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Archive for November, 2012

All the Tutorials/How-To’s You’ll *Ever* Need!

November 13th, 2012 No Comments

This single blog post should last a photographer 100 days.  You see, with the ‘scooping’ of and the kindness of, we now have 100 Helpful Photography Tutorials for Beginners and Professionals all on one page!

This epic guide of guides features tutorials from the likes of Outdoor Photographer, DPMag, Shutterbug, DPSchool, ePhotozine, Digital Photographer, and Strobist.  And the pickins are lush!

For example, you can find two tutorials on Low Key Portraits plus two more about Low Key lighting.  Then there’s three on histograms which tell you what the ‘spread’ of tones is in a picture.  These tutorials will show you how to ‘read’ a histogram and make use of it.

The number and breadth of tutorials here beats Baskin-Robbins’s flavours and even Heinz’s varieties.  You’ll find a goodly number of ‘DIY’ guides from inexpensive reflectors to flash diffusers to ‘string tripods’.  Then there’s one that provides advice on how to shoot architecture that has lots of lines and grids.  And there’s one that brings you up to date – as of July 2010(!) – on the viability of shooting at high ISOs.

Ever wanted to master that recent fad: photographing exploding thingies in the last split-seconds of their lives?  Dive into this Hot 100!  How about something more gentle, like this bokeh / iris flare technique?  

(It is not sterile, as the samples seem to suggest.  You can use the contrivance the article outlines to shoot a portrait or any foreground against a dark background dotted with small points of light or a black sheet of cardboard pricked with holes and covered with transparent coloured paper and bright light behind the setup.) 

Granted, there will be a few dud tutorials – after all, there are a hundred tutorials here!  However, there will be more winners than losers, plus something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.  (The age-old concept of depth-of-field, the new style of Post-HDR, the borrowed look of vintage old photos, and the blue of the ocean.)

When you get to the how-to on photographing live insects at home, you’ll know this Hot 100 is a keeper!

Schedule at least 90 minutes just to go through this list.  You’ll probably end up spending a good bit of time with these how-tos and make good use of a few of them.  You may even find one or two that serve up the answer to a long-lingering question you may be having!





Taking the Plunge for a DSLR? PhotographyTalk Shows How

November 12th, 2012 No Comments
This image shows a Canon EOS 350D digital sing...

This image shows a Canon EOS 350D digital single-lens reflex camera with a Tamron 18-200 f/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD lens.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PhotographyTalk has published an excellent, don’t-miss guide, especially for novices and hobbyists.  It bears the rather inapt and misleading title, “The #1 Best Method To Know You’ve Picked The Right Digital Camera For You.”  An apt title would be “The Best Method to Pick the Right Digital Camera for You,” because that’s just what this guide steps you through.

In brief, the trick is to rent a few DSLRs over a weekend and take them for a test drive before you make the big commitment and get hitched.

PhotgraphyTalk’s guide is loaded with sharp advice.  For example, they explain that, as you’ll be using a DSLR with interchangeable lenses and other gear, you would be well-advised to rent these too lest you encounter an unpleasant surprise later.  It also contains very sound advice: spending an hour or two with the instruction manual and acquainting yourself with the camera will pay off. 

‘The Comfort Test’ may be the most critical point.  “You don’t want to buy a camera that you couldn’t use and carry all day” is a key rule.  The camera should feel like an extension of your arm; your hand should be able to ‘learn’ it quickly.  If it feels alien an unwieldy to your hand then even if it’s the best-rated camera and even if you’ve been ‘sold’ by the reviews, it’s probably not for you.

The guide also keeps in mind all eventualities – it even draws your attention to whether or not you have insurance to cover theft or damage.

As good as this guide is, it can be fleshed out.  Here are a few additional points for the checklist:—
•  During your tryouts, do include ambient light, low light, and night shots, including long exposures.
•  Though as a budding pro you’ll be shooting in RAW, shoot some JPG with each camera.  If nothing else they may be a tie-breaker – or, if particularly poor, they may be a deal-breaker.
•  For all the manufacturers you are considering, look into the geographical locations of the authorized service centres and also check out that vendor’s track record with customer support.


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WiFi SD Card, Filter Systems, and a New Print Medium

November 9th, 2012 No Comments
Directions for WiFi on My New Camera

Directions for WiFi on My New Camera (Photo credit: Old Shoe Woman)

Today, let’s take a quick look-see at what’s going on right now in the photography marketplace.

WiFi Camera without a WiFi Camera

Don’t have one of those new WiFi cameras and just achin’ to buy one?  Guess what – you’ve got one if you can spend $70 on a new type of SD Card! – say ‘thank you’ to Transcend.  Using on

e of their SD cards will allow you to establish a wireless P2P connection between your camera and mobile device and also hop on any reachable hotspot.  You’ve got WiFi!

Filters are a ‘Snap!’

Cokin has brought out a new Snap! Kit of filters for mirrorless cameras.  The kit contains an adaptor ring (five diameters available), filter holder, an ND4, a Graduated Sunset filter, and . . . that’s all!  Cokin, that ain’t much of a ‘kit’.  If you want to treat mirrorless users right, you could have thrown in a Polarizer and Star 6, and perhaps a Diffuser (with a suitable increase in price).  How about a Snap! Kit Deluxe?

Filters can also be Retro

If you want to use filters but want to exhibit some retro style (and I mean really retro), look no further than Kenko’s Filter Stick.  PetaPixel says that it “is like a Lorgnette for Your Camera Lens” and that’s not a bad analogy.  While you hold your camera in one hand, you hold this thingumabob, filter screwed in, with the other hand in front of the lens.  Lorgnettes may have been High Society style but thanks – I’ll take the Cokin solution!

Printing Medium: Wood!

To close, let’s step back several days and take in an unusual exhibition.  Myles McGuinness has tried to print photographs on wood for years and recently he perfected the technique (it’s a secret). 

McGuinness is a surf and waterside photographer.  For his wood prints, he chooses both, a specific image as well as a particular block of wood for that image.  Check out this example and this one.

The fruits of his skill and labour were exhibited from 3rd November at a venue in Oceanside, California.  


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The Photographers’ Gallery — All Things to All Photographers?

November 7th, 2012 No Comments

If you, as a photographer, are looking for a one-stop shop to learn, workshop, compete, exhibit, buy – whatever – look no further than The Photographers’ Gallery.  According to their website, this is “largest public gallery in London dedicated to photography.”

The Gallery is not only a website, it occupies capacious premises in London near the Oxford Circus tube station.

The Gallery’s interest areas and topics span the gamut.  Consider their lecture The Lens and the Gun which explores “the historical, mechanical and metaphorical relationship between photography and guns.”  So now you’re thinking, “Ah, so this is one of dem high-brow, chi-chi ‘art institute’ thingies.”  Not so fast – would a precious lah-de-dah institute offer a five-week iPhone Photography Course?!  Now ain’t that democratic and down-to-earth? And also up-to-date: this course includes lessons on ” social platforms and sharing forums, both online and offline, where mobile photography is being showcased and discussed.”

That’s what The Photographers’ Gallery is (or tries to be):– All things to all photographers.

Besides the said lecture and course, you can find other events ranging from the tried-and-true to the offbeat.

As of now, it hosts two exhibitions, one of which definitely falls in the ‘offbeat’ category: Shoot! Existential Photography.

Apparently carnivals in the inter-War years used to have an attraction in which you tried to shoot a target with a gun; if you succeeded, a camera would shoot a photo of you and that would be your prize.  (Shades of the Lens-Gun lecture!)  Some photographers – including Man Ray – took inspiration from that fairground novelty to try to draw parallels between shooting with a camera and shooting with a gun.  That’s what this exhibit is about.

The second exhibition is much more prosaic.  It features photographs of the people of Liverpool – many days in the life of a city as reflected in its inhabitants.  The photographer, Tom Wood, has taken a “documentary . . . approach” to his Merseyside subject matter.  If he truly has, then Anfield and its denizens are surely well-sampled in his works.



Galleries: NatGeo, Kate Moss, and something Dali-esque

November 6th, 2012 No Comments
National Geographic Photo Camp

National Geographic Photo Camp (Photo credit: poptech)

NatGeo’s Best Photos of October 2012

Pity that the title and subject of this photo is so prominently printed otherwise you’d think it’s something photographed on Mars (or a still from some Sci-Fi movie) wouldn’t you?

It is one of NatGeo’s Best Photos of October 2012.  The very next photo is of a silken-streamed waterfall over near-black cliffs.  This is a standout fine art image.

This mini-gallery, published two days back, is worth a quick look; the photos run the gamut – from scenic to macro, from pets to photojournalism, there is a nice mix.  Don’t miss these acrobats on a wall!

Vanity Fair’s Best Photos of Kate Moss

Kate Moss is an iconic name in Modeldom for reasons not relevant to photography . . . well, at least not directly.  Her original ‘waif look’ is captured in the very first image of Vanity Fair’s Kate Moss gallery, also published a few days back.  

They’ve published a contact sheet from what must have been a test shoot with the photographer, Corinne Day, whose photographs launched Moss’s career when she was a teenager.

That we’re talking about a slip of a girl comes across plainly in this candid and, frankly, it does raise some ethical issues associated with the modelling profession.

All those famous shots of Moss are in this one gallery, plus some personal rarities.

Dali-esque Best Photos of a Slit-Scan Camera

Jay Mark Johnson doesn’t need Photoshop – he and his camera are a funky new kind of Photoshop by themselves.  He uses a slit-scan landscape camera to take panoramic landscapes with a twist.  To quote Joe Berkowitz, Johnson’s Photography is something that “messes with space, time, your head.”

Johnson’s photographs can be called ‘abstract patterns of landscapes’.  Or they may be an abstraction of a rhythmic gymnast whose ‘apparatus’ is not ball or ribbon but arms!  Isn’t this ‘Dali-esque’ Photography?

Whatever niche Johnson’s quirky and unusual photographs may have in the discipline of Photography, they’re worth a look for both, the novelty and the art.


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Barter, the Old Way, and Kodak, the Old Soldier

November 5th, 2012 No Comments

English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Barter, the Old Way

“The old way of trading skills can still work,” a photographer has stated emphatically.  Barter?  For a photographer?  

Yes – that is exactly what Shantanu Starrick seems bent on proving as an itinerant photographer who does not pay for his room and board – not in money, that is, for Starrick pays in kind: photographs and videos.

In Pixel Trade: Photography for Trade, Chris Gampat interviews Starrick, who concentrates on photographing-documenting persons as purveyors of different “trades,” i.e. persons functioning as professionals.  In exchange for his photographs, he gets food, shelter, transport, . . . .  

Starrick says, “The initial conversations with these people often bring up concerns of cost. It always ends with them realizing how much time I have spent thinking this through, and they quickly agree that this project will be worth the trade.”  At the same time, he too is given the royal treatment – usually his hosts are “extremely generous” and he is “well fed.”(!)

Perchance one or two of our Australian readers have bumped into Starrick?  After all, he has had a pronounced swing through the country having started off in Melbourne.

I bet the barter idea behind Pixel Trade is giving a lot of photographers some good ideas.  I also bet it’s causing one fellow a lot of frustration: the taxman!


Kodak, the Old Soldier

Two months back, one of our posts was titled Kodak’s Suicide Run.  The questions about Kodak’s viability have not subsided.  “Can Kodak survive just with a successful restructuring/bankruptcy and without any major innovation/new products?” asks PhotoRumors but does not provide an optimistic prognosis.

Kodak has seen a two percent increase in its profitability but when you slash expenses like crazy, that’s not too hard.  Kodak’s portfolio of products and services lacks coherence, the company does not have “any major innovation/new products,” and it appears to be a rudderless ship.

Kodak is a gradually-disappearing once-global brand.

Perhaps PhotoRumors could have offered the following prognosis:– Kodak is not going to commit suicide nor is it going to die, yet the writing is on the wall.  Take it away General MacArthur: “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”


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‘C’ is for Contest, ‘C’ is for Coolpix

November 3rd, 2012 No Comments
Nikon Coolpix series

Nikon Coolpix series (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The ‘Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award’ competition is a mouthful of a name – and it has every right to be, as it is brimful with the green stuff.  It has a humongous prize pot of $389,000 and the grand prize itself is a whopping $120,000!

Check out HIPA’s website and see if you think you think you want to try your luck in any of the four categories.

You know there’s going to be lots of intense competition so perhaps you want to try something that’s not quite so competitive but still has a big fat prize?  Try ePhotozine’s Competition which has a daily theme and gives away four Nikon Coolpix cameras per month.  

Did I write “not quite so competitive”?  Oops— scratch that!

Regardless of whether or not you enter either competition, it pays to at least look at the entries, especially winning ones, because the very act of doing so will allow you to learn something.  Because, for most contests, it costs nothing to enter, you may as well match your skills and take a shot at winning . . . say, a Coolpix!   

Talk of Nikon’s Coolpix, is this the new face of that simple, snapshot camera?  

Some ‘enthusiast’ cameras pack in so many useful features and impressive specs that they allow amateur photographers to grow and progress toward the next level.  In similar fashion this Coolpix, the P7700, would allow the novice photographer to grow and progress toward the next level, that of an amateur or enthusiast – but with a different twist:—

The P7700 is not crammed with different exposure modes; rather, it has the four traditional exposure modes from the days of yore (plus a programme mode).  This limitation will let – or make – the serious novice learn the principles of exposure.  It also has interchangeable lenses (of course), a vario-swivel LCD screen, EV compensation, and more useful features.

At the same time, it does have separate dials for ‘Scene Modes’ and ‘Effects’ which too will let the newbie continue on his/her learning curve.  This is a smart design – a smart design for a smart camera series that thoroughly deserves its reputation and popularity.


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