Monday, November 29, 2010


I couldn't help but laugh at this photo from 2009 that I took in New York City.  I found it when I was going back through my archives looking for something this weekend. 

I remember when it only used to cost 25 cents to light a candle in St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City when I was a kid.  Now it costs two dollars!  Yikes!

Inflation hits everywhere!  :-)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The genius of editing photos (even JPEG's!) in Adobe Camera Raw

If you own one of the versions of Photoshop CS then you also own Adobe Camera Raw, which is Adobe's editor for photos shot in Raw format.  Did you know that you can edit other photo formats (i.e., TIFF, JPEG) in Camera Raw as well?  I've known this for a long time, but I only recently spent the time to seriously try it out. 

I'm here to say that using Camera Raw for quick (yet sophisticated!) corrections to your photos is fantastic.  Significantly complicated photo editing jobs will still be done easier in Photoshop, but for most touch-up editing Camera Raw is great.

First thing, if you're considering trying this then buy this book:  "Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS4" (or the newer version if you have CS5).  It's a terrific book that walks you through everything you need to know about Camera Raw and how to get the most out of it with photo examples and easily understandable text.  It's a must read for editing photos in Camera Raw.

The premise of my post here is to get the point across that making certain types of adjustments in Photoshop can be a chore, especially when dealing with layers, layer masks, etc.  Quite simply, this is because Photoshop is more than just a photo's also a graphic design tool....which means there are a lot of options and tools in there for graphic design that clutter up the interface and functionality when you want to perform photography tasks.

Software companies like Adobe and Apple realize this, which is precisely what gave birth to photo-centric editing software like Adobe Lightroom and Apple Aperture.  These are sophisticated pieces of software geared toward editing photos and only editing photos.  The tools you need are presented in an easy to use way that supports a streamlined workflow.

What a lot of people don't realize about Camera Raw is that the processing engine and tools in it largely form the basis of the editing capabilities in Adobe Lightroom.  Knowing this, you can now realize that you have a great photo editing tool at your fingertips in Camera Raw that you probably don't use often because everyone focuses so much on Photoshop.

To get a JPEG photo opened in Camera Raw on Photoshop for Windows, go into File, Open As.  Then go to the folder path and find the image you want to open.  Click it, select "Camera Raw" in the open as dialog box below, and click 'Open'.  Your image should open in Camera Raw.

Or, if you want to automatically open all JPEG's in Camera Raw (which I've just configured my Photoshop CS4 to do), then just follow the three easy steps at this link.

This post is not meant to be a "how to edit your photo in Camera Raw" article.  That's what the book above is for and I certainly can't duplicate the book in this post.  But as you can see from looking within the Camera Raw editing window that you opened, you have a large set of photo-centric tools located on the right side of the screen that are very powerful and effective.

On the top of the editing window you can see two tools called "Targeted Adjustment Tool" and "Adjustment Brush".  The usefulness and power of just these two tools alone are worth editing your photos in Camera Raw, but when you also consider some of the other tools like Parametric Curves, Vibrance, Graduated Filter, and Clarity.....using Camera Raw to touch up your photos becomes a no-brainer.  In particular, the way the Adjustment Brush automatically creates layers with pins to identify them is terrific!  You can literally paint your corrections onto your photo and modify them at any time.  Brilliant!  All of these features are also available in Lightroom.

As I said above, if you need to do really complex photo fixes (like complicated photo retouching), then Photoshop is still the way to go.  But for most edits to your photos, I would bet that you can do them easier and with higher quality in Camera Raw than you can in Photoshop.

Try it!  You might never go back!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Some gerbils, a Canon 7D....and a photo shoot?!

Cheerio (left) and Charley (right)
Well, maybe not exactly a photo shoot.  More like my morning coffee with the boys hopping around the couch to have their fun for the day!  Only the 7D and me with two cups of coffee can keep up with them!

I've been trying to grab a few more photos of the little guys recently.  I was pretty busy in October and November (and I was also sick for a few weeks), so I wasn't taking a lot of photos.  I decided to try and get some nice pictures of them a few weeks ago.

Both of them are doing well.  Their personalities have now fully exposed themselves since they're getting a little older.  Charley has remained reserved and cautious, but still very curious.  Cheerio went from being fairly normal to being pretty nutty.  In fact, he's almost like two different gerbils.  During the day he's his normal bouncy, energetic, overly curious self.   But it's the weirdest thing....When the sun goes down, he turns into a total nut!  When we take the lid off the cage at night he jumps right onto the edge of the tank and waits to be taken out.  When he's out, he's very jumpy and overly energetic, almost to the point where we've had to stop taking him out at night because he's too hyper and we don't want to have an accident.  We'll see how this develops over the next few months.  Maybe he'll settle down...

Speaking of accidents...I have quite the story to share here.  Back in October, Charley got a broken tooth and a cold.  Seeing that the cold wasn't going away and he wasn't eating normally because of his tooth (and was losing weight quickly), I decided to take him to the vet.  I wasn't quite sure what else to do about it because he wasn't getting better and I certainly didn't want the little guy to die.

When I brought him in to be checked, the vet who I met with gave me medicine for his cold (which has long since cleared up) and a pain killer so he wouldn't feel pain when he tried to eat while his tooth grows back.  Thankfully, the tooth has indeed grown back.

I was satisfied with this portion of my visit to the vet because the issues of the cold and the tooth were resolved and treated properly.  However, something much more significant occurred that was very strange.

When Charley was brought back out to the front of the office after his examination, I noticed that he had a very bad limp on his left rear leg and he wasn’t stepping on his foot at all.  It’s important to note that he was showing absolutely no signs of pain or limping prior to me bringing him into the vet.  In fact, before I left the house to go there, he was running vigorously on his exercise wheel and he was being handled and walking with no limp.

When I questioned the vet about why he was suddenly limping after his examination, she said to me that occasionally gerbils and other small animals could have a pre-existing broken bone in their body from a fall and they hide the pain from it.  She said the act of a vet then handling this animal would irritate the injury to the point that the animal would be in severe pain and would then begin to limp.

This sounded odd to me, so I questioned the vet on this and said that it sounded completely absurd to me that an animal could have a broken bone and be running on a wheel and being handled daily without showing any signs of pain or injury whatsoever.  He’s out of his cage playing an average of an hour every day and showed no signs of a problem.  She insisted that it must be a pre-existing break, and since I felt horrible for this little animal, I told her to go ahead with the x-ray that she was suggesting just to confirm a break.

Cheerio (a Giants fan!)
After the x-ray, the vet came out and told me that Charley did indeed have a broken leg.  Still finding these circumstances unbelievable, I told her to go ahead and splint it up because the poor little guy was now limping terribly.

Shortly after this all happened, I spoke with two other vets and received feedback from many gerbil breeders who all said that it’s extremely unlikely that Charley had a pre-existing broken bone and was showing no signs of pain or injury at all.  In fact, when I told one of them that he was running on a wheel shortly before this disaster, he said it seemed extremely strange to him that Charley would be able to do that with a broken leg.

To make a long story somewhat shorter, I had a discussion with the vet and told her that I brought a gerbil with no leg pain and no leg injury into her office and I left with a huge bill and an animal with a broken leg.  I can’t say what happened in the examination room that might have caused this, but something happened.

The vet denied any wrong doing and stuck with her original response that he had a broken leg when he came in.  I was pretty angry at this point and asked for my money back for the portion of my bill related to the broken leg.  There was no way she was going to give it to me because that would be admitting guilt.  She did, however, offer to waive her fees if I wanted to bring him back in three weeks to see how he was doing.  Yeah, I'll go back there (he says sarcastically).....

Charley, about to get pounced by his brother!
The moral of the story for pet owners:  Find a vet who will let you go back into the examination room with your animal when you bring them in.  This vet had a policy that the owner could not come into the back during the exam.  I will never do that again, because had I been there, I probably would have seen what happened to Charley.

To end the story on a positive note....Most people I spoke with said that Charley didn't need the splint that the doctor put on (which is good, because he chewed it off anyway) and that his leg would heal fine on its own in a few weeks and he would lead a pain free normal life.  That's exactly what happened.  He's walking perfectly and showing no signs of pain at all.

Cheerio (notice his smile for the picture!)
So it was a pretty traumatic few weeks for my daughter's little gerbil, but she's happy that he's better now and back to his old self.  All's well that ends well....

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Photo Carousel #6: "Azure Moonrise"

"Azure Moonrise"
It was a great moonrise here in New York last night.  Cool, crisp, clean air and a full moon.  This is my sixth Photo Carousel entry.

I've taken various pictures of the moon over the years that have come out nice enough to wet my appetite to try astrophotography, but there's such a huge investment in equipment required to do it that I never get around to actually committing to it.  There are many other financial priorities around my eating! Maybe some day.... 

In the mean time, if you want to see some great deep space photos by a guy named Howard Cox, check out this link to some of his photos on the web site.

This type of moon shot is simple from a technical perspective.  Here are some tips:
  1. Always shoot in the time between sunset and total darkness so that you pick up the remaining blue in the sky.  A moon picture with a totally black sky is boring....unless of course that's what you're intentionally trying to do for some other reason.
  2. Expose for the moon.  You don't want it to be too dark or too light in your finished photo because it's your subject.  Let the exposure for everything else fall wherever it does, but get the moon exposed properly.
  3. Use a long focal length.  This was shot on my Canon 7D with the equivalent of about 385mm on a 35mm body.  
  4. Use a tripod.  If you're using image stabilized lenses, shut off the IS feature when you're using a tripod.
  5. Use a remote release or your camera's timer to trip the shutter to minimize camera vibration. 
  6. Use a shutter speed of around 1/200 (to prevent motion blur in the moon) and aperture of at least f/8 (to maximize image quality) and also ensure that you have enough depth of field to keep your foreground elements in focus.
  7. Use a foreground element (and keep it in focus!) to add more interest to your photo.
  8. Shoot in Raw format if your camera supports it.  It will provide you with the highest image quality.
For this composition, I used the arc of the tree branches to keep the viewer's eye from leaving the frame and also to create a little spot to put the moon in.  I chose this composition based on the simple rule-of-thirds principle because it suited this photo just fine.  This setup clearly places the moon as the center of attention. 

Try some moon'll get a kick out of it.  If you do the above steps properly and you're shooting with high quality equipment (and a lens of at least 400mm), you can actually view your photos quite large on your computer monitor and see a lot of detail on the moon's surface.  My kids were blown away when I showed them the detail on the moon's surface in one of my enlarged photos.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Why are my glasses coming out of the dishwasher with a white film on them???

This definitely falls into the "Random thoughts" section of my blog, but I figured I would post it here because I'm sure many people are wondering the same thing...

Recently my wife and I noticed that all of our glasses are coming out of the dishwasher with a white residue on them.  You can wipe doesn't come off.  You can re-wash doesn't come off.

This residue started appearing all of a sudden.  I checked the dishwasher for clogs, and there were none.  I checked that water was spraying properly during the wash and rinse cycles.  It was.  What the hell???

I started to think it had something to do with our well water because we had a bad drought in New York this summer and I thought maybe it changed the chemistry of the water or something.  I was just about to call in the well company to test it (at great expense!) when I saw the reason for this situation on the news.

All dishwasher detergent manufacturers in the U.S. were required to remove phosphates from their detergents in July, 2010 (which is right around when our problem showed up).  You can read about it on this link at the Cascade web site

I checked this out and learned that the absence of phosphates in the dishwasher detergent is what's causing the white clouding on the glasses.  I don't yet know what can be done about it to get (and keep!) the white film off the glasses, but at least I know it's not a problem with the water or the dishwasher.

Good luck with this one!  I think we'll have to wait until the manufacturers come up with some equivalent natural ingredient to phosphates to get the dishes to come out without this film.

Moral of the story:  Don't call a repairman.  Your dishwasher is not broken...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Photo Carousel #5: "Molten Sunset"

"Molten Sunset"
This is the fifth entry in my Photo Carousel series.  I call it "Molten Sunset" because it looks to me like someone dumped out a bucket of sunlight in the center of the frame and it's spreading across the sky.

This was one of the most impressive sunsets that I've seen in quite some time.  The pictures that I took in the other direction behind me were even more impressive from a color perspective, but this shot had the dramatic clouds in it so this is the one I chose to post.

I had just finished hiking to the top of a local mountain with my daughter and everything started to slowly glow yellow and orange.  The glow was unusually intense in both its brightness and the depth of color.  Seeing the low and diverse clouds, I knew that we might be in for something special.

My goals for this photo were simple:
  1. Emphasize the clouds, especially the burning center section and the wispy one in the upper left corner.
  2. Get the photo composed and exposed correctly in the camera to minimize any degrading effects of post-processing later.  I knew this shot would push the sensor in the Canon S95 hard.
From a compositional perspective, I didn't want to let the distant mountain range go to total black at the bottom of the frame but I had no choice.  To me, this was an acceptable compromise in order to get the clouds exposed properly.  I composed the burning sun area a little off center to make the photo more interesting.

From the technical side, I used evaluative metering and bracketed the exposure at -1/3, metered, and +1/3 and picked the best shot.  I took many different scenes of this sunset and the -1/3 shots were always the best because the colors were more saturated.  White balance was set to 'Cloudy'.

I consider this image a nice success because (in my humble opinion) I satisfied my two goals above and walked away with a nice keeper.  At the same time, I enjoyed the time with my daughter as we shared these moments together watching a sunset that was memorable to me even after all of them that I've seen, and for her it was probably her first truly amazing sunset.

Monday, November 15, 2010

How will Canon answer....and when?

A thought of the day...

Competition is a good thing.  In business, in sports, etc, it drives innovation and performance.

This being said, I hope Canon has some tricks up their sleeves...and soon...or they're going to get clobbered, again.

The first time they got clobbered was back in 2007/2008 with the release of the Nikon D3, D700, and D300 in close timing with each other.  This came after Canon led the DSLR revolution for almost ten years.  If Canon knew this onslaught from Nikon was coming then they didn't show it because they really had no match for these new cameras from Nikon.  The good thing was that at least partially out of that competition eventually the Canon 7D was born, which I believe was Canon's first truly innovative camera in quite some time.

Now we have the release of the Nikon D7000 and the Sony Alpha A33 and A55, all of which have full time auto focus during video shooting, a major shortcoming of all the current Canon DSLR's that offer high definition video as an option.  Other manufacturers will certainly follow this full time auto focus trend (if they too can figure out a unique way to do it), and Canon better be one of them.

Having shot video on a Canon 7D DSLR for some time now, I have to say that the lack of auto focus during video shooting is a big operational burden that limits the use of the Canon DSLR video technology for the average photographer.  I really didn't think that not having video auto focus would be that big of a deal in actual casual use, but it absolutely is a big deal.

I've seen people come up with follow-focus devices to handle focusing, but let's be realistic....the average person is never going to get and use one of these devices for vacation, travel, and family video clips.  Auto focus is a practical and real need for casual DSLR video shooters.

The new 60D was an opportunity for Canon to introduce this technology in their camera line and they didn't do it, so clearly they don't have it ready yet.  Will the eventual 8D or 5D MkIII have it?  Who knows...but for their own good and the good of Canon shooters everywhere, this video shooting advancement by Nikon and Sony cannot go unanswered.  We want full time video auto focus!

Which brings me to my point.....Canon knows all of this.  They used to be the leader with these types of things and now they're becoming a follower.  Who would have thought that Sony, which has hardly been an innovator of late with anything in their electronics lineup, would be the one to get full time video auto focus out there first in this class of camera.  Wasn't it Sony that completely missed the portable digital music craze and still aren't in on it?!  A market, which by the way, they invented with the original analog Walkman!  They've fallen behind in TV technology, hand held gaming, etc.  And here they are besting Canon in an area like this?

What's going on here Canon.....Give us what we want and need!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Canon S95 - It's a miracle!

UPDATE on 9/19/2011:  Since I originally wrote the post below, Canon has now announced the successor to the venerable S95, which is called the S100.  You can read about it at this link.  From what I've read so far about the S100, everything that I wrote about the S95 below is still accurate, except the S100 is better in many regards.

Original post:

OK, maybe not a miracle, but this is one darn good camera!  Read on below to see why...

There are many reviews of the S95 on the internet, so it's not my goal to provide detailed technical analysis of image quality at 100% viewing or an exhaustive feature breakdown of the camera.  All of that information about the S95 is already available at the great links/reviews that I've added at the bottom of this post so there's no need to repeat it here.  I'm all about efficiency!  :-)

My goal here is to present some real-world feedback on how this camera works, how the images look, and why it's such a great pocket camera.


I primarily shoot with a Canon 7D and a variety of lenses.  The 7D is a big camera, and there are certainly times when I can't (or don't want to) lug my SLR rig around with me and that's when a good pocket camera is an essential thing to have.

My problem is that not shooting with my 7D has always been a disappointment for me because my old pocket camera simply doesn't have anywhere near the image quality of the 7D.  So when I would go out shooting with my old pocket camera, I always regretted it.  Therefore...   

I've been in the market for a new pocket camera for a long time.  I've been shooting with a Canon SD850 for several years, but the photo quality just isn't 't good enough for me (especially in low light), so I've been on the hunt looking at all of the current options available in this very rapidly changing (and improving!) segment of the camera market.

What I Wanted

Camera manufacturers have taken many divergent paths trying to satisfy the different needs of the compact camera market.  Many people want many different things out of small cameras.  We have true pocket cameras, Micro 4/3 cameras, large compact cameras (Canon G12, Nikon P7000, etc), and so on.  

What was most important to me in my shopping for a new pocket camera were the following:
  1. Very high image quality.  I wouldn't accept the poor low light and poor high ISO images from the old pocket cameras...

  2. Small size.  I wanted a true pocket camera, meaning one that I can easily slide into a shirt or pants pocket without me having to rip the seams on my pants to do it!

  3. Manual control and good user design.  I have to be able to take control of the camera when I want to and it has to be easy to do it.  This is something from the SLR-world that I wouldn't be willing to completely give up when using a pocket camera.
Everything else on top of these three main goals is icing on the cake, but these three were must-haves.

After doing exhaustive research about possible cameras, my decision seemed to be quickly coming down to the Canon S95 and the Panasonic LX5.  The older Canon S90 and Panasonic LX3 were direct competitors as well.

Both of these cameras are supposed to be fairly close in image quality, so I immediately kicked the LX5 off my list because of its slightly larger size.  It's just a little too big to slide into a pants or shirt pocket and as I mentioned above this is one of my key criteria, so the LX5 was out.  That satisfied the goal of small size.

I went to the store and shot some test images with the S95 at all ISO's and started to review them.  I was very pleasantly surprised.  The quality of the images looked great, and the noise levels at higher ISO's were low, especially in low light if properly exposed, and especially compared to my old Canon pocket camera from three years ago.  Seeing this, the goal of very high image quality was satisfied.

Then I started pressing buttons and finding my way around the most important and often used features of the camera.  This is where the S95 truly shines.  This camera is EXTREMELY well designed and easy to use.  Along with the standard "My Menu" option now available on most Canon cameras, the user has several ways to change the user interface to work more effectively and efficiently for them.  It's easy to get to and use the features that you need most often.

Most important and unique to the S95 is the control ring around the lens.  This ring can be set up to control a variety of functions within each shooting mode and this goes a long way toward making the control of the S95 a little bit more SLR-like.  You don't realize the true usability of this little ring until you try it.  Having it there keeps me out of the menu system for basic changes in any of the shooting modes because I can adjust key camera parameters with a spin of the ring.  Combining this with the control ring on the back of the S95 gives the camera a mini SLR-like feel.  Spin this, spin that, the adjustments are made.  No need to dive into menus for basic adjustments.  Fantastic!

The S95 has a mode dial on top that has all of the typical SLR shooting modes (Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Program, Auto, Manual, one Custom mode, etc).  This was key for me.  I need to have the capability to manually control the camera because in certain situations (e.g., tricky or difficult lighting) I want to make the decisions about what the camera is doing to have better control over the creative aspects of my photography....I don't want the camera to do it.  Having all of these controls at my fingertips (and relatively easy to use considering the small size of this camera) satisfied the goal of manual control and good user design.

Beyond me mentioning these key control aspects of the S95, if you want to get a true understanding of all the useful features that truly make it a pleasure to use, I recommend downloading the manual from this link and reading it.  It clearly outlines every feature of the S95 better than I can do (i.e., Hybrid Image Stabilization, Auto Exposure Bracketing, Focusing modes, High def movies, stereo sound, shooting in Raw, etc).  There is no reason for me to re-state it all here.  Read it from the source....Canon.

What's Not Right

Of course, no camera is perfect.  As much as I like the S95, there are three minor things that I want to mention here but they're ultimately not big issues.
  1. Battery life seems short.  It's probably best to get a spare battery to carry with you if you're going to be out all day doing a lot of shooting.  This isn't a big deal since a spare NB-6L battery is only about $25.

  2. I don't like where Canon put the hook loop for the neck/wrist strap on the S95.  They put one strap hook loop on each corner of the top of the camera.  The problem is that this puts the strap in your way a little bit if you're making certain adjustments while shooting.  This is not the biggest deal in the world because you quickly get the hang of keeping it out of your way, but I don't see why Canon didn't just leave the strap hook on the side of the camera body like they do with their SD line of compacts.  This would keep the strap out of your way completely.

  3. The control ring on the back of the camera turns much too easily.  It should have a more definitive and resistant 'click' to it to avoid accidentally changing your exposure compensation setting when the camera is left turned on and hanging around your neck.  This is probably the most significant of these three flaws listed here because this has the potential to impact your photos if you don't happen to notice that you've changed your settings accidentally.

    UPDATE on 11/13/10:  After I posted this #3 comment the other day, I happened to be back in BestBuy shopping for something else today.  I tried the control rings on the back of some Nikon and Olympus pocket cameras and they all do this same thing.  They're all much too easy to change by accident, so it's not just the Canon S95 that has this issue.  All of the manufacturers need to make their back control rings a little more resistant to accidental turning...   

In Summary 

There's no doubt about the fact that the price of the S95 is high for a pocket camera, but high end compacts from all the manufacturers are pricey.  At the end of the day the reality of the situation is that if you want the highest quality images possible in a truly pocketable camera, then you have to pay to play and the manufacturers know it.  This being said, in my opinion the S95 is the camera to get for the purposes that I've outlined above. 

It's important to close this review echoing a comment that I made above.  I have never been a true fan of pocket cameras.  Using pocket cameras has traditionally involved too much sacrifice in the area of image quality for me to consider them as a serious option to my SLR.  This is not the case with the Canon S95.  This is a pocket camera that I'm comfortable recommending to anyone who wants a small camera with great image quality. 

Is the S95 a replacement for the high image quality and performance that you'll get with a Canon 7D or any other DSLR?  No, and it's not meant to be.  It's meant to be a great compact camera, and in the end that's what it is.  The S95 meets my three criteria of high image quality, it can easily fit into a pocket, and it offers the right amount of manual control and good user design.  What more could I ask for?!  It was time to buy!

Here are some links to some other great reviews and information on the Canon S95.  I'm posting them here because they quite frankly go into more detail than I do and they're all worthy of a read:
  1. Canon USA S95 site
  2. Canon Professional Network S95 information 
  3. DPReview overview of the S95 
  4. DPReview comparison review of S95, Panasonic LX5, and Nikon P7000
  5. InfoSync World S95 review 
  6. The Online Photographer S95 review
  7. Imaging Resource S95 review
  8. The Photography Blog S95 review
  9. Ken Rockwell Canon S95 review

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Joe McNally - Mistakes!

I just read a funny post on Joe McNally's blog called "Mistakes".  I'm sure at one time or another many of us have done or felt these things.  Joe's comments on them are humorous.

What really rung true for me in his post is something that I will be focusing on here in my blog in my Pathways series, which is improving your technical and creative skills to get better shots straight out of your camera so you can spend less time screwing around in photo editing software.

Specifically, one thing Joe said was, "Get it right in the camera, don’t say I’ll fix that later. Photoshop is not an emergency room for grievously wounded pictures. Work hard in the field to master the camera, the lens and the techniques of shooting. Unless you like being a mushroom, sitting in your dark basement in front of a glowing screen for hours on end, trying to take the exposure from frame 101, the composition from frame 209, the expression from frame 333, and also eliminate the tree branch growing out of the bride’s elaborate hairdo that she spent a lot of money on. If it looks like a problem, it is. In other words, if you see something in your lcd that is bothersome, it won’t go away, it will just become more bothersome when you look at it on your home computer". 

The other key thought of Joe's which I echoed here in my post called "Close to Home" is:  "Don’t think all the good pictures in the world live in Bali, or Antarctica. There are good pictures right under your nose. Shoot what and who you love. And shoot that which is easily accessible to you. If you constantly think you have to climb mountains or jump out of airplanes to get good pictures, it will become an impossible chore to pick up your camera".

Get out and shoot....whatever you like....and learn how to do it right so that you can enjoy photography more and end up working on your photos less.  Enjoy! 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Close To Home

In this post from this blog a while back and this post that I put up here about local photography, I mentioned that I occasionally get stuck in a creativity rut when shooting locally.  Then I stumble across some great subject matter that pulls me out of it and I again appreciate the photo opportunities that are right in my own area.

It's easy to think that the grass is always greener for the photographers who are lucky enough to have easy daily access to really great photo opportunities like the National Parks, spectacular cities and coastlines, etc.  I don't have easy access to those things without traveling a bit.  But you know what?  Sometimes you just have to make the best of what you have and free your shooting eye to seeing the possibilities all around your own area.

Nothing has said this better recently than this great little eBook that I just read called "Close To Home:  Finding Great Photographs In Your Own Backyard".  The eBook is only $5 in PDF format and it's filled with really compelling and motivational viewpoints from the author (Stuart Sipahigil) about finding inspiration and shooting in your home town .  In addition to that, the book is filled with Stuart's great looking full color photos.

This book is worth the price just to set your head straight when approaching shooting in your local area.  The great pictures and personal insight from Stuart are the icing on the cake.  Highly recommended!

And while you're at it, you might want to check out the other small and very reasonably priced eBooks from Craft & Vision.  I think they're all $5 each, and if Stuart's book is any indication of the quality, then they're probably all good.  Enjoy!