NPR On Astrophotography

NPR recently did a great story on its Picture Show blog about astrophotography. Unlike most other types of photographic pursuits, astrophotographers generally don’t wield cameras, and they’re also not looking through the optics of a telescope with the naked eye. Read about the process, and see a really nice gallery of astro images from a variety of sources, at NPR.org.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2011/01/22/133120650/atrophotography

NPR recently did a great story on its Picture Show blog about astrophotography. Unlike most other types of photographic pursuits, astrophotographers generally don’t wield cameras, and they’re also not looking through the optics of a telescope with the naked eye. Read about the process, and see a really nice gallery of astro images from... Read more

Easy Color Management In Photoshop

A few weeks back I mentioned how John Paul Caponigro has a wonderful knack for explaining fairly complex post-processing issues in an easy and approachable way. He’s gone and proved me right again with a post I loved, all about navigating the Epson printer driver from within Photoshop. Mr. Caponigro explains that you’ve got three basic approaches to selecting proper printing profiles: let Photoshop manage colors, let the printer manage colors, or let the printer manage a black & white output. It all boils down to making sure you only choose one profile in one place—either the software or the printer. This followed an earlier post on avoiding double profiles, which led me to consider the topic again in the first place. Most printing problems, at least for photographers, come from mistakenly managing color twice. Never fear, Mr. Caponigro is here to help keep you and your prints from harm.

http://www.johnpaulcaponigro.com/blog/?p=4820
http://www.johnpaulcaponigro.com/blog/?p=4842

A few weeks back I mentioned how John Paul Caponigro has a wonderful knack for explaining fairly complex post-processing issues in an easy and approachable way. He’s gone and proved me right again with a post I loved, all about navigating the Epson printer driver from within Photoshop. Mr. Caponigro explains that you’ve got three basic... Read more

Steve McCurry Discusses His Work

I’ve long been a fan of Steve McCurry’s thoughtful photojournalism, but ever since I interviewed him last year I’ve found myself really convinced of his genius. His work is, I think, unparalleled in the modern era. A little time spent with his books makes a strong case in support of this opinion. I recommend that readers interested in McCurry, or documentary photography in general, take a look at the video on New Media Photographer in which he speaks about his process and his pictures. He’s modest enough to rebuff words like "master" and "best ever" when you’re speaking to him, but he’s also so adept at explaining his work and his process that the message clearly comes through. I know it does in this video, as well.

http://www.newmediaphotographer.com/2011/01/steve-mccurry-reflections-on-his-photography

I’ve long been a fan of Steve McCurry’s thoughtful photojournalism, but ever since I interviewed him last year I’ve found myself really convinced of his genius. His work is, I think, unparalleled in the modern era. A little time spent with his books makes a strong case in support of this opinion. I recommend that readers interested... Read more
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Lighting In Layers

David Hobby, the lighting genius behind the Strobist blog, is having a busy time of late. First he announced an upcoming national tour with fellow hot-shoe-guru Joe McNally, and now he’s announced an interesting video tutorial series called "Lighting In Layers." The DVD box set is due next month, and it’s particularly appealing to me because of the title. It’s the way I’ve always found most success with studio and location lighting: light in layers. In fact, I don’t always start my lighting with the key light. Sometimes it’s the background light, or the hair light, or a kicker, or any other important source in the scene. The point is, lighting in layers has always allowed me to understand exactly what each light is doing, and it’s given me great control over the subtleties of each light in the scene. I’m sure this set has much more going for it than a great title (and my personal favorite approach to lighting) so read all about it on the Strobist blog and check it out when it’s released in March.

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2011/01/introducing-strobist-lighting-in-layers.html

David Hobby, the lighting genius behind the Strobist blog, is having a busy time of late. First he announced an upcoming national tour with fellow hot-shoe-guru Joe McNally, and now he’s announced an interesting video tutorial series called "Lighting In Layers." The DVD box set is due next month, and it’s particularly appealing... Read more

The Ideal Photography Career

I recently began teaching a college-level photography class. One of my responsibilities, along with teaching the technical aspects of lighting and composition, is to prepare the students for a career in photography. Not all of them are planning to become commercial photographers, but they’re all interested in knowing what that might entail. These days, photography careers are different than they were just a few years ago. There’s a lot of competition, and a lot of great work out there. That’s great for photography, but it makes it more difficult to excel in a crowded field. So what’s the lesson? In my opinion, the way to succeed is to do really great work. But more than that, if you want to be happy in your photography career, if you want to carve out your ideal place, you’ve got to do work that you want to do—not just the work people will pay you to do. I made a little Venn diagram to illustrate this point in class. Find what you want, find what you can get paid for, and seek work in the place where they overlap. This makes for an ideal photography career.

I recently began teaching a college-level photography class. One of my responsibilities, along with teaching the technical aspects of lighting and composition, is to prepare the students for a career in photography. Not all of them are planning to become commercial photographers, but they’re all interested in knowing what that might entail.... Read more

McDonald’s Gigapixel FanCam

At the football game in Pittsburgh two weeks ago (the one in which the Steelers upended the Jets in order to make it to this weekend’s Superbowl) fans were treated to their own Gigapixel photography experience courtesy of McDonald’s. Photographed from the 50-yard-line, the 360-degree Gigapixel image lets viewers zoom in close to spot friends on sidelines and in the stands, and folks who were at the game can even tag themselves in the browser. Hopefully we’ll be treated to a similar shot this weekend, but if not, and even if you don’t know anybody in Pittsburgh (or if you’re a Jets fan) it can still be fun to zoom in and look around the stadium from a perspective we don’t often get to see.

http://www.steelers.com/gigapixelfancam/230111

At the football game in Pittsburgh two weeks ago (the one in which the Steelers upended the Jets in order to make it to this weekend’s Superbowl) fans were treated to their own Gigapixel photography experience courtesy of McDonald’s. Photographed from the 50-yard-line, the 360-degree Gigapixel image lets viewers zoom in close to spot friends... Read more

Photography Is Legal Again

It just got more legal to photograph in public spaces around important government buildings and landmarks. Thanks to efforts from the New York Civil Liberties Union, the U.S. government last week made it once again officially A-okay to photograph any and all exteriors of federal buildings viewed from public spaces. The Hyperallergic blog has a link to the documents, and Chase Jarvis suggests printing them out to help inform any government officials who haven’t yet been brought up to speed. Chase also offers a great example of how problematic the old way was; he wasn’t photographing a federal building, but because his streetscape shoot was close to a federal building he was still shut down by armed officers. And if you want to read about governments that really don’t like photography, check out the Time interview with photographer Platon who describes evading Burmese secret police in order to make a simple portrait.

http://hyperallergic.com/17621/us-photogs-official-free-to-photograph-public-space-federal-buildings/
http://blog.chasejarvis.com/blog/2011/01/avoid-being-hassled-by-the-cops-while-shooting-pictures/
http://www.time.com/time/video/player/0,32068,731023907001_2040082,00.html

It just got more legal to photograph in public spaces around important government buildings and landmarks. Thanks to efforts from the New York Civil Liberties Union, the U.S. government last week made it once again officially A-okay to photograph any and all exteriors of federal buildings viewed from public spaces. The Hyperallergic blog has a link... Read more

The Next Big Camera Thing?

John Paul Caponigro first alerted me to a cool new concept camera debuted at the CES show a few weeks ago. It’s called a WVIL ("weevil") which stands for Wireless Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens, and it’s a pretty amazing thing. Turns out it’s the epitome of a concept—some designers at a company called Artefact built it as a hypothetical look a few years into the future of the camera. More specifically, it’s what a camera phone might look like if it were made especially useful for photographers. What’s so special? Imagine a 32-megapixel iPhone with an interchangeable lens stuck to it. The sensor and all the camera "guts" are contained in the lens, so the viewfinder and touchscreen controls are all that’s required in the phone. It’s a pretty great theoretical approach to making more powerful cameras out of our increasingly compact communication devices. Watch the video and check the Artefact site to see the concept for yourself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgBl0ejQ8c0
http://www.artefactgroup.com/#/content/camera-futura-3/

John Paul Caponigro first alerted me to a cool new concept camera debuted at the CES show a few weeks ago. It’s called a WVIL ("weevil") which stands for Wireless Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens, and it’s a pretty amazing thing. Turns out it’s the epitome of a concept—some designers at a company called Artefact built... Read more

Is This CF Card Empty Or Full?

How do you know which of your batteries are charged and which ones are empty? How can you tell which CF cards you’ve already shot, and which ones are ready to use? What methods do you use to distinguish spent cards and batteries from fresh ones? It’s actually an important consideration, because the last thing you want is to accidentally shoot over images on your CF card, or rely on an almost empty battery to get you through your day. My method is simple: unused CF cards go in my right front pocket, and used cards go in the front left. If I won’t be able to download immediately, I put full cards in my wallet so they’re never just sitting abandoned somewhere—that’s the first step toward accidentally erasing. When it comes to batteries, though, I have no good plan in place. Maybe I should check out this DIY Photography post on distinguishing ready-to-go equipment from spent supplies. You should do it too if you haven’t figured this out already for yourself.

http://www.diyphotography.net/yes-but-is-it-ready

How do you know which of your batteries are charged and which ones are empty? How can you tell which CF cards you’ve already shot, and which ones are ready to use? What methods do you use to distinguish spent cards and batteries from fresh ones? It’s actually an important consideration, because the last thing you want is to accidentally... Read more

Lighting School With Blair Bunting

Since I first saw Blair Bunting’s great portrait work last year I’ve been a big fan. The kid’s got skills. Lots and lots of skills. So it should be no surprise that he’s partnered with Photoflex to provide lighting advice via Photoflex Lighting School. Blair will be providing insights via the web to help you improve your own people lighting skills, and his first one is already up. It’s a great workaround for those who don’t want to shell out gobs of cash for a ringlight (which isn’t exactly as versatile as a softbox). He uses a small Octodome softbox instead, and the results are great. Check it out at Photoflex Lighting School.

http://www.photoflexlightingschool.com/Lighting_Lessons/Basic_Lighting/Portrait_Indoor/Ring_Flash_Effects_with_the_OctoDome__extra_small/index.html

Since I first saw Blair Bunting’s great portrait work last year I’ve been a big fan. The kid’s got skills. Lots and lots of skills. So it should be no surprise that he’s partnered with Photoflex to provide lighting advice via Photoflex Lighting School. Blair will be providing insights via the web to help you improve your own... Read more