Posts Published in August 2012

SmugMug Pulls a Netflix, Raises Fees for Some Customers by 67%

Back in July of 2011, Netflix announced that it would be separating its movie streaming and DVD rental services into two separate subscriptions, increasing the cost for customers who wanted both by about 60%. The news was met with a massive customer backlash online, and over the next three months, more than 800,000 customers canceled their subscriptions and the stock price took a huge hit. The story became a lesson for corporate executives on how not to do price increases. Apparently SmugMug didn’t get the memo.

The subscription-based photo sharing service sent out an email to “Pro” customers tonight informing them of a major service change and price increase. The details are eerily similar to the Netflix case.
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Behind the Scenes with New York Times Sports Photographer Barton Silverman

This fascinating behind-the-scenes video shows what it’s like to work as a sports photographer for the New York Times. It follows around Barton Silverman, a photographer who has been working at the Times since March of 1962. Over the past 50 years, he has covered many a championship game and has photographed many a legendary athlete. The New York Times writes,

When he started at The New York Times 50 years ago, [Silverman] worked as a lab assistant, a title he would hold for four years. But he wanted to be a photographer. So he volunteered to carry Larry Morris‘s camera bag to Madison Square Garden.

“As I was taking notes,” he said, “I basically figured out how to shoot a hockey game.”

In the meantime, he volunteered to shoot for the team, earning the program credit “Photos by Barton.”

Here’s a short interview he gave after photographing his 39th Super Bowl back in 2010. Also, be sure to check out this New York Times Lens piece that sheds some more like on the epic photograph of a leaping Joe Namath mentioned in the video.

(via ISO 1200)

Sigma DP1 Merrill is a Wide-Eyed DP2 Merrill, to Hit Stores Next Month for $999

As far as camera naming conventions go, Sigma’s is pretty wacky. First off, we’ll start with the news: the company announced today that its new DP1 Merrill compact camera will be available starting mid-September for a street price of $999.

Good, now that that’s out of the way, lets talk about the name and the camera. Basically, it’s a clone baby of the DP2 Merrill announced back in July, except the DP1 Merrill features a 19mm (28mm in 35mm terms) lens instead of a 30mm (45mm in 35mm terms) one. That’s it.
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Portraits of 100 People Ages 1 Through 100 Shown in 150 Seconds

How do you capture 5050 years of life in a single 150 second video? By capturing portraits of 100 people representing ages 1 through 100.

In October 2011, Dutch filmmaker Jeroen Wolf began roaming the streets of Amsterdam with a Panasonic GH2, asking strangers if he could film them stating their ages. Wolf’s goal was to collect 100 people with every single age between 1 and 100.
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Photos Showing the Beauty of Japanese Limestone Mines

Japanese photographer Naoya Hatakeyama has spent the past 25 years documenting man’s interaction of nature in factories, quarries, and mines. One particular subject that he has given a great deal of time and attention to is Japanese limestone mining. His beautiful large-scale images show the destructive blasts used to break up the rocks, and the man-made landscapes left behind in their wake.
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New Sony A99 and NEX-6 Sightings and Specs, Unveiling on September 12th

Update: We’ve removed both leaked photos from this post at the request of photographer Michael Yamashita.


Although the two cameras were leaked together, Sony’s NEX-5R and NEX-6 mirrorless cameras are being announced separately (the Wi-Fi-equipped 5R was announced this past Wednesday). Now, detailed specs for the NEX-6 are emerging ahead of its September 12th announcement. We’re also seeing some “sightings” of a second major camera that’ll be announced on the same day: the high-end A99 DSLR.
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Gravity-Defying Shots Created Using a Featureless Room

For its 2010 lookbook, Swedish fashion brand Courtrai Apparel created some gravity-defying shots of a guy floating in a featureless room. Rather than use fancy computer trickery, they used the same perspective trick as the Carl Kleiner project we shared a couple days ago.
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Sony RX100 Left on Top of Car Leads to Unintentional Teardown

Phil Wright got his hands on the Sony RX100 — the camera David Pogue was raving about — shortly after it was released back in June. It didn’t survive very long.

Earlier this month, Wright was rushing to work in the darkness of the early morning when he placed his coffee and his black camera bag on top of his car. When he arrived at work 22 miles and 25 minutes later with coffee in hand, he suddenly realized that his camera was nowhere to be found. After panicked call to his wife back home, she made the discovery: camera roadkill 300 yards from their house.
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LAPD Terror Policy Once Again Identifies Photogs as Potential Terrorists

Bad news for photographers in Southern California: the Los Angeles Police Department issued a notice regarding its official terrorism handling policy earlier this week, and the document still identifies photographers as potential terrorists. The intradepartmental correspondence, sent out by the Chief of Police, warns officers about the following:

Photography. Taking pictures or videos of facilities/buildings, infrastructures or protected sites in a manner that would arouse suspicion in a reasonable person. Examples include taking pictures or videos of ingress/egress, delivery locations, personnel performing security functions (e.g., patrol, badge/vehicle checking), security-related equipment (e.g., perimeter fencing, security cameras), etc.;

Observation/Surveillance. Demonstrating unusual interest in facilities/buildings, infrastructures or protected sites beyond mere casual or professional (e.g., engineers) interest, such that a reasonable person would consider the activity suspicious. Examples include observations through binoculars, taking notes, attempting to measure distances, etc. …

Dennis Romero of L.A. Weekly writes that “the LAPD is now poised to detain and question half the L.A. Weekly staff.”
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How Hyperspectral Cameras Are Being Used to Uncover Ancient Mysteries

Hyperspectral cameras are those that can capture information in the electromagnetic spectrum, far beyond what the human eye — and consumer cameras — can see. American Photo Magazine has a fascinating feature that tells of how researchers around the world are using the cameras to uncover century and millennium-old mysteries:

The historic discoveries are just getting started. No one yet knows how much researchers and scholars will find with this new generation of hyperspectral technology. More than a hundred years ago, in the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus, archeologists found piles of illegible papyrus. Recently, University of Oxford researchers found that they contained fragments of a lost tragedy by the ancient author Sophocles, of whose plays only seven were known to have survived. New imaging methods have also found portions of a poem by Archilochus that reveal new details about the genesis of the Trojan War. The research at St. Catherine’s could settle long-standing debates over the origins and foundation of some of the world’s major religions.

Discoveries using hyperspectral photography so far include revisions to the US Declaration of Independence, hidden words in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and a possible Abraham Lincoln fingerprint on a copy of the Gettysburg Address.

Peeling Back the Hidden Pages of History With Hyperspectral Photography [American Photo]


P.S. Last year, a group of scientists was able to create a hyperspectral camera using an ordinary Canon 5D and random off-the-shelf parts.


Image credits: Photographs by Abby Brack Lewis and the Library of Congress