Monthly Archives: October 2007

PhotoDump 10-21-2007

Wow, quite a few new Flickr Contacts from last week! Which means more great stuff for me to look through! Here are my selections for the week — check them out in the slideshow, it’s great fun. And be sure to check out last week’s PhotoDump if you missed it.

26 new favorites from 164 Flickr contacts.

21 new favorites from 52 Zooomr contacts.

FLICKR CONTACT PHOTOS

View as Slideshow

From Masahiro MakinoFrom harpyFrom kwerfeldeinFrom Steve CraneFrom jimgoldsteinFrom slight clutterFrom johopo (John)From | GW |From cmiperFrom RedHeadedBratFrom Stuck in CustomsFrom Avelino MaestasFrom marirsFrom AdeleSFrom angie_real Angela  LobefaroFrom Nico KaiserFrom jhoog64From *Fly*From jimgoldsteinFrom hey mr glenFrom Masahiro MakinoFrom libeco18From slight clutterFrom nicointhebus [nicolas monnot]From nicointhebus [nicolas monnot]From pitysing

ZOOOMR CONTACT PHOTOS

I Miss HerNot ForgottenAnd Now A Word From Our SponsorI once had a dreamSunrise8-29IvanStone and Is Fragile When Alone Night LifeB-Ball's A KickBond, James Bond.Summertime In The CityWhispering WindchimesLifestyleFuture Looks Bright BabyThe Blue DoorSunbeams Are Not Made Like MeFinal manDeath from AboveFeeling Loopy

Link Roundup 10-20-2007

  • The First Question Every Photographer Must Answer: Why?
    Neil Creek
    Before a photographer can get the best out of their photos, they need to ask themselves “why?”. This article discusses various “whys” in photography, and how understanding them can make you a better photographer.
  • 12 Fantastic Fall Photo Tips — Extra-Crunchy Guide to Leaf Peeping
    Photojojo
    A great guide by Photojojo on bringing out amazing Fall colors in your photos. Best times to shoot, the lenses to use, creative ideas for getting shots that don’t look like everyone else’s.
  • Reader Quiz: What’s Your Best September Photo?
    goldengod
    Great question and mental exercise. Choosing your best photo is more difficult than you’d think. Andrew is taking entries until Tuesday.
  • So What Do You Know About Photography?
    Photopreneur
    11 ways to make money from photography without selling photos.
  • Can Sony Build a True Full Frame dSLR?
    Alphatracks
    Interesting discussion about the possibilities for Sony’s flagship model set to release sometime in 2008.
  • Create Stock Photos
    Nycraphix Blog Photo
    A listing of some common traits of good stock photos, and how you can incorporate these into your own stock photography for better results.
  • Video of the Week — Just a little weekend humor.

A Roundup of Environmental Photography

So Blog Action Day took place this last Monday (10-15-07), and I was keeping my eyes peeled for photography-related articles. I didn’t see a ton of them, but I was glad to see a few others participating in the event. Here are some of the “Environment & Photography” posts I came across.

In addition to these articles, there’s a great photo-of-the-day website called EarthShots.org. The site is aimed at celebrating the beauty and diversity of our planet by featuring the photographs submitted by their visitors. The featured photos are truly amazing work, and you can even subscribe to the EarthShots.org RSS Feed so you don’t miss out on any of the new picks.

Earth Shots Photo of the Day

Anybody can enter photos, and your entries can be chosen up to one month after submission. The winners aren’t always fully natural landscape photos, so take a look through their archives to see what kind of content they look for. I’ve submitted my first photo entry tonight, and I plan to submit more in the near future. So check out the site, and you might have a chance to be featured in a video like this:

Gated Entry

Yet another photo from my minimalism trip to Del Mar. This particular subject caught my eye because of the interesting lines and curves created by a metal entryway gate. I composed the image to include part of the wall as an anchor, and I cropped it to cut off most of the gate and just leave the curves behind. Once I opened it up for processing, I found that there were a lot of really neat textures and saturated colors to be found in there too.

Gated Entry Process

  1. Original JPEG
  2. Processed RAW
    Just a slight bump in contrast and saturation using ACR.
  3. Hard Mix Layer Blend
    Blended at 62% opacity and 32% fill, while using a mask to exclude the tops of the metal bars to prevent overexposure and loss of detail.
  4. Curves Adjustment
    A bit of an “S” curve with the same mask (but at 50% gray) to put the finishing touches on the contrast and color. This step also brought out a lot of texture and rust color on the fronts of the metal bars.
  5. Sharpening
    Oversharpened at 124%, 2.8 pixels, and threshold of 1 in order to give it more of a “rough” feel.

Gated Entry

** You can also see this photo on Flickr and Zooomr **

Photo by Brian Auer
09/22/07 Del Mar, CA
Gated Entry
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D
Konica Minolta AF DT 18-200
225mm equiv * f/6.7 * 1/350s * ISO100

Quick Tip: Shoot in RAW Format

This week’s quick-tip is going to be a little different. Jim Kammin, a proud new owner of a Nikon D40, sent me a message asking about RAW format and why should/would a photographer use this option. It’s a huge topic, and it’s been covered very well, so I thought I’d lay out a few key points and link out to some great RAW articles.

RAW formats have many benefits over JPEG. Here are a few of them:

  • No loss of data from compression
  • Wider dynamic range
  • More colors available
  • Better processing options

Keep in mind, though, not all photographers really have a need to use RAW format. JPEGs have their strong point too:

  • Smaller file size
  • Standard format
  • Don’t NEED to be processed

So if you’re undecided on which format is right for you, take a look at the following articles. These should give you a pretty good idea of the pros and cons of RAW versus JPEG formats.

What’s your preference? RAW or JPEG?

Poll Results: MegaPixel Madness

This is the part of the week where I would normally pose a new question to be voted on. But this week’s poll is yesterday’s post — make sure you vote for your favorite photos from the latest project if you haven’t already. I’ll post and discuss the results next Tuesday, and I’ll do a regular poll on Wednesday.

How Many MegaPixels Are Enough?

The results from the last poll (How Many MegaPixels Are Enough?) are pretty interesting. A majority of the votes go to 10MP, but there were also quite a few pixel-hungry voters. Never enough… come on. There’s got to be some kind of limit. The 10MP peak is kind of interesting — aren’t most entry/mid level dSLRs in the 10MP range? I wonder if that has anything to do with the answers. And apparently the number 14 is not popular — so take note Canon, Nikon, and Sony — release your new cameras with either 12 or 16, not 14; nobody will buy them.

Also take a look at the comments from the poll page. Lot’s of good insightful discussions in there from some knowledgeable sources.

28 Ways To Interpret A Photo

Edit My Photo

On September 18th, I asked my fellow photographers to join me in an artistic experiment. I wanted to see how a single photo could be interpreted by different people, and to do this I presented the test-subjects audience with an unprocessed photograph and asked them to “Edit My Photo“.

I knew that each participant would produce a different photo via post-processing, but how different was unknown. I must say that I’m shocked and amazed at the diversity and creativity of these results. The photographs on this page clearly show the boundless possibilities of artistic interpretation, and it all spawned from a single image.

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Read below the images for more discussion of results AND for part 2 of this experiment — everybody’s invited.

Before going any further, I’d like to sincerely thank all of the people who participated in this project so willingly and enthusiastically. Seriously gang, this wouldn’t have happened without each and every one of you. Every photo on this page is an integral part of this project. And a huge thanks again to my Grandfather, Ron McCoy, who gave me this great idea for a project. Now… on with the discussion.

WHY DID I CHOOSE THIS IMAGE?

You may be asking yourself “Why the heck did this guy pick such a cruddy photo to run the project with?” Well, the image was completely intentional on my part. I literally have hundreds of unprocessed images in the “To-Do” pile, but this one presented unique opportunities for the project.

  • Technical Flaws
    The horizon is crooked, there are dust spots, it’s not perfectly exposed, and there are probably other things wrong with it too. I was curious to see how people would either “fix” these flaws, overlook them, or incorporate them into their final image.
  • Lack of Color
    The image contains color — it’s just not as vibrant as most of us would like to start with. I wanted to see how people would deal with this, and how color affects the mood of the image.
  • Foreign Objects
    There’s a string of buoys in the water, and I was interested in how people would deal with something that seemed out of place.
  • Simple Subject
    The composition is so simple in this image that it opens itself up for a number of interpretations. The overall mood of the processed photo would be highly dependent on the participants.

So basically, I picked the image because it would present the project participants with many processing options. I also wanted to convey (with these results) that typically overlooked images may actually have some life in them — you just have to be creative and open your mind to “out of the box” options.

WHY ARE THE RESULTS SO AMAZING?

The photos above represent vastly different artistic styles, each of which is as unique as their creators. The combined effort is much greater than any one person would spend on a single photo, and the results are far more creative and diverse than any one person could achieve. Some of the participants are photographers who I’ve been following for some time now, and I can certainly see their artistic style showing through even though they didn’t take the photo.

This experiment further affirms my own beliefs that photography is 50% capture, 50% processing. You may not hold the same views (I already know I’m going to hear about this comment from the “purists”), but you can’t completely dismiss the power of post-processing. When it comes to the artistic side of photography, Photoshop and other similar software is a vital tool of expression.

The main reason I think these results are so amazing is because I gave no instructions or boundaries as to what to do with the original image, other than “process the photo until you’re satisfied”. What I got back was a huge range of technique and style. Amazing.

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS?

I’ve learned a lot watching this project take it’s course, and I’m sure that the participants learned a few things too. But I think there are many key things that all of us can take away from this.

  • There’s More Than One Way to Process a Photo
    In fact, there may be an infinite number of ways, you just have to seek them out and have the creative drive to try different Photoshop techniques.
  • Artistic Style Counts
    Your own style can show through with post-processing just as much as it can in taking the photo.
  • It’s Not the Software, It’s the Artist
    A ton of different software packages were used in these creations. Find something that works for you and develop your techniques.
  • Give Your Photos a Second Chance
    Just because a photo initially looks unusable, doesn’t mean it’s not worth pursuing. A larger processing skillset will give you more options and allow you to use more of your images.
  • Art is Subjective, Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
    Everybody has a different taste for art and photography. Don’t be so quick to judge the work of others as “bad” just because it’s different than you would have done it. Instead, study their work and try to understand what the artist has conveyed. Being less critical and judgmental will allow you to enjoy a much wider spectrum of art.

So study the photos presented here, explore the techniques that were used, ask yourself why you’re drawn to certain images, and see if you can find an understanding of why the artist arrived where they did. There’s a lot more to learn than I’ve listed here, but you’ll have to find it yourself.

PARTICIPATE IN PART 2 OF THIS EXPERIMENT

Watching one image transform into multiple works of art has been absolutely amazing, but I’d like to take things a step further. What is it that makes certain works of art more appealing than others? Are there any patterns or consistencies to the more “popular” photos? To give us some insight to these questions, I need everybody’s help again.

I want you to list your top 3 favorites from the images above. You can vote for up to 3, but no more — the results will be more interesting if you list 3, but you can also list 1 or 2. Each image is numbered from left to right, top to bottom. If you hover your mouse over an image, you should see the little text-tip pop up that shows the number and the artist’s name. Vote by leaving a comment on this page with the numbers for your selections, and feel free to tell us what made you vote for them. I know there are a lot of them, but seriously try to view all of them at their higher resolution by following their links — there are a lot of subtleties that can’t be seen in the thumbnails.

I tried to set this up with my usual poll plugin, but it didn’t like the images very well. Besides, I think voting in the comments will work out better because we can vote for more than just one. So cast your votes now — I’ll tally up the results and discuss my findings next Tuesday (10-23-07). Oh yeah, the most voted for artist will receive $50 in cash or giftcards (I’ll let the winner decide).

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UPDATE: The votes have been counted, and the winner announced. See the results from this project.

12 Ways to be an Environmentally Friendly Photographer

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Trash

The nature of photography is to preserve a scene, emotion, mood, idea, concept, piece of history, etc, via the photograph. We capture what we see at a particular point in time, space, and perspective using the tools of the trade. But as photographers, we also have an obligation to preserve something more important — the environment.

Nature photographers have long been on the forefront of environmental conservation. Art Wolfe, for example, is not only known for his impressive nature photography, but also for his love of the environment. But nature photographers aren’t the only ones responsible for the environment; we all are. The following tips can certainly be applied to natural environments, but many of them are just as applicable in other situations such as street photography — the environment doesn’t end where the streets begin.

Here are 12 ways that you can personally save the environment and ensure that future generations will have the same photographic opportunities that we have.

  1. Tread Lightly
    Be gentle on your surroundings with as little impact as possible. The environment will help reclaim itself, but not if you keep beating it down.
  2. No Trailblazing
    If you’re outdoors where trails are available, don’t make your own. If everybody with a camera left the trail, the impact would be massive.
  3. Don’t Alter the Scene
    Staging a shot by moving or removing parts of the environment is a big no-no. Either make the shot work, or find a different scene.
  4. No Souvenirs
    If everybody took something back with them every time they went out to photograph, there’d be nothing left to photograph. Get your souvenirs in your camera.
  5. Keep Your Distance
    When it comes to wildlife, stay far enough away to keep your presence unknown. Disturbing animals can have severe effects on the local ecosystem.
  6. Pack It In — Pack It Out
    It’s fine to bring waste-producing items with you on a photo outing, but don’t leave it out there. If you had the room to bring it, you have the room to take it away.
  7. Clean Up After Others
    Packing out our own trash is good, but packing out the trash others left behind is great! Make the next photographer’s experience a better one.
  8. Carry a 1-Gallon Bag
    Not only can this handy item protect your camera in wet weather, but it’s also a great trash receptacle.
  9. Document the Beautiful
    Capture things that amaze us. Let everybody know just how beautiful that place can be.
  10. Document the Ugly
    Capture things that disappoint us. Let everybody know that the environment needs our help.
  11. Use Rechargeable Batteries
    If you have a compact camera or a flash unit that uses AA batteries, use rechargeables — they can last for years and help reduce unnecessary waste.
  12. Be a Leader
    If you see somebody doing things that will harm our environment, stand up to them and make them aware of the impact they’ll have.

What other things can we do as photographers and as world citizens to preserve our environment?

Photodump 10-13-2007

This is probably the biggest week I’ve had yet! Tons of new photos from my photo-sharing contacts, and lots of new friends. Here are my selections for the week — check them out at larger size, it makes a huge difference on their effect. And be sure to check out last week’s PhotoDump if you missed it.

33 new favorites from 136 Flickr contacts.

16 new favorites from 50 Zooomr contacts.

FLICKR CONTACT PHOTOS

View as Slideshow

From VictorianoFrom peasapFrom jhoog64From Lara Jade.From kwerfeldeinFrom christopher steven b [*yawn*]From | GW |From hey mr glenFrom UnfurledFrom thescatteredimageFrom zemotionFrom davidkieneFrom Pulok PattanayakFrom Colour VoidFrom Susheel ChandradhasFrom Peter ● initram5 (www.varga.it)From thescatteredimageFrom davidkieneFrom Lara Jade.From ezee as hellFrom Stuck in CustomsFrom rantfoilFrom Colour VoidFrom Colour VoidFrom jimgoldsteinFrom rexauerFrom xgrayFrom the_wolf_brigadeFrom kwerfeldeinFrom *Fly*From | GW |From jimgoldsteinFrom *Fly*

ZOOOMR CONTACT PHOTOS

Empty SoulsAngel @ DuskJust another day!SFPD, you've been caught!Every day is exactly the sameDSC_4081FaucetDon't Be ScaredSteps Into The SkyJesus te ama.DSC_1997DSC_2305When the night falls!warmuseumhdrFilmed in Technicolor!Time Waits

Link Roundup 10-13-2007

  • Advanced Color Correction with Photoshop Levels
    creativepro.com
    Great technique for fixing colors in Photoshop. I’ve used this technique before, it really does work well.
  • Computational Photography
    Audioblog.fr
    Here’s what image editing would be like if Adobe had their way with the lens market. R&D guys are great!
  • 36 Reasons Flickr is a Photographer’s Ultimate Tool
    Photopreneur
    A comprehensive list of things you can do with Flickr to promote yourself as a photographer.
  • Sony World Photography Awards
    WorldPhotographyAwards.org
    Free photography competition for amateurs and professionals alike. You could win a trip to hang with the pros in France!
  • 3D Light Painting
    Neil Creek
    Impressive examples of light painting with a twist — the images are 3D, or stereoscopic.
  • A Basic Curves Tutorial
    The Lens Flare
    I talk about applying a curves adjustment to my images during post-processing, so here’s what it is, how to use it, and what it can do.
  • Video of the Week – This one goes out to all the Lomographers.