Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I went to the Phoenix Botanical Gardens las noches de las luminarias celebration on 20 January 2009. This was a nightime celebration that of course posed many lighting problems. Armed with my new Canon 7D and a monopod, I took a sampling of photos using the higher ISO settings of the 7D. I used anywhere from 1600 to even 6400. Of course, the higher the ISO the more grain, but I thought some of it added to the appeal of the photos. I edited about 90 percent of the shots in Adobe Lightroom. For a few of them, I went to Photoshop and used the OnOne Plug-in Suite 5 tools. One thing I learned about taking evening shots... BRING A SMALL PENLIGHT! It was nearly impossible to make any kind of change on the camera without light. I even tried holding up a luminaria to see better. The other option is to memorize the controls on your camera. No, on second thought... bring a penlight! I was smart enough to bring my Manfrotto monopod that also has little legs that pop out at the bottom. Some venues will give you a hard time if you bring in a tripod. With a monopod, you can always say HEY IT'S A WALKING STICK! They'll usually leave you alone then. One more thing.. I totally forgot to bring my remote control. It is really easy to create blur with night shots even if you are so careful you hold your breath before clicking the shutter.
Friday, November 20, 2009
I found the 7D a delight. It is bulkier than the Canon XSi, the camera I had before this, but it just feels like a pro camera. It also has a nice 8fps burst rate. It sounds like a machine gun! I used a Tamron 18-270mm lens and sometimes I used the Tamron 1.4x extender, too. All were 100 ISO and I used Adobe Lightroom for editing and uploading to Flickr.
Another interesting feature on the Canon 7D is the ability to take high definition video. I can switch to video mode easily on the camera and even take photos while recording video! Here is a short example of video taken during the race. Turn up your volume so you can hear the zoom.
I held off buying the Canon 7D because I didn't really need the video. I have a Canon HF200 which is a wonderful HD video camera. But how many times have you been to an event and they say cameras are ok but no video? Ha ha, the 7D takes care of that problem nicely.
I am a National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) member and got a smoking deal on shipping with the 7D from B&H.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
For those interested in photography, all the photos were taken with a Canon SD950 12 MP camera, one of the smaller "point and shoots." Sometimes it is easier to put one of those in your pocket and walk in the door without hassle. I edited and uploaded to flickr via Adobe Lightroom using a Jeffrey Friedl's "Export to Flickr" plugin. I also use his "Export to Zenfolio" plugin when posting photos from Lightroom to my Zenfolio site.
Upcoming... My reaction to attending NAPP's PhotoShop World in Las Vegas!
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Here are the photos I posted to Flickr. My review is under the photos.
First, keep in mind why anybody would by an all purpose "walking around" lens. I did not want to take all of my photo equipment to a tailgate and football game, especially since severe weather was predicted. I wanted to travel light. The Tamron 18-270mm lets you do that. I feel it does many things pretty well. Is it an excellent portrait lens? Of course not. Is it a great telephoto? Hey, not to bad. For the convenience of having such a walking around lens, you do give up f/stops. It just isn't what photographers would call the fastest glass in the world.
Was it worth the $599 (minus $70 current Tamron rebate I got via B&H Photo). Sure it is; I would do it again.
But you be the final judge. I was taking photos in a variety of conditions. Cloudy and sunny during the day; stadium lighting from a distance at night. If I were on the sidelines, I'd not have to use the full 270mm zoom and have better lighting. I'd also probably use a tripod or even monopod for more stability. As it was, I sat in the 42nd row on the 50 yard line.
I vote the Tamron 18-270mm lens a double thumbs up for convenience, performance, and price!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
As a photographer and Photoshop user on a Mac, I was interested in trying out Noise Buster from Akvis Software. Noise can be a problem when we shoot at higher ISO levels in lower light situations. Or, we use what some might consider a “soft” lens. This won’t completely cure all noise in a photograph, but what program will? It sure does improve photos though.
Some of the appeal of Noise Buster is it works on both Windows and Mac, it is a standalone and a plugin for Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, and Paint Shop Pro. And it won’t break your pocket book. It costs $49 or 39 Euro. You can download it for free for ten days to give it a good test.
You can try Noise Buster now by going here.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
I recently attended the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Writers and Photographers workshop at the Rocky Mountain National Park (June 21 to 25, 2009). First off, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this workshop if you want to work, test yourself, and learn about outdoor photography.
One of the first things I learned was DO NOT scrimp on a good tripod. I brought a piece of junk that I got with a video camera and it was totally unsuited for nature
photography in the field. After the first night, I went online and bought a nice Manfrotto tripod and a Manfrotto monopod from B&H.
Tripods are a MUST for outdoor photography. You often will shoot in low light conditions and need the stability for clear photos. Thanks to Jared Gricoskie for beating me up over that out in the field. haha. I still ended up with a few good elk photos.
The nice thing about a workshop like this is it gets you out of your comfort zone.
I was taken to places I might not have found on my own, nor would I have the motivation factor present, either.
In addition to Jared we also had the guidance of Jack Olson, a published photographer specializing in flora.
We went all over the Rocky Mountain National Park... from the valleys to way above the tree line, in the cold and snow. THAT was welcome for this desert rat (I live in Phoenix) although I have to remind you to dress warmly if you go on this workshop.
Nic Showalter is the coordinator and also a darn good photographer. Contact him if you want more information on the June 2010 workshop.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I attended both the Saturday 21 February and Sunday 22 February Digital Days event at the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Phoenix. For both sessions there were probably in excess of eighty people of various skill levels. I talked to a few folks who had just bought their first digital camera and were afraid they’d be in over their heads. Having attended (and hosted) a prior Digital Days back in 2004 at Paradise Valley Community College with Phil Mistry I told them all to soak in day one, which was designed for beginners (but also a nice reminder for the more seasoned photographers like myself) and I’d ask them afterwards if it was worth it. The people I talked to at the end of Saturday all agreed it had been worth it.
I have a number of photography websites. The one that has many of my photos is at Shutterfly. Go there to take a look if you want, but these are my "warts and all" photos. And you can sign up for a free account. Since I brought up outside sites for photographers, one I really like is Zenfolio. I have started to create what I think is a nice professional page on Zenfolio displaying some of my favorite photographs. Yet another site I like is PhotoWorkshop. One of the nice things they have are tons of educational pages.
OK, back to Digital Days. On day one, the instructor was Leslie Fisher. She was every bit as engaging and knowledgeable as Phil Mistry. Day two, for more advanced photographers, had Leslie and brought in photographer John Omvik, who spent most of the time showing and discussing Adobe Lightroom. And, we had a live shoot with models. That was a lot of fun. Actually going in and taking photographs trying out the settings we had learned about earlier. For those that wanted, they could get critiques of their work afterwards in a non-threatening way.
What did I learn? First off, even for a guy like me who has taken photographs for a few years, it was good to get out and talk to other people and review the basics. Sometimes I admit I get lazy and use the automatic settings. But there is so much more to photography once you get out of those zones and take control of your camera. Now, I teach digital photography for PVCC (along with other business and i.t. courses) and never really thought much about Lightroom from Adobe. I had done some reviews so I was not unfamiliar with it. But John Omvik really showed it in action. OK, what is Lightroom? Lightroom is a program that does some editing but is mostly used to control workflow. Put another way, lets say you do a shoot of hundreds or thousands of photographs. And you want to find one from the morning of the third day or some other specific quality. You can “tag” photos in lightroom to make it easier to find them again quickly. You can also batch process certain things you like such as cropped for 8 x 10 or some lighting condition. Lightroom does NOT replace Photoshop, Photoshop Elements (I use PSE for Mac, by the way), or Paint Shop Pro. Lightroom competes with Apple Aperture as a workflow program and works in tandem with a Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. After John’s demonstration, I went home an ordered the academic discounted version from Academic SuperStore. If you are in education as a student or faculty member, you can also qualify for the nice discount.
My recommendation. Sony Digital Days, Popular Photography, and Tempe Camera (the local sponsor) did this right. If you are a beginner, you need the first day for sure. And you know what, go the second day too to learn about shooting models! Yes, and bring your camera. Then after the workshops, go out and read your camera manual and go to a place like Amazon and find a good book dedicated to your camera model and read about all the functions. Digital Days even published a series of great instructional videos I urge you to take a look at. Even if you are an experienced photographer, there is something here for you too. Now go out and shoot some photographs!
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Many of you may remember when PVCC hosted Digital Days a few years ago. It was wildly successful, bringing in over 100 participants over a Saturday and Sunday. Well, they are coming back to Phoenix February 21 and 22 AND you can enroll for a 25% discount.