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Monday, March 30, 2009

Addison... a Children of London Session

Addison is a little cutie I photographed as part of the Children of London project.

As is often the case with little ones, I had to enlist Addison's parents to keep her smiling and cooperative for the shoot, but I think we got some great images!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Judy Cormier - Elementz of Fotographie

Elementz of fotographie, judy cormier

For those of you that shoot weddings, you may know my friend Judy Cormier. Judy has a keen eye when it comes to creating an image, and her vision comes through full force with the beautiful images she produces.

Judy hails from Toronto and is not only a great photographer, but a really wonderful person. Check out her site Elementz of Foto to have a look through her work.

What you may not know is that Judy doesn't "just" shoot weddings. She also does "Obzessions".

What's an "Obzession" you say?

To quote Judy... "An obZession is for the man in your life ... but wait, don't even think that it isn't for you too. Whether you're a bride to be, a wife, even a mom, an obZession is designed for you to feel beautiful, the bonus of which is a gorgeous gift for your groom, husband or boyfriend! "

You can see some of the fantastic "Obzession" images over at the Elementz site as well as on the Elementz blog.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

D-Town - The Weekly Show for Nikon DSLR Users

Attention all Nikon shooters! (and the rest of you non-Nikon shooters too)

If you haven't seen Scott Kelby's D-Town... The Weekly Show for Nikon DSLR Users, you're in for a treat. Each week, Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski bring you the coolest tips and tricks, news and accessories for Nikon's Digital SLR cameras.

There's a segment by Moose Peterson on processing images using Nikon's CapturenNX2.

There's even tutorials by Joe McNally on using the SB-900 and using small flashes.

Best of all... it's all FREE!

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Making of a Storm

This image is truly a work of art. The compiling that went into building this image was huge.

Drew Gardner shot the storm watcher main character, but the rest of the image has been "created" from a host of other images.

As Drew says, "The only stipulation was no flying cows.......damn!"

Read all about the steps involved over at Drew's blog.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Yanick Dery Fashion Photographer

Photo by Yanick Dery

Yanick Dery is a fashion photographer who works out of New York and Quebec.

I came across his website and was impressed with his work. Specifically, have a look through the "fashion and beauty" section of his website. Great use of composition and lighting!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

50mm Glory

I'm a big fan of 50mm lenses. I've owned quite a few, including the Canon 50mm f1.8 and f1.4, and the Nikon 50mm f1.8 and f1.4. I currently use the Nikon 50mm f1.8 all the time on my D300's. For the money, you can't get a better optic. The Nikon 50mm f1.8 is SUPER sharp, very fast to focus for a non-AFS, and renders beautiful out-of-focus backgrounds or Bokeh as we call it.

Kirk Tuck has a great article over on The Visual Science Lab called Fifty Millimeters: The Glorious Optics of Yesterday. Check it out for a great read! His favourite street combo to shoot with is his D300 and the new Nikon 35mm f1.8, which basically gives you close to a 50mm on full frame.

I'm a huge fan of the Nikon 35mm myself. I haven't tried out the new 35mm f1.8 yet, and I'm not sure if I will as my Nikon 35mm f2.0 serves me wonderfully.

If you're in the market for a Nikon 35mm, just bear in mind the new f1.8 is meant for the DX cameras. If you're shooting an FX body like the D3, D700, or D3X, you're better served with the Nikon 35mm f2.0 like the one I shoot with.

Back to the subject of 50mm lenses though. The 50mm on a DX body (crop sensor body) gives you a 75mm field of view which makes for a fantastic portrait lens. Coupled with it's f1.8 speed, super light weight, fantastic image quality, and crazy low price, you can't really beat it! If you don't have one, my only question is why? :)

Read more about the Nikon 50mm f1.8D:

Nikon 50mm f1.8D vs Nikon 50mm f1.4G

Using the Nikon 50mm f1.8 AF D for Macro Photography

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Zach and the 5DMk2

It's kinda like a heretical confession, but Zach Arias admits to shooting with a Canon 5DMk2.

All kidding aside, he's got some great shots posted in his latest post I Feel Like I'm In A Tool Video :: Julia with the 5d Mk II.

As usual, Zach is making use of some cool locations including an old Atlanta prison. You can always learn something from looking through Zach's latest images, and these are no exception.

He's also shooting with a Canon 90mm tilt-shift for several of the shots, which adds an entirely unique look all on it's own.

If you haven't seen Zach's "One Light" video, you should check it out. The Z-man knows his lighting, and he's willing to share. :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Billy Pegram

Check out Billy Pegram for some fantastic work.

From Isis Jeans to Lord of the Dance, Billy has shot some big name stuff. Have a look through his portfolio and see what you can learn from it.

I have to say, I love his home page (above image). Awesome visual impact!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Speedlight options for low-priced flashes

David has a great post over on Strobist about low-priced options for manual flashes.

It's great to see there are some alternatives to picking up used flashes on ebay. I'm a big fan of the Nikon SB-26, but it looks like the new LumoPro LP120 Manual Flash may be a good alternative.

MPEX had these designed and built specifically to fill the need for a Strobist type flash such as David uses off-camera. I've bought a fair bit of gear from MPEX, and they've been great to deal with. I wouldn't hesitate to buy from them again.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Rolando Gomez

Image by Rolando Gomez

Check out Rolando Gomez for some great fashion and glamour images. Some great lighting and posing here.

Take a look through the portfolios and pick out your favourite images. Once you've chosen your favourites, spend some time figuring out how they're lit.

Can you see where the light is coming from?

How many lights were used?

This is a great exercise to build your lighting skills. If you're already an expert, then it's a great exercise to keep your skills honed.

Rolando has also published several books on the lighting, glamour, fashion, and posing.

Friday, March 20, 2009

No More Tears: Photoshop out the Tears and Sad Faces’ Emotions Turn Uncertain

A noted expert on the neuroscience of laughter has turned his focus to tears. Or more precisely, how digitally removing tears from photos of crying people makes it tough to tell just what emotion is being expressed.

For research recently published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology, Robert R. Provine, a professor of psychology at UMBC, gathered hundreds of slides of crying and non-crying people from photo sharing sites like Flickr. With some simple Photoshopping, tears were removed from the shots of crying people. The tear-free images and their teary counterparts were shuffled in with a long sequence of portraits of people with neutral expression and shown to undergraduate volunteers.

Excerpted from Read the whole article here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Self Portrait Photography Tips

Nathan Marx has some great thoughts and info on creating self portraits in his article Self Portrait Photography Tips.

He talks about how taking your own portrait can be a great learning tool for photographers and discusses some of the difficulties in doing so. He also discusses gear, lighting, ideas for themes, and backgrounds.

Check it out and go try some new self portraits. :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Firefox Plug-in for Windows Media Player

I'm a big fan of Firefox. I love the plug-ins. I love the community. I love the fact that it's not MicroSoft (I have a love / hate relationship with MS).

Probably my biggest irritation with Firefox has been when I try to watch video clips online, and I get error messages telling me Windows Media Player needs an up-date. Then when I click to up-date, I get more error messages.

Of course, I should've googled this the first time it happened, but I didn't. I've ignored it and procrastinated, continuing to love Firefox despite this one problem.

Well, I finally googled it and fixed the problem! If you've been having the same problem with Firefox playing nicely with Windows Media Player, you'll be happy to know it's a VERY easy fix.

Here's the download link to get the file you need.

The instructions are on the download page, but in a nutshell... download the plug-in, close all browsers, double-click on the plug-in you downloaded, and watch it self-install. You're good to go. Re-start Firefox and test it on a Windows Media video. If you haven't seen the video of Jon Stewart creaming Jim Cramer then I suggest you watch it as your test.

If you are not shooting RAW files - your camera is BROKEN!!!

Peter Gregg's latest article If you are not shooting RAW files - your camera is BROKEN!!! over at about RAW vs JPG.

I know this topic has been done to death, but it's actually a good read. Peter has a quirky sense of humour so his writing usually provides a chuckle or two, and you might just learn something too. :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chickens as Pets

Jilin Province, China, March 3, 2009--Move over, goldfish. Chickens are now among the most popular pets for Chinese children, such as the tot pictured above buying a chick in a bag from a vendor outside a primary school.

Like their aquatic counterparts, pet chickens don't have very long life expectancies, usually hanging on for just a few days or weeks. Some that survive only last long enough to become dinner, and a rare few remain in the household as pets.

As always, National Geographic has some greats pics, but this one I love!

Apparently, as the quoted story above says, chickens are now the "in" pet to have. I don't have one, so I'm not sure what that says about me, but I still love the photo!

Check out the original National Geographic story here.


Check out LifeHacker's article Hack Attack: Knock Down Repetitive Email with AutoHotKey

I just read it, and I'm pumped to try out this little gem of a program called AutoHotKey. I'm always looking for ways to speed up my email as I spend way too much time dealing with it, as I'm sure most of you do.

As the author Adam Pash says, "you can create quick keyword replacement scripts that will help you fly through your repetitive email so that you can get back to more important matters in no time."

Sounds like heaven to me!

I can also see how AutoHotKey might be helpful for a lot of photography related stuff too. I'll touch base on this more in a future up-date after I've had a chance to try it out!

Monday, March 16, 2009

LED lights for Photography

I've tried a few LED lights, but so far nothing has really clicked for me. I'm still more comfortable using an SB-800 or SB-600, or a combination of off-camera flashes (usually my favourite SB-26's).

That said, I continue to see some great work done with LED lights. Folks always have their favourites, and I've seen everything from deerlights from the hardware store to expensive, designed-for-photography lights like the LitePanels.

Check out this article by Philip Hinkle at where he compares the new TorchLED TL-50 with the LitePanels LED Micro and the Sony HVL-20DW2.
In the Field: Switronix TorchLED TL-50

Asleep on my feet

I love owls. They're such neat birds. This little guy made things easy as his location made for a great shot without having to do any post-processing. This is straight OOC and...


Heresy, I know, but I've started shooting RAW+Jpg lately, and this one just looked great right out of camera. It's nice to not have to do any post, especially when you're just shooting for fun.

Shooting RAW+Jpg means I've got the RAW there too in case I want to do some post, and with the SUPER cheap price of memory cards these days, there's really no down-side.

Technical Info: Nikon D300 & Sigma 70-200 f2.8 @ 102mm @ f2.8 @ 800 ISO

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott - Fashion Photographers

So my previous post about Ashton's video of Demi's photo shoot got me curious.

Who are Mert & Marcus?

Turns out Mert & Marcus ARE fashion photography these days. Everyone who's anyone would kill to have Mert & Marcus shoot them.

Check out this article over at Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott - Fashion Photographers

Their use of light and creativity with posing is worth having a look at. As always, you can learn a lot from studying the work of others.

Ashton Kutcher's video of Demi's Photo Shoot

Love him or hate him... here's a video Ashton shot of wife Demi doing a photo shoot.

Although the video isn't very good quality, it does offer a behind the scenes look at a top-end fashion shoot. Plus... it's kinda' amusing too :)

Check out the lighting, backgrounds, and shooting methods and angles.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Detroit's Beautiful, Horrible Decline - Time Photo Essay

French photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre captured some amazing images in their Time Photo Essay: Detroit's Beautiful, Horrible Decline.

As the title implies, the photos are both beautiful and horrible at the same time.

The horrible state of decline depicted in many of the photos is disturbing on many levels, perhaps not the least of which is the fear of where we are going and will we too end up there?

1600 Club Camera Rankings

The 1600 Club ranks the D3X as King of the Hill!

Using a well thought out system for it's rankings, the 1600 Club manages to do what few have done. The 1600 Club comes up with what I consider to be the most "real" camera rankings I've seen yet.

These aren't just tech spec rankings listing which DSLR is the best because it sports the most megapixels or the best high ISO. These rankings factor in a multitude of factors, including tech specs, but more importantly, real world use.

Check it out! I think you'll find the 1600 Club is one the mark.

Friday, March 13, 2009

iPortfolio... an excuse to buy an iPhone or an iPod Touch

If you're like me, and you don't already have an iPhone or an iPod Touch, here's yet another good reason you and I should have one. iPortfolio.

I made up the term, at least I think I did. As far as I know, and from what a quick googling of the term showed, there's no app or device name iPortfolio at this point, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't have one. :)

One of the reasons I've been kicking around the idea of buying an iPod Touch (besides the fact that they're so freakin' cool) is to have an iPortfolio. An iPortfolio is a selection of your best work stored on your iPod Touch or iPhone so that you can quickly show a potential client, existing client, (or anybody else for that matter) at a moment's notice.

Consider these scenarios.

You're out and about and meet someone who needs some headshots done. You whip out your iPod Touch or iPhone and show them some of your best headshots.

You've just been introduced to a friend of a friend who's getting married soon. You whip out your iPod Touch or iPhone and blow them away with the beauty and elegance of your wedding portfolio.

You're out on a shoot and you're hitting a wall. You're subject isn't getting the shot you're trying to explain. You whip out your iPod Touch or iPhone and show them some samples that demonstrate what you're trying to do (might be your work, or it might be some inspirational stuff you've saved from another photog).

I've pretty much talked myself into one. You can blame me if I've talked you into one too. I will say that I'll likely be going with the iPod Touch as I just can't deal with the highway robbery of the iPhone service plans. My left arm is just too much to pay to surf the net with an iPhone, especially when I can do pretty much all the same stuff using an iPod Touch provided I've got WiFi access which is pretty much everywhere these days.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lithium Ion Batteries that recharge in seconds!

When I read this I thought, yeah... that's a tech leap that I can use! Imagine the potential!

This article over at Nature News talks about the many possibilities including electric cars, which I have to admit wasn't my first thought.

My first thought was DSLR batteries, AA's for my flashguns, and my laptop battery all recharging in seconds. How sweet would that be!

Of course, the point about electric cars is probably much more important in the grand scheme of things. One of the biggest downfalls of electric vehicles right now is the crazy long recharge time, and the equally crazy short range after that crazy long recharge.

Imagine now that you could plug in once you got somewhere, and your car would be recharged and ready to go in seconds! Long trips would now be feasible. Instead of pulling over for gas, you could pull over for a few seconds to recharge. Even better, you could recharge with a solar cell in seconds and not even have to stop driving!

Very cool!

Jalbum 8.2 just released

For those of you who haven't heard of Jalbum, you're in for a treat.

Jalbum is a fantastic little piece software that generates web albums, and best of all... it's FREE!

You can change the look and feel of your web albums with different Jalbum skins, and there are literally thousands to choose from!

I've been using Jalbum for several years, and I like it. The good folks behind Jalbum are continously releasing updates with new feature and little tweaks. Incredible when you consider it's FREE!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Ultimate Bounce Card

If you're like me, you've tried just about every flash modifier out there. There's tupperware types galore, OEM modifiers that come with flashes like Nikon's SB-800, mini-softboxes, and a host of others.

My friend Peter Gregg introduced me to my favourite flash modifier, A Better Bounce Card a couple of years ago, and even though I continue to try others that come out, I find myself returning to it every time. It just works!

Last year, I up-graded to the latest version, the Ultimate Bounce Card, and I love it! Elegant in it's simplicity, it works like a charm. You can use it to shape light however you need to, and best of all... you can achieve AMAZING results with on-camera flash. Yup, I said it... with on-camera flash.

Sure you can get awesome results by going with off-camera flash. Sure some shots need elaborate off-camera lighting set-ups. But for the most part, for wedding and photojournalism type work, on-camera flash with the Ultimate Bounce Card will get the job done beautifully with no extra work setting up lights and equipment... something I find to be almost essential when I need to work quickly and efficiently such as at a wedding or a PJ type shoot.