How I Caught the Photo Bug: Managing Editor Gevon Servo

The  Image that started things for me

The Image that started things for me

During a quiet night after a long day of photography, I put some thought into how I caught the Photo Bug. When I was young, I had an interest in photography. All that was available to me at the time was film. Looking at the cost of film photography, and the other things I was interested in, my dad got me a computer and a few comic books every week. There, my first interest in photography died, and my inner geek was born.



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#RoidWeek 2013: Five Memorable Instant Film Cameras

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It’s Roid Week 2013! No, we’re not talking about the type of stuff that athletes use–instead Roid is short for Polaroid. Flickr did an awesome roundup earlier this week and today we’re counting down some of the most memorable Instant film cameras made. We talked amongst ourselves and also seeked the guidance of David Brommer–legendary Event Space Director at B&H Photo Video Pro Audio to round out some of the most famous all time favorites.

So which one is for you?

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Clay Blackmore on a Lifetime of Photography and Staying Inspired

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All images by Clay Blackmore

Clay Blackmore has been shooting for longer than some of us have been alive and breathing. The photographer was trained by the legendary Monte Zucker and has been teaching workshops as well as professionally shooting for years. His images, no matter what he is shooting, elicit the feel of a fine art painting. His compositional and overall photographic skills are unparalleled due to his methods of developing new ideas and adapting to the industry.

We had a chance to chat with Clay recently and pick his brain on some insights into the industry.

Also: Clay Blackmore is doing a workshop on creativeLive later on this month on July 29th – 31st called, “Pose it, Light it, Love it.

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Zeiss Talks About the Lens and Camera in the New Nokia Lumia 1020

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nokia 1020 phone first impressions (14 of 19)ISO 8001-60 sec at f - 4.0

Since seeing the new Nokia Lumia 1020 at the unveiling recently, we’ve been extremely curious about the 41MP camera and all the technicalities behind it. To learn more, we talked to Nicole Balle, Carl Zeiss’s Marketing Manager for the Americas for the Camera Lens Division. Indeed, Nicole was at the event explaining and talking about the resolution charts that were present at the event. The company designed the lens in the camera module–which comprises of five plastic elements with one gorilla glass element on the outside for extra protection. Plastic you say? Well, it still out-resolved lots of the competition. But we wanted to know even more. So we asked Nicole to talk about the lens and the camera.

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Five Cameras for the Person Stepping up From a Point and Shoot

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony NEX 3N product photo (1 of 1)ISO 1601-200 sec at f - 2.0

Not everyone has a DSLR, but there are many that are trying to step up to one. But guess what: you don’t necessarily have to. You can instead move up to any other type of interchangeable lens camera. The advantage of most DSLRs is that they have an optical viewfinder. But if you don’t necessarily need that and you just want to keep the package small and the image quality big, then you’ll want to take a look at some of our favorite options.

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Review: Photography Q & A: Real Questions. Real Answers by Zack Arias

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When it comes to photo education, the industry has adopted a lot of the ideas and practices of the self-help movement. Whether it’s in a book or at a big photo event, there are people that get you psyched up about making the choice to “live the dream” and to become a professional photographer.

Some of these people are sincere in their encouragements, while others seem more interested in pushing a product or a service. In any case, they tap into a desire that many people have to lead a more creative and satisfying life.

Zack Arias’ new book, Photography Q&A: Real Questions. Real Answers is a welcome alternative that provides a frank and brutally honest perspective on what it takes to go pro.

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Life in Focus: Christian Pondella on Packing Up and Starting a Photography Career

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All photos by Christian Pondella. Used with permission

Christian Pondella has been an adventure photographer for years. He is based in Mammoth Lakes, CA, and besides adventure photography he also shoots loads and loads of skiing. Because he was an avid athlete growing up, he embraced his artistic side and his active side to create the photographer that he is today. Right now, he is the head photographer for Red Bull USA, a member of the SanDisk Extreme Team, and a senior photographer for Powder magazine.

And recently, he partnered up with F-Stop Gear to bring you guys an awesome video about his work. But we were sure to ask him some questions of our own as well. And if you want more, check out the rest of the Life in Focus series.



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The Pros and Cons of TTL Flash: Talking with Award Winning Photographer Mike Fulton

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All images by Mike Fulton. Used with permission

Mike Fulton and Cody Clinton have a unique approach to wedding, fashion, and high-volume photography. They are the driving force behind TriCoast Photography – a Southeast Texas-based studio business. Previously selected as Kodak’s Photographers to Watch, Mike and Cody have landed prestigious assignments around the globe from germany to Mexico to Uganda. Mike also serves on the Professional Photographers of America Board of Directors.

We had a moment to pick Mike’s brain about effective TTL flash techniques and his former life as a crime scene photographers.

PS: Mike is actually teaching two courses on creativeLIVE on July 15-19. One is on TTL flash (July 15-16) while the other is on volume photography (July 17-18). Both are free to watch live.

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Review: The Mexican Suitcase Documentary

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In the history of photography, there are few people who have had as lasting an impact as Robert Capa. A Hungarian-born photographer, he helped to redefine conflict photography. His observation that “if your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough” has been repeated like a mantra by photojournalists for decades.

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The Phoblographer’s 5 Recommended Lenses for DSLR Street Photography

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With street photography, the optimal word when it comes to lenses is “primes”. Fixed focal lengths are the better choice for this particular genre of photography, and not just for their better image quality. Yes, zoom lenses provide you the flexibility of several focal lengths within one lens, but that’s not necessarily an advantage when working on the street.  Those critical moments that happen in front of the camera are often so fleeting that they can be easily lost while turning the zoom ring to the appropriate focal length. A fixed focal length eliminates that. You know exactly what you have to work with as soon as you attach the lens to the camera. At that point it becomes all about composition. Prime lenses are also faster or offer a wider aperture (f1.4, f1.8 or f2) than most zoom lenses. This can be particularly important when you are shooting under low light conditions. That not only impacts your exposure options, but it also improves the effectiveness of the camera’s autofocus system when working under dim conditions. Though some people may start off street photography using “discrete” telephoto zooms, the best photographs involve proximity to the subject and the moment. So, it’s often focal lengths of 50mm and wider that make up the heart of a street photographer’s kit. Here are the focal lengths that I believe should be in a street photographer’s camera bag.

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Marc Janks on Getting Over Shyness Through Photography

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Marc Janks is a very special type of photographer. He’s the man behind Who Are You New York–which is a Tumblr site about his daily encounters through photography. The format and layout is simple: a photo of a person with a little bit of background about them and some info about what type of film the portrait was shot with. It isn’t the massive undertaking that Humans of New York is, but it’s significantly more personal. Marc created the blog and started shooting film photos as a way to get over shyness–which is something that he’s had since he was a young boy. He works as a freelance photographer here in New York City and followed his girlfriend here from California.

In between his busy schedule of meeting folks and his full-time gig, Marc had some time to answer a couple of inquiries that piqued our curiosity.

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How I Caught the Photo Bug: News Editor Felix Esser

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Leica M8 MS-Optical Sonnetar 50mm f/1.1

A little over four years ago, when my son was born, I suddenly found myself in a situation where I would take tons of pictures in low light. It occured to me that my Panasonic FZ30, which had served me well for three years at that point, wasn’t really up to the task. So after doing some research, I jumped at the then-new Olympus E-P1 and Panasonic 20/1.7 pancake lens, which was my first step into taking photography more seriously. It didn’t take long until I was bitten by the gear bug–you know, that nasty little creature that lives in your ear and tells you to spend money on new equipment. Now, almost four years later and a lot of cash less wealthy, I’ve made photography my daily routine.

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6 Apps to Unleash Your Mobile Photography Creativity

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“The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” – Ansel Adams

The connected camera and mobile photography currently represents a major switch in the way that modern photography works. As much as people may say that it is the end of professional photography, they still don’t realize that it’s still all about the creativity in the mind of the person behind the camera. And while some apps are quite good, others allow you to unleash even more creativity than a standard filter. Here are our favorites.


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Five Films That We Never Want to Say Goodbye To

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Film scans (27 of 74)

Kodak Portra 400 120 (Shot by Chris Gampat)

In recent years, the film industry has been suffering greatly and many manufacturers have been cutting down their stocks and supplies. But many of us still love the look, feel, and rendering that film can give us. It’s also a wonderful learning tool for the photographer just getting into the art.

We’ve tearfully parted ways with many famous and wonderful films: Kodachrome, Astia, Ektachrome, and loads more. But there are some staples that we absolutely never want to part ways with. Here are just five of those films that still tug at our hearts.

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Three Items For Taming Natural Light And Getting Better Photos

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Retouches of Dave Shim (6 of 6)ISO 320

Natural light is beautiful and can help you create some equally stunning photos–if it’s used correctly. While you can surely find items in your natural surroundings to help you create better images, it isn’t always possible or practical. But if you want to work with natural lighting and make it work the best for you, then there are three items that I’ve been using for years that I’m in love with.

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Five Tips for First Time DSLR Owners

Canon Rebel with Canon 50mm F/1.8 on the left and Canon 5D with Sigma 85mm F/1.4 on the right

Canon Rebel with Canon 50mm F/1.8 on the left and Canon 5D with Sigma 85mm F/1.4 on the right

FACT: A DSLR will not get you better pictures, knowledge will. Think about it this way–who is bound to do better at capturing a better photo: a person with an expensive camera that knows nothing about it or a person with a cheap camera that knows loads about it?

It’s happened. Photography has exploded and more than any time previous, there are DSLRs in the hands of more people than ever before. But there are also loads of people that don’t know a single thing about what they’re doing with the camera. On many occasions, I’ve been asked to take a picture of people and have been handed a DSLR on auto. Or I’ve just randomly seen people taking pictures with the cameras and not knowing a single thing about what they’re doing with the device.



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The Timeless Eye: Luigi Ghirri’s Kodachrome

IbarionexPerelloThePhoblographerkoda-01-whiteDuring the mid-seventies, color photography was relegated to the glossy pages of consumer magazines, rather than prestigious gallery walls. When the work of William Eggleston was exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art in 1976, the art community saw it as a garish collection of colorful noise, a mash-up of the ordinary and the mundane.

That exhibit was a benchmark for a huge shift in photography, but it wasn’t one that was relegated to the United States. There were photographers all over the world who had shifted away from the traditional world of black and white photography and who began to experiment with the possibilities of color. One of these people was Italian photographer, Luiggi Ghirri, whose self-published book, Kodachrome, was released one year after the Eggleston’s landmark exhibition at MoMA.

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How I Caught The Photo Bug: Features Writer Jamiya Wilson

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I never wanted to be a photographer. The thought never crossed my mind. Sure, we had a few cameras around the house growing up, but I grew up relatively poor so our cameras were nothing more than your standard Polaroid instant film camera. Oh and we had the disposable ones, too! I didn’t come from a long line of great photographers or pick it up at an early age. I probably didn’t use a digital camera for anything until around 2005. I got into photography purely by chance. Once I discovered it, my life changed forever. Here’s my story.

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How I Caught the Photo Bug: Ibarionex Perello

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When I was 10 years old, I suffered from a terrible stutter. It was a physical manifestation of my awkwardness and insecurity that I felt around others.

There was a feeling of inadequacy that seemed to pervade all my interactions with other children be it in the school yard, in the classroom or out in the streets of my neighborhood. While it seemed that others were able to become part of the group with ease, I felt this perpetual sense of anxiety that at any moment I would say or do the wrong thing.

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The Editor and the Creative Process

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One of the things that I share with my students about the practice of photography is the role of “the editor”. And by that I don’t mean the software that one uses to massage a digital photograph or even the person sitting at the computer working the mouse or the stylus. Rather, I am referring to the voice in the head that makes the decision of what’s good or bad, what works or doesn’t work. It’s the voice that’s meant to guide me as to whether I’m walking the right creative path or that I’ve lost my direction and have become tangled in the burrs and weeds.

The editor is an important part of my creative process whether I am raising my camera to my eye or attempting to put words on a virtual blank sheet of paper. It’s my innate power of discernment that helps me to evaluate the work that I’ve produced and which allows me to effectively separate the wheat from the chaff. It’s a skill that I’ve been able to develop especially well because of the many opportunities I’ve had to serve in the role of editor for other people’s work, be it photography, videos or fiction. It’s something that I know that I’m pretty good at.

However, that editor can also be my worst enemy, especially when it comes to moments of creativity.

 

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Five Fixed-Lens Cameras for the Prothusiast

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The fixed-lens compact camera with a larger-than-average sensor is the prothusiast’s most valued companion. Why? Because it promises excellent image quality in a small and light package. Often equipped with lenses between 28 and 35mm, these cameras lend themselves to street photography and journalistic styles. Due to the success and popularity of this camera type, there is now a significant number of models on the market, which can make it difficult to decide which one to get. In order to make things easier for you, here are five fixed-lens compacts that The Phoblographer recommends.

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