Archive for September, 2015

Google announces Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P smartphones

30 Sep

Google has today launched two new Nexus showcase-devices, giving consumers more choice in terms of device dimensions after last year’s 6-inch Nexus 6 wasn’t universally well received for its large size, among other reasons. The Nexus 5X is made by LG and seen as an upgrade to the original Nexus 5 from two years ago, and the Nexus 6P is made by Huawei. Read more

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PanoCatcher automates capturing panoramas and timelapses

30 Sep

A new device called the PanoCatcher is described as a ‘robotic photography platform,’ and is designed to automate the capture of time lapses, panoramas, and other similar photos. The device is made from CNC precision-machined aluminum, and is compatible with most mirrorless and DSLR cameras. Read more

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30 Frontier Finalists: NASA 3D-Printed Mars Habitat Shortlist

30 Sep

[ By WebUrbanist in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

3d prints mars roving

A set of 30 candidates have been selected for final consideration by NASA in the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, including robot-constructed buildings, ice architecture and underground dwellings, all designed to turn challenges of building on Mars into opportunities. The three finalists shown below represent a subset of that range of compelling possibilities, varying in their approach to materials, automation and construction techniques.

3d printed shelters mars

3d printed mars habitats

3d interior mars dwellings

Foster + Partners proposes parachuting a series of task-specific, semi-autonomous robots to the surface, building out structures before the arrival of humans. These robotic helpers will dig holes, organize rocks and soil into building materials and use microwaves to fuse these components into place. More complex prefabricated components would then be installed into the system of resulting structures, preparing them for astronaut habitation.

ice mars habitat

The Ice House pitched by SEArch/Clouds Architecture Office offers connections between indoor and outdoor space via light filtered through frozen walls. Keeping NASA’s “follow the water” approach to space exploration in mind, the idea is to turn ice into a multilayered shell to enclose habitats and protected from radiation. “A unique 3D printing technique harnesses the physics of water and its phase transition to construct” structures.

inflatable mars habitat

The Mollusca L5  by LeeLabs combines inflatable shelters with fabricated structures made entirely from local surface materials. Sprawling organically like a slug, the habitat and storage areas are flexible and amorphous, combining hard walls and synthesized glass panels with soft cloth structures.

3d hybrid challenge shortlist

3d expanding habitat design

Common themes between projects include flexibility, modularity and redundancy – if either The Martian (a fictional story of a man lost on Mars) or Seveneves (in which humanity has to subsist in orbit for thousands of years) are any indication, surviving in space will mean facing challenges and overcoming obstacles through a combination of technology and ingenuity.

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29. September 2015

29 Sep

Das Bild des Tages von: Georg Kane

21562160749 © Georg Kane

Im Ausblick: Das weltgrößte Negativ, Mauern und umweltfreundliche Kleinbildfilme.
kwerfeldein – Fotografie Magazin | Fotocommunity

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7 Ways to Take Advantage of Autumn in Your Portrait Photography

29 Sep

Fall is my favorite. At least it used to be before it was Pumpkin Spice Everything. I’m so tired of Pumpkin Spice Everything, but I’ll never tire of chilly weather, or scarves, or leaf piles. Or even shorter days, mainly because long summer days are just too much pressure for me.


I like everything about fall including, maybe especially, that it’s ripe for portraits. Here are seven ways to help you take advantage of all of autumn’s goodness in your portrait photography.


1) The light is phenomenal 

Yes, there is less of it, but it is so golden and delicious. I’m sure there is a very scientific reason for that, which of course I know and understand exactly, but I don’t want to bore you. I like a warmer image, so to get one without having to add a filter is fantastic. I prefer to shoot in the morning and early evening hours but in the fall, the light reflecting off of the warmer tones in the trees make even the deadest of shady patches come alive.

While people don’t normally wear yellows and oranges for picture day, the golden tones found in nature compliment all skin tones. This is why I always tell my clients to dress in colors that are found naturally outside—not only does it keep people from showing up in lime green, but the palette works for whatever background we find that day, and this time of year dressing in earth tones can really make a portrait pop.


2) Clients dress in their finest

I’m not big on fancy clothes, but even I agree that flip flops take a back seat once we can bust out boots and scarves. Fall is when people tend to take it up a notch, plus it’s layering season. Layering is the best way to achieve portraits that look high-end or even fashion shoot-like. You won’t ever find me in boots, a t-shirt, a jacket, a skirt, tights, a scarf and a hat in real life….but on picture day, I’ll happily dress everyone in five layers and make them stick with it for 20 minutes if it makes my ragamuffin family look like we bathe regularly. I’ve found that my clients feel the same. Which is not to say that my clients are ragamuffins, I’m sure they always look as sharp as they do on picture day.


3) Fall adds a playful feature to portraits

I don’t like traditional posing so fall adds so many more options: throw leaves, lay on leaves, climb in colorful leaves, throw leaves at me! (Try to watch out for sticks please) You get the idea. The colors are almost like an extra family member that matches everyone, and isn’t making things more difficult. Use it to your every advantage. It’s not possible to look like you’re miserable in five layers of fancy-pants clothes when you are having a leaf fight. I know, I’ve done the research.


4) Don’t forget black and white

While the changing fall season offers colors, it also offers texture. Black and white portraits can still feel the magical spell of autumn through texture, tone, and playfulness. Plus, that phenomenal light thing goes for black and white too (see #1). I love black and white portraits, and while I am likely to do more color this time of year, I still proof a few black and whites for all of my clients.


5) Compensate for the warmer tones

Sometimes if I am hitting the light just right, and my subjects are in perfect clothes, and the moon isn’t void of course, I find that images can get too warm. I know that sounds crazy, but it can happen. A custom white balance can help you on the front end, but if you didn’t notice it until after, don’t despair. An auto color run (under Image in Photoshop) or a cooling filter can fix everything. For as much as warm tones are flattering, no one wants to look like a seasonal gourd.


6) Fall weather is perfect for cuddling

Now I’m not one to cuddle, much to my husband’s dismay; I can’t take people in my personal space for an extended period of time. Last weekend a client that knows how I feel about hugging and all that, giggled at how often I tell people to “snuggle up” when I’m shooting family portraits. I guess I figure that most people enjoy it. Or are at least willing to pretend they do for the sake of the pictures (even I am willing to do that for a good Christmas card), especially if it’s not 100 degrees F (30c) outside. And a snuggle feels like a lot less pressure than cuddling, now doesn’t it?


7) The holidays are around the corner

In the US, the changing colors of the trees means that winter is almost here, which puts portrait photographers square into Holiday Card Season. Most of the clients I photograph this time of year are planning on using their images for sending out cards, or even creating holiday gifts.

So this is the only time of year I’m likely to offer a sale or special on portrait sessions, and every time I do, they sell out. That also means that this is the time of year that I can lose my mind in a pile of editing if I am not careful. To try to prevent both a nervous breakdown and spending a month staring at my computer screen, I usually offer mini sessions—10 to 15 minute shoots where I promise five or so pictures that I deliver as high resolution files. This takes any printing or card creating out of the equation, and also limits the amount of images I promised, rather than a full session which for me can be 50 or more. In turn, my clients get a few choices of images for their holiday cards and gifts, including that one great picture that was likely the whole reason they wanted portraits anyway. And I don’t have a nervous breakdown. Probably.


So throw back a pumpkin spice latte and put on a pair of boots and go shoot some portraits, even if you usually don’t. Everything is on your side in the fall – great light, fabulous surroundings, and more clients than any other time of year. That doesn’t happen very often (well, it happens once a year, but still).


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Super Raw? DxO ONE added to studio test scene

29 Sep

As far as pocketable cameras go, the DxO ONE is the most likely to fit into the smallest of pockets. Built as a companion to Apple mobile devices, it connects directly via integrated Lightning connector to bring your iPhone a 20MP 1″-type sensor and 32mm equivalent F1.8 lens. We put its standard shooting mode as well as its SuperRAW mode up against our studio test scene. Read more

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Ricoh adds Mermaid mode and deeper dive to Japan-only WG-40 and WG-40W

29 Sep

Ricoh has introduced a pair of underwater cameras to its WG range that feature enhanced color control for still and movie photographers. The Ricoh WG-40 and WG-40W, which are being released only in Japan at the moment, are very much like the current Ricoh WG-30 and WG-30G models, but offer a new Mermaid mode that boosts contrast and reds when used underwater. Read more

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Polyphonic Playground: Making Music with Fun Movement

29 Sep

[ By Steph in Design & Products & Packaging. ]

polyphonic playground 1

Climb a ladder, swing on a hammock-like seat and run your hands along various wooden surfaces on this strange polyphonic playground, and your movements will create a unique song. Studio PSK teamed up with beatboxer Reeps One to create this multi-sensory play experience for this year’s London Design Festival, encouraging people to interact with an unusual physical fusion of music, design and technology.

polyphonic playground 2

Designer Patrick Stevenson-Keating d Reeps record a bunch of different sound banks of samples, which were then loaded onto the program Ableton Live and mapped to trigger points on the playground. A product called ‘Electric Paint,’ which sends signals to the computer, is screen-printed onto paper tiles and covered in protective acrylic, acting as giant keys on a keyboard.

polyphonic playground 3

The wooden playground frame is like one big musical instrument in this sense, setting off cascades of sound as participants clamber up the steps or take a trip down the slide. In addition to the conductive paint on the wooden elements, the team integrated copper tape into the slide and conductive thread in the swings.

polyphonic playground 4

polyphonic playground 5

“We were always very clear from the start that we wanted ‘play’ to be an important part of the project,” the designer tells Bare Conductive. “…Often we communicate quite complex ideas or narratives, but by employing a playful strategy to do so, we can engage with the audience in more meaningful ways. This was certainly the hope for the Polyphonic Playground.”



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The Camera Bag of a Professional Traveler

29 Sep

“Travel is the best teacher.”

Have you ever heard this saying? As a photographer, travel teaches you more than you could ever imagine. It requires a lot of preparation and attention to details. Yet, it also requires you to be open, ready for the unexpected, and willing to take risks sometimes to get the best shots!

Whether you are traveling into your backyard or across the globe, knowing what to put in your camera bag can be daunting. There are so many great gadgets out there.


How do you know what’s most important to bring? How do you know what not to bring?

Choosing the best equipment to pack for any kind of adventure is challenging. It’s not about being the next national geographic photographer, it’s about being ready to create awesome experiences and capture those moments at the same time. You are first a traveler, second a photographer.

No matter where you go, what goes in your camera bag is just as important as what goes in your suitcase – maybe even more important! Too much equipment, or the wrong equipment, can make or break your memory making experiences.

Depending on your photography focus, you want to have a wide range of gear options, that take up as little space and weight as possible. That’s the number one goal. After traveling the world for over a year with only one 30 liter backpack and my camera bag, I’ve learned what’s absolutely necessary to bring, and what I can leave behind the next time. Let’s breakdown the camera bag of a professional traveler and lifestyle photographer.

The obvious equipment to pack:

  • Memory cards
  • Batteries
  • Camera charger
  • Universal Plugin
  • Camera body
  • Lenses


These are the items you always want to carry as a photographer. Besides the camera body and lenses, these things are fairly light weight and don’t take up too much room.

Memory Cards:

Consider having multiple smaller memory cards instead of one big one. Carrying four 8GB memory cards is a safer bet than carrying one 32GB memory card. You don’t want to risk carrying all of your images on one card because there is always a possibility of that card being corrupted or lost.

Charger and Plug:

When we travel, we tend to take more photos than if we were just at home. Your camera battery will run through a full charge much quicker on the road. Make sure you bring backup batteries, and don’t forget your battery charger. Consider where you are traveling and the outlet plug necessary. A universal port with surge protection is not something to skimp on!

Camera Body:

This is personal preference. All of the best camera manufacturers have developed amazing high-end digital cameras that are light-weight, fairly small in size, and perform beautifully. Do your research ahead of time and choose the best option for you. These days, even the lower-end DSLR camera models perform beautifully compared to just a few years ago. Consider purchasing a mirrorless camera. These are the latest technological advance in the photography industry.


This is another personal preference, so which lenses are best for you? Many people choose to bring a telephoto lens for travel experiences. They allow you to zoom in to things really far away and capture details you can not see from a distance. But these are the heaviest lenses on the market, and when traveling you will use it way less than you think. I say skip the telephoto lens and stick to using portrait (medium telephoto) and wide angle lenses for your travel experiences.

The not so obvious equipment:

  • Prime lenses
  • Rapid Strap
  • Lens wipes
  • Graduated Neutral Density Filter
  • Backup hard drive
  • Laptop computer
  • Backpack camera bag
  • Waterproof camera
  • SmartPhone and photography apps


A Prime Lens:

I carry two lenses when I travel. As a portrait and landscape photographer it is important to carry lenses with focal lengths of 24mm or smaller for landscapes and 35-85mm for portraits. A fixed lens, like the 35mm or 50mm is, in my opinion, the very best lens to carry for any travel trip. It’s lightweight and very small. With a wider aperture of  f/1.2 – f/2.8, this lens will allow more light to come in, which is important when photographing in low-light scenarios. The wider apertures will create a shallow depth of field, giving you much more creative freedom to become truly connected to your scene.

The challenge with a fixed lens is that there is no zoom. This is where your adventurous mindset comes into play! Your feet become your zoom. You will explore more of the area because you must move around to capture different angles and areas. Indoors, or out, close-up or far away, a prime portrait lens is the ideal traveling lens.

A wide angle zoom is also a great addition to add to your traveling camera bag. Any 10mm-24mm wide angle lens will allow you to capture those fabulous landscapes that can’t be photographed as well with your portrait lens.

Rapid Strap:

The rapid strap is the best camera strap on the market today. This is absolutely worth the investment of about $ 100. Giving you the flexibility of a shoulder strap and a secure, safety harness, this camera strap never left my body for nine months! Use it to save your neck from the pain of the heavy camera, and to feel secure and safe knowing your camera will always hang right by your side.

Lens Wipes:

Lens wipes are great when traveling, I use Zeiss Wipes brand. They clean everything streak free and protect your camera and glass from dust and dirt. Use one every time you take the lens cap off. Plus you can use them to clean more than just camera equipment! Don’t leave home with out these little guys.

ND Filter:

Filters are also extremely lightweight and take up no room at all. They are a great addition to any photographer’s bag, traveling or not. Having different kinds of filters to use on your adventure will give you an even wider range of unique options for photographing your experience. My favorite is the Graduated Neutral Density Filter (GND). It is an inexpensive addition to your bag that opens up a world of exposure options, no lens can do on its own. GND filters reduce the amount of light that can pass through a lens, allowing you to expose more evenly for extreme lighting scenarios.

For instance, if it’s midday and the sky is really bright, but the valley in the landscape is much darker, you can use a GND filter to darken the exposure of the sky, while the lens reads the proper exposure for the valley.


Backup Hard Drive and Laptop:

I carry a 2TB Western Digital Passport External Hard Drive and my reliable Macbook Pro everywhere I go. As a traveling photographer, the most important thing is to be able to upload and backup my images immediately. Although many photographers decide to leave these heavy items behind for obvious reasons, I say pack them and use them regularly. Make a habit of spending some time after each adventure to backup and edit your images. You will become a better photographer as you study your photos right away, and see what worked and what didn’t. This will make your entire adventure a great learning experience too!

Camera Backpack:

Backpack style camera bags are ideal. You can wear it on your back for easy transportation and hiking. You can carry it in front of you when traveling from one location to another, to keep your equipment safe and secure during your journey. Choose a backpack style that fits all of your equipment, and is also easy to unzip to get into right away. You will save a lot of time and energy by having a camera bag that is specifically designed for traveling.

Waterproof Camera:

One thing that I wish I had during this last trip was a smaller waterproof, shock proof camera. Though it might only be used a few times when jumping off waterfalls or out on a boat, these are experiences I don’t have photographs of because I didn’t have that extra piece of equipment.

If your budget allows for it, buy a nice point-and-shoot waterproof camera that fits in your pocket. You will be happy you did.

Smartphone and Apps:

Everyone has a smartphone now that takes pretty decent images. Although these gadgets will never be as great as your DSLR camera, they are convenient and always available. Don’t leave home with out your smartphone and check out these awesome photography apps:

  • Instagram – The most popular way to share your travel photography with the world.
  • Flipagram – Fun photo videos stories set to music you love. Share on many social media platforms.
  • Light Meter – On the go professional light meter with an easy interface to use on the go.
  • Dropbox – Easily sync and back up everything on your smartphone without having to do a thing.
  • Manual – Turn your smartphone into a DSLR with full control over Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speed and more.
  • Snapseed – Amazing editing on the go. Send your editing images directly to your favorite social media app right from Snapseed.
  • Hyperlapse – Amazing timelapse app by Instagram (iOS only). This app is addicting and will get you loving video!

The things to leave behind:

  • Big telephoto lens
  • Tripod
  • Selfie stick
  • Flash


As a traveler, you want to minimize what goes in your camera bag. These are the things I recommend leaving behind.

Telephoto Lens:

Carrying all your lenses to capture the entire focal length range (8mm or less to 500mm or more) is unnecessary. Most people consider bringing a telephoto lens because you can zoom in really close to things that are far away. I say skip it. The point of travel is to explore, and create memories by enjoying each moment. Use your feet as your zoom, go to those places far away! You will be glad that you are not carrying this heavy lens and love the new fun things you discover along your journey.


I might get some negative feedback on this one. If you want to capture night scenes and long exposures, you might want one. However most of the time you can easily find something to set your camera on to capture these scenes just as well without a tripod. Tripods are heavy, awkward to carry, and tend to get in the way. Leave it at home and save yourself the trouble. Challenge yourself to find a make-shift tripod while out on your journey.

Selfie stick:

Use a make-shift tripod to capture yourself in a shot by looking for a nearby table, rock or ask a friendly traveler around to take the photo for you.

Every time a selfie stick comes out, you are bound to miss the beauty of the moment. I noticed this in every city I traveled to. Remember being a traveling photographer is all about balancing the experience of being in the moment and capturing it at the same time. Stay in the moment! Quickly capture a creative selfie of yourself and then capture the scene through your DSLR most of the time to stay connected to your entire experience.


If you are a comfortable shooting with a flash, bring it. There is always an opportunity to use one. But, if you are not keen on using a flash regularly, don’t bring it just for the trip. I did not use a flash once while traveling the world. Capturing adventure and travel photography is about the beauty of nature and the diversity of cultures around the world. Using natural light and becoming intimate with your your scenes and subjects is the best way to create realistic and artistic images.


Traveling really is the best teacher. Being a traveling photographer challenges you to stay in the moment and capture it at the same time. Make this easier on yourself by packing light and taking risks. Pack your camera bag like a professional traveler and your adventures will become the best memories of your life.

I am on an endless journey to experience the world, and share it through my lens. As technology advances and more people take off on big adventures, there will always be new amazing things to consider adding (or removing) from your camera bag.

Do you have any other awesome tips for being a traveling photographer? I’d love to hear them! Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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26. September 2015

29 Sep

Das Bild des Tages von: Hille Thomasson

Langzeitbelichtung auf einer Bahnstrecke, im Hintergrund Wolkenkratzer.

Unser Bild des Tages: Eine Langzeitbelichtung aus Tokyo, Japan.
kwerfeldein – Fotografie Magazin | Fotocommunity

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