Posts Tagged ‘photoblog’

A Day in the Life of the MIT Community

A Day in the Life of MIT (ADITL) is a neat project in which members of the MIT community take pictures on a particular day and then pool the photographs together to provide a snapshot of what life was like on that day. ADITL 2010 happened yesterday, and hundreds of people contributed images to the collection.
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fotojournal Offers Photoblogging Platform for Pro Photographers

fotojournal is a new photoblogging service by Canadian company Robot Republic geared towards professional photographers, allowing them to showcase their work in a blog format.

They just had their launch party a couple days ago, and the pay-as-you-go service will soon be fully open to the public (they’re currently in invite-only private beta). No word on what their pricing model is.

The site is well designed, and allows you to display your photographs in various templates without requiring HTML knowledge. Among the templates is one that features your photographs at a large Big Picture-esque resolution:

The photo hosting and sharing space is chock-full of competition, but fotojournal might be able to find a niche with its clean design and flexible format.

Flickr in the Style of The Big Picture

If you’re addicted to The Big Picture like we are, then you probably also wish they posted more than two or three times a week. You should also take a look at The Big Pictr, a neat website we just came across. Although it blatantly copies The Big Picture in its name and design, the idea behind the site is pretty interesting.

It’s basically a community generated photoblog with the large photograph style of The Big Picture. Anyone can start a new collection with a Flickr user, search term, or tags, and then share it privately or publish it to the front page. For example, here’s a collection we just created using photos from our Flickr account.

If this website takes off, it could be a great way to both browse interesting photographs and promote your own photography.

Current Trends in Photography

trends_logo_lgGoogle Trends is an interesting service that can provide glimpses into how popular certain things are at any given time among the general public.

I thought it would be interesting to search for some photography related keywords to see what’s rising and falling in popularity. A lot of the following results probably correspond to what you’ve already observed from looking around at friends, family, and the people around you.

First off, the popularity of DSLR cameras seems to be exploding, at least with the people I know (especially at church). Everyone seems to be getting a DSLR rather than a point-and-shoot these days. Here’s what Google trends tell us about the search volume of the keyword “dslr”:

google trends - dslr

In this case, Google definitely confirms what I’ve been observing. The search volume of “dslr” this year is about four times as large as four years ago. This is even more significant given the fact that the “camera” keyword seems to be falling rather than rising.

Another keyword with a lot of momentum is “photoblog”:

Screen shot 2009-10-02 at 2.07.28 PM

Seems like the term is getting more popular, and that more and more people are starting photoblogs to share their photographs. Notice how, unlike “dslr”, the graph doesn’t really start until around 2003 or 2004. This seems to be about when the term “photoblog” began to become mainstream.

Something else that the “photoblog” keyword reveals is how popular photoblogging is in Poland. This probably isn’t common knowledge, but I also discovered this independently a while ago while working on Photoblogging service is among the 50 most popular websites in Poland, and also has a significant number of Polish users.

Let’s move on to some more interesting photo related trends…

How about the battle between Canon and Nikon?

Screen shot 2009-10-02 at 2.22.25 PM

Seems like Canon is the clear leader in terms of popularity (sometime we’ve known, right?), but also that Nikon is slowly closing the gap… at least in terms of search volume.

Other manufacturers are a little more difficult to compare since they’re not as focused on photography equipment.

What about photo sharing? Here’s a comparison between some of the more popular services:

Screen shot 2009-10-02 at 2.30.50 PM

Not surprisingly, Flickr is the 800lb gorilla in this space (though it’s losing a little weight). SmugMug is relatively tiny, though this is probably because it’s an exclusively paid service, while a large portion of Flickr’s members use it for free.

Webshots seems to be fading away, while upstart Twitter service Twitpic has burst onto the scene in the past year.

Facebook is obviously the largest photo-sharing service in the world, but including it in the graph makes every other service appear as lines on the x-axis.

Those are some current trends in the world of photography. If you do some searches of your own and find other interesting photo-related trends, please leave a comment sharing what you find with us! Maybe I’ll append your results to the post.

7 Awesome Newspaper Photoblogs

It seems like more and more newspapers are launching photoblogs on their websites. It’s an awesome idea, since each of them has a constant stream of high quality work pouring in from their photojournalists. Keeping up with these photoblogs is great for both getting your daily dose of photographic inspiration, and for keeping up with the current events happening around the world.

Here are some top-notch newspaper photoblogs you can follow:

#1. Boston Globe: The Big Picture


The Big Picture is a photo blog for the Boston Globe/, entries are posted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday by Alan Taylor. Inspired by publications like Life Magazine (of old), National Geographic, and online experiences like’s Picture Stories galleries and Brian Storm’s MediaStorm, The Big Picture is intended to highlight high-quality, amazing imagery – with a focus on current events, lesser-known stories and, well, just about anything that comes across the wire that looks really interesting.

website / twitter

#2: Sacramento Bee: The Frame


A photo blog by the Sacramento Bee multimedia staff.

website / twitter

#3: New York Times: Lens


Lens is the photojournalism blog of The New York Times, presenting the finest and most interesting visual and multimedia reporting — photographs, videos and slide shows. A showcase for Times photographers, it also seeks to highlight the best work of other newspapers, magazines and news and picture agencies; in print, in books, in galleries, in museums and on the Web.


#4: Wall Street Journal: Photo Journal



#5: Denver Post: Captured



#6: St. Petersburg Times: All Eyes



#7: Austin American-Statesman: Collective Vision


Welcome to Collective Vision, your opportunity to get a little closer to the Statesman photographers whose work you’ve admired throughout the years. Here you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at some of our favorite images and some photos we were unable to fit onto the pages of the Statesman. You’ll get insight into how the photographers practice their craft and thoughts from the photojournalists who create the stunning images and videos. We hope you enjoy this inside look, and we welcome your comments.


Certain newspapers have really good photo websites, but display the photos in periodically posted galleries rather than as a photoblog. Here are some websites that I omitted from the list, though they’re pretty darn awesome as well:

Know of any others? Leave a comment and I’ll update this list!

Interview with Justin Ouellette of Chromogenic

Justin Ouellette is the photoblogger behind Chromogenic.

PetaPixel: Tell me about yourself

Justin Ouellette: I’m a designer, originally from Portland, OR and now living in Chinatown, New York. I’ve been doing photography for about 10 years, and mostly work with film. In the last couple years I’ve been doing more web design. My biggest project last year was Muxtape, a site for making & sharing personal mixes. Photographically I like working with people and bands. I’m mostly interested in intersections between music, photography and technology.


PP: How did you first get into photography?

JO: I was lucky enough to go to a high school that offered photography, and also had an amazing instructor. It was just before digital started becoming something more than a novelty and we learned everything in The Old Way, developing our own film and making filter charts in a darkroom. I never stopped after that. The internet was already an incredible resource and fueled an insatiable appetite to learn everything I could about photography.

PP: What was your first camera?

JO: Pentax ME and 50mm f/1.8

PP: What do you use now?

JO: Hasselblad 500C/M mostly, also an Olympus Stylus Epic and Canon EOS-1N. I’ve experimented with a lot of cameras over the years but I think the Hasselblad is going to stay with me for the long haul.

PP: So you mostly shoot medium-format now?

JO: Yeah, I see the world in squares these days. I still enjoy the honesty of 35mm, though.


PP: Could you briefly explain to PetaPixel readers what medium-format is, and what you feel the biggest pros and cons are?

JO: Medium format is a film size that’s much larger than 35mm but still small enough that it can come on rolls and be used with cameras that have more convenient operation than the typical large format setup, which uses single-exposure sheets 4×5″ and up. It usually means much higher quality images at the expense of having a huge choice of lenses and automatic niceties and accessories, like a light meter. It’s also a bit harder to scan and print, but not as hard as large format.

Subjectively, medium format negatives are much richer and more painterly, and the physics of light passing through a larger piece of glass and striking a larger surface make for images that feel distinctly different. I also like that the sometimes-awkward nature of the larger gear forces you into a more methodical process; if nothing else you’re forced to think more about each exposure and take them more seriously. It comes through in the final result.

PP: When did you start Chromogenic?

JO: 2003

PP: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned through years of maintaining the photoblog?

JO: I’ve learned a lot about organizing and editing my own work, which I’ve concluded is half the skill of photography. I’ve also learned that telling the stories of our lives through pictures is something that taps deeply into human nature, and a photoblog is just one way to do it.


PP: Can you briefly describe your workflow?

JO: I develop black and white film in my bathroom, and color film I take to a lab around the corner. Either way I wind up with a long strip that I cut into threes and scan on a Nikon 9000. Usually I’ll do a quick preview of every frame (12 per roll), then go back and do a 4000dpi “for real” scan with anti-newton glass for the ones I like. From there I’ve got a neutral 81 megapixel TIFF in AdobeRGB which I color-correct in Photoshop. I use curves and try to make as natural adjustments as I can, and my final step is flattening, resizing, a little unsharp mask, and saving an sRGB jpeg.

PP: What’s the most common question you’re asked regarding Chromogenic or photography?

JO: Camera and/or film recommendations are a common question. It’s hard to answer because it’s a very personal preference, there’s no best film or camera. I try to encourage people to experiment and go with what feels right.


PP: What do you think is the most valuable piece of advice you could give an aspiring photographer?

JO: Try everything once.

PP: Is there any one thing you’ve learned that has benefited your work the most?

JO: I’ve learned a lot of things over the years, but the importance of editing definitely sticks out for me. It can be tremendously hard to choose one good image of out dozens of similar variations, but the impact of presenting a single, cohesive frame can’t be understated.

PP: Who are your favorite photobloggers?

JO: Todd Gross ( is an all-time favorite, I also like Eliot Shepard (, Yamasaki Ko-ji (, Peter Baker (, and many others. I’ve been enjoying lately as well.

PP: If you could see one person interviewed on PetaPixel, who would it be?

JO: Bruce Gilden.


PP: What is the favorite photograph you’ve taken, and why?

JO: I don’t have an all-time favorite, there are definitely some photos that stand out to me as representative for certain eras of my life, though. I think any photographer’s personal favorites have more to do with unspoken connections they may have with them; I know the photos that mean the most to me probably won’t for someone on the outside.

PP: What’s your favorite kind of photography?

JO: I love photos of people. I don’t know a word for it but my favorite kind of photography is the kind that tells a story in a single frame and feels simultaneously effortless and perfectly focused. It can be a true story or not, its plausibility is more important. It can happen equally on the street or in a studio.

PP: Does the fact that you shoot with a Hasselblad make taking photographs of strangers on the street easier?

JO: It can be a conversation piece (especially in New York where you see a lot of interesting cameras about town), but taking photos of strangers on the street isn’t a big part of what I do. Some people are brilliant at it, for me it’s hard enough to capture the people I know.

PP: What has been your biggest mistake so far in your photographic journey?

JO: I always feel like I could devote more time to it. Missed opportunities are the biggest mistakes. Overall though, photography for me is a lot about trial and error and that means making lots of little mistakes over time.


PP: Do you have any tips on how a photographer or photoblogger should publicize their work and build a readership?

JO: Build it and they will come. There’s no magic formula to publicizing yourself, focus on doing quality work and the rest will fall into place. Connecting with the rest of photoblogging community doesn’t hurt, either (most people looking at photoblogs are photographers themselves).

PP: Do you have any other advice you would like to share with PetaPixel readers?

JO: Try every weird technique, try all the films, try things outside your comfort zone. It’s easy to get hung up on the “right way” to do things, but it’s important to remember that photography is a highly personal pursuit and there’s really no rules. Exposing a little piece of your individuality will make you a far more successful photographer than any amount of dry, technical prowess.

Interview with Jonathan Day-Reiner of Eighteen Percent Grey

Jonathan Day-Reiner is the photoblogger behind EighteenPercentGrey, previously known as groundglass.


PetaPixel: Can you tell me a little about yourself?

Jonathan Day-Reiner: Well lets see, I’m turning 33 in a couple of days as a matter of fact. I live in Toronto, Canada and I’m the Manager of Operations at a young tech startup called 80/20 Solutions… I’m a hard-core computer nerd – started off on a Vic 20 when I was about five years old. Hell, I’ve even had net access since about 1989 – pre WWW and all that.

I’ve been in to photography since I was about twelve, when my grandfather gave me his old Minolta Hi-Matic 7s. I still have that camera and use it occasionally – it’s a beast, but still a great piece of equipment.

Since I spend so much time working with computers, I’ve found myself gravitating towards working mostly with film. I suppose its just with me spending so much time starting at a screen as it is, its nice to get away from the whole “high tech” thing and get back to basics when I’m out shooting. I love the whole process with analog – it just doesn’t feel right unless my bathroom smells like fixer after a day of shooting.

PP: Could you briefly explain the meaning of 18% gray for those who don’t know?

JDR: Well, when our eyes perceive the tonal spectrum between white and black, 18% grey represents what most regard as the mid-point. For years the wisdom was that camera meters were then calibrated to expose correctly for that value, so much in the same way that folks use white cards to white-balance, photographers would also use 18% grey cards to calculate exposure under difficult lighting. Now it turns out most meters are probably set something closer to 12-14% grey, but if 18% was good enough for Ansel its good enough for me.

Part of it comes from the way I’m shooting these days. From 2003-2006 I ran a photoblog called groundglass. That was a mix of digital/film/colour/b&w… like many photoblogs of course. Since I took a break from photoblogging in 2006, so much has happened in my life and with me moving pretty-much exclusively to working in black and white it seemed like it was time for a new name that fit the way I see things these days.


PP: What would you say are the biggest pros of film and cons of digital that keep you shooting film?

JDR: Well, I’m definitely not approaching this from any kind of practical angle. Right now I’m living in an apartment, so that restricts my ability to have an all-analog workflow. So even working with film and developing my own negs, in the end it still ends up on a scanner and in to photoshop and up on the web. I’m not a luddite or anything obviously. I have a digital SLR, and I love to use it. But like I said, practical doesn’t factor in to the equation for me.

I don’t think I have any major cons with regards to digital – although I still challenge anyone to get the same detail on their DSLR as I can get on my 4×5 – without spending thousands of dollars in the process at least. In the end for me though its the process. Working with film is really hands-on. It has a real tangibility to the process that I just don’t get working with digital.

It’s not so much that digital has any cons that prevent me from embracing it – I have embraced it in many ways. I just get just as much enjoyment out of the entire silver process, especially working in 4×5. It’s a much more zen form of shooting in a way – after all, there’s no such thing as “spray and pray” when you’re using a loupe to focus!

PP: How much money would you say you’ve spent on photography?

JDR: Over the years, wow. Well this is where working with film can move way beyond digital if you’re just talking TCO [Total cost of ownership]. But the little things like a few rolls of film here, and some developer there I don’t keep too close a track of. It’s mostly the “big” purchases that my pocketbook remembers most.

Most of my gear I’ve managed to get on the cheap from photo shows, ebay, craigslist and used. My biggest expenses actually come from my Digital SLRs. The only film camera I’ve paid good money for would be my 4×5 Chamonix 045n1. They were great though – I’d been lusting after one for a long time, and they let me pay in installments so I could fit it in my budget. The amazing thing is, I hadn’t finished paying for the camera by the time they sent it to me. That was a great surprise.

Overall, both film and digital, since I was 12 years old I’d say about ten grand at least though. Which is a drop in the bucket compared to a lot of the hardcore gearheads I’d say.

PP: How much do you spend regularly for supplies like film and paper?

JDR: Well I only have a small stash of film paper on hand for use in rental darkrooms. So not much in the past few years on that end. Film-wise, I keep that on the cheap too. I’ll occasionally order a batch from Freestyle Photographic but mostly these days I’m shooting 4×5 on Chinese film from eBay. So that keeps the costs a lot lower for me, around $10 for a box of 25 sheets. That seems expensive at first, but shooting 4×5 is a completely different experience. If I shoot six photos in a day on four by five, that’s a pretty decent outing.

With developing my own film, using chemicals over and over again, skipping stop bath for water… I’m pretty frugal, probably only a few hundred a year on supplies really.


PP: What equipment do you use?

JDR: Well, my full compliment? Its a bit of a list.

For film, I’ll break it down by format. Although not all of these are in regular use.

Chamonix 045n1
Super Speed Graphic
Lenses: Schneider 210mm, Graflex 135, Graflex 90, and a Kodak 150

Yashica Mat 124G

Canon GLIII Rangefinder
Minolta Hi-Matic 7s
Minolta Maxxum 9000
Konica Hexar AF
Olympus XA
(all those are fixed lens cameras except the 9000, which shares lenses with my DSLRs)

Minolta 7D (currently dead)
Sony A100
Sony Point’n’shoot
Lenses: 50 f1.4, 28 f2.8, 18-70 f3.5-5.6, 70-200 f2.8, 16 2.8
All of them old minolta lenses except the 16, which is an old sigma. There are a couple other older cameras that are either dead or stored away that I can’t recall.

PP: What is your favorite camera body and lens combination?

JDR: Digital and 35mm, the 50 / 1.4 hands down. I love razor-thin depth of field and creamy bokeh. The lens on the Yashicamat is great too for beautiful focus and nice shallow depth of field at 2.8.

PP: Do you have any secrets to good photographs?

JDR: Well beyond just keeping your eyes open and looking at lots of great photographs, I’m not sure…

Edward Weston said “a fine technician may be a very bad artist, but a fine artist usually makes himself a fine technician to better express his thought.” and I think there’s a lot of truth to that.

Look for your own personal aesthetic, and just immerse yourself in what you love. Learning is important, but like the camera itself its just a tool to better express yourself.


PP. Are there other photographers you regularly visit online?

JDR: Yeah, quite a few, there’s a whole list on my site. Toronto in particular has a great crop of talented photographers that I turn to for inspiration. I’m not sure if there’s any one photographer or photoblogger I can point to though, but I have to acknowledge Rannie Turingan at for getting me started in this whole photoblogging thing in the first place. He’s kinda like the catalyst for the whole Toronto photoblogging scene.

PP: So there’s a strong community of photobloggers in Toronto?

JDR: Yeah, when first launched probably half the photoblogs were in Toronto… Not literally, but it sure seemed that way at the time.

But even still, you’ve got guys like Sam at Daily Dose of Imagery, Matt at The Narrative, Rannie of course, Tania at doublecrossed, Carrie Musgrave, DK Photo Group, Istoica… all very talented folks, and that’s just off the top of my head

PP: Who is one person you would like to see interviewed on PetaPixel?

JDR: Hrm, if I had to select just one, I’d say David from Chromasia. He’s not only an amazing photographer but he’s got fantastic skills on the post side of things. Nice guy too.

PP: Are there any photography related websites that you’ve found valuable?

JDR: Well, for those who want to take a stab at film, APUG is one of the most valuable places you can go. I also love Jeff Curto’s Camera Position podcast. Anyone who loves to shoot can find lots of valuable insight there. Finally, a great photography related weblog is “The Online Photographer” and for inspiration, the new lens blog at the new york times.

PP: Do you have anything else you’d like to share with PetaPixel readers?

JDR: Yeah, I think one of the best ways you can improve and grow as a photographer – even just as a hobbiest who wants to make the most out of his gear – is start yourself up a photoblog. That gives you an outlet and a reason to constantly challenge yourself. It’s a great excuse to keep you shooting at least!