Posts Tagged ‘novel’

Concept Camera with Built-In Balloon

Forget complicated kite photography kits that actually require skill. UK-based industrial designer Matthew Clark has a fun solution for taking photographs from high up: the Aeriel Capture camera.

This concept camera has a 3 foot balloon built into the back of the camera itself, and has a 20 meter chord that doubles as the shutter release. Photographs are taken by simply flipping a switch in the hand reel.

The idea is great in that it would allow anyone to easily take some aerial shots of an event without wind or fancy aerial vehicles. The downside to the idea is that you need to have helium on hand to get it floating.

If this was on the market for a low enough price (i.e. $20), do you think it’d be a useful camera to have around?

Aerial Capture (via Wired)


P.S. For those of you technically inclined, here’s a tutorial for how to actually build a balloon cam.

CIA Takes Interest in Lens Startup

LensVector, a Silicon Valley startup working on novel lens technology, has received its latest round of funding from In-Q-Tel, a not-for-profit venture firm that invests for the sole purpose of boosting US intelligence capability by providing the CIA with state-of-the-art information technology.

So what’s LensVector developing that CIA would want? Lenses that focus electronically with no moving parts.

Here’s a diagram by LensVector showing how their tiny autofocus lenses work compared to traditional technology:

Rather than using mechanical parts to focus a lens, LensVector uses electricity to align liquid crystals to a desired shape, which focuses light to a particular point.

Given the CIA’s interest in this technology, it must be working pretty well. Hopefully we’ll see this introduced to consumer cameras that need it (i.e. cell phones) soon.

A fun fact: another startup that received In-Q-Tel funding was Keyhole, Inc., the geospatial data visualization company that was acquired by Google in 2004. Their flagship product, Earth Viewer, was turned into Google Earth.

(via CNET)

Canon Coffee Cup Pinhole Camera Lens

You might have seen the coffee mug that looks like a Canon L Lens, but have you seen this camera lens that looks like a coffee mug?

This strange 150mm coffee cup pinhole lens was created by paradefotos, and actually works (though the photos are pretty blurry).

Unlike the L lens coffee mug, this coffee mug lens isn’t nearly as desirable, and probably won’t become the next “must have” camera item. Funny idea though.


Image credit: Coffee cup pinhole lens by paradefotos and used with permission

Birthday Cake Shaped Like a Nikon DSLR

We’ve featured a couple posts on cakes shaped like Canon cameras recently, while Nikon has been underrepresented on this front. Well, we just received an email from Aimee over at True Beauty Photography with photographs of a Nikon DSLR birthday cake she surprised her husband Dustin with two years ago:

It was his 29th birthday and I planned a surprise dinner for him at Gordon Biersch in San Jose, CA. I invited his old friends from Sacramento and close friends from work. Tricked him into going to a guys night out with his best bud, and then surprised him at the bar with all his other friends! I gave the cake to the waiters to put in the fridge, and they were all gushing about how cool the cake was as they have never seen something like it before. They brought out the cake after dinner, and Dustin just couldn’t stop laughing and gushing (you can see it in the pictures :D).

The cake was created by Debbie Does Cakes based in Oakland, California.

If you have other photos of cakes shaped like cameras, lenses, or anything related to photography, feel free to email them in to us!

Uber-Compact Chobi Mini Digital Camera

The Chobi Mini Digital Camera is an uber-compact digital camera that captures both still images and video. It captures AVI video at 1280 x 960 resolution, and JPEG photographs at 2048 x 1536, or 3 megapixels.

Here are a couple more photographs to give you a better idea of just how small this thing is:

Obviously, this thing doesn’t have any real glass, so great imaging quality isn’t a feature. However, it could make a novel (and expensive) gift, a carry-around toy camera, or a fun conversation piece.

Sadly, the price will likely be a deterrent — it costs ¥13,850, or about $149.

Canon 5D Mark II Groom’s Cake

We recently featured a Canon 5D Mark II shaped cake, but didn’t have any photographs of the back.

It just so happens that Daniel, the man for whom the cake was made, recognized it on PetaPixel and emailed us with more photographs and some background:

That cake was my groom’s cake, which was presented as a surprise by my awesome wife during our wedding reception. Knowing how much I love photography and my 5Dmk2, my wife commissioned BethAnn (owner of Studio Cake) to create this amazing piece. Since you were wondering what the back looked like, I thought I’d send you a pic…the picture on the screen is a shot from our engagement shoot (by Ray of Apertura Photography).

It’s amazing how much the cake resembles the actual camera. We love the engagement photograph displayed on the “LCD”. Sadly, Daniel informs us that the photo itself wasn’t edible.

This cake sets quite a bar for photography-related cakes. If you have any photos of similar cakes, feel free to email them to us!

Plastic Half-Size Format 35mm Cameras

The Golden Half is a plastic half-size format 35mm camera by Brooklyn 5 and 10, an online shop specializing in “whimsical gifts”. The fact that it’s half-size (aka half-frame) means each exposure only uses half of the film’s intended frame. A 36-exposure roll of film will therefore allow you to shoot 72 different exposures. Here’s what the resulting frames look like when you get them developed:

You can either cut the frames up into individual photos, or leave them as a diptych if you feel so inclined.

Golden Half cameras are available in three flavors (Zebra, Telegraphy, and plain) and cost $50.


Image credit: Saint-Sky by madmolecule

A Digital Camera for Your Keychain

Japanese company Green House recently released the Mini Digi, an “ultra-compact” digital camera that fits on your keychain. This eye-catching gadget is only 2.5 inches wide, and captures up to 160 photographs at .3 megapixels. If you get tired of carrying it around with your keys, you can also attach it to your computer and use it as a webcam. Oh, and did we mention it shoots AVI format videos as well? The Mini Digi is available through the online store for $20.

(via Trend Hunter)

Facial Recognition for Dogs and Cats

If you’ve ever tried photographing a dog or cat, you probably know how difficult it can be to take a sharp photo while it’s looking at you. My friend’s dog (a pomeranian) is actually scared of my camera, and shies away when the DSLR is pointed at him.

FujiFilm’s new Finepix Z700 aims to make pet photographs easier by being the first camera to offer facial recognition for dogs and cats, and can automatically snap photographs for you when the pet is looking at the camera.

However, the technology is still pretty young, and has a ways to go before it rivals human facial recognition, which itself is ocassionally buggy.

For example, the camera has difficulty detecting pets that don’t stay still, and though it can detect up to 10 pet faces at once, it can’t handle a mix of dogs and cats. The subjects need to be either all dogs, or all cats.

Furthermore, some breeds of dogs (and maybe cats too?) can have pretty strange looking faces. The camera can’t handle those. FujiFilm even has a dedicated webpage listing the breeds of dogs and cats that the feature can usually detect, and includes sample images:

As you can see, you need to have a fairly… generic looking dog or cat if you want to detect its face.

Pets that cannot be easily detected include those that have: dark patches around the eyes or nose, too dark of a color, wrinkled/long/thin faces, or hair covering the eyes.

We’re guessing something like this will stump the camera:

Perhaps we should have titled this post, “Facial Recognition for Cute and Generic Looking Dogs and Cats”.

(via PC World)


Image credit: Castle Combe by Karen Roe

Interview with Roger Hagadone

Even if you haven’t heard of Roger Hagadone, chances are you’ve seen his work before.

Hagadone is a talented commercial photographer whose impressive portfolio includes advertisements for the Blue Man Group and the cover of the popular young adult novel series, Twilight by Stephanie Meyer.


PetaPixel: Can you tell us a little about your background, what you do, and where you’re based?

Roger Hagadone: I’m an advertising photographer, and I shoot editorial book covers and dabble in fine art. I’m based in New York City. I live here and have an office in LA where I work quite a bit as well. I moved to the City after college, and met several top photographers here, one including Annie Leibovitz, who became a big influence on how I shoot people.

PP: Where did you go to college at?

RH: Purchase college, just outside of New York City.

PP: When did you get started with photography?

RH: Professional commercial photography — probably 10 years ago now. I started with magazine editorial and eventually that turned into advertising.

PP: We notice from your portfolio that you’ve worked with a number of really interesting subjects. Do you have one particular portrait shoot that you find especially memorable?

RH: That would definitely have to be the shoot with Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs. It was a lot of fun to work with Mike. He’s a really awesome guy. For that shoot especially, he was really a trooper. It was about eight hours of photography.

We covered him with special ‘dirty’ effects. We layered the dirt, starting out very light and added more as the day went on. At the end, he was completely covered.  A lot of people would be very cranky after that, but he was cool. He was having a laugh.

PP: How many people worked at the shoot?

RH: Around a dozen people including crew and client. There were three people just covering him with these different substances but in the end most of the crew pitched in. We covered him with grease and eggs, bubble gum, feathers, and all kinds of stuff.

PP: That alone sounds like a pretty dirty job.

RH: Yeah, actually he said that this may have been his dirtiest job ever. His only regret was that he didn’t have his crew there to film it.

PP: How would you describe your photography and style to someone who has never seen it?

RH: I would say it’s cheerful and sometimes surprising. Never boring — that’s the main thing, I can’t stand boring photography. I like to keep it positive and fun. There’s usually a narrative to the images, something of a story, or maybe a comment or a joke.

PP: Is there an example of an image that represents the general body of your work?

RH: That’s tough. One image that I like that comes to mind is the time bomb image. There’s a bomb squad guy defusing the bomb, and there’s his pal behind him, about to pop a bag to scare him. I just like that anticipation of the joke.

The visual effect in my images, the retouching and the lighting, are kind of two halves of the images that are both equally important to me. It’s not just the photograph and the concept, but it’s also the retouching aspect of it as well.

PP: What’s the single item in your metaphorical camera bag, aside from your actual camera, that you can’t go without?

RH: It’s Photoshop, well Photoshop and a dozen strobes! I prefer to get as close to the final image in-camera as possible but it’s in post processing where my images come alive. I have several techniques that I use and they are constantly evolving.

PP: What do you shoot with, currently?

RH: I have different cameras. I shoot with a Hasselblad with a Phase One back, mostly for advertising shoots. Other than that, I use a 1Ds Mark III.

PP: What was your first camera that you ever got?

RH: I think that I was seven (years old) and I had a Kodak 35mm camera, which I still have.

PP: Is that when you started getting in photography?

RH: Yeah, I still have images from that, too.

The actual camera is in one of my photographs in my Bigfoot story. In one of the images, Bigfoot has a camera, and he’s taking a picture from behind bushes. That’s my first camera.

PP: So we discovered your work because you did the covers for Twilight, and that imagery is evoked in a lot of fashion, a lot of types of advertising nowadays, that uses a very similar color scheme: black, white, red. How did you conceptualize and visualize this?

RH: It’s really a collaborative process. It begins with the publisher and they have some concepts in mind. And then I interpret these concepts into photographs. Sometimes, they have a pretty good idea of what they’d like to see in the image. It could be a background, an object, and then it’s just the interpretation of that into a final image. When I shoot a cover for a book, I usually take the basic idea and shoot several different variations of that one concept.

Things change very quickly in the publishing world. Once I receive the assignment to photograph a cover, by the time it’s complete, things may have changed, and the images that I shot might end up on the cutting floor.

Or, I may be asked to re-shoot it with a slightly different idea. It’s a collaboration, and it’s important to be flexible.

When it came to the Twilight series, the first image of Twilight, the hand with the apple, set the tone for the rest of the images in the series: simple graphic composition. The use of red, white, and a warm black background. That pretty much set everything else.

PP: When you see this style used in other images, it’s as if it’s become a part of cultural memory and become almost iconic. How do you feel about that?

RH: It’s kind of huge that it’s crossed over into what I guess you would call pop-culture.

The first time I saw an advertisement similar to the look, I was taken back, but I wasn’t really sure if I was seeing it correctly, if they were really using inspiration from the cover in their advertisement.

But now, as you say it, I do see it quite often and it’s fun to see. Artists borrow from each other all the time, and I’ve been on both sides.

Other images that I’ve shot I’ve seen similar advertisements pop up six months later, but it’s give and take.

PP: Do you enjoy the attention you’ve received from your work on Twilight, or would you rather be known for your other work?

RH: I get a lot of inquiries about Twilight.

I don’t mind it at all, really. It’s kind of nice. The Twilight fans are really great. I get a lot of emails from them.

The weirdest thing that I’ve seen is the original Twilight cover — the hands and the apple — I saw someone with a tattoo of it. That was really bizarre, to see the photograph I shot tattooed on somebody’s arm.

That was shocking. It’s too bad I didn’t get a picture of that.

PP: Let’s go back to you. What advice would you shoot to fellow photographers about interacting with their portrait subjects. From what your portfolio looks like, it seems like you’ve got a really good relationship with the people you shoot, or at least you know how to bring out their personality and emotion.

RH: The main thing is trust. They have to trust you. What I usually do is talk to the model before the shoot, before we start shooting to get that rapport going.

During the shoot, I keep it fun and fast-paced. Things are always moving, and I give them a lot of direction, so the model never gets bored or too distracted.

Also, I’m pretty silly when I photograph, so I think that element of fun brings out what I’d like. I also ask that from my crew, just to keep a really fun atmosphere.

PP: How long does it take you on average to do a photo shoot, for instance, the Bigfoot project?

RH: That one I shot in two days, and did all the post work within three days. So probably about a full week. They’re all different, though, depending on what’s involved.

A book cover may take one day to shoot and depending on retouching, it could take several days to finish up with revisions.

PP: And it gets bounced back and forth from you to the publishers too, right?

RH: Exactly. Like with the Twilight image, we got to the point where it was pretty much finished. And then there was a comment that the apple needed to be a little larger. So it was back to the drawing board, and we had tweak the apple just slightly.

PP: How did you think of these image concepts for a lot of your personal work?

RH: Well, I’m an avid note taker. I just take tons and tons of notes.

The cliché is the pad by the bed, but I use an iPhone by the bed.

I use essentially a digital notebook and I just write all of my ideas in there. Sometimes it’s a full, complete idea that’s ready to go and I can shoot it; sometimes it’s just a little piece.

I’ll add little things to that piece later, but as soon as it’s ripe I can shoot it.


Image Credits: all images by Roger Hagadone