The Fujinon 200mm f/2 From the Point of View of a Portrait Photographer

The Fujinon 200mm f/2 From the Point of View of a Portrait Photographer

The Fujinon 200mm f/2.0 is a beast of a lens designed mostly for sports and wildlife, but as a portrait shooter I wanted to see how it stacked up.

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New Netflix Podcast ‘The Call Sheet’ Is Filmmakers’ Newest Obsession

The Call Sheet is a new podcast that digs deep into the Netflix shows you love. Check it out!

Ever wonder how your favorite Netflix series and movies came to be? What was the process behind brainstorming them, writing them, and directing them?

Well, now all your questions will be answered with The Call Sheet! From Apple: “THE CALL SHEET with Kris Tapley is a weekly show that dives deep into the craft of your favorite Netflix films and series with some of the most talented artists and artisans in the game.”

The premiere episode features Ava DuVernay and Spencer Averick talking about the acclaimed documentary When They See Us.

The episode covers everything from ideation to editing. Its description is as follows:

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SLR Lounge Has Incredible Photography Resources on Sale

SLR Lounge Has Incredible Photography Resources on Sale

We’re big fans of SLR Lounge. Alongside our friendly rivalry in photography shoot-offs, we have a huge appreciation for the education and tools they provide to photographers. That’s why we think you should pay attention to their Black Friday sale.

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Watch Lorene Scafaria’s Amazing ‘Hustlers’ Sizzle Reel

Hustlers was a hit with audiences and critics this year. So how did writer-director Lorene Scafaria get the gig? Her sizzle reel. Check it out!

From the first trailer, I was intrigued by the world Hustlers presented.

It felt like a crime movie for the 21st century, and when the movie debuted I was not disappointed. But Hustlers was not an easy get for Scafaria to direct. She had to pitch after reading the article which the movie is based on.

At the time, Scafaria told The Hollywood Reporter, “I was sent so many female-empowerment stories over that year in which people thought suddenly it was a genre. A lot of them felt really manufactured. Either the characters didn’t have to be women at all — they just changed the names — or they were doing an all-female whatever or a remake.”

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Making The Right Proxies

Do you experience dropped frames either from using an underpowered computer or from editing higher resolution files with harder to process codecs? Using proxies for playback while editing can help but getting them to work can be difficult.

I previously talked about a proxy workflow with Adobe’s Premiere Pro. There are a couple of ways to start the process. This blog covers using proxies that were created either during the shoot by the camera or after the shoot by a DIT or someone else.

Once the proxies are created, it’s just a matter of attaching them to the already ingested/imported files. Even if your files are named correctly, as discussed in my previous blogs, you may still run into issues because the proxies’ audio must exactly match the camera originals’ audio.

One of the common errors is not matching the number of audio channels. If the camera file has two channels, the proxy must have two channels. If there are 5 channels in the original clip, you can’t attach a 2-channel proxy.

Unless the audio matches exactly you won’t be able to attach the proxies.
Unless the audio matches exactly you won’t be able to attach the proxies.

Beyond audio channels, you also must make sure that the type of audio channels is correct. That means a proxy with a single stereo audio pair layout will not attach to a camera original with two channels of mono audio. Why? I can only guess, but I think it relates to the way the audio tracks will be inserted into a sequence. A stereo pair has to be treated differently than two mono audio channels.

For example, if you edit a stereo clip into a sequence that has stereo tracks, everything lines up. But what if you want to edit a clip with two channels of mono audio onto those stereo tracks? How should the mono tracks be laid out? Should they be panned left and right, or not panned at all? If they are not panned, should they be summed together and put on both tracks? And if that is done should the tracks be reduced in volume?

Maybe you have answers to all those questions. But what happens when you switch between proxy playback and original playback? You can’t expect the software to change the audio routing on the fly.

It’s only a guess, but that’s my thinking on why there is such inflexibility when it comes to attaching proxies and not matching audio channels. So, you must make sure that your proxy audio matches the original audio or it won’t work.

This can be frustrating. There are cameras out there that can create proxies, but if the proxy audio layout doesn’t match the original files, the proxies won’t work unless you recompress them with the correct audio. At that point you might as well create new proxies.

Even if you recompressed, you might still run into a problem. Let’s say you look at an original camera file, see that it has four mono audio channels and then set up an encoding preset that creates reduced resolution proxies that have four mono audio channels. After spending several hours rendering proxies for multiple days of footage, you try to batch attach proxies and realize that at times no audio was recorded. Perhaps this was because of a different frame rate, or maybe the audio recording was simply turned off.

For whatever reason, now you have to search through the footage and figure out which files have audio, and which do not. It might be just a couple of files, or maybe there are a lot. So you could have just a little work ahead of you, or you may have a lot.

Next time, a better way to create proxies that work.

The post Making The Right Proxies appeared first on HD Video Pro.

A Look Into the Life and Work of Diane Arbus

I’m Martin Kaninsky from All About Street Photography, and in this video and article I am going to talk about a photographer who is one of America’s best-known and also most controversial photographers, sometimes referred to as a “photographer of freaks.” It’s a look at the life and work of Diane Arbus.

Diane was born Diane Nemerov in 1923 in New York to Jewish parents who were immigrants from Soviet Russia. They were quite rich, as they owned Russeks, a department store on Fifth Avenue. Thanks to that, she was not affected by the Great Depression.

Being a kid in a wealthy family also however meant she was mostly raised by maids. It was perhaps the environment she lived in that she somewhat separated herself from the family. Even though her parents didn’t directly raise her, they had an indirect influence on her life. After her father retired, he became a painter. Her sister became a designer and sculptor, and her brother a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet. Diane herself started painting but quit just after she finished high school.

Arbus married relatively young at the age of 18 to a man named Allan Arbus. They both worked in a commercial photography business for a while from 1946 to 1956. Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t work out and they got divorced in 1969. Her husband left and became an actor. You might actually remember him from the TV series M*A*S*H in which he played Dr. Sidney Freedman.

But it is not Diane Arbus’ personal life that I want to talk about — let’s look into her photography career.

Arbus received her first camera (a Graflex camera) just after she married at the age of 18. Her husband was a photographer for the U.S. Army Signal Corps in World War II. She started taking photography classes with Berenice Abbot, a photographer best known for her portraits.

In 1946, Diane and her husband started Diane & Allan Arbus, a commercial photography business where she would have the role of art director. She was responsible for concepts and models, which wasn’t a dream come true for her as she saw her position as very unfulfilling. Even though Diane and Allan both didn’t particularly like fashion photography, the business produced photographs for Russek’s advertisements and also for fashion magazines such as Vogue, Glamour, or Seventeen.

The duo was pretty successful. A photograph that they made for Vogue magazine of a father and son reading a newspaper was included in the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition “The Family of Man” in 1955.

At first, Diane Arbus admired the grainy look the camera and film were able to produce. Her camera of choice was first a Nikon with a 35mm lens that she used for photographing New York City. Sometimes around 1962, she switched to a twin-lens reflex Rolleiflex camera. The medium format camera came to be one of Arbus’ compositional signatures.

She explained this transition saying:

In the beginning of photographing, I used to make very grainy things. I’d be fascinated by what the grain did because it would make a kind of tapestry of all these little dots… But when I’d been working for a while with all these dots, I suddenly wanted terribly to get through there. I wanted to see the real differences between things… I began to get terribly hyped on clarity.

Diane Arbus later began shooting what we can now call her own style of street photography. One of the important mentors in her career was Lisette Model, an Austrian-born photographer mostly known for her street photography. She later said Arbus came to her telling her she cannot photograph.

“I want to photograph what is evil,” Arbus told Model, who noted that “[Arbus] was determined to reveal what others had been taught to turn their backs on.”

The scheme typical for her photography is a frontal portrait in square format. She was one of the pioneers of daylight flash use, which she used to isolate her subjects. What she first liked about it was how it alters light and reveals things you don’t normally see. She wanted to have stillness in her photograph, and that is why she always posed her subjects either on the street or in their homes.

Arbus made the subjects look directly to the camera to “freeze” the picture. However, as we can see in many of her picture the effect was quite the opposite. Many of her pictures look spontaneous.

Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park, N.Y.C. 1962 is probably one of the most famous ones. The image is unusual and (I would say) a little disturbing. I mean, seeing a kid who looks tense and angry in a pose with his teeth clenched and holding a hand grenade in one hand with the second hand in a shape of claw-like gesture is a bit… unusual. Standing alone makes him isolated from others in the park.

The photo is considered to be one of the most important and influential images of 20th-century art and post-modernist art theory. When we look at the contact sheet, we find that Arbus took plenty of “normal” photographs of the kid in the park smiling and playing around. However, when it came to picking the final image, she chose the most expressive one.

The boy in the photograph is named Colin Wood, and he later said:

She catches me in a moment of exasperation. It’s true, I was exasperated. My parents had divorced and there was a general feeling of loneliness, a sense of being abandoned. I was just exploding. She saw that and it’s like…commiseration. She captured the loneliness of everyone. It’s all people who want to connect but don’t know how to connect. And I think that’s how she felt about herself. She felt damaged and she hoped that by wallowing in that feeling, through photography, she could transcend herself.

What’s interesting is that more than shooting random subjects she met on the street, Arbus was often trying to develop a personal relationship with the subjects and photograph them over time. She started to photograph much differently than was common until then. The intention behind it was to be original and unique.

A very young baby, N.Y.C. 1968‘ is a photograph of Anderson Cooper, CNN correspondent and son of Gloria Vanderbilt. It was one of the photographs Arbus took for Harper’s Bazaar in 1968. She knew the parents, so she asked about coming over and spending some time photography the newly born baby.

She returned repeatedly over 3 weeks and shot a lot of pictures before finally picked the published one. Cooper himself doesn’t find it disturbing. The photographs from Arbus are reportedly in his room alongside a note by Diane.

”Jewish giant at home with his parents in the Bronx, NY, 1970,” is a photograph by Arbus of Eddie Carmel standing in his parents’ living room. It is an archetype of Arbus’s photographs. As a teen, even though Carmel was normal height during his childhood, Carmel started to grow uncontrollably as a result of acromegaly. He grew to be 8’9″, or 270cm. The photo looks like a preparation for the family portrait.

For me, the vignetting intensifies his size and the voyeuristic feel from the photograph, as if you’re sneaking in someone’s home and watching them through the keyhole. Unfortunately, Carmel died at the age of 36, just 2 years after Arbus took this photograph. Arbus believed she got what she called every mother’s nightmare.

“You know how every mother has nightmares when she’s pregnant that her baby will be born a monster?” Arbus says. “I think I got that in the mother’s face as she glares up at Eddie, thinking, Oh my God, no.”

One of my favorite shots is “The Girl in Her Circus Costume, Md. 1970.” Somehow I just can’t avoid the comparison of the Wonderwoman from the Marvel universe and for me, this photo is a representation of the 70s and how would they probably portray the subject at that time.

The subjects Arbus photographed were often people with troubled lives, people from the underground or just people who were not accepted or respected by the rest of society. She often sympathized with them probably because it was often something she wasn’t able to experience in her life — the subjects had completely different backgrounds than she had.

Arbus would shoot strippers, carnival performers, transvestites, members of the LGBT community, nudists, or people with mental disabilities. She said the subjects in her pictures were more important for her than the picture itself.

“Some people like to think of [Arbus] as cynical,” said photographer Edmund Shea. “That’s a total misconception, she was very emotionally open. She was very intense and direct, and people related to that.”

Perhaps the most valuable thing for her was not the photograph but the event of visiting someone and the process of making the photographs. I wouldn’t say she was redefining beauty but perhaps showing the space between how the people wanted to be seen and how they were seen. When we want to learn about how influential she was, I think it is best to use the words of art critic Robert Hughes: “Arbus’s work has had such an influence on other photographers that it is already hard to remember how original it was.”

Arbus was twice awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship; first in 1963 for a project called “American Rites, Manners, and Customs” and then again in 1966. During the 60s, Arbus worked for magazines but also took all kinds of commissions — she had to do it since it was pretty difficult at that time to make living just by selling fine art photography. Even though she was a recognized artist, her prints usually sold for $100 or less.

As she became even more recognized as an artist, she took fewer magazine assignments and she also taught photography in New York City and Rhode Island. She was the first photographer to be featured in Artforum, an international magazine focusing on contemporary art.

She had her first big exhibition at the Museum of Modern art in New Documents in 1967 which was a documentary photography exhibition curated by John Szarkowski. Thirty-two of her photographs were chosen for the exhibition that represented a new direction in photography: ordinary subjects with a snapshot-like look. The exhibition presented works of three photographers: Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand, and Lee Friedlander. None of them was well known at that time.

Unfortunately, just like her mother, Arbus suffered from depression as well as hepatitis. She experienced mood swings and her then ex-husband even talked about “violent changes of mood”. In 1971, Arbus committed suicide at 48 years old.

Today, Arbus’ works are held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others.


About the author: Martin Kaninsky is a photographer, reviewer, and YouTuber based in Prague, Czech Republic. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Kaninsky runs the channel All About Street Photography. You can find more of his work on his website, Instagram, and YouTube channel.

How the Table Affects Lighting When Shooting Bottles

Here’s a 7-minute video in which photographer Dustin Dolby of Workphlo demonstrates how your choice of shooting table influences the resulting lighting when shooting bottles.

Dolby starts by showing the resulting highlight you get when placing the bottle on a “normal” rectangular table and lighting it with a speedlight and stripbox adapter.

The table’s edge presents a barrier for placing the light. Adjusting the position of the light will alter the resulting highlight on the bottle, but they all have the flaw of not having a clean highlight where it meets the bottom of the bottle and table.

Next, Dolby uses a custom-welded rectangular shooting table that’s about the size of a textbook. For a similar solution, you can buy a baby wall plate.

While the issue at the bottom of the highlight has been suppressed a little bit, it’s still not “clean as a whistle.”

Finally, Dolby uses an even smaller circular custom-welded shooting table that fits just a single wine bottle. For a similar solution, you can also use an upside-down cup.

This table allows the highlight to extend all the way down to the bottom of the bottle. To finish the lighting with the one-light setup, you can add a reflector card on the opposite side.

Here’s the final edited photo that resulted from this shoot:

You can find more of Dolby’s Workphlo content on Facebook, https://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Finstagram.com%2Fworkphlo&redir_token=2BZKOn3enk8yA_dPvTWfXw1yQjl8MTU3NDk2MTkyOEAxNTc0ODc1NTI4&event=video_description&v=fxxsCCDpJs0“>Instagram, and YouTube.

What is Dual Base ISO and why is it important?

Almost all modern day video and electronic stills cameras have the ability to change the brightness of the images they record. The most common way to achieve this is through the addition of gain or through the amplification of the signal that comes from the sensor. 

On older video cameras this amplification was expressed as dB (decibels) of gain. A brightness change of 6dB is the same as one stop of exposure or a doubling of the ISO rating. But you must understand that adding gain to raise the ISO rating of a camera is very different to actually changing the sensitivity of a camera.

The problem with increasing the amplification or adding gain to the sensor output is that when you raise the gain you increase the level of the entire signal that comes from the sensor. So, as well as increasing the levels of the desirable parts of the image, making it brighter, the extra gain also increases the amplitude of the noise, making that brighter too.

Imagine you are listening to an FM radio. The signal starts to get a bit scratchy, so in order to hear the music better you turn up the volume (increasing the gain). The music will get louder, but so too will the scratchy noise, so you may still struggle to hear the music. Changing the ISO rating of an electronic camera by adding gain is little different. When you raise the gain the picture does get brighter but the increase in noise means that the darkest things that can be seen by the camera remain hidden in the noise which has also increased in amplitude.

Another issue with adding gain to make the image brighter is that you will also normally reduce the dynamic range that you can record.

Screenshot-2019-11-27-at-18.21.19-1024x576 What is Dual Base ISO and why is it important?

This is because amplification makes the entire signal bigger. So bright highlights that may be recordable within the recording range of the camera at 0dB or the native ISO may be exceed the upper range of the recording format when even only a small amount of gain is added, limiting the high end.

Screenshot-2019-11-27-at-18.22.59-1024x576 What is Dual Base ISO and why is it important?
Adding gain amplifies the brighter parts of the image so they can now exceed the cameras recording range.

 

At the same time the increased noise floor masks any additional shadow information so there is little if any increase in the shadow range.

Reducing the gain doesn’t really help either as now the brightest parts of the image from the sensor are not amplified sufficiently to reach the cameras full output. Very often the recordings from a camera with -3dB or -6dB  of gain will never reach 100%.

Screenshot-2019-11-27-at-18.23.08-1024x576 What is Dual Base ISO and why is it important?
Negative gain may also reduce the cameras dynamic range.

A camera with dual base ISO’s works differently.

Instead of adding gain to increase the sensitivity of the camera a camera with a dual base ISO sensor will operate the sensor in two different sensitivity modes. This will allow you to shoot at the low sensitivity mode when you have plenty of light, avoiding the need to add lots of ND filters when you want to obtain a shallow depth of field. Then when you are short of light you can switch the camera to it’s high sensitivity mode.

When done correctly, a dual ISO camera will have the same dynamic range and colour performance in both the high and low ISO modes and only a very small difference in noise between the two.

How dual sensitivity with no loss of dynamic range is achieved is often kept very secret by the camera and sensor manufacturers. Getting good, reliable and solid information is hard. Various patents describe different methods. Based on my own research this is a simplified description of how I believe Sony achieve two completely different sensitivity ranges on both the Venice and FX9 cameras.

The image below represents a single microscopic pixel from a CMOS video sensor. There will be millions of these on a modern sensor. Light from the camera lens passes first through a micro lens and colour filter at the top of the pixel structure. From there the light hits a part of the pixel called a photodiode. The photodiode converts the photons of light into electrons of electricity. 

Screenshot-2019-11-27-at-17.40.52-1024x605 What is Dual Base ISO and why is it important?
Layout of a sensor pixel including the image well.

In order to measure the pixel output we have to store the electrons for the duration of the shutter period. The part of the pixel used to store the electrons is called the “image well” (in an electrical circuit diagram the image well would be represented as a capacitor and is often simply the capacitance of the the photodiode itself).

Screenshot-2019-11-27-at-17.41.00-1024x605 What is Dual Base ISO and why is it important?
The pixels image well starts to fill up and the signal output level increases.

Then as more and more light hits the pixel, the photodiode produces more electrons. These pass into the image well and the signal increases. Once we reach the end of the shutter opening period the signal in the image well is read out, empty representing black and full representing very bright.

Screenshot-2019-11-27-at-17.41.09-1024x605 What is Dual Base ISO and why is it important?

Consider what would happen if the image well, instead of being a single charge storage area was actually two charge storage areas and there is a way to select whether we use the combined image well storage areas or just one part of the image well.

Screenshot-2019-11-27-at-18.10.02-1024x575 What is Dual Base ISO and why is it important?
Dual ISO pixel where the size of the image well can be altered.

When both areas are connected to the pixel the combined capacity is large. So it will take more electrons to fill it up, so more light is needed to produce the increased amount of electrons. This is the low sensitivity mode. 

If part of the charge storage area is disconnected and all of the photodiodes output is directed into the remaining, now smaller storage area then it will fill up faster, producing a bigger signal more quickly. This is the high sensitivity mode.

What about noise?

In the low sensitivity mode with the bigger storage area any unwanted noise generated by the photodiode will be more diluted by the greater volume of electrons, so noise will be low. When the size of the storage area or image well is reduced the noise from the photodiode will be less diluted so the noise will be a little bit higher. But overall the noise will be much less that that which would be seen if a large amount of extra gain was added.

Note for the more technical amongst you: Strictly speaking the image well starts full. Electrons have a negative charge so as more electrons are added the signal in the image well is reduced until maximum brightness output is achieved when the image well is empty!!

As well as what I have illustrated above there may be other things going on such as changes to the amplifiers that boost the pixels output before it is passed to the converters that convert the pixel output from an analog signal to a digital one. But hopefully this will help explain why dual base ISO is very different to the conventional gain changes used to give electronic cameras a wide range of different ISO rating.

On the Sony Venice and the PXW-FX9 there is only a very small difference between the noise levels when you switch from the low base ISO to the high one. This means that you can pick and choose between either base sensitivity level depending on the type of scene you are shooting without having to worry about the image becoming unusable due to noise.

NOTE: This article is my own work and was prepared without any input from Sony. I believe that the dual ISO process illustrated above is at the core of how Sony achieve two different base sensitivities on the Venice and FX9 cameras. However I can not categorically guarantee this to be correct.


What is Dual Base ISO and why is it important? was first posted on November 27, 2019 at 5:55 pm.
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12 Weeks of Christmas: 6 of the Greatest Digital Camera Firsts

12 Weeks of Christmas: 6 of the Greatest Digital Camera Firsts

Digital cameras are so pervasive in photography that it is difficult to remember a time when it was only possible to shoot on film. Yet as pervasive they are with the market is only about 30 years young, what are the six greatest “firsts” that we have seen in that time?

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Art of the Cut Podcast Eps. 23 (w/ “Terminator: Dark Fate” Editor Julian Clarke, ACE)

The Art of the Cut podcast brings the fantastic conversations that Steve Hullfish has with world renowned editors into your car, living room, editing suite and beyond. In each episode, Steve talks with editors ranging from emerging stars to Oscar and Emmy winners. Hear from the top editors of today about their careers, editing workflows and about their work on some of the biggest films and TV shows of the year.

Terminator Dark Fate Edited By Julian Clarke, ACE Oscar Nominee ACE Eddie Winner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week Steve spoke with Julian Clarke, ACE about editing “Terminator: Dark Fate.” Julian is a multiple ACE Eddie nominee, Oscar Nominee, and won an Eddie for his editing work on “The Handmaid’s Tale.” You might also know Julian for his editing work on “Deadpool” and “District 9.” To listen to Steve’s interview with Julian click the link below:

This weeks episode of the Art of the Cut Podcast is brought to you by LaCie. As a leading media storage company, Lacie consistently brings innovative ideas to the market. Make sure to listen to the above interview for a special offer from LaCie when you shop on Filmtools.com!

For Steves full interview with Julian please check out this link!

The Art of the Cut podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor, Google Podcasts, Breaker, Pocket Casts, Overcast and Radio Public. If you like the podcast, make sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast app and tell a friend!

The post Art of the Cut Podcast Eps. 23 (w/ “Terminator: Dark Fate” Editor Julian Clarke, ACE) appeared first on ProVideo Coalition.

Shooting a Photo of Politicians’ Empty Campaign Promises

Politricks‘: “the word “politics” altered to convey the empty-campaign promises often experienced after politicians get elected.” About a year ago I had this thought of making a picture from this word.

I needed a suitable location and model who looked like a politician (and who had no problem coming and acting like one). Finding the right location was quite challenging because many of the potential locations were actively used by political organizations, and obviously the content of the image isn’t flattering. So I had to find a sufficiently neutral place for the photoshoot.

After I found a model to pose as the politician and a suitable location, I started sketching the photo in Photoshop and building the props needed for the photo.

A long nose was a tricky prop. At first I thought I could use some kind of latex nose from a costume store, but then I figured out that Styrofoam could do the trick — it’s easy to shape and after coating it with a water-based paint, I sprayed a little bit of lacquer onto it to make it bubble to create the illusion of skin pores.

The lectern was simple — it was made from a glulam tabletop that I had, and because I knew from which angle I was going to shoot the photo, I only needed to make it whole from one side.

The only other props that I needed were some blank paper and posters that I could finish in Photoshop by adding the “campaign” photo to them.

Because of the time we had in the location, both models were photographed separately. That way I didn’t need so many lights and could work quickly and efficiently. The lights I used in this photoshoot were two Godox AD360s, a Godox V1, and a Nikon SB-24.

The politician was photographed with the three lights with rectangular softboxes, one with a honeycomb straight from the top, one from the right, and one light on the left side of the model.

I wanted the cleaner to be a bit in the shadows so I used two softboxes (right behind and in front of her).

After the models were photographed, I took a couple of shots from the scene with one flashlight in different places around the scene.

The last task in the location was to take the “campaign” portrait of the politician, and then it was a wrap. The whole photoshoot was done in 2 hours.

In post-processing, I made the politician’s nose longer, removed lines from the floor, combined the shots into one, and added little details like sawdust on the politician’s jacket, campaign posters to the walls, and papers on the floor.

Here’s a short behind-the-scenes video:

Here’s the finished photo:


About the author: Juhamatti Vahdersalo is a commercial photographer. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Vahdersalo’s work on his website.

PVC’s Black Friday 2019 best deals: Black Friday season will be over soon

PVC’s Black Friday 2019 best deals: Black Friday season will soon be over

We pick some more deals for this Black Friday season, as we approach the day itself, November 29th. Here are some of the best deals for videographers and photographers. Come back for more, soon.

Technically, Black Friday is only on the Friday, but the truth is that deals have started before, and some will continue until Cyber Monday and even beyond that date. Some of the deals, though, and Adobe is an example, end on Black Friday. Check the dates if in doubt. As for predictions, Adobe Analytics predicts that online shopping will “hit new highs” over the holiday season in general, with an expected increase of 20% over 2018.

Black Friday. Going, going, almost gone

Adobe also has a Black Friday special deal, and it ends Friday. Yes, that Friday, The Black Friday. So, if you want to get up to 40% off the next generation of Creative Cloud and Creative Cloud for teams, there is no better time to subscribe then now. NOW, means NOW! Because  Friday is just round the corner. If you happen to be a filmmaker or photographer that is also a student, you can save up to 70%. But hurry, because, as Adobe states, “Black Friday. Going, going, almost gone”.

The deal? Well, you can get a all apps subscription for $29.99 per month, instead of the regular $52.99/monthly. Get all 20+ creative desktop and mobile apps including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, and XD. But the deals ends November 29th.


PVC’s Black Friday 2019 best deals: Black Friday season will soon be over

Cyberlink: up to 40% off

Cyberlink’s Black Friday sales run until December 1st, so if you want to get your hands on some of the software from the company, the time is now.  One example? PowerDVD 19 Ultra, the optimized media player with new 8K, 4K, and HDR video playback, able to play & cast virtually any type of disc, video, photo, audio & ISO files is available for $59.99 instead of $99.99.

The Director Suite 365, PowerDirector 365, and Photo Director 365 subscriptions are  also available with 30% off, while promotion continues. Apparently, the perpetual license options at Cyberlink get no Black Friday deals, suggesting the direction the company wants users to move. Visit the website for more information and deals.


PVC’s Black Friday 2019 best deals: Black Friday season will soon be over

Filmtools: the Black Friday sales continue

Black Friday sales at Filmtools continue, and you just need a code to get 50% off: FTFRIDAY, Among the many products available you’ll find the LaCie 10TB 5big 5-Bay Thunderbolt 2 RAID Array, with a price of $599.50 instead of $1,199.00 , or the Oyen Digital 16TB Mobius 5-Bay Thunderbolt 2 External Hard Drive Array with SoftRAID, at $574.50 during this period, instead of the usual ​​​​​​​$1,149.00.

The deals do not stop there, and you can also get the Chimera Quartz Plus 1 Bank Large, NO 8444​​​​​​​ for $583.02 instead of $1,166.04. Or the Litepanels Astra 2X EP Bi-Color LED Panel​​​​​​​, available for $522.50 when its regular price is $1,045.00. There are more deals at Filmtools, so pay the website a visit before the promotions end.


PVC’s Black Friday 2019 best deals: Black Friday season will soon be over

Lightworks Pro 14: the best deal of the year

Buy a Lightworks Pro 14 Outright license today and save 50%.  The discount is valid through Sunday 1st December, so don’t wait until tomorrow. The package includes Lightworks Pro Outright with 50% discount off the list price and Boris FX AND Boris Graffiti is also included free (value $599). The license, which will never expire, is valid for all version 14 software releases. Use code OUTRIGHT2019.

If permanent licenses are not your thing, the Lightworks team has got something nice for you too: buy a year’s license of Lightworks (including Boris Graffiti) and get the second year free! The license is valid for all V14 software releases and the 50% off Code is BOGO2019.


ON1 Photo RAW 2020 special price

If you’re looking for a powerful yet easy to use all-in-one alternative to Photoshop and Lightroom, try ON1 Photo RAW 2020, a professional-grade photo organizer, raw processor, layered editor, and effects app that gives you the control you need to fully express your creative vision. Use the Black Friday savings deal to get your copy of the software, plus bonuses, for $79.99 instead of the regular price of $194.95.

ON1 Photo RAW 2020 is available for Mac or Windows, and it can be installed on 5 computers. The new version, launched recently, includes ON1’s new AI-powered Auto Tone and AI Match, powerful new presets and filters like Weather, Channel Mixer, Color Balance and Sun Flare. What’s more important, if offers speed and performance gains that photographers need for faster workflows. The promotion is limited, so act now.


Zylia: Black Friday deals

Zylia’s products are all on sale until November 29th, with up to 40% off. If you want to   revolutionise your music creation workflow and explore a new approach for 3D music recording, explore the catalog available from the company.  You get 20% discount on Zylia Music, 30% on Zylia Music Pro, 40% on Zylia Studio Pro Plugin or Zylia Ambisonics Converter.

Zylia Music is the world’s first portable recording studio that allows you to record an entire 360-degree sound scene with 19 microphones placed in one device ​plugged directly to your laptop. You can AUTOMIX tracks with just one click or have fun mixing them on your own. Spearheading the softare section, you’ve ​ZYLIA Studio software, a desktop application for MAC, Linux and Windows, to record, mix, and store your recordings,  extract individual instruments into separate tracks, and more.

These Black Friday deals from Zylia are only available until November 29th.


More PVC’s Black Friday 2019 deals coverage

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The post PVC’s Black Friday 2019 best deals: Black Friday season will be over soon appeared first on ProVideo Coalition.

Google explains its Night Sight astrophotography mode in detail

Ever since Google launched its Night Sight feature on the Pixel 3 series the low light photography feature has been very popular with users. On the new Pixel 4 Google has updated Night Sight with a specific mode for astrophotography. The team behind it has now authored a blog post to explained the function in more detail.

In order to capture as much light as possible without using shutter speeds that would require a tripod and/or lead to blur on any moving subject, Night Sight splits the exposure across multiple frames that are aligned to compensate for camera shake and in-scene motion. In a second step the frames are averaged to reduce noise and increase image detail.

The astrophotography feature uses the same approach in principle but uses longer exposure times for individual frames and therefore relies on tripod use or some other kind of support.

Image with hot pixels (left) and the corrected version (right)

The team decided exposure times of individual frames should not be longer than 16 seconds to make the stars look like points of light rather than streaks. The team also found that most users were not patient enough to wait longer than four minutes for a full exposure. So the feature uses a maximum of 15 frames with up to 16 seconds exposure time per frame.

At such long exposure times hot pixel can become a problem. The system identifies them by comparing neighboring pixels within the same frame as well as across a sequence of frames recorded for a Night Sight image. If an outlier is detected its value is replaced by an average.

In addition the feature uses AI to identify the sky in night images and selectively darken it for image results that are closer to the real scene than what you would achieve with a conventional long exposure.

This image was captured under the lighting of a full moon. The left half shows the version without any sky processing applied. On the right the sky has been slightly darkened for a more realistic result, without affecting the landscape elements in the frame.

Night Sight is not only about capture, though, it also includes a special viewfinder that is optimized for shooting in ultra-low light. When the shutter is pressed each individual long-exposure frame is displayed as it is captured, showing much more detail than the standard preview image. The composition can then be corrected and a new Night Sight shot triggered.

Some of the results we have seen have been impressive. For more more technical detail head over to the original post on the Google blog. A n album of full-size sample images can be found here. The team has also put together a helpful guide for using the feature in pdf format.

Need Some Inspiration? How to Live for the Story and Create Compelling, Authentic Photographs

Need Some Inspiration? How to Live for the Story and Create Compelling, Authentic Photographs

If you need a small dose of inspiration to shoot more and immerse yourself in your photography, check out this short video from respected travel photographer Mitchell Kanashkevich. For Kanashkevich, living for the story has meant shaping his life around photography, and he draws on this experience to help you discover creativity and authenticity through your work.

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Finding Photo Inspiration at the Hardware Store

Over the past year, I’ve been pushing my images into more abstract, painterly directions. As digital images seem to be moving into a realm of hyperrealism, I find myself longing for gritty tangibility. Since I have always more in the get-it-in-camera camp, I have been experimenting with a range of techniques and materials to try and achieve the look I’m after.

I started off this past spring by adding substances such as coconut oil and honey to glass and then shooting through it.

After that, I moved on to shooting with imperfect, fungus-covered lenses to get a hazy, dreamlike quality. Next, I tried my hand at capturing distorted reflections in mylar.

Most recently I explored what broken mirrors can add to an image.

All these experiments have worked together to inform my process in terms of optimal focal length, aperture, and light quality/direction when working with multiple planes, textures, and reflections. Now that I better understand how to manipulate these mediums I can walk through a hardware store, for example, and visualize how certain materials would look when photographed and lit a certain way, which is exactly what I did last week.

My model Rachel arrived and we chatted for a bit as I finished distressing an air filter (the kind you use in an air conditioner unit) that I had purchased for the shoot. In an effort to make it more transparent I had needed to separate the fibers a bit more.

Once it was ready, I hung it in front of Rachel, then placed a blue-gelled light in a position that it would light both her and the filter, and I angled a red-gelled light into the backdrop. The resulting images are smoky and mysterious, and I was more than just a little excited.

The second thing that I acquired at the store was a spool of steel wire. I had visualized cutting a number of lengths of wire, hanging them from a boom arm, and bending them into the desired position around my subject. Cutting the strips and manipulating them into shape took some time, which I found to be quite therapeutic, and it brought back fond memories of art school sculpture class.

When it came time to photograph them, I explored several different ways of photographing them: placing the subject behind the wire while using a shallow depth of field, leaving her out of focus; placing them both on the same focal plane and using a smaller aperture; placing the wire in front of the model while using hard light to pick up the shadows. I couldn’t pick a favorite.

For the final look, Rachel wanted to shoot with the broken mirror I have sitting in my studio. Since I had already photographed it several times in the past couple of weeks I wanted to use it in a new way. In prior shoots, I had made the cracks the central focus, and this time I wanted to instead capture the prismatic effect of the multi-planed surface.

I had Rachel stand further away from the mirror and I used a wider aperture and longer focal length lens to really throw the cracks out of focus. This resulted in more airy, ethereal images than ones comprised of the heavy, well-defined cracks.

I have really enjoyed these added sculptural elements in my shoots these past six months. I love the innate symbolism in the materials that I choose to work with, which can be implemented into my shoot concept. I’m now assessing almost everything around me as a possible element to be used in future shoots. This renewed sense of curiosity and wonder may be my most important discovery yet.


P.S. In case you missed it I’m teaching a two-day creative portraiture workshop in Los Angeles, Columbus, and NYC in January 2020. These are exactly the kind of techniques we will be exploring. For more info, go here.


About the author: Nick Fancher is a Columbus, Ohio-based portrait and commerce photographer. You can also find more of his work and writing on his website. His popular books can be purchased on Amazon. This article was also published here.

An Interview with Photographer B.A. Van Sise

B.A. Van Sise is one of the world’s busiest travel photographers and a Nikon travel photography ambassador. A frequent contributor to the Village Voice and Buzzfeed, his work has also been featured on the cover of the New York Times, on PBS NewsHour, the Daily Mail, and on NPR. A number of his photos are in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian.

Van Sise’s latest project is his photo book Children Of Grass: A Portrait Of American Poetry. It’s a collection of portraits and poems of/by some of the most influential poets of our time.

We had a chat with Van Sise about the project.

PetaPixel: Can you tell us how this project got started?

B.A. Van Sise: I’d always been a poetry lover. As a teenager, I used to sneak into my high school early and write poems out by hand on the English classroom blackboards, in about the nerdiest example of vigilante vandalism one can imagine.

I’ve been a photographer, mostly doing newspaper work, for twenty years, but I got sick and had to have some rather invasive surgeries about four years ago. While I was laid up, I got this kernel of an idea: you know, I love poetry, and it could be interesting to find a way to make some expansive project integrating the poets themselves.

I started by making a very short list of fifteen important poets I’d track down, convince to do this with me once I was up and walking around again, and build out concepts for. By the time I got to fifteen, I realized that fifteen felt like nothing, and it was off to the races.

Vijay Seshadri, winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

How did you select the subjects?

The initial list was basically anybody who’d been U.S. Poet Laureate, won a Pulitzer, or had been a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. The project is deeply, and purposefully, inclusive; the list of people who wins awards isn’t exclusively so but has historically tended towards folks who are male and white.

America is, of course, not just that, and the people in this project overwhelmingly reflect that — I worked hard to make sure there were voices of color, LGBT voices, and a lot of other groups that are sometimes marginalized in literature.

But the truth of it is that, with a couple of exceptions, almost everybody in the book comes in as a recommendation. I’d ask my subjects to recommend to me a couple of people they thought I should include, as a safeguard against the tyranny of my own tastes but, most importantly, because it introduced me to people who were not on my, or maybe anybody’s, radar.

There are people in there who’ve won every literary award offered in the world, and people living in dingy apartments in Brooklyn whose names are known to basically just me and their mammas. That’s the way it should be: a rising tide raises all ships, and I’d never do it any other way.

I’ve actually just started on a similar project, of comedians and humorists, that I’m building out in just the same way — it’s a very, very good method for figuring out who belongs — a lot of art cultures are really small, and if people are doing good work, everybody else in that business will hear about it.

Joyce Carol Oates,winner of the National Book Award and the National Humanities Medal

How much time and energy went into the book?

An unspeakable amount. I only stopped because a book and a museum exhibition — at the fantastic Center for Creative Photography, founded by none other than Ansel Adams himself — had to be put together at the tail end of last year. Otherwise, I just might never have stopped.

The project was entirely self-funded, largely through other gigs, and a lot of times it was just me and one or two other people toodling around American in my teeny tiny car, going to meet poets in far-flung corners of the country. In the course of the two years and eight months I spent shooting it, I crisscrossed the nation four times, read more than 500 books, and drove myself into absolute, unspeakable debt.

Danez Smith

What was the biggest challenge you experienced?

Real answer: Stopping.

Longer, better answer: Making image concepts to match the poems. I’d go to the library, the bookstore, scour the Internet, whatever, and read everything a poet had ever put down in words. 99% of that couldn’t be used — didn’t translate visually, required knowledge of other poems, whatever — and so a lot of times coming up with a poem to build a concept out of it would be challenging. And sometimes I’d come up with the most magical, holy-cow-this-is-it idea, pitch it up to the poet, and the poet would email me back with nope.

I briefly considered including singer-songwriters as poets, and even pinged a couple; pitched Bob Dylan on the single best photo concept I’ve ever dreamed up in. my. life. and I got an email back saying nothing more than “this idea is s**t.”

In reality, the entire project was me inviting myself, unannounced and unrequested, as an ersatz poetry editor in the work and lives of a bunch of people who are artists themselves — there was, naturally, conflict there.

Jane Hirshfield, chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Can you tell us about your process of putting each portrait together? What kind of planning and work did that involve, both leading up to the shoots and during the shoots themselves?

Generally, I’d run a commando raid on the New York Public Library, relieve them of every word they’ve got by my new poet. I’d pick out a few poems — things that I thought were visually appealing, or things that had some relationship to my own life or the lives of people close to me, or something that I just thought might be challenging — and I’d build out a few visual concepts, which I’d then pitch to the poets.

Many were collaborative, though with some I definitely took a heavier hand. Jane Hirshfield, on whose head I perched a falcon, has become a true friend and loves to tease me that I’m bossy; I’m not sure that’s true, but once you’ve talked somebody into putting a trained cinema falcon on their head, how can you possibly cede that magic?

To prove the rule, though, there’s a few — really just two or three out of the nearly 90 — where we did the shoot and the poet came back and suggested something or other than came to mind, some poem they’d written that had stepped out of a shadow while they were doing the shoot or looking at the photograph. In all those cases, their poem became my poem, if that makes sense.

Unlike with the shoots I do for clients, magazines, etc, where everything is by necessity drawn almost by schematic, the planning for poet shoots was varied. There were a few that required a ton of organization — they closed down Thomas Jefferson’s house so I could photograph Rita Dove, for Pete’s sake — but a lot of them were rough concepts where I knew what story I needed to tell and basically what I wanted it to look like, but only came into existence in the moment itself.

Rita Dove. U.S. Poet Laureate, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Medal of the Arts

I write a lot — little fiction and nonfiction pieces, published here and there — and that’s how I write, too: in the creation, I don’t usually know where my characters are going any better than they do.

How much time did you spend with each of your subjects?

I’ll deputize Thomas Jefferson again. His grandson, describing him, said that Jefferson was “a miser of his time” — he knew he had little of it, and less still to waste. I’m much the same with my shoots — with this series or any other. Lord knows I’m fascinated by everybody, see value in everybody — which I acknowledge is an Atticus Finch-sized character fault — but the truth is that I’ve never felt a great need to waste several hours of my subjects’ time for something that can be executed in just a few moments, and I’ve never understood the impress-the-boss photoshoots we’ve all seen where there’s one photographer and seventeen assistants, because it needs to look good to somebody in charge.

There were exceptions: when I photographed X.J. Kennedy in the Boston Athenæum, it was a several hour makeup call — but for the most part, it was rare a shoot lasted longer than a half-hour, and were usually quite a bit less. The trade-off is that half the time, the shoot would be done in 20 minutes and the poets are all fascinated by everybody too and we’d all end up going to a dinner or the bar or the library to hang out and kibbitz for a few hours. But that’s a luxury.

Taylor Mali, four time National Poetry Slam champion

What kind of camera gear and lighting equipment did you use for the portraits?

My digital bodies are all Nikon — the early work in this series was shot with a Nikon D800, and the later work with a Nikon D850. I’ve got enough lenses to make Galileo weak in the knees, but tend to use only a very, very narrow selection in everyday life — a 50mm fixie, and a 24-70 variable. Anything that’s not wide, in my work, is generally made with the fixed lens.

For lighting — I was trained in a newsroom when I was really young by an older photographer named Ken Spencer, who taught me the value of simple lighting, which I’ve always carried around with me. Almost everything in there is done with a single light source (natural light, a strobe pushed through a beauty dish, or my beloved Westcott Icelight) and a bounce.

It’s kinda funny — I’ve got no less than 20 lights — strobes, Kino Flos, big fixed tungsten lamps and practicals, unusual light sources I’ve picked up over the years, all sorts of goofy stuff — in my home studio, and could do huge seven light setups with softboxes and whatnot, but it doesn’t suit the work, at least with this.

I want my portraits to have no ambiguity about where the story is, and the story shouldn’t be “look how clever I am with lighting.” At least not always.

Atticus

What’s your favorite portrait from the book and why?

As a story: there’s a photograph of slam poetry champion Derrick Brown tumbling down a hill, which is something he really and truly did — we found this absurd little mini-mountain in Los Angeles, with the skyline perfectly framed, and he threw his fourth point of contact down that miserably steep area time and time again. I’d picked his poem — a really obscure one he barely remembered when I pitched him the concept — because it had a certain autobiographical appeal, and Derrick’s portrait is sort of my self-portrait within the series.

Derrick C. Brown

As a photograph: there’s a simple, lovely little photograph of Ted Kooser, U.S. poet laureate in there. Ted lives in Nebraska and told me he’d be happy to sit for me, and that he’d go absolutely anywhere to do it as long as the place I picked was the town he lived in, just to the left of nowhere, in Nebraska. So, to Nebraska I drove.

He was the loveliest man, and we’d selected this poem by him about an abandoned farmhouse and he said “you know, gee, the farmhouse I wrote it about is right up the road…” and we ended up scrapping my idea entirely and going and breaking into the very weathered, slanted farmhouse from his poem.

I’d driven two days up from Oklahoma to photograph him, and had brought along I don’t know how much gear, how many lighting tools, but there was this absolutely perverse orange storm, cold rain and this low, ominous wind rolling through, and when he got into the farmhouse he stepped in, an old man in a broken building, and was just hit by this magical, warm, soft light and I said “that’s it.”

It was like the line from Christopher Marlowe: infinite riches, in a little room. I’d like to pretend that it was inspiration, but in reality the universe just gave that one to me. A gift.

Ted Kooser. U.S. Poet Laureate and winner of the Pulitzer Prize

What’s one thing you want people to take away from this work?

Very early on in the project, I had to buy an oodle of books and did so on some website or other. I was buying 40-something books and it was clearly an unusual order; when I clicked to check out, a dialog box came up asking me to enter the displayed code, under a command to me in big black letters: CONFIRM HUMANITY.

The act of buying 40 poetry books had called my humanity into question.

I make work for the same reason I think any artist makes work: because it needs to get out, and because I want people to see it. But I think, on a deeper level, I’d like somebody seeing the work to also engage with it in a different way than most folks engage with what is essentially a photography work — you look at the picture, think on it for a second, and move on. But mine comes with homework!

There’s poetry there, and it’s in conversation with my work, and sometimes in confrontation with my work: sometimes they complement one another, and sometimes my image is there in contrast to the poem, or the poem is there to put me in my place.

I’d like people to leave the book having seen a lot of photographs, having read a lot of poetry, and probably not connecting with some of it but more importantly, being changed, forever, by some poem they saw that’ll stick to them forever, their humanity called into question, I guess.

If you take a cup of milk and put a drop of red dye in it, it will always be, no matter what you do and forever, just a little bit pink. The second you release work into the world it is, by definition, beyond your command- — but that’s what I want it to do, what I hope it might do.

Mark Doty, winner of the National Book Award

What is one of your favorite photos, and what’s one of your favorite poems?

I don’t write poetry, because I am bad at it and know that. It’s hard to name favorites, but one of my favorites is actually in the book — a lovely piece by Jeffrey McDaniel called The Quiet World.

My favorite photos — boy, that’s hard to identify, too. I interned with Arnold Newman when I was younger, and would probably pick one of his portraits, the simple intelligence of them. The one of Alfried Krupp comes to mind — the geometry, the justified cruelty of it. Overall photographers — well, I love poetry, so America’s greatest poet, Robert Frank comes to mind, too.

Joan Naviyuk Kane

What’s next for you?

I’m never without five projects going on at once — Heinlein, arguing for the competent man, reminded us all that specialization is for insects. The biggest project, however, is sort of a sequel to Children of Grass. a project called (for now) Funny-Looking in which I’m photographing 100 humorists and comedians, in a similar way — very very big names, and also up-and-coming kids you’ve never heard of.

It’s same same, but different: it’s still interdisciplinary, of course, and the foundational subject matter it’s built off is so nonidentical. The culture and motivations of humorists and comedians are wildly different from artists and poets, and the work we’re using is often quite a bit pointier. So I’m basically learning to write all over again, in a whole new language.

Dana Levin

Children Of Grass: A Portrait Of American Poetry is a 176-page hardcover photo book that’s in bookstores now for $34. You can find more of Van Sise’s work on his website, Facebook, and Instagram.


Image credits: Header portrait by Jolene Lupo & Geoffrey Berliner/Penumbra. All other photographs by B.A. Van Sise and used with permission

The “E” in “E-Mount” stands for Eighteen.

A completely useless bit of trivia for you is that the “E” in E-mount stands for eighteen. 18mm is the E-mount flange back distance. That’s the distance between the sensor and the face of the lens mount. The fact the e-mount is only 18mm while most other DSLR systems have a flange back distance of around 40mm means thare are 20mm or more in hand that can be used for adapters to go between the camera body and 3rd party lenses with different mounts.

Here’s a little table of some common flange back distances:

MOUNT FLANGE BACK SPARE/Difference
e-mount 18mm
Sony FZ (F3/F5/F55) 19mm 1mm
Canon EF 44mm 26mm
Nikon F Mount 46.5mm 28.5mm
PL 52mm 34mm
Arri LPL 44mm 26mm
Sony A, Minolta 44.5mm 26.5mm
M42 45.46mm 27.46mm

The “E” in “E-Mount” stands for Eighteen. was first posted on November 27, 2019 at 4:00 pm.
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Fall Landscapes and Changing Your Mindset

Fall Landscapes and Changing Your Mindset

Landscape photography is just as much about creating a plan as it is about being able to change that plan when what you are hoping for simply won’t work. Here’s a simple reminder to get out of your own way when creating art in the field.

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