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The breathtaking winners of Nat Geo's Travel Photographer of the Year 2017

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 13:25
National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year 2017 Winners

Photo and caption by Sergio Tapiro Velasco/National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year

Grand Prize and 1st Place, Nature: The power of nature

Powerful eruption of Colima Volcano in Mexico on December 13th, 2015. That night, the weather was dry and cold, friction of ash particles generated a big lightning of about 600 meters that connected ash and volcano, and illuminated most of the dark scene. On last part of 2015, this volcano showed a lot of eruptive activity with ash explosions that raised 2-3 km above the crater. Most of night explosions produced incandescent rock falls and lightning not bigger than 100 meters in average.

National Geographic has announced the winners of its coveted Travel Photographer of the Year 2017 competition.

The grand prize and 1st place in the Nature category was awarded to Mexican photographer Sergio Tapiro Velasco, whose stunning photograph of the erupting Colima Volcano, complete with lightning strike, beat out over 15,000 entries from photographers in more than 30 countries.

In addition to the $2,500 prize that all category winners receive Velasco will also receive a ten-day trip for two to the Galápagos Archipelago with National Geographic Expeditions.

Check out the full winners gallery at this link.

National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year 2017 Winners

Photo and caption by Hiromi Kano/National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year

2nd Place, Nature: To live.

Swans who live vigorous even in mud.

National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year 2017 Winners

Photo and caption by Tarun Sinha/National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year

3rd Place, Nature: Crocodiles at Rio Tarcoles

This image was captured in Costa Rica when I was travelling from Monteverde to Playa Hermosa. As you cross over this river, you can stop and peer over the edge of the bridge. Below, reside over 35 gigantic crocodiles, relaxing on the muddy banks of the river. I wanted to capture the stark difference between the crocodiles on land and in the water. In the murky waters, the body contours of these beasts remain hidden, and one can only truly see their girth as they emerge from the river.

National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year 2017 Winners

Photo and caption by Norbet Fritz/National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year

1st Place, Cities: Levels of reading

The modern interior of the city library in Stuttgart. With its wide-open space in the central, where natural light comes from through the windows on the top, it has a very unique atmosphere, where you can broaden your knowledge.

National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year 2017 Winners

Photo and caption by Andy Yeung/National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year

2nd Place, Cities: Walled City #08

The Kowloon Walled City was the densest place on Earth. Hundreds of houses stacked on top of each other enclosed in the center of the structure. Many didn’t have access to open space.This notorious city was finally demolished in 1990s. However, if you look hard enough, you will notice that the city is not dead. Part of it still exists in many of current high density housing apartments. I hope this series can get people to think about claustrophobic living in Hong Kong from a new perspective.

National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year 2017 Winners

Photo and caption by Misha De-Stroyev/National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year

3rd Place, Cities: Henningsvær Football Field

This football field in Henningsvær in the Lofoten Islands is considered one of the most amazing fields in Europe, and maybe even in the world. The photo was taken during a 10-day sailing trip in Norway in June 2017. We arrived to Henningsvær after a week of sailing through the cold and rainy weather. Upon our arrival, the weather cleared up. I was really lucky that the conditions were suitable for flying my drone, and I managed to capture this shot from a height of 120 meters.

National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year 2017 Winners

Photo and caption by F. Dilek Uyar/National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year

1st Place, People: worship

This photo was taken in Konya. Willing Dervish in an historical place of Sille Konya Turkey.

The 'dance' of the Whirling Dervishes is called Sema and is a symbol of the Mevlevi culture. According to Mevlana's teachings, human beings are born twice, once of their mothers and the second time of their own bodies.

National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year 2017 Winners

Photo and caption by Julius Y./National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year

2nd Place, People: Interesting moment.

Museum visitors curiously watching Rembrandt's painting " Syndics of the Drapers' Guild" where it gave the illusion that the people on the paintings too are curiously watching the visitors.

National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year 2017 Winners

Photo and caption by Rodney Bursiel/National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year

3rd Place, People: Under The Wave

I recently traveled to Tavarua, Fiji to do some surf photography with pro surfer Donavon Frankenreiter at Cloudbreak. I'm always looking for new angles and perspectives. The usual surf shots have all been done so we decided to get a little creative. Makes you look twice.

Categories: Photo News

Lawsuit ruling sends clear message: Register your photo copyrights ASAP

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 12:31

Though copyright is automatically granted to creators for their created works in the United States, the option remains to officially (and voluntarily) register those copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office. As detailed on Copyright.gov, this registration bestows certain benefits and may, in certain circumstances, be necessary: "Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U.S. origin."

A recent U.S. lawsuit involving infringement may set a precedent regarding whether a copyrighted work is considered registered for the purposes of an infringement suit if the registration application is still pending.

The matter revolves around a lawsuit filed by photojournalist Matilde Gattoni against clothing retailer Tibi over its unauthorized use of her photo. According to the lawsuit, Gattoni posted one of her own photos on her Instagram; this image was taken in Morocco and her copyright registration was still pending in the U.S. Though the Instagram post included a copyright notice, the lawsuit claims Tibi cropped the image, posted the cropped portion on its own Instagram, and included only a link to Gattoni's Instagram sans copyright info.

The lawsuit aimed to hit Tibi for both a DMCA violation and copyright infringement, seeking between $2,500 and $25,000 for the alleged DMCA violation and up to $150,000 in damages for the copyright infringement.

However, things didn't quite go as Gattoni had hoped. U.S. District Court Judge Robert W. Sweet has ruled that while the case can proceed with the DMCA claim, it must do so without the copyright infringement claim due to the copyright registration's 'pending' status. Discussing this matter in particular, the court stated:

Because Gattoni has alleged only that the registration for the allegedly infringed film is pending, and because no application has been made by Gattoni to amend the Complaint if and when the Photograph became registered, Gattoni has not properly pled the pre-requisite element of a copyright infringement claim.

While some courts have accepted pending copyright registration as suitable for meeting the infringement lawsuit prerequisites, others—such as this one—have chosen to accept only a complete registration as acceptable. According to Lexology, Second Circuit federal courts have sided with the completed registration interpretation of the requirements.

Photographs can register their image copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office through its online eCO system. Details on how to register photo copyrights in particular are offered here.

Categories: Photo News

VSCO releases its first video editing tool to VSCO X subscribers on iOS

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 11:48

VSCO has launched a video editing tool for its VSCO X subscribers who use the iOS app, enabling them to directly edit videos and utilize presets on footage up to 4K/60fps resolution. The video tool is compatible with all video lengths and any video format supported by iOS, according to TechCrunch, and it utilizes the company's own SENS technology.

Though the feature is arriving first for VSCO X on iOS, the company also plans to release the video editing tool for Android in the future. An in-app banner that takes users to the new feature can be found within the 'Studio' section of the app. Once opened, users will see videos from their device's Camera Roll populated into the Studio. VSCO X presets can be applied to these images, and manual adjustments can be made for things like saturation and contrast.

“VSCO’s mission is to help people become better creators, and video is a creative frontier we’re increasingly passionate about and focused on,” VSCO co-founder and CEO Joel Flory told TechCrunch. “Video editing for VSCO X members is a first step into what we see as limitless possibilities for video editing tools on VSCO.”

VSCO for iOS is available now on iTunes. A VSCO X membership costs $20/year.

Categories: Photo News

Sony financial report tops estimates thanks to smartphone sensors and earthquake recovery

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 10:28

The fortunes of Sony’s camera division have taken a turn for the better with a rise in first quarter sales and operating income for the period to June 30th. The company states in its latest financial report that higher value still and video cameras have helped it to achieve 27.3% year-over-year growth; however, that figure is inflated in part because the business was suffering the crippling effects of the Kumamoto earthquake this time last year.

Insurance payments from the earthquake have also artificially boosted operating income in both the camera and sensor businesses, with a 15.7 billion yen increase to 23.2 billion (an increase of 209%) in the camera sector and more than 41% growth in income for the sensor business compared to last year, thanks to booming smartphone sensor sales.

In fact, according to Bloomberg, as many as half of the world's phones currently house Sony sensors. When you multiply that by as many as three sensors per phone—dual cam on the back, one on the front—you begin to understand that 41% growth figure.

Forecasts for the fiscal year ending March 2018 have been revised upwards for the imaging business, with sales expected to hit 650 billion against this year’s 579 billion. Sales of semiconductors are also expected to grow from this year's 773 billion to 860 billion yen.

For more information see the Sony financial report on the company website.

Extracts from report:

Imaging Products & Solutions (IP&S)

Sales increased 27.3% year-on-year (a 26% increase on a constant currency basis) to 155.6 billion yen. This significant increase in sales was mainly due to the absence of the impact from the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes in the same quarter of the previous fiscal year as well as an increase in unit sales and an improvement in product mix reflecting a shift to high value-added models, both in Still and Video Cameras.

Operating income increased 15.7 billion yen year-on-year to 23.2 billion yen.
This significant increase was mainly due to the impact of the above-mentioned significant increase in sales, partially offset by an increase in selling, general and administrative expenses. Operating income for the current quarter included the above-mentioned 2.6 billion yen in insurance recoveries related to the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes. During the current quarter, there was no material impact from foreign exchange rate fluctuations.

Semiconductors

Sales increased 41.4% year-on-year (a 38% increase on a constant currency basis) to 204.3 billion yen. This increase was primarily due to a significant increase in unit sales of image sensors for mobile products, as well as the absence of the impact of a decrease in image sensor production due to the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes in the same quarter of the previous fiscal year, partially offset by asignificant decrease in sales of camera modules, a business which was downsized.

Operating income of 55.4 billion yen was recorded, compared to an operating loss of 43.5 billion yen recorded in the same quarter of the previous fiscal year. This significant improvement in operating results was primarily due to the impact of the above-mentioned increase in sales, the above-mentioned 27.5 billion yen gain resulting from the sale of the entire equity interest in SEH, and 6.7 billion yen in insurance recoveries related to the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes, as well as the absence of the 20.3 billion yen impairment charge against long-lived assets for camera modules and the net charges of 13.6 billion yen for expenses resulting from the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes recorded in the same quarter of the previous fiscal year. During the current quarter, there was a 2.5 billion yen positive impact from foreign exchange rate fluctuations.

Categories: Photo News

VAST photography collective creates 'highest resolution fine art photographs ever made'

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 09:29

A group of photographers are working together to take gigapixel photography to the next level, and they're doing it under a collective called VAST. Founded by photographer and software engineer Dan Piech, the VAST collective combines artistic skills with technical skills to produce high-quality, Fine Art gigapixel photographs.

Unlike typical gigapixel photography, these images feature scenes that are difficult to produce in massively high resolutions, such as photos taken around sunrise and sunset.

Talking about the collective and the work they do, founder Piech said, "We've developed a number of new techniques for doing some pretty amazing things that allow us to have the best of both worlds: resolution + aesthetics."

Whereas common panoramas may involve only a few photos stitched together, these gigapixel photos require creators to assemble hundreds of images, the end result being an incredibly detailed, sharp photo for large printed pieces.

Huge amounts of time and work go into creating these artistic gigapixel shots, but the process doesn't necessarily require expensive rigs.

As explained in a VAST blog post by Ben Pitt, this 7 gigapixel photo of San Francisco was taken using "a normal tripod and an inexpensive ultra-zoom camera [the Panasonic FZ200]." That particular gigapixel photo is composed from 1,229 images captured across 16 rows, each with about 75 images. The shooting alone took more than an hour.

Stitching the images was, in the case of the San Francisco photograph, performed over the course of many hours using the automated and free Windows application ICE, though alternatives are available like GigaPan Stitch and PTgui. Photoshop was tapped for post-processing, used to patch in content from the original images when necessary, among other things. The resulting Photoshop files can be many gigabytes in size.

VAST offers prints of these photographs, as well as others spanning categories like Abstract, Cityscapes and B&W. Price depends on the image and size—one example, the 'Requiem for 2016' image of New York City shown above, starts at $2,745 for a 60 x 21" print of the 6,410 megapixel image. The full gallery of available prints can be viewed here.

All photographs courtesy of VAST, and used with permission.

Categories: Photo News

Galaxy Note 8 to feature 3x zoom dual-camera

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 08:37

After the Galaxy Note 7 debacle, the upcoming Note 8 launch will be crucial to Samsung for recapturing consumer trust and confidence. And judging by a new leak, mobile photographers should have a lot to look forward to on the new model.

Samsung Electro-Mechanics, the division of Samsung that develops smartphone camera modules, has posted a document that explains in detail how dual-cameras and related features and special modes work. The Note 8 is widely rumored to be Samsung's first dual-camera device, which makes it a safe bet to assume the online guide is referring to the upcoming model.

According to the document the camera module will feature a Super Night Shot mode that combines image data from both sensors for better low light performance, and a 3D Depth feature that uses depth data to blur the background of an image and lets you refocus after capture. There'll also be improved HDR processing and and a couple of depth-related special modes.

However, the most interesting part of the document compares image output from a 3x optical zoom to a digital zoom. Samsung calls the feature Smart Zoom, which could indicate that optical zoom is combined with some sort of intelligent digital zoom to achieve a 3x zoom factor, but we'll have to wait for the launch on the 23rd of August to get more detail.

In the meantime you can have a look at dual-camera guide on the Samsung Electro-Mechanics website for more information.

Categories: Photo News

Wedding photographer awarded $1.08M in defamation lawsuit against bride and groom

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 08:34

Photographers are cheering the end of a marathon lawsuit today, a case that pinned beleaguered wedding photographer Andrea Polito against blogger Neely Moldovan and her husband, who set out to destroy her career after a minor disagreement over their wedding photos.

The whole dispute began over a $125 photo album cover that the couple didn't want to pay for.

Polito had photographed the couple's wedding in October of 2014, and when Moldovan followed up a few weeks later to ask about the photos, the photographer reminded her that the photos wouldn't be released until the album was completed. According to the contract they had signed, the Moldovans would have to submit an order form and select a cover photo.

The couple balked, and Polito sent an email saying she would absorb the cost of the album cover to keep them happy. Two days later, she learned that the Moldovans had contacted several local news stations, claiming she was "holding their photos hostage." In just a few days, this narrative went viral and essentially destroyed Polito's 13-year-old business. What's more, the couple gloated about their success online, liked defamatory statements on Yelp and more.

Polito filed a defamation suit against the couple in April of 2015, and on Friday a jury found in Polito's favor, ordering the Moldovans to pay $1.08 million in damages for the "defamatory, disparaging and malicious statements" they made. Polito's attorney, Dave Wishnew, took to Facebook to celebrate the verdict:

"Freedem of speech does not mean freedom from consequences," writes Wishnew. "There are real world consequences for maliciously attacking a business online with venom and lies."

For Polito's part, she's relieved, if exhausted:

"I’m emotionally exhausted. This has been a very long battle," she tells the Dallas Morning News. "Last Friday when the verdict was read I felt a little bit relieved, but most importantly I feel my reputation was restored to myself. What’s been so hard the past couple of years has been feeling so ashamed of this story."

The case might not be over yet—as the Moldovans can still appeal the ruling—but this is a big win for photographers everywhere. In the Internet age, when a viral news story can destroy a 13-year career overnight, it's nice to know that justice is still an attainable goal... even if it does take two and a half years to get there.

Categories: Photo News

Humor: The 'horrifying' truth about radioactive lenses

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 07:43

Warning: This video contains a bit of strong language and disturbing (comical) gore.

Vintage lens lover and YouTuber Mathieu Stern gets a lot of questions about radioactive lenses—will they give me cancer? are they dangerous? should I avoid buying them? These old lenses use radioactive thorium oxide, and this fact gives a lot of photographers pause when they're thinking of buying one... but should it?

In his latest video, Stern pokes a little bit of fun at this fear, doing his very own 'experiment' to see if keeping one of these lenses on his person for seven straight days would cause issues. He also exposes it to a lichen known as usnea barbata (AKA Old Man's Beard) which absorbs radioactivity (no, really).

The results are comically extreme:

Once he's done messing with us, Stern dives into the numbers to explain why radioactive lenses are actually nothing to worry about.

A radioactive lens that contains thorium will give off approximately 0.01 millirem (mrem) per hour. By comparison, a chest X-Ray gives you 1,000x that dose in a single shot (about 10 mrem). That means it would take you 167 days of using the lens for 6 hours per day before you've exposed yourself to a single X-Ray's worth of radiation.

If that's not comforting enough, consider this: according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, you receive about 310 mrem of radiation per year from natural background radiation. Just living on Earth is more 'dangerous' than these lenses.

Long story short: you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

Categories: Photo News

End of the line? Nikon 1 mirrorless system may be discontinued

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 07:30

You would have to be quite the optimist to have expected new models in Nikon's 1 series of 1" sensor mirrorless system cameras being launched any time soon. Despite camera manufacturers hardly ever announcing a product line's end-of-life, the 1-series phase-out is now pretty much official.

German camera website Digitalkamera.de produces buying guides in e-book form, and the production process for those guides includes research into what models are still available to order by retailers and what is being discontinued. While updating their guide for mirrorless system cameras, the guys at Digitalkamera.de found that the Nikon 1 AW and 1 V3 are no longer available to order. The Nikon 1 J5 is still available, but only while supplies last.

So, what has been obvious for quite some time seems more likely today: the Nikon 1 system may be reaching its end (see statement below).

The question is what's next for Nikon in terms of mirrorless cameras? Thanks to an official Nikon statement we know that the company is working on a new mirrorless system. We'd expect the new cameras to come with a larger sensor than the Nikon 1 models, but at this point Nikon has not made information on specifications or features available.

Update: Nikon has responded to our request for comment, saying "Nikon continues to produce and sell the Nikon 1 line. We cannot comment on future product or speculation."

Categories: Photo News

Nikon 8-15mm F3.5-4.5E ED fisheye zoom sample gallery

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 06:00

You could say that Nikon's 8-15mm F3.5-4.5E ED goes full circle: at the long end on full-frame it provides a 180-degree diagonal angle of view that occupies the whole frame, and at 8mm it provides a circular fisheye effect. Nikon also touts its "next-generation design for high-resolution Nikon DSLR cameras."

We've been out shooting it on such a camera – the 36MP D810 – as well as a bit on the DX-format D7500. Take a look at our first samples with Nikon's unique zoom. And continue reading below the jump for some notes from the field.

See our Nikon AF-S Nikkor Fisheye 8-15mm F3.5-4.5E ED sample gallery

Notes from the field

Looking through our initial samples, one thing is certain: this lens is very sharp throughout the zoom range. Though we did notice a bit of lateral chromatic aberration in some images near the edge of the frame, which will impact sharpness.

A sample photo from the Nikon 8-15mm. Notice the lateral CA is visible at 100%.

And though this lens is built for Nikon full framers, that does not mean it isn't useful on a crop sensor camera. Below we've compared the lens' widest field of view on both a D810 and a D7500.

The wide end: on the full frame Nikon D810. And on the crop sensor Nikon D7500.

Another note about the 8-15mm: The hood will often get in your image, especially when shooting full frame and especially toward the wider end. We chose to shoot the majority of this gallery sans-hood. Below is an example of an 8mm shot with and without the hood.

Losing the hood allows you to capture far more image, however it also makes it very easy to accidentally end up with a blurry finger in your shot. This is thanks to the location of the zoom ring a few millimeters from the front element. And seeing as there is no filter thread - common for fisheyes - the hood is really the only protection from accidental bumps, so if you plan to shoot without it, be careful!

This image was shot with the lens hood attached at 8mm. This image was shot without the lens hood attached at 8mm.
Categories: Photo News

Video: See exactly how a mechanical DSLR shutter works

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 12:15

Have you ever wondered what exactly happens when you press your DSLR's shutter button? Many of us know the theory, we may have even seen (or made) diagrams and GIFs showing how the standard mechanical shutter works. But for this video, YouTuber Chris Marquardt actually yanked the shutter out of a Nikon D500 to show you the mechanism IRL.

The demonstration is pretty simple, showing you how the two spring-loaded curtains move across the frame, and revealing the electromagnets that keep them in place when the curtains are cocked.

"The first and second curtain are both cocked against spring tension and held back by electro magnets," explains Marquardt. "When it's time to fire the shutter, the electronics release the first curtain, then after the exposure time is up, the second curtain." It's definitely an interesting demo if you enjoy these kind of tear downs, although you might want to turn the volume down... or off. As our own Richard Butler put it, the music "makes me want to rip my sound card out of my computer and destroy it." Okay then...

Once you've watched the video (sound card intact, we hope), click the button below to read our more comprehensive dive into all things shutter related.

Electronic shutter, rolling shutter and flash: what you need to know.

Categories: Photo News

Nikon and Canon both announce delays for upcoming DSLRs

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 11:29

Both Nikon and Canon have warned users that forthcoming DSLRs will be hit by delays: The 100th anniversary edition of the Nikon D5 and the Canon 6D Mark II kit with the EF 24-70mm F4L lens are both going to arrive at your door later than expected.

According to a statement on Nikon’s website, the 100th anniversary edition of Nikon’s D5 has been put back by a couple of weeks from July 28th to ‘early August’ while final adjustments are made. The company promises to inform users of the new release date once it is determined.

More seriously perhaps, Canon has issued a statement letting hopeful shoppers know that demand for the EOS 6D Mark ll kit with the Canon EF 24-70mm F4L IS USM lens has exceeded expectations, and that orders will take some time to fulfill. The kits were supposed to ship on August 4th, but Canon has not revealed when it will be able to satisfy the initial demand.

The EOS 6D ll is also offered body only and as a kit with the 24-105mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, so those desperate to buy the camera do have other options.

Categories: Photo News

Japan Camera Hunter StreetPan 120 Black & White film is now available for preorder

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 11:13

Bellamy Hunt of Japan Camera Hunter has just launched the JCH StreetPan 120 Black & White film for preorder through the company's online shop. Hunt first released a 35mm version of the StreetPan film in 2016, and he has now launched this 120 version in response to popular demand.

According to Hunt, "It is the same old StreetPan you know and love, just in a larger size" for medium-format photographers.

Hunt goes on to explain that, while the film is available for preorder now, it is still in production; if everything goes as planned, the film will launch in mid-to-late August with shipping starting in early September. The film is offered in various quantities starting at a 3-pack for ¥3900 / $35 USD and ranging up to a 10-pack for ¥13,000 / $118 USD. Shipping is available globally.

As with the original StreetPan film, the 120 version offers a very fine grain alongside 'excellent penetration' through atmospheric conditions like fog and haze. Japan Camera Hunter explains that this high-speed film is sensitive to red light and has "near IR sensitivity." Full details on its properties, including development times, are available here.

Categories: Photo News

Sample gallery: Tamron 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 10:25

The Tamron 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD is an ultra wide angle lens for crop sensor DSLRs. It offers a 15-36mm equivalent field of view on Nikon DX and a 16-38.4mm equivalent field of view on Canon's APS-C format DSLRs.

We've been out and about with the 10-24mm recently in and around Seattle, shooting on the Canon EOS 80D.

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Categories: Photo News

This is the first photo of a total solar eclipse ever taken, shot in 1851

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 10:22
The first successfully captured photograph of a total solar eclipse, this daguerreotype was shot on July 28, 1851, by Prussian photographer Johann Julius Friedrich Berkowski.

Here's a little history lesson to help you pass the time between now and the next total solar eclipse on August 21st. The photograph above, a daguerreotype captured almost exactly 166 years ago, is the first successfully-captured photograph of a total solar eclipse.

The photo was captured by master daguerreotypist Johann Julius Friedrich Berkowski, a Prussian photographer who was commissioned by the Royal Prussian Observatory at Königsberg to do what nobody else had managed up until that point: capture an appropriately-exposed photograph of a total solar eclipse.

Up until that point, every photograph taken had been over or under-exposed, and/or didn't capture sufficient contrast between the bright corona and the obscuring disk of the moon.

According to a paper in the journal Acta Historica Astronomiae, the photograph was captured using a small refracting telescope attached to the hour drive of the 15.8-cm Fraunhofer heliometer. Berkowski began exposing the image shortly after totality, and the final daguerreotype took 84-seconds to capture.

To learn more about this photograph, click here. And if you want to learn how to capture the August 21st eclipse for yourself (and why you should maybe put the camera down for this one...) check out our own eclipse how-to.

How to photograph the August eclipse, and why you probably shouldn't try.

Categories: Photo News

Behind the scenes: Shooting a $2.5 million car with a $50,000 camera

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 09:02

Photographer Richard Thompson recently had the chance to shoot one of the most advanced (and expensive) cars in the world with one of the most advanced (and expensive) camera systems in the world. Fortunately for those of us who enjoy salivating over both camera gear and gorgeous cars, there's a behind the scenes video for us to enjoy.

The car in question is the Pagani Huayra BC, and the camera a Phase One XF 100MP medium format—an appropriately advanced camera system to capture such an advanced piece of automotive machinery.

The behind the scenes video was created by Phase One, which (of course) means that it feels a bit ad-like at several points. But Thompson throws in plenty of information about the photo shoot, why he captured the car the way he did, and showing off some of final images to make you salivate freely on your keyboard.

Check out the full BTS video above, and then click here to see the final composites on Thompson's website.

Categories: Photo News

Former Google SVP prefers iPhone over Android for mobile photography

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 07:55

Vic Gundotra was an SVP of engineering at Google for almost eight years before leaving the company in 2014, and heavily involved in running Google's mobile initiatives. However, despite being one of the main drivers behind Android from 2007 to 2010, Gundotra appears to prefer Apple's iPhones over Android devices, at least for photography.

In a Facebook post, Gundotra called the results of the background-blurring iPhone 7 Plus portrait mode "stunning" and "the end of the DSLR for most people". When replying to comments on the post he went on the say that, in terms of imaging, Android phones were years behind the iPhone:

Here is the problem: It's Android. Android is an open source (mostly) operating system that has to be neutral to all parties. This sounds good until you get into the details. Ever wonder why a Samsung phone has a confused and bewildering array of photo options? Should I use the Samsung Camera? Or the Android Camera? Samsung gallery or Google Photos?

It's because when Samsung innovates with the underlying hardware (like a better camera) they have to convince Google to allow that innovation to be surfaced to other applications via the appropriate API. That can take YEARS.

Also the greatest innovation isn't even happening at the hardware level - it's happening at the computational photography level. (Google was crushing this 5 years ago - they had had "auto awesome" that used AI techniques to automatically remove wrinkles, whiten teeth, add vignetting, etc... but recently Google has fallen back).

Apple doesn't have all these constraints. They innovate in the underlying hardware, and just simply update the software with their latest innovations (like portrait mode) and ship it.

Bottom line: If you truly care about great photography, you own an iPhone. If you don't mind being a few years behind, buy an Android.

Apple's portrait mode doesn't come without its limitations, but it's probably fair to say among all the various incarnations of depth or bokeh effects we have seen so far it is the best performing. On the other hand some Android smartphones, such as the Google Pixel or HTC U11, offer an advantage over the latest iPhone models in terms of detail resolution and textures.

So, like with so many things, the smartphone camera that is best for you depends a lot on your personal requirements. Vic Gundotra definitely seems to have made his mind up, though. In another post he says he "would NEVER buy an Android phone again if I cared about photography." Do you agree? Let us know in the comments.

Categories: Photo News

Leica releases TL2 firmware update, fixes critical Visoflex bug

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 07:05

Last week, Leica confirmed that the newly-released Leica TL2 had a serious issue: when used with the company's Visoflex electronic viewfinder, the camera could simply stop working... permanently. Fortunately, the company has come up with (and rigorously tested) a firmware update that will fix the issue.

The new firmware, version 1.1, is available to download from Leica's website now, and it fixes the 'defect' the company described in its original notice to customers. If you own a TL2 and Visoflex viewfinder, consider this update mandatory, not optional.

Here is the official statement from Leica:

Important Information for Leica TL2

The fault when using the Leica TL2 together with the external electronic viewfinder (Visoflex) has been identified.

In order to rectify this defect, an updated Firmware can now be downloaded now from the Leica Corporate Website and at your local authorized Leica Dealer. With the new Firmware 1.1 the Leica TL2 is fully functional; camera and viewfinder can be used without any restrictions.

We thank you for your continued trust.

Categories: Photo News

DPReview on TWiT: How to take macro photographs

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 03:00

DPReview has partnered with the TWiT Network (named after its flagship show, This Week in Tech) to produce a regular segment for The New Screen Savers, a popular weekend show hosted by technology guru Leo Laporte.

On this week's episode of The New Screen Savers, the hosts discussed emojis, action cameras and Macro photography. DPReview editor Barney Britton spoke to Leo Laporte and Jason Snell about how to get great closeup pictures, without breaking the bank. We'd recommend watching the whole episode, but if you're especially interested in macro photography tips (or if you're Barney's mum) jump to 43:00 for the beginning of our segment.

You can watch The New Screen Savers live every Saturday at 3pm Pacific Time (23:00 UTC), on demand through our articles, the TWiT website, or YouTube, as well as through most podcasting apps.

Categories: Photo News

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