Category Archives: Photography

Creating Stills from Video with the Canon 5D Mark III

Posted by on March 15th, 2013

5d mark III stills from video (1 of 1)

There’s been a lot of buzz about motion image photography specifically surrounding super high resolution cameras like the Canon 1D C. With the advent of cameras that shoot video at resolutions higher than standard HD, it is now possible to pull still images directly from video with surprising results.

I’ve been shooting with a Canon 5D Mark III for about a month now, and I decided to go back and pluck some still shots from my video using the “capture frame” feature in Adobe Lightroom 4. I’ve posted a series of images here showing both edited and unedited stills. All the following images were uploaded in their full resolution to give you a more accurate picture of what to expect. Click on the photos to view them at 100%.  Continue reading

How-to: Colorizing Old Photos in Lightroom 4

Posted by on March 7th, 2013

Theodore Roosevelt in ColorLately I’ve been really impressed by the work of Sanna Dullaway who is taking iconic photos from the early days of photography and bringing them vividly to life through colorization. You can see some of Sanna’s best work in this gallery. I love this approach not only to updating old photos but also for adding a vintage look to modern photos.

In fact, I used this technique to process the photo I’m currently using as a profile picture. Achieving the effect takes a little time but is fairly simple. First I desaturated the RAW file and then colored in the photo just like I would with a photo that was originally taken in black and white.

I’ve made a quick screencast of the process using a photo of Theodore Roosevelt. The whole thing clocks in around 11 minutes and breaks down the process step-by-step. The actual colorization of the Roosevelt photo took me around an hour.

How a smartphone made me a better photographer

Posted by on March 4th, 2013

Google Nexus 4 Sample Photos-7

A few months ago I bought Google’s Nexus 4 smartphone. Since then, I’ve found myself picking it up more often than my DSLRs and I can honestly say it has made me a better photographer. True, the image quality doesn’t hold a candle to a camera like Canon’s 5D Mark III and the sensor noise is often downright ugly, but there is something very freeing about shooting with a smartphone that has changed the way I work. Continue reading

Hello New Friend Goodbye Old Friend

Posted by on August 21st, 2012

First, some very sad news. My B+W circular polarizer has taken a trip to filter heaven. I’d like to tell you it died protecting my lens from a motorcycle crash or falling on jagged rocks during a mountain climb, but the sad truth is that it met its end falling two feet off of my bed. Continue reading

I don't have a photography degree. Clearly I have no idea what I'm doing. Photo by Ben Ayers

Should I Get a Photography Degree?

Posted by on August 18th, 2012

I don’t have a photography degree. Clearly I have no idea what I’m doing. Photo by Ben Ayers

Okay, you are considering a career in photography and want to know if you need a college degree. Before you are up to your eyeballs in art school debt, I hope you will at least consider this advice — go to college but major in something else. And I would give the same advice to anyone considering a degree in journalism. Continue reading

Dirtbiking in the Andes near Cusco (6 of 9)

On Assignment: Posts from a Motorcycle

Posted by on August 16th, 2012

I’m hitting a super busy season here in Peru. As my time in Cusco comes to an end (We are heading for Chile on August 31) I’m wrapping up assignments for four different non-profits/travel companies. Getting everything done is a little stressful but mostly a lot of fun and I’m glad my time in Peru is ending on a high note. Continue reading


August Wallpaper and Cover Photo

Posted by on August 12th, 2012

This month’s wallpaper and cover photo come from a lake high above the city of Cusco in Peru. Click on the photos to open a full resolution version, then right click and select “save as.”

About the image: This photo was taken on a Canon 40D with a 10-22mm lens at  21mm. My exposure time was 1/250th of a second with an apature of f8.0 and an ISO of 400. I used Lightroom’s graduated filter feature to darken down the sky and add color.

Catching up on Peruvian Photos

Posted by on August 10th, 2012

Time is flying down here in Peru. Between making movies and talking to some cool storytellers, I realized I haven’t done a post of my photography since Machu Picchu — that changes now. I’m collecting the best shots from July-August and posting them here.

The photos in the slideshow come from a week of exploring the historic sites around Cusco, a crazy fiesta I shot for a client, and a recent trip to weaving communities with an NGO.

Looking back on these photos it’s amazing to see how many adventures I’ve had recently. I guess when you live overseas, extraordinary things start to seem mundane. I wonder if returning to the States in September will feel like I’m visiting a new country. Honestly I’m kind of excited to see my old haunts with fresh eyes.

Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow. 



Photography and the post-scarcity economy

Posted by on August 2nd, 2012

Photographs themselves are not scarce commodities. Style and knowledge are.

Recently, I’ve been watching a lot of videos on 3D printers like the RepRap and Maker Bot. I think the applications for photography and multimedia are huge. Imagine printing follow focuses or even lens adaptors right from home.

We are quickly approaching what some economists and science-fiction writers call the “post-scarcity economy.” A world where manufacturing becomes personal and abundance universal. A world where commerce is not determined by the value of limited goods but by the creativity of individuals.

Some people look forward to this type of economy and others fear it (what happens to gun control when you can print weapons at home?), but photographers are already living in it. In fact, we have been living in it for quite some time.

Two things pushed us into the post-scarcity economy; the first was digitization. In the “old days” you took a photo, developed a negative, and then printed a picture. There were a finite number of your photos in existence. Today, your photos are replicated time and again on your personal computer alone. Put those photos online or send them to a client and the number of copies grows exponentially. Continue reading


Get Cusco Seen Around the World

Posted by on July 31st, 2012

You may remember the above photo as a wallpaper I posted a few months ago. Well now it is in a photo competition and I need your votes to help me win $5000 towards a video project about photographing America’s great landscapes. You can vote for me here. 

Alternatively, if you are an awesome photographer, musician, or film maker, you should submit something. If you do submit, leave a link in the comments and I’ll vote for you.

Update: I was asked by someone interested in this photo to provide the original frames used to create this HDR. You can see them below as they appeared straight out of camera without processing.


July Wallpaper and Cover Photo

Posted by on July 24th, 2012

My free monthly wallpaper for July is a shot of sunrise at Machu Picchu in Peru. Click on either image to open a full resolution version.

About the image: This photo was shot on my Canon 40D with my 10-22mm lens at 11mm. I exposed the sensor for 1/60th of a second at f/11 with an ISO of 400. I then imported the photo into Lightroom where I used selective adjustments to compress this high-contrast scene.