Artists Brings old Cameras back to Life as Anthropormorphic Sculptures

In a twist that may inspire millions to reach for their attic cupboards and pull out boxes of old camera gear, Michael Vivona shows that film photography isn’t dead just yet by bringing analogue cameras back to life.

Michael Vivona Camera Statue or Johnny 5 is still alive?
Michael Vivona Camera Statue or Johnny 5 is still alive?

Michael openly admits that he isn’t a photographer, which is evident from the Instagram filtered display photos he’s taken for his art. However, what he lacks in compositional detail for the camera frame, he more than makes up for in his artistic ability as a sculptor. And it’s not just your typical Hollywood shape that’s appearing in his collection, there’s a penchant for dogs as well.

Woof woof, whirrr, click.
Woof woof, whirrr, click.

Drawn to items built and designed in the ‘Atomic Age’ Michael poured through local thrift stores looking for items when he stumbled across his first ‘camerabot.’ With a projector as a body, security cameras as feet and an old twin lens reflex 120 film camera lending itself as eyes, his first Wall-E or Johnny-5 type character was born. Continue reading

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The Incredible Astrophotography of Rogelio Bernal Andreo

With no less than 33 images attributed to him on Astronomy Picture of the Day Rogelio Bernal Andreo is one of the most respected astrophotographers on the planet. In fact, his images are so beautifully clear, it’s hard to believe he’s taking them from inside our atmosphere.

Recently this image of the constellation Orion has been receiving a growth spur and deservedly so as a meticulous amount of work was required to capture it. Amongst other things you can see the Witches Head nebula, the Flame nebula, the Horsehead nebula, Barnard’s Loop, the Running Man nebula and of course the Orion nebula. It is, as anyone in the Northern hemisphere will recognise an absolutely enormous part of the sky and to have such an incredible amount of detail there is breathtaking.

Orion Constellation | Rogelio Bernal Andreo
Orion Constellation | Rogelio Bernal Andreo

Of course you can’t see these gas clouds with the naked eye, although you would have some limited success with Orion’s nebula found in the middle of the sword with a pair of binoculars. To bring out more detail Rogelio made use of a narrow hydrogen alpha-filter and exposed for a total of 28 hours stitching together 32 images. Take a look at a detailed section of the top right revealing the ever spooky Witch Head nebula.

Witch Head Nebula | Rogelio Bernal Andreo
Witch Head Nebula | Rogelio Bernal Andreo

Rogelio began his astrophotography career like many of us; experimenting with is DSLR camera. Rogelio calls this his ‘introductory stage’ and has since moved on to dedicated CCD sensors to capture his images of the dark skies. Don’t worry though, ‘RBA’ as he’s known online still uses his DSLR to compose magnificent landscapes.

Take a look at just a small selection from his incredible portfolio starting with this stunning image of Simeis 147 and its surroundings. Continue reading

Experts That Said Facebook’s Acquisition of Instagram was “Ill-advised” are proved wrong.

Two and a half years ago the web was abuzz with news that Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook.com had struck a deal with the owner-founders of Instagram to buy the photo sharing service for a billion dollars made up of $FB stock options and hard cash. On the most part it was considered a very risky move by Facebook, as Instagram wasn’t even turning a profit. Purchasing a completely separate entity rather than innovating themselves is something Facebook has made a name for.

The general sentiment at the time was dampened as not long had passed since Yahoo had completely desecrated the once king of photo sharing sites Flickr by rolling out a complete redesign at the bereft of its users. If one of the major players in social media can do that to Flickr, what will Facebook to to Instagram?

Connor Adams Sheets for The International Business Times summed up how much of the industry felt about the deal at the time:

“overpaying for companies like Instagram won’t help Facebook maintain its dominant market share, as a billion bucks for a fun (and admittedly useful) photo app represents a huge overestimation of how much the company is really worth.”

Oh how wrong we all were. Because today, Facebook announced by virtue of the brokers CitiGroup that their acquisition of the selfie, filtered, food-fest site is now estimated at a very cool $35 billion dollars. The maths involved has had a few commentators a little sceptical, but even if it’s only half that value it is an impressive investment.

Next comes the real test, as you may recall early this year Mark made another photography related (yes, perhaps a little tenuous) acquisition by bringing on board the mobile messaging app WhatsApp for $19 billion dollars! Let’s see what Citigroup have to say about that next quarter.

Related:

Wired.com – Instagram’s Buyout: No Bubble to be Seen here

The Telegraph – Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Defends $1bn Instagram Purchase

Prince Harry Takes Three Photos of People in Lesotho; World Goes Nuts.

First, let me invite you to look at Prince Harry’s Getty Images portfolio, freely available for anybody to peruse, however not linked in any one of the articles I will post below.

There are, in total, three images:

HRH Prince of Wales Getty Images Portfolio consists of just three B&W images
HRH Prince of Wales Getty Images Portfolio consists of just three B&W images

I’m glad the Prince of Wales had the artistic vision to turn these portraits monochrome. Why would one make use of the colour sensor in your digital camera when you can just flick a switch and avoid a distraction such as colour? – If Harry had used a film camera and a roll of HP5 then I may have been a little more forgiving.

Now let’s look at a few of the headlines:

The Daily Mail – Portrait of a Very Modern Prince

National Post – Prince Harry Shows off his Photography Skills

9News – Prince Harry Reveals Flair for Photography

IBT – Prince Harry Tries his Hand at Photography

AOL – Prince Charming Shares his Sweet Photo Diary

And the best one of all…

The Times – Prince Harry: Portrait Photography at its Finest.

Yes, you read that right. Photography masters, professionals, all of you who’ve spent many years perfecting your craft, step aside. Prince charming is here with three photos that are ‘Portrait Photography at its Finest.’

It’s unfair to judge so quickly, as one of the images isn’t actually all that bad. This striking portrait of an apparently young orphaned herder is well composed and he’s even managed to keep it in focus. After all, he’s shooting on a Fuji X100S in full auto, I should hope so.

Prince Harry Visits Lesotho With His Charity Sentebale
HRH Prince of Wales / Getty Images

That’s one third of his entire portfolio that can be considered excellent work.

Although, after seeing the gorgeous red walls in Chris Jackson‘s meta portrait, I’m once again saddened by the decision to flick the B&W switch on.

Chris Jackson / Getty
Chris Jackson / Getty

The other two images by Harry aren’t so good. They are, and a more seasoned photography critic will point this out in due course, tourist tat. If you wish to look at them in a larger size rather than the thumbnails above: Image 1, Image 2.

Even the Prince’s description of his images makes absolutely no sense at all:

‘I have always enjoyed photography and the challenges that come with trying to capture the perfect shot, although privately I don’t take many photos. The best photos I have are in my head’

It’s safe to assume Getty Images were ever so slightly starstruck after his visit to their Children of Lesotho exhibition last year. Perhaps that’s how his portfolio was approved so fast?


This post is satire. If you’d like to donate to Prince Harry’s charity so he can buy another £800 point and shoot camera and a return flight to Lesotho, you can do so here.

Death by Selfie – Professional Base Jumper Unwittingly Predicts his own Death in Selfie

This is one of the last pictures of Gareth Jones, a selfie of his legs dangling off a cliff from a few hundred feet up. A few days later Gareth would be involved in an accident at this very spot and fall 300 feet to his death.

Gareth Jones uploaded the Selfie to his Instagram account
Gareth Jones uploaded the Selfie to his Instagram account

Gareth’s Instagram feed shows he was a guy full of adventure and enjoyed extreme sports including base jumping. Unfortunately this lifestyle would ultimately lead to his death. Gareth was reportedly seeking a better view of the sunrise when the accident occurred.

This wasn’t your typical photographer losing his footing, Gareth was a professional base jumper who had performed dozens of amazing stunts in the past. Recently he launched himself with nothing but a parachute from the top of the Menara Tower in Kuala Lumpur.

Gareth Jones was a professional basejumper, and a natural thrill-seeker.
Gareth Jones was a professional basejumper, and a natural thrill-seeker.

Even sadder is the fact that Gareth wasn’t the first person to meet his end whilst reaching for the perfect shot. Chris Illuminati of BroBible put together a list of recent tragedies involving the the new extreme-selfie craze. He presents it well:

While the issues and dangers that selfies pose on the mind and body are important, they’re not always measurable in all people. The actual deaths of people in the name of the awesome and enviable self portrait are quantitative. Here are just some of the tragic cases of deaths linked directly to selfies.

  • A 32-year-old woman in North Carolina was killed in a head-on crash with a truck. Investigators were told by her friends and family that she made a Facebook post in the moments before the crash. The woman posted a photo of herself, behind the wheel, reacting to the song “Happy” by Pharrell.
  • A month short of her 18th birthday, a teen fell off a railway bridge and was electrocuted by 1,500 volts as she tried to grab wires to break her fall. It’s believed the teen climbed the 30 feet onto the bridge to take a selfie.
  • Two men were trampled to death by an elephant in the Kiptagich Forest in Africa. The men were touching the elephants trunk and attempting to take selfies when the beast whipped the two to the ground and trampled over them to flee. The elephant was gunned down by Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Forest Service rangers in an attempt to save the men.
  • A Polish nursing student fell to her death while trying to take a selfie from the ledge of the Puente de Triana Bridge in Seville, Spain. According to witnesses, the woman lost her footing and fell 15 feet down to the concrete.
  • A 16-year-old Italian high school student attempted a selfie during a school trip in southeastern Italy. The young girl fell 60 feet onto jagged rocks and suffered injuries to her femur, pelvis and head. The teen was rushed to the hospital where doctors attempted to save her but she eventually succumb to her injuries.
  • A 21-year-old man from northern Mexico wanted a selfie for his Facebook page and used his live firearm as a prop in the picture. The gun discharged and shot him in the head.
  • A 13-year-old girl was visiting the El Tunal River in Mexico this past summer. She slipped and fell into the water while taking a selfie and the strong currents swept her away. She drowned and her body was recovered some time after the accident.
  • A family vacation in Cabo da Raca, Portugal turned tragic after a mother and father fell to their death while posing beyond a safety barrier over a cliff. Their two young children watched as the couple plummeted to their death.
  • A man climbed to the top of the train in Andujar, Andalusia, Spain to try to take a selfie. Unfortunately, during his selfie attempt, he touched a live wire and suffered a 3,500 volt shockwhich proved to be fatal.

We certainly don’t condone any type of dangerous activities to get the perfect selfie and at the same time we wouldn’t prevent anybody from pushing the boundaries of photographic genres, even the narcissistic selfie! But please, if you are someone who likes to take risks, please be careful and think of Gareth Jones, and what happened to an experienced professional before you do.


h/t Chris Illuminati of BroBible.

Microwaved Polaroids, Because Why Not?

You know what it’s like. You’ve just taken a fantastic photo with your latest instant camera but there’s something missing, it just hasn’t got that spark…

Instax tree double exposure microwaved

Enter the very strange world of ‘Microwaved Polaroids’ an old photography group on Flickr that has reared its head and come to my attention. Call it art, call it dangerous, call it inspiration but just don’t call it boring. From just this handful of images a microwaved Polaroid (or Instax) has a certain appeal to fans of the LOMO movement and abstract photography. It’s hard to deny that by damaging a photo this way isn’t adding an extra physical layer of meaning.

Even defunct frames that haven’t quite managed to develop properly can suddenly become startling beautiful. It’s difficult to judge exactly where the cracks, burning and bubbling will occur, so serendipity plays a roll in some of the more interesting pieces.

The group blurb gives some simple instructions:

Q: I want to join in with the fun, but I’m scared I’ll burn the house down. Will this hurt?

A: 5 seconds will be ample time to turn your reject Polaroid into a work of art. Make sure the room is well ventilated as it’s a little bit smelly. There will be sparks, but in 10 years I’ve never split an atom. Good luck.

And as an added bonus, a short instruction Gif Video:

How To: Nuke a Polaroid.

Enjoy this small selection and then head over to the group’s pool to explore a bit more. Continue reading

Moment Mile: 138 Photographers Join Together on One Street to Create a 1-Mile long Panorama

It’s wonderful when photographic communities get together and create something special, and that’s just what the project Moment Mile did on November 1st 2014.

#MomentMile Exhibition Installation Takes Place.
#MomentMile Exhibition Installation Takes Place.

Organised by conceptual photographic artist Sean Busher, the plan was to gather 138 local photographers together in the Charlotte NC area to create a gigantic 1.2 mile long panorama of Tryon Street. Then at a specific time, to the second, every single photographer lined up along the street would take a single frame and create what may possibly be the largest, seamless moment in time panoramic photograph ever.

Sean says “There was so much that could’ve gone wrong with this project, I was fearful there would be holes all along these two massive panoramics…” [sic] however as it turned out all 138 photographer’s cameras worked (phew.)

Sean Busher at inspecting the Panorama at the Moment Mile Exhibition
Sean Busher at inspecting the Panorama at the Moment Mile Exhibition

The project was put on to celebrate the reopening of The Light Factory a contemporary gallery of photography and film in Charlotte. On display during tonight’s opening (17th December 2014) will be two 100 foot long panoramas, which you can see in part towards the end of the ‘Making of’ video uploaded to Youtube below.

If you’re desperate to see an online version of the panorama, you’ll have to wait for the time being as an exclusive unveiling at the Mint Museum, 500 S. Tyron is happening right now. There have been a few frames ‘leaked’ to Twitter, like this unusual image by Jeff Cravotta outside of the Centre for Dance.

Jeff Cravotta's Submission to Moment Mile
Jeff Cravotta’s Submission to Moment Mile

You can also get a sneak preview of the exhibition in this video by the Charlotte Observer which gives away some details including the wonderfully placed ‘double yellow line’ (that’ll confuse the British folk) running between both East and West facing panoramas.

We’ll update this post as soon as an online version of the Panoramas are available.

Short Video of Terrifying Moment Astronauts Reenter Earth’s Atmosphere from Inside the Soyuz Capsule

Screencap of Soyuz Capsule Reentry
Screencap of Soyuz Capsule Reentry

During a 17 minute video uploaded to NASA TV’s Youtube channel this week we were privy to the short, but explosive moment that can be seen from the Soyuz capsule window during reentry to the Earth’s atmosphere.

The terrifying ordeal that every astronaut prepares for is only visible in the video for a brief 10 second moment. The hypnotising loop of colours, sparks, reds and yellows wouldn’t look out of place as a scene in Interstellar, Chris Nolan’s new Space epic.

Gizmodo put together a short Gif so you can experience the moment on loop.

Soyuz Exterior Window During Reentry into Earth’s Atmosphere

Amateur Astronomer Detects Exoplanet using low-end DSLR and $92 Lens

This DIY rig and some free software is all David Schneider needed to detect a known exoplanet.
This DIY rig and some free software is all David Schneider needed to detect a known exoplanet.

Just five years ago NASA launched the Keplar spacecraft into orbit at a cost of $600 million dollars on a quest to search our Milky Way galaxy for signs of exoplanets, or planets orbiting stars other than our own. In November, amateur astronomer David Schneider managed to detect one in his back yard using less than $500 of DSLR equipment. In fact, he didn’t even use a telescope.

Schneider, also a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum like the rest of us thought that only hardcore astronomers using expensive imaging and radio equipment had the tools to detect exoplanets. That was until he came across the KELT-North project by Ohio State university. whereby a group of students who had repurposed a CCD sensor to a high end camera lens and were able to detect several previously known exoplanets. With the amateur astrophotographer in mind, Schneider challenged himself with visualising an exoplanet with standard camera equipment.

Apart from requiring a standard sky tracker mount – An electronic geared system that guides your camera along the equatorial, thereby following the night sky – which would cost anywhere between $100-$1000 the only tools needed for the job were a DSLR camera, tripod and telephoto lens. What makes this even more remarkable is that Schneider used a $72 Nikon lens, with a Canon convertor ring to do the job – Heath Robinson or what?

Schneiders DIY Exoplanet Detecting Kit
Schneiders DIY Exoplanet Detecting Kit

The star chosen in question was HD189733, known to home a massive Jupiter sized planet that orbits the star once every three days. Perfect for this experiment. What Schneider would be looking out for is the transit period, where the planet passes in front of its home star thus causing a dip in brightness. This is known as transit photometry, the most commonly known way to discover exoplanets.

The dip in brightness is unfortunately too insignificant to visualise in a pair of photo frames, not to mention the many variables that would effect any attempt at detection this way, so Schneider downloaded some free software to automatically analyse the different frames taken which revealed, as expected a transit period of about 1 hour and 48 minutes. The data visualised into a photometry chart reveals, with no stretch of the imagination a dip in brightness. We are sure that if the experiment was repeated several times the curve would only get more apparent.

Light Curve Obtained during Exoplanet Transit
Light Curve Obtained during Exoplanet Transit

What I feel is most important about Schneider’s ‘discovery’ is that even though this particular exoplanet is a well known object, it proves that anybody with a camera and just enough knowledge can search for their very own exoplanets. I hope, no, I expect the first completely amateur exoplanet discovery to be made soon and I believe David Schneider will be able to take some credit in that.

h/t Petapixel via Spectrum IEEE

The ‘Wobble’ Made Whilst Holding a Video Camera is as Unique as a Fingerprint

Remember this? Go-Pro wearing robber terrofies shoppers in Italy.
Remember this? Go-Pro wearing robber terrofies shoppers in Italy.

Surveillance just added another weapon to its growing arsenal; identification by wobble, or as described in the recently published paper in Egocentric Video Biometrics “a person’s gait.”

Using data compiled from videos created by GoPro cameras mounted onto the helmets of 34 different subjects, researchers Yedid Hoshen & Shmuel Peleg of Cornell University were able to identify unique signatures in the differentiating wobble from just four seconds of camera footage. This, they say will compromise ego-centric (mounted) camera wearers anonymity, although it could have some benevolent uses. Your newly purchased camera can be tailored to recognise only your movements which may prevent some thefts, or user analytics on video sharing websites.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 15.03.12
One of the Go-Pro Hero3 cameras mounted to a baseball cap.

The experiment has only so far been performed with baseball cap mounted Go-Pro cameras but researchers plan on expanding the tests to include Google Glass and body mounted surveillance cameras such as those soon to be in use after the order of 50,000 units for the US police force was approved.

Perhaps we can finally learn the truth behind the Italy Go-Pro camera robbery in which an armed robber enters a supermarket and terrifies the public whilst looting. If you’ve not seen that, you’re in for a thrill:

We’re one step closer to Completing the Circle, although I have to admit to not considering this method of surveillance before. Scary stuff or much needed improvements in tech? Leave your comments below.

h/t The Verge