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.
Alex MacLean’s American Landscape
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
If you happen to be in San Francisco in the next two months you're in luck: one of my favorite photographers is having an exhibition of new work at the Robert Koch Gallery. Alex MacLean, an architect turned pilot turned aerial photographer with a penchant for photographing the places where man's world intersects with the natural world, makes interesting images full of meaning that are also intensely beautiful. If you can't make the show, check out a sampling of the work online, and consider picking up one of his many wonderful books filled with his aerial photography of the American Landscape.
Monday, May 9, 2011
A friend walked into my office the other day with a big beautiful black and white print of leading lady Vivien Leigh, best known as Scarlet in the movie Gone With The Wind. He'd purchased it for $20 at an antique shop just a few minutes before. The print was poster sized, although it looked old it didn't look like a traditional darkroom silver gelatin print. Most intriguing, it was signed and numbered. The signature was almost impossible to read, but after a bit of Googling we found out who created this gorgeous image: Laszlo Willinger, a Hollywood photographer of epic skill. Most of us are familiar with the work of Clarence Sinclair Bull and George Hurrell, but that's generally where the household names end when it comes to photographers who captured all the stars during Hollywood's golden era. Turns out Mr. Willinger belongs in their company too. He was a master portraitist with a fascinating personal story. Read all about him and see a large sampling of his work at the Iconista blog, then see what else you can dig up about the man and his prolific body of work online.
The Man Who Shot The Sixties
Friday, May 6, 2011
Ending our video-centric week of learning from great photographers, here's a neat film about photographer Brian Duffy. Duffy was an iconic London fashion photographer from the 1960s. At the time, he was a downright superstar. Then one day he decided to up and quit, going so far as to burn all of his negatives. And now after a 30 year hiatus, he's taken another picture. Prompted by his son Chris, he picked up a camera once again. Chris made this documentary about his father and his work, and you can watch the whole thing online at Vimeo. Not only is it interesting and informative, like all good documentaries it's very entertaining, too.