Thursday, August 24, 2023

My Worst Trip Ever

Establishing shot in Windhoek

In this issue:

  • Announcements
  • Next Time in Cameracraft Magazine
  • My Worst Trip Ever

  • Sony A6700 Ebook is just a couple of weeks away from being completed!  You can pre-order your copy at a discount before it's released.  It will be available in all the usual formats.
  • Version 2.0 of the Friedman Archives Seminars will be hitting the road soon.  (More details next month.  Let me know if your local photo club would like to bring me over at no cost!)
  • Wanna use your camera on an African Safari?  I'm currently looking into arranging a photo safari for November 2024.  Come give your high-end equipment something to do and shoot with me!  (Email me for more info... Gary at Friedman Archives dot com.)

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Full-Frame vs. Smartphone (don't laugh...)

Probably my most influential blog post in the last 18 years - the one where I got the most number of people to re-examine long-held beliefs about what they thought was true - was the "Full Frame vs. Small Sensor (don't laugh)" post from 2017, where I pitted my 42 megapixel Sony A99 II against the tiny 20 MP RX100 V point-and-shoot.  When enlarged to poster size and scrutinized, nobody could tell which camera took which image.  

I was reminded of that when I started putting my new smartphone, a Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, through its paces.  This phone's two claims to fame are optical zooms on two of its lenses, and a whopping 200MP sensor on a third.  Check out these shots of the replica of the Mayflower ship taken at 200 MP resolution from far away (as always, click on any image to view larger and sharper):

And the 100% crop of the above:

Yowza!  That's pretty incredible for a phone.  I wonder what the quality difference would be if I pitted this new engineering marvel against my other engineering marvel, the Sony A7R V?

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

The *NEW* New Studio

A good start.
Our Story So Far

It seems like only eighteen months ago when I finished the new studio in our new townhouse and was cranking out content.  Since then we moved to a new house and we started finishing the basement again.  This time we set aside space for the grandkids to hang out in, and used the rest of the space for a craft area for Carol and a functioning studio for me.  In this case "functioning studio" meant "Lots of open space".  

Below is my first project done in the studio.  I wanted to make a youtube video aimed at beginning photography students who are learning how to use film (*).  Here I walk through how to use the classic Minolta SR-T series cameras:

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Minolta's Full Circle

This story has many beginnings…   (Click on any image to view larger and sharper.)

Phil Bradon taught me how to get this
result using only ONE flash and one reflector! 

Beginning #1 Back in the late 1980's, I was an avid Minolta shooter. And every Minolta shooter in the U.S. who ever called their tech support line in Ramsey, New Jersey would end up talking to Phil Bradon, the guy who showed the world how customer service should be done. Unlike all the sales and marketing guys there, Phil loved photography and he truly loved the Minolta products. He even spent four years in Japan working alongside the engineering teams. He built prototypes of vertical grips and battery adapters in his home. You get the idea. I learned everything I know about wireless flash from Phil. Generously spending hours on the phone with me, he’d patiently explain the communication protocol and even walked me through how to get ratio lighting AND a hair light using just one flash and a reflector. 

We all know what happened to Minolta. The story was they hemorrhaged money because of a lawsuit with Honeywell Corp. regarding autofocus patents. I shared this story in the book I wrote about the Konica Minolta 7D camera. 

Beginning #2
Back in the early days of the internet, Yahoo! was a thing, and Yahoo!Groups usurped Usenet as the premiere online discussion platform for normal people (as opposed to the Geeks and the Nerds who made up the entirety of Usenet). I was mildly active in the Minolta forum, and I suggested we all send a group “Thank You” to Phil Bradon for his stellar level of customer support. I created a framed award and sent it to him, signed by the most active members of the group. Phil later told me that he’s only received two awards in his life; this was one of them. It graced his office wall until Sony bought Minolta, at which time Phil left. 

Sunday, April 2, 2023

How to Create Time Lapse Videos with Pan and Zoom

In This Issue:

  • How to create Time Lapse videos with Pan and Zoom
  • 20-second Photoshop Tips
  • Shooting in Cold Temperatures
  • The Usual Announcements
  • A new Zoom lecture for Photo Clubs

How to create Time Lapse Videos with Pan and Zoom

Have a look at the time lapse video below:

Time lapse videos like this are produced by placing your camera on a tripod, taking a series of pictures at regular intervals (in this case 217 images taken every 10 seconds), and then turning those single images into a movie using video editing software later on.  But notice that in this brief clip, the camera is panning left-to-right.  That usually requires an expensive motion control rig that I don't own.  So how was it done?

The ability to pan after-the-fact in a video like this is possible thanks to the relatively small size of video files compared to the large number of megapixels modern cameras can capture.  For example, in the illustration below, the green square represents the image size in pixels of the Sony A7R V, where the pink square represents the size in pixels of an HD video:

Saturday, April 1, 2023

My Short-Lived Acting Career


Once upon a time, in my youth, I was a magician.  Hold onto that factoid for a moment.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

10 Things you Can't Do with a Smartphone

This was the final image seen in the movie, "The Shining".  It was taken with something called a Banquet Camera.  Read on for why I'm even showing this to you.

Also in this Issue:

  • 10 Things You Can't Do with a Smartphone
  • Sony A7R V - Little-Discussed Features of Note (youtube video)
  • Announcements / Next Time in Cameracraft Magazine
  • Adding Detail to Old Photos

10 Things You Can’t Do with a Smartphone

Smartphones are taking over, and the gap in image quality continues to shrink.  (See my lecture about Computational Photography given to the Royal Photographic Society for more on this topic.)  But there are still areas where the big cameras are essential.  Below is a short list (click on any image to view larger and sharper):

1.  Olympic Sports / Nature Photography / Horseback Riding

This is the first example most people think of.  Anything requiring a telephoto lens and subject tracking will remain the domain of mirrorless cameras (and to some extent DSLRs, although the mirrorless camera bodies have eclipsed the DSLR's legendary tracking abilities).

Monday, February 27, 2023

AI - Why Humans will Need a Label

In This Edition:

  • Can ChatGPT write code?
  • Humans need a Label

Can ChatGPT write code?

Continuing on last month's sermon about these new "AI" machine learning tools used to generate images, I also thought I'd give ChatGPT a chance to help me with a programming need.  I had a folder with 500 images in it of various sizes and formats, and wanted to shrink just some of them and save them to a different directory using the original file type.  You can't use Photoshop actions for this because it lacks the ability to do an "IF - THEN".

So I asked this question of ChatGPT and my jaw dropped when I saw its response: 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

AI: The Alarmists are Worried about the Wrong Thing

AI-generated imagery from the series "Poverty's Got Talent" by Lulian Barbulescu

(Click on any image to view larger and sharper.)

Last month I took a deep dive into the emerging field of AI Image Generation tools like Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, and DALL-E 2 for an article in Cameracraft Magazine.  (Here's a downloadable copy of that issue.  You're welcome. :-) )  At the end of the article I concluded that these tools are in their infancy, and the following things need to be fixed before they can be truly useful: 

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

How to shoot Milky Way Nighttime Landscapes

In this Issue

  • How to Shoot Milky Way Nighttime Landscapes
  • New Product Announcements (Fujifilm X-H2, Best of Blog 4)
  • In the Pipeline (Fujfilm X-T5, Sony A7R V)
  • Noteworthy Factoids about the A7R V
  • Three fascinating Cameracraft articles
    • The photographer who Ansel Adams referred to as "The anti-Christ"
    • AI Image Generators - what they may mean for society
    • A portrait of Michael Colin Campbell - Kodak color chemistry pioneer

How to Shoot Milky Way Nighttime Landscapes

The Friedman Archives welcomes guest blogger Erik Quimby to explain how he gets these incredible Milky Way images.  (Spoiler alert: you can get results like this too!)

Taking amazing Milky Way photos is not very difficult if the right preparations have been made. Location, time of the year, day of the month, and gear selection call all make or break a great Milky Way shot.  (Click on any image to make it larger and sharper.)

There are several websites, and, and apps, PhotoPills and DarkSky for IOS [Editor's note: DarkSky for iOS will no longer be available after 12/31/22]  that will give you dark sky / light pollution information for a specific location. After choosing a good dark sky location with a clear view of the Southern sky (for Northern hemisphere), now it’s time to plan when to go. The 2 to 3 days before, during, and after the new moon are the best times of the month. March to October (again for Northern hemisphere) are the best months to plan the shot.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

The Shrinking Market for Photographers...

These AI-generated images were created by feeding a textural description into a program called Midjourney v4.  They were posted to Facebook's AI Art Universe page by Giuliano Golfieri.

In this issue:

  • The Shrinking Market for Photographers
  • In the Pipeline
  • Tethering to your Laptop via your phone's Wi-Fi hot spot
  • RV Life / Our New Home

The Shrinking Market for Photographers...

When you're a work-for-hire photographer and you move to a new city, you have to establish your client base all over again.  But things are different now - in the age of smartphones, everyone's a photographer.  In fact, photographers are slowly suffering the same kind of career fate as audiologists (the ones that outfit you for expensive hearing aids, which are becoming more affordable thanks to the self-testing possible with bluetooth-enabled smartphones) or a Knocker-Upper.  (And don't get me started about the new wave of AI-generated photo-realistic images which are amazing but will no doubt put a lot of photo illustrators out of work.)

So where is the market for the skills the traditional photographer brings to the table?  Let me rank what the most common options used to be.  Many of these insights come from personal experience and also many interviews of photographers for Cameracraft magazine over the years: