Posts Published in February 2010

The Impossible Project May Not Be Possible After All

After Polaroid announced that it would stop producing instant film in 2008, a group called The Impossible Project acquired the last instant film production facility in the Netherlands in a bid to save the beloved medium. This past weekend, the group ran into “an unexpected problem with one of the components vital for production,” possibly jeopardizing the project.

The group was scheduled to hold an event on February 22nd in New York, where the original instant film was announced 63 years ago, but that has been postponed. In their press release, they state,

On 22nd MARCH 2010 [the project leaders] will disclose whether or not their Impossible Project will be possible.

On behalf of all the Polaroid-enthusiasts who read PetaPixel, we wish The Impossible Project Godspeed!

(via Amateur Photographer)


Hmmm… The group (@ImpossibleUSA) has tweeted a response to this post, stating that the problem was simply a shipment issue by one of the suppliers. However, if you read the press release on their website, it sounds much more dire than the situation apparently is.

Apple Releases New Version of Aperture

This morning Apple introduced the latest version of their photo editing software: Aperture 3. The $199 program ($99 for existing users) adds over 200 new features to the previous version, including the Faces and Places features that were popular in the latest release of iPhoto. In addition, there is now a Brushes feature that allows you to “paint” adjustments onto photographs, much like the feature that was added to Adobe Photoshop CS4. The new version will also run in 64-bit mode, which Apple claims will allow it to run an “order of magnitude” faster.

First Large Format Skydiving Photographs

Aaron Gustafson, a Seattle-based artist, has become the first person to ever shoot large format photographs while skydiving. Using a custom large format helmet camera he designed himself, Gustafson made one large format photograph on each jump while traveling at speeds upwards of 130 miles per hour.

The helmet camera is a cube-shaped acrylic and aluminum box that uses a wide angle lens and contains a single sheet of 4×5” large format film.

Gustafson says,

I wanted to upend the norms by making a [large-format] camera to be used in a wildly different way. This is what you’d get if you threw Ansel Adams out of a plane. […] Photography is in a strange place now where everyone is taking camera-phone snapshots and posting them online. But photography can still be grand and larger-than-life. This project came out of a desire for that. It’s a hybrid of new and old, calm and chaos.

Here’s a video documenting one of his photographic jumps:

To see more of his work, you can visit Gustafson’s website.

(via PhotographyBLOG)

Tourist’s Life Saved by His Camera Flash

A German tourist was recently photographing at Sankt Peter-Ording in northern Germany, and ventured onto the frozen sea to capture the sunset. While out on the sea, he became disoriented and couldn’t locate the shore because of the snow. With the air temperature below freezing and the risk of falling through the ice if he took a wrong step, he desperately began to use the flash on his camera to signal for help, hoping someone would somehow notice.

At the same time, a woman hundreds of miles away in southern Germany was watching the sunset on her computer through a live webcam feed of the popular tourist location. She noticed the flashes and contacted police, who then helped the man find his way back to shore by signaling to him with their car headlights.

(via Gizmodo)

Image credit: frozen baltic sea by ezioman

Sculptors Accused of Plagiarizing Photo

Last week we reported that a photographer was in hot water after photographing public art and selling it as stock photography. It just so happens that a new case has arisen involving just the opposite: sculptors basing work off a photograph without permission.

The above image, “Sad Vader”, is a popular photograph made by New York City-based photographer Alex Brown that has become ubiquitous on the Internet and sometimes published without crediting Brown. UK-based sculptors Craig Little and Blake Whitehead of littlewhitehead created a sculpture based on the photograph titled “Spam” due to how the photograph can seemingly be found everywhere on the web. Here’s a photograph of the installation:

When emailed by Brown, the artists replied,

On all the blogs we found it on, none of them mentioned the maker of the image. We never knew the image had been taken by a professional photographer.

In an email to Photo District News, Brown states,

My main objection to all of this is that I exhibit this image in galleries and sell limited edition prints, […] By appropriating it, they directly undermine my ability to do so.

What are your thoughts on this situation? What action should be taken?

(via PDNPulse)

Update on February 10th, 2010: Dave, a reader, tells us that the British Journal of Photography got in touch with littlewhitehead and received a pretty lengthy statement. Here’s a snippet:

We contacted Alex immediately after hearing of his concerns and asked if there was anyway we could deal with the situation amicably. We assured him it was never our intention to upset him, nor was it merely to copy what he had already done. However, instead of replying to us, he has selected certain parts of this email and posted blogs slandering us plagiarists. He has also contacted galleries we’ve worked with also slandering us plagiarists. We do not really believe this is an appropriate first step towards dealing with the situation amicably.

Image credits: Sad Vader by Alex Brown. Spam by littlewhitehead.

Canon Announces the EOS 550D

Today’s big story is announcement of the Canon 550D, also known as the Canon Rebel T2i. This camera offers many of the same features as the Canon 7D, including an 18 megapixel sensor, an ISO range of 100–6400, full 1080p video (at 30, 24 or 25fps with manual exposure control), 1.6x crop factor, and a 3-inch LCD screen.

Differences between the 7D and 550D include a rugged magnesium alloy body vs. cheaper build, 8 frames per second vs. 3.7, 8-channel readout vs. 4, two image processors vs. 1, and 19 autofocus points vs. 9. Also, unlike the 7D, there is no word on the 550D having a 100% viewfinder or built in speedlite transmitter.

The 550D is priced at $899 as a kit or $799 for the body only. HD video recording capabilities are now extremely affordable for any photographer wishing to try their hand at filming.

Here’s a hands-on video of the camera by PhotoPlus magazine:

P.S. Turns out the rumor we heard about the 550D having an articulating screen is untrue.

How One Camera Could Rewrite History

On June 8, 1924, mountaineers George Mallory and Andrew Irvine set out on an expedition to become the first to ever set foot on the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on earth . They were never heard from again, and a 1999 expedition discovered Mallory’s body. Now, a new search for Irvine’s body may reveal whether the two men in fact reached the summit, 29 years earlier than the two men currently credited with the feat: Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.

The key to unlocking this mystery may be the Vest Pocket Kodak camera Irvine borrowed from a team member and was carrying on the expedition. Luckily for researchers, the thin air and low temperatures of Mount Everest may have helped in preserving the film in the Kodak. If the camera is found, and the film reveals evidence that the two men in fact reached the summit, history may have to be rewritten.

During Hillary and Tenzing’s successful 1953 climb, they spent 15 minutes at the top, searching for evidence of the Mallory expedition but finding none, taking photographs, and leaving evidence (chocolate by Tenzing and a cross by Hillary). As an interesting side note, though Tenzing admitted years later that Hillary had been the first to set foot on the summit, the only photographs at the summit are of Tenzing. When asked why this was, Hillary stated,

Tenzing did not know how to operate the camera and the top of Everest was no place to start teaching him how to use it.

This is a great example of how important photography has been in the recording (and occasionally revising) of history.

(via Steve’s Digicams)

Image credits: Everest by chenevier and kodak_vp_souflet_rouge_08 by Mario Groleau Photographie

Images Without Borders Sells Prints to Support Doctors Without Borders (MSF)

The humanitarian organization, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), recently started a supplemental site, Images Without Borders, in the wake of the earthquake in Haiti:

Images Without Borders features and sells donated images by international photographers and artists to benefit Doctors Without Borders:

Each print is offered from Images without Borders at a limit of ten before being pulled from the collection and returned to the artist. This long-term project aids Doctors without Borders in their efforts on the ground in Haiti and the world.

Prints can be purchased for $50-$100, and iPhone prints are $32.

Doctors Without Borders, which was founded by doctors and journalists, has a track record of recognizing the value of photography in spreading and supporting their international cause to provide free medical attention to countries in need.

Last year, Doctors Without Borders published a collaborative graphic novel, The Photographer, featuring the work of the late photographer Didier Lefèvre.

The book combines art with photography gives a unique narrative about the work of the organization since 1986.

Here’s a recent panel talk about The Photographer:

“Photo Grandpa” Shoots with Laser Rigs

Belgian photographer fotoopa (“photo grandpa” in Dutch) shoots ultra-high speed photographs with laser rigs he builds himself. He tells us:

I’m retired, and work inside in the winter making high-speed pictures of water figures. In the springtime and summer I’m outside to capturing insects in-flight. I have a mechanics (15 years experience) and electronics (26 years) background, but photography was always my hobby.

All of my equipment is do-it-yourself. Macro photography has always been one of my favorite types of photography.

Descriptions and diagrams of his rigs are posted for 2008 and 2009. Here’s a glimpse at one of his setups:

To capture insects in flight, his rig detects the insects using two crossed laser beams. This causes a “superfast electro magnet” to trigger the shutter, which opens and closes in less than 5 milliseconds. Shooting at f/22 and ISO 100, he uses 2 or 3 external flashes at minimum power to obtain sufficient light at so short a shutter speed. He adds,

For insects in-flight, a special second shutter system provides the short shutter-lag of ~7 msec necessary. There is also a high-tech IR laser system with an extra third macro-lens and internal AVR controller. In 40 microseconds, this system sees (via the reflected IR light into the detector lens) if an object comes in focus, and give the information to the central CPLD hardware controller that drive the whole system. In this manner even very fast moving insects are in perfect focus in the picture frame.

In the winter, the water figures are done indoors. First done in 2004, I covered a speaker with a membrane, and put a digital wave through it to move the fine colored droplets on the membrane. This provides wonderful images and an unlimited number of possibilities.

For 2010 I built a 3D stereo setup to capture all the high-speed macro pictures in 3D. The setup uses 2 DSLR Nikon cameras, the D200 and D300

To see more of these amazing photographs, you can check out fotoopa on Flickr or on pbase.

(via MAKE)

Image credit: Photographs by fotoopa and used with permission.

Astronaut Tweets Earth Photos from Space

For the past two weeks, Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi has been beaming down photographs of Earth from the International Space Station using his TwitPic account. The photographs, taken with a Nikon D2Xs, show various cities and landmarks around the world as the ISS flies roughly 200 miles overhead at an average of 17,227 mph.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Fransisco, CA. Beautiful shadow :-)

Flew over Port_Au_Prince of Haiti this afternoon. Our thoughts and prayers to Haiti people, from ISS.

Mount Fuji, Japan. 3,776m. The highest mountain in Japan.

Moscow, Russia. Star City is far back on the right upper corner. #spacetweet

KSC, Florida. Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-130 is ready to launch on Sunday!!!

For more of this amazing photography, check out his Twitter or Twitpic page.

(via PopPhoto Flash)