Monday, June 27, 2011

Through the Viewfinder

Recently I've been stumbling across so many interesting mediums for photography, both old and new. As a photographer, it's easy to get caught up in the newest lens or the camera body with the most advanced technology and we start to forget that there are other fun ways to capture moments in time. Here are a few that I especially enjoy.



The Widelux is a panaoramic camera that was first developed in 1948. It hails from Japan and has what is called a "swing lens" or "rotating lens" to accomplish the panoramic effect. When I first heard about this I thought it was the coolest thing ever and immediately jumped online to see if I could find one for sale. My disappointment set in when I discovered they run at an average of $1500 for a working model. The 35mm camera has a fixed focus, three shutter speeds (1/15, 1/125 and 1/250) and a variety of apertures and kicks out some pretty cool photos. The camera garnered a bit of extra attention when Jeff Bridges revealed that he's been using one since the 80's to take photos between takes on movie sets. In 2004 he published a book of his photography called Pictures. Here's a couple of his shots:
The Spare Room from the set of Crazy Heart

You can see the distortion that occurs with the Widelux. This diminishes the more horizontal the camera is held.

Maggie Gyllenhaal on the set of Crazy Heart
 This is what I would have fun with! I'd be making everyone I knew run from one side to the other.

I'm still keeping the Widelux on my wishlist, but for now it's out of my price range! There are other brands of swing-lens panoramic cameras available, most notably the Horizon (from Russia) and Noblex (from Germany), both of which you can find for quite a bit cheaper, but there's something about the Widelux that draws me in.


This is an extreme sports cam from Liquid Image and it looks like so much fun! I came across it in a news article and it's a complete no brainer. When you're scuba diving, snorkeling or just having fun in the water, the last thing you want to do is keep track of a camera, even one that's "waterproof." I speak from experience...on our Honeymoon last October we went snorkeling for the first time and I bought a $12 underwater camera to document our experience. What I didn't count on was being more than a little freaked out by the whole breathing underwater thing and only being able to shakily hold up the camera for a dozen shots before getting out. Then there was the water leak. Somehow water got into our waterproof camera and ruined all of our pictures. See one of the better ones below:

Just what I wanted...a red tint on all of our pictures!

I imagine things would have gone a little differently had we been able to use one of the camera masks. They're hands free (the shutter button is on the mask itself) and you don't have to worry about running out of exposures, water ruining your pictures, or - heaven forbid - dropping your camera and watching it sink into the depths of the ocean. They offer different series of masks including wide angle, video, explorer, and a line of ski masks to document your experiences on the slopes.

A sample picture from the Scuba Series HD cam. Just look at the clarity!

The best thing about these cameras? They run from $49.00 to $349.99! I was blown away by their affordability. If I was a big scuba diver/skier/snow boarder, especially as a photographer, I would be lining up to buy one. The blue mask above is from their Scuba Series HD and it runs at $250. It offers a 5.0 Mega Pixel Sensor, shutter speeds up to 1/10,000 of a second and with memory expandable up to 32GB, you can store 36,800 images or 960 minutes (16 hours) of video on one card. This $49.00 option from the explorer series would be so much fun to let kids play around with in the summer.


This last one from Lytro is the newest and the most incredible. In fact, it's such a ground breaking concept that I almost feel like it's cheating, in a way. It's certainly going to revolutionize the photography industry if it actually works as advertised. See, it's so new that they don't have a camera yet available to the public, however you can reserve one on their website. No one even knows what it looks like, though they do say that it will be small enough to fit in a pocket.

So here's the concept. When you take a picture with any regular camera, whether point-and-shoot, DSLR, or film, your camera has to choose a point to focus on before releasing the shutter and capturing the image. It can be chosen manually by you or automatically by your camera, but there has to be a focus point unless you want a completely blurry picture. This is where Lytro blows it out of the water. Instead of making the camera pick one area of the picture to focus on, it creates what they're calling "living pictures" and allows you to choose which part of the picture is in focus...after you take the picture. In other words, with one single picture you can make multiple images that are all focused on different areas of the picture. Somehow they've figured out how to retain the entire range of focus all within one picture file to be manipulated at a later time. Like I said - if this works as magically as they say it does, it's going to be doing some major revolutionizing.

Below are different versions of one picture featured in their living picture gallery. Head on over and play around with it to get the full effect. It's a bit mind blowing but definitely intriguing.


This is the great thing about photography - it's half art, half science and because of that it will continue to expand and reach depths (literally in some cases!) no one ever though possible.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mellow Yellow

On my daily stop at Etsy this morning I came across this lovely treasury by Hitchcock Ink. I've always had a soft spot for the yellow & gray combination, which explains my own bedding choices.


I particularly like the tissue paper pom poms from Sweet and Savvy Designs. I could see those hanging at a summer party or even as a summer decoration in my apartment somewhere....