Spend a day with Jay

Jay Maisel is a “walking photographic legend.” We’d all do well to be taught by Jay. Even just to spend a day with him, walking the streets of New York while he shares his advice and photographic guidance, would likely lead to some level of photographic enlightenment. Well now we can all do that vicariously online thanks to Scott Kelby. The Photoshop blogging guru spent a day with Jay shooting the streets of New York, and Scott’s team shot the whole thing on video for a documentary-style photo class, now showing at the Photoshop Insider Blog. Check it out and see what you learn. If nothing else, you’re bound to appreciate this glimpse inside the working world of a master like Maisel. You can watch the intro for free, but the entire class costs 25 bucks a month for access to all of Kelby’s training videos.

scottkelby.com

Jay Maisel is a “walking photographic legend.” We’d all do well to be taught by Jay. Even just to spend a day with him, walking the streets of New York while he shares his advice and photographic guidance, would likely lead to some level of photographic enlightenment. Well now we can all do that vicariously online thanks to Scott Kelby. The Photoshop... Read more

Behind the Scenes Portraits

The Strobist blog has long offered behind the scenes glimpses of how professional photographers utilize strobe lighting to create interesting images. Photographer Brad Trent has turned his behind the scenes portraits into more than that – a saleable personal shooting style. Now the two have teamed up for a Strobist post showcasing Mr. Trent and his interesting images. You see, he once found himself shooting a portrait and feeling fed up with the “fake reality” of it all. The artificial lighting, the contrived poses, all the setup just to look “natural.” So he decided to stop hiding it, and he backed up to show how he created the scene. Not only do the resulting images offer a glimpse for other photographers as to how he lights his editorial portraits, they make an artistic comment about perception versus reality, real identity compared to the carefully crafted visual identity put forth in commercial portraiture. Better still, it’s a look that art buyers must appreciate because they hire him for that very look. It’s all quite interesting and worth a read over at the Strobist site.

strobist.blogspot.com

Photograph © Brad Trent

The Strobist blog has long offered behind the scenes glimpses of how professional photographers utilize strobe lighting to create interesting images. Photographer Brad Trent has turned his behind the scenes portraits into more than that – a saleable personal shooting style. Now the two have teamed up for a Strobist post showcasing Mr. Trent and his... Read more

Geared Tripod Heads

I like geared tripod heads. And it seems I’m one of the few. Every time I talk to other photographers about tripod preferences, they seem to like other setups – be it ballheads or twist and lock handles. In fact, a photographer friend recently borrowed my tripod and said he didn’t like the gears, proving my theory incorrect: I’d long thought most folks didn’t love geared tripod heads just because they’d never tried geared tripod heads. Guess not.

Which brings me to my point: there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to photo gear and personal preference. We like what we like, just because we like it. And that’s perfectly fine.

So let’s discuss why we like what we like. I want to know what kind of tripod heads you prefer. And why. And while we’re at it, what other gear do you feel like you just can’t live without?

I’ll start: I like geared tripod heads so much that when I work with other heads – ballheads or twist operated handles, for example – I’m frustrated when I can’t simply and efficiently make the subtle movements that I can with a geared head. Sure, geared heads are heavier, but for me that weight premium is a worthwhile sacrifice for the increased performance and precision.

So tell me: what gear do you love to love? What tools can’t you live without? What little slice of equipment heaven makes you wonder why every other photographer doesn’t use it too, just like I wonder how anybody gets by without a geared head?

I like geared tripod heads. And it seems I’m one of the few. Every time I talk to other photographers about tripod preferences, they seem to like other setups – be it ballheads or twist and lock handles. In fact, a photographer friend recently borrowed my tripod and said he didn’t like the gears, proving my theory incorrect: I’d long thought... Read more
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Funny Crash Reports

When my computer locks up or a program crashes, sometimes I’m offered a crash report to fill out and send to the developer so that they can determine what went wrong—presumably to try to prevent it in the future. This usually happens at such an inopportune moment that my reports are often filled with vitriol. I hope nobdy in particular takes too much offense. After all, it sorta seems like I’m simply submitting them for another computer to read. Turns out that I’m not the only one who uses crash reports to get a little something off his chest. Photoshop user and apparently frustrated comedian Garrett Murray has turned his Photoshop CS4 crash reports into little works of comic art. Check out his Maniacal Rage blog for a new piece every few weeks—or whenever Photoshop crashes on him.

log.maniacalrage.net

When my computer locks up or a program crashes, sometimes I’m offered a crash report to fill out and send to the developer so that they can determine what went wrong—presumably to try to prevent it in the future. This usually happens at such an inopportune moment that my reports are often filled with vitriol. I hope nobdy in particular takes too... Read more

A commercial that doubles as a really interesting video.

Ever since I interviewed adventure photographer Tyler Stableford for a DPP profile a few years ago I’ve been a big fan of his work. Not only does Tyler create great pictures, he’s a downright master of the business and digital sides of photography. He apparently likes Lightroom, as he was tasked with using it recently on assignment for Adobe’s new 3.0 version of the software. The resulting commercial can be found on YouTube, and while it’s a sponsored advertisement, it’s also a really interesting look into how he works in the field as well as the digital workflow of a phenomenal photographer. Check it out.

youtube.com

Ever since I interviewed adventure photographer Tyler Stableford for a DPP profile a few years ago I’ve been a big fan of his work. Not only does Tyler create great pictures, he’s a downright master of the business and digital sides of photography. He apparently likes Lightroom, as he was tasked with using it recently on assignment for Adobe’s... Read more

Funding Photographic History

Tewfic Al-Sawy, The Travel Photographer, recently highlighted the work of an early 20th century photographic visionary by the name of Albert Kahn. Albert wasn’t a photographer, though, he was a banker. He funded a grand photographic project, sending 50 photographers around the world to utilize the new autochrome process to document the peoples of the world. It’s one of the earliest examples of color travel photography in the National Geographic tradition that I’ve ever seen, and both the story and the images are amazing. Read more at Tewfic’s Travel Photographer blog, and then check out more of the work Mr. Kahn brought into being at the web site of his museum and BBC-created book.

thetravelphotographer.blogspot.com

albertkhan.co.uk

Tewfic Al-Sawy, The Travel Photographer, recently highlighted the work of an early 20th century photographic visionary by the name of Albert Kahn. Albert wasn’t a photographer, though, he was a banker. He funded a grand photographic project, sending 50 photographers around the world to utilize the new autochrome process to document the peoples of... Read more

Soccer Photography, Sort Of

I may not be the world’s greatest soccer fan, but I know great photography when I see it. In the spirit of honoring the World Cup fever that’s sweeping the world these days, allow me to direct you to a captivating set of images from photographer Dean Dorat made during 2006’s World Cup. No, they’re not sports photographs. They’re photographs of people engrossed in the sport. It’s a phenomenal look at fandom, and just how important this game is to many, many people.

rachelhulin.com

I may not be the world’s greatest soccer fan, but I know great photography when I see it. In the spirit of honoring the World Cup fever that’s sweeping the world these days, allow me to direct you to a captivating set of images from photographer Dean Dorat made during 2006’s World Cup. No, they’re not sports photographs. They’re photographs... Read more

New Lightroom 3 is out now.

New Lightroom 3 is out now, and I got it on day 1.

New Lightroom 3 is out now, and I got it on day 1. Actually, I made the switch to Lightroom about six months back when I upgraded to a new desktop machine. The idea of allowing users to beta test prelease versions of software like this must be a brilliant one, because the morning last week when I walked in to my office to find a message from Adobe about... Read more

Astronomy!

I don’t know much about astronomy or even astronomical photography. But I know what I like, and I like the APOD site. I think you will too. It’s the Astronomy Picture Of the Day web site, and every day they upload a great photography from somewhere out there in the surprisingly beautiful universe, along with a description for us laymen written by a professional astronomer. One of my most recent favorites is an image of a silhouetted Space Shuttle Atlantis and the International Space Station transiting the sun. It’s a phenomenal moment of objects we know by heart, yet still shown in a manner we’ve never seen before. I highly recommend adding the APOD site to your daily blogroll. You might even learn a little about astronomy along the way.

apod.nasa.gov

I don’t know much about astronomy or even astronomical photography. But I know what I like, and I like the APOD site. I think you will too. It’s the Astronomy Picture Of the Day web site, and every day they upload a great photography from somewhere out there in the surprisingly beautiful universe, along with a description for us laymen written... Read more

Lynn Goldsmith at work

I’m currently working on a story with photographer Lynn Goldsmith. You may be most familiar with Lynn’s history as a rock ‘n roll photographer, but for the better part of a decade she’s been working on an elaborate self portrait project. You’ll have to wait for the printed page to read my interview with Lynn, but until then you can watch her work. Her partner in photography, camera maker Mamiya, has uploaded a series of behind the scenes videos that show her making portraits of musicians, celebrities and regular people too. It’s interesting and educational to watch her work, and she’s a heck of a nice lady—which comes through when you watch her on video.

youtube.com

I’m currently working on a story with photographer Lynn Goldsmith. You may be most familiar with Lynn’s history as a rock ‘n roll photographer, but for the better part of a decade she’s been working on an elaborate self portrait project. You’ll have to wait for the printed page to read my interview with Lynn, but until then you can watch... Read more

Jim Richardson’s Notes From the Field

I’ve been fortunate throughout my career to spend great portions of my time interviewing and interacting with some of the most talented photographers around. I’m consistently awed and inspired by their work and their stories, and I’m frequently impressed by how nice and down to earth these masters truly are. One photographer still stands as one of my favorite people too, and that’s National Geographic’s Jim Richardson. Not only does Jim manage to consistently create stunning storytelling images, he manages to put a smile on your face too. I even get that sense from looking at his work, which you can do at National Geographic’s web site. Better still, you can get photography tips directly from the master’s mouth in his Notes and Tips From the Field. Inspiring images, phenomenal advice, and just a really great guy. What more could you ask for in a photographer?

photography.nationalgeographic.com

I’ve been fortunate throughout my career to spend great portions of my time interviewing and interacting with some of the most talented photographers around. I’m consistently awed and inspired by their work and their stories, and I’m frequently impressed by how nice and down to earth these masters truly are. One photographer still... Read more

A real photographic use for the iPad

I first considered the practical uses of the Epson P series of digital backup devices a few years ago when I interviewed photographer Frans Lanting. He told me about taking the devices into the field when he shoots in exotic places; they are the perfect surrogate for a laptop where a laptop wouldn’t be practical. Lanting, and many photographers like him, shoot their gigs of data and then download it onto an Epson multimedia viewer to free CF card space and view shots on the built-in LCD screen. When they’re back in the world, they transfer the images from the viewer (the P-7000, for instance, has a 160GB capacity) to the computer and resume their normal workflow. But now there’s a new catch in that method: the iPad.

The iPad is a multimedia viewer of its own sort. An entirely different form factor and, as of now, still not available at the price and capacity of the Epson series of devices, but certainly this is something photographers can consider as a temporary holding tank when working far afield. The interesting thing about the device is the plethora of additional uses for the thing when it’s not being a photographic storage system. The presumed eventual popularity of the thing might make it an ideal interim archive, especially if we’re all carrying them already. But that’s all speculation at this point. After all, as currently priced and spec’d you be much better served by an Epson P-7000 in purely photo storage terms. Still, it’s interesting to see how photographers adapt to new technologies, and how new technologies adapt to photographers. Read up on the idea, including the comments of many photographers dealing directly with the issue, on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider blog.

scottkelby.com

I first considered the practical uses of the Epson P series of digital backup devices a few years ago when I interviewed photographer Frans Lanting. He told me about taking the devices into the field when he shoots in exotic places; they are the perfect surrogate for a laptop where a laptop wouldn’t be practical. Lanting, and many photographers like... Read more
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