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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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… ;)
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.
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.
NOTE: Due to an overwhelming number of responses, we are no longer accepting applications.
We are looking for creative writers to contribute content to our blog and help expand our reach in 2013 and beyond. If you like what we do and you would like to be a part of our growing website, please contact us as soon as possible. The opportunity is for 100% remote work, so you can do everything from home at your own pace and schedule. This is a part time, pay per article opportunity, with a potential to become a full time position in the future. Please see the below requirements before contacting us.
There is no need to send your resume/CV, as long as you meet the below requirements:
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Must be fluent in English and have solid writing skills
- Must have good general knowledge of photography and be current with the latest trends in the industry
- Part-time professional photographers and advanced amateurs preferred
- United States and State of Colorado Residents preferred, but not required
We are also looking for a person who can write gear reviews (in addition to content writers, as outlined above), specifically on cameras and lenses. This particular opportunity requires US residence (lower 48 states), since the person will be receiving gear for testing from our partners.
If you are interested, please use the form in the “contact us” page with the subject line “Photography Life Job Opening”. Please include a short bio of yourself, the position you are interested in, a link to your online portfolio (important, since your pictures tell a lot about you) and whatever else you feel like sharing with us. Also, if you have previously applied to work with us before, you can reapply this time again.
In this article, I will talk about new Canon lenses – the 24-70mm f/4L IS and 35mm f/2 IS – and compare them both to most direct alternatives within Canon lens lineup. Both lenses have been very recently introduced and are best on full-frame cameras, such as the 5D series and the 6D, but will work well with APS-C sized sensors, too. By further implementing IS into new lenses, Canon is making them very tempting for photographers and aspiring videographers, but are advantages of new optics and IS worth the high asking price? A difficult question to answer, as Sigma and Tamron are now offering very well priced and high quality alternatives for both lenses. Lets see what Canon has released for its DSLR customers.
1) 24-70mm f/4L IS Lens
This lens was a huge surprise for me. The first thing I thought when it was announced – would I like a 24-105mm f/4L IS lens, but with a shorter focal length at the long end and for a lot more money? $1499, to be precise. I doubt first answer to come to your mind is “Yes, please!”. Obviously, it will have stellar optical performance with Canon’s latest Hybrid IS on top, but the old 24-105mm F/4L IS is no slouch, either. It is also a very popular lens and can be had for about $850 in the used market, brand new. Professionals use it for PJ work, as well as weddings. It’s also great for street photography and as a very versatile, lightweight travel lens. So what exactly does this new and, I must say, expensive addition to Canon L optics lineup offer? In a word – macro.
During Photokina 2012, Sigma announced three new rather exciting lenses – the fast 35mm f/1.4 prime lens, 17-70mm f/2.8-4 standard zoom for APS-C cameras and the still-unique 120-300mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom for sports and wildlife photographers. Two of the three seem to be mildly refreshed versions of their predecessors, but the 35mm f/1.4 has been highly anticipated and may prove to be very popular. Very recently, it’s price has been revealed and stands at a mere (in comparison with brand 35mm f/1.4′s) $899. Interestingly, it doesn’t feel right to say these new lenses will join Sigma’s lineup. In fact, it seems more like they are starting a new lineup, fresh. If you ever found yourself thinking Sigma was always about cheaply priced, cheaply built and cheaply performing lenses, well, they seem to have had an epiphany.
Despite its appearance, this is not a political article, although with enough prompting, I would be glad to write one. ;) In a bizarre twist of fate, Shepard Fairey, the creator of the iconic “Hope” poster of the then-Senator Obama, was sentenced to 2 years of probation for copyright infringement and tampering with evidence, required to provide 300 hours of community service, and fined $25,000. As part of the civil case settled last year, Fairey was also required to pay the AP news service $1.6 million and 50% of future “Hope” poster profits. During the proceedings, investigators discovered that Fairey had grossly under-represented his profits on sales of “Hope” related items. It seems that “Hope” was based on a completely false premise – that Fairey had NOT infringed upon the rights of others. Another reminder that some things are not what they appear to be…
AP believed that Fairey had used a photo, taken by an AP photographer, Mannie Garcia, in 2006, as the foundation for the famous “Hope” poster. AP sued Fairey for copyright infringement. And with an apparent sense of righteous indignation, Fairey countersued. Unfortunately for Fairey, the ensuing investigation showed that he had lied regarding which image he relied on to create the “Hope” poster, and destroyed evidence related to the case. Fairey admitted his mistakes in court and issued a statement on his website today.