Traveling to Cuba as an American Photographer

My name is Mark Cersosimo, and I’m a hobbyist photographer and filmmaker living in New York. Way back in 2014, when President Obama announced that U.S. relations with Cuba would be normalized, I knew I had to make a move. While “tourist” travel is still prohibited, 12 new options became available in January 2015. So, I went with my girlfriend. Upon returning we’ve been inundated with questions from our curious American friends who up until now, Cuba had just been a twinkle in their eye. I’ve decided to share our experience, as I know millions of others out there are eager to visit our “it’s complicated” friend, Cuba. 1

Getting In

Option #8 in the list of approved reasons for travel is “Support for the Cuban people”. That right there is your easiest way in. Cubans are in desperate need of basic necessities. Toilet paper, toothpaste, soap,
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The KelbyOne 20 Days of Christmas: Lightbox Photo Cards | Bigger Picture Cards

For the next 20 days leading up to Christmas Scott Kelby and RC Concepcion of KelbyOne share with you the gear that every photographer would want to see on under their tree this year. Photographers invest heavily in gear, but often need to find inspiration for that next project. Lightbox Photo Cards and Bigger Picture Cards are an invaluable tool to kickstart that creativity. This should be stocking stuffers for everyone into photography For more information on the Bigger Picture Cards go to For more information on the Lightbox Photo Cards go to For the photographer on your holiday list, make sure you check out our great deals at KelbyOne: The post The KelbyOne 20 Days of Christmas: Lightbox Photo Cards | Bigger Picture Cards appeared first on Scott Kelby's Photoshop Insider.

Manfrotto launches bright and compact Lykos LED lighting panels

Italian accessories manufacturer Manfrotto has announced it is to introduce a new range of LED light panels under the Lykos brand name. The Lykos Daylight and Lykos BiColor panels are small enough to hold in one hand but can also be mounted on a lighting stand, and can be powered by an L-type video-camera battery or via the included AC adapter. Both panels use surface-mounted LEDs which the company claims deliver better power efficiency, more consistent color, flicker-free illumination and an improved working life. The Daylight version has a color temperature of 5600K while the BiColor model uses white and warm LEDs. These can be mixed to produce anything from 3000-5600K, to match local lighting conditions or for color effects. The Daylight version can manage 1600lux@1m, while the BiColor is not quite as bright at 1500lux@1m.  All controls have separate knobs so that the Continue reading "Manfrotto launches bright and compact Lykos LED lighting panels"

Photographers Still Boycotting Time’s Contract; Time Defends It as ‘Fair and Equitable’

timeheader TIME’s latest contract for photographers has been at the center of controversy for about a month now, and many photographers are still refusing to sign it as they campaign for more favorable terms. We shared last month how the new contract eliminates space rates, has copyright grabbing terms, and pays relatively little compared to historical rates. Here’s the full contract: Photo District News reports that a number of organizations representing large numbers of photographers are advising their members to not sign the contract. Mickey Osterreicher of the NPPA and Thomas Kennedy of the ASMP sent this letter to Time Inc. in late November on behalf of a few major photography groups (the APA, DMLA, and PPA): “While we understand your desire ‘to create a new management system that will allow [you] to track the use of commissioned editorial photography and to foster a consistent approach across Time Inc.,’ we
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This Snowflake Photo Took 2,500 Hours to Create

snowflake-poster-center Snowflakes have become an obsession of mine as an extreme macro photographer, but I never thought I would be able to take it this far: 2,500 hours of work across 5 years, all presented as a single composite photo titled “The Snowflake”: the-snowflake Depicted in the composite image above are over 400 unique snowflakes, all accurately measured and scaled to that they are all in relative size to one another. On average, 40 separate images are combined for each individual snowflake. This is required to get the crystal in focus from tip to tip with a process called focus-stacking. Due to the nature of the subject and the hand-held approach to photographing each snowflake, 4-5 hours are spent on each image in post-processing. Why so long? snowflake-editing-comparison Each snowflake is photographed on an angle, which allows for reflected light to hit the surface of the crystal and bounce back into the camera
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Adobe Quietly Added 10-Bit Color to Photoshop CC: Here’s How to Enable It

photoshop10bit In October 2015, Apple quietly unlocked 10-bit color in its release of the OS X El Capitan operating system update. 3rd party software didn’t support the new color output, so it was limited to Apple’s official Preview and Photos apps. That changed this week: Adobe quietly expanded 10-bit (30-bit color RGB) support in Photoshop CC in the latest update, which also brought Custom Toolbars and a host of other features. The addition of 10-bit color wasn’t even mentioned in the update announcement by Adobe, but Adobe has confirmed to PetaPixel that the feature was part of the update. “It’s enabled as an option in the advanced GPU preferences — if the machine supports it. E.g. the new Retina 5K iMac supports it,” Adobe tells PetaPixel. The company says that it wasn’t publicly touted because “it was something that was added to the product close to launch.”
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Who, Where, & How Much? A Breakdown of the 15 Films that Made the Oscars’ Doc Shortlist

What does it take to make the Oscars Feature Documentary Shortlist? At least three things: a top-tier festival premiere, a theatrical run, and a great movie. Oh, that’s all?! It's a winding road, that's for sure. This year, 124 films were submitted after having qualified for the Academy Awards -- a huge feat all on its own. Of the 124, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have now chosen 15 for the shortlist. From this shortlist, featuring a dizzying array of good films, only five will emerge after a final voting round for the prime-time red carpet event that is the Oscars. In the breakneck evolution of the documentary genre and the accompanying growth of mesmerizing docs being made, it’s been a challenge for the Academy to keep up. Over the last few years, the Academy has repeatedly changed Continue reading "Who, Where, & How Much? A Breakdown of the 15 Films that Made the Oscars’ Doc Shortlist"

This Week In Photography Books: Jesse Burke

by Jonathan Blaustein I’ve been thinking a lot about the future. Mostly, how strange it is that none of us will ever know what’s to come, after we’re gone. Will our children be OK? Will we save the planet? Will robots take over and turn us into meat slaves? Such information is beyond our purview. Can you imagine what a Syrian wine merchant from Palmyra, circa 250 AD, would think of Siri? Or Robert Parker? Or ISIS? Yet even then, parents loved their children, tried hard to provide for them, and likely wondered what would happen after they passed. The human condition is cyclical, as much as linear. It’s the reason we love our distractions so much. TV, Netflix, Ipads, Kindles, soccer matches, video games, anything to take our mind off the existential dread of knowing our lifespan is so limited, and that the world will continue to turn when we’re dust. (Until the sun dies too. In 5 billion years.) Photography has always had a strong role to play here. It may not give glimpses into the future, but it allows us to retain a vision of life, just as we saw it, to help us remember when we’re nearing the end. Photographs are totems that provoke emotion. They freeze time, and in a way, defeat it. It’s odd, when you think about it, how little of our lives we actually recall. At best, it has to be .000000000000001% of our actual experience. Glimpses. Moments. Nothing more. But as artists, when we pour ourselves into a mission to combat that entropy, sometimes we end up with a marker of success. An object that we’ll cherish until we die, and hopefully, others might enjoy too. Such is my mindset after looking at “Wild & Precious,” a new book by
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‘Inside Out’ Screenplay Now Available For Your Consideration

After two years since their last film release — and three years since their last original story — Pixar reminded us of their imaginative genius and returned to form with Inside Out, the literal emotional journey of an eleven-year-old girl struggling with her family's move to a new town. And now, we can read the screenplay behind the film, thanks to Walt Disney Studios.

In case you missed the film this summer, here's the trailer for Inside Out: Read More

PIX 2015: Benjamin Von Wong and the journey from ordinary to extraordinary

In his first year learning photography, Benjamin Von Wong created over 50,000 photographs, but none of them struck him as extraordinary. It wasn't until he tried out a flash gun that he began to see new possibilities that could make his work stand out. Many more photos later, Benjamin Von Wong is well-known for imagery that blends practical effects, fantastic locations and post-processing into something surreal and extraordinary. Find out how he got his start and what inspires his elaborate shoots in his PIX 2015 talk.

Sony PXW-FS5 XDCAM Super 35 Camera System (In Stock)

Here’s one of the latest videos for Sony’s PXW-FS5 XDCAM Super 35 Camera System. Not quite the image quality you would get from the more expensive FS7, but still an exciting new camera that offers many features in a small and lightweight form factor. Features like XLR Audio Inputs, built in Variable ND Filter, and Clear Image Zoom (faux servo zoom), make it feel closer to an actual video camera while the small size should still appeal to those who like the DSLR form factor. Internally at 4K you’re getting 8bit 420 (Sony A7sII and A7rII is also 8bit 420), but at 1080HD you can get 10bit 422 which is much better quality. Hopefully they’ll update this and allow RAW recording output to use an external recorder. A benefit is that it does allow the use of affordable SDXC Cards for recording media which is a big plus if you
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Some Quick Friday Stuff (incl. the last day to get our best offer of the year)

bestofyear This is it — the very last day to get our best KelbyOne membership deal of the year. In short, here’s what it is:
A one-year membership, just $149 (our lowest price of the year), PLUS, you get two awesome bonuses (our Creative Pack full of Photoshop & Lightroom goodies, and my “Live From the Tampa Theater” full day seminar lighting and retouching seminar, from start to finish).
There are also great deals on Photoshop World Full Conference Passes (Save $300), and save a bunch on our latest books (including books by Peter Hurley & Jay Maisel). Here’s the link: This all ends tonight at midnight, so “get ’em while they’re hot!” New Photoshop CC Features and Cool New Lighting Stuff
While out was out in Chicago (Brrrrrr!), RC and the gang had a great show on “The Grid, deoming the just released new features
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Hitchcock Himself Becomes the Villain in the Short Film Mashup ‘Master of Suspense’

We know that Alfred Hitchcock is one of the greatest directors of all time, but what if, in his greatest plot twist ever, the Master of Suspense became the villain within his own cinematic world? In this short film, aptly named Master of Suspense, ol' Hitch becomes just that. Through a process of splicing together footage from several of his films, as well as his cameos, Fabrice Mathieu has created a clever short "Mashup Noir" that tells an original story about a peculiar, portly man that goes on the run after murdering a woman in a shower. Check it out below: According to the description, the mashup was created using extracts from 30 of Hitchcock's films, as well as his many appearances and cameos in said films and trailers. As you might've noticed, special Continue reading "Hitchcock Himself Becomes the Villain in the Short Film Mashup ‘Master of Suspense’"