Please welcome Francois Malan!

We are always excited when our team is expanded with talented individuals that share our passion for photography, and this time I am happy to present yet another addition to our family, Francois Malan. Francois was supposed to join our team last year, but he got very busy with his PhD and thus could not commit any time. This year things will change for Francois, as he will be contributing great articles for our readers to enjoy and learn from. He has already posted an article on using DX lenses on FX cameras and we are looking forward to seeing more great stuff. Please give a warm welcome to Francois!

Francois Malan

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Please welcome Robert Andersen!

This week is crazy here at PL, because we are bringing in more and more talent from all over the world for our readers to learn and get inspiration from. Today, we are expanding our team of writers with a talented wildlife photographer, Robert Andersen! I am sure you have been enjoying Robert’s detailed articles on Raptor Photography and getting answers to some of the most complex questions related to camera autofocus, handling, hand-holding and much more! Without a doubt, Robert will be an amazing resource as a permanent team member for our readers, so please give him a warm welcome!

Robert Andersen

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Please welcome Thomas Stirr!

We continuously strive to bring our readers the best content from many different sources and this time I excited to introduce another addition to our team – Thomas Stirr. You have already seen his articles like how to shoot high-quality videos with a DSLR, his top recommendations for photographing New Zealand and an in-depth review of the Nikon 1 V2 camera. Being obsessed with photography like all of us here at PL, Thomas will be sharing his knowledge and contribute to our site as a resident team member. Here is an intro post from Thomas – please give him a warm welcome!

Thomas Stirr Portrait

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Merry Christmas!

To those of our readers that celebrate Christmas, on behalf of the Photography Life team, we would like to wish you a very merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

May your home be filled with joy, love, health and happiness!

P.S. Don’t forget that we will be giving away two big presents tonight. The Fuji X-E1 + 18-55mm lens kit, along with a full-frame DSLR/mirrorless of choice (Canon 6D, Nikon D610 and Sony A7). Stay tuned for the big news and good luck to everyone!

What do you think about our new Banners?

We have been working with a talented designer from Uzbekistan (which is where Lola and I are originally from) to revamp the look of our site. After our transition from “Mansurovs” to “Photography Life”, we have been thinking about ways to make the site more user-friendly. Our first step was to redesign our logo. The second step was to get rid of that old huge banner with my personal pictures and a square version of the logo. So Lola came up with a few ideas for the new banner concept and she has been working with the designer during the last couple of weeks. After I saw the initial results, I loved them and immediately got rid of the old banners (those really had to go). As of now, the 5 new banners rotate randomly on the top of the page and the designer will be making more interesting ones each month.

So here they are for your viewing pleasure:
Banner-1.jpg

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Nature Photography Prints

A couple of quick updates, with an announcement before the weekend. First, we are finally offering printing services through Smugmug for nature photography. For now, I have only uploaded some of my images, but we have plans to soon start selling images by other Photography Life contributors as well. This is something that our readers have asked many times about in the past, but I never had a chance to set it all up due to time constraints. So we are excited to announce this service and we will be enhancing it even more going forward, with more images and printing options. To access the online store for printing, please use this link, or click on the image below.

Photography Life Printing

We made sure to select the best lab for photo printing – Bay Photo. All ordered prints will be printed with accurate color and I made sure to allow selecting different types of sizes – from square and wide to panoramic. You can also choose different type of material to print to, including Metal prints, which are very cool.

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We Need Your Support!

If you have been reading some of the articles during the last couple of days, you might have noticed that we now have a text box under each post that is asking you, our dear readers, to support Photography Life. I am not going to repeat the same message since it is on the bottom of this post, but in summary, we need your support to continue operating the website ad-free. We also want to grow bigger by adding more contributors, which means more unique content, and running routine contests / giveaways that will add more readers and expand our reach.

Support Photography Life Large

There are multiple ways you can contribute. The simplest way to help us out, is by buying your gear from our trusted affiliates B&H Photo Video and Adorama. Both B&H and Adorama ship internationally, however, if you have tough tax laws for packages coming from the USA, then please use the links below for specific countries:

  1. Amazon Canada
  2. Amazon UK
  3. Amazon Germany
  4. Amazon France

Buying from our links costs you nothing, does not change the price in any way, but it does help us a little by giving us a small percentage of the sale. Whenever you need to purchase any sort of camera gear, please use our links!

If you feel that we deserve more for our efforts, you can also donate money. You can do it as a one-time payment, or you can pledge on a monthly basis with options from $5 per month to $100 (monthly support would be ideal, since it would give us a monthly budget to work with for various projects). If you would rather use PayPal for donations, please use our PayPal one-time donation or PayPal subscription forms instead.

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The Case of the Disappearing Professional Media Photographer?

Cause the good ole days weren’t always good,
And tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.”

Keeping The Faith
- Billy Joel

The Chicago Sun-Times’ decision to lay off its staff of photographers and editors (~28 total), including a Pulitzer Prize winner, sent shock waves throughout the photography industry. Some cried foul. Some expressed disbelief. Others lamented the changing times and the commoditization of the professional media photography field. Many mocked the paper’s suggestion that it would rely on reporters to take their own photos using iPhones and DSLRs. The Sun-Times did not eliminate using professional photographers, since it plans on using some freelancers to fill some of the void created by the departure of the full-time professional crew. But the Sun-Times’ announcement was a clear indication that it believe something had fundamentally changed and it was willing to take radical action to do what it thought best for the immediate and long-term health of the business.

G20 Pittsburgh Job

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Site Performance and Other Updates

Some of our readers are probably wondering what our team has been up to lately, so I wanted to give a quick update on our activities. I apologize for not being able to post articles lately – I have been extremely busy with a number of projects, so I asked Lola to fill in for me. I have been working hard on expanding the lens database (which has been enhanced with even more useful information) for the past few months and this past week I was able to migrate our previous comments system to “Disqus” – a robust commenting system used by some of the most popular websites on the Internet. If you have tried commenting on some of the reviews with over a few hundred comments lately, you probably noticed how slow those pages respond, sometimes taking up to several minutes to load. All those subscription options and other comment features we implemented in the past took their toll on load speeds, so I pretty much was forced to migrate to a better commenting system. I am sure most of you will appreciate this change, but I do want to let you know that there are some drawbacks to the new system. There was no way for me to migrate previous post subscriptions, so if you used to receive updates whenever someone posted a comment in a particular article, you will have to re-subscribe to those posts via Disqus (please note that your general subscription to receive email notifications when we post articles is unaffected, this is only for comment subscriptions). Aside from this, you will love the new commenting system. And for those that hate Facebook and other social media, there is no need to register for an account at any of those sites, so you can still post as a “guest”. In addition, many of our readers reported site performance issues, so I was also able to migrate most of our content to better and faster hosting. The pages and images should now load extremely quickly in comparison. On top of that, I have been evaluating options for more social interaction between our readers via forum and other means (no, we will not be integrating our site with Facebook or Twitter, this will be completely separate). But this is not something I want to roll out immediately – integration and testing will take some time to complete. I am hoping to do this sometime before the end of the year.

Burrowing Owl - Nikon 80-400mm + 1.4x TC

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Adobe to Provide Creative Suite 2 For Free? Not Quite…

Update: Looks like the information was incorrect after all – Adobe is NOT giving away CS2 for free. According to Dov Isaacs of Adobe, “On behalf of Adobe Systems Incorporated, You have heard wrong! Adobe is absolutely not providing free copies of CS2! What is true is that Adobe is terminating the activation servers for CS2 and that for existing licensed users of CS2 who need to reinstall their software, copies of CS2 that don’t require activation but do require valid serial numbers are available (Special serial numbers are provided on the page for each product download). Apparently there still is no such thing as a free lunch… ;)
See http://forums.adobe.com/thread/1114930

In a rather interesting move, Adobe has made the decision to allow users to download its 2005 Creative Suite Premium (CS2), which includes Photoshop, for free. One can speculate regarding the reasons behind the strategy. On one hand, it is hard to imagine that Adobe was counting on any revenue from this older version, since software firms normally only license the current version of their products. On the other hand, Adobe may be looking to entice some fence sitters to consider easing their way into Photoshop.

Adobe Creative Suite CS2 Premium

How does this benefit you? The Channel Mixer! My main purpose for originally purchasing Photoshop vs. Elements or other program was this one feature. As I demonstrated in my infrared photography article, the Channel Mixer allows you to extract the portions of visible and invisible infrared light in a way no other feature currently provides. This feature may not be exploited as much by others, but it is a prerequisite for those that are serious about infrared photography. I am now hopelessly addicted to the full blown version of Photoshop CS6, but if this feature had been available in other programs, I don’t know how quickly I would have jumped on the Photoshop bandwagon. By allowing users to download Photoshop CS2 for free, Adobe has lowered the costs and challenges for those considering entering the world of infrared photography. And this is just one of the features of Photoshop – there are many more great tools available in Photoshop CS2 that you can utilize for your photography needs.

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