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November 27, 2006

Podcast #8 Show Notes

podcaster_50.jpgTonight I talk about a mistake I recently made and how I’m making sure it never happens again. Also we go through my camera bag and see what’s in there and if it’s really a bag or not.

In the opening I said I was going to play a promo for another podcast that I listen to, but my podcast started getting a little long. So here's a link to the promo

Advent Calendar Promo

Other links related to tonight's podcast:

Canon DSLS Cameras and lenses
Pelican Cases
My Case
Sensor Swabs, Eclipse Solution, Pec Pads, Etc.
White Balance Card
Bogen Manfrotto Tripods and Heads
Bogen 3001 Tripod
Bogen 3030 Tripod Head
Giottos Rocket Blower

As always, please email me at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or show ideas.

A Week Off

I took a week off from the Podcast. I'll be posting a new one tonight or tomorrow night.

I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving holiday.


November 20, 2006

Photo Tip for after the shoot

Here's a chance for you to learn from my mistake.

I was out shooting last Thursday night at my local airport just to work on my low light (or no light) technique. I was shooting with my Canon 30D and my 100-400mm IS L lens which is not what we call a fast lens (f/5.6 @ 400mm). So I set my camer on aperture priority (Av) mode and cranked it all the way open to f5.6. Then I took a bunch of test shots at various ISO settings until I was able to get a shutter speed fast enough to hand hold and get a decent shot. I ended up at ISO 1600 that night. I managed to get a few decent shots but not too many so I called it quits and headed home.

So, this weekend I went out to shoot a university level water polo tournament with the same body and lens. The light was not fantastic so I figured I'd better shoot in aperture priority, wide open to get my shutter speed up to the point where I can stop the action.

I turned on the camera and saw that it was already in Av mode and it was already wide open. So, of course I started shooting. I was getting amazing shutter speeds, up to about 1/2500 ... I was amazed.

So to make a long story short I shot for the better part of the day in Av mode with my ISO still set to 1600 from several nights ago! I never even thought to check my ISO, my brain was so into the sports shooting mode that I forgot the camera and concentrated on the action.

So to prevent this from ever happening again I've made a rule for myself. When I'm done shooting for the day I will:
1. Put the camera in Av mode and set the aperture to f/8 and ISO 100
2. Put the camera in Tv mode and set the shutter to 1/640th (a good setting for my 100-400mm IS L) and ISO 100
3. Put the camera in M mode and set the shutter to 1/640th, the aperture to f/8 and ISO to 100

This way if I ever get a case of happy finger and start shooting without checking all my settings again I'll have a decent chance of good results.

The good news is that the EOS 30D does a pretty good job at high ISOs and the photos are not nearly as noisy as I thought they would be. And half way through the day I feared I would run out of CF cards so I switched from Av mode (shooting RAW) to the "Sports" image mode (shooting JPG) which got me out of the ISO 1600 mess. A few photos ended up in the bit bin, but most of the 1500 images from that day were OK.

Technorati Tags: Digital Photography, Allen Rockwell,

November 18, 2006

You never know....

I went to Palm Springs Airport in the evening several days ago and shot about 100 exposures, experimenting with lots of differnent exposure settings, panning techniques, etc. I threw all the shots in the bit bin except for one. I was not too thrilled with the one I saved but I thought I'd post it to flicker anyways. And to my surprise a few people have commented that they like the image.

I think it goes to show that as photographers sometimes we are way too critical of our work. Sometimes we just need to have the courage to put it out there and see what happens.

(click the image to see it bigger on flickr)

November 15, 2006

Old Houses In Monrovia

pinkhouse.jpgToday I was in Van Nuys on business ... on my way home I stopped in Monrovia, the town I used to live in before I moved out to the desert. Monrovia has some very beautiful old homes in very nice condition .... if I won the lottery I could afford one :)

Anyways, after stopping at my old hangout, Starbucks, and seeing my old pal Chris I drive around a bit and took some pictures of old houses.

These photos are all taken on a tripod and created from 3 exposures each, one properly exposed, one under exposed and one over exposed. This process, known as HDR or High Dynamic Range photography creates images with a range of colors far greater than a digital camera can achieve in one exposure and the dynamic range of the finished image more closely resembles the dynamic range of the human eye.

You can check out the photos from today at my flickr site

Technorati Tags: Digital Photography, Allen Rockwell, Monrovia, HDR,

November 14, 2006

Podcast #7 Show Notes

podcaster_50.jpgHere are the links mentioned in tonight's podcast.
If you don't subscribe to the podcast via iTunes you can get it here

My email: [email protected]

Tobi's cat photo

Tobi's crying kid

Tobi's flickr feed

My blog about the airplane photos

My A to Z Assignment on flickr

My flickr feed

Inside Aperture Blog

November 10, 2006

Add a little drama with a simple lens change

This is a simple tip, but sometimes when we are out shooting we forget the simplest things. sometimes you can change a photo dramaticly just by changing your lens and/or angle.

In the two photos below I captrued a very beautiful Super Decathlon airplane at the 2006 AOPA Convention in Palm Springs California.

The first photo is a very nice shot of the plane taken with my Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L lens, this lens takes great photos and there is nothing at all wrong with the photo ... however it really doesn't grab me and pull me in.

In the second photo I used my Canon 15mm Fisheye lens and got a little lower. I think this shot is far better than the first one. The second shot feels more dramatic, and includes more of the surrondings (like the palm trees).

I find that Fisheye lenses are handy for aircraft and automobile photography. Try it sometime. If you don't own a Fisheye, rent one for a day and see if you like it.

Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L (click image to enlarge)

Canon 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye (click image to enlarge)

Technorati Tags: Digital Photography, Allen Rockwell,

November 08, 2006

Going to MacWorld Expo

This year (well, next really) I'll be going to my very first MacWorld Expo. What's even cooler than that is that I'm going to a part of O'Reilly Media's "Digital Photography Experience" in the north hall.

MacWorld Expo will be from Jan 8th through the 12th at The Moscone Center in San Fransisco California

According to Derrick Story (one of the organizers of this event):
"The Digital Photography Experience will be centrally located in the North Hall. The area itself will be very spacious -- about the size of the Apple booth in the South Hall. The Experience will feature top photographers from all over the world who will have "Experience Booths" to demonstrate shooting technique, display work, and promote projects."

I'll be speaking on the topic of photographing amateur and pro sports and possibly other topics.

for more info go to www.macworldexpo.com

Podcast #6 Show Notes

podcaster_50.jpgAperture update. Adds Camera Raw support for a few new cameras.
Also fixes a problem with vertical lines on images at export.
Get the fix at
Click here to get the update

Inside Aperture Site on Apple Hot News
On Nov 7th

MacWorld Expo -
Jan 8-12 The Moscone Center, San Fransisco - Digital Photography Experience

The Digital Photography Experience will be centrally located in the North Hall. The area itself will be very spacious -- about the size of the Apple booth in the South Hall. The Experience will feature top photographers from all over the world who will have "Experience Booths" to demonstrate shooting technique, display work, and promote projects.

I'll be speaking on the topic of photographing amateur and pro sports and possibly other topics.


November 07, 2006

Inside Aperture on Apple's "Hot News" Page

Here is the text from today's Hot News on www.apple.com

Inside Aperture with O’Reilly

O’Reilly Media’s Inside Aperture site draws upon community expertise to provide you with tips and real-life experiences from professional shooters who use Apple’s premier photo management application to organize, edit, and output their images. Check out weblogs, articles, podcasts, and tutorials — all focused to help you improve your digital photography workflow.

Technorati Tags: Digital Photography, Allen Rockwell, Inside Aperture

November 04, 2006

Really Old Photo...

mini1-01.jpgThis is a really old photo ... that I took tonight.

The old stained photo paper around the edge is a scan of an old photo that belonged to my grandmother. The photo of the old wood stove is one that I took tonight in our back "wood stove room".

The photo of the wood stove was 3 RAW images combined into one HDR image and then lots of post processing in Photoshop.

Click the image to see it a bit bigger.

November 03, 2006

Alternative to a shooting tent

mini1-01.jpgA few days ago I built something for my shop that I think will come in very handy for photographing small objects. I got the idea from looking at photo tents (or photo domes) on the B&H; photo site. And I know I could have just bought a photo tent but I like to make things, so I did.

This crazy thing is made out of white acrylic (plexiglass) that is semi trasparent. The two vertical sides are straight but the floor and back piece are the same piece of material and it's bent at a 6" radius at the back so there is no obvious corner or seam at the back.

As you can see from the photo (click it to see a bigger version) the box is lit from both sides and there is also a ling in the back that you cannot really see that lights up the back the bottom. and there is a softbox at the font pointing in at the object being photographed.

mini2-01.jpgI still need to do more experiments with different lighting schemes, but the first test photo does show that it works. The idea is that the white actylic difuses the light to the point that the object is lit from almost every angle possible. Also the fact that the bottom and back are lit there are virtaully no shadows at all. This is still an experiment, but so far I'm pretty happy with it.

Circular Polarizer Filter

Suzie wrote to me to ask "I have a question. I am in the market for a circular polarizer filter and was wondering if you could recommend a good brand. The one filter I do have (UV) is a Tiffen and it seems to work fine, but it was kind of pricey - though I do realize good quality glass is important."

Here's my response to her...

Unfortunately the only real answer is; the more you spend, the happier you'll be. I bought one that was kinda cheap at about $80.00 (which I don't really consider cheap) , it's an off brand called "Omega" and it's 77mm for my Canon L series lenses. I HATE IT! I should have spent the $144.00 and bought the B+W brand (or $200.00 for the B+W with 81A warming filter).

Whenever I use the Omega filter (which is never anymore) I would almost always get photos that looked at least very soft, and at worse out of focus and unusable. Also I think the filter lost me about 2-3 f/stops ... B+W claims theirs is about 1.3 stops.

So ... to make a long story even longer, just figure out what you can afford and find the one closest to your price point. I think for the most part with camera accessories you get what you pay for.

For anyone reading this wondering what a polarizer is for, have a look at the photo below.
A polarizer will reduce glare, satrurate colors (especially sky) and it also reduces reflection off water which can be real handy when trying to photograph fish in shallow water.

November 02, 2006

Podcast #5 Show Notes - Inside Aperture & v1.5.1 & Free Trial

ia_tile_2_115x80.gifToday O'Reilly Media launched Inside Aperture, a webiste, blog and podcast. I am very proud to be a part of this website, I will be contibuting to the blog at least once a week. Check it out at http://digitalmedia.oreilly.com/aperture/

Also today Apple released Aperture version 1.5.1 through software update. The update is a 128 MB download, so go get a coffee while it's downloading.

Apple also announced today that they are offering a free 30 day trail of Aperture. You can download the Aperture trial at http://www.apple.com/aperture/trial/

ApertureScreenSnap.jpgIf you download the v1.5.1 update be warned that of course it will take a few minutes download the 128MB file, but also after installing the update Aperture will update your aperture library the next time you load Aperture. On my Intel MacBookPro this took about 1 hour.

November 01, 2006

This is just funny

Click on the box


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