Monday, April 28, 2008

DIY Soft Box

Photo Courtesy Nick Wheeler

Down and dirty

I've seen a few Do-It-Yourself projects before, this one is for the hard-core only!

Head on over to to check out this super soft box contraption by Flickr contributor, Nick Wheeler. Lots of great pics to help you build your own.

If you have to build one on location and you gotta get it done quick, try this Cardboard box beauty I found on the Photography On The Net forums. This one's a little more my style.

It just goes to show that you can make some great light with a little creativity and some effort...and maybe a little duct tape.

High ISO Changing The Way We Work

Less is more.

For the small group of photo luddites who still cling to film cameras, praying for a revival of old school technology, it's time to give up and join the future...before it's too late! Not only has digital changed the nature of photography and related businesses, but it has also changed the way we work and the type of equipment we use to get the job done.

What good photographer wouldn't want a couple of 4800 watt second Speedo packs, or half a dozen 102 heads, or 15 heavy duty light stands that can reach to the sky? The answer to that question has abruptly changed and the affects on the bottom line, budgets, travel, hiring assistants etc... have changed with it. For the old-school photographer, still trying to market himself or herself with the tired film-is-better mantra, budgets will soon push these stragglers into the 21st century.

No less than 2 years ago, I was contemplating re-building my equipment / lighting arsenal to its former glory. A few years of a slowing economy and shrinking business prospects had eaten away at my gear and patience. With the digital revolution and web technology changing the way I deal with clients, it seemed like time to re-invest in myself and get the ball moving forward again. To facilitate this new outlook and motivation, I decided to piece together some new equipment and a new attitude. Thank goodness my lack of funds restrained me from re-purchasing almost all of the bulky, expensive, workhorse gear that once lined the walls of my studio.

The newer DSLR's have made it possible and even reasonable to shoot the average assignment at much higher ISO's than would be prudent with film cameras. Large format shooters are losing ground to studios using 12, 16 and 21 mega pixel digital cameras, that can match the output of most med-format gear and give 4X5 transparency film a run for its money. All of this at higher ISO's than ever thought possible! This is effectively changing the game plan for location and studio shoots, where bulky, powerful strobes were once king. Some of this outdated, traditional gear, gathering dust in the corner, while newer, lighter and less powerful lighting units are taking over. The shrinking value of this older lighting equipment evident by its falling re-sale value at your local camera store.

If you haven't read the best-selling book, "Who Moved My Cheese", by Spencer Johnson, now would be a good time. Do it before you make your next gear purchase and thank me later.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

High Dynamic Range...A Few Links


I have my own down and dirty method. Let's take a look at a few sites with How-To Tutorials on producing HDR image files in the field. has a nicely detailed recipe for producing HDR images with Photomatix, Photoshop and Lightroom. He also has a discount coupon for readers purchasing the Photomatix software. Please visit his site to find the coupon if you want to see some great HDR images and get a deal on software.

www.cambridgeincolour has another more technical tutorial for the super photo geeks who want the why and how of HDR.

Even if your not planning to produce images with the HDR look, the technical exercise of exposure bracketing and shooting from a tripod will guarantee you the best possible files for photos of static scenes. With a little extra work and Photoshop trickery, you can also use the same techniques to shoot people.

Give it a try!

Friday, April 25, 2008

DP Review's Hands On With Rebel XSI

Still waiting...

Phil Askey has just posted a hands on preview for the 12 megapixel Canon Rebel XSI. It's not the full package we've been waiting for, but contains plenty of info on the new features, controls, buttons and knobs. Still a good read if you're planning on familiarizing yourself with the camera before purchase.

Follow this link to DP Review to read the article and check out the sample photos.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rebel XSI Review Lite At Bob Atkins

The reviews are coming...

I stopped by Bob Atkins site to read his first look review of the Canon EOS Rebel XSI ( 450D ) and kit lens. Nothing unexpected in his appraisal of the camera and typical kudos and complaints about the kit lens. Still waiting for the exhaustive beat down from the guys at DP Review, who are, I hear thru the grapevine, getting ready to post the full monty on the XSI.

If your wondering why there is so much excitement about this Pro-Sumer camera, then you probably have your head up you - know - where. The reality is, that today's pro-sumer, off - the - shelf at Best Buy DSLR, has twice the features, file size and image quality of yesterday's pro model cameras and at 1/3rd the price!

Don't let equipment snobbery stop you from buying a great camera. With all the money you'll have left over, you can purchase better glass and be ahead of the game in the long haul.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Radio Poppers Arriving...

The Radio Poppers are coming!

For the lucky folks who pre-ordered Radio Poppers P1's, shipping has begun! Time to see what real world testing will reveal.

David at the Strobist website has put them thru their paces with excellent results. Glad to see Kevin King succeed with his new product where so many others have failed.

Check out this unboxing Video , ( compliments of VIMEO ) from Zeke at

Samsung / Pentax Full Frame DSLR

Photo courtesy Samsung USA

Rumors abound...

Samsung is definitely not trying to squash the rumors of a full frame pro DSLR in the works with
partner Pentax Corp. Can't wait to hear more about this!

Read more about it on the electronista website.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Back For More Punishment...

Time to blog!

I have been pretty busy working on a new website, but I'm ready to hit the ground running. It seems that I have finally made it to Google page cache status. New readers are finding older posts and page views are soaring. Guess it's not the time to run out of steam just yet!

I'll be getting back to a new schedule and a shrunk down, less busy, re-designed header! Maybe an explosion of random color and 50 -100 ridiculous animated gifs...each with a talking wav file. How about 50 cartoon robots telling you that you have just won an IPOD NANO!

Just kidding!

Lets not forget to mention Canon cameras, Canon Lenses and Canon Rebel XSI at the bottom of each post ( doubles my page views !). Yes....pathetic, but effective.