Friday, 26 April 2013

If you haven't ever had a multiple exposure you can't really call yourself a photographer

by Dale Neill

We're approaching two centuries since Joseph Nicephore Niepce made the world's first pic. And we'e enjoyed just over two decades of Photoshop. But just how long have photographers been manipulating images? The answer is easy - for as long as we've been making photographs. You don't need software to manipulate an image. You can do it right inside your camera (or for that matter inside your darkroom).

Manipulating really means 'changing' the image. So you can change how the image looks dramatically and easily by:

  • changing lenses
  • changing camera height
  • changing the aspect ratio
  • changing the shutter speed
  • changing the aperture
  • putting a filter on your camera
  • moving one metre to the right

In the early days of photography, photographers sometimes made a  mistake of 'double-exposing' an image because they cocked and fired the shutter without winding the film on. I had a student in the professional course in the early 1970s at Mount Lawley Technical College by name of Robert Frith. He approached me one day with a roll of developed black and white 35mm film and a furrowed brow and said 'What';s gone wrong?'.

I saw the problem straight away. 'Robert, you've loaded this film in your camera twice. All your shots are double exposed'
Was Robert worried? No way. his smile beamed and he just said 'Cool'

For the remainder of his Photography course Robert continued to experiment and double expose images. In 2013 Robert Frith is one of Western Australia's most successful and creative architectural and commercial photographers. 
A ten shot multiple exposure shot on a Nikon D700 in Egypt

Multiple exposure is the act of taking two or more images on the one frame. Not all digital cameras allow you to achieve multiple exposures but most of the high end DSLRs allow you to do it. I get far more pleasure manipulating the image in the camera than in Photoshop later. I guess because I like to think I'm more a photographer than a graphic designer or IT expert.

Another photographer who prides himself on his in-camera techniques is New Zealand Landscape photographer Mike Langford.  Mike is not only an outstanding landscape photographer but he's also an outstanding educator and nice guy to boot.

If you haven't ever had a multiple-exposure you can't really call yourself a photographer.

You can learn about multiple exposure techniques in my Advanced UWA Digital Course.

Or if you're feeling adventurous come camping with me under the stars in Outback Western Australia in the Photography and Art Tour of the Pilbara. Email me at for itinerary and details.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Five things you should never take on a photo tour

by Dale Neill

I just counted 127 articles on what to pack for a photographic holiday. Jeez - some included so much you'd need  a team of Sherpas or a Kenworth to carry the gear. So let's get down and dirty here, what things should you NEVER EVER take on your next photo tour.

5. Coming in at no 5 is your gold watch. Or for that matter any gold jewellery. You already look like a millionaire in a third world country because you flew in an aeroplane and are staying in a hotel. There's no need to rub it in. Besides, if you want to mark yourself for a bout of pick-pocketing wearing a gold watch is the same as mounting a red flashing light on your head.

4. At No 4 is extra clothing. Who in their right mind would bring 6 pairs of trousers and 24 shirts!! I kid you not. I've had someone on a tour recently who bought a clean shirt for each day we were away. He's obviously never heard of laundries en route. You need to learn the 4-way underpants technique. Undies can be worn the normal way, back the front, inside-out and inside-out back-the-front.

3. Your mother-in-law. (Unless of course she can carry all your photo gear, clean DSLR sensors and wrestle Bolivian border guards)

2.  It hurts me to say this but leave your chocolate at home - especially if you are in a hot country. Choccies and jelly beans left in pockets make an amazing pattern when mixed with your memory cards. Sort of psychedelic photography.

1. An ethnocentric attitude. That's when you compare everything you see in far off places to home. The toilets are dirtier than home, the coffee's not as good as home, the traffic is worse and the people don't speak English!

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener

Join me in one of my UWA Extension courses and learn what gear to take!

Then put it into practice and join John Harman and me for a tour to Turkey and Spain in September 2013

     Photo: Helen Newnham