Posts Tagged ‘Photographs’

7 Benefits of Printing Photographs

02 Nov

Digital sharing of photos may have reduced the urge to print a photograph after taking a shot with your digital camera. But printing photos offers you a lot of benefits as a photographer. Here are some of the reasons why you should consider buying a photo printer and start enjoying the benefits of photo printing. 1. Improve Your Photography Skills Continue Reading

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NASA Curiosity Rover captures rare photographs of clouds on Mars

12 Aug
Clouds drift across the sky above a Martian horizon in this photograph captured on July 17, 2017 by the Navcam on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/York University

Last month, NASA’s Curiosity Rover captured something (appropriately enough) curious in the Martian sky: clouds. Specifically, Curiosity snapped several sequences of “wispy, early-season clouds resembling Earth’s ice-crystal cirrus clouds” that NASA is calling “the most clearly visible so far” since the Rover landed 5 years and 5 days ago.

As NASA explains in a news release:

Researchers used Curiosity’s Navigation Camera (Navcam) to take two sets of eight images of the sky on an early Martian morning last month. For one set, the camera pointed nearly straight up. For the other, it pointed just above the southern horizon. Cloud movement was recorded in both and was made easier to see by image enhancement.

Each sequence of 8 images was enhanced and turned into an animated GIF:

To learn more about these photos and the science behind why there are clouds on Mars, and why they were a lot more common billions of years ago, head over to the NASA news release by clicking here.

All photos courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/York University

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VAST photography collective creates ‘highest resolution fine art photographs ever made’

02 Aug

A group of photographers are working together to take gigapixel photography to the next level, and they’re doing it under a collective called VAST. Founded by photographer and software engineer Dan Piech, the VAST collective combines artistic skills with technical skills to produce high-quality, Fine Art gigapixel photographs.

Unlike typical gigapixel photography, these images feature scenes that are difficult to produce in massively high resolutions, such as photos taken around sunrise and sunset.

Talking about the collective and the work they do, founder Piech said, “We’ve developed a number of new techniques for doing some pretty amazing things that allow us to have the best of both worlds: resolution + aesthetics.”

Whereas common panoramas may involve only a few photos stitched together, these gigapixel photos require creators to assemble hundreds of images, the end result being an incredibly detailed, sharp photo for large printed pieces.

Huge amounts of time and work go into creating gigapixel shots, but the process doesn’t necessarily require expensive rigs.

As explained in a blog post by Ben Pitt, this 7 gigapixel photo of San Francisco was taken using “a normal tripod and an inexpensive ultra-zoom camera [the Panasonic FZ200].” That particular gigapixel photo is composed from 1,229 images captured across 16 rows, each with about 75 images. The shooting alone took more than an hour.

Stitching the images was, in the case of the San Francisco photograph, performed over the course of many hours using the automated and free Windows application ICE, though alternatives are available like GigaPan Stitch and PTgui. Photoshop was tapped for post-processing, used to patch in content from the original images when necessary, among other things. The resulting Photoshop files can be many gigabytes in size.

You can find out more about VAST’s own technique here.

VAST offers prints of these photographs, as well as others spanning categories like Abstract, Cityscapes and B&W. Price depends on the image and size—one example, the ‘Requiem for 2016’ image of New York City shown above, starts at $ 2,745 for a 60 x 21″ print of the 6,410 megapixel image. The full gallery of available prints can be viewed here.

Note: A previous version of this post mistakenly identified Ben Pitt as a VAST photographer. That is not the case.

All photographs courtesy of VAST, and used with permission.

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DPReview on TWiT: How to take macro photographs

01 Aug

DPReview has partnered with the TWiT Network (named after its flagship show, This Week in Tech) to produce a regular segment for The New Screen Savers, a popular weekend show hosted by technology guru Leo Laporte.

On this week’s episode of The New Screen Savers, the hosts discussed emojis, action cameras and Macro photography. DPReview editor Barney Britton spoke to Leo Laporte and Jason Snell about how to get great closeup pictures, without breaking the bank. We’d recommend watching the whole episode, but if you’re especially interested in macro photography tips (or if you’re Barney’s mum) jump to 43:00 for the beginning of our segment.

You can watch The New Screen Savers live every Saturday at 3pm Pacific Time (23:00 UTC), on demand through our articles, the TWiT website, or YouTube, as well as through most podcasting apps.

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Google demos technology that scrubs objects from photographs

19 May

During its I/O 2017 conference yesterday, Google demonstrated a new algorithm-based technology that can remove unwanted objects from existing photographs. The demonstration showed the technology removing a chainlink fence from the foreground of an image, with the final result offering no discernible indications that the fence had ever existed (around 10:45 in the video below).

The technology was demonstrated on stage by Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai during a conversation about the company’s expanding visual technology. ‘Coming very soon,’ Pichai explained, ‘if you take a picture of your daughter at a baseball game and there’s something obstructing it, we can do the hard work and remove that structure and have the picture of what matters to you in front of you.’

It looks to be an evolution of the research Google and MIT have been collaborating on for some time – in fact, their demonstration from 2015 includes a very similar chain-link fence demo. This method takes advantage of the parallax effect to identify and remove obstructions from photos. 

Unfortunately, Pichai didn’t elaborate on when this technology will be made available aside from ‘very soon,’ nor did he specify where the technology will be available. Given the company’s Google Photos announcements, however, it seems likely the technology will be implemented within that product.

Via: Google

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DPReview photographs Seattle’s famous cherry blossoms (with expensive gear)

22 Apr

There are an infinite numbers of ways to photograph a subject. So when a group of DPR staffers headed to the University of Washington campus recently to photograph the cherry blossoms, we each got a chance to show off our personal tastes and styles shooting the same subject.

See the DPReview cherry blossoms gallery

Click through the gallery to see each staffer’s approach and to find out what each of us chose to shoot with. And for more on the gear we chose and why, check out our behind the scenes video below.

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Everypixel Aesthetics uses neural networks to judge your photographs

08 Apr

Designers and image editors often have to browse through large numbers of low-quality photographs before they find the stock image that is most suitable for their purposes. Now, a new algorithm has been created to filter images based on their aesthetic value and get rid of the junk before it clogs up your search results. 

Everypixel uses neural networks for ranking stock images and for this purpose has trained the algorithms to judge the aesthetic value of a stock image in the same way as a human would do.

Everypixel’s CEO Dmitry Shironosov said: “Designers, editors and experienced stock photographers helped us generate a training dataset with 946,894 positive and negative patterns. We wanted to create a technology that can measure not only aesthetics of stock images, but their commercial potential as well. This is the main difference between our smart filter and other solutions that exist today.”

The neural network is capable of estimating the visual quality of an image and applies a score to every file which, if working properly, could save many man hours of human image curation. The algorithm is currently in beta stage but you can already test it with your own images on Everypixel. We’re not so sure about the scoring, but the system already looks pretty good at assigning correct keywords. How did your images do? Let us know in the comments.

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Image style AI can convert paintings to photographs

04 Apr

Apps that convert your photos into paintings, with styles ranging from Monet to Lichtenstein, have been all the rage recently, with Prisma being one of the most popular offerings. A research team at UC Berkeley has now developed an artificial intelligence algorithm that can do the reverse – and much more. 

Using ‘image style transfer’ their AI can convert Monet’s impressionist paintings into a much more realistic image that comes close to photo quality, giving you a good idea of the scene that the French painter was looking at when he put down his easel and started to paint. In addition, the system is capable of changing winter to summer in an image of a Yosemite scene, turn apples into oranges and horses into zebras. Of course it’s also possible to transform regular photos into Monets, Van Goghs or Cezannes.

The research project uses so-called ‘unpaired data’ which, in the words of the project team means that ‘we have knowledge of the set of Monet paintings and of the set of landscape photographs. We can reason about the stylistic differences between those two sets, and thereby imagine what a scene might look like if we were to translate it from one set into another.’

To achieve that the relationships between similar styles had to be coded in a way that can be understood by a computer and then the AI had to be trained using large number of photos from Flickr and other sources. In a final step the quality of the results was checked by both humans and machines before fine-tuning of the algorithms. 

On some occasions the results are still far from perfect but overall the AI is impressively good at transferring styles from one image to another. More information is available on the project’s GitHub page.

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6 Tips for Shooting Long Exposure Night Photographs

16 Feb

In this article I am going to share with you six tips that I have found to produce amazing long exposure night photographs. I have learned the hard way by making every mistake possible and through that finding what really does work.

So here are the 6 tips to make your long exposure photographs at night:

6 Tips for Shooting Long Exposures at Night

Tip #1: Try to avoid using a Neutral Density filter

On this photo (below) I did a 25 second exposure. That is quite a long exposure and to help prevent it from blowing out, I took the photo right at the end of sunset. There was less light, so that I didn’t have to put an ND Filter on.

6 Tips for Shooting Long Exposures at Night

If you put an ND filter on it is going to give you a color cast during long exposures. Yes you can use a polarizer, but avoid Neutral Density filters. Shoot when the sun is going down and keep your camera at a low ISO like 100 or 200. Don’t get me wrong, I love ND filters but not at night.

Tip #2: The best time for long exposures is 25 seconds

I know that’s a bold statement. Not as bold as stating that French food is the best in the world, but still a bold statement. Here is why I recommend this; I’ve found that when I shoot at 25 seconds it makes the water silky and the clouds stretchy and this has a beautiful look that sells well. Obviously it’s also an artistic choice, but as a photographer you likely want people to buy your photos. The best indicator that people like your photos is that they buy them.

Here is an example:

6 Tips for Shooting Long Exposures at Night

First I started with a 6 second exposure.

Now, in taking the photo I exposed the image for the highlights. So when you open up the shadows, bring down the highlights, and boost the exposure a little bit like so:

6 Tips for Shooting Long Exposure Night Photographs

I do have all the details of the photo, but the only problem is that the clouds were not moving and the water is not silky.

6 Tips for Shooting Long Exposure Night Photographs

So I went ahead and put the exposure time to 25 seconds. Now it does seem like the highlights in the photos are a little burnt, but I have found that on city lights it doesn’t really matter that much because it still works great on a print.

To conclude; 25 seconds is the best long exposure, you don’t even need a remote, you just need to put your camera on the 2-second timer and go into manual shooting mode, use a low ISO, and an aperture that is going to work like f/7 or f/8.

If your photo is too bright you can adjust the aperture to f/14 and if it is too dark you can even put your aperture to f/4. Just make sure you check your focus to ensure the background is sharp.

Tip #3: Try different exposures of the same scene

Even though I said that 25 seconds exposure is the best, it’s always good to shoot different exposures because this may be different for your situation. For example, I thought that this first image was my go-to photo.

6 Tips for Shooting Long Exposure Night Photographs

But in the end the one that I am going to retouch and going to send to the gallery is this one.

6 Tips for Shooting Long Exposure Night Photographs

So you already have your camera setup and on a tripod. Go ahead and try 8 seconds, 15 seconds, 25 seconds all without touching the tripod and then when you are evaluating your photos for retouching you will have several options.

Tip #4: Shoot towards the sun

When you are doing a long exposure without an ND filter (so as to avoid the color cast, tip #1), a good thing to do is to shoot toward the sun. When it is behind the horizon line it will always give you a nice sky with lots of color and gradations.

You can see on this photo that the sun is setting on the left.

6 Tips for Shooting Long Exposure Night Photographs

And as I turn the camera more away from the sun and back towards the city you get this view.

6 Tips for Shooting Long Exposure Night Photographs

You can see that we get less and less details in the sky. But if you shoot where the sun sets you will always have great details even after sunset, and it is the right time for these type of photos.

Tip #5: Make sure you have water and the sky in your photo

Those are two important things for a long exposure which help to really elevate your photos into what I like to call miracle photos.

Tip #6: Try to get the clouds coming towards you

You can study meteorological information to get a sense of which direction the clouds are moving and try to position your shot accordingly. There are even a few apps which great for this.

As I said, this is not always easy but I got lucky on this one. The clouds are going to be stretchy and create leading lines and that help make this photo really interesting.

6 Tips for Shooting Long Exposure Night Photographs

I hope this helped you and you will be able to capture beautiful places at the perfect time. Please share your long exposure night photos in the comments below.

** NOTE ** If you’d like to know more about this subject, learn more about my brand new course on night photography here, so you can take stunning night photos too!

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Create a Portfolio That Shows the Photographer as Well as the Photographs

13 Feb


When it comes to telling their own story in images, photographers often struggle. While their photos and galleries may be memorable and unique their websites and portfolios are too frequently dull, derivative and, to a buyer who sees one slideshow after another, instantly forgettable. Instead of showing who they are, the websites become a collection of what they’ve shot, a series of images with no connection to the person who took them or the photographer the buyer will be booking.

According to one expert, it’s only when photographers see their websites and their portfolios not as marketing devices intended to show their skills and range but as autobiographies — as an opportunity to tell their own stories and show who they are — that they stand out and win jobs.

“The best portfolios, to me, are materially self-portraits regardless of the subject matter,” says Allegra Wilde. “This is not about a romanticizing the suffering or narcissistic artist. The kind of imagery I am talking about is much less likely to be forgotten by the viewer, or in the case of the pros, the buyer.”

For Wilde, who started her career selling ad space at Workbook before becoming the company’s Director of Talent and Agent Branding, a portfolio (and now a photographer’s website) should flow. The presentation should have a rhythm, match the work and, most importantly, tell the story of the photographer.

It Takes a Hero to Be a Successful Photographer

That’s not something that all photographers want to do — or think of doing as they create a site to pitch for work. Building a website that doesn’t just show pictures but shows who you are means putting yourself as well as your images on display. The personal projects become more important as they reveal the questions you address in your images, the aesthetic that attracts you, the messages you want your photos to communicate and the way you want them to speak. Buyers are invited to judge the photographer and their interests as easily as they judge the quality of their work. It’s not a display that makes all photographers comfortable.

“The most successful photographers (or any other artists for that matter), always take some kind of leap into discomfort,” says Wilde. “Usually this level of discomfort is rooted in their own personal ‘exposure,’ or fear that no one will like their images or hire them. These heroes of photography, (yes, I call them ‘heroes,’ because it takes enormous courage to do this) make images from a very naïve place, usually self-reflective and quite emotionally ‘naked.’”

After operating a couple of private online forums — one for photography and illustration agents; the other for ad agency photo editors and buyers — Wilde now runs Eyeist, her own photography review service. The company employs a team of photographers, buyers and photography business experts to examine photographers’ websites and portfolios, and recommend improvements. Photographers can register and upload images for free then book a review when they’re ready. They’ll be asked for “tons of info” about their images, their aims for the review and their development as a photographer before they select (or ask for) a reviewer and choose the kind of review they want. The fees range from $ 100 for a basic review consisting of an audio commentary critiquing up to 30 images to $ 350 for help with editing and sequencing a series of images so that it showcases the scope and storyline of a project. So far the company has provided around 200 reviews for photographers who range from students, emergent photographers and enthusiasts to full-time professionals.

The reviewers look at whether the words the photographer is using to describe his or her images actually match the images they’re showing. Often, says Wilde, the two things differ so the reviewer will focus first on repairing that disconnect. They’ll then start thinking about suggesting ways in which the photographer can create images that help them achieve their goals, change those goals or address their presentations and marketing.

Reviewers Reignite a Photographer’s Passion

The result should be not just a plan that a photographer can follow to improve their appearance, but a renewed interest in creating images that have something to say.

“It wasn’t enough to give the photographer a road map for improvement. You have to ignite (or re-ignite) their passion about their own work,” says Wilde. “That way, they have a much better internal sense of how to make progress and become much more open to creative ideas that they might not have entertained before.”

None of these recommendations, says Wilde, compare to the sort of congratulatory comments that you’ll find placed by friends or family at the bottom of a Flickr set or a Facebook album. Those comments might make you feel good but they won’t point out the flaws that are preventing you from winning work.

Overall, Eyeist’s reviewers tend to find two mistakes in photographers’ presentations. The first is the tendency of photographers to aim at a particular market or follow a popular style in the hope that joining the crowd will bring success. In fact, says, Wilde, it just brings them more competition. And the second is not pushing their images hard enough or spreading them widely enough so that both the photographer and the photographs connect with the right buyers.

“I know this sounds crazy in this day and age of photo sharing, social and business networking with photographs, but many photographers either undersell their work by not marketing it enough, or, by overselling it — by first dumbing down the work (making it more generic to follow the marketplace), and/or by constantly promoting and posting their images and assignments without any personal context,” says Wilde. “This makes it hard for the viewer, and especially the buyer, to ‘invest’ in the work, and to engage with the photographer personally as a possible collaborator.”

At a time when social media has made branding personal, photographers are going to have to learn to step out from behind their cameras and put themselves on display. They don’t have to shoot self-portraits but the way they show their work has to be about them as much as about the subjects of their images.

Photopreneur – Make Money Selling Your Photos

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