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Natural Light

Art or Pornography?  The Life and Work of Sally Mann
Sally Mann is an American photographer who has pushed the limits of black and white fine art. Early in her career, Sally captured both real and staged moments of her children's youth that quickly became subject of much controversy. Immediate Family, a collection of images of her children under the age of 10, showcased mainly normal, happy childhood moments. However other images featured her kids unclothed with themes of depression, anxiety, and even death. Obviously Sally's work sparked strong emotions, and the debate about what is exploitation and what is art became synonymous with her name. The acclaimed What Remains: The Life and Work of Sally Mann is an interesting documentary that focuses on Sally's work and how she approaches her craft. Now a praised nature photographer, Sally discusses her contraversal early images as well as many of her current projects including landscapes in the deep south and portraits of her husband as he deals with muscular dystrophy. Check out Sally Mann's bookstore for great reading material from this revolutionary photographer. Click the full post for the full documentary.

Michael Levin:  Master Of Black And White Landscapes
When I first saw this video I was completely blown away. Michael Levin is an outstanding black and white landscape photographer. Recently Michael teamed up with Brad Kremer to produce the most artistic behind the scenes video I've ever seen showing a day in the life of a photographer. I really really wish there was more technical information to this video but unfortunately like most landscape photographers their secrets are hard to pull from them. Brad shot this whole video on a Canon 5D Mark II and the highly praised Dynamic Perception Dolly. Michael is primarily shooting on a Hasselblad body but that shouldn't come as any surprise. Make sure you check out Michael's portfolio -- much of his work features spectacular locations around Japan.

An Inside Look At Car Photography Post Production
Have you ever seen a car ad in a magazine and wondered "how did they do that?" The car itself seems to be glowing and the location is always perfect. I've always known that tons of photoshop is involved by I didn't know if the car was actually shot in that location or if it was shot in the studio and dropped into the scene in post. In the case below, the car was shot on location and lit with a very simple rig (umbrella on a stick). The magic happens in Photoshop afterwards.

Best Technique for Shooting Interiors:  HDR or Flash?
Have you ever tried to shoot an interior photograph and have it look like the shots in magazines or high end property brochures? If so then you probably know there are two routes to go: HDR or Flash. Photographer Dom Bower recently made a video showing the differences in both techniques and how you can combine them both to create a sort of hybrid image. Keep in mind that Dom is only using one single speedlight directly above the camera. Many of the amazing images you see for high end hotels and expensive properties often have dozens of light sources accenting very specific elements in the image. What techniques have you guys used in your interior photos? If you have examples, feel free to post your images in the comments below and check out Dom's final photos in the full post.

The Arctic Light, Another Great Timelapse
Terje Sørgjerd has created a few timelapse videos that we have featured on FS but this may be the best. Terje writes; "My favorite natural phenomenon is one I do not even know the name of, even after talking to meteorologists and astrophysicists I am none the wiser.What I am talking about I have decided to call The Arctic Light and it is a natural phenomenon occurring 2-4 weeks before you can see the Midnight Sun." "I had numerous setbacks including: airline lost my luggage, struggling to swim ashore after falling into the Arctic sea: twice, breaking lenses, filters, tripod, computer, losing the whole dolly rig and controller into the sea, and even falling off a rather tall rock and ending up in the hospital. As much as I wanted to give up, the best way out is always “through”. I am glad I stuck it through though because there were some amazing sunrises waiting."

A Beginners Guide To Sky Photography
Ben Canales is one of those photographers who enjoys taking photographs in total darkness. He also enjoys shooting when the skies are the clearest and the stars are the brightest which also happens to be when it's freezing outside. At some point you have probably seen these amazing night images and maybe you have even tried your hand at a few. Well Ben has a made a rather simple but exhaustive tutorial on how you too can capture the earth and the skies at night. Some of his tips like the 600 rule and how to easily setup a nice composition in near darkness are really insightful and almost makes me want to try my hand at a few long exposure shots next winter. Check out his other star tutorials, and hopefully this post helped you forget about the blazing summer heatwave going around!

Henri Cartier-Bresson:  The Father Of Modern Photo Journalism
Many photographers first pick up a camera and head out to the streets to capture people in their own city. Well before there are studio lights to consider, models to coach, wardrobes and makeup to style, or locations to scout, there is only a photographer and the streets. Henri Cartier-Bresson is perhaps the earliest and most well known street photographer. Born in France in 1908, Henri created "surreal" images that would later become known as a photojournalistic approach to photography. His most well known publication, The Decisive Moment, features historic images from both the East and the West during his coverage of Gandhi's funeral, the end of the Chinese Civil War, and the liberation of Indonesia from the Dutch. In this short documentary, Henri describes his ideas on portraits and photojournalism and how he thinks subjects are best approached. I love the psychology of photography presented in this video; what do you guys think?

One Foxy Advertising Campaign
Over the weekend, one of our readers sent us this amazing behind the scenes video for the bicycle saddle manufacturer Brooks England. The basic concept for the photoshoot was a couple saving a fox from a bunch of hunting hounds while out in the British countryside. Photographer Frank Herholdt and his team had to balance two models, a tamed fox, four hounds, forest smoke, well placed studio strobes, and the natural elements to pull of this classic looking image. This is such a great example of taking your photography to the next level by pushing your concept and focusing on production value rather than just lighting a simple subject correctly. If any of our readers have any opinions on one of these saddles specifically, let us know on our Twitter because I'm in need of a new bike seat myself!

Scarlett Johansson Behind The Scenes With Mango

For the last three years or so, Scarlett Johansson has been the face behind the acclaimed Spanish clothing company Mango. In their latest Spring/Summer 2011 campaign, set in the Goldstein Residence in Beverly Hills, photographer superstar Mario Sorrenti builds his images exclusively with natural light and reflectors. It's hard to imagine a wet haired Johansson ever not looking incredible, so it should not come as a surprise that Mario and company produced...

This Is The Best Timelapse You Will Ever See... This Week
I know that we have shown a lot of timelapses lately but our readers really love them and each month someone seems to raise the bar on quality or creativity. It is now Dominic Boudreault's time in the spotlight with his film "The City Limits". This film has the most amazing cityscapes I have seen to date. Make sure you watch this thing in HD full screen.

A New iPhone Fashion Shoot To Silence The Haters
I released The iPhone Fashion Shoot back in July of 2010 thinking that it would be a fun way to prove a simple point (that people can create compelling images with any camera). I never thought 1, that the video would become so huge and 2, that 50% of everyone who saw it would totally miss the point. Half of the comments made on my video are about my expensive studio lights, professional model, professional hair, makeup, and retouching. People still didn't want to admit that they were capable of taking great shots on whatever gear they had. Still to this day I get emails all the time where people suggest that I do another iPhone Fashion Shoot outside with natural light and without a professional model but I was never interested. I really don't want to become known as the "iPhone photographer" and these videos are a lot of work to produce. Well I just got an email from Pye at SLR Lounge and he did all of the work for me! Pye takes a normal girl outside and uses 2 reflectors to create stunning images... It does not get any more simple than this... The point has now officially been made. No more excuses people.

Some Weddings Require Helicopters And Snow Skis
This video is a bit unusual to say the least. When Anita Nowacka was asked to photograph a wedding on top of a remote part of Telluride, she grabbed her gear, suited up, and jumped into a helicopter. Shooting any wedding can be tough work but I can only imagine the issues Anita faced working in such extreme weather. This video is mostly a promotional video for Black Rapid's camera straps but it's still a fun video to watch especially if you enjoy shooting destination weddings. Check out the final photos over on Anita's Blog; I really love the shot of the musicians on skis as the bride makes her decent to the ceremony.

ROCKSTAR PHOTOGRAPHERS - Anita Nowacka from Mad Pants Productions on Vimeo.

How To Photograph/Film A First Descent
Many photographers claim that they will never shoot a wedding because there is too much pressure. If you miss some of the key moments, you will never get another chance. I agree with this to an extent but at least weddings have hundreds of "moments" over the course of a day. If I miss a couple, it's usually not a big deal. A first descent is another story though. In the video below, Lucas Gilman shows us all of the work that goes into capturing just 5-10 seconds. When it comes to something like this, there is absolutely no room for error.