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NYIP offers three distance education multi-media courses for photographers looking to improve their skills while working from home at their own pace.

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Friday
Aug052011

NYIP Contest Watch

NYIP's Contest Watch provides information on international, national and regional photo contests that you might want to enter. Here are the lastest photography contests to check out:

X-Rite "Color Perfectionists Unite" Photography Contest

X-Rite, who make color management software and equipment have launched this monthly photo contest for "anyone passionate about perfecting color." Each month they will announce a theme (August is Summer Fun) and monthly winners will be selected by a top professional photographer specializing in the area of photography related to the theme. Each monthly winner will also be featured on the X-Rite Photo blog and will receive either an X-Rite ColorMunki Display, i1Display Pro, or a ColorChecker Passport. The top 20 finalists each month will be featured in a monthly gallery at X-Rite Photo on Facebook and Color Perfectionists Group on Flickr.

PIX Digital Imaging Contest

AfterCapture' Magazine's PIX Digital Imaging Contest recognizes excellence and innovation in digital imaging including retouching, CGI, 3D, compositing and other post-production techniques. Categories include Single Image, Series (limit 5 images), and Student (Image or Series). There are fees to submit your images. Prizes include either a Canon PowerShot G12 or Nikon COOLPIX P7000 camera, Complete Nik Software Collection, a PhotoServe Portfolio, full registration to WPPI 2012 and three Master Classes, Gold Pass to the 2011 PDN PhotoPlus Expo including a two-day pass to WPPI NYC, Image and Series winners will receive a feature in AfterCapture magazine, Student winners will receive a one-page profile in AfterCapture magazine and a One-year subscription to Photo District News magazine. You'll need to hurry — the deadline has been extended to August 15, 2011.

Rangefinder Magazine's Take Your Best Shot Contest

Photographers are invited to submit their best images of People, Places or Things. Prizes include having your photo published on a cover of Rangefinder Magazine if you're the Grand Prize Winner, and a Digital SLR, a Tamron zoom lens,a $200 B&H Gift Card, full registration to WPPI 2012,  and a one-year subscription to Rangefinder for other winners. All winners will also be featured in an online gallery as well as in the December issue of Rangefinder. Deadline to enter is October 3, 2011 and there are fees to enter this competition.

Epson World Shootout Underwater Grand Prix

If underwater diving is your thing and you can head off to a reef somewhere to take pictures this month, then you'll want to consider entering this contest sponsored by Epson. Over $70,000 of cash and prestigious prizes, 7 categories (Dive Destination, Wide Angle, Macro & Super-Macro, Ship or Plane Wreck, Underwater Environmental Conservation, Fresh Water, and Amateurs) and you choose your own diving destination. However, the rules are very specific, so you'll want to make sure you read them. For instance, since they only want photos taken during the month of August, contestants are required to set the date on their cameras to August 2016. Learn more on the contest Web site and then get diving — your images need to be in by August 31st!

Zoom-in on Poverty" Global Photo Contest

A joint effort between the Chinese news agency Xinhua and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), this contest has the goal of refocusing the world's attention towards poverty. Submitted images should show some of the causes, solutions and achievements made in poverty alleviation and must have been taken within the last ten years. The contest is open to  professional and amateur photographers as well as news media organizations.  Categories include Editorial Images: Best Professional Singles Award, Best Professional Stories Award, Best Non-Professional Singles Award,Best Non-Professional Stories Award as well as a Creative Images Award, Netizen's Choice Award - 1 Piece from All Categories and an Anti-Poverty Achievement Award. The first, second and third place winners will get $5,000, $2,000, and $1,000 respectively. The Netizen�s Choice Award winner will receive $6,000 and camera gear and The Anti-Poverty Achievement Award winner will be awarded with $8,000 and camera equipment. The deadline is September 1, 2011.

One Life: an International Photo Contest 

The deadline has been extended to August 19th! The prizes are great for this photo contest - $10K in cash, an exhibit, worldwide exposure - but the entry fee is steep at $10 a picture so you'll want to carefully consider whether to enter or not. You can submit entries into People, Place, Things, or Ideas, basically anything that according to the contest officials "illuminates your perspective: what you love, your travels, or anything that reflects your world and experience." If you've got images along those lines and the entry fees don't scare you away, this could be your ticket to the big time... Enter by July 29th.

For tips on how to enter and win photo contests, check out NYIP.com's Contest Tip Collection.

 

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Wednesday
Aug032011

Still Photography Magic in Stop-Motion Video Process

I'm always fascinated with studio work. You can truly create magic when it comes to taking still images, just as Sylvain Dumais did with 4,000 photographs and some animation, stop motion, and pixilation. "The Long Haul" video featured below shows off his creative studio process to great effect, combining the beauty of photography with the brilliance of digital video.

 

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Monday
Aug012011

Swimming Upstream to Reach Your Photography Goals

I recently came across the amazing story of Lewis Pugh, who swam across a high altitude glacial lake just below Mount Everest.  He's using this platform to foster positive change for the environment.  While it's not an outright photography video, I believe there is much we can take away from this clip.  After Pugh's first failed attempt where he nearly drowned and froze to death, he quickly recognized the need to change his entire approach to swimming if he wanted to succeed, and survive. What worked during his first 30+ years of swimming would be of no use here.  In fact, the harder he kicked and thrashed, the faster he sank to the bottom.  This idea can certainly be applied to your photography business.
    
On various photography forums, blogs, and websites, I've noticed a growing frustration with the state of the industry today.  They claim photojournalism is dead, and sports shooting will soon be next.  Some blame amateur photographers who charge too little, and undercut their business.  Others say it's the media, the internet, Photoshop, digital cameras, Facebook...you get the idea.  We live in a time where the business of photography is rapidly changing.  We can fight it and potentially sink like a stone, or use the challenge to create new opportunities.  

 

As you'll see in the video, it was only after Pugh embraced the need to change that he could succeed. As photographers, we have the ability to make a difference through imagery, and awareness.  Of course there are many roadblocks, and obstacles to overcome, but as Pugh says, “there is nothing more powerful than the made-up mind”.  

 

 

 

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Wednesday
Jul272011

Is a Photography Book in Your Future?

A show of hands out there - how many of you would like to have your photographs published in book form? This used to be a difficult proposition. When New York Institute of Photography graduate Ernest Cole left his native South Africa back in the early 1960s, he carried with him devastating images of apartheid; they led to a ground-breaking book of his work from publishing giant Random House (House of Bondage, 1967). Today's publishing process offers far more options to photographers. You can wait to get tapped by Big Publishing, or you can self-publish and turn your photographs into a themed book. Self-published, print-on-demand books make good instant portfolios for the photography professional. And as you'll see from the following video, some even win prizes, like German photographer Judith Stenneken's Last Call, a photo essay of the last days of an old Berlin airport.  

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Monday
Jul252011

Ten Steps to Creating Your Time Lapse Film

 

This project involved the use of many different pieces of equipment, and techniques.  I've detailed the process below, but I'll be glad to answer any questions in the comment area. 

1) LENS

I used the 12mm Fisheye optic mounted in the Lensbaby Composer.  This unique lens allowed me to include the architecturual features of Grand Central Terminal while still capturing the activity on the floor below.  The Fisheye optic comes with a series of aperture discs that control your depth of field.  I used f8 to make sure I had sharp focus from the foreground to the back wall.   For more on Lensbaby, check out the interview I did with CEO Sam Pardue back at Photo Plus in NY.

2) FOCUS

Since you cannot autofocus with a mounted Lensbaby, I had to rely on my eyes to manually focus.  While I have 20/20 vision, I didn't want to leave anything to chance so I used the wonderful "LiveView" feature.  By doing this I was able to magnify the display on the LCD to 10x.  It's like zooming in on the entire scene withouth actually changing the effective focal length of the lens.  At 10x everything is much larger which allows you to micro focus on any portion in the scene.  Previously I had only used LiveView for Macro work with tiny subjects, but it really shined here as well. 

3) SUPPORT

The camera was mounted on the Gorillapod for DSLR's.  While this little item will never replace my trusty Gitzo, it was perfect for this project as I was able to set everything up on the bannister without being bumped by the bustling crowds.   

4) CABLE RELEASE  

I needed the camera to remain completely still so I used a cable release.  I know there are special wireless and programmable cable releases, but I just used the good ole' manual remote.    

5) TIMING

This scene was shot over 25 minutes.  I took a shot approximately every two seconds for a total of 750 images.  How did I time it?  Easy; everytime the previous image popped up on the LCD I took the next shot.  This worked out to be roughly every two seconds. 

6) SHUTTER SPEED

To create a Time Lapse it's helpful to use a slow shutter speed. This is sometimes referred to as "dragging the shutter".  The idea is to make the motion more fluid and less like blips popping in and out of the frame.  For this piece I found a shutter of 0"6 to be work really well.

7) CAMERA SETTING DETAILS

I used the Canon 40D.  My exposure was set manually.  This is necessary to achieve consistent exposures even with any shift in lighting conditions.  The settings were ISO 400, 0"6, and f8.  I also used custom white balance.  Instead of RAW, I opted for JPEG as RAW files do not generally work with Time Lapse software.   

8) SOFTWARE 

The trick is to have all of your images in numerical order in one folder.  I did this upon the initial upload from the CF card to Lightroom.  I then used Quicktime Pro to open the image sequence and select how many frames per second the photos would play back at.  I experimented with 24 frames per second and 15 fps before deciding on 12 fps for the final piece.  Again, JPEGs are the only file types that would work here.  The software also had a bit of a processing issue with the LARGE/FINE files.  It seemed that Quicktme Pro could not handle 750 ten megapixel files.  I had to use Photoshop CS4 to do a quick batch process and resize the images to 6x9 at 72dpi.

9) MUSIC 

The amazing ominous track is by Nine Inch Nails from their album Ghosts (Disc 1).  It is part of Creative Commons Licensing and is therefore legal for me to use.   My sincere thanks to them as it is one of my favorite instrumental albums. 

10) OUTPUT

As a photographer, it's becoming very common to be asked for more than just "stills". This particular time lapse piece was included in a multimedia piece from the New Yorker. I encourage you to use the steps above to create your own time lapse feature.