A $5 Shower Curtain Does Wonders for Diffusing Light

Here’s a 6-minute educational video by Shutterstock in which filmmaker Todd Blankenship discusses the basics of diffusing light and introduces three cheap options for doing so… including a $5 shower curtain. “A common misconception about diffusion is that all you need to do is slap [diffusion] onto the front of your light source,” Blankenship says. But if you do this, the results may not show much of a difference — the light may still be nearly just as harsh without improved quality. But the trick is to make your light source as big as possible in relation to your subject
Continue reading "A $5 Shower Curtain Does Wonders for Diffusing Light"

The Physics Behind Sunbursts and How It Can Help You Focus Your Photos

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and when it comes to “sunbursts” in photos – those points of light with rays streaking out of them – people often have polarizing views. Optical diffraction is the physical property that causes this effect. The appearance of sunbursts is more technically described as “diffraction spikes,” and it’s caused by the bending (sometimes referred to as spreading) of light around an object like the edges of your camera’s aperture.
When an aperture is large relative to the wavelength of light, you don’t get much diffraction. But when the size of an aperture
Continue reading "The Physics Behind Sunbursts and How It Can Help You Focus Your Photos"

Why Photography’s B&W vs Color Debate Is No Debate At All

In the 1950s, early color photography was widely scorned. Now it’s the default. What happened?
Black and white, meet color. A composite made from one of the earliest, impractical color photos.

Prologue: No Space for Dreams

In 2015, Leica released a beautiful, ridiculous ad. It was for a special product in their lineup; a digital camera that only takes black-and-white photos.
The clip itself is strangely compelling. Set to hypnotizing black-and-white patterns, a calm voiceover says B&W is purer than color. The hyperrealism of color, it points out, isn’t just overly crass, it’s unnecessary. Color is an aid for people
Continue reading "Why Photography’s B&W vs Color Debate Is No Debate At All"

Photographer Cuts His Own Wet Plates on a 75-Year-Old Machine

Photographer Markus Hofstaetter often gets asked about how he acquires the plates he uses for wet plate collodion photography. To answer that question, Hofstaetter made this 7-minute video showing how he has them custom cut on a 75-year-old machine. The sheet metal sheer machine he uses was manufactured in 1942 and is owned by an old family business that makes and repairs electrical transformers. After unboxing his aluminum sheets, Hofstaetter and photographer Christian Rusa carefully measure out the cuts and resulting plates to ensure that there isn’t too much wasted material in the end. After 1.5 hours of work,
Continue reading "Photographer Cuts His Own Wet Plates on a 75-Year-Old Machine"

TSA Battery Restrictions: Clearing Up Confusion on Flying with Lithium Ion

Congratulations! You just got hired to travel for your photography/video services! The question now becomes: how do you get your batteries on the airplane? Does TSA have anything to say about it? Since the Galaxy smartphone explosions, people have been paranoid about lithium-ion batteries exploding on board (you actually have a higher chance of getting struck by lightning than having your battery explode mid-air). In this 10-minute video, we’re going to clear up the confusion so you can travel with peace of mind.

Flying with AAA and AA Batteries

Standard AA and AAA batteries have no restrictions on them.
Continue reading "TSA Battery Restrictions: Clearing Up Confusion on Flying with Lithium Ion"

A Comparison of all the 120 Film Stocks on the Market

If you’re looking to get into shooting medium format film but aren’t sure which film stock to start with, check out this helpful 16-minute video by The Slanted Lens. Photographer Jay P. Morgan purchased all the B&W and color 120 film rolls he could get his hands on and did a shootout to compare the different looks and qualities. Here’s a list of the film stocks compared in the video:

How to Use Your Camera In the Coldest Places on Earth

When you take your camera to some of the coldest places on Earth, you’ll face a unique set of challenges that most photographers never have to worry about. Here’s an interesting 9-minute video in which filmmaker and photographer Anthony Powell shares some of his top tips for shooting in the extreme cold. Powell has been working in Antarctica for many years and is the creator of the award-winning movie Antarctica: A Year On Ice. His footage has also appeared in many movies and TV shows, including the BBC’s Frozen Planet. And Powell knows a thing or two about cold temperatures,
Continue reading "How to Use Your Camera In the Coldest Places on Earth"

Film vs Digital: Comparing Processes, Results, Pros, and Cons

Photographer Irene Rudnyk often receives questions about film photography, including from people who wonder why it’s even worth doing when you can slap a VSCO filter onto digital images these days. To answer these questions, Rudnyk made this 6.5-minute video comparing the two processes through a portrait shoot. Rudnyk photographed the same model, outfit, and location using both a Mamiya medium format camera loaded with black-and-white film and a Canon DSLR camera. One of the main differences in shooting styles is speed and attention to detail. “When I’m working with film, I tend to really pay attention to all
Continue reading "Film vs Digital: Comparing Processes, Results, Pros, and Cons"

X-Ray Photos Reveal the Evolution of Cameras

Fossils can tell us a lot about the history of living things. Photographer Kent Krugh is creating a “fossil record” of sorts for cameras. His project Speciation is a series of X-ray photos of cameras that provides a brief history of photography, as told through the evolution of the camera. “This work uses x-rays to explore the micro-evolution of cameras and is a metaphor about the limits of evolution,” Krugh writes. “While form and media may have changed, the camera is still a camera: a tool to create images by capturing photons of light.” While the basic concept of
Continue reading "X-Ray Photos Reveal the Evolution of Cameras"

Photo-a-Day Projects Improve Well-Being, Study Finds

Shooting a photo every day and then sharing it online improves your well-being. That’s what scientists found after studying a group of people who have committed themselves to photo-a-day projects (often referred to as “Project365“). The findings were just published in a paper titled “The daily digital practice as a form of self-care: Using photography for everyday well-being” in the journal Health. UK scientists Liz Brewster of Lancaster University and Andrew M Cox of the University of Sheffield were behind the study. The duo selected a sample of subjects with approximate ages ranging from 20 to
Continue reading "Photo-a-Day Projects Improve Well-Being, Study Finds"

Dry Glass Plate Photography is Back

In the era of the “selfie”, of the relentless click-and-publish images on social media, of the mega sensors replete with megapixels, we are witnessing an unpredictable resurgence of many ancient photographic devices and techniques. Wet collodion (tintypes) and many other alternative photo processes are being keenly rediscovered today and there is an ever-growing plethora of workshop available to those who want to learn and practice them. A primitive photographer myself, a practitioner of what I like to define “slow photography” for most of my professional life, I observe this phenomenon with great interest, wondering about what its deepest
Continue reading "Dry Glass Plate Photography is Back"

Dry Glass Plate Photography is Back

In the era of the “selfie”, of the relentless click-and-publish images on social media, of the mega sensors replete with megapixels, we are witnessing an unpredictable resurgence of many ancient photographic devices and techniques. Wet collodion (tintypes) and many other alternative photo processes are being keenly rediscovered today and there is an ever-growing plethora of workshop available to those who want to learn and practice them. A primitive photographer myself, a practitioner of what I like to define “slow photography” for most of my professional life, I observe this phenomenon with great interest, wondering about what its deepest
Continue reading "Dry Glass Plate Photography is Back"

Dry Glass Plate Photography is Back

In the era of the “selfie”, of the relentless click-and-publish images on social media, of the mega sensors replete with megapixels, we are witnessing an unpredictable resurgence of many ancient photographic devices and techniques. Wet collodion (tintypes) and many other alternative photo processes are being keenly rediscovered today and there is an ever-growing plethora of workshop available to those who want to learn and practice them. A primitive photographer myself, a practitioner of what I like to define “slow photography” for most of my professional life, I observe this phenomenon with great interest, wondering about what its deepest
Continue reading "Dry Glass Plate Photography is Back"

Zooming Into NASA’s Hubble Photos to See the Lagoon Nebula Up Close

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope was deployed on April 25, 1990, so this week marked the 28th anniversary of the telescope providing humankind with breathtaking photos of deep space. To celebrate, NASA released this 30-second video that zooms into the Milky Way’s central bulge to a new photo just released of the Lagoon Nebula over 4,000 light years away. Here’s the new photo of the nebula, captured by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 in February of this year, which shows it in unprecedented detail: “At the center of the photo, a monster young [1 million year old] star [named Herschel 36]
Continue reading "Zooming Into NASA’s Hubble Photos to See the Lagoon Nebula Up Close"

Why This One Camera Costs $40,000

The Hasselblad H6D-100c is a 100-megapixel medium format DSLR that costs $33,000 without a lens. Throw in a Hasselblad H lens and the resulting camera kit can easily cost over $40,000, or more than the average car. Here’s a 5-minute video by photographer Tyler Stalman that explores why a single camera can be worth this much. Stalman points out that it’s a very, very small subset of professional photographers that actually need the resolution and image quality of a camera like the Hasselblad H6D-100c. Even for advertising, giant billboards can be effectively shot with far fewer megapixels than you might
Continue reading "Why This One Camera Costs $40,000"

What Facebook Can Learn About You From a Single Uploaded Photo

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is testifying on Capitol Hill this week regarding his company’s use of users’ personal data. Zuckerberg denied secretly listening to users through microphones for ad targeting, but the company is able to quietly collect quite a bit of data from a single uploaded photo. The Wall Street Journal has published an article (behind a paywall) titled “How Pizza Night Can Cost More in Data Than Dollars.” In it, the WSJ examines subtle ways you may be handing over personal data to Facebook and other high-tech companies during a quiet evening at home.
Continue reading "What Facebook Can Learn About You From a Single Uploaded Photo"

‘Film is Still Alive’ is a Mini-Doc About the Love of Analog Photography

Just as vinyl records have made a comeback as of late, film photography has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years. Film is Still Alive is a 10-minute miniature documentary that explores why film photographers these days are still in love with their medium despite the camera industry moving to digital. The documentary was made by Canadian photographer Take Kayo and filmmaker Ryan Savella, who spoke to a number of amateur and professional film photographers to hear their thoughts. “Film photography never died, it was dormant,” the duo writes. “Now it’s alive and thriving.” The duo is aiming
Continue reading "‘Film is Still Alive’ is a Mini-Doc About the Love of Analog Photography"

I Photographed Cherry Blossoms… in Amsterdam

I’ve been seeing lots of cherry blossom photos from many friends who are visiting Japan or Korea for their beautiful and famous cherry blossoms. I’m sitting here at home in the Netherlands for a change and figured I’d show how I don’t need to travel halfway across the globe to get these shots. Here’s a photo series from a forest called ‘Amsterdamse Bos’ (bos means forest). Take that! Disclaimer: This is meant to be for lighthearted fun. Obviously we don’t have the beautiful Japanese or Korean temples. A bit of info about this place: This little area in the
Continue reading "I Photographed Cherry Blossoms… in Amsterdam"

This Tour of Kodak’s Factory Shows How 35mm Film is Made

The folks over at Negative Feedback recently paid a visit to one of the hallowed grounds of film photography: Kodak’s sprawling headquarters and film factory in Rochester, New York. In the 12.5-minute video above, photographer George Muncey and his crew take us along on the private tour they were given. We get to see both the outside and inside of Kodak’s facilities, including glimpses into various steps of the film manufacturing process, from bins of base materials to finished rolls of camera film popping out the end of the assembly line. The factory has the capability of producing 50,000
Continue reading "This Tour of Kodak’s Factory Shows How 35mm Film is Made"