Posted tagged ‘camera’

Red, Green, Pink, Yellow and Blue Cameras

August 13, 2010

I was talking recently about the differences in shopping habits between men and women and how these differences affect camera design and esthetics.  Most men usually like black or silver cameras, beefy, two-handed creative tools (or so I have observed), while many women look for small, pocket cameras that are easy to carry, easy to use, and produce good quality images.  It doesn’t hurt if the camera comes in a cool designer color, too.

Let’s see….heavy, bulky, black camera vs small, light, designer color camera….Maybe I need a small, red camera.   Above are a few of the new breed of colorful cameras.

What do you think about this?

Convergence of Video and Still, Part 2

June 24, 2010

Canon 5D MK II being used on the set of "House". Photo Courtesy Greg Yaitaines and Philip Bloom.

OK, last time I talked about my experience using a Canon 5D MK II DSLR on location to shoot both stills and video.  The 5D is an amazing tool, shooting both high-definition video at a number of different resolution and frame rates and huge, beautiful 21 megapixel still images, switching between the modes almost seamlessly.

Since the introduction a few years ago of professional video/still DSLRs, a community of filmmakers and bloggers  has sprung up, using these cameras to create amazing work.

One of my favorites is Philip Bloom, a UK-based filmmaker who makes films using DSLRs, primarily Canons.

Another is Shane Hurlburt, ASC, cinematographer on this fabulous short, “The Last Three Minutes,” shot entirely on a Canon 5D MK II.   Almost as entertaining is his story of the making of this film.

Equipment manufacturers such as Zacuto are also turning out all kinds of specialized equipment for DSLRs, and adapters to use the cameras with more traditional film and video equipment.

And, recently the Canon 5D was used to shoot an episode of the Fox medical drama, “House“. Pretty impressive for a camera that sells for about $2,500.  The picture above was taken on the set of this episode, and is used courtesy of  Greg Yaitainis and Philip Bloom.

The Convergence of Video and Photography

June 17, 2010

Marines conducting field medical drills at Camp LeJeune, NC.

I’m very excited about how motion media and still images – video and photography – are converging in the latest generation of hybrid cameras that shoot video footage as well as do traditional still photography.  Cameras such as the Canon 5D Mk II, the Canon 7D and the Nikon D300S break down the boundary between video and stills and provide truly amazing capabilities at a reasonable price.

Last week, I shot my first video/still assignment using a Canon 5D MK II DSLR, and it was wild. Non-stop, run-and-gun video at Camp LeJeune of Marine medical drills staged in an open field under blazing sun, running in and out of medical tents following  stretchers that were carrying make-believe patients. The 5D performed like a champ, delivering beautiful, well-exposed hi-def video in conditions ranging from bright sun to near darkness. A great feature of the 5D is that you can take a still photograph while it is recording video, and return automatically to recording video. Very cool!

The new equipment does, however, upset the established division of labor for both video shoots and still shoots. Before hybrid cameras, you needed a still camera to capture stills and a video camera to capture video. On location, this usually meant a video crew of at least two or three people: camera operator, sound recordist, and producer/director; and a still photographer. Now, agencies are trying to squeeze this down to one person with a hybrid DSLR tasked with both jobs.

Shooting both stills and video with a DSLR can be challenging for one person to do, especially in a fluid, fast moving  environment where that person has no control over events.  When to shoot video? When to shoot stills?  Shooting stills with a Canon 5D while it is shooting video is easy, but it interrupts video recording for about one second.  Will that second contain important action?

As well, the on-board microphone is really only good for recording a background sound track;  it also picks up all of the camera handling noise.  A remote microphone is needed for a good sound track, either a wireless or a directional mic that mounts in the camera’s hot shoe. Now, that one lone photographer/videographer has a lot of balls to keep in the air!

Nevertheless, I’m convinced that this is the future of video/photography, and photographers and videographers will need to learn each other’s  job and become good at using the this new equipment.

Times Square 25 Years Later

May 26, 2010

I’ve done a lot of work in New York City over the years, including a wondeful  project  documenting the construction of a giant hotel in Times Square. For more than a year, my crew and I filmed the progress every month, as the building climbed more than 40 stories into the sky.

I rarely went back to the area after that project ended, until last night. Wow! Has it ever changed!  A few years ago, NYC closed off some of the traffic lanes on Broadway, from 42nd Street to 47th Street, and converted them into a huge pedestrian plaza, complete with tables, chairs, and a terraced seating area that was filled with people from all over the world, enjoying the light show.

The place is cleaned up, bright with neon and giant TV screens, and is a blast to visit.  I wandered around for a couple of hours with my Canon G10 camera and a monopod, making pictures and just trying to take it all in.

I’m going back tonight!

Do You Color Outside The Lines?

November 7, 2009
IMG_3003
New York skyline, approaching storm.

Profiles.  They can be good or bad, your left side or right side, or what you write about yourself on Facebook.  But in digital printing,   profiles are part of the the glue that connects the colors your digital camera captures to the colors in your digital print.

A printer profile is a bit of software, called an ICC file,  that describes  how a particular combination of printer, inkset, and printing paper reproduce colors at a specific printing  resolution. For example,  the ICC profile SP7898 PLPP260 PK 2880.icc describes how an Epson 7800 printer using the K3 inkset with Photo Black ink printing on Epson Premium Lustre 260 paper at a printing resolution of 2880 dpi reproduces color.

Profiles are useful because they let Adobe Photoshop  accurately  preview what your image will look like when it’s printed, and  to control your digital printer’s output so it matches that preview. (or, at least, as close as ink on paper can look to pixels on a monitor).

Once the appropriate profiles are installed, Photoshop  uses them in the View>Proof Setup command on the top menu to preview images,  and in the Print dialogue to control your printer. Voila, an accurate print.

Or maybe not.

Along with ICC profiles, colorspace helps to determine what colors your camera records, that Photoshop displays and  your print or digital file reproduce. A device colorspace defines the range of colors, or gamut, that a device, such as a camera or printer, can reproduce. An editing colorspace is device-independent, but determines the color range you can work in with, for, example, Adobe Photoshop software.

The main colorspaces photographers work in are Adobe RGB (1998), the traditional editing space for, naturally, Adobe Photoshop;  sRGB,  which is primarily used for  images posted on the web; and, more recently ProPhoto.

sRGB  has a smaller gamut than Adobe 1998, which has a smaller gamut than ProPhoto. Why is this important?  Because to know how the beautiful colors in your digital image will look in a print, your devices need to be using the same colorspace, your monitor needs to be calibrated accurately to the same colorspace, and your editing software needs to display the same color space.

See what I meant by insanity?  BTW, for you people working with Adobe Lightroom, it uses the ProPhoto color space.

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What in the World?

June 25, 2009

I work a lot with patterns, line, shape – the textures of the world.  And, sometimes, I see things through the viewfinder, in isolation, that I might not see if I didn’t have a camera pasted to my forehead most of the day.  I’ve been working with a new camera, the Canon G10, that produces big, sharp pictures, and the other day I went around the house photographing patterns that caught my eye. I’ve posted some of the most interesting ones here, to see if anybody can figure out what I was photographing. In my next post, I’ll reveal what they are.

The More Things Change…..

September 15, 2008

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” I’m thinking of rewriting it to say,  “the more things change, the more only ONE thing stays the same.”  I’ve made photographs for a living for 35 years, and photography has changed more in the last 5 years than in the last 50. Picture styles flare up and die out in the blink of an eye and old markets fade as new ones are born. Those of us who practice this craft are scrambling to keep up. Sometimes I wonder why I got into this business.

The upside is that you get to create neat images and you get to play with cool stuff. Cameras and lenses and lights and computers and so many other toys! Since the digital photography revolution began, almost everything is different; pixels have replaced grain, cameras have gotten smaller and smarter, pictures now live on computers instead of in dusty albums, and film is fast going the way of the dodo bird.

In the midst of all that has changed, for me one thing has stayed the same; I get up in the morning thinking about new pictures to create, even if I now work with a computer instead of in the darkroom.

In this blog, I’m going to talk about photography, its tools and techniques, theory and practice, history and future, for all who love to make pictures.

I welcome your comments and I hope you will share your experiences.