NatGeo photographer ascended Everest with Windows Phone

alverez microsoft

alverez microsoft

What do you give a photographer who could shoot with any camera? A Windows phone, apparently: Microsoft this week profiles National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez took “smartphone photography to the next level” by climbing Mount Everest without any “real” cameras in hand.

The two-week trek up Mount Everest in April 2014 was shot with a pair of Lumia smartphones, and “it’s likely… he was thinking how lucky he was to not need to schlep a five-pound, professional-grade SLR up the world’s steepest incline,” the company says.

Alvarez has worked with National Geographic for 20 years. The magazine “asked him to photograph the Seven Natural Wonders of the World using only Microsoft smartphones.”

After the event, Alvarez commented that “the digital jump didn’t surprise me so much, but the miniaturization of cameras into telephones I never really saw coming. Now, when I have to go back to the big SLRs for work, I sometimes forget how huge they are. I mean, just how gargantuan is a pro SLR with a lens on it? They’re great imaging devices, but at the cost of an awful lot of weight, and an awful lot of money.”

It’s not just the weight differnce: “Alvarez manages to easily capture the kind of genuine human moments you have to finesse a bit while packing a full SLR rig,” the profile adds. “Everyone knows I’m a professional photographer,” Alvarez said. “Yes, I’m shooting for Microsoft; yes, these pictures will be used commercially; yes, they’ll sign releases. Everyone’s happy with it. But using a smaller device is just a lot less intimidating, because even though they know all that stuff, the camera that I’m putting in front of them is something that even people in the Khumbu Valley see every day. They all have smartphones and they all use them.”

It’s an interesting read: The full profile is here.


On the PMA Podcast: TraDigital with Tim Whitley

Tim Whitley
You can morph traditional and digital for “TraDigital” success.
Have you been misled to believe traditional media is dead? That nobody watches TV anymore? That broadcast radio is off the air? That newspapers aren’t even used for birdcage liners anymore? That’s not what’s really happening.
Do you know how to use “old” media in the “new” economy? Bill McCurry interviews Tim Whitley of TeamSI. Tim will break down the wall for you and explain how your marketing can skyrocket using TraDigital techniques.
In Tim’s world, there isn’t “old” media and “new” media – there is media that works for you. This is Tim’s focus – to help you make sense of what’s out there and how to capitalize on what fits your customers and your marketplace.
Marketing today is multi-screen and intertwined. No marketing decisions can be made based on one channel. To be financially effective, media and message must fit together to reach your customer in the manner your customer wants to hear from you. This week’s PMA Podcast with Bill McCurry and Tim Whitley make it easier to understand and more profitably execute for best results.

Or you can tune in now with the player below.

Hear Georgia’s live radio interview Tuesday at 8:19 am PT

Georgia McCabe favorite

Georgia McCabe favoriteBe sure to listen tomorrow at 8:19 am Pacific Time, when PMA CEO Georgia McCabe will be featured on “Carlos & Dayna,” a radio show airing on CBS NewsRadio 100.5 FM, KXNT, in Las Vegas. If you are outside of the listening area, you can tune in to her interview online. Just click the “Listen Live” button, then select KXNT.

Georgia will be speaking about the importance of printing the images that matter, with an emphasis on members of the millennial generation. Millennials are the most photographed demographic in history; yet are at greatest risk of having their images end up in a “digital landfill,” without a single photo to pass down to future generations. Listen in as Georgia shares this important message.

IEEE updating image quality ratings


ieee_logo_mb_taglineIEEE says its industry-wide effort will “develop and deliver a standardized, metrics-based rating system for mobile device image quality” — and they’re asking others to join in the effort.

“Stakeholders globally… (are) invited to participate,” says the professional organization dedicated to advancing technology. “The IEEE Camera Phone Image Quality conformity assessment steering committee is engaging carriers, mobile-device camera designers and manufacturers in creating a rating system that is easily understandable for consumers.”

The goal is “development of a standardized approach to testing and certifying smartphone cameras. This standardized approach will provide great value to players throughout the camera phone supply chain, as well as consumers,” IEE says. The standards association adds that “There is a need in the marketplace for a clear, concise and comprehensive definition of image quality that consumers of current and future mobile imaging devices worldwide could use in comparing products. We envision a rating system that would eliminate ambiguity about the image quality to expect from a given device, and help consumers make better-educated buying decisions for their specific needs. In these ways, these efforts bring clarity to the marketplace and ultimately fuel innovation of higher-quality devices and overall market growth.”

There’s more information here.


From 1966: first Selfie in space

aldrin selfie

aldrin selfie

Hundreds of photographs from the early years of the space age are for sale, reports the NY Times. They include the first image taken from space, in 1946 — and the first selfie in space, shot by astronaut Buzz Aldrin twenty years later, in 1966.

The vintage prints — not reproductions — are being auctioned by a European collector. Many were “never widely distributed by NASA.”

Here is the full story.


Mixbook wins photo book service test



Imaging expert Sally Wiener Grotta tested the top photo book makers for the Tom’s Guide website, and determined Mixbook provided the best results.

The testing and analyses focused on two areas, Grotta says: the vendor’s software for creating the photo book and the printed photo books themselves. In tallying our results, we gave double weight to our rating of the printed books, “since no matter how good the software is, the end result is what is most important.”

Grotta tested “seven of the most popular photo book vendors: Blurb, Lulu, Mixbook, Mpix, Picaboo, Shutterfly and Snapfish. Our Editors’ Choice Award goes to Mixbook, for its intelligent, versatile and creativity-enabling software, and the excellent quality of its printed book.”
Shutterfly came in second; Lulu came in last.

Also: we agree with Grotta’s opening statement on the overall importance of the medium:
“Is there any better way to share photos and hold on to the memories they represent than a photo book? For consumers and amateur photographers, a book is a great way to store photographs… and for serious and professional photographers, photo books are also important marketing tools, as well as products to sell.”

Here is the full article.

Tiffen wins Oscar award



It’s Oscar time for the Tiffen Company.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognized Steven Tiffen, Jeff Cohen and Michael Fecik for their efforts in developing dye-based filters that reduce infrared contamination when neutral density filters are used with digital cameras.

The Academy says Tiffen “identified the problem and rapidly engineered a series of absorptive filters that ameliorated infrared artifacts with lenses of all focal lengths,” and bestowed the Scientific and Technical Academy Award of Commendation. “These widely adopted filters allow cinematographers to work as they have done with film-based technology,” the Academy adds.

“We stand committed to continuing to support this industry that we love,” Steve Tiffen said, “and we find it so wonderfully pleasing that in this world of digital technology, Tiffen optical filters are recognized as a staple for professional imagemakers across the globe.”

There’s more information here.

oscars 86th

Can legacy systems kill your business?

Business Success Logo

Business Success LogoMany companies can mistakenly overlook their core competency, their true reason for their business success — and in doing so, they can also get mired in the way thing have always been done.

When that happens, they can fail to innovate and flourish… or to even survive.

Is that what’s happening in camera manufacturing? Marketing consultant and imaging analyst Gary Pageau argues that Canon and Nikon are stuck supporting their legacy lens mounts, while others in the industry are looking at new methods for mounting interchangeable lenses, and for making better cameras.

It’s a fine line many companies must walk: you can’t ignore your current profit center, but neither can you bet everything on it remaining highly profitable forever, as Kodak did with film, Pageau argues. His column is here.

25 years of Photoshop

photoshop baby

photoshop baby

How long have you been “Photoshopping” your pictures?

Personally, I first used what is now the leading image editor soon after it launched, when I was a reporter at InfoWorld. Of course, I was only trying it out on a few shots captured with an early digital camera (the venerable Dycam).

Nowadays of course, the software’s name is also a verb, and we’re as likely to read about how some famous shot was or was not ’Shopped beyond all recognition as we are about new imaging techniques in the latest upgrade.

Anyhow, to celebrate a quarter-century of improving pictures, Adobe produced this video showing the evolution of imaging techniques.

The company discusses the anniversary and future plans here.

Also: In this article, Venture Beat interviews Adobe project manager Stephen Nielson.

And here, the New York Times talks with the program’s creator Thomas Knoll, and looks at where Adobe is taking it now with the subscription-based Creative Cloud suite.

photoshop box

Here’s the full press release:
Adobe Photoshop Turns Twenty-Five
A Cultural Icon, Photoshop Shapes the Way We View the World

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Feb. 19, 2015 — Adobe Photoshop, the imaging software that continues to redefine creativity in the digital age, turns 25 today. Photoshop touches virtually all the inspirational imagery that surrounds us: the high-impact logo on your morning cup of coffee; the new app you download on your iPhone; the sleek design of your running shoes; the Hollywood blockbuster that you’ll see tonight. Photoshop continues to blaze a trail, with amazing new features added in every release and new mobile apps that extend the power of Photoshop to iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
“For 25 years, Photoshop has inspired artists and designers to craft images of stunning beauty and reality-bending creativity,” said Shantanu Narayen, Adobe president and chief executive officer. “From desktop publishing, to fashion photography, movie production, web site design, mobile app creation and now 3D Printing, Photoshop continues to redefine industries and creative possibilities. And today that Photoshop magic is available to millions of new users, thanks to Adobe Creative Cloud.”
Photoshop is one of the most recognized software brands in the world with tens of millions of users, and is the go-to application for digital image manipulation across all media: from print, to film, to the Web. Photoshop features — such as Layers, The Healing Brush, Content Aware Fill and Camera Raw — have empowered creatives to produce their best work. Photoshop technology is also at the heart of Adobe Lightroom, essential software for both professional and amateur photographers. And to meet the needs of today’s visual artists, Photoshop and Lightroom mobile apps enable creatives to work on image files seamlessly across desktop computers, tablets and smartphones.
Photoshop’s success helped Adobe deliver the creative industry’s most comprehensive set of tools. No other company serves the creative industry with such a wide range of products and services. In addition to Photoshop, applications like Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Dreamweaver and others have pushed creativity forward, no matter what the media. And today Adobe Creative Cloud services, such as Behance and Creative Talent Search, are helping a new generation of creatives find a global audience and market for their work.
The secret of Photoshop’s massive popularity has been its constantly evolving capabilities and an incredible pipeline of deep image science. This pipeline of innovation is now getting to customers faster than ever before, with Photoshop and Lightroom desktop and mobile apps constantly updated, as part of Adobe Creative Cloud.
To celebrate this Photoshop milestone, Adobe is showcasing 25 of the most creative visual artists under 25 who use Photoshop. To be considered, artists upload their projects to Behance and use the tag “Ps25Under25.” In the coming months, those selected will take over the Photoshop Instagram handle (@Photoshop) for two weeks and present their work for the world to see. Fredy Santiago, a 24-year old Mexican-American artist and illustrator based in Ventura, California will be the first to display his incredible images, beginning today.
The company is also launching an advertising campaign, “Dream On”, for The Academy Awards — as a tribute to 25 years of amazing art created in Photoshop. The TV commercial includes incredible work from Photoshop artists and iconic images from major motion pictures that used Photoshop in the making, including Avatar, Gone Girl, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Shrek.

How It All Began
In 1987, Thomas Knoll developed a pixel imaging program called Display. It was a simple program to showcase grayscale images on a black-and-white monitor. However, after collaborating with his brother, John Knoll, the two began adding features that made it possible to process digital image files. The program eventually caught the attention of industry influencers, and in 1989, Adobe made the decision to license the software, naming it Photoshop and shipping the first version in 1990.
“Adobe thought we’d sell about 500 copies of Photoshop a month,” said Thomas Knoll, Adobe Fellow and Photoshop co-creator.  “Not in my wildest dreams did we think creatives would embrace the product in the numbers and ways they have. It’s inspiring to see the beautiful images our customers create, the careers Photoshop has launched and the new uses people all over the world find for Photoshop every day.”

Sitcom satirizes “Fauxtography”

faux tography

faux tography 2

A comedy series on the Web laughs at the difficulty a would-be pro shooter faces in light of phones and Instagram.

The developers behind “Fauxtography” say their show features “a 20-something photographer struggling to find his way in the Instagram Era – where anyone with two thumbs and a phone is now a “professional.”

Five episodes are up on YouTube here.
(via Petapixel.)