The Gorillapod by Joby

Want to be the coolest photographer in your group? Then what you need to add to your camera bag of goodies is the Gorillapod!

The Joby Gorillapod firmly secures your camera to just about anything — anywhere and everywhere! Unlike traditional tripods, Gorillapods do not require a level or elevated surface for you to take the perfect shot. Each Gorillapod is made up of 30 or more fully articulating ball-and-socket joints. You can bend and twist them into any shape, and they'll always keep your camera steady! Soft rings and rubberized feet prevent your Gorillapod from slipping in even the toughest environments.


Still want to know more? Check out these websites for Gorillapod reviews:

DigitalCameraReview.com: "The tripod is essentially made of a bunch of 'ball and socket' joints so that the legs can be bent to whatever shape you need. The tips of the legs are almost entirely covered with rubber for grippiness. The rest of the ball joints have rings of rubber to grip whatever they're wrapped around."

YankoDesign.com: "The Gorillapod is about portability with the added advantage of getting you those unique shots that will have people wondering how you got it - say those two squirrels hanging out in the tree, or that beetle busily working away in the morning dew."

Geek.com: "The average tripod may not be very heavy, but it won’t fit in a typical bag and you need a lot of room to get it fully set up. Combine all of these factors and you find that people don’t use tripods unless they have to, and their pictures suffer as a result. Joby’s Gorillapod is a possible solution to this."


The Results Are In!! (Part I)

Earlier in the semester, over 30 students from the Topeka West art department entered their work to the 2009 Scholastic's Art & Writing Awards. The results from the competition were posted online yesterday and I am very pleased with the outcome!!

If a student's art work is accepted into the show it is awarded in one of four categories: a Gold Key award (top honors and the piece is sent on to be juried for the National Scholastic's Art & Writing Awards!), a Silver Key, Honorable Mention, or Entrant.

Topeka West photography students were awarded:

Kelli McGuire - Photography portfolio
Andrew Martin - Digital photography

Elizabeth Akins - Analog photography
Andrew Martin - Digital photography

Emily Park - Digital photography

Elizabeth Akins - Analog photography
Emily Park - Digital photography

A huge congratulations to these students and a sincere thank you to all of the students who used their time outside of the school day to prepare their work for this competition!

I will be traveling with a group of students to the Gold Key Ceremony held at the Wichita Center for the Arts on February 7th. I will have photos to post of the show once we return!


Painting with Light

This past week Photography 1 students learned about shutter speeds; when to work with fast shutter speeds and what kinds of effects are achieved with slower speeds. So I thought I would share a video and a few amazing pieces by photographers who work with extraordinarily long exposures. (I also thought this would be a good post for advanced photography students since one of their projects for the semester is titled Low Light.)

From NPR.org: "Watch artists Michelle McSwain and Ryan Warnberg, collectively known as MRI, demonstrate how to paint with light. Vision expert Stephen Macknik, of the Barrow Neurological Institute, explains what the images teach us about the human visual system."

To see more of MRI's work check out their Flickr photostream.


Many other photographers experiment with low light, or painting with light, photography and showcase their images online. Here are four artists whose images I found particularly interesting:

No. 54, Nacional Los Glaciares, Provincia Santa Cruz, Argentina 2007
Cenci Goepel and Jens Warnecke
Website: Lightmark

Nebulous In Blue
Toby Keller
Website: BURNBLUE Photography & Design

Steve's Rock, Olmsted Point
Susanne Friedrich
Website: Susanne Friedrich Photography

To read some tips on night/low light photography check out this page on photokaboom.com. Please feel free to email your results and I will post them to the blog!


Mr. Obama Goes to Washington

What a day! What a speech!!

(Do you think there were enough photographers?)

There probably wasn't a minute that went by that some aspect of President Obama's day wasn't photographed. Browsing through the photographic record of today's events online is overwhelming! Hundreds of images I have poured through so far. But is wasn't always like this.

I overheard on the radio this morning that the first presidential inauguration captured on film was President Buchanan's in 1857. I verified that this morning before classes by googling the image and found an interesting page about the history of the inauguration.

Late last year I shared with all of you a new photo application created by Microsoft in a post titled "Let's Get SYNTHY!!". I noticed while browsing around the news sites today that they are starting to use this incredible software! Take a look at several photosynths taken before and during the inauguration at MSNBC.com.


Polaroid for the 21st Century

For those of you who still remember having their picture taken with a Polaroid camera, sadly that is no longer possible. As of December 31, 2008 Polaroid stopped producing it's instant film. Any remaining film supplies are expected to dry up sometime this year.

Polaroid instant photography has been a part of the world culture for over 60 years. Grade schools used Polaroids to take photos of students for display boards, Andy Warhol used Polaroid images before making his famous prints, and Polaroid film has been used for decades by professional photographers for "proof printing" before shooting with film. As Polaroid film slowly fades away...an era comes to an end.

But not completely to an end. Introducing Poladroid!! An application created by Paul Ladroid that works for both Macs and Windows. Drag and drop your favorite digital images onto the Poladroid camera and watch them come to life as a Poladroid picture! And it's completely free! Watch a demo of how the application works:

As soon as I watched the demo I immediately downloaded and installed the Poladroid application and began playing with a few of my digital images. Here are some of the results:

What a fun way to keep the "idea" of Polaroid alive for younger generations! And did I mention that it is free? Download the application here and be sure to share a Poladroid with friends!!


Re-examining our ABC's

Most times art/photography is taken much too literally. Thankfully, there are websites that push the boundaries of interpretation. One of those sites, which I thankfully stumbled upon, is the photographic dictionary.

"the photographic dictionary is dedicated to defining words through the literal, figurative, and personal meanings found in each photograph."

For example:

a is for ascent

b is for book

and c is for crucifix

There are many more wonderful images to browse through, letter by letter. Each image is attached to the artist's word that they have chosen. The site is very streamlined and browsing through all of the words is quite calming in an odd sort of way.

Feel like submitting your own word along with a pictorial definition? The site is still accepting submissions.


One Year in 40 Seconds...

As photographers (or photography enthusiasts) we take photos all the time...special occasions, class room assignments, or just for personal pleasure. I've read about photographers who have attempted to take a photograph (anywhere, of anything) from several months to a full year. A project like this would have to take extreme diligence, to say the least.

Photographer Eirik Solheim has taken on such a project but not only has he taken a photograph every day for a full year he photographed the same exact location! Obviously, this would take some planning. Watch the video below to see how the landscape changes in a year (in only 40 seconds!):

One year in 40 seconds from Eirik Solheim on Vimeo.

To see (and read) how Eirik created this unique video (using literally hundreds of still images) take a look at his website.

"The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves."
Carl Gustav Jung


Happy New Year!!

Let's not forget 2008 just yet. Take a few minutes and remember some very important events in the past year by browsing through the New York Times' The Year in Pictures.