New Mural by #DALEAST on St.Marks Place #NYC.

by JamesNYCAugust 24. 2014 06:54

New Mural is being created on St.Marks Place by the artist #DALEAST

 - UPDATE _ 08/27/2014  The final image with finished wings.

Click the image to view larger

Click the image to view larger

New Mural on St.Marks Place

 

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Photographer Files Vague Patent, Sues Others for Shooting and Selling Photos of Sporting Events

by JamesNYCAugust 23. 2014 14:17

In the world of patents, some money, a lawyer and the carefully crafting a few hundred words can go a long way — for better or worse.

 

One such example is the case of Peter Wolf, owner of Photocrazy, a company that takes photos of sporting events such as triathlons, then offers prints to the participants by matching their race number to an internalized, searchable database.

And although this concept has been around for quite some time in various forms, EFF reveals that Wolf managed to get three patents on this generalized idea and is now attempting to squash other, smaller operations that use a similar method.

Specifically, 6,985,875; 7,047,214 and 7,870,035 are the patents Wolf has managed to secure with the help of some clever wording on behalf of his lawyer. The basis of the most vital component in primary claim — 6,985,875 — is the process of taking a photo of a sporting event, tagging and sorting the participants by their bib number and date of the event, then making available the photographs in an online search form using those variables.

Naturally, the patent filing explains it in far greater detail:

  1. A process providing event photographs of a sporting event for inspection, selection and distribution via a computer network, comprising the steps of:

taking photographs of at least one participant of a sporting event along at least one point of a course or field thereof;

associating identifying data with each photograph taken, wherein the identifying data is selected from at least one of: a number corresponding to a number worn by a participant, a participant’s name, a code acquired from a component worn by a participant, and a date and time, including hour and minute the photograph was taken;

informing the sporting participants of the identifying data;

transferring the photographs to a computer network server;

cataloging each of the photographs in a web-site server according to the identifying data;

accessing the server at a location other than the sporting event and searching for a photograph of a particular sporting event participant utilizing the identifying data; and

displaying the photograph of the sporting event participant for inspection and ordering.

This patent is drawing a great deal of criticism though, considering there’s nothing exactly proprietary within the filings — it’s a conglomeration of already-existing general concepts. With the patents in hand though, Wolf is able to effectively control this generalized idea and file lawsuits against other, smaller operations.

The first is a rather small company called Capstone, which has been using a similar workflow for their images for quite some time. Wolf is looking to sue them for doing so. Fortunately, two previous cases — Alice v. CLS ruling and Limelight v. Akamai ruling — make it seem like these patents could be rendered invalid for a number of reasons.

Even if the patents are determined invalid though, Capstone and any future company using a similar workflow aren’t quite off the hook.

Legal fees alone could collapse a small company such as Capstone, which is made up of almost completely part-time workers. Capstone is attempting to crowdfund support for the lawsuit, but only $5,000 has come through, which is just a drop in the bucket of the impending legal fees, regardless of whether the patent is ruled valid or not.

One way or another, cases like this show just how counterintuitive patents can be, when their original purpose was to create, not stifle, innovation.

To read up more on the patents filed, follow the respective links in the article above.

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Leica goes discreet with the improved M-P

by JamesNYCAugust 23. 2014 08:38

Photo Assistant

The Leica M-P will be available in silver chrome or black paint finishes

Leica has announced the launch of the M-P rangefinder camera. The new model improves on the original Leica M by featuring a bigger buffer, a sapphire glass display-cover, and a frame selection lever for subject framing. The German firm has also opted to make the M-P more discreet by omitting the iconic red dot.

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The Leica M-P (not to be confused with the film-shooting Leica MP) shares the vast majority of its features with the Leica M. As such the full-frame M-mount shooter features a 24 megapixel sensor, an ISO range of 200-6,400 and the ability to shoot Full HD 1080p video footage.

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The Leica M-P will cost US$7,950 and is due to start shipping by the end of the month

In much the same way as the Leica M9-P differed from the M9, changes to the M-P are modest, but could make all the difference to some users. The most performance enhancing improvement is a bigger buffer, which at 2 GB now makes it possible to shoot up to 24 full resolution images at a continuous speed of 3 fps.

Photo Assistant

The Leica M-P has a sapphire glass cover on its rear monitor

While the three-inch rear LCD still just features a 920k dot resolution, it's now covered with sapphire glass, to offer better scratch resistance and durability. The M-P also gains a frame selection lever on the front, which can be used to show the framing of various focal lengths in the viewfinder. New versions of some protectors and ever ready cases will be released which accommodate the added frame selector.

Photo Assistant

The Leica M-P features a 24 megapixel full-frame sensor

Another change, again in line with previous P-series cameras, is that the M-P is designed to be more discreet. What this means in practice is that it lacks either the M or Leica red dot branding on the front of the camera, which some users tape over. Instead there's the less attention-grabbing classical Leica script engraving on the top of the camera.

The Leica M-P will be available in silver chrome or black paint finishes and is expected to start shipping by the end of the month. It will set you back US$7,950, compared with the $6,950 price-tag of the Leica M.

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Product page: Leica M-P

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Photo Assistant

The Leica M-P has an ISO range of 200-6,400 and the ability to shoot Full HD 1080p video footage

Photo Assistant

The Leica M-P a discreet variation of the M camera which lacks the iconic red dot

 

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Magic Lantern 40fps on Canon 5D Mk III in RAW

by JamesNYCAugust 22. 2014 12:38

Magic Lantern keeps pushing the boundaries of the Canon DLSR platform.

They have recently announced that it is now possible, on the Canon 5D Mark III, for you to shoot at 40 frames per second at 1080 in RAW mode.

If you are shooting in 720 you can record up to 67fps in RAW.

You might be asking why this is such a big deal. Until now you were limited to only 30fps in full 1080. Many projects these days require the ability to shoot slow motion in 1080 is a necessity.

Until now my work around has been to shoot those productions that require slow motion in 24 fps for the main footage and then any b-roll I would shoot at 30fps and conform those to 24fps. This slows down the b-roll enough to really help create a cinematic look to the video.

That is the way I can stay in full 1080 resolution. With this workflow I can take the “edge” off the video but it still isn’t really slow motion. I also shoot 30fps with a high shutter speed and can slow the footage down even more in post to get closer to real slow motion in 1080.

Now with the ability to go down to 40fps I can now start approaching true slow motion in 1080. If you need to push slow motion a little more you can still apply post production slow motion and those extra 10 frames per second really make a huge difference.

Make sure you download and try out a few features from Magic Lantern. It is like buying a whole new camera with new features. Happy shooting.

Technical info here.

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ZEISS - The Physics of Camera Lenses

by JamesNYCAugust 22. 2014 08:23

Zeiss has released a technical article by Dr. Vladan Blahnik all about the irradiance and aperture of camera lenses. The 32-page article goes in-depth on the physics of lenses.

Read it here.

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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera Films Through Pentax Viewfinder for Charming Short Film

by JamesNYCAugust 22. 2014 07:24

Mathieu Maury and Antoine Pai used the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera to film vignettes through the viewfinder of a Pentax 67 camera.

Mathieu Maury and Antoine Pai are two photography and filmmaking enthusiast who decided to launch a production and advertising company called Maison Carnot. They are passionate about finding new subjects and ways to explore what surrounds them. Based on this philosophy, they came up with the short film "Paris through Pentax".

Through the viewfinder images always seem to catch the eye and this video is no exception. The beauty of Parisian life is shown from start to finish. Here is a short interview with them to see how and why the film was made. From Antoine: 

It's interesting story, Mathieu passed by my place with the Pentax 67 and almost the same day I received the Blackmagic pocket camera and it just seemed obvious to us when the two cameras were lying together on the table. The depth and beauty from the Pentax is just hypnotizing. So, after some DIY brainstorming we ended up with the right set up.

This short film is shot in a few of the best spots around Paris, they cleverly used a mix of famous and not-so famous locations. Watching this film, it is quickly evident that there is a decent amount of dynamic range in the scenes - great use of the Black Magic Pocket camera's capabilities. They also created a wooden jig to hold the camera and black paper covered flag to get rid of any reflections or flares. This resulted in a relatively inexpensive setup that created expensive looking high-end finished product. When DIY is done right, you don't know it's DIY. Enjoy this quick trip around Paris.

Maison Carnon around the web: Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo.

DIY brainstorming we ended up with the right set up.

 

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Monkey Selfies can not be copyrighted

by JamesNYCAugust 22. 2014 06:10

The verdict is in: monkey selfies cannot be copyrighted.

A public draft of a U.S. Copyright Office report, released Tuesday, said it will register only works created by human beings.

Hidden among the document's 1,222 pages is article 306, which covers The Human Authorship Requirement: "The U.S. Copyright Office will register an original work of authorship, provided that the work was created by a human being," the record said. "The Office will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants."

The first, very specific, example: a photograph taken by a monkey. It turns out a mural painted by an elephant doesn't count, either.

British nature photographer David Slater spent three days in the Indonesian wilderness in 2011, shadowing a pack of macaque monkeys, becoming a part of their tribe. Once comfortable with each other, the photographer set his camera on a tripod, framed the shot, and left the shutter button for a female monkey to operate.

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Canon 5D Mark III vs. ,OnePlus One Android Phone

by JamesNYCAugust 21. 2014 07:03

In the below video, YouTube user EXIV compares footage taken from a Canon 5D Mark III with that taken from a OnePlus One Android phone.

He writes, "The aim of this test is exclusively to compare how the OnePlus One performs respect the Canon 5D Mark III in a ideal light condition. In this case I am pleased to notice that the OPO performed incredibly well, but no doubts that the Canon 5D Mark III is obviously still the best option for filmmakers for all the many reasons that make a DSLR what it is. But it is interesting also to notice that, in terms of dynamic range, the OPO performed incredibly well compared with the 5D, and I can tell you that with a similar exposure, there is almost no difference between the two."

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Free Color Predictor App Lets You Preview Camera Color Capabilities Under Different Lighting

by JamesNYCAugust 20. 2014 08:12

First released at NAB earlier this year, the Academy Color Predictor for iOS 7 aims to let you predict and preview the color rendering capabilities of digital cameras under different lighting setups.

Great lighting is just as much science as it is art. Finding tools and resources covering the artistic side of lighting is fairly easy, finding them on the scientific side not so much. Luckily for us, there’s an incredibly bright group of people out there that think of nothing else but the physics behind light and how it relates to cinematography. They’re called The Academy’s Scientific and Technology Council, a part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the very same people who hand out those small golden statues each year that everyone seems to enjoy so much).

The Academy’s Solid State Lighting committee released a very interesting free app for the iPad (iOS 7 only) at NAB 2014 called the Academy Color Predictor (ACP). Its object is to allow cinematographers and art directors to predict and preview the color rendering capabilities of digital cameras under different lighting setups. The ACP allows you to check a camera setup with a wide variety of variables against a known reference light source, and shows you the color differences you’ll have using standard color charts on your iPad.

Here’s the issue: you have a shot that encompasses two different types of lights.

Light A is a small 1x1 foot square panel made up of hundreds of small LEDs, drawing around 40 Watts of power from a small camera battery, that you want to keep about 1-3 meters from your talent.

Light B is a giant ball of plasma 1.3 million kilometers around, putting out 3.846×1026 Watts of power from an ongoing hydrogen thermonuclear fusion reaction, that you really want to keep about 150 million kilometers or so away from your talent.

It probably wouldn’t surprise you that because of the wildly different sources of light, the spectral response of each light may be very divergent even though the color temperature (5600K) is the same. The LED panel and the Sun have different frequencies of red in their light, so they will render a red shirt in different ways. The Academy Color Predictor can show you those differences, and let you determine if this combo may pose difficulties for color correction later.

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Shutter Count APP is Now Available for Windows

by JamesNYCAugust 19. 2014 13:14

What is Shutter Count and why should you care?

Well…have you seen what’s been going on at eBay lately?

In the past month, 20 or so U.S. location, working Canon 5D Mk II bodies – the camera that really set off the DSLR video revolution – have sold for as little as $970, topping out at just under $1,600.

By comparison, a new Mark III body will set you back around $3,500, give or take.

For U.S. location Canon 7D bodies, it’s even better: over the past 3 months, transactions have closed for as little as $360, topping out just about where the 5D Mk II begins, near the $1,000 price point.

It’s a great time to buy a used camera.

Or is it a terrible time to sell a used camera?

It depends, of course, upon which side of the transaction you sit.

But three things are clear:

1) With tectonic shifts taking place in the market (from new entrants like the Panasonic GH4 and Sony A7s to the rumored replacement this September of the much-loved and venerable Canon 7D), most people know that IF they want to switch or trade up, they have a very limited time before their current gear values plummet even farther than they already have.

2) Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, a camera body with fewer shutter actuation's – all else being equal – will command a higher price than one with more, just like mileage on a used car.

3) If you can report the shutter count for the camera you’re selling, you enhance your credibility and you are likely to get to a fairer price for both parties.

Until now, Windows users were at a disadvantage compared to Mac users relying on the aptly-named ShutterCount app by DIRE Studio to do just that.

The good news: DIRE has now released a Windows version, available for the same $2.99.

Note that  ShutterCount – in either version — does NOT tell you how many hours of video have been shot.

ShutterCount for Windows

ShutterCount displays the number of shutter actuations (the shutter count) of your Canon EOS digital camera. The shutter count is read directly from a USB-connected camera, and thus provides accurate numbers that are not attainable with simple EXIF-based methods.

With ShutterCount you can easily check whether a newly purchased camera is really new, or check how heavily used a pre-owned item is. And you can save a trip to a Canon Service Center by doing the reading for yourself.

The app provides unlimited readings for an unlimited number of cameras, so you can freely track actual camera usage. Even if you work for a rental house or just lend a camera to a friend.

ShutterCount only displays the shutter count for still photos - video clips recorded are not included in the number. For a separate mirror movement reading (that includes videos) you should consult an authorized Canon Service Center.

History logging allows you to track camera usage. Logs are stored in CSV format that can be imported into Apple's Numbers or Microsoft Excel for further processing. History logging is not available on Windows.

 

Note: for the best compatibility with your camera it is recommended to upgrade the camera's firmware to the latest available version.

WiFi on the EOS 6D and 70D must be turned off as it blocks the USB port when turned on!

Supported cameras:

  • Canon EOS-1D C (requires firmware 1.1.3 or later for correct serial number display)
  • Canon EOS-1D Mark IV
  • Canon EOS-1D X
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III (requires firmware 1.2.1 or later for correct serial number display)
  • Canon EOS 6D
  • Canon EOS 7D
  • Canon EOS 50D
  • Canon EOS 60D
  • Canon EOS 70D
  • Canon EOS 100D / Rebel SL1 / Kiss X7
  • Canon EOS 500D / Rebel T1i / Kiss X3
  • Canon EOS 550D / Rebel T2i / Kiss X4
  • Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i / Kiss X5
  • Canon EOS 650D / Rebel T4i / Kiss X6i
  • Canon EOS 700D / Rebel T5i / Kiss X7i
  • Canon EOS 1000D / Rebel XS / Kiss F
  • Canon EOS 1100D / Rebel T3 / Kiss X50
  • Canon EOS 1200D / Rebel T5 / Kiss X70

ShutterCount is certified to work with all of the cameras listed above, using their latest firmware revision.

Please quit all applications that might connect to your camera (e.g. Canon EOS Utility, Capture One, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom) before launching ShutterCount.

Questions? Problems? Check out the ShutterCount FAQ or contact our support!

More information at the ShutterCount Webpage

Isn’t it worth $2.99 to find out your camera’s shutter count?

(cover photo credit: snap from DIRE Studio)

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Stuff people say

Any photographer who says he’s not a voyeur is either stupid or a liar. - Helmut Newton

 

"The Camera does not lie, Post Production and Publishers do". - James-ism 09/06/2013

 

Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work. - Booker T. Washington

 

"Papa, ... Music is your love, but Photography is your Religion." - Joya D. Hall-Sullivan | Age 10

 

"All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth." - Richard Avedon - 1984

 

 "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." - Thomas Alva Edison

 

"Any photographer who says he’s not a voyeur is either stupid or a liar." - Helmut Newton

 

"You don’t have to sort of enhance reality. There is nothing stranger than truth." - Annie Leibovitz

 

"When you find yourself beginning to feel a bond between yourself and the people you photograph, when you laugh and cry with their laughter and tears, you will know you are on the right track." - Weegee

 

" The camera is much more than a recording apparatus. It is a medium via which messages reach us from another world." - Orson Welles

 

"Some people's photography is an art. Not mine. Art is a dirty word in photography. All this fine art crap is killing it already." - Helmut Newton

 

"Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more. " - Nikola Tesla

 

"I think all art is about control - the encounter between control and the uncontrollable." - Richard Avedon

 

"The first 10 000 shots are the worst." - Helmut Newton

 

“If I have any ‘message’ worth giving to a beginner it is that there are no short cuts in photography.” – Edward Weston

 

"Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn't have it in the beginning." - Mahatma Gandhi

 

"Ultimately success or failure in photographing people depends on the photographer's ability to understand his fellow man." - Edward Weston

 

"If you want reality take the bus." - David LaChapelle

 

"You don't take a photograph, you make it." - Ansel Adams

 

"When I have sex with someone I forget who I am. For a minute I even forget I’m human. It’s the same thing when I’m behind a camera. I forget I exist." - Robert Mapplethorpe

 

" Great photography is always on the edge of failure." - Garry Winogrand

 

"I don’t think photography has anything remotely to do with the brain. It has to do with eye appeal." - Horst P. Horst

 

"Be yourself. I much prefer seeing something, even it is clumsy, that doesn't look like somebody else's work." - William Klein

 

"Avedon claims to have been the best photographer in the '60s - bullshit - Bob Richardson was - despite or because of being insane and strung out on drugs, I managed to do photographs that are considered iconic - being known as the 'photographer's photographer' means I lead and they follow - I'm broke and they are rich." - Bob Richardson

 

"If you're absent during my struggle, don't expect to be present during my success" - Will Smith

 

"Either take the lead or follow behind, just stay the fuck out of my way." - James Sullivan

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