Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

How to Save Dogs’ Lives through Photography

I had the opportunity to do a couple of shoots with dogs last week and I loved them both. Though it can be sometimes an exercise in patience when photographing pets, the rewards typically outweigh the hassles. If I get to play with a dog, I’m happy.

Even better would be to make a difference with that photography. Dallas pet photographer Teresa Berg is doing just that. After seeing too many unflattering photos on the websites of dog rescue centres, she took it upon herself to volunteer her expertise and paint the pups in a better light. The result is more adoptions and more lives saved.

Wildlife Photography via a Remote Control DSLR Car

Here’s a fun behind-the-scenes video of Will & Matt Burrard-Lucas’ four-wheeled, camera-carrying RC car. Their Beetlecam is a photo gadget that will get up-close-and-personal wildlife shots without endangering life and limb.

It’s a nifty little contraption and gets some unique results. There is, however, something to be said for being able to properly compose your shot. I think they need to set up the software to enable remote live view and then we might have a winner. I just hope they don’t scare the animals too much…

Visual Effects Montage for Game of Thrones

George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones is on my bookshelf and waiting for me to read it, so I haven’t yet watched any of the HBO series based on the fantasy series, but it looks like I’ll be in for a visual treat when I do get around to seeing it.

I’ve always been fascinated by special effects and this video is an impressive little montage of composite work for the show. I know this is only tangentially related to photography, but for any photographer that does any compositing, it might provide a little inspiration. I don’t do much of that myself, but I know my way around Photoshop enough to give it a try. Doing it with video, forget it – it might as well be magic.

Possible spoilers ahead, but I can’t say for sure! (edit: Thanks to Jon for letting me know it’s pretty spoiler free until about the 2:45 mark.)

JR’s Inside Out Project

French photographer JR, the winner of the 2011 TED Prize, is spearheading a global, collaborative art project focussed on celebrating humanity around the world.

Head to the Inside Out Project to start participating. The steps are simple: create a portait, upload it and when it is printed and sent back to you, post it in your community. From the site:

People can participate as an individual or in a group; posters can be placed anywhere, from a solitary image in an office window to a wall of portraits on an abandoned building or a full stadium. These exhibitions will be documented, archived and viewable virtually.

The project already has plenty of life as you can see from the uploaded photos already posted.

Worth watching to learn more about the project is the following video that follows Inside Out as it takes shape in Tunisia:

Follow the Inside Out Youtube channel to see more about the project as it progresses.

What It’s Like to Work for National Geographic

If you’ve ever had any notion of making a career out of travel photography, at some point, you’ve probably wistfully stared into the distance and fantasized about working for National Geographic. That fantasy might have carried with it notions of endless travel to exotic locations full of interesting locals who are all too willing to have you point you camera in their direction. That was my naive fantasy anyway. I couldn’t have been the only one, can I? Anyone?

Celebrated NG photographer, John Stanmeyer, is here to dispel any illusions you might have about the prestigious publication. In his new blog series, he discusses what’s involved in producing a National Geographic article from start to finish from the perspective of a photographer. In this, the first of the series, he writes about the genesis of stories and how those ideas start to take shape via extensive research and planning.

It’s a good window into the process used by some of the world’s best photojournalists and I’ll be sure to keep up with the rest of the series.

Northern Lights Time Lapse

A bit of time-lapse eye candy from Agust Ingvarsson:

AURORA ISLANDICA – a Northern Lights Timelapse from Agust Ingvarsson on Vimeo.

How Eric Kim Shoots Street Photos

Street photographer Eric Kim has posted the following video showing his point of view when he hits the streets with his camera.

It’s an interesting glimpse at how he works: spot a subject, walk confidently and purposefully toward desired vantage point, snap, move along (brief small talk optional). It’s fast and generally not too intrusive and the results are not too bad. See the photos on Eric’s blog.

I’ve rarely used this kind of approach myself – I prefer to ask permission and that has its good and bad sides. On the one hand, well, you’ve asked permission. People appreciate that and some people are decidedly unwilling to allow photos – asking permission avoids trouble. Another big bonus is that you often get a chance to get to know someone you would have normally just passed by. That can lead additional photo ops or even better, friendships.

On the bad side, you’ll often miss shots and the shots you do get after asking for permission can sometimes look posed and stilted.

Either way, I suppose it’s good to be able to work both ways: slowly cozy up to a subject until you can call each other pals or try Eric’s way and be a stealthy photo ninja that has left the scene before they even know a picture was taken.

Mitch Dobrowner’s Storm Photography

Just found this interview with Mitch Dobrowner at F-Stop Magazine. Mitch is a fine-art storm photographer and in this interview he discusses how he got into the field, his process, and how he has made a name for himself. It’s a good little read, but if you want a quick photo fix, skim through the little slideshow of his images for some stunning work.

And if that’s not enough for you, check out his portfolio for plenty more ominous clouds filled with darkness, evil, and tortured souls. Or maybe just darkness.

Rob Hornstra in Sochi, Russia

Rob Hornstra is a dutch photographer whose current project is to document the city of Sochi, Russia before the Winter Olympics of 2014. His method is one of slow journalism that involves visiting and re-visiting areas over the course of years instead of days, weeks or months.

There’s some good behind the scenes time spent on him working on location and getting the locals comfortable in front of the camera as well as insight into how he has financed his projects and brought them to fruition in this age of self-publishing.

And I get a special bonus when watching this one. At about 14:30 of this video, Hornstra is shooting a lounge singer whose last name is not too far off from mine: Sasha Savchuk. I’m told that Sawchuk derives from Savchuk, so, Sasha and I are probably very distantly related. Very.

Via Gill Moore’s twitter.

Senior Dogs Across America

Nothing better than a good dog who has lived a good life. I remember my old dog Arthur in his later days wasn’t as mobile as his younger self, but he was just as loyal, caring and generally awesome. Hard to believe it’s been almost five years since he’s been gone. Still love you buddy! *sniff*

Anyway, what’s prompted that little outpouring is Nancy LeVine‘s beautiful series of photos: Senior Dogs Across America.

It’s easy to tug at the heartstrings of dog lovers with this subject matter, but Levine has done a great job to capture the dignity and still-present joy of these lovely beasts.

Human Planet Slideshow

This audio slideshow of images taken by photographer Timothy Allen is absolutely inspiring or altogether too generative of professional jealousy. It depends on your general glass-half-full/glass-half-empty outlook. I’ll try to go with the former, but I have to admit there is a part of me that wants to figure out how to commit some form of identity theft here…

But then you go over to Timothy’s site and read his inspiring words and you just can’t help but like him:

The moral of this story… Without sounding too corny… follow your heart. And for those of you that think that a statement like that is too wishy-washy, then I’ll rephrase it to… persue the vocation in life that you feel most enthusiastic about. You know… the one that you’d do regardless of how much it pays you. In my experience, if you live this way then no matter what transpires, you will be walking in the right direction in life.

The likelihood is that nothing will turn out the way you expect, so I would recommend not bothering with any expectations of the future. Just concern yourself with enjoying what you are doing in the moment. That’s the place where all the magic happens.

… and if you have discovered that photography is your passion then think yourself very lucky. Many people go through life never knowing such a feeling. Don’t waste it.

Yeah, the glass is half full.

Jeff Johnson’s Travel Tips Video

Give yourself a ten minute break and check out this video about commercial travel and lifestyle photographer Jeff Johnson‘s work. Jeff’s outdoor photography has allowed him land an impressive client list (including a staff photographer position with Patagonia) and to make impressive images from plenty of far-flung destinations.

Check it out:

Perspectives on Poverty

Duncan McNicholl, a member of Engineers Without Borders, has begun worthwhile project. He calls it Perspectives on Poverty and its aim is to challenge the way impoverished people are photographed and perceived.

He works in Malawi and has grown tired of the stereotypical portrayals of impoverished third-world citizens. His aim is to photograph those around him in two ways: once at their best and once playing the part of the downtrodden African we’ve come to see so often in the images soliciting charitable donations.

McNicholl says, “I want to bring to light some of the different assumptions we make about a person, especially when we see an image of ‘poverty’ from rural Africa.”

The image he has on of one of his subjects attempting and failing to look serious is worth a look by itself.

Behind the Scenes with National Geographic Wildlife Photographer Joel Sartore

Each of National Geographic Photographer Joel Sartore’s impressive wildlife photographs probably has an equally impressive blooper reel to go with it. This video hints at some of those misadventures:

I recently did a shoot with some house cats and even those relatively-domesticated animals made for plenty of adventure. Some of these animals, unused to human contact let alone a photographic set, must have been incredible handfuls when faced with such unfamiliar situations. I like the little box Sartore has with a white scoop in it to contain frisky critters in a confined space.

Photo Links for 30-03-2010

A few links to various photo-related topics have caught my eye in the last few days:

Travel Photographer of the Year 2009 Results

To add to yesterday’s post of year-end ‘best of’ galleries, the results of the Travel Photographer of the Year 2009 competition have been announced.

The overall winner is G.M.B. Akash, a Bangladeshi photographer who was unanimously voted the outstanding entrant. I’m particularly entranced by his shipbreaking series, more of which can be seen on his site.

The judges waxed about his work: “His two portfolios demonstrate an ability to work with movement and a range of different light. They are vibrant and engaging whilst still managing to tell stories about the people and places in his images.” I can’t say I disagree with them – the images on display are great.

I’m also particularly fond of many of the images that won/were commended in the Natural Wonders categories. The images capturing wildlife in the Arctic and Antarctic very much caught my eye, particularly Swiss photographer Daisy Gilardini’s black and white images.

One of the single images that stood out for me was Poras Chaudhary‘s third shot – the Indian crowd swarming in an explosion of multi-coloured dust at the Festival of Colours. It has the feeling of being a painting and while the colours are heavily saturated, they don’t feel overwhelming in this image.

Best of the Best of

As usual, December abounds with lists and photography is no exception. That gives a chance to look at a host of pretty pictures:

  • The year in review from The Big Picture comes in three parts. Check them out here, here and here.
  • The year recapped in pictures by Time Magazine is here.
  • Life Magazine’s photos of the year here.
  • The Sony World Photography Awards has photos from a broad range of categories here.
  • And lastly, Lifehacker has a list of photo technique tutorials and articles that were popular in 2009 here.

Contest Winners Quick Links

Time for some pretty pictures courtesy the winners of some recent contests:

Dark Flash Photography

New Scientist has this article that discusses a new invention by computer-science student Dilip Krishnan and assistant professor Rob Fergus. Their invention is something they call dark flash photography.

Dark flash photography involves a flash that will produce a burst of light outside the visible spectrum and a camera that will be able to both read that information then be able to accurately interpret the visible colour in a scene. The result will be the ability to use a camera flash that will be invisible to the human eye. This invisible flash won’t dazzle, disturb or be intrusive to photographic subject.

The flash in their system has been modified to produce light in a wider spectrum than a normal flash. It emits both infrared and UV light, but at the same time, visible light is filtered out. Normal cameras have filters that prevent infrared and UV light from hitting the sensor, but the pair have modified a camera to be able to pick up both of these forms of light. The resultant image will have strange, unnatural colour, but Krishnan and Fergus have a way around this problem.

Their modified camera will take two exposures in quick succession to get one shot. The first exposure will record the luminosity generated by the invisible IR/UV flash. The second exposure will be used to record colour information using only ambient light. This second image, taken immediately after the first, will lack the detail of the first and will inevitably be unusably dark. But between the two images, all the necessary information. The first has the luminosity information, the second has the colour information.

Using software, the two exposures are combined and the result is a normal-looking photograph produced using the invisible flash.

The New Scientist story says there are still some bugs left eliminate. Certain objects and materials (freckles, for example) absorb the IR/UV light burst. Based on this article at on taking infrared photos of basketball players, I suspect there may also be some issues with certain materials reflecting IR/UV light more than they should as well.

I would guess, also, that there would be limitations to what you can photograph based simply on the fact that you are taking two exposures. Fast-moving subjects will be problematic because they will have changed position from one exposure to the next.

There is, however, a variety of applications for this invention. What immediately jumped to my mind was to be able to take flash-lit photos in venues where it is not permitted (usually because it is distracting to other visitors). Perhaps wedding photographers will soon have the option to flash light a ceremony and not disturb the bride and groom with flash pops during their big moment.

Quick Links for April 1st, 2009

No I don’t have any April Fool’s Day pranks to play on you, just a few bits of what the internet has to offer:

  • Dark Roasted Blend has a series of shots by photographer Thomas Birke who has spent some time in Tokyo capturing visions of the city that inspired Blade Runner.
  • You can always count on National Geographic for some lovely images. This gallery showcases the natural wonders in Svalbard, Norway.
  • To continue on the winter wonderland theme, The F Stop has an article featuring Simon Harsent’s gorgeous photos of icebergs.
  • The Big Picture has effectively used fading images to show the lights going out around the world in Earth Hour 2009.

Travel Photography Links – Feb 17, 2009

Time for some virtual travels to different corners of the world.

  • First up is this series from the Big Picture with some good photos from Tibet’s Great Prayer Festival.
  • The Luminous Landscape has field test of the Canon 5d MkII in Antarctica and the results(particularly with respect to its video capabilities) are mixed.
  • Black Star Rising has a couple potentially-useful tips on photographic wildlife from your car.
  • Matt Brandon has put up this slideshow of images from Thaipusam in Penang. It makes me want to go back and see this fantastic Hindu festival again. I was at the Batu caves near Kuala Lumpur a few years ago to witness this festival and it was an incredible event. Go here for my photos of Thaipusam.

Pretty Pictures of the Day

For those of you in need of a winter holiday, maybe these sets of images will coax you from hibernation:

  • Bjorn Holland’s motorcycle trip across Europe and Asia has yielded some lovely lovely panoramas that make me want to visit some beautiful, barren landscapes in the “Stans.”
  • The Sacramento Bee has a nice gallery of frosty winter scenics here.
  • The Big Picture comes through with a couple more winners. First, there is this series of winter images that features photos from the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, China. The Harbin festival seems to be the bigger, more gaudy brother to Japan’s Sapporo Snow Festival. I’m sure both of these would be great fun.
  • And again from the Big Picture: More of London from Above. Great aerial photography by Jason Hawkes.

Quicklinks for Thursday, January 22, 2009

A plethora of photography links for you on this fine day:

  • has a 40 minute retouching tutorial that takes you from start to finish on the retouching of a fashion shot.
  • If you didn’t learn enough from that, Photoshop Support has a few more videos for you to check out on skin retouching.
  • For those of you now using Photoshop CS4, Yuri Arcurs has some tips on how to optimize your settings to get the best performance out of the software. However, some of these tips may end up being unnecessary in the near future as is reporting that Adobe is planning an update to CS4 soon.
  • Five FWD have a fun video in which they compare film and digital prints, big ones. 17 meter ones to be precise. They take a look at how a a 12 megapixel Nikon D700 stacks up against the same shot using 35mm film using massive enlargements. I have to get myself one of those printers (and gallons of ink) and then I can decorate my apartment building with my shots!
  • Simon Hoegsberg has printed the world’s longest photograph.

A few from Digital Photography School:

  • This article gives advice on what you might need to do to start freelancing for your local newspaper.
  • Fashion photographer Adriana Curcio gives seven important tips for aspiring photogs.
  • Lastly, more tips. This time it’s Chase Jarvis dishing out some tips. The most interesting part of it for me is his commentary on the creative gap, an idea I’m going to have to mull over a bit. I had never heard this expression of it before and I like the idea. It’s something that I (and probably most people) already do, but it’s nice to have it spelled out so that you can consciously make the effort to bridge that creative gap.

The Big Aerial Picture’s The Big Picture has done it again with this gallery of images from famed aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand. His images always impress and the body of work he has assembled over his career always makes me jealous.

Any helicopter pilots want to be my friend?