Cemetery Photography


Go ask the youngest angel, She will say with bated breath, By the door of Mary's garden, Are the spirits Love and Death.

I love a good cemetery. That probably sounds morbid, but it’s not. They’re peaceful places, for one thing; hardly anyone ever bothers you. Besides, I figure that since one of these days I’ll be going into one and not leaving, it’d probably help to start getting used to them now.

On a more serious note, cemeteries have a unique sense of history about them that not many other places do. You learn a lot about an area – the way its demographics changed over time, mortality rates, the people who settled and built an area – by who’s buried there. You also realize that for all the expense associated with the death industry (and it is that), we just don’t do mourning like we used to. Don’t believe me? Compare headstones from the 1800’s or even the early part of the last century with what you get now; we used to send our dead out in style, versus sending them out in the equivalent of a Happy Meal container.

Angels are not economists; magnificently, they squander their light.

But I digress. Because of their variety and rich history, cemeteries are also a wonderful place to photograph. Today, I’ll be sharing some tips from my time in the graveyard.

• Bring bags with you. Most cemeteries are well-kept. Some, however, aren’t, or they’re located in areas where people tend to use them as shortcuts (or, worse still, dumping grounds). If you see trash, pick it up, and don’t ever leave trash of your own behind.
• I say the following as someone who smokes a pack a day: Don’t smoke in the cemetery. It’s just tacky.
• Likewise, if you’ve got an MP3 player, mobile phone, or anything else on you that makes noise, shut it off.
• Bear in mind that many cemeteries are private property. You may be asked to leave; if you are, do so, since you’re trespassing if you don’t.
• You may also be asked what you’re doing in the cemetery. If that’s the case, be honest and respectful.
• Speaking of respect, a little goes a long way. If you see a family nearby visiting a loved one, or if there’s a service going on, put the camera away. The photo’s not so important that you have to be an asshole to get it.
• Some cemeteries actually have photo policies. Some may explicitly state that you’re not allowed to take photos (rare, but it happens), while still others will allow picture taking as long as you don’t sell the photos, or may require a special arrangement if you want to sell what you’ve taken. It can also be helpful to call ahead to find out.
• Watch your step. For one thing, you don’t want to walk over someone’s floral arrangements, flags, and the like. For another, you may come across uneven ground, or even sunken graves, from time to time.
• Disturb as little as possible on or around a gravesite. It’s one thing if a stone or plaque has a layer of leaves and dirt on it; there’s nothing wrong with cleaning someone’s resting place.* If, on the other hand, the marker is partially obscured by flowers, toys, or anything else left there by loved ones, leave it as it is.**
• One last rule of thumb: if you’re not sure whether you feel right taking pictures in a graveyard, ask yourself one simple question: how would you feel if someone were taking a picture of your or your loved one’s tombstone? I’ve thought about this from time to time, and I think that as long as someone’s being respectful, I wouldn’t get bent out of shape about it. You may feel differently, and therein, I suppose, lies your answer.

A Heap of Dust Alone Remains...

If you want to learn more about cemeteries themselves, there are two great resources. The first would be a local church or historical society, who can tell you a lot about the town and its families (especially useful if you’re not familiar with an area). The other is a book that you can easily find online, called Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography which explains burial customs, iconography, and the significance of certain types of grave markers. It’s not a photography how-to, but it’s invaluable if you’re as interested in the history of a place and its dead as you are in the photos themselves.

Sites of Interest:

http://www.findagrave.com/ (Find a Grave)
http://www.thegraveyardrabbit.com/ (The Graveyard Rabbit)
A listing of cemetery and funeral home reviews: http://www.texashistoryhunter.net/cfhr/

*One exception would be stones, since it’s common custom to leave stones on or near the grave marker when you’ve visited. This is most common in Jewish cemeteries, but I’ve seen it done elsewhere as well.

**One site goes so far as to suggest moving anything that’s in the way of your photos and replacing it afterward, which strikes me as a step too far.

The quotation on the first photo is from William Butler Yeats’ “Love and Death”; the quotation on the second is from Jean Arp.

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Rule 13: It’s Not The Gear

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

There’s an anecdote (likely apocryphal) that’s circulated among photographers for probably as long as there’ve been photographers. A famous photographer goes out to eat, and is spotted by the chef, who raves about the photographer’s work and says, “Your photographs are lovely. You must have a very nice camera.” A short time later, after a delicious dinner, the photographer asks to see the chef. After being ushered into the kitchen, he tells the chef, “That was a wonderful dinner. I just wanted to see what kind of pots you use.”

That little story speaks to a truism among many photographers: It’s not about the gear. The reasoning is similar to what you hear from artists and craftspeople of all stripes; if you gave a master the most rudimentary tools, they’d still find a way to produce something of worth. It’s not the camera that matters, in other words, but the person behind it.

It’s a useful thing to remember, especially when you’re starting out. It’s easy to fall into a mindset that our photos would be better if we had a nicer camera, faster lenses, expensive software for post processing, and maybe a speed light or three. Admit it, you’ve said – maybe aloud, or maybe just to yourself – “Y’know, if I just had a (fill in the blank with this week’s photographic object of lust).”
The gear isn’t the only thing making those photos. You are. Think of it as a collaboration with your camera; each of you needs the other to get the results you’re looking for. A camera’s not going to be much use without someone to call the shots, and the photographer is likewise at loose ends if she’s got nothing with which to take the photograph. The problem is, any collaboration’s only as good as its weakest link; if your skills aren’t equal to your gear, you’re just going to be taking rather more expensive crappy photos.

McMain Building, Rutherford, NJ

Let’s take this out of the theoretical and into the practical for a minute. One of the photos accompanying this post was shot with my recently deceased Kodak point-and-shoot, and one was shot with my Nikon. Without peeking at the EXIF data, you want to take a good guess at which one’s which? And for that matter, does it matter?

The shot from Sleepy Hollow was the one taken with the Kodak, and remains one of my favorite shots I’ve taken (if I may be so immodest). The other one, taken with my Nikon, isn’t one of my favorite shots, and wouldn’t be anybody else’s either. There’s technically nothing wrong with it; the lighting and exposure are acceptable, the composition at least isn’t awful, but at the same time, it doesn’t really have anything to say. I could have gotten the same shot with the Kodak, and could also have gotten the same shot no matter what lens I’d put on the Nikon. More to the point, any other person could have gotten the same shot; there’s nothing that makes it uniquely “mine” or anyone else’s. But it’s not the camera’s fault it came out that way, it’s mine.

So the next time you’re contemplating plunking down money on some doodad or other, think about it first. Ask yourself one simple question: “What’s the issue here?” Be willing to honestly assess your own skills, since the problem may not be with the camera, so much as what’s behind it. Sometimes we’re the ones that need the upgrade.

Postscript: Next week, we’ll revisit this question from a bit different perspective.

Photo News Roundup, 9/17/11

Milk, bread, eggs, paper towels…

We’ve got your photo news right here. As usual, the links go to the sources’ websites, and the original articles.

Ricoh unveils the GR Digital IV compact, with image stabilization and a 28mm f/1.9 lens. The company says the AF performance has been improved over the previous model. Kodak, meantime, has introduced two new cameras, the Easyshare Touch M5370 — which records on Micro SD cards — and the Z5010, a bridge camera with 21x zoom. As with everything else Kodak, they’ll probably be perfectly competent, and will probably do very little to help the company’s sagging fortunes. (Adorama)

Canon replaces one respected camera (the SX30) with a new model, the Powershot SX40 HS, and replaces a beloved camera (the S95 is many serious photographers’ “go-to” compact) with the S100. The coming weeks should also be interesting, including an “Historic” (their words, not mine) announcement in Hollywood on November 3. It should be noted that the last time Canon hyped something like this, it turned out to be a printer, so a bit of caution may be in order before getting your hopes up. The same caveat should probably be applied to the product announcement that’s coming on September 22 (right on the heels of Nikon’s upcoming announcement) that promises a “pro product launch.” (Canon Rumors)

According to a Panasonic press release found on the dpreview website, a recent firmware update effectively upgrades several Micro 4/3 lenses to HD standards.

In case you thought fake and pirated gear was limited to “Rollex,” “Thommy Hillfiger” and other “fashion” knockoffs, FStoppers has a story about a fake MB-D11 battery grip that one particularly shady online seller was passing off as the genuine article. To be clear, the grip wasn’t just a piece of non-functioning plastic; it’s actually an aftermarket grip for the D7000 made by Neewer, but this d-bag individual was passing them off as the real thing. Let me say it again: BUY LOCAL.

 Leica news: Panasonic announces FZ-150 camera (which replaces the FZ-100). In case you’re wondering what one has to do with the other, the two companies have traded technologies in the past. Lenses built to Leica specs appear on Pentax cameras, and Pentax bodies have been rebadged as Leicas, including the V-Lux 2 (a re-badged FZ-100). The appearance of an FZ-150 makes a V-Lux 3 extremely likely. (Leica Rumors)

PetaPixel tells of a German television program’s social experiment that shows the state of photographers’ rights in Germany, by sending a photographer to photograph “sensitive” locations. The catch? The first time, he was dressed like a local, and the second time as a Middle Eastern-looking individual. Wanna guess which time he got stopped?

 Slow news week, eh? Stay tuned, though; by this time next week, there should be some interesting tidbits to report on Nikon’s mirrorless system, and perhaps some hints about whatever cat Canon’s got in the bag.

On a Lighter Note: Photography Humor

Easy on the Photoshop, please.

Once upon a time, Frank Zappa asked, “Does humor belong in music?” We could easily ask the same of photography. After all, people take photography seriously. Maybe a little too seriously. But there’s plenty of humor had — albeit sometimes at someone else’s expense. There are thousands of sites out there with funny photos of dogs, cats, kids, and everything else; what the sites listed below have in common is that they’re not only funny, you can also learn a fair amount about what not to do as a photographer. Enjoy them, and if you can think of any to add to the list, comment or drop a line.

Awkward Family Photos is one bad judgment piled on top of another, on another… or maybe it’s like those Russian dolls, with a whole lot of nested awful. Many of the photos were done by professional photographers, and while you can blame some of the results on changing tastes and times, some of these families could clearly have used an intervention before stepping in front of the camera.

There’s still money in stock photography, with some photographers even making a living in the diluted, low-profit world of microstock. Awkward Stock Photos is a case study in what happens when people keep adding more crap to an already oversaturated market

Anyone whose attitude is “Fix it in post!” really should check out Photoshop Disasters. It’s a compendium of misplaced limbs, displaced hips, clones upon clones, and every other sin someone’s committed in photo editing and either didn’t catch, or figured nobody’d notice.

Uncle Bob Photography deserves a little explanation: “Uncle Bob” is a name you’ll see a lot on websites and forums frequented by pro photographers. He’s that uncle who’ll volunteer to capture your engagement/wedding/bat mitzvah because he’s got an expensive camera. Generally gives professional photographers conniptions by getting in the middle of their shots to get his shots, or because his flash has ruined several exposures. I’m not sure who this “Uncle Bob” is, but as Facebook satirists go, he’s good.

Aaron Johnson’s What the Duck is a long-running (five years is practically an eternity on the internet) webcomic following the adventures of an intrepid photographer duck.

A recent discovery, and a favorite not just because of the truly awful photos, but also the site owners’ snarky commentary on each, is You Are Not a Photographer. “Fauxtographers” of all stripes get called on the carpet here, and their work pretty mercilessly cut down to size. It’s not quite mean-spirited, though; the ladies (who go by Ginger and Mary Anne) often solicit feedback on how the images could be made better.

This time next week, we’ll be looking over the work of some photographers who are funny on purpose. In the meantime, have a look over these sites, and in between the laughs, take some notes, ’cause there are some Grade-A examples of what you don’t want to do with your photography, no matter how trendy it may be, or how good an idea it may seem at the time.

Review: Photo Idea Index, by Jim Krause

Photo Idea Index, by Jim Krause

In the preface to one of this book’s companion volumes, Jim Krause describes the pages that follow not so much as a “How To” book as a “What if?” book. That seems an apt enough description for Photo Idea Index, one of a number of books Krause has authored for graphic design imprint How Books.

A dizzying array of topics are covered here. To Krause’s credit, he doesn’t neglect the place of the photographer in all of this, putting vision front and center. Nor is he particularly enamored of expensive gear (likely an outgrowth of his graphic design background; everybody I know who does graphic design is routinely asked to work miracles on a shoestring budget), which is a great reminder for photographers and others in the habit of always having only the latest and most expensive stuff. If you’re concerned with postproduction, layout, workflow, general creativity or vision, and whether you’re photographing products, people, real estate, or pretty much anything else obvious or obscure, there’s probably a tip or three here for you.

In a sense, it’s probably a good thing this isn’t explicitly marketed as a “how to,” since the dozens of exercises presented here are mere hints at, or suggestions of, larger concepts. If you’re looking for detailed step-by-step instructions, you’ve come to the wrong place. Each of these examples is a mere starting point, as with Krause’s other work. To my mind, there’s no downside here, as I’m the type to take what I need and leave the rest, and I’m willing to take the germ of an idea as a jumping-off point. If you approach the book in that spirit, it’s useful no matter who you are. If, on the other hand, you need more of a kick in the ass, you might be better off in the self-help section.

Here goes nothing… hopefully what follows won’t sound like I’m damning Mr. Krause with faint praise: While this book’s target audience seems to be people who are vaguely scared of photography (artists, graphic designers, and others of that ilk), novice and even experienced photographers will find much to use and appreciate here. Krause does for photography, and photographers of all skill/comfort levels what his graphic design books accomplish so well: he demystifies the process and makes it accessible. More importantly — to this reader, at least — he’s mindful of a spirit of improvisation and fun that pervades the best photography. Those “what ifs” can be found on page after page, challenging the photographer even as it welcomes him or her. If you’re not a photographer, you might give that a second thought after reading Photo Idea Index. And if you’ve got some experience under your belt, you may find yourself inspired to stretch your techniques and thoughts just a bit futher than before.

Postscript: Jim Krause is also the author of the perennial design bestsellers Layout Index, Design Basics Index (Index Series), and Idea Index, plus the companion volumes to this book, Photo Idea Index – People, Photo Idea Index – Places, and Photo Idea Index – Things. Like this book, each combines tips with stories, exercises and prompts, many drawn from Krause’s own experiences as a working designer.

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Charity Profile: Operation: Love ReUnited

Click to find out more about Operation: Love ReUnited

Deployments are too hard on families, and homecomings too joyous, to give much thought to documenting the occasion. Your loved ones are the first thing on your mind, and a camera… well, it’s much further down the list, if it even occurs to you at all. Tonee Lawrence found this out the hard way. Her husband deployed to the Middle East in January 2005, and when he returned some months later, she had little to show for it photographically.

Operation: Love ReUnited was started a short time later, in September, 2006, so that other service members and their families would have a means of documenting these occasions. The first shoot was by Lawrence herself, for a friend whose husband was being deployed. In the five years since, hundreds of photographers – some, like Lawrence, military spouses, others just volunteers with a passion – have captured literally thousands of images of service members and their families, both as they depart for overseas operations, and during their return home.

Participating photographers waive their fees, and agree to send a 4×6 printed album of the images to the deployed soldier, at no cost to the family. When homecomings are photographed, the photographer gives an album or a cd of the images to the returning military member, all with no financial obligation by the service member or their family.

The organization has gotten attention from military spouses (hardly surprising), but is also the only organization whose policies and guidelines have been fully reviewed and approved by the Department of Defense  (you can read the DoD’s feature on the organization here http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=52589).

The organization is still looking for photographers, especially to be able to mobilize large numbers on short notice when troops are deployed. Monetary donations are also sought in order to defray the organization’s members’ travel expenses, which can be considerable. You can find out more about Operation: Love ReUnited’s services, volunteer guidelines, and network of volunteer photographers by visiting their website, http://www.oplove.org/ You may also find them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/oplove .

A Photographer’s Checklist

Abstract Lights

Atul Gawande knows his checklists; his book, The Checklist Manifesto, has garnered rave reviews and spent ages on the bestseller list. He’s a general and endocrine surgeon who relies on them to keep things going smoothly in the OR. It’s a good thing, too, since even a small failure can have disastrous consequences. As photographers, what we’re doing doesn’t generally leave lives in the balance, but it’s still a good idea to have our own checklist to make sure that everything goes well during a shoot, whether we’re in it for the money, or just a good day of shooting. What follows are the essential things to look out for when you prep for a day out with your camera.

•Is your bag clean, inside and out? Lint brushes are helpful for the bag’s exterior, while a vacuum helps get stuff out of the interior. No sense in cleaning your lenses if your bag’s just getting them dirty.
• Are your batteries charged? This includes not only the camera’s battery, but also batteries for your flash, and making sure the backups are also charged.
• Is a backup battery packed? Some batteries are rated for thousands of shots. They’re not rated for nearly as many shots if you don’t have them with you. I had one long weekend when I made the mistake of leaving one camera battery at home in the charger, so I was thankful to have my “spare” to get me through.
•Are your memory cards clean (i.e. images backed up) and formatted properly? Having a few days’ worth of stuff on your card(s) means not having room for today’s shots, and can also mean frantically going through older pictures trying to figure out what to delete to make room. Save yourself the headaches.
• Spare memory packed? An additional caveat to the point above. It’s especially vital if you’re going on a long vacation or a shoot that you know is going to involve a lot of photos.
• Camera body clean, free of dust, dirt and fingerprints (including viewfinder and LCD)? Enough said.
• Lenses packed? Sometimes you’ll only want to carry part of your kit with you. Think about where, and what, you’ll be shooting, and pack accordingly.
• Lenses clean and capped (both ends)? Dust, smudges and fingerprints can wreak havoc on your photos.
• If you use a UV or other filter to protect the lens, is it secure? This is especially something to look out for if you’re using multiple filters (say, a UV or skylight filter to protect the lens, along with a polarizer), since sometimes taking one filter off the lens will loosen the other.
• If you have other filters (Polarizer, ND, Infrared), are these also clean and in a safe place? Get a filter wallet, or, barring that, use the cases the filters came in for protection.
• If you’re using a tripod, is the quick release plate already on your camera? Over time, I’ve gotten in the habit of just leaving the quick release plate on the camera all the time. It only comes off if I’m using the monopod. This way, I always know where my quick release plate is, and it’s always ready if I want to use my tripod, versus having to pause and put the thing on the camera each time. Besides, if you’re changing it too often, you can strip the threads on either the quick release or the camera itself.
• Is your tripod/monopod clean, and is all the hardware (especially the head and clamps) in proper working order? Make sure everything’s as tight as it’s supposed to be, especially if you’re in the habit of using a heavy lens on a heavy body.
• Have you packed, at the bare minimum, an air blower and cleaning cloth? Even if you’ve taken care to clean your gear before a shoot, sometimes conditions – dust, pollen, inquisitive toddlers – can lead to issues during a shoot that can affect your images.
• If you’re planning on using a remote release, are its batteries working?
• Have you packed your manual or other reference? You never know when you’ll suddenly want to use a feature or setting that you haven’t touched since about a week after you bought the camera, and have since forgotten how to use.
• Are you bringing lens hoods with you?
• Do you have a pen and paper with you? You never know when ideas will be sparked, or connections made. Have something with you to record what needs recording.
• Have you packed a towel or washcloth for those “ohshit” moments? It’s not just the gear that gets dirty, sometimes it’s us. If you don’t want what’s on you on your camera, get it off before it becomes a problem.
• If you’re shooting an event, have you made a checklist of the shots you expect – or are expected – to get?
• Finally – and perhaps most importantly – have you checked your settings? I’ve missed shots because I forgot to reset things like white balance, exposure compensation or ISO from a previous shoot, and have also lost time switching modes or settings on the fly, when I could’ve avoided the issue by checking ahead of time. These things don’t take long to change with practice, but sometimes even those brief intervals make a huge difference.

So there you have it… the essential checklist for your essential “stuff.” Incidentally, it’s also helpful to go over these items after a shoot, as well. Leaving your equipment dirty, your batteries depleted, or neglecting any of these other items after you’ve used your gear isn’t a good idea either, since there are times you’ll want to be able to just grab your kit and go, without having to worry over whether one or more of its component bits are going to fail you. It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to print this list, or one like it, out, at least ‘til you’ve committed to the routine and do it as a matter of course. There are other lists you could make as well, dealing with individual photo shoots, postproduction workflow, and other things, but we’ll take those up in the future.

Have I left anything out? Is there something you do to take care of your gear as part of your routine that you could share? Email me!

Rule 12: Photograph Like a Beginner

The face rings a bell...

Stick with photography, or pretty much anything else, long enough, and it happens: you begin to understand what you’re doing well enough that doing it becomes nearly automatic. At first, this can be gratifying. After all, you’ve worked your butt off, experimenting, studying, and shooting, all so you could get to a point where you could render what you see in the viewfinder, or your mind’s eye, with some degree of reliability.

However, if you allow it to be something you do without thinking long enough, something else starts to happen: what started as an easygoing familiarity begins to look like you’ve been phoning it in. It’s one thing not to have to sweat the settings, but it’s something else again when you just sit back and figure that the composition will also take care of itself.

Most of the cameras I’ve used for any length of time allowed very little control over their settings. This made them user-friendly, and gave me the ability to concentrate more on composition, but there were plenty of days when I’d shoot just because there was something in front of me, and I happened to have a camera. I could excuse this early on — after all, I was just getting started — but once I had some experience under my belt and a better understanding of what made a better photo, it became a lot harder to justify taking bland photos.

Upgrading to an SLR has made a difference. Granted, there are times I’ve taken a few dozen shots just to experiment with settings and see what happened with the changes I made (something I’d also suggest if you’re new, whether to photography or just to a new type of camera or lens). But I’ve also tried to turn this into an opportunity to look at things with a fresh set of eyes, as it were.

As frustrating as it’s occasionally been (especially when you shoot for an entire night and find you haven’t got much worth keeping), it’s also been very helpful. When you have to stop and think about what you’re doing with one part of the equation, it generally forces you to slow down and think about the other bits as well. In a way, this is one more reason not to shoot in Program or Auto. Having to stop and think — to make a series of choices, and to also consider what each of those choices is going to do to your end result — is a useful speed bump, of sorts, that usually results in you also thinking over your choice of subject (do I really want/need a photo of this?) and how you compose the shot.

If you’ve gotten more experienced, try to find a way to change something. Maybe it’s going to a mode you don’t generally use, or a different type of subject matter; it could also mean trading gear with someone else for a day. You usually use an SLR? Pick up a compact. Committed Canon fan? Grab a Sony. Die-hard bird watcher? Spend a day photographing surfers. You can always find ways to make the familiar just strange enough that those automatic responses now become food for thought.

Photo News Roundup, 9/10/11

Grille No. 1

The ACLU has released a guide to photographers’ rights. I would suggest that anyone reading this in the United States who photographs in public to read this, keep a printout in your camera bag, and pass it along to any friends who are photographers (even if they’re just casual shooters). I know the ACLU can be a pretty broad target, but in the decade since 9/11, photographers have also increasingly become targets in the name of security. It helps to know your rights, and it also helps that someone out there is trying to safeguard ’em.

Panasonic is said to have a “GX” camera in the works, according to 4/3 Rumors. It’s the same Micro 4/3 mount, with the design supposedly optimized for video, which would go some way toward explaining the just-announced X series lenses. If you look at the photos, you have to wonder at what point “micro” 4/3 isn’t so micro anymore; the Panasonics already had a somewhat larger and more SLR-like form factor than the Olympus m4/3, but this one makes them seem positively tiny. Using the hotshoe in the photo as a point of reference, the dimensions don’t look that far from your average entry-level SLR.

Bloomberg notes the slow shift in the camera market, as companies that have moved toward mirrorless technology (Sony, Samsung, Panasonic) are gaining market share at the expense of the Big Two, Canon and Nikon. Canon, at least publically, insists this is a passing phase, while Nikon should soon be releasing its first mirrorless compact; however, you can’t help but wonder if they’ve already missed the boat.

The Economist, bless their souls, just discovered this HDR thing. Actually, the linked article discusses the increased processing power in current digital cameras and some of the innovations made possible by it (like the upcoming Lytro).

EOS HD has the first test images I’ve seen anywhere from the Fuji X10. They’re enthusiastic about it, going so far as to say that it’s a serious rival to Canon’s G12… no small claim to make, since the G series has been regarded as the benchmark for compacts for quite a while now.

Swedish English-language website The Local says that award-winning photographer Terje Hellesö has been reported to Swedish authorities for fraud after doctoring wildlife photos. Apparently, Mr. Hellesö had taken a bit of artistic license, pasting additional lynx into his pictures. This would just be one more guy overusing Photoshop if not for the fact that the photographer in question was the recipient of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency’s Nature Photographer of the Year award — which, incidentally, he’s thus far been allowed to keep. Additional coverage is available on Fotosidan (via Google Translate) here.

The web’s all abuzz over an Apple product. Nothing new there. What’s different this time is that the buzz is building on the basis of a leaked photo taken with an iPhone 4, but whose EXIF data not only doesn’t match the iPhone 4, but suggests the iPhone 5 could seriously up the ante for cameraphones. (Mac Rumors)

Facepalm department: A terse, testy, and altogether perplexing press release from Nikon, which deserves to be quoted in its entirety:

Comments on Media Reports about Nikon’s imaging product September 9, 2011

Nikon understands that some article appeared in the media regarding Nikon’s imaging product. Please note that Nikon has made no announcement in this regards.

Nobody seems quite sure what to make of this; perhaps they’re miffed at the innumerable leaks over their upcoming mirrorless camera? Or maybe they’re unhappy that word about their red D3100 slipped out in advance of the official announcement? Odd, no matter how you look at it.

PDN reports that Adobe is releasing a client-side photo app for Apple devices soon, with a Windows-based version expected to follow in early 2012.

Per Photo Business News & Forum, Gannett, the newspaper behemoth that owns the Asbury Park Press, USA Today, and scads of other properties, has bought out US Presswire. The terms of the deal, detailed in PBN&F’s original post, show that Gannett apparently holds photographers in the same low regard that US Presswire did, which is hardly encouraging news.

First Fuji hit unexpected pay dirt with the X100; now Samsung may be targeting the same demographic with a rangefinder-styled interchangeable lens camera, possibly called the R1. (Photo Rumors) 

Photography Bay reports that Ritz Interactive (which handles the e-commerce for Ritz, Wolf,  and Camera World brands, among others) has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a scarce two years after its brick-and-mortar counterpart did the same. No word yet on whether David Ritz will set up another holding company to buy back his own company for pennies on the dollar.

Reviews are coming in from all quarters on the new Sony gear, and the feedback thus far is very positive. Sony Alpha Rumors has the skinny on the lot of it.

TechRadar reports that Nikon has admitted, and tried to rectify, some of the mistakes it made with the P7000 with the release of the upcoming P7100. Many who bought the P7000 would be perfectly happy if they’d just fixed the stuck lens cover issue that plagues those cameras, but a few of the other bugaboos (shutter lag and a sluggish processor) are also promised fixes. Time will tell.