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July 29, 2007

Podcast #35 Show Notes

Photographer etiquette

The email from Nils:

Allen, here's another thought for a podcast topic - photographer etiquette. Last week on vacation I ventured out around sunset to photograph a landscape from a particular spot. While somewhat remote, the view has been reproduced often on postcards, etc., so I wasn't surprised to see 2 photographers already there with tripods set up. As "the spot" was in ankle-deep water in a narrow stream, space was limited (but available). I nodded a hello to the other photographers but got no response, and got the impression (perhaps mistakenly, admittedly) that a third tripod was not welcome. What's your view on the etiquette here? Should I have asked to share the space, or in a situation like this do the photographers already there have a claim to the space?

I had another situation the next day where a pro photographer entered "my" space to position a young couple within my field of view. In this case I was able to move but was somewhat annoyed at not being asked. Regardless of that, is it expected that an amateur should make way for a pro in such a situation?

Etiquette discussion in our flickr group

Interesting photographer etiquette photo example on flickr

"Starting A Photo Business" Segment

If you like the idea about the new segment ... or if you don't, please email me and let me know. Everyone that responds with an opinion will be entered into the drawing for Rick Sammon's book "Travel and Nature Photography"

Don't forget to tell a friend about the podcast this week. Thanks.

Technorati Tags: Digital Photography, Allen Rockwell, Etiquette, Business

July 23, 2007

Podcast #34 Show Notes

Welcome to The Digital Photography Podcast #34 for Monday July 23rd ... Hell Week.

On episode 28 I told you all about the sale of my company and I warned you that my podcasting schedule would be a little random for a while till all this business is completed. Well, it's almost over, this is hell week ... the new owner of the company is coming this Wednesday to move all the machinery tools and materials to the New York shop. As this was not enough to deal with I decided to sell my airplane too and now I'm coordinating with the new owner to get it trucked up to Canada.

So, all this drama is coming to a close next week and I'm looking forward to getting back to a once a week podcasting schedule ... or perhaps even more frequent than that.

This episode will be a bit short but I have a few topics to get to.

ISO Safety Shift

First off, I've been hesitant to discuss my Canon EOS 1D Mark III on this show for two reasons .. one, I have another podcast devoted exclusively to that camera and secondly I did not want to devote too much time to discussing a camera that appeals exclusively to professional shutter-bugs, more specifically sports shooters. But recently I've gotten a few emails from listeners saying that they wanted to hear more about this camera.

So tonight I wanted to tell you about a feature on the camera that I've fell in love with. It's called ISO Safety Shift. What this feature does is make underexposed images nearly a thing of the past. How it works is this: Say you are shooting a sporting event or any other event with lots of action ... you set your camera to Shutter Priority mode (Tv or Time Value) and set your shutter speed to 1/1000th or 1/2000th of a second or whatever you want.

In the Shutter Priority mode the camera will adjust the Aperture as necessary to properly expose the image ... but what happens if you have a slow lens like a f/5.6 and the camera opens the aperture to 5.6 and still can't get enough light to properly expose the image .... normally in this case you would end up with an underexposed image or you would have to adjust the ISO up until you have a properly exposed image ... by this time you've probably missed the shot.

ISO Safety Shift AUTOMATICALLY adjusts the ISO up as necessary to get a properly exposed image after it's done all it can with the aperture.

With a camera like the 1D Mark III that is capable of ISO settings up to 6400 with minimal noise, letting the camera adjust the ISO up a bit when necessary is a no-brainer. I've turned this feature on and I'll leave it on forever I'm sure.

Photo Assignment - Firetruck

There are currently about a billion forest fires burning in the USA .. I think it's time we honor our local fire departments.

Your assignment is to get a shot of a fire truck. But wait, there's more. I'd like you to step out of your comfort zone and approach the firemen (and firewomen) in your local station and see if you can them to pose for you in front of their rig.

By the way, I'll also accept fireboats and fire helicopters.

So, get out there and get some shots. You may even want to offer the station copies of your photos ... I bet they'd like that.

Post your images to our flickr group

Call for show ideas

Nikon camera tips, tricks, reviews, etc... In text or audio format. Maybe the D40x

Send the ideas and reviews to me via email using the "email me" link at www.allensphotoblog.com

Technorati Tags: Digital Photography, Allen Rockwell, flickr, ISO

July 10, 2007

Podcast #32 Show Notes


Last week in my segment called "The Real Creative Zone" I made a mistake in terminology ... I got the camera's creative zones and basic zones mixed up.

When I was talking about the camera modes with the little icons, like landscape, portrait, macro, etc I called them the creative zones ... those settings are actually called the basic zones or image modes.

When I was talking about shutter priority, aperture priority, Manual, etc I should have been calling them the creative zones.

Everything I said was as I meant it in the podcast, except getting these two terms reversed.

So what I said still goes, try getting away from the little icon modes (aka basic zones") and try using the other modes like Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual Etc.

"Travel tips for photographers"

"Never Czech Your Bags"

On my recent trip I traveled with my Lowepro Vertex 200 AW backpack and a standard suitcase. I carried most of my camera gear in the backpack and kept it with me on the plane, only a few items went into my suitcase.

,,,that is until the trip home. After 2 weeks of traveling I was getting tired of the heavy backpack and I packed more of my camera gear and my laptop in my suitcase for the trip home. In the suitcase was my
Canon 30D body
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS
Canon 50mm f/1.2L
Canon 15mm Fisheye
My new tripod
The dual charger for my 1D Mark III
and my 15" Apple MacBookPro laptop computer.

So we left Prague on Czech Airlines heading for Paris (Via Rome) for a one night stay before heading back to the states. Upon arriving at Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris we stood at the baggage claim till all the bags came out and were claimed .... ours were not there!!!!!!!!

So there we were standing there at 11pm at the Paris airport wondering what to do next and I was adding up in my head what the replacement cost of all those lenses, the camera body and the laptop would be and I was not liking the answer I was coming up with.

My partner had lots of goodies in his bag as well, nothing as expensive as all my camera stuff, but lots of souvenirs and even the car keys for the car that was waiting for us in the parking lot at Ontario Airport in California.

The only things in my backpack were my new 1D Mark III, my 100-400 L IS and few other small items including the portable hard drive that all my vacation pictures were on (at least I was thinking when I packed that with me).

To make a long story short, my bag eventually ended up arriving at my house about a week later in perfect condition with all my goodies safely inside, my partner Mike's bag arrive a week after that also in great shape and untouched. We were very lucky.

I am what you might call a seasoned traveler ... I've flown domestically a hundred times over my lifetime and flown to Europe about 10 times in the last 7 years .... but at the end of a long vacation even someone with a lot of travel experience can get lazy and stupid and make mistakes.

The obvious moral to this story is NEVER put your valuables in your checked baggage ... and never check a bag on a czech airline :)

"How to travel"

Now lets talk about how to travel ... specifically within Europe or any other continent.

You're thinking, what do you mean How? Well normally when we take a vacation we don't stay in one place the whole time, we will stay a few days in one place and then move on to another ... this way we get to see a lot more of a country, region or continent.

So what's the best way to do this? and what's the best way for a photographer to do this? You normally have two primary choices for moving distances out of reasonable car or bus range and those would be Plane and Train.

For me the choice is obvious ... once I'm overseas it's trains. There are lots of reasons for this.

1. traveling around Europe by air can cost as much as getting to Europe (or even more)
2. traveling by train allows you to see more of the scenery and offers a lot more flexibility in your travel plans. A given country may have a few major airports, but they will have hundreds or more train stations that you can stop at.
3. Getting back to the previous topic, when traveling by train you are never separated from your luggage.
and 4. often traveling by train is quicker than by air.

Now you are saying to yourself ... Allen you are crazy, planes travel at nearly 600 miles per hour, the fastest trains are about 1/3 that fast.

But wait. Here's an example of a trip I've done both ways. Traveling from London to Paris.

By Air.

Lets look at the trip from the moment you leave your hotel in London to the moment you get to your hotel in Paris

Getting to Heathrow takes about an hour.
Checking in can be another hour
You should be 1-2 hours early for your flight
The flight takes about 2 hrs
Getting off the plane and fetching your bags about another hour
Taking the RER train into Paris and getting to your hotel about another hour

That's a total of 7-8 hours of traveling for a 2 hour flight.

Now by rail

Getting to the train station about 1/2 hr
train trip 2 hrs 45 minutes
fetching your baggage 0
Getting into Paris 0 ... you are already there
Getting to your hotel 1/2 hr max

Total trip time less than 4 hours and you were never separated from your bags and you got to see a lot of countryside (except while in the chunnel) for about $150.00US round trip ... probably less than flying.

Technorati Tags: Digital Photography, Allen Rockwell, Travel

July 05, 2007

Canon Announces the EOS 40D

The new EOS 40D is coming ... and it looks like it does everything.

Click image to see a larger version


I know ... I'm a little late for Aprils Fools Day, but I still think it's funny.

July 03, 2007

Podcast #31 Show Notes (more)

I've decided to post the actual text (my notes) from each show .... I'm not sure why, since you've probably already listened to it ... but I have the notes so I might as well post them.

"The Real Creative Zone"

Most DSLR cameras have something called basic zones or image modes ... they are normally recognizable by the little icons on the mode dial on the camera ... for instance a person running represents the "sports mode", a mountain represents the "landscape mode", A flower represents the "Macro Mode", a person represents the "Portrait Mode".

I am a supporter of using these modes as they take care of a lot the background tasks for you while letting you concentrate on compositional matters, creative lighting and just getting the shot. When I shoot sports with my 30D I almost always select the "sports mode". I have enough on my mind following the action and trying to figure out where the next shot is going to be without worrying what my f/stop is or what ISO I have set ... and if both of these settings are going to yield me the shutter speed I need to stop the action and get the shot.

As I wrote this article I was on a train traveling to Fussen Germany and I was reflecting on my last few days of shooting with my new Canon EOS 1D Mark III. The Mark III is a professional grade camera without a doubt and therefore it seems that they people that designed it decided to go without what I very affectionately refer to as the "idiot modes".

The 1D Mark III has the all the standard modes, M "Manual", Tv or "Time Value" also known as "Shutter Priority", Av or "Aperture Value" also know as "Aperture Priority" and P "Program Mode" as well as a "bulb" mode.

At first I saw the lack of "basic zones" as a negative, but actually I've found that it's forced ME to be the "creative zone" and I think in only a few days I've grown a bit as a photographer and I've taken more control of the camera and therefore taken more control over the final result ... the photo.

When I was at the Paris Air Show on Monday, I tended to use the "P" Program mode as it offered me the most assistance in handling the camera settings while I was able to concentrate on the fast moving aircraft demonstration. In the program mode I was forced to make decisions only as far as ISO settings and occasionally exposure compensation. And frankly this was one of the first times that I ever gave much thought at all to ISO settings, the sports mode on most pro-sumer cameras handles ISO settings very well in order to allow fast shutter speeds at reasonable aperture settings. The result of this was that I got better photos than I've ever gotten before at an air show in the past when I've simply used the "sports" setting.

So, I think what I'm trying to say here is that the creative zones or "idiot modes" are great, they do a pretty good job of handling things for you ... but as I learned this week, taking full control of the camera and not depending on a pre-programmed mode just might get you far better results in the the end.

Give it a try, take a week off from the creative zones on your camera and make your own brain the real creative zone. Put a small piece of masking tape over he creative zone icons on your camera's mode wheel as a reminder and got out and shoot and see what happens.

Post your results to the Digital Photography Podcast's flickr's photo pool with the title or tag "The Real Creative Zone".

"Opposite Angle"

One day last week while in Prague I walked to one of the many tourist attractions in the city, the Astronomical Clock. it's sort of like the worlds largest Coo-coo clock ... naturally I stood in front of the clock. pointed my camera at it and snapped a few pictures. Some zoomed in on the clocks details as it was doing it's thing at the top of the hour, some zoomed out to get more of the whole scene ... but they were all just shots of the clock.

The next day I was passing the clock again and noticed that it was almost time for the clock to do it's thing again and a large crowd was gathering as usual to snap photos of the clock as it put on it's show. This time I decided to get right under the clock and shoot the crowd instead of the clock. The photos I got of the crowd were so much more interesting than the ones I got the day before ..... there were old people, young people, people amazed, people bored, people smiling, people pointing. The range of human emotion and expression is limitless.

The lesson here is that, of course when you travel to Paris you need to get a shot of the Eiffel Tower, when in London you need to get a shot of Big Ben, When in New York you need to get a shot of the World Trade Center site .... but after you get those shots, turn around and see if there is an even better shot in the opposite direction .... especially at a site that provokes emotion like the World Trade Center site, The USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, the many holocaust and war memorials around the world. Often the best shot is behind you. ... Quick, turn around!

July 01, 2007

Podcast #31 Show Notes

I'm back from vacation and I have lots of cool topic ideas for upcoming shows. In this episode of the podcast I discuss something that I call "The Real Creative Zone". Also I will talk about "The Opposite Angle".

A few times on this podcast I said it was Saturday July 1st 2007 ... I know it’s Sunday, I’m just an idiot.

Attention Safari 3 users. I just noticed something strange when I went to my website and tried to listen to this episode of the podcast on the webpage while using Safari 3.0.2. I got an error saying that I needed Quicktime 7.0.2 or higher to listen to the podcast ... but I have Quicktime 7.1.6

So, I'm sure this is a bug in Safari 3


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