On May 15th I graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. Pittsburgh is a vibrant city, known for its industrial heritage. Downtown is located at the convergence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers into the Ohio River, called “The Point.” The hills surrounding the city offer excellent viewpoints for photos. I spent my last two semesters at CMU (August through May) creating images of Pittsburgh’s skyline and architecture during my free time. Twenty of my favorite images are shown below accompanied by a discussion of my creative process.
Yellowstone National Park. That is really all one needs to say to get the message across. What could very well be the most photographed National Park in the world needs no introductions. Yellowstone harbors all of the elements that make the “West” of the United States such a compelling area for photographers. It’s combination of landscapes, geothermal activity and wildlife is a photographers dream. And yet, for a place with so many splendors, you would think I would not get so many questions on how and when to photograph massive park.
Lens distortion is a common issue we photographers deal with on a daily basis. It can be split into two groups – distortion by perspective and distortion by optics. Be it one or the other, it often causes unnatural-looking deformation of photos we take. As a result, we end up searching for ways to address distortion issues in the field, or afterwards in post-production. Usually lenses with longer focal lengths produce less distorted results than wide-angle lenses. And as you might already know, distortion is much more noticeable closer to the edges of the frame than in the middle. If you shoot landscapes or cityscapes at wider focal lengths and you have straight vertical elements near the corners of the frame, distortion might significantly bend and skew those elements, making them look very strange. There are several ways you can address such problems, so let’s talk about those now.
Photographing the humpback whales of Tonga has been on my personal bucket list for a number of years and finally in 2015 I got to spend nearly three weeks in Neiafu, the main town in the Vavu’a island group in the north of the archipelago, where the majority of the whale watching takes place. The 170+ islands that make up the nation of Tonga are stretched out over a 800km long archipelago, located about 1600 km north-east of New Zealand in the western Pacific Ocean and are basically a long way from everywhere – even for Australians like me!
In today’s digital photography age, most novice bird photographers are happy just capturing a bird portrait with their cameras. After a while, the natural progression is to try and capture some action shots of birds in flight, but that is where most avian photographers struggle. Why? The answer is quite simple; they don’t have enough shutter speed!
We were in the Marina of Santa Barbara and I was looking for a cheap restaurant. Then I spotted On The Alley and rushed to the place. The song California Dreaming (a hit of The Mamas & The Papas) was playing and the attendants were dancing animatedly. When they saw me, they blushed. I just laughed and they immediately started serving me (and the service was excellent). I and my wife, Nina, enjoyed the food and left the place very happily after having a delicious raspberry pie with ice cream for dessert.
For those of us living in the US or Europe it can be a daunting challenge to search for a nearby destination in which we may truly immerse ourselves in nature, specifically without enduring months of near bankruptcy directly afterwards. There are still plenty of hotspots left, especially in Northern Europe, but the signs of civilization can leave one feeling placed in an artificial bubble, albeit a beautiful one. Like it or not, this often is translated into the images we take.
In the past, hardware calibration feature was limited to premium wide-gamut models from companies like NEC or Eizo. Those models offer wide gamut, great uniformity and advanced calibration features…but at a fairly high price. Affordable wide gamut solutions with hardware calibration started in 2013 with Dell and after that other companies like LG, BenQ and Samsung begun to offer “similar” products with more or less success. It is important to point out that LG and Samsung wide gamut models cannot be properly calibrated internally with the i1Display Pro colorimeter using their software and the same applies to some BenQ models like SW2700PT and its Palette Master Elements software. The main issue with those models is that they bundle an outdated X-Rite SDK (Software Development Kit) in their software without GB-LED support, which is the current main* (see the footnote at the end of the article below) LED wide gamut backlight technology. Hence, their software won’t get accurate readings, which in turn leads to inaccurate calibration. The BenQ PG2401PT and its Palette Master software, on the other hand, come with proper GB-LED support.
The subject of monitor calibration and profiling can be quite difficult to understand not only for a beginner, but also for professionals working in the field. With so many different hardware and software components, color profiles, bit depth and other related terminologies, one can get quickly confused and lost, potentially ending up with a rather poor working environment. Having a badly-calibrated monitor is not only counter-productive, it is also potentially harmful for one’s business, especially when dealing with paying customers and clients. Due to the complexity of the topic, our team at Photography Life requested help from a real expert, who will be providing detailed information on how to properly calibrate monitors for photography needs. But first, some basic concepts need to be understood. This particular article is just an introduction to cover the basics of calibration and profiling, without going into too many technical details.
The questions are as old as the technical advancements that made the mass reproduction of photographs possible in the first place: What are the role and scope of photography? What is it capable of, where do its limits lie? Which contents are acceptable, how does a photographer need to behave with his or her subjects? The relationship between photographers and the people they capture with their cameras has been discussed on numerous occasions, mainly in the context of war or crisis reporting. Social taboos, artistic freedom and the journalistic mission to document are key elements within this ongoing discussion. Objectives, goals and ethical guidelines have to be newly defined over and over again.
Note: Please read the Importance of Ethics in Photography before reading this article.