Compensating for Something?
David duChemin Blog
by David
2M ago
This is another long one, but if you’ve ever struggled to understand Exposure Value Compensation (or never used it), this might help. Put the coffee on and settle in for a bit. Skipping past the inevitable moment when I’m walking around with my 600mm lens and someone asks if I’m compensating for something, the answer is generally yes. I am. But it’s not what you think. After my last article about digital noise and high ISOs, I received a good question about the use of Exposure Value Compensation (or “EV compensation”), and this felt like as good a moment as any to try to clarify it f ..read more
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The Adventure of Art
David duChemin Blog
by David
3M ago
“Life,” said Helen Keller, “is either a daring adventure or it is nothing.” The same can be said about art and the effort to make it. Adventure is defined as ” a risky undertaking of unknown outcome, an exciting or unexpected event.” Risky. Unknown. Unexpected.  Art-making has a wildness to it, an untamed quality. I know I’ve written about this before, but when Picasso was asked if he knew what his paintings would look like before he even put paint to canvas, he replied, “No, of course not. If I knew, I wouldn’t bother doing it.” It is the adventure of art-making that makes it unpredicta ..read more
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10,000 Frames to Make One. What’s Wrong with Me?
David duChemin Blog
by David
5M ago
I loaded my gear into my truck last week and headed 12 hours north to the mouth of the Chilko River, my first trip since the amputation. I drove the same route a year ago, through towering mountains and golden aspens, my mind less on the bears I would photograph and more on the looming surgery. If I didn’t change my mind, I’d have my leg removed below the knee in a few months. I spent that entire drive trying to calm the voices in my head, the ones asking if I was crazy, the ones wondering if I’d ever drive this kind of trip again or actually do the things I was replacing ..read more
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Refine Your Mood in the Darkroom
David duChemin Blog
by David
6M ago
In my last post (August 06), I discussed a few ways to improve the mood in our photographs, namely by finding stronger mood in the first place, usually by looking for more interesting light or more interesting weather. Just getting out there earlier and staying later helps. Some weatherproof gear and a willingness not to baby the camera so much that you never make the kinds of photographs you’d like to would also be an asset. But I think there is also work to be done in the darkroom—not necessarily to create mood where mood isn’t there in the first place, but to amplify the mood that’s th ..read more
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Find the Light, Find the Mood.
David duChemin Blog
by David
7M ago
“How do you photograph that great light?” is one of the top three questions I’m asked about how I make my photographs. It’s a good question because the camera sees light differently than we do, and unless you know what’s possible, you’ll struggle with retaining the mood of beautiful light. That struggle is more difficult for photographers who are still chained to their histograms and using some kind of automatic mode without EV Compensation. As good as today’s cameras are, you still have to do some of the thinking, because the camera tends to average things out a bit. Average i ..read more
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Creativity: The Missing Ingredient
David duChemin Blog
by David
8M ago
We are all missing something. We are all a Gordian Knot of what we are, what we have and do not have, and what we’ve both gained and lost. The blessing of some of that is easily seen, while some of it is hard not to see as a curse or a deficiency. All of it comprises the constraints within which we live. As a photographer and a teacher on matters of creativity, that word “constraint” is important to me. Easily misunderstood as a barrier to creativity, constraints are not what prevent creativity but what drive it. Accepting this—and working with it—is the key not only to a challenging and frui ..read more
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Show Me Where You’re Brave
David duChemin Blog
by David
8M ago
There is a scene in the 2023 Netflix series Kaleidoscope in which the lead character, played by the inimitable Giancarlo Esposito, says to his young daughter, “Show me where you’re brave.” She responds by putting her finger to her head. “Now show me where you’re strong,” he says, and in response, she puts her finger on her heart. I am feeling neither brave nor strong right now. This has all been so much harder than I had the capacity to expect. A month ago, I was staring into the darkness of this amputation, so much of it unknown. It was easy then, to be brave in those moments ..read more
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One Foot in the Grave? An Update.
David duChemin Blog
by David
9M ago
Not quite a week ago, I had my right foot amputated and dropped that news on many of you somewhat abruptly. Sorry about that. As I observed at the time, there’s just really no way of easing into a conversation like that. If you missed this and you’re wondering what’s going on, you can read the whole story here to catch up. If you caught the news the first time, keep reading because after the incredible outpouring of support you gave me, you deserve an update. I’m sorry it has taken so long. It was an early morning for us on Monday, June 05. Neither Cynthia nor I slept very well in the hot ..read more
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What Makes An Image Work (Part 2)
David duChemin Blog
by David
10M ago
Last Sunday I posted a photograph on the blog, and in The Contact Sheet email, inviting you to consider how I made one of my photographs. The exercise was a simple one, and I know some of you have seen it before but you can still learn from it. Look at the image and ask yourself what decisions I made to get the final photograph. What lens might I have used, what point of view, what settings, even what changes I might have made in development. I promised I’d walk you through it from my perspective and the video below does that. This video is also episode 1 from my ImageWork course which opens ..read more
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What Makes An Image Work?
David duChemin Blog
by David
10M ago
As a child, my cousin James had a reputation for taking things apart. I recall one Christmas when he dismantled down to the wiring every gift he was given. Remote-control cars? Give him 20 minutes, and there would be nothing left but a pile of tiny screws, little motors, and the tears of his mother who probably should have known better than to give him such an expensive present. But the extraordinary thing is, he learned to put them back together again, and it didn’t surprise any of us when he became one of those people who could rebuild or fix anything as an adult. Taking things ap ..read more
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