The Aurora Borealis is looking really good in this short film
Astrophotography is an increasingly popular way to capture the beauty of our natural world and this short film from Alexis Coram shows exactly why.
To capture the awesome footage that makes up this timelapse, Coram spent four nights outside of Fairbanks, Alaska in February. “Two of those nights were entirely overcast and not a light could be seen,” she writes in the video’s description on Vimeo. “The other two nights were electrifying. I stood outside for hours, shooting and gazing in awe at the orchestral dance above and around me.”
Check out Coram’s website for more photos from Alaska’s massive sky.
Watch as our Editor-in-Chief Miriam Leuchter spends time in front of the lens of a headshot master
Peter Hurley is one of the top headshot photographers in the country and when he told our Editor-in-Chief, Miriam Leuchter that he wanted to take her portrait she jumped at the chance. The skilled photographer regularly shoots actors, models and CEOs, and has a knack for making each of his subjects look attractive and confident in front of the camera.
Hurley picked up a camera back in 2000. “I was a model/actor bartender dude and I didn’t want to be in the bar until 4 am anymore,” he says. “I gotta figure out how to make money with a camera. How do I take this device and create something that person is going to be proud of.” These days the charismatic shooter runs studios in New York and Los Angels, has a successful workshop series and associates working around the world using his signature “Peter Hurley” style—which he says is all about simplicity.
“I think the simpler you can make it the more it becomes about the relationship between the photographer and the subject and you will be able to create something out of that,” he says.
Want more tips from this portrait pro? Keep an eye on newsstands for our April issue which features a ton more tips and tricks from Hurley on capturing you’re subjects most flattering angles.
Behind the scenes time lapse of a typical hotel suite transformed into a makeshift studio
Setting up shop inside a bland hotel suite is the norm for many celebrity portrait photographers and according to Robert Hanashiro, the first question is always, “How do I turn a room I’ve seen a thousand times into a photo studio?”
On a recent shoot with Pharrell Williams for USA Today, Hanashiro mounted a Go Pro in the corner to demonstrate what his process looks like. In the time lapse video above you can see Hanashiro, his wife Deanna and his assistant Michael Der moving furniture, placing a backdrop and arranging and testing a variety of lighting set ups. When working in a generic space, Hanashiro says lights are key to creating something dramatic for the subject.
Transforming the room took approximately 90 minutes. Hanashiro’s portrait session with Pharrell lasted a mere 8 minutes.
The iconic photographer on capturing magical moments with Bruce Springsteen, the Beastie Boys, Metallica and more
Danny Clinch’s love of music and photography go hand in hand. He picked up a camera at a young age. “As soon as I started going to concerts with my friends, I’d bring a camera along, sneak it into the venues,” he told us. “I saw Charlie Daniels Band at Six Flags Great Adventure, Stray Cats at The Stone Pony, Bob Seeger at the Philadelphia Spectrum.”
Photographer Jason Bell shoots one of the UK's biggest celebrities in the woods
Many behind-the-scenes videos end up completely devoid of useful information, but this video about Jason Bell's shoot with Benedict Cumberbatch for Vanity Fair was produced by Phase One, so it actually has some photographic information to grab onto.
The shoot takes place in the woods and uses a whole variety of lights as well as a smoke machine. If you have never worked on a shoot of this scale, it's interesting to watch the photographer interact with both the talent and his assistants. A lot of people need to put in a lot of work in order to pull off something like this in an efficient and effective way.
The other interesting thing about this video is the amount of feedback that Cumberbatch gives to Bell as they're shooting. It's a great reminder of just how important it is to collaborate with your subjects. Sometimes they can have some really great ideas that come from outside your original artistic vision.
Of course, since the video was made by Phase One, it has some love for their cameras, but at more than 11-minutes, it's one of the better behind-the-scenes videos I've seen in a while.
A new video series from the George Eastman House tracks the history of photography
Photography has become so accessible that it is easy to forget its cumbersome and time consuming origins. That little rectangle in your pocket is equipped with a powerful camera and a seemingly endless selection of apps for editing your photos, but it wasn't always so simple.
Inventions of Photography is a 12-part video series released by the George Eastman House that explores the earliest days of the process. The extensive series tracks the invention of the daguerreotype, the cyanotype, collodion and the well-known gelatin silver process and highlights a number of images that are contained within the massive George Eastman archives.
In the video below experts discuss the origins of the wet collodion process.
Check out the entire series on The George Eastman House’s Youtube channel.
Created using 80MP stills, this time-lapse will blow your mind
This video, titled “10328x7760- A 10K Timelapse Demo,” was shot in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil by Joe Capra, a Los Angeles-based photographer who specializes in high-def time-lapses. The video includes 5 different scenes of Rio De Janeiro shot at increasing scales.
Capra filmed the video using the PhaseOne IQ180, and the footage was created with shots he took while making 4K and 8K time-lapses. Each scene is made up of individual 80-megapixel images. The individual raw frames measure 10328x7760 pixels apiece.
Since most of us don’t have a 10K display on hand, the video zooms in to show the insane quality of the image.
Capra says, “Each shot was very minimally processed and included curves, input sharpening, and saturation adjustments,” and that the minimal editing means “you might see some dust spots, noise, and manual changes.”
His shot sequences start with the full-res footage scaled down to fit within a 1920x1080 resolution, which is a 14% scale. He then scales to 50%, followed by 100%, creating and extreme zoom and crop. He repeated this process for each of the five scenes.
The 14% scale looks like this:
Followed by 50%:
And finally, 100%:
So we are talking some serious detail here...
This process of filming showcases the “extreme resolution of this camera (and medium format in general,” as well as the “amazing amount of flexibility this resolution allows for in post production,” says Capra.
Capra says, “The quality and detail hold up extremely well, it’s pretty amazing,” and we totally agree.
A fascinating look inside our gear in super-slo-mo
Most of us know how to work a camera. But, it can be a lot trickier to know how a camera actually works. This video from the Slo-Mo Guys gives a nice insight into what's happening when you take a picture or shoot a video.
I won't go on for too long here in terms of text because it's a 7-minute video and you're better off just watching the darn thing, but once you're done just remember how complex the machines we use every day really are. Amazing.
Who knew a piece of spaghetti or a grain of sugar could be so pretty?
Macro photography is a way to explore the unfamilar aspects of our very familiar world. Getting extremely close often means finding beautiful and strange details. A new video from Pyanek called "Amazing Worlds Within Our World," pushes that concept to its limits, highlighting the details that would otherwise go unseen.
The photographer used a Canon T3i (600D/Kiss X5) with the kit lens reveresed to make these images. Editing was done in HeliconFocus for focus stacking and final adjustments were made in Lightroom and Exposure 5.
Watch the video below to see mundane objects like ballpoint pens, kitchen sponges and pieces of food take their closeup.
Feeling inspired and want to try your hand at macro photography? Check out our guide to help get you started.
[Via: This is Colossal]
Samyang launches $549 lens for stills and video
After weeks of rumors, Samyang has officially announced their 135mm f/2.0 lens. The lens is available in 10 mounts: Canon, Canon M, Nikon, Pentax, Sony A, Sony E, Fujifilm X, Samsung NX, Four-Thirds, and MFT, which makes it extremely versatile in terms of camera systems. And, of course, like the rest of Samyang's lens lineup, it's manual focus only.
Other features include 11 glass elements in 7 groups, a minimum focal length of 0.8m, an f/2 to f/22 aperture range, a circular aperture with 9 blades, a detachable petal-shaped lens hood and multi-coated glass to minimize flare, and an extra-low dispersion element to reduce chromatic aberrations.
The Samyang 135mm is available for preorder from retailers like B&H for $549. At that price, it's decidedly cheaper than other 135mm portrait lenses, so if you're willing to forego autofocus, it could be a really great headshot lens. Once a final version is available, we'll bring it into our test lab to see how it stacks up against the competition.
A bird's eye view of a near-catastrophe
Drones are a big deal in the photography world at the moment. Just look at how much new drone stuff we saw at CES last week. But, despite being the hot new piece of gear, they do have a bit of a learning curve. And this Youtube user found that out the hard way when he almost sends his new DJI Phantom 2 into the drink on its maiden voyage.
The video is currently making the rounds on the internet, so it gets the omnipresent disclaimer about how it might just be a "viral" fake. Still, it looks pretty real and it acts as a nice reminder about how easy it is to nuke a piece of equipment when you're sending it off on its own into the friendly skies.
Including new time-lapse, auto-rotate, and burst shooting features for the Hero4 Silver and Black editions
In case you weren’t already pumped about that GoPro you got for the holidays, the company has just announced that the Hero4 Silver and Black editions will be getting updates.
The updates will include a mode that auto-converts time-lapses into videos, and a burst-photo setting that can capture 30 pictures over the span of six seconds.
In addition to these changes, both cameras will no have auto-rotate, a much needed feature for action photography. Auto-rotate will mean never recording another upside-down video, because the camera will be able to detect that the positioning is wrong, and flip the video itself.
The Hero4 Black edition will be receiving even more new features. You will now be able to capture 720p at 240fps for some great HD slow motion videos. 2.7K video will be updated to have a higher frame rate of 60fps. Plus, you will now be able to add “highlight” tags during playback, after video capture.
GoPro has not confirmed an exact release date for these updates, but they are set to happen in the next couple of months.
You're going to need a data plan and lots of data