Mandy Walker ACS ASC – An Artist and a General

On the latest T-Stop Inn podcast, host Ben Allan ACS CSI talks to legendary Australian DP Mandy Walker ACS ASC. Mandy Walker ACS ASC talks about shooting the new live-action “MULAN” for Disney on the ALEXA 65, “HIDDEN FIGURES” on 35mm, collaborating with great directors like Niki Caro and Baz Luhrmann and how she prepares … Continued

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Falcon Eyes BL-30TD Review: The Ultimate $800 Video Light

Falcon Eyes BL-30TD Review: The Ultimate $800 Video Light

We’ve been using the Falcon Eyes BL-30TD for three months now, and we are big fans. For $800, it has an amazing list of features. But, how does it compare to another light that sells for the same price?

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Is Nikon About to Announce a Mirrorless APS-C Camera With No Viewfinder?

Is Nikon About to Announce a Mirrorless APS-C Camera With No Viewfinder?

Rumors are suggesting that Nikon has filed a patent in Japan for a mirrorless, APS-C camera that does not feature a viewfinder. Speculation has been mounting over the last few months and the design may have just taken a dramatic step closer.

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First Glimpse at High Resolution Raw Files From the 61MP Sony a7R IV

First Glimpse at High Resolution Raw Files From the 61MP Sony a7R IV

There have been numerous first glimpses of images taken with the new 61MP Sony a7R IV, but photographer and YouTuber Jared Polin is now sharing full-res RAW files. He has also made the images available for download, so you can have a go at editing for yourself.

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A Week as a Professional Photographer

A Week as a Professional Photographer

Before I became a photographer, I had ideas as to what the career might be like, boy was I wrong. Here is what a week as a professional photographer looks like.

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How Loupedeck+ Fixes Some of Lightrooms Biggest Failures

How Loupedeck+ Fixes Some of Lightrooms Biggest Failures

While Lightroom remains one of the most popular options for processing raw files, it is far from perfect. Thankfully, where Lightroom fails, the Loupedeck+ picks up the slack.

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Gordon Parks, Flavio, and Me: The Evolution of a Photo Story

Do you ever wonder why one person gets chosen over another, or how a story comes to be told in a certain way? Well here’s something that happened to me recently that gave me new insights about how choices are sometimes made and what it tells us about the people who make them.

In 1961, Gordon Parks went to Brazil for Life magazine to shoot a story about poverty in the favelas of Rio. Parks was famous, the first black photographer to shoot for Life magazine and a consummate storyteller with a camera. His assignment was to photograph a family, concentrating on the father, to illuminate the conditions the family lived in.

Through the Life office in Rio, Parks was connected to a family, and he began working on the story. But the more he shot, the more he found himself concentrating on a different family member, a young boy named Flavio, the eldest of eight children. Flavio, then twelve, was painfully thin and suffered from severe asthma, but something in him connected with Parks and Parks began to concentrate his pictures heavily on the boy.

When the Life office heard about it, they tried to get the story back on track. But Parks worked hard to convince them that he was right to concentrate on Flavio, and ultimately they agreed. For twenty days, he focused his camera on the boy, and in the end, he brought home a rich trove of beautifully humanistic images that showed the poverty of the Favelas but also the humanity there.

Flávio de Silva, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1961, photo Gordon Parks, © The Gordon Parks Foundation.

The story was published in June of 1961, a 12-page spread that became a subject of conversation across America, while Flavio became a touchstone for millions. Life magazine brought him to the states, where he received medical treatment for his asthma, then lived with a family in Colorado for two years. He learned to speak and read English and saw life as an American for that time, but then he was returned to Brazil against his wishes, and he lived his life there, never returning to America… until this year.

The story follows several threads from there. The Brazilian press was incensed, convinced that Brazil had been unfairly singled out for its poor. O Cruzeiro, a popular Brazilian publication sent Henri Ballot, one of their staff photographers to New York to find and shoot a story about a poor child living in the slums of the Lower East Side. Of course, he did.

Child Playing Surrounded by Trash, Manhattan, New York, 1961. Photo Henri Ballot/Instituto Moreira Salles Collection

The pictures of poverty he made in NY were published on his return, and they sparked a lot of heated conversation, not unlike the photographs of Baltimore we are seeing right now.

Eventually, that story died down, but the story of Flavio continued to be told. Over the years, Parks occasionally visited him and took pictures, and others contributed to the story as well. Many of these pictures have now become part of a show called Gordon Parks: The Flavio Story, which is currently at the Getty Center. They can also be seen in the book The Flavio Story. The Getty, working with the Ryerson Image Center of Toronto, Canada, and Instituto Moreira Salles of Brazil, crafted a show that offers a rich collection of images which bring this complicated story to life.

I sat in the next room, listening to the curator’s talk — that’s Flavio with his back to the camera. Photo by Andy Romanoff.

I was invited to the curatorial walkthrough, and one of the highlights was that Flavio would be present, his first visit to America since 1962. I was curious about him, what the long-ago exposure had done to him, and what his take on the story would be. The tour began with introductions by the curator, after which Flavio spoke briefly, welcoming everyone. Then we walked through the rooms of the exhibition to listen and learn about the pictures and the stories behind them.

I was walking in pain, an extruded disc sending fire down my leg. When it got to be too much, I slipped away from the group and found a bench in the next room to rest on. I sat there listening to scraps of the curator’s talk floating into the room, my head down. And then I heard a voice say, “Are you ok, you look like you are in pain.” It was Flavio! He had noticed me hurting and walked away from the group to make sure I was ok. And at that moment I understood why Gordon Parks had pushed Life magazine to let him tell Flavio’s story all those years ago.

This was Flavio’s big day, his first time back in America in fifty years, his chance to be seen and to tell his story, and instead of focusing on that he had walked away to offer comfort to another human being. In that instant, I saw the quality that made Flavio special and knew that quality was what Parks had seen as well.

Me (left) and Flavio (right) standing in front of a Gordon Parks photo of the Favela, 2019. Photo by Kate Egan.

I hope you get to see this show or read the book. Gordon Parks’ photos are warm and wonderful, and seeing his pictures next to the more pointed work of Henri Ballot lets you experience how differently two people can approach the same story. Both men tell their version, but the difference between Parks’ pictures, made to show the suffering of the poor in hopes of making a difference, and Ballot’s made to only prove poverty exists everywhere result in pictures which stir very different feelings. I know which ones I like.

Regardless though, don’t miss the pictures of Flavio. See what a special human being looks like, even at twelve.

About the author: Andy Romanoff is a writer, photographer, photojournalist, and a few other things besides. The opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of the author. To see or read more of Andy’s work, visit his website or give him a follow on Instagram and Medium. This piece was also published here.

This Guy Turned His Broken Computer Into a Working Camera

When Iranian photographer Alireza Rostami’s first computer from 20 years ago died, he decided to give it new life and a new purpose by turning it into a camera.

Rostami took the various components from the computer (and other old computers) and constructed a light-sealed box for the camera body (with the help of some light-blocking paper).

He placed a wooden backing in the rear to hold his film and a Linhof lens mount on the front.

The unusual-looking camera is fully functional, as these selfies show:

“I believe that we can always build new gadgets with a little thought and creativity — gadgets that will surprise our friends and those around us,” Rostami tells PetaPixel.

The photographer says he would love to one day make a computer camera that actually functions as both a camera and a computer.

Rostami is the same photographer who previously turned a broken camera into a working watch camera, turned a broken laptop’s screen into the “ground glass” of a view camera, and flipped an element in an old lens for “magical bokeh.”

Can We Just Kill the Exposure Triangle Already?

Can We Just Kill the Exposure Triangle Already?

The exposure triangle claims to explain the relationship between shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. At first glance, it looks like a useful diagram, until you realize that it’s not all what it’s cracked up to be.

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Debunking 12 Common Photography Myths

Photographers Tony and Chelsea Northrup made this 30-minute video in which they discuss and debunk 12 different photography myths that photographers widely believe.

Here are the 12 questions/topics discussed in the video:

  1. Should you fully discharge your battery to avoid a memory effect?
  2. Will deleting pictures in-camera corrupt your SD card?
  3. Do UV filters really improve image quality?
  4. Do higher megapixels really equal more noise?
  5. Do medium format cameras really have better “compression”?
  6. Is raw processing really better on your PC than in your camera?
  7. Can you edit JPGs?
  8. Do you really need to turn off image stabilization on a tripod?
  9. Are lenses really sharpest at the f/8 “sweet spot”?
  10. Is manual focus more accurate?
  11. Does Canon really have the best color science?
  12. Are memory card failures caused by bad brands or user error?

For further reading, here’s an investigation into “lens compression” and a discussion on 5 myths of digital photography.

(via Tony and Chelsea Northrup via Fstoppers)

The Essential Gear for Shooting a Meteor Shower

The Essential Gear for Shooting a Meteor Shower

With the Perseids meteor shower set to peak in the next few days, it’s a great time to review the techniques and gear involved in capturing a meteor. Want to know how to catch a picture of a shooting star?

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Instagram to be Renamed to ‘Instagram from Facebook’

Instagram is getting a name tweak as Facebook seeks to signal its ownership and control over its subsidiary apps. The photo-sharing app will soon be called “Instagram from Facebook.”

The Information first reported on the change, which will be shared by WhatsApp, turning it into “WhatsApp from Facebook.”

The new “Instagram from Facebook” name will initially appear on the listings for the app in Apple’s App Store and Google Play, but it seems likely it’ll be used on the splash screen when opening the app as well — The Verge notes that Facebook already appended “from Facebook” to Oculus, the VR company it acquired in 2014:

“We want to be clearer about the products and services that are part of Facebook,” a Facebook spokesperson tells The Information.

It remains to be seen whether the name change will negatively affect public perception of Instagram, which is popular among a younger demographic than Facebook. Instagram has emerged relatively unscathed after major privacy scandals created PR nightmares for its mothership — Facebook was fined a record-setting $5 billion for privacy violations by the FTC last month — but this new rebranding will link the two brands more closely in users’ minds.

Debunking Common Photography Myths: Are There Any You Still Believe?

Debunking Common Photography Myths: Are There Any You Still Believe?

One of the things I love about the photography industry is that there’s no shortage of myths and folklore. You’ll probably hear a bunch of different myths and claims as you develop your career and I have to say it’s a lot of fun.

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These Grid Lines on Black-And-White Photos Trick Your Brain Into Seeing Colors

These Grid Lines on Black-And-White Photos Trick Your Brain Into Seeing Colors

This black-and-white photo tricks your brain through a process called Color Assimilation Grid Illusion. By laying thin color grid lines over the top of it, your brain to perceive and fill in the missing colors itself.

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FxFactory Auto Text Box For FCPX

I often have to create titles that are inside boxes or shaped within FCPX and it can take a lot of time resizing them if you are changing the text or the size of the text. Well, FxFactory has Auto Text Box. Auto Text Box, as its name implies, is a useful tool that allows … Continued

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New Sigma lenses for mirrorless cameras: the new world is the old world

Sigma new lenses for mirrorless: the new world is the old world

Lenses for mirrorless are presented as able to offer better quality than DSLR lenses, due to the short flange distance. It’s not a miracle of modern times, though. The lenses are new, the concept is old!

With mirrorless presented as the next big thing, Sigma announced, recently, that the company will develop interchangeable lenses with unprecedented specifications and performance through designs that benefit from the short flange focal length feature of mirrorless cameras, while retaining the concepts of “Contemporary,” “Art,” and “Sports.”  The first examples are the Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art, Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN Art and Sigma 45mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary, which represent Sigma’s answer to the expansion of full frame mirrorless systems.

Sigma makes the same claims that Canon and Nikon made when launching their full frame mirrorless systems: now it is possible to make better lenses, because of the short flange distance. While this is true, it introduces a misconception about the evolution of technology: the short flange distance is not a novelty  made possible by mirrorless cameras, but something that has been around from the early days of photography. In fact, cameras of the rangefinder type had a short flange, and it’s only with the introduction of single lens reflex cameras, with a mirror, that the distance between the lens and the film plane expands, to accommodate the revolving (mostly) mirror box.

Rangefinder cameras already had a short flange

It is a known fact that because there is no mirror, the rear element of a lens can project deep into the camera body, making high-quality wide-angle lenses easier to design. Furthermore, this allows lenses to be smaller. So, flange distance is not something new, but a thing from the past that we rediscover through mirrorless. There is, though, another element that contributes to enhance quality of the image on modern systems, and that is the large diameter of the mount, which in fact is different from what was used in older cameras.

The marriage of a shorter flange distance with the wide diameter of modern lens mounts represents a big step forward, and in that sense it is possible, now, to make better lenses than before, while at the same time building smaller bodies and lenses, at least on paper, compared to regular DSLRs. This explains why Nikon moved to a new mount: the large 55mm diameter and a reduced flange distance, from 46.5mm on the F-mount to 16mm on the Z-mount, allowed Nikon to create small bodies and show fast lenses, even a luminous f/0.95. One important element to remember is that this applies essentially to wide-angle lenses, which are difficult to design for (D)SLR cameras, due to the flange distance.

Sigma new lenses for mirrorless: the new world is the old world

Canon’s large mount has been around for 30 years

Canon was a pioneer, because the company already has a large diameter mount, the EF, introduced three decades ago. Now, it only had to remove the mirror box, reposition the sensor and rearrange the connections on the lens mount, for a better distribution of light rays, to claim that its mirrorless R system offers lenses with unprecedented quality. The company also showed fast lenses that demonstrate how the short flange distance and large diameter make it easier to create improved lens designs. Easier is the keyword here.

So it’s the sum of the parts that make the new lenses better, while easier to build. This may be a key argument for companies to invest in mirrorless, although I believe that in most cases, the differences in final quality will not be astronomically different, else SLRs would not have been popular for so many decades.  Now that we’ve looked at some background information, it is time to see the new trio from Sigma: Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art, Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN Art and Sigma 45mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary.

Sigma new lenses for mirrorless: the new world is the old world

The new Sigma lenses

The Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art  if the first F1.2 large aperture prime Lens in the Sigma Global Vision line: The Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art is Sigma’s first wide-angle lens with F1.2 maximum aperture for the full-frame Sony E-mount and L-mount system. The 35mm F1.2 Art enables, says the company,  “artistic expression with astounding resolution and bokeh effects. It is ideal for shots that leverage shallow depth of field including environmental portraiture, weddings and on-location shoots. Optimized for full-frame cameras, the 35mm F1.2 Art features three SLD glass elements and three aspherical lenses including a double-sided aspherical lens that is optimally arranged in a lens construction of 17 elements in 12 groups.”

The second lens introduced by the company is the Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN Art, the ultimate large-diameter, wide-angle zoom lens for astrophotography for full-frame mirrorless cameras. The uniform rendering performance and outstanding edge to edge resolution, says Sigma, “is perfect for capturing the weak light emitted by the stars at night. By utilizing the characteristics of the short flange focal length, this new-generation large-diameter zoom lens combines both compact body and unprecedented high-resolution image quality.”

A lens made for the Sigma fp

The third lens is a prime, the Sigma 45mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary, a compact package, designed for use with smaller full-frame mirrorless cameras, it balances easy-to-carry form factor and high optical performance. The perfect everyday companion for the traveling photographer, according to Sigma, “this rugged lens produces smooth bokeh effects when wide open. The 45mm F2.8 Contemporary also realizes modern sharp rendering when stopped down. With a minimum focusing distance of 24cm, photographers can also enjoy shooting snapshots and tabletop photos.”

While the 45mm may sound a bit out of tune regarding the other two, it’s appearance makes sense if you remember that Sigma just introduced its own full-frame mirrorless camera, the Sigma fp, which is a departure from everything else in the market, and is a cinema camera besides being a photographer’s tool, if you want. The Sigma 45mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary seems like a nice lens to have in front of the camera, and one that can be used for shooting moving images, too.

Sony and Leica mount only

Back on track with the key story here, it’s important to note that the advantages of the short flange only are visible in optical systems up to a focal length of 35mm, so that’s where most of the changes in the design of lenses will make any sense. Although Sigma’s 45mm is also a new design, it’s in the Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art  and the Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN Art that the most radical changes happen.

The introduction of these lenses by Sigma is good news for photographers and videographers, as Sigma entering the market means prices from brands as Canon, Nikon and Sony will, eventually, come down. Yes, the lenses now announced are only for Sony E-mount and the Leica L-mount, but we will probably see these focal lengths appear for Canon R and Nikon Z too.

The post New Sigma lenses for mirrorless cameras: the new world is the old world appeared first on ProVideo Coalition.

The 10 Most Disappointing Movie Sequels of All Time

Sequels are a massive business in Hollywood. Film executives and studios cannot help but be tempted by brands and franchises – and any film that makes a lot of money has the potential to be exploited and turned into a series of films.

Name recognition is a key currency in film and whereas sequels were once much rarer in film, they are now incredibly common. In fact, in recent years, as many sequels as original films may be released during a film year. It is also commonplace now to lock in actors with contracts that will allow for follow ups and sequels before a first film is even released.

Many film sequels are well received, not only critically and financially, they can also enhance the original film’s enjoyment and can further extend the stories and characters. Many film sequels also go on to have even more success and be even more popular than the original films.

However, as much as there are sequels that surpass expectations, there are just as many sequels that completely bomb. Whether that is because they abandon core ideas and principles of the original films or just because they are not very good films – disappointing sequels have become almost a genre in their own right.


1. S. Darko (2009)

Seven years after the death of her older brother Donnie, Samantha Darko embarks on a road trip with her best friend Corey. Their trip is cut short when their car breaks down in a small town and soon strange and mysterious events start to plague Samantha.

S. Darko was panned by critics and audiences upon its release, with many reviews stating that the film was an insult to Donnie Darko – a film which now has cult status amongst fans. Richard Kelly, director of Donnie Darko, has always firmly stated that he had nothing to do with the sequel and will never watch it. He said of S. Darko, “I’ve never seen it – it was horribly violating. It was incredibly painful to think about what they were doing. It made me very angry, filled with rage.”

Trivia: Daveigh Chase is the only actor to return from the previous film Donnie Darko.


2. Home Alone 3 (1997)

After precocious young Alex unwillingly becomes the owner of a stolen top-secret computer chip, which is hidden in a toy car, he becomes the target of a group of inept criminals. Now Alex must find a way to defend his home from the thieves who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the computer chip.

When it comes to a certain time of the year, many film fans will find themselves watching the first two Home Alone films – films that they return to year after year. This is probably not the case for Home Alone 3, a sequel that ended up being nominated for a Golden Raspberry award for Worst Remake or Sequel.

Home Alone 3 was originally planned to be produced at the same time as Home Alone 2. When those plans fell through, it was hoped that Macaulay Culkin would return to the franchise as a teenager instead. Unfortunately, Culkin did not want to return so the film was completely reimagined with a different cast and in a different location.

Trivia: After Macaulay Culkin declined to return for another sequel, John Hughes considered writing a screenplay where Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern reprised their roles and targeted Kevin’s cousin Fuller played by Kieron Culkin. However, this idea had to be scrapped when Pesci and Stern refused to reprise their roles and Kieron felt that he would not be able to fill his brother’s shoes as the lead.


3. Terminator Genisys (2015)

Terminator Genisys

Leader of the human resistance against Skynet, John Connor, sends Kyle Reese back to 1984 to protect his mother Sarah from being assassinated by a Terminator. But a series of events causes the timeline to be altered and instead of the scared waitress Reese expected to find, he discovers that Sarah is a skilled fighter with a Terminator guardian at her side.

Though not well received by critics, Terminator Genisys was a box office success and grossed $440 million against its $155 million budget – making it the second highest grossing film of the franchise and of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career. But in spite of performing at the box office it was decided the film, which was originally intended to be the first film of a new trilogy, would be a standalone film.

It was announced in 2017 that the next film, Terminator: Dark Fate, will be a direct sequel to Terminator 2 and will attempt to reboot the franchise once more. This decision was influenced by the return of creative control to James Cameron.

Trivia: This is the first Terminator film where Arnold Schwarzenegger is not credited as ‘Terminator.’ He is credited as ‘Guardian’ instead.


4. American Psycho 2 (2002)


Criminology student Rachel is desperate to procure the position of teaching assistant for her professor, hoping that it will lead to a career in the FBI. Rachel is so determined to get the job that she is willing to go to extreme measures to get it, including killing her classmates.

American Psycho 2 was panned by critics, denounced by American Psycho author Brett Ellis and even star Mila Kunis tried to distance herself from it. The main problem with American Psycho 2 stems from the fact that the film was originally conceived as a thriller which had no link whatsoever to American Psycho.

It was not until production began that the script was altered to incorporate a Patrick Bateman subplot. Kunis said, “Please – somebody stop this. Write a petition. When I did the second one, I didn’t know it would be ‘American Psycho 2.’ It was supposed to be a different project and it was re-edited.”

Trivia: The original title of the film was ‘The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die.’


5. Batman and Robin (1997)


Batman and Robin must save Gotham from the villainous Mr Freeze and Poison Ivy whilst they also struggle to keep their partnership together.

Director Joel Schumacher’s decision to camp up the Batman universe did not go down well with audiences and critics. The film was universally panned and is the lowest grossing live action Batman film thus far. Batman and Robin is considered by many to be one of the worst films of all time. The film was nominated for a number of Golden Raspberry awards, with Alicia Silverstone winning one for Worst Supporting Actress.

Schumacher has frequently apologised to audiences for the film and has stated that it was never his intention to disappoint fans. He blamed pressure from Warner Bros to make the film more family friendly and also the pressure to fast track production due to the success of the previous Batman film. George Clooney, who starred as Batman, has always distanced himself from the film and has said of it “I think we might have killed the franchise.”

Trivia: This film is the only live action Batman film to feature an appearance of Batgirl.

New firmware update for the Viltrox 85mm FE lens

Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 at Amazon US, Amazon DE, Amazon UK, Amazon FR, Amazon ES, Amazon IT. Both the manual focus and autofocus versions of the Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 FE lens got a new firmware update: And Marc Alhadeff tested the…

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