photography

Creative Renewal

One of the great things about taking the annual photo weekend trip to Colorado is not just spending time with good friends, but also having the opportunity to focus on being creative for me. On the drive out to Estes we stopped at Monument Rocks about 20 miles from Oakley Kansas to get some sunrise shots of the rock formations that grow out of the Kansas Prairie unlike anything else in the state. These were shot with the Olympus OMD EM-1 Taking full advantage of the world-class image stabilization built into the camera. Tonight some experiments with “Live Composite” mode for night time shooting… provided the clouds hold off and we can see the night sky.

The Road to Colorado

cub-lakeIn 48 hours I’ll be heading to Colorado for 5 days of hiking and taking photos in Rocky Mountain National Park. This is an annual trip, but this year is a bit special since we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park system in the United States. While noodling around on the internet over lunch I did a search on “National Park Posters” and found that the park service has a site dedicated to the posters that have been created for each of our National Parks so I decided to have a look. What I found is series of new posters that have been produced in the famous WPA style of the 1930’s and 40’s but with an updated look. The posters capture the spirit of the originals, and have a specific style guide that has obviously been applied to each, help to create a consistent look across the grouping. The look of the imagery varies slightly from poster to poster, with some that are obviously manipulated photos, or a digital painting that used a photo as a guide layer, but I have to say they are well done and work. The Park Service is selling the posters to help fund the National Park system and what you get for the money is a 13 by 19 inch poster printed on recycled paper that is signed, numbered, and dated. Below is a small sampling of the collection.

 

yosemite

yellowstone

olympic

kings-canyon

 

grand-canyon

grand-tetons

 

dunes

cub-lake

capital-reef

black-canyon

arches

acadia

cub-lake

Fireworks, or Bombshells. You Choose.

Well, it’s Fourth of July weekend here in America and that means people are blowing up their hard earned money with fireworks. I like fireworks, well the professional ones that is. Don’t get me wrong if you want to blow shit up in your backyard to show the world how patriotic you are that’s fine. I’m not going to stop you. I just prefer to spend my money on things that aren’t going to go up in smoke, or run the risk of causing me pain and possible dismemberment. So you can celebrate the nation’s birthday with fireworks, or you can feast your eyes on pin-up girls sporting the red white and blue and in some cases holding fireworks. Frankly, I think I prefer looking at leggy gals sporting an outfit made from old glory and holding explosives. So here we have movie stars, models, and illustrations of just that. By the way, 1960’s bombshell Raquel Welch, and 1940’s Broadway star Anne Miller seem to have been very popular icons for the 4th.

4th-of-july-vintage-pinup

Nina Roman

Nina Roman

4th06 4thjulyAnnMiller

4thof-july-pinup

123

1234

12345

AB

ABC

ABCD

ABCDE

ABCDEF

ABCDEFG

ABCDEFGH

Ava-Gardner-american-flag

Dorothy Arnold

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Happy-4th-Of-July

myrna-dell-july-4th-1948-vintage-pinup

pin-up-worth_cultivating

Raquel-Welch-wearing-flag-shirt

vintage-hollywood-rita-hayworth-flag-IIHIH

xvsde

IMG_0115

IMG_0116

IMG_0119

IMG_0124

Focus Stacking in Oxford.

Focus stacking in photography is a technique used to get the greatest amount of depth of field in a single image by processing multiple images taken at different focus distances. Most of the time we are talking a handful of images. Probably less than 10 for most people. Now all of that changes when you start doing micro photography and use microscope lenses to get your final images.

The video below is about the groundbreaking photographic technique used by Levon Biss for the Oxford University of Natural Sciences. Biss focus stacks as many as 8000 images, moving his camera 10 microns at a time to get his end result. A human hair is about 75 microns, so Biss is moving his camera about an eighth of the width of a human hair to get enough shots to build a final image. The reason for this is because the depth of field on the lenses he is using is so shallow, it is the only way he can produce the results he wants. And those results are pretty damn amazing.

I don’t really get into insects, but I could look at this stuff all day long. Be sure and jump over to his site to see more of this amazing work.

Craft. A Modular Camera System.

In the last 20 years there has been a massive change in photography and cinematography technology. Digital changed the game, then smartphones. One thing that has remained fairly constant though is the form factor. Aside from smartphones, digital cameras look and function very similar to an analog film camera. Your fancy DSLR might have upgraded electronics and a digital image processor, but it still looks and functions the same way your old film camera did. Buy a body, buy a bunch of lenses, get the the battery grip, etc. So here comes a new camera company that might just change all that.

b_full-craft-camera

Craft has designed a camera system where every component is interchangeable allowing you to design a system best suited to your needs. While the video below is just a 3D rendering of the yet to be released final product, the system shows promise. This is a modular system with a number of unique innovations, and a very competitive price point for photographers. The website shows a complete 4K video set up for less than 2 grand which is not bad when you consider what you get.

Some of the innovations that I find really intriguing are the hot swappable lens mounts, the ND filter set up, the connectivity module, and the fact that you can build this to fit your needs. Full tech specifactions are at the bottom of this post.

craft 4

craft 3

Technical Specifications (Full technical specifications will be announced early this summer):
HD Video Element, Super 16mm CMOS Sensor with Global Shutter (1920×1080, 1280×720)
4K Video Element, Super 35mm CMOS Sensor with Global Shutter (4096 x 2160, 1920×1080, 1280 x 720)
Frame rates 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60
Fast and slow frame rate speeds at intervals up to 120fps
Recording Formats Cinema DNG and ProRes (additional formats will announced).
Dimensions (W x H x D)
Video Elements: (97.15mm x 96mm x 39.68mm) (3.7” x 3.6” x 1.5″)
Store, Battery, Audio Elements: (97.15mm x 96mm x 33.4mm) (3.7” x 3.6”x 1.3″)
LCD Elements: (97.15mm x 96mm x 30mm) (3.7” x 3.6” x 1.2″)
Fully assembled cinema camera: (97.15mm x 96mm x 170mm) (3.7” x 3.6” x 6.6″)

Photographic Bang Bang.

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With the Fourth of July just 2 days away, what could be more fitting than something about fireworks. The video below shows artist Ross Sonnenberg creating some insanely great abstract photographs using one of his favorite secret ingredients. Fireworks. Sonnenburg uses a host of other tools to create the images, including  gel, sand and light, but the fireworks give it a special twist. The results are beautiful, intensely colored one of a kind photograms. Each image is a random chance experiment full of texture, color, line, and shapes all created without a camera.

“For my latest body of work entitled “The Big Bang”, I had become fascinated with the photogram. In my research artists such as Mariah Robertson, Susan Derges and especially Marco Breuer are doing work that I admire. I became intrigued by the possibilities of this photographic process. I thought to myself “What can I bring that maybe could be interesting to me?”

     My light source of choice would be fireworks of varying persuasions, combined with other materials. Interestingly, the images (Which were few and far between) were looking like fictional galaxies, with all their beautiful imperfections resembled our images of our real solar system, ironically created by the first Big Bang millions of years ago.”

From Sonnenberg’s website

Sonnenberg varies the scale of the images. He has two previous series that smaller scale works Color Bang. And Long Bang which is a series of larger scale works created with larger more powerful fireworks.

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3e722ddc6b64a3e6-colorbang50

 

70,000 Shots = 1, 365 Gigapixel Image.

OK this is just crazy. The video below shows the behind the scenes. The image below is a panorama compiled from 70,oo0 single shots.

Pano 2

Shooting for 15 days and taking 2 months to complete the 365 gigapixel image is described as the world’s highest definition panoramic photograph. The images were shot on a Canon 70D with a 400 mm lens and a 2x tele-converter.

The project is titled in2white and was led by Italian photographers Filippo Blengini and Alessandra Bacchilega, which took their team to an altitude of 11,482ft to make this happen. Working in freezing temperatures the managed to create an epic image of the Italian Alps and the surrounding landscape. In order to pull this off the programmed a Clauss precision pan-and-tilt head which was able to accurately position to create the seamless image below. For the full experience go to the website here.