On The Site
Help fund an off-camera flash trigger that won't look out of place on even the tiniest camera
FlashQ is an IndieGoGo fundraising project to build an absolutely tiny flash trigger, one that will work with the vast majority of cameras, but won't dwarf a small mirrorless or compact camera.
Currently, most flash triggers tend to be relatively sizeable, and on the expensive side. The FlashQ, if it gets sufficiently funded will set you back just $39 for a basic trigger/receiver set ($30 for early birds), and each trigger is able to control up to 8 receivers, at a distance of up to 20 meters.
It's not the only small flash trigger we've ever seen, but compared to even the diminutive (and pricey) MicroSync II, it's absolutely tiny. While that probably won't make much of a difference for shooting from a relatively sizeable camera, like a DSLR, for smaller bodies it could mean the world. If you have a compact camera with a hot shoe—maybe a Sony RX100 II, or a Canon G1X II; or even a mirrorless camera, a bulky flash trigger adds a substantial amount of size to your shooting rig. Something like the FlashQ would be tiny enough to throw in a bag, and simply not worry about.
The downside? The FlashQ is relatively basic, but that's to be expected given the low price and tiny size. The 20 meter range isn't to be crowed over, it has a maximum sync speed of 1/250s, and doesn't offer TTL functionality. But perhaps the biggest hurdle is that it still has more than 90% of its funding to raise in the next 26 days in order to succeed.
Famous Getty Images, mounted and framed for your walls
While Getty Images may now let you embed its images for free, the company has also now started offering a much more premium (and permanent) service, too. You're now able to purchase real-world prints of famous Getty images through Photos.com by Getty Images.
This newly announced service is a curated set of Getty's immense collection of photos, which will be printed by New Era Portfolio, and arrive framed and ready to hang on your wall. Prices start at $90, and are available on canvas, archival paper, aluminum, acrylic, and even wood.
The photos themselves cover the usual array of topics that you might want to hang on your wall—nature images, black and whites, geometric shapes. But the most interesting stuff is when Getty starts to tap into some of the more famed images from its archives. The LIFE archive represents thousands of famed images from the selfsame magazine. You can also look through collections from famed photographers such as conflict photojournalist Chris Hondros, music photographer David Redfern, and Hollywood photographer Earl Leaf.
This move into printing is a notable new addition to Getty Image's services—and obviously a new revenue stream for the organization. It also points to something of a resurgence in the world of photographic prints. Recently, acclaimed street photographer Daniel Arnold made $15,000 selling prints of his Instagram images in just 24 hours. Combine that with easily available print on demand services like the recent Blurb/Amazon partnership, and it's clear that there's still a very real appetite for physical copies of images.
Take 4x5 film with you on the road
The Travelwide is a new large format film camera that costs just $149, but shoots on 4x5 film. If you've ever wanted to experiment with analog writ large, this is probably one of the most affordable ways you'll be able to do it—and in a package that's small enough to take with you to just about anywhere you want.
The Travelwide weighs just 9.7oz, and can focus from infinity down to 2 feet. However, it only comes with a pinhole lens—so for anything more advanced, you're going to need to spend some time scouring eBay and used lens listings to get the right sort of glass. It's designed for use with the Schneider Angulon 90mm ƒ/6.8, and will also accept most 90mm ƒ/8 lenses. You'll also need to load it up with a film holder for the back, either a standard 4x5, or else a Polaroid 545i if you want to shoot instant film.
It also comes with three cold shoes for mounting accessories, including the metal sports viewfinder that it ships with. And while it might not come with a real lens, there is a pinhole lens included so you can at least get started shooting something pretty quickly.
If you want to have a look at the images out of the Travelwide, a number are up on Flickr. If you'd like to know more, you can either check out the Travelwide site, or else the Kickstarter that begat it.
Minus printing fees and Amazon's cut, of course
Photographers with an eye towards self-publishing now have a much easier way of making their work available to the largest audience in the world: Amazon. The online retail megagiant has paired with book printers Blurb in a venture to get your self-published photo books on sale.
Amazon has long offered ways for people to publish their own text works, both digitally and in actual print, but this marks a move into a more photographic space. With the Blurb combo, you set whatever price you want for your photo book. From each sale, Amazon then takes a 15% cut, Blurb pays for printing, and then a processing fee of $1-$5. The remainder is paid out to you on a monthly basis, via check or PayPal.
For now, Blurb is saying "Enrollment in Blurb to Amazon is free for a limited time", though so there may be extra fees that pop up in the not too distant future. You can also sell directly on Blurb's online shop, and while you might not reach the huge potential Amazon customer base, then you won't have to deal with Amazon taking a cut, either.
If you've ever wanted to put together a photo book to try and sell, this might the easiest way to get it out into the general public, without having to having to go through a publisher, or fill your garage with copies to sell by hand.
Can vastly improved hardware make Lytro a real contender?
When we were first introduced to the Lytro light field camera a few years ago, we were intrigued. The promise of focusing after the photo had been taken was immediately interesting. But, the camera itself was early hardware and had some shortcomings. Now, Lytro is trying to fix that with a more grown-up version of the camera called the Illum.
It has the look of a Sony NEX (now part of the Alpha line) or the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Cam, but the lens is attached. It's 30-250mm (full-frame equivalent) field of view F/2 lens that sits in front of a "40 megaray", 1-inch sensor. That's decidedly bigger than its predecessor and should alleviate some of the image quality issues that befell it. It even has a hot shoe so you can use it with a flash.
On the back of the camera is a 4-inch touchscreen for previewing and composing shots, which is quite a bit of real estate. There's also a Lytro button, which uses a series of colored overlays to help you preview the depth data that will be recorded with your image. It's kind of like focus peaking, only you're not really focusing because of the light ray technology. It's just giving you an idea of what you'll be able to do with the final interactive image.
As before, the software is an integral part of the process because the images aren't meant to be flat photos, but rather immersive scenes with which viewers can interact. While it will spit out standard JPEG photos if you ask it to, Lytro hopes you'll instead use their proprietary platform to embed images that users can click around in, changing things like focus and perspective.
The camera itself seems like a serious upgrade and, well, like an actual camera, which may draw more people to check it out. All those upgrades, however, do come with considerable cost. The old Lytro was $400, but the new Illum commands a $1,599. While the new functionality does seem very cool, it has a long way to go in convincing people it's a legitimate creative tool worth that much money, rather than a cool novelty.
They boast legions of followers, shoot projects for brands like Nike, and have photos on the covers of bestselling novels. They are some of todayâ��s hottest photographersâ��and they are all under 20 years old.
Young photographers today find inspiration, share expertise, and develop their photography in ways that previous generations couldn’t have imagined. To learn how this group of teens has become so successful so quickly, we spoke to some of the most talented (and most followed) photographers of the under-20 set. Though they all have plenty in common, each in this cross-section has their own unique relationship to photography.
It’s All About Play
Nineteen-year-old Ann He took the Marie Antoinette-inspired image above when she was a mere 17-years-old. Now a student at Stanford University, this enormously talented fashionista has been hired by the likes of Nike and America’s Next Top Model, and has been published in numerous blogs, online zines, and print publications.
For He, the passion for fashion photography grew out of a childlike desire to play. She and her school friends would descend on local shopping malls, forage for clothing and accessories, and then organize ad-hoc fashion shoots. Her sometimes spirited, sometimes poetic images ultimately found their way into her Flickr stream and then beyond.
“I guess you could say that I was ‘discovered’ on Flickr,” says He. “The pictures often ended up on Flickr’s ‘Explore’ tab, and that led to lots of traffic and followers.” Today, her work is all over the internet with substantial presences on Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, BlogSpot, and of course, Flickr.
Teen photographers tend to truly enjoy photography, says He. “Present-day technology has made for the democratization of the medium. Everybody has great cameras and software, and can produce technically compelling images. We’re often not all that perfection-oriented, and the attitude is more casual than it possibly once was,” she says.
But He warns against drawing broad conclusions about young photographers. “Sometimes they seem to pull from the same pool of image types,” she says. “You have people doing road tripping, documenting teenage life, flowers, and Alice in Wonderland or mythical shoots. I’ve seen a million Ophelias. I don’t think it’s important to focus on an individual photographer or one body of work. What’s interesting is that companies like Levis and the New York Times are hiring young photographers, because, in a cultural sense, they see us as important and worth paying attention to.”
This fashion photographer from Dallas, TX has been published in international fashion magazines, blogs, and websites, and was also one of five finalists in Seventeen magazine’s 2011 Pretty Amazing contest and a 2012 American Visions medal winner in the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards. She is a freshman at Stanford University. See more at www.annhe.com.
The Fine-Art Attraction
Like Ann He, Felicia Simion of Bucharest, Romania, dove enthusiastically into photography at a very young age. Photo sharing sites introduced Simion to compelling photography and inspired her to attempt to make her own images. The creator of the dream-like scene on the opposite page, Simion discovered photography (and photo illustration) as a visitor to the DeviantART website when she was thirteen. “I remember falling in love with [photography] instantly,” says the now-19-year-old. “I knew that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.” She purchased her first camera, the Canon EOS Rebel XTi, because, among other reasons, “it was popular among my favorite [online] photographers.”
Simion does little to actively grow her followings on Facebook, DeviantART, or on her personal website, but her online presence has catapulted her to phenomenal success by Internet standards. Her Facebook page boasts 73,000 Likes and over 4,500 comments. Her DeviantART pages have garnered over 2.3 million page views and 43,000 comments, and have led to image sales for book covers for bestselling authors such as Paulo Coelho and Elizabeth George, as well as online usage by the BBC, Yahoo, the Irish Times, and other news websites. She looks forward to the day when she can support herself through her photography. “It will always be the greatest passion for me. Receiving commissions and assignments will only help me develop my style further.”
How does Simion see “young” photography? “I think today’s photographers have somewhat nontraditional goals. They’re not motivated by the desire for gallery shows or money, but they want to create for the love of art, with a desire to share. They want their art and experiences to inspire others.”
Born in Craiova, Romania, this 19-year-old is a student at Bucharest’s National University of the Arts. She has either won or been a finalist in competitions including Travel Photographer of the Year, Sony’s World Photography Award, and the 2013 Teen Photo Photography Contest at teenagephotographer.com. See more of her work at feliciasimionphotography.com.
A New Approach
Brendon Burton, the 19-year-old from Eugene, OR, who created the large, composited group portrait on page 53, also sees teenagers as taking a new approach to photography. “I think a common trait among young photographers is a shared perspective on the world around them, along with a fascination for storytelling and documentation of [our] lives. [We’re] pushing the boundaries of art and how it can be shared by a community,” he says.
Photo sharing sites and apps have also been instrumental in the development and dissemination of his photography, says Burton. Both Flickr and Tumblr have produced large and avid audiences for his work. He wields online resources for distinctly different ends. He uses Flickr and Facebook for showcasing individual pieces, while “Tumblr is a great way to keep a [running] blog of all your work, almost like a photo journal.” Instagram, he says, is invaluable for its utility as a mobile photo platform.
Says Burton: the Internet has made the art community “an even playing field” and presents enormous opportunities for young artists. He believes that success and popularity are based on the merit of their images, and not on who they know, what school they attended, or their access to major media markets.
Now 19, Burton developed an online following in 2011 with a 365-day self-portrait project that was featured in articles at the Huffington Post, PetaPixel, and on MyModernMet.com. He currently resides in Eugene, OR, where he attends the University of Oregon and majors in photography and journalism. Visit his website at www.brendonburton.com.
Taking a Different Path
Unlike his peers, 18-year-old Max Wolens of North Dallas, TX, could be the exception that proves the rule: While he posts his photography on a personal website, he otherwise makes only limited use of Internet resources. Instead, this young photographer finds almost everything he needs in his St. Mark High School’s photography program.
“I have such strong support for my work from my teacher and classmates, I really haven’t had to rely on the Internet for it,” says the photographer.
Some of Wolen’s strongest images are studio still lifes built around a concept such as an implied cause-and-effect relationship between objects. Like his shot of the umbrella-shaded sunflowers on the facing page, his pictures are deceptively simple, solidly composed, with clean upbeat color palates, and sometimes a delicious streak of humor. The sunflowers belong to his Self-Destruction series, in which, he recalls, “I brainstormed causal relationships between common objects that could be juxtaposed in a way that clearly spelled doom. Plants and their need for sunlight and water immediately came to mind.”
An 18-year-old high school senior in North Dallas, TX, Wolens was twice honored as one of Texas’ top ten high school students by the state’s Association of Photography Instructors. He has won more than 40 photography awards, including First Place in Adobe’s Teen Photo International Contest. You can see more of his work on his website, maxwolensphoto.com.
Alex Berryman, a 16-year-old A-Level student from Fleet, Hampshire, UK, specializes in wildlife photography and has a closet full of awards to show for it. “I dedicate the vast majority of my spare time in trying to achieve the best images I can and using [them] to share amazing wildlife with others,” says the photographer, who captured the fledgling robin below.
This intense desire to share—if not profit—from his images is something Berryman has in common with many of his generation. One of its hallmarks, Berryman feels, “is [that for us] photography is increasingly seen as a hobby rather than a career aspiration. One reason, I think, is the unpredictability of the industry, [but also] because well-paid areas of photography are seen as so highly competitive.
“Young photographers are also very willing break rules and experiment,” he continues, “which undoubtedly results in unique images.” He cites his unusual series of kingfisher portraits which we hope will soon to be uploaded to his website. In them, he shoots the birds directly from below for strikingly abstract depictions of the creatures that are usually portrayed more realistically. He’s grateful for the ability to share them and for the help he received in the form of tips for photographing kingfishers from—yup—a nature-oriented photo-sharing website.
This 16-year-old from Fleet, Hampshire, UK, started shooting at age 12, focusing on wildlife, birds, and insects. Among the dozens of photography awards to his credit, he’s most proud of being dubbed Junior Photographer of the Year (2013) by the Zoological Society of London. See more of his wildlife and landscapes at www.alexberrymanphotography.co.uk.
Through years of scanning, this incredible archive of historical works will be viewable by anyone
The Vatican Library is one of the greatest historical archives on the planet, a centuries old institution with a millennia of documents tucked away. But the extreme fragility of many of these original items means that very few people ever get to see them. But that's all set to change with a new initiative to digitize the library, and allow anyone to peruse it.
The Vatican has partnered with Japanese firm NTT Data for a pilot program to scan some 3,000 of 82,000 documents in the library. Some 50 professionals over the next four years will digitize this first section of the archive using five scanners. According to the Wall Street Journal, NTT Data has been working on a special scanner specifically for this project. They feature a protective screen to limit exposure to light, and will be used in blacked out rooms to limit possibly damaging external light. All operators will be forbidden from wearing jewelry and will wear gloves to provide the utmost protection for the precious documents.
Once scanned, the documents will be "formatted for long-term storage", and then released online for viewing, starting later this year. The first four-year interval will cost NTT Data $25 million, as the company has agreed to cover the first stages. Hopefully, if successful, further digitization can be done at a faster pace, as at a rate of 750 documents per year, it would take more than a century to complete the entire archive.
28-100mm f/1.8-2.8 would be a major improvement over the f/1.8-4.9 the RX100 II currently has
The Sony RX100 II is one of the most well-regarded point-and-shoot cameras currently available—but one of the few complaints you can legitimately levy against it is that the aperture drops off too quickly as you zoom. With a 28-100mm (equivalent) f/1.8-4.9 lens, it doesn't take long for a lot less light to come in. But a newly-spotted Sony Japan patent is for a 28-100mm zoom lens, meant for a 1-inch sensor, with a significantly improved f/1.8-2.8 aperture range. Could this be the lens for the RX200?
Specifically, the patent is for a 10-36mm f/1.8-2.8 lens, which when you account for the crop factor of a 1-inch sensor, works out to the focal length of the RX100 and RX100 II. So when zoomed in all the way, you'd still have the rather impressive maximum aperture of f/2.8, rather than the much less ideal f/4.9 the RX100 II is currently saddled with.
However, as always, we caution against reading too deeply into the tea leaves when it comes to patents—especially those in a foreign language. There's a lot of nuance that becomes lost when using a machine translated version of a text, and the existence of defensive patents might meant that this design never comes to fruition. In fact, it looks like Sony has applied for patents on five different lenses, three of which fall under this focal and aperture range.
But given the dominance of the RX100 II in the world of high-end compacts right now, Sony is doubtless motivated to try and keep its position at the head of the pack. And a dramatically overhauled lens would be an excellent way of doing that.
Available for both Android and iOS, the Flickr app has been given a totally new look and some new features
Flickr for mobile has just undergone a massive change in look and feel, updating an app that hasn't seen any refreshing in nearly six months with a radically new design. Now out on both iOS and Android, the new Flickr app also brings a raft of new features.
The most noterworthy of those features is the ability to capture and edit videos—as well as apply the same live filters as exist for still images. Flickr has also radically overhauled its search features for far better response times, as well as enabled a tagging system that can autodetect objects, colors, and scenes. Both of these are fueled by recent acquisitions that Flickr made. And, if you're viewing a photo on the app, you can now access the full EXIF data, too.
The app launched yesterday morning for Android, then landed on iOS later in the day. At this point, it should be available for all comers—so if you've tried the new app, tell us what you think in the comments.
Auto-upload your photos to a private cloud service, then access them anywhere, from any device
For years, Eyefi (née Eye-Fi) has offered wirelessly-enabled SD cards, letting you beam photos from just about any camera to a smartphone, tablet, or PC. Now, the company has gone one step further, taking the internet connection on your mobile device, and using it as a bridge to upload your photos to the internet, too. Dubbed Eyefi Cloud, it means that any photo, taken on any device (with an appropriate Eyefi card) will instantly be shared to the Eyefi Cloud, where it can be viewed on any other device.
The new service requires an Eyefi Mobi card, and will cost $49 a year for unlimited photos. New and existing users will get a three month free trial starting on sign-up or download of the new app, respectively. Photos and albums are published privately, but can be shared with individual recipients, or on most major social networks.
If you're curious about how the service actually works, PCWorld has a good first impressions look at getting it set up—including some notable hiccups with Android devices.
By calculating depth from a series of photos, the new version of Google Camera can simulate bokeh
Google has just rolled out a new version of its Google Camera app to Google Play—and with the new version comes the ability to blur out backgrounds. But unlike, say, the crude fuzziness of Instagram, Google Camera actually takes a much more advanced path to figuring out where and how much to blur—it generates a depth map based from a series of pictures to correctly identify the foreground and background.
Lens Blur replaces the need for a large optical system with algorithms that simulate a larger lens and aperture. Instead of capturing a single photo, you move the camera in an upward sweep to capture a whole series of frames. From these photos, Lens Blur uses computer vision algorithms to create a 3D model of the world, estimating the depth (distance) to every point in the scene.
The blogpost goes into some more technical details about how the process works, if you're interested. By the key takeaway is that rather than just blur everything, the app attempts to accurately gauge the distance to the various parts of the image, then calculate an appropriate level of blurring to properly simulate a large sensor camera.
While it's probably not going to be on-par with using a DSLR, it's still a very impressive technological advancement. The own downside? It's only available for those using Android 4.4 or better.
In the early 90s, NASA was already sending nascent digital imaging technology into space
In the early days of the 90s, most people had never even heard of a digital camera, let alone used one. But the folks at NASA were already sending some of the early CCD cameras into space, allowing them to use photography in totally new ways.
On YouTube, Ron Volmershausen has uploaded two videos of these early digital units, one of a Kodak HAWKEYE II digital back on a Nikon F3, the other the NASA H.E.R.C.U.L.E.S. module on a Nikon F4.
The Hawkeye II unit is particularly intriguing, and represents one of the first iterations of the digital back, from a time before single unit digital cameras were really a thing. You can read more about it at this page by James McGarvey. According to another article by McGarvey, the Hawkeye unit is from 1989, and is actually a predecessor to the famous DCS 100. The Hawkeye unit could run ISO 50-400, with 2fps, and was later further developed into the DCS. You can read more about that here, here, here, or here.
You can actually still find DCS 100s up for sale on occasion, and while the $15,000 pricetag may sound extreme, that's actually less than it originally went for when it debuted.
No more dimly-lit smartphone shots for one South African Restaurant.
Try mentioning Instagram around someone who doesn't like the service and you'll invariably hear, "Why would I want to look at pictures of people's lunch? [smug laughter]" Now, there's even more fuel for that sarcasm fire with the introduction of the #Dinnercam.
The mini-studio setup looks like something you'd use for standard portrait photography. It has a sloped white backdrop (a mini cyclorama, if you will) and an overhead, color-balanced light to illuminate the dish. It has instructions printed on the front of the unit for taking the perfect smartphone picture of the photos. Once you've shared your photo, you even get a free print.
Right now, the #Dinnercam is only operating in a restaurant in South Africa, but it's actually a bit surprising we haven't seen something like this already.
The whole thing is obviously done with tongue placed at least a little bit in cheek, but the photos that come out of it aren't half bad. Here's an example
The fact of the matter is that many restaurants love the publicity they get from social media sharing, but crummy pictures can leave a bad impression. Some restaurants have even banned it. But, it's not surprising at all to hear that restaurants are taking steps to make their food look a little better out on the web.
There are currently just over 100 photos on Instagram tagged with the #dinnercam hashtag. We'll see how much that grows.
From: Food Republic
Start them young and they'll have photography for the rest of their lives
Photo: Stan Horaczek
Sometimes it seems like kids today are born snapping photos. But if you want to help them explore photography beyond just selfies and Instagrams, it takes more than lending them your iPhone. So here are some great ways to share your passion with the young ones in your life, and maybe learn something about your own photography along the way.
1 Take your time
Don’t feel like you need to jam everything about photography into your first session with a kid. The educators we spoke with emphasized communicating bite-sized ideas that children can play with before introducing more complex concepts. Photography has a lot of technical detail that can smother a child’s enthusiasm and creativity if deployed all at once. Choose a single thing to try to communicate on a single day, and allow the knowledge to build over time. If the first day is fun, they’ll be game for a second. Niki Even, program director of San Diego’s Outside The Lens, says the goal early on is just to “get them out of selfie mode and help them start thinking like photographers.”
2. Start with the familiar
All of the educators we spoke with suggested starting with subjects with which children are intimately familiar—such as their families and their immediate environment. The two offer different challenges: One can be used as a portal into portraiture, the other will help kids find new and unexpected ways to see their bedroom, their house, or their street.
Photo: Stan Horaczek
3. Expose them to exposure
After you have a few sessions under your belt, gradually introduce the concepts of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Be sure to cover each one independently. Come up with ways to clearly demonstrate the way each one works and how it might be used, playing around with motion blur, over- and underexposing frames, and more. Digital cameras are a blessing for this, letting you quickly tweak settings to opposite extremes and display the results directly on the back of the camera.
4. Write it out
Challenging children to write or tell stories about the photos they take is a key way to broaden their understanding of the work they’ve made, and to help them think about what they might like to make in the future. All of the educational programs we looked into include writing as a part of each child’s final presentations. When confronted with a blank piece of paper, it can be difficult for children to write about their feelings, but focusing their thoughts using an image that’s important to them can help give them access to emotions that might otherwise have remained hidden.
5. Put down the camera.
It’s easy for the device itself to be distracting, especially for younger kids. Seeing results moments after you shoot something can create an overly speedy mindset. Lacy Austin, International Center of Photography’s director of community programs in New York City, suggests having beginner students make cardboard frames and take them out into the world. “It’s a very engaging way to get the kids thinking about framing and thinking about what’s in the foreground or background,” she says. Composing without the distraction of actually capturing an image isolates this intellectual challenge, giving you a chance to introduce concepts like changing perspective, filling the frame, and the rule of thirds—without the distraction of immediate results.
Photo: Stan Horaczek
6. Give them a project.
How do you turn a kid who takes pictures into a photographer? Help the child create a small body of work. Most kids are used to taking photos when something (either extraordinary or mundane) happens to them. Turn that around and make the kid happen to the world. Help your charges come up with ideas for a photo series and brainstorm interesting ways to accomplish it. Making multiple photos as part of a single project will do a lot to focus children’s efforts.
7. Make an edit.
In this world of throwaway shots and unlimited exposures, the art of editing has never been more important. Emphasize that each of your photographic outings may yield only one or two excellent photos. When reviewing the day’s work, get them to talk about what they do or don’t like about individual shots, and encourage kids to be decisive and share reasons that back up their preferences. This is also a great time to reinforce concepts of framing and exposure, as well as to start helping them formulate ideas about storytelling and grouping shots for photo essays.
8. Teach them with film
Nothing makes kids slow down like knowing they only have 24 frames to work with. “The kids who do analog before going on to digital tend to be better shooters,” says Trina Gadsden, executive director of Seattle-based Youth In Focus. “Working with just the few frames they have makes them think of their work as a finite resource.” ICP Teen Academy’s Photo 1 course, the prerequisite for all their other classes, focuses on analog black-and-white photography. “They really respond to film,” says Bayeté Ross Smith, one of ICP’s instructors. “It has a different value because they’re putting so much more time into it. And then they have this physical object that shows what they did.”
Photo: Fotolia.com/Max Topchil
9. Don’t be afraid of the darkroom
If you can rig up a home darkroom, it’s like giving a kid superpowers—the impact on his or her understanding and connection to the medium will be immeasurable. “The first time you see an image come out of a white piece of paper, it’s magical,” says Gadsden. “You feel like you can solve world peace.” Plus, a darkroom day is a great alternative on rainy days. If your space won’t allow it, you can teach the basic principles of analog photography using a Sunprint kit.
10. Keep things light
When frustration (for either you or the child you’re working with) sets in, it’s time to take a break. The golden hour will happen when the sun sets tomorrow, too. Don’t worry about moving quickly—allow children’s photographic fascination to grow organically and it will be a pleasure to them the rest of their lives.
Why just light the car, when you can light the ice itself?
Russian photographers Dmitriy Christoprudov and Nikolay Kykov decided to take a very different tact with a recent photoshoot of the Chevy Cruze. To light the car for the photograph, they took it on the yard thick ice of Baikal lake—but drilled a hole in the lake to light the ice itself from below.
As you could probably guess, a plan as amibitious as this wasn't quite as straightforward as you might hope. The photographers detailed the process in Russian on their livejournal, and it was translated on English Russia. The initial attempts to drill a hole using a borer weren't large enough, so the photographers had to flag down passing fisherman, and pay them to widen the hole. Then, the crampons everyone was wearing had carved up the ice so much, it took another hour to it cleaned and ready to shoot.
To be fair, the final images seem a bit underwhelming considering how cool the idea is and how much work they put into it—but that's a fault in execution, not a fault in concept. The lighting itself is fantastic, and creates a look unlike almost anything else we've seen. The glowing cracks through the ice look utterly unreal, and immensely impressive.
The X100 and X100s get some more reach, while the X-T1 gets gets grips and straps
Photographers will soon have a new set of accessories for two of the most popular Fujifilm cameras around. The X100 and X100s will both get a bit of extra focal length thanks to a tele-converter lens, and the X-T1 gets a bevy of accessories to make shooting a bit more comfortable. While we don't know prices yet for anything, they're all expected to be available in May.
First up is the TCL-X100, a 1.4x teleconverter for the Fujifilm X100 and Fujifilm X100s. It converts the fixed-lens focal length from 35mm to 50mm (full-frame equivalent). When it comes to stores next month, it will also require the newest Fujifilm firmware to function properly.
For Fujifilm's much praised X-T1, there's a lot more up for grabs. The accessories include two new grips, the MHG-XT Small and Large. You can see both below, where the large adds a substantial grip to the X-T1's body, and the small seems to just extend it down a little bit. Both grips feature unfettered access to the battery port, as well as a built-in dovetail mount. Also announced are an extended eyecup for more comfortable use, and better light isolation; a grip strap for one handed operation; and replacement port covers in case you loose yours.
A compact hexagonal softbox that's built for shooting on location
A small soft box can be an extremely handy tool for an on-location light kit and Flashpoint made the Hexapop as easy as possible to set up and tear down.
What is it?
As the name suggests, the Hexapop has six edges giving it a hexagonal lighting surface. It's available in 20- and 24-inch models. For this test, I was using the 24-inch model. The rods that support the box are attached to both the fabric and the mounting ring, so it sets up much quicker than traditional soft boxes that need to be assembled. It's almost like setting up an umbrella. Here's a quick demo of how it works.
Once the rods are in place, you mount the flash onto the box using a cold shoe with two prongs, to which the modifier attaches. Having several pieces for mounting isn't ideal, since losing one puts you out of commission, but the included carry bag keeps everything together.
When assembled, the whole things feels pretty sturdy, if a little wobbly, but I had no problem giving it to an assistant to hold on a stand well above her head without an issue. I would use a sandbag to make sure your stand doesn't tip over, though, because I can see a fall causing a lot of damage to both the box and your flash. The flash sits outside of the enclosure, so it won't protect your light from the elements.
This is the final shot from the setup used above. The box didn't turn on the stand like some umbrellas do.
Unlike some of its higher-end competition, the Hexapop only has a single diffuser panel at the front of the box. Since the flash points straight through to the diffuser from behind the box, I found the light pattern to have a pretty notceable hot spot in the center when using it up close. I shoot a lot with shoot-through umbrellas so it's not something I'm unfamiliar with, but if you're doing a lot of close-up head shots or need even lighting, it might cause you some problems.
You can see the hot spot hitting right above her right eyebrow where things get a bit harsh.
Because the flash shoots directly through the Hexapop, you don't lose very much light in transition. Compared to something like the Westcott Apollos, into which the flash actually fires backwards, you get a lot more efficiency.
A shot against a blank grey wall clearly shows the hot spot where the flash head shines directly through
• It's light, and the included bag makes it very easy to carry around.
• Setting it up takes literally seconds and the rods and ring feel well-made.
• The 20-24-inch sizes are great for people who typically use umbrellas but want something a little more directional.
• The $169 price point puts it in the middle between the value brands and the more expensive models.
What's not so good?
• Multiple pieces needed for mounting make the mounting system seem a little awkward, but offers more adjustability.
• No interior baffle gives the light pattern a hot spot in the center of the 110-degree field of coverage.
• One-piece design makes set-up easier, but it doesn't pack flat like assembled soft boxes.
As you back up, the light is more directional than a shoot-through umbrella.
Should you buy it?
If you're going to be doing a lot of tight head shots and need extremely even light, you'll likely benefit from stepping up to something with a secondary diffuser to even the light out a little bit and avoid hot spots.
But, if you're looking for a catch-all soft box that you can set up in a hurry on location, this seems like a fine option. There are other cheaper options out there, but in my experience, they definitely feel cheaper.
14 years compressed down into what feels like nothing
Frans Hofmeester is a Dutch filmmaker who has been capturing the life of his children since their birth. Every week, he's recorded a short clip of them, creating an incredible timelapse of their growth, stretching from infancy, through childhood, and into teens. His most recent release is of his daughter, now 14. In a video that has gone viral, he compresses her entire life into just four minutes of footage.
Hofmeester has now made something of a habit of putting together these videos. His first one of his daughter went viral in 2012, and racked up more than 4 million views. He also released one in 2013 when she turned 13. His son was born in 2002, and the videos of him at ages 10 and 11 have been far less popular, with only around 100,000-150,000 views.
Hofmeester's videos are an incredible look at the way we change and grow as people move through life—but at the same time, it's still rather bizarre that he releases these every year, and each time they seem to go viral. Obviously people want to see more of the lives of these children, even if they've already seen 93% of it already.
The popular Speed Booster now works with classic Olympus glass
Ever since the Metabones Speed Booster was first announced, it's been an incredibly hot commodity. The ability to adapt a lens onto a mirrorless body, but also give more light and a wider field of view than a traditional adapter, has made the Speed Booster much desired (and often imitated). Now Olympus aficionados will have another tool in their arsenal, thanks to a newly announced OM to Micro Four Thirds speed booster.
As with other versions of the Speed Booster, this one makes the lenses 0.71x wider than a standard adapter, and will also pull in an extra stop of light. This handy chart (from here) should give you a slightly better understanding of what that means for field of view, depth of field, and effective focal length.
Metabones adapters don't run cheap however—this will set you back $400, if you can get your hands on one. But if you were a big OM shooter in the film days, this is a great way to bring that classic glass over without losing wide-angles or high speeds.
You can get Pentax's new medium format body for less than $10,000, including a lens
CMOS is the big thing when it comes to medium format digital cameras at the moment. Just ask Phase One and Hasselblad. Now, Pentax is updating their popular 645-series medium format digital cameras with the CMOS-toting 645Z. And it checks in at a price well under $10,000.
The heart of the camera is their new 51.4-megapixel CMOS sensor. Because of the move away from CCD, it can now hit a DSLR-like ISO number of 204,800. While high ISOs like that are typically not very useful due to the grain, the large sensor and high resolution mean you'll have more leeway in terms of noise-reduction that you would with a standard or even full-frame DSLR. The addition of CMOS also means that the 645Z can do video.
Another interesting addition is the 3.2-inch LCD display, which has just over a million dots of resolution and actually rotates, which isn't something you typically find on a camera at this level. Since it'll likely spend a lot of time on a tripod, that could come in very handy.
The body is built to be super-tough, using weather sealing at 76 different points, so it will be at home in the studio, but it seems Pentax is keen to get them out in the field as well.
As for lens options, there are 13 to choose from being made available from Pentax:
- SMC-FA 645 75MM F2.8 $839.00
- SMC-FA 645 45MM F2.8 $1,319.00
- SMCP-FA 645 150mm f/2.8(IF) $1,679.00
- SMC PENTAX-FA* 645 300MM F4 ED(IF) $4,799.95
- SMC-FA 645 400MM F5.6 EDIF $3,479.00
- SMC-FA 645 ZOOM 45-85 F4.5 $2,879.00
- SMCP-FA 645 120mm f/4 MACRO $1,679.00
- SMCP-FA 645 200MM f/4 (IF) $1,319.00
- SMCP-FA 645 80-160/4.5 $2,519.00
- SMCP-FA 645 33-55 f/4.5 AL $3,239.00
- SMCP-FA 645 ZOOM 150-300MM F/5.6 ED $3,239.00
- SMCP-FA 645 35mm f/3.5 $1,919.00
- SMCP-FA 645 55-110 f/5.6 $2,039.00
The standard lens checks in under $1,000. And since the body itself will cost $8,500 when it's released in May, you can get yourself a system for under $10,000. Yes, that's a lot, but in terms of a full-on, high-res, medium format system, it's very cheap.
We liked the original 645 and we're glad to see that Pentax is continuing to support it.
The combination of a total lunar eclipse, and Mars at its biggest and brightest is a rare oneâ��so it's time to break out the tripods and telephoto lenses!
Tonight is going to be an incredibly rare combination of astronomical events. Not only are we set to spot a total lunar eclipse that's visible in the USA for the first time since 2010, but Mars will also be unusually large and bright in the sky. Which makes it the perfect opportunity to get out and try some astrophotography.
Tonight's total lunar eclipse will be the first of four in a set, running early morning April 15th, October 8th, and then next year on April 4th and September 28th—what's called a tetrad. At the same time, Mars is at the biggest and brightest its been in six years, and will actually appear next to the Moon in the night sky.
The best time to see the event will be at 3:00AM EST, midnight PST. And unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses last for hours at a time (and have a dramatic, deep red hue). Unfortunately, you will have to take into account local weather conditions, and it's probably a good idea to drive away from the city to avoid light pollution.
If you're just beginning to step into the world of astrophotography, luckily there are many guides out there to help you. This is a good look at how focal length changes the way the Moon will look, here's an intro to shooting astrophotography, and here. If you're interested in landscapes and timelapses, have a look at this, this, and this.
And no, there's nothing about this set of lunar eclipses that makes them a "blood moon", as all eclipses of this type are red—it's just drumming up apocalyptic fears.
How to declutter those thousands of images that fill up your phone
With the smartphone acting as go to photography device for most people these days, your phone s probably loaded with a chaotic assortment of thousands of images taken at various places and times. So, how do you go about organizing such an array of photos, all stored on one device? The app Tidy aims to help with that, letting you quickly and easily organize your images by location, time, or image shape.
So if you have a large number of photos taken on a trip, or one specific afternoon, or are dedicated to shooting square cropped images for Instagram, this app would let you quickly, powerfully, and easily group images into their appropriate album.
It also has the requisite set of sharing and editing tools, for when you want to tweak the photos a bit more. It'll also pull up old images for you to look at, invoking "Memories".
The downside? According to one review on iTunes, the albums the app creates are not readily readable by other apps, "Great design and concept but need a critical function: SYNC. If all albums created inside the app can not be easily read by other apps, sorting them out is an unwise investment of time."
If the albums the app creates aren't system level, then that's a lot less useful than it might be otherwise.
Giving another lease on life to the 1958 Russar MR-2
Following on the success of the Petzval lens, the folks at Lomography have brought another Russian lens back from the dead, this time the venerable Russar MR-2, from 1958. The newly minted Russar+ is already up for pre-order with a $650 pricetag, and with L39 and M mounts.
You can see a lot more about the lens in the video below, but the Russar+ has a focal length of 20mm (which will effectively change depending on how you mount it onto various camera types), and an aperture range of f/5.6 - f/22. Due to the wide availability of M and L39 mount adapters, you can also load the Russar+ on an extremely wide array of bodies.
The original Russar was designed for Zenit by Mikhail Mikhailovich Rusinov, and, as Lomography explains it:
This innovative and revolutionary optical system allowed for brighter wide-angle photos by utilizing aberrational vignetting in the corners for more illumination across the whole image. It was patented in 1946 and laid the foundations from which super-wide-angle lenses have since been designed!
Lomography also plans to release a viewfinder for the Russar+ this summer, allowing rangefinder shooters a better chance at framing their images properly.
Probably the biggest hurdle Lomography faces with this lens is the high $650 price tag—an amount that would get you an arguably much better prime lens on most available mounts. But for those dedicated to the look and feel of vintage lenses, we're sure this will appeal.
We're used to lenses getting longer, but this all-in-one is getting wider, too.
All-in-one zoom lenses have always been eager to extend outward at the telephoto focal lengths. But, Tamron's new 16-300mm lens is trying to push the limit on the wide angle component.
It's designed specifically for lenses with APS-C-sized sensors and has the equivalent of an 18.8x optical zoom range. That's more than even most compacts. Before this, there was an 18-270mm version, but going all the way to 16mm on the wide end really is impressive and entices kit lens users even more because it can go even wider than their current setup.
Now, getting to all the other letters in the name of the lens. The lens has 16 elements in 12 groups, including three Molded-Glass Aspherical elements, one Hybrid Aspherical element, two LD elements and one Extra Refractive element. Oh, and there's also an Ultra-Extra Refractive element. While it's not important to understand what all of those mean, it does reinforce just how much refraction wizardry needs to go on inside of a lens this small to get a focal range this extreme.
It focuses to 15.3-inches and has a maximum magnification ratio of 1:2.9, which means it's not a true macro, but it does focus close for its range. Inside is the PZD motor, which Tamron claims to be their quietest and fastest. And of course, as this is an all-in-one zoom, it has built in Vibration Compensation.
It also now gets a new finish and design to make it look more "high-end," which isn't dissimilar from what Sigma is currently doing with their Art series lenses.
It's an aggressive play from Tamron and we love that. We're eager to see how it performs and especially how well they're able to combat distortion and vignetting while going all the way to 16mm.
The lens will be available on May 15, 2014 and will cost $629. That makes it cheaper than the new Nikon 18-300mm F/3.5-6.3 VR by a good margin.
NASA has finally taken one of its Instagram accounts to space
While NASA has had a social media presence for a long time, surprisingly its taken the organization this long to actually take one of the most popular image sharing platforms on the planet off-world. NASA has finally linked up its ISS Instagram feed up with astronauts on the space station, and two days ago Steven R. Swanson posted this image to Instagram.
And yes, he is wearing a Firefly t-shirt. Up until now, the ISS Instagram feed has been about the training on the ground, but since that first selfie, more images from the ISS have been posted, including one of the Northern Lights, and another of Swanson (this time rocking a Star Trek shirt).
While it may sound incredulous that NASA has only just turned to Instagram for space pictures, that's because there have been multiple other social media attempts from various agencies, and this is just the first time it's been NASA+Instagram+images taken in space. After all, the official NASA Instagram account and the NASA Goddard account are both extremely popular, and filled with images of space. But they are all images from other situations, posted to Instagram. And let's not forget the incredible images that Cmdr Chris Hadfield posted—but while on NASA trips, he's technically CSA, and was posting to Twitter, not Instagram.
Even so, we can't wait to see more of the images that come from the ISS!