26 Jan 2014

First photography DIY project of 2014 started

There is a light-shaping tool that I really would like to have in my bag. It is a big light diffuser/reflector/screen. By "big" I mean something with the dimensions 1x2 meters, for instance.
There are dozens solutions available on the market which one can buy. It is an option, but the available solutions are quite expensive (starting from around 200 EUR). So I decided to give a try and create such tool by my own. 
Basically it consists of a frame with a proper dimensions, a handle and the fabric which is stretched on the frame. Depending on the fabric the tool can be used as a reflector, diffuser or a screen.
There are many descriptions of how to make it on Internet, I have used this one as a starting point.
I have set some requirements for the final product before start:
1. It should be substantially cheaper than available products
2. It should be lightweight,
3. It should be portable,
4. It should be easy to mount (with limited number of parts)
5. It should be extendible and flexible (i.e. I wanted to be able to easy build frames of different sizes if needed, like 1x1m, 2x2m.

First part is accomplished. This weekend I have finished building the frame:
My requirements are realized, at least for the products based on a frame:
1. It cost 44.60 EUR (in the Netherlands). The price of similar products of Lastolite or Sunbounce are at least twice as much. 
2. The frame weights less than one kilogram.
3. It fits in a bag of 115x30 cm
4. It consists of 7 elements:

5. With the current set I can make a 1x2m frame as well as 1x1m:

The next step is to prepare the materials. I'll start with the diffuser.

Final note: there are collapsible reflectors/diffusers available on the market in the similar dimensions, starting from 49.95 EUR (google for Godox 150x200 for example), which are all-in-one packets (flexible (collapsible) frame, fabrics, bag). My project cannot compete with them on price. 
But I think that the frame is more versatile, since you can mount it on a stand. And it is easier to hold by a person if required.

18 Jan 2014

After a workshop with teenagers - some fresh thoughts

I have just finished a workshop about basics of photojournalism, news and reportage photography.
The audience were Polish teenagers (between 11 and 15 years) that had made a mini-reportage about their school, discussed the quality of their work and got some information about most important aspects of photojournalism: what are the rules the photo journalists must obey, what are the most important attributes of this kind of photography.
Looking at the age of the audience one can say that it is a "Facebook" or in general "Digital media" generation - surrounded by digital pictures all the time. There are different opinions about this phenomenon, but quite often people argue that it leads to the "photographic analfabetism" - young people cannot read the pictures anymore.
To be honest, I was also curious whether the group would be able to distinguish the vital aspects of the news and reportage photography.
To my surprise, they knew (or felt the importance of) quite a lot of issues of the contemporary photojournalism. For example they knew very well what the "photo setup" means (in contrary to the natural scene), they realized the importance of privacy. They knew about digital image manipulation and where it is applied mostly.
I see it as a positive side of the overall presence of digital media. Somehow together with it there is probably also emerging self-consciousness of the young consumers who are able to sort out what is real and what not and when is it ok or not.

11 Jan 2014

Back to Lightroom 5

It happens every now and then that we have to take our words back. I have to do it as well. But in this case I do it with a lot of pleasure. On my previous post on Lightroom 5 I have written about the issues with the stability and the performance of this version.
Recently I gave it a second try, this time with the version 5.3 of this application.
I am very pleased with the improvements Adobe made in this version. There are no stability issues, no unexpected crashes. The performance (as perceived by me) is very similar to the version 4.x.

So I decided to switch definitely to the Lightroom 5.