All things related to Photography

At the end of the day

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By |August 7th, 2014|0 Comments

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Cardboard Cameras

cardboardSeveral years ago I used to do camera reviews for Camera User, SLR Magazine, Photo News Weekly and other publications.

I remember decrying the fact plastics were beginning to be utilised in the construction of cameras.  I was, at that time, a devout Nikon F user – the big iron battleship that it was.  But then, Gandolfi was probably just as peeved when they stopped using wood in the mainstream manufacture of cameras!

Things progressed, of course, for better or for worse. Recently I was interested to see things had come full circle with Elvis Halilović’s remarkable range of fully-working film cameras made from wood.

So I gave more than a second glance when I spotted this fabulous collection of cameras made from cardboard.

American artist and sculptor Kiel Johnson has crafted a range of cameras and the collection includes SLRs, Polaroids, point and shoot cameras, twin lens cameras and the retro 8mm cameras.  These are just works of art though, they don’t actually work.  They are lovely caricatures, rather than replicas and would look absolutely fabulous as display pieces in a photographer’s home.

I want one – although I suspect I would have to save up for a very long time to own one.

 

By |June 17th, 2014|0 Comments

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Stunning photographs by Katerina Plotnikova posed with wild animals

Best not fall asleep and perhaps wear some clothes when dealing with these pussy cats. I’m sure I heard somewhere that tigers like their snacks ready unwrapped!

An unwrapped snack

You would be excused for thinking these images were created using Photoshop.  Or at least that they were shot in close collaboration with an obliging taxidermist.

Well you’d be wrong on both counts.  For Russian photographer Katerina Plotnikova created these stunning images by posing her models with real live wild animals!

While most of the species featured are very dangerous, professional animal trainers were on hand throughout to supervise and control the trained animals.

The bear, for instance, looks as cuddly as an over-sized teddy bear posed with the elegant princess. And then below it we see a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the bear being rewarded with a treat from its trainer over the model’s shoulder.

Snakes alive!

Bath-time for this baby is a jumbo task

Models with long elegant necks photograph best

Foxy ladies

They may look soft and cuddly but OUCH!

Pass me a comb

She may well be the prettiest but I suspect the bird couldn’t give two hoots!

Now I can’t get the song Rocky Raccoon out of my head

 

Hello my deer

You can find more of beautiful images on  photographer Katerina Plotnikova’s 500px web page where prints may be purchased.

Source: Bored Panda

By |May 12th, 2014|0 Comments

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The Moon and Mars – but it’s a Flake!

Screenshot-2014-04-15-23.14There was so much being bandied around on Facebook tonight about the fabulous moon and the fact you could clearly see Mars just above it too, that I felt I really should get involved.

Now one thing that I am not, is an astrological photographer.  I have a friend who’s just built an observatory in his back garden, but he lives fifty miles away.  He’s got all the gear, right down to the super-duper (technical term) telescope on a plinth set in three feet of concrete, and an electronic tracking device to take the rotation of the earth into account.

It’s all good stuff.  And I’m certain he will come up with some superb shots.

So I’m thinking:  Half the people on Facebook who reckon they have seen Mars, probably didn’t so I decided to do a quick mock-up to show it clearly.
The-original-base-imageFirst I found a lovely Moonscape, author unknown, on a royalty free desktop wallpaper site.  The moon was right at the top edge of the frame so I extended the canvas in Photoshop to make room for “Mars”.  I did a quick selection of the sky and masked it off with a layer mask.  Then, having sampled the darkest and lightest areas of the original, I created a new sky on a blank layer beneath it using the gradient tool with a circular gradient to replicate the moon’s glow.

Using Google’s “Labelled for reuse” search, I found a starry sky which I added to the masked area and set the layer to “lighten”.  I did the same with the Comet Trail  and Milky way layers.  The Mars Bar shot had the white background removed and was distorted using Photoshop’s Transform tool to give it the perspective of an object flying toward you. Similarly, the Milky Way bar logo was cut out, but with a soft feathered edge, and dropped into place with reduced opacity.

the-reflection-compositeThe Moon was already reflected magnificently in the water but I would need to add the reflection of all the other elements.  First I made a selection of the water area using the Quick Select tool and saved it.  Then I created a copy of all the new sky elements by copying and merging the relevant layers.

Next I created a layer mask on this new sky layer by reloading the saved selection and clicking the mask icon.  By unlocking the mask from the layer proper, I was able to select and then vertically transform the sky layer and drag it down so that the sky appeared to be reflected in the water.

I then used the ripple filter to distort the reflection of the Mars Bar.  This still didn’t look right, so I found a royalty free image of light reflected on rippling water and overlayed this image  on the masked water area experimenting with the blending modes and opacity to get the right effect.

So there we have it.  A bit of fun in my warm man cave whilst everybody else was outside shivering and attempting to find Mars with their 200mm lenses.


 

 

The-starry-skywater-ripplesthe-comet-trailthe-new-sky-layer

By |April 16th, 2014|1 Comment

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Oh my Lorde – she’s been Photoshopped!

Photoshop has come a long way since its humble beginnings back in 1987, when University of Michigan  PhD student Thomas Knoll began dabbling with code to display pictures on computers.  As it evolved, he named his program Photoshop and it was snapped up by the Adobe corporation who released it to the world in 1990.

Screenshot-2014-04-01-18.46.07Since then it has blossomed into the most comprehensive image editing program in the world and is used by millions in the photographic, publishing and graphic arts related industries.

What I find sad is that today the name has become almost a derogatory term.  “Oh you can see that’s been Photoshopped!”  It seems to become a victim of its own success.  Or at least a victim of the over zealous and under experienced users of this truly magnificent program.

It is almost the same as the way rising stars use the paparazzi to boost and enhance their celebrity as they climb the ladder, then curse them for invading their privacy.  There was a time some of the “prima donna” models would insist on having their photos retouched before they were published, many are now insisting on the opposite.

One of the latest celebrities to speak out against the use of Photoshop is Grammy-winning pop singer Lorde.

In this tweet on the 31st of March (above) , she showed the difference between a retouched photo and a straight photo of her taken during the same show, posting both photos with the comment “remember flaws are ok :-)”

Personally, I am all for retouching – so long as it is not overdone.

If the subject matter is a real person and the photograph is intended to represent that person, then I’m all for portraying them in a good light.  Taking away blemishes, shadows under the eyes etc., is absolutely fine by me.  After all it is something that has been practised by professional portrait photographers ever since the very first portrait studios came into existence. They used traditional, methods of retouching and air-brushing.

Unfortunately, putting the power of Photoshop in the hands of the new generation of “retouchers” is a bit like giving the keys to a Ferrari to a 17 year old who just passed his test.  You just know there will be a crash!  Not satisfied with simply removing skin blemishes, they seem to want to take Photoshop through all the gears on every single journey. Legs become longer, waists trimmer and boobs bigger – to the extent it no longer truly represents the real person.

…And before anybody cites the fact that I have turned people into mermaids and ordinary people into “calendar girls” (and boys!) I’m talking here about regular photographs.  When it comes to fantasy pictures – well, anything goes!

What are your views on retouching?  Let me know in the comments section.

By |April 1st, 2014|0 Comments

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