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Traveling with Only a Smartphone Camera

I’m traveling in Chicago this week, and I decided to leave the heavy DSLR gear at home and shoot with only my iPhone.

Convenience versus quality. (more…)

BlackRapid Camera Strap Review

BlackRapid StrapWhen we think about advances in camera technology, we tend to think of things like better digital sensors, fancy radio flash triggers, and such. If you’re like me, the last thing you think about improving is your camera strap.

After all, what is there to improve? The strap has a simple job: to hang the camera around your neck and never break. If you want to get fancy, you get a stretchy neoprene strap for added comfort. Mission accomplished.

Or so I thought until I tried the BlackRapid RS-7, my first “sling” style strap.


Shooting a Fashion Show at the House of Blues

IIDA Fashion Show Photo

The winning outfit. Looks strange? Read the explanation below. Click to enlarge

I love shooting fashion shows. They combine several of my favorite aspects of event photography into one package: interesting lighting, beautiful people, music, and night-life. (more…)

Lens Hoods: Why, When, and How to Use Them (Video)

You can also watch this video on YouTube: Lens Hoods (aka Lens Shades)

Whale Hunting with the 70-200mm Zoom

Gray Whale with Sailboat

A sailboat enjoys a close encounter with Eschrichtius Robustus – Click to enlarge

One of the benefits of living in San Diego is the opportunity to go out in shorts and a T-shirt on a sunny, 80-degree day in February to observe the annual migration of the Eastern Pacific Gray Whale.

My photo-partner Julie and I loaded up our long lenses and boarded a Hornblower Cruise ship at 1:30 PM, joining about 100 other passengers on a vessel that could easily hold three times that number. Plenty of elbow room made it easy to always get a spot at the rail for a good view, and a good shot. (more…)

Photo Gear Round-Up

New Photo GearPhoto gear tends to arrive at my door faster than I can use it, or even test it.

And that’s not just because I have bad habit of shopping on Amazon after too many beers (although that’s true), but because gear manufacturers are constantly sending me stuff that they want me to review.

I know, it’s a problem many of you would kill to have.  And I’m not complaining.

But it does sometimes become frustrating to look at all the cool toys lying unopened on my camera counter, toys I would like to thoroughly test and review for you, and which I simply don’t have time to mess with.

So, in an effort to clear some things off my “Gear to Review” list, I’m going to give you a quick tour through a bunch of recently arrived stuff that looks useful. (more…)

Wacom Tablet for Photoshop Retouching [video]

Price and Compare Tablets Online

Small Tablets

Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch (this is the one I have)

Wacom Bamboo Capture Pen and Touch Tablet

Medium Size

Wacom Bamboo Create Pen and Touch Tablet

Large Size

Wacom Intuos5 Touch Large Pen Tablet

 You can also watch this video on YouTube: Wacom Tablet Review

Schooled by Senior Pictures

How to Shoot Senior Pictures


We’re always learning as photographers, and sometimes the lesson we learn is not to ignore the lessons we’ve already learned.

I had one of those experiences this week. (more…)

Landscapes and Lightroom

lightroom landscape 1

Lots of Clarity in Lightroom makes the details pop. Graduated filter recovers washed out areas. Click for Before-After comparison.

First off, an admission: I’ve never been much of a landscape photographer.

It’s never very been high on my photography interest list, because I’m drawn more to people and action—two things that are generally absent from landscapes.

Nevertheless, when I find myself in beautiful surroundings—like the jaw-dropping red-rock country of Sedona, Arizona—I naturally want to pull out the camera and bring home some knock-out photos. (more…)

Photography for Trade

We’ve talked in the past about how it harms the photography industry when amateur photographers give away photos that they should be charging clients for.

Jewelry Fashion Shoot Photo

Afternoon sunlight with reflector. Lightroom post-production with filter from Pretty Presets. Canon 5D Mk II and Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS. Settings 90mm, ISO 200, f/4.5, 1/320 sec.

The flip side of this coin is that we all encounter many opportunities for trade, where it makes perfect economic sense to swap our photographic skills for something of value in return. (more…)

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