The Photoshop Quiz Game
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Apparently this is the week of "Why didn't I think of that?" Not that I'm the Photoshop expert that Dave Cross is; frankly, he's a guru. But his new idea is so great that definitely makes me envious. Along with offering awesome advice via his daily blogs, he's now created an iPhone and iPad app called The Photoshop Quiz Game. It's comprised of more than 600 questions: true/false, multiple choice and "name that dialog" questions that will test your knowledge of the industry standard image editing program. What makes it really genius, though, is that it's got three levels of difficulty, which means anybody can use it. That's right: not play with it, but use it. You can use this game to learn more about Photoshop! And that, my friends, is the mark of a great idea. Like I said, I wish I'd thought of it first.
Simulate Movement In Time-Lapse Videos
Monday, April 2, 2012
This is great advice for time-lapse video makers on a budget! And I wish I'd thought of it first. I'm always seeing time-lapse videos with motion in them, and lamenting that I can't do it because I don't have one of those motion tracking rigs that allows you to slide your camera via rails a few feet sideways (or up, down, backward or forward) as you make your time lapse exposures. So here's the way you can fake that motion with your camera locked down on a tripod: crop the pictures. By moving the crop from frame to frame as you render them into a stop-motion movie, you will recreate the effect of moving the camera during exposures. I can't wait to try it out.
Watch A Great Photographer At Work
Friday, March 30, 2012
Here's a cool one-minute video that shows some great photography techniques. It's a behind-the-scenes time lapse that shows commercial photographer Michael Grecco (a stud of a photographer who can light anything, anytime, anywhere) shooting a unique cover photo for the magazine "Psychology Today." It's a quick video but it's full of great little glimpses into how Grecco works. And if you don't learn enough from this one video, check out Grecco's other behind-the-scenes sessions—which can be found on his YouTube channel and include sessions with such luminaries as Will Ferrell, Kathy Ireland and Martin Scorsese. (Thanks to The Strobist for pointing me to this great video.)
Chart The Sun's Trajectory Through Your Scene
Thursday, March 29, 2012
I'm a big fan of wielding a technological advantage whenever possible, so I like using tools like Google Earth and The Photographer's Ephemeris to help plan out photo shoots. You can imagine how pleased I was, then, to learn about this new iPhone and iPad app called Sun Seeker. Point your phone's camera in any direction, and using the iPhone's directional positioning the Sun Seeker app will overlay the sun's movement across the scene. If you want to figure out if the sun will dip behind that building on its way to dusk, or if you simply wonder what direction will work best for a shooting session later today, Sun Seeker is a simple and effective way to plan for where the sun will be. It also includes a compass and map view that can also help to plan shoots remotely, but the live overlay of the sun's trajectory is really pretty sharp. At only five bucks, there aren't many photographic tools less expensive.
Awesome Amateur Autochromes
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Check out these gorgeous autochromes by photographer John B. Trevor. If you've never heard of him, it's no surprise: he was practicing photography in the 19-teens and, of course, he was also an amateur. But goodness, are his photographs beautiful. The awesome Retronaut blog linked to a collection of Trevor's autochromes and they're so beautifully surreal—there's something quite disorienting about color photographs of long gone eras. But the color in this case also serves as a huge draw on its own, offering a glimpse into a world we normally only see shades of gray. It's a priceless experience. And if you're unfamiliar with autochromes, fear not. These are the original color photographic medium, a glass plate negative that was eventually replaced when the modern era of color photography was ushered in after The Great Depression. Looking at these images might make you long for a bygone era… or at least for a chance to use these unique photographic tools.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Several months back I wrote about Pinterest. I found it to be a wonderful new way to organize, note and catalog inspiring images found around the internet. Clearly I'm not alone, as millions of users have made it the fastest growing social media site in history. But what I didn't take the time to consider is something that's now causing quite a pushback from many photographers. Pinterest is, essentially, a giant collection of copyright infringements. My initial uses of Pinterest taught me a seemingly acceptable etiquette in which every image was linked back to the source. So at first glance it seemed like a fairly innocuous, even helpful service for photographers. Another way for people to share your work, but this time within the context of a framework that always maintains the attribution of where that image came from. Or so I thought.
The problem is that lately when I've clicked on interesting images I find on Pinterest, I've been taken to a blank Google Image Search page. So I've essentially found an orphaned image, with no credit to the creator, and no direct link to where that image came from. And it can spread like wildfire throughout the Pinterest universe. That's clearly a problem. When I pin an image I like I am also actively trying to promote a photographer whose work I appreciate. But I'm clearly in the minority here, as many users don't bother linking to the work of the creator, or even mentioning the artist by name. And often times, because of the homemaking bent of the site, the pictures simply link directly to a recipe or an editorial about a product for which a commercial photographer was likely hired, but for whom no additional compensation has been provided for creating a viral image—one that doesn't even link to any sort of attribution for the photographer. And heck, even if it does, you can't eat an attribution.
So I'm not saying you shouldn't use Pinterest. But I am saying you should be aware of the consequences, and consider how you use the site. Maybe you'll determine that you're not comfortable with such a tacit agreement. If nothing else, do some reading and see what various creators and organizations are saying about the service, and why there protests might have real merit. Start with this interesting video and article on TechCrunch about suggested changes to Pinterest's Terms of Service and how proposed changes, as well as changes to conventional "pin etiquette," have been inspired by photographers and how the service might change to accommodate us. Then read the updated Terms of Service that Pinterest literally just released.
Cloud Connected Cameras
Monday, March 26, 2012
As someone who currently uses the cloud—and loves it—I'm particularly interested in the future of cloud connectedness to cameras. This article by Barney Britton of DPreview raises some interesting questions—and frankly ups our expectations—for the future of digital cameras that are connected directly to the cloud. In his interview with Samsung's VP of sales and marketing, Britton delves into exactly what the future of connected cameras might hold, and just how soon it will become a reality. (It appears that this will happen sooner rather than later, and the idea that "non-connected devices will be meaningless" really signals how at least one camera maker is looking to the future of photography, and just what it means to be connected.) Read all about it at http://www.dpreview.com/articles/6388646200/samsung-looking-ahead-to-carrier-subsidized-connected-cameras.
The Rise And Fall Of Kodak
Friday, March 23, 2012
If, like so many photographers around the world, you're interested in knowing a little bit more about how Kodak found itself in the predicament it's currently in—bankrupt and in need of new life to navigate the increasingly digital 21st century—then I suggest you read this article in the international online edition of the German news magazine, Der Spiegel. It's a long piece, but also an easy read with a human touch as it includes stories of then and now at the former giant of the industry. It touches on how the city of Rochester and Kodak's remaining employees are faring through the crisis, and ultimately what will happen—or perhaps, "could" or even "should" happen depending on the choices the company's board of directors makes from here on out—in the next phase of life for Kodak. But one thing is for sure, and this article does a good job of pointing out this poignant fact: the thought of a bankrupt Kodak was probably as foreign to the public in 1990 as the thought of a bankrupt Google or Facebook would be to us today. But maybe the very nature of the companies in that analogy is particularly telling. Though Kodak may survive, it won't be the giant it once was—the one that shaped our very memories for an entire century.