Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mastering The Nikon D5000

Mastering the Nikon D5000 (Rocky Nook, $34.95 USD) by Darrell Young is a comprehensive guide for of the owners of this newest, budget-friendly generation of Nikon digital single lens reflex (DSLR) cameras. The smaller, more lightweight Nikon D5000 mixes generous portions of user-controlled manual photography features with the latest technological innovations, allowing fully automatic point and shoot simplicity.
Darrell's approach in teaching the reader to master this camera avoids the purely instructional technique, favoring a more friendly and advisory tone. He blends his decades of Nikon camera experience with an intuitive understanding of the readers' most likely questions regarding specific camera functions and features.

Rather than just list all options for the myriad of camera settings and adjustments, he explains the background behind each setting and shares his personal recommendations.

Darrell understands that many owners of the D5000 may be just entering the world of DSLRs, and he takes the time to guide these new owners through the basics, while giving more experienced photographers the option of a refresher course.

Also included is an entire chapter on the exciting new D-Movie function that can record high-quality HD movie clips at an amazing 24-frames per second.

Mastering the Nikon D5000 is the most recent volume in the highly successful series of Nikonians Press books.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Writing a Photo Essay

I've been chatting to some friends about photo essays and someone sent some information I thought I'd share with you.

A photo essay, or picture story, is a photographer’s way of showing a more complete story than is possible with one image. It is a collection of images that work together to tell a story. Generally, there are between 5 and 15 images, although more or less images are sometimes appropriate.Sometimes these images have captions, other times they do not. While there are no concrete rules for how photo essays must be created, there are several common ways that a photo essay can be developed.

  • Time Sequence
    Time sequence is the very beginning of a photo essay. Photo essays began as photographers began showing a sequence of photos to chronicle an event. This is often like looking at a series of still images from a movie. This type of photo essay is best used where there is an obvious path of time. Illustrations of linear events in compact areas such as cliff diving, fire fighting, and a bird hatching are all examples of this type of photo essay.

    Time sequence photo essays can also be expanded to cover longer amounts of time in less compact areas. These essays have much larger gaps of time between images than do basic time sequence essays. Concepts such as police chases from crime to capture or a life from birth to death can be covered in this type of essay.
  • Location
    Location photo essays seek to capture the feel of a location through glimpses of people and places within a set location. Locations can be compact such as a school or garden, or vast such as a country. This type of photo essay is often non-linear from a chronological standpoint but does not have to be non-linear. Location essays often start at one physical point and travel outward, much like a tour of the area in question would progress.
  • Idea
    Idea essays often feature very diverse images that all have a common thread of one theme or idea. Topics such as hope, love, and work can be covered under idea essays. Because idea essays do often feature diverse subjects it is a good idea to have a common thread travel through the images. Using a common prop or following a color scheme can help to visually bond the images together. For example, a photo essay on breast cancer might use the familiar pink ribbon symbol in the form of a pink headscarf worn by a subject in each image to tie the set together. Or an essay on work might tie images together by flowing commonality. That means the first image might be a ditch digger with a restaurant in the background. The second image would then be a cook. From there the third image might continue the food service theme and show a waiter serving the meal to a man in a nice suit. The fourth image could then pick up on the customer in the previous image and move to a lawyer in a courtroom. Each image suggests the next.
  • Event
    Event essays tend to incorporate ideas from the other categories. Event essays cover a specific happening (such as a building fire or a wedding) but are not bound to a specific method of image sequence. Many event essays follow a time sequence outline but some are more fluid in their presentation. Event essays should at least show the major parts critical to the event. For example, a wedding essay without a bride or groom would not be complete.
Like any art, photo essays have basic guidelines but some very successful pieces deviate drastically from the “normal” rules. A photo essay basically puts a photographer in a director’s chair. The story is there, the photographer must creatively decide how to best convey the story to others.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Photography Course

A lot of people have been asking me what on-line courses are there for photography. The answer is tonnes, but the problem is most are really bad.

I've been trolling through the courses lately and found one that I thought worth sharing.

The course is comprehensive and for the small amount they are charging, absolutely well worth it. You do it in your own time, at your pace.

The course is normally US129.90, but is on special at 25% off for $96.40.

Here is a brief run down from Proud:

  • 13 interactive photography lessons
  • In-depth training specially developed by professional photographers and prize-winning enthusiasts
  • One-on-one support
  • A full one year money-back guarantee!
  • Absolutely the best price on line
  • Your personal free 500MB online photo gallery to show off your images to the world!
  • Chances to enter the exciting photo competitions and win prizes!

The course is split into the following sections:

  • 1. Introduction to Photography
  • 2. Digital Photography
  • 3. Exposure: Shutter Speed
  • 4. Exposure: Aperture
  • 5. Composition 
  • 6. Light 
  • 7. Shooting Black and White 
  • 8. Travel Photography I.
  • 9. Travel Photography II.
  • 10. Portraits
  • 11. People and Their Environment
  • 12. Insiders' Tricks and Techniques
  • 13. Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them
You can sign up from here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Shooting in the Rain

It's raining in Sydney today. Not that I knew, stuck inside a 30 degree furnace behind the counter serving ultra impatient customers. What was interesting though was hearing so many customers telling they can't do any photography because of the weather.

Are you kidding? Let me say this up front. Rainy weather should not stop you from seeing "photographically". In fact, you'd be surprised at just how many more opportunities there are to use your camera. There are an abundance of pictures and ideas you should be seeing in front of you.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Popular 35mm f1.8 DX lens

The wonderful little 35mm f1.8 DX lens is again out of stock at No wonder, it's selling for a US$199.95 and is really a no brainer for Nikon DX camera owners. You can click onto the bhphoto link and pre-order your copy if you haven't already picked one up.

Nikon Product Updates

Here's a summary of some good info I've received in the past 3 or 4 months of upcoming Nikon releases. This info has come from a good source in the past, though as has been said before, nothing is set in stone. The economic climate has a way of changing schedules.

Anyway, there's an 85, 35 and 24mm lens on the way. There's also a timetable for the interchangeable lens camera, and a waterproof camera.

See the full story here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Nikon D3s

There are plenty of rumors on the net about an updated Nikon D3, the D3s. It is supposedly going to be able to shoot 14 frames per second. This would seem rather incredible if true and I just can't see it happening. 

If anything, the D4 (or whatever they call it) may be have more frames per second, though I'd struggling to know why. Faster and more accurate auto focus would be more essential than increasing the frame rate.

Of course, the D3s probably will have a movie mode. Will it be 1080p? It may, and it would be the first Nikon to do 1080p since the other Nikon cameras to have video have the 720p implementation.

You can pick up a Nikon D3 with a discount at the moment at Amazon.

If you're thinking about picking one, now is the time.


Help support this site, by buying from one of our affiliates.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Nikon Camera with 18mm f1.4 lens

Is Nikon preparing to release a camera with an 18mm f1.4 lens. If they do, this will be quite something. 

You can find the information on the website.

This will be big, if true.. Nikon seems to be ready to unleash a heap of products on the public in 2010. I can not wait.

Silver Efex Review

Silver Efex Pro

Silver Efex is one of those plug-ins every photographer should have if you work in black and white. Pure and simple. It's worth re-exploring this software again since it's well worth the money and is on special at Amazon at the moment.

In these days of digital image editing, “Is that real or has it been Photoshopped?” is a common question. It's also the sign of a common misconception about photographs. No photo is real, and even images never touched by an image editor are still interpretive representations.

Few things reveal the subjectivity of photography as starkly as black and white conversion, for the simple fact that there’s no objective standard for what gray tone should correspond to any particular color. For example, in a black and white photograph you might choose to represent a sky as a dark tone or a very light tone.

How you choose to map a color scene into grayscale is one of the most important stages in black and white work. Nik Software’s Silver Efex Prois a $200 plug-in for Adobe Photoshop and Apple’s Aperture that does nothing but black and white conversion. You won't find a more sophisticated tool for converting color images to grayscale. And because Silver Efex's grain and film emulation are best in class, you can create images that look like traditional black and white photos.

Nikon D300s

I've been using the D300s lately and have been trying my hardest to see the differences between this camera and the D300. If there is a difference in the image, it's not visible at ISO 1600. I'm sure some irrelevant website like dpreview will have their posting up to show some difference, but for all intensive purposes the image is the same.

Nude Photography

I've been asked to do some nice art type photo's for some people and it's been a great experience. It is all about the lighting and setting the tone of the photo. It celebrating the form of the human body. It can be sensual, a little bit risque, emotional, of exact. 

I'm going to include a couple of points to think about when doing this type of photography. I'll also add to it as I go.

First, make sure the model or client is comfortable. The location should be the right temperature, whether that be warm or cooler. This is actually really important since it will show in the models face and pose if she is hot or cold.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Pentax K-x

This latest PENTAX camera offers high-end features including Live View and HD video. And, since there’s no rule that SLR cameras must come in black only, the K-x will be available in a choice of white or black, as well as special, limited edition red and navy.

Priced at $649.95 USD (for body with DA L 18-55mm lens), the extremely compact and lightweight PENTAX K-x forges ahead on the trail initiated by the popular PENTAX K2000. With a one-handed shooting design and simple, easy-to-use operation, the K-x is perfect for users stepping up from a point and shoot digital camera to their first digital SLR.

The PENTAX K-x offers photographic performance that challenges higher class DSLR models and offers several features that set this camera apart in the entry-level category:

  • High resolution 12.4 megapixel CMOS image sensor features sensor-shift Shake Reduction for stabilized image and video capture up to 4 stops max.
  • Large 2.7 inch LCD features Live View with contrast, phase difference, and Face Detection autofocus (up to 16 faces).
  • Widescreen HD video capture in full 720p resolution (1280x720) at 24 FPS cinematic framerate, using any PENTAX 35mm lens.
  • Creative processing and filter modes produce high quality finished images, while offering the ability to explore artistic freedom through unique special effects.
  • True High Dynamic Range (HDR) image capture blends 3 bracketed images into a single picture with outstanding shadow, highlight, and midrange detail.
  • Fast 4.7 FPS capture speed and 1/6000 second maximum shutter speeds are possible with the PENTAX PRIME II image processing engine.
  • Powerful automatic modes, including PENTAX Auto Picture and scene modes, ensure the perfect shot in any situation, while helping new photographers learn DSLR photography.
  • Responsive 11 point wide angle SAFOX VIII autofocus system focuses quickly and accurately, and can easily track moving subjects.
  • Captures up to 1900 shots with universally available, easy-to-find AA lithium batteries (also compatible with AA NiMH rechargeable and alkaline batteries).
  • All combined, the PENTAX K-x is the perfect camera for new digital SLR camera users as well as an ideal backup camera for more experienced photographers.

Along with the K-x, PENTAX announced the smc PENTAX DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED super-telephoto zoom lens. This lens will be exclusive to a K-x Twin Lens Kit package consisting of a K-x body, this new lens and the smc PENTAX DA L 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 lens. The lightweight design of this zoom lens offers the exceptional optical performance found in all PENTAX lenses for super-telephoto photography with the K-x and other PENTAX digital SLR camera bodies.

The PENTAX K-x is now available for pre-order in black or white. Limited edition colors of red and navy will become available at select locations to be announced.

The Mountain Bike Built via Ebay, Yahoo and YouTube

There are little things that we have in our lives that can bring a smile to our faces. One of those for me today is the completion of my mountain bike. After having my previous bike stolen a few months ago, it was time to stop swearing about the loss and go get another one.

So, instead of just going out and just buying one,I decided to build one from scratch. The up-to-date bike scene hasn't been on the radar for 10 years, so I really needed to find out what was going on. Bring up a search engine and start looking for bikes, start reading the specifications, the reviews, and find out who the competition is for each component or brand I was looking for.

The first item that took my interest was the Groupset. The groupset is the cranks, dérailleurs, brakes, shifters, chain etc. The Shimano XT was the way to go, so jumping around the net looking for one ended up on Ebay.

You might be asking, why on earth anyone would be looking to buy the groupset first. Basically, I found a decent price on one. Whether you the frame first or the handle bars, you can't ride the bike until it's all finished. It was certainly unconventional, no doubt about that.

Once that was received, the search was on for a frame.

This was the difficult part. Finding the right frame without knowing much about them. Again, more searching and reading about the different types of frames from steel to aluminum to carbon fibre. Each has it's benefits and weaknesses so making a decision is not a cut and dry process.

Since this bike will be mainly used for road use with some cross country trekking, the decision to pick up a carbon fibre frame was made. The frame that was eventually settled on weighs in at just 1.25 kgs. It's important to make sure that if buying from Ebay, you do so from reputable dealers. DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

The frame is very strong, and austhetically, looks sensational.

The frame has been married up with carbon fibre forks and seat pole, a pro headset and stem, light weight alloy wheels and hybrid durable tires. Other bits and pieces complete the setup.

So after doing the Ebay thing with all the separate components, putting the bike together required frequent visits to YouTube. It's highly recommended to have a look at a few different videos when building something you're not sure of. You'll get slightly different ideas from each video.

I'll take a moment here to say I GREATLY appreciate the time and effort these guys take to make the videos. They've been invaluable with this project.

The whole bike now weighs in at about 10kgs. A little heavier than was original plan, but I'm certainly happy with the final product.

There is a schedule in the calendar for a mountain bike photography tour in Sydney in October 2009. It's a great way to intermingle photography, bike riding and a bit of socializing while we're at it. The D300 with a couple of flashes, a small reflector and the Tamron 90mm macro.

I highly recommend people do their own little bike tours. Pick out a place that will have some scenic views, pack a picnic, and take the camera. Do some planning if you do this and keep safety in the forefront of your planning. It may sound crazy, but just taking a little time to think before you do, can make a difference.

Most of all, have fun with it all.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Canon 7D thoughts

Canon have been out presenting a pretty good spin on their new 7D camera claiming 5000 people have delivered input into it's creation and that Canon has decided to build what was requested. One of the complaints you'll read on the internet is how Canon has had accountants designing their cameras and Nikon's cameras are designed by photographers.

The headline news is still that 18MP sensor. I can't imagine what 5000 users would be asking for this, at this stage. See, I can imagine that 18MP's on an APS-C chip would have come, but with current technology and know-how of sensors, micro-lenses, etc it kind of seems rather pointless. If the Canon 7D sensor had backside illumination or some other revolutionary technology and then claimed 18MP, it would seem like a good move.

As it is, the size of the pixels is almost the same as the 4/3rds 12MP sensor. The image quality from the Olympus and Panasonic camera's is brilliant, but there's no replacing a camera like the D3 or D700 when you require high ISO images. The Canon 7D will be scrutinized heavy in this area as if ISO 3200 is the only way to measure a camera's performance these days.

But the camera has very little else to distinguish it from the Nikon D300s. The problem with that is, that if the D300s takes a better image, Canon will have this problem lingering on the internet forums. Of course, that only affects new users, as those from Canon would (nor should they) have any hesitation in picking a a Canon 7D.

Assuming people haven't been put off by the 50D fiasco, the Canon 7D will probably be Canons saving grace.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Canon 7D

The Canon 7D has been announced by Canon and by all measures it looks like the sleeping giant has awoken.

The headline specs are an 18MP APS-C sensor, 8 fps, video. Check the rest out at

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nikon 85mm DX VR lens?

The website has information on a patent for a new lens from Nikon. The information on the patent has the lens as an 85mm DX lens. The aperture is not exactly apparent from the patent, but with what information can be gathered, it could be an f3.5 lens.

Why f3.5 you ask? Well, it could actually be a macro lens. This would be seriously interesting since a macro lens doesn't strictly need super duper fast apertures.

Here's the link.
( or copy and paste: )

Picnic Day

Ok, so it's been a LONG time since I updated this blog. From now on I'll be making a big effort to update it everyday. 
And what a good day to start. Off to a simply picnic today and will be taking the Nikon D300 or the Olympus C-7070 out for a spin. You've got to take something with you.