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Welcome! I don't know about you guys, but I plan on having a good time. It's a lot of work putting together each episode, but photography has been in my life — work and play — since I was a strapping sapling simpleton. And that's saying something (especially if you try to say it through thrice).

Connect or comment, please. Each episode will have a conversation, and I'll be glad to strike one up with you, too!

- Mark

Aug 16, 2018

Palindrome. Palindrome. Palindrome. Too bad the word itself is not an example, 'cuz that would be amazing. Still, if there is one tenet I abide by, madam, it is to avoid distractions and keep the podcast focused on photography in word and deed.

Shifting The Level

In Episode 32 I described view cameras. Not in depth; just the basics of construction and nomenclature. I also threatened to, I'm sorry, suggested I might explain some of the "why" to back up the "what."

So here we are, a mere unitary digital palindromic episode later and one of the "whys" is revealed: the ability of a view camera to shift its view without tilting. You might, then, ask "why" to my "why."

Well, if you tilt up to see all of a building — the most common way to photograph all of a building's facade — the outer edges of the building tilt in toward the center. If you need a proper photo of a building, that's a no-no.

A view camera can be adjusted to, instead, essentially look up without tilting. See this illustration? By shifting the lens up, while leaving both the board onto which it is mounted, and the film at the back of the camera, vertically upright, un-tilted, the view can rise without that nasty optical convergence.

view camera

In this troika of images you can see the results of pointing straight at the horizon — verticals are rendered vertically but you can't see to the top of the structure — pointing the camera up — we see to the top of the structure but now the verticals are convergent — and pointing straight at the horizon but shifting the lens up instead of tilting — we see to the top of the structure and the verticals are vertical. See the entire height and the verticals are vertical? That's some good stats right there!

home front comparo

This direction of shift, up, is more narrowly called a rise. Shifting down is called a fall. If you shift the lens sideways it's called, well, I think it's just called a shift and here's an example where I moved to the right of the doorway so my reflection would not appear in the glass. Shifting the lens to the left allowed the doors to remain geometrically square — else the horizontal lines higher in the image would be tilted down heading toward the left edge and the horizontal lines lower in the image would be tilting up toward the left edge. As rendered, the doors are good and you don't see me! (You do see a 1968 VW bus…)

Boys & Girls

A New(er) Company on my Radar

I recently noticed ProMediaGear through their ads in photography magazines and when I stumbled into owning a new camera, as with all my cameras I needed an Arca-Swiss-standard mounting bracket that, as it turns out, ProMediaGear makes. My camera is a Nikon D850 with Nikon's external battery grip attached, for which only a few companies make a suitable, custom-to-that-configuration, bracket.

Their PLNMBD18 L-bracket fits as it should, tightly so it won't flail about on the camera, and provides not just a rail on the bottom, for attaching the camera to a tripod on its bottom, but also a rail running up the left side so the camera can be attached to the tripod for portrait-orientation photography. Sure, most tripods allow you to tilt the camera over for the same effect, but for a couple of reasons that is a less-than-ideal approach.

PMG back

It is that second rail, running up the left side (see above), that gives these styles of brackets their "L" appellation, and ProMediaGear allows that L to be positioned tight up against the body of the camera or, with the turn of a couple of screws using the included hex key tool, moved out from the body by an inch to grant even greater access to the electrical connections hiding under rubber covers on that edge of the camera. The hex key stores in the L, too, so you'll always have it with you.

PMG bottom

In this bottom view of the bracket you see the single mounting screw, the four large recessed hex screws for adjusting the position of the L, shown extended on the left, plus a few of the myriad other attachment points for accessories.

PMG angled

This view of the L portion of the bracket shows how it is designed to allow access to the connections hiding beneath those rubber covers on the camera, plus the shape required to allow access to the battery that slides out near the bottom. This view, too, shows the two safety stop screws still installed and the hex key tool ensconced in its well, where it remains in place thanks to a tiny, strong magnet, plus you can see even more attachment points for other things.

The bracket is well designed and well made, comes complete with the various tools you need for mounting and adjusting/customizing it, and is backed by a five-year warranty. Plus a couple of plusses ride along with the rest of the goodness: it is made in the USA, good for them, and is priced significantly lower than two competing company's offerings at only $149.95. Check out their site for more information and images.

Joel's Civic Duty

Commercial photographer Joel Grimes was my guest in Episode 26 and, during our conversation, you could hear that he has not only done plenty of teaching, he is almost driven to share what he knows and to guide others to do their best. Well, he has turned that urge and ability into an online resource — the Joel Grimes Academy. How did it come to be, and why should you care and, more importantly, seriously consider joining? Because he knows what he's talking about and, if you want to act on his mantra, "Be an artist. Live your dream. Create an income." he can definitely show you how.


Learn more by listening to Joel and me yammer on about photography, his history, and what he's up to with this thing — then visit (Or skip the yammering and just go to the site!)

Do Geese See God?

The view camera can look up, a bit, without tilting. The idea, expressed a couple of paragraphs ago, is to render buildings with visually vertical verticals. It you look up to the heavens, though, the verticals around you will all point to a point in those heavens, geese or no geese. And that's my suggestion this episode: look up and photograph to not merely see converging lines, but to see nothing but converging lines!

Denver sky

Yes, the light pole's protrusion is not converging toward Valhalla, or whatever is above the clouds above Denver, but I still like this composition. In some ways it is quite simple, yet my eye darts around and around, looking for and at details. I was walking to a trade show and seeing the AT&T logo and the glassy building prompted me to take a peep upward. Here's what I saw and captured. I'm just realizing that, unlike most(?) photos looking more horizontally at the world, there is essentially nothing in the center of the frame — this approach is truly a study in composition and negative space.

Eye Sees Ewe

Each of the four quoted photographer's in this episode have something to say about seeing which, of course, we do with our eyes. (I have no idea how sheep got drawn into the headline.)

The first of the four is Elliott Erwitt, an American photographer born in France to Russian parents, who observed, “To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”

Elliot Erwitt

Elliot Erwitt. Photo by Alessio Jacona

The other photographers you'll hear from are Ernst Haas, Diane Arbus, and Dorothea Lange. Listen in and learn how they see seeing.

Never Odd or Even

Episode 33 draws to a close and there is so much still to be covered in the world, or at least my world, of photography. We'll just have to keep plugging along, but I'll finish up this installment with a bit of a advice, a single word that Ben Braddock might have been expecting when, instead, he was offered, "plastics:" rotavator.

Please leave me your comments and questions, below, and if you have not yet gone to Apple's iTunes to rate the show, please (extra please) do that. It's how more people will become aware of the awesomeness that is All Things Photography! (Did I say "please?")