Tuesday, October 11, 2016

At last! A real-world example of Induced Moiré

A lot of the world's high-end cameras have been boasting about the lack of optical low-pass filters in front of their sensors.  And while most hail this as a wonderful thing to help increase the detail in your images. it comes with a theoretical downside: your images might become more susceptible to a phenomenon called "induced Moiré".

Sunday, September 4, 2016

How to Shoot a Bharatanatyam Arangetram

There is a traditional classical dance in India called the Bharatanatyam.  It takes years of study to perfect it (11 years in this case), working with an accomplished guru.  Every dance tells an epic story, and every movement has significance.  When the guru feels the student is ready, the first "coming out" performance called an Arangetram ensues.  I was hired to take the invitational and "publicity" shots for this event.

Normally this wouldn't be worth blogging about, since these look just like ordinary shots taken in a studio.  But they weren't - I took these shots outdoors, on the front porch, in the daytime.  Here's the setup I used:

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Expose to the Right Revisited

In this issue:
* Expose to the Right Revisited
* f2 Cameracraft digital edition available for FREE!
* Pioneering Website Design
* Unobvious Things about the Fujifilm X-Pro2 (video)
* Various Updates

Expose to the Right Revisited

Once upon a time there was an esoteric technique for reducing noise at high ISO called "Expose to the Right".  It worked like this:  You overexpose the image by about a stop or so (but not so much that you'll blow out the highlights!), and then bring the exposure back down in Photoshop.  This technique reduced the noise by about 1-2 stops' worth, which was pretty good.  Since those days, modern camera manufacturers have changed the way brightness values are represented in RAW files for efficiency, and some have claimed that this makes the ETTR technique less effective.

Is this true?  I decided to find out.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

What Does a Photographer Bring on Vacation?

In this issue:
 What Does a Photographer Bring on Vacation?
 What RAW Corruption Looks Like
 Unobvious Things about the Sony Alpha 6300 (video)
 Fujifilm X-Pro2 ebook out!
 Updates on other books

What does a Photographer Bring on Vacation?

Because of all the books I write, I probably have more cameras than should be allowed by law, which makes it especially challenging to decide what to take when going on vacation.  (I know; none of you feel sorry for me.  I'm OK with that.)  In the past I'd take the best equipment I had just because "Hey, how can I NOT do that when I'm going to exotic places like Australia and New Zealand?".  Then I end up schlepping a backpack full of E-mount lenses and bodies which, despite the bodies' smaller size, still ended up weighing a ton.

So when going on a personal vacation (as opposed to a working one), I don't want to be burdened by my equipment like that.  I just want to bring something small that can do pretty much everything pretty well but won't weigh me down.  The Sony Alpha 6300 (whose ebook is out, and a video for which appears later in this post) would be an obvious choice here, but because of where I would be I really didn't want to mess with changing lenses either.

So what did I bring?  One of the most underloved cameras Sony has ever produced:

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Tricks for Aging

In This Issue:
  • Tricks for Aging 
  • A6300 Ebook is out!
  • Other projects and seminars
  • Why Americans Behave the Way They Do
  • And more...

Tricks for Aging

I had a most unusual request recently - a mother-daughter pair came in for some head shots.  The mother had recently been cast in a movie, and was told there was a market for older actresses (something I had never heard coming out of Hollywood!  On the other hand, she was from Arkansas).  Could I take some photos to make her look old?

Monday, March 28, 2016

Newborn Photography Secrets

In this edition:

  • Newborn Photography Secrets
  • Focus Tracking on some E-mount cameras (seeking more data)
  • Live Vicariously through this travel photographer (no, not me...)
  • Seminar in Halifax, Nova Scotia in May!
  • A6300 and Fujifilm X-Pro2 ebooks coming!

Newborn Photography

Ever since Anne Geddes raised the bar on the newborn photography genre, an entire legion of people shooting newborns in this style has arisen.  And this seemingly simple style of photography is considerably harder than it looks.  Not only do you have fussy subjects, narrow windows in which to get the shot, uncooperative siblings (for family shots), and un-photogenic skin, but you also have extremely high expectations from your clients.  Unlike  traditional portrait photography, you can't always guarantee that perfect photo.

I've been doing newborn photography for awhile, but for this latest session I wanted to up my game and duplicate the kind of uber-processed newborn photography fad that's sweeping the world.  Here's what I did to address each of these classic problems of newborn photography.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Tale of Two Portraits

Also in this issue:

  • The Nissin Flash Review I'm Not Going to Write
  • An Ideal Platform for Those Learning Photography
  • Free issue of f2 Cameracraft!
  • E-m1 Firmware v4 update is out
  • 13 Rubik's Cubes in 15 Minutes (video)

A Tale of Two Portraits

Neither one of these portraits at the top of this blog was done in a studio. The first used natural light (something I'm always on the lookout for), and the other used The 5 Dollar Studio which I blogged about a few years ago.

Backups, Kickstarter Ideas, and ReFS

Warning: Nothing in this blog post relates to photography.  I do this from time to time.

In this Issue:

  • ReFS on Windows 10
  • How Not to Back Things Up
  • 4 Kickstarter Ideas that Solve Major Societal Problems:
    • Uber for Seniors
    • E-book Authoring Tools
    • Encryption That Makes Everyone Happy
    • Class-Action Suit against Credit Card Companies

Monday, January 11, 2016

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A Month in Oceania

I just returned from a major trip to Australia and New Zealand.  Lots of photos and stories.  No time for a travelogue-style blog post.  I'll have to contain all of what I have to say to captions.  Here goes...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A gift for my wife...

Also in this issue:

  • How High Speed Sync Works (video)
  • Australia and New Zealand Seminars are almost here!
  • Things you Didn't Know about the RX-100 IV and RX-10 II (oh, and there's a new ebook)
  • High-Speed Sync without HSS
  • Cameracraft news (hint: we're merging!)
  • Parting Shot

A Gift for My Wife

I took these profiles of the grandkids (at the top of this post) in secret as a surprise for my wife.  And I did it with just ONE unmodified wireless flash.  You can do this too.  How, you ask?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Shooting Star Trails

Believe it or not, I’ve never attempted this kind of a shot before.  Maybe because I thought it was too cliché; maybe because I grew up in Southern California where we never really had clear enough skies.  But whatever the reason, the first time I tried it was last week, while on a family vacation in Kauai, Hawaii.

Back in the days of film, this kind of a shot was straightforward: Put your camera on a tripod, set the shutter speed to “B”, use a locking cable release and keep your shutter open for an hour or two.  Not so with digital.  Leaving your shutter open for so long will develop so much noise that people looking at it would cringe.