The Light Of The World
Friday, December 9, 2011
As the holidays arrive I get more and more interested in the best photo books of the year. I don't necessarily mean any official "best of" list, so much as the list of books that have caught my own personal attention this year, and which have made it onto my gift giving and getting lists. A series of books by photographer Jean-Michel Berts has definitely piqued my curiosity thanks to the publication of the most recent one, The Light of Istanbul. Berts has traveled to New York, Tokyo, Paris (my personal favorite, in case you're in a giving mood) and now Istanbul to photographic these iconic old cities before sunrise and after dusk. The black & white images are moody, sensuous and dramatic, with just a hint of HDR, and these books would look good on any coffee table, as well as serving as a lovely addition to any photographer's library. Especially mine. Read all about them at publisher Assouline's web site, where you can order them too.
Make It Easier To Paint With Light
Thursday, December 8, 2011
The friendly folks at Photojojo have a knack for finding the oddest, most whimsical photographic devices in the world. So perhaps it should be no surprise that they're now selling a spray can aimed at graffiti artists. Don't worry, though: instead of spraying paint, this can sprays light. It's the Glow Graffiti light paint can and for 40 bucks it provides a bottomless cup of light painting fun. Use the embedded blue LED to paint with light just as you would with any flashlight or fiber optic device, or work in conjunction with the included stencils and UV background to make your light graffiti last longer, giving you more time to photograph it with a long exposure. Winter is the perfect time to practice long exposures and light painting since the days are shorter and the sun sets so early. You can learn more about the light paint can, as well as a number of other odd photo devices, at the Photojojo web site. If you act soon you're sure to find a lot of ideas for the photographers on your holiday shopping list—as well as countless ideas for filling your own stocking.
Smartphone Photo Tools
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
I love my smartphone, and I'm surprised by just how much I've integrated it into my daily life. But aside from snapshots, I don't use it terribly often for photography related applications. Well maybe I'd love my camera, I mean smartphone, even more if I utilized more photographic tools. I'm still a relative smartphone newbie, so I'm always keen to find helpful information about what apps might actually make my photography even better. So it was with great excitement that I stumbled upon this list of the best Android and iOS apps from DP Review. More than just neat little gimmicks that help make your pictures quirky and funky, these are apps that can really help photographers make better pictures. They're not apps at all; they're tools. From scouting aids like The Photographer's Ephemeris and iScoutLocation, to apps that help with model releases and portfolio display. If you're looking to get more out of your smartphone or tablet device, start here first for a great overview of the best photo apps on the market.
Vivian Maier Book Arrives
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
There was perhaps no hotter photographer this year than Vivian Maier. This Chicago nanny led a somewhat secret second life—as street photographer for decades in the middle of the 20th century she made hundreds of thousands of beautiful images, never showing them to anyone. Only near the end of her life was her collection of negatives recovered from a storage auction, leading to a frenzy of interest in her phenomenal work that included numerous television documentaries, a film and, finally, a newly published monograph of her work. Vivian Maier: Street Photographer was released just a couple of weeks ago, just in time to add it to your holiday shopping list. It's already in high demand, though, so you may have to shop quickly. Read more about it, see inside the book and order it at the Powerhouse Books web site.
A New Take On Underwater Photography
Monday, December 5, 2011
Ever wonder what would happen if you dropped your D-SLR into the sea? Well now we know: the camera might be kaput, but your pictures would likely remain intact on the CF card for a long, long time. Chase Jarvis linked to the story of Markus Thompson, a diver who recently found a Digital Rebel at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. He brought the camera to the surface, salvaged its memory card and was actually able to download the data. That in itself is cool enough to be noteworthy, but the story gets even better. Given the connected world we live in, perhaps it's no surprise that Thompson wanted to find the camera's rightful owner in order to deliver the photos. And he did. Read all about it at Jarvis's blog, then click through to Thompson's original Google+ post to see how the recovery unfolded.
A Stunning Time Lapse Of Our Planet
Friday, December 2, 2011
Digital Photography Review recently linked to a phenomenal video created by combining still photographs shot by the International Space Station. The clips were compiled by German videographer Michael Konig who set them to music and turned them into something especially breathtaking. The NASA photos are beautiful on their own, but this is yet another example of how multimedia projects not only serve to showcase exceptional photography in a wonderful way, but to tell a story more completely. You really do get a sense for our planet's place in things, our human footprint, the way weather works and even a hint at what it must be like to float above it all in space.
My Favorite Photographer’s Newest Book
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Just in time to really get your holiday shopping in full swing, here's a post from The Online Photographer about one of my all-time favorite photographers: Andre Kertesz. I'd have to say that this post lauds the man in a way I fully endorse, and it was prompted by the author having trouble finding currently in print books about Kertesz. A new book was released around this time last year, called simply Kertesz, and it's received quite a glowing review here. I know I'd be happy to find this book in my stocking, as would any photographer on your list—whether they love Kertesz already or not. His work is an inspiration whether you're a beginner or an established pro.
Awesome Fill Flash Hack
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
I've always been the kind of guy who has relied on a simple rubber band and bit of white cardboard to create the perfect bounce for my flash. Sure it looks a little chintzy, but it definitely does get the job done—and at a literal fraction of the cost of fancier systems. The key is that you want to point the flash straight up and let the white card provide a softer, more diffused flash illumination of the subject. Then a guy named Gary Fong invented his "Lightsphere" and I thought it seemed pretty cool—and unlike what my simple card could achieve. The Lightsphere diffuses the flash in every direction, making it very broad, very omni-directional, and a very good idea. Apparently it's a good seller, too—as any device that actually solves a problem so well should be. Still, for those of us who prefer something a little more hacked together there's got to be another way to build this mousetrap, right? Thanks to the DIY Photography blog I now know what that is: a translucent plastic cup. For me any homemade hack has to be simple and minimal at its essence; I don't want to be gluing and cutting and taping a bunch of things together. That can be more trouble than it's worth. But simply slapping a disposable cup on my flash—that's something I can get my head around. And I bet I'll get a few more strange looks than I do with even my homemade cardboard bounce card rubberbanded to my speedlight. Check it out at diyphotography.net, and click through to the original inventor's Flickr stream as well.