Archive for May, 2008

Your Monopoly Game, Any Way You Want It

May 30, 2008

That quintessential board game, Monopoly, made its debut during The Great Depression and has since sold more than 200 million copies in 80 countries and 26 languages around the world, imparting to each generation of players such important life-lessons as how to become titans of railroads and utilities. These days, however, Parker Brothers may no longer hold a monopoly on Monopoly.

You can now make your own Monopoly board with your photos and it is cheap and easy to do. One popular kit sells for just $30 and includes instructions for printing family photos and using the included glue-stick to place them directly — and permanently — right on the game board itself. You can also use the included smudge-proof Sharpie to create your own custom labels, so Park Place is magically transformed into your snooty rich aunt’s house for greater authenticity.

Not to be outdone, TDC Games has released Make Your Own Opoly which, as the name implies, allows you to do pretty much the same thing. But be forewarned, some buyers have complained about the mysterious missing square on each side of the game board. Perhaps this was a way for the company to avoid a “cease and desist” letter from rapacious Parker Brothers attorneys.

Meanwhile, the great and all-powerful Parker Brothers appears to be no longer satisfied to have a mere 568 variants of this old standard in the marketplace, including rebranded versions featuring all of your childrens’ favorite cartoons. The most brave — and solipsistic — customers in the United Kingdom have the opportunity to create their very own personalized versions of Monopoly online! Perhaps this is, at long last, Monopoly for the YouTube generation. Whatever it is, I think I’ll stick to the classic game board, as long as I get to play with the race car. Or the dog.

Camera of the Week: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3

May 30, 2008

The compact Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 sells for under $300 and features a 7.2-megapixel CCD, a 3-inch LCD, and a 10x optical zoom. The camera works with SD, SDHC, and MMC memory cards and is powered by a lithium-ion battery.

Photographyblog.com writes that the Panasonic DMC-TZ3 “Should definitely be at the top of your short list” while Steves-Digicams.com says this camera provides “Excellent performance, good image quality.” And DPReview.com says it “Makes getting great pictures remarkably easy.” For these reasons, we have chosen the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 as our Photobird Camera of the Week.

You can read more reviews of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 and similar cameras in the Photobird Digital Camera Buyer’s Guide, and also discuss this camera further in our Panasonic forum.

Buy this camera at Amazon.com.

Your clicks and purchases at Amazon.com allow us to continue to publish this blog and the Photobird Learning Center. For each product you buy after clicking on an Amazon.com link anywhere on Photobird.com, including this blog post, we receive a small referral fee, at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Stitched Together With a 39-Megapixel Camera

May 29, 2008

“Horseshoe Bend 2008” by Alain Briot

Alain has been experimenting with some new equipment and techniques, and judging by the picture above, he’s already delivering some truly breath-taking results.

The first new tool in his arsenal is the Phase One P 45 digital back, an attachment for most medium and large format cameras that is capable of capturing images at a whopping 39 megapixels, with file sizes at 117 megabytes per photo. To put this into proper perspective, Alain says each of these pictures, once up-ressed, can be printed at a size of 40-inches x 50-inches at 300 dots-per-inch with no noticeable loss in quality.

Alain also sings the praises of Photomerge, one of the new features available in Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 and Adobe Photoshop CS3. With Photomerge, you can automatically stitch multiple photos together to combine them into a single, seamless shot. Alain recommends using a tripod in order to keep your horizon line consistent throughout all of the shots you expect to combine.

By stitching and working with a large format digital back, Alain expects to continue to create exciting new compositions which will continue to provide a source of inspiration to both him and his legion of fans. I can’t wait to see more of his P45 collages!

Instant Rebates on Canon Camera Products

May 29, 2008

Through July 19, you can save big at Amazon.com with Canon’s instant rebate program. Simply choose the DSLR camera, lenses, and flashes you’d like from this page, and your savings will be automatically applied. The more you buy, the more you save. Like the Canon EOS 40D, pictured above. Regularly priced at $1,299 for the body-only, this highly-rated DSLR camera is 27% off and can be purchased for $954 with Free Super Saver shipping for a savings of $345. Click here to read reviews of the Canon EOS 40D in the Photobird Digital Camera Buyer’s Guide.

Before you purchase a Canon DSLR camera, lens, or Speedlite on Amazon.com, please click one of the Amazon.com links anywhere on Photobird.com, including this blog post. For each product you buy after clicking on an Amazon.com link, we receive a small referral fee, at no additional cost to you. Your clicks and purchases allow us to continue to publish this blog and the Photobird Learning Center. Thank you for your patronage!

The Last Explorers

May 28, 2008

“The Last Explorers” by Avan and Fadillah

While Vail, Colorado is most famous for its winter ski conditions, the call of the mountains brings tourists year-round looking for outdoor activities. You and your family can enjoy whitewater rafting and kayaking, or take on the grassy mountain passes in Vail by horseback or mountain bike. “The Last Explorers”, our Photobird Photo of the Hour, features a nicely composed shot by Avan and Fadillah, taken with a Canon EOS 350D camera (a.k.a. the Canon Digital Rebel XT). In the photo, a group of people appears to be making their way back from a grueling day-long hike at sunset.

If you’d like to submit your favorite photos to be featured on the Photobird Photo of the Hour, it’s really easy: Simply view the photo from your photo album and click the “Submit for Photo of the Hour” checkbox. There is no limit to the number of photos you can submit and we always like to get new submissions.

Read here about how to get more storage space and how to keep your photos private.

Discuss your favorite Photobird Photos of the Hour in the Photobird forums.

It’s Easy to Link Directly to Photos on Photobird

May 28, 2008

“Rose” by Ed Krimen

Here’s a great tip for our Photobird.com subscribers: If you want to see one of your photos by itself, without the Photobird.com website around it, all you need to do is click on the photo!

For example, take a look at this picture of a rose, which is in Ed Krimen’s main photo album. To see the photo within the Photobird.com website, click on the following link:

http://www.photobird.com/ekrimen/rose

From there, you can click on the photo itself and it will load just the photo into your web browser:

http://www.photobird.com/ekrimen/rose.jpg

You can use direct links like these to share your Photobird photo links via email or to embed your photos into other websites. For example, let’s say you wanted to participate in a forum on the web dedicated to growing prize roses. You could use links similar to the ones above to show photos of your roses directly in the forum.

If you have questions about any features or anything on Photobird.com, please let us know in our forums or you may contact us directly.

Rabbit in the Moon

May 27, 2008

“The Real Moon” by John Maher

Check it out! The photos featured in People, Places and Things on the Look at Pictures page on Photobird.com have just been updated.

The new pictures include:

  • Early Madness” by Camil Seisanu, a golden-hued shot of a seagull reaching into the ocean for a salty snack at sunrise. Camil used a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 with a 1/500s f/7.1 exposure at ISO 80 to capture this warm shot.
  • The Real Moon” by John Mayer, featured above. John says he took twenty shots before capturing this one and I say it was well worth the time to get it right. This waxing gibbous moon shows the upper three-quarters of the famed Jade Rabbit or Rabbit in the Moon, which, according to Chinese folklore, is said to be constantly at work pounding a mortar of herbs for the immortals.
  • Raindrop Rose” from David Thompson. Take a gander at this macro-shot of a red rose opening up, ensconced in tiny droplets of water which almost look like platelets of blood.

Be sure to visit each of these photos and show your appreciation to these photographers by leaving your comments.

Would you like to have one or more of your photos featured in People, Places and Things? To submit a photo for consideration, simply follow the same steps you would take for submitting a photo for the Photobird Photo of the Hour:

1. View the photo you want to submit from your photo album.
2. Click the “Submit for Photo of the Hour” checkbox.

That’s it!

The photos in People, Places and Things are updated regularly. Check the bottom of the People, Places and Things section on the Look at Pictures page for details on how to be notified when an update occurs. We’ll also let you know right here in the Photobird blog whenever they’re updated.

Super Gift for Dad

May 27, 2008

The computer mouse could be the new necktie. Just like the necktie, the mouse now comes in a startling array of colors, and with practically as many options and configurations as there are tie fabrics and patterns.

Also like the neckties of yore, a new computer mouse would make a pretty darn good Father’s Day gift. In fact, it just might be the most practical and useful thing to give dear old dad this June 15th. Unlike those ties you gave him in years’ past — which, let’s be honest, are most likely gathering dust in the back of his closet — if his computer mouse is more than just a few years old, he’s likely to benefit greatly from recent technological and ergonomic advances of today’s top-rated computer mice.

And they don’t need to cost an arm and a leg either. Microsoft makes a nice series of wireless optical mice, each available for under $30 with free shipping direct from Amazon.com. All you need is one available USB port on your computer for the wireless adapter and you’re good to go! If your mouse or the mouse of someone you love is still senselessly tethered to a computer, you owe it to yourself (and the ones you love) to try a wireless mouse. I promise you, there will be no going back!

The Microsoft wireless optical mice are available in a whole slew of soothing colors, including winter blue, aloe green, creme brulee gold, and pomegranate red.

Before you purchase a mouse or any other accessories on Amazon.com, please click one of the Amazon.com links anywhere on Photobird.com, including this blog post. For each product you buy after clicking on an Amazon.com link, we receive a small referral fee, at no additional cost to you. Your clicks and purchases allow us to continue to publish this blog and the Photobird Learning Center. Thank you for your patronage!

Work Those Roses

May 26, 2008

“Weary” by David Van Camp

Take a peek at David Van Camp’s “Weary”, a recent entry in the Photobird Photo Contest for May. As David points out in his humorous description, these poor roses should be forgiven if their heads have started to droop a bit following a grueling day in the vase providing color and fragrance for mom on Mother’s Day! It ain’t easy smelling so sweet, but the rose can carry it off with panache, a warm style, and an enviable grace. Thank you for your lovely entry this month, David.

Now, if you’re reading this and you haven’t yet entered the contest, what are you waiting for? We’re nearing the home stretch with less than a week remaining in the month and with Memorial Day weekend nearly over, May will be over before you know it. So don’t delay any further in getting your entry in.

The contest is free to enter, and at the end of the month we will choose one Photobird Award Winner for the best overall entry of the month, while your votes will determine the winner of the People’s Choice Award, the most popular entry of the month.

Each of our winners will receive the following fabulous prizes:

You can read more details about the monthly contest here.

Oh, and be sure to vote for your favorite entries and ask your friends and family to vote for their favorite entries as well. These votes will determine the People’s Choice Award.

If you have any questions, please ask in the Photobird forums.

Camera of the Week: Canon PowerShot S5 IS

May 23, 2008

If you’re interested in buying a powerful zoom camera and you’re not quite ready to move up to a DSLR given well-founded concerns about all the add-ons you’re likely to want to subsequently buy, the Canon PowerShot S5 IS might be a reasonable alternative. It will certainly cost a lot less than a DSLR; prices for the Canon S5 IS are currently just under $300, which, of course, includes the cost of the built-in 12x optical zoom, image-stabilized lens. The Canon S5 IS also features an 8-megapixel CCD and a high-resolution 2.5-inch vari-angle LCD, which can be easily adjusted to shoot from any interesting angle.

A quick round-up of reviews on the Photobird Digital Camera Buyer’s Guide reveals the Canon S5 IS was reviewed as “One of my favorite ultra zoom cameras” by DCResource.com. DPreview wrote that “The S5 IS is a great camera” and Imaging-Resource.com believes the Canon S5 IS is “One of the best on the market”.

For all these reasons, we’ve chosen the Canon PowerShot S5 IS as our Photobird Camera of the Week. If you’re in the market for a medium-sized point-and-shoot with a generous zoom, this popular Canon model should certainly be on your short list of cameras for further consideration.

You can read more reviews of the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and similar-sized cameras in the Photobird Digital Camera Buyer’s Guide.

Discuss this camera in our Canon forum.

Buy this camera at B&H Photo
Buy this camera at Amazon.com

Before you buy a Canon digital camera or anything else on Amazon.com, please click one of the Amazon.com links anywhere on Photobird.com, including this blog post. For each product you buy after clicking on an Amazon.com link, we receive a small referral fee, at no additional cost to you. Your clicks and purchases allow us to continue to publish this blog and the Photobird Learning Center. Thank you for your patronage!


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