Archive for February, 2009

2 Days Left: Photo Contest for February

February 27, 2009

“Sit Back And Relax”
© Copyright Jeff Beekman

This guy would be all set if he had a drink in one hand and the TV remote in the other. Sit back and relax indeed! Why go out and build dams when you can just sit back, relax, and have your picture taken? Sounds like a good deal to me. Strike a pose!

The photo shown above “Sit Back And Relax” by Jeff Beekman is quite appropriate for this month’s contest theme which is “Stop”. Click the photo above to see a larger version.

There’s only 2 days remaining in the Photobird Photo Contest for February 2009, so be sure to get your entry in and vote before tomorrow, Saturday, February 28 at 11:59pm Pacific time.

Photobird Photo Contest details:

The two winners for the Photobird Photo Contest for February 2009 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.

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“Raindrop Rose” by David Thompson

February 26, 2009

“Raindrop Rose”
© Copyright David Thompson

Raindrop Rose” by David Thompson shown above is one of my favorite photos. This beautiful, close-up rose with its vibrant red color and speckled rain drops is fantastic. Click the photo to see a larger version.

The composition of this photo reminds me of a couple of very useful composition tips: fill the frame of the photo and “Get Closer. Closer. Even Closer!” Read “Composition Is Key” in the Photobird Daily for more composition tips. And don’t miss “Photobird’s Simple Guide to Great Photos“.

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.

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How to Photograph the Slot Canyons

February 25, 2009

“Flames (Lower Antelope Canyon)”
© Copyright Ben Hattenbach

The slot canyons of the Southwestern United States are one of the most unique and picturesque locations to shoot. But unlike the usual landscape photography guidelines, slot canyons require a totally different approach to capture their beauty.

Ben Hattenbach’s gorgeous photos demonstrate that he knows what’s needed to shoot the curvy and radiant slot canyons. His photo “Flames (Lower Antelope Canyon)” is shown above.

Ben Hattenbach has written an article at The Luminous Landscape website that explains what you need to know to improve your chances of creating your own gorgeous slot canyon photos. He explains the following tips in his article:

  • When To Go – Between 10am and 2pm, when the sun is overhead.
  • Search for Reflected Light – Avoid direct sunlight and the visible sky in your photos.
  • Avoid Lens Flares – Use lens hoods, hands, hats, even the canyon ledges to avoid the flares.
  • Proper Exposure – Avoid blown highlights, keep your eye on your histogram, and experiment.
  • Dynamic Imagery – There’s more than just colorful rock walls in the slot canyons.
  • Essential Equipment – A tripod, cable release, polarizing filter, and some plastic Saran Wrap to protect your camera from dust.
  • Locations – Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons, Water Holes Canyon, Paria Canyon, and private Navajo canyons.

Read Ben Hattenbach’s article to ensure that you’re ready to capture the slot canyons the next time you’re in the neighborhood of the Southwestern United States.

If you’d like some personal assistance photographing the slot canyons, consider one of Alain Briot’s Antelope Canyon Workshops. A couple of them are already sold out for this year, but there’s still a few slots available in the fall workshop. Read more about it in the Photobird Daily article “Alain Briot’s 2009 Workshops“.

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Lick Observatory Moonrise

February 24, 2009

“Lick Observatory Moonrise”
© Copyright Rick Baldridge

This stunning photo shown above was taken by Rick Baldridge in October 2008 as the Full Moon rose behind Mount Hamilton, east of San Jose, California. Both the Moon and Lick Observatory, which is perched at the top of the mountain, are lit by the warm color of the sunset.

This photo was featured on one of my favorite websites, the Astronomy Picture of the Day, on December 12, 2008. I don’t know what equipment was used to take this photograph, but the explanation at the Astronomy Picture of the Day refers to the image as a “lovely telescopic view”; it’s a very close-up photo of the Moon and of the Lick Observatory, so it probably was taken with a powerful zoom lens on a DSLR or with a telescope and camera adapter.

I’ve written before about the Astronomy Picture of the Day and if you like this photo, I think you’ll also like the others listed below. Be sure to click the photos to see larger versions.

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Indoor Sports Photography

February 23, 2009

“Elevation”
© Copyright Oleksiy Naumov

‘Tis the season for indoor sports like basketball, volleyball, and everyone’s favorite: badminton!

Therefore, ’tis time for some indoor sports photography tips!

There’s a few basic tips for shooting sports indoors, and I cover those below. Even with those basics though, experimentation is necessary to find the ideal camera settings for each venue.

Here’s a few links to articles that help explain what you need for indoor sports photography:

Camera tips:

1.Use a high ISO setting. A high ISO setting indicates that the camera sensor is more sensitive to light than lower ISO settings. Because you’re shooting indoors in relatively low-light conditions, your camera’s sensor will need to be more sensitive and have a high ISO setting to capture much more light than if you were outdoors. An ISO of 1000 or 1250 should be sufficient for shooting sports indoors. Read more about ISO in the Photobird Daily in the article “What is ISO?“.

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One Week Left: Photo Contest for February

February 20, 2009

“Oh no you don’t”
© Copyright Pradyot Kumar Datta

There’s just one week left to enter the Photobird Photo Contest for February 2009. The theme this month is “Stop”.

I like this photo shown above by Pradyot Kumar Datta. It’s a very funny photo. The photo entitled “Oh no you don’t” shows a bride and groom from India with the bride warning the groom about marital rules. The composition of the photo is very good as a close-up shot, and the lighting and clarity of the photo are very good as well.  Click the photo to see a larger version.

Photobird Photo Contest details:

The two winners for the Photobird Photo Contest for February 2009 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.

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“sunset at 38000 feet” by Mack Robison

February 19, 2009

“sunset at 38000 feet”
© Copyright Mack Robison

I like this series of high-altitude sunset photos by Mack Robison, especially the photo shown above. Mack Robison took these photos during his first time flying and he said he couldn’t put his camera down because the sunset was so beautiful. Click the photo above to see a larger version.

A few of Mack Robison’s photos have been selected for the Photobird Photo of the Hour, including “sunset at 38000 feet” shown above. You can see more of Mack Robison’s amazing cloud photos in his Photobird photo album at photobird.com/toolmaker934. Mack Robison won the People’s Choice Award for the Photobird Photo Contest for September 2007 with his “Pets” photo entitled “Little Lassie“.

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.

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Photographic Tales from Antarctica

February 18, 2009

“Crystal Sea. The Gullet, Antarctica – January, 2009”
© Copyright Michael Reichmann

Professional photographer Michael Reichmann and 76 other photographers traveled for two weeks in Antarctica last month and he wrote about his experience with the photographic gear that was used on the trip. We wrote about this trip in the Photobird Daily over a year ago in the article “Wanderlust Antarctica“. Michael Reichmann’s website, The Luminous Landscape, had a contest and the prize was a seat on this expedition, valued at more than $15,000.

I encourage you to read the article at Luminous-landscape.com if you’re interested in professional photography gear and traveling to exotic locations.

Here’s a synopsis of what Michael Reichmann covers in his article:

  • Goodies – On an expedition costing thousands of dollars per participant, there’s bound to be some expensive photographic toys to play with (and to be marketed) on the trip. WhiBal, a white balance card system, was provided to every member of the expedition. WhiBal isn’t very expensive though. The expensive toys were the Phase One P45+ and P65+ digital backs capable of 39 megapixels and 60 megapixels, respectively. They cost tens of thousands of dollars.
  • Cameras and lenses – Michael Reichmann brought his two Sony Alpha A900 camera bodies along with seven lenses. That was his main camera system for the trip. Like many other photographers on the trip, he also brought along a Canon Powershot G10 as his pocket camera. He was loaned a Phase One 645 camera and P65+ digital back to take on the trip as well as a Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Nikon DSLRs were also used on the trip, as were medium-format cameras.
  • Failures – Canon cameras didn’t seem to survive well on this trip. Nikon cameras fared much better.
  • Bags – Michael Reichmann took three equipment bags with him on this trip, including a 30-pound backpack that fit in the airplane’s overhead compartment and carried two camera bodies, six lenses, a flash, filters, accessories, flashlights, cleaning tools, rain covers, and more. He also had a shoulder back for his 15″ Apple MacBook Pro, two 500GB hard drives, and personal items, such as wallet and passport. He had a duffle bag which contained a tripod.
  • Lessons learned – Michael Reichmann has traveled with photography gear countless times before, so he has a lot of experience doing this, but his first lesson learned was that, as always, he brought too much stuff with him. He estimates that he brought 50% more gear than he needed.

Read his article for an interesting look at some of the photographic equipment challenges experienced on this Antarctic expedition.

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Best Selling Cameras on Amazon.com

February 17, 2009

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 in the number one position of Amazon.com’s best sellers list, as it has been for many months. Its price is the same as it was two weeks ago at $109 with FREE Super Saver Shipping.

When I started keeping a close eye on the Amazon.com Digital Camera Best Sellers list, Canon had cameras in at least 7 of the spots on the top 10 list. For the past six weeks, Canon has totally dominated the list with cameras in all 10 spots. Sony cameras start to appear at number 11 and fill out spots 11 to 19 along with Canon. The Nikon D90 comes in at number 20, down one spot from two weeks ago.

Here are more observations about the recent list:

The top 10 list for the Amazon.com Digital Camera Best Sellers page is below. This week’s list and the list from two weeks ago are shown. Click on any of the links to go to the Amazon.com page for that camera to read reviews and to obtain more details on each camera.

This week:

1. Canon PowerShot A590 IS – $109
2. Canon PowerShot SD790 IS – $160
3. Canon Rebel XSi – $649
4. Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS (Blue) – $150
5. Canon PowerShot SD770 IS (Black) – $160
6. Canon PowerShot SX10 IS – $340
7. Canon PowerShot SD880 IS – $248
8. Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS (Silver)– $149
9. Canon PowerShot G10 – $410
10. Canon PowerShot SX110 IS – $200

Two weeks ago:

1. Canon PowerShot A590 IS – $109
2. Canon PowerShot SX10 IS – $320
3. Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS (Blue) – $150
4. Canon Rebel XSi – $639
5. Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS (Silver)– $150
6. Canon PowerShot SD880 IS – $247
7. Canon PowerShot G10 – $405
8. Canon PowerShot SD770 IS (Black) – $160
9. Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS (Brown)– $149
10. Canon PowerShot SX110 IS – $213

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!

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“Mesa Sunset”, by Alain Briot

February 16, 2009

“Mesa Sunset”
© Copyright Alain Briot

Alain Briot’s Print of the Month Photograph Number Seventy-One is shown above and is entitled “Mesa Sunset“. I like this photo a lot. I like the colors, shapes, and patterns in the cloudy sky during the sunset and the colorful landscape below. Seeing the red bands in the rock makes me want to find out more about how the landscape was created.

“Mesa Sunset” was created with Alain’s Phase One P45 digital back mounted on a Hasselblad V camera with a Zeiss 80mm lens. The Phase One P45 digital back captures 39-megapixel photos and each photo can be as large as 44 megabytes. Click the photo above to see a larger, clearer version.

Alain Briot is offering “Mesa Sunset” for sale matted and framed for $325 with free worldwide shipping or just matted for $225 with free worldwide shipping. All the materials are archival quality and all purchases are covered by Alain Briot’s unique one-year, 100% money-back guarantee. The copyright logo shown above is not present on the actual fine art print that you receive. With your purchase, you also receive the Master File on CD, which is a Photoshop file that contains all of the adjustment layers he created to optimize the photo.

For more details on this offer, visit Alain Briot’s website at Beautiful-landscape.com.

If you’d like to learn more about how to create beautiful photos like the one above, be sure to check out Alain Briot’s 2009 Workshops in the Southwestern United States. We’ve written about them before in the Photobird Daily. Not only is Alain Briot a famous landscape photographer, but he’s also a trained instructor with over 6 years of experience teaching photography and communication at graduate and undergraduate levels. Alain Briot has been photographing since 1980 in Europe and studied art at the Academie des Beaux Arts in Paris.

If you’d like to learn more but are limiting your travel this year, take a look at Alain Briot’s workshops on DVD. Alain Briot has made available 3 DVDs that provide you with the exact same knowledge taught in his workshops. You can study the materials anywhere you want and as many times as you want, without having to try to remember everything that was taught in a two-day seminar. The price of these DVDs is comparable to that of a seminar, but you don’t need to travel anywhere. Plus, Alain Briot provides free updates of new techniques.

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