From Above: What It’s Like To Be An Astronaut Photographer With Don Petit


For a lot of us, travelling to space and taking photographs sounds like a dream job. For Don Pettit, it’s just another day at the office. In fact, part of his official NASA training included working with a number of professional photographers and trainers. Of course, being an astronaut photographer isn’t just taking beautiful photos from outer space. Pettit said in an interview with SmugMug, there’s actually a lot of engineering photography to be done, which Pettit says is actually quite uninteresting to the public.

“We have to take macro images of pins in an electrical connector or a bit of grunge in a hydraulic quick-disconnect fitting or little patterns that might develop on the surface of one of the windows. These things need to be documented so the images can be downlinked for engineers on the ground to assess what’s happening to the systems on space station. We get training specifically on doing these engineering images, which, for the most part, are not really interesting to the public.

Photography on the space station is more than just taking a bunch of pretty pictures. We take pictures of Earth and the surroundings of earth, and these pictures represent a scientific data set recorded now for over 14 years. About 1.2 million pictures were taken as of July 2012.”

[Read more...]

DIYP Reviews the Syrp Genie – All In One Time Lapse Photography Motion Control

syrp genie review, hands on review of the syrp genie, time lapse motion control, diy photography, jp danko

Time lapse photography has recently evolved into a spectacular fusion of the best of still photography and motion film making.

With the growing popularity of time lapse photography, and the increasing complexity that time lapse photographers are integrating into their films, we are seeing a steady stream of truly spectacular time lapse films (many of which we feature here on DIYP on a regular basis).

If you have tried your hand at time lapse photography, sooner or later you will come to realize that while static time lapse film sequences can be fabulous, time lapse films really sing when you add motion.

And that is where the Syrp Genie (Amazon | B&H) fits in.  The Syrp Genie is a simple, all in one motion control device for time lapse photography and live action films.

We were recently lucky enough to get our hands on a Syrp Genie for review and spent some time testing it out in the field.

Read on for our complete hands on review of the Syrp Genie.

[Read more...]

Could Topaz Glow Be The Alternative For The Missing Oil Paint Effect In Photoshop Cc?

Bildschirmfoto 2014-12-10 um 20.57.14

Topaz just announced a new product called “Glow”. I never was a big fan of the overuse of the oil-paint-filter in Photoshop and so I was quite happy when Photoshop CC2014 removed it altogether. My first thought was “Strike, now we just have to deal with HDR. The overuse of the oil-paint-filter is eventually over”.

I might was wrong. With this new plug in from Topaz, “Glow”, this fed could take on a new form…

[Read more...]

How To Bake The Most Delicious Chocolate Mousse Instagram Surprise Cake

With the holidays coming it’s never a bad idea to share a cake recipe. But then again this is a photography blog so what do we do? A few years back we showed you how to bake a Nikon cake, then we had some good times with camera shaped cookies, but this project from How To Cook That puts them all to shame.

For Instagram’s 300M users announcement  today, we thought we’d share one of the most wonderful camera baking we’ve seen to date – How to bake the most delicious chocolate mousse Instagram surprise cake.

Mousse and Instagram are pretty trivial, the surprise element comes from the fact that the cakes looks like a perfectly normal cake until you slice it to reveal its inside glorious Instagramish delicacy.

[For the full (5 Polaroids difficulty) recipe hop over to How To Cook That]

P.S. If you are looking for something a bit easier to feast on, try Photojojo’s Gingerbread cameras.

Photograph Sells For $6.5 Million, Sets New World Record; Has Some Asking How Much Are Photos Actually Worth?

for sale

Is a photo worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it?

There are a lot of brilliant photographers who haven’t been discovered or who otherwise struggle to sell a single image for what usually turns out to be less than a living wage. It isn’t that the photos are not good or usable, the market is just over saturated and it takes more (a lot more) than just taking a good photo to make a living doing it. There’s also the issue of the “weekend warriors” who are willing to drastically undercut the competition hoping they get a little publicity out of it. And that’s not to say they shouldn’t be getting their own, too, or even that their photos are not up to par, because a lot of times they are. It just makes it really discouraging for the folks who are out there trying to make a living at this and do not have a day job to fall back on.

And then a headline like this one appears in the news feed and for a fleeting moment we feel as though there’s hope. Maybe there is a market for fine art photography after all. And not just the average, hope-you-break-even kind of market that we’re accustomed to, but the kind of paradise where buyers are dishing out $6,500,000 for a single photograph. Could it really be true? Does that kind of utopia actually exist? Turns out, if you’re Pete Lik, utopia is reality. [Read more...]

Stop Chasing Success. Seek Significance


“I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.” —Leo Rosten

Financial success is a powerful motivator. And it controls the lives of many. It chooses occupations. It dictates how time, energy, and resources are spent. It influences relationships, schedules, and families. To some, it even becomes an all-consuming passion that leaves broken people and morality in its wake.

Unfortunately, it is not the greatest call we have on our lives. In fact, compared to significance, it fades quickly.

Consider the limitations of success:

[Read more...]

Natural HDR In Films – Disney’s New Algorithm Is Taking Us One Step Closer


Today’s cameras are able to capture an enormousness amount of dynamic rage. Sadly our monitors and film projectors are not able to display the entire tone range that we can capture. This calls for a process called Tone Mapping. This process squeezes the larger, captured, tonal range into a smaller tonal range that the display is able to display. It is the same process that gives HDR its signature look. Of course if not done subtly, it can create a chewed to death overwhelming effect.

When video comes into play, HDR tone mapping becomes even harder and can result in some interesting video artifacts such as ghosting, Brightness Flickering and camera noise.

The team at Disney Research (yes they do research as well) created a new algorithm that can better handle the tone mapping part of HDR processing.

[Read more...]

Tom Mangelsen Explains How To Get Your Settings Right While Shooting In The Wilderness

When Shooting In
There’s no denying the fact Tom Mangelsen is a master when it comes to nature photography. Even the briefest look at his portfolio instills a level of trust in the photographer’s ability to create great photos over and over again. Which is precisely why we tend to listen, intently, when we’re presented with the opportunity to learn a thing or two from Mangelsen. [Read more...]

This Is Where Nat Geo Hacks Their Cameras To Do More


National Geographic is known for capturing unbelievable photographs. For some of their stories they have cameras diving into the deep oceans, hand on trees, or left behind for weeks to capture a rare mating in a desolated jungle.

While Nat Geo also uses stock Nikon Cameras, they do modify them sometimes in what could only be dubbed the heavens of camera hackery labs. The lab, led by Kenji Yamaguchi – Nat Geo Chief Maker, converts cameras, lenses and strobes for specific needs. Nat Geo’s Proof did a full story and video on Kenji, giving a glimpse into the wonderful world of Nat Geo’s camera hackery.

[Read more...]