, service providers, professional users
and photo enthusiasts.
For good reason: This is the only show at which the many worlds of imaging are
represented in all their facets – from taking photos to saving them, from processing
to printing. When the worldwide business meets up to network, you shouldn’t be
missing: Be there and discover new trends and technical innovations first-hand !
The must-attend event for professionals.

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Mumbai – 400062 · Tel: +91-22-28715206 · Fax: +91-22-28715222 · r.gupte@koelnmesse-india.com

june 2014 Better Photography


pk14_205x134_BetterPhotography_IN.indd 1 21.05.14 14:43
s naps hots

Photographers Come Together to Help Sherpas Adobe CC’s Dysfunction


T he month of April saw one the
most horrific days in the history Costs Photographers
of Mount Everest’s climbs, where 16
sherpas were killed in an avalanche.
In the wake of the tragedy, a group
R ecently, the Adobe CC platform
was down due to a technical glitch.
This caused a lot of problems to its users,
of ten photographers organised by many of whom use it as a primary resource.
National Geographic photographer The platform was unavailable for an
Aaron Huey got together and entire day. There was no word about the
created For Our Sherpa Friends— issue from the technical support service,
a fund created for the families of apart from the fact that it was unusable.
the deceased sherpas and to also This glitch and the inability of Adobe to
provide long-term support to the adequately provide an explanation caused
community. To contribute, you can a furore from artists everywhere, as many
visit the website www.sherpasfund.org were unable to meet their deadlines.

Lo o k W h o ’ s s h o ot i n g

Tosha Jagad and


Stuti Jhaveri Gifting Smiles Along the Way
Recently, my Facebook feed saw a flurry of activity The photos are a spontaneous, impromptu reaction
from two girls who’ve been travelling and spurred by the interesting conversations they have,
documenting their trips in an extremely and the unusual moments they experience. Both of
interesting manner—with Polaroids and Instagrams. them decide together what will the Polaroid be about,
26 Tosha Jagad and Stuti Jhaveri decided to make a based on what they have shared with a particular
trip to Bhutan and Nepal. They already knew they person. Tosha shoots the Polaroids, while Stuti writes
were going to photograph their travels and also on them.
blog about them, once they were back. They set out “We wanted to gift them these pictures so that
with a Polaroid camera and initially, the idea was they could remember us by it and we also wanted to
to make Polaroids of the people and places they remember them, so we started making pictures of
“We gift Polaroids
came across. the Polaroid against a background that was relevant
to the people we “Once in Bhutan, we met such amazingly warm to the subject in order to make a complete story.”
met along the way people right from our first shared taxi ride that we They intend to continue this extremely personal
on our travels.” felt the need to give something back. So we started storytelling for the duration of their trip. More of their
gifting Polaroid portraits to the people we met along photographs can be found on Instagram at
the way, and took an iPhone picture of the Polaroid, @polaroid_portraits.
for our reference,” she said. — Written by Ambarin Afsar

All photographs by Tosha Jagad and Stuti Jhaveri

“He came to the riverside with a tin can. He threw a hooked string After they saw the Polaroid, these otherwise elusive monks took
into the water, reeled and caught three fish like a boss,” says Stuti. Tosha and Stuti on a tour to the temple chamber in their monastery.

Better Photography j u ly 2 0 1 4
Visual Musings

Photograph by Kenji Suzuki


Art is the Art of Going
Beyond the Obvious Diwan Manna

T
here is a story in Vishnudharmottara Puran, much referred to The most important reason this has happened is that personal
by scholars of Indian art, that I am reminded of. King Vajra contact is so much lesser. Most of us look at pictures on our cameras
approaches Sage Markandeya and requests him that he wants or on our computers. The tactility, the experience of touching and
to learn painting. The sage looks at him, smiles, and says that he feeling the print, dodging and burning it, is not there anymore.
would need to learn to write before he would learn to paint. There is just a gadget in our hands now, designed to help, but which
In order to learn writing, he needs to learn dance. For dance, he ends up being a hindrance between us and our sensitivity.
needs to learn music. And the story goes on... How do we achieve this seemingly abstract sensitivity—from the
The sage’s cyclic rumination is probably what describes the idea of rasika, by developing an aesthetic. And that takes hours, days,
prerequisite of being an artist. In order to be a good photographer, months and years. You have to have an eye that is receptive and
a good artist of any medium, you have to develop an overall perceptive. It’s the simple things that matter. To sing well, you need
understanding of the arts. Give art your heart. Do remember, I am to have good ears to listen. To write eloquently, you need to have the
using the word ‘art’ in a broad way. Any creative pursuit, where you ability to read. To shoot well, you have to develop the capability to
convey a thought as a form of expression, can be classified as art. see. It’s a neverending process, and maybe that’s the joy of it.
Having traversed both photography and other disciplines of But art is not just about practising it. It’s about getting into its
art, there is one aspect where I find a lot of young photographers madness, understanding its history, recognising its limitations and
lacking, because of the overreliance on technology in the medium. then experimenting. It’s about pushing the medium to its limits,
Their exposure to alternate ways of expression is often limited. about doing all you can, transcending barriers, and then going
Getting involved with other disciplines of expression, like music, beyond... beyond the obvious.  27
theatre, poetry, painting and so on,
helps acquire better understanding
of one’s medium.
How will this help a
photographer? When you indulge
yourself in multiple art forms, you
learn to appreciate different nuances
and subtleties, each of which you
can then imbibe in the next chapter
of your photographic journey.
There is another reason why I am
advocating this. Photography, by its
sheer nature, is a very spontaneous
medium. If you engage in other
art forms, one thing that you will
appreciate about them is how you
have to work towards something.
So be it the thousands of strokes
required to make a sketch or
a painting, or the amount of
deliberation needed to compose a
song. Photography is instant—point,
shoot, you are done, no time to mull
Diwan Manna

things over, no time to sensitise


yourself, unless one is consciously
involved with the need to treat every
photographic pursuit as riyaaz. This is a photograph from a body of work titled Shores of the Unknown.

Diwan Manna is one of the first exponents of conceptual photography in the country. His work, often a combination of painting, body arts and acting, revolves
around the broad themes of personal journeys and self actualisation. Diwan is currently the Chairman of the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi.

j u ly 2 0 1 4 Better Photography
GearGuide
test
te st

HOW WE TEST
Product categorisation
We first segregate products
into categories for the purpose
of equitability in testing.
The DSLR is divided into
entry-level, semi-professional
and professional categories.
For compacts, we distinguish
between advanced and basic
compact cameras. Similarly, we
also test consumer and pro
lenses, flashguns, printers, and
other photographic accessories
and gear.

The Process
We primarily test for features,
performance, build, ergonomics,
warranty and support. While this
remains constant, the weightage
we give to these parameter
differs from category to
category, because different
Olympus OM-D E-M10

Stout Hearted Tiny Goliath!


types of consumers have diverse
expectations from products.

Final ratings
Under each main parameter,
28
we list out hundreds of individual
variables (for eg. colour accuracy
for individual colours in different There is a lot to like about the diminutive Olympus OM-D E-M10 at first
lighting, individual features,
dynamic range, center-to-edge glance. K Madhavan Pillai discovers a little giant sleeping under the hood.

T
definition, light falloff, etc) against
which we either give points hird in the line-up of the OM-D Features
or simply mark ‘yes’ or ‘no’. series after the E-M1 and E-M5, the It uses the same 16MP sensor as the E-M5,
Thus, we arrive at a score for
E-M10 is a smaller mid-segment and the latest TruePic VII image processor
that parameter, and then, the final
score, denoted as a percentage. mirrorless camera. While it inherits and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity from the
Additionally, based on the current many (but not all) of the excellent E-M1. It features the wonderfully effective
pricing of a product, a star features from its more advanced siblings, it twin control dials, a built-in flash, focus
rating for ‘Value for Money’ is
considered. Value for Money does
certainly holds its own by adding to them. peaking, and a blazing continuous shooting
not affect the final percentage,
because prices for products
change constantly.

our seals of Approval


Any product that scores 80%
or higher in individual tests gets
‘BP Recommended’—a seal
of approval from our team.
In comparison tests, we also tag
products as ‘BP Best Performer’
and ‘BP Best Value for Money’.

BP Excellence Awards
At the end of the calendar year,
the highest rated products in
each category automatically
win the Better Photography
Excellence Award. This is
Better Photography’s recognition
of the very best products
launched in the course of the
year, and the companies that
made them.

BetteR PHOtOGRAPHY J U LY 2 0 1 4
test test test
Sony a6000 Canon G1 X Mark II Adobe Photoshop CC test
Could this be the best The flagship of Will it change things
mirrorless yet? Canon’s compacts for photographers?

34 38 54

WEigHTAgE oF
PArAmETErs

5%
15% 30%

20%
30%

Features
Performance
Build Quality
ergonomics 29
Warranty &
support

maestros Anup Jalota speed of 8fps with the focus locked on the On the lower side, shutterspeeds with the
with Padma Vibhushan first frame, or 3.5 fps while continually E-M10 can extend upto 60 sec. A feature that
Pandit Birju maharaj
eloquently rendered by focusing on the subject. I have found quite useful is the Time mode.
the grainy Film Art Filter, In fact, the E-M10 is quite alike the E-M5 Unique to the three OM-Ds, it allows the The incredibly subtle,
set to lower contrast and in features, except for the weatherproofing, user to select from 1 to 30 min of exposure nuanced grace of Pandit
overexposed by a stop. the proven 5-axis sensor based image and release the shutter with a delay. Birju maharaj at a
Exposure: 1/125sec at f/4 performance in mumbai,
(ISO 3200) stabilisation (relying instead on a 3-axis IS), The 1.04MP dot tilting touchscreen OLED
captured at 5fps.
and a maximum shutterspeed of 1/4000sec display is visibly improved. A built-in eye Exposure: 1/200sec at
instead of the 1/8000sec found in the E-M5. sensor optionally switches between the f/5.6 (ISO 1600)

All photographs by K Madhavan Pillai

J U LY 2 0 1 4 BetteR PHOtOGRAPHY
test

Test Shots

Low Light Focusing and Tracking Real World Noise and Detailing in Low Light
The stage lighting for this dance performance was rather dim. The AF of the E-M10 is At ISO 3200, images show some grain. Most of the details are retained till this point.
fast and accurate, even in low light, as long as there is some contrast in the frame. Underexposing your shots while using a high ISO is not a good idea.

P lu s 1.44MP dot EVF and the OLED screen. Handling


The EVF has a relatively large magnification, What makes the E-M10 truly fun to use
• Small but speedy
presenting the user with a larger view than is that you can customise the camera and
• Customisability
• Impressive AF those seen with the OVFs of most entry and use the buttons, touchscreen, and dials to
• Good JPEG engine mid-level DSLRs. The contrast-detect AF access and control quite a large number
• EVF system uses 81 selectable AF points, and of these creative options. Initially, I found
Minus enables focus down to -2EV. the buttons and dials a bit too close to each
There are, of course, the immensely other. The complex, layered menu and
• Pricing enjoyable 11 Art Filters, Highlight and controls may seem daunting to a new user.
30 Shadow Control curves, the ‘Colour Creator’ Yet, I am glad that Olympus did not try to
feature from the E-M1, in-camera HDR, ‘over-simplify’ their system.
the rather unique Live Composite mode I cannot overstate how useful the twin
that assembles a number of long exposure mode dials are. Depending on which
images into one composite image, while exposure mode I was using, I was always
showing progress in real time. in control of shutterspeed, aperture,
In fact, there are so many fun and serious compensation, and ISO, through these aLSO LOOK FOR
creative options, both for shooting and for dials. The ‘Live Super Control Panel’ on the
in-camera processing, that it takes a while to touchscreen provides access to 21 functions. • Sony a6000
• Panasonic G6
try them all. Changing settings is as simple as pressing
Ergonomics
Front pop-up
Top Front control Rear
flash dial / shutter EVF with
Mode dial Hotshoe release button Highlight Flash
Camera strap pop-up eye sensor Customisable
eyelet AF-assist & Shadow
switch function button
lamp Control /
customisable
function
button

Lens Video record Customisable On-off


Rear Tilting OLED
Textured body, Kit lens release EVF Diopter button Four-way switch
control touchscreen
handgrip button correction controller
dial panel

Despite being small, the E-M10 feels good in the hands, The ability to change settings using the twin control dials, The tilting LCD touchscreen is an improvement over
owing to the contoured grips and the reassuringly solid without pressing any buttons, is invaluable in a mirrorless the E-M5 in both visibility in sunlight, and in resolution.
magnesium alloy build. The new 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ kit camera. One of the buttons can be customised to Yet, I rarely found myself using it while shooting, after I
lens is the world’s most compact pancake zoom lens. temporarily change control dial functions to ISO and WB. customised the controls to my liking, preferring the EVF.

Better Photography j u ly 2 0 1 4
test

s P Ec i F i cAT i o n s

Noise Test
DED
MMEN
RECO
the OK button, touching the function you
want to change on the touchscreen, and then
spinning the front dial.

Performance iso 1600


The E-M10 is certainly speedy. AF with
Model name Olympus OM-D E-M10 E-M10 is exemplary. It locks instantly and
MRP USD 800 (with the M.Zuiko rarely misses, even in lower levels of light.
Digital ED 14–42mm
The buffer is reasonably good and allows
f/3.5-5.6 EZ lens)
about 11 RAW and JPEGs to be stored before
Effective pixels 16.1MP, 4608 x 3456 pixels
the E-M10 will need to write to the card, iso 3200
sensor size, type 17.3 x 13mm (Four Thirds), which it does quickly. Metering too is spot
Live MOS sensor
on, as is the white balance.
sensor cleaning Yes
While the JPEG processing is excellent,
Aspect ratio (w:h) 4:3 / 3:2 / 16:9 / 1:1 / 3:4 the RAWs have plenty of latent detail
Focusing type, modes Contrast Detect AF, which can be recovered. The TruePic VII
Single AF (S-AF, selective
point) / Continuous AF (C-AF) / engine really shows its advantages with
Manual Focus (MF)/ S-AF + MF the JPEGs. For example, it corrects for iso 6400
/ AF tracking (C-AF + TR), Full chromatic aberrations like fringing.
Time AF, Face Priority, Live View
The E-M10 does quite well with high ISO
AF points 81-area AF / Single (normal and
small), Group (9-points), All
noise, but lags behind in comparison to the
larger APS-C sensors. The best results are
Metering 324-area Average, Center
weighted, Spot, Spot with seen from ISO 100 to 1600.
highlight or shadow control I was also not too happy about the flash,
32 shutterspeed range 1/4000 - 60 sec, Bulb/Time especially in the auto mode. The results iso 12,800
(1/2/4/8/15/20/25/30 min) were overly harsh. I found myself Between ISO 400 to 1600, noise increases very
Exp. compensation -/+5 EV (at 1/3 EV steps) constantly trying to control it for good gradually and is wonderfully controlled. At 3200, it
ISO Auto, 200–25600 starts affecting critical detail. At 6400, this becomes
results, and was never completely satisfied
more pronounced. ISO 12,800, and 25,600 are best
White balance Auto WB, 7 Presets, 4 Capture with what I got. avoided. It is also best to leave the rather aggressive
WBs, Custom WB (Kelvin), WB The M.Zuiko Digital ED 14–42mm noise reduction of the E-M10 set to off and to reduce
compensation in +/-7 steps
f/3.5-5.6 EZ powerzoom lens that comes with noise later, when you post process your images.
Drive modes Single, Continuous (H: 4 to
8fps, L: 1 to 3.5fps selectable), the E-M1 as a kit, is amazingly compact, and
Self-timer (12, 2, custom
1-30sec) with shooting interval
looks good with the E-M10. The powerzoom
is a bit too slow for still photography
FINALRATINGS
0.5/1/2/3sec (1-10 shots)
but good for video, for which the lens is
Features 27/30
Built-in flash Pop-up, TTL, GN 8.2 (ISO200) EVF, touchscreen tilting OLED, 8fps
compatible. While distortions are visible at continuous shooting, Art Filters, WiFi
Flash modes, Auto, Redeye, Fill-in, Off, Slow the tele and wide ends, they are controlled.
sync speed sync.(1st and 2nd curtain), Performance 26/30
Manual (1/1 to 1/64), This is not the sharpest standard zoom kit Exemplary AF, good JPEG processing,
1/250sec sync speed detailed RAWs, flash could be better
lens I have tested, though. It produces its
LCD 3-inch tilting touchscreen, best results between f/5.6 and f/8. Build Quality 17/20
1.04 million dot Magnesium alloy build, feels reassuring

Viewfi nder Yes, 1.44 million dot EVF conclusion Ergonomics 13/15
Excellent customisability and speedy handling
Image stabilisation Yes, 3-axis sensor shift In the US, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 kit
storage types SDHC, SDXC (UHS-1), Eye-Fi costs about USD 800. Even if it is priced Warranty & support 3/5
One-year warranty, limited service centres
Interval recording 1sec - 24 hours, Max 999 equitably in India, it still faces some stiff

oVErALL 86%
frames, (also available for auto- competition from other mirrorless cameras
matic time-lapse movies)
(Sony, Panasonic), as well as APS-C DSLRs.
Movie clips Yes, Full HD
The reasons to buy the E-M10 come from its
Weather sealing No sheer range of creative options (especially Who should buy it? Enthusiasts who enjoy creative
Input / Output Micro-HDMI, combined USB/AV for JPEG users), handling prowess, and for options and like to experiment, and those who want an entry
output, Wi-Fi (file sharing, Live / into the Micro Four Thirds system for its range of lenses.
Rec View, wireless release with those who want to build a Micro Four Thirds
touch AF shutter, GPS) lens system. In that case, the OM-D E-M10 is Why? The E-M10 can prove a bit daunting for a beginner.
Dimensions (W x H x D) 119.1 x 82.3 x 45.9mm certainly an excellent camera to buy. But, if Olympus’ line-up of lenses in indeed worth having.

Weight 350g (body only) these are not your primary motives, you
Value for money
should consider your options.

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Sony Alpha 6000

NEXt in Line
34

The NEX-6’s successor seems to be a promising contender. Supriya Joshi


spends some time with the Sony Alpha 6000 to see how it fares.

S
ome time back, Sony bid farewell with a whopping 92% sensor coverage.
to the NEX moniker from their The A6000 also has the same 25-point
E-mount mirrorless lineup, and contrast detect system as the one in the
rebranded them as the Alpha NEX-6. Due to this, the wider coverage
series. It is difficult to say how area allows for ease in tracking moving
this affected camera sales and brand subjects across the sensor’s range.
WeigHtage oF perception, but I do know that the latest That’s what the company claims anyway.
Parameters camera in their lineup, the Alpha 6000, is a The A6000 features an upgraded
really strong contender. 24.3MP APS-C CMOS sensor, against the
5% 30% 16.1MP one in the NEX-6. The A6000
15% Features can shoot at 11fps with continuous AF, a
Announced in February 2014, the Alpha feature not many mirrorless cameras at
20% 30% 6000 is the successor to the much loved this price point possess. You can either
NEX-6. There are several upgrades over make 22 RAW images, 49 JPEGs or 21
the predecessor, the most exciting being RAW + JPEG images at that frame rate.
Features
Performance the updated hybrid AF system. As for the video capabilities, the camera
Build Quality The NEX-6 had 99 phase-detect points, records video at 1080/60p and 24p.
ergonomics which covered approximately 50% of The trend of including NFC and
Warranty & the sensor. The Alpha 6000, on the WiFi in cameras continues with the
support
other hand, has 179 phase-detect points Alpha 6000 as well. The device can be

BetteR PHOtOGRAPHy j u ly 2 0 1 4
test

controlled remotely using a cellphone, amongst the troves and troves of options.
images can be uploaded to the cloud To counter this, however, there are four
using WiFi and you can download customisable buttons, three on the back
several features to the camera, via Sony panel and one next to the power button.
PlayMemories apps. However, most of Programing these buttons helps bypass
these apps come at a price. the neverending menu system.
Against these new features is Sony’s To add to the already confusing amount
step backwards, in the form of a lower of menus, the back panel of the camera
resolution 1.44m dot SVGA viewfinder. body features a lot of dials and buttons.
The 2.3m dot XGA variant in the NEX-6 All this can be a bit daunting for a
would have been ideal, so it was quite new photographer.
surprising to see this feature degradation The form factor of the A6000 is
from Sony. compact, but feels sturdy. The inbuilt
Sony also eliminated the level flash is recessed inside the camera body
gauge that was present in the NEX-6. and pops out only when the flash button
Additionally, images on the Alpha 6000 is pressed.
are viewed on a 3-inch, 9,21,600 dots One major irritant in the camera’s
tilting LCD screen. The camera comes handling is its overly sensitive eye What’s in the box
with a 16–50mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens sensor. I would ideally like to alternate
(24–75mm equivalent). between using the viewfinder and LCD • Sony Alpha 6000
The camera’s tilting • 16–50mm lens
LCD allowed me to frame screen instead of sticking to just one
• Battery
this image from a lower Handling type. However, the sensor is so badly • USB cable and wire
height, all the while • Lens cap
The Alpha 6000 features a rather implemented, the screen would black
being discreet. • Body cap
Exposure: 1/160sec at f/5 exhaustive menu system... so exhaustive, out even with the slightest movement...
• Camera strap 35
(ISO 320) you could literally find yourself lost intentional or not so. I got so frustrated,

All images by Supriya Joshi

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Test Shots

Quick AF Capabilities Good Colour Reproduction and Metering


Autofocus is exceptionally fast, especially in good light. While all the AF modes are The colours reproduced by the A6000 are bright and punchy and are quite faithful.
quite reliable, I preferred the Flexible Spot AF the most, for added precision. The metering is quite accurate as well.

I just stuck to making my images through and it moved almost instantly from wide
aLSO LOOK FOR
the LCD. to telephoto.
• Olympus E-M10 Sony’s promise of a faster AF system
• Panasonic G6 Performance with the A6000 became a reality, as
You know a camera is special when it gets I discovered while shooting. There are
you out of a shooting slump. Maybe it was various kinds of AF control options you
36 the camera’s image and video quality, its have to play with. Of course, if you’re P lu s
responsiveness or perhaps I got out of the comfortable with letting the camera
slump off my own accord. But credits go choose the AF point for you, the Alpha • Excellent sensor
• Very fast AF
to the A6000 where it deserves them. 6000 will not disappoint there as well.
My time spent shooting with the A6000 In low light, the AF does slow down, but it Minus
was more than pleasant. The 16–50mm still locks well enough.
kit lens bundled with the camera was The image quality of the Alpha • USB charging
• EVF not as good
quite nice. It was a power zoom lens, 6000 is generally quite good. The ISO

Ergonomics
Front Top Rear
IR receiver
Strap eyelet Mode dial Eye sensor
AF-assist lamp for EVF Movie button

Custom button

Handgrip Electronic High resolution Customisable


Power zoom Multi-interface Control dial
viewfinder tilting LCD screen button
kit lens hot shoe
The camera body is light, but feels sturdy. It is The multi-interface shoe can be used to attach There are as three customisable buttons, each of which
compact enough to carry around in a small camera an external flash unit or a microphone. The lower can be customised to a shooting function of your choice.
bag. The grip is also quite good—one’s hand can rest resolution electronic viewfinder features absolutely no The EVF sensor is very troublesome, switching to the
comfortably against it. There is also an IR receiver in lag. The custom button can be used to program one of viewfinder even at the slightest movement. The LCD is
the front for optional remote control. several features. bright and a pleasure to use.

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test

s P eC i F i Cat i o n s
Noise Test
DED
MMEN
RECO
performance at the lower end of the
spectrum is quite commendable.
iso 3200
The quality gradually drops as you keep
going up the ISO range, but the images
are easily usable up to ISO 3200. At ISO
6400, make sure you shoot in RAW
and that you are careful about your
Model name Sony Alpha 6000 exposure settings. Anything above this
MRP Rs. 51,990, with kit lens is alright to upload on to social media, iso 6400
or to pass your images off as abstract
Effective pixels 24.3MP, 6000 x 4000 pixels
watercolour paintings.
sensor size, type 23.5 x 15.6mm, APS-C
The battery life of the camera is not the
Processor Bionz X
best. The in-camera micro USB charging
Focusing modes AF-A (Automatic), AF-S
makes it a very slow, laborious process.
(Single), DMF (Direct Manual),
AF-C (Continuous), MF However, the battery life is displayed in
iso 12,800
AF points 179 percentage form, which is quite helpful.
Metering Multi-segment, Center-
I truly enjoyed the camera for its video
weighted, Spot capabilities. It’s definitely far away from
Shutterspeed range 30–1/4000sec, Bulb the kind of quality the Panasonic G6
Exp. compensation +/- 5EV(1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps offers, but I am a videographer at heart,
selectable) and I still loved the kind of control the
Colour space sRGB, Adobe RGB Alpha 6000 gave me over recording video. iso 25,600
IsO Auto, 100–25,600 Moreover, in the Manual mode, you can
change the aperture and shutterspeed In terms of noise, the camera performs well
White balance Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy,
through the ISO sensitivity range. The images are 37
Incandescent, Warm White, during video recording. It also has
quite usable up to ISO 3200, and images at ISO
Cool White, Day White, continuous AF. 6400 can easily be used for smaller prints. In fact,
Daylight, Flash, Underwater
The White Balance capabilities of the at lower resolutions, you can crop into a large
Auto, C.Temp./Filter, Custom
camera was also quite good. Colours were image without much loss of detail. The camera can
Built-in fl ash Yes apply area-specific noise reduction, but it tends to
rich and vibrant. The Picture Effect be a bit heavy-handed with the same.
External fl ash Yes
mode, while a lot of fun to use, is sadly
Flash modes Autoflash, Fill-flash, Slow Sync,
unavailable when shooting in RAW.
Rear Sync, Red-eye reduction,
Hi-speed sync *5, Wireless
control *5 Conclusion FINALRATINGS
LCD size TFT LCD, 3-inch To sum up the Sony Alpha 6000, one can Features 27/30
Inbuilt WiFi, NFC, manual video control, low
LCD dots 9,21,600 dots say that it is the jack of all trades, master res EVF, 179 phase detection points
of some. For the kind of features this all
Viewfi nder Yes, OLED Electronic viewfinder Performance 27/30
rounder offers at this price point, the Stunning video, average battery life, excellent
File format JPEG, RAW, MP4, AVCHD
Alpha 6000 is quite the bargain. With that AF performance, good image quality
Image stabilisation No
said, however, one cannot ignore the build Quality 17/20
Live View Yes Compact form factor, yet sturdy
obvious niggles.
Self-timer 2sec, 10sec, 3–5 shot continuous ergonomics 12/15
Importantly, most of the lenses
storage types SD, SDHC, SDXC, Memory Stick available for the E mount are consumer
Low res EVF, over sensitive eye sensor, good
Pro Duo/Pro-HG Duo grip, too many menu options
lenses and they are relatively few in
Microphone port No Warranty & support 3/5
number. The range of lenses is not as Two year warranty, widespread service network
Movie clips 1920 x 1080 (60p, 60i, 24p),
well developed as the ones available for
1440 x 1080 (30p, 25p), 640 x

oVeraLL 86%
480 (30p, 25p) MFTs, for instance. However, if you’re ok
usB Yes with using only a kit lens, this is as good
as it gets.
environmentally sealed No
In a world populated by some fantastic Who should buy it? Anyone looking for a great all
HDMI Yes, micro HDMI round stills and video performer.
cameras, the Sony Alpha 6000 has
Battery NP-FW50 lithium-ion battery
and USB charger
found its own little spot. When the Why? The Alpha 6000 is one of the most competent video
NEX-6 was released, it was a veritable and stills mirrorless camera available today. It offers some
fantastic features at a good price.
Dimensions (W x H x D) 120 x 67 x 45mm gamechanger. However, the A6000, while
Weight 344g a commendable successor, is a reasonably Value for money
subtle upgrade to the pathbreaker.

j u ly 2 0 1 4 BetteR PHOtOGRAPHy
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38

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II

Recreating a Niche?
Ambarin Afsar wonders whether the PowerShot G1 X Mark II will make
the advanced compact camera market Canon’s stronghold once again.

O
nce upon a time, Canon used Features
to be the biggest player in the The styling of the G1 X Mark II is a far cry
advanced compact camera from the G series of cameras. Instead, it
market. The celebrated G looks a lot like Canon’s mirrorless camera,
Weightage oF series is a proof of this era. the EOS M. A redesigned body means that
Parameters The series was meant for prosumers who there is no room for a viewfinder, which
wanted great flexibility and image quality was originally on the G1 X.
5% 20% while avoiding bulky DSLRs. There are two significant updates in the
20% Canon’s reign lasted for a while, and G1 X Mark II—the sensor, and a fast aperture
then the market was taken over by other range. The sensor is a 1.5-inch large, multi-
15% 40% manufacturers. The regrettable G1X aspect 15MP CMOS sensor that is never used
didn’t do much to save Canon’s footing entirely. Instead, the camera makes different
in this particular area. Meanwhile, crops from it. It captures 12.8MP images in
Features
Performance Sony came out with the RX100 and the 3:2 aspect ratio, and 13.1MP images at the
Build Quality the RX100 II. 4:3 aspect ratio, while maintaining the same
ergonomics Now, in what is being touted as an angle of view. This idea isn’t exactly novel,
Warranty & overhaul of the G1 X, Canon seems to be Panasonic’s GH1, GH2 LX3 and LX5 also
Support
making amends with the G1 X Mark II. work on similar principles.

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Interestingly, while Canon says that the G1 X sported a hinged, fully articulated
G1 X Mark II is designed around a new screen, something that I personally find
sensor, its sensor size measures 18.7 x more preferable than a tilting screen.
12.5mm, which is quite close to the G1 X’s Other than this, the Mark II offers a
18.7 x 14mm sensor. This is much larger minimum focusing distance of 5cm as
than other advanced compacts that have opposed to the 20cm offered by the G1 X.
zoom. Basically, on paper, this should The G1 X II can record Full HD 1080p
mean better image quality, especially in video at 30fps, compared to the 1080p
low light, shallower depth of field and an video at 24fps offered by the G1 X.
improved dynamic range. However, the video functionality is not
Add to this the fact that the the G1 the best around.
I quite liked how the
fast aperture helped me X Mark II sports a 24–120mm f/2–3.9 Other interesting features include four
make great portraits. lens, and replaces the older camera’s Starry Skies modes such as Star Portrait,
However, I expected comparitively slow 28–112mm f/2.8–5.8 Star Nightscape, Star Trails and Star
better dynamic range lens. This combination of a 1.5-inch Time-Lapse movie. What’s in the box
from the camera.
Interestingly, the colour sensor and a fast lens could offer a The camera also features WiFi and
• G1 X Mark II body
palette is completely great payoff. NFC connectivity, and can remotely • Camera strap
unlike Canon’s cameras The other major update is the be controlled using a cellphone once • Li-ion battery
and the tones are very redesigned LCD that is now touch- you download the proprietary Canon • Battery charger
subtle and refreshing. • USB cable
Exposure: 1/60sec at f/3.9 sensitive, can be flipped up by 180° for CameraWindow app. You can also
• Reference manual
(ISO 100) selfies, and down by 45°. However, the transfer images to a cloud service.

39

All photographs by Ambarin Afsar

ja n ua ry 2 0 1 4 Better Photography
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Test Shots

An Intuitive Metering System f/3.9 at the Telephoto End Means Great Portraiture Opportunities
I was shooting through the bars of a window here, and I thought it was difficult The best part about the fast lens and the large sensor is what it means for
situation to meter. However, the camera read the situation quite well! portraiture—lovely shallow DOF and fast shutterspeeds in dim light.

Handling especially as the G1 X’s viewfinder was


aLSO LOOK FOR
The camera is made of magnesium alloy and tiny and unusable. It did not improve the
• Sony RX100 II feels extremely sturdy. What bothers me shooting experience.
• Sony RX100 III about it is the fact that once you extend the The lens control dials are fairly smooth
• Olympus OM-D
LCD, on the left, you can see the LCD cable and easy to operate. However, there is a
E-M10
running through the structure. Keeping this lag between the dial being turned and the
sort of a display cable exposed is just asking function being detected by the camera.
for trouble. Regardless of how strong the This can be quite annoying. Also, the P lu s
40 cable’s casing is, it can be prone to damage at four-way controller is a little too recessed.
• Fast lens
any time. Instead of pressing the controller, I ended
• Large sensor
Other than that, I was quite pleased with up clicking the dial surrounding it quite a • Dual lens
the touchscreen functionality. I am happy few times. My other grouse with the camera control rings
about the fact that a manufacturer has is the amount of remote control provided
Minus
realised that even prosumers can desire by the app when connected via WiFi.
the touchscreen experience, and it isn’t You can transfer images, zoom in, zoom • No MF during video
just limited to being used by beginners or out and release the shutter, but you cannot • No in-camera RAW
those looking for frills and fancy features. control anything else. Also, the app is a conversion
• Short battery life
I don’t feel the lack of an optical viewfinder, buggy and slow.  
Ergonomics

Front Top Zoom


Rear
AF-assist lamp Lens rocker WiFi button
Tilting LCD
control rings

Shortcut
button

Mode dial
Lens Pop-up flash Vari-angle Manual focus Four-way
Grip Playback button
articulated display button controller & dial

The Mark II looks a lot more sleek and streamlined The two rings on the lens control different The Function menu is summoned by a press of a
than its predecessor. Also, the front dial that offered variables, depending on the mode you are in. I only button. Sending it away, however, is a problem.
control over Av/Tv settings has been removed. wish that Canon would have made it possible for You need to tap twice on the LCD if touchscreen
With the addition of dual lens control rings, this is not a users to assign a specific function to each ring in functions are enabled, if not, then you need to press
problem though. different modes. the button again, which is cumbersome.

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Noise Test s P e C i F i Cat i o n s

D
MM ENDE
RECO
Performance
Canon promised a faster, more sophisticated
AF system with the Mark II. While the
camera’s AF performance is certainly way
iso 1600
better than that of the G1 X, especially at the
telephoto end, its competitors are faster. Model name Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II

In terms of image quality, I had very MRP Rs. 58,995


high expectations from the sensor, and Sensor size, type 1.5-inch, CMOS
while both in-camera JPEGs and those resolution 12.8MP (3:2) and 13.1MP (4:3),
processed from RAW files turned out 4352 x 2904 pixels
really crisp, they weren’t the best in the LCD Tilting, 3-inch, 104k dots
class, and certainly did not match up Focal range 24–120mm (35mm equivalent)
iso 3200 to the image quality of the Sony RX100 ISO range Auto, 100–12,800
II, a camera that shouldn’t even be a aperture range f/2.0–3.9
competitor considering its sensor is Shutterspeed 60sec–1/4000sec
smaller. There is no in-camera RAW file Metering modes Evaluative, Centre-weighted
conversion either. On the other hand, the average, Spot
colours are great out of the camera and File formats Still: JPEG, RAW; Movie: H.264
look really punchy on the LCD. Also, the Hot shoe Yes
lens is quite sharp across the zoom range. Battery Li-ion
iso 6400 Storage SD, SDHC, SDXC
Conclusion
Dimensions, weight 116 x 74 x 66mm, 553g
The G1 X Mark II sounded wonderfully
promising when I first heard about it, and
42 while it addresses quite a few issues, it
doesn’t get all of them right. There aren’t
many cameras like it, and it could have easily
eaten up its competitors, but fell short of the
mark. Priced at Rs. 58,995, the camera is an
iso 12,800 expensive buy, especially when you consider
Clean images upto ISO 800. But I was expecting that for a few thousand rupees lesser, you
better performance from ISO 3200 and above,
considering the sensor. In all fairness, high ISO
can get an equally efficient sensor, an EVF FINALRATINGS
and f/2.8 at the telephoto end with the newly Features 15/20
performance could have been a lot better.
announced RX100 III. Has hot shoe, but no EVF, LCD does not swivel

Performance 31/40
Sluggish AF, decent image quality but not
best in its class, inefficient battery life

build Quality 13/15


Sturdy magnesium alloy body, but flimsy LCD
hinge, with cable exposed

ergonomics 16/20
Dual lens control rings are excellent on
paper, but are slow to respond

Warranty & support 4/5


Two-year warranty

oVerall 79%
Who should buy it? People who want to use the
considerably shallow DOF offered by the Mark II.

Purple fringing was Why? Despite the large sensor and decent image quality,
visible along the girder what really makes the Mark II worthwhile is its fast aperture
beams in the image. of f/3.9 at the telephoto end. Great for portraitists!
Exposure: 1/1000sec at
f/2.8 (ISO 400) Value for money

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TEST

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X

46

One King for Many


Canon’s armoury consists of some fantastic telephoto primes. The EF 200–
400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X is the first lens that covers multiple
focal lengths, all the way from 200 to 560mm. Shridhar Kunte finds out.

N
ikon has had a constant aperture to switch to the 560mm field of view that
super telephoto zoom for a long the teleconverter helps provide. No other
time, in the form of the recently lens that has this level of build quality and
updated 200–400mm f/4G VR II. optics offers this amount of convenience.
In comparison, Canon didn’t have The lens has a minimum focusing distance
a lens that was directly competing, but in of 2 meters. At this working distance the lens
2013, they announced that a similar lens was offers a magnification of 1:5.
being developed. Only, this was special. The lens is filled up with plenty of glass.
WEIGHTAGE OF It was the world’s first ever lens that has a It contains 33 elements in 24 groups when
PARAMETERS built-in 1.4x teleconverter inside. used with 1.4x converter. The converter
incorporates one fluorite and four UD lens
5%
20%
Features elements.
15% The focal length along with the built- Canon also makes use of Super Spectra
35% in converter make this a rather exotic coating and Sub-Wavelength coatings, on
25% lens, especially for sports and wildlife some elements to reduce flare, ghosting and
photographers. Imagine you are any unwanted reflections. If you have an
Features
photographing an important sporting event For autofocus operation, Canon has APS-C sensor
Performance and you have to cover two different ends of used ring type Ultrasonic Silent Motor to camera, then you
Build Quality the field. 200mm is good enough to cover achieve fast, accurate and noiseless focus.
Ergonomics the side that you are on, and if you wish to There is a separate CPU built into the lens,
are effectively
Warranty & quickly switch between the closer subject preprogrammed with AF algorithms for fast using a 300-
Support
and one that’s further away, you may want and accurate autofocus. 840mm lens.
BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY J U LY 2 0 1 4
TEST

The power Focus mode allows to shift speed. In both of these departments, the S P E C I F I CAT I O N S
focus with virtually no noise, which is lens did exceptionally well. I found the
essential while capturing video. There are lens tack sharp throughout the entire
three image stabilisation modes (standard, focal length, even with the 1.4x extender. DED
MMEN
panning, and during capturing). The image In fact, the quality is so good that I find no RECO
stabilisation is effective up to four stops. reason to stop down the lens, either at the
This means you can use shutterspeeds maximum aperture of f/4 at 200–400mm
of approximately 1/35sec at 560mm focal or f/5.6 at 280–560mm.
length, without getting visible shake. The AF operation is snappy and silent.
That said, it is a tad behind prime lenses
Handling with similar focal lengths. Even while Model name Canon EF 200–400mm f/4L IS
I used this lens on the EOS 6D as well as the using the converter, the focusing speed USM Extender 1.4X

EOS 1D X. Both combinations are pretty barely drops. For instance, while shooting MRP Rs. 7,35,000

hefty and difficult to handle without any field hockey, I was able to capture action Lens construction 25 elements in 20 groups
33 elements in 24 groups with 1.4X
kind of external support. But as I spent more in front of both the goal mouths by
Min. focusing distance 2m
time with the lens, I was able to capture switching on the 1.4x teleconverter.
some good images while handholding the After inspecting all the images captured, Diaphragm blades 9

lens. The lens itself weighs 3620g, which is I was not able to find any kind of Filter diameter 52mm drop-In

lighter than the Canon 600mm prime but distortion or chromatic aberration! Dimensions 128 x 366mm

a bit heavier than the 400mm. This lens Weight 3620g


utilises 52mm drop-in filters. Conclusion
The teleconverter switch can be easily A majority of the photographers in India
accessed with left hand with a quick will think whether the cost of Rs. 7,35,000
movement straight back from the zoom is justifiable? For professional sports and P LU S
ring. There is a locking mechanism for wildlife photographers, yes, it’s absolutely 47
• AF speed
the teleconverter but I never had any worth it. This lens has an impressive range • Build quality
trouble with the mechanism. My personal of focal length and the performance is close • Image quality
preference, though, was to use this lens to prime lenses with similar focal lengths
MINUS
without locking. But here, one needs to in this class. With the built in teleconverter,
remember to open up the aperture to f/4 I see a few advantages it saves time as it can • Visible light falloff
when disengaging the extender. be call in to service with a flick of lever, it • Price
keeps the dust away and the most important
Performance matches the lens’ optics, thus enabling best
When it comes to pro-grade lenses such
as this, it is all about optics and focusing
possible sharpness. Canon has truly made a
groundbreaking product!
FINALRATINGS
Features 19/20
Built-in teleconverter, effective focal length
Even with the 1.4x range, four-stop IS advantage
converter, the lens Performance 33/35
exhibits very good Good AF speed, fantastic optics
image quality.
Exposure: 1/1000 sec; f/8; Build Quality 24/25
ISO 640 Built like a tank, weathersealed

Ergonomics 13/15
Wide zoom ring, Full time manual focus
override, dedicated switch for TC

Warranty & Support 4/5


Large number of service centres

OVERALL 93%
Who should buy it? High-end action and wildlife pros
who want the best possible quality without budget constraints.

Why? This one lens reduces the bulk of carrying multiple


Shridhar Kunte

telephotos without compromising on image quality.

Value for Money

J U LY 2 0 1 4 BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY
TEST

AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D IF-ED

Pro Optics for the Enthusiast


K Madhavan Pillai field-tests the AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D IF-ED and
discovers a high-quality, well-priced option for the serious enthusiast.

F
48 or many nature photographers, the when shooting in reasonably good light, or
300mm focal length would be the attached to a tripod via a large tripod collar.
next logical addition after a macro It does not feature Vibration Reduction.
lens. While there are a few good The lens is made of 10 elements in 6
zoom telephoto options available groups, with two of the elements made of
in that range, none can really match up to Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass to correct
the level of construction, optical quality, chromatic aberrations. AF occurs internally,
sharpness and contrast afforded by prime with no movement at the front lens element,
lenses. The trouble is, primes above 135mm allowing users to attach polarizing and
can be frighteningly expensive and out of graduated filters. The maximum aperture
reach for an enthusiast. Luckily for us, this of f/4 keeps the filter diameter to a relatively
300mm is different. small 77mm as compared to f/2.8 lenses.
Nikon unveiled the AF-S 300mm f/4D Yet, good 77mm filters will be both
IF-ED in early 2001, as a successor to the expensive and hard to come by.
AF 300mm f/4 ED that was released in 1987. The 300mm features a 9-bladed aperture
With most prime lenses witnessing upgrades diaphragm for near circular bokeh.
at least once every decade, the AF-S 300mm Of special note is the excellent minimum
WEIGHTAGE OF f/4D is due for an update at any moment, focusing distance of 4.8 feet. The maximum
PARAMETERS possibly to a G-type variant. At the moment, magnification at this distance is 0.27x.
however, it is still available and remains a
5%
20%
favourite with many photographers. Handling
15% In terms of controls, the 300mm f/4 AF-S
35% Features does not feature the rather useful ‘focus
25% The AF-S 300mm is designed for use on hold’ button found on the bigger telephoto
Nikon’s FX (full-frame) DSLRs. With a Silent primes. Also, the variable focus limiter A big advantage of
Features
Wave Motor, focusing promises to be quiet found on Nikon’s older 300mm f/4 lens is the f/4 is that is
Performance and speedy. The lens can also be used with now replaced with a single switch that limits can be handheld,
Build Quality all of Nikon’s current range of DX (APS-C) the choice to the full range of focus, or from
Ergonomics DSLRs, offering a focal length of 450mm. 3m to infinity. There is full-time AF override
quite comfortably,
Warranty & Sacrificing brightness for size and weight, and MF can be enabled with a switch that unlike the larger
Support
the 300mm f/4 can be used handheld toggles between M/A and M. f/2.8 version.
BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY J U LY 2 0 1 4
TEST

The lens is relatively lightweight and telephoto zooms I have seen. Yet, extreme S P E C I F I CAT I O N S
compact, especially in comparison to the action and bird photographers may find it
Nikon 300mm f/2.8. It allows effective a bit slow for their use. Nevertheless, with
ED
handheld shooting, but necessitates the both the D800 and D4s, the camera locks
COMMEND
use of some support… a monopod or a convincingly enough. In poor light, the RE
tripod, for shutterspeeds below 1/125sec. tendency to hunt for focus increases. AF is
I used the lens with both a D4s and where the lens begins to show its age.
D800. The camera balances well on both.
Build quality is top notch. Conclusion
Priced at Rs. 81,050, it happens to be
Performance Nikon’s least expensive high quality Model name AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D IF-ED
In terms of optical performance, there is telephoto prime above 135mm. It is also MRP Rs. 81,050
very little to flaw the 300mm on. Even at less expensive, and sharper, than most Lens construction 10 elements in 6 groups
f/4, sharpness is superb, certainly much of the high-end telephoto zooms that Min. focusing distance 1.46m
more than what you would get out of we tested so far, including Nikon’s own Diaphragm blades 9
any zoom. At the edges, there is a slight famous 80-400mm. Filter diameter 77mm
loss if you pixel peep. There is also an On a personal note, I would have opted Lenshood Built-in
increasingly perceptible loss at the smaller for the 1987 version of the lens, if it were Tripod Collar Yes, rotatable
apertures, beyond f/11. However, in both available in AF-S and boasted of the same
Dimensions 190 x 222.5mm
instances, it does not make a real-world image quality. Yet, amongst all the choices
Weight 1,440g
difference. Aberrations and flare are both available at this point of time, this lens is
well controlled. indeed well worth investing in. If you are
Focus is reasonably fast for most nature, a Nikon DSLR owner and need a 300mm,
street, stage or reptile photography. It is at you will find yourself hard-pressed to get P LU S
least as fast as some of the recent premium a better deal. 49
• Optical quality
• Build
• Price

MINUS

• Marginally slow AF

FINALRATINGS
Features 15/20
Has all the features similar lenses offer,
lacks VC

Performance 30/35
Displays exemplary sharpness, AF is very
slightly slow, good control over flare

Build Quality 23/25


Sturdy, metal barrel

Ergonomics 13/15
Wide rubberised rings, easy to shoot
handheld over long periods of time

Warranty & Support 4/5


Two year warranty, several service centres

The excellent close


OVERALL 85%
focusing distance of 57.6 Who should buy it? Nature, stage, street, reptile
inches opens up some and sports photographers looking specifically for sharpness
interesting possibilities.
At this distance, DOF is
Why? It is extremely well priced, can be used handheld,
and comes with excellent optics for very sharp results
critical, even at f/22.
Exposure: 1/320sec at f/22
(ISO 400) K Madhavan Pillai Value for Money

J U LY 2 0 1 4 BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY
TEST

50
Samyang 14mm T3.1 ED AS IF UMC VDSLR Cine

Cine Wide Paradiso


The Samyang 14mm T3.1 Cine is not only the least expensive ultrawide lens,
but also an interesting option for cropped-sensor users. Raj Lalwani finds out.

S
amyang’s Cine lenses are primarily and one often ends up shooting distorted
targetted at cinematographers but drama for drama’s sake. This is actually a
if you are a stills user who indulges very interesting lens on cropped-sensor
in some video, these lenses bodies, especially because both Canon and
WEIGHTAGE OF may catch your curiosity. Let us Nikon do not have a fast 20mm or 21mm
PARAMETERS understand the name first. T3.1? Surely that’s equivalent lens for APS-C.
f/3.1, right? Wrong. Cinematography lenses The Nikon version of the lens that we Manual focus is
5%
20%
usually have their aperture rated in the form tested, has electronic contacts. These allow an attention-
15% of t-stops instead of f-stops, where t-stop you to confirm focus in the viewfinder and intensive process.
denotes the absolute amount of light passing also allow you automatic metering, when
25%
35%
through the diaphragm. Effectively, still used with the D700. The Canon-mount
This only helps
shooters can keep in mind that this T3.1 lens option, though, is all manual. you perfect your
is similar to an f/2.8 optic. composition,
Features
Performance Handling which is usually
Features With a construction that is largely plastic,
Build Quality
Ergonomics Ultrawides are not easy to handle, remember the Samyang 14mm is relatively lightweight,
very difficult
Warranty & that. It’s very easy to get enamoured by all a rarity in f/2.8 glass of such exotic focal with a lens that is
Support
the dramatic perspective that 14mm offers, lengths. That said, the quality of plastic used so wide.
BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY J U LY 2 0 1 4
TEST

seems very good and the build quality is some of the best ultrawide lenses in the S P E C I F I CAT I O N S
quite assuring. market. When it comes to optics, the
Besides an inbuilt petal hood, the lens also Nikkor 14–24mm f/2.8 is the undoubted
has an aperture ring. With a clearly marked king in this field. The Samyang, on the DED
MMEN
distance scale, it becomes easy to prefocus D700, actually comes close, especially RECO
at a certain distance. There are no DOF when it comes to centre sharpness. The
markings and no hard stop for infinity, but corners are nowhere near as good as the
with a focal length so wide, one can rarely Nikkor lens, but stop down by two stops
go wrong with MF. There is no ability to use and you will see this inexpensive lens
filters, which is a big negative, especially for improve. The story is still pretty good on
landscape shooters and even videographers. cameras like the D610 and D800— both of Model name Samyang 14mm T3.1 ED AS IF
The gears around the focusing ring which have high-resolution sensors that UMC VDSLR Cine

are what differentiates this Cine version are far more demanding than the D700’s. MRP Rs. 41,520

from its still-photography counterpart. Contrast and colour rendition is the Lens construction 14 elements in 12 groups
The lens features industry-standard lens’ greatest strength, even while shooting Min. focusing distance 0.28m
gearing for the focus and the aperture ring. against the light. This not only produces Diaphragm blades 6
This makes the 14mm a breeze to use with crisp images with minimal haze, it shows the Filter diameter Not available
a cinematographer’s rig, be it for high-scale lens’ true potential while shooting video. Dimensions 96.1 x 87mm
productions or personal indies. However, there is some noticeable purple Weight 620g
You know that the ergonomics are fringing. Distortion is the other big flaw, it is
nuanced when you realise that the aperture of a complex variety and can’t be removed
ring is declicked. This basically means that easily via postprocessing. It’s best to avoid
P LU S
a change of aperture does not result in this lens for architecture.
any perceptible clicking sound or action. • Great sharpness
Dedicated stills shooters may not appreciate Conclusion • Price 51
this. But I didn’t face a problem with this as At Rs. 41,520, the Samyang 14mm is
MINUS
I was mostly shooting at f/2.8 all throughout. excellent value for money, especially
Depth control is barely possible as almost considering that the Nikkor and Canon • Can’t use filters
everything is sharp at the widest aperture. counterparts cost well over a lakh. • No electronic
The manual focus constraints will communication with
Canon bodies
Performance only make you appreciate the lens
The Samyang 14mm may be a cinema- more! Canon users lose the electronic
specific lens, but that does not
compromise on its photographic quality.
communication between camera and lens,
but at this price, it’s a compromise you
FINALRATINGS
In fact, it compares rather positively to will not mind making. Features 15/20
Built-in hood, can’t use filters, T3.1 capabilities,
MF with confirmation (Nikon version)
It’s easy to confirm
focus on a camera like Performance 32/35
the D700, and sharpness Acceptably sharp images, AF not as good as
proprietary lenses, good control over flare
wide open is excellent.
Exposure: 1/250sec at f/2.8
(ISO 6400)
Build Quality 22/25
Sturdy, easy handling despite the zoom

Ergonomics 14/15
Excellent focus ring, easy to use with cinema
rigs, balances well on full frame bodies

Warranty & Support 3/5


One-year warranty, limited service centres

OVERALL 86%
Who should buy it? Landscape photographers and
videographers who shoot in cramped spaces.

Why? The only genre you’d want to avoid is architecture due


to complex distortion, but the sharpness and value is great!

Raj Lalwani
Value for Money

J U LY 2 0 1 4 BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY
TEST

Tamron 16–300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro

A Versatile Package
52

Can the all-in-one superzoom Tamron 16–300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD


Macro lens prove itself? Natasha Desai finds out.

T
hey say all good things come in 16–300mm unique. The lens is built for
small packages and it seems to be APS-C sensors and gives a zoom range
Tamron’s motto for the of 24–450mm on Nikon and Sony, and
16–300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD 25.6–480mm on Canon.
Macro lens. The lens weighs a The Nikon and Canon versions
mere 540g and only slightly longer that a of the lens have Tamron’s Vibration
18–105mm kit lens from Nikon. Compensation (VC) system and the Piezo
It has a 16mm wide end that no other Drive (PZD) fast and silent AF motor.
WEIGHTAGE OF competing superzoom lens has and that The Sony mount does not have VC but that
PARAMETERS too at the price tag considerably lesser is because Sony DSLT and DSLRs have in-
than that of competitors. So far, so good. body stablisation.
5% But what’s the catch? We find out as we
20%
15% test the Nikon-mount version on the D90. Handling
35% The build quality of the lens is not
25% Features bad. Its body is mostly plastic, but it
There are other competing lenses has a metal mount. For all the focal
proprietary lenses like the Nikkor AF-S lengths that the lens packs in, the No other
Features
Performance DX 18–300mm F/3.5-6.3 VR and the weight is impressively light. Of course, superzoom lens
Canon EF-S 18–200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM a superzoom lens is never really
Build Quality
Ergonomics
starts at as wide
in this range. These are, however much inconspicuous. The lens may look
Warranty & more expensive, and it is the wide angle deceptively small when closed, but almost a focal length as
Support
capability of 16mm that makes the Tamron doubles in length at 300mm. 24mm equivalent.
BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY J U LY 2 0 1 4
TEST

Moving from one focal length to APS-C cameras, you may want to avoid S P E C I F I CAT I O N S
another is easy as it only takes around shooting at the longest focal length,
half a turn to go from wide to tele and the especially if detail is critical.
entire action is smooth. I found that I did There is quite a fair amount of purple DED
MMEN
not need to use the zoom lock at all as the fringing around the edges especially RECO
lens did not creep to the ground nor when in high-contrast images. Vignetting is
pointed upwards. Then again, this could noticeable at 16mm, at the widest aperture.
only be because it is a straight out-of-the- There is a fair amount of barrel distortion
box lens. Tamron claims that the lens is at the wide end, when there is a horizon or
moisture resistant, but whether it ought some other horizontal line in the frame.
to be used in rough weather is debatable. People standing towards the corners do Model name Tamron 16–300mm f/3.5-6.3
not get distorted, so the lens’ wide end is Di II VC PZD Macro

Performance actually quite good for street photography. MRP Rs. 48,990

With such a large zoom range, one would The lens claims to have macro capabilities. Lens construction 16 elements in 12 groups
expect a large compromise in terms of image However, the magnification ratio is nowhere Min. focusing distance 0.39m
quality, but the lens manages to hold up near 1:1. It does have a very close focusing Diaphragm blades 7
well. At the wide end, focusing is nice and distance, which helps get great close-ups at Filter diameter 67mm
quick, despite using an old-generation body 300mm. Depth isolation at the telephoto Dimensions 75 x 100mm
like the D90. At 300mm, however, the lens end is very good, but the quality of the Weight 540g
does take a bit of time to focus, especially bokeh is a little harsh.
if the subject is moving or if the light levels
are low. Even though the lens has an smooth Conclusion
manual focus ring at the base, it does not This lens is ideal for the photography
allow manual focus override at any point. enthusiast as it is extremely convenient. P LU S
When shooting at the wide end, the If you are looking for specific use like 53
• Portability
sharpness is excellent especially in the architecture or macro, then this is not the • Zoom range
centre. Corner sharpness improves on lens for you. For the price, the Tamron • Price
stopping down the aperture, and f/9 seems 16–300mm is a pretty good option.
MINUS
to be the sweet spot of the lens. At the While Rs. 48,990 is by no means a small
telephoto end, sharpness suffers, but it is amount of money, it is still much cheaper • Images not as sharp
usable enough—a minor tradeoff, when than its direct competitors and offers at 300mm
you gain such a huge zoom range. If you 16mm on the wide end, making it a
are using one of the new high-resolution unique general purpose lens.
FINALRATINGS
Features 17/20
Good zoom range, vibration compensation,
16mm focal length

Performance 31/35
Decently sharp images, good wide end
performance, some purple fringing

Build Quality 21/25


Sturdy, easy handling of zoom, no zoom
creep in spite of zoom range

Ergonomics 13/15
Narrow focus ring, easy to carry

Warranty & Support 3/5


Limited number of service facilities

OVERALL 85%
Who should buy it? The photography enthusiast
who needs a range of focal lengths on a budget.

Even though the leaves


Why? The portability even with such a zoom range, the
Natasha Desai

price edge over competitors.


were moving, I was to get a
pretty sharp image at 300mm.
Exposure: 1/250sec at f/9 (ISO 160) Value for Money

J U LY 2 0 1 4 BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY
test
te st

54

Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud & CC 2014

Goodbye World, Hello Cloud


Is Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud the biggest upgrade yet, or an inconsequential
one? Aditya Nair puts it to the test.

S
omewhere, in the not so distant well. Worse? Most of the time, what’s new
future, Photoshop reviews are is pretty darn good too. Fortunately, one
going to read, “This software year, four major upgrades to CC and a
is terrible! It doesn’t let me couple of PR faux pas has given me plenty
print photos straight from my to talk about. So, let’s begin.
imagination.” That’s the problem with
reviewing a software that’s been around Looking to the Sky
for 26 years, with 15 versions. Being the Back in June 2013, Adobe took its entire
industry leader, everything in Photoshop gamut of Creative Suite software and sent
is either great or new. And new, not just them to the cloud, a magical place on the
in the software, but to the industry, as internet tied together with a “beloved”

Better Photography jJMuay


ly 220001 49
t e st

subscription model, called Creative


The Workflow Goes Mobile There is
Cloud. It was code named Lucky 7 while
the latest version, CC 2014 is codenamed
something
Single Malt Whiskey Cat. almost celestial
Creative Cloud was supposed to give about being able
users access to Photoshop at much cheaper to use Camera
prices and was supposed to help Adobe
fight piracy (it was pirated three days after
RAW as a filter.
being launched).
Creative Cloud gives you access to 20GB
of storage space that lets you access your
files anywhere by simply signing into
your Adobe account. You can also directly
connect to your Behance account to add
your work to your portfolio.
With Sync Settings you can transfer

Aditya Nair
your preferences, shortcuts and settings
to a different computer. Gone are the
With Adobe Photoshop Mix (iOS), you can take
WEIGHTAGE OF days when you had to redo all your
your image editing workflow with you on the go.
PARAMETERS favourite shortcuts and Actions when you It’s the first mobile application that gives you
changed computers. non destructive image editing on a phone. A key
A new preference setting also tool lets you cut subjects out of the scene by
30% simply dragging you finger over them. We’ll be
allows you to become a beta tester
reviewing it in one of the upcoming issues of
40% for Photoshop’s future experimental Better Photography.
features too. 55
30%
The best part, though, is that you no Camera RAW, Now a Filter!
longer need separate licenses if you use Possibly the coolest feature, Adobe
Features Mac and Windows machines. You can use Camera RAW can now be used as a Filter
ease of use
the software on either computers using for JPEGs and TIFFs in addition to RAW
Performance
just your Adobe account. files. Genius! While you could use ACR

The Pros and Cons of the Subscription Model

T
he subscription model announced by Adobe The Need for Ownership Despite being
has been the subject of quite a lot of hate, That said, servers going down can cause loses in the comparatively
including a 48,000 person strong petition lakhs for businesses. Adobe needs to put an alternate inexpensive,
on Change.org to get rid of it. The fact that solution in place to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
photographers can no longer own a version of
the company
the software but have to rent it each month has left a lot Regular Updates has faced
of users very unhappy. On a positive note, since you are paying a monthly fee, tremendous
you no longer have to pay for upgrades. And CC has flak for the
Problem of Moving to a Cloud Based System had four significant upgrades (14.0, 14.1, 14.2 and 2014)
The biggest problem with the monthly subscription in the year since its launch. Photoshop no longer has
rental model.
model is that you need to sign in at least once a month to wait and create a bunch of features before it updates
even if you have paid for a year. This became a real the software either.
problem when Adobe’s servers went down, leaving
some photographers without their editing tools. It’s Quite Inexpensive
Chalk it up to teething issues of a company moving The monthly subscription for a single software is
to a cloud-based system for the first time. Every USD 19.99 (approx. Rs. 1200) per month. At that price
inherently cloud-based service has gone down at some you would have to use Photoshop for 4 years before
point in the past. This includes Gmail, Instagram, it equals the price of its predecessor, Photoshop CS6
WhatsApp and at the time of writing this, Facebook, all Extended that used to cost USD 999 (approx. Rs.
after the CC debacle. 60,000). And this doesn’t include the cost of upgrades.

J u ly 2 0 1 4 Better PhotograPhy
te st

Photoshop Wants You To Be a Sharper Photographer


The much hyped Shake Reduction filter, showcased at Adobe Max over two years For fun, we also ran a motion blur image (seen below) to see what it would do.
ago, is finally here and its... disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, under certain specific Using the Blur Direction Tool, I applied the filter to correct for the bike on the right.
parameters it does do an admirable job of fixing the shake. But those are limited. The results were actually pretty spectacular for the bike on the right. (After you
With complex camera shake, or in low light, this tool just doesn’t live up to the ignore the surreal glitch abstract it created out of the bike on the left.). The image
hype. This is probably why, Adobe themselves have chosen not to highlight it in can be used by cropping or masking out the glitchy portions or by applying Shake
the Filter Menu. Reduction separately for the second bike.
Personally, I would run images that look acceptably sharp through the filter once Quite frankly, Shake Reduction is a new feature and in its infancy. But it still
just for the added sharpness. But I won’t be hunting through my old files looking for manages to excite me enough to wonder what it will be able to do, a couple of
good images ruined by camera shake, just yet. updates from now.
K Madhavan Pillai

Before After
Shake Reduction does a good job sharpening images with unidirectional shake without reducing the image size.

56
Suresh Narayanan

Before After
There are some sharpening artefacts that can be dealt with using the sliders, or in serious cases with some creative layer masking.
Suresh Narayanan

Before After
While it’s not meant for motion blur, we decided to put try it out anyway. Needless to say it yielded some interesting results.

Better Photography j u ly 2 0 1 4
t e st

Fix Perspective Distortion with Ease, Even When Using Adobe Camera RAW

Before K Madhavan Pillai After

Lens Correction in Camera Raw to crop the image once you are done. The slider With this tool you can change the perspective of
New to Camera RAW, you can now fix perspective next to the Show Grid tab increases the number specific portions with affecting the overall image.
distortion using the Lens Correction feature. of grid lines. This is very useful when you need The tool is very convenient. You simply need
There are four auto correction functions while using to fine tune the edit. to highlight the two planes of reference you want 57
this feature—Auto, Level, Vertical and Full that work to change, drag the edge points as needed and
well for simple images. The Perspective Wrap Tool watch the magic.
If they don’t give you the results you desire, For changing perspectives of specific parts of Another very interesting addition is that the
use the Transform sliders—Distortion, Vertical, the image, you will need to go into Photoshop and software gives you step by step instruction on
Horizontal and Rotate. You can use the Scale slider use the Perspective Wrap Tool under the Edit tab. how to use new tools like the Perspective Wrap.

With all the for JPEGs even in CS5 & CS6, as a Filter It helps you reduce the halos created by
along with Smart Objects, it lets you go sharpening, very easily.
new features,
back and tweak enhancements even after Earlier you would have to apply the
90% of your making other edits. feature and then manually mask out the
image edits can Cloning and Healing are now a part of halo. This is another step that you don’t
be done using ACR too. While it’s not as easy to use as the need to go through anymore.
same features in Photoshop, it still does a
ACR alone.
really good job. Other New & Improved Features
The new Radial Filter lets you select The much-loved Content Aware
a specific part of the image and apply technology has been updated to work
adjustments like highlighting it, applying better. The Colour Adaptation tab does
selective colour or applying a vignette. a good job of blending colours and
There is also the option to straighten textures better.
images in ACR too. Going by this, you Typically, Photoshop performed
may never need to leave Camera RAW to Actions in the order of the instructions
edit your pictures. mentioned. Now, you can also add If/
There are also a few enhancements that Then conditions through a feature called
have been made to improve the overall Conditional Actions.
quality of the image enhancement sliders. Another new feature, Focus Masking
lets you select only that part of your
An Improved Smart Sharpen Filter image that is in focus. It’s basically the
Smart Sharpen has updated its digital equivalent of Focus Peaking.
sharpening algorithm to give improved The new Linked Smart Objects
results. But the addition of the Radius feature will be welcomed by frequent
sliders is a drastic improvement. collaborators. Changes made by one user

j u ly 2 0 1 4 Better Photography
test

A Whole New Panel of Blurs to Play With SPECIFICATIONS


D
MMENDE
RECO

Product name Adobe Photoshop CC & CC2014


MrP Rs. 499 per month for
Photoshop and Lightroom 5
Processor Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon
64 processor (2 GHz or faster)
Operating system • Microsoft Windows 7 with
After Service Pack 1, Windows 8, or
Aditya Nair Windows 8.1
• Mac OS X v10.7, v10.8, or v10.9
raM 2GB RAM (for both Windows
and Mac users)
When Photoshop CC launched, Adobe added three tweak it to add blur along a curved path to create
new blurs—Field Blur, Iris Blur and Tilt-Shift Blur to artistic effects. Monitor resolution 1024x768 display (1280x800
add gradient blurs, shallow depth of field and tilt-shift recommended) with 16-bit color
and 512MB of VRAM
effects respectively. Realistic Effects
The Blur Filters have greatly improved usability.
58 Two More in CC 2014 You can add pins to specific parts of the images
The June 2014 update adds two more Blur Filters. and add blur in relation to those pins.
Spin Blur allows you to give the impression that the There is also a Blur Handle circle that appears on
selected object is spinning. It lets you choose varied the image and lets you change the amount of blur, P LU S
angles and simulate a strobe effect pretty well. without having to use the sliders. The Blur Effect
Path Blur lets you add motion blur along a panel allows you to control the amount, size and • Camera RAW is now
specified path. In addition to directional blur, you can colour of the bokeh created. a filter
• New improvements
to existing features
gets reflected on the files of everyone else 75MP JPEG files created by the Sigma DP3 • A workflow that
can be extended to
collaborating on the project. Merrill or 36MP D800 files, it struggles. your mobile device
The Image Size command has been
upgraded to include methods to preserve The Verdict MINUS
details and provide better overall Other than ACR, this version, doesn’t yet
• Shake Reduction
sharpness. While it is an improvement have the wow features that we have come to doesn’t quite live up
over CS6, Alien Skin’s Blow Up (that expect from a Photoshop upgrade. The two to the hype
can be used as a Photoshop, Lightroom that could have potential been winners— • The photographer
is still needed to
plugin or as a standalone software) Shake Reduction and Perspective Wrap are shoot pictures
produces far sharper images. very interesting but don’t live up to the hype.

How Does It Handle?


In that sense, Photoshop CC isn’t the feature
heavy upgrade you were looking for.
FINALRATINGS
To improve the overall performance As a cloud based system, it offers a Features 29/30
Shake Reduction, Perspective Correction,
and that of certain processor heavy lot of convenience to your workflow. improvements on existing features
tasks like Smart Sharpen, Liquify and The remaining features and improvements Ease of use 29/30
others, Photoshop has given the Adobe make it an almost no-brainer for someone Simple interface despite being a
using Photoshop CS5. CS6 users, who complex software
Mercury Graphics Engine a boost with
OpenCL so that effects are applied much paid USD 999 (approx. Rs. 60,000) for the Performance 37/40
Very efficient, but has problems handling
faster. Their claim is that it works great software may not find it that significant.
heavy files
for editing even your largest files. This is However, with the current offer of

OVERALL 95%
where I noticed a bit of a disconnect. Rs. 499 per month for both Photoshop
While processor intensive features works and Lightroom 5, (as well as Photoshop
well with regular image files, I wouldn’t Mix and Lightroom for iPad) you might
call it future ready. With large files like the just want to go for it anyway. Value for Money
Better PhotograPhy J u ly 2 0 1 4
TEST
TE ST

Manfrotto MT190XPRO3

The Do-It-All Tripod


Innovative, yet ergonomic, the Manfrotto MT190XPRO3
seems like a promising deal. Supriya Joshi tests the
tripod to see if it passes muster.

S P E C I F I CAT I O N S

DED
ECOMMEN
R

M
anfrotto’s 190 series tripods are A Wide Range of Possibilities
the compact versions of the One of the main features of the XPRO3 Model name Manfrotto MT190XPRO3
055 Pro series. The 190XPRo3 is the 90° centre column mechanism, MRP Rs 13,534
is a fairly new offering from which allows it to be extended Maximum Operating Height 160cm
60 the company, and it contains vertically as normal, or horizontally. Minimum Operating Height 9cm
some very interesting features. I spent Moreover, switching between vertical and Folded Length 59cm
some time with the tripod to see if it is horizontal orientation does not requrie Weight 2kg
the ideal companion for me. Here are any disassembly, which I really liked. Number of Leg Sections 3, with a central column
my observations. I felt like this is a very useful feature, as
Leg Lock Type Quick Power Lock
it does the job of an additional lateral
Maximum Load 7kg
Novel Centre Column and QPL Clips arm attachment, at no extra cost.

Quick to Lock
The Quick Power Lock (QPL) clip
FINALRATINGS
fasteners on each leg section were Features 26/30
90-degree central column, Quick Power Lock
a breeze to use. Basically, from the
folded position, the sections of each Performance 28/35
Central column changes orientation
leg of the tripod can be released in a
single movement and it locks into place Build Quality 12/15
Made with aluminium
very easily. The bubble level is accurate
as well. Ergonomics 13/15
The 90-degree centre column can be extended Central column changes orientation without
vertically and horizontally, without any disassembly, low on portability, sturdy
disassembly. It was easy to use. Not So Lightweight
The tripod folds down to 59cm, but
Warranty & Support 3/5
Limited service back up
weighs in at 2kg, so it is definitely not

OVERALL 82%
the best choice for photographers who
want to travel long distances on foot. It is
sturdy and reliable in various conditions.
The XPRO3 costs Rs. 13,534 (without Who should buy it? Photographers who are on the
the head) and I do feel this is a good look out for a sturdy tripod with innovative features.
investment, specially because of the
Why? The tripod is quite sturdy, but with limited
central column. If you are certain you do portability. Newbie tripod users will enjoy its ease of use
The Quick Power Lock (QPL) clip mechanism was not require the feature, you may want to and its unique features.
really great. The tripod legs can be released in consider other options. But for this price
one single movement. Value for Money
point, this is as good as it gets.

BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY J U LY 2 0 1 4
Cellphone

MAKE GORGEOUS PORTRAITS


Simple ways to make lovely pictures of your family & friends
Feyza Ceylan’s gritty images of derelict ruins
Just how good is the camera in the Gionee Elife E7?
Editorial
“Don’t stress There’s a Story in Here, Somewhere
yourself over the
big picture. A few days ago, I was narrating a story to a friend of mine, a story of how I met this girl.
My friend heard me out for what must have been the eleventh time, and then said, “You only
Life is often ramble, don’t you? All this while, you’ve mentioned these stupid quirks and random
about the instances, but I still don’t know what exactly happened.”
tales behind But then, I have always loved the odd ramble or two... the minute details, the most
the tales.” commonplace of goings on, the most inane things that nobody would really care about.
So when I look back and actually try to recall how I met someone, I probably don’t remember. I have vague memories
alright, but there is no dramatic moment I can pinpoint. It’s only the periphery that dominates my mindspace.
“There are no little events with the heart. It magnifies everything. It places in the same scale the fall of an empire
of fourteen years and the dropping of a woman’s glove. And almost always, the glove weighs more than the empire.”
Jimmy, an old Parsi gentleman with a twinkle in his eye and nostalgia in his voice, had once said these words to that
same friend of mine. As I was reminded of the conversation, I started searching for pictures, hoping that what I had
shot would help me build my memory in a more defined way. But the photographs, even the ones that were most
personal, seemed to have a mind of their own. There was no direct photograph of the girl I spoke of, just a bunch of
moments that happened alongside. Maybe it is because I have always enjoyed that kind of imagery more. One that
doesn’t tell me everything, but inspires me to connect the dots, in whatever way I want. Photography, for some, has all
the answers. For me, however, a photograph is usually the starting of a question.
The one you are photographing is not a subject. He or she is a fellow being. The camera is often a barrier to this,
though phones, with their constraints, urge us to go closer, not just physically, but emotionally. Converse, observe
and feel. The most intimate of photographic moments happen when are least expecting them. But then, they are
always the little events, the ones that still weigh so much.

63

Raj Lalwani
raj.lalwani@betterphotography.in

Untitled
by David Alan Harvey
“You want to make a
picture of what’s in front
of you and connect it
with what’s inside your
heart. Too much gear in
the middle will just get
in the way. That is why
I always say that it’s not
about what it looks like,
but what it feels like.”
The legendary David Alan
Harvey’s iPhone work
will be featured in an
upcoming interview.

To make gorgeous portraits


of your closest ones —
A Portrait Affair
Turn to page 68

Cover photograph by
David Alan Harvey/Magnum Photos Bhumika Bhatia

(The snapshot is) the form of photography that is most


defined by love. People take them out of love, and
they take them to remember.
NAN GOLDIN
Goldin is one of the most influential photographers of our age. After ‘The Ballad of Sexual Dependency’, an iconic work that
pushed boundaries and explored questions of morality, her new work is a surprisingly delicate take on childhood.

J U LY 2 0 1 4 BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY
test

Gionee Elife E7

Made For Shooting?


Ambarin Afsar wonders whether the Gionee Elife E7, a phone that is
aimed at cellphone photographers, lives up to its claims.

M
ost cellphones are targetted price segment, including last-gen
at people who are extremely flagships, older iPhones and Oppo’s
social, and some even have innovative swivelling camera, the N1.
a button dedicated to social In comparison, the Gionee Elife E7 has a
64 networking sites like Facebook rather high camera resolution and some
and Twitter. Very few are aimed at the attractive features and ergonomics.
growing market of serious cellphone
The dynamic range of photographers. What’s in the Box?
the camera falls just a And so, it is interesting to see Gionee A 16MP primary camera and an interface This strange banding
little short of the mark. make their foray into the Indian market dedicated to advanced users is the USP of and posterisation are
Here, I wish that the what occurred when
with a flagship that claims that it is ‘Made the E7. I must say that I was quite impressed
highlights on the chair I pointed the camera
and on the wall were not for Shooting’. There is a huge amount with the frame rate, the writing speed and at the sun, which was
blown out.  of competition in the Rs. 20,000–30,000 the buffer capacity of the phone. partially hidden by trees.

Better Photography j u LY 2 0 1 4
test

All photographs by Ambarin Afsar


65

Another instance of A Radically Different Camera Interface serious drawback because most cellphones The colours straight
the manner in which The interface is very similar to the one found today perform very well in this department, out of the camera
the light source in the are quite nice, but
on the Samsung Galaxy camera, in terms of and offer virtually no shutter lag. The low
frame has blown out. sometimes, I spotted a
While I was metering virtual dials and sliders. While I’m extremely light quality is decent, but the dynamic range strange sort of purple
for the foreground pleased to find this sort of an interface in a isn’t as good as other phones in this price discolouration or
and anticipated phone, I also have a few grouses with it, most range, and the optics are lacking. fringing as is visible at
blown out highlights, the bottom of the image.
of which are first generation issues and can Priced at Rs. 26,999, the Elife E7 aims to
I did not expect to
see posterisation. easily be ironed out with a firmware update. be complete value for money, but fails to do
so mostly due to first-gen interface issues,
But Not Without Issues shutter lag and subpar optical quality, which
Firstly, summoning the advanced mode results in flare and other problems. Wait for
is a two-tap option and if you don’t know the second generation version. 
what that little icon on the bottom right of
the screen does, chances are, you will never
at a glance
specifications 16MP back camera, 8MP front camera, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, Quad-core
hit it, and never access the advanced mode. 2.2 GHz, 2500mAh battery, Rs. 26,999
instafollow now This needs to be better labelled. The ISO, what we like The superfast burst shooting capacity, the camera’s innovative interface
WB and Exposure Compensation sliders what we dislike Sliders that do not slide fast enough, interface glitches
@batsaboutcats is a need to be made a little larger. Right now,
street photographer why buy it? The interface is the E7’s best feature, but that too comes with its own
from Mumbai who either the touchscreen is not responsive imperfections. It will appeal to those who want great control.
enjoys shooting quirky enough, or the sliders are too small to be FINAL RATINGS 75%
scenes, portraits accessed and moved quickly.
and abstracts that CAMERA Features 8MP front camera, advanced UI, no slow shutter mode 12/15
catch her fancy.
IMAGE QUALITY Decent low light quality, light sources always posterise 25/35
Quiet landscapes, Shooting Speed and Image Quality
encounters with VIDEO Quality Camera records 1080p video, front facing camera shoots 720p 17/20
passersby and nature The camera is quite fast at focusing,
shots are also what however, there is a certain amount of shutter HANDLING Feels plasticky, but is sturdy; camera app needs to be improved 11/15
you are likely to see. SPEED & RESPONSIVENESS Fast AF, but considerable shutter lag 10/15
lag that slows down response time. This is a

j u LY 2 0 1 4 Better Photography
test

Oppo R829

Fighting a
Tough Battle
Conchita Fernandes puts the Oppo R829 to
the test, and finds out if the camera’s phone
is being too ambitious in its claims.

C
The Exposure oming from a family of phones,
who have given us the swiveling
Compensation
206° rotating cameraphone—the
tool would have Oppo N1, the 8MP Oppo R829
given the camera looks promising. While it assures
a slight edge you of good low light performance, the
to its overall phone’s camera does not quite hit the mark.
66 average features, A Laidback Camera Interface
but it is currently I was surprised by the lack of additional
not there. options on the phone. By this, I mean that
there were no fancy filters or effects that
I could apply to my images. This is actually
a good thing as the simplicity makes the The images out of
overall user experience more pleasant and the box are a little dull,
but you can recover a
less confusing. good amount of detail to
play with, when editing
However, Nothing Exceptional! the image in a software
Conchita Fernandes or app.
The Oppo R829 has an 8MP rear camera
that produces decent quality. The optics unique. The lack of Full HD video is also
are sharp, but when light sources are in rather strange, considering this is 2014.
the frame, the flare control is not as good The Oppo R829 is a good phone with
as other phones in this price range. excellent battery life, but cameraphones
I had a few issues with the camera’s like the aforementioned Lumia 920 and
focusing, where it would fail to focus on iPhone 4S provide far better quality.  
the subject. I had to turn off the camera
at a glance
apps you can try app and go back to it after a few seconds.
specifications 8MP, Android 4.2.2 Jellybean, 5-inch 1280x720 Capactive Touch Screen,
And though the R829 is pegged around Quad-core 1.3GHZ 2GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB storage (not
InstaShape (Android, low light photography, similarly priced expandable), Rs. 24,990.
free) is a simple
app that lets you phones like the Lumia 920 and iPhone 4S what we like Minimal camera interface, sharp images in good light
choose the shape do a better job in extremely low light. what we dislike No exposure compensation, slow focusing
of your photograph.
It provides a list of
several shapes to Not a Good Deal FINAL RATINGS 74%
choose from—ranging CAMERA Features Continuous shooting up to 20 shots, 8MP, 5MP front camera
With a price tag of Rs. 24,990, I find that 12/15
from the usual circles
and triangles to hearts the Oppo R829 to be expensive, if it is IMAGE QUALITY Sharp images, average low light performance, lens flares up 27/35
and flowers. Users can only the camera that you are buying this
also play around with VIDEO Quality Average quality 720p video, can’t capture stills during video 12/20
the app’s transparency for. Unlike some of the more expensive
HANDLING No Exposure Compensation feature 11/15
feature and adjust the Oppo phones, this one does not have any
opacity of the shapes. SPEED & RESPONSIVENESS Fairly decent with a few hiccups in the AF 12/15
standout features that are completely

Better Photography j u ly 2 0 1 4
Cellphone Diaries

Listening to the Silent Notes of Life Amit Mehra

67

P
hotographers often love drama. Be it exaggerated It is a way of seeing and a way of being, not dictated by
expressions, characters frozen in animated action my gear, but yes, the constraints of a cameraphone help,
or a moment that is truly momentous, such images as it demands a more intimate approach.
are the obvious suspects, ones that immediately attract Of course, the whole idea that everything around
attention. In recent years though, I have found myself you is a potential photograph is also a dangerous
gradually moving away from such imagery. generalisation, especially in the cellphone age, with
There is a certain magic in the absence of drama. everyone obsessively documenting every little thing
It could be something seemingly trivial that triggers a around. How do you know whether you are shooting a
memory and creates a sense of nostalgia. A curtain that mundane snapshot or actually seeing the mundane in a
slowly, gracefully moves to signal the first gust of wind new light? There is no shortcut, no simple answer, just
that the monsoon brings... these images, for me, are the the fact that you have to have an open mind, an alert eye
silent notes of life, playing out, one moment at a time. and a sensitivity towards the smaller nuances of life. 

Constantly trying to walk on a tightrope between commercial and documentary photography, Amit describes himself saying, “I’m like an octopus who likes to deal with
different things at the same time. You can call me a schizophrenic photographer.” The moments in this monthly diary are excerpts from his ongoing work titled ‘Roznaama’.

J U LY 2 0 1 4 Better Photography
cellphone Technique

68

Bhumika Bhatia

A Portrait Affair
Sometimes it’s okay
to move away from
the traditional frame,
both in terms of pose
and setting, as well
as the frame created
by the app.
Shot with: Nokia Lumia 1020
It is said that a person’s portrait can give you a glimpse into his soul.
Conchita Fernandes gives you a few tips to help you in this endeavour.

W
hat was your first image? Moreover, it has reduced the stiff, posed
It would have probably quality that portraits are known for and have
been a photograph of made them more personal.
a close friend or a dear
family member, essentially Watch Out for the Background
a portrait. The cellphone has in fact made Barring environmental portraits, it is
this experience even more easier and fun. advisable to keep the background of your

Better Photography j u ly 2 0 1 4
cellphone Technique

Supriya Joshi Supriya Joshi

The beauty about subject plain and simple. You want to door will be your subject’s best friend, where Look around you.
making portraits is that minimise the viewer being distracted by a there is plenty of light streaming through. There will always be
they are not dependent objects or props lying
colourful or patterned backdrop. around. Use them to
on the venue. All you
need is favourable How Close is too Close? create goofy portraits
lighting conditions and Ambient Light is Good Light Owing to wide lenses in cameraphones, of your subject.
you are good to go! It is best that you stick to natural light as it is you have to be wary about how close Shot with: Xolo Q800
Shot with: Xolo Q800
the easiest and the most non-fussy light that you are to your subject. Avoid holding
you can get your hands on. A window or a the phone parallel to the person’s face. 69

INSTAFOLLOW NOW
Varun Thota
When you are out (@vnthota) is an
shooting, find interesting Instagrammer based
elements in the in Macau, Hong Kong.
environment around you. He has a penchant
The rainbow here creates for photographing
a colourful arc-like symmetrically pleasing
frame over the subject. photographs of the
Ambarin Afsar architecture in the city.
Shot with: Gionee Elife E7

j u ly 2 0 1 4 Better Photography
cellPhone technique

Ambarin Afsar Raj Lalwani

If you are planning to Instead, step back a few paces and shoot. Achieving Depth of Field Looking away from the
take a conventional route, Additionally, place the phone at the level There is very little that one can do when camera can reveal your
make sure to place your subject’s delicate side.
of your subject’s chin, in order to avoid it comes to shooting a shallow depth-of-
subject in the centre. Shot with: Samsung
Shot with: Oppo N1 creating a distorted-looking portrait. field portrait when using a cellphone. Galaxy Nexus

70

Always carry
your cellphone.
Wait, you
already do that, When shooting a
portrait of a child, you
right? So always may have to get down on
keep looking your knees to match his
height level.
for images! Ambarin Afsar Shot with: Oppo N1

Better PhotograPhy j u ly 2 0 1 4
cellphone Technique

71

Raj Lalwani

However, there are several apps that can Taking Advantage of Your Conducive Device A portrait-making
aid you in this, one being AfterFocus. On account of the cellphone being a opportunity can occur
at the most unlikely
convenient device to hold and carry
of places. Here, the
Where Should You Place Your Subject? around, you will find it easier to use in reflection of the leaves
You don’t always have to include your photographing from unusual shooting complements the
subject’s entire face in the frame. What you points. Think more along the lines of solemn expression of
the subject.
can do is include only a part of the person’s capturing an overhead environmental
Shot with: Samsung
face, and maybe frame it in such a way that it portrait, where the subject is looking up at Galaxy Nexus
A portrait appears on the extreme right or left section you, while being surrounded with his/her
can be direct, of the image. The negative space in the rest favourite things.
of the photograph will deviate the viewer’s
pleasing and attention toward your subject. The Inconspicuous Phone
beautiful. Of the many features available on the
But sometimes, To Use Flash or Not? phone, its ability to mute its shutter
a bit of mystery If you must use flash, make sure that you sound is great. This aspect comes in
use a diffuser. This could either be a piece handy especially when shooting portraits
and mood is of butter paper or tissue, and will lead to a of infants, who are sensitive to even the
welcome too. more softer-looking portrait. faintest sound. 

j u ly 2 0 1 4 B e tt e r P h o t o g r a p h y
PROFILE

Feyza Ceylan
• She does pilates twice a
week, and goes jogging
thrice a week.
• Feyza loves watercolour
paintings and visiting
museums and galleries.
• The work of Henri
Matisse inspires her and
his Femme Endormie is
her favourite artwork.
• Since she is an architect,
she is close to industrial
design and is an avid
follower of the news,
trends and materials in
the field.

72

Feyza describes
herself as an urban
explorer. She is
naturally drawn towards
abandoned structures
and rusty objects.

find Feyza here!

• Instagram:
@_feyza
• Twitter:
@FCcakmak
Ruin Aesthetic
Feyza Ceylan, an architect from Turkey, shares her fascinating ideas and
opinions about derelict spaces in a conversation with Ambarin Afsar.
B ette r P h o t o g r a ph y J U LY 2 0 1 4
ProFILE

She does not believe


in interfering with
the place or touching
the objects before
photographing them.

O
ften, passersby have asked me
this question, “Why do you like
shooting dilapidation, rubbish
and decay? What is so fascinating
about that pile of garbage?
Why are you shooting that fruit peel on the
road?” People find it very hard to fathom
not all her that anyone would be drawn to such things.
photographs come It is only when they look at the images that
from professional they realise there can be beauty in what is
excursions. She just pays
considered ugly and undesirable by the
great attention to her
surroundings and chance majority. Feyza Ceylan, an architect from
upon these places. Izmit, Turkey has a similar fascination.

73

J U Ly 2 0 1 4 B E T T E r P H o T o g r a P H y
PROFILE

“Tiredness and
obsoleteness are
the fingerprints
of the abandoned
building structures.”

74

She loves dimly lit,


dark environments and
the light that filters from
windows and doors.
There are traces of lives
lived, old peeled paint,
rust, decay and grime.

The Corrosive Effect of Time


Feyza is drawn to abandoned buildings
partly due to her profession as well. She is
involved with the renovation of historic
buildings. “These places are more attractive
to me than newly renovated ones. I love the
corrosive effect of time on the structures.
The resistance ratio and the aging of the
buildings depend on geography, the climate
conditions and the culture of the people of
that region.”

A Little Surgical Intervention


She takes her renovation work really
seriously. “We need to determine the extent
While she enjoys to which we can renovate and preserve.
her excursions to It is important for historical places to
these places and is
fascinated by the survive and be transmitted to the next
marks left by the generation.” However, in some cases, instead
ravages of time, she of renovating, she ends up ‘freezing’ the
is also saddened by place, where she touches up the building
the decay.
only a little. “Too much renovation can make

B ette r P h o t o g r a ph y J U LY 2 0 1 4
PROFILE

Want to Begin a Similar Project of Your Own?


• Find Your Own Way: Nobody can teach you how to convert abandoned grime into
a piece of art hanging on the wall. It can only come from your way of seeing.
• Document Almost Scientifically: If an old building in your area is condemned, do
your best to document each and every part of it before it is demolished.

a building look as unnatural as a person


who has taken cosmetic surgery to the
extreme. However, nobody objects to a little,
unnoticeable surgical intervention.”

The Watercolour Effect


She likens her photographs to watercolour
paintings by using a very interesting analogy.
“Watercolours dry quickly, and are a lot like
abandoned houses. I have to hurry or move
quickly or the artwork is spoilt.”

Shoot and Run


Most of the abandoned places house
homeless people or animals. Feyza feels that
some of them even echo the atmosphere
of the movie I am Legend. “I feel that one
day I am going to come across a ferocious “When shooting with DSLRs, you need to Cultural differences
otherworldly creature instead of a human be in a place you already know. Often, I have have an enormous
impact on the status of
or animal. Compared to this, the prospect of very little time to be in a structure because
abandoned buildings.
an encounter with a malicious human starts it may be flimsy. Therefore, a simple, Also, she is less likely
to seem pleasant.” She believes that she can lightweight cellphone is my best bet.” to find furnishings
act quickly because of fear. “Shoot and run,” Often, when it isn’t possible for her to enter and equipment in
impoverished localities. 75
she says, “Adrenalin also adds pleasure to a place, she simply sticks her arm into the
Feyza mentions how
pictures of women with making photos.” building and tries to make a photograph.
skinny legs or outrageous It is heartening to hear Feyza talk about She is especially
shoes receive the Why Speed is of The Essence derelict sites with such passion. “I follow drawn towards windows
most number of likes. with curtains and
Feyza makes these pictures with her the grime. We need to document these
However, she does not drapes, and shafts
always think that these iPhone and she has recently bought an places before their identities are lost or of light filtering
are the best photographs. AGPtek Circular Clip 180° fisheye lens. before they are torn down.” through them.

J U LY 2 0 1 4 B e t t er P h o t o g r a p h y
READERS’ GALLERY

readers’ gallery Better Cellphone Photography’s readers stop


to take some stunning images for this month’s
theme ‘View from the Window’.

76

Winner

Honourable Mention

Rainy Day
Abstracts
Amit Vakil, Chamba

What made me shoot this:


I was on my way to
Dharamsala when
I noticed that the water
droplets created an
abstract pattern in
combination with the
trees. The design
fascinated me.
What I learnt:
While phones allow
limited techniques, they
let you concentrate on
composition instead.
Shot with: Samsung GT
S7530

B e t t er P h o t o grap h y j u ly 2 0 1 4
ese
red on th our
READERS’ GAllERy
be fea tu
to rticipate in
pages, paby logging on to s
contests graphy.in/contest
to
betterpho exciting prizes! Grand Prize
and win The winner, Romel Dutta, wins ‘The Tao of
Photography: Seeing Beyond Seeing’ by Philippe L
Gross and S I Shapiro.

Take a look at all the nominees for this contest:


http://betterphotography.in/?p=29274

Swipe
Selvin Kurian, Mumbai

What made me shoot this:


This was an impromptu
image. The cleaner
dangling on ropes,
cleaning the glass
Ceiling Drive walls made for a
Romel Dutta, Bengaluru beautiful silhouette.
What I learnt: As I had only
What made me shoot this: a few seconds to get the
At first, I was shot, timing and getting
concentrating on the a sharp image were
prayer flags, when absolutely essential.
I noticed the reflection of Shot with: Samsung Galaxy
the mountains and passing Note N7000
cars. I liked the confusion
the illusion created, so
I made this photo instead.
What I learnt: Compostion
was key to emphasising
the illusion. I wanted
the reflection to be 77
completely visible but the
cars themselves had to be
almost nonexistent.
Shot with: Motorola Moto G
Honourable Mention

Seeing Double
Rohan Mishra, Chennai

What made me shoot this:


The symmetry and
beautiful surroundings
with just a hint of motion
made this picture for me.
What I learnt: Keeping
my hand steady was
quite difficult. I shot
multiple images to pick
the sharpest one later as
camera shake would ruin
the picture.
Shot with: Lenovo P780
Honourable Mention
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Sho ot ing t EchniquE

78

Are the rains playing spoilsport again? Sarang Naik gives you 15
photography ideas to make the most of your time indoors.

M
onsoon is the season of foiled home for what is bound to be a long and
plans and dull weekends. agonisingly boring day.
On a Sunday morning, you But don’t let the rain gods ruin your
decide to go out for a shoot. photographic plans. Who says you can’t
You pack your bags and shoot fun projects at home? Here are a
get ready. Then it starts pouring cats few tips to help you make the most of a
and dogs and suddenly, you are stuck at day spent indoors.

BEttEr PhotograPhy j u Ly 2 0 1 4
Shooting tEchniquE on aSSignMEnt tiPS anD tricKS
The Secret Ingredient Splash Away! On how to Sho ot ing t EchniquE
Explore still life Innovative yet simple shoot intimate
subjects in the kitchen ideas to freeze splashes landscape photos

86 94 102

79

Fresh fruits and


Vedavati Padwal

vegetables make great


subjects. Bring out their
colours and contours with
diffused window light.

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Vivek Bansal
80

There are a lot of 1. Shoot the Mundane Objects of Your House indoor garden. Flowers look really fresh Bring out the artist
in you. Mix photography
quirky objects Have you ever looked closely at the walls
and furniture of your house? They make
after the rain. Go up close and also include
the raindrops on petals. Search for insects
with other art forms like
to shoot at great abstract subjects. Get quirky and like jumping spiders or mantises lurking
calligraphy or sketching.

home. You just include the cleaning marks and cobwebs in your flower pots. They make for great
need to have an in your images. macro subjects.

eye for detail.


2. Explore the Window Garden 3. Raid the Kitchen
From flowers to insects, there is a world No matter where you live, your kitchen is
of beautiful things to shoot in your bound to be a lively place full of clutter.

Experiment with Light


Painting: Create light
trails using colourful
LED lights and your
DSLR’s Bulb mode
with a cable release.
You can also use
the Night Landscape
mode of your
compact camera.
If you are shooting
indoors, make sure
the place is dark.
If outdoors, shoot in
low light and avoid any
Humanise common bright points of light
household objects such as street lamps.
like matchboxes or You can create unique
vegetables and create spheres by swinging a
your own quirky photo light by a sling.
stories with them. Randall Henriques

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81

When shooting simple


subjects like this, pay
more attention to the
Amit Kumar

little details such as


contrasting colours
and intricate textures.

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82

You can do a lot with Look for colours and patterns that 5. Shoot the View From Your Window
a single light source. stand out. Shoot the cutlery, the food You don’t have to be out in the rain to
Shoot multiple images
or just the mess. photograph the drama. Peep out from
with different lighting
angles and then merge the window and maybe even include it
them together to make 4. Capture All 26 Letters of the Alphabet in the frame to give the images a different
the final image look like This is a really fun challenge. Find objects perspective. You could also shoot through
a multiple light shot.
in your house that look like one of the 26 textured glass or a transparent umbrella.
letters. Search every nook and cranny.
Use your free
Keep the composition simple. Shoot them 6. Build a Light Box and Shoot Products time to study
against the same background and with the A simple light tent or light box can be the works of
same settings. made with a cardboard and butter paper or your favourite
If you have trouble finding a letter, then a white cotton cloth. Use flashguns, CFLs
form the shape with whatever materials or even table lamps to light the products.
photographers
you have at hand. In this way, you can also You can make reflectors by wrapping silver and read their
create words and sentences. foil over cardboard sheets. personal blogs.
Better Photography j u ly 2 0 1 4
Sho ot ing Technique

83

Sarang Naik

Shoot everything shiny you can find flashgun, you can still get beautiful,
from wristwatches to perfume bottles. diffused light by bouncing it off the
Try to make the visual treatment similar to ceiling or walls. Shoot a Timelapse
Video: Find a good
an advertisement. subject like the
8. Shoot With the Least Used Lens moving clouds or
7. Build a Makeshift Portrait Studio Dust off the grime from a lens that you flower buds.
Use white bedsheets and mirrors as your rarely take out. Challenge yourself to Set the exposure
and focus manually.
light modifiers. Turn colourful bedsheets work around its limitations and find Decide the number
into the studio backdrop or custom dye good pictures. of photos that you
your own backdrop. will need to make a
time-lapse video.
Do a crash course on posing for 9. Make Collages With Cellphone Photos
For example, a 30
portraits with your friends or family. Use a collage-making app or good old second video at 24
Think creatively and make optimum use Photoshop to create funky collages from frames per second
of your equipment. Having multiple your cellphone images. Select a particular will need 24 x 30 =
720 photos.
lights helps, but even if you have a single collage format (square with four photos

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84

Sayan Das

works very well) and compose new images Shooting images like
with that collage in mind. Make sure that this one indoors and in
low light means you may
the app you are using does not reduce the
have to use a tripod to
picture quality. get sharp images.

10. Or Make a Patchwork Photo Montage


Photograph a scene in parts with a
telephoto lens and then merge all the parts
together with the help of Photoshop or a
photo-stitching software. Shoot several
overlapping images so that you will have
more options while postprocessing.

11. Try Out Freelensing


A quick and easy technique, freelensing
lets you turn your normal lens into a tilt
lens. Hold the disconnected lens in front of
the camera and turn it at an angle to get the Try Your Hand at High
tilt effect. It creates a shallow depth of Speed Photography:
Keep your speedlight
field and makes life-sized objects look
on manual and at the
much smaller. lowest power (less
power=more speed).
12. Collaborate With Your Buddies The camera should
be on the highest sync
Call up a friend and ask him or her to speed. It is crucial to
Stalk the creepy
crawlies at home. make an interesting image. Shoot another shoot in a dark
Geckos, spiders and image yourself and make a diptych from room. Play around
moths are always both the images. You can invite more with water droplets
Prasanth Joseph hiding in the corners. and splashes.
people to shoot and create collages

Better Photography j u ly 2 0 1 4
Sho ot ing T echnique

Fun DIY Ideas To Try At Home


Make a Photo Calendar: There are several websites that help you do this.
You just need to select a template and upload your images, or create a design
of your own in Photoshop. Gift the copies to your family and friends.
Make a Pinhole Camera: It’s simple and fun! There are several easy methods
available on the internet that make use of stuff lying around the house.
Experiment with exposures ranging from a few seconds to a few months.
Make an LCD Viewfinder: No more squinting at the camera’s LCD screen
in bright sunshine. Just build a viewfinder from a cardboard sheet or a
plastic box. You can also use the eye cup and magnifying glass from a pair of
toy binoculars.

Kamlesh Kandasamy
from them. You can also decide on a theme
in advance.

13. Become an Architectural Photographer


Have you ever tried to shoot architectural
images but never had access to good and histograms. Your images will thank Shooting through any
shooting locations? Well, start with your you for it. transluscent object like
frosted glass can give
own home! Use a wide angle lens or rent
you fascinating results.
or borrow if you don’t have one. You can 15. Enter an Ongoing Photo Contest
also make panoramas to capture larger There are several free-to-enter
expanses. Use HDR or multiple flashguns photography contests on the web. You can
to get professional results. also contact local photography associations
Dull and diffused light and ask about ongoing photography salons
is best for black and 14. Learn a New Postprocessing Technique and exhibitions.
white photography. Use your free time to learn and perfect Read the terms and conditions carefully
You will be able to
the Photoshop technique that daunts you before you enter. Be very critical when
capture a richer and
wider range of grey the most. Watch tutorials online and read reviewing and selecting your photos and
tones with such light. about layer masks, perspective control send out only the best ones. 
85

Somenath Mukhopadhyay

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86

Migle Seikyte

The Secret Ingredient


A great food shot
depends as much on the
styling and composition
as the lighting. Think of
the surface as a
sketchpad. Here, the
raisins in the cup have
served as soil, and the
sprig of the herb looks Your kitchen can help you cook up sumptuous and stimulating still life
like a sapling. images. Ambarin Afsar tells you how to explore this box of goodies.

H
ow often have you considered several cups for each spice. You can
your kitchen as a location to shoot arrange these on a textured wooden
still life? You may want to hone surface and keep a few raw condiments
your skills by doing something such as coriander, lemons, or even onions
completely new and challenging. to add more context, and shoot a top angle Window light is
Or, you might simply have a passion shot, with directional window light. your best friend
for food. Your own kitchen can provide Remember that your choice of
you with a wonderful training ground background will be based on the nature of
and makes food
that keeps evolving. It’s got raw material, your subject. Spices are earthy and exotic. look natural.
delicious cooked things, utensils and spices. This is why wooden surfaces or warm, You don’t need
Here’s how you can make the most of earthy colours and fabrics embellish the studio flash
all these things. nature of spices really well.
units. Just use
Summon the Spices Style the Utensils and Kitchen Accessories the window
In most traditional Indian kitchens, the While the blanket term ‘utensils’ can sound as a giant
spices are stored in a round box with clinical and boring, the kitchen houses light source.
Better Photography j u ly 2 0 1 4
Bounce an many interesting implements—from apple Combine the Accessory with Its Use
corers to knives, whisks and beaters. If you An egg beater can be placed in a clear bowl
external
are shooting more than one, then you can with egg yolk and eggshells kept right beside
flashgun off a group them based on their function, nature it against a plain white background. A roller
white wall or the (whether plastic, steel or wood), or even as pin can be styled with a round roti on the A simple collage of
ceiling for to get per the recipe they are used in. patra or platform, with sprinkles of flour. the cooking process
Backgrounds can vary from plain, solid can also make for a
soft, diffused delicious-looking image.
colours and surfaces to textured ones or Before it is Cooked
light on the dish. you could shoot them hanging on a nail Usually, food is photographed after it is
You can even arrange
the pictures so that they
rack against a wall. cooked. But the raw materials that go into follow the recipe.

87

Roberto Vaz

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Sho ot ing T echnique

shoot at home. You just need to


have an eye for
88

Besides being a
convenient source of
light, sometimes the
character of the windows
themselves can help add
more context to your
image. Also, while granite
is a fairly common
surface, it embellishes
Rahul Jain

the fruit really well in


this image.

Better Photography j u ly 2 0 1 4
Sho ot ing T echnique

Soak cotton
balls in water
and microwave
them for a
few seconds.
Place them
behind your
dish, and
you willl get
instant steam!

Lars Falkdalen Lindahl

making a consummate item have their chopping to boiling and or steaming. When shooting fire,
own appeal. Create a composition with the While your setup will consist of the stove use a relatively telephoto
focal length and look for
This image is a various ingredients of a recipe. If you are or the chopping board, you can ensure that
tight compositions.
composite of the drop using raw vegetables, keep a water spray your framing isolates a single pot or pan.
of honey suspended
handy to douse them with water and make Use the kitchen table as a backdrop, and
from the top, and the
apple with the honey them look fresh. Shoot the food during think of every vessel as a potential still life
rolling off it. the various preparation stages, right from subject, you will have pots of fun! 89

Sarang Naik

j u ly 2 0 1 4 Better Photography
O N A S S I G NM E N T

90

Using only five basic colours, Richa Chopada shows us


how easy it is to arrange monochromatic palettes.
BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY J U LY 2 0 1 4
O N A S S I G NM E N T

My Assignment
Description: An attempt to segregate and analyse
colours from my day-to-day life colour palette.

Duration: It took me 15 days to decide the colours,


set the background and shoot and edit the
final photographs.

Notes: Monochrome still-life paintings and graphics


have been a great source of inspiration for
my project.

91

In a way, my project is
inspired by the popular
food arrangement
shots that I love to see
on Instagram.

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A
While photographing ren’t we all hoarders of peculiar My Perspective Since I associate
this series, I couldn’t
help myself from
oddities? As much as we try to I had a vague idea about the project for quite myself with all
get rid of them, there are always some time. Soon, it developed into a more
constantly popping one the objects used
of the Falero candies into a few that linger due to their clear-cut concept, when I realised that a lot
my mouth! sentimental value. A few of my of my possessions were red in colour. It was in the images,
possessions are an old toffee tin now turned quite a surprising revelation! I decided to
into a sewing box, passed down from my This got me thinking about how we are show my hands
grandmother, a jigsaw puzzle and a quirky unknowingly connected to the different
in the frame,
cat-shaped toy phone. I decided to unearth a colours present in our homes. In many
few more such items and have a little fun! ways, the project was an exercise of
to establish a
visual connect.

My Equipment
For this series I used
a Nikon D5000 along
with a AF-S DX Zoom
Nikkor 18–55mm
kit lens. Besides
this I also used a
Each image took me a Manfrotto 055XPROB
little over an hour, right Pro Tripod and
from the test shots to a reflector.
the final composition.

Better Photography j u ly 2 0 1 4
o n a s s i g nm e n t

Tips for Fine Tuning Your Photographs of Arrangements


• Taking Scale into Consideration: Ensure that you do not include objects that
are too small, because they may get overshadowed by the larger ones in
the composition.
• Maintaining a Variation: It is not necessary that you use colours of the same
shade. A little diversity is good. For instance, under red, you can use vermillion
or even maroon.
• Planning for the Worst: Collect a good number of objects. It will help you in case
there are any last minute changes in the arrangement.

discovery and the unearthing of favourite


objects from my childhood.

The Process
The work that went behind the project
was not too hard. In fact, procuring the
materials was the toughest job, as I only
wanted to use objects from around the wanted to maintain some shadows, so as While photographing
house. I also decided to shoot the images in to retain the three-dimensional aspect of my hand along with the
different items, I ensured
my shed because of the abundant natural the items.
that it did not cover the
light streaming through it. Originally, I had set out to include a objects in the image.
Once I had collected all the objects, yellow coloured arrangement as part of the
I placed them on a similar coloured piece series, but I wasn’t able to procure enough
of chart paper, on a low table. I have to items. Nevertheless, I do plan to include
admit that it was a little taxing to arrange more colours to the project and maybe
After the individual and then rearrange the objects till I was even create a two-colour arrangement.  
images were shot,
happy with the final arrangement. I used
they were merged in
Photoshop using the a silver reflector to minimise any shadow To view more photographs from Richa’s work, you
masking tool. areas in the image. At the same time, I still can visit www.facebook.com/Inspilux

93

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94

Splash Away!
Bura Na Mano,
Holi Hai!: This image
is dedicated to Holi,
the festival of colours
celebrated in India.
The festival is about
the victory of good over
evil, and so, the crown
signifies the triumph
of good.
Exif Details: 1/2sec at f/13
(ISO 100)
Dr Mayur Davda attempts to capture splashes that are unusual with
the help of unconventional and surreal concepts and backgrounds.

I
mages of water droplets fascinated me,
especially when I learnt that the artists
My Assignment
had made them using entry-level DSLRs. Description: To capture extraordinary images of
splashes and to explore a subject that has been
I decided I wanted to try this technique quite well shot, the world over, yet with a twist.
as well, but for about a year, I couldn’t get
it right. I used eye droppers, burettes, and Duration: An ongoing project that started a year
ago, and has only grown since.
all kinds of lighting systems. I realised that
I needed to switch from borrowed studio notes: Splashes are never the same twice over.
lights to using flash. Soon, I was able to This can be a disadvantage when the splash turns
out to be larger than your anticipated frame.
freeze stunning formations.

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95

Untitled: This is a chance


formation. The stem
of the droplet appears
curved, which is very
atypical. Collisions that
are produced from
multiple drops of water
(in this case, three drops)
Theresult
motionin blur
varying and
doubles
unpredictable splashes.
up as leading lines that
Exifguide the1/2sec
Details: eye through
at f/22
the photograph.
(ISO 100)

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96

My Perspective online. After sourcing these backgrounds, The Spirit of India:


Simply freezing splashes can get very I print them on an A4 paper and include The image is the result
The Battle of the of one drop of plain
Sexes: This is a simple monotonous, so I wanted these images them in my setup. Sometimes, I also
milk colliding with three
mushroom-shaped to have definitive concepts and ideas. use unusual elements like smoke or differently coloured
formation of a droplet I wanted the splashes to convey a strong aluminium foil as backgrounds. I use a drops of acrylic paint
of milk. The theme is story, and so I experimented with various tripod and work in a dark room to avoid (green, white and
a playful competition orange), on a sheet of
between girls and boys. elements and backgrounds, turning them ambient light completely. Before I switch
black flexiglass.
I covered the flashes into props. off the lights, I ensure that the camera has Exif Details: 1/2sec at f/16
with blue and pink focused on the area where the droplets will (ISO 100)
gelatine papers to get The Process strike the surface.
this result.
Exif Details: 1/2sec at f/20 Once I think of a concept, I start visualising My subjects usually include plain water
(ISO 100) it, and look for reference backgrounds or milk to which colour has been added.
Like any other form of photography,
I have to work on the composition, and
also the subject. I have to be careful about
the consistency of the liquid and the
height from which it is dropped, so that
I can get a striking formation. My Equipment
I modify my compositions by increasing I used a Canon
EOS 600D camera
or decreasing the number of drops and along with a 100mm
sometimes even tinkering with the liquid f/2.8 macro lens
kept in the container (called a reservoir) and a Manfrotto
that accepts the droplets. The permutations tripod. For the
lighting setup, I used
and combinations are unlimited. four flash units by
Personally, I prefer compositions that Yongnuo along with
involve a low magnification ratio. In such a dedicated Yongnuo
frames, the field of view is large enough wireless trigger for
Canon cameras.
to incorporate the reflection of the splash

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Tips to Achieve the Perfect Droplet Shot


• The Shutterspeed and Aperture Sweet Spot: Use slow shutterspeeds of 1/2sec, but
always choose apertures as narrow as f/11 and more. This will also depend on the
magnification ratio, and the distance from which you will be making the photo.
• Go Manual: Focus manually, and also meter manually. Depending on the camera
or the flash to meter accurately in a dark room will get you nowhere.
• Use a Focusing Aid: I use a metal pipe that measures 4cm in length and 1 inch in
diameter in order to achieve focus accurately.

on the surface of water, or a solid element


like flexiglass.
So far, the experience has been extremely
delightful and I have achieved some really
Incredible India: surreal results. One good shot makes me
To get vibrant colours forget the pain of 500 failed shots. The high
that define the people of point of the series was a vase-like formation
India, I used aluminium that I got when I used more than two drops
foil, and three flash units
with flash gels aimed at for liquid collision. I named this image
the foil. I also shot at ‘Holy Grail’. When I exhibited the series, it Ultimately, I give my imagination free New Life in a Mother’s
magnification ratio of was visited by a priest who was particularly rein while ensuring that the resulting Womb: It was really hard
1:5 so as to include the to get this as I shot it
fascinated by the image and its title, and concepts are well thought out and planned.
reflection. through a soap bubble.
Exif Details: 1/2sec at f/11 so I gifted it to him. In all likelihood, it has After that, it all comes down to how they Exif Details: 1/2sec at f/22
(ISO 100) been put up in his church. are executed.  (ISO 100)

97

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Want your photographs reviewed? Send your photographs to

PhotoGuide
The Editor, Better Photography,
Network18 Media & Investments Ltd,
New Era House, Opp Shamrao Vithal Bank,
Mogul Lane, Matunga-West,
Mumbai-400 016, Maharashtra, India.
E-mail: photocritique@betterphotography.in

Deciphering the Street


An intense and aggressive approach to photojournalism has made
Mukesh Parpiani one of India’s most renowned photographers.
He shares his opinion on what makes a good image.

S
treet photography is no easy feat. Maharashtrians are very proud of
“A photograph
Not only does it require you to their land. The slogan Jai Maharashtra or
spend a lot of time outdoors, but ‘Praise be to Maharashtra’ depicts this
without an
also demands that you be patient strong sentiment. I, however, feel a little underlying idea
for the perfect shot. It becomes differently. According to me, while there or context is a
imperative for the image to have an is a lot to proud of when it comes to one’s waste of time.”
important message and context. state, it is more important that we think of
This is why whenever I go out to shoot, India as a country, and not just single out
I look for that one newsworthy aspect that our own region. This is why I found it both
The image of the will set my images apart from the others. ironic and interesting when I saw that the
gardeners was shot
The image below was a result of a similar gardener had covered the first half of the
at Hutatma Chowk,
in the Fort area instance and was photographed a few word Maharashtra, thus resulting in the
of Mumbai. years ago. phrase Jai Rashtra.

98

Mukesh Parpiani

Better Photography j u ly 2 0 1 4
Tips & Tricks
The Street is a

Behind the Scenes with Mukesh Parpiani Stage 24/7


Unlike other genres
of photography,
there is no fixed time
when it comes to
photographing the
residents of the street.
It is a constantly
evolving place that
always has a plethora
of subjects ready for
you to capture.

Try to be
Inconspicuous
This is probably the
most repeated tip
when it comes to
street photography.
If you want to capture
a good moment,
maintaining a low
profile is crucial.
Avoid clothing that will
attract attention.
Learn to blend.

Changing Lenses
Sarang Naik Avoid doing this in the
middle of a busy area. 99
You will have to visit several places and shoot countless photographs before you can arrive at that one important image. Constantly changing
lenses will increase

Q&A
the chances of dirt
What exactly goes into the making of the perfect photograph? entering your camera
Here are some frequently asked questions about photographing the street, body and lens. If you
answered by Mukesh Parpiani. must do it then walk
over to a not so
Camera Awkwardness But at the end of the day, it’s all about
D O N ’ T FO R G E T
crowded area.
I feel conscious while pointing the camera cultivating your own personal taste. I think
Pace Yourself
at people. How do I overcome this? that a prime lens is a good option. One can Whether you choose Walk slowly and
Rajesh Kumar, Lucknow, via email make great street portraits using a 50mm or to photograph in black observe keenly.
85mm lens. Alternatively, cellphones can be and white or colour With the amount of
completely depends varying activities
Spend enough time around your subject. a great tool as well. on what you want to taking place in the
Depending on their demeanour, you communicate through street, unless you slow
may even want to consider engaging in a Getting the Lighting Right your photograph. down and observe,
conversation with them. This will bring about How do I make a well lit portrait, especially If you are going for a chances are that you
more rugged-looking will miss most of them.
a more personal connect. Also, keep your in a spontaneous situation? image, then you
equipment to a minimum. Larger bags or Devashish Bhatnagar, Delhi, via email may want to dive Taking the Law
hefty DSLRs tend to intimidate people and into black and white. into Consideration
make them less friendly. In the most impromptu of situations, Alternatively, colour is Unlike the West, India
a great way to add a has not reached the
the best fixes are the ones that come to splash of vibrancy to
What Lens Should I Use? you instinctively. It is, however, advisable to your street images.
threshold of restrictive
laws. However, a few
Does street photography require the usage invest in lenses that offer wider apertures. places that you must
of a specific lens? This would allow you to control varying avoid are military
Arpana Seth, Bhopal, via email lighting conditions with a turn of the aperture bases and government
quarters, religious
dial. Also, keeping a battery-operated LED sites and private
I’m a strong advocate of Robert Capa’s light handy can be helpful in the form of a property. Also be
methodology of “If your pictures aren’t good fill light. Avoid using the camera flash as it careful when you
enough, you are not close enough.” For this often renders an image flat, and may solicit are photographing
minors. Always take
reason, I have always preferred wide lenses. unnecessary attention. the permission of
the parents.

js ue pt
ly e2m0b1 4e r 2 0 1 3
photoG UI DE

100

Amrita says: Mukesh says: Sumanta Podder,


The consistent contrast across the frame is appealing. I like the light falling on the boy’s face. Kolkata
I like the candid and powerful moment. The bamboo on the extreme right side of the
Zooming out slightly would have prevented the boy’s image is a cause of distraction. Camera: Nikon D3100
foot from being cropped. A tighter crop would have been preferable. Aperture: f/4.5
Shutterspeed: 1/20sec
ISO: 400

Conchita says:
The string in the centre of the image gives the
photograph a sense of direction.
At the same time the string also overlaps the figure of
the man, thus creating a distraction.
The cloth located in the upper portion of the image is
slightly distracting. The crop could have been cleaner.

Mukesh says:
I wish the boat on the bottom right corner of the
image had not been cropped so abruptly.
That apart, it is a well framed photograph.
It is also a good example of using a wide lens.

Saumalya Ghosh,
Kolkata
Camera: Nikon D7000
Aperture: f/5.6
Shutterspeed: 1/3200sec
ISO: 640

Better Photography jmu ay


ly 2 0 1 4
Our Experts

Mukesh says:
The soft reflections of the legs in the wet sand are the
winning features of the photograph.
However, a tighter frame would have been better.
A little tweak in contrast and highlight would have
rendered in a crisper-looking photograph.

Amrita says:
I find the reflections in the image not sharp enough. Mukesh Parpiani
The overall contrast is too low. is a noted photojournalist
I think a low angle shot showing a portion of the sea with a career spanning
would have added an aesthetic value to the photograph. nearly four decades.
He began as a freelance
photographer in 1979 and
went on to work for The
D O N ’ T FO R G E T
Daily for about a decade.
Varun Thottathil, Lamiel Mig, He is currently the Head
Make it a habit Mumbai
to acknowledge Canada of the Piramal Art Gallery
the subjects you Camera: Canon EOS 400D at the National Centre
Camera: Nikon D7000
photograph with a Aperture: f/4.5
Aperture: f/2.5
for the Performing Arts
simple thank you!
Shutterspeed: 1/180sed
Shutterspeed: 1/250sec  in Mumbai.
ISO: 200
ISO: 200

101

Amrita Ganguly-
Salian
befriended the camera
23 years ago, and
continues to inspire
many students of
photography. Her critique
is rooted in classical
theories and balances
the photographer’s
opportunity with the use
of technique.

Conchita Fernandes
likes all things quirky
and loves doodling.
She appreciates the
smaller, unnoticed
Conchita says: Mukesh says: things in life and makes
I like how the subject is not quite off the train. The reflection of the bystander in the window glass is an it a point to illustrate
If only the angle of the shot was tilted slightly, more of added plus point to the photograph. her experiences, not
the man’s reflection would have been visible. The image seems overprocessed. just in photographs, but
I wonder what a close-up of the moment would look. The current crop of the image does not work for me. also in her drawings.

jmuayly 22001 144 Better Photography


Want to share your ideas and tips? Write to
The Editor, Better Photography,
Network18 Media & Investments Ltd,
New Era House, Opp Shamrao Vithal Bank,
Mogul Lane, Matunga-West,
Mumbai-400 016, Maharashtra, India.
Email: editor@betterphotography.in

Look at your images


critically and think of
how you can simplify
them further in terms
of colour and form.

102

Kareemchamza Hamza

Make Simplicity a Habit Pay Attention to the Edges


Keep the corners of the image clean and
Chip Away at the Distractions free of disturbance. Be very mindful of
Look carefully at the scene and keep out where you put the edges.
anything that doesn’t go well with the Sometimes, we get so excited by the
rest of the image. Fill the frame with the subject that we forget to pay attention to
subject and avoid distracting elements in the rest of the image. But remember that
the background. Don’t hesitate to manually If you are shooting in even an image with a strong subject can be
remove some objects like plastic wrappers. the RAW mode, then it ruined by badly composed edges.
is essential to add some
One way to simplify a cluttered scene is
sharpening later to make
to shoot in the early morning haze when the textures pop in an To Zoom in or to Zoom Out
the smaller details are not easily visible. image like this. Zooming in or going closer is the easiest
way to simplify your composition. But for
certain landscapes, like a beach or a desert,
zooming out and going ultra wide can
flatten out the undulations and give you a
less cluttered image.

Mind the Colours


A simple colour palette easily draws
attention and is pleasing to the eye.
Remember to keep the focal point of the
image brighter in colour as the eye is first
attracted to the brightest part of the image.
Look for contrasting colours such as
yellow flowers against a deep blue sky.
Subrata Kar

j u ly 2 0 1 4
Use a polarising filter to make the colours
pop and to reduce reflections from tree
foliage and water bodies.

practise Simplicity even When not Shooting


Develop the habit of noticing good
compositions even when you don’t intend
to make an image. Imagine the final
picture and think of how you will go about
shooting and processing it. This practice
keeps your photographer’s eye sharp.

GOinG beyOnD tRADitiOnAl lAnDSCApeS

Don’t include the Sky


Portray the smaller details of the
landscape instead of the grand vistas.
Traditional landscape photographers
always include the sky to keep the
Bijoy Jain
image realistic. But by excluding it from the
image you can turn the viewer’s attention the texture of the subject by shooting at Use a relatively fast
to the intricacies of the landscape. sunrise or sunset when the light falls at an shutterspeed to capture
QUICK TIP angle. Sharpness is of prime importance in
sharp reflections on the
surface of water bodies.
Concentrate on Composition and texture use your speedlight this case and can make or break the image. Choppy water gives more
Keep the composition simple but strong. or pop-up flash to On the other hand, you can decrease abstract reflections. 103
Pay attention to leading lines and spotlight a part of the shutterspeed and blur all the moving
the landscape.
unconventional viewpoints. Bring out elements like water or clouds.

Adding a human
element, or even an
indirect reference like
this one, creates a
sense of scale in your
landscape shots.

Prasanta Mohanty

j u Ly 2 0 1 4 BETTER PHOTOGRAPHy
Don’t Be Afraid to Go Abstract
Get closer and photograph the tiny details
of the landscape. Shoot just the lichen on a
rock or the reflections on water.
Make use of creative techniques to get
more intriguing images. For example,
if you shake the camera while shooting
trees at a slow shutterspeed, they form
interesting blurs.

Forgo the Wide Angle Lens


Use telephoto zoom lenses (especially in
the range of 70–200mm) to compress the
distance between objects. They flatten
the field of view, giving the image a more
two dimensional look. They also help you
single out a part of the landscape especially
when it is not possible to go closer. A lens
with image stabilisation and a constant
aperture is an added bonus.

Look For Interesting Shapes and Patterns


Always keep an eye out for distinct forms
or recurring patterns that stand out as they
104 become very powerful compositional
elements in the image. For example, the
lines on a tree trunk, algae in a river or
paddy fields when seen from a hill create
some very captivating patterns.

Connect with the Landscape

Do Some Research Beforehand


Read as much as you can about the location
before you visit it. Use Google Maps and
see pictures taken by others to get an idea
of how the place looks. Use desktop and
cellphone apps like The Photographer’s
Ephemeris and Photopills to check the
timings and trajectories of the sun and
the moon.
If you are going to the seaside, then Swapnali Mathkar
having a tide timetable with you is very
helpful. From your research you will be First Observe and Then Shoot For mist to form on
able to determine the best time to visit the Don’t start shooting as soon as you reach water, the conditions
need to be just right.
place and get good images. the place. Give your mind some time to
Go at dawn as the mist
relax and open up. evaporates after sunrise.
Visit the Place Without a Camera This allows you to become more aware
Sometimes a camera becomes a distraction of your surroundings and you begin to
from really exploring and appreciating notice little details and intricacies that you
the beauty of a place. So when you have a may have missed earlier.
location in mind, first go without a camera
and just explore it. Look for interesting Visit the Same Place in Different Settings
subjects and compositions and then return A forest, for example, undergoes a huge
with the camera. transformation with the changing seasons.

Better Photography j u ly 2 0 1 4
long exposure images
work best when there
are fast moving clouds
with distinct shapes
in the sky.

Nikky Stephen

You will get thick golden mist on winter Speak With the locals
mornings while in the monsoons, it is lush The best way to understand the lay of the
green everywhere with brooks and streams land is to talk to the locals. They can give 105
dotting the landscape. The more you visit you valuable information about the best
the same place, the more intimate you will places in the area and when to visit them. in the
ParticipateContest’ on
Tip
get with it. Some of the best landscape With their help, you can stay updated ‘Rea der’s /contests
ography.in
photographs stem out of a photographer’s with the current weather and plan your betterphot a chance to be
to win azine and
in the mag
love for the land. photography outings at the right time. featured citing prizes!
win ex

READER’S TIP
beating Harsh light
I was documenting Muharram at Kolkata when
I crossed this gentleman and saw his peculiar shad-
ow being cast on the newspaper. I took advantage of
the harsh light hitting at a sharp angle and used it to
create an illusion.
In harsh light you can use the lowest ISO value for
noise free and sharp images. To avoid unnecessary
lens flares use a lens hood or you can use your free
hand to shield the lens. A fill flash or a reflector can be
used to fill light in the shadow areas.
If you are shooting portraits, keep the sun behind
the person or find a shaded spot to get an even,
balanced light on the face. Using a high shutterspeed in
harshly lit situations can give you pleasing silhouettes.
Metering in the harsh sun can be tricky. Your best
bet is to use Spot Metering so that the camera will
calculate the exposure for a smaller part on the center
of the frame. When shooting under the sun make sure
to take necessary precautions. Remain hydrated and
carry adequate water. Travel light, use sunglasses,
wear a hat, and carry an umbrella (which can also be
used to shade the subject). Do not point the camera
directly at the sun as it can cause serious harm both to
Sheena Sabharwal
the eyes and the camera.
— Soumya Shankar Ghosal Make sure you don’t overexpose the highlights as you will not be able to recover the blown out details.

j u Ly 2 0 1 4 BETTER PHOTOGRAPHy
Want your doubts cleared? Write to
The Editor, Better Photography
Network18 Media & Investments Ltd
New Era House, Opp Shamrao Vithal Bank,
Mogul Lane, Matunga-West,Mumbai-400 016,
Maharashtra, India.
E-mail: editor@betterphotography.in

for a long period of time. Try this out—place


B R I E F LY
A Swollen Battery Pack your battery horizontally on the table and try
Do UV filters One day my DLSR’s battery refused to spinning it around. If it spins, it means that the
actually help? come out. When the service centre took centre of the battery is beginning to swell up
Yes, provided that they the camera apart to remove the battery, it and in such a case, it would be advisable to buy
are of good quality. was swollen from the centre, which is what a new battery. If it doesn’t spin, your battery is
Inexpensive UV filters
prevented it from coming out. How did in good shape.
that are easily available
in the market may result this happen and how can I prevent it from
in unwanted flare in happening again? Professional Timelapses?
your images. Rehan Dadachanji, New Delhi, via email I love making timelapse photographs
and I am interested in taking it up
A battery pack swells up if you repeatedly professionally. Is there a market for it
overcharge it or keep it inside the camera in India?
Spruha Mehta, Surat, via email

There isn’t a defined market as such for


professional timelapse photography.
However, there would be people like
scientists, movie producers, travel
documentary makers and others who might
require timelapse photographs. Having said
that, if you have the skill and confidence, then
Watch out! A bloated
battery may ruin go ahead and take the initiative to create a
106 your DSLR. market for timelapse photography.
W H AT I S

The Difference Between Using a Graduated ND Filter and Shooting HDR


Your eye can adjust well to scenes which have High Dynamic Range (HDR) HDR cannot be used in situations where clicking
extreme brightness as well as darkness— HDR is the process of taking multiple shots at multiple shots with the help of a tripod isn’t an option.
something that your camera might not be capable different exposure levels and merging them on a Additionally, shooting in HDR requires you to spend
of doing by itself. So in order to capture a scene software. This technique highlights details which the time on post processing the image.
with such extreme lighting, you could use a camera wouldn’t have been able to capture in a single
Graduated Neutral Density Filter or shoot in HDR. exposed shot. On The Whole
GND filters result in images that look more natural.
A Graduated Neutral Density (GND) Filter When To Use What It is simple to use and requires little post processing.
It is a filter that is physically attached to your A GND filter cannot be used if an element in the The filters even come in different strenghts. HDR, if
lens that is more opaque at the top and gradually foreground, such as a tall tree, extends from the overdone, creates images that might look unreal.
becomes lighter at the bottom. The result—the landscape to the sky because the top portion of the If that’s the effect wanted, then HDR is the way to go.
sky’s brightness is reduced while the landscape tree will be visibly darker than the bottom. Also, the So if you are one of those people who believe in the
remains the same, giving you perfect exposure brightness has to uniformly change in one direction. purity of an unprocessed image, a GDN filter is what
even in extreme lighting. In such cases, HDR will do the trick. you need.

No Filter Graduated ND Filter HDR


Raj Lalwani

Even if the source of light is moving from from left to right, you can rotate the GND filter accordingly so that the opaque portion covers the source of the light.
However, GND filters are expensive. Shooting in HDR, however, doesn’t require you to have any equipment other than a camera, tripod and photo editing software.

BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY J U LY 2 0 1 4
Creating a Portfolio
I’ve clicked hundreds of pictures of landscapes, technique or lighting used. Apart from your pictures,
portraits and weddings over the past seven years. include any web or magazine pages where you have
How can I compile all of this into a portfolio to been featured.
show clients? Package your portfolio by designing one that best
Ronita Bhattacharya, Kolkata, via email exemplifies who you are and what you shoot.
Need inspiration? Browse through the internet for some of
First of all, decide whether you want to portray yourself the most innovative portfolios created by people around
as a photographer who specialises in one genre or as the world. Send in your
one who covers many genres. Accordingly, make the Developing an online portfolio in addition to its physcial queries to Better
Photography. If your
compartments in your portfolio. If you shoot multiple counterpart, is also a good idea since people from all over
letter wins Question
genres, don’t forget to represent all of them. the world can have a look at it. Clients would go through of the Month, you
The photographs you select must be your finest. In a your blog or website before contacting you in person. stand to win a Lexar
matter of 5–7 photographs, the client should be impressed It is also cost effective and site’s link can be given to 8GB 100x SDHC
with your skills. Each photograph must be unique in the anyone, increasing the chances of getting hired! media card!

Here’s a tip—use websites, blogs and box. There are a number of websites that read
B R I E F LY
social media sites like Instagram and Vimeo the exact shutter count limit for cameras.
to broadcast your work. Only then will they There are even websites such What does the +/-
understand the different things that can be myshuttercount.com that allow you to check dial near my DSLR’s
done with timelapses. the number of times your camera’s shutter viewfinder mean?
This is a diopter. It can
For instance, there was never a market for has been used. be adjusted according
candid wedding photography until someone Once the limit has been reached, there’s no to your spectacles’
created it, and today it is a well need to worry. Your shutter might marginally slow power. To an extent, 107
known profession! down, but that’s about it. this will allow you to
see clearly into the

Selling My Old DSLR The Smooth, Glassy Effect viewfinder without


wearing your glasses.
I am planning to buy a new DSLR. How do I create that smooth ‘glassy feel’
Should I sell my current one to get some effect on water bodies?
resale value or keep it for nostalgia? Rayan Modi, Udwada, via email
Mili Sanwalka, Jaipur, via email
The amount of blur on glassy effect
If you are happy with the resale value of your you want depends on the shutterspeed.
current DSLR or are benefitting from an Accordingly reduce the speed to 1/8sec
exchange offer, go ahead with it. or even as slow as 5sec. Use a low ISO and
However, if you’re unhappy with its resale narrow aperture. You will also need a
value, it would be a better option to keep it. tripod to prevent unwanted blurs caused
This image was shot
If it’s still in working condition you can always by the slow shutter. Since there might still
with a shutterspeed of
use it as a secondary camera, convert the be excess light entering the camera, use an 1sec, an aperture of f/22
body into a pinhole camera or even have it ND filter to keep light out. and ISO 100.
modified (from trained personnel) for
infrared photography!

Shutter Count Confusion


How can I check my camera’s shutter
count? Should I replace my camera
before it reaches its limit? What happens
if I continue using the camera even after
surpassing the limit?
Sahir Zaveri, Indore, via email

The shutter count of any DSLR is usually written


in the user manuals that come in the camera’s Sarang Naik

J U LY 2 0 1 4 BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY
ShowCase
Pr OFI lE

Mustafa Quraishi
•  He admires the work 
of photographers 
like Kevin Frayer, 
Gurinder Osan and 
Anja Niedringhaus.
•  His work has been 
featured in several 
publications like The 
New York Times, 
Newsweek and 
The International 
Herald Tribune.

108

B E T T E r   P H O T O G r A P H Y   J U lY   2 0 1 4
GREATMASTERS 1000 WOrDS PHOTOFEATUrE
Robert Cornelius Our selection of the Bird’s Eye Botswana PrOFIlE
Story of the world’s best photographs from Beautiful aerial images
first self portraitist mainstream media of African wildlife

114 120 122

Treading on W
hen he was a young boy,
Mustafa Quraishi dreamt
about piloting army
helicopters. However, a

Hostile Territory
failed medical examination
because of a broken elbow made this
impossible. His mother Humra Quraishi,
who is also a journalist, suggested that
he spend some time with photographer
K K Lashkar from The Times of India.
From a celebrity photographer to being a seasoned The time spent with Lashkar out in the
photojournalist, Mustafa Quraishi has come a long field allowed him to recognise how much
he enjoyed photography. This was his
way. Conchita Fernandes takes you through his journey. beginning. During his second year in
college, The Indian Express offered him a job
as a photographer and in his own words,
“the rest was history.”

The exhilarating Glamour


In the nascent years of his career, Mustafa
spent a considerable amount of time
photographing celebrities and high-profile
social gatherings. Even at the time, the term
‘Page 3’ carried the tag of being frivolous. 109
He says, “other photographers didn’t think
that it was photography, because of the
late nights, early mornings and drunk
and abusive people. But for me, it was a
great thrill.”
His Page 3 photography days made me
wonder about how a photographer can
go from something so glamorous and
superficial to covering important political
issues that are their polar opposite.

A Life Changing Opportunity


Although he enjoyed his time at The Indian
Express, he eventually got too comfortable
and complacent. He realised that he had
to move on. He wasn’t seeking a job, but
photographer Gurinder Osan from The
Associated Press asked him to submit his
photos to the agency.
With a photography background
that was completely disassociated from
photojournalism, Mustafa was surprised
Mustafa does not think when AP asked him to travel to Andhra
that he has ever had
a difficult project. Pradesh to document the Naxal community.
However, he did mention This would be his stepping stone in the
one physically daunting field of photojournalism. “They wanted me
situation, when he had to cover the state independently without
to walk for days and
even climb a mountain to having any reporters spoonfeeding me their
reach a Maoist camp story ideas. It was just like covering a foreign
in Chhattisgarh. country, with a foreign language.”

J U lY   2 0 1 4 B E T T E r   P H O T O G r A P H Y  
Pr ofi le

110
Discovering Humanity with the looming threat of a police raid Before his first trip to
“When I was sent to Hyderabad in 2004, and encounter.” Afghanistan, he asked his
journalist friends what
the Naxalite movement had become huge Here, he met a variety of Naxals of all
they wanted to see from
in the state.” Mustafa’s first encounter ages, belonging to different professions. the country. They said
with the group was when he accompanied “Though most of the Naxals knew why that they wanted to look
a few journalists to the Nallamala forests. they had joined the movement, I met a at photos of the youth
and the everyday Afghan
“It was an eerily exciting trip by road, on 17-year-old girl called Laxmi, who, in broken
life. “But when you
foot and then by boat. It was strangely Hindi requested me to teach her Hindi and see abject poverty and
thrilling to be marooned on an island take her away from the place.” This entire helplessness, it becomes
accompanied by heavy downpour, along experience led to a long term project at difficult to ignore them.”

Gadgets & Gear

 • His photography
gear mostly
consists of the
Canon EOS 5D
Mustafa does not have Mark II and Mark
a set idea about how he III, along with a
wants his photographs range of lenses.
to look like or what • For everyday
he wants from them. photography, he
Instead, he lets his prefers using
pictures develop as the a 24–105mm
day goes by. f/4 lens.

Better Photography j u ly 2 0 1 4
Profile

Tips by Mustafa

• Learn to talk to all


kinds of people and
be kind to them.
Remember to
empathise and  
not sympathise.
• Don’t be a
photographer if
you think that it’s
a glamorous job.
There are too many
of us—the supply
is greater than
the demand.

Under AP he was sent understanding who the cadre were and why of photographers who have been His photos from the
for hostile environment they decided to join the movement. able to delve into the layers of secrecy Maoist region are not
training. This enabled him just depictions of their
Similarly, Mustafa has also ventured surrounding both the Maoist and Naxalite
to better handle tense harsh realities. It gives
situations like the 2008 into the core of the Maoist community in communities. With the help of his us a rare look into their
Delhi bomb blasts. Chhattisgarh. There are only a handful photographs, he has been able to bring day-to-day activities. 111

j u ly 2 0 1 4 Better Photography
Pr ofi le

“I don’t have
a role model.
Being a good
human being and
a photographer
is what inspires
me the most.”

During a party, he
had shown his Page 3
portfolio to the Editor of
a leading magazine, who
rubbished it. Later, the
same magazine called
him up to source
his images.

Quite a few of his forth a rather different aspect of their The Thrill of Uncertainties
photos are laden with lives—one where we don’t just see the In the 10 years that he spent with AP,
mild threads of humour,
a quality only a few groups training or in battle, but visuals of Mustafa was present at the centre of
photojournalists possess. subtle moments from their private lives. several important and volatile moments.

Better Photography j u ly 2 0 1 4
P r ofi l e

113

For instance, right after Osama Bin Laden where he slept with the lights switched on, Mustafa’s and
was killed, he was sent to Kabul to be because he could not get rid of the mental Khushwant Singh’s
association goes back to
on standby to photograph any violence. image of an Afghan boy who had lost his
about 17 years. Over the
He recalls the place being completely legs to an explosive device. years he had created
on edge and a visible tension was felt This is what makes Mustafa one several portraits of the
“I used to carry in everyone he spoke to. To add to the of the few photographers who can noted author, who passed
away on March 20, 2014.
my camera unstable situation, his two-week stint seamlessly alternate between issues
everywhere. there turned into two months. “At one ranging in varying levels of intensity.
point, I remember calling up my mother Depending on a photographer’s approach,
I felt totally and telling her that I didn’t want to die a controversial subject can either be
insecure without so soon.” glorified or demonised. But Mustafa’s
it, because During his Page 3 days, he recollects impartial, yet sensitive vision has helped
I didn’t want to being beaten up over a dozen times and him tread this very fine line. 
even faced a legal issue with a Bollywood
miss a breaking actor, all in the name of getting the best You can view Mustafa’s photographs on his website
news picture.” photograph. And then there were nights www.mustafaquraishi.com

j u ly 2 0 1 4 Better Photography
gre at master s

114

Robert Cornelius, self-


portrait; believed to be the
earliest extant American
portrait photo, 1839.

Better PhotograPhy j u ly 2 0 1 4
g r e at m ast e rs

Robert Cornelius
Besides being the first ever portraitist, Robert Cornelius was a pioneer who
gave the daguerrotype its much needed finesse. Raj Lalwani rewinds.
(1809-1893)

R
ecently, the legendary S Paul daguerreotype process in 1839. It was a self
uploaded a self portrait of his, on portrait, of him gazing pensively, unlike
Facebook. It was shot in 1963, and the duck-faced selfies that dominate our
shows the photographer, elegantly visual feeds today. Cornelius wasn’t just
posing in a suit in front of arches, a first mover. His metallurgy skills and
wearing his camera. Minutes after, someone specialisation in silver plating ensured
commented, “The era when selfies used to that his daguerreotype advancements
be classy.” I was reminded of an amusing, laid great importance on both technical
albeit photographically rich Tumblr blog, sophistication and aesthetics.
called ‘My Daguerrotype Boyfriend—Where
Early Photography Meets Extreme Hotness’. A Relentless, but Realistic Innovator
A blog that calls a certain Robert Cornelius The annals of photographic history are
as the ‘original daguerreotype BF’. filled with innovators who tasted early
Cornelius, of course, is the chemist success, but were not able to sustain 115
Grandma
who shot the world’s first ever photo that themselves financially, with their lives
Toppan. Sixth-plate
daguerreotype. portrayed a person’s face, a few months ending in poverty and anonymity.
Philadelphia, 1841. after Louis Daguerre introduced the Cornelius is a noteworthy exception, not

Image Courtesy: Library of Congress

j u ly 2 0 1 4 Better Photography
gre at master s

only because he was amongst the first to “Catching a


recognise the commercial possibilities of
the daguerreotype portrait, but because
shadow is a
he knew when to move on. thing no more to
The wealthy would come by to his two be laughed at.
studios and pay what was then a princely Mr Cornelius, in
sum of five dollars, to get a 7 x 5 inch
likeness of themselves. Within four years
one matter, has
though, his interest waned. I personally outstripped the
don’t think that was a coincidence, great master
though. Robert Cornelius was a bit of of the art.” –
a visionary. Observing the number of
Godey’s Lady’s
studios that had mushroomed since 1839,
he recognised the diminishing exclusivity Book, April 1840
of his business. He also preempted that
technology would get easier. The growing
urge to photograph one’s own life for
posterity was not a long-term business
Self-portrait of Robert opportunity as cameras would become
Cornelius with laboratory simple enough for everyone to do it on
instruments, 1843
their own. Seated couple, 1840.

116

Better PhotograPhy j u ly 2 0 1 4
g r e at m aster s

Jules Talrich, a
young anatomy student,
volunteered to be part of
Duchenne’s experiments.
He was also able to
mime expressions
without the need for an
induction current.
much of his photographic achievements.
Le Mécanisme de la Apart from the odd critical mention in
Physionomie Humaine
daguerreotype journals, his work was
is a journal of medical
photographs made in danger of being forgotten, until 1876,
by Duchenne. when Marcus Aurelius Root organised

117

A daguerrotype
portrait of a frowning Moving Away from Photography The success of his company’s kerosene
gentleman, 1841. He decided there was far more money in the lamps was stunted because of a rival’s
gas and lighting business, and he paid full invention that resulted in far cheaper
attention to the family-run Cornelius & Co, kerosene lamps, but the world’s first
making it the largest lighting company in portraitist, also the first self-portraitist,
America, over the next few decades. In fact, retired a wealthy man, with the title of the
after the success of their solar lamps and ‘Grand Old Man of American lighting’.
gaslights, it was Cornelius who presented Maybe because he changed his career
the first ever lamp that ran on kerosene. path so dominantly, Cornelius never made

j u ly 2 0 1 4 Better Photography
gre at master s

118

James Curtis Booth,


half-length portrait,
facing left, with arm
resting on table, 1841.

Better PhotograPhy j u ly 2 0 1 4
g r e at m ast e rs

119

John Henry Frederick


Sachse, half-length
portrait, facing front,
seated, 1842.

an exhibit on the history of photography. he had made portraits in 1839, the birth
The exhibition was noticed by Julius Sachse, year of the daguerreotype—a fact that
a photographer and the future editor of stunned Sachse and made him realise the
American Journal of Photography, whose father, importance of corroborating his claims,
John Henry, had coincidentally worked and giving him his due.
under, and also posed for Cornelius. It’s probably a bit of an irony that
Cornelius passed away in 1893, just a few
A Chance Writing into the Pages of History years before photography went truly mass
Only 30 of his daguerreotypes with the Brownie, a seminal innovation
survive today, but Robert Cornelius that has often been compared to today’s
is remembered as an icon because of cameraphone revolution. I wonder what
a chance conversation he had with he would have made of the modern-day
Sachse. He happened to mention that ubiquitous selfie.  

j u ly 2 0 1 4 Better Photography
A selection of some of
the best images from the
Indian mainstream media

Amit Chakravarthy,
The Indian Express Ire of the Ocean
120 On 13 June, a massive high tide hit the
shores of Bandstand in Bandra, Mumbai.
The three photographs vividly capture
the full fury of the sea, as it came crashing
on to the hutments in a fraction of a few
seconds. The black and white treatment of
the photos too, intensifies the ferocity of
the destruction.

Up, Up and Away!


On a warm sunny Saturday afternoon,
two kids are seen swinging away.
The photographer has beautifully
captured the free spirit of children by
photographing them against the backdrop
of the open sky.

Kunal Patil,
Hindustan Times

Better Photography J u ly 2 0 1 4
The Emptiness Within
On 3 June, Rural Development Minister 121
Gopinath Munde passed away in a road
accident. His desolate office presents a
Renuka Puri, somber memorial of his untimely and
The Indian Express sudden death.

J u ly 2 0 1 4 Better Photography
Photo
Feature

Zack Seckler
is a photographer
from New York.
He first picked up a
camera on a trip to
India, which inspired
him to change his
college specialisation
from business to
photography. His work
has been featured
in ‘GQ’, ‘Harper’s
Bazaar’ and ‘New
York Magazine’.

122

Bird’s Eye Botswana


Zack Seckler captures the magical landscapes of the Okavango Delta and the vast
expanse of the Makgadikgadi salt pans in Botswana in a unique way.

A
fter I was done with a I wanted to make aerial photographs
photography assignment in of the landscape, without them being too
Botswana for a non-profit abstract. The non-profit organisation
organisation, I wanted to see helped me get in touch with a bush pilot
more of the Okavango Delta who would take me around in his plane.
I was in. What better place to really His aircraft was ultralight, which proved
experience wildlife, than Africa? The delta advantageous, as we could fly as close as
and the Makgadikgadi pans are both 50 feet to the ground sometimes!
beautiful places to see wildlife in their For me, the whole experience was about
natural habitat. capturing this beautiful landscape from
The salt pans are vast expanses of land. a distinctive view. Also, to absorb the
Seasonally, some portions get covered with contrast between the land and the animals
water that eventually recedes. The delta, habiting it. It gave me perspective on how
however, is lush and green. small we are in the larger scheme of things.

Better Photography j u ly 2 0 1 4
P h o t o F e at u r e

123

The pilot and I followed


these zebras intently as
they explored the salt
pans. I was attracted to
the delicate juxtaposition
between the animals’
stripes and the
surrounding landscape.

j u ly 2 0 1 4 Better Photography
P h o t o F e at u r e

I was drawn to the


complex forms as this
herd of cattle sought out
a drink of water in the
early morning light.

Animal tracks on the


ground are sometimes
lost in translation.
From above, however,
they look beautiful.

124

These pictures were


not filed as they did
not connect with the
reporter’s story.
This just proves the
adage that a story can
have many sides.

Better Photography j u ly 2 0 1 4
P h o t o F e at u r e

125
Out in the delta,
nature was flourishing Things to Keep in Mind When Photographing a Wildlife Habitat
and running its Although wildlife is sometimes used to human much of a disturbance by way of noise or getting
course, untouched and presence in tourist areas, it is very sensitive to too close to the animals. It was exhilarating and
undisturbed by man. even the smallest of changes. Being obtrusive Animals have seasonal patterns of migration and humbling to see wildlife
could upset natural cycles in a habitat. feeding. Picking the correct time of the year is living the way they are
Ensure that your vehicle does not cause too essential for photographing them in all their glory. supposed to as opposed
to being tamed.

“It was
important to
me that the
images were
recognisable
as our earth
and not just
abstractions.”
j u ly 2 0 1 4 Better Photography
YourPictures
Our readers beat the summer heat and shared their images for this month’s theme ‘By the Beach’.

Winner

128

Swept Away
Achintya Das, Kolkata
“Starfish are intriguing
creatures that show
up on the beach one
moment and are gone
with the next tide. I had
the idea to portray this
sliver of a moment and
so, I used the Burst
mode. This helped me
avoid missing the shot.”

Camera: Nikon D5000


Lens: Nikkor AF-S DX
18–55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
Aperture: f/11
Shutterspeed: 1/100sec
ISO: 125

Better Photography j u ly 2 0 1 4
Honourable Mention

129

Perfect Harmony
N Prasad, Hyderabad
“The symbiotic ecosystem
created between the
fisherfolk and the birds
fascinated me. The crows
simply need to wait
patiently and they would
be rewarded with fish.
The fisherman, on the
Grand Prize other hand, continues
The winner of this his work, while remaining
contest, Achintya Das, oblivious to the birds
gets BP’s collector’s encircling him.”
edition Secrets of
Shooting 12 Pocket Camera: Nikon D7000
Guide set. Lens: Nikkor AF-S DX
18–105mm f/3.5-5.6G
Check out all the ED VR
nominees on our Aperture: f/5.6
website: http:// Shutterspeed: 1/5000sec
betterphotography. ISO: 560
in/?p=28487

j u ly 2 0 1 4 BETTER PHOTOGRAPHy
e in the
yO u R P I C T u R E S Participat Contest’ on
ures s
‘your Pict graphy.in/contest
to
betterpho a chance to be
to win e and
red in the magazin
featu g prizes!
win excitin

Tranquil Comedy
Subhadeep Mondal,
Kolkata
“Despite the sense of
emptiness the image is
almost comical. I had to
be careful not to frighten
or hurt the cow as I was
getting quite close to it
while making the image.”

Camera: Canon EOS


1000D
Lens: Canon EF-S
130 18–55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
Aperture: f/11
Honourable Mention Shutterspeed: 1/350sec
ISO: 200

Ethereal Twirl
Bharat Baswani, Mumbai
“The image was made as
a result of using a slow
shutterspeed, panning
and many, many attempts.
I like this photo because
of the delicate lines and
symmetric curves that it
has, along with the hint of
the orange sunset hue.”

Camera: Canon EOS 550D


Lens: Sigma 10–20mm
f/4-5.6 EX DC
Aperture: f/22

Honourable Mention Shutterspeed: 1sec


ISO: 100

BETTER PHOTOGRAPHy j u ly 2 0 1 4
Honourable Mention

Chasing The Storm


Mithilesh Choubey,
Navi Mumbai
“While a tripod would
have been ideal to make
this picture, I wasn’t
carrying one at the time.
Despite that, I wanted
to get a good lightning
photograph. So, I switched
my camera to the Burst
mode, stood there for
almost 40 minutes and
kept shooting. It paid off!”
131
Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: Canon EF-S
18–135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
Aperture: f/3.5
Shutterspeed: 1/40sec
ISO: 1250

Honourable Mention

The Day’s Catch


Santanu Paul, Guwahati
“While the fisherman
was throwing his net,
I chose to include his
family as well. I felt it
conveyed a feeling of
kinship while they waited
for the final catch. A slow
shutterspeed helped
capture the swishing
motion of the net, which
made for a better story.”

Camera: Nikon D7000


Lens: Nikkor AF-S DX
18–105 mm f/3.5-5.6G
ED VR
Aperture: f/6.3
Shutterspeed: 1/15sec
ISO: 160

j u ly 2 0 1 4 Better Photography
Provide a caption for this picture, photographed
CAPTION THIS!
by Sanjay Tripathi, to get a chance to win Camelion
batteries and charger worth Rs. 1455.
The selected entry will be published in the
August 2014 issue of Better Photography.

IN!
W

June’s winning entry


“I don’t think this phone works!”
— Abhishek Sherry, via SMS

169

Devang Singh
Send your captions to
E-mail: entries@betterphotography.in,
or SMS “BP Jul <your caption> <your name>” to 51818 Last date to receive entries
(for eg. BP Jul Main Hoon Don! Aashti Miller) 5 July 2014
DID YOU KNOW?
B LO G O F T H E M O N T H Camera Managed to Capture Light
Emitted 12 Billion Years Ago!
A Mouth Watering Food Photography Blog! Every photographer
McDonald Observatory

Learn Food Photography (LFP) is a blog that caters LFP also features special sections for book knows that once
to photography enthusiasts who wish to learn and reviews and lighting respectively, and even hosts the moment has
Image Source:

explore the art behind food photography. Its posts online seminars that are conducted by professionals. passed, it cannot
cover a broad range of topics—from the equipment Through these articles, the blog gives a comprehensive be recreated to
and tools required to the ethics and business of view of food photography. photograph.
food photography. Whether you’re a professional or a hobbyist food But on April 19 2014,
What’s particularly great is the ability for viewers photographer, there’s a lot you can learn! something extraordinary from the past—around
to upload their photographs and submit it for critique. 12 billion years ago—was photographed.
There’s no need to sign up or pay. Users only have The light rays from one of the most fierce
to fill in their contact details and upload the picture explosions to have taken place in our universe
along with its EXIF data. The blog’s writer Neel C, was discovered and photographed by a telescope,
critiques the photos before leaving them open for the ROTSE-IIIb, which is owned by the Southern
people around the world to comment. Fortunately, the Methodist University, Texas, United States.
discussion is relevant and informative. There are only four such telescopes in the world.
You also have the option to read the interviews of A 4.2MP camera with a back-illuminated sensor
professionals or listen to their podcast. These cover was connected to this high-end telescope.
a wide range of topics related to food photography, The result was a low resolution image that will
such as how to select props for food photos, and food give scientists vital information to help them gain a
styling and presentation tips. http://learnfoodphotography.com better understanding of the universe.

J U LY 2 0 1 4 BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY
we are only
allowed to tell
you everything
about
automobiles
for the rest
use your
imagination...

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170

Photograph by:
Mary Krahmer The Image that Caught JFK’s Assassination

A
Image Source: merican President John F Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald
Wikipedia on November 2, 1963 in Dallas, Texas, United States. Mary Krahmer, a
homemaker, was standing about five meters away from the President’s
limousine with a friend. The duo wanted to catch a glimpse of the President’s
wife, Jackie Kennedy. Krahmer shot this image with her Polaroid camera, a
fraction of a second after the first fatal shot was fired. It is the only image to have been
photographed at the precise moment that he was shot.
When asked what she saw through the viewfinder, Krahmer said that she thought
that it was only a gust of wind that lifted Kennedy’s hair up. At the time, however, she
was oblivious of the fact that she was a witness to the President’s assassination. “I saw
his hair jump. But it wasn’t just his hair, it was part of his head,” said Krahmer. “That is
so clear in my mind, to this day.”
This is also the only known photograph to capture JFK as well as the infamous grassy
knoll in the background. Investigators and conspiracy theorists have examined this
image innumerable times—to check if the people present on the knoll were Oswald’s
accomplices. However, they later came to the conclusion that Oswald acted alone.
In November 2013, Krahmer’s photograph was put up for auction but failed to sell.
To commemorate 50 years since Kennedy’s death, the International Center of
Photography held an exhibition, JFK November 22, 1963: A Bystander’s View of History
where this photograph was exhibited.

Better Photography j u ly 2 0 1 4

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