Monday, 22 of December of 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up

Even with the holiday yesterday it’s been a busy week in the world of photography. Photographers are looking ahead to the holidays to come and have plenty of advice on matters ranging from choosing your first camera to whether or not to set up a photography studio. There have also been a veritable smorgasbord of reviews and hands-on articles with new cameras, advice about photography techniques, and gear that you can use in the year to come.

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: Norman Reedus

Norman Reedus is a name that many of you out there will know. He’s one of the leading actors in AMC’s runaway hit series The Walking Dead. Until he was cast in the role of Daryl Dixon — specially created for him after he auditioned for the role of Merle — Reedus was one of the many thousands of underrated actors. Best known pre-Walking Dead for his performance in Boondock Saints, Reedus tends to play the bad boys. However, off the screen, Norman Reedus is an avid amateur photographer. He first became interested in photography while traveling around shooting for some of his earlier works with John Carpenter.

He even has a photography book out: The Sun’s Coming Up Like A Big Bald Head. In it, he features some of his best work. Reedus has a way of finding beauty in some of the most unusual things — such as roadkill. With his contractual obligations, Reedus is unable to show some of the candid behind-the-scenes photos he shoots while working on The Walking Dead. However, he does like to show off images from around the area he’s working in. Much of his work is in black-and-white photography though he does dabble in color and contrast.

Norman Reedus is not classically trained in photography but he does have a definite eye for finding hidden beauty in many settings. His travels around the world have given him a rare opportunity to see strange sights and to capture them with his camera to show them to his fans and to the rest of the world. Should you get the chance to visit any exhibit showcasing his work or to get his book, do so. He’s not just a talented actor; he’s also a fine photographer.

— da Bird


6 Parade Photography Tips

6 Parade Photography Tips

With Thanksgiving later this week, this is the time of year when everyone starts getting ready for the Christmas parades. Cities, schools, and associations around the United States and Canada put their heads together to come up with great parades that feature music from the local high school marching bands, floats, dancing, and plenty of other entertainment to build up the excitement for the holiday season. Santa Claus often makes an appearance at the end of these parades and sometimes there is even a booth set up at the end of the parade route for kids to go and tell Saint Nick what they want and to get their photos taken with him.

True, this isn’t the only time of year when parades are active — there is Mardi Gras coming up in January and running until Ash Wednesday), Easter parades, and harvest parades throughout the year. However, the Thanksgiving to Christmas is probably the densest parade time during the year. So, to help you out, we’ve got some parade photography tips for you below!

1) Get there early and pick your spot — Location is key in any kind of photography but especially so in parades. Make certain you get there early enough to pick a good spot and to check with the parade security to see if photographers are allowed to get out on the road for short times in order to take front-on photos of the floats and displays.

2) Backlight your subjects but be careful to avoid shooting into the sun — If the day is sunny, you should consider using the trees and buildings to block the sun while still allowing you to use it to backlight your subjects.

3) Get close or use a telephoto zoom lens — If the parade security or policies won’t allow you to get in front or go over the barricades, make certain you’ve either scoped out a place close to the barricades or that you’ve found a place where you can get close with a telephoto lens and have a clear shot.

4) Check your settings and adjust them as necessary — The sun, clouds, and time of year make this a difficult time for photography with the white balance set to auto. Relying on the auto white balance is a good way to run into problems with shading and colors looking washed out.

5) Overpack if you can — If you have extra gear, try to take it with you. Tripods, monopods, filters, extra lenses — parades rarely require you to hike very far. If you followed step 1, you’ll have gotten there early and you can get your stands set up. If you have a comfortable enough backpack, you can keep most of your gear with you.

6) Be aggressive in post-production — Parade photography is filled with dynamic images and fluid motions. Don’t be afraid to be a bit more aggressive in post-production and editing to bring out the vibrancy and life in the photos and take out the dizzying blurs and washed-out overviews.

Parades are great things to photograph. With a few tips and a bit of pre-planning, you can make the most of your parade photography and have great photos that will preserve these memories for a lifetime.

— da Bird


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