Gregory Crewdson's Black & White Historical Landscapes
Friday, May 20, 2011
The Hyperallergic blog does a wonderful job of pointing out great art online. Recently they turned me on to a body of work from a photographer I know and love, but with work that's so out of character (though still wonderful) that it was a great and pleasant surprise. The photographer is Gregory Crewdson, whom you may know as the creator of big budget, Hollywood-style productions of very cinematic and colorful still photographs. They're like big films in a single frame of 8x10 film. It turns out that's not all Crewdson is skilled at shooting. The New York Times did a feature on his black & white images of ancient Rome. In fact, the subject of these images is a retired film studio and its grand staged sets of structures from the ancient city. So I suppose it turns out that even when Crewdson isn't making his trademark cinematic images he's still making images that relate to the grand tradition of cinema. Either way they're beautiful and most definitely worth a look—even if you
Learn Lighting By Watching Television
Thursday, May 19, 2011
I'm always noticing interesting lighting and camera techniques wherever they might show up. In practice, that most often means in the movies and television shows I watch. Turns out I'm not the only one. As Luke Townsend recently wrote on the DPS blog, you can use popular television shows to boost your knowledge of classic portrait lighting patterns. Utilizing clips from current shows such as House and Mad Men, as well as classic sit-coms like Cheers, Mr. Townsend perfectly illustrates classic approaches to lighting faces. See for yourself how to use TV to learn short light, broad light and split light at the DPS blog, and then start paying attention to lighting techniques wherever you might find them—even if it's on TV.
Travel Vicariously To New Zealand
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
There are a handful of places in the world I've always wanted to visit. Along with Iceland, no other country piques my interest more than New Zealand. So this recent collection of images of New Zealand made by photographer Chris Gin, which I found at the Light Stalking web site, really got my traveling juices flowing. Since I can't imagine visiting the other side of the world any time soon, I'll have to live vicariously through these wonderful photos. After all, isn't that what great pictures do? They help us see things we otherwise would never be able to. After visiting this great gallery—and gleaning some good information about best times to travel and how to best photograph in this lush and beautiful country—you're sure to want to travel there too. Maybe we can share a hotel?
Custom Keyboard For Photographers
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
In case you're feeling like you don't have enough helpful computer- and photo-related gadgets in your life, I've got the perfect thing for you. It's a keyboard made specifically for photographers. The X-Keys Professional system provides a USB-compatible 58-key keyboard that you can customize to help speed up your digital workflow and make processes and tool selections faster and more efficient. It works whether you're using Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture or any number of other programs. Simply determine the shortcut keys you use most often, as well as the other tools and functions that dominate your post-production processes, and then program them into the X-Keys keyboard. You can even label the keys with the included customizable stickers. Read all about it, including a breakdown of how one photographer put it to work, at the PPA web site.
TwitPic Rights Grab
Monday, May 16, 2011
Twitter is all fine and dandy, but it's kind of limited in its functionality. Some would argue that's part of its success. For instance, you can't post a picture in a tweet. But you can post a link, so all sorts of services have popped up to make it easy to upload your photos and create a short and sweet URL that takes readers of your tweet directly to your picture. One of the most popular services is called TwitPic. It would appear, though, that posting photos to TwitPic is actually a very bad idea. The service has recently been taken to task by concerned photographers everywhere for its egregious rights-grabbing terms of service. They read, in part: "You hereby grant TwitPic a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute and prepare derivative works" of the photographs you upload. So if you upload a great new photo, TwitPic can not only utilize that photo for its own advertising, the company can re-sell the usage rights (that's the "sub-licensing" part) to other companies for whatever profit they can. You the photographer, though, get paid nothing. The American Society of Media Photographers in a recent message to members suggested using a similar service from Mobypicture, whose terms of service are "short, simple and to the point." They state that all rights of uploaded content remain the property of the users and can in no way be used commercially by Mobypicture or third parties. Read all about the drama at A Photo Editor, then head over to Mobypicture and see how you like it.
Speed Up Photoshop
Friday, May 13, 2011
Wanna know how to best speed up Photoshop, make it run faster, work better, and generally make it the most efficient it can be? Why not learn straight from the manufacturer's mouth? They've published a long white paper covering everything from RAM and graphics requirements to the many settings and best practices that can improve the program's performance. All photographers these days, it seems, spend increasing time pushing pixels around inside the computer. So why not make that most laborious part of the production process as efficient as possible? Download this PDF and get going, fast!
A Large Format Platinum Portrait Project
Thursday, May 12, 2011
I don't know Cleveland-based photographer Herbert Ascherman personally, but I've known of his commercial work for many years thanks to a mutual friend. So you can imagine my surprise when he turned up in a recent American Society of Media Photographers bulletin showcasing a tremendous personal project: 8x10 platinum portraits of The Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, North Dakota. Mr. Ascherman closed his commercial photography studio in the wake of the digital revolution and picked up an 8x10 Deardorff view camera instead. Using black & white film to photograph Native American tribes in much the same way Edward S. Curtis did almost 150 years ago, Mr. Ascherman has created a long-lasting body of work with an antique process perfectly suited to the subject and his style of shooting. Please visit the ASMP web site to see a variety of portraits from the project, as well as an interview with the photographer himself.
The Thunderbolt Port
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Apple just announced its newest version of the all-in-one iMac. Along with the notable performance-enhancing features that tend to garner the most attention (memory, processor speed, hard disk size, etc) it includes a little something extra that could be the first foray into a new input/output option to replace Firewire and USB. It's called the Thunderbolt port, and Apple says it's "the fastest and most versatile" port ever. It can be used for connecting external drives, RAIDs and monitors. Ten times faster than Firewire 800, at 10 gigabytes per second it could become the preferred connection for folks who need to transfer lots of data at high speeds—like us photographers and videographers. Check it out at Apple's web site to see for yourself and decide if Thunderbolt really is the next big thing.