Lightroom Q&A Session Updated

A week ago, I started a Lightroom Q&A Session where I offered to help you solve any problems you may have with Lightroom and answer other questions. I was delighted to see some many inquiries and hope that I managed to help out at least some of you. I’ve just finished updating the article with more answers. I did my best to contact some of you in the comments section in earlier updates. Those who still haven’t heard from me personally, please see the updated article.

Lightroom Q&A Session

I haven’t had the chance to answer all the inquiries – there is still about a dozen questions waiting for my attention. I will try to comment on the remaining issues as soon as I can, it has been a tough week in terms of workload. Any additional questions are still welcome. Thank you to all those who helped!

Lens Database Updates

We have been working hard on building the lens database during the last few weeks, so I would like to apologize for not being able to provide updates, reviews and new articles on the site. We want to make the lens database as comprehensive and as useful as possible for our readers, which is why we have been putting a lot of our effort into it. Thanks to your valuable feedback from our announcement, we have made significant changes to the database and added a few great features:

Photography Life Lens Database
  1. We added close to 100 new lenses to the database (Leica, Samyang, Kenko, Voigtlander, Zeiss)
  2. We now have a separate rating for infrared performance of many brand and third party lenses (Nikon, Canon, Sigma, Olympus, Panasonic, Tamron, Tokina and Zeiss). When looking at most of these lenses, you will now see a separate line that says “Infrared Rating”. For now, we only have three rating categories: Good, Mixed and Poor. We might expand on this in the future, if we start testing for IR performance of lenses. Big thanks to Bob Vishneski for this idea. Many of the lens ratings are based on Bob’s feedback and research.
  3. The main “Lens Database” page now has some filtering options. You can filter lenses by Brand, Mount, Lens Type, Format, Price, Title, Focal Length and Release Date. We do not have advanced search capabilities yet, but that will be coming soon.
  4. Lenses are now listed by focal length instead of title.
  5. We created a comprehensive “Lens Index” that shows a listing of all lenses in the database.
  6. Our lens reviews have not been fully integrated into the database yet, but a number of lenses have been changed with sample images and our rating. Once we complete this, we will enable the feature to sort by lens rating.
  7. We had some issues with data on a number of lenses. Thanks to your feedback, we were able to fix them all.

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Please welcome Laura Murray!

I am excited about presenting a new addition to our Photography Life family – please welcome Laura Murray! Laura is a very talented wedding photographer from right here in Denver, Colorado and she will be joining our team to share her beautiful work along with some useful tips and techniques on how to photograph portraits and weddings.

Laura Murray

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Announcing the Lens Database

We have been incredibly busy during the last few months, working on building our very own Lens Database. As of today, the database contains 400 lenses and we are continuously working on adding more lenses from different manufacturers. You might be wondering about why there is a need to have our own database at Photography Life, when there are plenty of them on the Internet. After I went through a dozen different sites about a year ago, I realized that most sites contain very little information about lenses. While manufacturer specifications are mostly there, such important data as lens construction and MTF charts is typically missing. On top of that, very few sites provide image samples from lenses – images are often too small to look at even on a mobile device.

Photography Life Lens Database

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Nikon D7100 Giveaway Winner

Today we are announcing the lucky winner of the Nikon D7100 Giveaway that we hosted until April 5, 2013. We had about 7500 candidates, but unfortunately, only one of them gets to win the camera. Rafflecopter, the platform we used for this contest generated a random number for us from the final list of candidates and the winner happens to be entrant #3818.

Nikon D7100 Giveaway

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Nikon D7100 Giveaway Reminder

Well, the month of wait is nearly over. The winner of Nikon D7100 will soon be announced, with only 8 hours left to submit entries. If you haven’t yet taken part, hurry, not much time is left! You can enter the contest by clicking this link – the rest of the rules are also listed there. We want to remind you that leaving a comment under this article is necessary, but leave only one – multiple comments will result in disqualification. Make sure to type your real name and email address and write what you are planning to do with the D7100 once you win it.

Nikon D7100 Giveaway

An important notice: It looks like many of the participants of our giveaway are not following the instructions correctly. A number of participants are clicking the “I’m a Fan!” button in the giveaway without first “Liking” our Facebook page. Please keep in mind that you must be a fan of our site and B&H on Facebook in order to qualify for this giveaway. If you have already done all three steps to enter the giveaway, please click the “edit” link where it says “Easy entry for all photographylifeblog fans” and click the small “Like” button.

Some of our readers also reported that their comments were not accepted and the system marked the comments as spam. Please make sure not to include any links when you leave the actual comment and make sure that the comment has a couple of sentences. Leaving a single word might mark the comment as spam.

Instagram More Popular than Ever

I’ve never been much of a fan when it came to Instagram and the currently popular “artistic filter” trend many photo-editing software developers as well as camera manufacturers tend to include with their products. Perhaps because I saw such one-click manipulations contradictory to the word “artistic” – they’re too accessible, too wide-spread. To such an extent, in fact, that there’s often no input from the actual person behind the image left. You could go as far as say most of the images enhanced with the mentioned filters look as if they were made by one person, and not thousands and millions who took those photographs. I find such filters, when used by masses of inexperienced photographers, rob their work of anything other than basic, technical look, character of the filter used. There’s no artist left, no person, no photographer, just the simple, instant effect of the filter. “Artistic”, in my dictionary, stands somewhere close to “unique”. It’s hard to call something unique when it’s used about a million times every day. Or more. Possibly much more. As if that isn’t enough, most of the time these filters are used to turn mediocre photographs into something that’s “deeper”, with a concept, with an idea behind it, even if it’s yet another “duck face” (a rather funny terminology) portrait. In the same way as some people use B&W conversion just because it looks more “artistic”. The look – whether it’s a grainy, high-contrast B&W or one that distorts color in an attempt to mimic cross-processing from film days – covers up all imperfections (often with different, aesthetically pleasing imperfections). You look at the image and you see effects, not the content. The filter fools you if you allow it to. It’s sometimes rather hard not to be fooled, frankly, given the fact that there are indeed some awesome images on Instagram.

Instagram (4)Instagram (2)

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Important Nikon D7100 Giveaway Update

It looks like many of the participants of our Nikon D7100 giveaway are not following the instructions correctly. A number of participants are clicking the “I’m a Fan!” button in the giveaway without first “Liking” our Facebook page. Please keep in mind that you must be a fan of our site and B&H on Facebook in order to qualify for this giveaway. If you have already done all three steps to enter the giveaway, please go back to the D7100 giveaway page, then click the “edit” page where it says “Easy entry for all photographylifeblog fans” and click the small “Like” button.

Edit Button

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Nikon D7100 Giveaway

NOTE: The giveaway has now been closed. Thank you for participating! The winner will be announced shortly.

Yes, we are doing it again! In partnership with B&H, we are giving away a brand spanking new Nikon D7100 (camera body only) to one lucky reader of Photography Life! The giveaway is open to everyone and we will ship the camera worldwide to the winner (some restrictions apply, see below). We are very excited about this giveaway and we want to let you know that we will have even more rewarding giveaways and contests in the near future! The current D7100 giveaway is done to promote our Facebook pages and to increase the number of Facebook followers.

Nikon D7100 Giveaway

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Look Through Your Window

I’ve always admired landscapes and portraits taken by much more talented photographers than myself. Looking at their work – take landscapes photographed by Nasim – I see a world completely different to my own. I see colorful forests and tall mountains inviting me, tempting me. It’s as if they’re saying – come. We look gorgeous from every angle. Come. We are the very bones of Earth. We have valleys and rivers, there are canyons and caves, meadows and snowy peaks to be found. Whatever the time of day, whatever the season or weather, we look gorgeous from every angle. Much unlike the nature around my home, you know. All I’d need to do is choose the one angle I like most. How wonderful would that be.

I had the honor once of traveling with a British professor on train. He saw me photograph passengers aboard and we engaged in a conversation. Halfway through it, he pulled out his beaten laptop and showed me lots of images from his travels all around the globe. He was no photographer, but the places he’s been to were so mesmerizing, I felt a sudden rush of sadness. Why is Lithuania so boring? I’ve seen portraits of exotic people. I’ve had friends travel and come back with breathtaking images from Thailand, Malaysia and Africa, and they always brought something back with them that made me envy their chance. Portraits of people so different from those around me – deep, true. Living. I’ve seen foggy eyes of old wise men, I’ve seen carefree laughter of youngsters out in the streets of Delhi. I’ve seen French lovers in embrace. Why are French so different from the rest of us? Why a simple market suddenly becomes so interesting, if it’s in Japan or Vietnam? Why are taxis so iconic in New York City and London underground trains so full of street photography opportunities? The answer would seem very simple, of course. It’s because they’re better places than where I am. It’s because they’re more interesting people than those around me. There are no exotic people in here, no foggy-eyed wise men, no French flamboyance and certainly, certainly no beautiful, breathtaking, colossal mountains to behold.

Wrong. So very, very wrong of me to ever say such a thing.

Look Through Your Window

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