Mars is So Bright Right Now You Can Shoot Its Reflection in the Ocean

Mars is closer to Earth and brighter than its been since back in 2003. It’s so bright that photographer Abdul Dremali managed to capture this photo of the planet casting a bright reflection on the ocean as it rose into the night sky. Dremali captured the photo last Friday from Rhode Island. Mars will be the closest to Earth later this month — it’ll appear about 1.8 times brighter than Jupiter in the sky — and it won’t be this close to Earth or this bright in the sky again until 2035. “The 2018 Perihelic Apparition of Mars will
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I Helped Judge the 2018 Audubon Photography Contest. Here’s How We Did It.

In late 2017 Sabine Meyer, the Photography Director of the National Audubon Society, approached me to join the jury for their annual photography awards contest following an introduction by wildlife and conservation photographer Melissa Groo. Melissa and I have served on the faculty of the Photography at the Summit Nature Workshop for the past several years, and I have nothing but respect for the advocacy work she does through her photography so I was happy to join her as a judge for the contest. I’ve written about photo contests for years, including the annual PhotoShelter Guide to Photo Contests,
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How Canon DSLRs Communicate with Speedlites Using Light

Canon DSLRs can trigger Canon Speedlites using the pop-up flash. If you try triggering those same Speedlites with a different camera’s flash, it doesn’t work, which means that there’s actual light-based communication going on between the DSLR and Speedlite. In this 9-minute video, Roger Nieh of Science’n’me explores the technology behind this communication. “Have you ever wondered how Canon rebel cameras (600D+) wirelessly trigger speedlights with just its flash?” Nieh writes. “In this video, the pre-flash signal is analysed, decoded, and finally emulated using a microcontroller.” Since DSLR flashes are too fast for ordinary high-speed cameras to study,
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The Advantages of Medium Format Over 35mm

In digital photography, larger sensors generally equate to better image quality across a variety of measurables. If you’re curious about the advantages medium format cameras have over 35mm ones, Hasselblad has a new set of videos just for you. The company, famous for its medium format cameras, partnered with photographer Karl Taylor for a series of 4 videos in which the $33,000 medium format H6D-100c is pitted against the $3,300 Nikon D850 in different scenarios. “Medium format refers to the active image area, be it film or digital, with anything larger than the 24x36mm dimensions of 35mm film, also known
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A Sketch History of Early Color Photography

I ran across yet another case of Holy Cow Look At These Russian Photos, in which the photographs of Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky were showcased. In 1902, Prokudin-Gorsky learned the method of shooting three negatives (color separations) and then projecting them in registration through filters to produce projected color images. He didn’t invent the process, although I dare say he may have fine-tuned it. From about 1909 to about 1920 he was commissioned to travel Russia taking color photographs, and he created an interesting archive of these color separations. In recent years, these negatives have been dug up, digitally registered and colored,
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Chatting with Kodak About its Past, Present, and Future

Recently, we (Steven, John, and Bill of the podcast Studio C-41) traveled to Rochester, New York, to interview Josh Coon with The Kodakery (Kodak’s podcast) and “EKTACHROME Super Fan” Matt Stoffel. We learned about George Eastman, how film is made in the Kodak factory, and Kodak’s response to the film resurgence. It all started with an Instagram message to Matt Stoffel. “Hey Matt, I hope all is well! I wanted to reach out to you and possibly talk about my little trip to Rochester in a couple months!” I honestly didn’t think I had a snowflake’s chance in
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The Importance of the Female Lens in Photography

Photographer Jill Greenberg recently gave this 8-minute talk at TEDxWabashCollege on the importance of and discrimination against female photographers. “Walking us through her personal experience, Jill Greenberg explains the problem of only seeing the world from a man’s perspective,” TEDx Talks writes. Greenberg became world famous (and infamous) several years ago for her somewhat controversial End Times portraits of toddlers crying.
In the aftermath of that series going viral and causing controversy, Greenberg’s signature portrait look from it became imitated by portrait photographers around the
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Buzz Aldrin Shot the First Space Selfie in 1966

Decades before the word “selfie” exploded into popular culture, NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin shot the first space selfie while on a spacewalk during the Gemini 12 mission on November 12, 1966. The 88-year-old Aldrin himself reminded the world of that fact on Wednesday in a Twitter exchange.


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Instead of ‘Finding’ Your Passion, Try ‘Developing’ It: Stanford Scientists

If you think you may have a passion for photography, try “developing” that passion instead of “finding” it. The shift in mindset could help keep you from giving up when the going gets tough. That’s what Stanford psychologists have concluded after doing a study on the age-old advice of “finding your passion.” In a new paper that will be published in the journal Psychological Science, the researchers state that that advice may actually limit people’s pursuit of new fields and cause them to give up when they face challenges. “Mantras like ‘find your passion’ carry hidden implications, the
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25 Photography Terms Every Beginner Needs to Know

If you’re just starting out in photography, seeing all the technical terms being thrown around can be confusing and daunting. Apalapse created this 12-minute video with quick explanations of 25 of the most common terms you’ll run into. Here’s an index of the terms along with the timestamps of where they’re introduced in the video: 1. Aperture (0:20)
2. Focal Ratio (0:44)
3. Focal Length (0:53)
4. Depth of Field (1:15)
5. Bokeh (1:33)
6. “T-Stop” (2:08)
7. Shutter Speed (2:36)
8. Exposure (3:09)
9. Long Exposure (3:21)
10. “Exposure Triangle” (3:35)
11. ISO (4:06)
12. Brightness (4:42)
13. Noise
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Why You Don’t Put a Cheap Filter on an Expensive Lens

I recently took my Sony A7 III and a rented $2,500 Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens to the 2018 Montreal GP. A friend of mine had recommended that I use a polarizer. I remembered that I had a pack of 77mm Vivitar Series 1 filters that came with my 24-105mm, so I threw that onto the 100-400mm and started shooting, completely zoomed at 400mm.
A photo shot with the cheap CPL filter.
A photo shot without a filter.
Crops of the above photos. Cheap CPL (left) compared to no CPL (right).
It was bright out, so
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Watch 20 Talks Photographers Gave at B&H Optic 2018

B&H held its Optic 2018 conference and trade show for outdoor and travel photography earlier this month, and now you can watch 20 of the talks given by top photographers over the course of the four days. Here they are for your inspiration and education:

Keith Carter on “Myth, Magic, and Mojo”

“Photographer Keith Carter talks about myths, magic, and mojo. He believes that the best way to elevate your photography is to tell the truth as you know it through your photos, and he stresses that there are great lessons to be learned by revisiting history. We can learn
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A Tour of the Cartoni Tripod Factory

Johnnie Behiri of cinema5D recently visited the Cartoni tripod factory in Rome, Italy. The 11.5-minute video above is a behind-the-scenes look at how the famous tripods are made by a small team at the family company. Cartoni tripods are widely used around the world in the television and motion picture industries. The company’s origins could be traced back to 1935, when Renato Cartoni began developing tripod innovations for his personal use. “Renato Cartoni was a documentary filmmaker at the Istituto Nazionale Luce,” cinema5D writes. “Back then, he was already looking for ways to move the camera and invented the
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The Best Aperture for Landscape Photography

The question “What aperture is best for landscape photography?” is often asked in various online forums. While there isn’t one “correct” aperture, certain scenes benefit from using a specific one. For standard landscape photography (excluding night photography, macro photography and other niches), the optimal aperture for front-to-back sharpness lies within f/7.1 to f/13. This range is not just randomly mentioned. In fact, it’s carefully calculated and known as a lens’ sweet spot.

Find the Lens’ Sweet Spot

If you’re new to photography and just learning about aperture, this might sound confusing, but the sharpest aperture depends on the
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A Brief History of Kodak: The Rise and Fall of a Camera Giant

Kodak was once the 800-pound gorilla in the world of photography. But after a century of dominance, Kodak’s business crumbled and it was forced to declare bankruptcy in 2012. If you’d like to better understand what happened to the iconic brand, watch this great 12-minute video by the popular YouTube channel Company Man. “The name Kodak was once synonymous with cameras and film,” Company Man writes. “They were innovators in the industry and the leaders of it for 100 years. Yet a few years ago they experienced such a decline that they were forced into bankruptcy. This video explores the
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This Photographer Shows the Violence of the Most Dangerous City in Africa

Cape Town is the most dangerous city in South Africa and one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Freelance photojournalist Leon Knipe follows the police to crime scenes and works to document as many murders as he can. The 5-minute video above by Shaun Swingler is about Knipe’s life and work (warning: it contains graphic photos of horrific crime scenes). Cape Town has the 9th highest murder rate in the world, Swingler shares. Of the 52 people murdered in South Africa each day, the largest proportion of them is killed in Cape Town. Much of the violence has
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Creative Applications of Color Theory in Landscape Photography

Discussions of many photography topics have the potential to veer deep into complex technical territory that may appeal more to scientists than to artists, and color theory is certainly one of those topics that can become rather arcane quite easily. What follows is a guide for landscape photographers who are more artistically inclined, those who are primarily interested in applying color theory to achieve creative goals. “When I began to see the overall picture of what was happening, it changed my entire perception of photography…I had mistakenly thought grass was green.” —Galen Rowell In producing my own landscape
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Film Photography at 70,000 Feet in the U-2 Spy Plane

The United States’ U-2 spy plane first to the skies back in 1955 during the heyday of film photography. But even as cameras these days have largely shifted to digital, the U-2 continues to shoot its spy photos on film. The Wall Street Journal made this 19-minute documentary on the U-2 that offers a closer look at the U-2’s photography. WSJ journalist Michael Phillips was given a rare tour of both the U-2 (America’s oldest operating spy plane) as well as the film processing lab at Beale Air Force Base in California. Photos shot with the wet-plate camera onboard any
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A Radioactive Lens

Between the 1940s and 1970s, a number of camera manufacturers designed lenses employing thoriated glass in one or more elements. Incorporating as much as 40% thorium dioxide (ThO2) in the glass mixture increases the index of refraction of the glass while maintaining low dispersion. Thoriated glass elements allowed lenses to deliver low levels of aberration and distortion with relatively simple and easy to manufacture designs. As with everything in engineering, there are trade-offs. Thorium is a radioactive element; it has no stable isotopes. Natural thorium consists of 99.98% thorium-232, which has a half-life of 1.4×1010 years. While this
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5 Common Copyright Misconceptions Held by Photographers

The most recent version of the Copyright Law of the United States (December 2016) weighs in at a whopping 354 pages. And while there are areas of ambiguity, the basics and benefits of copyright registration for photographers are well-documented. Unfortunately, well-documented doesn’t mean well-understood, so we asked attorney (and former photo rep) Leslie Burns to weigh in on a number of common copyright misconceptions that still persist, and why you should register your copyright. Disclaimer: The information herein does not constitute legal advice. As always, consult with a lawyer for your particular circumstance!

#1. If I publish a photo
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