One of the most amazing camera shops in all of the world is London’s Grays of Westminster. The place is absolutely iconic—it has its own coat of arms for crying out loud! It also houses one of the most incredible collections of rare Nikon gear in the world. Now you get to see it up close.
On a recent trip to London, photographer Matt Granger popped in to see the store and somehow managed to turn his impromptu video into a 35 minute tour during which he got to hold some of the rarest Nikon gear in existence, meet founder Gray Levett himself, and just generally geek out.
This trip was totally unscheduled, which makes it all the more incredible that the Grays staff broke out all of this incredible gear for him to look at, try out, and touch.
If you love old camera gear—whether or not you’re a Nikon guy—this tour and his conversation with Levett will transport you to photo nerd heaven… if only for a moment. Check out the full tour up top and let us know which bit of gear shown is your personal favorite in the comments.
If you’ve ever dreamed of spending even just 15 minutes floating around the International Space Station—of staring out at Earth through the Cupola with a DSLR in your hand—then NASA’s got a Holiday season treat for you.
The space agency has produced a soothing, 18 minute fly through of the space station in breathtaking 4K for NASA TV UHD.
You start and end the tour staring out of the famous cupola, flying through the station’s many passageways and labs in between and experiencing what it’s like to be an astronaut moving through the ISS from module to module. And yes, if you watch closely, you’ll see some of the copious amounts of camera equipment the astronauts use (look left around 13:33).
Media artist JT Singh a new video titled, Shanghai Forever. The 3-minute video is a hyperlapse journey through Shanghai’s residential areas, and the creative transitions between shots transport you from place to place in unexpected ways.
The project turns the viewer’s gaze away from Shanghai’s ultra-modern districts and their 4,000 skyscrapers and to quiet areas where residents enjoy a simpler way of life.
“With Shanghai Forever I wanted to focus on something I’ve always experienced during exploring cities,” Singh tells PetaPixel, “especially within the older parts of the city, which are those micro moments that make you suddenly smile or see something so interesting that you keep staring.”
Singh also spent a great deal of time in planning and preparation, opting for cohesion rather than randomness.
“Transitional storyboarding is important to me. I’ve never been a fan of videos that just cut to different scenes without any connective tissues,” he says. “For this video I think I tried to push it with creative transitions, which always a lot more creative effort.”
“Essentially it’s about experimenting and meticulously ensuring that every scene has a creative function, and an emotional purpose and a point within the cohesive whole,” he continues. “If it doesn’t, then cut it out, no matter how cool the footage is.”
I’ve been touring with bands for about 4 years now, and my workflow has changed nearly every tour, allowing me to spend less and less time editing, and ending up with an organized, easy to manage body of work after each tour is done. I think this is crucial to not only the quality of work you can put out on tour, but also your sanity.
My workflow as it is currently allows me to deliver 50-150 edited photos per day, delivered to my band and crew, in under an hour. Before anyone goes to bed I want them to have photos in their Dropbox. The more time that’s taken out of my day to deal with my workflow is less time I have to shoot, relax, or work on other things.
I have heard of multiple photographers being fired from tour gigs because artists either never see photos, or they take way too long to deliver them. 99% of tour photos have a 24-hour lifespan. A photo from last night’s show is relevant, a photo from 3 shows ago really isn’t.
Dropbox (or another cloud storage system for delivery
Setting Up File Structures
Create a parent folder for the tour, and then sub-folders for each date. Here’s an example below.
You can leave the sub-folders empty for now, folders will be created within them daily. I like to use the yyyy-mm-dd date format personally. When searching for specific folders I have archived the right year is the biggest indicator for me that I have the correct one, so it makes sense to see it first.
Preparing Lightroom Catalog
One big change I’ve made is migrating from daily Lightroom catalogs to one for the entire tour.
First, create another sub-folder within the above parent folder to house your Lightroom Catalog, name it whatever you’d like. Create a new Lightroom catalog and store it within that folder.
Mimic your folders you just created as new collections within this Lightroom Catalog. If you haven’t used collections in LR before, take a minute to do a quick Google search, as you’ll find plenty of information on this very simple system.
This is the biggest change to my workflow since last year. I used to work off a different Lightroom catalog each day.
Some of the biggest benefits of switching to one catalog are quicker access to photos from the whole tour, fewer concerns about duplicate photos, more consistent editing, and more effective file management.
The downside of a single catalog is that if you’re making a daily backup of your files (and you should be), you have to make sure you overwrite the old catalog, otherwise your day’s edits won’t be saved. Also, if the catalog is corrupted, deleted, or damaged somehow you would have a big problem. Thankfully if you are regularly backing up this shouldn’t be an issue.
Dropbox Folders for Delivery
Create a folder for the tour in Dropbox (or whatever cloud storage service you use), and then folders for each person on the tour. Within those, copy and paste your full list of folders for each date within these so you don’t have to do it later:
Day one has a little extra preparation to make your workflow the rest of the tour go smoothly. Depending on the size of the tour you’re on, the lights will likely be the same each day. Even if it’s a smaller tour without its own lights, you will want a consistent look across your work for the whole tour.
I have my own presets that I generally work off of as a base, and I create a new set for each tour. I use my own shorthand for naming these… name them however you want so you know the difference by looking at them super quickly. Here’s a little key to my shorthand:
LIVE BW – HC = Use for live photos (too contrasty for other types), black & white, high contrast
LIVE BW – HC +3 = Use for live photos, black & white, high contrast +3 on exposure slider (for very dark photos)
P/BTS BW – LC = Use for portraits/behind the scenes, black & white, low contrast
As you can see, I usually create about 6 basic presets per tour, one to cover each common editing situation that I come across on a daily basis.
Okay, my workflow process usually starts at the end of the day. It’s 11:00pm or so and the show is done, and I’ve packed up most of my gear. I can usually finish this entire process in 60 minutes or less.
I import everything into Lightroom, usually 1,000-1,500 photos on the day.
The very first thing I do is select all my imported photos in Library view, and add them all to my collection for the current date. This is crucial for organization.
I apply my tour presets in bulk, for example selecting all of my portrait/BTS stuff and applying the appropriate preset, then the same with my live photos.
I go through photos one-by-one, usually giving them about 1/2 of a second to determine if it’s trash. If it is, I keep going. If it looks redeemable, or it’s too dark to see well, I’ll up the exposure or other settings quickly to determine if it’s worth keeping.
If I think it’s acceptable, I’ll mark it 5 stars by simply pressing “5” on the keyboard. I’ll then edit it quickly, until I’m happy with the product. When I’m done my loupe looks like a little like this:
Once I’ve gone through everything once, I’ll go to Library view and filter by attribute > 5 star rating. Now I’m only working with all my keepers.
I select everything, and export into my yyyy.mm.dd – city, state folder for the day, making a subfolder “Web” like so:
I use Dropbox because I find it’s the easiest for delivery, most musicians I work with already have it set up, and know how to use it. The last they thing should have to worry about is figuring out how to access the pictures I’m hired to take for them.
I often deal with some band or crew members not having enough space on their Dropbox account for all the photos – there is an easy workaround! You’re storing them all on your plan anyway, so the only space you need is your own. I’ll show you how.
Access the folder you want to share via the Dropbox App, click the highlighted icon.
Click the blue “Share link” button on this page.
Copy the link, and deliver to the person via text, email/etc.
They will see this screen when they access that link. Have them click middle bottom share button.
Click “Add to Home Screen” button, and name the link.
They can now access the link from their home screen without needing a Dropbox plan at all.
I open up my just created “Web” folder for the day, filled with the images I just exported. I copy and paste photos of each person into their own folder.
I usually shoot 1,000 – 1,500 photos every day. This means my RAW files alone from one day can amount to 40gb or more. Each tour’s backups can amount to over 1tb each. That adds up quick on physical drives, especially when keeping redundant copies.
I used to keep every RAW file that I shot, but I have stopped doing this on tour. I’ve realized that when I reach into my archives, I’m only accessing photos I’ve delivered in the past. I’ve kept them in case of ever needing to pull more images or options for certain shows, but I trust my culling and eye to find the best images when I go through them each day. Clients will never ask for an image from the past that they haven’t seen, so what’s the point in keeping them all?
After I deliver photos each day, I go into Lightroom again, and sort by Attribute > Rating = 0. I select all of these images, and since they’re my throwaways I delete them, including “Delete from Disk” to get rid of the original RAW files.
(Note that you cannot be looking at the photos within a collection when you try to delete them, otherwise you just remove them from that collection.)
I don’t have an internal hard drive big enough to keep all of my work locally on my computer, so after I back up on both of my hard drives, I will delete old daily folders to open up space.
Backing Up Your Work
Don’t skip this step! It’s important. Many things can happen to your data, especially on tour. I’ve seen people drop hard drives from their bunks, bags get stolen, and drives just straight-up stop working. Don’t let something like that cause you to lose all your work, you can prevent it. I’ve never had consistent enough good internet to make cloud backups on tour a reality, so I rely on portable hard drives.
Back up your work every 2-3 days
Overwrite your Lightroom Catalog folder on your drives with the one you have been working off of locally
Back up on at least 2 separate drives, and store them apart.
I often keep one in my computer bag and another in my bunk. Things get stolen, stuff gets lost, hard drives get dropped, it happens. You need at least two backups. Since I’ve started deleting my throwaway RAW files on tour, backing up has become even easier. Transfer rates and space issues are much easier than they used to be for me.
My most recent 30-day tour resulted in the folder’s total size, including high resolution exports, RAW images, and a Lightroom Catalog as 162gb, which is entirely manageable.
As soon as I get home, I go through my full-tour Lightroom catalog and export everything into a “High Res” sub-folder. These are full-size jpgs at the highest resolution possible.
These “High Res” sub-folders are used for pulling images from my archives down the line for magazines, prints, merch designs, my portfolio, or anything else my clients need them for.
I then do a cloud storage backup of all my tour files, an exact mirror of what is on my hard drives.
That’s It! Now Be Consistent
Your Lightroom catalog, backups, and access to your archives will be manageable if you’re diligent about your workflow and are consistent every day. It’s a lot of work but your photos are important, not only to your client but to you as well, so take care of them!
About the author: Matty Vogel is a music photographer based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. You can find out more about him and his work through his website and his blog. This article was also published here.
Here’s a 2-minute video by SFMOMA that offers a tour of photographer Michael Jang‘s home and studio in San Francisco. Jang, who has had many works acquired for the SFMOMA collection, has an incredible body of work that includes portraits of everyone ranging from the Ramones and Jimi Hendrix to Robin Williams.
“Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships.” That quote by the great Ansel Adams might contain a hint of joke, but it’s no joke that Adams sometimes spent entire days locked up in his darkroom creating his prints. And now we get to see the space for ourselves.
This tour of Adams’ custom darkroom—complete with never-before-seen footage of the man himself at work—comes to us courtesy of Marc Silber and his latest episode of Advancing Your Photography. Together with Ansel’s son Michael they show you the incredible print-making setup Adams set up for himself, as well as a few of the tools he used to use while “fixing God’s mistakes” in the darkroom.
Watch the whole video for yourself up top. And then, if you haven’t already, check out Silber’s previous video in which Ansel Adams himself tells the story behind one of his most famous photographs.
The Dallas Museum of Art is currently running an exhibition titled “Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty,” the first retrospective of Penn’s work in nearly two decades. If you’re unable to see the show, which contains over 140 of the late photographer’s photos, check out the fantastic 13-minute video above by The Art of Photography.
In the video, host Ted Forbes is given a special personal tour of the show and some of its photos by Sue Canterbury, the Curator of American Art at the museum. Canterbury provides a close look at Penn’s work through the perspective of a curator. The video is full of interesting background information that’ll give you a deeper understanding of Penn’s images.
Back in July 2015, Canon announced the Canon ME20F-SH, a multi-purpose camera with a $30,000 price tag and a max ISO of 4.5 million. This 11-minute video is a closer look at the camera’s features and abilities.
Canon’s Brent Ramsey starts out by standing in a completely dark studio room that’s lit only by a small tealight candle. At ISO 800 with the camera, the candle is clearly visible but you can’t see much else.
At ISO 4,560,000, we can see Ramsey and all the details of the studio — all with the light being emitted from a single tiny candle.
Ramsey goes on to say how the Canon ME20F-SH’s low light capabilities are due to the gigantic pixels on the sensor. Compared to the full frame sensor in the Canon 1D X DSLR, which has 18.1 megapixels, the Canon ME20F-SH only has 2.26 megapixels. However, each of those pixels is 7.5 times larger than the ones in the 1D X, and this allows the ME20F-SH to be much more sensitive in low light.