Archive for February, 2008

Know Your Rights

February 29, 2008

“Squirrel” by Mike Saunders

When photographing in public, it’s not uncommon for a photographer to be confronted by an unwitting subject, someone who, for whatever reason, would clearly like to stay out of the picture, thank you very much.

That’s why we think this article from, with informative links to detailed books and PDF documents about photographers’ rights in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, is such a good resource for any photographer who spends a significant amount of time snapping photos in the public square.

The most important points to remember are:

  1. You have the right to take a photograph anywhere in public, but it’s best to obtain permission in advance when photographing on private property, such as in a shopping mall.
  2. Nobody has the right to confiscate your camera or ask you to delete a photograph. Once you’ve taken the picture, it’s yours.
  3. You can take pictures of anyone in public. But as a matter of common courtesy, it’s important to remain polite and respectful of others by not engaging in outright harassment.

For more details regarding your rights as a photographer, review the following excellent resources, provided by the article from


The Photographer’s Right PDF
The Law, In Plain English, For Photographers


Photography Laws in Canada
Photographers Rights @ Photojunkie


Photographer’s Rights in the UK


Get 75% off a Fuji Leather Camera Case

February 29, 2008

When you buy a Fujifilm FinePix Z100fd or Z5fd, you can save 75% instantly on this attractive wine red Fuji leather camera case designed specifically for Fuji Z-series digital cameras. Simply add both items to your Amazon shopping cart before checking out to receive the instant savings.

And when paired with the pink Fujifilm Finepix Z100fd, it would certainly make a bold fashion statement. While perhaps not exactly Haute couture, we’re just certain that the right pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes would complete this lively ensemble.

Whether you’re buying cameras or shoes on, when you click on one of our links anywhere on, for each product you buy within 24 hours after your click, 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 continued support!

Camera of the Week: Olympus Stylus 770SW

February 29, 2008

The Olympus Stylus 770SW is a tiny 7.1-megapixel point-and-click camera which retails for less than $350 and is on sale right now at This camera is well known for its rugged waterproof, freeze-proof, and crush-proof case, which is available in a silver, bronze, or blue finish. It features a 2.5″ HyperCrystal LCD, a 3x optical zoom, and 27 automated shooting modes, including video. Weighing in at a meager 5.3 ounces, this beauty will easily slip into your front coat pocket without introducing an unsightly bulge.

A quick round-up of reviews on the Photobird Digital Camera Buyer’s Guide shows the Olympus 770SW was rated a “Good value…” by, considered “Practical, sturdy, and life-proof…” by and “A terrific companion…” by

For all these reasons, we’ve chosen the Olympus Stylus 770SW as our Photobird Camera of the Week. If you’re in the market for a new camera, this virtually indestructible point-and-shoot is surely worth a closer look.

You can read more reviews of the Olympus Stylus 770SW and other tiny cameras in the Photobird Digital Camera Buyer’s Guide.

Discuss this camera in our Olympus forum.

Buy this camera at

When you buy an Olympus digital camera or anything else on, be sure to first click one of our links anywhere on For each product you buy within 24 hours of your click, 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 support.

“It’s Totally About the Pears Here”

February 28, 2008

Ed Gowans is a professional food and beverage photographer and the subject of this four-and-a-half-minute video “The Art of Food Photography”, episode 19 of Cooking Up A Story, an online video series dedicated to the pleasures of gastronomy.

It’s interesting to see Ed work with his food handler and client from the Pear Bureau as they quickly alternate between food preparation and lighting. A little morsel tuck here, a slight lighting adjustment there and, boy, I’ve got to admit, those seared pears sure look delicious by the end of the shoot!

Interested in food photography? Check out our other posts on the topic:


What do you think of food photography? Have you tried photographing food or beverages for a professional look? How did it go? Let us know in the comments.

Rule of Thirds Redux

February 28, 2008

Photo © Copyright Jason Paterson

Perhaps it is because we are sticklers after all for the rules governing good symmetry, that we once again turn our attention to the subject of The Rule of Thirds.

Yes, if you’re counting at home, this is indeed our third blog post on the rule because, well, just like this article on says, everything happens in threes. (And if you’re just joining this program already in progress, feel free to check out our first and second posts on the topic; we’ll wait.)

Jason Paterson of refers to this rule as “combat centering”, which seems like a great metaphor for describing the careful alignment of your camera subject in one of the “crosshairs” that intersect horizontally and vertically.

Be sure to check out Jason’s post for his complete take on this subject (wraparound cat scarf sold separately).

Tap into your Creative Wellspring

February 27, 2008

“Monument Valley Afternoon” by Alain Briot

In its purest form, each photograph is a personal work of art which can move and inspire your fellow human beings. But how do you tap into your vast reserves of creativity? How do you nurture your vision and achieve a wholly personal style in order to create truly inspiration-worthy works of art?

There is a long but encouraging essay here called “Achieving your Personal Style” which is full of sage advice (and wonderful photographs) from one of our favorite landscape photographers, Alain Briot of The essay is the fourth in a four-part series which can be found, along with many other columns and articles on photography by Alain Briot, on the Luminous Landscape website.

Our favorite part of the essay is the penultimate section “Skill Enhancement Exercises” which includes nine very practical items that will most certainly egg you further along the road of defining and developing your own style as a photographer:

  1. Design a short term and long-term project.
  2. Describe your comfort zone.
  3. Go to a location you like over and over again to photograph it.
  4. Follow your creative impulses.
  5. Master technique in order to focus on art.
  6. Take notes in the field.
  7. Listen to music while you work, which reminded us of this interview with Rafa Torcida.
  8. Invent a new way to work.
  9. And our favorite: Don’t rush it. Creativity can’t be scheduled and developing a personal style will take time.

Be sure to read the full essay and take your time to go through the exercises. We’d love to hear whether you found any of these ideas especially inspirational or helpful. Please let us know in the comments.

The Photographic Triangle

February 27, 2008

You may have noticed that Understanding Exposure, Bryan Peterson’s award-winning photography primer, gets a lot of exposure here on In fact, Ed Krimen, Photobird’s co-founder and CEO, likes this book so much, he’s arranged with the book’s publisher, Amphoto Books, to award two copies each month as part of the prizes in our monthly Photobird Photo Contest.

I bought mine on and I just recently learned about what Bryan Peterson calls “The Photographic Triangle”. No, it has nothing to do with the triangles we talked about with The Golden Mean. What Bryan is writing about is the three important factors that govern camera exposure: aperture setting, shutter speed, and ISO. Each point in the photographic triangle works together to determine your exposure every time you snap a picture.

Aperture Setting
The aperture setting refers to how open your camera lens is. These settings are measured in f-stops, which you may hear photographers refer to in terms like “f/4″ or “f/5.6”. I like to think of these numbers like golf scores in that, the smaller the number, the larger the lens opening. And, of course, when the lens is opened larger, more light can reach the camera’s digital sensor.

Shutter Speed
Shutter speed is the amount of time that the shutter is open and light is allowed to hit the camera’s sensor. These numbers typically represent just fractions of a second. For example, if you set your camera’s shutter speed to 500, that means the camera’s shutter will open for just 1/500th of a second when you click the button.

I really liked Bryan’s metaphor for understanding ISO. He says we should think about ISO like a number of worker bees. Say you’re photographing a flower and you set your ISO to 100 and your shutter speed to 250 (that’s 1/250th of a second), your “100 worker bees” have that short amount of time to “paint” the image of the flower. Now if you double your number of worker bees by raising your ISO setting to 200, you can effectively capture the same image in half as much time, which means you can lower your shutter speed by half to — yes, you guessed it — 125 (1/125th of a second) to get the same exposure.

What I really like best about Bryan’s book so far are the hands-on exercises. After explaining the photographic triangle, Bryan leads you through an exercise where you can see first-hand what effect changing each of these settings has on the resulting pictures you take of the same subject.

Have you picked up your copy of Understanding Exposure?

Before you purchase this book or anything else on, be sure to click one of our links anywhere on For each product you buy within 24 hours after your click, 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 continued support!

Birds of Paradise

February 26, 2008

“Bird of Paradise 13” by David Cresine

The Strelitzia is a perennial flower native to South Africa, commonly referred to as The Bird of Paradise for its strong resemblance to the Pradisaea, The Bird of Paradise, which hails from Papua New Guinea and, as a proud native son, is beautifully emblazoned on the country’s flag. These wonderful birds have long and lustrous tail feathers and an alluring orange-yellow coloring, just like the flowers that have adopted their name.

I really like David Cresine’s “Bird of Paradise 13”, our Photobird Photo of the Hour, a close-up of one of these prepossessing crocuses in full bloom. Shot from a low angle, it looks like it, too, just might take flight.

If you would like to submit your photos for possible inclusion as a Photobird Photo of the Hour, simply view the photo from your photo album and then click the “Submit for Photo of the Hour” checkbox. There is no limit to the number of photos that you can submit.

Read more about how to get your photos featured on Photobird Photo of the Hour and how to keep your photos private.

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

Free Memory with Top Digital Cameras

February 26, 2008

Now through St. Paddy’s Day, you can save some green at by getting a free 2GB memory card with the purchase of one of more than 25 top cameras from leading manufacturers such as Canon, Nikon, and Olympus. Or, if you prefer, you can also apply the $12.49 credit toward the purchase of a higher-capacity card.

To take advantage of the promotion, simply add the camera and the memory card to your Amazon shopping cart, and then use the promotional code PC32U495 for Kingston SD cards or LOK5QYCA for Olympus xD cards at checkout. See complete details here.

Before purchasing anything at, be sure to click one of our links. For each product you buy after clicking an link anywhere on, 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!

A Grandfather’s Love

February 25, 2008

My grandparents were unflappable. They possessed a seemingly infinite amount of both love and patience for us grandkids; perhaps because they knew, at the end of the day, they could turn us back over to our parents. Though, that wasn’t always the case: When we were young, we would each often get to take turns accompanying them on vacation. I still cherish the memories of these special times with my grandfather and grandmother.

Speaking of special times, it looks like the little girl in this picture “Warmth of Love” by Sourabh Dutta, a new entry in our Photobird Photo Contest for February, is really enjoying this lakeside outing with her grandpa. Their hearts are surely both being warmed even as they splash their hands playfully in the cool lake water.

There’s still one week left to enter this month’s contest. The theme this month is “Warm” and we’re accepting entries through the end of Leap Day, this Friday, February 29, 2008. The contest is free to enter and, while you’re at it, why not get your grandparents and other family and friends to vote for your entry as well?

Two winners are awarded every month and each winner will receive the following prizes:

Be sure to read more details about the monthly contest here.

Go here to enter the contest. And be sure to vote for your favorite entries to help determine the People’s Choice Award.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the Photobird forums.