How To Make Your Own Time-Lapse Video

I’m always linking to time-lapse videos on this blog, mostly because I never seem to get enough of this super-simple, super-neat technique. So here’s a page that does contain a cool time-lapse video, but the real reason I’m pointing it out is because it’s a primer for photographers who not only want to watch cool time-lapse videos, but who also want to learn how to make them for themselves. It’s a little bit different, and a little bit fun. And best of all, any photographer with any camera can do it with just a tiny bit of know-how.

http://www.lightstalking.com/timelapse

I’m always linking to time-lapse videos on this blog, mostly because I never seem to get enough of this super-simple, super-neat technique. So here’s a page that does contain a cool time-lapse video, but the real reason I’m pointing it out is because it’s a primer for photographers who not only want to watch cool time-lapse videos, but... Read more

Keep Your Computer Cool For Better Performance

Photographers who use desktop computers might not think much about the temperatures of their machines, but I guarantee that any photographer who has edited image files on a laptop computer knows exactly where I’m going with this. When your computer heats up, its performance lags. And that’s extra annoying when you’re working to process your images. Here are two solutions that you can consider to help keep things cool, whether you’re using a laptop or a desktop. The first one is a tool I’m already using—a piece of software called Fan Control. You can dial it in to kick up your computer’s fan speeds at various temperature marks, so you can keep the optimum operating temperature exactly where you want it. Another option is something I just read about on one of my favorite blogs, Cool Tools. It’s a USB-powered external fan from Thermaltake. You can position it to blow cool air over your laptop, or to cool an external hard drive, or really any electrical component that you’d like. (Now that I think about it, there’s no reason you couldn’t use it to keep yourself cool while working on the computer—which could be necessary if your hot laptop is running especially slow.) If you visit the Thermaltake site in search of the USB fan, be sure to check out some of the cooling pads that are especially designed for improving temperatures in high-performance laptop applications.

http://www.lobotomo.com/products/FanControl
http://www.kk.org/cooltools/archives/005824.php

Photographers who use desktop computers might not think much about the temperatures of their machines, but I guarantee that any photographer who has edited image files on a laptop computer knows exactly where I’m going with this. When your computer heats up, its performance lags. And that’s extra annoying when you’re working to process your... Read more

The Magical World Of Maggie Taylor

The How To Be A Retronaut blog is always sending great imagery my way, and I encourage anyone interested in unique, quirky, historic imagery to add the blog to their reader. A recent post blew me away with the work of someone I was totally unfamiliar with—photographer (and illustrator, painter and practical magician) Maggie Taylor. She’s got a unique style and a whimsical approach that lends itself perfectly to projects such as the illustration of Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s story, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. See for yourself at the Retronaut blog, and then visit Ms. Taylor’s web site to experience even more of her fantastic work. You may want to consider investing in your own copy of Taylor’s take on Alice, or one of her other truly beautiful books.

http://www.howtobearetronaut.com/2011/07/almost-alice-the-illustrations-of-maggie-taylor
http://maggietaylor.com

The How To Be A Retronaut blog is always sending great imagery my way, and I encourage anyone interested in unique, quirky, historic imagery to add the blog to their reader. A recent post blew me away with the work of someone I was totally unfamiliar with—photographer (and illustrator, painter and practical magician) Maggie Taylor. She’s got a... Read more
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An Alternative To Flickr

Looking for an alternative to Flickr, or perhaps just another place online for photographers to come together and share work? Then perhaps 500px might be right for you. This web site has actually been around for quite some time, but its recent revamping has re-energized its audience and grown the user base, prompting Will Burrard-Lucas at DPS to write a review and encourage more readers to sign up. Maybe you’ll appreciate the big, beautiful photos or the simple interface. Or maybe you just want another outlet to share your own photos and be inspired by others. Either way, Burrard-Lucas makes a great case to investigate the photo community at 500px and consider getting involved. He even offers his tips for seamlessly getting started, which is bound to make for a better initial experience and a sustained involvement with the site.

http://www.digital-photography-school.com/500px-review-giveaway

Looking for an alternative to Flickr, or perhaps just another place online for photographers to come together and share work? Then perhaps 500px might be right for you. This web site has actually been around for quite some time, but its recent revamping has re-energized its audience and grown the user base, prompting Will Burrard-Lucas at DPS to write... Read more

Advice For Young Photographers

I recently stumbled across a treasure trove of photographic insight courtesy of the Canon Professional Network. Turns out Canon Europe has created interviews with talented, well-established professional photographers specifically designed to educate and inspire young photographers. We are familiar with a few of their names over here in the States, but Europeans may likely know all of these photographers and their work. Thanks to the Internet we can enjoy these interviews just as easily as folks over on the continent, and that means we can learn from them too. Ain’t the modern world great? An aperture is an aperture in any language, after all, and beautiful light is still beautiful light. Check out the videos and see if you learn anything new, or maybe you’ll just find some inspiration in the work of these talented world-class pros that will help you along the way.

http://cpn.canon-europe.com/content/interviews/ambassadors_advice.do

I recently stumbled across a treasure trove of photographic insight courtesy of the Canon Professional Network. Turns out Canon Europe has created interviews with talented, well-established professional photographers specifically designed to educate and inspire young photographers. We are familiar with a few of their names over here in the States,... Read more

My Pictures Would Be Better If…

Chase Jarvis is a commercial photographer with a great blog and a great following. A while back he asked his readers to consider what might make their pictures better. That got me to thinking about what would make my own pictures better, and what sorts of things would probably make everyone’s pictures better? I then started making conscious changes to my work patterns in order to improve my photos based on the answers to this silly little exercise. It turns out it’s not so silly after all. So I really recommend that you try this. Answer this question as many ways as you can, and then start doing the things those answers instruct: My pictures would be better if ____. For me, some of the answers were:

– If I made photographs more often.
– If I got out of my own way and let technique be secondary to content and composition.
– If I simplified everything more often, from lighting to equipment to backgrounds.
– If I made every photograph as if it might be the best picture I’d ever make.

One way I’ve done some of these things is when it comes to photographing my new baby daughter. Instead of constructing elaborate photo shoots, I concentrate on capturing the real moments of her life so that someday when I look back at these images I’ll remember not only the photo shoot, but what she was like as a six-month-old.

So what would you say to this question? Ask yourself what would make your photographs better, and then set about doing it. You might like what it does to your photography. I know I do.

Chase Jarvis is a commercial photographer with a great blog and a great following. A while back he asked his readers to consider what might make their pictures better. That got me to thinking about what would make my own pictures better, and what sorts of things would probably make everyone’s pictures better? I then started making conscious changes... Read more

RAW-Style White Balance Adjustment Of JPEGs

Everybody’s always saying that you’ve just gotta shoot RAW. I tend to agree with the sentiment, but I also understand there are lots of reasons not to. Let’s say you want to work really fast, maybe you shoot sports or photojournalism and you want to rapid-fire frames and then process them quickly and efficiently, there aren’t as many reasons to shoot RAW. But no matter what you shoot, one thing that you might miss about RAW files is the ability to make efficient post-production changes to exposure and white balance. Well JPEG shooters actually aren’t completely out of luck. In this tutorial from DPS, Elizabeth Halford explains how she makes RAW-style white balance adjustments to the JPEGs she captures long after the exposures are made. These simple techniques offer JPEG shooters a great way to adjust white balance quickly and easily—just like RAW shooters do—in Photoshop, Elements and Lightroom. 

http://www.digital-photography-school.com/white-balance-on-a-jpeg-in-photoshop-elements-and-lightroom

Everybody’s always saying that you’ve just gotta shoot RAW. I tend to agree with the sentiment, but I also understand there are lots of reasons not to. Let’s say you want to work really fast, maybe you shoot sports or photojournalism and you want to rapid-fire frames and then process them quickly and efficiently, there aren’t... Read more

Poignant Pictures Of Where Children Sleep

Sometimes beautiful photography is also very difficult. Such is the case with these amazing and touching images by photographer James Mollison. He’s made a book for children, filled with portraits of kids from around the world and the places in which they sleep. From rich to poor, impoverished to luxurious, the book and beautiful images are designed to help kids ages 9 to 13 empathize with other children throughout the world. It’s hard to imagine a book that works so well for kids also functioning so beautiful as a meaningful photo book for adults.

www.brainpickings.com

Sometimes beautiful photography is also very difficult. Such is the case with these amazing and touching images by photographer James Mollison. He’s made a book for children, filled with portraits of kids from around the world and the places in which they sleep. From rich to poor, impoverished to luxurious, the book and beautiful images are... Read more

Photographing The Town That Disappeared

Thanks to the How to be a Retronaut blog (a personal favorite of mine for finding interesting photographs from the past) for pointing me to this great collection of images from the Atlantic Monthly’s photo blog. It’s the story of a town that disappeared. The Argentinian town of Villa Epecuen sat a few hundred miles from a large salt lake that, due to a prolonged rain, burst its earthen damn in 1985. Soon the town of 5000 was under 30 feet of water, and it remained that way for almost 25 years. Then in 2009 the water began to recede. Photographer Juan Mabromata visited recently, armed with images from the Villa’s heyday, to photograph what a place looks like after a generation underwater. It’s an amazing story illustrated with beautiful, haunting images.

www.theatlantic.com

Photo by Juan Mabromata

Thanks to the How to be a Retronaut blog (a personal favorite of mine for finding interesting photographs from the past) for pointing me to this great collection of images from the Atlantic Monthly’s photo blog. It’s the story of a town that disappeared. The Argentinian town of Villa Epecuen sat a few hundred miles from a large salt lake... Read more

Rack Focusing For DSLR Video

I don’t do tons of DSLR video recording, but I do dabble. And as far as I can tell, the biggest challenge is focusing. If your subject is stationary you can prefocus and do fine. But heaven forbid you’d like to change focus during a shot. This technique is called rack focusing, dramatically shifting focus from foreground to background, or vice versa. In Hollywood they’ve got whole jobs dedicated to this, but when you’re doing it yourself you need a DIY fix to be able to rack focus effectively. That’s where this post-it note-based system comes in. It’s brilliant in its simplicity. See for yourself at the DIY Photography blog. www.diyphotography.net

I don’t do tons of DSLR video recording, but I do dabble. And as far as I can tell, the biggest challenge is focusing. If your subject is stationary you can prefocus and do fine. But heaven forbid you’d like to change focus during a shot. This technique is called rack focusing, dramatically shifting focus from foreground to background,... Read more