Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Resolution is no fun. It took me years of coursework and studying and trial and error before I finally felt comfortable with resolution. (That was, of course, prior to the internet era where an explanation of everything is only a click away.) Resolution is such a huge topic, it deserves its own magazine and workshop series and maybe even a TV show. But of course, resolution is not a lot of fun… so, alas, it will never get what it deserves. Instead we need to find little glimpses of insight online via stories like this one at the Light Stalking blog. It's a rough guide to resolution, courtesy of Jason Row, and it's an easy-to-understand explanation of image resolution from megapixels to image size. It'll help you answer the ever important "what exactly is high resolution" question, and it will give you the confidence that comes from understanding this straightforward but very important (and somewhat nuanced) photographic essential.
Neat New LED Light Source
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Have you seen the ICE Light? It's been the subject of a bit of buzz, and I personally know at least a few photographers who are clamoring for the thing. It's a handheld, battery-powered, daylight balanced light source for photography and video uses. It was invented by Jerry Ghionis, who partnered with Westcott to produce the neat new lights. The handheld lights look almost like, well, a light saber. Though it's called the ICE Light, it's not because LEDs keep the thing pretty darn cool, in more ways than one. It does look sort of like an icicle too, but that's still not where the name comes from. You'll have to check out Ghionis's ICE Society for more information on the name, but to get your hands on this cool little light, well you won't have to wait much longer. When I say it's new, I mean it's brand new: the ICE Light is only starting to ship as we speak. If you've got $500 to spend on a really cool (pun intended) light, check it out.
The Beauty Of Rotting Food
Monday, April 16, 2012
Here are some gorgeous photographs of totally disgusting subject matter. It's Klaus Pichler's "One Third" photographic project, in which he photographs food in advanced—and I mean really advanced—stages of decay. As NPR said, "it's a feast for the eyes, even if it turns the stomach." The project, and its name, comes from the fact that Pichler wanted to bring attention to how much food we waste in the western world—almost a third of all food purchased. So he went to the grocery store and bought milk and cheese and various other items and proceeded to let them rot. Then he constructed polished advertising-style studio sessions with the disgusting results. The images present a great dichotomy: disgusting yet beautiful. And they definitely get the job done by making you think about waste in the your own person food stream.
Photo by Klaus Pichler.
How To Light A Lamborghini
Friday, April 13, 2012
When I was a kid I had a prized poster on my wall: a black-on-black 1984 Lamborghini Countach. It was a gorgeous car, and a gorgeous photo. But not nearly as jaw-dropping, on either count, as Blair Bunting's new photograph of a 2012 Lamborghini Aventador. Blair may be best known as the photographer of athletes and awesome reality TV shows with the gritty realist style, but he also photographs cars. And when he was asked to shoot a Lamborghini so that the folks at F-stoppers could make a video of it, Blair jumped at the chance. He breaks down the how and the why on his blog, and you can also watch the finished video there too. It's a great behind-the-scenes with a talented young photographer shooting a gorgeous dream car. And I think it's neat to see how simple it is to photograph such an exotic subject—as long as you've got the right light.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
I photograph a lot of people. I shoot executive portraits and environmental portraits and babies and kids and models and all sorts of people doing all sorts of things. And almost all of them are posed in one way or another. Sure, I have some favorite poses that I regularly rely on, but with posing—as it is with so many photographic techniques—it can be all too easy to get stuck in a rut and fall back on the same basic poses time and again. Well there's a great way to help you get out of your posing rut, or to learn new poses if you're not especially experienced. It's an app for your iPhone called, appropriately, Posing App. It does just what you'd think it would: it categorizes illustrated poses into groups of men, women, children, couples, groups and weddings, and it includes a total of 140 different poses that you can incorporate into your photo shoots. Best of all, since it's on your phone you'll always have a hundred new pose ideas right in your pocket.
Grecco On Lighting
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Just a few weeks ago I wrote about the awesome collection of behind-the-scenes videos that portrait guru Michael Grecco has been doling out via his YouTube channel. But now I've got another reason to mention the man's great work to you, and it's courtesy of his book "Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait," which has been updated and re-released for the digital era. The 2006 book pre-dated the iPad, which also mean that Grecco's publisher wasn't particularly keyed in on electronic publishing rights, so the photographer retained them. And that has allowed him to release his best-selling lighting book for 2012 audiences as an e-book. David Hobby convinced Grecco to break down a shot from the book in greater detail for Strobist readers, and it's well worth a look. But the real takeaway here is to take your iPad, Kindle or Nook and download Grecco's lighting book. Not only will you gain a lot of insight into high-end lighting techniques, but you'll be supporting the photographer directly, as 90% of every purchase goes straight to him.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
If you're like me—and so many photographers nowadays—then you're interested in making time-lapse videos. So you'll definitely want to be sure you've got an intervalometer. I've got an intervalometer that's made specifically for my D-SLR, and it's not only perfect as a cable release for long exposures, but it's also the ideal tool for making multiple exposures automatically at specific intervals over a long period of time. That's exactly what an intervalometer does, in fact. But at about $150, it's not the least expensive cable release you can buy. Still, if you're going to make time-lapse movies you definitely don't want to fire the shutter by hand, so that price is a small one to pay for such a technological advantage. My biggest complaint about my intervalometer is that I have to remember to carry it with me. Enter the Trigger Happy app for the iPhone. It's a camera controller app that comes with a small piece of hardware inline on the cable that connects your phone directly to your camera (various models are promised to be supported) and it's been overwhelmingly funded via the company's Kickstarter fundraising page. More than a cable release and an intervalometer, though, the Trigger Happy controller can also auto-bracket exposures up to nine frames—which makes it possible to combine two technological marvels into one HDR time-lapse video. Thanks to Digital Photography School for pointing out this great product. Peter West Carey has a nice preview of the project at DPS, so after reading that head over to Kickstarter and order yours today.
Free Lens Shade
Monday, April 9, 2012
I hate lens flare. I think it's insidious, and it sneaks in and ruins your photos if you're not paying careful attention. I hate flare enough that I'm going to recommend that you read this post from DIY Photography about the most half-fast, cheapskate, makeshift lens shade you can possibly imagine. And I'm going to suggest you actually use it in a pinch. It's a coffee sleeve. You know, the folded piece of cardboard that the coffee shop barista wraps around your to-go cup of joe to keep you from burning your fingers on a hot cup? That's a coffee sleeve, and it just so happens that it's cheap and disposable and flexible enough to be the perfect lens hood. Plus, if you're a coffee addict like me, you're never more than a few steps from the coffee shop, which means these sleeves are the very definition of "readily available." The most important thing, when it comes to flare, is keeping it from entering the lens. If a coffee sleeve helps you do that, I say go for it.