NASA photographer's camera cooked by last week's SpaceX rocket launch

Senior NASA photographer Bill Ingalls apparently set up his Canon EOS 5DS at an unlucky spot near yesterday's SpaceX rocket launch. He placed it outside the pad perimeter yet the launch sparked a small brush fire that cooked the camera. "I had many other cameras much closer to the pad than this and all are safe," Ingalls wrote.

Fortunately, the SD cards didn't melt and he was able to access the final photos taken by the camera before its untimely death. Two of them are below.

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Watch this landscape photographer's video tour of Greenland

Daniel Kordan is a great photographer who travels to distant lands for stunning astrophotographs among other. Some of his stills are below, but his video of a trip to Greenland has his same eye for natural beauty. Read the rest

Photographer claims Stranger Things stole his storm cloud image

Sean R. Heavey claims that Stranger Things used his storm cloud photo (top image) without permission in concept art (second image above) that eventually became a scene in the show. From Photographer: ‘Stranger Things’ Used My Storm Cloud Without Permission:

Heavey says he realized that the cloud that appears in the Stranger Things episode looked extremely similar to his but wasn’t the same one. A few weeks later, however, Heavey’s friend was watching the Beyond Stranger Things behind-the-scenes special (episode 3) on Netflix when he noticed the concept art that was used by the Stranger Things crew...

After Heavey reached out to Netflix with his complaint, the company responded by saying that the cloud in his photo isn’t protected by copyright.

“They are saying the only similarity that exists is the use of a similar cloud formation, that copyright law does not protect objects as they appear in nature, and that an artist can’t claim a monopoly over real-world public domain objects such as a cloud formation,” Heavey says. “The problem with that argument is that it’s not a similar cloud they use — it’s my cloud photo.”

Heavey thinks the Netflix counsel didn't even look at his image comparisons before responding. He's now lawyered up and figuring out his next steps.

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Watch these newly discovered film clips from the glamorous birth of Technicolor

The British Film Institute discovered bits of very rare Technicolor film fragments from 1920s Hollywood. The fragments, attached to the beginning and end of other film reels, include Louise Brooks doing what may be a costume test for her first credited movie, The American Venus (1926), thought to lost. From Film News:

As Bryony Dixon, BFI’s Curator of Silent Film explains, “Everybody loves Technicolor but so much film from glamorous 1920s Hollywood is lost; when it turns up, however fragmentary it’s exciting. What to do with tiny clips that are only a few seconds long? Imagine an Egyptian vase shattered into pieces and the shards scattered across museums all over the world. You can imagine that one day you might be able to see it whole again. It’s like that with films; only an international effort by film archives like the BFI can bring the pieces of the jigsaw together. For now we have the shards but we can dream of seeing Louise Brooks’s first film or a lost Hedda Hopper in colour”.

James Layton, MOMA’s Film Department Preservation Manager adds, “Only a few Technicolor musicals from the dawn of sound survive complete and entirely in colour, whilst some only exist in poor quality black and white copies. It is always a cause for celebration whenever previously lost colour footage turns up. These excerpts provide fascinating glimpses at these films’ pioneering use of colour, which we could only guess at before.”

"BFI uncovers rare Technicolor footage of Louise Brooks in living colour" (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!) Read the rest

Rather unusual vintage snapshots of adults and their plushies

Vernacular photography historian Robert E. Jackson curated a curious collection of photos depicting adults enjoying time with their favorite plushies.

See more at Flashbak: "16 Vintage Snapshots of Adults Messing About With Teddy Bears And Stuffed Toys"

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Shark captures fish, then bird captures shark, then photographer captures it all

Professional photographer Doc Jon captured a remarkable series of photos of a shark snatched from the waves just as it had clamped down on a fish. Check out his page for more cool nature shots. Read the rest

A stuffed anteater is at the center of a huge nature photography scandal

Marcio Cabral won a Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, but he was stripped of his title after some claimed he used a taxidermied anteater, shown above, in his winning shot. Internet sleuths have been having a field day with the investigation ever since. Read the rest

Does this baby have a man's head?

As the original Reddit headline states, "Took me longer than I care to admit."

(/r/illusionporn) Read the rest

When cleaning slides, film or just my lenses, I use PecPads

When cleaning off slides for scanning, or the lenses on cameras that haven't been made for decades, I use PecPads.

I used to ruin positives when trying to ready them for scanning. Then I was told about PecPads. I have not ruined a slide in years and years. I also use the non-abrasive gauze-like pads to clean the lenses on my treasured Rolleis.

I use microfiber clothes on my glasses, but superstition keeps me using PecPads on photographic equipment.

PEC-PAD Lint Free Wipes 4"x4" 100per/Pkg via Amazon Read the rest

Watch this moving tribute to abandoned pianos

Photographer and pianist Romain Thiery accompanied his own remarkable images of abandoned pianos for his Requiem for Pianos series. Read the rest

Wonderful toy photography reveals delightful alternate realities

Pro toy photographer Mitchel Wu creates these stunning scenes using "practical effects," physical effects created without computer-generated imagery.

I create and craft stories through toy photography...capturing the illusion of motion and emotion where none exist. Bridging the gap between toys and the stories in one's head - it's all fun and games...

See more on Wu's Instagram too!

(via PetaPixel)

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A.I. reconstructs incomplete photos

Researchers from graphics company NVIDIA developed a deep learning system that automatically reconstructs corrupted images or fills in missing parts:

The method, which performs a process called “image inpainting”, could be implemented in photo editing software to remove unwanted content, while filling it with a realistic computer-generated alternative.

“Our model can robustly handle holes of any shape, size location, or distance from the image borders. Previous deep learning approaches have focused on rectangular regions located around the center of the image, and often rely on expensive post-processing,” the NVIDIA researchers stated in their research paper. “Further, our model gracefully handles holes of increasing size.”

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Amazing birdseye photos taken by pigeons a century ago

In 1907, pharmacist and photography buff Dr. Julius Neubronner invented the "pigeon camera." Neubronner attached his cameras, with a built-in shutter timer, to his own homing pigeons and let them fly. For most people, the birds' photos provided a previously unseen view on the world. The images are collected in a new book, The Pigeon Photographer. From the New Yorker:

(Neubronner) showed his camera at international expositions, where he also sold postcards taken by the birds. Additionally, he developed a portable, horse-drawn dovecote, with a darkroom attached to it, which could be moved into proximity of whatever object or area the photographer hoped to capture from on high. These inventions represented a breakthrough at the time, allowing for surveillance with speed and range that was previously impossible. (Whether the cameras would actually capture the desired object, however, depended on luck and the whims of the pigeons.) The technology would soon be adapted for use in wartime—the cameras served as very early precursors to drones—although by the time of the First World War, just a few years later, airplanes were allowing people to do things that only pigeons could have done before.

(Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)

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Amazing photos of sports games combined into single chaotic images

Photographer Pelle Cass takes dozens of photographs of the same location and then combines the people into a single image. His photos of sporting events make the games look much more fun! From Cass's artist statement:

This work both orders the world and exaggerate its chaos. With the camera on a tripod, I take many dozens of pictures, and simply leave in the figures I choose and omit the rest. The photographs are composite,but nothing has been changed, only selected. My subject is the strangeness of time, the exact way people look, and a surprising world that is visible only with a camera.

Pelle Cass: "Crowded Fields" (via Kottke)

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China's falling space station burned up last night just north of the Spacecraft Cemetery

Last night, China's Tinagong-1 space station, about the size of a school bus, burned up as it fell over the Pacific Ocean. The Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques captured this hot image as the satellite was just 270 kilometers (170 miles) above Earth's surface. Kenneth Chang writes in the New York Times:

The demise of the station, Tiangong-1, became apparent when radar stations no longer detected it passing overhead. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries; the likelihood that pieces would land on someone was small, but not zero.

The station may have landed northwest of Tahiti, Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said on Twitter. That location is north of the Spacecraft Cemetery, an isolated region in the Pacific Ocean where space debris has frequently landed.

For the past few weeks the fate of Tiangong-1 has provided some drama. The Chinese lost control of the spacecraft a couple of years ago and thus could not guide it to the middle of an ocean. Because of the drag of air molecules bouncing off Tiangong-1, the station’s altitude dropped, and the descent accelerated quickly in the last few days.

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Weird and funny vintage photos of the Easter Bunny

Intrepid vernacular photography collector Robert E. Jackson curated a delightful selection of creepy, fun, and funny vintage photos of the Easter Bunny. More at Flashbak.

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Street style photographer Bill Cunningham left behind a secret memoir

When legendary (and deeply private) New York Times street style photographer Bill Cunningham died in 2016, he left behind a photo archive valued at $1M. His family soon discovered he left the world another gift, a photo-filled memoir he penned secretly. It's titled Fashion Climbing and is due to be published in September.

The New York Times reports:

But aside from some scenes of family discord, Mr. Cunningham’s memoir is a rosy account of an irrepressible dreamer who tripped his way from the stockroom of Boston’s newly opened Bonwit Teller to hat shops of his own in New York. He arrives in the city in November 1948 on opening night of the opera — then a tent pole of the New York social calendar — and stays long after the Social Register stopped being anyone’s bible.

Much of the material is new, even to his relatives. “Bill kept his family life in Boston and his work life in New York very separate,” wrote his niece Trish Simonson, in an email. “He told us stories over the years, but nothing that painted a full picture of what he did and how he came to do it. The drafts of the memoir we found, titled and edited and written in his own unmistakable voice, filled in a lot of blanks of how he made it from here to there, and what he thought along the way.”

Also, if you haven't already, do check out the 2011 documentary Bill Cunningham New York. Read the rest

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