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April 10, 1984 - Image 22

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-04-10
This is a tabloid page

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Our first Student Travel Photographer is Ron Emmons, a British
native who graduated from San Francisco State and is currently
freelancing his writing and photography talents. He has traveled exten-
sively through South America, the East, and Africa. He calls this series
"On the Road to Rio."
i's easy to despair. What chance
does an enthusiastic amateur
have against the professionals
with their sophisticated equip-
ment and experience? The answer
is that we already possess a tool
more valuable than any number of
elaborate lenses or filters - our
eyes. Equipped with a 35 mm
camera and an eye for the un-
usual, anyone can take interesting
photos. These examples, taken re-
cently on the road to Rio de
Janeiro from Caracas, Venezuela,
should give some idea of what is
possible from an amateur.
One useful technique is to isolate
your subject. Remember that your
power as a photographer lies in
controlling the frame and guiding
the focus of the viewer. As with all
art, suggestion arouses curiosity
by not showing the whole picture.
If you isolate a subject from its
context, you encourage the viewer-,
to look at it in a new light.
The brilliant-colored rock at the
base of lasper Falls in the Gran
Sabana region of Southwest Ven-
ezuela is a good example. In the
picture of the falls themselves (A),
the red rock appears in context.
No color filters are used here, only
a polarizing filter. The movement
of the water is achieved by choos-
ing a slow shutter speed and small
The Opera House in Manaus is
another example of a much-pho-
tographed object. This lavish
structure, the materials for which
were imported from Europe,
proves the fulfillment of a dream
for men such as Fitzcarraldo (in
Herzog's film of the same name),
the barons of the rubber boom in
the late 19th century. The building
echoes a bygone era, and is noth-
ing if not incongruous in the mid- _
dle of the Amazon jungle. In this
case (B), the curving pattern of the
plaza in the foreground guides the,
eye to the historic structure.
A boat trip on the Rio Negro of-
fered a glimpse of a different side
of Manaus from the splendor of
the Opera House (C). These shacks
scattered along the banks form an
interesting social comment as well
as a colorful composition.
A reflection in the harbor at
Manaus in Brazil offers an interest-
ing abstract composition (D). Here
colors and form predominate,
8 - sprin g 19 84 break





congruity. By focusing on the steps
leading to the swirling waters of
the Rio Negro in Manaus (E), two
normally incompatible subjects
establish a strong relationship.
Sensitivity to nature's moods
can often transform a mediocre
E shot into a good one. Patience
may offer the reward of capturing
the right moment. The sunset over
Manaus and the Rio Negro (F) is a
good example which evokes a
mood of calm at the day's end.
The silhouettes of the buildings on
the left achieve a sense of balance
which creates an overall harmony
in the composition.
No record of a trip to Rio would
be complete without a shot of
Carnaval (G). The Carnaval in late
February provides perhaps the
most photogenic human celebra-
tion in the world. But at all times
of the year the samba dancers in
their exotic outfits are on display
at special shows, and the photo-
grapher's greatest problem is in
deciding what not to shoot. As al-
ways with people, an expressive
face is all it takes to convey a
happy mood.
Most important, then, is to be
aware of your intention when look-
ing through your viewfinder. Do
you just want a souvenir of your
vacation which you could find in a
postcard? Or do you want the
chance to be creative with your
camera? Each time you use the
camera, find a focus, whether it's a
mood you want to evoke, an un-
usual sight, or an incongruity you
want to highlight. Clear intentions
make clear pictures. Remember
that your eye is a unique tool.
Equipment and Film:
The photos were taken with a Chi-
non CE-4 camera using 28 mm, 50
mm, and 135 mm lenses. For
specification of individual shots,
see below. Kodachrome 64 film
was used in all cases, except the
last shot of Carnaval in Rio, which
was taken with Kodak Ektachrome
160 film. Individual specifications:
(P=Polarizing Filter)
(A) 50mm P
(B) 28mm P
(C) 135 mm
D) 135 mm
(E) 135 mm
(F) 135 mm
(G) 135 mm
Exposure in the tropics:
A polarizing filter is a great help to
cut down the sun's glare, and I
frequently underexpose by one
stop to bring out the richness of
the colors.
bre ak - s prin g 19 84 9


Students are encouraged (nag-
ged, even) to submit Student
Photo Essays - a series of pic-
tures related by a common
theme or point of view -
and/or Student Travel Photos-
(They are not the same!) We
accept black-and-white prints
or color slides. Be sure to write
your name and address on
every photograph, and include
a stamped, self-addressed en-
velope so that we may return
the pictures. Please be patient;
this could take several months,
as we publish only twice a year.
Each group of photographs

must be accompanied by a
prose essay explaining what,
where, and when, plus any
technical information you
deem important.
Pertinent advice: Send only
sharply focused, unusual pic-
tures. We're not fond of blurs,
collages, or backyard family
snapshots, however valuable
they may be to you. We crave
fascinating, intelligent, terrific
photographs and we pay real
money - $100 for the Student
Photo Essay, $75 for the Stu-
dent Travel Photos.

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