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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

Mar 9, 2018

It's our first double-digit prime-number episode, which goes without saying of course, but I figured I'd at least write it. And what a not very much writing there is to listen to.

Listening to Looking

Speaking of listening (well, reading of listening), pull out your textbook on human anatomy and turn to page 372 (no snickering about chapter 9, class, everyone does it), as today we look closely at eyes and seeing, and they look right back at us. Humans rely mightily on vision and the basics of how that works are pretty basic, but I spend a few minutes describing it anyway, plus relate them a bit to digital cameras (which are not as unrelated as we might think).


An illustration sourced from Wikipedia, supplied to them by Rhcastilhos, shows much, much more than I reveal in the audio? How little do I reveal? Listen in and be amazed!

Have Phone Will Photo

Would you like to learn whole bunches of tips and tricks to create better photos with your smartphone, from both aesthetic and technical directions? Would you like to not just read about creating better photos but also see what others have done? Submit your own photos in contests? One place to do that is iPhoto Photography School, which you can visit at Poke around, see what there is to see, then prepare yourself to be amazed — partly by the amount of free content, and also by the deluge of emails you'll receive if you give them your address.

iPhone Photo School

I gave them my address twice, I think it was, for two different documents and in an attempt to learn how they are funded — somebody's gotta pay for all the goodies, and they don't sport any ads. What I discovered is there are online courses (they bill themselves a school, so duh!) that are purchasable, which is fine, and I have also discovered 15 emails from them in two days!

So, I don't mean you need to approach the site carefully, but be prepared to be pummeled with follow-ups. I assume it works for them, but I found it a bit irksome. Just sayin'…

The End of the Road

Not the end of the road, really, but the end of an era. Well, the end of a series is more accurate. What am I ending, you query?

After seven episodes with Peter Ensenberger trying to mold us into better photographers, he and I wrap the series with what he calls the epilogue. (And if we aren't better photographers it's not because he didn't do the teaching — we must have been passing notes in the back of the class.)

deer x 3

One of the tips Peter shared in this episode is to, as he calls it, "work the scene," as he did with this deer at a pond. You can see how he spent some time allowing the animal to move about, though never without being cognizant of the guy with the click-click box.

If you haven't yet done so, get yourself a copy of Peter's book, Focus on Composing Photos, by Focal Press. You can also contact Peter to learn more about his custom photography expeditions via Photo Tours Unlimited. In this episode Peter mentioned two web sites, with smartphone apps to match, that might prove helpful in planning your photographic excursions, the The Photographer's Ephemeris at and

The Color of Success

The minute photography was invented, Bitumen of Judea on polished pewter, if you recall, the inventor began pursuing color. There were some early successes, or at least partial successes, but anything that was created was fleeting. The man who finally cracked the code to a permanent color image was none other than James Clerk Maxwell!

Exciting, right!?

You don't know Maxwell? Let me explain. (Have you got a couple hours?)


James Clerk Maxwell, from a 1890 engraving by George J. Stodart based on a photo by Fergus of Greencock.

Okay, very short version: Maxwell was a Scottish scientist who developed some of the basic mathematical descriptions of the electromagnetic spectrum and sported a beard that many a hipster would crave today. He worked on other fundamental fields (gasses and mechanical engineering), but for our lesson today, he built on the work of a scientist from six decades earlier to propose the process by which Thomas Sutton, a photographer and publisher, created the first lasting color images.

Tartan ribbon

The first color photograph that lasted beyond a few minutes of exposure to daylight, created 1861. This is a tartan ribbon that, unbeknownst to Maxwell, the red was recorded only because the dye used in the ribbon reflected significant ultraviolet light, else the film in his day just wasn't sensitive to red wavelengths. Photo by Thomas Sutton.

Somehow, all of this discussion about color photography hasn't touched on why it's here. The "why" is because my quotes for this episode are from Sutton and Maxwell.

Thanks for the Memories

I was at the Grand Canyon to record a conversation with a guest, which will make it into an episode in the future, and I took the opportunity to wander along the rim and make a few images. Here's one, shot with ProCamera software on my iPhone. I've been liking these extreme proportions (3 times taller than wide, or wider than tall), and the dull, overcast sky muted the colors of the canyon so I pumped things way up in the computer and share it here.

Grand Canyon

If you could share some thoughts about the show or photography, comments or questions, I'd sure appreciate it. I have gotten a couple lately, which I'll attend to in coming episodes, so please keep 'em coming.

Thanks for making it this far, and I hope to see you again next time.