Today I found out that Philips will sell iOS-controlled multi-colored, energy efficient LED Light bulbs through Apple Stores. We have smart phones, smart appliances and now smart light bulbs from Philips called Hue.
Photography is meant to be looked at and admired, and what better ways are there to start showcasing your work if not by entering a photography competition? In this short article I will present you with several extremely large photography competitions currently open for entries, organized by World Photography Organization, Nikon, and the very prestigious National Geographic.
The Encouragement Part
Before I begin listing categories and entry rules, there’s the part where I’m supposed to make you feel encouraged, make you feel like the good photographer that you are. But I have no magic words, no loud, heart-stopping speeches ready. I’m not going to tempt you with substantial prizes – it’s the participation that counts. There’s nothing I can do but ask – would you like to win? Would you like your work to be noticed and admired by professionals all over the world? Would you like to finally get off that comfortable chair of yours and do something exciting, learn and improve your skills as a photographer?
I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical of what I would find during my review of the Think Tank Urban Disguise 60 v2.0 bag. For many years, the Tumi Alpha Large Expandable Organizer Laptop Brief has been “gold standard” of laptop bags for me and many other road warriors. And while not designed for photography, the Tumi bag nonetheless remains the benchmark for quality that I measure all types of luggage and bags against. It was inconceivable that I might find another bag that I thought matched or beat it.
“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”
- William Foster
As I criss-crossed the globe and our country over the years, my original Tumi bag endured more abuse than I had a right to expect of it, often being filled to its limit and being jammed under countless airline seats. For some time, Tumi had free lifetime repairs on its bags. I made good use of the policy. At some point, Tumi ended its generous free lifetime repair policy (I suspect I might have had something to do with single-handedly dragging down Tumi’s profits and the resulting change in policy!), and I started to pay $50 or so per repair. As wear took its toll on my Tumi bag, I eventually had to consider the cost of cumulative bag repairs vs. buying a new bag.
Those of us who travel frequently get attached to our bags. They reliably and safely carry our precious belongings when we are far away from home. When my Tumi bag finally reached its end, I couldn’t dream of donating it or (gulp!) tossing it into the trash. No, the Tumi deserved nothing less than a Viking-style funeral! So one night, as I sipped a glass of wine, my Tumi bag literally went up in a blaze of glory in my fireplace (don’t call the environmentalists!). I drank a toast to it’s many years of dedicated service and recalled the interesting adventures we shared. I slept well that night knowing that the Boatman collected the coins I had placed in the Tumi, and had safely transported it across the River Styx.
A while ago, I wrote an article giving tips on buying used lenses. In this follow-up on how to buy used DSLR cameras, I will try to give some advice on how to buy the other part of a photographer’s kit – the camera itself. You will see that many of the lens buying guidelines are also applicable here, so lets not waste any more time and get started!
Why Buy Used Cameras?
Just like with lenses, we don’t always need or can afford the latest and greatest. Certain cameras, such as the now discontinued Nikon D700 or the soon-to-be discontinued Canon 5D Mark II (B&H has it for $1699 brand spanking new, which is a steal), will hold a lot of appeal for at least a couple more years in the used market. Because of that, they make a great choice as entry FF models (I’m quite sure I will be using my D700 for a while even with the Nikon D600 and the D800 around) or even as backup cameras. There is an even larger market when it comes to entry-level DSLRs, such as the Nikon D3100, which can be bought very cheaply and be a great learning tool, even exceeding some old semi-professional models in image quality.
This is a review of the Hitech Neutral Density Master Kit, which contains a number of filters that I use with the Hitech Filter Holder for landscape photography. Since I personally prefer soft edge graduated neutral density filters over hard edge (doing mountain photography with hard edge can be problematic), I decided to go with the Soft Edge ND Kit instead of the Hard Edge ND Kit Density Kit. The nice thing about this particular master kit, is that it contains two sets of filters – one standard set of square ND filters (1, 2 and 3 stop) for slowing down the shutter speed when photographing moving water, waterfalls, etc., and one set of soft-edge GND filters (1, 2 and 3 stop) for those tricky high-contrast scenes during sunrise, sunset, etc. If you do not understand what any of this means, I highly recommend to read my article on Lens Filters, which explains all this in detail.
This is a guest post by one of our Landscape Photography Workshop participants, Emily Fagan (check out her excellent RV blog), who sent me the article along with some pictures, after attending our workshop earlier this year. She sent it to me a while ago, but after getting swamped with too much work and trying to balance things at home with a new baby in our house, my mailbox eventually got flooded with emails and I did not have a chance to get to it for a long time. I hope you enjoy this guest post and get to participate in our future workshops!
Landscape Photography Workshop in Colorado’s Peak Fall Foliage
Major Topics Covered:
– Sunrise tripod shot with manual camera settings
– Use of polarizing and graduated neutral density filters
– Composition using leading lines, triangles and the rule of thirds
– Use of hyperfocal distance to maximize depth of field
– West Dallas Creek, Dallas Creek and Last Dollar Roads between Ridgway and Telluride, Colorado.
– A fantastic 5-star day of photography and instruction in one of Colorado’s most scenic locales.
Getting Started: The Morning Shot
In the cold pre-dawn hours of September 22nd, 2012, my husband Mark and I crawled out of our warm bed and piled into our truck with all our camera gear and a couple of peanut-butter sandwiches to take part in Nasim Mansurov’s Colorado Fall Foliage Landscape Photography Workshop. Mark and I each take about 15,000 photos per year with our twin Nikon D5100′s, but this was our first photography workshop.
Looks like B&H is already getting ready for the holidays, with some great deals on high-end Canon and Fuji cameras. The Canon 5D Mark II has a huge drop in price while supplies last – it is now $1,699, which makes it the cheapest full-frame DSLR on the market today. The Canon 5D Mark III has also been reduced to $3,199, which finally brings it closer to the Nikon D800 in pricing. On top of that, the Fuji X-100 is now $200 off, bringing it down to $999 (regular price is $1,199). And if you have been buying cameras like D600 and need plenty of storage, you might need some good cheap memory – the Transcend 64GB SDXC memory is selling for $49. If you need faster cards, the Lexar CF and SD cards are also heavily discounted until the end of this month.
And here are the pre-order links for the newly announced Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR and Nikon 1 V2 mirrorless camera + accessories:
- Nikon 70-200mm f/4G ED VR for $1,399
- Nikon 1 V2 Body Only for $799.95 (White Nikon 1 V2)
- Nikon 1 V1 with 10-30mm lens (White Kit)
- Nikon SB-N7 Speedlight for Nikon 1 V1/V2 for $159.95 (White SB-N7)
Both Nikon 1 V2 and Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR will be reviewed in November.
I recently had the opportunity to spend some time with the GX1. Although I have owned some compact cameras and occasionally have the chance to experiment with those of others, this is the first mirrorless camera I have used. As Nasim and others have indicated, mirrorless cameras will increasingly play a larger role in the digital camera market, due primarily to their smaller size, lighter weight, reduced mechanical complexity, and faster FPS ( frames per second speed). They provide an impressive range of features in extremely small packages. But mirrorless cameras such as the GX1 still represent a modest investment and thus do not offer any cost reduction relative to entry and midlevel DSLRs. In this Panasonic GX1 Review, I will provide detailed information about the camera, as well as image comparisons to other DSLR cameras.
Some of my questions prior to receiving my GX1 included:
- How well would the GX1′s picture quality compare against that of my D7000?
- How well would the GX1′s pictures compare to my D800?
- Would I find the weight advantage of the GX1 meaningful?
- How would I adjust to the GX1′s controls?
- What would cause me to consider a GX1 over a DSLR or point-and-shoot camera?
In this article, I will show feature differences between the Nikon 1 V1 and the newly announced Nikon 1 V2 mirrorless cameras. Judging by the J2 and V2 updates this year, it seems like Nikon will be refreshing the 1 line fairly often, so I am planning to provide feature comparisons like this to show what has changed between cameras after each announcement. As you may already know, the whole Nikon 1 line has a CX mount with a 2.7x crop factor and the J1/J2 cameras are targeted for photo hobbyists, while the V1/V2 cameras are targeted for more serious shooters. Hence, there is a significant difference in size, feature and performance between the two lines. Please keep in mind that this Nikon 1 V1 vs V2 comparison is purely based on specifications. A detailed comparison with image samples and ISO comparisons will be provided in the upcoming Nikon 1 V2 Review.
Just like we covered last week, Nikon today officially announced the Nikon 70-200mm f/4G ED VR lens, a cheaper and lighter version of the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II. While we knew about the lens and some of its basic specifications, more detailed information, including pricing was not yet available until today. I was really hoping that Nikon would price the 70-200mm f/4G VR right and I am excited to see that the price of the 70-200mm is $1,399.95, right what I thought it would be. This is exciting news for many of us that want quality optics at an affordable price point.