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 / Photography
Popular Photography

Popular Photography July 2014

Popular Photography brings you step-by-step secrets of the pros for taking their most amazing shots. You’ll discover the best equipment at the best prices, get comprehensive comparative reports on cameras, lenses, film, digital equipment, printers, scanners, software, accessories and so much more. Get Popular Photography digital magazine subscription today.

United States
Bonnier Corporation
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1 min.
leica t

MILLED FROM a solid block of aluminum, the Audi-designed 16.3MP Leica T, with its sleek lines and large touchscreen, looks a bit like an Apple product. And with built-in Wi-Fi and a free iOS app for image transfer and remote control, it plays well with actual Apple devices, too. But unlike most Leicas, this new APS-C interchangeable-lens compact is light on the knobs and dials, so its customizable menus and the touchscreen's functionality will likely factor large in the user experience. A new T line of autofocus lenses debuts with a 23mm f/2 and an 18–56mm f/3.5–5.6 zoom, but with the M-Adapter-T, you can mount up to 20 different lenses made for Leica's M line of rangefinders. The camera takes SDHC/XC cards, but also packs 16GB of internal storage. Myriad accessories abound,…

2 min.
make magical light happen

WHEN DETROIT hires the top-tier car photographers to produce promo shots for its Mustangs and Malibus, lighting budgets can top $100,000. Care to guess what it cost to light this awesome scene? About $300, and that included the services of two ice fishermen. Pictured is a Chevy Malibu on Russia's massive Lake Baikal in Siberia in mid-winter, and it was taken by Dmitry Chistoprudov and Nikolay Rykov, co-owners of a Moscow-based photo and video production company, Vostok. The car sits on meter-thick, fissured ice that, thanks to the lake's clear water, resembles glass in its transparency. By drilling a hole through the surface—paging ice fishermen!—and submerging a diver's flashlight below the car, the photographers could light the car from below. The aura-like glow around the vehicle and the illuminated fissures that…

4 min.
step 1

HAVE YOU ever taken a photo of a vibrant landscape scene only to be disappointed by a lifeless result? And then noticed that adding contrast alone won't fix the problem? Simply sticking to the contrast slider can easily impart an unnatural, overdone look. After all, photographs can suffer just as much from having too much contrast as from not having enough of it. As with many image editing tasks, the trick is to strike exactly the right balance. Often you'll find it useful—and even necessary—to use several kinds of software in editing a single image to achieve the look you want. No matter the application, there are a variety of ways to control tonal contrast. Adjustments made in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 or 5, Photoshop CS6 or Creative Cloud, and Nik's Color…

2 min.
step 1

IF LAST MONTH'S feature story about photographing undersea creatures got your creative juices flowing (“Secrets of the Deep,” June 2014), we have one word for you: jellies. No longer called jellyfish (since they're not actually fish), jellies displayed in public aquariums across the county make excellent subjects for photographers who are into capturing sea creatures. Eric Plante, a nature and wildlife photographer from Glendale, CA, offers these reasons why: They move slowly. This gives you a better chance at capturing sharp images of them, even in relatively low light. Jellies almost always stay front and center in their tanks. Unlike other aquarium species that will lie at the bottom for hours or hide under sand, in kelp, or behind coral, these creatures generally remain visible and ready for their close-ups, according to…

6 min.
judges' choice

THE DUNES of California's Death Valley seem formed by etched lines rather than windblown sand in this late-afternoon photograph by Samuel Feron of the hottest place on Earth. But Frenchman Feron got fired up about photography in that clime's antithesis, frosty Iceland. Both places satisfy Feron's passion for the pristine—landscapes offering spectacular forms that invite him to break the rules of traditional composition. For his winning shot, Feron waited for the walking figure to reach the top of the dune. “It would have been the classical thing to compose with more empty space in front of him instead of behind,” Feron observes. “But because he seemed lost in thought, I wanted to create mystery by cropping out the area he's walking toward.” Black & White NEW YORK CITY presents an ever-changing human…

8 min.
five filters for serious fun

Now that most photographers are all digital all the time, physical photo filters may seem like curious anachronisms, those things that kept your Uncle Photographer rummaging through his gadget bag. But filters are actually more popular than ever, for very good reasons. Some filters (split neutral density, diffusion) let you get the effect you want right when you press the shutter, not after some tedium in an image editor. And some filters (polarizers, solid neutral density) give effects that would be a huge time sink in postproduction. Besides, filters are just plain fun to fool around with. Try it! 1 Make a dream landscape. This is a trick best for windy, or at least breezy, days. With the camera on a steady support and a very long exposure—30 seconds or more—enabled by…