50 episodes

The latest stories from the Phoblographer brought to you using the power of AI. We've been working for over a decade to bridge the gap between art and tech in the photo world.

The Phoblographer Daily The Phoblographer

    • Arts
    • 2.9 • 7 Ratings

The latest stories from the Phoblographer brought to you using the power of AI. We've been working for over a decade to bridge the gap between art and tech in the photo world.

    These 4 Wildlife Photographers Have Encountered Really Scary Moments

    These 4 Wildlife Photographers Have Encountered Really Scary Moments

    “The main difference between wildlife and sports photography is that in sports photography, the subject you’re trying to capture won’t try to eat you,” said a friend of a friend who will remain unnamed. Something said in jest, of course, but the fact is that extra precautions need to be taken when out in the wild photographing animals. Despite taking these, sometimes photographers can be on the receiving end of some unexpectedly scary moments.
    All images in this article are used with permission from their owners.
    At the onset, let me say that this article isn’t meant to portray wild animals negatively. If anything, it’s meant to be quite the opposite. A prominent wildlife photographer responded to my request for an interview on this topic by saying that it might portray animals in a bad light, as animals are only defending themselves when needed. Even as someone who hasn’t done any serious wildlife photography, I agree with him on the latter half of that statement. Armed with super-telephoto lenses, wildlife photographers often have to be well inside the familiar environment of a wild animal to get some good stills of them. And sometimes, when these animals feel threatened, even the more docile among them can turn hostile.
    Animals Can Be Quicker Than You Realize
    Akhil Vinayak Menon is a technologist by profession and a nature and wildlife photographer by passion. He’s been pursuing wildlife photography for over eight years. A trip to the Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand, India, is where he encountered a scary moment. Here’s his story:
    “For a couple of days, I and the guide/driver had been following a trio of elephants, possibly siblings. I managed to make some fantastic frames with the elephants, especially in the morning and evening light.
    In this image, the beautiful backlight, the dense forests behind the elephants, and the elephants perfectly balanced in the frame makes this image special and unique. It is a beautiful habitat shot of the elephants in the park as well. The trio was very active, and this encouraged me to follow them through multiple days to get more shots around the park.
    On the third day of safari, during the evening safari session, as a routine, we rushed back to the same area where we had been capturing images of the elephants. The path to the riverbed was narrow and had bushes on both sides of the road. As soon as we took a curve on the road, the trio all of a sudden appeared to the right of the safari vehicle, and the driver instinctively stopped the vehicle. These safari vehicles are specially made open jeeps with no roofing in order to aid undisturbed photography. So we were literally in the open and just a few meters away from the animals.
    One of the elephants was taking a mud bath while the little one was grazing. The third elephant, however, seemed alarmed by our unexpected presence and our closeness to the gang. You can see him watching us. He observed us for a few minutes and appeared to settle down. We were quite close to the three elephants, and there were not much frames to be made at such close proximity. I quietly murmured to the driver to move further away, and then within a fraction of a second, the elephant that was watching us started to charge us.
    All wild animals have their own way of conveying discomfort; now, elephants usually make sounds or at least mock charge. A mock charge is when an elephant charges towards you while making sounds and then stops at a distance from the intruder. I have had the experience of elephants making a mock charge at the safari vehicle in the past, so we anticipated that he would stop. However, in this case, the elephant did not stop, and for a moment, I felt that perhaps I was in for some big trouble.
    Although a bit late, instinctively, my driver managed to put the vehicle in reverse as this was the only option and drive backwards; however, the elephant managed to get very close. It is indescribable the emotions that ran thr

    • 11 min
    Fun Challenge: Spot the Difference Between Film and Digital Photos

    Fun Challenge: Spot the Difference Between Film and Digital Photos

    We’re sorry. Last year, we issued a challenge to our readers to see if they could tell the difference between film and digital. Specifically, we asked readers to see if they could tell the difference between Kodak Tri-X and the Leica M10 Monochrom. You can see the challenge here. I rarely read comments, for my own sanity (it’s not uncommon with journalists). And it wasn’t until an email came in that I decided to make an update to the blog post. But it brings up a whole bigger point.
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    One of the comments says that at social media sharing sizes, none of this matters. So now, you, the reader, need to be truthful and honest with yourself. Do you really need anything more than that? Where are your photos going? Are you posting them and selling them? Are you just sharing them as your hobby in various photo groups? Are you trying to become the next big thing on Instagram?
    And here’s the thing, I feel most of you won’t be honest with yourself. You’ll want the maximum image quality just because you can have it. The truth about photography is that pixels matter, but they’re not as important as you think if you can work it. The same goes for gear; it’s important, but so is the rest of photography. And sometimes the truth is that the rest of photography is about how you sell a story.
    I’ve been running The Phoblographer for over 12 years. And I’ve never encouraged pixel peeping. I’ve fought vehemently against it as it’s truly useless these days. It’s useless to the point where I think that judging a lens’ sharpness is a moot point. I’ve considered taking it out of our reviews. Instead, what you think is sharpness is sometimes contrast. Want to know the truth? You can make an older lens look like a brand new chart-topper with a little bit of flash or post-production. Lots of photographers may post-process their images, but that doesn’t mean that a lot of us aren’t sick of it too. And that’s why film is so incredible. Film is tailored from the start to deliver a specific look.
    So, in the end, it’s fair to say that, in the battle of film vs digital, it doesn’t really matter anymore. Digital is great. You can do so much with it as a photographer. There are totally times where I’d rather use a digital camera than my film cameras. But at the same time, every time I pick up my Leicas or Fuji Natura, I feel like I’m rekindling love. If my personal job wasn’t to review a ton of cameras, I’d probably own a bunch of film cameras and maybe two Fuji, Canon, or Leica bodies. But most of what I’d shoot would be film.
    Yes, I know this is a photography blog. I’m aware that thousands of passionate photographers come here every day. I’m very sure lots of you love to geek out about this wonderful hobby. But at the same time, we need to remember the bigger picture. With no pun intended, a good image is all about the moment and the content of the photo. It doesn’t have to necessarily do with stupid technicalities like a line cutting someone’s head off. Those are ideals taught to you that you’d never see or care about otherwise. Instead, you’d care about the pure moment of the photograph. And in the end, I think that’s what we should focus on.

    • 3 min
    Christian Cross is a Powerful Voice the Photo Industry Desperately Needs

    Christian Cross is a Powerful Voice the Photo Industry Desperately Needs

    On this week's episode of Inside the Photographer's Mind, we're joined by UK based street and protest photographer, Christian Cross.

    • 52 min
    Is Digital Photography Better Than Medium Format Film?

    Is Digital Photography Better Than Medium Format Film?

    We’re streaming daily on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, and Spotify! You can also listen to it right here on The Phoblographer.
    The world is curious: how good is digital photography? Albert Watson famously told Steve Jobs when photographing him that digital wasn’t as good as film. Steve allegedly said that it would one day get there. In 2021, lots of us know better. There’s a world where film photography, digital photography, and instant film photography can co-exist. In the purest sense, film photography is still more versatile and gives different looks. This is especially the case with Medium Format Film. That may sound crazy, but it makes a ton of sense. Digital photography also very much has its place in our lives.
    The Monotony of Digital Photography
    Digital photography is monotonous. Lots of camera manufacturers use the same sensors; the same 24MP sensor is in various cameras. And that makes digital very monotonous. It needs to rely on in-camera processing, lenses, and post-production to make it stand out. But at that point, it’s kind of useless. Leica, Fujifilm, Sony, and Canon have the most unique sensors in their cameras. With Fujifilm, it’s specifically present with the X-series. At the medium format range, Fujifilm relies more on its processing power in-camera to get its look. That’s how they stand out.
    But is digital better than film? It depends on the parameters. In terms of dynamic range, it’s challenging to beat the range Fujifilm PRO400H had. If you’re talking about colors, Velvia and Ektachrome can do a great job. Digital tries so hard to copy the look of film. Think about how many presets exist for Kodak Portra alone!
    If you’re talking about resolution, then digital is starting to win out here. 35mm film can only be scanned to a certain degree. 120 film only has so much to offer too. Large format gives you lots of possibilities, but again, it’s really just being translated over to a digital image. In the printing process, you can sometimes get more and better photos from film photography.
    The arguable exception to this rule is Kodak Portra 160 and Kodak Portra 400. They were made to be scanned.
    The Variety and Spice of Film Photography
    Film photography already has a leg up on digital photography here. Today, you buy a camera based on features and know that you can do a whole lot in post-production. But with film, you buy it for the look. Kodak Portra looks much different from CineStill. You start with a very unique product. Then, when you want to make it look different, you scan or develop it in a non-conventional way. Film photography has cross-processing, which digital can’t do at all.
    Again though, 35mm and 120 films aren’t always able to totally stack up to digital. They can give you a look that you really can’t get digitally, though, unless you do a lot of post-production work. Film has also been around far longer than digital. But as I said, digital needs variety. It starts in-camera. If you do everything in post-production, then your camera really just won’t matter.
    What good is a Sony Artisan who does all the work in post-production? Or what about a Canon Explorer of Light who shoots for 10 minutes and spends the entire night retouching photos? If that’s the case, what’s the point of using the camera system?
    Is Modern Day Digital Better Than Medium Format Film?
    When we think of the modern-day, digital medium format, we usually think of Hasselblad and Fujifilm. Phase One is still around, but they just focus on DSLRs. Medium format DSLRs are still doing things medium format mirrorless isn’t doing. 400 Megapixel imaging, for example, is one of the insane things medium format digital does. And it does it very well. You can still get a more unique look from larger film planes than the full-frame medium format. A 6×9 image will look different than a full-frame 645 photo. So honestly, in some ways, medium format film is better than digital. But d

    • 4 min
    It Has the Potential to Be Great: Vanguard Alta Fly 58T Review

    It Has the Potential to Be Great: Vanguard Alta Fly 58T Review

    Hybrid is a word that is becoming more readily used in the photography community. Bags are quickly adapting to photographers’ needs in a fast-paced world. The Vanguard Alta Fly 58T rolling camera bag functions primarily as a trolley and doubles as a backpack. It’s durable, functional, and TSA compliant. The hybrid is almost perfect.
    Table of Contents
    Too Long Didn’t Read
    Pros and Cons
    Pros
    Cons
    Tech Specs
    Gear Used
    Innovations
    Ergonomics
    Build Quality
    Ease Of Use
    Conclusions of the Vanguard Alta Fly 58T Roller Bag
    Likes
    Dislikes
    Too Long Didn’t Read
    The Vanguard Alta Fly 58T is a very functional hybrid trolley bag that doubles as a backpack. It comes equipped with padded shoulder straps and a waist strap that can be easily stowed away. The bag meets TSA carry-on standards and has extra grab handles for access. It’s quite versatile and functional.
    Pros and Cons
    Pros
    Fits TSA carry-on guidelines
    Can accommodate a Broncolor Siros L 800ws
    Removable interior cube
    Can be worn as a backpack or used as a trolley
    Easy organization
    Cons
    Sternum strap isn’t high enough for women
    Trolley handle access fits too snug
    Doesn’t have weather-resistant zippers
    Tech Specs
    All tech specs are provided by the manufacturer.
    Accessories: Raincover
    Color: Black
    Extended Warranty: Limited Lifetime
    Inside Dimensions: 12 1/4″ x 6 7/8″ x 19 1/4″
    Max Lens Capacity: 6
    Notebook Capacity: 14”
    Outside Dimensions: 13 5/8″ x 11″ x 23 1/4″
    Series: Alta Fly
    Shoulder Bag Type: Backpack
    Tripod Storage: Y
    Warranty: 1Y
    Weight: 10.5 lbs.
    Price: $299.99
    Gear Used
    We tested the Vanguard Alta Fly 58T with a Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 50mm f1.2 lens attached, Canon 85mm f1.2 lens, Broncolor Siros L 800ws, and a 3 Legged Thing Billy 2.0 tripod.
    Innovations
    Vanguard isn’t reinventing the wheel. However, they made an incredibly versatile option for photographers. It’s well thought-out to provide comfort when worn as a backpack. The Alta Fly 58T also spins effortlessly when used as a trolley. Again, it’s not innovative.
    Ergonomics
    On the top, you will find a sizeable padded grab handle. The trolley handle is also stored here. There are two D-rings located on either side. I found these handy to attach my keys.
    The front panel of the Vanguard Alta Fly 58T has a large, zippered pocket to store memory cards, cables, and other small items.
    Completely unzip the front panel to access the main compartment. Here you will find a protective mesh layer and a customizable cube.
    The cube is also removable.
    The inside of the front panel will accommodate a 16” MacBook Pro. This is larger than the specs indicate. There are two straps on the front panel that secure to the main compartment. This protects the laptop and prevents it from falling down when the bag is upright.
    A smaller pocket located towards the top will fit a wallet, cell phone, and other personal items.
    There are two straps to secure a tripod. And a pouch can even be accessed underneath a velcro strap for extra security.
    On one side, there is a sizeable, stretchy pocket. I used this to hold my water bottle. Each side is equipped with a padded grab-handle for added convenience and comfort.
    The padded shoulder straps and waist harness are on the back of the bag. There is a large pouch to secure the shoulder straps when not in use. It also houses the waterproof cover. The waist strap can then be fastened around the front of the bag to avoid dragging it. It also provides an extra level of security.
    This is how the Alta Fly 58T fits when wearing it as a backpack. A waist strap is located at the bottom. And the harness strap is attached to the shoulder straps. While it’s uncomfortable for women and quite unflattering, I did find the bag comfortable without attaching the sternum strap for shorter durations.
    Build Quality
    Vanguard has built the Alta Fly 58T with rugged moisture-resistant and anti-scratch materials. The spinning wheels operate flawlessly when used as a trolley. But, the zippers are

    • 8 min
    You’re Using a Rangefinder Camera Wrong. Here’s the Best Method

    You’re Using a Rangefinder Camera Wrong. Here’s the Best Method

    If you’re considering using a rangefinder, then we’re pretty sure you’re using it incorrectly. The reason for this is simple: modern cameras and lenses encourage you to shoot with them wide open. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t shoot with your pretty rangefinder lenses wide open. But you’re not doing yourself any favors. Lucky for you, we’ve done tutorials over the years on using a rangefinder camera better. So we’re going to go through a few here.
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    Table of Contents
    Using a Rangefinder Camera to the Fullest Potential
    Zone Focus the Camera
    How to Zone Focus a Lens
    Using a Rangefinder Camera to the Fullest Potential
    Let’s be honest, if you’re manually focusing a lens back and forth to get your subject in focus, you’re not always going to nail focus. It’s difficult! But sometimes it’s all you can do if you’re shooting with an ultra-fast aperture lens. Rangefinder cameras are meant to be used differently though. You’re supposed to stop the lens down, focus a distance away, and then fine-tune the focusing with the viewfinder. When you use it this way, you can get photos that sometimes the fastest autofocusing cameras wouldn’t be able to. This is how master street photographers have used them for years.
    Zone Focus the Camera
    Here’s a quote from an article we previously did on how to zone focus a camera that was sponsored by Leica:
    Choose a normal or wider focal length. The ideal choices are 50mm, 35mm, 28mm, and 24mm lenses. The great masters of street photography used anywhere between 50mm and 28mm lenses. Those, they said, show the world the way they see it. We’ve got a full recommendation of our favorite lenses right here. Try the Leica 50mm f1.4 Summilux ASPH, the Leica 28mm f1.4 Summilux ASPH, or the Leica 35mm f2 Summicron ASPH.
    Look at the lens. Focus it to a distance you’re comfortable being from your subject. During social distancing times, you might want to choose around six feet away.
    Read the distance scale. It will tell you how much of the scene will be in focus at a given aperture. Stop the lens down to where you’re comfortable.
    Set the ISO so that your shutter speed is at least 1/50th. If you really want to stop people in motion, you’ll need at least 1/1000th.
    As an extra tip, meter off your hand. Your hand will be close to the skin tones that you want to capture. And that will prep you for shooting the photos you envision.
    Pay attention to the lighting around you. As it changes, you might need to adjust your exposure.
    How to Zone Focus a Lens
    Of course, you do not really zone focus with your camera. Instead, you’re doing it with a lens. And in the video above, we’re showing you just how to do that. This applies to more than just rangefinder cameras. Of course, zone focusing is the best way to go about using a rangefinder camera. But if you adapt those lenses onto another mirrorless camera of some sort, this is the best way to use them.
    We hope that these videos and this short tutorial helps you folks out. Please enjoy!

    • 3 min

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