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Nike Jordan Logo Photo

The iconic image behind the iconic image behind the iconic logo

It may not be quite as iconic as the "swoosh," but Nike's Jordan "Jumpman" logo surely resonates with several generations of fans. Now, photographer Jacobus Rentmeester is suing Nike, claiming that they ripped off his original photo and concept, offering him little compensation for a logo that's representative of a billion dollar business.

Rentmeester is an extremely well-known sports photographer and shot many editorial gigs for Life and other publications. The original Jordan shots were taken for Life magazine prior to 1984, so while Jordan was a very hot prospect, he hadn't achieved the iconic status he would later develop.

According to the suit, Nike paid Rentmeester $150 to temporarily use two of the slides. Then, Nike apparently shot their own version of a similar photo a year later and used that as the basis for the actual logo. One lawsuit later and Nike paid Rentmeester $15,000 to license the image.



Now, it looks like the whole thing is going back to court.

Many of the internet comments are quick to point out how long it has been since the original shot was taken. The whole controversy is more than 30 years old at this point. But, it will be interesting to see how it plays out.



Frankly, both versions of the photo are just terrific. Rentmeester's shot is incredibly dramatic, using outdoor strobes and slide film, which certainly isn't the easiest task. The super-dramatic pose also obviously struck a chord, as well.

What do you think of the case? Will he see any more money out of Nike? Should he?

From: The Washington Post

Nike Jordan Logo Photo
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Nike Jordan Logo Photo

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Ever wonder what it's like to have a slapshot headed toward your face?

A few months ago the NHL began using GoPro's to capture incredible POV shots for game promo, but starting this weekend players will be wearing the action cameras on the ice during the NHL All-Star Skills Competition and Sunday's All-Star game.

Although GoPro's have long been a fixture in individual action sports such as skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing—this deal with the NHL is the first time GoPro is working with a professional sports league, and the POV shots are pretty incredible.

"I think it would be very interesting for the viewer to get a better understanding of what I see and how I track pucks," Henrik Lundqvist, goaltender for the New York Rangers says in the video. More like awesome, Henrik.

Check out the footage from the ice in the video above.

GoProNFL
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

GoProNFL

Photo: GoPro

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The six remaining photographers lost their jobs yesterday

Another photo department at a major magazine has blinked out of existence—a story that is all too common in today's media world. According to NPAA, yesterday the six remaining staff photographers at Sports Illustrated lost their jobs as Time Inc. undergoes major restructuring.

"Unfortunately economic circumstances are such that it has cut the six staff photographers," Brad Smith, Sports Illustrated's Director of Photography, told the NPAA. " Smith said that he hoped the six photographers would continue to contribute to the magazine "under slightly different circumstances."

"Our commitment to photography hasn't changed," he said. "We're still going to cover games, we're going to shoot portraits, we're going to cover Olympics, we'll be at the Final Four, we will be at championships, we'll be there."

The photographers who lost their jobs yesterday include: Robert Beck, Simon Bruty, Bill Frakes, David E. Klutho, John W. McDonough, and Al Tielemans.

sicover
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

sicover

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Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 Full-Frame Zoom Lens Photokina 2014

The lens will start shipping at the end of this month and will cost $1,199

We first heard about the new Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 DI VC lens back at Photokina 2014. We got a chance to check out the feel of it as well as the really impressive protective coating that covers the front element of the lens to avoid fingerprints and other grime accumulation. What we didn't have, however, was the price. Now, it's available for pre-order online for $1,199 and will start shipping at the end of January.


http://cf.c.ooyala.com/42czRmcDp4aGZVqfuSb3VwkVhfXYzEEM/3Gduepif0T1UGY8H4xMDoxOjA4MTsiGN

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I think this is pretty much where everyone expected this lens to land, which makes it an interesting alternative to the first party Canon and Nikon options. It's cheaper than the Canon 16-35mm F/2.8 even though the Tamron adds VC. It's also a full stop faster than the 16-35mm F/4L IS despite checking in at the same exact price.

On the Nikon side of things, it's considerably cheaper than the 14-24mm F/2.8 (though, that's a tough lens to beat in terms of image quality at that focal range), and still a little cheaper and one stop faster than the Nikon 16-35mm F/4 VC.

We're really looking forward to seeing how the lens performs in our test lab and we'll share the results as soon as they're available.

Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 Full-Frame Zoom Lens Photokina 2014
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 Full-Frame Zoom Lens Photokina 2014

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Making sparks fly in lackluster light

Maja Topčagić, a 25-year-old photographer and photo retoucher from Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, has a passion for photographing blue-eyed redheads. “Statistically, only about one percent of humanity has the combination of blue eyes and red hair,” says Topčagić. Her website presents some of the prettiest of that one percent in dozens and dozens of photos. “I started the project almost a year ago, and every month the collection grows,” says Topčagić, herself blue-eyed and occasionally a redhead.

Her go-to lighting for these alluring portraits is the ambient light of an overcast day, early or late when the low-lying sun throws an overall warm cast. For this shot, the light’s yellow/orange hue brought out the warm tones of her model’s hair and freckles, and, because it was diffuse, the lighting didn’t throw shadows across her face. In some ways, it’s perfect portrait light.

But it has a downside. Flat portrait lighting tends deemphasize a person’s eyes. Since one of Topčagić's main intents was high-lighting the intriguing contrast between cool blue eyes and warm hair, flat light was a problem.

To solve it here, she turned to a circular silver lamé reflector. An assistant aimed it toward her model’s face, where it gave a specular, sparkling quality to the light that helped to accent the blue in what otherwise read as gray eyes. “Even though the model had really big, vibrant blue eyes, the reflector was needed to highlight them in just the right way,” Topčagić says.

Want to make a similar portrait yourself? “Choose wisely the part of the day that you photograph,” says Topčagić. “Go for the most beautiful light. Sunrise or sunset will almost always work. Take a model with you and experiment from a lot of angles.” For location portraits, she often has her subjects lie flat on a hillside and shoots down on them. The strategy allows her to spread out the red hair so it becomes a more important element in the photo. If properly oriented, the hillside can also block direct sunlight, allowing you to shoot on sunny as well as overcast days.

To light her redheaded model, Maja Topčagić relied on the warm-hued sunlight of late afternoon (A). Diffused through a light cloud cover, the sunlight was directional enough that an assistant could bounce it toward the model with a circular, collapsible, silver-lined reflector (B). It popped the subject’s eyes, accenting their blue tones. She shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and the 50mm f/1.4 Canon USM lens (C). Of her exposure, she says, “I always choose the aperture first, and then decide on the shutter speed and ISO. Once I have my aperture, with the light of the reflector in place I adjust first the shutter speed and then ISO.” She sets the slowest shutter speed that will assure a sharp subject and the lowest possible ISO. Of her passion for freckles Topčagić says, “They were once considered unsightly, but today freckles are making a comeback. Illustration: Kris Holland/Mafic Studios

blueeyes
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

blueeyes

Topčagić exposed for 1/250 sec at f/4, ISO 100. The three settings are called “the exposure triangle” in her part of the world. Photo: Maja Topčagić

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This free iPad app showcases your art portfolio

Format, a Canadian-made platform founded in 2010, is primarily a sandbox style portfolio site creator. They offer photographers (and other creative professionals) slick templates for creating online portfolios without learning how to code.

To address the growing number of iPad consumers, Format just released Kredo, a free iPad portfolio app for artists to organize and share their work in a professional way. Kredo allows users to display their work in Retina-quality, high-resolution images that can be shared via email, social media, or within the app itself to other users.

The in-app sharing network, called the Kredo Discover Network, allows artists to share their work and connect with possible clients. The ability to quickly and efficiently share polished work is one that all artists want, and Kredo has stepped in to try to solve the problem.

Kredo is also useful for in-person interactions, offering a slideshow feature that enables artists to quickly scroll through their work in an interview setting or to friends and colleagues.

Watch Kredo in action: here

Kredo
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Kredo

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We have scientific evidence that photography is hot right now

Creativity, in its various forms, can be an extremely attractive trait in a person. We don't need science to tell us that, but that doesn't stop it from trying. Where does photography land on the "sexiness" ranking? Let's find out.

The new study, led by psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman of the University of Pennsylvania, was published in the Journal of Creative Behavior and explores the idea that some types of creativity are indeed sexier than others.

The study used a checklist system to gather information. 815 participants (mostly young women) were asked to rank 43 creative behaviors according to how sexually attractive they found them.

“For both males and females on average, ornamental/aesthetic forms of creativity were considered more sexually attractive than applied/technological forms of creativity,” says Kaufman, in his summary blog post on Scientific American.

Ok, so people might have already assumed that a lead singer had a little more luck with the ladies than his gardening counterpart, but it turns out that science is actually behind this seemingly shallow phenomenon.

According to the results:

Top 10 sexiest creative behaviors:

1. Playing sports

2. Taking a date on a spontaneous road trip

3. Recording music

4. Making a clever remark

5. Writing music

6. Performing in a band

7. The taking of artistic photographs

8. Performing in comedy

9. Dressing in a unique style

10. Writing poetry

Top 10 least sexy creative behaviors:

1. Making ad campaigns

2. Interior decorating

3. Writing an original computer program

4. Making websites

5. Growing and gardening

6. Presenting scientific or mathematical papers

7. Exterior decorating

8. Applying math in an original way to solve a practical problem

9. The development of scientific experimental designs

10. Participating in drama production

The list presents a pretty clear divide with aesthetic skills falling at the top, and more technology-related talents coming in last. Ps. we see you there in the top 10, photography.

Obviously there are some flaws to the system: the participants were almost all women, and quite young with an average age of 24. A 24-year-old partygoer may be more inclined to search for the sexy bachelor yielding a guitar case than the financially stable computer programmer.

Kaufman reiterates that while there is a definitive rating, you shouldn’t throw your calculator and protractor off the roof just yet. He notes that “assertive mating” is a very real thing, and there is someone out there just waiting to fill out the other half of your Excel sheet.

[From: Fast Company]

Camera hearts
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Camera hearts

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Nikon offers customers steps to repair the flare issue

Nikon has already addressed the "dark band" flare issue present in some of their D750 camera bodies, stating that all customers affected would be given free repairs to fix the issue. Following these announcements, Nikon has just released a service advisory that helps customers begin the repair process.

The first step in getting the fix is making sure that your camera is actually one of the affected bodies. The service advisory includes a link to a page that will check your camera’s serial number, alerting you if further service is needed.

Nikon tells customers to check the tripod socket on their cameras, because any camera purchased after the flare issue was announced could have already been updated. Even if your serial number reports that your camera has the flaw, a black dot means that you can ignore the alert.

A black dot inside the tripod socket on the bottom of the camera indicates that Nikon has already fixed the issue.

If your serial number shows that your camera was affected, and there is no black dot showing that is has been fixed, then you will be guided through the process of requesting service from your nearest Nikon service center.

According to Nikon, the center will “inspect light-shielding components, and adjust AF sensor position” in order to fix the flare issue. The addition of the AF sensor tweak is interesting because it wasn't something that was originally mentioned in the previous announcement. Still, it's good to see Nikon being proactive about fixes like this to try and keep their customers happy.

Nikon D750
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Nikon D750

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The counterculture journalist and apparently earnest photo enthusiast wanted to contribute an article on "snapshooting"

One of the lesser-known facts about the life author Hunter S. Thompson—now a mythical, nearly cartoonish figure—is his longstanding relationship with the camera. Throughout his early travels and magazine assignments, Thompson would have a medium format twin-lens Yashica-Mat in tow, often “just for the hell of it,” and often to illustrate his own articles.

Hunter Thompson
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Hunter Thompson

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Top pet shooter on how to capture the amazing expressiveness of the canine world

For Gary Parker, few things are more enjoyable than photographing man’s best friend. “I’ll shoot any pup I hear about—entirely for fun,” says this advertising, editorial, and, yes, pet photographer from San Jose, California . “For the basset puppies you see here, I drove over 100 miles to meet them, and it was a blast.” Creating great pooch portraits, he says, is the same process as taking great people portraits: “They should nail the character, personality, athleticism, and pure beauty of the subject.”

ENTER OUR DOG PHOTO CHALLENGE!

His typical canine portrait session can begin with a traditional set-up. Here, Parker might attempt to produce a specific look requested by a pet’s owner. To nail these, he says, it’s important to start with a relaxed animal. He recommends easing into the shoot to keep the pups calm and happy. Work slowly, move slowly, and be relaxed yourself. Be relatively quiet, and don’t force yourself on the pet. “Eventually the dog will lead you to cool photos,” says Parker. “As with babies and small kids, it can take some time.”

Find the Right Setting

For a national ad, Parker placed Piggy, an English bulldog model, on her back; the pup held the pose for several minutes. “It’s great working with a pro,” he says. Made with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and the same lens as above; 1/2000 sec at f/2.8, ISO 800. Photo: Gary Parker

“I see dogs as outdoor creatures and that’s where I like to shoot them,” says Parker. He says the best outdoor locations offer bright, natural light with ample areas of open shade. A great setting will put generous swaths of uncluttered space between you and the dog and between the dog and the background. It will also allow for long, flattering portrait lenses (say, a fast-focusing 70–200mm f/2.8) and defocused backgrounds. To keep your canine calm, avoid distractions such as people or other dogs.

Parker prefers naturally occurring shade or that cast by a large overhead silk or scrim. If he has to shoot in direct sunlight, Parker will work only early or late in the day, making sure that his subject is backlit. He fills in the backlight’s shadows with reflectors or a flash. “Bounce a speedlight off reflectors or white walls, but never aim it directly at a subject,” Parker advises.

During the more traditional portrait segment of the shoot, he suggests having a wide variety of your dog’s favorite treats on hand. Most breeds are food driven, and most animal trainers use treats to direct their subjects’ attention and to reward and encourage desired behaviors.

To use treats effectively, Parker has an assistant tease the pet by concealing the treat in his or her hand, making sure the dog knows it’s there. The ploy usually provokes the desired expressions. For group portraits of a pet and its owners, these expressions can suggest important interaction, even affection, between human and animal.

Act Like a Sports Shooter

Once he’s nailed a portrait that meets the owner’s needs, Parker gets active. Capturing dogs in motion requires all the skills of a sports photographer.

The best of these pictures capture real moments that he could never have imagined or staged. To start, he might ask owners to simply play with their dogs. “Sometimes I play with the pet myself while making pictures, typically with a wide-angle lens. I’m like a big kid shooting, running and jumping with the animal. The results are images with energy,” Parker says.

“Since I often find myself on the ground, rolling with the pet, assistants are essential,” the photographer says. “They aim reflectors, change batteries in a flash, or toss me lenses. My focal length needs can change on a dime, and it makes a huge difference having someone there to quickly swap out my lenses.”

Parker shot his golden retriever at home for an ad. Made with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and 16–35mm f/2.8L Canon EF lens; 1/160 sec at f/4, ISO 400. Photo: Gary Parker

On set with animals and their owners, an assistant plays a crucial role beyond the technical. “They make you look professional and can instill trust in a pet’s owner,” Parker says. “In the heat of the portrait session, assistants organize gear, chase after a mutt on the run, and provide distractions that can catch or redirect Fido’s attention. I’ve even asked assistants to run poop patrol!” he says.

As for composing an image, as most of the photos here show, Parker likes to get his camera low and shoot into his subject’s eyes. “I love unusual angles so I’m constantly flat on my back or stomach or in other odd positions that tend to require a chiropractor afterwards,” he jokes.

“When getting down to the dog’s level, I move slowly, making minimal eye contact, especially if the dog is hyper. Eye contact can cause some breeds to tense up. It’s important to come off as nonthreatening. Stand back, blend in, and let the dog rule,” he says.

Consider Your Gear

Shooting subjects who move quickly and unpredictably naturally requires proper gear. Parker advises using a high framing rate, generous burst capacity, and effective noise control at high ISOs. “I like the Canon EOS 5D Mark III better than my Canon EOS-1D Mark IV because the 5D is lighter. Often, though, I end up using the 1D Mark IV for its 10 fps framing rate,” he says.

His favorite lenses vary with the setting and the look a client wants to achieve from the shoot. Generally, he relies on fast zooms like the Canon 16–35mm f/2.8L for in-close work and Canon’s 70–200mm f/2.8L for longer shots of shy or distant dogs. “I love the Canon 300mm f/4L since it’s lightweight for its size, plus it creates beautifully unsharp backgrounds. I often use the Canon 1.4X teleconverter with the 70–200mm and 300mm for an added layer of compression,” he says.

While doing portraits of his son with the family’s golden retriever at a beach near Santa Cruz, CA, this pit bull suddenly approached the family dog. Parker captured the standoff with a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II and 70–200mm f/2.8L lens, exposing for 1/800 sec at f/3.5, ISO 400. Photo: Gary Parker

He’s also a huge fan of the Canon 50mm f/1.2L. “It allows indoor existing light photography in outrageously dark locations, catches focus in low light, and creates a beautiful look when used anywhere near f/1.2. At wide open, the lens is so fast, I can shoot using studio strobes’ modeling lights as my sole source,” Parker says.

Other items he brings to a shoot include waterproof blankets and gardening kneepads that let him lie flat on the ground or work while kneeling. “Since my style is to spontaneously react to photo opportunities, I need the ability to fall to the ground for the right angle. If the ground is wet or muddy, plastic sheeting can be a godsend,” he says.

When shooting a dog in available light, one of Parker’s main concerns is depth of field. He wants it as shallow as possible and suggests shooting wide open or closing down one stop to hedge your focusing bets. Shooting near wide open also allows the faster shutter speeds needed to freeze a dog in motion.

When he’s shooting with strobes, Parker sets the camera to manual. But if he’s using his Canon 580EX Speedlite, he’ll set his DSLR to the Aperture Priority exposure mode, which balances the overall lighting to include ambient light. In this mode, the on-camera flash acts as a fill light.

A dog’s relaxed or attentive behavior can suggest affection or interest in people. For this image, Parker used a Canon EOS-1D Mark IV with a 50mm f/1.2L Canon EF lens; 1/400 sec at f/1.8, ISO 1600. Photo: Gary Parker

Pooch-shooting isn’t just for dog owners; it can be a practical solution for newbies looking for a model. “If you have access to a dog, you’ve always got a mostly willing subject that can challenge your skills at composing, focusing, and exposing,” says Parker. Dogs can teach you about human portraiture and sports photography, too. The only cost to you? A few bits of bacon.

Be Safe

In unfamiliar conditions, any dog can become aggressive. To avoid being bitten (or damaging your gear), watch for warning signs, such as hackles going up, and be ready to recoil. To defuse a tense moment, walk slowly toward the subject and place your camera on the ground. Walk away and let the dog sniff the camera.

NOW TRY OUT THESE TIPS AND SUBMIT THE RESULTS TO OUR DOG PHOTO CHALLENGE!

GaryParkerPup
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

GaryParkerPup

“Nothing is more fun than puppies,” says Parker, recalling these 3-month-old basset hounds. He used a Canon EOS 5D with 16–35mm f/2.8L Canon EF lens; 1/250 sec at f/4, ISO 320. Photo: Gary Parker

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World War II Soldier's Film Rescued and Developed

A collection of never-before-seen images come to light

Developing film can be a tricky process, especially if the film had been lost and sat undeveloped for somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 years. The Rescued Film Project recently came into a stash of 31 rolls of exposed, undeveloped film believed to be shot by a WWII soldier.
As you can see in the video, the film was actually salvageable, and on the rolls are some fascinating images that were never actually seen by the person who shot them.

The video shows Levi Bettwieser going through the careful process of developing the images and it shares some interesting insights into the tricky nature of developing old film. For instance, remaining rolled up for decades makes the actual film stock more fragile and tougher to straighten out. Plus, it burns through more chemicals than a typical film developing session because older film loses more contaminates into the bath.

The resulting images likely won't be making it into any museums, but I do find them pretty fascinating. It's interesting to think about how much film there is out there like this. I know I have at least two rolls of 120 sitting in my drawer with pictures on them from at least a decade ago. Maybe this video will be the motivation I needed to get them processed.
These photos, unlike others before them, aren't fake.
From: ISO 1200
World War II Soldier's Film Rescued and Developed
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

World War II Soldier's Film Rescued and Developed

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NASA 1.5-billion pixel photo hubble telescope

You need a heck of a zoom lens to photograph a subject that's 2.5-million light-years away

NASA has a well-documented history of creating amazing imagery in their efforts to explore the vast expanse of space. Their latest achievement is a 1.5-billion pixel image that depicts the Andromeda galaxy as seen by the Hubble telescope.
The final image takes up more than 4 GB of total storage and required 7,398 individual exposures that were later stitched together into one massive photo. The final resolution checks in at a massive 69,536 x 22, 230.
Obviously, viewing it at full resolution--even on one of those sweet 5K monitors--is impossible, so you can zoom around the image using this utility on the Hubble site. It's also just a little too big for Instagram.
It's an impressive achievement for NASA and a neat way to spend a few minutes zooming around the galaxy.
NASA 1.5-billion pixel photo hubble telescope
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

NASA 1.5-billion pixel photo hubble telescope

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LensRacks Kickstarter

Have a lot of camera gear kicking around? This rack wants to help you organize it

There is camera stuff all over my office and it's getting a little out of hand. Apparently other photographers also have that problem, because the LensRacks kickstarter wants to help us organize it.

The concept is pretty simple. There's a metal rail with adapters slid into it. There are adapters to hold lenses, flashes, and even camera bodies in a nice, tidy line. They make them for both Canon and Nikon lenses, and each lens holder is labeled, so you can put the right lens in the right spot.

The cheapest Kickstarter backer level is only $25 (Canadian) and it gets you a single rail and a variety of adapters. For 37, you get two rails and more adapters, and $49 gets you three rails.

It seems like a handy way to organize gear if you're working in a small studio or at your home, though, it's not of much use if you're traveling a lot. Still, it would probably help me gets some of this office clutter under control. What do you think?

LensRacks Kickstarter
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

LensRacks

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A day in the field capturing beautiful pictures in chaotic environments

When it comes photographing animals and their people Diana Haskell has done it all: dogs, cats, rats, horses, and even designer chickens.

A life-long lover of animals, Haskell says she was four years old the first time she was handed a leash to walk a dog. “And I thought it was the most extraordinary thing I had ever done,” she says. Haskell worked at the Bronx Zoo cleaning cages as a teenager and later was a keeper at the London Zoo working with the apes. As an animal photographer, Haskell’s primary focus is creating large coffee-table books told from the perspective of the animal that document the relationship between pets and their owners.

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“There is an intimacy that happens between people and animals,” she says. “I’m capturing the little nuances of their relationship—by the time we are done they have this beautiful book that shows all these quirks, funny things and loving things and they feel a lot closer to their animal.”
Photo: Diana Haskell

Although Haskell has photographed a variety of animals, she works with dogs most often and has become skilled at creating beautiful portraits in quick moving situations. Haskell prefers to work with minimal gear when she is in the field: a Nikon 610 with a 24-70mm f/2.8, a fixed 35mm and a fixed 50mm is what she typically travels with. If she is working inside an apartment she may use flashes on tripods, but on outdoor shoots works with the natural light and may have her assistant hold a reflector.

Photo: Diana Haskell

When working on a book project Haskell tries to meet with her clients for at least two-three shoots for a few hours at a time, but the amount of time actually photographing is totally dependent on her furry subjects. “Sometimes dogs are just done. The camera is no longer invited and you have to honor that at all times,” she says. Haskell recalls that once while shooting inside the studio the dog darted out of the frame, retrieved his owners shoes and dropped them in front of the owner. “It was so clear to everyone that the dog just didn’t want anymore camera action,” she says. “Even with treats.”

Luckily, on the day I met up with Haskell the two Vizlas she was shooting were a bit more tolerant of the camera. Watch as she works alongside the animals and their owner to capture a perfect family portrait in Riverside Park.

​Photo: Diana Haskell

Diana Haskell
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Diana Haskell

Diana Haskell photographs her clients in Riverside Park in Manhattan. Photo: Jeanette D. Moses

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Fujifilm X-A2 Camera

Two new camera enter the Fujifilm X-series lineup

I was a little surprised at how quiet Fujifilm was during last week's big CES show, but here they are a week later with two new additions to the X-series line: The X-As and the XQ2 compact.
The X-A2 is an interchangeable-lens compact camera that acts as their entry-level model. It has a 16.3-megapixel APS-C sensor and an LCD display that tilts 175-degrees upward so it can face completely forward. The press material says its for selfless, but there are other applications as well, in case the mere mention of that word makes you cringe.
It has an ISO range from 100 to 25,600, in-camera raw processing, the new-ish "classic chrome" filters that simulate old film stocks and movie mode that tops out at 1080p at 30 fps.
The standard kit will cost just $549 and come with the new XC16-50mm II kit zoom lens.
The XQ2 is a true compact with an integrated 4x zoom lens with a full-frame equivalent field of view of 25-100mm (F/1.8-4.9). It has a 2/3-inch sensor, so its not quite as big as those in new compacts like the Panasonic LX100 and the Canon G7 X, but it's bigger than a typical compact. Its maximum ISO is 12,800.
The XQ2 will be available in black, white, and a black/silver combo starting in february for $399.
Fujifilm X-A2 Camera
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Fujifilm X-A2 Camera

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Tilt-Shift Portait photography tips

Photographer Heidi Browne shares her tilt-shift technique for creating surreal portraits

When we think of a "portrait lens," it's usually something like an 85mm F/1.4 or the 135mm F/2. But the fact is, you can shoot portraits with any lens, and opening up your options to include tilt-shift can make for some truly unique photographic opportunities. Heidi Browne of Forged in the North Photography has honed that skill and offers some helpful tips for getting started with tilting and shifting.
What is a tilt-shift lens?
Tilt-shift lenses allow you to manipulate the optics relative to the film or digital sensor. You can read our introduction to tilt-shift lenses here for a basic primer.
Most commonly for portraits we us the tilt movement, which skews the plane of focus. So, rather than having a flat wall of focus parallel to your sensor, you can now have two subjects in focus, even if they're at different distances from the lens.
You can specify how wide the band of focus in the photo is by how much you tilt. A big tilt will appear to have a narrower band of focus running across the frame and a small tilt will give you the opposite. It provides a unique and dream like quality to the image by the way it captures focus and treats light.
When to choose a tilt-shift over a standard lens
As a photographer, lens selection is a big decision. Each lens has different properties and nuances, especially when you add the variables involved with tilt-shift.
A great application for a tilt-shift lens is a group shot where the subjects are closer and further away from the lens but all of their faces are at relatively the same height in the frame. It can be useful as well when trying to capture your subject while they are walking toward you or away from you. On a standard lens, a subject moving toward or away will fall out of focus immediately. With a tilt-shift lens, you can extend that plane of focus behind and in front of your subject so they stay in focus while changing distances from your lens.
One of my favorite reasons for selecting a tilt-shift lens vs. a standard lens is that you can create bokeh in wide, landscape type shots that you wouldn't get otherwise.
Tilt-shift lenses can be expensive, so definitely consider renting one to work with before making the leap into purchasing one.
Choosing the right tilt-shift lens for the job
For the most part, the conventional lens-choosing wisdom still applies. If you have a larger scene, like a landscape or a cityscape, you'll want to choose a wider lens. It helps to capture the environment surrounding your subjects. If you want a tighter portrait then a longer lens will be a better choice.
Lately, I've been experimenting with using a wider focal length and getting very close the subject. The image feels intimate with lots of separation between the subject and background. It makes for a more unique portrait.
Learn your lens
Getting to know the characteristics of your lenses is important, especially since tilt-shift glass can behave so differently than a normal options. For instance, our Rokinon 24mm TS has a beautiful, cinematic blue flare when the sun enters the side of the lens. The Canon 45mm TS will produce a rainbow flare in certain lighting conditions. The more you know the way your lens manipulates light the better you will be at selecting the right lens at the right time.
For example, when I am shooting backlit subjects with the Canon 45mm TS, the images are low-contrast and buttery. So when I want a dreamy, washed-out look, that's the lens I go for.
Pick a location that maximizes the effect
Usually you want to shoot with a background that has a lot of texture. For instance, tree canopies produce really beautiful bokeh when you tilt the lens. Shooting with a lot of negative space as the background, like a blue sky or fully overcast sky, won't utilize the qualities of the tilt because you won't see the focus plane being manipulated.
Focusing
Once you have your lens selected, figure out how wide of a plane of focus you would like. I tend to tilt my 45mm lens up about half way to its maximum tilted position. When you tilt up, you will not be able to focus toward the top edge of the frame. And when you tilt down, you will not be able to focus toward the bottom edge. Knowing your focus limitations with your specific tilt-shift lens just takes practice.
I shoot on Canon 5D III bodies and use the AF indicator light in the viewfinder to know that my focus plane is exactly where I want it to be. Shooting in live view mode can also be helpful since you can zoom in and check focus more precisely than just looking through the viewfinder.
It is also not a bad idea to do some focus bracketing. When you think your subject is in focus, try grabbing a couple additional shots with the focus a little lower and a little higher from where you think it should be. You'd be surprised as to how often you accidentally miss focus, and you'll thank yourself later for doing it.
Normally you shoot with your focal plane horizontal in the frame (the lens is tilted up or down). However, you can opt to shoot with the focal plane being vertical (by swinging left or right). It provides a very different look where the image to the left and right of the subject is out of focus.
Metering
I use the camera's meter for the first shot to get it as close as possible and then review the histogram on that image. Because of the tilting and the way the lenses deal with direct light it's a bit of a trial and error. It can help to work in manual and don't be surprised if you get some truly wacky readings that can be off by two or three full stops.
Processing
When I shoot with certain tilt-shift lenses into the sun, I find that the image is too washed out because of the flare, so I treat those images with a bit more contrast than others. Otherwise, my processing for tilt-shift photos are the same for any other shots.
Things to Avoid
When shooting a group of subjects where you really want to nail the focus, avoid making the focus plane too narrow, always err on the side of a wider plane.
Another thing to be mindful of, is the lens flare washing out the image too much. Like with any new gear, make sure you have a grasp on it before bringing it into any kind of commissioned job scenario.
Don't overdo it
Like any specialty lens, you don't want to saturate a series of photos with tilt-shift. It just depends on the overall look you're going for. Some clients love the softer, more ethereal look of the tilt-shift, while others may want a sharper finished product. I always shoot with two bodies. One always has a tilt-shift on it and the other one always has a standard prime. This way when I am shooting a particular scene, it's simple to shoot it on both and decide later what worked best.
Tricks and bonuses
A trick a lot of photographers like to use the tilt-shift for is to simulate a miniature scene of a city or landscape from above. This is because it gives the appearance of a shallow depth of field like something that you shoot close up, vs. a city skyline that would not have a shallow depth of field on a standard lens. If you can get up really high during a wedding ceremony or even during a portrait session, it can be a very powerful effect.

Check out Heidi's official website here: Forged in the North Photography
Tilt-Shift Portait photography tips
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Tilt Shift Portraits

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Apple Action Camera

Apple specifically calls out GoPro in their patent filing for a new action camera

Apple owns a lot of patents. As a technology company, that's to be expected. Some of them involve their actual products and innovations, while others are simply concepts that will never make their way to the marketplace. The latest batch of Apple patents includes the outline for their very own waterproof action camera that would hope to take on the mighty GoPro if it were to actually come to market.

The actual patent documents go into quite a bit of detail about the nature of the camera, even going so far as to call out GoPro by name. They claim the GoPro form factor is a limiting factor and that the flatter Apple action camera would be subject to less image shake. It also talks about the remote control capabilities that would be involved with the hypothetical iAction (note: that's not the real name, it's just one I'm making up for this blog post). It outlines control from a watch or another device, which is something a lot of other action cams have been doing for quite some time.

Another interesting bit is the addition of an underwater microphone, which could be something that actually does set it apart from the rest. Though, it's tough to tell how much of a selling point that would really be for most cosumers.

It looks like some of the technology for the camera is coming from when they purchased patents from Kodak. In fact, some of the diagrams even show a camera with Kodak branding.

Personally, it seems unlikely that Apple would be able to storm the action cam market and dethrone king GoPro. However, reports say that the patent alone caused GoPro stocks to drop significantly, which actually seems insane. Maybe if they had actually announced a product, I could understand the drop, but for the market to react so dramatically to the granting of a patent seems overly impulsive.

Only the future can tell, thought. There are already several strong players in the action camera market, including Sony, who have recently revamped their action cameras to capture 4K video. What would it take to get you to buy an Apple action camera?

Apple Action Camera
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Apple Action Camera

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Amazing aerial night photos of New York

Leaning out of a helicopter 7,500 feet above New York City with a few thousands dollars worth of gear isn’t a risk that most photographers would be willing to take, but Vincent Laforet feels right at home in a heli.

“There’s just simply nothing quite like leaning out of that chopper over the sea of darkness and light, held in only by a full body harness,” Laforet writes about his recent experience shooting the city from above.

Although Laforet has photographed Gotham City from helicopter more than 50 times in the last 15 years, these new nighttime pictures (originally shot for Men’s Health Magazine) are images Laforet says he has wanted to make since he was a teen. It’s only been in the last few years that camera technology has gotten powerful enough to accurately capture New York City at night.

To make the incredible photos, the helicopter Laforet was in flew to the unusually high altitude of 7,500 feet—“we were actually flying above all the airline traffic landing at JFK, LGA and Newark airports,” Laforet writes. He shot using a Canon 1DX and a Mamiya Leaf Credo 50 MP back with a variety of f/1.2, f/2.8 and tilt-shift lenses.

See more of Laforet’s wild nighttime aerial shots here. Watch the video below by David Geffin to see a bit of the behind the scenes action.

Gotham From Above from David Geffin on Vimeo.

NYC-night
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

NYC-night

New York City from 7,500 feet. Photo: Vincent Laforet

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Samyang launches $549 lens for stills and video

After weeks of rumors, Samyang has officially announced their 135mm f/2.0 lens. The lens is available in 10 mounts: Canon, Canon M, Nikon, Pentax, Sony A, Sony E, Fujifilm X, Samsung NX, Four-Thirds, and MFT, which makes it extremely versatile in terms of camera systems. And, of course, like the rest of Samyang's lens lineup, it's manual focus only.

Other features include 11 glass elements in 7 groups, a minimum focal length of 0.8m, an f/2 to f/22 aperture range, a circular aperture with 9 blades, a detachable petal-shaped lens hood and multi-coated glass to minimize flare, and an extra-low dispersion element to reduce chromatic aberrations.

The Samyang 135mm is available for preorder from retailers like B&H for $549. At that price, it's decidedly cheaper than other 135mm portrait lenses, so if you're willing to forego autofocus, it could be a really great headshot lens. Once a final version is available, we'll bring it into our test lab to see how it stacks up against the competition.

samyang
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

samyang

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A bird's eye view of a near-catastrophe

Drones are a big deal in the photography world at the moment. Just look at how much new drone stuff we saw at CES last week. But, despite being the hot new piece of gear, they do have a bit of a learning curve. And this Youtube user found that out the hard way when he almost sends his new DJI Phantom 2 into the drink on its maiden voyage.

The video is currently making the rounds on the internet, so it gets the omnipresent disclaimer about how it might just be a "viral" fake. Still, it looks pretty real and it acts as a nice reminder about how easy it is to nuke a piece of equipment when you're sending it off on its own into the friendly skies.

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