Polaroid is in the Press This Week

Polaroid instant film was such a fantastic medium when I was young. This week there are a few articles worth reading on the original “instant gratification” in photography. Check out the articles linked below:

Back to the Future: What Makes Polaroids Cool at The Atlantic.
Why Polaroid Was the Apple of Its Time at Wired.
Polaroid’s Instant Karma at Fortune/CNN Money.

Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 in Ramblings • (0) Comments

Questionable Copyright Court Ruling

An English court has ruled that in favor of a commercial poster company that argued that a photo that showed a similar (but different) scene taken by a different person in a different place nevertheless infringed the copyright of a poster.

While it seems likely that the person making the second image was directly copying the “cut-out” concept of the first (by making the bus red in an otherwise monochrome image), this ruling could get really messy. Check out the post here: Insane Eglish Copyright Ruling Creates Ownership of Idea in Photo Composition.

We need reasonable copyright protection for photographers, artists, authors and other content creators, but if individual cases are adjudicated poorly it will simply provide more fodder for those wishing to weaken copyright laws.

Posted on Thursday, January 26, 2012 in News • (2) Comments

Copyright Troll: The New Bottom?

I have zero respect for patent trolls, and I am a firm supporter of copyright laws protecting content creators, but now there’s a new twist: a law firm named Righthaven is apparently engaging in “copyright trolling”. As described by Christopher Mims on the M.I.T. Technology Review blog, Righthaven is making a business of suing people and businesses for copyright infringement by waiting for an image to go viral and then buying the rights to it for the purpose of suing those who have posted it on the web.

As a photographer I value my copyrights, but I surely do not support this type of trolling abuse of an otherwise important method of protecting content creators. It’s actions such as these which may ultimately bring about changes in laws which weaken protection for artists, designers, writers, musicians, photographers and other makers of creative content. This kind of misuse of copyright law should not be rewarded and the actions should be penalized.

Mim’s post is here: Post a Copyrighted Picture, Face a $150,000 Lawsuit

If there is good to come from this, perhaps some exposure to this sort of thing will get people to think before posting others’ images without permission and attribution. Still, I’ll be happy to see this “business model” practiced by copyright trolls FAIL.

(To those following the RSS feeds from both of my blogs: sorry for the cross-post. The topic fits in both places, though are seen by different people.)

Posted on Wednesday, February 9, 2011 in Ramblings • (0) Comments

Toy Thailand: Video by Joerg Daiber

Joerg Daiber has created a video using a Panasonic Lumix GH2 Micro Four-Thirds camera, together with a Gorillapod. Joerg created a surreal “tilt-shift” look in post processing. Using tilt-shift lenses in “non-standard” ways is a fun way to make these miniature-appearing scenes, but this video shows an example of how the effect can be achieved via software as well.

Toy Thailand from joerg on Vimeo.

This video is especially fun for me because much of it was shot in the area around where I spend quite a lot of time in Bangkok. There are scenes from others areas in Thailand as well, including Phuket and Tonsai.

[via: Newley Purnell]

Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2011 in Technique • (0) Comments

A New Website

Well, I finally did it – I finally put up a blog at my old domain. The site is located at http://www.daleallyn.com and is intended as a place to collect and share topics on tech, business, giving, etc. I’ll still maintain this site, of course, but I’ve not wanted to mix other topics here, so decided to launch the new one. I’m still tying up some loose-ends there, and will be adding content regularly, so please drop by, leave a comment, etc.

Here’s a link to the site. You can grab the RSS feed on the home page there.

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010 in News • (0) Comments

PBS and National Geographic Showcase White House Photographers

On November 24th, PBS aired a documentary produced by National Geographic titled “The President’s Photographer: 50 Years in the Oval Office”. The film is quite well done and shows the nature of a career where the photographer must be ever-present yet invisible in the room — not to mention deliver results every time.

I suspect that it will be aired again. It’s worth a look. It can be ordered on Amazon as a DVD as well. 

Posted on Thursday, November 25, 2010 in Ramblings • (3) Comments

Leaf Announces 80 Megapixel Digital Back

Leaf has announced a new medium format digital back with 80 megapixel sensor. The CCD measures 53.7x40.3mm, which is essentially the same as the Phase One P65+ (53.9x40.4mm), but with a 20 megapixel boost in resolution. (Leaf Imaging was recently acquired by Phase One.)

The Phase One P65+ 60MP back, widely regarded as the pinnacle of medium format digital capture, is known to put high demands on lens optical quality. So this new 80MP back should be an interesting challenge for lens makers. We, as photographers, must wrestle the balance between sensor resolution and our lenses’ abilities to resolve detail. Whether we’re upgrading from a Canon 5D or a Phase One P25+ (large pixel sensors), once we move to a higher resolution sensor (with smaller sensels or pixel sizes) we must consider whether our current selection of lenses can deliver the additional resolution. In other words, we need to know which is the limiting factor: the sensor or the lens. An obvious destination for this new back is use with a technical camera (or view camera), with digital view camera lenses from Rodendstock and Schneider.

View the specs of the Leaf back here: Leaf Aptus-II 12 80MP Back. And here at DPreview.

Posted on Monday, September 20, 2010 in Gear • (0) Comments

The Lens is Soft

Roger Cicala of LensRentals.com has posted an interesting article about lens copy variation and the effects of ever-increasing resolution of digital sensors used in today’s digital SLRs. The article links to some other good outside resources as well, such as Diglloyd.com, etc.

It’s an unfortunate element of assembling a good camera kit these days, but I think that in some cases users are too quick to blame image weakness on camera gear (see almost any photography forum). Sure the gear plays a huge role in image quality, but not more than user skills during capture, post-processing and printing. Of course we don’t want our gear to be the weak link. Roger’s article highlights some good points to consider when buying gear.

Posted on Friday, March 12, 2010 in Gear • (4) Comments

Peter Turnley: A Visual Interview

The Online Photographer has posted a visual-style interview with Peter Turnley. If you’re not familiar with Turnley’s work, he is a celebrated street and photojournalistic photographer responsible for many moving and inspiring images. The post includes several wonderful images by Turnley from the 1970s through 2009. It’s worth a look.

Peter’s website can be found here. I especially like the “Parisians” portfolio set.

Posted on Monday, January 4, 2010 in Ramblings • (0) Comments

Charis Wilson, Edward Weston’s Model and Muse, Dies at 95

Edward Weston’s model, and later partner, Charis Wilson, has passed away at the age of 95 in Santa Cruz, California. A wonderful biography of their relationship is available in the documentary video The Eloquent Nude. The New York Times has posted a story today.

Posted on Wednesday, November 25, 2009 in News • (0) Comments

“No Hands” Bridge On the American River

My home in Auburn, California is near the American River. Within walking distance of the confluence of the north and middle forks of the river are four bridges: the Foresthill Bridge, which has been used by base-jumpers because of it’s great height, and was featured in the action movie xXx; the locally-known “U-shaped” bridge; the Highway 49 bridge; and this old railway bridge called the “No Hands” bridge pictured below. This bridge was built in 1912 and at the time was the longest of its type (a concrete arch bridge) in the world, and the first of this type built in North America. The rails were removed for the steel during World War II. Today the bridge is used only by hikers, trail runners, and horseback riders. Here’s a link to a bit of historical information on the charming and durable old bridge.

I photographed the bridge in 2005 to produce a black and white image and have wanted to revisit the spot for a color image when the light and skies were more interesting for color photography – and I wanted to shoot it with Phase One/Mamiya medium format equipment. About a week ago we had a day with potential for better light and skies for such a shot. So I headed to the river in the late afternoon, set up to shoot, and waited until the sun had nearly fully set. The view of the bridge and the interesting lines and shapes of the water-polished serpentine make it a pleasant place to hang-out while waiting for the light.

Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 in Ramblings • (2) Comments


Bird is a collection of wonderful images by photographer, Andrew Zuckerman, and a production group. The minimalist-style site is well done, with fantastic images of several bird species (more than one image of most) as well as the vocal sounds of many. There are some videos to watch as well, including the worthwhile “Behind the Scenes” video. These are shots of birds in captivity rather than in the wild, but their presentation on white is rather different than I’ve seen elsewhere. Included is also information about the bird species as well. See the site here.

Posted on Friday, November 13, 2009 in Ramblings • (0) Comments

How Well Do We See Color?

Online Color Challenge:

FACT: 1 out of 255 women and 1 out of 12 men have some form of color vision deficiency. Take the online color challenge, based on the official FM100 Hue Test by X-Rite.”

X-Rite has a fun color vision test based on the FM100 Hue Test. Take the challenge here.

Posted on Monday, November 9, 2009 in Ramblings • (2) Comments

Phase One Releases Capture One Pro: Verson 5

Capture One Pro is arguably one of the best RAW image processors available, and today Phase One has released a major update: Capture One 5. Capture One supports not only Phase One’s medium format backs (for free) but also many other camera makes and models for the none-too-cheap price of US$399 (€299). Capture One is not known for its workflow or library features, though many pro users do prefer it’s workflow to others such as Adobe Lightroom or Bridge, etc., it’s generally recognized for its RAW file conversion quality and tethered shooting features. Some features in Capture One are remarkably simple and clean to use, while others can be a little confusing, but the output from this software is typically among the best for many camera models.

You may have to wait for the smoke to clear a bit, as the Phase One servers are a little choked today.

Posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 in News • (0) Comments

Jane Bown: The Eyes Have It

This is a good article on iconic photojournalist/portrait photographer Jane Bown: The Eyes Have It. She has photographed some of the great personalities of much of the last century and is said to be continuing to do the same in this one, at the age of 80. With a remarkably simple kit, and with a special attitude and talent, she gets her shot, typically in just a few frames. No fancy-schmancy digital gear, no entourage, just remarkable images. Watch the video for a very interesting narrative by the photographer.

From Nixon to the Beatles, Bette Davis to U2… Over the past 60 years, The Observer’s Jane Bown has photographed many of the world’s greatest personalities. On the eve of her retrospective, she talks to Robin McKie about her life’s work.”

Check out the article and video here.

Posted on Saturday, October 24, 2009 in Ramblings • (0) Comments