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Have Some Audacity: Databend Your Images

Sat July 19, 2014

We are so spoiled these days with all the nifty image filter effects that we can apply in-camera, in post-processing, as well as in social sites like Instagram. But, just as photography has its Lomography, what if you could also do your very own experimental image filter effects?

Enter Audacity®, a free, open source, cross-platform software for recording and editing sounds. Yes, sounds! But it turns out you can also input your image files into Audacity and use its sound filters to make it do some cool image filter effect tricks on image files.

Here is my BEFORE image (click to download source image):

I applied the Echo sound effect to the source and presto you can see the AFTER image below:

Continue Reading »


Vantablack Is The Blackest Black Ever Made, Promises To Improve Imaging Instruments

Fri July 18, 2014

Instrument developers apply black paint to baffles and other components to help prevent stray light from ricocheting off surfaces. However, black paints absorb only 90 percent of the light that strikes it. A new super-dark material developed by a team of engineers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center absorbs about 99 percent of the visible, ultraviolet, infrared, and far-infrared light that strikes it, making it a good candidate to be used in imaging equipment.

It is called Vantablack and it is quite different than other blacks: you cannot tell if it is even there! VANTA is really an acronym that stands for Vertically Aligned (carbon) Nano Tube Array. The nanotech-based coating is a thin layer of multi-walled carbon nanotubes, tiny hollow tubes made of pure carbon about 10,000 times thinner than a strand of human hair. Vantablack absorbs 99.965% of the visible light that falls upon it. The result is that it looks weird, “like a [black] hole, like there’s nothing there.

NASA is already considering using Vantablack in its infrared-sensing instruments since it is better at radiating heat away from the instruments. If these instruments are not cold, thermal heat (generated by the instrument and observatory) will swamp the faint infrared they are designed to collect (NOISE). The cooler the instrument can be, the more sensitive they will be to faint far-infrared signals emanating from objects in the very distant universe.

One day, that black rectangular empty space you see on your shelf may be your latest all-black body camera.

via NASA

Press Releases

Sigma dp2 Quattro Features New Foveon X3 Sensor, Now Available in Canada

Thu July 17, 2014

The Sigma dp2 Quattro, announced back in February, is now available in Canada. It boasts a new bold redesign and a new Foveon X3 image sensor that promises to capture subtle difference in colour through a layered processing for rich and vibrant images. Other key redesign features include a 30mm fixed focal length lens for the highest level of sensor and lens performance, a 39 megapixel-equivalent ultra-high resolution and a newly developed TRUE III image processing engine that allows for ultrafast processing of data without any image deterioration.

The Sigma dp2 Quattro is available this month at the MSRP of CAD $1,099.95.



TORONTO, ON., July 17, 2014 – Gentec International announces the launch of Sigma’s dp2 Quattro digital camera, one of their new generation of high image quality compact cameras incorporating a newly developed Foveon X3 direct image sensor. Unique among image sensors, the Foveon direct image sensor is similar to traditional colour film in that its multiple layers capture all of the information that visible light transmits. Along with Sigma’s proprietary image processing technology, this sensor produces incredible resolution with richer, deeper colours that are more faithful to the scene than ever before.

Every aspect of the new dp2 Quattro has been completely redesigned, from the sensor and processing engine to the lens and body. The dp2 Quattro embodies Sigma’s philosophy of creating cameras that deliver the highest level of performance to produce photographic works of art.

Continue Reading »


The World We Live In Photo Contest: Entries to Be Uploaded Before 11:59 P.M. EST on Nov. 30, 2014

Thu July 17, 2014
22 Prizes: More than $40,000 in fabulous prizes, including the latest photo equipment and a cruise to St-Pierre-et-Miquelon!

22 Prizes: More than $40,000 in fabulous prizes, including the latest photo equipment and a cruise to St-Pierre-et-Miquelon!

“Whether you’re pro or amateur, it’s time to share your photographic talent and show us your vision of the world we live in. Dare to challenge your creativity!”

The World We Live In Photo Contest is open to residents of Canada and the United States, 18 years of age or older as of the date of entry.

The entry fees for the Contest are as follows.

  • Subscriber to Photo Life and/or Photo Solution: $8 for 10 images (additional images: $8 per 10 images).
  • Non-subscriber to Photo Life or Photo Solution: $12 for 10 images (additional images: $12 per 10 images).
  • Please note that US residents pay in US dollars.
  • Mail-in entries are not accepted for the Contest.

Participants may submit any number of entries under these three themes as follows.

(Some photos may fit in more than one theme; enter your photos where you would like them to be judged.)

  1. Humanity
    • “Each person has a story to tell.
    • Capture images of people around you: your family, your neighbours, people you’ve encountered while travelling or even yourself.
      • Show us some of the many facets of humanity.”
  2. Environment
    • “Nature and wildlife will never cease to amaze us.
    • Show us the outstanding beauty of our living world, whether through wide landscapes or close-ups of natural elements, animals, plants or insects.”
  3. Interconnections
    • “Humans are by nature interactive beings.
    • Show us how we transform and create things.
    • This can be seen in architecture, domestic pets, urban life, objects, transportation, machines, agriculture, fishing, cooking and almost anywhere you look!”

Continue Reading »


Nikon D810: “Every Moment Counts (A Short Film Presented By Nikon Canada)”

Wed July 16, 2014

With its new D810, Nikon demonstrates the advanced cinematic power of its HD-SLR cameras (D4S, D4 and D810) for capturing broadcast quality video in “Every Moment Counts,” a short film directed by Preston Kanak.

“Every Moment Counts” creates an intimate portrait of Manny Vaughn, a real-life cod fisherman from Nova Scotia’s New Minas/Centreville community.

The story is a slice of life representing essential themes of the local culture — hard work, family, and dedication — set against the breathtaking beauty of the region.

Preston Kanak is a celebrated cinematographer who specializes in short films and time-lapse photography. He filmed his latest project, the “Every Moment Counts” campaign, in select locations around Nova Scotia to create an intimate portrait of a local rural fisherman and the thrilling geography of East Coast life. His purpose was to capture and share the beauty of the Canada’s East Coast with the rest of the country.

Utilizing the Nikon D4S, D4 and D810 HD-SLR cameras exclusively to create a photo and video series, Preston sought to do justice to the country’s most distinctive province by capturing its rugged and earthy landscape, unique light conditions, memorable locations, and east-coast culture.

In order to fully capture the essence of the environment in challenging shooting situations, Preston utilized specialized camera movements using camera sliders, cranes, underwater housing and octocopters. He also took advantage of the Nikon D4’s powerful features to create a series of intimate, stylized portraits of the fisherman using continuous lighting setups.

The Every Moment Counts campaign includes a photo series, 30-second teaser, three-minute documentary and a behind-the-scenes video discussing the capabilities of Nikon’s professional HD-SLRs and the technical specifications that make the Nikon products indispensable for filmmakers.


Nano-pixels Display Is Flexible, Has Extremely High-Resolution and Extremely Low Energy Consumption

Tue July 15, 2014
Credit: Oxford University

Credit: Oxford University

Everytime we think we have reached the limits of display technology, some new discovery comes along that expands the frontiers of what is achievable.

We’ve seen flexible LCDs already appearing on smartphone displays and even wide display TVs. But they consume lots of energy. A new nano-pixels (300 by 300 nanometres in size) technology from Oxford University, discovered by chance while “exploring the relationship between the electrical and optical properties of phase change materials“, is completely different and promises to allow the creation of incredibly thin (and therefore flexible) displays that are not only extremely high-resolution but have also low energy consumption.

“We didn’t set out to invent a new kind of display,” said Professor Harish Bhaskaran of Oxford University’s Department of Materials, who led the research. “We were exploring the relationship between the electrical and optical properties of phase change materials and then had the idea of creating this GST ‘sandwich’ made up of layers just a few nanometres thick. We found that not only were we able to create images in the stack but, to our surprise, thinner layers of GST actually gave us better contrast. We also discovered that altering the size of the bottom electrode layer enabled us to change the colour of the image.”

Flexible paper-thin displays based on the technology could have the capacity to switch between a power-saving ‘colour e-reader mode’ and a backlit display capable of showing video. So there is no need to constantly refresh all the pixels as in most conventional LCD screens, only those pixels that actually change, and hence the extremely low energy consumption required.

Practical applications for these nano-pixels display may include foldable screens, windshield displays, smart glasses, and even synthetic retinas that mimic the abilities of photoreceptor cells in the human eye.

Read the whole article at: physorg

Wonder if we will be seeing similar “discoveries” that will revolutionize what is achievable in image sensor technology?

Press Releases

McAfee: 2014 Most Toxic Superheroes List and Tips to Stay Protected

Tue July 15, 2014


As comic fans begin preparing for Comic-Con, McAfee today released its second annual 2014 Most Toxic Superheroes list, with Superman coming in at number 1. McAfee researched superheroes to find out which ones are kryptonite on the Web and result in bad links, including viruses, malware, and sites laden with malicious software designed to steal passwords and personal information.

This year, two female superheroes – Wonder Woman and Black Widow – have soared their way to the top 10. Last year’s number 1 spot went to Aquaman, who has since sunken to the number 3 spot to tie with Wonder Woman.

The top 10 villainous superheroes for online surfers this year include the following:

Continue Reading »

Contests, Press Releases

Wildlife in North Carolina 2014 Photo Competition: Entries to Be Uploaded by 5 P.M. on Sept. 2, 2014

Mon July 14, 2014

Wildlife in North Carolina magazine is the official educational publication of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission in North Carolina, USA.

  • “The magazine is dedicated to the sound conservation of North Carolina’s wildlife and other interrelated natural resources and also to the environment that we share with them.”

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s Mission Statement

“To conserve North Carolina’s wildlife resources and their habitats and provide programs and opportunities that allow hunters, anglers, boaters; other outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy wildlife-associated recreation.”

The magazine recently announced the Wildlife in North Carolina 2014 Photo Competition.

  • Photographers in the two youth categories (13–17 years old and 12 and under) may enter FREE of charge.
  • However, adult photo competition entrants must be subscribers to Wildlife in North Carolina.

Photos will be judged in the following 10 categories:

  1. Birds
  2. Mammals
  3. Reptiles and Amphibians
  4. Invertebrates
  5. Wild Landscapes: The peaks, valleys, plains and beaches of North Carolina.
  6. Wild Plants and Fungi: Wild-growing plants only, including their flowers, leaves, fruits and other parts. Absolutely no cultivated plants will be accepted.
  7. Outdoor Recreation: Show how people interact with North Carolina’s natural world through activ­ities that are inextricably linked to nature, such as hunting, fishing, hiking, rock climbing or canoeing.
  8. Animal Behavior: Anything animals do, from every­day activities to interactions with other animals to unusual behavior.
  9. Youth Photographer, 13–17: Any of the above subjects, shot by photographers under 18.
  10. Youth Photographer, 12 and under: Any of the above subjects, shot by children 12 and younger.

Photographs must have been taken in North Carolina no earlier than Sept. 1, 2009.

Entrants may submit a maximum of two (2) photos per category.

  • An image may be entered in only one category.
    • For instance, if a photo of a preening wood duck might fit in Birds or Animal Behavior, you must choose the one category in which you want the image to compete.

Winners will receive the following prizes:

Continue Reading »


Adorama Deals 2014-07-14

Mon July 14, 2014

Ricoh GR Pocket-Size Compact Digital Camera Bundle

Bundle Includes:

  • Ricoh GR Pocket-Size Compact Digital Camera (regular $696.95)
  • Ricoh GF-1 TTL Flash for GR & GXR Camera Guide 108 (regular $249)
  • Ricoh GV-1 External Viewfinder for GR Cameras (regular $229)
  • Ricoh DB-65 Li-ion Rechargeable Battery for the GR-III (regular $49.95)

You will also get back 4% in Adorama rewards.
Price $796.95 (savings of $427.95)
Free Shipping. Expires 7/28

Pentax K-3 Digital SLR Camera Bundle

Bundle includes:

  • Pentax K-3 Digital SLR Camera Body (Regular $1,196.95)
  • Pentax OFC-1 16GB WiFi FluCard (Regular $99.95)
  • Pentax SMCP-DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL WR (Weather Resistant) Autofocus Zoom Lens (Regular Price $196.95)
  • Pentax D-BG5 Battery Grip for K3 Digital SLR Camera (Regular $218)

You will also get back 4% in Adorama rewards.
Price $1,296.95 (savings of $414.90)
Free Shipping. Expires 7/28

Save up to 45% on Lexar Memory starting at $12.95 (CF Cards, MicroSDHC, & SDHC)
Free Shipping. Expires 7/26

Wacom Intuos5 PTH450 Touch Small Pen Graphics Tablet (Refurbished By Wacom USA)
$109.99 (Regular $169.99)
Free Shipping. Expires 7/25
LG 42LB5600 42″ Full HD 1080p LED HDTV, MCI 120, – Triple XD Engine
$359 using Coupon code S071470711 at checkout (Regular $429)
Free Shipping. Expires 7/30


UAV Drone Robots May Soon Assist In Lighting Setup

Sat July 12, 2014

If you work as a photographer’s assistant setting up lighting for the photographer, be advised that your job may soon be fulfilled by “squadrons of small, light-equipped autonomous robots that automatically assume the positions necessary to produce lighting effects specified through a simple, intuitive, camera-mounted interface.

Researchers at MIT and Cornell University presented a prototype system that uses an autonomous helicopter to produce a difficult effect called “rim lighting,” in which only the edge of the photographer’s subject is strongly lit. The helicopter worked at very high speed to automatically maintain the rim width that the photographer specified even if the subject — or photographer — moved.

When will this Unassisted Autonomous Vehicle (UAV) technology move from the lab to the field?

“Clearly, taking the UAV system out of the lab and into the real world, and making it robust enough to be practical is a challenge, [...] but also something that should be doable given the rapid advancement of all of these technologies.”

Continue Reading »


Two Toronto Photography Exhibitions: The Past is Never Far (July 12 & 13) + Toronto Does Her ‘Bit’ (Jul.26-Jan.17, 2015)

Fri July 11, 2014

The Past is Never Far: A Photography Exhibition

Continues to July 13, 2014: Saturday & Sunday: Noon to 5 p.m

FREE Admission

Papermill Gallery
Todmorden Mills Heritage Site
67 Pottery Road, Toronto, Ontario
Phone: (416) 396-2819

“The Past is Never Far is a photographic series which explores the extraordinary changes Toronto has experienced since its founding. The show focuses on the work of three documentarians who lived here centuries apart.

The first is artist Elizabeth Simcoe, one of the first Europeans to document the early settlement through her watercolours. One of Toronto’s most prolific photographers, William James, Sr., is the second artist whose work is woven into the exhibition. The third is artist Summer Leigh, a recent graduate of Ryerson University, who revisited the locations documented by both Elizabeth Simcoe and William James Sr. She lined up their images with what exists in those places today, using old technologies with new, blending past and present. This alignment of images led her to the realization that the past is never far.”

City of Toronto

Continue Reading »


Disposable Camera Project Pop Up Gallery Launch Party on July 11 in Toronto

Fri July 11, 2014

The Disposable Camera Project (DCP), in collboration with the Toronto Urban Photography Festival (TUPF), presents the Pop Up Gallery Launch Party July 11 at 6:30PM. It will be their Opening Gala as well as the TUPF Closing Party.

Pop Up Gallery Launch Party

FREE Admission

Section 37 Gallery
180 Sudbury Street – Concourse Level
(Queen St. W & Gladstone)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Friday, July 11, 2014/6:30pm-11pm

The Disposable Camera Project (DCP) aims to democratize street photography by actually involving the people on the street. Cameras are hidden across the city and everyday people who find them are encouraged to take pictures, capturing moments that might have otherwise forever gone unnoticed. DCP wants to tell the stories of people in cities all over the world, through the people themselves. It’s street photography showcasing people on the street BY the people on the street. Spontaneous, unplanned & unfiltered. That’s DCP.

Come see the best photos to have come out of DCP’s first year of activity, celebrating a worldwide community captured in analogue, using the simplicity of snap-and-shoot disposable cameras. In collaboration with TUPF (Toronto Urban Photography Festival), it will also act as the festival closing gala.

Come for:
- A celebration of analogue photography
- Photo Giveaways/Raffles
- Drinks
- The world in one room

Moments that might never have been captured, for the people BY the people. That’s DCP.

It’s free admission. We hope to see you there!

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