Brief History of Photography

My three-year old niece enjoyed playing in the park, the light was great and her mother did not hesitate to take some pictures with her cell phone, chose some and shared on her Facebook, 150 km. away.  I could take a few minutes to see her grow, almost in real-time. It was not always so. The first of my nieces, now a mother, when she wants to see her childhood photos she must go to the old family albums, preserved with care and with the photographs losing colour over the years.

The word “photography” comes from the Greek photo (light) and graph (writing). We may conclude that photography is writing LIGHT.
A more precise definition is: Photography is the science and art of capturing images using various techniques LIGHT SENSITIVE AND PRESERVATION IN VARIOUS MATERIALS OR ELECTRONICALLY.

For thousands of years humans tried to capture images that remain in time as a need for assistance to the collective memory. In 1839, with the worldwide dissemination of the first photographic process, the daguerreotype begins the history of photography.

An important background of the photograph, are the camera obscura and research on the blackening of silver salts. Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) (965-1040) conducted several experiments on the camera obscura and pinhole camera.

In 1685 according to treaties published by Zahn, the camera was ready for photography, but still could not fix images. If a box will allow the passage of external light only through a small hole in the center of one wall, the external image is projected upside down on the wall opposite the hole.

In 1826, the French scientist Nicephore Niepce obtained the first photographic images, unpublished, that could not be permanently fixed. Some materials are more sensitive to light than others, we can notice when for example some objects have been left for some time
on metal or paper and on removal the silhouette remains with a different color tone.

The oldest photograph that remains is a reproduction of the image known as  The View from the Window at Le Gras, obtained in 1826 with the use of a camera obscura and supports through a chemical emulsion of silver salts.

In 1839, Louis Daguerre made ​​public its process for obtaining photographs onto a polished silver surface, which he called daguerreotype. This solved some technical problems of the initial Niepce and reduced exposure times required. Almost at the same time Hercules Florence, Hippoly the Bayard and William Fox Talbot developed alternative methods. The one created   by Fox Talbot by negative on a paper, and from these negatives reproduced positive prints, also on paper. The negative-positive process called calotype of Talbot.

In 1855 the wet collodion negative triumphed, which allowed many paper copies positive to albumin, with great clarity and tonal range. These copies of albumin were the type most commonly used photo paper in the second half of the nineteenth century. All these systems were very traditional.

The first color photograph was taken by the physicist James Clerk Maxwell in 1861, making three successive photographs with a different filter each time: red, green and blue.

After 1880 it was possible to purchase the new plates to dry gelatin-bromide, which were no longer craft, but were manufactured industrially.
In 1880 the technique of halftone printing was invented, which is the predecessor of the current offset and color photography process.

In 1888, Kodak brought to market a camera that used roll of film, rather than flat plates.
The first true color photographic plate chrome-Auto-Lumière did not arrive on the market until 1907. These plates were chrome auto glass slides.

In 1913 comes the first Leica and  in 1936 the first 35 mm SLR., The Kine-Exacta.
The first modern color film, Koda Chrome was first used in 1935.

The first initiative of artistic photography comes in 1890 in Europe. A group of photographers make manipulation techniques in making and positivism, and suggests that resulting from its use is a work of photographic art.

1950 a new industrial processes make it possible to increase greatly the speed and light sensitivity of films in color and black and white. The latter rate was increased from a maximum of ISO 100 to ISO 5000, while the color is multiplied by ten.

1960  the first VTR (Video Tape Recorder, that in 1951  were already able to capture TV images, turning them into an electrical signal and store them on magnetic media) are used by NASA to capture the first electronic pictures of Mars.

The appearance of the first digital camera in 1990 is the basis for the immediate creation of images.
Since its invention, photography credibility as a witness had full unquestionable reality due to the operation of the capture device. Subsequently, the means of recording reality has been considered an ideological position, which has nothing to do with the neutral and objective function.
New digital technologies have the ability to convert the real and intervene on the record of the image, to the extent to manipulate and distort images without losing the photographic realism with which they were captured.
From the daguerreotype in 1839 to the digital camera in 1990, evolution of photography has changed the way we communicate, it is notable also that the definition photography won as lost credibility, but never ceases to amaze us as technique  or art it affects us emotionally and awakens our memories and feelings.

It is quite true that a simple picture is worth a thousand words.

Macas, the capital of Morona Santiago Province, Ecuador

Macas is the capital of Morona Santiago province in southeastern Ecuador Macas lies in the Upano Valley overlooking the Upano river. Founded by the spanish in 1538 it was originally called Sevilla del Oro, but ´refounded´ Macas in 1599.

View of the Upano River from the roof of the Cathedral.

The city has a population of around 14,000 inhabitants and along with Tena and Puyo serves as one of Ecuador’s main staging points for the colonization of the Amazon and the subjugation of its indigenous people. Plenty of tourist activities are available here. The Sangay Volcano provides  and trekking. The communities of Shuar and Macabea live close by. You can visit these communities to get an insiders view of life.

The active and mighty Sangay volcano overlooks the city with an altitude of 5230 masl.

The Sangay Volcano, showing it´s might.

The name of the city comes from the Macas tribe, the Cañari, who alongside the Huamboyas were the first to establish a friendship with the Spaniards.

There is a small but delightful park, along with butterfly garden and orchid garden. The sounds of the jungle are prominent here.

The inside of the Cathedral is stunning, the windows are all stained glass and each one tells a story.

Macas is around 1,070 masl, but still in the Amazon Region, the climate is not too hot and not too cold.

The ´Nuestra Señora Purísima de Macas´overlooks the city, every year a peregrination takes place.  The original Virgin is in the Cathedral.

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What is ISO and what does is mean.

ISO is short for International Organizational Standard.  In the photographic world, ISO is most commonly referred to as a film rating system. In terms of film, ISO is used as a rating system to tell you how sensitive the film is to light, or how fast the film is.  The lower the ISO number (i.e. 50) the more time the film needs to be exposed.  The faster the ISO film speed, less light is required to take a picture.  Increasing the sensitivity setting makes the sensor twice as sensitive.

Increasing the ISO and keeping the shutter speed the same will allow you to shoot at a smaller lens opening (f/stop). That will increase the depth-of-field and increase the zone of sharpness that extends behind and in front of the point of focus.

Adjusting the ISO changes how the camera responds to a given quantity of light. These increases come at a price, however. As sensitivity increases, so does “noise.” Noise is the mottled, grainy-looking texture that appears when you shoot at a high ISO.

Leaving your camera’s ISO setting on Auto is a mistake. The camera could use a higher setting than necessary and cause your image to appear grainy or noisy. You don’t want that. Besides, you cannot accurately control the aperture setting or shutter speed setting unless you also control the ISO sensitivity.

What is the best ISO for each situation?

When you have no tripod or there is low light it´s best to increase the ISO of you camera. This will give you a slightly faster shutter speed.

When you have a tripod, or the light is good use a low ISO to avoid the noise.

So what is ISO?

ISO is a standard telling you how sensitive your film/digital sensor is to light.

  • Higher the ISO, the more sensitive the film/sensor is to light.
  • ISO speed affects allowed aperture and shutter speed combinations.
  • Higher the ISO, the more grainy or noisy pictures may appear.

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Tena & Misahualli, Amazonia, Ecuador

Tena is the capital of the Napo province in the orient of Ecuador. At 420 metres above sea level and with around 35,000 habitants it is a small but delightful city.

The main square of Tena

It is known as the Cinnamon capital of Ecuador and originally founded by missionary explorers. It is a popular place to organize trips into the jungle, rafting and kayaking trips.

The union of the Rivers Tena and Pano, take from the pedestrian bridge.

At the confluence of the Tena and Pano rivers in the center of town lies a popular pedestrian bridge.

The pedrestrian bridge of Tena.

The rivers become the Tena River, which soon joins with the Misahualli and eventually flows into the Napo River. The Napo winds its way south into Peru, and is in effect the 9th largest tributary to the Amazon River.

The beach of Misahualli.

Close to Tena is Misahualli a small village and the first Amazonic port in Ecuador. From here you can visit the community of Shiripuno. Where you can learn the ways of the local women of the community.

The women of Shiripuno. Photo courtesy of Amelie Leman.

There are eco-cabins to stay overnight, handicrafts, dance and music, you can learn how to make chocolate, eat local food, pay a visit to the local shaman at the sacred stone.

The sacred stone. Photo courtesy of Amelie Leman.

Cacao drying on the roadside.

Learn how to  hunt and fish in the traditional ways of the kichwa people. If you have more than just a few days why not consider volunteering. It is a well worth place to visit if you decide to take a trip to the Amazon region of Ecuador.

Handicrafts made by the women of the Shiripuno Community. Photo courtesy of Amelie Leman.

Click here for information on the Travel agency of Teorumi  

Click here for information on the community of   Shiripuno

The monkeys is the main square of Misahualli are mischievous and funny, frequently stealing bottles of water, keys and anything else that catches their eye.

Friendly but naughty monkeys live in the main square of Puerto Misahualli.

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