Demna Gvasalia Redefines The Balenciaga Brand With His Own Gothic Twist
In Demna Gvasalia’s world, high-fashion isn’t merely about the fantasy, but the reality that surrounds creating wearable forms of art. This season at Balenciaga, Gvasalia took the reigns in a gothic direction by infusing his own sense of style and aesthetic–focusing on creating a collection that was less about the legacy of Cristobal and more about Gvasalia’s stance on fashion. For Spring 2018, Gvasalia pushed the limits as models flanked the runway clad in men’s striped shirts, punk tartans, t…
This ,500 Camera Can Help Your Car Shoot Google Street View Photos
Google has just certified the Insta360 Pro 360-degree 8K camera as the first “Street View Auto Ready” camera, capable of contributing to Street View after being mounted to a car.
Insta360 says it has been collaborating closely with Google to ensure a seamless capture and sharing experience between its spherical camera and Google’s popular Street View service.
“Devices recognized in the ‘Street View ready’ program are perfectly suited for contributing 360-degree content to Google Street View,” writes Insta360, “allowing users to put their own stamp on the global patchwork of immersive street-level views that’s accessible via Google Maps, Google Earth, and the Street View app.”
Here’s what the Insta360 Pro looks like when mounted to a car using a RIDIC camera-to-vehicle mount:
While mounted to a moving car, the Insta360 Pro can shoot high-quality images thanks to its stabilization system and optical-flow stitching algorithm. The camera is also getting a new 5fps 8K shooting mode that’s optimized for Street View purposes.
Owners of the camera will soon be able to control it using Google’s Street View app and then upload the 360-degree images directly to Street View inside Insta360’s Stitcher software.
Finally, Google is also planning to loan out 50 Insta360 Pro cameras to photographers through its camera loan program, allowing people to make Street View contributions from around the world.
Here are the resulting photos side-by-side — see if you can tell which are full frame and which are crop before seeing the answer below each pair:
Answer: Crop sensor, full frame.
Answer: Crop sensor, full frame.
Answer: Full frame, crop sensor.
Answer: Crop sensor, full frame.
Answer: Full frame, crop sensor.
Answer: Full frame, crop sensor.
Ortiz shot the full frame camera at f/2.8 to capture a similar depth of field to shooting the crop sensor camera at f/1.8 — the exception was the night photos, for which Ortiz used f/1.8 to keep the ISO lower.
“I was able to get nearly identical results from both camera setups,” Ortiz tells PetaPixel. “The message of the video is that there isn’t much difference between the photos coming from both types of cameras and other factors play a bigger role!”
ON1 Unveils Photo RAW 2018: HDR, Pano, Masking, and More
ON1 just announced a new version of its Photo RAW photo software, which is using crowdsourced ideas to become an ultimate RAW processor. This latest version has a number of new features and improvements, including HDR, panorama stitching, and more.
Here’s a 3.5-minute video introducing the new version:
“From the beginning the ON1 community has driven the development of ON1 Photo RAW based on what’s most important to them,” ON1 says. “Almost every feature and improvement made to the app in version 2018 is a direct result of community input through the ON1 Photo RAW Project.”
Here are some of the key features and changes in Photo RAW 2018, with descriptions of each one by ON1:
“Create stunning HDR photos that merge all tonality from a bracket of photos in a fraction of the time (test results have shown up to seven times faster than other HDR apps). Automatically aligns photos and removes ghosting from motion between exposures. Includes full non-destructive editing with natural results and can be turned up to 11 for a surreal look.”
“Combine multiple photos into a single panoramic or matrix photo. Automatically aligns photos, even if they are not shot on a tripod, and blends them together seamlessly. An option to embed panoramic metadata for Facebook panning is also available.”
Global Mask Editing Tools
“These include new mask Density and Feather sliders to allow for changing the density or opacity of masks as well as blur masks for softening.”
Luminosity Mask Updates
“Adjust the levels of a mask to increase the contrast or brightness as well as set a tonal window to only affect a certain zone. These updates allow users to target just the area they want, based on the photo.”
Color Range Masks
“Create a mask from a color range selection.”
Blur and Chisel Mask Tools
“In ON1 Effects, the Blur and Chisel mask tools are now included. The blur tool is perfect for softening or feathering a mask selectively. The Chisel tool lets the user push or pull the edge selectively, to remove halos. All of these new masking options are re-editable and non-destructive.”
“Versions are virtual copies of the same photo. Each version created can include non-destructive settings, including crop, retouching and adjustments. Versions work just like any other photo without taking up more space on your computer. ”
“Clean and modern UI where your photo is the center of attention. Custom name filters and layers to easier keep track of work. Also select your own UI accent color.”
Paint with Color Brush
“Painting with color can be a solid color, perfect for skin smoothing and making annotation layers, or paint with just the color and leave the underlying luminosity in place to change the color of objects like eyes.”
Selectively Add or Remove Noise
“Brush away noise in areas like skies or add noise for an artistic effect.”
ON1 Photo for Mobile
“Take the best shots with you on the go with the free ON1 Photo for Mobile app. It’s a great way to share portfolios. It can also sync new photos taken on phones back to the desktop so those photos are ready for editing.”
Additional Camera & Lens Support
“Added support for the Nikon D850, Olympus EM-10 III and Panasonic DMC-G85, plus a ton of new lenses.”
ON1 Photo RAW 2018 will be available as a free public beta starting on October 6th, and the full release is scheduled for the end of the month. If you own any ON1 app or plug-in, you’ll be able to upgrade to Photo RAW 2018 for $80 (the regular upgrade price is $100). The full app can also be preordered for $120 from the ON1 website.
Workshop Preview: Lowrider Culture in Northern New Mexico
Photographer Don Usner photographs lowriders, among other subjects related to his lifelong love for Northern New Mexico’s natural and cultural history. The cars, he says, “are incredible creations, beautiful art pieces.” But he adds that his work is “more about the people and seeing the cars as an expression of their cultural ethos. What’s exciting and rewarding about this kind of photography is the engagement and contact with people and the exchanges of ideas and inspiration about art.”
Usner will be teaching a three-day workshop this month at Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, introducing students to lowrider culture and how to photograph it. He shared with PDN some advice he’ll give his students about approaching subjects, overcoming fear, and making photographs that tell human stories.
PDN: How do you get students to see not just cars, but the larger car culture?
Don Usner: For me, it’s about communication. If I form a good relationship with the person I’m photographing, and I have a meaningful, warm exchange, that’s the most important thing. If I get a good picture also, that’s icing on the cake. But the first step to getting a photo is establishing a relationship that is mutually trusting and open. There’s a notion among photographers that you go in and get the shot and get out. I’d like to cultivate the notion that it’s more about forming a relationship that both people [photographer and subject] feel good about. Then if there’s a photograph out of it, that’s even better.
PDN: What’s your advice to students for developing those kinds of relationships?
DU: I tell them to be open, to be curious, to be inquisitive and to listen and try and really appreciate what the person is presenting. I also advise that if somebody is not comfortable having their picture taken, you courteously acknowlege that and say and be content with the exchange regardless of the outcome photographically. It lends a sense of trust that allows people to be more themselves, and share more of themselves.
PDN: What do you find the students struggle with the most? What’s the biggest challenge for them?
DU: People have a fear of approaching strangers and asking to take their picture, and being comfortable in the role of a photographer. That is somehow intimidating for people. I find that students are tenataitve about being open and saying, “Here’s who I am, I want to know who you are, and I want to tak eyoure picture,” and getting past that fear that you’re going to be rejected, or that you’re violating somebody’s personal space.
PDN: How do you help them get past that fear?
DU: I encourage them to be curious, open, light, respectful, and to show some of themesleves, too. Make it a two-way conversation, and open up avenues for dialogue: “ I used to have a ’57 chevy,” or whatever. It’s all about the attitude and openness and not being apologetic about the fact that you’re a photographer. In my own practice, I have a camera around my neck, I get out of my car, I walk right up to people and the camera’s right on me, so there’s no secret, and there’s no mincing words: “I’m a photographer, I’m here, I want to meet you, I want to learn about you”. And I’m not ashamed of it, you know?
PDN: What’s your advice for students who are introverts, or who aren’t good conversationalists?
DU: Just to be yourself. If you’re an introvert, that’s OK, but you still have to make contact. And you can do that in the context of: “This is kind of awkward for me. I’m not used to engagine people and asking to take their picture, but I’d like to do it.” It’s just a matter of honesty. I’ve had tremendous introverts do really well, because people relate to that: “Oh, yeah I’m kind of an introvert, too, and we can do this without a lot of words.” You don’t have to pretend or project but you have to overcome your own fears of trying to make a point of contact, whatever the tone of it is.
PDN: How do segue from making a connection to taking good pictures?
DU: It has to be a spontaneous process. If the moment arises, you ask: “Can I get a picture of you by your car?” Or: “Can you show me how this part of your car works?” Fortunately, this particular population is proud of their creations and not camra shy. They’re more than happy to cooperate. Then technique comes in: how to compose a picture, how to include important elements of a car or its environment. I don’t like to isolate cars as objects, but to see them in context. What’s the yard like, what’s the garage like, what’s the family like that’s often nearby? It’s about the physical environment and cultural enviroment, and tuning into that to find compositions that include elements that tell the story about this culture and these individuals. Its ultimately about telling the story.
PDN: How do you get it all into one frame?
DU: You look for the salient elements that tell most eloquently the story your’e seeing, or that reveal the character of the person you’re photographing. As a fallback, you can use a wide angle lens and photograph the car from every conceivable angle. But more intelligently, or sensitively, it’s noticing that, well, this guy is really into this aspect of his car—maybe it’s his connection to the mural that’s painted on it. That’s where his passion is, that’s where he’s invested himself, so I want to get him talking about that, and pointing to it or being near it. I was in a guy’s garage and he’s really into speed. On the wall was a picture of his car with the tires really burning up in a drag race. So his portrait was with that [picture] beside him. It’s a process of trying to become aware and keeping open to what’s presenting itself. There’s always a photograph presenting itself. It’s just a matter of opening yourself up to realize it.
Usner’s workshop, “Exploring the Lowrider Culture in Northern New Mexico: Capture to Print,” takes place October 14-17 in Santa Fe. See complete details at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops website.
Couple Stole .2M Worth of Cameras and Electronics from Amazon
An Indiana couple has admitted to stealing over $1.2 million worth of cameras and other electronics from Amazon.
The US Department of Justice announced today that husband and wife Erin Joseph Finan, 38, and Leah Jeanette Finan, 37, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and money laundering in the U.S. District Court in Indianapolis.
The couple had purchased hundreds of pricey electronics, including GoPro cameras, from Amazon. After receiving the items, the couple would contact Amazon customer support and report that the products were damaged and/or not working. Amazon’s customer service representatives responded to the complaints by sending the couple free replacements at no charge.
While filing an excessive number of reports from an Amazon account is sure to raise red flags, the couple managed to circumvent Amazon’s fraud detection by creating hundreds of fake online identities and Amazon accounts.
After receiving the free replacement electronics, the couple sold them to a 28-year-old man named Danijel Glumac — who’s also being charged by the Department of Justice — who sold the products to an unnamed “New York entity,” who finally sold them to the public. Glumac allegedly earned $1.2 million from the NY entity, and $725,000 of that was paid to the Finans.
“Consumer fraud is absorbed by all of us through higher retail prices,” says United States Attorney Josh Minkler. “Buying and selling black market items across state lines is against federal law and those who choose to ignore that will be held accountable.”
It took an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Indiana State Police to uncover the Finan’s fraud and take them down.
The couple will be sentenced on November 9th, and they face up to 20 years in prison and $500 fines. As part of their plea agreement, however, the Finans are being ordered to repay Amazon $1,218,504.
V Girls: Sigrid Is Leading The Rise Of The Norwegian Pop Scene
Earlier this year, the U.S. got a taste of what’s up and coming in the Norwegian pop scene thanks to 21-year-old Sigrid. The singer’s breakout, defiant pop hit “Don’t Kill My Vibe” has been pretty much impossible to forget ever since. Sigrid is one of the ones to watch from Norway’s budding pop soundscape, alongside Billie Van, Dagny and more. Since the release of her debut EP Don’t Kill My Vibe, Sigrid has revealed herself to be a powerhouse on vocals and on stage.
The Hardest Decision I’ve Ever Had to Make as a Photographer
It’s 7:15 am on Sunday morning. I’m driving through the middle of Newcastle on my way to shoot wedding prep at a venue just over an hour away from my home. I pull over to the hard shoulder. Head in hands, crying and asking myself: “Chris, What the f**k are you doing?”
Let me rewind 70 hours.
It’s 9:15 am on Friday morning. I’m sitting in the waiting room of the children’s ER at the Royal Victoria Infirmary Hospital in Newcastle. My youngest son is very ill. He was in the hospital on the Wednesday with something called HSP — some reaction to an infection he had. Overnight on Thursday and into the Friday, his health had gotten significantly worse.
Vomiting blood, screaming in pain, covered in a horrible rash. Pretty much the worst things you could see happen to your 4-year-old.
“We need to admit your son..”
The doctors quickly realize there needs to be some intervention with my son to stop him from getting worse. He’s the most distressed I’d ever seen. He even asked if he was going to die. Heart-wrenching stuff.
First and foremost, I am a dad. That is the most important job in my life. But what happens when you’ve got to make that decision between being by your son’s side while he’s going through this awful illness or keeping your commitment to photograph a wedding that has been booked for over a year?
This was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make as a photographer.
On one hand, how could I possibly leave my son? What if he got worse? What if he needed me? What if my wife needed me there to support her?
On the other hand, how could I possibly let this lovely couple down? How would that impact their day? How would it impact my reputation as a photographer? What if I couldn’t find someone to cover it?
All day Friday, all of this was racing through my head. I reached out to some amazing photographers I know to see who might be available if I couldn’t get to the wedding. Luckily, four came back to say it wasn’t a problem and they would shoot it. Amazing photographers indeed.
This was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make.
It’s Saturday lunchtime. He’s not really getting any better. His heart rate is up, his kidney function is down, and he’s having to have morphine for the pain in his tummy.
How do you make this decision? It’s not like when I was employed by a big business — I couldn’t have cared less if I was off work then. It wouldn’t even have crossed my mind not to be at the hospital with the boy. But this is different. This is all on me.
Even though I had great photographers willing to cover the day, how could I do that to my couple? We’ve built a relationship, a rapport and an understanding of how the day will be. Taking that away from them with less than 24 hours notice could have ruined the happiest day of their lives.
It’s Saturday night. I’m still not certain on what to do. I look to the wife for the answer, knowing fine well that she would tell me to go. I look to my dad. He tells me the same.
I get home. The guilt is real. How could I leave him? I cry myself to sleep.
It’s 7.15am on Sunday morning. I’m driving through the middle of Newcastle on my way to shoot wedding prep at a venue just over an hour away from my home. I pass the turnoff to the hospital. I pull over to the hard shoulder. Head in hands, crying and asking myself: “Chris, What the F*ck are you doing?”
I give myself a shake. Take a big gulp of my coffee and get back on the road. As soon as I get there I check in with the wife to see how he is. He didn’t have a good night and was really unsettled. He was in pain. I took a minute outside before going to see my lovely bride. I tried to rationalize in my head what I was doing.
Could I actually make him feel any better by being there? Like actually physically better? No, I couldn’t. He was with my wife, who’s very strong, very smart, and very much in control of the situation. He was surrounded by doctors who were doing everything they can to make him feel better.
He is in the best place possible.
It’s 10.30pm on Sunday evening. I arrive back at the hospital to see my son flat out asleep in the bed. I sit down next to him and cry my eyes out again. The guilt is real.
The saving grace is that my couple was amazing. The wedding was amazing. The venue was amazing, and we got some amazing images of their stunning wedding day.
Still. This was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make.
Eight days in and we are still in the hospital with the little fella. He’s looking loads better, but it’s going to be a long road to a full recovery.
About the author: Chris Ord is a wedding and portrait photographer based in South Tyneside, UK. You can find more of his work on his website, blog, and Twitter. This article was also published here.
In this article, I’ll be sharing 10 macro photography tips for beginners who are just starting out in the genre.
There are several good lens options for macro photography. You could use extension tubes combined with a normal lens, which gives you some magnification. Or even better, you could reverse a normal lens, which combined with extension tubes gives even more magnification. The most convenient and flexible option though, especially for a beginner within macro photography, is to get a dedicated macro lens.
The most popular models come in focal lengths between 90-105mm, and have 1:1 magnification. There are also shorter focal lengths such as 50mm or 60mm, but these have shorter working distances, which means you have to get very close to your subject, risking to scare it away. 1:1 magnification means that when you focus as closely as possible, your subject is as big on the sensor as it is in real life. So if you have a full frame sensor of 36×24 mm, it means that any insect you want to shoot that is 36 mm long, just about fits in your picture.
Many these lenses have image stabilization, which is a good thing, as it makes composition a lot easier. Have a look at reviews and buy one that you like. You can’t go wrong with a ~100mm 1:1 macro lens – image quality wise, most of them produce comparable results.
#2. Location and weather
Some of the most interesting subjects to photograph with a macro lens are small bugs and insects. Flowers and various plants are also fun, and can often make interesting abstract images. The locations that offer the most to a macro photographer, is in my experience places with lots of flowers and plants. Botanical gardens are great.
The best time to go out if you want to shoot bugs and insects is whenever the outside temperature is about 17°C (63°F) or warmer, as insects tend to be more active when it is warm outside. On the other hand, if you are good at finding insects where they rest (I have personally found this very hard), they are more still when it is cold. Some macro photographers like to go out in early summer mornings to catch the insects when they sleep.
Overcast weather is usually better than sunny weather, as it gives a softer light.
If you are shooting very small subjects, such as insects, the focal plane will be extremely narrow – a couple of millimeters or so. Thus, you will have to set your aperture to at least F16 to have a chance of having most of an insect in focus. With a small aperture like that and the need for a high shutter speed (due to the shaking of the lens and the subject), a flash is a must. You can use any flash for macro photography, in most cases, even the built-in pop-up flash of cheaper DSLRs work well. My personal favorite is the cheap, compact and lightweight Meike MK-300.
There are some macro photography situations in which a flash is not strictly needed. One situation is if you are okay with shooting at F2.8 or F4, and there is plenty of sunlight. This could be the case if you are not going all the way to 1:1 magnification, and thus can get a good depth of field with a large aperture (when you move away from your subject, the depth of field will increase). The upside with not using a flash is that you get more natural looking photos with natural light. But if you are going to shoot insects up close, and want to have more than a small part of them in focus, you will have to use a flash.
If you are using a flash for your macro photography, I highly recommend using a diffuser as well. A diffusor is simply any white, translucent material you can find, which you can put between the flash and your subject.
The larger the light source, the smoother and softer the shadows in your photos become. This is why huge octaboxes are popular in portrait photography. And this is why you should use a diffusor in macro photography: It makes the size of the light from the flash much larger, and thus the light in your photos will look less harsh, and the colors will come out better.
In the beginning, I used a normal white paper that I cut a hole in and stuck the lens through. It was a bit flimsy though and would get crumpled during transport. My next diffusor was a filter for a vacuum cleaner, that I also cut a hole through and put around the lens. This was a great diffusor as well. Currently, I use a purpose made soft diffusor, which can conveniently be folded together when not in use.
#5. Shutter speed
In macro photography, you will find that the small vibrations from your hands when holding the camera will be enough to make the whole picture jump around like crazy. Combine this with trying to photograph an insect sitting on a plant that is swaying in the wind, and you have a real challenge. A high shutter speed is therefore recommended especially for beginners. Begin with a shutter speed of 1/250 or faster.
However, the light duration from a speedlight is usually extremely short, and can alone freeze your subject, even combined with a slower shutter speed such as 1/100 s. The reason is that the flash will stand for the majority of the light in the photo, so even if you happen to shake your camera, it will be barely noticeable in the exposure. With a short focal length macro lens, you can take nice looking photos even at 1/40 s shutter speed. The benefit of using a slow shutter speed is that you can avoid the black background that you otherwise often get in macro photos taken with a flash. Instead, you can get some color into your background, making the photo look better.
In summary: Start out with a fast shutter speed. When you have practiced a bit, try gradually lowering the shutter speed, combined with a flash.
First of all, you can forget about autofocus right away. Most macro lenses’ autofocus is not fast enough to keep up with the jitters and shaking that comes with 1:1 magnification. It is helpful to just give up the thought of autofocus from the very beginning, and learn to focus manually instead.
Second of all, forget about tripods. Unless you are shooting something completely static, such as a product in a studio, tripods will be very impractical to use in macro photography. For shooting insects or flowers outside, you will be disappointed to spend time setting up the tripod, only to discover that the small vibrations of the flower in the wind makes the photo blurry anyway. Not to mention that any insect will have flown away during the first 10 seconds of your 1-minute tripod setup.
Over time I have developed the following method of focusing, which I think gives the best results: Hold the camera with both hands, and preferably anchor your elbows against your sides or legs, to give even more stability. Then turn your focusing ring to approximately the magnification you want to get. Then focus, not by touching the focusing ring, but by slowly rocking towards the subject, while trying to snap the photo exactly at the right moment.
If you can get one out of 5 photos focused and sharp in the right place, you can consider that a good ratio. Expect to throw away a lot of photos when doing macro photography.
#7. Focal plane
As already mentioned, a close focusing distance will mean an extremely narrow focal plane. You will find that the best macro photos come when you utilize the narrow focal plane in clever ways. Thus, try to find subjects that are flat, and put them in the focal plane. Examples are small, flat flowers or butterflies photographed from the side, or beetles with fairly flat backs.
Another example of utilizing the narrow focal plane in a creative way is to make an insect’s head “stick out” of the blurry bokeh, to make an interesting and aesthetically pleasing effect.
A common newbie mistake is to conveniently snap the photo from where you stand, at a 45-degree angle towards the insect or flower. This will make your photo look like every other newbie macro photo out there – it will be boring.
Try to find uncommon angles, such as shooting the insect from the side, from the front, or from below. Make use of your flip out screen if you don’t want to crawl on the ground. If the insect sits on a plant or a leaf, try pulling up that plant to hold it against the sky – it gives you an interesting angle and a more beautiful background.
Something I did a lot as a beginner in macro photography, was to always go for maximum magnification. I thought, “the bigger the insect in the frame, the cooler the photo.” But the truth is that you can often find a more beautiful or interesting photo if you back off a little, and let the insect look just as small as it actually is, depicted in its surroundings.
#10. Sharp objects
And lastly, never put sharp objects such as knives or drills against your expensive macro lens. Despite what some YouTubers seem to suggest in their thumbnails, also avoid cigarette lighters and toothpaste. Putting stuff like this against your lens is only useful for clickbait thumbnails on YouTube!
About the author: Micael Widell is a photography enthusiast based in Stockholm, Sweden. He loves photography, and runs a YouTube channel with tutorials, lens reviews and photography inspiration. You can also find him on Instagram and 500px where his username is @mwroll.
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