AI face swap, Pro controls, and more


  • Camera features of the Pixel 8 series have leaked through a seemingly official Google video.
  • The Pixel 8 Pro is getting a new Pro camera mode with manual adjustment options for shutter speed, ISO, and more.
  • Google is also adding a new AI face-swapping feature to fix bad facial expressions.

The floodgates have opened for Google Pixel 8 series leaks. There is little that we don’t know about the upcoming phones ahead of their official announcement on October 4. The latest leak accompanies a price and camera specs reveal that happened over the weekend and gives us a seemingly official Google video detailing the camera features of the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro.

Tipster Kamila Wojciechowska paired up with 91Mobiles to leak the Pixel 8 series video, breaking down all the new AI and photography tricks Google plans to deploy with the latest flagships. Features presented in the clip include new manual camera controls “modeled after DSLR controls” for the Pixel 8 Pro. Google is finally giving users the freedom to play around with shutter speed, ISO, focus, and other aspects of photography on the Pro Pixel.

There’s also a new face-swapping feature on the Pixel 8 series, likely powered by AI. If you happen to capture someone with a bad or weird facial expression, you’ll be able to swap it out for a better one. It looks like the new Pixels will capture multiple images and offer the user options to choose the best expression for face-swapping purposes. Alternatively, Google might be using AI to adjust facial expressions — a feature you can find these days on many third-party AI image editing apps.

DJI Mini 4 Pro price, specs, release date announced

DJI has just announced the DJI Mini 4 Pro, the latest in its line of ultra-compact drones that promises to enhance the quality of video and imagery that can be captured with this small drone. While the last iteration of this drone saw a huge leap forward in image quality, this new release focuses on some of the more advanced flight features, which include groundbreaking omni-directional obstacle sensing technology and the inclusion of the flagship DJI O4 video transmission system. These new features, coupled with the already excellent video quality, means that the new DJI Mini 4 Pro looks set to become a very interesting proposition for both enthusiasts and Pro

Ferdinand Wolf, Creative Director at DJI, expressed his excitement: “The Mini 4 Pro is a harmonious blend of professional-grade capabilities within a lightweight and highly portable design, offering unparalleled freedom and versatility. This drone emerges as the ultimate all-in-one solution, purpose-built to elevate your creative toolbox.”

Ultra lightweight 

Weighing in at less than 249 grams, the Mini 4 Pro is engineered for portability. Its lightweight design not only makes it easy to carry but also ensures compliance with drone regulations in most countries and regions, such as the UK. This grants users the freedom to take flight with minimal restrictions.

Ultra-high quality Imaging

The Mini 4 Pro boasts cutting-edge imaging capabilities with its 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor, advanced Image-Processing Platform, and dual native ISO fusion—a hallmark of cinema-grade technology. With features like an f/1.7 aperture, 48MP image resolution, 4K/60fps HDR video, and Slo-Mo shooting at 4K/100fps, it captures moments in breathtaking detail. Even in challenging low-light conditions, the 2.4μm pixels and enhanced noise reduction algorithm in Night Shots video mode deliver clear, cleaner footage.

Furthermore, the Mini 4 Pro offers True Vertical Shooting, optimized for social media and smartphone playback. A 60° large-angle tilt for fluid camera motion unlocks cinematic potential. Digital video zoom extends your storytelling abilities, allowing you to magnify photos up to 2x and videos up to 4x.

Captivating Output

Despite this being a sub 250g drone, small and compact it still features professional level features such as the 10-bit D-Log M recording, offering access to more than a billion colours. High Dynamic Range (HLG) ensures that natural colours and brightness remain true-to-life without requiring adjustments or format conversions. The Mini 4 Pro feaures 48MP RAW and SmartPhoto technology—a fusion of HDR imaging and scene recognition, resulting in captivating images.

Fly with Confidence

Safety takes centre stage with the Mini 4 Pro’s omni-directional obstacle sensing capabilities. Multiple wide-angle and downward vision sensors detect obstructions from all directions. Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems (APAS) with automatic braking and obstacle bypass enhance in-flight security.

The new drone boasts up to 34 minutes of flight time giving you plenty of time for creative freedom. The Intelligent Flight Battery Plus can push this to an impressive 45 minutes. DJI’s flagship O4 video transmission ensures ultra-responsive control and smooth 1080p/60fps FHD video transmission at distances of up to 20 km. Enhance your efficiency with Waypoint Flight’s automatic route function and minimize operation fatigue during long-distance flights with Cruise Control. The Mini 4 Pro’s Advanced Return-to-Home system automatically navigates a safe flight route back, facilitated by the AR RTH feature for added control during return flights.

Elevate Your Creativity

The Mini 4 Pro not only offers intuitive methods for capturing shots, such as Spotlight, Point of Interest, and ActiveTrack 360°, which enables users to bypass obstacles for smoother tracking, thanks to omnidirectional obstacle sensing, but also enhances creative possibilities with innovative features:

MasterShots Delivering dynamic camera movement templates tailored for portrait, close-up, and long-range shots.

QuickShots Providing Dronie, Circle, Helix, Rocket, Boomerang, and Asteroid modes for stylish results.

Hyperlapse Offering Free, Waypoint, Circle, and Course Lock modes with unlimited shooting time, supporting compositing while shooting.

Panorama Supporting shooting 180°, Wide Angle, Vertical, and Sphere panoramic photos for magnificent landscapes.

QuickTransfer Effortlessly transfer photos and videos to your smartphone without linking the remote controller, making your creations instantly shareable.

Edit with LightCut

LightCut streamlines video editing through wireless connection and AI technology, enabling one-tap creation of captivating videos by merging ActiveTrack, MasterShots, and QuickShots footage. The app automates sound effect matching and template application for efficient, high-quality production. It also preserves smartphone storage by eliminating the need to download footage. Real-time sound effects enhance aerial creations, transitioning from “silent” to “vibrant.” A variety of aerial shot templates, from nature to cityscapes and tilt-shift effects, allow for effortless video creation by importing aerial footage.

Outstanding Accessories for Enhanced Performance

DJI Mini 4 Pro Wide-Angle Vision Capture vast landscapes with the super-wide 100° FOV of the wide-angle lens.DJI Mini 4 Pro ND Filters Set (ND16/64/256) Adapt to challenging lighting scenarios with precision using ND16/64/256 filters, ensuring readiness for the perfect shot.

Pricing and Availability

The Mini 4 Pro is available for order from and authorized retail partners, with shipping commencing today, in the following configurations:

DJI Mini 4 Pro (DJI RC-N2): £689 / €799 – Includes one drone, a DJI RC-N2 Remote Controller, cables, battery, propellers, accessories.

DJI Mini 4 Pro (DJI RC 2): £869 / €999 – Includes one drone, a DJI RC 2 Remote Controller, battery, propellers, accessories.

DJI Mini 4 Pro Fly More Combo (DJI RC 2): £979 / €1,129 – Includes one drone, a DJI RC 2 Remote

for more information, on the DJI Mini 4 Pro check out

‘Wild Mann’ photo competition celebrates Island’s natural environment

Monday, 25 September 2023 08:36

Manx National Heritage has launched a new photo competition celebrating the Island’s natural environment.

‘Wild Mann’ invites professional and non-professional photographers of all ages, from all over the world, to enter their best nature photo from the Isle of Man.

There are seven different categories, including birds, mammals and invertebrates, and participants have until March 4 2024 to submit their entry. 

The organisation says the aim of the competition is to celebrate the natural world, so images featuring farm animals or pets will not be accepted. 

You can find more information here.


Artist Eric Roinestad Creates Exquisite Ceramic Sculptures

American artist Eric Roinestad crafts exquisite ceramic vessels, luminaires, and sculptures, seamlessly fusing classical and contemporary elements with a minimalist touch.

Eric Roinestad is a renowned ceramic artist celebrated for his unique ability to harmonize diverse artistic influences and historical allusions. He meticulously shapes wheel-thrown ceramic sculptures and lighting fixtures, creating an eloquent visual interplay between the natural and the modern, the present and the past.

Infused with the essence of California’s folk modernism and infused with the artist’s Scandinavian heritage, Eric Roinestad’s ceramic creations marry handcrafted and traditionally wheel-thrown techniques. This fusion results in pieces that exude an indescribable handcrafted charm, embodying a continuously evolving sense of artistic identity.

Scroll down and inspire yourself. Please check her Instagram link for more amazing work.

You can find Eric Roinestad on the web:



Ceramic sculptures are three-dimensional art forms created primarily from clay, a natural material that, when fired at high temperatures, becomes hardened and durable. Artists use various techniques to shape and manipulate the clay into a wide range of forms, designs, and sizes.

In contemporary art, ceramic sculptures continue to be a vibrant and evolving medium, attracting artists who appreciate the unique combination of tradition, craftsmanship, and artistic expression that ceramics offer.
























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All the features that you get on Google Pixel smartphones

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Google Pixel smartphones have been some of the best Android smartphones you can buy, but their presence at the top is surprising if you take a deeper look at the spec sheet. The Pixels barely have top-of-the-line specifications, trailing behind most market leaders. However, thanks to some nifty software magic, Google can extract the most possible value out of hardware. We can see this in action with the Google Camera app on Pixel smartphones, which enables some cool photography features. Here are all the features that you get on the Google Camera app.

What is Google Camera?

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Google Camera is the default camera application shipped on Google Pixel smartphones. Most OEMs ship their own modified camera app on their smartphones as part of their Android skin, so Google is no different.

What makes Google Camera unique is that it can extract the best results out of dated camera hardware often found on Pixel smartphones. The Google Camera app contains most of the algorithms responsible for Google’s software magic on photos.

These software optimizations are so potent that third-party modders regularly attempt to port the latest Google Camera app from Pixel devices to other Android smartphones, improving the photography prowess of their non-Pixel hardware.

The Google Camera app was initially released to the public on the Google Play Store. But those days are long gone. Google Camera is now exclusive to Pixel smartphones. If you spot the app on a non-Pixel smartphone, it will likely be a third-party Google Camera port (often called “GCam” in this context).

Google Camera: Photo features

The Google Camera app has many features, but it also misses out on some, like a dedicated manual or Pro mode for photos and videos. Not packing a manual mode is a feature in itself, as you, as an average user, need to trust the Pixel to take the best shot for you.

Despite such a flaring shortcoming, the Google Camera app is still one of the best camera apps for Android. The presence of these other features compensates for the missing Pro mode.

HDR Plus

The highlight feature of the Google Camera app is HDR Plus, which was added around the release of the Nexus 6. HDR Plus is the engine behind HDR imaging in the Google Camera app. In its early announcement posts in 2014, the company said it uses “computational photography” for HDR Plus.

When you press the shutter button in the Google Camera app, HDR Plus captures a rapid burst of three to 15 pictures and combines them into one.

In low light scenes, HDR Plus takes a burst of shots with short exposure times, aligns them algorithmically, and then claims to replace each pixel with the average color at the position across these burst shots. Using short exposures reduces blur while averaging shots reduces noise.

In scenes with high dynamic range, HDR Plus follows the same technique, and it manages to avoid blowing out the highlights and combines enough shots to reduce noise in the shadows.

In scenes with high dynamic range, the shadows can often remain noisy as all images captured in a burst remain underexposed. This is where the Google Camera app uses exposure bracketing, making use of two different exposures and combining them.

HDR Plus with Bracketing is the highlight feature of the Google Camera app.

The experience with exposure bracketing gets complicated with Zero Shutter Lag (ZSL, more on this feature below). HDR Plus works around ZSL by capturing frames before and after the shutter press. One of the shorter exposure frames is used as the reference frame to avoid clipped highlights and motion blur. Other frames are aligned to this frame, merged, and then de-ghosted through a spatial merge algorithm that decides per pixel whether image content should be merged or not.

If all of this sounds complicated and confusing to you as a user, fret not. The Google Camera app doesn’t require you to worry about these details. You just have to click photos; Google’s algorithms will handle the rest.

Here are some camera samples from the Pixel 7 Pro’s primary camera:

Night Sight

Night Sight is all of HDR Plus but in very low light. Because of the lack of light, the exposures and burst limits are allowed to be liberally longer. The time to take a night shot is thus longer, and a stronger element of motion must be compensated for.

You can expect a Night Sight photo to take about one to three seconds, and we’d advise you to wait another second after pressing the shutter button. Pixel smartphones will automatically enable Night Sight when it is dark, though you can manually toggle the mode if necessary. Note that Night Sight does not work if you have Flash turned on.

On newer Pixel smartphones, the denoising process in the HDR Plus process during Night Sight uses new neural networks that run on the Tensor processor. This has yielded improvements in the speed of a Night Sight shot.

Here are some Night Sight samples from the Pixel 7 Pro:


You need to mount your Pixel smartphone on a tripod and be in practically pitch-black conditions (away from city lights) with your phone pointed toward the clear sky. Once your Pixel phone determines the conditions to be right, it will show a message “Astrophotography on.”

In this mode, the Pixel phone will take 16 16-second photos and merge them to produce one detailed photograph. You can also create a cool one-second astrophotography timelapse of this 16-second shot.

Zero Shutter Lag (ZSL)

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Zero Shutter Lag has long been an invisible feature in the Google Camera experience. The philosophy with Zero Shutter Lag is self-explanatory: What you click should be immediately captured. Users should be able to click the shutter button and forget about the image if they wish. The task should be done right at the button press, requiring no further waiting for processing to complete.

However, this is easier said than done, especially considering features like HDR Plus (combining a burst of images) and pixel binning (combining adjacent pixels) are inherently compute-intensive.

ZSL gets around this by capturing frames before the shutter is pressed! In some situations, like HDR Plus, longer exposures are captured after the shutter is pressed, though this experience is often hidden from the viewfinder.

ZSL used to be a more vital feature when phone processors were slow and required a lot of time to process an image. Zero Shutter Lag no longer gets advertised as strongly, as the feature is now practically seen across the smartphone ecosystem in ideal lighting conditions.

ZSL is also fairly challenging to orchestrate in current times, where our reliance on computational photography is at an all-time high. It gets further eclipsed by features like Night Sight and Astrophotography that intentionally take multiple seconds to capture photos.

Super Res Zoom

Kevin Convery / Android Authority

Historically, Pixels haven’t had the latest camera hardware, so Google had to rely on software magic to meet customer expectations. For instance, Google resisted adding a telephoto camera for optical zoom on the Pixel for quite some time and instead developed the Super Res Zoom feature that mimics the same functionality with digital zoom.

Super Res Zoom was introduced with the Pixel 3. On that phone, this feature merged many frames onto a higher resolution picture (multi-frame super-resolution) instead of upscaling a crop of a single image that digital zoom often did. This technique allowed the Pixel 3 with its single camera to achieve zoom details at the 2x level that was surprisingly better than expected out of digital zoom.

Super Res Zoom salvages the results of digital zoom.

With Super Res Zoom, you would get more details if you pinched to zoom by 2x before taking a photo rather than digitally cropping the photo by 2x after taking it.

When Google finally made the jump to a telephoto lens with the Pixel 4 series, it used HDR Plus techniques on the telephoto lens to achieve even better results.

Google switched lanes more recently, adapting to the larger primary and telephoto sensors on the Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 7 Pro for its Super Res Zoom feature. For 2x zoom, Google crops into the inner portion of the 50MP primary sensor to produce 12.5MP photos. It then applies remosaicing algorithms and uses HDR Plus with bracketing to reduce noise.

For 5x zoom, Google uses a crop of the 48MP telephoto sensor and the same techniques. For zoom outside of 2x and 5x, Google uses Fusion Zoom, a machine-learning algorithm that merges images from multiple cameras into one.

Once again, you, as a user, do not have to worry about any of this. Just pinch to zoom in, click the shutter button, and let Google figure out the rest on their Camera app.

Here are some zoom samples from the Pixel 7 Pro:

Portrait Mode

Portrait Mode takes photos with a shallow depth of field, letting the subject pull all the attention to itself while the background remains blurred.

Smartphones usually use two cameras located next to each other to capture depth information (just like our eyes!). Without this depth information, the phone would have difficulty separating the subject from the background.

However, Google managed to do a good job with Portrait Mode on the Pixel 2, and it did it with just one camera on the front and back. The company used computational photography and machine learning to overcome hardware limitations.

Portrait mode on single-camera setups (like the front camera) starts with an HDR Plus image. The Camera app then uses machine learning to generate a segmentation mask that identifies common subjects like people and pets.

If depth information is available in some way (when you have multiple cameras available, such as on the back), it generates a depth map, which helps apply the blur accurately.

Real Tone

Real Tone is Google’s effort at making photography more inclusive for darker skin tones. It attempts to counter the skin tone bias that has long existed in photography, giving people of color a chance at being photographed more authentically.

As part of the Real Tone initiative efforts, Google has improved its face identification in low-light conditions. The AI and machine learning models that Google trains are now fed a wider, diversified data set. The company has also improved how white balance and automatic exposure work in photographs to accommodate a wider set of skin tones better.

Starting with the Pixel 7 series, the company also uses a new color scale (called the “Monk Skin Tone Scale”) that better reflects the full range of skin tones.

Dual Exposure controls and Color Temperature control

Aamir Siddiqui / Android Authority

As mentioned earlier, the Google Camera app does not have a Pro mode. Very little thinking is involved in clicking a good photo on a Pixel smartphone.

If want some control over your photos, Google gives you three settings that you can play with:

  • Dual Exposure Controls:
    • Brightness: Changes the overall exposure. It can be used to recover more detail in bright skies or intentionally blow out the background if needed.
    • Shadows: Changes only the dark areas. It manipulates the tone mapping instead of the exposure. It is helpful for high-contrast scenes, letting users boost or reduce shadows.
  • Color temperature control: Changes the scene’s color temperature to make it warmer or cooler.

You can access all three sliders by long pressing on the viewfinder in Photo mode. These settings co-exist alongside HDR Plus, so you can still use computational photography features while slightly modifying specific settings to suit your taste better.

Computational RAW

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Google adopted “Computational RAW” with the Pixel 3, though the term doesn’t feature frequently in their marketing.

With the Google Camera app, you can save RAW image files (.dng) alongside processed image files (.jpg). RAW files traditionally allow you a wider range of adjustments for settings like exposure, highlights, shadows, and more.

But the trick here on the Google Camera app is that these RAW image files aren’t entirely raw and untouched. Google processes the RAW file through its computational photography pipeline before saving it.

RAW on Google Camera is Computational RAW.

This approach may alarm purists and hobbyists who want an untouched, unprocessed RAW file. But try as hard as you may; you will find it extremely difficult to get a better result processing your RAW file by yourself than compared to Google’s super-processed JPGs.

Computational RAW is the middle ground, applying some of the Google software magic and letting you apply some of your own on top. The results of this approach take advantage of Google’s processing expertise and your vision.

Macro Focus

Macro Focus is one feature that relies heavily on hardware. It uses the ultrawide lens on the Pixel 7 Pro that is equipped with autofocus, letting you focus as close as 3cm away. When you come close to a subject, the Pixel 7 Pro will transition from the main camera to the ultrawide and let you take a macro photo.

You can also take a macro focus video on the Pixel 7 Pro.

Motion Mode

Zak Khan / Android Authority

Motion Mode on Pixel smartphones adds a creative way to use long exposure shots. It essentially uses a longer exposure photo and adds a blur effect to the background and moving parts in the image.

Most newer Pixel phones have two blur effects: Action Pan and Long Exposure. Pixel 6a, Pixel 7a, and Pixel Fold users do not have the Action Pan effect.

Action Pan works best for moving subjects against a stationary background (where the background gets blurred), while Long Exposure is better for motion-based scenes (where the moving object is blurred).

Motion Photos

Google Camera has a Motion Photos feature, which records a short, silent video when capturing a photo. It adds life to a still image and captures candid moments before and after a shot. The same was implemented in iOS as Live Photo.

Motion Photos is different from Motion Mode. You can export Motion Photos as videos.

Top Shot

Aamir Siddiqui / Android Authority

If there is one thing clear so far, the Google Camera app takes a lot of photos all the time, even when clicking one photo. You need to set Top Shot to Auto or On.

Top Shot lets you save alternative shots from a Motion Photo or video. The camera app takes a lot of photos before and after you tap the shutter button and then recommends a better-quality photo than the one you clicked, like one where all the people in the image are smiling well and not blinking.

Note that Top Shot is unavailable when you have enabled Flash, Night Sight, Selfie Illumination, or Social Media Depth features.

Frequent Faces

The Google Camera app saves data about the faces you photograph or record frequently if you turn on the Frequent Faces feature. The face data is saved on your Pixel smartphone and not sent to Google. When you turn off the feature, the data is deleted.

With Frequent Faces, the Google Camera app on Pixel 4 and later devices identifies and recommends better shots of faces you capture often. So you will get fewer blinking eyes and more smiling faces when using the Top Shot feature.

The feature also taps into the Real Tone feature, offering better auto-white balance for these recognized subjects.

Long Shot

Like other camera apps, the Google Camera app also lets you take videos in photo mode. Long-press the shutter button in photo mode and begin video recording.

Palm Timer

Google Camera includes a timer setting for three seconds and 10 seconds. When you activate these timer settings, you also activate the Palm Timer. Once you have framed yourself in the photo, raise your palm to face towards the camera, and the timer will begin counting down.

Guided Frame

Guided Frame is an accessibility feature on the Google Camera app designed for the visually impaired community. This feature uses Google’s TalkBack mode to audibly guide you through the framing and photo-clicking process for a selfie.

Panorama and Photo Sphere

The Google Camera app also includes Panorama and Photo Sphere modes. Panorama lets you stitch multiple images to create one long image. Photo Sphere enables you to stitch multiple images to create an “image sphere” that shows off all around you.

Google Camera: Video features

A substantial focus of the Google Camera app is photos, and the extensive feature list and improvements over the years are testimony of this attention. Videos are also crucial to the Google Camera experience, but it doesn’t receive the same love. As a result, Pixel phones with the Google Camera app can take excellent photos and good videos.

The Google Camera app can record video at up to 4K 60fps across all lenses, though this feature sees limitations depending on your Pixel phone. You can record with the h.264 (default) or the h.265 codec. You can also choose to record in 10-bit HDR.

There are a few stabilization options available within Google Camera:

  • Standard: Uses optical image stabilization (OIS, if present), electronic image stabilization (EIS), or both.
  • Locked: Uses EIS on the telephoto lens or 2x zoom if 2x telephoto is not present.
  • Active: Uses EIS on the wide-angle lens.
  • Cinematic Pan: For dramatic and smooth panning shots.

There is also a dedicated Cinematic video mode, which is like Portrait mode but for videos. Further, you also get the usual slow-motion and time-lapse video capabilities.

Google Camera: Availability

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The Google Camera app is available on all Google Pixel devices. However, depending on their camera and processing hardware, the exact feature list varies between devices. You can get the most features on the newest flagship Pixel.

For devices other than Google Pixels, there are unofficial GCam ports. Third-party enthusiasts modify the Google Camera app and make it run on unsupported phones. They also tweak some of the myriad processing values to get subjectively different results that suit the hardware output from a certain class of phones.

While you can use GCam ports to get the Google Camera experience on your non-Pixel device, note that there will always be the risk of installing unknown APKs, and we recommend against that. Please be careful with what you install on your phone, and random APKs found on the internet should not be installed. Only install apps from official sources and developers that you trust.


Yes, the Google Camera app is free as it comes pre-installed on Pixel smartphones.

The official Google Camera app comes pre-installed on Pixel smartphones. If your phone does not have the app pre-installed, you cannot officially install the Google Camera app. Instead, you can install unofficial Google Camera ports at your own risk.

Raw and Retro: Film photography is back, baby! | Back To School 2023

Over the past few years, young people everywhere have been scanning the aisles of their local drugstores for disposable Kodaks or surfing the pits of eBay for vintage film cameras. I’m no exception to the trend. The earliest seeds of my pseudo-adulthood are frozen in albums stuffed with film photos, capturing a mix of candids and “plandids” of the last three years of my life. 

As this resurgence sweeps the city, Seattle’s beautiful scenery and grunge scene serve as a magnet for film photography professionals and amateurs alike. 

Sarrah Khan, a sophomore, has been experimenting with film photography for a little over two years. She says that she was inspired to jump on the bandwagon after seeing many of her friends in the Seattle area fall in love with film photography.

“Polaroids and film photos started becoming trendy again online,” Khan said. “So I was looking around and found my dad’s old film camera. He got it right before DSLR cameras started becoming popular, so it’s like 20 years old and I’ve been using it for a couple of years.”

It’s interesting that this rise of film photography culture is coinciding with the rapid development of more and more advanced technology. The newest iPhone 14 boasts camera specs so complex, I can’t even begin to decrypt all the odd anagrams.

But despite this continual improvement in photo technology on our iPhones, people still seem to be drawn to classic film. Khan said that part of the allure of film photography compared to digital photography comes from the physical nature of using film.

“There’s something really nice about it being documented only in a physical form,” Khan said.

Khan also commented on the ease and accessibility of using a film camera and how her passion was formed and fueled by the photography community.

“I would say that I’m the most amateur of amateurs,” Khan said. “I’ve done the most basic research but it’s really hard to screw up. The nice thing about film photos is that they’re so forgiving and there are so many people to learn from who are eager and willing to help out, both online and personally.”

My own film journey began in a similar fashion to Khan’s. My older sister hopped onto the film camera trend a couple months before I did, and in a classic younger sibling fashion, I was in total awe of her film photos and immediately copied her as soon as I could get my hands on a camera. I quickly fell into her world, trading tips and suggestions with my sister on what brands of film are best for what kind of pictures and navigating the resources that the Seattle film scene has to offer together.

Moonphoto is a photography lab just a 15-minute drive from campus and has been in business over the past 40 years. Olivia Vick, a Moonphoto lab technician, wrote in an email on behalf of the whole Moonphoto team echoing Khan’s sentiments on the film community, adding that the visual effect of film photos is what makes them special.

“People like the color, grain, and look better compared to digital,” Vick wrote. “It’s looked at as vintage and very aesthetic to take film photos.” 

According to Moonphoto, the time involved in the developing process also makes film photography more attractive than its digital counterpart. The way that it transforms the simple act of taking photographs into a longer activity makes the photographs feel more personal because of the time and labor involved.

“The waiting process and the surprise are so fun,” Vick wrote. “It’s like a gift for your future self, like when you forget you ordered something online and it shows up at your door.”

Khan sees the process involved as a blessing and curse. She says while the developing process is what makes film photos so special, it can be a bit cumbersome to go through. It can also be a bit disheartening to finally send in rolls of film full of intimate moments only to receive pictures that are blurry, covered by fingers, or totally black. One of the more humbling moments of my life was getting back pictures from my highschool graduation and discovering that I had forgotten to turn the flash on for a solid 80% of the pictures, leaving me to interpret 25 photos of grainy silhouettes.

The Moonphoto team said the most common mistakes they see come from not having enough light in the photo.

“If you are going to shoot film, use the right ISO of film and expose it properly with aperture and shutter speed,” Vick wrote. “The next most important thing is making sure when you load film into your camera that it catches properly. We get so many rolls that come out unshot because the camera couldn’t feed the film through properly.” 

But when a photo comes out just the way you want it to, the feeling that picture can hold is unmatched.

“It almost looks like a snapshot of time,” Khan said.

According to Khan, the limited number of pictures on each roll of film combined with the exclusively physical nature of these photographs create a raw and genuine form that perfectly satiates the odd nostalgia our generation craves for a time we weren’t even around for.

“I think the draw towards that is like, simpler times when things were more real,” Khan said. “Things weren’t as filtered. I feel like there’s more of an attraction now to things that are very real glimpses, or attempts of real glimpses, to show your life and of keeping interactions more raw and being able to share that with your friends and people you care about.” 

Both Khan and Vick emphasized how the limited nature of film makes you reconsider what you’re capturing.

“There is something very mindful about only being able to take one shot at a time,” Vick wrote. “It makes you live in the moment more and appreciate every shot you take.”

Khan’s photographs focus on her family and friends along with her travels. She said that she chooses her subjects by thinking about what she’d want to look back on in 10 or 20 years, and her time at UW with friends is definitely something she tries to capture.

“We love seeing people’s photos and what catches people’s eye,” Vick wrote. “It’s part of what makes our job so fun, so keep shooting film, everyone.”

Reach writer Asma Masude at Twitter: @asmayikes 

Like what you’re reading? Support high-quality student journalism by donating here.

TTartisan unleashes monster 500mm f/6.3 lens for full-frame mirrorless cameras

There is yet another new product announcement from TTArtisan, as they release details on a new TTArtisan 500mm F6.3 super-telephoto prime lens.

Set to become one of the best budget telephoto lenses of the year, the lens will be available for Sony E-mount, Nikon Z-mount, Canon RF-mount, and L-mount. The 500mm focal length is the first telephoto lens of this range that TTArtisan has released for full-frame mirrorless bodies and provides a budget-friendly alternative to the existing mirrorless telephoto market.

With a retail price of $369 / £409, this is a powerful lens that lowers the entry point and accessibility of super-telephoto photography. With a maximum aperture of f/6.3, it provides a relatively bright image compared with some budget rivals.

TTArtisan 500mm f/6.3

It is worth noting, however, that this lens is manual focus, therefore, not a lens designed for the tracking of fast-paced subjects. Instead where this lens may shine is with landscape, astrophotography, and slower-paced wildlife photography. The manual focus element may seem like the sacrifice for focal length and aperture, but this is not an issue for photographers pre-focusing on a subject such as a branch or a moon.

Stability is vital for a lens of this focal length and to aid in this department, a tripod mount ring is included. TTArtisan has seemed to miss an opportunity here however as the tripod mount ring is not Arca-Swiss compatible.

The 500mm f/6.3 Telephoto lens is optically structured from 8 elements in 5 groups – and uses a conventional, rather than mirror, design. Included in this configuration are 2 extra-low dispersion (ED) glass lenses and 2 high-index glass lenses, stated to reduce chromatic aberration and contribute to decent image quality.

Sony E-Mount users may experience some slight vignetting when used wide open, the official press release warns – but this said not to be an issue with  Z-, RF-, and L- mount versions of the lens.

TTArtisan 500mm f/6.3

There is a real focus on astrophotography with the promotion of this lens and it is easy to see why. The 500mm focal length pierces the night sky, enabling you to ‘capture distant worlds’ – and will be particularly useful for photographing the moon. The ED lenses will also control and diminish comatic aberration, a common concern in this field of photography. 

Other key features include a 3.3m minimum focus distance (10.8 feet), an 82mm front filter ring, and a 12-blade aperture diaphragm. It weighs around 1600g (57oz).

The TTArtisan 500mm f/6.3 lens is available now at the price of $369 / £409 (approximately AU$775), and is supplied with a metal lens hood and the tripod foot as standard.

Eric Campbell Photography Introduces Premium Corporate Headshots And Personal Branding Services

(MENAFN- EIN Presswire)

Professional Headshot on Forbes Magazine Cover by Eric Campbell Photography

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Annie Leibovitz photography exhibit invites viewer to learn, think deeply, find connections

Annie Leibovitz’s work as a photographer is never done.

That’s why she and the curatorial team at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art struggled to come up with the title of her exhibit there, she said.

“It’s never over; it’s just never ending,” Leibovitz said during a media preview Sept. 14.

“Annie Leibovitz At Work” is the artist’s first major museum exhibition in a decade. It opened to the public Sept. 16 and will continue through Jan. 29, 2024, then go on to museum stops in Charlotte, N.C.; Sacramento, Calif.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Wichita, Kan.

The work is displayed on homasote panels, a fiber wall board made of recycled paper, with push pins to hold up photographs that span the entirety of Leibovitz’ career, from those early years with Rolling Stone and her time at Vanity Fair and Vogue to her most recent commissions and lesser known works.

The paper and pushpin model resembles the way the well-known photographer hangs work in her studio, transporting viewers temporarily to her typical working space. There they will see familiar faces: Presidents Obama and Biden, LeBron James, Lizzo, Rhianna, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and many more.

In the final room of the exhibit are four high-tech digital display screens — 10 feet by 12 feet each — that feature 20 minute slideshows of Leibovitz’s work. Having that as an easy way to incorporate new work means Leibovitz is truly not finished, even as the exhibit receives its initial visitors.

“I plan to continue to shoot and add more to these screens as we go along,” she said.

Alejo Benedetti, acting curator of contemporary art at Crystal Bridges, said even if not every museumgoer immediately recognizes Leibovitz by name, they’re sure to recognize her photos.

“They’re emblazoned in our minds,” he said, such as the portrait of John Lennon naked, curled up next to Yoko Ono and kissing her cheek that was taken hours before his death. The iconic image of pregnant Demi Moore. The Rolling Stones on tour. “Her work is well known. It’s the highest compliment for an artist.”

Leibovitz initially arrived in Northwest Arkansas to take Alice Walton’s portrait, which she described as a “hoot,” saying Walton jumped off her boat into water when it was freezing cold and that she could hardly keep up with her.

At some point during the visit, Walton broached the idea of her having an exhibit at Crystal Bridges. The museum had none of Leibovitz’ work in its collection, and they would leave the prompt open to whatever she wanted to photograph.

Leibovitz told Walton: “I would love it if you would let me do some more work,” she recalls, telling her “there are people I’d like to photograph that I don’t always get the chance to.” Walton and the Crystal Bridges team agreed to help her with access, and so they were off on the exhibition project.

“One of the coolest things a museum can do is really trust an artist,” Benedetti said. “The product that you see in the end is Annie’s vision, no doubt about that. She has been deeply engaged in every aspect.”

As droves of schoolchildren pass by, Leibovitz seems charmed by the educational aspect of this museum. She says she wanted the show to be for young photographers or really anyone interested in photography.

“I set up the first two rooms as ‘aha!’ moments for me in my 54 years of work that taught me about photography along the way,” Leibovitz said. “I wanted a young person to see that, see what I went through, and explain that a little bit and then get to the last works.”

Annie Leibovitz started her artistic journey at the San Francisco Art Institute, where she initially studied painting but, she says, she was not very good at it. A night class in photography showed her a medium that was much more immediate, and it stuck.

Her earliest works were shot with a 35 mm small camera, which was new at the time, and the chosen style to emulate was photographer and documentarian Robert Frank’s.

“We were taught to look through the camera and use the camera as the frame,” Leibovitz said. The resulting photos of that time were rectangular, then square and finally a fatter square, the Haaselblad. Standing in the exhibition, she points to a photo of a beach scene as one influential to her early interest. She took it on a class outing, shot the image through a car window and, while it wasn’t by her estimation that good, “it made me think of the dynamics of photography and what it could do.”

Leibovitz’s practice gained momentum when she took her photographs to the art director at Rolling Stone Magazine. Just 20 or 21 years old, she was in her third year of school at the time and would end up graduating early, but they hired her.

“Visuals were not the No. 1 interest … but I was allowed to cohort with people like Hunter Thompson and go on these stories with them,” Leibovitz said. At Rolling Stone, she was credited for her work and internalized that it was important. “They made you feel, (I) learned young, that what you did mattered. That means so much for young people.”

Leibovitz’s biggest break while working for the magazine was during the uncovering of the Watergate scandal. She and Thompson were paired together to create an 11 page feature on the big news, but Thompson never showed. He was engrossed, watching it unfold on TV, so Rolling Stone ran a photo spread for the first time, 11 pages of Leibovitz’s pictures.

In 1975, Leibovitz became tour photographer for the Rolling Stones.

“I sort of fell victim to the whole circus, and it was a lesson for a young photographer,” Leibovitz said. “Up until that time, I thought I had it figured out. I thought you become one with your subject, you get involved, you’re there and you do what they do.”

While she doesn’t regret that period, Leibovitz said she was lost in the lifestyle and didn’t come completely back for years. From that time on, she said, she never got that close to a subject again, always ensuring some distance.

In 1980, Leibovitz did a series of portrait sessions of poets for Life Magazine. In doing so, she read their works, thought deeply about them and tried to incorporate the emotional aspect of poetry into the portraits. That kind of conceptual work is at play in her portrait of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, she said.

Leibovitz left Rolling Stone and went to work for Vanity Fair Magazine because she wanted to have a broader scope of subjects, which turned out to be an integral shift in her career. She began to shoot images in a place that had significance for the sitter.

Later on, with a series of women’s portraits, Leibovitz experimented with the use of her photos on screens — a new way to see her work. That choreography of images, Benedetti says, is something that a book or a magazine can’t quite do in the same way because it incorporates movement into it.

These immersive dips into the digital realm add texture to the exhibition, he says. They’ll also help make clear the connections of Leibovitz’s early works and her more recent ones.

“The newer work? I found the older work sort of correlated with it,” Leibovitz says, noting an older portrait of Salman Rushdie against a new one and a series of photographs of those who supported him, which she took a few years ago while he was in hiding. “So you’ll see, in the screens, the relationships, which are really quite interesting.”



‘Annie Leibovitz At Work’

WHEN — Through Jan. 29, 2024; hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday & Wednesday; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

WHERE — Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville

COST — $12

INFO — 657-2335 or

    Annie Leibovitzs career began in the 70s, when she was Rolling Stones chief photographer and was caught up in the volatile cultural upheavals of the time. She worked for Vanity Fair and Vogue in the 80s, where she expanded her repertoire of subjects and became established as the portraitist of well-known people. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
    This famous portrait of John Lennon and Yoko Ono was inspired by the image of them kissing on the cover of Double Fantasy, their final album together. Leibovitz had planned for both of them to be unclothed, but Ono changed her mind at the last minute. Annie took the Polaroid and let the couple look at it, to which Lennon said: “Thats our relationship; thats really us.” Several hours later, Lennon died. Leibovitz said photographs have a certain meaning attached when you take them, and that meaning can suddenly change, as it did in this case, based on the circumstances. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
    The exhibit “Annie Leibovitz at Work” has new and rarely seen recent photographs, as well as images made over the course of Leibovitzs legendary career of more than five decades. Included are portraits of Cindy Sherman, Lizzo, LeBron James, Presidents Obama and Biden, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Rihanna, Dolly Parton, Shonda Rhimes, Tom Ford and Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, among many others. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
    Images of the show are seen in prints on paper and on high-tech digital display screens, such as this portrait of Alice Walton. Leibovitz initially came to the area to photograph Walton and received an invitation to make an exhibition for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
    On The Cover: Annie Leibovitz looks on as visitors view her work Sept. 14 during a guided media preview at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)

Cook County naturalists explore queer ecology

As Raquel García-Álvarez guides hikers on a trail surrounding the Sand Ridge Nature Center, her remarks on flora and fauna are interrupted by geese honking. She explains, as curious onlookers admire the birds skirting the water, that there’s more to them than meets the eye.

Geese are known to display “homosocial behavior,” she said. For example, there’s been documented instances of two male geese pair-bonding with each other.

“Wildlife does not live within the context of us assigning them, ‘Oh, you’re gay, you’re straight.’ They show homosocial behavior because they use it to bond. It also just brings them joy,” said García-Álvarez, the policy and sustainability manager at the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

On a sunny September afternoon, about 20 community members embarked on the “Queerness of Nature Walk” at the South Holland nature preserve. Naturalists used plants and animals like geese to teach queer ecology, the idea that nature doesn’t always express itself in a binary way.

Lanie Rambo, a Forest Preserve naturalist, described queer ecology as “a new way of looking at nature” that acknowledges how sometimes labels such as gay or straight, and male or female, aren’t precise. She said people often “anthropomorphize,” taking human characteristics and applying them to nature.

“This is a bad idea, because nature is much more fluid. It’s much more flexible, and there’s a lot more going on than just these binary categories,” she said.

In fact, Rambo said there’s evidence that 1,500 animal species, from insects to mammals, engage in same-sex behavior. These relations weren’t historically recognized largely due to homophobia, she said.

“A lot of times when scientists saw these things, they’d say, ‘Oh, this animal is doing something abnormal or this is wrong. This is bad or this animal has gone crazy.’ That’s not necessarily true,” Rambo said.

Eliot Schrefer, author of the book “Queer Ducks (and Other Animals),” chronicled some of this history in an article in The Washington Post. Explorer George Murray described same-sex relations among penguins as “depraved” in 1911, and the Edinburgh Zoo director T.H. Gillespie said bisexual penguins “enjoy privileges not as yet permitted to civilized mankind” in 1932.

Some theories suggest scientists mistakenly misgendered animals engaging in same-sex relations, while others believe scientists overlooked the behavior to avoid censure from colleagues, Schrefer wrote. Emerging research also acknowledges that some animals have sex for reasons other than procreation, and it doesn’t necessarily affect their species’ ability to survive.

Rambo said female-female pair bonds in American kestrels, small falcons that are common in Illinois, have raised eggs together successfully.

“As someone who has been working with animals since I was about 18 years old, my working theory is that it brings them joy to live this way, to be with each other,” she said. “They don’t need to be ostracized from their communities. Things that bring you joy reduce your stress and reduce your heart rate and prolong your life.”

At the beginning of the walk, Rambo pointed out the nature center’s resident great horned owl, identifiable based on its prominent feathered tufts and large yellow eyes. At first, she said staff believed the owl was male based on size, but recent behavior seems better aligned with a female. Rambo said it’s difficult to tell males and females apart in many bird species.

“For us, as the caretakers of the animal, it doesn’t really matter. They’ve got to eat. They need to have enclosure, they need to have stimulation for taking care of them,” Rambo said. “But whether or not they’re male or female, it doesn’t matter.”

Later on, a bright red northern cardinal, the state bird of Illinois, perched on a fence in front of hikers. Though rare, García-Álvarez said “bilateral gynandromorphism” is possible among the birds, essentially meaning that they’re half-female, half-male. These birds appear almost perfectly split along the middle, with bright red feathers characteristic of a male on one side and pale brown feathers common to females on the other.

García-Álvarez added scientists have also identified half-male, half-female rose-breasted grosbeaks, a common summer resident in northern parts of Illinois. The gynandromorphs have one yellow-brown “wing pit” that is common in females, while the other side has the pink color typical in males.

“There’s a lot of violence toward individuals who consider themselves trans — trans women, trans males, and there’s also high suicide rates within the LGBTQIA+ community because they are not accepted,” García-Álvarez said. “So imagine if they were to hear those words, ‘You are perfect just the way you are,’ or ‘You are natural just as nature intended.’”

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Flowers also prompt people to think critically about gender, García-Álvarez said. A flower is considered “perfect” when it has both male and female parts within one flower structure.

“Imagine if we talked about humans in that same way, like you are perfect because you embody both the masculine and female spirit,” she said.

For some, this science feels personal. When Christine Fleming, who volunteers at other nature preserves throughout the state, got an email explaining the event, the 22-year-old knew it was worth driving an hour from her home in Skokie. She thought the discussion on the cardinals was particularly informative.

“I love nature. I’ve been camping with my family since I was a kid,” Fleming said. “I had gotten a major in environmental science. So this is my thing.”

As a gay Latino member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, Anthony Quezada said it’s important to talk about different identities — even in nature. The walk was part of the county’s Racial Equity Week.

“As a queer person growing up in a poor community, I was thought to believe in a binary for myself,” Quezada said. “But as I got older, I started to understand that I love multiple people, that I express myself in multiple ways, just as nature does.”