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What's New from 500px HQ: New Mist Portfolio Theme and More Options for Space II

Published by Jen Tse · September 26th 2011

Our newest theme for Awesome users, Mist, displays your photography in a clean, thumbnail-based layout that gives users an inviting preview of each of the images in your portfolio. Viewers can hover over each thumbnail to see the photo's title. Clicking on the thumbnail enlarges the photo into a lightbox, and clicking on the lightbox photo takes viewers forward through your portfolio. If a viewer wants to go back to the thumbnail view, it's as easy as clicking off the photo.

If you're an Awesome user, try it out yourself under the portfolio themes menu. Or, you can preview the layout in a portfolio of our Creative Director.

In other portfolio news, our Space II theme for Awesome users is now available in both light and dark. To toggle either setting, scroll to the bottom of your portfolio and click either the Light or Dark button.

Feeling left out of all the portfolio news and other great perks? You can be Awesome too—just visit your account settings page and make the upgrade for just $50 a year.

Free Ticket to Photo & Video Imaging Expo in Toronto

Published by Jen Tse · September 21st 2011

The annual Photographic, Video & Digital Imaging show by Henry's in Toronto has been entirely revamped with a new look, feel, and name—Exposure: Photo & Video Imaging Expo. With over 150 free seminar presentations, keynote speakers, a ProCentre with live demonstrations, and all the newest imaging products and accessories for sale, this expo is sure to be a great learning experience and a fun time for photographers of all skill levels.

More than 50 exhibitors will be a part of the show, and the 500px team is excited to be one of them. We've included your free ticket above, so bring your fellow photographer friends and come chat with us, ask questions, or just say hi to us at our booth!

What: Exposure: Photo & Video Imaging Expo
When: Oct. 14 - 16 (10 a.m. - 7 p.m. on Fri. and Sat.; 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Sun.)
Wbere: International Centre, Hall 5. 6900 Airport Rd Mississauga, Ontario. Map here.

We look forward to seeing you there.

EDIT: To use your ticket, simply print out this page and bring it to the show!

New Vintage Portfolio Theme, Two Paid Themes Now Free, Photo Party Winner Announced, T-Shirts Update

Published by Jen Tse · September 20th 2011

In an age dominated by digital, sometimes you want to relive the charm and imperfections of film. Now you can display your 500px photography in a nostalgic way with our newest horizontal portfolio theme for Awesome account users: Vintage. Thin white borders around your photos give them a fresh-from-the-darkroom feel. Viewers can use the clickable arrows to scroll, giving a cleaner overall appearance than a second scroll bar. Whatever your medium, your photos will look timeless. We're loving it!

Preview a working example here.

Also, two themes previously only available for Awesome account members are now free for everyone: Organizer and Black Space. Be sure to try them out under Portfolio > Themes.


The results from the 500px Photo Party at the CNE are in! Congratulations to Charlie Man for winning a Manfrotto tripod from Henry's. Please send an email to to arrange a day to pick up your prize.

Below are the blog posts submitted by attendees of the Party:

Carlos Bolivar, Charlie Man, Phil Edmondson, Sonsahne, and Brad Shaw.


Owl T-Shirts Update

Those of you who ordered 500px owl t-shirts—don't worry! Your order has been shipped, but it may take 4-5 weeks to arrive. Thanks for supporting us and for being patient!

What's in Your Bag, Alisdair Miller?

Published by Jen Tse · September 16th 2011

What makes a great photographer? Besides a good pair of eyes, great intuition, some technical know-how, and sometimes sheer luck, no great photog can do what they do without their gear. And the contents of a gear bag can say a little, or a lot about a person.

The What's in Your Bag series features remarkable photographers from the 500px community and gives us a peek into what they consider their essential tools on the go. This week's feature is Alisdair Miller.

Who are you, Alisdair?

I am a semi pro photographer working in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. My background is in advertising so visuals/digital darkroom/photo shoots/tv commercials are a part of my everyday life. It was six years ago I thought I would give photography a go and bought my first camera, a Canon 350D. I have never looked back and cannot go anywhere without my kit. Photography for me is escapism and the adventure of looking for the next shot. Being all excited about processing it later in the digital darkroom really gets me excited. I love to try and create drama within my images, whether it be the location, the angle or various creative processing techniques.

What do you shoot?

I love to shoot architecture, landscape and industrial settings. I also like venturing out into the world of creative digital manipulation.

What's in your bag?

A lot of the time I don’t have all of my gear with me, but I do make sure I have a variety of lenses as I hate finding a location and not having the right lens. If I'm doing any commercial work, I will have the two cameras in my bag.

1. Lowepro Pro Trekker 300. I use this bag if I’m out all day, especially if I’m in the desert, as it has a great hydration system built in as well as being really comfortable.

2. Lee Filters wide-angle filter hood. This is a great piece of kit as it reduces the amount of lens flare on the filters when using a wide-angle lens.

3. Benro tripod with a Manfrotto ball head. This is a rock solid tripod and ball head. I much prefer stability than lightness.

4. Marlboro Ultra Lights. Not the best thing in my bag, but they are in there. ;-)

5. Canon 24-70mm, f/2.8 L. This is my workhorse lens. Solid, fast and sharp.

6. Canon 17mm TSE f/4 L. This is the best lens I have ever bought—expensive but worth every cent. I use this lens for most of my architectural shots due to the tilt and shift mechanism (correcting the verticals). This lens opens up a whole new world of creativity.

Stranded 3 by Alisdair Miller (almiller)) on
Stranded 3 by Alisdair Miller

This image was three shots merged together. Using the shift mechanism, I was able to cover three areas of the scene: bottom, middle and top. So you end up with a super wide shot.

7. Pocket Wizard Mini TT & Flex. Intelligent little things! I use these with my Canon Speedlights as well as my Bowens studio lights.

8. Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L. This is not on my camera a lot, but it’s a magical lens. Great for portraits, landscapes, and sports.

9. Energizer Ultimate batteries. I always carry these as back-ups for my Speedlights.

10. Hama CF card holder. Got this as I keep losing my CF cards.

11. Canon 24mm TSE f/3.5 L. Another great lens for architectural photography. Endless creativity with these TSE lenses. This shot was taken using this lens:

Arrival by Alisdair Miller (almiller)) on
Arrival by Alisdair Miller

12. Canon Speedlights 580EX II. Compact and powerful and great to have in the bag for when you need them.

13. Canon 1Ds Mark III. Built like a tank. I have dropped this body in the sea and it is still going strong.

14. Canon 15mm fisheye. This is a wild lens and has to be used carefully due to the massive distortion it creates. But when you have the right location it does wonders, like this shot taken from the top of the Burj Khalifa:

Vertigo Dubai by Alisdair Miller (almiller)) on
Vertigo Dubai by Alisdair Miller

15. Canon remote release TC-80N3. This remote has four primary functions: self timer, interval timer, long exposure, and exposure count setting. So it is great for time lapse photography, low light, and long exposure photography.

16. Canon 14mm f/2.8 II L. A super wide-angle lens that is tack sharp. I used this lens for this lightning strike in Dubai:

Desert Storm by Alisdair Miller (almiller)) on
Desert Storm by Alisdair Miller

17. Canon 17-40mm f/4. Not as expensive as the Canon16-35mm but just as sharp. I use this lens for a lot of my landscape shots.

18. Canon 85mm f/1.2L II. This is a lens sent from the gods. Super sharp and creates dreamlike bokeh. I photographed my daughter with this lens:

Glow by Alisdair Miller (almiller)) on
Glow by Alisdair Miller

19. Canon 5D Mark II (with battery pack). I use this camera as a back-up and for any footage I want to capture. Sometimes If I need to take shots and not get that much attention from any security guards, I will use this without the battery pack and pretend I am a tourist.

For more of Alisdair's photography, check out his 500px page.

Interview with Corrie White

Published by Jen Tse · September 14th 2011

Bursting Out by Corrie White (CorrieWhite)) on
Bursting Out by Corrie White

Every day we see stunning photos from our peers in the 500px community, but not often do we turn the lens back upon the photographer. The Portrait series focuses on remarkable 500px users who may have something to teach us about their field of photography. This week's feature is Corrie White.

Tell us a little about yourself, Corrie.

I am a 62 year old female, pretty much retired and enjoying my recent move to the very small community of Wardsville. I was born in The Netherlands but have lived in the Goderich area of Ontario for most of my life.

How did you get into photography, and specifically liquid drop art?

I have always been interested in photography, but most of what I did earlier on was family pics. Now with the digital age and an empty nest, I have been able to learn more about photography. For my 60th birthday, my family gave me a macro lens to go with my Rebel XTi. Shortly after that I was part of a large downsizing in a company I had been employed with for a number of years. With this unexpected time on my hands, I decided to try the water drops and quickly fell in love with them. I discovered a knack for these and never looked back.

Spiderman by Corrie White (CorrieWhite)) on
Spiderman by Corrie White

What gear do you shoot with, and what other materials do you need? What’s your setup like for taking these pictures?

The first (and current) camera I used was a Rebel XTi, then I upgraded to a Canon 50D. I wore out the 50D, so now I am in the market for another upgrade. I use a Canon 100mm Macro lens. A sturdy tripod is necessary, and I use three flash guns right now—a Speedlite 430EX and two Speedlite 580EX's. I use food dye to colour the drops as well as coloured gels for the flash guns.

My set-up is quite simple with the Time Machine, which also includes the control box for the drip kit and reservoir. The reservoir is attached to a tripod which is centered over the water tray. Behind the water tray, I use frosted glass which diffuses the light from the flash guns situated at various angles behind the glass. The camera is on a tripod a short distance in front of the water tray.

I have a lengthy tutorial on DIY Photography which may be of interest for people who want to try liquid drop art.

In your opinion, what makes your work different from anyone else’s?

There are a lot of good water drop artists around now. I was fortunate to first develop the three-drop splash which I had never seen before. I was able to create some unique forms and techniques. I try to be creative and artistic with my drops. It gets more difficult now to come up with something unique. Usually, it's all been done before, so I try to keep changing and finding something new.

Three Flash Splash by Corrie White (CorrieWhite)) on
Three Flash Splash by Corrie White

Do you often have to leave the water drop shapes up to chance, or do you have a predetermined way of creating specific shapes like mushrooms, planets, and spinning tops?

I usually calculate the settings for certain shapes I want. I don't do the basic shapes much anymore. I don't like repetition. I go to a certain stage and keep pushing the limits until something new happens. It's getting harder now to find new shapes. I try to concentrate more on the artistic side or try for something with a different technique such as the multiple flash splashes or the splashes with the second flash showing the effects under the water surface.

Above and Below by Corrie White (CorrieWhite)) on
Above and Below by Corrie White

How many shots do you take before you find the right one? How much post-processing do you do after, and with which program(s)?

The number of shots varies greatly. I can't give you a number, but if I'm going for perfection, it may take quite a few. If the focus isn't right or the result is off balance, etc., I keep trying until I get it right. I use Photoshop CS4 for post-processing. I lighten the image if it's too dark, I might use a small colour boost, I clean up unsightly little bubbles or stray drops, etc., and then I sharpen a bit. The shape of the drop itself is never altered.

Which photographers or artists inspire you the most?

Martin Waugh! His Liquid Sculptures were the first I ever saw a few years ago. I was spellbound by them and kept going back many times to look at them. I never thought such a thing was possible. Little did I know I would be doing some years later.

What advice do you have for photographers who might want to try liquid drop photography?

Use patience, persistence and perseverance! You don't find the sweet spots right away. Find the tutorials on the web—there are many ways to do water drops. Choose the one that works for you and stick with it.

Lady in White by Corrie White (CorrieWhite)) on
Lady in White by Corrie White

For more of Corrie's photography, check out her 500px page and her website.

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