More Awesomeness From Photojojo

Photojojo is one of those web sites that strikes a great balance for photo geeks: it sells stuff that's practical and stuff that's fun. And no matter what it is, it seems to always hit a sweet spot for me personally: I really need that! This time it's two new things I absolutely must have—one useful, both fun. First, the totally impractical wood iPhone case. It serves its protective purpose alright, but mostly it's neat and clever and just plain fun. And it makes me wish I had an iPhone just so I could get this case and turn it into a "real" camera. The other item at the other end of the spectrum is still plenty of fun, but it's way more practical too. It's the Digital Time-Lapse Camera. For $150 you get a little weather-resistant camera that churns out a completed HD video of a time-lapse scene—no video editing required. That alone is worth it, but the simple way it makes movies really makes it useful too.

http://photojojo.com/store/press/photos/wood-camera-iphone-case
http://photojojo.com/store/awesomeness/time-lapse-camera

DPMag
Photojojo is one of those web sites that strikes a great balance for photo geeks: it sells stuff that's practical and stuff that's fun. And no matter what it is, it seems to always hit a sweet spot for me personally: I really need that! This time it's two new…

Tiny Tripod, Big Use

Ever try to make a time exposure with your point-and-shoot pocket camera? It can be tricky. Mostly because you're almost never using a tripod; after all, if you're the kind of guy who carries a tripod you're probably also carrying something a little more deluxe than a pocket camera. But I know that I love to travel light, and that's why sometimes all I have handy is that pocket point-and-shoot. And so what do I do when I want to make a slow-shutter-speed-picture? I prop the camera on a bench or a hand railing or whatever happens to be handy, and then I hope that I can get the framing to work out. Thankfully JOBY has just introduced an ingenious little tripod that solves this problem. Sure, there have been tiny tripods as long as there have been cameras, but this one's different. It's tiny enough to remain permanently affixed to the bottom of your camera. It's the GorillaPod Micro 250, and it folds down to almost nothing as it sits out of the way on the bottom of your camera, waiting to be useful. When its time comes, boy is it useful. Check it out at the JOBY web site, where you can buy one for just $20.

http://joby.com/gorillapod/micro250

DPMag
Ever try to make a time exposure with your point-and-shoot pocket camera? It can be tricky. Mostly because you're almost never using a tripod; after all, if you're the kind of guy who carries a tripod you're probably also carrying something a little more deluxe than a pocket camera. But…

Focusing Assistance From The Kitchen

File this under, "I thought I was the only one." Turns out I'm not the only one who confuses the focusing ring with the zoom ring. I often accidentally twist the zoom ring on a long zoom instead of the focus ring. Sometimes it's vice versa, but either way it seems whenever I want to focus I accidentally zoom, and when I want to zoom I accidentally focus. So leave it to former Outdoor Photographer editor Rob Sheppard to come up with this beautifully simple solution, posted on his Nature and Photography blog. It's a silicone jar opener that he purchased in a kitchen supply store, and it's the perfect way to differentiate focus ring from zoom. Great idea, Rob!

http://www.natureandphotography.com/?p=555

DPMag
File this under, "I thought I was the only one." Turns out I'm not the only one who confuses the focusing ring with the zoom ring. I often accidentally twist the zoom ring on a long zoom instead of the focus ring. Sometimes it's vice versa, but either way it…

Your Top Ten Photographers

I was recently reading about one of my favorite photographers, Andre Kertesz, and it got me to thinking about all of my favorites. What photographers do I most admire, whom would I emulate, whose work would inspire me to make pictures if I didn't know anything else about photography? So I started compiling a list. That's part A of this exercise, and I recommend you do it now: make a list of your top ten photographers of all time. 

For me, that list goes like this (albeit in no particular order). I do have a fondness for Kertesz so I'll list him first. Andre Kertesz, Harry Callahan, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Steve McCurry. Those first four are easy. These would have to be my favorite photographers, hands down. I wouldn't have thought they'd have such a documentary slant, but they do. Look there, I'm learning something already. To continue with my list…
5. Mark Seliger. I sure love his portraits.
6. Dan Winters. Same goes for him. Inspiring and amazing. 
7. Alec Soth. Simplicity to the n'th degree.
8. Todd Hido. I'm in awe of so much of his work.
Time for another pause. Those four are on the list today, and probably will be for a good long time. These four are portraitists and fine artists with an interesting, sometimes theatrical, sometimes documentary flare. Again, I'm learning even more about my photographic tastes. 

The last two are tricky. I could consider Annie Leibovitz (yes, a superstar, but also an amazingly talented and prolific photographer) or Frank Ockenfels with an aesthetic that makes me weak in the knees with envy… And there are a ton of working photographers I admire as well. For the purposes of this exercise I'm going to go with Leibovitz and Ockenfels as my 9 and 10, simply because I know they consistently have impressed me for a long, long time. Again, portraits, creative, theatrical, yet somehow very real. I'm once again reinforcing an aesthetic photographic preference. That brings me to part B of this exercise: analyze your list to determine what you really live in the work of other photographers.

I'm clearly taken by photographers who don't create visions of fantasy or illusions or special effects, but rather photographers who have a simplicity about their work. Maybe that could be described as a purity of vision in a documentary sense. This even applies to the portraitists, and even their most theatrical works. Because on some level, those images are designed to provide the viewer very factual information about the subjects. I'm starting to become aware of my own strong affinity for graphical compositions as well, which I'd say I share with many of these photographers. Which brings me to part C, and ultimately my point.

If I want to make work that inspires me, on some level I should make work that is similar to these photographers. Why not simply start from scratch and identify what they do, and distill how I can do that too. That's the first step to making great work, I'd say. If I distill the things that these photographers have in common, things like authenticity, documentary, reality, graphic, people, quirky, interesting, unique, powerful… These words should be always on my mind when I'm creating my own work. If I'm doing something different than this, moving in perhaps the wrong direction, maybe I'm not serving my basest photographic instinct: to make work like that of my favorite photographers. 

So I'm advocating that you try this little exercise for yourself. List your favorite photographers, distill what it is you most like about their work and what they all share in common, and then put those things to use as targets in your own photography. I think this is just one simple way we can learn directly from our favorite photographers. 

DPMag
I was recently reading about one of my favorite photographers, Andre Kertesz, and it got me to thinking about all of my favorites. What photographers do I most admire, whom would I emulate, whose work would inspire me to make pictures if I didn't know anything else about photography? So…

The "Inception" Of Stop-Motion Movies

Did you see last year's hit movie "Inception?" I did, and while I understand that many folks found the dream-in-a-dream nature of the film a bit disorienting, it still managed to tell a unique story in a unique way and draw viewers in. The same can be said for this stop-motion movie from Neatorama.com. Eran Amir created a short film in which he photographed 500 different people holding more than 1500 different pictures, and when strung together they create a movie-within-a-movie vibe quite similar in effect to the disorienting construction of Inception. That's a convoluted way to say, "Wow, cool stop-motion film!" I could've just said "check out this cool movie that also has a stop-motion movie inside it," but that just doesn't seem as unique. No matter what you call it, it's a cool clip that you should definitely check out. 

http://www.neatorama.com/2011/08/29/the-inception-of-stop-motion-film/

DPMag
Did you see last year's hit movie "Inception?" I did, and while I understand that many folks found the dream-in-a-dream nature of the film a bit disorienting, it still managed to tell a unique story in a unique way and draw viewers in. The same can be said for this…

Anamorphic Projection Photographs

That's a fancy title for a pretty simple blog post. Sometimes somebody makes a picture that's just so cool and clever I have to tell others about it. That's the case with this image by artist Stephen Doyle. He created an anamorphic projection—a physical construction that when viewed in the ideal perspective takes the shape of another object. In this case, Doyle used simple blue tape to create a huge word—Grit—that served to illustrate a concept in a story about an educational program for the New York Times. When viewed just right, Doyle's long stripes of tape perfectly spell out the word. It's one of those things that's so simple and so creative it's inspiring. Read all about it and watch a "making of" video at the Colossal blog.

http://thisiscolossal.com/2011/09/anamorphic-tape-projection-by-doyle-partners/

DPMag
That's a fancy title for a pretty simple blog post. Sometimes somebody makes a picture that's just so cool and clever I have to tell others about it. That's the case with this image by artist Stephen Doyle. He created an anamorphic projection—a physical construction that when viewed in the…
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