Aperture Photography Workshops
Thursday, September 11, 2014
The noted photography foundation Aperture was formed 60 years ago by artists and photographers coming together to learn in collaboration. The first editor of Aperture magazine was master photographer Minor White, known to be a tremendous teacher of photography. It's in this fundamental tradition of education that Aperture's workshop program continues today. Photography workshops at Aperture's Manhattan offices are an ideal way for both amateurs and professionals to come together with leading experts in the art of photography and its associated fields, to learn about everything from cultivating artistic vision to publishing photo books and studying the history of the medium. This fall's workshop schedule includes W.M. Hunt on looking at and analyzing photographs, Elinor Carucci on developing style by delving deeper into emotion and nuance, and Gail Halaban on the photography of place—the place in this workshop being, specifically, New York city. To learn more about these and Aperture's many thought provoking workshops, visit the foundation's web site at aperture.org.
A Brand New Antique Lens
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Are you feeling old timey? Or perhaps you're interested in creating portraits with a unique, peculiar bokeh. Either way, you might be intrigued—as I am—with the new old Petzval Lens. It's based on a 175-year-old lens design, but it's no old lens. It's manufactured from brand new precision parts, although it does have that old time look and feel. The bokeh pattern is interesting, almost a swirl, and the look of the lens is definitely going to grab some attention too. Also notable is the fact that you change the aperture by inserting a mask directly into the lens barrel. The only problem with it that I see is the price tag. It's $600, which is a serious chunk of change, in my opinion, for what essentially amounts to a one-trick pony. It may very well be a great all-around lens, but the peculiarities of the Petzval make it nice for portraits, but maybe not so nice for a variety of other uses. Maybe I'm selling it short; I just know that I'd love to have one. Read more about this new lens and its old design at the Photojojo store.
Are DSLRs Obsolete?
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
A friend of mine sent me this link just the other day. It's an article from the DIY Photography blog by Martin Gillman, all about why DSLR cameras have become "obsolete in today's world." Obsolete might be a little strong, but I see where the author is coming from. The SLR format, while once the only legitimate small format for "serious" photographers (meaning, those who didn't use medium or large format only used 35mm, because anything else was seen as unserious) has been challenged. These days, just because a camera is compact doesn't mean it's not a serious photographer's tool. To that end, I agree with the premise that DSLRs are perhaps a little less important than they were a few years ago, because they don't have an exclusive corner on the market any longer. That said, I don't think in any way they are obsolete. In fact, I think they're taking over for other formats that might soon be considered obsolete—like the aforementioned medium and large format systems. Many of the blog's readers took issue with the idea that DSLRs are anything other than perfect, but I also understand where they're coming from: the cameras are anything but obsolete. It's an interesting discussion that's well worth the read. Check it out at DIYPhotography.net.
Learn Lighting At Westcott U
Monday, September 8, 2014
If you're wondering about the difference between different soft light modifiers, this short video from Joel Grimes at the Westcott U web site might be just what you need. The U is theoretically short for University, meaning this is Westcott's site for learning all about lighting and light modifiers. And, go figure, you can also purchase these soft light modifiers right there at the Westcott web site. Convenient, huh? Whether you're an expert in studio lighting or a newbie who just wants a bit of fill for balancing bright sun, the Westcott U web site is full of great information and helpful how-to videos that can be beneficial for anyone interested in learning about lighting and the many different modifiers available. Start with this video from Mr. Grimes, then stick around to check out the many other videos at westcottu.com.
Can You Legally Use That Photo?
Friday, September 5, 2014
I'm no copyright expert, but I always get a chuckle out of the things people think (or don't think) about copyright law. The fact that we need to explain to people that just because they can find an image online does not mean they are entitled to do whatever they want with it still blows my mind. Equally entertaining, though, are the well intentioned folks who think that if I'm taking a picture you can't take a similar one at the same time or you're infringing upon my copyright. The point is, there's a lot of misinformation and just plain confusion about the particulars of copyright law, and whether or not you're entitled to use a photograph, whether you've found it online or created it yourself. To that end, I present you with this very helpful infographic courtesy of Lifehacker. It breaks down "the terms, laws and ethics" of using copyrighted images, and helps you determine whether you're on a path to appropriate usage, or whether you're likely to find yourself out of bounds. Take a look, via Photocritic.org.
Instagram Introduces Hyperlapse
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Are you interested in learning how to make time lapse videos, but maybe not so interested in the investment of equipment and time that time lapses typically require? Then I might have the perfect solution for you. Instagram, makers of the popular photography app that most likely lives on your smartphone right now, has introduced the Instagram Hyperlapse app, which converts any video into a smooth and stable time-lapse video up to 12 times faster than the original. Here's how it works: open the app and start shooting. How great is that? Image stabilization is applied to the video (via positioning data from the smartphone's gyroscope) so your time-lapse isn't just easy, but effective too. It's currently only available on iPhone, but given its popularity around the Instagram office (it was originally just a technology they were fooling with, but it was so impressive they turned it into an app), it sounds like its destined for Android users sooner rather than later. This DPReview article features a couple of great videos that show how effective the app is, and break down just how impressive the image stabilization technology is.
How To Light A Football Player
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Blair Bunting is a tremendously talented photographer with a knack for dramatic sports portraiture. As such, I like to keep an eye on his wonderful work, so when he published two new posts on his blog about his new Arizona State Football campaign—the client that brought Blair to photographic prominence in the first place—I couldn't help but want to write about it here. You see, Blair's football photography has been impressive from the beginning. But in recent years as his talent has grown and his process has evolved, he's become one of the best in the world at creating hyper real, gritty, mysterious, powerful studio sports portraits. His work is just amazing and I love to study it and analyze exactly how he achieves his unique look. Blair published some new photos made for Arizona State's football team about ten days ago, and then just the other day he did one better: he wrote about exactly how he creates his look with lighting. He even included a lighting diagram to illustrate the placement of lights, their intensities and the modifiers that provide the polished look he's going for. As you can see from the raw image samples he included, Blair's look is rooted in very specific lighting. And if you follow this link to Blair's blog, then stick around and peruse the rest of his web site for inspiration, you can learn exactly how he creates his style and give it a try yourself. Just don't expect your work to look exactly like his. He is, after all, one of the best of the best.
Today Only: Half Off Jay Goodrich Photo Workshops
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
If you've been considering participating in an outdoor photography workshop, today is the perfect day to book one. Specifically, for 24 hours (which started last night at midnight, and which end tonight at 12:00 a.m.) you can book a super-affordable workshop with noted outdoor adventure photographer Jay Goodrich. Jay is offering two options in three-day workshops at a 50% discount. The first trip is in late October in the Great Smoky Mountains, setting off from Asheville, North Carolina, and the second takes place in California's high Sierra. These trips normally sell for $1200, but today only they can be booked for just $597.50. If you're on an even tighter budget, Jay's offering two days of instruction in the Tetons for just $440, setting off in late September to photograph the vibrant fall foliage. Only two spaces remain in this workshop, though, so you've got to act fast. For more on Jay and his work, visit his web site at jaygoodrich.com, or check out his posts on the Outdoor Photographer blog.