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.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Baseball with RBS (Really Bad Shadows)


Also in this issue:
  • The Future of Sony's A-mount
  • Announcements
  • Day 2 of the Seminar is now available for streaming!
Baseball with RBS (Really Bad Shadows)

In the states, there is a special kind of baseball game called T-ball which caters to 4-year-olds.  Rather than having to hit a ball that is pitched to them, the baseball sits stationary on a stand (a “T”) and the kids swing the bat to hit it.

T-ball tournaments are all the rage here, but this month I witnessed what I think is pretty extraordinary.  At the end of the season there was a “World Series” playoff, and a whole team of T-ball players from Taiwan flew in to participate!

That’s right – a whole bunch of rich parents paid gobs of money to give their kids an international travel experience that they are very likely too young to appreciate.  I had the honor of shooting one of the games in this historic playoff.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Better Pictures Using Your Smartphone


Also in this issue:

  • Why In-Camera GPS is Going Away
  • Seminar Update
  • I Get Emails...

Better Pictures Using Your Smartphone
I take family snapshots as much as the next guy.  And yet I cringe whenever I see the hallmark of a snapshot: A flash picture taken in a dark room, with the camera’s built-in flash as the sole source of light.  This is the universally acknowledged, Guinness-book-of-world-records worst way to light a shot.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

How I Lit this Child Prodigy


Also in this issue:

  • A footnote to last month's video
  • Take Better Pictures This Summer
  • Other Announcements

How I Lit this Child Prodigy

I took the shot above in a very confined space and so it was essential to have as little "light spill" as possible - that is, light only the subject and try to minimize any of the adjacent objects (like the bookshelf and chair behind her) from being lit as well.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A-Mount and E-mount Focusing Differences

In This Issue:


I try to keep this blog very general most of the time, knowing that many readers shoot with a wide variety of camera brands.  This month I'll make a small exception -- I'm going to start with something Sony-specific and kind of technical, then at the end I'll get to something non-technical that every shooter from every type of camera needs to know.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Apple's "Shot on an iPhone 6" Ad Campaign

Also in this issue...

Explore Sri Lanka with a National Geographic Photographer!
The Dress that Blew Up the Internet
Apple's "Shot on an iPhone 6" Ad Campaign
The Friedman Archives is Hiring!
And more...

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Apple's "Shot on an iPhone 6" Ad Campaign

A licensable shot taken with a Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone.  Good light, strong composition, no distracting background.  Smartphone cameras do great in ideal conditions.
Apple is currently running a major ad campaign called "Shot on iPhone 6" which, not surprisingly, shows off some pretty impressive images, all shot with the camera on their iconic smartphone.  (If you haven't seen it, here's a link to Apple's World Gallery.  Worth a peruse!)

Upon viewing these images, Apple wants you to say, "Wow, the iPhone 6's camera must be great!".  And in fact, I'm sure most people seeing the photos will say this very thing.  The pictures are quite good, after all.

But without meaning any disrespect to the camera,