Bevy of Beauties: 42nd Street (1933)

Una Merkel, Ruby Keeler and Ginger Rogers in 42nd Street (1933)

Una Merkel, Ginger Rogers and Ruby Keeler in 42nd Street (1933)

On the Set: Joan Bennett

on the set of Green Hell (1940)

with Director Fritz Lang on the set of Scarlet Street (1945)

costume selection for Secret Beyond the Door (1947)

with Director Fritz Lang on the set of Secret Beyond the Door (1947)

Fridays Foto Tip - Water Droplets

Ok so I know it's not Friday, but better late than never right? This week I thought we would tackle that pesky issue of the dreaded water droplet sticking to your lens/port during water photography, and how to promote a quick, smooth and efficient water runoff. Whether you have a professional fish-eye waterhousing or a beginner compact water-camera, if you don't know how to avoid water droplets and initiate good water runoff, capturing a great surf shot can be extremely frustrating. I've had times when a single water droplet has ruined a potential cover.

Problem: Water droplets sticking to camera port/lens.

Cure: Although there are many watery solutions out there, the best and most readily available is your own saliva. What, did AvG just say spit? Yip that be right. Good old gross spit or saliva. I've also heard of potato milk, sweat and "No more Rain", but why spend extra money and lug bags of potatoes in the boot of your car when your body already produces the perfect solution.

While you wade out through the shallows, gather up a big ball of saliva in your mouth for your lens/port. It is interesting to note at this point that some foods or drinks inhibit or promote the build up of saliva. Chocolate or something milky usually works wonders for mucus buildup. Once you have a good supply available, carefully spit out the saliva onto the port of your housing/camera. If this wasn't gross enough, use your tongue to equally distribute the saliva around the port, and then dip the camera in and out of the water. Back this up with another application before diving into the water and swimming out to your chosen spot. If you're having trouble gathering up enough and you're pressed for time, why not get a mate to help you out, or not.

Keep your housing/camera submerged beneath the surface while you wait to capture the action. I usually mix a little saltwater in my mouth with some more saliva, and spit this useful mix onto the port every 15 minutes or so just to keep the layer intact. Once the saliva and saltwater have merged, you should notice a fine layer covering the port. In addition, when you pick up your housing/camera, you should notice the quick and even runoff of any water. This saliva layer will also prevent any water droplets from "sticking" or staying on the port as they should run off just as quickly. Lastly, it is best to keep your housing underwater while waiting, as this will keep it from "drying" out. Good luck and lets see your results.


Keep The Faith, Live The Dream

Modern Femmes Fatale: Part 68

Monica Bellucci

Maja Latinovic

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Madchen Amick

Trish Goff

Gledis Cinque

Evan Rachel Wood

Elena Cucci

Dree Hemingway

Lidija Hlinova

Dance Hall Demoiselles: Constance Smith

Imitating anothers photograph - Copyright infringement

Amateur Photographer magazine published an interesting story about a copyright infringement case of similar, but not directly copied, images. The issue of copyright is thorny, contentious and often misunderstood but this case sheds some light on the current attitude of courts in the UK. Despite significant differences between the two images (there was no implication that the second image was a duplicate of the first), the court found that the second image copied substantially from the 'intellectual creation' of the first (that is the elements that can be protected by copyright in the original image, including a consideration of the composition, lighting and processing of the image).

Amateur Photographer quotes photographic copyright expert Charles Swan as saying: 'The judgement should be studied by anyone imitating an existing photograph or commissioning a photograph based on a similar photograph.'

Click here to read the full judgement of the case

The judge concluded that the claimant (Justin Fielder)'s image is original and that the intellectual creation resided both in the compositional elements of the image and the contrast aspects. Specifically, Judge Birss QC highlighted two visual contrasts: 'one between the bright red bus and the monochrome background, and the other between the blank white sky and the rest of the photograph.'

He also took into account the evidence that Mr Houghton was aware of Mr Fielder's image (the two had previously been to court when they had failed to reach a licensing agreement over Houghton's previous infringement of Fielder's copyright), to conclude the similarities were causally related.

In the end, Birss said a difficult decision hinged on a 'qualitative assessment of the reproduced elements.' He defined Fielder's image a 'photographic work,' as distinct from a simply a photograph, in that 'its appearance is the product of deliberate choices and also deliberate manipulations by the author,' and concluded that those aspects had been copied.

Judge Birss also said that a series of images showing buses on Westminster Bridge and of red London icons on monochrome backgrounds submitted by Houghton 'worked against them because the collection has served to emphasize how different ostensibly independent expressions of the same idea actually look.' - story and info


Keep The Faith, Live The Dream

Rub-a-dub-dub: Vera Zorina

The Goldwyn Follies (1938)

The life of a cover

Selecting a front cover of any magazine is a difficult task, almost as difficult as it is to capture one. This particular photograph of mine took a little over a year to get. Mikey February and I must have made at least 10 trips up the West Coast during the past year in search of the perfect conditions and waves for a cover, but alas no worthy cover shot. We didn't let it get us down, and continued to try at Longbeach, Noordhoek, Dias Beach and many others. Finally just two days before he had to leave our beloved South Africa for a year abroad, we nailed this one frame during a short session down the beach at our favourite spot. We weren't out for long; my housing "misted" up for the first 15 minutes, a not-so-friendly kneeboarder burnt Mikey on possibly the best wave of the day, and Mikey only had an hour before a crucial embassy appointment, but we finally nailed it. Thanks for the patience Mikey!

Sometimes, more often than not, photographs are just born that way. You can't force them to come to life or will the opportunity to fit into your schedule; but once you actually stop searching for them, as with most things in life, they flash by in a micro-second, almost too quick to capture. Make the most of life's opportunities when you see them, however brief the moment.


Keep The Faith, Live The Dream

Live life vicariously

Inspiration comes from many facets of life. It continues to mould and shape our future, our decisions and our very existence. A good friend of mine suggested the following: (click) A story about a family in search of something different, who packed up and took their children on the journey of a lifetime. Immersing themselves in the world outside their own, vicariously living life.


Keep The Faith, Live The Dream

Sweater Girl: Rita Moreno

Friday's Foto Tip

Greetings followers, friends and family. My newly instituted "Friday's Foto Tip" is a new weekly post I'll be bringing you with useful tips and advice which I hope will help shed some light on certain questions and difficulties photographers sometimes face. Some you may already know and have dealt with, in which case I apologize, but since we are always learning as photographers, there will always be something new to learn at some point, and there are always others who don't know what you already know.

This week's tip aptly fits in with the harshness of summer, and the problems water photographers face with condensation and the abrupt change from 30 degree land temperatures to 10 degree water temps in places like Cape Town. But in addition, for humid places like Durban and the tropics when moisture can easily get trapped inside your housings.

Problem: Condensation Built up on the port inside a housing.

Cure: Be sure to avoid any moisture on hands or camera when setting up, or going from an air-conditioned environment to a warm exterior. Preferably setup at home in a balanced, normal "room-temperature" environment, and keep your housing in the shad en route to the beach. Once at the beach, and en route to the water, once again keep your housing in the shade, either under a towel or your fins. This should keep your housing from heating up to much, and keep it as close as possible to the water temp. Having done all this, you may still find you experience some condensation problems, but if the water is cold enough, you just can't avoid it entirely I'm afraid. But at least you'll be in for a shorter wait. I usually use the 5-10 minutes to position myself in the lineup and familiarize myself with the conditions.

The above photographers illustrate the frustration of have a good wave come through while the port of my housing was still "fogged" up. The second shot is of Deen Hill about an hour later when my housing and my body were nice a chilled.

Till next Friday's Foto Tip, good luck and pleasant shooting.


Keep The Faith, Live The Dream

For the Boys: Ingrid Bergman

Ingrid Bergman visits with Swedish UN troops in Korea, 1951