Holiday Books

Well, it's here. Thanksgiving is tomorrow, which means Friday marks the beginning of the official holiday shopping season. And that means I'm getting my wish list in order. It's usually well populated by photo books, which I usually share on this blog. I'm going to kick off that tradition again this year with the book at the top of my list: Dan Winters' Last Launch. Mr. Winters is one of my favorite photographers, and he's actually got two new books this year. Dan Winters's America is a retrospective of the photographer's entire career. He made a name for himself primarily through tremendous editorial portraiture—of which he's an absolute master—but he shoots everything from architectural to still life and documentary. That's what you'll find in his other book, Last Launch. It showcases photographs from Mr. Winters' project documenting the final missions of NASA's space shuttle program. It's a fascinating story of a personal passion that prompted an assignment, which lead to these absolutely gorgeous photographs, which ultimately led to another new book—one that should be on any photographer's (or space buff's) wish list. Happy Thanksgiving!

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2012/11/winter-reads-winters-reads.html
DPMag
Well, it's here. Thanksgiving is tomorrow, which means Friday marks the beginning of the official holiday shopping season. And that means I'm getting my wish list in order. It's usually well populated by photo books, which I usually share on this blog. I'm going to kick off that tradition again…

All Camera, No Idea

Here's a clever little ad for the compact, easy to use and fairly unpretentious Sony NEX camera system. The ad makes its point by poking fun at photographers' collective tendency to get all caught up in our equipment and forget completely about the main purpose of cameras—making great photographs. It skewers those of us who are more into our lenses than our photos, the "macro freaks" and the "status updaters" and a number of other quirky classifications of "camera-ists." So while the video is all in good fun, there is a little truth here that can serve as a helpful reminder: it ain't about the stuff, it's about the pictures. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LApO_BDRE8M
DPMag
Here's a clever little ad for the compact, easy to use and fairly unpretentious Sony NEX camera system. The ad makes its point by poking fun at photographers' collective tendency to get all caught up in our equipment and forget completely about the main purpose of cameras—making great photographs. It…

How Does A Lens Have A Speed?

Here's a good question pondered by many new photographers: how exactly can a lens have a "speed"? Those of us in the know—or at least with a little more experience--know the answer to this question likely because, at some point early on in our photographic adventures, we heard someone refer to a "fast" lens and we said something profound along the lines of, "Wait. What?" And then they told us how lenses can have a particular speed. So if you've heard of lenses referred to as fast or slow, or if the idea of speed in general doesn't make sense to you when it comes to lenses... Well, read this post on the Pixiq photo blog. It explains how a lens has speed based on its ability to use fast shutter speeds. A wide aperture, which allows for a fast shutter speed, is a "fast" lens. And one thing the Pixiq piece doesn't mention is that speed is relative. An f/4 lens might be fast if it's a telephoto, but relatively slow for a wide angle. The same goes for different camera formats, too. 

http://www.pixiq.com/article/lens-speed-terminology
DPMag
Here's a good question pondered by many new photographers: how exactly can a lens have a "speed"? Those of us in the know—or at least with a little more experience--know the answer to this question likely because, at some point early on in our photographic adventures, we heard someone refer…

Use Your iPhone As A Light Meter

The other day I had a BRILLIANT idea. I mean a real stroke of genius. It occurred to me while on assignment for a client that I wished I had my trusty ol' light meter with me. I used to carry it all the time, but these days, it's just not the necessity it once was—what with camera LCD screens providing instant exposure feedback. But I miss the scientific certainty, the factual quantification, of the amount of light falling on a given subject. And that's when it hit me: why not turn the iPhone into a light meter? I quickly checked the app store only to discover, alas, I was not the first to have this idea. There are apps that look old school and analog, and some that are a little more unique, performing like a spot meter that's used to analyze the areas of a given image. Though I will say I still think there's room for the development of an actual incident light meter—one that actually measures light falling on a scene in real time. (It would require a little translucent dome attachment for the iPhone's camera, but hey that's just another revenue stream, right?) Any app developers out there, hit me up. We'll see if we can make this thing work, and get rich and famous in the process.  

http://photo.tutsplus.com/articles/hardware/quick-tip-a-look-at-5-iphone-lightmeter-apps/  
DPMag
The other day I had a BRILLIANT idea. I mean a real stroke of genius. It occurred to me while on assignment for a client that I wished I had my trusty ol' light meter with me. I used to carry it all the time, but these days, it's just…

Too Much Photoshopping

The winner of a photography contest in the United Kingdom was dubbed "Landscape Photographer of the Year" last week, only to have the title—and large award check—taken away just a few days later. Why was he disqualified? For "too much Photoshopping." Aside from Adobe bristling at the use of Photoshop as a verb, this is disconcerting to folks on both sides of the argument. I'm mostly concerned about the idea of Photoshop invalidating the success of a photograph. Isn't it about the end result, rather than the specific techniques used to achieve that result? To me it is, although I certainly understand how reality can be—and often is—distorted for effect in all sorts of photographs—even the "straight" ones. I think that's what bothers me; the underlying idea of photograph as fact. It's an interesting discussion, of which you can read more at the Online Photographer. He even includes a comment from one of the judges who explains that the disqualification was not for philosophical reasons, but for simply entering a photograph in a category that specifically prohibited compositing. My favorite quote in the piece comes from The Online Photographer himself, Michael Johnston, who posits, "Has Photoshopping in photography competitions gotten to be like doping in the sport of cycling?" I think only time will tell.

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2012/11/too-much-photoshopping.html  
DPMag
The winner of a photography contest in the United Kingdom was dubbed "Landscape Photographer of the Year" last week, only to have the title—and large award check—taken away just a few days later. Why was he disqualified? For "too much Photoshopping." Aside from Adobe bristling at the use of Photoshop…

Documenting The Death Of Film

Canadian photographer Robert Burley has been working with film throughout his long photographic career. And lately he has even used the stuff to document the demise of film itself. His photographs depict the end of an era, when film was used to record every event in history and the thought of it ever disappearing was plainly preposterous. That has now given way to digital technologies, but as Burley says in this interview on the CNN photo blog, yesterday's technology is tomorrow's next art form. I have so many sad feelings about the death of film. In a way, photography used to be more special, and it was at least in part due to the mysteries of film and chemistry. At one point early in my career I got to be a little more of a scientist. Today I'm much more of a computer programmer. I didn't want to be a computer programmer. Alas, the world is changing. See more of Burley's tremendous photographs at CNN's photo blog. 

http://cnnphotos.blogs.cnn.com/2012/11/05/the-death-of-film
DPMag
Canadian photographer Robert Burley has been working with film throughout his long photographic career. And lately he has even used the stuff to document the demise of film itself. His photographs depict the end of an era, when film was used to record every event in history and the thought…
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