Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Desktop image downloads

Today I'm starting what will hopefully be a fun monthly event.  I'm going to start periodically offering download of a photo which can be used as a desktop image.  To kick things off, I've put what I think is a pretty neat image of the Garden of the Gods in Lanai in a password-protected gallery on my website.  After clicking the link, you'll be asked for a password.  Enter the word "Facebook", work through just a couple of prompts and you should have a great new image to use on your computer's desktop.  


Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I remember back in the day when every picture taken was magically turned into a print at the local drugstore or camera shop.  In a way, it was easy, just dropping the roll off at the counter, filling out the order on the back of the envelope, then checking back in a few days.  But if your experiences were anything like mine, the prints rarely matched our expectations.  First, not nearly every picture was ever intended to see the light of day.  There were just too many "do overs" that no one needed to see.  Second, even for the shots wherein things seemed to line up perfectly, the little 4 x 6 rarely seemed to meet up with my vision for the image.  Ultimately I've decided that I was leaving too much up to the printers.  They were great at producing a perfectly average exposure and saved most of us from ourselves a lot of the time, let's admit.  But great prints need individual attention to detail, and mass production just wasn't a way to get down to the good stuff.

My frustration with the lab development and printing process was peaking at just about the time digital photography became available to the masses.  All of a sudden here was a practical, accessible, relatively affordable way to have complete control of the negative, from capture to print.  Never mind the discussion about when digital may or may not have exceeded the quality of film, digital brought so much control that my images were almost immediately closer to what I'd envisioned when squeezing the shutter.

Several years later, we're almost completely accustomed to viewing images on electronic devices.  We've got a million ways to share and enjoy images, and in my opinion the world is entirely better for it.  I love the instant gratification of sharing an image literally seconds after it was made.  Yet I continue to come back full circle.  The view on even my 24 inch monitor doesn't approach the pleasure of holding a freshly minted print in my hands and watching the light play off the surface.  No, certainly not every image should be printed.  But when you just nail that image, when things come together just right, there's something special about immortalizing that image on paper that really brings satisfaction.

No doubt, taking control out of the hands of the technician operating the print machine at the drugstore has meant that we've had to acquire some new skills.  Now, if the print sucks, there's no one to blame but ourselves.  But what else do you have to do with your life if not to continue to learn, adapt, move forward?  There's literally not one moment, if we're alive and breathing, that we have the right to sit and be complacent, to stop growing.  I'm personally so much a happier camper with the ability to have such an effect across the whole imaging process, I'm completely happy to accept responsibility for the results.

And with that in mind, I am glad to announce the availability of prints on  For a long time I've wanted to have a place where these are available, and that day is finally here.  As you click around, you'll notice a "BUY" button.  Click there to check on size and finish options.  There are currently a limited number of images available, but that will change with time, and before long I hope to have hundreds of images available from which to choose.  Until the collection is more completely filled out, feel free to inquire about a specific theme or location, I may have just what you're looking for even if it's not available on the website yet!

I'm sitting here looking at a fresh 16 x 24 print of the taro fields in Kauai.  I can't help but think back when the first thoughts of this image crossed my mind.  It's an amazing process: conceiving of an image, going out and capturing it, preparing the file with lots of care for a print, then holding the end result in your hands.  I have to say, the print of the taro fields is WAY beyond what I felt could be accomplished.  I'm completely happy with it and I know, if you see it first hand, you'll enjoy it too.  The metallic finish is out of this world!

I'd love to make a custom print for you, just click on your favorite, make an order, and you'll have an amazing print in your hands in just a few days.

Until next time...enjoy the photography in your life!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A point, proven again.

Once again, with Photokina less than a week away, the camera manufactures are releasing new gear at full-tilt and marketing departments are at full song.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, I love new gear as much as anyone!  But it matters much less than they'd have you believe.  As David duChemin constantly reminds us, craft and vision are much more powerful tools than any specific gear we use in our photographic endeavors.  Case in point, Chase Jarvis' recent time with a pre-production version of Nikon's latest camera, the D7000.  If you take the time to become just a little bit familiar with his work (go ahead, have a look around his site, I'll wait here), you'd notice that the ridiculously amazing images and video he produced with this camera look very much like the work he produces with cameras five times as expensive.  Clearly the new kit was up to the task of helping him and his crew express his vision.  But more importantly, no matter what camera he uses, his images will be absolutely recognizable, absolutely at the upper extent of what's possible with a camera and lens.  Point proven, again.

New gear!

Seems like the last-minute information leaks were just about right on, once the official announcements were made.  The new D7000 looks like a LOT of camera for the money.  Lots of great features, and like Chase Jarvis said, ergonomic features are even more important than "specs" when it comes to making great images.  Go take a minute and check out the amazing images and video he and his crew put together.  (So this is what he was up to in Palm Springs a few months ago, eh?)

The 35mm f1.4 lens should be fantastic, though that's just not my favorite focal length.  Nikon shooters who prefer primes should be ecstatic with the recent introduction of the 24, 35, 85, and the rebuilt 50mm from not too long ago.  The upgraded 200 f2 will remain awesome, no changes to the optical formula are specified.  I've not shot with that lens but I hear it's a really neat piece of glass.  Maybe need to rent that sometime...  After recently acquiring the new 24mm f1.4, I sure intend to rent the new 85 and take it for a spin.

I'm trying to decide how excited to be about the new SB700 speedlight.  In appears likely to improve on most every aspect of the SB600, which already represented a lot of flash for the money.  I'm encouraged by the increased power, new interface including switches (in the manner of the SB900) to control the flash mode (for example, master, remote, etc) without having to enter the menu, and the fact that the SB700 can now function as a master.  The off-camera flash guru Strobist expressed dismay at the lack of a PC jack, but that's probably not important if you are able to work within the CLS system and avoid Pocket Wizards.  The SB700 costs a fair bit more than the SB600 but is still cheaper than the SB900 and that probably helps it remain a fairly good deal for a lot of folks.  You know, I think I'm starting to like this new strobe already.

Hmm, so I think that's enough gear stuff for one day.  All the new stuff looks great, honestly, and we already knew that our old stuff wasn't really holding us back anyway.  I'm heading out to shoot!

Until next time.

Edit: As was the case for the SB900 versus the SB800, it looks like the SB700 may not be more powerful than the SB600.  It can be difficult to tell, based on that information is published. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Almost "showtime".

Well, here we go, folks.  Looks like tonight's expected announcement from Nikon may be the last announcement before Photokina.  Nikon Rumors has posted leaked images from tonight's expected announcement and there's some tasty stuff in there!  The D7000 looks really good, with what appear to be great ergonomics, nice build quality, and perhaps most usefully, what appear to be a couple of custom settings banks accessible from a dial on the upper left.  If, like with most recent Nikons, the sensor produces nice images this should be a huge hit.
I'll personally be watching the lens and speedlight news more closely.  A new 35mm f1.4 lens is expected and, if it's anything like the recent 24mm and 85mm primes, should be outstanding.  The SB700 is long overdue and should be a nice upgrade from the SB600.
My first meeting in the morning isn't too early, so I'll be staying up late tonight awaiting the official announcement.  Specs will be interesting to read, as usual.  And although there's always the possibility of disappointment when specs meet reality, it has to be said that most of Nikon's products lately have been fantastic.