What Was New in 2002?
December 31, 2002
Before anything else today I would like to extend to everyone my warm and sincere best wishes for 2003. I hope that this year brings you peace, prosperity and good health.
Here at the Luminous Landscape we are looking forward to a number of exciting improvements to the site as well as a raft of exciting new content, workshops and travel. Be sure to visit regularly. To maximize your involvement and benefit from this site why not consider becoming a subscriber to The Luminous Landscape Video Journal? Your subscriptions are what makes this site possible and allow it to remain free of advertising and commercial bias.
My friend, the prolific nature photographer CC Lockwood, has just published a new photographic book on Alligators. He spent the past 12 months shooting nearly 400 rolls of film to produce this new book, and in an exclusive article provides us with some insights into this project.
The Canon 1Ds continues to amaze me. One of the things that I have noted during the past few weeks is how unforgiving it is of anything less than the best possible lenses. I have now added some comments to this effect to an earlier article. I plan on doing an extensive lens comparison, especially zooms vs. primes, some time early in the New Year. Stay tuned.
Capture One software for the Canon 1D and 1Ds is very highly regarded by most users but it can quickly eat up disk space while you're not looking. I have now added some comments on this to my Capture One review.
Canadians as well as those flying out of Canadian airports should note that as of today security has been taken over by The Canadian Transportation Security Authority. They are advising the public not to put unexposed and unprocessed film in checked luggage as high powered X-Ray machines are now in use at Canadian airports that will damage film.
A spokesperson announced today that photographers can request a hand check of carry-on film from airport security agents. This is also the case at U.S. airports, but my experience is that many airports are ignoring this FAA directive and insisting that film be X-Rayed. It remains to be seen whether Canadian airports will similarly ignore the rules. Note that unless you are going to be bringing the same film through numerous X-Rays prior to having it developed there is little risk to carry-on film. But, any film checked with baggage will likely be toast — count on it. (Another good reason to consider a move to digital, if you haven't done so already, and if you fly a lot ).
December 29, 2002
Due to illness Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning Photographer column will not appear this week. (I think that Mike's been sniffing the Dektol again).
December 28, 2002
In the past 24 hours I have received a number of questions about both tripod mounted as well as hand-held shooting with Canon's Image Stabilized super-telephotos. I have now added a new section to yesterday's article elaborating on this subject.
December 27, 2002
The biggest lens buying decision (literally, figuratively and financially) that most photographers ever make is regarding the purchase of a 500mm or 600mm large aperture lens. I recently tested both a 500mm and a 600mm f/4 lens on two separate week-long wildlife shoots and have now made my final purchase decision. In 500mm vs. 600mm I examine that decision making process.
December 24, 2002
Full frame sensor digital SLRs are now shipping, and pixel count is up to 14MP (or at least will be if Kodak ships the DCS Pro 14n in January as promised). The Canon 11MP full frame sensor in the 1Ds has been wowing photographers worldwide for a month. At least two more major camera makers will have high pixel count full-frame cameras to announce at PMA in March. So, what's next? Full frame has been achieved. Will we continue to see higher pixel densities, and if not, why not?
My crystal ball is cloudy, but the laws of physics can't be denied. I have therefore just published a new article titled Pixel Count And Future Imaging Chips, which looks at some of the issues involved. At least you now have a photographic topic to debate over the holidays.
And speaking of holidays, please accept my best wishes for a most enjoyable Christmas week. I hope that Santa has been good to you and that you have a safe and enjoyable celebration.
Update: The Pixel Count article has now been updated with a Q&A section.
December 22, 2002
One of the pleasures of being an author — especially now, in the era of the Internet — is receiving mail from readers. Not something forwarded weeks or even months later by a neglectful editor, but now, immediately after someone has read ones work. Mike Johnston looks at two of his more interesting reader's comments in this week's Sunday Morning column.
December 21, 2002
Shadow Control is a new Photoshop plug-in that provides digital photographers with an exciting and unique tool for dealing with digital camera images. Using a dynamically created mask, and a clear and simple user interface, this program has quickly become part of my regular tool kit. Highly recommended. My review is now online.
Earlier with week I took Phase One to task for having raised the price of their excellent Capture One software for the Canon 1D and 1Ds from an announced price of $500 to $600. I failed to mention that while the software now costs $600 if downloaded from their web site, retailers are still charging just $500. I apologize for any confusion that this incomplete information may have caused.
A second source of good news is that Phase One has rethought their policy of dual platform use (possibly as a result of my critical comments) and have now announced that they will be providing a free upgrade to Mac OS X when the new version ships in March, allowing their customers to use the software on both their Windows and Mac platforms at the same time. Well done Phase One! My revised thoughts are found here.
December 20, 2002
I will be conducting a 2 day seminar in Toronto on January 22nd and 23rd titled Professional Digital SLRs — Purchasing,Best Practices&Workflow. The seminar is sponsored by CAPIC; the Canadian Association of Photographers and Illustrators in Communications.
The seminar is designed to help professional photographers who are making the transition to digital image capture using 35mm format SLRs. Though designed for pros, it will be of interest to any photographer who wants to understand the issues involved in making the transition. If you are in the Toronto area, or would like to travel to Toronto to attend, check out the link above for further details. Registration is open to anyone, but is done though CAPIC, not through me or this site. I hope to see you there.
There has been a lot of discussion on various Net forums over the past few days disputing my statement in Whither Nikon, that we can expect full-frame sensors to see a significant drop in price over the next few years. I made this assumption based on discussions with folks whom I know in the semiconductor industry. But, there are those who appear to know better.
In any event, a knowledgeable industry participant and observer, Chris Reid, sent me an e-mail which gives an industry professional's perspective.
A few days ago some updates were made to the site which unfortunately have created problems for users of Netscape 4.7. We are trying to find a fix, but in the meantime my suggestion is that you may wish to use this as an excuse to finally update to a more current browser. FYI — and for what it's worth, 83% of the visitors to this site are using MS Internet Explorer.
December 19, 2002
Telling The Story is a new article that explores differences in the way that pros and amateurs approach the question of "how much to shoot".
Canon has now released their latest File Viewer Utility for Mac OS X. This program allow RAW file conversion for all current Canon digital cameras, including the latest 1Ds. It is available as a free download.
Not free, and in fact over-priced in my opinion, is Phase One's Capture One software for the Canon 1D and 1Ds. It was announced at Photokina and made available as a free 30 day trial download last month when the 1Ds began to ship. Phase One has now announced commercial availability, from dealers as well as a download from their web site, at a price of U.S. $600. After 3 weeks of daily use, and after considering the final price, I have decided that I will not be buying the software. In a follow-up to my review I discuss why.
Steve Kossack's Yosemite Winter Workshop is now sold out. Thanks from Steve to everyone that expressed an interest in it.
December 18, 2002
Phil Askey at DPReview has just published his long-awaited review of the Canon 1Ds. It is superbly done, as his reviews usually are, and you can read it for yourself. But at the risk of appearing to be an ongoing 1Ds evangelist allow me to quote Phil's closing comments... "What more can I say? I love this camera, it's addictive, you get the first hit when you pick it up, look through the viewfinder and press that shutter release, it's one of the most effective and rewarding photographic tools you can use. The next hit comes when you see the images on a monitor (and prints look even better still). Simply the best (at the time of writing this review."
To further annoy those who think I'm somehow 'in Canon's pocket', here's an excerpt from a colleague of mine who recently finished a location shoot of his own with his 1Ds... "I'm still on the ninth cloud of incredulousness...the resolution of the 1Ds is quite extraordinary. I've been doing a number of 13 by 19s and just sit staring at them in awe ! Some of the desert shots with the texture of the sand are beyond words." This is from a talented fine-art photographer with some 30+ years of experience, who until recently has been shooting medium format, but who has now sold his entire Rollei 6008 outfit.
So, to address the obvious — why do I publish such enthusiastic links and references? Not because I have any relationship with Canon (I don't , and don't even own stock in the company). But rather because there is a revolution going on, and at the moment the Canon 1Ds is the forerunner in this revolution. Maybe in a few months it will be a camera from Nikon, or someone else — at which point I'll be pleased to sing its praise instead. In the meantime, over the past 3 months almost a half million people have read my multi-part 1Ds review and commentary, and so clearly there a great deal of interest about it in the photographic community. No, not everyone can or will be able to buy this camera. But understanding what it can do will tell photographers a lot about where the industry is going and what more mainstream and affordable cameras will be like over the next few years. And that I think is worthwhile.
December 17, 2002
The concept of negative space exists in art, and can be a compelling compositional element in photography. In this new article I explore the concept using a recent nature photograph as an example.
In my article last week titled 1700 frames, detailing my experience shooting that many frames with a Canon 1Ds on a shoot in New Mexico, I wrote a strongly worded complaint that it can be slow to change modes on Canon Image Stabilized lenses when shifting from stationary to moving subjects.
A reader kindly wrote to let me know that there is in fact a solution to this problem. To my knowledge, this information has not appeared in print anywhere else till now. If this is the case, the question is — why hasn't Canon told us this?
Update #1: I have been informed by a reader that there is a Canon Technical Report on their IS technology that can be found on Canon Germany's web site. This PDF file provides some worthwhile information on IS technology that I haven't seen elsewhere.
Update #2: Some readers have called me to task for stating in my Whither Nikon article of yesterday that full-frame imaging chips would be coming down in price as a consequence of Moore's Law. I have now added the following comment to that article."I am aware that Moore's Law applies to chip speed and density, not manufacturing yields. But it is also clear that as demand for large surface area chips increases these too will see price reductions due to advances in fabrication techniques".
December 16, 2002
Nikon's announcement last week of the first lens in a new line of reduced coverage DX lenses for its D Series digital cameras struck me as curious. While I understand the need for the first lens that is to be made available in the series — a 12-24mm zoom that gives the equivalent of 18-35mm on full-frame, that there would be additional reduced coverage lenses seemed not to make much sense.
After pondering the implications of this I have now written an editorial titled Whither Nikon, in which I explore this topic in some detail. Is the emperor wearing any clothes?
December 15, 2002
Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning column for this week is titled Confessions of a Cameraholic. How do you reflect in this mirror?
Earlier this year I reviewed several interesting Photoshop plugins from theimagingfactory. They now have an expanded range of useful programs that have been upgraded to Version 2, and which features compatibility with Mac OS X as well as Win XP. Since these are available as downloads with free 30 days trials they are well worth checking out. I use several of them on a regular basis.
December 14, 2002
A field report on the new Canon EOS 1Ds, based on 1700 frames taken over a 4 days period, is now online. The venue was a landscape and wildlife workshop which I conducted last week in southern New Mexico.
My formal review of the 1Ds is to be found in the current (Jan / Feb 2003) issue of Photo Techniques magazine, currently on newsstands. And, for those of you who are saying to themselves, "Enough already with the 1Ds", I agree. It has now simply become part of my equipment arsenal and we'll be moving on to other more varied topics in the days ahead.
Chris Breeze has just announced the release of BreezeBrowser v2.4. It features the ability to perform RAW conversion on Canon 1Ds, S45 and G3 camera files.
Ever since the server's crash last weekend the Discussion Forum has had very slow response times. We are trying to figure out what the problem is and will fix it as soon as possible. The main site's response times fortunately seem to be unaffected.
December 11, 2002
Australian fine-art nature photographer Nick Rains has contributed a new essay on The Ethics of Filter Use.
If you're following with interest the forthcoming release of the Kodak DCS 14n, Kodak U.K. now has the following update information available on their web site.
December 10, 2002
Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning column for this week is about lenses — How Many is Too Many? It was delayed due to my being offline for the past 5 days.
Kodak has announced that the DCS Pro 14n camera has been delayed until mid-January due to continuing refinement of the firmware. For those that can't wait Kodak now have online the full 214 page camera manual. It's a 20MB download.
Speaking of big downloads, I just shot some 1,700 frames with my new Canon 1Ds over a 4 day period in New Mexico. That's 17 Gigabytes worth of files. It's going to take a few days for both me and my computer to start digesting these, but I hope to have some images online shortly, and also a continuation of my 1Ds field report.
December 9, 2002
I have just returned this evening from conducting a 4 day wildlife and landscape workshop in New Mexico. I discovered that on Sunday morning at 4am EST this site's server crashed and the site was off-line until 11pm EST today. Conjecture on some of the discussion boards that this was as the result of anything other than a simple crash are without any basis in fact.
I apologies for any inconvenience.
Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning column will appear tomorrow. There's also a great deal of other new content coming up this week so check back soon.
December 5, 2002
Needless to say, the new Canon EOS 1Ds has fired the imagination of many photographers; those that have taken delivery within the past week or so as well as those who are giving the purchase some thought. I have therefore started ongoing Field Notes which will chronicle my experiences with this landmark camera in the weeks and months ahead. The first installment looks at taking delivery, batteries issues, image noise (hah! — what noise?), and other early impressions.
I have now left for a 5 day workshop / wildlife and landscape shoot which I am conducting in Bosque del Apache and White Sands New Mexico. This will be the 1Ds' inaugural real-world shoot, and I'm eager to see how it does. Two of the workshop members will also be working with their new 1Ds', so we'll have lots of impressions and mutual feedback to share. Look for a comprehensive write-up when I return next week.
In the meantime I am now offline and unable to respond to e-mails or Forum messages until next Tuesday, Dec 10.
Video Journal orders are processed automatically. If you are not already familiar with this remarkable photographic resource, I urge you to find out more now.
December 3, 2002
One of the disadvantages of the current generation of 6 MP digital SLRs, like the Canon D60, Nikon D100 or Fuji S2, is that with their 1.5X or 1.6X cropping factors wide angle coverage is seriously limited. But there is a solution!
Today I review the Canon 15mm rectangular fisheye lens (Nikon has a similar 16mm) used in conjunction with ImageAlign software. When used together this combination gives undistorted very wide angle coverage with current digital SLRs and ultra-wide angle coverage with film bodies and full-frame DSLRs. The review can be found here.
December 2, 2002
At long last Wilhelm Imaging Research is back online. How long has it been off? About 18 months as far as I can recall. The new site seems pretty sparse at the moment but hopefully in the months ahead we will once again see the kind of print permanence information that used to be provided.
Issue #6 of the Video Journal is now shipping. This new issue contains almost 2 hours of content. Current subscribers can expect to receive their copies within the next week to ten days, depending on the mails and where in the world you live.
If you're not already a subscriber, why not find out more. The Video Journal is a unique DVD-video based "magazine" that will play on almost any PC, Mac or set-top DVD player, anywhere in the world. It is of broadcast quality and has no regional coding. By subscribing you're not only gaining a tremendous photographic resource but you're also supporting the continued excellence of this site.
December 1, 2002
There will not be a Sunday Morning article by Mike Johnston's this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Mike's column will resume next weekend.
I have now had my Canon EOS 1Ds for several days, and will add some further impressions to my 5-part pre-production camera review beginning in a few days. Simultaneous with the camera's release last week Phase One made available their new RAW file converter and file processing software designed specifically for the 1D and 1Ds — Capture One. My review of this remarkable new software is now online.
Southwestern landscape photographer and guide Steve Kossack, is conducting a winter landscape workshop in Yosemite National Park in mid-February. Steve knows this world-famous National Park like the back of his hand. In winter there are no crowds and wonderful opportunities to make photographs totally unlike those produced in summer.
This is not a Luminous Landscape workshop, but Steve has been co-instructor on many of my workshops, and has been highly regarded by participants. Several have subsequently hired him for private tours of the region. Recommended!
November 30, 2002
Rumours and Rumbles
I normally don't publish rumours, though I do hear a lot of them, but one that comes from a well informed source is worth pondering. Apparently at the PMA show in early March one of the major camera manufacturers will be announcing a new DSLR that uses a new 10 Megapixel, full-frame Foveon chip. Who it is, price, other features and availability are unknown, but all I can say is — let the games begin!
When Kodak announced the DSC Pro 14n full-frame 14 MP camera at Photokina in September it was to ship in December and have a street price of $4,000. The price has now crept up to $5,000, and it appears that shipments won't begin until January or even February. The 11MP Canon 1Ds on the other hand had its price reduced from $9,000 to $8,000 and has started shipping on schedule in November. Whichever manufacturer it is that's going to be using the new Foveon chip, (and I have my strong suspicions) there seems to be a very nice parking spot between these two price points and feature sets.
One final observation. CMOS technology (which the Foveon uses, as does Canon, and Kodak as well in the 14n) appears to have become the chip of choice for high-end cameras, winning out over CCDs. What a change from just 2 years ago when the pundits were touting the superiority of CCD and claiming that CMOS was too noisy.
November 29, 2002
Issue #6 of the Video Journal is now shipping — or at least it will be on Monday morning, right after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. This new issue contains almost 2 hours of content. Current subscribers can expect to receive their copies within the next week to ten days, depending on the mails and where in the world you live.
If you're not already a subscriber, why not find out more. The Video Journal is a unique DVD-video based "magazine" that will play on almost any PC, Mac or set-top DVD player, anywhere in the world. It is of broadcast quality and has no regional coding. By subscribing you're not only gaining a tremendous photographic resource but you're also supporting the continued excellence of this site.
Uwe Steinmueller at Digital Photo Outback has done a comparison of Canon 1Ds output with scanned Provia 100F. The scans were professionally done using a 5600 PPI drum scanner. The images speak for themselves.
The site's new seasonal Home Page photograph was taken with my new Canon 1Ds, and a larger version as well as technical data is now online as well. All I can say is that I'm knocked out by the image quality and I can't wait until next week when I get to shoot with it in New Mexico on a 4 day wildlife and landscape workshop which I'll be conducting. I'll also shortly have online an on-going article that chronicles my shooting experiences with this new landmark camera.
November 28, 2002
Ever since the first digital SLRs became available a lot of misinformation and nonsense has appeared online about what the magnification or cropping factor is, how it works, and its drawbacks and benefits. Contributor, and leading Australian landscape and nature photographer Nick Rains now provides us with a tutorial on Understanding the DSLR Magnification Factor.
Today is Thanksgiving in the United States and I'd like to wish all my U.S. readers and friends a safe, happy and healthy holiday weekend.
November 27, 2002
Those who placed their deposits early and who have been waiting eagerly for their new Canon EOS 1Ds will be very pleased to learn that Canon U.S. has announced that shipments to dealers have now begun. Canon Canada, Hong Kong and U. K. have also started shipping. Likely in most other countries as well. In fact I just picked up my 1Ds yesterday at my dealer in Toronto.
If you're interested in ordering a 1Ds please be aware that shipments will be very slow for some months, and availability very limited. Also, because of the scarcity there will be no discounting available. If you place an order now you can expect to have to pay anything from a large deposit to the full price upon placing your order. My advise is to work through a local pro dealer rather than the mail order houses.
I have several major wildlife and landscape shoots coming up in the next few months, including workshops that I'll be conducting in Bosque del Apache / White Sands and Costa Rica. You can expect to see portfolios from those shoots as well as additional test reports here in the days ahead. And, yes, I am expecting a Kodak 14n for testing soon and plan on doing an extensive field comparison between the two cameras.
Phil Askey of DPReview has just posted his long-awaited review of the Sigma SD9. This is the first, and so far only camera to utilize the Foveon imaging chip. My impression from Phil's conclusions is that this is a worthy camera, but I'm still left with the question — who is going to buy it, since it only can use Sigma lenses in Sigma's proprietary lens mount? Certainly not someone who already has an investment in any other manufacturer's glass. If a major manufacturer picks up this chip and brings it out in a 6MP or larger size then we'll really have something!
November 26, 2002
How about 11 days on an African Photo Safari / Workshop in January of 2004? It's only 13 months away and I am now in the planning stages for just such a workshop. It will be conducted by me in conjunction with Andy Biggs, who spent 5 weeks shooting in East Africa earlier this year. This will be on opportunity of a lifetime to do wildlife and landscape photography in one of the world's most spectacular locations.
Read the preliminary outline. If you're interested, complete the information request form and put yourself on the waitlist. No obligation of course.
If you are interested in an equally exotic landscape and wildlife workshop that's now just 3 months away, have a look at my Costa Rica workshop announcement. There are a few places left, but time is quickly running out.
November 25, 2002
Canon D60 owners will want to know that Canon has now made available an update to this camera's firmware. This new version is 1.0.4. It cleans up a couple of file writing bugs. Updating the software is simple and only takes a few minutes once the file is downloaded. Full instructions are provided.
I have added a new photograph, taken this past weekend on a small boat off the coast of Florida, to my Miscellaneous Moments page.
November 24, 2002
Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning column for this week concerns his favourite lens, the 50mm Pentax SMC Takumar and its many variations.
November 23, 2002
James Pierce is an Australian landscape photographer. Today he provides us with a fascinating look at the Victorian High Country, with photographs taken with the unique Hasselblad XPan.
Fred Miranda has just published an excellent review of the Canon 1Ds, including numerous high quality samples. What I particularly enjoyed about Fred's review is that he is a digital photographer, and doesn't bring a film background and bias to the game. This review is a must -read for anyone interested in this remarkable new camera.
Outbackphoto.com has also today completed their 1Ds review, this time including a comparison with a 4X5" digital back.
November 22, 2002
Notwithstanding its name Nikondigital.org covers both Nikon and Canon digital camera gear. The site is by Moose Peterson & David J. Cardinal. Moose is a highly regarded nature and wildlife photographer who has been working digitally for some years. They have just published a review of the Canon 1Ds.
We will be seeing more reviews of production cameras over the next few days now that Canon has lifted their embargo on published pictures taken with this camera. The fact that they imposed this embargo on reviewers is strange, but the mind of marketing departments tends to be beyond my comprehension much of the time. My review, and photographs taken with a pre-production 1Ds done in late September, the week the camera was announced, can be found here.
November 21, 2002
Issue #6 of the Video Journal ships to subscribers next week. I have now placed online brief video clips that give a preview of some of the content in this new issue. Included in Issue #6 are a review of the new Canon EOS 1Ds, the Leica M7 and f/1.0 Noctilux lens, a tutorial on the use of graduated neutral density filters, a tutorial on digital image blending, a look at a Fall Colour workshop in Great Smoky National Park, and a lot more.
These video clips are small, low resolution Quicktimes. Of course the Video Journal is filmed in broadcast quality digital video and reproduced on DVD. These disks play on any DVD video player (PC, Mac or set-top) anywhere in the world.
You mean you're not a subscriber yet? For shame. Find out more now. View the clips and subscribe. You'll be supporting this site and also receiving a unique source of information designed for serious photographers.
November 20, 2002
Today's new article is by regular contributor Steve Kossack and is a review of the unique Lightning Trigger. Want to take daylight landscape photographs that include lightning? This is the ticket.
I am one of the featured photographers in a new book titled The Best of Nature Photography. Published by Amhert Media, this book features the work of 40 top nature and wildlife photographers, including Art Morris, John Sexton and Jim Zuckerman. The book contains more than 150 photographs and detailed articles on how these photographers work. I'm honored to be part of this talented group. Naturally, I recommend the book highly. (I would even if I wasn't in it. It's a great book).
November 19, 2002
The Contax N Digital was a hot topic for the past two years. Remember? A full-frame 6MP digital SLR using Zeiss lenses. How bad could it be? Well, we never really were able to find out. After almost a 2 year delay the camera finally started shipping last spring, but nary a review was to be found. I tried to get a review sample many times, but without success.
A major review of the N Digital has now appeared in the French magazine Chasseur d'Images, and it goes a long way toward explaining what's been going on. My thoughts and experiences on this topic are now found in my Contax 1N Digital Non-Review.
Unfortunately the Leonid Meteor storm was a no-show for me here in Southern Ontario, and for many people in the Northeast. We had heavy overcast and so I stayed in bed.
November 18, 2002
Every now and then a new piece of software comes along that either does something in a new or different way, or even something that's never been done before. Archive Creator is one such program. If you shoot digitally, or produce a lot of scans, then our exclusive review will explain why this remarkable new program is a must-have.
A reminder to existing Video Journal subscribers. Issue #6 is now at the duplicator and will be shipped to current subscribers very soon. If your subscription is about to expire — don't let it! Resubscribe now. You'll be glad you did. If you are not yet a subscriber, why don't you find out why the Video Journal is one of the most unique, enjoyable and informative resources for the serious photographer to be found anywhere in the world.
November 17, 2002
Nothing excites some photographer's passions more than the differences between top-ranked lenses. How many photons can dance on the head of a Summicron? The two greatest lens rivals have always been Leica and Zeiss and in this week's Sunday Morning sermon Mike Johnston address the question Leica vs. Zeiss: Whose Lenses are Best?
November 16, 2002
Effective today the Critique Competition section of this site has been suspended. I know that a lot of people have enjoyed it these past two years, and I too am sad to see it go. But my work and travel schedule has gotten to the point that the time expend on this section had become out of proportion to what I have available. With as many as a dozen submissions a day, every day, I also know that I was disappointing a lot of people by not being able to include their work. I hope to bring this feature back in the new year in a different way.
I have today added a new regular feature titled Miscellaneous Moments in which I feature and analyze one of my own recent photographs that hasn't otherwise appeared in a review, test report or travel article.
November 15, 2002
Anyone with an interest in wildlife photography has dreamed of an African photo safari. Contributor Andy Biggs has lived that dream and shares with us some of his experiences, and technical issues related to spending 5 weeks shooting digitally in east Africa.
November 14, 2002
Next Monday evening / Tuesday morning (Nov. 18-19) the earth will experience the last great meteor storm of the next quarter century — the 2002 Leonids. Last year's storm was quite spectacular and this year's promises to be every bit as good. If you missed viewing and photographing it last year (or screwed up the way I did), this is the last chance that most of us will have in our lifetimes to experience such an event.
My latest article describes the issues involved in photographing meteor showers in general and this one in particular. If you can get to a good dark site, well away from city lights, and are fortunate enough to have clear skies, it's going to be quite a treat.
November 12, 2002
A week ago my exclusive review of the new Hasselblad H1 autofocus 645 camera was published on photo.net. It now appears on these pages as well. Photo.net had asked me to attend a Hasselblad press conference in New York for them and to provide their readers with the world's first hands-on review of this important new camera.
During the past week that review has had more than 35,000 readers on the photo.net site, and not a little bit of controversy. The Zeiss zealots, the Fuji flusterers, the 6X6 sycophants, the bokeh boosters and the autofocus autocrats have vented their collective spleens (see the bottom of that page). My current take, after a bit of additional reflection, is that the only thing that the H1 has going against it is the price, which is not at all in line with current market expectations. See what you think.
Ps: Anyone who writes to me about the bad bokeh on the photograph of the model will be severely punished. I've read enough nonsense on this, thank you.
November 10, 2002
Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning column this week is titled On Photography Magazines, and is a look at the current state of the industry, including what's working, and what isn't.
November 9, 2002
Fall colour is quickly coming to an end most places in the northern hemisphere, but I thought I'd share with you some thoughts on my approach to shooting this most popular of landscape subjects. The article is titled Photographing Fall Colour (what else?) and is illustrated with images from a shoot done last week in the Catskill mountains of upstate New York.
November 7, 2002
Regular readers will note that the photograph at the top of the Home page of this site has changed to something more seasonal. This shot was taken last week in the Catskill mountains of upstate New York. An article on shooting Fall colour will appear in a day or so.
I have heard from a number of readers recently that they are unable to find Epson 2200 printers, with dealers claiming that they don't know when they will receive more stock. Looking into the story behind this I received the following information from one of my contacts at Epson...
"The situation on the Stylus Photo 2200 is similar in Canada and the US. We underestimated demand on this printer and are unable to make short-term changes to our production capacity. Currently, production is fulfilling about 1/2 - 1/3 of monthly demand. This is not a situation that will be rectified in the near future as both countries have significant back-order lists at the moment, and the factory producing the unit has performed perfectly, but simply cannot manufacture the additional units we could sell.
There was a strike at the City of Industry port in Long Beach, CA (where our units enter North America). This complicated things as none of our units landed for a period of several weeks. There is a back-to work effort that is seeing some improvement, but apparently they are not yet back to full work capacity."
So, if you're keen on getting an Epson 2200 sooner rather than later my suggestion is to contact an Epson pro dealer and get on a waiting list.
Video Journal Update: We are now a few weeks late with Issue #6 of The Video Journal. The main reason for this was that we wanted to include my on-camera review of the recently announced Canon 1Ds. The good news is that we are just completing the issue and it will go to the duplicator shortly. Subscribers can therefore expect to receive Issue #6 by the end of the month.
November 6, 2002
Alain Briot's column for November is in the form of a response to the numerous questions that he receives from photographers on selling prints.
I'd like to apologize to the many people who have submitted photographs to the competition during the past few weeks that were not included in the October competition. My heavy travel schedule prevented me from spending as much time on this as I would have liked. The best of these submissions will be included among November's entries, to be added to in the days ahead.
November 4, 2002
My report on the PhotoPlus Expo show in New York this past weekend is now online. There has not been any attemtpt on my part to be comprehensive. The products discussed are simply the ones that I found to be of interest.
I also would like to add that on Thursday evening I met with about 16 site regulars and some industry friends for dinner. We all had a ball, and I want to thank everyone for coming. Same time next year!
Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning column for this week is now online, (I think we'll change the name to Sunday Evening).
November 3, 2002
One of the purposes of my trip to New York last week was to attend a special press preview of the just-announced Hasselblad H1. This is a 645 format autofocus camera — Hasselblad's first in both categories. My review is also the first to appear anywhere in the world, and it is found exclusively this week as a special report on photo.net.
November 2, 2002
Late on Friday night I returned from a 4 day trip to New York city. I attended a press launch of the new Hasselblad H1 medium format camera; spent a day covering the PhotoPlus Expo show, and I enjoyed a dinner on Thursday evening with some 18 Luminous Landscape regulars. I also traveled each way by car through the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York during the peak of Fall colours.
It will take me a day or two to get caught up, but when I do be prepared for some interesting reports. I'll also get to the large volume of e-mails, Forum messages, as well as the monthly Critique Contest over the next few days as well.
Special Report 1: The price of the Canon 1Ds has now been officially set at U.S. $7,999. This is the subject of considerable debate online and so I have weighed in with my thoughts in a piece titled Canon 1Ds Pricing.
Special Report 2: In Friday's keynote speech at PhotoPlus Expo Adobe demonstrated a technology preview of a Photoshop plug-in that will directly import RAW files from digital cameras. I'll have more on this in my show report, which should be online by Sunday evening EDT.
October 29, 2002
One of the most famous jazz pianists of the past half century is Oscar Peterson. What most people aren't aware of is that he is also an enthusiastic photographer, and has been for most of his life.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Oscar about his life in photography for an upcoming issue of The Video Journal. I also had an opportunity to informally take his portrait, and that photograph and a description of the session is now online at Oscar Peterson — A Portrait.
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I am now in New York for PhotoPlus Expo, the largest consumer photographic and imaging show of the year. (Photokina and PMA are larger, but are trade only). Many of the new products that were first shown at Photokina in Germany last month will be on display, and there a press preview for a major new camera system which I'll be attending. I'll have a report here on anything and everything that catches my interest when I return next weekend.
October 28, 2002
This week Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning column appears today — on Monday, but it will — I'm sure — annoy some photographers regardless of which day it's published on. (Just kidding Mike; sort of).
October 27, 2002
Australian photographer Nick Rains, a frequent editorial contributor to this site, has weighed in to the current film vs. digital debate with an article titled Digital is Not Film. I thank Nick for his reasoned arguments, and also the literally dozens of readers who have written in on this unnecessarily acrimonious topic. At this point though I think we're all ready to move on.
October 26, 2002
Few of my essays have generated as much reader comment as the one I published yesterday titled Telling It Like It Is. I have now created a special page with a selection of these responses. Thanks to everyone for your comments, and also your support of this site.
October 25, 2002
If you're a regular reader of this site you know that we also publish the world's only DVD video based "magazine" for photographers. The Luminous Landscape Video Journal. If you haven't already done so, take a moment to find out more about this unique resource for serious photographers. For the cost of a few rolls of film you can support this site as well as enjoy this highly informative and entertaining journal. (These disks will play on virtually any PC / Mac or TV connected DVD player, anywhere in the world). Here's what current subscribers are saying.
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During the past two years I have tested digital SLRs on several occasions and have stated clearly that their image quality can exceed that of scanned film. Because I was an early herald of this dramatic change in the state of our industry some have taken me to task for this position. Now I am seeing mainstream and even conservative critics and photographers finally begining to appreciate the nature of the changes that we're experiencing. But not everyone.
I have written an essay titled Telling It Like It Is that explores this topic, who to believe, and why.
This article also contains some previously unpublished photographs from my recent wildlife and landscape shoot in Yellowstone.
October 24, 2002
Have you ever needed to put a lens from one brand of camera on another? How about putting a medium format lens on a 35mm camera? Does the idea of having tilt and shift capability intrigue you, even if your camera maker doesn't offer a lens with this capability? In that case you need to know about Zörk.
No, not Zork the computer adventure game, but Zörk the German manufacturer of weird and wonderful adaptors. My review of their Panorama Shift Adaptor and Pro Shift Adapter is now online.
October 22, 2002
Image processing software has become one of the hot new areas of interest for photographers. New tools are eagerly awaited as more and more people take up working with their photographs on their computers, and anything that makes life simpler and faster is welcome.
One important new package that is coming out next week is PhotoKit, a Photoshop plug-in written by some of the industry's leading imaging gurus. My first-look review is now online.
I have previously favourably reviewed iCorrect EditLab. This program is now available as Version 3.0, and features a number of enhancements, including Photoshop 7, Mac OS X and Windows XP support in addition to an enhanced user interface and new features. Recommended.
Another worthwhile package previously reviewed on these pages, Photoshop plug-ins from The Imaging Factory, have now been upgraded to Version 2.0 and comparability with Mac OS X.
October 20, 2002
Rob Galbraith, a respected photojournalist, has just published a review of a pre-production Canon EOS 1Ds. While his camera had some unfortunate functional problems which mine didn't, nevertheless his impressions of the 1Ds paralell mine in many respects. He writes, "At its best, the preproduction EOS-1Ds body in hand here generates photos that match or exceed the level of clarity of the best 6x6 Hasselblad and Mamiya 6x7 prints I've ever made."
While some have expressed concern with my comparison of 1Ds output with that of scanned film and inkjet prints (which I can't agree with — but that's another story), Rob has done his comparison with "fibre-based and RC custom prints from TMax 100 B&W vs both colour and black...", as well.
He writes, "The smallest landscape detail in EOS-1Ds frames holds up at or beyond the level of the traditional darkroom prints, even when comparing at the equivalent of a 16 x 20 inch enlargement. I'm talking about fine, smooth, photographic detail, free from sharpening-induced pixelation or other digital oddities."
October 20, 2002
October 19, 2002
Imaging Resource has just published an addition to his preview Canon 1Ds test. Dave has just received a sample of a production 1Ds and he has posted a comparison with shots taken with a D60. (Canon appears to be right on schedule. Production samples were supposed to start appearing just about now, though retail shipments aren't due for another month or so.)
No surprises in his evaluation against the D60. But interestingly, he also compares the 1Ds' resolution to that of a shot of the same subject taken earlier with a 4X5" view camera on Fuji Velvia, and drum scanned on a Crosfield drum scanner to a final image size of about 400 MB. His conclusion —
"What's interesting to me is how much sharper the 1Ds' image is.... What I do find illuminating though, is that this film shot was the result of the best efforts of a practicing (and successful) commercial photographer to produce maximum sharpness with his 4x5 view camera. And that a relatively casual effort by an amateur (me) resulted in dramatically better detail from the 1Ds."
Dave cautions that no firm conclusions should be drawn from this casual experiment, but his experience so far with the 1Ds' image quality certainly mirrors mine. It looks like this is going to be a milestone camera. (Of course the yobos are going to have a field day discussing this on the Boards. Yes it is. No it isn't. Can't be. But, but but...)
October 18, 2002
Since my article on photography in Iceland was published a few months ago it has proven to be one of my most popular travel pieces, and a surprising number of photographers have written to say that they'd like to join my planned workshop there in 2004. In the meantime I now have online a new page about an worthwhile Geographic style magazine that has just started publication in Iceland, and also about a campaign to prevent a major corporate ecological rape in that country that needs your support.
New Critique Competition submissions for this month have also been added.
October 17, 2002
Most serious landscape photographers use split neutral density filters (grads) to tame the extreme contrast range that sometimes is encountered in nature. But these can be expensive to purchase as well as slow to use. If you shoot with a digital SLR then there's now a better way. My new tutorial titled Digital Blending consists of three seperate Photoshop techniques that allow you to expand dynamic range when shooting with a digital camera. One of them will be just right for you.
Video Journal subscribers please note that this topic will be the Featured Tutorial in Issue #6 — which you will receive in November. If you're not yet a subscriber, why not find out more about how to subscribe. Don't miss an issue.
October 15, 2002
My Yellowstone & Grand Teton wildlife and landscape portfolio is now online. It contains several images from the trip and a detailed discussion on both the locations, and how the images were made. Additional images from that prolific shoot will appear as illustrations in another article later in the week.
October 13, 2002
Because I was traveling last week Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning column for October 6th didn't appear. It is now online. In it Mike describes the importance of editing, something that I can relate to right now as I have just spent the past 48 hours reviewing the 1,800 frames that I shot last week in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. My portfolio from that trip will appear here tomorrow.
Miles Hecker has now updated his Digital Quality article with preliminary statistics for the Canon 1Ds and Kodak 14n cameras.
October 11, 2002
I have just returned from a week-long wildlife and landscape shoot in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. We were very fortunate as the Fall colours were are their peak and we had ideal weather. I will have a full write-up and portfolio online within the week.
I reported earlier today that an e-mail had arrived from a reader in Japan informing me that the Canon 1Ds is now on sale there, and that the price at one of Tokyo's largest camera retailers was ¥ 650,000 — about U.S. $5,280. This information turns out to have been in error. I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. The best information that I have right now (from sources in both Japan and the U.S.) is that shipments will start on a small scale in late November and that the price will be about $6,000. Time will tell.
We today begin what is going to be a steady stream of exciting new articles, tutorials and product reviews in the coming weeks with a photographic guide to Bryce Canyon National Park, by contributor Bruce Wilson.
October 4, 2002
I am now offline until Friday, October 11th. I am on a Fall wildlife shoot in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Any e-mails sent to me during the coming week will be responded to upon my return. Order processing for The Video Journal is automated and therefore will not be affected in any way. Lots of great new articles and reviews are coming up later this month. Have a great week.
October 3, 2002
Part 5, the concluding segment to my multi-part field test of the just-announced Canon EOS 1Ds, is now online. This has been a very enjoyable, but exhausting week. The camera has been a great pleasure to use but a challenge to test appropriately. Fortunately I had another photographer working alongside me for the last two days helping to conduct the review — someone with some considerable expertise in digital imaging — Thomas Knoll, the original author of Photoshop. I hope that you have enjoyed reading the report this past week as much as I did writing it.
October 2, 2002
I have just returned from a 2 day shoot in north central Ontario, concluding my field test of a pre-production Canon EOS-1Ds. Part 5, the final segment of the report, will appear online tomorrow.
A photograph taken with the 1Ds last week in Florida is now my Featured Image for September.
The winner of the September Critique Competition is Jason Clark of Mesa, Arizona. Congratulations! Jim wins a copy of the current issue of The Video Journal. There were many fine entries this month and so choosing a winner was very difficult. Also, due to travel and workload I was unable to include a great many interesting submissions that were received in the second half of the month. These will be carried over and considered for inclusion as part of the October competition.
September 30, 2002
Part 4 of my Canon EOS 1Ds field report is now online. It examines the issues of dynamic range, user interface, and resolution and cropping. It is illustrated with some photographs from my weekend trip to Florida, all taken with the 1Ds.
On Monday and Tuesday I will be heading up to the Bruce Peninsula area of Northern Ontario for a couple of days of landscape and nature photography with the 1Ds, and I will therefore be offline. Chris Sanderson and I will be filming a report on the Canon 1Ds for the next issue of The Luminous Landscape Video Journal during this shoot. Therefore my next and final installment of the report will appear on Wednesday or Thursday.
If you have any interest in photographing Polar Bears in Churchill Manitoba this Fall, this is the year to do it. Scott Woodcox of WoodLife Photography and Tours has two workshops coming up, and because there are still unfilled spots he is offering a 50% discount. (Please note that this tour is not associated in any way with The Luminous Landscape. This announcement appears here for informational purposes only).
September 29, 2002
Part Three of my Canon EOS 1Ds field report is now online. In it I explore how the camera handles skin tones, the issue of dust, the use of wide-angle lenses with a full-frame sensor, a resolution evaluation, and the camera's noise performance.
My Photokina Report was updated with several new items today, and I expect to provide additional items tomorrow as the show draws to a close.
In the meantime Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning column this week is titled Kodak Fights Back. You won't want to miss it.
September 28, 2002
I'm sure that many of you are waiting eagerly for Part 3 of my Canon EOS 1Ds field report. It's going to be delayed somewhat I'm afraid. I've had to go to southern Florida for the weekend for a family event, and while I have the camera with me, and will continue with my testing, I won't be able to file a report each day.
Then on Monday I'll be heading up to the Bruce Peninsula area of Northern Ontario for a couple of days of landscape and nature photography with the 1Ds and will be offline. (That's what this is all about isn't it? Taking photographs.) This all means that for the next 5 days or so my reports will be intermittent.
September 27, 2002
Yesterday was my second day testing the new Canon EOS 1Ds. I was able to redo the comparison with the D60, which was botched the day before, and I have also done an evaluation of noise levels at various ISO settings, looked at the issue of Moire and anti-aliasing, as well as some other issues. All of this is available in Part 2 of my ongoing 1Ds evaluation. If you have not yet read Part 1, please read it first for the whole thing to make sense.
September 26, 2002
I spent much of yesterday testing and shooting with a pre-production Canon EOS 1Ds, Canon's just announced 11 Megapixel full-frame CMOS digital SLR. Canon Canada was kind enough to let me have this camera for testing for the next 5 days. I have now published the first of five daily hands-on reports on my experience using this camera — both doing comparison tests and using the camera in the field.
My tests and field experience with the Canon 1Ds will also be featured in the next issue of the Luminous Landscape Video Journal, to be published in November.
September 25, 2002
Dealing with large digital camera files in the field has always been a concern, but now that each shot takes between 6MB and 14MB the gigabytes build up quickly. Even if you have two or even three 1GB Microdrives, this often isn't enough for a day's shoot. And traveling with a laptop isn't always viable, so what to do?
The best current solution is a 30GB Delkin eFilm PicturePad. This is a battery operated hard disk with built-in colour LCD screen, about the size of a paperback book. It is also sold as the Nixvue Vista. My review is now online along with a second opinion by Michael Tapes, a New York photographer and author of YarcPlus.
Today, Wednesday, is the first day of Photokina, and though there have been a number of product announcements leading up to the show many more are expected as the week progresses. Keep an eye on my Photokina 2002 Update page for all the latest news.
September 24, 2002
Today is press-preview day at Photokina and we can expect many of the major announcements to be made prior to the show's opening tomorrow morning. This has already started. I will spend much of the day keeping you informed of the latest announcements. You'll find links as well as my comment and observations on my Photokina 2002 Update page. Look for frequent updates throughout the day.
September 23, 2002
The introductions of a number of high-end (and very expensive) digital SLRs is causing a lot of photographers a great deal of financial concern. My new essay entitled The Digital Revolution & Equipment Angst looks at the issue of digital camera anxiety and how to cope with it.
You will notice that rather than listing Photokina product announcements here on What's New I have now moved them to a stand-alone page called Photokina 2002 Update. There are links to this page both above, and from the site's Home Page. I will be updating the page regularly throughout the week though you can expect the bulk of new announcements tomorrow.
As you may know, Mike Johnston, the author is this site's very popular Sunday Morning column, also publishes a paper and ink newsletter called The 37th Frame. Mike has just announced that he is going to be limiting subscriptions, so if you're not already a subscriber this is the time to do so. His announcement is now online.
September 22, 2002
Have you ever suffered from metaphysical doubt regarding your 50mm lens? If so Mike Johnston has written just the Sunday Morning article for you. Kick back, pour another cup of coffee, and find out why you should or shouldn't be in a state of metaphysical doubt.
By the way, once your psychic state has stabilized, if you're not already a subscriber to The Video Journal take a minute to find out more about it. This is a unique "magazine" for the serious photographer published quarterly on DVD video by The Luminous Landscape. If you find this site of interest and value you'll find The Video Journal to be the perfect compliment to it.
September 20, 2002 — Update
The cat is sticking its head out of the bag. There is now more official information on the landmark Canon EOS 1Ds digital SLR which is due to be announced next Wednesday at Photokina. You'll find a report on the new information that's just become available here.
September 20, 2002
I spent 4 days in Venice last week during a 10-day vacation in Italy. I took some street photographs while there that aren't ones usual tourist pictures. Following on the heals of my Enigma Variations essay earlier this week this will give the documentary photographers in the audience a full ration of this type of work. The new essay is titled Venice — Off The Beaten Track.
If you're interested in a street photography workshop in Italy, Rome in October to be specific, have a look at this one being put on by Tuscana Photographic Worhops, conducted by David A. Harvey.
Photokina, the bi-annual world's fair of photography opens next Wednesday in Cologne, Germany. Quite a number of new products are going to be announced (this will be a huge year for digital). Manufacturers have already started issuing press releases, but the major announcements won't be made until the show opens. I'll post information on this page as I hear about things that I find of interest and that I think readers might as well. I won't be reporting on the huge number of point-and-shoot digicams. That's what DPReview does best.
Sigma yesterday announced several interesting new lenses. This company really seems to be moving up-market. Among the ones that readers here may find of interest are an 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 EX "OS" lens, with the OS standing for Optical Stabilized. Yup, the first such lens from anyone other than Canon and Nikon.
The second is a 300-800mm f/5.6 EX IF HSM with a constant f/5.6 aperture. Now that should be interesting! No prices or availability yet. These lenses will be available in Canon, Nikon, Minolta, Pentax and Sigma mounts.
Canon also will have new lenses. One that is known is the EF 24-70/2,8L USM, replacing the already superb 28-70mm f/2.8L. Hard to understand the raison d'etre for this lens at the moment.
September 19, 2002
A few weeks ago I favorably reviewed inCAMERA Professional, a software package for profiling digital cameras. One of my only complaints with this fine product was that the price was too high. Pictographics has just announced a special promotion. The price has been reduced to $375, and until September 30, 2002, there is an additional $75 rebate on the downloadable version, reducing the price further to $300. Who says reviewers have no influence?
September 18, 2002
Turning our attention away from equipment for a moment — in my new essay and portfolio entitled Enigma Variations I examine one of the critical factors involved in successful street photography.
September 16, 2002
Anyone who owns a digital SLR and who is looking to extract optimum image quality from their camera typically works in RAW mode. But, before these files can be accessed they must first be reviewed, and then converted to a standard file format (such as TIFF) using a RAW conversion program.
Canon provides ZoomBrowser as well as a plug-in, but most people find that this program leaves a lot to be desired in terms of convenience and flexibility. Owners of the Canon D30, D60 and 1D and have two major third-party utilities available for this purpose — Breezebrowser and YarcPlus. I have just completed a comparison between these two programs. Either of these will be a must-have for any digital Canon owner.
Nikon DSLR owners face similar issues. Uwe Steinmueller, the publisher of digital Outback photo has now published the first of a series of e-booklets (in printable PDF format). This is titled Managing the RAW File Workflow and covers the Nikon D100/D1x. The booklet is downloadable at a special price of $9.95 while it's in "beta" The regular price will be $14.95. Versions covering the Canon 1D/D60 and the Fuji S2 are in preparation. This is a well done overview of the available tools and techniques for digital imaging processing workflow. Recommended, and good value for the money.
There is now a patch file online which converts the downloadable French language version of Gray Balancer for the Epson 2200 printer into English. It was written by Thomas Fors and it is available from his web site. See my article on the Epson Gray Balancer issue titled Making Beer for more on this. Thanks Thomas — from all of us.
September 15, 2002
It's Sunday once again and in his column this week Mike Johnston examines That Classic Look — why Tri-X in D-76 1+1 is the road to B&W nirvana.
Lee Carney and Steve Kossack, both regular contributors to this site, traveled to Alaska on a shoot together last month. Lee has just published a brief write-up on that trip and the problems that they encountered. It can be found on his site. If Alaska figures in your future travel or shooting plans you may find it of interest.
September 14, 2002
I have just returned from a 10 day vacation in Rome and Venice. I even had a chance to do a bit of street photography in both cities. Once I've recovered from jet-lag and had a chance to do some scanning I hope to have some images online.
Many of you may already know this, but a couple of days ago Canon Europe accidentally (and briefly) published online their pre-Photokina press release and spilled the beans on the forthcoming EOS-1Ds. This is an 11 Megapixel full-frame CMOS camera based on the 1D body. Needless to say this is the digital SLR that many photographers have been waiting for (including myself). Of course I expect to have a hands-on review here very soon. Price and availability are not yet known but are rumoured to be around $6,000 and by year's end.
Photographer Lee Carney who last month gave us his write-up on photographing auto racing now shares with us his experience Photographing Bears at Brooks Falls in Alaska. This is one of the world's premier sites for photographing brown bears.
September 4, 2002
I am leaving today for a 10 day vacation. I will be offline until Saturday, September 14th and therefore will be unable to respond to personal e-mails or Forum postings. Video Journal subscription requests are automated, and are therefore unaffected, as are Workshop registrations.
A reminder that if you haven't yet considered subscribing to The Video Journal, why don't you take a moment to see what it's about? It is a photography publication on DVD video that explores the world of The Luminous Landscape, but in a totally unique way. Subscribing is also the way in which you can support this site. We are completely non-commercial and plan on remaining that way.
Also, if you haven't yet looked at the information about my next Workshop — a luxury winter vacation and wildlife shoot in Costa Rica next February, see if this might be something to excite and challenge you. It's going to be a remarkable trip.
There's lots of great new content coming as soon as I get back. See you then.
Because I'll be away next Sunday (September 8), Mike Johnston was kind enough to run his word processor are lightning speed and generate his Sunday Morning column a few days early. This week's topic is Readings for Practicing Photographers. Thanks Mike!
Finally, I will be away as well for the anniversary of September 11. Last year I published a photograph titled In Memoriam which was my way of honouring that dreadful event. I'm posting it again now so that we can remember both those who died and what was lost. — Michael
September 3, 2002
Many DSLR users own the Sigma 14mm f/2.8 because the 14mm lenses from Canon and Nikon are very expensive. With magnification factors of 1.3 to 1.6X, digital SLRs desperately need ultra-wide angle lenses. A 14mm becomes about a 22mm — as wide as these camera can get.
I've used the Sigma 14mm with my Canon D30 (and now with the D60) for a couple of years and found it to be a decent (though not excellent) performer. But a recent test with film, and a comparison with the new Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L, shows that the Sigma 14mm is deficient at the corners on a full-frame camera.
September 2, 2002
The winner (again) of the August Critique Competition is Leigh Perry of Sydney, Australia. Congratulations Leigh! Leigh wins a copy of the current issue of The Luminous Landscape Video Journal. The September competition is now open for submissions.
September 1, 2002
You get a double-header today. Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning Photographer column is On Self Assignment and...
Ever wonder why manufacturers, retailers, publishers and others in the photographic industry make the (sometimes stupid) decisions that they do? Why products are released in some countries and not others? Why prices for the exact same products can vary by as much as 75% between countries?
If so, then you might enjoy my new essay titled Why Don't They Get It?
August 30, 2002
It sometimes seems that every photography magazine and web site publishes a never-ending stream of Photoshop hints, tips and tutorials. This site has a few — mostly basic tutorials — but mainly I use the desktop darkroom pretty much as I did the wet darkroom, and have little interest in gimmicks and tricks.
If you are interested in a novel look though, something like a faded photograph or unrestored colour movie form the 1940s, have a look at my new tutorial on Desaturated Colour. The photographs used as illustrations were taken with the new Canon 16-35mm L wide-angle zoom on a Canon D60. I have now added an additional technique suggested by a reader.
Luminous Landscape regulars who have been suffering from withdrawal symptoms since the Discussion Forum went down last week will be pleased to note that a New Forum is now online. The forum software is new — based on Ikonboard, which many of you may already be familiar with. It is going to take me a few weeks to get the Board organized properly, but it is up, and your participation is welcome. (Links to the Discussion Forum are found at the top and bottom of every page on this site.)
The old Board software will remain online in "Read Only" mode because there are a number of interesting threads with useful information. It can be found here.
August 29, 2002
The move to the site's new server earlier this week went smoothly, but with two exceptions. The first is that the Forum is broken. At this time it is my plan to install new and better discussion forum software, but likely not for a little while. In the meantime old messages can be read, but new postings aren't possible.
The second problem is specifically with Netscape 4.7. For reasons which are still not clear this browser and version does not work properly with this site on the new server. We are investigating, but for the time being my suggestion is that if you're still running Netscape 4.7, consider upgrading to Netscape 6.2 or try Explorer 6.0.
August 28, 2002
Every now and then a camera system comes along that is either ignored or underestimated by the marketplace. The Fuji GX680 is one such system. It is popular with some studio photographers, but few consider it a suitable field camera.
But Danny Burk does. In fact in his new review he suggests that the Fuji GX680iii may possibly be the ideal landscape photography camera. Tempting — very tempting.
I will be in Rome from September 5th — 8th. If any readers from Rome would like to get together for a cappuccino and to talk about the Italian photographic scene, I'd enjoy meeting with you if our schedules permit. Drop me a line.
August 27, 2002
The move to the new server is now complete and went relatively smoothly. Combined with the reindexing of the site by Google this past weekend things should settle back to normal soon. (You can now Search The Luminous Landscape using Google. A link is found at the top of each page).
The bad news is that the Discussion Forum is seriously broken and I'm not sure what it's going to take to fix it. I am exploring a switch to new Forum software. I'll post an announcement here when there is a resolution to the issue.
I've learned that Epson 2100 purchasers in Australia do not get Epson's printer profiles on their installation CD. Why Epson Australia made this daft decision is beyond fathoming. In any event, the profiles are now on their web site and can be found here.
And, speaking of Epson sillyness, Vincent Oliver of photo-i has done the photographic community a service by publishing a comprehensive tutorial on how to download, translate and use the Gray Balancer software. It's found on his site in an article titled It's a Gray Issue For Epson USA.
Rhetorical Question: How can a company with such great technology (Epson) have such disjointed and inappropriate marketing practices around the world? It must really take an effort.
August 26, 2002
We're moving. Due to continued growth of traffic on this site it has become necessary to move to a new server. If you experience any problems, other than with the Discussion Forum, please let me know.
Also, please note that as part of this move I have had to suspend posting of new messages to the Discussion Forum. Otherwise some people would be posting to the old server and these would end up vaporizing in a few days, (the messages, not the people). Posting should be back to normal soon. Thanks for your patience.
Google has completed its re-indexing following our redesign of last month. This means that the new site-wide Search function is now fully operational. This will better help you find what you're looking for among the more than 1,400 pages of photography articles on this site. The Search button is found at the top-right of every page.
August 25, 2001
Weekly columnist Mike Johnston has now returned from his August vacation, and provides us with a report on a very cool sounding camera clinic at a retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina.
My summer vacation is coming to a close as well, and I have just added two new photographs to my Featured Images section. Summer is usually a quiet time for me, but here are two photographs (both done with the Canon D60) taken this summer at my cottage in Muskoka, Ontario.
August 24, 2002
The migration that many professional photographers are currently making to digital cameras and digital backs brings with it new and different challenges. When shooting film a photographer in need of highly accurate colour reproduction needs to be concerned that the film has been properly refrigerated and is all from the same emulsion batch. Test shots need to be done and filter packs determined, along with close consultation with the lab to ensure processing consistency.
Digital shooting changes the demands. Film consistency and processing anomalies are no longer issues. Instead camera calibration and profiling are the new concern. inCAMERA Professional is one of the new tools that anyone shooting professionally with a digital camera or back needs to consider. My review examines how this software does its job and why you may need it for the work that you do today, or may do in future.
August 23, 2002
All too often photographers simply trust the auto-exposure, auto-focus, auto-white-balance capabilities of their cameras. Usually this produces technical adequate, even very good results. But for Australian professional portrait photographer Grant Tiddy "adequate" isn't good enough. Grant therefore provides us with a tutorial on how he sets his digital camera in the studio for perfect exposure and white balance, leading to reduced Photoshop time as well.
August 20, 2002
Most photographers put their cameras away after dark. They shouldn't. There are great photographic opportunities, especially of you are shooting with a low-noise D-SLR like the Canon D60. A new article titled Night Landscape Photography explores the how-to of doing landscape photography by moonlight, without star trails.
August 18, 2002
Mike Johnston's vacation continues, so there will be no Sunday Morning article this week. He should be back in the editorial saddle by next weekend. Critique submission from the past week have now been updated.
A reminder that the 1,000+ pages of tutorials, reviews, portfolios, articles and critiques on this site are made possible by subscriptions to the Video Journal. Click on the link, or one of the ones above, and find out more. We'll both be glad that you did.
Current Video Journal subscribers are reminded that the Critique Competition, whose subject for Issue #6 is "Water", has a deadline of September 1.
August 17, 2002
Let's put the technical arcania of printer technology behind us for a while and focus on photography. Today sees the publication of an article on how to photograph car races, by Lee Carney. Lee takes us to the Molson Indy in Toronto last month for a look at what's involved in getting the best shots at a professional race.
August 16, 2002
Today sees the publication here of my final two articles on the Epson 2200 printer (for now). If you're interested in this milestone printer you'll be pleased to know that this site now contains 9 separate articles on it. (Links to each of the other 8 articles are found at the bottom of each page).
If you're not interested in the 2200, you'll be pleased to learn that beginning this weekend we'll be returning to publishing new content on a number of different photographic topics.
The final two articles on the 2200 are B&W Printing Using Photorealistic Mode, by Carl Schofield, and my exploration of various alternative Epson 2200 Printing Techniques, in Both B&W and Colour.
August 15, 2002
If you've been paying attention to the great Epson Gray Balancer Controversy you'll know that the Epson 2200 printer sold in North America does not come with the Gray Balancer that is provided to customers elsewhere in the world.
Many existing and prospective 2200 owners have asked that Epson North America put the software online so that they can download it. But, even then, without the printed gray scale reference card from Epson the software alone wouldn't be of much use.
It appears that the Gray Balancer software is indeed available online, at Epson France's web site (NB: software and manual are both in French). And, Vincent Oliver of photo-i in the U.K. has now provided us with Epson Reference Card equivalents on the Kodak Gray Scale Card.
Details can be found on my new page entitled Making Beer. (Read it and you'll see why it has that name).
August 14, 2002
I have written several reviews and articles during the past few weeks on the Epson Photo 2200 printer, Ultrachrome inks and new papers. If you've been following these you know that I regard the 2200 as the finest desktop printer yet to appear for the fine-art photographer. But, unlike for purchasers of the Epson 2100 (the same printer, as sold everywhere in the world except the U.S. and Canada), Epson is not providing us with the Gray Balancer kit. Whatever the reason for this may be, I regard it as a serious oversight, and an insult to us as loyal and enthusiastic customers.
I now have online a review of and commentary on the Gray Balancer. If you are a current or prospective purchaser of an Epson 2200 you should know that Epson North America is depriving you of a very valuable piece of software.
I believe that through this action Epson has short-changed its U.S. and Canadian customers and now needs to rectify its mistaken decision not to provide us with this valuable utility. Read the review. What do you think?
Update: Shortly after the review was published I started to receive correspondence from readers on this issue. Some of the more relevant topics will be included from now on on this page. Also, in the first version of the report, online for a few hours yesterday, I erroneously wrote that there was a missing file that prevents the 2200 from using Gray Balancer. This was from an earlier draft of the report that accidentally crept in. Sorry for any confusion.
August 13, 2002
Some time in the next 48 hours this site will be moving to a new server. The move is for strictly technical reason. There should be no interruption of service, but if there is it shouldn't last for long.
August 12, 2002
Update: I just learned mid-day Monday that Galen and Barbara Rowell perished in a plane crash over the weekend, near the Owens River south of Bishop. Two others on board also died in the crash.
Galen was one of the greats of contemporary landscape and nature photography as well as a prolific author and dedicated environmentalist. He will be missed! More.
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Two items of note today...
Item 1: The annual Perseid meteor shower begins Sunday evening and lasts for the next couple of nights. At its peak (Monday evening) as many as one per minute may be seen. Some time after midnight should produce the best viewing conditions. Of course you'll need clear skies, so hopefully one of the next few nights will prove cooperative where you are.
If you have not tried meteor photography before, why not give it a shot now? All you need are clear dark skies, a camera, tripod, and a wide lens. You can find out more about how to tackle this fascinating subject in my article on Meteor Photography.
Item 2: I have now added an update to my Epson 2200 review on how Mac owners who use OS X can take advantage of Matte Black Ink. And, I have just published a brief 2nd Opinion on the 2200, by Leon Wittwer.
August 11, 2002
Mike Johnston is on vacation and so there will not be a Sunday Morning column from him this week. Mike is probably sitting by a northern lake taking pictures with his digicam, and waiting for the shutter to eventually release. Just the thing for a slow and lazy summer day. (Just kidding Mike! Just kidding folks!)
But, so that you don't feel too content deprived this weekend I am publishing two new reviews related to the Epson 2200 / 2100 printers (and the 7600 / 9600 as well). After my review of the 2200 first appeared here a few weeks ago I went out of town and wasn't available to do much further testing. I've now had a few additional days back in the office and so you will find online a review of Epson's special Matte Black Ink, for high-quality printing on Matte papers, and also a preliminary evaluation of Epson's just released Velvet Fine Art Paper. Please come back here when you're finished reading them and check out the information below....
I am working on a review of Epson's Gray Balancer (which Epson North America doesn't want customers in the U.S. and Canada to have), and should have this report online in a few days.
A Quick Promotion —
Newcomers will soon realize, and regular readers already know, that there is nowhere else on the Net or in print that contains as much informative, controversial, up-to-the-moment, varied, opinionated, fresh, and non-commercial photographic content as does The Luminous Landscape. But, something has to pay the bills. 350 Mb of server storage and 60 Gigabytes of traffic a month don't come cheap.
We don't want donations! We don't want you to buy equipment from a favourite dealer of ours or from a specific manufacturer so that we can get a commission — the way some sites do. What we would like is for you to take a moment to find out more about a fantastic DVD video series that we produce 4 times a year called The Luminous Landscape Video Journal.
August 9, 2002
When I reviewed the new Epson 2200 printer I was irked, and took Epson to task for not installing paper and ink profiles on their PC Windows installs. They were there for the MacIntosh, but not Windows.
Then several readers started writing that they indeed had the profiles installed under Windows, while others (like me) didn't. What was going on? The mystery is now solved.
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Earlier this year Canadian naturalist and photographer Bill Caulfeild-Browne spent a month in New Zealand doing photography with the then just introduced Canon EOS-1D. His article was one of the first to appear online detailing field experience with this camera.
Bill has now had 6 more months of experience with the 1D, and in his new article, Living With The Canon 1D, he describes some recent shooting experience as well as the use of the exciting (though expensive) 400mm f/4 DO IS lens.
August 7, 2002
About 18 months I wrote and published here a tutorial titled Understanding Resolution. It has proven to be of interest to tens of thousands of readers since it first appeared. Recently I learned that photographic author Ron Harris wrote a much more detailed article by the same name ten years before.
With Ron's kind permission these two new articles are now available on The Luminous Landscape. The page is called More About — Understanding Resolution. These are reproductions of the original print articles and are in PDF format. They may therefore take a while to download, and you will need to have Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer to read them.
August 5, 2002
It's now been a month since I started running a new high-end statistics package on this site, and I thought I'd share some of the information with you. While for many this won't be of much interest, for anyone with their own web site who lacks a full-fledged stats capability some of this data may be of interest. Others may simply find that it provides an insight into the habits of follow photographers on the Net. This page will be updated regularly and is also accessable via the About This Site drop down at the top of every page.
August 4, 2002
Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning article for this week continues his exploration of the world of digital cameras. The upcoming bi-annual Photokina show in Germany as well as the potential of an Olydak announcement are among the topics examined.
August 3, 2002
How about a shoot in Sedona, Arizona this November? Red Rock Crossing, Bell Rock, Oak Creek Canyon. You can do all of these, and more, in the company of one of the West's most knowledgeable photography guides — Steve Kossack.
Steve is offering a Red Rock Crossing — Sedona Workshop over the weekend of November 14-18. Designed for photographers of all skill levels, digital or film based, this workshop is for a small number of photographers (3 people), who want to explore the beauty of the Sedona area during the late fall / early winter, in the company of an experienced guide and teacher.
Steve has been co-instructor on many of my workshops, and he is well regarded by members who subsequently hire him as a guide to the region. (This workshop is not affiliated in any way with The Luminous Landscape).
And, speaking of workshops, my Costa Rica Wildlife Workshop & Expedition scheduled for early February, 2003 still has spaces available. Most people aren't thinking about where they want to be in the depth of winter during the height of summer, but if you want to join a unique photographic trip, and bring your spouse along on a luxury winter vacation, this is the one to sign up for!
August 2, 2002
Other than for more product reviews the most frequent requests that I receive are for assistance with learning composition. This is shown through the ongoing popularity of the Critique Competition section. We all learn from viewing other photographer's work.
But, how to go about critiquing ones own work? In a new essay on this subject I have taken one of my own recent photographs and subjected it to the same analytical process as I apply to critiquing the work of others. I have also described the thought processes that I used in finalizing the composition.
August 1, 2002
The Luminous Landscape Video Journal now enters its second year of publication. Issue #5 ships today to current subscribers and should be in your mailbox by the end of next week.
Included in this new issue are a field review of the Canon D60; a winter shoot in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks; on-location Macro/Ringlight photography; a field review of the Hasselblad XPan, and Part 2 of the Digital Imaging Primer.
Existing subscribers please note — if you first subscribed last summer — beginning your subscription with Issue #1, you need to resubscribe now to ensure that you receive the new Issue #5 and future issues without interruption.
Thanks to everyone — new, current, and renewing subscribers — for your enthusiastic support during our first year of publication. Year two is going to be even better!
July 31, 2002
Due to the amount of time that the conversion to the new web site design has taken these past couple of weeks I have neglected the Critique Competition. Submission that were accepted last month are now being posted as August submissions, and I'll be caught up in a few days. The winner of the July competition is Thomas W. Earle of Oregon. Congratulations Thomas! New submission are now welcome.
Regular readers of the Critique Competition will note that the links to previous month's entries are no longer listed. They are still online, just not publicly linked at the moment. The job of reformatteeing them to the site's new design is formidable and so I've delayed this until I'm finished updating some of the more critical pages. I'll announce here when they're accessable again.
July 30, 2002
During the past two weeks, as part of his Sunday Morning series, Mike Johnston has written two articles favourable to digicams. Earlier this month I decided to have a closer look for myself at the current state of the digicam art and purchased the just-released Nikon Coolpix 5700. My review is now online, along with some not-so-favourable observations about digicams in general.
July 29, 2002
Since the publication last week of my Epson 2200 review I have received a number of enquiries as to where one can be bought.
I purchased mine from Vistek, a professional photographic retailer in Toronto. As of today they have a large inventory of 2200s and have told me that they will ship anywhere in the U.S. or Canada. You can reach them at (416) 365-1777. Ask for the digital department on the second floor.
Needless to say, I have no commercial relationship with Vistek other than as a satisfied customer.
Update: I've been informed that as of today B&H has the 2200 in stock as well.
July 28, 2002
Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning article for this week is the second of two parts on the topic of digicams. It is entitled Real Photographers Don't Use Sonys.
My review of Nikon's latest digicam, the Coolpix 5700, and a counterpoint of sorts to Mike's new-found love affair with digicams will appear in a couple of days. You won't want to miss it.
July 27, 2002
A full review of the new Nikon D100 has just been published on DPReview. This new DSLR joins the Canon D60 in pushing the price and performance envelope, with both cameras retailing at about U.S. $2,000. Just 3 years ago a 35mm digital camera with this image quality cost close to $10,000.
July 26, 2002
It has been two years since the arrival of the first archival desktop inkjet printer, the Epson 2000P. It represented a breakthrough in providing between 100 and 200 year image stability, but it had problems — among them serious metamerism and a reduced colour gamut.
The Epson Photo Stylus 2200 (2100 in Europe) has now arrived, and it is a milestone product. It is my feeling that this printer represents a new maturity in photographic desktop printing. My review explains why.
July 25, 2002
As you've no doubted noticed the site redesign is now well underway. It is more than simply cosmetic, and when competed in a week or so will allow for much simpler site navigation. For those who are curious, I've switched from Microsoft Frontpage to Macromedia DreamWeaver as my page creation and site maintenance software.
Thanks for you patience during this transition period.
July 21, 2002
Weekly columnist (and photographic curmudgeon) Mike Johnston's article for this week is entitled Just Say 'NO' to Digital SLRs! He makes some fascinating points, and as you'll see in an review coming later this week there's considerable merit to what Mike says.
The site redesign is progressing, but a bit more slowly than first anticipated. I now expect it to be completed later this week and to resume a more aggressive publishing schedule at that time.
July 17, 2002
Announcing my next major workshop — Costa Rica Wildlife Workshop 2003.
This is an 11 day trip — from Friday, January 31st through Monday, February 10th, 2003. It will combine an exciting photography workshop in one of the world's most outstanding wildlife locations together with a luxury vacation — in fascinating Costa Rica.
Co-leading this workshop with me is Fiona Reid, a world-recognized naturalist and author. Fiona has lived in Costa Rica and has personally led more than 20 tours there. I have done wildlife photography in the Costa Rican rainforest and found it to be a remarkable opportunity.
What makes this workshop unique is that it is suitable not only for photographers but also for their mates and spouses. We will be staying in 4 Star resort hotels and the pace will be conducive to those that want to be shooting as much as possible, and also those that want to have an exciting but comfortable winter vacation. What a combination!
But, there are only 6 places left available — total — photographers and spouses. So, that means that this workshop is going to sell out quickly. If you'd like to learn more click here. I hope you can make it.
July 16, 2002
The sun and moon are critical components for landscape photographers. When are they going to rise and set on any given day and location? What's the moon's phase going to be for a day you're planning of on shooting? Exactly where will they rise and set?
There are any number of print almanacs, ephemeris programs and web sites that will give you this basic astronomical data. But nothing can beat having this information in your pocket when traveling on a shoot. I recently discovered the best program I've yet seen for this. It's for the Palm OS and is called Planetarium. I used it for the first time on my recent trip to Iceland and it facilitated more than one worthwhile photograph.
July 14, 2002
It's Sunday morning. A most beautiful summer Sunday, at least where I am, and Mike Johnston takes us once again into the far recesses of his photographic mind with an essay on Black & White Tonality.
July 13, 2002
Regular contributor and fine-art landscape photographer Alain Briot was one of the first people to take delivery last month of Epson's latest large-format archival inkjet printer, the new Epson Stylus Pro 9600. This printer uses the same new UltraChrome inks as the also just released 7600 and 2100/2200 printers, so there's worthwhile information here for those interested in these new models as well. I hope to have my own review of the new 2200 printer online within a week or so.
July 11, 2002
Harold Merklinger is a highly regarded scientist and author. He has written two short technical books on photography and numerous articles for Shutterbug, View Camera, and Photo Techniques, as well as The Luminous Landscape.
Harold is also the recent owner of a Canon D60, and he now shares with us his evaluation of this new DSLR in an exclusive article for this site Ñ D60 First Impressions. This piece is very informative in the light of the article on digital image quality that was published here earlier this week.
July 9, 2002
I am very pleased to be exclusively publishing today a highly informative article on Digital Camera Image Quality. Written by photographic educator Miles Hecker, with contribution by Norman Koren, this important essay provides Ñ possibly for the first time Ñ a mathematical analysis of the basis for digital camera image quality.
A word of caution; Ñ to fully appreciate what Miles and Norman have come up with requires wading though some math. Nothing terribly complex, but a bit of concentration is required. For the mathematically challenged you are allowed to skip to the summary and conclusions, but do try and derive some understanding of how these conclusions have been arrived at.
When I first read a draft of this article I was struck by how closely the resultant analysis matches the subjective impressions that I had when first testing the Canon D30 in 2000, and the Canon D60 earlier this year. In both instances I was regaled online by some who found my opinions and analysis to be contrary to the way they wanted the world to be. Though many photographers have subsequently substantiated my conclusions, it's nice to have them confirmed by objective analysis.
Maybe this is just another way of my repeating what I've said often on these pages; "Don't believe everything you read online unless you know something about who's writing it; and always trust your own eyes." Enjoy.
July 7, 2002
Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning Photographer essay this week is on The Zen of Photographic Fishing (I think), or maybe it's about golf. In any event, it's thought provoking in the best Johnston tradition and well worth your time.
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Observant site visitors may have noticed that there is now a line on the Home Page showing the number of people currently visiting the site. This may not be of great interest to others, except possibly at 3am when you wonder if you're the only person out trolling the Net for photographic information, and see that there are 4 others like you online at The Luminous Landscape. (Or, maybe these people are from Australia, and simply sitting at their desks in the mid-afternoon pretending to be working).
In any event, this is all part of a new and more comprehensive statistics package that I began installing this weekend. Anyone who runs a major web site such as this one needs to know how many people are visiting, and what they're looking at. Only through such analysis can the site be improved. This program lets me know what countries people are visiting from, what OS and Browser they're using, how many many pages they view per visit, and so forth. (Don't worry, the one piece of information that it doesn't give me is who you are. Your anonymity is secure).
In the days ahead I'll be publishing some of the more interesting statistics from time to time. With an average of 7,000 visitors a day from over 50 countries there's a lot to be learned. In the meantime, if there's anything that you'd like to see to improve The Luminous Landscape, do drop me a line. Ñ Michael
July 6, 2002
How about a shoot in the Eastern Sierra this October? Mono Lake, the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, the ghost town of Bodie. You can do all of these, and more, in the company of one of the West's most knowledgeable photography guides — Steve Kossack.
Steve is offering a Fall Color Workshop over the weekend of October 17-21. Designed for photographers of all skill levels, digital or film based, this workshop is for a small number of photographers (3 people), who want to explore the beauty of the Sierra during the peak of fall color in the company of an experienced guide and teacher.
Steve has been co-instructor on many of my workshops and he is well regarded by members who subsequently hire him as a guide to the region. (This workshop is not affiliated in any way with The Luminous Landscape).
July 5, 2002
July 4, 2002
A major portfolio and extensive write-up on my recent photographic Expedition to Iceland is now online. I was completely taken by this beautiful country, and can highly recommend it to any landscape or nature photographer looking for an accessible yet unspoiled land to explore and photograph.
Of the week spent in Iceland, two days involved shooting with Icelandic nature photographer Daniel Bergmann. An on-location interview with Daniel will be featured in the next issue of The Video Journal, scheduled for release later this month. A full feature video on this trip will be found in Issue #7 of The Journal, scheduled for release in January, 2003, giving you enough time to plan your own trip there next summer.
July 2, 2002
We all know that lenses perform at their best when stopped down a couple of stops, rather than when used wide-open. While true, for the neurotic compulsives among us adhering to this maxim can cause warts. What am I talking about? Read on.
July 1, 2002
I have now finished scanning my film from Iceland and am putting together a travel article and portfolio. It should be online before the end of the week. But, I did want to share with you my favourite (and strangest) image from this shoot. It is now my June Featured Image.
June 30, 2002
After a one week hiatus due to my travels Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning Photographer column for this week features Part II of his interview with Nicholas Hartmann and a discussion of Single Black inkjet printing.
June 29, 2002
Two articles related to The Luminous Landscape have appeared during the past week. The first is an online review of The Video Journal which appears on Nature Photographers Online Magazine. Reviewer Tere Hendricks writes Ñ "If you're looking for a professionally produced DVD packed with hands-on reviews of the latest equipment, information on some of the finest locations in North America, tutorials on digital imaging and more, all commercial and advertising free; then the Luminous Landscape Video Journal is for you!"
The Asahi Optical Historical Club, in the April 2002 issue of their magazine Spotmatic, has a profile of yours truly as well as a reprint of my review of the Pentax 67II. The magazine is published in both Italian and English and is an excellent resource for anyone interested in Pentax equipment, both historical and contemporary. You'll find them online here.
June 28, 2002
I've just returned from my week-long landscape photography expedition to Iceland. What was Iceland like? Simply Ñ the most remarkable photographic location that I have ever seen, anywhere in the world! No exaggeration. I'll have photographs and a comprehensive travel article online in the days ahead.
It will take me a few days to reply to various e-mails and Forum messages, but I should be caught up by the end of the weekend.
Reader Ken Schuster has forwarded the following for our attention. If you're going to be shooting in Alaska this summer, please take note...
THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME, RECENTLY ISSUED THIS BULLETIN:
In light of the rising frequency of human-grizzly bear conflicts, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is advising hikers, hunters and fishermen to take extra precautions and keep alert for bears while in the field.
"We advise outdoorsmen to wear noisy little bells on their clothing so as not to startle bears that aren't expecting them. We also advise outdoorsmen to carry pepper spray with them in case of an encounter with a bear.
It is also a good idea to watch out for fresh signs of bear activity. Outdoorsmen should recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear manure:
Black bear manure is comparatively small and contains lots of berries and squirrel fur.
Grizzly bear manure has little bells in it and smells like pepper."
June 20, 2002
As of today I am offline until Friday, June 28th. I will be in Iceland on a week-long landscape photography expedition. I will be camping, so there will be no laptop computer, no modems, no phones; just (hopefully) luminous landscapes.
I will therefore be unable to respond to e-mails, Forum postings or Critique Contest submissions until I return. Subscription requests for The Video Journal are automated, so please continue to place your subscriptions and renewals during the coming week.
The next 7 days include the summer solstice and a full moon. There will be 21 hours a day of Arctic daylight, twilight, clouds, rain, wind, cold, and hopefully some exciting photographic opportunities.
This expedition will be featured in a forthcoming issue of The Video Journal, as well as in a major travel article which will appear on these pages next month.
See you here online in a week!
June 18, 2002
When photographers first start using Photoshop they can become very frustrated with the steep learning curve. Becoming proficient with this program can be like mastering how to set the time on ones VCR. Often we just leave it flashing 12:00 in frustration.
While there are dozens of books on Photoshop available most are oriented toward the needs of graphic artists, not photographers. The books that are for photographers can still be daunting for beginners. That's why just over two years ago I wrote Instant Photoshop, a tutorial designed to help new Photoshop users learn the basic steps necessary to produce good images. It has subsequently become one of the most popular tutorials on this site.
Today I'm pleased to publish An Image Processing Workflow, by Fred Scholtz. This is the most comprehensive step-by-step series of instructions on how to processes images that I'm aware of; from scanner or camera through to printing. Not just what to do, but the preferred order to do them in.
A word of caution though Ñ this is simply one photographer's preferred approach. In Photoshop there usually many different ways to accomplish the same thing. If you are relatively new to Photoshop you could do a lot worse than Fred's techniques. If you're a more advanced user, don't take what Fred has written as a challenge to your preferred approach. But, if you do have a better way, let everyone know about it on the Discussion Forum.
June 17th, 2002
This week marks the third anniversary of The Luminous Landscape. Since June, 1999 the site has grown far beyond initial expectations in size, popularity and impact.
I just received the email below this morning. It's feedback like this that makes publishing this site worthwhile.
"For more than 2 1/2 years I have followed your site. It has encouraged me to pursue a dream I have to become a fine art photographer. The information on your site has helped me grow and produce more interesting images. I am now represented by 2 gallery's. Thanks for your efforts and your dedication to the art". Ñ Barry Wolf, Chicago
For those interested in current site statistics here are the most salient ones.
This site currently averages more than 1 million page-views per month. There are in excess of 1,400 pages of tutorials, product review, travel articles and portfolios. These are read by more than 200,000 visitors monthly. This generates over 50 gigabytes of monthly traffic. The Luminous Landscape is consistently ranked among the top 10 photographic web sites by Google and other search engines.
All of this, I'm pleased to say, on a site without any advertising. No annoying pop-up ads and no commercial biases or pressures. I do of course promote The Video Journal a quarterly "magazine" which I publish on broadcast-quality DVD video. Something has to pay the bills.
If you're not already familiar with The Journal I urge you to find out more, including reading current subscriber's comments. By subscribing you will not only be supporting the continued benefit of this site to yourself and the entire photographic community, but will also receive one of the most exciting and enjoyable photographic resources currently available.
What coming up? A great deal. Tomorrow will see the publication of a major tutorial on Photoshop Workflow. The weeks ahead will be full of new and fascinating product tests, photographic travel features, instructional articles and more.
My heartfelt thanks for your involvement and support over the past 3 years. I hope to see you often on The Luminous Landscape. — Michael
June 16, 2002
This week Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning Photographer explores the use of black ink alone as a means of producing fine-art monochrome inkjet prints. The second part of this article will appear on Sunday, June 30th.
June 14, 2002
If you're a photographer who is tuned in to the rhythms of the seasons and the sky, you are no doubt aware that a week from today, Friday, June 21st, is the summer solstice the longest day of the year. If you live in a northern locale, at this time of year first light is about 5 am and sunset can be 10 pm or later. A great time for extended sunrise and sunset shoots.
This year though we have a bonus. There is a full moon just a few days later, on the 24th — 25th. Because of the very long twilight and dawn hours there will be great opportunities for landscape photography. It's summer, the weather should be fine, and other than mosquitoes there are few excuses for not being out shooting.
By next Friday I'll be in Iceland on a week-long landscape photography expedition. Because of its location close to the Arctic Circle night will last for less than 3 hours each day, and even then it won't get dark enough for stars to appear. Combine this with the full moon, and the possibilities should be exciting. Of course this shoot will be featured in an upcoming issue of The Video Journal as well as on these pages.
You may not be able to get to such an exotic location, but do plan on finding somewhere to shoot close to home over the next week or two, and see what you can make of these exciting light and sky conditions. The Critique Competition will be a great place to show everyone what you were able to accomplish.
June 13, 2002
On a brief trip last week to London to visit family and friends, I had the chance to test out my latest camera. What's that you say? Another camera? Indeed, and this time in runs on the Palm operating system!
Read my new article on Pervasive Photography to see what this is all about.
I took one serious photograph on this brief trip, and have used it to illustrate a new section of my earlier essay on Street Photography.
June 12, 2002
Did you ever wonder what a RIP is? Have you ever printed with one of Epson's wide-format photo printers and wished for greater speed and versatility? Chris Daniels now provides us with a review of the Colorbyte ImagePrint 4.0 RIP, a software-only RIP that may be just what you need.
June 9, 2002
In this week's Sunday Morning column Mike Johnston examines the The Classic Era of the SLR.
June 7, 2002
Photography is a very democratic art. It is practiced by more people than any other creative pursuit. That's the good news. The bad news is that this means (especially for landscape and wildlife photographers), that doing truly original work can become quite difficult.
My new essay Been There, Done That explores this topic as well as offering some solutions to the weltschmertz felt by all photographers from time to time.
June 5, 2002
I will be traveling and mostly offline for the next week, until June 11th. Therefore I will only be able to respond intermittently to Forum postings and e-mail.
In the meantime please note that this site is supported by subscriptions to The Luminous Landscape Video Journal. As someone with a strong interest, likely a passion for photography, you'll want to find out about this invaluable resource for serious photographers.
Published every 3 months on DVD video by Michael Reichmann, the author of this site, it is a professionally produced "magazine" style broadcast-quality video program. Up to 90 minutes of content each issue feature travel segments, hands-on product reviews, interviews with famous photographers, digital technique tutorials and more.
To quote one subscriber, "The latest DVD's content (#4) is overwhelmingly great and very well shot and scored. The cost of each issue to me is the cost of a single developed roll of film and will improve my photography much more than shooting a single roll. The cost should not be compared to the cost of any magazine subscription, but to film itself."
This site is supported solely through subscriptions to The Video Journal. Subscribe now. There is, of course, a money back guarantee.
June 4, 2002
In his column for June monthly contributor Alain Briot provides us with an Homage to Edward Curtis, the famous Western photographer of the early 20th Century. The piece also shows how Alain has tried to recreate one of Curtis' most famous images, and describes the horseback shoot he did and what was involved. A fascinating project.
June 3, 2002
June 2, 2002
Which is the best autofocus lens that money can buy? Mike Johnston shares the secret with us in his Sunday Morning column for this week.
The December Bosque del Apache & White Sands workshop is now sold out. Thanks to everyone for your interest. If you'd like to be added to the Waitlist for future workshops, or if a spot opens up due to a cancellation, please fill in the waitlist form. No obligation, of course.
June 1, 2002
There are two items of note for those interested in the Digital SLR scene. Contax is now shipping its full-frame 1N Digital in the U.S. and Europe. Yes, actually shipping after a delay from first announcement of nearly 2 years. Apparently cameras have just started to arrive on dealer's shelves.
Remarkably, no reviewer that I know of has yet received a camera (myself included, though one has been promised for some time). A strange marketing strategy by Contax, to say the least. But then this company is not known for doing things in the conventional way.
As if to underline the point, Imaging Resource has just published a first review of the forthcoming 6MP Nikon D100. From the sounds of it this camera promises a price / performance breakthrough for Nikon owners. Together with Canon's D60 photographers working with either of these two leading brands now have affordable DSLRs available which are capable of producing images that meet or exceed those available from film.
March 31, 2002
Today is Sunday, and we begin an exciting new weekly feature called Sunday Morning, by prolific photographic author and editor Mike Johnston. Every Sunday morning from now on a new critical essay of Mike's on some aspect of photography will be published here. This week's essay is on Working Method Goals.
For those of you who don't know of Mike Johnston, he was Editor-in-Chief of PHOTO Techniques magazine from 1994-2000. From 1988 to 1994 he was East Coast Editor of the late and much lamented Camera & Darkroom magazine. Consequently he has been one of the most influential editors on the American photographic magazine scene during the past decade.
Though they will be announced on this page each Sunday, you will also find a link to both, an Index page, and the current week's essay located toward the bottom of this site's Home Page.
March 30, 2002
The winner of the March, 2002 Critique Competition is Loren Fedje of Chilliwack, British Columbia. Congratulations! Lorne wins a complementary copy of the current issue of The Video Journal. (Lorne — please contact me with your address).
Loren's winning entry as well as those of previous month's winners can be seen here.
The April Competition is now open to new entries.
March 29, 2002
Canon introduced new 1.4X and 2X Extenders last year. Both have weather sealing and improved antireflection coating. But, Canon also claims to have revised and improved the new 2X. Of course I was interested to see if this is indeed the case. I have now tested both the original and the new EF 2X extenders.
March 26, 2002
My original career was as a photojournalist. Though today I'm best known for my landscape and wildlife work I still retain a strong interest — even a passion for street photography. This past weekend I photographed a religious street procession, and now share that afternoon's experience in a short piece titled Procession.
One of the photographs from that shoot has now been added as the March selection to my Featured Images section.
If you are interested in street photography you should know that Issue #4 of The Video Journal, which ships next week, contains a featured segment on this subject.
March 25, 2002
For about a year now I, as well as other photographers around the world, have noticed a disturbing and curious phenomena when scanning Fuji colour transparency films at high resolution. We have been referring to it as pepper grain — black specs, that are particularly noticeable in highlight areas.
Australian landscape and nature photographer Nick Rains has been investigating this problem for some time, and now, after extensive communication with Fuji in Japan has uncovered the cause of the problem. The pepper-grain mystery is now solved.
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As those who have been following developments with interest know by now, the new 6 megapixel Canon D60 has just started shipping in several countries around the world. Phil Askey at DPReview has just posted a comprehensive review of a full production camera. Phil is clearly very impressed with this new camera.
I will post my own impressions of the D60 once I have an opportunity to spend some time with it in the field.
March 23, 2002
As inkjet photographic printing accelerates in importance, so to do the papers that we use. In fact I believe that the choices that photographers now have in terms of variety and type of printing papers is leading to a paradigm change in what constitutes a photographic print. Paper is now more important than it ever has been before.
I have therefore now reviewed a new paper line from Legion Paper called Professional Digital Art Papers designed specifically for inkjet printing. I think you'll find these of interest, especially my favourite, Somerset Photo Enhanced Velvet.
March 21, 2002
The Leica M7, just recently announced, is now starting to ship to dealers, and the first cameras are showing up in users hands — mine included. My review of the M7 is now online and will be of interest to all Leica aficionados.
March 20, 2002
In early February I published a review of the Minolta Dimage Scan Multi Pro. Many readers have expressed an interest in how to use this scanner with odd-format films such as those from the Hasselblad XPan. Minolta makes a special film carrier for this scanner called the HS-P1 and contributor David Mantripp has now provided us with a review.
March 17, 2002
Epson has had the wide-format photo printer marketplace to themselves until now. But, with the introduction of the Canon S9000 printer there is finally some competition. This review of the new Canon printer is one of the first to appear anywhere.
If high image quality, remarkable speed and near-silent operation aren't appealing, how about unchipped and individual ink cartridges for each of the 6 colours? The photo inkjet printer market is a dynamic one, but now that Canon has decided to play in the A3+ segment of the market we can expect to see it heat-up even more. The Canon S9000 is a winner.
March 16, 2002
There has been much speculation about what Epson's new printer plans for 2002 might be. Usually by this time of year they are out in Europe, followed not soon after by North America.
It seems that Epson announced their next-generation wide-carriage printer, the PM-4000PX in Japan last week, and the PM-950C at the Cebit show in Hanover yesterday. The 4000 will likely have a different model designation in Europe and North America, and the 950 may or may not have the same number in the U.S. and Canada as it does it Europe.
It appears that Epson may be diverging their A4 / Letter sized printers and their wide carriage A3+ / 13X19" models, since the 4000 appears to use pigment inks, possibly similar to or an evolution of those used in the C80. Whether this printer should be regarded as a 2000P replacement is still unclear.
So much for factual information — what there is of it so far. Time now for a brief rant.
Most high-tech companies understand that with half the population of the developed world now plugged into the Net, product announcements should, and indeed must be coordinated on a global basis. Because of sites like this one people worldwide have instant access to new product announcements, no matter where they are made. Unfortunately Epson doesn't get it. They announce products in one country and not another, ignoring the fact that when it comes to information borders no longer exist.
Come-on Epson. Respect our intelligence and handle your product announcements in a coordinated and systematic manner. If a product is destined for one country and not another, simply say so. When a product is announced, let us know what the release dates and model numbers are likely to be. Lack of information only produces speculation and rumours. End of rant.
March 15, 2002
Experienced photographers know that a suitable tripod is one of the most critical pieces of photographic equipment if you want to produce very sharp, high-quality images. But, selecting the right tripod is a series of compromises between price, light weight, convenience and rigidity.
Contributor Steve Kossack reviews an excellent new product, the Acratech Modified Velbon 630 carbon fiber tripod. This may be the solution for many photographers.
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PhotoFocus, is a new photography site being launched today. Its publisher, Scott Bourne, describes it as "a photography magazine aimed at the very serious image-maker." What I've seen so far looks good. I wish Scott success with his new publication.
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The Cebit 2002 show is currently on in Hanover, Germany and there is live coverage of digital camera and associated equipment announcements here. The reports in the center column are in English, and are also available in Spanish and Dutch.
March 14, 2002
This week the Luminous Landscape web site celebrates two milestones. First, our monthly readership has now reached more than a quarter million visitors. Secondly, we now have Video Journal subscribers in 35 countries around the world, from Argentine to Vietnam.
The Journal is a unique quarterly publication on DVD video — The Luminous Landscape on TV, if you will. If you are not already a subscriber, take a moment to find out more, and also check into our current special promotion.
There are quite a number of exciting new articles and reviews coming to the site in the next few weeks. One that many have been eagerly awaiting is of the new Canon S9000 wide carriage photo printer. Look for it toward the end of this coming weekend.
March 13, 2002
No matter what type of photography we specialize in, from time-to-time we all take photographs of people using on-camera flash, and end up with red-eye. Some of the simpler image editing programs (like Photoshop Elements) feature red-eye reduction routines. But Photoshop itself does not.
Never fear. Contributor Neil Duffin has now provided us with an elegant Tutorial on Red-Eye Reduction using Photoshop.
March 11, 2002
On this, the 6 month anniversary of the September 11, 2001 tragedy, and at the request of several readers, I am republishing an image that I had taken just a few days afterwards. It stands In Memoriam for the loss that we all suffered.
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How about a portable histogram machine when shooting film, especially large format? Contributor Nick Rains has a nifty suggestion — using a digital point-and-shoot such as the Canon S30 as a light meter. Here's how.
March 8, 2002
Regular contributor Alain Briot provides us this month with an article on The How and Why of Matting Photographs. From the use of an X-Acto knife to a computerized, automated matt cutting machine, Alain's article explores this oft neglected topic.
March 7, 2002
Photographer Mark Meyer has drawn my attention to a photograph of his that is strikingly similar to one that I took in Yellowstone last week. I thought that you might enjoy seeing them compared, and how much of a difference the position of the sun can make in determining the "look" of an image.
March 6, 2002
While some of you may have already found your way to it through my Pentax 400mm lens test report earlier in the week, I am announcing today my portfolio and travel article on Winter In Yellowstone. There are two additional sections titled Winter Wildlife and Winter Landscapes. I hope that you enjoy them.
As I do from time to time I'd like to remind you that we also publish The Video Journal, a unique quarterly TV series available on DVD video. If you're not already familiar with it, please take the time to find out more. If you already know about it but still haven't subscribed, why not take advantage of our current special offer and save a bundle? I think you'll find it as informative and entertaining as have our current subscribers. Thanks!
March 4, 2002
After a brief and unsuccessful relationship with the 600mm f/4 lens for the Pentax 67, I switched to the newer 400mm f/4 ED(IF), a somewhat smaller, lighter and optically superior lens. My full review is now online, including some first wildlife images from a recent shoot in Yellowstone.
Before disposing of the huge and old Pentax 600mm, I ran a comparison test with the new Pentax 400mm used with a 1.4X Extender, and also of that lens with the newest version of Pentax's 300mm f/4 ED(IF), again together with the Pentax 1.4X Extender. The results are fascinating.
March 3, 2002
My Featured Image for February is now online. Each month I publish one photograph which I regard as my best from the previous 30 days. This month it is a wildlife shot taken last week in Yellowstone National Park. I am still editing my film, scanning and preparing a travel article and portfolio, but it should be online within a day or two.
March 2, 2002
Ilford announced a family of four new inkjet papers during this past week's PMA show. Called Galerie, these papers are now becoming available at retail, and I have just published the web's first review of two of them.
The winner of the February Critique Competition is Clay E. Williams of Long Beach, California. His winning entry along with those of previous month's winners can be found here.
The March competition is now open to new submissions.
March 1, 2002
I've just returned from a 5 day shoot in Yellowstone National Park. I expect to have a full write-up and portfolio online some time next week. It was quite a trip!
It's going to take me a few days to catch up on a week's worth of emails, so if you've written during the past few days you can expect a reply some time this weekend.
On my flight home I picked up a copy of Thursday's New York Times. In an article reporting on the release of the Nikon D100 and the Canon D60, Lou Desiderio, a Canon spokesman, is quoted as saying that he doubted that the pixel gap between Canon's new camera (D60) and its most expensive model (1D) would last long. "It's pretty safe to say that a six - or eight - megapixel replacement for the 1D will be coming," he said. Oh really?
Photoshop 7 was one of the major announcement at PMA. For what we can expect have a look at this preliminary review by Andrew Rodney, at The Digital Dog. Here is a new feature list from Adobe as well.
February 23, 2002
I will be offline until Friday, March 1st. This means that I will not be able to respond to any e-mails, personal Forum messages or Critique submissions until my return. Acceptance and processing of Video Journal orders will continue to operate normally during my absence.
This is due to a 5-day winter wildlife and landscape shoot in Yellowstone National Park. (What's that old saying? "It's tough but someone's got to do it.") Traveling with me will be Chris Sanderson, director/cameraman of The Video Journal, and western landscape photographer and photography guide, Steve Kossack.
Of course a travel article on this shoot will be found on these pages later in March, and will also be featured in a forthcoming edition of The Video Journal. Unfortunately the timing of this trip, set long ago, means that I won't be able to attend and report on the PMA show which begins on the 24th in Orlando. There have been several exciting new digital SLRs announced in the past few days, with lots more to come, in addition to new lenses and a range of fascinating non-digital products.
Since I'll have no Net access until Friday, March 1st, I won't be able to report on any of this as I normally would. But, rest assured, as always in the weeks and months ahead The Luminous Landscape will be one of the first places anywhere to feature actual hands-on reviews of production versions of several of these exciting products.
Before I leave, here is a Luminous Landscape exclusive — a review of an exciting new image processing program called EditLab from Pictographics. EditLab is being announced this weekend at the PMA trade show, and mine is the first review of this very competent Photoshop plug-in to appear anywhere in the world.
February 22, 2002
The press announcement of the much anticipated Canon D60 digital SLR is now available here.
The D60 replaces the now discontinued D30. It features a 6.3 Megapixel CMOS sensor with 3072 x 2048 square pixels. It retains the 1.6X lens magnification factor, since the imaging chip size remains unchanged. Based on the D30, and using many of the same accessories as its predecessor, the D60 is claimed to have improved autofocus (long a sore point with the D30) and enhanced in-camera and user software capabilities.
Availability is scheduled for late March with a suggested retail price of US $2,995.
I anticipate publishing an early hands-on of of a full production D60 on these pages in the weeks ahead. A comprehensive field-report will also be featured in an upcoming edition of The Video Journal.
February 21, 2002
The long-awaited PMA trade show doesn't begin until this coming weekend, but the new product announcements have already begun. Nikon this morning announced the D100, a 6.1 Megapixel camera with a 1.5X focal length factor. No price yet. Availability of Summer, 2002.
Nikon owners will also be pleased to learn that a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 Vibration Reduction lens is also on the way!
The best place to get breaking news on digital equipment announcements over the next week or so is Digital Photography Review.
February 19, 2002
The questions that I'm asked most frequently by readers, as well as by members of my workshops, are about lens sharpness. "Is the such-and-such a sharp lens? Are prime lenses sharper then zooms? Should I trade in my Canon/Nikon/Pentax system etc, to get Leica/Contax/Zeiss lenses? Will this make my pictures sharper? Is that Tamron zoom as sharp as the Sigma fixed focal-length lens that I've seen on sale?"
Based upon my 40 years of photographic experience, in my new article Lens Sharpness — The Never-Ending Quest I have written what I know about the subject. You may not like the answer!
February 17, 2002
Last December I published on these pages the world's first hands-on review of the new Canon EOS 1D digital SLR. Regrettably though, I only had the camera for 4 days before it had to go back to Canon. I haven't published a more in-depth follow-up because I decided not to purchase a 1D myself, preferring instead to wait for the their 6MP follow-up, (which is due very soon now).
Contributor Bill Caulfeild-Browne has fortunately filled the void for us with his excusive report A Month in New Zealand With the Canon EOS 1D.
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A Reminder — The current edition of The Video Journal, Issue #3, contains a comparison between EOS-1D, D30 and 1V, as well as nearly 90 minutes of additional broadcast-quality programming exclusively about photography — and like this site, always without any commercial advertising.
Remember, this web site is supported by your subscription to The Video Journal. If you are not already a subscriber, find out more and also how to save as much as $60 through our current promotion.
"Today has been spent on the third issue of the Video Journal - excellent. I thought the first issue was very tremendous; the second good; but the third is so far the best - well done."
February 14, 2002
While Photoshop, used skillfully, provides just about every capability for image processing that one could want, sometimes specialized tools called plug-ins, that work from within Photoshop, can provide either greater ease of use, or improved flexibility.
Three such tools from The Imaging Factory are reviewed today. These are Unsharp Mask Pro, Noise Reduction Pro and Convert To B&W Pro. All three are available online and provide for a free 30 day trial.
February 10, 2002
Last year I wrote a tutorial that covered the basics of Understanding Resolution. Because this is a big topic, rife with misconceptions, I am pleased to publish today a new article by contributor JR Geoffrion that explores the issue in greater detail. It is titled Digital Camera Resolution Demystified.
February 8, 2002
Regular readers will know that I am a Contributing Editor to Photo Techniques magazine. The current issue (March / April 2002), arrives on newsstands this week. It contains my formal review of the Canon EOS-1D. This is a follow-up to my all-to-brief test report on one of the first production cameras to become available, which was published here last December.
If you're not familiar with Photo Techniques, drop into your local bookstore and check it out. Notwithstanding the bias of my relationship with the magazine, I believe it to be one of the last of the "mature" photography magazines available. The publisher, editor and writers really care about photography both as an art and as a craft.
Ps: For readers outside of North America who may not get to see the magazine, and my review, it will be republished here on The Luminous Landscape in approximately 2 months, after the print magazine is no longer on sale.
February 7, 2002
A couple of housekeeping items today.
Since I began this site's Discussion Forum about 2 years ago I have allowed Anonymous postings. After considerable feedback from members who find it very confusing when there are multiple Anons posting on a single thread, I have decided to restrict the Forum to people that sign up. It only takes a few seconds and has a number of benefits, so why not?
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The site is currently experiencing about 6,000 unique visitors a day. It has more than 1,000 pages of product reviews, tutorials and photographic travel articles online. In January it hosted more 50 Gigabytes of traffic. It is without doubt the Web's largest and most comprehensive non-commercial site devoted to photography.
While the site is a labour of love, it is expensive and time consuming to maintain. This is a reminder that the The Video Journal is this site's sole means of financial support. If you're a regular visitor, please consider subscribing. Our current promotion will save you a bundle.
If you're a newcomer to the site, find out about the world's only professionally produced video magazine about photography, published quarterly on DVD video, and playable on virtually any set-top or PC or Mac based DVD player, anywhere in the world. It is completely non-commercial. Read what current subscribers are saying and view video clips from current and previous issues.
But, when you've finished reading, please do consider subscribing. End of commercial. Thanks for your attention.
Before the end of the week I'll be publishing a major new article on digital camera resolution, so stay tuned.
February 6, 2002
Carbon fiber tripods, like tennis rackets and airplane wings before them, offer worthwhile weight savings over aluminum, while retaining rigidity as well as offering other advantages. Unfortunately carbon fiber is expensive.
Gitzo has been the leader in this field. Contributor Jeff Simpson now reviews the Manfrotto Carbon One, a carbon fiber tripod at a much lower price, that appears to offer a lot for the money.
February 4, 2002
The 12 January issue of the British magazine Amateur Photographer features a review of the new Canon 400mm DO IS lens. I published the world's first review of this lens here on The Luminous Landscape back in December. I have now updated my on-line review with some commentary on the new test results gleaned from the UK magazine's report.
February 3, 2002
The past year has seen a proliferation of pro-quality medium format scanners at increasingly affordable prices. The Minolta Dimage Scan Multi Pro is one of the latest, and according to reviewer Peter Wolff, it is capable of producing excellent results.
January 31, 2002
Everyone loves a shoot-out, especially when it comes to comparing lenses. I have just completed a comparison between Canon's 100~400mm f/5.6L IS zoom and the new Canon 70~200mm f/2.8L IS lens with 2X extender. Both give 400mm f/5.6, but which is sharper?
The answer is in my new comparison and report titled 400 Vs. 400.
January 29, 2002
Mirror lock-up (MLU) is an essential camera feature for many types of nature and landscape photography. The new Pentax 645NII, which I reviewed earlier this month, has finally implemented this feature. But, for nearly 20 years Pentax 645 owners have said that it wasn't necessary because the camera had a superior mirror braking system. Were they right?
I recently tested the new camera to see at which shutter speeds the need for MLU would become visible. The results are surprising.
January 28, 2002
The February competition is now open to entries.
January 27, 2002
Improper, or simply a lack of monitor calibration, is for many photographers the single biggest impediment to proper printing. If your screen doesn't display the image properly, how can you hope to make an accurate print?
Regular contributor Alain Briot now provides us with a review and tutorial on Monitor Calibration using ColorBlind ProveIt, and the Sequel Chroma 4 spider. These are two of the finest tools currently available for calibrating LCD as well as traditional CRT monitors. I've personally been using these two tools since 1999 and can recommend them highly.
In a companion article Alain also discusses Image Matching — the steps and tools needed to accurately match your transparency, screen and print.
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If you entered this site today via the main page you'll have noticed that after nearly 3 years I've decided to replace my "trademark" image of the "Photographer on the Dunes" in Death Valley with something new. In fact, just to make things a bit more interesting (at least for me), I intend on putting a different photograph there from time to time.
I know this breaks with tradition, but I think we all can handle it :-)
January 26, 2002
A Reminder & A Request...
Regular readers know that this site has become the most comprehensive and reliable source for photograph equipment test reports, travel articles and tutorials on the Net. Each month we publish more new high-quality material than any print magazine — as many as a dozen featured articles a month.
All of this — currently more than 1000 pages of content — is free, and without any advertising, pop-ups, or commercial influence. But we do have one request. If you are not already a subscriber, and if you are we thank you sincerely, please consider subscribing to The Video Journal.
The Video Journal is unique — the world's only quarterly video magazine about photography published on DVD. Now on our third issue, The Video Journal is The Luminous Landscape on TV. In fact, The Video Journal was originally developed as a TV series for one of the new Nature channels. Naturally, it is professionally produced in broadcast quality. The DVDs are compatible with almost any DVD movie player, or PC or Mac disc player, located anywhere in the world.
Not convinced? Read what our current subscribers are saying about the current issue. These folks are passionate and serious photographers just like yourself.
Finally, take advantage of our current special offer. A one year subscription, along with two back issues at 50% off. Along with free shipping and handling this amounts to a $60 saving. Now is a great time to subscribe. You'll receive three issues immediately.
Thanks for considering The Video Journal.
January 25, 2002
Many photographers work with wide-format cameras like the XPan, Noblex, or various medium format panoramics like the Fuji 617. One of the challenges in working with these files digitally is scanning them. 35mm scanners usually can't handle the 24X65 format and few medium format scanners can handle 612 or 617.
While there are commercial programs that automate stitching separately scanned sections of the same negative, no such automation exists in Photoshop. But doing this manually isn't very difficult, as Steve Kossack shows us in his tutorial on XPan Stitching.
January 23, 2002
I regard one of the most important accessory for an outdoor photographer to be the polarizing filter. I have now published as part of my Understanding series a tutorial titled Understanding Polarizers. This is an elaboration and update to a previously published article. If you're not currently using a polarizer outdoors any time the sun is shining, this article is a must-read.
January 21, 2002
Daylight balanced fill-flash is a must in many circumstances for nature photographers. Pentax's top-of-the-line AF500FTZ for the Pentax 67 and 645 cameras strangely does not feature the ability to set a reduced ratio on the flash head. Here's a way to do this.
Many people have been puzzled as to the reason for the apparent recent shut down of all U.S. National Park Service web sites. Here is a link to the full story.
I have now updated my Featured Image page with January's selection.
January 20, 2002
Issue #3 of the Video Journal shipped to all current subscribers this past Friday. Mail delivery can take up to 2 weeks, so please allow time for it to arrive.
We now have subscribers in 32 countries around the world. Thank you!
This issue features a new technical capability which I know from correspondence many of you will enjoy. By utilizing your DVD player's Multi-Angle feature we now have a separate video track on some segments that displays a full-frame version of prints under discussion. You can now listen to a print discussion or an interview while looking closely at the image being discussed.
If you are not yet a subscriber, want to learn more about The Video Journal, or to find out how to save as much as $60 on a current subscription along with back-issues, here is the spot to click.
Next week we will be publishing several new reviews and tutorials, so be sure to return here daily.
January 19, 2002
For those of us that live in northern climes a vacation in Mexico is a welcome reprieve from the January snow and cold. Last week my wife and I spent a week in the Yucatan and I have just posted a brief travel article on photographing the Mayan temples as well as in the wildlife reserve at Celestún.
January 17, 2002
The Pentax 645NII is the latest medium format autofocus camera from Pentax. It's also the least expensive camera of its type available. This new model just started shipping, and I've recently added one to my arsenal as a second body for Pentax 67 system. The beauty of what Pentax does is that they allow you to use their 67 format lenses on the 645 format camera while retaining full open-aperture automation and metering. You even retain autofocus confirmation when using these lenses.
My full review is now online. It contains several of the photographs from my recent trip to the Yucatan, Mexico. A travel write-up on this trip will also appear in a few days.
January 16, 2002
Issue #3 of the Video Journal will be shipping very soon. It's our biggest and I believe our best issue yet. We now have Quicktime video clips online which give a preview of some of this new issue's content. If you're not yet familiar with The Journal these small excerpts are a good way of seeing what the excitement is all about. Current subscribers will see a preview of what will be arriving in their mailboxes within the next few weeks.
January 15, 2002
In case you haven't seen it yet, or live outside of North America, Shutterbug magazine has published a profile of The Luminous Landscape in its current (February, 2002) edition. The review is written by Joe Farace. It reads, in part, "Michael Reichmann's web site has so many aspects as well as a collection of wondrously beautiful landscape images that your head may start spinning around on your shoulders.... There's a lot to see and enjoy at Luminous Landscape, so explore and visit often." Thanks Joe. I couldn't have said so better myself.
Several people have written asking for our publication schedule for Issue #3 of The Video Journal. I'm pleased to say that it has just now gone to the DVD replicating facility and so subscribers can expect to receive their copies some time early in February.
January 14, 2002
I have just returned from a week-long vacation in the Yucatan, Mexico. A quite wonderful place. I have several hundred e-mails to catch up on, so if you've written while I was away please allow a few days for me to get caught up.
To get back into the swing of things the first of several new articles to be published this week is now online. It is titled Twin Sons of Different Mothers, and is a look at both the conscious and unconscious elements that contribute to how photographers create images.
January 5, 2002
No more excuses! It's a new year, and you've been procrastinating about subscribing to the Luminous Landscape Video Journal for too long. Now is the time to act!
The Video Journal is The Luminous Landscape on your TV
Every 90 days you will receive a broadcast-quality DVD disk (playable almost anywhere in the world on any movie player, or a PC or Mac that has a DVD drive). Each disk contains more than 60 minutes of photographic travel articles, timely and in-depth photographic product reviews, Photoshop tutorials, and on-location interviews with famous and talented photographers.
"My compliments on the fine job you do with the Video Journal. I didn't know what to expect, so I thought about it for quite a while before I subscribed. Now that I have, I feel this has been a very good decision and look forward to each edition."
We'll make you a deal. Subscribe now, beginning with Issue #3 (scheduled to ship by the end of the month), and we'll immediately ship both Back-Issues #1 and #2 for only $29.95 more. That's a saving of 50%. Combined with our current policy of "no shipping charges" this can save you $60 over our standard prices.
January 4, 2002
If you've read my review of the monster Pentax 600mm f/4 lens for the Pentax 67 you will have noted my comment that this lens suffers from noticeable chromatic aberration. It turns out that there is a wonderful software program available that can largely eliminate this problem in any lens that displays it. My review of this program is now online.
January 1, 2002
Let's start the New Year with what is for some a controversial topic. I am frequently asked if the new generation of 5 Megapixel point-and-shoots have image quality equal to cameras like the Nikon D1x, Canon EOS 1D and D30. They should, right? They have more megapixels.
Wrong — and in my essay Counting Megapixels I explain why.
Incidentally, for anyone interested in this site's statistics, we had more than 1 million visitors during 2001, and more than 6 million pages were viewed.