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In the fourth and final post on our Future of Imaging Report, we look at the growing desire for self-expression through live visualisation and the possibility to analyse images and the people in them.

An image-based world

We are living in an increasingly image-based society. The digital era has made capturing images easier than ever before, and also more popular. In 2014, it’s estimated that nearly 1 trillion photographs were taken- that’s about 150 photographs per person on the planet in one year alone. Today, photographic proof has so penetrated our society that it is considered mandatory evidence for everything from scientific discoveries to friendly debates on Facebook.

Every moment is photographed; every situation caught on camera. Imaging devices such as smartphones, tablets and smart cameras are becoming vehicles for our interpersonal relationships at every level. Photography is a shared language and everybody wants to be fluent. But how much further can the technology of photography take us?

Capture Every Moment

In the future it is expected that we will capture and record every aspect of our lives. Demand for agile, flexible cameras with always-on point-of-view image capture continues to grow. There are already lightweight, durable devices on the market designed to enable “always on” visual narration.  These highly portable, wearable devices will evolve to be worn seamlessly and help document our lives and surroundings at all times. With storage capabilities increasing rapidly and faster wireless connections, these devices will shrink in size and could transfer images and video continuously to a nearby storage unit.

Why would we use these? Well, picture an afternoon playing with your kids in the garden. You will be able to continuously record everything without having to think about it or worse- miss a moment by trying to capture it. Tiny, lightweight ‘swarm’ devices working in harmony like a swarm of bees will use spontaneous, hands-free image capture to do the work for you. You can now capture family moments like never before, creating a visceral documentary of your children’s development that offers previously unmatched levels of interactivity. This only raises the question – what can you do with this new wave of audio-visual records?

Live visualisation image

Constantly documenting our environment will be one possibility for the photographer of tomorrow.

Nikon expects that always-on photography will form a vital part of our quantified world and self. One of the greatest shifts in personal technology is the growth of the ‘quantified self’ movement, where people use multiple devices to measure data of their day-to-day lives or biomedical situation.

But this applies for the world around us too. Drones and ‘swarm’ technology can be used to monitor our environment and ecology remotely, offering opportunities to explore and photograph areas of our planet that few humans can reach.

Visual Analytics

The sheer amount of visual data will change the way in which we use images. Facial recognition is one important technology that is progressing rapidly. In the future, it is expected that we will be able to identify and analyse people’s faces from a distance, in crowds or in difficult or imperfect conditions. Existing facial recognition technology developed by Professor Alessandro Acquisti of Carnegie Mellon University can already link people to their Facebook profiles within 3 seconds using just one photograph.

Currently there are studies into how photographs can read what our faces say about our health, or identify personality traits. This also applies to inanimate objects. There are already mobile apps available which allow people to snap a picture of any object and use image recognition to quickly identify it. Love that new designer table your friend has? Quickly take a snap, buy it online, and have it delivered to your door the next day.

These new technologies will change the way we consume photography on a daily basis. Our series of blog posts has already detailed some of the opportunities lying ahead of us.  Future cameras will read your emotions to let you take the perfect snaps. You can experience your last holiday all over again with multi-sensory images perhaps even compiled into full-virtual replays, or get rid of nasty headaches through visual healing.

The future of imaging is an open-ended realm of possibilities. You can read more about some of the future technology Nikon expects in our full Future of Imaging Report.

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In our previous posts about the future of photography, we wrote about contextualised cameras reading people’s emotions and ‘All Sense Imaging that engages your five senses. In the third part of our Future of Imaging Report we look at the role of photography in the medical world.

Future of Imaging Trend 3 of 4: Visual Wellbeing

Always connected, always stressed

We live in a world where smartphones have become our Swiss army knives – equipped with applications for almost anything from personal organisers to games and fitness to social media. Multi-tasking is now the name of the game, and we  end up filling every moment of downtime by checking our emails while waiting in the queue for lunch, texting while crossing the street, and reading the news while chatting with our friends.

We feel more pressure than ever before to always be ‘on’ and connected and this constant multi-tasking has a negative affect on our health. There is now a rising trend in a demand for anything that helps us switch off – escapists’ environments are increasing and visual wellbeing will become an important part of that.

Visual escapism  

Visual stimulation is photography’s answer to rising stress levels. In the future, screens on the ceilings of examination rooms will help patients remain calm and relaxed during their treatment. On visits to the doctor you will be able to pick your favourite location to escape to – from lying on the beach in Mexico to exploring the French Alps. According to Universal Everything’s Matt Pyke “visual stimulation can have a really positive effect on patients by accelerating the recovery period, and reducing the need for prescription drugs such as painkillers and antibiotics.”

Visual WellbeingImmersive visual technology in the examination room will help patients to cope with anxiety and pain

The use of immersive visual technology won’t stop here. We already see the health benefits of visual imagery taking over our homes and offices. In the past we used screensavers – now devices can be transformed to respond to sounds in the room or the presence of people. In the coming decade this trend will expand into all parts of our lives: relieve a headache at work with a quick visual therapy during lunch or break up the stress of a business trip with peaceful imagery of your favourite holiday location.

A visual revolution is underway. ‘Visual Wellbeing’ might just be the remedy we’ve been waiting for to relax and reenergize in the busy times ahead.

Our next blog post looks at Live Visualization and Visual Analytics. In the meantime you can read the full report here.

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When it comes down to it, Nikon fans are a dedicated bunch of photographers. We know this, we see it, and we love it.

So earlier this year, we wanted to reach out to a number of them to help them push their photography to the next level. The response was fantastic! Below we share the story so far…

#NewExperience, Nikon, Nikon photo challenge, photo challenge, new experiences

We searched our feeds and looked for Nikon fans with unique viewpoints on photography.  We found Christine from Russia, Nghai from Germany, and Gustavo from Italy (see photos above), as well as many more – all very different types of photographers but all united in their wish to further improve their photography skills.

To kick it off, we challenged them to explore a new type of photography that they have never tried before and to send us 3 images when they were done.  They enthusiastically agreed, and each chose a genre of photography to focus on.  Their interests ranged from still life to blur photography to music photography.  Like we said, it is a very eclectic group!

Our first challenger, Nghia Ong, has now completed his challange.  Here is how he got on.  (You’re going to want to read on to see his dedication to this challenge.)

Nghia, 33, is from Germany, is the photographer behind this selfie:

NghiaOng

Nghia had been experimenting with many types of photography- nature, sports, architecture, you name it!  (See his work on his Flickr page here.)  But what he really wanted to try, he told us, was Abstract Macrophotography.

Challenge Accepted.

With that in mind, Nghia got to work.  Luckily for us, he kept us updated on his progress for the entire journey.  Over the weeks, he submitted the following test images, all captured with his Nikon D610.

We were so impressed with his enthusiasm that we asked him to explain how he achieved these shots.

It turns out that Nghia has been very busy with his experimenting!  He even constructed a home-made photo studio for this project.

Check out these “behind the scenes” photos from his studio and his explanations of each.  You might even pick up some useful tips on building your own DIY studio.

“I just had a rough idea of the shooting scenery,” Nghia explained.  ”What I liked the most about this series is the time before the actual photo shoot. Since I don’t have any professional gear I had to build the setup for the shooting with simple things I either found in my household or in the DIY store.  Here are a couple of photos.”

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“In picture no. 1 I stacked two tables so that I could sit on a chair and didn’t have to kneel down to take the shots. I positioned the flash opposite the camera using an old tripod I got from my dad and in between the flash and the camera I placed an acrylic glass plate to soften the light. The plate was fixed MacGyver-like with 4 bookends. My apartment was dark that afternoon, so I wrapped aluminum foil around my old table lamp to increase the light’s intensity. The green paper on the cupboard was attached to be a splash guard.”

photo studio, DIY photo studio, abstract photography, macro photography, macro photography studio, water photography, home photo studio,

photo studio, DIY photo studio, abstract photography, macro photography, macro photography studio, water photography, home photo studio,

“Pictures no. 2 and 3 show the setup a couple of days later. It changed a bit because I tried to capture some colored crystals that I made.  It got pretty messy.”

photo studio, DIY photo studio, abstract photography, macro photography, macro photography studio, water photography, home photo studio,

“No. 4 is the improvised chamber I made most of the pictures with. I took two thick glass plates (originally from a photo frame) and glued them together with a chopstick that I cut into three parts to create the three sides of the chamber with a gap between the plates.  Then, I poured oil in it and dropped in ink drops to create the images that I photographed.  I had to use a lot of glue to get it leakproof as on my first couple of tries water or oil leaked out all the time, and I didn’t have silicone to seal it.”

5“No. 5 is from one of my final photos. I wanted to create a picture that looks like a tunnel under cave with filaments spinning from one side to the other. So I caramelized sugar and poured it into a toilet paper roll that I covered with tape (as the sugar was pretty hot). While it was still liquid I took a small wooden stick and tried to spin it from one side to the other until it solidified. I used the backlight of my bike, put it behind the acrylic glas plate to illuminate from behind.”

We applaud Nghia’s dedication to getting the job done, as well as his three striking final images, seen below.

Image 1: ”rorschach” 

"rorschach" by Nghia Ong

Image 2: ”enter the dragon” 

"enter the dragon" by Nghia Ong

Image 3: ”diluvian” 

"diluvian" by Nghia OngKeep an eye on our Facebook and Google+ pages in the coming weeks where we will post updates on the #NewExperience photographers who are almost done their challenges, as well as introducing several more photographers who are taking the #NewExperience plunge with Nikon.

 

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When you look at Kate Hopewell-Smith’s portfolio, you will see an outstanding body of work that reflects a talent for creating unique perspective, so it was natural to invite Kate to become one of only seven Nikon Ambassadors for the UK. Today, Kate provides an exclusive peak inside her kitbag.

One of Kate’s stunning photographs that redefines the idea of ‘Wedding Photography’.

One of Kate’s stunning photographs that redefines the idea of ‘Wedding Photography’.

A relative newcomer to photography, Kate represents the rapidly developing lifestyle genre, as well as specialising in weddings, portraits and boudoir. She regularly contributes to photography magazines and is recognised as a voice for female photographers within the industry.  Kate actively trains aspiring photographers for Nikon School UK and Aspire Photography Training and is an invited panel member for The Guild of Photographers.

Kate Hopewell-Smith – Nikon Ambassador, UK.

Kate Hopewell-Smith – Nikon Ambassador, UK.

 

Her unique perspective is no doubt influenced by her study of art history, and as she states in her bio ‘My favourite subject at school was art and back then my medium of choice was oils.  I studied History of Art at degree level and now when people describe my work as ‘artistic’ I couldn’t be happier.’

So what does Kate use to achieve her acclaimed work? Kate highlights that “Recently I have started exploring DSLR filming and so some of the kit here relates to that. At a wedding I would be shooting the stills on two bodies and have someone filming the event as well.”

Kate Hopewell-Smith’s Professional Kitbag.

Kate Hopewell-Smith’s Professional Kitbag.

Kate mentions “The kit shown here does exclude artificial lighting kits like my Elinchrom Ranger Quadras, and Video Lights etc.”

Kate’s Kitbag Detailed:

1. Lowepro Roller Bag
2. Nikon D3S
3. Nikon D4S
4. Nikon D3 (back up)
5. Nikon D810 for video
6.  LCD Viewfinder
7. AFS Micro 105mm f/2.8 G ED
8. AFS NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4 G
9. AFS NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8 G ED
10. AFS VR NIKKOR 70 -200mm f/2.8 G
11. AFS NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4 G
12. AFS NIKKOR 35mm F1.4 G
13. 2 x SB910 Speedlight
14. SS-SD9 Battery Pack
15. Memory Cards
16. Hoya Variable Density 77mm Filter
17. Hoya Variable Density 67mm Filter
18. Manfrotto MVM500A Video Monopod
19. Holdfast Moneymaker Dual Camera Strap
20. Shoot Sac Lensbag
21. Headache tablets
22. Business Cards
23. Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 and Mini TT1
24. Spare Camera Batteries
25. Lens cloth
26. Spare rechargeable flash batteries

Kate’s Top Tip 

Kate recommends that “You should get to know the Nikon School in London because they are willing to share their experience and knowledge with you all.  You can book great training courses as well as have the opportunity to test drive bodies and lenses.  It’s very important to choose the right kit for your shooting requirements.  For weddings, I need the speed and quality of the D4S, but for video the size of the D810 is perfect – a fantastic feature is the auto ISO.”

One of Kate's family portraits.

One of Kate’s family portraits.

You can see more of Kate’s portfolio on her website (katehopewellsmith.com), or stay inspired by her blog which she updates regularly.

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Our Future of Imaging Report shows how rapidly photography is changing. Last week, we looked at the first trend: contextualised cameras and their ability to detect your emotions while snapping away. Today, we continue our deep dive into the future to discover how photography advances from a purely visual medium, into a five-dimensional experience. Get ready for ‘All Sense Imaging’: the second trend in the future of imaging to be on the look out for!


Future of Imaging Trend 2 of 4: All Sense Imaging


An immersive experience

Photography has gone from black and white in the early 1800s, to colour in the early 1900s, and now to digital. Soon, augmented visual experiences will enable people to create images that are otherworldly and truly surprising. The future lies in powerful virtual experiences that will stir your emotions. How would it feel to actually be there? What we see on digital screens today doesn’t yet answer that question. It doesn’t capture the scent in the air or the noise of people around you. It doesn’t let you touch what you see. New technologies are bridging the gap between fantasy and reality, getting us closer to the real thing than ever before.

A five-dimensional experience

Imagine you could go beyond ‘looking’ at a photo. Multi sensory images will stimulate all of your senses at once. Picture a bustling market in the heart of Istanbul: The air is filled with the smell of exotic spices, locals are negotiating prices with eager sellers and small cafes serve mouth-watering local specialities. Future devices will make it possible to not only see all this, but also hear what it sounds like and touch different objects as you look at them. You will even be able to smell the market’s fruits and spices – a perfume released by the device itself.  To get your taste buds involved, your device will even give tips on what to eat and drink.

futureistic, photography, multi-sensory experience, including smell, sound, taste, touch

Future of imaging: All sense imaging is a multi-sensory experience, including smell, sound, taste and touch.

These sensorial and immersive experiences will become commonplace. The augmented and virtual reality market is expected to grow 15.18% annually between 2013 and 2018, according to a report published by Markets and Markets. Andy Millns, co-founder and creative director of augmented-reality company Inition says that “people are already spending more time staring at a screen than they do looking at the real world.” This trend will only continue to grow with revolutionary technology such as Oculus Rift creating a more personal, intimate user experience.

These technologies are only the beginning. Are you ready for the most emotional storytelling you’ve ever experienced? Find out more about the future of photograph in our full report and don’t miss out on our next blog post on visual well-being.

Stay tuned for the next trend in the future of imaging in our upcoming blog!

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Photography is changing at a rapid pace. Geo-tagging images and Wi-Fi on the go- these are just some features that are common today but would have been unthinkable just a decade ago. This got us wondering: “What might the world of imaging look like in decades to come?”

To find some answers, we collaborated with the Future Laboratory to get opinions and insights from experts, academics, authors and scientists working in the field of photography.

Their answers helped identify five key trends which we’ve gathered in our ‘Future of Imaging Report’. In the coming weeks, we’ll share four blog posts covering these in detail, starting with the first concept: contextualised cameras! 

 

Future of Imaging Trend 1 of 4: Contextualised Cameras

Capturing your reality

How often do you come home from vacation only to be disappointed by your photos? The scenery you captured looks unfamiliar. A local fisherman you photographed looks different than you originally intended. Instead of vivid colours and warm sunlight you get bland scenery and a washed out sky. Nothing that you felt when taking the photo is conveyed in the image.

A new generation of sensor technologies could make this scenario a thing of the past. Your camera will be capable of analysing the environment and matching it to the emotion you’re trying to get across. They will adapt to the situation you photograph and enhance the colours, tones, exposure and contrast based on your intentions.

Emotion at the heart of the image

Picture yourself photographing a surfer catching the perfect wave. You’re excited, and your heart is beating faster just before pressing that shutter button. Cameras in twenty years time may be able to pick up on these emotions and convey them in your image. For instance, the picture of the surfer will have brighter colours, sharp focus and higher contrast levels. It will show the intensity and excitement you felt at that very moment.

cameras that feel emotion, cameras that read emotion, powerful photos, emotional photos, dynamic vacation photos, dynamic images, the future of imaging,

Future of imaging: Future cameras could detect your emotions and convey them in their images.

A quiet scene, such as your family relaxing on a beach, will turn out differently. To reflect your calm mood, the camera will readjust to a softer focus and warmer white balance. Once you take the shot, images can be posted directly to social media using your camera. It will even suggest hashtags based on the ambience and the subjects it recognises.

This ‘contextual functionality’ will increase control over your camera. It will allow you to better convey your feelings and share moments just the way you’ve experienced them. Next time you get back from vacation, your images will make you feel as if you were right back on the beach, taking that perfect shot.

Interested in finding out more about the future of photography? Our next blog post looks at all sense imaging.  You can read the full report here.

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