With autumn upon us, daylight hours are fewer and further between. I don’t stop shooting (later sunrises mean I can actually drag myself out of bed at a better hour), but I do take more time to catch up on my reading. Accordingly, I spend some time to put together a list of the best photography books that I want to go through each year and will bring you reviews of the ones I liked the most.
My (virtual) bookshelf is full of titles I’ve read or plan to read for reviewing or for personal edification. Some, like Brian Smith’s book on portraiture, which I reviewed earlier this week, are for personal edification and review. Some, like Light, Science, and Magic, are on there because the subject matter is of interest. And some are on there because I’ll read even an obituary by one of these authors.
Authors like Joe McNally, for example, whose books like Sketching Light and The Moment it Clicks make for fantastic and entertaining reading. Others write books so chock full of information that they become indispensable reference material that I find myself going to pretty often. My friend Syl Arena is an author and teacher who falls into the latter category, and his latest book, Lighting for Digital Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots is something that I think should be more appropriately titled “Light: The Missing Manual”.
While we receive many notes of thanks (and sometimes even small gifts) back with our rentals, every so often we receive something that knocks our socks off. We received this letter back with a Canon 24-105 lens.
I am returning this Canon EF 24-105L lens, that you so crueley numbered 20033064. I’ll have you know that this number to you has a name, and his name is Jack. Jack arrived on my doorstep Sept. 27th. I was so excited to meet my new friend. Little did I know we would soon become more. I told Jack we were going to Disney World! He was so excited, he’d been so many places and had heard other lenses and cameras talk of Disney. On October 1st, we arrived and instantly Jack showed me how happy he was. I didn’t have too high of hopes, I thought “maybe I’ll get a few nicer pictures.” He surpassed all expectations. My images were so clear and sharp, such detail. Where have you been all my life Jack?! (Oh, that’s right, cooped up in your backroom! Shame!) I took Jack to more and more parks, he saw shows, rides, animals, and foods he’d never seen before. I was rewarded with pictures I’d never seen my T1i take before. It was inevitable… We fell in love. The 12th came and I couldn’t let him go! Just a few more days! And now it’s over, I want you to know, you may have his body, but he left his soul in my pictures! YOU CAN’T TAKE THAT AWAY! WHAT WE HAVE IS TRUE AND NO DISTANCE CAN CHANGE THAT!!! SHAME ON YOU FOR BREAKING UP TRUE LOVE! =( I’LL NEVER FORGET YOU JACK!!! <3, Felicia
As we received this letter in our warehouse, we felt compelled to make a change. This lens was special to Felicia and helped to provide some amazing photos and memories for her and her family. We made a change in our systems so that this Canon 24-105 lens would not longer be “#20033064”, but instead go by “JACK” in our systems.
Welcome home JACK. What’s your next adventure going to be like?
Update: JACK found a forever home with a loving photographer in 2014.
This is the conclusion of a 5-part series on an experimental switch from Canon to Nikon.
I guess the big question on everyone’s mind is, “Did you switch or not?” Well, read on, gentle reader.
Portrait photography isn’t easy. Anyone can point a camera at a person and make a quick image. If you’re technically accomplished, you can even get your lighting spot-on and make a great-looking photograph.
But the best portraits have an intangible quality to them that sets them apart. They have soul, that most overused yet accurate of words when it comes to describing photography. They speak to an innate part of the subject’s character, allowing the viewer to see not just what that subject looks like, but also what he or she is feeling and thinking.
Brian Smith is one of those photographers who can pull this off, and do so with applomb. He is perhaps one of the most accomplished portrait artists working today, and his portfolio, which drips with celebrities ranging from Anne Hathaway to Richard Branson and then some, attests to that accomplishment.
So it’s always with a lot of eagerness that I look forward to any kind of information – a book, video tutorial, whatever – from an artist like Brian. Fortunately for us, he has delivered a book on the subject of portrait photography, and what a whopper of a book it is.
This is how the life of a photographer goes sometimes. You’re driving home on Highway 13, right around dusk. You glance off to your left and note that the moon, at an 8% crescent is going to set shortly, and it’s probably going to do so right behind the San Francisco skyline.
So what do you do? Well, if you’re me, you step on it and race for Grizzly Peak Road, a scenic, meandering two-lane stretch of tarmac that winds through the hills above Oakland and Berkeley while offering some spectacular views of the Bay Area, including the Bay Bridge, the San Francisco skyline, Oakland, Berkeley, and sometimes, the Golden Gate Bridge, too.
This is Part IV of a series on moving from an all-Canon setup to an all-Nikon setup for four weeks. Will I go back to Canon at the end of four weeks? I have no idea…
On this edition of “The Switch”, I took a brief sojourn back to Canonland with the 5D Mark III and a gaggle of Canon lenses.
One of the newest lighting kits we have here at BorrowLenses is the Celeb 200 DMX LED from Kino Flo. The Celeb features 100 watts of lustrous, soft white light, which can be programmed to display a range between 2700K to 5500K, without changing the light output. Perfect for videography and filming with a warm or cool lighting tone without having to make color temperature edits in post-processing. It also features a DMX lighting connection to be used with control boxes for video and stage productions.
One of our resident portrait photographer, Alex 2.0, took it for a shoot recently and let us know her impressions.
The world of fashion photography is an insular one, and newcomers to this field are often left floundering in more ways than one. From the basics of technique, to simple advice on how to break into the field, working with models, and managing and handling a business, aspiring fashion photographers often lack a decent starting point.
Natural Proportions for Architecture
The new Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Distagon T* ZE for Canon is an ultrasharp, full frame lens that controls distortion much better than its other ultrawide peers. The natural proportions of this lens, despite its angle-of-view, lends itself well to architecture photographers. The relatively close focus of 0.25m (10”) also makes this lens a great option for those shooting in tight spaces, particularly party and wedding photographers.
Finally a Filter for a 15!
In comparison to similarly wide lenses, the consensus so far is that the Zeiss 15mm outperforms the best of them in terms of sharpness and distortion control. Another advantage of the Zeiss 15mm over the Canon 15mm Fisheye, the 8-15mm, or the 14mm is that this lens comes with a front threaded filter ring that accepts a 95mm filter. This, and the built-in metal hood, provide more protection for the bulbous glass that is natural for a lens of this focal length. The large front element makes this one of the largest wide angle primes we have in inventory.
Full Frame and (almost) Full F-Stop
While this lens is designed for full frame cameras, it can still be used on crop sensor cameras–your angle-of-view being the equivalent of a 24mm on a 1.6x crop camera, such as the Canon 60D or the 7D. At f/2.8, this lens is handy in lower light situations and stops all the way down to f/22. With a 9-blade diaphragm, the Zeiss 15mm produces smooth bokeh that is very surprising on a lens this wide. read more…
This is Part III of a series on moving from an all-Canon setup to an all-Nikon setup for four weeks. Will I go back to Canon at the end of four weeks? I have no idea…
In this part, I’m going to focus on just one thing: Nikon’s external flash system.
This is Part II of a series on moving from an all-Canon setup to an all-Nikon setup for four weeks. Will I go back to Canon at the end of four weeks? I have no idea…
I’ve had the D800 for about 2 weeks now, and have shot with it in the studio, out in the Marin Headlands, and a variety of other spots. In this article, I’ll focus on my initial experiences with the Nikon setup, a few of the challenges I faced, and some observations along the way. read more…
This is a quick ‘n dirty post that’s part of my “Switch” series. Part 1 of the series can be found here.
I was in the studio, working on a quick lighting test. The subject was a violin positioned on a tall chair, and I was moving in and out, shooting the whole thing, then switching to some detail work. I had two SB-910′s on stands, with gels and, occasionally, a Lastolite Ezybox Hotshoe on one of them.
The SB-910 shining on it has the aforementioned Lastolite softbox on it, as well as a chocolate gel. There is absolutely no post-production on the shot.
I am really, really liking the tones coming off that Nikon. They are, in a word, luscious.
What blew me away was when I zoomed in at 100% to look at the object in focus, the second knob from the left. Click on the image below to embiggen; the smaller size won’t show you what I’m talking about.
Wow. I mean, yeah, I’m going to have to repeat this experiment with a Canon 5D Mark III and the famed 100mm f/2.8L macro as well, but, well, wow.
I’ve always known that this would a rough experiment. I knew I’d have my preconceptions challenged. I guess I was hoping it wouldn’t be this hard.