Posts Tagged ‘They’

Instagram starts warning users about wildlife abuse when they search certain hashtags

07 Dec

Instagram has announced a new wildlife protection measure following a New York Times report on how some traffickers are using the platform as part of the illicit animal trade. In a blog post published earlier this week, Instagram said that it will start presenting a content advisory screen to users who search for hashtags that are, “associated with harmful behavior to animals or the environment.”

This advisory, shown below, links to both the posts and a page where additional information on the matter is provided. That page, which discusses both environmental considerations and wild animal interactions, further links to TRAFFIC, the World Wildlife Fund, and World Animal Protection agencies.

In addition to encouraging its users not to damage the environment in order to get the perfect shot, Instagram says:

We also encourage you to be mindful of your interactions with wild animals, and consider whether an animal has been smuggled, poached or abused for the sake of tourism. For example, be wary when paying for photo opportunities with exotic animals, as these photos and videos may put endangered animals at risk.

Users who come across a video or photo they believe to be violating Instagram’s guidelines on this matter are urged to report it. The company explicitly states that it does not allow endangered animals to be sold via its platform, nor does it allow content featuring animal abuse.

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Professional photographers explain why they shoot Panasonic Lumix

13 Nov

Being a professional photographer used to mean carrying around heavy SLRs and medium-format camera, tripods and cumbersome accessories. As cameras have evolved to become smaller and smaller, those days are over.

Panasonic was a pioneer in the mirrorless camera market, and over the past decade its G and GH-series cameras have been adopted by a wide range of photographers, including professionals in various different fields. In a new video by filmmaker Griffon Hammond, professional photographers Daniel J. Cox, Ben Grunow, William Innes and Jennifer Maring explain why they choose to shoot with Panasonic Lumix cameras.

Panasonic’s latest G-series camera is the impressive flagship Lumix DC G9, which features a suite of powerful features including high frame-rate stills shooting and 4K video.

Read more about the G9 here

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Lensrentals shares photos of destroyed camera gear they got back after the eclipse

02 Sep

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Our friends over at Lensrentals shared an entertaining-if-a-bit-depressing post today: rental camera gear destroyed during the solar eclipse of 2017. It seems that, despite plenty of warnings from other websites and Lensrentals itself leading up to the incredible celestial phenomenon, not everybody got the message that you always need to use a solar filter to shoot the eclipse.

As such, Lenrentals got back everything from melted aperture systems, to burned shutters, to a fried mirror—ostensibly because people were shooting in live view.

LR is careful to specify that they actually got very few damaged units back given just how much gear they rented ahead of the eclipse, and that this post is meant to entertain not criticize:

“Please keep in mind, this post is for your entertainment, and not to be critical of our fantastic customer base,” writes Zach Sutton. “With this being the first solar eclipse for Lensrentals, we didn’t know what to expect and were surprised with how little of our gear came back damaged.”

So, entertain away. You can see a few of the images in the gallery above, or visit the full Lensrentals blog post for more pictures and descriptions of the damage the sun can do to expensive camera gear when you’re not properly equipped to shoot it.

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Report: Bowens employees not paid for July, told they must continue to work unpaid

04 Aug

A bombshell of a report on PetaPixel reveals just how sudden last month’s closure of 94-year-old UK photographic lighting company Bowens has been, especially for its employees. An infuriated UK employee reached out to the photography blog to share their story, and the whole workforce of Bowens China has sent an email to the company to complain about how the process is being handled.

The UK employee, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed anger at how the liquidation has been handled, specifically citing issues with pay. According to them, “26 of the most hard working members in the UK […] were in complete shock [on July 14th] to be informed that they will be unpaid for the previous month, and will have to continue to work through a consultation process unpaid.”

The employee claims the UK crew was told they would have to continue working because they are bound by contract. Staff are reportedly considering legal action.

These claims are backed up by an email sent to Bowens and Calumet distributors by the workforce of Bowens China, and acquired by PetaPixel.

The letter claims employees of Bowens Suzhou were “suddenly abandoned” with “no July wages, no social insurance, [and] no updated information since Germany let us stop work [on the] 17th July.” The employees took to the streets and the German embassy to protest what they’re describing as “dishonest betrayal” and “bloody exploitations” by Aurelius and Calumet.

For their part, Calumet did respond to PetaPixel’s request for comment. The company sent a statement in which it re-states the reasons for closing Bowens (“the result of far reaching changes affecting its market”) before addressing the concerns in China, saying:

“As part of the decision to discontinue its operations Bowens consequently also decided to discontinue the manufacturing operations in China […] The liquidation process is handled according to all local laws and requirements and the employees will be informed in due course on next steps.”

You can read Calumet’s full statement on PetaPixel. However, DPReview has reached out to Calumet for comment as well, specifically asking Calumet to address the claim that employees were not paid for July and are contractually bound to continue working without pay.

We will update this post if and when we hear back.

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You mean they made cameras, too? A tribute to the Samsung NX10

06 Jul

When Samsung left, it left quietly. I was reminded recently by a senior executive that the company never announced that it was officially exiting the camera industry, but even so, right now the chances of us ever seeing an NX2 seem pretty slim. Which is a shame, because the NX1 was a great camera, and a rumored full-frame NX2 might have been just the shot in the arm that the camera industry badly needs.

But there’s no point wishing on what might have been. Samsung may only have been in the mirrorless interchangeable lens camera business for a little over five years, but it achieved a lot in that short time. And it all started with the NX10.

Traditionally, the camera industry has been a bit dismissive of Samsung. Even after the premium-priced NX1, the company never entirely managed to shed its ‘they make fridges, don’t they?’ image. A slight hint of cynicism towards Samsung’s attempts to be taken seriously as a camera maker can even be detected in DPReview’s coverage of its first mirrorless model, the NX10. In retrospect, that tone is hard to justify.

The NX10 was the first mirrorless model from any manufacturer to offer an APS-C sensor (Sony’s NEX system was launched later the same year), and the ~50% increase in sensor area compared to Micro Four Thirds was a pretty significant technical achievement. The NX10 also offered a fairly high resolution (for the time) electronic viewfinder, a fixed OLED rear screen, and excellent build quality. This – ahem – ‘little Korean camera’ (in the words of our announcement coverage) packed a lot of technology into its impressively compact body.

Samsung NX10 Samples Gallery (2010)

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The NX10 was announced immediately before CES 2010, and we took a working sample to the show. I had recently joined the DPReview team, and Richard, Lars and I added a couple of days of vacation in LA’s Koreatown to the trip.1

Our plan was to get some sunshine, enjoy some of the area’s famous food, and shoot enough images on the NX10 to create a samples gallery.2 During that time, the NX10 was mostly in my possession, and I ended up really liking it. Samsung’s lens lineup was paltry at the point of announcement, but the tiny 30mm F2 pancake was (and remains) a lovely lens for casual everyday shooting with such a small camera.

The Getty Center, in the hills overlooking Los Angeles. It’s worth visiting LA for the Getty Center alone. I certainly wouldn’t go back for the breakfasts.

Flashback to the mid 2000s: Back when it was still rebadging Pentax DSLRs, Samsung used to run private brainstorming sessions in the UK (and I assume elsewhere) with technologists and industry journalists to come up with ideas for the future of camera design over dinner. It also used to sponsor competitions in design schools, to the same end. Possibly as a result of the prodigious consumption of free booze3 the results of these consultations and design experiments invariably ended up looking something like the famous Luigi Colani concepts for Canon, which eventually became the delightfully curvy (but still basically SLR-shaped) T90 in the early 1980s.

Another shot from the Getty Center. I really like the Getty Center.

Having attended a couple of those brainstorming sessions in 2007/8 (hey – I enjoy a free dinner as much as anyone) I remember being a bit surprised that the NX10 ended up looking so conventional. Like the contemporary Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2, it looked and handled like an unusually small DSLR. That said, the NX10 was a perfectly pleasant camera to use, with very few significant frustrations.

Overall, the NX10 offered very good image quality, fast, responsive AF (‘DSLR-speed’ as we admitted in our review) and for the time, an excellent rear display. We complained about its Auto ISO implementation and aggressive noise-reduction4 and the video mode had some kinks that needed to be worked out, but for a first attempt, it must be said that Samsung got a lot right.

In pretty short order, the NX10 became the NX20, which became the NX30. Then in 2015 came the NX1. And the rest is (sadly) history.

Read our Samsung NX10 review (2010)

1. I’m pretty sure the location was just a coincidence, but Richard’s boundless enthusiasm for puns may have extended to the trip planning – my memory is unclear on this point.

2. Barring one memorably unpleasant Denny’s breakfast, we succeeded in all three aims, despite what sounded like a near riot in the early hours of the morning at our very cheap and not at all secure hotel.

3. On the part of the industry insiders, I mean, not the design students. Although let’s be honest, we’re talking about design students here – they were probably even more hammered than we were.

4. Remember that we’re talking about DPReview in 2010 – when complaining about Auto ISO systems and noise reduction represented a large portion of our total site output.

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Video: Those ‘Shot on iPhone’ ads are not what they seem

02 Jul

Anybody who knows about the technique and gear involved in capturing great photos and video knows to look at those ‘shot on *insert smartphone here*’ ads with a bit of skepticism. Yes, they were technically shot on those phones, but many people don’t realize the amount of extra gear and software that goes into the final product.

There is a disclaimer at the end of these videos, of course, but it’s easy to miss or subconsciously ignore it when you’re hoping against hope that your iPhone 7 Plus will be the last camera you’ll ever need.

Have you noticed this disclaimer at the end of the ‘Shot on iPhone’ ads?

In this short video, YouTuber Marques Brownlee sheds a bit of light on the matter, sharing a little behind the scenes look at some of the really intense gear these commercials use, before diving into some more affordable options that can help get your smartphone video—shot on iPhone or otherwise—closer to those professional grade commercials.

Because while you’ll probably never use a rig this advanced:

It’s not unthinkable that you could buy yourself a DJI Osmo Mobile and some Moment lenses to help get your shaky hand-held attempts a little closer to the results you see in Apple and Samsung’s professional ads.

Just don’t beat yourself up if your first few tries don’t live up to this level of quality. We don’t know exactly what gear Apple used on its latest ‘Shot on iPhone’ commercials, but we’re betting it’s closer to the crazy rig you see above, than the pared down little stabilizer and smartphone lenses Brownlee touts in his video.

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Optical Illusion Architecture: These 11 Buildings Are Not What They Seem

08 Jun

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

Pinched, warped, rippled, steeply angled and mirrored until they disappear into the sky, these buildings are not quite what they seem at first glance. Sometimes, it takes a nice long look at their outlines and proportions to determine where their facades actually begin and end, and how they can possibly be balanced so precariously.

Rachel Raymond Mirror House

In the space once occupied by the historic Rachel Raymond House in Belmont, Massachusetts, a beautiful mirrored illusion rose: ‘Mirror House’ by Pedro Joel Costa Architecture and design, which pays tribute to the original home’s modernism while looking to the future.

The Dancing House, Prague

Prague’s ‘Dancing House,’ also known as ‘Fred and Ginger,’ is actually the Nationale-Nederlanden building by architect Vlado Milunic, built in cooperation with Frank Gehry in 1996. One of the dual towers of the building appears to be warped and distorted, as if someone squished it up against the other.

Australian Customs Service Building, Melbourne

From most angles, it’s virtually impossible to tell what’s going on with the facade of the Australian Customs Service Building in Melbourne, clad as it is in an unusual graphic black and white pattern. The theme is reportedly repeated inside.

Pinnacle at Symphony Place, Nashville, Tennessee

The tall and thin mirrored Pinnacle at Symphony Place almost manages to disappear into the sky altogether when conditions are just right, becoming like a ghostly suggestion of a building instead of something decidedly solid and real.

Lucid Stead by Phillip K. Smith III, Joshua Tree, California

Alternating its logs with long stretches of mirror, artist Phillip K. Smith III makes his Joshua Tree installation ‘Lucid Stead’ blend with its environment so effectively it seems to be little more than a few dark brown lines floating in the desert.

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Optical Illusion Architecture These 11 Buildings Are Not What They Seem

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[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

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Guardians of the Galaxy team reveals why they chose an 8K Red camera

09 May

If you’re a Guardians of the Galaxy fan, you’re no doubt looking forward to seeing Volume 2 in the series, which was released last weekend. If you find yourself standing in line at the theater, you can even impress your friends with some movie trivia: Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 is the first feature film shot on the RED Weapon camera using the 8K RED DRAGON VV sensor. They’ll either be seriously impressed at your informed insider knowledge, or they’ll slowly move away and pretend not to know who you are. YMMV.

If you’re the gear-freak we think you are, watch this behind the scenes video of Director James Gunn and Director of Photography Henry Braham talking about their decision to use the camera, praising it for its large format look, small size, and high degree of usability. Oh, and as a bonus you’ll get to see actors flying around in front of blue screens as well.

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Photojournalists reveal their favorite publications to work with and what they pay

02 May
Photographer Genna Martin on assignment for Seattle PI.

Columbia Journalism Review recently surveyed a group of photojournalists on their favorite publications to work with based on several criteria, including arguably the biggest one – pay. As a result, they’ve published an article revealing the day rates for some top publications as well as some insight into other factors, such as balancing a lower day rate with exposure to a wider audience.

So by the numbers, how do top publications stack up for freelance photographers? CNN comes out on top with the best day rate at $ 650, though National Geographic is close behind with typical rates between $ 500-650. Harper’s Magazine’s rate was hard to pin down but reported rates varied from $ 500 up to $ 1000 per day. 

The New York Times’ recently boosted rate of $ 450 per day makes it more competitive with the top-paying outlets, but CJR notes that the photographers they spoke with acknowledged the Times’ wider reach and top-notch editorial staff go a ways to compensate for the lower pay. Coming in with the lowest day rate of the bunch is the Washington Post, offering $ 350. 

Check out the full article at Columbia Journalism Review for some interesting insights on working for these top publications.

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Advanced Shooting Modes: What They Are and When to Use Them

06 Apr

Are you ready to get off Auto? When most people get started in digital photography, the first thing they do is set the shooting mode dial on the top of the camera to Auto. It makes sense to let the camera make decisions about things while you’re just getting used to using it.

In Auto mode, the camera makes decisions not only on the Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO but also on many other factors such as White Balance, Focus Mode, Focus Points and Metering Mode.

After awhile, you might start to choose one of the automatic scene modes such as portrait, sports, landscape or night, if your camera has those options. This gives the camera a bit more information about what you’re shooting so it can make better decisions for you.

But at some point, you are going to want to take control and make those decisions for yourself. Your camera is smart, but it’s not an artist! This is where the advanced shooting modes come in.

The Exposure Triangle

Before we get into discussing advanced shooting modes, you need to understand the concept of how the exposure triangle works.

First, there is shutter speed – the length of time that the shutter is open. This is the easiest part of the triangle to understand; the longer the shutter is open, the more light comes in and hits your camera’s sensor.

The San Diego skyline by Anne McKinnell - Advanced Shooting Modes: What They Are and When to Use Them

ISO 100, 24mm, f/22, 80 seconds

Second, there is the aperture – the variable opening in your lens through which the light passes. The opening is round and works just like the pupils in our eyes. On a bright day, you squint, making the pupil smaller to let in less light. When the light is dim, your pupil is larger to let in more light.

Generally speaking, a small aperture opening and a long shutter speed may allow the exact same amount of light in as a large aperture opening and a short shutter speed. Choosing this balance between aperture and shutter speed is the key, and your choice will depend on what you are trying to achieve with your photograph.

The third and final factor in determining exposure is ISO – the sensitivity of your camera’s sensor to light. For those of you who remember the film days, ISO is similar to ASA, the speed of the film. Essentially, it’s best to leave ISO at a low setting such as 100 (other photographers will recommend using high ISO as needed – do your own research and experiment with your camera). But if you’re in a low-light situation, you might need to increase it so that less light is required to make a good exposure.

Advanced Shooting Modes: What They Are and When to Use Them

Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas. ISO 200, 10mm, f/18, 1/10th of a second.

Advanced Shooting Modes

There are five main advanced shooting modes available on most digital cameras:

  1. P for Program Mode
  2. A or Av for Aperture Priority Mode
  3. S or Tv for Shutter Priority Mode
  4. M for Manual Mode
  5. B for Bulb Mode

Many professional photographers frown upon using anything other than Manual Mode. But I respectfully disagree. A camera is just a tool and a smart one at that! There’s nothing wrong with letting your camera do what it’s good at as long as you are controlling the factors that are important to you.

Program Mode

In Program Mode, your camera chooses the shutter speed and aperture. You can control other factors like white balance, focus mode, focus points and metering mode. Program mode is a good place to start when you’re just coming off of auto mode and learning how to use your camera settings. But it isn’t where you want to stay because aperture and shutter speed are the key to taking control of your images.

Aperture Priority Mode

When you use Aperture Priority Mode, you tell the camera what aperture you want to use, and it will calculate the appropriate shutter speed to make a good exposure. The size of the aperture affects depth of field, which is a critical concept when you want to take creative control of your images.

When you have a very large aperture opening, such as f/2.8, you are going to have a shallow depth of field. That means that whatever you focus on will be sharp, but everything in front and behind it will be out of focus.

On the other hand, when the aperture opening is small, such as f/22, you have a large depth of field, so more things that are in front and behind your focus point will also be sharp.

The difference between large and small apertures - Advanced Shooting Modes: What They Are and When to Use Them

Try them all

The best way to understand this is to try it out for yourself. Put your camera in Aperture Priority Mode and take the exact same photograph using each aperture setting. Then look at the photos on your computer and you’ll see the effect that aperture has on the depth of field.

What you’ll find is that photos with a large aperture have a soft background and photos with a small aperture have a background that is in focus. For me, depth of field is the most important factor in my photography, so I almost always use Aperture Priority Mode.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Arizona - Advanced Shooting Modes: What They Are and When to Use Them

ISO 100, 33mm, f/18, 1/25th of a second. For this image, it was important to keep everything sharp from the closest cactus in the foreground to the mountains in the background. So I chose a small aperture to ensure I had good depth of field.

F-Numbers are Tricky

Before we leave this topic, there’s one thing that many people find confusing and that is the f-stop numbers. A large aperture opening is represented by a small number and a small aperture is represented by a large number. I don’t want to get into too much math here, but my trick for remembering how this works is to think of it like a fraction. 1/2 is larger than 1/8, so f/2 is a larger opening than f/8.

Shutter Priority Mode

When you use Shutter Priority Mode, you tell the camera what shutter speed you want to use, and it will calculate the appropriate aperture to make a good exposure. This mode is most useful when you have moving objects in your frame and you want to either freeze the motion or blur the motion.

For example, if you are photographing a bicycle race, you probably won’t be happy with just any old shutter speed. You’ll likely want to use a relatively long exposure, such as half a second or one second, to blur the motion of the bicycles going by. Or you’ll want a fast shutter speed such as 1/500th of a second to freeze the motion. Anything in between would look out of focus.

Shooting waterfalls is another good example of when to control the shutter speed for the silky water effect.

Englishman River Falls, Vancouver Island, British Columbia - Advanced Shooting Modes: What They Are and When to Use Them

ISO 100, 180mm, f/22, 1/10th of a second.

Manual Mode

When you are in Manual Mode, you must tell your camera both the aperture and the shutter speed you want to shoot at. You will use your camera’s light meter to determine whether the settings you have entered will create a good exposure, then adjust the settings based on whether you have too much or not enough light.

In Manual Mode you are in complete control and practicing with it will give you a good grasp on how aperture and shutter speed work together. Once you understand this, it may be more convenient to use either Aperture Priority Mode or Shutter Priority Mode to accomplish your goals.

Bulb Mode

Bulb Mode allows you to extend the shutter speed beyond the camera’s built-in limit, which is usually 30 seconds. You can use this mode to photograph the streaks of clouds moving across the sky, or at night to photograph star trails.

To use Bulb Mode, press the shutter button and hold it down. The shutter will open and stay opened until you release the shutter button. But of course, this method isn’t practical because you can’t just stand there holding the shutter button down for 10 minutes! Plus, having your finger touching the camera during a long exposure will cause camera shake and your photo would be blurry.

Star trails at Joshua Tree National Park, California - Advanced Shooting Modes: What They Are and When to Use Them

This photo was made using an intervalometer programmed to make a 7-second exposure every 15 seconds for two hours. Then all the images were stacked to create the star trails.

The best way to use Bulb Mode is to use a shutter release cable (or a remote trigger). This allows you to press the button on the cable to open the shutter and then lock it opened so you can walk away and come back later to release it. Another option, instead of using a cable release, is to use an intervalometer which will allow you to program how long you want the shutter to be opened and even program multiple shots. For example, you can set it to take a 2-second exposure every 5 minutes for an hour.


Remember, the camera is your tool to use any way you like to make your art. The shooting modes are just some options that are available to you so you can accomplish your creative goals. Have fun and experiment!

Shooting modes are just one of the camera settings you’ll want to master to take control of your camera and your photography. My new eBook Taking Control: Essential Camera Skills for Beginners will help you understand what all the knobs and dials on your camera do and how to use them for creative control over your images.

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