Featured Articles and Reviews

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

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

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

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

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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Let the Shopping Begin: Nikon Rebates are Here!

Happy upcoming turkey day to all of our readers in the US! Before you put that tasty turkey into the oven, you might want to check out the long-awaited Nikon rebates that have just gone live. As you might remember from earlier this week, we posted lots of information on the upcoming deals, but those deals never went live due to a communication issue between Nikon and retailers. It was certainly a big fail on Nikon’s part, because their own Store had all those rebates live at the time. Some of our readers noticed that and let us know, so I called our trusted partner B&H Photo Video to find out why the rebates weren’t live yet, since Nikon’s own page showed otherwise. As we were talking on the phone, it turned out that a Nikon representative was also on the same line. Once it was discovered that Nikon indeed had a rebate page live already, the Nikon rep stated that the page would have to be taken down immediately. And within 30 minutes or so, all rebates were indeed taken down.

Nikon Black Friday Rebates

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Canon Lens Rebates

If you thought Fujifilm rebates were good, you are going to like what Canon has in store for the holidays. There’s no faffing about with camera+lens bundles, just good old mail-in and instant rebates ranging from $15 for the cheapskate Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens all the way to $300 savings for the likes of professional Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lenses. More than that, a whole lot of Canon’s best lenses are eligible, the sort that will last you for years and years.

Canon Lens Rebates

Because the list of lenses is so extensive, I broke it down to fixed focal length and zoom lenses so as to help you find what you need easier. Keep in mind that in some cases, the final price is displayed at checkout. Also, some of the rebates are of mail-in type, while others are instant savings. Mail-in rebates are valid through January 4th, 2014. Instant savings are live till November 30th, this year. Now, brace yourselves, there’s a whopping 40+ lenses in total.
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Fujifilm “Buy Together and Save” Rebates

Updated with X-E2 and X-M1 information

Fujifilm has joined the Black Friday rebate program with its own mirrorless cameras and lenses. It is a “Buy Together and Save” kind of program, which means you need to purchase either an X-E1, X-E2, X-Pro1 or X-M1 Fuji mirrorless camera along with a lens to receive a rebate on the latter. Savings range from $100 all the way up to $250. The more lenses you choose to purchase, the more you save, as savings for each lens stack up. If you were planning on investing into a Fujifilm X-series mirrorless system, this is a good time to do so. In general, due to the system’s premium (-ish) status, the lenses have been quite expensive, although well worth the price. Right now, with these rebates, they represent tremendous value. Even the newest and extremely sought-after XF 23mm f/1.4 lens is $100 off!

Fujifilm Buy Together and Save

Camera Links

Previously, I only reported two cameras as part of the rebates program – X-E1 and X-Pro1. It would seem that all the cameras are eligible, however, which makes this savings program even better than I initially thought it was. To access Buy Together and Save deals, you need to navigate to one of the two cameras and click on the deal that is right next to the camera’s price:

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Fuji XF 35mm f/1.4 Review

This is an in-depth review of the Fuji XF 35mm f/1.4 prime lens, also known as “Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R” that was released initially together with the Fuji X-Pro1 on September 21, 2011. Fuji specifically wanted to target professionals and enthusiasts with its X line, so it first introduced a professional-level mirrorless camera, the X-Pro1, along with three prime lenses: Fuji XF 18mm f/2, Fuji XF 35mm f/1.4 and Fuji XF 60mm f/2.4 Macro. And hence, being part of the Fuji X mirrorless interchangeable lens system launch, the Fuji 35mm f/1.4 played a big role in the success of the product line.

Fujifilm XF 35mm f/1.4 R

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