Family Discovers Photography Treasure Trove

old photo
A photo of who is believed to be Henry Capewell (seated center) along with family and friends. The string used to activate the shutter is plainly visible in the foreground - courtesy of

When Joe Williams and Tina Garceau inherited several boxes from a neighbor of Joe’s father, the last thing they expected to find was a treasure trove of glass negatives dating from the early 1900s.

After going through the boxes the couple discovered nearly 200 glass negatives of photos that were shot by a gentleman named Henry Capewell, who owned a factory that manufactured glassware in South Philadelphia. Mr. Capewell was also an amateur photographer and spent a lot of time taking photographs of himself and his friends around the region.

Joe describes the process he went through to digitize the negatives here and the results are glimpse back in time to another era. The very first shot he developed was a picture of Niagara Falls frozen over, which happened in 1911.

In many of the photos you can Mr. Capewell, surrounded by friends and relatives, activating the shutter with a length of string. It must have been a trick to hold still while tripping the shutter as those old, glass plates would require very long shutter times.

frozen falls
Niagara Falls frozen solid in space and time in a photo believed to be taken by Henry Capewell - courtesy

What’s fascinating is trying to figure out how something like this would happen a 100 years in the future? Is someone going to find an old hard drive in an attic box…that’s if homes even still have attics? It seems unlikely images could be recovered from technology that old, but who knows what recovery technology will exist then. We as humans are simply not conditioned to think in time frames that long.

More of the collection can be seen here.

Giving Back Through Photography

photograph of poor family
You can use photography to help others and draw attention to the plight of the less fortunate

There are many opportunities for photographers to get involved helping others. It’s a great way to gain experience, add to your portfolio, and give back at the same time.

You’ll find there are a lot of ways to lend your artistic expertise to charities and aid your fellow man.  And a few of them will fund worthy projects with grants and awards.

Here are just a few ways you can help.


Started by celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart, Help-Portrait is a community of photographers using their photography skills to help people in their local area by making professional portraits available those who wouldn’t normally couldn’t afford such services.

Help-Portraits can be a tool to help job hunters, the homeless, or drawing attention to the plight of the needy. It’s your chance to do something you love for the benefit of others less fortunate.

Collective Lens

Collective Lens is a 501(c)3 organization that promotes social change through visual awareness. They let the photographer pick the cause and anyone can upload photos.

At Collective Lens you’ll find photo essays on poverty, disease, famine and other weighty issues.

Photo Philanthropy

Photo Philanthropy takes a slightly different tact by lining up photographers with worthy causes and non-profit entities working for social change.

This organizations sponsors the PhotoPhilanthropy Activist Award every year that provides a platform for photo essays, and also awards cash prizes to non-profits and photographers throughout the year.

Blue Earth

Promotes conservation photography to deliver striking images of endangered animals and environments.

Blue Earth accepts proposals and funds the projects most in line with their mission statement. With the deadline for submission coming up in January, 2012, this would a good time think about a proposal if you have an idea.

CNN Lays Off Photographers, Editors

cnn logo
CNN swings the ax on photography jobs

It may be cold comfort to photojournalists to see some editors also get the ax at CNN, but the bottom line means there are fewer jobs in photography today.

Layered in HR-groomed executive double-speak, CNN claims in an announcement issued earlier this month to take into consideration the use of “…user-generated content and social media.” Most likely that means you’ll be seeing more cell phone photos, microstock, and Twitpic photography.

The announcement also cited the availability of improved consumer cameras as one of the reasons for cutting loose their pro talent.

“Consumer and pro-sumer technologies are simpler and more accessible.”

CNN also mentioned their growing reliance on iReport, which has been criticized in the past for not paying for the photos they use.

The timing of the announcement, immediately after Employee Appreciation Week, only seems to rub in the irony of putting the “…right resources in the right places…”

As many as 12 photojournalists were let go from offices in Miami, New York, Washington, and Los Angeles. Several media editors were let go in Atlanta, apparently to be replaced by workers in other areas working remotely. Right now there is no indication if any of the replacements are outsource contract labor or employees in other offices.

Even though CNN says the review has been going on for three years, the news came as a shock to many staffers. And even though CNN discovered that, “Small cameras are now high broadcast quality.” That certainly wasn’t true three years ago.

Studio Lighting Basics – Three Point Lighting

This is the first installment of a long series of articles shot and composed with the help of professional photographer Karl Leopold at in Melbourne Beach, Florida. Karl is one of the top photographers in the area and president of the Atlantic Professional Photographers Association and graciously opened his studio up and lent his expertise to us for this series.

the basic three point lighting setup
The basic three-point lighting setup

While we’re going to start with an overview of basic three point studio lighting, this series may jump around a bit as basic lighting touches on several peripheral topics that are key to understanding how good portraits are composed along with studio lighting.

First, the equipment we had to work with:

key and fill spacing
The Key is the black Fomex on the right and the fill is the Octodome on the left. Please note that flower leis are not stock equipment on Alien Bees

Our key light is an Alien Bees 800 in a Fomex rectangular soft box

Our fill is an Alien Bees 800 in a 48 inch Octodome

The hair light is an Ultra 1800 fitted with a grid screen on a boom

Throughout the shoot we used only a single modeling light on the Fomex soft box.

We maintained a consistent distance to the subject the old-fashioned way, with a string to the center of the key soft box.

meter check
Start off with a meter check to make sure we're in the ballpark

All the lights are on PocketWizard Plus remotes and the transmitter on my Canon 7D was a PocketWizard MiniTTL. The lens was a stock Canon 28-135mm zoom set to my closest eyeball approximation to 85mm.

All camera settings were manual unless otherwise stated, we used 1/125 of second for a shutter speed through the entire series. The f stop varied as I’ll explain in the article.

check distance
Karl checking distance the old fashioned way - So we didn't have to do meter checks constantly

I did minimal post processing adjustments on the pictures so you can see the difference in the lighting. Standard color correction and cropping is all that was done.

The Setup

While the layout of a basic three point setup is fairly straightforward, it’s actually a little tricky to get everything working together properly.

First we moved the key 10 degrees off the camera axis and shot a key only test. That’s actually not bad, if a little flat.

front key only
This is the key only, about 10 degrees off the camera axis - A little flat but not bad

Next we added in the fill and you can see that gave us much more natural looking lighting and skin tones, but our subject’s hair looks a little flat. That’s where the hair light comes in.

As you can see the hair light really helps separate the subject from the background. It highlights her hair, but also her back shoulder, which changes the entire character of the photo and makes the background more distant.


fill plus key
This is adding the fill - As you can see it yields a much more natural looking light
key, fill, plus hair light
What a difference the hair light makes! See how it separates the subject from the background