Sammlung von Newsfeeds
With all the talk about new equipment at this time of year it's worth remembering why we buy that gear - to make great photos. What better way to do it than to showcase the excellent work of our own community? This week we asked users of our Documentary And Street photography forum to submit their favorite shots for inclusion in our Readers' Showcase. Click through to take a look at our favorites
Nature photographer Erez Marom captures a wide range of subjects, from macro shots of insects to some of the world's most dramatic landscapes. In this article, he shares images from a very unusual location - the ghost town of Kolmanskop, in Namibia. Abandoned over fifty years ago, Kolmanskop was a diamond-mining town, and is currently being reclaimed by the desert. Click through to take a look at Erez Marom's images and learn about his process
Sony's NEX and Alpha range of E and FE-mount cameras have a lot going for them, but some users have reported a 'wiggle' in the lensmount, especially when heavier lenses, or third-party optics via adapters are used. Fotodiox thinks it has the answer with its new 'Tough E-Mount' - literally a replacement lensmount for E and FE-mount cameras. With a single metal ring replacing the two (one metal, one plastic) originally attached to the camera, the Tough E-Mount should (according to the manufacturer) eliminate any movement between camera and lens. Click through for more details
British filter manufacturer Lee Filters has announced a new polarising filter that features a built-in warm-up effect that it says is aimed at landscape photographers. The 105mm Landscape Polariser has been designed with a shallow mount and with a 105mm diameter so that it will be useful for wide angle views, with the company suggesting it will be compatible with focal lengths as wide as 16mm on full frame SLRs. Read more
Delkin has introduced a new trio of rugged SD cards suitable for photographers who shoot in harsh environments, reducing the odds of losing photographs because of card damage. Delkin's new 'Black' SD cards are designed to handle extreme temperatures, as well as exposure to dust, water, and crushing forces. Read more
Earlier this year, storage manufacturer LaCie launched an upgraded version of its Rugged hard drive that features improved damage resistance and a built-in Thunderbolt cable. The new Rugged Thunderbolt drive is available with either a hard disk or an SSD, and also has a USB 3.0 port for universal connectivity. Is it a good storage option for photographers who need something that can handle the bumps in the road? Read more
Canon has taken the wraps off its new 50-1000mm CN20x 50 IAS H E1/P1 cinema lens, expanding its cine-servo offerings with what the maker says is the first-ever lens boasting a combined 20x magnification, integrated 1.5x extender, and a removable servo drive. The lens is targeted specifically at nature and sports television productions, as evidenced by its far from enthusiast-friendly $78K price-tag. Click through for more details
After unveiling its new iPhone models last month, Apple announced two new tablets today - the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3. The iPad Air 2 features a new Apple A8X chipset which Apple claims is 40% faster at the CPU level than the processor used in its predecessor. The iPad Air 2's cameras have been upgraded too, and both new tablets also gains the TouchID fingerprint sensor. Meanwhile Apple also announced a new version of its 27in iMac desktop computer with a 5120 x 2880 screen resolution. Click through to read more
Alongside the new Motorola-made Nexus 6 smartphone Google has also launched a new Nexus tablet, the 8.9-inch Nexus 9. The Nexus 9 is the first HTC-made Nexus device since the original Nexus One in 2010. Despite the different manufacturers the Nexus 9 specifications are equally high-end as those of its smartphone cousin. The new tablet comes with an 8.9-inch IPS LCD display that offers a 2,048 x 1,440 resolution and top-of-the-line interior components. Click through to read more
Following Apple's decision to cease development of Aperture, Adobe has released a plugin for Lightroom that enables erstwhile Aperture users to easily port their old libraries into Adobe's ecosystem once and for all. 'Aperture Importer' is a Lightroom add-on that allows users of Aperture and iPhoto to import their libraries into Lightroom complete with associated data ranging from flagging, GPS information and keywords to star ratings. Click through for a link
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 puts together a solid stills shooting feature set, including a 16MP Four Thirds sensor, 2.36m dot viewfinder, fully articulating 3-inch LCD and 12 fps continuous shooting. But its headline specs are in the video category - Cinema 4K recording and a host of tools for video shooters like focus peaking and zebra settings. We put its capabilities in stills and video to the test. Read review
“Were you going for ‘not classy’? Because if you were, that’s cool. This isn’t classy like some of your other work,” said my wife, glancing at a long day’s work on my screen.
“Yep. That’s what I was going for!” I responded with forced cheer. I knew she was right, though, and that I’d be back to the drawing board the next morning.
This is a fairly typical exchange between us. We quit our jobs last year to bootstrap an app (for lack of a better word) that we’re designing and building ourselves. I’m the front-end guy, she’s the back-end girl. And currently, she’s the only user who gives me design feedback. Not because it’s hard to find people to give you feedback these days; we all know that’s hardly the case. She’s the only one providing feedback because I think that’s actually the right approach here.
I realize this flies in the face of conventional wisdom today, though. From VC’s and startup founders emphatically endorsing the idea that a successful entrepreneur is characterized by her willingness—scratch that: her obsession with seeking out feedback from anyone willing to give it, to a corporate culture around “constructive” feedback so pervasive that the seven perpendicular lines-drawing Expert can have us laughing and crying with recognition, we’ve come to begrudgingly accept that when it comes to feedback—the more, the merrier.
This conventional wisdom flies in the face of some opposing conventional wisdom, though, that’s best captured by the adage, “Too many cooks spoil the broth.” Or if you’d prefer a far more contemporary reference, look no further than Steve Jobs when he talked to Business Week about the iMac back in ’98: “For something this complicated, it’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they (customers) want until you show it to them.”
So which is it? Should we run out and get as much feedback as possible? Or should we create in a vacuum? As with most matters of conventional wisdom, the answer is: Yes.
In theory, neither camp is wrong. The ability to place your ego aside and calmly listen to someone tell you why the color scheme of your design or the architecture of your app is wrong is not just admirable and imitable, but extremely logical. Quite often, it’s exactly these interactions that help preempt disasters. On the flip side, there is too much self-evident wisdom in the notion that, borrowing words from Michael Harris, “Our ideas wilt when exposed to scrutiny too early.” Indeed, some of the most significant breakthroughs in the world can be traced back to the stubbornness of an individual who saw her vision through in solitude, and usually in opposition to contemporary opinion.
In practice, however, we can trace most of our failures to a blind affiliation to one of the two camps. In the real world, the more-the-merrier camp typically leaves us stumbling through a self-inflicted field of feedback landmines until we step on one that takes with it our sense of direction and, often more dramatically, our faith in humanity. The camp of shunners, on the other hand, leads us to fortify our worst decisions with flimsy rationales that inevitably cave in on us like a wall of desolate Zunes.
Over the years I’ve learned that we’re exceptionally poor at determining whether the task at hand calls for truly seeking feedback about our vision, or simply calls for managing the, pardon my French, politics of feedback: ensuring that stakeholders feel involved and represented fairly in the process. Ninety-nine out of a hundred times, it is the latter, but we approach it as the former. And, quite expectedly, ninety-nine out of a hundred times the consequences are catastrophic.
At the root of this miscalculation is our repugnance at the idea of politics. Our perception of politics in the office—that thing our oh-so-despicable middle managers mask using words like “trade-off,” “diplomacy,” “partnership,” “process,” “metrics,” “review” and our favorite, “collaboration”—tracks pretty closely to our perception of governmental politics: it’s a charade that people with no real skills use to oppress us. What we conveniently forget is that politics probably leads to the inclusion of our own voice in the first place.
We deceive ourselves into believing that our voice is the most important one. That the world would be better served if the voices of those incompetent, non-technical stakeholders were muted or at the very least, ignored. And while this is a perfectly fine conclusion in some cases, it’s far from true for a majority of them. But this fact usually escapes most of us, and we frequently find ourselves clumsily waging a tense war on our clients and stakeholders: a war that is for the greater good, and thus, a necessary evil, we argue. And the irony of finding ourselves hastily forgoing a politically-savvy, diplomatic design process in favor of more aggressive (or worse, passive-aggressive) tactics is lost on us thanks to our proficiency with what Ariely dubs the fudge factor in his book The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: “How can we secure the benefits of cheating and at the same time still view ourselves as honest, wonderful people? As long as we cheat by only a little bit, we can benefit from cheating and still view ourselves as marvelous human beings. This balancing act is the process of rationalization, and it is the basis of what we’ll call the fudge factor theory.”
Whether we like it or not, we’re all alike: we’re deeply political and our level of self-deception about our own political natures is really the only distinguishing factor between us.
And the worst part is that politics isn’t even a bad thing.
On the contrary, when you embrace it and do it right, politics is a win-win, with you delivering your best work, and your clients, stakeholders, and colleagues feeling a deep sense of accomplishment and satisfaction as well. It’s hard to find examples of these situations, and even harder to drive oneself to search for them over the noise of the two camps, but there are plenty out there if you keep your eyes open. One of my favorites, particularly because the scenarios are in the form of video and have to do with design and development, comes in the form of the hit HGTV show Property Brothers. Starring 6'4" identical twins Drew (the “business guy” realtor) and Jonathan (the “designer/developer” builder), every episode is a goldmine for learning the right way to make clients, stakeholders, and colleagues (first-time home owners) a part of the feedback loop for a project (remodeling a fixer-upper) without compromising on your value system.
Now, on the off-chance you are actually looking for someone to validate your vision—say you’re building a new product for a market that doesn’t exist or is already saturated, or if someone specifically hired you to run with a radical new concept of your own genius (hey, it can happen)—it’ll be a little trickier. You will need feedback, and it’ll have to be from someone who is attuned to the kind of abstract thinking that would let them imagine and navigate the alternate universe that is so vivid in your mind. If you are able to find such a person, paint them the best picture you can with whatever tools are at your disposal, leave your ego at the door, and pay close attention to what they say.
But bear in mind that if they are unable see your alternate universe, it’s hardly evidence that it’s just a pipe dream with no place in the real world. After all, at first not just the most abstract thinkers, but even the rest of us couldn’t imagine an alternate universe with the internet. Or the iPhone. Or Twitter. The list is endless.
For now, I’m exhilarated that there’s at least one person who sees mine. And I’d be a fool to ignore her feedback.
Like any travel photographer, David Julian is happy to carry less gear whenever possible on his trips. With a photo expedition to Alaska on the horizon, he agreed to take the Canon G1 X Mark II for a spin and try it out from a travel photographer's perspective. No doubt it's easy to carry on a long journey, but is it versatile enough to be a traveler's primary camera? Read more
Google has launched the Nexus 6, its latest showcase phone that comes with a brand new version of Android, 5.0 'Lollipop', and an interesting-looking camera specification. The device comes with the same dual-LED ring flash as the Moto X and a 13MP imaging sensor. However, it adds a slightly faster F2.0 aperture and an optical image stabilization system into the mix. Read more
The Canon EOS 7D Mark II is the long-awaited replacement to the 7D, which was launched in 2009. It features a 20.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor and dual DIGIC 6 image processors. It has a new 65-point, all cross-type autofocus system as well as an updated version of Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF system. We've just been provided with an early build of ACR 8.7 and we've taken the opportunity to add seven Raw conversions to our previously-published gallery of real-world samples. Click through to take a look
Instagram's straightforward user interface is geared for posting and viewing photos, but if you've got an eye on growing or managing a large following, you'll soon run into the app's limitations. Iconosquare aims to give Instagram users basic metrics about their content and help manage large groups of followers. We tried the service out to see how it works and how useful it is. Read more