BL Blog

Posts by: Sohail

Cool Stuff – Week of April 23, 2013

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

  • This one falls into the “Ooops, how’d I miss that?” category. Canon is presenting a series on time-lapse photography with none other than Vincent Laforet. Part 2 is now out, and is embedded here for your viewing pleasure. (more…)

Playing with Nikon’s Big Guns.

Gear Talk
Nikon D4

Nikon D4

Not so long ago, I did a post about Canon’s new “Big Guns”, the 600mm f/4 II and the 1Dx. We’re now waiting for Nikon’s newest super-tele, the 800mm f/5.6, to ship, but I thought I’d take the newest flagship camera from Nikon out for a spin with the venerable 600mm f/4 that they’ve had out for a while.

 

Nikon 600mm f/4

Nikon 600mm f/4

(more…)

Cool Stuff, Week of April 7, 2013

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

 And now, for the BorrowLenses.com Roundup!

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

Small Flash, Big Box: Using the LumoPro Flash Bracket

Gear Talk The LumoPro Flash Bracket

There’s no shortage of lighting modifiers for small flashes like the Nikon SB–910 on the market today. From the Apollo softboxes we rent, to grid kits, snoots, umbrellas, and beauty dishes, small flash has really come into its own, especially for photographers working on location.

Now there’s a new accessory for Strobist-style shooters that will let you use a much wider variety of softboxes with your existing small flashes, including the high-end modifiers from companies like Profoto. I used it with two Profoto softboxes a couple of weeks ago for a portrait, with excellent results.

(more…)

Blowing out the Background

Gear Talk Tips & Tricks
Ben on a greyish-blue background.

Ben on a greyish-blue background.

The image above was not shot on a white background. It has a minimal level of adjustment in Lightroom to it, mostly to clean up the edges, but that’s about it. It was taken in front of the greyish-blue wall in the lobby of the BorrowLenses.com offices in San Carlos.

The thing about a relatively light-colored background is that it lends itself to a surprisingly large number of options for photographers. Though grey backgrounds work best for this, you can with some tweaking, turn just about any light-colored background — grey, blue, beige — completely black, as I demonstrated in this article on how to kill your background completely.

In this article, I’ll show you how to blow out that background completely to make it look like you’re shooting in front of a white backdrop.

(more…)

Cool Stuff – Week of March 24, 2012

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

  • The shootout at Gulf Photo Plus is always a fantastic thing to watch. Luminaries such as Greg Heisler, Zack Arias, and David Hobby have been past participants. Here’s the latest one.
  • Joe McNally talks to Marc Silber about lighting. A good, quick 4-minute video that’s more about philosophy than technique.
  • Speaking of Joe McNally, if you haven’t seen his photo from the top of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, here it is.
  • Now, we’re not going to be able to provide the castle, the swimming pool, the giant print or the model, but we will soon have the Hasselblad H5 line of cameras in our rental inventory. Here’s what photographer Henrik Sorenson did with one of these gorgeous machines.
  • And finally, via our friends at PetaPixel, the story behind some amazing portraits taken with an iPhone and a $10 lamp.

 

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

Cool Stuff – Week of March 17, 2013

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

  • There are a few photographers whose work we love so much, we’ll drop everything to watch them make toast. Or, as we see with a younger Annie Leibovitz here, to watch them talk about their work.
  • Ditto for Greg Heisler. There’s no question that we’d close up shop to watch this master talk about his work. As with Annie above, this one’s a flashback, both of them courtesy of our friends at PetaPixel.
  • Curious about who’s paying for photography these days? We are. Which is why we’re pleased as punch that someone’s talking about it (kinda) openly. Here’s “Who Pays Photographers.”
  • Look, don’t expect us to carry this in our inventory anytime soon, okay? Here’s a photographer using a Nikon 1200-1700mm lens to photograph the new pope. Why won’t we carry it? Because we like our shippers’ spinal columns too much.
  • Like them, love them, hate them, whatever. The guys at DxOMark aren’t afraid to be vocal about their choices, and they’ve started a new series of articles about the best lens choices for their top-ranking camera, the Nikon D800.

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. We hope you got a chance to see us at WPPI if you were out there! As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

Daylight Savings Time is Here: Don’t Forget to Change Your Camera’s Clock

Gear Talk

Set time and date manually

Unlike your computers, tablets, and smartphones, the clock in your camera doesn’t typically do the “Spring forward, Fall back” routine required to keep its clock accurate. If you don’t go in manually to change the time and date on you camera, the EXIF data it stamps your files with will have an inaccurate time/date stamp.

While it’s not the end of the world if your photos show a time that’s an hour off, having your clock accurate is always a good thing. Knowing the exact time an image was taken can help you if you want to replicate the exact atmospheric conditions in a landscape shot at a later time, for example.  Having accurate timestamps is especially important if you’re doing any kind of geo-tagging of your images using a GPS tracker or your iPhone to record a GPS track file and apply it to your DSLR photos in Lightroom or Aperture.

(more…)

Shooting Fast Action with a D800E

Gear Talk

Nikon D800E

When you think of fast-action photography, the D800E isn’t exactly the first camera that comes to mind – and with good reason. At a top speed of 4 frames per second and a buffer that will fill up pretty quickly with those massive 36MP files, it’s not a camera that lends itself to that kind of photography easily.

If you’re in a pinch, however, and need to be able to use the D800E (or the D800) for a bit of fast-action work, there are a few things you can do to get a bit more performance out of this camera.

(more…)

Cool Stuff – Week of March 3, 2013

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

 

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

Kill the Background: How to Turn a Background Black with Speedlights

Tips & Tricks
Chiaroscuro Portraits by Alex Huff

Chiaroscuro Portraits by Alex Huff

I was recently inspired by a recent series of portraits by our very own Alex Huff. Titled “Chiaroscuro Portraiture,” it features these gorgeous close-up portraits of the men and women in her life, each one of which is a study in how to render the interplay between light and shadow.

Alex takes these images in front of a grey background, and through a combination of getting in close to her subjects and using one light, sends what little you might see of that grey to almost pitch black. I began to think of what I could do if I didn’t have a backdrop to shoot against, if I needed to make a portrait in a relatively brightly-lit area. In theory, it could be done; a basic understanding of the Inverse-Square Law reveals that much.

But what if all you had was a basic modifier and a couple of speedlights, not a big studio strobe? Could you still do it? I had to give it a try. (more…)

Cool Stuff – Week of Feb 17, 2013

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

  • We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: any time Joe McNally talks, everyone should listen. This latest video will only be only till Feb 20, 2013, so make sure you watch it before then.
  • Here’s another photographer you should always listen to/watch/study with if you get the chance: Gregory Heisler. From the guys over at the Profoto Blog comes a recounting of Greg’s shoot with Yasser Arafat.
  • Yet another photographer we love is back with his series of image critiques. Here’s Episode 15 of Zack Arias’ “Photography Critiques.”
  • Budding auto photographers should head over to Scott Kelby’s blog and take a look at his detailed post on how he shot details on an Aston Martin Vantage. Mmm…. car porn!
  • And finally, from our friends over at PetaPixel, classified in the “Oh, Iran!” category: another Photoshop blunder from that country makes us chuckle all over again.

 

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff! As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

Cool Stuff – Week of Feb 10, 2013

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

 And now, for the BorrowLenses.com Roundup!

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

Cool Stuff, Week of February 1, 2013

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

  • We love it when one of our own gets a nod from someone we admire. Our very own Alex Huff was mentioned in this week’s episode of Photography Tips and Tricks, by none other than R.C. Concepcion. Have a look at the end of the video below.
  • The Sony RX1 has become a favorite around these parts; check out this Russian-made turret universal optical viewfinder that seems to work perfectly with it.
  • Any time Philip Bloom does a gear review, we tend to drop everything and listen. Here, he breaks down the Canon 1DC for you. As usual, it’s a thorough, full-featured review.
  • This one’s for the retouchers among you. The guys at PhotoShelter have established a reputation not just for being a great photo hosting service, but also for bringing you some fantastic original content via their blog. In this webinar, they talk to veteran retoucher Amy Dresser about her process and technique – and it’s worth watching every second.
  • And finally, from the “If he opens his mouth to talk, you should be quiet and listen department,” the Phillipines’ 24/7 cable news network, ANC, sat down with Joe McNally for a really good interview.

 And now, for the BorrowLenses.com Roundup!

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

Shooting On the Go With the Olympus OM-D

Gear Talk

Not too long ago, I switched to the Nikon D800E with a series of prime lenses for all of my primary photography. I love the Nikon, and it’s proved to be a fantastic system, capably handling just about everything I’ve thrown at it.

The downside is that it is, truly, a system. A big, heavy system. I quickly found myself looking for a smaller, carry-around camera for some of my more photojournalistic endeavors, and immediately turned to the family of mirrorless cameras out there for an answer.

Of these, there is no shortage. You have the awesome Sony NEX-6, which I’ve raved about in the past. There’s also the Sony RX-1, the Panasonic GF3C, the Fuji X-Pro1, and the subject of this article, the Olympus OM-D E-M5.

Olympus OM-D

Olympus OM-D

I’ve had the Olympus OM-D E-M5 for the past few weeks now, and have been using it as my primary “take everywhere” camera. It’s small size, lens selection, and great image quality combine to provide a system that’s flat-out my favorite in this category. In this article, I’ll present my experience shooting with this little thing, rather than a full-on technical review.

(more…)