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December 10th, 2015

PDN 12-Day Holiday Giveaway

PDN is offering 12 products from the 2015 Gift Guide to readers! The 12-day giveaway is a daily sweepstakes, so save the dates for the prizes you want to win. You may enter once a day for the duration (12 weekdays starting Thursday, Dec 3).  Each new prize is offered at 11 am EST and entries remain open until 11 am EST the following day. Sharing the sweepstakes on your own page after entering will boost your chances of winning for the day, so spread the word!
The sweepstakes can be accessed through the “12-Day Giveaway” tab on the PDN Facebook page.

Our giveaway products and services by date are listed below.

PIM_Render
1) THURSDAY, DEC 3, 11 AM – DEC 4, 11 AM (EST)
Photography is Magic, published by Aperture Foundation (Value: $34)
Winner: Stephanie Fletcher

Lightroom Import
2) FRIDAY, DEC 4, 11 Am – DEC 5, 11 AM
One-year subscription to Adobe Photography Plan CC (Value: $120)
Winner: Kathryn Brantley

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 3.21.25 PM
3) MONDAY, DEC 7, 11 AM – Dec 8, 11 AM
 RØDE VideoMic GO hot-shoe microphone (Value: $99)
Winner: Tim Cross

Acrylic Block_Family ∏ WhiteWall.com
4) TUESDAY, DEC 8, 11 AM – DEC 9, 11 AM
Three custom-printed WhiteWall 4 x 6 acrylic blocks (Value: $120)

(Bonus! WhiteWall is also offering $30 off holiday orders + free shipping with code MERRYDP30 to all PDN readers)
Winner: Joe Coots

Tamrac_corona14
5) WEDNESDAY, DEC 9, 11 AM – DEC 10, 11 AM
Tamrac Corona 14 Sling to Backpack Convertible Camera Bag (Value: $170)
Winner: Jimmy Arcade

SamsungVR
6) THURSDAY, DEC 10, 11 AM – Dec 11, 11 AM
Samsung Gear VR Headset (Value: $100)
Winner: Ephraim Lee

 

FC_PDN_0615
7) FRIDAY, DEC 11, 11 AM – DEC 12, 11 AM
A one-year PHOTO+ Basic Membership (Value: $149-199)
Includes subscriptions to PDN and Rangefinder, a 30% discount on contest entry fees, a Full Platform Pass to WPPI Conference & Expo, discounts to PhotoPlus Expo, discounts with our vendor partners and much more!
Winner: Carrie Brown

Basic-Kit-1
8) MONDAY, DEC 14, 11 AM – DEC 15, 11 AM (EST)
MagMod 2 Hot-Shoe Flash Modifier Basic Kit (Value: $90)
Winner: Kiersten Michelle

LomoInstant_Wide_Portobello Road_with film

9) TUESDAY, DEC 15, 11 AM – Dec 16, 11 AM (EST)
 Lomo’Instant Wide Camera (Value: $199)
Winner: Lily Frenette

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 3.38.04 PM
10) WEDNESDAY, DEC 16, 11 AM – DEC 17, 11 AM (EST)
SpiderPro Single Camera System Arca Swiss version (Value: $205)
Winner: Patrycja Adamowska

 

THETA S_LED movie
11) THURSDAY, DEC 17, 11 AM – DEC 18, 11 AM (EST)
8GB Ricoh Theta S 360 camera (Value: $347)
Winner: Jeff Ford

Sony_a6000_wSELP1650_right_black-1200
12) FRIDAY, DEC 18, 11 AM – Dec 19, 11 AM
 Sony a6000 mirrorless camera with lens kit (Value: $628)
Winner: Aaron Mace

 

See the full PDN and Rangefinder Gift Guide at
http://digitalmag.rangefinderonline.com/rangefinder/photo_gift_guide_2015

December 3rd, 2015

PDN Presents: 12-Day Holiday Giveaway

PDN is offering 12 products from the 2015 Gift Guide to readers! The 12-day giveaway is a daily sweepstakes, so save the dates for the prizes you want to win. You may enter once a day for the duration (12 weekdays starting Thursday, Dec 3).  Each new prize is offered at 11 am EST and entries remain open until 11 am EST the following day. Sharing the sweepstakes on your own page after entering will boost your chances of winning for the day, so spread the word!
The sweepstakes can be accessed through the “12-Day Giveaway” tab on the PDN Facebook page.

Our giveaway products and services by date are listed below. Keep this page bookmarked for updates.

PIM_Render
1) THURSDAY, DEC 3, 11 AM – DEC 4, 11 AM (EST)
Photography is Magic, published by Aperture Foundation (Value: $34)

 

Lightroom Import
2) FRIDAY, DEC 4, 11 Am – DEC 5, 11 AM
One-year subscription to Adobe Photography Plan CC (Value: $120)

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 3.21.25 PM
3) MONDAY, DEC 7, 11 AM – Dec 8, 11 AM
 RØDE VideoMic GO hot-shoe microphone (Value: $99)
Winner: Tim Cross

Acrylic Block_Family ∏ WhiteWall.com
4) TUESDAY, DEC 8, 11 AM – DEC 9, 11 AM
Three custom-printed WhiteWall 4 x 6 acrylic blocks (Value: $120)

(Bonus! WhiteWall is also offering $30 off holiday orders + free shipping with code MERRYDP30 to all PDN readers)

 

 

Tamrac_corona14
5) WEDNESDAY, DEC 9, 11 AM – DEC 10, 11 AM
Tamrac Corona 14 Sling to Backpack Convertible Camera Bag (Value: $170)


SamsungVR
6) THURSDAY, DEC 10, 11 AM – Dec 11, 11 AM
Samsung Gear VR Headset (Value: $100)

 

FC_PDN_0615
7) FRIDAY, DEC 11: A one-year PHOTO+ Basic Membership (Value: $149-199)

 

Basic-Kit-1
8) MONDAY, DEC 14: MagMod 2 Hot-Shoe Flash Modifier Basic Kit (Value: $90)

 

LomoInstant_Wide_Portobello Road_with film

9) TUESDAY, DEC 15: Lomo’Instant Wide Camera (Value: $199)

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 3.38.04 PM
10) WEDNESDAY, DEC 16: SpiderPro Single Camera System Arca Swiss version (Value: $205)

 

THETA S_LED movie
11) THURSDAY, DEC 17: 8GB Ricoh Theta S 360 camera (Value: $347)

 

Sony_a6000_wSELP1650_right_black-1200
12) FRIDAY, DEC 18: Sony a6000 mirrorless camera with lens kit (Value: $628)

See the full PDN and Rangefinder Gift Guide at
http://digitalmag.rangefinderonline.com/rangefinder/photo_gift_guide_2015

November 30th, 2015

Keeping It Natural: Pascal Shirley’s Tips for Portraiture

Sponsored by Adobe

Venice Beach-based photographer Pascal Shirley, true to the West Coast, keeps his portrait shoots relaxed. Whether he’s shooting for brands like The North Face and Adidas or magazines like Men’s Journal and TIME, Shirley brings an exuberance and natural esthetic that permeates his portraiture.

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A summery shoot for Vagabond Towels. Photo © Pascal Shirley

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Adidas #mygirls campaign with snowboarder Helen Schettini and friends. Photo © Pascal Shirley

“I like to keep things loose,” Shirley says. “I let people open up to me. Everyone has a different vibe and I try to feel that out.”

Don’t be fooled by how easy he makes it seem. In his ten years as a photographer, Shirley has worked tirelessly to develop the photo skills to put people at ease and the post-production chops to bring out the best in every photo. Shirley uses Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan to keep his effortless style—well, effortless.

Shirley has a few suggestions, from directing to shooting to post-production, for achieving the same look and feel:

Develop a relationship

When Shirley arrives at a shoot, he takes time to get to know his subjects and make them feel comfortable. It’s all based on a truism that he learned early on: “People open up when you get to know them,” Shirley says. “That’s why some of my best shots are of my friends. I’ve shot them over and over and over again.”

Recently, Shirley has taken that idea one step further. Instead of cramming a shoot into a single day, he’ll shoot a subject over the course of several months. It lets him and the subject develop a relationship where the photos get better and better with time.

Keep the possibilities open

When Shirley begins shooting, it’s not unusual for his subjects to act stiff. The key to breaking the ice, he’s found, is an open mind and a little creativity. While Shirley develops a general concept before a shoot begins, he listens to his instincts in the moment.

“My shoots are very free-form. I have a general idea of what I want, but I’m not afraid to try something else,” Shirley says.

Shirley responds to his subjects and tries out new backgrounds, poses and angles. Often, he asks subjects to run around, roll on the floor or even kiss. It’s all about making subjects relax, have fun and forget about the camera.

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Photo © Pascal Shirley

Shoot a lot

Authentic moments come unpredictably. “When it can be one subtle little thing that makes or breaks a photo, it helps to shoot a lot,” Shirley says. According to him, it gives you more opportunities for those serendipitous “in between” photos where everyone looks comfortable, authentic and perfectly arranged. It’s in post-production, using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, when you can look for and select those moments.

Organize and edit

Retouching every photo from a photo shoot is overwhelming. Instead, Shirley organizes his photos into collections and goes collection by collection to star each of his favorites.

“Half of photography is in the editing,” Shirley says.

Lightroom CC (on desktop) and Lightroom on mobile make editing on any device seamless. Keyword tagging keeps shoots organized, the rating system helps narrow down captures and “smart collections” combine the two to streamline your process.

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Photo © Pascal Shirley

Don’t do more work than you have to

“The key to editing quick is developing your workflow,” Shirley says. With the powerful editing tools in Lightroom CC, all you have to do is take advantage. While Shirley tweaks settings in all of his photos—everything from exposure to contrast—he avoids tweaking each photo separately.

Instead, Shirley identifies sets of photos with similar coloration and lighting. He processes one photo from the set and then syncs the tweaks across the entire set using Lightroom’s “Sync Settings” feature. Once the “keepers” are tweaked, export directly to Photoshop CC for the final touches.

Be a responsible retoucher

“Some people get heavy-handed with [retouching] and you can tell,” Shirley says.

To keep a “natural” look, only retouch what you have to. Shirley takes a light hand with selective coloring and lightening or darkening areas in Adobe’s mobile Photoshop app, Photoshop Fix. And, instead of trying to airbrush every imperfection away, Shirley combines Photoshop CC and Photoshop Fix’s content-aware Healing and Patch tools with the Opacity slider to eliminate blemishes and wrinkles while retaining the character that makes each person unique.

Shirley paints away blemishes using a soft brush with the opacity set between 5 and 15 percent and works progressively on the target area.

“If you keep the opacity really low, it looks more natural,” Shirley says. “Less is more.”

Before_Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 9.02.12 AM

A “before” image in Photoshop CC. Photo © Pascal Shirley

After_Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 9.02.02 AM

An “after” image in Photoshop CC. Photo © Pascal Shirley

Edit where your photo is going

Shirley often shows off his latest photos on Instagram, but not before giving them an edit on his iPhone. According to Shirley, photos can look very different from computer monitor to iPhone screen. If he’s shooting for print or web, he edits on Photoshop CC. If he’s showing off a photo on a mobile platform like Instagram, he edits on his phone using Photoshop Fix.

“When I bring my photos to the iPhone, I will often notice that the colors look different. That’s when I open up Photoshop Fix to give them a little tweak,” says Shirley “It’s nice editing on your phone and knowing exactly what it’s going to look like in Instagram.”

Learn more and try the $9.99/month Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan for free at www.adobe.com/creativecloud/photography.html.

 

Advertisement


November 23rd, 2015

Back to Print: The Making of Ian Spanier’s Promo Magazine

Sponsored by Blurb

Ian Spanier is a photographic chameleon. One day he’s shooting a magazine cover of UFC superwoman Ronda Rousey, and the next he’s shooting advertisements of Danskin ballerinas or U.S. Navy servicemen in the Gulf of Oman. While he always saw his eclectic work as a strength, it often confused clients. “For a long time, I struggled to explain that I shoot a lot of different things. People would wonder which photographer they were going to get when they hired me,” he says.

Spanier decided that he needed a new promotional tool that would champion his diverse photographic voice—the traditional 5 x 7-inch promo cards that most photographers send out weren’t cutting it.

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IAN, issues 1 through 4 / Photos © Ian Spanier

To come up with a solution, Spanier brought in Warren Mason, a veteran creative director and designer. The two weren’t brainstorming long before the idea hit them. Spanier had spent more than a decade at magazines like Esquire, GQ and Men’s Journal before becoming a full-time photographer. Mason had even more experience in publishing. The two realized that a custom magazine printed-on-demand was the ideal format to engage clients with Spanier’s voice and versatility. “Once we decided on a magazine, the ideas started flowing,” Spanier says.

First, Spanier and Mason decided how to design and print the magazine—Blurb, the creative self-publishing platform, was the first and only choice. The printing quality and the paper offered by Blurb immediately stood up to the discerning eyes of both Spanier and Mason. Blurb’s plug-in for Adobe InDesign made it simple to create and upload original layouts, and the streamlined print-on-demand capabilities met their needs. Finally, Blurb’s Economy Magazine printing option allowed Spanier to make the magazine the length he wanted—from 20 pages to 240 pages—while keeping the price affordable.

“There was no thought to do it with any company other than Blurb. Their paper and printing quality stands out. They stand behind their product and work with me to make sure it looks the way I want,” Spanier says.

The genius of the magazine is in the details. While it is called IAN, the magazine is a true collaboration that joins Spanier’s photography with Mason’s design and editor Brian Dawson’s copy. Advertisements come from actual advertisements from Spanier’s ad work, while editorial spreads are “features” that Spanier and Mason create from Spanier’s wide array of work. Each issue has a theme, a knockout cover photo, and recurring “columns,” like “Behind the Scenes,” which gives readers a peak into Spanier’s copiously annotated shoot notebooks. Another recurring column is “Client Speak,” where he asks one of his clients to provide their own testimonies.

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An editorial spread in IAN. / Photo © Ian Spanier

“I want the magazine to help clients and potential clients understand who I am as a photographer and what I am like to work with,” Spanier explains. “Each aspect of the magazine is meant to tell viewers who I am.”

Since IAN began in late 2014, Spanier and Mason have published four issues—one for each season—and the plan is to continue to do so in the coming years. Each new issue focuses on a different aspect of Spanier’s photography, from travel to sports to portraiture, and work is chosen from Spanier’s portfolio to reflect that. The magazine evolves each issue, with new columns being added as Mason and Spanier come up with new ideas. In recent issues, Spanier has shot entire editorial features solely for the magazine. For Issue 3, Spanier worked with make-up artist Michelle Coursey to shoot portraits mimicking a set of vintage 1920s-era mug shots that had gone viral on the Internet earlier this year.

“I’ve always been a photographer that pushes myself to do personal work. I think it’s important so that people can see your vision as opposed to those assignments when you are solely completing someone else’s,” Spanier says.

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IAN editorial spreads and a client-testimonial page. / Photos © Ian Spanier

Though Spanier is able to publish multiple issues annually thanks to the ease of production, he says it’s especially important for photographers to connect with clients at the year’s close. “I know it’s pretty ambitious putting out a quarterly issue,” he says. “For photographers who can’t do so, I would recommend producing a magazine at the end of the year. It’s always a great time of year to make sure clients and potential clients get a little reminder what you can do for them, and it doubles as a holiday gift.”

IAN gives Spanier another way to communicate with clients, complementing his marketing on Instagram, Twitter, Tumbler and Facebook, and in e-mail campaigns. Spanier sends out personal emails to each member of his extensive 2,000+ person mailing list of clients and potential clients to give them sneak peeks of the next issue of IAN, to send them electronic versions housed by Blurb and Issuu and to solicit feedback. For Spanier, it’s an excuse to check in every couple of months with people he works with and wants to work with in the future.

The response has been very positive. “When people write me back, their response, across the board, is: ‘Wow, this is great. How did you come up with it?’ People love to ask questions about it,” Spanier says.

The effect is even more pronounced in person. When Spanier takes personal meetings, he always brings copies of IAN along. After walking photo editors, art buyers or creative teams through his extensive portfolio, he closes by handing everyone at the meeting a copy of IAN printed by Blurb. Getting in-person meetings is hard, according to Spanier, so when you have face time, you want to make sure clients won’t forget you. For Spanier, IAN does the trick.

IAN Cover.indd

Ronda Rousey featured in IAN, issue 1. / Photos © Ian Spanier

“It’s a memorable product. People want to know how I made it,” Spanier says. “Everything is digital these days—having something tactile that I can hand to someone as a ‘thank you’ and a product they keep on their shelf really makes a difference.”

Best of all, IAN has allowed Spanier to show off his versatility—what he thinks is his greatest asset—without confusing clients about the type of photographer he is.

“No one is confused anymore as to why I have so much different work mixed together,” Spanier says. “Instead of carrying around 45 pounds of portfolios, I bring an iPad and a few issues of my magazine, and people really understand my work.”

Get started on your own Blurb print magazine or book at www.blurb.com.

November 19th, 2015

Sponsored: Thomas Roma: In the Vale of Cashmere

Steven Kasher Gallery is proud to present Thomas Roma: In the Vale of Cashmere. This exhibition of Roma’s most recent project consists of an intricate sequence of 75 black and white portraits and landscapes photographed in a secluded section of Prospect Park where black gay men cruise for sexual partners. This is Roma’s first major New York exhibition of new photographs since his acclaimed solo exhibition Come Sunday at the Museum of Modern Art in 1996. The book In the Vale of Cashmere will be published by powerHouse Books in conjunction with the exhibition.

Thomas Roma Untitled (from the series In The Vale of Cashmere), 2011 Gelatin silver print, printed ca. 2011 11 x 14 in Edition of 4; Signed and dated by photographer verso

Photo by Thomas Roma – Untitled (from the series In The Vale of Cashmere), 2011
Gelatin silver print, printed ca. 2011
11 x 14 in, Edition of 4; Signed and dated by photographer verso

Roma is one of the most critically acclaimed photographers of our times. A Bard of Brooklyn, Roma is a poet-photographer who has been making profound images about the people and places of his native city since 1969. Fourteen books of his photographs have been published, almost all of them taken in Brooklyn. With In the Vale of Cashmere, Roma brings us into a little known Eden, one that has been quietly thriving for decades. Roma’s portraits of men set in an uncanny urban wooded landscape carry a history of New York and Brooklyn that predates and parallels the gay rights and civil rights movements. Roma brings us into a secret world, giving us the opportunity to consider the individual with sensitivity and respect while also engaging in a larger discussion of race, gender, sexuality, and class in an increasingly gentrified New York.

In 2008, Roma decided to bring his camera to the Vale of Cashmere, a section of Prospect Park he had frequented decades ago. Over the course of years of weekly visits, he approached the men there, introducing himself and explaining why he was taking pictures. Nine out of ten times Roma’s request to make a portrait was declined; it was from that tenth ask that the intense portraits in this exhibition come. In the Vale of Cashmere was created as a memoriam to Carl Spinella, one of Roma’s closest friends, who died in Tom’s arms of AIDS in 1992.

"Untitled" (from the series In The Vale of Cashmere), 2009 Gelatin silver print, printed ca. 2009 11 x 14 in Edition of 4; Signed and dated by photographer verso

“Untitled” (from the series In The Vale of Cashmere), 2009 Gelatin silver print, printed ca. 2009, 11 x 14 in Edition of 4; Signed and dated by photographer verso

Roma first met Spinella in 1974; a year later they were roommates living on Dean Street in Brooklyn. Spinella had been instrumental in bringing Roma to his native Sicily in 1978 so that Roma could discover his ancestral roots.  (These images were later published as the book Sicilian Passage.)  Their bond was so close that Tom often would drive Spinella to the Vale of Cashmere and sometimes pick him up at the drop-off site, an act of faith in a time before cell phones, when who knows what could happen in the woods.   It was to those woods that Roma returned alone in 1996. Tom’s son Giancarlo (named after Spinella) was a baseball player who played up to 120 games a year, many at the Parade Grounds in Prospect Park right across the street from the Vale of Cashmere. Roma noticed his son sometimes played better when his father was not around, and started taking walks in the Vale in memory of Spinella. Eventually his photography began there.

Thomas Roma: In the Vale of Cashmere will be on view from October 29th – December 19th, 2015.

Steven Kasher Gallery is located at 515 W. 26th St., New York, NY 10001. For more information visit: http://www.stevenkasher.com/exhibitions/thomas-roma-the-vale-of-cashmere

 

 

October 22nd, 2015

Three Cool Photo Products We Spotted at PhotoPlus Expo Launchpad

memento-tape-650x434

Memento’s 4K Frames

Born on Kickstarter, Memento’s 4K frames will be shipping to consumers and retailers towards the end of the year and into 2016. These Wi-Fi connected frames are available in 25- and 35-inch sizes and can be controlled through a smartphone app (iOS, Android) or through a PC and Mac. They feature a built-in light sensor that adjusts the display’s brightness based on ambient lighting so that an image takes on the look of a printed image, not a harshly backlit screen. The light sensor also shuts down the frame at night, so there’s no need for an on/off switch.

The real innovation of the Memento frame is its aesthetically pleasing approach to the power cord. It’s a flat cable that adheres to the wall and is paintable so it can be quickly concealed. It can also fold, so you can angle it around tight corners.

 

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Triad Orbit

The Triad Orbit wasn’t built to be a light stand, at least, not originally. As product developer Ryan Kallas told us, it was (and still is) a mic stand, but enough photographers asked them to adapt the product for lighting that the company evolved the line to accommodate them.

Unlike traditional light stands, the Orbit uses a series of interchangeable screw mounts for tripods and lights that simply pop into and out of the stand through a release lever. There are a variety of accessories, including cheese plates, clamps, boom arms and more, so you can customize your kit.

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PakPod

Another successful Kickstarter, the PakPod will be shipping to early backers in December and to the masses in 2016. It’s a tripod for smartphones, action cams and even DSLRs  with stakes for feet and legs that can be locked in asymmetric positions. The stakes can be dug into the ground, hung on walls and, in some configurations, even mount additional accessories. There are three stake choices on offer, a “safe stake” with a rounded end, a standard stake without 1/4-20 threads and a quarter twenty stake that has two tripod-friendly threads.

The PakPod is waterproof, freeze proof and durable thanks to its ABS and steel construction. It can hold up to 11 pounds when the legs are retracted or 5.5 pounds with the legs extended. The tripod will retail for $99

October 21st, 2015

Canon Intros imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 Inkjet Printer

imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 _ With EOS CameraCanon has pulled back the curtain on the new imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 large format inkjet photo printer at PhotoPlus Expo 2015.

The PRO-1000 features a 17-inch print width and a new print head, inkset and imaging processing engine. It’s a successor to the Pixma Pro-1.

First, the print head. It’s 50 percent larger than the Pixma Pro-1, with more nozzles too (18,432 for each of the 12 channels.) Canon says the larger heads boost print speeds while maintaining high resolutions. The head also uses a real-time ink ejection system which helps to maintain a consistent print head temperature to limit clogging. The PRO-1000 will also better cope with ink clogs when they do happen thanks to a built-in sensor that checks for clogs and then automatically boosts the pressure on the remaining nozzles to maintain print quality and speed. When the print is finished, the print head will clear the clog.

The PRO-1000 accepts the new LUCIA PRO 11-color pigmented ink system with a Chroma Optimizer that delivers a 19 percent larger color gamut than the Pro-1. The inks deliver an L value of 1.5, according to Canon, and will be sold in 80ml tanks. There’s automatic switching between photo and matte black inks.

The printer features a two-way vacuum paper feeder to keep media flat and even. It accepts cut sheet media up to 17 x 22 inches and fine art media up to 0.7mm thick. There’s also a built-in densitometer for calibration. According to Canon, the calibration is sensitive enough to ensure color consistency between two PRO-1000 models of under a Delta E of 2 when printing on Canon media.

Among the new software available for the printer is an Accounting Manager, which helps users keep track of consumable costs such as ink and media. Users can manually enter the cost of ink and paper to determine print margins and analyze print-related expenditures.  Canon says the program won’t actually be ready to ship with the printer, but will be available in Q1, 2016.

Rounding out the feature set, you’ll enjoy Wi-Fi connectivity and Apple AirPrint compatibility.

The imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 ships at the end of the month for $1,300 and is available for pre-order now. The 80ml ink cartridges cost $60 while the Chroma Optimizer will set you back $55.

imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 _ View of Ink

October 9th, 2015

Taking the Pentax 645Z to Black Rock Desert

Sponsored by Ricoh Imaging America

In July, we ran a PDNPulse story about Erica Kelly Martin, a portrait photographer with a love for medium format. Martin transitioned to digital medium format with the Pentax 645Z, calling it “a dream tool” thanks to its 51.4-megapixel CMOS censor, intuitive interface, and sturdy, weatherproof body.

Martin put the camera through its paces at Black Rock Desert, Nevada, during Burning Man last month. She stayed the full week of the annual festival, which is known to take place during unpredictable desert weather. We asked her to report back on the performance of the 645Z—Martin says, “[It] fared beautifully.” She used the camera in cold early mornings and in hot afternoons, and through temperamental dust storms and high winds (though not during complete white-out weather, she notes). She says: “I didn’t even really need to clean it when I got back. I just wiped the dust off and used the built-in sensor cleaning. In contrast, my 35mm DSLR has dust embedded under the rear screen glass that I have no idea how I’m going to clean.”

Each day, Martin bicycled around the playa with two 645Z bodies and lenses, one in her backpack and one slung around her with a Black Rapid Strap for quick shooting. She says one of her favorite shots from the week was taken in the interior of the “Totems of Confessional” installation chapel, where a confessional booth is set up for Burners. “The interior of the chapel was practically dark, and I couldn’t really see into the booth,” Martin recalls. She upped the ISO to 2,400 (the 645Z can reach up to 204,800 extended ISO) and used the articulated rear screen to frame her shot, so as not to disturb the confession. “Although a bit noisy,” she says, “the amount of details, particularly in the shadows, is astonishing.”

Check out some of Martin’s photos below.

All photos © Erica Kelly Martin

©EricaKellyMartinSkydivers©EricaKellyMartinSunrise©EricaMartinMedusa ©EricaMartinMorningMeditation ©EricaMartinOK ©EricaMartinOutsideTotemofConfession ©EricaMartinR-Evolution

 

October 8th, 2015

Visit the 4K Filmmaking Challenge Winner’s Gallery

The winner’s gallery for the first 4K Filmmaking challenge, presented by PDN and Samsung, is live. Congratulations to the grand-prize winner, Evan Mann of Otherworldly Productions, who will receive $2,500 and a Samsung NX1. Read about him in the digital edition of our special 4K Filmmaking supplement (out now with the November issue of PDN) here. Watch his winning video, “This Mountain” below.

The work of all of the finalists can be viewed at www.4kfilmmakingchallenge.com/Winners001.shtml. Each video was filmed on the Samsung NX500.

This Mountain from Evan Mann / OWP Denver on Vimeo.

September 3rd, 2015

The Future of Storage: Portable, Durable Solid-State Drives

Sponsored by SanDisk

CLIFF MAUTNER, WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

Photographer Cliff Mautner shoots over 50 weddings per year. It’s high-stress, demanding work that means he’s always on the run. One weekend, he’s hopping a plane to San Francisco to shoot a wedding in a Federal-Bank-turned-wedding-hall. The next weekend, he’s photographing a couple in front of a New York sunset on a TriBeCa rooftop. Everywhere he goes, he brings his SanDisk Extreme 500 Portable SSD, which he says is “perfect for the wedding photographer.”

Indian Weddings at The Palace at Somerset Park

Mautner photographed a multi-day wedding in Sommerset Park, New Jersey, backing up the images from each day to the SanDisk Extreme Portable 500 SSD. / © Cliff Mautner

“When I shoot weddings, I need a portable, durable, fast drive that I can trust,” Mautner says. “The Extreme 500 is as light as a feather and fits into my front pocket. I can bring it anywhere.”

The Extreme 500 has completely changed Mautner’s workflow. It’s size, speed, portability and storage capacity (ranging from 120GB to 480GB) means that he can edit his images whether he’s shooting an Indian Sangeet ceremony in Philadelphia, driving to upstate New York’s beautiful Hudson Valley or flying to Northern California. When he returns to his studio, he can easily hand off the Extreme 500 to his studio manager for processing.

Extreme500_front_tif

SanDisk Extreme 500

The Extreme 500 is a solid-state drive and connects to your computer via super-fast USB 3.0, making it four times faster than traditional external hard drives. Between the drive’s lack of moving parts and its rugged shock and vibration-resistant exterior, it is exponentially more reliable too. That means that when Mautner does want to outsource processing for a special event, he can ship the Extreme 500 without any fear that it will break under the rigors of shipping. It’s built to take a beating.

The SanDisk Extreme 500 makes it easy for Mautner to do his job without having to worry about failed hard drives or slow transfer speeds. When you are running at his speed, that makes a huge difference.

SAM NICHOLSON, CEO OF STARGATE STUDIOS

As the CEO of Stargate Studios, a state-of-the-art visual effects production house, Sam Nicholson is something like the conductor of an orchestra. On any given day, he’s managing ten different cameras from RED Epics down to GoPros, as they capture terabytes of footage from hit TV shows like The Walking Dead and Revenge. The footage is then transferred, copied, chopped up and shipped out to Nicholson and to offices in places like Berlin, Dubai and Malta where production staff create breathtaking visual effects.

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Stargate Studios produced visual effects for the Globo telenovela, Os Dez Mandamentos (The Ten Commandments), in Brazil. / © Stargate Studios

To move that mass of data around, Nicholson relies on the SanDisk Extreme 900 to make sure that the footage gets to its destination quickly and reliably.

“The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD is the future. There’s no doubt about it,” Nicholson says. “It’s incredibly reliable and fast, which saves you time and money.”

Today, Stargate’s workflow consists of a combination of solid-state cards in his cameras, a footage trailer on set outfitted with 30 terabytes of slower spinning hard drives and SanDisk Extreme 900 drives for transferring between editorial staff, Nicholson and Stargate’s multiple production facilities. Nicholson is itching to “future-proof” his production pipeline by using the Extreme 900 throughout because of their speed, size of up to 1.9TBs and durability. He likened his current situation to a six-lane freeway that unexpectedly closes down to a two-lane highway when data reaches the spinning drives.

“Until we use solid-state drives like the Extreme 900 through the entire pipeline, it’s like a traffic jam of data,” Nicholson explains.

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SanDisk Extreme 900

In addition to the speed advantages, the Extreme 900 adds a layer of reliability that traditional spinning drives can’t match. In Stargate’s current workflow, Nicholson and his team have to back up all footage multiple times to protect from failing spinning hard drives—which he estimates occur 30 percent of the time. When he uses the Extreme 900, he doesn’t even bother backing up because he knows the drives won’t fail.

“Future-proofing” Stargate’s workflow doesn’t just save Nicholson time, it saves his entire staff time. That means less time transferring, copying and backing up data and more time doing what he and his team loves—crafting compelling stories and mind-blowing visual effects.

“No one pays attention to all the time that gets wasted managing your data,” Nicholson says. “When you realize how much time you can save, you understand why drives like the Extreme 900 are so important.”