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Lens: Documenting Climate Change by Air, Land and Sea

Posted by on May 15, 2019 in Drones (Pilotless Planes), Galapagos Islands, Global Warming, Photography, Yosemite National Park (Calif) | 0 comments

The New York Times photographer Josh Haner has spent the past four years capturing the effects of climate change around the world and under water.
Source: New York Times

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At Cannes, Wear Heels and Don’t Take Selfies

Posted by on May 14, 2019 in Cannes (France), Cannes International Film Festival, Fremaux, Thierry, Movies, Photography | 0 comments

The festival’s director said that the rules are needed to keep up Cannes’ standards. The world’s most famous film festival would not be the same without them.
Source: New York Times

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Flickr says all Creative Commons photos are protected from deletion, not just past uploads

Posted by on Mar 8, 2019 in Community, Creative-Commons, flickr, photo sharing, Photography, Photos, Smugmug | 0 comments

Flickr announced today that all Creative Commons images will remain protected on its site – including those uploaded in the past and those that will be added in the future. The news follows Flickr’s November 2018 announcement where it had stated it wouldn’t delete Creative Commons photos already on its service, after switching over to a new business model which put an end to the free terabyte of storage in favor of a new subscription-based service.

There had been concern prior to Flickr’s statement in November that the photography site’s revamped business model would see works deleted from Creative Commons, as a result of its implementation.

That would have been a huge loss to the wider photography community and the web as a whole.

Creative Commons is a significant resource, as it makes creators’ works freely available through a variety of copyright licenses that respect how the owner wants them shared and/or attributed. Flickr, before being acquired by new owners SmugMug, had been a longtime Creative Commons partner, offering millions of photos under the CC license types on its site.

Though Flickr’s November decision to not delete the CC archive was a good step forward, it didn’t necessarily protect all the CC-licensed photos that would be uploaded to its site in the future. Instead, the company said only those CC photos uploaded prior to November 1, 2018 would be grandfathered in, so to speak.

At the time, CEO at Creative Commons, Ryan Merkley, expressed some concern about this decision. It wasn’t clear where future CC-licensed photos would end up.

Today, both organizations announce they’ve come to an agreement: all CC-licensed photos and public domain works will continue to be free on Flickr for anyone to upload and share. That’s a step further than simply protecting all the past uploads before the business model transition.

It means that Flickr has committed to continue to steward the Commons, as before.

Today, Flickr hosts more than 500 million CC-licensed works, and that number increases daily.

“Choosing to allow all CC-licensed and public domain works to be uploaded and shared without restrictions or limits comes at a real financial cost to Flickr, which is paid in part by their Pro users. We believe that it’s a valuable investment in the global community of free culture and open knowledge, and it’s a gift to everyone,” said Merkley today, in a blog post announcement about Flickr’s decision.

“We’re grateful for the ongoing investment and enthusiasm from the entire Flickr team, and their commitment to support users who choose to share their works,” he added.

Along with this news, Flickr says it has disabled bulk license change tools in its Settings, Camera Roll and Organizr for Flickr Free accounts in order to prevent users from switching large archives to a free license to take advantage of this decision. Instead, photos’ licenses can only be changed on the photo page itself.

The company additionally said it will now offer “in memoriam” accounts for Flickr members who have passed away, instead of deleting their works if or when a Pro subscription lapses.

Flickr has seen many transitions over the years. It had been bought by Yahoo, which then became a part of (TechCrunch parent) Verizon before being sold off last year to SmugMug. But that move meant the company had to come up with a more sustainable business model in order to survive.

It’s unclear if Flickr will have the resources to make this new commitment to the Creative Commons indefinitely without coming up with other monetization options beyond Pro subscriptions, but the company has committed on building out features focused on users’ needs, not on catering to advertisers. It hopes to make its service valuable and worth paying for, instead of being the “digital shoebox” that massive amounts of free storage led it to become over the years.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Leica’s Q2 is a beautiful camera that I want and will never have

Posted by on Mar 8, 2019 in cameras, Gadgets, Hardware, leica, leica q2, Photography | 0 comments

Leica is a brand I respect and appreciate but don’t support. Or rather, can’t, because I’m not fabulously rich. But if I did have $5,000 to spend on a fixed-lens camera, I’d probably get the new Q2, a significant improvement over 2015’s Q — which tempted me back then.

The Q2 keeps much of what made the Q great: a full-frame sensor, a fabulous 28mm F/1.7 Summilux lens, and straightforward operation focused on getting the shot. But it also makes some major changes that make the Q2 a far more competitive camera.

The sensor has jumped from 24 to 47 megapixels, and while we’re well out of the megapixel race, that creates the opportunity for a very useful cropped shooting mode that lets you shoot at 35, 50, and 75mm equivalents while still capturing huge pixel counts. It keeps the full frame exposure as well so you can tweak the crop later. The new sensor also has a super low native ISO of 50, which should help with dynamic range and in certain exposure conditions.

Autofocus has been redone as well (as you might expect with a new sensor) and it should be quicker and more accurate now. Ther’s also an optical stabilization mode that kicks in when you are shooting at under 1/60s. Both features that need a little testing to verify they’re as good as they sound, but I don’t expect they’re fraudulent or anything.

The body, already a handsome minimal design in keeping with Leica’s impeccable (if expensive) taste, is now weather sealed, making this a viable walk-around camera in all conditions. Imagine paying five grand for a camera and being afraid to take it out in the rain! Well, many people did that and perhaps will feel foolish now that the Q2 has arrived.

Inside is an electronic viewfinder, but the 2015 Q had a sequential-field display — meaning it flashes rapidly through the red, green, and blue components of the image — which made it prone to color artifacts in high-motion scenes or when panning. The Q2, however, has a shiny new OLED display with the same resolution but better performance. OLEDs are great for EVFs for a lot of reasons, but I like that you get really nice blacks, like in an optical viewfinder.

The button layout has been simplified as well (or rather synchronized with the CL, another Leica model), with a new customizable button on the top plate, reflecting the trend of personalization we’ve seen in high-end cameras. A considerably larger battery and redesigned battery and card door rounds out the new features.

As DPReview points out in its hands-on preview of the camera, the Q2 is significantly heavier than the high-end fixed-lens competition (namely the Sony RX1R II and Fuji X100F, both excellent cameras), and also significantly more expensive. But unlike many Leica offerings, it actually outperforms them in important ways: the lens, the weather sealing, the burst speed — it may be expensive, but you actually get something for your money. That can’t always be said of this brand.

The Leica Q2 typifies the type of camera I’d like to own: no real accessories, nothing to swap in or out, great image quality and straightforward operation. I’m far more likely to get an X100F (and even then it’d be a huge splurge) but all that time I’ll be looking at the Q2 with envious eyes. Maybe I’ll get to touch one some day.

Source: The Tech Crunch

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Leica releases the CL Street Kit for all of your decisive moments

Posted by on Dec 7, 2018 in cameras, Gadgets, leica, optics, Photography, TC | 0 comments

Leica’s pricey — but sexy — CL camera is the closest thing you can get to an original portable luxury shooter without spending more than a used Toyota Corolla. The CL, which launched last year, is essentially a pared-down M series camera that has gotten rave reviews over the past year. Now, in time for Noel, Leica is offering a Street Kit that includes the CL along with a Leica Summicron-TL 23 mm f/2 lens. This flat pancake lens gives you a “tried and true 35 mm equivalent focal length for the quintessential reportage style of shooting” and should suffice for street shots taken on the wing while wandering the darkened alleyways of certain Central European cities.

Now for the bad news. Leica is traditionally some of the most expensive and best-made camera gear on the market, and this is no different. While you get a camera that should last you well into the next millennium, you’ll pay a mere $4,195 for the privilege, making it considerably less than the M series but considerably more than the camera on your phone. The package saves you a little over $800 if you purchased each item separately.

That said, it’s nice to see a bundle like this still exists for a solid, beautifully wrought camera, a nice lens and even a leather carrying strap. Besides, isn’t the creation of photographic art worth the price of admission? As noted Leica lover Henri Cartier-Bresson said, “Au fond, ce n’est pas la photo en soi qui m’interesse. Ce que je veux c’est de capter une fraction de seconde du reel.” Preach, brother.

Source: The Tech Crunch

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How Photography Exploits the Vulnerable

Posted by on Sep 1, 2018 in Drug Abuse and Traffic, News and News Media, Opioids and Opiates, Photography | 0 comments

There are too many gratuitous photos of people jamming needles into their bodies and bloated corpses carried out of filthy homes.
Source: New York Times

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Lens: Tenderly Photographing the End of Her Father’s Life

Posted by on Aug 31, 2018 in Dementia, Memory, Parkinson's Disease, Photography, Shabaik, Aly H, Shabaik, Safi Alia | 0 comments

When Safi Alia Shabaik found out her father had Parkinson’s disease, she moved back home to help care for him, documenting the last months of his life as he developed dementia.
Source: New York Times

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Nikon embraces a mirrorless future with Z series cameras and lenses

Posted by on Aug 23, 2018 in cameras, Gadgets, Hardware, mirrorless, Nikon, Photography, TC | 1 comment

The largest trend in photography over the last five years or so, not counting smartphones, has been the emergence and maturity of mirrorless camera systems. These operate in a very different manner from traditional SLRs, and as such market leaders with decades embedded in the latter — namely Canon and Nikon — have resisted making the shift. That changes for Nikon today with its announcement of the Z6 and Z7, which show the company is making the change wholeheartedly.

The Z series comprises both these two cameras and a new lens mount, which in many ways is the more important news for photographers. The F mount has been around for decades and boasts some of the world’s best glass. But ultimately a more or less clean break was needed, and the Z mount manages to provide that, as well as solid back-compatibility for those who can’t bear to part with their old standby kit.

The cameras themselves, which have been rumored for ages and were known to be imminent, are both full-frame, meaning their sensor is as big as a 35mm still-film frame. Full-frame cameras are generally intended for professionals or deep-pocketed hobbyists: bodies generally cost well over $1,000 but offer improved image quality for a variety of reasons.

So it’s somewhat ambitious of Nikon to aim at this elevated market, where competition is tough, standards are high and prices are higher. Old favorites like the Canon 5D vie with new challengers like Sony’s a9, and it seems as if slowly but surely the latter are coming out on top, due in no small part to the advantages conferred on them by their mirrorless nature.

The Z7 starts at $3,400, which puts it squarely in professional territory. The Z6, at $2,000, sacrifices resolution but offers some other advantages — aside from holding onto that $1,400. If it were me I’d go for the latter, no question.

Big and small changes

The Z7 is the new flagship, and it closely replicates the ability of the popular Nikon D850, while adding a variety of improvements. Most obvious is body size; the camera is much, much smaller and lighter than its SLR predecessor, but is still far from petite. It also improves on a few stats like burst speed and autofocus in ways that will be appreciated by pros, and a new 10-bit N-LOG video output mode should provide more flexibility in post.

Its sibling, the Z6, has a lower megapixel count (24 versus 45) but further improves burst speed and may in fact prove superior in terms of video performance.

Both make the switch to an electronic viewfinder, or EVF, and apparently Nikon was very particular about this component. The resolution of the OLED eyepiece is 1280×960, which sounds low compared with phone and VR displays, but should be fine — and really, motion and color are more important. The rear LCD is also OLED, as is a little up-facing status display on the top plate.

Both also have in-body stabilization, which means lenses can be lighter and cheaper. The stabilization will work with older lenses too (more on this in a moment) and in cases where a long lens has its own stabilization system, the camera will defer to that at least on some axes.

I haven’t had a chance to play with these in person but I expect to soon; in the meantime, as always, DPReview has a solid set of first impressions.

Z-mount into the future

For many, the biggest change will be the switch to the new Z-mount system. There will be a series of Z lenses, and bonny lenses they will be, with the new dimensions allowing improved optics across the board. Everyone is hot about a F/0.95 Noct lens Nikon has been teasing for 2019. But with a hundred million F-mount lenses out there, backwards compatibility is a must.

For them there is the FTZ adapter, which fits between the Z and the old lens, bridging the old technology and the new. If the lens is relatively new and supports automatic aperture and focus, those will be available. And, in fact, these lenses will benefit from the new autofocus system and may perform better than they did originally, if not identically — slight changes will no doubt emerge from the addition of the new optics.

Older lenses, such as classics with manual focus and aperture, will still fit the adapter but can’t be magically endowed with automatic features.

The adapter is not inconsiderable in size — more like a pancake lens than a filter. So your favorite lightweight walk-around setup may be impacted negatively. But overall it seems like it should do nicely for most.

Nikon has made its play, and the Z series looks like a natural jump for thousands of photographers who have stuck with the brand for years out of loyalty and investment. It doesn’t take much away, it adds quite a bit and in a few years it will probably be a no-brainer rather than a “well, maybe.”

Source: The Tech Crunch

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Lens: The Radical Empathy of Dan Weiner

Posted by on Aug 2, 2018 in New York City, Photography, Weiner, Dan | 0 comments

His photographs of mid-20th-century New Yorkers capture a moment in the city, but more than that, they preserve the people who lived those moments.
Source: New York Times

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How Not to Let Your Phone Ruin Your Vacation

Posted by on Jul 26, 2018 in Android (Operating System), Computers and the Internet, E-Mail, Mobile Applications, News and News Media, Photography, Privacy, Smartphones, Social Media, text messaging, Travel and Vacations, Wireless Communications | 0 comments

Strategies for traveling without letting your phone keep you from enjoying your trip.
Source: New York Times

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