Archive for March, 2008

Adobe Announces Photoshop Express

March 28, 2008

On March 27, Adobe Systems announced the beta version of Photoshop Express, its online photo editing, display and storage service.

Photoshop Express is a consumer based web browser application. In creating Photoshop Express, Adobe has taken some of the technology and features in its Photoshop program and made them simple to use and accessible to an online audience.

Users who register for this service, can store up to 2 gigabytes of images online for free, make edits to their photos and share them online, including downloading and uploading photos from popular social networking sites like Facebook.

Photoshop Express beta is available now for free via any Web browser. For more information and to create an account, click on this link: https://www.photoshop.com/express/landing.html

New Life for the Monopod

March 26, 2008

A camera support system (tripod, monopod, car window mount, bean bag) is necessary to achieve the critical sharpness required for professional level photography. Professional outdoor photographers as well as advanced amateurs are well aware of this fact and rarely if ever shoot an image without supporting their cameras with one of these devices.

Recent technological advances such as the introduction of digital imaging sensors with low noise levels at high ISO’s, and new and improved image stabilized and vibration reduction lenses has lessened, but have not eliminated the need for the traditional camera support system as described above.

Like most serious photographers, I still use a tripod for the majority of my work. Recently, I acquired a Gitzo model 2541 monopod to use with a Nikon D300 camera and a Nikkor 70-200 2.8 VR lens. After a few weeks of field work with this monopod, I can report this was one of the best purchases I have made.

The monopod, once thought of by many photographers as a poor substitute for a tripod is becoming more popular than ever before. Using a monopod enables a photographer to gain two faster shutter speeds of stability over handholding their equipment. A monopod, combined with a recent DSLR possessing low noise at high ISOs and an image stabilized or vibration reduction lens is a killer combination for photographing sports, action, travel, and fast moving wildlife.

The Gitzo 2541 is made with carbon fibers and weighs less than 1 Lb. The model 2541extends to 63″ in height and can hold up to 26 lbs. of equipment.

When I’m traveling or going on a hike, the monopod is the first piece of equipment I pack. The Gitzo 2541 is lightweight, quick to operate, built to last, and is a pleasure to use.

Great Locations for Outdoor Photography (Part 3)

March 17, 2008

One of my favorite places to photograph animals is the Bronx Zoo in New York. The Bronx Zoo is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States encompassing 260 acres of parkland. With award winning, barrier free exhibits featuring over 4,000 animals, the Bronx Zoo offers superb photographic opportunities.

Here are my tips for shooting at the Bronx Zoo:

  • Preferred Lenses: 70-200mm, 100-300mm, 80-400mm, 300mm with a 1.4x teleconverter or a point and shoot camera with at least a 10x optical zoom
  • Carry a flash unit for indoor shooting and to use as a fill-flash outdoors
  • Photo opportunities are almost endless; bring extra memory cards or film and extra batteries
  • Try to visit on bright overcast or partly cloudy days to avoid harsh and high contrast light
  • Animals tend to be more active during the spring and fall when temperatures are cool, so plan your visit accordingly
  • Avoid the weekend crowds if possible. Admission is free (or by donation) on Wednesdays
  • Obtain a list of scheduled feeding times to get action shots of animals as they run for food
  • Watch the background (unsightly or busy backgrounds will destroy your images)
  • With telephoto lenses, work at the largest aperture available (f2.8, f4.0, f5.6) to throw distracting backgrounds out of focus
  • Use high ISOs of 200, 400 or higher to stop action and subject movement
  • Shoot at your subjects eye level or lower for dramatic portraits
  • Fill the frame with your subject (eliminate empty space and all signs of clutter)
  • Use a variety of lenses (or lens focal lengths) so your images don’t all look the same
  • Use a polarizing filter to eliminate reflections when shooting through glass
  • When shooting through glass, place your lens right against it to eliminate reflections (bring window cleaner to remove smudges and finger prints from glass surfaces)
  • Arrive at the zoo early when animals are most active and when there are fewer people around
  • Wait for interesting behavior or a compelling expression before shooting
  • Obtain a map and concentrate on a few exhibits at a time. Don’t try to cover the entire zoo in one afternoon or even in one day
  • Tripods are difficult to use when the zoo is busy; bring a monopod with an Image Stabilized or Vibration Reduction lens to eliminate camera shake

Red Panda, Bronx Zoo, NY, (copyright) Adam Turow

Nikon F100, Fujichrome Provia, Nikkor 300mm f4 ED IF

 

 

Gorilla, Bronx Zoo, NY, (copyright) Adam Turow

Nikon F100, Fujichrome Provia , Nikkor 300mm f4ED IF w/Nikon TC-14b 1.4x Teleconverter

 

Finding the Unusual Subject

March 11, 2008

Common everyday subjects photographed in good light with the best technique are difficult to sell in today’s competitive marketplace. This is especially true for natural history subjects.

The key to success in marketing images comes down to either being extremely creative in portraying familiar subjects in a completely different way or by finding unusual subjects that have not been extensively photographed.

The following example illustrates my first point. In his book titled, “Celestial Nights” by Neil Folberg, the photographer shot a very common subject (landscapes) in the dead of night using only the moon and stars for lighting. The photographs in this book are intriguing to look at and are publishable because they are so unfamiliar to us.

Finding unusual subjects close to home that have not been widely photographed is a real challenge.  Recently, I was able to meet this challenge. While on a field trip to photograph wildlife, I found a Whip-poor-will perched on an old fence post in a farmers field.  The Whip-poor-will is  hard to find due to the fact it’s nocturnal (active only at night).  In addition, it’s a threatened species in many areas making it even more difficult to locate.  Given these facts, a good Whip-poor-will photograph should be very marketable.

When out in the field, try to keep the above points in mind. Make it your goal to create images that somehow might be a little different and thus stand out from the competition.

Whip-poor-will, (copyright) -Adam Turow

Nikon F-100, Nikkor 500mm f4, Fujichrome Provia 100F

New Jersey Photographic Educational Conference in Summit, NJ

March 4, 2008

On April 4-6 2008, the New Jersey Photography Forum will be hosting the largest Photographic Educational Conference in the state. Utilizing the Visual Arts Center state -of the-art facility located in Summit, NJ, an exciting weekend of workshops, speakers, portfolio reviews as well as a vendor fair is planned.

Beginning on Friday afternoon (April 4), various workshops and portfolio reviews will be given by some of the leading names in the industry as well as Visual Arts Center instructors. Friday evening in the main gallery, participants will be able to listen to the keynote speaker, Stephen Perloff, founder and editor of Photo Review Magazine. Following Stephen, a gala opening reception will take place.

On Saturday morning, workshops, lecturers, and portfolio reviews will be held in the centers nine studio and classroom spaces. The day will culminate in a panel discussion on contemporary issues in photography including panelists from all segments of the industry moderated by George Schaub, editor of Shutterbug Magazine. The weekend concludes on Sunday with a full day of portfolio reviews and products from over 40 vendors.

The Friday night opening reception and photography exhibit along with the Sunday exhibitor fair is free and open to the public. There is a fee for the workshops and some of the presentations.

For further information, visit njphotoconference.com