What Was New in 2001?
December 31, 2001
The end of one year and the beginning of the next are always an appropriate time for reflection. As photographers it's a good time to review what we've accomplished with our work during the past year — and to select our personal favourites.
The page Personal Best — 2001 contains what I regard as my single best work this year in each of the five categories in which I specialize — Landscape, Nature, Travel, Wildlife and Street photography. A small portfolio of my recent wildlife photography is also featured in Wildlife — A Portfolio.
Thanks to everyone for your interest and support during 2001. 2002 is going to be an exciting year on The Luminous Landscape.
I hope that you have a safe and enjoyable New Years Eve.
December 30, 2001
The winner of the December Critique Competition is Attila Kirjak of New York City. Congratulations Attila! Attila wins a complimentary issue of The Video Journal worth $30. Have a look at his winning entry as well as those of previous month's winners. The January Critique Competition is now open to new entries.
December 29, 2001
For my last major article of 2001 I've picked a big topic — in more ways than one. Many photographers contemplate the use of super-telephoto lenses, especially anyone doing wildlife work. I'm no different. But, I prefer to work in medium format whenever possible.
Is medium format long-lens work possible, and if so, how and with what tools?
I have just published a review of the Pentax 600mm f/4. It also includes a detailed analysis of how to tame vibration with very large, long lenses, and the specialized tools needed to accomplish this. These include the Wimberley gimbal head and the Manfrotto #359 Long-lens Support.
December 28, 2001
It's time for a reminder and a sales pitch. Our Holiday Season promotion for the Video Journal is almost over. There are only 4 days left. Come New Years Day the offer of a free issue of the Journal with each new subscription will be no more.
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December 27, 2001
Every year Photo Techniques magazine publishes their Best 5 Cameras of the year article. This year I wrote the Best 5 Digital Cameras of 2001. It appeared in the Nov/Dec 2001 issue which is now off the newsstands. In the event that you missed reading it in the magazine I thought you might enjoy seeing it here.
December 25, 2001
A new contributor to this site, Fred Miranda, has provided us with a review of the new Canon 16~35mm f/2.8L lens. This article is especially useful because it features a comparison with its predecessor the Canon 17~35mm f/2.8L.
With this latest review The Luminous Landscape now has the most comprehensive selection of reviews anywhere on the Web of Canon's latest equipment releases — including the Canon 70~200mm f/2.8L IS, the Canon 400mm f/4 DO IS, and the Canon EOS 1D.
December 24, 2001
It's Christmas Eve and I'd like to wish all of my regular readers and Video Journal subscribers my heartfelt best wishes for a warm, safe and joyous Christmas.
My somewhat overdue review of the Canon 70~200mm f/2.8L IS lens is now online. It was inadvertently overshadowed by my recent reviews of the just-released Canon EOS 1D camera and the unique 400mm f/4 DO IS lens, but here it is as requested by many of you in recent days.
December 23, 2001
A reminder that there are just 7 days left in our holiday-season Video Journal promotion. Place your one year (4 issue) subscription before New Years Eve and you'll receive a free copy of back-issue Issue #1, worth $29.95.
Don't yet know what The Journal is all about? Now's the time to find out as well as the best time to subscribe.
December 22, 2001
There's an old old saying in photography that, "the apprentice photographs the subject while the master photographs the light". A wonderful new article by well-known landscape photographer and contributor Alain Briot, titled Seeing The Light, illustrates how true this is. Would you take forty 4X5" sheets of film of the same set-up in one hour?
There's much to be learned from this article.
December 21, 2001
A reader has written in to suggest a useful modification to the Petzl Zipca headlamp that I reviewed the other day.
A few days ago Canon Germany "accidentally" announced two new DO IS lenses, and then less than a day later the mention was removed from their web site. Was this a case of premature announceulation? Read more as an update to my 400mm f/4 DI IS review.
My server crashed last night and the site was unavailable from approximately midnight to 7am this morning. Sorry for any inconvenience.
December 20, 2001
On my shooting trip to New Mexico earlier this month, in addition to a wildlife shoot at Bosque del Apache and a landscape session at White Sands National Monument, we also visited the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site. For anyone interested in prehistoric Rock Art (as I am) this site is a must. The article also shows how portable reflectors were used on a daytime landscape shoot.
December 19, 2001
Last month's review by Alain Briot of the new Epson C80 pigment ink printer continues to generate a lot of correspondence and questions for him. He has therefore provided us with another update to his review.
December 18, 2001
Serious outdoor photography like any complex endeavor requires the proper tools. Not only photo gear but also the myriad of odds and ends — from boots, to compasses to flashlights, that make the activity comfortable, safe and efficient. A good headlamp is one of these tools, and I've recently discovered what I regard as the best one on the market — the Petzl Zipca.
Where else are you going to find out about this stuff except The Luminous Landscape?
December 17, 2001
Pentax 67II owners may not be aware that a quick and inexpensive Custom Function by an authorized service center can allow the viewfinder to display the F stop in use rather than the frame number. I've had this modification performed and now have a brief write-up on what's involved, as part of my Pentax review.
December 16, 2001
White Sands National Monument in southern New Mexico is a little-known yet remarkably beautiful location for landscape photography. Along with a small group of photographers I worked there earlier this month and came away with several strong images from a sunrise shoot. This was the first serious location work done with my new Pentax 67II.
Two photographs, one from White Sands and the other from Bosque del Apache, are now part of my permanent portfolio and are featured on my Featured Image page.
December 14, 2001
A travel article on Bosque del Apache, one of the finest locations for migratory bird photography in the American Southwest is now online.
December 13, 2001
For those of you who are interested in the Canon EOS-1D, and who have read my recent hands-on review of a production camera, you may be interested to learn that Phil Askey of Digital Photography Review has just published his comprehensive review of the camera. A remarkable job, as always.
December 12, 2001
What's the best Christmas present for a photographer? The Video Journal of course — the world's first quarterly video magazine for photographers — produced on broadcast-quality DVD.
Orders placed during the next 48 hours will ship to arrive by Christmas Eve (post office willing). Take advantage of our Special Holiday Promotion and receive a free copy of Issue #1 of The Journal — worth $29.95.
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December 11, 2001
My long-awaited review of the just released Canon 400mm f/4 DO IS super-telephoto lens, which uses Canon's unique Diffractive Optics technology, is now online. I had an opportunity to use the lens on a wildlife shoot at the Bosque del Apache wildlife refuge in southern New Mexico last week. This review is the first field-test of a production lens to appear anywhere in the world.
This lens will be featured in the next issue (#3) of the Luminous Landscape Video Journal, scheduled for release late next month.
December 10, 2001
In my Canon 1D review I mentioned that the camera comes with a 4MB card. This is an error. The camera that I was loaned had such a card included but no memory card is normally provided with the camera.
In the addendum which I wrote to Steve Kossack's review of The Ultimate Ballhead I mentioned that the main control knob had a ribbed metal surface which was hard in the fingers. Acratech have been responsive to this complaint and are now making available a rubberized knob. This makes it much more finger friendly. Previous purchasers can obtain a replacement by contacting the company. The cost is a nominal $10, They will become available in about 2 weeks.
December 9, 2001
The next issue of the Video Journal will feature my EOS ID review. It is scheduled for shipment in January. If you're not yet a subscriber, now's the time to sign-up, as our special holiday promotion with a free copy of Issue #1 has only a short time to run.
Beginning tomorrow I'll returned to a backlog of new travel articles, equipment reviews and featured portfolios. Lots of great new content coming, including the world's first on-line field test report of the remarkable new Canon 400mm f/4 DO IS lens.
December 8, 2001
My testing and real-time on-line review of a full production version of the new Canon EOS 1D digital SLR continues.
December 7, 2001
As mentioned in yesterday's entry below I have placed all ongoing articles and reviews temporarily on hold because I have a full production version of the new Canon EOS 1D digital SLR available for testing. Between now and Monday morning, when the camera goes back to Canon, I am writing my impressions and presenting my test results as I do them in the form of a Reviewer's Diary.
December 6, 2001
Stop The Presses! (I've always wanted to say that).
Even with all the exciting content that's scheduled here for the next week or two, I've put everything temporarily on hold. This is because last night I received a full production Canon EOS 1D digital SLR for testing. I have it until 10am on Monday morning — just 4 days, unfortunately.
Rather than wait till later next week to provide you with a full hands-on write-up I'm going to publish my impressions, test results and comparisons as I make them. I'll try and update this report several times a day between now and Monday. The report will be done in the form of "notebook", with all the contradictions and changing perceptions that this carries with it. Hopefully this style of reporting will give you a feel for what it's like to test such a special new product.
My experience testing the Canon EOS 1D is also being filmed by producer / director Chris Sanderson for inclusion in the very next issue of the Video Journal. This will be Issue #3 — to be published in mid- January. A more formal written report will also appear in the March / April issue of Photo Techniques magazine.
To follow my experiences and discoveries drop in on my Canon EOS 1D review notebook regularly between now and next Monday morning.
December 5, 2001
Last night I returned from a week-long wildlife and landscape shoot in southern New Mexico. It's going to take me several days to get caught-up with my email, the Critique Contest, and reviewing 1,000+ digital frames as well as some 20 rolls of 35mm and 120 film.
During the next couple of weeks you will find on these pages a travel guide and portfolios from Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge as well as White Sands National Monument. On the technical side there will be a hands-on field review of Canon's revolutionary new 400mm f/4 IS DO super-telephoto lens, and the just-released 70~200mm f/2.8L IS zoom. As they say on TV — stay tuned.
Birds of a Feather — Bosque del Apache
Canon D30 @ ISO 100 with 400mm f/4 IS DO lens. 1/250 sec @ f/5.6
This frame is a preview of what's to come. All of this content and more will also be featured in the next issue of The Video Journal.
November 28, 2001
I will be traveling and off-line until next Wednesday, December 5 and unable to respond to personal e-mails or Forum messages directed to me until then.
During that time I will be shooting Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese at Bosque del Apache in southern New Mexico — one of the premier bird migration "hot-spots" in the southern US. I will also be doing some landscape work in the area, including at White Sands National Monument.
In addition to working several great locations I'll be conducting an extensive field test of Canon's new 400mm f/4 IS DO super-telephoto lens. It features Canon's unique Diffraction Optic technology that allows Canon to shrink this 400mm lens by 36% in weight and 26% in length over a comparable non-Diffraction Optic lens.
The second lens being field tested on this trip is Canon's new 70~200mm f/2.8L IS zoom. Canon owners have been waiting a long time for an Image Stabilized version of their favourite medium-long zoom, and it's now shipping.
Regular readers know that I have recently added a Pentax 67II outfit to my medium format arsenal, and I'll be field testing this as well, primarily in the dunes at White Sands. All of these tests will be featured in extensive reports and portfolios to be published here in coming weeks.
This shoot, and these field tests and shooting experiences will be filmed by Chris Sanderson for inclusion in Issue #3 of The Video Journal. If you subscribe to The Journal now you'll receive the current Issue #2 in time for Christmas. You'll also receive Issue #1 as our free holiday gift to you (a $29.95 value) and you'll get the exciting Issue #3 just a few weeks later.
Want to experience this exciting trip with me? You can if you subscribe to the Video Journal now. Otherwise, see you next week!
November 26, 2001
Readers who are interested in street photography may enjoy a photo essay and how-to discussion on shooting Parades. This was produced a week ago at the annual Toronto Santa Claus Parade.
A brief tutorial on correcting perspective, useful when shooting buildings from street level, is now also online.
November 25, 2001
Please make note that effective immediately my personal email address has changed to firstname.lastname@example.org
There are no changes to this site's URL. All links within this site have been updated, but please make sure that you have my new address correct in your address book.
November 24, 2001
Starting to use a new camera system can be akin to finding a new love. Selling one that disappoints is like the end of an affair. This month I've experienced both — with the acquisition of a Pentax 67II system and the sale of my Mamiya 67II.
So far I have only done some testing of the Pentax, but I plan on using it extensively on a shoot in southern New Mexico, including White Sands National Monument, beginning later this week.
November 22, 2001
To all my American readers — Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a safe and enjoyable holiday. I'll be visiting with my in-laws in Florida this weekend and doing my best to consume vast quantities of turkey.
November 21, 2001
I have updated the Featured Image page with what I regard as my best photograph taken during November. Two of my Project pages also have new entries. These are Windows & Doorways and The Urban Landscape.
November 20, 2001
Wherever you are in the world, whatever your culture or religion, we are now entering the holiday season. That means gift giving. Why not give the gift of photographic knowledge to a friend, or even yourself?
Our gift to you this holiday season is a free copy of Back-Issue #1 of The Video Journal with every regular or gift subscription placed between now and January 1. Normally this sells for U.S. $29.95. And, this free gift issue can be sent to anyone in the world, even yourself.
November 19, 2001
Newcomers to photography who have been working exclusively with 35mm or digital are frequently baffled by the unfamiliar jargon as well as the strangeness of some of the offerings available when considering medium format cameras. If you're among this group then you may find my new tutorial titled Understanding Medium Format to be of interest.
November 18, 2001
Dawn is just breaking and I'm back at my country place after having been out shooting the Leonid meteor shower for the past 3 hours. Everything that could have gone wrong did, but hopefully I'll have a few frames that work. (I'll explain more tonight or tomorrow when my film is back from the lab). At least seeing the shower was a great experience.
Hopefully you got a few good meteor shots from last night. If you did, I'd like to see them. I'll publish the best half dozen submitted and the one I judge the best of the lot will receive a complimentary copy of the current Video Journal DVD, or a one issue extension to a current subscription.
Submissions should be JPG files at 72dpi, and not more than 500 pixels in longest dimension. Deadline is this Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 8am EST.
It's now the evening, after a very long day. My meteor shoot was a bust. A great viewing experience but not one of my best photographic efforts. Sigh.
November 17, 2001
In late August I published my friend and colleague Steve Kossack's review of the Ultimate Ballhead from Acratech Inc. Since then I have had a chance to purchase and use one myself. Here's my "second opinion" and a comparison with my favourite ballhead, the Arca Swiss B1.
A reminder to current as well as prospective subscribers to The Video Journal. The Assignment Competition for this quarter closes on December 1, less than two weeks from now. This is a chance to win free subscription extensions as well as attendance at a Luminous Landscape workshop, valued at U.S. $1,000. Top contenders as well as the winning photograph will also appear and be discussed in the next issue of The Journal.
November 15, 2001
In North America, just before dawn on this Sunday morning, Nov 18th, we will experience what is being forecast to be one of the great meteor showers of our lifetimes — the Leonids. These appear every November, but this year could become a storm rather than a shower. This means that this will be a great opportunity for photography for those that can get out into the country, and who are lucky enough to experience clear skies.
I have just published a tutorial on shooting meteors that I hope will assist you in making the most of this opportunity.
There has been an update from the Professional Photographers of America on the issue of mailing unprocessed film.
November 14, 2001
Documentary Street Shooting — An Invitation:
This coming Sunday, November 18th, I will be photographing the annual Toronto Santa Claus Parade. This is a major annual event in this city, and is a wonderful opportunity to do street shooting. I had planned to do this shoot with two other experienced documentary photographers, but due to last-minute scheduling conflicts both gentleman have had to cancel.
I'm therefore looking for one or two experienced documentary street photographers to join me. The shoot will be filmed by Chris Sanderson, and will appear as a tutorial and documentary feature in a future issue of The Video Journal.
If you are in the Toronto area and interested in participating, please drop me an email. In it describe your experience as a documentary street photographer and also a bit about yourself. If possible include a few representative images as attachments, or point me to a web site where I can view some of your work.
There's only room for 2 photographers to participate, so I apologize in advance if you can't be included. The shoot happens rain or shine. You will be required to sign an on-camera appearance release. There will be no payment involved. You will retain all rights to your photographs. You also will agree to a subsequent on-camera interview and print discussion.
November 13, 2001
Many photographers seeking to create high quality images meander through the months and years buying and selling cameras, testing lenses, and comparing equipment. Occasionally they'll take some photographs. They then wonder why their work isn't as strong as they would like it to be, and why they don't have enough "A" prints in their portfolio.
In The Three P's and L's of Photography I have tried to summarize the handful of elements that I believe are requirements for the creation of quality images. Take these to heart. Think about them. Which ones are helping you, and with which ones are you letting yourself down?
November 11, 2001
Canon EOS users may be interested in a new review of the little known TC-80N3 Timer Remote Controller, a very handy device for anyone doing time lapse or astro-photography.
I have added my October Featured Image, taken a few weeks ago along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Smoky Workshop member Tony Shum now has his workshop portfolio online.
November 9, 2001
Australian pro photographer Nick Rains has contributed a review of the Ebony RSW45, a lightweight flatbed 4X5" camera suitable for landscape work.
Because Depth of Field markings are disappearing from many contemporary autofocus 35mm lenses, many photographers are unaware of how to use them when they are encountered, especially with medium and large format cameras. At the suggestion of a reader I have added some comments about how to use the depth of field scales on lenses that have them to quickly set the hyperfocal distance.
November 8, 2001
My tutorial on Focal Length and Depth of Field published a couple of days ago, and it's predecessor article Understanding Depth of Field from last week, have caused some considerable discussion. The issue still confuses and annoys some people.
I was pleased to receive today an email from a photographer who has come up with a perfect situation that illustrates how an understanding of this topic can produce a beneficial shooting situation.
November 7, 2001
Have you even had a photograph ruined by lens flare? We all have. Have you ever had a photograph improved by lens flare? Well, this week I did. Here's what it looks like.
November 6, 2001
Last Friday I published a tutorial titled, Understanding Depth of Field. In it I mentioned that most photographers are not aware that if the subject size remains constant, and the aperture used is the same, all lenses have the same depth of field. In other words, short focal length lenses don't have greater depth of field than long lenses.
To illustrate this non-intuitive subject I now have online some test images and a description of how they were created.
November 5, 2001
November 3, 2001
There are several fascinating product review and articles scheduled for the coming week. Check back here for them beginning on Monday. In the meantime have a look at the Subject Index to see the full range of existing product reviews, tutorials and travel articles available on the site.
For this weekend though, here's a shameless promotion. If you're not yet familiar with The Video Journal, our unique new DVD-based quarterly video magazine about photography, take a few minutes to find out why I believe you'll find subscribing a worthwhile investment.
November 2, 2001
Many photographers don't fully understand Depth of Field, what it is and how it works. Hyperfocal distance is also frequently a big mystery. There is often confusion about what the Circle of Confusion is and its relationship to Depth of Field.
Wonder no more. The latest article in my "Understanding" series has just been published. It's titled Understanding Depth of Field.
November 1, 2001
There has been much concern among photographers about the announced and pending irradiation of mail in the USA. I have now created a page which will track reliable information on this topic as it unfolds.
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Smoky Workshop member Jerry Witt now has his workshop portfolio online.
October 31, 2001
Firstly, to all children large and small, Happy Halloween! To the rest of you, please drive safely this evening and watch out for little goblins crossing the road.
Earlier this week I published an article on Backpacking & Photography. Today I am publishing a complimentary article by contributor Dave Thompson on Trekking & Photography, specifically in the Himalayas.
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Smoky Workshop member Jeffrey Behr now has his workshop portfolio online.
October 30, 2001
There have not been the usual number of submission to the Critique Contest this month and because of my travels I haven't had the time to post many of the ones that did come in. Nevertheless, the winner of the October contest is William Scott of Washington state. He wins a free copy of the current issue of The Video Journal. Congratulations William! The November competition is now open.
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Steve Kossack, co-instructor at the Great Smoky workshop, has now added his photographs from that recent trip.
October 29, 2001
Most landscape and nature photographers shoot from the trunk of their car. In fact, wasn't it Edward Weston who wrote, probably tongue-in-cheek, that if he couldn't shoot it from the road, it likely wasn't worth shooting? But many of us like to shoot in the backcountry as well, and backpacking is the usual way of doing so. Jim Chow, a very talented photographer whose work has previously appeared on this site has now contributed Backpacking Photography, a how-to article that most outdoor photographers will enjoy.
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All 8 available places on the Grand Canyon Rafting Adventure, which was announced on Saturday, are now taken. But, there is always the chance of a cancellation, so if you'd like to be placed on the Waitlist, and also to receive advance notice of future workshops, please fill out the Waitlist Registration Form.
October 28, 2001
If you've been thinking about joining the Grand Canyon Rafting Adventure, which was announced yesterday, don't delay. Seven of the eight available places have now been taken. The last remaining spot won't last long.
David Graham, one of the members of last weekend's Great Smoky Workshop, now has online a small portfolio of his photographs that were taken on that trip.
Stand-by for an exciting couple of weeks of new content. Scheduled for publication in the days ahead are a review of the new Epson C80 printer, ColorLife paper, an article on Photographic Backpacking, and one on Trekking the Himalayas and photography. Also scheduled is an essay on the Three P's and the Three L's of photography — I'll keep you guessing on what that one's about.
October 27, 2001
A write-up and some images from last weekend's Great Smoky National Park Fall Colour Workshop are now online.
The next Luminous Landscape workshop is going to be the most exciting, lengthy and difficult one yet. Today I'm announcing the Grand Canyon Rafting Adventure which will take place in early May 2002. It will be the photographic trip of a lifetime. If you can afford the time and money, and can stand the excitement, this is a workshop that you must not miss.
October 26, 2001
The use of daylight fill-flash for landscape and nature photography can really enhance ones work. Steve Kossack has written a short essay on how he approaches this subject.
The hosting company that manages this site's server suffered a major system outage for about three hours on Thursday morning (EDT). This meant the The Luminous Landscape was offline during that time. Everything appears to now be back to normal. I regret any inconvenience.
October 25, 2001
Regular visitors to this site will be familiar with the writings of Alain Briot, a frequent contributor to this site. He is a French-born landscape photographer who now makes his home in Chinle, Arizona. An interview with Alain was also featured in a recent edition of the Video Journal.
A selection of Alain's work taken in and around Canyon de Chelly is now showcased at PhotoTrip USA.
October 24, 2001
Regular readers will know that I regard the Imacon Flextight range of scanners as the finest currently available. The Polaroid SprintScan 120 and the Nikon LS-8000ED have recently provided serious medium format photographers with excellent quality and reduced prices in the medium format scanner race. But, the Imacon remains the Mercedes of scanners both in terms of quality, and regrettably, price. This has just changed.
At the beginning of this month Imacon announced that they had reduced the price of the Imacon Flextight Photo to US$6,495 from its original price of $9,995. I have just been informed that Imacon is currently offering a limited-time US$1,500 mail-in rebate which effectively reduces the net cost to the end-user to $4,995.
This 50% price reduction is dramatic and brings the Flextight Photo into the price range of a much broader range of prospective users. It also reduces the price gap with the Nikon LS-8000 and Polaroid SprintScan 120 to the point where purchasing the superior Imacon becomes a not unreasonable choice.
I've been using the Imacon Photo for almost 2 years and find that it produces scans the equal of those from drum scanners at commercial labs. If you shoot 35mm and medium format and want to buy the last scanner that you'll ever need, now's the time to consider an Imacon Photo.
October 23, 2001
I have just returned from North Carolina and Tennessee where I conducted my most recent landscape photography workshop, Fall Colour in Great Smoky National Park. A great bunch of guys attended and I very much enjoyed working with them. I'll have photographs and a travel write-up online later this week, and also in the weeks ahead portfolios by some of the workshop participants.
For those of you starved for new content during the past week, the wait is over. I am publishing today a review of Color Mechanic, possible the most useful Photoshop plug-in program that I've ever used. This is a must-have program. It was just announced and released this week. Best of all, you can try it out as a free download before making a purchase decision.
October 14, 2001
I will be off-line for the next 10 days. That means that I will not be able to answer any e-mails or reply to any questions or comments on the Discussion Forum. Chris Sanderson will be traveling with me and therefore there will not be any Video Journal order query support available either.
Our automated credit card ordering system does continue to function though, and so we are able to accept your orders for Video Journal subscriptions, orders for back issues, and print and Monograph orders. All orders placed during this week will ship on Friday, October 26th.
Chris and I are driving from Toronto down to Great Smoky National Park where, along with Steve Kossack, I will be conducting my Fall Colour Workshop. Along the way we are going to be driving through Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive and then the entire 469 mile length of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Should be quite a trip.
After my return there will be travel articles on all of these locations as well as portfolios. The Workshop will also be featured in a future issue of the Video Journal. I'll be back online October 24th. Have a great week.
October 13, 2001
Most photographers are fascinated by very fast lenses. One of the legends of photography, and one of the fastest production lenses ever made is the Leica Noctilux f/1.0. I have just begun to explore its capabilities and my first impressions are now online.
October 11, 2001
Harold Merklinger is a well regarded expert in the field of optics and author of several books on the topic. He has contributed a new article titled A Technical View of Boke. Boke (or Bokeh if you prefer), is the Japanese-originated concept of the difference between out of focus areas of an image due to lens design. This article will be heavy going for some, but should be of interest to anyone desiring a technical understanding of this complex and controversial topic.
October 10, 2001
Interest in digital B&W printing invariably leads to interest in fine-art printing papers. I have now added to my Piezo review, which was published yesterday, a cross-reference table of Hahnemule papers and the trade names used by various popular suppliers .
October 9, 2001
Inkjet printers have revolutionized colour printing during the past few years. But, what about B&W? Piezography has been available for more than a year and I have finally had a chance to do some extensive hands-on testing. My review is now online.
October 7, 2001
If you own a recent vintage Minolta or Nikon scanner you know that it comes with a software technology called ICE to automatically reduce the problems caused by dust and scratches. Unfortunately this software also degrades image sharpness. Regular contributor Cris Daniels, an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop, shows us how to properly take advantage of ICE.
Regular readers will know that I'm a Contributing Editor to Photo Techniques magazine. The current issue (Nov / Dec 2001) contains my most recent article, titled The Five Best Digital Camera Systems.
October 6, 2001
I had an opportunity yesterday to spend some time handling a pre-production sample of the Canon EOS-1D. My brief comments can be found here.
W. Eugene Smith is one of the greats of documentary photograph. A book of his work titled Dream Street — W. Eugene Smith's Pittsburgh Project, has just been published, and an exhibition begins next month in Pittsburgh at the Carnegie Museum of Art. My review is now online.
I regularly feature one photograph which is my best work from the previous month. For September it is a stark image from Sandbanks Provincial Park in my home province of Ontario.
October 5, 2001
Now that autumn is here in North America it's time for me to leave summer activities behind and begin several location shooting projects. Earlier this week, as a sort of "warm-up", photographer John Brownlow, Video Journal Director Chris Sanderson and I went to Sandbanks Provincial Park in Prince Edward County, southern Ontario. This article contains a brief write-up and small portfolios of images by both John and me.
October 3, 2001
Regular contributor Alain Briot has provided us with a new article titled 4X5" — The Agony and the Ecstasy. The title says it all. If you haven't yet seen Mike Johnston's article from last month entitled Is Large Format Really ìBestî?, you may wish to after reading what Alain has written. I believe you'll find the two make fascinating reading together.
October 1, 2001
Issue #2 of The Video Journal is now shipping. Current subscribers in the USA and Canada will receive their copies within 10 days to two weeks. International subscribers' copies may take a few days more. We have received very positive comments from subscribers about our inaugural issue. We believe that the just-released Issue #2 is, if anything, substantially better.
New subscription orders placed as of today will begin with Issue #2. We are also pleased to announce that Issue #1 is now available as a stand-alone back-issue. The price is only $29.95, shipped by first-class airmail to anywhere in the world.
Also available beginning today are Preview Video Clips from the Video Journal. These are brief on-line QuickTime excerpts of key content from each issue. Though these small clips are nowhere near the broadcast quality of our DVDs, they are still quite large (2MB), and are intended for viewing by those with broadband Internet connections. We hope you enjoy them and will consider subscribing to the Video Journal.
September 30, 2001
I've been running my Epson 2000P about 18 hours a day continuously for the past few weeks making prints for my Monograph. Recently I switched to the Epson 5500,which can make archival pigment-based inks almost 2.5 times as quickly and at less than half the ink cost.
I published Cris Daniels' review of this printer earlier this year. I can now confirm everything he said from my own experience. Great printer!
September 29, 2001
Frequently readers ask how it's possible for me to publish this site, considering that it now has almost 1,000 pages of articles, reviews, essays and tutorials, and is constantly updated with fresh content, usually several times a week.
My answer is that as a photographic educator I do it largely as a labour of love. But, it is indeed both an expensive and time intensive undertaking. Find out how you can support this web site while enhancing the value that you receive from its content.
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September 28, 2001
Contributor Chris Daniels has provided us with a fascinating review of the ImagePrint RIP from Colorbyte. For many photographers using wide-format inkjet printers for fine art printing the use of a RIP ( Raster Image Processor) has almost become de rigueur. Even if you don't own such a printer, Chris' review makes for informative reading.
September 25, 2001
The long awaited Canon pro-level SLR, the EOS-1D was announced today. The EOS-1D is a 4.15 megapixel CCD-based camera based on the rock solid EOS-1V body design. It has high burst rate capabilities. But, my initial impression is that this is not the camera that many been waiting for. Instead, it is a newspaper and sports photographer's solution, and an ideal one.
I'm disappointed in Canon though, not for what they produced, but for what they didn't. If this topic interests you may be interested in reading my thoughts on the release of the EOS-1D.
September 24, 2001
About a month ago Steve Kossack wrote a preliminary review of the new Acratech Ultimate Ballhead for these pages. He has just returned from conducting a couple of private photographic tours, during which he used the Acratech under a wide range of conditions. Locations visited included Death Valley, Antelope Canyon and the Grand Canyon. Steve's Update to his previous review confirms that the Ultimate Ballhead is a worthy contender.
September 23, 2001
One of the aspects of digital image processing that causes a great deal of confusion is the many different ways that are available to sharpen digital files. I have previously written a description of how most pros do sharpening using LAB mode, in my tutorial Instant Photoshop. A popular commercial program for doing a better job of sharpening is nik Sharpener Pro. Then there is a novel technique that I recently published that uses High Pass Sharpening.
Now, John Brownlow provides us with a fascinating though somewhat complex new technique for accomplishing "intelligent" sharpening titled A SMART SHARPENING TUTORIAL.
September 21, 2001
For several days after the terrible events of last week I found it hard to think about or do anything related to photography. It all seemed so trivial given the events that we had witnessed. In the new page titled In Memoriam I have published my first photograph taken since then — one that attempts to summarize my feelings.
September 20, 2001
The archiving and secure storage of ones negative and transparencies is a common concern of photographers. A brief essay titled Image Security describes how I protect my work from disaster.
September 18, 2001
Most serious photographers and printers are concerned with the "status" afforded inkjet prints by galleries, collectors and museums. How should these be presented, and how are they perceived? Are these true photographic prints, or something else, somehow something different? In my new essay titled Handmade I explore this topic in some depth.
September 16, 2001
Though our hearts are heavy we will attempt beginning today to return to our normal activities.
I have just placed on-line a fascinating article which points out the problems and difficulties associated with working in large format. Mike Johnston originally wrote it for the highly regarded magazine Camera & Darkroom. The article is called Is Large Format Really ìBestî? Please read Mike's introduction carefully before writing nasty letters. And, for those that are current or potential large format fans, in October we will feature an article by Alain Briot on the joys and advantages of working in large format.
September 14, 2001
Out of respect for this Day of Remembrance, as is being observed in the USA, Canada and Western Europe, there will be no new activities on this site today. We will resume normal publication tomorrow.
September 13, 2001
After Tuesday's horrendous events, flying in the United States is about to change in dramatic ways. Photographers who travel with a lot of bulky photo equipment will need to develop new techniques for managing the increased security restrictions and possible carry-on limitations. This new article explores some of the ways in which you can cope with this situation.
September 11, 2001
I'd like to express my sincere sorrow for what has happened in the U.S. today, and extend my condolences to the families of those affected. There will be no new activity on this site for the next few days as an expression of respect for those who have died as well as those who lost loved ones in this catastrophe.
September 10, 2001
A couple of weeks ago I published a tutorial / essay on Documentary and Street Photography. Along with it was my photo essay shot at a carnival Midway. I was accompanied on that shoot by talented street photographer John Brownlow. John is the moderator of the Streetphoto mail-list among other pursuits.
Today I have published a selection of John's photographs from that shoot along with his technical data and commentary. If this type of documentary B&W photography appeals to you I think you'll find his work fascinating.
Our shooting session together was filmed for the Video Journal. A forthcoming issue of The Journal will feature what that session was like as well as an on-camera conversation between John and me about our approaches to this type of photography, including a look at our respective prints and techniques.
September 9, 2001
Leica-M series owners may be interested in a review just posted of the newly released 21-24-28mm viewfinder.
September 7, 2001
There are many different ways of sharpening an image in Photoshop, but none of them can be reversed once the file has been saved. Also, the use of Unsharp Mask can cause a "noisy" image to become even more so.
Today's Photoshop tutorial is called High-Pass Sharpening and it addresses both of the above-mentioned problems.
September 5, 2001
This is an exciting day. After nearly 6 months in preparation I am very proud to announce the publication of The Monograph, a collection of my finest photographs covering the years 1996 — 2001. This book contains my most outstanding work created during this period. It consists of 26 hand-made giclÈe prints hand stitched and bound by one of the countries finest custom bookbinders into a hard-covered linen wrapped volume with slip case.
It is an opportunity for photographers and other collectors of fine-art landscape photograph to buy a unique collection of exceptional prints at a cost for below normal gallery prices. I invite you to read more about The Monograph.
September 4, 2001
Regular contributor Alain Briot discusses in his September article issues relating to Selling Your Photographs. Any photographer who sells his or her photography, and especially anyone considering doing so for the first time, should read Alain's perspective on this as he is one of the most commercially successful fine-art landscape photographers working in the USA today.
September 3, 2001
A week doesn't go by when I don't receive several queries about whether it's really necessary to buy Photoshop 6. Can't I stick with Elements or Photo Deluxe? They came free with my scanner, printer or whatever. Photoshop 6 is so expensive. Is it really necessary?
I've now updated my FAQ to address this question and to specifically suggest how to obtain Photoshop 6 at a considerable discount.
Summer is usually a quiet time for me in terms of doing new photography. But, I keep a personal page of some of my more casual and personal efforts which I'm happy to share.
September 2, 2001
It's the Labour Day weekend in many countries and for many folks this means the end of summer. Back to school and back to work. Here at the Luminous Landscape that means summer at my country place is coming to a close and many photographic activities are resuming, and new ones are being planned.
The fall season begins with two new articles. I continue to explore my renewed interest in B&W photograph with an article entitled B&W Revival, an exploration of the effect that digital image processing has had in stimulating interest in monochrome photography.
The second is a brief tutorial on how to easily make Digital Contact Sheets from your negatives.
September 1, 2001
A new article explores the concept of Variations; variations on tonality between shooting in colour and B&W; variations in focal length when photographing the same scene, and finally, variations in timing as a subject is explored through the viewfinder.
If you're a regular reader you may have already seen it as part of my Midway photo essay from a couple of weeks ago. I am referring to the photograph of the young man and midway ride, which is now my Featured Image for August.
August 31, 2001
I have just finished reading the inaugural issue of Mike Johnston's newsletter, the 37th Frame. Mike was the long-time editor of Photo Techniques magazine in the USA, is a prolific author on topics photographic, and is now a frequent contributor to this site.
Mike new publication is a must for photographers who, over the years, have enjoyed his opinionated and always readable prose about the art of photography as well as his perspective on quality photographic equipment — lenses in particular. At USD $18 for a 4 issue (1 yr.), subscription it's a bargain, and it makes you realize what drivel most of the so-called popular photographic press typically publishes. I'm very impressed with Issue #1 of the 37th Frame and am looking forward to future issues.
August 30, 2001
Ed Hamrick, author of the highly regarded VueScan software has just written to say that his latest version supporting the LS-8000 is now available. He also explains why the scanner is limited to a maximum of 6X9cm scans and also the reason for some banding problems that have been reported.
August 29, 2001
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I would be attending Photo Expo in New York in early November and that I was putting together a dinner one evening for interested readers.
Unfortunately I have just learned that this conflicts with another travel commitment that I now have and so I will not be able to be in New York that weekend. Next time!
August 28, 2001
There's been a buzz in the photographic community recently about the release of a new ballhead that is compatible with Arca / Kirk / RRS plates. The Ultimate Ballhead from Acratech Inc. has now been reviewed by Steve Kossack, and it looks like a winner.
August 26, 2001
August 25, 2001
Of interest to Canon EOS D30 owners — a review of isoR, two Photoshop Actions created by Fred Miranda that do a very nice job of eliminating the digital noise in high ISO (800 & 1600) images taken with this camera.
August 24, 2001
American photographer John Shephard, who now lives and works in New South Wales, Australia, has added his review of the Noblex 135U to my previous comments, and includes as well a small portfolio of powerful images created with this camera.
August 23, 2001
A few months ago I gave a favorable review to iCorrect Professional, a Photoshop plug-in that automates white and black point as well as colour balance settings. This is one of the few "automatic" programs that I've tried that actually does as good a job as a knowledgeable Photoshop user could do manually. Version 3.0 is now available, and my online review has been updated. A very good product has been made even better.
August 22, 2001
August 21, 2001
Today sees the publication of two new featured articles. The first is titled Documentary and Street Photography. It discusses and illustrates techniques for doing street shooting.
The second new article is a photo essay done at the Midway of a country fair, in this case the Canadian National Exhibition, currently on in Toronto, Canada. This shows some examples of contemporary documentary style photography using 35mm rangefinder equipment.
August 20, 2001
Beginning this month Alain Briot, a prolific and highly successful landscape photographer, will be writing a monthly article for these pages called Briot's View. His column this month is called Be Prepared and contains two of the most striking photographs I've yet seen from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
August 15, 2001
Together with Chris Sanderson, producer of the Video Journal, I'll be visiting Photo Expo in New York City on Friday, Nov 2, 2001. I'm planning a casual dinner that evening for anyone who wishes to join in. If you'll be there and would like to get together, drop me an email, and as the date gets closer I'll try and organize something. I'll remind everyone again here some time in mid-October.
August 14, 2001
I've been a big fan of LCD computer displays for photographic work for the past three years. My enthusiasm is shared by photographer Alain Briot, who wrote a review of the Apple Cinema Display for this site last year. After 12 months of almost daily use Alain has now updated his report.
August 13, 2001
Where & When — An Essay on Photographic Control has just been published. We photographers are control freaks, but it's important that we learn to control the right things.
I realized when posting this essay that there are now some ten essays which I've written during the past couple of years scattered around the site. I have therefore created a new Essay Index which should make finding them somewhat easier.
August 12, 2001
Due to a cancellation there is now one opening for my October Great Smokey Fall Colour Workshop. This workshop has been sold out for months but now there's an opportunity to join it. If you want to photograph autumn colour this year in one of the most spectacular locations in America, this could be the workshop to for you. First come, first served.
2pm EDT. The one open spot for the October Workshop has now been taken. If you are interested in future workshops please complete the registration form and you'll be placed on the waitlist.
The next workshop, now scheduled for May, 2002 will be my most exciting and challenging workshop yet — an 8 day photographic expedition rafting down the Colorado River through the heart of the Grand Canyon. It will be expensive, and will take a total of 10 days. Watch for a detailed announcement next month. But, if you think you might be interested and want a head-start advantage, drop me a note and I'll provide advanced details.
August 11, 2001
Today sees the announcement of a major new feature. Titled the Assignment Competition, it will provide a unique venue for photographers to display their work, challenge their skills, and win prizes including free attendance in a Luminous Landscape Workshop, worth $1,000. The Assignment Competition is available exclusively to subscribers to the Video Journal.
August 8, 2001
Regular readers, Video Journal subscribers, friends and other correspondents often ask about my current photographic activities, upcoming portfolios, articles, books and workshops. To keep those who might be interested up-to-date I have created this page.
In case you missed it, the July issue of PC World had a worthwhile article on inkjet print longevity. That article is now available online.
August 7, 2001
Ooops! This is a special note to subscribers to the Video Journal who live in the Northeastern United States and whose ZIP code begins in "0". We have just discovered that our mailing and order fulfillment program has a bug which dropped the first "0" in your ZIP code. This means that many people in this part of the country who subscribed to The Journal during the past month may not have received their copies.
The bug is now fixed and we have also written to everyone that we can identify. If you are still waiting for your copy of The Journal, and have not received a private email from us, please let us know. We apologies for the inconvenience. The programmer responsible has been deprived of his Twinkie privileges for the next week.
August 6, 2001
This week marks the opening of a major retrospective exhibit of Ansel Adams' work at The San Francisco Museum of Art, commemorating the 100th anniversary of his birth. The exhibit, curated by John Szarkowski, has associated with it the publication of a superb and important new book — Ansel Adams At 100. My review of this book and commentary on Adams and his contribution to landscape photography can now be found here.
August 5, 2001
Epson has released new colour inks for the 870/875/1270/1280/1290 printers and it looks like there is more to them than just new packaging. I have not tried them yet but Ron Harris, a fellow contributor to Photo Techniques magazine, has found a distinct colour shift over the old inks. I have just added Ron's proposed adjustment to my FAQ.
Following the above posting earlier today there is now additional information which is reported here.
August 3, 2001
Collecting and studying photographic art books is an important part of my involvement in photography. Over the years I've developed a large library of photographic books and have long wanted to write about them. My friend, landscape photographer Alain Briot, has beaten me to the punch. I'm pleased to publish today Briot's Books, an enjoyable essay on the most important books in his collection and a recommendation for which ones to add to yours.
This next item will be of interest to both existing and prospective Canon EOS D30 owners. Chris Breeze has just updated BreezeBrowser to V1.0. My initial impression is that all of the minor issues from previous versions have now been resolved, particularly the directory management problem. Highly recommended!
August 2, 2001
Fred Miranda has just published a very nifty utility that will be of interest to Canon D30 owners. It's a Photoshop Highlight Recovery "Action" that uses a 16 bit Linear RAW file combined with a regular 8 bit RAW file conversion of the same image, so that overly hot or "blown-out" highlights can be tamed.
Fred also has other Actions and a Linear ICC profile for the D30 (which I haven't tested) on his site. He is charging $4.50 for the HR utility and it can be found on his web site. While there are other ways of accomplishing this, Fred's Action does a nice job with little effort.
August 1, 2001
As predicted yesterday the long awaited 70~200mm f/2.8L IS Canon zoom was officially announced today. It will be available in September at a price of US $3,000 (gulp). You can read the details here.
July 31, 2001
My colleague Ian Lyons of Computer Darkroom continue to be fascinated with getting the utmost quality from the Canon EOS D30. His article The Importance of White Balance is now available on his site.
The Canon rumour mill is in full swing again. Kai Pin, who in the past has been a reliable source of early product information, has lots of fascinating details in a message posted to Digital Photography Review.
July 30, 2001
Anyone who might be interested in the history of lens design, Leica optics and cameras, and especially a superb mini-course in lens design theory and practice will be interested in my review of Irwin Puts' new book the Leica Lens Compendium.
Puts is a regular magazine contributor and online author, and with this his first book he provides us with a superb reference on lens theory, and current as well as prospective Leica owners with a unique and invaluable new reference source.
There was a crash of the site's server last night which lasted for several hours. It's now fixed. Sorry for any inconvenience.
July 29, 2001
The winner of the July Critique Contest is Chris VenHaus of Waukesha, Wisconsin. Chris wins a copy of the current issue of the Video Journal. His winning entry along with those of previous month's winners can be found here. Congratulations Chris.
July 27, 2001
Contax owners rejoice. I've been advised by Joshua Daniels, North American rep for that the German conversion specialists Zrkendorfer, that they are now are able to provide the 12mm and 15mm Heliar lenses in a custom mount for the Contax G cameras.
July 25, 2001
One of my most fascinating recent purchases has been the 12mm Voigtl”nder Heliar ultrawide-angle lens. One of its limitations though is that it vignettes quite strongly. I have now added to last week's article my temporary solution.
July 23, 2001
The last few years have seen a resurgence of interest in rangefinder cameras and a number of fascinating new models have become available. Rangefinder Renaissance is a survey of the current state of this market and a companion article, a review of the just released Voigtl”nder Bessa-T has also just been placed online.
July 22, 2001
At the risk of appearing immodest, here is a link to some comments and feedback that I've received from subscribers to The Video Journal during the past few days. Needless to say, thanks!
July 21, 2001
A couple of weeks ago I published a review of the new 12mm Voigtl”nder Heliar ultrawide-angle lens in Leica mount. This is the widest rectilinear lens available for any 35mm camera.
I've added today a brief write-up on the accessory bubble level and double mount shoe adaptor. A bit esoteric, but of interest to anyone considering the purchase of this fascinating lens.
July 19, 2001
I have published today a hands-on review of the new Nikon Super Coolscan 8000 ED. I believe this to be the first review to appear anywhere online of a shipping version of this new medium format scanner. I am very favourably impressed.
There were some e-mails this morning from subscribers letting me know me that the Video Journal has started to arrive in customer's hands. Everyone who placed orders during the first 2 weeks of this month should receive their copy shortly. "It arrived today! Thanks a lot, and many congratulations for a great idea and a superb realization".
July 17, 2001
We don't often get to see how different lenses for different type of cameras compare, using the same subject and under field conditions. Now you will. I have just published an article titled Battle of The Ultrawides. This is an informal comparison of the new Voigtl”nder 12mm f/5.6 Heliar for Leica mount cameras, the Sigma 14mm f/2.8 usable on most SLRs, and the 30mm lens for the Hasselblad XPan. Really interesting results, as you'll see.
My colleague Ian Lyons has just published a review of the Polaroid PrintScan 120 scanner on his Computer Darkroom web site. The review includes a comparison with the far more expensive Imacon Flextight. Anyone interested in a moderately priced medium format scanner will find Ian's conclusions of interest — " I believe that most will find that the SprintScan 120 will be able to fill the demanding needs of the photographer, from professional down through serious amateur."
July 13, 2001
Photographers, like writers and other artists, can occasionally suffer from a block — an inability to feel motivated or inspired to do their work. Similarly, photographers who practice a certain type of shooting, such as wildlife or landscape, can feel stymied by lack of time and opportunity in pursing their craft.
I've added today an article titled The Project which provides some suggestions for how to break the logjam, and have also posted two of my own nascent projects; Urban Landscapes and Windows and Doorways.
July 12, 2001
Last fall I wrote a highly controversial article favorably comparing prints made with the Canon EOS D30 digital SLR with those from scans made with a high-end Imacon desktop scanner. I received a fascinating letter today from a photographer in the Canary Islands who owns a drum scanner and who has compared its output from Provia 100F with that from the D30. His comments can be found here.
I'm also pleased to let everyone who has ordered the Video Journal know that our brief shipping delay is now over, and that all orders received prior to today will be shipped tomorrow, Friday. You should receive your first issue some time next week.
July 11, 2001
Several weeks ago I published an article explaining the concept of Bit Depth. My colleague Ian Lyons of Computer Darkroom has just published a related article on his site on Editing Hi-Bit Images. If you've already seen my Bit Depth piece I highly recommend Ian's to anyone interested in this subject.
Another excellent new article can be found at the Nature Photographers web site titled Nature Photography 101. It contains a great deal of solid, basic information for newcomers to nature and outdoor photography.
July 10, 2001
Don't know what to do with that old Cracker Jack box? Need a new camera but only have 50 cents in your pocket? Feel like making 2 minute time exposures in bright sunlight? Well, have I got an article for you!
A new contributor, David Stein, has provided us with a fascinating introduction to Pinhole Cameras. If you've never made or used a pinhole camera, now's the time to find out more about them.
July 9, 2001
Oops. A large shipment of the Video Journal which was supposed to go out in the mail today has had to be delayed. The pressing plant screwed up on the disk's artwork and so we've consequently had to trash a large number of DVDs. This means that orders placed last week will be shipped about 5 days late. Sorry for any inconvenience.
This has been a day for technical glitches. If you tried to access this site between midnight and 8am EDT today you likely found that it was unavailable. This is because the server had crashed due to some upgrade work being done by a contact programmer. The problem appears to have been resolved, and the programmer has had his case of Jolt confiscated. Everything is back to normal now, except my frazzled nerves.
July 7, 2001
A preliminary review of the fascinating new 12mm f/5.6 Voigtl”nder Heliar lens is now online. This is the widest rectilinear lens ever made for a 35mm camera. I also have posted a brief report on the new M-Motor for the Leica M6.
July 6, 2001
A highly informative new tutorial was added today. It is by Mike Johnston and it is entitled Understanding Lens Contrast. If you've ever wondered how to read and understand an MTF chart, or why some lenses that test well may not perform to expectation, this article is a must read.
June 5, 2001
A new Featured Image for June has been added. Taken on my vacation in Italy it has become my favourite photograph taken so far this year.
Several new articles are in the works and will be appearing during the next week or so. These include reviews of the just released Voigtl”nder 12mm f/5.6 Heliar ultra-wide angle lens, and the latest Leica M Drive. Also coming shortly will be a major tutorial on Lens Contrast by Mike Johnston, as well as a couple of new portfolios. An article on pinhole photography is also scheduled for this month.
It may be summer but there's lots of new content coming.
July 4, 2001
Happy Independence Day to my readers in the American colonies. Just think though — if General Cornwallis had won you'd all be Canadians by now :-)
Here's a small hint that can save everyone money on Epson inkjet cartridges.
June 29, 2001
The big day is here! The Video Journal is now shipping. After more than 18 months in development The Journal has become a reality. We are now taking secure on-line credit card orders as well as requests using postal money orders.
The Journal is a unique publishing event. Firstly, it is the world's first quarterly video magazine to be published on DVD. Secondly, it is the first video magazine to be published exclusively for photographers. And, it is of course intimately linked to the Luminous Landscape web site, and published with the same integrity, humour, impeccable technical quality and freedom from commercial bias.
The Video Journal plays on all PC and Mac-based DVD players, anywhere in the world, and also on all Regional Codes. The disks will also play on all NTSC stand-alone home entertainment system players as found in the USA, Canada, Japan and elsewhere. The disks will generally also play on most stand-alone players in PAL format countries. The Journal is professionally produced using broadcast quality equipment, by Chris Sanderson, an award winning professional film director and editor. An original musical score is by composer Steve SauvÈ and the on-camera host is Michael Reichmann, the publisher of this web site.
Subscribe to The Luminous Landscape Video Journal. You'll be glad you did. (And so will I.)
June 28, 2001
I'm occasionally asked by readers and workshop attendees about the issue of shooting alone vs. with others, and of the possible dangers and concerns associated with backcountry photography. A new essay entitled On Location addresses some of these issues.
June 27, 2001
Have you ever wanted to head out to one of the great or even hidden locations in the American Southwest to do some landscape photography? Not been sure where to go or when to go, or when you get there how to find the best spots to shoot from?
If so you might wish to contact Steve Kossack. Steve is an experienced outdoor photographer who lives in Cottonwood, Arizona. He has traveled the Southwest extensively and has assisted me in conducting some of my field workshops. Steve is now operating F/8 & Be There, a service providing custom 1-on-1 guided tours for photographers. His prices are reasonable and he knows his stuff. Recommended.
June 26, 2001
Most people know me as a landscape and nature photographer. Indeed that's been my predominant activity for the past five years. But, during my 35 years in photography the majority of my shooting career was as a photojournalist. So, while today I mostly work in medium format when doing landscapes, and use 35mm SLRs for wildlife and nature, I have a great love for rangefinder cameras — especially M series Leicas.
I have published today a review of the latest model Leica M6 TTL and the equally new Tri-Elmar lens. In the days ahead I'll be covering other Leica lenses and accessories and exploring the disciplines of street shooting and documentary photography. I hope you enjoy this departure from my usual coverage of digital and landscape topics as much as I do.
June 25, 2001
The winner of the June Critique Contest is G¸nter Haika of Vienna, Austria. He receives a complimentary issue of the forthcoming Luminous Landscape Video Journal. G¸nter's entry along with those of previous month's winners can be seen here.
June 22, 2001
A relatively quiet week as I review previous work, and prepare for some summer relaxation. The exciting news is that we're almost ready to begin taking orders for the Video Journal — hopefully some time next week. We're just waiting for the duplicator to confirm that production has begun.
In the meantime I've added a couple of photographs to existing articles. One was taken just a few days ago with the Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens and the Canon D30 of a dragonfly at almost 1:1 magnification. The other is a new addition to my section on whimsy. In both instances clicking on the smaller version will display full screen. The one of the dragonfly is particularly interesting at a large size.
June 20, 2001
If you enjoyed my recent travel portfolio from Florence and Tuscany you may wish to now see two new images from that trip. I regard these as two of the most evocative photographs from that series.
June 18, 2001
My series of "Understanding" tutorials continues. The latest is entitled Understanding Exposure. It is intended as an introduction for beginners and not-so beginners to some of the more interesting aspects of exposure and light measurement.
June 15, 2001
Thanks to reader Lin Evans for pointing out that there is a simple work-around to the Windows directory problem in BreezeBrowser reviewed yesterday. Lin — I'd have thanked you directly but your return email address doesn't work :-(
If you are enjoying Mike Johnston's new series of articles for The Luminous Landscape you might be interested in finding out about his just-announced newsletter The 37th Frame. Mike's next article for this site on Understanding Lens Contrast and MTF will appear here in about 2 weeks.
June 14, 2001
Canon D30 owners are always on the lookout for software that can do a better job of viewing and converting RAW files. A new program called BreezeBrowser does the trick. My initial impressions of this still in-development software are now online.
A great many people are waiting expectantly for the release of The Luminous Landscape Video Journal. I'm pleased to let you know that we are right on schedule with our planned ship date of July 1. The master disk is going to the replicator tomorrow and we hope to be able to start taking secure online orders next week. If you've registered for advance notice and our discount offer you can expect an email announcement shortly.
June 13, 2001
I'm very pleased to announce the first publication anywhere of an important new essay by Mike Johnston titled The Photographer as Auteur. As mentioned below under yesterday's listing, Mike has been a high profile editor and writer on the American photography scene since the mid-1980's.
Mike's article and John Brownlow's exceptional accompanying black and white photo essay are not an easy read or simple to view. Both require time and thought to digest and assimilate. I think though that you'll find the effort to be worthwhile. Mike, John and I also welcome your feedback. The Guest Photographers section of the Discussion Forum is a good place to post them.
June 12, 2001
Mike Johnston 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.
Throughout the past two decades he also was the author of a broad range of technical articles and equipment reviews, as well as several considered examinations of the art and techniques of photography.
Beginning later this week, and every few weeks from now on, I will be publishing on these pages a continuing series of Mike's previously published writings as well as new material which will be exclusive to this site. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do.
June 9, 2001
Nikon latest digital SLR, the D1x has just started shipping. BjØrn RØrslett is a talented professional nature photographer who lives in Norway. He also has been a longtime user of the Nikon D1 and he has just obtained a D1x. He has a very interesting web site and there you'll find his initial impressions of Nikon's latest digital SLR.
OK Canon, isn't it time for the EOS 1D announcement?
June 8, 2001
In mid-Aril I reviewed the Mamiya 7 II. I started that review with a not-entirely complimentary comparison to the new Bronica RF645. I'm pleased to say that Mike Johnston, the previous long-time Editor-in-Chief of PHOTO Techniques magazine, has now contributed a review of the Bronica RF645 that provides an alternative perspective on this interesting medium format rangefinder camera.
June 7, 2001
The web site Image Insider has just posted the first comprehensive review anywhere of the new Kodak DCS Pro back. At USD $20,000 it lies outside of the needs and means of most non-professionals, but it is a milestone product. It is a self-contained 16 Megapixel digital back for medium format cameras. Up until now MF and LF digital backs needed a tethered computer. The Kodak back still needs an external battery pack, but it has an inbuilt LCD screen as well as slots for 2 CF cards, including 1GB Microdrives. It outputs a 96 megabyte file in 16 bit mode. Yum.
June 6, 2001
A new digital imaging tutorial is now online. Titled Understanding Bit Depth it attempts to shed some light on this often confusing topic by explaining why you may or may not want to use high bit scans and 48 bit digital camera files.
June 5, 2001
Every month or so I post a photograph taken within the previous 30 days that stands out, and which might end up being part of my permanent portfolio. Sometimes these are simply ones that appeal to me personally. Some months pickings are sparse and there's nothing new to be added.
For May's entry there are now two new photographs in my Featured Image section. Both were taken in Tuscany a few weeks ago, and while neither will form part of my landscape portfolio, both are fascinating images with strong appeal. I hope that you enjoy them.
June 4, 2001
Things have been so hectic recently that the date passed without my noticing it. Last week was the 2nd anniversary of the launch of The Luminous Landscape. Remarkably, since late May of 1999 this site has had more than 1 million visitors. At this time we are averaging more than 2,500 visitors per day.
This is tremendously gratifying for a completely non-commercial site, and I want to thank everyone for their interest and contributions.
June 1, 2001
The Discussion Forum is now back online and appears to be working properly. This means that the move to the new server has been completed successfully. But, if you have any problems with the Forum or any other part of the site over the next few days please let me know.
While I'm updating you, I'm pleased to say that the Video Journal is nearing publication. We should be sending the first issue out for DVD mastering and duplication within a couple of weeks. Our target is to start shipping by early July. Also, now that the site move is completed we will soon be able to start accepting your on-line credit card orders for Video Journal subscriptions via our secure server. I'll keep you posted.
May 31, 2001
The move to the new server is now complete. Most DNS servers around the world are now pointing here. If you're reading this you're on the new server.
But, as I feared there are problems with the Discussion Forum. Its move from the old server to here has not gone smoothly and this means that for the moment the Board is inoperative. Please do not post any new messages to the Board (even if you can access it) until I announce here that it is operational again. This may take a few days. Sorry for any inconvenience.
May 29, 2001
We're moving. (Well, at virtual move at least). Over the next several days this site will be moving to a new server. This will provide us with more capacity, more bandwidth, and the ability to provide streaming video. The new server will also allow for secure encrypted credit card transaction processing for Video Journal subscribers.
Ideally you won't notice any difference to what you see, and there should be no interruption of service. There might be problems with the Discussion Forum, but I'll keep you informed on this page of any developments.
Canon EOS D30 owners will be pleased to learn of a new shareware utility program called CRW Bridge. It allows for the instantaneous on-screen viewing of full-frame images from RAW files. No more squinting at minute thumbnails. A mini-review is now online.
May 27, 2001
I've just returned from my vacation in Italy and though a little jet lagged am starting to get back to business. If you haven't seen it already my short article on the trip is now pretty much complete, though a few more images may show up over the next few days.
The winner of the May Critique Contest is Jeff Alu of Irvine, CA. Congratulations Jeff! Jeff wins a copy of the inaugural edition of The Luminous Landscape Video Journal. The Journal will commence publication within the next couple of months.
The June Critique Contest is now open to submissions. Because May was a short month for the contest those received during the past two weeks will be added to June's entries.
May 24, 2001
For some further notes on equipment used during my current trip to Tuscany, observations on driving in Italy, and what this year's well equipped tourist is shooting with, have a look at the page entitled A Digital Travel Kit.
There is also a section titled, Thoughts on Doing Landscape Photography While Vacationing. Several new photographs are also found on this page.
May 21, 2001
Because I'm traveling in Tuscany this week with a digital SLR (Canon EOS D30) and a notebook computer, I am both able to review my day's shooting and occasionally update my web site. Consequently I'm slowly adding content to my eventual travel piece for the site.
Though it's still very much a work in progress you might enjoy visiting it over the coming few days as it develops.
May 20, 2001
Though I am still on vacation and traveling, and won't be back for another week, we've now settled into a rental villa in Tuscany and I am able to get online reliably from time to time.
I've been doing some enjoyable travel photography, both in Rome and Florence as well as in the Tuscan countryside. Naturally I'll have a write-up and some images online once I'm settled back home. I've posted two small items today though. One is associated with the use of Ephemeris, Jonathan Sacks' handy Pocket-PC program that allowed me to capture a lovely moonrise this morning at dawn. The second is a panoramic view of Florence and the Arno River taken a few days ago. Both are additions to previously published technical reviews.
May 13, 2001
My on-again, off-again holiday plans have firmed up and I will be on vacation for 2 weeks beginning today. Consequently, the Critique Contest for May is now closed. I'll announce the winner toward the end of the month. Any submissions received between now and then will be entered in the June contest.
I will probably be off-line most of the time (this is a vacation after all), and so will neither be on the Discussion Forum nor able to provide any personal email replies for a while.
In the meantime, the site now contains over 800 pages of articles, tutorials, review and of course photographs. Enjoy!
May 11, 2001
In my view the Sekonic L-508 II is the finest hand-held meter on the market. Sekonic has recently updated this to the L-608 and added a much-needed (and requested) enhancement by way of an illuminated display of the F/stop and shutter speed in the zoom viewfinder as well as on the side LCD panel. If you're in the market for a hand-held meter this is the one to consider.
May 10, 2001
My plans to take a 2 week vacation starting this coming weekend are in limbo. Consequently the May Critique Contest, which I had announced would close tomorrow, will now remain open to new submission as usual.
May 9, 2001
On May 17-19 the DPIX (Digital Photo & Imaging Expo) takes place in Chicago at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare. Photo Techniques magazine will be exhibiting there and will feature a sale of 10 of my photographs at their booth.
The photographs will be 13X19" archival colour prints and will sell for the special price of $60 each. This is half the price that such prints normally sell for through my site. If you are in the Chicago area I think that you'll enjoy the show and might enjoy seeing some of my original prints while there. Unfortunately I'll be traveling that week and therefore unable to attend the show in person.
May 7, 2001
Summer is just about here in Ontario and I have started to visit my summer cottage on Lake Muskoka. As I have in past years I'm starting to post some of the more casual photographs that I will be shooting there throughout this summer. While not necessarily my best work, it serves as a visual diary of what can be accomplished in a localized rural environment during a typical summer.
May 5, 2001
If you visited my Lake Powell Master Class portfolio last week you might be interested in viewing three new photographs that were added today. This completes my presentation and write-up on that trip.
As some regular readers may know, I added a Macintosh computer system to my digital desktop darkroom recently. This machine is dedicated to Photoshop, portfolio printing, and related applications. I have added a commentary on this upgrade and also a small discussion of my experiences networking the PC and Mac.
May 4, 2001
iCorrect Professional from Pictographics International is a powerful and very effective Photoshop plug-in. It automates a number of processes — including black point and white point settings, as well as colour balancing — and does so very efficiently indeed. This review is the first to appear anywhere, and is a Luminous Landscape exclusive.
May 2, 2001
A polarizing filter is one of the most useful tools in any photographer's kit. A new polarizing tutorial for beginners is now online.
May 1, 2001
Our readers have spoken. The questionnaire that ran on these pages for the past two weeks asked if you would prefer to see the Luminous Landscape Video Journal published on DVD or VHS tape. The responses were overwhelmingly in favour of DVD.
83% of respondents want DVD.
With returns like that there's only one choice — DVD it is. To find out more about The Journal and to be placed on an announcement list and be able to save up to $20 in mailing costs, read our new promotion announcement.
The 6 winners of a free copy of The Video Journal are...
Kevin Kelliher — USA
Bob Kozachek — USA
Alan Davey — U.K.
Bernhard Gustafsson — Sweden
George Boyko — Canada
Dave Terry — USA
Congratulations all, and thanks to the many hundreds who answered the questionnaire. Your support is greatly appreciated.
April 30, 2001
Reader Matthew Felton has pointed out his just-published online comparison between the Canon EOS D30 and the Kodak DCS 560. It makes for fascinating reading.
April 27, 2001
Jonathan Sachs, president of Digital Light & Color and author of Picture Window, an image processing program for PCs, was a member of my Lake Powell Master Class in southern Utah earlier this month. His portfolio from that trip is now online.
April 26, 2001
Profiling and Calibrating your monitor is the most important thing that you can do to enable you to make prints that match your screen. Without it you'll spend endless time and money making test prints. This new article explains the how's and whys of profiling.
April 25, 2001
Contributor Cris Daniels has provided us with one of the Web's first online reviews of the new Epson 5500 printer. This is a heavy-duty pigment-based printer using the same type of inks and papers as the Epson 2000P, 7500 and 9500.
April 24, 2001
We had a server crash today and lost the site's color scheme and page headers for a number of hours. We're in the process of fixing things, but bare with us.
The good news is that in the weeks ahead we'll be moving to a new larger server which will provide greater capacity (the site is now more than 200MB in size). This will also give us the capacity for on-line video previews as part of our launch of The Luminous Landscape Video Journal.
April 23, 2001
If you found Friday's review of Ephemeris of interest,
you might like to read An
Anecdote which I just added to that review.
April 20, 2001
I have published a review of three must-have programs for photographers who own one of the new Pocket PCs. Written by Jonathan Sachs, they provide sunrise/sunset, moonrise/moonset data for anywhere on Earth, as well as Depth of Field and Exposure calculations. Palm computer owners will also find a link to a review of comparable programs for their platform.
April 19, 2001
Ian Lyons, is the publisher of Computer Darkroom, and one of the Internet's leading authorities on colour management and Epson inkjet printing. He was a member of my just concluded Lake Powell Master Class and he has just contributed his photographs and write-up on the trip.
April 18, 2001
A portfolio and write-up on my just-concluded Lake Powell Master Class is now online. One of the photographs from that trip is now part of my portfolio and can also be seen as my latest Featured Image.
April 17, 2001
Recently I acquired a Mamiya 7 II 3-lens system for use when doing landscape work on long back-country hikes. I was looking for a full-featured medium format system that would provide the largest negative, and highest image quality, combined with the lowest weight and bulk. I considered the new Bronica RF645 but chose the Mamiya.
On my recent Lake Powell Master Class in southern Utah the Mamiya proved its mettle and I now have online a field-report and review. (The Workshop report and portfolio will be online within a day or so).
April 14, 2001
My hands-on reports and tests of the Canon D30 were among the first to appear anywhere online last Fall. Many of the conclusions were controversial at the time. In mid-February my formal review of the D30 appeared in the American magazine Photo Techniques. That issue is now off the stands and I have therefore re-published the report here.
April 13, 2001
I have just returned from a 12-day shoot in southern Utah. The trip was part of a spring Master Class which I'd organized for 7 photographers. It included shooting together for a week on a houseboat on Lake Powell, with the main focus being the canyons of the Escalante River arm. We also briefly visited Bryce, Zion, Capital Reef and Grand Staircase Escalante national parks.
The workshop was a great success, and in the next couple of weeks I'll have a full travel story, image portfolio and participant's photographs on-line. A documentary video produced for the Luminous Landscape Video Journal will also be made available later in the year.
I have a huge backlog of email to catch up on, but hope to be able to reply to everyone before the end of the weekend. Finally, I want to wish everyone a very warm greeting for the Passover / Easter week.
Please note that I will be off-line from April 3rd through the 13th. I will be unable to respond to any emails, critique submissions or messages addressed to me on the Discussion Forum. If you do write between these dates please don't expect a reply until the middle of April.
This is because instead of my usual Spring Workshop I have organized a landscape photography Master Class. Six other photographers and I will be spending a week shooting together on a houseboat on Lake Powell in southern Utah. Our main area of exploration will be the canyons of the Escalante River arm.
Of course I'll have an extensive write-up and photographs here some time later in April. This event is also being filmed for the forthcoming Luminous Landscape Video Journal. Stay tuned.
March 30, 2001
In the 24 hours since I published the Duotone tutorial I've received a number of emails asking how best to recreate the selenium-toned look we all appreciate so much. I have now added a recipe for a Quadtone that I've created which provides what I regard as an attractive selenium look.
Lovers of landscape photography will look forward to the publication of what sounds to be a remarkable new book, Ansel Adams At 100, celebrating the centenary of his birth. It will ship in August and coincides with a major touring exhibition of his work. You can pre-order a copy now at Amazon. I have.
March 29, 2001
Though colour represents 95% of the photography done these days, a lot of desktop-darkroom workers are drawn to the appeal of working in monochrome. But inkjet printers, as good as they are, don't do a very good job printing B&W.
The Duotone possibilities offered by Photoshop open up a new world for creativity. Duotone prints can emulate the look of the gold toned, sepia toned and selenium toned prints so many people love. In addition, they print beautifully on most inkjet printers. My new tutorial on Duotones explores this exciting tool.
March 28, 2001
The March Critique Contest is now closed. The winner is Thomas Nash of Warrenville, IL. Thomas will receive a copy of the Luminous Landscape Video Journal when it commences publication later this spring. Congratulations Tom!
The April contest is now open to submissions.
March 27, 2001
When was the last time you were out shooting, or working in the wet or digital darkroom? Practice Makes Perfect offers some thoughts on practicing our art and craft.
If you are planning on upgrading your Mac to OS X be aware that at this time there is only limited Epson printer driver support, and that none of the Epson Photo printers is currently supported! Epson's latest driver information for OS X can be found here.
March 25, 2001
Today's New York Times has published a review of Epson's America in Detail, a traveling exhibition of inkjet photographic prints visiting several US cities this spring. I have posted an essay with comments on this show, the Times review, and implications for the photographic art scene.
Wilhelm Research missed another deadline today (aren't they embarrassed)? The leading expert in colour print media longevity, he has been announcing new and revised test results for many months, and each time a deadline is reach it keeps being pushed back. The next due date is April 2. I'll be traveling that week so keep your eye on his site if you're interested in this topic.
March 24, 2001
I have published an editorial rebutting a flawed anti-digital-image-processing position taken by the well regarded landscape photographer and master Cibachrome printer Christopher Burkett. He takes the position that digital is inherently less truthful than chemical means. I respectfully disagree.
March 23, 2001
Lovers of landscape photography will be interested in the book Seeing Landscapes — The Creative Process Behind Great Photographs. Beautiful photographs from the UK, Europe and Japan along with descriptions of the why of their making.
March 22, 2001
The annual CeBIT fair in Hanover, Germany opens today. This is not a photographic show per se, but a technology fair. Since digital imaging is a cross-over, several manufacturers have chosen it to announce new cameras.
The only high-end announcement seen thus far is Kodak's DCS 760, a 6MP digital camera based on a Nikon F5 body, and according to Phil at Digital Photography Review appearing to be simply an updated DCS 660. More information is available at DPR's show report.
March 16, 2001
It appears that after a distribution life of only a few years the Hasselblad ArcBody has been discontinued. If you are interested in this unique camera system now is the time to search one out. Since they were never very common used equipment will likely become quite rare, and in fact the whole system is bound to quickly become a collectors item.
You might want to check with Brian Lewington at HarrysProShop in Toronto, (1-416-538-6520) as he appears to have access to some remaining inventory.
March 15, 2001
Questions on certain topics seem to come in bunches. This week's most common question has been regarding why I use, recommend and write about Epson Photo printers in preference to other brands and types. The FAQ section now has the answer.
Anyone who has ever worked in the traditional darkroom, or for whom darkroom practice and theory is of interest, will want to read my review of Ctein's book Post Exposure. This is probably the last great darkroom ever to be published.
March 14, 2001
Everyone knows what photographic sharpness is, but usually not how it's measured. Also there's frequent confusion between the concepts of resolution and acutance. My new article on Understanding Sharpness tries to address some of these issues.
March 13, 2001
I rarely write letters to manufacturers. But, every now and then I see a company making what I believe to be such a serious mistake that a chance to vent my opinion is needed. Consequently I have penned an open letter to Kodak regarding their current digital strategy (or lack thereof). I welcome your thoughts on this.
March 12, 2001
I have now had a chance to test the new Epson 1280 (1290) photo printer. It's a modest upgrade to the already excellent Epson 1270. If you're looking for the best moderate-cost photo printer on the market, then this is the one to get. If you already own an Epson 1270 though, save your money till next year.
Since this review was published earlier today I have added a postscript comparing the apparent resolution of the Epson 2000P to the 1270 and 1280 test results.
Kodak will be announcing a dramatic 50% price reduction for its DCS 550 and DCS 660 6 Megapixel digital cameras. List price has dropped to US $8,000 rather than $16,000. (They were originally $26,000). They must be feeling the heat from the current generation of 3-4 Megapixel SLRs as well as the forthcoming 6 MP cameras from Canon, Pentax and Contax.
March 11, 2001
Steve Kossack has contributed an article on how to roughly duplicate a split neutral density filter using Photoshop. A simple technique but one that requires a bit of experimentation to perfect.
By now, if you've been using Photoshop 6.0 regularly it should have automatically directed you to the new 6.0.1 Upgrade. It's a free 6 megabyte download, but worthwhile. If you'd rather, you can order a CD for $20, ( US and Canada only).
March 7, 2001
One of the most frequent questions that I'm currently receiving is whether to buy the current generation of digital SLR, or wait for the one that's rumoured to be coming later in the year. Here's my take on this question.
I have just received an Epson Stylus 1280 for testing and hope to have a review online early next week.
March 5, 2001
My article on Contrast Masking in Photoshop has proven to be extremely popular. Mark Fink has suggested that there are advantages to doing the Gaussian Blur step last so that the effect can be observed while doing it. I have therefore updated the article to reflect this. It ties in nicely as well with ‰ke Vinberg's report (a link is found at the bottom of the tutorial) on how varying the amount of Blur affects the end result.
March 4, 2001
I have published today a major new article on formal Colour Theory for photographers. I hope that this essay will be helpful in the understanding of the theory of colour for non-art-school-trained photographers.
March 3, 2001
Though I use it sparingly one of my favourite digital techniques for enhancing images is what I call Gaussian Blur Overlays. I've just updated the article with some new images.
March 2, 2001
Paul Elson is a New York-based commercial photographer who shoots world-wide for Fortune 500 companies. He is also an artist whose fine-art prints provide a unique impression of the world. I'm very pleased to welcome Paul to the pages of The Luminous Landscape as our latest Guest Photographer. His portfolio and fascinating essay can be found here.
March 1, 2001
No, it's not spring yet — damit! But it is a good time of year to catch up on ones reading. Two books that I'd like to draw to your attention are The Art of Bird Photography by Art Morris, and The Western Horizon by Macduff Everton. Art's book is the definitive reference for anyone interested in the art and specialized techniques of bird photography. Macduff's is for the lover of the grand Western landscape and as well those interested in panoramic photography with the Noblex 150 swing-lens camera.
February 28, 2001
The current (March / April 2001) issue of American Photo magazine will be of interest to anyone following the ongoing Canon D30 vs. film debate. It features a comparison review by Jonathan Barkey between the Fuji S1, Canon D30 and ISO 100 color negative film.
It's the latter comparison that interest me most because Jonathan's results essentially mirror mine done several months ago between the D30 and ISO 100 transparency film. In his review the D30 prints (dye sublimation) are described as "absolutely grainless" while regarding the C-print equivalents from film he writes, "the film image appeared sharp but with pronounced grain". He continues, "Everyone who viewed the prints side-by-side preferred the digital images in terms of color, contrast and saturation".
Do I detect a trend? :-)
I've also had some further thoughts on my essay The Emperor's New Clothes.
February 27, 2001
The winner of February's Critique Contest is Rita Woolley of Derbyshire, England. Rita is a self-proclaimed beginner, but has produced a lovely and well seen composition. Technique and the latest equipment aren't everything. An artist's eye counts for much more. The March contest is now open to submissions.
February 26, 2001
I've selected one of the photographs from my new Costa Rica wildlife portfolio as Featured Image for February.
The heat over my Canon D30 review won't die down. Consequently I've written a brief essay on the subject of testing, and trusting one own eyes. Its called The Emperor's New Clothes.
February 25, 2001
My Wildlife Portfolio from a recent trip to Costa Rica is now online. This was an fascinating trip and I hope it provides a flavour of what it's like doing photography in the coastal jungle of Central America.
February 24, 2001
On my recent trip to Costa Rica I used the Better Beamer to provide extended fill-flash while shooting birds, monkeys and other wildlife in the rainforest. My review of this simple and inexpensive flash accessory is now online.
The Discussion Forum has had a fascinating discussion regarding the Canon D30's colour space during the past week. My colleague and desktop colour printing expert Ian Lyons of Computer Darkroom has just published some initial Colour Space Simulation test results.
February 23, 2001
Proper evaluation of colour prints requires viewing them under accurate daylight as well as incandescent lamps. Most of the viewing solutions offered by the graphic arts industry are large, expensive and inappropriate for the home digital darkroom. The Ott-Lite is an inexpensive solution that anyone doing desktop colour printing will find of interest.
February 22, 2001
I've just returned after a week-long trip to Costa Rica where I was fortunate to be able to do some exciting wildlife photography. I'll have an article along with selected photographs online within a few days.
February 15, 2001
Because the site has now become so large finding specific content has become increasingly difficult. I have therefore created a new Subject Index that alphabetically lists major content pages. I hope that this makes finding what you're interested in a bit more convenient.
Please note that I will be traveling beginning tomorrow and will be off-line until Feb. 23. Therefore, please hold your personal emails and Critique Submissions until then. I'll attempt to respond to Forum postings addressed to me as soon as possible after my return.
February 14, 2001
Photo Techniques Magazine, of which I am a Contributing Editor, has just launched a new online print portfolio sale. Photographers featured include Ctein, Howard Bond, Paul Shranz and me. If you are interested in purchasing one of my recent images at an extremely attractive price have a look at my Portfolio Page on the Photo Techniques web site.
February 13, 2001
The myth of depth of field is one that many photographers still hang on to or don't know about. If you think that wide angle lenses give you more depth of field have a look at the new entry in my FAQ.
The current (March/April 2001) issue of Photo Techniques magazine contains my featured review of the Canon EOS D30. The article is an enhancement and summation of the controversial conclusions that were originally published here on the Luminous Landscape last October.
February 12, 2001
It's nice every now and then to get a pat on the back, but more importantly an affirmation of ones position. Dale Cotton, a contributor to the Canon SLR Talk forum of Digital Photography Review has done just that regarding my original Canon D30 Vs. Film report of last October.
February 11, 2001
A large part of the email that I receive concern my selection and opinion of lenses — in particular those for the Canon EOS system which I use. What lenses do I prefer, how sharp is this one or that one, is IS worthwhile, what about zooms Vs. primes, etc?
I have just published an article titled Canon Lenses — A Personal Selection which I hope will answer many of these questions.
The PMA show in Orlando opened today but the new high-end Canon digital SLR wasn't shown. My supposition is that it will likely be announced later this Spring with Fall delivery.
February 9, 2001
The PMA (Photo Marketing Association) show open on Sunday in Orlando and the rumours have started flying. Canon devotees should polish their French and have look at this site. It's non-official but it shows a Canon EOS 1D coming, (a 6MP full-frame digital 1V) as well as an Image Stabilized version of the excellent 70~200mm f/2.8 lens, among other goodies. Prices shown are in German Marks.
The Crash of 2001 is now over. Regular visitors will have noted that some site formatting and features became corrupted earlier this week. It has taken 4 days to fix but things are now pretty-much back to normal, including the Discussion Forum. (Please note that regrettably all postings to the Discussion Forum from earlier this week have been lost).
I have taken this opportunity to make some minor charges to the site. These include removing the navigation bars at the top and right side of each page. While these aided site navigation they took up a lot of screen real-estate and viewers with small screens and slow connections have complained about them. I am therefore in the process of adding alternative links to relevant content where appropriate. This will take some time as the site currently consists of over 1,000 files.
Thanks for your patience with all of this. There's lots of new content coming, including several major new articles and reviews. Stay tuned.
February 8, 2001
Regular visitors will have noticed that this site has experienced some considerable problems in the past week. Formatting is off, navigation bars are missing and the Discussion Forum is broken.
I am attempting to put things back to normal ASAP but for a number of reasons this may take some time. In the meantime all content remains available. I suggest that until the navigation bars are restored that you access the Table of Contents to explore additional content.
Please do not make new submissions to the Critique Contest until these problems are resolved. Thanks.
February 4, 2001
Nikon owners will be pleased to learn that the Nikon D1X / D1H digital SLR's were officially announced today. The D1X offers 5.4 MP capability (interpolated) and will be available this spring, while the D1H is the same resolution as the original D1 but offers 5FPS for up to 40 frames. Summer delivery is promised. More details can be found at Digital Photography Review.
OK Canon — now's the time to drop the other shoe :-)
February 3, 2001
Today sees the publication of a major 3-way comparison and test — the just-released Fuji Provia 400F Vs. Provia 100F — my standard film. I have also compared both of these films to results at ISO 100 and 400 from the digital Canon D30 camera. The results amazed even me! This fascinating report can be found here.
The well respected wildlife and nature photographer George Lepp has just published a report in the March 2001 issue of Outdoor Photographer magazine titled "The Great White Bear Meets the Canon EOS D30". He describes using his D30 to shoot Polar Bears up in Churchill, Manitoba. Anyone owning, or considering owning a D30 will enjoy reading it. His experience of shooting in arctic conditions with the D30 match my own — no problems.
February 2, 2001
I have just published a major new article titled Light, Color & Human Vision by guest contributor Miles Hecker. This tutorial discusses the nature of colour and why we see the way we do. This is the first of several major tutorials scheduled to be published here over the next few months on the subject of colour theory and practice.
My friend and sometime contributor to this site, Alain Briot, has a new web site. Called Beautiful-Landscape.com it features several galleries of Alain's stunning work. Not only is Alain a great artist, he is also one of the most successful fine-art photographers working in America today.
Correspondence regarding my controversial Canon D30 Vs. Film essay of a few months ago continues to arrive. If you've been following the debate you might enjoy reading it.
Finally, I have a comparison of Fuji Provia 100F and the new Provia 400F in preparation. To make it even more challenging I also will be doing a cross-comparison with the digital Canon D30 shooting at ISO 100 and 400. (Won't that be interesting!?)
February 1, 2001
A portfolio of photographs from the Lake Tahoe region, and a discussion on shooting in the mountains in winter as well as on skis, is now online. All photographs were taken with the new digital Canon D30 and the small, light-weight and inexpensive Canon 28mm~135mm IS zoom.
Also of interest to Canon D30 owners is a simple technique for previewing large thumbnails within Photoshop. This has been added to my review of the Belkin VideoBus from last month.
Regular readers may have noticed that some of the site's navigation features were inoperative for a couple of weeks. This problem is now solved, and the links at the top of each page which point to other pages of the same hierarchical level are now back.
There has been a "leak", and the word is now out that Nikon will be announcing two new digital SLRs at the PMA show scheduled to begin in ten days. The Nikon D1X is a 5.3 megapixel camera otherwise similar to the existing D1.
January 30, 2001
I was away for a few days on a combined shoot and ski trip to the Lake Tahoe region of Nevada. I'll have a new portfolio and write-up online in the next day or so.
The winner of January's Critique Contest is Leigh Perry. Leigh won the contest in August, 2000 as well. Congratulations Leigh!
Submissions made during the past week will be included in the February contest.
January 24, 2001
As good as the digital Canon EOS-D30 is, it has an almost fatal flaw — poor low-light autofocus capability. There is a solution though — the Canon ST-E2 Speed Light Transmitter, which features an infra-red focus assist capability. With this cigarette pack sized device the D30 will now autofocus in total darkness.
January 23, 2001
One of the many valuable new features of Photoshop 6.0 is Soft Proofing. Photographers and digital darkroom workers using Epson or similar printers that ship with ICC/ICM profiles will find this capability invaluable. A new tutorial explains what it is and how to use it.
Last October when I first published my online review of the then new digital Canon D30, and in particular my comparison with film, I raised a lot of eyebrows not to mention some anger, over my assertion that the D30 was capable for producing higher quality prints than could be obtained from top notch scans of 35mm Provia 100F.
Since then many thousands of photographers have purchased D30s and every email that I've received has echoed that conclusion. One of these letters has now been added to my review.
January 22, 2001
Contributor Norman Koren provides photographers who shoot colour or B&W negative film with a simplified tutorial on the classic Zone System.
If you are a user of our Discussion Forum and have problems with your password or other settings, please try and reregister, or if you still have a problem let me know. I had a system crash this week and lost a great many passwords. Sorry for the inconvenience.
January 19, 2001
Many newcomers to digital image processing have difficulty with the concepts of Input and Output resolution. I have added today a new tutorial entitled Understanding Resolution, which will hopefully address some of these issues and make them easier to understand.
January 18, 2001
Contributor Cris Daniels has added his hands-on report on the Epson 7500 — smaller brother to the Epson 9500 reported on here a couple of days ago by Nick Rains. Both of these are wide carriage printers using Epson's archival pigment-based inks, also used in the 2000P. While on the topic, the Epson 5500, the latest generation of pigment ink based printers, began shipping this week in the UK. Here's a link to Epson's UK web page on this new printer.
January 17, 2001
Regular readers may know that I have been writing for the American magazine Photo Techniques for several years, covering traditional as well as digital photographic subjects. I'm pleased to announce that I have recently been made a Contributing Editor to that esteemed publication and I look forward to an enhanced role in working with PT on its coverage of digital topics.
January 15, 2001
Nick Rains, a widely published Australian photographer, has contributed a hands-on report on the Epson 9500 printer. This very wide carriage model uses the same archival inks and papers as does the problematic Epson 2000P. Nicks comments are fascinating.
January 14, 2001
Canon D30 owners may be interested in my review of the Belkin USB VideoBus, a small, inexpensive and simple device that lets you view D30 output on a computer's screen at full VGA (640X480) resolution.
In addition to the books that I reviewed and recommend yesterday I have now added John Paul Caponigro's important new book, Adobe Photoshop Master Class. If you're a serious Photoshop user this is a must-have.
January 13, 2001
During the past month I've come across two new photographic books which I highly recommend, as well as one on Globalization — which is critical to our understanding of the changes taking place in our world right now. For anyone in the photographic equipment trade this book is a must. For commentary and links, click here.
I have been experiencing email trouble for some time with the Luminous Landscape server and have as a consequence not received some of your emails and submissions. I'm trying to resolve the issue as quickly as possible but in the meantime please resend anything that you have not heard back from me on by emailing this address.
January 12, 2001
A vacation trip last week to the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, unfortunately disrupted by coming down with the flu, nevertheless produced a couple of interesting photographs. These are now online in a small online portfolio.
January 11, 2001
Do you own a Hasselblad XPan and wish that you also occasionally had a Mamiya 7 along with you? Here's an approach that makes this a virtual possibility — through software.
My colleague Ian Lyons of Digital Darkroom has just published an excellent review and tutorial on PiezographyôBW. This is an exciting new technology that allows owners of several model Epson Photo printers to create B&W prints that actually exceed traditional wet prints in image quality. To learn more about this, visit Inkjetmall.com. As for me, though I don't do much B&W work anymore Ian has really created a temptation with his report.
January 9, 2001
After returning from a week-long vacation in the sun it will take me a few days to get caught-up with a tremendous backlog of email and Forum correspondence. There is a great deal of exciting new content coming this month so check back here often.
The venerable British magazine Amateur Photographer awarded The Luminous Landscape their Website Of The Week in their 16 December, 2000 issue. If you didn't have a chance to see their write-up, I've reproduced it here.
Lunar Eclipse: There will be a Total Lunar Eclipse tonight. It will be primarily visible in Europe, Asia and Africa. But, for those folks (like me) living in Eastern North America, when the full moon rises this evening it will be in eclipse as it rises. This should provide for some great photographic opportunities. The way I would shoot it would be to find a spot with a clear view to the East and use a long lens to profile or silhouette a suitable foreground, such as a line of trees, mountains or a cityscape. The problem for me is that here in Toronto it's snowing (again!) and the chance of a clear sky this evening is essentially zip.
If you're lucky enough to be somewhere tonight with a good view of the eclipse and capture a great photograph, let me see it. The best ones will be published here. Send submissions to eclipse.
Nikon has just announced three new film scanners — the 8000 ED, the 4000 ED and the Coolscan IV ED. The first two are 4000dpi models. No word yet on prices or availability. As always Digital Photography Review has the full scoop.
Regular as clockwork Epson has introduced their new line of Photo printers — the 790, 890 and 1290. Here is a link to some early English language data.