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Old Habits Die Hard

A recent headline on AOL read as follows:

How to Take Better Pictures at the Game
5 Tips for Catching That Perfect Play on Film

Yes, they said “film” in their headline. And the best part is that the article talked about using a couple of new digital cameras at the US Open to capture shots of the tennis players.

I bet the person who wrote the headline is over 30 years old. :P

Missed. Again. <sigh>

I got an email from B&H Photo Video the other day saying that they had some Nikon 70-200 VR lenses in stock. A few hours later I hit the site, and they were sold out. Yes, just that fast.

I have been told that the 70-200 VR will be re-released this fall as a VRII model anyway, so perhaps I’ll just wait until then. My 80-200 2.8 works quite well so the VR feature would be a bonus but not a requirement.

In any case, it’s amazing how quickly these lenses sell out. Maybe they’re just getting two or three at a time into their stock. :lol:

Using A Flash… Light

Many cameras come with a built-in flash. My Nikon D-70 has a pop-up flash that works fairly well and is always available and doesn’t require me to carry an extra piece of equipment. But it’s not always a flash that you want.

I went to Utah earlier this month and spent a day in the Needles area of Canyonlands National Park. On the way in I stopped at Newspaper Rock, a very famous petroglyph that is right on the road into the park. I didn’t like the light so I decided to come back later. I didn’t realize that “later” meant after sunset until I had already spent all day in the park.

Flash Painting

But I still decided to stop on the way by, just to try an experiment. I had a fully charged flashlight with me and decided that it was time to try some flash painting. What is that? First, here is the result:

Newspaper Rock

How was this done? It’s a fairly easy technique, but one I had never tried before. I set up my camera on a tripod because I was going to use a 30 second exposure. During that 30 second exposure I used my flashlight to “paint” the wall of rock and illuminate the petroglyphs. I spent more time painting the interior of the image than the outside, and that’s what makes the shadows more pronounced along the edges.

I did a number of trials since I had no idea what was going to work. I guess that is one of the advantages of having a digital camera with a nice, bright LCD panel to review your work. Since I had no idea what was working (and what wasn’t) I just took a lot of different pictures. :) For the record, this was the last one. Based on my memory this one involved me starting with the flashlight already on and moving and leaving the flashlight on for the entire thirty second exposure. The others had less light, and came out much too dark.

This image was shot on Velvia 50 slide film and scanned with a Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED. No image alterations (contrast, brightness, and so on) were made to this image during the scan process.

How Long Can You Store Film?

Some years ago I bought a brick (20 rolls) of Fuji Velvia slide film. I needed some for a trip that I took right away, but there was no way I was going to use all of it at once. I stored the remaining rolls in the freezer.

Life intervened, and it was several years before I was able to schedule another trip dedicated to photography. I was a little concerned that the film had been stored for so long that it would have become stale, but I didn’t have time to shoot a roll and get it developed before leaving for the trip, so I pulled the film out of the freezer and decided to use it anyway.

I just got my pictures back yesterday, and it seems that the faith was justified. On initial inspection I don’t see any sort of color shift or other sign that the film was in less than optimal condition. This weekend I plan to go through and scan some of the more promising images to I can see how they look. But all of the initial indications are good.

DX Lenses Becoming Obsolete

A 35mm camera has, interestingly enough, a data collection mechanism (film) that is 35mm. Most of the digital SLR cameras (from Nikon or otherwise) on the market today have a sensor that is smaller than 35mm. The net result is that if you use a 35mm lens on a digital SLR the lens focal length is increased, and in some cases the image quality is sharpened at the same time. [1] For many lenses this is a positive result as a 400mm film lens becomes a 600mm lens when used with the smaller sensor. For wide angle lenses (anything below 50mm for a film lens is considered wide angle) this is not such a good thing. [2]

As a result Nikon came out with a line of DX lenses that were designed for the size of the sensor used in their digital SLR bodies. These lenses were smaller and less expensive and made it easier for new folks to get involved with digital SLR photography. But the problem is they’re already becoming obsolete. Continue…

Utah Photography Trip (Arches, Needles, Island in the Sky)

I just returned home from a photography trip… my first in quite a few years. My family went to Colorado for a family vacation. While there I took a solo side trip to Utah for a few days. I spent some time at Arches National Park and at two areas in Canyonlands (Island in the Sky and Needles).

I took pictures with film, so I don’t have anything to post just yet. :)


Shake Your Film Canister

Here is another drawback of going all digital. You don’t have any film canisters sitting around, and therefore you can’t use this:

If you don’t want to click the image, the product in question is a set of salt / pepper shaker tops that you can use on film canisters. So if you don’t mind that your salt and/or pepper ends up smelling like film, then go for it. They can be yours for the low, low, price of just $1.99. As for me, I’ll keep my regular salt and pepper shaker that I got from REI.

The Rocket Works

After seeing a couple of “how-to” videos on youtube that show how to clean a digital camera I decided to order a “rocket” to see what I could do for mine. I have to say, it works. It really works. Continue…

Got My Own BL-3… Without Paying Too Much

A few posts ago I wrote about the horrible overpayments being made on eBay for the Nikon BL-3 battery caps. Yet, here we are today, and none of my favorite online vendors have this item in stock yet. I have a camera sitting around doing nothing because I don’t have a way to use my batteries.

That is, until today. :) Continue…

Preserve Your Rights

I first got into photography a long time ago… in junior high school, to be exact. I was the photographer for our junior high school yearbook. Seriously. :) I used a Graflex 35mm camera with black and white film. It was fun. The camera broke not too long after (I still have it, I’m sure it’s worth a fortune on eBay :lol: ) so it wasn’t until the late 1990’s that I started up again.

Once I did get back into the swing of things I started looking for ways to make money or gain recognition as a photographer. One day I was reading the Parade section of our Sunday newspaper and saw a photo contest. They paid $500 or something like that for first place, and $100 for each of the runner-up selections. That looked like a possible way to make a bit of money.

Then I read the fine print and realized that the $500 prize was a drop in the bucket compared to what the contest folks could get for my photograph. By entering the contest I was allowing them to do whatever they wanted with my photograph… essentially I was transferring ownership of the picture to the contest company. It wasn’t worth $500 then, and it isn’t now either.

I flashed back to this memory when I read this blog post about how various web sites are using the same technique (or something similar) today. Same scam, new audience.

Just be careful where you post your images. Read the fine print. Make sure you retain the rights you want to retain, because once they’re gone there probably isn’t a way to get them back.

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