Sammon On Subtle HDR

As someone who finds himself physically nauseated by most over-the-top HDR photography—with its syrupy colors and coarse textures—I'm a big proponent of the technology being put to use for more subtle image making. So I was thrilled to see that nature photographer Rick Sammon recently created this post at DP Review showcasing how "the rest of us" can use HDR to more realistic, more subtle, less obnoxious effect. The capability to combine multiple exposures for the simple benefit of enhanced tonal range is one of the best uses of HDR—the kind of use where you hardly know the technique has been applied.

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/1944596440/hdr-for-the-rest-of-us
DPMag
As someone who finds himself physically nauseated by most over-the-top HDR photography—with its syrupy colors and coarse textures—I'm a big proponent of the technology being put to use for more subtle image making. So I was thrilled to see that nature photographer Rick Sammon recently created this post at DP…

Talk About A Compact Lens

You can file this in the "what might be the next generation of major photographic technological enhancements." It's the flat lens, and it's been developed by the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Made of silicon, this ultra-thin lens is totally flat yet functions like a larger, physically convex glass lenses we've been using since… well, since the dawn of photography. This, of course, means that lenses could look dramatically different in the future, and we could have super-tiny, super-flat elements that make for super-flat cameras. Hard to know what amazing technological advancements will become practical technology and which will stay for the most part theoretical. But either way it's exciting to consider the possibilities of a lens that's measured in nanometers instead of millimeters.

http://www.wired.com/rawfile/2012/08/new-flat-lens-could-revolutionize-cameras-as-we-know-them
DPMag
You can file this in the "what might be the next generation of major photographic technological enhancements." It's the flat lens, and it's been developed by the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Made of silicon, this ultra-thin lens is totally flat yet functions like a larger, physically convex…

Schatz On Going Beyond

I'm working on a little article with Howard Schatz. Howard is the kind of guy who speaks in real gems. Unfortunately, I can't always find a way to fit them all in to every story. Thankfully I have this blog, where I can share these gems with you. We were discussing how much studying and research Howard puts in to his photography in order to push himself and to continue moving forward with every shoot. "It's very important," he told me, "for a photographer, an artist, anyone in creative life, to have a vast databank. In terms of photography, a vast visual databank. So that when someone looks through the camera they can recognize 'I've seen this before, I'm not going to do this the same way he did it. I'm going to try to find another way of seeing it.' So I study, hard; I'm a scholar of my work, of my field. I read everything, I look at every magazine, I look at books, I look online… I don't want to repeat. I want to find a new way of seeing. And it's very hard. The more you do it, the harder it gets, the fewer choices you have, the harder you have to work. That's why I also say when you hear simple, simple, simple… Well simple has been done thousands of times. Simple is not necessarily going to be so unique or original or magnificent. It could be nice. Generally, what I do is very complicated. There are dozens and dozens of ingredients that come to make an image right. And it has to do with the passionate striving to surprise myself." So the next time you look through the lens, try to recognize whether you've seen this same scenario before—in your own work or the works of others. Then push yourself to go farther. For more inspiration, take a look at Howard's web site, then visit your local bookstore to get your hands on his newest book, At the Fights, the culmination of many years spent photographing boxers in the ring and in the studio. 

http://www.howardschatz.com
DPMag
I'm working on a little article with Howard Schatz. Howard is the kind of guy who speaks in real gems. Unfortunately, I can't always find a way to fit them all in to every story. Thankfully I have this blog, where I can share these gems with you. We were…

Flowers Or Fireworks?

Just when you think everything's already been done, along comes a guy like David Johnson to do something totally different. Mr. Johnson started making long exposures of fireworks. But, of course, they don't look anything like any long exposures of fireworks that I've ever seen. I was looking at them and wondering how in the world he achieved such a unique effect—one that in its own way is actually more representative of the true beauty and power of fireworks. And here's the answer: he simply refocused. He'd start with his composition out of focus—creating the large blurry central area of each explosion—and then he'd click the shutter and refocus in order to bring the explosions into tack sharpness, resulting in a really unique set of fireworks photos. Who knows: this may become the de facto new way to photograph fireworks. What a brilliant, and brilliantly simple, technique. Bravo!

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2012/08/unusual-long-exposure-firework-photographs-by-david-johnson/
DPMag
Just when you think everything's already been done, along comes a guy like David Johnson to do something totally different. Mr. Johnson started making long exposures of fireworks. But, of course, they don't look anything like any long exposures of fireworks that I've ever seen. I was looking at them…

The Loss Of Susan Carr

The photography world lost a wonderful leader, educator and advocate last week. Susan Carr passed away too young after a battle with cancer. She was a source of photographic inspiration for me personally, particularly in matters outside the realm of traditional photographic "how to" technical advice. Namely, she was expert in inspiring photographers to find their own personal vision, as well as offering a voice of reason and guidance in business matters that affect all who try to earn income from their photographs. I recommend that you peruse past posts from the ASMP Strictly Business blog to get a better idea of the wonderful insights Ms. Carr regularly shared, and to understand a little better what our community has lost.

http://www.asmp.org/strictlybusiness/2012/09/8597/#.UEwKn2hYtcS
DPMag
The photography world lost a wonderful leader, educator and advocate last week. Susan Carr passed away too young after a battle with cancer. She was a source of photographic inspiration for me personally, particularly in matters outside the realm of traditional photographic "how to" technical advice. Namely, she was expert…

Lens Hood Operator Error

Today I've got a little tip for you. No link, no video, just a simple little bit of advice. And, I suppose, a call to action. Here it is: Don't use your camera with your lens hood pointing backwards! I can't tell you how often I see this, and how crazy it makes me. I know, I've got problems, but seriously: don't use your lens shade backwards. I'd rather you not have a lens shade at all than that you have one, and keep it attached to the camera, but then you don't actually take the time (all of 15 seconds) to reverse it when you're ready to shoot. I understand autofocus meaning you may not need to reach the focus ring, and I also understand that you might like to stow your camera with the hood reversed because it saves on space, but for goodness sake you're just making the camera heavier and more user un-friendly when you do it this way (because zooming and focusing do become more difficult), not to mention the fact that you're totally not protecting the lens and you're leaving it vulnerable to that horrible lens flare stuff. So seriously, just do me this one favor for the sake of my sanity: don't use your lens hood backwards. Flip it around. Chances are you'll take better pictures this way, too. 
DPMag
Today I've got a little tip for you. No link, no video, just a simple little bit of advice. And, I suppose, a call to action. Here it is: Don't use your camera with your lens hood pointing backwards! I can't tell you how often I see this, and how…
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