Dramatic Black and White 4×5 Portraits by Andy Lee

All photos by Andy Lee. Used with Creative Commons permission.

Large format remains the imaging format of choice for many portrait photography projects today, given the outstanding resolution and the impressive amount of detail it renders. If you’re learning about this format now and would like to get inspired with some fine examples, Pembroke-based photographer and creative director Andy Lee has some dramatic 4×5 portraits for you to check out.

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Sweet Lineup of Rare Leicas Up for Grabs in Leitz Photographica Auction

If your need is strong and your wallet is ready, there’s a bunch of rare Leica goodies waiting for you in the upcoming Leitz Photographica Auction.

We’ve been keeping an eye on rare Leica cameras on our vintage finds features, but the upcoming 34th auction of the Leitz Photographica Auction (formerly WestLicht Photographica Auction) is most likely your best bet for scoring some of the rarest. Chances are, you’re still missing one or two (or even all) of the items in the collection, so mark your calendars and make plans for Wetzlar, Germany on June 8th if you’re keen on checking them out.

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Brush up on Your Hasselblad History With This Quick Video

Whether you’re a Hasselblad fan or not, you’ll appreciate the quick lesson on the iconic brand’s history and what makes its optics still one of the most trusted today.

Hasselblad remains one of the best known photography brands today. But apart from the premium price tag, it actually has a pretty colorful history and an outstanding track record in optics. If you’re not yet familiar with it, advertising and fashion photographer and Hasselblad ambassador Karl Taylor makes a brief mention of it in his short video.

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Review: Sigma 105mm F1.4 DG HSM Art “Bokeh Master” (Nikon F Mount)

sigma prime lenses 105mm 1.4

Portrait photographers will love the Sigma 105mm f1.4 DG HSM Art lens, and not just for the bokeh!

Marketed by Sigma as the “Bokeh Master,” the Sigma 105mm f1.4 DG HSM Art lens is one the latest additions to the Japanese optics manufacturer’s Art series of lenses. The ninth lens in Sigma’s Art series to feature a wide aperture of f1.4 (six for Full Frame, three for APS-C), it is also the longest focal length currently available in the series. Bokeh addicts will sing songs of praise about the Sigma 105mm f1.4 DG HSM Art lens, provided that they’ve got the adequate arm strength to wield it.

So with that said, start doing those arm curls–because you’re gonna need it.

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Johnny Miller Presents a Bird’s Eye View of Social Inequality Across the Globe

All images by Johnny Miller. Used with permission.

Social inequality around the world comes in many forms, with some harder to ignore than others. For documentary photographer and filmmaker Johnny Miller, his first taste of this happened when he moved to Cape Town in South Africa six years ago — as soon as he landed in the city, to be precise. With tin shacks surrounding the airport itself, we can just imagine why he simply couldn’t help but notice the glaring disparity. The impact of this was enough to compel him to take to the skies with his drone and capture it from above to show us the big picture. With it, his Unequal Scenes project was born.

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First Impressions: DJI Mavic 2 Pro and DJI Mavic 2 Zoom

The new DJI Mavic 2 Pro and DJI Mavic 2 Zoom feature major camera improvements.

DJI introduced the next iteration of the Mavic drone series in Brooklyn this morning. Replacing the Mavic Pro are two new drones: the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, and the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom. It’s been almost two years since DJI first released the Mavic Pro, and DJI has included some major improvements to the pair of new Mavic 2 drones. Front and center are two brand new cameras which differentiate the two Mavic 2 models. The DJI Mavic 2 Pro comes equipped with a Hasselblad L1D-20c camera that features a 28mm lens with an adjustable aperture range of f2.8 to f11. At the heart of the Mavic 2 Pro’s camera is a 1″ 20MP CMOS sensor. The DJI Mavic 2 Zoom on the other hand comes equipped with a 24-48mm optical zoom lens, capable of 2x optical and 2x digital zoom, and is paired with a 1/2.3″ 12MP CMOS sensor. The DJI Mavic 2 Pro’s camera will benefit from Hasselblad’s world renown color science, while the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom comes with a new “Super Resolution” mode that stitches nine images together onboard the drone itself to create one large composite.

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What We Know About the Leaked DJI Mavic 2 Line So Far

The DJI Mavic 2 launch event set for July 18th was postponed indefinitely, but recent leaks have brought us some pretty pertinent info anyway.

Excited fans who were looking forward to the July 18th launch of the DJI Mavic 2 may still find some useful information from recent leaks of the upcoming drone. In early July, Photo Rumors reported a leaked picture plus a video about the new Mavic 2 from Drone DJ. They followed it up these past couple of days with more leaks; a new product catalog showing the Mavic 2 ahead of the launch, and a high-res copy of what is most likely an official image.

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How to Shoot Fireworks with Film: An Analog Photography Tutorial

Photographing fireworks on film surely does require more work than when shooting digital.

With pyrotechnics, the stars of the show are quite literally shooting stars (“stars” being the fireworks industry’s term for those bits of flying sparkly fire). As in any performance, stars need a stage, and in a photograph the stage is everything else in the frame: the dark sky, buildings, or monuments, even your fellow audience members watching the show.

Although shooting on film eliminates digital photography’s near immediate feedback loop, it has other advantages. If you use color transparency film, you give up dynamic range with film and the ability to easily manipulate color in exchange for sensationally saturated color against a very dark background. The challenge is to get the exposure right while shooting without resorting to post-shoot processing manipulations. On the other hand, ISO 100 to 400 color negative films have an inherently large highlight range and lower contrast which is great for recording the color and details of the bright but short-lived streaks.

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Navatics MITO Underwater Drone Lets You Channel Your Inner Jacques Costeau

The 4K camera, advanced active stabilization technology, and live streaming capabilities may be just the tool for the underwater adventurer in you.

Heads up, underwater photographers and videographers, you might want to dive deep into this news. Underwater robotics specialist Navatics has recently introduced the Navatics MITO, an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) which is equipped with 4K video recording capabilities and advanced active stabilization technology. With this new underwater drone, Navatics aims to make marine videography accessible both for consumers and professionals alike.

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Here’s How Close-Up Shots of Birds in Flight are Made

You too can get those cool aerial photography and footage of birds in flight if you’re willing to go–and fly–the extra mile

In today’s post that we’re filing under “stuff we want to do but can’t figure out how”, we want to explore one of the most fascinating techniques commonly used by pros: aerial photography. It’s no ordinary aerial photography, however. A Reddit thread pointed us to a clip showing how those breath-taking images and footage of birds soaring high above are done for documentaries.

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This Very Rare Hasselblad MKWE Was Apparently Made for NASA

This rare Hasselblad MKWE is waiting for a very serious collector to snag it on ebay.

Once in a while our hunt for the coolest photography gear on ebay leads to some intriguing results. Today is one of those days. Our latest find is a Hasselblad MKWE, which has earned the nickname NASA Hasselblad for one special feature in its design.

The Hasselblad MKWE (or Metric Kamera, Wide angle, Electronic winder) listed by breguetcamera is in excellent condition, with the 38mm f4.5 Biogon Lens clear of scratches, haze, or fungus. The package comes with the lens front cap, viewfinder, case, film back with cap, and box. The description says it was made for NASA, and is one of the only 20 units in the world. This makes its NASA Hasselblad nickname pretty obvious.

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For $18,000 Get This Sony E Mount Astro-Berlin Tachonar 75mm f1 Lens

Care for some rare Astro-Berlin glass to pair with your Sony E Mount camera? 

It’s been a while, but we’re back with our latest ebay find for all you fans of vintage gear out there. Today, it’s a rare Astro-Berlin Tachonar 75mm f1.0 lens, an ultra-high speed lens that was modified for Sony E Mount cameras. If you’re looking for a unique German lens and have around $18,000 to spare, you might want to check this listing out.

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This Mysterious and Rare 400mm Military Lens is Yours for $99,995

Care to add a mystery military lens in your collection of vintage gear?

Items with actual or supposed military value or history seem to be turning up more frequently on ebay lately. The latest we’ve found is a “rare” 400mm “aerial” or military lens that has left us scratching our heads. If any of you out there have even the slightest idea what this actually is, maybe you can also tell the rest of us why it costs $99,995.

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First Impressions: DJI Mavic Air (The Drone That Fits Into a Coat Pocket)

The new DJI Mavic Air is so small it can fit into a coat pocket with ease.

Today, the new DJI Mavic Air was announced to an absolutely astounded crowd. Designed to be put into a coat pocket and carried anywhere along with the remote, your phone, and all the other stuff you normally bring with you, the new DJI Mavic Air also brings with it a lot of technology. For starters, there is a three axis gimbal that works in conjunction with the 12MP camera. At the heart of the camera is a 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor – not that big, we know – but everything you’re shooting also has a very deep perspective. There are cameras and sensors all over the body to help protect it from crashing into things. Additionally, the antennae were designed to be fit into the landing gear yet face outward to ensure that the signal connection stays strong. It’s designed to be high wind resistant and has some pretty cool features such as a smart pathing technology and hand gestures that are built in.

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This Unusual Lens was Used at the Nevada Test Site in the 1950s

Could this 1000mm Cyclotar lens have been used to document bomb experiments?

Today’s awesome vintage find on ebay is something for collectors with a taste for rarity and curiosity for military history. You definitely don’t see a 1000mm 40-inch f/8 Cyclotar lens spring up from the depths of ebay everyday! What exactly is this curious-looking item? Well, there’s not much info out there other than what ebay seller brcamera has provided. This rare Cyclotar lens was made by Alan Gordon Enterprises for the US government in the 1950s. It was used at the Nevada Test Site for documenting testing activities (we’re definitely itching to know what kind) from the 1950s to the 1970s. It was especially constructed around a 40-inch Bausch + Lomb f/8 Telestigmat lens and was equipped on a Crown Graphic 4×5.

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Matt Lief Anderson’s Affinity for Travel and Landscape Photography

All images and words by Matt Lief Anderson. Used with permission.

I’m Matt Lief Anderson, a music photographer based in Austin, Texas. I work mostly for Pitchfork and Vice and travel the world shooting bands on tour and music festivals. I like to shoot landscapes and travel photos when I’m not on assignment. I don’t see myself tied to any specific photographic genre and mostly take inspiration from films. I love shooting portraits of musicians in studio and on location and I feel very lucky to make my living that way, but I also have a need to retreat to nature as much as possible. I have a deep connection with travel stemming from my time living and working as a teacher in Asia and Europe for several years as well as my day job of music photography which sends me to some incredible corners of the world.

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Andrei Duman: Travel Photography and Forming Connections With Your Subjects

All images by Andrei Duman. Used with permission.

Photographer Andrei Duman has been shooting photos since he was very young. He started out with travel and was always fascinated by the fact that one could go from place to place within a few hours. Along the way, he studied the works of different photographers and the ways they went about getting their photos. Perhaps this has helped influence the way Andrei approaches his subjects and the way he gets his images. For Andrei, it's always been about human connection and ensuring it's there even before he picks up the camera to his eye.

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How to Get Your Urban Geometry Street Photography Photo Portfolio Published (Premium)

The goal of many street photographers and Urban Geometry photographers is to find venues to publish and share their work. Publishing leads to influence, sponsorships, galleries, sales, licensing, etc. It’s how Urban Geometry and street photographers really can make money–by selling their art. Like anything in the art world, gaining traction in the industry is more about who you know more than what you know. But luckily for the internet, networking has become simpler. So when you want to network, there are easier ways to do it providing that you’ve got yourself all lined up.

Putting Together a Portfolio

Considering that this is a premium article on La Noir Image, I’m going to take the liberty of assuming that you’ve started to put together some sort of portfolio of body of work. But let’s talk about putting it together and refining it. A portfolio as it relates to Urban Geometry should contain a body of your best work. Not your second best, not your “maybe this is my best” your best. You’ll be able to figure this out simply by looking at it.

Part of this has to do with one of the foundations upon which I founded this website. Let’s pretend for a moment, that you are in a meeting with a millionaire. They have decided to give you a one in a million chance to have one of your images purchased and they’ll give you a million dollars for it. But they only have time for you to show them 10 images. So what 10 images from your portfolio would you share with them?

Now seriously, get into that mentality. Stress over it. Every time you pitch yourself you’ve got a one in a million shot at being featured. Let’s go over a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Is this photo strong?
  • Does it elicit an emotion out of someone?
  • Is it a genuinely wonderful moment?
  • Can it be edited to become a genuinely wonderful moment?
  • Does this have enough resolution to be made into a good print or displayed well on the web? If not, can I upres it to do so?
  • How does this look on a screen such as a mobile phone or a tablet?

Now that you’ve done that with 10 images, do it with 20. When you’ve got that 20, repeat the process with those 20. These images should be unique and should represent who you are as a photographer. There should be a common theme holding them altogether and defining who you are as an Urban Geometry photographer.

Putting Together a Profile

Now that you’ve got that nice portfolio set up, you need to find a way to put the product together–which is You. Think of it as a cover letter but instead consider it a bundle statement of some sort about you. Let’s call it your artist statement about you, not necessarily about the portfolio that you’re presenting, that’s going to need it’s own statement. So let’s have you answer some questions. Answer them thoroughly:

  • Who are you as a photographer?
  • What shaped you as a photographer? Or Who shaped you as a photographer?
  • How long have you been shooting?
  • How long have you been serious about shooting?
  • Why did you get into photography?
  • Why did you get into your genre of photography?
  • What has recently been inspiring you as a photographer and how have you seen it shape your portfolio?

Does all this sound crazy? In some ways it is, but if you put all this information together, you start to get a better sense of self with your photographic identity. On top of that, you’ll find other ways to make this have mass appeal to others.

Pro tip: Don’t make stuff up. It’s fairly simple to spot that stuff.


Your Instagram and Facebook pages are cool, but more often than not editors will want to see not only the numbers of followers that you’ve got but also your actual website. No one can put a concrete number on your actual website, and so the numbers are removed and you can focus instead on just the photography. The layout is also much more inclined and designed to work as a photographic portfolio.

Oh yeah, and if you’re doing this on Tumblr, find a way to remove all sorts of interactions. That’s going to be a dead giveaway sometimes. Instead, we recommend using Squarespace or Format for website building and production.

Kodak Tri-X 400


Here’s an example of a terrible pitch email:

A Different Dubai

Dubai, the ultimate playground of excess, a land of the endless rich. Artificial, but not artistic, built out of nothing. A construct of a luxurious sand metropolis, almost a mistake of nature, excessive material fatigue, a contrasting fascination. A slightly dystopian feeling, the city looks like a sci-fi movie, often empty, too clean and isolated. But in spite of all the madness, somewhere between innumerable sand dunes and monuments, one can find kind, intimate moments and rare scenes of humanity.

Photos (5 attached below)

About me:

Blank works as freelance photographer and designer in Vienna, Austria. He studied graphic design at Central Saint Martins School of Art in London and digital photography in Vienna. His work is focused on timeless visual art. His projects got published in several magazines, blogs and news sites, including The Guardian, the Jewish Museum Vienna, The Nepali Times, and more. Blank was born in 1994 in Austria.

So why is that terrible? Well, you have to think about it from the standpoint of an editor or a journalist, how can they make a story out of such a small amount of information. There’s almost nothing about the project and not a whole lot about the photographer. It’s sort of all over the place. He could have listed some more of the publications where he’s been published before. Plus, why would anyone really want to see a story about Dubai?Here’s an example of a great pitch email:

I’m writing to share with you some information about myself and an some details about black and white portrait project that I’ve been working on for last few months.

First a bit about myself:

My mother managed a camera store when I was young. My parents gave me a camera when I was 13. Since 1985 I’ve worked as a black and white and digital photographic lab technician; starting as a teenager in the darkroom of my home town newspaper. For nearly 30 years, I’ve collaborated with my wife; we met in college while studying photography together. Together we run a studio in Vancouver Canada, specializing in commercial portraiture. For the last 8 years I’ve been teaching photography in the professional photography program at The Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts). In class I show the work of Elliot Erwitt. He’s able to blend humour into street photography in a way unlike anyone else. This past year I was working through survivors guilt and decided to express myself with this series of portraits. Portraits that I’m not sure are mine given how they were executed.

This past April 1st I had an open studio and invited the public to make large format selfies of themselves. The project was an event for the 2017 Capture Photography Festival in Vancouver called “Photographer Assisted Selfies”. I set up a Cambo SC large format 4×5 camera that was fitted with an 8 inch (203mm) f2.9 WWII era British aerial reconnaissance lens. The portraits were lit with a bank of fluorescent lamps that was diffused with a 2 meter x 3 meter tarpaulin. Often with large format lenses, the shutter is built into the lens. In this case, there wasn’t a shutter so I constructed a gravity powered guillotine shutter using plywood, aluminum, a sheet of black polystyrene and a bit of electrical tape. The shutter was held in place with a pin that was connected to a string. The subject was on the other end of the line and was given the control of the timing of the image; the pin could be pulled at the will of the sitter. All other aspects of the project; lighting, film choice and ownership, loading and unloading, film processing, scanning and printing were controlled by myself. Depending on the perspective and interpretation of intent, the copyright of the images could mine or the subjects. I wanted to look at the tasks that we delegate and how that delegation can effect an outcome. If a photographer was unable to activate a trigger due to a physical inability and delegates that task to another, does that other party assume copyright? Is the image no longer a work by the photographer?

I used an opened box of HP5 film that was given to me by a friend. It had been fogged; some sheets worse than others. It could have been up to 40 years old, but I can’t say for sure because the label that had the date on it had been removed from the box.

I processed the film in a homemade developer that I mixed from scratch using a blend of beer, water, vitamin C, washing soda and instant coffee.

On the surface, this project looks at the idea of authorship and copyright. On a deeper level I used the project as a metaphorical look at life; at how the choices and intents that we have are influenced by the acts and choices of others. This project was inspired by the events that revolved around the passing of my father, just over a year ago.

My blog post on it is here: …

The reason why this is a great pitch is because it creates a story. You can do a lot with this as a journalist and if you have follow up questions, you can simply ask. I’ve used similar techniques to pitch CreativeBoom.That’s it; that’s everything that you need to make a better pitch for a photo project like yours. Now get to it.

The Absolute Basics of Shooting Photos of Fireworks

Fireworks are always popular events around the country at this time of year, and people from all walks of life come out to view the aerial light show. But if you have never tried to capture some firework imagery before you may be wondering how it is done and what sort of gear you may need, and if that is the case, then you have come to the right place. Continue reading…

These “Photographer Assisted Selfies” Were Done on 4×5 Ilford HP5 Film

All images by Ross den Otter. Used with permission.

Ross den Otter has been shooting photos since he was 13; and his mother managed a camera shop when he was young. “Since 1985 I’ve worked as a black and white and digital photographic lab technician; starting as a teenager in the darkroom of my hometown newspaper.” Ross explains to us in an email. “For nearly 30 years, I’ve collaborated with my wife; we met in college while studying photography together. Together we run a studio in Vancouver Canada, specializing in commercial portraiture.” And it’s there where Ross has been operating. He also taught a professional photography program at the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts).

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70mm IMAX Film vs 120 Film: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to a lot of photography, 35mm has been the standard for many years. In cinema, Super 35mm has been–and it’s around the size of APS-C digital. But what about larger formats? In photography, we’ve got 120 film and in cinema there’s IMAX. IMAX is considered large format in cinema and arguably it’s really beautiful. IMAX film is rated to be around 70mm in size; visually it’s really 65mm and 5mm are used for audio.

But how does it compare to 120 film?

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