Archive for March, 2009

“Alan & Me” By Francis Hills Opening In NYC March 29th – April 3rd

March 31, 2009
© Francis Hills

© Francis Hills

Alan & Me

An exhibition celebrating seven years of collaboration between Alan Cumming, the award-winning actor, producer, director, author and photographer, Francis Hills

The Exhibition:

“Alan & Me” celebrates the seven years that Alan and Francis have worked together – charting the very first shoot in 2002 all the way through to the special commission piece that was shot this month in celebration of Tartan Week: ‘A Scotsman in New York’.

A little about Alan:

Alan Cumming is beyond eclectic. He was an award-winning Hamlet, and he had his own talk show. He shot a video portrait with Robert Wilson, and recorded a duet with Liza Minnelli. He made films back to back with Stanley Kubrick and the Spice Girls. He wrote a Sunday Times best-selling novel, and has an award-winning signature fragrance. He has played Dionysus, the Devil, the Pope and was shot by Herb Ritts for Vanity Fair as Pan. He was a teleporting Superhero, a Lee Jeans model and hosted Saturday Night Live. He is an Independent Spirit award-winning producer and National Board of Review winning director. He has sung at Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, the London Palladium and the Sydney Opera House. He was named Icon of Scotland in 2005. He designed wallpaper. He was the voice of Black Beauty. He isn’t nearly done yet.

A little about Francis Hills

Francis Hills is known as the ‘Accidental Photographer’, and for a compelling reason: a little over seven years ago, after losing his job during the bust, Hills picked up a point-and-shoot and discovered his true passion. His serendipitous journey only intensified from that point on. Just three months after he started shooting, he decided on a whim to write a letter to actor and fellow Brit Alan Cumming to request a photo shoot with him. To his delight, Alan accepted, jump-starting Hills’ professional photography career and a lasting photographic collaboration and friendship. Alan invited Francis to take the production photos of an Off-Broadway show he was working on in New York. The photos he took, and subsequent portrait shoot images ended up in a couple of magazines. These shots led to high-profile clients and exposure in publications like Elle, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, Ocean Drive, Oprah, Parade, Time and Zink. He has become a regular guest photographer and judge on TV shows, including Scandinavia’s, Norway’s and Sweden’s Next Top Model and TLC’s Covershot. Francis has also traveled the world giving talks on high-end digital capture for Hasselblad and HP.


Unique Photo Receives Last Ever Shipment of Polaroid Film

March 30, 2009



Film Arrives at New Jersey’s Only Camera Superstore as an American Institution Comes to an End

CFO Jonathan Sweetwood (Left) and President Matthew Sweetwood (Right) with the last ever shipment of Polaroid film

CFO Jonathan Sweetwood (Left) and President Matthew Sweetwood (Right) with the last ever shipment of Polaroid film

Fairfield, N.J., March 30, 2009— Unique Photo, Inc., a Fairfield, NJ-based wholesale distributor of photographic supplies and New Jersey’s only retail camera and video superstore, has received the very last shipment of Polaroid film ever made this week. The shipment arrived at Unique’s warehouse on March 30, 2009.

Polaroid, founded in 1937 by Edward H. Land, was most famous for its instant film cameras, which reached the consumer market in 1948 and continued to be the company’s flagship product until its decision last year to cease all production in favor of digital photography products.

Unique Photo is the largest film supplier in the United States and offers the latest in photographic products and technology. The company had enjoyed a 62 year relationship with the Polaroid Corporation dating back to 1947.

“We have had many years of multi-million dollar business dealings with Polaroid as well as some tumultuous times,” said current Unique Photo President, Matthew Sweetwood, son of company founders Bernard and Harriet Sweetwood. “I remember my dad got into a verbal scuffle with one of Polaroid’s executives where some heated remarks were exchanged. Pointing his finger at the executive, my dad’s final retort was ‘Unique Photo will be in business long after Polaroid is gone. We’ll see who has the last laugh.’”

“That was 35 years ago,” said Sweetwood, noting the irony of his father’s prophecy. “We have done very well selling Polaroid film and it is with sadness that we accept the last rolls of Polaroid film into our warehouse.”

Unique Photo offers the latest in photographic products and technology in its 50,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility at 123 U.S. Highway 46 West in Fairfield. The company’s modern and spacious retail superstore is equipped with a multi-media classroom, professional photo lab, meeting space, a gourmet coffee bar and a WiFi lounge and is open seven days a week as they continue a more than 62 year tradition of price, quality, dependability and service.


“We will have several months’ worth of Polaroid 600 and Polaroid Spectra films to sell,” added Sweetwood. “The last load was fittingly a large one.”

Unique Photo is also available on the web to consumers through

and is available to resellers through

# # #

For Further Information: 1-800-631-0300 or email

Canon TS-E 24mm Hands On

March 30, 2009
© Robert Huber

© Robert Huber Photography

With the announcement of the new 17mm and 24mm TS-E lenses from Canon (version II), we decided to do a comparison review of the two different versions, to be released in two parts. We will be testing the 24mm versions.

Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 24mm 1:3.5
Lens Construction: 11 elements in 9 groups
Diagonal Angle of View: 84° (without tilt or shift)Image circle dia. 58.6mm.
Focus Adjustment: Manual focus, Overall linear extension system
Closest Focusing Distance: 0.3m / 1 ft.
Filter Size: 72mm
Max. Diameter x Length, Weight: 3.1″ x 3.4″, 1.3 lbs. / 78.0 x 86.7mm, 570g

This lens offers the user the ability to make tilt and shift adjustments, which are perpendicular to one another. The lens can be rotated in order to facilitate the use of these adjustments in both directions, but they are always perpendicular to one another. Upon purchase, you can send this lens to Canon and they can make the adjustments parallel to one another (at your expense). Build quality of this lens is very solid. There is a heavy feel during focus, which allows one to be very precise. Out of all three ts-e lenses currently available, this is the only one to be considered as “L-series”. Unlike many of the other L-series lenses, this is not a weather sealed lens. There is a small amount of chromatic aberration towards the edges of the image circle when shifts are taken very far.

The first thing some people may ask about this lens would be, what is it used for? Why would someone want to spend so much money on a lens if such adjustments can be made so easily in Photoshop? The quick answer: they can’t. Although you can make small corrections for convergence in Photoshop, essentially you are not doing the same thing. There is also one thing that can be done with this lens that is impossible to replicate in Photoshop: the Scheimpflug principle.

The Scheimpflug principle allows a person to control the angle of the plane of focus in relation to the angle of the film plane. When pointing the camera at a downward angle towards a flat surface which is not parallel to the film plane, this lens will allow you to put said flat surface in perfect focus, regardless of aperture.


© Robert Huber Photography

That being said, Scheimpflug is not so easy to employ with this lens. It is much easier in my opinion to put a loupe on a ground glass to check focus than to take 50 different shots and zoom in on a tiny LCD screen. Nonetheless, this lens is quite fun to use. It has a very close focusing distance, and the adjustments are more than ample. When you move the lens around they don’t seem like much, but they really do let you do quite a bit.

In conclusion, this is a great lens for anyone doing close quarters still life or product work, but the restriction of rotation leaves a bit to be desired.

New Photos From Expansion of Unique University and New Superstore Layout

March 30, 2009


The Unique Photo superstore has been under construction and now we have increased our display areas to showcase more of today’s hottest photographic products. Visit out store and see our new display of Carl Zeiss SLR lenses for both Canon and Nikon mounts as well as our other photographic products on display.

The expansion of Unique University is almost complete and will be ready for the upcoming John Woodward seminar on April 2nd.   As you can tell by this image we have nearly doubled the size of the existing Unique University. With this additional square footage stay tuned to see our updated Photo gallery as well as larger upcoming classes and events!

A Nikon Prankster’s Early April’s Fools Joke?

March 30, 2009

Ok, it’s Friday, so please have a laugh with us. Someone’s trying to sell this Nikon D23F prototype digital SLR on Craigslist in New York. (UPDATE: The original posting appears to have been removed.) The seller claims the camera is not going to be announced until 2012 but they work in Japan and grabbed two off the production line — one they’re keeping and one they’re selling for $10,200 (cash only). 😉

A Nikon Prankster’s Early April’s Fools Joke? –

Unique Photo at NJFCC’s Photorama @ Monmouth University

March 29, 2009
Unique Photo's Gene and Jason at Photo Rama

Unique Photo's Gene and Jason at Photo Rama

Partnered with Lowepro Unique Photo attended the recent “Photorama” presented by the New Jersey Federation of Camera Clubs at Monmouth University with featured speaker Bob Krist.

Bob’s lecture to over 200 attendees showed his extensive work  from his worldwide travels from everywhere from Albuquerque to Africa showing everything from portraiture to landscapes.  What better product to show during a travel photography lecture then the bags of Lowepro.

With a variety of bags on display from our new state of the art showroom Unique Photo representatives offered special prices and discounts for Photorama attendees where they were able to see, touch, and even load their existing photo equipment into bags that they were able to walk away with.  For many this was a chance of a lifetime as like Bob they were about to embark on travels and needed to find the best photo bags they could find.

We sold the highly popular Slingshot series bags to photographers who were traveling on motorcycles but needed quick access to their cameras while on their bikes, Dry Zone series bags to those going into the water, all the way down in size to the Rezo series to fit a couples G10 to take with them to visit their grandchildren next week.

As always it was our pleasure to attend photographic events where the passion for photography is first and foremost, our most sincere thanks to Lowepro and the NJFCC along with all who made it possible for us to attend this truly great event.

Nikon Podcast #16: Behind-the-Scenes with Rob Van Petten and the D3X

March 28, 2009

A behind-the-scenes interview with pro photographer Rob Van Petten during a high-fashion shoot to test out Nikon’s new D3X digital SLR.

Nikon Podcast #16: Behind-the-Scenes with Rob Van Petten and the D3X

John Woodward Portrait & Lighting Seminar @ Unique Photo 4/2

March 27, 2009

Click Image For Registration

Click Image For Registration

© John Woodward Photography

© John Woodward Photography

John Woodward has spent 35 years producing images for many of todays major corporations such as Chase, Citibank, Viacom, Paramount, Hawaiian Tropic, Hyatt, and Marriott.  His work has been seen worldwide.  The Professional Photographers of America at their annual convention in 2007 named John Photographer of the Year.  He holds the Photographic Craftsman Degree and is an Approved Photographic Instructor from the Professional Photographers of America.  No matter what you are using to capture an image, whether digital or conventional film, it still comes back to how you handle the light.

This seminar is about having fun, and learning at the same time. Let John help you take your photographs to a new level of expression and composition. Wrapped in a little “down-home humor”, John’s approach certainly will not be boring.  This class will be held at Unique Photo Inc. in Fairfield, NJ at it’s new state of the art classroom at Unique University!

John will explore and demonstrate the following: · A compositional study guide · Facial Analysis · Creating dimensionally in your images · Portrait, glamour, modified glamour, and window light forms for the studio · The great myths of exposure · The great myths of digital imaging · Determining proper exposure outdoors · Understanding the “kill zone” outdoors · Location Mapping · Color Management and Workflow (time permitting)

Receive A FREE $25 Unique Photo Gift Card With Registration!

Popular Photography & American Photo Up For Sale

March 26, 2009

NEW YORK ( — Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. is looking to sell a group of its enthusiast magazines including Popular Photography, American Photo, Boating, Cycle World, Flying and Sound & Vision.  Hachette has been feverishly scrubbing its budget under CEO Alain Lemarchand since he arrived last fall, even dropping out of the main magazine industry association, but the sale effort is the most dramatic move yet.

The media investment bank DeSilva & Phillips has been shopping the titles for several weeks, industry insiders said.

Word of the sale effort appeared today in the Delaney Report, a trade newsletter. A Hachette spokeswoman and a DeSilva executive declined to comment, but others confirmed the offering.

It was not clear whether the titles were available individually or only as a group. Hachette also publishes Elle, Car and Driver, Road & Track and Woman’s Day magazines.

The recession has made 2009 a terror for most media owners, but it hasn’t completely stopped asset sales. Management at Garden & Gun magazine recently bought a majority interest in the title from its founding owner, Evening Post Publishing, which had decided to stop funding the title. And last week Sandow Media said it bought Western Interiors & Design magazine.

Ad pages from January through the April issues fell 48.7% at Boating, 18% at Cycle World, 19.3% at Flying, 15.3% at Popular Photography and 27.8% at Sound & Vision, according to Media Industry Newsletter.

As reported by Advertising Age

Canon Announces the Speedlite 270EX Flash

March 26, 2009

The new Canon Speedlite 270EX, the successor to the 220EX Speedlite model, is a compact, lightweight external flash option for Canon cameras including select Canon PowerShot models. Ideal for use with the new EOS Rebel T1i, the new Speedlite 270EX uses only two AA batteries and enables bounce flash shooting with four position steps from 0 degrees to 90 degrees.

Like Canon’s high-end Speedlite flash models, the 270EX allows users to control flash functions and input settings using the camera’s LCD monitorv. The flash also features a quick-lock mechanism and a metal mounting foot for secure and easy attachment and reliable contact.

Official Press Release From Canon USA