Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals for Photographers


screenshot of Adobe Black Friday ad

I haven’t seen too many Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals of interest for photographers recently. So on this Thanksgiving-eve, I thought I’d pass along a couple of items.

First up, I got an email from Adobe offering deals on its software titles until November 29. I’m always a little skeptical because I can usually find better prices on Amazon; but this is actually a good one. You can buy the full version of Photoshop CS5 for $549. The best price I found on Amazon was $610. Lightroom 3 is $199 which is about 3-dollars less than the price on Amazon. The fine print says you have to click the “buy” button and the discount will be applied when you add it to your cart. Click the image above for the link.

This may not be breaking news, but did you know you can subscribe to Adobe titles instead of paying the full price? In the screen where you select the version, platform etc.; click the drop down menu for “version” and select “subscription”. For Photoshop CS5, for example, you can pay $49 every month or $35 a month with a yearly plan. Excluding the deal mentioned above, it could save you money over buying the full version; not to mention having to pay the upgrade price when a new version comes out.

Speaking of which, Scott Kelby recently wrote Adobe a letter regarding their upgrade policy. You can read it over at his blog.

That leads me to the next Cyber Monday deal: UPDATE 11/29/11: The following offer from NAPP and Kelby Training have been extended through Tuesday.

NAPP Black Friday Deals

The folks over at NAPP and KelbyTraining.com are offering some pretty sweet deals on Monday. NOTE: I did read on Facebook that these deals are active now, so you don’t have to wait; but I haven’t tested it myself. Some of the deals include 6-months added to your NAPP subscription, $50 off one year of KelbyTraining or get one year of both NAPP and KelbyTraining for $199. If you’ve never heard of it, KelbyTraining is a great educational resource with online courses covering photography and software training. I credit it with teaching me Photoshop. Check out NAPP, if for nothing else, the discounts they offer on products and services photographers use. The discounts I got from Adobe and Apple  more than paid for my membership fee.

That’s it for now. If you see any deals out there, let me know. Until then, Happy Thanksgiving and happy shopping!

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Nikon, Sony, Scott Kelby Launch New Products


Nikon P7100

Ok, so if you read yesterday’s blog, you know Nikon and Scott Kelby planned big announcements a day after Canon announced new point and shoots. I really wonder if the Nikon and Canon PR people hang out; you know, maybe have lunch or meet for drinks. It would go something like this:

Nikon: Hey, when are you announcing those point-and-shoots?

Canon: August 23rd. Why?

Nikon: Oh, shoot, we’re rolling out new point-and-shoots too.

Canon: Well, should we flip a coin to see who goes first?

Nikon: Nah, you go first. We’ll just announce ours the very next day!

Canon: Well that’s jolly good of you…. OMG, look who just walked in! It’s Sony.

Nikon: Pfft. Don’t make eye contact.

Canon: Crap, they totally see us. They’re coming this way. Act natural.

Yes, despite fever-pitch speculation about a new DSLR, Nikon updated it’s P7000 with the P7100 as well other Coolpix point-and-shoots. Read more about it here:

Nikon Rumors

PDN Online

Not to be left out of the party, Sony refreshed it’s DSLR line, introducing four new Alphas including one which it calls the “fastest continuous autofocus” with 12 frames per second at 24 megapixels.

Sony Alpha 77

 

Lastly, Scott Kelby let the cat of of the bag on his big news. I read yesterday that the announcement would not be Nikon related and “rdavisphoto” commented on my blog yesterday telling us to get our IPads ready. It turns out, Kelby is launching a new magazine designed for the IPad aimed at teaching photographers about lighting. Check out the video:

 

So there you have it. Those are the big announcements. Now we can all go back to grinding our teeth until Canon or Nikon update its DSLRs. There are still a few months left in the year and the latest rumor is to expect a Canon 5D MKIII in October.

Damn, here comes Olympus…pretend you don’t see them!

New Canon Products Overshadowed by Nikon Anticipation


Canon announced new products, including three point-and-shoots, an external flash for point and shoots and a few printers. You can read more about the new products at the following links:

Canon Rumors

PDN Online

DPReview

But Canon’s thunder might be stolen tomorrow. Nikonians have been abuzz for weeks about an announcement expected tomorrow. It’s the same day that Joe McNally (re)launches his “Faces of Ground Zero” display. McNally is of course a well known Nikon shooter and Nikon is a sponsor of the display. It’s also the same day that Scott Kelby is announcing something new. My feeling is that it can’t all be coincidence and that all three events are related.

[UPDATE: If you clicked on the link to Nikon Rumors, you saw that the new Nikon products are also point-and-shoots. Most people have been expecting an update to the D700 or even a new D4. We shall see.]

Stay tuned…

Free Photography Education


I wrote a blog last May about Photography Education and Inspiration. In it, I point readers to web sites where they learn about photography. Another great resource is Webinars and Webcasts. Top industry professionals and merchants often give hour-long classes on various topics. Often, if you can’t watch it live, you can go back and watch a recording. The following is a list of resources in no particular order.

1.) Creative Live. This Seattle-based group offers workshops that span 8-hours over three days (usually Fri-Sun) on topics such as; wedding photography, studio lighting and children’s photography. They get top-notch pros like Jasmine Star and Zack Arias to teach the workshop live. You can register and watch it for free or pre-purchase the entire show before the workshop ends at a discounted price. Once the workshop is over, you’ll have to pay more for the download. There’s a workshop starting tomorrow with Vincent LaForet for photographers looking to move into shooting video with their DSLRs.

2.)Peachpit Photo Club. The publisher of many photography books also hosts live webcasts with the likes of: Canon Speedliter, Syl Area; wedding photographer David Ziser and Photoshop Gurus, Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski. You can watch past webcasts on the site or register for upcoming shows.

3.)OnOne University. OnOne makes Photoshop plug-ins so, yes, their webinars are a little biased toward their products. But you can still learn from top photographers and see their editing workflows. Check out this link for a calendar of upcoming classes.

4.) X-Rite Photo. This is another merchant that is pushing its product while spreading some knowledge. There’s a webinar scheduled for today, in fact, about getting started in Lightroom.

5.) Friday Photo School. Every Friday there’s a new class on topics such as off-camera flash, posing and portrait lighting. They do offer the occasional free episode and you can download them from the archive. Most of the classes, however, cost $10 to watch or $15 to download later. Be sure to check out the library for the free ones.

In past blogs, I’ve already mentioned Kelby TV, which is the central location for shows such as: Lightroom Killer Tips, Photoshop User TV, Ask Dave and D-Town TV. On Monday, Scott Kelby is launching a new live show at 12:30 EST called “The Grid”.  It’ll be available to watch later if you can’t make the live broadcast.

So there you have it. It’s like going to photography school without the tuition! Yes, it requires a time commitment, but if you want to be a better photographer, what better way to do it than to spend some time with the pros offering a free education?

Most Important Camera of 2010 and More in Photo News Round-Up


– If you have 14-minutes and 43-seconds, then you must watch this video of two of my mentors; Scott Kelby and Joe McNally talking to each other about photography.

– Wired named The 10 Most Significant Gadgets of 2010 and there’s a point-and-shoot camera on the list!

– I spotted this very cool item on the PetaPixel site:

Speaker that looks like a DSLR

Camera Speaker from gadget4all.com

It’s a speaker that looks like a life-sized Canon DSLR with a 24-105mm L lens. You’ll notice it says “Caoon” instead of “Canon”.  It can play audio files from a USB, SD card or from a device plugged in to the included 3.5 audio cable.  It sells for $82.99.  Click the image to go to the site.

– Finally, my new Web site is live! Check it out at:  http://www.harrylimphotography.com

Photographing a Rainbow in Orlando


What is it about rainbows? This guy went nuts over one:

I’ve blogged about it before.  Maybe it’s the challenge of actually capturing the vibrant colors AND creating an image that will move people. If you clicked the previous link, you saw my attempt. The story behind that is here. I only ever seem to see a rainbow when I’m in a car and that time I just happened to have a camera with me.  Usually,  you have to stop what you’re doing and race to get your camera before the fleeting moment disappears.

That’s what happened last week to Reg Garner when an awesome rainbow appeared over downtown Orlando.

Rainbow over Downtown Orlando

Reg Garner

I was at my desk in downtown Orlando when the receptionist called and said “you must to come up front right now”. When I asked why, she said, “you HAVE to see this rainbow and take a picture”. Well, I’ve seen a lot of rainbows and truthfully was not all that interested but to appease her decided to she what all the fuss was about.

To my amazement, there was an incredible rainbow that seemed to span the whole city with both ends in full view. I scurried to get my camera gear as a cloud moved in and it to totally disappeared in front of my eyes.

Disappointedly, I went back to my windowless office and about 10 minutes later another employee, that knows I take a lot of pictures, came to tell me that it was BACK! This time I had my camera ready and quickly had him drive me a few blocks away to get a better vantage point.

I walked up and down Anderson Street in the rain trying to keep the rain drops off the lens. I knew from the first “click” that I had an amazing photo. I almost always have my camera with me and convinced that 80% of getting a good photo is just being there (with a camera). 

Like they say, always have a camera with you! Anyone traveling on I-4 at the time saw it and more than a few people took pictures from wherever they were. The Orlando Sentinel asked for submissions. Reg, a recent president of the Orlando Camera Club, posted his pictures of the rainbow on Facebook. I saw them and let him know the Sentinel was looking for submissions. I felt his images were far superior, not only because of the contrast and saturation…but it was the composition.

Rainbow over downtown Orlando

Reg Garner

If you look at the other images on the Sentinel gallery, most of them lack that “wow” factor. Sure they captured the rainbow, but it doesn’t leave a mark. It doesn’t tell a story. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, Scott Kelby’s advice to getting a really good rainbow  is to shoot it in relation to something. In other words, compose it so that it’s not just about the rainbow, but the context of the surroundings. Reg could’ve taken the shot from the office window as someone else did, but instead, he hopped in a car to chase it down and frame it..compose it…you know, really make a picture.

Rainbow over Downtown Orlando

Reg Garner

In case you think Reg is just lucky, one of his rainbow images is hanging in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.

Rainbow over windfarm

Reg Garner

Now that’s golden!

On a different note, if you’d like to add a little color to your photography, check out the limited edition Pentax-Kr.

Pentax K-r

Pentax K-r

Pentax is making 100 of the cameras and selling them with a 35mm f/2.4 for about $1200 beginning December 24th.

It won’t help you take better rainbow pictures, but it might add a little color to your photography!

Photography Education and Inspiration


You don’t have to go to school to be a photographer, but you do have to educate yourself. This involves more than just going out and shooting. If you go on one hundred shoots and don’t learn anything, then you’re just running in circles. So in this post, I hope to share with you the sources I turn to for education and inspiration. When I wrote about my top blogs to follow, I was hoping you would find some blogs to follow yourself. So in this post I’m sharing the main sources I turn to to learn about photography.

1.) Scott Kelby. If you’ve never heard of him, Scott Kelby is the president of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals and a best selling author of photoshop and photography books. He tours the country giving photoshop seminars and publishes a blog which I follow every single day. He also heads up KelbyTV; the central location for episodes of Photoshop User TV, D-Town TV and more…and it’s all FREE. D-Town TV  just launched it’s third season. I highly recommend going back to watch the first two. The first season was Nikon-centric, but the principles and tips are universal. The weekly online show talks about gear, how to use it and great tips.
  But wait, there’s more. KelbyTraining.com is where I learned photoshop.  It’s a subscription service; $24.99 per month or $199 per year. The first three lessons of each course are free. If you look at the list of courses, not only is it comprehensive, but they are taught by the best known names in their fields.
  I mentioned Kelby is a best-selling author; for photography check out his Digital Photography books. There are three volumes. It’s great for beginners, but even more experienced shooters can pick up some helpful time-saving tips.

2.) David Hobby. He is better known for his blog Strobist.com. If you want to learn about off-camera flash, this is the place to go. Start with Lighting 101; watch the 8-minute video and continue reading the series.

3.) Joe McNally. When it comes to using off-camera flash, Joe is a master. He’s shot for Time, Life, Sports Illustrated and National Geographic. Whether it’s one flash or four, his approach is simple, but the results are amazing. Joe’s coming to Orlando this weekend and I am psyched to see him in person. Joe is also a good writer and his blog is always insightful and entertaining.
  His first book, “The Moment it Clicks,” is more inspirational than educational. His second book, “The Hot Shoe Diaries,” is more educational, though Nikon-centric. I liked how the chapters were divided up by how many flashes he uses. So Chapter 2 shows you what you can do with just one flash. Chapter 3 progresses with two or more flashes etc.
 

Those are my top three heavy-hitters. But I consume photography information everyday; from blogs, articles and even twitter links. Go back and check out my top blogs on AllTop. I scan those everyday the way someone would scan a newspaper. If routinely read at least 10 articles from those blogs, provided there is new content. 

This is a list, for example, of the articles on one site I visit: Virtual Photography Studio. As you can see, the articles about building a photography business are extensive…and that’s just one site!

If you’re interested in wedding photography, check out David Ziser’s Digital Pro Talk blog. David is a renowned wedding photographer and his blog features techniques and business tips.

The Still Image with Crash Taylor is an awesome site for inspiration. It features one or two photographs from a photographer who explains what equipment they used, the creative process and post processing.

I subscribe via email to the Digital Photography School. It is packed with quick-read articles on photography, gear and post-processing.

I’m sure I’m leaving something out, so I’ll be sure to update this post as I come across other useful resources.

-Harry