Virtual Lighting Studio is an awesome new free studio lighting simulator that doesn’t require any installation — you use it directly in your browser. It offers a large number of options for customizing your setup (e.g. number of lights, light type, gel, positioning) and the result is updated in real-time on the virtual model’s head.
Posing App is a new app that offers a pocket reference for poses — helpful for both photographers and models. The 140 hand-drawn poses come in a variety of flavors — children, couples, weddings, and women, to name a few — and are accompanied by short descriptions that provide additional pointers. The is available from the iTunes App Store for $2, and will be released for Android soon.
Did you know that your morning cup of coffee can help you predict rain? It’s a trick used by backpackers that can come in handy you’re shooting outdoors without Internet: pour a cup of coffee and carefully watch the bubbles. Backpacker Magazine writes,
If the bubbles amass in the center, you’re in a high-pressure system, which is making the coffee’s surface convex (higher in the middle). Since bubbles are mostly air, they migrate to the highest point. It’s going to be a beautiful day. If the bubbles form a ring around the sides of the mug, you’re in a low-pressure system, making the surface concave. Rain is likely. Note: It has to be strong, brewed coffee to have enough oil to work, and the mug must have straight sides.
To make new bubbles, simply give your coffee a good stir.
Here’s a great diagram by Mobot that shows how the 41-megapixel sensor inside Nokia’s new 808 PureView phone stacks up against other popular sensor sizes. It’s pretty clear that they didn’t just milk a small sensor for more megapixels as a simply marketing ploy, but instead came up with a sensor that’s significantly larger than those found in other smartphones. Engadget also has a photo showing a comparison of sensor sizes, while Digital Trends has published an article on five reasons why the 41-megapixels isn’t a gimmick.
Curious about where people like to take pictures in your part of the world? Sightsmap is a simple Google Map app that takes geo data from the photos uploaded to Panoramio (now a Google service) and uses it to generate a heatmap.
Tired of packing a huge mess of cables every time you go on a trip? The Magic Cable Trio is a 3-in-1 cable designed to cut down on your clutter. It lets you power and sync a wide range of devices ranging from phones, iOS systems (e.g. the iPad), music players, and compact cameras. Just make sure your device uses miniUSB, microUSB, or an iPhone dock connector. The three connections are daisy-chained, making it uber-compact and easy to manage. They cost $20 over at Innergie.
Knowing how long to develop film for is easy if you use popular films and developers, but what if you want to use some obscure combination that isn’t well documented? If that’s you, check out the Photocritic Film Development Database. It’s a simple service that outputs development times for 1440 different film/developer combinations. For combinations that aren’t officially published, creator Haje Jan Kamps has come with a formula that estimates the time — a formula that he says is surprisingly accurate.
Knobroom is a free add-on for Lightroom that lets you use the knobs and sliders on a MIDI Controller to edit photos in Lightroom. Unlike PADDY, which we featured last year, Knobroom is also available to Mac users. The brief demo above shows Lightroom being controlled with a Behringer BCF2000. Freelance photographer Max Edin has written up an informative review on setting up and using the add-on.
Having trouble framing shots when “shooting from the hip” and not looking through (or at) your camera? Lifehacker suggests pointing with your left hand index finger to improve your accuracy. Simply press the finger against your lens, parallel to your camera’s line of sight. The idea is that while we point at things all the time, aiming a camera isn’t quite as intuitive (though it comes with practice). By making the camera an “extension of your body”, you might be able to aim it more naturally!