Solstice Visuals

Entertainment for the creative mind.

Posts tagged with 'Articles and Interviews'.

Photographers To Watch For: Kait Robinson

Kait Robinson is not just a photographer, she’s a great person. Her work speaks for itself even through her modest nature. She’s down right amazing. I got a chance to speak with her and she is as amazing as her images.

Kait’s words: 

My interest in photography first sparked when I was taking traditional darkroom courses in High School. My senior year came along and my interest only continued to grow when I finally got my first DSLR camera- a Nikon D80. From then on, I was reading every piece of material that related to photography. Books, online forums, tutorials… pretty much anything imaginable. It was, for the most part, a hobby, until my sophomore year of college. I wanted to combine my love for fashion and photography and make it into a future for myself. 

Shortly after, I moved to New York City and am now attending the Fashion Institute of Technology majoring in Photography. I knew I needed to be in a place not only where the industry is, but in a place where I can constantly evolve my eye and stay inspired. My main goal with my photography is to simply make the images that I visualize. Photography is so satisfying in the sense that it allows me to share ideas and concepts that I have with so many people. It’s in a way, an insight into who I am.

With her drive, passion, and recent internship at Art+Commerce, I have no doubt she will be someone the world will know soon enough. 

Looking At Your Favorite Selects After A Shoot On Your Computer

Looking at selects after a shoot is a lot like going to see a comedian at a comedy club. 

When you go to a comedy club, the comedian is hilarious! You have a great time and so do the people you go with. He’s so good that you remember him a few days later. You decide to search for him and see his best material online. You show your friends while you watch and then, for some reason, you realize it wasn’t as funny as you remembered when you were there. 

Similarly, when you’re shooting, everything is going amazing and you look at the back of your camera as you go along. “That’s the one! That’s the money shot!” you scream. Everyone is loving it and you feel like you got some amazing shots. The team gets excited and it almost turns into a party. 

You go home and a couple of days later you go back to those shots and you think to yourself, “they aren’t as good as I remembered?” 

So what’s missing? Half of it’s the psychology of the environment influencing you to like the shots more than you wanted. 

Similarly to the comedian you see online later, the atmosphere is completely different now and the humor isn’t influenced by anything other than the comedian. Take away the drinks, your friends, the laughing fat guy in the corner that makes it funnier - when it’s just you and the material, it all changes. 

It’s amazing how psychology and environment affects how much you actually like the same thing and how it changes based on what conditions you see it under. 

The 5D Mark III At A Glance: Canon 5D Mark III Review

5D Mk3 with 24-70 2.8L II lens

So besides the obvious specs (here), what are the key differences and upgrades? 

First and foremost, the 14 bit a/d conversion and sensor size of 24x26mm is still the same. So for sheer image quality it’s probably not a big upgrade. However, it does have the beautiful DIG!C5 processor which reduces false color and other ‘junk’ that can prevent beautiful imagery, however the difference may be subtle. 

The 5D3 now has 6 frames per second in burst, which is a big step up! Also, in video, at 720p you can now shoot at 60fps! (Yes!). Furthermore, the ISO range has expanded. 

It used to be ISO 100 to 6400 calibrated basic, now it has expanded to 100 to 25,600 calibrated basic, expandable two levels up all the way to 102,400. 

They also have a new button called “rating” where you can star your shots to bookmark your favorites of the bunch. It’s one of those features you know you wanted but never thought about creating a tool for it in camera. I always write the file number down for the ones I love when previewing them after the shoot when I know I got the shot. 

Finally, there’s another mode where you can shoot in ‘silent single frame’, where it makes far less noise than regular, in situations where shutter slaps aren’t welcome. This is also available in burst mode too. 

They also modified the design a bit, making it more rounded from the side, and angled at the top. I do prefer the MKII design more, though. 

Has the autofocus improved? 

There is good news! Prior, on the 5D2, the focus was apparently not that great. It needed to be improved similarly to how the 7D was. Furthermore, you couldn’t enable the autofocus assist beam unless you had a flash or an STE-2 (if I recall correctly). 

Now, changes are: 

1) They fixed the autofocus issue. 

2) You can now enable the autofocus assist beam without anything attached! It works very good! 

AF Assist Beam 
(1) Enable

With an EOS-dedicated Speedlite, AF-assist beam is emitted automatically when necessary.

(2) Disable

(3) IR AF assist beam only

What else? 

There are plenty of other features, like a HDR mode increasing the natural dynamic range of each image without the ugly faux-HDR look. 

Also, the improved weatherproofing on the body, just don’t play with it in the rain. 

Additional CF and SD card slots. 

This review was primarily leaning to the stills side, but there are also more video upgrades which you can find in the spec list at the top of this article. The most relevant being the headphone jack. 

Let’s recap: 

6 fps, DIG!C 5, 60fps in 720p, better autofocus, 100 to 102400, silent single and burst frame mode + more features. 

      Why Are Your Tiff Files Bigger Than Your Raw Files?

This conversation will explain why. 

Although raw files are far better in regards to manipulating an image even over a 16 bit tiff file, the raw file is a compressed format, while the TIFF file is uncompressed, leading the TIFF files to be way larger. 

Check out the conversation. I am sure many people did not know this, and this is for them. 


Hey You, You’re Special!

How often do you stop to remember how important your photos are to someone?

Do you ever imagine your clients looking back on photos you took of them in the future, only to remember how great the photos are you took of them? It may be of ‘THE’ wedding day photo, or it may be a couple shoot. It may be of a relative you took that passed away. They hold that dear to them in such an escalated emotional value, probably more than you to your own work. 

Sometimes we all get wound up in business and just getting the job done, but remember you do something special for people. Never forget that fact, no matter how low you may get sometimes during those bad times. Always remember your work is awesome and in a way, it makes you eternal. In 50 years, the photos you take will be around and someone, somewhere, will remember your awesome work. 

Have a great day! 

Two Things All Facebook Users Need to Know

Recently, being around people and using facebook, I’ve found that a lot of people have been quite surprised by these two features that I felt were almost common knowledge by daily users. They would see me post and ask me about these two features when they saw me use it.  

So chances are these are obvious to you, or you may not know about these two features. 

This post is for those people who may benefit from this and did not know about it before. 

1. Stop Notifications On Old Posts

After you’ve commented on someone’s status, you usually get plenty of notifications that have nothing to do with you. They include all the comments after you. Facebook realized this was an issue and decided that you can opt out of these notifications by clicking on the ‘unfollow post’ button once you post. 

For a while I’d reconsider commenting on someone’s status before this feature was enabled because I just didn’t want annoying notifications. Now it’s no longer an issue. 

2. Edit Your Post


Once you post something, you have a chance to actually edit your post in case you made a mistake. They put this into an update without notifying everyone. 

The key is you’ll have to do it relatively soon after you post. You can’t come back to it in a coupe of minutes, you have a specific window to follow.

Don’t worry about the time shown in the post, that’s simply a lack of adjusting that in post when I made the graphic. 


So there you have it! Happy posting. 

Pen Tablet vs Mouse

There’s always an argument over whether or not a pen is better than a mouse. The resounding input from most people is that the pen tablet is much better than a mouse. 

But before you jump to any conclusions, check this out. 

Artist Michael O uses the mouse most of the time: 

Do you use a tablet or a mouse?

A mouse 90% of the time. My style is more technical than strict digital painting so there is more of a need for clicking around than making brush strokes. I like to use a tablet for hair and some effects.

Before you write off that statement, check out his work here:

In the digital art realm, I would say it’s even harder and even more people need tablets because it’s drawing based. 

The end point is that even though I personally love using my tablet, it’s not about which is better than the other, but which one do you prefer using? 

It goes to show how it’s not always a fact, but a matter of strong opinion. 

Interview: Artist Kate Zambrano

Growing up, I’ve always been in love with art. Along the way I lost sight of the physical medium and transferred my passion to retouching.

Recently, I saw the work of artist and model, Kate Zambrano. I immediately fell in love with her style and her pieces. It was like nothing I had seen prior. She graciously spent some time talking about and sharing her work. 

Check out the interview below along with some of her pieces.

Kate’s website:

1. When did being an artist begin for you, was it something you did as a child, or did you discover it growing up?

I have been interested in art my whole life. I used to spend hours in my room with a Walkman and a coloring book. I began taking myself more seriously a few years ago. I shifted my focus absolutely on art.

2. Before you found this world, what did you do prior to that lead you to discover that you were good at it?

Well, I work my ass off everyday. I have no social life. I sit in the studio and try to push myself to be better. I didn’t crawl out of the womb drawing portraits. Natural talent is a falsity. I had to learn and still am learning about art. If you do something for hours a day everyday, you can’t get worse at it.


3. That is great to know that it takes lots of practice, especially for people who assume that talent like that just happens. That in itself is inspiring. Speaking of which, who are your inspirations?

I’m inspired by a lot of things actually. If I’m not in the studio working, I’m thinking about what I’d like to create next. I am inspired by random things. I flip through magazines a lot and marvel at the designs. Then again, I was walking down the street the other day, completely mesmerized by the cracks in the pavement. All the inspiration is there I just have to open my eyes.

4. How much does emotion play a part in your work? Is it ever incorporated into your final piece?

I don’t feel like I need to be experiencing anything significantly at the time I am creating a piece. I’d rather keep myself out of the equation and allow the viewer to be able to feel whatever they deem appropriate when they look at it. Art is all in the interpretation.

5. How long does a piece usually take from start to finish? Is it common for a piece to take a span of a few days just because you’re not sure about the direction you would like to take it in?

I work on a piece for about two days. I don’t like to meander around my drawing aimlessly for too long, or else I lose all care to complete it. I mentally move on to something else. Two days is my average. I don’t like to revisit illustrations either. My mind won’t be in the same place.

6. Do you ever take work based off commission?




Kate is also available for commissioned work. You can contact her via her website:

Following Your Dreams: Re-Analyze Your Motivation

There are no job openings for the job of pursuing your own dreams, that position is created and filled by you. Your interview won’t start tomorrow. It starts today, right now. Don’t call in sick, don’t wait for tomorrow to make things happen.

'I'll start tomorrow' may have been the first thing you thought of at most. That’s not good enough. 

If you had an interview for your dream job right now, would you miss it? Would you call in and tell them you’re too busy watching the game to make it? Would you try to reschedule?  

That person interviewing you, is yourself. There are no interview times or dates for attaining your dreams

Now, how does ‘I’ll start tomorrow’ sound now? You just missed that interview. 

That is exactly how you should look at going after what you want. Don’t put it off till tomorrow, magically inspired invitations only happen in the movies. Don’t wait for a calling, don’t keep praying for it or even wishing for it, you make your own destiny. 

This situation is not exageration, there are people out there who are trying harder than you would believe, and they have the eyes set on the same goal you do. They don’t wait for tomorrow, they are doing it now. I have seen it with my own eyes, even in such a niche industry as mine. 

In the silence of my current space, there is a loud sound of someone’s passion filling my patience that doesn’t let me just sit there in my comfort zone. That sound is filling yours but you can’t hear it yet, until you open your ears to it.  

That is the same fire I want to instill in you.

Make it harder for the other person who is trying to steal your dream job. Otherwise you’re giving them an easy road to follow to steal yours. 

Whatever it is that you’ve always wanted to achieve in life, start today. 

Not tomorrow. Today. Now. 

Why Bit Depth and Sensor Size Matters in Cameras

So one of the main important features in looking at cameras is actually not the megapixels (I hope you know this by now), or any of the obvious features (processors etc). 

How often do you consider bit depth and sensor size? 

One of the most important features to me are these two items. 

1. Bit depth. 

Here’s an old classic example. The Canon 5D (classic) has 12, the Canon 40D has 14. What the indicates is a great dynamic range, especially for shooting in contrasty situations. 


This is an old test, obviously, and the 5DmkII has a 14 bit A/D conversion. 

What about medium format? 16 bit. Yeah. Beautiful. 

2. Sensor Size

Take for example, a Phase One IQ160. It has a sensor size of 40x53mm. What about the 5D2? It’s a quarter of that in size. It’s like comparing a point and shoot vs an SLR. 


These two things directly translate to amazing dynamic range and image quality. 

So before picking up your next camera, be sure to look at the sensor size and bit depth for sheer IQ. Yeah, there are a lot of things involved, but after seeing thousands of files from pretty much every major camera on the market, it’s very obvious to me that these two things have the best impact for stunning direct image quality. 

Take that for what you will, those are my two cents (or three, depending on your currency exchange rate - ha!)