The Dangerous and Incredible Life of a War Photographer

The Dangerous and Incredible Life of a War Photographer

Lynsey Addario has lived an incredible life and endured many harrowing experiences through her work. This fascinating video interview features her discussing her life, work, and experiences.

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The Clever Way James Cameron Dealt With an Interesting Problem in ‘Titanic’

The Clever Way James Cameron Dealt With an Interesting Problem in 'Titanic'

If you know your Titanic history well, the thumbnail for this article should look very strange to you. This is because “Titanic” director James Cameron had to deal with an interesting issue during filming, and this neat behind the scenes video takes a look at how he solved it.

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Am I the Only Photographer Who Prefers Heavier Equipment?

Am I the Only Photographer Who Prefers Heavier Equipment?

The love for mirrorless bodies and pancake lenses is bottomless, but what about heavier setups? I can’t be alone in my appreciation of them, surely.

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How to Take Photos Faster

How to Take Photos Faster

As a photographer, you have probably been told to slow down and focus on your composition to make the best possible photo. What we also know is there are many fleeting moments and being ready for these are of utmost importance if you want to catch them.

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8 Ways to Adjust Color in Lightroom and ACR: Compared and Contrasted

8 Ways to Adjust Color in Lightroom and ACR: Compared and Contrasted

One of the things that I enjoy about Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw is that there is often more than one way to perform the same task. Perhaps the most flexible of these ways are all the different methods you can use to adjust for colors and tones.

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Masters of Photography: Steve McCurry Review

Masters of Photography: Steve McCurry Review

The Masters of Photography courses are a series of instructional videos, each focusing on the work and style of a specific photographer who is considered a master in their field. Having tried both the Joel Meyeorwitz and Albert Watson courses, I had to give the third – Steve McCurry – a go. Here’s what I thought about the experience and the lessons learned.

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Are Your Photographs Aesthetic?

Are Your Photographs Aesthetic?

Do you want your images to look “good”? Aesthetics will help you understand the value of an image beyond its informative and representative character. Let’s ask some great philosophers what they think about it.

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Developing Film With Beer and Other Nostalgia

I had been working at a liquor store to get away from myself and all the photography things I knew well. The extra money was nice, however, my photography burnout had my creativity hostage and didn’t seem to have an end anytime soon. So when Dogfish Head announced their Super 8 Beer and the claim that you could develop film in it, I had to try it. Not actually develop film in it — hell no! I’ve been digital for twenty years and a film cameras’ place was on the shelf for decoration and memories.

The first can of Super 8 reminded me of my time in college and the adventures of the 10th floor. I remember wanting to coax the underclassmen to drink the developer. The plan was to switch the Kodak measuring beaker with Dektol for a shot of vodka however I never could convince the other upperclassmen to go along with it.

While drinking the second can, a little voice from the shelf started to call my name. It was the Rolleiflex 2.8E. The beer wasn’t that strong but the character and charm from a Rollei is.

By the third can of Super 8, I was no longer in control of this project the Rollei mystique was in full swing. I pictured the work of Diane Arbus, and how it would perfectly suit the characters at the liquor store. I could develop Kodak Tri-X film in the Dogfish Head Super 8 beer at home and scan the negatives into the computer since my Besseler 45MXT was currently propping up a shelf in the basement. Lastly, I would print the photos out on Hahnemühle Fine Art Baryta paper to enhance that classic black and white look.

Clearly, I should have eaten something before I started drinking.

I was going to run a roll of film through a camera that has sat for nearly 20 years? Try to mimic the work of one of the masters while neglecting to consider that I HATE TAKING PICTURES OF PEOPLE? Develop this film in beer? BEER? There was no way in hell that I was going to attempt this crazy project no matter how those twin lenses stared at me. So I ordered the supplies from B&H before my buzz wore off and that was that.

So I brought my supplies into work and explained my idea. My manager loved it, she gave me free range to take pictures in the store as long as it didn’t interfere with blah blah blah normal manager business-speak stuff. Unfortunately, she was my last hope to get out of this.

Now, I’ve been very fortunate to shoot with hundreds of cameras from the late 1800s to digital large format scanning backs. I never believed that the camera made much difference, especially since no matter how hard I try, all of my photos look like John photos. This, my friend, was like a possession. Seriously! Never underestimate the will of a 60-year-old Rolleiflex camera.

Honestly, I thought of the concept and admired Diane Arbus’ work, and came up with this plan but had no idea on how to approach my friends to capture their character. So, I just handed them the camera and the Rollei took over from there.

They would always look for the screen on the back and I had to explain that that technology wasn’t around in the late 1950s. They would freak out a little that I trusted them with this “treasure” and wanted to hand the camera back. I just wouldn’t accept it until I showed them how to focus and compose. They would hand it back, I would check the exposure, focus, and press the release. That’s it.

The developing experience was a little more challenging. I really had to dust some of the cobwebs out of my mind to get this to work. Followed the directions on the first roll but the images were so faint that they were unusable.

Luckily my obsessive-compulsive nature kicked in and I ran through all the variables then tweaked the numbers until it made sense. It was really a great experience to think again without looking at the screen and saying whoops. I also forgot about the awfully wonderful smell of fixer and how it lingers on your hands for days.

The last part of the project and the most important was the printing. A photograph is not finished until it’s printed. It’s an art form that is being forgotten and we loose so much for letting it go. It’s how photographers communicate with others, and I can’t relay the joy I saw in my friends’ eyes when I handed them a 16×16 inch print of themselves. Somehow a 1×1 inch Instagram picture on the phone just doesn’t compare.

The best gift you can give someone is a photograph you have worked from start to finish. It’s like really seeing how beautiful someone is and trying to reproduce it so they can see how beautiful they are in your eyes. For that kind of passion, only the best paper will do.

For this project, I chose the Hahnemühle Fine Art Baryta for its gorgeous qualities that never let you down. It’s the closest paper I’ve seen to the classic Black and White Fiber-Based papers and just glows when the light hits it. There is this depth to your image like your subject is just waiting to be discovered by the viewer. It’s one of my best voices when I speak.

People always ask me “What is the point of printing photographs in a digital world?“ and I think of these beautiful Hahnemühle Fine Art Baryta prints now hanging in my office casually thumbtacked to the wall.

I look at Pete’s photo and I remember how I always looked forward to the days we worked together, our crazy talks and that long-running joke about date night. I remember the day he left for another store and I tearfully joked that at least I got to keep Parker in the divorce.

Looking at Parker’s photo I remember the day he left and eventually I think about my last day at the liquor store. It’s that Baryta glow that gets me, similar to those nostalgic teary eyes that come with fond memories. It enhances their portraits and allows their charming shenanigans to console me on my lonely days.

They are my printed memories of times and people I cherish and don’t want to let go. I think; how can I NOT print my images, my memories, and my moments especially in a digital world. Social media can be great for the passing pick-me-up. But the “like” or “heart” one day and forgotten the next can be cruel. I’m easily overwhelmed by the many who don’t have the time or the depth to be nothing more than a fading memory.

With my prints, I just need to look at Christine sitting on her beer throne to feel that comforting thought that she’s still there, waiting for the next time I visit. Even if is only in the Edward Hopper liquor store painting in my memories.

About the author: John Granata has a long 28 year storied history with photography and currently teaches printing classes at Richard Strongberg’s Chicago Photography Classes in Chicago, Illinois. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors. He presents a unique argument with an odd mix of technical and emotional reasons why printing is essential to every photographer and has a strong passion to create prints that speak to the viewer. Past projects include photographs taken and processed with that “John” look with several unique alternative printing methods and materials. He has a website that surely needs to be updated and possibly reworked. Currently, he is on hiatus from actively working photographically but is telling stories about past projects in order to rediscover his vision for new ones.

Best cameras for kids of 2019

Whether you’re looking for a nearly unbreakable camera that your toddler can throw against the wall, or something for an older child who’s keen to learn more about photography, there are several options available that won’t break the bank.

We’ve broken this guide down into four categories:

Here are our picks for each of those categories:

It’s okay if it breaks: VTech KidiZoom Camera Pix ($40)

(Yes, it comes in pink too)

There are a million cameras in the $50 and under price range to choose from, and this VTech model is one of the most popular. The Camera Pix has a 2 Megapixel sensor (presumably smaller than that of a smartphone), 4X digital zoom, micro USB port, and both built-in memory and a microSD slot. The camera is rugged to some extent (though VTech doesn’t give any specifics) but is not waterproof. The KidiZoom also powered by four AA batteries – a bargain compared to $60 lithium-ion packs found in typical digital cameras.

Kids can take pictures through stereo viewfinders or with the 1.8″ LCD on the rear. In addition to taking stills, the KidiZoom also captures QVGA (that’s 320 x 240) videos for up to 5 minutes.

The KidiZoom has a few other tricks up its sleeve. The camera has an selfie mode, where it takes a photo when it detects faces. It also has four built-in games (!) and tons of special effects.

Overall, the VTech KidiZoom seems like a fun and inexpensive way to get your five-year-old into photography, and if it does break, it’s only $40 for a replacement.

Rugged and inexpensive: Nikon Coolpix W150 ($150)

If you want something a little more ‘camera-like’ than the cheap options, then the inexpensive yet rugged Nikon Coolpix W150 may be a good option.

The W150 can survive a drop from 1.8 meters (5.9 feet) and can function up at depths of up to 10m (33ft), so it’ll be alive if you find it at the bottom of the swimming pool. If you take it to the snow park, the camera should keep working at temperatures as low as -10°C (14°F). The camera is also dustproof, so the beach shouldn’t be a problem, either.

The design of the W150 is simple, with simple controls and large shutter release and video buttons. As with all current underwater cameras, it lacks a touchscreen, so there will be a small learning curve for a child used to a smartphone.

Tech specs for the W150 are unremarkable, but then again, that’s not why you’re buying it. The camera has a smartphone-sized 13MP sensor, 30-90mm equivalent lens, 2.7″ LCD and 1080p video capture. It does offer Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so getting photos onto your phone is easy.

Indestructible, with great image quality: Olympus Tough TG-6 ($399)

If you want a higher quality camera for a child who is more… responsible… with your electronics, then the Olympus TG-6 is a great option. Its rugged credentials are even better than the Nikon, with the ability to go much further underwater or get crushed (within reason). Build quality is excellent, with two locks on both of its doors and dual-paned glass to prevent the lens from fogging up.

The TG-6’s larger sensor and faster lens (which offers a versatile 25-100mm equiv. range) make it a capable point-and-shoot, even in low light. It won’t run circles around best-in-class smartphones in terms of image quality, but it’s the best you’ll find on a waterproof camera.

We could write a whole article about all of the features on the TG-6, but suffice it to say, it can shoot very fast bursts, capture photos that were ‘taken’ before the shutter release is fully pressed, take some truly impressive long exposures and records 4K video. If your youngster enjoys hiking, the camera’s ability to record the location, elevation and temperature for each shot make reviewing images more fun than a typical camera or phone.

For the budding photographer: Canon PowerShot G9 X II ($429)

If you have an older child who is developing a keen eye for photography and want something they can grow up with, we recommend Canon’s PowerShot G9 X II, which can be had for under $450. This camera is pocketable, produces very good image quality from its 1″ sensor and has a touch-based interface that smartphone users will quickly pick up.

The stabilized lens offers a 28-84mm equivalent focal range which, while not as versatile as more expensive enthusiast compacts, is more than enough for a pre-teen. Beginners can set the mode dial to the Smart Auto mode and the camera does the rest, like selecting the right scene mode for the situation. The are plenty of special effects modes, with ‘background defocus’ being one example, and some fun star modes that are easy to set up and enjoy. Transferring photos to a smartphone is a cinch using the camera’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

As your child grows, the G9 X II will be ready, offering manual exposure controls, advanced AF modes and Raw support, which opens the door to using more advanced cameras.

Olympus: ‘We Currently Have No Plans to Sell the [Camera] Business’

Olympus has issued an official statement in hopes of putting to rest once and for all rumors that the company is considering selling or shutting down its sputtering camera business.

Rumors began swirling earlier this month that Olympus was planning to shut down its Imaging division, which bleeds money for the company and which just saw a 17% year-over-year decline in revenue. Olympus quickly issued a statement refuting those reports.

Bloomberg then stirred up the pot once more a few days later by reporting that Olympus CEO Yasuo Takeuchi backtracked on past comments that Olympus was not for sale.

Olympus has now issued a new statement to Photofocus clarifying that it currently has no plans to either shutter or sell its camera biz:

As announced in our Corporate Strategy, Olympus is further focusing on our Medical business and follows the strong ambition for all of our businesses to be profitable and contribute to our overall business objectives. In that regard, we are continuously evaluating our overall portfolio, as announced in our Corporate Strategy on November 6, 2019.

For Imaging, however, we currently have no plans to sell the business. The task is therefore to stabilize and strengthen its market position. To achieve that, we are actively running marketing activities, and have already established a clear and exciting product roadmap for the coming months and years. We are actively pursuing future technology developments that will enhance photography and video for creators. Furthermore, Imaging is and will continue to be an important technology and innovation driver for our other businesses.

Our Imaging business features a unique product portfolio. Olympus products are compact and lightweight, feature market leading image stabilization and autofocus. Many of our high-end products are also splash-proof. No other product offers customers this level of optical excellence paired with the highest mobility.

Just last month we launched our new OM-D E-M5 Mark III – a light yet feature packed addition to our semi-pro camera portfolio, inheriting pro-features like a high precision AF from our OM-D E-M1 Mark II model. Furthermore, we have announced the development of M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 150-400mm f/4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO earlier this year to be launched by next year. Customers can follow our break-free campaign on various channels and worldwide.

Olympus states that the camera business is “an important technology and innovation driver for our other businesses,” including its critical medical business. Olympus is a public company, though, so it remains to be seen whether shareholders will continue to accept the explanation that the unprofitable consumer camera division is essentially an important R&D arm for the company as a whole.

Gobos: An Affordable and Expressive Solution for Creating Interesting Backgrounds

Gobos: An Affordable and Expressive Solution for Creating Interesting Backgrounds

A white backdrop is an incredibly versatile piece of equipment, and a must have for any studio photographer. But if you want to mix things up a bit, and you don’t want to fork out for another background — like one of these beautiful hand-painted ones — or you just want to have some creative fun, making a gobo is a fantastically adaptable alternative.

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The Winning Action Sports Photos of Red Bull Illume 2019

Red Bull Illume has announced the winning photos of its prestigious 2019 action sports photography competition. French photographer Ben Thouard was named the Overall Winner with his underwater surfing photo (shown above) shot in Teahupo’o, Tahiti.

“I’ve dedicated the last few years to shooting underwater, looking for new angles and a new way to shoot surfing and waves,” Thouard says. “Tahiti has some of the clearest water in the world.

“This photo was shot during a freesurf session right before the WCT event in Teahupo‘o. This is Ace Buchan kicking out from the barrel through the wave, a technique to escape a close-out wave. Luckily I was right below, breathless with my waterhousing waiting for this moment.”

A record-breaking 59,551 photos were submitted this year, and the winners were selected by an expert panel of 50 photo editors and experts.

American photographer Noah Wetzel won the RAW category for this photo of mountain biker Chris Bule riding under the 2019 total solar eclipse in Teton Valley, Wyoming:

Here are the other winners from the major categories:

Creative by Skylum: Denis Klero, Russia, for his visually striking image of Paul Alekhin to celebrate the change of season in Streetfire Club, Moscow, Russia.
Best of Instagram by SanDisk: Baptiste Fauchille, France, with a shot from a buddies trip with a business goal showing Alex Bibollet’s shadow in the bowl of Fillinges, France.
Emerging by Red Bull Photography: Jean-Baptiste Liautard, France, joins the big leagues with this mirrored shot of Jeremy Berthier at his trail in Bourgoin-Jallieu, France.
Innovation by Sony: Laurence Crossman-Emms, United Kingdom, takes the imagination by storm with this image of Katy Winton BMXing through a puddle at Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales, United Kingdom.
Lifestyle: Alexander Wick, Germany, for his tribute shot of Philipp Bankosegger, Chris Rudolph and Luke Lalor taking a nap by Salathé Wall, El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, USA.
Mastepiece by EyeEm: Lorenz Holder, Germany, for his shot of Senad Grosic flying in the magical Game of Thrones location, The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland.
Playground: Lorenz Holder, Germany, with a shot of Vladic Scholz in the surreal Ouse Valley Viaduct, South England.
Wings: Philip Platzer, Austria, captures athlete Marco Fürst flying on an unthinkable hot air balloon swing in Fromberg, Austria.

The premiere photo contest for action and adventure sports photography, Red Bull Illume was founded in 2006 and is in its fifth edition. The winners of this year’s contest received over $100,000 in equipment and prizes.

Midge Costin Makes Waves with New Film about Cinematic Sound

When Midge Costin was a student at the USC film school, she had no idea that she would not only fashion a career in post-production audio for films, but she would also create the definitive documentary about the subject — Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound, now in limited release. “How do I use […]

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Don’t Get Dragged Down By Those Photoshop CC 2020 Bugs and Quirks

Don't Get Dragged Down By Those Photoshop CC 2020 Bugs and Quirks

Adobe’s update to Photoshop CC 2020 contains some powerful upgrades and tools but, like any software release, it also has some bugs, quirks and missing tools that users must adapt to. Or, if you take Colin Smith’s advice, you can fix them yourself.

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Add 10K Followers Per Week On Instagram, Without Buying Them

Add 10K Followers Per Week On Instagram, Without Buying Them

Gaining followers on social media can sometimes feel like getting stuck on a hamster wheel — a whole lot of effort to get nowhere. Chris Do, of The Futur, aims to make that effort pay off for you and help you launch your social media following into the stratosphere by adding 10,000 followers per week — without buying them.

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What is Color Science – Let Pixar Teach You!

What is Color Science & Psychology – Let Pixar Teach You! So not only did Pixar Animation Studios create a FREE only course teaching their storytelling secrets (click here for that gem), they also decide to teach us a bit about Color Science and it’s importance in filmmaking. They teamed up with Khan Acadamy to…

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