Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Digital Photography Review Newsletter: Tuesday, 31 December 2013

DP Review

Digital Photography Review Newsletter

Tuesday, 31 December 2013
The most popular weekly photography newsletter, with over 300,000 subscribers

Hello! And welcome to the 490th Digital Photography Review newsletter.

Happy Holidays from DPReview!

A message from Simon Joinson - Editor in chief:

The entire team at dpreview would like to wish all our readers Happy Holidays, Season's Greetings, Merry Christmas or whatever you say in your part of the world. As we celebrate our 15th anniversary we're looking back on one of the busiest years that we can remember and looking ahead to 2014, which is likely to be even more exciting. Wherever you are, and whatever you're doing today, enjoy yourselves and thank you for being a part of dpreview.com!

With more cameras reviewed (and over twice as much content in total) than in any previous year, four new writers trained and put into action, a swathe of improvements to the forums, a new studio comparison scene, our first foray into live video streaming and the launch of GearShop, 2013 has been another hectic year at DPReview.

You haven't all liked all the changes (and I know a fair number of you have hated all of them), and we still need to work out how it is that the more reviews we do the more complaints we get about how we used to do more in the old days... But that's part of the fun of producing content for a passionate, invested and hyper-critical audience: it keeps you on your toes.

The good news is that, in the face of tough times for our industry, DPReview is still managing to grow its audience year over year, and it is our goal in 2014 to introduce even more content and even more features to keep you coming back.

This year we concentrated mainly on ironing out the bugs and adding features in the new forums, as well as doubling down on our efforts to review more cameras, faster - something we're still working on, and something we're definitely getting better at. We also launched the first part of our new Buying Guide section. In 2014 we plan to revamp our Feature Search, Challenges and Galleries systems and, fingers crossed, to launch our first apps, as well as expanding our editorial content to cover more accessories, lenses and photo techniques. We'll also be producing more video content, and we have some exciting events planned (which, I can't, unfortunately, tell you about yet).

Oh, and we're hoping to be able to share our ideas for a complete site redesign at some point in the first half of the year. If you've been waiting patiently for 15 years to be able to read DPReview on a white background there is light at the end of the tunnel (and if you haven't, we'll let you keep the old white on black style, so don't fret!).

Of course 2014 is likely to be an interesting camera year thanks to Photokina (in late September). We'll be there, on the floor, reporting on the latest developments, just as we have since the earliest days of digital photography.

I'd like to personally thank all the editorial and web dev staff for the incredible hard work they've put in during 2013. These are people who live and breathe DPReview, who are obsessed with making it better and with getting it right. And I'd like to thank you, our audience, our community. Thanks for visiting, thanks for reading, thanks for contributing and thanks for keeping us honest with your no-holds-barred feedback.

Without you, none of this would be possible.

WTD #1449

Check out What The Duck in our Link Directory

GearShop update - a message from Laura

GearShop update - a message from Laura

The GearShop team would like to thank you for supporting the site over this last half of 2013, and we look forward to growing and improving the store in 2014. We will continue offering you the best photo products available with competitive prices and the most informative content we can create, helping you feel confident in your next purchase.

This week's best deals: Save $100 on Olympus XZ-10 and XZ-2 enthusiast compact cameras. Save up to 50% on select Manfrotto 190-series tripods, including special bundles with ball heads and back packs. Interested in getting medium format quality out of your NEX camera? Do you have some legacy Hasselblad, Pentax, or Mamiya 645 lenses? Check out the Vizelex Rhinocam, a one-of-a-kind product that lets you mount your medium format lenses on your NEX camera, producing stunning, high-resolution images. Plus, the price recently dropped to only $299!

Until next week - Laura and the GearShop Team

News updates

Nikon D5300 real-world and test scene samples

Published on Tuesday, December 24, 2013 6:00:00 AM GMT

The following real-world gallery and test scene shots were first published in our 2013 Camera Roundups, but we're highlighting the Nikon D5300 again in case you missed it the first time around since we're working toward a full review in 2014. The D5300 is Nikon's latest evolution of the D5200 by removing the optical low-pass filter (OLPF) and adding a handful of other features. See gallery

Read full story

In photos: Flowing fins of Siamese fighting fish

Published on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 6:00:00 AM GMT

Thai photographer Visarute Angkatavanich has created a stunning series of close-up portraits of Siamese fighting fish. With simple backgrounds and dramatic lighting, the images show off the species' vivid colors and graceful fins. Siamese fighting fish, also known as Betta, now days are a popular aquarium fish. See gallery

Read full story

Happy Holidays from dpreview

Published on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 7:00:00 AM GMT

The entire team at dpreview would like to wish all our readers Happy Holidays, Season's Greetings, Merry Christmas or whatever you say in your part of the world. As we celebrate our 15th anniversary we're looking back on one of the busiest years that we can remember and looking ahead to 2014, which is likely to be even more exciting. Wherever you are, and whatever you're doing today, enjoy yourselves and thank you for being a part of dpreview.com!

Read full story

Hands-on with the Panono panoramic ball camera

Published on Thursday, December 26, 2013 2:30:00 PM GMT

The Panono is a ball-shaped panoramic camera with 36 individual camera modules and a built-in accelerometer. We got our hands on a prototype and met with its Berlin-based creators. See what we thought of the crowd-funded camera on connect.dpreview.com.

Read full story

Pentax K-50 real-world and test scene samples

Published on Friday, December 27, 2013 6:00:00 AM GMT

The following real-world gallery and test scene shots were first published in our 2013 Camera Roundups, but we're highlighting the Pentax K-50 again in case you missed it the first time around. The Pentax K-50 is the follow up to the K-30 and is similar in appearance and spec to the K-500. The camera can also be custom ordered in 120 possible color combinations. See gallery

Read full story

What The Duck #1449

Published on Friday, December 27, 2013 8:12:09 AM GMT

We've come to the end of another week here at dpreview, and as our thoughts drift to weekend shooting opportunities, it's time to take things a little less seriously. Aaron Johnson's comic strip ‘What the Duck’ is just the thing, taking a gently satirical look through the lens of a photographically inclined waterfowl. You can find it published here (and in our newsletter) every week; we hope you enjoy it, and your weekend.

Read full story

DPReview Videos: tutorials, product overviews, interviews and more

Published on Saturday, December 28, 2013 5:37:44 AM GMT

We don't just write news stories and product reviews here on DPReview.com, we also create videos. As well as samples the cameras we review, we also produce 'hands-on' video previews and overviews of many of the current hottest products on the market. In addition to these, we've recently started adding a series of video tutorials designed to help you make informed decisions about which camera, lens, or type of product might be best for you. Click through to browse our growing library of videos. 

Read full story

In photos: The beauty of bees

Published on Saturday, December 28, 2013 6:00:00 AM GMT

Biologist Sam Droege of the USGS Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Program has turned the work of documenting bee species into an art form. His rare and extremely detailed look at these insects provides an online reference catalog to help researchers identity native bee species across North America. See gallery

Read full story

Sample Gallery: Nokia Lumia 1520 smartphone images

Published on Sunday, December 29, 2013 3:23:11 PM GMT

We couldn't wait to see Nokia's first phablet in action. The Lumia 1520 boasts a 20-megapixel PureView camera with optical image stabilization as well as the ability to save uncompressed Digital Negative (DNG) files. We're working on our full review of the device now and sharing our first sample gallery today on connect.dpreview.com.

Read full story

Have your say: Best gear of 2013

Published on Monday, December 30, 2013 2:00:00 PM GMT

A great many new products were released this year, and we've published in-depth content on plenty of them, full reviews of many and we've got plenty of opinions on all of them. This is your chance to have your day - which was the best gear of 2013? Click through to see our five readers' polls, and cast your vote!

Read full story

Premium prime? Nikon AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G in-depth review

Published on Monday, December 30, 2013 6:14:43 PM GMT

The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G was one of the more unexpected lens releases of 2013. It's a fast normal prime for full frame shooters, but its $1699.95 / £1599.99 price tag represents a huge premium compared to the existing (and very good) AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G. What's more, lab tests failed to show any clear sharpness advantage either. So why, exactly, is Nikon asking so much for this lens, and just how well does it perform in real-world use? Find out. Read our detailed review

Read full story


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Tips for Marketing a Photography Business on Facebook

Tips for Marketing a Photography Business on Facebook

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Tips for Marketing a Photography Business on Facebook

Posted: 30 Dec 2013 06:44 PM PST

Today, Facebook is being used as an effective marketing tool for a wide variety of businesses. It is especially effective for marketing a photography business. For most businesses, a Facebook user reads through posted product and service information, but in the final analysis must still decide whether to believe the information and testimonials as posted. However, in the case of professional photography, potential customers can experience your products firsthand by viewing sample portfolio photographs. This is a huge marketing advantage for photographers, but it needs to be tapped into properly for maximum impact. Follow these tips for marketing a photography business on Facebook:

facebook photography

“How to Highlight Your Facebook Photos” captured by Alex Banakas

Don’t spam.

It’s okay to send out a message to your Facebook followers once a month or at certain times of the year, perhaps twice a month. A lot of this will depend on your area of specialty and its inherent seasonality. If done correctly, your fans will find your messages helpful and informative. However, be careful to limit these messages; if you send them too often, some fans may “unlike” your page, and there is even a chance that Facebook, in an effort to police their site, will brand your efforts as spam and actually ban your Facebook page entirely.

Add photo albums.

I know that this might seem obvious, but you are running a photography business and your page should reflect that. Add selected photographs of your work and perhaps even ask your Facebook followers to vote for their favorites. Social media is about bi-directional communication.

Add videos.

Add selected videos of some of your photo sessions to your Facebook page. This will give your fans a taste of what goes on behind the scenes and is invaluable, as it lets potential clients see what they might expect from a photo session with you. Shoot the video so that it is informative, but don’t forget to also try to make it a little humorous and relaxing.

Capitalize on the About section.

All of the information included on your About section is automatically picked up by search engines, so be complete; don’t skimp when completing your information. Make your info a mix of professionalism and fun, and be sure to include some tidbit information about you as well! Don’t forget links to your website, blog, Twitter account, and Flickr account if you have them–and you definitely should.

photographer facebook page

“Facebook Page for Squashy Frog Photography” captured by Kol Tregaskes

Use a good profile and cover photo.

You are a photographer and this is an essential part of any Facebook business page. Add a nice picture of yourself with a camera. Embed your logo in the picture as well. This will let random folks visiting your page clearly identify you as a professional photographer.

photography business facebook cover photo

“Logo Cover” captured by Prasanth Chandran

Update your content.

Keep it fresh. After most of your photo shoots, try to add one of the best images to your Facebook album. Of course, do this only after securing permission from your client. You can even send each client a personalized wall message, complimenting them on how well the shoot turned out! This is an easy way to keep your pages fresh and seasonally relevant. These simple image updates give you a continual reason to connect with your fans and encourages them to see the quality and variety that your photography provides.

Use Facebook ads.

Facebook advertisements have proven to be effective for marketing a variety of businesses. You create an ad and let Facebook place it along with profiles of people who are interested in photography. It is easy to set a daily budget limit for each campaign, where the budget limits the maximum amount that you are willing to spend for each day of advertising. Facebook’s systems will automatically stop showing your ad once your daily budget has been reached, so you will never have to worry about accruing unplanned advertising charges. Some people have had a lot of success with these ads, but I would recommend that you start slowly and see how it works out for you.

Facebook is ideal for marketing your photography, but it may take some time to build a loyal following of people interested in your photographs. It is a very effective way of marketing your photography business and reflecting your business and your brand. Keep your Facebook presence real, and you will definitely see positive results!

About the Author:
David Drum is head of Business Development at H&H Color Lab in Kansas City, Missouri. Starting his professional career as a process engineer at Xerox and Motorola, David moved to the professional imaging industry in 1993. David has worked as Technical Support Manager, Production Manager, Lean Manufacturing Manager, and IT Director before assuming his present role.

PictureCorrect Photography Tips on Facebook:

picturecorrect facebook

Serving photography tips to over 60,000 photographers worldwide

Go to full article: Tips for Marketing a Photography Business on Facebook

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Interesting Photo of the Day: Unique Ice Formations at Abiqua Falls

Posted: 30 Dec 2013 01:30 PM PST

If you’re like many photographers, you take a break from outdoor picture-taking when the temperature plummets. Holiday festivities make for plenty of indoor photo opportunities that can be enjoyed without scarves and mittens. But those who bundle up and brave winter hiking conditions are rewarded with sights few people get a chance to see.

Joshua Meador, who strives to stray from the beaten path, beautifully captured this icy image of Abiqua Falls in western Oregon:

abiqua falls in oregon

Ice formations at Abiqua Falls in Oregon. (Via Imgur, Click to See Full Size)

Trekking down to the columnar basalt bowl into which the waterfall plunges requires a bit of scrambling over slippery river rocks no matter what the season. A winter hike is certainly even more treacherous, but it’s well worth the trouble, as you can see from this photo.

Go to full article: Interesting Photo of the Day: Unique Ice Formations at Abiqua Falls

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

The Best and Worst Cameras & Lenses of the Year 2013 (Video)

Posted: 30 Dec 2013 11:24 AM PST

Happy New Year, everyone! As 2013 comes to a close, we want to take a look back on some of the greatest photography product accomplishments, and some of biggest let downs, of the year.

Chris and Jordan from The Camera Store were nice enough to put together an End of the Year Holiday Special to do just that. So grab a glass of champagne (or wine, G&T, beer, whatever you fancy), pull up a cozy chair by the fire and join Chris and Jordan as they run down the best and worst photo and video products of the year:

Reviewing everything from design, customizable options, price, focusing capabilities, and compactibility, here are the best of 2013:

The Best Lenses

1. Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8

2. Canon 200-400mm f/4

3. Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art Addition

The Best Video Camera

1. Sony F5 and F55

2. Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

3. Sony RX10

Camera of the Year

1. Sony a7, a7R Series

2. Pentax K-3

3. Panasonic Lumix GM1

sony a7r

Sony a7R Series

Best Trends

  • Nikon underwater cameras, like the AW110 and Nikon 1 AW1
  • Metabones Speed Boosters
  • Firmware updates, helping cameras focus better and helping the user to make a huge photographic difference

But, while there are so many great products out there, inspiring us and making us better photographers, there is also a lot of… well, garbage!

Cameras featuring low apertures, fixed lenses, limited ranges, outdated sensors, can not only produce less than stellar images, but are super frustrating to work with. So, here are a few cameras to steer clear of:

The Worst Cameras of 2013

  • Leica X Vario
  • Hasselblad  Stellar
  • Hasselblad Lunar

Sorry, Hasselblad!

leica x vario

Leica X Vario

The Worst Video Camera

As far as video cameras go, Jordan’s least favorite is the JVC HMQ 30.

What do you think, are these cameras and lenses the future of photography? Tell us your favorites and not-so-favorites of 2013.

Go to full article: The Best and Worst Cameras & Lenses of the Year 2013 (Video)

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Monday, 30 December 2013

How to Take Photos in Low Light

How to Take Photos in Low Light

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

How to Take Photos in Low Light

Posted: 29 Dec 2013 04:28 PM PST

Final Reminder: Only 1 day left! in the deal on: Topaz Star Effects at 50% Off

Images of night scenes never fail to impress. Night-time images have great ambiance, something which is often absent in flat, bright, daylight photos. Skillful low-light photos can look simply incredible and if you’re looking for ways to make money from photography, selling canvas prints of night scenes is one way to achieve this. They are very popular.

photos in low light

“New Graces” captured by ian newton (click image to see more from ian newton)

The main aim of this article is to highlight:

  • Night photography settings and techniques
  • Good low light cameras on the market

1. Exposure: The basics

Given the amount of available light, there is a “right” exposure, where just enough light is allowed onto the camera’s sensor to make an accurate representation of the scene – i.e. preventing the picture from looking too bright or “blown out” because there was too much light, or at the other end, under-exposing the picture through allowing in insufficient light.

Three camera settings can be altered to control exposure:

  • Aperture (or f-stop): Here is an inverse relationship – Low f-stop values mean more light is being let in
  • Shutter speed: At slower shutter speeds the sensor is exposed to light for a longer period of time
  • ISO / Sensor Sensitivity: At higher ISO settings the sensor is more sensitive to light

For any given scene, there can be more than one combination of the above settings that will give you a correct exposure. Your camera’s light meter tells you how to combine them. For instance, if you choose to fix the ISO and aperture, the camera will set the correct shutter speed. Or when you select ISO and shutter speed values, the aperture will be set accordingly.

If you set the camera to “auto” all 3 of these variables are set by the camera. Good night photos, however, require that we do more than shoot on “auto”

how to take low light photos

“Sea Wall” captured by Lorin Hughes (Click Image to See More From Lorin Hughes)

2. Night photography settings

Note: The one night shooting option omitted here is using a flash – but this is a completely different kind of concept for a “night scene” and I’ll deal with flash photography on its own in a later article.

a. Shoot “wide open” with a fast lens

This is a good option for street photographers who want to capture low-light (but perhaps not night-time) street photos.

Use a good lens which can go down to f/2.8 or even f/1.4 – i.e. a lens that can let in a lot of light! This will give you a nice shallow depth of field which adds dimension to your photos, whilst allowing you to shoot at decent shutter speeds (around 1/60th of a second). At slower shutter speeds you’ll most likely get blurry images unless you use a tripod.

This is an essential technique if you have an older camera that only delivers good quality at low ISO settings. Still, even when you have a good high-ISO camera you may want to exploit the nice shallow depth of focus brought about by shooting at a lower ISO and wide-open aperture

b. Use a tripod and expose for longer

This is ideal if you want to capture a night scene of a cityscape, for instance, where your subject isn’t moving, so you have time to set things up.

Ensure a wider depth of field by choosing a medium aperture such as f/8, fix the camera to your tripod and leave the shutter speed selection to the camera. Depending on the light in the scene it could be one second, several seconds or, for seriously low ISO settings, even several minutes.

Top tip: The best time to take photos of cityscapes is just after sunset, when there is still a little bit of ambient blue in the sky. If you’re using in-camera metering, point the lens at the sky to determine the correct exposure – you’ll be delighted by the good exposure you get in the end.

c. High ISO photos

This is especially useful (and sometimes unavoidable) if you’re taking photos at an indoors or night-time event where flash photography isn’t allowed, or perhaps you don’t want to use a flash because it will disturb your subject and ruin the photo.

You can force the camera to be more light-sensitive by increasing the ISO. This opens up the possibility of getting sharp photos in dark circumstances without having to use a flash or tripod. Why? You’ll be able to shoot at faster shutter speeds, which helps keep the images sharp..

Take note: There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Increasing the ISO means that you are more likely to get a noisy / grainy photo.

3. Which cameras perform well in low light conditions?

Certain cameras give you more low-light flexibility because they perform well at high ISO settings – leaving you full creative control over which of the three above options you choose to make your photos.

Because DLSR cameras tend to have bigger sensors, they generally take better high-ISO photos than compact cameras with relatively small sensors (it’s a bit technical, but it’s based on the laws of physics and electronics). The latest DSLR cameras have full-frame sensors achieving superb high-ISO performance.

night photos

“Union Station” captured by Torrey (Click Image to See More From Torrey)

About the Author
Matthew Foster writes for a publication, top10digitalcamerashq, which is currently offline.

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Go to full article: How to Take Photos in Low Light

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Photographer Timelapses Winter Storm Moving Through the Canadian Rockies (Video)

Posted: 29 Dec 2013 01:20 PM PST

When Richard Gottardo set out to photograph fog in the Rocky Mountains via Jasper National Park, he expected something glorious, but the heavy, swirling winter scene that he discovered during his two day 1000km trip through the Rockies was, in his words, a truly "awesome sight"—one that he captured in a gorgeous timelapse video:

The fog was a product of a large arctic storm blowing across southern Alberta. Most people avoid the high mountain areas during winter storms, but Gottardo charged in and shot more than 3,300 photographs in a span of over 18 hours to create the timelapse.

fog jasper national park snow canada arctic wind

Gottardo is a Canadian wedding and "storm chaser/landscape" photographer whose photographs have been published and displayed all over Canada, the Americas, and the UK.

For Further Training on Timelapse Photography:

There is a COMPLETE guide (146 pages) to shooting, processing and rendering time-lapses using a dslr camera. Currently 15% off for a few more days until Dec 31, simply remember to use the discount code LearnTL. Deal found here: The Timelapse Photography Guide

Go to full article: Photographer Timelapses Winter Storm Moving Through the Canadian Rockies (Video)

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

How to do Striking Composite Photography of Classic Cars (Video)

Posted: 29 Dec 2013 10:58 AM PST

Images of cars are everywhere, in advertisements, film, TV, even fine art. An alluring photograph of a car can represent wealth, freedom, speed, America, or all of the above. Photographer Lee Morris gave himself the challenge of photographing a 1968 Camaro, his father’s dream car, before surprising his father with the car itself!

Though giving someone a car as a gift may not be an option for everyone, a creative image of a classic car could be a great gift for the car nut in your life.  In this video, Morris shows us how he created his flawless images of the Camaro using creative shooting techniques and Photoshop:

A few key pointers from Morris’ lesson:

  • The camera must remain absolutely still, so use a tripod and a Pocket Wizard wireless transceiver for all your exposures.
  • Bracket, bracket, bracket! Take exposures for natural light at every time of day (even night time), with the car’s lights on and off. The goal is to properly expose every part of the image.
  • Use a large Octabank softbox to light the car from every conceivable angle. Light the grill, the sides, the interior, the wheels, etc.
  • Don’t forget to do the same for your background. Make sure you diffuse your flash– a bare bulb will create harsh shadows and specular highlights.

When finished shooting, be prepared to spend hours editing in Photoshop.  Morris breaks down the dozens of layers in his PSD file for us, showing us that creating the composite is primarily a process of trial and error, finding the exposure that makes each component of the image look its best and using layer masks to combine them all.

car composite

The resulting image is “almost not even photography,” says Morris, “it’s more about digital art.”

Morris also shows us a simpler method for photographing a car. Professional car photographers, he explains, often use 30-foot softboxes to light the entire vehicle from overhead, which can cost thousands, even to rent. For a more affordable way to achieve the same effect, Morris recommends finding an abandoned gas station (or even one that’s closed for the night) and using the white ceiling as your softbox.  Here are some tips for using this method:

  • Eliminate as much ambient light as possible, so that the strobe is the only source of light.  Use a fast shutter speed like 1/250th of a second.
  • Be sure to stand behind the car, not in front of it. You can photoshop yourself out, but your shadow will be more difficult!
  • Experiment with holding your strobe at different angles– angle it more towards the camera for more allover light, or point it straight up for a dramatic, “moody” effect.
  • Use a speedlight (Morris uses the Nikon SB800) to illuminate the wheels. If you skip this step, they will be too dark.

When using this gas station trick, editing is a much simpler job. You can combine all layers by using the “Lighten” blend mode in Photoshop, then cut out the car and the shadow beneath it and place it on whatever background you choose. It may even end up looking more realistic than the first composite shot!

car composite simple

The second image, despite having a completely new background, has a less manipulated feel than the first.

If you insist on doing as much in-camera editing as possible, Morris says, try a camera with multiple exposure mode– the camera will combine a selected number of exposures for you. Regardless of how you do it, though, getting an attractive photograph of a car need not be expensive or inaccessible.

“It’s really not about all the time you spend on location or shooting, you can get great shots with whatever gear you’ve currently got.” – Lee Morris

Go to full article: How to do Striking Composite Photography of Classic Cars (Video)

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Save big cats and gain a 2013 tax deduction

Support the Big Cats Initiative
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Dear Friend of National Geographic,

I've got some good news for you. With the support of people like you, we are saving more lions, cheetahs, leopards, and other big cats than ever before.

New and innovative pilot conservation programs have proven very successful, so with your help, we plan to expand them in 2014.

That's why I'm asking you to make a special year-end gift today for big cats.

Make your gift before midnight tomorrow and you will also gain a 2013 tax deduction.

And, for your contribution of $75 or more, you will receive a special gift: Game of Lions, a new big cat film by National Geographic filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert.

Thanks to big cat supporters, lion killings in active conservation areas in the Ruaha region of Tanzania have declined by 60%.

In the Ewaso region of northern Kenya, not a single lion has been lost to a herder's retaliatory killing in more than three years.

These are just two examples of how contributions from caring people like you are helping save big cats.

Your tax-deductible donation today will enable our grantees to:
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With your help, we will stop the decline of big cats—by expanding highly effective conservation efforts—one cheetah, one pride of lions, and one big cat region at a time.

Please become my partner in saving these magnificent animals today. Make your tax-deductible contribution of any size now.

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Give $75 or more and I will send you Game of Lions, award-winning National Geographic filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Jouberts' latest big cat film, to show my appreciation for your generosity.

Most of all, thank you so very much for doing what you can to save big cats.
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Sunday, 29 December 2013

Planning and Packing Camera Lenses for a Holiday or Trip

Planning and Packing Camera Lenses for a Holiday or Trip

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Planning and Packing Camera Lenses for a Holiday or Trip

Posted: 28 Dec 2013 04:49 PM PST

Quick Reminder: Only 2 days left in the season for these: Christmas Photography Deals

When you’re packing photography equipment for a holiday, it’s hard to decide what to take. You want to take enough to get good photos, but not so much that it weighs you down or takes up too much space in your luggage.

camera lenses for trips

Photo captured by John Daly (Click Image to See More From John Daly)

If you’re going on a holiday with a specific photographic intent in mind, such as safari, then its relatively easy to decide what lenses to take. But if you’re going on a standard holiday to the city or country, where you’ll likely come across a multitude of different photographic situations, it can be hard to decide which lenses to take, and which to leave at home.

This article covers a few different options you may want to consider when deciding which lenses you should take to use with your digital SLR camera on holiday.

Lightweight creative

  • Small prime lens

For the ultimate in terms of traveling light with a Digital SLR camera, consider bringing just a single prime (fixed focal length) lens, e.g. 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, or 85mm. Although you may miss the convenience of a zoom lens, remember that you can still ‘zoom with your feet’ when using a prime lens.

However, when using a single prime lens, the purpose should not really be to try and get the same shots as you would when using a zoom lens. Instead, it should make you think differently, and you should try to take shots using the fixed focal length to your advantage.

If you do decide to try and push your creativity by shooting with only a single focal length, I would recommend that you try this out before you go on holiday. This way you can see what sort of shots work with that particular lens, and which sorts of shots don’t, before you leave.

Besides forcing you to challenge your creativity, shooting with a single prime lens has other benefits:

  1. Prime lenses are typically smaller than zoom lenses.
  2. With no lens changes you shouldn’t have to worry about your camera sensor getting dirty
  3. Prime lenses typically have fast maximum apertures, e.g. f/1.4. This enables you to take shallow focus shots that you can’t get with slower zoom lenses.
24mm lens

Photo captured with 24mm lens by Steve Mahon (Click Image to See More From Steve Mahon)

The obvious disadvantage is that there will be some shots you might want to make but just can’t because you don’t have the right focal length and ‘zooming with your feet’ is not possible. e.g. If you bring a 50mm prime lens you won’t be able to take a wide-angle shot of your hotel room.

Lightweight convenient

  • Walk around (Medium wide – medium telephoto) zoom

For convenience it’s hard to beat a walk around zoom lens. These are available in quite a large range of focal lengths, some more modest e.g. 24-70mm (for a full frame DSLR) or 17-50mm (for a APS-C DSLR), or some quite extreme (known as ‘superzooms’), e.g. 28-300mm (for a full frame DSLR) or 18-200mm (for a APS-C DSLR).

Generally the shorter the zoom range, the higher the quality of image the lens will produce, but you loose the convenience of having the longer zoom.

These lenses go from a medium wide angle to a medium telephoto, allowing you to capture most things from city streets, to portraits, to larger wildlife. There may still be some situations where you find you want a wider or longer focal length than your lens, but a walk around lens should cover most situations you come across.

Although convenient, these lenses tend to have a smaller maximum aperture than prime lenses. This means they are not quite as suited for low light photography (though with today’s high ISO capable cameras this is less of a concern than it used to be).

A walk around zoom lens will likely produce worse image quality than a prime lens, but the quality should still be plenty enough for most print sizes.

Heavyweight all bases covered

  • Walk around zoom + wide angle zoom + telephoto zoom + (optional) normal prime

If you want to cover virtually any situation you come across, the above selection of lenses should do well. It won’t cover every single situation, to do that you’d need to bring so many lenses you’d need a Sherpa to lug them around for you. But these lenses will cover the large majority of photographic opportunities you’re likely to come across, without you having to be a body builder to carry them.

The walk around zoom, as discussed above, will probably be your primary lens, and cover most situations.

A wide angle zoom lens, such as a 10-20mm, 12-24mm, 14-24mm, 16-35mm, or 17-40mm, will prove great for getting in the vastness of a beautiful country scene, city square, or bustling market. The super wide angles of these lenses can also be used to great creative effect, emphasizing objects in the foreground and giving a great sense of perspective.

The wide angle zoom lens will also come in useful in tight spots where you want to get in an entire scene, but can’t move any further back, for example a small shopping alley.

A telephoto zoom, such as a 70-200mm or 70-300mm lens will come in useful for taking photos of things in the distance, or wildlife. They are also useful for picking out details higher up on buildings, and can make reasonable portrait lenses as well. You probably won’t need the reach of a telephoto zoom lens very often, but it’s nice to have it when you need it.

If you are using a superzoom lens (e.g. 18-200mm or 28-300mm) for your walk around lens, then you may decide not to have the extra weight of a telephoto zoom. But a smaller focal length range walk around lens (e.g. 17-50mm or 24-70mm) and a telephoto zoom lens will provide superior image quality compared to a superzoom.

18-200mm lens photo

Photo captured with 18-200mm lens by Tony Taffinder (Click Image to See More From Tony Taffinder)

To round off your kit, you may want to consider adding a normal (e.g. 50mm) fast aperture (e.g. f/1.4) prime lens. Although it will probably double-up on part of the focal length covered by the walk around lens, the faster aperture of the prime lens makes it more suitable for portraits and photos where you want to use shallow depth of field.

This kit will be quite a bit heavier than a single lens, but should fit in a smallish bag without too much trouble. And it gives you added flexibility compared to just using a single lens.

Medium-weight most bases covered

  • Wide angle prime + normal prime + medium telephoto prime

If you like your sharp and fast prime lenses, try bringing a wide angle prime e.g. 14mm, 21mm, or 24mm, a normal prime, e.g. 35mm or 50mm, and a medium telephoto prime, e.g. 85mm or 135mm.

Not quite as convenient as a selection of zoom lenses, you’ll have to ‘zoom with your feet’, but a selection of prime lenses will give you the ultimate in image quality. The wide aperture of prime lenses (particularly the 50mm and 85mm lenses) also allow you to take advantage of the shallow depth of field that slower zooms can’t match.

Depending on the aperture of your prime lenses, if they are fast e.g. f/1.8 – f/2.8 you should find they take up less room than the equivalent zoom lenses. If you have superfast prime lenses e.g. f/1.2 – f/1.4 then they may be as heavy or heavier than zoom lenses covering the same focal lengths, but then of course, zoom lenses can’t match those superfast apertures.

The main problem with using only a selection of prime lenses is that you can’t cover the telephoto end very well unless you don’t mind the large and heavy telephoto primes. You probably don’t want to be carrying one of these around with you on holiday, unless maybe you are visiting a zoo or wildlife reserve.

135mm lens photo

Photo captured with 135mm lens by nathan mccreery (click image to see more from nathan mccreery)

I would suggest that 85mm or 135mm will probably be enough to cover most situations where you want a longer focal length. You may miss some shots where a longer focal length is needed, but you will also be able to get some shots in other situations that a zoom would miss (e.g. very low light or very shallow depth of field).

Hopefully the above has given you some ideas of what lenses to take on holiday with you.

About the Author:
Dave Kennard writes for discoverdigitalphotography.com, offering advice on a wide range of subjects, including landscape, portrait, and macro photography.

Holiday Photography Deals Ending Soon:

These publishers alerted us that they are rolling out deals on photography tools & education right now for those looking to learn how to use some of their new cameras & accessories. Most of the following deals expire December 31st!

Found here: Christmas Photography Deals

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

At Work With a Professional Sailing Photographer (Video)

Posted: 28 Dec 2013 01:56 PM PST

Onne van der Wal sums it up pretty accurately as he describes what it is like to be a sailing photographer in the short clip you see below. When most of us think of sailing, we think about sunny afternoons spent casually on the water with drinks in our hands as we enjoy pods of dolphins playfully splashing on the side of the vessel. But, van der Wals experience with sailing is quite a bit different. He is there to document the ups and downs, the endless excitement of sailboat racing. Take a look at the video below for a glimpse into the other side of sailing:

“Photography on the water is all about capturing the excitement of the moment. The harder it blows, the wetter it gets, the bumpier it is, the harder it is to get the shot.”



To capture the stunning imagery, van de Wal uses a Canon EOS 1 DX and a 200-400mm F4 Canon lens for still shots. When shoiting video, he brings out a Canon EOS 1 D c which is capable of recording in 4K. The EOS 1 DC is outfitted with a 70-200 F2.8 IS MKII lens. Because of the nature of the sport, all his gear is protected from the wet elements when they are tucked away in a Lowepro DryZone bag.

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Light Painting with iDevices for Unique Product Photography (Video)

Posted: 28 Dec 2013 12:36 PM PST

With the millions of product photos floating around television and the Internet, it's easy for one product photographer's carefully-crafted work to get lost in the masses of other images. Simply put—it's hard to get your work to stand out.

Photographer Laya Gerlock uses light painting to set his product photography apart, but instead of using fireworks or steel wool, Gerlock light paints with his "gadgets"—meaning his Apple iPhone and iPad. In this video tutorial, Gerlock demonstrates his technique:

As an avid light painter and a strong believer in the value of experimentation, Gerlock is always on the lookout for new light painting techniques. It occurred to him one evening to try the technique using only his iDevices and, after finding an application that provided interesting patterns for use as a catchlight, Gerlock experimented and developed a streamlined process for the technique.

1. Gather the necessary materials: a tripod, a table to set the product on, a flashlight or a touchscreen phone, a tablet or some other larger hand-held light source, and a dark room.

2. Adjust your camera settings for appropriate shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. A shutter speed of at least 10 seconds will allow for ample light painting time. ISO should be kept as low as possible to minimize film grain, but ISO, along with aperture and most other aspects of light painted photography, is often a trial and error endeavor.

"Normally, my starting point is 20 sec [shutter], ISO 200, f/8, but I change the aperture or the time depending on how well the exposure is," said Gerlock. "The longer you light an area, the more light it will get, resulting in brighter exposure."

3. Set up your camera on the tripod and pre-focus your lens on the subject in manual mode. Using manual mode will allow you to press the shutter while the lights are off without frustrating the auto focus.

4. Completely darken the room using whatever means necessary. Stuffing towels under doors, hanging thick blankets in front of windows or covering windows with tin foil are good ways to block out unwanted light.

5. Turn out the lights and experiment! Use the touchscreen phone or flashlight to gently light the product and pass the larger light source such as the tablet behind the product to create the background light pattern.

"I played around with just only using my iPad as my background and then [used] flash for my main light," Gerlock said. "Different patterns will create different backgrounds—experiment!"

light painting lightpainting product photography laya gerlock iphone ipad workshop tablet touchscreen studio portrait lighting nutella flashlight light painted lightpainted glass

Gerlock lives in the Philippines, where he works as a portrait and product photographer. Backed by a spiffy degree and merit award from the NYIP, Gerlock teaches studio photography workshops and "doesn't hesitate" to share his secrets with his students.

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips