Darth Vader with a Selfie Stick made out of Lego because Sunday.

Here’s a cute picture of Darth Vader and one of his minion Storm Troopers taking a selfie using a selfie stick made out of a light sabre.

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This picture has been making the rounds on Twitter and Reddit today and looks set to carry on going viral over the next couple of days. Great news for the original photographer, right?

Wrong! Not a single retweet, share or blog I’ve found has cited the original artist, and that’s the point we want to make. Even after conducting a backwards image search on Google which usually does the trick, we turned up hands empty, again with countless links to sharing the photo uncredited. Continue reading

Lumigraphe: The Worst Photography Related KickStarter of All Time.

If you’re passionate about losing all self-respect as a photographer, look no further than the latest pretentiously sounding photographic KickStarter, Lumigraphe. It not only promises to extinguish any magic left in the exploration of photography’s early years but will also help remove any burden of disposable income from your wallet.

Lumigraphe Camera
Can be found under the joke section on Kickstarter.

The video is deceptive enough to fool any unwitting photographer with more cash than braincells into thinking the product is actually a cool, unique and innovative idea. Presumably that is why 30 people have already spent a total of €4000 backing the toy company so far.

Here’s the promo video:

“Perhaps the most impressive thing about Lumigraphe is its simplicity”

Don’t let the sexy Thierry Henry accent fool you. Unless I’ve mistaken the whole thing for an ironic joke or study in social stupidity on the Internet I can tell you this statement is absurd. If you’re not laughing cringing already at the word simplicity, let me break it down for you. Continue reading

12 Reasons Photographers Still Choose to Shoot Film over Digital

This year will mark forty years since the invention of the first functioning digital camera, and despite it being a measly 0.01 Mp it heralded a new age of digital photography and with it came a death cry for film.

Yup, film is still very much in use by photographers.
Yup, film is still very much in use by photographers. (Click for an Amazon Link)

Prompted by this incredibly dull article published recently by the BBC I decided to ask some fellow photographers what reasons they had for still shooting the so-called outdated technology. Here’s the list…

1. Film Photography was Already Perfect.

Those of us lucky enough to have photo albums from the ’90s and before tucked away in our parents’ homes will undoubtedly take great joy in flicking through the tattered card pages, looking through the embarrassing portraits, day trips to the zoo, the beach, birthday parties and that time our trousers fell down in the park. The point I’m making is these vernacular photo albums were perfect and they were all shot on film.

Even old Photo Albums Found at Junkyard Sales have that Perfect Photographer's Touch
Even old Photo Albums Found at Junkyard Sales have that Perfect Photographer’s Touch

Fast forward to today and we’re not only making fewer albums, we’re taking more photographs to get that perfect shot. Even our smartphones are littered with countless portraits of our children, nieces and nephews, because the photo before could have been just a little bit better. Back in the day of film photography we didn’t worry about that and those photo albums that we look back on are still as perfect today as when our parents first stuck them down.

Continue reading

The Camera Obscura Enters Infomercial Territory with this new Kickstarter

Folks, we’ve officially come full circle. The gigantic advancements in technology that have been made since Daguerre first fixed an image, Fox-Talbot invented the reproducible image and Kirsch invented the pixel still has photographers like us grasping for our roots. “The Camera Obscura is Back.”

Hey that's a nice box!
Hey that’s a nice box!

And like anything in this post-post-modern world, it needs a tacky sales schpiel to sell it (we’ll get to that later.)

Before there were photographs, we painted to make a record of people, places and ideas. Many of these artists would use a camera obscura to aid them in this process as they provided a still frame from which to copy from, trace over or interpret more easily than their own sight. Damn peripheral vision!

David Hockney pointed out that many masterpieces had to have been created using this ‘old camera technology’ much to the horror of many art historians.

Then came along 1800s and something called ‘fixing the image’. Scientists, chemists and hobbyists (there were no photographers back then obviously) started experimenting with different materials that would take the light exposed onto the back of the camera obscura and fix it in place. Niépce was the first to successfully do this in 1827, although modern photography is often attributed to Daguerre and Fox-Talbot over a decade later.

Excited? Well get ready to have your visions of grandeur dashed by an awful ’90s style infomercial that not only teaches you how to suck eggs, but at the same time devalues the premise of the idea it’s created. Continue reading

Just Don’t Point this Camera at the Police

Moscow based artist Dmitry Morozov has designed a digital camera by reengineering a Gameboy classic, accompanying thermal printer accessory and a GUN!

Dmitry Morozov's 8-bit Instant Photo Gun.
Dmitry Morozov’s 8-bit Instant Photo Gun.

He calls it the 8-bit Instant Photo Gun, and that’s exactly what it is. Despite looking like a movie prop from a futuristic steampunk-esque film like Mad Max, the camera is actually quite functional. Albeit a certain taste may be required to appreciate this certain output aesthetic.

The thermal printers & camera were sold as an accessory to the Gameboy over a decade ago. With under 1 Mega-Pixel of power they are slowly starting to creep bag into the digital-hispter’s bag. Morozov has simply repurposed the entire system to work with a gun’s trigger. Continue reading

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

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

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