A mysterious find

During the early 90’s, the now 67 year old William Nelson discovered an old photo album in the midst of an household clearance in the state of Minnesota. He realised quickly, that he stumbled upon a real treasure:  a photobook from 1904.

The book contained precisely 240 negatives which were more or less cramped into it. Due to this, it was relatively difficult to match them with the few notes included in the collection.

Nelson furthermore discovered that the photos were quite different from other images of the time. These pictures captured a style which soon would change the way photography was perceived throughout the world. The photographer was capable of creating images which firmly captured a new level of how individuals and objects interacted with each other. These photos were more than tourist’s memories, these were treasures which captured a glimpse of the past.

The journey of the photographers was littered with popular locations from this time. They visited France, Germany, the UK, Austria, Hungary, and the Netherlands to shoot photos of marvelous locations, including the Linderhof Palace in Bavaria or the coastal cliffs of Étretat in France, which were once painted by the famous painters, Claude Monet and Gustave Courbet.

Nelson dedicated himself to find the creator of those fascinating images to unveil the secret behind this inconspicuous photobook. Unfortunately,  the amount of clues contained by the book itself were sparse: the notes were hard to decrypt and no personal information nor the details of the journey were provided. The only names which were mentioned are “Loren” and “Emily” which most likely belonged to two travel companions. This leaves the name of the photographer still in the dark. However, Nelson abandoned his search for the origins of the book and is continuing to try to unravel the book’s secret.

The whole photo series can be observed here. Take your time and take a glimpse of the history of the early 20th century.

Analogue vs. Digital photography


For the last decades a question frequently came up which split the photo community in two: Analogue or Digital?

It is undeniable that, digital photography conquered the market by storm and a lot of professionals and amateurs jumped on the bandwagon to make use of the many advantages digital devices offer. However, in the recent years analogue photography regained some of its popularity and photographers got interested in tinkering with the technology of the past.

In the following paragraphs we will explain the differences of analogue and digital photography as well as pointing out advantages and disadvantages.


Money is always an essential factor in the decision making process . In general it can be said that, digital photography has a higher initial cost which is related to the expenses on the technology. In addition, further upgrades in the future might be necessary or desired. However, if you are impatient and want to see your photos immediately without being compromised by limited storage space or waiting time, there is no better option than digital devices.

Analogue photography on the other hand requires fewer investments in advance. Even though the older camera models are rarely produced they are less expensive than its digital counterparts. This has nothing to do with the missing technology in the device itself: Analogue cameras are lacking features which help to make pictures look great with features like the automatic adjustment of ISO or White balance. Despite the lower initial cost of the device, analogue photographers have to invest more money in film rolls and development of these rolls.

Storage and sharing

Another factor to be considered is the way you want to interact with the results of your photo sessions in terms of sharing and storage.

Sharing digital images is rather easy: transfer the data from the camera to your computer and the only thing you need to share the pictures is a working internet connection or a USB stick. Storing the image files is not much more difficult than the previous process. The most common way is to store them on your hard drive on a computer. Unfortunately, these containers are not always the safest method and we all know that malfunctions of electronic devices can happen at any time. Another way would be to upload the files to a cloud like Dropbox. This has the benefit of being able to access the files from almost anywhere and also protects them from being erased by technical malfunction.

Sharing of negatives and developed pictures is not as easy as the digital counterpart. Due to their tangible form they have to be sent or given to someone personally which makes this endeavor a little bit more time intensive. At least as long as you do not want to invest in a photo scanner, which will further increase the expenditures. Storing on the other side requires physical space which is limited for the majority of us. However, under the right conditions most negatives can survive 40 to 50 years and are not prone to be erased by technical malfunction or a bored computer hacker.


Every photographer is striving for the best quality of their photos. An extremely essential factor is the resolution. Digital images are measured in pixel. The higher the number, the higher the amount of independent pixels in a given area and the more detailed the original picture can be displayed.

The resolution of film can be described with the term of spatial resolution. This describes the capabilities of the camera to distinguish small details of an object. It is measured in resolving power and based on a complex mathematical formula revolving around wavelength of light and diameter of the lens aperture. For a very detailed comparison of both factors we recommend to look at the analysis of Roger N. Clark. This analysis compares the two different measurement methods and shows in detail, which kind of film equals how many megapixels.

Just to give a small example: apparently a larger film formats as the Film Fuji Velvia 50 (4×5 inches) is able to capture a 220MP (megapixel) photograph, even after it has been scanned digitally.

White Balance

As mentioned beforehand, one of the features of a digital camera is the fact that, it is possible to automatically adjust the white balance of the film. Furthermore, if you are already familiar with this setting you can manually configure this setting to maximise the quality of your results.

On the other hand we have analogue photography which has a rather limited amount of configuration in terms of white balance. Most of the time there is not even a possibility to adjust this setting. The white balance of the film is preset and the most used presets are: daylight balanced and tungsten balanced. The easiest way to correct the white balance is to do it digitally with editing software after the analogue pictures have been scanned.


Working in low light conditions might be very challenging. However, the automatic feature included in most digital cameras should take care of this. Nowadays, digital cameras are able to increase the ISO level up to a very high degree. The highest we got so far is the ME20F-SH with a whopping 4,000,000.

Film is much more limited in this regard. The maximum ISO speed for this format is 6400 but speeds between 100 and 3200 are commonly available. This is severe disadvantage over digital camera. It is sometimes possible by manually pushing or pulling several stops to alter the ISO speed and create a certain effect on the photo itself, but most of the times it comes with a decrease in quality of contrast and image tones.


From a technical standpoint, digital photography has much more advantages over its analogue counterpart: immediate access to the images, several features to automatically adjust the settings according to the environment and less expenditures in the long run are only a few factors that give the edge to shooting with a digital device.

The biggest reason you want to use film over digital is the better resolution which can be obtained from medium format cameras, which can be extremely detailed even after scanned digitally.

Unfortunately we cannot give a clear answer on the question which started this discussion and it all comes down to personal preferences. Analogue photography has its own charm and it is hard to capture this experience with a digital camera.

We can only recommend trying both variants and maybe you will find enjoyment without making compromises.

What is your opinion about the question of digital versus analogue photography? Tell us your best experience with either of those styles.

6 tips for taking better Photos


Everybody knows that feeling: This is the perfect situation for an amazing shot, the object of desire is right in front of you, you do not hesitate long and ready your camera, you take the shot and a feeling of satisfaction is coming over you. Everything is perfect. After that you check the photo list and you are shocked: the image is blurry, the focus of your shot is off and the person you photographed has this overlying shadow all over her. And there it goes; the feeling of satisfaction is replaced with disappointment and the joy you felt while taking the supposedly perfect picture is washed away by desperation. You ask yourself: “What did I do wrong?”

Well, we cannot answer those questions but we can prepare you for doing it better the next time. This entry is dedicated towards the topic of taking a good picture, without having to buy a camera for several thousand currency. In the following article you will find several guidelines to make your endeavors more rewarding and successful.

1. Preparation

Unfortunately, it is not always as easy as walking around, taking pictures and expect to make some amazing images ready to be shown to friends or relatives who will be amazed of your skills.

The first step to success is to getting used to your equipment. Take your time and explore the capabilities and limitations of your camera. There might be features you have never seen before because you were just too eager to take photos. As usual with all electric devices it is recommended to read the instruction manual. A lot of additional information can be usually found on those documents and can greatly improve the effectiveness of your actions. It can also help if you read some lecture related to photography to gain knowledge and get a few tips from professional.6 tips for taking better Photos

2. Resolution

After you discovered the potential of your camera you might want to set the resolution of your device to the maximum. This action serves two purposes: First, all your photos will be clearer and it will be easier to see important details on the images itself. Furthermore, it will be much easier to alter and edit the pictures later on. If you, for example, use Photoshop to crop a picture with a lower resolution it might be too pixelated to be printed.

A higher resolution means it uses more space of the memory. However, the benefits of making more photos do not outweigh the disadvantages of blurry or pixelated image.  In this case it can be referred to the saying: “Quality over quantity”.6 tips for taking better Photos

3. Explore

With all things set, the “only” thing you have to do is discovering the right opportunities for a good photo. Well, this is easier said than done and to be sure you do not miss out on something, take your camera everywhere. The likelihood of seeing something interesting and be able to use your camera on it is drastically increased if you just get out into the world and start firing away. Use your Sundays for a stroll in the park; take a few pictures than sit down on a bench and wait. Patience is the key: Take your time and do not be disappointed if the results are not great from the get-go. Also try to visit the same places at different times and see what changes occur in terms of lighting and surrounding. Often you will notice pretty severe changes in your environment depending on the time; use this to your advantage.6 tips for taking better Photos

4. Using your camera

After getting familiar with your equipment it is essential to adjust your camera settings based on your surroundings. This is based on the fact that a camera is seeing objects differently than our eyes.  In the recent years digital cameras became quite “clever” and the feature to automatically adjust makes this task rather easy. However, this helpful feature is not always 100% correct and sometimes it is necessary to adjust various factors.

One of those factors is the White Balance. To put it simple: every light source has a “colour temperature” which differs widely depending on the source of the light. For example the light of the blue sky is cold and therefore the camera is seeing it in a blue colour. On the other side of the spectrum, the colour of a burning candle tends to be orange and therefore the camera will see it differently from how we perceive it. This change in colour can be changed with specific editing software later on but you should try to get it right in the first place.

Another very important adjustment which has to be made is ISO. ISO indicates the camera’s sensitivity to light. The component which can change the sensitivity is called the “sensor”. This part of the camera determines how much light is transformed into the image. The higher the ISO value, the higher the sensitivity to light and more light is captured which enables the photographer to take pictures in a dark environment, even without a flash. However, this feature comes with a flaw: the higher the amplifier for the ISO is, the more “noise” is added to the image. An example of the different ISO levels and their effect on the picture can be found on the following image. As a general guideline you always want to stick to the base ISO to get the highest picture quality, but feel free to experiment with it.6 tips for taking better Photos

5. General tips

If you adjusted your camera and before you are going to take your first real pictures, there are a few general guidelines which you could consider sticking to.

The Rule of Thirds

At the start you should use the “Rule of Thirds”. This rule states that an image is divided into nine equally sized parts, which are divided by two horizontal and two vertical lines. It is said that aligning the object of interest along those lines creates a more meaningful image. Therefore you should determine the points of interest in advance and position yourself accordingly. In the picture below, it can be seen that the statue in the background as well as the couple are aligned to the imaginative lines.6 tips for taking better Photos

After you mastered this technique you can try and deviate from this rule. Sometimes it is extremely useful to place your objective off-center in order to make it even more interesting.


We shortly touched the subject of positioning in the previous paragraph but it has to be stressed that this is an integral part of photography and therefore deserves a lot of attention. After you took a picture try to move in closer and take another shot. Repeat this and see for yourself how the positioning and angle changes the result. Of course you can also increase the distance to experiment with the scenery.

Based on the object you want to photograph, it might be a good idea to take vertical pictures instead of horizontal ones. High landmarks like mountains and towers usually look considerably better on a vertical image which put their physical appearance into the center of attraction.

Furthermore, try to alter the way you approach the object. Use an inconvenient angle to make a picture: crouching, lying or a top-down approach might lead to better results and more impactful images.


A very useful but often forgotten feature of a digital camera is the adjustment of the focus. If you press the shutter button gently, the camera will adjust the focus. This will prevent blurry pictures and will increase the quality of the picture taken. The blurry effect can also be caused by shaking hands; so just relax before you take a photo. As an alternative you could use a tripod to ensure an even surface. However, keep in mind that a tripod makes you less mobile and the additional setup time makes you less flexible.


As an alternative for a natural light source, it is possible to make use of the Flash feature of a digital camera. This will generate an artificial light source for a very short time. By knowing the range of your Flash you can better predict the effect of it and ensure better pictures. In general, the range of the Flash will not exceed 15 steps; most of the times you should take no chances and be not further away than 10 steps.

In contrast to a popular belief, the Flash is also pretty useful in situations in which more than enough light is available. Especially in situation where the photographer is reliant on sunlight it is handy to use the Flash to remove those deep facial shadows which can be caused by the sun.

6. Be patient and selective

After you have finished your photo session take your time and go through all of the photos you have taken. Select the ones you think strike out as the best and keep them. Delete the rest, but take a look at them too and determine the mistakes you made. You can learn a lot from those images by pointing out the missing qualities in order to avoid those missteps in the future.

As a last tip, it has to be said that you need to be patient. Photography is an art and it takes time and effort to master all the different external and internal factors. Find your own style and learn from your mistakes.

We hope this small introduction to the world of photography was helpful to you and could provide you with one or two useful tips. Good luck and success for your future photo sessions.

History of the cameras – Timeline

An overview on how cameras evolved in a detailed timeline, from camera obscura to camera phone.


Camera Obscura, the first pinhole camera was invented by Ibn Al-Haytham. It is a box with a small hole in it, through which light travels and strikes a reflective surface to project an image in colour, upside down. The camera obscura was originally used to observe solar events and in drawing architecture.

Camera Obscura
Camera Obscura


The Daguerreotype Camera by Louis Daguerre is one of the world’s most expensive cameras.

The Daguerreotype Camera
The Daguerreotype Camera


The development of images on paper was made possible by the invention of the camera by Alexander. The earliest photography shop, daguerran parlour was opened in New York by Mr. Wolcott.

Camera by Alexander Wolcott
Camera by Alexander Wolcott


The panoramic camera

The panoramic camera
The panoramic camera


Stereoscope viewer was invented by Oliver Wendell Holmes.

SterStereoscope viewer eoscope viewer
Stereoscope viewer


George Eastman, a pioneer in photographic films usage, patented Kodak roll-film camera.

Kodak roll-film camera
Kodak roll-film camera


The Kodak Brownie Camera by Eastman.

The Brownie
The Brownie

The most desirable travel camera for landscape photographers, Raisecamera, was invented.

Travel Camera
Travel Camera


Candid camera, the first 35mm still camera by Oskar Barnack.

35mm still camera
35mm still camera


Edwin Land invented the Polaroid camera which could take a picture and print it in about one minute was invented by Edwin Land.

Polaroid camera
Polaroid camera


Underwater camera for U.S. Navy by EG&G.


First autofocus camera Konica C35 AF by Konica.

Konica C35 AF by Konica
Konica C35 AF by Konica


Sony Mavica – The world’s first digital electronic still camera.

Sony Mavica
Sony Mavica


The disposable camera introduced by Fuji (also called single use cameras).


Kodak released the first professional digital camera system (DCS) which was widely used by photojournalists.

Professional digital camera system
Professional digital camera system


The first digital cameras that worked with a home computer via a serial cable were the Apple QuickTake 100 camera (1994), the Kodak DC40 camera (1995), the Casio QV-11 with LCD screen (1995) and Sony’s Cyber-Shot Digital Still Camera (1996).


The world’s first camera phone.

Camera Phone
Camera Phone


The canon EOS 5D is launched.

Canon EOS 5D
Canon EOS 5D

The World’s First Photograph Ever Taken

The first photo picture depicting a view from the window at Le Gras was taken in 1825 by a French inventor Joseph Niepce.

View from the Window at Le Gras, 1826–27 (manually enhanced version)
View from the Window at Le Gras, 1826–27     (manually enhanced version)
World's first photograph - Original Plate
World’s first photograph – Original Plate

The world’s first photograph, housed in its original presentational frame and sealed within an atmosphere of inert gas in an airtight steel and Plexiglas storage frame, must be viewed under controlled lighting in order for its image to be visible. In general, this procedure requires viewing the plane of the pewter plate at an angle of approximately 30° to the perpendicular and in exact opposition to a point source of light, preferably within a darkened environment free of other incidental light sources.

The view, made from an upper, rear window of the Niépce family home in Burgundy, represents (from left to right): the upper loft (or, so-called “pigeon-house”) of the family house; a pear tree with a patch of sky showing through an opening in the branches; the slanting roof of the barn, with the long roof & low chimney of the bake house behind it; and, on the right, another wing of the family

By that time people already knew how to project pictures, they just didn’t know how to preserve and save light. Niepce came up with the idea of using a petroleum derivative called “Bitumen of Judea”. Bitumen hardens with exposure to light and the unhardened material was then washed away. The metal plate, was then polished rendering a negative image which then was coated with ink producing a print. One of the numerous problems with this method was that the metal plate was heavy, expensive to produce, and took a lot of time to polish.

Camera Obscura:

Photography is an art form invented in 1839. Before photography was created, people already knew the principles of how it eventually got to work. They could process the image on the wall or piece of paper, however no printing was possible as preserving light was lot harder task than projecting it. Around for a few centuries before photography came along, the instrument that people used for processing pictures was called the Camera Obscura (which is Latin for the Dark Room).

Camera Obscura - In Action
Camera Obscura – In Action
Use of Camera Obscura
Use of Camera Obscura

Today analogue photography is based on the principles on which camera obscura works. Camera Obscura is essentially a dark, closed box with a hole on one side of it. The hole has to be small enough in proportion to the box to make the camera obscura work properly. It works on the optical laws, the light coming through a tiny hole transforms and creates an image on the surface that it meets, i.e. the wall of the box. The image will be mirrored and upside down. In the mid 16th century, Giovanni Battista della Portacentury, an Italian scholar, wrote an essay on how to use camera obscura to make the drawing process easier. He projected the image of people outside the camera obscura on the canvas inside of it (camera obscura was a rather big room in this case) and then drew over the image.

Learn the Basic Steps in Creating Beautiful Analog Photos

There have been two discussions regarding analog photography in this blog, namely: Analog Photography in Digital Times (http://www.scancorner.co.uk/blog/analog-photography-in-digital-times/ ) and Analog Photography Vs Digital Photography (http://www.scancorner.co.uk/blog/analog-photography-vs-digital-photography-a-comparison/ ).

Have you read the above mentioned articles? Did these discussions entice you to discover your skills in analog photography?

If you are interested in learning the art of analog photography, then this article is intended to teach you how to create beautiful analog pictures.

The Ten Basic Steps:

  1. Bring your camera everywhere you go.

Taking photos is not always planned. It happens at any moment that you find the need to capture a precious moment. You will never know when an important or breathtaking event happens before your eyes, so it is best to have your camera tucked with you always.

  1. Use your camera anytime of the day or night.

Every time of the day is special for you and your camera. Every moment is very monumental. Taking photos of your daily activities or experiences will help you live your life not only for the present but it will also enable you to conserve the present for your future.

  1. Accept that photography is a part of your life.

Once you embrace the art of photography, you will become accustomed to having your camera as a necessity of your life. You will find it impossible to get on with your daily living without your camera in tow.

  1. Try the shot from the hip.

Do not limit yourself with the usual photographic point of view, which is taking photos of your subject’s face. Try to make a difference by taking photos of the areas from the hip and below. This is a least ventured angle and you will surely be amazed with what the images that you will create.

  1. Approach your subject as close as possible.

An essential part of your photographic existence is to find out the bottom of things and to investigate the world from the inside. Before you take photos of your subject, try to get to know your subject up-close so you will be able to create images that are meaningful.

  1. Let your raw ideas flow.

Do not lose important moments just because you are still deciding whether that moment is worth taking pictures of or not. Photograph anything that catches your eyes or whatever that attracts, excites or astounds you. Just have fun while taking photos.

  1. Be swift.

Events happen before our eyes in a split second, thus if you want to capture that special moment, then you must be fast and attentive.

  1. Do not oblige yourself to know beforehand what you have captured on film.

Taking photos must be fun, you do it because the moment is so meaningful and you cannot let it pass without documenting it. Let your creativity flow by not thinking of what the captured image looks like. It is part of the fun not knowing what the end product is.

  1. There is no need for you to see what you have captured on film right after your take the shot.

Analog format cameras do not have preview screens, so you will only see the image that you have captured right after your film is processed. There is actually no need for you to see ahead of time what the end product is. You just have to take photos as long as you still have available film.

  1. Don’t restrict yourself with the rules.

The art of photography lays in your interest to document events and experiences that comes your way. You do not have to restrict yourself with the rules. Just be yourself, take photos of anything the captures your attention and those that make you happy.

So get your analog camera and start clicking! Don’t forget to have fun!

History Of Photography (Part I): Definition of Photography and the Invention of the Camera

Today, photography has become the largest growing hobby in the world. However, not all photography enthusiasts know the history of this art.

Are you wondering where and when the art called “photography” started? Do you want to discover how your current hobby developed?

If your answers to these questions is yes, then let this article provide you with most important details regarding the history of photography and the invention of the camera.

Since the history of photography is quite long, this discussion has been divided into three sections. This article is just the first part of the three-part discussion on the history of photography.

So, what is photography?

Photography is a word derived from the Greek words φς (phos) or “photos” meaning “light” and γραφή (graphê) or “graphien” meaning “to draw”, thus the word photography means “drawing with light”. This word was first used by Sir John F.W. Herschel, a scientist, in 1839.

The history of photography commenced with the invention and development of the camera and the creation of permanent images starting with Thomas Wedgwood in 1790 and it was culminated by the work of Joseph Nicephore Niepce, a French inventor, in 1826.

Invention of the Camera:

Even before the invention of a camera, people in the early days already knew the principles of photography. They were able to process images on the wall or on a piece of paper; however, they were not able to print these images. The instrument that they used to process pictures was called Camera Obscura. It was invented by Alhazen (Ibn Al-Haytham), a great authority on optics in the Middle Ages who lived around 1000 AD. Camera Obscura was the first pinhole camera ever invented.

Camera Obscura is essentially a dark, closed space in the shape of a box with a hole on one of its side. The hole has to be small enough in proportion to the box in order for it to work.

The first photograph

On a summer day in 1827, the first photograph was taken by Joseph Niepce, a French inventor. The photo depicted a view from the window at Le Gras. Joseph Niepce called his prints as heliographs or sun prints, which is the prototype of the modern photograph.

Further developments

  • In 1888, Eastman’s Kodak camera went to the market and this led to mass use of cameras. Their slogan was, “You press the button, we do the rest.”
  • In 1901 the Kodak Brownie was introduced, which became the first commercial camera in the market available for the middle class society. It only took black and white shots, but it was still very popular because of its efficiency.
  • In the middle of the 20th century, color photography became commercially valuable. Several color photography methods were patented from 1862 onwards by two French inventors, namely, Louis Ducos de Hauron and Charlec Cros Practical.
  • In 1907, the first practical color plate reached the market. The method it used was based on a screen of filters. The screen let filtered red, green and / or blue light through and it was then developed to a negative and later on reversed to a positive.
  • In 1861, the first color photo, an image of a tartan ribbon, was taken by the famous Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell.
  • In 1839, Louis Daguerra took the very first picture which has a human in it. It was called the Boulevard du Temple.

Popular Names in the early days of photography:

  1. Alfred Stieglitz – is an American photographer and a promoter for modern art. It is believed by many that he made photography as the art that it is today.
  2. Felix Nadar – is a pseudonym of Gaspard-Felix Tournachon, a French caricaturist and journalist. When photography emerged he became a photographer. He is most famous for pioneering the use of artificial lightning in photography.
  3. Henri Cartier-Bresson – is a French photographer who is believed to be the father of photojournalism. He is most famous for creating the “street photography” style of photojournalism.

Stay tuned for the second and third parts of this interesting discussion regarding the history of photography.