Tuesday, October 13, 2009

White Balance

Shooting digital creates its unique set of challenges. White balance is one of the ever-present challenges that is good to keep in mind when shooting. There are a few really great tools to aid a photographer in setting a customer white balance. First it is important to know when to use a customer white balance.
A good recommendation is to use a customer white balance whenever there is mixed lighting. In other words, when your are using a pop-up flash, sunlight from a near by window, and over head fluorescents to light your subject it is a good idea to set a custom white balance. Although new cameras have fantastic auto white balance, setting a custom white balance is one step towards complete control over the image. When using a custom white balance you can control how cool or how warm the image is. Controlling the warmth gives access to effect the mood of the image. Changing the mood of an image could make the difference between an average photo and a masterpiece.

The following links are a few different options of tools to aid in setting a custom white balance.

This first link is a new product that really takes a look at the entire work flow of a photographer.
ColorChecker Passport

This link is great because the product is really easy to use and it produces great results.

This link is a low cost solution that is durable and easy to use.

Friday, August 28, 2009


If you like great photography you will love this....
O. Winston Link is a photographer that is known for his night time train photographs. Think about it.... try and photograph a train as it steams down the tracks at night with a 4x5 camera. Link's photographs bring back childhood longings of wanting to grow up and be an engineer.
the Link Museum has a collection that is worth the trip. On their website they have this biography about Link:

Winston Link was born on December 16, 1914, in Brooklyn, New York. He was the second of three children. His father was a public school teacher and exerted a strong influence on his children, escorting them around New York City to see the sights, from battleships at harbor to airplanes in the sky. The elder Link taught his son the use and care of tools and introduced him to photography. Winston developed a lifelong love of tools, becoming a skilled woodworker and a meticulous craftsman. As a teenager, he built his own photographic enlarger and went to work for a local photo store.

Link attended Manual Arts High School in Brooklyn and later the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. He played hockey and was a very popular student, serving as class president all four years in college while majoring in civil engineering. He worked as photographer and photo editor of the school newspaper and, upon graduation, was offered a job as a photographer by a public relations firm, Carl Byoir Associates, in New York City. He worked for Byoir from 1937 to 1942. He never did pursue a career in engineering.

With the onset of World War II, Winston left Byoir and went to work for Columbia Institute Laboratory in Mineola, Long Island, where he performed secret war research for the United States Government. The Long Island Railroad operated tracks right behind the lab. Link had always been fascinated by steam locomotives, and the proximity of the LIRR rekindled his interest, and he started taking pictures. He recognized there was one great problem in shooting photos of locomotives --- lighting. He once said, "You can't move the sun, and you can't move the tracks, so you have to do something else to better light the engines." He went on to custom build his own flash equipment required for his large scale railroad photos which he preferred to shoot at night.

After the war, he was invited back to work at Byoir but declined, deciding instead to become an independent, professional photographer. He soon became known for his skillful photos of complicated factory and industrial interiors. In 1955, Link traveled to Staunton, Virginia, to do an industrial shoot. He knew that the Norfolk & Western Railway passed in nearby Waynesboro and that it was the last large steam-powered American railroad. Link went to observe it. Granted permission to access the tracks by R. H. Smith, president of the N & W Railroad, Link returned the night of January 21, 1955 with his equipment and began photographing the trains.

In the next five years, Winston Link made twenty trips to N & W's tracks in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina, producing 2,400 images. Most of the images were produced on 4 x 5 film with a Graphic View Camera.

The last of the N & W's steam locomotives was taken out of service in May 1960, and Winston returned to New York, where he continued his work as a commercial photographer. He documented construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York harbor, photographed for Volkswagen of America as well as a number of advertising agencies.

Link, as much historian as artist, employed his technical skill as a means to document his subjects rather than as a means to fame or fortune. Indeed, he discovered shortly after starting his visual documentation of the railroad that no one was interested in photos of an old technology. However, Winston had also recorded the sounds of the steam engines and found that his high quality sound recordings were quickly gaining recognition. He released the first of six recordings, "Sounds of Steam Railroading," in 1957, years before his N & W photographs began to garner attention. It was only in 1983 that his photography began to receive recognition as works of art. That same year, Link closed his New York City studio and moved to rural South Salem, New York.

Steam, Steel & Stars, published in 1987, represented Winston Link's first collection of his railroad photos in book form and dramatically increased recognition of his work. The Last Steam Railroad in America, published in 1995 sealed his status as America's premier photographer of steam railroading. Exhibitions of his work have been seen throughout the United States, Great Britain, Europe and Japan.

In 2000, Winston Link agreed to creation of the O. Winston Link Museum to be located in the historic Norfolk & Western Passenger Station, in Roanoke, Virginia. The station was restored and refurbished by famed industrial designer, Raymond Loewy, and the museum opened in 2004, with Mr. Link actively involved the planning.

O. Winston Link died of a heart attack on January 30, 2001, near his home in South Salem, New York.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Something Great

This is a link to an organization that is trying to do something nice for those men and women in uniform that are currently overseas. I hope that if you know any one in the military you will take a moment to look at this website.
Portraits of Love

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Future is Here!!!!!!!

Nikon is really pushing the limits with the S1000pj. At a price tag of $429.95 it may seem pricey, but the possibilities for this camera are limitless. Imagine this camera in the hands of an interior designer. The designer could take a picture of some of their work with the 28-140mm lens (35mm equivalent) at 12.1 mega pixels and then take the camera to a prospective client and project the image on the wall. That is just one in the endless list of possibilities for the S1000pj.

The following is a list of feature from Nikon's website.

  • 12.1 Megapixels for stunning prints as large as 16 x 20 inches.
  • 5x Wide-angle Zoom-NIKKOR Glass Lens has a versatile zoom range that gets you close to the action while capturing expansive landscapes.
  • World’s first camera with an ultra-small, built-in projector provides new ways for enjoying your pictures anytime and anywhere.
  • 5-way VR Image Stabilization System:
    • Hybrid VR Image Stabilization combines Optical and Electronic VR Image Stabilization to minimize the effects of camera shake.
    • Motion Detection automatically detects moving subjects and adjusts shutter speed and the ISO setting to compensate for camera shake and subject movement.
    • High ISO up to 6400 capability helps give you sharper results when shooting in low light or capturing fast-moving subjects.(ISO 300 and ISO 6400 are available at 3MP or lower resolution.)
    • Nikon’s original Best Shot Selector (BSS) automatically takes up to 10 shots while the shutter is pressed and saves the sharpest image.
  • Incredible, Bright 2.7-inch High Resolution LCD makes it easy to compose and share your pictures with anti-glare coating and brightness adjustment.
  • Scene Auto Selector automatically recognizes the scene in your picture and adjusts camera setting.
  • Nikon’s Smart Portrait System:
    • New Skin Softening smoothes skin tone at three different levels for optimal portraits.
    • In-Camera Red-Eye Fix™ automatically fixes most instances of red-eye in the camera. You may never see red-eye again.
    • Face-Priority AF Nikon’s face-finding technology that automatically focuses on up to 12 faces.
    • Smile Timer, Blink Proof and Blink Warning makes sure you’ll always catch the decisive moment when your subject smiles and Blink Proof function shoots two pictures and automatically saves the one in which the subject’s eyes remain open. Blink Warning, when activated alerts you that the subject may have blinked and allows you to retake the photo.
    • D-Lighting rescues dark or backlit images by improving brightness and detail where needed.
  • Quick Retouch adjusts contrast and color vividness automatically and automatically activates D-Lighting
  • 16 Scene Modes
  • Record movies at 640 x 480 resolution at 30 fps
  • Macro shooting as close as 1.2”
  • Available Colors: Black

We are definitely planning on stocking a few of the bad boys along with the ac adapter and remote. Please check back latter this next month to see if we have them in yet!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lensbaby Composer

Lensbaby came out with their Composer a little while ago. Over last weekend I finally had the pleasure of trying one out. The Composer is a giant step up from the original lens baby. The Composer has double glass optics, a focusing ring, and it can be locked in place. These features are great and they give fantastic results. Most of the test shots were done with the macro set. These little screw on filters are, to say the least, a lot of fun. I cannot say enough good things about the Composer. Even opening the box was fun.
These are some of the images I took.

Richmond Camera will be getting the Composer in soon along with a few of their accessories. If you would like learn a little more about Lensbaby please take a look at their site. Please leave comments about your experience with a Lensbaby.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Kolo Albums....Archival Awesomeness......

Today, here at Richmond Camera, we put Kolo Albums on our website. These are great albums to say the least. My favorite are the small 4x6 albums. They come in a variety of colors and are the perfect way of preserving your memories in a way that looks great. If you have not heard of Kolo albums yet take a look at the rest of this post.

"Kolo is the celebrated archival photo album used by artists, photographers, graphic designers, clothing designers, architects, interior designers and other creative professionals the world over.
Used to house photographs, lay out storyboards, display artwork or chronicle projects, Kolo is a trusted tool and friend to the creative community. After all, nothing makes quite the same impact it does as when presented in a beautifully made book.
In 1998, a small company set out to reinvent the way photo albums were made and used in every day life. Although the creative community was the first to discover Kolo, the albums quickly grew in popularity to include all types of people who simply treasure photographs and care about how they are displayed.
A Kolo photo album is a home to remember special people, places, times, projects, thoughts, journeys. It can help frame and tell a story.
Whether Kolo is used as a scrapbook, a journal, an album, a portfolio or a project book, the goal is always the same: to let the photographs and the story be the star." (http://kolo.com)

"WHY IS ARCHIVAL STORAGE IMPORTANT TO YOU? Museums treasure fine paintings and other works of art. Kolo believes most people value their photographs in much the same way. After all, photographs are treasures that capture moments in time with friends and loved ones. With Kolo, preserving your cherished photographs is easy. Kolo is committed to making the finest quality archival photo preservation products available in the world.
WHAT IS ARCHIVAL? In the simplest sense, archival means that the materials (e.g. paper) will resist decomposing, disintegrating, discoloring or reacting to other materials over time. In other words, an archival material won't harm your treasured photographs or memorabilia. Specifically, an archival product must be "acid free" (a pH higher than 7.0), "lignin free," and proven to be stable over time. Merely being "acid free" does not assure that a product is archival. All Kolo products are rigorously tested to ensure that they are genuinely archival."(http://kolo.com)
YOUR PART: PROPER STORAGE. It is important to store all photographs and photo albums in a dry place with a consistent temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Moisture and large fluctuations in temperature can seriously damage photographs, even if archival storage products are used.

KOLO DESIGN At Kolo, our philosophy is to design products that are clean and understated, innovative and fun. Function is as important as form. We believe that your photographs should be the star and that the Kolo album should enhance them, not detract from them. In the same spirit, we believe that a photo album should present photographs, not simply store them. So we design a variety of products ranging from the Vineyard Mini Paper Album to the larger luxurious Newport Luxury Photo Album. Each Kolo product allows room for journaling, but it isn't necessary to journal. It's okay to simply tell the story with photographs. A Kolo product makes a great gift. It's touching to receive a small Vineyard album or Newport album commemorating a special event or a special day with friends or loved ones. It's something that the recipient will treasure for the rest of their life. "(http://kolo.com)

Kolo albums are the real deal. Each album has great quality and the quality is consistent. To see more pictures of Kolo products check out kolo.com.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pinhole Day!

You better make sure you finish that can of Quaker Oats by April 26th, because it’s World Pinhole Photography day! Remember making your very own camera in grade school, using nothing but a can or box, some electric tape and tinfoil? It’s such a simple concept, but so quirky and unpredictable; magical even?
The beauty of pinhole cameras is that the possibilities are endless. Anything can be turned into one as long as it’s light tight, has a teeny hole, and you can stick film or photo paper inside. If you thought it was cool taking pictures with a shoebox, try using a jet hanger as a camera (http://www.alternativephotography.com/articles/art100.html). Don’t have a jet hanger laying around? Eh, ok. Do you have a mouth? You could be like this guy! (http://pinholephotography.org/gallery/gallery.html)
Maybe you’re into instant gratification, and in that case, there are multiple tutorials about turning your digital SLR into a pinhole camera by using a modified body cap in place of a lens (at the risk of leaving your image sensor susceptible to dust and dirt, so be careful, pinhole warriors!)
How ever you chose to celebrate, whether it’s a making a camera of your own, or just finding some cool pinhole pictures to look at, don’t forget to take a little time to pay homage to the principles of photography that make our lives a little bit more awesome.

A Haiku for Pinhole Day:
You think it’s oatmeal
But I’m watching you with it
And you’ve been exposed!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Something to Talk About!!!!!

The New Canon PowerShot SD 780 IS!
At Richmond Camera we see new line-ups from Canon and Nikon every years and to be honest sometimes it is hard to get excited about every camera that you see, but the Canon PowerShot SD 780IS is really cool! The SD 780 IS has an extensive feature set:
    12.1 megapixels
    3x optical zoom (33-100mm in 35mm terms)
    Smart Auto
    Blink Detection
    HD Movie
    ISO up to 3200
    Motion Detection
    and more....like a viewfinder!!!!

To me it is not the features that make me point out this camera. The size of the camera is the best part. This camera is so small that you can take it anywhere. Slim and sleek this camera is still practical. Let's face it; there comes a time where even professional photographers want to take a picture, but not have to feel like they are working. The whole point of photography is share experiences with friends and family. The Canon SD 780 IS has both the features that are required for great image quality and the sleek design that allows you to take the camera everywhere.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

What could be the future of photography? 3D?

At PMA last week Fuji had a prototype that really made me think. Fuji's prototype was for a 3D digital camera. Could 3D image capture be the future of photography? On one had it seems like a natural progression for photography, but on the other had it does seem like more than most people would need. Having a 3D image capture opens the door to several problems. Fuji had to address how the camera's LCD would work with the 3D capture, the camera's images processor, they needed to find a way to view the 3D images, and they also needed to develop a way to print 3D images. If you would like to read a like more about Fuji's prototype please take a look at this link: http://www.dpreview.com/news/0809/08092209fujifilm3D.asp

Could this be the future of photography? In the next five to ten years could we all be taking 3D pictures?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Work With the ISO

Changing the ISO changes the sensitivity of your digital camera's sensor to light; the higher the ISO number, the more sensitive it becomes. This can be very handy if you don't have much available light, or if you are changing from outdoor to indoor lighting. It is also sweet if you want to be more discreet and not use a flash. But, remember that the downside of using higher ISOs is that more digital 'noise' can be introduced into your picture - you will see it as speckled or unwanted grain in the image. Of course, you can also use that to your advantage, for old-time effects, film effects and such. The noise can be especially useful when shooting "grunge" shots for teens and bands. Just remember to check your ISO when you change lighting, so you have a good balance of light, noise and such. One final ISO thought: If you are looking for specific effects, such as extremely deep or shallow depth-of-field, and you cannot achieve what you want by changing the lens/shutter speed settings, change your ISO! You CAN shoot at f1.4 in daylight...you just needed to set your camera properly!
-By Tom McElvy