Tip of the Month

October 2015

Large Prints:  Recently I was looking to make a really large quality print, 20"x34", and happened to find a shop locally in Merrickville; CoBa Printing.  They have a 44 inch Epson Printer and seem to know what they are doing, cost is approximately .05 cents per square inch so you can do the math and budget your print size accordingly.  I submitted my print as a TIFF file on a memory stick and they were able to print it while I waited. I was able to get it framed locally as well at Canal Gallery & Frame in Merrickville.

June 2015

Lightroom 6, should you buy it:  Probably.  I've been using for about a month now and my 2 cents is that it is worth the money.  My new favorite feature is within the gradient and radial filters, there is now an erase brush that lets you remove filtering on the portions of the image that get overlapped by the gradient or radial filters, i.e. a skyline that has irregular features such as a mountain or trees can now easily erase the filter from just that section.  As well the HDR and stitching features work really well and are ridiculously simple to use.

May 2015

No Pain in the Neck:  For those of you who often walk around with a back pack, Black Rapid make a "back pack strap" for just that purpose.  It clips to the upper shoulder strap and then down to the opposite belt support and thus means no need for a strap around your neck.  Very convenient to use, camera is stable and does not bounce around and if bending over, it does not swing out hitting things.  Black Rapid has an excellent little video on it's use in their website.

April 2015

Choosing a Book:  There are tons of free "How To Videos" and "Blogs" on the internet.  Sometimes though it is nice to have an instructional book available in your studio area or bed side table for casual reading, but how do you decide which to buy from the thousands listed on Amazon.ca.  Chapters/Indigo have a very limited selection in their stores for you to choose from.  However, from Amazon you can download a free preview of the first 3-4 chapters for any of their books to your tablet, PC or Kindle.  So download a half dozen for free, check them out and then order the one that suits your needs.

March 2015

Speedlites:  If you are in the market for a good reasonably priced Canon/Nikon equivalent flash, the Yongnuo brand from amazon.ca is getting good reviews on the internet, so of course I bought a couple and was able to demo them at our workshop on flash photography.  The Yongnuo 560 IV is $99.00 with built in receiver and if coupled with their 560 TX transmitter at $55.00 you have a pretty good combination of an off camera flash set-up that you can add unlimited 560 IV's to in the future.  I also bought the Yongnuo YN 14 EX ring flash at $132.00 which so far seems to be an excellent clone of the OEM Canon ring flash.

February 2015

Flash for Macro:  Came across a very cute little flash modifier (made by Neewer) that meets those wonderful criteria of inexpensive, lightweight, functional & portable.  I've been using it mainly for macro work with convenient on camera flash tilted to 45 degrees up.  So if out in the field chasing bugs or flowers, add your flash, slip this on and you have wonderful soft lighting.  In manual mode, I use an ISO of 320, settings at 1/160 & f-20, and can hand hold with no worries of camera shake, have great depth of field and no need to carry a tripod, reflectors, etc.  Got mine from Amazon.ca for $10.00 and I've seen it for less.


January 2015

Practice with Dummies:  Persuading friends or relatives to pose for you while you practice your portrait techniques, i.e.  lighting, posing, backgrounds, etc. can be frustrating.  The Dollar Store has a solution, for $2.00 "Little Miss Mufffett" (roughly life-size) is available 24/7, never complains, holds still and waits patiently while you review test shots.  Now when you read a portrait article or see a favorite portrait, you can spend the time to recreate and learn that shot at your leisure.  Obviously any other mannequin would provide similar results.

October 2014

Pain in the Neck:  Lugging our wonderful DSLR's with us all day on the conventional neck-strap can be tiresome and leaves the camera flopping around forcing you to constantly grab and hang on to it.  Here are two sites worth checking out; cottoncarrier.com and peakdesignltd.com.  Just the belt clip/carrier from Andy Cotton without all the bells and whistles coupled with the quick and infinitely adjustable neck strap from Peak Design make a relatively inexpensive combo that leaves your camera ready for action, securely held and your hands free.

July, Aug, Sept 2014

Revisit the Scene:  Just when you think, "been there, done that" try going back and revisiting the scene where you took a great photograph.  You might be pleasantly surprised by the results.  After our recent club outing to Merrickvile, I thought I had a pretty decent sunset photo, but decided to revisit and maybe improve the shot a bit.  A few visits later I suddenly had four very nice photos.  Remember things change, lighting, weather, seasons, angles, composition, go back, keep exploring and experimenting.  In this digital world, film is cheap.

June 2014

  • Instructional Website:  Found an interesting website with short videos in the blog section that puts some basic technical  photo concepts into plain English, grahamclarkphoto.com.  One in particular on dynamic range shows graphically how the human eye sees about 22 f-stops whereas a typical DSLR might see about 14 f-stops and how to deal with this.  Worth looking into.