How Leica Lenses Are Made
Monday, August 8, 2011
Not long ago I posted a link to a really neat Leica video. That one was about the history of the company—specifically, how the son of the founder saved many friends, colleagues and employees during World War II by sending them to work in facilities far from Hitler's reach. Today I've got another great Leica link, but this one is a bit more contemporary and a bit less life changing. Still, it's a pretty neat thing to see. It's a unique behind-the-scenes look at Leica lenses in production. Sure it's a Leica-produced video that amounts to a slick long-form commercial, but it works. Because this stuff is interesting. It's amazing how much hands-on work goes into these high-tech lenses. See for yourself at Vimeo.
Rich Clarkson In His Own Words
Friday, August 5, 2011
When I was 18, a mere skinny little lad, I attended a photography workshop at the US Olympic Festival which was being held just a few miles from my hometown. During that week I learned from and rubbed elbows with some of the most prominent sports photographers of the last half-century, including the man who had organized the entire workshop—Rich Clarkson. I learned he was a pioneer and an icon in the world of sports photography. (He was a nice man, too, as I recall.) Here, Mr. Clarkson talks about some of his personal favorite photos, including how he made them and why they're important. I particularly like his solution to an egregious copyright infringer. See for yourself at the Denver Post photo blog.
Photo by Rich Clarkson
A Tip About Tips
Thursday, August 4, 2011
I love Lightroom. In the year and a half I've been using it the program has become an integral part—really, the linchpin—in my digital workflow. I'm a fairly new user, though, so I'm also always looking for tips about how to improve my efficiency and efficacy with the software. So you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled across this tutorial, this collection of video tutorials, at the LightStalking web site. From improving print quality to changing the look of the interface to watermarking tips, there are a whole bunch of tips in this tip—more than ten of them—making it well worth the free price of admission.
Loosen Up, And Get Portrait Subjects To Do The Same
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Here's a great tip for all you portrait photographers out there. No doubt anyone familiar with making portraits on a regular basis is all too familiar with the "Chandler Bing face" that haunts some folks no matter how hard they try. You're not familiar with Chandler Bing Face? It's so named for the character from the TV sitcom friends, because in one episode Chandler Bing—a character on the show—tried unsuccessfully to loosen up and look natural in a portrait. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't help but make the most uncomfortable face ever seen. Well this is a real issue, whether or not you call it by the same name. Photographer and writer James Maher has provided DPS with not only this funny moniker but also some tips for helping other photographers turn those ugly and uncomfortable portrait expressions into nice, natural looking smiles. I can attest to at least one of them: chatting up your subject is bound to make them feel more at ease, and that will show on their face. Check out these tips and get to shooting without fear of the dreaded Chandler Bing face!
Forecasting The Future Of Photography
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Guessing what the next generation of cameras will look like is a lot like guessing what the next generation of cars will look like: it's really difficult to differentiate between prototypes that will actually become reality and which will remain mere fantasies. But it's cool to see these technological hypotheses either way. At Nikon's Japanese development headquarters they've created some interesting, and definitely futuristic, camera prototypes which were exhibited earlier this summer at a Science museum in Paris. These devices include two spherical cameras, a very deluxe point-and-shoot, and a D-SLR that looks more like a sci-fi movie prop than a photographic tool. Read all about the possible future of Nikon cameras at the I Am Nikon blog, and check out pictures of these far out cameras.
Photographing Atop A 1200-foot Tower
Monday, August 1, 2011
Last year I found myself bidding on a commercial photography job that would require repeated visits to a Mississippi River bridge construction site over the course of many months. After receiving my bid the client called to thank me and, almost as an aside, mentioned one other thing. "You'd have to shoot from the top of a 400-foot-tall tower in the middle of the river. Will that be a problem?" Of course being a good businessman I instantly said it was no problem at all and we ended our call. I then proceeded to lay awake in bed for the next three nights, going over in my head what it would be like to photograph from the top of such a tower. Certainly there'd be no elevator. Would there be handrails? Would I be strapped to something? Would I get weak in the knees, or lose my lunch? I've never been so relieved not to get an assignment in my life—my now much longer and happier life, I'm sure. Well photographer Mark Blinch recently found himself on assignment atop an even taller structure, the 1200-foot-tall CN Tower in Toronto. While there he found something else: there's no handrail. Read all about this Reuters photographer's adventure at the Reuters web site. Then thank your lucky stars that you're not up there with him.
A Camera-On-Camera Rig That Shoots Photos And Videos Simultaneously
Friday, July 29, 2011
Photographers are being pressed, like so many employees at so many companies, to do more and more with less and less. Americans are actually incredibly productive with our working hours, which is part of the reason companies don't need to hire so many employees any more. For photographers, doing more these days often means shooting video as well. Commercial clients ask for it, and newspapers often expect it as well. With photo staffs being cut around the country, photographers who can deliver photos and video are able to enhance their job security too. The problem with shooting photos and video simultaneously is that it's nearly impossible to do these two things actually simultaneously. Normally the endeavor requires a decision at every given instance, to capture stills or video. The shooter is constantly reassessing and switching between the two. New York Times staff photographer Doug Mills devised an ingenious—albeit hefty—rig that allows him to actually shoot photos and videos simultaneously. Read all about it at the Lens blog, and watch the video of Mr. Mills in action.
Fortune Cookie Fortunes
Thursday, July 28, 2011
The other day I used a photo to illustrate a story I linked to on this blog. The story was about collecting money from a copyright infringer, so I used a picture of my own to illustrate the story. It was a photo of a fortune cookie fortune with money. That gave me the idea to mention to you here that I have a whole series of those photos I've been working on. I tend to focus more on what other folks are doing around the web, but why not mention what I'm doing every once in a while too? Anyway, ever since I can remember—for 20 years or so—I've saved every fortune cookie fortune I've received. They're stuck to bulletin boards and tucked away in my wallet, filed in desk drawers and scattered around my office. I don't eat that much Chinese food, but the things have really accumulated over the years. One day last year I finally decided to photograph them. After all, they're sort of like little meaningful (or ironic, or funny, or just plain weird) inspirational posters—but personalized with wisdom from Confucius or the guy at the fortune cookie factory. So without further ado, here's a gallery of my fortune cookie photos for your enjoyment, straight from my Etsy store. (If you've got a great fortune you'd like me to photograph, just let me know!)