Sunday, 23 of November of 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

It’s been another busy week in the world of photography. This week, we reviewed the Nikon D810 and showed off some of our novice photography skills with it. However, this week has also been a big week of announcements and confirmations on new photography gear for Christmas and sales to expect for the holiday shopping season. There have also been a lot of photos about exotic vacation destinations for those who want to get away and do something non-traditional for Thanksgiving. And, with the holidays on the way, there has also been a lot of travel advice on offer for those of you planning to lug along photography gear.

All of these stories and more were featured on our Twitter feed this week. However, if you’re not following us on Twitter, we’ll recap the highlights for you below.


That’s all for this week, folks! Have a great weekend and we’ll see you again next week!

– da Bird


Profiles In Photography: Florian Ritter

This week’s profile in photography focuses on German photographer Florian Ritter. Born in Frankfurt and raised in West Germany at the end of the Cold War, Florian was fascinated by creative endeavors early on. His mother was an actress and watching her create new stories and portray different characters spurred his imagination and creativity. When he was older, he began helping her with set design and creating props and accessories, furthering his interest in art and creation. His family encouraged his skill and he spent much of his early life drawing and creating illustrations. At university, he studied graphic and media design and, soon after, entered the world of advertising as a graphic artist.

It wasn’t until 2007 that he began to develop his interest in photography. Growing disillusioned with the tightly-organized and highly-structured world of German advertising, he began making plans for a tour of the world while he tried to figure out what he could do with his artistic skill. He participated in a photography class in New York city and quickly fell in love with photography as a way to create new art.

Florian’s photography focuses mostly on people and landscapes. His world tour took him to many places where, with his artist’s eye and his camera, he was able to capture stunning and memorable photos to show some of the hidden facets of various countries, cultures, and societies. In August 2009, he settled in Shanghai, China, where he works as a commercial and landscape photographer in addition to running his own business, PRISMO, which aims to bring fresh life to graphic design and to showcase the use of different styles of photography and art in commercial and digital mediums. You can view more of his work and keep up to date with him at his Facebook page.

– da Bird


Nikon D810 Review

A few weeks ago, I received a Nikon D810 with an 18-140mm lens to test a bit. This camera is probably one of the best top-range DSLRs I’ve had the chance to get my hands on. It’s got a lot of great features and some very nice aspects to it that make it more than just a great camera to have in the bag — it’s also a great camera to rely on as your only camera. If you’re looking to get a high-end DSLR that will last you a while and won’t wind up driving you up the wall with some of its more esoteric settings, the D810 is the best choice out there.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the D810 is not going to break your wrist. That’s fairly important as many high-end DSLRs are so packed with electronics, sensors, and other technical bits that they weigh far more than their compact size would suggest. A few previous DSLRs in this range felt like I was trying to carry an older laptop with one-hand. Using the lanyard on them made me wonder if I might experience accidental self-decapitation if I lost my grip on the camera. However, the D810 is light enough not to make you worry about that while being substantial enough that it’s not going to get moved out of position on a tripod or base.

The next great thing is the D810′s flexibility. It comes with a lot of presets for different types of photography: landscape, night-time, low-light, portrait, etc. However, even without shifting out of Auto, it’s got an intelligent enough programming guide to transition from various extremes (such as indoor portraits to sunset landscapes) without being a nightmare. It has a good dynamic color range which keeps photos from looking washed out — a problem found in some earlier generation Nikon cameras. Nikon also has the best cameras for high technical image quality and the D810 is the best of the best when it comes to that. Several of the photos I took in the forest showed the best range of colors I had ever seen with a camera. The D810 also helped me capture a quick snapshot of my little friends who I have helpfully named “Mr. and Mrs. H. T. Duck.”

The D810 is also very quiet. I captured that image without the loud “click” or “snap” sound that you find on many other DSLRs. Its quietness was a bit disconcerting at first because I wasn’t certain if it had taken the photo or not. However, once you get used to it, it’s an unmixed blessing. The controls for it are very intuitive. I’m not a professional photographer but I found it quite easy to figure out the different controls for the D810 even before I broke out the manual. Lastly, the D810 has a great Auto-AF Area Select mode that can be a real boon to new DSLR owners in getting the camera to focus on the subject and not something else. This mode almost seemed to read my mind a few times which is both awesome and a little frightening. However, I, for one, am prepared to welcome my Nikon D810 overlords.

In short: this is a great camera for anyone looking to get into more serious photography without being pigeon-holed into a particular discipline. It’s also a great camera for a newbie to DSLRs as it takes a lot of the confusion over settings out of the way early on, allowing you to learn how to tweak things later without requiring you to take a six month course in camera settings first.

– da Bird


Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

This has been another busy week in the world of photography with photographers all around the world offering advice for amateurs of all skill levels on how to improve in the craft, especially with the coming holiday season. In addition, camera manufacturers and hobbyists have been busily getting their wish lists ready for the holiday shopping season. And, in big space photography news, the Rosetta probe has landed on its comet and is sending back loads of useful information.

All of these stories and more were featured in our Twitter feed this week. However, if you’re not following us on Twitter, we’ll recap the highlights for you below!


That’s all for this week, folks! Have a great weekend and we’ll see you again next week!

– da Bird


Profiles in Photography: David Lindsey Wade

Profiles in Photography: David Lindsey Wade

This week’s photography profile centers on one of the Wade brothers: David Lindsey. Together with his brother Lyndon, David has become one of the most well-known and published lifestyle, fashion, and advertising photographers in the modern era. His clients include A&E, Coca-Cola, Comedy Central, EA Sports, Ford, McDonalds, Microsoft, Nikon, Nintendo, Reebok, Western Union, and the WWE among many others. David got his start in photography early. Raised by a pair of artists, he used his teenage rebellion to fuel his passion for photographing machines. He branched out from there and developed a distinctive and artistic style in his photography.

David’s preferred method is not to stage scenes or make elaborate set-ups for his much of his non-advertising photography. When it comes to his advertising photography shoots, he likes to keep things simple and make use of the business or team’s color, industry, and backdrops to bring a richness and depth to the artificial set-up and poses. In his artistic photography, he goes between a gritty realism with dabbled light and elaborate fantasy with contrasting lights and colors.

David Lindsey Wade’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the world. If you get the chance to see one of his exhibits, it is well worth the time and effort.


4 Winter Ball Photography Tips

4 Winter Ball Photography Tips

School dances are great occasions in a student’s life. Homecoming and prom are two celebrations that are so steeped in our culture that the thought of never going to one of them is unimaginable to many people. Winter balls aren’t as wide-spread as those two student dances but they are becoming more common. These galas are generally held between Thanksgiving and winter break which makes preparing for the photos at the dance a special challenge. However, with a few tricks up your sleeve, you can make these photos as good as the ones taken for prom.

1) Consider colors carefully — Unless you’ve been going to a tanning bed regularly, any tan from summer will generally be long gone. That means that you should choose the dress, makeup, and accessory colors with your winter skin tone in mind.

2) Choose hairstyles for warm clothing — Chances are that you’ll be putting on and taking off a coat or wrap several times over the course of the evening. Keep that in mind when you’re styling your hair. If you can avoid the frizziness from static electricity, that will help a lot with the photos.

3) Lighting is harsher — Since the days are shorter, full dark comes earlier in the winter. That means that lighting rigs set up for evening dances will be brighter. Make certain, ladies, that you have powder with you to keep the light from creating shiny blotches on your skin.

4) Gentlemen, check your coats — Just like the ladies, you’ll be taking your coat off and putting it back on several times. When you’re getting ready for your photo, make certain that your shirt, tie or bow tie, and jacket are clean, tucked in correctly, not loose, and not creased.

Winter dances can be fun occasions to have a good time and make some wonderful memories. However, winter portrait photography — especially in a school setting — can be tricky. Take a few moments to prepare ahead of time and make the photos come out as well as any others you might take.

– da Bird


Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

It’s been another busy week in the world of photography. As people prepare for the upcoming holidays, photographers are getting their gift lists ready. Landscape photographers are also making trips to capture the changing of the leaves and the more dramatic winter photos that make a complementing contrast to the vivid summer and spring photos. This week has also been a busy week for astrophotographers with the nights arriving earlier thanks to the end of daylight savings time and the beginning of another round of meteor showers.

All of these stories and more were featured on our Twitter feed this week. However, if you’re not following us on Twitter, we’ll recap the highlights for you below!


That’s all for this week, folks! Have a great weekend and we’ll see you again next week!

– da Bird


Profile in Photography: Francesco Tonelli

Profile in Photography: Francesco Tonelli

Photography, like any other art, is about passion. This week’s Profile in Photography centers on a man who uses photography to combine two passions: a love of photos and a love of food. Italian-born Francesco Tonelli is a chef who, after reaching the top of his field, became a photographer in order to share his love of cooking and food preparation with those who might never see the inside of one of his restaurants or sample one of his delicious creations.

Tonelli’s style is a head and shoulders above the usual style most food photographers use. Instead of trying to make a dish appealing in the hopes of convincing someone to purchase it — as is common with most food photography that doubles as advertising — Tonelli’s style takes advantage of his training as a chef. He presents the meal as a total package and does his best to make the photos he takes more than just a visual experience. His experience as a chef has taught him much about the properties of various ingredients and foods and he can make anything — even uncooked meat — look appetizing.

He spends a lot of time setting up his shots, blending together a rich range of colors. His lighting style is understated and somewhat muted in order to show the different layers and blended ingredients in his dishes instead of trying to make them shine or glisten. When arranging a dish for photography, he takes the same care in making it look appealing as he would as a chef and he lets the food appear natural with few overt enhancements, bringing out its native richness and depth of color range.

If you ever get the chance to try out something from one of his cookbooks or to put your feet under his table, it’s well worth it. He is a great chef who, through a true love of his profession and its tools, has become a great photographer as well.

– da Bird


6 Food Photography Tips

6 Food Photography Tips

With fall in full swing, Thanksgiving coming up, and Christmas just around the corner, the days are shorter and the temperatures are colder. That means that most of us are spending more time inside. It also means that several major cooking events are just over the horizon, making this a great time to brush up on your food photography skills. Food photography requires a lot of attention to detail and prep work, just like cooking does, so be sure to read this in full before you start setting up for your shots.

1) Preparation, preparation, preparation — One thing that cannot be emphasized enough is that you must take proper preparation if you want your food photography to come out looking good enough to eat. After selecting the dish you want to capture, go out and purchase the freshest and best looking ingredients for its preparation. Clean any fruits and vegetables well, making certain that no dust, dirt, grime, or discolorations show. Pick up some extra clear vegetable oil as well — it might come in handy later.

Back at home, decide where you’re going to be doing the photography and set up appropriate lighting rigs and gear. Polish any tables, thoroughly clean any plates, bowls, or silverware, and make certain that any placemats or decorations are clean and well-presented.

2) Think about colors and contrasts — Pick out dishes that will work well with the setting. If you’re using a dark-colored table, consider using white dishes in order to bring out the contrast. If your table is clear glass, use dark colored dishes.

3) Photograph each stage — Some of the best photos might come from the prep work for the meal or even while it’s cooking. Keep your camera handy and keep a dishcloth nearby to wipe up spills and splatters.

4) Keep some extra raw ingredients to the side — Cooked vegetables, especially if they’ve been boiled, lose a lot of the qualities that make them photogenic. Keep some raw ones to the side to use as decoration either in or next to the dish.

5) For salads or vegetable dishes, use oil — You can make your vegetables glisten and shine with a light application of oil. The skin of most foods is not very reflective; vegetable oil lightly brushed onto them can change that, making for some mouth-watering photos.

6) Be ready to get upset for meat dishes — Photographing meat dishes like roast beef, steaks, hamburgers, fish, pork, and more can be very frustrating as meat is not very photogenic before it is cooked or after. It not only takes an artist’s eye to arrange a meat platter in a pleasing manner, it requires patience and practice to set up the lighting and deal with meat’s natural textures, oils, and fatty portions in a photography setting.

Photographing food can be very rewarding but it requires a lot of preparation and set up in order for it to come out well. Follow the tips above and you can get the most from your meals, not only in nutrients, but in photographs, too.

– da Bird


Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

This spooky Friday brings an end to another week in the world of photography. This week has been a fun and eventful one with photographers capturing the Halloween spirit and getting images of kids, houses, and even their own gear decked out for the holiday. Last week had a solar eclipse and this week saw a lot of the photos and videos taken of the event put up on the Internet. And, in related space news, the Antares rocket exploded on launch earlier this week, giving photographers and scientists more images to study to perfect their rocket science.

All of these stories and more were featured on our Twitter feed this week. However, if you’re not following us on Twitter, we’ll recap the highlights for you below.


That’s all for this week, folks! Have a happy Halloween and a fun weekend!

– da Bird