April 26th, 2016

ON1 Readies RAW Image Processor for Fall

ON1 is the latest software developer to woo RAW shooters with the promise of greater speed and catalog-free non-destructive editing.

The company announced a new software app, ON1 Photo RAW, which will be released in the fall. It will be the successor to the company’s current flagship editor, ON1 Photo 10.

Photo RAW is a non-destructive editor that promises to speed RAW rendering and editing with a modern code base and the ability to leverage computer video cards. It will support 800 cameras at launch. Similar to AlienSkin’s ExposureX, it won’t rely on a catalog system but instead will browse your local file system for images–it’s built around ON1’s existing photo browser, Browse, the company’s photo browser. Using Browse, you’ll also be able to tag, rate, make color and tone adjustments, or add effects to their photos.

The software will also make re-editable adjustments to images, including exposure, contrast, color, shadows and highlights. It will also offer non-destructive effects and portrait retouching including the filters found in ON1 Effects and ON1 Portrait such as Lens Blur, Skin Retouching, Dynamic Contrast, HDR Look.

ON1 Photo RAW Develop

ON1 Photo RAW will include built-in layers, brushes, and advanced masking tools and will be sold as a plug-in for Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, and Corel PhotoPaint; as a standalone app, a host app for Google Nik Collection and other photo editors, or as an extension to Apple Photos.

The software is free for On1 Plus Pro Members ($150/year). A non-member price hasn’t been set. It will be available for both Mac and Windows PCs. You can check out some demos of the software from ON1 below.


April 26th, 2016

The Incredible Macro Photography of Microsculpture

Macro photography requires a certain discipline and patience, but even the most redoubtable macro shooter has to marvel at what Levon Biss has done.

In a project dubbed Microsculpture Biss created 3 meter prints from 10mm insects–insects sourced from the second largest collection in Britain, at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

As the behind-the-scenes video below details, creating these images was a painstaking, exacting enterprise. Biss used a 36-megapixel Nikon body and a microscope lens attachment with an incredibly shallow depth of field. To get the entire image of the bug properly in focus, he had to shoot thousands of images, varying the focal length by as little as 10 microns with each shot, and composite the final together. Each final image is composed of between 8,000 and 10,000 individual photos.

Biss also lit individual portions of an insect differently, using one type of lighting for the eye and another for a wing to highlight the unique textures. It took about three weeks to create a single image from capture to post.

The final results are on display through October 2016 at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. You can also take a nice interactive tour of each insect here, where you’ll gain a whole new appreciation for beetles.

Microsculpture from Levon Biss on Vimeo.

April 25th, 2016

Blackmagic’s Video Assist 4K is a More Approachable External Recorder


If you’ve been considering an external recorder for your filmmaking needs, but have been put off by the cost and complexity of some of the models on the market today, Blackmagic’s new Video Assist 4K, announced at NAB, might be worth a look.

It features a 7-inch touchscreen display (1900 x 1200) and connects to your camera via either an HDMI or SDI connection. It saves files to a pair of SD cards with an overflow function that automatically transfers recording from one card to another when the first card is maxed out. You’ll be saving a high quality 10-bit 422 file in either ProRes of DNxHD formats. It supports 4K resolutions at 24 or 30 fps.

In addition to video, it can also capture audio from external mics via a pair of mini XLR inputs with phantom power. Since the sound is captured with the video, you won’t have to mess with syncing separate source files in post.

The Video Assist is powered by a pair two standard LP-E6 battery slots that allow hot swapping of batteries while in use, and it can be powered using the 12V DC input. The batteries are discharged serially, so only one is used at a time. When there’s power, the batteries are charged in parallel.

It’s available now for $895.

April 22nd, 2016

Asghar Khamseh Named Photographer of the Year in 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

Iranian photographer Asghar Khamseh has been named the Photographer of the Year in the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards. Khamseh was also the first place winner in the Contemporary Issues category, which is one of the 14 competition categories in two divisions (art and documentary).  The winners were chosen from a total of 127,098 images from countries all over the world, according to the World Photography Organization.

The violent act of acid throwing is primarily against women and children.  These attacks are committed with the intent to disfigure, maim and destroy the social life and future of the victim.  The motivation to commit this type of violence is cultural destitution, intolerance and happens in situations such as family conflicts, rejected marriage proposal, revenge and divorce requests. In addition physical and psychological damages, victims are faced with the experience of social stigma ,blame and social unpleasant tags.

Acid attack victim Shirin Mohamadi from “Fire of Hatred.” © Asghar Khamseh.

First place winners in the documentary categories were:
Contemporary Issues: Asghar Khamseh for the portrait series “Fire of Hatred,” about acid attacks against women in Iran.
Campaign: Jetmir Idrizi for the black and white project “TransBrasil,” about gender identity issues in Brazil.
Current Affairs: Angelos Tzortzinis for the series about Middle Eastern refugees, “In Search of the European Dream.”
Environment: Kevin Frayer’s project “Eagle Hunters of Western China.”
People: Kevin Fryer’s project “Nomadic Life Threatened on the Tibetan Plateau.”
Daily Life: Espen Rasmussen for the series “The Curse of Coal,” which documents the dwindling coal industry in West Virginia.
Sport: Nikolai Linares’s series “Second Best” about silver-medalist boxers.

Winners in the Art genre include:
Architecture: Amelie Labourdette for documenting the impact of the financial crisis in southern Italy in her series “Empire of the Dust.”
Julien Mauve for the staged series “Greetings from Mars.”
Maroesjka Lavigne’s project “Land of Nothingness” that captures the barren landscape of Namibia.
Marcello Bonfanti’s work capturing portraits of Ebola survivors in Sierra Leone.
Alberto Alicata’s series “Iconic B,” which re-examines some of photography’s most iconic images using a Barbie doll as the model.    
Still Life:
Franceso Amorosino’s series “Migrant Tomatoes,” which depicts dirt-covered tomatoes from immigrant-crop pickers.
Kirstin Schmitt’s “Waiting for Candymen,” a portrait of Cuban idiosyncrasy.

The winning, shortlisted and commended images from this year’s competition will be on display at the Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at the Somerset House in London until May 8.

Greetings fro Mars

From Julien Mauve’s series “Greetings from Mars.” © Julien Mauve.

April 22nd, 2016

Great Weekend Reads in Photography & Filmmaking


Rob Oo | Flickr

“Salvation is certainly among the reasons I read.” ― Roxane Gay

Will High Frame Rates Change Filmmaking?IndieWire

From Filmmaker to YouTube Star and Back AgainFilmmaker

What We Learned from Chris Hondros and Tim HetheringtonTime

Facebook Is Winning the 360 Degree Photo WarMedium

The Social Media FallacySebastian Jacobitz

Photographer You Should Know: Liz Von HoeneRF

A New Frontier for PhotographyAperture

Failed It! The Fine Art of Making MistakesCreative Review

Why Does Photography Have to Be About Anything?CP

When a Photographer Steps Up PDN

Bonus Weekend Video!

Documentary photographer Billy Weeks explores the moment where photographer and subject intersect with a single point of view.

April 22nd, 2016

Aaron Vincent Elkaim Wins $20K Alexia Foundation Grant for 2016

March 29, 2014. A group of boys climb a tree on the Xingu River by the city of Altamira, Brazil. One third of the city will be permanently flooded by the nearby Belo Monte Dam. Photo © Aaron Vincent Elkaim.

A group of boys climb a tree on the Xingu River by the city of Altamira, Brazil on March 29, 2014. One third of the city will be permanently flooded by the nearby Belo Monte Dam. Photo © Aaron Vincent Elkaim.

Toronto, Canada-based photographer Aaron Vincent Elkaim has won the $20,000 Professional Grant from the Alexia Foundation, the organization announced this morning. Elkaim received the grant for his project “Where the River Runs Through,” which examines the consequences of Brazil’s major hydroelectric expansion on the ecosystems, communities and industries within the Amazon Rainforest.

The winner of the first place Student Grant is Ryerson University senior Nathaniel Brunt for his project “#Shaheed,” a study of the war in Kashmir, the men fighting in it, and the changing relationship between technology and the representation of conflict. His prize is a semester at Syracuse University to further his goal of earning a PhD and to produce his project into a book.

Finalists for the Professional Grant were Adriane Ohanesian for “The Last Lives, Rebel Darfur,” Brendan Hoffman for “Brotherland: War in Ukraine,” Krisanne Johnson for “Post Apartheid Youth,” and Asa Sjöström for “Moldove Silent Land.”

Alvaro Ybarra Zavala received a Judges Special Recognition award for his project “Colombia, The Parallel State,” which documents the reality of a civilian population who live in a hidden Colombia that only knows the reality of sixty years of war.

José Márquez of Brooks Institute, Gabriela Arp of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Sarah Blesener of The International Center of Photography, and Nick Wagner of Western Kentucky University have been awarded Student Award of Excellence Grants.

Judges for the 2016 competition included past Alexia Professional Grant recipients Teru Kuwayama, Darcy Padilla and Ami Vitale.

The mission of the Alexia Foundation is to promote photojournalism through scholarships and grants to bring attention to social injustice and to promote cross-cultural understanding. The foundation was established in 1991 by the family of Alexia Tsairis, a Syracuse University student who died in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Related stories:
Paolo Marchetti Wins $20K 2015 Alexia Foundation Grant
Aaron Vincent Elkaim Named Finalist In 2015 FotoVisura Grant

April 22nd, 2016

Earthquake Rattles CMOS Image Sensor Market


A series of devastating Earthquake hit Japan earlier this month, claiming 44 lives and destroying infrastructure across the island of Kyushu.

The quakes also appear to have dealt a blow to Sony’s CMOS image sensor business.

Sony’s factory in Kumamoto, located near the epicenter of the quake, has been taken offline indefinitely while the company assesses the damage.

The factory makes CMOS image sensors for digital cameras. Sony is a market leader in CMOS chips used in both digital cameras and smartphones with an estimated 40 percent market share, so any supply disruption will inevitably lead to product delays and, potentially, higher prices as supply shrinks.

Sony’s smartphone sensor factories are back online but there’s no word yet on how much damage its digital camera sensor business has sustained. The Kumamoto factory was primarily focused on sensors for still cameras, not smartphones.

UPDATE: In its quarterly earnings release, Sony nows says the factory won’t be brought back online until at least the end of May.  According to Reuters, both Canon and Nikon have said Sony’s plant halt would affect their camera production. We’ve reached out to both Canon and Nikon for more details.



April 21st, 2016

TIS Books Grant Shows Support for Hardworking Photography Adjuncts

Book publisher TIS has launched a grant for adjunct photography instructors. Called the “Essential Non-Essentials Grant,” TIS created the $1,000 award in recognition of hardworking adjuncts, who often work multiple teaching jobs, sometimes in different states, in order to earn a decent living.

“One of our co-founders is part of this army of road dog educators and we understand the struggles that adjunct professors face while trying to support their livelihood and studio practice while also teaching a new generation of artists and makers with no security or benefits,” TIS said in a statement announcing the grant.

As has been widely reported, colleges and universities have in recent years been replacing tenure track teaching positions—in all areas of study, not just the arts—with lower-paid adjunct positions. Adjuncts usually earn between $2,500 and $5,000 per class. For a story about adjunct instructors published in the January 2015 issue of PDN, some adjuncts reported traveling to as many as three states per week to fill their teaching schedules.

The TIS grant aims to provide a bit of extra money to these teachers to use however they wish. The application fee is $7, and they’ve streamlined the application process, asking for seven images, a 300-word statement and a CV. TIS is accepting applications through June 1st, and will announce the winner June 7th.

Go here for more information and to apply.

Are Art School Hiring Practices Hurting Prospects For MFA Photo Students?
A Part Time Future: Adjunct Teaching Dynamics in Three Parts

April 21st, 2016

Launching a Career in New York on $66 a Day

Fashion and beauty photographer David Paul Larson launched his career in New York with determination and self-discipline, as we explained in the April issue of PDN. He moved to New York City in 2008 as the economy was collapsing, struggled for two years just to pay rent, and finally rose up the ranks as an assistant to some top photographers including Mark Seliger, Mario Testino, and Norman Jean Roy.

At the time he decided to stop assisting, Larson says he was earning up to $800 a day, including overtime. “It’s very hard to walk away from that,” he says.  “You’re traveling first class everywhere, shooting 250 or 300 days a year with the best photographers. Assistants at that level are probably peaking between $150,000 and $200,000 a year. It’s golden handcuffs.”

But Larson forced himself to walk away from it to get his own career going. He took a $14-an-hour job at a rental studio just so he could use the studio free-of-charge for his own test shoots at night and on weekends. “I’m always trying to figure out an angle, especially for the test shoots, because it’s such a big expense,” he says.

Another strategy has been to live well below his means. “That’s probably one of the most important things,” he says. He has pared his monthly expenses to about $2,000–about $66 per day. That includes $1,200 for rent on a shared apartment, his biggest expense. He can now afford to live alone, but his priority it to save whatever he can for his test shoots, he explains.

His other monthly expenses include:

Health insurance: $300
Groceries: $250
Cell phone: $100
Insurance: $120 (including business insurance, renter’s insurance, and insurance for his Vespa scooter)
Health club membership: $60

Larson says he uses one provider for all his insurance needs, “which I would recommend because you get a better deal by a lot.” He doesn’t ride the subway, relying on his Vespa instead for all of his local transportation. Gasoline runs about $20 per month, he says.

As we explained in our story about his transition, he rarely splurges on any personal expense.  “I made the decision when I was 22 not to stop drinking, but I probably drink only 5 times a year. It’s a lifestyle choice,” he says.

Larson says he never considered asking his parents for help, because they didn’t support his decision to move to New York City in the first place. And admitting defeat and going home was unthinkable, he says. His plan B was to sell everything he owned and live on friends’ couches, if he had to. “There’s the story of the general whose soldiers were put on the beach and he burned all the ships so they couldn’t retreat. You know, you just burn all your bridges and you’re like, all right. We’re here.

“People come to New York and think it’s going to be a walk in the park. It’s really competitive. Everyone wants to move here. Well, guess what? It’s not sunshine and rainbows…Life is hard. Anything worth doing is hard.”

Below is an audio excerpt of our interview with Larson. He offers tips for how to push through the burn-out and creative plateau that prevents many assistants from transitioning to their own photo careers. He also shares the most valuable client service lessons he learned as an assistant.



April 19th, 2016

Storage at NAB: No Terabyte Left Behind

For creatives churning out 4K videos, storage and data speeds are an ever-pressing concern. At NAB, several storage companies unveiled super high capacity drives that combine generous capacities with blazing transfer speeds to cope with the data rich era we live in.

G-Technology G-Rack 12

G-Technology hit NAB with its first-ever Network Attached Storage device to cope with the storage demands of 4K video.

The G-RACK 12 a scalable 12-bay server offering capacities up to 120TB. You can add another 120TB using an optional expansion chassis.The G-Rack features four 10-gigabit Ethernet connections for high-speed data transfers and uses a BTRFs files system and graphical interface to make drive management simpler. The 12-bay, expandable units incorporate enterprise hard drives and are available in 48TB, 72TB, 96TB, and 120TB storage capacities.


LaCie 12big Thunderbolt 3

This 12-bay RAID unit can deliver up to 96TB in capacity and uses Thunderbolt 3 to deliver transfer speeds of up to 2600MB/s in RAID 0 and 2400MB/s in RAID 5.

The LaCie 12big features 256MB cache, 7200RPM Seagate enterprise-class drives rated for 8,760 hours of operation per year. LaCie’s RAID Manager software has also been redesigned to make it simpler to use, the company said. The new software will also be available to download for free for owners of older big-series drives.

It ships with a USB-C to USB-A cable and will be available this summer in 48TB, 72TB and 96TB capacities. Pricing wasn’t announced.



SymplyStor is a new desktop RAID storage solution designed to let up to eight different Thunderbolt-connected PCs access files.

SymplyStor is available with either SSD or hard drives in capacities up to 64TB. It supports both Thunderbolt 2 and Thunderbolt 3 speeds. If you opt for the SymplyShare base, you can double the storage capacity by adding another 64TB SymplyStor–the two will behave as a single RAID device.

SymplyStor uses Apple’s Xsan networking technology to let multiple users access the same storage drives. The software features a 5-step setup and there are monitoring apps for Mac, Windows, iOS and Apple Watch.

SymplyStor starts at $1,999.