November 24th, 2010
by Theodore Stark
When was the last time you went to a magic show? For some, it may have been last weekend. Others, it may have been a bit longer. Besides the rabbit coming out of the hat, the most identifying of items used by a magician is his wand.
So let me ask you… do you think the quality of the magic show is based on the manufacturer and model of the wand?
This is not a new argument. Nevertheless, it is one that needs to surface from time-to-time, as we seem to lose sight of what’s important.
November 23rd, 2010
by John Batdorff
Tufted Puffin, Pribiloff Islands, Alaska
I would like to introduce everyone to my good friend Chris Klapheke. Chris is an avid bird photographer and has been gracious enough to spend a little time with us this morning to answer a few questions. So here we go…
John: You have some amazing bird images. What is the toughest part about getting a great shot?
Chris: There are a lot of things that go into a successful avian shot. But no matter what style shot, I think the most important factors are planning and visualization. If you plan well, the execution of the shot is relatively easy.
Let’s start with visualization. What is the shot that you want? Do you want a bird on a perch? If so, what kind of perch? Would you like the bird singing or eating? Do you want a bird in flight? And so on. Of course, the shot you want will change depending on the bird and your shooting environment, and will develop “on the fly” (pun intended) during your shooting time. However, it’s important to place a visualization in your mind’s eye.
Once you visualize your shot, planning takes over. To me, the top avian shooters, like Alan Murphy or Arthur Morris, constantly produce stellar images because they plan.
“Planning” incorporates a whole host of factors and objectives. For the image itself planning can include:
- Light (of course!)
- Wind direction
- Type of shot
- What kind of bird
- For the mechanics of getting the shot itself, planning can include:
- Habits of the bird
- Staging area for the bird
- Food for the bird
- Type of perch
- Skittishness of the bird (do you need a blind?)
- Lens size
- Many other factors come in to planning, but you get the idea.
Let’s take a real life example.
November 22nd, 2010
by John Batdorff
I want to say this was probably the hardest Black and White contest I’ve ever had the privilege of judging. Before I announce the winners I want to remind everyone that I enter contests every year and guess what? That’s right, I don’t always win. I know can you believe it…;) If there’s one thing I’ve learned from not only entering contests but judging them is this: we look at every image based upon composition, exposure, etc., but in the end, to be very truthful, it’s very subjective. Either an image speaks to a judge or it doesn’t. I have to come to terms with this when I submit my own work for contests and I hope everyone here understands the same. Moving forward…
I want to thank everyone for entering and as always there are no real losers. As a matter of fact, I would say everyone was a winner because your work has been seen by well over 12,000 unique visitors! This truly was the best Black and White Photo Contest with the most talented artists to date.
I want to thank my partners for helping me put together a great contest and for donating killer prizes for our winners.
Black Rapid for donating a strap of your choice. Black Rapid is the only strap I use on my camera…Period!
Outdoor Photo Gear for donating Nik Software Silver eFex Pro. Outdoor Photo Gear is simply the best when you need expert advice!
Drum roll please….
The winners of the Second Annual Black and White Photo contest are:
Saeed Rezvanian- Portrait Days
Steve Silverman- The Tin Man
Peter Rose- English Country Tea Time
Congrats to the winners. Please feel free to email me so that I can arrange delivery of your prizes. I want to thank everyone once again for entering. It was just a wonderful contest with some amazing images. Keep posted because this Wednesday I’ll be updating my blog with the honorable mentions.
Thanks again, John
November 21st, 2010
by John Batdorff
We're happy to announce the top 100 photographers for the 2nd Annual Black and White Photo Contest with John Batdorff. . Make sure to check our top 100 finalists HERE.
Many thanks to John, Black Rapid and Nik Software for prizes and support!
Now, off to judge some photos…;)
November 20th, 2010
Have you been naughty or nice this year?
Its that time of year again! Time to break out the credit cards to do a little shopping for those you love (and for some, those that you can moderately tolerate)
There are several photographers' blogs I follow who do a gift guide for photographers every year but the one thing I've noticed is that, most of the gifts they suggest are often a little pricey. So, for those on a somewhat tighter budget, I thought it would be a neat idea to do a holiday gift guide for photographers with gift recommendations that are a little more inexpensive. Many of these I own and use, and some of these are items I'd like to have, hint hint.
Hopefully this list will give you some ideas on what to get your photographer loved ones for the holidays this year! In no particular order, here we go…
1. One of my most used items in my camera bag is the Lumiquest SBIII mini softbox. I absolutely love this small, collapsible soft box and it is always in my camera bag.
2. Another favorite, small softbox of mine is the Honl Traveller8. It folds up nicely in any camera bag, has an 8" diameter face, is easy to use and only uses about 1 stop of light. It makes a great key light when used in close or an awesome hairlight/kicker light!
3. All of the Honl products in my opinion totally rock. They are built rock solid, do exactly what you want, and considering the quality, are quite cost effective. So rather than single out each Honl product, I'm going to lump them all in one group.
4. If you're in to coloring your
November 19th, 2010
by Royce Howland
Golden & Rusted, Highway 11
As I was going through my own results last month to start cataloging, I came again to a series I photographed involving an old truck along Highway 11. I’ve driven along this road many times and never recall taking note of this old relic before. This trip, I certainly wasn’t expecting to find something like this where I found it. Why did I see it? Mainly because I was keeping an eye out for patches of good fall color, and there were some small trees with golden foliage in nice light, right behind the rusting hulk. By themselves, the trees would not have been worth stopping for. They were too small and isolated in an otherwise drab corner of a large, empty field. However the contrast of the fall foliage and old truck seemed much more interesting, so I marked the location and returned to it when coming back down the road the other way.
When mentioning the truck to someone else who knew the road quite well, it was also not a spot that he had really seen or photographed before. What was different the day I went by?
November 17th, 2010
by Juan Pons
Here's a link to this week's DPE Podcast, full of bird photography tips and other great info:
In this episode of the DPE podcast Rick interviews Chris MacAskill, co-founder of SmugMug, Juan & Rick interview Chris Klapheke, owner of Outdoor Photo Gear, and between the two interviews Rick and Juan answer your questions.
To get the enhanced version of the podcast with images and chapter markers, subscribe to the podcast via iTunes here: DPExperience Podcast on iTunes
Listen to the podcast here:
For those that need a plain mp3 feed click here
To download the mp3 file directly click here
November 12th, 2010
by Juan Pons
As you may have heard me say before, audio is of the outmost importance when shooting videos. If you look at my two part article on recording audio for video, my preferred way of recording audio is to record it separately on a dedicated audio recorded such as the Zoom H4n, however there are situations when it is more efficient to record the audio straight into the camera.
November 11th, 2010
by Jerry Monkman
Sunrise at Dorr Point in Maine's Acadia National Park.
October 1st marked nine years since I quit working on Maggie’s Farm. In my case, “Maggie’s Farm” was a cubicle at a large insurance company that was just the last of several identical cubicles I worked in over the course of eleven years as a software engineer. I never liked this job, though it made me a decent income and the stress was relatively low. I realize that software engineer wouldn’t make many lists detailing the crappiest jobs in the world – in fact, most would consider it a pretty cushy gig – but I was never satisfied. I yearned to spend more time outside, and I felt there must be a way to channel my creative energy for something more important and beneficial to my mental health and the world in general. I spent the last five years of this “career” begging for as much time off as possible to get out and make pictures, and I’m fortunate to have had managers and colleagues who supported my crazy photo obsession. After 9/11, and with a new baby at home, it became obvious to me that it was time to quit the job that made me good money, but left me unhappy, and I took the plunge as a freelance photographer.
If you’re one of those people who feels stuck in a job, but you have loftier aspirations, all I can say is “Go For It!” It will change your life. Don’t just take my word for it either. I was inspired to write this post after reading “Five Ways Photography Changed My Life” by Moab, Utah based adventure and nature photographer Bret Edge. All of what Bret says in his post is applicable to me, and probably most other photographers as well. I really encourage you to read it.
November 5th, 2010
by Chris Klapheke
Rain Covers can protect your gear from the elements—not just rain. Mother nature throws all kinds of corrosive at your gear: sand, salt spray, snow and dust to name a few. Think of washing your clothes the last time you shot near the water or in a dusty field. That same stuff that made your clothes dirty is on your gear!
Your choice of rain covers is all over the board, both in price and in sizes. From $5 plastic disposable covers to high tech solutions running several hundred dollars, it might be overwhelming as to which one to choose.
The answer to your rain cover can reveal itself with a little analysis of two things: the lenses in your collection, and why you’ll need a rain cover. Keep in mind that one size rain cover probably won’t fit all your lenses, and you may find a different rain cover need for different lenses. Just as you need different lenses for different situations, you may need different rain covers as well.
Take your lenses out of storage and line them up on a table. A quick look will (maybe painfully) remind you of the amount of investment you have to protect. Grab a tape measure—yes, you’ll need to measure your lenses, both length and diameter. If you want your rain gear to cover your hood, include that in your measurements. Keep in mind teleconverters, and add a few inches for them if you use them. Also, some rain cover manufacturers include the measurements for your camera body, so measure those as well. It only take a few minutes to measure, and you’ll want to save this information.