Spring is finally creeping into town (although very slowly here in San Francisco) and I’ve been way into the AA tri-blend tees this year. So I printed up a modified version of the Vuela Print on Heather Grey tees for your sunny weather enjoyment. As always, you can get yours over at the ISO50 Shop. I’m also clearing out a lot of the older designs to get ready for summer so you’ll find lots of shirts marked down 20-30%. All marked down shirts are the final pressing of that particular design/colorway.
On a related note I’ve been spending a lot more time trying to learn the ins and outs of product photography. I’ve been shooting the products for years but I’ve never spent enough time worrying about the color accuracy of the output. After all this time working with cameras you’d think it would come easy, but I was surprised to find how difficult it was to get good shots when the goal is creating a color accurate representation of an inanimate object. With my creative photography I’m always trying my best to make things appear inaccurate and I guess old habits die hard. For the shots above I used a tungsten photo bulb/can light along with a Quad CF lamp from Calumet. I had been using 3 lights but it turned out that hitting the subject from the right side and front with lights and letting some natural light in from the left (there was a window there) made for better dynamics so I’ve been sticking with the 2 light setup.
The last couple product shoots were the first times I’ve used a Gretag card to calibrate the camera color temperature under the lights. That and shooting in NEF RAW really went a long way to getting a solid foundation, but there was still a lot of work done in post. Having the calibrated monitor definitely helped at that point, but the real key I found was changing my own perception of the image and training myself to see it in a different way than I’m used to. I always catch myself slipping and trying to make the shots look interesting or enhanced and then have to step back and realize that this needs to be a literal representation of the real object. At any rate, I’ve got a ways to go (can’t even imagine how they get all those high end fashion shots) but it’s been surprisingly interesting learning the subtitles and nuance of a new kind of photography. It certainly is it’s own art form. I’m sure a lot of you have some product photography chops, feel free to share any of your tricks of the trade in the comments.
Also, I know I’ve been promising it for a long time, and I assure you, a very detailed post about color calibration is on the way. The project has sort of taken on a life of it’s own and I’ve brought Alex on board to help with research and production. We’re going to be shooting an interview with a color expert in the next couple weeks and we should wrap the post soon after that so stay tuned!
Photographs by Catherine Wagner from her book Art & Science. They are all part of the same project for which she travelled to major laboratories around the US and captured many different elements of the scientific experience; everything from beakers (my favorite) to bone marrow smears. As the intro states: “The resulting images offer the opportunity to encounter science in an innovative and unusual manner, as they bridge the distances between art, science and everyday life.”
I’ll be heading back to my other favorite city today for the F5 fest. I’m staying a few extra days as I haven’t had the chance to really enjoy myself the last few times I’ve been in NYC. Jakub scored some tickets to the Brainfeeder/Flying Lotus show @ Love so we’ll definitely be making it out to that. I’m brining the Nikon and the new little Canon (which, by the way, I’ve been loving) for some undercover HD video action; I’ll post up the results as they roll in.
I love digital technology. I love the convenience, the economy, the permanence, and the instantness (yes, that’s actually a word….who knew). So I’m constantly trying to trick myself into believing that I don’t need film photography because digital can replace it. Then I see pictures like the ones above and remember that it’s never going to happen. There’s something going on here that I’ve yet to see captured in a digital image. Sure, I’ve seen incredibly beautiful digital photographs, and they stand on their own. But that’s all they do. They don’t stand over film and they don’t replace it. Film can never die or we will lose our ability to capture the beauty that hides behind the subtlety and nuance that digital seems to miss. There’s a tone, a separation and depth here that I think can only be produced by an analog chemical reaction. The grain is so beautiful it just begs to be blown up to wall-size.
These shots by Carlo Van de Roer look like pure and unfiltered tranquility. I’ve never been to Iceland before, but this series captures what I imagine it would be like. It looks freezing and potentially dangerous, but still somehow soothing and comfortable. Probably the most immediately noticeable aspect of these images is the inclusion of the colorful floating orbs. Personally I love them, and I think they are the reason his work has picked up so much recognition. They are a unique touch that brings a little bit of extra magic to his already stunning photography. I’ve read he screen prints the orbs onto the photographs, but I can’t find any information regarding the concept behind the orbs. Perhaps it’s just an aesthetic choice, but I would imagine (and prefer) that there is some deeper conceptual reason for their placement.
I miss Polaroid! I’ve been stockpiling some old film, but I’m always afraid to use it and run out for good. It looks like the Instant Back attachment for the Diana+ Lomo camera might serve as an able replacement. The Instant Back attaches to the Diana+ and provides you with instant (90sec) print outs, just like Polaroid. It looks like it will do until the Impossible Project begins manufacturing their new film for the old cameras.
Of course, after Scott’s post below, a purchase of any other type of camera besides the 5D seems pointless. I have to start saving now!
So I stumbled onto the deleteyourself blog the other day (same guy who runs Photololz) and in turn found his Flickr. There were some nice shots up there but what really struck me in particular was the vivid clarity and tone of the photos. So I took a look at the EXIF data and sure enough, they were all shot with a Canon 5D MKII. As you may well know, I have been trying to decide whether to stick with Nikon for my next camera or make the leap to Canon. I think that decision is becoming much clearer now; after seeing what Tim Navis did with the EOS 30D and now this, Canon is way out in front for me. Of course, he’s also using the $1500 Canon EF 16-35mm, but I suppose a camera like the 5D deserves only the best. At any rate, these shots drive home how good the 5D is at transforming otherwise mundane scenes into exquisitely detailed compositions of incredible depth and tonal range.
On a side note, that second pic looks like it was taken right around the same place I took this one, flying into Phuket Airport. I effected the hell out of mine, so it’s hard to compare the two, but I assure you that even in it’s raw form, mine was never anywhere near this detailed and dynamic. I’m not sure how much post processing he is doing with these, I’d love to know how much Photoshop had to do with the end results. Whatever the case may be, Photoshop can’t just synthesize out of thin air the kind of clarity and depth found in these shots; I would bet there’s just some simple color balancing going on. I’m also really liking the vignetting in a lot of these, can anyone out there with a similar rig testify as to whether that is a natural artifact of that particular lens or something he did in post?
The above are part of Richard Misrach’s On The Beach, a series of large scale (six by ten feet) photographs of swimmers and sunbathers in Hawaii. You can pick still pick up the book (though it looks like it’s become quite expensive), or if you find yourself on the East Coast, you can see the exhibition in person. It was recently on display the National Gallery and is scheduled to be in Atlanta until August of this year. I highly recommend seeing these in person; they are absolutely massive and are truly awe-inspiring viewed full size.
The last image is my favorite photograph of all time. When I first saw it, it affected me like no photograph ever had. I was left speechless, and am still not able to really explain what it is I find so powerful about it. It’s hard to tell on screen, but the little dot in the water is two people embracing. I like that you can’t see the shore; for all we know, they could be floating out in the middle of nowhere. Of course, all of the photographs were taken out of Misrach’s hotel room window, so they can’t be too far out there, but it’s easy to forget when all shoreline indicators are absent. Perhaps it’s this sense of remoteness and potential danger, combined with the serenity of the overall scene, that gets to me. I feel worried and calm at the same time. I would almost fly to Atlanta just to see it again; it’s like a drug.