Photo Equipment Deals – Announcing PhotoGearDeals.com

Photography is expensive.

And I hate paying list price.

There are deals out there, and I come across them from time to time. I ignore a lot because I’m not always looking for what’s hot right now. A little while back I realized that instead of ignoring these, perhaps I could pass them along. And perhaps this would be a good basis for a new website focused purely on gear, since I’m trying to keep Splat Photo a bit more business/marketing/informationally-focused.

Hence PhotoGearDeals.com where I’m going to highlight current offers on cameras, lenses, software, and other goodies for photographers.

Subscribe over there via RSS, email, Twitter, or just hit the website frequently to see what’s new.

2013 and Personal Photography Projects

A couple weeks ago, I started to review my catalog of 2012 photos to see what the year had meant for me in the photo world. Even before looking into Lightroom I knew what I was going to find.

Oh snap, that darned photographer moved his camera again.

I made very few personal photos in 2012 compared to recent years.

Professionally, this was my busiest year, with various commercial, portrait, and event clients keeping me fairly busy. I enjoyed the range of projects I worked for clients. But personal work, for fun, for enjoyment, for growth and learning? I lagged.

I could run through a variety of excuses but they all boil down to me not prioritizing the time to get out and shoot.

Gotta change that in 2013. Want to help me out? Hold my ass accountable. If I go a while without sharing anything current, ask me what I’m working on.

New year starts today. Let’s go.

Pike Place Market in the evening at Christmastime.

Announcing Splat Photo

Splat PhotoI’d like to announce Splat Photo a new website-based venture I’ve started to focus on information for today’s connected photographer.

Splat Photo will be the home for all of my photography-related writing and resources, including, but not limited to:

* Commentary on industry trends
* Reviews of photo-related products and services
* Information on photography events

In short, photo-related things that would’ve been published here will now be found at Splat Photo. I will also be increasing the amount of photography articles published.

If you’re following me for photography things (either as an amateur or pro), you’ll want to follow Splat Photo.

Head over to Splat Photo – better yet, subscribe via RSS or email for my photography writing and other related information.

PDX in a Fisheye

An über-wide-angle view of the canopy over the arrival/departure roadways at Portland International Airport.  The termial is to the left; a parking garage is on the right.

I recently experimented with a Sigma 4.5mm Circular Fisheye Lens on behalf of the Photography StackExchange site. Here’s one of the images… an über-wide-angle view of the canopy over the arrival/departure roadways at Portland International Airport. The termial is to the left; a parking garage is on the right.

Email Marketing for Photographers: an Interview with DJ Waldow

DJ Waldow is an email marketing expert who just wrote a book (co-authored by Jason Falls) called The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing. The book was just released; I’m partway through reading it and I’m finding lots of practical information. Email marketing doesn’t get quite as much buzz as some of the newer, social, “sexier” online marketing venues but the reality is that everyone has email and it can be a very effective method for communication with clients and peers. There are a lot of “best practices” out there, but one of the unique angles of DJ and Jason’s book is that they specifically talk about how breaking some of those rules can lead to good things.

A few weeks back I had a chance to interview DJ about email marketing; in addition to some general advice I asked some questions specific to photographers. Here’s the interview (about 19 minutes):

Finding Focus: a Photography Ebook That’s Pretty Damn Good

There’s a funny middle area in photography… and it’s a hard area for finding learning resources. If we rank a photographer’s skill on a scale of 1 (total newbie) to 10 (expert), it can sometimes be hard to find material that will educate and inform the photographer who’s between three and seven. There are lots of “getting started” resources, and lots of things for those who’ve mastered many techniques, but what about the middle?

Finding Focus Photography Ebook coverFinding Focus is a new photography ebook by Nicole Young (better known online as Nicolesy). Finding Focus is a book about applied photography knowledge when it comes to focus. One might think that focusing is a basic subject, and while the basic act of making the camera focus is relatively straightforward I was excited to see the various related topics tackled in this book.

What the Heck Will You Learn?

Here are some of the topics covered in the book… things you might’ve heard about but weren’t sure why you needed to know them. Or maybe you haven’t heard of the term but you’re missing out because with a bit of learning you could make your photos even better. Inside you’ll learn about:

  • How lens selection (and lens compression) affects both the camera’s focus and your viewer’s perception of a subject.
  • How that lens selection affects the appearance of a person’s face in a portrait (hint: the wrong lens can be quite unflattering).
  • How to make a star-shaped pattern when photographing lights in the dark.
  • What is back-button focus (and why should you care)?
  • What’s that “DOF Preview” button on the camera for?
  • What’s hyperfocal distance, and should I care even if I haven’t eaten too much sugar?

In addition to the gear-related and technique concerns of how to best focus, there’s a good discussion of using focus as a storytelling element when making a photograph.

Finding Focus Photography Ebook by Nicole S. Young - inside

What About Post?

While a majority of Finding Focus looks at focus technique in-camera, it would be remiss to not also speak to focus-related subjects in the digital darkroom. Three bits of software are discussed. First, the author explores how to apply sharpening in both Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop (including how to understand what all those darned slider controls do). This is followed by a quick look at onOne Software’s Focal Point, and how it can be used to add creative focusing effects.

So Is This Book any Good, or What?

Yep.

Oh, you wanted more than that? As I said earlier, I think this book fits an oft-neglected place in that it offers information for those who have started to take their photography seriously but still have much to learn about focus and related techniques. The author assumes that one knows how to operate their camera (such as how to put it in aperture priority mode) but doesn’t presume that someone has already mastered the implications of such configurations. I like how the book was written and I think it’ll be of a great value for that audience.

You can buy Finding Focus for the usual Craft & Vision ebook price of $5… and as usual, the content is much more valuable than that amount. I’m an affiliate for Craft & Vision because their stuff is, as the cool kids say, the shizz.