Saturday, February 28, 2015

Chasing Ice


On May 28, 2008, Adam LeWinter and Director Jeff Orlowski filmed a historic breakup at the Ilulissat Glacier in Western Greenland. The calving event lasted for 75 minutes and the glacier retreated a full mile across a calving face three miles wide. The height of the ice is about 3,000 feet, 300-400 feet above water and the rest below water.

Chasing Ice won the award for Excellence in Cinematography at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and the Best Documentary from the International Press Association. It has won over 30 awards at festivals worldwide. Still playing in theaters worldwide. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Catch a tiger by the toe...


I spotted this beautiful animal while visiting a small zoo near Natural Bridge Virginia.  He was sunning himself in the grass.  Unfortunately I had to shoot through the chain link fence but with a little digital dark room magic I was able to reduce the fence and create the image above.  It is one of my favorite Tiger images, I would love to shoot in a more natural setting but alas time and budgets does not permit it.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Pricing...

As some of you are aware I ran a photography business for a short while...very short while.  I closed it on one of my best years in fact because I was not making enough money for the hassle and strain it was causing me and more importantly because the photography had become a chore to do because I was trying to please to many masters.  This past fall a parent, who happens to be a good friend, asked for a favor.  Their son was refusing to take senior photos and they felt that he might take them with me as I had been shooting him and his brother at sporting events for several years now.  Essentially they were going with the you know Jason he takes pictures of you playing soccer.  I agreed and so did he so one day in October we headed out to get a few shots.

Prior to the day we encouraged him to bring his girlfriend and anything else we could do to make him understand that this was a fun thing and not a chore.  Getting your subject to relax and have fun makes it so much easier to do the job.  During the day we, Shannon and I, talked to them about anything and everything.  The girlfriend nephew, their coming senor prom, hunting, soccer, cheer leading you name it.  When they both relaxed the day went great and we made some good images.

In the course of the conversation we heard a story that kind of irritated us.  This young couple had hired a photographer do do pics for them and the photographer had set up a location that turned out to be over crowded.  It happens, you are using an outdoor location and multiple photographers are already there working it.  Not only was the location busy the photographer also had multiple clients there at the same time.  They had felt rushed and hurried and like they did not get their moneys worth at the end of the session.  Later when the photos came back they had people in the background of the shots, again it was a busy location.  End result they were not happy.  I don't know what they paid for the session but if they had been my clients I would have offered to re-shot or relocate the shoot to a less congested location.  That's just me though, I want the pics right for the folks who are paying me.

On the way home from our shoot with the couple we get a facebook message from another friend of our, she was sharing her kids photos from his senior sessions.  They were just a few of them and they were decent photos.  Shannon was not impressed by them and neither was I but then again we do photography and we are overly critical sometimes.  Regardless the parent was extremely happy.  I was glad to hear that, particularly after the story our clients had shared.  That was until I heard the price our friend had paid.  (NOTE: I am not downing anyone's choice of pricing there is a lot that has to be factored into the pricing of a photo shoot, far more than most folks realize.  Taking that into account this may be a very reasonable rate for the photographer who made our friends images.  After all I closed our business and now only shoot on special request or for the fun of it.)  $4000.00!  Yes she paid $4000.00 for her child's session.  Granted that included photos in all 4 seasons meaning that each session is $1000 a piece.

That price seems exceedingly high to me when I take it at face value.  However the business person in me wanted to try and defend the photographers choice.  So I reasoned it out like this:

4 sessions @ $1000.00 per session.  That should cover the following things.  Food and fuel to and from locations.  Most likely three to four locations at each session.  Assistant to help with gear and set-up as well as helping with the clients.  The gear need for the session, granted you don't buy it for a single session but good camera gear is expensive.  You may need to factor in additional travel expenses, the photographer may not be local and have to stay at a hotel and if this is the case so would the assistant.  Insurance on equipment and other related business expense.  Cost of prints and of course making a profit.  All of this adds up quickly and I can see where the price comes from.  Now for the part where I do criticize....this is southern West Virginia our economy is in the toliet and has been most of my life.  Most folks don't have thousands of dollars laying around and if they do that are not likely to spend it on pictures.

You can tgell by my last remark I feel that $4000 is exceedingly high for senior portraits.  I do understand expense from a photographers point of view I just find that overly high.

Please share your thoughts in the comments...Keep in mind however I am not bashing the photographer here I just don't think the price is right for the market.  It may be right and I am wrong, usually the case, but I feel that is a high amount to ask for senior portraits particularly when I know wedding photographers in this area that charge less than that to shoot a complete wedding!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Nikon 50mm F/1.8G Review

by Camera Prices

 The Best Lens For Full Frame Digital CamerasThe Nikon 50mm f/1.8 G is the best value in a digital camera lens today, and I'm so glad I bought this lens to replace my Nikon 18-55mm zoom that came with my digital camera

Full Time AutoFocus:

3rd party lensThis lens from Nikon works with any Nikon camera because unlike older lenses, the Nikon 50mm 1.8G has an autofocus motor built in to the lens itself. The problem with using older lenses that are autofocus from Nikon really mean that they are autofocus compatible if you own a higher end Nikon DSLR with an autofocus motor built into the camera.

One other great thing about this lens is that I can easily manual focus with this lens too just by turning the focusing ring, I don't have to flip any AF/M switches to manually focus the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G. This also means I can hold the lens anywhere I like - nothing moves externally when shooting with the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G - all the internal focusing happens inside the lens.The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 is much bigger than other normal prime lenses from Nikon I have used and the filter diameter is 58mm instead of the 52mm of all my older Nikon AF lenses. This means I had to buy a new bigger UV filter to use with this new Nikon because all my older lenses would not work with the latest Nikon nifty fifty.Newer Design Gets Rid of The Aperture RingThis is probably the biggest change between this lens and the older 'D' version lenses from Nikon as there is no aperture ring on the AF-S 50mm f/1.8 as this lens is designed to be paired with modern Nikon digital cameras where all controls - both shutter speed and aperture are selected via command and subcommand dials

Super Sharp Images:

Super Sharp Images from this 50mm Nikon lens.Perfect for Portrait Photography Overall Construction One of the very first things I noticed when shooting with the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G was how light this digital camera lens was - especially when compared to other lenses in my camera bag. This lens is much lighter and might be the lightest Nikon prime lens I have weighing just 200 grams.Controls on this Nikon 50mm lens are few - There's just one switch on the Nikon fifty for switching between manual focus and auto focus modes, but because this lens offers manual autofocus override you can set the switch to AF/M and then never touch this switch again.

Both Nikon Full Frame an DX camera compatibleThe beauty of the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 is that this lens works just fine on both full frame FX Nikon bodies as well as DX camera bodies too. This is great news, because if you ever switch to full frame from a crop sensor you can keep your lens and you don't have to buy a new Nikon lens to work with your new Nikon camera.Overall

Construction:

One of the very first things I noticed when shooting with the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G was how light this digital camera lens was - especially when compared to other lenses in my camera bag. This lens is much lighter and might be the lightest Nikon prime lens I have weighing just 200 grams.Controls on this Nikon 50mm lens are few - There's just one switch on the Nikon fifty for switching between manual focus and auto focus modes, but because this lens offers manual autofocus override you can set the switch to AF/M and then never touch this switch again.Both Nikon Full Frame an DX camera compatibleThe beauty of the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 is that this lens works just fine on both full frame FX Nikon bodies as well as DX camera bodies too. This is great news, because if you ever switch to full frame from a crop sensor you can keep your lens and you don't have to buy a new Nikon lens to work with your new Nikon camera.Beautiful BokehProbably one of the best reasons to ditch your kit lens and upgrade to the Nikon 50mm 1.8G is to get much softer backgrounds and out of focus areas. The bokeh created with this lens is creamy and dreamy when you shoot with the Nikon 50mm 1.8GNikon 50mm f/1.8G

Technical Specifications:

Name: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8GLens
Type: FXAperture Ring - No. G lensLens Barrel: PlasticLens Type:
Auto Focus fixed primeMaximum
Focal Length: 50mmMinimum
Focal Length: 50mmMacro
Focusing Distance:1.48 ft. (0.45m)Minimum Aperture: f/16Maximum
Aperture: f/1.8
Focusing Ring: Yes, rubber - full time override.
Zoom Ring: No
Zoom Type: No
Fixed Focal Length: Yes
Fixed Aperture: f/1.8
Depth of Field Info: NO
Mount: Nikon F bayonet, metal with rubber gasket to reduce chance of dust/dirt/moisture
Lens Type: Nikon Auto Focus AF-S
Lens Construction: 7 elements in 6 groups
Diaphragm Blades: 7
Size: 72mm diameter, 52mm long
Weight: 185g
Filter size: 58mm
Filter threads: metal
Filter ring rotates: No

SummaryThe Nikon 50mm f/1.8G is one of the best lenses I own in my camera bag. It's relatively cheap at just over $200, way cheaper than the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G and yet you only lose 2/3 of an f-stop. I find the low light characteristics of this lens to be outstanding, and it's even sharp wide open when shooting at f/1.8. You really can't go wrong with the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G.If you shoot FX cameras, this is your normal lens for normal field of view, and if you shoot DX you now have a perfect portrait lens for creamy backgrounds that make your subject pop out for a very unique look.I can't imagine how I managed to live without this lens in my DSLR kit.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

SWTOR Decorating Guide

As many of you are aware I ma an avid SWTOR, Star Wars: The Old Republic, player.  One of the expansion last year was the Strongholds expansion.  For me this was one of the expansion that I looked forward to.  When I played Star Wars: Galaxies I always enjoyed creating homes and decorating my ships.  SWTOR didn't offer that but I still enjoyed it for the story lines.  The expansion however changed this and I was excited.

My excitement was short lived though as I discovered that getting decorations was going to take time and was complicated.  Not overly so but it took time to research what I wanted and then track it down or craft what I needed.  I started taking notes an making links to sites.  Some of these were places like dulfy.net and reddit.com.  The notes turned into a project and before I knew it I had a full fledged document on my hands.  I have shared the document with my guild but now I'd like to share it with you.  I'm going to embedded it and a download link below.  Feel free to use it as you see fit.


Also I recently found this cool site - http://swtorstrongholds.com/ using it I ma able to get a better idea of the things I want but I still find the guide useful when I'm online as I don't have to have multiple windows open at one time.



Surrealism in Photography

by Domen Lombergar

Surrealism in photography was one of the major revolutionary changes in the evolution of photography. Rather than art, photography was reviewed as a copying effort. Surrealism is the introduction of the ‘more than real’ images to the art forms.

Surrealism in photography was one of the major revolutionary changes in the evolution of photography. Rather than art, photography was reviewed as a copying effort. Surrealism is the introduction of the ‘more than real' images to the art forms.

Surrealism was a movement in the art and intellectual activities, emerged after World War I. Andre Breton, was the founder of the surrealistic concepts and he has gathered the influence from the Dande movement. Surrealism is actually the real expression of mental emotions, without any polishing. Andre Breton describes surrealism in Surrealist Manifesto, as the pure psychic automatism expressed in the real functionality of a person. Surrealistic art forms characteristically differ from the conventional forms in not having specific shape or idea. It can be the expression of basic human instinct and imaginative faculties of the unconscious mind. But, when surrealism comes to photography, the critics did not even imagine such a possibility. However, "Marquise Casati" by Man Ray, made a change to the belief, as it featured multiple eyes for the photograph. Even though, it was an accidental blurring, it proved the chances for the feasibility of surrealistic works.

Man Ray and Lee Miller are considered as legends in surrealistic photography as they were very successful to overcome the limitations of photography to create surrealistic images. Maurice Tabard is another famous surrealist, who had his own technique for surrealistic imaging. Hans Bellmer creatively used mechanical dolls to symbolize sexualized images, where as for Rene Magritte camera was the tool to make photographic equivalents of his paintings.

Surrealist photographs are described as the images, which symbolically represent dreams, night mares, intoxication, sexual ecstasy, hallucination and madness. The difficulty with photography medium is that it imbibes the reality, and often the real images cannot be sufficient to express such unconventional patterns. But, the famous surrealist photographers are able to fulfill the task since they can use the photographic techniques effectively. The ordinary snapshots, body photographs, anthropological photographs, medical photographs, movie stills, and even police photographs are manipulated to create the impression of surrealist images in the photographs.

Surrealism in photography is mainly performed using the different techniques. The differential techniques of light and lenses can itself be the primary technique for surrealism. Photomontage is one of the popular processing techniques, in which the several images are coupled together. In photogram, a photographic paper can be used instead of camera to imprint the image. The images produced by the flush of light can create amazing images that has a surrealistic look.

Multiple exposure is another technique for surrealism, in which the camera is clicked twice or more, without rolling the negative. The second image will be superimposed on the first image and the final product will be an undefined mixture of both. Cliche verre or glass negative is the surrealistic technique that uses negative coated from glass plate. Anyhow, solarization or Sabattier effect seems to be the most remarkable technique for surrealism. It produces dramatic effect of patterns through the flushing of the light on the photograph, while developing in the darkroom. It was discovered by Lee Miller Business Management Articles, which have selective reversal of highlights and shadows. The light and dark areas with the distinct line of reversal make it most appropriate for surrealism.

Surrealism in photography has progressed much from its primitive stages. The new technology and lenses offer immense opportunity to the new generation photographers to portray their mental emotions in the frame of cameras.

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

Monday, February 23, 2015

Moon Base...

Living on the moon would be different, imagine waking up to earth rise each morning.  If that idea doesn't shift your perspective perhaps some thought in what it would take does.  To live up there we would need a habitat, energy and equipment.  This is all a problem as we cannot easily carry all of the stuff wee need to the moon.  Yes we can do it but it's not easy.  That is unless you take a step back and let technology do some of the heavy lifting for you.  I've already talked about the inflatable or expanding habitates that can be used for space station creation, these can also be used on the moon.  At some time we are going to need more and getting the stuff we need there will take a lot of cash...or will it.

What if we just made it there?  I recently saw a video put out by Foster and Associates and the ESA (European Space Agency) that proposed the construction of a facility on the moon using 3D printing.  What they suggest is that we launch a robotic system to the moon unload it and let the machines print a habitat for us.  Granted its a little more complicated than this but you get the point.


3D printing is already being used in LEO aboard the ISS so what they are suggesting is not that far fetched.  Think about it.  We already have expandable modules that are easily configurable, we could land them set them in place and let the robots build a protective shell around them.  Many of the things we need inside the domes could also be 3D printed and though the 3D print material has mass it is far easier to transport than say an already completed facility.