Monthly Archives: June 2017

The Photography Industry Exposed the Atomic Bomb

It sounds like something straight out of a science fiction novel, but it’s real life…

Back in the late 1940s, Kodak customers began to lodge complaints that the film they purchased was bad.

Why?

Because the radiosensitive film was coming out completely foggy.

Little did Kodak customers know at the time, but the foggy film was a direct result of fallout from the U.S. government’s atomic bomb tests – the Trinity Test in particular – in New Mexico in 1945.

Amazingly, once Kodak began to investigate the problem, they discovered that the fallout from the Trinity Test had reached at least as far east as Indiana.

This revelation came to light after Kodak found that the corn husks they used to pack their products (which were grown in Indiana) tested positive for iodine-131 – a radioactive isotope.

In other words, Kodak had stumbled upon something that was not known to the public – fallout from the first atmospheric nuclear tests was causing radioactive contamination across the U.S.

The problem is, they kept this information to themselves, perhaps of their own volition, or perhaps due to government pressure to do so.

The story doesn’t end there, though.

We’ve all no doubt seen the videos of atomic testing in the Pacific, but testing also occurred in the continental United States, particularly in the 1950s in Nevada.

In early 1951, the government detonated an atomic bomb at Nevada’s National Security Site. A few days later in Rochester, New York, Kodak picked up unusually high radiation levels that were 25 times above the norm.

Given the severity of the radiation and the sheer distance from the atomic test – some 1,600 miles – Kodak couldn’t keep quiet this time.

Sharpen Your Photos in Photoshop

Let’s face it…

Sometimes, despite your best efforts in-camera, you end up with images that aren’t quite as sharp as they need to be.

When I was a beginner photographer, that meant one thing – the image was a fail.

But today, we have some pretty awesome tools at our disposal for enhancing and improving the images we take.

In the video above, Michael Woloszynowicz gives an overview of how to sharpen all sorts of photos using a unique version of high pass sharpening.

Normal high pass sharpening can be a great tool, but there can also be some problems when you use it.

In particular, fringing can become an issue when using traditional high pass techniques.

Remember, when you apply a high pass filter, you first have to duplicate the layer, minimize the contrast of the layer, and then apply the high pass filter by going to Filter > Other > High Pass.

Then, as shown in the screenshot above, you adjust the radius, which determines how much the image is sharpened.

The more you increase the radius, the more haloing you get around the perimeter of the subject, as seen along the woman’s shoulder in the screenshot above. That’s obviously not a good thing!

Even if you choose a lower radius and blend the layer using the Overlay settings, some fringing can still occur.

Feet or Zoom With Your Lens Which is Better

“Zoom with your feet” is a common phrase uttered by many photographers, myself included.

It’s used to argue that though prime lenses (those with a fixed focal length like 50mm, 85mm, and so on) can’t zoom, that you can still get a similar effect as a zoom lens by physically moving nearer or further away from a subject.

The problem is this: zooming with your feet and zooming with your lens don’t produce the same results.

In other words, if you take two photos of the same subject, one that’s zoomed in with a zoom lens and another that’s zoomed in by zooming with your feet, there will be a noticeable difference in how the images look.

The question is, what are the differences in these results, and which method is better?

Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens offers up a nice tutorial on this subject in the video above.

Have a look at the video, and for a detailed explanation of the topics he raises in the video, check the outline below!

One of the best advantages of shooting with a zoom lens is its versatility – in a single lens you can cover a variety of focal lengths and replace two, three, perhaps even four prime lenses with a single zoom.

In the screenshot above, you can see how Jay P. Morgan was able to take four photos at four different focal lengths, all with the same lens.

Looking at the screenshot above, you can see this concept in action.

Notice how that even though the background got larger with each successive change in the focal length in the first screenshot, that the relationship between the man and the background remains the same in the second screenshot.

That’s because with a zoom lens, you’re just cropping the image with each change to a longer and longer focal length, and as a result, the visual relationship of the foreground and background are consistent from one shot to the next.

In other words, if you want a consistent look from frame to frame, use a zoom lens.

Take Better Portraits in Just 9 Steps

When you think about it, portraiture is probably the most common type of photography.

After all, we all use our phones to take snapshots of our kids, our friends, and even ourselves.

And professional photographers often specialize in portraits, be that senior photos, family pictures, newborn and maternity, and so forth.

But just because portraiture is common doesn’t mean that it’s as simple as pointing your camera at a person and pressing the shutter button.

In the video above, Jessica Kobeissi offers up nine simple, but impactful tips to help you take better portraits.

Give the video a look, and for a play-by-play of Jessica’s tips, read on below.

By the end, you’ll have nine great tips that will make your portraits shine!

Whether you’re working as a budding professional photographer or you’re just taking a portrait of a friend, it’s important to engage with the person you’re photographing.

By talking to them, asking questions, and perhaps even cracking a few jokes, you can help lighten the mood and make your portrait subject more relaxed in front of the camera.

And having a relaxed subject is key to getting a better photo…

The more comfortable they are, the less rigid they will be, the more natural their smile, and the greater their ability to follow your instructions.

Photography Tricks You Can’t Miss

Let’s face it – most of us have a pretty good camera that’s in our pocket most of the time.

That alone is a pretty compelling argument to use your smartphone as your primary camera.

And by “primary,” I don’t mean the one you use to photograph weddings…

What I mean, though, is that we should all use our smartphones as cameras even more often than we do.

Here’s a few ways you can wrestle even more quality out of the images you take with your phone.

And there are a million things you can use as subjects for a reflection…

A landscape scene like the one above comes immediately to mind.

But you can also take a portrait in a reflection.

Since you might be working with something that’s moving (like water), that necessitates a fast shutter speed to avoid seeing any ripples on the surface of the water.

And when you get down low and close to the reflective surface, you need a large aperture to ensure you have the depth of field needed to get everything in sharp focus.

Some smartphone cameras have these manual controls. But if yours doesn’t, you’ll want to download an app like Camera FV-5 for Android devices or Halide for iOS devices.

Here’s another tip – use your smartphone’s tap-to-focus feature to set the focus on the reflection, not on the subject. That will ensure that the reflection is optimally sharp.