Time’s Top Photos Of 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
For those who appreciate world-class news photography—even when it's addressing distressing subjects such as war and famine—Time's list of the best news photos from 2011 is well worth a look. Filled with iconic images, as well as photos of the most notable and iconic world events of the year, the group shows not only that photojournalism is far from dead, but the power of an image to deliver news and information in a manner unlike any other medium. Be warned, some of these images are graphic in nature and depict events from Somalia to Afghanistan, Washington to Tahrir Square. One notable image was taken with an iPhone from 35,000 feet in the air. The photograph of the Space Shuttle slipping the surly bonds spread virally on the Internet and earned its rightful place among the best images of the year. Read about its creation, along with that of each of the ten images on this list, at Time's Lightbox blog.
Photo by Stefanie Gordon
The Speedliter’s Handbook
Friday, December 16, 2011
What December week would be complete without at least one mention of a book to add to your holiday gift list? The book I'd like to suggest today deviates from most of my suggestions in that it's not a monograph of one photographer's great work. It is a "how to" book, and it sure looks to be a good one. It's "The Speedliter's Handbook" by Syl Arena. From the image on the cover you get a great idea of exactly what this book aims to teach—the skills to make arresting images using only simple handheld strobes. There's a great little write-up of the book on the DPreview web site, which offers a glimpse inside the pages of the book to help give you an idea of the topics covered and the author's approach to instruction. Best of all, it helps to differentiate this book from the work of other notable flash books—namely, as you may have guessed from the title, this book targets the Canon system. (Speedlite is the Canon spelling for handheld flashes, whereas Nikon spells it Speedlight.) The principles are the same, for sure; good light is good light. But if you're a Canon shooter you'll no doubt appreciate the Canon-centric menu language and user information in The Speedliter's Handbook. Read the review, investigate the book, and learn to improve your flash skills.
The Best Of Space
Thursday, December 15, 2011
It's that time of year again. It's my favorite time of year, in fact. No, not the holiday season (although that's nice too). It's the end of year "best of" list time. Best songs of the year, best books, best new restaurants… I love these lists in all their permutations. As it pertains to my life as a photographer, there's no shortage of "best photo" lists within all sorts of photographic specialties. Today I'd like to bring you a list courtesy of the editors of National Geographic. It's their Best Space Photos of 2011 collection. I love the abstract expressionism of deep space images as well as the more human images from much closer to home that showcase man slipping the surly bonds. This gallery's got 'em all, and I highly recommend it as a great place to begin your "best pictures of the year" investigations. But be warned: I'm sure to suggest plenty more of these great galleries of images over the coming weeks as well, so pace yourself for the long run.
The Photo Society
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
A group of established National Geographic photographers have gotten together to form a loose organization called The Photo Society. Open to photographers who have had at least one feature story published in The Geographic, the Society's web site is built to promote the work of these tremendous photographers and help provide the general public a glimpse behind the scenes into the lives of these photographers with the hope of shedding more light on many questions about their work, including perhaps the most popular question of all: "What does it take to become a National Geographic photographer." The site is filled not only with stunning images, but with tremendous stories of harrowing adventures and near death experiences as well. It's a must-see for anyone interested in world-class photojournalism, National Geographic, or simply for another look at amazing images of the people and places that make our world so special.
Earth From Above
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
The Atlantic recently featured an interactive puzzle game based on Google Earth's satellite photographs of interesting locations around the world. Though the game itself is fun—quizzing viewers on their ability to guess a location based on its appearance from above—what really struck me was just how stunning these images are, and just how tragically beautiful man's influence on the land can be when viewed from this unique perspective. So head over to the Atlantic's In Focus blog to play the game and view these stunning photographs. It really is a nice collection of images that's worth a look even if you're uninterested in playing the game (you party pooper).
The Next Big Little Thing
Monday, December 12, 2011
Are you ready for new way to store your pictures in your camera? You'd better get ready, because it's coming next year. The CompactFlash association announced last week a new plan for a high-performance memory card format. The XQD specification will create cards smaller than CompactFlash but larger than SD, built on the PCI Express platform with theoretical maximum read/write speeds of 600mbs, though the first generation will target a speed of 125mbs. The memory format will begin licensing to camera manufacturers in the next couple of months, and it will be interesting to see if it can quickly replace the traditional type 2 CompactFlash card we've grown so used to—though there's bound to be some resistance from users heavily invested in the CF format. I'm eager to see how it all shakes out.
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.