“What do I do right now!? I don’t know what to do!”

These were the sounds the angry woman next to me at the Apple Store counter made, while crying about her hard disc that had died.

“But it was fine this morning!” *sob sob sniff*

My sympathy was with the blue-shirted geniuses who had to take her anger with a calmness that I would’ve have been able to muster. My sympathy for her? Well, I just thought to myself, “now there is someone who doesn’t understand the concept of single point of failure.”

Back your shit up, all the time. Constantly. Back it up to different devices and the cloud. A hard drive crashing should be no more than a minor annoyance. So if you’re running this risk of not having your data backed up, DO IT NOW. And get a system into place. Now. I mean, NOW!

If you don’t know how, ask someone. The tools and software aren’t expensive or difficult to implement. But if you need help, ask. In other words, if you lose data on your hard drive, you have no excuse.

Learn more inside…


infra-red black & white photography – urban landscapes

Funny how personal projects often work – there’s the initial enthusiasm, and then life and work takes over. Last year I bought a used Canon 5D mark II that had been converted to Infra-Red. I did take it out twice for walkabouts in New York – and posted the initial results. But then the work-load added up, and then a particularly harsh winter where it was just too miserable outside to go exploring in the city – and I never took it out again, until now. With the weather improving now and the sun shining, it was just a good time to go out and shoot for fun again. 

A photographer friend, Amanda Stevens, joined me with her Fuji X20 that had been converted to deep Infra-Red … and we went exploring in Manhattan. One trick that Amanda showed me that  should’ve been so obvious to me from the start – since you can’t really meter for infra-red, it made sense to view the scene via Live-View, and then adjust the camera settings until it looked good on the back of the screen. So obvious, and yet, I still worked within the old-school mindset of looking through the viewfinder, and trying to read the scene.

The image at the top was taken at Columbus Circle, NYC – the bit of green shrubbery started to turn white where the sun hit it. The sun behind the globe also gave a glow to the image.
Canon 5D mark II (converted for IR);  Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II (B&H)
1/50  @  f/16  @  1600 ISO

Here are some of the other images that also worked particularly well:

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post-processing workflow: how to deal with color banding / posterization

If you’ve ever noticed banding or  posterization in your photos, where you’d expect solid colors, then there’s a relatively easy fix for it. This posterization effect appears as bands of colors, where the transitions between similar tones aren’t smooth, but have jagged edges instead.

It is caused by the 8-bit JPG not having enough data to give you a smooth gradient when large blocks of color slowly change. You’ll often see it in the blue sky in landscapes, or as in this case, with large areas of color in the background. Actually, the image above doesn’t show this – I fixed it. Here’s how.

Learn more inside…


promotion by PhotoWhoa - Glamor Photography training vol. 1

PhotoWhoa is offering another great product:
an e-book on Glamor Photography for only $19.

The comprehensive approach to learning glamour photography that keeps it SIMPLE and sexy. For the lighting section of the book, author Kevin Teng boils it down to only the information that he uses on a day-to-day basis: “In this e-book I go through some of my favorite shoots to explain HOW I got the photos I got, and WHY I shot them a certain way. You’ll understand what I was thinking and how I sorted through all the incredibly precise details.”

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photography workshops for 2014

From 2014 onwards, if you’d like to attend one of my flash photography workshops in New York, it will only be available as an individual on-location workshop.

The full-day On-Location Photography Lighting workshops will be held at my studio space in NJ. The studio is only 17 miles from Manhattan. Just a short hop from New York and quite accessible by bus. To accommodate photographers who can’t attend weekday workshops, there will now be a workshop on a Sunday, and another one on the Tuesday. Same workshop, same material that will be covered.

May 18, 2014  (Sunday)
May 20, 2014  (Tuesday)

Book a spot at one of the workshops. Each class will be limited to 6 people.

And of course, here are the techie details for the photograph at the top.


Peiwen & Eric – wedding in Melbourne, Australia – slideshow

I’ve shown a few images already of the wedding I photographed in Melbourne, Australia, early in March 2014. Everything fell into place during our visit to Australia – and on the wedding day itself – great weather, lovely people, a truly fantastic couple. It’s a huge honor indeed that Eric reached out to my last year, enquiring whether I’d be up for photographing his and Peiwen’s wedding in Melbourne. And yes, I did feel a lot of pressure. The images dared not be mediocre!

But Eric and Peiwen really were great to work with – sparkling personalities, and full of energy and ideas. It also helped that they allowed for ample time for the romantic portraits on the day, as well as the next day with a visit to Brighton Beach. It all turned into a set of photographs that I am truly proud of. Here, are some, (yes, only some) of my favorite photographs from Peiwen and Eric’s wedding.
Learn more inside…


software review: Capture One Pro v7 RAW Converter Tests

guest article by: Adrian
Mackay wedding photographers
(Adrian is better known as Trev in the Tangents forum)

Recently I have been trialling the Capture One Pro v7 Raw Converter to see if I could get my files better from the get-go before I started tweaking in Photoshop.

Short Verdict: Simply outstanding; makes ACR and Lightroom look very mediocre compared to Capture One Pro v7 in initial rendering of images.

Now, to be clear, I am not doing full edits within it like a lot of people do in ACR/Lightroom, etc. but basic edits like WB and Exposure, Shadows, then I export out to PSD files and tweak it in Photoshop.

The reason I wanted to try was mainly to see what sort of highlights I could retain so I experimented on several images which were well over-exposed, up to 3 full stops. The samples shown here are 2 over-exposed images and 1 very difficult image with extremely bright Highlights and very dark Shadows, shooting against the sun, seascape type image.

Learn more inside…


exposure metering: under-exposure / over-exposure vs exposing correctly

When I posted this photograph of Peiwen & Eric’s wedding in Melbourne, Australia, on Facebook, someone asked the question: how much did I over-expose this photo by?

We have to be very clear with our terminology regarding over-exposure and under-exposure. This photograph is not over-exposed. It is exposed correctly! Did my camera’s light-meter jump all the way to the right-hand side? Yes, it surely did. Does it matter? No, it does not. Why not? Because I exposed correctly. Not under, not over, but correctly.

This photograph (which is ambient light only), is exposed correctly … because my subject, the bride, is exposed correctly. This is a key concept – we have to expose correctly for our subjects. Even if you decide to turn your subject into a silhouette, the decision was still very specific about how you wanted to expose for your subject.

If you are a landscape photographer, then most likely your entire scene is your subject. If you are a portrait photographer, then invariably, your subject is what you need to expose for correctly.

However, if you want to balance your subject which is shaded, in relation to a much brighter background, then you’re going to have to use additional lighting to expose correctly for your subject. But working with just the available light, you will invariably aim to expose correctly for your subject.

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Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART lens

This lens is now available for pre-order from B&H: Canon | Nikon | Sony | Sigma
The initial rumored price for this lens was around $1,500 but now that it has been officially announced, the price is a relatively moderate $949.00

There’s been an incredible buzz around this lens – the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART lens. The initial reviews are unanimously impressed with this lens’ optical performance. Right up there with the very best.

If it is in the same league of awesomeness as the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HMS art lens, then we’re in for a treat. As soon as I get my hands on the 50mm, I’ll check it out for a proper review.


After Dark Photography Education – St Louis – 2014

After Dark is one of the very best experiences to learn more about photography, whether technique or business or to be inspired. Not quite a convention, it’s more of a slightly-anarchic experience. It’s hard to describe really, but ask anyone who has attended, and they will all rave about it, myself included.

The After Dark Photo Education convention took place again this past week: March 30 – April 2. Awesome news for the 300+ people who attended. Sad news was that this will be the last After Dark event. So for those who were there, there was definitely a sense of making this one really count! At the end of 2013, Dave Junion, the mastermind behind After Dark, announced that that would be the last event. I’m going to take a (probably accurate) guess here that repeatedly running an event of this magnitude across the USA, takes its toll on your stamina. But because of the outcries from past attendees, the After Dark team hosted an After Dark event in St Louis in 2013 … and now again.

Learn more inside…