Street Photography Tutorial #4: All the Small Things

Photography is an expensive hobby; besides the big stuff like cameras and lenses thereís an endless hoard of little gadgets and gizmos weíre told we canít possibly live without. Iím usually a bit fan of buying local, but for some things I just canít justify the ridiculous mark up. At some point someone decided that since weíre willing to shell out a thousand dollars for a lens, we wonít shirk at the $80 price tag on an official lens hood for it (which should be included on all lenses anyways, but donít get me started on that). Take the example of the Canon ET-65B lens hood for my 70-300mm: eBay from Hong Kong is $4.23 and the price at the local photo storeÖ wait for itÖ $74.95 for what amount to three cents worth of moulded plastic! Like I said, I like to shop local and official but come on, a price difference like that is just insulting. Hereíre a few indispensible accessories you can get on the cheap on eBay that every street photographer should add to their bag.
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Sony Nex 7 Rolling Review: Part II – 18-55mm Kit Lens Performance

Yeah, yeah… I said I wasn’t going to do a write up on the kit lens on the Sony NEX 7, but after the shoot at the Old Howard Smith Paper Mill I felt I had to speak up for this little gem. I’ll be honest, I never really gave it a chance when I got it along with my NEX 3. I played with it a bit when I first got it then quickly put it on the shelf, because hey, real photographers don’t use kit lenses, right? Well damn, is my face red. Continue reading “Sony Nex 7 Rolling Review: Part II – 18-55mm Kit Lens Performance”

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What’s In The Bag: Bringing a Camera is Only Part of Being Prepared

Time for another look at what’s in the bag! Last weekend I was invited along to a shoot at the Old Howard Smith Paper Mill in the outskirts of Montreal. This was my first trip to the location, so I didnít really know what to expect; itís situations like this that make my days in Boy Scouts really pay off. When youíre getting ready for a shoot, a photographerís first instinct is to think about camera gear: lights, lenses, cameras, memory cards and tripods. These are all necessary, but often not the most important things youíll bring to a shoot. In then end a camera is just a tool to record an image; if youíre too tired, cold, hungry, wet or blind to use it, no amount of camera gear is going to get you the shots you want. Most of us have sunk a small fortune into our photography bag, luckily you donít have to win the lottery or hit it big on Partypoker to put together a decent support kit with whateverís left in your wallet. If youíre heading out to shoot on location, especially an unfamiliar one thereís a few essential youíll want to bring.
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Sony Nex 7 Rolling Review: Part I – First Impressions

This is part one of my ongoing review of my new toy, the Sony NEX 7. Over the next couple months Iíll be posting my thoughts on the camera paired with various lenses, I didnít buy it to get into Sonyís E-Mount lenses, itís primarily to compliment my Leica film kit so Iíll be talking about it with those lenses in mind. Sonyís own lens offerings arenít amazing so far, I may pick up their new 50mm this summer, but thatís about it. Thereís been a lot of controversy over this camera in the rangefinder circles; it was hoped that the NEX 7 would be the Leica killer, a camera the average user could afford that overcame all the little issues weíve all be complaining about with other mirrorless cameras. Itís got a nice big sensor, gorgeous EVF, lots of manual control nobs and buttons, built in flash, articulated LCD and offers tons of different ways for the user to customize control. On paper itís almost the perfect camera, but conflicting results with wide angle rangefinder lenses had many people worried. Iíll get to that later, but first letís start with first impressions. Continue reading “Sony Nex 7 Rolling Review: Part I – First Impressions”

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Hawk’s Factory Close Focus Adapter Review

The Hawkís Factory Close Focus Adapter is a marvelous little piece of engineering that many people wonít care about, and those that should care, probably donít know about. One of the biggest limitations of any rangefinder system is close focus ability. Rangefinder bodies and lenses just arenít designed for it; parallax error makes focusing closer than around a meter very difficult with mechanical rangefinders so there was never really any reason to build a lens that could focus closer than that. Using a rangefinder lens on a mirrorless camera avoids the issue of parallax error, but the lenses still canít focus any closer than they used to; enter the Hawkís Factory Helicoid. Not only does it allow Leica M lenses to be mounted on a Sony E-Mount camera, itís got a built in helicoid to move the lens out a few more millimeters from the sensor. So what… a few millimeters, what does that give you? Quite a bit actually…
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Image Theft or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Internet

Whenever I teach any of my photography workshops, one of the most asked question is always: ďHow do I keep people from stealing my images?Ē. And my short answer is always: ďDonít put them onlineĒ. As soon as you put your images online, you open yourself up to image theft, the question you should be asking is: ďHow will this inevitable image theft impact me as a photographer and how can I minimize that impact?Ē. This question has a much longer answer and it will really depend on what you intend to achieve out of putting your images online.
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Workflow Tutorial #3: Portfolio Management

I was going through my Flickr account last week trying to pick out a half dozen images to submit to a gallery and realized that I have over two thousand images in my library. This may not seem like a lot, I know many photographers with a ton more images online than me, but I always try to be ultra-critical with myself, only uploading what I feel are my best images. Taking a closer look, a large chunk of my shots have less than twenty views, with only 10% or so making up most of my daily hits. Thatís to be expected, but what really blew my mind was that quite a few of the images that get a ton of hits are ones I would never have put money on to be popular, some I even waivered on uploading at all. So what should I take away from this data as a photographer? Is it so bad that thereíre images on my Flickr that donít get a lot of views? Itís all really going to depend on what your goal with Flickr is.

Everyoneís going to have different goals when they put images online. Assuming youíre like me, itís to have an online portfolio of your work, a way to passively or actively advertise your skills. In that case, self-editing is a very important skill to learn. A skill that is constantly evolving as tastes and markets change. Continue reading “Workflow Tutorial #3: Portfolio Management”

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Flickr Members Join the SOPA/PIPA Protest

Today many websites are joining in protest of the US Governments SOPA/PIPA bill by blacking out their content and providing links to information about the proposed bills. Among the protestors is Wikipedia which has blacked out its English language pages for the first time ever. †Flickr has also given its members a chance to join in the protest by blacking out their photos for 24hrs as you can see above.

It’s hard for me as a photographer, on one hand I’m in favour of better protection for my own IP, but the heavy handed methods and sneaky introduction of this bill worries me. †For now the bill would only affect users in the US directly, but by censoring and limiting every internet contributor in the US, we’ll all be affected. †It’s also not†unforeseeable†that, if passed, the US could pressure the Canadian, and in fact any other government to also enact similar laws.

I believe there should be better protection of IP on the internet, especially protection available to those who don’t have the money to bring legal action on their own, but not at the expense of unilateral government controlled censorship. †There’s plenty of ways to bring IP to the internet while minimizing your risk of piracy, Apple has proved it’s possible with iTunes. †Why should I go to the trouble of pirating music when it’s available to me at a click of a button, for a buck a track, anywhere there’s internet. †Companies like Apple and Netflicks have proven that, when offered a product at a reasonable price, people will pay rather than pirate. †The companies lobbying for this bill need to start working with the internet instead of trying to legislate it away. †Please take a second and read the Wiki article on how SOPA/PIPA will affect you, and join the protest in any way you can.

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Thoughts on the Fuji X-Pro1

 

When the mirror-less cameras started coming out a couple years ago, most serious photographers said, ďMeh, interesting, but no thanksĒ. The idea was sound, but the features just werenít there. The smaller sensor size, and resulting crop factor kept most people sceptical, and the lack of viewfinder scared the rest away. Panasonic made some progress with their G series, but it still wasnít a serious workhorse; at best the Micro 4/3rds cameras were considered nice snapshot tools to take on vacation when you didnít want to lug around your Canon or Nikon gear. Continue reading “Thoughts on the Fuji X-Pro1”

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2011 Round Up: 6 Things I Learned Last Year

Last year was a banner year for me; my photography business actually started turning a profit, I started teaching photography and art related courses at a couple different venues and I learned a lot about what it takes to survive as a photographer in the digital age. Iím not saying Iíve been able to implement all the things Iíve learned over the past 365 days, but at least Iíve identified a lot of the changes I need to make if I want to complete the transition from photographer to running a photography business. Hereís a brief rundown of some of the things 2011 taught me, along with some shots from the past year I just finished developing. Continue reading “2011 Round Up: 6 Things I Learned Last Year”

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