Monday, May 24, 2010

Natural Lighting Portraiture Workshop

So this weekend (May 23, 2010), I ran a Natural Lighting Portraiture workshop, for both TriCity Photography Club, and the Clear Focus Club; and while the weather looked grim first thing in the morning, the skies brightened up and the sun actually came out to play for us too.

There was a few brave souls that did attend, but the ones that did, I think had a great time. We had to run under cover a couple times for a spot of rain, but that was no more than 2 minutes at a time, and just a light rain. I hope everyone did learn something from it, I did hear the occasional "Oh, look at that" as they looked on the back of their cameras, so I think the attendees did learn. I want to thank Brennan and Scott for their help with the workshop. And to thank Toni & Valerie for modeling for us.

And a special thanks to Wayne (my former manager and now counterpart at Kerrisdale Cameras) from the Coquitlam Store for coming out to observe and help out where he could. Proof that bigger is not always better This image was taken on a Olympus E-P1 (the Micro 4/3 system), with a Leica M to M4/3 mount, to have a Leica-M 90mm F4 Elmar lens (as can be seen HERE). For those of you that have ever used a Leica before, know what amazing qualities their lenses have. Leica has the ability to give the out of focus background a dreamy blur; to make the subject pop in the image. So this is proof that bigger is not always better...

That said, the images I took on the Nikon D700 did just blow me away, and I will post some of those to the Flickr group as soon as I get them edited at home. Well, I am off back to Victoria, so I hope everyone had fun, and please for those that did attend, put all your images on a CD/DVD, get them to the Kerrisdale Cameras Coquitlam store, and they will forward them off to me so I can get the images to the two lovely models.

But BIGGER is really frakin' awesome

Until then, continue the good shooting Cheers JR

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Thanks that was Fun

Just a song that I thought was fitting.
Thank you everyone, for the last few years, I leave you in the capable hands of Grant, who has agreed to take on the presidency for the remaining part of the year, and Alana, who will remain as the VP.

Barenaked Ladies Thanks That Was Fun (Video Version)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Why I teach

I got thinking a few days ago, on one of my long trips home while working at the Olympics, about what I have written here, and I put this on my phone during the wee hours of the morning waiting for the last bus of the night to pick me up at Braid Station.

In the last 6 years, I have gone from a fairly serious advanced amateur, to just shy of a fully working professional photographer. And what have I done over that time, that I haven't done in the 6 years previous, or in the 10 years before that? Yes, I've photographed a lot of Weddings, some Portraits; many for free or really inexpensive, just to get the experience... and I have improved, so much over that time.

But is it all in the experience alone?

I read lots, lots of photography magazines and books... other photographer's blogs... just ask my girlfriend, I'm always reading blogs or on Flickr/Model Mayhem.

I live, breathe and eat photography. I'm not joking with that either... ask around, you'll find that it's true.

But still, as many people will point out, being book smart on one topic alone, will not make you an expert on it. You know the technical, but lack the real world experience.

So where have I gotten that real world experience?

I really have to say, it's from teaching everyone... I've been a part time employee of Kerrisdale Cameras Ltd this whole time (and before that Photo Express, and before that Broadway Cameras). And I truly think it's been because of people like the club members, and other customers, that come up to us, and ask us the hard questions. I've been forced to learn things about photography, that I had no clue to how to go about in doing; because someone asked me how to do it.

There's always been the people that just need the basics, but there have always been people that need something more, something special, something out of my knowledge base.

There was once a time, where I was all about natural lighting portrait, and that using flash was a horrible thought... now look at me, I'm working my way up to be like Joe (Numbnuts) McNally, and living in the comfort zone of flash photography.

But someone a long time ago, asked me how to do some flash photography, and being so customer supportive, I looked it up, learned and helped people out. And now, I don't go anywhere without carrying at least 2 flashes with me.

So I just wanted thank you all, for asking me the questions, that has made me drive myself to be at this point in my life. Without all of you, my fellow club members, the loyal customers and the random people I end up teaching photography to; I would have never had a reason to look up, learn and expand myself.

If it wasn't for all of you, I'd still likely be shooting B&W Film only, using a fully mechanical camera and being a great technically correct photographer, without the feel to the images I have today.

Also, I should thank Kerrisdale Cameras and all my coworkers, for putting up with me, all these years; I wouldn't be here without them either.

Because it's really been the last 6 years that I have really grown, by leaps and bounds.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Vancouver 12x12 and a couple other things

Ok, so a couple of things before I bugger off for the 2010 Winter Olympics, as we discussed at the last meeting, Brennan has been working on the website, and it is now up and running, well, the basics of the site are running. You can view it HERE!

And I think I speak for all of us, when I give a big thank you to Brennan who has put quite a bit of effort into the creation of this website.
As you can see by the image, the Vancouver 12x12 results are in, and this is Tyler's winning image of the theme 'Blank'. You can view all the entries for the 2009 12x12 HERE.

Or you can just view all of Tyler's entries HERE.

So this blog will be quiet for the next 9 weeks or so, as I am working for the Olympics, but I hope all of you get some great shooting in while I am away, I know I will be carrying a camera with me.

John R.
TCPC President

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Too funny not to share

HOLY HISTOGRAMS, it's a video from Joe McNally....

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Resurgence of the Rangefinder

Anyone that has been doing photography for any amount of time, know at least something about Rangefinders... even if it is only that they are super high quality, and that they tend to be expensive.

Rangefinders are small, light and compact and great for travel and photojournalists, its been a favoured camera of National Geographic for many years, as well and Time, and many others. And in the far past, the Rangefinder was the start of 35mm sized format, in one of the old Leica's, to which the particular model eludes me. But Canon, Nikon, Contax, Minolta and Voigtländer all had their versions, and all were the ones you went with for quality... but everyone and their dog had a Rangefinder style camera at one point.

(If you want to know more about any of the older style cameras, I recommend that you go to Camera Quest, they have a lot of info on the Voigtländer, but also almost any of the others.)

And up until recently, only Leica and Voigtländer were still in the Rangefinder game... the latter being the one if you wanted lower cost but high quality, and the former is if you had far too much money in your pocket... but quality beyond anything you could ever dream of.

A couple of years ago, with the Canon G7, they started to bring back the look of the old Rangefinder look, but it still had the small sensor of the compact style camera. Also at about this time Panasonic, brought out their LX1/LX2/LX3, also much more reminiscent of the Rangefinder styling; albeit again, the smaller sensor. Sigma brought out their DP1 with a full APS-C sized Foveon sensor, but gave it a fixed lens 28mm ; great for some things, not for others; the DP2 is their latest incarnation of that series.

Early this year, Olympus shook the world with a Micro 4/3 rangefinder style camera, the EP-1 Digital PEN, meant to be reminiscent of their old PEN-F, so while not as big of a sensor as 35mm, it is still a much bigger sensor than any of the high end compacts. Small, light, interchangeable lenses and comes kit'ed with a fast 17mm F2.8, and with the right adapter, will take almost any lens you can think of; Leica M series, Olympus 4/3'rd or OM, Canon FD, Nikon F... You name it, they likely make a adapter for it, or will in short order.

Shortly after that, Panasonic announced the GF1, which is a direct match for the EP-1. Again, a nice interchangeable lens with the Micro 4/3'rd mount, a super fast 20mm F1.7 kit lens, that is as sharp as anything. And according to DP Review, is the must have lens for any one wanting either the EP1 or the GF1.

Both also have HD Video built in to them, so once I get mine, do expect some high quality videos out of me; and also have a great line up of lenses to start out with, with more slated to come out in the time to come.

Leica has also brought out their latest in their M-Series with the M9, which is a 24mm x 36mm sized sensor, and their X1 which is a APS-C sized fix 24mm lens. Both are not for the faint of heart for price, but both will give you top quality in lenses and construction.

Bang for your buck, anyone looking to get a Rangefinder style camera in the digital world, then take a hard look at either the GF1 or the EP1, I was lent one by Panasonic for a weekend just a week ago, and I feel in love with it. It was refreshing to have to work at my composition, being that I only had on the fixed 20mm F1.7 (40mm equivalence in 35mm speak), but the shallow depth of field was stunning how crisp it is, and how it makes the subject pop.

This is just how I am ordering mine

Again, this Panasonic GF1 can been seen at Kerrisdale Cameras and many other fine photographic retailers. At the moment, the few places to see the Olympus EP1 seems to be restriced to Lens & Shutter, but that I hear is coming to an end soon, and it will be released to other dealers shortly.

We'll see you all on the outing this Saturday, Oct 24th at the pumpkin patch in Maple Ridge, and at our meeting on Oct 26th after that, until then, good shooting

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Protecting your memory

And no... I am not talking about keeping your mind sharp, by playing games on your iPhone or Nintendo DS.

I'm talking about the memory cards for your camera. Believe it or not, those little cards are not as durable as we would like; and they require some care when storing more than one card in your bag. (Albeit, there was this one time I did send one of my CF card's in it's little carry case that it came with, through the wash in the pocket of my pants, and I was able to download the photos that were on it... of course the card never worked again after that...)

And while a number of the high end cards such as the Lexar Professional and SanDisk Extreme do come with a little card case for that card, not all the cards we buy do come with a hard carry case.

So if you want to protect your cards, and use CompactFlash, SD/MMC/SDHC, XD (Olympus), or MemoryStick (Sony) style cards, any and all of these will fit in the Gepe Extreme Card Safe...

Some of you will have seen me with the ones that I use, and there was a few questions about my card carry case after I posted the video on my bag. I have been using these little hard cases for about 3 years now, and I love how easy they are, and how indestructible they are.

When I went to a training night some time ago, when the distributor was announcing these, and to show how durable they really are, he took a few photos of us arriving, put in into a Gepe Extreme Card Safe, parked his Ford F250 on top of it, left it there for dinner, moved the truck, picked up the case, popped the card in the laptop, and displayed the photos of us arriving.

Right from there, I was sold... I ordered 2 that day; and have been using them ever since.

They are drop proof, water proof, dust proof and crush proof (within reason of course), and I have put both of mine through Hell and back again. They still look great, they still work great; and best of all, they keep my cards organized, and safe.

And for this piece of mind for keeping your cards safe and secure, all it costs you is $29.99 at Kerrisdale Cameras, or many other photographic retailers. Lowepro, Pelican and a couple others have brought out their own versions of these too; but the Gepe was the first on to the block; and in my opinion, still the best looking.


Also a reminder, that the regularly scheduled meeting of Oct 12, 2009, will be canceled due to the holiday, our next meeting will be on Oct 26, 2009, and Dave will be presenting to us on Composition.

Until then, good shooting.