Behind the Scenes of a Travel Assignment for the New York Times


This post is by Justin Mott from PetaPixel


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What is it like to shoot a travel assignment for a major publication? What’s the process from start to finish? Every publication is a little different but I’ll speak from my experience shooting dozens of assignments for The New York Times travel section throughout Southeast Asia for over a decade.

A day in the life of a travel assignment. Well, not really a day, it’s more like a travel day, a shooting day, and then another travel day mixed with editing, captioning, and uploading.

Tourist boats docked along the river in the ancient town of Hoi An, Vietnam at sunrise.

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How I Converted a Durst Laborator 1200 Enlarger to Use LED Lights


This post is by Can Çevik from PetaPixel


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I recently converted my friend‘s Durst Laborator 1200 enlarger to use LED lights. In this article I’ll share how I did it.

Advantages of having a LED head:

  • Reliable light source with low power consumption.
  • With the right LEDs, no red filter will be necessary under the lens.
  • With the right LEDs, no filters will be necessary for multigrade or split grade printing.
  • It’s possible to build a large enough diffuser and convert a small format enlarger into a large format one.

Everything is still a work in progress and everything you see is mostly a result of our

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Making MAYA, the Only Darkroom Timer You’ll Ever Need


This post is by Can Çevik from PetaPixel


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MAYA is a darkroom timer project that was born out of necessity when my old darkroom timer had started to malfunction. It has become a pretty successful crowdfunding campaign so far, exceeding 300% of its initial goal with a few days left to go.

Like many people who still have a darkroom, I’ve bought most of the equipment in the used market. As is the case with such niche markets, you can’t always pick your choice from an endless supply of brands, models, and variations so I went for the best deal I could see, a Kaiser 6002 with several

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These Car Ads Were Shot with Toy Cars


This post is by Michael Zhang from PetaPixel


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A few months ago, the Czech car brand Škoda got in touch with Hungarian photographer Benedek Lampert and asked him to shoot car photos. But instead of expensive shoots featuring real Škoda cars, the company asked that Lampert only use 1:43-scale models of the cars.

“It sounded interesting, so I accepted,” the 24-year-old photographer tells PetaPixel. Lampert regularly shoots realistic small-scale photos featuring LEGO figurines in dioramas, so he had the necessary background and skills for this commission.

Lampert uses as little Photoshop manipulation as possible for his photos, opting instead to spend hours and hours creating miniature scenes

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Shooting the Last Photos of the Rare ‘Queen of the Elephants’


This post is by Will Burrard-Lucas from PetaPixel


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F_MU1 was an incredible elephant. For more than 60 years, she lived a peaceful life in a quiet corner of Tsavo in Kenya. When I first saw her I was awestruck, for she had the most amazing tusks I had ever seen. If I hadn’t looked upon her with my own eyes, I might not have believed that such an elephant could exist in our world. If there were a Queen of Elephants, it would surely have been her.

These are among the last images captured of her. Shortly after they were taken, she died of natural causes. She had

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My Experience Shooting the Yosemite Horsetail Firefall


This post is by Aaron Chen from PetaPixel


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My name is Aaron Chen, and I’m a photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was in Yosemite for the 2019 Firefall and would love to share my experience so that others can do it themselves!

Prep Work

To start with, if you want to know why the Firefalls are so special, I would strongly suggest Aaron Meyers’s website. In fact, I think his site is the best planning and photographic resource for this event and I even used his knowledge as a starting off point.

Based off of the descriptions and pictures, I decided to go to

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Taking a Photo Trip to Antarctica


This post is by Arin Özdemir from PetaPixel


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When I found out I had the opportunity to travel to Antarctica, I couldn’t quite believe it. I should really start this story by thanking my mother: she’s had the travel bug her entire life, and eventually created a career for herself selling her experiences and knowledge. The same bug has allowed me to see the world from a very young age, and I learned quite quickly how much of an impact travel can have on your perspective on life, among other things.

Antarctica isn’t like any other trip though!

This took years of planning and booking, thousands of kilometers

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Randomizing Photo Shoots to Stretch My Creativity


This post is by Nick Fancher from PetaPixel


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I am a fan of light (honestly what photographer isn’t?). Hard light; reflected light; dappled light; low-key light; colored light — I love it all. Light makes or breaks not only my images but my mood. I’d venture to say that light is sandwiched between “belonging” and “safety” on my hierarchical pyramid of needs.

As a photographer, I have spent years exploring different ways to shape and capture light. These past few years I was fortunate to experience an extended period of hyper-productivity once I had a dedicated studio space of my own (no more basements!). Because I

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Making a Camera Lens from Scratch Using Rocks, Sand, and Copper


This post is by Michael Zhang from PetaPixel


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Can an ordinary person made a camera lens from scratch? Here’s a 22-minute video in which Andy George of How To Make Everything answers that question by producing clear glass and metal and combining them to create a camera lens.

The video covers everything from creating optically clear glass (using borax from California, river sand from Mississippi, and soda ash from a Wyoming lake) and measuring properties of the glass to grinding the glass and casting the lens body (using copper).

“It has been one of the most challenging projects I’ve ever done,” George says after completing his lens. “Every

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This Robot Shoots Stunning Slow-Mo Portraits on Red Carpets


This post is by Michael Zhang from PetaPixel


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If you don’t watch entertainment industry awards shows, perhaps you’ve never heard of E!’s Glambot, which has been hitting the red carpets at major shows (e.g. Oscars, Grammys, Emmys) to shoot stunning 1000fps slow-motion portraits of celebrities.

The man directing the Glambot at each of the shows is Canadian filmmaker and photographer Cole Walliser. The Glambot itself is well-known Bolt high-speed cinebot by Camera Control holding up a Phantom 4K Flex camera with a Leica Summilux lens mounted on it.

Here’s an epic shot of singer and actress Sofia Carson that Walliser captured with the Glambot at the

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Turning a Car Parking Monitor Into a $25 DIY External DSLR Screen


This post is by Andrew Davidhazy from PetaPixel


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I was often disappointed by my Canon 5D Mark II not having a flipping or better yet a detachable monitor. Instances of this happened when I placed the camera on a fully extended tripod and had the camera pointed downwards to make a photograph of something on the floor. Getting one’s eye above the view screen was sometimes impossible.

At other times I wanted to shoot from a very low angle or position and getting my face down to the camera was equally difficult.

Cameras with view screens that flip out or up and possibly rotate overcome these problems.

What

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In Bangkok with David Beckham


This post is by Joey L. from PetaPixel


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“Washing lettuce laughing” — three words you don’t expect to read on a shot list for an advertising campaign starring world-famous athlete and humanitarian David Beckham. If we weren’t careful, this concept pitched by the advertising agency could have been confused with the stock photo meme “women laughing with salad”, but we knew there could also be a tasteful way to pull it off. We just had to channel our cinematic energy together towards the concept.

Editor’s note: You can follow Joey’s work on his Instagram. Joey’s lighting and Photoshop tutorials can be viewed at LearnFromJoeyL.com. This article

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This Guy Shot 50,000 Pics to Make an 81MP Photo of the Moon


This post is by Michael Zhang from PetaPixel


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Check out this incredible photo of the moon. It may look like it was captured using some ultra-advanced (and expensive) equipment, but it was actually created by astrophotography enthusiast Andrew McCarthy by capturing and combining 50,000 photos.

The Sacramento, California-based McCarthy shot the photos using two cameras: his Sony a7 II mirrorless camera and his ZWO ASI224MC (a $250 astro camera).

“The lit side of the moon was processed using 25 ’tiles’ that were stitched together in Photoshop,” the photographer tells PetaPixel. “Each ’tile’ was a stack of the best 50% of 2000 images captured with the ZWO.”

The

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The Long Wait for a Chance to Photograph the Wolverine


This post is by Joshua Holko from PetaPixel


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I recently wrapped up six days of personal photography in northern Finland (in “no man’s land” on the Russian border) trying to photograph the wolverine in winter.

During the long waiting sessions, I decided to keep a daily video journal of the time he spent in the hide trying to photograph this elusive and shy animal.

After uploading the videos daily to social media via a pretty good 3G connection, I’ve now compiled them into a chronological time-line that really gives some insight into what it is like to spend day after day in a hide waiting for the opportunity

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A History of the Yosemite Firefall and Tips for Photographing It


This post is by Akram Mellice from PetaPixel


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Each year from summer of 1872, the owners of Glacier Point hotel started the event of Yosemite Firefall. For seven nights a week, they would spill hot embers from Glacier Point down to the valley 3000 feet below. The event ended in 1968 when the National Park Service ordered it to stop because the overwhelming number of visitors that it attracted overwhelmed the meadows, and because it was not a natural event. NPS wanted to preserve the Valley, returning it to its natural state.

In a February 1973 evening, photographer Galen Rowell saw the setting sun lights Horsetail Fall against

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How to Clean Your Mirrorless Camera Sensor: Tools, Tactics, Tips, and Tricks


This post is by Michael Zhang from PetaPixel


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Seeing spots in your photos? Your camera’s sensor might need a cleaning. If you’d like to go a do-it-yourself route and beyond a simple bulb blower, Michael The Maven made this 13-minute video walkthrough on how you can go about cleaning a mirrorless camera sensor.

Michael’s strategy is probably more involved than what most photographers do — he uses a special $18 loupe to see sensor dust more clearly, for example — but his tips and recommended tools may come in handy for some photographers who struggle with dust specks.

To use the sensor loupe, which was designed for DSLRs,

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Photographer Captures Hikers as High-Fashion Models on a 2,653-Mile Hike


This post is by Michael Zhang from PetaPixel


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Photographer Tommy Corey spent months thru-hiking the 2,653-mile Pacific Crest Trail that spans California, Oregon, and Washington. Along the way, he photographed his fellow long-distance hikers as though they were high-fashion models. The project is called Hiker Trash Vogue, and Corey’s beautiful 7-minute video above tells the story of how it came to be.

Over the course of the hike, which usually takes 4 to 6 months to complete from start to finish, Corey photographed hundreds of hikers.

“The twist to this project? Everyone photographed hasn’t showered in days (sometimes weeks), their tans are actually dirt,” Corey says, “and

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My Quest to Photograph the Most Elusive Cat in Africa


This post is by Will Burrard-Lucas from PetaPixel


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Since childhood, I have been fascinated by stories of black panthers. For me, no animal is shrouded in more mystery, no animal more elusive, and no animal more beautiful. For many years they remained the stuff of dreams and of far-fetched stories told around the campfire at night. Nobody I knew had ever seen one in the wild and I never thought that I would either. But that didn’t stop me dreaming…

Then, a couple of years ago, photos started emerging of a black leopard in India. It was a cat that had made its territory in the tourist area

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The $10 Backdrop: Cheap vs Expensive Seamless for Portraits


This post is by Roger Rosales from PetaPixel


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Photography. It’s expensive. And who really has the money to buy all the name brand photo gear? I certainly don’t. With that said, expensive equipment does NOT make the photograph — the photographer does, which is why I am exploring various non-photography-specific gear and using it for my photography.

Let’s take seamless background paper for example. A roll of Savage 53″ x 36′ will cost you $30 at B&H. That’s not exactly cheap, especially if you’re just starting out, have a family; are a student or simply just don’t have enough funds to throw at expensive gear. Now, let’s compare

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Creating a Photo of a Radical Vegan Zombie Activist


This post is by Juhamatti Vahdersalo from PetaPixel


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It has been said that meat consumption should decrease by 90% in the West if we want to avoid dangerous climate warming. And because all of us should be involved to achieve this goal, I of course decided to invite zombies to join in the effort of combating climate change.

Surprisingly there are many vegetables that have similarities in shape and textures to our human innards, so the first thing I did when started this project was to find proper lookalike innards with a vegan twist in them.

My sister’s kitchen was the location that we chose to do this

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