The Nightmares and Miracles of My Super 8mm Short Film

Shooting on Super 8mm seemed like an artistic and elegant choice. But it turned out to be quite the challenge!

When I had the idea to make my new short documentary, Betty Feeds the Animals; I knew I wanted to shoot some footage on Super 8. I’d made a short narrative film back in 2009 that was shot on Super 8, and I loved the aesthetic. But the idea of shooting a short unscripted documentary on Super 8 seemed daunting and impossible.

But I’m glad I took the risk and went for it anyway.

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Back to One, Episode 93: Marsha Stephanie Blake

Marsha Stephanie Blake destroyed me. Not just once, a few times. Her devastating portrayal of Linda McCray in When They See Us was justifiably recognized with an Emmy nomination last year. She talks extensively about one line in particular that really got to me in that incredible limited series. She also “kills” with comedy too. Like in The Merchant Of Venice on Broadway. She talks about obsessively studying Al Pacino during that run, and relishing her time with Viola Davis on this season of How To Get Away With Murder. She was on her way toward a career in medicine when […]

Rent the Lumix S1H for $99/week

Panasonic has kicked off a new creator rental program in the United States where you can rent the Lumix S1H for $99 USD a week. If you’re interested in the camera, this is a great way to test it out to see if it’s the right fit for you. Normal prices from a rental house … Continued

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Z CAM E2 Firmware 0.94 Released

Z Cam has just released firmware update version 0.94 for the E2 with a number of new additions and improvements. Erik has previously reviewed the Z Cam E2 on the site. So what are these new additions? there isn’t too much documentation the Z Cam Facebook group has a growing community. One new mode for … Continued

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Pentax Unveils Oddly Familiar 70-210mm f/4 Lens for K-Mount DSLRs

After a long, deafening silence, Pentax is finally back on the map. Minutes ago, Ricoh unveiled its first new K-mount lens in some time with the HD Pentax-D FA 70-210mm f/4ED SDM WR: a lightweight do-everything telephoto zoom for Pentax DSLRs.

The 70-210mm f/4ED SDM WR features an optical design of 20 elements in 14 groups—including three extra-low dispersion (ED) elements and two anomalous dispersion elements—boasting a minimum focusing distance of 0.95 meters and a maximum magnification of 0.32x at a total weight of just 819g. There’s also Pentax’s special “HD” multi-layer coating to improve light transmittance and reduce reflectance, and a 9-blade rounded aperture diaphragm that promises “natural” and “beautiful” bokeh.

The lens uses a ring-type supersonic direct-drive motor (SDM) for fast and quiet autofocus, a two-step focus range limiter, and Pentax’s “Quick-shift Focus System” that lets you instantly shift to manual focus after you’ve locked on to your subject by pressing the shutter-release button halfway down.

As with any 70-200 (ish) f/4 lens, this is meant to be a more compact, portable and affordable version of the 70-200mm f/2.8 holy trinity lens. However, it’s worth noting that the Pentax-D FA 70-210mm f/4ED SDM WR doesn’t seem to be unique. In fact, as DPReview points out, the lens’ specs are nearly identical to the Tamron 70-210mm f/4 Di VC USD lens for Nikon and Canon.

Make of that what you will.

The HD Pentax-D FA 70-210mm f/4ED SDM WR will start shipping on February 15th at at an MSRP of $1100, giving K-mount shooters a more portable and affordable alternative to the brand’s 70-200mm f/2.8. Head over to the Ricoh Imaging website to learn more, or pre-order yours here.

Ricoh unveils HD Pentax-D FA 70–210mm F4 ED SDM WR telephoto zoom lens

Ricoh has announced the HD Pentax-D FA 70–210mm F4 ED SDM WR, a new telephoto zoom lens for its full-frame K-mount DSLR camera systems.

The lens, which strongly resembles Tamron’s lens with the same specifications, is constructed of 20 elements in 14 groups, including three extra-low dispersion (ED) elements and two anomalous dispersion elements. It features a minimum focusing distance of 95cm (3.1ft), a nine-blade aperture diaphragm, uses Pentax’s high-definition (HD) multi-layer coating on its elements and features a weather-resistant design that works alongside Pentax’s weather-resistant DSLR cameras to provide a tight seal against the elements.

Powering the autofocus is a ring-type supersonic direct-drive motor (SDM) and a quick-shift focus system makes it easy to switch from autofocus to manual after the shutter has been half-pressed. The lens measures in at 175mm (6.9in) long, 78.5mm (3.1in) diameter and weighs 859g (1.89lbs) with the lens hood on.

The HD Pentax-D FA 70–210mm F4 ED SDM WR will be available starting February 15, 2020 for an MSRP of $1,100.

Ricoh announces compact, lightweight, high-performance telephoto zoom lens for use with 35mm full-frame digital SLR cameras

New HD PENTAX-D FA 70–210mm F4 ED SDM WR provides great portability in a variety of applications, from nature and scenic photography to active fieldwork

PARSIPPANY, NJ, January 22, 2020 – Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation today announced the HD PENTAX-D FA 70–210mmF4ED SDM WR zoom lens for use with PENTAX K-mount digital SLR cameras. This high-performance telephoto zoom lens features a compact, lightweight body with weather-resistant construction for great portability in a variety of outdoor applications.

Featuring a highly portable design, this high-performance zoom lens covers the image circle of 35mm full-frame digital SLRs, and provides a focal length range of 70mm to 210mm ideal for handheld outdoor photography. A constant f/4 maximum aperture ensures consistent brightness throughout the zoom range and enables increased control over depth of field for selective focus effects. When used with an APS-C-format camera, its focal length range is extended to the equivalent of 107mm to 322mm in the 35mm format. The new lens has a minimum focusing distance of 0.95 meters and a maximum magnification of 0.32 times, providing greater macro coverage than previous models. It also features a Quick-Shift Focus System that enables an instant shift to manual-focus operation after locking a subject in focus during autofocus operation.

This lens is ideal for active field photography in a wide range of outdoor applications including scenic photography, landscape shooting with a beautiful bokeh effect in the fore- and background, close-up photography of animals and plants, and sports and wildlife photography where its outstanding portability really comes in handy.

A high-grade, multi-layer high-definition (HD) coating has been applied to the optical elements of the lens, enabling the capture of high-contrast images with edge-to-edge sharpness and minimizing flare and ghost images. A super-protective (SP) coating, highly repellent to water, grease and dirt, has also been applied to the lens’ front surface, making it easy to wipe off stains or fingerprints.

Pricing and Availability

The HD PENTAX-D FA 70–210mmF4ED SDM WR will be available for sale on February 15, 2020, at and retail outlets nationwide for a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1099.95.

No One-Click Edits: Why Presets Don’t Work for Landscape Photography

No presets. No one-click edits. While presets may be a welcome time-saver for wedding, portrait and travel photographers (often offering a solid base to then apply custom adjustments), editing a landscape photo is different.

Other photographers may take dozens of great images in a day. Yet most landscape photographers will be pleased with one or two—some seasoned pros will be delighted to add a single image to their portfolio after a trip away. Often we get none.

Side note: It’s great to set high standards, but don’t let the fear of failure inhibit you from creating and growing as a photographer.

Landscape photographers have many obsessions—with lenses, camera bodies, filters, tripods, light, weather and scoping locations. The same investment and care ought to be taken when it comes to editing the final image. Here’s why.

Why Landscape Images Deserve Bespoke Editing

Landscapes are dynamic. From each season to each passing hour, they shift and change at the mercy of the weather and light. A small change in camera position can have a drastic effect on the strength of the composition. Altering the camera settings can create either a dreamy long exposure or a dark low-key image.

Each landscape image we create is unique. Each is deserving of its own post-processing.

Creators of ‘preset packs’ have likely spent hours fine-tuning their adjustments. And their curated collection of before/after images often look amazing. I’ve thought it too, I want my images to look as good as that.

Yet a preset that looks amazing on their image of a forest is (very) unlikely to suit your mountain scene. And even if you were to use ‘Moody Forest 4’ on your own forest image, at best it might look okay, at worst it’s an inferior imitation of the original creator’s style.

If you simply want to take candy-coloured drone images of cyan water and orange sand, go for it. Stop reading here.

But read on if you want to create something more. To create something of your own making. To create something that is a true expression of your artistry.

Develop and Express Your Creative Vision

Some landscape photographers insist on minimal post-processing. Some insist on none. And that’s okay.

Other photographers, myself included, have a vision for their final image and the RAW file just doesn’t live up to those expectations. Perhaps the sky was too-blown out. Perhaps a wave didn’t crash at the right time. Perhaps the forest behind our subject was too bright and distracting.

Post-processing can alleviate all these issues. But a one-click preset won’t.

When we invest the time to learn and apply various post-processing techniques, we become more capable in knowing the best approach to develop an image. We discover what’s possible, not through cloning another’s style, but through our own trial and error. Through growing our own skill-set and capabilities.

Post-processing equips up with the tools to better realize our vision for what an image could be.

Stronger Processing, for Stronger Compositions in the Field

Being well versed in post-processing not only helps back on the computer screen. It opens your eyes to what’s possible with an image, presenting opportunities to be more creative in the field too. For example, on recent shoots I’ve left the tripod at home—particularly for long exposure seascapes. Why?

Because a tripod limits my opportunities for strong compositions. Planting my camera on the tripod creates tunnel vision when I’m exploring a scene. And it soaks up valuable time during the fleeting window of great light.

Shooting handheld allows me to quickly eye up compositions from different perspectives. It allows me to get close to wave movement without having to invert the tripod legs in the water—and quickly save the camera from incoming rogue waves!

But what about sharpness? What about blending exposures for dynamic range?

These concerns have abated as I’ve taken the time to experiment with what I can achieve in post-processing.

I know I can still capture handheld seascape images at 1/15 second that create pleasing motion blur in the water, while still retaining 95% of the sharpness a tripod would offer. Likewise, unless I’m shooting directly into the sun, I know I can recover all the dynamic range I need from a single exposure. I’ll take a tiny sacrifice in RAW image quality—knowing I can alleviate it in post-processing—for the larger gains in stronger, more varied compositions.

I’m not wading out into the rushing waves to take the sharpest image possible. I’m wading out into the rushing waves to create a piece of art that conveys feeling and emotion—being well versed in post-processing enables me to realize that.

Be Authentic, Be Honest

“Has this been photoshopped?”

It’s a question that rubs many photographers the wrong way. Behind the surface lies the unspoken question: “Is this real?”

Enough words have been written and opinions expressed on what is acceptable post-processing—and the debate continues. I’m not going to add fuel to the fire here. But what I do advise is that you be honest with your edits, and don’t be ashamed of them.

If you blended a bright sky with a dark foreground, take a moment of pride in your technical skills to better capture your experience on location. If you darkened distracting elements to focus attention on your subject, that’s an artistic choice to improve the impact of your work.

When we treat post-processing as a dirty word, we further the myth that it is one.

Final Thoughts

Presets seem a tempting option to make good photos great. Yet more oft than not for landscape photographers, they’re a shallow one-click shortcut.

Like most things in photography—and in life—a great result is so rarely the result of a simple ‘hack’ or secret trick. Great results are the fruit of showing up, again and again, to refine our approach. When we invest the time to develop our post-processing skills, we invest in the quality of the work we can produce.

Landscape photography is an art. Like other creative endeavors, the art form demands time for the artist to practice and enhance their technique. It deserves time to sharpen our skills—time to create compelling work that realizes our vision.

About The Author: Mitch Green is an Australian landscape photographer. He can be found via his website, through Instagram, or down by the beach at 5am waiting for sunrise.

What is the Save the Cat Beat Sheet and Why is it Popular?

There’s a good chance you’ve heard of the Save the Cat beat sheet but why is it so popular?

Blake Snyder was a successful screenwriter with more than 12 spec script sales under his belt. Some for over a million dollars. He was trucking along in Hollywood when he realized a pattern to the scripts he was selling.

There was an identifiable structure that seemed to please executives and audiences alike.

So Blake Snyder set to work on what would become Save the Cat, a bestselling book that would require multiple printings. It was first published in 2005 and now is in its 34th printing.

Today, Save the Cat is taught in film schools, sold on Amazon, and has become ubiquitous with screenwriting in general. I want to do a deep dive into this book, its beat sheet, and talk about why it remains so popular.

Let’s climb a tree and save the cat.

What is the Save the Cat Beat Sheet and Why is it Popular?

First up, we need to define a few things.

What does it mean to save the cat?

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DynaLite Lighting company shuttered after 50 years over struggle to remain competitive

DynaLite Lighting, the New Jersey-based company founded in 1970, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and will shut down operations. The company’s CEO Peter Poremba revealed in the news in a statement on the DynaLite website, saying, ‘It is with sincere regret and heavy heart that I announce that DynaLite…has closed its doors.’

Poremba cites the ‘decline in the photography market’ as the reason for shuttering the company. His full statement reads:

It is with sincere regret and a heavy heart that I announce that DynaLite Inc. has filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy and has closed its doors.

For over 50 years, DynaLite has been providing lighting solutions for photographers. We are extremely proud of what we have accomplished and the careers we have helped. Unfortunately, due to the current decline in the photography market, we have found it difficult to remain competitive.

I want to thank you all for the years of support. It has been a pleasure servicing the photographic community.

DynaLite sold a large variety of products during its time, including power packs, mono lights, heads, lighting kits, portable lights, light modifiers and more. The photographic lighting industry has seen a large uptick in companies offering affordable products over the years, no doubt making it harder for some businesses to stay afloat.

Though many products are still listed on the DynaLite website, it doesn’t offer a way to directly purchase them. However, existing inventory remains available to buy from third-party retailers like Adorama.