The Photography Tarp
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Attention outdoor photographers: do you have a photography tarp? I don't trek into the great outdoors nearly enough, so the idea of carrying a multipurpose photography tarp has honestly never occurred to me. The DIY Photography blog just posted about a new product from Mindshift gear (affiliated with ThinkTank) called the Contact Sheet. It's a lightweight, waterproof tarp targeted at outdoor photographers. Now, I'm not going to disparage a clearly well-made waterproof tarp, but I will point out that its $40 price tag does make it a fairly premium product in the world of tarps. Given that the blog is called "Do-It-Yourself Photography," I'm inspired to suggest that you could, theoretically, carry a less expensive tarp and still reap the rewards—which could be dry knees, dry gear, and even a useful "home base" from which your gear never leaves. The bottom line, whether you purchase this lovely tarp from Mindshift or simply build your own from the hardware store, carrying a tarp along on your outdoor adventures seems like a pretty good idea.
Lions Of The Serengeti
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
The work of photographer Michael "Nick" Nichols is prominently featured in a fascinating story about Lions of the Serengeti in the August issue of National Geographic. The images are not only beautiful, they also offer a fascinating look inside the otherwise unknowable world of the lion. Some of the techniques and technologies Nichols used to make the photographs are notable as well. For instance, when photographing lions after dark, the photographer was careful not to do anything that would frighten or distract the animals, so he used infrared in order to see his subjects clearly and illuminate them without disturbing them. Another technology he used was robotics; small robots carried remote cameras up close and personal with lions as they hunted, fed, mated and relaxed. There's a ton of supporting material online at National Geographic, but I'd suggest starting with this gallery of 20 images that showcases a wide variety of amazing lion imagery. Then, toward the top of that page you'll find links to several other sections of the story. Click on "The Moment" for a brief interview with Nichols, and finally be sure to check out the finished multimedia presentation, "The Serengeti Lion," in which you can hear about the experience straight from the photographer's mouth. It's stunning work, the kind of thing that makes National Geographic one of the best places to see world-class photography.
Photo by Michael Nichols
Lightning Strikes With Bolt
Monday, August 19, 2013
This photograph is the very definition of a decisive moment. Sports photographer Olivier Morin was in the right place at exactly the right time to capture a lighting bolt in the frame behind someone who happens to be named Bolt—Jamaican runner Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world. Where did he accomplish this feat? Oh, that's right there in the photo too: The IAAF World Championships in Moscow. As Mike Johnston said on his TOP blog, it's "kind of like photographing Tiger Woods at a key moment in a tournament just as a tiger happens to walk by in the background." Decisive moment, indeed.
Photo by Olivier Morin
Quick Fix Fridays: Quick People Pictures
Friday, August 16, 2013
Here are two quick tips to help you make better people pictures.
#1 "The camera looks both ways." It's true, the camera really does look both ways: in picturing the subject, you are also picturing a part of yourself. In other words, you are a mirror. The mood, the energy, the feeling and the emotion that you project are reflected by the subject, in his or her face and especially the eyes. Body language can also be reflected.
As you can tell by the expressions on the subject's faces in the opening photograph for this post, I was having a blast directing this shot, which I took in a sombrero shop in Panama. I wanted a fun shot.
When I was photographing this model in Atlanta, Georgia, I was being more serious behind the camera. My mood is reflected in the model's face. That's the mood I wanted to capture.
Take a look at the faces of these school kids, which I photographed in Lombok, Indonesia. Once again, you can imagine the look on my face. I was having a great time, and so were the kids.
#2 When You Think You're Close, Get Closer
In most cases, the closer you are to a subject, the greater the impact of the photograph. That said, there is something to be said for negative space.
All the pictures in tip were taken in Miami's South Beach. The first photograph has more impact than the others because I am standing very close to the lifeguard and the lifeguard stand.
2.This photograph has less impact than the previous image because I am standing further away from the lifeguard.
3. This image is just a snapshot. No impact. As you can see from this series of three pictures, when you think you are close, get closer.
Have fun making creative photographs of your family and friends this weekend.
Got questions? Drop by my website at www.ricksammon.com.
Amazon's Fine Photography Marketplace
Friday, August 16, 2013
I do a whole lot of my shopping online via Amazon.com. I've purchased everything from books to shoes at the site, and I'm happy to learn I can now purchase fine art from there too—including fine photography from the biggest names in the genre. Amazon has announced its beta version of the Amazon Fine Art Marketplace, which includes everything from million dollar Warhols to a section of works priced under $200—and, of course, fine photography. Before the artist in you devises a plan to take your print sales to the world's largest retailer, take note that you need gallery representation. Since the Fine Art sales are part of Amazon's Marketplace, only actual art dealers and galleries can sign up to sell via the service; it's not open to individual artists. I wonder if it will increase sales of fine art in general? Making fine photography easily reachable to the masses sure seems like a good idea. It looks like we're about to find out.
A Conversation With World-Class Portrait Photographers
Thursday, August 15, 2013
There are a handful of editorial portrait photographers I hold in the highest regard. Peter Yang and Mark Seliger are among them, and they're both featured in this video, along with Steven Alan—who I must admit I was not particularly familiar with prior to this video. Seliger interviews Yang and Alan on his internet TV show, Capture. It's always an interesting watch for fans of commercial photography—and this episode is no exception. It's a great opportunity to sit in with some world class photographers as they discuss their work. For my own take on Yang's work, check out the 2010 Master's Issue of Digital Photo Pro, linked below.
A Year On Mars In Pictures
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Yesterday I shared a beautiful image of Earth from outer space, so it only seems fair that today I bring you a collection of photos of Mars made right from the surface of the planet. It's been a year since NASA's Curiosity Rover landed on Mars, and what a year it's been. That little rover has been busy, thankfully, documenting its experience via several onboard cameras. This collection of images at The Atlantic shows everything from panoramic Martian landscapes (which look a lot like the desert Southwest of the United States) to detail shots of the surface of the planet before, during and after scientific experiments from the rover have taken place.
Earth's Seasonal Heartbeat
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Combine a dozen crystal clear satellite mosaic images of Earth, one from each month over the course of a year, and turn them into an animated GIF. What would you see? If your angle of view was directly over the north pole, you'd see the seasonal changes of vegetation and ice as they advance and recede, and they would appear to pulsate—like a heartbeat. It's a pretty remarkable image made by designer/cartographer/data-visualizer John Nelson of NASA's Visible Earth team. It's the kind of thing that we never would have seen a decade ago, reminding me yet again what an amazing era of images in which we're living.