Tuesday, 2 of September of 2014

Archives from month » June, 2013

Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

Friday arrives and brings with it another one of our weekly wrap-ups of the top stories from the world of photography. It’s been a busy week in the news as always. In addition to that, on Tuesday we experienced a lengthy power outage that resulted in our Customer Support lines being down most of the day. If you were trying to get through to us that day and found yourself unable to do so, that would be why. Beyond that, there have been a myriad of new announcements in cameras this week including two new additions to Sony’s Cyber-shot line-up. Photographers have been out capturing the news of the day from the haze in Singapore to the riots in Brazil. Others have been busy working out ways to help novice photographers improve in the craft without having to shell out a lot of cash.

All of these stories and more were mentioned in our Twitter feed. However, if you’re not following us on Twitter then we’ll replay the highlights for you below.


That’s all for this week, folks! Have a great weekend and see you again on Monday!

– da Bird


Recreating Paintings With Photography

Recreating Paintings With Photography

Recently a friend of mine sent me a link to a great photographer’s site. The first time I saw it, though, I thought “No way. This has to be Photoshopped.” Instead, after poking around for a while, I came to understand how exactly Mike Kaplan captures such stunning images with a camera and, without any post-processing or editing, makes them look as if they had been painted onto a canvas by a master watercolor painter such as Edward Hooper or Winslow Homer.

In his seascapes and landscapes, Kaplan uses a long exposure time to create not just a single moment in time but rather the flow of time over an area. Kaplan prefers to take his photos at sunset or sunrise. His work is very good and definitely worth a look.

Long exposure photography is a great way to give images of water that misty, almost otherworldly look. With a long exposure time, the moving objects in the photograph are blurred while the stationary ones — such as the rocks or the landscape — remain sharp and crisp. It is also often used in astrophotography to capture the images of distant stars, planets, or other astronomical phenomena. Another technique that makes use of long exposure photography is light painting where the photographer uses a light pen, match, or other small light source and moves it around in the image frame, creating an illusion of fire trails in the finished image.

Have you ever used long exposure times in your photography? If so, for what purpose? Feel free to share your own images with us in the comments below or over on our Facebook page!

– da Bird


The Supermoon and the Moon Illusion

The Supermoon and the Moon Illusion

Last night was the night of the “supermoon” which is when the perigee moon is full (when the moon is full and is at the closest point it can get to Earth). Photographers and astronomy buffs were out in force capturing images and measurements of the moon during the night. During the weeks before, though, most scientists had been doing their best to dispel the “supermoon myths” that seem to crop up every year at this time. Some people think that the “supermoon” means that the moon will be so close to the Earth that the tides will become catastrophic. Others think it means that the moon will appear significantly larger than it normally does.

Part of the reason for these myths is the media hype behind the “supermoon.” Another reason, however, could most likely be the optical illusion called “the Moon Illusion.” The moon illusion is also known as the tendency for people to believe that the moon is larger the closer it is to the horizon. The debate behind the exact cause of this issue has raged on for a while — over 2000 years, to be accurate — and it’s not going to be settled any time soon. However, regardless of exact measurements, we do perceive the moon to be larger when it is rising over the horizon than when it is high in the sky even though the disc never changes in size over the course of a single night. Aristotle believed that the moon was made to appear larger due to a magnifying effect of Earth’s atmosphere. Ptolemy believed the illusion was caused by refraction. Modern thinkers sometimes adhere to the “angular size” theory which holds that an object’s position at different angles or arcs can impact the observed size.

However, the most popular and widely accepted explanation currently is the “relative size hypothesis.” This hypothesis suggests that the reason we perceive the moon to be larger at the horizon than at its zenith in the sky is because, when the moon is on the horizon, it is “closer” to objects that we can measure (houses, trees, etc). So, we increase the moon’s perceived size since the objects it appears to be resting near are small, making the moon appear larger than it really is.


Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

Another week brings us another weekly wrap-up of the top stories from the ever-busy world of photography. This week has seen a major announcement from Facebook and Instagram with the release of InstagramVideo. The update to this very popular smartphone photography app gives users the ability to create 15 second long video clips. The software provides image stabilization, meaning less nausea-inducing camera shake in the videos. That major announcement yesterday was not the only big news this week. Photographers have been out in droves capturing the big news stories around the world from the monsoons in the Far East to the riots in Brazil.

All of these stories — and all of the advice offered to up-and-coming photographers — were featured in our Twitter feed this week. However, if you’re not following us on Twitter then we’ll recap the highlights you might have missed out on below!


That’s all for this week, folks! Have a great weekend and see you again on Monday!

– da Bird


How The Other Half Lives

How The Other Half Lives

Photography is often more than just a way of capturing pictures. Sometimes it can be a way of bringing a new level of awareness about a situation to those who have the ability to effect change. Photojournalists especially try to do this by capturing the images of today’s news so that we can not only hear and read reports of what happened, but can see it happening with our own eyes. However, since images can be so powerful, photojournalists try to adhere to a very strict standard of ethics. This code demands that the photographs presented be honest and impartial, telling the story in strictly journalistic terms. Photojournalists do not try to edit or manipulate their images much and do not try to stage events to present a certain “look” as other photographers might.

In today’s world, with its 24/7 news cycle, hundreds of channels, and a world where photography is not new, many people discount the impact that photojournalists can have. However, in the late 1800s, a single publication led to the revamping of much of New York City’s Lower East side when photographer Jacob Riis, a successful police photographer, published his collection of images entitled How the Other Half Lives: Studies among the Tenements of New York. Riis believed that the high crime rates found in the slum tenements were due to the poverty and poor conditions of the housing. He also believed that if the upper classes of New York could learn about and see these conditions, they would help to ameliorate them.

Each chapter of his book describes in detail — and provides accompanying images — the lives of the poor in New York City and ends with a plan that would help not only the poor living in the slum tenements but would also benefit the rest of the city. After How the Other Half Lives came out, the wealthy New Yorkers came together to do as Riis had hoped and alleviated much of the suffering and the poor conditions in the slums. The worst of the tenements were torn down, the public school system was reformed, and sweatshops were closed. Over the next decade, many other improvements were made to the Lower East side including better sewage facilities, garbage collection, and running water.

All of these changes came to be because one man with a camera decided to show the world how the other half was living. That’s part of the magic of photography.

– da Bird


Tilt-Shift Photography

Tilt-Shift Photography

If you’ve ever seen a photograph where the entire image looks like a model toy set and only a small region is actually in focus, then you’ve seen tilt-shift photography. Tilt-shift photography is a particular technique of photography wherein an image is captured in such a way that it looks like it is a model. The human eye is tricked into assuming that the subject of the image is much smaller than it really it is. The exact definition, according to Wikipedia is:

Tilt–shift photography is the use of camera movements on small- and medium-format cameras, and sometimes specifically refers to the use of tilt for selective focus, often for simulating a miniature scene. Sometimes the term is used when the shallow depth of field is simulated with digital post-processing; the name may derive from the tilt–shift lens normally required when the effect is produced optically.

“Tilt–shift” encompasses two different types of movements: rotation of the lens plane relative to the image plane, called tilt, and movement of the lens parallel to the image plane, called shift. Tilt is used to control the orientation of the plane of focus (PoF), and hence the part of an image that appears sharp; it makes use of the Scheimpflug principle. Shift is used to adjust the position of the subject in the image area without moving the camera back; this is often helpful in avoiding the convergence of parallel lines, as when photographing tall buildings.

Tilt-shifting in photography generally requires using a special lens that is capable of creating the effect. However, with the advent of Photoshop, this effect can be achieved through careful photo-editing as well.

Have you ever tried this particular type of photography? If so, how did you achieve your results? Through a lens or through editing the images? Feel free to share your favorite tilt-shifted images (with credit to the photographer, of course) in the comments below!

– da Bird

Image by Lachlan Sear


Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

Another week is ending, bringing to a close another busy time in the world of photography. Sony, Leica, Olympus, and Nikon have all had major firmware updates this past week, helping to bring cameras more up-to-date and provide photographers with more features and options when it comes to capturing the images they want to focus on. Photographers themselves have also been busy this week capturing the action in Turkey, the floods in Central Europe, and offering advice on improving ones’ photography as well as ones’ actions as a photographer to novices out there.

All of these stories and more were featured on our Twitter feed. However, if you’re not following us on Twitter then you might have missed out on them. Don’t worry. As always, we’ll hit the highlights for you below!


That’s all for this week, folks! Have a great weekend and see you again on Monday!

– da Bird


3D Television — Will It Ever Catch On?

3D Television -- Will It Ever Catch On?

Television manufacturers are always looking to out-do one another since their products — televisions — have a very long life cycle. Most people replace their televisions only when the unit stops working properly. However, the manufacturers have been trying for years to get people to move to the long-sought-after 3D television.

3D television isn’t what most people think of when they think of 3D. But then again, 3D movies aren’t exactly hitting the archetype that most people have in mind. 3D television (and movies) still require viewers to wear special glasses since the lighting and film effects will show up blurry to the human eye. Filters are necessary to make the 3D effect work. However, since most people will not wear glasses just to sit around and watch television, very few studios are making the effort to make their productions available in 3D. Since few studios are working in 3D, that’s less incentive for people to make use of their television’s 3D features. Just recently, ESPN announced that it is going to cease its own 3D sports broadcasting, citing low viewership and lackluster adoption rates.

3D television has been something that many people say they want but it never seems to pan out. Video gamers are about the only ones who embrace the technology enthusiastically because they don’t mind wearing the glasses while playing games (but generally do not wear them or use the 3D feature when just watching normal television). Still, one benefit of the explosion in 3D-capable televisions has been lowered pricing and greater availability. Perhaps soon someone will figure out how to create a show that people will want to watch only in 3D.

How about you? If you have (or had) a 3D television, would you make use of the feature?


Weatherproofing Cameras

Weatherproofing Cameras

Today, it’s quite easy to go out and find a waterproof camera. However, waterproof cameras do not come in all shapes, sizes, and models. For some photographers, their camera of choice is not waterproof meaning they have to spend a good bit of money to get it waterproofed or, at the very least, weatherproofed.

But what if there was a simpler, cheaper method of weatherproofing your camera? A method you could use on just about any camera? Say, something that you could knock together at home using common household items. Well, worry no more. Your camera can be made temporarily weatherproof with just a plastic bag and some rubber bands! Digicamhelp has a great guide with step-by-step instructions on how to make this happen. We’ll outline them below but we do suggest you head over there and check them out before setting up your temporary weatherproofing rig.

1) Put a UV filter on the camera lens and carefully cut a hole in the bag to fit around the lens. Push the lens through the hole, careful not to stretch or rip the plastic. Secure the plastic to the lens ring with a rubber band.

2) Pull the rest of the plastic over the camera body. You can secure it further by using rubber bands on either side of the camera body. However, do be careful when placing the bands to ensure that any settings or buttons are not changed by the rubber bands.

If this solution is a little too MacGyver for you, you can purchase rain sleeves from many different photography suppliers. Either way, this is one method you can use to keep your camera functioning well even in the worst weather!

– da Bird


Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

Another Friday brings us another wrap-up after a busy week in the world of photography. There have been a lot of big stories hitting the news stands this week: protests in Turkey, fires in California, and floods in Europe, to keep photojournalists busy with bringing images of these events home to all of us. There have also been a lot of posts outlining new gear for photographers, updates to cameras, suggested items to keep with you for photography, and more. With summer rolling around, photography is hitting its height in the year as amateurs and professionals get out to try to capture images of the world in full bloom and the action that comes with the longer, warmer days. All of these stories and more were featured on our Twitter feed this week. However, if you’re not following us on Twitter then you might have missed out on these stories. Don’t worry, though. As always, we’ll hit the highlights for you below!


That’s all for this week, folks! Have a great weekend and see you again on Monday!

– da Bird