Articles

South Korea Uses 300 Drones To Pass On The Message: #WearAMask

As the world continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, with some countries reporting zero new cases or deaths in weeks, while others remain in the midst of a raging breakout, South Korea remains as an example of how to deal with COVID-19: lock down when and where necessary, wash hands, practice physical distancing,… and wear a mask.

In a spectacular showcase of motivational and awareness messages, it sent 300 drones up into Seoul, the South Korean capital’s night sky to ensure that its message remains front and center in people’s mind.

> Help pass on the message: I Am a Photographer and I #WearAMask


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Tutorials

Easy Tips for Photographing Fireworks

Editor’s note: This is a reprint article, updated to take physical distancing requirements into consideration during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Photographing good fireworks pictures is not that difficult as long as you know and apply some easy tips. While you can get good fireworks pictures by simply pointing at the sky and taking a snapshot of the exploding cascade of colors, knowing why they turn out so-so or great will help you increase your keepers rate.

Location
If you look carefully at the fireworks pictures you really like, chances are that they all include some kind of recognizable buildings, scenery or interesting elements. These could be a skyline, a famous landmark, silhouettes of people, etc.

Therefore, it’s smart to scout the area ahead of time to find the right perspective and a composition that you like. You need an interesting foreground and/or background, and, of course, lots of unobstructed sky space.

You don’t want to be too closed to the fireworks display because the explosion can be so bright that it will result in a big overexposed blob of light.

Remember also that, if you are photographing in a public place where a lot of people will congregate to watch the fireworks show, wear a mask and try to maintain appropriate physical distancing.

You may also have lots of people standing in front of you when the event starts, perhaps obscuring the scene you have so carefully composed earlier when the place was empty. So, select some kind of higher ground to provide yourself a clear view.

I shot the above picture from a hotel balcony (using a point-and-shoot camera).

Equipment

  • With fireworks photography, long exposures (4 seconds) are common, and so a tripod may be recommended, though you may also rest the camera on a solid surface. Some cameras have very efficient image stabilization that may allow you to handhold them during a long exposure.
  • A small flashlight (or your cellphone plus the light app) can help you see in the dark to experiment and change settings on your camera.
  • Lens cap, a card or hat/cap to put in front of your camera lens when the shutter is open and you are waiting for the next explosion to occur. Or, do as many of us do: Use your hand. (However, be careful not touch the glass element of your lens or that will leave an oily smudge).

Shutter Speed/Scene Mode
If you are using a smart phone, you are quite restricted in what you can adjust, and so a smartphone is not the best camera to use. If you are using a point-and-shoot camera, chances are there will be a Fireworks Scene Mode that you can use. Or select a shutter spped of about 4 seconds.

With an Interchangeable Lens Camera (mirrorless or DSLR), you have more options in choosing shutter speed, aperture and ISO.

Remember that, if you include a faraway building in your picture, you should expose for the building. If your camera has AE-Lock, then point at the building, touch the AE-L button to lock exposure, and recompose. Or, if your camera features Touch AE, touch the building on screen and lock exposure there.

ISO
You will want to choose a low ISO for the best image quality. This will also give you a longer shutter speed to record more than one fireworks explosion (using the “cover lens with hand” technique).

Aperture: Fat or Thin Trails?
One important choice is whether you like to capture the trail and, if so, whether you prefer it to be fat or thin.

Use a large (e.g., f/2.8) aperture for a fat trail.

Use a small aperture (e.g., f/8) for a thin trail.

Skip the Trails
Sometimes, I prefer to leave the trail out of my fireworks picture altogether and capture only the shimmering colors after the explosion.

Let the firework rise into the sky, and wait just a second or so after the explosion. Then open the shutter (or, if you are using Bulb or Time mode, uncover the lens cap) to capture the fully bloomed display — and the beautiful falling sparks.

In the above photo, I skipped the trail, waiting for the explosion to bloom before triggering the shutter.

Read more tips in our Fireworks Tutorial.

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Fun Stuff Videos

NASA Scientist Simulates Sunsets on Other Planets

To the 110 volunteers who are needed to settle a Mars colony, what you see above is how a sunset on Mars looks like.

Do not read everything on the linked scientific paper. You just need to know this conclusion on how many people we would need to successfully settle Mars:

The minimum number of settlers has been calculated and the result is 110 individuals. Other assumptions can be made. The proposed method allows assessments and comparisons, opening the debate for the best strategy for survival. If this relatively low number is confirmed, survival on another planet might be easier than expected, provided that the organization of the settlers is appropriate.

So, there you go. 110 may be the new Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything — and not 42, as readers of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy believe.

But, coming back to our subject of sunsets, how do we know how a sunset on Mars looks like?

Well, it’s all thanks to a planetary scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center called Geronimo Villanueva. While building a computer modeling tool for a possible future mission to Uranus, he also ended up creating simulations of sunsets as viewed on the surface of some of the other planets of our Solar System.

How do we know the simulations are correct? Well, he applied his simulatiions to Earth itself and it came out pretty accurate, so that gives us confidence that his models may be accurate enough for the photographers among the 110 settlers to know what to expect when the urge takes them to break out their camera for a sunset picture.

The computer animations in the following video show an all-clear all-sky views (no clouds, so no beautiful sunset colors) as if you were looking up at the sky through a ultra-wide-angle lens from Earth, Venus, Mars, Uranus, and Titan. The moving white dot in the video represents the location of the Sun.

The circles confused me at first, making me wonder whether I was looking at the planets from the sky or at the sky from the surface of the planets. It turns out to be the latter case, so forget the circles. A better video (w/o the circles, but with a typical horizon) is posted below:

Maybe, in the far-off future when interstellar travel has become reality, when a photographer buddy says, “Let’s go shoot a sunset,” you’ll reply, “On which planet?”

via NASA

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Cameras Canon

You Can Now Register for Reimagine, Canon’s EOS R5 and R6 Live Event Announcement

You want to be attending this live streaming of the announcement of the Canon EOS R5 and R6 full-frame mirrorless cameras (and other products). Sony will be ;). It’s on July 9, 2020 at 2:00pm EST. (There’s also a Q&A session at 7:00pm you can register separately.)

Don’t worry that the website is in German: just copy the link and paste it into a Chrome browser and translate to English.

The event itself will be broadcasted in English.

Besides the Canon EOS R5 and R6 full-frame mirrorless cameras, expect a couple of super telephoto prime and zoom lenses as well as a fast macro lens. Canon is leaving no stone unturned as it targets the R5 and R6 to the sports, wildlife and nature pro photographers.

Register for REIMAGINE

Note that there are two (2) buttons on the site (hence 2 separate registrations):

  • Live Event announcement at 2:00pm
  • Q&A session at 7:00pm
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Lenses Olympus

Olympus Confirms Development and Delivery of the M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO Super Telephoto Zoom Lens for Winter 2020; Publishes Updated M.Zuiko Digital Lens Roadmap (July 2020)

Originally announced in January 2019, Olympus is recommiting itself to the development and delivery of the M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm (300-800mm, 35mm equivalent) F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO super telephoto zoom lens with a built-in 1.25x teleconverter. Olympus is giving an estimated scheduled release date of this winter 2020. It has released final image design of the lens.

On another note, Olympus has revealed that a firmware (also scheduled for this winter 2020 release) will add Bird Detection AF capability to Intelligent Subject Detection AF on the Olympus OM-D E-M1X. In so doing, Olympus is positioning the E-M1X not just as a sports camera, but also a camera for birding and wildlife photography.

The latest M.ZUIKO Digital Lens Roadmap (as of July 2020) now includes the M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO and a new, as yet unspecified, Macro Lens (perhaps a PRO version of the existing ED 60mm F2.8 Macro).

NEWS RELEASE

July 2,2020

Olympus Unveils the Latest M.Zuiko Digital Lens Roadmap and Updates the Development of M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO

Olympus Corporation(President: Yasuo Takeuchi) is pleased to announce the latest lens roadmap for M.Zuiko Digital lensesthat conform to the Micro Four Thirds System standard, and provide an update on the development of the M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO lens of which the development was announced in January, 2019.

The development on the M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO lens was announced in January 2019. Development of this lens continues with an estimated scheduled release of this winter. The final image design of the product is now available.

Furthermore, to make super telephoto shooting more convenient, the development is under way to add Bird detection to Intelligent Subject Detection AF on the Olympus OM-D E-M1X. The firmware is scheduled for release this winter.

Olympus will continue enhancing the lens lineup to make full use of the unrivaled portability made possible by the compact, lightweight, high image quality of the Micro Four Thirds System.
(more…)

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Olympus Software & Apps

Olympus OM-D Webcam Beta Turns Your E-M Series Mirrorless Camera Into a Webcam for Live Streaming

Olympus joins Canon, Fujifilm (here and here) and Panasonic in providing software to enable compatible cameras to be used as a webcam for video streaming. It has released the OM-D Webcam Beta software to allow you to connect compatible Olympus mirrorless cameras to a computer to enable webcam functionality. This software allows you to use the high quality video from OM-D cameras for web conferencing when using a third party web conferencing application. The software is currently compatible with Windows 10 PCs only.

Whether you’re connecting with loved ones or collaborating with colleagues from home, video streaming is now more important than ever. We’re excited to introduce Olympus’ OM-D Webcam Beta software! This free beta software allows you to use select OM-D cameras in conjunction with video conferencing applications.

The following video by Olympus Guru Lewis Speight will guide you through setting up OM-D Webcam Beta, as well as a few more common applications such as OBS, Zoom, and Teams.

OM-D Webcam Beta is compatible with the following camera models:

  • E-M1
  • E-M1 Mark II
  • E-M1 Mark III
  • E-M1X
  • E-M5 Mark II

Note that the OM-D Webcam Beta software does not output sound from the camera, so you’ll need to use an external recorder such as the Olympus LS-P4 recorder as a USB microphone attached to your computer.

Download the OM-D Webcam Beta software
(more…)

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Panasonic Software & Apps

Lumix Academy: How to Live-Stream With Lumix Camera and Lumix Tether for Streaming (Beta)

In this video, LUMIX Ambassador Ross Grieve shows how to set up the “LUMIX Tether for Streaming (Beta)” software to use a compatible LUMIX mirrorless camera for live streaming.

You’ll need is a USB-3-cable and the new “LUMIX Tether for Streaming (Beta)” software to feed the live preview of the LUMIX camera into your computer.

Compatible LUMIX models: DC-GH5, DC-G9, DC-GH5S, DC-S1, DC-S1R, DC-S1H
The operating system for LUMIX Tether for Streaming (Beta) is Windows 10 (32bit/64bit).

Learn more and download “LUMIX Tether for Streaming (Beta)”

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Firmware Updates Fujifilm

FUJINON XF16-80mmF4 R OIS WR Firmware Update Ver.1.05

Fujifilm has published FUJINON XF16-80mmF4 R OIS WR Firmware Update Ver.1.05.

The firmware update Ver.1.05 from Ver.1.04 incorporates the following issue:

  1. Improvement of OIS function during a movie shooting.

Download FUJINON XF16-80mmF4 R OIS WR Firmware Update Ver.1.05

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