New Think Tank Sling-O-Matic Bags

October 28th, 2010 by Chris Klapheke

The Think Tank Photo Sling-O-Matic models are now in!  With three models to choose from , the bags offer a new innovation in sling bags: they can be easily switched back and forth to either shoulder. The Sling-O-Matic’s adjustable, fully padded shoulder strap “automatically” slides along a set of rails to easily change shoulders.

While most sling bags are designed to wear over only one shoulder, the Sling-O-Matic can be quickly switched to the opposite shoulder without losing the features that have made sling bags so popular among photographers.

Check out the video of the Sling-O-Matic features, and you can find them in the store here:  Sling-O-Matic.

How to: Balancing Flash and Ambient Outdoors

October 23rd, 2010 by admin

Hopefully this will be the first in a series of “How to’s” on the blog.  One of the things that I seem to hear the most from folks is how to properly balance flash and ambient light outdoors.Well, I can tell you, its not as hard as you think!&nbsp…

On The Wing in Outdoor Photographer Magazine

October 22nd, 2010 by Matt Dennison

Chris Klapheke in Outdoor Photographer Magazine

Our own Chris Klapheke is featured in November's issue of Outdoor Photographer magazine, hitting the stands this week!

"On The Wing" showcases five pages of Chris' bird images, from portraits to blurs.  Chris shares bird photography tips and gives the background stories to some of his images.  He also gives kudos to his mentors including Alan Murphy and Arthur Morris.

You can check out the magazine in bookstores, and we've also posted a pdf of the article for you to read here:  On The Wing.

You can also see Chris's other images at his personal website:

Enter Our Black & White Photo Contest!

October 22nd, 2010 by Matt Dennison

John Batdorff Black and White photo Contest

The last time we did a photo contest with John Batdorff, it was a huge success! We gave away a Black Rapid RS-W1 Women's strap to one lucky winner, and made a lot of new friends in the process.

This time, we’ve added more prizes and categories for this new contest:  Black and White images in Landscape, Portrait and Still Life. 

Prizes this time include your choice of Black Rapid Straps and Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro.

Read the contest rules and enter here or on our Facebook page.

Enter a Black and White image, vote on your favorites, have fun and win some prizes!  A big thanks to John for including us again!

Loving Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro

October 20th, 2010 by John Batdorff

Editors note:  Welcome John Batdorff to the blog!  John is an award winning landscape and travel photographer who splits his time between Chicago and Montana.  John loves the outdoors and traveling, and sharing his images with others. You can learn more about John at the end of this article.


HDR of Tree (Single Exposure)

I don’t shoot a lot of HDR but on occasion I like to mix things up and just have a little fun to get the creative juices flowing. I’ve always used Photomatix for all my HDR photography, but when I heard Nik Software was coming out with its own HDR plugin, I would be lying if I didn’t tell you I became a bit giddy. I’ve been in Montana this past week and much of the color has left my corner of the state, so I decide to have some fun with my filters, bracket a few shots, and give Nik’s new HDR program a little test drive.

I was amazed at how easy Nik’s HDR Efex Pro was to use. If you’re familiar with any of Nik’s software then you know they’re the masters of making the most daunting task manageable. Simply export a single image or bracketed images into HDR Efex Pro’s plugin and get ready to have some fun.

Giving Up? – A Lesson in Seeing

October 18th, 2010 by Bret Edge

Today’s post is a short one, though I believe it imparts an important lesson.  

Last month I embarked upon a 4 day, 3 night motorcycle trip to Crested Butte, Aspen and beyond.  I didn’t have a set itinerary, although I knew I wanted to photograph an autumn sunrise of the Maroon Bells reflecting in the placid waters of Maroon Lake.  On the evening before the final day of my trip I arrived in Aspen and took the road leading to the Bells.  I found an idyllic campsite in the Silver Queen campground only a couple miles from the lake.  Once camp was set up I headed to the lake to scout compositions for sunrise the next morning.

Having heard stories from friends about dozens of photographers lining the lake with their tripods overlapping I knew I’d need to arrive early the next morning to stake my claim.  I awoke early, threw on layers of warm clothing to protect me from the chilly 34 degree ride and proceeded to the lake. Arriving a full half hour before sunrise, I was a bit surprised to find seven cars already in the parking lot.

Bad Light? Not for Portraits…

October 15th, 2010 by Rob Knight

Our model, Rachael, under overcast skies at the DPE Learning Weekend in Atlanta, GA

Overcast skies may be bad for landscape photography, but they are great for shooting portraits. When shooting under cloudy skies you’ve got a giant overhead softbox to work with. This creates soft light that wraps around your subject and makes it easy to capture a proper exposure without blown highlights or harsh shadows. This soft light is also a great base for adding off-camera flash.

A few tips for success on an overcast day:

•Set your white balance to ‘Cloudy’ to add a little warmth to your colors

•Don’t include the sky in your photos. Unless the clouds are very dramatic, an overcast sky doesn’t make a good background.

•Use off-camera flash (speedlights or strobes) to create more interesting or dramatic lighting. Use the ambient light as your fill and build the main light with your off-camera flash.

•You may need to bump up the contrast (I like to use a curves adjustment) in Lightroom or Photoshop.

Learn more about Rob, view his images and check out his workshops at his website.

Glowing In the Dark, or What to Photograph In the Dining Room

October 14th, 2010 by Royce Howland
Glowing In the Dark, Calgary

Glowing In the Dark, Calgary

Things are busy, feels like no time to head out to the field. What to do? I know! Still life closeups of flowers can be fun.

Sure, flowers smell nice and look colorful, but from arm’s length they’re part of the normal world. How often do we take in their intricate details? Viewed up close, the familiar can become strange or fascinating… perhaps both. Sounds like a job for a photographer.

On the dining room table, some cut lilies in a vase made a perfect subject. My wife remarked on their strong aroma that filled the room, and the beauty of the petals. I nodded my head, but was thinking of the macro lens, a close-up perspective, and some unusual lighting.

I broke out my Canon 5D Mk II, put on the Sigma 150mm f/2.8 Macro lens, and got it all set up on the tripod. As the evening light through the picture window grew dim, I turned down the dining room lights as well. A small flashlight provided some targeted glow while the rest of the normal vibrant colors receded into the shadows. Selecting a fairly wide aperture of f/4 provided a shallow depth of field and the stage was all set for the composition.

Taking Pictures vs. Creating Art

October 8th, 2010 by Bret Edge

I vaguely remember the old days, back before I had an SLR and lenses and filters and a tripod.  When I’d see a pretty scene, I'd whip out my point & shoot and take a picture before continuing on my way.  I wasn’t creating art. Nope, I was just memorializing on film (yes, film) a scene or a moment that intrigued me.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Things are different today.  I lug around a big D-SLR with several lenses, a few filters, a tripod and a bunch of other stuff that I use not to record simple memories, but to create something approaching “art”.

Over the years I’ve heard photographers say they are “taking pictures, making images, capturing a moment, shooting photos” and a billion other phrases that essentially mean the same thing.  Or do they?

I can’t help but think that “taking pictures” or “shooting photos” is entirely different from what I and most other serious photographers do when we head out with our cameras.  I like to think that I am creating art.  

By it’s very nature, art is subjective.  What I think is a gorgeous piece of artwork you may think is a bunch of squiggly lines on canvas.  So, the images I create, that I consider art, you may consider just another pretty photo. Or, maybe it’s just another ugly photo.  Only you can decide that.  The point is this – I’m not just documenting a scene before me.  I’m trying to create something that is elevated from being a mere snapshot to something that others may consider to art.

Wow! You Must Have A Good Camera!

October 7th, 2010 by Mike Moats


The title of this post is a line that photographers hate to hear when people comment on their images.  I hear this one a lot at my art shows.  Due to the digital and photoshop age, people tend to think great images are produced by great equipment, when in fact low-end camera equipment can produce good quality images in the hands a of competent photographer.  The opposite is true as well:  top of the line equipment can easily shoot bad images by a careless photographer.

I ran across a video on called, “The iPhone Fashion Shoot By Lee Morris”.  Lee proves that a good photographer can produce good image even with a camera phone.

He attaches his camera phone to a tripod with velcro, sets up some lighting, and does a model shoot to prove his point: that it’s not all about the equipment.