Lena Dunham–More than Just a “Girl”

Lena Dunham wearing a black Calvin Klein Bodysuite for a V Magazine Photoshoot

Photograph by Terry Richardson

What would you say in 2010 if you were asked if Lena Dunham would be big star? My bet is, not likely. At the time she had just finished making her movie Tiny Furniture.Back then Matthew Bamberg was researching the future of photography for his book, New Image Frontiers: Defining the Future of Photography. At the time Dunham’s team was publicizing her movie, making it known to the world that twenty-somethings in the United States were drifting aimlessly. But there was more to her madness than that. Laura Dunham was no normal “girl.”Bamberg found that she had just finished filming her first film, Tiny Furniture, an award-winning powerhouse of a film about a self-indulgent millennial, one that caught the author-photographer’s eye not because of its topic, but because of its novelty as a film made with a simple camera. The prediction about Dunham being a powerhouse came true in 2014, as she makes headlines all around the world.Lena Dunham is smart, very smart. She was the one of the first to make an entire movie with a dSLR camera. That in and of itself is notable, more notable, perhaps than the theme of her movies or all that talk about appearing in them in her birthday suit. The camera–a Canon EOS 5D Mark II 21.1MP Full Frame CMOS –was novel at the time, a camera that could take video in high definition, and one that end up making her a big star.

Dunham should be lauded, not for her fame, not for her nudity and not for her lifeless former life. She should be seen as a keen woman innovator, a technological wiz-kid. Appearing in television shows will be the least of many bold innovations in the future.

What’s New in Tech for 2014?

Okay, then. The year 2014 is stipulated to be the year of the wearable camera. Guess we’ll see about that. This year’s New Year New Tech Gear on Amazon promises you a slew of devices that even the technophobic will appreciate.

Surely, the first tech item you’ll want–a must for experimental photographers–is the

iVUE Camera Glasses, which are shown below. Talk about good street shots. This device has got to be a must for street photographers. Have to try it. Review coming soon.

Top Ten Holiday Photography Gifts for 2013–The Best Big-Sensor Cameras for Budding Photographers

It’s the season to be jolly and to look for that special camera gift. The top ten holiday gifts list  for 2013 for travel and street photographers from Matthew Bamberg’s Digital Traveler Blog.

Why another list when there are dozens on the Internet? This list is unique in that it’s for people who want to buy a camera for someone who is interested in selling their photography on the Internet. For this reason, all types of cameras with large sensors are included in the list, cameras that will ensure that image quality is acceptable to microstock and fine art photography websites such as Dreamstime and Fine Art America.

This year several new cameras appear on the list. Some are mirrorless and others are smaller dSLRs with full-frame sensors. In top ten holiday gifts list for travel and street photographers, the rankings are based on cost (on Amazon), resolution and sensor size.

Note, here, at this time you get what you pay for. Most mirrorless cameras aren’t as up-to-speed as dSLR cameras when focusing on moving objects (those moving toward or away from you) and don’t auto-focus well in low-light because they have contrast detection instead of the dSLR’s phase detection. No improvement here since 2012, but the technology is moving forward with Sony’s NEX-5TL, which reportedly has a fairly decent auto-focus.
The focus for 2014 is to assist you in making a decision between the two kinds of cameras to get the best value for your buck.  

The list includes only camera bodies. For best image results pick up a good telephoto lens. I use a Canon L-Series 24-105 mm lens and find that very adequate for street photography while traveling. 

Here’s the list:

1.Canon EOS 5D Mark III

  • $3,300
  • 22 mp
  • full size (35 x 24 mm)

2. Sony DSC-RX1/B Cyber-shot Full-frame Digital Camera

  • $2,800
  • 24 mp
  • full size (35 x 24 mm)

3. Canon EOS 6D

  • $1800
  • 20 mp
  • full size (35 x 24 mm)

4. Sony NEX-5TL

    • $800
    • 16 mp
    • APS-C (23.5 X 15.6 mm)

    5.Olympus Evolt E620 

    • $1,500
    • 12 mp
    • 13.0 x 17.3 mm

    6.Nikon D800 

    • $2,800
    • 36 MP
    • full size (35 x 24 mm)

    7. Canon EOS REBEL T4i

    • $800
    • 18 mp
    • 22.3 x 14.9 mm 

    8. Nikon D3200 24.2 

    • $600
    • 24 mp
    • 23.2 x 15.4 mm

      9. Sony A65

      • $700
      • 24 mp
      • 23.5 × 15.7mm

      10.  Pentax K-r

      • $400
      • 12 mp
      • 15.8 x 23.6

      San Francisco Sunset Cruise on the Red and White Fleet Review

      Golden Gate Bridge as seen from Red and White Fleet boat

      Cruising on San Francisco Bay certainly isn’t a tropical endeavor. The wind-whipped inlet offers marvelous views on a cold sea, so cold, in fact, that shivering is the norm since the boat leaves the pier as the fog comes pouring in.

      Foggy weather is typical San Francisco summer fare, as Mark Twain put it, “The coldest winter I’ve ever spent is a summer in San Francisco.” Most tourists keep this fact in mind as they board the boat in zipped-up jackets and arms tucked close to the body just above the cameras dangling from their necks.

      You would expect a boat similar to a cruise ship upon entering it, but, instead, gets a dinged up boat from the Red and White fleet, a dependable vessel without an ounce of glamor. Once on-board, a small crew takes care of the basics–navigating the boat around the bay and setting up a buffet of fairly tasty sandwiches, salads and cookies.

      As the journey progresses a number of people on deck snap photos with their point-and-shoots, camera phones and a dSLR here and there. The boat heads up and down the Marin coast and under the Golden Gate, permitting sights of the bridge from the side that’s rarely seen, that facing the Pacific Ocean.

      That’s it folks. Absent from this cruise was a trip under the Bay Bridge, including the new portion that has just been built. It’s too bad, too, because the area of the bay the ship traversed is precisely the place where the fog blows fiercely enters into the bay (yes, we’re not talking about creeping slowly into the Golden Gate).

      As the boat pulls into the dock near Fisherman’s Wharf, you can only wonder why the trip didn’t include the East Bay instead of the North Bay, which would have made for a much sunnier trip and certainly a better batch of pictures.

      Inside Drac’s Castle

      Inside Dracula’s Castle

      You can’t go to Transylvania without seeing Bran Castle, or Dracula’s Castle, the number one tourist destination in the Eastern European country of Romania.

      Dracula’s story is based on the notoriously cruel Vlad the Impaler, a menacing personality who terrorized 15th Century Romania. He saw crimes in terms of any actions that offended him.

      Nice guy!

      The image is processed using the HDR program Photomatix Pro 4. Photomatix does a remarkable job of merging images of different exposures to enhance the details in a new image that is produced after processing.

      Plane Crash–Perspective from a Commercial Airliner in San Francisco

      Asiana plane remnants pulled aside at the San Francisco International Airport

      As I was landing on a flight from Las Vegas to San Francisco, I was hoping to get a shot of the damaged Asiana plane that struck a seawall landing short of the runway.

      My thoughts ranged from “am I on the right side of the plane to catch it” to “they probably moved it away,” but low and behold just after my plane passed the seawall, the crashed plane was visible.

      There were a couple of tasks I needed to do in order to get a sharp shot when moving at over 100 mph. The first was the ISO and next, the aperture since I was working in Aperture Priority Mode. Finally, there’s the necessity to set up the camera so it shoots quickly.

      I decided to set the ISO at 1000 because I knew my Canon 5D Mark II could handle making the image sharp without too much noise, nothing that can’t be smoothed out in Photoshop.

      Since I was working in Av (A for Nikon) mode, I knew that a wide angle wouldn’t work in terms of getting the entire image sharp, but then I couldn’t make the aperture too narrow either because of the risk of getting a soft image. So I went with the in-between Av value of 7.1.

      Shooting quickly was of the utmost importance. The crashed plane was only visible through my airplane window for less than a minute. I felt that burst mode was quick way to make sure I had enough shots to choose from. I got, like, four shots–two soft, one cut off and one sharp (above).

      Portraits with Closed Eyes

      Catching a person whose eyes are closed can lead to a compelling shot.

      Don’t be so fast to dump your portraits because the subjects’ eyes are closed. Closed eyes can show bliss and satisfaction, as you can see from this women at a rally in Palm Springs, CA.

      In addition closed eyes can reveal arduous efforts by women to make the lids not only presentable, but also photogenic.

      Resale Values for Your Camera–Making Money Reselling Your Camera

      Image taken with a Canon 5D Mark II.

      The process of buying a new camera and making some extra money selling the old, used camera begins with shopping for a good camera that meets your needs. If you want to sell your photos to make money, then you’re going to have to buy a dSLR or mirrorless camera, both of which come with big sensors. Big sensors are an absolute must for making money with your photographs.

      Every photographer comes to the day where he/she needs a new camera. The necessity of buying a new camera ranges from pending to dire. If it’s the former, you might run into a good buy and pick one up for a good price. If it’s the later you’ll want to go out and buy a new camera right away.

      I experienced the later about six months ago when my Canon 5D went on the fritz. I ended up buying a Canon 5D Mark II because not only did the price drop because it came out a few years prior, but also because it was a downright dependable, well-made camera, unlike some of the newer full-frame Canons.

      The time to sell your own camera comes after the shopping task. You can sell your old camera to a camera shop or on Amazon or ebay. The most difficult part of this process is setting a price for your old camera. The best way to set a price for your old camra so that you make as much money as possible is to research what others are selling their camera for.

      I’ll do that for you here with two full-frame (sensor size 24x36mm) dSLRs.

      Canon 5D Mark II used sells for about $1,200-$1,800
      Nikon D600 used sells for about $1,500

      Considering the 5D Mark II camera sells for $2,500 and the Nikon for about $2000, that’s not a bad price to get for a used camera. Also, it looks as if the Nikon has a better resale value. If you’re a Canon user, that just might have you changing brands.

      10 Tips for Making Money with Photography the Easy Way

      Aim high if you want to be a successful photographer who makes money

      Making money with your photography is easy if you are organized, focused and positive. Here are 10 tips to make money fast.

      You won’t be a millionaire, but you can develop a good monthly income if you follow them:

      In order to make money you have to be organized
      1. When submitting microstock photography don’t submit one at a time. Have your photos by like subject so you can submit dozens at one time.
      2. Spend at least an hour a day organizing your photos.
      3. To submit work to an online fine art photography website (called POD, Print on Demand), have your photos sorted by attention-getting themes so people will have the opportunity to buy more than one quickly to have a set of similar photos.

      In order to make money, you have to be focused:
      4. Develop a niche subject to photograph and stick with it.
      5. Choose a photography genre that interests you and produce technically adept and compelling images that people will want to buy.
      6. Teach others by blogging about your genre or subject matter to get recognized as a pro in the field.
      7. Creatively rank (put in order) your priorities, ranking the one that will make you money number one.

      In order to make money you have to be positive:

      8. Give yourself “can do” statements. Every time you think of not being able to do something, immediately switch that thought to a positive, “I can do that!”
      9. Start the day with positive affirmations about your work.
      10. Know that when you work hard and stay focused that you will succeed.

      Book Review–Things Come Apart a Teardown for Modern Living

      Page from “Things Come Apart”

      The new book Things Come Apart: A Teardown Manual for Modern Living is unique in that it presents images from a photographer who isn’t Leibovitz or Avadon, but just a regular guy from the “golden wheat fields of Saskatchewan.”

      He takes his photography into the twenty-first century by gathering his photos from a video source–a technique that you’ve probably never seen before in a coffee table book. Photos from video? Yes, that’s the concept and since its done in an exemplary way, the result is both stunning and educational. 

      You don’t have to go farther than examining a page of this book to imagine how meticulous the “videographer” had to be in shooting the components included in each page of images.

      In the page to your left, Todd McLellan, illustrates the intricate parts of an old Mac Classic computer. He misses nothing–every component of the computer is there in some of the sharpest shots you’ll see of such small objects. From the individual keys of the keyboard that scatter in rows across the bottom of the page to the pieces of hardware on the left, the images are relentless in their capacity to mesmerize the viewer.

      You could look at the images for hours–a jigsaw puzzle that the mind naturally gravitates toward solving. After all if the photographer took the machine apart, it would be only natural for the viewer to try to put it back together–a job that’s well worth the $21.43 that the book costs.

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