Focusing on What’s Important

In my last post, I commented on my distinct lack of enthusiasm for the new mirrorless camera offerings from Nikon.  Subsequently, both Canon and Fuji have also released new mirrorless cameras.  Each one proudly publishes a fancy spec sheet, full of images of the camera bodies, accompanying lenses and their capabilities.  Pages and pages of data.

Mirrorless CamerasIn the past, this would have caused me to breathe more rapidly, excitement building, as I surveyed the options ahead.  Not this time.  Not for any of them.  And I’ve been trying to figure out why. Continue reading

And So The Battle Begins

As most of you know already, Nikon launched its full-frame mirrorless cameras on Aug 23/18, revealing two models that will appeal to both pros and hobbyists alike.  Priced respectively for those markets, the pro model will be available in September and the consumer model in November.

This isn’t a review of that equipment.  You can get a very good overview of the offering in the great article by M. Zhang from Petapixel.Nikon Mirrorless

What struck me as I watched the launch was just how hard Nikon was struggling to differentiate this product from the offerings already out there.  Perhaps it was the English translation, but “redefine possibilities” and “new light…to pioneer the future” left a lot to be desired as to why I would buy this camera over any other. Continue reading

The Meaning of Life (ok, not quite)

One of the most confusing parts of photo editing for me is finding simple definitions for some of the concepts inherent in photo editing software.  Things like layers, blend modes and opacity, which are concepts many people ask about.  But also the difference between pixel layers, raster layers, adjustment layers, and fill layers.

What are filters and why are they separate from adjustments?  And what the heck is rasterizing anyway? Or the difference between “rasters” and “vectors”?  And what is “rendering”?  And of course, the single most important concept – non-destructive vs. destructive editing.

Despite shooting for many years, I stumble my way through explaining these concepts.  So I finally went looking for the real answers.  It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.   But I persevered.  Here’s what I found. Continue reading

Most Bizzare Story Ever

It’s the stuff of mystery novels, with twists and turns and a very unexpected ending.  A sculptor in the US was recently awarded more than $3M in damages for copyright infringement over misuse of his work.

WAPO StoryThe work:  a replica of the Statue of Liberty, designed for a casino in Las Vegas.  The culprit:  the US Postal Service, who legitimately licensed a copy of an image taken of the replica by a photographer who offered it on Getty Images.

Say what? Continue reading

How Far Would You Go?

A recent news report told the story of 3 young Vloggers (I guess that means video bloggers) who decided that climbing to the top of a waterfall in British Columbia and recording from the edge would be a good thing.  In a tragic accident, all three died.

Vloggers

It seems you can develop a huge following and make a lot of money by throwing risk to the wind, going where or doing what you shouldn’t and recording your exploits.  Post the experience and you are almost guaranteed a following.  And in this modern world, the interest is instant, with the post potentially spreading worldwide in minutes.  Instant stats on views and likes encourage the next big trick, the next even more daring stunt. Continue reading

Computational Photography – The Next Big Thing?

Ok, don’t panic.  I can hear all of my photographer friends out there slamming their computers, tablets and phones shut.  It can’t be happening:  photography evolving into something that uses math, algorithms and logic to deliver the “decisive moment”?  Say it ain’t so!  Oh, but it is, and I think we will be better off for it.  At least I hope we will.

neural-net copyI’ve been hearing and reading quite a bit about this thing called computational photography.  It is such a new field that what’s in and what’s out, or even the language with which it is communicated, is not yet well defined.  But it can be applied to any form of optical capture, whether in the science lab or in the artist’s studio.

Just as digital photography revolutionized the medium by converting light into numbers through sensors and processors, computational photography manipulates those numbers “in camera” through layers of new software, providing the photographer with new options, like correcting capture problems after the fact or applying a wide variety of creative effects.

It’s actually been around in the engineering and computer science universe for more than a decade, but practically speaking, is now having a huge impact in pro and consumer photography, particularly in the latest smartphones. Continue reading