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These are the six finalists for 2018 World Press Photo of the Year (NSFW)

16 Feb

The Finalists for World Press Photo of the Year 2018

Warning: This slideshow contains graphic and disturbing imagery that is not suitable for children, and may not be suitable for viewing in the workplace. Proceed with caution.


World Press Photo has changed its announcement process for the coveted World Press Photo of the Year award in 2018. Rather than announcing the overall and category winners at once, they have revealed the six finalists for 2018 World Press Photo of the Year today, almost two months before the official awards ceremony in Amsterdam on April 12th.

The finalists are… harrowing. Six heartbreaking and at times graphic images that were selected from 73,044 entries by 4,548 photographers from 125 countries. Judging was done by “a group of internationally recognized professionals in the fields of photojournalism and documentary photography,” who convened in Amsterdam, where they were presented with all of the entries anonymously.

Behind the scenes photograph of the judging process.

Every single nominated photograph, including all singles and stories in seven of the eight contest categories, is eligible for the World Press Photo of the Year grand prize. And yet, New York Times photographer Ivor Prickett managed to get two of his photos into the top six, both captured as part of his Battle for Mosul series.

You can see all 312 nominated photographs across eight categories on the World Press Photo website, and learn more about the entire contest in the press release below. To view the six finalists for World Press Photo of the year, scroll through the slideshow above.

The World Press Photo of the Year winner will be announced in April, where he will receive a 10,000 Euro cash prize and a selection of camera equipment from Canon.

Press Release

World Press Photo announces 2018 awards nominees

The World Press Photo Foundation announces the results of its renowned contests, the 61st annual World Press Photo Contest and the 8th annual World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest.

Amsterdam, 14 February 2018

This year the announcement process is new

The foundation is today announcing the nominees in each category of the Photo Contest and the Digital Storytelling Contest, with the winners to be revealed at the Awards Show in Amsterdam on 12 April.

The highlight of today’s announcement is that, for the first time, the six nominees for the World Press Photo of the Year are revealed. The winner of the World Press Photo of the Year will be announced at the Awards Show in Amsterdam on 12 April.

Lars Boering, managing director of the World Press Photo Foundation:

“The best visual journalism is not of something; it is about something. It should matter to the people to whom it speaks. Today the World Press Photo Foundation continues to play the role it began with in 1955 because the juries in our contests nominate the best photographers and producers. The great work in this 2018 edition of our contests helps us fulfill our purpose: connecting the world to the stories that matter.”

The 2018 World Press Photo Contest

The jury selected nominees in eight categories, including the new environment category. They are 42 photographers from 22 countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, UK, USA and Venezuela. Of these nominees, 15 have won previous World Press Photo awards, while 27 are being recognized for the first time. In total, there are 312 nominated photographs across the eight categories.

  • Gallery of all 2018 Photo Contest nominees.

The World Press Photo of the Year honors the photographer whose visual creativity and skills made a picture that captures or represents an event or issue of great journalistic importance in the last year. Each nominated photograph, including all singles and stories in seven of the eight contest categories (excluding Long-Term Projects) is eligible for the World Press Photo of the Year.

The six nominees for the World Press Photo of the Year are, in alphabetical order:

  • Rohingya Crisis | Patrick Brown, Australia, Panos Pictures, for Unicef
  • Boko Haram Strapped Suicide Bombs to Them. Somehow These Teenage Girls Survived. – Aisha, age 14. | Adam Ferguson, Australia, for The New York Times
  • Witnessing the Immediate Aftermath of an Attack in the Heart of London – Toby Melville, UK, Reuters
  • The Battle for Mosul – Lined Up for an Aid Distribution | Ivor Prickett, Ireland, for The New York Times
  • The Battle for Mosul – Young Boy Is Cared for by Iraqi Special Forces Soldiers | Ivor Prickett, Ireland, for The New York Times
  • Venezuela Crisis | Ronaldo Schemidt, Venezuela, Agence France-Presse

See the video of the jury discussing why they chose these six photographs.

The 2018 Photo Contest details

The contest is free to enter and drew entries from around the world: 4,548 photographers from 125 countries submitted 73,044 images.

A group of internationally recognized professionals in the fields of photojournalism and documentary photography—chaired by Magdalena Herrera—convened in Amsterdam to judge all entries. The jury is independent, and all entries were presented anonymously. A secretary without voting rights safeguards the fairness of the process, which is explained in full here.

For the full list of jury members and secretaries, please see here.

The World Press Photo Foundation will release a technical report reviewing the contest, including the code of ethics, entry rules, and verification process on Monday, 5 March.

Prizes

The premier award, the World Press Photo of the Year, carries a cash prize of 10,000 euros. In addition, Canon will present the winning photographer with a selection of camera equipment. For more information about Canon, visit here.

Nominees have their travel and lodging paid for by the World Press Photo Foundation to Amsterdam so they can attend the World Press Photo Festival, an event taking place 13-14 April featuring photographer presentations, screenings, and talks. They also receive a diploma and a Golden Eye Award at the Awards Show.

2018 Exhibition

The prize-winning photographs are assembled into an exhibition that travels to 100 locations in 45 countries and is seen by more than 4 million people each year. The winning pictures are also published in the annual yearbook, which is available in multiple languages. The first World Press Photo exhibition opens in De Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam, on 14 April 2018. For more information about the exhibition in Amsterdam, please follow this link.

This year’s exhibition displays will be printed on Canon large-format and Arizona flatbed printers. Please see the Canon website for further information: http://www.canon-europe.com/

The 2018 World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest

The Digital Storytelling Contest (previously known as the Multimedia Contest) rewards those producing the best forms of visual journalism enabled by digital technologies and the spread of the Internet. The contest is open to digital storytellers, visual journalists and producers, with submissions that include the work of a professional visual journalist.

  • Gallery of all 2018 Digital Storytelling Contest nominees.

The 2018 Digital Storytelling Contest in numbers

This year, 308 productions were submitted to the contest: 149 Short Form, 63 Long Form, 68 Immersive Storytelling and 28 Innovative Storytelling.

Prizes

Nominees in each category are invited to the World Press Photo Festival in Amsterdam. A representative from each of the nominated productions will have their travel and lodging paid for by the World Press Photo Foundation. The winners in each category will receive a diploma and a Golden Eye Award, presented during the Awards Show. The prize-winning projects are assembled into an exhibition that travels to select locations.

The FotoEvidence Book Award with World Press Photo

The FotoEvidence Book Award with World Press Photo recognizes a documentary photographer whose project demonstrates courage and commitment in the pursuit of human rights. The 2018 winner is Standing Strong by Josué Rivas.

FotoEvidence was founded in 2011 by photojournalist Svetlana Bachevanova as part of the humanistic tradition of photography. In 2017 FotoEvidence partnered with World Press Photo and the book award became the FotoEvidence Book Award with World Press Photo.

FotoEvidence publishes the winning project in a high quality, hardbound book, which will be launched at the World Press Photo Exhibition 2018 in Amsterdam on 14 April 2018, and then shown in several cities around the globe.

The Finalists for World Press Photo of the Year 2018

Rohingya Crisis | © Patrick Brown, Panos Pictures, for Unicef


28 September 2017

The bodies of Rohingya refugees are laid out after the boat in which they were attempting to flee Myanmar capsized about eight kilometers off Inani Beach, near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Around 100 people were on the boat before it capsized. There were 17 survivors.

The Finalists for World Press Photo of the Year 2018

Boko Haram Strapped Suicide Bombs to Them. Somehow These Teenage Girls Survived. – Aisha, age 14. | © Adam Ferguson, for The New York Times


21 September 2017

Aisha (14) stands for a portrait in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria. After being kidnapped by Boko Haram, Aisha was assigned a suicide bombing mission, but managed to escape and find help instead of detonating the bombs.

The Finalists for World Press Photo of the Year 2018

Witnessing the Immediate Aftermath of an Attack in the Heart of London | © Toby Melville, Reuters


22 March 2017

A passerby comforts an injured woman after Khalid Masood drove his car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London, UK, killing five and injuring multiple others.

The Finalists for World Press Photo of the Year 2018

The Battle for Mosul – Lined Up for an Aid Distribution | © Ivor Prickett, for The New York Times


15 March 2017

Civilians who had remained in west Mosul after the battle to take the city line up for aid in the Mamun neighbourhood.

The Finalists for World Press Photo of the Year 2018

The Battle for Mosul – Young Boy Is Cared for by Iraqi Special Forces Soldiers | © Ivor Prickett, for The New York Times


12 July 2017

An unidentified young boy, who was carried out of the last ISIS-controlled area in the Old City by a man suspected of being a militant, is cared for by Iraqi Special Forces soldiers.

The Finalists for World Press Photo of the Year 2018

Venezuela Crisis | © Ronaldo Schemidt, Agence France-Presse


3 May 2017

José Víctor Salazar Balza (28) catches fire amid violent clashes with riot police during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Yosemite’s Horsetail Fall ‘firefall’ event will require a vehicle permit this year

06 Feb
Photo by Ambitious Wench (CC-BY-SA-2.0)

For two weeks every February, Yosemite’s Horsetail Fall appears to be composed of flowing lava rather than water when illuminated by the setting sun. This beautiful illusion is referred to as a “firefall,” and it draws a large number of visitors who want to witness it in person. Due to the expanding size of these crowds, officials have announced that visitors (including photographers) will need to get a vehicle permit.

The permit requirement is an effort to deal with traffic issues and visitor safety, according to ABC7, which reports that officials are working with Yosemite Hospitality, Yosemite Conservancy, and the Ansel Adams Gallery on the matter. Details for the upcoming event are available on Event Brite where free reservations can be made.

According to the event page, Yosemite visitors planning to arrive via vehicle will need a permit to access Northside Drive between Yosemite Valley Lodge and El Capitan Crossover. Northside Drive will be closed to those without a permit from February 12th to February 26th.

A total of 250 parking permits are being offered for reservation on the Event Brite site.

The reservation requires visitors to provide vehicular information, including license plate, car make and model, and car color. Those who successfully reserve a spot will then need to pick up their permit from The Ansel Adams Gallery on the day of the reservation. Additionally, 50 or more first-come, first-serve permits will be offered at the gallery until 3PM each day.

According to the event page, in addition to getting a vehicle permit for the designation part of Northside Drive, visitors who want to see the firefall can either take a Yosemite Hospitality guided tour or hike to the viewpoints.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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GoPro’s updated Plus subscription will now replace two broken cameras per year

01 Feb

GoPro has announced an expansion to its Plus subscription service, now offering subscribers “no questions asked” camera replacements in the event their own camera breaks. The new benefit started on January 31st, and is available to both existing and new Plus customers. The camera replacement offer is in addition to Plus’s other various perks, including mobile backups and priority customer support.

For now, GoPro’s $ 5/month “enhanced” Plus plan is only available to US customers, though expansions into other markets are expected to start later on in 2018. The camera replacement perk is available for customers who have a Hero5 or newer, though it is not a free replacement. GoPro charges the following “exchange fees” for the four replaceable GoPro camera products:

  • HERO5 Session: $ 39
  • HERO5 Black: $ 59
  • HERO6 Black: $ 79
  • Fusion: $ 139

Per GoPro’s FAQ, Plus customers must return their old camera to get the replacement—which is done using a return shipping label the company provides—so the replacement program doesn’t cover cameras that are lost. Additionally, subscribers are limited to two camera replacements per 12 billing cycles, though the exchanges can happen any time during those 12 months.

In addition to device replacement, Plus subscribers will soon also have access to mobile cloud backups for photos and videos—unlimited image backup and up to 35 hours of video backup. Apple customers get the backup feature first via its February 20th iOS availability, while Android users will get the same backup benefit on an unspecified date this Spring.

Finally, GoPro Plus includes front-of-the-line customer support priority status and a 20% discount on accessories on the GoPro.com website.

A free 30-day trial is available now for new customers. To learn more, visit the GoPro website.

Press Release

GoPro Rolls Out Enhanced Subscription Service: Plus

New Benefits. No Additional Cost. Damage Replacement, Mobile Cloud Backup and Unlimited Photo Storage Added to $ 4.99 Monthly Service

SAN MATEO, Calif., Jan. 31, 2018 /PRNewswire/ – GoPro, Inc. (NASDAQ: GPRO) is building on the success of its Plus subscription service with the introduction of new benefits that deliver significant value to GoPro customers at no additional cost.

Today, the company announced details of the expanded Plus monthly service:

  • Camera replacement – If you break your GoPro we’ll replace it, no questions asked
  • Mobile cloud backup – The GoPro App now automatically backs up your photos and videos, eliminating the need to connect to a computer or buy new SD cards
  • Unlimited photo storage
  • 35 hours of video storage
  • 20% off accessories at gopro.com
  • Front-of-the-line priority phone and chat support

Mobile cloud backup will be available on iOS February 20 and on Android in the spring.

“Plus streamlines the GoPro experience and delivers outsized value for our customers,” said GoPro Founder and CEO Nicholas Woodman. “Our subscription business, Plus, has proven popular with consumers and the roll out of our enhanced service marks the first of several subscription initiatives we will introduce this year.”

The new GoPro Plus is now available in the US for $ 4.99 a month with a 30-day free trial and will expand to global markets later this year. Visit The Inside Line for more details on all the benefits of becoming a subscriber and the GoPro Plus page to sign up.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Happy New Year 2018 – Recap of our Ultimate Guides to Photography

31 Dec

Wishing you the happiest new year from the dPS family.

As a bonus, here is a summary of some amazing ultimate guides we published in 2017. Each is available as a free PDF – just click on the ones you want to download below.

  • The Ultimate Guide to Street Photography
  • The dPS Ultimate Guide to Landscape Photography
  • The dPS Ultimate Guide to Getting Started in Lightroom for Beginners
  • The dPS Ultimate Guide to Photography for Beginners
  • The dPS Ultimate Guide to Photography Terms – a Glossary of Common Words and Phrases
  • The Ultimate Guide to Nature and Outdoor Photography
  • The dPS Ultimate Guide to Fine Art Photography

Enjoy and please share this page with your friends if you find these valuable!

The post Happy New Year 2018 – Recap of our Ultimate Guides to Photography by Darlene Hildebrandt appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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Top Portrait Photography Tips of the Year on dPS in 2017

27 Dec

This week on dPS we’re featuring some of the top articles in different categories that were published on the site over the last year, 2017. Yesterday was the Best Landscape Articles on dPS in 2017, and this one is all about the best portrait tips of the year.

Here are the top 18 portrait tip articles:

  1. How to Create Portraits with a Black Background
  2. How to Make a Low Key Portrait Step by Step
  3. How to Make Beautiful Portraits Using Flash and High-Speed Sync
  4. How to Create a Dark and Moody Rembrandt-Style Portrait In Lightroom
  5. 4 Beginner Tips for Creating Dramatic Portraits with One Flash
  6. How to Pose People for Group Portraits
  7. Tips for Making Natural Light Portraits
  8. How to Create Good Black and White Portraits
  9. 5 Tips for Creating Romantic Portraits of Couples
  10. 8 Tips for Mastering Your Portrait Photography
  11. Six Ways to Capture the True Character of a Subject in Portraits
  12. A Quick Exercise to Help You Take Better Self-Portraits
  13. How to Create and Shoot Night Portraits
  14. 6 Tips for Posing Hands in Wedding and Portrait Photography
  15. 5 Reasons to Use Lightroom for Portrait Retouching
  16. Basic Portrait Post-Processing Workflow Tips to Help You Save Time and Stay Organized
  17. 5 More Tips for Making Better Black and White Portraits
  18. 3 Tips for Taking Portraits with a Kit Lens

Tomorrow, look for the most popular articles on post-processing in 2017.

The post Top Portrait Photography Tips of the Year on dPS in 2017 by Darlene Hildebrandt appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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2017 Readers’ choice polls: High-end ILC of the year – break the tie!

21 Dec

For the past few weeks we’ve been running six polls, to find out what you, our readers think was the best gear of 2017. Several of the polls are pretty close, but one is still too close to call, with literally only a handful of votes between the two front-runners and the two runners-up.

With only six hours left to vote, we need your help to break the tie! Or we could just give everyone a prize, like school sports day. Your choice.

Click here to view all six polls
(voting ends at midnight PT)


Have your say

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Have your say: Best high-end ILC of 2017
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Fujifilm GFX 50S

Leica M10

Nikon D850

Panasonic Lumix DC-G9

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5

Sony Alpha a7R III

Sony Alpha a9

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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These are the winners of Nat Geo’s Nature Photographer of the Year 2017

14 Dec

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Winners

National Geographic has revealed the winners of their annual Nature Photographer of the Year contest, and as usual, every photo from the Grand Prize winner all the way to the Honorable Mentions and People’s Choice awards are fantastic.

The Grand Prize this year—and title of Nature Photographer of the Year—went to Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan of Singapore, who captured an intense wildlife portrait of an orangutan crossing a river in Indonesia’s Tanjung Puting National Park. The photo, titled “Face to Face in a River in Borneo,” was selected from over 11,000 entries and earns Bojan $ 10,000 in prize money, in addition to his image showing up in an upcoming issue of National Geographic.

Speaking of the moment he captured the shot, Bojan told Nat Geo:

Honestly, sometimes you just go blind when things like this happen. You’re so caught up. You really don’t know what’s happening. You don’t feel the pain, you don’t feel the mosquito bites, you don’t feel the cold, because your mind is completely lost in what’s happening in front of you.

You can see Bojan’s grand prize winning image, as well as every 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and People’s Choice winner in the slideshow above, or by visiting the National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year website.

Press Release

National Geographic Announces Winners of the 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Contest

WASHINGTON (Dec. 12, 2017) – Selected from over 11,000 entries, a wildlife photo of an orangutan crossing a river in Indonesia’s Tanjung Puting National Park has been selected as the grand-prize winner of the 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year contest. The photo, titled “Face to face in a river in Borneo,” was captured by Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan of Singapore. He has won $ 10,000 and will have his winning image published in an upcoming issue of National Geographic magazine and featured on the @NatGeo Instagram account.

Bojan took the winning photo after waiting patiently in the Sekoyner River in Tanjung Puting National Park in Borneo, Indonesia. After spending several days on a houseboat photographing orangutans in the park, Bojan learned of a location where a male orangutan had crossed the river –­ unusual behavior that he knew he had to capture. After waiting a day and night near the suspected location, a ranger spotted the orangutan the next morning at a spot a few minutes up the river. As they drew near, Bojan decided to get into the water so the boat did not scare the primate. About five feet deep in a river supposedly home to freshwater crocodiles, Bojan captured the photo when the orangutan peeked out from behind a tree to see if the photographer was still there.

On capturing the photo, Bojan said, “Honestly, sometimes you just go blind when things like this happen. You’re so caught up. You really don’t know what’s happening. You don’t feel the pain, you don’t feel the mosquito bites, you don’t feel the cold, because your mind is completely lost in what’s happening in front of you.”

Karim Iliya of Haiku, Hawaii, won first place in the Landscapes category for a photo from Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park; Jim Obester of Vancouver, Wash., won first place in the Underwater category for a photo of an anemone; and Todd Kennedy of New South Wales, Australia, won first place in the Aerials category for a photo of a rock pool in Sydney at high tide.

The judges for the contest were National Geographic magazine’s senior photo editor of natural history assignments, Kathy Moran, National Geographic photographer Anand Varma, and photographer Michaela Skovranova.

Contestants submitted photographs in four categories – Wildlife, Landscape, Aerials and Underwater – through National Geographic’s photography community, Your Shot. All of the winning photos, along with the honorable mentions, may be viewed at natgeo.com/photocontest.

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Winners

1st Place | Wildlife and Grand Prize Winner

Photo © Jayprakash Joghee Bojan, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.


Photograph by Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

A male orangutan peers from behind a tree while crossing a river in Borneo, Indonesia.

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Winners

1st Place | Underwater

Photo © Jim Obester, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.


Photograph by Jim Obester, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Blue-filtered strobe lights stimulate fluorescent pigments in the clear tentacles of a tube-dwelling anemone in Hood Canal, Washington.

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Winners

1st Place | Landscapes

Photo © Karim Iliya, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.


Photograph by Karim Iliya, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Shortly before twilight in Kalapana, Hawai’i, a fragment of the cooled lava tube broke away, leaving the molten rock to fan in a fiery spray for less than half an hour before returning to a steady flow.

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Winners

1st Place | Aerials

Photo © Todd Kennedy, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.


Photograph by Todd Kennedy, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

In Sydney, Australia, the Pacific Ocean at high tide breaks over a natural rock pool enlarged in the 1930s. Avoiding the crowds at the city’s many beaches, a local swims laps.

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Winners

2nd Place | Wildlife

Photo © Alejandro Prieto, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.


Photograph by Alejandro Prieto, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

An adult Caribbean pink flamingo feeds a chick in Yucatán, Mexico. Both parents alternate feeding chicks, at first with a liquid baby food called crop milk, and then with regurgitated food.

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Winners

2nd Place | Underwater

Photo © Shane Gross, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.


Photograph by Shane Gross, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Typically a shy species, a Caribbean reef shark investigates a remote-triggered camera in Cuba’s Gardens of the Queen marine protected area.

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Winners

2nd Place | Landscapes

Photo © Yuhan Liao, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.


Photograph by Yuhan Liao, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Sunlight glances off mineral strata of different colors in Dushanzi Grand Canyon, China.

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Winners

2nd Place | Aerials

Photo © Takahiro Bessho, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.


Photograph by Takahiro Bessho, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Snow-covered metasequoia trees, also called dawn redwoods, interlace over a road in Takashima, Japan.

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Winners

3rd Place | Wildlife

Photo © Bence Mate, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.


Photograph by Bence Mate, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Two grey herons spar as a white-tailed eagle looks on in Hungary.

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Winners

3rd Place | Underwater

Photo © Michael Patrick O’Neill, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.


Photograph by Michael Patrick O’Neill, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Buoyed by the Gulf Stream, a flying fish arcs through the night-dark water five miles off Palm Beach, Florida.

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Winners

3rd Place | Landscapes

Photo © Mike Olbinski, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.


Photograph by Mike Olbinski Photography, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

A summer thunderstorm unleashes lightning on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Winners

3rd Place | Aerials

Photo © Greg C., 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.


Photograph by Greg C., 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

On the flanks of Kilauea Volcano, Hawai’i, the world’s only lava ocean entry spills molten rock into the Pacific Ocean. After erupting in early 2016, the lava flow took about two months to reach the sea, six miles away.

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Winners

People’s Choice | Wildlife

Photo © Harry Collins, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.


Photograph by Harry Collins, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

A great gray owl swoops to kill in a New Hampshire field.

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Winners

People’s Choice | Underwater

Photo © Matthew Smith, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.


Photograph by Matthew Smith, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

A Portuguese man-of-war nears the beach on a summer morning; thousands of these jellyfish wash up on Australia’s eastern coast every year.

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Winners

People’s Choice | Landscapes

Photo © Wojciech Kruczynski, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.


Photograph by Wojciech Kruczy?ski, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Sunset illuminates a lighthouse and rainbow in the Faroe Islands.

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Winners

People’s Choice | Aerials

Photo © David Swindler, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.


Photograph by David Swindler, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Green vegetation blooms at the river’s edge, or riparian, zone of a meandering canyon in Utah.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Gear of the Year 2017 – Jeff’s choice: Olympus Tough TG-5

09 Dec

I try to make it to the Hawaiian Islands every year and I have a pretty good success rate. When I go, usually to Maui, I make it a point to spend most of my mornings snorkeling. In the afternoons I’ll hop in an air conditioned car and explore the island which, even after many (many) trips, is still exciting.

Hungry hungry honu, Kaanapali, Maui. Cropped out-of-camera JPEG.
ISO 100 | F3.5 | 1/250 sec | 33mm equiv | Photo by Jeff Keller

Since I want to memorialize any encounters with sea turtles or dolphins that may occur while I’m snorkeling, that really narrows down my camera choices. I’m not hardcore enough to bring a large camera in a big housing; rather, I want something I can slip into the pocket of my swimsuit while I’m struggling to put on my fins. I also need a camera that can capture the beautiful rainbows and sunsets that are almost a daily occurrence. The camera that covers both bases for me is the Olympus Tough TG-5.

The TG-5 has a great macro mode, with a 1cm minimum focusing distance. It captures plenty of detail, as you can see from this photo of my lunch.
ISO 100 | F2.8 | 1/160 sec | 24mm equiv | Photo by Jeff Keller

To be honest, 2015’s TG-4 didn’t need a lot of improvements. It had solid image quality for a compact, a lens that’s fast at its wide end, Raw support, a GPS, manometer, thermometer, and compass, along with respectable battery life. It could take a beating and, unlike some underwater compacts I’ve tested, didn’t leak at all when it went diving. The main things that irked me about the TG-4 were its awkward zoom controller, limited aperture choices and too much noise reduction in JPEGs.

I love having Raw on the TG-5, as it lets me get rid of the overly blue color cast that sometimes appears in underwater photos, even when using the u/w white balance setting. You can also customize the noise reduction, though don’t expect miracles from this 1/2.3″ sensor. The in-camera converter is clunky so I just used ACR in Photoshop.
ISO 200 | F5 | 1/250 sec | 67mm equiv | Photo by Jeff Keller

The TG-5 was exciting because of the drop in resolution (from 16MP to 12MP), which I hoped would improve pixel-level image quality, plus the addition of more tracking functions, 4K video and (yes!) an improved zoom controller. Olympus also finally switched to an actual micro-USB port instead of using the same proprietary connector that’s been used for 15 years. The burst rate has jumped to 20 fps, so you can just mash the button down and hope to get a decent shot of a fast-moving sea turtle or surfer. Unfortunately there are still just three apertures to choose from at any time (the camera uses an ND filter to “stop down” the lens,) but that rarely held me back.

A select from a 20 fps burst taken while floating next to Black Rock. Unfortunately, some water droplets didn’t roll off the lens like they’re supposed to. Cropped out-of-camera JPEG.
ISO 100 | F2.8 | 1/800 sec | 24mm equiv | Photo by Jeff Keller

As mentioned above, the main reason I brought the TG-5 to Maui was for underwater photos, and it rarely disappointed, as long as you remember that it’s a compact camera. It literally takes no effort to transition from ‘regular’ to underwater shooting, as there’s a dedicated spot on the mode dial for that purpose. Generally I left it at the default setting: Underwater Snapshot, since it uses natural light and the flash is fired only when necessary. There’s an a multi-shot underwater HDR mode, though given the motion of myself, the camera and the fish, the chance of getting a sharp photo is near zero.

The TG-5 isn’t just waterproof to 50 feet / 15 meters (and more if you buy the optional housing). It’s also shockproof from 7ft/2.1m, freezeproof to -10°C/+14°F and crushproof to 220lbs/100kg. On this trip I dropped and nearly crushed my glasses on the slopes of Haleakal?, heavily scratching the lenses on rough lava sand. I’m pretty sure the TG-5 would’ve fared better.

The addition of 4K (UHD) support is a welcome one, though for some reason you have to enter the dedicated movie mode to use it, rather than just selecting it like any other resolution. If you’re underwater that means that you have to re-select underwater white balance if you want things to look good. While not mind-blowing, video quality is good for the sensor size. Something worth pointing out is that if you zoom the lens, the microphone will pick up the sound, especially underwater.

I’m a big fan of the colors in Olympus’ JPEGs. Black Rock, Kaanapali, Maui.
ISO 100 | F8 | 1/250 sec | 24mm equiv | Photo by Jeff Keller.

Pictures I took ‘on land’ were very nice, though keep your expectations in check on this compact camera: there is a lot of noise reduction and the lens is somewhat soft. Maui is a colorful place and the TG-5 does a great job of capturing it.

Something that Olympus brought over from its TG-Tracker is the ability to compile all of the data the GPS, manometer and compass are capturing and display it in a graph in the OI.Track app. (This is a separate app that OI.Share, which is used to download photos and remotely control the camera.)

My route from the summit of Haleakala (around 10,000 feet) back to sea level in Kaanapali. Here’s the change in elevation during my drive, with the dots illustrating where I took photos, which you can view in the app.

Even if it’s sort of a novelty, I still think it’s cool being able to see where in your journey you took photos, and what the conditions were. One more thing that I appreciate is the ability to check all of that sensor data at any time, even when the camera is off, by pressing the Info button. You also turn on the camera’s very bright LED illuminator by holding the same button down for several seconds.

Yet another sunset photo.
ISO 100 | F5.6 | 1/200 sec | 72mm equiv | Photo by Jeff Keller.

While I wouldn’t bring it on a once-in-a-lifetime trip where I want top-notch photo quality, for cruises, tropical vacations, hiking or climbing, the TG-5 would be the camera I pack in my bag due to its compactness, feature set and ruggedness.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Gear of the Year 2017 – Richard’s choice: Sony NP-FZ100

02 Dec

I wrote, two years ago, that I thought the distinction between DSLRs and mirrorless cameras would disappear. Not that mirrorless would eclipse DSLRs, more that the differences would reduce to the point that the presence or absence of a mirror becomes the least relevant part of a discussion of two cameras.

As I was writing a comparison of the Sony a7R III and Nikon D850 today, I was suddenly struck by the realization that it might have already happened. I think there are a lot of interesting differences between the two cameras but very few of them have anything to do with the way we’d tend to categorize them.

With this in mind, my gear of the year is the Sony NP-FZ100. Or, to those of you not obsessed with product codes, the a9 and a7R III’s battery. The simple reason for this is the role it plays in rendering the difference between mirror-less and mirror-full cameras moot.

Good enough: the threshold beyond which any further excess is superfluous

It all comes down to the idea of ‘good enough.’ And please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not talking about accepting the mediocre or tolerating the barely sufficient. Instead I’m referring to the threshold beyond which any further excess is, if not excessive, then at least superfluous: it offers no practical benefit.

Once I have enough battery life to get me through a demanding day of shooting, then any extra left in the tank is all very nice, but not exactly necessary. I recently spent a morning shooting both stills and video of a cyclocross race with the a7R III. Shooting a mixture of JPEGs, uncompressed Raws and 4K video, I comfortably churned out more than the 64GB capacity of my memory card and had to switch to a second. What I didn’t come close to doing was running the battery out. At the end of the racing, I still had more than 27% charge left, despite the sub-10°C temperatures.

The move to the ‘Z-Type’ battery on the right is the difference between me having to worry about charging and carrying spare batteries and me never having to think about it.

This suddenly eliminates the constant battery anxiety I’ve always felt with previous Sony mirrorless cameras (and that’s without including the RX1R II, an otherwise fabulous camera whose butterfly-like lifespan prompts even its proponents joke “it’s like shooting film: you need to think about what you’re going to do with your 36 exposures”). Because when I’m shooting, I don’t ever want to be worrying about whether I’ve brought enough batteries, and which ones are charged. I don’t even want to have to think about it.

In fairness Panasonic got here first, having put a big battery in its GH models as far back as the GH3, but I didn’t notice it to the same extent because I was primarily shooting video with those models.

This eliminates the constant battery anxiety I’ve previously felt with many mirrorless cameras

More demanding shooters, be they photojournalists or longer-form filmmakers, can always attach a battery grip for longer duration, but for me, the FZ100 means the a7R III is able to surpass my ‘good enough’ threshold. So, while the D850 can boast a very impressive 1840 shots per charge, for me and my photography, that’s well into the territory of overkill.

So, as a technology that allows mirrorless cameras (hopefully of all brands) to offer the same practical benefits as their DSLR rivals, my gear of the year is a battery. Because it makes the a9 and a7R III into significantly better cameras, not just because it pulls another leg out from under all those tired ‘mirrorless vs DSLR’ arguments.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Leica Camera reports ‘strong revenue growth’ for 2016/2017 fiscal year

02 Dec

In recent years, financial reports from major camera manufacturers haven’t typically made for overly positive news stories; however, Leica Camera AG is bucking this trend with the announcement of its results for the 2016/2017 financial year ending March 31st. Apparently, the German camera maker has been able to grow revenue by 6 percent, despite the global camera market declining by around 10 percent over the same period.

Leica cites systematic realignment of the company over recent years as the main driver of the positive development.

At the heart of this realignment lies the establishment of an in-house retail distribution division that now controls a network of 90 monobrand stores around the globe. The company says this move has been vital in promoting the brand, and the retail network is set to expand even further in the near future. China is currently Leica’s number one growth market, and 20 to 30 new stores are planned in the country alone.

Other important initiatives include the Leica Akademie brand—which aims to increase brand awareness among younger target groups—and the company’s collaboration with Chinese smartphone maker Huawei on the cameras in their latest high-end devices.

The upward trend has reportedly continued into the 2017/2018 financial year, leading CEO of Leica Camera AG, Matthias Harsch, to predict record-breaking growth for this coming year.

Its important to note, however, that at least part of Leica’s future growth will have nothing to do with photography. In 2017, the company entered into the eyewear segment under the Leica Eyecare brand, which Leica says will “systematically tap into this global market in conjunction with its technology partner Novacel.”

Press Release

Leica Camera AG Records Strong Revenue Growth for the 2016/2017 Financial Year and Bucks the Downward Trend in the Camera Market

The Leica Camera Group achieved revenue of almost 400 million euros in the past financial year 2016/2017 (31 March 2017) and can therefore look back very positively on the previous twelve-month period. With strong revenue growth of more than six per cent, Leica bucked the overall downward trend in the global camera market, which declined by around 10 per cent in the same period.

In the first few months of the current financial year 2017/2018, cumulative growth stands at 15 per cent, thus underscoring the positive global performance of Leica Camera AG. Despite a market environment that remains challenging, the CEO of Leica Camera AG, Matthias Harsch, once again expects a record-breaking result for the 2017/2018 financial year. As a result, the revenue of Leica Camera AG has increased more than fourfold since anchor investor and majority shareholder Dr Andreas Kaufmann came on board in 2004.

The main driver of growth is the systematic realignment of the company that has taken place in recent years. In particular, the setting up of an in-house Retail Distribution division has made a major contribution to revenue growth. Leica now has 90 monobrand stores around the world, which are vital in terms of promoting brand experience in the context of photography. ‘China is our number-one growth market,’ says Matthias Harsch, who is planning 20 to 30 new stores in the country alone. The Group is now strengthening its presence in the service sector with the Leica Akademie brand in order to boost the appeal of photography amongst younger target groups.

The extremely successful technology and brand partnership with Chinese company Huawei in the field of mobile phone photography makes Leica one of the world’s leading providers of smartphone lens applications, a burgeoning technology segment that serves as a global basis for new product ideas and applications in photography.

The entry of Leica into the eyewear segment (glasses) – a move that was completed in 2017 – offers further potential for strong revenue growth in the years ahead. Operating under the name of Leica Eyecare, the company will systematically tap into this global market in conjunction with its technology partner Novacel.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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