Short Nerd Chief

Posts Tagged ‘photography’

Picture of the Day, Historical Cluelessness Division

Posted by Fred on April 18, 2008

I love this picture, supposedly from the San Francisco pro-Tibet demonstrations:


I don’t want to know the story behind it, nor the point they were trying to make (its author is either really subtle or really stupid). It just makes me laugh.

[via Reason’s Hit & Run]


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World Press Photo Award Winners for 2007 Announced

Posted by Fred on February 8, 2008

World Press Photo, an organization billing itself as dedicated to “stimulating developments in photojournalism and encouraging transfer of knowledge,” has announced the winners of its annual professional Photo of the Year contest.  This year’s overall winner is Tim Hetherington, for this photo of an American soldier in Afghanistan, originally appearing in Vanity Fair (see also this video of Hetherington and author Sebastian Junger talking about their experiences in Afghanistan, with battlefront footage shot for ABC News):

Battle Company

The winners gallery is full of war photos, although Afghanistan is strangely better represented than Iraq.  Hetherington’s photo is good, and certainly newsworthy, but as photography, there are far more interesting entries, such as this shot, also from Afghanistan, by Balasz Gardi for the VII Network (note the lighting and composition here):


I also really like these two shots for their use of color.  The first was taken in Columbia by Francesco Zizola of Noor (originally appearing in Newsweek Japan), and the second in the Brooks Mountain Range by Damon Winter for a December 2007 article in the New York Times:



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DSLRs: Just Say No to the Green Square

Posted by Fred on November 16, 2007

Lifehacker has some good advice for new D-SLRers. First up in what appears to be the start of a series is how to use Program Mode. It’s all good advice – if you’re using the auto setting, you may as well have a point & shoot camera with a big zoom instead. One thing I might add is that investing in some additional equipment can help a lot.  For example:

  • Invest in a real flash. The time you use the flash should reduce if you are adapting to available light conditions, but the pop-up flash on entry and prosumer level cameras is harsh. Go with a mid-level unit to start, such as the Canon 430EX ($240 at B&H). You’ll probably not use the features added in the high-end shoe-mount units like the 580EX II, so save a couple of hundred bucks (don’t worry, you’ll spend it soon). Upgrading the flash will allow you to apply flash compensation and bounce the light off ceilings and walls.
  • Invest in a fast lens for pictures in low light. Every Canon owner should own the 50mm f/1.4 USM lens ($290 at B&H).  You’ll be surprised just how much difference it makes.  Don’t be tempted by the L series yet, unless you have a lot of cash to burn.  See if the photobug bites you hard first.
  • If you have the money, get an image stabilizing lens.  I’ve had great luck with the 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens ($410 at B&H).  If the $500 you’ve already spent is too much, get a nice tripod.

The goal here is to work with the light you have whenever you can.  Adjusting the ISO and white balance get you most of the way there, but you’ll still fall short if you rely on the pop-up flash and the kit lens.

Posted in photography | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss

Posted by Fred on October 5, 2007

Boing Boing has an interesting post about The Deep, a collection of undersea photographs of truly bizarre species (Amazon link). BB likes the UFO-like Benthocodon jellyfish, with it’s very cool red pod bay doors, but I’m more intrigued by the dumbo octopus (grimpoteuthis), which look like Pokemon:



There are a lot more pictures in the book’s photo gallery.  The best commentary on the book may come from Tunku Varadarajan in the Wall Street Journal (quoted on the Amazon page):

In the first century A.D., Pliny the Elder—in a bout of oceanic hubris—pronounced that there were precisely 176 species of marine fauna and that, ”by Hercules, in the ocean . . . nothing exists which is unknown for us.” Would that we could summon Pliny from his celestial Hall of Shame and thwack him over the head with Claire Nouvian’s The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss. For this book contains 220 color plates of life-forms whose existence was unknown not merely to Pliny but to anyone at all until the modern development of submersibles capable of plunging to depths that are the inverse of a Mount Everest. Only 5% of the seafloor has been mapped, and scientists estimate that there are between 10 million and 30 million species in the ”vasty deep” yet to be found by man. The ones that we do know—and many of those are pictured in this book—are gloriously bizarre critters that appear to have been fashioned by Salvador Dali. They bear pulse-quickening names that are as if from some weird children”s fable: naked sea butterflies, spookfish, pigbutt worms, cutthroat eels, helmet jellies, glasshead grenadiers and yeti crabs. Hued in pink, red, blue, orange, white and purple, these deep-sea denizens can seem repulsive, with their fangs and hooks and hooded eyes. Many of them, however, are balletic little beauties—bioluminescent, geometrical designs that hum with a life beyond our reach, but not, anymore, beyond our imagination.

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