Category Archives: Inspirational

Stories focused around providing creative inspiration.

35 Undiscovered Photographers… Discovered by You

I could say a lot about this article and the photographers featured in it… but I’m going to keep it short so you can start discovering some amazing artists. You nominated your favorite undiscovered photographer, then I chose my favorite photo from their work and contacted them about using it in this article. Now it’s your turn again — go check out their stuff! And by no means does the term “undiscovered” imply anything about the quality of their work or their “popularity” — nor do I want to argue about the meaning of the term… just enjoy the photos.

All copyrights of the photos displayed are property of the photographers, I’m only displaying them with written permission.

1. TODD HANZELKA

Todd Hanzelka
discovered by laanba

2. EMIN KULIYEV

Emin Kuliyev
discovered by Claus Jepsen

3. MANUEL LIBRODO

Manuel Librodo
discovered by Bobby Wong Jr.

4. MATTHEW BURRARD-LUCAS

Matthew Burrard-Lucas
discovered by John D

5. ERIK VAN HANNEN

Erik van Hannen
discovered by Matthijs

6. TED BYRNE

Ted Byrne
discovered by Andreas Manessinger

7. SHAWN DUFFY

Shawn Duffy
discovered by Gracie

8. JAN SCHOLZ

Jan Scholz
discovered by the_wolf_brigade

9. KATIA TRUDEAU

Katia Trudeau
discovered by Jason Jang

10. VALERIO BERDINI

Valerio Berdini
discovered by Loredana Spadola

11. SHIRLEY BITTNER

Shirley Bittner
discovered by David Kimmel

12. NICKI

Nicki
discovered by Mark Groves

13. JEREMY BROOKS

Jeremy Brooks
discovered by Trevor Carpenter

14. KUANYING

Kuanying
discovered by D. Travis North

15. THAMER AL-TASSAN

Thamer Al-Tassan
discovered by Sami Alharthi

16. BRUCE PERCY

Bruce Percy
discovered by jeremy

17. CHAD COOMBS

Chad Coombs
discovered by Drew

18. THOMAS JACK HILTON

Thomas Jack Hilton
discovered by Sarah

19. WYLIE MAERCKLEIN

Wylie Maercklein
discovered by Matthew

20. GAVIN HOLT

Gavin Holt
discovered by Russell Kipnis

21. JON THORPE

Jon Thorpe
discovered by Trevor Connell

22. IAN THOMAS

Ian Thomas
discovered by Gary

23. JOHN KEATLEY

John Keatley
discovered by Mike Fiechtner

24. KIRITIN BEYER

Kiritin Beyer
discovered by Matias Okawa

25. VINCENZO COSENZA

Vincenzo Cosenza
discovered by Kevin R

26. RICKY MONTALVO

Ricky Montalvo
discovered by Alexander Katzeff

27. MICHAEL KANG

Michael Kang
discovered by Bryan Villarin

28. GUIDO MUSCH

Guido Musch
discovered by Matthijs

29. YOUNES BOUNHAR

Younes Bounhar
discovered by Jack Thomas

30. HEIKE KÖLZER

Heike Kölzer
discovered by Thias

31. ERIN WILSON

Erin Wilson
discovered by Mike

32. WILLIAM GREENFIELD

William Greenfield
discovered by Linda

33. CHRISTINE MEINTJES

Christine Meintjes
discovered by Karin

34. RUADH DELONE

Ruadh DeLone
discovered by Pawn

35. JERRY GARNS

Jerry Garns
discovered by Tyler Garns

Of course, a huge “thank you” to the featured photographers for taking the time to work with me on this article and for showing support and enthusiasm for the concept. And thanks to everyone who participated in the last article by sharing your favorite undiscovered photographer with all of us.

I really would encourage you to visit each of the photographers shown above — they have a lot of great work in their portfolios and many of them can’t be properly represented by a single image. I can’t even begin to tell you how many hours I spent pouring through their work and trying to narrow my photo selection down to a single image… but I enjoyed every hour of it.

13 Alternative Flower Photography Tips

Flowers are so cliche when it comes to photography… but that doesn’t stop most of us from shooting them! Heck, some photographers even specialize in flower photography and they do a darn good job of it. If you’re getting bored with your current bag-o-tricks for photographing flowers, scan through these tips and get inspired to try something different.

1. DITCH THE COLOR

Flower photos are generally full of vibrant colors, but that’s not the only way to do it. Black and white flower photos can bring much needed attention to details and textures that would otherwise be masked by the blinding colors.

let's craft the only thing we know into surprise
Creative Commons License photo credit: linh.ngân

2. USE AS A FOREGROUND

The flowers don’t always need to be the center of attention. Use them as a foreground or background to lay down some color for your main subject. Bonus points for using complimentary colors in your composition.

Blessed
Creative Commons License photo credit: creativesam

3. LOOK INDOORS

Flowers are inside too! Not every flower photo needs to be 100% “natural” — try your hand at some still life.

3 sisters
Creative Commons License photo credit: mamako7070

4. DOUBLE EXPOSE

Flowers can make for pretty cool double exposures. Experiment with combinations of up-close and far-off shots of the same flowers.

Diana+
Creative Commons License photo credit: Maco@Sky Walker

5. GO ABSTRACT

Flowers have great curves — so use that to your advantage. A good macro setup will allow you to capture abstract images of the colors, curves, and textures.

monstera deliciosa flower
Creative Commons License photo credit: nothing

6. REFLECT WITH WATER

Reflection can be a powerful composition technique, and flower photography is no exception.

Balboa Pond Lily part deux.
Creative Commons License photo credit: peasap

7. FOCUS ON SYMMETRY

Reflections are a type of symmetry, but flowers often exhibit another type of symmetry: radial. Use the radial symmetry of most flowers to create a strong composition.

Gazania
Creative Commons License photo credit: josef.stuefer

8. PAINT YOUR OWN FLOWER

Light painting is another interesting style of photography, so why not mix it up with flower photography?

Night Flower
Creative Commons License photo credit: Brian Auer

9. CATCH A BUG

That’s right, catch a bug in your frame. Those little insects can often add a lot to your image by catching the eye of the viewer. Anything unexpected will generate interest.

ladybug on gerbera
Creative Commons License photo credit: Vanessa Pike-Russell

10. BE A SMURF

Sometimes you have to get a little dirty to get the shot. Macro photographers will often wear grungy clothes for nature outings (or bring a blanket/tarp) because they know they’ll be laying on the ground at some point. Get down there and see how the world looks from the perspective of your feet.

Under the Tulips
Creative Commons License photo credit: ♥siebe ©

11. FIND URBAN FLOWERS

Flowers grow in cities too! Next time you’re in an urban environment, keep your eyes peeled for flowers growing naturally or even landscaped flowers.

urban life
Creative Commons License photo credit: Pedro Moura Pinheiro

12. DO THE DEWDROP TRICK

Most of us have seen these types of photos with the flower inside the dewdrop. Still, it’s a pretty cool trick and you can do it with more than just flowers.

Day 45/365 : All the world in a little droplet
Creative Commons License photo credit: ~jjjohn~

13. USE AS A PROP

If you’re doing people shots or portrait photography, try adding flowers as a secondary subject or background.

Boy taking a rest. (DGM)
Creative Commons License photo credit: Simon Pais-Thomas

Do you have any flower photography tips or examples? If so, leave them in the comments below!

11 Tips for Candid Street Photography

Candid street photography, or candid portraits, can be some of the most interesting photos captured in everyday places. Heading out into the crowd with a camera is exhilarating and intimidating at the same time. Great photographic scenes play out on the streets right before your very eyes, but people are quick to recognize the camera and ruin the opportunity. Being covert without being creepy — it’s all part of the game we call street photography (and quite different from traditional portrait photography).

DISCLAIMER: I’m not suggesting that anything and everything is either legal or moral in street photography situations. Know the laws and use your best judgment. For further reading on the subject, see this Wikipedia article on Street Photography.

I know this is a debated topic among photographers, but the point of this article isn’t to start an argument about the rights and wrongs of candid portraits. The point of this article is to introduce some tips and techniques with example photos for those interested in this style of photography — this is by no means a complete guide to street photography. So here we go…

1. USE A LONG LENS

If you want a good candid, keep a bit of distance from the subject. Once people are aware of your camera, they’re likely to pay more attention and your chances of getting a true candid go down. I’m not saying you should roll around with a 400mm lens, but anything under 85mm or 100mm is going to be fairly close-range. This one was taken with a 105mm on a 1.5x crop sensor — so about 160mm equiv.

Black and White

2. SNEAK UP FROM BEHIND

Obviously it’s harder to get a candid shot from the front than from behind, but sometimes you have to take what you can get. If you like the scene and your subject is staring off into the distance, take a shot. Sometimes getting a shot without the face can add a bit of mystery to the photo too.

Surfer and Board

3. WATCH THE BENCHES

The hard part of catching a candid portrait is that people are moving, things are passing in front of your view, and your window of opportunity passes quickly. People generally sit on benches, which means they’re not moving around too much and they might be there for more than 5 seconds. Look for the subjects that are focused on some task, such as feeding birds or reading a paper.

Mexican Bus Stop

4. KEEP YOUR EARS OPEN

Your eyes are your primary sensor for photography, but keep your ears open too — especially when your face is pressed up against the back of the camera. You can often hear opportunities coming your way, sometimes before you can even see them.

Battling Fuel Prices

5. SHOOT THE PERFORMERS

Street performers are great fun to photograph. They expect that people will take their photo during the performance, so you need not worry about ticking them off. Plus, they’re usually good characters and make for great portraits. Just don’t forget to throw a few bucks their way — they aren’t usually out there for the pure fun of it.

Cigar Humor

6. FIND GROUP GATHERINGS

If you see a group of people congregating for whatever reason, this is a good chance to mix with the crowd and get up close for some candids. Gatherings can take many forms: drum circles (shown below), protests, rallies, parades, etc.

Moving with the Music

7. DON’T FORGET THE BACKGROUND

A lot of times it’s hard enough to get a good candid shot of the subject, so worrying about the background seems secondary. But if you find a good strong background, get the composition all set up and wait for the subjects to enter the scene.

These Walls Are Busy

8. GET OFF THE STREETS

Street photography doesn’t necessarily have to be done on the streets. Any place where there are people, there will be an opportunity for some candid portraits. So things like public buildings, beaches, parks, etc.

Another Day At The Beach

9. FIND A SPOT AND WAIT

I’ve used this technique from time to time with good results. Find a spot that you like — something with an interesting composition, pattern, or background. Now envision somebody in that scene as you’d like to take the photo. Get all set up… and wait for it. Somebody will eventually walk into the scene and you’ll get your shot.

Big White Boxes

10. USE A WIDE LENS

Not all portraits need to be up-close and personal. Use a wide lens from time to time and capture more of the surroundings than the person — but use the person as an anchor for the composition.

The Watchman

11. SOMETIMES YOU JUST GET CAUGHT…

If you’re going to take candid photos of people on the streets, be prepared to get caught. Also be prepared for anything from a friendly conversation to unfriendly confrontation to physical assault. All I’m saying is be mindful.

Daniel Devenport

I’m interested to hear from all of you on this topic. Leave a comment and/or tip in the comments below… maybe we can pull together another follow-up article full of tips and photos from the readers.

Sunset Photos and Tips from the Readers

I recently posted an article titled “7 Ways to Avoid a Cliche Sunset Photo” and offered up some ways to think outside the box when the sun sets. I used my own photos as examples for my points, and at the end of the article I invited the readers of the blog to share their own tips and photos in the comments.

After 12 days, we had a whole lot of great tips and photos posted. So I decided that it was time to show them off! Here are 35 sunset photos and 30 sunset photography tips from 26 photographers. And keep an open mind while reading the tips because many of them can be applied to much more than just sunset photography.

John Milleker

A Sunset can be taken anywhere in the world. Give your viewer some hints to help them figure out where the image was taken.

Tony

Silhouettes tend to be a fail-safe way of enhacing your composition. Get someone to stand between you and the sun.

Scott Coulter

OK, one thing you haven’t mentioned yet is HDR… this can be good for emphasizing the colors that are present and making the cloud patterns more dramatic. Works best on days with not too much wind, so the clouds don’t blur/ghost when the exposures are blended.

Andrew Ferguson

Tim Solley

You could try HDR, as I’ve done…once.

Or, go for a detail shot.

Gary

Look to shoot the sunset reflected in an object. It can help to make the shot more abstract, and gets the viewer more engaged in the photo as they try to figure it out.

As I was reviewing the tips here I wanted to restate how important I think Brian’s #5 is. Turn around is a terrific way to get the out-of-the-box shot, and it is also SO MUCH easier to do, because you don’t get contrast issues and such… This shot is from a sunrise, but I think its a good example…

Chris

Neil Creek

Try HDR. One commenter above mentioned it, but I wanted to emphasise tonemapping for realism, not effect. Halos and dirty clouds aren’t attractive.

Shoot landmarks or icons against the sunset. Locals will recognise them and those from elsewhere can discover a beautiful new scene.

Strobe it. Wait till after the sun has set and use the fading sky as a backdrop for some strobe action.

Get experimental. I took a full spherical panorama of an iconic church in New Zealand, and remapped it into a “little planet”. Here we can see both the last of the setting sun, and the golden-lit church opposite.

Wayne

Wait for the right moment.

inspirationbit

Don’t miss the right moment. Here’s the photo of a sunset I shot from the balcony of our condo last year. We’ve had 4 days of non-stop rain in Vancouver and then all of a sudden the sky has cleared and the sun was shining, just minutes before the sunset. The sky was unbelievably beautiful, see for yourself.

the_wolf_brigade

Play with perception. Silhouettes work well, but get creative with them by using the +/- exposure control to really bring out the effect in camera.

Steve Berardi

Just one quick one to add: don’t put the horizon in the center–you’re photographing the sunset, so the sky should take up the vast majority of the frame.

Trevor Carpenter

OK, so here’s a couple. The first one is of the wonderful light cast by a setting sun. The second one I incorporated Jeremy Brooks’ sweet ride, in the shot.

Zig

Look for the unusual. Sometime certain weather conditions will throw interesting lighting out, even after the sun is below the horizon. For example this shaft of light.

Jeremy Brooks

And for the exception to the “the sky should take up the majority of the frame” rule, here’s one I took that is mostly railroad tracks and train cars, but with the light of the sunset at the top of the frame and reflected from the tracks.

Antoine Khater

Get low pickup a low view point.

Do not include the sun specially if you follow your tip “Go Wide” with a wide angle the sun will look just like a small spot in the picture and will loose interest and would rather look like a dust bun or something.

Use a foreground as focal point Include an object relatively big in the foreground to serve as the picture’s focal point.

Martin

There’s no need to get the sun in the frame if you’ve got something interesting in the frame….particularly a silhouette against the sunset sky.

Martin Wolf

Why not go vertical? This photo is a sunrise, but I think sunset and sunrise are very similar.

Devansh

Hanging around long enough, say about half an hour, after the sun disappears below the horizon gives you the opportunity to take some long exposures, and lets you include some painting with light techniques.

Maureen Bond

I like the tip about turning around. I’m trying to use this tip with all of my photography outings. As for sunsets and sunrises I like to look for elements if possible for framing. This shot is a sunrise.

Phil Lane

Silhouettes are a good idea I agree – you can get something stark to stand out against the background.

Also, using a flash is a good ldea to let you balance the subject and the sunset

Eric Gitonga

Jamie

Jeff

I love the sky a half hour or so after sunset, in this image I found something that might be pretty boring during the day, but has a whole different feel in the evening.

This one might be somewhat cliche, but I tried to get silhouette’s of a couple mosque towers along the banks of the Nile, coupled with a relatively wide angle to capture as much of the clouds as possible.

Siva

This is a shot i took some time back from my balcony in Kuala Lumpur. In fact there was a plane passingby during the 30″ long shutter. Created a cool streak along the sky.

Dememtrios the traveller

Great photos and tips from all who participated! The photo-in-the-comment thing was a new feature I was testing out, and I’m so pleased with the outcome that I’ve decided to keep that feature on the blog. So you can post (relevant) photos in your comments at any time from here out!

7 Ways to Avoid a Cliche Sunset Photo

Just admit it — you can’t help yourself from taking sunset photos. We all do it. The problem is that (since we all do it) sunset photos can be extremely cliche. So when the sun starts going down, you’ve got to think outside the box to get unique photos. Here are some tips to get your creative juices flowing.

Be sure to read the note at the end of the post!


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1. GO WIDE

While you might be tempted to whip out that super-telephoto lens and get up close on the sun as it goes below the horizon, you might consider going the opposite direction with your lens choice. The sky is pretty big and sunsets can cover a large portion of it. My lens of choice is the Sigma 10-20mm pulled all the way back to 10mm. This gives me over 100 degrees angle of view and it makes for some stunning landscapes and sunsets.

Sunset Flames

2. GET COLORFUL

Sure, sunsets can be really colorful and great on their own, but they can often look the same (especially when you live in an area with very infrequent cloud cover). My solution: shoot some slide film and get it cross processed. The blueish-green photo was shot with Velvia 50 while the pinkish-purple one was shot with Velvia 100.

Darkness Creeps In

Purple Skies

3. WAIT AROUND

If you’re with a group of photographers you’ll hear the shutters rev-up just as the sun begins to cross the horizon — this is when the colors are most obvious to our eyes. But wait around for another 10 or 20 minutes and shoot some long exposure stuff with a tripod. Even though you can’t see the colors, they’re still hanging around. After the sun sets, the upper sky will tend to turn a deep blue, almost purple.

Another Day Ends

4. TAKE TWO

Play around with double exposures and see what you can come up with. If you’re shooting digital, you could probably come up with all sorts of ways to combine your sunset photos to create alien landscapes. If you’re shooting film, just remember that areas of shadow will show the double image more strongly.

Alien Sunset

5. TURN AROUND

We’re programmed to shoot right into the sun at sunset — that’s usually where the fun stuff is happening. But take a second, peel the camera away from your face, and look around. Maybe that sunset is creating a brilliant lighting situation right behind you.

Colors of the Canyon

6. USE PROPS

Take the ramp, bike, and board out of this photo and you now have a beach sunset pic that looks just like 50% of every beach sunset photo ever taken. Look for things to place in the foreground in order to add more interest to the scene.

End of the Watch

7. FORGET THE COLORS

Sunset photos are generally known for their great colors, but sometimes pulling the color out can make the photo a better one. Focus on lines and shadows while you’re shooting the sunset, in addition to the other black and white photography tips.

Into The Sea

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Post your own sunset tips and photos in the comments! I’d love to see some tip/photo combos down in the comments. You can use the “img” hmtl tag to display images or click on the link below the comment box if you’re unfamiliar with html (please limit the photos to 500px or smaller). After the comments slow down, I’ll pick out some reader tips and photos for a follow-up post!

[UPDATE]: I’ve posted a follow-up article on this topic highlighting all the great sunset photos and tips from the readers — check it out! Definitely worth the read!

What’s Your Newest Inspiration?

I feel that inspiration is an important driving mechanism for photographers. Its the thing that pushes us to take photos and improve ourselves. And the interesting thing about inspiration is that everybody’s is different, yet it drives us to do similar things (like photography).

The other day, my friend Vivien from InspirationBit asked me what my new sources of inspiration are this year. I’ve written about my sources of inspiration in the past, but it was a good question to ponder at the start of the new year. Here was my response:

I’m going to have to say that my new darkroom is quickly becoming my inspiration for photography. There’s something magical in loading a piece of film into the enlarger and creating a photo from light, paper, and a few chemicals. The tactile and visual qualities of paper far outweighs the additional cost of printing. Seeing one of your own photos on a silver-gelatin print is pretty amazing. So with that, I’ll be shooting a fair amount of black and white film this year. I’ve also discovered the awesomeness of printing from medium format film, so I’ve vowed to get more use out of my old Twin Lens Reflex (which is crazy-sharp even though it’s over 50 years old)!

[UPDATE] Vivien has posted her blog post displaying answers from select bloggers she contacted.

So I’m turning Vivien’s question to all of you now. I’d like to hear about your newest source of inspiration and how it’s impacted your work.

What’s the latest thing (or person) that gets you fired up about photography?

What direction is your newfound inspiration pushing you?

80 Film Cameras for Under 50 Dollars!

I want these awesome camera reviews to be the main focus of this article, so all the text will be below the mosaic. As a result of a group project, here are 80 film cameras for under $50!

And if you’re into film, be sure to check out my film photography blog.

Project Winner #1 - (49) Marine XI, by Erick CusiProject Winner #2 - (14) Handy Box, by Jan MorenProject Winner #3 - (15) Yashica Samurai X3.0, by Tomas Webb (aka The_Wolf_Brigade)

(1) Minolta Hi-Matica AF2, by narruemon(2) Diana+, by Stephan Kaps(3) Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim, by Rafi Abdullah(4) Elikon 535, by Johann Affendy Mahfoor(5) Polaroid Pronto 600, by nan(6) Beier Beroquick KB 135, by Stéphane Heinz(7) Fed 3, by Brenden Delzer(8) Smena 35mm, by Matt Steinbrecher(9) Polaroid Fun Shooter, by Chica(10) Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim, by Toycamper(11) Akira PC-606, by Toycamper(12) Olympus OM-2, by Sam Galope(13) Olympus Trip 35, by Matt Charnock(15) Yashica Samurai X3.0, by Tomas Webb (aka The Wolf Brigade)(16) Lomography Diana+, by Brian Auer(17) Fujica Mini, by Bernd Saller(18) Argus C-3, by Brandon Babbitt(19) Minolta AutoPak 470, by Rex Auer(20) Ricoh 35 ZF, by Mikhail Fludkov(21) Kodak Vigilant 616, by Gary(22) Fujifilm Nexia Q1, by Toycamper(23) Meikai Point & Shoot, by Toycamper(24) Minolta X-370, by Bob Simmons(25) Kodak Retinette 1A, by kristarella(26) 25mm Panorama Camera, by Michele Ferrario(27) Olympus Pen EES-2, by Javier Odriozola(28) GP Hero, by Dane Doerflinger(29) Lomography Diana+, by Gavin McDougall(30) Zorki 4K, by Hitesh Sawlani(31) Zorki 10, by Toycamper(32) Villa Avto, by bLind-Shutterz(33) Kodak Instamatic 33, by monika mitterdorfer(34) Praktica B200, by Marco van Egdom(35) Reporter, by Stefan Bucher(36) Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim, by Rodrigo Monteiro Gonçalves(37) PhotoFlex MX-35, by Toycamper(38) Split-Cam, by Toycamper(39) Mamiya C330, by Jeremy Johnsen(40) Zenit TTL, by Dima(41) Pentax K-1000, by Nick Jungels(42) Chajka II, by Rodrigo Monteiro Gonçalves(43) Agfa Isolette I, by Mustanir Ali(44) Pentax K-1000, by Derek Dysart(45) Minolta SRT-Super, by Bryan Villarin(46) Lomo Action Sampler, by Udi Tirosh(47) Sears KS Super II, by Scott Coulter(48) Vivitar IC100, by Erick Cusi(50) Vivitar Avon, by Erick Cusi(51) Praktica Super TL, by Victor Ionescu(52) Baby Company Yellow Green Camera, by Erick Cusi(53) Sunny Fruit Juice 35mm, by Rodrigo Monteiro Gonçalves(54) Gevaert Rex Lujo, by Maria Eugenia Quiroga(55) Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim, by Claire Lu(56) Golden Half, by Kristoffer Marklund(57) FED 4, by Daria Sukhanovska(58) Agfa Billy I, by Antonio Marques(59) Konica C35, by Jim Davies(60) Canon Rebel 2000, by Monte Landis(61) Lomography Fisheye Camera, by John Hawkins(62) Time Camera, by Erick Cusi(63) Yashica J-7, by Mattias Wirf(64) Pinhole Camera, by Violeta Riera(65) Voigtländer Vitoret, by Jes Consuegra(66) Pentax Espio, by Ani Castillo(67) Nimslo 3D, by Hugo Pereira(68) FED 5C, by Suzanne Offner(69) Pentax IQ Zoom 835, by Monte Landis(70) Yashica-A, by Jason Hall(71) Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim, by Elaine Mesker(72) Yashica-Mat LM, by Sarah Gerace(73) Nikon One Touch L35AF-2, by Raquel Stanton(74) Tura Underwater Camera, by Stephanie Briggs(75) Lomography Holga, by Nathaniel Perales(76) Nikon F3, by Luke Rossin(77) Minolta X-370, by J.P. Stephens(78) Minolta XG-M, by Rey Berrones(79) Lomography Holga 135, by Matt Maldre(80) Olympus OM-1, by Amber Lupin

When I announced this project, I wasn’t sure what to expect for the level of participation. I asked for people to buy a sub-$50 film camera (or use one they already had), write a review of the camera, and publish an entire roll of photos from the camera. I was kind of hoping for 30 or 40 entries.

But the community exceeded my expectations and surprised the heck out of me! We had all kinds of crazy stuff showing up: rangefinders, SLRs, TLRs, toy cameras, underwater cameras, point & shoots, box cameras, folding cameras, Polaroids, and even a 3D camera. 80 of them in just one month! I applaud your efforts — you guys are awesome! With all this enthusiasm for film photography, I feel like we’re on the brink of a film-revolution. It was great to see so many people picking up a film camera for the first time in years (or for the first time ever!), and having such a good time with it.

So if you’re ever looking for a cheap film camera — just go through the list above and I’m sure you’ll find something that sparks your interest. The photographers who participated in this project have essentially created a huge resource for other photographers that may be interested in film photography.

OUR SPONSORS ROCK!

How cool is it that ILFORD Photo and Lomography have sponsored this project to give away a Diana+ and 10 rolls of film to 3 winners!? These two companies are at the heart of present day film photography and it’s pretty awesome that they’ve taken an interest in our project.

ILFORD Photo

I’d like to offer my thanks and gratitude to both companies for joining us, and I encourage all of you to check out what they have to offer.

A BIG THANKS TO OUR JUDGES

I asked each of our two external judges to choose their favorite project entry — which is a daunting task with 80 participants! I’d like to extend a huge “thank you” to Jim Talkington and Udi Tirosh for taking on this role. Two of the three winners are shown at the very top of the list, and will each receive a complimentary Diana+ from Lomography and 10 Rolls of film from ILFORD Photo. And don’t forget to cast your votes for the third winner!

A few words from Udi of DIYPhotography.net

Participation was amazing. Now, this is not your ordinary “shoot a pic and submit” kinda contest, it requires effort, discipline, and commitment. After all it is film and it takes at least one day to chimp. Not to mention getting a camera for less than 50 greens.

It is not easy going through 80 entries so here is the process I used: I divided the submissions into 8 groups of 10, and browsed through each group, limiting myself for one or two selection per group based on general impression, first paragraph, and camera reviewed. I ended up with 12 reviews. I skimmed through the 12 and narrowed it down to three. that was not easy as there were more than three that actually were really good.

It was a though competition between Nick Jungels’ Pentax K1000 review, Erick’s Marine XI, and Mr. Wolf’s Yashica SamuraiX3.0.

The Pentax K1000 review was written right from the heart. It is packed with the technicalities that would interest me when considering a film camera like the viewfinder, the aperture ring, and “feel” of the camera. However, Nick is not just talking about the K1000, he is talking to the K1000, and for this he gets my full appreciation.

The Wolf’s interview with Dr. Lomo was fun to read and was both amusing and informative. and earned points for “sucking up to the prize givers” (yes wolf it was worth it).

The last review that made the final trio was the Marine XI. I could not resist a review that brings GAS in the first paragraph. This certainly got my attention. This along with the creative use of flash got Erick the winning vote. This and the Cohaagen-Give-those-people-air expression on the set taken with the camera.

And a few words from Jim of Pro Photo Life

It’s been a great deal of fun getting to judge these entries. From the moment Brian first announced the contest I’ve been looking forward to seeing what readers would come up with and the results have exceeded expectations. This contest rocks, on many levels.

There was a great deal of diversity and many interesting cameras: toy cameras, half-frames, Soviet SLRs…you name it. And being totally honest, I always like a good bargain. Part of the intrigue would be seeing just how much camera could be purchased for $50. Just what bargains are out there?

So it was with a bit of a personal surprise that I found my winner to be Janne in Osaka with the simple “Handy Box” box camera. Rather than seeing how much camera could be purchased for $50, Janne showed how little camera is actually needed to enjoy photography and create beautiful photographs. The text was informative, explaining the camera, company background and tips for shooting with the simple little box. And the photos sealed the deal for me. Shot in a variety of situations and obviously more than just a test roll, they were a pleasure to view.

But the tech junkie in me still wants to buy a Zorki, Fed or Olympus Pen. As a runner-up I have to go in the other direction and point out the very unique Yashica Samurai half-frame camera (and equally unique review) from The Wolf Brigade. The little Yashica is about as high tech and over-engineered a $50 camera as you’ll find, a complete contrast to the little Handy Box. Long live the endless variety and possibilities of the $50 film camera!

Again guys, thanks so much for judging this contest!

DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!

[UPDATE] The official voting is over and all three winners have been awarded their prize — but you can still leave a comment about your favorite entry!

Like I said, we’re giving away 3 prize packages. The first two winners have been chosen by our judges, and the third will be chosen by the masses. Leave a comment with your vote for best project entry. Look for those who put in the extra effort and/or got creative. You can vote by listing the entry number or the name of the reviewer — if you hover your mouse over the thumbnails, you’ll see this information show up. More than one vote is OK if you can’t decide between a few really good ones. One week of voting, then I’ll tally-up the points and announce the third winner.

Take on a Long-Term Project

Day 17 (September 27th): Memories
Creative Commons License photo credit: blythe_d

I’ve spoken before about the benefits of shooting with purpose — taking on small themes or projects to keep your focus and sharpen your skills. So to expand on that topic, I’d like to talk about taking on a long-term project.

Not too long ago, friend and fellow film photographer Tom Webb wrote about his undertaking of a major project that would last for over 12 months. The idea being that he would focus on a single subject over a long period of time to create a substantial body of work. He chose to take on the Lithgow Blast Furnace as his topic. I fell in love with the idea and I began to look at my own photography in search of something that I could take on.

It hit me that I had already been focusing on beach town photography here in Southern California, and I started forming a plan that would take this concept a step further. I decided that I would make an effort to document the culture found in these beach towns near my home, and that I would stick with it for at least another year.

After some conversations with Tom, he talked me into a deadline of Winter, 2009. Between now and then, we would both pursue our project in creating this body of work. Once we approach that deadline, we’ll be working on presenting our work through various avenues. Some of the ideas he and I have had for this final presentation include gallery exhibitions, art shows, documentary films, photo flip-books, etc. So it’s kind of like a thesis in photography.

Why is it beneficial to take on something like this?

Focusing on a topic can give you extra inspiration and motivation. Short term projects are cool because you don’t have to commit for any substantial amount of time (in case you end up hating the topic). But long term projects can keep you running when you’re feeling all dried up and uninspired. These projects can be a great filler for the times when nothing else seems to be going on. Not only that, but if you stick with a project for any amount of time, the outcome of the project can be quite rewarding and a great source of pride in your own work.

So if you’re looking for a way to add some true meaning to your photography, consider picking up a long term project. Choose something that’s close to your heart and piques your interest. Stick with it, struggle with it, and turn it into something much greater than a single photo.

Five More Fantastic Flickr Photographers

Some time ago, I wrote an article titled “Five Fantastic Flickr Photographers“. The five photographers featured were contacts of mine whose work I really appreciated. Since that time, I’ve encountered many more great photographers on Flickr, particularly those involved with the Epic Edits Flickr Group.

Week after week, as I go through our group pool, I encounter amazing photos from a select few photographers. Without even looking at the photo details, I know who it’s from and I know that I love it. But then again, these are folks that I’ve been following long before the formation of our Flickr group. So pay these artists a visit, add them as a contact, and let them know that their work is appreciated.

Mathias Pastwa

MATHIAS PASTWA

- Germany

100 possible ways don't go to work - that's one the-tube

I’ve been following Mathias for quite some time — I was following him on Zooomr before he even jumped over to Flickr. His work is absolutely captivating, often appearing as though it’s from a different world. He is well known for his eye-catching use of color and form via industrial landscapes. But he’s also well versed in street photography, urban & rural landscapes, abstracts, and many more genres. Mathias also has a way with film that sets him apart from the crowd. In addition to recently joining the Fine Art Photoblog, Mathias has a portfolio website filled with some of his best works.

Gregor Winter

GREGOR WINTER

- Germany

untitled subway moment

Gregor gives the impression that he’s a weathered street photographer from the mid-century past. His photos have a very unique and identifiable style, and they are a true testament to his abilities as an artists. Though Gregor doesn’t post a large quantity of photos, when he does post a photo it’s an instant favorite of mine — well thought out, well executed, and well presented. Having dabbled with street photography myself, I know just how difficult it can be to produce impressive photos such as Gregor’s.

Javier Yanes

JAVIER YANES

- Spain

family; Sailing Dreams Hi...Summer

Javi has one of the most unique and memorable styles. You can typically spot his work by his signature green-cast images — which suit his composition style well. Javier’s eye for composition is his strongest point; creating photos that are simple and interesting to look at. What really amazes me is that you can dig as deep as you’d like into his archives, and you won’t find anything of lesser quality or intrigue. If you do so, you’ll also notice that he’s done a fair amount of travel to some very interesting places. Oh… and he tends to show up underwater quite often — which is another really cool aspect of his work.

Victor Bezrukov

VICTOR BEZRUKOV

- Isreal

wooot on the swing

Victor’s photos come across as being very bold and intentional. With his images typically revolving around human subjects, he manages to capture personal and interesting features of his subjects. Victor’s portrait work is quite stunning, mainly because of the intimacy found in each photo. He also has a unique talent for capturing “portraits” of features other than the face — feet and hands in particular. And the color choice for most of his work — outstanding black and white, of course.

Tom Webb

TOM WEBB

- Australia

The viewing of creation. A ghostly self portrait with the unexpected bonus of a light trail.

Tom is fast becoming something of a “Flickr Legend” due to his amazing social interactions and for his work with film photography. Many of you probably only know him as “the_wolf_brigade” — and those who do know him understand what I’m talking about. His work with film has been a personal inspiration to me. Not only is Tom very good and very capable with film, he’s also very open to sharing that experience with anyone who asks. Lately, he’s been experimenting with long exposures and even a few double exposures. If Tom keeps going at film the way he has, he’ll be a force to reckon with in the very near future. You can also keep up with Tom on his photography blog: The Mediation of Life

Honorable Mentions

In addition to the five I’ve chosen to highlight, I wanted to pick out another five photographers from the Epic Edits Flickr Group who often catch my eye. It was actually a very difficult decision to choose the top five from all ten of these photographers.

Be sure to check out all these great photographers, add them as a friend, star their photos, leave comments on their work, let them know they are appreciated. Following the work of others is a great way to improve your own photography and it’s quite inspirational.

A Year of Beach Culture Photography

[If you’d like to grab this video, you can get it at YouTube]

Every region has it’s own special culture and atmosphere, just waiting to be experienced. The Southern California beach towns are no exception! It’s been one year since I moved to San Diego, and I’ve been captivated by the beach towns that lie along the Pacific Coastline. As a photographer, I’ve made it a point to explore and document these towns, in hopes that I’ll eventually be able to share something greater than individual photos.

What I’m sharing today isn’t a finished product — it’s still in the making. The video above and the slideshow below are just a sample of what I hope to achieve some day. I’m lucky to be able to live in such a great place, and I don’t know how long I’ll have that ability. Prior to living here, I lived in New Jersey and I got to experience the East Coast culture and New York City culture. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in full swing with my photography and I missed a great opportunity to document an amazing region. I don’t plan on making that mistake again.

And to help me finish this project, I’d like to get your help. For the next year of my existence in Southern California, I’ll be photographing with this project in mind. Based on what you’ve seen here, give me some feedback. What’s working? What’s not? What’s missing? What’s overdone? What places or things can I photograph to better capture the culture? When you think of Southern California beach towns, what comes to mind? I’d love to get some feedback from all of you.