Photography secrets & tips on behind the scenes shoot with Bob Holmes.
Bob Holmes shares expert tips on using natural lighting in photography.
Bhutan – the The Last Shangri La, the land of the Thunder Dragon, and a culture that celebrates ‘Gross National Happiness’ over GNP. It’s an idyllic Himalayan kingdom sandwiched between the world superpowers of China and India. The government strictly controls tourism and is one of the last Himalayan kingdoms to resist rampant modernization. Until 1974 there was no currency, all transactions were completed in trade. There’s few places in the world remaining where a visitor can glimpse such a strong cultural heritage still thriving.
How often do you find yourself someplace and it’s a struggle to make even one good photograph?
I usually go out on assignment in a blind panic wondering if the muse will ever descend again. I know photographers, frequently misguided, who are supremely confident that they are going to make great photographs every time they go out.
I’m not one of them.
Every assignment is a challenge and to stay in this business, as I have for 35 years, I have to come back with the goods. Getting those winning shots can be like searching for a penguin in the Sahara but at other times it’s like shooting fish in a barrel [Read more…]
I am unapologetically an old-school photographer. I grew up in the era of film and darkrooms and the smell of fixer still fills me with nostalgia. Shooting film, particularly slide film with its narrow latitude, was great for building impeccable technique.
In the early 1980’s I did several shoots for National Geographic, always in some remote corner of the world for several months at a time and racking up huge expenses. I would shoot several hundred rolls of 35mm film, usually Kodachrome, and ship the exposed film back to Geographic in Washington DC for processing without having a clue if I’d got the shot or even the correct exposure. Mistakes were not an option. The first person to see the results was my editor.
Miraculously I rarely screwed up but if I had to shoot film now I would be terrified [Read more…]
On Assignment. What a glamorous phrase. Before I became a professional photographer I would dream of being “on assignment” traveling the world, spending weeks in exotic locations making great photographs.
What a wonderful way to make a living.
And I guess it was – but nothing is what it seems. With that glamour comes heavy responsibility and there have been many times when I would happily have been in a place for myself rather than a client.
My first real assignment was to cover the 1975 British Everest Expedition for the London Daily Mail. I wasn’t a full time professional photographer back then but I was a climber and a friend of most of the expedition members giving me an inside track on the story. It looked as though this would be the first British ascent of Everest – Ed Hillary was a Kiwi so he didn’t count – and the Southwest Face was one of the most difficult Himalayan routes to be attempted, so the eyes of Britain were focused on this epic adventure [Read more…]
Alfred Stiegliz was one. Alexis Brodovitch was another. As the founder and director of the Design Laboratory and later as art director of Harper’s Bazaar, Brodovitch shaped the careers of Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and many household names in commercial photography of the late 20th Century. Art Kane said, “He taught me to be intolerant of mediocrity.” Fashion photographer Hiro commented, “I learned from him that, if when you look in your camera, you see an image you have ever seen before, don’t click the shutter.” By all accounts, Brodovitch was a tough task- master.
In June we lost another great. Bob Gilka was Director of Photography at National Geographic for 27 years. He was loved, feared and even hated by a fringe group who had crossed him in some way. He was fiercely devoted to those who demonstrated loyalty to the Geographic “family” but heaven help you if you crossed that line. His support for Geographic photographers was legendary. He guided their assignments through sometimes harsh but always objective criticism and when praise was given, you knew he really meant it [Read more…]
I‘ve taught a lot of workshops over the past 35 years and I always hope for good weather. But how realistic is that? I’ve also spent those 35 years as an editorial shooter producing stories for many of the world’s major travel magazines and if the weather’s bad, I still have to produce. And I’ll bet many of your vacations have less than perfect weather too.
A recent workshop at Point Reyes in California, part of the annual Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference, was one of those less than perfect days. Summer fog shrouded the coast and gloom was the order of the day. Compounding matters, the workshop was held from 10 to 4 – the least ideal time to shoot. The flat light certainly didn’t work for the expansive landscapes of this Bay Area national park.
However, instead of sinking into the gloom we embraced it [Read more…]