NASA’s Image of a Giant Solar Flare is Stunning


Last night, NASA reported seeing and photographing this year’s largest solar flare. According to the company, “This is the strongest flare seen so far in 2013. Increased numbers of flares are quite common at the moment, since the sun’s normal 11-year activity cycle is ramping up toward solar maximum, which is expected in late 2013. Humans have tracked this solar cycle continuously since it was discovered, and it is normal for there to be many flares a day during the sun’s peak activity.”

The photo, though of something quite dangerous (but it can’t pass through Earth’s atmosphere) is really quite beautiful. If anything, it looks like an atom falling apart and being destroyed.

Via The Verge

The New Trend: Being Someone’s Vacation Photographer

nyc, new york city, chris gampat, photography, the phoblographer,

Allie Hawkins is leading a brand new trend–becoming a vacation photographer. According to a news story by ABCNews, it’s being marketed by partially appealing that the entire family will always be in the photos instead of having a family member taking the photos. Yes–apparently too many people don’t know about the time delay function on their camera. The article further cites that social media is a big part of the trend. The inference that one can gather from the article is that people care about quality images and are actually willing to pay for them.

It seems like it can be profitable too as the article says, “For $175 a person, photographer Marc Samuels of Photo Trek tours, leads tourists on a private, 3-hour tour, taking photos along  the way.” So let’s do the math: the average American family comprises of a father, mother, daughter and son. $175 x 4 = $700 for three hours. But being a savvy photographer and business person, you’ll be able to figure out some sort of package deal for maybe a couple of days. And if you play your cards right, you can easily make more than many people do at their 9-5 / 40 hr a week day job.

Anyone going to London soon? 😉

Here’s an Instagram Photo of an Ominous Cloud Over NYC Last Night


We’ve seen some pretty darn crazy ominous clouds and storms over NYC before. But this latest one from Fischer Clothing on Instagram shows a super dark cloud overpowering the city and separating it from the rest of the sky. Indeed, there was a super strong storm last night–and it started while I was out shooting for an upcoming review.

Granted this storm is nothing compared to what Ryan Brenizer has shot before. Take a look at that monstrosity here.

Commuter Takes Street Photos of Others Involving Newspapers and Forced Perspective

commuter-newspaper-photobombs (1)

Think your morning commute sucks? Well, many people do. One anonymous person decided to do the clever thing of combining street photography with something Banksy might do. According to the NY Daily News, he perfectly folds newspapers and then strategically places them using forced perspective. Then he takes a photo. The Daily News isn’t stating who shot these images, but they’re quite hilarious. Some of them have Yoda, some have the Queen of England and more. Many other photographers have done similar projects–or just taken bits and pieces of ads to create a collage of some sort.

Take a look at some of them after the jump.

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A Giant Inflatable King Kong Scaled the Empire State Building 30 Years Ago This Week


Left image from Lime Contracting. Right image from TheMechanism

Mostly everyone has seen King Kong (and we’re not talking about that stupid remake done a couple of years ago). But 30 years ago, people apparently saw him in real life. The Lime Contracting Company was doing renovations on the Empire State Building in 1983 when they were asked to take part in the 50th anniversary of the great movie. It was obviously a publicity stunt, and the image made newspapers and most likely another marketing campaign to milk some extra revenue from the film. And like that, Kong rose again to an staggering 82 feet high–and probably scared the bejesus out of some kids down below.

When the remake hit theaters in 2005, it was all CGI instead of the real thing. Corbis has an image of the 1983 scaling in color on their website.

Via Gothamist

Negatives of Former President John F Kennedy Destroyed in 9/11 Have Been Restored


Lightbox has an extremely uplifting and interesting feature on the photos of Jacques Lowe, who photographed former President John F Kennedy. Lowe was hired at the age of 28 and started photographing the family two years before John even entered office. He had a box of 40,000 negatives that were destroyed in the 9/11 tragedy. However, somehow or another 1,500 survived from his contact sheets and prints. The images were then painstakingly restored and scanned.

The images will be on display in the Newseum, located in Washington D.C. Some of the images will be part of the Creating Camelot exhibit–which Nikon is sponsoring. Head over to Lightboox to see some of the other images.

Via Time’s Lightbox

The Telegraph Uses an Absolutely Brilliant Photo To Illustrate a Story

Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 10.06.51 AM

Not many people know or really understand what a Photo Editor does at a newspaper or a publication. No, they’re not taking a photographer’s RAWs and doing loads of color correction after massive culls–at least not all the time. Instead, what they’re doing is making crops, adding metadata and maybe some minor brightening or darkening. But their main job is to choose a photo that illustrates the story that the publication is trying to get out to the world. So if a newspaper is reporting on the closing of loads of Starbucks around the nation, they’ll show an image of a storefront or something else creative with the Starbucks logo (maybe even a tall Skinny Vanilla Latte with the Starbucks logo on the cup.)

But today, the Telegraph has chosen a positively brilliant photo to illustrate a story going viral around the web right now. The photo shows former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice holding up a gesture that can easily be mistaken for something else.

And that, ladies and gents, is how some images can easily be misinterpreted–no matter how hysterical they may be.

Musician Mounts a GoPro to His Viola, Shows a Day in the Life of a String

GoPros can truly go anywhere. Earlier in the night, GoPro tweeted a video of a musician mounting one of their cameras to his Viola. The camera is seemingly mounted to the head of the stringed instrument–which also takes the brunt of the sound. The video was created by Twitter user @matt_gwell who positioned the camera in such an area where we can see lot of his finger movements while he plays. We’re not quite sure how we mounted it onto the instrument unless he used something like a C-Clamp but even then he’d be facing a bit of a challenge while playing.

The International Space Center Uses Loads of Nikon Gear to Capture These Beautiful Images

NASA / Pettit / ISS Fotos aus dem All

Nikon Rumors has spotted a piece from German magazine Spiegel that shows lots of images of not only Nikon gear at the International Space Center but also some absolutely beautiful images from NASA. Astronauts Canadian Chris Hadfield and American Thomas H. Marshburn are both tweeting loads of images from space–and the former often shows off random videos such as moving a space suit from one spot to another. And we can surely tell you that it’s nothing like it is in the movies.

Why Nikon? Well, besides the obvious good quality Nikon has long had an excellent relationship with the US government offering all government employees discounts on Nikon goods.

Let’s just hope that all that gear doesn’t burn up on re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere this time around.

Take a look at some of the selects after the jump.

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Picasso Used to Paint With Light

Triple exposure of artist Pablo Picasso drawing with light at his home in Vallauris

The Guardian’s photo of the day features famous artist Pablo Picasso painting with light. Many people know Picasso much more for his paintings–namely those of his rose period, blue period, cubism, and more. However, the famous artist also dabbled in creating light painting after he was shown photos of ice skaters gracefully going around a rink with lights attached to their skates. Many of his photos are now in the Life archive.

Though Picasso’s images are still extremely rudimentary and use the simplest of tools, his work and those of others have helped to inspire lots of other photographers. If one peruses 500px and searches for Light Painting they’ll find loads of awesome new work.

The Daily Mail has even more and Complex did a feature on them back in December.

Dr. Who Inspired Wedding Shoot Will Tug at Your Nerdy Heart


All images shot by Candice Benjamin. Used with permission

Lots of people love Dr. Who–and some people love it so much that they opt for an entire wedding/engagement shoot modelled after it. Indeed, the series that has been running for well over 20 seasons has accumulated quite the cult following and has found ways to constantly reinvent itself. The hit BBC series was what one wedding revolved around for wedding photographer Candice Benjamin. “We love this idea of mixing geek with chic…something we don’t see too often sadly,” states Candice in her blog post.

The couple and Candice nailed lots of subtle details while not going over the top. There is the dalek, the bow tie, and lots of the other colors and accessories. Though we would have liked to have seen the sonic screwdriver–maybe with the ring around it! Take a look at some of the other photos after the jump.

Via io9

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Mad Men Drops The Leica Name Like Crazy in Season 6 Premiere

chris gampat the phoblographer leica m9p review product photos (1 of 7)

Warning: Minor Spoilers Ahead!!!

If you’re a fan of Mad Men and you’re a camera geek, chances are that you heard two significant names in tonight’s Season Premiere. The first one is Pentax, which probably made all the Pentaxians super happy. But the second one was Leica. Indeed, Don Draper (the show’s protagonist) gives a doctor a Leica camera as a gift after a short meeting in the elevator. Draper states that the agency has tons of them in their closet and simply just gives one to the good ol’ Doc.

Really, Draper? I actually stated outloud, “I want a Leica” when I the exchange happened on screen. But it really makes us wonder if Leica paid for some subtle advertising on the show or not. It would only make sense though–loads of celebs own Leica cameras and it is their target market.

Indeed, this site is in debt to Leica–they loaned us our first review units to help us take it off year and a half years ago. With that in mind though, it’s nice to see that a very popular show throws a hat tip to the photog community.

How They Photographed the Giant Squid


“Had its feeding tentacles been in tact, it would have been as large as a two story house,” says Edith Widdler.

DIY Photography has an excellent piece right now featuring how a Marine Biologist captured high res imagery of the Giant Squid. Scientist Edith Widder did a TED talk years ago about how the world can study animals by attracting them rather than scaring them away, and she applied her theories to this expedition which proved successful. Particularly, Ms. Widder uses non-motorized cameras, because the sound would perhaps scare the creature away back into the depths. Then there was an LED bait involved which made the creature get accustomed to the light. The light was designed to simulate a bioluminescent light that is similar to a call for help–which attracted it. Eventually, the team shone large lights on it and were able to capture much better images.

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This is a 360 Panorama of Mars, And Not From Star Trek


360 Cities has published a rather breath-taking Gigapixel panoramic image of Mars that was taken by the Curiosity rover.

Estonian photographer Andrew Bodrov helped with the creation of the image and is one of the most detailed views of the planet to date. Apparently, the image is a four-billion-pixel panorama. Just think about it–those images needed to be shot, and then beamed over many miles from Mars to Earth, and then assembled. It was probably worse than the dial-up days. It’s quite exciting though as it looks like basically a desert and brings back memories of the movies Red Planet and Dune.

Check out the panorama after the jump.

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Alchemy is a Time Lapse Film About the Change of Seasons

Alchemy from Henry Jun Wah Lee / Evosia on Vimeo.

Ever watch that series Planet Earth on the Discovery channel? There are usually tons of beautiful timelapse sequences shot to accompany the footage. And the latest film from Evosia studios seems to mimic the same quality but in a 4K resolution. According to the company’s blog post, this was all shot in America spanning from the Grand Canyon to the Alabama hills.

And if you’re curious about the gear, they state that they shot with a Canon 5D Mk 3, 5D Mk 2, 7D. Kessler Crane motion controlled dollies and crane.

It’s well worth checking out.

Canon China Makes Batman Spokesperson in Awesomely Bad Ad


Canon has chosen some interesting spokespeople over the past couple of years–Avril Lavigne, Maria Sharapova, etc. And now, it seems like they’re turning to the Dark Knight for their IXUS digital camera ads. In America, we call these the ELPH series of cameras. The commercial after the jump is pretty hysterical as it takes scenes from the Dark Knight series of movies and then has the point and shoot come out of Batman’s belt to take some images perhaps clearly taken with a DSLR instead. Even funnier: some of the images are of NYC–therefore proving that Gotham is actually based on the Big Apple.

Take a look at the video after the jump, and then laugh.

Via Canon Watch

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These Game of Thrones Inspired Portraits Used Lightroom’s White Balance Brush as the Kicker


Game of Thrones mania has been happening–especially with the recent season premiere. Photographer Alex Huff (who also works at Borrow Lenses as their Social Media Coordinator) is a big fan of the series and recently worked with 500px on a tutorial of how she created the portraits above. While the portraits themselves were quite simple, it was all about the editing to get the effects similar to the Braveheart style look that they possess.

And how’d she do it? Instead of using two lights and gelling one combined with effective flagging, Alex demonstrated just how kick ass Lightroom 4 is by using the white balancing brush to make one side of her subject’s face blue. All of this is also in combination with correct knowledge of color theory–something that we emphasize with nearly every review we do in regards to raw file versatility. This was only possible before in Photoshop, but it’s been part fo Adobe Lightroom 4 since the start.

If you’re up for a really good refresher course, we recommend that you check out the tutorial.

Via the 500px Blog

Want to See What a Micro SD to SD Card Adapter Looks Like Cracked Open?


Unfortunately, one of my Micro SD to SD card adapters cracked open, so I decided to take a look at what’s on the inside. And voila, there you have it. The little Micro SD card is supposed to go into the bottom where the information gets transferred via the connectors. Those connectors relay information to the larger connectors and vice versa when data is being recorded.

Instead of lamenting the loss of one, I thought I’d show you all what it looks like on the inside. Pretty cool, huh?

“There’s Too Many Cameras on the Market”

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon Rebel T5i product images (1 of 9)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 2.8

There is a video that will probably go slightly viral and is currently on the top of Reddit’s Photography section, with a rant from a man that is clearly saying there are too many cameras on the market. Amongst the complaints are the fact that both Canon and Nikon have updated last year with lots of new cameras and the fact that him and other people are confused about the new features and which one they should get. We’ve debated the video back and forth in staff emails and while some of us see this as just a troll, there is a lot more behind it than the man’s demeanor.

I’m a former employee of B&H Photo Video Pro Audio and not only did I have to deal with consumers, but other co-workers who had no idea what they should get. People that should have a Rebel instead go for a 5D Mk III for example and people that should be purchasing a mirrorless camera are instead getting a DSLR simply for the Canon or Nikon name. And the major problem is that there isn’t enough clear education on what someone should get or how the features can be used to make one a better photo snapper or a photographer. And to add to this problem, last year we saw a major flood of new products for the simple reason that no one released anything major the year prior due to the natural distasters that took place in Japan and Taiwan.

Many photographers have trouble focusing on shooting when new gear is constantly being released. With today’s tech, we are conditioned/pressured to thinking that we need the newest gear to get the best photos possible. While many of us know this is not true (coming from a guy that just sold his original 5D), there are people out there that are more interested in the gear than the process of creating photographs.

Either way, check out the video below–it’s surely a source of some good conversation. For the record, to this day I still receive loads of emails and Facebook messages asking similar questions that this video incites.

Mike Pouliot contributed to the creation of this post

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This Slow Motion Holi Festival Video Will Make You Want to Protect Your Camera

Holi from Variable on Vimeo.

The Hindu Festival of Holi falls once a year and is a celebration involving people throwing powder and dyes at one another. Growing up and having a father who was an active religious part of the Indian community, this video from last year’s Holi festival hits right at home with me. Here in NYC, we’re going to have our Holi festival tomorrow–and as someone who has gone to these things I can tell you from experience to cover up your camera with a Rain Guard. When I was younger, the stains sometimes wouldn’t come off my skin for days.

And while this video sure is cool and uses slow motion video to make it even more so, I can guarantee you that every parade will involve lots of people throwing powder and dye at one another and will be nowhere as calm as this.