Blog - Unitas Photography
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  • 2017-07-21T12:55:44.548-04:00

    The Decisive Moment - a brief discussion
    Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare, 1932
    “Making a photograph means recognising, all at once and in a fraction of a second, an event and the exact organisation of the visually perceived forms that express and signify that event. It means aligning the head, the eye and the heart along the same line of sight. It’s a way of living.”

    Henri Cartier-Bresson
    Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) is credited for the expression, the decisive moment. The image at right, Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare, has become one of the most iconic of his images to represent that expression because it succinctly captures, in a single frame, the whole of his teachings. While there have been many discussions both casual and scholarly, like the image at right, his teachings has been oversimplified and distilled down to a short definition that, to me, has lost a lot of its original meaning or, as in some cases, completely missing the mark.

    Rather than getting into a lengthy dissertation on what Bresson considered the decisive moment is I thought I would just share some of my ideas about how I interpret it to be. My take is based on my own interpretation of how Henri Cartier-Bresson explains it, which in the context of his book is very little, and in how he used certain techniques to visually represent the decisive moment visually.

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  • 2017-06-10T20:52:17.888-04:00

    Prop collecting is a sickness
    It doesn't matter if you are a portrait photographer, a still life photographer or a commercial product photographer, props are an essential part of your world. For the most part props are purchased on an "as needed" basis. Other times it's when opportunity presents itself.

    I have come to a point in my career that I subconsciously keep an eye out for items that may be useful as a prop. The funny thing is I never know when or where I'll find them, or what, for that matter.

    Recently I was at the supermarket and I happened to walk past a shelf loaded up with those classic mass produced Coca-Cola glasses. As they were on sale and I could always use glasses like these I decided to pick up a set of four... and here is where the sickness starts.
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  • 2017-06-10T20:57:30.753-04:00

    Are cellphone cameras winning the camera war
    An ever going argument among professional photographers is how there are, "too many photographers!"

    I find it funny because the one thing always missing from this argument is the qualifier of what type of photographer they are ranting about. I've come to believe they are just ranting on the fact that there are so many cameras nowadays that no one needs the professional photographer for the more mundane documentation they were hired for two decades ago.

    Cameras, as we all now understand, are quite ubiquitous. We don't need statistics to know that almost everyone has a camera today, but what are the statistics? How far is the tipping point between photos taken by a 'traditional' camera and one taken by a 'cellphone' camera? I thought I'd find out from one place that serves as a one of the world's largest depository of public images, Flickr.

    While not the most scientific way of measuring tech usage, it does provide a fairly real world overview of camera usage by 'normal' photo takers. That and the fact that Flickr tracks camera statistics quite nicely and is the source for this post. Let's take a look at the numbers.

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  • 2017-06-10T20:58:11.657-04:00

    Light Blaster initial thoughts
    The first time I saw a review for the Light Blaster I have to admit I was more than a little intrigued. If you haven't seen or heard of this nifty little gadget yet here's a quick rundown.

    The unit itself is a plastic housing that allows you to insert a speedlight into one end and attach a lens onto the other. A standard 2x2 inch 35mm projection slide is inserted in between the two via a special slide carrier. When the flash is triggered the image on the slide is projected on whatever the unit is aimed at.

    The downside to the Light Blaster is the price. Starting at $100 for what people would consider a simple plastic shell with a lens mounting ring, the Blaster has a few other accessories that will drive the price up. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on what side of the coin your personal philosophy is on) there is a less expensive clone version of the Blaster made in China by Hpsum. At about $60 it's still pricey but a $40 savings is $40 that can go to something else.
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  • 2017-06-10T20:59:04.339-04:00

    My basement darkroom
    In my cellar I have a small half bath that is never used. I recently decided that it would make a suitable location for a small darkroom space. With a little preparation I was soon back into developing my own images.

    The nice thing about this particular space in my house is that it naturally resides in darkness. Being in the cellar there are no windows to worry about. What little light leakage there was, like around the door and in one small corner, was easily remedied with minor alterations. Another nice feature about this setup is that I have ready access to running water. A necessity for rinsing between development baths. I'll write more about that in a separate article.

    My decision for setting up a darkroom came about out of necessity for developing some new direct positive paper from Galaxy Paper, a Kickstarter campaign I had supported. For my support I received a package of 25 sheets of 4x5 paper and the required chemicals to develop them. Now that I had the space it was time to do some shopping.
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  • 2017-06-10T20:59:53.185-04:00

    Getting back to analog
    Several years ago I purchased a used large format camera and had it modified to accept my dSLR camera (seen here). I basically turned a 4x5 view camera into a very large tilt shift lens. It serves its purpose. I now have a full range of movements not available in a standard tilt-shift. For one, a tilt-shift lens can tilt and shift or swing and shift. It just can't do all three. On my system I have tilt, swing, shift, rise and fall on both the front standard and rear standard.

    Now, if all this sounds like gibberish to you take a few minutes and google these terms. While this has nothing to do with the real subject of this post, it's always good to learn a little something in the process. In truth, I want to talk about putting my large format camera back to use as it was originally intended, to shoot 4x5 film. Or, as in my case, 4x5 photo paper (think pinhole cameras).
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  • 2017-06-10T21:00:28.915-04:00

    Using layer masks to composite an image
    One of our more popular events is the Multiplicity shoot. This is a fun selfie portrait event where we set up our cameras, take multiple photos of ourselves and combine them into a single frame so it looks like we're interacting with our twins. At right is an example of one my grandson and I did together a few years ago.

    While it may seem complicated, the editing part is quite simple. I'll walk you through the steps to accomplish this effect.
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  • 2017-06-10T21:01:42.900-04:00

    A Day with Lindsay Adler
    Sue Fenton heads up Shutter-Buds on Meetup.com, a local photography group, and she has a knack for putting together some great meetups. If you are a local hobbyist photographer and don't know Sue or her group I strongly suggest checking her out.

    This past Saturday she, and a small crew of volunteers, put together a fantastic event featuring the very talented and inspirational, New York based fashion photographer, Lindsay Adler. Miss Adler is a Canon Explorer of Light photographer, educator and just an all around really great person. She is open and sharing and can probably inspire a dead person to get up and start dancing. She is that good.

    The event took place at one of the most unique venues I have been to in a long time. The place is called Trinity on Main, located in New Britain, CT, and is a church that has been converted to a multi use event space. While still operating as a church for the United Methodist Church, they expanded to serve as a cultural center to foster the arts in their local community. It's a great place to see theatrical productions, musicians, operas and so much more.
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  • 2017-06-10T21:02:23.667-04:00

    Merging two images for greater impact
    I'm a firm believer that extra images (seconds) from a photo shoot should be saved. For a while at least or until you know you will never need them. The reason I stand on this is that seconds have proven to be invaluable on many circumstances in my past. Often it's a client preferring one of my seconds rather than the image I picked. The other common circumstance is the need to use some element from one of my seconds to fix an issue with the principal shot.

    Just recently I found myself in a situation where I couldn't decide which of two images was the keeper and which was the second. In the end I decided they would both be my seconds. Here's what I mean.
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  • 2017-06-10T21:04:02.113-04:00

    5 tips for finishing your New Year's resolutions
    I don't know why we do this to ourselves. Every year at this time we lie to ourselves by establishing goals and making promises that, deep down, we know we'll never keep. Every year the ever traditional New Year's resolution is declared for one reason or another. For me it's something to shoot for, a to do list of sorts. It always start out the same way too, nice and strong with high expectations and loads of enthusiasm that quickly dwindles down to a fond shimmer of a distant memory halfway through the year.
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