Thursday, February 24, 2011

Canon 200mm f2.8

Just advised one of my students who asked whether to buy the Canon 70-200mm f4 or 70-300mm f4-5.6. I suggested spending less than the 70-200mm, as I figure most people want the lens for its telephoto, and getting a 200mm f2.8 and moving up to the world of 2.8 optics. Have to wait on his decision.............

Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM Lens with Case

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Canon 550D

A student from my evening course digital SLR photography for beginners snapped up a Canon 550D + 60mm Macro lens for her daughter today. The lucky lass was also given a tripod as mum bought herself a Manfrotto 190XPROB and Giottos ball and socket head. Sometimes I wish I got commission for the business I attract from people who take my leisure courses.

50mm f1.8 Nikon

A bargain Nikon AF 50mm f1.8 pre AFD but very nicely made with metal rear mount spotted for £59.00 on see screen shot below:

Monday, February 21, 2011

My daytime employer has got a new look website as per the screenshot below:

Canon 600D



  • 18-megapixel CMOS sensor
  • Scene Intelligent Auto mode
  • Full-HD EOS Movie
  • On-screen Feature Guide
  • 3.7fps continuous shooting
  • Wide-area 9-point AF
  • 1,040k-dot vari-angle 7.7cm (3.0”) screen
  • Basic+ and Creative Filters
  • Built-in wireless flash control
Built-in wireless flash control is a nice feature in a bottom of the range camera as is a swivelling screen.

Kodak Portra 160

Kodak Portra 160
Kodak is to streamline its current Portra 160NC and 160VC emulsions into one Portra 160. There is nothing yet on the Kodak website but the news was announced on the British Journal of Photography website today.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Setting Up Adobe Photoshop Elements

I am about to start running an Adobe Photoshop Elements Course at Borders College so decided to post some handouts on the blog.

Setting up Adobe Photoshop Elements so that it gives you best performance:

When you first load an Adobe Photoshop program on your computer it is a good idea to go into the “Editor” screen and set up the Preferences. Once you have done this you will experience the best performance possible from the software on your Computer.

To Set preferences go to Edit (on the top level menu  in Editor) > Preferences is the last
choice in the drop down menu. Select it and choose General in the next drop down menu.
There is a Keyboard shortcut which is “Ctrl+k”

In Performance I suggest using at least 80% of the available RAM and as the program suggests set a scratch disk as a hard disk with a large amount of freespace.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Short Duration Flash - A Practical Application in Sport

My regular readers will remember the notes on this photograph, a few things came together.
As I arrived at the pool sunlight was burning through the window behind the lanes of swimmers, creating great out of focus highlights (bokeh). The sunlight also helped to highlight the water streaming off her arm and disguises the fact that I used flash.
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I'd recently started at the Sevenoaks Chronicle(1996) and they'd given me a kit which included an Nikon F90 camera and SB26 flash - I'd wanted to get my hands on kit like this since reading about in magazines three years previously.
The flash allowed the photographer to get synchronisation at speeds faster than the usual sync speed of 1/250th, Nikon call it AutoFP. This has another effect it cuts down duration and distance over which it will fire. It is the short duration of the flash which has frozen the water pouring off Laura Tingley's arm. 1/500th would not have frozen it in midair.
I used manual focus and prefocused at a point in the water, (I didn't really trust AF), the settings were ISO 800 film, 1/500th sec f2.8 + flash. It was slightly overexposed on the colour neg. I only had about 10 minutes as it was part of a triathlon and I had other parts of the event to photograph.
On camera flash is essential for pictures such as this, in a live event it would be impractical to use a large device and powerpack.

Microflash Pro

Highspeed is an English Company making specialised flash units, before you get too excited at the short flash duration look at the bottom line £1800 + 20% vat.

You might also find it interesting to read "The Need For Speed" in the latest issue of NikonPro magazine. It is about Danish photographer Caspar Tybjerg who uses three SB900s switched down to a 1/128th output to obtain a duration of 1/38000 sec, he also uses a Mumford Time Machine for sound triggering.

Each microFLASH pro unit measures approximately 300mm x 250mm x 100mm and has a tripod mounting on the base for both 1/4" and 3/8" threads.
The output window measures 80mm x 180mm and is made from Polycarbonate to provide excellent optical transmission and high strength.
The rear panel has lights to show 'Charging' and 'Charged' and has a 'Fire' button as well as 'Power' and 'Trigger' input sockets.

The Xenon lamp is made from pure Quartz and is surrounded by a filter glass tube to block any output below 382nm. They therefore produce a broadband white output with no danger from UV. This lamp is housed in a mirror-polished Stainless Steel parabolic reflector ensuring maximum efficiency of the light reflectance and a minimal divergance of the light output.

Photographic parameters:

µFLASH pro
150 Joule energy – f#32, 2 metres, ISO100

Flash duration:
microFLASH pro - 35µs – 1/28,000 second

Each pack includes:
Flash unit
Battery Pack
2m (6ft) interconnecting lead
12V Battery charger

Price: £1800 + VAT

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Not Long till The cycling Season

A Time Triallist warming up at the Peebles Cycling Club Open 10 miles in 2009. Taken on a Nikon D3X fresh out of the box that night, beforethe night was out it had been for a slide down the tarmac but survived virtually unscathed!
ISO 400, 1/15th f16

Flash and The Social Photographer