More David duChemin

David seems to be everywhere recently, including the guest post on Scott Kelby’s blog. He talks about the coming revolution in photography where photographers will give up the endless techno-bable and talk about the images themselves. I hope people like David can continue to lead the way adn that people will listen.

David is even in my living room. Well, at least his book his. I tripped over the Amazon box with his book Within the Frame two days ago. I wish I¬†had more time¬†to read¬†it, but I am really enjoying it so far. Reading David’s blog has really pushed me to think about the images. “Gear is good, vision is better.” as he would say. I came at this whole thing from more of a technical geek backbround, and the creative/art process is much harder for me to grab hold of. People like David are helping me get there.

I have only just started the book. It is a great read so far though. It feels like he is sitting in your living room telling you all this info. Just like a conversation on the couch. He has a great way of writing that feel like he is speaking directly to you.

RC (of layers magazine) posted his first impressions, and I can’t believe how similar they are to mine. To the point that I don’t have anything to add other than to suggest you check his post.

Eye-Fi for the iPhone

bike ride picture taken with iPhone

Today, as most Saturdays are, was family day. We went for a bike ride to the park, and a picnic. I pulled Lily in the Burley, and Annie pulled Kate on a trail-a-bike. The only camera I had with me was my iPhone, so I decided to snap a few pictures. Now, how to get these pictures somewhere that someone else can see them. Email? I don’t like doing one at a time, and entering email addresses is a pain.

How about to a web site? My website. Well, if you have an eye-fi card for your camera, you can use their service with the iPhone. What the eye-fi service normally does is sends pictures from your camera through a special wi-fi memory card through your router to their site. From there they can send it back to your computer, or a web site, or both. I have a site using Gallery2 software that they support.

eye-fi-iphoneThe iPhone app works similar, but you don’t need a wireless card, you already have on in the iPhone. So, the images get sent to eye-fi’s servers, then on to my gallery. Here is the one from today

I think this is pretty cool. The interface is simple. The app displays pictures from your iPhone, and you pick the ones you want to send. You can even see other images that you sent to the service (history). The image you see here is how you select what images to upload.

Over 3G you don’t have the fastest speeds, and if your phone goes to sleep, then the transfer is interrupted, but it does a good job of resuming afterward.

I like that I don’t have to sync the phone, export from iPhoto, and then ftp the images. This is so much easier, and so much more immediate for my family scattered across the continent. The app is simple, and it works. If you have an eye-fi card for a camera, you should definitely try this app.

Hot Shoe Diaries Review

Hot Shoe Diaries by Joe McNallyI am finally finished reading my copy of the Hot Shoe Diaries by Joe McNally. If you want to check out what Joe had to say, here are links to a couple posts from his blog. But don’t forget to come back 🙂

Why did it take so long? Is it that dry? Far from it. It is an awsome book. Joe manages to work in quotes from several movies, including the Princess Bride. That was funny. I like his style of writeing. It might not be for everyone. Joe writes just like I imagine him talking, if he was talking to me. Just one photographer who has been around the block (or globe, really) to another photographer who wants to know more about this whole lighting thing. It feels very personal. You get to step into the shoes and life of someone who has taken shots with 47 Speedlights, or maybe it was 108. Not sure.

The book doesn’t really have seperate chapters per say. Some of the content is grouped into chapters, but the content is really one shoot. So it feels like every 2-4 pages is another chapter. This is good and bad. It’s great because I can read little bits at a time. I can read about one shoot while waiting for my kids to finish something. I can read about another shoot just before bed. You never have to stop in the middle of one of thes sections, because you only ever have a page or so to go. That’s where it got me. I never sat down with the intention of reading the whole thing, or 40 pages at a time. I just read bits and pieces every once in a while. Now that it’s done though, I wish there was more. I will probably start over with the location shoots again. I did with his previous book The Moment it Clicks too.

I found myself stairing at the pictures and rereading the text, trying to figure out where all the lights were hidden. He calls it a game of inches. Some of the lights are set up to just give that extra little flick of light that most wouldn’t notice, but taken all together, make for extrodianary images. I would find myself tyring to figure out the sight lines for the triggers too. How did he manage to fire that SB900 that is outside shooting through the window? With two extension cords from the hotshoe to a MU800 bounced off a reflector? What? Really?

As I am starting to get more and more into using little flashes, I am realizing just how amazing his pictures are. The lighting diagrams that he has in his head are astonishing. How he can look at a scene and know how to light it is still beyond me. Never mind the pulling it off. And yet it tells you how to do it. It’s all there. You just have to go out and give it a try yourself.

Thanks Joe. The book is great. I learned a lot, and expect to learn more as I reread it. I hope you sell a truckload. (To other non photographers that won’t try to put this knowledge to use 😉

Within the Frame Why-To Book Preview.

Within The Frame by David duCheminWithin the Frame, David duChemin’s upcoming book¬†is going to print. This looks to be a great book There is a preview of the book out including the chapter on Storytelling. (See the above link to Davids site for the link to the preview) The pictures look great, and the story he wants to tell seems right on with what I was hoping for. His why-to book has some similarities to “The Photographers Eye” by Michael Freeman in his approach to composition, but David’s writing style is less technical and more personal. (That is a book David recommends) I am looking forward to the whole book, which should be out in a month.

Digital Photography Outdoors Book Review

digitalphotographyoutdoorsThe full title of this book is Digital Photography Outdoors: A field guide for travel and adventure photographers, Second Edition. Whew, that’s a long title. You can find it at The Mountaineers Books, and Amazon. I didn’t get it from either place, I found it at the Minneapolis public library. You should be able to request to reserve this book to a local library if you live in Minneapolis. (Ok, this has nothing to do with the review, but I hate the library’s site/search system. To be fair, they are trying to merge a few systems and county libraries, but Argg!)

James Martin has one of the better more recent titles at the library. I found this to be a good book, and worth the trip to the library.

James has a pretty good writing style that didn’t bog me down. He uses his own pictures which are quite good. They are used effectively as examples to back up his text. I don’t think I would call it a field guide. I think you could drop the second part of the title. It is about using digital though. He mentions differences from film to digital threw out the book, but you wouldn’t need to know film photography to understand what he is saying. The second edition of the book was published in 2007 and is relatively up to date. File sizes have exploded since the book was published, but it doesn’t sound dated yet, and he mentions thinks like using a Lensbaby and using Lightroom.

I liked the first section the best probably. It is about composition, light, and color. He does a good job of explaining with text and images how to place yourself (or subjects) to get better angles and light. He discusses different times of day and the effect on light, and how to effectively add fill flash.

I figured Chapter 2 on equipment would be a take it or leave it chapter where he would just say use this and this. Not so. James presents how you can effectively use different equipment to take different pictures. Sure, there are some recomendations, but for example, he presents the differences between wide and telephoto lenses and tells you to go out and experiment.

Chapter 3 is more of a “how digital is different” chapter. It talks about how sensors react to light, exposure compensation, white balance, ¬†and even how to clean them.

Chapters 4/5/6 I was not expecting. Guess I didn’t read the table of contents. There were mostly about handling and processing your digital files. There are large book’s on subsections of this topic, but his ideas and tips were specific¬†mostly to landscape photographs. The instructions were pretty good, but a bit brief. With no experience in photoshop, you might get lost. There was some good stuff in here though. I thought the auto align layers came in with CS4, but I found how to do it in CS3 which he used, so that was good to know!

Overall, I give it a thumbs up to take out from the library. To purchase, I give it a maybe. It is not very advanced but if you want a beginning/intermediate book that covers everything in one smallish book, then this is probably worth the dineros. I liked it.

Photography Video Podcasts

I am a little bleary eyed at the moment. I was taking some time to catch up on some video podcasts. Which ones? Glad you asked.

First up would be Photoshop User TV. I thought there was a new one, but I had watched it on my laptop. I think they are often released on Tuesdays. Scott, Matt, and Dave and often special guests natter on about mostly photography related things and throw in several photoshop tutorials each week. If you like any of Scott Kelby’s books, you will like this.

Scott, Matt and Nikon have a new podcast up at DTownTV. This is mostly pretty basic stuff, but I have still learned a couple of things. They are doing a short series on wireless lighting using CLS right now. I am trying to absorb any and all things light at the moment.

I watched several of the Aperture 2: Quick Tips via iTunes by Rich Harrington. He has other stuff on his website, but you can search iTunes for Aperture to find them. I was going through a bunch of stuff he posted in 2008 on using Aperture 2. Anyone know how to edit an import preset? Mine is stuck with my name spelled wrong, and it is driving me crazy!

Ok, I didn’t hit these sites today, but I also watch video at a couple of other sites by the Davids: Strobist, and DigitalProTalk.

The Strobist has lots of great tutorials on setting up and using small flashes. Several series in fact. I started watching them before I even had a flash. I need to get back and see these again. And again.

At DigitalProTalk David has several videos up. He doesn’t do them every week (I don’t think) but the ones he has done have been great. They are usually about lighting and portraits and or weddings. Look at the right side of his blog, and you can see links to his most popular ones.

What am I Reading?

I got it a couple of weeks ago now. I have been working my way through “The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos” (Amazon) There are many things about composition that I just didn’t think about before. This is a great wealth of information. Not a gripping thriller, but tons of information.

Digital Photography Outdoors by James Martin. (Amazon) I found this in the library, and it is pretty good. There are lots of good landscape pictures in here that illustrate the concepts he is presenting. I haven’t got to it yet, but there is a section on “workflow” that presents some photoshop techniques for landscape shooters. It reads well.

The Hot Shoe Diaries by Joe McNally. (Amazon) I finally got my copy from Amazon. Too many books, too little time. I have just flipped through it, reading a couple of pages, but it is clasic Joe. Very funny, a little rambling, telling it like it is with no pretense and a handful of photog words that send me scrambling to Google.

Do I read the books, take pictures, or edit my recent pictures? Oh right, none of the three. Back to making a paycheck…

The Art of Children’s Portrait Photography

childrensportraitphotographyJust finished reading the book The Art of Children’s Portrait Photography (amazon) by Tamara Lackey. I really liked this book, but the title doesn’t completely reflect the content of this book.

All the pictures in this book are of children, and the content is definitely geared towards photographers that take pictures of children, but this book sits squarely in the middle of a creative book, a how to book, and a business book. I am not really sure how you can sit in the middle of three different things, but it does.

Keep in mind that my overall impression of the book is very positive, but I may be just the right target audience. If you are already taking portraits, and have some understanding of you camera and lighting, but want some more specific advice on taking contemporary pictures of children and how you could structure your new business and handle workflow, then this book is for you.

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