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This is how photos of fighter planes are taken mid-flight

The Royal Saudi Air Force recently organized a photo shoot of its fighter airplanes. But what’s even more interesting is that there are also a few BTS videos. Saudi journalist Enad al-Otaibi recently tweeted them, so you can see what it looks like to photograph fighter jets mid-flight. Spoiler alert: it looks pretty epic. The […]

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Photographer creates epic wildlife murals on his driveway with a pressure washer

Each of us spent our time differently in quarantine: some were super-creative with photography, while some devoted their time to other things. And photographer Ron Burkett created a beautiful and unusual piece of art during the lockdown. He used a pressure washer to draw an epic wildlife mural on his driveway and captured it from […]

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Stop making these mistakes when shooting with a wide-angle lens

photography, it comes with its own set of challenges when you’re new to using it. In this video, Mark Denney talks about the three most common mistakes photographers make when shooting with wide-angle lenses. I know I’m certainly guilty of some, are you? 1. Prime effect For the first six months of using a 16-35mm […]

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The lightsaber sound was inspired by a video projector motor and a TV set

We learned before that the original lightsaber was made from a flash handle ‘40s Graflex camera. That’s about its looks – but have you wondered how its sound was made? Sound Designer Ben Burtt recently revealed that the sound of the iconic movie weapon was inspired by a film projector motor and a TV set. […]

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Photographing Birds in the Water from a Custom Floating Hide

I’ve been enjoying bird photography from my custom-made floating hide for 3 years now. Being in the water with a variety of birds from waterfowl to wading birds and even Black Skimmers flying by my head has been an amazing experience. It becomes a much more connecting experience both to the natural areas I am in as well as my subject.

Many times the birds I’m photographing have no idea I am there and I get to capture their natural behavior. I’m a full-time wildlife photographer so I need to use any tool I can to help me capture unique photos that stand out.

My floating hide is based on 2 full-sized boogie boards, folding table legs, and a tripod column with the legs removed. I cut and bent and connected everything with random scraps of metal that I found in my father’s workshop. I’m often asked for the plans I used and unfortunately I don’t have any plans to share other than showing a photo of what I managed to make.

The requirements for myself were that it supports my 500mm f/4 and camera as well as supporting my weight as I sometimes swim behind the float when it gets too deep. The other major requirement was it had to disassemble entirely without any tools and fold up to fit in my car’s trunk. I don’t have a truck or SUV to store this in so it all had to pack down pretty small.

I thankfully have had zero incidents or close calls with getting my camera or lens wet using this floating hide design. It allows me to position my lens roughly 2–3 inches from the surface of the water to achieve an ideal water level perspective, and then when it’s time for me to move I can raise the camera and lens to about 12 inches above the water to prevent splashing or small waves from hitting my setup.

Recently I documented a behind the scenes video (at the top of this article) showing exactly how I set up, use, and photograph from this floating hide. I also recently acquired a dry suit and this was my first time using that. Until having this dry suit I would only go in the water during the summer months. I’ve tried my winter weather chest waders but found it very difficult to maneuver with them and stay dry. The drysuit has changed the game for me and will allow me to use my floating hide easily all winter long.

For this outing I had photographed this group of 5–6 Pied-billed Grebes for a couple of days from the shoreline, only managing to capture some mediocre photos. I figured getting in the water with them would provide me both with a unique perspective as well as the ability to get much closer. It worked out perfectly and I was able to capture them near the minimum focus of my lens and in a variety of lighting.

The one point I’d like to share with anyone interested in using a floating hide, either home-made or purchased, is that it is a lot of work to use. You don’t just go for a quick outing with these floating hides. It requires a decent time commitment to set up, use, then break down and clean. Thankfully I always find it worth the extra work to get the experience of being up and close with the birds I’m photographing. Plus being in the water, swimming around with my 500mm is so much fun!


About the author: Ray Hennessy is a full-time wildlife photographer based in New Jersey who specializes in bird photography. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Hennessy offers workshops and mentorships and is also available for assignments. You can find more of Hennessy’s work on his website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Watch: Monkey steals a man’s phone and takes a bunch of photos

When I hear “monkey selfie” or “stolen phone,” I don’t really imagine anything that ends happily. But here’s one story that involves a monkey stealing a phone and it even has a happy ending – and a few hilarious selfies. @zackrydz I lost my phone for 2 days and i thought it was stolen by […]

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How to Photograph Dogs like Elliott Erwitt

The relationship between man and dog is unlike man’s relationship with any other animal on the planet. When it comes to animal photography, you can find many books, online lessons, or YouTube videos showing you and teaching you how to photograph animals… so that they look like animals. This article is not going to be the typical wildlife photography manual where you sneak up on a dog in a nature documentary style or take a shot with an 800mm lens hidden in the mud.

Today I would like to talk about one of my favorite photographers, Elliott Erwitt, and his approach to dog photography.

If you are familiar with the photographs of Elliott Erwitt, you know they usually share some aesthetic qualities as well as superb composition. After seeing so many of his photographs I can usually recognize his style even if I find one of his photos that I’ve never seen before.

I take a lot of pictures of dogs because I like dogs and because they don’t object to being photographed and they also don’t ask for prints. —Elliott Erwitt

Elliott Erwitt is a French-born American photographer and filmmaker. Erwitt started photography in high school taking pictures at proms and working in the darkroom. For him, photography was primarily a way of working independently for himself. As he says the only other steady job was the one from the army. After he got out of the army, he joined Magnum Photos, the cooperative with some of the biggest names in the industry.

What I admire about Elliott Erwitt is that he is one of the few professional photographers who is actually more famous for his personal work.

I am a professional photographer with a significant hobby which is photography. —Elliott Erwitt

So how does Elliott Erwitt photograph dogs? Let’s take a closer look. Elliott Erwitt took his first dog picture in 1946, but that wasn’t the first time a dog was a subject for art. We can track the relationship between dog and man all the way back to almost 15,000 years ago.

Drawn in caves, loved and used during prehistoric times, and in ancient Egypt, well… coming a close second. Dogs have always served art as subjects and symbols. The role of the dog in society has changed many times from working companions, war soldiers, to fully-fledged family members.

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In the 1990s Elliot Erwitt was increasingly showing images – many which had not been shared publicly since they were created in the late 1940s and early 1950s – that put him squarely in the firmament of this revered period of fine art photography.⁠ .⁠ They demonstrate a conscious breaking of the then-contemporary photographic standards – perfect exposure, full tonal range, sharp focus, traditional composition – coupled with an existential “tough love” treatment of America, cloaked in the aura of the film noir motion pictures of the period that hung over this generation of photographers.⁠ .⁠ A selection of photographs spanning the career of Elliott Erwitt bringing together many of his most remarkable images – including this one – are available on the Magnum Shop as part of our New York fine prints collection.⁠ .⁠ Tap link in bio to explore the prints in the selection.⁠ .⁠ PHOTO: Felix, Gladys and Rover. New York, USA. 1974.⁠ .⁠ © #ElliottErwitt/#MagnumPhotos⁠ .⁠ #NewYorkCity #NewYork #streetphotography

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In the 19th century, we can see dogs starting to appear as portrait subjects. Slowly but surely dogs took their place at man’s side and have never left it since. As photography became more accessible and affordable to the general public millions of people started to take photos and, of course, dogs also served as subjects. When I look at Erwitt’s approach to photographing dogs I can identify certain qualities that his photos share and which makes them unique.

It starts with a focus on the subject. When he photographs dogs Erwitt makes dogs his primary subjects. He looks at the dogs before he looks at anything else. If the dog is interesting. If the situation the dog is in is interesting, he takes the shot. But these dogs do not serve just as complementary subjects to humans, it is actually quite the opposite. The secondary subject is the human.

And yeah, there is also one, rather special thing, he does to attract a dog’s attention.

I bark at dogs and get odd reactions sometimes, in this case, every time I barked the dog jumped. —Elliott Erwitt

The thing with Erwitt’s dogs is that when you look at his photographs the dogs are photographed in positions where they kind of resemble humans. Which I think is the key. To show human-like qualities with a non-human subject often resolves into those humorous situations which may or may not be intentional.

I don’t get up in the morning and decide I am going to be funny the thing I photograph for my own pleasure have a certain signature some of them are ironic, some of them are amusing but again it’s nothing that I plan it’s just a way things appear to me. —Elliott Erwitt

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“A few years back while looking through my inventory of pictures to assemble a retrospective book and exhibition of random photographs taken on my travels, I was surprised by the preponderance of dogs. Obviously, my sympathy for the creatures was deeper than I had imagined.” – Elliott Erwitt⁠ .⁠ Today on Magnum, the photographer reveals the story behind the picture, recalling how he borrowed a camera to capture the surreal situation before him. ⁠ .⁠ Tap the link in bio to read the story.⁠ .⁠ The contact sheet print, and a fine print of the image itself, are available in our New York: Photographing the City collection, on the Magnum Shop now.⁠ .⁠ PHOTO: New York City, USA. 2000.⁠ .⁠ © #ElliottErwitt/#MagnumPhotos

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There is a certain mystique about these legendary photographers and street photography in general like you should do this and never do that, never stage a picture, never crop a picture. Which I feel I should debunk a little. I think that in the end, it is about the artist’s vision. When, for example, you look at one of Erwitt’s famous dog photographs, the Dogs Dog picture, you might be quite surprised that this was how the original picture actually looked.

I think Erwitt is a great example of a photographer just being a photographer, photographing around making photographs… if that makes any sense.

You can see that when he was asked about personal identity, philosophy, or larger statements of his photography in a TV interview.

“What about dogs just simple themes are you making a large statement when you photograph dogs — particular in juxtapositions to humans both in terms of size, scale?” asked Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel on Visions and Images.

Elliott Erwitt replied: “I really don’t know, I think I guess it’s not a very satisfactory answer but I really don’t think about the big picture or what I’m doing — I just take pictures and hope that something comes out of it. I don’t go into taking the snapshots with any large idea.”

Apart from his brilliant use of composition techniques such as echoing shapes, coincidences, or juxtapositions. Erwitt’s photographs show dogs not only behaving or misbehaving like real dogs but also with the human-like elements.

Anyway, the thing with casual photographs is that the opportunity to make them appears irregularly.

When Elliott Erwitt saw this scene for the first time, he immediately knew this would be a great photograph. However, he found himself without his camera to capture it. Fortunately, he was able to borrow a camera from his friend Hiroji Kubota, another Magnum member, and take the shot. And when I say a shot, I mean 24 frames of the scene.

Methodically shooting around until he found the perfect composition. The one that you see here is actually the last one on the roll.

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In the 1990s Elliot Erwitt was increasingly showing images – many which had not been shared publicly since they were created in the late 1940s and early 1950s – that put him squarely in the firmament of this revered period of fine art photography.⁠ .⁠ They demonstrate a conscious breaking of the then-contemporary photographic standards – perfect exposure, full tonal range, sharp focus, traditional composition – coupled with an existential “tough love” treatment of America, cloaked in the aura of the film noir motion pictures of the period that hung over this generation of photographers.⁠ .⁠ A selection of photographs spanning the career of Elliott Erwitt bringing together many of his most remarkable images – including this one – are available on the Magnum Shop as part of our New York fine prints collection.⁠ .⁠ Tap link in bio to explore the prints in the selection.⁠ .⁠ PHOTO: Felix, Gladys and Rover. New York, USA. 1974.⁠ .⁠ © #ElliottErwitt/#MagnumPhotos⁠ .⁠ #NewYorkCity #NewYork #streetphotography

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So carrying a camera around definitely helps. Other than that you just need to practice. So go out and take pictures. Photograph what you love and get better with every frame you take. After all, it is just like Elliot Erwitt says.

Photography is not rocket science. Essentially you buy the camera and follow the instructions on the box. I think the most important thing you can do in a photograph or in photography is to evoke emotion, to make people either laugh or cry or both emotions at the same time if you can achieve that I think you’ve done well. —Elliott Erwitt


A collection of Erwitt’s dog photos were published in a photo book titled Elliott Erwitt’s Dogs.


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.


Image credits: Featured thumbnail portrait of Erwitt by Alessio Jacona and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Inside the Mind of a Self-Doubting Photographer

Photographer Taylor Jackson made this 7-minute short film titled “Bad Photographer” that may resonate with you if you find yourself often struggling with self-doubt and negative thoughts about your work.

The film was shot over 3 days in Iceland and is a look into the mind of a photographer who struggles with putting work out there and fearful of the negative criticism that may result.

After quickly receiving a couple of negative comments after posting a photo online, the protagonist (Jackson) spirals into “a waterfall of negative energy”:

“I am a fraud. I should not be a photographer. Everyone sees that, but only few are brave enough to say it. This is so embarrassing. Should I take the photo down, or am I just reading the words wrong? Am I really a bad photographer, so bad that I don’t even see it?”

These types of thoughts are common in the journey of growing as a creative. What should be encouraging to you if you struggle with them, however, is the fact that they may in fact be an indication that you’re growing in your skills.

Studies have found that it’s generally incompetent people who think they’re amazing, and that people are only able to recognize their shortcomings more as they grow in competence. This is known as the Dunning–Kruger effect.

In a study conducted by Canon back in 2016, the company found that 80% of people rated their own photography skills as “good to excellent.”

“People with a moderate amount of experience or expertise often have less confidence in their abilities [than beginners] — they know enough to know that there’s a lot they don’t know,” the TED-Ed video above states.

“It’s about the artist’s journey,” Jackson tells PetaPixel regarding his short film. “Overcoming negative thoughts, and doing what’s right for you. […] It’s a struggle all creatives have to deal with, and one that very few of us are comfortable talking about.”

This 550MP image of the Carina Nebula merges 208,000 photos shot through a consumer telescope

I have only recently begun to discover astronomy, but it’s an even more expensive hobby than photography. So, I’m really happy to see that you can take stunning photos even through a tiny consumer telescope. And I mean, really stunning! This 550-megapixel photo shows star clusters and nebulae in great detail, and it was taken […]

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