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Stories by Alex Wild

Daguerre's Daguerreotype

An image of an inventor, captured with his own invention:Louis Daguerre, a pioneer in photographic chemistry, would have been 224 years old today.Not as though he would have lived anywhere near that long...

November 18, 2011 — Alex Wild

Smoke photographs better with backlighting

Earlier this year I needed an image of a working bee smoker*. But standard ambient light produced a rather flat image:What to do? I hid a Canon 430EX speedlight out of view behind the smoker, and when it fired the smoke came alive:Light does interesting things to smoke...

November 16, 2011 — Alex Wild

How to not get trampled by an angry elephant

What sort of nature photographer lies down in front of an enraged bull elephant?How about the little remote-control kind? Meet BeetleCam:Wildlife photographers Will and Matt Burrard-Lucas modified an RC car by beefing up the motor to support a Canon 400D camera and flash units...

November 14, 2011 — Alex Wild

The Money Shot

Sold at auction yesterday for $4.3 million, the most expensive photograph in the world:I have no further comment.[h/t Adrian Thysse]

November 10, 2011 — Alex Wild

What Good Is The Lytro Light-Field Camera?

I've been trying, unsuccessfully, to get my hands on a demo model of Lytro's new and purportedly revolutionary light-field camera. This is a camera whose sensor records the direction of incoming light in addition to its intensity and color, allowing the camera to "see" over a broad focal depth...

November 6, 2011 — Alex Wild

Fill Flash Balances Foreground with Backdrop

Here's a simple image of a bug on a branch:Appearances aside, producing this image was technically more challenging than my usual fare. Both the sky and the insect are properly exposed, meaning I essentially had to plan and meter for two photographs in one exposure.Consider the scene with only natural sunlight and the camera metered for the sky:To correct for the dark, underexposed bug I added foreground light in the form of a diffused radio-triggered flash...

November 5, 2011 — Alex Wild

The Amazing Space Photos of Ron Garan

So I'm browsing my photography feed on Google+. There are the usual charming street photos, some gorgeous birds, plenty of bugs on flowers. A sunset or two.Then, unexpectedly, a moonrise from somewhere high above the earth...

October 22, 2011 — Alex Wild

Thrifty Thursday: Army Ants Filmed on a Budget

Thrifty Thursdays feature photographs movies taken with equipment costing less than $500. [Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 - $241; Glidetrack shooter - $276]I often fill the Thrifty Thursday slot with still photographs from my trusty Panasonic digicam...

October 20, 2011 — Alex Wild

Is Google+ better for photographers?

I've been playing with Google+ the past couple weeks, and my conclusion is this: Yes. If photographers had to chose between sharing images on Google, Facebook, or Twitter, Google is the standout.Two aspects of Google's new social media network improve on the earlier sites, at least from the perspective of image-sharing: Most importantly, images look fantastic...

October 16, 2011 — Alex Wild

Thrifty Thursday: A Herd of Hoppers

Thrifty Thursdays feature photographs taken with equipment costing less than $500. [Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 - $241]A prairie ant ( Formica montana ) tends treehoppers ( Publilia sp.) for honeydew on the back of a sun-soaked leaf...

October 13, 2011 — Alex Wild

Simplicity = Winning in Nikon's Small World

[black & white modification from the original image by Andrew Gillis]I've been attempting, perhaps unwisely, to reverse-engineer the judging of Nikon's famous Small World competition...

October 10, 2011 — Alex Wild

Thrifty Thursday- Autumn in Two Dimensions

Thrifty Thursdays feature photographs taken with equipment costing less than $500. [HP deskjet F4280 printer/scanner - $150]Central Illinois is reaching peak color, and I've placed it on a flatbed scanner...

October 6, 2011 — Alex Wild

Nikon Announces Winners of 2011 Small World Competition

While science journalists' attention remains focused on the Nobel prizes, another set of awards- rather diminutive in scope- were also released this morning.Nikon has announced the 2011 winners of its prestigious Small World Photomicrography Competition...

October 4, 2011 — Alex Wild

Great Images In NASA

I often surf by NASA's website for the Image of the Day, but NASA's site holds an inexhaustible supply of imagery. One of my favorite sections is their historical collection, Great Images In NASA: is a taxpayer-supported agency, so these images appropriately have been placed in the public domain...

September 30, 2011 — Alex Wild

Thrifty Thursday: Freeze the action for under $500

Thrifty Thursdays feature photographs taken with equipment costing less than $500. [Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 - $241; Canon 430EX II speedlight - $208; Jasmine the Cat - priceless]I wouldn't ordinarily attempt this kind of precision shot with a cheap automatic camera...

September 29, 2011 — Alex Wild

Lighting a landscape photograph, pre-photoshop

And now, a photograph I took at a local park:Prairie is a visually subtle biome and, in my experience, one of the most difficult to photograph. It is at once both plain- a flat horizon with few salient landmarks- and hopelessly busy, packed with intricate textures...

September 28, 2011 — Alex Wild
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