Friday, August 29, 2008

Today is my twins birthday!...

It seems like just yesterday that they were running around in their little footy pajamas and life was all about Disney princesses.

When it was time to play “beauty salon” I was their guinea pig. I can’t tell you how many times I’d forget what they had done to me and would head off to the grocery store with clips in my hair, makeup smeared on my face with and well coordinated nail polish.

The looks I would get in the checkout line.

On their birthdays we would decorate the van with paint, streamers, and balloons and on the back window it would say “honk for the birthday girls”. They would count each and every honk throughout the day and write down the total so they could compare it to the year before.

I can still hear them say “when I grow up, I want to marry you”.

They thought my tricks were truly magical.

Now they are young women, no longer little girls, they don’t makeup my face, they won’t let me decorate the van, and they certainly don’t want to marry me.

Now they’re so hip it hurts, it’s all about boys (the Jonas Brothers to be specific), and they talk in three letter acronyms like – IDK (I don’t know), OMG (Oh MY God), and JK (just kidding).

They will be coming down stairs shortly and I’ll take them out for “breakfast with dad”, but I won’t see those hip young women.

I’ll see my little girls, getting into a decorated van, and I’ll start counting the honks.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Portland Maine Photowalk winner is...

Before I announce the winner, let me say the only thing I did not like about the walk was having to pour through hundreds of photos and single it down to just one winning image.

There were so may good photographers, so many outstanding images.

To see the images from the Portland Maine photowalk check out our Flickr page.

Now, drum roll please...

The winner is Kristin Zecchinelli from Old Orchard Beach.

In her own words:

"I had never done anything like this EVER. My hubby got the email about the walk and talked me into going, but I was SO nervous and then seeing everyone's wonderful equipment made me SWEAT! I've always been creative, but truly only picked up photography seriously 6 months ago with the purchase of my very first DSLR".

Be sure to check out her blog, stop by and say hello.

Here is her winning image:

"Balanced"

And these are other images Kristin took on the walk.

"Porthole Flare"

"Oars"

"Working The Docks"

"Elegance"

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The resource known as David Ziser...

I know, I know, I've talked about David Ziser in the past but like a great restaurant or a beautiful vacation spot, once isn't nearly enough.

As new readers join this blog, I want to make sure they know about David too.
First his blog, he provides more information regarding the art of capturing an image and running a photography practice than anyone else I know, you need to have his blog at the top of your favorites list. He brings it fast and furious too, so if you miss a few days of reading, you've missed a lot (and it takes a bit to catch up).

I think the best $69 I have spent on photography resources was purchasing is 2 DVD (4 1/2 hour) set "Digital Wakeup Call". He's very methodical in evaluating software, gear, and the processes he uses in his studio and David takes the time to share that with us on these DVD's.

Something I have not done yet, but hope to soon, is to travel to his his studio and attend his week long "Digital Master Class". After seeing how much information he crams into 2 DVD's I can't wait to see what he squeezes into an entire week! As photographers we will spend thousands on gear, so $750 on a week with David Ziser is something that will pay dividends for as long as you hold a camera.

Even if none of the things I have mentioned seems interesting to you (which would probably mean you are no longer among the living) you should visit his blog and be inspired by the beautiful imagery, after you absorb it for a minute or two your first thought will be "how did he do that"?

And the nice thing is, David Ziser is more than happy to share that with you too.

The Littlest Groomsman - David Ziser

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Last Friday's wedding...

This past Friday I had the pleasure of second shooting with Chris Riley, half of the driving force (with his brother Tim) behind Riley Photographic fame.

It was a fun couple, beautiful venue, and despite the fact that he shoots Canon, Chris was a hoot to shoot with.

;)

The following are several of the images from Friday - and you know the routine, click on any image to view larger (and in a new window).





Monday, August 25, 2008

What a time we had!!!!....

The Portland Maine Photowalk was a great time.

The weather was wonderful, the folks were fun, and I am so lucky to have been a part of it.

My thanks to everyone who came out and made Saturday the success it was.

If you want to see some great images check out our Flickr page.

The first photo was taken at the end of the walk (thanks Gary), and is accompanied by a few that I took.

As always, click on any image to view larger in a new window.





Friday, August 22, 2008

The end of another busy week...

I am off to shoot a rare Friday wedding today, and tomorrow I am the Portland Maine Leader for Scott Kelby's world wide extravaganza, so let me leave you with a few things to read until I get back next week.

1. If you have bought (or thinking about buying) the Nikon D700, you'll want to check out Ken Rockwell's D700 User's Guide. Like everything else he does, this guide is thorough, informative, detail oriented, and free! So if you find this (or any of his) resources useful, consider making a small donation to support the cause.

2. Digital Photography School always has good posts, but this week had several of interest, How to Win a Photography Competition, Full Frame Sensor vs Crop Sensor, and Stepping in to Wedding Photography. The last one is of particular interest (to me) as many folks think photographing a wedding is easy, "show up and take pictures", but there is sooooo much more to it.

3. Stop by and watch Chase Jarvis do an on location photo shoot in three minutes. And when you're done with that check out his entire blog, you'll be glad you did.

4. There is more to the business of photography than capturing images and one of the most important (and most often neglected) are the legal implications. If you are not a regular reader of Carolyn Wright's blog - Photo Attorney you should be. If you continue to ignore this part of your practice and something happens we are all gonna stand around, pointing and saying "na, na, na, na, na, na".

;)

Have a good weekend.

If you want to have a great weekend, let the people who are important to you know that they are important to you.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Nikon SB-900 reviews...

Here's what a few folks had to say about the new mac-daddy flash, the Nikon SB-900.

Click on any of the links below to read the full review(s).

Strobist:
Downside: price, increase size takes up more room in your bag and your current light modifiers might not fit it (A Scott Kelby blogger also noted that it was a challenge fitting them into Justin Clamps, and some other off-camera hot shoe mounts).
Upside: recycle time of 2 seconds (1 second of you use the optional battery pack), thermal shutdown protection.

"My biggest problem is, I absolutely love the SB-800s. IMO, many of the added features are great. But I do not think I can justify switching everything out wholesale. Buying just one might be a very good idea -- I can see many instances when those extra features would make for a more useful single flash."

bythom:
Downside: Size is bulky, plastic tripod mount, No multiple cabled TTL or TTL modes.
Upside: Thought it was their best flash interface to date, better swivel, dedicated gel holder.

"After some preliminary use, I don't think there's any doubt: get an SB-900 if you're heavy into flash (and retire your SB-800 to dedicated remote wireless use)."

Ken Rockwell:
Downside: Too big, too expensive. does not work in the traditional TTL mode of film cameras.
Upside: Great zoom range, evenness of illumination, Faster recycle time.

"The SB-900 is a flash for full-time newsmen and wedding shooters. It's a poor choice for general photography."

Personally, I have no plans to go out and get the SB-900, as I use flash only when I absolutely have to (like shooting a wedding in a cave), but I am troubled that the SB-900 is a replacement for the SB-800, not in new addition to the Nikon flash family.

You will find the Nikon SB-900 page here.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A quick hit...

I want to give a shout out to friend and fellow photographer Mike Palmer, if you don't visit his blog you should, and be sure to bookmark it while you're there.

He is a very good photographer, but more importantly he is a great guy with a wonderful family.

They came to Maine this summer and we had the pleasure of spending some time with them, though I am still waiting to see the pictures from the lobster bake.

Have a great weekend all, love your family, hug your kids.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Last reminder for the August 23 photo walk...

There are only a handful (literally) of openings left for the Portland Maine edition of Scott Kelby's worldwide photo walk.

We'll be gathering outside of the Casco Bay Lines terminal (56 Commercial Street) at 10am, wondering down the waterfront (with a possible foray into the Old Port) ending at noon at Three Dollar Dewey's (241 Commercial Street).

Here is a link to my original post, and here is the link to the Portland walk page.

Hope to see you there, and I'm looking forward to meeting all the folks who've signed up.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Induro Carbon Fiber tripod review...

One of the cool things about writing this blog (other than the hordes of groupies) is getting to play with cool photography doo dads.

The good folks at Induro offered to send me a tripod to take for a spin, any tripod they make to be exact. It was a real temptation to pick the best they had, but instead I went into the middle of their inventory and chose the Carbon 8X C214 and the DM12 ball head.

The reason for going in "the middle" was to use a tripod that was most affordable to the professional photographer (or serious amateur). You can purchase this Carbon 8X C214 and the DM12 ball head at Adorama for $585 (with free shipping).

Before I give you my thoughts in the Induro tripod, let me first share with you where a come from. For the last couple years I have been using a very good pair of sticks, aluminum, pistol grip, in fact I liked it enough to have two sets, one setup in my studio and the other to travel with.

When you picked them up you knew you were holding something, in fact once I threw them over my shoulder it wasn't long before I felt like I was carrying a man, two children, and their lunch cooler on my back.

So when I first took out the C214, I was holding it my hand and moving it up and down (like I was weight lifting) and thinking to myself "this doesn't feel like much, do I really want to put my D300 on this?" (I only thought it because of you actually say stuff out loud people look at you funny).

Adding the ball head did not change how light it felt. Not only was it light, it was compact, when I laid the case next to my old tripod it was about half the size.

So off I went, with the tripod and my precious D300 for a test ride.

The first thing that impressed me was when I locked down the ball head, it was soft to the touch but it locked down tight. It felt like a piece of precision equipment. You could tell my camera was not going anywhere, no movement, no drift, it was securely in place.

Then I slowly moved my hands away from the camera, still a bit unsure that such light legs would hold my darlin'.

It did. So then I grabbed the collar of the tripod and wigged it a little, still nothin'. I must have been some sight as people walked by, trying to figure out why the photographer was trying to knock over his camera and tripod (but couldn't).

I have used it extensively for about a month and if I had to say what I thought about it in three words or less it would be "I love it!".

Now everything isn't perfect, there is one problem, I do have to send it back!

Not long ago I was listening to a financial expert lecture and the question was asked "if you could give only one piece of advice, what would it be? and he replied "spend your money once."

I took that that mean by the right thing the first time, don't by cheap then have to replace it when it breaks, or upgrade when it no longer meets your needs. Spend your money once.

There is a great article over at Your Photo Tips "Buying Tripods: Simplified" and it's well worth your time to read.

Let me wrap this up with a 1 minute excerpt from an interview with (my hero) Vincent Versace, in which he speaks to the need to "buy good sticks".


Vincent Versace interview

Thanks to the folks at Pop Photo for their permission to use their interview.

You can listen to the entire interview at this link, it is one of the best photography interviews I have ever heard (and I bet you'll agree), there is a ton of useful information that Vincent shares with the listeners, including some outstanding advice about the purchasing of photography equipment.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lightroom 2 for $99 & more resources...

Awhile back I posted how (if there's a teacher or student in your house) you could buy the full version (not upgrade) of Lightroom 1 for $99, you can find the post here.

Well JourneyED.com now has version 2 in stock and it too is just $99.

Here are a few more links that will help you get the most out of Lightroom 2:

Sean McCormack has an outstanding blog dedicated to Lightroom and needs to be added to your favorites. Be sure to check out the horizontal scroll gallery that he is giving away for free (thank you Sean).

Allen Rockwell has done his first (in what will be a series) Lightroom 2 video in which he talks about new features like dual monitor support and key word suggestions.

The Imaging Resource (Mkes Pasini) has a nice article "Lightroom 2 - Turning Work Into Play" that you will want to read.

Chris Orwig has posted "Getting Up To Speed with Lightroom 2" at LayersMagainze.com.

You can read "Lightroom Keyword Tricks" at O'Reilly Media.

My last two offerings are "Lightroom 2.0 Refines the RAW Image Editor" from Scott Gilbertson and "Making Sense of Metadata Settings in Lightroom" from Adobe Press.

Tomorrow I will get off my Lightroom 2 soapbox (I promise) with a review of a really (really, really) nice tripod from Induro.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Here's some Lightroom 2 learning resources...

Let me start with the painfully obvious, any list of Photoshop or Lightroom resources will start with the "Photoshop Guys" (Scott, Matt, and Dave).

Here is a list of Lightroom 2 features, and here you'll find the Lightroom 2 Learning Center. There are more resources than you can shake a mouse at, and though (some) are not free you can use it for as little as $17 a month. So for less than $20 you'll have a full month to learn Lightroom 2 (and everything else in their extensive learning library). Compared to the DVD's that are out there (costing $59-$99) this is a real steal. Still Not sure? Then you shoul take a free test ride.

Terry White has put together 2 nice videos, each about 25 minutes, the first is an overview of Lightroom 2, and in the second Terry shows you the basics of using Lightroom 2 for portrait retouching.

Yanik Chauvin (Yanik’s Photo School) also has two well done Lightroom 2 video tutorials, using the adjustment bush and the skin soften brush.

Kerry, from Camera Dojo, has a bunch of video tutorials you will want to check out.

Colin Smith also has extensive Lightroom 2 resources and videos.

PhotoshopSupport.com has video tutorials, workflow info, and keyboard shortcuts just to name a few things they have on their Lightroom 2 resource page.

I hope you'll find these links helpful (translation - educational), now let the learning begin!

If you haven't bought/upgraded to Lightroom 2 yet, the post below will save you 15% when you do.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Save 15% on Lightroom 2!...

I'm jut in a money saving mood today.

A few days back I blogged about the release of Lightroom 2, well today I received a discount/promotion code that will save you 15%.

That's' $15 off the upgrade, or $45 off the full version of Lightroom 2.

I know what you're thinking, "man, he is good with numbers!". Nope, it's all done with a calculator.

;)

So if you haven't taken the plunge yet, here is a chance to save some money.

Enter to promotion/discount code: PIA06 on the order page to get your 15% savings.

Have a great weekend.

SanDisk 8 GB Extreme III for $39!...

That is no a misprint, you can get the SanDisk 8 GB Extreme III Compact flash card (sku IDSCFE38G30M) from Adorama for a final price of $39!

Here are the details, the out of pocket price is $79, but it comes with a $40 rebate AND it ships to you for free!

But wait, it gets better, the more you buy the bigger the rebate gets.

Buy 1 card and the rebate is $40, buy 2 and it's $100, and if you buy 3 cards the rebate is $160.

So if you purchase three cards the final cost is only $25 a card! (I didn't waste my time in college, huh?)

;)

These are fast cards and the cards that I use, I shoot RAW and I shoot fast (I think they call it machine gunning) and I have never had to wait for the card to catch up with me.

And even shooting RAW I get about 400 images on a card.

So do yourself a (huge) favor and get over to Adorama and get yourself some SanDisk cards.

You can get/download the rebate form here.

*It appears that they have increased the price by $10 since I posted this (and bought mine), sorry… but even @ $35 each for three cards is still a good, no, a very good price

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A cool Lightroom trick from Kevin Kubota...

If you've ever shot an event with more than one camera and/or more than one photographer and forgot to synchronize the time on the cameras, then you've lived through the nightmare of trying to get all the images in their correct chronological order.

The last wedding I shot with Stacey Kane involved 4 cameras and well over 5000 images!

Getting that many images "chronologically correct" can be problematic (but extremely important), and I learned how to synchronize my images from Kevin Kubota and I'll share with you.

If you're at an event and suddenly realize that you forgot to synchronize the time on your cameras, do the following:

1. Take a shot of an inanimate object (like your foot) with each camera, be sure to fire the cameras at the same time
2. You now have "sync" images
3. When you bring the images from that event into Lightroom you will use these images to get all the images in order

But what if you don't realize until the next day that your cameras wheren't synchronized, then what?

4. Look for a key point in time (such as "the kiss" during a wedding, because everyone shooting the wedding will capture that precise moment)
5. While in the Library mode (in Lightroom) you will select (highlight) one reference image from each camera used (the picture of your foot, the kiss at the wedding, or whatever key point image you have chosen as your reference)
6. You will pick (in your mind, not Lightroom) one camera as the "Master Camera" and the reference image from that camera will be your "Master Image", the images from all other cameras will be adjusted to match the master image
7. Write down the "time shot" for the "Master Image" (you'll need it later)
8. Go to the "Metadata" browser window in the left panel
9. Select the "Camera" sub-menu and beneath it you will see all of the cameras used
10. Select the secondary camera in the "Camera" sub-menu
11. Just the images taken with that camera will be displayed (included highlighted image you selected before)
12. Select all that cameras images ("CRTL + A" for Windows or "Command + A" for MAC)
13. From the top menu select "Metadata" then "Edit capture Time"
14. The "Edit Capture Time" dialog box will be displayed, along with your reference image
15. Remember the time you wrote down from your Master image? Write that it in the "Correct Time" box and select the "Change All" button

All of the images shot with the secondary camera will be adjusted accordingly and your images will now display in correct chronological order.

If you shot with more that two cameras you will select one reference image from each camera (step 5), then follow steps 10 through 15.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Images from Saturdays wedding…

Here are some shots from the wedding we shot this past Saturday.

Jen & Joe are the latest in a series of outstanding couples we have had the pleasure of shooting for this summer.




Friday, August 1, 2008

The July 2008 Photo Contest Winners...

Here we are with this months photo contest winners.

There was no theme and the fact that both winners are animal shots is purely coincidental.

As usual, you can click on any image to view it larger (it will open in a separate/new window).

The first winner is of a Nile Monitor Lizard and was sent in by Dawn LeBlanc:

Location: Honolulu Zoo
Equipment Used: Canon Mark II , Canon 7-200mm f/2.8 L Lens, 195mm @ 1/60th sec, ISO 400 @ f8
Post Production: Minimal post-processing was done with Lightroom and Photoshop CS3-a bit of sharpening as well as use of multiple curves layers to lighten the interior of the shot while darkening the exterior to throw the light more on the lizard and less on the background

Says Dawn: "This is an image of a Nile Monitor shot thru glass at the Honolulu Zoo in Jan. 2008 during a recent holiday. It was a bit of a tricky shot due to the low light, reflections on the glass, kids jumping all around me, not to mention the millions of little tiny fingerprints."

You can visit Dawn here.

And winner number two is a squirrel from Pete Nicholls

Location: Pete's Backyard
Equipment Used: Minolta DiMage 7i (though Pete is quick to point out that he now shoots with a Canon 20D)
Post Production: post-processing was done in Photoshop CS3, separated the subject from the background using selection tools, then transformed the background to make the subject look 3d.

Says Pete: "This is one of my favorite images. It was taken in my backyard in 2003 at about 8 ft from behind a sheet of plywood with a lens hole cut in it."

Pete makes his home on the web here.

Both of this months winners will be receiving copy of the eBook "Photographer's Legal Guide" by Photo attorney Carolyn Wright.

Carolyn has a great blog, dedicated solely to photography and the law and you should have it as one of your favorites.

Here is a review I did of Carolyn's book "Photographer's Legal Guide", much like her blog, her book is a must read and is an important resource to all photographers!

And thanks goes out to Carolyn for providing such a great prize for this months winners.