Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Drinking in the rain

For a recent blog post, I wanted to create an image of a tray of coffee cups in the rain, preferably being held by me doing my best impression of a drowned rat.  I'd had this image in my head for a couple months, since I first conceived of the article.  Unfortunately, the shot didn't turn out quite like I'd planned.  In this BTS post, I want to discuss how I did what I did and what I should have done differently if I'd had sufficient time and ambition.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Are more pixels always a good thing?

Have you ever had a friend tell you that their new point and shoot camera has a 14 megapixel (MP) sensor, so they can print professional quality shots at 16x20"?  Ever wonder why the images from your 10MP DSLR look so much better, especially when taken in lower light?  One of the major reasons is the size of your image sensor.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Be there

Photojournalists from the 1960's popularized the phrase, "Tri-X, f/8, and be there" to describe the three most important aspects of their job.  While a forgiving black & white film and a moderate aperture may not be paramount for most photographers today, there's no getting around that last part.  The importance of "being there" has been underscored in my own experience many times, and I'd like to share one of those stories with you today.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Old glass: Asahi/Pentax SMC & Super-Takumar 50/1.4

Many of you know that I like old things, and that includes camera lenses.  I love using inexpensive, old, manual-focus glass on my new DSLR body.  I promised earlier to take some time now and then to talk about some of my older equipment, and this is the first installment.  Today, I highlight two of them:  my trusty Asahi (Pentax) Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 lens (built in 1967) and it's younger brother, the SMC Takumar 50/1.4 (built in 1974).  Although I have quite a selection of "fast fifty" lenses on my shelf, the Super-Tak is the one I grab most frequently for low light and portrait shooting.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Party lighting with multiple speedlites

Photographing family parties like birthdays or Christmas can produce some wonderful memories.  With just a little bit of pre-planning, the lighting at those events can produce not only fond memories, but also some attractive images at the same time without blinding the other participants with your on-camera flash.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

You DO have a backup, right?

As a professional system administrator who has experienced many potentials for data loss both at work and among my extended family, and who has personally lived through a house fire, I have a somewhat uncommon level of expertise when it comes to preparing for the inevitable loss of electronic data, whether it comes from hardware failure, ill-advised modification, theft, or natural disaster. I often hear people mention how lost they would be if something happened to the data on their computer. Sometimes they ask my advice on the subject. More often, I give it without being asked because it's one of my pet peeves.