A Dirt Cheap Macro Lighting Fix
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
I love D.I.Y. photo projects, so when I see something this simple and smart, I'm excited to give it a try. This one is courtesy of the education site Lynda.com and author Joseph Linaschke, who suggests a fix for macro photography lighting. Anyone who's ever tried using on-camera flash for a closeup macro photograph has probably produced a badly overexposed image with ugly lighting. But Linaschke's fix means you'll get beautifully diffused lighting on every closeup, whether you're working with on-camera flash or bright sun. I don't want to give away the secret completely, but let's just say it involves a cheap, translucent plastic drinking cup. The picture tells a lot, but to find out exactly how to put this easy trick to work, and to sign up for macro photography tutorials, click below to visit Lynda.com.
The Forest Service Is Changing Photography Permit Requirements
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
The internet has been abuzz for a month now thanks to the U.S. Forest Service tightening its restrictions on photographers taking pictures on federal wild lands. The Forest Service was to begin enforcing regulations that have been on the books for two years stating that anyone conducting any commercial activity on federally managed wild lands—such as photography or video recording—must submit an application and pay a permit fee of up to $1,500. Photojournalists and news media, in particular, were concerned that the restrictions would make it impossible for them to work on federal lands, and even amateur photographers were concerned that the incredibly restrictive requirements could cause them steep fines or worse. Thankfully, we can all relax a little bit, according to the chief of the U.S. Forest Service, Tom Tidwell, who told the Washington Post that the agency is responding to the massive outcry and modifying its plans. It will also be clarifying the language in the regulations to ensure that individuals—even working photographers—will be exempt from any permit fee. The permits are designed to apply only to large scale productions—like photographers shooting ad campaigns and car commercials. And frankly, those productions should be subjected to fees as they have a large footprint and present more risks and challenges everywhere they go. For more on the statute and its revisions, read Tidwell's comments in the Washington Post article below.
FAA Loosens Drone Photography Regulations
Monday, October 6, 2014
It seems like drones are everywhere these days. You know, those little remote controlled quadcopters your well-off neighbor has? Well, they're perfect for aerial photography and videography too. The only problem is the FAA has banned drones (more accurately, unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs) for everything but personal use—meaning no commercial photographers or movie makers can use them. Well now there's a glimmer of good news on that front, as the FAA has recently eliminated the prohibition for a select group of motion picture production companies. These six companies—which already specialize in aerial photography and videography—petitioned the FAA with assistance from the Motion Picture Association of America. The MPAA worked with these organizations to develop flight manuals and ensure a level of safety that meets or exceeds current requirements for manned aerial vehicles. Ultimately this is at least a light at the end of the tunnel for photographers and videographers who want to put UAVs to work on their projects. Read more at the FAA web site below.
Pictured is the Phantom 2 Vision, a popular UAV, available from DJI.com.
Amazing Mountaineering Photographs
Friday, October 3, 2014
It's my opinion that the best advertising photography transcends its commercial origins to elevate its status to "work of art." It may not be the highest art, but it's art nonetheless. That's the case with a new campaign for Swiss mountaineering manufacturer Mammut, which commissioned photographer Robert Bösch to create a striking photographic campaign featuring dozens of red-clad mountain climbers that contrast vibrantly against a beautifully muted Alpine background. The formations and images are stunning, and all the more compelling knowing that they're done in such a straightforward, old-school manner. These aren't simple Photoshop tricks—they're made simply of creative thinking. And that always impresses me—especially when it's used to turn advertising into art. For a gallery of great images from the campaign, visit the first link below. Then, via the second, go to Petapixel for some great behind-the-scenes videos that illuminate the making of the work.
Howard Schatz’s Life In Pictures
Thursday, October 2, 2014
For 25 years, Howard Schatz has been an incredibly prolific photographer. I've been fortunate to interview him several times as we've profiled the man and his newest works in Digital Photo Pro magazine. You may know him as the photographer of beautiful black and white nudes of pregnant women ("With Child," 2011) or the photographer who studies the faces of the most famous actors in the world ("Caught In The Act", 2013). Maybe you know his work from the athletes he's photographed, or the redheads, or the underwater dancers, or any number of subjects that have each made up an individual project—32 of them in total—over the course of Schatz's 25-year career. Well as I write this, Schatz is on press with his newest book, a two-volume retrospective boxed set called, appropriately, "Schatz Images: 25 Years." Due on store shelves in early 2015, the set amounts to 832 pages and more than 1,000 photographs, but for collectors ordering the limited edition, signed edition prior to January 1 there is an early-bird discount of 30% off the retail price of $500. To look inside the beautiful books, and to pre-order the set, visit http://schatzimages25years-glitterati.com/
Studying Spielberg In Black And White
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Want to go to film school in about an hour and a half? Then take a look at what Steven Soderbergh has done to one of Steven Spielberg's beloved films. Via his blog, Soderbergh has turned the 1981 classic movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark" into a black and white silent film. Why? Because he wants to make an important point about its visual storytelling: Spielberg was incredibly effective at coordinating all of the visual elements in any given scene—including the actors and their movements, the locations, the sets, the props and even the editing choices that ultimately determine the pacing of the whole film, and which start with simple choices on every shot. It seems to me that it illustrates very clearly not only how to tell a story in pictures, but how to keep your audience captivated by the way you frame every single shot. Whether you're a budding moviemaker or a still photographer wanting to make better pictures, it's worth watching. Check it out at http://extension765.com/sdr/18-raiders
The Evolution Of iPhone Image Quality
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Bending issues aside, the new iPhones seem to be causing quite a stir. Are you considering upgrading your current phone to one of the new iPhone 6 models? If so, here's a test you should check out before you do. It's a visual comparison of the image quality from all of the iPhones, going all the way back to the first one. You can tell instantly that the camera started to get really good after the 4S model, and sure enough the iPhone 6's results show increased fidelity at even the smallest details in the images, as well as better skin tones in portraits and some other subtle but notable improvements. The megapixels are virtually unchanged—still 8 megapixels in the new phones—but as the results show, there's more to image quality than megapixels. (The only notable differences in technology between the two new models is the optical image stabilization built in only to the iPhone 6 Plus.) Read all about the particulars in Lisa Bettany's iPhone camera test at http://snapsnapsnap.photos/how-does-the-iphone-6-camera-compare-to-previous-iphone-cameras.
Malkovich Remakes Iconic Portraits
Monday, September 29, 2014
In an effort to, apparently, just blow everyone's mind, John Malkovich has recreated, in collaboration with photographer Sandro Miller, a whole bunch of iconic twentieth century portrait photographs. These include Malkovich standing in for Dorothea Lange's iconic Migrant Mother," Malkovich as Che Guevara, Malkovich as Andy Warhol, and, my personal favorite, Malkovich as the identical twins made famous in a photograph by Diane Arbus. The project, called "Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters," is a bit of lighthearted fun, as well as some serious heavy-hitting, high-quality photography. Ultimately it's a fun homage to some of the most phenomenal portraits in history. To see more, check out the article at petapixel.com.