When I was younger, my dad took a class on photography at a local community college. To this day, he says that the biggest thing he learned from the class was that to take interesting pictures, you have to go to interesting places. I suppose that if you are a travel, landscape, or nature photographer, that is true. What a lot of people don’t realize is that interesting places are all around us. Having grown up in Ohio, I always thought that I was stuck in a dreary, featureless landscape of corn and soybeans.
A couple of weeks ago, Elinchrom released the Skyport HS, a new iteration of the very old and rudimentary Skyport. The Skyport HS seems to have everything a strobist could hope for, from the laser grid to focus in low-light conditions to the Hi-Sync mode. This new radio trigger is a welcome addition to Elinchrom's product line. At least, it is on paper. The Swiss company was kind enough to lend me a unit before it was even released so that I could play with it and review it for you.
As recently as yesterday, we've seen all kinds of articles comparing various cameras' qualities to one another, pixel-peeping to see which one edges out the competition by a razor-thin margin. You can put your magnifying glass away, however, and trade it in for a beer as you sit back and watch a real comparison. Photographer Jim Goldstein took the pleasure of comparing two of Canon's top-of-the-line DSLRs from different time periods: the 5DS R and the Canon D2000.
Here's something pretty cool. Canon Australia has created a thing they call The Lab, described as "a series of experiments that are designed to take you out of your comfort zone, and get you thinking — and shooting — in a different way." Their first experiment, DECOY, involves having six photographers shoot the same man, but they are each told a different story about the actor's background.
While there are obviously no strict rules about what lenses a photographer should buy, my curiosity was piqued recently, when legendary Glamour Photographer Jarmo Pohjaniemi (Playboy, Shoot The Centerfold) announced he was headed to Santorini with a pair of Canon EF 11-24 f/4L USM lenses. I assumed he was going to shoot landscapes (after all, it’s Santorini), but his answers when I asked were far more interesting than that.
Most of us know Lytro for their light field cameras that capture scenes in a way that allows you to refocus an image anywhere you want with the click of a button without having to take a new image. I'll admit, I thought it was a neat trick, but as a commercial photographer, I never saw how it would apply to someone like myself. Well, Lytro has blown me away today with the announcement of their new virtual reality camera system that works much like their light field cameras and allows the user to move within a video environment (not a computer-rendered space) while wearing a virtual reality headset. They have officially changed the game.
Periscope is a social media app that turns your life into a live broadcast. Instead of updating your Facebook status or sending a tweet, with this app, you start a live broadcast similar to any live broadcast you see on TV. The difference is that you get live interaction with the people that are tuning in to watch you. Now that the app is available on both Android and iOS, it’s starting to pick up some steam, and like any social media platform, it’s good to get in on the ground floor. Before you do, I have a list of positives and negative you may want to consider.
Last month we had the three highest megapixel cameras by Nikon, Sony, and Canon in our office, and we filmed a pretty polarizing review pitting them against each other. Many viewers pointed out an unfair bias in our studio test so we redid the test again using the same lens on all three cameras. We then asked our readers to pick the best looking image from the 3 cameras without telling them which camera took which photo. The results from this test were pretty alarming.
Working in the creative arts world has always involved the struggle of conveying value to clients and educating them that our time has value and that exposure doesn't pay the bills. It's nothing new, and it will likely continue, especially as the barrier to entry in the industry continues to fall, but we all have the power to change it.
All good things must come to an end. The Instagram account, Socality Barbie, called it quits yesterday as the genius behind the satirical photos revealed herself to the world. Darby Cisneros, a Portland wedding photographer, said goodbye with one last post saying she would leave the account active for a while, but felt her job calling out hipsters and poking fun at hashtags was done.
Leroy Bellet is a 16-year-old freelance surf photographer from Australia who has recently been featured in several major surf publications because of his experimentation with artificial lighting in the water. Using a flash in the water allows the subject to still be illuminated while taking advantage of times when the natural light is most unique, like early morning, sunset, and night. We recently got the chance to talk to Leroy and learn a little bit about him and his technique.
Last year, Sweetgrass Productions made an incredible skiing short film, "Afterglow," which they followed up last month with "Darklight," its mountain-biking equivalent. Right away, one of the film's main intents is to blast you with color. Entire mountainsides have bright, neon-colored hues cast over them as bikers bomb down them through lime-green forests and over deep orange-magenta ravines, all in the middle of the night.
Each week, we get contacted by a range of different companies asking us to review their products. Normally, we don't accept the majority of these products, but for your entertainment, we've decided to review every single one of these products in some sort of entertaining (and unfair) way. Today, I got the BOOMR camera strap in the mail and put it through a stress test.
A few weeks ago we offered to critique a handful of headshot photographs from the Fstoppers Community. I was able to sit down with professional headshot photographer Peter Hurley for his advice on how you guys can help improve your own headshot photos. Since there were so many submissions we were only able to get to about 18 images, but don't worry because next week Lee and David will tackle many of the images that did not make this episode of Critique the Community.
First off, some Fstoppers readers who follow my articles may be confused right now because I am posting an automotive retouching tutorial. For those who don't know, I used to do quite a lot of automotive photography work from 2011-2013 or so, and these days I still take the occasional car job here and there. But what I was so grateful for in 2011, when I started in this direction of editing, was that I was already very familiar and comfortable with Photoshop's pen tool - the ultimate weapon in automotive retouching (and more).
Like it or not, 2016 is going to be a huge year for virtual reality content and technology. It seems like every major brand is dipping their toe in one way or another. Even Pixar is creating their own movie studio in order to create 360-degree films. Magazines are no exception for desiring and creating this content. It's a perfect way to immerse their readers into their content. Recently Hearst Publishing's Car and Driver Magazine hired my company, 8112 Studios, to help create their first ever virtual reality car reviews.