Nikon Night Photography Showdown: D850 vs the D750, D810, and D5

Nikon Night Photography Showdown: D850 vs the D750, D810, and D5

My name is Lance Keimig, and I’m one of the instructors for National Parks at Night, a workshop program focused on night photography in national parks. All five of us instructors are primarily Nikon shooters. Between us, we use the D750, D810, D3s, D4s, and D5. Although we are generally happy with our current cameras, some of us are ready for an upgrade.

As such, the announcement of the D850 a few months ago excited us as much as it did the rest of the photo world. This camera was touted to be a game-changer for every niche it caters to, including night photography. So it was natural that we’d want to field-test it as a nocturnal tool.

With its nearly 46-megapixel sensor and impressive list of specs and features, the D850 was a fitting camera for Nikon to release during its centennial year. Although it is a direct successor to the D810, the D850 seems to be more of a hybrid between the high-megapixel D810 and the high-speed D5. The new camera sports a Nikon-designed 45.7-megapixel FX-format BSI CMOS sensor aimed at landscape, studio, and architectural photographers, but can shoot up to 9 frames per second and at least 51 continuous frames before the buffer fills for sports and wedding photographers. And the back-side illuminated sensor should improve low-light performance, which is obviously key for night photographers!

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time (not nearly enough) with the D850 and compare its performance to other high-end Nikon cameras, especially as it pertains to night photography. Despite the moon, UPS and the weather (clouds, cold and wind) all conspiring against me, I was able to spend a couple of nights with the D850, as well as make some comparison images with the D750, D810, and D5.

Lady Boot Arch from behind, Alabama Hills, Eastern Sierra, California. Lighting with a warm-gelled Coast HP5R flashlight from camera right, low and just in front, plus behind and to the right of the rock column. Single shot. It took about eight tries to get the lighting right. Nikon D850, Irix 11mm f/4 Blackstone lens. 15 seconds, f/5.6, ISO 3200.

There are many online reviews of the D850, but in this one I’ll focus entirely on how it performs and handles for night photography––in particular:

1. High ISO astro-landscape photography
2. Native ISO long exposure night photography
3. High contrast artificial light night photography

I am assuming that the reader is at least minimally familiar with Nikon DSLRs, and that they will use other resources such as DPReview and DXOMark to evaluate the camera for other types of photography.

Features and User Experience

The camera is just slightly heavier than the D810 and is well-balanced and comfortable to hold. It weighs about half a pound more than the D750, and almost a full pound less than the D5.

The controls and buttons of the D850 are similar to the D810, except that the ISO and Mode buttons have switched positions in line with the D5. This is a nice improvement over other Nikon cameras like the D750 where the ISO button is on the back and to the left of the display.

The pop-up flash has been sacrificed in favor of better weather sealing and a larger optical viewfinder with .75 magnification and 100 percent frame coverage. Night photographers should appreciate both of these features more than a built-in flash. There is also a flip lever with a shutter to block light from entering through the viewfinder during long exposures.

The D850 has an articulated rear screen which operates in the same fashion as the D750 screen, except that it is higher resolution and touch-sensitive. The screen adjusts on only one axis and is useful primarily for low and high camera angles with the camera in the horizontal position. Previous Nikon touch screens were usable only in playback mode, but the D850’s touch screen is also active in live-view and menu navigation modes.

Like many of Nikon’s semi-pro and professional cameras, the D850 has two card slots, one for XQD and one for SD cards. Personally, I would prefer the choice of two of the same card slots, but the XQD card’s extreme write speed is required to take full advantage of the camera’s high frame rate and large buffer, as well as the massive amounts of data recorded by the high-resolution sensor during video recording.

One feature that is especially welcome to night photographers is the introduction of backlit buttons, which obviously ease the task of finding controls in the dark. Though, unlike with the D4s, D5, and D500, only the buttons on the left side of the D850 are illuminated.

As with the D750, there is a Time exposure setting, available in manual mode in between X250 and Bulb. The Time setting looks like two dashes (“- -”) in the Control Panel. Unlike the Time setting in the D750, which shuts off after 1,694 seconds if not ended sooner, the D850 shutter will remain open indefinitely.

Unfortunately, programmed shutter speeds do not extend past 30 seconds, which is also true of the available shutter speeds in the built-in intervalometer. Canon finally extended their shutter speed range with the 6D Mark II and 5D Mark IV, and hopefully Nikon will follow suit with their future models.

One of my biggest disappointments with past Nikon cameras has been the poor quality of the live view image in low light, which makes live-view focusing at night quite difficult. There is some improvement with the D850, and a new setting that allows the user to set different brightness levels for live view and image playback is helpful, as are the addition of live-view focus peaking and zebra stripes. (If you’re not familiar with the latter feature, know that it will make your life better. Check it out.)

Petroglyphs, Volcanic Tablelands, Bishop, California. Illuminated from the right with a warm-gelled Coast HP5R flashlight. Nikon D850. 15 seconds, f/9, ISO 6400.

The awkward Mode dial has been replaced with a much more user-friendly Mode button, with the unfortunate trade-off of losing the user-programmable custom modes for saving frequently used combinations of camera settings. I’m also not a fan of the outdated menu banks. Two other concerns:

1. The SnapBridge Bluetooth app for transferring images to your smartphone, at least at first inception, was unreliable at best and is the only way to add GPS data to your files in-camera. (Nikon has told us that the recent update makes it usable, but I have not been able to test it.)
2. Transferring files over Wi-Fi requires an attachment, of which the Nikon option is the $750 WT-7A Wireless Transmitter. (There are third-party options as well, which we will cover in the future.)

Despite the few quibbles mentioned, the D850 is a joy to use. It’s highly customizable and very easy to get comfortable with. I’m not sure that I’d want to hike the Pacific Crest Trail with it on my back, but in my limited experiences, it didn’t feel noticeably heavier in the field than my D750.

Imaging

Most previous Nikon DSLRs have used Sony engineered sensors, so the first thing to note with the D850 is that this is one of the few cameras that features a Nikon designed sensor. It’s a 45.7-megapixel FX-format BSI CMOS sensor. BSI stands for back-side illumination, a technology that has an atypical arrangement of the sensor components that allows more photons to reach the photodetectors, improving low-light performance, as well as readout rates, or the time required to digitize the light reaching the sensor.

What this means to us is that Nikon has produced an extremely high-resolution camera that does not sacrifice low-light performance. Night photographers can make very large high-quality prints from images made with a D850.

(An interesting side note is that Sony’s a7R II was the first FX camera to utilize a BSI sensor, and the replacement a7R III also utilizes BSI technology. This technology has been around for a while, but until recently was too expensive to implement in a reasonably priced FX camera.)

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park. The moon is low in the sky and the ambient exposure is intentionally underexposed for effect. For the middle-ground dunes, warmth, exposure and contrast were boosted using a local adjustment brush in Lightroom. An example of the malleability of files from this camera. Nikon D850, Nikon 24-120mm f/4 lens at 34mm, and Luxli Constructor LED light at 3200 K on the lowest setting, placed at the toe of the foreground dune. 30 seconds, f/10, ISO 800.

Like its predecessor, the D850 has a native ISO of 64, allowing for wider dynamic range than cameras with a native ISO of 100. The sensor also utilizes dual conversion gain, which has the effect of preserving highlight dynamic range while increasing sensitivity. In essence, the sensor has two different sensitivities: the native ISO of 64, and ISO 400, which is when the increased gain is activated.

Of course night photography is often done at high ISOs, which sacrifice dynamic range in favor of shorter exposure times. It has been suggested that underexposing at ISO 400 or 500 and then raising the exposure during RAW conversion will preserve more of the dynamic range than shooting at higher ISOs up to 4000. To me, this indicates some degree of ISO invariance, (which is reinforced by my test images) although the article linked above claims that it is not.

Owens Valley Radio Observatory, California. This image was shot at the D850’s native ISO of 64 to test the dynamic range of the sensor in a real-world situation. The scene was exposed for the maximum possible exposure without significant clipping of the brightest highlights, to determine if there would be adequate shadow detail while preserving highlight detail. Neither the camera’s histogram, blinking highlight indicator, nor zebra stripes indicated clipping, but highlight detail just exceeds the capability of an Adobe RGB display. Slightly less exposure would be preferable, especially considering that there is plenty of room on the left side of the histogram for compromise. Unfortunately, I was unable to do comparison shots with the other cameras at this location. In a nutshell: the dynamic range of this camera at native ISO is incredible. Nikon D850, Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone lens. 30 seconds, f/3.2, ISO 64.

The focusing system in the D850 is the same as in the D5: a 153-point autofocus system featuring 99 cross-type points. Both the center focusing point and light meter are rated down to -4 EV. This is not enough to focus or meter by starlight, but it does offer a slight improvement over previous Nikon models like the D750 (-3 EV) and D810 (-2 EV).

As with the D810, the D850 has no optical low-pass or anti-aliasing filter, which makes for the sharpest possible images, but at a cost of an increased risk of moiré in highly detailed areas of a repeating pattern.

Image Quality

I was able to use the camera in different lighting conditions varying from full moon to starlight to some artificial lighting mixed with moonlight. When I had access to the camera, temperatures ranged between the low 20s and low 40s F, so long exposure noise was not a problem.

An example of ISO 25,600 in moonlight. Ken Lee at the Keane Wonder Mine, Death Valley National Park. Seeing detail in Ken’s screen and in the folds of his black coat is astounding at this ISO. I would not make a large print of an photo shot at these settings, but the image quality is still very impressive. Nikon D850, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens at 24mm. 2 seconds, f/6.3, ISO 25,600.

Thirty-minute exposures at native ISO without enabling LENR were clean as a whistle. Native ISO 64 exposures yielded truly extraordinary image quality in both natural and artificial light, but higher ISO images were inconsistent. To be fair, I was not testing in a controlled environment, but with real-world variability that makes it more difficult to be scientific.

D850 Test and Comparison Images

So you can make your own evaluations, we are providing you a selection of images made during the testing I did for this article. They are mostly DNG files with embedded metadata. Feel free to download the files and manipulate them for evaluative purposes. Please do not attempt to remove or edit the files in this folder, but rather download them onto your own computer first.

You can download everything mentioned below here. (Warning: It might take awhile, and we recommend not doing so with a mobile device using a cellular data connection. The files total about half a gigabyte.)

ISO 6400 COMPARISON

ISO 6400 Comparison: D750 v. D810 v. D850 [Download]

These images were made sequentially on a very cold and windy night in Vermont just before moonrise. The clouds near the horizon are reflecting the lights of South Burlington or Williston, about 20 miles to the north. As the clouds were changing quickly during the shots, the value of comparing highlight clipping is somewhat limited. The foreground was lit by a handheld Luxli Constructor light, which was moved across the frame during the exposure, as the beam was not wide enough to light the entire scene. In hindsight, it would have been better to mount the light on a stand for consistency. The white lines in the road are puddles reflecting light from the sky.

DYNAMIC RANGE

Dynamic Range: D850 [Download]

In this folder, you will find a daytime image made at Ubehebe Crater in Death Valley National Park. The image was made shortly before sunset, during a windstorm that kicked up a tremendous amount of dust. It wasn’t the photo op I had hoped for, but still provided plenty of material to work with. There are three PNG files showing my Lightroom basic and local adjustments, and one showing clipping in the original file. I have included the DNG file, so you can make your own adjustments as well.

There is also the radio telescope image in DNG format to show the maximum dynamic range—what’s possible, and what isn’t.

NATIVE VERSUS HIGH ISO

Native v. High ISO: D750 v. D5 v. D850 [Download]

There are two subfolders here, one showing native and +6-stop exposures in mixed artificial and moonlight shot with the D750 and D850. These are DNG files. The second folder shows native and +6-stop exposures in starlight with a little light pollution, comparing the D5 and D850 under these circumstances. Note that heavy clouds moved in during the 30-minute exposure on the D850, so it looks quite different than the 30-minute D5 image.

ISO INVARIANCE

ISO Invariance: D5 v. D850 [Download]

These two folders include a sequence of images shot with the D5 and D850 at full-stop ISOs from 100 to 6400 using the same aperture and shutter speed. The D850 folder also includes an ISO 64 image since that is the native ISO of the camera. For each stop of underexposure, the resulting image was given an additional stop of exposure in Lightroom, up to 5, the maximum available. For the ISO 64/100 exposures—which are six stops less than the 6400 exposures—five stops plus Highlights and Shadows were added to make the image look as good as possible. Only basic module adjustments were applied.

The conclusion is that the D5 is most definitely not invariant, and the D850 is. The D5 has a lower dynamic range at native ISO, and best results are achieved by giving correct exposure at whatever ISO you use and not by raising exposure in post-processing. Conversely, the D850 has extremely wide dynamic range at native ISO 64, and also has a small bump in dynamic range at ISO 400 when the additional gain is applied to the sensor. Best results are achieved by shooting at ISO 64 when possible, or, for astro-landscape imaging for star points or Milky Way photography, I recommend shooting at ISO 400 and adding four stops of exposure in the RAW converter of your choosing.

For example, a typical astro-landscape photography exposure would be 20 seconds, f/2.8, ISO 6400. With the D850, I recommend using 20 seconds, f/2.8, ISO 400, and then boosting the exposure by four stops during RAW conversion. This will allow you to use the much wider dynamic range at the lower ISO without adding additional shot noise to the image. (Using ISOs lower than 400 and boosting the exposure in post by more than four stops will not yield better results.)

These are DNG files, so feel free to download and reset them to make your own adjustments from scratch.

LIGHT WRITING COMPARISON

Light Writing: D750 v. D810 v. D5 v. D850 [Download]

Download
These images, made on the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley, are the only ones I have comparing all four cameras. But due to the unique nature of each light-writing exposure––namely the angle of the light source and the speed it was moving—there are some intrinsic variations in highlights. Still, they’re fun files to review in order to get a general sense of the image qualities under these conditions (moonlight with a light source in the frame).

Which Nikon is Right for You?

In short, all of the cameras I tested have outstanding image quality and make excellent choices for night photographers. The question readers should be asking themselves is, “Which camera is best for my needs?”

D750

The D750, despite being released more than 3 years ago, produces images that hold their own amongst its more expensive brethren. It is a superb value, currently priced at just under $1,800, and is a great step up from an APS-C camera. It would also be an excellent choice for a second body.

The compromise in choosing the D750 is primarily in user experience. Lacking a touchscreen and the better live-view image quality of the newer cameras—as well as the comfort features of the D5 and D850 such as illuminated rear controls and an eyepiece shutter—don’t affect image quality so much as ease of use.

If you never print, or if you never display your images on anything larger than your computer display, you might be best off with a D750 and using the extra money to invest in some new Nikon glass to go with it.

D810

The D810 was released 3 1/2 years ago, and is currently priced around $2,800. Heralded as revolutionary at the time of its release, it is still a great camera, but a bit harder to recommend after the release of its successor. At roughly $500 less than the D850, I don’t think there’s enough of a savings to sacrifice all that the new camera adds to the party. Photographers who need the resolution of the D810’s 36-megapixel sensor but are on a restricted budget are those who might be attracted to the predecessor now. Look for price drops in the near future, or consider buying a used one as upgraders unload their “old” models.

D5

The D5 is truly a beast. Capable, durable, fast, accurate and relatively heavy. It’s not a camera for hikers, not even for long walks. Some famous photographer once said that if a subject wasn’t within 100 yards of the car, it wasn’t worth photographing. This camera is for that guy. Maybe it’s for you if you have a reliable assistant who never complains about schlepping your gear. Maybe it’s for you if you are strong and young and cost is not a primary consideration. For the journalist, sports or high-end wedding shooter who also does night photography, this is the camera. The D5 is worthy of its flagship status in every way. But not only is it significantly heavier than its more-than-worthy little siblings, it’s also significantly more costly: $6,500, body only.

D850

Now, the camera we really want to talk about: the D850. Released in October 2017, and priced at $3,300, there is still a backlog and a wait of one to two months to get your hands on one. Nikon Professional Services members do a little better, with an approximate wait time of two weeks as of January 2018.

As mentioned earlier in this post, the D850 takes some of the best features of both the D810 and the D5 and combines them into one camera. The D850 offers outstanding image quality, close to medium-format resolution and high-end features (many of which are extremely useful for night photographers)—all for roughly half the price of the D5.

It’s not perfect––native Wi-Fi and a useful smartphone controller, GPS, extended shutter speeds, custom exposure modes, and high ISO amplification that doesn’t push highlights into clipping would all be welcome improvements. Still, the combination of image quality, high resolution, and features make the D850 one of the very best digital cameras ever made.

I recommend the D850 for professional and serious amateur night photographers who want to make large high-quality prints. And those who want to take advantage of the latest technologies in a camera with outstanding image quality without taking out a second mortgage should also put their names on the list.


About the author: Lance Keimig is a photographer and photography instructor based in Bristol, Vermont. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Keimig is one of the instructors at National Parks at Night, a workshop program focused solely on teaching night photography in national parks. This article was also published here.


Image credits: All nighttime images are © 2018 Lance Keimig/NationalParksAtNight.com, and may not be printed or republished without express written consent of the author and National Parks at Night


Source: PetaPixel

Nikon Night Photography Showdown: D850 vs the D750, D810, and D5

Who Shot the Iconic Apollo 8 Earthrise Photo?

Who Shot the Iconic Apollo 8 Earthrise Photo?

Apollo 8 was the first manned mission to leave Earth’s orbit, orbit the Moon, and return to Earth. Since it wasn’t a moon landing, though, it tends to not be as celebrated as other manned moon missions. But the photo known as Earthrise was captured during this mission on December 24th, 1968, becoming an iconic piece of history. This 6-minute video from Vintage Space explores the question of who the person behind the camera was.

For years nobody knew who took that photo, but it’s now apparent that it was astronaut Bill Anders. To determine this, lead visualizer Ernie Wright dug into flight logs to find out which of the crew members were able to capture the photo.

By looking at the orientation of the craft, as well as audio recordings, Wright was able to figure out which crewman was looking out of which window. He could then determine which crew member could have seen the Earth at the time, and therefore who the photographer must have been.

The crew was originally shooting on black-and-white film but decided to switch to color after seeing the Earthrise. Here’s a transcript of the conversation between astronauts Frank Borman and William Anders during the photo’s creation:

Anders: Oh my God! Look at that picture over there! There’s the Earth coming up. Wow, is that pretty.
Borman: Hey, don’t take that, it’s not scheduled. (joking)
Anders: (laughs) You got a color film, Jim? Hand me that roll of color quick, would you…
Lovell: Oh man, that’s great!

We can hear from the audio recordings in the video that Anders shot the image at 1/250th second and f/11. Wikipedia notes that Anders was shooting with a highly modified Hasselblad 500 EL with an electric drive and that his camera was loaded with a 70mm film magazine containing custom Kodak Ektachrome film.


Source: PetaPixel

Who Shot the Iconic Apollo 8 Earthrise Photo?

Kim Petras Stays “Faded” in Her Latest Music Video

Kim Petras Stays “Faded” in Her Latest Music Video
Known for her bubblegum pop music packaged in a edgy, 90’s girl power aesthetic, Kim Petras is more than just her music. We dubbed her one of the rising artists to watch in 2018, and we weren’t wrong.

Her latest single, “Faded,” featuring Lil Aaron is a direct follow-up to her recent collaboration with Charli XCX. Directed by Nicholas Harwood, who has helmed music videos for SOPHIE, Blood Orange, and Porches, the “Faded” video’s combo of grit and neon colors perfectly meshes with t…

Keep on reading: Kim Petras Stays “Faded” in Her Latest Music Video
Source: V Magazine

Kim Petras Stays “Faded” in Her Latest Music Video

This Japanese Machine Gun Camera Was Used in World War II

This Japanese Machine Gun Camera Was Used in World War II

A Japanese “machine gun” camera has popped on eBay. The camera, which was used in war-time during the World War II era, can be yours for a price of $4,499.

The Konishoruko Rokuoh-Sha Type 89 camera was used for military training exercises. Before the age of tiny digital cameras broadcasting live feeds, air forces around the world mounted large film cameras onto fighter planes for both actual battles and training. The battle cameras were used to confirm kills for pilots, while training gun cameras were used to evaluate how accurate fighter pilots were without having to use live rounds.

“A multi-purpose training device, this ‘gun’ is effectively a camera mounted in an oversized housing, suitable for installation in a wing mount or waist-gun emplacement,” writes International Military Antiques. “When the trigger is pulled, the camera runs, with footage being taken of what the gun is aimed at, as well as an optional stopwatch; after landing, the film can be analyzed by the trainers for proper lead and burst timing.”

Konishoruko, the manufacturer of the camera, later renamed itself Konica and went on to become the well-known Japanese brand that merged with Minolta in 2003 to form the current company Konica Minolta.

“The camera is in overall excellent condition, especially considering it was used during war-time,” eBay seller westborncam1 writes in the listing’s description. “This has been tested to my best ability, and everything seems to check out good: The winder holds firm tension and releases when fired. The shutter can be heard and film transport responds properly.”

In addition to the camera, you’ll receive a clamp and mounting bracket for attaching the camera to your fighter plane, four film canisters with 3 empty 35mm film spools, a quick release cable, miscellaneous parts, and a chest for lugging the camera around.

Head on over to eBay if you’d like to see this cameras listing and perhaps shell out $4,499 for this special piece of camera history.

(via eBay via DPReview)


Image credits: Photographs by westborncam1/eBay and used with permission


Source: PetaPixel

This Japanese Machine Gun Camera Was Used in World War II

Twitter Trained an AI to Help Auto-Crop Your Photos Better

Twitter Trained an AI to Help Auto-Crop Your Photos Better

Twitter has just announced that auto-cropping of photos on the social networking service will be producing much better results thanks to a new neural network that has been trained for the task.

Twitter has been a platform for photo sharing since 2011, but cropping shared photos into neat previews has been a challenge for developers. One strategy the service previously used was to employ face detection and crop around the most prominent face in each photo.

Problem is, there are many shared photos that don’t have faces, and these photos can often get turned into “awkwardly cropped preview images.”

For its latest attempt at improving the photo cropping system, Twitter is teaching its AI new tricks. Instead of looking for faces, the AI will be hunting for “salient” regions of photos — the areas that people are most likely to look when freely gazing at the picture.

“Academics have studied and measured saliency by using eye trackers, which record the pixels people fixated with their eyes,” Twitter says. “In general, people tend to pay more attention to faces, text, animals, but also other objects and regions of high contrast.

“This data can be used to train neural networks and other algorithms to predict what people might want to look at. The basic idea is to use these predictions to center a crop around the most interesting region.”

Here are some before and after examples showing badly done crops on Twitter before and what the new crops look like with this neural network:

Neural networks that deal with saliency are usually too slow to be used for cropping massive volumes of photos in real-time, but Twitter developed some optimizations that help its system perform 10 times faster than standard methods. The result is that the AI can do intelligent cropping on all photos as soon as they’re uploaded.

This new and improved cropping is now being rolled out to Twitter users across the Web and on Twitter’s iOS and Android smartphone apps.


Source: PetaPixel

Twitter Trained an AI to Help Auto-Crop Your Photos Better

Quick Tip: Take This Quiz to See If It’s Time to Quit Assisting

Quick Tip: Take This Quiz to See If It’s Time to Quit Assisting

Los Angeles photographer Travis Shinn spent a decade—“too long,” he says—as an assistant. “Get in, learn what you can and get out. Or you start getting bitter.”

Here’s a quick test to help you figure out if it’s time to strike out on your own as a photographer:

1. Have you been assisting 5 years? 7? 10 or more?
2. Do you feel like a slave to somebody else’s vision?
3. Do you silently second-guess the photographers you work for?
4. Do you try to steal the spotlight from photographers who hire you?
5. Do you weep while loading someone else’s film, schlepping their gear, or adjusting their lights?

For other tell-tale signs, see “How to Know When It’s Time to Make the Jump from Assistant to Professional Photographer.”

Related:
From Assistant to Photographer: Magdalena Wosinska’s Professional Transition
From Assistant to Photographer: Kyle Johnson’s Professional Transition
How Kat Borchart Built a Career in Fashion and Beauty Photography
From Assistant to Photographer: Shaina Fishman, Pet Whisperer
Celebrity Photographer Jesse Dittmar’s Advice to Assistants

The post Quick Tip: Take This Quiz to See If It’s Time to Quit Assisting appeared first on PDNPulse.


Source: PDN Pulse

Quick Tip: Take This Quiz to See If It’s Time to Quit Assisting

Jack White Bans Fan Photos, To Lock Up Phones for ‘100% Human Experience’

Jack White Bans Fan Photos, To Lock Up Phones for ‘100% Human Experience’

Singer and guitarist Jack White, the founder of The White Stripes, has banned fan photos at upcoming live concerts. It’s a policy that will be strictly enforced: concert-goers will have their smartphones locked away while they’re at the show.

NME reports that White’s shows during White’s tour of the US starting in April will be completely “phone-free” in order to give paying fans a “100% human experience.”

“No photos, video or audio recording devices allowed,” the musician says in a statement. “We think you’ll enjoy looking up from your gadgets for a little while and experience music and our shared love of it IN PERSON.”

White’s policy will enforced using patented locking smartphone pouches created by the company Yondr, which can only be unlocked and opened up in special locations at the venue.

Once locked in the case, you can unlock it by yourself only by stepping out of the concert area and tapping it onto an unlocking base:

“Upon arrival at the venue, all phones and other photo or video-capturing gizmos will be secured in a Yondr pouch that will be unlocked at the end of the show,” White’s statement continues. “You keep your pouch-secured phone on you during the show and, if needed, can unlock your phone at any time in a designated Yondr Phone Zone located in the lobby or concourse.”

It seems that White’s policy will only apply to his own shows and not larger music festivals that White will be performing at.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

For fans who love posting concert photos to social media, White has a solution: his official tour photographer will post photos and videos of each show after the show to White’s website and Instagram account.

“Repost our photos & videos as much as you want and enjoy a phone-free, 100% human experience,” White says.

If you were hoping to capture and/or share your own memories from an upcoming show, however, you may be out of luck.


Image credits: Header illustration based on photo by Teresa Sedó and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0


Source: PetaPixel

Jack White Bans Fan Photos, To Lock Up Phones for ‘100% Human Experience’

Photographing the SpaceX Zuma Rocket Launch from the Orlando City Stadium

Photographing the SpaceX Zuma Rocket Launch from the Orlando City Stadium

By Steven Madow


As a photographer that isn’t associated with any news media, it can sometimes be difficult to get access to certain opportunities.  With space, this is especially true, since access normally means the ability to place a camera near a launchpad in areas that are heavily restricted.

This is a story of how it can never hurt to ask for permission.

Streak Rocket Shots

The first time I required a “big” camera to capture an image was for a rocket streak shot. This type of shot shows a rocket launching at night streaking through the air. It is created not by combining hundreds of images in Photoshop, but instead by using a long exposure. When any digital picture is taken light has to hit a sensor and be recorded. When there is a ton of ambient light or fast action, the shutter has to be open for a very short time (small fractions of a second). A rocket streak shot is the complete opposite of that – the shutter needs be left open for very long periods of time in “bulb” mode,  typically  for 120 seconds to five minutes. This needs a very steady tripod or else everything will get wobbly. As the rocket moves, the light continues to get recorded bit by bit and then this shot is created!

Flash forward a couple of years to having some better equipment and a few positive experiences of getting this style of shot. The new goal is now getting an interesting foreground in the shot with the streak in the background. I’ve had good attempts of this in places like Lake Eola and I’ve had complete duds like at the Cocoa Beach Pier where my view for a 3AM launch was blocked by clouds.

 Trying to Get Permission

In early 2017, I captured a drone  picture of the new Orlando City Stadium that I was very proud of. At that point, I conceptualized doing a shot with the stadium and the city skyline in the foreground and a rocket streak in the background. Unfortunately, drones are bad for long exposures. It is difficult enough to keep them still for a normal picture, but for 120 seconds it is impossible. The vantage point from the ground outside of the stadium would be atrocious. This meant that the only way to capture this shot would be with my trusty Panasonic GH5, a tripod, a precarious perch inside the stadium … and permission.

So, the journey to get that permission commenced. I started out by just sending media requests via the Orlando City Soccer website explaining what I wanted to do. I included some example shots of the stadium and a previous rocket streak and simply explained that I wanted to combine these.

No response.

Then, before a scheduled launch in November for the mysterious “Zuma”  payload that the US government was sending aboard a SpaceX rocket, I decided that perhaps asking my social media network would be a better approach. At the same time, I sent a simple Facebook message to the OCSC page and they gave me an email address to contact. I sent a basic email with my short pitch and an example photo, and hoped for the best.

Amazingly enough, I got a response back to the email saying something negative and something very positive. The bad was that the stadium was closed for a somewhat extended Thanksgiving holiday so nothing would be possible. The good was that someone there (I’ll keep their name private) was willing to help. Fortunately (for me anyway) the launch got postponed by a few days, and then for a couple of months. That brings us to last week – the launch was scheduled for Thursday evening. I reached back out to my contact and he was still game.

Launch Day

After charging and packing my gear (three cameras, some tripods, and a few remote camera cables) my wife and I were off to the stadium. We were told simply to beep the car horn loudly when approaching the loading dock. Amazingly this worked, and our gracious host met us and gave a brief tour of the darkened stadium. We then went up an elevator and he opened a locked door to what looked like a utility closet. Inside the room, there was a 30 foot vertical ladder leading straight to the canopy (aka roof) over the stands.

After a scary and somewhat unstable climb, we trekked across the metal grooves of the canopy that happened to be the exact width of our feet. The view from the top was incredible. We could see the Orlando Eye, the city skyline, and much more. The camera set up took about 45 minutes and the rocket countdown continued smoothly. Looking east (towards the Space Coast), it seemed that there were some big clouds in the way, but it was tough to really know if that was the case since it was so dark. During the set up, our guide was able to control the stadium lighting, which was incredibly helpful. He actually turned the lights to full brightness for me to get some shots that I would later blend with the rocket streak. (Puzzled passers-by may have thought there was a late night soccer game!) Since my final shot was 131 seconds, the foreground of the stadium was pretty washed out – some parts were 100% white from the excessive exposure time. This meant that the extra shots taken ahead of time were critical to the success of the final image.

 T-Minus 60 Seconds

The tripods and cameras were all well-tested and the stadium light were dimmed. The moment of truth was upon us. Would the clouds be too dense? Would the rocket launch be scrubbed at the last-minute? Would the camera (and backup cameras) fail?

“10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1, liftoff of the Falcon 9” came roaring out of our phones watching the live stream. The next 30-60 seconds were agonizing waiting for the rocket to rise in the horizon enough to be seen some 60 miles away from the launchpad. And then finally the bottom of the sky began to glow orange and a nice dot of the rocket was clearly visible in the sky. It was rising dead center in the shot, exactly where I needed it to be. The clouds were mostly gone and it was incredibly clear. A few seconds into the view,  the Falcon rocket started to head strongly northward, which was perfect for the composition I was seeking.

131 seconds after we first saw it, I decided to stop my shot. The cameras then had to process a noise reduction protocol (I’ll leave the technical details of this part out), but this takes an additional 131 seconds. The camera screens counted down the seconds and we waited, and waited. Finally, the images revealed and they were more than I could have ever hoped for! My primary composition had the rocket perfectly in frame. While it was processing, we could see the second stage begin and later on we saw one of the landing burns from the first stage of the rocket. This was captured as well, and added to an alternate version of the shot shown here.

As we headed back towards the vertigo-inducing ladder, we saw some fireworks from Disney in the distance. It was a perfect ending to an amazing experience, and goes to prove – it never hurts to ask.

This post first appeared on SteveMadow.com and has been republished with permission. You can follow Steve on Instagram at @stevenmadow.

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Source: PDN Pulse

Photographing the SpaceX Zuma Rocket Launch from the Orlando City Stadium

Fund Your Work: Upcoming Grants, Artist-in-Residency Application Deadlines

Fund Your Work: Upcoming Grants, Artist-in-Residency Application Deadlines

Photographers seeking support for long-term projects take note: The deadlines for some big grants are coming up. We’ve paired information on these grants with tips from past winners and judges of many of these awards, grants and artists’ residency programs.

Center for Photography at Woodstock Artist-in-Residence Program
This photography-based Artist-In-Residence Program was created to expand the dialogue around diversity, race, identity and beyond, and to provide studio residencies for U.S.-based artists, scholars and curators of color. Deadline: January 28.

ANATOMY OF A SUCCESSFUL GRANT APPLICATION: CENTER FOR PHOTOGRAPHY AT WOODSTOCK

Alexia Foundation
The Alexia Foundation awards grants to student and professional visual journalists to help them produce projects that inspire change by addressing topics that are socially significant. Deadline for Professional Grant is February 1. The deadline for The Alexia 2018 Student Grants is March 1.

STEPHANIE SINCLAIR ON WRITING GRANT PROPOSALS WITH PERSONAL APPEAL

VSCO Voices
This is a six-month grant program that provides $20,000 in funding and mentorship to individuals working to empower marginalized U.S. communities through art. Online applications open February 5. Deadline: March 4.
VSCO is no longer accepting applications to its Artist Initiative grant, but our article about the program may help you tailor your application to fit VSCO’s interests.

HOW I GOT THAT GRANT: VSCO’S ARTIST INITIATIVE PROGRAM

MIT CAST Visiting Artist
This visiting artists program offers artists from a wide range of visual and performing arts disciplines a chance to embed in the cutting-edge research and teaching at MIT, where scientists and engineers are open to artists’ speculative and hands-on way of working. Deadline: Rolling applications

HOW I GOT THAT GRANT: KEITH ELLENBOGEN’S HIGH-SPEED PHOTOGRAPHY ADVENTURE AT M.I.T.

McKnight Artist Fellowship
McKnight partners with eight discipline-specific arts organizations to administer 38 fellowships of $25,000 each per year to selected Minnesota artists. Artist fellows may also participate in residencies, retreats, exhibitions/performances, and other
professional development opportunities. Deadline: Three remaining application periods in 2018, due April 15, July 15 and Oct 15.

ANATOMY OF A SUCCESSFUL FELLOWSHIP APPLICATION: KARL RASCHKE’S MCKNIGHT FELLOWSHIP

Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize
Created by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke, the $10,000 prize supports “artists, working alone or in teams, who have undertaken extended, ongoing fieldwork projects that fully exploit the relationship of words and images in the powerful, persuasive representation of a subject.” Applications open February 1. Deadline: May 15

HOW TO WIN A $10K DOROTHEA LANGE-PAUL TAYLOR PRIZE

Getty Editorial Grants
Five grants of $10,000 each are awarded annually to support independent photojournalists to pursue projects. Applications open April 1. Deadline: May 15

7 GRANT-WRITING TIPS FROM 2017 GETTY EDITORIAL GRANT JUROR CHELSEA MATIASH

SECRETS OF SUCCESSFUL GRANT WRITING: MARY F. CALVERT

ANATOMY OF A SUCCESSFUL GRANT PROPOSAL: KRISANNE JOHNSON’S COMING OF AGE STORY

W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography
Presented annually by the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, this grant supports a photographer whose past work and proposed project, as judged by a panel of experts, follows the tradition of W. Eugene Smith’s concerned photography and dedicated compassion.
Opening date for applications yet to be announced.
Deadline: May 31
DANIEL CASTRO GARCIA EXPLAINS HOW HE WON THE 2017 W. EUGENE SMITH GRANT
MAKING A PORTFOLIO THAT WINS GRANTS
HOW I GOT THAT GRANT: JOSEPH SYWENKYJ ON WINNING THE 2014 W. EUGENE SMITH GRANT

Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship
The foundation offers six-month fellowships of $20,000 and one-year fellowships of $40,000 to “journalists engaged in rigorous, probing, spirited, independent and skeptical work that will benefit the public.”
Applications open June 1. Deadline: October 1

ANATOMY OF SUCCESSFUL GRANT APPLICATIONS: THE ALICIA PATTERSON FOUNDATION FELLOWSHIP

Minnesota’s Artist Initiative
This grant program is designed to assist professional Minnesota artists at various stages in their careers. The grants, which range from $2,000 to $10,000, can be used to support career building and artistic development, as well as the creation of new work.
Deadline: June 29
ANATOMIES OF SUCCESSFUL GRANT APPLICATIONS: MINNESOTA’S ARTIST INITIATIVE GRANTS

Economic Hardship Reporting Project
Supports photo essays, portrait series, “innovative visuals and audio work” that tell new narratives about economic hardship.
Deadline: Rolling submissions
GRANT OPPORTUNITY: HOW TO PITCH THE ECONOMIC HARDSHIP REPORTING PROJECT

Aaron Siskind Foundation Individual Photographer’s Fellowship
Offering grants of up to $10,000 each, support artists working in photography or photo-based art. Grant cycle and deadlines will be announced Spring 2018.

     HOW I GOT THAT GRANT: THE AARON SISKIND FOUNDATION INDIVIDUAL PHOTOGRAPHER’S FELLOWSHIP

John Simon Guggenheim Fellowships
The Guggenheim Foundation awards approximately 175 Fellowships each year. Its mission is to further the development of scholars and artists by assisting them to engage in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts, under the freest possible conditions and irrespective of race, color, or creed. Applications open July 2018.

   HOW I GOT THAT GRANT: RICHARD RENALDI AND GARY BRIECHLE ON WINNING 2015 GUGGENHEIM FELLOWSHIPS

   ANATOMY OF A SUCCESSFUL GRANT APPLICATION: JON LOWENSTEIN’S GUGGENHEIM FELLOWSHIP

More Grant Writing Tips:

ADVICE FROM A FUNDRAISING EXPERT ABOUT SOLICITING DONATIONS AND APPLYING FOR GRANTS

FUNDRAISING ADVICE: BLUE EARTH ALLIANCE’S CO-FOUNDER ON APPLYING FOR GRANTS

HOW TO WIN GRANTS THAT SUPPORT YOUR PHOTO PROJECTS

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Source: PDN Pulse

Fund Your Work: Upcoming Grants, Artist-in-Residency Application Deadlines

Awkwafina Joins the “Now Generation” for Gap Logo Remix Campaign

Awkwafina Joins the “Now Generation” for Gap Logo Remix Campaign
The Gap continues to celebrate the cultural zeitgeist with a new campaign, leading up to the 2018 Grammy Awards, for the ‘Gap Logo Remix’ collections. The campaign features a global cast of talent who are remixing creative culture on their own terms, whether that be through music, acting, comedy, activism, or being a strong self-expressive voice in today’s society. This lineup includes SZA, Sabrina Claudio, Naomi Watanabe, Brea Vinaite, Connor Franta, Maya Jama, Miles Heizer, Sir John, and…

Keep on reading: Awkwafina Joins the “Now Generation” for Gap Logo Remix Campaign
Source: V Magazine

Awkwafina Joins the “Now Generation” for Gap Logo Remix Campaign