Blog header


Published by Diana Tula · December 3rd 2012

Want to get featured on our blog? Every Monday a theme is announced and you have until Sunday to submit your entry. Upload photos to your 500px profile, then leave a comment to this post with the photo links. You may already have a photo that suits or you can see it as a weekly photo challenge. This week's theme was: Reflections. For announced new theme and deadline continue reading.

New theme is: Freedom

Theme is open to interpretation so get creative, get snapping and post links to photo entries in the comments below. Deadline is December 9th at 12pm (EST).

Big thanks to everyone who participated! Every week there's a random draw giveaway, giving a chance to everyone who enters to win 2 months of Awesome membership. One lucky victor is announced every Monday on the blog. This week’s winner is Michael Fournier.


500px Team talks about the new iPhone App

Published by Diana Tula · November 30th 2012

Wednesday we presented 500px iPhone app to the world and held a live Q&A the same day with a panel of 500px team members who worked on the app. We were broadcasting live to answer your questions about the new app. At the hangout we had Eric Akaoka, Adam Shutsa, Ash Furrow and Paddy O’Brien to answer your questions, which they received via Twitter, Facebook, G+ and comments on YouTube.

Tune in to the recorded episode of the hangout and find out answers to questions like: “What was the thinking behind design?”, “What about ISO500?”, “Challenges when iPhone 5 came out?”, “What makes this app different from the rest?”, “Did you use open source code?”, “Why is there no uploading?” etc.

To download the iPhone app visit iTunes store or our iPhone app page. Thank you for making 500px the #3 free photo app in the App Store, right after YouTube and Instagram. If you like the app, please visit the iTunes page to leave a review and help spread the word.

Right after app's release Mark Shannon wrote a great review of his first experience with 500px iPhone app. His review includes screen shots of the tour and step by step interaction with the app. If you’re new to the app or want to get a feel of it before downloading check out Mark’s article.

Get in touch with us & leave us your feedback! Leave a comment below or tweet us @500px.


Genius High Speed Photography

Published by Diana Tula · November 29th 2012

A picture is worth a thousand words, and we'd like to hear what they are. Alan Sailer is a hobbyist photographer based in California, microwave engineer by trade and a genius in his field of photography. In this post we'd like to share with you some of Alan's high speed pellet photographs and the stories behind them in Alan's words.

Lychee Nut Detonation

I take all my photos with a speed flash, which I have built myself. The typical flashes you can buy on a market go as fast as 30 microseconds, while my flash goes down to 1 microsecond. Ensuring minimal blur for a photo where an object is moving at a speed of 700 feet per second.

When I saw these lychee fruits at the store I just had to see how they would look being hit with a pellet rifle. I thought it looked very interesting! In this photo you can just barely see the pellet poking out on the left side.

Descartian Rubber Bands

The next most important equipment is the flash controller. It detects the movement and triggers the flash at the right moment. There are many controllers out there that do a great job, but most of my photos are taken with a home built unit because I am cheap.

A co-worker of mine suggested that I shoot some rubber bands. So I rolled up some bands and tried it. When I showed him the results, he said that he wanted to see the bands all in a row. So I spent a few hours building a frame and stretched a set of rubber bands onto it. In this photo you can see the pellet on its way from the second to the last bands. This photo was from my first try.

Delayed Chapstick

I started a series taking photos of christmas ornaments. At one point it occurred to me that christmas baubles might look interesting if shot from an angle closer to the pellets view. In this photo it is fake chap-stick inside a christmas bauble. I added more time delay for this photo to get more of kaa-bluee-eee effect.

I think that by the year 2025 I would have filled christmas baubles with everything one could only image. Anyone knows where I can score some plutonium?


I try and keep the expenses involved in buying ‘targets’ to the minimum. I had this idea for a while, but waited to take this photo until the day when I found a pack of cigarettes by the side of the road. Putting things in a row is an old high speed tradition. Later I got the idea to light the cigarettes in stages. I was amazed that I got the perfect shot with the first try.

I Was Walking Through the Park One Day

An early theme is my high speed photography journey was buying little ceramic figurines at garage sales, filling them with colored gelatin and shooting them. It's all pretty random, you have to soot a lot to get the one that breaks in a pleasing way.

But even when I fail, I like to think that I am making the world a better place by removing these silly things from circulation.

Lead Splash

I don't know about you, but to me it came as a complete surprise that solid lead from a pellet could splash. This is a picture of a pellet hitting a brass rod at about 700fps. Splash.

Lots of Colors All Gone Now

What camera, make or model that you shoot with is not important. I use a Nikon D90 now, but in the past I’ve used Nikon D40, Canon XT, Canon G6, Nikon F3 and in a really far away past Brownie box camera. It is the camera settings and functions that matter, a camera must have a manual mode and manual focus. 

A long time ago I found out about water absorbing polymers. They are little cubes that absorb water and grow tremendously in size, and if you put them in colored water they grow up colored. This is a photo of eight little cubes of colored polymer being hit by a fast moving lead pellet. It was great working with this stuff! Unlike gelatin it breaks up into little pieces that dry out and clean up easily.

Thanks for reading! If you would like to see more of Alan Sailer's photographs, add him to friends or follow his future work visit Alan’s 500px page. We are dedicated to promoting 500px photographers on our blog. If you have a story, DYI, video or project to share email


I Soar

Published by Diana Tula · November 28th 2012

It’s great to watch videos made by photographers as you can witness photographs literally come to life. Today we’d like to share with you a story behind a short film “I Soar”, inspired and based on a poem by Diane Ward. “I Soar” is a collaborative art project by photographer Steven Dempsey and composer Glenn Scott Lacey. Their collaboration resulted in a masterfully assembled creation — from words to sound to visual medium.


In Steven Dempsey’s words... About a year ago, Glenn Scott Lacey and I pulled our talents and experience together and created Americonic Films. Since then we have shot commercials, documentaries and are currently finishing up a music video. All of these endeavors were shot using a DSLR. Technology today enables filmmakers like us to create moving images of extraordinary quality with traditional still cameras.

Although everything we do together is creative, we wanted to do something that was purely artistic. We stumbled upon Diane Ward's beautiful poem "I Soar" quite by accident on YouTube. We were struck not only by the words, but also by the honesty of the poet's reading and immediately wanted to create a short interpretive film. We had found our art project! Glenn contacted Diane in Liverpool and she was very receptive to the idea. 

How it all began

Glenn, a professional film composer, wrote and produced music to the poem keeping Diane's original reading intact. Chris Stewart, whom Glenn worked with on a feature film, performed the violin solo part to Glenn's prerecorded orchestral tracks in his studio as we watched via a Skype session.

It was a wonderful creative challenge for me to shoot the images to fit the already produced and timed audio track. I worked with Glenn to plan a framework and list of moments that would honor both the sweeping and intimate imagery of the poem.

We cast actress Britt Harris as the young woman. I knew from working with her in an Americonic Films commercial project earlier in the year, that she had a timeless quality and the depth to convey the emotions of the work. She is also a trooper, Glenn and I like to work by talking through and setting up the situation of the shot and then letting everyone's creativity get to the reality of the moment. So improvisation and trust are key to the way we work.


We scouted locations and the area in Oregon where we shot. We loaded up the truck with gear and headed out at 4am,  just the three of us, Glenn, myself and Britt. For the way we work it's important to keep the crew to the absolute minimum. We try to strip away all the artifice and pretense of movie making and it allows us to be fluid and open.

Several of the shots were changed to locations that we happened upon that day. We passed a barn that felt perfect for the father's collapse. So we pulled up to the house and Glenn knocked on the door and asked the owner if we might shoot a short scene on their property.

From the truck I spotted the location of the shot with Britt sketching the singular tree. They had cut the hay into long sweeping rows and the sky was perfect for the mood we were after. We pulled the truck over to the side of the road and Glenn and I lugged the equipment and dolly out into the field while Britt changed her dress in the truck; no fancy dressing rooms. We all were very excited about the location and what it meant for the film. Two hours later when we passed by the same field, tractors were almost done picking up the rows of hay and the beautiful cloud cover had dissipated. Again, keeping the production small and being open allowed us to capture a beautiful moment that we couldn't have otherwise planned.

Casting Evie

The young girl, Evie, was cast through a friend of a friend from a Facebook post. We needed a certain age that could play the young version of Britt. Though the little girl didn't have previous acting experience she came from a very creative and talented family. Glenn prefers working with child actors that have absolutely no acting experience. We have cast young actors in several commercials and films that aren't tainted with acting lessons. As is the case in this film, the girl isn't acting, she is playing with her real father who we smartly cast to be the father in the film.

Glenn never instructed her on how to act, the performance all came out of the real interactions with her dad. Evie enjoyed the experience and told  her parents that she wants to be an actress, she has since been going on auditions for other parts. One interesting thing to look for in the shot where the dad lifts the little girl is the shadow of the action on the tree. The shadow represents the scene as a memory.


After all the footage was shot Glenn did an edit to which we made small adjustments and collaborated on the final picture. The decision to make the film black and white was again to impart a timeless feel. Everything was shot in natural light to the same end. What's so interesting to us is that we received more than one comment on how people liked the colors in the piece. It may be that the black and white allows them to see a color pallet that they imagine based on their memories of an earlier time. 

The project was very fulfilling, and we find it important to take the time from commercial work to make films that have personal meaning for us. It was also rewarding that Diane had such a positive reaction to the film and felt we did her beautiful poem justice.

This entire short film was shot with Canon 5D mark II camera. Thanks to Steven Dempsey for sharing this beautiful story and video with us. You can add Steve to friends, follow his photographs and get in touch by visiting his 500px page.

We believe that photographers make great videographers. Last time we shared with you “Hyperlife” by Guille Ibanez, a time-lapse capturing the hustle&bustle of Hong Kong. Do you have a video that you’d like to share or you’re in a process of planning a shoot? Let us know, email We’re always open to your ideas and collaborations, and would love to feature you on our blog.


The world’s best photos now on 500px iPhone app

Published by Diana Tula · November 28th 2012

World’s best photography is now available in your pocket with 500px iPhone app. Indulge in an all-new iPhone experience designed from the ground up. The new iPhone app offers tappable menus that fade way, endless stream of retina-ready photographs, unique full-width Flow timeline, activity push notifications and much more. Not a photographer but a photo admirer? Enjoy community & editors’ curated galleries, and be the first to discover new talent and fresh photos wherever you are.

500px for iPhone Features:

  • Enjoy a world of incredible images in your pocket — the greatest photos, anywhere.
  • Interact with the community by commenting on photos, liking them, or adding them to your favorites for later viewing.
  • Stay up to date on your friends' activity using Flow, now available for the first time on a mobile device.
  • Browse through incredible community-selected galleries and 500px editors' curated selections.
  • Receive notifications when the community members interact with you and your photos.

All this only from 500px for iPhone. Try it for yourself, available for download at the App Store.

Looking for explained iPhone app navigation and more details about the app? Read latest TechCrunch article by Sarah Perez or visit 500px Apps page.


Our thoughts on photography, web development, and life. Join us for updates, interviews, reviews, and stories.

Subscribe to RSS

Popular Photos

BorrowLenses. Get 10% off your next order with the 500px gift code