Sunday, August 5, 2018

Another Reason to Shoot 4K

Also in this issue:
  • RX100 VI lens comparison
  • Atlanta and Boulder seminars are coming up!
  • Portrait Lighting Workshop - report
  • Vietnam Update
  • [More!]
Another Reason to Shoot 4K
Quick!  How many cameras were used to make this cheezy video of my wife and me learning to play the "Ugly Stick" in a recent trip to Newfoundland, Canada?

If you said "Five", you should know I never travel with that many cameras.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

What to Do with Old Family Snapshots

Also in this issue:

  • Tools for digitizing photos without a copy stand
  • Tools for documenting your family tree for future generations
  • Video on A7 III and A7R III
  • ... and more!

What to do with Old Family Snapshots

Some genealogist friends tell me that interest in one’s ancestors comes about every three generations or so. Which means those old B&W snapshots piling up in your parents’ attic might be valuable if not to you, but most likely to your descendants one day.

#NaturePorn Part 2

Also in this issue: Follow up on...
  • Image Search on Local Hard Drive
  • Encryption to resolve the Privacy vs. FBI debate
  • Constraint Theory
  • Chocolate and Bacon
#NaturePorn - Epilogue

Back in March I had started a local debate about how much manipulation is too much.  On the one hand, over-processed images sell.  On the other hand, it's dishonest and can go a little too far on the continuum of snapshots and artwork.

For years I thought I had the right balance, but then a commercial software app made these kinds of over-the-top images embarrassingly easy - even those who have never taken the time to master Photoshop can crank out this level of work.  I could fill my website with crap like this, and possibly license more images.  But I wouldn't be proud of any of it.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Giving back...

Before and After, in front of Mr. Roark's house.
For over 100 years, there has been a "Big Brother / Big Sister" organization in the US, which pairs volunteers with at-risk kids in single parent homes to provide a caring adult role model.  For over 20 years, starting in college and continuing well into my working life, I was just such a "Big Brother" to two fatherless boys.  

[Yes, this relates to photography.  Keep reading, as I segue into a way you can assist me in my continuing quest to give back... ]

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Upping my Game...

Also in this issue:
  • Other ways to get a blurry background
  • A-Mount to E-mount Adapter Nuances
  • Portrait Lighting Workshop (and other events)
  • And more...

Upping My Game

For over 20 years I've prided myself on making "Wow!" images using pretty modest equipment.  I was one of the earliest proponents of wireless flash when Minolta introduced it to the world in the 1990's.  I used it extensively in my travels to add better light with the greatest of ease.  

But over the years I slowly started to hit its limitations.  It wouldn't reliably trigger outdoors (or in a large gym, as I discovered on an important shoot); and the intensity of the flash would be severely reduced when trying to "overpower the sun" using High-Speed Sync (HSS).

Recently I wanted to "up my game" and start taking outdoor portraits using fast glass wide open.  That almost always means using a fast shutter speed, necessitating either a camera with a leaf shutter in the lens (like the Sony RX-10 or Fujifilm X100 series) or using a powerful strobe capable of High-Speed Sync (HSS).  Essentially, what I wanted was the benefits of modern technology so I could do portraits that would wow my customers (and possibly other photographers).  And it meant triggering via radio instead of using the wide and narrow pulses coming from the on-camera flash.

Friday, March 9, 2018


There is intense competition for eyeballs on the internet.  This has led to an almost Darwinian-level pressure on photographers to up their game and produce ├╝ber-processed images that never, ever have actually occurred in nature.  It may draw the desired attention, but at what point does it go too far?

Monday, February 12, 2018

Neutral Density Filters vs. ...

During my first trip to Iceland, I was frustrated because I didn't own any Neutral Density Filters.  A Neutral Density filter is a fancy name for "dark grey glass", whose sole purpose is to let in less light.  If you let in less light, you can then use longer exposures, which can allow you to take dream-like wispier waterfalls or clouds.  The densest of neutral density filters can also be used to empty a building via a 4-hour exposure.  In situations like these, anything that stays still during those 4 hours will be rendered in the image, but anything that moves will be "averaged away" and become invisible.  Architectural photographers use this technique a lot.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Value of Immediacy

Also in This Edition

  • A New Photoshop Trick
  • Seminars!
  • In the Pipeline
  • The Value of Immediacy
A New Photoshop Trick

I'm intentionally not the most knowledgeable at Photoshop.  (I prefer to control my light instead.)  And so when I learn something really obscure I like to share it.  

It started out with this modest portrait of downtown Los Angeles which I posted on Facebook:

Sunday, November 26, 2017

One Amazing Incredible Camera! (Except...)

The first time I picked up the original RX-10 was in a Sony store (that should give you an idea of just how long ago that was).  I knew that it was just an RX-100 (the world's best point-and-shoot) with a bigger 24-200mm f/2.8 lens, but after 10 seconds I dismissed it.  "Takes too long to turn on.  Takes too long to zoom", I said.  I put it down.

Time passed. When it came time to write a book on the RX-100 IV, the RX-10 II was available also, and I decided to write the book about both cameras since the two were basically the same: Same sensor, same CPU and compute engine, extremely similar menu structure… it would only be 20% more work.  I took both cameras with me on a family vacation to Hawaii, which stressed me out a little.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Air Shows in RBL (Really Bad Light)

Also in this issue:
  • The best Sony cameras So Far (video)
  • I'll speak to your camera club - for FREE!
  • New Facebook Group for Portrait Photographers of all levels
  • RX-10 IV ebook coming 
  • And more...
Let's start with the announcements first.

Friday, September 29, 2017

I Know What I Did Last Summer

Also these quick subjects:

  • New Titles
  • Skype with me!
  • Next Cameracraft 
  • Next Seminars
  • Myanmar Photo Workshop
  • Update to Last Month's Post
  • Need your Help

Let's do the quick things first.

Friday, August 11, 2017

My Personal Workflow (and why I don't use Lightroom Mobile)

In This Issue

  • My personal workflow 
  • Why I don’t use Lightroom Mobile
  • Acid Test for Autofocus
  • Better High ISO .jpgs

My personal workflow

I get a lot of emails asking what my personal workflow is when it comes to processing hundreds of images from an event.  So here it is.

Standard Disclaimer: Just because I do it this way doesn't mean it's the best way or that it's the right way for you.  Just as there's no "best" way to configure your camera, there's no "best" way to process a ton of images.

Despite Adobe doing everything in their power to annoy me off their platform (slow software, can't do anything else while it starts, constantly changing UI behavior, subscription model, still not knowing how to handle rendering the workspace in Windows 10's high-resolution screen), I still use Lightroom for processing large batches of images, and Photoshop for tweaking images and doing special things that Lightroom can't do.