Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Made It To Etsy Front Page Treasury- 12/25/13

Received an email from Etsy saying one of my photos had spiked in views. So I checked Craftcult and boom, my "Red Door" photo I took in Quebec was in a treasury that made it to the coveted Front Page. Yay.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 13, 2013

If Only For A Second- Photographer Captures Moment Of Carefreeness Of Cancer Patients - Mimi Foundation

Cancer patients often talk about the loss of being carefree, so Mimi Foundation (an organization founded in Belgium) gathered 20 cancer patients to participate in a makeover. But it wasn't quite the make-over one would expect. They were brought to a studio where a photographer sat behind a one-way mirror, unbeknownst to the participants. The patients were told to keep their eyes shut while the makeup artists and hair stylists transformed them. The photographer was then asked to capture the moment they first opened their eyes. And it's quite amazing. You will see why, for a second, they were able to forget their disease and recapture that feeling of being carefree.

"Ne Cerait -ce  Qu'une Seconde"

Friday, November 29, 2013

Alexander Tsiaras- Humans From Conception To Birth- Video

A breathtaking look at human development from conception to birth from image-maker Alexander Tsiaras.

This is a little under 10 minutes TEDTalks.

Fascinating stuff.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Google India's Powerful Search Ad Touches On The India/Pakistan Partition

Google India has created a powerful and very touching ad for its search engine that has had quite a positive impact on both Indian and Pakistani viewers, considering the contentious relations between the two countries since the 1947 partition.

“Reunion” portrays two childhood friends, now elderly men, who haven’t seen each other since they were separated by the 1947 partition that created India and Pakistan from the old British empire in South Asia. Partition sparked a mass exodus as millions of Muslims and Hindus fled across the new borders amid religious violence.

In the ad, one of the men reminisces to his granddaughter about his happy childhood in Lahore and how he used to steal sweets from a shop with his best friend, who the ad implies is Muslim. His granddaughter uses the search engine to track down the childhood friend in the Pakistani city. Then, with the help of the Pakistani man’s grandson (and naturally, Google), she arranges a journey to New Delhi for a surprise reunion.

Kudos to Google for using this ad campaign to actually humanize the issue. 

Advertising with a heart.

See if you can watch this without getting misty eyed.

The beautiful haunting music was created by Clinton Cerejo, sung by Piyush Mishra, with lyrics by Neelesh Jain, a creative director at Ogilvy and Mather.

For more on this story and the troubles between the two countries: Gulf News

This version translates the song as well. It's beneath the Hindi subtitles.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Elk That Butted Heads With Photographer Euthanized By Park Services

There's not much a photographer won't do to get that special, hopefully spectacular, photo. That often means getting up at early hours, staying up all night, trekking through fields and in some cases getting up close and personal with wild animals.  I love taking photos of animals, but I'm perfectly happy when they're on the other side of some kind of fence. That doesn't always happen, however. In the wild, you have no control over what wild animal might approach you. That's what happened to photographer James York when he was up one early morning taking photos in the Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina.  Cataloochee Valley is famous for its elk. Photographer Vince M. Camiolo also happened to be there when a young elk apparently walked up behind York and started investigating York's equipment.  It seemed the bull was initially in search of food, but the encounter turned physically aggressive, and Camiolo wound up videotaping most of it.

Camiolo asked York why he allowed the abuse, and his answer:

"My first thoughts were "wow, he's getting pretty damn close here." But I've been up close before without incident. I hoped being still and passive would see him pass on. When he lowered his antlers to me, I wanted to keep my vitals protected and my head down. I felt that standing up would provoke him more and leave me more vulnerable to goring. I think that while protecting myself with my head down, having my head down was a signal that I was rutting with him. I was concerned at first, but when he started rearing back and lunging at me later on, I got scared and pissed off. That's when I wagged my finger at him to cut that shit out. I was relieved to see the Ranger coming.

So I guess at some point if the Ranger hadn't of pulled up, I would have had to disengage the best I could. I've joked with my friends that at least he took me for a buck and not a cow!"
Some of you may have seen snippets of the video, since it went viral, but as a result the National Park Service felt the elk's aggression warranted euthanizing the animal. Apparently this was not the first aggressive encounter with humans. Both photographers were heartbroken, but the problem lies with people who feed the wild animals which makes them fearless in seeking food from other humans.

Camiolo posted a statement (along with York's) regarding the elk's demise.

Camiolo's  statement:

I am deeply saddened by the fate of the elk. It has certainly pulled a black cloud over this whirlwind "viral video" experience.

I spoke to the reporter who broke the story and she assured me the decision was based on a pattern of aggressive behavior that began prior to the incident documented in this video. The behavior was the result of visitors feeding the elk and conditioning them to seek food from humans. This video only serves as an example of the elk's dangerous behavior, not an impetus to it.

Again, it brings me great sadness to learn of this beautiful animal's demise and the unfortunate circumstances surrounding it.

I'm looking into a destination for proceeds from this video to help the NPS educate visitors on the dangers and consequences of feeding wildlife.

I also want to be clear that James, the photographer, was not complicit in a behavior that led to the elk's demise, but rather was made an example of the result of such behaviors. The elk approached him from behind, likely looking for food as he was conditioned to do.

York's statement:

I love and respect animals and that's why I photograph them and don't hunt them. I am deeply hurt by the loss of such a beautiful creature that in its own way bonded with me. I looked forward to watching him grow to a mature bull as the years passed.

I'm truly heartbroken to know he is gone.
I think I'll stick to the other side of the fence or sitting in my car snapping shots. I'm not that bold or courageous.  It's a pretty amazing video though.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Strange and Alien Worlds Created Through Microscope Photography.

Is this some exotic plant, or some fancy spaghetti? Nope, it's a microscopy photo of a toothbrush. It's quite amazing what things look like through a microscope.

The following is of the leaf of a Virginia Spiderwort.

Here are some more strange, wonderful and icky images.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Fallen Princesses"- Dina Goldstein's Photos Take a Darker Look At Disney Characters

Born in Israel, Canadian conceptual photographer Dina Goldstein looks at things a little differently. In her Fallen Princesses series she shares the darker side of  Disney Fairy Tale characters. Reversing the "happily ever after" theme that is part and parcel of the Fairy Tales we have come to love, we see what happens to these 'princesses' when they actually have to deal with real life issues including eating disorders, addictions, aging and mental issues and poverty.

So we see Snow White with a brood of kids living in suburbia with her jobless prince, Little Red Riding Hood with a penchant for fast food, Belle getting botox, Pocahontas as an agoraphobic cat lady, an alcoholic Cinderella who couldn't conceive, Jasmine's as a soldier somewhere in the Middle East, Ariel is on display in an aquarium, The Princess and the Pea lives in a landfill, Sleeping Beauty never wakes up while her prince waited and is now old and  Rapunzel getting chemo.

Her inspiration:

“My daughter was very small and getting into the whole Disney princesses culture, and at the same time my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer (she’s totally fine now). I started to think: what if these princesses had to deal with cancer, or financial discourse, or any of the real-life problems people have to go through?”
“I began to imagine Disney’s perfect Princesses juxtaposed with real issues that were affecting women around me, such as illness, addiction and self-image issues,” says Dina. “With limited funds, I began to assemble my series.”

She has published a book called Fallen Princesses.

She also has a Barbie series, called In The Doll House.

Demilked has all of the photos, and The Daily Beast has more information on Dina.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Adobe Email/Password Hack Up To 150 Million - Tool To Check If Yours Was Compromised

Were you one of those lucky ones to have your account compromised in the Adobe hack?  I was. Thankfully I received an email from Adobe alerting me to the fact so I was able to immediately change my password, but many people were not and they have remained blissfully ignorant. And now it turns out there might have been many more accounts compromised than previously thought. 

Initially only 2.9 million users were estimated to have been hacked, then it jumped to 38 million, now they think it could be a whopping 150 million. That's 150 million user names and passwords out there ready to be used by some reprobate criminal. 

If you haven't been notified you should still check, and there's an easy way to do that. LastPass has created a free tool that will let you know if your account was hacked, and notify you of how many people had the same password as you.  I decided to check, just for the heck of it, and as expected mine had been hacked.  What shocked me, however, was that my password, one that I thought was pretty dang unique, was used by 73 other people. May not seem like many, when you consider there were so many people effected, but still.  Now I need to purge that password from any other account I might be using it with.

Petapixel (source of this post) reminds everyone about Adobe's advice to account holders:

It’s more important than ever that you heed the initial advice Adobe doled out: change your password (all of them if you tend to use the same one on multiple accounts) and check your bank and credit card accounts often over the next few months.

Oh, and here’s another sad tidbit that has come to light thanks to the Adobe hack: the three most popular passwords used by the Adobe users who were hacked are “123465″, “123456789″ and “password” — with security like that, who needs encryption!

NakedSecurity (Sophos AV) has information on the Adobe hack, and how woefully inadequate  it was.

Last Pass Secure Tool to check if your email was hacked.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Shane Black's Beautiful Time-lapse Photography Video "Adventure Is Calling"

I love time-lapse photography. It's something I have absolutely no patience for, which makes me appreciate it even more. Ohio photographer Shane Black took a two month road trip with two buddies, and together they traveled almost 13,000 miles through 32 states, visiting13 national and state parks, in a Dodge Caravan capturing the beauty of this country and eventually turning it into a video. That's a lot of terrain for such a short period of time, but what he came up with is incredibly beautiful.

If you click on the link below the video, Shane explains the reasons for the trip, and lists all the equipment used.

Well done, Shane!

Adventure Is Calling from Shane Black on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Photographer Richard Renaldi Gets Strangers To Pose As Friends, Family or Lovers

Here's an interesting take on portrait photography. New York photographer Richard Renaldi finds random people on the streets of NYC, none of whom know each other, and he poses them as if they were intimately involved as couples, good friends or family. It's quite fascinating what he comes up with.

The subjects are only asked to look like they are showing a brief amount of affection, but the facial expressions and body language within the photos make it seem like these strangers not only know each other, but also share some sort of genuine bond.

Steve Hartman from "On The Road" films Renaldi at work.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Sunny 16 Rule: Shooting Outdoors On A Sunny Day

Get Totally Rad, software I purchased but have yet to use, published on its blog the "Sunny 16 Rule", which I thought I'd share, so that I can come back and refer to it when needed.

A term from the pre-digital, film days, Totally Rad came up with a handy, dandy infographic with tips on how to shoot outdoors on a clear, sunny day without a light meter.

Wikipedia explains the rule:
The basic rule is, "On a sunny day set aperture to f/16 and shutter speed to the [reciprocal of the] ISO film speed [or ISO setting] for a subject in direct sunlight."[1] For example:

On a sunny day and with ISO 100 film / setting in the camera, one sets the aperture to f/16 and the shutter speed to 1/100 or 1/125 second (on some cameras 1/125 second is the available setting nearest to 1/100 second).
On a sunny day with ISO 200 film / setting and aperture at f/16, set shutter speed to 1/200 or 1/250.
On a sunny day with ISO 400 film / setting and aperture at f/16, set shutter speed to 1/400 or 1/500.
Or, for other lighting conditions, Wikipedia has this great little graphic.

ApertureLighting ConditionsShadow Detail
f/22Snow/SandDark with sharp edges
f/11Slight OvercastSoft around edges
f/8OvercastBarely visible
f/5.6Heavy OvercastNo shadows
f/4Open Shade/SunsetNo shadows
Add One StopBacklightingn/a

Friday, March 29, 2013

How Focal Length Makes A Difference In The Shape of A Face

The Slanted Lens has some great tutorials on photo lighting mainly for portraits and headshots. This video, however, has more to do with how different focal lengths effect the shape of the face. And boy does it make a difference.

The lens or focal length of the lens you choose has a profound impact on the image. It effects the perspective, background and features of the subject. In this lesson everyone should understand what the different focal lengths do to the human face and how they change the background. Why do you choose a 135 mm lens to shoot a head shot of a beautiful woman but use a 24mm to shoot a clown. Keeping the head the same size in the frame and changing the focal length of the lens, I will shoot a series of images that demonstrate how focal length effects the features of the human face and how it changes perspective which effects the background. We will go on to demonstrate a simple 2 light and one reflector fashion lighting set up. I learned a lot from this exercise and I hope you do to.

Source: Petapixel

And this Petapixel article shows the difference focal length makes in the weight of a cat.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Photoshop Fails In Advertising

We know that almost every published print ad has probably had some major editing/airbrushing work done to make it more appealing, at least to the eye of the advertiser. But not all photo re-touchers are created equal, as we can see in this Huffington Post gallery of some of the more memorable epic Photoshop fails. Some are downright laughable, like the SimplyBe ad directly below, where the model's hand looks more like some alien claw. The Talbot model in the second photo seems to be missing a leg. And last but not least, the Blomingdale model's elbow looks like it belongs to an extra-terrestrial, rather than a human.

I can't believe they let these slip through.

Claw Hand

Missing Leg- Talbot's ad

Alien elbow- Bloomingdale's elbow

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dove's Photoshop Hack- "Action" Reverts Photo To Pre-Edited, Airburshed State

For almost ten years Dove has been producing ads focusing on 'Real Beauty'. It all started in 2004 with the launching of  "The  Campaign for Real Beauty", and I remember being rather impressed with who they were featuring as models. They weren't quite what one would expect- tall, young, skinny and gorgeous- they were real women: young, old, some even chunky.

From the Dove website:

2004: The Campaign for Real Beauty launched in September 2004 with a much talked-about ad campaign featuring real women whose appearances are outside the stereotypical norms of beauty. The ads asked viewers to judge the women’s looks (oversized or outstanding? and wrinkled or wonderful?), and invited them to cast their votes at campaignforrealbeauty.com.

2005: Dove® kicked off the second and most iconic phase of the Campaign for Real Beauty in June 2005, with advertising featuring six real women with real bodies and real curves. The phase of the campaign was created to debunk the stereotype that only thin is beautiful and it drove
thousands of women to campaignforrealbeauty.com to discuss beauty issues.

This year, in collaboration with the Ogilvy ad agency in Toronto, Canada, Dove decided to draw attention to the habit of overly Photoshopping models to make them look thinner, more beautiful, less wrinkled.  In order to make art directors, graphic designers and photo re-touchers more aware, they created a Photoshop action that was supposed to create a "skin effect glow", but which actually reverted the photo back to its original form along with the message: Don't manipulate our perceptions of real beauty. They posted the "Beautify Action" on all the various sites that offer free actions, knowing that it would be downloaded by those who manipulate beauty for ad campaigns etc.

I doubt this little hack will change the industry, for those who might have downloaded and used it, but it was an interesting ploy. We do need to change our perception about what constitutes real beauty.

I did find this rather interesting article from 2008, however, accusing The Campaign For Real Beauty of allegedly Photoshopping the heck out of the models.

Some Photoshopping is okay, removing blemishes that aren't normally there, lightening dark circles, removing stray hairs, but when you virtually change what a person actually looks like.  Not cool.

H/T Chase Jarvis