Customizing cameras at National Geographic

national geographic customizer

national geographic customizer

Off-the-shelf cameras are getting better every year, but some extreme use cases call for some extreme alterations.

At National Geographic, Kenji Yamaguchi has a shop that “could be mistaken for Sid’s workbench from Toy Story, a place where mangled lenses and broken shutters crowd out bare areas of his workspace.”

In a basement office “filled with drill presses and electric saws… surrounded by robotic motors, modified macro lenses, and custom flashes, Kenji builds contraptions that can’t be bought,” the magazine says. “When a photographer needs to fasten a camera onto a thirty-foot pole to capture a bird in her nest, or build a wide-angle macro lens to identify pollen on a flower with mountains in the background, he’ll call Kenji.”

The full story is here.

Photographers become self-publishers

photographers self publish

photographers self publish

Time Magazine looks at the business side of publishing a photography book — when the publisher is also the artist.

“An increasing number of photographers are bypassing traditional photo book publishers, setting up, instead, their own imprints,” the article says. “Progressively, photographers who choose to self-publish are taking it to the next level. They’re turning one-time hits into more permanent structures that release works by other artists. Many have chosen this avenue as a way to snub the major publishers who are increasingly asking their authors to bring not only a great body of work, but also a check.”

The full story is here.

Also: Time presents its picks for the best photography books of the year here.

 

The new issue of PMA Magazine is here

FourthQuarter2014_250x328

Magazine_issueQ4_2014_700x416I’m happy to announce the newest issue of PMA Magazine — Connecting the Imaging Communities, is now live! With this issue, we are beginning our new, quarterly publication schedule.

In it, you can read about the PMA 2015 Conferences and Digital Imaging/Photography Exhibits and Sessions, presented by PMA, at 2015 International CES. You will also learn about Mark Wallenfang, owner of Shooting Star, whose fascinating career spans photo retail, professional picture framing, teaching, and being the photographer for the Green Bay Packers.

In addition, read about the huge rent bill that drove Fotofast out of its Brisbane location – and right into a much more successful future. Be sure to check out the Fourth Quarter issue for these stories, and lots more.

  • Beating the camera sales challenge – PMA 2015 Conferences speaker Heino Hilbig says we’re all wrong about why camera sales have declined
  • Going mobile with retailers – Now spun off from troubled parent Lucidiom, Photo Finale helps photo retailers unlock mobile images
  • Stop, thief! – PMA 2015 Conferences speaker Jack Reznicki on how to keep people from stealing your images
  • Chuck’s back – With his new namesake photo design bar, Chuck Wolf is back in the business

DxO OpticsPro clears atmospheric haze

dxo clearview 1

dxo clearview 1

DxO Labs say the new ClearView feature in its DxO OpticsPro 10 imaging software eliminates atmospheric haze “in a spectacular fashion.”

The automatic ClearView “eliminates the phenomenon of atmospheric haze visible in many landscape photos,” the company says, “as well as the smog often present in urban images.” It analyzes the color components of each pixel and locally improves the image contrast, DxO adds. “Due to its physical nature, the phenomenon of haze increases with the distance between the camera and the subject. That’s why DxO OpticsPro establishes a kind of depth map of the image scene, and removes the impression of grey veil only when necessary.”dxo clearview 2

Also, the Prime noise reduction approach (Probabilistic Raw IMage Enhancement) now reveals more details, and at an increased speed, the company says: up to 4 times faster.

The $129 software provides optical corrections, optimization of exposure and contrast, and preservation of colors and details.

There’s a fully functional free trial version here.

 

On the PMA Podcast: Protect your photos with copyright registration

1_jack

1_jack

“You really feel violated when  you are infringed, when someone takes your work and uses it illegally,” says commercial photographer Jack Reznicki.

There are tried-and-true ways to head that off, and Reznicki will provide the legal and practical details at his presentation at the PMA Conference in Las Vegas in January. We sat down with him this Fall to get an advance look at that talk, and a look back at where he came from.

You can subscribe to our podcast or download the episode here:

 Or listen in now through the player below.

5K iMac improves photo editing

apple Mac27retina

apple Mac27retina

Attention photo editors: Apple just announced the world’s highest resolution display — and not only are they selling it for less than currently available lower-resolution monitors… it’s also part of a complete high-end computer.

The 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display has 14.7 million pixels, a resolution at which Apple says “text appears sharper than ever, videos are unbelievably lifelike, and you can see new levels of detail in your photos.”

The 5120 x 2880 resolution has four times more pixels than the standard 27-inch iMac and 67 percent more pixels than a 4K display, so “you can see more of your high-resolution photos with pixel-for-pixel detail.”

The tech specs are interesting, as Apple says it had to hammer out its own chips and retool its manufacturing to get this many pixels in the thin case: “iMac with Retina 5K display uses a precisely manufactured oxide TFT-based panel to deliver vivid display brightness from corner to corner. A single supercharged Apple-designed timing controller (TCON), with four times the bandwidth, drives all 14.7 million pixels. …The display also uses highly efficient LEDs and organic passivation to improve image quality and reduce display power consumption by 30 percent, even while driving four times more pixels at the same brightness. To improve the contrast ratio, …the display uses a new photo alignment process and a compensation film to deliver blacker blacks and more vibrant colors from any viewing angle…. (it) is calibrated using three state-of-the-art spectroradiometers to ensure precise and accurate color.” Phew!

The computer also has the latest quad-core processors, high-performance graphics, and a Fusion Drive (combining solid-state and spinning platter storage). “It’s the ultimate display combined with the ultimate all-in-one,” the company says. Pricing starts at $2,499.

ipad air 2

Apple also introduced its iPad Air 2, which has an improved display “for enhanced contrast and richer, more vibrant colors, and better cameras for taking stunning photos and videos.”

The latest model weighs less than a pound and is 6.1 mm thick.

With an anti-reflective coating that reduces glare by 56 percent, a 40 percent faster CPU, and improved cameras, the company highlighted the tablet’s photo capture and editing capabilities.

“Innovations to the iSight camera enable better photos and videos, with an 8-megapixel sensor and advanced optics to help capture rich, detailed images and add new features including panoramic in Photos, time-lapse video, slo-mo and 1080p HD video,” Apple says.
Pricing starts at $499.

 

Canon claims longest 4K ultra-telephoto lens

canon cineservo

canon cineservo

First: yep, it’s $78,000. So no, you likely are not the target customer for this hunk o’ glass.

However, Canon says its “the increasing use of large-format single-sensor 4K cameras for field productions like sports and nature documentaries” means there might indeed be more potential buyers for its new ultra-telephoto CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm T5.0-8.9 Ultra-Telephoto Zoom lens.

It has a 75-1500mm focal length to “offer cinematographers new possibilities for shooting scenes in HD, 2K and 4K on single-sensor cameras,’ the company says. “The use of large-sensor 4K cameras is rapidly spreading beyond motion pictures and episodic television, into many new types of productions such as broadcast sports and nature documentaries.”

It’s available in either EF- or PL-mount, and “provides outstanding aberration correction and high image quality extending from the center of the image to all edges. For professional users, this lens enables close-up 4K imaging of wildlife subjects or athletes while maintaining the physical distances necessary in such shooting situations,” Canon adds.

There’s more information here.

 

Photo book finds funding, ties to mobile

smolan tracks

smolan tracks

Famed photographer Rick Smolan is enhancing one of his earliest works with a smartphone-enabled coffee table book — for which he has now completed a first round of funding on Kickstarter.

Inside Tracks: Alone Across the Outback is based on a woman’s solitary 1,700 mile camel trek across the Australian Outback, the book she published about her journey, the photos Smolan captured — and the new movie hitting screens soon.

Smolan was a twenty-eight-year-old photojournalist when he was sent to document Robyn Davidson’s nine-month Australian adventure. National Geographic published his initial photos; she wrote her own book about the journey; and Smolan later published his own photo book, From Alice to Ocean.

Inside Tracks will be a self-published 224-page landscape coffee-table book, 30-inches wide when open. It will “weave together three experiences of her journey,” Smolan says: quotes from her book, the best of his photos, many of which have never been seen before, and images and the screenplay from the new movie.

With integrated HP technology, Smolan adds, “you simply point your phone or tablet at specially marked photos and immediately you’ll see a clip from the movie showing how that photograph was brought to life.”

The Kickstarter funding has met Smolan’s initial goals — but you can still sign up now to get a good deal on the finished volume, and help ensure the publication.

 

Forest Service says you can still shoot in the wild

meet-forest-service

meet-forest-serviceThere’s been a lot of talk online lately about the U.S. Forest Service banning or fining pro photography in the woods.

Just a misunderstanding, the government agency now says.
Nonetheless, it’s also asking you to have your say at its site as it seeks to firm up future policies.

Arizona Highways reports that while shooters were justifiably concerned that the proposed rule change for photography permits in wilderness areas could affect amateur photographers and the general public, “the Forest Service has clarified its stance on the issue. The proposed change would only make permanent a temporary directive that’s been in place for years. And it only applies to commercial shoots, such as movies or TV commercials; it would not affect the vast majority of photographers or other visitors to wilderness areas.”

“If you’re there to gather news or take recreational photographs, no permit would be required. We take your First Amendment rights very seriously,” the agency says in a statement. “Professional and amateur photographers do not need a permit to photograph in wilderness areas unless they use models, actors or props; work in areas that are normally off-limits to the public; or incur additional administrative costs.”

The Forest Service is soliciting public comment on the proposal here.

 

Coming soon: The new PMA Podcast

PMAlogo_CMYK_small

PMAlogo_CMYK_smallI’m excited to announce that we will be launching the new PMA Podcast in September!MIME Logo PMAN

The PMA Podcast is the podcast for anyone whose business revolves around imaging and pictures. We’ll cover topics like increasing sales, new imaging technology, the latest in picture framing, business management tips, advances in photo output, high volume photography, and much more. Designed for members of PMA and its international community of imaging associations — AIE, DIMA, NAPET, PPFA, PSPA, and SPAA — the PMA Podcast is your weekly source of information to help you grow your business.

If you’re a fan of the DIMAcast or the AIE Imaging Executive podcast, you’ll find all the great content you’re used to — including our friend Bill McCurry‘s monthly McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange podcast and transcripts — and lots more, now all in one place, on the PMA Podcast.

Look for the first episode on September 8, followed by a great new interview every week.