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‘W’ for Weird; ‘W’ for Wildlife

September 26th, 2013 No Comments

“Weird & Wild,” says NatGeo on the day we post our ‘Weird News’ edition which happens to have a distinct NatGeo flavour: Wildlife.  Here are four stories from the past 24 hours.

A Toad and a Bat

Peruvian wildlife ranger Yufani Olaya was on hand with a camera when a Cane Toad snagged a careless bat.  The remarkable head-on photo he took seems to be that of an extraterrestrial creature.

Though cane toads seem to be omnivorous and voracious, bats don’t seem to be to their taste because the toad spat it out – and though dazed, the bat remained in such good health that it flew off!

The photo and story also appeared on news.com.au.

Yellow Top

Woodpeckers are ‘red top’ birds.  Well, Ken Johnson can show you photographs of a rare ‘yellow top’ woodpecker.  Kerry Wood at The Journal has the story.

Johnson, by his own statements, is “by no means an avid bird watcher” nor does he live “in the rolling countryside.”  All the more interesting, then, that he spotted and photographed these rare birds.

A wildlife expert explained the mutation as a “lack [of] carotenoid in its plumage.”

A Smiling Seal

We stay with the Unusual-Wildlife-in-England theme with a story by James Johnston in the Sunderland Echo.

Retiree Keith Cockerill happened to have a camera on him when a seal waddled up on a pontoon at the River Wear in broad daylight, and said ‘cheese!’

The lucky retiree explained that it “is unusual . . . to see [seals] basking in the sunshine” . . . and, what’s more, smiling!

(Un)Reality Shows

We stay in England and close with a story about a ‘Reality Show’ (which, to some critics, are about wildlife but let’s not go there).  This ‘reality show’ belongs on this blog because it’ll be about photogs!

Zoltan Arva-Toth on Photography Blog brings the interesting news alongwith a lengthy and detailed press release.  The survival test will be amongst style and fashion photographers through nine episodes.  Each participant has to try to make it to the next round by way of completing fashion shoot-related tasks.

Call for contestants to go out soon, in case you’re interested.

A How-To, a Gallery, a Controversy

September 24th, 2013 No Comments

Our weekly three-pack includes the usual tutorial and online gallery but the third component is a photography controversy which category is a weekly staple on our Pro blog.

The Einstein Monolight

We had featured this marvellously versatile piece of gear on our pro blog not too long ago.  Here it is on our retail blog as the subject of a nice tutorial by Rob Taylor on phototuts+ in which the focus is squarely on freezing action.

The amazing feature about this monolight is that this very professional piece of equipment’s “menu is as easy as operating, say, a phone or scientific calculator”!  You can learn how to use it easily, step by simple step.

In his tutorial, Taylor explains how you can set the Einstein to “1/10,000th sec at 1/16th power” and thus use it as a budget strobe to (nearly) freeze a sparrow’s flapping wings and flying water droplets.

Coast to Coast 

Ever thought of driving from New York to California?  That’s what Matt Borkowski did and he has posted some of his images on The Leica Blog.

 These are not ‘Art Photos’ but are snapshots by an unsettled wayfarer; as Borkowski tells it, they are just “some of my favorite images so far from our journey to California.”

He has managed to do quite an amazing job of portraying or expressing loneliness or solitariness.  We see man alone at the end of the land and woman alone at the literal ‘End’ of the road. 

Other images, notably a fine and appealing composition of a coastal town, various vessels, and an aircraft’s wing, impart that feeling of unsettled wanderlust that the photographer conveys in his short writeup.

“I am (HIV)-Positive” – Not

Getty Images sold a photo of a young female model to the New York State Division of Human Rights, which photo was then used for an HIV-Positive awareness campaign.  The problem was that the model is not HIV-Positive, nobody sought her consent, and she suffered a few awkward questions with family and friends as a result of the “I am Positive” admission improperly attributed to her.

Michael Zhang on PetaPixel has the story of this Brooklyn model who is now suing both Getty Images and the NYDHR for compensation.  

What Getty and NYDHR did is very controversial; what the model has done in response is not remotely so.

 

“A Buzzard Took a Monkey for a Ride in the Air . . .”

September 18th, 2013 No Comments
English: Image of the front door of Number 10 ...

English: Image of the front door of Number 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The week is closed out with a laugh and a chirp (or a howl) as our semi-weekly look at unusual and weird Photography News for today has humour and wildlife flavours.  All this from the past 24 hours!

The ‘Bunny’ Premier

British Premier David Cameron hosted a rugby team at 10 Downing Street.  One of the players’ way of saying ‘thank you’ was to give Cameron ‘bunny ears’ on the official photo!  He subsequently apologized, as SkySports reported with a reprint of the gone-viral photo.

Cameron was sporting enough to say ‘no harm done,’ reports This is Leicester.  This is not the kind of tomfoolery one can recommend; that said, one can’t deny that it elicits a chuckle!

Penguins = Funny – Yep!

Combining both funny (as in cute) and wildlife is a new book that reveals the ‘real world’ of penguins, whatever that might be.  All we get is one photo on the webpage but the post is worth a read.

Photographer Tui De Roy tells us that “Cartoons are very funny but real penguins are funnier . . .”

Who would have guessed?!

Wolves = Funny – Wot?

Who woulda thot it?  The answer is ‘Yes!’ if a video is to be believed.

HuffPost has a story about photographer Monty Sloan setting out to take videos of wolves.  It was not remotely scary as the funny critters fell in love with him and mobbed him!

This encounter must have been on one of those (not-so) wild animal parks but, still, this is cool!

Who was the Hero?

Before he became a ‘King’ and sang about falling leaves and fallen blossoms, the incomparable Nat Cole sang a song about a buzzard who took a monkey for a ride in the air (and, no, the monkey did not ‘fall’).  Now here’s a tale about a buzzard who took a camera for a ride in the air—

What Digital Camera brings us the ‘tall tale.’  Briefly, someone strapped a GoPro Hero with video-recording turned on on an eagle’s back and posted the (exciting) video online!  (Judging from the video, the eagle straightened up and flew right on its heroic flight.)

Tell me, who was the ‘Hero’ – the GoPro or the eagle?

 

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Funky Photography News — International Edition

September 7th, 2013 No Comments

Our weekly helping of Weird and Wacky Photography News takes an international turn today.  We look at arresting photographs of two world leaders and a wacky photograph of another.  Then we turn to buffet-table photos of flags of numerous nations as well as many photos of the flag of the United States.

“The tension was palpable.”  That hackneyed sentence (and lovely solecism) is used by any number of hacks.  Those hacks got their revenge a few days back courtesy of none other than Vladimir Putin and Barrack Obama!  Amazing photographs of these two world leaders on NY Mag prove that tension – if not exactly ‘palpable’ – is at least visible.  

The five photos show Putin and Obama walking up to each other in a manner that does not seem exactly warm and fuzzy but in the very next image you’ll also see two broadly smiling – beaming – faces.  But they couldn’t hide their true feelings for even a minute: in the fourth photo Obama seems to be grimacing in anger or pain while in the fifth photo, Putin’s jaw is so tightly clenched that you can see his facial muscles!

For light relief, let’s turn to the leader of France and also the news agency of France.  You may have already heard of L’Affair de Clown, French Style.  Newsbusters has the scoop on “the bizarro smiling clown photo” that couldn’t be killed.

Some sharp lensman took a photo of French President Francois Hollande looking even more silly than he usually does, and AFP and Reuters sent the photo downstream – only to have second thoughts and try to withdraw it and try to ‘kill’ it (probably after an obscenity-laced tirade from a certain someone in the Elysee Palace).

Too late – and worse, wrong move: once news leaked of this craven act of “self-censorship,” the photo went viral!  Big deal: doesn’t the renowned ‘Rottweiler’s other half not usually look like a bit of a buffoon? 

French Style also includes blue cheese, brie and grapes and these were the ingredients used at the Sydney Food Festival to construct the French Flag.  The festival used traditional and ingredients and foodstuffs central to each national cuisine to create the corresponding national flags.

Daily Mail has published high-res photos of all the food-flags with a detailed ‘List of Ingredients.’  The colours of some of the flags are a bit off (make that a lot off in the case of Oz itself) but the choice of culinary delicacy or ingredient, at least, is spot on.  You’ll see hearty food from meat pies to (relative) exotica like kiwifruit.

Now we’re all hungry!  But before you run off for a snack, here’s a look at only one country’s flag.

Photographer Robert Carley is hung up on the Stars and Stripes and shoots them wherever he finds them – and that does not mean the flag itself!

You see, in America, the Stars and Strips are splashed on anywhere and everywhere, including trunks and swimsuits.  Greenwich Citizen has published an article about Carley’s photos which include “a flag-painted car, road stripes in red, white and blue, a flag parking meter, a flag antenna, a flag painted car wash, flag garage, flag gas pump and flag tow truck.”  You’ll see photos of a flag-painted barn and a flag-emblazoned hot rod, among others.

 

Fauna and Flora Tutorials

September 2nd, 2013 No Comments

Flora and fauna; that’s what today’s well-paired tutorials cover.

A very meaty how-to on ePHOTOzine is exactly what it says: Beginners’ Guide To Safari Photography.  This comprehensive tutorial starts by advising its beginner readership to research seasonal conditions in the park they’ll visit and carries on from there.

There are also other conditions you’ll have to be prepared for.  As anyone who has been to the Serengeti or Masai Mara would vouch, things can get pretty dusty and also pretty bumpy.  So take care of your gear accordingly.

You’ll also have to watch our for pitfalls where photography itself is concerned.  For example, “when shooting a bird on a branch,” if you rely on auto or programmed exposure, the bird will most likely be underexposed.  The how-to explains how to expose correctly in such situations. 

The tutorial also offers a tip or two in how to frame and compose when on safari so as to create attractive photographs with a touch of artistry instead of dull, flat snapshots.

Jeff Guyer on DPSchool offers advice on photographing a subject that is “neither moody nor volatile” – flowers.

Flower photography is all about angles, angles, and . . . more angles, according to Guyer.  What’s more, experiment: take positions all around, above and under your subject and shoot away.

One unexpected ‘tip’ in the article is that you should not find yourself absolutely requiring any specific or particular gear, not even macro lenses or tripods!  Guyer explains that effective flower photography is possible using even telephotos or iPhones.  That said, the expected and ‘right’ recommendations are also made.

Probably the most helpful and useful section is on Light.  Here Guyer goes into ‘good light’ versus ‘bad light’ for flowers and how you can put that ‘good light’ to best use.

You might think that a flower is a small object to photograph but you’re advised to get closer still: “[S]ometimes the whole is not always as interesting as its individual parts.  Focus in on details.”  Create a semi-abstract composition from the parts of a flower!

These kinds of tips and tricks are explained by illustration with flower photographs that are striking and different as well as others that are simple and artistic.

 

Runaway Bridal Shoot and Other Tales of Mystery

August 28th, 2013 No Comments

Our weekly roundup of weird, strange and ‘surreal’ news from the realms of photography is kicked off today by an article with the word ‘surreal’ in its title—

Bleak and Surreal

That’s what DPReview calls the photographs of Mishka Henner, and they’re on the mark.  His ‘Feedlots’ project is photographic abstract art.  Henner did not photograph the images but composed or ‘stitched’ them from discrete elements from numerous satellite images. 

Henner’s composite images possess their own aesthetic, specially in terms of balance and tonal range.  However, they are so ambiguous that each viewer will (almost necessarily) impart his/her own interpretation to them – and that’s where the fun begins.

Rotten and Wrong

Someone else who ‘borrowed’ an image and manipulated it is one ‘bogdhan’ but this matter is absolutely unambiguous.  He lifted an atmospheric photograph by Hengki Koentjoro, did some Photoshopping on it, and submitted it to Samsung Camera’s photo contest – and won it!

Heikerost has the lowdown on Image and View.  The good news is that the cheat was disqualified and lambasted, Koentjoro’s authorship was recognized, and Samsung apologized.

The ‘strange’ part of this saga is that the thief expressed outrage and launched a counterattack on Instagram against his critics, calling them names and defending his misconduct.  Evidently, he doesn’t ‘get it.’

Oh, well.  Billy the Kid and Al Capone didn’t ‘get it’ either.

Lost and Found

You’ve heard of Runaway Bride.  Now here’s the ‘Runaway Bridal Shoot.’  The director of this ten terabyte epic is Chad Koerber and it’s brought to you by ‘Urbane Wedding Company’ Studio. 

Briefly, Urbane, Koerber, and crew shot countless dozens of weddings, at least 170.  Then, one fine day, they got caught in the Bermuda Triangle, retreated to an ashram high in the Himalayas – no-one knows what happened exactly; however, they were never heard of again, to the hysterical horror of several wedding-video-less wives.  

Nothing to cry about though; this Made-in-Hollywood script also has a Hollywood-like happy ending:– Cue a couple of knights in shining armour who arose out of the Mists of Avalon, carrying ten terabytes on three hard drives, chock-full of presumed-lost wedding videos!  As Don King would say, “Only in America!”

DL Cade has a review of ‘Runaway Bridal Shoot’ on Petapixel.

Hungry for more wacky news?  Allow Popular Photography to be your knight in shining armour.

Rare to the Power Four

August 15th, 2013 No Comments

Our weekly walk through the wild and weird side of photography takes a rare train stop today: Rare.  Here are four rare photographs that some pro photogs would give an arm and a leg to have taken.  We’ll see a seldom-seen species, an equally seldom-seen cultural icon, a rare natural phenomenon, and an optical illusion that is rare in its perfection.

Species

Regardless of the rarity of this hitherto-unseen animal in the wild, this strangely delightful critter – a ‘olinguito’ for the record – is a charmer.  Look at those interested, alert eyes and quizzical expression!

This photograph, released only yesterday, is probably zooming towards ‘viralhood’ as you’re reading this.  This first-rate wildlife image is credited to a photographer by the name of ‘Reuters.’

Icon

The geisha is iconic of Japanese culture high and low; she is a figure of myth and controversy.  Alas, you don’t exactly see them on the streets of Kyoto (or Kobe).  Panasonic had the idea of a lifetime to use one for an advertisement for their Lumix GX7.

Bernie DeChant was the lucky photog who got the assignment.  Dan Havlik on Imaging Resource has the story alongwith a video giving an inside look at the ‘making of a geisha,’ in turn making Lumix look elegant, traditional, and trendy all at the same time.

(CaNikon: “Darn! Why didn’t we think of that?!”)

Phenomenon

Twenty-four hours back UPI brought us a story about Lars ‘Lucky’ Lundqvist.  He’s the photog who happened to be in the right place at the right time and grabbed his opportunity.  He took a video of a waterspout accompanied by a rainbow – it is as lovely as it is interesting.

This video just might result in little Gotland’s Baltic coastline and beach becoming a bit of a destination for nature photographers.

Illusion

If you believe the evidence of your eyes, Belgium’s bully boys Vincent Kompany and Marouanne Fellaini like to ‘get their kicks’ playing football with dwarves.

Your eyes would be wrong, however, as the truth is that Mathieu Valbuena, though about nine inches shorter than taaall Kompany and Fellaini, is not a dwarf by any stretch.

The camera angle, focal length, foreshortening, and the precise position and angle of Valbuena’s legs, far from appearing like foreshortening, give him the proportions of persons with ‘dwarfism’!

Credit for this fourth lucky shot goes to Yves Herman and that Reuters fellow once again!

 

Of Humour, Ants, and That ’Orrible ‘Glamour-Dimmer’

July 30th, 2013 No Comments

A Myrmecologist’s Gallery

DPReview writes that ant fights include “brutal take-downs that rival UFC brawls.”  Poetic flight of fancy, straightforward facts, or something in-between?  Look at this photo and you will be able to make a quick and correct decision.

DPReview’s very specialized story on ant Macro Photography is about the strange passion of Alex Wild who seems to have photographed ants in many parts of the world and seems to know a lot about their loves and lives to the extent that his website has a special section devoted to ‘Ants Fighting’ and has a top-level heading, ‘Ants’ where you’ll find out that, besides being a photographer, Wild is also a ‘Myrmecologist’!

All that explained, most any photographer interested in Macro Photography will be blown away by Wild’s photographs of insect warfare. 

A Humourist’s Gallery

How would you like to tickle a brown bear under the ‘armpits’ and make it howl with pleasure?  At least that’s what someone in a photo by camera-toting funnyman Zack Seckler seems to be doing – and to a wall-mounted stuffed animal, at that!

If that joke is a little too ‘hairy’ for you, how about a lion patiently waiting at a deer crossing?

PetaPixel has just run a story on Seckler’s photographic pranks and visual puns.  There is no doubting his imagination and his technical skills to execute his vision with a camera.  Seckler’s website has a whole section under the heading ‘Humor’ that’s loaded with whimsies galore.  

Seckler’s humour and artistry combined and found a high point in a marvellous photograph of some type of monkey or lemur in a barren, dead tree in a desert!

Any photographer who feels jaded and needs a ‘shot’ of inspiration might want to pay a visit to Seckler’s online gallery.

A Celebrity Passport-Picture Gallery

Okay, let’s double up on humour, shall we?

Sarah Gilbert and The Guardian are surely severely starstruck: this oh-so serious, snooty and high-minded newspaper says that celebrities’ “true glamour” cannot be “dim[med]” even by that terrifying and notorious glamour-dimmer (shudder!), the “brutality” (sic) of the “photo booth”

Leaf through this gallery to view an airbrushed pic of Marilyn, a flaky-looking Virginia Woolf, a scary, zombie-like Janis Joplin, and a waxwork of Whitney.  Whoever finds ‘true glamour’ here should try his/her chances searching for Long John Silver’s pieces of eight.

You’ll be chuckling and giggling all the way, not only at the photos, but, at The Guardian getting all silly and dizzy about funny photos.

 

Gobsmacked: Frogs Holding Umberellas!

July 24th, 2013 No Comments

This week’s edition of weird and off-the-wall news from the World of Photography is not at all weird or off-the-wall; it’s more like amazing, gobsmacking news.

Frogs Holding Umberellas – Really!

We know that chimps and monkeys use tools; it turns out that tree frogs do too – they use umberellas!  Three absolutely awesome photographs by Penkdix Palme were published by SWNS.com yesterday.  These photos show a frog clutching at the stem of a leaf, clearly using it as an umberella, to hold it over itself.  Two of the photographs show the amphibian angling the leaf transverse to the direction of the shower.

Let’s hope to heavens these photos are not manipulated in any way.  Why haven’t these images – scientifically groundbreaking ones? – gone viral?

Royal Baby == Crushed Photogs

By now you have probably seen a bunch of photos of England’s future sovereign with his proud parents.  But none of them have remotely been like this one.

Amateur Photographer reports on an unusual photo of the event.  Lewis Whyld has published a 360-degree photograph of the moment when parents and baby emerged into the street, depicting a media crush like no other.

The 360-degree panorama will sweep by itself aftere you press the ‘Play’ button; however, you can speed it along or reverse it by swiping on it.

‘Clowning Around’

Twenty-four hours back, the Baltimore Sun Darkroom ‘clowned around’ in Guatemala for Latin America’s Fifth Annual Clown Convention with some very viewable pics!

This gallery has photos that are explosions of vibrant, gaudy colour.  It also has photos filled with equally vibrant but harmonious colours.  

If you ever thought clowns are scary, Boo!  And if you think they’re funny, who could be funnier than this ‘little tramp’?  If they make you dizzy, try this pic.  But if you think that underneath it all they’re just like you and me, you’re probably the most correct.

We sign off with a special just for you, dear photographer! 

 

Story-Review-Gallery Combo

July 16th, 2013 No Comments

Story

Thank heavens we’re not ‘fanboys’ and thank heavens we don’t do reviews anyway!  DPReview has a short story about bogus online reviews that ‘dis’ one or another product.  These fake reviews are attributed to fanboys gone bad.  This news story is actually based on a bona fide academic study, Deceptive Reviews: The Influential Tail (40 pages) by Eric Anderson and Duncan Simester.  

It’s an open secret that some small-time brands and sellers purchase review writers’ ‘services.’  Anderson and Simester have uncovered a dual reverse phenomenon: some self-appointed reviewers post negative reviews . . . gratis! 

Briefly, the authors began with a set of reviews that were known to be genuine and another set that was known to be fake.  They used syntactic and linguistic analysis over these different sets to determine whether any patterns could be found, and voila!  These findings allow one to infer which review has a good chance of being a fake.

Electoral candidates well know the value of negative advertising during elections.  Clearly, some ‘fanboys’ are learning well from them.

Review

Having written what we have above, we’d better not sound negative about the Samsung Galaxy S4.  Fortunately, all we’re doing is concisely presenting what Daniel Bell has to say on ePHOTOzine about this android gadget.

This 13 MP smartphone camera has Full HD video and goodies like Panorama and HDR modes.  Notably, it has an AMOLED display – a Samsung-LG innovation from last year.

Image quality in all its facets is not something to get too excited about; then again, there’s nothing particularly poor about it.  Bell politely uses the word ‘good’ throughout this part of his review.

It edges the iPhone 5 on one score: high-res panoramas but in portraits it’s “not ideal” – they “aren’t great.”  Bell awards the Galaxy S4 two 3-1/2 stars and two 4 stars in ePHOTOzine’s four essential review criteria. 

Gallery

Masters of Vision is a British biennale that is due to open next month to “showcase the work of legendary master landscape photographer Joe Cornish and eight other inspirational UK landscape photographers,” reports Photography Blog.

Judging from the images on the website’s main page this exhibition is much about Ethereal Nature.

In truth this gallery is deserving of a full-length post, comprising as it does of some of the finest work of some of the country’s finest photographic artists

Take, for instance, Joe Cornish’s incredibly captured ‘God Beams’ bathing a hilly Northern landscape, making for an image that is quite transfixing.  Or David Baker’s minimalistic study of sky, waves and spume, radiating both beauty and menace.

Come to think of it, with the amazing variety and sheer number of gorgeous photographs in this gallery, why not dedicate a post exclusively to it . . . .

If this Story-Review-Gallery combo doesn’t do it for you, head over to today’s equivalent on our sister blog!

 

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