Posts Tagged ‘ photography ’

Amazing 1950s Shots Created Using Minatures

Michael Paul Smith has taken some amazing pictures.

North Main Street - Michael Paul Smith


What blows me away is the way he takes them using a combination of detailed models and real life backdrops.

Behind the Scenes

We’ve all seen moments in movies where you think, thats obviously shot using scale models.  Sometimes its hard to say why, but as human beings, it seems we’re very quick to perceive tiny detail thats off in an image that makes it seem fake even if we can’t right away point it out.  This makes Michael Paul Smith incredibly realistic pictures all the more amazing!

Check out his photostream

Usain Bolt Takes Photographer’s DSLR, Shows What its Like to be Centre of Attention

Some really great shots capturing the atmosphere in the Olympic stadium. Maybe Usain Bolt has a career as a photojournalist post athletics


Usain Bolt Nabs Photographers DSLR, Snaps Awesome POV Shots bolt4 mini


Old’s cool? Retro Film Cameras

By Jack Berglund

I leave my apartment and find myself reaching for a small black plastic film camera, the Black Slim Devil.  The Nikon D3 I reach past probably has more processing power than the original Apollo missions to the moon.  My Casio point and shoot is a technical marvel with its 240 frames per second video shooting.  And yet its the one button (the shutter) and one dial (wind on the film) simplicity that draws me to the Devil.

As a technophile, proud to own the latest electronic gadgets, I find this situation puzzling.  Could less really be more after all? The simplicity puts you in a different mindset.  All the variables of taking a photo are reduced down to: what are you looking at and how is it lit, arguably the most important elements of any picture.  Freed of some of the more left brain concepts like balancing aperture and shutter speed, selecting the right focal distance etc, good old creative right brain gets to run the show. Continue reading

Fun Techniques: Miniature Models

By Jack Berglund

Creating a miniature effect, where a normal scene is transformed to look like a photo of a toy model, is surprisingly quick and easy and can add a new playful dimension to some of your photos. What better subject to turn into model than the striking, imaginative, almost dreamlike buildings of Antoni Gaudi.

Gaudi was a Spanish architect who did most of his work in Barcelona at the start of the the 20th Century.  His Modern Catalan creations were not always well received at the time but there is no doubt he left his mark on the architecture world and on the city of Barcelona.  I was in Parc Guell in Barcelona last week and found myself looking down on a crowd of people at the foot of two fairy tale Gaudi buildings and immediately though this would be the perfect image to try a miniature model effect.

How to Create the Miniature Model effect?

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Explore NY: City Island

By Jack Berglund

City Island is a small outcrop on the East side of the Bronx.  It gained some fame recently as the scene of the 2010 movie by the same name.  You can get there by a combination of subway and bus in a little over an hour from Manhattan.  Why would you make such a journey?  Going to City Island from Manhattan is like being transported through both space and time.  The whole point of traveling is to go somewhere different from where you started (and if you’re me to eat in different restaurants), and this 1.5 mile long island certainly delivers on both counts.

City Island feels like its 1970-something, somewhere far far away from the city streets of the Big Apple.  Its very much the US equivalent of a British seaside town. Like so many of those seaside towns, you get the sense that City Island’s hay-day has long since past but you still see its charms, all be it faded, showing through.  British fish and chips are transposed to fried shrimp and beer.  Check out Reef at the south tip of the island and wash your shrimp down with some bargain Pina Colada’s!

Getting to City Island is not especially difficult but if you’re a typical Manhattan-ite for whom traveling to Brooklyn takes a special occasion and the 15 minute journey to Hoboken is only to be considered under serious duress then you might have a problem.  Ride the 6 train as far North as you can to Pelham Bay Park then find the Bx29 bus to City Island. Alternatively rent a car and drive there in less than an hour.  You can wonder the length of the main road in a few hours.  If you’re feeling homesick, check out some of the side streets to the west for a view of the Manhattan skyline.

As often seems to be the case when I travel, most of my memories seem to be centered around food and drink.  The place to have dinner is Sammy’s Fish Box.  It seems to be the special occasion place on City Island and was full of couples celebrating anniversaries and birthday parties.  The menu consists of giant portions (and I mean truly giant, even by American standards) of butter covered seafood with every side and trimming.  Healthy its not but it sure tasted good!

If you’re looking for something a little different to do on a summer weekend, and need to get out of the city check out City Island.

Explore NY: Old Westbury Mansion and Gardens

By Jack Berglund

Less than an hour east of Manhattan, Old Westbury Mansion and its accompanying gardens are well worth a visit.  Old Westbury Mansion gardens have been named as one of the six best public gardens in the United States by Forbes magazine and often referred to as the finest example of an English garden in North America.


Whilst undoubtedly stunning, I’d be worried about the state of gardens in the US in general if this is truly the cream of the crop.  In many ways, the Mansion itself stands out more than the garden as one of the finer examples of its type.  The house was built in 1906 for Henry Phipps and family who made his money as an original partner of Andrew Carnegie in the Carnegie Steel Company.  With its 23 rooms, still with original furniture it makes for an impressive place to visit.  More recently the mansion was used for mob boss Dominic Cattano’s house in American Gangster and home to Dudley Moore’s millionaire character in the original Arthur movie.

Continue reading

Explore NY: Five Pointz Graffiti

By Jack Berglund

They say Golf is the best way to spoil a good walk.  In which case I contend that photography is the best way to make the most of one as you tend to look around and notice more things. Five Pointz is a self proclaimed ‘graffiti mecca’ in Queens New York on the outside of an old factory building.  If you’re in New York, its definitely worth a look in and of its self but also makes a good starting point to explore some of the other neighborhoods nearby.

5 Pointz "Institute of Higher Burnin'"

Take the 7 train to 45 Rd – Court House Sq or the E, M to 23rd St – Ely Av.  You can also take the G train if you believe it really exists (I have seen no evidence to support this, having waited on two different occasions and never had a train show up.)  5 Pointz is right by Moma’s PS1 if you want to take in some art or attend their summer parties while you’re out there.

    Continue reading

My First Featured Photo – Yay!

Feeling good today after one of my pictures was selected for a travel website.  Its not the Met but still nice to get some small recognition.

I got a polite message on Flickr that my picture had been nominated as a candidate for a travel website as long as I gave my consent  I filled out a form confirming that was ok but didn’t expect to hear anymore.  Nice surprise to find out its now on the website.  Click here to see my (not so) giant image on the Schmap Miami travel site.

Biggie Smalls

By Jack Berglund

Its seems, as humans we’re fascinated by miniature versions of things: toy models, dolls houses, tea cup piglets, miniature ponies etc. Bigger is also better (so I’m told). This probably explains why Macro photography, the art of capturing small objects and blowing them up many times bigger than life size is so compelling.

Macro photography is defined as taking a picture of an object so that it appears on the sensor (or film) at least as big if not bigger than the real life object (referred to as 1:1).  This is a not very helpful definition given that you’d rarely print or display something at the same size of your sensor and the image will be enlarged many times when presented but there you go.  Some marketing literature will claim something is ‘macro’ if the object will print larger than actual size on a 6×4″ photo which is a better way of defining things but only gives you a 1:4 magnification (image is one quarter the real life size on the sensor) so your close ups will not be so close as a true macro shot.

What You’ll Need

You’ll get best results with a dedicated macro lens but there are alternatives.   Some zoom lenses can take macro like photos (close to 1:1) so check what you have already.  There are also macro tubes which you insert between the lens and the camera.  Moving the lens away from the sensor, decreases the minimum distance they can focus at allowing you to move closer and get an enlarged view of the object even though the magnification of the lens is unchanged.  There is a somewhat wacky but apparently effective option to mount one lens backwards in front of another.  You lose auto-focus and have to walk round with a weird set of lenses on the front of your camera but can get good photos… Continue reading

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