Recent Articles

Adobe CS6 Sneak Peak #6 – Lens Blur

March 16, 2012

Here’s a peek from Photoshop Product Manager Stephen Nielsen of a tool that will add lens blur to any image without masks, layers or depth maps.



Important Photography Suggestions for Fantastic Black and White Photographs…

March 14, 2012


I found this great article for shooting in black and white, I hope you enjoy it!  (click on the link above to see the full article)

In this report, we’ll examine out numerous critical photography tips for snapping shots in black and white. Black and white photographs typically are portrayed as being a breathtaking digital photography kind as they rather simply just are probably to share emotions which couldn’t be accomplished inside a color picture…

Adobe Lightroom 4 on Sale

March 5, 2012

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4The final version of Adobe Lightroom 4 is now available for US$149 for the full version and US$79 for the upgrade.  You can get your copy from Adorama, BHPhoto Adobe or Amazon.

I’m getting my copy right away!

How to Get Your Photos Explored on Flickr – Improve Your Chances by Performing Some Simple Actions

March 4, 2012

Flickr ExploreThe “Explore” function in Flickr showcases the top most interesting photos or videos, for a given day. There are thousands of photographs uploaded on Flickr every minute – millions of images each day. Still, in each 24-hour period only the best 500, “most interesting or interestingness” uploaded images are “Explored”. These images are chosen through a secret algorithm only known by the folks at Flickr. Just the sheer number of photos uploaded makes it very challenging for your images to be Explored and diminishes your chances. But, do not lose hope! I’ve had 68 photos Explored and I’m going to explain some ways for you to increase the odds of having your photos showcased.


7 Tips to increase your chances of getting your photos Explored

1. Make sure to take technically correct, creative, high quality photos. Do not upload too many images; a maximum of 5 per day will be more than enough as long as they are your best 5. You want to make sure your photos get noticed and not lost in the shuffle.  I normally don’t upload more than 1 or 2 at a time.

2. The photos that you upload must be deemed interesting in order to be showcased. This occurs when people tag your photos and comment on them. Comments and photos tagged as favorites by others will increase the chances your photo will be qualified as “interesting”. Moreover, photos that users select as a favorite seem to help your chances of your photo being Explored. You should tag your images with keywords so that other Flickr users can find them and comment on them, this also helps search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) find your photos. Users have the option to search photos by keyword, so this can be extremely valuable.

3. You can also choose your favorites from other people’s photos and comment on theirs too. When you do so, you increase your chances of being noticed and your photography viewed. Usually people reciprocate by viewing your photo stream and may comment and favorite your photos.You will help others, your photography will be recognized and you might make new friends.

4. Post your images to appropriate groups. Be careful not to spam, but stay participative. Show that you are active and involved. However, do not post the same image to more than 5 groups because this will affect the chances of your photo being Explored. Also, be sure to post your image to groups relevant to your photograph. For example, don’t post a picture of a car to a flower group.

5. Be friendly and generous with your comments, Flickr is first of all about sharing our passion for photography.

6. Avoid re-posting the same photo over and over again, this will be counterproductive and can affect your credibility, this will almost guarantee that your photo will never be Explored.

7. It is not a good idea to post your photos to groups that require you to comment or favorite other photos in the group as a condition of posting to that group. This can have a negative impact on your chances of your photo being Explored.

Now that you know what to do and what not to do on Flickr, you are one step closer to getting your photos Explored. Keep these tips in mind the next time you have that great photo you want to share with the world.

Canon 5D Mark III Announced- Mixed Reviews

March 2, 2012

Canon 5D Mark III


The new Canon 5D Mark III was announced by Canon today. From the reviews I’ve been reading over on the BH Photo site, Canon users don’t seem very thrilled with the new features. Many are comparing the camera to the Nikon D800 which at a glance has more features and is $500 less. I was hoping the Canon would have really raised the bar, but it looks like this version might just be incremental updates. Anyway, here are some of the features of the new Canon 5D Mark III.

  • 22.3 MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • Digic 5+ image processor – increased speed, power and sensitivity
  • 61 Point High Density Reticular Auto Focus
  • Capture 1080HD video at 30, 25, 24 fps
  • Intelligent viewfinder and large 3.2 inch Clear View II LCD with 170 degree viewing angle

What do you think about the Mark III? Excited? Disappointed? Will you be pre-ordering?

Update 10/12/2012

My photography buddy Linda I’Anson purchased the Canon 5D Mark III as an upgrade to her Mark II.  She recently traveled with the new camera on a photography shoot for a travel catalog in Bangladesh.  She really liked the performance of the camera and from what I saw of some of the photos she posted, the images are incredible.  I’m a Nikon shooter myself and I’ve been contemplating upgrading from a D700 to the D800, but I keep reading about issues with the autofocus and the leftmost AF point.  I’m also not sure I need 36mp of resolution, though most of my photography is landscapes.  I’ve actually thought about switching camps, selling all my Nikon gear and purchasing Canon equivalents, but even though the Canon lenses tend to be less expensive, it would end up costing me more than the price of a D4, so maybe that’s the route I will take.  I’m in no hurry, I really like the D700 so I think I’ll wait it out a few months before I make a decision.

By the way, Linda and I are contemplating hosting a photo tour to Bangladesh sometime early next year before the weather gets too hot.  Included will be a trip to the Chittagong ship breaking yards.   Let me know if you have any interest in attending.

Understanding Your Camera’s Histogram

February 25, 2012

Understanding Your DSLR Histogram

You don’t need to be a camera guru to understand the histogram on your digital camera. It only means that you need to learn more about your camera and its features.  To get an optimum exposure and not lose any data, it is important to interpret your digital camera’s histogram to comprehend what it means and make the appropriate exposure adjustments.

What does the graph mean?

Well, what is a digital camera histogram and what do you do with it?  This would be a great time to pull the manual out for your digital camera and learn how to display the histogram on the camera’s LCD display.  On most digital cameras the histogram can be enabled so it displays every time you take a photo.  To explain it briefly, it is a graph that shows the level of brightness of an image from the very darkest levels on the left (value 0) to the very brightest on the right (value 255), on the horizontal axis.  Camera HistogramThe graph’s height, vertical axis, is the measure of the density of image pixels of a particular tonal value.   The taller the graph for a particular tonal value the more shades of that tone will display in the photo. As you can see from the histogram on the left, there are a lot of pixels between the mid-tones and highlights.   This is a histogram from a photo of Badwater in Death Valley which because of the bright sodium deposits most of the pixels will be somewhere between the mid-tones in the center and the highlights.

Camera RGB HistogramSome histograms also display separate graphs for the level of brightness and pixel density for the three primary colors- Red, Green and Blue (RGB).  The histogram also displays in many photo editing software programs including Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture, among others.


Now that you have a better understanding of your digital camera’s histogram, we can move on to how you evaluate the exposure of a photograph.  After you’ve taken a photo and you are viewing the graph on your LCD display, ideally you want to see most of the graph’s pixel density between the left and right brackets. Continue Reading &raquo

Photoshop CS6 – New Content Aware Features

February 16, 2012

Looks like there are going to be some amazing new features in the upcoming release of Photoshop CS6. The video shows a couple of really neat features around content-aware.


Guest Post – Linda I’Anson

February 8, 20120 Comments

Guest post by Linda I’Anson. Linda’s avid photography interests include street photography, landscapes and travel photography.

My Yosemite Visit
El CapitainEvery time I’m in the Fresno area I make Yosemite a mandatory stop before going home. I used to hate this place. I thought it was overrated and was so sick of hearing about Ansel Adams this Ansel Adams that.

Coming to Yosemite in the winter changed my mind. Freshly fallen snow on the trees and mountains is breathtakingly beautiful. The crowds are gone and the wildlife are plentiful, even near the roads.

Yosemite is a two hour drive east from Fresno. You take Route 41 for the first hour to the park entrance. Then another hour to get to the meat and potatoes of the park. When you come out from the park’s tunnel you are struck in the face with the most grand awesome landscape in the world.

I have been coming to Yosemite 4-5 times a year now. Typically, the two parking lots for Tunnel View are full. This last weekend there were about 3 cars in the parking lot. And when I left the Park, zero! Unfortunately, this winter has been particularly warm and dry. I was hoping to get a shot of tufts of grass in the snow and the the stream iced over.

The easiest thing to do is park the car along the north or south roads, walk off into the woods, and you will find heaps of photographic opportunities. Every time I go, I find something new. I won’t go hiking in the mountains unless my husband joins me (to carry all my gear).

I barely made it for sunset at Valley View. When I arrived, a Japanese photography workshop was there. Thankfully, they didn’t go to my favorite tripod spot, to the right, at the base of a fallen tree trunk. But quite a few in the group were smoking and I had to yell at them in my best Japanese. SMOKING IN YOSEMITE???? Anyway, the sunset was brilliant. The sun hit the face of El Capitan in a gorgeous orange glow. Another photographer showed up afterwards and I told him he missed out on the most glorious sunset. I then showed him what I shot. Lesson learned the hard way, show up on time! My husband is laughing at me right now, as he reads this because I’m not a morning person and hate waking up for sunrise shots. He is always chastising me for not being a “true” photographer and calls me the “lazy faux-tographer”. Continue Reading &raquo

Nikon D800 Announced

February 7, 20121 Comment

Nikon D800Since I’m a Nikon shooter and I currently use the D700, I’m excited to see the next generation announced by Nikon.  Some of the new features I’m motivated about  included in the D800 are the 36.3MP FX-format CMOS sensor, Full HD 1080p video at 30p and the built in HDR feature.  The price is less than I was expecting too, $2,999.   One thing I am concerned about is the number of pixels they are jamming into the sensor and the effect if will have on the output.   This will definitely be on the top of my list as my next purchase, but I want to wait and see some of the real world photos with all those pixels before I take the leap.

Looks like just over a month for the release.

Here are some highlights from the Nikon press release for the D800.

  • High resolution 36.3-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor (7360 x 4912 resolution)
  • 91,000-pixel RGB Matrix Metering System 3D Color Matrix Metering III
  • Advanced Scene Recognition System
  • Improved 51-point AF system for images with amazing sharpness, color and clarity
  • Full HD 1080p video, such as full manual control, uncompressed HDMI output, and incredible low-light video capability
  • Nikon’s latest EXPEED 3™ image processing engine
  • Wide native ISO range of 100-6400, expandable to 50 (Lo-1)-25,600 (Hi-2)
  • New enhanced auto white balance system that more accurately recognizes both natural and artificial light sources, and also gives the user the option to retain the warmth of ambient lighting
  • In-camera High Dynamic Range (HDR) image capture
  • Video including Full HD 1080 at 30/24p and HD 720 at 60/30p
  • Dedicated headphone jack for accurate monitoring of audio levels while recording. Audio output levels can be adjusted with 30 steps for precise audio adjustment and monitoring
  • The chassis is constructed of magnesium alloy for maximum durability, and is sealed and gasketed for resistance to dirt and moisture
  • Dual memory card slots for CF and SD cards, and offers users the ability to record backup, overflow, RAW/JPEG separation
  • Shutter has been tested to withstand approximately 200,000 cycles, and the camera also employs sensor cleaning

Price and Availability
The Nikon D800 will be available in late March for the suggested retail price of $2999.95.* The D800E version will be available in mid April 2012 for a suggested retail price of $3,299.95.* For more information about these models, NIKKOR lenses and other D-SLR cameras please visit

Update 10/12/2012

As I’ve indicated in another post, I’m still contemplating buying the D800.  In the meantime to tide me over, I purchased a Fuji X100. 🙂  What a great camera and I just love the retro rangefinder look.  Watch for my first take on the X100 soon.  Anyway, my daughter’s boyfriend purchased the D800 and really likes the camera.  He primarily uses it for portraits and will be doing some wedding shoots.   The shots I’ve seen have turned out great and the resolution is nice though the files are huge.

Let me know if any of you have tried the D800 and your thoughts.  I’d also like to hear from folks that have both the D4 and D800.


More Adobe Lightroom 4 Resources

January 21, 20120 Comments

Lightroom logoFor those of you are taking the leap and installing the Beta version of Lightroom 4, I’ve gathered a few resources from my favorite sites for you to peruse.    Hopefully these will help you learn about the new features and functionality.

You can find more resources on the Adobe Lightroom blog here.

I’ll be posting a new series on Night Photography, look for it soon!


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