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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.

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.

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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 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.

The Best Lenses for Night Photography: A Case for Rokinon Primes

Gear Talk

David Kingham is a landscape photographer who focuses (pun intended?) on the night sky. He set out to find the best astrophotography and night photography lenses for their price point. Discover why Rokinon lenses may transform how you shoot.

The Best Lenses for Night Photography

by David Kingham

Prime vs Zoom

What do you want in a lens for night photography? The most important factor is how much light a lens will let in so that we can shoot at lower ISOs– this means apertures of f/2.8 or greater (f/1.4 being preferred). Most zoom lenses only go to f/2.8 and, while they are perfectly okay for night photography, they are not the ultimate lenses to use.

Enter the prime lens! A prime lens is a fixed-focal-length lens that is designed to have much larger apertures. If you have looked into the major manufacturers’ primes (Nikon, Canon, Zeiss) you may be thinking I’m crazy right now because they are expensive (unless, of course, you rent them)! I went on a search for lenses with the ultimate quality-to-price ratio.

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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.

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