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Digital Rev

GoPro Angry at DigitalRev Review

Manufacturer of action cameras, GoPro were up in arms yesterday over a review of their equipment on well known photography site DigitalRev. However, it wasn’t the outcome of the review that prompted them to bring in the lawyers and send a DMCA takedown demand, but the site’s use of registered trademarks. GoPro’s lawyers demanded that DigitalRev removed the trademarks ‘GoPro’ and ‘Hero’ from their site. In other words, the review had to go because it used the name of the product…

The DMCA takedown demand refers to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which covers copyright infringements, as oppose to trademark infringements which this case (in GoPro’s own words) was clearly about. However DigitalRev felt they had to comply with the demand as the demand went through DigitalRev’s hosting company, Softlayer.

The DMCA Takedown Demand Sent by GoPro to DigitalRev


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Photographing with Natural Light

Examining How Natural Light Varies Depending On Direction.
Model: Steph
Location: Disused Barn, Glynde (map link)

I’ve worked with Steph a number of times over the past couple of years, and our working portfolios owe a lot to each other. One of us will contact the other with an idea for a shoot and we’ll work together to try and achieve the look we’re after – occasionally we learn something along the way…

This time we wanted to focus on photographing with natural light adding some drama to a bit of urbex location shooting. The sun was shining brightly over Sussex so there was plenty of natural light to work with, and we headed to a disused barn just South of Glynde.

Shot 1 (above) was upstairs in the old cow shed at a South East facing window so the light was entering at an oblique angle to the model. Taking a position to the side of the window, in the beam of light, Steph was lit in quite a dramatic fashion, and by slightly underexposing the image, the amount of light that spilled into room is kept controllable. This highlighted the beam like quality of the sunlight and meant that in places, Steph’s edges could be lost to the background, which we were trying to achieve.

Shot 2 (above) was downstairs at a South facing window, the light was less beam like and was really flooding in. This gives a wraparound effect and with the
white balance upped slightly for warmth, and blacks boosted for contrast, the resulting look is very different to Shot 1. Steph’s outline is much more clearly defined, and has an almost ethereal glow.

Shot 3 (below) is at the same spot, with the same strong natural lighting from the South, but this time adding a small strobe at 1/4 power in a mini beauty dish with a gold reflector for warmth. The light from the strobe obviously stopped Steph appearing as a sihouette, and combined with the sunlight makes it easy to ‘blow out’ areas of the image for a really soft look, whilst keeping definition of other areas, such as the wall textures.

Shot 4 (below). The final shot was at a doorway that faces North. Here the light was more suited to a classic silhouette, as less light was spilling into the barn. Without the strong direct sunlight of the South facing windows, it was easier to isolate Steph against the background with a strong outline. In this case, the image was actually over-exposed to add a little mystery to the outline of the model. It also removed any distracting details that were visible outside.

So that’s a look at how working with the natural ambient light, can change the overall feel of an image quite dramatically. Please feel free to comment, or to add any observations you may have yourself…

Frankie Sandford on Wikipedia

It’s a nice way to make a living, getting paid to do something you really enjoy and I’m sure most photographers feel the same way. They probably also feel the same about the frequent requests that come in asking to use your photographs for free on websites and in other media promising ‘great exposure’ as the reward – but that’s a discussion for another time – and generally expect to get paid. Fair enough, and I’d usually agree, but an exception to that was when I was asked if one of my pictures could be used on Wikipedia.

The picture in question was for the singer Frankie Sandford’s Wikipedia page, and features her on stage with the Saturdays. It’s not going to create any great revenue fro me, and it’s certainly not driving masses of traffic to my website… But sometimes it’s just nice to know that out of all the images of a subject out there, (and assuming they hadn’t been turned down by everyone else) someone chose yours.

Frankie Sandford on Wikipedia. Photography by James Hedley

Love Padlocks on the Pont Des Arts

Love Padlocks on the Pont des Arts, Paris

A recent trip to Paris gave me a chance to check up on the ongoing saga of the love padlocks on the Pont des Arts. Several years ago, couples took to attaching a padlock to the wire frame of the bridge, and tossing the key into the River Seine, all as a symbol of their undying love. The craze has spread with love padlocks appearing in cities all around the world.

Love Padlocks on The Pont des Arts, Paris © James Hedley

Some cities have even erected metal ‘trees’ to encourage couples to leave the padlocks there, rather than attaching them to historical monuments and heritage sites. In 2010, after the Parisian authorities had expressed concerns and threatened to remove the locks, a large number of them disappeared virtually overnight though the authorities denied that it was at their hands.

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How to Create a Custom Icon for iOS Bookmarks

custom icon for bookmarks on an iphone or ipad homescreen

So, you’ve made a great website to show off your photography or artwork, and you want people to revisit the site as often as possible. Ideally they’ll save it as a favourite or a bookmark in their browser and pop by from time to time to check your new content. Chances are, you’ll already have created a favicon for your site as a way of keeping your brand/logo visible in the address of the browser and favourites bar, and this works in a similar way.

For visitors to your site on an iPhone or iPad, they’re faced with the option when saving a URL (in iOS5) to save it to their iOS bookmarks or add the link to the homepage on the device. In iOS6, there are more options to share the link, but the central choice is still ‘add to homepage’. If they choose this option, an icon is created automatically on the device homepage by cropping a small area of the current page and then they can choose their own name for the new bookmark.

If you’re forward thinking enough to have created your own app then you’ll already have created a custom icon for the homepage of the various iOS devices, but to get that professional look of an app in only a few minutes, follow these simple instructions:

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Rene Campbell – Champion Female Bodybuilder

Well known to those in the bodybuilding world, Rene Campbell was the 2011 UKBFF British Finals Champion, and in 2012 she’s progressed even further from a 3rd place in the IFBB European Championships, she ended with year with a fantastic 1st place in the IFBB World Championships. So it’s into the pro bodybuilding world for Rene… and on to world domination.

Rene Campbell naked sitting on a tree branch

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Light Meters – An Introduction

Despite many of today’s photographers never having used one, and most likely feeling they’ve no need for one with all the technology packed in to modern cameras, there are still plenty of reasons to look at investing in a handheld light meter. So what do they do? Well whilst the advances within the cameras themselves continue to develop in leaps and bounds, the basic premise of the light meter’s workings stay essentially the same – to measure the light in a scene to guide you when setting the camera for the image you want. Generally, you pick the ISO you’re shooting at, and depending on the individual meter, it will show you the corresponding shutter speeds across the range of aperture settings, that will result in a balanced exposure.

There are 2 kinds of light meter; Reflective and Incedent. Reflective meters are the type that you usually find in your camera, light from the scene is reflected into the meter and exposure values calculated from that – whereas Incedent meters are the type you would see the photographer holding near the model measuring the light directly from within the scene. Incedent meters will give a nice accurate reading as you can take precise readings from a number of areas within the frame, but there are inherent problems in using one in the field. As you want to get as close to your subject as possible with an incedent meter, for landscape and wildlife photographers the problems are obvious.

So why would you want one? Let’s face it, you probably don’t need one, your new camera lets you point it at any given scene and in full auto mode it takes a perfectly usable image. When shooting manual the in-camera meter readings are fast and reliable – you can even change between spot metering and full frame average metering depending on the situation, so you’ve got along just fine without one so far. Assuming then that your interest is piqued and you either want to revisit the old days, or just look into your first purchase, what should you look for in a handheld light meter? Whether to choose Reflective or Incedent will be completely down to personal choice but plenty of the modern digital light meters perform both functions such as the Sekonic L-308S Flashmate light meter at around £139 (pictured above).

If you decide to go for something a little older, you can find good examples for between £10 & £20 on ebay. My own light meter of choice is also a Sekonic – a model that stopped production around 1978, but needs no batteries, has no on/off switch and is incredibly easy to use (see picture below).

So don’t be afraid of digging around car boot sales, as the old models perform the task in a beautifully simple fashion and whilst buying a light meter may not turn you into a pro overnight, hopefully this serves as a very brief introduction to a piece of equipment that previously have seen a bit daunting. Besides… as a photographer, you’re always looking at scenes in your everyday life and thinking, “that’s a 125th of a second at f/2.8 if I push it up to ISO800” and being able to refer to that little light meter you’ve taken to carrying around with you will let you know if you’re right… or is that just me?

Stuff Magazine – The Gadget Awards

Last month saw the world’s best selling gadget magazine – Stuff – host it’s annual gadget awards ceremony for 2011 at the Globe Theatre in London, and I was lucky enough to be there as a guest of camera manufacturer Canon. This was partly to enjoy the evening (with entertainment provided by Angelos Epithemiou) but also to test drive their new compact camera, the Ixus 220 HS in the tricky low light environment around the ceremony dinner.

The camera itself is extremely compact and nice in the hand and not too slippy for such a sleek body, start-up time is quick and AF is nippy enough for this price bracket and it has all the features you’d expect:

12.1-megapixel sensor
HDMI output
Full-HD video capture
Stainless steel body
5x optical zoom
Equivalent focal length of 24-120mm
Image Stabilisation

What the Ixus 220 HS does have that makes it a bit more fun to use is a number of preset shooting modes that reflect modern trends for image making. There is a ‘Toy Camera’ setting which will produce saturated, vignetted images akin to a Lomo – a trend boosted by a number of smartphone apps that do similar things such as Instagram and Hipstamatic. It also features a  ‘Tilt-Shift’ preset which will imitate a proper tilt-shift lens with pretty effective results, giving you the miniaturised look without the usual effort. The other presets are perhaps less impressive but they include a ‘Fish-Eye’ setting, ‘Monochrome’, ‘Colour Accent’, ‘Colour Swap’, ‘Poster’ and ‘Super Vivid’. The colour swap feature is worth a mention thoug h despite being a little gimmicky, it is clever. The other presets are things you’re more likely to want to do in your post-processing software if you have any rather than let the camera decide.

Elsewhere, there are a nice number of options available for those that like to take more control. You can alter a series of options using Program mode, including: drive mode, metering, colour, white balance, ISO and self timer, which again, is pretty impressive in a budget compact and sets it aside from some of its rivals.
As for the video, there are 2 tiny microphones on the front of the camera which allow it to record a decent stereo soundtrack over its HD video, but the microphones are easily covered by stray fingers so you’d need to be aware of that whilst filming.

 

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One the reasons for testing the Ixus 220 HS here, was to highlight Canon’s HS system which combines the DIGIC 4 image processor with a new high-sensitivity sensor. This sensor incorporates back-illuminated architecture which lowers noise levels by up to 60% at all ISO speeds, allowing you to capture high quality photos even in low light. It may not have the low light performance of something like a Canon 5DmkII but it’s handy in a compact to be able take shots in circumstances where the flash would either spoil the atmosphere or simply be unwelcome. Shots up to 1600 were perfectly usable without undue noise.
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As for the rest of the evening, the food and entertainment were excellent, and though the atmosphere got steadily more tense as it came time to announce the winners it was all in good spirits. Most nominees had representatives there (apart from Apple) and with Angelos staying on stage to ‘help’ with the presentations after his routine, he made sure proceedings didn’t get too serious. Altogether the night was a lot of fun, and thanks to Stuff magazine for making it all possible and thanks to Canon UK for the invitation.

To read more about the event and see more of the images taken on the night, check out the January 2012 issue of Stuff Magazine, and possibly pick up a couple of Christmas gift ideas while you’re at it.

 

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Ophelia Fancy New Lingerie Range

Brighton girls Stevi & Emma founded Ophelia Fancy back in 2005 and have successfully decked out the most extraordinary client list with their bespoke and inspired revivalist collections. Undoubtedly 2011 will witness this cult lingerie brand push their creative boundaries to the limit, with a year rammed with as many limited edition uniforms, boudoir lingerie and accessories as possible. this was the launch of their newest range…

 

Backstage at Brighton Fashion Week

With an Access All Areas pass to Brighton Fashion Week, it was possible to capture the two very different stories playing out simultaneously, both on the catwalk, and amidst the backstage chaos. Behind the scenes there were dozens of make-up artists, and hair stylists working in a flurry to keep the models working to the tight schedule. Front of house, everything appeared to run smoothly giving no hint of the manic goings on hidden from view.

shoes on the catwalk at Brighton fashion week

Sophie Ellis-Bextor in Brighton

 

It wasn’t quite murder on the dancefloor, but it did get pretty hot in there for a bit as Sophie Ellis-Bextor did her thing at Concorde 2 in Brighton.

No harm done though, and 2010 comes to a very satisfactory end. Looking forward to 2011 and hoping things continue to grow as they have done over the last 18 months.

James Hedley and former Spice Girl Mel C

Spicing Things Up…

 

Whilst former Spice Girl Mel C. was the perfect subject as she posed for a portrait, you couldn’t help thinking she’d been in front of the camera once or twice before. How do you go about taking the picture of one of the most photographed faces of recent times…?

Mel was with us in Brighton to support a band that feature a friend of her racing driver brother’s, so it made sense to grab some shots while she had a few minutes spare, and she was happy to oblige. We then sat back to watch an energetic set by Californian based rockers We Are Scientists.