Thursday News Reel


B&H Photo has pricing listed for the new Nikon D60.  The D60 Body is listed at $699.95 here and the D60 kit which includes the Nikkor 18-55mm VR lens is listed at $799.95 here.  This camera is an excellent choice for someone just getting into photography or simply stepping up to a DSLR.

If you like portraits of children, here is a link to Julia Greer Photography.  She is a wonderful photographer and has some amazing images on her site.  Go check it out and get inspired!

Nikon has also announced two new lenses.  Here’s the excerpts from Nikon’s press releases:

  • The new AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED lens engineered specifically for extreme close-up photography, and perfectly suited for general imaging as well. The new AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED lens can focus at a distance of approximately 0.185m (.6 ft.) at its closest, and allows photographers to capture breathtaking close-up photography with reproduction ratios up to 1:1 (life-size).
  • The new PC-E NIKKOR 24mm f/3.5D ED lens, the latest in a series of lenses that are equipped with a tilt/shift mechanism that enables photographers the flexibility to effectively manipulate perspective, distortion and focus. Whether photographing architecture, landscapes, interiors or panoramas, this Perspective Control (PC) lens easily corrects linear distortion and aberration to deliver images that more accurately reproduce the view as the human eye sees it.

That’s it for today.  I hope your Thursday is going well and remember, the weekend is almost here! 🙂


Single Strobe Ops

In the Navy (ok, no comments from the peanut gallery), if we are operating a ship on one electrical generator, it’s called single generator ops.  (Ops is short for operations by the way.)  In photography, when I’m only using one strobe (speedlight) I call it Single Strobe Ops.  Call me a Lifer, call me a Sailor, call me what you will… it’s just who I am.

For most of us, we don’t have a lot of extra money to throw around and so what and how much gear we buy can often be a little (ok, a lot) limited.  When you are out and you see someone shooting at a wedding or other event and they have a couple of studio strobes with them, what comes to your mind?  Are you jealous?  If so, you really shouldn’t be.  I used to feel that way myself until I started reading and came across some great resources and wised up a bit.  In other words, I got smart!

I’ve said this before, but I love shooting with speedlights off-camera because I can do it wirelessly and they are ultra-portable.  More so than any studio strobe or flashhead/power pack combo could ever be.  Now if you only have one speedlight, all isn’t lost.  You can even shoot portraits that look like they were shot in a studio with one light and a few tools.  I’ve covered this before, but one technique I picked up from Lighting Essentials is the V-Card.

The V-Card allows you to do so much with one speedlight and you can get them super cheap!  You can simultaneously reflect soft light back onto your subject and background or just light your subject.  You can also use them to block light.  The possibilities are endless.  They are made from foam board or fome core.  The largest pieces of foam board come in 4’x8′ sheets and you use white gaffers tape to form a hinge on the long side of two pieces.  Leave a 1/4″ gap between the two pieces when you put them together so you can adjust them as you need to.  If you don’t have a resource to get the larger sheets, you can by 30″x40″ pieces in 3 packs for $20.00 from your favorite office supply store.  You can stack two pieces together and tape them to form a larger 30″x80″ piece.  You can then tape those to pieces together as I described above to make your V-Card.  It won’t be as wide, but will still be just as useful.

As you can see, you can do a whole lot with just a little and not spend a fortune.  Hopefully you can put this to good use.  Let me know how it works out for you and if you send me some images using your V-Card, I will post them here for all to see.

This Just In: Nikon D60!


I was just on Nikon’s website and saw the press release for the new Nikon D60 DSLR!  It was just announced yesterday and it’s basically a D40 with a D80’s sensor and the electronics of the D3 and D300.  It’s features Nikon’s new EXPEED image processor, their 10.2 mp CCD sensor, dust reduction, and more.  What does all of this mean?  This little DSLR will take amazing pictures with more vivid colors than the D40, D80, D200, or D2Xs.  Pricing has not yet been announced and it’s expected to be available in the U.S. in February of this year.  You can read the press release here and check out the D60 here or here.  The image above is courtesy of Nikon.

Tuesday’s News

There is a lot happening this week in the world of photography so I thought I would share with you some of news items I found to be most interesting.


Canon USA announced the newest DSLR to their lineup, the EOS Rebel XSi.  It boast a host of pro features including 14-bit A/D conversion, an advanced Live View function, better autofocus sensor, and Canon’s proprietary DIGIC III image processor.  You can get the full scoop on Canon’s website.

PMA 08 – This week, PMA 08 kicks open its doors to showcase the latest photo innovations and strategies to hit the memories market.  PMA 08 hosts photo retailers, professional photographers, mass merchandisers, professional labs, custom picture framers, scrapbook retailers and event videographers from around the world.  I expect to read about some new product announcements toward the end of the week.  PMA 08 runs from Jan. 29th – Feb. 2nd at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.  Here’s the link.

Drobo Creators Launch DroboShare – SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. – JAN. 14, 2008 – Data Robotics, the makers of Drobo, the world’s first storage robot, today announced the launch of DroboShare, a companion for Drobo that enables users to easily share files over a Local Area Network (LAN). With this release, the company is building on its mission to change the way people store, manage and share their digital assets.  Read the full story at PDN Online here.

Photoshop World 2008 – Just a quick reminder that if you plan on attending Photoshop World this year in Orlando, FL that you have only one month left to save some cash and register early.  The deadline for Early Registration is Feb. 29th and it will be here before you know it.  If you’re a NAPP member you can save an additional $100.00 on your registration!  Here’s the link to find out more and register.

That’s it for this edition of Tuesday’s News.  I’ll see you back here tomorrow for more exciting photography tips!  Have a great day! 🙂

What To Do With Prints

This weekend I was bored and decided to play with my camera and some of my youngest son’s toys.  Die cast miniatures from the movie “Cars” are among his favorites and they are pretty hot right now so I thought I would shoot them.  After I was done and I imported into Lightroom, it hit me; I could get some large prints, frame them, and use them as decor in my son’s room!  This way, he would have something really unique and personal in his room.  At this point, ideas were racing through my head and I began bouncing them off of my wife.  She was very enthusiastic about the whole thing too, which was very cool.  I attempted to use that as leverage to get her to let me buy some more gear, but I lost that battle. 

Here’s a couple of things you can do with large prints of your photos:

  • Kids Room Decor
  • Living Room Decor
  • Bedroom Decor
  • Office Decor

One of the reasons that I can get away with spending so much time (and money) on photography is that it benefits my family by creating lasting memories and they can get involved in it too.  My eight year old son loves to look over my shoulder when I’m working in Photoshop and my almost five year old daughter loves to take pictures with my D40.  My wife loves to re-decorate the house with prints of all sizes of my photos and even some graphics stuff that I do in Photoshop.  It’s a good thing, trust me.

Before I post some shots from this weekend, I will explain a little about my setup.  It was really pretty simple.  I shot on my dining room table and used 3 pieces of the 30″x40″ white foam board that you can pick up from Staples or Office Depot for $20.00 (they come in packs of 3).  I used one piece for the bottom, one for the back, and one for the side.  I propped them up together with my camera bag to form my mini-product studio.  I had my SB-800 on it’s stand with a Gary Fong Lightsphere II Cloud diffuser on it at camera left and pointing at the ceiling at about a 75 degree angle.  (This side had no foam board.)  My D40 was in manual as well as my SB-800 and I shot a either f5.6 or f11 and 1/125 at ISO 200.  I adjusted the power of the speedlight based on aperture.  Here’s what I wound up with:




All the processing for these photos was performed in Lightroom.  I didn’t take a single one of these images to Photoshop for processing. 

I hope everyone has a great week and a Happy Monday! (If there is such a thing!) 🙂 

Friday’s Photo News

The weekend is on our doorstep and here’s a couple of things to check out before spending the weekend looking through your viewfinder.  Ready?  O.K.!

  • Strobist has a collection of his favorite photos in his Flickr group and there is some really amazing photography in that collection.  Go check it out and get inspired!  You can see it here.
  • Joe McNally has his first of five online lighting classes that have just posted to  Follow me on over to get the full description and watch three free clips of the class!  Click here.
  • Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging, today announced the launch of two new telephoto lenses for use with its EOS SLR cameras: the EF200mm f/2L IS USM*/** and the EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM*/**, the world’s longest focal length lens with an Optical Image Stabilizer system.*** The Company, which exhibited prototypes of the lenses during PhotoPlus Expo in New York last October, is launching them at the PMA tradeshow (booth E101) at the Las Vegas Convention Center, January 31 to February 2.  Read the full release here.

That’s it for today.  Enjoy your weekend and get out there are get some great shots!  See you on Monday! 🙂

Homemade Snoot For Your Flash

We’ve talked about getting your flash off the camera and using it wirelessly.  Here’s a really simple way to make a homemade snoot for your flash so that you can create some really dramatic lighting with it. 

Required Materials:

  • 1 Roll Gaffers Tape (duct tape works too, but it isn’t light tight)
  • 1 Empty Cereal Box
  • Scissors
  • Measuring Tape or Ruler

Measure the end of your flash so you know what the dimensions of your snoot will be.  Next, measure and draw out each piece that you will cut out of the cereal box.  Use a ruler or straight edge to keep your lines straight.  Cut out your snoot pieces.  By the way, you can make the snoot as long as you want.  I encourage you to try different sizes (6″, 8″, 10″, 12″).  Once you have all the pieces cut out, pull and tear off a piece of gaffers tape that is just shorter than your cardboard pieces are long.  Lay it on your working surface sticky side up. (Note: you want to have the plain side of the cardboard on the inside of the snoot and the colored side facing out.  If you have colors on the inside of your snoot it will create color casts in your light.  Not a good thing!)  Next lay two pieces of cardboard on the piece of tape lengthwise, using one half of the tape for one piece and the other half for the other piece. (Note: you should be laying one wide piece of cardboard next to a narrow piece.  The wide pieces are the top and bottom of your snoot and the narrow pieces are the sides.)  Repeat the same process but attach another piece to the same two pieces that you just taped together.  When you have all the pieces taped together, it should be in the order of WIDE, NARROW, WIDE, NARROW.  Add one more piece of tape to the very bottom so that when you fold the pieces over to make your rectangular snoot, you can tape it into place.  Proceed to cover your snoot on all sides with tape.  This will make it more durable and it will help prevent any light from escaping the seams.  Now you have a snoot that will fold flat to go in your camera bag and it cost you mere pennies! 

I hope you enjoy the tip and put it to good use!  Let me know how yours turned out!  Have a great day! 🙂