PBS art series Off Book created this short video that presents a brief history of the animated GIF:
GIFs are one of the oldest image formats used on the web. Throughout their history, they have served a huge variety of purposes, from functional to entertainment. Now, 25 years after the first GIF was created, they are experiencing an explosion of interest and innovation that is pushing them into the terrain of art. In this episode of Off Book, we chart their history, explore the hotbed of GIF creativity on Tumblr, and talk to two teams of GIF artists who are evolving the form into powerful new visual experiences.
Photoshop guru Scott Kelby has released a free iPad app that teaches the lighting techniques he used for various photographs in his portfolio.
The newly released Scott Kelby’s Lighting Recipes is a free iPad app that walks you through twenty shots in thirteen different lessons. With an approximately 45 minute runtime, each lesson has a gear guide, and lighting diagrams, as well as production shots, and the final image. And yes, there is Kelby’s commentary as well.
Ever wonder how photographs were made back in the days of the Civil War? This video by the George Eastman House provides an interesting step-by-step look at how tintype photographs are created. It’ll make you feel spoiled as a modern day photographer.
KEH has published a helpful primer on memory cards that describes the different types, common error codes you might come across when using them, and how to take care of them:
Memory cards are quite sturdy and commonly expected to work through one million read/write/erase cycles. The weakest part of the card is the connectors however, and should withstand around 10,000 insertions/removals into a camera or card reader.
No matter which type of card (CF I&II, SD, XD, SM, MS, etc.) your camera takes, it’s a good idea to format it on a regular basis. While it may not happen often, these little cards of information can fail and reach the end of their life unexpectedly. To keep your card in good health, format it in the camera from time to time. (I format my card after every major download). This clears up the card and erases all of the data. Of course make sure that you have downloaded and saved onto a computer all of the files on the card before formatting.
Since the number of insert/remove cycles a card can handle is far less than the number of read/write cycles, it’s very important to handle your cards gently in order to prolong their lifespan.
Photographers used to spend lifetimes building up their portfolios and networks before their work became widely known to a global audience, but with the advent of the Internet, the fact that anything can “go viral” is completely changing the equation for success. Read more…
David Hobby has written up a great post over at Strobist on how he avoids shoot-ruining confrontations with police officers when shooting in public locations (we shared an example of a confrontation yesterday). His tricks include calling the police ahead of time and leaving notes on the doors of houses nearby:
Before I shoot (a couple hours, usually) I call into the duty officer of the local precinct. I tell them my name, that I am a photographer, and where/when I will be shooting. I explain that, just in case some overenthusiastic passerby calls me in as a suspicious person, I just want to save them a call. I offer them my cell number, and ask if they want my sosh or driver’s license number. I have never been taken up on this, but I would happily give it.
[...] I print up a sheet and stick it in everyone’s door who is within eyeshot of the shoot at night. Because believe-you-me, it you are popping flashes in the woods at 2am, some idiot will absolutely call your butt in. To them, it’s gotta look pretty much like Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Some of you might not like these tips because they appear to be the equivalent of putting up a white flag in the fight for photographers’ rights, but they may come in handy if one day you have a critical photo shoot that you can’t afford to have interrupted.
Last week we featured some “sound painting” photographs by Martin Klimas, captured by using a speaker to vibrate paint. Here’s a video tutorial by some Arizona State University Polytechnic students demonstrating how you can do your own “sound painting” photos. They use a thrift store speaker covered with a garbage bag and some Crayola poster paint.
The Photo Society has published an interesting article in which Kent Kobersteen, the Director of Photography at National Geographic magazine from 1987 to 2005, shares thoughts on what he looks for in photographers:
[The required] attributes are intellect, passion, maturity and drive.
Reading this, you may say “What about the photography?” Of course any person under consideration must be a great photographer. The National Geographic needs photography that is strong aesthetically and has a sophisticated use of color, photography that is poetic, journalistic, memorable, and comes from unique and intuitive seeing. But, that’s obvious, that’s a given.
All four of these attributes – intellect, passion, maturity, drive — ARE about the photography.
Kobersteen also states that he would choose “a photographer whose eye was not the best, but who worked very hard, rather than the person with the best eye in the world, and who was lazy.”
If you’re relatively new to Photoshop, you might not know that it’s possible to highlight and/or remove the various options in dropdown menus. All you need to do is play around with the Edit->Menus screen to make your commonly used options more visible and to reduce clutter by hiding options that you’ve never touched in your life.