Lytro re-shoots pics as 3D clay scenes


Okay, this strikes me as one of the better marketing ideas I’ve seen in the photo business in, like, ever.

As you know, Lytro’s new-fangled camera takes shots with depth: you can alter the point of focus, and subtly shift the point of view.

Unless you have the camera however, you can’t have a “light field” shot of your own… until now. For a few days, selected shots — even old treasured images — will be “Lytro-ized.”

But wait, you’re asking — how could Lytro recreate the depth from an old 2D picture? What new magic have they come up with?

Well, the secret sauce here isn’t new magic — it’s an old technique: claymation!

Lytro is working with Screen Novelties, the demented brains behind the satirical Robot Chicken show [really — it’s demented] who will model the people and settings of a photo — and then shoot that with a new Lytro camera!

You can see the funny photos here. Don’t forget to alter the depth of field, or wiggle the point of view for a semi-3D effect.


Year-end’s best journalism photos


If I have to see a bear, I want it like this: asleep, and falling out of a tree.

The Atlantic’s website features a great collection of pictures: 2012: The Year in Photos.

“2012 was an eventful year,” the magazine site says, “from big events like the London Summer Olympics and the U.S. presidential race, to regional conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, to smaller issues closer to home.”

Part 1, up now, covers the first four months.

And if I take a cruise, I hope it doesn’t end up like this!

Eye-Fi expands to offer online image storage and syncing


Eye-Fi was the pioneer in connected cameras, providing storage cards that also added WiFi to off-the-shelf cameras from major manufacturers. But as more of us take photos with already-connected phones, the company needed to seek new territory — and now it has, with Circ, a storage and syncing service.

“Circ was created for anyone looking to easily access photos and videos anytime, anywhere, using their favorite devices,” the company says. “With every photo & video on every device, your best stories and favorite memories are ready to share anytime — not trapped on your computer at home or spouse’s phone. Storytelling has never been this fun.”

The “completely new photo service” has an app for Windows, iPhone and Android that collects photos and videos from your devices, automatically organizes them, and uses the cloud to keep everything in sync. Storage in the cloud is free and unlimited, and your photos are kept in original resolution. And, your content is available anywhere, without huge memory or performance demands on your devices.

“Original resolution” isn’t quite the case if you’re thinking unaltered image capture files — but Eye-Fi is promoting its compression as highly efficient and all-but lossless. “Circ’s intelligent recompression safeguards photos & videos in original resolution, yet delivers a smaller file size for faster, more efficient upload and sync,” the company says. “Original resolution means you can confidently print a recompressed image and won’t notice any difference to a print from the original file.” This image show a 5MB vs. a 1MB image.

“It’s been five years since we launched our first Eye-Fi wireless SD card,” CEO Yuval Koren says. Since that time, “one of the fundamental changes we’ve all experienced is the proliferation of smartphones, tablets, and other devices we rely on to capture, view and share our memories.”

Circ is free for two devices; $50/year for up to 20.

More information is here.

Canon provides new Pixma printers


Canon says its three Pixma printers and CanoScan photo scanner “represent a significant update.”

The printers feature a new snap-edge design that improves the overall look and feel of the machine, Canon says. As all-in-ones with scanning abilities, the new units have a low-height body to reduce the space needed to open the scanner, the company adds.

The printers feature WiFi and support for mobile device connectivity. Each model can produce a borderless edge-to-edge 4×6-inch print in approximately 21 seconds at a maximum color resolution of 9600×2400 dpi.

The MG6320 features a 3.5-inch touchscreen, and is $200. The MG5420 is $150. The iP7220 is a single-function printer with WiFi. It’s $100.

The CanoScan 9000F Mark II can scan a 35mm film strip with a maximum optical resolution 9600 x 9600 dpi, or 4800 x 4800 dpi for other media. It’s $200.


Discounts expire tomorrow on rooms at Bally’s for 2013 PMA@CES and Conferences

Suzi Barger just emailed me a reminder that that discounted rates on rooms at Bally’s Las Vegas for PMA@CES 2013 and the 2013 DIMA , 2013 AIE Future Imaging Summit and PSPA/SPAA Conferences, are expiring tomorrow, Dec. 5.  Book now, and save some money!

Hurricane Sandy: How fake photos manipulated your view of the storm

To all our members who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy please get in touch with me, and share your story. We’d like to let others in the industry know what happened, how you’re recovering, and what needs you still have. And, of course, we want to share your pictures.

Speaking of Hurricane Sandy pictures, here’s an interesting article submitted by stock photo company Dreamstime, about those fake photos that started circulating before Sandy was even done creating so much very real devastation.

Many people will agree that when it comes to visual impact, fake photos sometimes tend to be more shocking than genuine ones. As technology and high-end production tools become more and more readily available, our ability to recognize the real deal and fake “phony” images is becoming increasingly difficult.

For example, when fierce Hurricane Sandy battered New York and New Jersey last month, people were hungry for information around the clock. And while social media websites can facilitate effective distribution of information, images and news, they also can prompt inaccurate information to spread at lightning speed, before readers and viewers even realize they are being tricked.

In fact, several of the fake photos that surfaced during and after Hurricane Sandy included images that had actually been taken from previous storms. Unfortunately, dramatic weather events, like Sandy, also lend themselves well to rampant Photoshopping and manipulation.

As with many major weather events, there was a huge opportunity during and after the hurricane for stunning photos. However, not everything was as it seemed. Countless images of Hurricane Sandy’s flooding and despair quickly popped up all over social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. While many of these storm images were indeed real, some of them — especially the really eye-popping ones — were phony. Numerous astonishing storm images were manipulated to encourage jaw-dropping and extra shock value in viewers.

It’s important to note that “fake” images are not necessarily unacceptable when it comes to the commercial photography industry. However, in the editorial world, the rules are much different. Editorial images should present the reality as “seen,” without any manipulations that could distort the reality as seen through your camera lens. Bottom line: There is no room for “fake” images in the world of journalism.

Professional photojournalists have to be extra-vigilant regarding the authenticity of their images because there’s a bigger risk of undermining their credibility if a photo has been altered in any way. “Fake photos” typically refer to images that have been manipulated to express something different than the actual “seen” reality. This can be achieved by using Photoshop brushes or by stitching multiple images together. (Note: Regular or typical brightness/contrast adjustments are not considered manipulation).

There are many ways to determine whether an image is the real deal by checking for obvious signs of manipulation. Here are a few examples of “fake” photos that circulated during Hurricane Sandy:

Most professional photo editors instantly realized that the popular composite photo of the Statue of Liberty standing firm against doom and gloom, surrounding by storm clouds was a fake. Some of the clues?

  • First, the cloud formation of the hurricane should have spread for 1,000 miles, while the clouds visible in that image were more likely to wash the streets of a neighborhood.
  • The sun was visible in that image, which would not be the case with any hurricane. In fact, there were actually two suns visible in that particular image, one from each photo used in a collage.
  • Finally, the photo — which purportedly showed menacing blue and purple currents swirling around the Statue of Liberty as Sandy approached — was dramatic, evocative and eerie.

The image of the soldiers guarding a tomb:

  • If you looked at the rain and water texture of this image, you would have noticed that it looked like it was a Photoshop filter or clone.
  • Real rain would be more dense in an area and rare in another. Water would splash from the monument.

The blue tinted image with the massive wave hitting New York City looked like a promotional movie poster:

  • This photo beamed with an“HDR look” and blue tint. This effect can look great on print, however, it takes less than a minute to search it on Google Images to find that all the results are leading to the poster for “The Day After Tomorrow” movie.
  • Also, consider the indexing time for this type of image: recent breaking news images will not be found using image search engines in less than a week or more.

Let’s not forget the shark:

  • The shark image splashing its tail was not well-made, especially with the strong, unnatural look of the splash.
  • There were visible Photoshop brushes on the shark image.
  • In addition, the images’ white balance was different in the splash and the shark’s tail.

During major news events, the spread of fake photos disseminated via social media is almost a guarantee. Keep in mind, that you can avoid falling victim to the hype by knowing how to identify these kinds of fake photos and doing a little detective work of your own.

Dreamstime is a major supplier of high quality digital images to advertising agencies, national and international magazines, and film and television production companies. Today, with over 15 million images, Dreamstime is currently the second leading agency in total customers with more than 12 million unique visitors monthly to the site. In addition to the current 600,000-plus free images available, Dreamstime’s active gallery is updated by the second with photos from the site’s 143,000-plus contributors.