photography

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

Nikon “Heartography” Made Grizzler a “Phodographer”.

I want this for my dog. I want this for me. Nikon has developed a camera for your pooch that responds to the dogs heart rate and takes photos according to your dogs level of excitement. Nikon’s Heartography experiment is a 3D-printed custom case for a Nikon camera that can be strapped to your dog to take photos from a dog’s-eye view. The case is connected to a heart-rate monitor strap which is used to track the dogs heartbeat. When the dog’s heart rate spikes, the case tells the camera to snap a photo.

While this is a Nikon experiment its a product I think would sell well. It’s a nice blend of technology, physical product and could have hooks into social media sites like Flickr, Instagram, Google +, and facebook. If you go to the Nikon Heartography site you can see a ton of examples that their canine pal snapped. They aren’t that bad, and large portion of them are as good as most of what I see on Facebook and Instagram these days.

A Little Trip to Colorado

  

I’ve been spending the weekend in Colorado hiking and taking photos of the surrounding landscape. One of the goals of the weekend was to find new places, go where we’ve never been, and venture off the well worn path. Mission accomplished. The photos below are JPEGs. I haven’t had a chance to process any RAW shots, or go through auto bracketed images to make selections and adjustments. That’ll happen in a week or two.