Category Archive: Gear
Gizmodo has written about the “World’s Highest Resolution Camera”, with 1.8 gigapixels, which is being developed for the US government. They shared this clip from the PBS show NOVA which recently broadcast an episode called “Rise of the Drones”.
This is the next generation of surveillance. … It is important for the public to know that some of these capabilities exist. – BAE Systems Engineer Yiannis Antioniades, who designed the sensor
I know some folks working on drone-related journalism and drone-related photography. This should give you some more ideas about what might be possible. And I can’t help but think of what extreme ‘Google Street View’ style projects could be possible from a camera also known as “Wide-Area Persistant Stare’. Maybe some day we’ll see such a thing, for now it remains a classified US Government program.
“We always sent cameras outside with the guys during the EVAs (Extra-Vehicular Activity – NASA speak for space-walk). They were mostly stock D2Xs, but had some minor mods in order to deal with the rigors of functioning in a vacuum with several hundred degree thermal swings. They had a custom fit thermal blanket wrapped around them, a large viewfinder so that they can be used with the helmet, and a big button that could be pushed with those oven-mitt gloves to release the shutter. We turned them on before they went into the airlock and used Program mode, then hoped for the best.” -Captain Alan Poindexter, Photography In Space
I usually steer far clear of gear and technique blogs, but this post on Luminous Landscape is worth a quick look. Taking pictures in space is no easy task, but with Captain Alan Poindexter’s help, you might return with a few keepers. Poindexter, astronaut and former commander of Space Shuttle Discovery, was picked to be lead Photo/TV crewmember on STS-122 in 2008, and shared a few of his experiences dealing with the difficulties of photographing in space. When taking pictures from space, you’ve got a lot to deal with. Light is very low, everything is in constant motion, and there’s a host of engines and fans causing most surfaces in the shuttle to vibrate. One of the images presented is a 4-second exposure of the coast of India against stars in space; during that exposure, the shuttle traveled 20 miles. And contemporary digital sensors allow the photographer to use light reflected off the Earth as a light source. Some scenes had 16 or 17 stops of dynamic range; and with the fast speed of the orbit, lighting conditions change quickly. Good luck on your next trip outside the Earth’s atmosphere!
While you’re at it, why not look through Hasselblad’s photography manual for NASA astronauts, or large collections of photography from the early Mercury and Gemini missions.
We’re proud to announce a dvafoto contest in partnership with Think Tank Photo. They’ve donated a Retrospective 5 bag for us to give away to friends and fans of dvafoto. We’ve got the bag in hand, and if we weren’t giving it away, it would be going out on assignment with one of us. It’s small, doesn’t look like a camera bag, and has a ton of neat features (extra pockets, customizable dividers, great strap, a special velcro-less silent mode, and on and on). It’s a great bag, and now there’s a chance for you to get one free.
We thought this presented a great opportunity to start a discussion about powerful imagery, similar to our recent post about the most powerful photography as chosen by Reddit users. We want to hear about which photograph you would nominate the most powerful picture you know and to give away a great camera bag to one lucky person who has answered our question. We will randomly draw a name from all the entries and discuss submissions in a future post on dvafoto.
For all the information you need about entering this contest and to see which images both Matt and Scott chose to nominate themselves, visit the contest page at www.dvafoto.com/contest.
The deadline is
March 30, 2012 DEADLINE EXTENDED to April 6, 2012.
We’re looking forward to seeing your entries!
Need a last-minute Halloween costume idea? You probably don’t have time to do it now, but Tyler Card and Adam Barr built a fully-functioning digital camera Halloween costume. There’s a behind-the-scenes video (warning, annoying and loud music…) that documents the process of making the whole thing. The guts of it all are a torn-apart laptop and an actual digital camera that outputs directly to the computer’s LCD. One click of the giant shutter, and there’s a picture visible on the back of the costume. Pretty great!
And since I think that’s Tyler in the costume, that also makes him…wait for it…a camera card. Zing!
Damon Winters’ iPhone-taken story, A Grunt’s Life, was awarded 3rd place Feature Story in the 2011 Pictures of the Year International. This has been met with controversy. Many, including most prominently Chip Litherland, say the pictures aren’t photojournalism and that they don’t represent what was in front of the camera, others, such as Logan Mock-Bunting, say that the images violate POYi’s rules that stipulate, “No masks, borders, backgrounds or other artistic effects are allowed.”
I have no problem with the pictures being allowed in the contest. There haven’t been masks, borders, or backgrounds added to the picture (and “other artistic effects” should be read as non-photographic elements added to a picture; the structure of the sentence in the rule makes this clear–”other” indicates that forbidden effects would be of a sort similar to borders, backgrounds, and masks and not of a sort that includes such things as color filters, flash, grain, black and white conversion), and I think there’s no reason not to call this photojournalism. What follows is a modified version of my response to these concerns that I posted in a conversation on the Luceo Images facebook page.
If the color modifications of an iPhone application are to be forbidden, why allow black and white or flash in photojournalism, then? That’s not what the scene looked like in front of the camera. Or why allow ISOs, apertures, and shutter speeds that manipulate light in a way that the human eye can’t achieve (the human eye can’t have infinite focus starting on something at 3 feet away; the human eye can’t let in enough light in an instant as a ISO3200 on bulb; etc.)? As long as the content remains true–that is, nothing has been posed or removed or added to the frame–and it’s intended (photographed and presented) as journalism, I don’t see a reason to disqualify pictures from the contest.
I see arguments against these types of photos as similar to complaints about Salgado making pictures that were too beautiful for the subject matter. Our goal should be to make people look, and these do an admirable job at commanding the attention, not just because of the content but because of how the pictures look and how they were taken. So much photojournalism shot in the traditional style gets ignored or washed over; we need to use everything at our disposal to connect to audiences.
And I’m wary of a lot of the argumentation around these images.
Slippery slope arguments don’t work. It’s perfectly possible to imagine a world where Winter’s photos are awarded, but more traditional photography still gets published and awarded. In fact, there’ve been other problems with over-toning in the past, or Holgas, or other weird techniques, but it hasn’t destroyed all of the other photojournalism that’s still being produced, nor does it mean that non-hipstamatic photojournalism won’t hold public attention. Recent coverage of Egypt proves that. Even the most straightforward wire photography was going viral.
Arguments about the tradition of photojournalism don’t work, either. Older ideas aren’t necessarily better. They might be, but we need evidence that new photojournalism tells a story less accurately or connects with audiences less well than old, straightforward photojournalism. Only then can we fully discount the new style. If we held on to the traditions, we’d be moving corpses like Brady, we’d be shooting daguerrotypes, we’d be posing and using huge lighting setups like the early Life photographers, we’d be layering frames like W. Eugene Smith, we’d all still use film. Traditions fall by the wayside. Methods evolve. New styles emerge.
I don’t want to say that just because the technique is novel or popular that that makes it okay, either. That’s fallacious reasoning. Danielle Steele sells a lot of books, but that doesn’t make her books great literature.
As I see it, the photos are faithful to the story and to how things were in front of the camera, and that’s all that really matters. The colors might be juiced a bit, but that doesn’t invalidate the work. Really, the colors aren’t changed much at all compared to work such as Richard Mosse’s infrared work exploring conflict in Congo.Artistic technique goes a long way in communicating tone and emotion in photography, and I think we (photographers and the public) would be a lot worse off if we (photographers) couldn’t use aesthetic language in photojournalism.
[Matt, the other half of dvafoto, wanted me to say this: 'Matt agrees with everything but wanted to record the fact that he still hates iPhone photographs. Even his own.']
Chris Beckman‘s short “oops” (concept by Billy Rennekamp) is cringe inducing. Oops is composed of disparate footage of cameras being dropped, edited together so it seems like the same camera is dropped, picked up, and dropped again (or attacked by an ostrich, as the case may be).
We’re a ways off from hand-held cameras that can do it, but the future of photography will involve pictures in which the depth-of-field and focus and camera position each can be adjusted reliably and with quality in post-production. It’s a complex mathematical and computational problem, but the power is within reach.
So you want to influence the future of photography? Well, you gotta build a camera, ’cause this future isn’t for sale, yet.” -FuturePicture.com
Two enterprising photography enthusiasts have taken a page from MIT‘s and Columbia‘s and Stanford‘s computational photography research labs, and have built their own light field camera arrays, and they’re posting instructions on how to build your own, including a method for achieving the effect with just one camera. Check out much more information and some of the science behind the project at FuturePicture.com.
(via MetaFilter Projects)
In in a thread over at Lightstalkers thanking people for their comments on his (remarkable) video The Dear Leader, Christopher Morris mentioned that he has a new video out (and, probably, more to come as he just finished a two-week video roadtrip around the US). It is a bit more rough than the Dear Leader film, focused on the last days of the John McCain Presidential campaign. And, for those interested, he said it was shot on the new Canon 5d MkII (see the thread for more info)
Morris definitely has me more interested in trying video, as a different way of expressing something.. anyone want to lend me a MkII?
Polaroid and unsaleable.com have partnered to offer re-editions of its most popular instant films, as Fujifilm is said to be taking over some of Polaroid’s instant brands, BJP has learnt
Launching on Thursday 27 November, PolaPremium, a joint initiative between Polaroid and unsaleable.com, an Austria-based reseller, will offer end-of-life series of Polaroid films.
Seems possible .. I just wonder how much stock of these dead films the website will have and how long they’ll last. More promising is that Fujifilm might continue to produce some specific films indefinitely. Congrats to those who use polaroid, I know there are a few.
This has been making the rounds (I just watched it on APE’s post) but I wanted to put my recommendation on it and pass it along. Wunderkind David Burnett brings us a charming and interesting behind-the-scenes look at what it is actually like covering the Olympics in Beijing.
The Olympics You Didn’t See from David Burnett on Vimeo.
If you don’t know his work or his blog, go look at those right now too. I’ve always enjoyed his pictures (I mean, how can you not love a guy who lugs a 4×5, and all sorts of other crazy cameras, around everywhere alongside his digicams?) but this video is the icing on top… this is a fun, creative bit of filmmaking.