better photography - november 2013

Eadweard Muybridge and his quest to freeze action Exploring the mystical remains of Dhanushkodi Aditya Arya on how technology has influenced the way we see Philippe Ramette takes you to a gravity defying world of illusions GREAT MASTERS PHOTOFEATURE VISUAL MUSINGS PROFILE things you probably didn't know about powering up! 10 FREE 16-PAGE SUPPLEMENT ON SONY'S INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS LEARN WHEN TO REFUSE AN ASSIGNMENT HOW TO SHOOT CLOUDS, STARS AND FIREWORKS November 2013 • Rs. 150 (Total 180 pg + 16 pg Supplement) EXCLUSIVE TESTS Canon EOS 70D Panasonic LUMIX XS-1 Canon PIXMA Pro 1 GEAR UP FOR EXTREME SPORTS ACTION Grit, guts and conviction! The world's best photographers tell their stories THE VERDICT ON RX100 II HOW GOOD IS THIS LATEST UPGRADE FROM SONY?

Upload: sawan-patel

Post on 29-Nov-2015




0 download


photography magazine from india india's no 1 photo magazine Madhavan Pillai, the Editor of Better Photography, strongly believes that photography is as much a spiritual journey, besides being a creative pursuit. According to him, photography is not just about patience and contemplation… the act of making a photograph is also a labour of love.Gurjender Singh Virdi, the Executive Editor, is a publishing veteran, who has conceptualised and headed a number of different publications over the years. Besides acutely looking at the magazine with a magnifying eye, he also enjoys blogging about his views on the publishing scene in India.Deputy Editor – Technical Shridhar Kunte is the man we turn to, when it comes to understanding any sort of technical knowhow—not just about cameras but also other gadgets and devices. An engineer by heart, he has manufactured some interesting products from scratch, including macro photography solutions, sound-activated triggers and even audio amplifiers.Features Editor Raj Lalwani is almost always found with a camera around his neck—at times, even when he is sleeping. He believes that photography assumes a new meaning every time he looks through the viewfinder. According to him, inspiration lies in the fantastic, the ordinary and in love.Senior Features Writer Ambarin Afsar not only enjoys exploring photography from unique perspectives, but is also greatly interested in different kinds of art forms, including fractal art and graphic novels. A voracious reader, you usually identify her as the one who always has her eyes buried into a book.Apart from photography, Senior Features Writer Supriya Joshi loves all things unusual. From Mithun Chakraborty movies to obscure regional songs, she keeps a keen interest in the bizzare. A follower of pop culture, you can turn to her for any reference… weird and not so.Features Writer Chandni Gajria likes to point her camera at almost everything, she greatly enjoys wedding photography. She is one of the most entertaining members of the team, with an ability to mimic quirky sounds of all kinds.Features Writer Priyanka Chharia likes to describe herself as a visual scientist. She lives in a colourful world but the duality of black and white takes precedence when it comes to making images. She is interested in engaging with multiple forms of the visual and looks at photography as a way of life. Her dream is to live in a darkroom.Features Writer Ketan Kundargi loves the wilderness as much as he loves photography. Always up for a trek, he also loves exploring the city on his motorcycle.Features Writer Conchita Fernandes is almost always found drawing quirky doodles in her notebook. She appreciates the smaller things in life and makes it a point to illustrate her experiences, not just in photographs, but also in her drawings.Assistant Art Director Santosh D Kamble aka Fireman, loves to ask whether he can fire away the magazine’s pages to the press. With diverse interests ranging from Michael Jackson’s dance moves to art and design theories from around the world, he finishes laying out articles before we even get a chance to breathe.Senior Designer Bhavna Bastav is an ardent lover of cooking and you can find her looking at new recipes to try out. Her interests revolve around appreciating photographs and being photographed.Junior Designer Uttam Kumar‘s journey in Better Photography coincides with his first ever visit to Bombay from Bhilai, Chattisgarh. While he loves to experiment with different art forms, his favourite medium remains pencil on paper.


Page 1: Better Photography - November 2013

Eadweard Muybridge and his quest to freeze action

Exploring the mystical remains of Dhanushkodi

Aditya Arya on how technology has influenced the way we see

Philippe Ramette takes you to a gravity defying world of illusions


BETTER PhoToGRAPhYexclusive TesT: cANON eOs 70D • 24 AcTiON phOTOgrAphers shAre Their biggesT secreTs • greAT MAsTers: eADweArD MuybriDge

vOl. 17 • NO. 6 • NOveMber 2013

things you probably didn't know about powering up!10

rajesh bedi reveals beauty under Rajasthan's desert sky



LEARN whEN To REfuSE AN ASSIGNmENT • how To ShooT CLouDS, STARS AND fIREwoRkS LNovember 2013 • Rs. 150

(Total 180 pg + 16 pg Supplement)



SPoRTSACTIoNGrit, guts and conviction! The world's best photographers tell their stories

Frame the magicssss of motion in dansssssce


RX100 II



Page 2: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13

5Views and opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of Network18 Media & Investments Ltd (Network18)*, its publisher and/or editors. We at Network18 do our best to verify the information published but do not take any responsibility for the absolute accuracy of the information. No part of this magazine can be reproduced without prior written permission of the publisher. Printed by Mohan Gajria and published by Lakshmi Narasimhan on behalf of Infomedia18 Limited and printed at Kala Jyothi Process Pvt. Ltd., Plot # W17 & W18, MIDC Taloja, Navi Mumbai - 410 208, and published at Network18 Limited, New Era House, Opp Shamrao Vithal Bank, Mogul Lane, Matunga-West, Mumbai-400 016. Readers are recommended to make appropriate enquiries before sending money, incurring expenses or entering into commitments in relation to any advertisment appearing in this publication. Better Photography does not vouch for any claims made by advertisers, products or services. The printer, publisher, editor or members of the publication shall not be held liable for any consequences in the event of such claims not being honoured by the advertisers.

Editor K Madhavan Pillai

Published by Network18 Media & Investments Ltd

v o l u m e 1 7 • i s s u e 6 • n o v e m B e r 2 0 1 3

Get Published in better PhotoGraPhyShare your best images, tips and techniques with us and get your work noticed. Follow these simple guidelines:

For PhotoCritique and your Pictures: Digital files should be a minimum of 1800 x 2700

pixels at 300dpi and prints should be of 6 x 9-inches Include a 100-word note on how and why you shot

the image with the following information: Your name, address, and contact details. Title of the Image. Name of the section for which you are sending the image Details: camera, lens, aperture & shutterspeed used.

send in a synopsis, with low-resolution images for viewing, to contribute articles to the following sections:On Assignment, Step-by-Step, Photofeature, Tips & Tricks, Shooting Technique, History, Story Behind the Picture

Get in touch with us: To have your images reviewed by our panel of experts:

[email protected] To showcase your best photographs:

[email protected] To contribute articles and for questions

on photography: [email protected] For your suggestions, appreciation and criticism

on the magazine: [email protected] To send any of the above by post, send us a CD or

prints to our Head Office in Mumbai.

Founder & editor, network18Raghav Bahl

President & editorial director, tV18 Senthil Chengalvarayan

editor-in-chief, Web & Publishing, network18 R Jagannathan

editorial Chief editor

K Madhavan Pillai

deputy editor - technicalShridhar Kunte

Features editorRaj Lalwani

senior Features WritersAmbarin Afsar, Supriya Joshi

Features WritersChandni Gajria, Ketan Kundargi,

Conchita Fernandes

desiGn & ProduCtionassistant art director

Santosh D Kamble Mahesh A Jadhav

Chief PhotographerMexy Xavier

PhotographersJoshua Navalkar

MarketinG & sales senior Vice President-sales

Siddhartha Chatterjee national sales head

Badri Narayan

West Mehul Bajaj

new delhi Harshvardhan Verma Rajat Chauhan

head - MarketingAmit Seth

senior sales support executiveUmesh Desai

Group Ceo, network18B Sai Kumar

Ceo-network18 PublishingSandeep Khosla

eVP-human reasources Sanjeev Kumar Singh

neWsstand & subsCriPtion distribution head Sunil Nair

dy General Manager Manoj Palsay

ManagersKripanand S (South)

senior Manager subscriptions Sheetal Kotawdekar

Coordinators Kamlesh Mathakar, Vaibhav Ghavale,

logistics team Percy Palkhiwala, Anant Shirke

PrintinGdeputy Manager Dnyaneshwar Goythale,

Production team Ravikumar Potdar, Ravi Salian

neWsstand & subsCriPtion serViCes For newsstand and trade queries, please write to Manoj at [email protected]

For any subscription queries, please write to Sheetal at [email protected]

To subscribe to Better Photography online, visit

adVertisinG serViCes For advertising and sales queries, please write to [email protected]

head oFFiCe Network18 Media & Investments Ltd, New Era House, Opp Shamrao Vithal Bank,Mogul Lane, Matunga-West,Mumbai-400 016, Maharashtra, India. Customercare No - 43484760 Email: [email protected]

*Ownership of this magazine stands transferred from Infomedia18 Ltd (Infomedia18) to Network18 Media & Investments Ltd (Network18) in pursuance of the scheme of arrangement between Network18 and Infomedia18 and their respective shareholders and creditors, as approved by the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi and the necessary approval of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is being obtained.

Page 3: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3


e d i tor i a l the importance of Being a Participant“Let us not take too much solace in ‘next times’.”

Woman with a pail, climbing steps by Eadweard Muybridge Known for his famed motion studies that laid the foundations for modern day cinema and animation, Muybridge’s extraordinary life was filled with all kinds of events. He also invented the zoopraxiscope, which is regarded by cinema historians as the forerunner of the movie projector. To read more about Eadweard Muybridge and his passion for capturing motion— Turn to page 122

K Madhavan [email protected]

If you can appreciate, you can create. There is not a human being on the planet born without the faculty to appreciate. Thus, it is in all of us to be photographers and artists. Appreciation is not just about looking at a fine photograph and drawing a conclusion. It is about the experience of sharing in a pulsating, living habitat. It is about getting to know all those big and little things around us that make up our world, that let us have an identity and give us a home.

My wife once reminded me, not too long ago, that my home will not run with my appreciation (or my criticism) alone. I am, of course, describing the situation rather mildly. She was a lot more vociferous than that. It took me a while to see that she was, as usual, perfectly right. “Do something”, was the diktat. So I did some research. I made a mental list and then typed it onto my phone. I advocate doing things meticulously, in an orderly fashion. This is also the way I generally make pictures. It saves money and time in the long run.

“What’s taking you so long? Let me see...,” she said, peering at my phone. She deleted the note that had taken me thirty minutes to type. “I could have told you all this in twenty seconds. Why are you so slow?” The embarrassing bit is that if you knew what she wanted me to do, you would promptly agree with her. Had W H Davies (who I happen to appreciate a lot) been around that day, I would have been hard-pressed in stopping my wife from committing a heinous crime.

In any case, as Delhi Photo festival 2013 came to an end, I found myself appreciating a few familiar hobbyists from Mumbai. Their participation was absolute. They were there for every talk, book launch, slideshow, and gallery opening, from morning to night. DPF was a great opportunity to learn, see pictures, interact with the masters, and draw conclusions. For those of you who could not make it, you really missed something.

Of course, there is always a next time. But let us not take too much solace in ‘next times’. Barely a few years ago, forums of this nature did not exist in India. So make it a point to be participative. Support and attend festivals, expositions, lectures, and exhibitions. Participate in contests. Organise some of your own. There is always something to learn.

Juan Cruz Rabaglia, one of the incredible photographers we have featured in this issue advises, “It takes action to shoot action.” It could not have been put across in a better way.

Page 4: Better Photography - November 2013

58 TeST

Samsung Galaxy S4 ZoomIs it a camera? Is it a phone?

60 Sony Xperia Z1Sony’s return to the megapixel wars

62 Nokia Lumia 925Just a minor update

63 CellPhoNe DiArieS

Dinesh Krishnan on photographing photographers

64 CellPhoNe TeChNiqUe

As the Light Goes Down15 ways of getting great low light cameraphone shots

68 CellPhoNe Profile

Chanatip BhandhaveeExploring architecture with a cellphone

32 TeST

Canon EOS 70DThe best video DSLR, but does it go beyond that?

38 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IIDoes this camera match up to its expecations?

42 Panasonic DMC-XS1Offers more than what you would expect

44 Canon PIXMA PRO-1The master of B&W prints!

48 LG Pocket Photo Just another novelty

50 Velbon Ultrek UT-63QA novel, foldable design

52 GeAr feATUre

Maintaining Batteries Getting the most of your battery’s life


November 2013

22 Book Review‘Her Majesty’ by Reuel Golden and Christopher Warwick

28 Look Who’s ShootingVicky Roy

29 Visual Musingsby Aditya Arya







Eadweard Muybridge and his quest to freeze action

Exploring the mystical remains of Dhanushkodi

Aditya Arya on how technology has influenced the way we see

Philippe Ramette takes you to a gravity defying world of illusions


BETTER PhoToGRAPhYexclusive TesT: cANON eOs 70D • 24 AcTiON phOTOgrAphers shAre Their biggesT secreTs • greAT MAsTers: eADweArD MuybriDge

vOl. 17 • NO. 6 • NOveMber 2013

things you probably didn't know about powering up!10

rajesh bedi reveals beauty under Rajasthan's desert sky



LEARN whEN To REfuSE AN ASSIGNmENT • how To ShooT CLouDS, STARS AND fIREwoRkS LNovember 2013 • Rs. 150

(Total 180 pg + 16 pg Supplement)



SPoRTSACTIoNGrit, guts and conviction! The world's best photographers tell their stories

Frame the magicssss of motion in dansssssce


RX100 II



Page 5: Better Photography - November 2013

116 Profile

Philippe Ramette A glimpse into his topsy turvy world

122 GreAT MASTer

Eadweard Muybridge The pioneer of motion studies

130 PhoTofeATUre

Dhanushkodi Revisiting the long forgotten land

176 MArKeT SeNSe

When to Say No to a Client

178 STorY BehiND The PiCTUre

The Elephant Man

74 ShooTiNG TeChNiqUe 24 Action Photographers Share Their Biggest Secrets The inside scoop on creating the best action photographs

110 TiPS & TriCKS Capture billowy clouds, starry nights and fireworks

114 q & A Your questions, answered by our experts


ShowCase PhotoFinish




RegularsfeeDBACK ............................................................10reADerS GAllerY ................................................70 PhoToGUiDe ...................................................... 1061000 worDS ....................................................... 128YoUr PiCTUreS .................................................. 136

Page 6: Better Photography - November 2013

FeedbackSend your feedback to The Editor, Better Photography, Network 18 Publishing, Ruby House, ‘A’ Wing, J K Sawant Marg, Dadar (W), Mumbai-400 028, India

Email: [email protected]

More Glamour Please! Better Photography seems to be more inclined towards documentary photography work than any other genre. Sure, the magazine publishes a variety of fun and interesting On Assignments, but there is hardly ever a full-fledged fashion photography feature. Fashion photography is a huge industry in itself, and a major source of income in photography is earned through commercial and fashion assignments.

There are many upcoming fashion photographers producing some fantastic work and I wish that the magazine brings them to the limelight. In the June 2013 issue, when BP published ‘The Makeover Cheat Sheet’ article five photographers, I expected the content to be more on the glamour side. Instead the results were mere portraits of the team, which were great but I would have preferred something more traditional. Riyaaz Mohammed, Bengaluru, via post

The Inside StoryWe live in a pretty voyeuristic society, and I am willing to admit that I was extremely happy to read the ‘What’s in Your Bag?’ (October 2013) story. I keenly follow some of the photographers you have published in your feature and I quite enjoyed this peek you gave us in their camera bags.

More than anything, it was an enlightening feature about how we can actually simplify our lives when it comes to the gear we use. Even though I am not a professional photographer, I would often find myself overstuffing my camera bag and ended up using not even half of the things I could carry. It was heartening to see Sooni Taraporevala’s favourite camera

being her iPhone! How many people could expect that? Also, seeing the earplugs as part of Prakash Tilokani’s camera bag essentials made me chuckle!

I don’t believe I have ever read such a story in any magazine before, so I applaud the Better Photography team for taking such an innovative step towards great content for the readers. The tips that were provided along with the story were also very helpful for me. Thanks to the story, I can now plan better and carry my gear smarter!Bhushan Joshi, Ahmedabad, via email

Amazing Pocket GuidesI work for an events company and hence have to travel almost all the time. During the last few years, photography also became an important part of my routine. I don’t like to carry heavy novels with me, but one thing I do carry are Better Photography’s Pocket Guides! I love to read them while travelling. They provide quick photography tips when I am on the go and I feel encouraged to try a new style of photography every time I go through them.

The October 2013 issue’s ‘Did You Know?’ Pocket Guide was a very entertaining read. I discovered so many facts about photography that I had no idea about. Lyesha de Souza, New Delhi, via email

A Great Wedding WorkshopI recently participated in Better Photography’s two-day ‘Secrets of Wedding

“BP Pocket Guides are great reading material while on the go.”

The article, ‘The Makeover Cheat Sheet’ in BP’s June 2013 issue had five photographers make portraits of BP team members.

Supplement with Better Photography October 2013 issue



2 1amazing, amusing and absurd facts

about photography

volume I of V201 of 1005 facts revealed!

did you know?

Supplement with Better Photography October 2013 issue







1 Am


G, A



G An

d AB



Ts A









2 1amazing, amusing and absurd facts

about photography

volume I of V201 of 1005 facts revealed!

did y

ou know?

The ‘Did You Know?’ pocket guide was

published with the October 2013 issue of BP and had 201 facts

about photography.

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3


Page 7: Better Photography - November 2013


I just returned from Delhi Photo Festival 2013 and I must say, it was a fabulous experience. It was my fi rst time at the festival and the workshops and artists’ talks were beyond my expectations. I was in a photographer’s paradise. I really enjoyed the talks by photographers Sacha Goldberger and Mahesh Shantaram the most. They were light-hearted, absolutely fun-fi lled and very inspiring.

A work that blew me away was that of Iranian artist, Babak Kazemi. His conceptual photography work refl ected the state of his country, Iran. It was quite interesting to see and interpret a foreigner’s work and his outlook towards photography.

A great thing about Delhi Photo Festival was that one could see a variety of work, not just at the venue of the, but at various partner galleries across the city too.

Photo Festivals and the Future of Indian Photography

Write in to Better Photography with your feedback, and if your letter wins the Letter of the Month, you will get a Envie Speedster charger!



Photography Workshops’ mentored by Milind Ketkar in Pune. I aspire to be a wedding photographer someday and this workshop really helped me clear all my doubts about the profession. What I appreciated the most was that the mentor himself had no qualms about repeating himself when someone was confused. The workshop also gave me an insight of how to deal with diffi cult clients.

Additionally, it was a fun experience to know the various experiences and the funny client demands that Milind has had to deal with. I wish that we had more time for the practical session on the second day and get hands-on experience at creating a couple portfolio. I know that an actual wedding scenario would be very different, but this is just a little suggestion. I hope that BP organises more workshops in the future.Ninad S Kashyap, Mumbai, via email

Give More to New TalentIn my opinion, the news section of Better Photography could do without a few elements, like Software of the Month. Most photographers and even amateurs use Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom today and would not consider any other software.

Instead of reviewing software, I would suggest that Better Photography concentrate more on the latest mobile image editing applications. I am sure many readers like me would appreciate them and would like

to read about the new and interesting mobile apps that are available in the market.

It would be great if BP could bring to its readers some new apps that may not be very popular, but are very good for editing images. Another element I would like to stress on is the Look Who’s Shooting section. I quite like the concept of this small section where new talent is recognised.

I think you should dedicate these upcoming photographers an entire page. Instead of publishing just one picture from the photographer’s current body of work, it would be great to see two or more pictures from the same or a different series that they may be pursuing.Aishwariya Mohan, Chennai, via post

However, having been in the fi eld of photography and publication for quite a few years, I feel that, barring a few Indian artists, the quality of Indian photography is not being able to match up to that of international photographers, in terms of what is being published or displayed.

Today, we still talk about Raghu Rai’s upcoming work and Pablo Bartholomew’s new exhibition, but what about the new artists that have sprung up in all these years? Why have they not been able to make their mark like the legends of Indian photography did?

The Delhi Photo Festival, where there were more international artists exhibiting than Indians, also proves this point. I hope in the future, more new generation Indian artists fi nd their place in the international scene.Seema K, New Delhi via email

“The fashion and commercial

photography industry is huge

and BP should cover these

genres too.”

‘Look Who’s Shooting’ showcases

photographers who are making a mark in the fi eld of photography.

B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3


Page 8: Better Photography - November 2013

nikon D610The Nikon D610 has been endowed with only a few minor updates from its predecessor, the D600. It features a quiet and a faster continuous shooting mode along with improved white balance. It retails for

USD 2000 (Approx. Rs. 1,2,130).

Zeiss otus 1.4/55Carl Zeiss has developed a lens for full frame cameras and has even nicknamed it the ‘no compromise’ lens.

This f/1.4 55mm lens employs a distagon design built with 12 elements in 10 groups to minimise aberrations when shooting at maximum aperture of f/16. It has been designed for low-light photography and is priced at a whopping USD 3999 (Approx. Rs. 2,44,220).

Leica Elmarit-S 45mm f/2.8 aSPh LensThe wide angle lens will be available in two versions–one, with an in-lens central shutter and the other without it. It allows fl ash sync with shutterspeeds of upto 1/1000sec. The lens costs 4650 Pounds (Approx. Rs. 4,52,800) and 5500 Pounds (Approx. Rs. 5,35,00) with the central shutter system.

hD PEnTaX-Da 55–300mm f/4-5.8ED WRThe weather sealed telephoto zoom lens features Ricoh’s HD coating to minimise fl are and ghosting in photographs. The lens will be available in Novemeber for USD 449 (Approx. Rs. 27,400).

oPPo n1 SmartphoneChina-based company OPPO’s N1 smartphone features the world’s fi rst rotating 13MP camera with dual LED fl ash and a 5.9 inch display. The camera can rotate 206 degrees and has a 6-element lens with f/2.0 aperture. It will retail for USD 570 (Approx. Rs. 34,700).

Brett Weston was the son of the legendary American photographer, Edward Weston. He began photographing in 1925, after his father pulled him out of school and made him his apprentice. A lot of his ideas of form and composition were inspired from artists. He was drawn to portraying abstraction through his images. At the age of 17, he showcased his work at the Film und Foto exhibition in Germany which catapulted him to international fame.

WhaT’S nEW

I use various types of cameras and photograph anything, anytime. It could be something modern or an ancient rock, it doesn’t matter. But, unless a landscape is invested with a sense of mystery, it is no

better than a postcard.BRETT WESTon (1911–1993)

Eric Kim

The K-3 Features Low Pass Selective FilteringThe Pentax K-3 is Ricoh’s latest camera

offering. The 24MP APS-C DSLR has a 27-point autofocus system and a 86,000 pixel metering center, a defi nite improvement to the K-5 IIs.

Ricoh decided that instead of offering versions of the camera with or without an optical low-pass fi lter, they could instead selectively use the image stabilisation system of the camera to render a similar effect.

Besides this the K-3’s enhanced video recording feature allows the user to change from shooting stills to video recording with just a fl ip of a switch. Another new addition to the Pentax K-3 and its APS-C division is the Pentax

FLU SDHC memory card. The camera comes with twin SD card slots and a USB 3.0 connection.

The camera is priced at USD 1299 (Approx. Rs. 79,270) and at USD 1699 (Approx. Rs. 1,03,700) when coupled with the 18–135mm lens.

Sony Welcomes First Full-Frame Mirrorless ILCSony’s Alpha 7 and the Alpha 7R carry

the title of being the world’s fi rst full-frame mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras.Although both cameras are identical in built, they differ in features.

The A7R has a 36MP sensor with no optical low-pass fi lter and features contrast-detect autofocus, while the less expensive A7 has a 24MP sensor with a low-pass fi lter and a hybrid AF system. Both cameras sport XGA electronic viewfi nders, tilting LCDs and WiFi.

Sony will launch fi ve new FE series weathersealed lenses for the A7 and A7R. Users will still be able use Sony’s NEX range of APS-C mirrorless interchangeable lenses on the A7 and the A7R, with a minor constraint being that of crop sensor.

The Alpha 7 has been priced at USD 1699 (Approx. Rs. 1,00,000) for the body only and USD 1999 (Approx. Rs. 1,23,600) with a 28–70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS as kit lens. The Alpha 7R on the other hand will retail for USD 2299 (Approx. 1,42,170) only for the body.

Sony Welcomes First Full-Frame Mirrorless ILC

Image sourceDody Weston Thompson

B e T T e r P H O T O G r A P H y NOveMB e r 20 1 3


Page 9: Better Photography - November 2013

First Ever Waterproof and Shockproof Digital ILC

Nat Geo Launches PROOF to Celebrate 125 Years

X-A1: Fujifilm’s Latest Mirrorless Offering

The new Nikon 1 AW1 is somewhat a ruggedised version of Nikon’s 1 J3.

One similarity is the 14.2MP CX sensor. The 1 AW1 fromNikon is essentialy the first ever waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof advanced camera with interchangeable

lenses. The camera can survive in water upto a depth of 49 feet and can withstand temperatures as low as 14 degree Fahrenheit.

Additionally, its waterproof pop-up flash along with an electronic compass, built-in GPS and an altimeter amongst many other features, makes the Nikon 1 AW1 ideal for action and sports enthusiasts.

To complete the experience, Nikon has also come out with water and shock resistant lenses to go along with the camera—the 1 NIKKOR AW 11–27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 and the 1 NIKKOR AW 10mm f/2.8 lenses.

The camera costs USD 800 (Approx. Rs. 48,800) for the single lens kit and USD 1000 (Approx. Rs. 61,000) for a two lens kit.

When National Geographic completed its 125th year anniversary, they decided

to launch a photography blog, PROOF, to celebrate the occasion.

The blog showcases work of some of the best Nat Geo photographers. Moreover, they explain the process of storytelling, editing and go on to mention the incidents that shaped the nature of their assignments.

This inspirational venture has been doing pretty well on the website. The initial plan was to include an article of this nature in the October anniversary issue of the magazine.

But due to the vastness of the content, the blog was thought to be the best way to display photographic work. To know more Visit

Edgertronic CameraThe super slow motion camera features a resolution of 1280 x 1024 which means that it can capture videos at 494 fps. The portable camera has a Nikon F-mount in the

front with two USB ports, an ethernet port and an audio jack. However, the camera is still in its prototype stage and will be in production as soon as funds are raised through a Kickstarter campaign.

Manfrotto 190 Series Tripods Revamped Manfrotto’s 190 Series’ system of switching the center column to the horizontal position has been updated to be accessible from the center casting only when required. Additionally, the leg angle selectors have been refurbished for easier use and a rotatable bubble level has been added under the head platform.

SanDisk 256GB Compact Flash cardThe card allows minimum write speeds of upto 65MB/sec and transfer speeds of upto 160MB/sec. The card has a VPG-65 video performance guarantee rating and promises good speed for recording 4K

video. It has been designed to withstand extreme physical conditions like shock, vibration and extreme temperatures.

Tokina Rain Dispersion Filter The coating on the filter has been designed to allow water to slide away from its surface without leaving any droplets behind. This in turn will be useful to photographers who shoot under such conditions to create unobscured photographs, a problem caused by water droplets. The filter is said to be available in

a variety of sizes, early next year.

Sony CP-V3 USB Portable ChargerSony has come out with a range of five colourful portable chargers for smartphones. The chargers have a capacity of 2,800 mAh and high output of 1.5A, thus enabling

the phone to recharge quickly.

Wacom CintiqThe Cintiq Companion and the Cintiq Companion Hybrid are available for Windows 8 and Android respectively. The tablets are developed to assist artists to create sketches and other creative processes while on the go. For more product information, you can visit www.cintiqcompanion.

WhaT’S nEW

Fujifilm has added yet another mirrorless camera under its umbrella of X-mount

cameras, the X-A1. The camera comes with a 16.3MP APS-C sensor instead of the APS-C CMOS sensor, rather than the X-Trans CMOS sensor that is seen on Fuji’s more expensive cameras like X-M1, X-E1 and

X-Pro1 cameras. However, the X-A1 has a few features similar to the XM-1, like the 3-inch 920k-dot tilting LCD and WiFi support.

The camera boasts of remarkable attributes like that of a shutter lag that spans for only 0.05 seconds and a burst mode with a speed of 5.6 fps for a maximum of 30 frames. Moreover, the camera features art filters, film simulation modes, in-camera RAW processing, built-in flash and external hot shoe. Besides that, The X-A1 kit will include the FUJINON XC 16–55 f/3.5-5.6 OIS lens and will retail for USD 600 (Approx. Rs. 36,600).


B e t t e r p h o t o g r a p h y novemB e r 20 1 3


Page 10: Better Photography - November 2013

assist Lamp or the aF illuminatior projects lights onto a subject in low light conditions which the camera’s autofocus system uses to achieve focus.

PRo TaLk

16 September–3 november

a Certain Grace, The Sidi: Indians of african DescentNational Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi

As a part of DPF, Ketaki Sheth’s photographs of the Sidis in India are still on display. This body of work was documented from 2005 onwards.

26 September–24 november

The Eye of the Father and the SonNew Delhi

As part of the Delhi Photo Festival, Instituto Cervantes presents the photographs of the father of Ecuadorian contemporary Photography, Hugo Cifuentes. His work will be showcased along side his son’s photos, Diego Cifuentes.

26 September–24 november

nocturnal New Delhi

Popularly known as the Vargas Brothers, Peruvian born Carlos Vargas Zaconet and Miguel Vargas’ photographs will be on display at the Instituto Cervantes. The images are an illustration of the brothers’ fascination with street life at night.

26 September–30 november

Trees Photo ExhibitionPHOTOINK Gallery, New Delhi

PHOTOINK in partnership with Delhi Photo Festival is exhibiting the work of photographer Raghu Rai titled Trees. This series is a collection of images that were shot over the years and he had no intentions of exhibiting it.



LIFE Magazine’s Bill Eppridge Passes AwayOne of LIFE magazine’s renowned

photographer Bill Eppridge, passed away on 3 October at the age of 75. He died due to respiratory failure caused by aspiration pneumonia.

Bill is known for his iconic photograph of former US Senator, Robert F Kennedy lying on the floor of the Ambassador Hotel in California, moments after he was shot in 1968. Bill also photographed The Beatles during their first trip to the USA in 1964. One of his most famous works in LIFE was the documentation of a married couple of heroin addicts titled, The World of Needle Park.

Days Japan Announces its 2014 Call for EntriesThe Tokyo based magazine, Days Japan

has announced the 10th edition of its International Photojournalism Awards. The magazine which was launched in 2004, has chosen this years theme as ‘defend and advocate for the dignity of human beings and nature.’

The main criteria for the contest is that the submitted body of work should have been shot between January 2013 and December 2013. The contest deadline is 15 January 2014 and interested participants can log on to their website, for more details.


ki S



hu R



Eyes on asia awards The competition: The contest invites participants to portray the beauty of the countries across Asia and the Oceania.Categories: People, Nature and Cityscapes, Travel Folio and Sense of Place. Prizes: Grand Prize: USD 1451 (Approx. Rs. 88,700) and an getaway to Myanmar.Website: Entry Fee: USD 20 (Approx. Rs. 1,220) for professionals and USD 15 (Approx. 900) for amateur photographers. Deadline: 31 October 2013

2013 activist awards The competition: Participants will have to submit a photo essay that has been shot in the last three years.

Categories: Professional Photographer, Amateur Photographer, Student Photographer and Mobile Photography. Prizes: Grand Prize: Professional Photographer- USD 15,000 (Approx. Rs. 9,15,380) Amateur and Student Photographer including Mobile Photography: USD 2000 (Approx. Rs. 1,22,000) each. Website: Entry Fee: FreeDeadline: 15 November 2013

RaYMonD WEIL International Photo ContestThe competition: Interested photographers will have to submit 15 images from their current body of work. Theme: Music Prizes: Grand Prize: USD 5000 (Approx. Rs. 3,17,690) along with a chance to exhibit their work. Website: Entry Fee: Free Deadline: 29 November 2013

hamdan International Photography awardThe competition: Participants are allowed to submit a maximum of four entries, one for each category. Categories: Creating the Future, General, Black and White and Street Life. Prizes: Grand Prize: USD 120,000 (Approx. Rs. 73,23,000). Website: Entry Fee: FreeDeadline: 31 December 2013

Enter the Eyes on asia awards to

win an exquisite trip to Myanmar.

B e T T e r P H O T O G r A P H y NOveMB e r 20 1 3


Page 11: Better Photography - November 2013

Roti, kapada aur MakaanLondon based photographer Suki Dhanda curated the Roti, Kapada Aur Makaan—The Essentials of Living exhibition which took place at the Queens Gallery in New Delhi. The exhibition which was held on 16 September, went on till 18 October and was the final product of the workshop conducted by Suki.The workshop saw the participation of seven young photographers whose task was to explore the city of Bengaluru and photograph the concept of homeland.

Subjects and Spaces-Women in Indian Photography Tasveer and Saffron Art gallery together, put up an exhibit in Mumbai on 27 September which carried on till 5 October. The exhibition, Subjects and Spaces-Women

in Indian Photography showcased the work of women photographers from the mid 19th century India.

Photography Exhibition To commemorate the completion of 160 years of the East Central Railway(ECR) and 11 years of the ECR headquarters at Hajipur, an exhibition was held on 1 October at Bharatiya Nritya Kala Mandir, Patna. General Manager of ECR, Madhuresh Kumar inaugurated the seven day exhibition. Rare photographs of the Indian Railways were put on display along with models of major projects by ECR.

Street Photography Workshop On 5 October, AVID Learning conducted a two day workshop in Mumbai with commercial photographer Himanshu Seth. On the first day of the workshop, participants were enlightened about the process of storytelling with the help of photographs. On day two however, they went around the city shooting, which was followed by a critique of their work by Himanshu himself. He also gave them tips related to post-processing.

BB Forever An exhibition of the the iconic French actress Bridget Bardo was displayed in Mumbai on 19 October at Hotel Sofitel Mumbai BKC. The show featured rare behind the scene photographs from some of her most famous films—And God Created Woman, The Night Heaven Fell. This was accompanied with narration by French writer and journalist, Henri-Jean Servat.


Tasveer and Saffron art’s exhibit

showcased work of Indian women

photographers in the 19th century.

1–31 october

Rediscovering India Then and nowIndira Gandhi National Center for the Arts, New Delhi

The exhibition is a showcase of 250 rare photographs of two of India’s renowned photographers, Sunil Janah and Shambhu Shaha, including the photos of the legendary Henri Cartier Bresson too.

3 october–1 november

1956—The hope of FreedomHungarian Information And Cultural Centre, New Delhi

The exhibition is a celebration of the 57th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution and the 24th Anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain. The display also commemorates Hungary’s accession to becoming a democratic Republic.

27 october

Better Photography Masterclass with Prakash Tilokani Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi

India’s most celebrated wedding photographer, Prakash Tilokani will engage in an in-depth conversation about the wedding industry and his experiences working in it. To register visit or contact 9594999905.

24–25 november

Introduction to Studio Lights Workshop New Delhi APEX Photo Academy will be conducting a photography workshop with Dhruv Malhar mentoring the session. It will be an introduction to studio lights for beginners and serious amateurs. For further details, log onto


The Smaller, Lighter and Mightier GoPro Hero3+

The Ultimate Advanced Superzoom From Sony: RX10

The newest addition to the GoPro family is the Hero3+ which is smaller in size from

its predecessor, the Hero3. The WiFi speeds have been

increased by four times and there is a 33% of sharpness in image, thus reducing image artifacts. Additionally, a few minor firmware updates have been introduced to

the camera’s black edition. One being, if the available light changes in the frame,

the Auto Low Light mode will automatically adjust your video’s frame rate so that you do not lose out on any important moment. Both the black and silver editions retail for USD 400 and USD 300 (Approx. Rs. 24,400 and Rs. 18,300) respectively.

Sony’ has announced the new advanced point and shoot Sony Cyber-shot RX10

with a 1-inch 20.2 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, which is the biggest sensor in a superzoom of this size till date. This is the same sensor used in Sony’s RX100 II. Moreover, the RX10 comes paired with a 24–200 (35mm equivalent) lens with a constant fast aperture of f/2.8 aperture all through. This is something that only the Panasonic Fz200 had and that was

in a much smaller sensor. The RX10 has a DSLR built body and comes packed with WiFi, hotshoe, an OLED viewfinder and a 3.0-inch White Magic tilting LCD on the back. The camera is great not just for still photography but also for video enthusiasts as apart from offering a Full HD video recording, the RX10 also comes with a mic input, which not many cameras from Sony boast of.

B e T T e r P H O T O G r A P H y NOveMB e r 20 1 3


Page 12: Better Photography - November 2013


B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3


This year SanDisk announced the six week festive campaign in India which will span from 22 September to 2 November. It has been promoted through an impactful multimedia campaign across television, radio, digital and social media as well.With the help of TVCs,

we are reaching out to our customers and generating a buzz around the campaign, wherein consumers get the chance to win a trip for two to Hong Kong every week, including some other exciting prizes as well.

On the other hand, the trends in the storage category has been spiraling upwards. A lot of gadgets today are memory intensive and with the growing amount of digital data and increased need for mobility in our daily lives, the demand for fl ash based storage devices is ever increasing. Smartphones and tablets represent two of the biggest opportunities for SanDisk.

At SanDisk, staying ahead has always been a key component of our strategy. Our research into 3-D memory and other types of memory solutions will drive the future of the storage industry and deliver an exciting new range of consumer and business devices built on SanDisk innovations.

Alternatively, fl ash memory continues to enable a broad array of applications and is currently being used extensively in mobile computing devices such as smartphones, tablets and ultrabooks. It is this set of new applications that is helping to drive the global growth of fl ash memory, and SanDisk as well.

— As told to Conchita Fernandes

inDUstRY Vo iCE

“the current storage trend in india is on an upward and positive spiral.”

To celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee last year, Taschen released a tribute in the form of an almost magical coffee table book, Her Majesty. The book features 366 pages of photographs and stories from the life of the world’s most famous monarch. And as you turn each page, you will fi nd yourself staring at the image for a long time.

The book features the major aspects of the Queen’s life—her early years, coming of age during World War II, her marriage, becoming Queen and a mother, Royal Tours, her Silver Jubilee in 1977 and her later years. The photographs are stunning and were made by some of the best photographers in the world, including Yousuf Karsh, Cecil Beaton, Annie Leibovitz and many others.

As a documentation of her life, the book does complete justice to Queen Elizabeth II. We see her grow from a sweet smiling little princess to the much loved Queen she is today. Along with the images, there are also two pull-out posters that feature a beautifully illustrated Royal Family tree and a world map that shows where the Queen had travelled to during the several Commonwealth tours. This is one of those books anyone would be delighted to have as part of their collection. The book’s printing is spectacular and the photographs are reproduced with a certain richness. You could get lost amongst the pages, imagining what it must be like to be the Queen herself.

— Written by supriya Joshi

title: Her MajestyAuthors: Reuel Golden, Christopher WarwickisBn: 9783836535182Publisher: TaschenPrice: Approx. Rs. 9300

Book REV iEW

Rajesh guptaCountry managersanDisk, India

Miss Universe 2012, Olivia Culpo came under fi re

for modelling shoes in front of the Taj Mahal. Being a world heritage site, strict laws protect the monument, one being the restriction of any commercial activity at the site of the structure.

On reaching the iconic ‘Diana seat’ in front of the Taj,

the American beauty began modelling different pairs of pumps for the cameras. If found guilty, Olivia can face two years in jail and a USD 1600 (Approx. Rs. 97,640) fi ne.

Immediately after Olivia’s departure from India, the Miss Universe Organisation issued a statement apologising for the event.

Photoshoot at Taj, Lands Miss Universe in Trouble

A Fairy Tale Life

Anganwadi Workers Become Visual StorytellersWhen fi ve anganwadi workers picked

up cameras, no one ever thought that it would one day culminate into an exhibition.The show, Picturing Change was inaugurated on 28 September and was on display at the Thalam Gallery in Bengaluru till 12 October. Five anganwadi workers, Geetha, Sumitra, Sujatha, Varalakshmi, and Yashoda were the photographers behind the exhibition that documented their work. Before getting a hold of the camera, they were trained by professional photographer, Greeshma Patel.

These women went about photographing the children at the aganwadi who are also under their care, thus elevating them to the position of storytellers.

Moreover, since the women knew the families and their children well, they could connect with them easily through

photography. Most images that come out of such documentation often highlight the desparity of the families. But the women workers brought to the exhibition thought provoking and joyful photographs.

The greatest reward for these women was when Canvera agreed to print coffee-table books of the anganwadi worker’s photographs.

Walker Evans

Varalakshmi shot this image of two old women whose grandchildren too are trapped in the cycle of poverty.




Glenn Francis

Page 13: Better Photography - November 2013

World Press Photo Changes Rules for 2014 Contest

Eastman Kodak’s New Avatar, Kodak Alaris

When Sweden-based photographer Paul Hansen won the World

Press Photo award earlier this year, the winning image came under a lot of heat for undergoing a fair amount of post-production. In this regard, the organisation has announced that it will be introducing new rules for its upcoming 2014 contest.

There are no details of what these rules will be as they will only be revealed in December when the competition will be open for entries. World Press Photo’s Managing Director, Michiel Munneke said, “We have evaluated the contest

Early in September the U K Kodak Pension Plan (KPP) acquired the Kodak personalised imaging and document imaging businesses from Eastman Kodak

Company. The result of this was a new avatar of Kodak, Kodak Alaris. The new company name will preserve the legacy of Kodak and will focus on innovating new products. Kodak Alaris also unveiled its fi rst product, the Kodak Photo Service at the Mobile Photo Connect conference in San Francisco. The Kodak Photo Service, will allow developers of photo manipulating apps to add print ordering capabilities. This is ofcourse keeping the smartphone and tablet trend in mind, whose apps will help people to create or order instant photobooks. On the other hand, Kodak Alaris will still continue to produce photographic fi lm as long as the demand for it is met.

Mobile Photo Connect conference in San Francisco. The Kodak Photo Service,

rules and protocols and examined how to create more transparency, but the bottom line is that we have to be able to rely on the integrity and professionalism of the participating photographers.”

Initiative to Teach Women PhotographyBack in September 2013, Hindustan

Times carried a story where the country’s leading Islamic seminary, the Darul Uloom called photography a sin.

In defi ance of this announcement, the Mumbai-based woman’s advocacy group, Aawaaz-e-Niswaan took it upon them to encourage Muslim women to take up and practice photography. Haseena Khan, the founder of Aawaaz-e-Niswaan, feels that teaching women photography not only empowers them to go out boldly into the society but also provides them with an alternate career choice.

To fulfi l this initiative, Haseena specially appointed professional photographers to teach the women of her NGO photography. She also insisted that they be taught the art in the open public spaces to build confi dence.

Sudharak Olwe’s Images Glorify the Raj BhavansThe Raj Bhavans—the offi cial

residences of state governors across India, are an architectural splendour with luxuriant gardens around them built during the British era. Now two coffee table books, one in English, Raj Bhavans of Maharashtra: Witness to Glory and its Marathi version—Maharashtrateel Rajbhavaney: Vaibhavshali Itihasachi Saakshidaar, were released on 17 October at the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai.

Through the photographs of reknowned photographer Sudharak Olwe, the photo books document the heritage, architecture and elegance of the the various Raj Bhavans in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and the summer residence of the governor in Mahableshwar. Published by

Spenta Multimedia, the books were released by state Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in the presence of Governor K Sankaranarayanan, ministers, offi cials and other dignitaries in Mumbai.

Photographer sudharak olwe presents one of his pictures to Chief Justice Mohit s shah while CM Prithviraj Chavan, govenor k sankaranarayanan and speaker Dilip Walse-Patil look on.

Mexy Xavier

ISOCELL Delivers Low Light SensitivitySamsung’s ISOCELL

sensor technology has been designed to increase light sensitivity and better colour reproduction under low light conditions.

Since companies have been trying to pack more megapixels into smaller devices, the image’s pixel size has been reducing as well. The ISOCELL technology addresses this problem by creating a physical barrier between neighbouring pixels , thus isolating it and allowing more light to fall on the right pixel. This in turn has led to an increase in the dynamic range of the image. This technology may appear in Samsung’s future premium cellphone devices.


B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3


the winning photograph shot by Paul Hansen in syria, raised several questions about its authenticity.




Page 14: Better Photography - November 2013
Page 15: Better Photography - November 2013

Apex Academy Announces Two Fellowships For Young and Senior Photographers

Team BP Attends Delhi Photo Festival, 2013

The grand opening of the 2013, Delhi Photo Festival was followed by an

important announcement by the Apex Photo Academy. The photo academy will give away two photography grants amounting upto Rs. 3 lakhs in total.

Aditya Arya and Dinesh Khanna, Directors of Apex Academy, went on to provide more details about the fellowship. The Youth Fellowship will be awarded to students and amateur photographers between the age group of 18-30 years. The fellowship will amount to Rs. 1.5 lakhs and will be granted to a photographer who is starting a project or is mid-way to completion. Moreover, the awardee will be given a year’s time to complete the project under the direction of a nominated mentor. The Senior Fellowship on the other hand,

which is also of Rs 1.5 lakhs, will be awarded to working professional photographer between the age group of 40-60 years. The fellowship will be granted those wish to produce a monograph from their completed body of work. Awardees will be selected by a jury on a submission basis. For additional details, write in to [email protected]

This year, the Delhi Photo Festival, 2013 was much bigger than the initial

edition of the festival. This year, the festival received 2349 photographic works from 1176 photographers from over 90 countries.

The exhibitions were showcased in and around the Indian Habitat Center, including partner art galleries like the National Gallery of Modern Art, Alliances Françaises, Ojas Art... amongst many others.

The festival did not just stop at the exhibits and artist talks but also included book launches and portfolio reviews. In case you missed out on the event, you can catch up on the talks at

The Better Photography visited the festival and felt quite at home amongst the various photographers from the fraternity. Im



ce: A



o A



Our ever curious and passionate love affair with the camera will never cease. And so be it as Better Photography, India’s first magazine completely devoted to the art and science of photography presents an expansive imagery

like no other can. It is also the best-selling photography magazine in India and South Asia.

Better Photography


B e t t e r p h o t o g r a p h y novemB e r 20 1 3


Page 16: Better Photography - November 2013


B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3


Raghu Rai’s Trees, Highlight the SilenceAnother notable book launch at the

Delhi Photo Festival this year was eminent photographer Raghu Rai’s work titled Trees. The book is a culmination of black and white photographs shot over a period of over 40 years.

Sanjeev Saith introduced the book at the festival on 29 September. Trees was not created with an intention of having it published. In contrast to Raghu Rai’s usual work of reportage and street photography, which he is well known for, Trees is a great showcase of a silent and still body of work from the legend.

Having lived on the streets, Vicky is able to understand the kids completely and has managed to stay honest and portray the true self of these children.

Vicky Roy Rising From The AshesLook WHo’s sHoot ing

“These pictures not only highlight the lives of street kids, but also show my journey and where I have come from.”

Vicky Roy’s incredible journey, is an inspiring one. Born in West Bengal, Vicky Roy ran away from his home when he was just 11 years of age. His fate brought him to the streets of New Delhi where he lived for two years after which, he was rescued by the Salaam Baalak Trust (SBT), an NGO for street children in New Delhi.

At this year’s DPF 2013, Vicky launched his first photo book, Home.Street.Home. The book, offers a glimpse into Vicky’s early life on streets. Vicky started making these pictures in 2005 and concluded the series late in 2012. “At the time of making these pictures, I had not thought about producing the work into a book. My focus was to showcase the street kids in a different light. By highlighting their lives, I wanted to show how I use to live on those streets, how it use to be my home and

the transition from streets to living in shelter homes is. Home Street.Home is not just about street kids. It is my own story.”

In 2012, Vicky was part of an exhibition Apna Ghar, where co-founder of Nazar Foundation, Prashant Panjiar and photographer Sanjeev Saith felt that a book should be published on the same. By the end of 2012, with the contribution of many photographers, artists and friends, Home.Street.Home was ready to be the first book in the Nazar Photography Monographs. Besides this, Vicky is also the co-founder of Delhi-based community Rang which holds open library and other sessions that encourage discussions on photography.

— written by Chandni gajria

Photob ooks Launched At Delhi Photo FestivalPhotographer Vicky Roy made a debut

with his book Home. Street. Home during the opening week of the Delhi Photo Festival. His book is a depiction of the time he spent during his formative years on the streets of Delhi and at the Salaam Balak Trust after.

Ketaki Sheth too launched her book, A Certain Grace-The Sidi:Indians of African Descent, which contains 88 black and white photographs of the Sidi community in India.

This was followed by the launch of Nony Singh’s, The Archivist. At the launch, the book was presented to Raghu Rai by Nony Singh and her granddaughter Tahira Kochar. The Archivist contains photos that Nony shot

through the years growing up in Pakistan before the partition. It also includes pictures by her that were photographed when she settled in India. Bangladeshi photographer, Munem Wasif also presented his book Belonging, featuring photographs from Bangladesh, specially Dhaka.


Vicky Roy

Book covers of nony singh’s the Archivist and ketaki sheth’s A Certain grace-the sidi: indian of African Descent.

Page 17: Better Photography - November 2013

No Photograph is an Island: How Technology Influences Vision

Aditya Arya is not only a photographer but also an archivist. Through the Aditya Arya Archive and the India Photo Archive Foundation, he looks for rare collections of cameras and photographs that can be preserved and studied. He has been greatly involved in archiving photojournalist Kulwant Roy’s photographic collection.

V i s u a l M u s i n g s

(left) Mahatma gandhi, Jawaharlal nehru and sardar Vallabhbhai Patel sit in front of the gulami motif. 1940, shot with a grafflex system and flash. (Right) Jawaharlal nehru with Jacqueline Kennedy. 1962, shot with a Mamiya TlR.

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13


Look at a picture. What do you see? Do you see what the photographer had seen? Do you see why he saw the way he did? Photography is an art, but one cannot deny the fact that

the very creation of this art is a craft. And this is why technology has always influenced vision, all through the ages.

It is all fine to say that the camera does not matter—a good photographer will produce good images, no matter what his gear. But it does matter. The intentionality of the gaze of the photographer is a direct result of the equipment in use, which has been evolving for the last 150 years, ever since the invention of photography.

In the days of camera obscura, when the camera was a ‘kamra’, the artist would be physically sitting inside, sketching. With a camera, the artist has stepped out, and sees his vision through a viewfinder. We may see an upside down image on a ground glass while putting our head down to compose, or see the frame through an optical viewfinder at our eye, or a video feed two feet away, while composing on our cameraphone. And the way we view, literally so, determines the way we see, in terms of visual language.

For example, consider Henri Cartier-Bresson and his Leica. His choice of lens and technique of using hyperfocal distance helps us understand why most of his photos have most elements

sharp. This was, in fact, how he played with the dynamics of foreground and background. Of course, that doesn’t mean that everyone who used the same equipment would get similar pictures. But how much of the decisive moment was determined by his Leica and how much of it was related to his personal adaptation of the technology is a point that is worth pondering over.

The huge role played by the tool was something I realised when archiving the work of my uncle, Kulwant Roy. From the time he

Aditya Arya


ant R



a A




was using a Grafflex to his later work with a Mamiya Twin Lens Reflex camera, his style was distinctively shaped by the camera.

It is not just the camera. When you are looking at the work of a photographer, you have to understand his motivation, what he was going through, his background, what work he created before, what work he created after, the social conditions at that time, and so on. No photograph is an island. It exists as a part of a much longer narrative, the narrative of the evolution of the photographer, and of photography itself.

This is why it disturbs me when I see the state of photography criticism, especially in India. When a critique is done by someone who is not a practitioner, they often do not understand the technique. They are only interpreting the image as an end result, not how it really came to be. I am not saying that a casual viewer cannot enjoy the end result of a photograph purely on the basis of how good it looks. But when you are studying the medium, critiquing it, or being a connoisseur, it is your duty to look at the larger picture.

It is also tragic that whenever we talk about some of the greatest photographers that India has produced, all we can see are a few handful of images. We hear of T S Satyan, Kashinath and several others, but the evolution of their style is rarely examined.

Contact sheets are a great source of such understanding. They allow us to see the theatre of picturemaking, the way the script plays out. We may see photographers start with a wide angle, playing with different elements, and halfway through, we may see a change of optics. A change in the thought process.

It is ironic, of course. Where are we heading in the world of photography? We are heading where the manufacturers wish to take us. From the 1800s when the silversmiths in Europe determined the size of the daguerreotype plate, the producers of the technology have indirectly dictated what the practitioners do.

When I speak of evolving technology and the evolving eye, there is only one concern. Cameras have come a long way, especially in the last few years, with digital making everything so easy. Has personal vision taken such huge strides as well? I doubt it. Especially not in India. But that is because we are allowing the instantness of digital to take over our minds, as well. When Ansel Adams would spend days and even months to make the perfect print, the process was sacred. Maybe, just maybe, that is what we need to bring back.

Page 18: Better Photography - November 2013



HOW WE TESTProduct CategorisationWe fi rst 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, fl ashguns, printers, and other photographic accessories and gear.

The ProcessWe 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 types of consumers have diverse expectations from products.

Final RatingsUnder each main parameter, we list out hundreds of individual variables (for eg. colour accuracy for individual colours in different lighting, individual features, dynamic range, center-to-edge defi nition, light falloff, etc) against which we either give points or simply mark ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Thus, we arrive at a score for that parameter, and then, the fi nal score, denoted as a percentage.Additionally, based on the current pricing of a product, a star rating for ‘Value for Money’ is considered. Value for Money does not affect the fi nal percentage, because prices for products change constantly.

Our Seals of ApprovalAny 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 AwardsAt 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.

B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3

On the test bench, the Canon EOS 70D encounters a skeptic in K Madhavan Pillai, and gets him to convert... well, almost.

The Video Enthusiast

Canon, in the recent past, has been releasing APS-C DSLRs that have been minor upgrades of its predecessors, with features being handed down from higher end

cameras to its lesser siblings. The Canon EOS 70D breaks the trend by

packing in a completely new 20.2MP sensor featuring Dual Pixel CMOS AF. Existing hybrid systems use several pixels directly on the sensor dedicated to phase detect AF, thus making AF in Live View much faster. What makes the EOS 70D unique is that 80% of its sensor pixels double-up for phase-detect AF, equipping it with much more powerful focus capabilities.

FeaturesThe 70D gets WiFi capabilities (from the EOS 6D) and an excellent, fully articulated, touchscreen LCD (from the EOS 700D). The 70D now features a the 19-point cross-type AF system (of the EOS 7D) which works at a slightly limiting -0.5 EV.

Unfortunately, only three of fi ve AF area selection modes of the EOS 7D makes its way into the 70D. These modes are Single AF, Zone AF and Auto. Action photographers will miss the AF Point Expansion mode and portrait and macro photographers will rue the loss of Spot AF. The remaining modes have a proven track record in most other situations. AF micro adjustment, which was missing in the 60D, is now back in the 70D and it is more advanced than the 7D.

The most exciting feature of the EOS 70D is in the way it handles AF in Live View, in combination with the touchscreen. The potential of this can be truly experienced while shooting videos with STM lenses. The Dual Pixel CMOS AF system works all the way up to f/11. The four AF options in Live View are Face and Tracking, Flexizone Multi AF, Flexizone Single AF, and a Quick Mode.

WiFi opens up another range of options to remotely control the 70D. With laptops

Canon EOS 70D


Features Performance Build Quality Ergonomics Warranty & Support


20% 45%





Page 19: Better Photography - November 2013




All photographs by K Madhavan Pillai





by K



n Pi


India’s countryside can be so joyously quiet and

idyllic. Colours came to life in the Standard

picture setting with both contrast and

saturation boosted, and a compensation of -2/3.

Exposure: 1/200sec

at f/8 (ISO 100)



Sony DSC-RX100 IIA worthy upgrade to the original king?



Panasonic XS1More style and less substance?



Canon PIXMA PRO 1BP’s guest reviewer tests Canon’s fi nest printer


Page 20: Better Photography - November 2013



NOVEMB E R 20 1 3

The handgrip is recessed and comfortable. The camera is not all metal, but a metal frame surrounded by polycarbonate. It feels quite sturdy though. The EOS 70D is similar to the 6D in terms of control layout, with features borrowed from both 60D and 7D.


IR remote signal reciever

Front Top Rear

• Nikon D7100


Test Shots

Customisable Picture SettingsPictures settings can be preset, customised and dedicated to the center ‘Set’ button for easy, immediate access while shooting.

Accurate fl ash metering and controlFlash metering is quite accurate, and compensation can be easily dialed in if necessary. The importance of a good onboard fl ash cannot be overstated.


The screen is fully articulated, allowing it to fl ip out and twist to any angle, including forwards. Another huge advantage is the touchscreen, which allows you select from menus, swipe during playback, and most importantly... tap to refocus anywhere on the screen.

Live View / Movies start / stop

The mode dial features SCN (Scene), Creative Auto, Flash off and Bulb, along with other regular exposure modes. The only signifi cant addition over the 60D is the inclusion of a new AF area selection mode button immediately after the shutter release button.

Onboard fl ash

Hot shoe

Front input dial and shutter

release button

Lens release button

AF area selection modes

3-inch, 1.04 million dot, touchscreen LCD

AF-assist lamp

4-way controller surrounded by thunb wheel

Playback Zoom in / out

Quick menu

and computers, a WiFi router is needed to enable a connection. With iOS or Android smartphones, the EOS Remote App is quite thrilling to use in the fi eld as well. Live View over WiFi is possible, but terribly slow. This limits it for remote monitoring and shooting in wildlife photography.

The EOS 70D has movie options similar to the EOS 6D. You can shoot in 1080p at 24, 25 or 30p, or in 720p at 50p or 60p. You can also choose between intra-frame (All-i) or inter-frame (IPB) compression formats, and add time code. There are built-in stereo mics and a jack for external microphones along with the chance to monitor and adjust audio levels. Pro videographers will appreciate these features greatly. What they will certainly not like is that there is no headphone jack.

HandlingSo far, manual focus pulling was the only viable option for pro videographers. For the very fi rst time, thanks to Dual Pixel AF, focus with almost no hunting is possible while video is being recorded! Videographers do not want focus to ‘snap’ from one point to the other or for the lens to hunt back and forth before locking. Speed isn’t as important as accuracy and smoothness. Coupled with touch focus across almost the whole of the touchscreen, focus effects with wide open apertures are now wonderfully attainable with the 70D.

Controls on the touchscreen have been intelligently designed primarily for videographers. For instance, servo AF can be disabled or enabled during video recording by simply touching the screen.

Exposure mode dial

• High ISO Noise


• Video quality• Live View AF• Artculated LCD • Touchscreen• WiFi


Main Menu, Image info

Power Switch

Drive modes

• Canon EOS 70D • Eyecup• Li-ion battery• Battery charger• Shoulder strap• USB cable• Software CD • Instruction manual


Page 21: Better Photography - November 2013



F I N A L R A T I N G SFeaturesDual Pixel AF sensor, touchscreen LCD


PerformanceExcellent video, average still imaging


Build QualityMetal frame, polycarbonate body


ErgonomicsFully articulated LCD, good button placement


Warranty & SupportTwo-year warranty with a wide service network all over India


Value for Money

Who should buy it? This camera is perfect for video professionals or enthusiasts who want pro results

Why? It is the only DSLR that offers high quality video along with smooth, accurate, touchscreen focus.



Model name Canon EOS 70D

MRP Rs. 85,995 (with 18–55mm IS STM kit lens)

Effective pixels 20.2 megapixels

Max. resolution 5472 x 3648 pixels

Sensor size, type 22.5 x 15.0mm, CMOS

Sensor cleaning Yes

Aspect ratio (w:h) 2:3

Focusing modes One-Shot AF, AI Servo AF, AI Focus AF, Manual focusing (MF)

AF type Dual Pixel CMOS AF system/Contrast-detection AF system and Phase-detect with dedicated AF sensor

AF points 19 focus points (all cross type)

Metering Evaluative, partial, centre-weighted, spot

Shutterspeed range 30–1/8000sec

Exp. compensation +/- 5EV (in 0.3 steps)

Colour space sRGB, Adobe RGB

ISO Auto, 100–12800 (Extended: 25600)

White balance Auto, Preset (Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten light, White fl uorescent light, Flash), Custom, Kelvin setting (2500-10000K)

Drive modes Hi: 7fps, Lo: 3fps, silent: 3fps, single, silent single

Built-in fl ash Yes

External fl ash Yes; hot shoe

Flash modes On, Redeye, Slow Sync, Slow Sync + Redeye, Trailing Curtain Sync, Wireless

Flash range 12 (in meters at ISO100)

LCD size 3-inch TFT LCD touchscreen

LCD dots 1.04 million dots

Viewfi nder Yes, 98% FOV

File format RAW (CR2), JPEG, MOV

Image stabilisation Lens dependent

Live View Yes

Remote control Yes

Self-timer Yes, 2, 10sec

Storage types SD/SDHC/SDXC card

Interval timer No

Multiple Exposure Yes, 2 to 9 shots

Environmentally sealed Yes

Battery Lithium-ion

Dimensions (W x H x D) 139.0 x 104.3 x 78.5mm

Weight 755g (body only, with battery)

ISO 3200

True to Canon’s standard, colour rendition and constancy across the ISO range is excellent. Colour noise becomes apparent at ISO 800 in the darker tones. At ISO 3200, the red and indigo start to get splotchy. There is quite a big jump in noise and loss in detail between ISO 6400 and ISO 12800, making it usable only at smaller image sizes.

Noise Test

ISO 1600

ISO 6400

The other part of the equation is using the new STM lenses, as they focus smoothly and in virtual silence.

PerformanceRegular AF and subject tracking through the viewfi nder is excellent. Face tracking, while fl awless with slow subjects even if they are close to the lens, falters if the subject is moving quickly. In practice, Live View AF, while perfect for video, falls short of expectations for still photography. Even though other DSLRs cannot match the speed of the 70D in Live View, the EOS 70D is slightly slower than the newer Olympus and Panasonic mirrorless offerings.

In terms of image quality in video, the EOS 70D does well as compared to other DSLRs. The Panasonic GH3 showed slightly more detail in good light. With stills, Canon’s characteristic control over colour is apparent, but image quality does not match up to the Nikon D7100 in terms of dynamic range or noise, especially at high ISO.

The 18-55mm STM is sharper than other kit lenses I have tested. Its stepped, silent motor is excellent for video. But it does not make the best of the camera’s ability to use shallow depth of fi eld for focus shift effects. Like most other kit lenses, it has visible distortion at the wide end, and lacks corner sharpness wide open. It deliver its best results at f/8, at 40mm, with still images.

ConclusionTo me, it is quite clear that this is certainly the camera to buy if you are looking for a enthusiast level video DSLR with excellent AF features. In that sense, it is an extremely capable camera. For those who shoot stills, the advantages of the 70D lie in its WiFi functions, more responsive AF, and increased burst shooting. The Canon EOS 70D costs Rs. 85,995 with the 18-55mm STM kit lens, or Rs. 79,995 for the body, which is a good price given its video AF features and touchscreen functionality.

However, if these are not the features you need, and if you are looking for the best quality from still images, I recommend the Nikon D7100. Alternatively, the price of the EOS 60D has now reduced to Rs. 47,995 (body only). Despite being three years old, it offers very good value for money.

The other part of the equation is using the The other part of the equation is using the



ISO 12,800



NOVEMB E R 20 1 3

Page 22: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e R P H O t O G R A P H Y NOVeMB e R 20 1 3


The second innings of an excellent compact camera, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II has a lot to live up to. Raj Lalwani puts it to the test.

Greatness is easy to acquire but way more diffi cult to maintain. We see this phenomenon with most things in life, and with gadgets, the maxim is more true

than ever. With the sheer speed at which technology moves, human perception and expectations only race faster.

These were the thoughts going through my head when I fi rst held the Sony RX100 II. As the name suggests, the camera is the second iteration of the RX100, a fabulous compact camera that had swept most of Better Photography’s Excellence Awards earlier this year.

Features Before talking about version II, it is worth recalling why the original RX100 won so many hearts. It was the fi rst pocketable digital camera that had a sensor as large as 1 inch. This was revolutionary, especially

because the camera also combined a large 20.2MP count with an excellent 24–100mm Carl Zeiss lens that was a fast f/1.8 lens. Its pocketable nature has made it a favourite with serious photographers who want a carry-everywhere camera without too much of compromise.

Almost all of this can be said about the RX100 II as well, but there are a few key changes. First, the sensor, though of the same size and megapixel count, is now backside illuminated, and performs much better in low light. This actually makes it the largest BSI camera sensor in production today. Considering that the original RX100 is no slouch in low light, I was intrigued as to whether the offi cially stated ‘40% improvement in low light’ is a claim that shows up in the real world. Needless to say, I was also quite excited by it.

The company also states that the BSI technology helps improve autofocus

B e t t e R P H O t O G R A P H Y

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II

The Uneasy Crown



Features Performance Build Quality ergonomics Warranty & support


15% 40%


Page 23: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e R P H O t O G R A P H Y NOVeMBeR 20 13


performance in low light, another point where the older RX100 did an excellent job as well.

There are some other signifi cant changes, which really mark the difference between these sibling cameras. The RX100 II has a hot shoe and a tiltable screen. While these are defi nitely value additions, they do increase the physical size of the camera.

The hot shoe is a Multi-interface one, like the one found in the NEX-6. This allows you to either mount an external fl ashgun or wireless trigger, or attach a dedicated microphone, and, most importantly, an optional electronic viewfi nder.

The RX100 II is a 2013 product so WiFi/NFC support has been introduced. At fi rst, I wondered if this was something that would make a real difference to the target audience of this camera. Besides immediate fi le transfers and sharing, the NFC (Near Field Communication) also allows you to control the camera remotely.

• RX100II• Rechargeable

Battery •ShoulderStrap• ACAdaptor• MicroUSBcable• InstructionManual• Camerastrap



The video capabilities have been bolstered slightly. The RX100 II can shoot 1080p footage at 24fps as well.

HandlingAs mentioned earlier, the hot shoe and tilting screen make the camera slightly larger. The increase in depth is actually minimal, but the design is not as linear and straightforward anymore. The protrusion created by the hot shoe makes the camera a very awkward fi t in a jeans pocket. This has robbed the camera of its comfortably pocketable nature. In fact, there were occasions when the Power button would get pressed on its own while the camera is in one’s pocket, forcing the lens to come forward and then get stuck.

The rest of the handling is very similar to the original RX100. It is a camera that keeps things simple enough for casual users, but also offers a large degree of hands-on control, especially through

Chandni Gajria

rX100 ii’s unassuming nature makes it a great

travel camera. it also a good job of retaining

tonality in contrasty light too.

Exposure: 1/2000sec at f/11 (ISO 1600)

Page 24: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y NoVeMB e r 20 1 3


The front of the camera is rather minimalistic, with a tiny ridge that gives better support while gripping a camera as small as this one. The Lens Control Dial is a ring around the lens that can be set to adjust essential shooting parameters.


AF-assist lamp

Front Top rear

Lens control Dial

• SonyRX100• NikonP330• CanonS110• FujifilmX20

ALso LooK For

Test Shots

Low-lightFocussingandColourRendition Despite keeping the AF-assist lamp switched off, the focussing is quick in low light and the colours produced are pleasing and vibrant.


Almost every function and button can be customised which makes the camera handle really well on field. The screen is of excellent quality and is easy to view even in the harshest of sunlight. The tilting mechanism is useful,especially while shooting video.

menu button

The hot shoe is a useful addition, but it can be debated as to whether a tiny camera like the RX100 II ought to be used with accessories in the first place. Most users don’t need them and the design change has made the camera less pocketable.

onboard pop-up flash

Accessory port/Hot shoe

Power zoom lens

Zoom rocker

Tiltable flip-out


AdvancedFocusPeakingandEffectiveStabilisationThe camera has several options for focus peaking that make it easy to prefocus and wait for the subject to pass by. The OSS performance is effective up to 4 stops.

Pop-up flash

customisable Fn buttons

its Canon S90-inspired Lens Control Dial. To really get the best possible experience out of the camera, one must spend some time considering how they are going to customise the controls. Do you use a lot of flash? Set quick access to Flash Exposure Compensation and Flash Mode. Or do you wish to quickly shuttle between subtle colours and high contrast B&W? You could then set one key to switch between RAW and JPEG since the High Contrast Monochrome is a JPEG-only mode. If these choices are made judiciously, this is a very rewarding camera as it handles and respond quickly enough to get the shot on field.

The usual Sony quirks are present. The Picture Effects cannot be used in RAW. The irony is, if you are shooting RAW for your regular work and then spot a situation in which you wish to use one of the Effects, you first need to change the Quality setting and then choose an Effect. Quite cumbersome, this.

The direction in which the Lens Control Ring is turned, as opposed to the visual guide shown on the screen, are conflicting and confusing. Playback of stills and video is separate, which makes life extremely difficult if the last thing you shot was a video and then you wish to empty the card of some older stills.

• Nomicinput•Notpocketable


• WiFi• Fastaperture• BetterSensor


Accessory port/Hot shoe

Raj Lalwani Raj Lalwani

Zoom rocker

Dedicated movie

Page 25: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e R P H O t O G R A P H Y NOVeMBeR 20 13


Value for money

Who should buy it? Those who do not mind paying a price for a few new features.

Why? It is an excellent camera for street and travel, but the larger dimensions and much larger price tag make the old RX100 more appealing.

oVErALL 86%

iso 3200

Low light performance is absolutely fantastic. The combination of a large sensor, fast lens and effective Optical SteadyShot stabilisation is unbeatable, and produces images in low light where even an entry-level DSLR with its kit lens may struggle (because kit lenses have a slow maximum aperture). One can use ISO 6400 and still make reasonably sized usable prints.

Noise Test

iso 1600

iso 6400

PerformanceThere is not much to criticise in terms of quality. Until this camera, the old RX100 remained the best compact camera with a zoom lens because of its unique sensor size-body size ratio. The RX100 II takes the crown from its older brother, and takes the quality level, one notch higher.

Dynamic range is very good and the sharpness and detail, excellent. I only wish there was an option to completely switch off Noise Reduction. The Sony NR algorithms are always a little too indulgent, a little too crude, which is why you need to shoot in RAW if you are using higher ISOs. Battery life is subpar if you shoot a lot of video, but for regular stills usage, it is quite good.

sPEc iF icAT ions

Model name Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II

MRP Rs. 42,990

sensor size, type 1-inch back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor

Resolution 20.2MP

LCD 3-inch, 1,228,800 dots

Focal range 30-108mm (35mm equivalent)

ISOrange Auto, 100–25600 (expandable)

Aperture range f/1.8–4.9

Shutterspeed 4–1/2000sec

Metering modes Multi, Center Weighted, Spot

File formats Still: JPEG, RAW; Movie: AVCHD, MPEG4

Battery Li-ion

storage SD, SDHC, SDXC

Dimensions,weight 101.6 x 58.1 x 38.3mm, 254g



conclusionThere is no doubt that the RX100 II is better than the older version in terms of features and quality. But the crown comes at a price of Rs. 42,990, which is Rs. 10,000 more than the original RX100! We all know how the rupee-dollar relationship is going through a rough patch, but even abroad, the RX100 II is more expensive than the earlier camera was, at launch. And consider this. At the time of writing this, the old RX100 is still available in the market.

So is the RX100 II really that much better that you would pay a premium to get it? Sadly, the answer is no. A major reason for this is the fact that the RX100 was a revolutionary camera that remains unmatched even today. This second version makes the right moves, but it is largely evolutionary. The low light quality and AF are better, but not by much... the RX100 already excelled in both these aspects.

The ability to use an EVF is fantastic, but despite the higher price tag, this EVF remains ‘optional’ and will have a cost of its own. If you simply want fantastic quality in a small size, the Sony NEX-3N is almost Rs. 14,000 cheaper. If you want quality with connectivity, the QX100 lens module has the same sensor and costs Rs. 18,000 lesser.

And of course, if you want a combination of great quality and handling in a pocketable package, the original RX100 is probably your best bet. And thus, the irony. The title of the best compact with a zoom is now with a new contender, but you would rather get the older king, the original RX100, while you can.

surat railway station surat railway station surat railway station past midnight, during past midnight, during past midnight, during the heaviest rainfall the heaviest rainfall the heaviest rainfall witnessed in years. witnessed in years. witnessed in years. Exposure:Exposure:Exposure: 1/10sec at f/5.6 1/10sec at f/5.6 1/10sec at f/5.6 (ISO 1600)(ISO 1600)(ISO 1600) Raj Lalwani

F I N A L R A T I N G SFeatures1-inch sensor, lens is fast at wide end, WiFi, no mic input


PerformanceAverage battery life,excellent quality both in stills and video


Build QualityStrong construction, apart from LCD’s folding mechanism


ErgonomicsUseful Lens Control Dial, not as pocketable as the earlier


Warranty & supportTwo-year warranty, limited service facilities


Page 26: Better Photography - November 2013

B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3



• Panasonic LUMIX DMC-XS1 camera

• Operation manual• USB cable


Is there some substance to the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-XS1’s style? Ambarin Afsar puts the camera through its paces.


Another Budget Compact?Panasonic LUMIX DMC-XS1

This is something most compact camera reviewers have been harping about for a long time. Smartphones have fl ooded the market, and have severely

crippled compact cameras. In this environment, these snapshooters need to evolve and reinvent themselves.

And that is why, perhaps, Panasonic thought of making a compact that is about as large as a debit card and calling it the world’s slimmest camera. These are strange wars that manufacturers are fi ghting, what with the slimmest compact, the smallest compact, the compact that can do your homework for you... you get the picture.

FeaturesThe LUMIX DMC-XS1 is a 16.1MP monster with a 1/2.33-inch sensor in a ridiculously tiny body. It features 5x optical zoom, and makes me wonder whether the manufacturers could pack in a bit more or whether I am just being greedy. When I received the camera, I thought I would end up losing it or

breaking it because it is just so tiny, but it proved to be quite resilient, and I did not drop it. However, all this tininess has also brought along a major compromise—LCD size. The LCD measures 2.7 inches and offers a resolution of 2,30,000 dots. Most compacts have a 3-inch LCD. Not that much of a difference, eh?

But, consider this. Most cellphones are offering 4–5 inch LCDs. Compared to them, a 2.7-inch LCD is just miniscule. Keeping aside size issues, it becomes quite problematic to ascertain focus or even understand what your image really looks like. I felt like I was viewing thumbnail sized images all along.

The XS1 has an Intelligent Auto mode with ISO, Scene and Exposure Controls. There are 11 fi lters that can be applied to Panoramas, and otherwise, the camera offers 13 fi lters. The camera is capable of 720p Full HD video with a mono microphone.

HandlingThe camera feels solid and the back of the device contains the four-way


Features Performance Build Quality Ergonomics Warranty & Support




Page 27: Better Photography - November 2013





Model name Panasonic LUMIX DMC-XS1

MRP Rs. 7990

Sensor size, type 1/2.33-inch, CCD

Resolution 16.1MP, 4608 x 3456 pixels

LCD 2.7-inch, 2,30,000 dots

Focal range 24–120mm

ISO range Auto, ISO 100–6400

Aperture range f/2.8–6.9

Optical zoom 5x

Metering modes Intelligent Multiple

File formats Still: JPEG, Video: Motion JPEG

Battery Lithium-Ion

Storage microSD, microSDHC

Dimensions (W x H x D) 93.8 x 53.5 x 17.6mm

Weight 103g

The Dynamic Monochrome effect offers deep blacks and bright whites. It is one of the few fi lters that I have enjoyed shooting with.Exposure: 1/320sec at f/9 (ISO 100) Ambarin Afsar

F I N A L R A T I N G SFeaturesManual control, great fi lters, but 720p video


PerformancePoor low ISO performance, heavy compression artefacts


Build QualityMetal body, very lightweight


ErgonomicsComplicated menu system, too small an LCD, plasticky buttons


Warranty & SupportTwo-year warranty, limited service network


Value for Money

Who should buy it? People willing to compromise on ergonomics for style and compactness.

Why? The handling of any camera is just as important as its image performance. Half the job is easier if the controls help you along the way. If an ultra tiny LCD doesn’t bother you, then you should defi nitely consider this camera.


controller, zoom rocker and dedicated video recording button. The top only has the power button and the shutter-release button. The zoom rocker is also situated on the back, and made me wish that there was a zoom rocker bundled along the shutter-release instead. The buttons feel a little too plasticky, and sometimes, feel too recessed to be accessed, but after a while, you get used to them.

Since it is a light camera, you need to make that extra effort to hold it steady, especially in evening light. And another thing that was a little bothersome was that to switch to the Manual mode, which is called the Rec mode for some reason, you need to navigate a couple of menus. And to change the ISO, you need to navigate a few more menus. A customisable button would have done away with this menu hunting.

In order to make the camera smaller, the makers have also decided to reduce the size of the storage media. So, the camera uses microSD or microSDHC cards. In a way, this is good for cell phone users, but for people shifting from one compact to another, it can be a little bothersome.

You would also necessarily need to use a fast micro SD card because otherwise, the camera takes some time to write images that have been shot using fi lters. This could just as well be due to postprocessing as well. Either way,

it means that you should be prepared to lose a few shots if you want to apply the Miniature, Toy Camera or Soft Focus effects.

PerformanceMy issues with the camera have been purely ergonomical and I have to say that its image quality quite surprised me. I was not expecting such clean and crisp images from this compact. While it does look stylish and a little frivolous, its performance is worth every penny.

The overall sharpness is good, and some fringing is apparent only in contrasty areas. By default, the camera limits the ISO to 1600, but you can shoot up to 6400 by choosing the i.ISO function. The low light performance is not all that great, but you get decent images up to ISO 800. At 1600 and beyond, you get mushy, soft images, which are quite unusable. However, all the fi lters are really crisp and a joy to shoot with.

ConclusionPriced at a comfortable Rs. 7990, this 16.1MP camera delivers on the performance, but falls a little short on ergonomics. If you want a bigger screen or better controls, then there are other options in the market, but at this price range, you would be a little hard pressed to fi nd this kind of quality.

Page 28: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y NoVeMB e r 20 1 3

44Master of Black & White

Anyone who has ever had a darkroom and gone through the grind of making a silver gelatine print will know the value of a good black & white print. It’s not

a skill that can be taught overnight. It takes years and years to fi ne tune one’s print making skills. Patience, experience and judgement play a very huge part in actually making one develop the ability to not only make a great print but also decipher prints for their nuanced fi neness.

I always tell people that the term ‘black and white’ is just that of convenience, because the real diffi cult aspect of making a print is the oft neglected ‘grey’. Good prints always have the right melange of all three. In almost three decades of making my own prints, I have never come across another printmaker who could help me realise my vision. I could never trust anyone with printing my images or processing my fi lm.

B&W in the Digital AgeWhile there is nothing like holding an original hand crafted, selenium toned,

Swapan Parekh enters his old darkroom, to test the new pigment ink printer, the Canon PIXMA PRO-1. The meeting of eras has him largely impressed.





Features Performance Build Quality ergonomics Warranty & support


15% 40%


What is the Guest Test?Every month, the Better Photography offi ce receives several cameras, lenses and other products, which we put through their paces, over several weeks of extensive testing. With the Guest Test, we will invite some of the best practitioners in photography to test products with us, and give us their frank, unadulterated verdict on what they like and dislike. The real world is where the true test of technology lies, so the Guest Test will go beyond specifi cations and lab tests. This is where the best of the fraternity will rate the latest in photographic technology.

Why Swapan Parekh?Besides being one of India’s leading photographers, Swapan is also one of the most discerning printmakers around. Considering that the Canon PIXMA PRO-1 claims to break new ground, especially in B&W printing, Swapan was a natural choice for this exclusive Guest Test.

black & white print, the advent of digital has opened up a Pandora’s box by making B&W available at a fl ick of a button, to what seems like all of humanity. It’s ‘cool’ to see images in B&W, but the problem is not many know what a good black and white print should look like. And I daresay, I include a lot of long-term professional practitioners in this list too.

Swapan Parekhis widely acclaimed to have brought the documentary aesthetic to Indian advertising photography, whilst simultaneously pursuing a personal way of seeing.

Page 29: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13


That Is why I guess one is being inflicted with a lot of dark, grungy, corners vignetted, kind of black and whites as one scrolls on the Internet. Also there is this overwhelming movement towards ‘Magnum-like’ looking B&W images. It would be interesting to see how a lot of these images would actually print in the real world, how they would look physically: a test, in my opinion, of a true photographer.

A Darkroom Challenger? I mention this because it’s very relevant to my review of the Canon PRO-1. My reason for starting the discussion with B&W is not just my immense fondness for the palate, but also because Canon claims this to be one of the finest digital printers for B&W. They claim that 5 out of 12 inks cater exclusively to handling varied shades of grey.

Does this printer actually deliver the quality that a discerning photographer with an acute eye for detail would similarly look for, in his selenium toned silver bromide print? The skeptic in me would immediately have shirked and said, “No way.” But the reality is, to my surprise, pleasantly different. I’ll put my neck on the line and say that I am quite blown away by what I have seen. Enthused by the results, I tested multiple prints of various tonalities, till the wee hours of the morning, and I’m truly humbled by how good the results were.

The Best in Black and White!My tests from my archive involved making prints from scans shot on film to digital images converted to B&W. Right from the details, both in the whites to the blacks, to finally the subtle nuances of the greys, there is reason to smile. I had original bromides of some of the images, and I must say in most cases, the result from the Canon printer were as good if not better. But yes, it has to be in the right hands and the photographer should be qualified enough to actually know how a good black and white print should look, in order to actually get the true worth out of this printer.

Beautifully Close to Bromides What was interesting while I was testing the printer, I had a visit from a curator of a very prestigious museum in London who had


Monitors often hide our flaws.

The print, for me, is the

ultimate test of a photographer’s practice & skill.

What Prints Did Swapan Make?Besides printing his personal black and white work from an ongoing autonomous body of work, Swapan also printed his father, Kishor Parekh’s iconic images shot during the Bangladesh Liberation war. To test colour, Swapan printed photographs from his personal body of work titled Between Me and I.

12-ink LUCiA ink SYSTEM: The printer is as high-end as it gets. It is a 12-ink device, with as many as five inks dedicated for an improved B&W output. One can buy a pack of inks at one go, or buy them separately, as well.

COnnECTiViTY OPTiOnS: The printer can be connected to a single computer by using the USB 2.0 port. Alternatively, you can share the printer over a network by using the built-in Ethernet port, as well.

A MiniMALiST inTERFACE: The PRO-1 has only three physical buttons on the exterior. One of them opens the ink compartment, another helps to cancel or resume printing, while the third one, naturally, is a Power button.

COMPATiBLE WiTH PiCTBRiDGE: The PRO-1 has a PictBridge port that allows direct printing from a compatible camera. But considering how high-end this printer is, we would be very surprised if anyone would want to directly print from the camera.

Taking a Closer Look at the PIXMA PRO-1

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y


Page 30: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3




made a visit to review my work for possible acquisition by the museum. The curator happened to see some of these prints. Besides, of course, discussing content, she said, “I can see you print your work to a very high quality”, presuming that she was seeing silver bromide prints. It brought a smile to my face because I realised that even a discerning eye could not really tell that she was actually seeing inkjet prints. So close is the look to conventional bromides. It is a secret I never let out that day.

Of course the choice of paper is very important. My images were all printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Pearl 320gsm (natural white). This paper is pretty close to the feel of conventional glossy photographic paper like say, Ilford Multigrade Fiber, or Ilford Gallery.

A Few Minor Quibbles Before I move on to colour, you may ask, if this thing is really so damn good, is there any con to this Pro-1. Even if they are ever so small, there are a few. Again the things I mention here as minor issues may only affect the really high end discerning user.

Firstly, normally when inkjet prints are seen at an angle, one tends to see an effect

called ‘bronzing’. It is like a metallic sheen in certain areas where there is inking vis-à-vis certain areas where inking is less or negligent. It’s a little like solarisation that used to affect silver bromide prints over the years. This can make an inkjet print a giveaway as compared to a bromide.

Bronzing is Minimal, but not Absent To counter this, Canon claims to use a Chromatic Optimiser, to eliminate bronzing. I must say while I am in agreement that this almost removes the bronzing to an incredibly acceptable level, I would disagree that it totally eliminates it. It is there for a very trained and sharp eye to see.

Secondly, the prints had a slight magenta hue in certain light conditions, when viewed at an angle. This is a phenomenon I have seen sometimes in offset printing too, the process of printing used to print books etc. In certain light conditions, images in books printed with certain inks take on a slight magenta hue. Again, this is something that is minor and may not be relevant in the real world to most.

Thirdly, the Chromatic Optimiser (CO), does tend to be used up pretty fast as it’s an entire coat on the printed area. So I reckon

The choice of photographic paper is essential to the kind of prints you will get.

The Importance of Colour Calibration

Frankly speaking, it really shocks me how people do not use professional colour calibrated monitors for their high end prints, and then they

crib when they actually get results which are totally different then what they had seen on their monitor. And yes this criticism is for all you iMac & Macbook Pro users too. I have seen a majority of photographers work on these machines and then wonder why their prints look dull when they print them.

A Mac Screen Can Do No Wrong? Wrong!The answer, my friends is that these are not monitors for professional printing. Even after calibration one must understand these are computers used for general purpose work. They only have a backlit adjustment button (wrongly presumed as a brightness/contrast button). They do not have individual RGB controls either. So there is tendency for everything to look tight and bright with too much detail in the dark areas. While one may find a way to turn down the backlight and make it work for you, still this is not very accurate.

What Should One Do, Then?So the answer is really to have a professional calibrated monitor, like Lacie or the likes, coupled with a monitor calibrating device like a Spyder, to come up with some consistency with the printer and its results. While shooting, adjust the brightness of your camera’s screen so that it is as accurate as possible, and learn to read the histogram. This is the basis of achieving some harmony between what you see and how it prints out on any printer, both in colour and B&W.

The success of using a high-end printer is dependent on the workflow, and whether it is completely calibrated. Swapan Parekh elaborates on why this is important.

The answer is really to have a professional

calibrated monitor, like Lacie, along

with a monitor calibrating device like a Spyder.

• CanonPIXMA Pro-1 printer

• CD/DVD Printing tray

• PGI-29inkcartridges (12)

• Powercable• Printhead• InstallationCD• Warrantycard

WhAT’S iN The BOx

Page 31: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y NoVeMBer 20 13



Model name Canon PIXMA PRO-1

MrP Rs. 94,860

Printer type 12-ink dye based inkjet

Maximum printing resolution

4800dpi (horizontal) x 2400 dpi (vertical)

Max. paper size A3+ or 13 x 19 inches

Connectivity USB, WiFi, Ethernet, AirPrint

Dimensions Approx. 695 x 462 x 239mm

Weight Approx. 27.7kg


• Varianceinaqua


• SuperbB&W• Excellentdistribution




F I N A L R A T I N G SFeaturesA3+ but leaves border space, 12 ink tanks, 5 grayscale inks, WiFi, Ethernet


PerformanceImpressive gradation of greys, inaccurate colour on a deemed ‘calibrated’ piece


Build QualitySolidly built, but needs careful handling


ergonomicsCumbersome setup that took several engineer visits before it was deemed calibrated


Warranty & SupportTwo-year on-site tech support & warranty


Value for Money

Who should buy it? Professional black and white practitioners who want complete control.

Why? We faced quite a bit of problem in terms of calibraing colour with the printer, but the black and white quality simply blew us away.


if you were to make multiple A3 sized prints,(my guess is 20 to 30) you would need to replenish the CO ink.

A3+? Almost There, But Not Quite Lastly, but of great relevance, the Canon printer is sold as an A3 plus sized printer. That means the paper area available is 19 x 13.5 inches. But on testing, one realises that while on the shorter end it can print almost edge to edge, the longer end does not allow more than a 16 inch printable area.

So in reality you can only make a 13 x 16 inch print on an A3+ sized paper. So you will be left with a border of 1.5 inch on both sides of the longer end. This is an important limitation of this printer.

An issue of ColourWell, having been really smitten by the great black and white quality achieved with this printer, I thought let’s move on to the larger verdict on colour. At the onset, let me state that the images I used to test colour on this printer were original master fi les of my exhibition prints from a show printed both in India and in the Netherlands. So the comparisons were side by side with archival originals printed in the same size on a different-make 12-colour inkjet printer but on a similar paper surface like Hahnemühle Photo Rag Pearl 320 gsm (natural white) that I used this time.

Canon states that this is a calibrated printer that just needs to be plugged and played for the high end professional photographer. I am basing my judgement on the particular piece that was offered to me to test. While I have already given my verdict on the B&W results, I did have some issues with my colour prints.

I had Canon professionals spending quite a few hours technically calibrating my machine as the results were not upto the mark. Finally, after great deliberation on what should have been a plug and play device, they certifi ed it as having been fi nally ‘calibrated’. Though the results were much better now, I still fi nd a considerable difference as compared to my master fi les and existing archival prints of these fi les.

While the distribution of ink and the fi neness of the dots was absolutely top-notch exhibition quality, the colours were deviating from my original fi les. I especially felt this particularly in areas where there was foliage. It appeared way duller than what my master fi les and earlier exhibition prints show. Other colours seemed more in sync though. It is just the colours associated with grass and foliage that appeared muted.

Printer or the Company’s Calibration?Again, let me reiterate, whether this is the characteristic of this printer in general or the particular piece sent to me, only Canon can answer. But since it was a deemed ‘calibrated’ piece, I am entitled to my verdict based on what I have experienced. While I will once again say that the quality of the prints is in no way less that exhibition grade, but whether the colours work for a discerning professional and his or her palate, is something only an individual can decide after testing this printer to match their vision.

Practicality or Romance?Ironically this test was performed in the same premise as my darkroom. So it was like the meeting of eras. I looked at my buddy, my enlarger, with a heavy heart when these prints were being fi red one after the other. Over the last few decades, how much we had toiled in this very room for hours just to get one great print. And here was a contraption that was mercilessly ridiculing all that had gone by in the last few decades for us. And that too, at the push of a button. Am I ready to give up my darkroom, am I ready to go down this easy route? I can’t say. I wouldn’t want to confess to an answer. It is like abandoning family. But one thing for sure, even if I keep the old fl ame burning, it would be more for an idealistic notion, and not practicality.

A Firmware Upgrade for the PRO-1Recently, new functions have been added to the Canon PIXMA PRO-1, which can be installed via a fi rmware upgrade, available from the company’s offi cial website. This includes various changes.

For instance, the printer detects ink depletion more effectively and gives the user a warning, well in time. Perceptual rendering intent has been improved, and the border appearing on the sides, has been reduced. However, as Swapan notes in his review, it is still quite a large border that one gets on an A3+ paper, which does not use the paper’s area as effectively.

Page 32: Better Photography - November 2013

B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3



Model name LG Pocket Photo

MRP Rs. 14,990

Max. print size 2 x 3 inches

Connectivity NFC/Bluetooth

USB Port Yes

Dimensions 72.4 x 120.9 x 24mm

Weight 212g

F I N A L R A T I N G SFeaturesLimited functionality, NFC enabled, no screen 13/20PerformanceInadequate battery life, prints quickly, dull and lacklustre prints 25/40

Build QualityTiny, but sturdy enough 13/15

ErgonomicsSimple and straightforward 18/20 18/20

Warranty & SupportOne-year warranty 3/5

Who should buy it? Digital photographers who like the concept of an instant camera.

Why? Considering its battery life and price, it is not a practical choice for most, unless you really know what you intend to use it for.


Despite all the retina technologies and jawdropping ppis, there is something incomplete about looking at photos digitally. Even when

you are looking at an old picture of a friend and you, the screen is transient. It switches off. Does not allow you to keep a print in a pocket.

For the Compulsive InstagrammerIt is in an effort to address this that LG has introduced their rather unique Pocket Photo printer. It is not the fi rst printer aimed at casual users, but it surely brings a smile. I travelled with the printer to Goa, and whenever I would make a portrait of someone I had just met, I would make a print and give it to them immediately.

Compatible with iOS and Android, this miniature device is NFC enabled and helps you print photos from your cellphone or tablet. It is really small, smaller than most high-end smartphones and consequently, the prints it makes are really tiny too. No, it cannot even do a 6 x 4. The resultant print is more like a carte de visite, and a little similar to the print created by Fuji’s instant camera, the Instax Mini.

A lot of people may wonder what the point of such a small print is. I personally think it has its own charm. Imagine a bunch of tiny prints pinned on a clipboard, or a photographer who uses the prints like playing cards, to make his

Another Passing Fancy?The LG Pocket Photo catches everyone’s eye, but despite stirring curiosity, it does not leave a mark, as Raj Lalwani fi nds out.

LG Pocket Photo

fi nal edit. Or of course, the fact that one can slip such a print in one’s wallet.

Prints Without InkUnlike regular printers, the LG Pocket Photo does not use any ink at all. Instead, the ink is on the proprietary ZINK (Zero Ink) paper that is used for printing. The quality of prints is average. I don’t expect accuracy from a small, fun device like this, but I was left wanting more. The images are darker than one would expect, but the blacks are not deep enough, making the print dull and washed out.

Whom is it Really For?Considering its limitations and subpar printing quality, one can easily surmise that this is not a serious photographic product. The problem is that the fun is shortlived too. It takes an hour and a half to charge the printer completely, but the battery is enough for only eight or nine prints.

And this is expensive fun. The Pocket Photo is priced at an exorbitant Rs. 14,990! This is actually much more expensive than larger, but superior printers from Canon and Epson that make 6x4 prints.

A packet of ZINK papers costs Rs. 1099 for 30 sheets, which comes to approximately Rs. 37 per print with the LG. In comparison, instant cameras like the Fuji Instax end up costing the same amount per print, but are faster in terms of clicking the photo and getting the print in one’s hand. The LG Pocket Photo is a fun concept, but one that loses its sheen rather soon.


Page 33: Better Photography - November 2013

B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3



Model name Velbon Ultrek UT-63Q

MRP Rs 28,250

Maximum Operating Height 1510mmw

Minimum Operating Height 334mm

Folded Length 278mm

Weight 1,590gm

Number of Leg Sections 3

Leg Lock Type Ultra Lock

Maximum Load 3Kg


F I N A L R A T I N G SFeatures2 axis level gauge, Quick release plate 13/15

Performance Easy to set, Flexible panorama ball head 21/25

Build QualityMade with magnesium alloy 22/25ErgonomicsTwist and turn lock, Two separate locks on head 22/25

Warranty & SupportLimited service back up 3/5

Value for Money

Who should buy it? Photographers who are constantly on the move.

Why? The tripod is quite sturdy, yet extremely portable. If you have are willing to spend around Rs. 30,000 for a tripod, then the Velbon UT-63Q is a good investment.


Velbon has usually manufactured entry-level tripods, but now, they have released the Ultrek UT-63Q, targeted at mid-end users who travel a lot. As with

all Ultrek tripods, the design is the most fascinating thing about this tripod. The legs can be folded in a reverse direction while transporting.

The Little GoliathThe size and weight of a tripod are always deciding factors when you need to carry one on a long travel shoot. Shridhar Kunte tests the Velbon Ultrek UT-63Q, to see if passes muster.

Velbon Ultrek UT-63Q

The 2 axis sprit level indicator is very useful for taking panoramic shots. The horizontal positioning can be seen in the vertical direction.

There are two small locks on the top of the quick release plate. This can be used to prevent the accidental rotation of the camera on the plate.

It may look fl imsy at fi rst sight, but this is one strong tripod. You can get a rough idea about the size comparison in the product shot, where we have shown both views to scale. The expansion to contraction ratio is 5.4 times!

Extremely Quick to Set UpYou can adjust the legs to different angles as well as different lengths. This is advantageous because it makes it easy to place the tripod on an uneven rocky surface, thus making it great to carry on hikes or landscape expeditions. This property also makes the Velbon a useful tool in tight spaces.

The tripod is fi tted with a pan-tilt ball head. There are two separate locks for panning and tilting. A twist-and-lock arrangement is used to interlock each section of the leg. This leg locking takes some time to get used to, but once that happens, the expansion and contraction is very quick. My only concern is the 6-section leg arrangement. As one increases the height of the tripod, there is potential instability due to the number of sections. However, my fears were put to rest when I mounted a Canon full frame camera with a 70–200mm f/4 lens. There was no shake, whatsoever.

The Velbon Ultrek UT-63Q is a very good product, but with a price point that is almost Rs. 30,000, it is probably the price tag that could have the last laugh.


Page 34: Better Photography - November 2013

B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y OCTO B E R 20 1 3



Memory cards are the fi rst accessory one buys immediately after purchasing a camera. Being the smallest component, it is the most

important gadget that records all your images. Have you ever thought about why a Class10 card costs more than a Class2? or

why a good memory card is important too? There are a variety of memory cards in the market today and these cater to different purposes of shooting. You need identify what kind of card suits your usability. The right kind of card will not only speed up your process of shooting but will also help ease your work to an extent.

How much attention do you give to the cards that record your memories? Chandni Gajria tells you all that you should know about memory cards.

MEMORY CARDSA memory card,

used normally, can have a

typical life span of 10 years.









Page 35: Better Photography - November 2013




SDXC format cards are the new SD standard that support memory capacities above 32GB up to 2TB.

1 Your Card Has A LockIf your camera’s LCD screen ever read

“cannot write or read card,” it was probably because your card was locked. All SDHC/SDXC cards have a lock on the left side. This lock makes the memory card write-protected and one cannot modify any data on the card.

2 Cards Have Different SpeedsDifferent classes of memory cards

offer different speed ratings. Class 2 card has a minimum write speed of 2MB/sec. Similarly a Class 4 cards’ minimum write speed is 4MB/sec, Class 6’s is 6MB/sec, and Class 10’s is 10MB/sec. For 720p video, it is always better to choose Class 6 onwards. While Class 10 is recommended for HD video recording, for broadcasting purposes, UHS Speed Grade 1 is the best option.

3 UDMA Cards are FasterUltra Direct Memory Access cards

have faster read and write speeds than regular CF cards. High-resolution stills and Full HD video generate a lot of data which needs to be saved onto the card faster. This allows the camera to shoot longer video clips or shoot a larger number of images in the continuous shooting burst mode. Full HD video and the 20MP resolutions stills also require more space which is why it is better to use at least an 8GB UDMA card.

4 Fast Reader for a Fast CardBuying a fast memory card is pointless

if you transfer images using a slow card reader. If you are a wedding photographer or a photojournalist who needs to transfer images on the fi eld, you will need a UDMA or card reader.

5 Delete Data to Recover DataReformatting a card wipes all the data

in it permanently but deleting does not. So if you have not formatted your card after deleting images, you can still recover the data with the help of recovering software. This is not a guaranteed process, but it is something that tends to work most often.

6 Format When Switching CamerasIf you happen to switch cameras,

it is always better to format the memory card before using it in a different camera.

Since different cameras work with their own individual fi le formats, chances are that you could lose or corrupt the fi les that are already on the card.

7 Write Speeds Are More ImportantManufacturers stress more on read

speeds when in fact, it is the write speed that matters. The faster a write speed, the faster the image will be recorded onto the card. The ideal memory card is where the read and write speeds, both are same or the gap between both speeds is lesser.

8 Let Images Transfer FirstThe blinking LED light on the

camera indicates that the data is still being transferred from the camera to the memory card. During this process, if you open the storage compartment of the camera, there is a high risk of losing the data.

9 Keep Batteries Fully ChargedOne of the most common mistake

photographers do is make pictures till the battery dies. If the camera shuts down while the data is still being written to the card, both card and data can get damaged. It is therefore better to record images till a good 20 minutes before you think the battery will die out.

10 Change Cards Before They Are FullUse a new card when you have just

before the card’s capacity gets full. This way when you see a potential frame, you can keep making pictures till you are satisfi ed. If the card is completely full when you want to pursue an image further, you will waste time in changing the card at that time.

How many memory cards have you lost? Can’t remember? As much as you know all about the cards, it is equally important to know how to store them properly.

Maintain Cards in a Pouch: Maintain a separate pouch where you can keep all your memory cards. Though camera bags have pockets where you can keep them, a pouch makes it easier and faster for you to access memory cards during a shoot.Store in a dry place: Dust can get into the holes of CF cards, so keep the cards in a dry place and clean them when not in use. When stored in camera bag pockets, dirt, moisture and other factors can damage them. Number the Cards: To avoid confusion of which memory card has been used and which one can be used next, number your cards in a numerical order. Before any shoot make sure all your cards are empty and useable. Start with the card you have numbered one. This way you can keep a tab on which number card you must use next.Keep Away From Magnets: It is not safe to keep memory cards near any strong magnetic or electric fi elds. These sources can instantly erase all the images stored on the card.

How To Maintain And Store Cards

Page 36: Better Photography - November 2013

15 simple tricks to get great photos in poor light

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom is here! Chanatip Bhandavee on creating symmetry

Dinesh Khanna on photographing photographers

Nokia Lumia 925Sony Xperia Z1

Apps You Must TryInstafollow Now

Readers’ GallerySelf Assignment








Page 37: Better Photography - November 2013



“The path may change, waver,

meander, but the journey

never ends.”


A fi lm is never good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.ORSON WELLES

The Art of Saying GoodbyePhotographs are like goodbye notes. We press the shutter and bid farewell to the moment that’s elapsed. But they are greetings as well. For when we look at what’s gone wistfully, we also say hello to the new moment that’s arrived. It’s an irony, a contradiction, like much of photography, that I grapple with, every time life changes.

But change is a function of time. After all, isn’t the transition between seconds, or that between fractions of, inevitable? It is this transition and the momentousness, both

positive and negative, of watching life unfold, that drives us to make images in the fi rst place.Change urges us to think. We look at the future and yet, relive, with a deep sense of longing, all that has gone

by. A loved one goes away, an idol passes the baton. When Sachin Tendulkar will walk out to bat one last time, a country in denial will face this some conundrum. Every time an era comes to an end, in our personal lives or otherwise, we are thrown into the ocean, forced to swim.

It is this ocean of images that a lot of practising photographers look at with skepticism. As people who have seen tectonic shifts in technology that determine the way we make and see photos, there is bound to be concern. It’s like a series of breakups, perhaps. But the love never wavers. It shouldn’t. And even if it does, life doesn’t. When faced with a drastic change of path, we all struggle. There is confusion. Clutter. Some cobwebs in our head. But keep going, keep seeing, keep making pictures.

I write this last line while waist-deep in seawater, wondering whether the sea of images that clog the online space and our offl ine hard drives are anything similar to this Goan sea wave that splashes precariously close to my camera. Even though the ocean is unending, we do explore to fi nd its delights. The water is loud, vociferous and full of anarchy. But pause and ponder and you will realise that it’s shockingly, almost touchingly, silent. It’s a silent path we are all on, and change should only make it stronger.

Of Monsters and Magicby Kerstin Hiestermann“The things that are not real in real life are very real in my head. I have learned that I can create tiny fantasy worlds by utilising my inner eye. Within my pictures I can make those worlds visible.” Kerstin’s mystical world of little monsters will be featured in an upcoming issue.

As the Light Goes Down... easy way to improve your photos in low light — Turn to page 62

touchingly, silent. It’s a silent path we are all on, and change should only make it stronger.

Raj [email protected]

One of the greatest fi lmmakers of all time, Welles was a maverick in a variety of art forms, from the iconic radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds, to writing and directing Citizen Kane. Non-linear narratives, chiaroscuro lighting and unusual angles defi ned his visual signature.

Kerstin Hiestermann

Page 38: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y NovemB e r 20 1 3


Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom

Ketan Kundargi tries to make sense of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom as he keeps falling in and out of love with this interesting new gadget.

Optical Zoom in Phone

Samsung’s Galaxy Camera was one of the first Android-powered point and shoot cameras. While it could take good quality pictures and share them instantly via

3G and WiFi, it still could not make calls. This prompted Samsung to finally bring

out the Galaxy S4 Zoom. But is it a camera that can make calls or a smartphone that can shoot like a camera?

Exciting Mix of FeaturesSamsung Galaxy S4 Zoom packs a 16 megapixel Backlit CMOS sensor along with



Cellphone giants Nokia started as a wood pulp mill in Finland in 1871! The company was founded by mining engineer Fredrik Idestam and was called Nokia Ab. How far the company has come today!

Excellent colour reproduction combined with a pleasing AMOLED screen makes shooting on the Galaxy S4 Zoom very exciting.



es b

y Ke




Page 39: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13



Impressive Metering You can switch between spot, center-weighted and average metering just like in a compact camera and the smartphone is spot on with the results.

effective Optical Image stabilisation Optical IS, another new in smartphones, helps capture images at the tele end of the S4 Zoom without any blurs or shakes.

Here is what the 10x Optical Zoom looks likea 24-240mm zoom lens. It also comes with optical image stabilisation, full HD video recording, Xenon flash, focus assist lamp as well as a wide variety of manual controls. It does not come with a viewfinder which means you need to depend on the 4.3inch Super AMOLED touchscreen display.

The smartphone is powered by a 1.5Ghz Dual-core processor with 1.5GB of RAM and runs on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. While this is not as impressive as the flagship Galaxy S4, it does enough to deliver a smooth performance.

Disappointing HandlingThe Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom looks just like any other touchscreen phone from the front. But turn it around and you will find the 10x zoom lens and a prominent grip bulging out. One can understand the space an optical zoom lens needs but the phone’s overall thickness is a complete disappointment. Discreet shooting goes for a toss the moment you take out the phone and switch on the camera with the lens rolling out, ready to shoot.

Unlike other Galaxy phones, the S4 Zoom’s screen-lock button and the volume rocker are both located on the right hand side along with a dedicated shutter release button for the camera. However, you still need to access the apps menu from the display screen or rotate the zoom ring to switch on the camera instead of a single click of the shutter button. The left side of the phone features a tripod mount which can be very helpful as the camera fails to balance on its own if shooting on self timer.

Impressive Image QualityThe camera on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom outperforms most of the smartphone cameras in the market currently. It delivers stunning image quality along with great colours and impressive details. And surprisingly, this is constant throughout the focal range. The metering is usually spot on, optical IS reasonably effective, flaring hardly visible and distortion almost non-existent.

It is only when faced with low light that the camera miserably fails. Low light performance is disappointingly bad with noise showing up at ISOs as low as 200 and 400.

There is no doubt about the fact that the Galaxy S4 Zoom is a new revolution in smartphone technology. However, it still requires a lot of improvement before it can even be considered as a serious camera or pass off as a mainstream device. It is not a bad camera or a bad phone, but put together in a single package, you have a disappointing device in your hand.

There is no doubt that the S4 Zoom is an uncomfortably bulky device to carry around.

AT A GLANCE SPecificatiOnS 16MP BI CMOS sensor, 10x optical zoom, xenon flash, optical IS, Android

4.2 Jelly Bean, 1.5GHz dual core, 1.5GB RAM, Rs. 29,900.

what we like Image quality, optical IS, optical zoom, manual control.

what we diSlike Bulky size, noise at low ISOs, costly for a mid-range phone.

why buy it? The S4 Zoom is a budget compact camera and a good quality phone in the mid-range zone at the cost of a high end smartphone.


Make a list of subjects you would generally shoot with a telephoto lens and then shoot them solely with your cellphone. Do not use your cellphone’s zoom as it will ruin the image quality. This exercise will help you see the same subject in a different light.

FINAL RATINGS 78%caMeRa featuReS Zoom, xenon flash, scene and Manual modes. 12/15

iMaGe Quality Impressive in daylight, suffers in low light. 30/35

VideO Quality Good quality, clear audio. 16/20

handlinG Too bulky for a phone, inconvenient to carry around. 8/15

Page 40: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e R P H O t O G R A P H Y NOVeMB e R 20 1 3


sony Xperia Z1

Ambarin Afsar tests the Sony Xperia Z1, a cameraphone that packs in 20.7MP and marks Sony’s return to the megapixel wars.

Megapixel warriorT

he Xperia Z1 launch shows that Sony is serious about smartphones and importantly, cameraphones. This update of the Xperia Z can easily compete with some of the

biggest contenders in the game, namely, the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4 and it leaves little to be desired.

An Unforgettable XperianceYes, I know that sounds cheesy, but I really had a lot of fun shooting with this phone.The Z1 has a lot to improve in terms of low light capabilities, especially compared to the HTC One, which I had tested and loved. The colours, sharpness and contrast looked so good on the screen


INtErEstINg FActs

Cellphone towers in the US are often disguised as plastic trees. There is even a ‘fake plastic trees’ Flickr group and Robert Voit, a German photographer, has done an entire series on them, titled New Trees. You can view the series here:

I was very pleased with this 8Mp image that I shot in the Auto mode. the colours are as they appeared in-camera.

Page 41: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y NovemBer 20 13


An Instagram edit, this picture of my cat

was shot using the Kaleidoscope effect, a filter that shows you

a live feed of what any scene would look like

through a kaleidoscope.


that I couldn’t help but spend a lot of time reviewing my photos. The inbuilt picture editor also was quite good, and I found myself resorting to Snapseed only in rare cases. What surprised me, was the flash—it did a great job of balancing ambient light and gave colours that looked crisp. What was even more awesome was the dedicated two-stage camera button. It worked as a shortcut, taking me directly to the camera app, and focusing as well as releasing the shutter.

The overall autofocus performance was also quite good. I only found issues when I was shooting in low light. Overheating Woes The 5-inch phone is quite slim already and quite sturdy, considering that it is waterproof. However, it heats up quite easily and the camera ends up shutting down repeatedly if you are shooting in blazing afternoon heat. You are given a warning and then the camera is out of commission till it cools down. We have not seen this in any other flagship smartphone we have tested. Intelligent and Intuitive Auto Modes If you don’t want to tinker with the Manual mode, you can just sit back and let the Smart Auto mode take control. It did pretty well in situations where I did not have the time to set the camera manually. However, you will only get 8MP images, as the camera downsizes the 20.7MP images when you are in any of the Scene or Auto modes.

Low Light Difficulties What I found weird about the camera was that while its Exposure Compensation feature worked perfectly well in the afternoon, it seemed to give me the same results at +2 as it did at -2. However, when I switched from the Program mode to the High ISO mode, I got what I was looking for. This was strange because while the ISO is limited to 800 at 20MP in the Program mode, the shutterspeed could definitely go slower than 1/8sec. But it didn’t, and I had to resort to the considerably softened result from the High ISO mode.

A Warrior Who Needs Better EquippingThis phone has practically everything going for it in terms of daylight image quality. It is a great Android cameraphone by any standard, but the competition is fiercer than ever. If Sony wants to win this game, it needs to do more to win the upper hand.

At A gLANcE specifications 20.7MP, 1/2.3-inch sensor, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, 2.2GHz quad core,

3000mAh battery, Rs. 46,990

what we like Great build quality, superb display, crazy Augmented Reality effects

what we dislike The Burst mode shoots 60 shots really fast but allows only one to be saved

why buy it? Despite the glitches, it is the best Android cameraphone in the market, but it certainly is not the best cameraphone around.


The Wider Image is an awardwinning interactive app that showcases visual stories from Reuters, which is the world’s largest news agency. Created exclusively for the iPad it aims to reimagine news photography and bring images to life.

FINAL rAtINgs 89%caMeRa featuRes Several fun modes, front 2MP camera also performs well 14/15

iMaGe Quality Best daylight quality in Android phones, low light not so good 30/35

Video Quality Smooth footage, front camera records 1080p video 19/20

handlinG Decent battery life, phone feels really sturdy, but is too slim 12/15

speed & ResponsiVeness Speedy interface, great AF 14/15





by A





Besides the standard photo filters, the Z1 packs in these cool Augmented Reality filters that involve 3D scenes integrating with the frame you are viewing on the screen. So, you can give your friends masks, hats, or transport them to the Jurassic era. The scenes are so realistic that I had endless hours of fun, really!

Fun Ar Effects

Another Instagram edit, this image was made using the Fireworks mode. the phone can perform well in low light, except, one needs to resort to modes like Fireworks to get slow shutterspeeds.

Page 42: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3


Nokia Lumia 925

Ketan Kundargi discovers that the upgraded Nokia Lumia 925 feels like a tweaked device rather than a new phone.

Little too LessLittle too Late

Everyone seemed to be complaining that the flagship Nokia Lumia, the 920, did not look and feel like a high end smartphone with the price it commanded. So Nokia took the 920,

packaged it as new and improved body and launched the Lumia 925 a year later. But is there more to this cellphone? So... What’s New?The Lumia 925 takes all that is good from the Lumia 920 and improves on its shortcomings. Both phones sport the same optical image stabilisation, back illuminated sensors and the proprietary PureView technology, though photo quality and image processing is slightly improved with the 925. The 1/3-inch sensor of the 925, while almost similar and of same resolution, is still a little larger than the 1/3.2-inch sensor in the 920. The 925 also has access to the Nokia Pro Cam app that offers you more control over the camera and has the interesting ‘Zoom Later’ feature.

Nokia has replaced the Pure Motion LCD on the Lumia 920 with PureMotion+ AMOLED display with a 1280 x 768 pixel resolution which makes viewing and shooting pictures an amazing experience. The phone also comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 2, making it more sturdy.

Making Sense of the Lumia 925Nokia Lumia 925 is all that the first flagship Windows Phone device, the Lumia 920, should have been. However, it is nice to see that Nokia continues to innovate and and offer solutions to issues raised by the customers in a bid to make the Nokia Lumia phones a success. It comes with a price tag of Rs. 34,999 which is interestingly less than what the Lumia 920 cost when launched.


The new slimmer design of the

Lumia 925, actually makes

the phone more slippery

and difficult to handle.

Some would argue that Nokia’s recently unveiled Lumia 1020 will be the latest flagship phone and the Lumia 925 will be killed. However, the fact is that anybody who does not need an expensive phone just for its camera, will still opt for the 925. This phone seems to be Nokia’s competition to the very appealing second-generation iPhones, Samsungs, Sonys and HTCs.

aT a gLaNce specificatioNs 8MP Autofocus camera, Carl Zeiss optics, Optical IS, dual-LED flash,

Windows Phone 8, 4.5-inch AMOLED screen, 1.5GHz Dual-core processor,

1GB RAM, 16GB storage, Rs. 34,999.

what we Like Good camera performance and features, AMOLED display.

what we disLike Limited 16GB storage, no hardware upgrade from Lumia 920.

why buy it? If you are a fan of Windows OS and want great performance in a not-too-expensive smartphone, the Lumia 925 makes for a good buy.

FINaL RaTINgS 86%caMeRa featuRes Floating lens technology, six lens-elements, Nokia Pro Cam. 13/15

iMaGe QuaLity Slightly improved over 920, still second to Nokia 808PureView. 33/35

Video QuaLity Superb tonality, sharp footage, well stabilised. 19/20

haNdLiNG Instant camera button, slippery design, poor battery life. 9/15

speed & RespoNsiVeNess Speedy and good performance but not best in class. 12/15

The Lumia 925 has six lens-elements versus the five in the Lumia 920 which helps capture sharper daylight images.

Ketan Kundargi

f/8 DoF Calculator is an iOS app that calculates the best depth of field for the perfect shot. All you need to do is feed in the aperture and distance variables in the app. It will display total DoF, near and far limits and the distances it extends in front of and behind the subject. The price is a bit steep, at Rs. 220, but if you are serious about calculating DoF, this is a good app to invest in.


Page 43: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13


Photographing Photographers: From the Best Seat in the House

Dinesh Khanna’s career path veered from being a calculator salesman, a garment quality checker, a busboy in a New York bar and a client servicing executive, after which, he finally gave in to his desire to make images. He cofounded the Delhi Photo Festival and regularly conducts ‘addas’ in Delhi to encourage discussions on the medium.

Cellphone Diaries

The Delhi Photo Festival has finally come to a close and what an intense, inspirational and exciting time it has been. It is phenomenal being able to witness the fantastic work of

photographers from around the world, but it’s just that much more special being part of the team that helps bring it together. At the beginning of the festival, I had decided that I will iPhone my way through it. Being one of the organisers of this hub of ideas, I wanted to document my personal experience from a perspective that would be different from any visitor’s.

For me, personally, the interesting thing was that I didn’t get to see the complete setup of exhibits till a week into the festival. This was because I moderated all the lectures, artists’ talks, seminars and evening screenings from 10 in the morning to 10 at night. So once

the festival was inaugurated, I was stuck behind a mike for the entire opening week. Which is what made my DPF iPhone diary constrained from its vantage point, yet unique. After all, the upside was that I got the best seat in the house, right up there with the presenters. I had to be a very careful listener to steer the discussions and conversations in a meaningful direction. It is fascinating when one witnesses the enthusiasm of the young photographers and students hanging on to every word spoken and experience shared.

My point of view, aided by the fact that my phone was on me all the time, was spontaneous and in the moment. Something my friend, Kathryn Myers, an artist and a Fulbright scholar, pointed out in her Facebook comment, by saying, “These have been great shots of the presenters, from an atypical vantage point.”

“When we hear the best of practitioners speaking about their experiences, we realise that real photographers don’t just do photography, they live it.”

Dinesh Khanna

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13


Page 44: Better Photography - November 2013

As the Light Goes DownRaj Lalwani tells you 15 simple tricks that will help you get great low light photos, even with a basic cameraphone.

novemb e r 20 1 3

Cellphone cameras make terrible pictures in low light. Under this assumption, we use a harsh flash that kills all ambience, or decide to buy a ‘real’ camera,

an expensive DSLR, maybe. But do you know that a few simple practices

is all it takes to improve your low light cellphone pictures?.

1 Why Are You Shooting in Low Light? Is it compulsion? An evening out

with friends always ends up happening in non-ideal light conditions. Or is low


When leaving an air conditioned room, the cellphone’s lens tends to fog up. Use a thin cloth to clean it. Also, see that the moisture is not stuck towards the edge of the lens.



n Af


Low light photos may need you to shoot into the light, but beware of any resultant flare

while choosing the shooting angle. Shot with: Sony

Xperia Z1


b e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y

cellPhone technique

Page 45: Better Photography - November 2013

light a deliberate choice, to use the mood created by sodium vapour, to portray the ambience of a dimly lit café? The answer would determine the kind of technique you must use.

2 Keep it Simple Cameraphones tend to do a lot of

noise reduction while shooting in low light without flash. Since there will be loss of detail anyway, keep the subject as simple as possible, so that the viewer’s attention does not waver.

3 Get Close to the Light This is so simple, but we rarely

think of it. Even in the darkest of areas, there are pockets that are far better lit than the others. Move your subject closer to the light.

4 Or Simply Move Yourself The slightest of change in your

shooting position can change the formation of light and shadow. And if the light is too low, shoot against the light





Use the flash if you cannot avoid moving while in a vehicle. The resultant shake along with the flash will create a fun effect! Shot with: Nokia 7210 Supernova

Ambarin Afsar

source. Your subject may get silhouetted, but you can use that drama creatively

5 Shoot Several Frames Low light photography without flash

can lead to blurred photos, so shoot four or five frames, if you need one. Most recent phones have an effective Burst mode that will help you get at least one sharp photo.

6 Focusing in the Dark Use Touch Focus and tap on the

intended subject. If you can’t achieve focus, try focusing on any bright object that

Light sources make interesting photos.

Just remember to dial down the exposure

by -1 EV. Shot with: Micromax

Bolt A65

Blaine Rodrigues


b e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y november 20 13


cellPhone technique

Photograph from an angle that brings out the best character of what you are shooting. Shot with: HTC Wildfire

When shooting on the streets,

wait a little. A passing car’s headlights may

liven up the lighting within

the frame.

Page 46: Better Photography - November 2013

is close to the subject. Cellphone sensors are small and thus have a large DOF, thus a slight inaccuracy in focus will not look bad.

7 Use Someone Else’s Phone to Focus If your subject is completely in

shadow, use the cameraphone’s AF-assist lamp. Alternatively, get others to help you. Ask your friend to hold a lit cellphone to their eye for some light to focus in.

8 Underexpose One way to avoid blurry pictures is to

underexpose and open up the image later. This may add noise, but a noisy photo is better than one full of camera shake.

9 Do a Countdown You can keep your cameraphone

steady, but what if your subject moves? Warn them before you shoot, so that they keep their pose frozen.

Keep it SimpleInstead of shooting at sunset, try shooting after the sun goes down. The blue tones of twilight can be very dark for cellphone sensors, but adding a filter and keeping the frame simple can help get a good picture.

Fine tune exposure optimally Most cellphone cameras tend to make evening scenes look brighter than they actually are. To get a picture close to your vision, use exposure compensation, to set a value of -1 EV and choose the WB setting carefully.

Low-light Photo Opportunities When the Sun Goes Down

Blur is a natural byproduct of shooting with cellphones in the

dark. It is up to you to use it creatively

and graphically. Shot with: Blackberry Z10

Ambarin Afsar Raj Lalwani

Chandni Gajria

cellphone Technique

B e T T e r p h o T o g r a p h y novemB e r 20 1 3


Page 47: Better Photography - November 2013

INSTAFOLLOW NOW Andrew Kelly is an English teacher in North Korea. He regularly posts pictures on Instagram that explore the daily life in Pyongyang, North Korea. His feed (@drewkelly) is worth a look.

10 Use a Dedicated Button On touchscreen phones, instead of

touching the ‘shutter-release’ button on the camera interface, assign a physical key to trigger the shutter. This will reduce chances of any shake.

11 How do Filters Help? Instagram filters like Sutro, Toaster,

Mayfair and others are great boons when the image quality is bad due to low light. The filter’s look, with its overdone colours or vignetted edges takes away any unwanted attention from the noise in images.

12 The Black and White Approach Noise can look aesthetic in B&W

images. Underexposed photos that are brightened in post, can also be converted to B&W. Increase the contrast to a large degree to hide the excess noise that comes up in shadows. If the image looks too soft due to excess noise reduction, convert to B&W, add a lot of grain and sharpen it in an app like Snapseed.

13 Use Accessories Besides downloading apps, invest in

cellphone accessories. A phone support like a Gorillapod is invaluable for low light photography. And buy a few pocket torches!

14 Fire the Flash When all else fails, fire the flash.

But did you know that EV Compensation in cellphones also helps adjust the power

of the flash? So use a value of -1 or -2, and put a piece of butter paper or coloured gelatin sheet to make the flash’s output more pleasing.

15 Embrace the Noise Lastly, don’t fear noise and

overanalyse how bad your photograph looks at 100%. If these techniques can’t keep it at bay, ignore the grain and concentrate on the content of your photo.

Most cellphone photos are seen on a computer anyway and at that small size, even noisy photographs look good.

Raj Lalwani

Raj Lalwani

cellphone Technique

B e T T e r p h o T o g r a p h y novemBer 20 13


Urban areas are filled with spots that are well lit even at night. Shot with: Nokia Lumia 920

Use a Gorillapod or angle your body to a wall

or the roof of a car, to minimise shake.

Shot with: HTC One

Page 48: Better Photography - November 2013

Land of SymmetryChandni Gajria gets into the vivid imagination of Thailand-based architect Chanatip Bhandavee to find out how he creates wonders with symmetry.

novemb e r 20 1 3

When I first came across Chanatip Bhandavee’s work, I was awestruck. Each image of this architect was mesmerising to look

at. I wondered, how could someone create such beautiful visuals with just a cellphone? I immediately contacted him and was excited when he agreed to be interviewed. The Power of the Phone One look at Chanatip’s photographic work and it is evidently clear that

the inspiration and aesthetics in his images come from his background in architecture. He loves exploring and experimenting with figures and forms and uses them in a minimalistic way.

“Ever since I got a new iPhone, I started photographing more with my cellphone than I ever did with my DSLR. No matter what, I always have the phone on me to make a picture wherever I go.” The best part about cellphone photography, Chanatip says, is that he can retouch the pictures while travelling.


Russian musician, Pavel Belov (@pasha4dust) is an avid instagrammer and lets his feet do the storytelling. The background in his images include places where he is, dishes he is about to eat, and people he is with.

Chanatip Bhandhavee• Chanatipdreamedof

beinganarchitecteversincehewas 3-years-old.

• Heworksparttimeasat-shirtdesignerandevenhasashopwherehesellshiscreations.

• Oasis,LinkinParkandDaftPunkarehisfavouritebands.

• Instagram: @artspective


Chanatip’s architectural background reflects brilliantly in his photographs.


B e t t e r P H O t O g r a P H y


Page 49: Better Photography - November 2013

Two into One The process of creating these pictures started somewhere in March 2013. Chanatip did not plan anything but preferred that his instincts take over the photography process. “While walking around the streets of different cities, I photograph scenes which interest

me. I keep saving these images in my collection.” He even photographs the portraits of people separately to create a graphically sound photograph. “So, the final picture you see, are a result of two images composed together; the background and the people portraits. This is just how I work even while

Chanatip’s images represent a strong

concept. This makes it difficult to seperate the two images from which

his final photos are made from.

The use of black and white lays emphasis on

the graphical elements in the background.

Chanatip gives equal importance to the placement and the pose of the portraits in his photographs.


B e t t e r P H O t O g r a P H ynovember 20 13



Page 50: Better Photography - November 2013

With simple and minimalistic

compositions, Chanatip’s photographs leave a lasting impression.

•LookforVariousGraphicalElements:Explore your home, office or walk around your city to find graphical and architectural elements like lines, curves, shapes and forms. These elements will form a strong foundation for the backgrounds in your images. •KeepitSimple:Make use of space in your compositions to give the eyes some rest and to create impact within the picture. Avoid clutter and use colours carefully. •AddObjectstoCreateSymmetry:The use of reflections in glass and water and even mirros can help increase the actual space in your images. Mirrors are also a great way to duplicate a graphical pattern.


his subtle use of colours are refreshing to look at and yet this maintains the flow of the series perfectly.

designing architecture. There are elements given, and one has to create a concept around it.” With these photographs, Chanatip constantly tries to represent a dialogue between man and architecture. The Challenges of editingAfter making pictures with his cellphone, Chanatip uses mobile applications like Snapseed to edit. For this series, he made use of a photo editing application called ArtStudio. “It works just like Adobe Photoshop and allows me to merge two images—the portrait and the background, into one.”

Furthermore, I asked him if the process of editing the pictures was a challenge for him. “It is not really a challenge because I love what I do. It’s not a job for me. Photography is a hobby that I pursue and I don’t mind spending my time on making these pictures look perfect.”

The editing on these pictures took longer than what someone would spend on their cellphone. “On some days it takes me around 30 minutes to make the final image and at times it can take up to about an hour for the editing to complete.” This again, Chanatip said, depends on how complex or simple the elements in the background and portraits are. On A Personal Note Chanatip thinks it is not really difficult to make such pictures if one is really interested in photography. “The pictures are not serious boring concepts and deal with my artistic side.” In his opinion, it is fun to make such images.

“Moreover, there is so much inspiration on Instagram that motivates you to create good images.” Although his Instagram


B e t t e r P H O t O g r a P H y novem b e r 20 1 3


Chanatip makes use of architecture to

create illusions.

Page 51: Better Photography - November 2013

Although Chanatip’s pictures are all

squares, one can try these concepts in any

aspect ratio.

A high contrast image in itself can lend its

own graphical quality to the photograph.


If you want to use cellphone flash in your photos but detest the harsh light from it, place a tissue in front of the flash light, or simply tape a piece of tracing paper on it to diffuse the light.

feed is filled with architectural and graphical images, on a personal level, Chanatip loves doing portraiture. FollowYourInstincts The things you see, books you read while travelling, places you visit, all form a huge collection of ideas and stories.

These experiences are the best inspiration one can have but Chanatip believes that not many pay heed to their instincts.

“People spend a lot of time on planning and analysing the details. While this is not a bad thing to do, analysing too much, makes the idea stale. It is better to follow what you feel is right.”


B e t t e r P H O t O g r a P H ynovember 20 13


Using a proportion of lines, shapes and colours can look good when all the elements are properly balanced.

Page 52: Better Photography - November 2013

readers’ gallery Send us your best shots to [email protected], or give us a shoutout on Facebook ( or Twitter (@betterphoto). Or simply, tag us on Instagram (@betterphotography)

Looking UpKanika Kaul, New Delhi

What made me shoot this:

I have a great fascination for trees. This picture

was shot in Jim Corbett National Park in Nainital.

The moment I looked up, the view of the trees that greeted me was just

too beautiful. What I learnt: There is an interesting perspective

waiting to photographed when you look up.

Shot with: Sony Xperia L

Intertwined Suyash Kamat, Mumbai What made me shoot this: When the twilight set, the trees gained a silhouette form and the image made itself. What I learnt: Use the square aesthetics of framing to the fullest. At times, you should leave it to the subject to compose. Shot with: Sony Ericsson WT19i

NoveMb e r 20 1 3

reADerS’ GALLerY

b e t t e r P h o t o G r A P h Y


Page 53: Better Photography - November 2013

Shadow BirdsChandni Sareen, Mumbai

What made me shoot this:

This was photographed at a restuarant in Mumbai.

I think birds are very beautiful beings and the fact that they symbolise

freedom made me make this image.

What I learnt: Shadows can add a depth and definition

to absolutely anything. One can use it creatively

to make stunning pictures.Shot with: Apple iPhone 4s

Blooming LilySanket ray, Chennai What made me shoot this: The Lily was placed beautifully in the centre with green leaves surrounding it. I thought this contrast in colour was interesting. What I learnt: An image should be aesthetically beautiful to the human eye. Additionally, by adding a blur filter, one can concentrate focus on the subject.Shot with: HTC One

NoveMber 20 13 b e t t e r P h o t o G r A P h Y


reADerS’ GALLerY


Page 54: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3

Shoot ing techniqueShoot ing technique

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3


Shoot ing techniqueShoot ing techniqueShoot ing technique


Into its third edition, Red Bull Illume is the world’s biggest awards for sports and action photography. The contest

discovers and lauds some of the very fi nest lensmen from this thrilling and rather esoteric genre, where extraordinary

passion and inordinate skill combine to make the most spectacular images.

Supriya Joshi speaks with 24 winners and fi nalists of this contest as they share their action photography secrets.

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y


novemB e r 20 1 3

Page 55: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13

Shoot ing technique

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13


Shoot ing technique


Suresh Narayanan takes us through the process of action photography


tiPS & tricKS

From making photos of clouds to capturing fi reworks



Questions by readers answered by our experts


B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y


novemBer 20 13

Daniel VojtěchHe is a photographer from the Czech Republic and shoots action and lifestyle photographs. He loves geometric compositions and conceptual images. He is the winner of the category New Creativity.

AF, Then MFWhen an action sequence is unfolding in front of you and you can predict where it is going to happen, use AF to prefocus at that point. Then, switch to MF so that your camera does not hunt for focus, and you are able to concentrate on perfect framing and timing.

TIP 1“Control is paramount in

conceptual sports photography.This is the reason why we did this shot in a studio environment.

The biker in this photo is former Czech freestyle champion four-cross rider Tomas Slavik. We had one special rope for Tomas and two

smaller ones for the bicycle. How I got the shot is quite apparent in the photograph and I wanted it that way. We used seven Fomei Digital

Pro X strobes, and a fl ash remote control app for the iPad.”

Camera: Nikon D800ELens: Nikkor AF-S 24–70mm f/2.8G ED

Aperture: f/7.1, Shutterspeed: 1/100sec, ISO: 100

Page 56: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3

Shoot ing techniqueShoot ing technique

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3


Communication is EssentialExplain to the athlete exactly what you want. By communicating with your athlete you know what their limits are and what tricks work best. This way, you can get a clearer picture of what you will be able to shoot.


Jeroen NieuwhuisHe is a freelance photographer and co-owner of a photography studio in Netherlands. He is the winner of the Close Up category.

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3

Shoot ing technique

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3


Page 57: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13

Shoot ing techniqueShoot ing technique

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13


B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13

Shoot ing technique

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13


And I wanted to do it outside the comfort of my studio, in which I was quite used to

shooting. After I brainstormed with my friend Erik Journée, we grabbed our skateboards.

I kept trying to get the right shot as we skated up and down the street a few times. As you can

imagine, handling a DSLR on a skateboard is a challenge on its own. After almost smashing

my camera on the road, I had almost given up... but decided to give it just one last try.

This is the very last frame that in that series.”

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IILens: Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye

Aperture: f/16, Shutterspeed: 1/50sec, ISO: 320

“I wanted to capture the sheer exuberance of

being on a skateboard.

Page 58: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3

Shoot ing techniqueShoot ing technique

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3


Ray DemskiResiding in Canada, Ray has photographed several top athletes in amazing locations around the world. He is a fi nalist in the category Experimental.

Don’t Be Limited by Light, Learn to use Flash UnitsIn low light, be ready to push ISO to get higher shutterspeeds, but also know the limits of your camera. A good photographer can always improvise with any kind of light, but learning to use fl ash units and strobes is essential in the long run. Armed with the right knowledge and equipment, you can make amazing action photos regardless of how adverse the lighting conditions may be... on overcast days or even in the dead of night!


I used Elinchrom units and Nikon I used Elinchrom units and Nikon I used Elinchrom units and Nikon Speedlights to capture the athlete, Bernd Speedlights to capture the athlete, Bernd Speedlights to capture the athlete, Bernd

Zangerl, as he climbed this 15m high rock. Zangerl, as he climbed this 15m high rock. Zangerl, as he climbed this 15m high rock. Once he was safely back down, I spent Once he was safely back down, I spent Once he was safely back down, I spent

the night out alone, making several long the night out alone, making several long the night out alone, making several long exposures for the star trails. The fi nal image is exposures for the star trails. The fi nal image is exposures for the star trails. The fi nal image is

a combination of the fl ash exposure with the a combination of the fl ash exposure with the a combination of the fl ash exposure with the athlete, the star trails and light painting.”athlete, the star trails and light painting.”athlete, the star trails and light painting.”

Camera: Nikon D800Lens: Nikkor AF-S 14–24mm f/2.8G ED

Aperture: f/7.1 for the scene, f/5.6 for the starsShutterspeed: 1/250sec for the scene, 30min for the stars

ISO: 400 for the scene, 160 for the stars

“This was shot during a bouldering trip to the

Indian Himalayas.

Page 59: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13

Shoot ing techniqueShoot ing technique

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13


Lorenz HolderAfter getting injured in a snowboarding accident in 2003, Lorenz turned to photography and has never looked back. He is a senior photographer for Pleasure Snowboard magazine and as a staff photographer for Nitro Snowboards. He is the winner of the Playground category and is also the overall winner of RedBull Illume 2013.

Choose Your Gear According to the Type of ActionIn action photography, you will need to walk long distances, climb high mountains or even jump out of airplanes, so it is not feasable to carry all your gear with you all the time. Depending on what sport you are photographing, outline exactly what gear will work best and carry just that. Be prepared with full batteries and enough memory cards... there is nothing more heartbreaking than your battery running out at a crucial point!


“This photograph took months of waiting for the right elements to all

perfectly come together.I found this abandoned satellite dish in summer. I wanted a heavy

snowfall to get this shot. The chances of snowfall were quite slim, as it barely snows at this location in winter. Eventually, I got lucky. I used two

Elinchrom strobes in the background to light up the snowfl akes and create a ‘white wall’ where I could capture Xaver Hoffman’s silhouette as

he jumped. While the strobes froze the action and the falling snowfl akes, I used a slow shutterspeed to get some light on the satellite dish.”

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IILens: Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 18mm f/3.5 ZEAperture: f/3.5, Shutterspeed: 4sec, ISO: 1000

Page 60: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3

Shoot ing techniqueShoot ing technique

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3


Dave LehlHe is an adventure and lifestyle photographer from USA and has worked with several noted publications. He particularly enjoys photographing the sport of snowboarding. He is a fi nalist in the Spirit category.

Use Dynamic PerspectivesIt is worth seeking out all possible angles while shooting action scenes, even if it means lying fl at on the ground. The most amazing photos can come from the most awkward angles!

TIP 5Originally, I just wanted a shot of two

skateboarders, but I wasn’t getting a good shot. So, I asked both Casey Capper and

Andy Orley to push their limits. They came fl ying past me. Unfortunately, Andy’s

back foot hit the back of his board, which sent him sprawling. Luckily, Andy is

quite a tough cookie. All he got was a scrape on his shoulder and forearm while

I ended up with an awesome photo.”

Camera: Canon EOS 1D Mark IIILens: Canon EF 70–200mm f/2.8L IS USM

Aperture: f/4, Shutterspeed: 1/1250sec, ISO: 100

“Chance favours the prepared


Page 61: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13

Shoot ing techniqueShoot ing technique

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13


Morgan MaassenHe is a photographer from USA. He dream of visiting new countries and capturing whatever beauty they may hold. He is the winner of the Lifestyle by Leica category.

“One needs to go beyond the most obvious ways to tell a story.I made this photograph during a trip to Fiji along with seven very talented surfers. They surfed for ten hours a day, coming in only for food or sunscreen. I was fascinated by their camaraderie in the intense surf, despite the obvious competition between them. I wanted to capture their unique friendship that had them trading waves with smiles. I got the frame I wanted one morning, when they were in the crystalline waters, discussing everything from the surf to the homework they were neglecting.”

Invest in LensesAlthough mid to high end DSLRs are preferable, even entry level cameras deliver excellent image quality nowadays. However, what is essential to good sports photography is the best optics. It makes more of a difference than the camera. Buy the best lenses. Invest over a period of time, if you cannot afford it immediately. In any case, with careful use, good lenses will outlast the usefulness of any digital camera by at least a decade.


Camera: Nikon D700Lens: Nikkor AF 16mm f/2.8D FisheyeAperture: f/5.6, Shutterspeed: 1/500sec, ISO: 250

Page 62: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3

Shoot ing techniqueShoot ing technique

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3


Jussi GrznarJussi GrznarJussi GrznarHe is a senior He is a senior He is a senior photographer at photographer at photographer at Snowboard CanadaSnowboard CanadaSnowboard Canadamagazine. He is magazine. He is magazine. He is passionate about skiing passionate about skiing passionate about skiing and believes he will be and believes he will be and believes he will be chasing the “next great chasing the “next great chasing the “next great photo” for the rest of his photo” for the rest of his photo” for the rest of his life. He is a fi nalist in the life. He is a fi nalist in the life. He is a fi nalist in the New CreativityNew CreativityNew Creativity category. category. category.New Creativity category.New CreativityNew CreativityNew Creativity category.New Creativity category.New Creativity category.New CreativityNew CreativityNew Creativity category.New Creativity

“Most people “Most people “Most people would see the ironies would see the ironies would see the ironies “Most people would see the ironies “Most people “Most people “Most people would see the ironies “Most people would see the ironies “Most people would see the ironies “Most people “Most people “Most people would see the ironies “Most people

in extreme extreme extreme sports.Yet, irony is not always an easy element to Yet, irony is not always an easy element to Yet, irony is not always an easy element to add into an image. For instance, the word add into an image. For instance, the word add into an image. For instance, the word ‘peur’ means fear in French. A friend of mine ‘peur’ means fear in French. A friend of mine ‘peur’ means fear in French. A friend of mine discovered this old, abandoned building. discovered this old, abandoned building. discovered this old, abandoned building. Another friend, Anto Chamberland, decided Another friend, Anto Chamberland, decided Another friend, Anto Chamberland, decided to jump out of the third-story window. I used to jump out of the third-story window. I used to jump out of the third-story window. I used fl ash systems from Elinchrom and Paul C fl ash systems from Elinchrom and Paul C fl ash systems from Elinchrom and Paul C Buff to highlight Anto, and get the interiors Buff to highlight Anto, and get the interiors Buff to highlight Anto, and get the interiors and shadows right. It took a few tries, but I am and shadows right. It took a few tries, but I am and shadows right. It took a few tries, but I am very pleased with the strangely sci-fi feel of very pleased with the strangely sci-fi feel of very pleased with the strangely sci-fi feel of the image.”the image.”the image.”

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IIILens: Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USMAperture: f/14, Shutterspeed: 1/200sec, ISO: 100

Page 63: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13

Shoot ing techniqueShoot ing technique

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13


Freeze the ActionFreeze the ActionFreeze the ActionThe shutterspeed The shutterspeed The shutterspeed that you need that you need that you need depends on what depends on what depends on what you are shooting. you are shooting. you are shooting. But to freeze action, But to freeze action, But to freeze action, choose speeds choose speeds choose speeds higher than 1/500sec. higher than 1/500sec. higher than 1/500sec. Also, if the subject Also, if the subject Also, if the subject is moving across is moving across is moving across the frame, you will the frame, you will the frame, you will need a shutterspeed need a shutterspeed need a shutterspeed faster than if it is faster than if it is faster than if it is coming towards you. coming towards you. coming towards you. Alternatively, you can Alternatively, you can Alternatively, you can use a burst from a use a burst from a use a burst from a fl ash unit or a strobe fl ash unit or a strobe fl ash unit or a strobe to freeze action to freeze action to freeze action too, especially if the too, especially if the too, especially if the subject is set against subject is set against subject is set against a darker background.a darker background.a darker background.


Page 64: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3

Shoot ing techniqueShoot ing technique

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3


Romina AmatoResiding in Switzerland, Romina knew she wanted to be a photographer ever since she was 13 years old. She is the winner of the Energy category.

Start SmallYou don’t have to start with a big sports event. Practice with moving subjects on the street in front of your house. Then maybe you can try shooting a local cricket game. You will see that the more you practise, the better you get.

TIP 8In this case... where is he coming from? In this case... where is he coming from? In this case... where is he coming from?

Does he think he can fl y? Where is he Does he think he can fl y? Where is he Does he think he can fl y? Where is he going to land? This was shot during the going to land? This was shot during the going to land? This was shot during the

Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. I was Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. I was Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. I was Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. I was Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. I was Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. I was on a boat in rough waters, and it was on a boat in rough waters, and it was on a boat in rough waters, and it was

a very narrow gap. A little movement a very narrow gap. A little movement a very narrow gap. A little movement could mean the difference between could mean the difference between could mean the difference between seeing or not seeing the diver at all. seeing or not seeing the diver at all. seeing or not seeing the diver at all.

As the athlete, Todor Spasov, took to the As the athlete, Todor Spasov, took to the As the athlete, Todor Spasov, took to the As the athlete, Todor Spasov, took to the As the athlete, Todor Spasov, took to the As the athlete, Todor Spasov, took to the air, I knew I had the perfect shot.”air, I knew I had the perfect shot.”air, I knew I had the perfect shot.”

Camera: Canon EOS 1D XLens: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4–5.6L IS USM

Aperture: f/6.3, Shutterspeed: 1/1600sec, ISO: 400

“I like pictures that leave viewers


Page 65: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13

Shoot ing techniqueShoot ing technique

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13


Stuart GibsonA photographer from Australia, Stuart believes that great photography is not really about about who inspires you, but more about what inspires you. He is a fi nalist in the Close Up category.

“When you start getting frightened, there is a photo waiting to happen.Even as a giant wave exploded upon Ryan Hargrave and me as we were surfi ng at Wilkes Pass in Fiji, we were caught beneath the huge swell. It’s always a little comforting when someone else is in a bad situation with you, so I turned to look at Ryan and saw him on this duckdive. We were scared and laughing at the same time. I kept my head and managed to shoot a sequence of images. This is the shot before the white surf sent us high and dry on the coral.”

Be One With Your CameraYou have to know your camera inside and out, so that it is almost like an extension of your body. In action sequences, you cannot pause to think of how to change a particular setting or mode. It has to be an automatic process that happens without the need to really think about it.


Camera: Canon EOS 7DLens: Tokina 10–17mm FisheyeAperture: f/5.6, Shutterspeed: 1/1000sec, ISO: 400

Page 66: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3

Shoot ing techniqueShoot ing technique

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3


Rainer EderA climbing enthusiast from Switzerland, Rainer has photographed the world’s best rock and ice climbers. He is a fi nalist in the Experimental category.

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3

Shoot ing technique

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3


Fast Memory Cards are VitalAction photographers often fi re bursts of frames in continuous shooting mode. Fast cards mean faster buffering speeds, so you won’t have to slow down your own shooting. With cameras that can accept two memory cards, it is advisable to use the second card to backup images simultaneously as you shoot. In this case, ideally, both cards should be of equally high speeds and capacities.

TIP 10

Page 67: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13

Shoot ing techniqueShoot ing technique

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13


B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13 B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13


My idea was to show climbers performing in surreal settings. The athlete in this photo is world champion boulder climber from Austria, Anna Stöhr. The trashy, metallic objects perfectly contrast with Anna’s youth, power and vitality. In getting to the final image, there were many things to consider... the sharp and greasy metal edges, the stability of the pile of cars, the light and background... Anna had to do a countless pull ups over dozens of piles of cars before we found the perfect spot. I used Profoto lights to illuminate the frame.”

Camera: Nikon D3SLens: Nikkor AF-S 14–24mm f/2.8G EDAperture: f/8, Shutterspeed: 1/250sec, ISO: 100

“If there were no mountains, what would pro climbers do then?

Page 68: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3

Shoot ing techniqueShoot ing technique

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3


Ryan TaylorHe is an action and commercial photographer from USA. Focusing on wakeboarding and snowboarding, he strives to create something new and unique every time he shoots. He is a fi nalist in the Illumination category.

This is a sea of cranberries being harvested in October, in Wisconsin, USA. Cranberries are grown in dry fi elds. It is only during harvesting that the fi elds are fl ooded so that the berries fl oat to the surface. I always wanted to shoot a wakeboard rider in the middle of that luscious sea of red. When I described the idea to ace wakeboarder Ben Horan, he was quite excited. One freezing morning, Ben and his team awoke to a fresh blanket of snow to give me his very best on the wakeboard, braving the biting cold and carving fantastic arcs through the cranberry fi elds. This is my most memorable and unique shoots till date.”

Moving In, Moving OutThe viewer’s eye will automatically follow prominent lines in the image. It is always good if these lines lead towards the main subject. The viewer also looks in the direction of movement, in an attempt to discover where the subject is going. Thus, using space well, before and after the subject, is important.

TIP 11“If the idea is delicious, everyone does their best.

Camera: Nikon D4Lens: Nikkor AF-S 24–70mm f/2.8G EDAperture: f/5, Shutterspeed: 1/1250sec, ISO: 640

Page 69: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13

Shoot ing techniqueShoot ing technique

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13


Olaf PignataroHailing from Italy, Olaf’s origins in BMX biking has helped him in his career as an action photographer. He is a fi nalist in the Playground category.

Add Context,Capture DetailsWhen the athlete or the action dominates the scene, factors like exposure, sharpness, positioning, timing background, and the athlete’s facial expression and body language makes a huge difference. When the athlete is not dominant, the surrounding environment becomes important to add context. In either case, composition and framing can make or break an action photograph.

TIP 12

“We were lucky the police didn’t catch us.After waiting for the town of Verona, Italy, to sleep, biker Stefan Lantschner climbed down a rope into the hole of the Ponte Pietra, a Roman arch bridge built in 100BC. His BMX was then lowered down to him, and Stefan began to ride within the giant opening. Some tourists noticed the fl ashes, but Stefan managed to climb back up without being noticed.”

Camera: Nikon D3Lens: Nikkor AF-S 70–200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Aperture: f/8, Shutterspeed: 10sec, ISO: 200

Page 70: Better Photography - November 2013

B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3


B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3


Care for Your Care for Your Care for Your Gear Like a LoverGear Like a LoverGear Like a LoverYour photographic Your photographic Your photographic equipment is your equipment is your equipment is your lifeline. If you use lifeline. If you use lifeline. If you use your gear carefully, it your gear carefully, it your gear carefully, it will give you timeless will give you timeless will give you timeless photos over years photos over years photos over years of good service. of good service. of good service. Prepare for the Prepare for the Prepare for the worst weather and worst weather and worst weather and shooting conditions shooting conditions shooting conditions at a given location. at a given location. at a given location. Carry appropriate Carry appropriate Carry appropriate camera protection camera protection camera protection while shooting, and while shooting, and while shooting, and a good cleaning kit. a good cleaning kit. a good cleaning kit. A good photographer A good photographer A good photographer is disciplined in is disciplined in is disciplined in the way he stores, the way he stores, the way he stores, handles and maintains handles and maintains handles and maintains his gear.his gear.his gear.

TIP 13

Clark FyansClark FyansClark FyansBorn at the base of the Born at the base of the Born at the base of the Wasatch Mountains Wasatch Mountains Wasatch Mountains in USA, Clark was in USA, Clark was in USA, Clark was always connected to always connected to always connected to mountaineering and loves mountaineering and loves mountaineering and loves photographing mountain photographing mountain photographing mountain sports. He is a fi nalist in sports. He is a fi nalist in sports. He is a fi nalist in the the the IlluminationIlluminationIllumination category. category. category. Illumination category. IlluminationIlluminationIllumination category. Illumination category. Illumination category. IlluminationIlluminationIllumination category. Illumination

B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3


B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3


Page 71: Better Photography - November 2013









This shot was taken in the Tordrillo This shot was taken in the Tordrillo This shot was taken in the Tordrillo Mountains, Alaska, in 2010. I was there Mountains, Alaska, in 2010. I was there Mountains, Alaska, in 2010. I was there with some all-star athletes—Travis Rice, with some all-star athletes—Travis Rice, with some all-star athletes—Travis Rice,

John Jackson, Mark Landvik, and also the John Jackson, Mark Landvik, and also the John Jackson, Mark Landvik, and also the Brain Farm Cinema production crew. We were Brain Farm Cinema production crew. We were Brain Farm Cinema production crew. We were

anxious to get on the snow after arriving to anxious to get on the snow after arriving to anxious to get on the snow after arriving to a week of bad weather. We didn’t know that a week of bad weather. We didn’t know that a week of bad weather. We didn’t know that

the mountains were going to welcome us the mountains were going to welcome us the mountains were going to welcome us with incredible shooting conditions for the with incredible shooting conditions for the with incredible shooting conditions for the

following two weeks. Something seemed following two weeks. Something seemed following two weeks. Something seemed really special on this fi rst evening... the fi rst really special on this fi rst evening... the fi rst really special on this fi rst evening... the fi rst

drop of the trip. After putting the boys on the drop of the trip. After putting the boys on the drop of the trip. After putting the boys on the ridge, I shot this image from the helicopter as ridge, I shot this image from the helicopter as ridge, I shot this image from the helicopter as

they were scoping the terrain.”they were scoping the terrain.”they were scoping the terrain.”

“A click of a button can “A click of a button can “A click of a button can make time stand still, make time stand still, make time stand still,

but you never know but you never know but you never know make time stand still,

but you never know make time stand still, make time stand still, make time stand still,

but you never know make time stand still,

but you never know make time stand still,

but you never know make time stand still, make time stand still, make time stand still,

but you never know make time stand still,

when it can cause a when it can cause a when it can cause a but you never know

when it can cause a but you never know but you never know but you never know

when it can cause a but you never know

when it can cause a but you never know

when it can cause a but you never know but you never know but you never know

when it can cause a but you never know

moment to be timeless.moment to be timeless.moment to be timeless.

Camera:Camera:Camera: Nikon D90 Nikon D90 Nikon D90Lens:Lens:Lens: Nikkor AF-S DX 18–200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II Nikkor AF-S DX 18–200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II Nikkor AF-S DX 18–200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II

Aperture:Aperture:Aperture: f/4.8, f/4.8, f/4.8, Shutterspeed:Shutterspeed:Shutterspeed: 1/1250sec, 1/1250sec, 1/1250sec, ISO: ISO: ISO: 400400400

Page 72: Better Photography - November 2013

B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3


B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3


Zakary NoyleHailing from USA, Zakary is a Staff Photographer for Surfer Magazine for the last three years. He is the winner of the Sequence category.

As far as the waves go, this is a rather common day... just the sort anyone would encounter. The sand, sky, horizon and rock are exactly what people would see if they were walking down North Shore. When the waves are smaller, surfers usually go out to surf just before the sun sets. And as you look towards the sea, the surfer, Gabriel Medina, does this massive backfl ip.”

Don’t beImpatientWhen it comes to shooting action, be ready for failures. You may not get your perfect shot the fi rst 100 times, but when you do, it will be magical. Persistence is a virtue.

TIP 14


“My passion is to draw the viewer into my image, almost as if they were standing right beside me.

Camera: Canon EOS 1D Mark IVLens: Canon EF 70–200mm f/4L IS USMAperture: f/5, Shutterspeed: 1/800sec, ISO: 320

Page 73: Better Photography - November 2013





Claudio CasanovaGrowing up in a ski and snowboard resort in Switzerland, Claudio has always been passionate about snowboarding. He is a fi nalist in the Close Up categroy.

Become Adept with TechniquesAction photographers often use techniques like panning, blurring or freezing movement, slow synch and off camera fl ash, large and shallow depth-of-fi eld, and pre focus, zone focus and manual focus. Some photographers use supplementary lenses and fi lters. Technique also involves knowledge of composition and when to increase or decrease exposure from the metered value. The good thing is that you can easily practise these techniques almost anywhere, as long as there are moving subjects.

TIP 15

The moment I saw it, my mind was absorbed by the idea of integrating this

10kg glass hulk into a snowboard action photograph. And as it turned out, it was

not easy at all! To begin with, the idea amused my fi ve handpicked snowboarders.

It took a few initial shots for the right vibes to evolve. Seven hours later, this shot of

Philipp Schicker doing the Miller Flip saved the day. Lights from Profoto were

used to illuminate the moment.”

“Crystal ball gazing can be quite a

challenge, once it catches your fancy.

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IILens: Canon EF 70–200mm f/2.8L IS USM

Aperture: f/11, Shutterspeed: 1/200sec, ISO: 125

Page 74: Better Photography - November 2013

B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3


B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3


Theodore Van OrmanHe is a photographer from USA and believes that life is a special experience, and being able to capture it has grown very important to him. He is the fi nalist for the Lifestyle by Leica category.

I was invited by my friends, Cody Barger and Jordan Houck, to cycle in this full pipe. We bicycled through this long tunnel, our eyes fi xated on the only source of light... a tiny, little circle, coming in through the far end. It was a surreal feeling. We were at a reasonably high altitude and my equilibrium somehow felt off. When we fi nally made it to the opening, I got my camera out and quickly metered as my counterparts kept moving ahead into the light. I waited until Cody looked up into the light before I released a single frame. They did not know I was shooting.”

How Do You Carry Your Gear?Comfortable, quick access to gear makes all the difference in getting the shot. Typically, modular utility harnesses, utility belts or backpacks work best. Some photographers also use rolling bags or hard cases because they can safely hold a lot of equipment. Ideally, you should try out various options to fi nd out what kind of carrying system best suits your gear and style of shooting.

TIP 16

“No planning... we were just riders mesmerised by the light at the end of the tunnel.

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IIILens: Canon EF 70–200mm f/2.8L IS USMAperture: f/3.2, Shutterspeed: 1/400sec, ISO: 4000

Page 75: Better Photography - November 2013





Dan CarrAn outdoor photographer from UK, Dan’s life is anything but ordinary. To begin with, he has an Aerospace Engineering degree. He is a fi nalist in the Sequence category.

Make CompositesTo showcase the complete movement of an action sequence, you can make an image composite by combining several images into one. The idea is to keep the background of the images constant as it will be easier to edit them later. Then use the camera’s Burst Mode and shoot the entire sequence. Also, remember to use a tripod to keep the frame stable. Once you are done shooting, use software like Photoshop to edit your composite.

TIP 17

Gold medallist Sammy Carlson wanted a shot with all his jumps in one line. In these sort of jumps, there can be no tests or practice runs, to avoid putting tracks on the snow. My main worry was that the camera’s buffer would not

be large enough to capture the whole sequence. So I switched to JPEGs. Every time Sammy

dipped out of view behind the hills, I stopped shooting momentarily, to let a few images save

to the memory card. And then Sammy showed why he deserved to win gold in slopestyle!”

“It took 51 photos to capture this sequence!”

Camera: Canon EOS 1D Mark IVLens: Canon EF 70–300mm f/4–5.6L IS USM

Aperture: f/8, Shutterspeed: 1/1250sec, ISO: 1000

Page 76: Better Photography - November 2013

B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3


B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3


Scott SerfasAn action photographer for the last 20 years, Scott is based in Canada, where he has started a snowboard design and manufacturing company called Endeavor Snowboards. He also owns a face mask company called Airhole. He is the winner of the Illumination category.

Be Ahead of the MomentThe very best photographers know what kind of action to expect and where to expect it. Beyond knowing the sport well, you need to know the athletes and their styles of performance. You also need to know the location and the best spots to shoot from. Finally, when you are at the perfect vantage point, you need to know where to point your lens and how to frame your shot a moment before the action actually happens.

TIP 18

Page 77: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13

Shoot ing techniqueShoot ing technique

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13


“This photo was the very last frame from the best snowboarding trip of my life!This photo was made in Alaska, during the filming of a snowboarding film called ‘Art of Flight’. We had already spent a month there and the trip was ending very soon. I really wanted to shoot a photo from a helicopter, right above athlete Travis Rice. Coordination was quite tough because there was another helicopter with the cine camera crew, also shooting Travis. The sun was setting fast. As Travis made his second turn down the mountain, I made this shot from a hieght of about 30m above him.”

Camera: Canon EOS 1D Mark IVLens: Canon EF 100mm f/2.0 USMAperture: f/10, Shutterspeed: 1/1000sec, ISO: 200

Page 78: Better Photography - November 2013

B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3


B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3


Seek Permissions, Follow the RulesMany formal sporting events have rules of conduct for photographers. They may also defi ne the places where photographers are allowed to shoot from. This is done for the safety of both photographers and athletes. Some sports need complete concentration by the athletes. Distracting them with a fl ash burst or getting in their way can be extremely dangerous.

TIP 19

Elias KunossonHe is a photographer from Sweden who is passionate about photographing adventure sports and dreams of a day to make a living as a photographer. He is a fi nalist in the Experimental category.

“Stop. Think. Change the plan. Quick!

Camera: Canon EOS 1D Mark IIILens: Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USMAperture: f/5.6, Shutterspeed: 1/1000sec, ISO: 200

When I found out about the FMX show in town, I grabbed my camera. At the event, I saw some photographers close to the ramp where it was very crowded. There was no point in competing with them for space. Something needed to be done quickly before I missed all the action. I looked around and saw a fi re escape on a nearby hotel. I climbed up to get an elevated view. I needed to highlight the action and wanted to give a sense of the crowd. Since I did not own a tilt shift lens, I decided to add the effect in postprocessing. Fredrik Berggren then spectacularly took to the air.”

Page 79: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13

Shoot ing techniqueShoot ing technique

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13


Page 80: Better Photography - November 2013

B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3


B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3


Samo VidicA photographer from Slovenia, Samo has been making pictures since 2001. He is an offi cial Red Bull photographer and also contributes to Getty Images. He is the winner of the Wings category.

Select a Good Tripod or MonopodAction shooters use them quite frequently. Long exposures, heavy lenses, sequences, or simply to take the weight off the neck... it needs to be lightweight, sturdy, and quick to set up on uneven terrain. The tripod head must be a three-way pan-tilt head that allows smooth panning. Ensure that the ‘quick’ release plate is effectively quick enough. Some of the more recent ball and socket heads work particularly well because they are so easily movable without fumbling around with levers.

TIP 20

In this image, Jorge Ferzuli is seen diving from an 88 foot platform during Red

Bull Cliff Diving World Series in 2011, in Greece. I was capturing the scene from

the water below, with very limited scope for movement. As Jorge jumped, by sheer

luck, or serendipity, a bird entered the frame, causing this perfect juxtaposition.

I also won the Slovenian Press Photo Award for this photograph.”

Camera: Canon EOS 1D Mark IVLens: Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye

Aperture: f/3.2, Shutterspeed: 1/2000sec, ISO: 200

“Serendipity can happen any time.

Page 81: Better Photography - November 2013





Chris BurkardHe is a self-taught photographer and artist based in California, USA, whose work is layered by surf, outdoor, lifestyle and travel subjects. He is the winner of the Spirit category.

Keith Malloy, Dane Gudauskas and I had come to surf in Unstad, Lofoten Islands, Norway. We woke at dawn and drove our truck to the ocean. The arctic waves were perfect... the best we had seen. We thought it would be a good, long session of surfi ng. Suddenly, the winds changed. In a minute it was pouring. In another minute, the rain became a blizzard. We took shelter in the truck, waiting for the bad weather to pass. After a while, with no sign of the blizzard dissipating, we decided to head back. By then, the snow had piled up high around the truck. Dane and Keith then started walking back into town. I shot this image as they trudged through the snow, on the icy road back to the hotel.”

Camera: Sony Alpha a77Lens: Sony 70–200mm f/2.8GAperture: f/4, Shutterspeed: 1/320sec, ISO: 200

“I think their sense of dejection is quite visible in this image.

TIP 21Shoot Before and After, Get the Quieter MomentsAthletes meditate, they prepare, they warm up, they check their gear, they pack up, they rest, they exult, and they chat with other athletes. Any sport has its highs and lows, effort and pain, joys and successes. Action photography does not always have to attempt to capture energy and motion. There is a lot that happens when they are not in the midst of action. Simplicity can speak volumes too.

Page 82: Better Photography - November 2013

B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3


B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3


Dimitrios KontizasResiding in Greece, Dimitrios is a self-taught photographer and has been the owner of a pre-press company for more than fi ve years. He is a fi nalist in the Wings category.

But there I was... in Zakynthos Island, Greece, where the 2011 ProBase Shipwreck Boogie was taking place. This particular picture was made right after the competition had ended, leaving all the BASE jumpers stress free and having fun. I zoomed in on the BASE jumpers and get them in the right position in my frame. I used the Sports mode, as a fast shutterspeed was priority. The Greek sun did what it does best, providing perfect lighting conditions for a result, I think, is worth viewing.”

Camera: Nikon D5000Lens: Nikkor AF-S DX 18–55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED IIAperture: f/6.3, Shutterspeed: 1/1600sec, ISO: 400

“I never thought that at some point in my life, I would stand at the edge of a 200m cliff, making pictures of crazy people jumping off it.

TIP 22You Do Not ‘Need’ Expensive GearThe gear that professionals use for action photography are expensive. Yet, entry level cameras and basic kit lenses are good too. One needs to simply work within their constraints. For instance if the buffer and frame rates are not huge, limit your continuous shooting to short bursts only when necessary. In fact, the most memorable sports photos in the world have been taken with manual focus, fully mechanical cameras using 36-frame ISO 100 fi lm rolls!

Page 83: Better Photography - November 2013





Lucas GilmanGrowing up in the mountains of West Colorado, USA, Lucas always had an affi nity for the hills. Today, he shoots for several sports magazines around the world. He is a fi nalist in the Wings category.

Keep Shooting. Don’t Chimp! Chimping is a word used for those who keep reviewing the photo on the LCD immediately after making the picture. It wastes time. In all probability, you are missing a great moment by being a chimp. You cannot afford to be a spectator either. Eye to the viewfi nder, fi nger on the button... that is what action photography is about.

TIP 23

In this shot, Rafa Ortiz nabs the fi rst descent of the 132.5ft tall Big Banana Falls in

Veracruz, Mexico. Rafa and I fi rst visited this fall in 2006, and were amazed by its majesty. After making several trips, in 2010, the water

conditions looked perfect. Rafa rappelled into the pool above the waterfall with his

boat. It was at this point that I knew it was really going to happen. Rafa was over the falls

in what seemed like a split second. He popped up to the left of the falls in his boat, with blood

running from his eye and fi sts pumping. He was only visible for three frames before

he was engulfed in water. We were all happy, relieved, and in high spirits. Directly after,

we went to get Rafa’s eye stitched and for tacos and tequila in celebration!”

Camera: Nikon D3SLens: Nikkor AF-S 70–200mm f/2.8G ED VR II

Aperture: f/4.5, Shutterspeed: 1/1000sec, ISO: 1600

“I still think about how easily I could

have missed this shot.

Page 84: Better Photography - November 2013

B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3


B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3


It Takes Action to Shoot ActionIf you have a thought, idea, concept, or desire to do something unique, all that it needs is a good plan and lots of doing. Be safe, but give it your very best shot. In the end, you are limited by only one person... yourself.

TIP 24

Juan Cruz RabagliaResiding in Argentina, Juan discovered two things at the age of 14, that inexorably shaped his life... photography and the beautiful land of Patagonia. He has never looked back since. He is a fi nalist in the New Creativity category.

B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3


B E T T E R P H O T O G R A P H Y NOVEMB E R 20 1 3


Page 85: Better Photography - November 2013









The location played a huge part in this. Right beside the lateral moraine of Patagonia’s

Perito Moreno Glacier, natural dams of ice and rock are occasionally formed. Thanks to

glacier-fed rivers and streams, these often give rise to small lakes. When the water

pressure fi nds a crack, a slow process of ice boring begins. Thus, little by little, these

caverns are sculpted underneath the glacier. When the lakes are emptied completely, for a brief period of time it is possible to

explore these ephemeral and psychedelic ice galleries. This location thus becomes a great

spot to photograph ski mountaineers. In this photograph, Leonardo Cuny Proverbio makes his way through the icy cavern.”

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IILens: Canon EF 17–40mm f/4L USM

Aperture: f/4, Shutterspeed: 1.3sec, ISO: 100

“This photo reminds me of a sci-fi movie.

Page 86: Better Photography - November 2013



B e t t e r P h o t o G r a P h y

Want your photographs reviewed? Send your photographs 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: [email protected]

In the Midst of ActionSuresh Narayanan is one of the biggest names in automobile photography. He takes us through his process of making images of movement and action.

While making photographs of motor sports, several decisions are taken on the field. However, the most important element in sports

photography is the background, and the consideration that it remain constant.

There are three major styles of automobile photography—panning, tracking and cornering. Once we reach the location, the first thing I do is hunt for suitable backgrounds for each of these techniques.

Automobile photography is risky business, and both the rider and myself

could get injured if something goes wrong, so we always discuss the shoot in detail before we begin. I find it easier to work with experienced riders as I am more likely to get better frames while photographing them. The next major challenge is to make a dynamic composition once the vehicle is in motion.

Good action photography requires a lot of practice and patience. You have to train yourself to anticipate how the vehicle is going to move, especially when events are unfolding at breakneck speed. Passion for the sport and the subject are equally important too.

novemB e r 20 1 3

Suresh Narayanan

“Perfection will not happen in a day. Action photography takes a lot of practice.”

I made this image during a shoot for Overdrive magazine at Aamby Valley. The technique I used is panning.

Page 87: Better Photography - November 2013


SePtemBer 20 13

Tips & Tricks

It is a good idea to invest in a good quality monopod. Buy one that is easy to set up, so that you can concentrate on making photographs rather than worrying about your equipment.



Ignore the World one problem that you

may face is that there are too many things happening at the same time. In action photography, you do not have second chances. Ignore everything else and concentrate on what you want to shoot.

Practice in Your Neighbourhood

you may not always have access to experienced drivers and motor sports events. So, in order to practice panning and tracking techniques, try shooting moving cars in your locality.

Try Playing the Sport

If you enjoy photographing a particular sport, playing the sport will help you gain the perspective of the sportsperson.

Protect Yourself In an outdoors

shooting situation, keep yourself hydrated and protected from the harsh sunlight.

Behind the Scenes In any sporting

event, a lot of activity happens behind the scenes. If you have the access to the athletes’ enclosure, get inside and try to capture their candid reactions.

Make Notes Whenever you get

the time, make notes about the sport you are photographing. this will help you understand the right settings for different situations. Plus, these can serve as reminders for future shoots and can act as reference points.

Behind the Scenes with Suresh Narayanan

Compact DilemmaCan I use my compact camera to shoot action scenes?Naveen R Patnaik, Kolkata, via email

The Sports mode can help you get fast shutterspeeds effective for freezing certain kinds of action. Compacts with PSAM modes can further help you with action photo tricks.

Panning AwayWhat is the best way to shoot panning shots?Harsha Mangnani, Mumbai, via email

Choose continuous AF and ensure that you are in the Burst mode. Follow the automobile and release the shutter just before the vehicle enters your frame and shoot till it exits. You will also need a steady hand and posture, because you may have to use a slow shutterspeed while panning. Including foreground blurs will add to the dynamism of the frame.

The Importance of FocusWhat is the best focusing mode to use during a high action scene?Ravi Menon, Kerala, via email

Continuous focus is the best mode in sports photography. In this mode, the camera quickly refocuses on the subject as it moves, before shooting each frame. However, with practice, you could also prefocus as it will allow you to be even more precise.

What exactly goes into the making of the perfect photograph?Here are some frequently asked questions about automobile action photography, answered by Suresh Narayanan.Q&a

novemBer 20 13

Before you start panning, remember to stabilise yourself. The camera should move in a smooth motion, not you!

Rishad Mody

Foreground elements add to the overall dynamism of the frame.Krunoslav Šoštari

Page 88: Better Photography - November 2013


novemb e r 20 1 3


B e t t e r P h o t o G r a P h y B e t t e r P h o t o G r a P h y

Dr. Amit Vakil, Chamba Camera: Canon EOS 550DAperture: f/3.5Shutterspeed: 1/4000sec ISO: 800

Suresh says: It looks like an explosion occured in the hands! The cloud of powder adds to the activity and

action taking place in the frame. This image needs to convey more information.

Amrita says: This is a fortuitous moment of light play that has been

captured quite nicely. The focus could have been sharper. The frame is awry and needs space for eye movement.

Suresh says: A little more space was needed on the left of the

frame as the wildebeest’s horn is being cropped. Despite the movement, the subject is in focus. It looks like the moment was anticipated well before

the shot happened.

Supriya says: The placement of this wildebeest anchors the frame

and leads the viewer to the deer. The position of all three animals exhibits the

relationship between them. The deer is frozen midleap, which is good, but the

image needs better storytelling.

Vikranth Peeran, Coimbatore

Camera: Canon EOS 60DAperture: f/6.3Shutterspeed: 1/640sec ISO: 160

Page 89: Better Photography - November 2013


november 20 13 B e t t e r P h o t o G r a P h y

Suresh says: A tighter frame would have drawn attention to the action. The silhouettes are very striking and animated. Elements like the tree and the pole are distracting.

Amrita says: Too much postprocessing has given it a synthetic feel. The sky could have been burnt for drama. The frame could have been a bit more to the left.

Suresh says: The image lacks critical sharpness. The colours look a little too saturated. This image had great potential to be a panning shot.

You might have got crazy results!

Supriya says: The frame is too tight and needs breathing space. Adding more of the background would have given it

more perspective. You could have captured the crow lifting off if you had

waited a second longer.

Suresh Narayanan began making pictures in 1992, but did not shoot cars or automobiles for the first eight years of his job. he is currently working as the Photo editor at overdrive, an automobile magazine. Ironically, he initally wanted to be an actor or a scriptwriter!

Supriya Joshimakes photographs which are much like her—unusual and quirky, with a fascination for the extraordinary in the mundane. She is not fussy about gear—it could be a DSLr or even a cellphone—as long as what she is shooting makes her smile.

Amrita Ganguly-Salian befriended the camera 22 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.

Prashanth Rudra, Hyderabad

Camera: Nikon D3100Aperture: f/6.3

Shutterspeed: 1/2500sec ISO: 100

Hitesh Bellani Camera: Canon EOS 400D

Aperture: f/5.6Shutterspeed: 1/640sec

ISO: 400

Our Experts

Clean backgrounds work the best in action photography. If you cannot avoid clutter, try using a wide aperture like f/2.8 to blur it out.


Page 90: Better Photography - November 2013

Clouds offer a palette of different colours depending on the time of day at which you shoot them.

CHANGING Clouds Here, the light

flitering through the clouds lends a tranquil quality to the overall photograph.

Time of The day The best time to photograph clouds is early mornings and late afternoons. During these hours, the sun plays a game of hide and seek with the clouds resulting in really wonderful beams of lights that add hints of yellow, orange and purple to the skies. In the monsoon and winter seasons, you can capture ominous looking grey clouds. use Filters Creatively With a polarising filter, you can bring out the details of the sky, reduce haze and increase

contrast. If the sky is too bright, you can even use a graduated Neutral Density filter to darken the sky. This will also complement the foreground. Other coloured filters can be used to add warm tones to the overall image. Compact camera users may not be able to attach filters, but can surely hold the filter in front of the lens, calculate exposure accordingly and shoot!

Add the surrounding landscape You can use landscapes to enhance the beauty of clouds. Including blocks of urban buildings can help you convey a graphical feel, while composing your frame so that branches and birds turn into silhouettes against the cloud can convey a dramatic, nostalgic or even peaceful mood.

Abstracts and long Exposures If you look closely, clouds form different shapes at times. One can see a bird, plane, even a horse in clouds. Frame these shapes tightly and you have an abstract photo!

Another thing you can do is use long exposures and make clouds look like brushstrokes in the sky. This is a lot of fun and will lend a painting-like feel to the picture. However, you will need to use an ND filter and a tripod.

Gul H Gulrajani

Sudarshan Gopinath

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: [email protected]


NOVEMB E r 20 1 3

Page 91: Better Photography - November 2013


Try making pictures of silhouettes of spectators against the fi reworks in the night sky.

The Fireworks scene mode of most compacts allows for long exposures that can help you capture streaks of fi reworks.


scout for a locationReach the location well in advance so you can scout the location and fi nd a good spot for your fi rework pictures. While fi nalising the location, make sure the background is not distracting. You can also set your frame with a monument, landmark or even the skyline of a city in the frame. steady Firework shotsYou will necessarily need a tripod to make pictures of fi reworks. However, to ensure that there is absolutely no camera shake, you could invest in a remote shutter release cable.

Another solution would be to use the Self-timer option within the camera itself. However, this would work effectively only when you factor in the delay caused by the timer.

Ensuring Perfect FocusManual focus works best for fi reworks. However, you can also use AF to pinpoint the area in which the fi reworks are erupting. After you have achieved focus, you can simply switch to manual focus to avoid the camera from refocusing. By default, however, the Fireworks or Night Landscape mode will not allow you to have focusing woes.

The right shutterspeedFireworks move fast and in order to make good streaks, you will have to experiment with varying slow shutterspeeds such as 1–6sec, depending on whether you want to have a group of fi reworks in your frame. You can also set your camera on the Bulb mode and trigger the shutter once the fi reworks have gone up and release the button when the burst has fanned out.

Try Focus BlursFocus blurs of fi reworks will work only if you have access to a camera or a lens that allows you to turn the focusing ring during the exposure.

Once you have set a long exposure of let us say, 1sec and have also ascertained that the focus is spot on, all you need to

do is twist the focusing ring all the way round during the exposure. This will result in fi reworks that range from sharp points of light to soft, petal-like shapes, radiating outwards.

The Night Portrait mode of your compact will fi re the fl ash during the exposure and help you also capture the surroundings.

Giel Op ‘t Veld

Utkarsh Mishra

B E T T E r P H O T O G r A P H Y


NOVEMBEr 20 13

Page 92: Better Photography - November 2013


Plan Ahead of darkness Planning ahead is always an advanatge, especially when the skies go completely dark. Reach your location while there is still light. This will give you an idea of how the location looks in daylight. You can also identify the portions you wish to light paint with a torch, if at all. If there is a water body, you could also include it in the frame so that the reflection lends more impact to the image. use Mobile Apps To Find a star It is necessary that you know what exactly you are shooting because the human eye is not susceptible to darkness. A mobile app on your smart phone/tablet might be just the thing to look for. For instance, Google Sky Maps. Apps like these can help you locate the Polaris for star trails. Tripods and Manual Focus It goes without saying that you would need tripods for star trails. Additionally, you could further weigh the tripod down with sand bags and use timers and cables to ensure perfectly steady exposures. A base level ISO value and manual focus are the other factors required for a good star trail image.

Exposure for the Perfect Trail Since the earth keeps rotating, the position of a star is not fixed. Hence, the movement of a star, results in a trail. If you want to capture the stars without a trail, then an exposure of even a few seconds is enough. A 15sec exposure will give you short trails.

To photograph longer trails, set the exposure between 1–5mins long. If you wish to attempt a 30 min or an hour long exposure, set the shooting mode to Bulb and use a cable release. Additionally, remember that star trails are more apparent at the telephoto end.

Not Just the star It can be quite boring if all you did was photograph star trails. Try to make the photograph a bit more interesting by adding elements like a house, trees, or even the landscape or people in your frame.

The best place to photograph stars is away from city life, perhaps where you can avoid external lights from buildings and traffic.

Chirag Sarawati

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y


NOVEMB E r 20 1 3

Page 93: Better Photography - November 2013

I love working with shadows as I believe that they lend objects with a certain character. This photograph was shot in the afternoon sunlight which came in through the windows in my room. During the afternoon, the sun is usually harsh and causes strong shadows.

This photograph of a simple bottle placed at the window would have looked boring. What makes this picture interesting are the shadow patterns of the window frame that have been casted on the wall beside it. Shadows are also a great way to emphasise the texture of a subject. Shadows can help grab or focus a viewer’s attention since they remove unncessary details and make the viewer concentrate only on the form of the subject. For instance, you can create a dramatic portrait of a person by using light to just illuminate the eyes of the subject. This way the remainder of the face would fall into deep shadow and the viewer’s attention would be drawn to only the eyes. — Naveen Chander


Enliven With shadows

While making long exposures you can uncover and cover the lens with a black cloth at the beginning and ending of the exposure to further avoid shake.


Navin Chander

Position your frame keeping in mind the North pole if you want to get circular star trails.

The drama created by shadowplay, when used creatively, can enhance any mundane scene.

Tweak your settingsThe Tungsten WB preset can help you get a more blue looking sky, whereas Auto White Balance you will get a pitch black sky. Also, remember to shoot in RAW as it will allow you to have complete control during the postprocessing.

Alternatively, you could shoot shorter exposures and stack them using a software.

Postprocessing for More detailSwitch off in-camera noise reduction. Noise removal in software is a lot more non-destructive and helps you control things like preservation of image quality and detail.

You might also want to make the images more contrasty and sharpen the trails for a crisp, clean look.

Chirag Sarawati

B E T T E r P H O T O G r A P H Y


NOVEMBEr 20 13

Page 94: Better Photography - November 2013

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: [email protected]

Lens Cleaning at HomeI want to clean my lenses and I want to know what would be the easiest way to do so at home? Vipul Parekh, Patna, via post

You can use a squeeze bulb to blow off loose dust particles from the surface of the lens. Another way of getting rid of dust is by using a soft bristled brush or a lens pen brush. But make sure that you do not brush the lens vigorously and that you keep the bristles clean at all time. If you want to get rid of oily stains or fingerprint impressions, use only an alcohol based lens cleaner. Dab the cleaner on a microfibre cloth and never directly apply the solution on the surface of the lens. Once you have moistened the microfibre cloth, wipe the front lens element using a circular motion. Once again, ensure that the cloth itself is clean and regularly washed.

Shooting ArchitectureWhat is the best time of the day to shoot architecture or monumental structures?Madhu Jadhav, Indore, via email

Before setting out to shoot architectural buildings, identify the prevailing season as it is responsible for the change in the position of the sun. Then you need to figure out the direction towards which

the monument is facing. Based on this, you will be able to decide what time of the day is good to shoot. If the building is facing the west side, photographing later in the day would be optimal and earlier in the day if it faces the east side. The twilight and golden hours are also great times to shoot. Alternatively, if the structure is lit up with artificial light, this will make a great photograph during the night time.

Photographing LightningHow do I achieve an effective picture when the place of lightning is not fixed? Manish Kapadne, Mumbai, via email

Begin by setting up your camera on a sturdy tripod. Since it is quite difficult to press the

Some architectural structures look their

best at night time. Look for vantage

points that will help you efficiently

photograph the beauty of the structure.

What can I use the AE lock for?As long as the Auto Exposure lock button is pressed, the exposure calculated by the camera’s meter remains locked even if you recompose the frame. This is useful when you want to retain a precise measurement of light on a subject in difficult or contrasty lighting conditions. In most cameras you can also customise this button for other functions.


Use a Circular Polariser? A polarising filter is used to block light reflecting towards the lens at a certain angle. Photographers can use this to avoid several problems like reflection and haze—issues that constantly plague photographers. Placement of The Subject In order to get the best out of the polarising filter, ensure that your subject is at a right angle toward the sun. The filter’s effect will be non-existent, if the sun is behind the photographer at a 180o angle.

Activating the Filter Circular polarisers have two rings. Once it has been attached to the lens, twist the front ring and view the image either through the camera’s viewfinder or LCD screen. You will notice that the filter has essentially blocked a few light waves which would have otherwise overly brightened certain portions of the image or would have cause reflections.

When Should You Use it? If you enjoy photographing water, reflections can be an inevitable nuisance. Plus it is quite difficult to get rid of them during postprocessing. A polariser will easily do away with the problem.

You can also use it to shoot through glass and eliminate any reflections or distractions caused by dirt and scratches. Haze makes your images look washed out and hence if you want your images to look vibrant and punchy, using a polariser will solve your problem.

Some of its Limitations Since the polariser will reduce the amount of light reaching the camera’s sensor by two or three f-stops, necessary adjustments will have to be made in this regard. You will not be able to use the camera’s autofocus system as it will be too dark for it to automatically focus. Hence, you will have to focus manually.

Also if you are using an inexpensive lens with a rotating front element, it will interfere with the polarisation filter.

Point your index finger toward the sun and stick out your thumb in the opposite direction. Wherever the thumb is pointing towards will be the best place in the frame for the polariser to have a maximum effect.





by S


sh D



Souvik Bhattacharya

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y


novemb e r 20 1 3

Page 95: Better Photography - November 2013

shutter right before the lightning bolt strikes, switch to the Bulb Mode in your camera and set it to the appropriate time or however long you want your shutter open.

Ideally, you should use manual focus to shoot lightning. Choose a narrow aperture like f/8 or f/11. If you have a foreground element, focus to approximately 1/3rd distance within the frame. If you are only shooting the sky, focus to infi nity.

However, in the end it is all about being patient as photography of this nature is hard to master at the fi rst shot.

Does Silica Gel Expire?Do silica gel sachets ever go bad? Do I need to replace them after a while?Kiran Pradhankar, Chembur, via email

Silica gel is used to protect objects from humidity and moisture. However, after a point

it reaches its capacity. The saturation usually occurs because the gel cannot absorb any more moisture and becomes useless. You can check this by simply looking at the colour of the gel. If the clear crystals adopt a green or orange colour, you know that it is time to replace the sachets. Although it is easier and cheaper to purchase new silica gel crystals, there is an easy way to reuse old sachets. Simply place the crystals on a baking tray and bake in the oven at 200o fahrenheit.

Using Digital WatermarkingIs there any way of adding an invisible watermark to photographs? Does such a thing exist?Bhavna Kumar, New Delhi, via email

Invisible watermarks allow users to hide essential information like a number or a name in a photograph, audio or video. It has to be done seamlessly such that there are absolutely no changes caused to the image, especially in the pixel count. It can only be identifi ed using specialized software.

Depending on the importance of the media, digital watermarks can be classifi ed under robust and fragile. A robust digital watermark will ensure that it completely resists any form of tampering and a fragile digital watermark will ensure that there is no tampering to a certain extent. Software like Digimarc and Media Sign Pro are designed to enable users to successfully add digital watermarks to their work.

What happens to the pixels in an image after its size has been reduced?In simple words, the pixel count goes down as the dimensions of the image reduces. Technically speaking, the image loses data. But as pixels are merged to reduce the size of the image, it also becomes sharper when viewed in a smaller size.


Send in your queries to better

Photography. If your letter wins Question of the month, you

stand to win a Lexar 8Gb 100x SDHC

media card!

My brother-in-law is a bit of a daredevil and thoroughly enjoys sky diving and paragliding. His birthday is coming up and I was thinking about gifting him a DSLR to record his adventures. Is this a good investment or should I gift him a compact camera instead?Deepti Patel, Bengaluru, via email

Since your brother-in-law enjoys adventure sports, it means that he will require a camera that is not only lightweight to carry but also quick and easy to use.

For this reason, a DSLR will not be a good option, mainly because of two reasons. Firstly because it is bulky and secondly because adjusting its settings can get slightly time consuming.

Compact cameras, on the other hand, are pocketable and much easier and simpler to use. Most compacts today also come with the ability to shoot Full HD video and some of then even offer fast frame rates and burst modes that help while shooting action.

Action cameras like the GoPro or the Toshiba Camileo X-Sports are gadgets that are revolutionising action photography. Not only are these cameras small enough to fi t in the user’s palm, the best part is that they can be strapped to handlebars, helmets or even a person’s arm or head and can shoot videos as well.

These action cameras are also weatherproof and shockproof and can withstand harsh use and extreme weather conditions. Even in terms of usability, they are easy to setup and use.

Best Camera for an Adventure Sports Enthusiast?

Try to give perspective to your lightning shots

by including a tree or a structure or in this case,

an urban landscape.

Peter Aloisio


november 20 13 b e T T e r P H o T o G r A P H Y

Page 96: Better Photography - November 2013

Philippe Ramette• Bornin1961,Philippe


• HegrewupinthetownofDijonandcarriesverystrongmemoriesfromthere.Thehorizontalescalations,theirrationalwalksareallinfluencedbyhischildhood.

The SurrealistNatasha Desai speaks to Philippe Ramette, whose gravity-defying photographs tends to leave you open-mouthed.

crumpled. It then dawns on you that there is something more to the picture.

Each photograph is conceptual and it is photographer Marc Domage who actually executes Philippe’s vision by releasing the shutter. The more time you spend observing this collaborative work, the more you begin to understand the irony and genius behind each photograph.

The Acrobat Ramette’s images are highly conceptual and require a lot of preparation and an intense amount of physical endurance, as

When you fi rst look at Philippe Ramette’s pictures, your jaw drops. You see a man in a suit, perched

quite casually on the ledge of a cliff, strolling across a tree trunk, or even sitting upside down involved in intense thinking. All of this, with a seeming nonchalance.

After staring for a while, you then wonder if the images have been digitally manipulated. That is, until you look closely and notice his not-so-calm expression, his tense arms and his suit that looks slightly

All of his images are conceptualised by philippe, but the camera’s shutter is released by photographer Marc domage.

Titled Gravity reversal, philippe hung upside down from the building with the help of a metal hook on his feet for this image.

B e T T e r P H o T o G r A P H Y

Prof iLe

NoVeMBer 20 13


Prof iLe


Page 97: Better Photography - November 2013

“it is not the everyday

movements but the execution

of an act which demands a

certain kind of preparation.”

A diver would swim to philippe and give him

oxygen whenever he required it. To achieve stillness in the image,

they would have to wait until the bubbles and

sand would clear.

B e T T e r P H o T o G r A P H Y

Prof iLe


NoVeMBer 20 13

Prof iLe


Eadweard MuybridgeThe quest for action



Rajiv KumarExploring the forgotten realm



A showcase of the best images sent by our readers.


Page 98: Better Photography - November 2013

they require him to stand or sit or lie on metal harnesses fixed at impossible angles. To make his images, he had to design a harness that stays hidden in his suit. This harness is fixed firmly to the surface he wishes to hang from, to look as though he is walking up a tree, or hanging off a cliff, with a facial expression that signifies pondering. For his series Rational Exploration of the Undersea (2006), he had to train to dive and had to wear lead weights under his suit and on his ankles to weigh him down. A team of divers worked with him to execute his images.

Always an ArtistEven though he is passionate about photography, Philippe considers himself an artist first. “It was by a stroke of serendipity that I got into art school. It was in that moment that I knew for the first time in my life, that I had found my place. I am totally committed to art.”

His earlier work consisted of seemingly bizarre metal contraptions and wooden installations, which he made in the 90s. Photography, then, became a natural extension of his vision, as he saw it as a way to demonstrate the purpose of his sculptures. “All these practices are closely related. My photography work feeds my

sculptures, my sculptures feed my drawings, my drawings feed my photographs. ”

The ContemplationPhilippe’s ideas can take root anywhere. The origins are layered, multiple and unpredictable. They may come in a dream like Balcon2, his favourite image, where he is in a balcony that is horizontally levitating off the surface of the water in a Hong Kong harbour. “This image was quite complicated and took a long time to achieve. It took me two years to conceptualise and execute this picture from a mere dream!” he said.

The Art of LazinessPhilippe “practises laziness” frequently as he believes it helps him to mediate and let free thoughts flow. He tries to bring out mundane moments with an infallible logic by staging and photographing every day moments like rationality, contemplation, irrationality and exploration.

The Comedy of LifeThere is a vein of humour that runs through his images, and are an attempt to bring out the satire in life. He claims no influence from anyone specific, although his work is compared to the comedic styling of actor Buster Keaton. “My influences are more

• Havingaclearideaofwhatyouwantgoesalongwayinperfectexecutionofyourcreativevision.

• Lazinessisagoodthing.Throughlaziness,youapproachakindofmeditation,whichisessentialforphotography.

Tips by phiLippe

The perfect setting is vital to ensure that

the irrationality behind philippe’s act comes out.

philippe’s images are reminiscent of superhero comics and in that sense, aspirational.

“Truffaut’s influence allows

us to think of life as a film

whose directors and principal

actors are us.”


B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3

Prof iLe

Page 99: Better Photography - November 2013

The images he makes invoke a sense of

nostalgia and sometimes take you back to

your childhood days of vivid imagination

and wonderment.


B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13

Prof ile

Page 100: Better Photography - November 2013

philippe had to lean back and hold on to the wood, while the whole balcony floated on a watertight tank in a hong Kong harbour.

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3

Prof ile

Page 101: Better Photography - November 2013

• MarcDomageusesaHasselbladforphotographingPhilippe’sconcepts.

• AlltheimagesinvolvePhilippe’smetalorwoodensculptureswhichallowhimtobepositionedatopvarioussurfaces.

GAdGeTs & GeAr

numerous and complex than that,” he says. One major influence in his work is French director François Truffaut. “I am quite fascinated by the brutal emergence of the extraordinary in the everyday life that Truffaut brings out. This allows me to think of our life as a film in progress, whose director and principal actors are us!”

The road AheadRamette has not made any new images since 2008, but he has not given up on photography just yet. “I have ideas that are not precise enough for me to act. Meanwhile, I have collaborated with choreographer Fanny Chaillé for a dance that we will soon take to New York.” For a man who is pushing the boundaries with his photographs, you can only wonder the delights that his future projects will bring. “I am in a period that I call reflection!” he says, which immediately brings me to imagine him perched precariously on another precipice, contemplating his next ingenuous visual treat.

“don’t run around behind

the ‘perfect’ shot. you have just got to let

the moment happen on its own.”

despite the elaborate measures taken to make his images, there is a certain sense of simplicity that reflects in philippe’s work.

philippe’s attention to detail is so meticulous

that he even has to have his hair set in

place, for the illusion to look complete.


B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13

Prof iLe

Page 102: Better Photography - November 2013


great masters


novemb e r 20 1 3b e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y

Eadweard MuybridgeAmbarin Afsar tries to freeze the fast-paced, almost maddening life of Eadweard Muybridge, also known as the man who froze time.

This story begins, like most interesting stories do, with a murder. Eadweard James Muybridge was at the height of his career, when his experiments were

interrupted. In 1874, Muybridge walked up to his young wife’s friend, Harry Larkyns,

whom he suspected of having fathered his son, and said, “My name is Muybridge, and I have a message for you from my wife.” Before Larkyns could react, Muybridge shot him through the heart. In 1875, he was tried for murder, and was acquitted on the grounds of justifiable homicide.


Page 103: Better Photography - November 2013

Another of Muybridge’s experiments

from 1887, this composite shows

how important it was to have a neutral

white background.

Made in 1887, this print shows 12 frames of a galloping horse and rider from the side, and 12 frames from the back.

great masters


november 20 13 b e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y

The Making of an Eccentric Man This murder is somehow central to Muybridge’s persona, and exhibits his volatile temperament, which may have been due a stagecoach accident that fractured his skull in 1860. The frontal lobe injury,

psychologists reckon, left the intellect intact, but damaged emotional control as well as freed his creativity from social inhibitions. Interestingly, it was after this injury that Muybridge returned to Britain for treatment, and also began learning


e So


: Lib


of C



Page 104: Better Photography - November 2013

This 12-frame motion picture of men boxing was a part of a two-year long study by Muybridge.

The form and musculature of the

subject needed to be apparent, and

hence Muybrdige’s nude studies.

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemb e r 20 1 3

great masters


“The pictures laid bare all

the mistakes that artists had

made in their renderings of the various postures

of the horse.” —Paul Valéry,

French critic and poet

photography. Coming back to the acquittal— Muybridge spent a year in self-imposed exile during which he worked in Central America. Finally, in 1877, he resumed the famed motion studies at a racetrack, with

admirable breakthroughs. It was almost as if each time a severe personal injury helped propel him forward.

The Seed of High Speed Photography The former Governor of California, Leland Stanford, was passionate about horses. So much so that he took a stand in the popular debate of those days—whether all four legs of a horse come off the ground at any point in a trot or gallop. He insisted that they did, and was looking for proof. Most people insist that he had placed quite a large wager on the outcome, but Stanford was really looking to breed and train the fastest horses in the world. And so, in 1872, he turned to Muybridge, who had made a reputation with his stereographs of Native Americans and dramatic landscapes.

Page 105: Better Photography - November 2013

Muybridge presented sequential pictures such as this one of a woman carrying a pail up and down the stairs, in three consecutive books.

For many animators and artists, the images that Muybridge made, remain a virtual dictionary of movement.


B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y

great masters

november 20 13

Many Layered Origins Muybridge was born Edward Muggeridge in London in 1830. Before emigrating to America in the early 1850s, Edward became Eadweard and went on to be a bookseller in New York and San Francisco.

In 1867, when he came back to America recovered from his injury and reinvented as a photographer, he also changed his last name to Muybridge. While making the landscape and architectural photos that he was famed for, he converted a light carriage into a portable darkroom. He took great physical risks, all the while using heavy view cameras and glass plates. In fact, one stereograph shows him sitting casually on a rock jutting out over the Yosemite Valley with a drop of nearly 2000 feet.

The First Rebuff When Stanford approached him, Muybridge said that the task was impossible. To capture the movement of a horse running at 40 feet per second, one could certainly not take 15 seconds to 1 minute. Stanford finally convinced him to attempt photos that took a fraction of a second.

Astounding Success and Criticism In 1872, Muybridge gathered all the sheets from the neighbourhood of the stables to make a white ground. The horse, Occident, was trained to run over the white cloth. On the first day, closing and opening the camera gave no result. On the second day, trying the same really fast, only helped in capturing a shadow. On the

Page 106: Better Photography - November 2013

With 36 cameras operating simultaneously, he and his assistants made more than 30,000 photos of adults, children and animals.


B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y

great masters

novemb e r 20 1 3

great masters

b e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y


“A mischievous boy, always doing or

saying something unusual, or

inventing a new toy, or a fresh trick.”

—Muybridge’s cousin, in

her memoirs.

third day, Muybridge tried to make two boards slip past each other, touched by a spring. This led to an eighth of an inch opening for the five hundredth part of a second. The horse passed, and was frozen. But, critics said that it was a woodcut of a photo of a painting of the original negative.

A Grand AttemptIn 1877, Muybridge resumed experimenting after the murder, and Stanford continued

funding him. He bought 12 cameras developed more sensitive emulsion. Finally, in 1878, he lined up the cameras for a spectacular show. A sloping white backdrop had been put up opposite the cameras, and across the horse’s path were 12 wires, each connected to a different camera. The horse was to speed down the path pulling a two-wheeled cart, and as soon as the wheel rolled over a wire, it completed an electrical circuit, tripping that particular camera. The 12

Page 107: Better Photography - November 2013

This image shows an elk running and one can only imagine how Muybridge must have gained access to the animals in his studies.

127 Pictures such

as of this baboon climbing a pole took meticulous planning

and care. Yet, retakes were inevitable.

“Nothing was wanting but the clatter of hoofs

upon the turf and the occasional

breath of steam to make the

spectator believe he had before

him the flesh and blood steeds.”

—A newspaper reporter on the zoopraxiscope.


november 20 13 b e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y

great masters

shots were managed in less than half a second, and within 20 minutes, Muybridge developed the plates for visitors to admire.

Making the First ‘Movies’ Within a year, Muybridge also produced the first machine to project moving photographic images. Based on a children’s toy called the zoetrope, this device reanimated the trotting sequences and adapted them onto the screen. The film in his new machine, which he called the

zoopraxiscope, was a large glass disk about the size of a dinner plate, with figures running around the edge.

Film historians consider the zoopraxiscope a forerunner to the movie projector. But when the movies finally arrived in the 1890s, they eclipsed his work, and he returned to England one last time. Eadweard Muybridge died in 1904 in his own backyard, and ironically enough, engraved on his headstone was the name, Eadweard Maybridge.

Page 108: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y


NOVEMB E R 20 1 3

A selection of some of the best images from the Indian mainstream media

Shielding ThemselvesThis photograph gives a glimpse into the life of the Hijra community of Kamathipura in Mumbai. The Hijra community has always been isolated from mainstream society. By holding a piece of the saree in front of the face, it seems as though they are constructing barriers around themselves.

Prashant Nakwe, The Times of India

Joyous CelebrationA group of youngsters rehearse in Girgaum,

Mumbai for Ganeshotsav celebrations. The low vantage point captures the

enthusiastic mood of the youngsters, who are dancing in a very exuberant fashion.

Salman Ansari,Daily News & Analysis

Page 109: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13


In the Middle of Action Several civic staffers protested near BMC’s office in Mumbai on 3 October for better living conditions. By getting in the middle of the action, the photographer has managed to capture the anger and frustration of the protesters.

Rajendra Gawankar,Daily News & Analysis

An Umbrella Protest On 5 September, the All Santhali Students

Union activists protested on the railway tracks in Kokrajhar, Assam to demand

Scheduled Tribe status for the community. The sea of umbrellas creates a very

interesting pattern, leading the viewer to the end of the frame.

Pitamber Newar,Press Trust of India

Page 110: Better Photography - November 2013

Rajiv Kumar is a Delhi-based freelance photographer. His series ‘Dhanushkodi’ was exhibited at the 2013 edition of Delhi Photo Festival.

Dhanushkodi is a small piece of land located on the eastern coast Tamil Nadu. The first time I visited the place, I felt a strange affinity towards it without

knowing why. The once-thriving town was destroyed in a

mega storm in December 1964. Despite this, there is still something special about the area that is not easily overwhelmed by the present or by its recent past. I knew that the

land had several stories to tell. To put these feelings into context, I visited again in 2009.

I was sure about not using colour for this project because Dhanushkodi, with its white sands and endless blue waters, would have been immediately transformed into an oversaturated postcard series. I used a fully manual film camera, which, in many ways, slowed down the whole photographic process and helped me take the time to notice things I might have otherwise missed.

DhanushkodiRajiv Kumar discovers what it feels like to experience a historically significant, yet dislocated piece of land, in its complete entirety.

All that remains in Dhanushkodi are the ruins and the 200 families who make their living

by fishing.

Photo Feature

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3


Page 111: Better Photography - November 2013

During the colonial period, ponies were an important part of keeping the communication network going. Over the years, the animals have become feral and lead their own secret lives, wandering around the entire length of the land.

Using black and white helped remove some of the obvious gloss about the place.

Picturesque setups like this are common, created to provide temporary shade to tourists from the sun.

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13


PhotoFe at ure

Page 112: Better Photography - November 2013

Understanding the nature of light and how it transforms an area is essential. For this reason, shoot at different times of the day.

Experiment with other media. Using film allowed me to spend more time and learn a lot more of the land than I would have otherwise.

After editing, you may find missing links in between photos. Spend more time with your work. Don’t hurry the editing process.

Photography is a medium of expression and exploration. Don’t overthink it. Photography for its sake is pretty boring.

How to Bring Out the Essence of a Land

Dhanushkodi is an important pligrimage destination for Hindus, as this the spot where the Ram Setu was built in the Ramayana.

The landscape changes daily in subtle and

sometimes dramatic ways, a quality that

first attracted me towards the place.

Since there are no proper roads, visitors

usually walk or take an overcrowded fishing

cart or hire expensive four wheeler jeeps to

get around.

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemB e r 20 1 3


PhotoFe at ure

Page 113: Better Photography - November 2013

I have tried to experience

Dhanushkodi in many different ways. Even if it meant that I visited

the place during different times of the

day. In the end, it was all about having a

complete experience.

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y novemBer 20 13


PhotoFe at ure

Page 114: Better Photography - November 2013


B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y


novemb e r 20 1 3

Want your photographs showcased? Send in your photographs 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: [email protected]

Page 115: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y


november 20 13

The WebSreenath Subramaniyam, Kumbakonam“Local fairs present ample opportunities for photographs. As I observed this Enterprise ride, I realised it looks like a huge metallic spider’s web. The golden sky in the background just added to the image.”

Camera: Nokia X2Exposure Details Not Available

Page 116: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y


novemb e r 20 1 3

Your P ic t ure S

Urban Maze Sourav Karmakar, bengaluru “Such wire laden poles are a common sight all over India. I gave this image a high key treatment, to make the frame appear more stark and gritty.”

Camera: Nikon D3000Aperture: f/5Shutterspeed: 1/320secISO: 400

Morning Divinitymatty Khiangte, Aizawl “This scene made for

a very serence frame. Moreover, the circular pillar in the foreground was mimicking the sun

in the background. The bird in flight made my

frame complete.”

Camera: Nikon D90Aperture: f/10

Shutterspeed: 1/1250sec ISO: 640

Page 117: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y


november 20 13

Taking Flightindrajit bhattacharya,

Kolkata “The setting sun, the

bird taking flight against the bent of the tree

made a very dramatic frame, which I managed

to capture.”

Camera: Canon EOS 1000DAperture: f/6.3

Shutterspeed: 1/1600secISO: 400

Youthful Moments Siidhartha Deogaokar, Aurangabad “Despite the child being completely in silhouette, the colourful bubbles defined the playfulness that is part of one’s childhood.”

Camera: Canon EOS 500DAperture: f/19Shutterspeed: 1/4000secISO: 400

Page 118: Better Photography - November 2013



October’s winning entry

“Waterproofed global warmers!”— Zomminlun Gangte, via SMS

Provide a caption for this picture, photographed by Menaka Sasikumar, to get a chance to win Camelion batteries and charger worth Rs. 1455. The selected entry will be published in the December 2013 issue of Better Photography.

Not a lot of photography blogs today are technique oriented, so it is a refreshing change of pace to fi nd a blog that focuses entirely to fl ash photography techniques. USA-based wedding photographer Neil van Niekerk’s wonderful blog is a great resource for anyone who wishes to learn about lighting techniques in photography.

The blog has an astounding 700 (and counting) articles, with the main focus being on how to correctly illuminate the frame using fl ash. Using images shot by him, he illustrates his text with visual examples.

The text is written keeping a layperson in mind, and is therefore, quite easy to understand. However, the text size is a bit too small, so reading for a while will put stress on your eyes.

The website is easy to navigate, with all the fl ash photography tutorials indexed in one page. Moreover, Neil also provides tutorials for wedding

photography and also reviews gear. Overall, it is quite an informative blog for any photographer.

Flash Made EasyReleased in 1996, Kodak’s DC-25 camera had a 493 x 373 pixel CCD sensor and a 47mm equivalent lens. It also had an LCD display for picture review. Plus, the camera had 2MB internal storage, which could store around 30 images. But what made this camera unique was that it was the fi rst in the world to use CompactFlash cards.

The camera did not support the JPEG image format, storing images in Kodak’s proprietary K25 fi le format instead. This was because the JPEG image standard was very new at that point in time. Moreover, the CF cards then came in capacities of 2, 4, 10 and 15MB.


The First Camera to Use CF Cards Was Produced by Kodak

Send your captions toE-mail: [email protected], or SMS “BP Nov <your caption> <your name>” to 51818(for eg. BP Nov Refreshing sip! Ravi Bhide)

Last date to receive entries

5 November 2013




Page 119: Better Photography - November 2013


B E T T E R P h o T o g R A P h y NovEMB E R 20 1 3


Clients and their demands are sometimes tricky to deal with. Chandni Gajria lists a few situations where one should simply refuse rather than regret.

Being photographers, we look forward to new ideas, concepts and assignments that come our way. Sometimes in

our desperate attempt to land a project, we don’t realise how far we agree to everything, just to please the client. ‘No’ is a pretty strong word, but it is better to refuse beforehand rather than regret later. We list out a few predictable situations wherein it is better to walk away. When the Job is Not Creative Enough Most people will not turn down a project based on its creativity, especially if the money is good. In the beginning, photographers often take up any

assignment that comes their way—whether this satisfies their creative hunger or not.

Photographing something that you do not really believe in can reflect in your portfolio. Moreover, you will start receiving more offers for similar jobs. If you really wish to do something that has your label on it, you will have to start thinking and analysing the offers you get. Turn down jobs that do not excite you or help you grow as a photographer. When the Client is DifficultThe root cause of most problems is not knowing what the client is like in the beginning. A lot of times, the client can be arrogant and unpleasant to deal with.

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y


Don’t always say no. You can

negotiate to reach a middle

ground with the client.

When to Say No to a ClientIll



n by


am K


...Can you add hair on my head? Can you change the colour of my clothes? Will you give me the prints in 5 minutes? Can you add

a monument in the background? Oh add a helicopter too. I love helicopters!

YEs!,Yes, Of course Yes, Oh that’s totally




Page 120: Better Photography - November 2013


B E T T E R P h o T o g R A P h y NovEMBER 20 13


While setting out to meet the client, always remember that the job you do may also depend on the client’s personality. The client should respect you but if they come across as rude, stand up for yourself and explain to them, why your work commands a certain amount of respect. There will always be a few disagreements between the client and you. You will have to learn to tackle these in your own way. When You Are Offered a Job You Can’t Do“A glamorous photoshoot abroad? With a classic vintage feel?—Wow, sounds exciting, I could do that.” Just because it sounds exciting and that you want to try something new, don’t jump into things that are not your forte. While it is good to expand your horizons and learn new things, you have to remember that your reputation is at stake. You can always experiment in your free time.

In such situations, stress on the fact that this would be your first attempt at an assignment of this nature and that you are not sure of how the outcome will be. Sometimes, honesty works like a charm. When More is Added to Your PlateYou are determined to deliver what the client wants and do not mind a few additions that they demand in your deliverables. However, once you receive the list of additions, you realise the extra number of hours you have to put in. Some of the added services may not even be a part of your contract. You must simply point this out to the client and hope for them to see the disparity too. Refusing can be the solution, but it is better to explain to the client that you will need to charge extra for any extra deliverables.

When You Are Asked to Alter the ContractSuppose you have already agreed upon an assignment, taken an advance and about to start the assignment in a few days. The client suddenly demands a few things are not mentioned in your contract.

In such a situation, hear what the client has to say and see if their demands are something you would be comfortable with. If not, then the only way out is to return their advance and wait for something else that is worth doing.

Never leave a job halfway. It will

leave you with a bad reputation.

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y


MarKe t SeNSe

When You Are Refused an AdvanceIt is foolish to not ask for an advance before you start an assignment. To confirm a booking for a shoot, you must always ask the client to pay an advance. This shows that you are serious about your approach.

The advance will also help cover the costs you incur during the shoot. For instance, if you hire a team of people to help you (assistants, make-up artists, videographer, etc.), you will still be able to pay the team their dues even if the shoot gets cancelled. In the event of non-payment, dispute or any other circumstances, the advance also acts as a security. When There is a Dispute Over CopyrightsCopyright always seems to get in the way of our work. Who owns the pictures you have made? The client or the photographer? If the client insists on the copyrights of the photographs you have shot, decide if that is something you want to give up. You can give the copyrights to the clients and get usage rights to help promote your work.

When Your Principals Are CompromisedEach photographer has their own style and way of working. For instance, if you shoot weddings in a documentary style, a client might ask you to try a different approach and shoot in a way that is completely different from what your style of photography stands for.

Though the client is not wrong in asking for a particular style of photographs, it is upon you to see if you can actually match up to what the clients needs. You could try convincing them to stick to the style you know best.

Resist the urge to accept clients that do not understand your style of photography. You will end up with an upset client once the shoot is over.

Turning down offers is not as easy as it sounds, especially if you are not getting a lot of assignments. But on the upside, you will be appreciated for your work when you reach the right kind of audiences. Moreover, if you want complete control over what you do and how you do it, you will just have to learn to refuse a few to gain a few.

Page 121: Better Photography - November 2013

B e t t e r P h o t o g r a P h y


The Elephant Man

Popularly addressed as The Elephant Man, Joseph Carrey Merrick spent much of his life as a nomad, physically scarred by a disease no one had a clue about. The disease caused him to develop thick skin, much like that of the elephant, including huge protrusions all over his body. Some lumps were so big that it made it difficult for him to talk and eat as well. He spent much of his young adult life as an object of

human curiosity in freak shows. As much as people were repulsed by him, they were equally curious about his deformity.

He was first invited to the London Royal Hospital by a surgeon, Fredrick Treves, who conducted extensive examinations on his body. During his time, several photos were shot of Merrick to document his disease. The hospital became his home till the time of his death in 1890. He died due to asphyxia caused by dislocating his neck. The photograph above was taken in 1889 and appeared in the British Medical Journal along with the announcement of his death. The photographs created of Merrick bear a strong significance in terms of being an important medical documentation of a disease that is yet to be deciphered, and as an understanding and preventive measure of it ever happening again.

Photograph by:Unknown

Image Source:Wikimedia Commons

novemb e r 20 1 3