Great Reads in Photography: December 26, 2021

Every Sunday, we bring together a collection of easy-reading articles from analytical to how-to to photo features in no particular order that did not make our regular daily coverage. Enjoy!

Photographer Sings Christmas Song 🎅

Essex, UK, Photographer Light Paints Christmas Scenes — BBC

These complex scenes require multiple photos to be shot and then composited in post. © Kevin Jay

Photographer Kevin Jay, 50, is certainly using his light painting skills to spread digital Christmas cheer in his hometown of Clacton-on-Sea, England, and surrounding Essex County. He shoots at local landmarks to convey his holiday greetings.

“Light painting is my favorite area of photography, so I’m always trying to come up with new ideas to try, and holidays such as Xmas or Halloween always offer inspiration for themes and ideas to be created,” Jay tells PetaPixel. “Most of the work is done in real-time and created in one shot with very little editing apart from basic corrections.”

The Frinton beach, England, UK, photo was a team effort by Kevin Jay, Nicki Jay and Terry Spires and involved seven separate photos to create the final image. © Kevin Jay

“Sometimes final photos are made up of a number of single shots like the Xmas scene which took several different shots which were then layered in photoshop,” adds Jay. “It would have taken too long to draw them in one exposure with the ambient street lighting. If it’s dark enough, I do like to do things in one shot as it feels more authentic that way.

“I get the most satisfaction from light drawing photography as it’s me creating the scene instead of landscape or portrait photography which I also enjoy, but, in those areas, you are capturing what is already there.”

“The snowman shot was a 44-second exposure with me first drawing the snowman then getting out of the way as my friend spun the steel wool from above,” says Jay. © Kevin Jay

Read also: These [Christmas] Light Painting Photographs Were Made Using an Automated Drone

How to Make Holiday Portraits with a DIY Christmas Tree-Shaped Bokeh Filter!

27 Photos to Remind You That 2021 Wasn’t Completely Terrible – BuzzFeed News

Embed from Getty Images

Pantone Unveils Color of the Year for 2022 — CNN

pantone chart
The periwinkle shade is a brand-new edition to Pantone’s color library. Courtesy of Pantone Color Institute

CNN writes:

On Wednesday, it [Pantone] unveiled Very Peri, a periwinkle hue that the company says combines the steady tranquility of blue with an energetic infusion of red. It’s the first time the company has manufactured a color instead of delving into their pre-existing archive, a decision that was a vital element of this year’s selection process.

“It was really important for us to come up with a new color because we have a very new vision of the world now,” said Pantone Color Institute’s Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman in a video call.

“It is literally the happiest and the warmest of all the blue hues,” she added, describing the shade. “Because of that red undertone, it introduces an empowering feeling of newness, and newness is what we’re looking for.”

A Look at the Progression of the Canon Mirrorless Platform — LensRentals

Canon R3 camera
Canon R3, courtesy Canon

Last October marked the 3rd anniversary of the Canon EOS R line of cameras and lenses.

“The initial announcement of Canon’s focus on their mirrorless platform was met with a lot of criticism, as the EF lens mount has become a staple in both the photography and videography worlds,” writes LensRentals. “But since that skepticism, Canon has done a lot of great things to propel their RF lens mount forward.”

What I Learned from Photographing my First Wedding – PictureCorrect

Legendary Photos: The Stories Behind 7 of Walter Iooss Jr.’s Iconic Images — DigitalPhotoPro

Sports photographer Walter Iooss Jr. shares the stories behind seven of his incredible images of athletes, including Michael Jordan (The Slam Dunk), 1988 and Joe Namath, 1969.

Notable: Walter Iooss Jr. (b. 1943) has photographed for Sports Illustrated for 58 years, including more than 300 covers.

Read also: The Story Behind an Iconic Photograph of Michael Jordan in Flight

Lens Wars: Episode V – Petzval Strikes Back by Roger Cicala – Digital Photography Review

Jozeph Petzval, 1854.
Jozeph Petzval, 1854.

Did Voigtländer have lens maker Petzval’s house burglarized to steal his lens designs and optical manuscripts?

Check out the answer as Dr. Roger Cicala tells sordid tales of photographic lens makers of yore in his inimitable style of recounting history at the link above?

Daguerreotype Camera
Daguerreotype camera, a replica of Voigtlander’s first metal camera from 1841. Exhibit in the Tekniska Museet, Stockholm, Sweden. Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Were 48 Pictures of the Sun Used to Make This Image? — Snopes

This photo is just a SAMPLE of an analemma and not the actual one referenced in the article above. Shot from office window of Bell Labs, Murray Hill, NJ, 1998–99. Jfishburn at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

If a photo is taken of the sun from the same position and the same time of day many times throughout the year and then composited, it will be found that the sun follows a roughly similar path to figure eight. This path or shape is called an “analemma.”

How Street Style Changed in 2021, According to Vogue Runway’s Photographers– Vogue

Finding the Most Colorful Places in the World — Uswitch

Portovenere old village on the sea on sunset. Five lands, Cinque Terre, Liguria Italy Europe.
Cinque Terre, Liguria, Italy, Depositphotos

Here is a list of the 20 most colorful locations around the world, using color dropping assessment, Google searches, and Instagram hashtags.

As Gorbachev Resigned, AP Photographer Snapped Historic Shot – AP

Liu Heung Shing worked as The Associated Press Moscow photo chief in 1990-1993. Liu and his AP colleagues won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography for documenting the Soviet collapse.

Photo of the Week

Do They Still Operate the Red Payphone Booths in England?

Hover your cursor over the photo for the answer.

Embed from Getty Images

Quiz of the Week

1.) 2021 saw the release of the Sony A1, which achieves a maximum speed of 30fps for still images. Next was the Canon  EOS R3 which also captures at a maximum rate of 30fps. The Nikon Z9, which came soon after, can record a maximum of
a.) 60fps
c.) 125fps

2.) The f-stop is
a.) the diameter of the opening divided by the focal length of the lens
b.) the focal length of the lens divided by the diameter of its opening
c.) the width of the front element divided by the width of the rear element

3.) The Canon RF100mm f/2.8 Macro lens can close focus at 1.4x life-size. Does that mean it can fill the frame with an object that is
a.) 17x25mm
b.) 24x36mm
c.) 12x18mm


1.) (b.) 120fps. This is with full AF/AE but only at 11-megapixels and not the full resolution of 45.7-megapixels

2.) (b.) The focal length of the lens divided by the diameter of its opening

3.) (a.) 17x25mm or 0.67 × 1 inch, approx.

Why I Like This Photo – Al Bello

horse race
ELMONT, NY – JUNE 10: Jockey John Velazquez is up on Patch during the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 10, 2017, in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

I like this photo because it kind of happened by accident. I was shooting the 149th Belmont Stakes in 2017 and had placed several remote cameras under the rail along the finish line area. My first goal was to get photos of the winning horse and jockey as they crossed the finish line.

I got photos of the winner, which all worked out fine, but as I looked at all the frames after, I noticed the last place horse named Patch framed perfectly, backlit in the back hoofs of another horse, with dirt flying everywhere, adding drama to the photo. Patch was a sentimental favorite because he had lost one of his eyes due to infection yet still ran the race that day.

He went on to have a decent career after this race. This is a photo you hope to get but never really happens often, if ever. I remember being quite excited when I saw this photo and even more excited when I saw which horse it was.

Ahead of the race, I strung several remote cameras together with a hard line that was attached to a foot pedal. As the race ended, I stepped on the foot pedal as the horses crossed the finish line and also shot with my handheld camera at the same time.

Remote cameras are always secondary to your handhelds. There is a bit of risk involved with using them no matter how much you prepare and set up and check and recheck your remotes throughout the day of a race because anything can go wrong. For example, your cameras can short out due to rain, the frames could be timed incorrectly, or the winning horse could finish outside of your frames altogether or show up out of focus.

While I say I was kind of lucky to get this shot, I’d also like to think I made my own luck in preparation for it. A lot of work was put into this photo, and I am glad it worked out.

When a big race is on, and the horses are coming at you all at once, it’s very exciting and very tense at the same time, and you hope to get a good shot of the wining horse with your remotes. The challenge with remotes can be the amount of gear involved while setting up across the track, especially if you have to access them during a race. You always have to be on high alert, not interfere with the races or get in the way. It can be very dangerous if you’re not careful.

Al Bello was a linebacker on his HS and College football team, and towards the end of college, he took a photo class. In 1993 Bello landed a position as a junior photographer at Allsport Photo Agency which became part of Getty images in 1998. Bello was the Chief Sports Photographer in North America from 2004-2019 at Getty. In 2020 he changed roles at Getty and is now a Special Sports Correspondent hoping to do more sport photo projects and help develop up and coming sports photographers. He will be covering his 14th Olympic Games this Winter in Beijing, China.

Quote of the Week – Edward Burtynsky

Salt Pans #18, Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat, India, 2016 © Edward Burtynsky, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

The above photo is from The Sony World Photography Awards’ Outstanding Contribution to Photography given to Edward Burtynsky for 2022.

Digital photography and Photoshop have made it very easy for people to take pictures. It’s a medium that allows a lot of mediocre stuff to get through.* – Edward Burtynsky

*The Guardian, August 21, 2008.

Edward Burtynsky (b. 1955) is a Canadian photographer known for his large-format photographs of industrial landscapes taken over 40 years. Early exposure to the sites and images of the General Motors plant in his hometown helped formulate the development of his photographic work. His imagery explores the collective impact we as a species are having on the surface of the planet, an inspection of the human systems we’ve imposed onto natural landscapes.

To see an archive of past issues of Great Reads in Photography, click here.

We welcome comments as well as suggestions. As we cannot possibly cover each and every source, if you see something interesting in your reading or local newspaper anywhere in the world, kindly forward the link to us here. ALL messages will be personally acknowledged.

About the author: Phil Mistry is a photographer and teacher based in Atlanta, GA. He started one of the first digital camera classes in New York City at The International Center of Photography in the 90s. He was the director and teacher for Sony/Popular Photography magazine’s Digital Days Workshops. You can reach him here.

Image credits: All photographs as credited and used with permission from the photographers or agencies. Portions of header photo via Depositphotos, middle horizontal (bottom) snowman by Kevin Jay.