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Douglas Sonders
New York, NY
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Articles written by Douglas Sonders

Nokia Ozo - The New Stereoscopic Virtual Reality Camera For Pros

Nokia Ozo - The New Stereoscopic Virtual Reality Camera For Pros

Yes, you've read that correctly. Nokia, the former maker of my favorite cell phone in which I could play "Snake" during high school math class, has entered the hot new virtual reality camera market. I've learned that the credit doesn't go completely to Nokia, though, because they've actually partnered with Jaunt VR (the virtual reality camera developer that has raised 10's of millions in funding) to create the Ozo. Specific camera details are scarce, but there are some key functions I am very intrigued by. As Fstopper's resident virtual reality filmmaker, I am hesitantly optimistic. Read below to learn why.

RED EPIC and SCARLET Cameras Now Have an Actual Still Photo Mode

RED EPIC and SCARLET Cameras Now Have an Actual Still Photo Mode

Last year I wrote an exclusive article talking about RED's plans to attack the photography camera market by adding a still photo mode to the RED SCARLET and EPIC cameras. That day has come with their latest firmware update release. Some of you still photographers may be saying, "So what?" Well, 16.5 stops of dynamic range at nearly 20 megapixels is what. Do I have your attention now?

"Edge of Stability" - The Making Of An Amazing Timelapse Film

"Edge of Stability" - The Making Of An Amazing Timelapse Film

I always love a good well-planned time-lapse as I'm sure most of us do. Although, photographer and California police officer Jeff Boyce has taken it to the next level with "Edge of Stability." Earlier this year, he followed forecasts from the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) and literally drove into some of the most dramatic storms occurring in over a dozen states to capture these very dramatic and beautiful time-lapses made from over 70,000 photos. Boyce was generous enough to share his story and his process with us below.

How Von Wong Captured An Amazing Portrait Deep Under Water

How Von Wong Captured An Amazing Portrait Deep Under Water

Last week I received a message from my buddy and talented photographer Ben Von Wong. We all know him for his incredible photos that mix practical effects as well as precisely-applied post production visuals. His recent photoshoot entitled "MAKING OF: BALLANTINE’S PRESENTS VON WONG’S UNDERWATER RIVER" is no exception. To make this all happen, Benjamin created a portrait shoot with a set his crew built aboveground and installed 30 meters underwater just feet above toxic hydrogen sulfide. Learn more about his shoot below.

New GoPro Hero 4 Session Camera - Their Newest Virtual Reality Camera?

New GoPro Hero 4 Session Camera - Their Newest Virtual Reality Camera?

No, the new GoPro Hero 4 Session doesn't have greater resolution or frame rate capabilities than the pre-existing Hero 4 black's 4K resolution and high frame rate...in fact, it's actually limited to 1920 x 1440 at 30 frames per second, or 1920 x 1080 at 60 frames a second. So what's the big deal with this camera then? It apparently makes up for those performance numbers in general functionality improvements, size, and greatly improved battery life. I also think it may be designed to be used in the latest virtual reality camera rigs. Read below to learn more.

First Test of the New High Tech Phase One XF

First Test of the New High Tech Phase One XF

The other week, I wrote that I was excited about Phase One's newest gear announcements for a multitude of reasons. Well, thanks to my friends at Digital Transitions and Phase One, I was lucky enough to do a photoshoot with the BRAND NEW Phase One XF body, the updated IQ350 50 megapixel CMOS medium format back, and their newest 35mm leaf shutter lens. As an owner of their previous generation 645DF+ body and IQ140 back, I was incredibly impressed by the notable technology advancements in their newest gear. Read below to see why.

Your Favorite Carry-On Camera Bag May Soon Be Too Big To Fly

Your Favorite Carry-On Camera Bag May Soon Be Too Big To Fly

As a traveling commercial photographer and filmmaker who flies over 100k miles a year, I NEVER let my camera bodies and lenses leave my side. Well, soon, filmmakers like myself may be in big trouble. The reason? The International Air Transport Association (IATA), unveiled a new size guideline this week for domestic US flights that proposed a 21% size reduction in max carry-on size allowed. So my prized and PACKED Think Tank Airport Security camera bag may soon be 21% too big to carry onto a flight. Freaked out? Me too. Read below to learn more.

Secrets Beyond the Phase One XF And IQ3 Back Announcements

Secrets Beyond the Phase One XF And IQ3 Back Announcements

This week, Phase One announced a brand-new camera platform, the Phase One XF, and three new IQ3 digital backs. Every photo media outlet in the world has the press release and various levels of speculation and information, all focused on those two main announcements. Here’s the thing: it was only one of a half dozen announcements Phase One made, and some of the best announcements are getting obscured by the announcement of their body and backs. Read on to see some of the other exciting stuff they have coming out this week.

The Movie 'San Andreas' Is Sort of Hilarious without the Effects

The Movie 'San Andreas' Is Sort of Hilarious without the Effects

Summer movie season is here, and so are the movies with the biggest budgets trying to up the wow factor against their cinematic competition. "San Andreas" is the latest disaster flick to showcase some of the best effects Hollywood has to offer right now. Sploid/Gizmodo did a few behind-the-scenes videos on how effectively shooting movies (in this case "San Andreas") with huge sets and practical effects can make even the best CGI look more realistic.

Ask Me About How I Shot This Automotive Advertising Campaign

Ask Me About How I Shot This Automotive Advertising Campaign

Last year I had an exciting opportunity to shoot what I am told is the first combined Jaguar and Land Rover USA ad campaign now that they are both under new combined ownership. The goal of the campaign was to create content that would appeal to the users of both car markers and promote brand loyalty. It was as if we were to say: "If you have a Land Rover, you need a sporty Jaguar for the ultimate garage!" (and vise versa). This campaign came together very quickly and the client had specific production requirements. Learn how I did it below and feel free to ask any question about the process in the comments section.

Incredible BTS Video on How They Created the Film 'Mad Max: Fury Road'

Incredible BTS Video on How They Created the Film 'Mad Max: Fury Road'

As a huge movie car buff and lover of the original "Mad Max" films, it goes without saying that I am more than excited for the release of the latest iteration of the series. I'm going to assume statistically that you are too because it is rating incredibly well among most of the movie reviewers. One of their biggest compliments toward the film? The stunning energetic visuals, and I would agree. What's even more stunning? Most of the stunts were done with practical effects! Check out 18 minutes of pure stunt-making glory.

Photoflex May Have A Chance To Live Another Day

Photoflex May Have A Chance To Live Another Day

Well it has been a rollercoaster for the team over at Photoflex, makers of some of my favorite studio lighting accessories. First, they pulled what many thought was an April fools joke by announcing that they were closing their doors as of late March 31st. Then, they sent out a press release stating they had to close their business due to "health issues" as well as the increasingly competitive market (cough cough cheap knock-off photo accessories flooding the market). Well, it looks like they have some life left in them after all and I couldn't be happier for their team.

An Incredible Automotive Shoot That Did Not Go As Planned

An Incredible Automotive Shoot That Did Not Go As Planned

As photographers starting out, we quickly learn that shoots do not always go as planned. This fact seems to remain the constant even as we proceed through our careers, but we know we have to make the most out of what we are given or we risk not getting the job done! One such example happened to veteran car photographer William Stern when he was hired to shoot a new Corvette, but his strobes were dead on arrival. Learn how he overcame the obstacles and created some pretty sexy car shots.

Photoflex Releases An Official Statment On The Sudden Closing Of Business

Photoflex Releases An Official Statment On The Sudden Closing Of Business

Some of you thought that my post last week about photography accessories brand Photoflex suddenly closing its doors without warning after 30 years of business was a possible April Fools' joke. I wouldn't blame you since it seemed to be annouced late in the day prior to April 1st and they seemed to be a fully-functioning business right up until the final moments. I did email Photoflex to inquire about more information and they did just send back the following press release:

Digital Rev's Nikon D5500 Hands-On Review

Digital Rev's Nikon D5500 Hands-On Review

This year has already been filled with some compelling DSLR camera releases and announcements and the new Nikon D5500 is no exception. For the a quarter of the price of the Canon D5 Mark 3 that I purchased a couple of years ago, you can have more resolution, full HD video function with a wide-array of frame rates, comparable ISO range, and even its own built-in WIFI transmitter to send images to your favorite mobile device on set. Pretty impressive with what Nikon has been doing with its pro-sumer camera bodies these days. Check out Digital Rev's full review.

Matthew Jones Stands Out to Photography Clients with His Pocket Portfolio

Matthew Jones Stands Out to Photography Clients with His Pocket Portfolio

In this age of an increasingly competitive photography market, we shooters need to utilize every tool possible to make us stand out in the pack. My buddy Matthew Jones has gone back to basics with his printed pocket portfolio. He has found that in a world of modern digital portfolios, these printed books allow prospective clients to not only have something that they can take home and remember his work by, but it even easily fits in their pockets! Jones shares his thoughts on the benefits of having a pocket portfolio below.

Short Film About An Incredible Still Life Series You Have To See

Short Film About An Incredible Still Life Series You Have To See

Even if you're new to this site, I'm pretty confident you've seen some sort of article about this unique photo series in which Michael Paul Smith builds intricate models and photographs them to recreate scenes from his imaginary childhood. Even I marveled at the fact that these were photographs of 1/24 scale models and not real scenes from history. Soon, Smith will be releasing a book called "Elgin Park" in which he explains his creative process and his life. If it is anything like the video above I will absolutely read it.

One of My Portraits Unexpectedly Went Viral and It Is Hilarious

One of My Portraits Unexpectedly Went Viral and It Is Hilarious

About a year ago, I took new portraits of my production company's crew for our company biographies. One of my video camera operators, Mike Nelson, decided to Photoshop the portrait of one of my producers Shawn Lucas. It started with dropping his face into one comedic situation, and well, it just started spiraling out of control after that. Now, the dozens of photos are trending on the front page of Reddit. Learn how the retouched series came to be and see all of the images below.

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