Featured Articles and Reviews

Wildlife Photography Tips Part Two

It has taken a little longer than I wanted, but I finally got around to writing this second article on photographing wildlife. The writer in me is … [Continue Reading]

600lb Wet Black Bear

How to Photograph Clouds

Nature often rewards us with incredible opportunities for photographing sunrises, sunsets and sun rays piercing through the clouds, creating stunning … [Continue Reading]

Mt Rainier Sunset

Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Review

This is a detailed review of the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD, an ultra-telephoto zoom lens that was announced in November of 2013 for … [Continue Reading]

Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD

Apple Mac Pro Review for Photography Needs

I never thought that I would be reviewing an Apple Mac Pro, since I have never owned a Mac and was always a PC user. In fact, the last time I really … [Continue Reading]

Apple Mac Pro

How to Photograph Cathedrals

I have been fortunate enough to see some truly spectacular cathedrals in my time, particularly in Europe, and even here in the United Kingdom we are … [Continue Reading]

St Alban's Cathedral

Fuji X-T1 Review

This is an in-depth review of the Fujifilm X-T1, a weather-proof mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera from Fuji that was announced on January 28, … [Continue Reading]

Fuji X-T1

Weekly Photography News #1

Instead of dedicating a whole post to every news revolving around photography, we decided to write a weekly article, which will include some fun finds from the photography blogging sphere.

1) Photographs and Memories

The other day I asked my mother-in-law if she had any photos of my husband as a baby. I love looking at other people’s photos, especially from childhood. You can learn so much by just looking at a simple portrait. The conversation started, because I wondered if I had enough photos of my own children’s early days. You see, regardless of being a photographer, I like to enjoy many things as they happen, without a camera. You’ve probably read about putting down our cameras and actually remembering memories from our initial archives a.k.a. brain cells. If you haven’t read the article yet, check it out.

Although I am still not fully convinced of the notion portrayed in the above article, I tend to follow the logic it pushes forward. I have a cure for my situation though – someone else usually holds the camera. That conveniently keeps me minding my own business and stops me from taking ‘selfies’ with my children.

Photographing Memories

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Please Welcome Sharif!

We are once again excited to bring you one more person who will be joining our team here at Photography Life – Sharif, with Alpha Whiskey Photography! Sharif has been a long-time reader of PL and I have been a fan of his photography for a while now, often checking his stunning work on his photo blog. I was fortunate enough to finally meet Sharif during our London Photo Walk earlier this year, after which I exchanged a couple of emails with him and asked to write a guest post at PL. Sharif is a living example of superb photography skill and vision before gear (something we have been preaching for a while now) – he produces superb work no matter what he shoots with, whether it is his phone, his Olympus OM-D E-M5 Micro Four Thirds camera, or a full-frame DSLR. I am honored to introduce Sharif to our team and I am looking forward to seeing more educational posts that will benefit everyone, including myself. Please give a warm welcome to Sharif!

Sharif Portfolio (13)

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Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Review

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This is a detailed review of the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD, an ultra-telephoto zoom lens that was announced in November of 2013 for enthusiasts and professionals that are looking for a high quality, versatile zoom lens for a variety of needs, including wildlife photography. Although many DSLR lens manufacturers have been making telephoto zoom lenses that cover long ranges, whether looking at Sigma’s 50-500mm / 150-500mm lenses, Canon’s 100-400mm or Nikon’s 80-400mm, none of them can reach the focal length of 600mm natively without teleconverters. And as we have discovered in our Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G VR review, attaching teleconverters on slower zoom lenses is generally not a good idea, since there is a bit too much of sharpness loss / image degradation, or even potential loss of autofocus capability. Thus, the Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 is a rather unique lens in this group, which is why our team at Photography Life has been anxious to get a hold of the lens for a while now.

Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD

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Which To Upgrade? Gear Or Skill?

You must forgive my ramblings on this age-old debate. And for many of us, it may seem like the chicken and egg quandary. Should I get a better camera to make me a better photographer? Or has my skill evolved to the point whether I need a better camera to fully realise my potential? If someone hands me an airplane do I automatically become a pilot? Or do I need to go to flight school first?

1 Emerald Lake Alaska

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The Bureau of Advertising Purity

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.” It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
- C. S. Lewis

One would think that with the myriad of problems facing the United States and the rest of the world, our lawmakers might be content to prioritize them, determine which are best to be solved by the private sector, the public sector, or some combinations thereof. But alas, there seem to be some that believe every problem should be solved with some form of government intervention and control. Recently, Congressional Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R -FL), with assistance from Ted Duetch (D – FL), and Lois Capps (D – CA), introduced a bill (H.R. 4341) allegedly to save our children from eating disorders and other mental problems by regulating the use of what essentially are labeled as “unrealistic Photoshop” alternations to pictures of models and others that are prominently displayed in advertising, magazine articles, etc. I was a bit surprised to find out that Ros-Lehtinen had sponsored this bill. I happen to be well-acquainted with her stances on many issues and often find myself in agreement with her.

They title the bill, “Truth in Advertising Act of 2014.” Don’t get me wrong – I am not advocating advertisers should be allowed to make blatant false representations regarding their products’ benefits. But policing every photo tied to an advertisement under the watchful eye of some government overseer seems to be fraught with it its own set of problems.

Photoshop Beauty

So how could anything go wrong with such a well-meaning piece of legislation? Read on…

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Please Welcome John “Verm” Sherman!

Don’t you love it when someone that shares your passion and dream joins you in pursuit of sharing knowledge with the rest of the world? Today we are happy to announce yet another amazing photographer join our ranks – John “Verm” Sherman. As you have already seen from his amazing and funny posts, John is truly passionate about photography, particularly wildlife photography. Please give a warm welcome to John! Below is his favorite photos, along with his bio.

John Sherman Bear

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What I Have Been Up To

A while ago, Nasim went to London to spend some time with his family and meet up with some of our dear readers. You might have noticed that, for a couple of weeks, he did not have much time to work on articles, certainly not as much as usual. You might also have noticed my own absence for the last couple of months at least. We did not plan to take vacation at the same time. It just so happened that I, too, have been extremely busy at the time, hence no new Lightroom or composition-related articles coming out. My time away, however, was rather less glamorous than that of my friend’s. And less relaxing, let alone fun or enthusiastically met. In fact, it was somewhat of a nightmare at times, a blur of nights and days turning into long, long weeks of never-ending stacks of books, articles and albums. How I missed my job! Although rationally I understand it is not, in the moments of weakness writing articles seemed like a much simpler endeavour. Certainly much more fun.

Homeless (2)

I am happy to say, though, that in the end the result is just as pleasing and satisfactory to me as Nasim’s trip was to him, even if the process was nerve-wrecking. I expect at this point you are rather curious what I am on about. Well, just a few hours ago I received my Bachelor’s degree. Yes, I am now officially an educated man with a Faculty of Arts diploma, cheers! But that’s not very interesting. Let’s be fair, as challenging as it was writing some 40 pages of theory and spending even more time photographing, it’s no doctoral dissertation, Bachelor’s degree is merely the first, smallest of steps up an educational skyscraper. It is also rather common in my country where most people seek a degree right after finishing high school (generally at the age of 19). What I hope is a little more interesting are these portraits, some of which make up the creative part of my thesis.

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sRAW Format Explained

With the release of the D4s and D810 cameras, Nikon has introduced a new format to store images – sRAW, or “RAW Size Small”, as referred to by Nikon. Although Canon has had this format available in its DSLRs for years, this is Nikon’s first time introducing it. As a result, a lot of Nikon users are wondering what this format is, how it works and how it compares to standard RAW files. Personally, I had very limited knowledge of this format and thought it would be an exciting feature, until I dug deeper and found out what it was all about. After a few hours of research (and some input from Iliah Borg, I decided to summarize my findings in this article, which I hope our readers will find useful. Let’s start with the basics first.

sRAW vs RAW Format

1) What is sRAW?

sRAW, which stands for “Small RAW” or “Small Resolution RAW” is a file format that was introduced by Kodak to allow photographers to capture images at smaller size in order to allow more images to be stored on memory cards and allow for faster workflow when full resolution files are not needed (since computers were slow for processing RAW data). The sRAW format was created as a bridge between full resolution RAW files and JPEG images. Since JPEG images are already processed, compressed and only contain 8-bit data, sRAW allowed more flexibility with more bit depth (Kodak’s original design of the sRAW format was 10-bit). The advantage was noticeably smaller file size, but at the expense of resolution – the resulting images contained either twice, or four times less megapixels. Still, these images contained more data than JPEG files for later post-processing, which increased the popularity of the format.

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Ruggard Triumph 45 Sling Bag Review

I’ve always wanted a small camera backpack that gave me easy, quick access to my camera gear. I’ve owned camera backpacks in the past, but they were bigger (and heavier) and I had to take them off of my back in order to get my gear out. When I got a chance to review the Ruggard Triumph 45 Sling Bag, I took it, hoping I could find a nice bag that I could carry around town with me for more casual photography.

Ruggard Triumph Sling Bag

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24 Things You Need to Know About the New Nikon D810

Since the Nikon D810 got announced yesterday, we have been getting a lot of questions from our readers via emails, comments and Facebook messages. After answering many questions and doing some additional research, I decided to compile everything I have gathered so far in a single article. Looks like the biggest number of questions is coming from existing Nikon DX and D600/D610/D700 owners, who are considering to move up to the D810 as an upgrade. Some Nikon D800 and D800E owners like myself also find some of the new D810 features attractive, but there are still some items that remain unclear from the announcement (such as the camera buffer size), so the below article will hopefully address some of those questions and concerns as well.

Nikon D810 Film Maker's Kit

1) Nikon D810 has no OLPF / AA filter

This one might be particularly interesting to existing D800E owners. If you remember from our previous coverage of the D800E, the difference between the D800 and the D800E is the filter stack in front of the sensor. Basically, the D800 has two stacks of anti-aliasing / blur filters along with the regular UV filter, which is what effectively reduces moire in images. The D800E, on the other hand, has a blur filter in the front of the filter stack, which is cancelled out by another filter at the end, as shown in the below illustration (a detailed PDF illustration from Nikon is available here):

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