Can’t get out to the game? Do what I do—photograph your LCD TV and create surprisingly expressive images by transforming what’s on the screen. To avoid infringing the broadcaster’s copyright, I make sure my final image is so altered that the source isn’t recognizable.
We all want to catch family and friends in unguarded moments, to get their real personalities and avoid the canned smiles. But all too often, our efforts look dull or silly. What’s the secret of great candids? To find out, I turned to the Godfather of all candid shooters, Ron Galella.
There are few things as frustrating as missing a shot because your camera can’t keep up. That won’t happen with Casio’s new Exilim EX-FH20, which has a continuous shutter that allows you to shoot up to 40 frames per second (at 7MP). Want to show the action unfold?
Finesse your close-up shots by lighting them with Xotopro’s system of infinitely aimable, gooseneck flashes. ($440, direct; www.xotopro.com) Get a house call from the picture doctor with in-home training in the basics of your new digital camera from Zip Express Installation.
This Four Thirds system DSLR will slot between the midlevel E-520 and flagship E-3. We know it will have the fast 11-point autofocus of the E-3 (with face detection), as well as the articulating LCD screen, and shutter speeds to 1/8000 sec. It will have all of the features of the E-520, including sensor-shift image stabilization.
After a stint in the Ivory Coast with the Peace Corps, Lori Duff, now 36, headed to the University of Missouri for a master’s degree in journalism. Until recently a photographer at the Concord Monitor in Concord, NH, she freelances (www.loriduff.com) and also shoots for the New Hampshire National Guard.
A pro photographer from Twinsburg, OH, 32-year-old VARINA PATEL has visited Utah’s Paria Canyon several times since 2006. Hiking in this “photographer’s paradise” with her husband, she scouted this spot early, then returned later to shoot when the fading light accentuated the texture in the stone and mud.
Go out in the cold, and capture spectacular images right at your feet
Gleaming lakes that mirror the mountains, streams rushing through green forests...you’ve mastered these iconic landscapes. Now it’s winter and you’re indoors, shooting pictures of your pets as you wait for spring to arrive. Alberta, Canada-based nature photographer Samantha Chrysanthou (chrysalizz.smugmug.com) has some words for you.
CAMERA METERS ARE DESIGNED TO PROVIDE THE exposure that will render images to a midtone—the tone of an 18% gray card. This makes for problems with light-toned subjects, particularly snow and ice. The camera reads all that bright light reflecting off a snowy scene and will “correct” it by setting an exposure too low, resulting in grayish snow or ice.
DRESS RIGHT: My cold-weather recommendations are posted at www.PopPhoto.com. BRING EXTRA POWER: Frigid conditions decrease the performance of batteries, so bring extras. Keep an extra battery in a warm pocket and switch back and forth with the battery in the camera as needed.
You won’t come home from the Hawaiian island of Kauai without a beautiful picture. Not with its white sand beaches, rainbow-lit waterfalls, wild orchids and hibiscus. But its real photo treasures, such as the rugged sea cliffs of the Napali Coast and misty craters of Mount Waialeale, are very hard to reach on foot.
You’ve heard it a million times—RAW capture is best. Among its many benefits, it gives you the highest image quality, the flexibility to tweak the white balance and get the color right, and the most exposure latitude. But all the power of your RAW files won’t help you if you can’t preview them, quickly convert them, and make them the best sizes for sharing or printing.
Heading to a holiday bash? Want great photos, not just snapshots? Moonlighting as a wedding and event shooter, I cover all kinds of social gatherings, and the lighting challenge at parties is always the same: How to flatter friends, family, and clients with little more than a blast of flash.
The problem: It's a pretty shot of a mountain goat and kid perched on a peak, caught right at a moment of parental interaction. A lot of little things bothered us, though: There is a bit too much bottom to the picture—we don’t need all those distracting rocks.
A sense of place is one of the most powerful qualities of photography, and to nail it, your picture has to tell a story. Storytelling is exactly what photographer Amy Toensing (www. amytoensing.com) brings to her photos of far-away places.
Fundamentals: The frame within a frame, moody existing light, warm color balance. Frame within a frame: The tunnel arch serves as a visual frame to the young couple—who are mirrored in the distant fog by another couple. Existing light: Highlights play against shadows with a variety of symmetries in the frame.
Three-quarters of our planet is blue. Spend any time shooting and you’re going to find yourself challenged to capture the magic of water. Here are some suggestions. Time it. Water’s ability to reflect light turns it into a palette that can show tones from cool to warm.
Equal parts landscape and sports photography, ski pictures can combine the beauty of nature with the thrill of athletes dropping down hillsides at bullet speeds. With the help of his wife, Véronique, and a backpack of Nikon gear, Scott Markewitz, 48, of Salt Lake City, UT, has made such pictures for 22 years.
Every time your shutter clicks, an angel gets its wings
The Tree Lighting
If your holiday memories are better than your holiday photos, it’s easy to blame too many trips to the wassail bowl. The truth is, capturing this time of year isn’t easy. Some of the best moments take place in the dark. Or in mixed light. Or as fleetingly as a snowflake on your tongue.
From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, the holiday season is all about the food. And though your family and friends (and maybe you) work really hard to create those feasts, their beauty is short-lived. So why not capture a special meal in all its glory— before everyone chows down?
THE FINALISTS In a crowded field, these stand out.
CANON EOS 5D MARK II
CASIO EXILIM PRO EX-F1
PANASONIC LUMIX G1
SONY ALPHA 900
CANON EOS 5D MARK II
THAT LOUD NOISE YOU heard in September was that of jaws dropping at Canon’s EOS 5D Mark II full-frame DSLR. Its 21.1MP CMOS sensor, ISOs to 25,600, and HD video capture at full 1920×1080 resolution are just starters. Upgrades to autofocus, LCD, shutter durability, burst rate, and controls add up to a true supercamera. ($2,700 street, body only; $3,500 with 24-105mm f/4L Canon EF IS lens)
NOT CONTENT TO update its D80 with 12.3MP capture, faster burst rates, improved AF, and a highres LCD, Nikon broke new ground by giving the camera video capability—a first for a DSLR. To be precise, 1280×720 HD video at 24 fps with mono sound. And the price is the same as the D80’s on introduction—that’s a deal. ($1,000, street, body only; $1,300 with 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S Nikkor DX lens)
CASIO EXILIM PRO EX-F1
HOW DOES A CAMERA with an electronic viewfinder and with no interchangeable lenses get to be a Camera of the Year finalist? By doing something no other consumer model does: Shooting full-res 6MP stills at 60 fps, and highspeed video at an astounding 1200 fps. And as an “ordinary” camera, it’s no slouch—it put up Excellent image quality results in our tests. Plus, it captures 1920×1080 HD video at 60 fps with stereo sound. ($950, street)
YOU MAY WONDER WHY we nominated the E-420 over the E-520, which sports sensorbased image stabilization. Answer: size. The E-420, the smallest DSLR you can buy, truly redefines a category that tends toward big clunks. With a cute (and sharp) 25mm pancake lens mounted, the camera routinely gets mistaken for a compact. This little mite, though, provides rock-solid imaging performance. ($440, street, body only; $525 with 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko Digital AF lens)
PANASONIC LUMIX G1
THE PETITE DMC-G1 isn’t just an all-new camera, it’s an all-new system, called Micro Four Thirds. Basically, it’s an electronic viewfinder camera with interchangeable lenses. But unlike current EVFs, the G1 uses a finegrain finder that provides nearly as lifelike an image as that of an optical finder, and it has a DSLR-sized 12.1MP sensor. The lenses? Tiny, to fit the body. ($800, estimated street, with 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 G Vario lens)
SONY ALPHA 900
THEY SAID IT COULDN’T be done, so Sony went ahead and did it—built a DSLR with a monster 24.6MP fullframe sensor and sensorshift image stabilization. The current megapixel champ among DSLRs, the A900 put up stratospheric resolution numbers in our lab tests. Dual processors let you crank out those big pictures at 5 fps; a big, bright prism finder lets you compose them with 100-percent accuracy. ($3,000, street, body only)
THE K20D ABLY CARRIES on the Pentax tradition of near-pro-level tanks at modest prices. The thoroughly gasketed, stainless-steel chassis K20D has heavy-duty imaging, too, by way of its 14.6MP CMOS sensor. It put up Excellent image quality results up to ISO 1600 in our tests. Built-in anti-shake? Of course. And you can correct color and convert RAW files in the camera. ($1,000, street, body only; $1,115 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Pentax DA lens)
What a year for cameras! Popular Photography’s 2008 finalists for our fifth annual Camera of the Year award not only “refine or redefine” photography—some even revolutionize it. Consider that the nominees include two DSLRs that shoot high-definition video, a high-speed camera that fires at a rate once reserved for expensive scientific cameras, and a pocket-sized wonder that debuts an entirely new camera system.
You can keep your raindrops and roses and whiskers on kittens. Our favorite things all belong in our camera bag or at home in our digital darkroom. Our editors scrutinize hundreds, if not thousands, of cameras, lenses, printers, scanners, image-editing programs, and other gear for photographers every year.
We answer your most burning photography queries, once and for all
Neither. The most important variable is the size of the individual pixels. A pixel is like a light sponge—the bigger it is, the more light it absorbs. Greater sensitivity lets you shoot at higher ISOs with less noise, better detail, and finer color gradation.
From megapixels to viewfinders to sensors, size matters
CERTIFIED TEST RESULTS
What happens when an electronics behemoth jumps into DSLRs? In Sony’s case, it pushes development into overdrive for a couple of years. Then it makes a full-frame 24.6MP CMOS sensor and steals the title of most megapixels in the 35mm format from Canon, which has held the title for as long as anyone can remember.
Sony’s entrant in the digitalonly 55-200mm race is a lowcost ($230, street) telephoto mate to its 18-70mm kit lens. Unlike some other sub-$250 zooms, however, this 82.5-300mm equivalent sports an element of ED glass and lacks onboard image stabilization—which it doesn’t need because Sony’s Alpha bodies have it inside.
Megapixels may star, but video takes the spotlight
The Canon EOS 5D was Popular Photography’s Camera of the Year in 2005. And serious shooters have been clamoring for an update of this wildly successful full-frame workhorse since...well, 2006. Though it sure took long enough, the 21.1 MP EOS 5D Mark II ($2,700 body only; $3,500 with 24-105mm f/4L EF IS USM lens) may prove the virtue of patience.
Introduced as the kit lens for Nikon’s midlevel D90, this 27-157.5mm equivalent ($400, street) and its 5.8X zoom range should fit the needs of ambitious D90 owners who would have found a 3X 18-55mm kit zoom limiting, with or without image stabilization.
THIS IS THE FIFTH VERSION of Sigma’s full-frame 70-200mm f/2.8 in 15 years—and with each iteration it has grown sharper, closer-focusing, and more distortion-free. Part of Sigma’s high-quality EX family, the lens ($800, street) uses three elements of super-low-distortion glass that suppress chromatic aberration.
I have a beautiful HDTV, and I’m planning to buy an HD camcorder. I’d love to edit my videos, but I’ve heard that some video-editing software can’t handle HD video and that some programs work only with certain cameras. Do I have to pick the software first?
1. Another world: Mitchell Funk combined five separate images to produce this cover. He began with the silhouette of Stonehenge, then sandwiched it with the sunset photo, both shot with a 35mm SLR and 105mm lens. Next came a double exposure (on a slide copier) of studio-made stars.
1. Book value: This informative issue held three original “books” by experts in their fields. Ken Van Sickle shot the jazz photo using a 35mm Leica 111c and Ilford HP3 film. Eliot Elisofon shot the color photo of Colette Marchand, lit by two blue flash lamps (one with a green gel), on Ektachrome Daylight film.
Want to edit your pictures with Adobe’s technology without coughing up cash for Photoshop or Elements? Or just need a quick fix for images you already have online? Consider Adobe’s free Photoshop Express. Besides letting you store and share images, it gives you standard editing tools and some special ones (e.g., sketch, distort, and retouch).
Ever wonder if there’s a secret formula to getting your photos published in a magazine? There isn’t. But there are a few things that will push your work to the front of the pack. Here are three pieces of advice from our editors.
1 Go for color. Black-and-white photos are beautiful, but most magazines publish them sparingly. Your best bet is to use vibrant but natural-looking color—go easy on the saturation levels. Though there is such thing as too subtle: High-key, white-on-white images, striking as they are, will let whatever’s printed on the page behind show through.
While a full moon may be an excuse for strange behavior, it’s also the best time for nocturnal photography—not just for pictures of the moon itself but to harness the effect of its light on the landscape. Keep in mind: Winter months are the best for shooting by the light of the moon.
“We do not see what is ‘real,’ we see what we are.” WILLY RONIS “I was a passionate photographer, and for a while somewhat guiltily. I thought it was a substitute for something else—well for writing for one thing.” WALKER EVANS STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT, AND CIRCULATION (Required by 39 U.S.C. 3685) 1 PUBLICATION TITLE Popular Photography 2 PUBLICATION NUMBER 0504-8900 3 FILING DATE September 30,2008 4 ISSUE FREQUENCY Monthly 5 NO. OF ISSUES PUBLISHED ANNUALLY 12 6 ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION PRICE $14.00 7 COMPLETE MAILING ADDRESS OF KNOWN OFFICE OF PUBLICATION 1633 Broadway, New York, NY 10019 CONTACT Vesta P. Cordero, 212-767-6531 8 COMPLETE MAILING ADDRESS OF HEADQUARTERS OR GENERAL BUSINESS OFFICE OF PUBLISHER 1633 Broadway, New York, NY 10019 9 FULL NAMES AND COMPLETE MAILING ADDRESSES OF PUBLISHER, EDITOR, AND MANAGING EDITOR PUBLISHER Jeffrey Roberts, 1633 Broadway, New York, NY 10019; EDITOR John Owens, 1633 Broadway, New York, NY 10019; MANAGING EDITOR Miriam Leuchter, 1633 Broadway, New York, NY 10019 10 OWNER Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., Inc., 1633 Broadway, New York, NY 10019 100% of stock is owned by Hachette Filipacchi Holdings, Inc.
“My friend Nate Gold, a world-class rock climber, and I went to Mallorca, Spain a few years ago to shoot a story for Men’s Journal on a new sport—in Europe it’s called psicobloc, for ‘psycho-boulder,’ and in the U.S., deep-water soloing. This sport involves climbing a cliff above the sea without any ropes.