Posts Published in August 2011

How Badly Do You Want to Improve Your Photography?

Here’s a pretty inspiring video that poses a simple question: “how bad do you want it”? It’s from motivational speaker Eric Thomas’ “Secrets to Success” talk, meant to help people accomplish their goals, whether it’s “academically, financially, relationally”, etc… Definitely applicable to those passionate about improving their photography as well.

(via Reddit)

Awesome Course on Digital Photography

Marc Levoy, the Stanford professor behind the “Frankencamera” project, teaches a course on digital photography called CS 178. The class website is a treasure trove for anyone looking for some great free education in photography:

An introduction to the scientific, artistic, and computing aspects of digital photography – how digital cameras work, how to take good pictures using them, and how to manipulate these pictures afterwards. Topics include lenses and optics, light and sensors, optical effects in nature, perspective and depth of field, sampling and noise, the camera as a computing platform, image processing and editing, history of photography, and computational photography. We’ll also survey the history of photography and look at the work of famous photographers.

Think you know all there is to know about digital photography? Try answering these 10 final exam review questions (answers can be found here). Leave a comment telling us how many you got right!

CS 178 – Digital Photography (via Reddit)

Street Photography on the Streets of Hong Kong and Mainland China

Here’s a behind-the-scenes video showing Chinese photographer ERIC getting up close and personal with strangers on the streets of Hong Kong and Mainland China. He uses a Mamiya 7II and a large Metz flash, chewing through medium format film as though he was shooting digital. It’s interesting to see how people in China seem less defensive about this kind of photography compared to people in New York, Derby, or Hollywood.

(via Reddit & tokyo camera style)

A Higher Quality Setting in Photoshop Sometimes Reduces JPEG Quality

While looking into the new compression service JPEGmini yesterday, the following statement caught my eye in an interview they did with Megapixel:

[...] sometimes you increase the quality setting in Photoshop and the actual quality of the image is reduced…

I had never heard of that before, so I decided to dig a little deeper.
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Facebook Upgrades Photos with Larger Sizes and Faster Load Times

Photo sharing is proving to be one of the main battlegrounds in the social networking war between Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Facebook launched another counterattack today by increasing the resolution of displayed photos yet again from 720px to 960px, a 33% increase (last year they increased by 20% from 604px to 720px). Furthermore, the company claims that photos now load twice as fast as before.
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Panasonic Unveils High-End “X” Lenses for Micro Four Thirds Cameras

Today Panasonic unveiled a new line of Lumix X lenses for Micro Four Thirds cameras, introducing two new zoom lenses: the 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 and the 45-175mm f/4-5.6. What’s unique about them is that they’re both power zoom lenses, meaning the focal length is controlled electronically using a rocker on the side of the lens. The 45-175mm also has standard zoom and focus rings, but these are electronic controls as well.
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MIOPS: Smartphone Controllable High Speed Camera Trigger

MIOPS is a new smartphone-controlled camera trigger that combines all of the features photographers want in a high-speed camera trigger into one convenient device.

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Real Life Cyborg: Man Replaces Lost Eye with Wireless Camera

You might want to skip this post if you’re squeamish. A filmmaker named Rob Spence has successfully become a cyborg by replacing an eye he lost through a childhood accident with a wireless camera that transmits everything he sees to a computer. Spence believes that technology may soon reach the point where are be tempted to swap out their body parts for superior prosthetics. No word on when he’ll be able to apply Instagram filters to his eye camera photos.

(via Mail Online)

Snap Model Kit Lets You Build a Working 35mm Camera

Forget model airplanes… This Plamodel snap model kit is the one to buy if you’re a photo-enthusiast (or want to make your kid one). Created by Japanese design house superheadz, it uses simple snap-together parts that allow even the “not-so-mechanically inclined” to assemble their own 35mm camera. There’s 44 individual parts, and an instruction manual for building the camera is available online. You can check out some sample photos in this Flickr group pool, and buy one for $17 over on Amazon.

Plamodel Do-it-Yourself 35mm Camera (via PSFK)

How NASA Captured the First Full Photo of Earth Back in 1966

While we’re on the subject of photos of Earth, did you know that the first photo showing the entire planet was captured by an unmanned NASA orbiter from the moon back in 1966? To accomplish this, they had to come up with a camera that could expose, process, scan, and transmit film photographs — something “akin to a flying television station and photographic mini-lab”.
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NASA Photo of Earth Captures Hurricane Irene from Space

As Hurricane Irene bears down on the East Coast, NASA has published a satellite photograph of Earth to its Flickr stream in which the storm is clearly visible. The storm has a diameter of 510 miles — roughly 1/3 the length of the East Coast — so it could probably be seen very clearly from someone standing on the moon. President Obama is warning Americans that the hurricane could be of “historic proportions”.

Full Disk Image of Earth Captured August 26, 2011 (via Mashable)