5 Great Photography Gift Ideas

Christmas is almost upon us now. So, what to get for that special photographer?

Here’s 5 ideas that will make any shutterbug happy:

1. The easy bet is a new camera, right? But the real question is, which one? If your special photographer didn’t spell it out for you, then you’re left to decide between a DSLR or point and shoot camera. For a primer on how to choose, read Photography Bay’s Holiday Shopping Guide.

2. Get you shutterbug a good book. If he or she owns a camera or you’re getting one for them, then they’ll needs to read Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. Does your photographer like tinkering with photos on the computer? Get a book by Scott Kelby on Photoshop or Lightroom.

3. Photoshop. If they don’t have it and you know they like tinkering on the computer with their photos, get Photoshop Elements – available for Windows or Mac.

4. Lightroom. Do you know your shutterbug shoots in RAW? If so, pick up Lightroom and the Scott Kelby book suggested in number 2.

5. Give the gift of flickr. Sign your special someone up on a Pro account on flickr. While flickr is free, the Pro account is only $25 per year (if they like it, you’ve got an “in” on Christmas gifts for life) and it gives the gift unlimited bandwidth, photos and no size limits. It also allows your shutterbug to share all those photos that they doesn’t know what to do with. As cousin Eddie would say, “It’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year!”

Good luck and Merry Christmas!

[tags]photography, camera, gifts, christmas[/tags]

Prize Winning AP Photographer Jailed in Iraq

“We believe Bilal’s crime was taking photographs the U.S. government did not want its citizens to see. That he was part of a team of AP photographers who had just won a Pulitzer Prize for work in Iraq may have made Bilal even more of a marked man.”

Bilal has been imprisoned by the U.S. military in Iraq since he was picked up April 12, 2006, in Ramadi, a violent town in a turbulent province where few Western journalists dared go. The military claimed then that he had suspicious links to insurgents. This week, Editor & Publisher magazine reported the military has amended that to say he is, in fact, a “terrorist” who had “infiltrated the AP.”

read more | digg story

Seattle man jailed for taking photos of police arrest awarded $8,000

An amateur photographer who was taken into custody last year after shooting pictures of two Seattle police officers making an arrest on a public street received an $8,000 settlement this week, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington announced Thursday.

read more | digg story

Also, consider this post on 5 Things Photographers Should Do When Confronted by the Police.

3 Great Lighting Tutorials

Bert Stephani is a professional photographer based out of Zaventem, Belgium. His work consists of portraiture, kids, weddings and corporate photography. Fortunately, for you and me, he’s videotaped one of his shoots and then walked back through it teaching his techniques and observations along the way. If you’ve not come accross Mr. Stephani yet, then take a few minutes, sit back and learn something.

1. Lighting Right at High Noon

2. Backgrounds and Light

3. Light Leftovers

Check out more of Bert’s photos and musings on his blog.

[tags]lighting, tutorial, how to, diy, photography, flash, off-camera[/tags]

2007 WERA Grand National Finals

The 2007 WERA Grand National Finals were held at Road Atlanta on October 13. I took a trip down there with my cousin Joe, who’s an avid motorcycle enthusiast. This was my second year of watching and shooting the WERA GNF. I took my trusty Canon Rebel XT and Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8. While this setup performed quite well at Road Atlanta, due to the track setup, I could’ve used a longer lens and/or more megapixels. 200mm wasn’t quite long enough to reach out on some of the corners. I would like to have had a EF 100-400mm L or something longer to really get in tight. Unfortunately, those weren’t an option for me and I was limited to cropping in on some of those shots that were way out there, which is where more megapixels could’ve come in handy.

That said, here’s a few of my keepers from the day:


Race start coming out of Turn 1.


Close in on Turn 1.


More from Turn 1. Seeing a pattern here? Turn one was the one place that I really had close access to and the light was on the face of the riders coming at me.


Coming out of a deep lean on Turn 1.


Showing off a bit out of Turn 10B.

If you dig these, you can see more on my Smugmug page. Also, you can check out Steve Beck’s photos from Road Atlanta. I met Steve at Road Atlanta this year. He had a great setup for shooting bikes at Road Atlanta – Canon 1D Mark III and a 500mm f/4 L, which enabled him to really get in tight.