Archive for October, 2008

Photo Contest for October Ends Tonight!!

October 31, 2008

“Cat on a Hot Tin Stove”
© Copyright Wendy Knafla

A wise man once said, Photobird Photo Contests are like a box of chocolates: never know what you’re gonna get.

That is so true, especially for this month’s contest with the theme “Indoors”. For example, I wrote a couple of weeks ago about Ruel Saligumba’s photo entry entitled “the morning after“, which is his perspective of his room after he woke up hungover. Even though he’s hungover, it’s a great photo.

In a more recent example, Wendy Knafla entered her photo, shown above, entitled “Cat on a Hot Tin Stove“, which shows her friend’s cat that loves sleeping on the stove.

Never in a million years would I have expected to see photos like these. But I really like them.

You should enter your photo into the contest too, but the contest ends tonight, so hurry to get your photo in! The contest is free and quick to enter.

Photobird Photo Contest details:

The two winners for the Photobird Photo Contest for October will each receive the following cool prizes:

Read more details about the monthly contest here.

Every monthly Photobird Photo Contest has two winners. At the end of each month, we pick one winner for the Photobird Award, and we will tally your votes to determine the one winner for the People’s Choice Award.

See the previous contests and their contest entries at this link.

Go here to enter the contest. And be sure to have your family and friends vote for their favorite entries to help select the People’s Choice Award. (You can send them a quick little reminder here.)

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

~•~

Advertisements

Love Those Lilies

October 30, 2008

“Lilly 2”
© Copyright David Cresine

Lilies seem to be a very popular flower — more popular than I initially thought. A lot of people come to the Photobird Daily looking for lilies, more than any other flower.

Therefore, I present to you David Cresine’s “Lilly 2“, shown above. This beautiful lily is one of the many photos that David has submitted for the Photobird Photo of the Hour. You can see more of David’s beautiful flower photos in his Photobird photo album entitled “Flowers Up Close“. All of David’s spectacular photos can be seen at photobird.com/davidroy.

Photobird.com is the easy way to share your photos. You capture and share so many great photos on Photobird.com that we created the Photo of the Hour feature to give you the opportunity to share your very best with the rest of the world.

It’s really easy to submit your favorite photos to be featured on the Photobird Photo of the Hour: 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.

In return for each photo we use on the Photo of the Hour or People Places and Things, you get more storage space for your photo album so you can store more photos. Details are here.

If you’d like to keep some of your photos private while you share your favorite photos with the world, you can read how easy it is to do that with Photobird photo albums in our Photobird Daily article entitled “Show Off Your Photos, and Keep Some Private“.

You may also discuss your favorite Photobird Photos of the Hour in the Photobird forums.

~•~

Photobird’s Simple Guide to Great Photos

October 29, 2008

“Salt Creek, Orange County, Ca. 3”
© Copyright David Cresine

Introducing Photobird’s Simple Guide to Great Photos. You can find this quick guide in the side column on the Photobird Daily front page.

It’s simple really:

1. Composition Is Key.

I wrote the following in the Photobird Daily article “Composition Is Key“:

“Composition is the key element for great photos. If everything else with your photo is not correct — such as bad color, poor lighting, image noise, and imperfect subjects — but your photo is well composed, you can usually fix the other things and still come out with a good photo. If the composition isn’t perfect right out of the camera, you can often crop the photo to get the desired composition, but you must start off with a reasonably well-composed photo.”

In the article, you’ll find links to nearly two dozen helpful articles that have appeared in the Photobird Daily that can help you learn more about composition, or refresh your skills if you’re a professional.

2. Read Understanding Exposure, by Bryan Peterson.

Understanding Exposure gets a lot of attention here in the Photobird Daily because it’s a great photography book; it’s helpful for beginners as well as experienced photographers. I wrote about the book at this link here. And the book is available as one of the prizes in the Photobird Photo Contest. Of course, Understanding Exposure is also available at Amazon.com. (Click then purchase anything at Amazon.com to help us publish the Photobird Daily and the Photobird Learning Center — at no additional cost to you. Thank you!)

3. Share your photos on Photobird.com.

Photobird.com is the easy way to share your photos. Here are just a few reasons why you should share your photos on Photobird.com:

But don’t take my word for it. Take our Quick Tour and see what people are saying!

~•~

Best Selling Cameras on Amazon.com

October 28, 2008

Amazon.com keeps a running tally of its best-selling digital cameras, updated hourly. Check out the Amazon.com Digital Camera Best Sellers page at this link to see the complete list of cameras.

The Canon PowerShot A590 IS compact digital camera, shown above, is still king of the hill, in the number one position on Amazon.com’s Digital Camera Best Sellers list. It’s an incredibly strong contender, as it’s been in the number one position for months.

Here are some other notable observations about the recent list:

  • The Canon Digital Rebel XSi SLR is back up in the number two spot after dropping down to number 5 a couple of weeks ago.
  • The tiny Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS in blue has been bumped down to number 7 from number 2.
  • Fresh on the list two weeks ago at number 10, the new, tiny Canon PowerShot SD880 IS is already up to number 3. I expect we’ll see this camera in the top 10 list for quite a while. It has 10 megapixels, a 4x wide-angle lens with image stabilization, a 3-inch LCD display, and is available in silver and gold colors.
  • Two new Canon cameras have entered the list:
    • The medium-sized Canon PowerShot G10 camera with 14.7 megapixels, 5x optical zoom with image stabilization, 28mm wide-angle lens, and 3-inch LCD display, joins the list up high at number 4.
    • The large Canon PowerShot SX10 IS camera with 10 megapixels, 20x optical zoom with wide-angle lens and image stabilization, and 2.5-inch LCD display, debuts at number 9 on the list.
  • The only cameras on the top 10 list that are not from Canon, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5K and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28K, are still on the list at the eighth and tenth positions, respectively

Click on any of the links below to go to the Amazon.com page for that camera to read reviews and obtain more details on each camera:

1. Canon PowerShot A590 IS
2. Canon Digital Rebel XSi
3. Canon PowerShot SD880 IS
4. Canon PowerShot G10
5. Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS (Silver)
6. Canon PowerShot SD790 IS
7. Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS (Blue)
8. Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5K
9. Canon PowerShot SX10 IS
10. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28K

Before you buy a Canon digital camera or anything else on Amazon.com, please click one of our Amazon.com links on this page or anywhere on Photobird.com. For each product you buy 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 the Photobird Daily and the Photobird Learning Center. Thank you for your support!

Also consider Amazon Prime when you buy anything at Amazon.com. Amazon Prime members enjoy the following benefits:

1. Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping on millions of Amazon.com Items
2. Overnight Shipping upgrades for only $3.99 per item
3. Shopping with no minimum order size
4. Ability to share benefits with up to 4 household members
5. 1 Month Free Trial

~•~

Alain Briot’s Antelope Canyon Workshop

October 27, 2008

“Antelope Light Dance”
© Copyright Alain Briot

If you ever wanted to learn where and how to shoot photographs like the one above by Alain Briot, now’s your chance! The photo “Antelope Light Dance“, shown above, was shot in the gorgeous Antelope Canyon in Arizona, where Alain Briot and his wife Natalie Briot are conducting their 5-day Antelope Canyon Workshop, Friday, May 22 through Tuesday, May 26, 2009. There’s only 5 seats remaining, so contact Alain via his website at Beautiful-Landscape.com if you’re interested in attending.

Alain Briot is a professional photographer and instructor, and his wife Natalie Briot is an art instructor. They have designed this workshop with two goals in mind: convenient travel arrangements and exciting photographic opportunities.

The cost of the workshop is about $250 per day, on-location, with world-renowned professional instructors, including Alain who studied at the Academie des Beaux Arts in Paris. The workshop is an amazing bargain opportunity. (I don’t receive a commission.) The 5-day workshop includes all fees for Antelope Canyon, Navajo hiking, and entrance fees to both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon Navajo Tribal park and other slot canyons, but does not include travel and lodging arrangements.

The Antelope Canyon Workshop is a great deal and the perfect opportunity to learn new photography skills and photograph the beautiful Antelope Canyon.

Visit Alain Briot’s website Beautiful-Landscape.com for more details.

~•~

1 Week Left: Photo Contest for October

October 24, 2008

“Dance”
© Copyright Avijit Roy

Shooting indoors is difficult enough, making sure there’s enough light to capture the scene. Shooting indoors in near darkness is even more difficult because it’s hard to determine what will be captured, if anything.

Photographing people and movement indoors in the dark is probably the ultimate challenge, but Avijit Roy captured it exceptionally well with his photo “Dance“, shown above, which he entered into the Photobird Photo Contest for October. You can clearly see the silhouettes of the dancers, and even their faces. Plus, it’s well composed with the red light shining diagonally through the scene. It’s a remarkable shot.

This month’s contest theme is “Indoors” and there’s only one week left to enter and to vote!

Photobird Photo Contest details:

The two winners for the Photobird Photo Contest for October will each receive the following cool prizes:

Read more details about the monthly contest here.

Every monthly Photobird Photo Contest has two winners. At the end of each month, we pick one winner for the Photobird Award, and we will tally your votes to determine the one winner for the People’s Choice Award.

See the previous contests and their contest entries at this link.

Go here to enter the contest. And be sure to have your family and friends vote for their favorite entries to help select the People’s Choice Award. (You can send them a quick little reminder here.)

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

~•~

Autumn Changes

October 23, 2008

“Changing”
© Copyright Vicki Tinnon

The leaves haven’t all fallen yet, but they are changing colors. Autumn is definitely here and the trees are in transition.

This very colorful photo entitled “Changing” was taken by Vicki Tinnon at Ponca State Park in Nebraska, and was submitted for the Photobird Photo of the Hour. I like how Vicki got close up to the leaves and filled the frame, a composition technique described in an article in the Photobird Daily entitled “Get Closer. Closer. Even Closer!

You can see more of Vicki Tinnon’s inspiring photos in her Photobird photo album at photobird.com/vickitinnon. Vicki Tinnon won the Photobird Award for the Photobird Photo Contest for May 2008 with her photo “Moving In“.

Photobird.com is the easy way to share your photos. You capture and share so many great photos on Photobird.com that we created the Photo of the Hour feature to give you the opportunity to share your very best with the rest of the world.

It’s really easy to submit your favorite photos to be featured on the Photobird Photo of the Hour: 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.

In return for each photo we use on the Photo of the Hour or People Places and Things, you get more storage space for your photo album so you can store more photos. Details are here.

If you’d like to keep some of your photos private while you share your favorite photos with the world, you can read how easy it is to do that with Photobird photo albums in our Photobird Daily article entitled “Show Off Your Photos, and Keep Some Private“.

You may also discuss your favorite Photobird Photos of the Hour in the Photobird forums.

~•~

Superb Composition of Botswana Safari Photos

October 22, 2008

Photo © Copyright Mark Dubovoy

This past Monday, I wrote that you can see some of the photos from Luminous Landscape’s September 2008 Botswana Safari Expedition Workshop.

I spent a lot of time looking at the photos, and what stood out for me was how well composed they were and how many of the photos related directly to the composition tips I outlined in the article on the Photobird Daily entitled “Composition is Key“.

In my article below, I show you some of the photos and list which of the composition topics relate to each photo. Each of these photos is such an excellent example of those composition topics that I thought they were worth pointing out.

To start, I want to refer you to the article “Great Photos Start with Location and Timing“. It’s obvious that if you’re not in Botswana, at the right time late in the day, aware of where the sun is going to set, hunkered down and patient in the grass with the proper lens and equipment, that you’re not going to be able to capture a photo like the one shown above by Mark Dubovoy. Even if you’re simply in Botswana, there’s preparations to be made.

On a thought related to catching the cat with its mouth wide open, from an unrelated photo set, Frederic Larson answered a fan’s question regarding how he was able to shoot his photo of a Coast Guard helicopter flying in front of the moon, with “If you do it enough, luck flies through your frame.”

~•~

Photo © Mark Dubovoy

Framing Your Photo Before Your Take It – The leopard is clearly framed by the two trees.

A Delicate Balance – More weight is given to the tree on the left, which seems to tilt, “push”, or emphasize the photo to the right, in the direction the leopard is looking.

~•~

Photo © Copyright Mark Dubovoy

Get Closer. Closer. Even Closer. – Or, in other words, fill the frame, which this photo does, even though the photographer isn’t physically close to the birds.

~•~

Photo © Copyright Carolyn Bell

Simplify. – Simplify is similar in concept to “Get Closer. Closer. Even Closer.” Ask yourself, “What is the most important feature in this scene? What is it that I should be photographing in this picture? What is the best part of this photo?” In this case, the face.

A Delicate Balance – The focus is on the face, but other elements in the photo such as the leaves help balance the shot, including some framing of the tree on the right.

Rule of Thirds Redux – The cat’s face is in the upper region of the Rule of Thirds, which also helps balance out the photo.

Avoid Mergers – Avoiding mergers is incredibly difficult when shooting cats in trees because you don’t want to make it look like a branch or leaf is growing out of the head or mouth.

~•~

Photo © Copyright Carolyn Bell

Lines are Visually Compelling and Look for Lines to Create Visual Interest – The tree branch is perfect! And nearly on a perfect diagonal. It’s perfectly imperfect — just as nature intended.

Rule of Thirds Redux – The bird is in the upper right of the frame.

A Delicate Balance – Even though the bird is in the upper right of the frame, it’s looking to the left side, where the branch enters the frame. Plus the smaller branch is under the top branch, not over it, which isolates the visual weight of the bird to the top of the photo and helps balance out the bottom. Amazingly perfect!

Simplify. – This photo is probably the most perfectly composed photo of the set.

~•~

Photo © Copyright Derrick Ley

A Delicate Balance – The visual weight (not physical weight) of the elephants helps counter the weight of the trees and foliage in the rest of the photo.

Rules of Thirds Redux – The elephants are almost perfectly in the lower-right intersection of the Rule of Thirds lines.

~•~

Photo © Copyright Kirk Hamilton

(I really like the lighting in this photo, with its subtle tones; the fur and the grass are similar shades, but you can still see the cat clearly.)

Simplify. – Get in close. No need to show the ground or the feet. That’s not important. What’s important is the cat’s gaze.

A Delicate Balance – The cat is looking back in the direction of the sun, with just enough of the rest of the body and the surrounding environment to provide context.

Finally, while some of these photos would be even more remarkable if they were composed as shown within the camera, without any further editing, it’s worth noting that it’s likely that some post-process cropping was done, as explained in the article “How to Crop Photos to Improve Them“.

Even so, the photos are truly awesome.

~•~

Hands-On Digital Photography, by George Schaub

October 21, 2008

One of the great things about the Internet is that most of what you read online is free — like this journal, the Photobird Daily.

Another great thing about the Internet is that anyone can contribute to it. That means that there’s a huge amount of photography material online that you can learn from.

But that can also be a problem: Anyone can write anything they want. And some people don’t write as well as others; they can be difficult to understand, or they may be wrong. The text on their web pages can sometimes be too small to read, and pages often have a lot of annoying distractions on them.

So it’s good that we still have books! One of the best things about books is that publishers will only work with select authors who have honed their craft. That’s not to say that all books are great, or that they’re better than what you can find online. But the limited number of books available certainly makes it easier to find high-quality books, especially when you’re learning something new.

One photography book that looks great for beginners is Hands-On Digital Photography, by George Schaub. Amazingly, the book covers a wide range of topics, from basic things you should know about digital images, to settings and features you’ll find on digital cameras and how to modify them to get the best photos. In the last part of the book, George Schaub writes about how to use software to work with and enhance your photos after you transfer them from your camera to your computer — which he also explains well.

George Schaub writes in a concise, easy-to-understand manner. He doesn’t go into excruciating detail with everything he discusses, but he covers just enough to satisfy beginners and answer their questions. Each topic has a description, along with “Try It” and “How It Works” sections that enable you to practice on your own.

Another great thing about the book is that the text is large and easy to read. The photos are large too, and of course, there are good examples for every step. The book is laid out very well and easy to read.

Experienced photographers will probably find the book too simple, but if you’re new to digital cameras and want to learn more about digital photography, Hands-On Digital Photography covers a lot of material in a well-written fashion, and will definitely help you get started on your way to becoming a master photographer.

Hands-On Digital Photography is published by my favorite book publisher, Amphoto Books, which also publishes Understanding Exposure, by Bryan Peterson. Understanding Exposure is listed as a prize each month for the Photobird Photo Contest, but the winners actually get to choose a book. Winners may choose one of the books listed on the page at http://amphotobooks.com ; click the book covers and if “Amphoto” is listed under the ISBN number at the top, then the book is available as a prize. The following books are also available as prizes:

Enter the Photobird Photo Contest for your chance to win Hands-On Digital Photography!

Before you buy Hands-On Digital Photography or anything else on Amazon.com, please click one of our Amazon.com links anywhere on Photobird.com. For each product you buy 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 the Photobird Daily and the Photobird Learning Center. Thank you for your support!

Also consider Amazon Prime when you buy anything at Amazon.com. Amazon Prime members enjoy the following benefits:

1. Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping on millions of Amazon.com Items
2. Overnight Shipping upgrades for only $3.99 per item
3. Shopping with no minimum order size
4. Ability to share benefits with up to 4 household members
5. 1 Month Free Trial

~•~

Photos from Botswana Safari

October 20, 2008

Photo © Copyright Carolyn Bell

The photos are in from Luminous Landscape’s September 2008 Botswana Safari Expedition Workshop. We alerted you to the two-week, sold-out expedition in the Photobird Daily, in “Your Very Own African Safari” in December 2007 and in “Get Back to Nature in Africa” in February of this year.

Several photos from members of the workshop are here. Definitely well-worth checking out, including Mark Dubovoy’s photos and commentary about the trip.

Andy Biggs and Michael Reichmann of the Luminous Landscape website arranged and conducted the workshop, which included each participant having two separate one-hour shoots from a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter with the doors removed. They hired the same helicopter company that provided aerial service for the Planet Earth series from the BBC when they were filming in Botswana.

Some of Michael Reichmann’s photos from the trip are here, along with a very interesting commentary, including his approach to taking photos on this trip. He also explains why he decided to take his Nikon D3 on this trip instead of his Canon 1Ds Mark III.

~•~