Get Schooled in Lighting

In my last post, I mentioned Joe McNally and David Hobby (the grand masters of off-camera flash) are going a cross-country tour called the Flash Bus.

Now they both announced new instructional DVDs. Above is the promo video for the McNally DVD called “The Language of Light”.  No word on pricing yet; his blog talks about the Flash Bus and promises a link to Adorama to get the DVD.

[UPDATE: The link for Adorama lists the price for $159.95, the same price for Hobby’s set]

Over on the Strobist site, David Hobby goes into more detail on his “Lighting in Layers” DVD. It’s a 6-disc, 9-hour DVD covering six shoots (plus a bonus CD-ROM) for $159.95. For beginners, Hobby recommends the “Strobist Lighting Seminar“, but that’s getting updated soon so you might want to hold off.

If you want to learn about small flash and off-camera flash, these are the guys to learn it from and now there are more ways to access their wealth of knowledge.


5D MKIII Rumors and More in Photo News Round-Up

Canon 5D MKII

[NOTE: If you came to this blog post looking for information on the 5D MKIII, this post was written in Jan. 2011. The latest news is that Canon may announce the MKIII on March 2, 2012. Check the Canon Rumors site linked below for the latest.]

If you follow the Canon Rumors site, then you know there’s been lots of buzz about the replacement for the 5D MKII. The rumors vary on release dates, even naming convention and a possible 28MP sensor.

Well, PC World just stirred the pot a bit by listing its most anticipated cameras of 2011. Among them is the 5D MKIII. Here’s the juicy part:

It may offer a 24 Megapixel sensor and dual DIGIC 4 processors. The 3-inch display may be an articulated LCD screen with 1.04 million dots. What is more, it may be touch sensitive, making it the first full-frame camera with such technology.

The article says to expect it before the end of June. We shall see. It also says it could be called the 6D and I disagree with that. The lower the number the higher the class; hence the 7D is not as advanced as the 1D series but it is more advanced, than say, the 60D. So to call it the 6D would imply that it’s not as good as the 5D MKII. Why would Canon update the MKII and not make it significantly better? I would say it might be called the Mark III or the 4D.

Also on the list is a Panasonic Lumix which makes a perfect segue into a bit of news I spotted on the PetaPixel site. The company just announced four new Lumix compact cameras. Hit the link for the details.

Lastly, Joe McNally and David Hobby (Strobist) are going on tour! No, it’s not a rock concert, but no two people rock more when it comes to off-camera flash. It’s called the Flash Bus Tour and it might be coming to a city near you. If  you want to learn hot-shoe and off camera flash, you must go. Just don’t throw your panties on stage…Just sayin’.

Nikon News Items

Nikon P7000

I’ve got a slew of various Nikon-related news items for you today.

  • First up, Nikon seems to have discontinued its SB-600 flash. This link takes you to the SB-700 at B&H with a note about the discontinued product.
  • In other Nikon news, the price of the P7000 dropped to about $379. This undercuts the Canon G12. In case you don’t know, those models are like a hybrid between a point-and-shoot and a DSLR. They don’t have interchangeable lenses and are smaller than DSLRs; but they have many of the same shooting features and even a hot shoe to mount a flash.

In a comparison at, The Canon G12 and S95 edge out the P7000; but it really depends on the features you’re looking for and the price difference might lead some to choose the Nikon.

  • Ever wanted to see what’s inside your Nikon camera? Ok, probably not ’cause that would mean breaking it open! But check out these images.  It appears to be from a foreign Web site and the captions on some of the pictures note different camera models.
  • If you’re into rumors here are two items of interest. First, Nikon could announce as early as February a new Coolpix camera. It’s thought to be the P500 with an extra wheel for faster zooming, a 36x zoom and a 12MP sensor designed for low-light photography made by Sony.

Another Nikon camera with a Sony sensor could be a mirrorless camera announced in April. This camera will reportedly target pro users.

Twilight Photography

Baldwin Park Waterfront

I love shooting at twilight. I especially love taking long exposures at twilight. The trick is knowing when to shoot; the window closes very quickly.

Go to Google and type in “sunset times for [insert your city]”. You might have to select an option that shows you “Civil, Nautical and Astronomical” twilight times. Each period of twilight has a scientific explanation depending on how many degrees below the horizon the sun is. You should also note that twilight happens in the morning and the evening; but I like to sleep so I’m going to stick to evening times.

In Orlando, for January 17th, the sun sets at 5:52pm. Civil twilight comes first and “ends” at 6:18pm. I say “ends” because it started in the morning at 6:53am (but my alarm went off 8 minutes ago so screw it). This means that from 5:52pm to 6:18pm you get those nice golden sunset colors. Colors will change quickly as the amount of light falls off.

Nautical twilight ends at 6:47pm. This is my favorite time to shoot.

Winne Palmer Hospital

From 6:18 to 6:47, you’d get these deep blue colors in the sky. This is a good time to play around with white balance. Try tungsten for more dramatic skies. If you’re shooting buildings, pay attention to what kind of lights they might be using. Most office or commercial buildings might be using flourescent lights; residential will have tungsten.

A two story house with Christmas lights

Of course with such low light, you’re going to need a tripod; which goes without saying for the long exposure stuff. I usually shoot at f/22 to get the “star” effect from the lights which means really slow shutter speeds. A cable release is also helpful.

The last phase of twilight is called “astronomical“. On this day it ends at 7:15pm. So from 6:47pm to 7:15pm, you’ll get much darker skies. Personally, I find the effect I’m looking for is lost by this time. After 7:15pm would officially be nightfall and too dark to shoot anything with an interesting sky.

So you can see that each phase of twilight lasts for about a half-hour. This varies based on where in the world you live and what time of year it is.

Oh, remember I said I didn’t like to catch the morning twilight? Well, I had to once. This last image was taken just after 6am.

If you happen to be an early riser, just keep in mind that the phases happen in reverse to what I just described. Astronomical twilight would happen first, then nautical, then civil (the orange colors of the sunrise).

Most photographers are focused on shooting sunsets, or portraits taken at sunset. But don’t overlook the opportunities that exists after the sun goes down..and the vampires come out! Get it? Twilight. Sigh. Sorry.

Canon Lens Prices, Cheap P&S Cameras and A Must See Short Film

Sony W510 Camera
A month or so ago I read an article that asked whether point-and-shoot cameras were going the way of the 8-track; some obsolete technology replaced by something better. That “something” is smartphones. Everyone, it seems, has one and the phones feature cameras. So not only do people always have cameras on them, but with apps they can alter and edit the photos.

Well, it looks like camera companies are responding by slashing prices. Check out this article which states some cameras with more features are selling for less than $100.

What do you think?  Less demand means lower prices. Is this a last gasp?

Speaking of prices, a fellow photographer posted this interesting tidbit on Facebook. If true, it looks like Canon will be increasing the prices on their lenses come February 1. Honestly, the lenses I want are so expensive, a few extra bucks doesn’t make that much of a difference! Sad, huh?

In other news…I started reading the PetaPixel blog last fall and in December I was added as a contributing writer. Well on my twitter feed yesterday I saw something from Westcott Co. linking to a short film posted on the PetaPixel blog. So I check it out and it was from June of last year, but it was new to me.

It’s a short film called “Leave Me” by Daros Films. It centers around a broken Canon DSLR and a husband trying to reconnect with his wife. It is powerful, moving and very creative…

Nikon Rebates and 128GB SD Card in Photo News Round-Up

Just a couple of items today…

First, Nikon is extending their instant rebates on select camera/lens combos through January 29th. So if Santa didn’t bring you that toy you wanted, you can still pick it up yourself.

Link to the B&H site is HERE.

Lastly, Lexar announced the first 128GB extended capacity memory card.

Lexar Memory Card

The maximum data transfer speed is 20MB and will sell for the low, low price of $699! Why do you need that much memory? Well, with today’s DSLRs capable of shooting full HD video, you’ll want to capture more than a few seconds.

My Blog: 2010 in review

I would like to thank everyone who took the time to visit my blog in 2010. I started the blog in October of 2009 not really knowing what I wanted to do with it or where I would take it.  By August of 2010 I had grown a little discouraged by the number of visits and realized I had no one to blame but myself. So I took up the cause and with a renewed energy started writing more frequently. It paid off with month over month increases in traffic. I ended December with 698 views. It may not seem like much, but it means a lot to me. Below are some stats WordPress compiled. Again thank you and I hope you’ll continue visiting in 2011.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,800 times in 2010. That’s about 7 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 55 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 63 posts. There were 79 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 36mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was December 6th with 45 views. The most popular post that day was Photographing a Rainbow in Orlando.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for camera straps for women, best photography watermarks, cheerleading photography, funky camera bags, and camera strap.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Photographing a Rainbow in Orlando December 2010


Gift Ideas for Photographers November 2010


Camera Bags and Straps for Women November 2010
1 comment


Ironclad Protection For Your Images At Rock Bottom Prices! March 2010


Photography Education and Inspiration May 2010
1 comment