Some images touch us more than others. Some are technically better; some evoke a pleasant memory or emotion from the past. Some simply are beautiful to see. Whatever the reason, we enjoy looking at some photos more than we enjoy looking at others. This portfolio includes some of my favorites for all the various reasons, and you can view...
Welcome to photosonthego, a photography blog set in the Bloomington, Indiana, area. It’s a place to find images captured by James Haverstock, images of events, people and scenery from all over the area, the state, and the country. Check back to find new images and new information about photography of all kinds on a regular...
Nikon’s D800 is capable of producing some beautiful photos.
I have been hard at work processing images from our recent Old Car City workshop down in White, GA. The event was a smashing success, both photo-wise and fellowship-wise. Bill Fortney and Jim Begley, ably assisted by John ‘Snake’ Barrett and Chuck Barnes, have made His Light Workshops into one of the premier training operations anywhere in the country. Sue and I came home with enough good photos to keep us busy for a good while, doing the processing and selecting those that stand out for a possible show here in Bloomington. And I have been aided greatly in that processing endeavor by good friends Richard Small, Raymond Jabola and Kendall Reeves. Thanks to all of them for the good advice.
What I want to address today is just a trend I saw while at the workshop. This was an outdoor/indoor event, shooting in all kinds of lighting at Old Car City and doing a lot of indoor shooting at the Southeastern Railroad Museum. So the subjects were’nt moving and we were doing a lot of overall shots and then lots of closeups. Were the cameras in evidence during the four days up to the job? You bet. Did the images rest on which camera was being used? Not so much. Did any of them stand out? I think so.
There were a lot of Nikon D800′s in Old Car City. Stands to reason. The metal car bodies and iron rail way equipment lent themselves to high resolutions and lots of detail. They weren’t moving around, so lots of frames-per-second weren’t important. And that camera didn’t disappoint. I saw some absolutely incredibly detailed photos being processed, with beautiful colors. No one was really setting out to depend on those whopping 36 megapixels for cropping purposes, shooting sloppily and worrying about what was in the frame later. But, when you did get the images up on the computer and happened to see something special that you missed out in the field, the picture-within-a-picture, if you will, those megapixels made cropping heavily a breeze. Think of it as an incredibly valuable safety net. We were on tripods all the time, and for that kind of shooting this camera just cannot be surpassed. Or matched, in the opinion of all those workshop shooters. And that is no knock on Canon or Sony or any other manufacturer. The D800 is just in a class of one when it comes to this kind of shooting. Nikon has a winner on its hands, and I urge you to give the D800 every close look if you are in the market for a bit of new equipment.
Nikon’s D600 was popular, also. With 24 megapixels the verdict was that it was easier to carry around all day, more forgiving than the D800 when being hand-held, and capable of producing beautiful files. The price was considered to be quite fair, and no one was reporting the sensor cleaning problems that have been reported elsewhere (proof that not every D600 has a problem). It sort of ranked up there in popularity with the Canon 5D mark III, which also produced some gorgeous images. There were no Sony’s which kind of surprised me. That brand has been getting some good press lately, with noted Dutch photographer Frank Doorhof and The Visual Science Lab’s Kirk Tuck both singing the A99′s praises. There was one Panasonic on the trip, and that shooter indicated he was saving money on equipment and lenses as the reason for that decision. He was a good shooter, but I gotta tell you … comparing just what was coming out of the camera (and not processing skills or individual likes and dislikes) with the Nikons and Canons, the Panasonic was at a disadvantage. The Big Two are at the top (at least for a while yet) for a reason.
And then there is the story of the mirrorless, four-third models. I only saw two and they both were Fuji’s. But they got a lot of attention, a lot of praise, a lot of interest, and a lot of thoughtful consideration for future purchases. I saw the files that were coming out of these lightweight, easy-to-carry little gems. Nice, really nice. As in wow! nice. As in “boy, could I ever enjoy a very lightweight system with lightweight lenses if the photos are this good” kind of nice. One shooter I respect so very much had the camera body and three lenses, plus accessories, all packed in a ThinkTank messenger-type bag that was equally small and lightweight. I could have carried that thing all day and never broken a sweat. And the files were going to produce some beautiful photos. Almost everyone in our group of 20+ shooters was quite impressed. I am predicting that the next big thing in photography is going to be these types of cameras, as least as backup systems to our big DLSRs. I hadn’t had a chance to see these little guys in extensive action previously. Count me in as a new fan.
Is your camera getting you the files you need for the photos you want? Then you do NOT need a new camera. But if it isn’t, or if you need a backup system for what you currently own, read the tea leaves above. Something is in the works, and I saw it at Old Car City.
Hey, it’s Friday and the start of what promises to be a great weekend. So get out and enjoy it … camera in hand. Oh, and Go Hoosiers!Read More
How about an ad campaign shot at Old Car City?
I use an Epson inkjet for my home printing needs. And my good friend and go-to printer here in Bloomington, Kendall Reeves of Spectrum Studio, also uses Epson. They are still pretty much the industry standard, I think. And today they have a contest for us, one that runs from now until April 15th (gee, wouldn’t it nice to remember that day for winning a contest instead of paying your taxes?). Epson has a new ad campaign to plan for, and as part of that they are looking for ideas of what to feature. And they are turning to all us regular old photographers to come up with a concept for that ad shoot. Yeah … us, the ones who actually use Epson printers!
You could win $5,000 for your idea. Or a chance to go on the ad shoot with the incredible Joe McNally (either one would be great, but $5,000 would go a long way toward doing my own big shoot). In any event, this is a contest that will allow you to put all your creative thinking skills to use. With an almost-unlimited shooting budget, what would you shoot? Where would you stage it? What would it take to pull it off? Send those details to Epson and you may be the next Big Thing in the creative art world – and find yourself $5,000 richer.
Click here for the details. And relax, we have plenty of time left to plan that once-in-a-lifetime shoot and pass it along to Epson. ‘Cause if you can think it, they can shoot it. And print it.Read More
It’s March, So There Must Be Madness … Camera-Style. And A Bill Fortney Presentation In Bloomington.
Thom Hogan has come up with a craaazy idea for later this month – March Madness, camera-style. Taking a page from the basketball people with their tournament and brackets and winning picks, Thom is setting up a tournament of sorts that involves cameras pitted against one another in a winner-take-all, last-one-standing shootout. It’s absolutely craaaaaazy! But way cool, as the kids would say.
Thom is taking the results from all of us in a short, four-question survey and putting them together to form brackets in which cameras square off against each other. I don’t know how the shootout takes place exactly (I am guessing we all vote in each round) to eventually come up with a grandest-camera-ever winner. So, today I ask you to click here and vote on his site for the cameras he is putting together. It’s short and easy and it should be lots of fun. Then get set to let the shots fall where they may!
Then some feedback from my earlier post on a new way to fine tune your auto focus lenses. My good friend Jeff Schemmer tried it over the weekend and pronounced it quick and easy. He found it so easy that he did a second lens right after the first even though he had not planned on doing so. I am running the video once more because you do need to get the technique fixed in your mind to begin with. Jeff found both his lenses calibrated to a -2, so they did benefit from a bit of tweaking. More followup to come as I and others get our own results.
And finally for today, blockbuster news for all of you in the Bloomington area. My dear friend and mentor , the legendary Bill Fortney is coming to Bloomington on July 2nd to make a presentation that night to the Bloomington Photography Club! Bill indeed is a legend, and anytime any one of us has the opportunity to learn from him it is a privilege. His presentation will make you a better photographer … guaranteed by me. And it won’t involve buying lots of expensive new gear. There will be time to ask questions and to meet Bill, also. This is an event open to the public (as are all our meetings), so if you ever have thought about attending a meeting or improving your photo skills, this is the time to mark your calendar. Thank you, Bill!Read More
Chuck Barnes, Jim Begley and John Barrett standing. The legendary Bill Fortney manning the camera.
Bill Fortney’s and Jim Begley’s workshops are so very aptly named – His Light. There is a sharing of faith and fellowship that gives each event a family feeling. And the instruction is exactly what each of us hopes for … individualized, informative, and in step with the latest in methods and techniques. Add in locations that provide you the opportunity to explore and experiment and the sessions are perfect training grounds for the next iterations of Bill Fortneys, Jim Begleys, and all the other greats out there shooting today. Old Car City in White, Georgia (from which Sue and I just returned early this evening) was no exception.
The team of leaders pictured above are attentive to the degree you need and ask for, never smothering and certainly never unapproachable. Your needs and requests always come before any of their own shooting. Always. His Light Workshops are lead by Bill Fortney and Jim Begley, a legend in photography and a legend-in-the-making, respectively. They are so very ably aided at many of the events by John Barrett and Chuck Barnes, great shooters in their own rights. On this trip RC Concepcion attended and added his considerable instructing skills to the mix, along with HDR maestro Raymond Jabola from out in California. Without feat of contradiction I can tell you that we all came away with more knowledge, better skills and techniques and some outstanding images. Thank you, team!
The four days we were in Georgia were full ones, with both morning and afternoon shooting sessions and teaching sessions both during the afternoons and nights. So, it should come as no surprise that after today’s eight-plus hour drive home my wife and I are plumb tuckered out (as they might say down in Georgia). Today’s post is kind of short for that reason; but I promise more details and some images as soon as we can get settled in here at home again. Let me just leave you with a link to the His Light Workshops part of Bill’s website (click here). Check out some of the year’s remaining sessions. Not all of them are filled yet and you may find some dates and a location that are just right for you. And let me assure you, there is no better field training to be had than what Bill and Jim have to offer. No exaggeration, no hype, no kidding. You can trust me on this one.
Oh, and be sure to click here to visit the main portion of Bill’s site where he has a couple of short posts about Old Car City. You can even view a group photo of all of us at the Southeastern Train Museum over in Duluth, GA. It was a bonus shoot, and another fine chance to grab some images that you just don’t find in your backyard these days. See if you can spot me and any other Bloomingtonians who might have attended. You can tell we all were having a great time!Read More
Welcome back! Today we wind up our Glyn Dewis Festival of Fine Retouching with part III of Madame Spooky. And we end with sincere thanks to Glyn for sharing what he does so well. We all have met photographers somewhere along the way who don’t want to share how they did something or where they shot an image or some part of what they do, thinking the world is such a small and competitive place that sharing will somehow cost them something. Thankfully, those people are pretty few and far between in the photography field. And certainly Glyn Dewis would never be counted among them.
Part Three of this series concludes today with a new floor and a new background for Madame Spooky, skills that all of us are going to use sometime in our compositing careers. And here’s how it can be done:
And there you have it … a great final image put together from the magic of Glyn Dewis. Thank you, Glyn. Again. And again.Read More
Welcome back for Day Two of an end-of-week Glyn Dewis Festival. If you missed part one I urge you to check yesterday’s post and watch that video first (right now; before you take on part two). Glyn’s work builds on itself and you don’t want to miss any of the great tips he offers in any of these three videos. But, now on to Part Two:
Wow! he truly is good. But the great news is that Glyn is so willing to share … and that means you and I can learn these skills, also. Who knows? Maybe someday I will be posting one of your compositions along with your video on how it was done. And be sure to stop by again tomorrow for Part III and a glimpse of the finished image. See you then.Read More
Today features part I of a three-part video lesson on how to retouch a photo and take it into a new background of your making … all from an absolute master, Glyn Dewis. The three parts are not superficial or corner-cutting, so I am presenting this as a series. You can sit down to watch the entire thing at once, but let me alert you – if you do you will invariably miss something along the way because of the nature of the human mind and its attention span. Trust me; this is a series packed with tidbits everywhere, so you want to give it your undivided attention when you begin viewing. Each segment is about 20 minutes long, so plan your time accordingly. I tell you this from personal experience.
I have been urging you to regularly check in with Glyn for information that is freely given and supremely valuable. But I know that we all get busy and there are way too many websites and chores and activities competing for our attention each day. There is a good chance that you have missed some of what Glyn has been posting, but that’s okay. I have the really good stuff posted today (and for the next two) so you won’t miss what you really need. And Glyn Dewis is good, as in insanely good (both as a retoucher/compositor and as an instructor). So let me repeat myself for the umpeenth time … you really should check out his work and make visiting his website a regular activity (you can do so by clicking here, by the way).
Okay, the training video, part one, follows. Make time for the entire thing, then sit back and soak in the real how-to’s from a true master.
Good stuff, eh? I knew you would like it. See you back here tomorrow for part two.Read More
We all want our images to be as sharp as possible (when that is the look we want). We spend a lot of money to match up the best camera we can afford with the best lenses we can afford, searching for that sharpness (tack sharp, we are fond of saying). Then we worry if the camera and the lens are matched as well as is possible after we bring them home. It seems as though the worrying and fretting never ends. Sorry; I can’t change that (I think it is ingrained in most photographers or it comes in the camera box). But … we can use some pretty neat methods to do some testing and fine tuning, methods that will get us about as close as is humanly possible to our elusive goal.
A new method (well, certainly new to me) is one I found recently over on the Nikon Rumors website. It was kind of tucked away down a page of weekly updates, and I gave the story a look-see. And what I found was worth giving even more attention to. I haven’t had time to test the method yet on my own gear, but I saw and read enough to make me promise myself to try. I am into quick and easy whenever possible, and this way of fine tuning appears to be both. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? The video below does a great job of showing you what is possible with this method. It is about 18 minutes long, but it is worth watching every one of those minutes.
Man, there are some smart people out there in this world. And the really nice thing about that fact is that so many of them are willing to share what they discover. Now, I haven’t tried this at home yet (but, trust me, I am going to) and there may be some out there in the audience who have and could bring us up-to-date. In the meantime I have a link for you over at the Fred Miranda site that discusses some of this technique in a photo forum. If you want to read a bit more just click here. I admit that some of the technical stuff starts to get way ahead of me, but from what I can gather, this way of fine tuning holds some real possibilities for all of us here at home.
In any event, take a look at what is being used by others out there and see if it may be what you have been looking for. What do we have to lose?Read More
An older image I worked over with these new Shadowhouse Creations textures.
Today I have a beautiful set of colorful textures for you to download … for FREE … from the good folks over at one of my favorite websites, Shadowhouse Creations. This is a FREE set of ten textures with just the right amount of texture and some very nicely gradated colors. The collection includes a couple of (very brief) tutorials to get your creative juices flowing. This is a very useful set of add-ons that are going to come in handy for lots of different kinds of images. Thank you, Shadowhouse Creations!
The image I started with.
Just click here to visit their website and see what I mean. You will be glad you did.
Then a fun treat for all of us. i was sent this by my good friend Richard Small (he has a knack for finding the best of the best out there). It is fun and not-so-mean-in-spirit (even though our Vice-President can’t seem to help himself). If you like guns you will enjoy this one. And if you don’t like guns you will enjoy this one. Just treat me once again.
Okay, enjoy the week. I have a great couple of training videos coming up soon. Be sure to check back for them.Read More
Click on the photo of the snowy woods to see other maple syrup images.
Today was a good day; it’s always nice to come back home, no matter where the trip has taken us. And I had a chance to work on the images I took while visiting my family in Rolling Prairie (never heard of it? That’s okay; it’s sort of a bump in the road in Northern Indiana). My brother Jack was my model, my guide, and my teacher while I was there. Making maple syrup has changed a bit, you see, from when I was helping my father and grandfather some 50 years ago. It’s more modern, but it still is labor intensive. My nephews Scott and Ryan are great at adding their sweat equity to this family project, and my uncle Donald spends a lot of time with Jack, also. He has the institutional memory to give perspective to what Jack is doing today, and he helps out by driving the tractor when the daily sap collection takes place (by hand, emptying each of the 160+ buckets spread out through Jack’s woods).
Making maple syrup has a technical side to it. You have to know when each stage of the boiling process is finished by closely monitoring temperatures. But it also has an art-y side to it; you learn to judge the flavor and temperament of your batch by color and consistency and even aroma. My brother and nephews are getting quite good at it already. Maybe it runs in the family.
The photos are those of my brother’s newly built and furnished sugar camp (some other parts of the country refer to them as a sugar bush). It is quite an operation, and I hope you get just a bit of a feel for what it looks like and how it operates. I hope you may enjoy the images even a tiny bit as much as I enjoyed being there and spending time with my brother.
To see the images just click on the photo at the top of the post. Or you always can go up to Photo Collections at the top of the homepage and click on Maple Syrup Days.
Hey! It’s Friday; enjoy the approaching weekend. Camera in hand.Read More
Inside my brother’s modern sugar camp.
Sue and I spent the last few days visiting family in Northern Indiana, and it was a most rewarding time. The weather wasn’t too cooperative (some rain, some sleet, a fair bit of snow), but it is still February and Rolling Prairie gets far more snow each year than Bloomington ever thought of. So it was a bit of a challenge to get much shooting in, but we managed some. And I gotta tell you – any and all complaints about left side focus issues on some cameras aside, the D800 is one heckuva performer. There are megapixels upon megapixels to play with and the resolution is out of sight. I try to get the shot I want within the camera, but for those times when I simply can’t (or later discover the image that was hidden inside what I first saw) cropping is possible beyond anything else I have seen or shot with. Thank you, Nikon.
While I was growing up my family, namely my grandfather, made maple syrup each spring. When he passed away the whole operation died out, too. But now, some fifty years later, my brother Jack is trying his hand at the family tradition. Assisted by his sons Scott and Ryan there is a new (and much improved) sugar camp in the family. Sue and I spent time there and got our hands at least a little bit dirty (and quite sugary) helping to empty sap buckets and learn the updated and modern method of producing maple syrup. It was a blast! And I am quite proud of what my brother and nephews have done; it brought back lots of memories.
No matter the weather there is lots of hand work to be done when the sap is running!
There was the usual catching up on what hadn’t gotten done while we were away, so I haven’t had much chance to process images. But I did get to a couple and they grace this post today. I will try to get some of the best ones up in a gallery by the end of the weekend. Like I said, the weather didn’t help much, but I have a few possible keepers in the bunch. In any event, we are home and glad to be back with you. And the past few days were a great reminder to me that no matter the weather, being out with a camera in hand is a whole lot better in any kind of conditions than most any other day.Read More
Click on the Westcott model to see more of 2013′s portraits.
Saturday our Bloomington Photo Club’s portrait mentor, Kip May, was kind enough to host our focus group for a photo share. That’s where we get together and bring up to eight images to share with the other members of the group and pass along tips and how-to’s. Kip projects the photos onto a screen so we all can see what each of us has been up to (people we have photographed, techniques we are experimenting with, and processing methods). There are some absolutely outstanding images to be seen, along with lots of okay images and some images that possibly should have been kept at home. Sort of like you see in portfolios all over the place. We share; we learn; we get better. Thank you, Kip, for your generosity and your kindness in playing host and providing feedback to help each of us improve at what we love to do.
I took along images I shot at PhotoPro Expo a couple of weeks back )at the Westcott photo booths). The images were made with their TD-6 system of constant lights; they also were made amongst the crowd of other photographers that were trying to do the same. I didn’t get to set up where I wanted to or set up the models and lights in the manner I perhaps would have liked to. Now, no excuses – as photographers we often deal with some parameter we don’t like. Be it the direction of light or the quality of light or the background or the subject’s outfit or whatever, we have to do the best with what we have. That makes us photographers … that and our vision of what we want that image to look like in our mind at the time we press the shutter. Your vision is yours – and no one else’s (unless you are shooting for a client with specific instructions from them). And you should have a personal vision of what you want to produce with your camera; otherwise you simply are documenting a scene, and anyone with a relatively modern camera can do that that using the Program setting to let the camera do the heavy lifting. But that’s not who we are – that’s not who you are.
I took what I could get at the Westcott booth. But that didn’t mean I didn’t have at least some idea of what I wanted my final print to look like when I was shooting. Your vision should have you thinking what ‘look’ you are after, what your style is. And that ‘look’ is determined by several factors, seven of them according to regular Luminous Landscape contributor Alain Briot. He figures that you need to consider light quality to begin with to exposure to file conversion to printing before you even press that shutter. But, hey, he explains it a lot better than I can … and it is information that we all need to think about. Click here to read that short article, Vision: from Passion to Vision. It’s part one of a series and it sure hit home to me when I considered the images I took with me Saturday.
The photos I shared are not going into my portfolio, but they do represent some new ideas I am kicking around in my head about creativity and vision and art and what I want from my portraits. I’m not sure where I am going to end up right now; but I am sure I am on the road to something a bit different from what I have been routinely producing the past couple of years. And that is a good thing, because I have a passion to produce those images, the ones in my heads, and not just what I have been doing. Does that sound familiar?
Click here to see what I took along Saturday. And let me know what you think of my new way of displaying them. As I wrote last week, we all should have a presence on the web where we get our photos out there to exhibit and ask for feedback. I wrote that SmugMug is an easy and affordable way to do just that. Armed with a nice discount code I am taking my own advice and using SmugMug (for only $30 a year) to experiment with a new gallery display. I am going to call this one 2013 Portraits and put mew images up as I play with my vision throughout the year. It is easy to put new photos up or remove old ones, and that is a freedom I didn’t have with my old system. I’m glad to have you along for the ride.Read More
A trip to Kendall and Stephanie Reeves’ Gallery 406 definitely is in order.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of lunch with Kendall and Stephanie Reeves, owners and creative forces behind Bloomington’s Spectrum Studio and Gallery 406. They are good and valued friends, and important contributors to the city’s downtown vibrancy. Also, they always lift me up in Christian fellowship, examples of how we are to properly live our lives. Thank you, Kendall and Stephanie, for a most rewarding afternoon.
And part of the rewards of visiting with them was viewing their current gallery display, In the Spotlight and Floaters, works by Camille Jungman. They are different … creative. And different and creative sets us apart from all the other photographers out there. Camille’s images are part texture, part photo, part hand colored. And all interesting. There is real depth and emotion to her work; I could see that even when what she was saying didn’t completely resonate with me. Camille is living here in Bloomington now, a transplant from Louisiana and a career filled with teaching. You can get a sneak peek at some of her images by visiting her website, camillejungmanphotography, by clicking here. Then make a promise to yourself to visit Gallery 406 on the north side of the square to see the exhibit for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.
And while you are there be sure to view some new works by Kendall. He has two that really stand out (among his other great photos). There is a new shot of the Monroe County courthouse that just sings in its colors. And the other is a shot of the front of the Story general store. It captures the dignity of a landmark for that area just as a fine portrait does. Kendall is good (but you Bloomington readers already know that). Plan a trip to Gallery 406 before this exhibit comes down at the end of March. And you can read more about the studio and gallery by clicking here.
The weather this morning in our area is rather frightful, but it isn’t scheduled to last all day or all weekend. So, enjoy the next couple of days. Camera in hand.Read More
Thank you, Joe McNally, for this DVD set.
Let me state from the outset that I was fortunate enough to win a drawing while attending ProPhoto Expo in Kentucky a couple of weeks ago. And what was truly fortunate about that prize was that it is a 2-DVD set from Joe McNally, The Language of Light (thank you, Joe! He donated the prize after speaking to us Sunday morning). I watched it yesterday, and it is a winner.
This set is not for absolute beginners who don’t know anything about using off-camera flash (or on-camera flash, for that matter). You need to know your equipment – how it works, what fits where and what you basically can do and not do with minimal lighting. Joe never speaks down to anyone; he presents his instruction in a straightforward and easy-to-understand manner. And he goes into detail with some diagrams and lots of shooting with various types of gear. But he moves pretty quickly while explaining what he is looking for and why he is making the adjustments he has in mind. And he uses the terminology of lighting; if you are brand new and have no background at all in using small flashes you may find yourself struggling to keep up. I would brush up on my flash technique with a library book or two before watching the videos. Or planning on taking some notes to check on later. Now, don’t let me scare you off here … Joe is a great instructor. But you need a bit of knowledge to take the most advantage of this collection of how-to’s.
If you are into big studio lights and huge softboxes, there are some general principles here that apply to you. But the focus is on the use of small flash (speedlights) and traveling light. For example, one of the shoots is a small shop used for an environmental portrait. Speedlights actually were squeezed into a couple of spaces; your basic huge studio softboxes would have crowded Joe and the shop owner right out of the store. Speedlights are the stars of this collection.
All that said, this is a set of tips and tricks and how-to’s and principles and problems and solutions that is akin to the best of lighting reference books. Actually, it is better than a book; it has a style and flair and closeness that video provides most deftly. And Joe is … well, Joe. He is a master of light and lighting and shooting and photography and dealing with problems and talking to people and scouting locations and everything that goes into becoming the one-of-a-kind shooter that he is. Joe shows you the (for the most part) inexpensive gear he utilizes with speedlights and what each piece does and how the images taken with that gear look. Then he goes on to the next piece and compares them to previous shots. By the time he is finished you have an excellent idea of what each item does (or can do) and when one might be preferable over another. He goes on location and solves problems that each of us has either run into already or will sometime in the near future. I sort of know my way around small flashes for portraits, but Joe opened by eyes and broadened my horizons today (and inspired me to keep pushing).
Now, the downside of this set is its cost … the cheapest I have found it is right at $160. And I am not saying it isn’t worth it. It’s just a bit expensive for many of us who are also trying to accumulate lighting and shooting gear. Here’s my advice: get your camera club to purchase this set for all of you. Watch it in segments as a club or during focus group meetings … or just get together informally in small groups or loan it out to individual members as requested. It is that good. Or go to your local library and urge them to add it to their video library. That way you and your friends can still get together to watch and benefit from Joe’s instruction, but you are spared the up front cost. A real win-win!
My bottom line? This is a great reference set of DVDs that will benefit all but the most accomplished of flash photographers. Shoot, let me take that back. I can’t imagine any photographer who wouldn’t pick up something from listening to Joe McNally. I certainly did. So, once again, thank you, Joe!Read More
Today’s post is a chance to save some money on your very own SmugMug site.
SmugMug is an incredibly popular way in which to display your photos. And you should be displaying your images, getting them out there in front of new sets of eyes. Yes, it is most rewarding and exciting and satisfying to produce an image that reminds you of that great day of shooting and who you were with and where you were and all the wonderful memories that accompany our shooting trips. It is almost magical in what we end up with some days. And there are lots of uses in your personal life for those images. But there can, and I argue should, be more.
That something else is to share those images with friends and family and camera club members and other aspiring photographers and just the world in general. Show your best work, but share it … get it out there where it can bring joy or awe or wonder or any of all those other emotions that strike your own heart when you see a photo that sings to you. And you have some of those, don’t you? We learn when others see our work and comment on it, when they give us feedback that we can use to improve our techniques and our skill sets and our artist’s vision. You can’t do that when your images reside only on your computer on on your own walls inside your own residence. Take a chance … share that wonderful world of yours with the rest of us.
Let me give you two example, both on SmugMug (where we started out today). Click here to visit the SmugMug page of my good friend and fantastic photographer Jim Begley. Jim is a master photographer, an HDR wonder with an artist’s eye. Enjoy his work (I guarantee you that), but also take a look at his way of showing you his photos. It is simple, yet compelling. He told me it is easy to learn and set up and add to and maintain. And it is quite affordable when all you need is a place to upload your images, a place to say to the world, “Yes, I am a photographer. And here is my work.” And that is all I am emphasizing today – find an affordable place to display your photos and then do it! Display them! Get them out there in front of the world. Then I want you to click here and visit my good friend Richard Small’s website. Again, fantastic images, especially the car photos. Richard is a master, and that will become evident immediately. And his site is clean and simple and easy-to-set up, also. You can do that.
And consider this. When I first started out taking photos I would shoot events here and there, and inevitably someone would ask for a copy of an image. I would make sure I got their names and addresses and I spent time making up prints and sending them out. You know I never, ever received a reply of any kind, not so much as an acknowledgement (let alone a thank you). It took me a bit to realize that the people I was photographing (including family) really didn’t want photos of their own; they wanted to see what they looked like. And that was enough. Then I began putting those events up on my website and directing interested people there. And they loved it; it was enough. And for those who did want a print, I began selling copies of images that they truly valued and wanted. I bet you have had a similar experience somewhere along the line. And that is where SmugMug comes in.
For a limited time (until February 23) I have a deal for you. How about 25% off the plan of your choice? That’s right, 25%! Click here to see what each of SmugMug’s four plans offer and what they cost (prior to your discount). And while you are there you can browse the site and see for yourself how easy it is to get started. You can even take advantage of their free trial offer (as long as you make a decision prior to the 23rd). If you decide to take the plunge just use the coupon code ‘BMASH’ when you checkout.
You owe it to yourself and the world to give this some serious consideration. And now is the time.Read More