Today, Google celebrates Gerda Tero’s 108th birthday. I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t remember her name. I’ve been a fan of Robert Capa since seeing an exhibit of his war photography as a teenager. I knew he had a “girl friend” photographer who was killed in the Spanish Civil War. I didn’t realize that she played a similar role to Einstein’s first wife in shaping his now-celebrated work.
Both have similar war styles, but Tero seemed to have a lot more photos of women at war. And I mean at war. Women armed, women shooting in battle, etc. Her iconic photo appears above.
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Friend and colleague John posted a comment on backlighting, noting that part of a stop can significantly improve exposure. I think there are two observations worth making here:
- Automation is stupid. Until we get Do What I Mean brain interface debugged, cameras will make a best guess.
- This is what I like about photography: the opportunity to exert control over how the image gets captured.
Although I learned a bit about photography years ago, I still blunder with camera settings. I didn’t mind the shutter speed while snapping pics of dancing. I find I have to literally exercise a special bit of my brain to look at the lighting of a scene. Otherwise I fail to assess backlighting or realize that the shadow will make a huge black slash through the image.
I find that I rely heavily on Photoshop-like software to redeem over- and under-exposed photos. It’s usually good for 1 or 2 stops on a digital camera, though the colors may suffer. Unfortunately there’s no related technology to un-blur a moving subject.