Show your love for taking candid photos this
Valentines’ season!

Capture the season’s romantic mood in our I HEART NIKON AND JUMIA PHOTO CONTEST and win a Red Coolpix S2700 and a Red D3200 DSLR!

Contest Period: 1st to 18th February 2014
Submission Deadline: 14th February 2014
Announcement of Winners: 18th February 2014

• To enter the competition, LIKE the Nikon Africa and Jumia Nigeria Facebook pages.

• This contest is open only to Nikon Africa Facebook and Jumia Nigeria fans currently residing in Nigeria.

• To win, post photos of anything that shows love is in the air on Nikon Africa’s Facebook page with
hashtag #IHeartNikonAndJumia and mention @
JumiaNigeria. Qualified photos could be your most
creative and romantic selfie, a photo of your loved
ones or anything that tells a story of love and passion.

• The winner will receive a Red Coolpix S2700 and a Red D3200 DSLR.

• Each user is allowed to submit a maximum of three entries. Nikon, however, has the right to screen and shortlist the photos submitted.

• All photo submissions should be ORIGINALS taken by the contest participant. Usage of copied material will be cause for disqualification.

• You may use any camera to take the photo. Post
processing is allowed but should be kept to a
minimum. Photographers may put their watermark on the photo.

• Qualifying photos will be uploaded in Nikon Africa’s I HEART NIKON & JUMIA contest album. Share your photo with friends for fun.

• At the end of the contest, Nikon will select the
winners and communicate with the contest winners on Facebook.

• Prizes can be claimed at Nikon Authorized
Distributor – New Creation Worldwide Link Nigeria Ltd at 22 Opebi Road, Lagos, Nigeria or delivered via courier for the winner residing outside Lagos.

• This contest is being organized by Nikon Middle East FZE and is in no way sponsored, endorsed or
administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

• This contest is open to all Nikon Africa Facebook
fans currently residing in Nigeria

• Photographers should be mindful of country laws when taking photographs. Nikon Middle East will not assume any liability resulting from inappropriate photography practices.

• Nikon Middle East FZE reserves the right to disqualify entries that do not meet quality standards, or those that may be deemed inappropriate or offensive.

• Nikon Middle East FZE reserves the right to terminate the Contest at any time without prior notice. Nikon Middle East FZE shall not be liable for any loss, damage or expense as a result.

• Nikon Middle East FZE reserves the right to change, amend, delete or add to these Contest Terms and Conditions without prior notice at any time. Participants agree to be bound to any such changes.

• Nikon Middle East FZE decision shall be final and
binding. No correspondence shall be entertained.

NOTE: By participating in this contest, you agree to
comply with these terms and conditions.


George Osodi’s Oil Rich Niger Delta.


0George - Oil Rich Niger Delta.jpg
George Osodi, Oil Rich Niger Delta, 2003-2010. All rights George Osodi

On Tuesday evening, George Osodi gave a talk at Foto8 in London then had a public conversation with Julian Stallabrass. I discovered Osodi’s amazing photos at the last edition of Documenta and there was no way i’d miss his presentation.

The Nigerian photographer is one of those rare photo-reporters whose work is shown in newspapers as well as in art galleries around the world (you can check his photos right now in the Oil Show at HMKV in Dortmund). He was in London to discuss the Oil Rich Niger Delta series and his new book Delta Nigeria – The Rape of Paradise on the oil exploitation in the Delta region of his country.

Nigeria is West Africa’s largest producer of crude oil but years of corruption and poor governance has left the southern Niger Delta desperately poor, its environment devastated by oil spills and gas flares and other environmental hazards as a result of activities of the oil companies in the region.

The story of Oil Rich Niger Delta started almost 10 years ago when Osodi decided to leave his well-paid job as a banker to buy a camera and teach himself photography. It didn’t start too well. First of all, no one in Nigeria, he said, takes photography seriously and he received no encouragement from neither his friends nor his family.

To him, the Delta region, where he grew up is an endless source of wonder and stories of pollution, conflicts, greed, danger but also hope. However, no matter how hard he looked, every piece of documentation about it had been made by foreigners. He thought that the fact that he grew up ‘inside’ those issues would give him a perspective no foreigner could have.

The beginnings were hard. He worked with films and all his money was spent on materials, he didn’t have internet at the time and would stay for hours in cafés and do research about photography online. At first, people recoiled in horror when they saw his photos. They were too harsh, too disturbing and raw. But bit by bit, he learnt to “make beautiful the most difficult issues.” He worked on the aesthetics of his photos so that the onlooker would first see the beauty of the images before realizing they were portraying important and uncomfortable issues.

George Osodi, Smoking Pipe, 2007, from the series Oil Rich Niger Delta, 2003-2010. All rights George Osodi

George Osodi, Pipeline, 2006, from the series Oil Rich Niger Delta, 2003-2010. All rights George Osodi

George Osodi, Oil Rich Niger Delta, 2003-2010. All rights George Osodi

Taking these photos is risky. Oil companies and their security forces don’t him to document the impact that oil exploitation has on the environment and on the inhabitants of the region. He’s been arrested several times and has even been kidnapped by Delta militants who thought he might be a spy.

Despite the dramatic situations he encounters, Osodi has hope for the Delta region which he says is one of the most beautiful on the planet and has a lot more than oil to offer. The photographer also expressed his faith in the ordinary people he meets, “they are not passive victims, all they need is a fair ground to realize their potential but right now it’s still difficult.”

Ultimately, he hopes that his photos will make us think about the origin of the oil we consume without even paying much attention.

George Osodi, Oil well off the coast of Sangana, from the series Oil Rich Niger Delta, 2003-2010. All rights George Osodi

George Osodi, Oil Rich Niger Delta, 2003-2010. All rights George Osodi

George Osodi, An environmental billboard asks ‘After Oil What Next?’, from the series Oil Rich Niger Delta, 2003-2010. All rights George Osodi

George Osodi, Oil Rich Niger Delta, 2003-2010. All rights George Osodi

George Osodi, Oil Rich Niger Delta, 2003-2010. All rights George Osodi

George Osodi, Overview of Port Harcourt, Nigeria’s major oil town, from the series Oil Rich Niger Delta, 2003-2010. All rights George Osodi

George Osodi, Oil Rich Niger Delta. All rights George Osodi

0George - MEND MILITANTS - Oil Rich Niger Delta.jpg
George Osodi, Militants in the southern delta of Nigeria, from the series Oil Rich Niger Delta, 2003-2010. All rights George Osodi

0777George - Oil Rich Niger Delta.jpg
George Osodi, Oil Rich Niger Delta, 2003-2010. All rights George Osodi

The book Delta Nigeria – The Rape of Paradise by George Osodi is published by Trolley Books. For more than five centuries the fortunes of the Niger Delta have been closely tied to that of the global economy. For its slave ports, then palm oil industry, and most recently, through the discovery of crude oil in the 1950s. Oil multinationals soon came to the fore, working in alliance with a local elite to strip the region of its wealth and despoil it. At the receiving end are the region’s impoverished inhabitants: left with a poisoned environment, faced with a government that never cares and victims of rival armed militant groups laying claim to territories.

Culled from We Make Money Not Art

7 Essential Accessories for Your First DSLR


If you read my post back in September about “Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS)”, you know that I’m a firm believer in making smart choices about
photography-related expenditures. It’s so easy to
get hypnotized by all of the shiny new trinkets and
pieces of equipment that if you aren’t careful you’ll
find yourself at the bottom of the rabbit hole with
lots of great gear, but little else to show for it. That
being said, if you are one of those lucky individuals
who just got their first DSLR over the holidays, there are seven accessories which should be at the top of your new wish list. I usually hesitate to use words like “essential,” but sometimes it’s the little things that pack the biggest punch.

Spare Camera Battery
Camera battery technology has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. While I can’t really tell you the last time a battery actually died on me during a shoot, I can tell you that they do seem to
occasionally sprout legs and play hide-and-seek.
Seriously, though, I can usually make it through an
entire 12-hour wedding shoot, with charge to spare on a single battery. As a strict adherent to the not putting all of one’s eggs in a single basket, though, the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing there are back-ups is huge.
As a side note, it’s also a good idea to have a system for keeping track of what’s charged and what’s spent. I keep my batteries in a “Think Tank DSLR Battery Holder”. Contacts down means charged, and contacts up means spent.

Camera Bag
Finding the right camera bag is no small task. Trust
me– I have eight…and I can quit any time I want. If
you’re looking for your first, though, one of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to purchase a bag that is bigger than what you think you need. Once you start accumulating the items on this list, as well additional lenses and other accessories you decide you can’t live without, you’re going to start running out of room pretty quickly. The “Think Tank Retrospective 30” or “City Walker 20” are great “starter size” bags.

External Flash
If your new camera has a built-in, pop-up flash,
please promise me you will never use it. It is, by far, the single-most unflattering light source ever
created. With my apologies to natural light
photographers everywhere, a solid understanding
of off-camera flash is one of the biggest steps you
can take towards elevating your photography to the next level. The first rung of that ladder is an external flash like the Nikon SB910 or Canon 600EX. There are other “off brands” available, like the Yongnuo, but they tend to have fewer advanced features and only work with manual settings. Make sure you have lots of AA batteries on hand. Unlike camera batteries, speedlights tend to go through batteries pretty quickly.

Reliable Tripod
For a long time, the generally accepted wisdom was that you get what you pay for. I once read an article where the author suggested that spending 10% of your camera’s price tag on a tripod was an
appropriate guideline. By his rationale then, your $
2,000 camera should never go on a tripod and head combination that costs any less than $200. I
suppose it’s a viable approach– we often equate
higher price with higher quality. The flip-side of the
coin, however, is that several tripod companies
have entered the market over the past couple of
years, bringing with them less expensive, high-
quality options. But when do you cross the line
from “inexpensive” to “cheap?” A comparably sized tripod (with head) from 3 Legged Thing, Manfrotto, or MeFoto can vary in price from $195 to $400. Test a tripod in person whenever possible. See how stable it is with your gear mounted on it. If you don’t feel secure, try a different one.

Shutter Release
A tripod is a good first step towards eliminating
camera shake. Another is using either a cable or
wireless shutter release. This is going to be essential for long exposures, sharp macro photography, or even just getting yourself into the photo with family and friends. Be careful when purchasing, however, because many releases are tailored to specific camera makes and/or models. This is another one of those areas where you can spend a little or a lot. If all you need is something to trigger your shutter, don’t be afraid to spend a little less.

Extra Memory Cards
Regardless of whether your camera uses CF or SD
cards, at some point one of two things will definitely happen. You will either run out of space on your card or it will fail. Remember that not putting all your eggs in one basket thing I mentioned earlier? Same applies to memory cards. The cost has dropped considerably over the last few years, even among the major manufacturers like Lexar and Sandisk, making back-ups and peace-of-mind more affordable than ever.

Something to Keep Your Lens Clean
Clean glass is essential to good photography. While there are lots of options available, two of my
favorites are the Spudz Microfiber Lens Cloth and
the LensPen. Both are inexpensive, high-quality,
non-chemical alternatives to keeping your lenses
clean and clear.

There’s a lot to learn when you get your first DSLR. A few essentials beyond the camera and lens can help make the learning curve much easier to navigate.

Culled from DIY Photography

Meet the Artist: Cyrus Kabiru and Timothy Prus

African Artists Foundation is inviting you for their first Meet The Artist event of 2014 as they welcome Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru and British curator Timothy Prus to the African Artists’ Foundation, Thursday, 30th January, 2014, at 4 PM at AAF Gallery.

Cyrus Kabiru is a self-taught painter, sculptor, and
mixed media artist who lives and works in Nairobi.
Kabiru is best known for refashioning waste and
recycled materials into various forms as a
humorous critique of contemporary living within
Kenya. In his ongoing project, C-Stunners, Kabiru
creates and wears artistic bifocals using metal
scraps and used objects. Kabiru then has himself
photographed as he poses with the makeshift
sunglasses. The work sits between fashion,
design, performance, and photography in a
comment on self-representation through
commodity objects.

Timothy Prus is the director of the Archive of
Modern Conflict, an independent publisher based
in London that focuses on books on photography
and art. Recent publications have won or been
shortlisted for prizes including the Deutsche Börse
Photography Prize and the Paris Photo Aperture
Foundation Photobook Award in 2013, the Dali
International Photography Festival Best Book
Award in 2011, the Grafik Design Awards 2010, the
Rencontre d’Arles Historical Book Prize in 2008
and 2009, and the New York Photo Fair Awards in

Cyrus and Timothy will present their past work
and speak about their current projects. This event
is free and open to the public at AAF Gallery, 54
Raymond Njoku Street, Off Awolowo Road, Ikoyi,


Profiling Street Photographers: George Osodi.


George Osodi, is a Nigerian photographer based in Lagos.He studied Business Administration at the Yaba College of Technology in Lagos, before working as a photojournalist for the then defunct Comet Newspaper Lagos from 1999-2001. He joined the Associated Press News Agency Lagos in 2001-2008. Osodi has covered many assignments for both local and international organizations, with his photographs published in many international and local media such as the “New York Times,” “Time Magazine,” the “Guardian of London,” “The Telegraph,” London Times, “USA Today,” the “International Herald Tribune,” CNN, BBC Focus on Africa Magazine, Der Spiegel of Germany and many more.

He has also been commissioned on photo project woldwide by several organizations like, Nestle Switzerland,Bilfinger Berger Germany, Schlumberger Nigeria, Access Bank Nigeria, Oxfam USA, Amnesty international and many more. Osodi is a member of Panos Pictures U.K, and he is managed by Zphotographic ltd U.K.

George Osodi was sellected to be part of the prestigious DOCUMENTA 12 2007 in Germany and has also exhibited his works worldwide with his Works in the collections of:

Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, Neue GalerieMartin Marguiles Collection- Miami, EMET- National Museum of Greece 2010, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena, 2010 ADF collection Paris 2011, Smithsonian museums Washington DC USA. 2011,  Ford Foundation and number of private collections.

Solo exhibitions (Selection):

OIL BOOM DELTA BURNS: International Slavery Museum Liverpool 2012, TOURING PROGRAM of Oil Rich N&N to art galleries in Norway 2010 and 2011, OIL RICH NIGER DELTA:RAW Material Company, Dakar, Senegal 2011, OIL RICH NIGER DELTA: Recontres de Bamako, Mali, 2011, GEORGE OSODI: Galerie Peter Hermann, Berlin 2009,  DRIVERS DEXTERITY: AAF Lagos, Nigeria, 2009,  OIL RICH NIGER DELTA: Haugesund, Norway 2008,  PARADISE LOST: Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos, (CCA), 2008,  LAGOS UNCELEBRATED: Goethe Institut Lagos, 2007,  BEYOND OIL:London Rising Tide, 2004,  LIVING THE HIGHLIFE: British Council and Nimbus Art Centre, Lagos, 2004  A CHILD OF INDEPENDENCE: Nimbus Art Centre, Lagos, 2003,  NIGER DELTA CHRONICLES: Nimbus Art Centre, Lagos, 2003

Group exhibitions (Selection)

WE FACE FORWARD: The manchester Museum 2012,  DE-MONEY AND DEVIL’S DEXTERITY: New Galarie Paris 2012,  THE WORLD IN LONDON: The Photographers’ Gallery 2012,  THE SHOE SHOP: Goethe Institut Johannesburg south Africa 2012,  ENVIRONMENT AND OBJECT_PRESENT AFRICAN ART: Tang Museum Skidemore Collage, Saratoga Springs, NY, USA- 2011,  NIGERIA, OUR NIGERIA: Presidential Inauguration exhibit, Abuja, Nigeria 2011,  ENVIORNMENT AND OBJECT- PRESENT AFRICAN ART – VCU ARTS- ANDERSON GALLERY Virginia, USA- 2011,  “ GHANA GOLD- DE MONEY”- 6th CURITIBA BIENNIAL, Curitiba, Brazil – 2011,  The OUTSKIRT OF THE WORLD: Io Donna – Corriere della Sera,Italy. 2011,  DONT/PANIC:The Goethe-Institut South Africa and the Heinrich-BoIL Foundation, Durban Art Gallery South Africa. 2011,  OIL SHOW: Hartware MedienKunstVerein (HMKV), Dortmund, Germany- 2011-2012,  INCLEMENCIA DEL TEMPO: Uruguay 2010,  ATOPIA: CCCB -Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona- 2010,  BOZAR: Belgium 2010,  UNEVEN GEOGRAPHIES: NOTTINGHAM CONTEMPORARY, UK- 2010,  UNWETTER: Akademie Kunste- Berlin- 2010,  IN-BETWEEN THINGS: (SMBA) Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. 2010,  AFRICA SEE YOU SEE ME: Museu di Cidade, Lisboa Portugal. 2010,  INCLEMENCIA-: Cenre d’art le Lait, Albi, France – 2010,  MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME: Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen 2010,  HELLS HALF ACRE: LAZARIDES/ OLD VIC TUNNELS- LONDON 2010,  POLITICS OF ART- 10th anniversary of EMET- ATHENS GREECE 2010,  BREAKING NEWS: Contemporary Art from Africa and Middle East, Modena, Italy   2010,  AFRIKA IN OSLO: National Museum of Contemporary Art , Olso Norway 2009,  INTEMPERIES: Oca, Sao Paulo , Brazil , 2009,  BIENAL DEL FIN DEL MUNDO Argentina 2009,  SCIENCE OF 5 CONTINENTS: Gallery BMB Mumbai, India 2009,  AFRICA FAST FORWARD: Belgium 2009,  DELTA: Forum Stadtpark, Graz, Austria 2009,  TEMPESTADE: Brazil 2009,  RECONTRES de BAMAKO 2009,  Lagos Art Intervention in Public Space , In God We Trust Goethe-Institut , Nigeria 2008PETRODOLLART: GALARIE MOTTE ET ROUART, PARIS 2008,  FRAGILE DEMOCRACY: NORTHERN GALLERY OF CONTEMPORARY ART, UK, 2008,  NIGERIA OIL RICH NIGER DELTA: DOCUMENTA 12, KASSEL , GERMANY, 2007,  BEYOND THE SURFACE: EX- en -Province France 2007,  NIGERIA EVICTION, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL,: ABUJA/LONDON 2006,  Lagos Stadtansichten, IFA, Berlin, GERMANY, 2004,  LAGOS BOMB BLAST: MUSON CENTRE LAGOS, 2002

Prizes (Selection):Sony WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS- First prize ContemporaryIssues Category- De Money- Ghana Gold series- 2010


UN Special Court for Sierra LeonePool photography of former Liberian president Charles Taylor’s firstcourt trial in April 3, 2006

Nominee Prix Pictet Photography prize 2008.

International Slavery Museum Liverpool UK 2012,  Indiana University African Studies Department USA 2012,  DW series Lagos Nigeria 2012,  UNIVERSITY OF WALES, Newport. 2011,  HOST GALLERY London U.K 2011,  Recontres de Bamako, Mali, 2011,  Tang Museum, Skidmore Collage, Saratoga Springs, New York US 2011,  SITAC – Symposium on Contemporary Art Theory, Mexico City, Mexico 2011,  Faculty of Arts, Columbia University New York, U.S.A 2011,  Emet, Athens , Greece, 2010,  Borders-Imaged Imagined,Market Photo workshop, Johannesburg, South Africa. 2010Bodo, Norway 2010Nottingham Contemporary 2010,  Forum Stadpark Symposium , Graz, Austria 2009,  Gallery Peter Hermann, Berlin 2009,  National Museum of Contemporary Art , Oslo, Norway 2009,  Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, 2006,  UNIVERSITY OF WALES NEWPORT UK, 2005

Selected  Publications:Delta Nigeria- the rape of Paradise, Trolly books 2011, Nigerians Behind the Lens, Iden books 2010, Breaking News, Modena Italy 2010, DOCUMENTA 12, Bilderbuch, Taschen Books, 2007,  Lagos: A city at work, Glendora books 2005,  Fuel, MIT Press 2007

Website: http://www.georgeosodi.com

The Street Shooters NG Photowalk January 2014

streetshooters walk high

This is officially wishing you a (perhaps belated) happy new year.  We are happy and we thank God that you are one of the lucky people that made it.

We know how busy the yuletide period was for all of us doing all kinds of commercial photography. We probably didn’t have time to do street photography.

We at the Street Shooters NG still love the street. And now that the yuletide season is over, we want to invite you to our first photowalk of the year.

Date: 26th January, 2014.

Location: Ojuelegba.

Time: 4-6pm

Meet-up is Ojuelegba bus stop if you are coming from Mushin.

As usual, we have informed the local law enforcement agency (a.k.a. the police) of our intended activity, so we expect to have no problem in that regard. However, to ensure we cause no problems for ourselves, we advice that walkers abide by the following guidelines:

– Not more than one photographer should focus on one subject at a time. This is very important as we don’t want the multiplicity of the same image. This is also to avoid getting in peoples faces.

– Do not photograph police on duty. Ask for his/her permission if you absolutely have to.

– Be unobtrusive. Try to stay as low-key and unobtrusive as possible. Work quickly and don’t linger.

– Don’t take photos of people that don’t want their photos to be taken. If they object, simply walk away.

– Apologise to anyone that has issues with you taking their photo and quickly move on before things get out of hand.

– Stay with the group. Don’t wander too far off. This is so that you can easily call for help if you are being harassed.

– Although we don’t expect to have any issues, but if it so happens we do, we need not be afraid. We will get out of it easily if we stand our ground. Remember, we have approval from the police, and we have the strength of numbers on our side.

We hope to see you there.

How to Get Amazing Images from Shadows

Photographing shadows is often overlooked as a creative subject for our photography, and we can understand why. Any photographer, or photographic professional, will tell you that photography is all about light. That’s true. But we see beauty in that little ugly duckling called shadows.

We’ve been involved in photography for almost half a century, and one thing has always amazed us; many folks don’t truly understand what a shadow is when viewed in a photograph. We’re not saying that people don’t know what a shadow is “period”. There probably isn’t a single one of us who didn’t stand on a playground when we were children and marvel at the late afternoon sun casting our long shadow across the pavement.

Playing Together by ozjimbob, on Flickr

But as it relates to the photographic image, a lot of folks seem confused about what a shadow really is.

Let’s Point Out What a Shadow Isn’t

Shooter by Jhong Dizon | Photography, on Flickr

This is not a shadow. This is a silhouette.

So What is the Difference?


  1. the dark shape and outline of someone or something visible against a lighter background, esp. in dim light


  1. a dark area or shape produced by a body coming between rays of light and a surface.

We’re sure that many old pros from the photography world are scoffing at us right now. They’re probably thinking that everyone knows the difference between a shadow and a silhouette. But, believe it or not, many beginners in photography don’t know the difference.

So, let’s talk about the difference.

Silhouettes have a fixed shape that mimics the object blocking the light. Shadows are not fixed in shape. A shadow will change in shape, definition, and color based on the positioning, quality, and color of the light creating it. It will also change characteristics based on the object that it falls upon. This opens up room for a lot of creativity.

The Characteristics of Shadows

Every beginning photographer is taught about the qualities of light: soft light, hard light, broad light, spot light, etc. Shadows also exhibit similar characteristics.

A shadow can be deep in tone and have a hard defined edge.

It’s ‘cos you’re gone now but your heart still remains.. by Neal., on Flickr

Harsh direct light creates deep shadows with hard defined edges.

A shadow can also be broad, soft, and with a feathered almost imperceptible edge.

Winter Road by Pavel P., on Flickr

Not only does the quality of light affect shadows, the distance of the light source to the object casting the shadow will change it’s characteristics, as well as the distance of the object casting the shadow to the object the shadow falls upon. As you can see, working with shadows opens up an almost infinite window of opportunity.

A shadow can be twisted and manipulated by changing the shape of the object casting the shadow. A shadow can be almost translucent. A shadow can be colored! You can do a lot of cool things with a shadow.

The Common Use of Shadows

When photographers, (or all artists for that matter), think of modeling a three dimensional object onto a two dimensional medium, they think of highlights and shadows. It’s these two elements, which are created by light, that help us to see in three dimensions.

Where on Earth by mbowman64, on Flickr

This photograph is a perfect example of how highlights and shadows emphasize three dimensions. Picture this in your mind, if the photograph had been taken at noon, with the sun directly overhead, the sand dune would lose all of it’s three dimensional qualities.

What if We Use Shadows in an Uncommon Way?

How do we do that? We make the shadows- the subject of our photograph!

ninja cat by Robert Couse-Baker, on Flickr

This is a perfect example of the shadow becoming the subject. Sure, this is a picture of a cat, but it’s the distorted shadow of the cat that brings interest to what could have been an ordinary photograph!

which way? by jenny downing, on Flickr

This is a somewhat abstract, but very interesting, use of a shadow as subject matter.

Shadows Will Be Our Subject- Now What?

Let’s look at some ways that you can put shadows to work  in expressing yourself.

Dragon Shadow Puppet Scares Bear by Dan Zen, on Flickr

This photographer took the idea of using shadows, as subjects, to a whole new level. He actually created his shadows by making the objects that were going to cast the shadows. What a creative statement!  Does that spark some ideas?

Photography is about expressing yourself in an artistic medium. Applying that to shadows could mean hunting down interesting shadows that already exist. It could mean creating shadows that weren’t there. It could even mean you manipulating existing shadows to satisfy your creative vision!

Did you know that Shadows can be Colored?

When light is directed at a translucent object some light is blocked and some of the color spectrum passes through; this creates colored multi-tone shadows. An example of this would be a stained glass window. Here’s a cool idea. Collect different types of colored glass and use them to create colored shadows in a scene that you select. Here’s another cool point. If you create shadows of several different colors and intersect them, a new color will be formed where they overlap.

color shadows by martinhoward, on Flickr

Colored shadows are created by passing light through colored translucent objects, or by putting colored gels on the light sources that create the shadows. Just remember, if any white (full spectrum) light hits your colored shadow it will erase the color.

Shadows can Accentuate Details

Perhaps, you have a subject that  you’re looking for a way to direct the viewer’s eye to a certain detail. Why not create a shadow?

Shadows by Pablo Miranzo, on Flickr

There is no mistaking that the photographer wanted to direct the viewer to the young woman’s beautiful eyes.

A Prism of Shadows: Self-portrait in Front of A Brick Wall by DerrickT, on Flickr

This photographer used some carefully placed shadows to direct the eye, AND, create a mood.

Shadows can Convey Emotion

Free Daddy and His Little Shadow Girls at The Skate Park Creative Commons by Pink Sherbet Photography, on Flickr

This shadow photograph screams “Joy!” We don’t even have to see the children’s faces.

The Umquhile Shadow-Paraphernalia With Hands-on Ripening by DerrickT, on Flickr

The dense black shadows, and their placement around the eyes, emphasizes the feeling of sadness, or depression.

Shadows and the Abstract

The ability to stretch and distort shadows lends itself to interesting and beautiful abstract images.

Flickr contacts by kevin dooley, on Flickr

This curved shadow between two walls is a beautiful abstract form.

A New Perspective

Even when there are recognizable objects within a photograph, the use of strong shadows can provide a creative element that strengthens the composition.

Autumn Cycle by moriza, on Flickr

The repeated form of the bicycle- strengthens- what would have been a rather ordinary photograph.

We hope that you feel inspired to seek out shadows, create shadows, alter shadows, and highlight them in your future photographs!


Are Prime Lenses a Good Choice For You?

IMG_0173Before we get too far into this, we need to have a brief discussion of what a prime lens is. There are two basic types of lenses (yes, there are more, but they are far less common) that we use on a regular basis, prime lenses and zoom lenses. Zoom lenses have a variable focal length (e.g. 24-70mm or 70-200mm) so you can zoom in and out from the subject. A prime lens has a fixed focal length (e.g. 30mm, 50mm). Prime lenses tend to have wider apertures than regular zoom lenses. The downside to prime lenses is that if you need to zoom in or out to compose your scene you “zoom with your feet”. Deciding what you want is purely a personal decision and there is really no right or wrong. While wedding photographers typically shoot with zoom lenses to make it easier to adjust for specific scenes, there are also some that prefer prime lenses due to personal preference. Likewise, while most portrait photographers tend to shoot with primes, there are also some who tend to use zooms because of personal preference as well. Clearly, personal preference is a factor that plays into your decision-making. Having said that, there are also other considerations to take into account

Choosing a Prime Lens

IMG_937330mm 1/2000th f/2.8 ISO200

If you want a super fast lens or want that really shallow depth of field, a prime lens can be an excellent choice but picking one out from all the different sizes can be a little daunting. Deciding on a lens really depends on what you plan on shooting. Landscape shooters may want a wider field of view, jewelry shooters may want a longer focal length macro lens, and portrait shooters may want something closer to 50mm to avoid any distortion caused by shorter or longer focal lengths. If you are shooting people, I suggest something between 30mm and 70mm. The cheapest lens you can get is the Nikon or Canon ”Nifty-Fifty” 50mm f/1.8 which will run you about $99 or so. If you want to try out a prime lens without a large investment, these 50mm lenses offer a nice entry point.

If you are not using a full-frame camera body, then keep in mind your crop factor as it will increase the focal length. On APS-C sized sensor (Canon 30d, 40d, 50d, etc) you have to multiply the lens’ focal length by 1.6 so a 30mm lens becomes 48mm which is almost perfect in terms of distortion. The Sigma 30mm 1.4 EX DC HSM is an excellent choice for portrait and product photographers. This is probably one of my personal favorite lenses due to the size, the light weight, the lack of distortion, the super fast f/1.8 aperture and a cost around $450.

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Moving up in the focal length, once we get out of the common portrait sizes we get into the longer lengths like 100mm. At this length, there is a compression added to the image that can make things look slimmer than normal so it actually can make for a good portrait lens even though many people may not think to use it as one. I like using this lens for small products such as jewelry or things that have a lot of detail.

With the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro lens not only gives you a nice long focal length but because it can focus at very short distances it can also create images that are life-sized, this is great for close-ups on things with lots of detail such as wedding ring shots.

Hopefully this has given you some insight into why you may want a prime versus a zoom lens and how to go about choosing the lens that is right for you. As you can see, I am not a purest when it comes to lenses and I have been shooting weddings with a Sigma 24-70 DG for several years. Whatever your brand, whatever your need, do your research and figure out which lenses shoot your shooting style, subject matter, and budget.

Culled from CameraDojo

Interview: Adeyinka Yusuf, founder of Street Shooters NG speaks to PM News.

Q: Can you tell me what the Street Shooters is all about?
A: The Street Shooters NG is a street photography collective in Nigeria. It is made up of mostly emerging photographers in Nigeria who collectively go out on the streets to shoot from time to time.

Q: Why street shooting? What motivates the initiative?
A: I chose street photography because it enables me to understand my reality, and to express my interpretation of the world around me. When I decided to specialise on street photography, I had several projects I wanted to work on. But when I went out on the streets to start working on these projects, I had a lot of challenges. From the hostility of people, to harassment by area boys, to arrest by the police.

Later on, I realized that when several photographers go out on the streets together, the challenges I faced as an individual becomes drastically reduced. That is why I formed the Street Shooters NG. Thus, the Street Shooters NG is my way of dealing with those challenges.

Q: What are the hazards of your genre of photography?
A: The hazards are many, and they are inherent in the society we live in. Although not peculiar to our society, it is much severe here. The state of our security also makes matters worse. When people see you brandishing a big camera on the street and taking photos, a lot goes through their minds. They think you are up to no good. It’s either you are spying on them for the government or the newspapers or some other thing that is will end up bad for them. So they get scared and become hostile. The thing is, most people are afraid of what they don’t understand. The police too are afraid of you because they know they are always doing something improper and if you capture them in such a state, the repercussions for them will be grave. The area boys on the other hand just like to show how aggressive they are every chance they get, so we suffer from them a lot.

Personally, I’ve been arrested by the police; I’ve been threatened a lot of times by people; and I’ve been beaten up by area boys. It’s a miracle I have been able to scale through it all with my camera still intact.

Q: Of what benefit is this to photography?

A: Our primary mission is to ensure street photography gain acceptability in Nigeria. It is our hope that by going on the streets all the time, Nigerians will get used to us and therefore tolerate the individual street photographer more. We also want to be the bearer of our own torch. We want to tell our stories ourselves. The days when outsiders come to tell jaundiced stories about us are over. We want to project the positives in our society to the world. And we want to do it, not through sugarcoated stories, but through the realistic form that is street and documentary photography.

Q: What comes to mind when you aim to take a shot?

A: How to compose the image, the perfect angle to shoot from and the right settings to use. Depending on how significant the shot is, I also think about the risks involved. If it’s of a person that might be offended, I consider asking the person for permission to take the shot.

Q: Do you have any national project in mind?

A: So far, our walks have been holding within Lagos. The pictures taken at the last photowalk in Mile 12 which shows how enterprising the people working there are will be published into a book and presented to the state government. We are also working on giving the Street Shooters NG a proper structure and backing whereby every member can go out on their own to shoot without fear, no matter what part of the country they are. Another plan we have is making sure we document every national event that takes place in the country.

Q: If opportune, who would you wish to photograph on the street?

A: That will be Governor Fashola. I hear he goes out on the streets to inspect on-going projects from time to time.

Q: How Profitable is this genre?

A: A lot of people don’t know this, but street photography is much more profitable and prestigious than other genres of photography. There are a lot of opportunities in this field; you just have to poised to get them. There are workshops and residences and commissions all over the world organized specifically for street photographers. Not to talk of exhibitions where you can sell one of your works for as much as $2,000.

Q: What can you say about Peter Obe?

A: Although I didn’t really know much about him prior to now, I have however been hearing a lot about him, especially after his death a few days ago. I did a little research and discovered all the work he did documenting the Nigerian civil war and pioneering photojournalism. Evidently, he was a great guy.

Q: How can you photographically caption Nigeria’s present situation?

A: I will say we are caught up in a time warp. Like, a lot is going on presently and there’s a potential for a brighter future but at the same time, we are still stuck with our old ways.

Q: Photography is becoming an all comers affair, do you envisage a meltdown?

A: No, I don’t. I think we are growing bigger, actually. After the music/movies and fashion industry, I think photography is the fastest growing industry in Nigeria. A lot of development is going on in the field and the Street Shooters NG is also an agent of that development.

This interview was first published in the PM Newspapers of 29 October 2013.

Using Shot Lists Will Make You a Better Photographer

When I first started shooting, I would spend absolutely no time planning my shots. I would focus tons of time and energy into every other aspect (location, wardrobe, mood, etc) but in some weird turn of events, it must have slipped my mind that the end goal is “The Shot.” How that slipped my mind still baffles me. Instead of putting in the effort to plan what my actual finished images would look like, I found a model, found a location and showed up on shoot day with a plan to wing it. I would put together shots on the spot and when I was ready to move on to the next one, I would. To be honest, I am glad I started off this way because I believe it gave me a strong ability to think on the spot while on set which is something I often put into practice but as I started to find more value in preparation I began to plan every aspect of my shoots in order to have the most control of my final images.

Now, instead planning to wing it, I create with a complete shot list and I already know what my finished shoot will look like before I even step foot on set. This switch was a huge change in the way I do things but it puts me in a better frame of mind on shoot day and keeps me more organized and effective than I ever was.

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This is what my a page of my pre-shoot planning looks like. Yes, I know that your 5 year old sister can probably sketch better than I am. That’s why I am a photographer. Even though they don’t belong in a museum, these sketches help me keep me organized on set and often times, sketching out a shot will spark an idea for something else that I may not have had otherwise. You may have noticed that in the top left corner, I have a little check box to mark after I get the shot and in the top right corner I have written down the lens on plan on using depending on what mood I want to draw out. Organization keeps me sane.

Shot lists are just about the last thing I work on before shoot day. At this point, I already have almost all of the visual details worked out (wardrobe, location, mood, hair, make up, etc.) and just need to plan what my finished images should look like. This is where my trusty journal comes in (these journals are my personal favorite). My shot lists started as a few scribbles and notes of things I wanted to remember to shoot and now include a full rundown of shots (some are even sketched out) that I want to bring to life. These are all shots that I had visualized and loved. I had already seen the outcome in my mind and all I have to do is create them.

Making these shot lists left me with a shoot that was practically already finished and ensured that I didn’t have an image in my head that I might forget to create. Even though this means you have a complete shoot built out, don’t feel restricted. It is absolutely okay to go off script. I always bring a shot list to my sets but I spend about 50% of my time completing the list and 50% going off book. This means that even if 100% of my unplanned shots are complete failures, I still have a complete shoot because of the images I had visualized before hand and brought to life.

Shot lists come in all shapes and sizes. If you are shooting a test or personal work, you have the freedom to include anything you want and leave out what you don’t. The joy in test shooting is that it is absolutely free of pressure and restraint. On the other hand, if you are working for a client, they may have a shot list already made up for you that includes a list of images that work for the advertising or editorial campaign that you are shooting for. If that is the case, easy peasy. You have the list and you are set to go! If not, you have a bit more work to do.

When I am working on a shot list I typically spend about 5-10 minutes freely writing every possible shot that comes to my head. The good, the bad and the ugly (and sometimes the hideous). I get everything out and then begin to narrow it down into a list that I feel fits exactly what I am aiming for. Typically, I break my lists down into three sections; Must Haves, Details, and Extras. The Must Have list includes the images that I would be absolutely heart broken if I forgot. These will be the shots that drive the shoot in the direction it needs to go.

For example, in my recent Mountain Fitness shoot these would include the shots of my model running, stretching, posing, etc. Next up is the Details list. These are the shots of things that draw more attention to the smaller aspects and can help solidify the shoot as a whole. In that same shoot, these would be the shots of the model tying up her shoes, putting up her hair, her shoes on the ground or even one of her foot prints on the trail. Last up is the Extras list. These would include all of the other shots that I would want if time permits. When on set, I am under the schedule of the sun. Since I shoot in almost all natural light, I need to budget my time so I don’t run out of light with items still on my list. This is why I have an Extras list. If I have a shot in my head that I want but isn’t crucial to the shoot, it goes here. If there is still light left after completing the Must Haves and the Details list, I move on to the Extras. Having this well organized shot list keeps me sane, organized and effective on set.

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It is pretty much a given that most photographers are visual people. That means that when a spark of inspiration hits, we already know what we want our finished images to look like. This is why shot lists are just about the easiest part of our planning process. This is also why we don’t have any excuses for not building them out. Consider yourself encouraged to spend a little bit of extra time to plan your shots and I promise you that not only will your shoots seem less chaotic and stressful, but you will come out on the other end with images that make you proud.

Culled from FStoppers