Eckla Gear Cart Video Review

May 25th, 2012 by Matt Dennison

Thanks to our pals over at Fotobug: Jim Caldwell and Fred Rogers, for a great review of the Eckla Gear Carts!

Learn more about the Eckla Gear Carts and see all the available accessories in the OPG store.

Hi, I’m Jim Caldwell from the Photo Bug. Let’s face it. As photographers, we’re equipment junkies. We just have to have the latest thing out, and when we go out in the field we end up carrying all this stuff with us. By the end of the day, we’re totally exhausted. So, gee, you would think there would just have to be a better way.

Well, actually there is a better way. Introducing the Beach Rolly Cart, imported by our friends at Outdoor Photo Gear. The Beach Rolly Cart can be assembled in just minutes. If you fold the flap, it can usually fit in the trunk of your car or in the back of your SUV.

The Rolly Cart features pneumatic wheels, which can handle nearly any kind of terrain, such as concrete, road paths, grass, soft beach sand, and even wet sand. The frame of the Rolly Cart is made of heavy gauge aluminum, and a thick heavy rubberized material that is completely waterproof and very strong. In fact, the Rolly Cart can handle up to 176 pounds.

Just so you know, once you get in a location, if you get tired you can always use them as a little beach chair. Hey, Fred, look it. There’s a heron over there. Would you mind wheeling me over there so I can get a good shot.

Fred: Fat chance of that happening. Want to race?

Jim: Well, okay. Maybe we don’t recommend the Rolly Carts for racing.

Fred: No, no.

Jim: But they can haul up to 176 pounds of equipment or surf boards, kayaks, canoes, even your luggage, and I always seem to get in the second or third floor, the high floors, and it’s much easier to carry equipment up to your hotels when you’re traveling. So, I really like the Rolly Cart. They’re really well-built, under $200 from our friend Chris Klapeke at Outdoor Photo Gear. Fred, what do you think?

Fred: I say that these are field tested by Jim and Fred, and we like them.

Jim: Yes we do. So we do recommend the Rolly Cart. So, stop breaking your back and get

Mike Moats’ Unique Macro Photo Contest

May 21st, 2012 by Mike Moats


Our pal Mike Moats has announced a Macro Photo Contest with a twist:  No flowers or critters allowed!
We’re happy to be one of the sponsors of this contest, and we’re looking forward to seeing some unique images.

You can get more information on the contest here.

Here is Mike’s original post about the contest that lists some of the prizes and rules.  Have fun!

Special Assignment Macro Contest, Tons Of Great Prizes

This is not your typical macro in nature contest.

No flowers or critters are allowed.

Any subjects in nature other than flowers or critters are eligible.

I need you to go out and explore and find me some cool macro subjects or search out past images in your hard drives, but no flowers or critters. There are tons of great subjects other than flowers and critters, so the challenge is to find something that will win yourself one of these great prizes.

You could win!

Tamron Macro LensYour choice of a 60mm or 90mm lens
Lensbaby – Composer Pro with Sweet 35 and a set of Macro Converters (retail $450)
Vanguard – Alta Pro 263 aluminum tripod with the SBH-100 ball head. (retail $209)
Think Tank Photo Bags – Streetwalker Pro Bag (retail $169)
One spot in a Macro Boot Camp, location of your choice (retail $169)
Nik Software – Color Efex Pro 4 (retail $159)
Hunt’s Photo – $50 Gift Certificate
Outdoor Photo Gear – $50 Gift Certificate
Creating Art With Macro E-Book (retail $14.95)

Free to enter

You have until August 1st, 2012 to submit your images.
You may enter three images.
Send small file jpegs (200kb ) and your location to,
No limitations on processing of images.

Winning images will be posted online on August 2nd.

If you would like ideas of subject matter to shoot outside of the flowers and critters,
visit my website at

Gura Gear Kiboko 22L+ Video Review

May 18th, 2012 by Robert Rodriguez Jr.

I’ve been using Guru Gear Backpacks for a few years now, and they’ve been great for me. I started with the Kiboko 30L which is this bag here and I still use this bag a great deal depending on how much gear I want to carry and what I’m doing. But the 22L, which was released recently has found a home here on my studios as well, basically because it’s a smaller, smaller profile and it has a couple of enhancements and upgrades I really like.

Basic Tips for Making Fine Art Prints at Home

May 14th, 2012 by Bret Edge
Fall colors reflected in the Swift River in New Hampshire

Fall colors reflected in the Swift River in New Hampshire

I’ve heard it said that the process of creating a photograph isn’t complete until you’ve made a print. I don’t know that I’m in complete agreement but I will confess that I derive tremendous satisfaction in the art of printmaking. In a blog post I wrote last year titled “Pixels vs. Prints” I wrote about how viewing a photograph on a monitor and in print are two wholly different experiences. A master printmaker I am not. I’ve only been making my own prints, on an Epson Stylus 2880 printer, for a little over a year. But, I’ve learned some lessons in that time that I’ll share here with the hope that your own foray into the wonderful world of printing may be a bit less intimidating.

Printer Selection

There are three primary manufacturers of printers capable of producing fine art photographic prints: Epson, Canon and HP. HP printers use a dye-based ink while Epson and Canon both use a pigment-based ink. I don’t have the time to fully discuss the pros and cons of each, but you’ll find a good basic explanation of each here. Most photographers I know, including a few who are master printmakers, use pigment-based ink printers. The primary point I want to discuss here is selecting printer size because yes, size does matter.

Using Lines in the Landscape to Improve Your Photo Compositions.

May 9th, 2012 by Jerry Monkman


Monument Cove and Otter Cliffs in Maine's Acadia National Park.



Monument Cove and Otter Cliffs in Maine’s Acadia National Park. The curve of the shoreline in this photo adds a peaceful line that leads the viewer’s eye to the cliffs.

Lines, real and implied are an important component in any photo’s composition. Lines can be straight (horizontal, vertical, or at an oblique angle,) or curved. All lines work to divide your image into distinct parts, so you need to study your compositions carefully to see how these divisions work. Do they cut an image in half, creating a static feel, or do they divide the image into unequal parts which can provide an asymmetrical balance and more dynamic feel?

Exporting Images with Metadata

May 8th, 2012 by John Batdorff

I get a lot of questions regarding metadata, so I thought I would throw together a quick tutorial explaining how I generally handle exporting images with metadata.  If you have any questions feel free to email or leave a comment below.

Hi everyone, John Batdorf here and today I want to talk to you about metadata. Now metadata is information that is stored at time of capture. It’s basically your camera information, your focal length, your ISO, whether or not your camera fired its flash, the model of camera, if you have a cell phone or a GPS device it’ll record that as well. Now beyond that when you’re developing an image in Camera RAW it can save all those settings as well so did I increase vibrancy, did I increase the clarity, black, so forth, and it’ll store all that information. And one step further, any key wording that you do, so if you do any sort of key wording for search it can save that information as well.

Now why is this a big deal? Well when we export out images sometimes we don’t want to share all that information. We want to control what we’re putting out there. So I’m going to show you how to do that. You’re going to go underneath file and then export. Here we are, here’s the dialog box and what you’re going to want to do, is drag all the way down to where it says metadata. Now currently it’s set for all. That means it’s going to write everything to the file. What I want to do is I want to control what people are seeing. You click right here and I can do copyright only. So it’s just going to copyright Batdorf Photography or maybe I want to copyright and then contact information so they can reach out to me if they come across an image that they want to buy or use on something. Or you may want to select all the information except for camera and raw edit, so basically that’s going to be anything about your camera or any of the edits that you made at the raw conversion. Or you may just leave it at all. Now if I’m uploading to a service for sale I typically just leave it at all and I’ll upload …

Scott Goldsmith: The Kentucky Derby

May 4th, 2012 by Chris Klapheke


Our hometown of Louisville, Ky is going crazy right now.  Roads are clogged with traffic, restaurants have long lines, and limousines are everywhere.  Tourists are everywhere, getting ready for the huge party that is dubbed "the most exciting two minutes in sports".  Talk about photo opportunities!

My Morning Walk

May 3rd, 2012 by Denise Ippolito



Image © 2012/Denise Ippolito Photography
Tulip ~ Canon 5D Mark III, 100mm Macro lens

I passed by a local Real Estate office to admire their beautiful garden bed filled with a variety of tulips and thought I would create a few images. In processing I toned down the bright red tulip behind the left petal with the clone tool set to approx 30% opacity. This is very easy to do using a simple layer and mask:

Bring your image into Photoshop and then create a duplicate layer by hitting Control J or Cmd J for MAC. It will show up as Layer 1.
You can now clone as you normally would using the Clone Stamp Tool without worrying that you will clone on your subject because if you do you can easily clean it up with a layer mask. To do so add a regular layer mask to Layer 1. The Layer Mask should be filled with white. Now select a soft brush so that it feathers the paint slightly. Make sure that the foreground (the top color square- which is the color you will be painting with) is set to black. Touch up as needed. Note you can paint with white if you revealed too much from the bottom layer.



Image © 2012/Denise Ippolito Photography
Tulip ~ Canon 5D Mark III, 100mm Macro lens

Learning to Recognize Relationships in Photography

May 2nd, 2012 by Robert Rodriguez Jr.


Hudson Valley Trail

“Hudson Valley Trail, New York”

In landscape photography we often discuss the many different ingredients that go into making a successful image. Things like composition, color, mood, light, and of course subject. And while these are all essential parts, the aspect I think is underestimated and not talked about enough is the relationships between these elements.

How does the subject interact with the rest of the composition? Is the main “character” easily defined? Imagine a movie where you couldn’t tell who the main character was, or a song that did not have a recognizable melody. How quickly would you lose interest?

How does the color influence the balance and design of the image? Saturated color is great, but only when a harmonious relationship exists with some other part of the composition, otherwise it loses its ability to convey a strong message other than “here’s a lot of color”.

Are the tonalities balanced in a way that leads the eye in a meaningful way? Light is a powerful force in our search for evocative landscapes, but are you controlling the light through careful composition, and removing what may be distracting?

These questions are all based on relationships and how we use them in landscape photography. I’ll be covering these ideas in-depth in an upcoming article, but for now think about these concepts the next time you are out with your camera. Even simple things like using a longer focal length can have a dramatic impact on your ability to create stronger relationships. Avoid the temptation to capture it all, and use 70, 80, or even a 100mm focal length to narrow down your field of view and work with basic shapes, lines, and color. This technique will help you recognize relationships much easier, and your images will gain clarity because of it.

“We photograph something for two reasons: for what it is, and for what else it is.” – Minor White

Check out Robert’s website for images, workshops, webinars and more: LINK

Creativity with John Cleese!

May 1st, 2012 by John Adkins


One of the hardest things for many photographers to develop is a sense of creativity.  You might be the most technologically proficient person with your gear and know how to edit photos better than the best Photoshop gurus out there but what about making interesting pictures?

Creativity, according to John Cleese is not a talent, but rather a quality that can be learned by the biggest imbecile… fortunately for me.  So while you might have the technical know how, where do you rate on the creative scale?

Check out this video by the very talented and humorous John Cleese.  Many of you may know him from Monty Python fame, but what you may not know about him, is that he is a highly educated, imaginative, and persuasive writer and educator.  Maybe this video will help you to unlock your own creative abilities and also allow you a little laugh or two.  Its a little over 30 minutes long, but full of useful info regardless if you’re a photographer, an artist, an engineer or a teacher!

Here’s a big tip, humor can spawn awesome ideas!