Measuring Studio Flash Output
Jun23

Measuring Studio Flash Output

The output of all studio electronic flash units is typically measured in Watt-seconds (Ws,) a unit of electrical energy equal to the work done when a current of one amp passes through a resistance of one ohm for one second. Sometimes you’ll hear it called a Joule but it all boils down as a way to measure the power and discharge capacity of an electronic flash’s power supply. You can think of it in terms like automobile horsepower but...

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Should There Even be Rules of Composition?
Jun22

Should There Even be Rules of Composition?

Throughout the history of photography, there has been many articles and books written about the “rules of composition.” There’s the famous ‘rule of thirds’ that divides an image into three slices and dictates specific intersection points within the frame where subjects should be placed for maximum impact. While there is an element of truth in all of these rules—leading lines, triangles, balance— using any kind of dogmatic...

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Wordy Wednesday #447 “Castle Rock: Tea for Two”
Jun21

Wordy Wednesday #447 “Castle Rock: Tea for Two”

“If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.”—Abraham Lincoln One of my favorite places to make photographs and test new cameras is Castle Rock, Colorado. This image was made with the Pentax K-01 and a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens (at 55mm.) Exposure was 1/250 sec at f/10 and ISO 400 and was converted to monochrome using Silver Efex Pro. If you enjoy mirrorless photography,...

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Advice for New Photographers
Jun20

Advice for New Photographers

Recently a reader wrote asking one of the timeless question that all new photographers ask: Would newer, better equipment improve my photographs?” I get this kind of e-mail from time to time and I wanted to share my response with any readers who might have similar questions. Keep in mind that this is not the answer but is instead just one answer and it’s my answer. Feel free to ask other photographers their opinion and at...

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Next Time, Consider Shooting Monochrome
Jun19

Next Time, Consider Shooting Monochrome

“The whole series is black-and-white, so when I went to shoot one of the women I only had black-and-white film with me. She had reddish hair and was a very pretty girl, a nice girl.”— Helmut Newton When I find myself wondering, “what do I shoot next?” or starting the think “there’s nothing to photograph,” one thing I like to do is to shoot some images in direct monochrome mode. It doesn’t have to be all of the images made...

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Would You Like to be a Muse?
Jun16

Would You Like to be a Muse?

A muse is a “woman, or a force personified as a woman, who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist.” When I’m testing cameras, lenses and especially lighting equipment, I need models to pose for photographs  you see on this blog and in the pages of Shutterbug magazine. With repairs to my home studio finally complete, I will be doing more and more studio shoots and need new models. If you have a friend (or maybe yourself)...

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Crop Sensor? A Look at Sensor Formats
Jun15

Crop Sensor? A Look at Sensor Formats

For reasons that I fail to understand the term “crop sensor” gets tossed around by people when referring to digital cameras with sensor sizes smaller than the traditional 24x36mm film standard, as if that was the Holy Grail of imaging. It’s not. The first Leica used the 24×36 format but others, including the Olympus Pen used 18x24mm and early Nikon, Minolta and other Japanese rangefinders adopted 24 x 32mm well before 24x36mm was in...

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