Thursday, August 27, 2015

Shooting Star Trails

Believe it or not, I’ve never attempted this kind of a shot before.  Maybe because I thought it was too cliché; maybe because I grew up in Southern California where we never really had clear enough skies.  But whatever the reason, the first time I tried it was last week, while on a family vacation in Kauai, Hawaii.

Back in the days of film, this kind of a shot was straightforward: Put your camera on a tripod, set the shutter speed to “B”, use a locking cable release and keep your shutter open for an hour or two.  Not so with digital.  Leaving your shutter open for so long will develop so much noise that people looking at it would cringe.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Baseball with RBS (Really Bad Shadows)

Also in this issue:
  • The Future of Sony's A-mount
  • Announcements
  • Day 2 of the Seminar is now available for streaming!
Baseball with RBS (Really Bad Shadows)

In the states, there is a special kind of baseball game called T-ball which caters to 4-year-olds.  Rather than having to hit a ball that is pitched to them, the baseball sits stationary on a stand (a “T”) and the kids swing the bat to hit it.

T-ball tournaments are all the rage here, but this month I witnessed what I think is pretty extraordinary.  At the end of the season there was a “World Series” playoff, and a whole team of T-ball players from Taiwan flew in to participate!

That’s right – a whole bunch of rich parents paid gobs of money to give their kids an international travel experience that they are very likely too young to appreciate.  I had the honor of shooting one of the games in this historic playoff.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Better Pictures Using Your Smartphone

Also in this issue:

  • Why In-Camera GPS is Going Away
  • Seminar Update
  • I Get Emails...

Better Pictures Using Your Smartphone
I take family snapshots as much as the next guy.  And yet I cringe whenever I see the hallmark of a snapshot: A flash picture taken in a dark room, with the camera’s built-in flash as the sole source of light.  This is the universally acknowledged, Guinness-book-of-world-records worst way to light a shot.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

How I Lit this Child Prodigy

Also in this issue:

  • A footnote to last month's video
  • Take Better Pictures This Summer
  • Other Announcements

How I Lit this Child Prodigy

I took the shot above in a very confined space and so it was essential to have as little "light spill" as possible - that is, light only the subject and try to minimize any of the adjacent objects (like the bookshelf and chair behind her) from being lit as well.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A-Mount and E-mount Focusing Differences

In This Issue:

I try to keep this blog very general most of the time, knowing that many readers shoot with a wide variety of camera brands.  This month I'll make a small exception -- I'm going to start with something Sony-specific and kind of technical, then at the end I'll get to something non-technical that every shooter from every type of camera needs to know.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Apple's "Shot on an iPhone 6" Ad Campaign

Also in this issue...

Explore Sri Lanka with a National Geographic Photographer!
The Dress that Blew Up the Internet
Apple's "Shot on an iPhone 6" Ad Campaign
The Friedman Archives is Hiring!
And more...


Apple's "Shot on an iPhone 6" Ad Campaign

A licensable shot taken with a Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone.  Good light, strong composition, no distracting background.  Smartphone cameras do great in ideal conditions.
Apple is currently running a major ad campaign called "Shot on iPhone 6" which, not surprisingly, shows off some pretty impressive images, all shot with the camera on their iconic smartphone.  (If you haven't seen it, here's a link to Apple's World Gallery.  Worth a peruse!)

Upon viewing these images, Apple wants you to say, "Wow, the iPhone 6's camera must be great!".  And in fact, I'm sure most people seeing the photos will say this very thing.  The pictures are quite good, after all.

But without meaning any disrespect to the camera,

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Classical Environmental Portraits

Also in this issue:
  • Supplements covering the Sony A7s and A7 II are out!
  • Unfair tease about a use for 14-bit RAW
  • Seminar and Ebook updates
  • I Will Live Forever

A Classical Environmental Portrait
Leon Levitch's life revolved around the piano.  He passed away last November.
 A "classical" portrait is little more than a headshot, with the eyes placed roughly in the upper third of the vertical frame.  An "Environmental Portrait" is a portrait of a person in the environment in which they thrive - it tells the story of a person and who they are in one shot.

So what is a "Classical Environmental Portrait", then?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Lots of Announcements!

Also in this issue

  • AF modes explained on video
  • Least Likely Place to License an Image
  • Retraction to last month
  • Parting Shot
Before I get to the interesting stuff, let me share with you some news on some long-awaited titles:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Tracking a Moving Object

Olympic Hopefuls Practicing their craft in Park City, Utah.

Also in this issue:

  • Why I Hate Amazon
  • E-Reader Hell, Part II
  • New and Updated Ebooks
  • Seminar Update
  • New Focusing Modes on the A77 II

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Love Letter to the RX-100 (all 3 models)

MK II, Pismo Beach, California.  Here the extra telephoto reach made a difference.
In my seminars, I try to drive home the point that the camera you have with you is infinitely better than the big and heavy one you left at home because it was, well, too big and heavy.  And for many years my point-and-shoot of choice was the Sony Cybershot T10 (a compact, small-sensor camera).  To prove its value in good light I would show off several images that I have licensed over the years that were taken with it.  

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Why Facebook Images Look Awful

Also in this issue:

  • Free Ebook Upgrades
  • What's Meaningful Photography?
  • Los Angeles Seminar
  • A Sony A-mount lens on a Fujifilm X-T1

Why Facebook Images Look Awful

I've often joked that no matter how much television may improve in the future, people will still be watching reruns of "I Love Lucy" on them.  Despite the march of technology, some things just don't change.

The same is true of common snapshots.  No matter how fancy or sophisticated our cameras / phones become, no matter how miraculous an engineering achievement they represent, people will always be taking pictures that look like the ones gracing this blog post.  (Always!)  The photos shown here are real snapshots taken across the decades using popular instamatics of the day.  In all cases, the scene looked perfectly good to the eye, and after all, doesn't a camera just capture how it looks to the person shooting it?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Preventing Bit Rot, Part 2

Boy, did I get a lot of email from last month’s blog!  Most people had no idea that even though they were making regular backups and they did a file system check on a regular basis, their valuable files were STILL vulnerable to corruption.  It’s rare that anything I write leads other people to action, but it happened in this case with Patrick Corrigan, author of the book Data Protection for Photographers, created a blog post which essentially mirrored my own conclusions.  You can read his scholarly take on the issue here.

So I've learned that every time I hit a nerve like this, it makes sense to delve deeper.  One of the best suggestions to come out of the blog comments was the reinforcement of the idea to use a more advanced file system like ZFS (Unix) or ReFS (Microsoft Windows 8.1, a compelling reason to upgrade right there!) which is designed to combat this very problem.  One of the most cost-effective and easiest ways for a technically-inclined person to do this is to download and install FreeNAS onto some old computer hardware and have that act as your server.  It's free (except for the hardware), and your data gets the extra level of protection it deserves without you having to switch computers or operating systems.