This Blog Has Moved

Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Muse - Filmed on a Canon 5D MkII

Muse - Short from Edmond Terakopian on Vimeo.
Here's a short clip from my first ever film which was shot using a Canon 5D MkII and a Canon EF 35mm f1.4L lens. The video and sound are straight from the camera and have not been edited. I'll be posting the full film in around a week with edited sound.
Here's a direct link to the clip so you can watch it in 720p HD.

Addendum: The film is now available to view in its entirety:

For the 720 HD version, visit Vimeo.

For the Full 1080 HD version (and other sizes),visit SmugMug.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Survival Technique

Well, I don't mean how to trap an animal, make fire, cook it, create shelter and purify water all with a pocket knife; what I'm referring to is surviving if your laptop goes down whilst away on assignment.
I've never actually had to use this technique, but for years have had this as an insurance policy. Imagine this, you're on a dream assignment abroad. You've got great pictures and your picture editor is desperate for the images. You boot up your laptop and.....nothing; its dead.
I have two USB memory flash drives; one for a PC and one for a Mac. They have a full host of all the software I need to be able to work. Image editing software (Aperture, Photo Mechanic, PhotoShop, FTP programs, settings for FTP and email servers, image rescue and so on).
With most software now purchased over the internet, its very easy just to keep the installer files and their associated serial numbers together in folders. You can also download trail software and not install it, but keep the installer files on your flash key.
If it all goes wrong, I can either pop into an internet cafe and ask them nicely if I can load up my software, find someone friendly with a laptop and do the same, or pop into a store and buy one! On a Mac you could even go one step further and have your whole operating system on a USB flash drive with all your software and settings and if your hard drive goes down, you just boot off the flash drive. I haven't actually tried this yet, and I know it'll be slow, but it will save the day.
If you're wondering which ones to get, Test Freaks have done a round up of 21 flash drives and put them to the test. 

Friday, 19 December 2008

Gleb Garanich's Crying Man Sequence

Following on from the previous post, I'm so touched by this set of images, that with kind permission from Reuters I'd like to share the entire sequence.
I first saw the pictures in French "Photo" magazine when attending Visa Pour L'Image in Perpignan earlier this year. Those that are familiar with "Visa" will know that its an incredible collection of exhibitions and projections of the best images from around the world. However, no other set of images touched me as much as Gleb's photographs of the mourning man holding his dead relative after their homes were bombed by Russian war planes in South Ossetia. I was standing in a little shop and looking through the magazine, and nothing during the whole week moved me as much. Incredible.

This is the caption that ran with the image:

A Georgian man cries near the body of his relative after a bombardment  in Gori, 80 km (50 miles) from Tbilisi, August 9, 2008. A Russian warplane dropped a bomb on an apartment block in the Georgian town of Gori on Saturday, killing at least 5 people, a Reuters reporter said. The bomb hit the five-story building in Gori close to  Georgia's embattled breakaway province of South Ossetia when Russian warplanes carried out a raid against military targets around the town.  REUTERS/Gleb Garanich  (GEORGIA)

Best Images of 2008

A Georgian man cries near the body of his relative after a bombardment  in Gori, 80 km (50 miles) from Tbilisi, August 9, 2008. A Russian warplane dropped a bomb on an apartment block in the Georgian town of Gori on Saturday, killing at least 5 people, a Reuters reporter said. The bomb hit the five-story building in Gori close to  Georgia's embattled breakaway province of South Ossetia when Russian warplanes carried out a raid against military targets around the town.  REUTERS/Gleb Garanich  - © Reuters-Used with permission.
As the year comes to a close, here are a few links to the best images of the year. To say they are well worth a look, would be an understatement. There is some stunning work.
My personal favourite news image of 2008, because of its strength, emotion and respect is by Reuters photographer Gleb Garanich (above) from the war in South Ossetia. If any image is deserving of a Pulitzer and a World Press Photo award this year, its Gleb's. Its part of a series, but this particular photograph captures the whole war in one frame. A stronger case for a stills picture having more power to convey emotion and the story than any other medium, I have not seen this year, or come to think of it, for a very long time.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

New iPod Apple?!

Some chap has taken pictures of the new Apple iPod product ;-) Scroll down to see the pictures.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Happy Holidays To All :-)

Send your own ElfYourself eCards
I just wanted to wish everyone a lovely Christmas and
a peaceful holiday season. May the new year bring
you all joy. Best Wishes, Edmond.

Viveza Special Christmas Offer

Regular readers will know how much praise I have for the Aperture and PhotoShop plug-in by Nik Software, Viveza. Its absolute genius. Nik have a special Christmas offer with €100 off the regular price. Now I know the weakness of the pound to Euro is at and all time low, but its still a good offer.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Aperture 2.1 Article in Hotshoe Magazine

A couple of months ago I did an article for Hotshoe magazine on Apple's Aperture:

Photographers are a creature of habit. We find a system that works and stick with it until absolutely necessary. This way we can concentrate on the assignment and the equipment is just an extension to the photography. The downside is that often we don’t embrace the newest of technologies. Therefor the decision to switch to anything new doesn’t come easily.

Working for the wire services and newspapers, for me speed and quality are of the utmost importance. In this day and age of evening papers, national and international clients, there are always deadlines to meet. Speed means publications.

I used to shoot RAW for around 15% of my assignments, when the deadline was days away, not minutes away. Then, a couple of years ago, I came across Apple’s Aperture which was at version 1.5. Shooting RAW has its obvious advantages but its always been just a little too slow to process. My old work flow for RAW used to include five different software packages. Now with Aperture I've cut this down to three.

Initially I had a bit of a steep learning curve to conquer. Aperture did things differently to the way I worked. However, after a few days of using it, I was smitten. I sold my PC laptop, embraced my new MacBook Pro and added Aperture to my arsenal.

My workflow with Aperture begins when I plug a card in; images are downloaded to a folder which I create for every assignment. I choose to use the referenced file method and not the Aperture library. You can choose which ever method suits you best. After this, I can quickly do a batch caption to all the images and rush through the images tagging the ones I need for my edit. Once I have my final choices, I use the adjustment tools available to polish up the image. Initially I used to shoot most of my images in jpeg format for speed, and use Aperture to process these. When I realized just how fast Aperture deals with RAWs, I’ve switched over to shooting RAW 100% of the time. The real beauty of the software is how elegant it is in operation. It can make the most subtle of corrections, leaving the image looking natural.  The other great feature is the way you can export your image into a wide range of formats and sizes; these can be pre-set by the user. I have a list of export preferences I use for my various clients. The only downside to the program is that you will need a recent Mac with at least 2 Gb of RAM to make it work efficiently.

I've been a big fan of Aperture since version 1.5 and have since completely switched my computer platform over to Apple Mac. A lot has changed since then with version 2 and now 2.1 being released. The program runs a lot faster and has made big advances in editing speed. Even on my tightest deadline I use Aperture without hesitation. Its elegance, speed, robustness, full control over RAW and jpeg editing, plug-in architecture and digital asset management are unique.

Aperture’s plug-in structure allows the program to use third party plug-ins. Apple provide their own sample plug-in for dodging and burning. This architecture has opened the doors for some excellent plug-ins and I find needing Photoshop less and less. With version 1.5, I used to use Photoshop around 10% of the time. Now that’s probably down to 3%.

I've been using Nik Software's Viveza plug-in for around a month and its now part of my workflow.

Its absolute genius; in Aperture you click edit with Viveza which creates a copy of your original (keeping the original RAW or jpeg untouched) and opens the image in its own window, after applying any adjustments you have made in Aperture. You then click on control points and select the area of the image you need to change.

The control point then gives you a set of sliders which choose circle size (which is feathered), brightness, contrast and saturation. By clicking on the colour you want to change, it only makes these changes to that particular hue and the surrounding area of the same value, within the circle diameter you choose. Very easy, fast and accurate. Its much faster and more elegant than exporting into Photoshop. Darkening a sky for example, no matter how complex the skyline, is done in a matter of seconds. After saving, it adds the new modified image back into your Aperture library.

The other plug-in which has become part of my workflow is Picture Code’s Noise Ninja. Being a long time user of the software I'm delighted that its available for Aperture. 

Looking into the plug-ins scene, there are more than 70 available. Apple lists these on their web site

You can get free trials of Aperture and all the plug-ins mentioned and I definitely recommend giving these a go.

Monday, 15 December 2008

The Space, Brighton - Great Place!

Some of you may remember that earlier this month I was invited to give a talk about my work at The Space.
I must say that it was an absolute joy and the crowd were fantastic with some great questions. The evening began with a couple of audio slide shows and carried on with some questions by presenter Lisa Holloway.
Photographer Neil Hawkins kindly sent through these pictures; many thanks Neil.
Lastly, a big thanks to Wayne Imms who is the creative director of The Space. I definitely recommend you pop by at their future events.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

5D MkII Goes Up Against "Proper" Video Cameras

Zacuto's Great Camera Shootout '08 from Steve Weiss, Zacuto USA on Vimeo.

Zacuto have brought together four film makers and asked them to choose between a range of cameras starting at the top end with film, the Red One, all the way to the Nikon D90. In the mix was also the Canon 5D MkII.
At the end out the "shoot out", two of the four film makers picked the Canon 5D MkII as their camera of choice for documentary work.

You can watch a bigger version here. There is also a 720p HD version to download from the site. You need to first register for free and then download the M4V version which is to the right of the Vimeo page. 

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

WARNING - Dangerously Incompatible Cables

Ok, now that I have your attention, there's an article on EDN that warns of using USB cables to attach your cameras to your computers. This kind of falls out of the pro market as most of us use card readers, so please make sure your friends and relatives know of this issue.
Although most cables that come with digital cameras look the same physically and have a USB plug on one end and a mini USB which plugs in to the camera, they are sometimes wired differently and can cause damage to the camera. Only use the cable that came with your camera.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Canon 5D MkII By Night

I've had my hands on a 5D MkII for over a week now as I'm reviewing it for the BJP's Christmas edition. Its going to be a sad day when I have to return the camera back to Canon.
The low light capabilities of this camera are absolutely astonishing. It almost makes you feel like you're cheating as it opens up possibilities where normally you would either:
a) have to get a tripod
b) use flash and kill the mood
c) leave and go home
The shot of the London Eye (above) is a nice shot by night. Not a difficult or demanding shot. However, you have to realise that it was taken hand held at 4000ASA! The picture's been taken using a Canon 45mm f2.8 TS-E (tilt and shift) which is quickly becoming a favourite lens for creative shooting.
The second picture of France's President Sarkozy (above) visiting Downing Street was taken yesterday after 4pm - basically it was almost pitch black. As my colleagues were forced to get their flashguns out and swap lenses to a 70-200 and hope the high gloss black door of number 10 wouldn't reflect too badly, I just stood there with a big smile, the 5D MkII and my 300mm f2.8L lens. I may have forgotten to mention that it was shot at 6400ASA! As I showed my colleagues the picture, an argument ensued - they were certain that I had used flash....until they realised there was no flash on the camera; oh what good fun!

Monday, 8 December 2008

New Bags From Think Tank Photos

Think Tank Photo have launched several new bags. The Shape Shifter (above) is definitely of more interest to photojournalists. It has a genius way of swallowing up a whole professional level of camera gear and a laptop with accessories. What sets it apart from all other bags though is its ability to compress the camera section away, just leaving a 3" deep laptop bag. This is great for travelling to assignment, taking out your gear and then turning the bag into a slim laptop carrie
r which is light and so slim that you won't be bumping into people or objects. I have written a full review for the BJP which will be out very soon.
The other bag is part of a series called Street Walker (above). Its a very neat design which can carry a laptop and full pro level camera gear.

You can purchase these bags on-line from SnapperStuff.

I'm a big fan of the products from Think Tank Photo and every bag I use is made by the company. I have yet to find better designed or better made rollers, back packs, pouches or shoulder bags. One of the things that sets the company apart from others is that it listens to photographers and has a design board made up of photographers from around the world with different disciplines. If you haven't yet seen the range, I definitely recommend you look through their web site and pop into your local shop to try them out; you won't be disappointed.

Lastly, founder of Think Tank Photo, Doug Murdoch, has published a new free white paper called “Active Shooting vs. Transportation/Storage” which is available to download.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Six Months in Afghanistan by John D McHugh

John D McHugh's six months project is now complete and The Guardian have posted 19 images from his project. They give an interesting insight as well as cover the drama of a fire fight. Well worth a look.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

400Gb Blue Ray Disc

Pioneer has showcased its 16-layer 400Gb Optical Disc at the Taipei IT fair.
Its due for launch in 2008-2010 in a read only version, but there are plans for re-writeable discs in 2010-2012 and a 1Tb version is destined to follow in 2013.

Whilst optical discs like CDs and DVDs have proven not to be the best solution for archiving digital media, here's a chance for Pioneer to concentrate on not only making these large discs (which are so much better than using hundreds of CDs or DVDs) but also put emphasis on trying to make them archival in nature. Lets keep our fingers crossed!

Does The Apple Mac Need Antivirus Protection?

The short answer is possibly. For many years the Mac has survived the constant barrage of PC viruses and worms. However, as the platform grows in popularity, spreading outside of creative circles into most people's lives and work, it becomes a target for virus writers.
OS X is still a much more secure and solid operation system than its competitors, which needs user verification before it installs anything. Common sense will prevail; don't open or install anything that you weren't waiting for or that looks either too good to be true, or dodgy!
In all my years of computing, I have only heard of a small handful of malicious codes in the wild (virus, worms etc), but my strategy, as well as Apple's, is better safe than sorry. Apple themselves recommend Intego, McAfee and Symantec. Read this article for more details.

Addendum 1: Apple have since removed the article saying that it was old and inaccurate.

Addendum 2: Here's an interesting article on this subject at TidBITS.