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Articles written by Sam Merkel

Fstoppers Interviews Professional Action Photographer Dave Lehl

If you aren’t familiar with the work of Dave Lehl, it’s about time that you change that. Dave is not only one of the top photographers in the snowboard industry, but he consistently creates work that transcends genres and has landed him gigs shooting for a list of clients that includes the likes of Red Bull, Nike, and Lamborghini. He has been published in nearly every major snowboard magazine including the covers of Pleasure Mag and Transworld Japan’s photo annuals.

20 Awe-Inspiring Photos from the US Department of the Interior's Breathtaking Instagram
It's certainly no secret that the United States’ 58 National Parks are home to some of the most incredible landscapes in the world. The sheer number of parks alone is quite impressive, but the vast range of diversity is even more notable. In what is most likely aimed to regain visitors to these often overlooked gems, the United States Department of the Interior runs a very well maintained Instagram account to showcase our national treasures. Here are just 20 of their awe-inspiring images.

‘Confusion Through Sand’ is a Hand-Drawn Masterpiece Two Years in the Making

Ornana Films is a small production company based in San Rafael that is no stranger to awards. They took home the Jury Award at the SXSW film festival in 2012 for their short "(notes on) Biology" which continued on to win several other awards that same year, including Exceptional Short at Santa Fe Independent and the Grand Jury Prize at FFF. Two years later at SXSW, they premiered their latest short "Confusion Through Sand" to much acclaim. Now, after a year of waiting, the hand-drawn masterpiece is online for free along with a behind-the-scenes video documenting the work that went into this brilliant animated short.

Man Uses Nothing but Camera and Television to Create Mesmerizing Visuals

At one point or another we’ve all most likely played around between two mirrors facing each other, dancing and ducking as our reflection appears to repeat infinitely. As most of us know, the same effect can be achieved by pointing a camera at a live feed of its own image. While this phenomenon is certainly nothing new, YouTuber Jong Chool Do has taken this classic illusion to the next level by incorporating tilts, pans, zooms, and even some finger movement to make for quite the orchestrated performance. What may seem like child’s play at first could have you breaking out the HDMI cable by the time you’re finished watching.

Justin Bieber Supposed Major Photoshop Treatment in Latest Calvin Klein Ad Appears to Be Fake

Justin Bieber is no stranger to the being in the media, whether it’s for any of his numerous tasteless stunts or even his interactions with photographers. This time it’s his most recent photoshoot for Calvin Klein that has the celebrity blogs buzzing, where an allegedly leaked, unedited photo shows major differences in muscle mass and body hair among other altered features. However, the question still remains: is it real?

Wacom Releases Most Powerful Pen Display to Date and New Mobile Counterpart

For over thirty years, Wacom has been the industry standard when it comes to pen and graphics tablets. Their tablets serve as an integral piece of gear in the kits of the world's best photographers, designers, and amateurs alike. Earlier this week, Wacom unveiled the two newest additions to their already impressive line of tablets: the Cintiq 27QHD and the Cintiq Companion 2, two blazing-fast graphic tablets that are sure to boost any creative’s workflow, from post-processing to graphics and design.

SanDisk Drops Three New Products at CES 2015

Each year over 150,000 people flock to Las Vegas for CES, the world’s largest consumer electronic showcase. Major tech innovators from all over the world kick off the new year by showing off their latest and greatest gadgets and innovations to the public. This year, SanDisk unveiled three new products that are designed to increase your productivity and give your workflow a boost.

The Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Gets an Official Price Tag and It's Lower Than We Thought

Update: This official announcement is only for Japan. The US price has not been announced. Earlier in the week a potential price leak was reported for Tamron's newest wide-angle zoom, which features vibration compensation and a fast f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range. As it turns out, we were misled — but this is actually good news. Not only will the new Tamron come in several hundred dollars below what we previously thought, but it is also set to release before the year's end.

PES Releases New Stop-Motion Short Film "Submarine Sandwich" and BTS

Whether or not you knew it, you have most likely viewed a short film by Adam Pesapane, better known as PES. The director and animator has released several immensely popular stop-motion shorts, directed numerous commercials for major companies such as PlayStation, Scrabble, and Bacardi, and has even been nominated for an Academy Award. Along with the release of his newest short, "Submarine Sandwich," PES and Nikon Cinema have teamed up to bring you a rather comprehensive behind-the-scenes look into the process that goes into the making of PES’ films.

Meet Kenji Yamaguchi - National Geographic’s Legendary In-House Camera Engineer

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.

Jonas Peterson Discusses his Astonishing Wedding Photos From Kenya

Australian wedding photographer Jonas Peterson is one of the best around, shooting extravagant weddings in exotic locations on a regular basis. A recent wedding he shot in Kenya may be the most incredible though, described by Peterson as “easily one of the most amazing experiences of my life.” I recently contacted Jonas to ask for more information about his breathtaking images from the Masai Mara, and he was kind enough to share with me his experiences on the beautiful reserve in Kenya.

“I’ve traveled the world and shot weddings pretty...

Dan Winters Shares the Incredible Story of Capturing the Last Space Shuttle Launch

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.

Samsung’s 4K NX1 Can Hold Its Own - Test Footage and Comparison to the GH4 and 5D MkIII

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.

Is Your Security Worth the Price of That Discount Tablet?

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.

Sony Unveils the a7II & 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 G SSM II A-Mount Lens

Sony seems to be stealing the show this week, first with the US release of their new 16-35mm f4 and then the announcement of the world’s first stacked CMOS sensor, they just keep bringing the fire with today’s announcement of the a7II by Sony Japan. The a7II builds upon the already stunning a7 lineup with a plethora of upgrades, most notably its in-body 5-axis image stabilization, the first of its kind in a full frame body.

Sony Announces the Industry’s First Stacked CMOS Image Sensor

Sony has been on fire as of lately and has shown no signs of slowing down anytime soon. They have pushed the boundaries of a mirrorless camera system with their highly regarded a7, a7R, and a7S, and now seem to be pushing the limits of mobile photography. Yesterday Sony announced the Exmor RS, the world’s first stacked CMOS image sensor. Boasting an impressive 21 effective megapixels as well as 192 autofocus points and 4k video capture, Sony’s new sensor may be a gamechanger in the mobile photography market.

Esben Olesen Takes You through His Infrared Workflow

In today’s photography world, photos capturing scenes in infrared are usually few and far between. A technique usually seen as intimidating or out of reach to the average photographer, Esben Olsen takes us through his workflow when working with infrared images. This video gives helpful insight and simple tricks for every stage of the process from gear setup to post-processing.