Friday, July 19, 2013
As a fan of the TV show Portlandia, I was of course thrilled to learn of a photography series called, appropriately, Portraitlandia. Though some residents of the city may not be so happy with how photographer Kirk Crippens portrayed the folks who call Portland home (see the comments in the linked Wired blog post below), these photographs are comprised of portraits that show equal parts counter culture and total normalcy. There's even an elephant. However you may feel about what the series says about Portland's residents, I think it's a nice series of lovely images, one that's definitely worth a look.
Nat Geo Photographer Arrested
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Here's an interesting legal case to keep your eye on, because I think it could have some far-reaching ramifications when all is said and done. National Geographic photographer George Steinmetz was recently arrested for taking photos of a Kansas feedlot. Steinmetz was able to photograph this private property because he did so from the air. You see, Steinmetz's typical approach to assignments is to shoot from a motorized paraglider that he assembles himself. He was even featured on NBC's Today show earlier this year (linked in the article below) for his new book full of desert aerials. It's typically assumed to be fairly safe to photograph public things you can see from public property. It would make sense that that translates to public airspace as well. But because Kansas has an "ag gag" law, known officially as the Farm Animal and Field Crop Research Facilities Protection Act, it's therefore illegal to photograph any animal facility not open to the public. I'll be interested to see how this plays out. I might have to rethink my policy of "If I can see it from a public space, I'm safe to photograph it."
The Light Blaster
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
I think I need a Light Blaster. It's preposterous, I know, but it's also perfect and wonderful. You see, the Light Blaster uses your strobe, one of your lenses, and your old 35mm film slides to project light on backgrounds to totally reinvent your photographs. It's a strobe-based gobo projector, and this inexpensive device could actually be quite useful for for anyone interested in giving their photographs a unique look, courtesy of a projected background. There's a long history of using projections in studio photography; now it can be even easier. Check it out at Photocritic.org.
This Photographer Is On Fire
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
This photographer's floor is literally hot lava. Kawika Singson of Hawaii was surprised last week to find that this snapshot of himself on a cooling lava floe—while his shoes and tripod flicker with flames—turned into an actual viral internet event. Lots of folks were convinced that the shot was fake, but I think it's pretty clearly real. The Hawaiian photographer with a penchant for photographing volcanoes says he thought it would be cool to take a picture with his shoes and tripod on fire. "It was really hot," he says. "I could stand the heat only for a few seconds." Would you be surprised to learn the photograph made Google Plus's "What's Hot" section? https://www.facebook.com/kawika.singson/photos is his facebook page.
Robotic Cameras Capture Wimbledon
Monday, July 15, 2013
Along with the traditional coterie of human photographers covering last week's Wimbledon tennis tournament in London was a robotic camera. Nikon, along with a company called Mark Roberts Motion Control, installed a robotic camera on the roof of Wimbledon's famed Centre Court to capture unique angles of the iconic tennis tournament. The robot wasn't autonomous, though; it was operated by a real live human being, an actual photographer named Bob Martin. There were two additional robotic setups, and those did track the primary setup; wherever Mr. Martin directed his robotic camera, the other two cameras followed. It's bound to be the type of thing we see more and more of in the future. Thank goodness, at least for now, these systems still require human photographers to give them life. See a few of Mr. Martin's wonderful photographs in the DPReview article.
Quick Fix Fridays: Fill-Flash Shots In A Flash
Friday, July 12, 2013
Many long articles have been written on fill-flash, also known as daylight fill-in flash. It's a technique where you use your flash/speedlite to fill in shadows in harsh and backlit situations.
Well my friends, fill-flash really not that difficult. Here's the quick technique.
Set your camera on the Manual exposure mode and adjust the aperture and shutter speed until you have the correct natural light exposure. Check your camera's instruction manual to determine your camera's maximum flash synch speed, which is usually 1/200th or 1/250th of a second. (You can shoot at higher shutter speeds with speedlites that offer high synch speeds. You can also use flash accessories such as Pocket Wizards to shoot at higher shutter speeds, but that's the topic for another post.)
Turn on your flash and set it to E-TTT or iTTL. With that setup, the flash will not affect the natural light exposure, and vice versa. That's kinda cool.
If your subject is too dark, increase the +/- exposure compensation on your flash. If the subject is too light, decrease the +/- exposure compensation on your flash.
To make the background darker, increase the shutter speed or set a smaller aperture. To make the background lighter decrease the shutter speed or set a wider aperture.
Keep in mind that all speedlites have a maximum flash distance for the set ISO and set aperture. If your fill-flash pictures are still too dark, you may need to move closer to the subject or open up your aperture.
Got questions? Drop by my website at www.ricksammon.com.
Understanding The Basics Of Copyright
Friday, July 12, 2013
Legal issues tend to be confusing to many people, and nowhere more than when it comes to copyright. The Copyright Clearance Center created this five-minute animated video that explains the particulars of copyright. It can be a helpful tool to learn about protecting your own copyright, and to help ensure that you're not infringing upon the rights of other creators—be they authors, musicians or artists of any sort. This video is geared toward business users in particular, but the law remains the same for corporate users as it is for individuals. It could be a handy primer for those of us who need to brush up on our copyright understanding, and perhaps for some of us to send to our friends and clients.
A Satellite View Of The Ever-Changing Earth
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Google has long been known for, among many other things, its immensely useful earth mapping applications. Well when it got involved with the US Geological Survey's Landsat program in 2009, it started cleaning up the many images recorded by NASA's Landsat satellites that have been made by satellites continually circling the globe for 40 years. Now it has, in partnership with TIME magazine, released time lapse video footage that shows the profound changes that have occurred on the earth since the 1970s. From the growth of Dubai to the melting of glaciers, it's not always a happy evolution but it's definitely powerful and interesting nonetheless. Check it out at http://world.time.com/timelapse/