The sun gets double-crossed

I’m a sucker for the awesome astral photographs. It makes little sense, because I’m not an expert astronomer or even an avid space photography fan. But when I see amazing, truly "out of this world" photographs, I can’t help but stare at them for minutes at a time. In these digital pages I’ve previously published a similar sun photo, one with the space shuttle transiting between the earth and sun and silhouetted beautifully against the glowing star. This one, though, this is something really unique. It’s got sunspots, a space station, and a partial solar eclipse, all captured in one instant on the same sheet of film. Actually, it was probably shot digitally. Either way, what a great shot by Belgian astral photographer Thierry Legault that you have to check out.

http://photoblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/01/04/5765312-sun-gets-double-crossed

Photograph © Thierry Legault

I’m a sucker for the awesome astral photographs. It makes little sense, because I’m not an expert astronomer or even an avid space photography fan. But when I see amazing, truly "out of this world" photographs, I can’t help but stare at them for minutes at a time. In these digital pages I’ve previously published a... Read more

Inspiration for your photographic year

Looking for a little bit of photographic inspiration? Try this suggestion from DPS. It’s a list of weekly themes for photographers who are trying to take a picture a day for a whole year. This list will offer a bit of guidance and make those 365 pictures seem a whole lot less daunting. After all, at most you have to come up with seven shots that meet the weekly theme. Even if you’re not trying a year-long photo project, this list can still be great inspiration. I’m a big believer in self-assignments. Shoot more to get much better, and giving yourself assignments is a great way to do that. Consider these 52 guidelines like a weekly assignment and get out there and shoot. By this time next year you’ll thank me, I’m sure.

http://www.digital-photography-school.com/53-weekly-themes-for-your-2011-project-36

Looking for a little bit of photographic inspiration? Try this suggestion from DPS. It’s a list of weekly themes for photographers who are trying to take a picture a day for a whole year. This list will offer a bit of guidance and make those 365 pictures seem a whole lot less daunting. After all, at most you have to come up with seven shots... Read more

New Dynalite Strobes

I use Dynalite strobes in my location lighting package, and I generally love them. I replaced a set of older-than-me Speedotrons (which I still use in-studio) because they also weighed more than me and that made traveling with strobes quite tricky. But the Dynalites, as anyone who’s ever shot with them knows, are tiny. I’m talking like six pounds for a 1000ws pack smaller than a breadbox. I can get four heads and two packs in a single bag that’s not much bigger than a carry-on. So you can imagine my excitement when I read this report from Rob Galbraith about a new lineup of strobe packs from Dynalite. They’ve increased the top end from 1000 watt seconds to 1600ws, and shrunk the 500ws and 1000ws models, the previous standards, to 400ws and 800ws respectively. Apparently Dynalite has made them more reliable with faster flash durations, quicker recycling and an even smaller form factor than before. Guess I’ll have to add them to my ever-growing wishlist.

http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/content_page.asp?cid=7-11133-11146

I use Dynalite strobes in my location lighting package, and I generally love them. I replaced a set of older-than-me Speedotrons (which I still use in-studio) because they also weighed more than me and that made traveling with strobes quite tricky. But the Dynalites, as anyone who’s ever shot with them knows, are tiny. I’m talking like... Read more
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Photography Isn’t About Cameras

In case you were thinking photography is all about the equipment, it’s not. Photography is about cameras the way dinner is about forks. As an example, take a look at this video that has nothing to do with photography. It’s from a talented animator who has used a very rudimentary tool, free Google docs cloud software, to create an amazing piece of art. If he can make this magic with a simple, free bit of software that wasn’t even intended for this, then you can do amazing things with whatever camera you currently own. Check it out, and try not to be blown away by the unbelievable creativity on display.

http://www.pixiq.com/article/its-never-about-the-equipment

In case you were thinking photography is all about the equipment, it’s not. Photography is about cameras the way dinner is about forks. As an example, take a look at this video that has nothing to do with photography. It’s from a talented animator who has used a very rudimentary tool, free Google docs cloud software, to create an amazing... Read more

Joyce Tenneson’s View

I was just yesterday gazing at a favorite photograph of mine, made by Joyce Tenneson close to 20 years ago, and wondering what she was up to these days. Then this crossed my desk http://www.joycetenneson.com/view/letter.php and I got my answer. She’s working on the View Project. The View is a book she’s curating, filled with photographs of places that hold deep meaning for the photographers who submit the work. About it she writes, ìI have been interested in what it is that touches us–and it is something different for each individual–when we are somehow in the presence of a view that strikes us with awe. My thought is to ask photographers around the world to contribute a photograph of a particular place–for example, the desert, mountains, ocean, reflections, gardens, etc, etc–that has moved them in an indelible and deep fashion." Not just nice views, though, Joyce really wants to see the places that move you. Visit her web site and read all about the project, and if you’ve got an ideal image, send it in. 

Photo © Joyce Tenneson

I was just yesterday gazing at a favorite photograph of mine, made by Joyce Tenneson close to 20 years ago, and wondering what she was up to these days. Then this crossed my desk http://www.joycetenneson.com/view/letter.php and I got my answer. She’s working on the View Project. The View is a book she’s curating, filled with photographs... Read more

Make Skies Ultra-Blue

Balancing strobe exposures with ambient light is one of my favorite photographic techniques. It’s also the one that I think is most indicative of a robust understanding of photographic lighting. If you can control strobe and ambient independently in an image, I think you can do anything. That belief tends to be echoed at the Strobist blog, where David Hobby teaches people how to make amazing lighting with simple hand-held strobes. His most recent amazing lighting post showcases a simple technique for creating very deep blue skies when illuminating a subject with a flash. The trick? Apply a Rosco Plusgreen or orange gel to the strobe, balance for that light (with fluorescent or tungsten presets), and watch the ambient shift to ultra-blue while the subject remains neutrally balanced. Great tip, easy to apply, powerful effect. What more could you ask for?

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2010/12/rosco-plusgreen-magic-sunset-filter.html

Photo © David Hobby

Balancing strobe exposures with ambient light is one of my favorite photographic techniques. It’s also the one that I think is most indicative of a robust understanding of photographic lighting. If you can control strobe and ambient independently in an image, I think you can do anything. That belief tends to be echoed at the Strobist blog, where... Read more

The Year’s Best Sports Photography

Rob Galbraith, who’s always great at pointing out wonderful collections of top-notch photography, has recently directed his readers to three awesome "best of the year" galleries. These aren’t your average year-end photojournalism galleries, though: they each feature the best of sports photography from 2010 from the Denver Post, Sports Illustrated, and the New York Times Lens blog. Together they’re like a self-contained class in how to make great sports photographs. 

http://blogs.denverpost.com/captured/2010/12/21/the-game-2010-sports-photos-of-the-year/2595/
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/multimedia/photo_gallery/1012/pictures-of-the-year.1/content.1.html
http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/22/memorable-moments-of-2010-sports/

Rob Galbraith, who’s always great at pointing out wonderful collections of top-notch photography, has recently directed his readers to three awesome "best of the year" galleries. These aren’t your average year-end photojournalism galleries, though: they each feature the best of sports photography from 2010 from the Denver Post,... Read more

Every National Park on the iPad

Are you a National Parks nut? Or maybe just a fan of fantastic landscape photography? Either way, you should consider shelling out five bucks for Fotopedia’s National Parks app for iPad and iPhone. It’s a collection of 3000 amazing images by photographer Quang-Tuan Luong made over the course of 10 years shooting in each of the United States’ National Parks. More than just pretty pictures though, photographers can use the app as a tool to help plan out photo treks and vantage points for their own shots. Check it out at Fotopedia.com or download it from the Apple app store.  

Are you a National Parks nut? Or maybe just a fan of fantastic landscape photography? Either way, you should consider shelling out five bucks for Fotopedia’s National Parks app for iPad and iPhone. It’s a collection of 3000 amazing images by photographer Quang-Tuan Luong made over the course of 10 years shooting in each of the United States’... Read more

Speed up your zoom’s autofocus

You know how some zoom lenses have a switch on the side that allows you to adjust the AF to the full range, or just a part of the possible zoom range (say, closer than a certain distance or farther than that point)? Well, that switch comes in really handy when you want to autofocus quickly. Fast autofocus, like when you’re shooting sports or wildlife, is the perfect time to flip that switch to the appropriate distance. It will keep the AF from searching near for focus when the subject is far away, and it will keep the lens from searching for far focus when the subject is up close. It’s a great way to keep from missing the shot when shooting fast moving subjects and/or in low light. Read about this practical advice, including a few other ways to improve your autofocus, at the Photonaturalist blog.

http://photonaturalist.net/quick-tip-for-getting-a-faster-autofocus/

You know how some zoom lenses have a switch on the side that allows you to adjust the AF to the full range, or just a part of the possible zoom range (say, closer than a certain distance or farther than that point)? Well, that switch comes in really handy when you want to autofocus quickly. Fast autofocus, like when you’re shooting sports or... Read more

Nikon Aspire Sweepstakes

Nikon just kicked off the Nikon Aspire Sweepstakes, which offers "aspiring" photographers the opportunity to win a photo excursion with National Geographic photographer Annie Griffiths, as well as a D7000 D-SLR and a tutorial from a Nikon product specialist. You can enter every day for the next month or so, and the winner will be announced in February. Until then, you can also check out Ms. Griffiths’ great travel and documentary work at her web site, http://www.anniegriffithsbelt.com

www.nationalgeographic.com/nikonaspire

Nikon just kicked off the Nikon Aspire Sweepstakes, which offers "aspiring" photographers the opportunity to win a photo excursion with National Geographic photographer Annie Griffiths, as well as a D7000 D-SLR and a tutorial from a Nikon product specialist. You can enter every day for the next month or so, and the winner will be announced... Read more