In a video commissioned by Apple, Donghoon and James of Incite Design show off some incredible visuals captured by the company’s latest smartphone, the iPhone 12 Pro. The two show how they did it in this 5-minute behind-the-scenes explanation.
“We were enamored with the idea of trying to create a fictional universe,” Donghoon said. “In the past, we weren’t able to get the look that we wanted. I really had to fight the darkness.”
Donhoon continued, “We had to contend with, ‘How do you film darkness?’ What are the parts that build up this fictional universe?”
“With the iPhone 12 Pro, we were able to shoot so much better in low light,” James said.
The duo used a combination of plasma, different colored lasers, as well as different materials to produce a mix of visual effects. The behind-the-scenes video also shows how the two used different liquids to produce a flowing “clouds” effect.
The number of different ideas, machines, and techniques that Donhoon and James talk about in this video come in at a rapid-fire pace, and perhaps more impressive than the final visuals are the interesting ways that the two created desired looks. In one clip they show how they dropped the phone directly into rocks that they had fired upwards using a piston, and in another, they use magnets and iron filings with the camera very close to the surface. One step further, they use ferrofluid to create rapidly flowing ripples that flow wildly on camera.
The final video is definitely worth your time to watch after seeing the methods the two used to create it:
If you have ever been curious about how creators make some of the most interesting practical effects, even this short video will hit you with a large number of outstanding ideas that are worth considering. Though Apple warns “do not attempt” in the behind-the-scenes look, it’s likely more to prevent someone from damaging their phone than it is a warning about experimenting with different materials and lighting.
If you’re interested in what Incite Design has done here, you can follow them on Instagram for more examples of their outstanding effects work.
Yesterday, iFixit finally tore into the brand new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro (the Pro Max isn’t available yet) during a 1 hour and 30 minute-long live stream. And about 44 minutes in, they got to the part we’re most interested in: the cameras.
If you followed the announcementcoverage, you’ll know that the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro both feature a wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle cameras, with the Pro adding on a telephoto camera and a LiDAR sensor for depth scanning and low-light autofocus. The biggest photo-related upgrade—a much larger sensor for the wide-angle imager—is being reserved for the Pro Max.
Knowing all of this, it isn’t much of a surprise to find out that that iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are pretty much identical in terms of design. So identical, in fact, that they use the exact same camera connectors, even though the 12 Pro has an extra camera and a LiDAR sensor to deal with. As a result, the 12 includes a piece of plastic “spacer” to fill in the empty space where the other two modules would normally go.
“Turns out these phones are so similar, that where the Pro keeps its extra camera module + LiDAR sensor, the standard 12 has… a plastic spacer,” writes iFixit. “Surprisingly, both iPhones use the same camera connectors—even though the Pro has three cameras while the standard 12 has two. It’s a clever bit of socket sharing that allows Apple to use the same logic board design for both. We successfully installed the Pro’s triple camera module onto the dual-module 12 and got it to work! But only at 1x zoom.”
Check out the full teardown recording up top to see these things for yourself, and get an up-close look at the dual- and triple-camera modules inside these phones.
Of course, this feels kind of like a warm up… the opening act for the teardown we’re really excited about: the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Apple made much of the “47% larger” image sensor with IBIS that’s inside that phone—promising some major performance improvements along the way—and we’re very curious to see how it compares to the iPhone 12 Pro module above.
Image credits: Photos courtesy of iFixit, CC BY-NC-SA.
Steve Giralt is a New York City-based director, visual engineer, and founder of production company The Garage. He shoots those visually-stunning commercials you see on TV, and while most studios keep secret how they are made, Giralt wants to share it all with the world.
His latest project is called The Garage Learning and is live on Kickstarter. Giralt’s goal is to provide a mammoth amount of resources for filmmakers of all skill levels to allow them to create content to the level he and his team have been reaching for years.
The Garage Learning is broken into three categories: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
Beginner lessons are for creators with smartphones as their main visual tool, and little to no Visual Engineering experience. “If you love to tinker, create, experiment, and learn—or are a parent looking for hands-on, educational activities for your kids—these courses are for you,” Giralt says.
Intermediate/Advanced lessons are for users who may have a DSLR or Mirrorless camera, and maybe even some lights. “You may be a still photographer who wants to get into shooting better videos, or a film student who wants to learn how commercials are engineered. If you’re comfortable with using your camera and have had some experience with photography or film, you’ll be able to get these lessons as part of our One Year Intermediate/Advanced Subscription, or as part of the Professional Subscription.”
Pro lessons are designed for working professionals who want to learn new techniques and ways of working with higher-end cameras and tools; or for those interested in learning how to manage a commercial image-making business.
The Garage Learning has uploaded the a work-in-progress course list:
The Garage Learning isn’t just the education, it also can include the actual tools needed to coordinate motion of objects with the camera. Called Learning Kits, The Garage wants to be able to ship you all the technological tools you will need to use in conjunction with the online courses. “The Learning Kits will bring technology and engineering skills to filmmaking, giving users a hands-on way of learning complicated mechanical and electrical systems normally not taught in any sort of art school,” Giralt says.
The Garage Learning has a particularly high goal for its Kickstarter, something that many projects on the site avoid because it makes it harder to reach the goal. However, given the amount Giralt is seeking, it feels more transparent than what other projects do because it seems like he knows how much it’s going to cost to effectively execute on the promises.
Still, remember that Kickstarter is not a pre-order platform, so do your research and pledge with caution.
You can learn more about The Garage Learning and pledge your support on its Kickstarter page.
In just one relatively small “bulge” of the Soul Nebula (also known as Westerhout 5) in the constellation of Cassiopeia, the Hubble Space Telescope has captured an image of a star that is still being born.
The corner of the nebula cloud is about 7,500 light-years away and the small corner in question, called J025157.5+600606, depicts what is known as a FrEGGs – Free-Floating Evaporating Gaseous Globules. FrEGGs were only very recently discovered and require a specific set of conditions in order to occur.
According to a description on ScienceAlert, stars in these large clouds of stellar “nurseries” are formed from “cool clumps of dense molecular hydrogen that collapse under their own gravity.” As a result, these stars come into being “nestled in thick, molecular clouds.”
“When a very massive, hot star starts to shine, their intense ultraviolet radiation ionizes their birth cloud, creating a large, hot bubble of ionized gas called a Strömgren sphere,” ScienceAlert describes.
FrEGGs are the dense clumps of cooler gas that cluster around a Strömgren sphere and apparently many of these can continue to form stars of their own.
The boundary between the FrEGGs and the sphere is depicted in the image from the Hubble telescope as the glowing purple region. “Because the FrEGGs are so dense, this process doesn’t stop the star formation occurring inside. But it does, ultimately, hinder it, curtailing the gas supply that would feed the star forming within.” As a result, the stars born inside a FrEGGs are relatively low mass when compared to other stars.
These smaller lower mass, cooler temperature stars can actually last longer than the larger, hotter siblings. Some suggest this might be how our own star, often poetically referred to as Sol, was formed.
If you’re curious how photos like the ones here are constructed, it’s not as straightforward as you might think. The Hubble Space Telescope doesn’t capture full-color images, as described in a 2015 interview with CalTech scientist Robert Hurt.
“The main difference between normal astronomical data collection and earthbound photography is that astronomy is intrinsically monochromatic,” Hurt told Resource Magazine. “That image may be obtained through a filter, a detector, but we’re only getting back one channel of information at a time.”
The beautiful colors seen in the image of J025157.5+600606 were interpreted from the multi-channel infrared images sent back from Hubble by a trained scientist like Hurt.
Hubble captured the above image of anotehr FrEGGs earlier this year, also located in Cassiopeia. You can learn more about that image here.
As you may very well know, long exposure photography is a method by which you expose a sensor to a scene for an extended period of time. But in this 15-minute video, PiXimperfect asks the question, then isn’t a video just a long exposure? Well, not really, but you can use a video to make long exposure photos.
PiXimperfect has two examples in this video where he shows off this method: one with moving clouds, the other with stars. In either case, you’re going to need both Premiere Pro and Photoshop to pull it off.
The first step is to export a short video sequence as a JPEG. You can do this easily in the export pane where you can tell Premiere to export as JPEG. Remember, if your frame rate is 24p, that’s 24 frames for each second of video. For this method, you’re therefore not going to want too long of a video clip or it will take longer to export and leave you with a ton of clips to work into the next step.
Once you have each frame exported as a JPEG, import them into Photoshop by going to File, click on Scripts, and then click Load Files into Stack.
Select the images you want to import and bring those files into Photoshop. In this step, you’re not going to want to exceed 500 images or you’re going to significantly hamper your computer (unless you’ve got a serious workhorse of an edit machine). The loading process is going to take some time, but after they’re all in as individual layers, you can start to work with them.
Next, select all the layers and convert them all into a single smart object. Then go to Layer, Stack Mode, and select Mean. What this will do is have Photoshop take a look at all the images in the stack and find the mathematic mean of them all and display that as a single image.
The result will give you blurred motion without changing any parts of the image that remained constant, like buildings, mountains, or other stationary objects.
For a star trail image, follow pretty much the same steps as outlined above, but instead of selecting the Stack Mode of Mean, select Maximum.
Looking at the results here, this is a really stellar trick to getting long exposure images without using the traditional methods. The only downside is you will be limited to working JPEGs (unless you shoot RAW video) and your image size will only be your video resolution. Still, you can get some really great results quickly and easily.
If you are a fan of timelapse work, you can translate many of his steps to working with full-size images in Lightroom. Once you’ve gotten your edits in Lightroom done, you can export those images as JPEGs and bring them into Photoshop as a smart object, much the same as he did with the video file, and get similar results but with full size finished images.
Every Sunday, we bring together a collection of easy reading articles from analytical to how-to to photo-features in no particular order that did not make our regular daily coverage. Enjoy!
Which iPhone 12 Is Best for Photographers? – PC Mag Apple’s lineup includes four phones with three different camera stacks. The main lens has a new optical formula. It maintains the same 26mm (full-frame equivalent) focal length but sports seven molded plastic elements and an f/1.6 aperture, gathering just a little bit more light than the iPhone 11’s f/1.8 main lens. In the flagship offering, the iPhone 12 Pro Max (starting at $1,099), its ultra-wide lens matches all the other models, but its main 26mm f/1.6 lens is backed by a larger image sensor and is stabilized using a sensor-shift method, similar to what’s offered in many interchangeable lens cameras. It won’t be available at launch, but serious photographers have one other reason to jump to a Pro phone this year—Apple ProRaw.
Notable:The Pro Max phone, for the first time, also stabilize images by shifting the sensor, rather than the lens elements, which Apple said lets you take handheld shots with a surprisingly long 2-second exposure time.
A Frame by Frame Account of the Denver Protest Shooting– The Denver Post Helen H. Richardson, a photographer at The Denver Post, was steps away from a fatal shooting while covering a rally and a counterprotest. The Denver Post decided to publish the full sequence of 71 images in chronological order along with the timestamps and other information recorded by the camera. Below each image is additional metadata recorded by the Nikon D5 onto each image file, including the filenames, the frame number the model of the camera used, focal length of the 24-70mm zoom lens used, the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings for each image. In the photo of Mr. Keltner lying on the ground (just after the shooting), Mr. Dolloff (the suspected shooter), his head turned hard to his left, appears to look directly at Ms. Richardson’s camera. “In that moment it felt like it was only me and him,” Richardson said. “Is he going to start spraying bullets into the crowd?” she tells The New York Times. “I had no bulletproof vest, nothing.”
How to Add Words to Pictures– Conscientious Photo Magazine Many photographers are terrible at talking about their work. You might find solace in the old excuse that you’re an artist, and as such you’re not a writer or talker. Knowing what your work is about and where it was coming from makes great raw material to speak and write about. More often than not, photographers attempt to write as pompously as possible. Don’t do that. Talk or write in a manner that feels natural to you. First and foremost, practice speaking about your work for your own growth. Being able to do it in front of an audience is merely a bonus.
I do not think that I have a talent for writing. I now am able to write reasonably well because I worked on it for many years, a process that entailed writing on a regular basis. Usually, writing is not something that I enjoy doing… For sure, it has given me deeper access to engaging with photography. —Jörg M. Colberg
“I photograph anything that can be exposed to light.” —Imogen Cunningham
Fact:Gender Pay Gap. Getty curator in the Department of Photographs, Paul Martineau writes that, in the 1930s, when Cunningham began shooting for Vanity Fair, Cunningham was selling her work for $10 per picture. Her colleague Edward Steichen, by contrast, was making $35,000 per year as a chief photographer for Condé Nast, the media conglomerate that owns Vanity Fair. In 1913, she wrote a manifesto called Photography as a Profession for Women. She insisted that women photographers were just as physically able to undertake the then-laborious process of shooting and developing photographs.
Previously Unseen Photographs of John Lennon and Yoko Ono at Home– AnOther Brian Hamill, the “devoted and fiercely loyal New Yorker,” has spent over 50 years garnering acclaim as both a photojournalist and a still photographer on seminal movie sets (Annie Hall, The Conversation, A Woman Under the Influence). Much to his delight, the avid rock’n’roll fan also had the opportunity to meet and photograph John Lennon, including while performing what would be his final concert in Madison Square Gardens in 1972. As with all Hamill’s work, his images of the Beatle and his artist wife – newly published in a photo book titled Dream Lovers – are masterfully composed and wonderfully candid. “I do a minimal amount of direction – when it’s a journalistic look, I find it best to let people do their thing and shoot away,” he explains over the phone in a gruff, warm Brooklyn accent.
Notable:On December 8, 1980, Annie Leibovitz took the most iconic photograph in rock’ n’ roll history for Rolling Stone. The picture features artist Yoko Ono and husband, John Lennon. The former, late Beatles singer is curled in a fetal position around his wife; eyes closed, he kisses her cheek. Lennon would never see the cover as hours later he was shot outside his building, the Dakota, on New York’s Upper West Side.
Quiz:Who was on the cover of Rolling Stone’s inaugural issue in 1967? Again. John Lennon.
“Black people have been killed for directing their gaze at the wrong person. I want my subjects to reclaim their right to look, to see, to be seen.” – Dawoud Bey
What Is Bokeh in Photography, and How Do You Create It?– How-To Geek Bokeh refers to the shape and quality of the out-of-focus area in a photo. It’s most noticeable how specular highlights and point lights are rendered, but it’s present everywhere. Several lens design elements affect how bokeh appears. The first is the number of aperture blades in the lens. For example, a lens with seven aperture blades produces heptagons, while a lens with nine (or more) produces more rounded bokeh. A wider aperture will produce bigger, rounder bokeh. Whether the bokeh is Good Bokeh or Bad Bokeh is highly subjective.
Quiz: How do you pronounce bokeh? “Boh-keh,” something like okay.
Notable: Bokeh comes from the Japanese word “boke,” which means something close to blur or haze, although it’s a lot more nuanced than that. In 1997, the “h” was added by Photo Techniques editor Mike Johnston, so the written form more closely resembled the pronunciation.
Richard Avedon’s Wall-Size Ambitions– The New York Times Richard Avedon, who made advertising images for six decades, also created striking group portraits that he hoped would signal a new level of rigorous intention. But why didn’t the art world notice? For the celebrated photographer, the wall piece of The Chicago Seven, 1969, which was about 8.5×12′ was a monument as much as a document. He also created the 31′ long Andy Warhol and Members of the Factory group. Avedon would make two more mural-size group portraits, reflecting a new level of rigorous artistic intention. Yet the art world did not grant full acknowledgment to the “celebrity photographer” as the consequential artist he was until the end of his life. He died in 2004.
Notable:Katy Grannan, who was in the 2004 Whitney Biennial, suggests why Avedon was not much talked about in his time. “In hindsight, this is probably because he broke an unwritten rule. You could be a fine art photographer, a photojournalist, or a celebrity photographer, but you couldn’t be all three. Avedon was everything.”
Adobe Stock Free Collection ‘Devalues’ Stock Photography– Inside Imaging Adobe Stock has announced theFree Collection, a collection of 70,000 images and videos available for in a free commercial license, and stock photographers are naturally unimpressed at how this further devalues their content. “The trend of free imagery websites isn’t going away, and we want to be part of a positive solution for creators,” Adobe explains on the Free Collection page. They describe the move as also “supporting creatives as well as driving traffic to paid assets.” Customers without a paid Adobe Stock account can download up to 100 images per day, which comes with Adobe’s same standard or enhanced license.
Quiz:What percentage of revenue does Adobe generate from stock sales? About 2%. Approx. $250 million in an $11 billion company.
Quote of the Week: “Color rendition is more critical to picture quality than resolution or dynamic range …, color rendition is how the picture actually looks…” – Ken Rockwell in reviewing the Nikon Z 7II.
We welcome comments as well as suggestions. As we cannot possibly cover each and every source, if you see something interesting in your reading or local newspaper anywhere in the world, kindly forward the link to us here. ALL messages will be personally acknowledged.
About the author: Phil Mistry is a photographer and teacher based in Atlanta, GA. He started one of the first digital camera classes in New York City at The International Center of Photography in the 90s. He was the director and teacher for Sony/Popular Photography magazine’s Digital Days Workshops. You can reach him via email here.
Image credits: All photographs as credited and used with permission from the photographers or agencies.
Over the past seven months, Ilford has been publishing a set of helpful “Darkroom Guides” to the How To playlist on the company YouTube channel. The series was created to help film photographers take their “next steps in your black and white darkroom printing journey.” If that describes you, then this is one you’ll want to bookmark.
There’s a lot of information out there about film photography—including some exceptional websites like EMULSIVE that are exclusively dedicated to film lovers—but if you’re looking for “how to” advice, one great place to start is right at the source. Ilford’s channel is filled with great behind the scenes videos, how to videos, and some fascinating photo stories besides.
This particular series features Rachel Brewster-Wright—the owner of Little Vintage Photography—who uses each episode to walk you though one key darkroom technique. The series begins with an introduction to Dodge and Burn and moves on to more advanced techniques as the episodes roll on. By episode four, you’re learning how to use multigrade filters to take your printing to the next level.
There are currently four episodes live, which you can see for yourself below:
Episode 1: Dodge & Burn
Episode 2: Selenium Toner
Episode 3: Photographic Papers
Episode 4: Multigrade Filters
We hope to see more videos with Brewster in the coming months. In the meantime, if you enjoyed this then definitely check out Ilford’s full “How To” playlist for lots more tips and tutorials on shooting, developing, and printing your film photography.
American people standing up to the Soviets! America needs Nixon! These were some of the tag lines attached to this photo during Nixon’s presidential campaign in 1960. But behind every picture, there is a story. And this is one of those photos where the story is just as good as the picture.
How many times have you heard the phrase: “truth is in the eye of the beholder”?
We’ve seen it many times in the history of photography and photojournalism. Some photographs are just not what they appear to be. Sometimes the composition is corrected later in the post, sometimes pictures of casual moments are staged, and sometimes the story behind the photograph is completely different from the reality that the photo purports to portray.
The medium of photography represents the vision of the artist as they capture a two-dimensional representation of their three-dimensional reality. But for the viewer, looking at a photo is ultimately an act of interpretation: it is never purely objective, and often needs additional explanation.
It’s true, sometimes a good photo needs no explanation. However, in photojournalism, it is often crucial to describe the situation so the picture is not misinterpreted. And it’s the photographer, is the author of the photo, who should be the final authority when it comes to sharing their story.
But what if the story of your photograph was hijacked and misinterpreted? What would you do? That is actually what happened to Elliott Erwitt: the French-born American photographer known for his advertising and documentary photography was put into a situation where his story was flipped upside down and used as a campaign slogan.
It was July 24th, 1959 when the then Vice President Richard Nixon visited the American national exhibition in Moscow. The exhibition was showcasing American art, fashion, cars, model homes, kitchens, and more in “Typical American Houses”. It was basically introducing the American lifestyle to a wider public in Soviet Russia.
The now famous kitchen debate happened in the house called Splitnik, which was created from the words “split” and Sputnik (Sputnik being the famous satellite the Soviets had launched into orbit two years earlier). It is here in Splitnik that Elliot Erwitt captured the now-iconic moment between Nixon and Khrushchev.
The photograph happened in typical Erwitt fashion. He was in Moscow working for Westinghouse Electric, taking pictures of refrigerators and their installation for Macy’s kitchens.
“When Nixon famously wagged his finger at Khrushchev, nobody from the media was there. Only me,” recalled Erwitt. “I happened to be at the right place at the right time. I was in the kitchen free to move. it was like shooting fish in a barrel.”
This seems to be a recurring theme in Erwitt’s photography. As he once famously proclaimed:
The best things happen because you just happen to be somewhere with a camera. Some of my colleagues in Magnum go to places on purpose to do news, but the historic pictures I have made have been by sheer accident.
Nixon’s staff would use this photograph during his presidential campaign to show Nixon standing up to the Soviets, when in reality they were actually discussing something completely different at that moment. The argument was about cabbage soup vs. red meat…
As you can see, this moment was… twisted a bit… to try and help Nixon in his campaign. A campaign he ultimately lost to JFK.
The whole story comes to light when we look at the contact sheets; it actually seems as though the discussion was rather friendly, and we can even see Khrushchev in a similar position as Nixon in one photograph. But truth is in the eye of the beholder, right?
This is why photography as a medium can never be 100% objective. Simply put, what is included and/or left out is chosen by the photographer. When I started studying photography and looked for the sources to learn from, I was often told to look at the pictures of great photography masters, because you will often learn far more than composition techniques.
If there is one thing we can take from this story, I think it would be that a simple twist to reality can change the narrative of a single photograph.
News and the media will push you to decide why a photo is the way it is. However, if you look at a photo both subjectively and objectively, you might discover its truth for yourself. In today’s digital age, I think this is a very important skill.
Ultimately, you are the beholder.
About the author: Martin Kaninsky is a photographer, reviewer, and YouTuber based in Prague, Czech Republic. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Kaninsky runs the channel All About Street Photography. You can find more of his work on his website, Instagram, and YouTube channel.
If you’ve seen the movie Inception, you’re likely very familiar with that one scene where physical space is bent on top of itself. It’s one of the movie’s most iconic visuals, and in this 3-minute video, COOPH shows how you can easily make your own photos with an Inception vibe with a drone.
The first technique the video tackles is what they call the “drone wall,” which involves splicing two images taken at different angles together. This simple method requires first that you photograph your subject from directly above, and then again at a 90-degree angle difference. You can then Photoshop the images together so it appears like the first image is a “wall” above the second.
The second method COOPH calls the “drone fold,” and requires three photos to bring to live. YOu start by taking a first image while keeping the drone close and at a low angle. You then take your second photo from slightly farther away, looking closer towards the ground. The last photo is taken from directly above, and the three images can be combined to create a sheer-cliff effect:
The last method is what COOPH calls Drone Distortion, is a bit more complicated and requires multiple images. When you’ve determined the subject if your image, you then start at a low, horizontal angle and fly in a curve. The goal is to slowly change the angle of the camera to point downwards as you curve the flight path upwards. In the example shown, this method takes at leat four images to achieve the effect.
This final technique also requires the most work in Photoshop, as you need to line up the lines perfectly from all the photos in order to get a smooth transition. This may require warping the images in order to pull off. If done right though, the result can be pretty great: