Archive for the ‘Adam Turow”s Blog’ Category

Canon EOS Discovery Day @ Unique Photo This Saturday 3/21/09

March 17, 2009

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Creative Photography with the Canon EOS Digital Camera System (Intermediate)

If you’re a more experienced SLR user, this three-hour session is your ticket to learning about the more sophisticated features of your EOS camera. We’ll take you to the next step in crafting great photographs, with details about the advanced controls in your camera and how to use them in real-life situations.

Many examples of great images bring the camera’s features to life in this event. We’ll demystify your camera’s histogram, give details about lighting and exposure control, and show the power that the right lenses and EOS Speedlites can bring to your photography. Sign up Today!

Eric Stoner details the advanced controls in your camera and how to use them in real-life situations. Examples of great images bring the camera’s features to life in this event. He’ll demystify your camera’s histogram, give details about lighting and exposure control, and show the power that the right lenses and EOS Speedlites can bring to your photography.

Basic: Essential Functions of Your Canon EOS Digital SLR Camera

Enter the world of the digital SLR and learn about your camera, and how to make great pictures with it. We’ll take you out of “automatic”, but we won’t overload you with too much detail.

You’ll see many examples of great photography, and learn techniques to use exposure, composition, flash, and a variety of lenses to get the same types of results. Our Basic Discovery Day class is a three-hour investment in your EOS digital SLR that will pay dividends over and over as you grow with your camera system.  Sign up Today!

Rick Berk will take you out of “automatic,” but won’t overload you with too much detail. A three hour investment in your EOS digital SLR that will pay dividends over and over as you grow with your camera system.


PMA: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

March 6, 2009

Las Vegas is the city of choice for most conventions. And that is true for this year’s PMA (Photo Marketing Association) International Trade Show. It is suppose to drive extra traffic and excitement.This year, however, given the already steady decline of the show due to the shrinking numbers of photo retailers, and given the “depressing” economy, most exhibitors feared for the worst. So here’s the Good, Bad and Ugly:

The Good: Many vendors reported to me that despite the much smaller traffic numbers, many attendees were of the “High Quality” type. By my casual surveying most said they had a decent show, better than expected and were nicely surprised. In fact, Ilford indicated that they had the best trade show ever for them.

The Bad: Attendance was clearly down. By my observation, I’d say 40%. The number of exhibitors was down I’d say by 30%. When asked about sales most reported, “not much” or “wish there was more.” The Fuji and Canon booths were the only ones with any kind of sustained traffic. You could roll a bowling ball in the HP and GE booths and not hit anybody. And finally the shocker of the show was no Epson!

The Ugly: The annual PMDA awards show which annually honors significant achievement in the photography field, the 2009 award recipients were as follows:

Person of the Year: Shigetaka Komori, President & Chief Executive Officer  FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation

Herbert Keppler Technical Achievement Award: Michael Deng, President and CEO of Arcsoft, Inc.

Norman C. Lipton Lifetime Achievement Award: Dave Willard, Director, Olympus

Photographer Award: Bill Eppridge

Bill Eppridge runs alongside a car carrying Robert Kennedy. © Burton Berinksy.

Bill Eppridge runs alongside a car carrying Robert Kennedy. © Burton Berinksy.

The highlight of which was Bill Eppridge’s dazzling career photo essay, spanning 50 years, which highlighted the only existing photographs of Bobby Kennedy’s assassination and an amazing diversified career. So what is ugly you ask? Well the Caesar’s Palace dinner event cost $195 per person (for those who didn’t get in free like me) and was maybe the worst meal I have ever eaten. This is suppose to be a premiere hotel in Las Vegas.  This meal meal would get the cook tossed overboard on a submarine. The steak was an actual piece of shoe leather. The Salmon was so overcooked it jumped back in the water and the chocolate pudding/mousse (not sure which it was) tasted and looked like…. well you know. Shame on Caesar’s. At least I got an autographed copy of Eppridge’s book.

Toploader Pro AW Series from LowePro

As for new and exciting products, well there weren’t many. LowePro had a new line of bags, the Toploader Pro AW Series. Canon and Nikon introduced ONLY new point and shoots, no new DSLRs… how disappointing. Noritsu and a new and efficient line of high volume inkjet lab printers. The most interesting product I saw was a innovative wall frame (and it is hard to be innovative in this ancient category) by a company called EBBM, Inc. ( It allows photos to be placed in clear frames and spaced on the wall in patterns. It should be a huge hit in the under 30 crowd. And it retails for under $30.

The show this year was from Tuesday Thursday, which is a departure from the historical weekend schedule. I’m guessing the crazy low room rates in Vegas, helped make up for the mid-week schedule. What we all have to fear is next year. The PMA folks, in their infinite wisdom, have scheduled the 2010 PMA show in….drum roll please… Anaheim, California.That should be a real attendance grabber for a declining show.

Largest US Camera Store Chain Seeks Bankruptcy Protection

February 23, 2009

Ritz CameraRitz Camera Centers, the nation’s largest retail photography chain, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  The Beltsville, Md.-based company submitted its filing Sunday in federal bankruptcy court in Wilmington, estimating assets and liabilities at between $100 million and $500 million. The list of its top 30 unsecured creditors is led by Nikon Inc. and Canon USA Inc., which are owed a combined $40 million in trade debt.

Ritz has about 800 photo stores in 40 states, operating as Ritz Camera, Wolf Camera, Kits Cameras, Inkley’s and The Camera Shops. It also operates 130 Boater’s World stores. The company, which has about 6,400 employees nationwide, recorded sales of just under $1 billion last year.

Ritz Camera Files Seeks Bankruptcy Protection

The fotobamaweek contest 1/15/09 – 3/15/09 From

January 15, 2009

In keeping with our mission to bring you the best of all things photographic, FotoWeek DC and The Newseum proudly announce fotobamaweek, an international photography contest celebrating the Presidential campaign and the Inauguration of Barack Obama.

Take that amazing image during Inauguration week, or find one you have already shot that captures the spirit of the Presidential Campaign, and the Election. Amateur and professional photographers anywhere in the world are invited to enter the fotobamaweekcontest. You may not have a front row seat to the Swearing-In Ceremony, but what about that impromptu moment captured at a campaign rally, or election night at your own private party? Iconic impressions are yours for the taking, wherever you are, here in Washington or abroad. Enter photos taken with digital, film or even cell phone cameras, but please submit them electronically.

• The top 100 winning images, selected by The Newseum’s panel of judges, will be exhibited at The Newseum
• All 100 winning images will be published in a limited edition book sponsored by FotoWeek DC
• Grand prize winners will be announced at a reception at The Newseum.
• Cash prizes totaling $5,000
• All images submitted will be on display at FotoWeek DC’s on-line gallery, along with People’s Choice winners

The fotobamaweek contest opens January 15, 2009 and closes March 15, 2009.

FotoWeek/DC – Fotobamaweek Contest

CES and the recession: What was the impact? –

January 14, 2009
© Getty Images

© Getty Images

Actually, it’s been very hard to judge the effect of the recession on this show, which in the past has been one of the largest in the world. Ask five different CES veterans what they thought, and you get five very different answers.

But over the course of the four days I’ve been in town, some patterns have emerged, and in the end, I’d say that while CES was still packed with attendees and exhibitors spread over the full breadth of the mammoth Las Vegas Convention Center and the Sands Expo and Convention Center, there were noticeably far fewer people here than in past years.

CES and the recession: What was the impact? –

Pre-Imaging USA 2009

January 10, 2009
© Jason Etzel

Set Up In The Phoenix Convention Center © Jason Etzel

It is the eve before Imaging USA 2009, for many this is the first big event of the year in the photo industry.  Products that were just recently announced in 2008 are now available to have and to hold and that is attracting many photographig enthusiasts to Phoenix, AZ for this years show.  Headlining this years trade show shall feature a keynote address from internationally known photographer Anne Geddes on January 12th along with recently released digital cameras and image editing software.

As the sun sets over Phoenix those inside the convention center are anxiously anticipating what should be a great start to the 2009 Photo Industry.

Tracking Fast Moving Subjects

October 29, 2008

This past summer, I acquired a Nikon D300 DSLR to use for action photography. Using the new autofocus system built into this camera, my percentage of sharp and in focus images of fast moving subjects has drastically increased.

As most of you know, I spend a lot of time shooting nature and wildlife. Last week, I traveled to Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge in NJ to photograph waterfowl and wading birds. As usual when visiting this refuge, I came home with some very nice wildlife portraits using my 500mm lens. In addition to the 500mm, I worked with my 70-200 2.8 AFS VR lens to capture some action shots.

The D300 with the 70-200mm AFS VR (with and without the TC14E 1.4 converter attached) is a killer combination for action photography. With the 1.5 crop factor applied, the 70-200 2.8 becomes a 100-300 2.8 (150 – 450mm f4 with the 1.4).

In order to capture action shots, I set my camera to the continuous focusing mode and select the 51 point autofocusing option. In my experience, the 51 point option works best for action photography of birds and waterfowl. My technique is to allow the camera’s AF system to lock onto a target while the subject is some distance away and select the left AF point placing it on the subject’s head. This technique assures good composition and allows the camera to track the target accurately.

Don’t expect to produce tack sharp and in focus images of fast moving subjects 100% of the time even with the latest technology. It takes a lot of practice and experience using these systems before you can ever get anywhere close to this number.

A few of the images I made on this trip are presented below:

Night Heron in Flight

Snowy Egret in Flight

Nikon 10.5mm AF f2.8 G DX IF-ED Fisheye Lens

September 22, 2008

The Nikon 10.5mm AF f2.8 G IF-ED Fisheye Lens is a specialized optic encompassing a 180 degree rectulangular angle of view. Equivalent to a 16mm focal length on 35mm, this is not a lens you would leave on your camera for everyday use, but rather employ for special effects to produce unique and creative images.

This Fisheye is sharp. Resolution figures are extremely high at f2.8 and stay that way through f8. This is true for the borders as well as the corners of the image. Minimum focus distance is 51/2 inches and at f22 hyperfocal distance is approximately 10 inches, so everything 5 inches to infinity is in focus.

The lens is extremely small and lightweight about the same size as a 50mm f1.8 lens, so its easily carried. Build quality is high justifying the 600.00 price tag of the lens.

The Nikon 10.5mm works great for landscapes, and even some portraits. If you are careful in composing your images the fisheye distortion is not that noticeable, especially for landscapes.

If you have not used a fisheye before it will take some time and planning to learn how to use one. My first few hours photographing with the 10.5mm resulted in many dissapointing images. After some practice and experimentation I was able to produce some very nice photographs. 

Some photographers think of fisheye lenses as expensive toys and dismiss them completely. I could not disagree more with this categorization. If you can afford one, the fisheye lens will become one of your favorites. 










My Favorite Lens

September 12, 2008

A few weeks ago, I replaced my Nikon 80-200mm AF ED f2.8 push-pull lens purchased over 10 years ago with Nikon’s updated version of this lens, the 70-200 F2.8 AFS VR ED. This lens is now my absolute favorite and is on my camera constantly due to its versatility and quality.

The true focal length of this lens (with the 1.5 crop factor) on my D300 is a 100-300mm f2.8. These focal lengths are ideal for the landscape and nature photography I do. The 300mm range is great to have for wildlife subjects that are approachable, especially a fast F2.8. For many years, I used a 300mm lens for wildlife and worked around its limitations by learning how to get close to my subjects.

The 70-200mm 2.8 VR produces images with a degree of sharpness, color and contrast that exceed the expectations of all photographers who use it, even full-time professionals. There have been published test reports suggesting the lens performs better on Nikon’s small sensor DSLRs than it does on the new FX full frame cameras like the D3 and D700. I have not tested the lens on either of these cameras. My experience is with the D300, and I can honestly say I’m floored by its optical excellence.

Even with Nikon’s TC-14E 1.4X teleconverter attached to the lens, I’m hard pressed to see any reduction in sharpness and contrast. This combination further increases the versatility of the lens making it a 150 to 450mm f4.

This is one lens I don’t have to worry about which aperture setting is the sharpest. It’s tack sharp all the way from f2.8 to f16 . My choice of aperture is totally dependent on the depth of field I need for creative effects. At F2.8, the 70-200mm VR gives a very pleasing out of focus area or “bokeh” (the appearance of out-of-focus areas in an image produced by a camera lens using a shallow depth of field). The quality of bokeh produced by the 70 200 VR is every bit as good as found on Nikon’s high speed professional portrait lenses.

The Nikon 70 to 200mm 2.8 AFS ED VR is worth every penny I paid for it. I highly recommend it.

Trip to Jim Thorpe, PA

August 27, 2008

I spent three very enjoyable days (August 21-24) on a photography and mountain biking trip to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. Jim Thorpe is a very small town (named after the famous athlete) located in the Western Pocono Mountains, approximately 2.5 hours from New York City.

I went to Jim Thorpe with the intention of photographing a 25 mile organized bike trip I was making through the Lehigh Gorge. As it turned out, the biking was fantastic but the photography was poor due to the very bright harsh sunlight encountered on the day of our trip. Since light is everything in photography, I packed my camera in my Lowe-Pro Slingshot bag and left it there unused for the entire 5 hour ride. I could have tried using a polarizing filter to cut glare or made images in the shade, or used fill flash to shoot portraits but decided against these options preferring to enjoy the beautiful scenery and bike ride instead.

One important aspect of photography I have learned over the years is knowing when to shoot and when not to. I will rarely if ever, photograph in bad light even when presented with a good subject. It’s just not worth it.

I spent the next two days in Jim Thorpe photographing architecture and old trains very early in the day and again in the late afternoons and early evenings. I carried with me my Nikon D300 with the new Nikon 16-85mm f3.5-5.6 ED VR lens. I really liked using this lens. I found it equally as sharp and much lighter in weight than my professional 17-55 2.8 ED zoom when stopped down to an aperture of f8. There is some barrel distortion that shows up at the 16 to 24mm settings which affected some my architectural photos but this is a normal phenomenon common to most consumer and some professional grade zoom lenses. The Vibration Reduction feature built into the 16-85 was a godsend and worked as advertised allowing me to shoot at 3 stops below the recommended minimum shutter speed of 1/focal length for hand-holding. With VR activated, I was able to shoot down to 1/15 sec. and obtain sharp photos.

If you are an outdoors oriented individual and enjoy bike riding, hiking, historical sites, fishing, scenic drives and photography, a visit to the town of Jim Thorpe will be worth the time and expense.

A few examples of the images I made on this trip are presented below: