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Around The Globe: 4 Travel Destinations and the Essentials To Carry
Let’s face it 2017 was a bit of a whirlwind—with fluctuating and rash changes made from the White House and unexpected moves from the designers at the helm of our favorite labels. Now that a new year is approaching, the ideal way to reflect is by exploring the great outdoors or embracing a far-off destination. If you’re in need of a break from the monotony of everyday routines, mark this year as the one to remember.
Embracing the spirit of travel, V has rounded-up an offering of the bes…
Photographer Kainoa Little couldn’t find newspapers and wire services willing to purchase his photos of fighting in Mosul between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants, so he decided to release them onto the Internet for free.
Photographer Max Dubler shared how a well-known longboard brand had downloaded one of his photos and uploaded it to their Instagram account, only to balk when Dubler asked for $25 for the social media usage.
From all of us at PetaPixel: thank you so much for reading this website over the past year — it’s your visits that keep the lights on and your tips that help keep the stories flowing. See you in 2018!
Hoover believes his creation is the first of its kind ever made. The company LargeSense showed off a 4K sample video shot with a large format digital camera back in 2015, but that involved an expensive digital sensor and was made by combining TIFF file readouts from the sensor at 24fps.
Hoover’s camera, on the other hand, is much more affordable and practical for everyday people. The front half is an old large format still camera built around a cheap video slider for adjusting focus during shooting by moving the lens and bellows forward and backward.
On the front of the camera is an old Ukrainian large format lens that projects an image onto the white plane at the back of the camera. A separate digital camera is then placed underneath the large format camera, capturing the image on the white plane through a hole and using a wide-angle lens.
“The camera works by projecting a huge (bit over 8×10) image — with all of the lovely depth and aberrations of large format glass — onto a matte surface, like a perfect projection screen,” Hoover tells PetaPixel. “I then reimage that plane with a wide angle lens (Irix 15mm f2.4 Firefly) on a Sony a7S.”
To compensate for the fact that the video camera is capturing the white plane at an angle, Hoover uses 12mm of shift.
Hoover can also attach an external monitor that allows him to shoulder mount his hefty camera contraption.
Here’s a 4-minute video Hoover made that shows sample footage from this camera and an explanation of how it works:
“It is amazing to work with the image quality of large format,” Hoover says. “[It’s] like IMAX but waaaaaay bigger.”
“The main downside is sensitivity,” Hoover tells PetaPixel. “In the process of reimaging, I lose about 6 stops of light. As you can see in the video, even with the fantastic sensitivity of the a7S, indoor shots were nearly impossible.
“It is all worth it for the fantastic bokeh and amazing flares. I used to do a lot of extensions (aka the Brenizer method or ‘bokehramas’) and this camera captures a similar image in one shot, and works for video!”
Here are some still photos Hoover captured with this 8×10 hybrid camera:
Hoover says he’s hoping to try other large format lenses on this camera, particularly the Aero Ektar. You can find more of his work on his website, Flickr, Instagram, and Facebook.
This Wildlife Photographer Waits Over a Week for the ‘Perfect Shot’
Wildlife photography often requires a great deal of patience, and one photographer who has mastered the art of waiting is Belgian wildlife photographer Michel d’Oultremont. Here’s an 11-minute short film titled “The Wait” by Contra Agency that follows d’Oultremont in his pursuit of the “perfect shot.”
At 22 years of age, d’Oultremont was awarded the ‘Rising Star’ award in the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. This particular award recognizes creative talent among photographers between the ages of 18 and 26.
The film follows him on a shoot in the Carpathian mountains of Romania during the hunt for bison. The animals are part of a WWF reintroduction program, having been absent from the area for over 200 years. d’Oultremont was, unsurprisingly, desperate to capture the bison on camera.
“I think some people see nature as completely separate from their lives when actually we’re all part of it,” he says.
Through a great deal of perseverance, he finally got the shots he was waiting for.
“Without patience, it’s not possible to see the animals,” d’Oultremont says. “If half an hour or an hour passes and you’re fed up and want to leave the hide, it’s just not going to work.”
It’s not unusual for d’Oultremont to go for a week or more without taking a single picture while waiting for that opportunity to present itself.
“Nature is so unpredictable, you can spend two or three weeks doing nothing… and then ‘boom’,” the photographer says. “I tried to put more importance on the environment, or the play of light, rather than the animal itself.
“I’d prefer to take a picture of a common bird in a beautiful environment, rather than a rare bird in a [type of] light or environment that wouldn’t make it beautiful.”
Here’s a selection of d’Oultremont’s other wildlife photos:
I Turned IKEA Products Into Costumes for a Rembrandt Photo Shoot
I recently shot the 2017 Christmas card photo for Stavanger Foto, the passionate camera store on the west coast of Norway. Being granted full creative freedom in making the card, I went back to the old masters for inspiration.
My base idea was to make something interesting and relevant for the camera store business while adding an element of surprise in the form of a retrospective perspective.
The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp by Rembrandt in 1632 was a fantastic starting point for my plan.
Transforming an anatomy lesson into a Christmas present wrapping study just rang my bells. And the fact that the old masters back in 1632 already knew what was coming ringed them even more.
How I Did It
All the costumes are composed of standard items purchased at IKEA — have a look at the shopping list for details.
All the costumes were designed and tailored by me in my studio.
The collars were each made by the person wearing it — with instruction, of course, through a short 20-minute handcraft workshop in the studio before the shoot. The tools used were a knife, scissors, and staplers.
Here’s the lighting diagram showing the setup in my studio. I shot the card with a Sony a7R III with a 85mm f/1.4, and Hasselblad H4D-50 with a 39-90mm:
Here’s a short clip of the photo shoot in progress:
About the author: Stig Håvard Dirdal is a Norwegian photographer known for his artistic, playful, and often unconventional approach, building his work around storytelling and a desire to stir a reaction. Since establishing his creative bureau dTurbine in 2006 he has specialised in theatre photography and advertising, seeing each project through from idea stage to art direction and graphic design. Stig Håvard Dirdal has picked up several awards for both his photography and graphic design, Gullsnitt and Sterk reklame to name just a few. You can find more of his work on his website, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. This article was also published here.
‘Retrographic’ Colorizes Some of History’s Most Famous B&W Photos
Digital colorizations of historical photos have gotten quite a bit of attention in recent years. Retrographic is a new photo book that brings this concept to physical pages. It’s a collection of some of the world’s most well-known black-and-white historical photos transformed into living color.
Warning: Some of the photos below are graphic and may be disturbing.
The 192-page book is by author and curator Michael D. Carroll, a member of the Royal Photographic Society and the director of the British press agency Media Drum World.
“Through the careful selection of striking images and dedicated colourization research, Retrographic takes the reader on a visual tour of the distant past,” the description reads. “Many of these moments are already burned into our collective memory through the power of photography as shared by people across the 190-year long Age of the Image. And now, these visual time capsules are collected together for the first time and presented in living colour.”
Retrographic contains 120 photos that span a wide range of subject matters across the 19th and 20th centuries: Victorians, colonialism, indigenous people, warfare, the Great Depression, Hollywood, and more.
Here’s a selection of before-and-after photos of images featured in the book:
The First Flight
The moment humanity mastered the air. “First flight, 120 feet in 12 seconds, 10:35 a.m.; Kitty Hawk, North Carolina” Orville Wright. Photographed on December 17th 1903 by John T. Daniels. Colourised by Jared Enos.
Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima
America’s most iconic image of victory is immediately plagued with controversy. “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima”. Photographed on February 19th 1945 by Joe Rosenthal courtesy of Associated Press. Colourised by Matt Loughrey
Vietnam Monk Protest
Non-violent protest is taken to its most extreme level by this monk who burned himself to death. “Vietnam Monk Protest” Thic Quang Duc. Photographed by Malcolm Browne in Saigon, Vietnam on June 11th 1963, image courtesy of Associated Press. Colourised by Matt Loughrey
Not in our name: the anti-war image is born in the moment this badly burned girl cries out in pain. “Napalm Girl” Phan Thi Kim Phuc. Photographed by Nick Ut outside Trang Bang village, Vietnam June 8th 1972, image courtesy of Associated Press (AP). Colourised by Matt Loughrey
Richard Nixon Farewell
Watergate: The leader of the free world is forced to resign amid the most notorious political controversy in history. “Richard Nixon Farewell”. Photographed by Bob Daugherty outside the White House, Washington DC, on August 9th 1974. Colourised by Matt Loughrey
The Fab Paw
Two very different worlds collide – just as they are about to become global mega-stars. “The day Ali met the Beatles” from left to right Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Cassius Clay. Photographed on February 18th 1964 at Miami Beach, Florida, USA, courtesy of Associated Press. Colourised by Matt Loughrey
Crossroads of the World
By the Beginning of the Twentieth Century the Crossroads of the World is born. “Number One Times Square under construction 1903”. Photographer known. Colourised by Patty Allison
A gust of wind allows us to view Hollywood’s most celebrated actress in her most iconic pose. “Marilyn Monroe poses over the updraft of New York subway grating while in character for the filming of “The Seven Year Itch” in Manhattan on September 15, 1954.” Photographed by Matty Zimmerman. Colourised by Matt Loughrey
Image quality, weight and value for money. We have come to accept that most lenses are strong in only one or two of these three factors, which I personally focus on when researching lenses to buy. Sometimes though, we stumble upon a great lens design which is strong in all three.
One of the prime examples of such a design is the “nifty fifty” — the 50mm f/1.8 lens construction that many lens manufacturers provide. Another example is the 100mm (or sometimes 90mm) f/2.8 macro lens. If you buy a nifty fifty or a 100mm macro lens you simply cannot go wrong — you will get a great and handy lens for your money, with great image quality.
Today I want to talk about another such lens design: the 135mm f/2 lens. I use the word design because although the available 135mm f/2 lenses aren’t the exact same optical formula, they share many important traits. Perhaps you have seen the photos of masterful Russian portrait photographers such as Elena Shumilova or Anka Zhuravleva. They create a beautiful, mesmerizing dreamscape in their photos, and their secret weapon, besides an impeccable sense for aesthetics, is the 135mm f/2 lens.
The moment I tried the Samyang 135mm f/2 for the first time after purchasing it, I immediately felt that it was a very special lens. I took a few shots with the lens on my way home after buying it. I was blown away when I loaded the photos into my computer.
I had, of course, heard that this lens is supposed to be very sharp, but I had never before had such a full-blown “wow” experience when reviewing the sharpness of a lens. The flawless image quality is only half the story though. Another thing that makes people go “wow” over the 135mm f/2 lens design is the bokeh, which can be so creamy that distant backgrounds almost render as gradients. The 135mm f/2 lens design is truly special, and in this article and the video above, I want to try to convince you as well.
#1. Subject separation
There are only a handful of foolproof strategies for making a great photograph. One of them is simplicity: A clear, simple subject that constitutes a shape, standing out and contrasting against a calm and simple background. When you shoot a 135mm f/2 lens at f/2, your subject will stand out in this beautiful way, often without much work needed from you as the photographer. Just place your subject against a distant background, and half of the job is done. Even if the background is very close to your subject, somehow the optical construction of the 135mm lens will still manage to separate the background beautifully.
#2. The Creamiest bokeh ever
To achieve creamy bokeh, a lens should have a wide maximum aperture and a long focal length. One very popular lens for bokeh fiends is the Canon 85mm f/1.2 – it can produce extremely creamy out of focus backgrounds. But I would argue that a 135mm f/2 lens produces even greater bokeh, thanks to the long focal length that compresses the background far more than the 85mm lens. I would argue that you would be hard-pressed to find any other lens on a full frame camera, which gives you creamier bokeh. There are of course outliers, such as the legendary unicorn lens Canon EF 200mm f/2. But that one isn’t a great alternative unless you are cool with spending $5700 to be carrying around something about as wieldy as a fire hydrant.
#3. Unreal sharpness
When I was on my way home after purchasing my first 135mm lens, the Samyang/Rokinon one, I took a few quick snapshots just to try out the lens. The first shot I ever took with this lens was of my neighbor’s cat, as it was sneaking around in a bush. When I got home and loaded the photo into Lightroom I was blown away by two things. First of all the background separation and the bokeh – I had photographed lots of animals in bushes before, but never before had I seen the bush melt away in the way it did with the 135mm lens.
Second of all, the incredible sharpness of the photo. I have owned many lenses, most of which I bought because they were supposed to have world-class sharpness, but the Samyang 135mm still stands out to me.
Never before, nor after, have I seen a lens with this level of sharpness wide open. Perhaps this impression of unreal sharpness is strengthened by the contrast to the extremely creamy bokeh you typically get in the same photo.
#4. Close focus ability
Most of the available 135mm f/2 lenses have a very short minimum focusing distance, in relation to the focal length, creating a magnification ratio of around 0.2 – 0.25. This is great news if you like to photograph small things up close. These lenses go about as close as you could get without a dedicated macro lens.
Sure, not all 135mm lenses are lightweight. Sigma’s new 135mm f/1.8 is rather heavy at 1130g. But if you look at the Samyang 135mm f/2, which is pretty much flawless optically, it weighs only 830g. And if you want autofocus, I would recommend the Canon 135mm f/2.0L, which is incredibly light for its performance at 750g.
#6. Extreme value for the money
While there are certainly pricey 135mm f/2 lenses out there, such as the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art, or the Carl Zeiss 135mm, there are a couple that give you extreme value for the money. When you buy a lens that has absolutely flawless sharpness and image quality at all apertures, you typically expect it to cost $1,200 or upwards. But like a glitch in the matrix, an anomaly that shouldn’t exist, you can get the Samyang/Rokinon 135mm for as little as $429 brand new. The only downside with that lens is that it is manual focus, which might not be suitable for photographing sports or children. Otherwise, this lens is absolutely incredible.
If you want autofocus, and great value for money, buy the Canon 135mm, as it has almost the image quality of the Samyang, and you can get it for under $1000 new. The Canon is about as sharp as the Samyang, but it has some very slight chromatic aberration. I would recommend buying it used if you want to save some money, with the added benefit that you can re-sell it at the same price as you bought it for, effectively giving you the opportunity to “rent it” for free.
Which one to buy?
If you want the best value possible for your money, and can survive without autofocus, buy the Samyang. If you must have autofocus, and care about weight, buy the Canon. If you want the best possible image quality, and you must have autofocus, and you don’t care if it is a bit heavy (maybe you need it for studio use), buy the Sigma. Include the Carl Zeiss in your research though, it might be an interesting lens for you, even if it is a bit pricey for what you get, compared to the Samyang which is comparable. If you are a Nikon user, have a look at the Nikon AF Nikkor 135mm f/2D DC and compare it to the other lenses mentioned in this article.
Whatever lens you pick in the end, you will make a great purchase. All of them are extremely sharp and produce mouth-watering bokeh, and all of them are reasonably priced for what you get. I have only owned my 135mm for less than a year, but already it is one of my top three most used and most fun lenses.
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. This article was also published here.
PDN Video: Damon Pablo Escudero Talks about Street Photography
While earning a living as a commercial director, Damon Pablo Escudero has been pursuing his passion for street photography for more than 20 years. He said in a recent interview with PDN that he was inspired, like so many other photographers, by Robert Frank’s The Americans. Among the images in that book, “There aren’t that many juxtapositions, or interactions with backgrounds. There are some but it’s a lot of just: this is what life is,” Escudero says. Influenced by Frank’s imagery, Escudero looks for simple but expressive compositions. “One thing that’s not my favorite is that over-juxtaposed style where a little girl is eating a scoop of ice cream and an old man walks by with white hair, or a kite flying and an airplane goes by, or lines in the street. Mine is more documentary street photography. It’s more of a feeling than a clever moment.”