Recently in Photography Category

Fun time-lapse video

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25 hours compressed into three minutes. The subject? A cheap plastic film camera suspended over some acetone - the fumes melt the plastic:

From the folks at Amazing Timelapse

Been shooting Nikon cameras ever since high school. I know there are other brands (and I actually own some of them - the Canon PowerShot G series is a nice small point and shoot) but for "real" photography, I always choose Nikon. It does not hurt that I have a 40+ year accumulation of lenses and optical adapters to play with.

Here is the Nikon website: Nikon 100th Anniversary - a lot of history there. Some fun videos too.

Above Bellingham

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Gorgeous drone footage from Bellingham photographer Kjell Redal:

From his website:

The city of subdued excitement. Just like Bellingham, this video starts with a slow fuse, but if you stick with both of them, you get epic as your payoff.

Tucked into the far northwest corner of the United States, Bellingham reps its location well. Within arm’s reach of town you’ll meet big peaks, empty beaches, hard-charging mountain bikers, harder-charging skiers, and enough microbreweries to satisfy even the snobbiest of beer snobs. Bellingham’s character is steeped in the wet weather that shapes its outdoor pursuits. Everything from bottomless powder at Mt. Baker to rolling whitewater over Whatcom Falls provides a silver lining to the clouds that characterize the Pacific Northwest.

And yes, this area really is that gorgeous.


Just wow!

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Watch this one full-screen - gorgeous!

A look at Mars

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An amazing video - three months in the making:

From DIY Photography:

One day, humans will probably land on Mars and take photos, like Apollo astronauts did on the Moon. But probably not in our lifetime. So photographer and videographer Jan Fröjdman created a fictive flight above Mars using real images of the “red planet”. He has hand-picked reference points on anaglyph images from the HiRISE camera. It took over 33,000 reference points and 3 months to create the film, but it was worth it. Jan has created a mesmerizing video.

For the video, Jan has taken the images from HiRISE camera, which are available online for everyone. This camera has taken over 50,000 high-resolution stereo images of the Martian terrain from the planet’s orbit. It has created anaglyphs anyone can view in 3D using special glasses. However, the 3D glasses aren’t always handy or available, and Mars’ varied topography is certainly more impressive in the video.

As I mentioned, it took Jan 3 months of work and over 33,000 reference points to create this video. He needed to color grade the clips because the anaglyphs are based on grayscale images. He points out that the video is not scientific, but he only tried to visualize the planet his way as a space enthusiast.

Jan's website is here - gorgeous work: Jan Fröjdman

Wonderful news - PhotoPills

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PhotoPills is the photography app to die for when shooting landscapes. It can calculate sun, moon and star positions in relation to terrestrial sites. Want to take a photo of the sun setting through that archway, PhotoPils will tell you the date and time to show up for it.

Only problem was that it was for iOS (Apple) only where I am a solid lover of the Android operating system. Just found out today that they have an Android version in beta. Take my money! (Only $10 too - keep the costs low and sell that many more copies. Good business strategy.)

Here is just a brief example of what it can do:

I do time-lapse photography but only for periods of an hour or so - cloud movement, sunrises/sunsets, etc... A lot of times, when a new building is going up, the owners will want a time-lapse video of the process spanning several months. From Digital Photography Review:

Enlaps Tikee time-lapse camera packs two lenses and a solar panel
Tikee by French company Enlaps aims to simplify time-lapse photography by combining a 4.5W solar panel, wireless connectivity and a pair of lenses into a single capture device. The device itself is described as completely self-sufficient, weatherproof and accessible via a Web application.

The idea behind Enlaps is that long duration time-lapse photography can be difficult depending on location due to potential power source and weather issues. Tikee and its more sophisticated counterpart, Tikee Pro, solve this by providing everything necessary for time-lapse photography in a single wireless and weatherproof product.

Very clever - they do not have to worry about replacing the battery every so often and with the two lenses, you get up to 220° of panoramic vision. $750 for the Standard and $900 for the Pro (adds digital RAW files, GPS and 4G modem) - if I was putting up a building, this would be pocket change for a very wonderful resource.

The best of GoPro 2016

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Some great footage there - a nice mix:

Cool idea for photographers - GearEye

From their Kickstarter page:

GearEye - The Ultimate Gear Management System
GearEye is a smart gear management system for on-the-go professionals. It enables you to manage your equipment through thick and thin: organization, tracking, and making sure you always have everything you need whether at home or on the job. GearEye is a game-changer for anything from the smallest messenger bag to the largest camera suitcase.

The bond between professionals and their work equipment is special: anyone who’s experienced this can tell you that there are few things worse than losing your essential gear. We’ve been there too, and that’s why we created a system to put an end to this problem. Simply place the RFID GearTag on your gear, and voilá! Everything in your bag can now be easily accounted for, with a simple tap on your smartphone.

GearEye is more than just a safety net: it enables you to organize your most important equipment into gig specific groups - so that you always have exactly what you need when you need it. This way, you can quickly and easily make sure you have what you need for today’s studio session (not last week’s beach shoot).

Clever idea - you stick an RFID label on each piece of gear and your iPhone runs an app to keep track of it.

Some interesting software

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Looks like a great package if you were interested in stop-motion animation.

Check out Dragonframe

Dragonframe 3.6 is the next generation of our image capture software for stop motion animation. New features include a visual timeline editor, integrated lip-sync, advanced DMX lighting, motion control and much more.

You use a DSLR camera shooting tethered to the computer running Dragonframe and it streamlines your stop-motion photography. Also can be used to control DMX automated lighting as well as motion control platforms for automated camera movement. $295 for the software - not too bad.

Well that sucks - Paddy for Lightroom

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I had been using Lightroom 5.x up until a few months ago when I upgraded to 6.x. I had been using a great program called Paddy for Lightroom that takes a common and cheap MIDI music controller and allows you to assign commands to each knob. You now have faders that control brightness and contrast, etc...

I am finishing off the new system and went to install Paddy and move the controller over to it only to find that the last version of Paddy came out in 2014 and only works with Lightroom 5.x. People have asked about this in the support fora and there has been zero response.

I find that there is a program called MID2LR but it is not as nice as Paddy. There is also a commercial program called LrControl for Lightroom which may work but it is about $60. I may go that route if I can try a demo first. Got spoiled with the earlier version...

Two photo applications from Google

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Wonderful stuff. First, from the Google Research Labs:

Enhance! RAISR Sharp Images with Machine Learning
Everyday the web is used to share and store millions of pictures, enabling one to explore the world, research new topics of interest, or even share a vacation with friends and family. However, many of these images are either limited by the resolution of the device used to take the picture, or purposely degraded in order to accommodate the constraints of cell phones, tablets, or the networks to which they are connected. With the ubiquity of high-resolution displays for home and mobile devices, the demand for high-quality versions of low-resolution images, quickly viewable and shareable from a wide variety of devices, has never been greater.

With “RAISR: Rapid and Accurate Image Super-Resolution”, we introduce a technique that incorporates machine learning in order to produce high-quality versions of low-resolution images. RAISR produces results that are comparable to or better than the currently available super-resolution methods, and does so roughly 10 to 100 times faster, allowing it to be run on a typical mobile device in real-time. Furthermore, our technique is able to avoid recreating the aliasing artifacts that may exist in the lower resolution image.

They have a couple before and after photos at the site - the results are quite good.

Second - from Digital Photography Review:

Google's new PhotoScan app makes digitizing prints super easy
There are plenty of existing methods for digitizing printed photos, and most of them fall on a spectrum between 'arduous with good results' and 'quick with terrible results.' Google's new PhotoScan app aims to aims to bridge the gap with a method that's easy and produces good results by employing computational photography.

The free app, available now for Android and iOS, requires the user to place their photo on a flat surface. After snapping a reference frame, the app directs the user to move their phone around the image to capture more data and, critically, move around the glare that the photo is almost certainly reflecting.

After you've made a successful pass, the app will work its magic and spit out a digitized, glare-free rendition of your photo. Images can be saved to your phone's camera roll and to the cloud. In less than a minute, you've got a shareable digital photo that's way better than the quick-and-dirty version.

Brilliant idea - take a baseline photo and then use a video to analyse where the glare and shadows are plus harvest more pixels. Very clever!

Just wow - full screen with the sound up please:

Monsoon III (4K) from Mike Olbinski on Vimeo.

Here is one of his earlier ones: Vorticity
Amazing work. Tip of the hat to Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man for the link.

Amazing photography learning resource

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Eighteen hour-long lectures on photography from one of the pioneers of digital photography, Mark Levoy.

Course description
An introduction to the scientific, artistic, and computing aspects of digital photography. Topics include lenses and optics, light and sensors, optical effects in nature, perspective and depth of field, sampling and noise, the camera as a computing platform, image processing and editing, and computational photography. We will also survey the history of photography, look at the work of famous photographers, and talk about composing strong photographs.

The videos are free.

Aurora Borealis

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Photographed in Iceland - gorgeous stuff:

Photographer's website is here: OZZO Photography - browse through his portfolio, he has a nice eye and does a lot of different kinds of photography..

A little lawsuit - Getty Images

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Heh - from Ars Technica:

Photographer sues Getty Images for selling photos she donated to public
A well-known American photographer has now sued Getty Images and other related companies—she claims they have been wrongly been selling copyright license for over 18,000 of her photos that she had already donated to the public for free, via the Library of Congress.

The photographer, Carol Highsmith, is widely considered to be a modern-day successor to her photographic idols, Frances Benjamin Johnston and Dorothea Lange, who were famous for capturing images of American life in the 19th and 20th centuries, respectively.

Inspired by the fact that Johnston donated her life’s work to the Library of Congress for public use in the 1930s, Highsmith wanted to follow suit and began donating her work "to the public, including copyrights throughout the world," as early as 1988.

From her lawyer (from the above link to the lawsuit):

The Defendants have apparently misappropriated Ms. Highsmith’s generous gift to the American people. The Defendants are not only unlawfully charging licensing fees to people and organizations who were already authorized to reproduce and display the donated photographs for free, but are falsely and fraudulently holding themselves out as the exclusive copyright owner (or agents thereof), and threatening individuals and companies with copyright infringement lawsuits that the Defendants could not actually lawfully pursue.

She became aware of the problem:

According to the suit, Getty and its affiliates have not only sold unauthorized licenses of Highsmith’s photos, but they have sent threatening letters to people that they believe have infringed the copyright.

One of those recipients was Highsmith’s own non-profit group, the This is America! Foundation. The copyright enforcement entity, License Compliance Services, demanded $120 in payment. LCS is believed to be connected to Getty Images, which has developed a reputation for aggressively pursuing claimed license fees over alleged afoul publication.

I hope she takes them for a lot of money - this is unconscionable behavior and needs to be slapped down as a message to others.

Glass cracking in slow motion

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From 28,000 to 343,915 frames per second:

To give you an idea of the speed difference, when they were filming at 343,915 frames per second, they shot for 5.1 seconds. If that was played back at normal speed (30 fps), it would take over ninteen hours to watch.

I want one of these cameras but they are still way too expensive for casual use. These are great but not great enough: Edgertronic Time to sit back and let the technology evolve for another ten years or so...

Storm chasing - Mike Olbinski

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Just wow:

From Scottsdale, AZ photographer Mike Olbinski's website:

Blood. Sweat. Tears. Joy. That's what this spring was for me. The miles, the grind, the failing, the epic days missed, the lack of sleep, the jubilation, the friendships strengthened, and the time away from my family. And when the chasing was all done...wondering, was worth it all?

Heck yeah it was.

I had three goals this spring: Get a tornado on time-lapse, capture the best footage I possibly could, and chase as much as my schedule would allow. That ended up totalling 18 chase days. 20,000 miles driven. Almost 60,000 time-lapse frames shot. Nine total states. Hours and hours and hours of editing. All between April 15th and June 15th.

Great stuff - a lot more at his website.

The secret is out

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How to edit a video in Seven Easy Steps!!

A little too close to home - from DIY Photography.

A fun day at the office

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World Pinhole Camera Day

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Last Sunday of April - this year, tomorrow the 24th.

Played around a lot with pinhole photography in my yoot - had a lot of fun. It has a very unique look.

Basic intro: About Pinhole,
Shooting Pinhole: How To: Take Pinhole Photographs,
Build Pinhole: 35mm Altoids Mint Tin Pinhole Camera,
Today: World Pinhole day 2016 — April 24, 2016

RTI Photography

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Very cool technique for macro photography - really brings out the details:

RTI stands for Reflectance Transformation Imaging and is the result of taking multiple photographs of the same thing but with a single point light source coming from different angles. This can pick up surface detail.

The RTI project is spearheaded by Cultural Heritage Imaging who offers the software as a free download (but a $50 donation is requested)

Image editing software - NIK

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Google purchased the NIK Photo company back in 2012 - they are now offering their tools for free. The tools plug in to Adobe Photoshop, Elements and Lightroom and offer adjustments for tone, color, sharpness, monochrome and HDR. Great stuff and the price is right.

Google NIC website

Article about the offer at DP Review

Snickers advertising

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Snickers has been doing some wonderful advertising, their videos are a lot of fun. Here is an image from their new print campaign:


Tip of the hat to DIY Photography which has another image.

Paint in slow motion

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Beautiful - Jackson Pollock eat your heart out:

Size matters - photography

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A fun three minutes:

Quite the field trip - Antarctica

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I have always been fascinated by the extreme places on this Earth. I have spent time in Alaska, backpacked through Iceland, visited Antarctica (the French station at Dumont-D'Urville as well as a few of the other outer islands - left from N.Z. and was traveling on the Explorer).

I would love to spend a few months in Antarctica like this guy. Shaun O'Boyle spent two months there last year and has an extensive blog about his experiences.

Some amazing photography - it defies excerption so just visit the site and prepare to spend an hour scrolling through. Gorgeous stuff!

Sean's main photography site can be found here: Shaun O'Boyle - Portraits of Place

Talk about a dream job

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Being the next Ansel Adams for the National Park Service - from USA Jobs:

Job Title:  Photographer, GS-1060-11/12 (1564575)
Department:  Department Of The Interior
Agency:  National Park Service
Job Announcement Number:  HRCSS-WASO-16-1564575

Produces large-format photographic documentation to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the HABS/HAER/HALS permanent collection at the Library of Congress. Develops photographic guidelines and standards for traditional and born-digital photographic processes and products.  Produces exhibition quality prints for exhibition, publication, or other visual purposes.  Evaluates submissions and provides advice and assistance concerning production of photographic documentation for donations to the collection or for mitigation purposes.  Makes presentations about the collection or the programs to various public and private groups.

Pay is up to $99,296/year - application deadline is December 15th so get busy!

The PhotoArc

National Geographic hired photographer Joel Sartore to do portraits of 12,000 of the world's captive species. Here is a brief time-lapse of what he had to go through:

Hat tip to DIY Photography which has some of the gorgeous stills of his work. Excellent stuff!!!

Ooopsie - Russia

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Russia is meddling in Syria (air strikes, etc...) but they have no actual boots-on-the-ground there. Should have checked the iPhones first:

From Yahoo/Reuters:

Russian soldiers geolocated by photos in multiple Syria locations, bloggers say
Three serving or former Russian soldiers have been geolocated by photographs in Syria, including locations near Hama, Aleppo and Homs, Russian bloggers said on Sunday, suggesting the Kremlin's operation stretches well beyond its air campaign.

Russia first launched air strikes to support President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's four-year civil war on Sept. 30 but has repeatedly said it has no intention of mounting a ground operation.

It has instead said it will limit its help to military trainers, advisers and deliveries of military equipment.

A bit more:

Sunday's report by Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT), a group of Russian investigative bloggers, said that photos on social media had been used to geolocate three Russian serving or former soldiers in Syria.

"Although we still don't have indisputable evidence of Russian servicemen taking a direct part in the fighting on the ground in Syria, we believe the situation observed contradicts the claims of Russian officials that Russian troops are not taking part and are not planning to take part in ground operations,” CIT said.

Sooo busted. People have no clue just how much information is embedded into even the simplest of digital photographic images. All the camera and exposure settings, date and time and if the camera has a built-in GPS, all the location info as well. Handy for sorting files after the fact but has the potential to be embarrassing to nations - case in point...

News about Toshiba

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I was reading one of my favorite photography websites (Digital Photography Review) and saw this article:

Toshiba to sell sensor business to Sony for $165 million
Toshiba is finalizing plans to sell its image sensor business to Sony for an estimated $165 million (¥20 billion) in a bid to raise cash after a $1.3 billion accounting scandal. Toshiba, who manufactured sensors for the Nikon D5200 and D7100, among others, has been unloading assets (such as medical devices and elevators) as part of its restructuring plan.

Sony currently has 40% of the growing image sensor market, and is quadrupling spending to keep up with demand for both smartphones and digital cameras.

$1.3 billion accounting scandal??? Seriously, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Turns out I have been living under a rock for the last two months.

Excerpted from the Wall Street Journal:

5 Things To Know About Toshiba’s Accounting Scandal

    • Profits were overstated by more than $1 billion
    • Two former CEOs get particular blame
    • A wholesale house-cleaning is under way
    • Corporate governance is getting more attention in Japan
    • It’s not over yet

You can read more at Bloomberg, Investopedia, Fortune and Reuters.

Crap - that sucks. They made the sensors for a couple of my Nikons and I am really happy with the results. I hope that Sony does not gain a monopoly market share as this would stifle development.

Freddy Fabris Photography

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An amazing set of photos - set in a mid-west car shop but evoking the Renaissance painters. Here is his Last Supper:


More at his website here: Fabris Photography

Now this is clever - photography

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One problem with digital photography is that dust can sit on the image sensor and makes dark spots in your image file. You do not want to use compressed air to clean it off - special swabs are recomended instead. Cleaning a camera is not difficult but it does take 30 minutes to do it right.

Enter the Fujin Mark II Vacuum Lens - from DIY Photography:

This funky little “lens” is actually not a lens, but a specialty camera vacuum called the Fujin Mark II. The device uses an electric fan which the manufacturer says, “can easily remove the type of dust, dirt, and sand that could not be removed before.” All you have to do is mount the lens on your camera, flip on the power switch and let the device extract the dust from inside your camera.

Fujin suggests you use the vacuum in conjunction with certain camera functions (they specifically mention sensor cleaning, mirror-lockup, and continuous shooting) for an even more effective cleaning.

Clever idea! Online store here. Just Canon mount for now with Nikon F mount coming in a month or two.

Photography -a few observations

Cherry picking from a this wonderful list by Missy Mwac at DIY Photography: Some Glitterbombs of Truth for Photographers

Here are five that caught my eye:

  • Nobody looks like the person on the magazine cover, not even the person on the magazine cover.
  • The price of a sculpture has nothing to do with the price of the clay.
    The price of a painting has nothing to do with the price of the canvas.
    The price of a photograph has NOTHING to do with the price of the paper.
    The value of art transcends the materials with which it’s created.
    Charge what it’s worth. Charge what YOU’RE worth.
  • No one is going to pass down a USB drive from generation to generation
  • In 50 years, the most photographed generation in history will have no pictures. Print what you want to preserve.
  • People will NEVER pay a lot of money for photography when they can do it themselves at home for less. Now, excuse me while I finish this $5 coffee from Starbucks

With number two, writer Harlan Ellison has a wonderful rant:

Blogs for everything

It seems that there are blogs for every subject.

In filmmaking, a technique known as Matte Shot is used to fill in the background of a scene whether this is a city or a landscape. Some amazing work goes into these matte paintings for only a few seconds of screentime.

Check out Matte Shot - a tribute to Golden Era special fx:

This blog is intended primarily as a tribute to the inventiveness and ingenuity of the craft of the matte painter during Hollywoods' Golden Era. Some of the shots will amaze in their grandeur and epic quality while others will surprise in their 'invisibility' to even the sophisticated viewer. I hope this collection will serve as an appreciation of the artform and both casual visitors and those with a specialist interest may benefit, enjoy and be amazed at skills largely unknown today.

Just keep scrolling down - some gorgeous work...

Drop dead gorgeous time-lapse

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From his About Me page:

About me, and "Negative Tilt Photography"
If you know me personally, you might know me by several different titles: Adventurer, computer geek, backyard fabricator, Police Officer, and of course photographer. If you don't know me, you can call me Jeff. When I'm not at my "real job", you might often find me on the road looking for something exciting to point a camera at.

My inspiration for photography has always been a desire to capture something spectacular, something unusual, and something unique. This drives me to stand in the path of a violent tornado or in the middle of intense lightning storms, to stay up all night under the stars exposing the hidden Milky Way, or to drive 800 miles in a day in search of something breathtaking.

You may find it crazy.. and maybe I'm a thrill seeker, but the themes I most enjoy display the power and beauty of nature, and involve severe weather, lightning, and beautiful landscapes from across the country. 

Great work!

Government warehouse

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Remember this scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark?


I think I found its origin:


From Shorpy (excellent site - a daily view for me):

Washington, D.C., circa 1937. "Tax office?" is all it says here, in what looks like a set from "1984." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.

So true - photography

How to be a filmmaker in 32 steps

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Great video:

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