It's that time of the year again, where your loved ones ask what you'd like for Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other celebration you may partake in. Rather than fumble around trying to make a list of things you might need to further your photography career, I thought I'd break down the absolute best gifts for photographers under $75.
Artificial lighting can be overwhelming, there are thousands of options to modify one single light source and there are dozens of companies that claim they have the best product and best bang for your buck. Regardless, photography equipment is expensive and I know I'd rather not waste money on a gimmick product when the same result could be achieved with just the right strobe placement or accessory.
For 32 years Kenji Yamaguchi has been National Geographic’s resident
mad scientist camera engineer. He's been modifying all sorts of camera gear to enable Nat Geo’s photographers to capture the spectacular images that they do. His workshop, located in the depths of Nat Geo’s basement, is filled with frankenstein camera equipment that only exists in the form of dreams to the average photographer. Motion-detecting flashes and modified wide-angle macros are just a few of the contraptions that emerge from Kenji's workshop - frequently called upon by the world’s best lensmen. David Ehrenberg at National Geographic recently gave a peek into the workshop and mind of the master.
Allow me to state that for the record before we dive in here, gear does not make the photographer. A talented artist can make an image with whatever falls into their palm, but for those of us who have the luxury of choice, be it the pocket sized Ricoh dangling from Moriyama's wrist, or Crewdson's cherrywood 8x10, a powerful image is about the framing of a moment, the machine it is seen through only serves simplify and streamline the process.
Keisuke Iwaya is an amateur Japanese astrophysicist. On July 20th, 2014, he sent a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera into the Earth’s stratosphere from Obihiro, Japan for the first time ever. The video captures a time-lapse view of the amazing voyage into the heavens as well as some behind-the-scenes views of the lift off and finding it after its free fall back down. If you've ever day dreamed of flying around the planet like Superman as a kid, this video will rekindle that fantastic flame from your youth! – check it out!
From now until December 24th, Hasselblad is offering 40 percent off of their H5D series of cameras and lens bundles. They are also offering 20 percent off of lenses when bought with H5D, H5X, and Certified Pre-Owned bodies. If you've been waiting for the right time to purchase a Hasselblad, this may be it.
GoPro HEROs may be flying in their own cape by late next year according to reports from the Wall Street Journal. GoPro, who currently leads the market in wearable consumer point-of-view cameras is said to be developing their own multi-rotor helicopters equipped with high-definition cameras. It is said that GoPro’s drones will seek to enter the market between the $500 - $1000 range.
Capturing the launch of a space shuttle is undoubtedly a tremendous task to take on. Add to that the pressure of capturing the last space shuttle launch and you may have one of the most immense photographic endeavours of your career. In a very passionate and insightful video talk, Dan Winters takes us through the process of accomplishing said task. From his emotional relationship with capturing launches, to diagrams of his camera setups, Winters not only shows us how he captured his incredible photos, but conveys what doing so meant to him as a photographer as well as a human being.
I’ve just read a comment from a photographer who said it’s time to stop shooting in black and white. He claimed we don’t see the world in black and white and it was something only done in the past due to the limitations at the time and it’s time to move on. Here’s a number of reasons why I think it’s critical to shoot black and white from time to time, and how it can help nurture your photographic eye.
The Panasonic Varicam 35 was announced earlier this year along with what feels like a million other 4K cameras claiming to better than one another. With this much competition it is hard to stay a head of the pack. RED has been attempting to do this for years with the resolution game, but recently there has been a shift towards low-light performance. This is where the Varicam 35 shines.
The recently released Samsung NX1 totes a promising list of specs: 4K video at 24fps recorded to the new H265 codec, 1080p at 60fps, 28MP stills, 205 phase detection AF points, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. However, none of that matters if what comes out of the camera looks like crap. Fortunately, Andrew Reid over at EOSHD got his hands on the new camera to put it through its paces and the NX1 turns out to be quite the performer. In his tests he compares footage from Samsung’s newest flagship body to other heavy-hitting video-shooters such as the Panasonic GH4 and Canon 5D Mark III, and the Samsung proved that it can hold its own with the big boys. Take a look at the footage and see for yourself.
As someone who has owned countless backpacks, both for photography and for trekking, I can tell you that fit and comfort are second to none when deciding what pack to purchase. My partner sometimes struggles when selecting a pack, as her options can sometimes be limited depending on the brand. F-Stop Gear has taken notice of this very thing, and is testing the market with a Kickstarter fundraiser to create a camera backpack that is built for the body type of women.
Black Friday, love it or hate it, always manages to produce some tempting deals on the tech front, and tablets are no exception this holiday season. Numerous stores are selling cheap, poorly made Android tablets at prices that you can only believe once you open the box and realize what you just bought. These devices are usually sluggish, riddled with bugs, lack future updates, and more critically, come full of security flaws. Bluebox Labs recently put several of these discount tablets through security tests and the results are a bit frightening. If you’re in the market for a new Android tablet, a quick read through the results may save you a lot of time and frustration.
As a relatively recent convert to Instagram, a former outsider-looking-in, there are a few things about the app that I don’t particularly care for or make use of. Like most people I know, I’m not at all tempted to make use of the built-in, over-cooked, HDR-gone-wrong filters. When I do post a photo taken on my phone, it’s been edited in VSCO Cam. I’m also not a huge fan of the user interface in Instagram. It’s a little clunky, oft overwhelming, and features a rather uninspiring design. For a better viewing, browsing, and exploring experience I’ve turned to a seemingly unknown app, Primary.