Nikon’s Picturetown, the Best Products, Photography Workshops and More . . .

More props for Nikon and Picturetown.

The 100 Best Products of 2007 from PC World. Notable photography product mentions include: the Nikon D40x (23rd); Google Picasa (36th); Nikon D80 (37th); Flickr (44th); Nikon Coolpix S50c (46th); Canon 30D (51st); Fuji Finepix F40fd (64th); Adobe CS3 (72nd). Unless I missed’em, suprisingly absent from the list is Canon’s Rebel XTi or 1D Mk III, Sony’s Alpha A100, anything from Pentax or Olympus (what about the crazy long 550UZ?), or any other processing software that CS3 (Lightroom’s not in there right?).

Learn what lens acronyms really mean.

Why you should take a photography workshop.

Check out why the color tool is so cool in Aperture.

Thinking about taking an online class at betterphoto.com? Think again. While you’re thinking, explore the rest of Jim Atwood’s site. Good stuff.

[tags] nikon, picturetown, best products, 2007, d40x, google, picasa, d80, flickr, coolpix s50c, canon, 30d, fuji, f40fd, adobe, photography, workshop, aperture, color tool, betterphoto.com, online class[/tags]


New Sony Alpha Pics

There’s some new shots of the 2 new Sony Alpha DSLRs that were announced at PMA 2007 over at PhotographyBLOG. Check out PhotographyBLOG’s take on it with some hi-res close-ups. Still looks like a pro level and a pro-sumer level camera is coming from Sony. Note the pop-up flash on the smaller of the two.

[tags]sony, alpha, dslr, digital camera, new, rumor, announcement, photos, pics[/tags]

Learning Adobe Lightroom

If you’re like me, you love Adobe Lightroom. If you’re not like me, you should give it a try. The learning curve is easy. The controls are intuitive. It blows through RAW files as seamless as iPhoto does with JPEGs. It’s not quite the power hog that Aperture is either.

I feel rather comfortable in the Lightroom world now that I’ve been tinkering with it since Beta 1. However, I think I’m a little too comfortable. I don’t push the software to do all the things that its capable of. Why? Part of the reason is that I don’t have the time to mess around with the volume of images I shoot. I’m still plugging away at shots from the Tour de Georgia in April, not to mention all the family and friends stuff that I’ve shot since then. I just need to get through them.

I need something different though. Something to spice things up.

That’s why I just ordered The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby. I haven’t read a single review about this book, but I trust Mr. Kelby to deliver nothing but the best and inspire me to take my Lightroom processing to the next level.

Why such blind trust?

Well, last year, I was looking for a window into the intimidating world of Photoshop. I picked up a book call The Adobe Photoshop CS Book for Digital Photographers at my local book store and found that window. I shelled out my $40 (I know, don’t rub it in, had I bought it at Amazon it would’ve been about $26) and opened the world of Photoshop to my images. Granted, I’m no master at Photoshop, or photography for that matter, but I can use Photoshop somewhat effectively now. Prior to Mr. Kelby’s book, it was simply too daunting of a task to navigate those menus.  My earlier thoughts of Mr. Kelby, among others.
So there. I gladly invest my $26 in Mr. Kelby’s new Lightroom book. Maybe something new and inspiring will come out of it . . . . I expect that to be the case.

I’ll let you know what I think of it after giving the book its due consideration. Don’t feel that you need to wait for my opinion though. If it’s anything like his prior books, you should get yours now if you use Lightroom.

[tags]adobe, lightroom, photoshop, scott kelby, book, review, deal[/tags]

Canon Spring 2007 Rebates Are Here

Canon finally announced their spring rebate program.

The good?

No more cutting UPC’s off the boxes, filling out forms, mailing it in and praying you hear back in 6-8 weeks. It’s all instant. That’s right, just deduct the dollar figure right off the listed price and that’s what you pay.

The bad?

No camera bodies are included in the Spring Rebates. Only lenses.

Purchases eligible for this rebate must be made between May 17, 2007 and July 16, 2007.

You can find most of these lenses in the Photography Bay Amazon Store by clicking here. Check out B&H for these lenses too. If you shop through the links on this site, you’ll get the same prices that you otherwise would, but you’ll also be helping Photography Bay out.  So, thanks in advance for your support folks.
If you’re a video nerd too, you can also get $300 back on the Canon XL2.

Trouble with images? Here’s the list in text:

  • EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
  • EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM
  • EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM
  • EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM
  • EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM
  • EF 70-200mm f/4L USM
  • EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
  • EF 17-40mm f/4L USM
  • EF 28mm f/1.8 USM
  • EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
  • EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
  • EF 400mm f/5.6L USM
  • EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM
  • EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM

[tags]canon, spring, rebates, 2007, dslr, bodies, lenses, sale, deal, eos[/tags]

A Picturetown, Geo-Tagging, Vista Horrors, Zero D, Flickr Censorship and More . . .

Consider a visit to Picturetown, SC . . . just pack your Nikon D40 though.

Everybody knows once you go DSLR, you never go back.

If you like geotagging your photos in flickr, save some time and do the tagging via your hotshoe.

Thinking of upgrading to Vista? Are you ready for the full horrors?

Ever hear of a tricked out infrared camera, modified by removing the infrared filter? Me either . . . but some people really dig it.

We’ve all heard that the Nikon D40x is one bad mombo jombo. Well, you can see all (maybe not all, but a lot) of the reviews of the new killer camera over at Digital Camera Tracker. It’s one hot ticket right now!

Forget the Canon 40D, get a Canon 0D (that’s “zero” D).

Save some cash when you buy a Nikon DSLR and a point and shoot camera at the same time.

Perspective on the acquisition of DPReview.com by Amazon.

Read why flickr = censorship.

Word is Canon’s gonna make a “big” acquisition this year.

Ever wonder how Canon’s self-cleaning sensor works?

If you’re interested in getting more familiar with Adobe’s software products, consider the 200+ videos available free, online in the Adobe CS3 Video Workshop.

[tags]picturetown, dslr, geotagging, windows, vista, infrared, nikon, d40, d40x, canon, 40d, 0d, deal, digital camera, dpreview, amazon, flickr, censorship, rumor, self-cleaning, senor, adobe, cs3, photoshop, video[/tags]

Photo of the Day

SSSSssss

Originally uploaded by Megan *.


Holy cow! What a close-up wildlife shot!

Shot with the handy Canon Powershot A75.  It’s 3.2MP, which just goes to show that you don’t need the latest and greatest 12MP DSLR to capture great images.  Just take a look at the rest of Megan‘s photostream on flickr for further proof. Other info:  1/320s at f/4.5 and 5.4mm (which is roughly equivalent to 32mm on a 35mm camera).

[tags] photo of the day, pic, photo, snake, canon, powershot, a75, digital camera[/tags]

5 Things Photographers Should Do When Confronted by Police

This has been a real hot topic since 9/11. There have been some high profile confrontations between photographers and police, such as this one reported by Thomas Hawk (a follow-up post is here). There’s also a growing concern in the photography community that police are overstepping their bounds and interfering with photographers’ rights. I decided to address this situation by seeking input on the subject from a former police officer and fellow photographer, who has received “calls” to “check out” photographers taking photos at various locations. As a result, I’m passing along these five things you should do when the police come to check you out while shooting (with your camera, of course) something in public.

1. When approached by the police, understand that there is a probably a specific reason they are confronting you about what you are doing. For example, the police officer received a call from his dispatcher to “check out” a suspicious person that was taking photographs at an interstate overpass. He actually questioned the dispatcher on what was suspicious about that person. The dispatcher said an anonymous caller did not provide further information. While you and I both know the photographer was probably just taking some shots of traffic (maybe some light streams like Rich Legg’s) and was doing nothing “suspicious”, the officer’s supervisor still ordered him to “check it out.” The officer was forced to reluctantly respond. Regardless of how offended you may be, the officer “checking you out” is just doing what he was asked (or told) to do because someone doesn’t understand why photographers take photos in public.

2. Be polite. Seriously, this is an easy one here guys. You want to fight? Go ahead, be a jerk. Let your fellow photographers thank you in advance the next time that cop gets called to “check out” a photographer. Even if the cop is a hot-head right off the bat, try being nice. Isn’t it better to cool him down and help him recognize that you’re just taking pictures than stirring the pot. I know a lot of cops. Most are great guys (and girls). Some are real jerks. Some may just be irritated that they’ve got to stop working on the 5-car accident report to answer a call about a suspicious photographer.

3. Identify yourself and what you’re doing. This is probably in response to the first question the officer asks. Remember number 2 here as well.

Officer: Hey, we got a call about you taking pictures here. What exactly are you doing?

Photographer: Hi Officer. My name is Joe Photographer. I’m a student at _____ and I’m trying to get a good shot of this ____ for my project. Or, I’m doing some freelance work and am going to submit it to [name local paper]. Or, I’m taking pictures for a photography contest in Popular Photography magazine. Or, my wife loves this building and I want to get a good evening shot of it and surprise her with a large print for mother’s day. Or, . . . . You get the idea.

Officer: Ok. Be careful and don’t get out in traffic.

By being polite, honest and genuine, it’s more likely that the officer will leave you to your camera and tell dispatch that you’re ok. Besides, why do you care what dispatch thinks. You just get your shot.

4. Comply with the officer’s requests. I understand you may want to stop reading here and tell me to grow a pair. Bear with me for a moment though. Consider that you are shooting a building, be it a government building, a library or whatever. Officer Nobrains says you need to pack it up and move along. You protest with a few choice words and all of the sudden you’re in the back of the Nobrains’ police cruiser. Have your rights been violated? Maybe. Will you win in your criminal case for your charge of disorderly conduct? Maybe, maybe not. Will you receive compensation for your losses? Not unless you file a civil action against the officer and department AND win that case too. Will you incur a ridiculous amount of attorney’s fees? Of course. In fact, your attorney may just thank you for running your mouth rather than returning later for the shot.

Now, what if you were to just leave? No jail. No attorney’s fees. No criminal record. But still no shot? So, how do you right this wrong? Use your head and not your mouth, which leads me to my fifth and final point.

5. Get the officer’s name and badge/ID number. Look to Officer Nobrains’ name plate that is worn on his uniform and get his badge number. These two items will come in handy later. Even if the officer is nice and doesn’t ask you to leave or do something that you don’t feel you should be forced to do or refrain from, you might consider getting this info. You should also make sure you know which department the officer works in. For instance, if you’re in the city limits, it’s possible that you could be approached by a City or County officer.

Now that you’ve got the info and you’ve missed your shot, what should you do? I recommend that you call the officer’s immediate supervisor the following day – don’t call while you’re still hot. Be professional and explain the circumstances under which you encountered the officer. Ask for the supervisor’s comments on the officer’s conduct. Most likely he’ll want to talk to the officer in order to get “his version” and perhaps review the officer’s in-car camera if it’s equipped with one. This is where being polite at the scene comes in handy. If you come across as the nice guy and the officer is the jerk, a good supervisor will jump his crawl and apologize to you. After you hear the supervisor’s comments on the subject, thank him for looking into the matter if you’re satisfied or ask for his supervisor’s contact information if you’re not. Repeat this process up the chain until you receive a satisfactory explanation or result. Along the way, if the discussions with the supervisory chain proves ineffective, consider speaking the department’s Internal Affairs Unit. I would suggest using this as a last resort or if the officer’s actions were particularly egregious.

Note, I also suggested that you get the officer’s name and info if he was Officer Niceguy. Consider making the same call to the supervisor to compliment the officer’s respect to your rights. Regardless of the type of encounter, consider reaching out through some of the community policing programs to educate or open a dialogue with police officers with regard to photographer’s rights. It can never be a bad thing for both sides to understand where the other is coming from. And open communication can resolve all kinds of conflicts before they ever start.

Finally, let me throw this disclaimer out there. Some of you may completely disagree with these recommendations. My points serve to diffuse a potentially hostile situation and suggest that you comply with a police officer’s request (even if he/she is clearly wrong). If you are willing to go to jail for your “rights” then, by all means, launch your jihad for photographer’s rights. I submit to you, however, that you are going about it the wrong way. Cooperation and education of our police regarding the rights of photographers is more effective than further provoking a hostile situation.

[tags]police, photographers, rights, jail, arrest[/tags]