Get Your Fill Of Photo Backup Geekery

I guess I must be a true photo geek because I could talk about backups all day long. I could sit and listen to people discuss their backup horror stories—both gear they should have had duplicates of and photo files they should have done the same—because I think it serves as inspiration (or at least motivation) for my own methodical, slightly OCD approach to backing up my photo files. There’s a nice article at Pixiq.com perfect for those of you looking to start sorting out your backup situation. More than anything, it stresses the importance of integrity—make sure you’ve got a system in place, and make sure it works when you need it. My own backup system, just in case it helps, involves mirrored internal hard drives (for every photo I import), followed by a monthly transfer of those photos from the main hard drive to a secondary external drive, followed by a duplication of those files onto Blu-Ray disks at that same monthly interval, and finally capped off with the delivery of my favorites (or the selects from client-based shoots) to storage on my own little private space in the cloud. I like my backup system—but that could be just because it has yet to let me down. I’m sure now that these words have been written it’s only a matter of time before this system burns me like all others have before. Then I’ll just have to read a little bit more about backup methodologies and geek out on the stuff even more. 

http://www.pixiq.com/article/backing-up-your-photos

I guess I must be a true photo geek because I could talk about backups all day long. I could sit and listen to people discuss their backup horror stories—both gear they should have had duplicates of and photo files they should have done the same—because I think it serves as inspiration (or at least motivation) for my own methodical, slightly... Read more

Ten Ways To Break Photographer's Block

It happens to the best of us. We want to work, we want to be creative, we want to get out there and just do it. But the problem is when we’re not sure what "it" is. Just like writers get writer’s block, photographers can get photographer’s block. Over at the Pixiq photo blog, Haje Jan Kamps offers ten great ways to break the block and get inspired to take more pictures. My favorite suggestion? The 100-step challenge. It’s easy: just walk 100 steps in any direction. When you get there, stop and take a picture. But don’t just "take" that picture. Work a little bit with the composition, the subject matter, and your own creativity to make a great image in that exact spot, no matter what you’re faced with. For nine other suggestions on getting your creative juices flowing again, be sure to read the inspiring story at Pixiq.com.

http://www.pixiq.com/article/break-photographers-block

It happens to the best of us. We want to work, we want to be creative, we want to get out there and just do it. But the problem is when we’re not sure what "it" is. Just like writers get writer’s block, photographers can get photographer’s block. Over at the Pixiq photo blog, Haje Jan Kamps offers ten great ways... Read more

Darkrooms Are Almost Extinct

If you’re a photographer of a certain age (in my case, the mid-thirties) then you no doubt learned to ply your trade at least partly in the dark. The darkroom, once as much a part of photography as the computer is today, was a magical and mysterious place. More than anything, it was a place. It was where photographers went to create their photographs. Every darkroom had a personality, and one could glean some little bit of knowledge about a photographer’s techniques based on a glimpse into his darkroom workspace. Darkrooms, like artists, were very unique. Unfortunately darkrooms are disappearing. For the most part they’re already gone. Labs that once thrived are now shuttered, and facilities that employed dozens now cling to life with a skeleton crew. The darkroom, a tool once synonymous with photography, is now all but extinct. Photographer Richard Nicholson has been photographing darkrooms—specifically, the centerpieces of those darkrooms, the enlargers—as part of his newest project. Wired’s Raw File photo blog has put together a collection of the images, as well as an interview with the photographer. He mentions that a mere five years ago there were more than 200 photo labs in London; now just six remain. If you’re a former darkroom photographer yourself you may find it difficult to say goodbye to these "dinosaurs." And if you never had the pleasure, you may want to put in a little bit of time now before it’s entirely too late.

http://www.wired.com/rawfile/2011/01/photo-enlargers

If you’re a photographer of a certain age (in my case, the mid-thirties) then you no doubt learned to ply your trade at least partly in the dark. The darkroom, once as much a part of photography as the computer is today, was a magical and mysterious place. More than anything, it was a place. It was where photographers went to create their photographs.... Read more
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See How Flash Media Cards Are Made

You know that show on the Discovery Channel called "How It’s Made?" No? How about "Modern Marvels?" Still nothing, huh? Guess you’re not as big a geek as I am. If you were, you’d know that these shows simply take viewers behind the scenes in the making of… well, just about anything. From breakfast cereals to hockey sticks, high-tech to low, there’s clearly a mass appeal (albeit limited to us geeks) in seeing behind the scenes of how stuff is made. Well your friends at memory-maker Lexar have created their own little behind the scenes video, and Scott Kelby put it up on his web site not long ago. It offers a really neat glimpse into how these things are made. Very high-tech, very cool, and very precise. Frankly, after watching the video, it’s amazing these little things actually do so much—and that they don’t cost thousands of dollars each. 

http://www.scottkelby.com/blog/2011/archives/15708.

You know that show on the Discovery Channel called "How It’s Made?" No? How about "Modern Marvels?" Still nothing, huh? Guess you’re not as big a geek as I am. If you were, you’d know that these shows simply take viewers behind the scenes in the making of… well, just about anything. From breakfast cereals... Read more

Time Lapse In Motion

Photographer Josh Owens is a time lapse master. I recently saw a video he put together showing New York City in time lapse, and the plain beauty of this simple technique once again wowed me. Plain old time lapse photography is impressive and beautiful enough in itself, even when the camera is static and we watch a scene unfold and evolve over a given amount of time. But Josh does what so many folks these days are doing—he pushes the boundaries of his medium and creates something a little bit new. He adds motion to his time lapse videos by moving the camera with a dolly. No he’s not the first to do this, but his work demonstrates a magnificent aptitude for the construction of a pleasing composition and an amazing understanding of motion. He seems able to be a master of previsualization, which is no small feat. The bottom line is that Josh’s work is if nothing else really neat to look at. Do that at his Mind Relic web site, www.mindrelic.com.

Photographer Josh Owens is a time lapse master. I recently saw a video he put together showing New York City in time lapse, and the plain beauty of this simple technique once again wowed me. Plain old time lapse photography is impressive and beautiful enough in itself, even when the camera is static and we watch a scene unfold and evolve over a given... Read more

Scott Kelby's Super-Secret Duotone Recipe

Not long ago Scott Kelby showed a series of portraits from his "Sessions" series—a look at photographers who also double as musicians. The series was a collection of beautiful black and white photos Scott produced as a personal project. In fact, the black and whites are really duotone images, and they look warm and inviting and wonderful. I must not have been the only person who thought so, because apparently lots of folks asked Scott how he created his great duotone effect. I used to do things like this in Photoshop, creating duotones, tritones and quadtones with immense control and lots of options in the powerful program. It turns out that Lightroom has a super-simple built-in way to create a duotone, and Scott happily published his info. How does he achieve it? He opens the split toning panel in Lightroom and adjusts the shadows hue and saturation. That’s it, all there is to it. Check out the screenshots, the specifics of the technique, and a link to the photos in the Sessions series, at Scott’s Photoshop Insider blog. 

http://www.scottkelby.com/blog/2011/archives/16008

Not long ago Scott Kelby showed a series of portraits from his "Sessions" series—a look at photographers who also double as musicians. The series was a collection of beautiful black and white photos Scott produced as a personal project. In fact, the black and whites are really duotone images, and they look warm and inviting and wonderful.... Read more

Super High Speed Photography

Sometimes I just like to look at cool photos. I’m no expert high-speed photographer–frankly, I’m not even a rank amateur—but dang, I think this stuff looks cool. DPS recently posted a neat gallery of high-speed photographs that are full of big-time wows. It’s amazing to me that this kind of photography, which 50 years ago would have required industrial strength lighting gear (and the distinct possibility of death), can now be done by hobbyists. Serious hobbyists, to be certain, but something within reach nonetheless. After the gallery, DPS has compiled a list of links for photographers interested in learning more about how they can make this kind of high-speed photographic adventure too. Well worth a look, whether you’re just a gawker (like me) or someone who wants to do these shots for yourself.

http://www.digital-photography-school.com/high-speed-photography

Sometimes I just like to look at cool photos. I’m no expert high-speed photographer–frankly, I’m not even a rank amateur—but dang, I think this stuff looks cool. DPS recently posted a neat gallery of high-speed photographs that are full of big-time wows. It’s amazing to me that this kind of photography, which 50 years... Read more

Correcting White Balance For Multiple Light Sources

I just did a shoot where the color balance was way wacky. First of all, it was dark as night in the room I was shooting. It was mostly low-level tungsten illumination, but there was an occasional and changing fill from an ever-shifting digital projector. The color temperatures combined to make a soup of mixed up colors. I wish I’d known this tip from Digital Photography School about tweaking white balance in Lightroom when working with multiple color temperatures in a single scene. Peter West Carey explains the predicament in a much more common situation—when daylight from windows is mixing with illumination from tungsten or fluorescent bulbs indoors. Peter’s solution is pretty simple, when you think about it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. Read all about it at DPS, and the next time you’re faced with a too-blue window or an overly-warm interior, put this custom color balance advice to work for you.

http://www.digital-photography-school.com/dealing-with-two-light-sources-in-photoshop-lightroom

I just did a shoot where the color balance was way wacky. First of all, it was dark as night in the room I was shooting. It was mostly low-level tungsten illumination, but there was an occasional and changing fill from an ever-shifting digital projector. The color temperatures combined to make a soup of mixed up colors. I wish I’d known this... Read more

More Ways To Modify Handheld Strobes

I have to admit, sometimes the great ideas that come from the Strobist web site make me a little embarrassed. The problem is, they can be so simple and so brilliant that they make you wonder: "Why didn’t I think of that?" Here’s such a case, in the form of a "hack" to use studio strobe honeycomb grids—which focus light to narrowly send it in only one direction rather than scattered all around the room—with small hot-shoe portable flashes. The trick? Use a rubber band or a small elastic cord to connect the big ol’ grid to that little bitty flash. The principle works just the same, even if the flash isn’t using the entire surface of the grid. All you want is to make sure light is only traveling in a single direction. It’s a great fix, either way, and definitely worth a look. Find it over at strobist.com.

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2011/01/hack-your-grid-ii.html

I have to admit, sometimes the great ideas that come from the Strobist web site make me a little embarrassed. The problem is, they can be so simple and so brilliant that they make you wonder: "Why didn’t I think of that?" Here’s such a case, in the form of a "hack" to use studio strobe honeycomb grids—which focus... Read more

The Human Planet

The BBC and The Discovery Channel have a tradition, in recent years, of producing really impressively beautiful television programs about the earth, its flora and fauna, and now the people who inhabit the big blue ball. They’ve created what looks to be another great project with the new series Human Planet, which debuted in January on BBC One in the U.K. British readers are no doubt familiar with the show by this point, but we Yankees haven’t yet had the privilege. One must assume that the show will air on Discovery sooner rather than later. Until then, we’ll have to be held over with this trailer on YouTube, and by visiting the Human Planet web site. The visual journalism employed by these programs is always top-notch and inspiring. But this time, interestingly enough, the program is the first joint BBC/Discovery series in which a still photographer, photojournalist Timothy Allen, has accompanied production crews in order to provide photographs to illustrate future books produced in conjunction with the series. To see more of Mr. Allen’s work from the project, visit his web site at humanplanet.com, then head over to the BBC’s Human Planet web site for more.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HiUMlOz4UQ
http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/humanplanetexplorer

The BBC and The Discovery Channel have a tradition, in recent years, of producing really impressively beautiful television programs about the earth, its flora and fauna, and now the people who inhabit the big blue ball. They’ve created what looks to be another great project with the new series Human Planet, which debuted in January on BBC One... Read more