Archive for October, 2014

Forgotten Gardens: Crumbling Complex Has a Sinister History

31 Oct

[ By Steph in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

Police reports detail disturbing incidents that have occurred just beyond the stone walls of one of America’s most dramatic forgotten gardens, a mysterious complex full of imported ancient Roman columns in the unlikely location of suburban Yonkers, New York. How much of the sinister history of this place, which has become the stuff of legend over the years, really happened? Was it a hotbed of bizarre occult activity as the locals claim, or is this just a case of Satanic panic?


8106840336_c7ea983d3e_z (1)

Perched on a hillside overlooking the Hudson River and sprawling across 43 acres, Untermyer Park (also known as Untermyer Gardens) was first developed between 1899 and 1940 as part of a large private estate. A Grecian-style amphitheater, classical pavilion, Persian Paradise garden and a number of statues were erected by the time owner Samuel Untermyer died, and the gardens passed to the City of Yonkers in 1946.



Decades later, the complex has begun to crumble, with graffiti covering many of the deteriorating stone structures. But it’s more than neglect that gives this place a sense of foreboding: it’s the connection to one of New York’s most brutal serial killers. As the murderer known as Son of Sam taunted police with Satanism-tinged letters during a killing spree targeting young couples, police found the corpses of ritualistically mutilated German Shepherds in the aqueduct south of Untermyer Park.



Years after he was captured in 1977, David Berkowitz claimed that he hadn’t acted alone, pinpointing Untermyer Park as the site of frequent gatherings of the Satanic cult of which he was a member. This claim alone has led to all manner of legends springing up about the park, with locals claiming to hear strange chanting or glimpse the glow of torches in the woods at night.


Is it the truth, or just defensive ramblings from the mind of a killer? It’s hard to say, but Berkowitz’ claims fall into line with the Satanic panic that sprung up in the ’70s and ’80s, blaming supposed secret cults for everything from child molestation to murder. It’s impossible to say exactly what has transpired at Untermyer Park, especially given the gruesome discovery in 1976, but the place definitely still carries a feeling of mystery, especially as its once-grand features continue to decay.

All photographs via Kristine Paulus/Flickr Creative Commons

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[ By Steph in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

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31. Oktober 2014

31 Oct

Ein Beitrag von: Bastian Staude

Ein Mann steht auf einem Straßenzeichen.

kwerfeldein – Fotografie Magazin | Fotocommunity

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Nikon D800 Review- The King Of Full Frame?

31 Oct

The Nikon D800 is a professional full frame camera from Nikon that features a whopping 36,3 megapixels, the autofocus system from the D4, and dual card slots. But is Nikon’s lightest full-frame DSLR capable of delivering the image quality and dynamic range that Nikon promises? Let’s find out… Here’s a quick rundown of the important specs and features: 36,3 MP Continue Reading

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Sony launches support program for pro photographers

31 Oct

Sony has launched a ‘Pro Support’ program with the aim of offering professional photographers the levels of support available from the big DSLR makers. The move presumably comes to help persuade pros to consider switching to the company’s SLT and mirrorless camera systems. The program, called Sony Imaging PRO Support, provides ‘superior support’ so that pros can ‘ensure their Digital Imaging products are always ready’. Read more

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Zombie-Powered Vertical Farm: Post-Apocalyptic Safe House

31 Oct

[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

zombie brains

Strangely sustainable, this towering haven is designed to turn the energy of the undead toward a positive purpose, using zombies to turn a turbine in order to provide both power and water pressure in case of a viral apocalypse.

zombie ranch design details

As part of the Zombie Safe House competition, this Zombie Ranch entry goes above and beyond simply protecting people from risen corpses, turning their lust for blood and brains into a baited trap to keep life going above the ground.

zombie powered safe house

The slow-moving zombies push a twisting turbine that sends water up for drinking and farming on a second story – residents occupy the top level, presumably for an extra layer of safety and to get some distance from the groaning hordes.

zombie design raised lowered

A series of spiral staircases and drawbridges provide ways to cut off attacks on each floor as well as a means of lifting the entire structure further skyward to make it less accessible when a swarm wanders through.

zombie ranch above below

Each zombie-resistant tower is designed to be fully self-sufficient so survivors can remain aloft indefinitely, leaving them free to enjoy the end of the world in relative luxury.

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5 Fears to Overcome When Starting a Photography Business

31 Oct

As you enter the field of professional photography, there is one thing that will become immediately clear. One of your biggest obstacles will be fear. You will worry that you are not prepared for a job, that you are not experienced enough, that something will go wrong, or that they will not like your images.

Business Portrait

Business Portrait.  Each photography job will have a different makeup and you should create a game plan going in.

This is normal and I have bad news for you; the fear will never fully go away. It will get easier however, and you will become better at pushing through it. As time progresses you will find yourself confidently going into jobs that you used to make you petrified. But even then, a whole new set of fears will arise as you move into more advanced jobs.

This can paralyze you, especially as you are starting out. It is the biggest obstacle that will stand in your way towards becoming successful. But fear not, because you are not alone. Even the more experienced photographers stay up sleepless the night before jobs.

The key is to harness that fear and understand that it is normal. It is good in fact, because it means that you are progressing and trying new things. It means you are doing something interesting that you will be proud about afterwards. As you learn, you will make mistakes, but it is how you deal with those mistakes, how you learn from them, and how you push through the fear that will be the impetus for your success.

Here is a list of my toughest fears to push through as a professional starting a photography business, and how I deal with them.

1. Is my work good enough? What if I’m not experienced enough for a job?

When you begin to think about starting a business the scariest question is whether your work and your abilities are good enough. You may have heard you are talented or that you have a gift for image making, but the reality is that being a good photographer is based on your experience and the amount of effort, thought, and study that you put into your work. Anyone can take a good photograph, but professionals learn to do it day in and day out in a variety of circumstances.

If you are starting out, no matter how good you are, you will have a lot to learn. It is important to know this. Everyone started somewhere. Spend time researching people who do the type of work that you want to do and figure out how they do it. Learn from them. Read about photography and settings and situations. Use websites like dPS to improve your skills. Before you do a job research what you want the photographs to look like and plan out how you will pull them off. Go into the job with a plan.


Environmental Portrait. If you are an introvert like me, interacting with subjects to get them in the right mindset will make you nervous. This will improve with experience and you should study other photographers to pick up tips on how to best interact with subjects.

If you treat your image making like this and put the work into it, even if you are not currently ready, you will be soon. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be when going into jobs and marketing yourself. All of the information is out there for you to prepare yourself, it is just a matter of doing it.

You will most likely look back on your work two years from now and see how much better you have become, and that is the point. Everyone had to start from somewhere and it is the prepared and thoughtful photographers who ultimately become successful.

2. Am I charging the right amount of money?

Pricing is an artform based on experience. At first it can be scary because you will not have any experience with it. Also, if you are not confident in your work or your ability, then how can you be confident in pricing your work?

If you are entering the professional world you have to understand that you are starting a business. You need a business plan. You have to charge enough to make a living. If you are making the commitment to do this, even if you are not fully comfortable yet, you still have to make a living.

Research other photographers in your area or field and figure out what they are charging. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and think about what they might be willing to pay. Create a pricing structure based on this and raise your prices as you become more experienced. Some jobs you will lose because you are too expensive. No matter what you charge, there are always people who will think you are too expensive. Do not let these people affect your opinion of what you charge. Other customers will pass you by because you are not expensive enough! That happens.


Environmental Portrait. Some jobs will be much easier than others but always plan for the worst.

Imagine you are hiring a wedding photographer with a budget of $ 5,000 and you like two photographers who seem like they have fairly similar experience, but one charges $ 2,000 and the other charges $ 4,500.  Which one will you hire? Some might hire the $ 2,000 photographer but many would hire the $ 4,500 photographer because they would assume that this photographer was more experienced solely based on the price they command. They would not want to risk hiring the cheaper photographer for the most important day of their lives.

Also, if people tell you your prices are too high, educate them on why you charge what you do. Many people who hire you will not understand photography. There are a lot of people out there who think photography is just about getting a camera, showing up for an hour, going home, and sending the photos. That is so, so far from the truth. Explain what you will be doing for them, the time and knowledge that goes into the job, and why it is priced where it is. Some people will understand, be happy that you explained it to them, and will then hire you. Some will not, but then you don’t want to work with those people in the first place.

Do not be afraid to lose a job because of price. That will inevitably happen and it should not dictate your pricing strategy.

3. Will my equipment break?

This one scares the heck out of me. What if something breaks while I am on a shoot? If you are creating a photography business, you need to have backups in place. A photographer plans based on contingencies. This is not only a vital business practice, but very important for your peace of mind and confidence.

Have an organized system for your equipment and bags and a consistent way of packing them for jobs. Have a backup of everything. If you do the same job regularly, then it is worth it to purchase two of everything that you use regularly. You can consider renting equipment for jobs that you do not do as frequently.


4. The neverending job and difficult clients

I used to have a big problem taking jobs that I shouldn’t have gotten involved in. I would be flattered that someone wanted to hire me and I hated to turn down income, particularly during the lean times. This became a huge problem, especially with the difficult clients who kept changing the job parameters and asking for more. This mistake cost me a lot of time and ultimately money.

Your time is valuable and certain jobs, particularly when you are starting, will not be worth your time. If you are starting a photography business you need to build up a steady stream of clients and having one take up an inordinate amount of your time, particularly if they are not paying you well, is just not worth it. You could be spending that valuable time marketing yourself and building your knowledge and business.

Always get all of the information up front from the client before you quote a price and size them up. It can be obvious, sometimes right away, when a client will be difficult. When you get all of the details stated up front, if the parameters of the job happen to change later in the process, then you will have the grounds to ask for more money for the extra work they are asking you to do. This will keep clients from taking advantage of your time and asking for more than what was agreed upon. Sometimes they will not even remember what they had asked for at the beginning.

An engagement portrait. Some clients will prefer more posed portraiture that looks like it came out of a magazine. Some will want both. The better you know your clients the better you can anticipate what the will want.

An engagement portrait. Some clients will prefer more posed portraiture that looks like it came out of a magazine. Some will want both. The better you know your clients the better you can anticipate what the will want.

5. Will the client like my work?

I have been doing photography jobs for a decade now and I still get nervous every single time I have to press the send button for the final images. No matter how confident I am in them, that fear is never going to go away for me. It might be the same for some of you.

However, it used to be more debilitating than it is now. At the beginning it would cause me to procrastinate and it would cause me to take so much longer editing the images than it should have. I notice that this happens to a lot of photographers. Newer photographers often spend much more time on the editing than the more experienced photographers. Some of this is based on speed and experience, but I find that the biggest factor is that the experienced photographers have their editing process down to a science. There is a structure to the way they do things that makes everything more efficient and having this structure also helps reduce the fear.

Create a consistent structure for how you edit jobs. Here is mine:

  • I first start by choosing my final selection of RAW negatives that I will send to the client. I go through all of the images in Adobe Lightroom and star everything that I think is decent as three stars.
  • I then take a break to clear my head and eyes and go through the three star images and make the best of that bunch four stars.
  • The four starred images will be the ones that I will send the client.
  • I do a second and sometimes a third round through, moving some of the four starred images back to three stars and making the best images five stars. The five starred images are in case I want to send a small edit of the top photos or if I want to access them later for my portfolio.

    Business Portrait

    Friendly and natural business portraits. When you need to create images that feel natural you need a game plan for how you are going to make the subjects feel relaxed. Think ahead of time about what you can say or do to achieve this relaxed environment.

Once I have this done, the path to the finished product is laid out before me. I then go through all of the negatives and get them to the exact crop that I want. I do this because I want to see the whole sequence of images that I will be sending to the client before I start editing the final look of them.

Finally, I go through and edit the images. The hardest aspects for me are getting the color balance, contrast, and exposure to be perfect. Also, one of the toughest things to do is to make all of the photos feel consistent. This is why I like to have the final edit of negatives chosen and cropped before I begin to work on the aesthetics. It gives me a clear path to get to this endpoint.

Do you see how an efficient system can cut out hours and even days of editing time? It keeps you organized and this organization is meant to break through any procrastination and worry about the final photographs. Then, all you have to do is stand up for a second, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and hit the send button.

Take yourself seriously, especially when you are starting out. If you are starting a photography business, commit to it. You are a photographer, you don’t do photography. You have a product that takes a lot of effort, knowledge, and skill. Your product has a lot of value and not everyone with a DSLR can do what you do.

Need more help with business? Try these other dPS articles:

  • 30 Things you Should Know to Help you Start a Photography Business
  • 36 of the Best Online Tools to Boost Your Photography Business
  • 5 Things to Consider Before Starting Your Photography Business
  • 5 Tips to Expand your Photography Business Skills
  • 5 Ways to Dip your Toe into the Business of Photography
  • The Ultimate Guide to Going Pro as a Photographer

The post 5 Fears to Overcome When Starting a Photography Business by James Maher appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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App Review: Bluristic für iPhone

31 Oct

Die iPhone-App „Bluristic“ verspricht echte Langzeitbelichtungen für experimentelle Fotografie mit dem iPhone. Doch wie gut funktioniert das Konzept wirklich? Ich habe die App auf Herz und Nieren getestet.


Der grundsätzliche Ansatz von Bluristic ist nicht nur sehr gut, sondern tatsächlich einmalig unter den vielen Foto-Apps im Store: Die App macht Langzeitbelichtungen und trackt dabei die fokussierten Subjekte, sodass durch Bewegung des Smartphones oder des Subjekts Wisch- und Mitziehereffekte auf dem Hintergrund erzeugt werden.

Bluristic setzt dabei nicht auf einen Filter, det nachträglich einen Effekt auf das Bild setzt, sondern nutzt einen Umweg, um echte Langzeitbelichtung zu ermöglichen: Über die Video-Funktion des iPhones werden je nach Belichtungszeit sehr viele Bilder hintereinander aufgenommen, sodass man am Ende ein kombiniertes Bild aus sehr vielen Einzelbildern erhält.

Endlich kann man, so zumindest die Theorie, auch mit dem iPhone ein bisschen experimentellere Fotografie betreiben, die nicht nur durch Nachbearbeitung glänzt.

Foto eines statischen Objekts mit Bluristic, nachbearbeitet in Photoshop

Foto eines statischen Objekts mit Bluristic, farblich nachbearbeitet in Photoshop


Die designtechnische Ausarbeitung von Bluristic muss im negativen Sinne als „rudimentär“ beschrieben werden: Abgesehen davon, dass es in der App lediglich einen Landscape-Modus mit einigen wenigen und sehr einfachen Icons gibt, nutzt Bluristic auch generell nur wenige Gestaltungselemente, die zum einen Teil mit Apple-eigenen Standard-Tables und -Tabellen abgebildet werden, zum anderen Teil mit recht amateurhaften Grafiken daherkommen.

Eigene Akzente in Sachen Design setzt Bluristic kaum, wenn überhaupt, dann fällt nur das sehr markante App-Icon und der dazu passenden Start-Screen positiv auf. Auch der Sound ist nicht gerade sonderlich vertrauenserweckend: Ein ansteigendes Surren verkündet den Verlauf einer Aufnahme, der umgekehrte Ton beendet sie. Mit bekannteren Foto-Apps hat das alles nur sehr wenig zu tun.

Das sehr minimalistische User-Interface bei der Aufnahme

In Sachen Design ist auf allen Ebenen dringend Nachbesserung gefragt: Momentan hat Bluristic nur wenig Wiedererkennungswert und wirkt stellenweise wie eine unprofessionell zusammengeschusterte Bastler-App.


Die gute Nachricht ist: Bluristic ist nicht so schwer zu bedienen, wie man es zu Beginn vermuten mag. Die schlechte Nachricht ist: So leicht allerdings auch nicht. Die Bilder werden gemacht, indem man im Aufnahmemodus den Bildschirm berührt, gedrückt hält und die Kamera dabei bewegt.

Die Schwierigkeit dabei ist es, einen roten Punkt auf dem Screen innerhalb eines Quadrats zu behalten, der wie eine Wasserwaage das getrackte Subjekt fixiert. Anders ausgedrückt: Wenn man das iPhone während der Aufnahme zu stark bewegt und rotiert, dann verliert die App auch das Subjekt, das man eigentlich fotografieren will und man bekommt ein vollständig verwaschenes Bild.

Foto eines sich bewegenden Objekts, nachbearbeitet in Photoshop.

Foto eines sich bewegenden Objekts, farblich nachbearbeitet in Photoshop

Für Einsteiger gibt es dazu ein kleines Tutorial beim ersten Einstieg in die App, sonst hat Bluristic lediglich ein paar Einstellungsmöglichkeite und eine sehr abgespeckte interne Galerie für die Aufnahmen. Insgesamt kann man sagen, dass Bluristic nach einiger Einarbeitungszeit durchaus schnell zu bedienen ist. Richtig Freude mag bei der Nutzung aber nicht aufkommen, dafür wirkt die App insgesamt zu unfertig.

So muss etwa irritierenderweise vor jeder Aufnahme ein Play-Button gedrückt werden, selbst wenn man sich bereits auf dem „Capture“-Tab befindet und die Bilder können nur in einer recht kleinen Auflösung exportiert werden, beides höchstwahrscheinlich ein Resultat dessen, dass man technisch betrachtet bei der Aufnahme ein Video dreht.

Die Galerie-Ansicht. Viel mehr gibt es in der App auch nicht zu sehen.

Die Galerie-Ansicht. Viel mehr gibt es in der App auch nicht zu sehen.


Kommen wir zur entscheidenden Frage: Wie sind die Ergebnisse mit Bluristic denn jetzt eigentlich? Wie brauchbar sind die Bilder, die man mit der App macht und wie sehr entsprechen sie den gezeigten Promo-Bildern im App-Store?

Sofern man nicht die Qualität von Mitziehern einer DSLR erwartet, erfüllt Bluristic sein Versprechen wirklich gut: Bei statischen Objekten sind die Ergebnisse und der Effekt entfernt vergleichbar mit dem Lensbaby – in der Mitte scharfe Bilder, die zu den Rändern hin verwischen und verschwimmen.

Mit etwas Übung kann man mit Bluristic durchaus spannende Experimente und Fotos aufnehmen, die sich sehen lassen können. Durch die echte Langzeitbelichtung lassen sich außerdem erstmals bewegte Objekte verschwimmen, Passanten verschwinden lassen und auch echte Mitziehereffekte kreieren.

Freilich müsste man für die exakte Anwendung der App und einige Aufnahmearten wieder ein Stativ verwenden, was den Sinn einer Smartphone-App zum Mitnehmen und aus der Hand schnell Fotos machen konterkariert, aber auch so sind die Bluristic-Ergebnisse durchaus sehenswert.

Portrait in Bewegung, nachbearbeitet in Photoshop.

Portrait meiner Herzdame in Bewegung, farblich nachbearbeitet in Photoshop.

Trotz all der Schwächen und Schwierigkeiten der App kann man Bluristic vor allem für den niedrigen Preis von unter einem Euro durchaus weiterempfehlen, denn das Programm ist sehr originell und tut, was es verspricht.

Wenn am ganzen Drumherum (und vielleicht auch am Aufnahmeprozess selbst) noch ein paar Verbesserungen geschehen, dann wird Bluristic vielleicht irgendwann ein richtig gutes Tool fürs iPhone. Bis dahin ist es zumindest für alle, die gern mal herumexperimentieren, im Sinne einer Lomo-App durchaus zu empfehlen.

kwerfeldein – Fotografie Magazin | Fotocommunity

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Olympus Stylus 1s camera announced in Japan

31 Oct

Olympus has announced the Japan-only release of the Stylus 1s, a successor to its Stylus 1 enthusiast compact camera. Maintaining almost all of the same hardware as the Stylus 1, the Stylus 1s offers an OM-D based design with a fixed lens and provides some software upgrades. Read more

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Price released for Brikk’s 24k gold Nikon Df

31 Oct

Luxury goods brand Brikk has released the price of its forthcoming ‘Lux Nikon kit’ that has been finished in its trademark yellow gold and which will be on sale this month. Set to cost $ 41,395, the kit will include a gold plated Nikon Df body, a Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 lens with gold plated lens cap and lens hood, together with the usual charger, cables and software, and will come in a specially made gold plated Zero Haliburton hard case. Read more

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DxO Labs introduces OpticsPro 10 with atmospheric haze correction feature

31 Oct

DxO has taken the wraps off its OpticsPro 10, the latest software version that brings with it, among other things, DxO ClearView for correcting atmospheric haze. Joining the new feature are some improvements to the software, not the least of which is enhanced noise reduction promised to trump competing products, as well as interface changes. Read more

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