Links for the Day

May 19th, 2009

Emerging photographers on Burn magazine

January 12th, 2009

Magnum photographer, David Alan Harvey, has recently started a new blog called Burn.

The big news on this blog is the $10000 emerging photographers fund for 2009 will be being awarded to a reader of burn. Currently the deadline for submissions is the 15th of March, with more details to follow. Until then you can submit photos for the featured photographs section or photographic essays which if selected, will be featured on the home page.

Being run by a Magnum photographer means this blog features images that are quite rough looking compared to what is the norm these days. You won’t find much “so perfect it is plastic” type photography, and also none of that intentionally Photoshop grunged up look either.

All in all, very worth while blog to subscribe to.

Pixel density and lens resolution

August 29th, 2008

Well earlier this week, the Canon EOS 50D information was leaked, and then quickly followed with the official announcement. It has many new features, but most impressive was 15.1 megapixels and a maximum ISO of 12800.

15 megapixels? I am still happy with 8! I’ve printed 3624 inch prints with it and was quite pleased with them. Admittedly a pickier viewer might have complained they were not sharp enough… after practically touching the print with his eye. Do we really need it? I’m not the only one who thinks we should stop increasing megapixels.

Those calling for more resolution sometimes state large prints as a reason why they want the extra pixel, though more often these days is the claim of improved ability to crop. But how often is this actually the case?

At 15MP on a 1.6 crop sensor the diffraction starts to show up at and aperture of about f8 onwards. So from f8 onwards, the extra resolution is just showing the airy disk, and cropping becomes less and less of an option. Open the aperture up and the problem of diffraction is not longer noticable.

So now one has to ask how sharp your lens is. A brief look at the sample photos on the canon site shows us what lenses and apertures were used.

  • EF600mm f/4L IS USM @ f/8
  • EF-S17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM @ f/4.5
  • EF50mm f/1.2L USM @ f/8
  • EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM @ f/8

A nice selection of very good lenses, and mostly stopped down to f/8 which should reduce chromatic aberrations. And yet when I viewed these images at 100% (pixel peeping if you will), I noticed CA immediately on several of the images. It was small, and wouldn’t be noticable in a normal print; yet already this limits just how much you can crop some parts of the image. These are all quite decent lenses, so consider how more mundane low end lenses might perform with this sensor; not well I would think.

Now this new 15MP sensor is managing an maximum ISO of 12800! Many people complain that such high ISOs are pointless since they only ever use lower ISOs themselves. Others claim the current autofocus doesn’t work properly in light which requires high ISOs. I look at it from the point of view of a user with a cheap lens in bad light. The lens needs to be stopped down to f/8 to provide good results, and thus the ability to up the ISO without sacrificing too much quality becomes quite important.

If Canon can squeeze ISO 12800 from a 15MP sensor, what could they do from a 10? ISO 25600, or even higher; clean 1600, very usable 3200 or maybe even 6400? Suddenly the poor photographer who cannot afford several thousand dollar lenses as well as a camera, can suddenly use his cheaper zoom in dim light.

Feelings Of Inadequacy - Sometimes Size Matters
Creative Commons License photo credit: respres

The lower megapixels make problems with the lens less apparent, and the higher ISO allows greater flexibility in different lighting.

Of course that is probably the reason we won’t ever get the lower mega pixel high ISO camera; less reason to upgrade the lenses…

SoFoBoMo OhNo

May 14th, 2008

Well my SoFoBoMo month is up.

For much of the month, I was too busy to do much photography at all. And then I had a week off. It was the perfect opportunity to get out there and get all the photos I needed. Instead, laziness ensued and I only managed to get out 2 days in the entire week.

Well last night, I quickly generated a pdf via photoshop to complete this largely unsuccessful SoFoBoMo.

If I am to take part in this again next year, I will definitely have to dedicate myself more than I did this year. Anyway, go check out all the other submissions at Some of them are exceptionally good.

SoFoBoMo, a slow start

April 13th, 2008

Well I know I said that I wouldn’t be posting any photos until near the end. I’ve changed my mind, seeing everyone else’s photos made me realise this will be much more fun if I at least post a few photo, even if they never make it into the final book.

So I started my fuzzy month yesterday, and I woke up to realise the sun was already rising. I’d really wanted to be at Krantz Kloof as the sun was rising. I got myself ready as quickly as I could and rushed out the door. I got a lot of shots done at the lookout area, but I suspected that many would suffer from serious flair due to the sun being a little higher in the sky than I’d hoped

This following image is a very quickly put together six shot panorama of the gorge.

My next stop was the Kloof SPCA. They had a very nice reserve area with wooden walkways over a swamp. Much to my dismay the entrance to the reserve area was locked, and no one could tell me when and if it would be open. I am quite upset about this, as this little known reserve was the place that inspired my SoFoBoMo theme. I will phone them this week and find out when the reserve is open.

That was my shooting for the day, and I returned home in time for breakfast. I’ve decided I need go back to Krantz Kloof for some sunset shots, which I will hopefully manage in the next few days. Today has been rained out, so nothing new.

All in all a very slow start.


April 10th, 2008

This weekend is the start, for me anyway. So that will make my fuzzy month, the 12th of April to the 11th of May. Sometime during this period I will also be moving house.

What was I thinking…

Since I subscribed to the SoFoBoMo yahoo pipe, I’ve read a lot of posts from various people about the format of their books and where to get them published. I myself have gone from thinking I would just make a simple pdf, to wanting to get the book printed and back again.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to get the result of this months work printed as a book, I just don’t think I can do it any justice in that short period of time. For me SoFoBoMo was a reason to go out and shoot with a specific theme in mind, instead of just taking pictures of whatever seemed nice at the time. And so that is what I will do, I will stick to the theme: think about the theme, and take photos of the theme, generally just stop worrying about anything other than the photos. Assuming no massive PC failures due to the move, I should be able to slap together a half decent pdf in the last week; nothing fancy, just enough to showcase the photos.

Now if I am happy with the output from this, then I will consider spending some more time turning this into a book that I can try to get published (and not self published). That will most likely involve getting more photos and replacing some that don’t quite cut it, getting property releases, and just generally a lot more work.


April 1st, 2008

And we’re off!

Well SoFoBoMo’s fuzzy month has officially begun, and we can all now officially start snapping. It seems that some people who were originally going to wait a while before starting are now getting going from day one, in an attempt to get two books done in the two month long “fuzzy month”. I was originally planning on starting on April 1st, but now deadlines at work are forcing me to delay that by about a week.

I have a preliminary title for the book, “A Durban less seen”. The idea being to try and find beautiful wild areas in and around my home town that you don’t normally see photographed. Our beaches and other touristy destinations are photographed and advertised to death, but some of the smaller reserves & parks are worthy of a lot more attention than they get.

For those that want a central place to keep track of all the SoFoBoMo related blogs, check out Gordon McGregor’s Yahoo pipe capturing all known SoFoBoMo blogging.

So far a lot of participants appear to be posting their photos as they take them, which definitely supplies enjoyable viewing for the rest of us. I think that I will however hold back on posting my photos until near the end when I narrow down my selection to the 35 (or possibly closer to 40) that I will use.

I need to get back to work now, got to get these deadlines done ASAP so I can start photographing.

Good luck to everyone.


February 1st, 2008

I remember several years ago (2002 I think) when I first came across NaNoWriMo, and I thought what a good idea. It was in its forth year by then and had really begun to take off. The thought of writing a novel in a month, quantity over quality, appeals to a lot of people. It’s not as bad as it sounds; yes the output will rarely never be of the highest quality, but that isn’t the point. The point is to get off your ass and write a novel, and worrying about whether it will be good enough is just one more barrier getting in your way.

So when I read about SoFoBoMo (Solo Photo Book Month), I was suitably excited. Christa has been telling me for the last year that I need to get down and make a photo book, and my standard response was always: “Yes dear, when I have experience and can fill a book with quality photos.”

The goal is a nicely formatted PDF with 35 photos in it, all taken within a month. The month is a fuzzy month, so 31 consecutive days between April 1st and May 31st. The book does not need to be published, but if you want to, no one is stopping you.

I’ve signed up, and cannot wait for April 1st, though I haven’t quite decided on the theme yet.

I never did quite get around to writing that novel…

Dpreview launches lens reviews

January 30th, 2008

dpr_black.jpgDigital Photography Review are renowned for their in depth, extremely detailed camera reviews. Unfortunately for us though, once the camera was purchased, finding out what lenses to buy lacked such a definitive review site. That has just changed with DPReview announcing their new lens reviews section.

Their unique flash application allows easy viewing of the lenses MTF charts throughout the zoom and f-stop range; and just like their camera reviews, the reviews are well written and cover almost anything you could desire. While they currently only have 4 lenses in their review database, more will be added as quickly as they can do them.

In Your Own Backyard blog project results

November 19th, 2007

Today JMG-Galleries has posted the In Your Own Backyard project submissions. The rather broad guidelines predictably produced a wide variety of photographs, all of them well worth checking out.

Of the submissions, I really like:

That Country Feeling, Storm Cell at Sunset & Contour.

All excellent landscapes.