The Atacama Desert on the Chilean high plateau of Altiplano and the Mauna Kea Summit on the Big Island of Hawaii are generally recognized as the two best places for astronomical observations. However, in this article, I argue that the best place for amateur night sky photography is elsewhere. It is in Hawaii too, but on the Island of Maui. It is the extinct Haleakala volcano. Although smaller than the Mauna Kea volcano, Haleakala might actually be better suited for amateur photographers.
Among the many articles I have read here, at Photography Life, the most controversial are the ones that especially call my attention. Despite being against the polemics, I am in favor of sincere dialogue, because through dialogue we can grow internally too. In my opinion, there are several steps that one can take in order to make better pictures. Therefore, I invite you all to carry out a reflection on the subject.
Last week, for our How Was This Picture Made? series, I had posted a landscape photograph to share and discuss. Thanks to our PL commentators, Gary Bunton, Brian Webster, and Shane, for their participation and sage commentary on the techniques employed and the overall considerations. Well done!
The name Henri Cartier-Bresson does not immediately remind most people of landscape photography. It shouldn’t; he wasn’t a landscape photographer! Instead, of course, Henri Cartier-Bresson was a street photographer — arguably the founding father of the genre. However, although he rarely took photos of nature, his intimate approach to street photography still has value to people who prefer the company of grand landscapes. One technique is especially worth learning, no matter what genre of photography you do: the decisive moment.
In advance of my upcoming article on the directionality and quality of light, composition, and mood, I decided to post a landscape photograph to invite our readers to share their thoughts on how this photo was visualized and constructed. I made this particular photograph at one of my favorite subjects – the coastal bluffs at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in San Diego, CA.
More Photokina announcements are rolling in today and this time it is Sigma, with its headline-grabbing releases of upcoming Art and Sport-series lenses. With stellar lens designs such as the 35mm f/1.4 Art and 50mm f/1.4 Art lenses, we have been waiting for Sigma to release an 85mm f/1.4 Art lens for quite sometime now, so Sigma has finally delivered. The new 85mm f/1.4 Art promises to be a superb lens both in terms of sharpness and bokeh. Although Sigma is yet to provide MTF charts and lens construction images, the fact that there is no aspherical element in the lens design is an indication of the lens being optimized to yield pleasant-looking bokeh without onion rings, something that has plagued other Art-series Sigma lens designs. Its price is a bit steep at $1,199 MSRP, but it is still $400 cheaper than its Nikon counterpart.
Today is a big day for Fuji, because the company unveiled its first digital medium format mirrorless camera with a 51.4 MP sensor, the Fuji GFX 50S. And not only that, but also a total of 6 medium format “G” mount lenses specifically designed for the new GFX 50S: GF 23mm f/4 R LM WR (18mm equiv), GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR (32mm equiv), GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR (50mm equiv), GF 110mm f/2 (87mm equiv), GF 120mm f/4 Macro (95mm equiv) and GF 32-64mm f/4R LM WR (25-51mm equiv) zoom lens. Both the camera and the lenses are in development and they are not finalized yet, but we can expect the company to start shipping the camera with a couple of lenses in early 2017. Although the pricing has not been announced yet, the company promised that the GFX 50S will be well under $10K, which will put it in competition with the Hasselblad X1D-50c. Many would consider this announcement to be groundbreaking and I believe it really is – Fuji decided to skip full-frame mirrorless altogether, focusing heavily on APS-C cameras and now medium format. With Fuji’s ability to design superb lenses with impressive sharpness, color and contrast characteristics, I have no doubt that the GFX 50S will be in demand.
It has been a while since I posted the “How was this picture made #11?” article, where I showcased a very high resolution image of sand particles with tons of detail. The image was massive in size and resolution when I extracted it out of Lightroom. In fact, the image was so big, that I had to downsize it to 4096 pixel long resolution in order to keep the size at less than 10 MB with as much JPEG optimization as I could. When dealing with so much detail, even the highest JPEG compression levels will still yield large files, since there is so much pixel-level data. And that’s what you get when you have an image produced from a sensor that moves one pixel at a time in order to create a super high resolution image! And combined with the power of focus stacking multiple images, you get insane levels of detail from a macro shot like this. So how did I do it? Let’s talk about the specifics of this particular shot.
This summer’s Photography Life road trip has come to an end, but not before a final visit to Olympic National Park. After dropping John off at the Seattle airport, Nasim and I spent a couple of days exploring Washington’s dramatic coasts and rainforests, taking some photos and filming the remainder of our Composition chapter. Hopefully you have enjoyed these quick articles from the road. I certainly have had fun sharing our experiences!
As smartphones are getting better at capturing images year after year, one might be wondering when, if at all, we will see smartphones directly competing with larger cameras. Are we at the point, or perhaps might be soon approaching one, where it won’t make any sense to buy a high-end DSLR or a mirrorless camera to capture professional-looking images? Now that smartphones like the iPhone 7 Plus are shipping with dual lenses (one standard wide-angle lens and one telephoto lens to capture portraits) and some manufacturers are even pushing larger sensors to specifically appeal the photography market, it is no wonder why some photographers might think that a smartphone is all they need to get professional results. During the past few years, I have been using a variety of different cameras with sensors ranging from tiny 1/3″ all the way to medium format, so I thought it would be a good idea to write an article about this particular topic, with some images to represent different cameras and sensor sizes.