Featured Articles and Reviews

Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Review

When Profoto announced their first truly portable setup with the Profoto B1 500 AirTTL battery powered flash last year, the news immediately caught my … [Continue Reading]

Profoto B1 with Battery

Arca-Swiss C1 Cube Review

In this review, I will talk about my experience and impressions with using perhaps the finest tripod head I have seen to date, the Arca-Swiss C1 Cube. … [Continue Reading]

Arca-Swiss C1 Cube

Wildlife Photography Tips Part One

I hope the idea I have in my head for this wildlife photography series of articles turns out on paper the way I imagined it and you find some useful … [Continue Reading]

Coastal Grizzly Bear Photo

Leica M7 Review

This is a review of the Leica M7 TTL .72 rangefinder film camera that I used with the Leica 35mm f/2.0 Summicron M Aspherical Manual Focus Lens. I had … [Continue Reading]

Leica M7

How to Photograph the Milky Way

Many travel and landscape photographers, including myself, try to avoid shooting scenery with a clear blue sky. As much as we like seeing puffy or … [Continue Reading]

Arches Night Sky by Tom Redd

What is Ghosting and Flare?

When light rays coming from a bright source(s) of light (such as the sun or artificial light) directly reach the front element of a camera lens, they … [Continue Reading]

Lens Flare

Sony A7 vs Nikon D600 ISO Performance

Thanks to all the camera and lens releases earlier this year, I now have too much gear in my hands and too little time to review it all. Instead of making our readers wait for full, in-depth reviews (which take me a while to put together), I will be publishing some bits and pieces from the reviews with my initial impressions. In this case, I would like to show you the ISO noise performance of the new Sony A7 mirrorless camera and the Nikon D600/D610 DLSRs. I have just received the A7 and A7R cameras along with two Sony lenses (the 35mm f/2.8 Zeiss prime and the 28-70mm Sony zoom), so I have not been able to use them extensively to provide a detailed analysis and opinion. From my two days of using the two, I am pretty impressed by what I see so far.

Let’s take a look at how the Sony A7 compares to the Nikon D600 in low and high ISO performance. Here is the boosted ISO 50 for your viewing pleasure:

Sony A7 ISO 50 Nikon D600 ISO 50

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Lightroom Library Module Overview: the Navigation Panel

On our way to mastering Lightroom, we have already learned how to successfully Import images into your Catalog, work with Filename Template Editor and even understand how Lens Corrections work, among other things. Yet someone new to Lightroom will notice that we’ve missed several vital steps in our attempts to explain the software from start to finish, and so it is time to get back to those steps. In this article we will talk about one of the two most used Modules in Lightroom – Library. More specifically, we will overview the functionality of the left-side panel, the rest of the Module will be covered in two upcoming articles shortly afterwards.

Library Module Overview Left-Side Panel

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Nikon Df vs Nikon D4 ISO Performance

In my previous articles comparing the Nikon Df to other cameras like D800, D700 and D610, I posted images from the D4 as if they were from the Df in the articles (note that I clearly pointed out that the images were from the D4), because I was pretty sure that the Df had the same sensor. Some of our readers criticized me for doing that, arguing that Nikon’s sensor technology and the imaging pipeline might have changed since the introduction of the D4. I received the Nikon Df last week, so one of the first things I did was compare its performance against the D4 to see if I could spot any differences. Below is a detailed comparison between the two, which shows that both cameras utilize the same or similar sensor technology. So my previous comparisons are still valid and can be referred to for comparing between the different Nikon DSLRs.

Nikon Df Nikon D4

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Do You Have Insurance for Photography Equipment?

You have insurance to cover damage to, loss of, or theft of your photography equipment, or do you?  We have all heard the words of warning, look both ways before you cross the street, don’t talk to strangers, and read the fine print.  Maybe for photographers it should be read the fine print before you sell a print. Recently a friend of mine (who, for the purposes of this post we’ll call Bill), learned about insurance and the fine print found in policies in an unfortunate way. Bill had his home broken into and some of his expensive photography equipment stolen. Having someone violate your home is hard enough, but the loss of valuable items is like salt in a wound. Finding out that the insurance you purchased and thought protected your loss doesn’t have you covered, might take you to a different state of mind and not in a good way. Read the fine print.

Claim Denied

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Interpreting Fine Art Photography

Update: this article seems to have spawn a number of different opinions. Which, we must admit, makes us rather happy – discussion, as someone much brighter than me has said, is an exchange of knowledge. More importantly, argument is an exchange of ignorance. While the photograph described at the beginning of this article is not actually all that important for the said discussion, a lot of our readers have expressed their curiosity and wish to see the reason for this article popping up in my head. And no matter how tastefully and subtly done, please do note it contains nudity, and if that is something you’d prefer your children not to see – or something you would prefer not to see yourself – take caution. For the rest, click here and enjoy.

Several weeks ago, I came upon what I think was a magnificent black-and-white photograph. It portrayed a young, rather skinny woman laying graciously on the ground somewhere in a forest clearing, naked. She was lying on her side, half curled up around a large, moss-covered rock. So different from it in most every way possible – warm, alive, sensitive – she was embracing it gently. The photograph was taken from directly above the young woman and, through the use of loose central composition, negative space and beautiful natural light, she, as the main subject, would instantly draw the viewers eye, her skin so pale and bright against what must have been dark green, brown Autumn foliage. While I will not be publishing this photograph here for obvious reasons (Photography Life is 100% child-safe and will always remain so), I must note there was not a hint of erotica about the photograph. Rather, a very subtle, tasteful tribute to the human body. Fine art. Pure, light. Airy somehow. I called it sensual at first, but many misunderstood me, or perhaps I chose the wrong word. Sensuous is a much better fit. I could not help but admire it for what seemed like hours. And then I read a comment left by one of the viewers: “This is not a portrait. It is a piece of fine art nude photography”, – he stated.

Interpreting Fine Art Photography

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Expert Shield Screen Protector Review

I thought I was perfectly happy using the standard hard plastic Nikon screen protector that came with my D800. It does what it’s supposed to do, right? It protects the screen from getting scratched without getting in the way of actually seeing the screen. Why mess with a good thing? That’s what I thought until I was given the opportunity to try out an Expert Shield Screen Protector.

The Expert Shield Screen Protector is a flexible screen protector that is applied directly to your device’s screen. I’ve used screen protectors like this on cameras and phones in the past and always had issues with bubbles, scratches and peeling. Would this be the same or would I end up loving it and throw away the hard plastic screen protector that came with my camera? Only one way to find out.

Expert Shield Screen Protector-15

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Yosemite Valley in Autumn

Here in California, we do not have the autumn hues to rival New Hampshire or Colorado. Nevertheless, the Sierra Nevada mountain range attracts a good number of photographers and seekers of fall colors every autumn. Yosemite Valley, situated on the western slopes of the Sierras has its own display, thanks to the Black Oaks, Maple, Cottonwoods and Dogwoods, which flourish here. Apart from these, there is the famous Elm tree in Cook’s meadow, which in peak color offers a memorable light show at sunrise and I believe it to be the most photographed Elm in the world.

Yosemite in Autumn (3)

Yosemite in Autumn (12)

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Adobe Lightroom 5 Flash Sale at B&H

A boxed version of Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom 5, which we already reviewed, has just received a limited time discount. You can get a boxed copy for both Mac OS and Windows for just $89! The offer runs out in a couple of hours at 4:00 PM EST (that’s about two and a half hours from now), so you better make up your mind quick whether you want it or not. Suffice to say, at that price, it is quite a bargain.

Lightroom 5

In order to take advantage of this flash sale, follow this link and order your copy of the software. Shipping is free within USA. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 is the software tool that I used more (much more, at that) than any other for my personal and wedding photography, including full-fledged Photoshop. Here a quick summary of our review:

Adobe has, once again, released a well thought-through product that is certain to make the workflow of a lot of professional photographers very efficient. I’m not going to start raving endlessly about every single feature it has and how it has helped me save time while post-processing. You may have already gotten that point if you have read my Mastering Lightroom series articles and various comparisons. Suffice to say, that with the help of the more powerful Spot Removal tool as well as the newly added Radial Filter and Upright tools, it has become even more capable than before. That is a serious achievement given how good Lightroom 4 was. The very minor, but extremely useful inclusion of the full-screen preview mode (triggered by hitting “F” key on your keyboard) is the icing on the cake. Add that to a superb control of tones and colors as well as very natural-looking noise reduction mechanism of the previous versions and you have one software tool that can replace several dedicated programs for a lot of us. It is a natural companion to anyone shooting RAW professionally or just for the fun of it. And, perhaps even more so than ever, Lightroom emphasizes speed, so that we spend less time post-processing and more time photographing. Not to mention all the new cameras that are now supported by Lightroom.

M4/3 Black Friday Rebates

Olympus and Panasonic are taking care of the m4/3 system Black Friday discounts, and those involve both lenses and mirrorless cameras. The list consists of the most popular cameras and lenses, so there is a good chance that, whatever you were planning to buy, it is now more affordable.

Panasonic Lumix GX7 Silver Front

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Other Black Friday Deals

Updated with Sigma lens rebates

More rebates are available from other manufacturers in addition to those already covered. First of all, some Nikon DSLR bodies and mirrorless cameras are offered with instant savings. Nikon 1 J1 with a 10-30mm zoom lens costs just $200! Canon also dropped the price of some of its cameras for the holidays. Then there is Sony E mount lens rebates with instant savings that range from $25 to $200, while Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 receives a discount with the price knocked down to $109 (from $141).

Black Friday Deals

Most of these are also offered with free shipping within USA. The majority of Nikon rebates are valid through November 30th. We will keep this list updated with any new rebates that might become available.
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