Recent Science Articles

The Art and Science of Photography: Why Is Photography So Hard? Part I.

Ever felt a little overwhelmed at the prospect of creating a great image? Ever wonder why it seems to happen so rarely? Creating a great photograph that resonates with your audience is really complicated. But in this three-part series, we’re going to try to bring a little bit of order to that chaos!

Plan Your Meteor Shower Photography From Your Smartphone

Experienced night sky shooters know that some of the most challenging targets are meteors. While meteor showers, which happen several times a year, will make capturing the elusive meteors easier because there are more of them, you can still point a camera to the sky with a 30 minute exposure and get nothing. Then, suddenly, a meteor can appear where you weren't pointing.

Rules: Love Them, Leave Them, or Break Them Just on Principle?

One of the interesting trends in the comments on a previous article on the rule of thirds was a reaction not just to that rule specifically, but to “rules” more generally. That got me thinking a bit. What are “rules”? Where do they come from? Is breaking them an act of rebellion; or one of self-destruction?

Art, Ethics, and the Power of a Good Story

Many interesting ethical issues arise across the photographic genres from the perspective of the photographer, their subjects, and their audience. This video on the broader subject of art and ethics, generally, presents a number of questions and thought experiments designed to get us thinking about the roles that art and ethics play in our lives.

What Is 'Computational Photography' Anyway?

Whether you've realized it or not, photography is moving away from pure optics. For the past few years, smartphone cameras have been relying on computational photography to overcome their physical limitations. But what does that even mean?

Can You Photograph Reality?

Do you believe that your images are objective representations of reality? You might be mistaken. Here are a few arguments why.

The Art and Science of Photography: Color Theory

Let me first say, for reasons that will become clear momentarily, that I’m a six-foot-seven-inch tall male who weighs approximately 200 pounds and has about a week’s (…okay, week-and-a-half’s) worth of stubble. And my favorite color is pink. Did you just do a double-take?

Why Are Some Cameras Rubbish at Taking Photos of Rainbows?

Camera sensors are incredibly complex pieces of engineering prowess, bringing together mankind’s attempt to replicate the behavior of the human eye in perceiving light, but there are still many limitations. Cameras are rarely good at capturing decent photographs of rainbows, but some cameras are significantly worse than others, thanks to a strange quirk of science.

Why Does the Vibrancy Slider Feel So Good!?

What do oversize truck tailpipes, paleolithic sculpture, and the vibrancy slider have in common? And what might they have to do with helping us create more engaging photographs? Why do some abstract paintings move you and others don't? Why should we react to an abstract work of art at all?

Mexican Physicist Solves 2,000-Year Old Problem That Will Lead to Cheaper and Sharper Lenses

In most lenses, the center of the frame might be razor-sharp, but the corners and edges always appear a little soft. It’s something that’s been a problem for thousands of years within optical devices, with many researchers giving up hope until a recent breakthrough from a Mexican physicist, who has now developed a formula that will change how lenses are manufactured.

Do Your Eyes See in 4K?

War of the resolutions again. This time it's a bit different. It's not about the benefits of 4K or 8K for the filmmaker or a photographer, but for the consumer. The question is: can the "resolution" of your eyes match 4K?

Scientists Are Using Drones to Study Tornadoes

Tornadoes are notoriously hard to predict and to study, but better understanding the complex processes that lead to their formation is crucial to providing the sort of advance notice needed to save lives. Researchers in Project TORUS are turning to drones to better study these dangerous storms.

ISO Is Not Fake and Tony Northrup Is Wrong

A few days ago, camera industry guru Tony Northrup published a video arguing that in the age of digital photography, ISO is effectively meaningless and that it’s no different from dragging the exposure slider in Lightroom. Photographer Dave McKeegan has offered a response and argues that Northrup’s logic is completely wrong.

Pomodoro Technique: The Secret to Efficient Photo Editing?

Subscribe to business or productivity "influencers" on the web and you'll receive a variety of tips: “Nap this long,” “Consume more of these,” “Turn that device off!” But how do these techniques apply to photo editing, and can a one-size-fits-all productivity approach help us photographers use our editing time more efficiently?

Watch an Asteroid Hit the Moon During a Lunar Eclipse

If you missed the recent Super Blood Wolf Moon eclipse, you missed an extra special event, as for the first time, an asteroid was captured impacting the moon during an eclipse. Check out video from the event.

Lessons Learned for Your Next Eclipse Outing

I got through the Sunday eclipse and helped a couple of friends with their first time try at eclipse imaging. It got me thinking about what I've learned over the years that might save you some time when the next one comes along.

Photographer Captures Exclusive Images of Humanoid Darling Sophia

We photograph inanimate objects practically every day. We even photograph non-human, animated objects, on a regular basis (hello, Fido). But what happens when you are asked to document the “life” of a humanoid, life-like robot?

Relive One of History's Most Stunning Photographs as the Astronauts Saw it in 4K

"Earthrise" is by far one of the most famous photographs ever taken, shot by astronaut Bill Anders on December 24, 1968, nearly 50 years ago, as he and fellow astronauts orbited the Moon. Using modern data and matching it with that from the mission, this stunning visualization shows what the astronauts saw in 4K.

The Fastest Camera Ever

If we could slow light down and see what it does in those trillionths of a second, we could answer more questions with regards to our existence itself. What exactly happens with photosynthesis and how do lasers go through glass? This video shows the answers.

Time-lapse Video Shows Rocket Launch from Space

We’ve seen plenty of time-lapse but this one is probably unique as it captures the launch of a Progress rocket directly from the International Space Station (ISS).

Touring the World's Largest Digital Camera

You think medium format is big? You ain't seen nothing yet. Check out this incredible camera that's being used to shape our understanding of the universe.

How Photography Is Used to Solve Crimes, Murders

From sketch renderings to video surveillance, law enforcement uses many techniques to piece together clues for crime-solving. Details and memory often fail us, but there's one medium that never forgets - photography.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Dynamic Range and More

Dynamic range has become one of the most important camera specs for a lot of photographers and videographers, but there's a lot more information and science behind it than you might have realized. This excellent, comprehensive video will teach you everything you need and ever wanted to know about dynamic range.

The Truth About Depth of Field and What Affects It

Depth of field is a frequently misunderstood subject, particularly when it comes to what actually affects it and how it changes based on your technique. This awesome video will show you everything you need to know about the physics behind depth of field.

What Would Actually Happen If a Drone Hit an Aircraft

There's a been a lot of back and forth in recent years about the risk drones pose to airplanes and the type of damage they could possibly cause if an impact were to occur, but little true research has been done. This video follows a research team that used an air cannon to fire a drone at an airplane wing to study the damage that occurred.

The Truth About F-Stops and Aperture

Most photographers learn the basics of aperture in regards to depth of field and light-gathering ability, but some of what you learned is probably wrong, particularly when it comes to f-stops. If you're ready to get geeky, check out this great video that explains the truth behind it all.

Photographer Captures a Rare Rainbow in Jersey

A rare sight was captured at the Jersey Shore this week. When photographer Jon Entwhistle saw a peculiar sight, he aimed his camera to the heavens and virality ensued.

How Often Do SD Cards Really Fail?

There's been enough dissections on how Canon and Nikon shot themselves in their respective feet by releasing mirrorless systems with only single card slots. Trust Tony and Chelsea Northrup, though, to spice things up a bit with some scientific analysis.