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Fingerprints On Purpose

From Lensbaby selective focus lenses to Instagram filters, creative photographic effects are all the rage these days. But there's a new creative craze sweeping the world of photography that takes things even further. No longer are fingerprints on your lens a bad thing. Now, they're a creative tool to use with pride.

It's a curious trend. After spending years doing everything they can to get their hands on cameras with more and more megapixels, many photographers now seek to use creative effects to blur at least some of the higher resolution they paid for.

Forget protective filters over your lens. Go ahead and put fingerprints all over that lens and shoot away say members of an innovative group of photographers on flickr. Pop art HDR effects are out and fingerprints are in. Nelson Rogers, who goes by the internet handle of "Finger Prints," seriously claims he started this trend purely by accident one day when shooting at sunset after finishing a messy dinner of buffalo hot wings and a couple of beers. But now that his technique is gaining in popularity Rogers is slated to launch his own specialty line of photographic finger print grease the first of next month. Pre-orders have been big business, and you could say Rogers is licking his fingers all the way to the bank.

By selectively applying fingerprints to the front of his lens, Rogers has found he can produce a variety of soft focus effects without the need to buy specialized lenses such as the Lensbaby. His new company will be selling jars of specially blended grease and dirt, together with an instruction book to guide users in producing their own fingerprint masterpieces. The grease will come in a variety of colors to allow users to coordinate their fingerprints with the dominant color of the subject they are photographing.

In an effort to associate themselves with artistry and experimentation, the new company will employ only an unpronounceable symbol for its name. It's unclear if this symbol is based on a fingerprint or has other origins.

The company also has plans to introduce a line of specialty sensor spot dust soon. Imagine only having to take your lens off for a second to squirt some creative dust on one side of your camera sensor rather than having to leave the lens off for hours the old fashioned way. Offer people added convenience and simplicity and they'll go for it every time says the artist formerly known as "Prints." Welcome to the revolution.

And "unpronounceable symbol" isn't alone in their quest for fingerprint glory. Eager to get in on the ground floor too, Nik Software (now part of Google) plans to announce Finger Efex Pro software this Tuesday.

Richard Roll, spokesman for Nik said that the program will utilize their famous control point U Point technology to improve the user experience with modern touch screen monitors. Each control point creates a fingerprint that compliments the color and contrast of that part of the image. Pressing harder on the screen will cause the resulting fingerprint to be more pronounced. Dragging the finger will create a smudge or smear.

Prior to being purchased by Google, Nik had worked with Nikon in the development of the popular Capture NX raw conversion software. When asked about this move by their former partner, Nikon spokesperson April Bangusetsu said she wasn't surprised. This sort of software had Nik's fingerprints all over it said Bangusetsu. And to answer a question of some concern to many Nikon shooters, it not clear yet whether fingerprints applied to Nikon raw images with Finger Efex Pro will be written back to the original NEF file or will be stored in sidecar files.

A preview video for the new software has been leaked on YouTube.

So regardless of whether you prefer adding your fingerprints in-camera or during post processing, the job of doing so will get much easier as of the beginning of April. Seems almost foolish not to give one or both a try.

Date posted: March 30, 2014 (updated April 1, 2014)


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