Isabella Vacchi’s Monochromatic Food Photography
Monday, August 25, 2014
I've been thinking about the beautiful monochromatic food photographs of Isabella Vacchi ever since I first saw them. A commercial photographer who specializes in still life, Vacchi seems to have a meticulous passion, and a real natural knack, for color combinations and palettes. Many of her images come with their own color palette swatches, as evidenced by many of the images on her web site. But it's this series of meticulously arranged monochromatic still life images that makes me gasp and smile at the same time. Vacchi is a very talented photographer with a strong sense of design, and the simplicity of her idea, as well as the light touch with her lighting and compositions, has really inspired me to want to make some meaningful still life photographs of my own.
Kim Kardashian, Published Photographer
Friday, August 22, 2014
It's not everyday I find fodder for this blog via US Weekly, but it turns out that there's about to be some crossover between the worlds of photography and celebrity gossip. Kim Kardashian, who is most famous for simply being famous, is about to publish a photography book. Will it be studied black and white landscapes she's made during her many hours of free time, or perhaps thought provoking portraits of the people she encounters while traveling the world? Well, not quite. When she was on vacation in Thailand earlier this year, Kardashian made more than 1,200 portraits. Self portraits, actually. Selfies. Made with her phone. Rizzoli Publishing is going to release a book of her selfies, called "Selfish," early next year. Further proof that, these days, everybody's a photographer. Only time will tell if she's a good one. Read all about it at http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/kim-kardashian-set-to-release-selfies-book-in-2015-201488.
Ultraviolet Photography Is Fighting Skin Cancer
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, and melanoma, a type of skin cancer, is one of the deadliest. In an effort to help convince more of us to use sunscreen in order to prevent cancer and keep our skin healthy, Thomas Leveritt has produced a really interesting video of people applying sunscreen to their faces. What makes it so special is that Mr. Leveritt has employed ultraviolet videography—through a process that he has not been particularly quick to explain on his Twitter or YouTube feeds, but which presumably involves removing the IR/UV filter from a DSLR sensor and applying some form of UV filter in front of the lens—to show us not only how damaged our skin usually is already, but how it reacts when sunscreen is applied. Ultraviolet light (which does all the damage to our skin during exposure to the sun) doesn't pass through glasses and they, in turn, turn black on the ultraviolet camera. UV light doesn't pass through sunscreen either, and so it also turns black on the video and elicits some powerful reactions. It's a tremendous use of photographic tools for a good cause and I'm sure it's going to have an impact. Whether you're interested in the science of sunscreen and our skin or just the neat photography, take a look at the video via Upworthy at http://www.upworthy.com/what-happens-to-your-face-when-you-wear-sunscreen-might-shock-you-it-did-for-these-people.
Confessions Of A Color Blind Photographer
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
As someone with, ahem, less than perfect color vision, it was interesting for me to peruse Aaron Lavinsky's "Confessions of a Color Blind Photographer" on Petapixel the other day. He explains the problems he has, which I share, when it comes to quantifying colors. That can be a real challenge in this digital world. He says what I, and many others, tend to say as well about our color vision deficiency: it's not that I don't see color, it's that I can't quite name that color. I know what I like, and what I think looks good, but if you ask me to hand you an orange gel, I'm going to cheat and look at the code printed along the edge. It's is an entertaining and enlightening read at http://petapixel.com/2014/08/11/confessions-colorblind-photographer/.
National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Winners
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
National Geographic Traveler held a photography contest and just announced the winners. First Place is a photo that has now become my desktop background: Independence Day, by Marko Korsec. The image of an imposing supercell storm cloud forming over the plains of eastern Colorado is a stunner that surely deserves its grand champion status. To be clear, I didn't illicitly download the image for my desktop. On many images in the winners gallery the option is presented for downloading the images as wallpaper for computers, tablets and smartphones. The gallery is definitely worth a look, as there are many other tremendous images from around the world as well. It's the kind of gallery that will make you want to pick up a camera and set off on your own travel adventure. What more can you ask of a great group of travel photographs, but to inspire you to travel? See them all at http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2014/entries/gallery/winners-winners/.
Photography Is Not A Crime
Monday, August 18, 2014
If you're in a public place and you're not interfering with traffic, or trespassing, or impeding the work of a police officer, or breaking any other law, it's legal for you to take pictures. As a reminder to its officers, the New York Police Department just sent out a memo stating, "Members of the public are legally allowed to record police interactions. Intentional interference such as blocking or obstructing cameras or ordering the person to cease constitutes censorship and also violates the First Amendment." Stories of intimidation and arrest of journalists and photographers made headlines last week, and they serve as another reminder of how many of us, from photographers to police, are unclear of our constitutional rights. It's up to photographers to know their rights and to obey all lawful requests from the police without hesitation. It's equally important that the police ensure that their requests are lawful, given that nothing less than the first amendment is called into question every time a law abiding photographer is asked to stop what they're doing. Kudos to the NYPD for issuing the reminder, and here's to hoping there will be less need for them in the future.
Learning About Photography With B&H’s Explora
Friday, August 15, 2014
Online photo retailer B&H has its own web-based photography guide called Explora. Found prominently linked on the retailer's home page, Explora has some interesting articles and tips about a variety of photography and video topics. For the last few weeks, Explora has been doing a travel series of articles on everything from how to photograph with a mirrorless camera system to creating 360-degree panorama photographs and even the top ten rules for better travel photography. During this busy travel season, the series makes for an interesting and informative read, and it includes some downright beautiful images too. Some of my favorites are the gorgeous and imposing thunderstorm images from Mike Mezeul in his article about summer storm photography. Check out the travel series, and stick around to explore Explora, at http://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/explora/p/travel-series.
Guy Cleans Camera By Submerging It In Soapy Water
Thursday, August 14, 2014
There's an oddly engaging video on YouTube where some guy demonstrates how to clean the sensor on his Canon EOS 5D Mark 2, along with a 24-105mm lens, using a bowl of water, soap and a garden hose. Even though you know he's not seriously suggesting that this is the best way to clean your camera sensor (and, let me be crystal clear, this is NOT a good way to clean your camera sensor) it's still jarring to watch a man submerge his DSLR into a bowl of water. The air bubbles that escape, signaling that the water is getting into every last nook and cranny, are particularly painful. Still, when it came time to rinse the thing and he stuck a garden hose into the camera body and squeezed the trigger, I gasped aloud. It's painful to see such good gear get treated this way. I have to assume Ioannis Pavlis, the YouTuber who uploaded the video, must have already broken his camera and lens and just decided to have some fun with it. But still, it's like watching a traffic collision in slow motion: you can't look away, even though it's terrifying. Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrdkFXsr5Us.