2.22.2013

Anatomy of a friendly portrait session.


 This is a portrait of Selena.

I have a friend named Selena. She's a musician and she has a promising band here in central Texas, with lots of fans. We've photographed together from time to time and I used images of her to illustrate some concepts in my LED book. We worked on this portrait at Willie Nelson's ranch, just west of town. I wrote about the session a year ago. But I didn't really touch on the actual give and take of a portrait session; only the nuts and bolts.

When you do a session with a friend an exchange of money isn't necessarily the goal. In fact it rarely is. Each participant comes to the project with their own hopes for the outcome. Selena wanted to be able to use the images we would create for the promotion of her career. I wanted to go through the process/experience to, on one level, practice my craft but on another level to prove that a 56 year old photographer could bring a relevant vision to bear in the service of someone half his age. In effect I was trying to prove my own relevance to myself.

At the time I rationalized that I was getting value from the session by being able to use the images of Selena in my books and here on the blog but when I dig down deep I really wanted to know if I could still talk across the void of generational differences. And that was a much bigger unknown than anything having to do with the mechanical construction of the images.

We all fight the inertia of our own history and our own tenure. We learn to do things a certain way early in our careers and we tend to cling to them because the known ways are comforting in their familiarity. When you get to be a certain age there's a two way assumption that you've got a fixed way of doing things and it's never going to change. You feel this because you think you are right and your audience of younger people feel this because they've already experienced the intransigence of experience. "That's the proper technique."

I hear it all the time from people all over the web and all over life. Some people argue themselves hoarse over the noble provenance of three-to-one lighting ratios. Others offer that they'll give up an optical viewfinder system when you pry their cold, dead hands off the carcass of their Nikon/Canon/Fill in the blank camera.  And the young-ish aren't immune from the super glue of conformity either.

No, I took a day's worth of images with a conscious effort not to control things the way I had done images before. I didn't drag along strobes and softboxes and other lighting "just in case" and then press it into use for everything. I didn't presume to control the posing or the props. I tried to flow along with what Selena was interested in while trying to put my own spin on the process.

But when I look at the images even now I see the iron hand of precedence in the mechanics of the images. The one above is shot with an 85mm 1.4 Zeiss lens. It's a prejudice I find hard to break. My default is that medium telephotos with fast apertures are THE way to shoot nice portraits. I find some of the "rules" I picked up over time hard to break because they've worked and by working they reinforce their own efficacy.

But when I really drill down I did the shoot because I wondered at the time if I still cared enough about the outcome of my photography to make good work. Could I move past blasé to get back to committed? Could I find the fun and curiosity that made all of this so much fun back when I was 25 too?

That was then. Now I know that I can answer "yes." But it's important to me to understand why I take on some of the things I do. In some sense I want to see what the magic is all about now that they really have changed the formula. 

People think I change gear because I'm in love with the gear. I really change it because the only way to stay fresh and relevant to yourself and the process is to keep growing and keep questioning. I have the advantage of being able to look back and see how we used to do it long enough ago to see the stark contrast between the days of hypercontrolled and stiff photography that comprised the art when I started out in the commercial field. It's totally different today and the same old tools don't necessarily apply.

The brain stays flexible as long as you challenge it. I can think of nothing less challenging than to use the same tools to do the same craft over and over again in the same way.  It's something to think about.

2.21.2013

Additional, unapologetic lens porn. The 35mm Rokinon Cine lens.

 

Loyal readers will remember that I took a chance a few weeks ago and ordered the Rokinon 85mm 1.5 Cine lens and have been pretty much delighted by the whole package. I found it to be sharp, easy to use and a nice tool for recording video. The focus peaking in the Sony cameras is helpful in using this lens for video production.

I was feeling so euphoric about the 85mm that I started looking around to see what else Rokinon offered in it's Cine window dressing.  I found two other lenses that piqued my interest; one is the 24mm 1.5 Rokinon Cine lens and the other is the 35mm 1.4 Rokinon Cine lens. At around $750 for the 24 and around $550 for the 35mm neither of them really pushed me to commit. It might be nice to have one or the other, or both, but without a pressing need for either it was hard for me to justify spending that much money on focal lengths that I already had covered by zoom lenses or APS-C style lenses. I'm trying to be a prudent business man, after all...
But curiosity is a dangerous thing. After a couple of successful video projects with the 85mm lens I started flirting with the idea of the 35mm and I kept heading back to the web to do my "research." (research = photo nerds progressively talking themselves into buying the right thing, a good thing, the first thing that comes up on the web page, anything!!!!). All of a sudden Amazon drops the price on the lens I've been looking at and it's almost $200 cheaper than it was several hours earlier. Ever the careful steward of my family's budget I put the lens in my online shopping cart, you know, just to see if the price drop was some mistake that would be rectified by, you know, putting it in your shopping cart.... But no. The price stuck. And the free shipping. And the 2% rebate. I stood up and walked around the studio. I circled back, totally captivated by the lens in my shopping cart. And then, like magic, I remembered a job we might be doing sometime in the future where we might need to use a lens like this one.....maybe.  And that was enough for the little part of my brain that sprays out buying endorphins and makes the rest of my brain get all excited about acquiring stuff.

He hammered the logical part of my brain with an huge does of endorphin/anaesthetic and the next thing I knew my trembling hand and my quacking finger hit the One Click buying button and the electronic race was on to empty my credit card and fill me with remorse.... And then what happened?

Oh yes. Well, when I got back home from lunch and coffee with a new friend who came all the way from Washington DC just to photograph in Austin, there was a box waiting patiently by the front door. I popped it open and all the remorse vanished like weak steam on a hot, dry day. There was the new lens. And it was huge and gorgeous and mostly black. I put it on the closest Sony camera I could find, popped on a few lights and started playing. Sharp wide open. Sharp at 5.6. Sharp in the corners from f2.8 on down. All tricked out for video production. Equally capable of snapping towels in the still production locker room. This one is fun.

Sony has a 35mm 1.4 that's a re-tread of a Minolta 35mm 1.4 and it's supposed to be okay once you stop it down a bit. It was originally designed for film and not the vagaries of a digital sensor. I like that the Rok 35mm is a new design and uses an Aspheric element. But mostly I like that it performs well at (for me) nearly one quarter the price of the Sony.

So, what do I gain and what do I lose? In the big picture I lose my pretension of self control when it comes to buying shiny toys. In the smaller picture I give up automation and auto focus and small size and I gain a clickless aperture, very good performance, a lens that can be used immediately with industry standard, video follow focus accessories and a lens that looks very sharp even at its widest aperture.  I'll take it.


If you'd care to join me in my complete surrender to unfettered spending you can find the same lens in Nikon and Canon mounts as well. Shop hard or wait till one of those momentary price drops hits. I'm having fun playing with this one. Still samples and video coming soon.














2.20.2013

What lens makes your eye happy? What's your "desert island" lens?


Count me in as a 150mm user on a medium format camera or an 85-90mm user on 35mm format or a 60mm user on a APS-C camera. When I have one of those optics on the camera everything just falls right into place. Stick an ultra-wide angle on my camera and I just kind of fall apart. But I know that everyone is different. I am curious to know exactly which focal length gets your motor running......and why. Can someone explain to me the charm of the 14mm (on full frame) focal length? What's the deal with the 28mm? Personally hate that focal length more than any other.

Can you please leave a comment and tell me what lens makes your photography tick? Today, zoom lenses don't count. Let's see if you can commit to single focal length...










I like this lens because it's good and crappy at the same time.


For a couple thousand bucks you can get a pretty good zoom lens from Canon, Nikon, Sony and most of the other camera makers. For five to ten thousand dollars you can get a really good lens from Leica. And when I say really good I'm using the most common criteria = painfully sharp. But legions of Holga and Lomo shooters, as well as generations of photographic artists, continually show us that sharp only really counts in razor blades and show-off-tography. No one really cares about ultimate sharpness if the content of a photograph is compelling or thought provoking. We're mostly interested in sharp if we're trying to make a catalog style image of a product.  I have my carefully chosen product lenses but they're not always my first choice. In fact, if I'm not trying to make a faithful image to sell something I could really care less about absolute, nut-crunching sharpness.

Maybe that's why I now have a bit of a soft spot in the camera bag of my heart for a disturbing little lens that Sony stole from Minolta, rebadged and then abandoned, like an unwanted pet. I thought about it when a recent, churlish commenter took me to task for doing what I do best....buying lenses. I had a rationale when I bought the Sony orphaned lens and I gave it but I didn't know someone would expect me to defend my choices in detail. 

But here goes. I bought the Sony 24-105mm f3.5 to f4.5 lens a couple of weeks ago for a small amount of money. The lens was new at the store but had been there for about four years. That's how long ago it had been discontinued by Sony. It's a little gem. About the size of a typical 50mm 1.8 but much weightier. It came with the typical, wide angle capable, petal shaped lens hood. And a box. And a warranty card.


I bet you think this is pretty outrageous vignetting for a lens that's supposed to be designed for full frame, right? But wrap your head around this, all three images in this article were done with the Sony a57 which is an APS-C (or "cropped frame") camera. So the vignetting at f4 and 24mm is astoundingly bad. Really miserable. Yes, it clears up as you stop down a bit but who stops down anymore?

Another attribute of this marvelous optical system is it's blasé effort at being sharp.  If you do everything right and the winds are blowing from the northeast you can see vestiges of sharpness scattered through the frame....just.  But most of the sharpness is obscured by the flatness inherent in the product. And by flat I don't mean it's a lens from the pancake family of lenses. I mean that it's pretty lackadaisical about showing up with much in the way of contrast.

So, to recap: Vignettes like a bastard. Sharp as jello. Snappy as the worn elastic in the waistband of a fat man's underwear. But small and gem-like.  What's not to like?


So I tossed it on the front of my cheapest Sony camera and tooled around downtown. Truth be told I was so casual about shooting with that camera and lens combination that I didn't realize that the camera was set to manual focus for the first half of my walk. But I learned a fun fact. Every time you turn your Sony off and then turn it back on again the camera resets the lens to infinity. Cool. No lost shots for me.

I'm being a bit flip but I guess my point is that for my fun work the lens isn't really a big "make it or break it" thing. And I'm kidding when I say it's no sharper than kleenex. Like almost every modern lens, stopping down two stops from maximum sharpens it up enough.

I guess after having owned Zeiss and Leica glass for decades part of the appeal of the Sony 24/105 is that my expectations are lowered. So I'm constantly being surprised when the lens turns out to be better than I thought it was. When it hits above its weight class.

On another level I'm having fun figuring out how to incorporate the "weaknesses" of the lens into some sort of art. The vignetting doesn't bother me at all when I shoot portraits with the lens. It's kinda fun. And the more pedestrian level of sharpness is actually rather nice for some kinds of portraits.

Over the course of the infiltration and overwhelming conquest of film by digital imaging we've become so f***ing binary in our assessment of images that it makes me tired. We apply manufacturing metrics instead of looking (as we should) through the lens of "art." The dumbing down of image making brought with it a simplification of the appreciation of our art. Now instead of relating to content and concept the vast majority of new adherents analyze images based on flatness of field, sensor noise and the appearance of sharpness to the exclusion of all other parameters.

To dissect a joke is to kill it. 

What this lens reminds me is that getting to the heart of something is much more important than struggling to get to a sterile sort of perfection. It's okay to have faults. Both for humans and for lenses.

Never before have so many boring photographs been so damn sharp.

I'm learning to turn up the "vivid" control in my jpegs and then yank in some "detail" control in post processing. The lens will take care of itself.

Funny, I wrote about this nearly a year ago, but I did a comparison between some modern m4:3 lenses and their counterparts (Olympus Pen half frame lenses) from forty+ years ago and I found that, with the exception of contrast (easily correctible, or should I say, "changeable"), the older lenses were just as proficient as the "cult" lenses of right now. But they were more subtle and layered. Nothing's really changed. Only our perception that somehow perfection might be accessible.  Suckers.











2.19.2013

Lamb Pops.


This is another dish from our shoot at Garrido's Restaurant several weeks ago. Rear lit by LED panels through a diffusion scrim and filled in the front by large, pop up reflector panels. Three lamb chops served as an appetizer.

Camera: Sony a99. Lens: 70-200mm 2.8G.

Food presentation is really an art. I'm not thinking just in terms of how we photograph various dishes but also how the presentation of food in fine dining adds to the perception of value and the enjoyment of the moment.

Plating food is part of every restaurant kitchen's performance art. There seems to be an inverse relationship between the quality (and quantity) of food, how it's provisioned on a plate, and the price of the dish. At an inexpensive restaurant I often find that the emphasis is on quantity with little regard for the disposition of the food. I recently ate a #1 combination plate at a local, blue collar, Tex Mex restaurant and the least expensive ingredients, rice and refried beans, were piled high. The enchiladas threatened to come over the edge of the plate and a massive, crisp taco sat, gargoyle-like in the intersection of the ingredients, with yellow cheese spilling out and melting into the hot rojas sauce that drenched the enchiladas. Don't get me wrong, everything tasted great and there was way too much food to finish, but the plate was over-stocked chaos. A Jackson Pollock painting of food.

Last night I had dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel's Treo Restaurant and the contrast with the local Tex-Mex presentation was vivid. My Caesar salad was linear and compact, spare and elegant and fitted to a plate that seemed to have been created just for this heightened expression of.....long leaves of lettuce. Demure and perfectly sized long leaves of lettuce.

The two cheese and beef enchiladas from the Tex-Mex restaurant would have dwarfed the spare fillet of beef that came out on its own plate at the Four Seasons, topped with a designed sprinkling of savory herbs, elegant and lonely. One spotting drizzle of reduction making a counterpoint on the stark, white plate.

When I post processed the Lamb Pops, above, it struck me that the plate design was in the middle of "no man's land." Somewhere between the two extremes.  It wasn't spare and ephemeral like our new century redux of nouvelle cuisine but it wasn't forward and ample like our popular regional dishes. The salad said, "maybe." While the drizzle of sauce in front of the lamb looks disproportionally generous. No middle ground. Or resolutely only middle ground.

There's no right or wrong way but each plate sent me a different message. One said we'll totally feed you. One said we'll whet your appetite and massage your taste buds. And the most elegant presentation said, "you can afford to stop by someplace and grab a burger on the way home. We're not going to insult you by putting much on your plate. It might monkey around with our design integrity."

The fewest elements are easiest to shoot. The ample plates tend to be tougher. But when I'm really hungry I know where I'm pointing the car. Can we have more tortilla chips please?

Just a note: As Ian Fleming's character says about his fictional life in one of the famous books, "This life reads better than it lives." I would say the Lamb Pops taste even better than they shoot. Yes. I ate all three of them as soon as the art director approved the shot. Yum.

2.18.2013

Portrait.

Belinda looks up from sketching something on her sketch pad. I take the photograph. She goes back to sketching. I go back to the book I was reading. That's it. That was photography. A muse. Amuse. 

The value of photography is in being able to look back in time. My photography records the arc of my existence and of those around me.


I shot this image 34 years ago in a little house on Longview Ave. It's a portrait of my then girlfriend. Five years later we decided to get married. A number of years after that we decided to become parents. Now we've decided to grow old together.

All along the way I've taken photographs of this woman. I can see in the images that she's grown older but to me, no less beautiful than the day that I took this photograph. I suspect that I'll feel that way twenty years from now and, if the fates allow, even longer.

Over the course of the 34 years I've taken hundreds of thousands of photographs of other beautiful women, products, scenes, food and exotic locations. None of them has been an improvement either in seeing or in the technical process of recording compared with this image and other contemporaneous images.

In many ways this image belies the myth that we all continue to grow and learn as photographers. In my mind clear and unobstructed seeing is the thing that allows us to like or dislike an image, not the degree of sharpness or the breadth of tonal range.

We grow and learn as people while we age and we become more sophisticated in our ability to obscure our honest seeing with layers and layers of the mythology we share about image making and we give too much power to stories that celebrate the heroic efforts of image makers when all that is really called for is to either selfishly wish to stop time and embrace a moment forever, or a wish to honestly share something achingly beautiful with the world at large.

We seem to create new ways of doing things just to bolster the idea that we must work hard to do art that means anything. And truthfully, the art that means the most to us on a very human level just requires us to look across the expanse of six or seven feet at a subject that rivets us and holds us captive and to click one button.

Not so hard. Not so heroic. Not so nuanced. But maybe the difficulty comes when we try to make things perfect in every regard. When I am told that a new technique or a new material will bring my images one step closer to perfection I remember the idea of Japanese artists: it is the small imperfection that makes a work complete.

As I've raced toward the ever moving target of perfection I'm created more and more semi-opaque layers that make really seeing the subject in the photos I want to take harder and harder.

Clear seeing endures. Clear feelings make finding the people or things you want to photograph much easier. But it's the need to photograph something that makes the work wonderful. Not perfect, just wonderful.

Do we begin the search for technical perfection when we lose our nascent and direct connection to the things that bring us visual joy? Is it our first, uncritical connection that we spend the rest of our lives pursuing?

I can't remember what camera I used to take this but I can conjecture that it was an old Yashica twin lens camera. I can't remember what light I used but I'm pretty sure it was the one, lone battered, used Novatron flash and a yellowing umbrella that one of my more advanced photographer friends had tossed aside. But I remember looking into Belinda's eyes and needing to make a photograph so that I'd always have that memory preserved in a way that would allow me to go back to it again and again for pleasure and strength.

That's what the value of photography is to me. And that's all. All about the gear? You've got to be kidding...

hyperventilating about photography. don't pass out.


Just a note to refine our understanding about the Visual Science Lab blog site. We write about anything that I'm interested in that has to do with photography, video, art and literature or life in general. The blog is free to read. We currently accept comments but moderate them on an ongoing basis. We do not directly sell products on the site nor are we paid by any manufacturer for mentions of their products within the blog. If we write about a product we are either acknowledging a new product that we think alters the course of the industry (even if only slightly) or it's a product that we've purchased or requested from the maker for testing and we've used it in commercial and personal photographic applications enough to report accurately on the results that we got. Your readership is never contingent on purchasing products represented in links embedded in the articles or supporting any of the manufacturers whose products I choose to write about. You are all grown ups. You get to decide what you want to buy and when.

The links are there to serve a commercial purpose. I receive a small percentage of the sale of products from Amazon where my link initiated a reader's visit to Amazon. The fee that Amazon pays me does not increase the cost of the product to the buyer. The fees I've received so far constitute a negligible percentage of my income.

While we will continue to provide links for people who enjoy what we write here I find it important to mention that the vast majority of articles I write are not product specific and are about the processes or the way we approach making images. A large number of articles are general interest articles that are relevant to both film and digital shooters.

For all the people who protest that we write too much about gear and that their interests would be better served if I only wrote philosophical articles the reality is that the single most popular article, by far, that I've published here was a review of a mid-priced mirrorless camera, the Olympus EPL-2. It has ten times the pageviews of my absolute favorite articles like, Lonely Hunter, Better Hunt. The "gear" articles drive readership. When I resist writing about any gear whatsoever the precipitous decline of readership (within days) is breathtaking. It's truly a case of gear subsidizing non-gear articles.

Similarly, any time I write about microphones or video rigs or video processes the readership numbers dive off the diving board into a largely empty pool. But I am interested in video and motion and I'll continue to explore that.

People are tremendously invested in their idea of what photography is all about. From time to time I get someone writing or commenting that I'm doing it all wrong. But the secret is that there is no "all wrong" in the arts, even the injection moulded "plastic" arts. You've been invited along for a ride in my own introspective and eccentric online journal about photography. There's no hidden agenda. There's no secret handshake. I don't know all the answers. But neither do you.




2.17.2013

I like some of the mistakes I've made in creating photographs.



Only one of three flashes fired. The sync speed on the old Pentax 67 was 1/30th of a second and I was hand holding the camera.  One side is over exposed while the other side is wildly underexposed. When I tried to print the negative nothing really worked. And yet, years later I've realized that I really like the image. It has an energy that perfect portraits rarely achieve.

I'm glad I didn't have Polaroid or instant review because in my pursuit of "correct technique" I would surely have thrown away the image and moved on. I have many technically correct images that are much less interesting to me. The camera doesn't have to be an exacting Xerox machine in order to make your own art. Not always.

The Visual Science Lab Moves Quickly to trademark: i-watch-o-graphy(tm).


Oh Boy! Gee. Golly. Wow. The rumors are swirling that Apple is working on the iWatch. And if history gives us insight into the future it's only a matter of time before the Apple wristwatch sports a camera. I'm guessing a 50 megapixel camera with lots of editing options built in and, just to grind their technical superiority in the faces of their competitors, it will also most probably offer 4K video as well.

We're so excited about the myriad business opportunities this presents that the entire staff of the Visual Science Lab has been pulled off all our in-house projects (including deep space asteroid monitoring, so watch out!) to work feverishly on ways to massively monetize this radical new imaging advance. We call this revolution SOMW (stuff on my wrist). And we KNOW that the first step is to roll out international workshops on I-WATCH-O-GRAPHY(tm). We're working with legions weathered old and young (less than six weeks in the profession)  pros who've agreed to abandon their still highly lucrative careers as full time assignment photographers in order to fulfill their secret life long passion to be TEACHERS. They are ready to walk away from the amazing amounts of money they could be earning in assignment and editorial imaging because they feel called to improve the lives of millions of affluent strangers by offering day long, week long and even month long workshops dedicated to teaching a whole new generation of curious, disciplined and committed artists learn how to master the two (or even more!!!!!) buttons that will control iWatch cameras, and the cameras on a host of imitation products.

We're not just about maximizing our incomes from people who are too lazy to read a page and a half of easy and basic instructions, we're about maximizing the artistic potential of scores of young people whose only experience with watches is looking at the time on their phones. If we can help just one person make a better shared photo of their lunch we feel we will have done a tremendous service to all the art world. And more.

But we're not stopping there. We're working on a rich mix of innovative and fanciful products that will become as important as oxygen to a new generation of Watch-Tographers(tm). We're working with famous German optical companies to create super telephoto optics that will attach to, and enhance, the iWatchPhoto(tm) experience. Massive, stabilized optics that will allow you to move away from the antiquated "hand held" cameras that people fight with everyday. In the future you'll see some awesome bit of  "street fashion" and lift up your wrist for a quick snap. Need to get closer? Click on the arm brace adapter and click in the 600mm f2 Watch-O-Lens(tm) (upgrade to the ashperic with VR) and get to work.

Need more space? Try out the upcoming i-Watch-Photo-Wide(tm), a dedicated wide angle adapter that only adds 730% more bulk to the ecstasy on your wrist. You'll be able to shoot images of your coffee cup even in the cramped confines of an economy class airline seat.... But you won't be in economy class for long. Not when you unlock the promise of the iWatch-o-graphs(tm) you'll be taking. You'll be joining a new generation of visual pioneers and you'll use your personal vision to unlock untold future riches.  Because i-Watch-o-Graphy(tm) is not just a fashion statement....

But wait! There's more. Using Blue Tooth as a syncing tool we'll be introducing a new, indispensable apparatus for the opposite wrist. Its code name, pending release, is the iWrist-Flash(tm). Hold up both arms as though your are practicing the double cobra stance from martial arts, now your two wrists are like a whole professional portrait studio. Camera on the left arm and delicious OFF CAMERA flash on the other. Need more light? Buy more watches!  Plus, we're working on a whole line of wrist strap attachments and modifiers. Lose that LiveStrong(tm) wrist band and make room for the i-Watch-0-mod-ography wrist band. It will hold small scrims, umbrellas, softboxes and much, much more. Plus it comes in colors. Many colors.

I'm sure at this point you're asking: "But how will I be able to make sense of all these cool new tools? How does this all work?"

Time for our three step program. We start with the FREE iWatch-Photo-Walk-Ography(tm)  Foto Walks. Our disturbingly dedicated team of highly trained iWatch-o-graphers mixes with you and hordes of other seemingly boundless potential professional iWatch-o-graphers and we actually show you how to push one of the two (or more!!!!) buttons to make the camera on the watch take a picture. As an added extra we show you how to shove that image you've just made into a highly destructive software program so you can make it look just like a poorly processed snapshot from a 1960's drug store processing lab. All the nostalgia of mediocrity but with none of the really good music from the time period.  Now you and your friends will all have highly creative images that all look.....basically.....the same. Stand out by being part of the crowd!!!!!!

Step two is to get you into a series of (paid) workshops where we'll help you master: 1. Getting the watch on the right arm....for you.  2. Figuring out which of the two buttons takes the photograph. 3.  How to prevent walking in front of fast moving buses or cars while glued to the review screen while you see what the world looks like once it's been processed. 4. How to upload the filtered and adult-ART-rated image to the cloud so that all your new friends across the world will be able to see just what a plate of half eaten enchiladas verdes looks like once it's been dragged through the nostalgia filters and made into ART.

Step three: During the course of our important iWatch-o-photo Walks (tm) together, and during every minute of the workshops,  we help you identify which new products you desperately need to continue your creative momentum and then we sell you these products because of our life long dream to teach and GIVE BACK.  You help us with our feelings of fulfillment by generously GIVING BACK the numbers on your credit card so we can process it and complete the virtuous circle of giving back. It's a win-win-win. We make money doing what we so love.  No, not taking photographs but GIVING BACK through our life long love of teaching (dare we say it? Perhaps a divine calling?). You win by both becoming an vital part of a breathtaking new fad and by putting money back into a vital part of the economy: iWatch-O-tography(tm). The bonus is that you even get to feel as though you are doing ART.  The young children in third world countries win because, by buying their iWatch-o-graphy(tm) modifiers, lenses, flashes and t-shirts you help keep them happily working.

The VSL is there for you. No hobby too lucrative, or expensive. No customer too gullible. No concept too simple to need at least a weekend of valuable and insightful instruction. It's all about the watch and the camera. Thank you Apple! And the hordes of imitators to come....

And anyone who doesn't get on board is a bit of a fossil, an art hater, a old schooler and too mired in the past to understand the power of this new kind of imaging. But don't forget we're working on nailing down the trademarks for i-Watch-O-Graphy(tm) right now. Use it at your own peril because we will bring our bus load of rabid, snapping lawyers to bear.....

Happy shooting. It's as easy as the flick of a wrist.

See our wrist tripod product line.  No limp wrists here.

Get the GoodMan Loupe to magnify your watch screen. Bigger views for sharper photos. (Available with optional wrist straps for stabilization...).

See the whole line of Watch-O-Cam (tm) Camera bags. Tiny but protective. Our biggest holds up to fifty watches with cameras or up to three watches with cameras and several accessories.

And don't forget to check out our line of iWatch-O-Graphy(tm) Strap-Wraps(tm). Colorful, protective covers for your watch band.  And BONUS they are weather proof.

Learn "One Button Magic" on our Disney iWatch-O-Graphy(tm) Alaskan Cruise. Who knew one focal length could be so exciting?

And for all the folks who are currently into medium format digital photography over at the Luminous-Landscape we are currently testing prototypes of a new break through in iWatch-O-Graphy(tm) gear.  It's the i-Pocket-Watch-O-Graph. A bigger sensor and bigger lenses to give your work better bokeh and smoother tonality. Look for it whereever you currently drop kilos of dollars on niche product. Coming soon.

Thanks for reading the previous iterations of the Visual Science Lab. Come with us on a GIVING BACK journey of discovery as we reject all previous photography tools and traditions and emphatically embrace the future of photography. Remember, IT'S ALL ON THE WRIST.(tm)

register now for our upcoming course on using your new iWatch to tell time. Limited classes, call now.