TOKYO – Following on the heels of the revolutionary Nikon DF, the Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce the fashionable DFB – the Burberry Edition, a Nikon FX digital SLR camera. The stylish DFB literally screams “Do more with less, but look sharp while doing it!” The DFB features the beloved 12.1 MP sensor from the Nikon D3 and D700. The file sizes produced by the DFB will be a welcome relief to those who demand smaller file sizes and less photographic detail, and are genuinely concerned about conserving hard drive space.
I had the good fortune to join Nasim again this year on his annual Landscape Photography Workshop in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. While I regularly communicate with Nasim and others from Photography Life via email and phone, time and distance do not afford us with many chances to meet in person. I also appreciated the chance to spend some quality time with avid Photography Life readers, who share an appreciation of photography, camera technology, and the outdoors. Their comments, suggestions, constructive criticism, and support have helped make the Photography Life site better over time. Last year’s adventure allowed me to meet some wonderful people and share some memorable moments. I expected no less from this year’s trip.
1) San Juan Mountains
The San Juan and Uncompahgre forests offer an incredible panorama of Aspen and fir tree covered woodlands against majestic mountain peaks. Telluride, Durango, Silverton, Ouray, and Ridgway are the main towns in this scenic Southwestern Corner of Colorado. These towns have their roots in mining operations dating back to the mid-to-late 1800s, when gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead, and precious minerals were discovered in the region.
As someone said, “photography is all about the light”. And nothing gives a photographer more flexibility to craft light better than quality studio strobes. If located in a permanent studio, they provide wonderful lighting and an endless array of possibilities, particularly when used with various light modifiers. Taking them on the road, however, is a different matter. Many models are bulky, heavy, and require proximity to a power source, making them impractical for many settings. Traditional off-camera flash units are much more portable and can be used creatively in a variety of situations, as David Hobby (a.k.a. “Stobist”) and others routinely demonstrate, but lack the power of strobe lights. To meet the needs of photographers seeking the power of traditional strobe lights combined with the flexibility of off-camera flash units, Impact provides the LiteTrek 4.0 DC Two Monolight and Mini LiteTrek (LT) Battery Pack Kit, a portable lighting kit consisting of 2 flash heads and a portable battery pack.
1) Initial Thoughts
This lightweight kit is well-designed and made. Add two lightweight light stands (not included) and it has everything you need to create a studio environment anywhere you need. I was surprised at the lightness of the 400W heads relative to their power. They were much lighter than my 550W Bowen’s studio strobes.
This year’s vacation choice was a simple one. Based on last year’s trip to the Canmore/Banff area, we realized there was much more to see of this beautiful region than time allowed. Many of the Photography Life readers were kind enough to suggest possible itineraries for our next trip. In particular, Cindy (a.k.a. “Alberta Girl”) gave us a detailed listing rivaling the length of my original article! Her recommendations served as the foundation for this year’s itinerary. If you are seeking to combine your love of photography with hiking, wildlife viewing, and breathtaking scenery, I would strongly urge you to consider the area around Banff National Park. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
1) Canmore – Home Away From Home
We stayed at Canmore’s Falcon Crest Lodge for our vacation last year. After we decided to return for another visit, we initially thought we might travel around the region, staying in different lodges located in Canmore, Lake Louise, Kananaskis, and Jasper every few 2-3 days. But the more we considered the areas we wished to visit, the more we liked the idea of using Canmore as our home base once again. The notion of packing up our belongings every few days and checking into a new lodge lost its appeal when we considered the logistics and time involved.
Photographers are always looking for something new to invigorate their photography. Sometimes visiting the same old haunts or taking the same types of photographs can get stale. When I mention that I love visiting historic cemeteries, I get quite a few strange looks. Some consider it a bit morbid. Others, uncomfortable with the subject of death, can’t seem to fathom going to a cemetery unless they have no choice! Suffice to say that the notion of visiting a cemetery is not usually at the top of people’s “Things I Would Most LikeTo Do This Weekend” lists!
1) Why Cemeteries?
It may be that having a cemetery just beyond my backyard fence or being within a 5 minute walk of another for much of my youth caused me to think of and look at cemeteries a bit differently than most. I never considered them spooky, haunting, or intimidating in any way. To the contrary, I was always fascinated by the older gravestones and more elaborate sculptures. I found cemeteries to be peaceful and calming – quite the opposite from how many are portrayed in television and films.
Cause the good ole days weren’t always good,
And tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.”
Keeping The Faith
- Billy Joel
The Chicago Sun-Times’ decision to lay off its staff of photographers and editors (~28 total), including a Pulitzer Prize winner, sent shock waves throughout the photography industry. Some cried foul. Some expressed disbelief. Others lamented the changing times and the commoditization of the professional media photography field. Many mocked the paper’s suggestion that it would rely on reporters to take their own photos using iPhones and DSLRs. The Sun-Times did not eliminate using professional photographers, since it plans on using some freelancers to fill some of the void created by the departure of the full-time professional crew. But the Sun-Times’ announcement was a clear indication that it believe something had fundamentally changed and it was willing to take radical action to do what it thought best for the immediate and long-term health of the business.
I have a very unique Nikon D7100 – it is likely the first unit converted for infrared use – in the world. My D7100 is also likely the first to undergo two infrared conversions (more on this in a bit). I was fortunate to receive my D7100 from B&H as part of the first wave of product shipments. Apart from a night of putting the DSLR through its paces to ensure that there were no focusing problems or other issues, I didn’t have the D7100 for very long. For the many reasons Nasim outlined in his detailed D7100 review, and being very familiar with its predecessor, the D7000, I liked what I saw of this DSLR’s capabilities.
Google recently announced the opportunity to purchase the entire suite of Nik software modules for the bargain price of $149. As a longtime user and fan of Nik Software, I can attest to what a sweet deal this represents.
This bundle originally cost $500, putting it outside the price range of all but the more serious photographers with deeper pockets. At $149, however, this suite will appeal to a much broader range of photographers. By ways of comparison, HDR Soft, maker of the popular Photomatix HDR processing software, charges $119 for its software – and this only gets you 1/6th of the capabilities of this Nik bundle. Imagenomic software, maker of Noiseware, charges $79 for this module, or 1/2 the price of the entire Nik software bundle price. Topaz, a rapidly growing upstart, offers some quality modules that directly compete with Nik’s software. Topaz, at this time, however, requires you to spend $299 to get access to its full suite of capabilities. And while the $299 suite price appears to be a good deal, I suspect many people will not use all these modules, thus softening Topaz’s value proposition. In light of its competitors’ pricing, Nik’s $149 suite represents one of the best values relative to photo editing software. I would strongly urge people to capitalize on this pricing while it lasts.
There are times when you wish to manipulate light sources but don’t always have the luxury of having an assistant to position and hold a reflector. The Impact 42″ 5-in-1 Reflector with Lightstand and Holder Kit comes in handy during such situations, as it allows you to tinker with different lighting angles, position the reflector, lock it in place, and carry on with your shoot. It is like having an assistant when one is not available (albeit a rather silent one!). It also comes in handy when it is not convenient to take multiple lights with you on a photo shoot. The reflector kit can act as a “second light” by maximizing the effects of a single light.
1) Initial Thoughts
Once again, Impact has done a good job of combining a few of their quality products into a useful kit at a value-based price.
2) Product Specifications
Impact 5-in-1 Collapsible Circular Reflector Disc – 42″
Size Open: 42″ (106cm)
Size Closed: 14″ (36cm)
Surfaces: Translucent, Silver, Gold, Silver-Gold, White
If you are into product photography, or perhaps sell items on a regular basis on sites such as ebay, it makes sense to have a lighting studio kit that can produce consistent, high quality results. The Impact Desktop Studio Shooting Table Two Light Kit is an out-of-the-box solution that enables you to quickly and easily start capturing quality product photos.
1) Initial Thoughts
This is another well-built kit by Impact that provides good value for the money and is a worthy alternative to kits selling for significantly more.
2) Product Specifications
SP Desktop Shooting Table
It consists of a frame and sheet of white translucent plexiglass.
Horizontal shooting area: 23.25 x 17″
Curved vertical rise: 23.25 x 14.5″
Includes: 23.25 x 35.5″ plexiglass sheet