Sunday, November 25, 2018

Why I still like the A-Mount

Also in this issue:
  • Food Photography Frustration
  • Friedman Archives Seminars - Home Study Course is on sale!
Why I Still Like the A-Mount

The world may be obsessed with mirrorless camera bodies now, but when I'm working in the studio (and sometimes on location as well) I STILL love and prefer to use my A99 II A-mount camera.  Part of the reason is the superior ergonomics; part of it is because it still feels like a balanced system when long and heavy lenses are attached.  Part of it is it works natively with a ton of outstanding lenses I still own.

But part of it also are these useful features that the E-mount bodies don't feature:

Friday, November 2, 2018

Fun with Green Screens, Part 2

Green screens are not as intimidating as you might think.  Here's the link to my original Green Screen article which I wrote for Cameracraft magazine, which also includes a link for the free Photoshop plug-in you can use to knock out the green easily and accurately, with no "green halo" like you would normally get by just doing a color selection and erasing it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Best Camera for Street Photography

Just came from New York City, where I wanted to travel light and didn't want to be a target by carrying an expensive-looking camera around.  Guess what camera I used?  (As always, click on any picture to make it larger.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

What To Do When Your Light Sucks

If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you'll know that I vastly prefer to get the light and exposure right in the camera because there's just no substitute for good light.  (I've even purchased huge strobes for great light out in the field!)

But that doesn't mean I always have control of things.  Take yesterday, for instance.  I was out bike riding with a family and I stopped when the father was taking a picture of his son in the worst light possible:

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: