Thursday, March 31, 2011

Whoop, whoop, whoop!!....


Now, you need to have a mental picture of me singing this post (badly) while doing the cabbage patch dance (again, badly), 'cuzz I'm a happy guy.

Yesterday we passed the 1,000 subscriber mark on the Weekly Photo Tips YouTube Channel (with over 140,000 views)!

But I have to give credit where credit is do, it's my friend Mark who does everything (and I do mean everything) that makes these videos possible. He does the audio, the filming, the editing, and final production of all our videos. So thank you Mark.

Me, well... I'm just the eye candy in front of the camera.

;)

And I want to thank you for making Weekly Photo Tips the success it is.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

You have just 24 hours left...


There are just 24 hours left for you to enter our latest contest and get your hands on the fabulous prize package.

So check out the details here and be sure to get in before it's too late.

Good luck everyone.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More on the GamiLight review...


Shortly after posting the GamiLight review yesterday I received several comments, one from Larry "From the photos, it appears to be pretty hot in the center" and another from Anonymous, "Looks very interesting, but I'd like it to be bit bigger. With that size, you can just do headshots...".

Let me address both of those comments (with info I probably should have mentioned as part of the post yesterday). I setup the light for a certain look... I wanted the image to be very bright starting in the upper left corner of the image then for it to fall of dramatically (with marked shadows) as the light (and your eyes) moved to the lower right corner.

Had I positioned the light differently, like pulling it further away and towards the front of my subject the light would have been softer, more evenly spread, and it also would have wrapped more.

Using a reflector (or two) would have helped by pushing the light into even more places.

The camera was set @ f11 and iso 200, a lower fstop and higher iso also would have helped in brightening up my subject as well.

Above is a setup shot from yesterday, in it you can see the GamiLight softbox in the upper left corner (and my daughter goofing around) the Nikon SB900 was fired manually with a pocket wizard and was set @ 1/16th power.

I hope this additional info will help folks realize that the GamiLight is a pretty darn versatile softbox.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Review of the GamiLight Square 43...

I have had the pleasure of taking the soon to be available GamiLight for a test run and there is a lot to like about it.

Like the light weight, which has the duel benefit of the softbox not drifting down (off the flash), it also puts less weight/tension on the flash head (very important).



It could not fold any flatter, making it extremely portable.

I like how large it is, allowing it to throw a bigger, softer light than almost any small flash softbox out there. As an example of the light it throws I have included four images I shot of my daughters using a single Nikon flash and a GamiLight.



Along with the GamiLight Square 43 their lineup will include the BOX 21 (small softbox), the SPOT 3 (snoot), and the EVENT PRO & EVENT FUN (a bounce light).

They will begin rolling out the first week of April and should be concluded by the end of May (2011). Each of these light modifiers is designed to fold flat for portability and for quick and easy setup.




And though their website is not yet complete you can learn more about them and their products on their Facebook page, you can also email them directly regarding availability.

Check out more of our GamiLight review in the video below (subscribers head back to the blog or directly over to our YouTube channel to watch it).

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Soldiers surprising their loved ones...

Here is part 1 of a "best of" series of soldiers surprising their families with their unexpected and unannounced homecomings (and you gotta love the dog being surprised too).

Be sure to checkout their website right here.

AND, get your tissues before you start watching.

Subscribers, be sure to return to the blog as you just don't want to miss this one.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

One for the dogs...


A month ago fire destroyed the Boston home of Terisa Acevedo, she not only lost all her belongings, she lost her beloved dog, a long haired dachshund, Lola.

This past Monday (a full month after the fire) she to return to the burnt out remains of what was once her home and while standing there in the front she heard a noise, it was scratching on the plywood that covered a large hole that used to be her front door.

Terisa called out her dogs name and heard crying coming from behind the plywood, she ran up, pulled back the plywood and there was Lola!

Somehow this one year old dachshund had survived a month in the burnt-out house.

There was kissing and crying all around.

Though a bit skinnier Lola is fine and will make a full recovery.

Dog and owner are back together, too cool, huh?

Below is a news video of the story (subscribers will need to return to the blog to view it).

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Contest images from our readers... Part 2...

Here are a few more images from our latest contest, some very good stuff.

It's easy to enter, all of the details here.

Just click on any of the images below to view larger and in a new window.







Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Contest images from our readers... Part 1...

The theme of our latest contest is "reflective" and our readers have taken it in directions I had not anticipated or expected, which proves (yet again) that our readers are waaaaaaay smarter than me.

;)

Below are a few of their images.

You can view these and more of the great photos from our readers over at the Weekly Photo Tips Flickr group. But don't just look at them, jump in and submit your images too!

The rules are pretty simple and you can get all of the details here. The contest ends March 31st so don't wait too long.

Just click on any of the images below to view larger and in a new window.





Monday, March 21, 2011

Quick, the Westcott 28" softbox is on sale!...


The Westcott Apollo 28" small strobe softbox (for Speedlights & Speedlites) is on sale AND comes with free shipping!

It's umbrella style design makes for quick opening and closing, easy set-up and takedown.

The double ribbed metal construction makes it very durable and the recessed front gives you great control for feathering your light.

The Westcott Apollo 28" softbox is a very well made, portable lighting tool, that's why we own four of them.

You can learn more about why we are such big fans of this softbox by reading our complete review (with additional info and images) here then head over and buy your own.

Neil van Niekerk is a fan of these as well and demonstrates the kind of light it throws (and the images you can get) with this post over at his blog.

Below is our video review, subscribers will need to return to the blog or head directly over to our YouTube channel to watch it.



Sunday, March 20, 2011

If you are a dad...

The first time I saw the commercial below I thought "they get it" because it captures exactly what it's like for me (and I am sure other parents as well), I have 3 young ladies in high school but when I look at them I see my little girls in their jammies.

This is my reality:

This is real reality:

And if they see this post I am a dead man.

;)

You can come back to Weekly Photo Tips or head directly over to YouTube to watch it.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Snow images from this morning...

Here are a few shots I took from my porch this morning, I didn't go any further because I packed my boots away yesterday when it was 70.

;)

Click on any image to view larger and in a new window.








Spring is soooo close... I thought...

Spring arrives officially on Monday and no one is more excited about it than me.

Yesterday it actually reached 70 degrees here... I was seeing parts of my lawn I forgot existed.

As I dragged myself into the kitchen this morning to make my coffee (and attempt to reach my target heart rate) I looked out the window only to see it was snowing... and snowing hard!

The lawn I saw yesterday is gone, covered with a blanket of white and it's still coming down.

I am blubbering like Lassie just died.

In the video below I feel like the guy in the yellow parka.

And for subscribers (as usual), videos don't get pushed through so you'll need to come back to Weekly Photo Tips or head directly over to YouTube to watch it.



Friday, March 18, 2011

"RC" Concepcion's latest book reviewed...


Just a few days ago we reviewed the book "Taking Stock" so when I saw the title of RC Concepcion's latest book "Get Your Photography on The Web" I was still thinking stock.

It's not, it has nothing to do with stock and everything to do with creating a web presence that will show you and your work in the best possible light.

But before I go on about how much I love this book let me tell you what I like about RC.

If you read his dedication and acknowledgement at the beginning of the book he shares with us what is truly important to him, it's not Photoshop, not his job as a Photoshop Guy.... it's his family, and he's man enough to put into words why they are so important and exactly how he feels about them.

It tells me that RC is the kind of person I would be proud to have as a friend, and certainly more than happy to learn from.

Now, onto the book.. who is this book for? If you are trying to put together your web presence for the first time, or already have a website (and/or blog) but want to make it better, this book should be in your hands.

I have been writing Weekly Photo Tips for over 4 years and know more than most about the do's and don'ts of blogging (not because I'm smart, but because I made most of the mistakes) and I was surprised how much I was able to take away from "Get Your Photography on The Web" and it even has me doing something I never thought I'd do (more on that later).

Being a visual guy I like images not words and this book has waaaay more images that words. This makes learning so much easier because you're not looking at your screen wondering "is this right,is this what he meant?", you can see that what is on your monitor perfectly matches what RC has in the book.


I love how the book is setup, but even better is the content, the content is king.

RC gives us the complete meal, from appetizers to the post desert cigar and glass of port.

Here is just some of the content:

Chapter 1: "Domains & Space" walks you through creating a Godaddy account, purchasing your domain name, and setting up your online space.

Chapter 2: "Getting Your Images Ready" takes you from resizing and sharpening your images in Lightroom, adding metadate, to protecting them with watermarking and copyrighting. He even shows you how to create your own customized watermark.

Chapters 3 - 7: will teach you how to setup your site using WordPress, how to add content, what menus and plugins are most useful for photography sites, very cool HTML tips and tricks, and how to differentiate yourself using themes.

He then moves on to printing images online, creating portfolios, how to use social media and so much more.

Wondering how to setup and use Google Analytics? RC will show you. How about adding web galleries using FTP? Yup. Don't know what a widget is? You'll learn that too.

If much of this is new to you, you will learn without being overwhelmed, if you are familiar with many of these terms, you will learn without being bored.


But there's more, throughout the book you will find mini-interviews from folks like David Hobby, Scott Kelby, Joe McNally, and others.

But if you order in the next ten minutes RC will include three case studies (Moose Peterson, Michael McCaskey, and Kathy Porupski) on how using the techniques in this book will take large, disjointed portfolios and organize them into a site much easier for both the photographer and the visitor to use.

So what is it RC has me doing that I was sure I never would? Using WordPress. He so thoroughly demonstrated the power, the ability to customize, availability of plugins and themes, and the ease of use of WordPress that I am in the process of setting up my own WordPress site.

You only get one chance to make a first impression and "Get Your Photography on The Web" will help you make the best first impression possible.

(click on any image to view larger in a new window)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Look at this picture...


This picture came from the blog "Assignment Chicago" written by Alex Garcia.

The caption he put on this image was:

"Was this picture at a firefighter funeral absolutely necessary? Is camouflage proper attire? Just askin'".

From my perspective we as photographers are supposed to capture a moment, an image without being part of it. We are should hang at the outside edges looking in (isn't that why they make 70-200 lenses?), not get up close and personal standing on a ladder.

But that's just my opinion. I would love to hear what you folks have to say, so please, tell me what you think.

You should be sure to check out "Assignment Chicago", you'll see some great images and read very provocative stories.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A camera bag "must have" for under $10...

Here is a tool you should have in your camera bag... NO exceptions.


It's a multi purpose air blower and it can be yours for only $5.75 (with free shipping).

I have one in my camera bag and another one in my flash bag and use it for things like blowing of around the lens mount before I change lenses. I use it to blow off dust from either end of a lens and for blowing gunk out of my camera body (just be sure to hold the body with the lens mount facing down).

They have a check valve in the back so it is not sucking the dirt in that you're trying to blow away.

These are from Adorama are made of a nontoxic, environmentally friendly silicon rubber, and are resistant to both high and low temperatures.

It also has a removable nozzle so it can easily fit into your bag.

So head over to Adorama and get yourself a blower (or two).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Our review of "Taking Stock"... a great book!


I just finished the book "Taking Stock: Make money in microstock creating photos that sell" by Rob Sylva and it's coming to you with a two thumbs up recommendation (if I had more thumbs it would get them too).

Rob comes at the subject of stock photography from both sides of the fence, he is a stock photographer AND an image inspector for iStock Photo.

This book is well written, it has a ton of images that help demonstrate and reinforce what he has to say, and is very easy to follow and understand.

One of the things I really like about the book as the inclusion of the images from other stock photographers, including their thoughts and ideas behind that image, and their advice to those considering entering the field of stock photography.

Some of the chapters are:

* Tools of the Trade

* Shooting Tips From the Pros

* Digital Darkroom

* Digital Editing

And these incredibly important topics:

* Avoiding Rejection

* Seeing Like an Inspector

These two chapters alone are worth the price of admission and who would know better than an image inspector?

Rob asks a simple (but powerful) question, "are you working inside the sweet spot of your equipment?". Great question. Why ask your gear to do something it was not designed for, know your limitations and work within them.

He also provides a download link to a group of his own images that he rejected and includes text explaining the reason for their rejection, a great learning tool.

And he wraps up the book discussing the importance and the "how to" of meta data, titles, descriptions, and keywording. It doesn't matter how good your images are if a potential client can't find them while searching.

This is just some of the great information you will find in "Taking Stock", but if you want to find out how well the chapters are put together and how much information is included you don't have to take my word for it, you can (download and) read the entire third chapter of the book right here.

Oh, one last thing... MONEY.

How much money can be made in stock? Take a look at the Christmas tree on cover of his book, it is a tree in Rob's yard that as of the books printing has made him over $13,000.

And this is not as rare as you think, take a listen to this interview with Rich Legg, in it he talks about many things (regarding stock) including the importance of having your camera with you all the time, which allowed him to take a picture of a flower while waiting at a fast food drive drive through, an image that has made him thousands and thousands of dollars.

I am not suggesting you stop shooting portraits, weddings, or whatever your photographic specialty is, or that you will retire from one stock image, what I am suggesting is that what you will learn from "Taking Stock" will help you refine your eye to make the images you are already shooting attractive to those who purchase stock and might just add some jingly in your pocket.

But wait, there's more, Rob will be the guest speaker for the May meeting of the Maine Photographers Coalition, so go get the book, come to the meeting, and learn from Rob directly (and ask a question or two).

Here are a few links for you, first for Rob. Here is his stock Flickr page, his main Flickr Page, and, and because he is a Lightroom expert you will find Rob doing a Lightroom Pro Q&A over at Matt Kloskowski's blog "Lightroom Killer Tips".

We have posted several times on the topic of stock photography, you will find thoses posts here, here, and here.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Little House on the Prairie...


In all my years in medicine I NEVER saw a case of scarlet fever.

In fact the closest I ever came to it was on an episode of "Little House on the Prairie".

Well, guess what has invaded my house this week? Yup, scarlet fever. It is absolutely debilitating but thankfully it responds beautifully (and rather quickly) to antibiotics.

Today is the most normal day we have had around here in about a week, so starting tomorrow things should be on their way back to (our version of) normal here on the blog.

I have a pile of boxes, one or two arriving every day this past week, each containing a photographic do-dad (or two) for review. So I am waaaaay behind.

See you tomorrow with a review.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Our David Tejada workshop is official...


Come join us on the weekend of September 17 & 18 for a two day workshop with small strobe artist extraordinaire David Tejada.

David is one of the most highly regarded location corporate photographers out there, known for his dramatic and innovative photographic lighting techniques and graphic style.


He shoots both domestic and international assignments for graphic design firms and Fortune 500 companies. With 25 years of annual report photography experience, David is equally at home hovering in a helicopter over a drill rig in the Andes, creating dramatic lighting in a laboratory setting, or shooting a CEO portrait in New York City.

During the workshop David will demonstrate how to control and modify the quality of light produced from a typical shoe mounted flash. You’ll learn how to properly use umbrellas, soft boxes, snoots, grids, silks and bounce techniques. We’ll discuss using a single strobe combined with existing light as well as more complicated multiple light set-ups.

This workshop is designed for the emerging pro or for those contemplating doing so.

This workshop does not show you how to use your camera, you should understand the relationship between shutter speeds and F-stops and what the difference is between f/1.4 and f/22.

This workshop is limited to just 10 seats so that each attendee will have plenty of personalized attention, signup before those few precious seats are gone.

Learn more about David Tejada at his website, his blog, the "Small Strobes Big Results" site, or over at Strobist (here and here).

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Well this was a pleasant surprise...

At the end of last week we found out the the arrangements for an exchange student visiting from Okinawa Japan had fallen through and they were looking for a "new home".

We became that home.

For the next 11 days we will have a "new daughter", she is 16, and her name is Yumika.


Yup, I now have 4 teenage daughters under my roof... the crowd of people who think I am a silly old man continues to grow.

My first thought when I met her was how brave she is, to be thousands of miles from home, away from her family in a house of strangers, and surrounded by people who speak a language she barely understands.

Yesterday we hooked the computer up to our TV, ran Google Earth, and watched her eyes light up when we found her home, her grandparents home, and her school.

They lit up again today when we dangled a live Maine lobster a foot in front of her face.

;)

We have been spending a good deal of time trying to show her our life, our culture, and learn about hers too.

Today she presented us with some beautiful gifts from her home, a small statue of Japanese deities, booklets about her home, chopsticks, and other very cool things.

We are having a great time and are hoping to give her the experience of a lifetime.

(clicking on any image will open it larger and in a new window)





So the point of this post is to share with you something very unexpected and wonderful that has happened to us and to let you know that posting to the blog has the potential of being somewhat sporadic for the next 11 days, so please be patient.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Would you like $50 from Simply Canvas?...


If you attend the meeting this coming Monday (March 7th) of the Maine Photographers Coalition every person who walks through the door will get a $50 gift certificate from Simply Canvas.

There will be many other fabulous door prizes as well.

The topic for this meeting is "Printing & Selling Fine Art Prints" and the featured speaker will be Joe Ciarcia from Gamut Prints.

Joe will be discussing:

*Upselling Fine Art Prints- how to add fine art prints to your current product line

*Quick tips for marketing fine art prints to your current and past clients

*Best practices for printing/profiling your own fine art prints

*Paper comparisons- look at and touch paper samples from the leading paper companies

*The value of outsourcing- outsourcing vs. in house printing

The Details:

*Doors open at 7pm, the program will start at 7:30pm

*We will meet at Stacey Kane's studio in Scarborough- 134 Black Point Road, Scarborough, ME

*Administrative Fee: $10

*Make sure you bring a business card to drop into the fish bowl to be eligible for the other great door prizes

*Please RSVP if you haven't done so already.

So please, come and hob nob with your fellow photographers, you will meet seasoned professionals as well as photographers who are just starting out, there will be young and old, good looking and... well... me.

;)

Hope to see you there.



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Beautiful High Speed Photography (and tutorial)...

I was recently turned onto the images of Swiss photographer Pascal Bovet by one of our readers (thanks Shayne) and just can't get enough of his work.

Not only is his imagery stunning, he shares with us the setup shots AND has put together a detailed tutorial on high speed photography.

Many of his mages stay with the theme of our latest "shiny" photo contest, check these out:


The setup for the three glass shot can be found here.


The setup for the five glass shot is here.


The balloon shot setup is here.

I'm not even going to tell you what the one below is, or how it was shot, you'll need to check out his website for the details. ;)


Click on any of the above images to view larger and in a new window.

So, be sure to check out his website, his tutorial, and his Flickr page.

And Pascal, if you see this post thank you so much for sharing.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Contest images from our readers...

Here are a few of the entries from our latest photo contest.

You can view these and other beautiful images from our readers over at our Flickr group.

Just click on any of the images below to view larger and in a new window.