VFX Legion Blows Up the Model with Media Shuttle

Based in Burbank, Calif., visual effects studio VFX Legion began in 2013 with a simple but revolutionary idea at its core: by freeing the visual effects artist from the need to work in a facility, and instead giving them the ability to work wherever they chose, they could create high-quality work that film and TV producers would want to pay for.

Zenit is back in business, plans to release full-frame mirrorless camera in 2018

Russian publication RNS has revealed that camera maker Zenit has restarted camera production, and may in fact launch a full-frame mirrorless model on the international market as early as 2018. The initial announcement was reportedly made by Krasnogorsk Mechanical Plant’s Deputy Director General for Civilian Production and Consumer Goods, Igor Sergeyev, who revealed the plans via Moscow Region Radio 1.

The planned full-frame mirrorless camera will retain iconic, brand-recognizable elements, according to the announcement, including “characteristic contours, ergonomics, [and] camera lines.” However, the camera will be modernized for today’s market, featuring both light and dark color options as well as leather trim.

The price will exceed that of a “good smartphone,” according to Sergeyev, though specifics weren’t provided.

Zenit, though once popular, ceased production in 2005 following multiple failed attempts to revive its place in the market. According to Sergeyev, the latest production round will not attempt to compete with big-name camera manufacturers like Canon or Nikon. In fact, an unnamed “leading photographic equipment company” will produce some of the components for this camera.

Additional details on the camera or Zenit’s renaissance weren’t provided, but we’ll let you know just as soon as more is revealed.

Don’t buy another lens, buy a flash instead


A bounced, on-camera flash was a quick way for me to take some photo booth snaps in a very dark room without having to set anything up off-camera.

When people really get into photography and start saving their pennies for new gear, one of the first things they buy tends to be a lens, like a telephoto or a fast prime. However, if you’ve already got a lens or two and you’re thinking you’d want another, let me suggest that you pick up an external flash instead.

Why, you ask? What’s wrong with natural light? After all, those insert-name-brand-here flashes are just way too expensive.

With the abundance of cheap flashes pouring out of China these days, you should be able to get a TTL, or ‘through the lens’ metering flash for around $50 US. If it’s your first flash, a cheapie one will do just fine, and TTL metering will help you get out and get shooting with it in no time.

If you’re ‘into photography’ enough to have a couple of lenses, then it’s time to consider one of these as well.

Even a ‘natural light’ shooter can benefit immensely from a better understanding of how light works, and what better way to experiment with light than controlling your own? You may even find that, using artificial lights, you can spend less time looking for shade or big bay windows, and sometimes, you can get away with shooting at the ‘wrong’ time of day.

‘Even a ‘natural light’ shooter can benefit immensely from a better understanding of how light works, and what better way to experiment with light than controlling your own?’

Lastly, having a flash simply provides you with another tool with which to create images. It’s just another option you didn’t have before. It can open up new possibilities, and perhaps lead you in a creative direction you never expected. And as you grow, you may find there are some situations that you’d simply never get away with not using strobes.

Getting started using TTL

Even if you tend to use your camera in ‘Auto’ or ‘P’ modes, you can gain instant benefits from a small, inexpensive flash. As stated earlier, it’ll be important to get TTL capability, which is kind of like ‘Auto’ or ‘P’ for flash.

Room a bit dim? A ceiling-bounced flash is one of the easiest ways to brighten it up without looking too unnatural.

So how does TTL work? Before taking the photo, the flash fires a quick burst that reflects off your subject and travels through the lens to the imaging or metering sensor in the camera, which then takes a reading and tells the flash what power it should use. And because this is all happening at the speed of light, there is no perceptible lag in this process.

The best part is that if you’re finding your flash is looking too bright or too dim, you can dial in exposure compensation on the flash itself, just like you can on your camera. These are two separate exposure compensations; the flash exposure compensation value will only affect the flash output.

And TTL isn’t just to be pooh-pooh’d as the ‘amateur’ option either, as it can work incredibly well. Many of Joe McNally’s excellent shoots with both speedlights and bigger strobes are controlled using TTL and biasing them up or down with exposure compensation.

On-camera flashBounce flash
Taken on a Nikon D3400 in full auto.

One of the best ways to get instantly better pictures as a result of your new flash is to mount it to the top of you camera, point it up at the ceiling, and photograph some friends indoors. Instead of producing portraits with very bright faces and an almost black background, which built-in flashes tend to do, you’re bouncing the light off the ceiling, where it cascades down and lights everything a little more softly.

It’s like the difference between shooting in direct sunlight versus shooting on a cloudy day. In direct sunlight (like with direct flash pointed at your subject), you get pretty harsh shadows and more contrast between those shadows and the highlights. With the flash pointed at the ceiling, it’s spread out more, similar to how clouds will diffuse sunlight, and shadows are much softer as a result.

A practical case for TTL, or ‘How I Shoot Dimly Lit Events’

One of my favorite aspects of TTL metering actually involves keeping my camera in full manual, with the flash doing all of the ‘automatic’ work for me. This is particularly useful at dimly lit events and wedding receptions, where I’m moving around quickly and almost always using bounce flash, as described just above.

Ambient lighting only.

This first shot is a good example of an approximate base exposure for the ambient lighting in the room. By that I mean that the ambient lights aren’t totally blown out, and the background is a little dark but still provides a bit of context. This is important as I mostly want the flash to bring out my main subject without the entire rest of the frame looking horribly under-or-overexposed.

In this particular case, I actually like this dark, moody look for the sax player. But these sorts of ambient, ‘moody’ shots won’t work for everyone all the time. So let’s see what difference a flash can make, and how I like to incorporate it in these situations.

Added bounce-flash with TTL.

This second image has some exposure adjustments to bring up the ambient a little more, but I’ve added a flash mounted to the top of the camera. It was bounced at the ceiling in TTL mode and the flash exposure compensation was adjusted to underexpose slightly.

Of course, these images are extremely different in terms of ‘mood,’ but I’ve found that this method of adding ‘pops’ of bounce flash to subjects at events can allow me to more effectively freeze motion without raising my shutter speed, as well as shoot my lenses a little more stopped down to give me some leeway for focus errors.

What about you?

Image taken with a single off-camera flash through an umbrella.

Are you a flash shooter, or a natural light purist? TTL or all manual, all the time? Let us know in the comments if you’ve got any strobe tips or tricks that have made a difference to the types of photography you enjoy.

Shooting 101MP black-and-white photos with the Phase One XF IQ3 Achromatic

Phase One recently sent award-winning portrait photographer Rick Wenner on a dream assignment. Equipped with the XF IQ3 Achromatic—the world’s only 101MP black-and-white medium format digital back—he was sent to Wildwood, NJ to shoot an odd event called the Race of the Gentlemen.

The annual drag racing event features pre-war era hot rods and motorcycles, speeding across the beach. It’s the ideal event to shoot in black-and-white, and when you’re shooting with the only 101MP digital back out there… well, all the better.

But why black and white only? Wenner explained in an interview with Phase One:

“Black and white photography is a great approach to focus completely on the detail and art of these beautiful machines. […] You aren’t distracted by a bright blue sky or a yellow-green paint job on a hot rod. You are not distracted by the colorful tattoos or the rust and patina of an old delivery truck. Your eye is only looking at what I want the viewers to see in my photos – detail, texture, facial expressions, style, shapes, and action.”

As for the camera itself, it was… hefty… as you might well assume. In addition to the weight of the XF IQ3 Achromatic, Wenner was using the Schneider Kreuznach 40-80mm LS f/4.0-5.6 and Schneider Kreuznach 75-150mm LS f/4.0-5.6 Blue Ring lenses, neither of which are exactly light.

Speaking with DPReview over email, though, Wenner tells us the extra weight was totally worth it once he got a look at the files:

The camera was heavier than what I’m used to with those zoom lenses but still manageable throughout the day. The files are ENORMOUS, as expected. The .IIQ (raw) files are on average about 150-175 MB. I loved working with the files because of the insane amount of detail captured and how much information can be recovered in highlights and shadows.

Check out the full set of photos from the TROG event up top. And if you want to see more of Wenner’s work, visit his website, check out his blog, or give him a follow on Instagram.

All photos by Rick Wenner and used with permission.

How to buy used gear (and not get burned)

Don’t get burned!

Photography gear is pricey, and buying used is a great way to keep your wallet from getting too thin, but it also comes with quite a few risks. The high price associated with photo gear sometimes attracts unsavory folks disguising themselves as reputable sellers, as a means to part you from your hard earned cash. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to avoid this from happening.

I’ve been buying gear on a budget for thirteen years now, mostly via eBay and Craigslist, and in that time have come of with a basic set of rules to protect myself from getting burned. And after recently reading a gear-buying horror story, I felt compelled to write down my rules – with the input of my DPReview colleagues – and share them with you.

Note: There are exceptions to these rules and following them does not necessary guarantee you won’t get burned by a bad deal. As with any big-ticket purchase, common sense is the best and safest policy.

Buy from reputable used retailers

Buy from reputable used retailers like KEH or from the used department of reputable camera retailers like Adorama or B&H. If you are unsure of whether a camera retailer is reputable, if they are based in the USA, a quick search of the company’s name on the Better Business Bureau website should provide you the answer.

As a rule, always be sure to check and understand the retailer’s return policy, just in case you have an issue. For instance, KEH offers a 6 month return window.

Buy from sellers with a positive history

The advantage of buying from a used retailer is generally piece of mind; the disadvantage is you will likely pay more than buying direct from a selling party. That’s where consumer-to-consumer sites like eBay and more recently, Amazon Marketplace* come into play.

If you plan on purchasing from a seller on one of these sites, I can not emphasize enough how important it is that they have a positive selling history with multiple completed transactions. At least ten is a good place to start, but the more the merrier. Checking a seller’s history is simple on both of the above-mentioned sites.

DPReview.com is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amazon but is editorially independent of our parent company.

Use safe payment methods

Only pay using a payment method you trust. PayPal is the obvious option, especially if buying on eBay, but there are others out there. And be wary of anyone who wants you to pay by wiring money to them via Western Union. If you choose to do so, make sure you’ve developed a sufficient level of trust with the seller.

Buy from other photo enthusiasts and ask questions

Buy from sellers who are photographers/photo enthusiasts. They’ll likely have taken better care of their gear and know more about its operation. The language used in an item’s description is usually a good indicator of whether the seller is a photo enthusiast or just someone who picked up some gear at an estate sale. If you are still unsure, reach out to the seller and ask them a question about the gear. If their reply doesn’t satisfy you, don’t buy it.

Try Craigslist gear paired with your own

If you plan on buying off Craigslist, try the gear with your own lenses/camera before you buy. One of my colleagues went to check out a prospective lens from a Craigslist seller. The lens seemed to function great on the gentleman’s camera, but when my buddy mounted it on his, the AF motor started to squeak. My friend had done his research and knew this particular lens occasionally suffers from premature failed AF motors, so he politely said ‘no thank you’ and moved on. Had he not tried it on his own camera, he might have ended up with a lemon of a lens.

Know the warning signs of gear failure, and ask for shutter counts

This is in a similar vein to the previous tip: Always, ALWAYS research warning sizes of failure for a piece of used gear you are considering purchasing. Some used gear holds up surprisingly well over time; some does not. For instance, early production Nikon 17-35mm F2.8 lenses suffer from the aforementioned failed focus motor. Knowing the warning signs of failure is essential. And don’t be afraid to ask the buyer if ‘the AF motor squeaks at all.’ These kind of questions and their answers can help protect you.

On a similar note, if purchasing a used camera, always ask for the shutter count. In the same way the odometer in a used car provides a metric for how much wear and tear it’s received, so does a shutter count. Because shutters are only guaranteed so many actuations by the manufacturer, it is crucial to check before you buy.

Skip grey market gear

Avoid grey market gear. If you are unfamiliar with the term, it refers to gear that is sold in new condition, but without a corresponding warranty for the country in which it is being purchased. To be clear: ANY camera or lens bought new from a reputable dealer will always have a warranty card issued by the manufacturer. Grey market cameras have usually been imported illegally. Some will come with a third party warranty, some will not.

While the prices might be tempting, it’s best to avoid these ‘deals.’ If you end up having a problem with the gear or there is some kind of recall, you may run into issues when sending it back to the manufacturer. Not to mention that grey market sales undermine the integrity of the photography gear market as a whole.

Look into alternative versions, save some dough

Look for alternative versions of gear that may be less expensive. This is less a tip about protecting yourself and more a tip about finding the best deal, but what the heck, we included it anyway. A good example of this is the Leica CL, which goes for a lot more money than a Leitz Minolta CL, despite being the same camera.

Check compatibility

Double check your prospective gear’s compatibility with your current gear. This one is pretty commonsense, but if you accidentally buy a Canon FD mount lens for your 5D Mark III, the screw-up is on you, not the seller. Likewise, if you buy a Nikkor-D lens and your DSLR doesn’t have a built-in AF motor, that’s your problem – not the seller’s.

Patience is key

Be patient. If buying on Amazon Marketplace or eBay, you can set automated searches or notifications for products of interest. Don’t rush into buying something because you don’t see a lot of copies for sale.

Update the gear’s registration info

Make sure if the seller had registered their gear with the manufacturer that you coordinate changing the registration info to your own. I recently heard an unfortunate story of a photographer sending a piece of gear, bought used, to the manufacturer due to a recall, and the manufacturer sending it back to the original buyer. A sticky wicket for sure! Don’t let that happen to you.

Have any used-gear-buying tips of your own? Share them with us. If they’re solid enough will include them in our list!

Dynamic symmetry: The genius of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s composition

Breaking down the composition of one of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s most famous images. Photo: Magnum Photos, screenshot from video

Henri Cartier-Bresson—the father of modern day street photography and master of the candid shot—was obsessive about the ‘geometry’ in his photographs. And in this two-part educational series, photographer Tavis Leaf Glover dives into some of Bresson’s best-known images to explain the dynamic symmetry at work and help you understand (and implement) it in your own photos.

This is NOT a beginner’s guide to composition. To the untrained (and many a trained) eye it can just look like Glover is overlaying so many lines onto each image that SOMEthing is going to line up no matter what. But for all that he coined the term the Decisive Moment, Bresson was extremely deliberate about his compositions.

Both videos dive into that deliberate vision—the way the iconic photographer saw the world around him and fit it into the 35mm frame just so. Check out both parts below, and then let us know what you think in the comments.

Part I

Part II

Photo of the week: Drone portraits bring healing and awareness after wildfire

On November 23, 2016, a fire started along the Chimney Tops 2 that would spread throughout Gatlinburg and become the worst fire in Tennessee of the last 100 years. It claimed 14 lives and over 2,000 homes and businesses.

As the devastation became apparent, I had an idea to use my camera to bring healing and awareness to the region’s victims in a series of photos. From December 14-20, 2016, I photographed as many individuals and families as I could. There were already lots of photographers and drone enthusiasts there but I don’t find that more cameras help in times of need. There has to be a specific idea or angle to tell the story in a different, emotionally-compelling way.

As story-tellers, we have to use the creative director parts of our minds to think differently.

So I had the idea to place a stark white mattress in the middle of these blackened, charred homes and then place the homeowners on the mattress and photograph it from a drone. I had never used drones before but I knew it was the right solution for this project. And I was hopeful that it would be a bit therapeutic for the homeowners to lay down one last time in their former home… a moment of quiet remembrance in a time of distress.

This is the very first photo I took for the project, a portrait of a new friend named Kirk Fleta. He’s a famous musician and had built his home himself, with his own hands.

We had him lay down and then started flying the drone. As soon as I took this first photo, I started crying. I’ve never cried in my entire career, upon seeing one of my images for the first time. But this one got me on every level. Not only was it a successful vision but it uniquely displayed Kirk’s loss and it seemed to represent such a vulnerable moment for him… the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one.

We used a variety of different drones and DSLRs to capture the aerial shots and portraits for the project, respectively. For this shot, we were using a DJI Inspire Pro (X5). You can see the entire project here.

Jeremy Cowart is an award-winning photographer, artist, and entrepreneur whose mission in life is to “explore the intersection of creativity and empathy.” His work ranges from celebrity portraiture to deeply personal projects like the Gatlinburg portraits. To see more of his work, visit his website or follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

Happy World Photo Day: Photos from the staff of DPReview

Happy World Photo Day

World Photo Day is here and to celebrate we’ve decided to share a staff gallery of some of our favorite images shot over the past year (Note: we did not shot the above image, you can thank the crew of Apollo 17 for that).

The DPReview team is made up of more than just our editorial side – like any web-based publication we also have developers and a business-oriented team. But regardless of each staff members’ role, we all share a common passion for photography. And this gallery is a small representation of that passion.

To accompany each image, the photographer has written a few paragraphs describing the scenario in which it was shot as well as the gear used. Enjoy!

Wenmei Hill

I’m at heart a portrait photographer: my favorite subject is people, my favorite challenge is to capture a bit of their story. This is one of my favorite photos of the year because it shows her in the midst of childhood – she’d just turned seven years old – and her eyes carry the frank directness of a child tinged with a hint of the adult she will become.

I took this photo with the Petzval 58mm on the Nikon D750. The Petzval 58 is a manual focus lens with drop in aperture plates, so she had to wait patiently for me to pick my aperture and find my focus. The depth of the shadows and color also add a quality of stillness that I like, as stillness and patience are not easy to catch in a newly-minted seven year old. Every time I pass this photo in my collection, I stop and take a longer look, remembering and savoring this rare quiet moment.

Vladimir Bobov

This is one of those photos where a fleeting moment was captured by dumb luck. I like getting lucky with a photo because I like knowing that aside from having the right gear and dialing in the right settings, there is also an aspect of randomness to our art, and I enjoy seeing it manifested.

I took this photo at a friend’s lake house, while watching their neighbors set off Independence Day fireworks. I was concentrating on photographing the fireworks, which were coming from different directions, so I was switching around between very different exposure settings. I had taken a couple of pictures of my friends sitting on the dock, but they were sitting apart, and the photos weren’t that strong compositionally.

When a few minutes later, I saw them lean in to each other for just a few seconds, I quickly shot with whatever settings I had dialed for the fireworks, and got this photo. When I saw it on the LCD, I knew that it was going to be a keeper for me, even if it was blurry or out of focus, and I continued shooting the fireworks worry-free, knowing that I already had my shot.

Gear: Canon 5D Mark IV, EF 16-35 f/2.8L II USM at 16mm 0.5sec at f/4 ISO 800

Jeff Keller

I was lucky enough to visit the rugged but beautiful country of Iceland last October during a press event for Olympus. We hit most of the usual tourist spots: Reykjavik, Gullfoss, Skógafoss, Almannagjá and, of course, the Blue Lagoon (we need one of those here in Seattle). Being a press event, it shouldn’t be surprising that I was using an Olympus camera, which in this case was an E-M1 Mark II.

On one of the days we headed to the south coast to the famous black sand beach in Vik. On the drive there we encountered sun, rain and hail in a five minute period, which I was told wasn’t unusual for Iceland. Prior to our arrival, our guide told us to never turn our back to the dangerous ocean (always sage advice) since many have died at the beach. That was reinforced by a warning sign on the walk down and the presence of a security guard keeping people away from the water.

The scene on the beach was incredibly monochromatic. It was overcast with unbelievably rough seas, whose spray eliminated any color above the ocean. The basalt columns that shoot out of the earth give this spot an almost otherworldly feel (no pun intended). Not long after our arrival it started to hail again. The hail added some much-needed contrast to the scene and it was at the point where I took the photo above. That is indeed a color photo, but the scene on the beach was so grim and gloomy that it ended up looking black & white.

Dan Bracaglia

I shot this image in Tokyo earlier in spring on the Fujifilm GFX 50S and GF 63mm F2.8 R. I’ve always dreamed of wandering the streets of Tokyo, camera in hand but never expected the camera to be a digital medium-format. Truth is I intended on shooting the streets with my Leica M6 but a stroke of good fortune at the CP+ trade show days prior resulted in DPReview getting our hands on one of the very first GFX 50S‘ available to the media. And so naturally I put my M6 on the backburner/back in my suitcase and used the Fujifilm for the duration of my trip.

Large and sluggish to focus with the 63mm, it was hardly the ideal kit for walking multiple miles a day, trying to be discreet or attempting to catch decisive moments. But having yearned to visit Tokyo much of my life, I wasn’t about to let those factors hold me back on my first visit. Plus, I’ve always enjoyed shooting with Fujifilm cameras and was pretty excited by this new one.

In the end I worked around the sluggish AF and clunky size and made a ton of images while exploring there, many of which I was pleased with, but none more than the one above. It just goes to show, the photographic tool is much less important than the will of the photographer. Also thanks to the high-res chip, I was able to crop to taste in post without any worry.

Rishi Sanyal

I showed up to this shoot with a Sony a7R II and a set of primes. I brought a Nikon D5 and 70-200 F2.8E FL ED VR. Just in case.

I chose Volunteer Park in Seattle as the backdrop, because of the lush greenery everywhere. Close to sunset, the sun shines through numerous trees, affording ample opportunity for backlit scenarios and light shining through trees. I started off shooting with the a7R II. Looking through the EVF, I was able to carefully tune my exposure on-the-fly – a huge advantage of mirrorless.

But something was missing. I didn’t like what I was seeing through the EVF. I saw a flat, dull, lifeless representation of the love story in front of me. Why? Because Sony’s JPEG engine renders colors none of us in the office particularly like, and a flat preview that tries to pack in a bunch of scene dynamic range into the EVF preview so you can see the wide range of tones in your scene. That’s actually a good thing, in most cases. But the resulting images on the LCD were, well, meh.

Somewhat uninspired, I whipped out the D5. It hurt. Like I think a couple of bones cracked and a nerve rubbed me the wrong way. But then I took a shot. I looked at it on the back of the LCD and I was like ‘whoa‘. The retina-esque resolution of the D5 LCD combined with Nikon’s improved JPEG color rendition that gets it at least part of the way to Canon (whose colors – along with Fujifilm – we unanimously love in the office) left me inspired. But not just that – seeing a scene through the optical viewfinder and concentrating on it, and only after taking the shot realizing I’d created something quite pleasing was satisfying. Satisfying like those days when I picked up my Velvia slides after a weekend getaway.

I packed away the a7R II and with it the poor bokeh of the 35/1.4 and 70-200 GM for the rest of the shoot (no one in their right mind would complain about the bokeh of Nikon’s new 70-200). Boy was I glad I brought that D5 just in case. Good thing I didn’t need to shoot any video.

Carey Rose

As has already been well-documented, I brought only a 50mm-equivalent lens on a trip to Thailand as a personal challenge. I’m used to wider focal lengths, and after a couple of days, I had accepted that most of my photos from this trip would probably suck.

But I kept on shooting anyway. I was in Thailand, after all. I gradually became somewhat more comfortable with the focal length, and didn’t constantly feel like I needed to take five steps back whenever I raised the camera to my eye.

We visited the Elephant Nature Park in northern Thailand in the final days of our trip, and I like to think of this photo as a sort of happy accident that stemmed from my personal challenge. If I had a 28mm lens, this would probably be one of those ‘here is an elephant in a field’ sorts of pictures. But because of the tighter field of view, I was able to more clearly see and frame the curves of the elephant’s back against an almost mirror-image of them in the landscape, and captured what I found to be a much more compelling image.

So despite my initial reservations, I like this image not only because, well, I like it, but also because it serves as a reminder to keep on challenging myself to ‘see’ a little differently.

Dale Baskin

The Aurora Borealis is one of Earth’s truly magical natural phenomena, and under the right conditions it can turn a nighttime landscape into an otherworldly place. A few months back I was in Canada’s Northwest Territories to photograph the aurora and caught this image almost by accident.

I had a couple other cameras shooting time-lapse sequences in a clearing when something drew me into the woods nearby. It wasn’t until I looked up through the trees of the taiga forest that I realized why. I was surrounded on all sides by aurora that dipped almost to the horizon, creating stark silhouettes of the trees. A window of stars opened straight above. I quickly mounted my camera on a tripod, pointed upward, and took a series of shots. A few minutes later the aurora had moved and the scene was gone forever.

This picture is one of my favorites from the past year because, more than any other aurora photos I took, it captures the essence of what it’s like to stand alone in a remote northern forest, spellbound, as the northern lights dance all around you. It’s a supernatural, spiritual experience that’s good for your soul.

Photographed with a Nikon D750 and Rokinon 14mm F2.8 lens. ISO 5000, 10 sec, F2.8.

Richard Butler

One of my favorite photos from this year is actually a composite of two images. The fourth of May this year saw a storm approach from the west. A bright afternoon became darker and darker as threatening clouds rolled in and the forecast of lightning (uncharacteristic for Seattle) began to look more likely. I grabbed the highest-res camera I could and a Tamron lens we needed to shoot samples on, and raced to the most Southerly end of the building, hoping to capture the mood without also including one of city’s many construction cranes.

The clouds looked ever more moody, and it was visibly apparent where they were raining: the mountains to the North West were still lit by sunshine, but there was no visibility at all as you turned to the South. I started snapping, immediately struck by the Tamron’s ability to stabilize 1/80th of a second and 130mm while carefully aimed between the tilted-open window and its outer frame. I kept shooting as the lightning started.

The flashes seem so long-lived, illuminating the banks and fold of cloud for an appreciable time after the initial burst of light. I wondered whether I could roughly anticipate the next flash, with a long enough shutter speed. No. Then I thought I’d see if my reaction times, combined with the lingering glow in the clouds would be enough. Sure enough, on the third bolt of lightning, I managed to catch the tail-end of the strike. It wasn’t the most dramatic lightning shot I’ve ever seen, but it felt pretty satisfying, given my complete lack of preparation.

I quickly chimped: more than acceptably sharp, considering I was trying to hand-hold a 50MP camera. Then I zoomed out and realized that, while trying to focus on getting the timing right, I’d let the camera slip slightly and inadvertently cropped the top off the Space Needle. So the end result is a composite: a fractionally sharper shot taken a few moments earlier, with the darker clouds and lightning merged in from the better-timed image. I’d like to think I’ve created a 50MP image which looks eye-catching even as a thumbnail but also allows you to zoom in on the Washington State Ferries, apparently sheltering in the harbor on Bainbridge Island. And, since it’s not photojournalism or a competition entry, why not?

Allison Johnson

This is a photo I shot almost exactly a year ago, but just under, so I think it still counts. It’s shot with the Canon M10 and EF-M 22mm, which is a nice combination, and nobody checking your bag bats an eye at it.

Mason, Ohio is a suburb north of Cincinnati best known for its amusement park and annual pro tennis tournament. This is sunset on Grandstand Court, which is the second-largest court and has a more intimate feel than the neighboring Center Court. I saw Roger Federer play here once. He hasn’t played on the second-largest court in a long, long time since then.

There are things I don’t love about this photo but so much that I do when I come back to it. It takes me back to warm August nights, the hush over the crowd, the hum from the nearby interstate during quiet moments as points are played. I like focusing on the crowd here rather than the players. We had a day of intense rainstorms and the sunset was spectacular that night. It’s kind of a Field of Dreams moment – this incredible tournament with the world’s best players pretty much in the middle of a field, in what used to be rural Ohio.

I feel like this moment captures what that week in August is like, at least to me, and that kind of thing makes me really excited about taking pictures. It’s both meaningful to me personally, and a lovely, fleeting moment captured and made still. Now that I’m on a photo book-making kick, I feel like this might end up in a tennis photo album soon.

Eugene Hsu

This is a photo of a mother bear and two cubs sharing a salmon at the Katmai National Park and Preserve at Brooks Camp in late 2016. At this remote national park, there are only a small number of people and a huge number of bears. Safety is your number one priority as you always give bears the right of way, which results in a unique wildlife experience. Viewing platforms at various points in the Brooks Falls area give photographers some great angles whether they are hauling around tens-of-thousands of dollars in lenses – or the compact super-zoom Sony RX10 III that I used in this shot.


We love ducks. They’re a staff favorite. Mainly because there are lots of them at the nearby park and they’re always around when we don’t have any other models. At some point we should probably get them to sign model releases.

We have so many photos of ducks that we couldn’t pick a single favorite, so this was a random selection to represent the multitude of duck portraits we captured last year. Quack on.

French President Macron takes legal action against photographer over invasion of privacy

Photo: Kremlin.ru

French President Emmanuel Macron has filed a legal complaint against a photographer over allegations that he violated the presidential couple’s privacy while they were on a holiday vacation. According to UK newspaper The Telegraph, Macron and his wife were on a private holiday in France when an unnamed photographer failed to honor their request for privacy.

The photographer is accused of stalking the president and his wife during their stay in the French city of Marseille, having at times acted in ‘a risky and perilous manner’ while ignoring warnings from Macron’s security personnel to back off. None of that got him arrested, however; it was the photographer’s alleged unauthorized entrance into the couple’s private property that led to the cops being called and a legal complaint being filed.

The unnamed photographer reportedly told French newspaper VSD that he was subjected to a police search, which included having officials search his bags and gear. He complained of being treated like a criminal and being forced to remove his watch and shoelaces, and characterized the police officers’ search of him as ‘totally illegal.’

Oldest known portrait of a US president unearthed after over 100 years in storage

The oldest known original photo of a U.S. president will go up for auction at Sotheby’s on October 5th, the auction house has revealed. The daguerreotype is a black and white silver-plate portrait of John Quincy Adams, who is featured sitting in a chair as a Massachusetts congressman following his term as president.

The photo was originally gifted by Adams to Vermont congressman Horace Everett, who remained in possession of the photo until the time of his death.

Though the photo had remained at Everett’s house since it was first gifted to the congressman, it was only recently realized to be a photo of Adams. The image was taken by photographer Philip Haas in Washington DC, according to journal entries made by Adams, who described visiting the photographer’s studio twice in March of 1843. The previous oldest original portrait of a president was also of Adams, taken only a handful of months later in August 1843.

The back of the framed portrait features Everett’s name, as well as the initials ‘J. Q. Adams,’ the date ‘Feb. 1843,’ and a bookplate that reads, ‘Presented by J.Q.A to his Kinsman H.E. 1843.’ The auction house has the portrait listed with an estimated sale price of $150,000 to $250,000.