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World Record Light Painting Orbs Photo

An ambitious project produces an impressive photo

If you're a photography enthusiast, there's a good chance you've messed around a little with light painting. But, while some of us are waving a flashlight around in the dark, serious light painters are making cool pieces like this world record image.
The photo is made up of 200 individual "orbs" that were created using a special spinning tool created specifically for crafting the effect. Lots of planning went into the shot and the behind-the-scenes video posted below is a testament to how much work it takes to make something like this.
If you want to try some more subtle light painting techniques, you can check out this awesome tutorial.
World Record Light Painting Orbs Photo
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

200 Orbs record light painting photo

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Here�s how a kid from Texas became a master

On November 4, 1984, Mark Seliger, all long limbs, wide eyes, and 24-year-old energy, arrived in New York City, where he began an extended stay at his brother’s place in Brooklyn...

Seliger 1
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Seliger 1

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Tips For Photography Against a White Background

A great lesson in one of photography's most deceptively tricky techniques

Shooting a photo in front of a clean white background seems like it should be the easiest thing in the world. Then, you actually try it. There are odd shadows everywhere and the background refuses to look even. Then, you blow out the background and get odd fringes on your subject. Or, the whole thing just looks gray. Lighting guru Zack Arias, has put together some extensive video tutorials on how to get effective shots against a white backdrop and it's worth watching if you don't have this type of shot on lock.
There's a surprising amount of subtlety involved with getting everything just right and Zack does a really good job of explaining it. So, give it a watch and then give it a try. It will probably take a few tries before you're feeling like Richard Avedon, but photography is a wonderful and sometimes frustrating process. That's part of why we love it.
Tips For Photography Against a White Background
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Tips For Photography Against a White Background

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Experts weigh in on how to perfect structural shooting

As humans, and as photographers, we’re drawn to structures. Cloud-kissing skyscrapers, simple suburban houses, cathedrals, ramshackle garden sheds—any kind of structure can make a great subject. Here, four masters of the genre explain how to make your architectural photographs soar.

“It’s what makes us human,” says Adrian Gaut of our fascination with making pictures of our structures, “the ability to transcend the environment.”

Adrian Gaut went digital with this image from his series photographing Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA. Shot just before his switch to Nikon, with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and 70-200 f/4L Canon EF lens. Exposure: 1/500 sec at f/18, ISO 400.

Gaut, a New York City–based commercial pro, represents a breed of architectural photographers who make pictures not primarily for a design firm, but as part of larger projects or personal work.

Such artists combine their literal representations of buildings with an overlay of metaphor. As Christopher Griffith, also based in New York, puts it, photographing architecture is “a testament to the idea, the sensation, that it’s even possible to build these kinds of things—the sort of awe that human beings have at the ability to create [them].”

Anyone who feels this awe can learn to express it in photographs.

Developing a Style

Your point of view, both in terms of where you set your camera and what the structure means to you, will be a defining feature of your architectural photographs. Shoot to find out what you are drawn to, and go from there.

Gaut’s style, for example, is dominated by angles and a closer perspective than is typically seen in architectural photography—a characteristic born of necessity. He had purchased a used 4x5 rig on eBay that he thought came with a 90mm lens (extra-wide on this large-format camera), but in fact was outfitted with a 210mm (short telephoto) lens. “At the time I couldn’t afford to buy other lenses,” he says. “So I started shooting with the longer lens and found I was able to get something more unique, and more consistent with my vision of architecture. It also allowed me to shoot buildings that I considered not necessarily interesting as a whole—but [whose details] held a lot of potential. Once I could afford more lenses, I still felt connected with that way of working.”

Ashok Sinha captured these curves, above, using a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and 16-35mm f/2.8L Canon EF Lens. Exposure was 1/30 sec at f/4, ISO 320.

If Gaut is all about angles, Ashok Sinha, another New York–based photographer, is all about curves. His picture of the staircase in the Frank Gehry–designed Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto is above. “I find a curve to be a strong visual element, especially for architecture, where everything is [usually] very straight. It adds a bit of flavor to the pictures—it makes them pop.”

Seats by Christopher Griffith; shot with a 4x5 Linhof Master Technika Camera, 150mm Rodenstock lens, Kodak Portra 400 film.

Griffith, in the meantime, focuses on repeating patterns, as can be seen in his shot of the Shanghai Grand Theatre.

Matthias Haker, a Dresden-based commercial photographer, is clearly drawn to spirals and tubes, as can be seen in his photo of a station in the London underground. “I’m fascinated by spiral staircases,” he says. “It’s a typical situation that I photograph a spiral staircase in some office building. . .and as the people who work there see me lying on the floor, they start to look up and actually realize how beautiful it [is]—even though they’re used to seeing it every day.”

The lesson? Think about what visual elements in the built environment most draw your own eye, and frame the scene in
a way that brings these elements to the forefront.

Matthias Haker went underground for this image. Sony A900 and 17-35mm f2.8-f/4 Konica Minolta AF lens; exposure 1/10 sec at f/3.5, ISO 200.

Finding Subjects

Identifying structures to photograph is “a mixture of serendipity and some planning,” Gaut says. “I travel a lot, and sometimes I’ll have a list of things that look interesting, sometimes from guidebooks. Sometimes I’ll file subjects away for future trips, but I’ve always got my eyes open.” His advice: Take a look at the building next to the one you were interested in. “Sometimes flagship buildings by major architects are less interesting than the ones that don’t get the press.”

For the image above, Sinha had a free day in Toronto on a commercial shoot, so he headed out. “I always love going to art galleries. The Art Gallery of Toronto is not only known for the collections but the architecture in general. And I had always wanted to see Gehry’s staircases.”

Like these two photographers, Haker tends to research buildings to photograph for his personal work, which he does on top of commercial assignments. “Before I travel, I spend a lot of time searching online for places of interest,” he says. “Photo communities have made that research easy. Besides those, I check books about architecture as well as architectural websites or forums.”

But some shooters find subjects without much of a search—you just have to look up. With mundane buildings, the challenge lies in transforming them through photography. “I’m never particularly concerned about the representation of reality,” Griffith says. “It’s very rare that I look at a building and say, ‘I want to be true to how it sits and lives in the environment and the horizon.’ I’m much more about how the three-dimensional world fits into a two-dimensional box. I’m always trying to make things look larger than life, more monumental.”

Adrian Gaut used a Pentax 6x7 camera and 75mm f/4.5 Pentax SMC lens to record the building and pattern of repeating light and shadow. Film: Kodak Tri-X 320. Exposure: 1/500 sec at f/16.

Selecting Gear

Because these four photographers are busy pros, they work a wide variety of jobs. And so they have settled on full-frame DSLRs and ILCs, primarily with zoom lenses. Gaut uses the Nikon D810-series cameras; Sinha prefers the Canon EOS 5D series; and Haker is a Sony man, working with Alpha 900, Alpha 7R, and Alpha 99.

“It gives me the right amount of flexibility across a lot of different jobs,” Gaut says of a full-frame DSLR system. “Still life, portraits, aerial—it’s a real boon for me.” For architectural work, he commonly uses a longer-than-expected 70–200mm f/2.8 AF Zoom Nikkor.

Griffith is the outlier of the bunch. For his architectural studies he uses a 4x5 Linhof Master Technika, Rodenstock lenses, and—take a deep breath—film. Architectural work is, he says, “oddly enough, not something that I necessarily make a living at. I do it for myself. There’s no crew, there’s no producer; it’s you and a 4x5 camera. It lets you get back to a solitary way of shooting.”

While for most of his commercial work, he’s all digital (Nikon As humans, and as photographers, we’re drawn to structures. Cloud-kissing skyscrapers, simple suburban houses, cathedrals, ramshackle garden sheds—any kind of structure can make a great subject. Here, four masters of the genre explain how to make your architectural photographs soar. By Dan Richards and D810s and a Hasselblad H4 with Leaf back), for personal work he likes shooting with film because, he says, it “forces you to make decisions. I can shoot everything under the sun if I shoot digital. With film, I’ll shoot two or three things and I’m done.” Griffith does make one concession to speed—he uses a Linhof viewfinder, similar to cinematographers’ framing optics, to establish starting compositions.

Making Decisions

Christopher Griffith captured this section of the Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower using his 4x5 Linhof Master Technika camera and a 90mm Rodenstock lens. Film: Kodak Tri-X 400.

None of our four shooters are equipment-obsessive. As with most types of photography, making a great architectural image depends not on the subject or the gear you shoot it with but on the decisions you make while shooting. For that, these pros offer some nuggets of wisdom.

“Work with the equipment that you have, the equipment you’re comfortable with, and find an approach that works for you—in my case, shooting with longer lenses,” says Gaut.

Sinha urges you to pay attention to light. “I’m always observing light,” he says. “I am always making notes about light and looking at the shadows.” And don’t shy away from backlight. As he points out in his picture of the Frank Gehry staircase, the backlight coming from the ceiling and glinting off the wooden banisters defines the form.

Griffith has an unusual piece of advice: Shoot less. During a location still-life workshop he led, he directed participants to limit the number of pictures they would take in any given session to 50 clicks. As everyone was shooting digital, he relied on the honor system. “It’s like having 50 sheets of film,” he says. “That kind of discipline, and those kinds of exercises, really force you to home in on not the picture that you can take, but the picture that you want to take. The problem [with digital] is that it doesn’t hone your eye. I’m guilty of this as well. I’ll be shooting a commercial job, and after a day I’ll have shot 800 to a thousand pictures—how the hell did I shoot that many? This is not an anti-digital argument at all. It’s purely the exercise of patience, the patience of taking photographs and forcing yourself to really make decisions.”

“You don’t need amazing buildings to make interesting pictures,” adds Gaut. “The big lesson is to work with what you have and go from there. You can take a great picture with a so-so lens—if you’ve got the vision.”

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Leica M-P Edition Safari

This special edition Leica is actually built to resist wear

Leica has more fancy cameras to announce this week in addition to their pre-worn 'Correspondent.' The Leica M-P Edition 'Safari' is a little less controversial and still very pretty.
The camera is a pretty standard M-P, but it has a hard-wearing, olive green enamel finish that helps protect it from the elements. That's actually sort of funny when you compare it to their other camera that comes pre-tarnished.
Leica actually has a long history of 'Safari' edition cameras, with that Olive green coloring going back several decades in the M-series.
The camera comes with the Summicron-M 35mm F/2 ASPH lens, which is nice and compact for a travel camera. As you might expect, there are even more stylish flourishes in the package, including a cowhide strap and wallet for holding memory cards.
As always, it's a limited Leica, so it will be very expensive, but we don't have to tell you that by now. If you were going to splurge for one, would you go green or get the classic black? I know which way I'd lean.
Leica M-P Edition Safari
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Leica M-P Edition 'Safari'

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Photoshop Tools And Their Darkroom Equivalents

The dodge tool is more than the "O" key in your Photoshop shortcuts

By now, you're probably explicitly familiar with many of the tools in Photoshop. Even if you don't know their names, you recognize their little icons and have the shortcuts memorized. But, if you have never spent much time in the darkroom, you might not know that many of the tools have analog photography roots.
This video shows the process of making a print the old fashioned way in a darkroom. Along the way, the presenter does a great job explaining the tools and how they influenced the digital tools we currently use in our software programs.
If you've never made an analog print, you might not know that a dodge tool was, most of the time, a simple piece of card stock or paper attached to a wire. For many people it's just the "O" key on their keyboard.
While this knowledge may never come in handy for many people as darkrooms become harder and harder to come by, I highly recommend trying the analog printing process at least once if you haven't. There really is nothing quite like blowing through a bunch of paper in trial and error before seeing the perfect print materialize in the tray before you. I can practically smell the chemicals just thinking about it.
From: ISO 1200
Photoshop Tools And Their Darkroom Equivalents
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Photoshop Tools And Their Darkroom Equivalents

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In photography, darkness can be just as important as the light

If photography is writing with light, darkness is the punctuation. Darkness defines shapes, makes two dimensions look like three, and heightens drama. It can even be a subject in itself. Here are 10 ways to achieve dark victory.

Nature photographer Marsel Van Oosten captured this wild brown bear at sunset in Katmai National Park, Alaska. He shot a burst using his Nikon D2Xs with a 600mm f/4G AF-S Nikkor ED lens; 1/2000 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200. Photo: Marsel Van Oosten

1. Take silhouettes

This time-honored (and often clichéd) technique defines forms by reducing them to dead black. It’s easiest to do when your subject is backlit; for a perfect sillo, meter off the bright background.

•Tip: Increase dimensional interest by allowing the edges of the subject to be rimlit; shoot bursts for a moving animal such as the bear above.

2. Exploit dark shade to define the shapes of trees

While direct overhead or near overhead sunlight is usually considered a no-no, photographing globular-shaped trees in full leaf and full sun can produce dramatic results. The small shadows cast by the trees make great design elements, particularly in wider-angle scenes with multiple trees as subjects.

•Tip: Shoot beach umbrellas or café umbrellas at high noon to allow the shadows to define their form. This is especially effective from above.

For a dramatic blue-hour portrait, let the background go underexposed. Photograph by Sarah Belin; Nikon D40X with 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 Nikkor lens; 1/1000 sec at f/4.8, ISO 800. Photo: Sarah Belin

3. Use “negative reflectors” to define form

Black cards or panels, also known as flags, are popular among portrait and product photographers. They can tone down too-bright areas, prevent spillover from studio lights, and add shape-defining shadows. A more specialized device, called a gobo, fits over a studio light either to narrow the beam with a partial black covering or to project a pattern in black.

•Tip: Create a sense of mystery in portraits by partially blocking studio lighting so that an area of the scene is thrown completely into shadow. Try it on the diagonal!

4. Tone down image noise with dark-frame noise reduction

Dark areas of a photo get far noisier than the lighter areas, which can be a problem in late-day or night photography. Long-exposure noise reduction in DSLRs and ILCs (it’s a menu option) takes a second frame that is black—no exposure—then uses this frame to subtract much of the noise from the actual exposure. It typically doubles your exposure times, but they’re going to be longish anyway.

•Tip: In photos with heavy shadows taken at high ISOs, convert to black-and-white—the noise gain is far less objectionable.

Exposure compensation works wonders when shooting live music in dark venues. Photo: Jeanette D. Moses

5. Use shadows to give dimension to landforms

There’s a reason landscape photographers love the “golden hours” after sunrise and before sunset, and it’s not just the color. The low-angled light creates dark shadows that create a three-dimensional effect; shoot from the north or south for effective sidelighting.

•Tip: For shadowy landscapes, spotmeter on medium-bright areas and let the shadows fall where they may.

6. Employ exposure compensation

If the scene is dark, the exposure should be dark (within reason). Use exposure comp to maintain darkness—and remember, it works in all modes, even manual. Don’t worry about a perfectly centered histogram—it should, in fact, fall off the cliff in the shadows—that is, get clipped on the left side of the graph.

•Tip: Don’t forget about white balance—set a tungsten WB on your camera in daylight to simulate the bluish light of late day or heavily shaded scenes.

A flash brightens up the subject and keeps the background dark. Photo: Stan Horaczek

7. Use day for night

This is handheld night photography made easy. To make a daytime scene look like nighttime, simply underexpose it. We mean seriously underexpose it—by as much as four stops. You can make city scenes more realistic by dodging highlights into streetlamps or windows during postproduction to make them look lit.

•Tip: To add a dreamy quality to a day-for-night scene with moving water or windblown trees, reduce the light hitting your sensor by using an overall neutral-density filter. This will allow you to set a long exposure.

8. Add light to the dark

For added drama, use flash for the foreground in dark outdoor scenes. Flash shots of people near the end of the blue hour, for example, can be particularly effective. Be sure to keep the background exposure dark; for a somewhat more realistic effect, dial down your flash unit to – 1 to –2 EV.

•Tip: Simulate the light of the setting sun (even if there is none) by putting an amber gel over your flash head. Keep the camera’s white balance at daylight.

Cathryn Gallacher shot this from Copenhagen’s Rundetårn with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and 24–70mm f/2.8L Canon EF lens; 1/100 sec at f/13, ISO 100. Photo: Cathryn Gallacher

9. Use shadow patterns to create texture

A portrait or still life taken with window light streaming through open blinds, for example.“Venetian blind lighting” became a staple of film noir in the ’40s and ’50s.

•Tip: Create shadow patterns with the use of a cuculoris, or “cookie.” Simply create a panel with patterns cut out in it, and place it in front of a studio light. It’s an easy DIY project.

10. Define a frame with darkness

Use a tunnel, a dark interior window frame, or a backlit foreground landform as a natural framing device. Be sure to expose for the scene that’s inside the frame, not for the frame itself.

•Tip: Use features in dark shadow to define the planes in cityscape photography.

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Panasonic 42.5mm F/1.7 Portrait Lens

Two new micro four thirds lenses enter the Panasonic line-up

Things have been a little quiet on the Panasonic camera front lately, but today they have two new lenses for their micro four thirds Lumix-series cameras. They include the 42.5mm F/1.7 ASPH./Power OIS and the 30mm F/2.8 ASPH./Mega OIS.
The 42.5mm F/1.7 is a straight up portrait lens with a fast aperture and a full-frame equivalent field of view of an 85mm lens. It's made up of 10 elements in eight groups, and focuses to 12.2-inches, which is pretty close to a lens with this field of view. As the name suggests, it also has built-in optical image stabilization. It will be available in May.
The 30mm F/2.8 ASPH. MEGA OIS lens is a true macro that achieves 1x magnification. It has a full-frame equivalent field of view of a 60mm lens, which is a very common focal length for macro lenses. It focuses down to 4.13-inches and has nine lenses in nine groups. It also has OIS, which is important when shooting macro. That lens will also be available in May.
Panasonic 42.5mm F/1.7 Portrait Lens
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Panasonic 42.5mm F/1.7 Portrait Lens

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Moment Smartphone Lenses

Add interchangeable lenses to your smartphone

From the bayonet mounting system to the weight of solid glass in your hand, a photographer will recognize that Moment lenses are smartphone accessories of a more serious nature.
Available in approximately 18 mm and 60 mm equivalents, Moment lenses come with a sticky steel mounting plate that adheres permanently around the camera lens on your smartphone. The five-element wide lens and the four-element 2X tele twist onto the mount much like a SLR camera. The plate’s slim 0.3mm profile means most any case will still fit your phone, and if the case is thin enough, you won’t have to remove it to add on a Moment lens.
Moment is the brainchild of Mark Barros, former of CEO of Contour, the other brand of action cam shadowed by the more famous GoPro, which Barros started from his parents’ home just after college graduation. Nine years spent leading a camera company gave Barros plenty of industry insight and connections with which to launch his foray into the mobile photography accessory world.
Perhaps especially useful when traveling, Moment lenses offer a bit more reach for your phone (as we know, smartphone image quality drops dramatically when zooming in) or a wider perspective when needed. Small carrying bags help keep lint off the lens, or Moment also recently introduced a lens pen that looks interesting. If your smartphone is becoming an increasingly important tool in your kit, Moment lenses are a high-quality, advantageous – if slightly extravagant at $100 each – upgrade to the camera that’s always with you.
Moment lenses fit iPhone 4 through 6 plus, the iPad Air/Mini, Galaxy S4, S5 and Note 3 and the Nexus 5.
Here's a shot with the 18mm lens
This was shot with the typical 28mm iPhone 6 camera
And here's the 60mm lens
Moment is currently in the last stages of their Kickstarter for the new Moment Case, which we're looking forward to trying out as well.
Moment Smartphone Lenses
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Moment Smartphone Camera Lenses

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Mark Seliger Vanity Fair Oscars Portraits 2015

A classic set of portraits from a master of the craft

It's becoming a tradition for the talented Mark Seliger to do a pop-up portrait studio at the Vanity Fair Oscars party that captures some of the mega famous people who attend the award show. This year's photos have been posted and they're pretty interesting.
All of the photos were shot in a small room that acted as the studio. The celebrities include a wide variety of names from actors and actresses like Jennifer Anniston, to musicians like Lady Gaga, and, for some reason, even Monica Lewinski.
The studio itself is very well put together, check out the timelapse video of its build below, and offered a backdrop with enough texture and detail to make it more interesting than a typical photo booth, but leaving the focus clearly on the person in the picture. The poses are also expertly done, even if some of them are a bit different, like Oprah's.

Our set going up for this year's #vfoscarparty

A video posted by Mark Seliger (@markseliger) on

There has already been some debate about the lighting setup used to shoot the photos, but it doesn't seem to be a crazy complicated system. The catch lights and the behind-the-scenes video suggests the key light is coming from a rather large scrim, which most of the time stands off to camera left. There's clearly some fill going on, but it's unclear if it's coming from a reflector or another set of lights. There's also some careful flagging (strategically boocking areas from getting too much or any light) and a fair bit of post-production as well to make sure everyone is looking their sparkliest.
Here are a few of our favorites. What do you think of them? Which one is your favorite? Are there any you don't like as much?

A photo posted by Vanity Fair (@vanityfair) on

A photo posted by Vanity Fair (@vanityfair) on

A photo posted by Vanity Fair (@vanityfair) on

A photo posted by Vanity Fair (@vanityfair) on

Mark Seliger Vanity Fair Oscars Portraits 2015
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Mark Seliger Oscars Portraits 2015

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Leica M-P Correspondent Pre-Distressed Camera

A new pre-worn Leica wants to give you instant street cred

One of the appealing things about Leica M-series cameras is that they tend to age extremely well. The finish shows wear in a very appealing way after years and years of shooting. However, if you don't have time for all that, Leica will now sell you a pre-broken-in model called the M-P 'Correspondent,' which was designed by musician Lenny Kravitz.
The camera, like so many other Leicas, is intended as a collector's piece. There will only be 125 sets made and each one will be unique in how it has been worn down. It's kind of like buying a pair of jeans that already have strategically placed rips in the knees.
The kit comes with a Leica M-P rangefinder camera and two lenses: The Summicron-M 35mm F/2 ASPH and the Summilux-M 50mm F/1.4 ASPH, all of which have been rubbed down to reveal the metal under the finish. The straps and camera case are made from black snake skin. leather to match the case. The whole things comes, as you might expect, packed inside a rather fancy suitcase.
While the camera does look excellent, it does seem a little ironic that a camera that looks like it has been in action for years will probably never actually take a single picture. After all, these collector's editions are often more investments than they are cameras people want to actually use. If you're dead set on getting a worn Leica, there are plenty of them on eBay, or you could just buy a new one and put some wear on it with your own shooting. Just be sure to pick the right camera. My giant Konica Minolta digital camera from 2003 hasn't exactly aged like a fine wine.
Leica M-P Correspondent Pre-Distressed Camera
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Leica M-P Correspondent Pre-Distressed Camera

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Creative Live Photoshop Week

Tons of photo editing instruction going on over at Creative Live this week

Last week, Photoshop celebrated its 25th birthday, but this week Creative Live is celebrating the storied photo editing software with six days of instructional seminars.
They currently have two channels with live content broadcasting six days a week with a slew of experts. You can check out the whole schedule over on the Creative Live page, or just tune in when you have some time and see what they're teaching.
And before you ask, no, this isn't a sponsored post. The folks at Creative Live just do a great job, especially when they really dig into a topic like this, so go check it out, or don't. It's up to you.
Creative Live Photoshop Week
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Creative Live Photoshop Week

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Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens

Tech Specs: 19 mm, ISO 200, 1/500 sec, f/10 Adjustments: +0.40 Exposure adjustment, highlights decreased, blacks decreased, shadows and clarity increased in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Click for Full Res Photo: Jeanette D. Moses
Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens

Tech Specs: 15 mm, ISO 200, 1/500 sec, f/5.6 Adjustments: -0.95 Exposure adjustment, shadows and blacks increased in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Click for Full Res Photo: Jeanette D. Moses
Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens

Tech Specs: 15 mm, ISO 12800, 1/60 sec, f/2.8 Adjustments: +0.25 Exposure adjustment, saturation decreased in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Click for Full Res Photo: Jeanette D. Moses
Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens

Tech Specs: 25 mm, ISO 10000, 1/50 sec, f/2.8 Adjustments: +0.55 Exposure adjustment, saturation decreased in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Click for Full Res Photo: Jeanette D. Moses
Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens

Tech Specs: 15 mm, ISO 2500, 1/100 sec, f/3.5 Adjustments: -0.50 Exposure adjustment, highlights and whites decreased, blacks increased in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Click for Full Res Photo: Jeanette D. Moses
Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens

Tech Specs: 15 mm, ISO 200, 1/6400 sec, f/2.8 Adjustments: -0.25 Exposure adjustment, shadows and blacks increased, clarity and vibrance increased in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Click for Full Res Photo: Jeanette D. Moses
Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens

Tech Specs: 30 mm, ISO 200, 1/640 sec, f/2.8 Adjustments: -0.25 Exposure adjustment, blacks decreased in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Click for Full Res Photo: Jeanette D. Moses
Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens

Tech Specs: 24 mm, ISO 12800, 1/80 sec, f/2.8 Adjustments: +0.55 Exposure adjustment, saturation decreased in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Click for Full Res Photo: Jeanette D. Moses
Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens

Tech Specs: 20 mm, ISO 10000, 1/80 sec, f/2.8 Adjustments: +0.60 Exposure adjustment, saturation decreased in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Click for Full Res Photo: Jeanette D. Moses
Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens

Tech Specs: 30 mm, ISO 10000, 1/80 sec, f/2.8 Adjustments: +1.15 Exposure adjustment, saturation decreased in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Click for Full Res Photo: Jeanette D. Moses
Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens

Tech Specs: 20 mm, ISO 10000, 1/80 sec, f/2.8 Adjustments: +0.55 Exposure adjustment, saturation decreased in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Click for Full Res Photo: Jeanette D. Moses

SEE PHOTO GALLERY






First impressions of Tamron�s new ultra-wide zoom

We got a brief chance to interact with a pre-production model of Tamron’s new 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC zoom lens back at Photokina 2014, but now we’re in the midst of testing a full production model. Here are some first impressions after some time spent shooting with it.

The first thing that you’ll notice about the lens is its size. It’s a heavy lens with a lot of glass inside and the front element protrudes far enough that it is impossible to use a protective filter. It does, however, have a protective Fluorine coating that covers the front element of the lens and an integrated, reinforced hood to keep the bulging front element safe.

I spend a lot of time shooting live music in small and often poorly lit venues and was excited to see how this wide angle zoom would perform in low-light—the constant fast f/2.8 aperture that the lens features made it seem like a good fit. I certainly liked the wide view the Tamron gave me while shooting on a small stage.

The layout of of the lens took a little getting used to. The focusing ring is located behind the zoom ring and is rather narrow. Although the USD autofocus was quite good in low-light I often found the palm of my hand brushing against the focus ring right as I pressed the shutter, which knocked a few of my images out of focus. Once I figured out a way to shoot and avoid moving the focus ring I was impressed with the sharpness of the images.

At wider settings there did appear to be some slight distortion on the edges of the frame. That’s to be expected on a full-frame, wide-angle zoom, though, so we’ll know exactly how the distortion measures up once the full test results are in.

After spending a few days with the Tamron I’m looking forward to seeing how it performs in our test lab. This is an increasingly competitive space, so the bar for performance is set rather high. However, if the 24-70 F/2.8 VC is any indication, we’re expecting high marks.

Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens

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Shortcut-S Keyboard for Adobe Lightroom Kickstarter

Become the king of Photoshop and Lightroom shortcuts

About a year ago, I wrote about a Kickstarter for and impressively massive keyboard called the Shortcut-S, which had a ton of keys that represent Photoshop shortcuts. Apparently there was quite a bit of interest in that kind of product, because now Shortcut-S is back on Kickstarter once again with 14 different keyboards to represent different types of software.
For photographers, they have added a Lightroom keyboard to the already-existing Photoshop model. They also support Premiere Pro, Final Cut, and After Effects for video editing, as well as Aperture, which seems a little odd since it's pretty much going away soon.
Beyond that, they now have boards to support Illustrator and InDesign, as well as Word, Excel, Outlook, and (believe it or not) Facebook.

This is the Photoshop version of the Shortcut-S
They keyboards themselves look a bit insane, but if you consider some of the finger Twister some shortcuts require, it starts to seem more reasonable. When I mash down the command, options, and shift keys to Save for Web the photo for this post, it would certainly be easier just to use one button. Of course, I'd have to find that button on the massive 325-key keyboard, but I'd get used to it.
The keys are all put in color-coded groups to make finding them among the army of buttons a little quicker. I already have a wedding to edit for this year, so I would actually be interested in trying something like this for Lightroom to see if it speeds up my process.
If you want a single Pro keyboard, you can get in on the Kickstarter for $129, but if you want more, they offer a ton of packages in case you want to dedicate yourself to having a big, crazy keyboard for every single program you use.
What do you think? Would you make room for something like this on your desk?
Shortcut-S Keyboard for Adobe Lightroom Kickstarter
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Shortcut-S Keyboard for Adobe Lightroom Kickstarter

The Lightroom-specific version of the Shortcut-S keyboard

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Print your images to protect them from bit rot

Current vice-president of Google, Vint Cerf, is warning that a “digital dark age” may be on its way. He expressed his concerns at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, stating that all of the digital files we have been saving on computers will eventually be lost.

In the past, our photographs, videos, and words have been saved to physical devices like CDs and DVDs, but our current method of saving information is entirely digital. While this is far more convenient, it also poses a threat to the permanence of our histories.

Cerf is promoting the idea of “digital vellum,” which involves preserving software and hardware of the past and present so that it never becomes completely obsolete. The concept would essentially be a digital version of a museum, maintaining past technologies in order to be able to view our files and photographs in the future.

That which was once “cutting edge” is now gathering dust in our basements. As technology continues to advance, the fear is that historians of the future and those looking to reminisce will no longer be able to access the photographs and video that we save now.

Cerf cautions us to print more of our beloved images, ensuring that precious memories will actually last a lifetime…and more.

[Via: DigitalRev via: BBC]

Cerf
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Cerf

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Stay warm this winter with some photo soup

When the temperatures are sub-zero and you’ve gone into full-blown hibernation mode, cooking is the perfect pastime. What’s on the menu today? Lomograph stew. The process of cooking up your film in a chemical mixture can produce some unexpected and beautiful results, so get into the kitchen and give it a try.

Image via Lomography

All you need to work some photography magic is a few household items such as a pot and some detergent, so this project is really accesible to anyone. The proccess is simple: you essentially splatter your film in the darkroom with a detergent-based solution, boil the film canister in water, and then develop it as you usually would.

Image via Lomography

While the steps might be easy, the results are pretty awesome. The best part of this technique is the unpredictable nature of it. You never know quite what you will get, and you can alter your process each time for slightly varied effects.

The interaction of the chemicals and the film yield some psychedlic-looking photos, adding a dreamlike effect to your images. If you have time to kill this weekend, go make some beautifully random Lomographs.

Head over to Lomography to get specific step-by-step instructions to get cookin'.

Lomograph
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Lomograph

Via Lomography.com

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Photoshop 25th Anniversary

What was your first version of Photoshop?

This week, Adobe is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Photoshop. Over the past quarter century, there are few pieces of software that have had such a huge effect on not just photography, but the world in general. It's been a valuable tool to creative professionals and a source of seemingly constant controversy in the photography world. Here's an unsurprisingly well-produced video Adobe released to celebrate the anniversary.

The whole thing got the staff talking about our first experiences with Photoshop. Some of ours are listed below. Feel free to list your first version of Photoshop in the comments.

Features Editor, Debbie Grossman: "The first one I got to play with was Photoshop 4. I used it to make myself a homepage. It looked great on Netscape Navigator."

Editor-In-Chief, Miriam Leuchter: "I don't actually remember the version number, but it was whatever was almost current in 2002 or 2003, when I lived in Rome. A woman I know asked me to translate a screenplay she'd written, an epic historical drama, in return for which her husband taught me Photoshop. I did a much better job with her script than he did with the Photoshop lessons, but we all became good friends."

Online Editor, Stan Horaczek: "I bought a student version of Photoshop 6 when I was in college. The first thing we had to do in class was trace the entire alphabet using the pen tool and it took me forever because I didn't know any of the shortcuts. I remember the first time I realized I could open raw files from my camera and it blew my mind."

Assistant Online Editor, Jeanette D. Moses: "I believe the first version I used was Photoshop CS, cropping and editing photos for my high school newspaper."

Senior Technical Editor, Philip Ryan: "The first version I used was version 3.0. Initially I just experimented and got advice from friends."

Photoshop 25th Anniversary
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Photoshop 25th Anniversary

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Behind the Scenes of a Benedict Cumberbatch Photoshoot for Vanity Fair

Photographer Jason Bell shoots one of the UK's biggest celebrities in the woods

Many behind-the-scenes videos end up completely devoid of useful information, but this video about Jason Bell's shoot with Benedict Cumberbatch for Vanity Fair was produced by Phase One, so it actually has some photographic information to grab onto.

The shoot takes place in the woods and uses a whole variety of lights as well as a smoke machine. If you have never worked on a shoot of this scale, it's interesting to watch the photographer interact with both the talent and his assistants. A lot of people need to put in a lot of work in order to pull off something like this in an efficient and effective way.

The other interesting thing about this video is the amount of feedback that Cumberbatch gives to Bell as they're shooting. It's a great reminder of just how important it is to collaborate with your subjects. Sometimes they can have some really great ideas that come from outside your original artistic vision.

Of course, since the video was made by Phase One, it has some love for their cameras, but at more than 11-minutes, it's one of the better behind-the-scenes videos I've seen in a while.

Behind the Scenes of a Benedict Cumberbatch Photoshoot for Vanity Fair
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Behind the Scenes of a Benedict Cumberbatch Photoshoot for Vanity Fair

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To see landscapes in a whole new light, shoot from a bird's-eye view

More than half a century before the airplane took flight, photographers sent their cameras skyward using kites and balloons. Shooting from the air lets you capture terrain—meandering rivers, desert rock formations, offshore reefs—that are best appreciated from above. To get that perspective today, nature photographers are increasingly turning to remotely controlled unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)—otherwise known as drones.

In just the past two years, drone technology has evolved from the DIY projects of fringe hobbyists to sophisticated products anyone can buy. The freedom of flying your own drone is exhilarating, and the ability to use it to lift a camera into the air opens up new creative opportunities. Journalists use drones to cover news, real estate photographers use them to shoot properties, and even wedding photographers use them to cover events. Their most exciting application? Nature photography.

Jon Cornforth piloted his Tarot 690s over Hawaii's Sweetheart Rock. Drone mounted with a Canon EOS M camera and 11-22mm f/4-5.6 Canon EF-M lens; 1/400 sec at f/5.0, ISO 400.

What Drones Can Do

When I travel to remote settings I sometimes hire a small airplane or helicopter to shoot aerials—a costly tool of the trade that isn’t always an option. While a drone can’t fly long distances or at high altitudes, it can capture aerial images for the cost of a battery charge. (That is, as long as your unmanned craft lands safely.)

Traditionally, when photographing from an aircraft, a pilot flies at least 1,000 feet above the terrain and the photographer shoots with a slightly wide-angle to telephoto lens. Aerial images from a drone are created from much lower elevations. This perspective allows you to shoot with a fisheye or super wide-angle lens and capture more intimate and previously unseen views.

Multirotor drones include four-propeller quadcopters, six-propeller hexacopters, and eight-propeller octocopters. Depending on the size of the craft, it is possible to carry your camera into remote locations that are otherwise inaccessible to aircraft. The drones that afford the best access are quadcopters equipped with a GoPro or similarly small action camera, but larger drones are capable of lifting an interchangeable lens compact, a full-size DSLR, or a video camera system.

These larger drones, typically hexcopters or octocopters, range in diameter from 2.3 feet (700mm) to more than 3.3 feet (1 meter). They have more powerful motors, larger propellers, and heavier lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries than quads. They’re also more expensive and significantly larger, which is another serious consideration for any nature photographer planning to travel with one.

Cornforth captured this view of La Perouse Bay in Maui, Hawaii, using the same gear as on the previous spread. Exposure: 1/500 sec at f/5.0, ISO 400.

How to Buy a Drone

Paul Souders, who photographed the elephant shown here, has tried to fly a Panasonic Lumix ILC on his DJI Phantom, but the camera weighed so much that it could barely get off the ground. Chad Copeland, who photographed the images of China in this story, has been flying drones for more than five years. His octocopter alone cost more than $20,000, and he has also experienced a few crashes.

Within a few weeks of purchasing my first drone capable of flying my GoPro, I realized that I needed to fly a bigger camera with greater resolution. I initially decided to use a Canon Rebel SL1 with a 20mm f/3.5 Voigtländer pancake lens, then I soon graduated to the lighter Canon EOS M ILC with an 11–22mm f/4–5.6 Canon IS STM lens. After submerging that camera in a river during my most recent unanticipated landing, I switched over to a Sony NEX-5 with a 12mm Rokinon f/2 lens. All of these cameras use an APS-C size sensor with a 16MP to 18MP pixel count and cost less than $1,000. As much as I would like even more resolution, I simply cannot justify the risk of flying my expensive Canon EOS 5D Mark III or Sony a7R camera bodies (though Copeland is willing to fly a Nikon D4s and a $42,000 RED Epic on his octocopter).

There seems to be a new drone every day, so it’s easy to become overwhelmed by options. First decide whether you need one that is ready to fly (RTF) or if you’re willing and able to build one. When I researched how much it would cost to buy a medium-size hexacopter, I realized that I could assemble one for about half the price. I didn’t know the first thing about soldering or programming a radio control, so I made mistakes. Unless you have a lot of free time, I would encourage the RTF route.

Drones require a fair amount of tinkering and troubleshooting, so building your own can make a critical difference. If I am getting ready to take off but one of my motors isn’t working, I can trace the wiring to find a break in the connection because I assembled it.

Photo by Jon Cornforth

Shooting and Flying

The most exciting aspect of flying a drone with a camera is the ability to see what the camera sees through the first person view (FPV) system. This involves outputting the camera’s live view signal through a transmitter and viewing it on a monitor on the ground. This way I can pilot my drone to frame the perfect composition. It also makes flying easier, since the control orientation of my drone (left, right, forward, and backward) always stays the same. Some drone operators wear FPV goggles; I prefer a monitor so I can look up and see my drone in the sky.

When I get ready to fly, the first thing I do is look for a safe and level spot, far from trees or power lines, from which to operate. I ask that no one enter this space when the drone is in flight. Soon the anticipation of flying begins to set in. I go over my mental checklist, but I also talk to myself out loud about what I’m doing. If other people are nearby, I ask them not to distract me while I’m flying. I need to concentrate, especially during takeoff and landing.

Using his Cinestar drone, this time mounted with a Nikon D4, Copeland photographed the Stone Forest in Yunnan Province, China. Exposure: 1/50 sec at f/9, ISO 6400. Photo by Chad Copeland

I set my camera’s exposure on the ground, since I can’t do so once it’s in the air. I usually shoot in manual mode and try to keep shutter speed around 1/500 second and ISO under 800. I remotely trigger the shutter from my radio control via a signal to an infrared trigger attached to my camera.

I use Google Earth to research a location before I fly over it. This allows me to virtually scout a scene. Once my drone is in the air, I tour the landscape at various distances and altitudes. Typically, I’ll fly 200 yards to 400 yards out and anywhere from 75 feet to 300 feet in the air. My radio control has two sticks: the left to control throttle and yaw (rotation), and the right for forward/backward and left/right. While making quick decisions during my initial flight, I usually identify exactly where I will return to during my subsequent flights and spend the maximum amount of time hovering and shooting as the light or conditions change.

Paul Souders flew low with a DJI Phantom Vision FC200, which has a built-in camera. Shot in Chobe National Park, Botswana; 1/2500 sec at f/2.8; ISO 100.

A Drone's Best Subjects

I attempted my first aerial photographs by tying a camera to a kite. After crashing this rig into a coral reef in Tonga and a colony of elephant seals on South Georgia Island, I gave up. As drones became more popular, I decided to give my aerial ambitions another go. In 2013 I had hoped to fly my DJI S800 over thousands of beluga whales in Canada, but it flew out of control and crashed. Since building my first Tarot hexacopter, I’ve made most of my aerial photos—now more successful than my initial tries—over the ocean near Hawaii and California; I’m getting ready to travel with a drone to the Arctic this year.

Souders captured these hippos at the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana using the same gear as with the elephant on the previous page; 1/400 sec at f/2.8, ISO 100. Photo by Paul Souders

Souders’s favorite aerial subjects are the same ones that he shoots from eye level and underwater: the landscapes and wildlife of the African savannah and in the polar latitudes. His first aerial rig was a Canon EOS 5D flying off a kite. He got some interesting shots of nesting penguins and shore birds in Antarctica that he never would have achieved otherwise. It cost him less than $150 to put his camera in the air, but then more than $3,000 when his kite and camera fell into the ocean. In 2013 he took his first Phantom drone to Africa, and in 2014 he took a Phantom Vision 2+ to Africa and the Arctic and made some beautiful images of wildlife, including elephants. The resolution of his cameras fell short of his expectations, so he’s going to try again this year, with his first Tarot 680 Pro hexacopter.

Copeland, who spent 10 years in the Air Force and worked as an air traffic controller before becoming a photographer, has been flying for about 15 years. On assignment for National Geographic in 2013, he flew China’s Stone Forest, a vast area of 100-foot limestone formations that from above look like sharp knife blades. These beautiful formations had never been filmed or photographed by drone before, and the new perspective was unbelievable. Flying his camera completely changed his view of photography. An adventure photographer at heart, his focus is extreme athletes.

Chad Copeland used the same Cinestar drone and Nikon camera as on the previous page to capture this scene above Yangshuo, China. Exposure: 1/800 sec at f/5.6, ISO 400.

If you decide to take up drone photography, you will sometimes experience moments of frustration. But the satisfaction of creating unique images will be your reward.

Drone
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Drone

Chad Copeland flew a FreeFly Cinestar Octocopter to shoot Emily Harrington climbing Moon Hill in Yangshuo, China. The camera was a Nikon Coolpix A; exposure 1/800 sec at f/5.6, ISO 400.

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