Avoidable Photographic Errors

Gratuitous header image.

Gratuitous header image.

Rule number one: there are no rules. A ‘mistake’ may not necessarily be a mistake if it helps convey the message or story or feeling intended by the photographer. I can easily think of multiple examples that go against every scenario described below. That said, for the most part, I’ve found these ‘mistakes’ to hold true. And if you want to achieve something very specific, then you either won’t be reading this article in the first place, or you’ll know when to bend the rules. The general viewing public probably has some preformed opinions of what is right/good, but these are born out of as much ignorance as conditioning by companies trying to sell more software or lenses or something else. There are rational reasons why these opinions may not necessarily be right in the context of fulfilling creative intention.

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OWL Aims To Be The World’s First Drop-in filter Adapter Reducing Costs and Improving Workflow

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One of the best features of mirrorless cameras is the ability to use DSLR lenses. But when using DSLR lenses you immediately fall into one of the flaws of the DSLR lens system: filter design. The mix of filter thread sizes, ‘regular’, thin and extra thin filters and lenshood interaction makes you with there was a better solution.

Owl, “The World First Drop-in filter Adapter” aims to solve the filter problem for mirrorless once and for all with their new indiegogo. Most DSLR to mirrorless adapters are simply a hollow tube pushing the lens away from the camera. They are strong enough to carry a lens, while moving the electric contacts needed for focusing and feedback from the camera bayonet to the adapter bayonet. Owl simply makes a clever use of that space, adding a drop-in filter slot.

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Want a Natural Density Filter – Best Buy Has them On Stock

natural-filters

If we had a breaking news section, this would probably be breaking news. Best Buy just introduced a new family of filters – “Natural Density Filters“. You can get them right here.

So, this is obviously a typo (confused with Neutral Density Filters) and thing will resume to normal as soon as the Department Of Web Sites Categories gets their hands on this and makes a fix. (Hopefully, they will not have to throw all their stock of Natural Density Filters and replace them with Neutral Density Filters as throwing away so much stock can be quite expensive.

/end irony

[Natural Density Filters | Best Buy. Thanks for the tip Simon]

P.S. If Best Buy says that they don’t carry this kind of filter, just point them to this screen grab.

Seven Ways to Improve What You Upload to Instagram

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Instagram’s become a staple in the average smartphone user’s app drawer. Where it once started off as a tool to enhance and showcase your phone photography, however, it has now arguably taken over as a complete social network altogether. With the introduction of direct messaging, the ability to tag other people, and the all around influx of people simply posting up pictures of what they’re doing at the moment, it’s become clear that the app isn’t just used as an artistic tool anymore. It’s become a form of communication.

But that’s not a bad thing at all. With how much potential the app now holds, Instagram can truly bring something to your following as a photographer. What matters is both how you market yourself and the content that you make. This post won’t necessarily help you with the former, but it can definitely give a few tips on the latter. When Instagram was first released, smartphones were still a new thing; not everyone was able to own one, and taking pictures with a phone’s camera was still more of a novelty thing; with how many different toy-cam styled filters the app offered, it got the job done when it came down to giving a bit of vintage spice to your pictures.

Even Instagram, however, knows that things have changed; in the past few months alone, they released an update allowing an entire editing package and even a hyperlapse app. And it’s because smartphone photography is becoming more sophisticated. As the world’s population becomes virtually void of flip phones, more and more people are starting to use smartphone cameras as their primary lens. And with Instagram being possibly the most popular photo-based social app out there, I decided to throw my two cents out there for those of you who want to make the best of it. This doesn’t have to be about getting more followers, and it doesn’t even have to be about having a professional photography presence on the app. If you just like posting pictures on the app and want a few good tips on how to make them a bit more perfect, then maybe I can give you a few tips here.

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New Algorithm Uses Text Commands to Change the Weather in Pictures

Do you ever notice how sophisticated and easily accessible futuristic technology can look at times when watching a movie? Just to throw an example out there, remember how subtly awesome it was when all Tony Stark needed to do to paint his armor was ask Jarvis to add some hot rod color? As advanced as technology is these days, Louis C.K. was right; we’re a bit spoiled when it comes down to how much we expect. Just the other night, I had a friend complaining that he was stuck on 4G because there wasn’t any LTE in the area.

The bottom line is that efficiency and speed both play a big role in how technology moves forward. As simple as it is to take your phone out and press a button to show the screen, we ended up finding a way to make pushing it unnecessary. As simple as it is to type in a password to buy an app, we replaced it with a fingerprint sensor. And as efficient as it is to Photoshop your pictures to change the weather, we’ve now found a way to let an algorithm do the job for us.

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How To Add An ND filter To The Impossibly Curved Rokinon 8mm F2.8 Fisheye Lens

We mentioned the Rokinon 8mm f2.8 several times on the blog as being a great lens for its price. One thing that is kinda hard to do with this lens is use filters. This is both because the curvature of the lens extends beyond the filter thread and also because of the shape of the petals of the built in lens hood.

This makes it practically impossible to place an ND filter on such lens. The folks at CheesyCam just shared a sweet hack using a Rosco ND gel and some blue tack. The trick is to place the gel at the back of the lens rather than in the front of the lens as we usually do. For ND CheesyCam uses the 3404 gel from the Rosco cinegel sample book, which cuts 3 stops off, and placed it using some blue tack.

Even zoomed in at 400% I was actually quite surprised that the gel almost did not introduce any softness.

[Adding ND Filter Gel on Rokinon Fisheye Lens to Block Light via CheesyCam]

P.S. You can use a similar hack with the Rokinon 8mm f2.8 to shoot infra red photos.

How to Create a Fake Tilt Shift Effect

I made a quick trip to South Korea this weekend for an international dance event called Red Bull BC One 2013 World Finals. With top notch performances of musicians and international dancers gracefully defying gravity, I wanted to make sure to try something different with these action shots.

I decided to try out a tilt-shift effect to miniaturize the performers since the arena was such a huge space. Tilt-shift is a mechanism on certain specialized lenses that is used to blur out certain parts of a photograph while leave other parts tack sharp. Used commonly on architecture, the contrast of the focus and blur is meant to resemble the kind of bokeh that is formed when macro shots are taken.

In these indoor shots, these were taken at 1/1000 shutter speed minimum with an f-stop of 1.2 in order to achieve the sharp crispness of movement without the graininess. However, there is no tilt shift lens on the market that can reach that speed. So the only way to create this effect is through Photoshop.

If done correctly, the end result will look like this.

How to Create a Fake Tilt Shift Effect

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Warning: Cheap Filters Can Harm Your Glass

There is quite a debate going on about whether one should use filters for lens protection or avoid filters for better quality.

Here is another thing to take into consideration – Some cheap filters may harm your glass, not just your image quality.

Warning: Cheap Filters Can Harm Your Glass

Roger Cicala of Lensrentals had a few Canon 24-70 f/2.8 Mk II returned with a circular scratch pattern on the front element. This can be quite annoying especially since this is a $2,000+ lens.

This got Roger to experiment with various filters. He realized that the cause for scratches is contact between a cheap “thin” filter and the slightly bulged front element of the 24-70. [Read more…]