Allen Mowery is a lifestyle photographer, pseudo-philosopher, and wannabe documentarian killing time amidst the rolling hills of Central Pennsylvania. When not shooting client work or chasing overgrown wildlife from his yard, he loves to capture the stories of the people and culture around him. You can check out his work on his website or follow along on Facebook, Twitter (@allenmowery), and 500px.

Forgotten treasures: 31 undeveloped, 70-year-old rolls of film shot by WWII Soldier

History, while being something we often repeat, is a precious treasure that, with time, often passes from recollection. With a passion to ensure that doesn’t happen, the Rescued Film Project makes it their mission preserve forgotten treasures and share them with the world. They take old, rescued film from the 1930s to the 1990s, develop it, and digitally preserve it before it degrades beyond any usability. As RFP explains,

Every image in The Rescued Film Project at some point, was special for someone. Each frame captured, reflects a moment that was intended to be remembered. The picture was taken, the roll was finished, wound up, and for reasons we can only speculate, was never developed. These moments never made it into photo albums, or framed neatly on walls. We believe that these images deserve to be seen, so that the photographer’s personal experiences can be shared. Forever marking their existence in history.

In what was essentially a gold mine find, they came into possession of 31 rolls of undeveloped film from an unnamed soldier in World War II, a man whose only known legacy is the images he left behind. Though time and the elements had taken their toll on the film, many of the photos, most having laid dormant for nearly 70 years, were still recoverable.

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Video on a Budget: Using MS Paint for special effects editing

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As a kid, I liked my slingshot and spent many hours practicing with a variety of ammo. However, as an adult, Joerg Sprave is nothing short of absolutely obsessed with slingshots and launchers, and his (currently) 553,302 YouTube subscribers are a testament to that fact. From high-powered, more traditional slingshots to lethal monstrosities that launch saw blades and decapitating arrows, Joerg knows how to have a good time.

So, what does a mad wood-and-rubber-band scientist do when a test goes awry and he gets nailed in the head with a fast-flying, half-inch steel ball on camera? He posts it online for the world to see, obviously! The video looks incredibly painful, but, after a little digging, I uncovered the truth. The truth of the matter is, Joerg used a little ingenuity, visual slight-of-hand, and cheap-ass-MS-Paint-wizardry to deceive the world (give or take a few billion souls). Let’s see how he did it…

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Create epic rain effects with this $15 rain machine

15-dollar-rain-machine

While we at DIYP are no strangers to covering such things as creative (and cheap) rain machines, we always find it in our hearts to share with you just one more.

Director and cinematographer Tom Antos recently released a video about how he built a rain machine on a budget of only $15. Starting out with a cheap garden soaker hose, attached it to some wood between two stands, and made movie magic. His video shares the details, but we’ve taken the liberty to spell them out (after the jump).

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Polaroid Launches Socialmatic, Revolutionizes Selfies

polaroid-socialmatic-01Polaroid has long been iconized by their photos — the cheesy, white-framed, instant images that printed out and developed right before your eyes. It was pure witchcraft to me as a child… Your grandparents had an entire collection of them, the local sporting goods store had a wall covered with them, and they’ve been falling out of scrapbooks for decades. Even in recent years, the nostalgia of the instant photo has made a resurgence in the design and art community, and every hipster is now using them to document every benign moment of their lives*. Heck, the inspiration for Instagram was an obvious and shameless ripoff of the vintage Polaroid look*.

*Statistics vary.

Yes, Polaroid had it really going on in the days of film and the emergence of the casual photographer. And they were invaluable to studio photographers before the days of chimping. However, much to the chagrin of an uncle of mine you banked heavily on them in the stock market, as the world progressed into the twenty-first century and the move towards digital really took off, Polaroid failed to innovate fast enough and nearly collapsed due to their lack of foresight. Yet, despite being the late bloomer in the digital photography world, Polaroid is still here today, which is why we are proud to announce the release of the Polaroid Socialmatic — quite possibly the next big thing for snap-happy consumers who like to over-share their lives!

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Vimeo Could be Rolling 4K streaming (in stealth….)

vimeo-4k-streaming

While 4K streaming has been available on YouTube for a while, Vimeo, the growing video hosting site loved by artists and filmmakers, has lacked this feature. Sure, perhaps 4K isn’t an Internet standard yet, and your grandmother might not give a witch’s teet about seeing every last pixel of the short film you created for your senior project, but there’s little doubt that 4K is the next step in online video distribution.

Filmmaker Philip Bloom recently made the discovery that Vimeo, while not officially supporting 4K streaming yet, seems to have enabled it for at least certain sectors of its users. Vimeo’s December 8th announcement rolling out 4K download support for Pro users and Video on Demand sellers was further clarified to say that 4K playback, while not yet available, would be enabled for those videos once the feature became available. However, Bloom, along with business partner James Miller, ran a few tests and, much to their dubious delight, found that their new uploads were already streaming in 4K. [Read more...]

Hands-on Review of the LiteTrek 4.0 Mobile Lighting Kit

LiteTrek 4.0 dual-light configuration.

Luthier Sean Farley in his workshop, shot with the LiteTrek 4.0 in a dual-light configuration.

One of the greatest dilemmas for photographers using off-camera lighting on location is achieving the balance of light output and portability. For those of us not wanting to break the bank, cost is a giant factor as well.

The LiteTrek 4.0 from Impact is a DC-powered portable lighting kit aimed at achieving all of the above and does so quite effectively.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this is by no means a Profoto setup, but, on the other hand, it’s not a cheap eBay kit that comes at $75 per strobe and breaks within 30 minutes. The LiteTrek can be purchased as a single - or double-strobe kit, the most expensive one currently coming in at just under $900 (regularly $1,149).

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Shooting a Commercial Image With Trash and Walmart Gear

The heart of DIYP is about creating much from little, using what is on-hand or can be cheaply fashioned to achieve quality results. That is exactly what this post is about. Not gun control, not gun rights, or even the timeless tradition of hunting. As we know, there is no better way to send a conversation with an American into verbal bloodshed than by mentioning the Second Amendment, socialized healthcare, or the fact Tampa Bay actually has an NFL team.

allen-mowery-commercial-photographer

I attribute a great portion of my rekindled interest in photography to the late Bill Simone, a phenomenal commercial photographer whose work for one of my previous employers was dynamic and emotive, especially to a young adult whose previous exposure to photography had primarily been relegated to a 35mm camera. Some of my favorite images from Bill were simple, single-light setups that seemed to draw the viewer into the photo, and they looked great in a glossy catalog!

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Quadcopter Racing and the Future of Cinema

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It seems like as soon as quadcopters came onto the market, photographers began adapting them for more than just disastrous fun on Christmas afternoon. Since then, hobbyists, photography enthusiasts, and even corporate giants (let’s hear it for Amazon!) alike have been putting them to multiple uses, both business and pleasure.

AIRganoy, a “quadcopter racing fanatic association” based in eastern France, holds regular events for remote control pilots, including races like the one below that would seem more at home on a Lucasfilm set. The contestants race through the forest along a pre-marked course where, as seen in the video, “eating dirt” is a bit more reality than euphemism. Each copter is equipped with a video camera which sends a live feed back to the pilot, allowing them to navigate the treacherous, obstacle-laden course.

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The Downfall of Photography Blogs

downfall-photography-blogsThere is a problem plaguing photography blogs, waiting in the wings, ready to ensure their demise. And, as all of you armchair pundits are excitedly clicking to the comments section to inform me of my blatant hypocrisy, allow me to save you the effort and admit right here: I know there will be multiple examples of hypocrisy throughout this post. Good…I saved you thirty seconds of valuable input. [Read more...]

Hiring An Assistant Without Jeopardizing Your Business

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Sooner or later, most of us photographers find ourselves in need of an extra set of hands or feet for a particular project, whether it’s a second shooter (no JFK jokes, please) at a wedding, managing gear and lighting on a commercial shoot, or stabilizing the flower balanced on top of a rocking horse sitting inside an adorable bathtub for that oh-so-cute newborn shoot. Most new photographers and sole proprietors, myself included on numerous occasions in the past, think nothing of pulling in a friend or relative to help out in their time of need. And while that may be fine for personal projects, having that modus operandi in your business can get you into some hot water. I’m not talking about how nice it is to have someone to share the work or how cool it is to refer to someone as “my assistant” (which, admittedly, is pretty awesome…until they break something); I’m talking about, when you DO pull someone else in to help out, making sure that all legal ramifications are met and you do not sign your business’ death warrant.

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