Witness a “Kiss of the Rabbit God”
In a newly released 38-second trailer, Chinese American filmmaker Andrew Thomas Huang effectively showcases the seductive vision for his upcoming short “Kiss of the Rabbit God.” The film follows a young Chinese restaurant worker’s journey of sexual awakening and self-discovery after falling in love with an 18th century Qing dynasty god named the Tu’er Shen (兔兒神).
The short film was created in support by Cinereach and commissioned by NOWNESS, a digital video channel owned by Chines…
A judge’s ruling could spell trouble for photographers . (#)
A photographer wins a massive prize and raises questions. (#)
Meike’s 85 may (or may not) be worth consideration. (#)
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Portraits of People in the Remote Himalayan Villages of Bhutan
Bhutan is a small landlocked country in the Eastern Himalayas of South Asia located between Tibet and India. Photographer Andrew Studer of Portland, Oregon, traveled to the country in 2017 and 2018 and spent weeks shooting photos of the places and people he encountered. His project is titled, “Faces of Bhutan.”
Studer says he originally expected to focus on the mountains and temples of the country, but upon arriving and meeting Bhutanese locals, he was drawn by their warmth and kindness. His interest then very quickly shifted toward street photography and portraiture.
“As I made my way to the more remote villages of Bhutan, I became more and more inspired to capture portraiture of the people,” Studer says. Here are some of his favorite photos from the trip:
After visiting the country the first time in 2017, Studer returned again in December 2018 in partnership with the travel portal MyBhutan. One of the places he focused on during his second trip was the Brokpa tribe in Merak.
Huawei has just announced its new P30 and P30 Pro flagship smartphones, and one of the biggest things Huawei focused on was smartphone quality. Both phones are low-light monsters, and the P30 Pro has a sensitivity that goes up to a staggering ISO 409600.
The back of the P30 Pro features a quad-camera setup with a 20MP 16mm f/2.2 ultra-wide camera, a 40MP 27mm f/1.6 OIS main camera, an 8MP 125mm f/3.4 OIS telephoto camera, and a time-of-flight (TOF) camera for depth sensing. The camera system uses a periscope design to provide 10x of near-lossless zoom. On the front of the phone is a 32MP selfie camera.
At its highly-anticipated unveiling event in Paris today, Huawei spent a considerable amount of time boasting that the P30 Pro has the highest light sensitivity found on the market today.
Huawei notes that while the P20 Pro unveiled in 2018 has a max ISO of 102400 that matches the Canon 5D Mark IV in sensitivity, the P30 Pro blows both of those devices out of the water with ISO 409600.
“It’s unbelievable,” says Huawei business group CEO Richard Yu, who says that the phone is able to capture photos in near darkness with just 1 lux of illumination — by comparison, DxOMark’s low light test only takes cameras down to 5 lux. Huawei says its 1/1.7-inch SuperSensing RYYB sensor that uses yellow instead of green can collect 40% more light than traditional RGB sensors.
At 1 lux, while the iPhone XS MAX and Samsung Galaxy S10+ both capture black frames and when the human eye can’t see anything, the P30 Pro can capture bright, vivid colors.
Yu says the P30 Pro can shoot photos of the starry night sky with a single non-long-exposure shot, showing an example of a f/1.6, 0.85s, ISO 102400 photo:
And the low-light capabilities are useful for parents who wish to capture precious moments of their kids at night — during bedtime, for example:
Turn on Handheld Night Mode, and you can shoot photos of auroras without a tripod:
And in Long Exposure mode, even more creative possibilities are opened up:
Huawei has earned a bad reputation of using misleading photos in its marketing again and again, but DxOMark tested the smartphone and gave it a best-ever overall score of 112.
“The zoom on its own will make the new Huawei an extremely tempting option for many mobile photographers, but the camera performs very well in almost all other areas as well,” DxOMark writes in its review. “The bokeh mode is the best we have seen; image detail and noise levels are excellent across all light levels; and the camera records high-quality footage in video mode.
“There is still some room for improvement in terms of color and artifacts, but these are relatively minor shortcomings that most users will be able to easily live with. [T]he P30 Pro is easily the most versatile mobile imaging tool to date, allowing you to cover a wider range of photographic situations than any other smartphone.”
Other photography features include a 50x digital zoom (that combines OIS and AI), an LED flash, and HDR.
On the video front, the P30 Pro can shoot 2160p at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps, and 720p at 960fps.
Other non-imaging features and specs of the P30 Pro include a 6.47-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 2,340×1,080, Android 9.0 Pie, 128GB/256GB/512GB storage, a Kirin 980 processor, 8GB RAM, Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C, an in-display fingerprint sensor, IP68 water resistance, and a 4,200mAh battery.
The Huawei P30 Pro is available today over in Europe (in blue, white, amber, aurora, and black) and costs €999 (~$1,127) for 128GB of storage, €1,099 (~$1,240) for 256GB, and €1,249 (~$1,409) for 512GB.
Techno Queen, Nicole Moudaber at SXM Festival: A VMag Exclusive
Nicole Moudaber, “La Reina de Techno,” is one of the headliners at the SXM festival in Sint Marteen – a bifurcated but very much bipartisan Dutch and French territory where the motto is “be nice” and everyone chimes in with the national joke, “that will be x-dollars,” followed by a chuckle and “just kidding.” Who isn’t kidding? The reigning queen – she isn’t kidding when she says she doesn’t care for the label, “female DJ,” or fellow house, techno, and dance music…
‘Tonight Show’ Shot an Entire Episode on the Samsung Galaxy S10+
Smartphone camera quality continues to hit new heights, and here’s another example of how far we’ve come: NBC will air an episode of “The Tonight Show” shot entirely on the Samsung Galaxy S10+.
Variety reports that tonight’s episode will be an unusual one that diverges from the show’s standard recipe of an opening monologue and sit-down with guests.
Host Jimmy Fallon will reportedly open the episode by informing viewers that it was shot entirely with the smartphone, and the episode will go on to feature some of Fallon’s favorite spots in New York:
“Tonight” viewers will see Fallon, announcer Steve Higgins and house band The Roots dining at Rao’s; Fallon delivering meatballs to New York firefighters; and Fallon and The Roots visit New York jazz club The Django. Fallon will sing with Conor McGregor at New York Irish pub. He will also interview Michael Che at the Comedy Cellar and show comic Rachel Feinstein performing a set there. Fallon and The Roots will also be spotted crooning doo-wop against a New York City backdrop.
As you’ve probably guessed, it’s part of a big marketing effort and an advertising deal that NBCUniversal signed with Samsung.
The $1,000 Samsung Galaxy S10+ was announced in February, and it features a 6.4-inch screen, dual cameras on the front, and a triple camera system on the back.
Create Interesting Catchlights for Eye-Catching Portraits
Photographer Miguel Quiles made this 7-minute video tutorial on a trick you can use to shoot eye-catching portraits. It’s all about paying attention to and manipulating the catchlights in your subject’s eyes.
“As is often said, the eyes are the windows to the soul, so use this idea to take the best portraits you possibly can,” Quiles says.
In the video, Quiles shows how focusing on the light reflecting in eyes and positioning your model accordingly can make a huge impact on the resulting portrait quality.
“Just by taking a look and taking a moment to assess the catchlights in the eyes, beyond just looking at what the lighting is on the person’s face, beyond just looking at the background, you’re able to take a much more interesting portrait,” Quiles says.
And when shooting with flashes and light modifiers, creating interesting catchlights is even easier. Here are some examples by Quiles of catchlights created with artificial lighting:
The Tel Aviv, Israel-based startup GuruShots has raised $5 million in Series A funding for its crowd-based real-world photography game, which gamifies photography for enthusiasts around the world.
The funding, led by Altair Capital, Buran Venture Capital, and Ervington Investments Limited, brings GuruShots’ total funding to $6.5 million and will help the company accelerate its growth.
GuruShots is designed to turn photography into a fun, interactive, global online competition through the Web and mobile devices.
Users can submit photos to daily themed challenges (e.g. “Black and White” and “Beards”) and have their work rated through crowdsourced voting. The highest ranked photos are surfaced, and users receive real-time feedback.
Winners of these mini competitions can win prizes, from in-game power-ups to photography gear to gift cards to spots in international photo exhibitions.
GuruShots hots five photo exhibitions each month around the world.
Since launching back in 2015, GuruShots how boasts over 4 billion votes per month across over 500 challenges, and over $600,000 in prizes has been awarded. About 5,000 members are recognized for their achievements each month, and tens of thousands of photos have already been exhibited.
“GuruShots, one of the world’s largest image ranking platforms using UGC [user-generated content], is easy and fun enough for anyone to start, and challenging enough for everyone to get hooked,” GuruShots says. “As users level up in the game, they find themselves improving their photo-taking skills, too.”
Heroes: Troop Beverly Hills
On March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker careened into an Alaskan reef and leaked 11 million gallons of crude oil into pristine coastal waters, serving as a handy metaphor for the end of the ’80s: the toxic excesses of the “greed-is-good” years spilling over and suffocating everything in its path. That same day, on movie screens across an anxious nation, another emblem of the era would make her auspicious debut: Phyllis Nefler, the plucky housewife-cum-troop-leader at the center …
Wet Plate Collodion Passport Photos with a Polaroid Miniportrait Camera
Passport photos on wet plate collodion aren’t legally compliant, but you’re guaranteed to have fun making them. I shot wet plate collodion passport photos using a Polaroid Miniportrait camera.
The funny thing about this camera is that it has fixed-focus lenses. You have to sit 1.2 meters (3.94 feet) away. To be sure you are sitting at the right spot, there is a tape measure integrated into the Polaroid camera. You can see a little metal thingy underneath the lens without the lens cap on.
The f/8 lenses of the Polaroid Miniportrait camera combined with a photosensitivity of about ISO 0.5 of the wet plate were a bigger challenge than expected.
The full power of the Hensel Tria 6000 generator with the Grand Mini 85 was just enough to ensure a correct exposure. For lots of people, it sounds shocking since 6000 watts doesn’t seem to be nearly enough, but when you do the math it makes sense. ISO 0.5, f/8, and a softbox.
My Sekonic light meter showed aperture 18 at ISO 3 (unfortunately you can not set a smaller value). So that’s 2 1/3 stops more than f/8, which brings me to about 0.5.
To hold the wet plate better in position, I used the empty plastic box of the Fuji FP-100C film. A fellow wet plater, Jim Kost, told me he did it a similar way. I used the original plastic box and used the foam that is already in that box to hold the wet plate in position.
Then I put the Fuji plastic box with the wet plate inside into the film holder. It’s very easy to do, and the whole project was finished in 90 minutes.
Fortunately, in the closet is a Hensel Tria 3000, so the next passport photo should be more creative.
About the author: Markus Hofstaetter is a photographer who enjoys life and meeting people around the world. You can connect with him and find more of his work on his website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This article was also published here.