Synology DS1815+

Choosing the right storage option can be a rather challenging process due to the sheer number of options available on the market today. The good […]

Immature Bald Eagles fighting

If you have read any of my previous articles, then you would know I have two Nikkor super telephoto lenses and I often use them […]

Visualization and Film (4)

In this second installment to this series on visualization and film photography, I have selected two photographs, “Gravida” and “Pyramis” (both architecture), to share and […]


One of the most amazing landscapes in the world is Iceland’s Jokulsarlon lagoon — famous for its massive and beautiful icebergs. And if the lagoon isn’t […]

Hoh Rain Forest

As a follow-up to my previous essays on visualization, in this article I will share select photographs made on film with a detailed description of […]

Canon 85mm f/1.2L II vs Nikon 85mm f/1.4G

Although discussing the topic of Nikon vs Canon can lead to unnecessarily long and emotional debates between photographers and I personally find such discussions silly, […]

Does Focal Length Distort Subjects?

Face Distortion Compared

One of the common misunderstandings in photography has to do with the focal length of a lens, or its optical distortion properties. Many photographers claim that a wider angle lens will distort facial features either because of the lens distortion, or the focal length of the lens being too short. In this article and the accompanying video (which is extracted from our upcoming Photography Life Basics Video), we will prove that focal length has nothing to do with distorting a subject’s face and the additional information on lens distortion will explain in detail exactly what gets impacted by lens distortion.

[Read more…]

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Announcement

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM

Today Canon announced the updated Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM lens, which promises remarkable performance for a 35mm prime, thanks to its updated optical formula and the new “Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics”, which is designed to further reduce chromatic aberration to new levels. With a total of 14 elements (2 of which are aspherical), 9 diaphragm blades for beautiful bokeh, fluorine coating and a dust / water-resistant construction, the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM will surely be a popular choice among Canon enthusiasts and professionals. The only issue might be the added weight – at 760 grams, it is 180 grams heavier than its predecessor. It will retail for $1,799 in October of 2015.

[Read more…]

Attitudes To Noise

5 Largs Heron

Let’s talk about noise. Not the lovely Swedish lullaby my friend hums at me down the phone but digital noise in our photographic images. Most of us profess a serious allergy to it such that noise control has become a major USP for many camera models. One of the many features prospective buyers look for is noise control at higher ISOs. Models like the Nikon D4S and Sony A7s market themselves specifically as clean imaging devices, having listened to (preyed on?) the market’s feverish insecurities about the dreaded grain.

[Read more…]

Nikon Noct-NIKKOR 58mm f/1.2 Review

NOCT-NIKKOR 58mm f1.2 AiS

When testing out the Nikon 58mm f/1.4G, I really wanted to get a hold of the legendary Noct-NIKKOR 58mm f/1.2 lens to see how the two lenses from different generations compare optically. Unfortunately, I could not obtain a good sample of the Noct-NIKKOR at the time, but after scouting eBay for a while, I finally found a pristine copy of the lens from a photographer in California. Being a collector item, the lens was barely used and had been sitting for years in a closet – exactly what I had been wanting to get. I really wanted to make sure that the lens performed as close to its original specifications as possible, because I was on the quest to measure its optical performance, particularly at its super wide f/1.2 aperture. Let’s take a look at the lens in more detail.

[Read more…]

Zenfolio vs SmugMug


Both Zenfolio and SmugMug are giants in the world of photography hosting websites, and each has its fair share of loyal supporters. After a year of using Zenfolio to display my photos, though, I was beginning to second-guess my choice. There was no single, nail-in-the-coffin issue with Zenfolio, but several small details were beginning to annoy me as time passed. I kept wondering, could the grass be greener with SmugMug? Two months ago, I decided to jump ship and answer the question for myself – I have been using SmugMug ever since. In this article, I want to share my experiences with both companies and help other photographers choose which site is better for their needs.

[Read more…]

Nikon 1 J5: A Bit of a Game Changer?

J5 detail 1

One of the most common knocks against the Nikon 1 product line has been its small CX sensor and its somewhat underwhelming dynamic range and colour depth performance. I wasn’t even mildly interested when I first read about the introduction of the Nikon 1 J5 as I initially assumed the camera would be using yet another Aptina sensor. Based on past experience this meant very little, if any, improvement in terms of sensor performance and image quality. After all, that had been the case with each successive S-series, J-series and V-series model that had been introduced. Since I don’t like using cameras without a viewfinder I just shrugged.

[Read more…]

Is Nikon’s New 500mm FL Too Sharp?


And I guess the follow-up question would be “Could Verm come up with a more provocative title?” To put you at ease, these sample pics are all saved at web resolution so you needn’t don eye protection. This last weekend I had the pleasure of shooting with the new AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4E FL ED VR. Here are some quickie sample pics and comments from the first few days of shooting. There’s more to come as I’ll be doing in-depth field tests and comparing results with the “old” Nikkor 500mm.

Is it sharp? I’ll let this spike answer.

[Read more…]

Using Scale in Landscape Photography


A landscape photographer’s goal, especially in the most dramatic and massive locations, is to demonstrate the size and scope of the landscape in a photo. However, it is quite difficult to translate the three-dimensional world into a flat rectangle — certain aspects of a scene, including the scale of the landscape, can get lost along the way. In this article, I’ll go over some common ways to put the size of a scene into perspective.

[Read more…]

Thoughts on Usage Rates, Depreciation and Cash Flow

No more credit cards!

The photography world seems to be in an almost endless state of flux these days with a plethora of new cameras and lenses popping up in the market like mushrooms after a rain. Debates rage about the future of various brands, technologies and camera formats as folks share their often hard-edged opinions. This certainly is a tumultuous time to consider new photography gear, whether one is an amateur or a working professional. My old, tired brain has been in overdrive lately with thoughts about the potential financial impacts of some of these issues. So, I thought I’d share these mental meanderings with readers.

[Read more…]

Synology DS1815+ Review

Synology DS1815+

Choosing the right storage option can be a rather challenging process due to the sheer number of options available on the market today. The good news is, there is a solution for practically every need out there – from a simple low-cost backup solution to high-end and versatile storage arrays for multi-user environments, all depending on one’s needs. The bad news is, even when you know exactly what you need in terms of storage space, you might find yourself lost fairly quickly, particularly if you are not well-versed in storage solutions. The process of selecting the best solution is often frustrating for many photographers for this particular reason. Last year, a good friend of mine, who has been doing both photography and videography professionally for a number of years now, asked me for a suggestion on a solid and robust storage solution that could be used in a workgroup environment, with more than 2 people accessing the same data simultaneously. He told me about the challenges his team was experiencing when needing to share photos and videos in a network environment, often resorting to very slow and ineffective methods that only created frustration. Having been working with storage solutions for many years, my proposal was to use the Synology DS1815+ network attached storage (NAS) in a Gigabit network environment. I have personally used a number of Synology NAS devices in the past both on personal and professional levels and I have always loved the architecture, the simple to use software, the reliability and the performance of Synology storage solutions. Since implementation, my friend and his co-workers have been very happy, praising Synology and recommending the company to others. In this review, I will be taking a closer look at the Synology DS1815+ and talk about my experience using the unit for my work during the past 6 months.

[Read more…]