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A creative blog on The Whole 9

The Photography Blog is written by members of The Whole 9 Creative Photography Circle. For a short “bio” on today’s contributor, scroll down to the bottom of the blog. Enjoy! – Mike Hayward, editor

Wrestling With The Photographer

[Warning: This is not a happy blog post.  You might want to save it for a rainy day.]

As I recently punched my way through Fred Ritchin’s 2009 tome, “After Photography,” a quote by Susan Sontag reminded me of Sontag’s non-fiction piece, “On Photography.” This,in turn, got me to thinking of Sontag’s painful and protracted suffering from acute myelogenous leukemia just before her death in late 2004 and I was reminded of images I had seen and which were recorded during her last days by Sontag’s committed partner, photographer Annie Leibovitz. I thought then of how painful it must have been for Leibovitz to take these photos, and what kind of gripping love and devotion must have motivated Leibovitz to undertake this kind of project, to record a loved one’s long slide into eternity. And it came to me that, in times of extreme duress, many photographers turn to their trade in an effort to hold on to both their love and their sanity.

When one mentions “photographer” and “sanity” in the same sentence, the next natural thing that pops into one’s  mind is the name “Diane Arbus.”  I use a somewhat incongruous Arbus quote at the top of my photography web site and the words distinctly tell you where Diane’s focus was when it came to photography. She was driven to photograph “…People who appear like metaphors somewhere further out than we do, beckoned, not driven, invented by belief, author and hero of a real dream by which our own courage and cunning are tested and tried, so that we may wonder all over again what is veritable and inevitable and possible and what it is to become whoever we may be.” (“The Full Circle”)

By coincidence, I recently came upon an article relating feminist Germaine Greer’s solitary encounter with Diane Arbus – and because it tells so much about Diane Arbus in her last tragic days – I relay Greer’s words here,  from a 2005 article in the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper,  entitled “Wrestling With Diane Arbus,” in which Greer talks about her one and only photo shoot with Arbus:

“She seemed too birdlike and delicate to be lugging her outsize camera bag on such a warm day.  Her thin cheeks were red with exertion and her fine fairish hair stood out around her face in wisps.  I asked her whether she would like a rest or refreshment or something of the sort, and she refused in a tiny voice, without looking up from her camera bag.  I’d have liked something myself, but this seemed not to occur to her.  Throughout the session she spoke very little and always in a deceptively apologetic murmur.  She avoided facing me, as she ferretted in the big bag and patted her many pockets.  She set up no lights, just pulled out her Rolleiflex, which was half as big as she was, checked the aperture and the exposure, and tested the flash.  Then she asked me to lie on the bed, flat on my back on the shabby counterpane.

“I did as I was told.  Clutching the camera she climbed on to the bed and straddled me, moving up until she was kneeling with a knee on both sides of my chest.  She held the Rolleiflex at waist height with the lens right in my face.  She bent her head to look through the viewfinder on top of the camera, and waited.  In her viewfinder I must have looked like a guppy or like one of the unfortunate babies into whose faces Arbus used to poke her lens so that their snotty tear-stained features filled her picture frame (e.g., A Child Crying, NJ, 1967).  I knew that at that distance anybody’s face would have more pores than features.  I was wearing no make-up and hadn’t even had time to wash my face or comb my hair.

“Pinned on the bed by her small body with the big camera in my face, I felt my claustrophobia kick in;  my heart-rate accelerated and I began to wheeze.  I understood that as soon as I exhibited any signs of distress, she would have her picture.  She would have got behind the public persona of Life cover-girl Germaine Greer, the “sexy feminist that men like”.  I concentrated on breathing deeply and slowly, and keeping my face blank.  If it was humanly possible I would stop my very pupils from dilating.  Immobilised between her knees I denied her, for hour after hour.  Arbus waited me out.  Nothing would happen for minutes on end, until I sighed, or frowned, and then the flash would pop.  After an eternity she climbed off me, put the camera back in her bag and buggered off.  A few weeks later she took an overdose of barbiturates and slit her wrists.”

What killed Arbus was not the drugs or the acute loss of blood.  It was the final bout of a clinical depression Arbus perhaps suffered her whole life.  When one looks at Arbus’ images – perhaps in chronological order as you might compare the final work of someone like Vincent Van Gogh – you stand witness to an artist’s long and painful  slide into eternity.

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What a powerful post Mike — thanks for taking me on this ride which I didn’t find bleak at all, but incredibly insightful.

Fascinating and touching account. I couldn’t do what Arbus did. Don’t know if I’d want to. Although her work is incredibly powerful, it scares me.

Arbus – totally the kind of gal I usually end up with. Except mine usually just skip the bed and camera part.

Fascinating story; thanks. There was a retrospective of her stuff in LA in the not-too-distant past; was it at the Hammer? I didn’t get to go, and remember seeing an image in the LA Weekly that I thought might have been an ad for it, however I could never dig it up again. It may not have even been her’s. It was of a woman with a conical collar like they put on dogs to keep them from chewing their legs. Probably not even by her; it was too “performance art” and not at all “real but weird.”

I remember being disturbed and fascinated by her photos when I first discovered them in high school, pouring through photo magazines. I was surprised to discover she had taught photography at Hampshire College for a while. I wonder what those classes were like. Or perhaps a more, ahem, “germaine” question is what the studio sessions were like.

There were a handful of her photos in the MOCA 30 years exhibit.
Arthur- “germaine” indeed, ha ha ha! But “skipping the bed and camera”; is that a good thing? I was riveted by the story of her shooting session. Didn’t know she was at Hampshire (makes perfect sense though that they’d offer her a position; she’s a star, a collapsing black orb of talent). I too would love to hear someone’s account of what she was like as a teacher.

Diane Arbus was co-instructor of a (very) short summer photography class at Hampshire College in late July of 1971. Her suicide came one month later. Her youngest daughter, Amy, was away in a boarding school; her older daughter, Doon, was in Paris. Her photographer husband, Allan Arbus, had left her twelve years earlier to pursue an acting career in Hollywood.

Here are two images of Diane Arbus – one is not Diane but actress Nicole Kidman portraying a photographer named “Diane Arbus” in a really bad movie called “Fur.”

My Camera Is a Machine Gun

By Kyle Sparks, Member,

Whole 9 Creative Photography Circle

Motor drive, continuous shooting, burst mode, rapid fire… it’s all the same thing.  In short, it’s when you press and hold the shutter down and the camera continuously captures images until the camera’s buffer capacity is hit or you have filled up your memory card.  The buffer is the internal part of a DSLR that processes images from the camera’s sensor to the memory card.  The speed at which this is done is determined by three factors: the “write speed” on your memory card, how fast your camera’s processor is, and the file size of each image.

The faster the memory card is the faster the images will transfer (the “x” factor in many memory card labels).  For example, a memory card identified as “300x” will transfer data twice as fast as a card marked “133x.”  Similarly, the memory cards labeled “600x” will transfer twice as fast as a card labeled “300x.”  The 600x card will also be more expensive due to its faster write speed.  The memory card speed also comes into play when you transfer the images to your computer – again, the faster the card, the faster the images will transfer to your computer.  Lexar makes really fast CF cards that I recommend.  B&H Photo-Video’s online store offers memory cards in a wide range of speeds, format, and pricing ranging from $34 (SDHC, 4GB, 133x) to $361 (CF, 32BG, 600x).

The second factor in continuous shooting is your camera’s actual processing speed.  Newer digital cameras have better processors and become faster with each new model that comes out – something similar to how new computers are much faster than computers that were released a year ago.  My current camera is much faster than the first camera I bought several years ago.  When you take your camera out of the box, it’s already outdated – or will be within a year – but it will work just fine for many years as long as you don’t abuse it.

The final factor is file size.  A RAW file is much larger than a JPEG file, so naturally the RAW image will take longer to transfer data from the buffer to the memory card because the RAW image can be twice the file size of a JPEG image.  (Even though the RAW file takes longer to transfer, the benefits of the RAW file outweigh the slower transfer speed and I still recommend RAW over JPEG.)

Another thing to consider is the camera’s frame rate.  This is often a big selling feature (i.e., cost factor) between cameras by the same manufacturer.  For example, a really fast fame rate would be 10fps (frame per second).   5fps (frames per second) is more of a normal frame rate while somewhere around 3fps is now considered the slower end.  My Canon 5D Mark II shoots 3.9fps and that’s fast enough for most of my needs.  When the situation dictates that 3.9fps is not enough, I will rent a Canon Mark III and fire off 10fps.  With 10fps you’re able to get some great action sequences but having that power is not always necessary.
I recommend using continuous shooting because you’re able to capture moments that you might not have been able to capture without shooting multiple frames per second.  With that being said, use continuous shooting as a tool for occasions when it’s necessary.  For example you don’t need an 8-inch butcher’s knife to cut butter.  The same goes for continuous shooting.  You don’t need it if you’re on a tripod shooting landscapes.  All this will do is fill up your memory card and hard drive and give you unnecessary images to fill up your time while you are editing the shoot.

Here are some sample “continuous fire” images:

Comments and questions are always welcome.  Add yours below!

KYLE SPARKS currently lives and thrives in Southern California where he busies himself with a wide variety of editorial and advertising clients. You can see his work at http://www.kylesparks.com or you can follow his “Photo Class” tutorials at http://kylesparks.blogspot.com/

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Thanks Kyle! Speaking for myself, I’ve almost never had to use a film camera’s motor-drive or digital camera’s ‘burst’ mode for the deliberate type photography I like to do. It’s come in handy once or twice in the past for sports or performance type scenarios where there’s only a split second to get the ‘money shot’. But as Kyle details, rapid fire shooting uses up your batteries and memory real fast. I like to save that stuff for other power-hog functions I use more, like really long time-lapses. However, for paparazzi, porn photographers and soccer moms, it’s the most indispensable tool in their trick bag.

Good information about cards and cameras Thank you! I actually find setting my camera on continuous can come in very handy for landscape- especially shooting waterfalls- capturing a dramatic spray is not something you can anticipate, but shooting several frames of the same falls gives me the opportunity to be able to choose the best composition for what I want to relate. Also comes in handy with kids and animals as well.

Glad the post helps. Use motor drive when you have to, not because you can.

The Ghost of P. F. Bentley

by Kyle Sparks, Member

Whole 9 Creative Photography Circle

Two photographers with the same camera and lens combo are shooting photos while at an event.  The first photographer, Bob, walks around, finds a good moment, then shoots a frame or two and starts chimping.  “Chimping” is a term used in digital photography to describe the photographer’s habit of checking every photo taken on the display screen immediately after capture.

The second photographer, Max, walks around, finds a good moment, then shoots a few frames  -  then shoots a few more.  Next, Max uses his brain, changes his angle and shoots a few more frames, then starts triggering the remote camera that he had set up earlier that day.

The point is that Bob was at home watching ‘Harold and Kumar go to White Castle’ while Max was rigging up his camera. At the end of the day Max ended up with much better images and Bob brought home only pictures, not images.

The basic rules are these:  1.  Don’t “chimp” after every frame.  Once might be okay to do a quick check on the exposure.  After that just keep your eye to the viewfinder and shoot when the frame looks good.  2.  Mix it up a bit  -  go low and high and put the camera in cool places to get better images.

Many years ago photojournalist P. F. Bentley gave me some advice that I will never forget.  I was shooting a crowd of people were talking about a speech that had just been given, and I hadn’t changed my camera angle in the thirty seconds I had been shooting.  Then, suddenly, someone grabbed my shoulders and shoved me down to the ground while saying, “Get low for some frames.”  I dared not look up until after I had shot about ten frames, waiting long enough for a good expression on somebody’s face.  After I knew I had gotten a good image from that angle I stood up and found P. F. staring me down like a father would look at you after he found you naked in his daughter’s room.  I was terrified.  He asked me if the images looked better from the new angle.  Trembling, I said “yes,” and he replied “Good! Do that every time you shoot something from this point forward.”

To this day it’s something I do every time I pick up my camera.

I had found that sometimes just getting low is not enough.  Here are a few examples of interesting camera angles.

KYLE SPARKS currently lives and thrives in Southern California where he busies himself with a wide variety of editorial and advertising clients. You can see his work at http://www.kylesparks.com
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That’s what I try to tell people in my workshops… get away from the safe shot and it opens a whole new world for you.

Thanks Kyle,
I try to change my perspective when I shoot, but often I am still thinking like a painter instead of a photographer- in other words, If I look at the subject long enough the image will come to me and end up on the page- works for painting, not for photography!

Glad I could be of help.
The Ghost Himself

I will never look at that LCD screen again. There are a lot of things I want to be and being a Chimper is not one of them.

I do have a couple of questions:
1) What is the origin of the word Chimper (noun) / Chimping (verb)
2) If you are tethered and look at every shot on the monitor, are you a Chimper?

It was the chimp monkey sound that photogs made when they saw they had the images and they were good. Oo, oo, oo, etc. If you are tethered in a studio setting, you are not a chimper and hopefully making a lot of money!

Dennis Hopper – Photographer

By Mike Hayward

I’m happy that Dennis Hopper has finally received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  I’d like to think that he received it for his immeasurable talent as a writer, director, actor, for his longevity in his craft (well, the drugs and alcohol didn’t manage to kill him), and eclectic behavior (you just have to hand it to him for his balls out rebellious weirdness) in the movie business.   It would be just as nice to think that the $25,000 fee the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce charges for each star on the “Hollywood Walk of Fame” was paid for by Hopper’s close friends, among whom are actors Vigo Mortensen and Jack Nicholson, director David Lynch, and producer Mark Canton.  I’m sure his friends would have much rather had the ceremony now, at a time when the celebration could include their dear friend.

But Dennis Hopper is more than a Hollywood icon. As a painter, he is also a friend to artists everywhere, sharing a deep appreciation for the artistic life and process.

Dennis Hopper, by the way, is also a photographer – and I like his work.

He has always been a photographer, developing a love of photography long before the other talents became manifest.  But it wasn’t until the early-1960s – when he was just starting his on-again, off-again love affair with Hollywood – that he began carrying his camera with him just about everywhere he went.  His connection to Hollywood movies and television gave him a free pass to the backstage lives of other actors, rock stars, notable (and some not so notable) artists, and allowed him to move to the front row of that era’s most memorable “happenings,” love-ins in Griffith park, rock concerts in Oakland and San Ferancisco, civil rights demonstrations in such places as Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, Washington, D.C., and, again,  San Francisco.

My favorite Hopper photograph is this one he took of Bill Cosby at the Chateau Marmont in West Los Angeles.

Dennis Hopper’s “Walk of Fame” star is located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Egyptian Theatre.

Here are two YouTube videos covering Dennis Hopper’s photography that you might wish to see (connections at the bottom of this blog)

Video promoting the Taschen book, “Dennis Hopper, Photographs, 1961-1967

Douglas Kelley (grand poobah of the NYC art world) conducts a somewhat stuttered commentary and interview tour of the Dennis Hopper “Signs of The Times” Photography Exhibit at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery (click here). It’s somewhat ironic that this video begins with a clip of Hopper as an unidentified photojournalist with a string of cameras (probably his own) around his neck.

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Who knew? Certainly not I, but thanks so much for sharing :)

Cliché or not, I was always a fan of his photograph, “Double Standard.”

Very nice, Celeste!

I’ve been trying to mentally place the location of that image and my strongest hunch as to where it was shot is at the tri-corner of Ventura Boulevard, Ventura Place, and Radford Avenue in Studio City (just east of Laurel Canyon Blvd.). The reason? If you made a right-hand turn from where that image was taken you would be on Radford Avenue, the entryway to the CBS Studio City lot where most of the CBS television shows were shot in the 1960s (and most CBS shows are fiomed today). A triangle-shaped gas station is still in that same location today.

right. i heard from some fans who went to see the star unveiling that dennis looks very bad. will be sorry to see him go. always loved his song in ‘cool hand luke.’ he on guitar.

Yes, the radical chemotherapy treatment’s physical effect is quite evident. He also had reportedly taken a bad fall the previous day and struck his head and wore a large gauze bandage n his forehead at the Walk of Fame ceremony. All this while going through a truly ugly divorce. You can’t say his life isn’t sill without its drama.

See How a Pro Shoots Rielle Hunter

by Mike Hayward

As promised, I am on the prowl for more information on the G.Q./Mark Seliger/Rielle Hunter photo shoot…

First up is a video shoot of the photo shoot! It’s deja video all over the place! CLICK HERE and watch Rielle in all her wind-blown glory (which is not all that easy when you’re shooting interiors and all the windows are closed).  CLICK HERE (the same link, by the way) to see how pro photographer Mark Seliger can chew gum and take photos at the same time, how Mark subtly signals Rielle to tilt her head just so for the perfect nuance of sexy casualness, how Mark shows Rielle – via a computer screen hook-up – how beautiful that last image was… All of this  (CLICK HERE if you haven’t already)  set to beautiful string guitar music that completely covers any natural audio.

Watch the look of uncertainty in Rielle’s eyes as she takes in the videographer who encroaches her personal space,  squint at the shoot entourage hovering in the background, one of whom (called “The Client“) stands in a corner behind the camera making mental notes of what she’d like the photographer to try next, admire the decorum of another adjusting the lighting as another turns the electric fan to blow just so through Rielle’s highlighted blond hair, as Seliger chomps and chomps on his bubblegum (Hey! It gives the subject something to fixate on instead of all those people standing around).

Unfortunately, I have not come up with any pertinent quotes from the photographer himself.  Mark Seliger is undoubtedly off in a darkroom somewhere where his last cellphone conversation with the people at G.Q. helped clarify that they would do all the talking and that he should simply concentrate on the bubblegum.

So… How do you think the photo shoot went?

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I didn’t realize that Rielle’s daughter was actually in the shoot, but now that I do… I really, really wonder how it is that people can make it to the point where they can birth a child, but somehow not connect the dots that everything they do affects that child. How this woman apparently has not for a moment considered the day (not too long in the future) when her daughter sees those photos and that article and comes face-to-face with the cold hard reality that fame and fortune was more important to her mother than protecting her daughter.

When People Rip Their Clothes Off For The Camera

by Mike Hayward

“There is a known phenomena where people seem to rip their clothes off when you point a camera at them. Seems to have happened to Rielle. I don’t think the photographer is to blame.”

So says Rob Haggart in his online blog at www.aphotoeditor.com.  Here’s the illustration he used to make his point:

[photo courtesy GQ Magazine]

The subject of a Gentleman’s (cough) Quarterly spread (if you’ll excuse the use of that word) is/was Rielle Hunter (seen as photographed above from that same GQ article)  the notorious paramour of the politician Johnny Reid Edwards from North Carolina. A great deal has recently been said about the manner in which Ms. Hunter was depicted in that article, specifically about her manner of dress (or undress, if you prefer).

While she claimed to have “cried for two hours” upon seeing the images, Ms. Hunter told Barbara Walters that she essentially “went with the flow” at the photo shoot, trusting photographer Mark Seliger (according to Walters’ report) “to capture classy photos for the shoot.”

I’d like to rant on about Ms. Hunter and her “classy” ideals and the hearsay that the first three words she spoke to John Edwards were “God you’re hot!” I’m shocked(!), shocked(!) I tell you, to the more telling rumors about her being in bed with Edwards that same first night and – despite the fact that she was performing services as a videographer – not for a photo shoot.

BUT HERE’S THE POINT (“Too late!” someone cries)…

Actually, it’s a question I’d like you to answer for me.  Does the photographer have a responsibility to his or her subjects to portray them in the nicest way? Or do you believe that a professional photographer is pre-suggestive to the desires of the people who are signing the paycheck?  In a recent interview with Chris “Hardball” Matthews,  GQ article writer Lisa DePaulo defended the nature of the photographs with the comment “This is GQ, not Newsweek,” for cryin’ out loud!

If you were the photographer on this shoot (instead of Mark Seliger), how would you have posed the lovely Ms. Hunter?  Comment now  -  and remember: don’t hold back.  We’re all friends here.

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You have hit on a sordid subject that is near and dear to my heart…and that is the fact that women can be mean bitches just out for a buck and for themselves. Why this woman needs to continue parading her poor behavior, even poorer judgment, lack of professional ethics, and complete disregard for her daughter (first and foremost), the father of her daughter secondly and the wife of her daughter’s father, is a mystery to me. There’s only one answer that I can figure out and that is that she is f@#$ing loony tunes. Which explains the absolutely ridiculous photos that are accompanying this horrific story.

For her daughter’s sake, I only hope that the dolls in this picture did not go home with her. To have something in your childhood so tainted with a lack of integrity and blatant greed (both for money and for fame) would be a sad thing indeed.

That said, do I think a photographer is pre-suggestive to the desires of the people signing the paycheck. Hell yes! Very few people doing a job in this day and age are allowed creative freedom. Who is accountable for this sleeze disguised as journalism? Everyone…from the publisher to the editor to the writer to the subject to the photographer. It’s a rancid story that only stinks more the longer it lingers and the more people that it draws in.

We’re still on watch for photographer Mark Seliger’s weigh-in on this story and hope to add that perspective tomorrow.

Thanks, Lisa, for bringing up the daughter. Keeping the story in focus, GQ certainly had to have made arrangements with Ms. Hunter to have her daughter included in the photo shoot. The sleezebags would tell her how it would add a nice, warm and fuzzy element to the story.

A slight amendment to the blog where we referred “to the more telling rumors about her [Ms. Hunter] being in bed with Edwards that same first night and – despite the fact that she was performing services as a videographer – not for a photo shoot.” Waitaminute! Stop the presses! There WAS a sex tape involved in this sex scandal, wasn’t there?!? How ironic if the next eight words out of Hunter’s mouth (after “God, you’re hot!”) were “I’d love to videotape us in bed tonight!”

If she’s “mature” enough to have an affair then she can’t claim naivety with a photographer. Hellooooo… reminds me of some girls in High School who’d take one sip of alcohol so they could “do whatever” and not claim responsibility for their actions.

PMA 2010 Tradeshow Review

by Cameron McIntyre,

Member, Whole 9 Creative Photography Circle

On Monday, February 22nd, I attended the PMA 2010 Tradeshow in Anaheim, California.  The Photo Marketing Association (or PMA) is an international organization that represents all things photographic.  The annual PMA show is one of the largest photography tradeshow/conventions each year.  Most of the major players, a lot of the minor ones, and even some smaller start-ups exhibit at the show.  It is a great opportunity for photographers, camera retailers, and lab professionals to get their hands on the latest and greatest gear as well as attending seminars and conferences covering anything and everything photographic.

pma2010-anaheim-courtesy-cam-phone-guy-paul (Courtesy: Paul Rentz/Flickr “Cam Phone Guy”)


Manufacturer representatives are in every booth and their only job is answer questions. Some of the exhibitors sell products at the show at fantastic discounts.  I purchased a Photoshop plug-in Topaz Suite from Topaz Labs (www.topazlabs.com) (which I will review in another blog), and an LCD screen protector for my D3 from Hoodman.  In addition to these purchases, I received sample ink jet media from Pictorico (Mitsubishi Papers), and Museo.  Ink jet media is one of my current fascinations, and the opportunity to talk shop with the reps and learn a thing or two was great.

pma2010-anaheim-hoodman-couresty-camphoneguy-paul (Courtesy: Paul Rentz/Flickr “Cam Phone Guy”)


Nearly all of the major camera and lens manufacturers were in attendance this year (Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Vivitar, Sigma, Tamron), and to have all that stuff under one roof was very cool – unless you were a Canon guy/girl, because Canon was a no show.  I was especially impressed with the lens companies who had every lens in production on display and were able to fit any lens you desired on practically any camera body.  I very much enjoyed the opportunity to examine the new Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG lens on the D3 body (which will be the exact set up I am saving for).  Again I had the chance to discuss the lens in technical detail with the rep – who was not trying to sell me anything, just giving me the facts.

pma2010-anaheim-batman-courtesy-camphoneguy-paul (Courtesy: Paul Rentz/Flickr “Cam Phone Guy”)


I was also able to get my hands on all the new Micro Four Thirds cameras and really do some side-by-side comparisons.  Samsung was launching their new NX10 super compact DSLR which is not a MFT format camera, but uses the same concept of a mirrorless system along with interchangeable lenses.  The NX10 sets itself apart from the MFT group by using a full sized APS-C sensor and the camera is very cool and certainly a contender in the slim and small set.

This was my first PMA show and I was not sure what to expect and honestly thought it might be kind of lame, but it was most certainly not.  There literally was something to see around every corner;  there was also a photo-book company around every corner and I left convinced that the photo-book business is totally saturated.  After four hours I had toured the show in its entirety and left with a bag of “swag.”  PMA 2011 is scheduled to be held in Las Vegas and I just might make it our there for a day to check it out.

I’ll conclude with “Cameron’s List of Cool Stuff”:

  • Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 IF EX DG HSM
  • Topaz Suite Software
  • Nik Software
  • California Sunbounce Micro Mini
  • Blackrapid Straps
  • Grace Pearlescent Drylab Paper (Mitsubishi Papers)
  • Panasonic Lumix GH1

If you had the opportunity to attend this year’s PMA show I would be happy to hear about your experience here. Feel free to comment!

CAMERON McINTYRE is a Los Angeles-based photographer specializing in industrial, technology, architecture and commercial photography.  When Cameron is not photographing machinery, micro chips or a building, he can be found photographing the ocean, the mountains, the desert, and the quite empty spaces that fill the mind. http://www.cameronphotographer.com

[Editor's note: Thank you, Paul Rentz, for the great images!]

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Cameron…this is a great review of the show and chock-full of great information. Thanks!

I love trade shows, will have to check this one out, now that I am becoming a camera geek!, Thanks Cameron

I wasn’t able to attend this year’s PMA show, if I did my wife would shoot me with a cannon~

Photography is one of those amazing things I’d love to explore but I usually get lost because I don’t take the time to learn how to use the equipment properly. I was pretty efficient in high school and then picked it up again while attending college. But with all the new technology that’s out there and the constant product changes in the market, I’d probably drown before I could get the lens cap off.

These days I do my best to capture those kodak moments with my simple point and click digital camera. It serves it’s purpose but leaves me feeling a bit empty inside.

Sigh…

I thank you for your informative post and one day I promise to sit down and actually read the manual that came with my Canon EOS Rebel X and be creative once more~

peace~

R~

The Mighty Micro Four Thirds

by Cameron McIntyre,

Member, Whole 9 Creative Photography Circle

Perhaps you have heard of, maybe even seen a new Olympus PEN or P-E1, the retro stylized pocket-sized camera.  It has graced the cover of Shutterbug magazine and made Internet headlines.  If you are really into the latest and greatest camera gear you might be familiar with the Panasonic DMC-GH1, another pint-sized powerhouse.  What do these two cameras have in common?  They share the same format: Micro Four Thirds.

[The Panasonic Lumix G1 (left) compared with the Olympus PEN E-P1 on the right]

Micro Four Thirds is the little sister to the Four Thirds open standard for camera and lens construction introduced in 2002.  Micro Four Thirds cameras are designed to use Live View (LCD displays) exclusively. No mirror box, no optical viewfinder.  The result is an interchangeable lens camera with an 18 x 13.5mm MOS sensor and half the flange back distance (the distance from the lens mount to the senor) of a traditional DSLR.  That translates into a camera body that is 4.8″w x 3.5″h x 1.8″d and weighing less than a pound.

With half the focal distance for a given angle of view compared to a DSLR, a Micro Four Thirds lens has twice the reach of 35mm lenses. In simpler terms, a 25mm Micro Four Thirds lens is equivalent to a 50mm 35mm lens, a 100mm equivalent to a 200mm, so on and so forth. The advantage is obvious – significantly smaller lenses (i.e., 6mm smaller in diameter than a Four Thirds lens).  In addition to size and focal length advantages, a Micro Four Third lens has eleven contact points that translate all the data needed to use Live View, reduce lag time, and increase communication speed between the lens and camera body.

The secret behind all this spy-sized gadgetry is Live View.  Live View makes use of LCD displays, 480,000 pixels of them.  All of the cameras have good sized LCDs (3″+/-) on the back, a couple have built in Electronic View Finders (EVF), while others have detachable EVF’s.  Using the LCD on the back of the camera to compose a photograph is just like using a point and shoot. Using the EVF is like shooting with a video camera. All the camera info is displayed on the screen with Live View.

The MFT cameras by design offer the exposure control features of a DSLR: full manual, aperture or shutter priority and (of course) for the novice or just lazy, an auto pilot mode. All the lenses are auto focus using high-end 24-point systems.  Some models have image stabilization built into the camera others have stabilization in the lens. Either way the systems work exceptionally well.

The talk on the street is not only about the teeny tiny camera bodies and the mini lenses; the fuss is over the image quality.  The Micro Four Thirds cameras with their 12 point-something megapixel MOS sensors can capture up to a 22mb RAW+fine file.  Image quality – in test after test – rivals some of the most praised DSLR’s.  JPEG images are a no-brainer for these mighty tikes. They’ll even do RAW + JPEG.

How about format ratios?  How about four format ratios! 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 6:6!

All the available Micro Four Thirds cameras on the market have an ISO range from 100-3200; unfortunately none of them handle the higher speeds very well and noise occurs at 800+.  That’s why they have a hot shoe and/or a pop-up flash. [Editor's note: The Olympus P-E2 which began shipping at the end of 2009 (approximately $1100 at BHphoto) has improved capabilities up to 6400 ISO (manual), and reduced noise.]

No jury is out on the image quality of the Micro Four Thirds system camera but stills are just the tip of the iceberg.  Full HD 1920 x 1080p video is a nice little feature.  At the moment only the Panasonic DMC-GH1 [approximately $1200 at BHphoto] offers this resolution, most of the others only have 1280 x 720 – which is more than good enough.  Stereo sound? No problem!  External microphone? Got that.  In camera editing? Child’s play! Go ahead, mix in a sound track and you’re on your way to Sundance.

The one bummer about Micro Four Thirds is that there are only two players in the game, right now: Olympus and Panasonic.  The good news is they have produced some awesome cameras, although only six models (three from each manufacturer) are available. Prices range from $500 – $1500 and include a lens, and sometimes a choice of lenses.  Panasonic even has one model in three color options: black, blue, or red. Samsung has very recently introduced their own version of a Micro Four Thirds-like camera, and while it does not follow the open format parameters the features and performance seem to be equal.

My take on Micro Four Thirds? I think I might get one rather than another DSLR body.  My advice is to check them out – go to your favorite camera store, ask to see all the models available, spend forty-five minutes with the sales associate while asking a ton of questions, and then say, “Oh, I’m just looking.” That never happens in camera stores.

Seriously, this format could be a game changer.

Would love to hear comments, thoughts, perhaps one of our readers is lucky enough to own a MFT and would be willing to share a photo or two.

CAMERON McINTYRE is a Los Angeles-based photographer specializing in industrial, technology, architecture and commercial photography.  When Cameron is not photographing machinery, micro chips, or a building he can be found photographing the ocean, the mountains, the desert, and the quite empty spaces that fill the mind.
 http://www.cameronphotographer.com

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Shooting Multiple Perspectives

by Kyle Sparks

Member, Whole 9 Creative Photography Circle

Shooting multiple perspectives is a really good way to create visually different images of the same subject or scene.  To illustrate my point I photographed a wave somewhere in California.

Anybody have a guess as to where it is?

I started off shooting in the water showing the viewer what it looks like to be inside a breaking wave.

Then, after I got the shots that I wanted, I dried off and shot from the beach.  The beach perspective is more of an overall shot of whole location, which is a totally different perspective from the water shots.

A good rule of shooting different perspectives is to shoot an overall, a medium, and a tight detail shot of each subject or scene.  By doing this you will have several more photos to chose from while your editing, and the images when showed together will tell a short story on the subject or scene.

KYLE SPARKS currently lives and thrives in Southern California where he busies himself with a wide variety of editorial and advertising clients. As you might tell from the above photos, Kyle is currently into black and white images. You can see his work at http://www.kylesparks.com or you can follow his “Photo Class” tutorials at http://kylesparks.blogspot.com/

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Nice work! Thanks for the tips

Getting “It” Right For Better Photographs: Printer Profiles

by Chuck Behrman

Member, The Whole 9 Creative Photography Circle

In past articles, we’ve discussed seeing the proper colors on your monitor and how to profile the monitor accuracy.

Our next step will be to learn about “printer profiles” and how to use them.   Printer profiles are how your application (like Photoshop or Lightroom) tells your printer what colors to print.  It’s really not difficult, nor is it as intimidating as it sounds.

When you make a print, you must tell your printer which paper you are printing on.  The printer profile does just that.

All papers made by your printer manufacturer (like Epson or Canon) have these profiles built into their software.  In Photoshop, you simply tell your printer that you are printing on “Premium Glossy,” “Watercolor Fine Art” or other paper, and the printer will do the rest.

But what if you are printing on a paper that was made by another manufacturer?  That’s usually not a problem since most independent paper manufacturers (like Hannemuhle or Legion) will provide paper profiles on their web sites for their various papers.

But now the problem: companies like Epson don’t make profiles for their papers for use on other companies’ printers.  Or, conversely, they don’t make profiles for printing anyone papers on their printers other than their own.  So, if you’re going to print an Epson paper on a Canon printer, you’ll have to make your own custom profile.

Again, this is not difficult – but it is possibly expensive.  To make a paper profile you’ll need a Spectrophotometer such as a  ColorMunki, I-One, or Spyder 3.  These devices can cost anywhere from $350 – $1500. But, they do a great job and can also be used to make profiles for your monitor and projector. There are companies around that will make custom profiles for you for $50 to $100 per profile.

Using a custom profile when you print is very straightforward also.  Next time I’ll talk about the nuances involved when sending your image to your printer.

You can add your comments and questions below.  I’ll be happy to answer them.  The idea is to just enjoy and learn.

CHUCK BEHRMAN, a Los Angeles based advertising and fine art photographer, has been holding workshops in digital photography, Photoshop and Lightroom in the Los Angeles and Central Coast areas since 2004. You can see his images and learn about all his services at http://www.chbphoto.com.  Chuck has created a number of video tutorial CDs covering this topic in detail as well as many other Photoshop & Lightroom subjects.