How Two Friends Built a Remote Astrophotography Observatory

How Two Friends Built a Remote Astrophotography Observatory

Deep Sky West is a remote astrophotography observatory in New Mexico, USA. It offers the opportunity for any astrophotographer around the world to use the site to access clear skies without the need to travel there, and to use advanced astronomy and photography equipment without the need to own it themselves.

I talked to Lloyd L. Smith, co-founder of Deep Sky West to find out more about how they built Deep Sky West, how you can use the observatory, and to get his advice on how to build your own.

What is Deep Sky West?

DSW is a remote astrophotography observatory. That is, it’s a site that holds advanced telescopes, cameras and all the equipment needed for deep sky imaging under a rain-detecting retractable roof that can all be controlled without the need for anybody to be there in person (although there are 3 technical support personnel).

This means that photographers from around the world can get involved and use the site to host their own equipment, and/or the equipment there to target specific objects in space and have the data gathered sent to them for post-processing to create astronomy images.

This video gives you a good idea of what the observatory looked like when it opened in August 2015. The drone approached the property from due north. The white observatory building can be seen in the distance and the green roof of the underground residence can be seen at lower right as the scene unfolds:

The observatory in the video has since been doubled in capacity (the structure is modular). The sister observatory, DSW “Beta” will be operational in September 2018.

Where is it?

It’s situated on Glorietta Mesa in Rowe, New Mexico.

It’s at high altitude (7,400 feet elevation), and its location away from the light pollution of cities offers dark skies and good weather conditions that hard to find for many (most?) astrophotographers around the world.

As the Deep Sky West co-founders say, their observatory “is for the average backyard astrophotographer who has a love for the hobby, sometimes has great equipment, but is plagued by poor skies.”

A panorama of the view around the observatory taken by Deep Sky West member/advisor, Tolga Gumusayak this past weekend

How did the idea come about?

Two guys – Bruce Wright and Lloyd Smith – came up with the idea for Deep Sky West on New Year’s Eve 2014.

Bruce had a life-long dream of building an energy-efficient, off-the-grid home and had succeeded in this by building an underground house on a 35-acre plot of land in New Mexico.

But that day at the end of 2014, Bruce and Lloyd were looking up and saw that “the most incredibly transparent sky encircled us from horizon to horizon”.

They decided then that it was the perfect location for an astrophotography observatory and set in motion the plan to build Deep Sky West.

In June 2015, the first version – named DSW Alpha – was completed and fully operational.

The observatory with the roof open.

How does Deep Sky West work?

DSW Alpha is a ”Roll Off Building” (ROB) observatory. That is, the building literally rolls on and off the grid of telescopes according to when it is being used, or when it needs to be closed. It is a steel construction that runs on rails similar in design to a rollercoaster.

The building is “captured” both above and below tubular rails and is thus able to withstand high winds. A custom designed electric motor and gearing enables the 2.5-ton structure to be moved with ease.

To help you picture it, Lloyd says, “a common garden shed outfitted with wheels would make a fine observatory!”.

DSW Alpha started as a 25 x 30 foot, 9-pier facility but the modularity of steel construction allowed them to add more roof sections as needed. There is now an additional 25 feet of roof and 9 more piers, which were installed in summer 2016. They now refer to the upgraded facilities as Alpha 2.0.

A second observatory is underway and expected to be completed by September 2018. It’s called, wait for it, DSW Beta, which follows the same basic design.

DSW Beta under construction

A construction camera can be seen live which is documenting everything for a time lapse to be produced when construction is completed.

The design

A number of other design elements play a critical role in the effectiveness of a roll-off building:

First is overhead clearance.

DSW’s overhead clearance is 9.5 feet and all imaging systems are kept below this level so that contact between any equipment and the roof is impossible.

When weather conditions demand, the observatory can close without regard for the position of any system. “There’s no need for special “at park” sensors or anything similar. When it’s time to close, we close.”

The deep sky west observatory with the roof closed

The second design element is the inner stub wall system.

This provides protection from ground-level dust and other unwanted elements. They give the feel of a traditional roll-off roof but are stationary and non-load bearing.

The stub walls are convenient for power outlets, flat panels, etc. Some traditional ROBs go so far as to motorize the southern wall to increase visibility to the south. At Deep Sky West they just limited the southern wall to 4 feet – “southern views go down to the horizon if you want to chase a southerly target” and does not require any additional automation.

Deep Sky West with the roof open

Redundancy is another important element.

Every critical subsystem has a backup – especially cloud and rain sensing. They use two Sky Alert cloud sensing systems with automatic failover and employ Hydreon optical rain sensors in a redundant arrangement to provide additional rain sensing capability.

A Davis Weather Station supplies micro-climate information to the roof actuation system. “In all, there are 5 systems that monitor the weather and work together to determine whether or not conditions are safe.”

Lastly, Power is a critical subsystem.

Their UPS (backup power system using charge-managed deep cycle marine batteries) has the ability to operate the roof and run the imaging systems for several days. However, to continue to operate on UPS power without knowing the cause of a power outage is unsafe and so if the main AC fails, they close and stay closed until they understand the reasons for the failure.

Lloyd says “Equipment and infrastructure protection is our primary concern. We’d rather miss a few hours of clear sky before risking the safety of the facility and its contents. As such, we take a conservative approach with respect to observatory opening and closing. DSW is fully autonomous and opens and closes based on inputs from all the various sensing systems. Redundancy and strict adherence to protocol protect the observatory.”

Roll-off-roof time.

When does the roof open up?

The normal open and close cycle for DSW is to open every day one hour before dusk and to close 30 minutes after sunrise.

The time between opening and astronomical dusk allows the systems time to reach thermal equilibrium and to perform other functions like flat acquisition.

The protocol for opening and closing depends on several factors: Deep Sky West opens at the appointed time only if main AC power is active, WAN/LAN is functioning, and the weather is clear.

The definition of “clear” is a function of the difference between the ambient temperature and the sky temperature. The latter is measured by infrared sensors on the Sky Alert system.

If “clear” is detected and all other conditions are met, then the observatory opens for business. The operators, technicians, and residents are notified via email and/or text messages anytime the roof opens or closes and the reason for the movement.

Lloyd says, “our favorite message is “Email #1 – DSW1 – Opening Beginning of Session”. Conversely, our least favorite message is “Email #9 – DSW1 – Not Opening at Sunset Due to Weather”. This disappointment is easily reversed when we receive “Email #8 – DSW1 – Re-Opening After Weather Event”.”

All observatories require technical support whether they’re in a backyard or far from home but remote observatories present a particular challenge for the obvious reasons: you can’t touch your system and depending on the infrastructure you might not even be able to see it.

Therefore, competent, local support is critical. Well-designed redundant systems help tremendously, but nothing replaces real human interaction. At Deep Sky West they have several support personnel with various areas of expertise including infrastructure, network and imaging system operations.

This video shows a timelapse of Deep Sky West over a period of 24 hours:

Who can use the remote facilities?

The tagline of Deep Sky West is “remote Imaging for the Rest of Us”.

Lloyd says, “our primary goal is to make remote, dark site imaging affordable and attainable for the beginner astrophotographer to the most ardent amateurs and even professionals. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel since we’ve already procured a site, implemented the infrastructure, built the observatory, and hired on-site support. Affordable remote imaging, every clear night, is within your grasp—no building, no driving, no sleepless nights, no hourly points systems, no creepy crawlers and no wasted trips!”

“The lack of consistent clear skies results in equipment going idle for long periods. When the weather does cooperate many imagers have to travel to remote locations, set up equipment from scratch, polar align, image (if the weather holds up), and tear it all down again at the end of the session. Astrophotographers fortunate enough to have a home observatory don’t have the hassles of setting up for each session, but many locations still lack quality skies.”

Lloyd adds, “Whether you’re a seasoned imager or just starting out in the hobby you’ve realized a few fundamental facts about our shared pursuit: 1) it’s really hard and 2) it can be very expensive.”

APOD: ‘Young Stars and Dusty Nebulae in Taurus’ taken at Deep Sky West (Credit: Lloyd L. Smith)

How can photographers get involved in Deep Sky West?

There are two ways you can utilize Deep Sky West:

1. Rent a space and use your own equipment

This is the traditional approach, wherein an imager leases a pier and operates their own system remotely.

This is remote imaging in the “classic” sense: you operate your equipment as you see fit, perhaps you work with a small group of friends and you split expenses—this is up to the team. In this model, individuals can host their own systems for an all-inclusive monthly fee of $700.

Alternatively, like-minded individuals can pool their equipment, financial and knowledge resources to create a small team. They help team founders to find other team members throughout their network and the astrophotography community in general.

For example, one Deep Sky West imaging team uses a TEC 160 (a $12,500 telescope) owned by a member/founder from Texas with team members from Italy, Australia, and China. This team splits the pier lease costs and all data is shared equally across their small group.

Observatory personnel are available to perform system installations if the equipment owners can’t make the trip – a process that typically requires 2-3 clear nights to complete. This includes the physical installation, network set-up, polar alignment, and calibrations as required (focuser, PEC, rotator, collimation, etc.)

If people perform to do their own installation, Deep Sky West personnel are on site to provide assistance. As a bonus, they also provide lodging at the residence free of charge!

2. Sign up to join a Deep Sky West-operated team and use equipment already there

The other model is a virtual team shared system concept and is the easiest way to start remote imaging at the observatory.

How it works is that imagers from around the world select to receive data from any of our 6 Deep Sky West-operated systems. The members then receive all the data collected on the system(s) of their choice. “It’s like a data subscription service”, says Lloyd.

The teams operate very simply: general imaging standards are set for exposure times and binning, all members participate in a democratic target selection process, and all data is shared equally among the team members. The final images belong to the processor. The cost is from $600 per year.

Controversy: Who is or isn’t an astrophotographer?

This second model has generated some controversy as some claim that the photographers are not taking the pictures themselves and therefore is not “real” astrophotography.

Lloyd says, “there’s a school of thought that says in order to be considered a real astrophotographer one must perform their own data acquisition and image processing. It’s the collection part that seems to be at the center of the issue. Clearly, our shared-system model removes the data acquisition part of the equation, but the processing is left up to the member.”

“Our position is clear: if you don’t have the equipment, skills or skies you should not be denied the opportunity to participate in this wonderful hobby at a reasonable cost. We also believe working within a community of similar imagers significantly enhances the experience and accelerates the learning process. We don’t judge who is or isn’t an astrophotographer.”

They also allow those with “interesting systems which are desirable to other imagers” to be hosted for free.

Lloyd says, “it’s a play on the sharing economy in a way. The sky isn’t going to change substantively in our lifetimes, but the equipment is changing quickly and not everyone can afford to get the latest greatest thing all the time.”

‘HDR M45 (Pleiades)’ taken at Deep Sky West (Credit: Lloyd L. Smith)

What equipment does Deep Sky West offer?

Today the Deep Sky West equipment available includes:

  • A Rokinon 130mm wide field lens
  • A Takahashi FSQ telescope
  • Two difficult to get Astro-Physics 305mm F/3.8 Riccardi-Honders Astrographs (with 16803 and 8300 chips)
  • An RCOS Carbon Truss 14.5 inch Ritchey-Chrétien Telescope (3,360mm FL)
  • An Astro-Physics 175 mm f/8 Starfire EDF refractor—another rare instrument

“We don’t own all these systems,” Lloyd says. “Some are owned by our members who, in exchange for hosting and support, allow us to open the systems to other members via our shared model. Each of these is interesting in its own way and we’re happy to have them on offer for imagers who’d like to participate in this way.

“Ours is similar to other services, but we believe we’ve made it more cost-effective and our members are able to work with data integrations of at least 15 hours per target. This varies by instrument, but our goal is quality of images over quantity.”

How to build a remote astrophotography observatory yourself

Having successfully built Deep Sky West, the co-founders can offer some great insights and expertise to anyone else interested in building their own.

They recommend that the below equipment is needed:

  1. A small refractor telescope (300-600mm focal length)
  2. A quality mount similar to A-P Mach1GTO, Paramount MyT, 10Micron 1000HPS
  3. A sturdy pier or tripod
  4. A quality CCD camera with in-country support
  5. A Windows 7 computer with adequate storage and 8G of RAM
  6. A Digital Loggers IP Power Switch for remote power control
  7. ACP, CCD Autopilot, or similar for automated imaging
  8. A webcam so you can see what’s happening
  9. SkyAlert or Boltwood for cloud sensing
  10. SkyEye for all-sky cameras
  11. SkyRoof for dome/roof control
  12. A Hydreon optical rain sensor for backup to your cloud-sensing system
  13. A Davis weather station for local micro-climate information (can be used for dome control, but is often used just for local weather information)
  14. A robust UPS for dedicated dome/roof closure.

They also recommend cloud-managed network devices (Cisco Meraki, for example) and a cloud service for data storage and retrieval (Google Drive, Dropbox).

They also stress the importance of devising roof/dome closure protocols – I.E., what to do on power failure? Run on UPS or close until the source of failure is understood and corrected? What to do after a period of bad weather? Re-open or stay closed for the night?

Lloyd says they are also happy to talk to anyone seriously thinking about building their own remote observatory, “we’re also glad to consult with you with no obligation…just paying it forward.”

‘NGC 2170’ taken at Deep Sky West (Credit: Lloyd L. Smith)

Further information about Deep Sky West

“When I first started in astrophotography I read everything I could find,” Lloyd says. “The main messages I heard were: ‘this is really hard’, ‘you need specialized equipment’ and ‘it’s very expensive’. I fundamentally understood all these things, but hey, I had an SCT, a basic GEM, and a good film DSLR. And I had the desire to produce images like the ones in the magazines. Surely I could make this happen if I were very careful and, of course, smarter than the average bear.

“Before any debate gets started let me say that there are imagers who could do a great job with the equipment that I had—I’m just not one of them. I struggled and eventually gave up except for the occasional looks at the moon and planets. Ten years went by and I finally got the message and upgraded my equipment (to an FSQ-106, Mach1GTO, and QSI583).”

He says the first key learning point was to get the right tools.

“I finally had reliable, quality equipment, but didn’t have the first clue on how to do a plate solve, or what the heck I was supposed to do with a V-Curve. Slowly, but surely I figured it all out in my backyard.”

His second key learning: “go remote from home first.” He says he was lucky he had resources and good skies available to him. “Without access to skies or equipment your options are severely limited.”

“Deep Sky West offers a way around some of these limitations. Many would-be imagers don’t have the resources to spend on equipment and image acquisition which is only part the battle. Processing is an art and science unto itself. Quality data is critical to learning the techniques. Deep Sky West solves the data acquisition hurdle and allows entry into the hobby for those who otherwise not get involved in the first place. We also provide an affordable dark site for imagers further along the continuum. In fact, the typical arc for our members is to start out on one of our systems, perhaps step up to one of our longer focal length instruments and eventually automate their own local systems or host with us.”

What’s the future for Deep Sky West?

“As for DSW, this is a labor of love. Of course, we are a small business, but both Bruce Wright and I, the co-founders, have successful careers in the consulting world. Our client service experience in working with Fortune 500 companies informs our approach to business and customer service.”

“We built DSW out of intellectual curiosity and the desire to build something different. DSW is debt free and completely owned, operated and fully funded by the two of us—friends of 30+ years. In other words, we’re like an old married couple! We debate and deliberate, fuss and fight a bit, but we find common ground and we act in the best interests of our members. As long as imagers demand affordable, dark skies we’ll keep doing what we’re doing and adapting as our members’ needs change. Good luck and clear skies!”

More information on Deep Sky West can be found on their website.

About the author: Anthony Wallace is the editor-in-chief of Skies & Scopes, a website for astrophotographers, astronomers and stargazers. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can read more articles by Wallace on his website. This article was also published here.

Source: PetaPixel

How Two Friends Built a Remote Astrophotography Observatory

Canon R Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera and 4 RF Lenses Coming Sep 5th

Canon R Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera and 4 RF Lenses Coming Sep 5th

The cat is out of the bag. As rumors foretold, Canon will indeed be announcing its first full-frame mirrorless camera and 7 different new lenses next week on September 5th.

Canon Rumors and Nokishita have both published the full list of gear that will be unveiled on that day. Canon has been keeping this camera announcement as an extremely closely guarded secret that was largely under wraps up to this point.

The big announcement that photographers will be keen to learn about is Canon’s new R full-frame mirrorless camera and the ecosystem that will be launched around it.

The R body will be sold both by itself and with a 24-105mm f/4L kit lens with the company’s new RF mount

In addition to the 24-105mm f/4L lens, Canon will also be announcing three other RF-mount lenses: an RF 35mm f/1.8 M IS, RF 50mm f/1.2L, and RF 28-70mm f/2.

Canon will also be announcing a new BG-E22 battery grip, an EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM lens, and two EF super-telephoto lenses: the EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III and the EF 600mm f/4L IS III.

It’s still unclear how the new mirrorless camera will support EF lenses, but there are rumors that Canon has created some kind of special lens mount system that will allow the entire range of EF lenses to be mounted. If not, we may also see a separate adapter announced on the 5th as well.

Canon Rumors is also hearing that pre-orders for the new Canon R equipment won’t begin immediately at the announcement.

The official announcement is only days away now, so we’ll find out the full details soon enough. Stay tuned.

Source: PetaPixel

Canon R Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera and 4 RF Lenses Coming Sep 5th

Tamron Unveils the 15-30mm f/2.8 VC G2 for Canon EF and Nikon F

Tamron Unveils the 15-30mm f/2.8 VC G2 for Canon EF and Nikon F

Tamron has announced the new SP 15-30mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 full-frame lens for Canon and Nikon DSLRs, four years after the first generation version of the lens became the first ultra-wide f/2.8 zoom to offer stabilization.

The moisture-resistant lens features an XGM (eXpanded Glass Molded Aspherical) and multiple LD (Low Dispersion) lens elements to greatly reduce the distortion and lateral chromatic aberrations often seen in wide-angle photos.

The front of the lens features a new AX (Anti-reflection eXpand) Coating that reduces ghosting and flare. There’s also a Fluorine Coating that provides water- and oil-repellent properties.

Inside, the lens features a built-in Dual MPU (Micro-Processing Unit) for greatly faster autofocus performance and precision. And like its predecessor, this new lens offers image stabilization (4.5 stops).

Full-time Manual Focus override in the lens allows you to make manual focus adjustments at any time.

The Canon EF version of the lens also includes a rear filter holder that supports gelatin and other sheet filters.

The lens mount of the Canon EF version (left) and the Nikon F version (right).

“This makes photography using filters much easier and simpler by overcoming the problem of the curvature of the front lens elements that made shooting with filters so difficult in the past,” Tamron says.

As with Tamron’s other new lenses, this new lens is compatible with the company’s TAP-in Console for making firmware updates and fine focus adjustments via USB using your own computer.

Here are some official sample photos captured with the new 15-30mm G2:

The Tamron SP 15-30mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 will be available for Nikon F on September 21st and for Canon EF on October 12th. Both versions will cost $1,299.

Source: PetaPixel

Tamron Unveils the 15-30mm f/2.8 VC G2 for Canon EF and Nikon F

This Couple Shot 70s-Themed Engagement Photos

This Couple Shot 70s-Themed Engagement Photos

After Erin Wotherspoon and Steve Markle got engaged recently, Steve had the idea of getting creative with their engagement photos by making them 1970s-themed (an era he’s obsessed with).

HuffPost reports that the enlisted the help of photographer Robyn S. Russell for the photo shoot held at the couple’s home in the Parkdale neighborhood of Toronto, Canada.

The home was already perfect for the shoot thanks to its 70s-style elements, and the couple found their outfits from a TV and film wardrobe rental business.

You can find more of Russell’s work on her website, Facebook, and Instagram.

Image credits: Photographs by Robyn S. Russell and used with permission

Source: PetaPixel

This Couple Shot 70s-Themed Engagement Photos

Trailer: The First Documentary About Street Photographer Garry Winogrand

Trailer: The First Documentary About Street Photographer Garry Winogrand

Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable is an upcoming documentary film about the life and work of famous American street photographer Garry Winogrand. You can watch the 2-minute trailer above.

Here’s the synopsis of the 90-minute film that was directed by Sasha Waters Freyer:

Decades before digital technology transformed how we make and see pictures, Garry Winogrand made hundreds of thousands of them with his 35mm Leica, creating an encyclopedic portrait of America from the late 1950s to the early 1980s in the process. When he died suddenly at age 56 in 1984, Winogrand left behind more than 10,000 rolls of film – more than a quarter of a million pictures!

These images capture a bygone era: the New York of Mad Men and the early years of the Women’s Movement, the birth of American suburbs, and the glamour and alienation of Hollywood. He produced so many unseen images that it has taken until now for the full measure of his artistic legacy to emerge.

Endorsed by his gallery and estate, Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable is the first cinematic survey of that legacy. The film tells the story of an artist whose rise and fall was – like America’s in the late decades of the 20th century – larger-than-life, full of contradictions and totally unresolved. In addition to hundreds of iconic photographs, the film makes ample use of Winogrand’s 8mm color home movie of his parents, three wives and children, plus the wealth of footage created as he roamed city streets and 1960s protests.

The film also uses newly discovered audio cassette tapes of Winogrand which are the only un-staged media of the artist in existence. These cassette tapes capture conversations with an old friend recorded in a forgotten Texas diner – about ex-wives and parents and children and sex, about quitting smoking and students and the meaning and making of art. Forged by his own words and images, Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable is a stunningly intimate portrait of a man who both personified his era and transformed it.

Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable will hit the silver screen in select theaters across the US on September 19th, 2018.

(via Pieshake Pictures via Shutterbug)

Source: PetaPixel

Trailer: The First Documentary About Street Photographer Garry Winogrand

Cardpackr is an Expandable Magnetic Case for Storing Memory Cards

Cardpackr is an Expandable Magnetic Case for Storing Memory Cards

Cardpackr is a new memory card storage solution designed by a design partnership called W2. It’s a stackable magnetic case that can expand to hold as many memory cards as you need.

The Cardpackr system consists of one cover layer and as many standard layers as you’d like.

Each layer has 4 strong neodymium magnets — memory cards aren’t harmed by magnets — built in that keep all the layers together when your cards are put away.

“These give just the right amount of grip to stop the layers accidentally coming apart whilst at the same time making it simple to separate them to access the cards,” the company says. “We trialed numerous strengths, sizes and quantity of magnets as well as the positioning to get it just right and we think you’re going to love how it works.”

The layout of the magnets allows you to slide each layer apart sideways if you’d like to quickly access the cards within.

Each ABS plastic layer comes with 4 different EVA rubber inserts (with double-sided tape on the back) for various combinations of memory cards (and SIM cards). There are also blank inserts for cutting your own custom holes.

Cardpackr is being launched on Kickstarter, where it has already been successfully funded. There’s less than a day remaining in the campaign at the time of this post, and you can get yourself a first Cardpackr (assuming the company delivers on its promises) with contributions starting at about $13 for a basic 2-layer set.

Source: PetaPixel

Cardpackr is an Expandable Magnetic Case for Storing Memory Cards

How These Former Kodak Engineers Helped Prevent World War III

How These Former Kodak Engineers Helped Prevent World War III

During the Cold War, the US enlisted the help of Kodak to create a satellite camera for spying on the Soviet Union. This 4-minute video by CNN is a look at the program and the former Kodak employees who “helped prevent World War III.”

During the Cold War, the Kodak employees (who still meet for a monthly luncheon) were tasked with developing the KH-7 Gambit reconnaissance satellite that was used from July 1963 to June 1967.

The program in Kodak’s “Research and Engineering” division — the government side of the company — was so top secret that information was kept on a need-to-know basis: the employees didn’t know what the government was doing with their camera, and the family and friends of the employees didn’t know what their loved ones were working on.

What the employees created was a high-res satellite that gave the US the first high-resolution photos of Soviet nuclear and missile installations. It was so powerful that photos could reveal objects smaller than 1 foot in size. Even to this day, the highest resolution of the Gambit camera is still classified information.

A photo captured by Gambit on May 28th, 1967, of a space tracking radar facility at Sary Shagan in the former Soviet Union.

After the photography phase of each mission, the film would be ejected from the satellite in a capsule and recovered mid-air by a C-130 Hercules airplane as the film floated down to Earth on a parachute.

By the end of the Cold War, the Gambit satellite spy camera had exposed nearly 100 miles of film containing nearly half a million photos of the Soviet Union.

Source: PetaPixel

How These Former Kodak Engineers Helped Prevent World War III

LEGO’s New People Pack Has a Female Wildlife Photog (and Selfie Stick)

LEGO’s New People Pack Has a Female Wildlife Photog (and Selfie Stick)

If you’re a fan of both LEGO and photography, you may want to check out this year’s City People Pack, which has an “Outdoor Adventures” theme. The kit features a female wildlife photographer who has a camera with a flash and hefty telephoto lens.

The 164-piece kit is LEGO item #60202.

Here’s a closer look at the photographer:

There’s even an eagle figure for the photographer to take pictures of:

Oh, and the new people pack even contains a dad who brought a selfie stick on his family vacation:

The LEGO City People Pack-Outdoor Adventures was released in June and is available now for $34.

P.S. If you don’t like the included camera included in the kit (perhaps the flash seems out of place to you), you can also find other camera accessories in other kits and click your own telephoto lens onto the front.

Source: PetaPixel

LEGO’s New People Pack Has a Female Wildlife Photog (and Selfie Stick)

Adobe’s Next Major Creative Cloud Release Won’t Support Older OSes

Adobe’s Next Major Creative Cloud Release Won’t Support Older OSes

If you’re a photographer who uses Adobe Creative Cloud apps but refuses to upgrade from an older operating system version, there’s trouble looming on the horizon. Adobe says the next major release of Creative Cloud won’t support older versions of Windows and Mac OS.

Your Windows won’t be supported if you haven’t upgraded beyond the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (v1607) that was released to the public on August 2, 2016. And if you’re on a Mac, you won’t be supported if you haven’t upgraded beyond Mac OS 10.11 (El Capitan), which was released on September 30, 2015.

Adobe says that forcing its users to be on the newest versions of the operating systems will allow apps to “take advantage of the latest operating system features and technologies.”

If you’re on an older OS version that isn’t supported by the next update, you’ll still be able to run and install the current and previous versions of Creative Cloud apps that are already released today. But you’ll be stuck on these latest versions of Photoshop and Lightroom after the next major Creative Cloud release unless you upgrade your OS as well.

The Creative Cloud Desktop software that manages app installs will continue to work on older OSes (at least Windows 7 and Mac OS X v10.9 Mavericks) even after the next major CC release.

“Focusing our efforts on more modern versions of Windows and Mac operating systems allows us to concentrate on developing the features and functionality most requested by members, while ensuring peak performance that takes advantage of modern hardware,” Adobe says.

Photographers have long complained about performance and bug issues in Adobe software, particularly Lightroom. It will be interesting to see whether dropping its support for older OS versions will allow Adobe to give its apps the major performance boost users have been begging for.

(via Adobe via The Digital Picture)

Source: PetaPixel

Adobe’s Next Major Creative Cloud Release Won’t Support Older OSes

This Guy Poses with Toy Superheroes Using Forced Perspective

This Guy Poses with Toy Superheroes Using Forced Perspective

Wire Hon is a Malaysian toy collector and photographer who has been shooting creative photos of himself and his family with Marvel superheroes by carefully posing tiny figurines and using forced perspective.

Here’s what a behind-the-scenes look typically looks like (Hon captures all his photos using his smartphone and its deep depth-of-field):

…and here’s the photo that resulted from the above setup:

Hon’s imaginative photos come with a dose of humor. He, his wife, and his son can be seen bossing Marvel superheroes around and being found in strange scenarios with them.

The group even posed for this picture together:

You can follow along with Hon’s work on his Facebook and Instagram.

(via Wire Hon via

Image credits: Photographs by Wire Hon and used with permission

Source: PetaPixel

This Guy Poses with Toy Superheroes Using Forced Perspective