What's Up? — Items of ongoing interest from this page
April 3, 2003
Firstly I want to express my sincere thanks to all of the people who have taken out new subscriptions to The Video Journal. Your support is greatly appreciated! Thanks as well to all of the existing subscribers who have renewed during this promotion.
I know that the diversion page is a bit of an annoyance to subscribers — you've done your bit and want to get to the new content. But I will leave it up for another day or so as a reminder to the thousands of regular visitors who haven't yet seen it. Now on to the new content...
Travel with a DSLR is a new type of challenge, especially in exotic locations. Digital in The Desert is a new article about traveling in Africa with a Nikon D1x, by Scott L. Robertson.
Uwe at Digital Outback Photo has provided a link to a terrific article from a Japanese photography magazine. It is a comprehensive technical analysis of both the Foveon / Sigma SD9 and the Canon 1Ds, discussing how both cameras in their different ways have advanced the state of the art. It is a 30MB PDF download, but if you have the bandwidth and the time, it's well worth your while.
Update: There are still a few places available on my Lunar Eclipse Death Valley Workshop.
Update: In my tutorial earlier this week on how to photograph the Lunar Eclipse that will take place on the night of May 15th I have added a link to a site which contains an extensive list of astronomical programs that will assist you in locating exactly where the moon will rise at your selected location.
April 2, 2003
By now you have read our promotion page for The Video Journal. We needed to be a bit pushy today for two reasons. For this site to continue to grow and flourish we need your support, and the Video Journal is the vehicle that makes it possible. Our new $9.95 / month subscription plan makes it easier than ever for every site regular to both support the site and gain a terrific new photographic resource.
And, we want existing subscribers to know that they can now manage their subscriptions online themselves. If you are a subscriber you will receive within the next 24 hours a User ID and Password via e-mail. New subscribers now have these issued to them automatically upon subscription.
Thanks for putting up with this blatantly commercial promotion. I hope that you can find a way to support us. — Michael
"I have learned a great deal
from each issue.
What you are doing is totally unique, and a real contribution to both the art and science of photography.
Thanks for the entertaining and informative hours."
Update: There is now a link on my eclipse page to a very helpful free Windows program for calculating exposure during an eclipse.
Update: There are only 6 places still available on my Lunar Eclipse Death Valley Workshop
April 1, 2003
What are you doing the evening of May 15th? No, I don't want a date. But you may want to have a date with the Moon. There will be a total lunar eclipse on the night of May 15 / 16 and it will be visible everywhere in North and South America as well as the U. K. and extreme western Europe. I have just published an article titled Crimson Moon — Photographing a Total Lunar Eclipse that describes the phenomena and how and where to photograph it.
Once you've read the article you may be interested in finding out about a very special workshop that I have planned to photograph the eclipse in Death Valley, Nevada. The combination of clear skys and and open landscape will make this a prime location for anyone wishing to do landscape photography that includes the eclipsed moon. Details on my Lunar Eclipse Death Valley Workshop are now online.
Notice to Video Journal Subscribers: Regular readers will recall that I had a hard disk crash a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, among the files that were lost were all of the Assignment Competition submissions for upcoming Issue #7 on the subject of "Quiet". We are just finishing up the new issue this week and so if you were one of the people that submitted a photograph for this competition please resend it to me, if possible, before noon Thursday, April 3rd. Thanks for your understanding.
"I recently ordered and received your Video Journal. It is money well spent!! I love the format and the information contained. Thank you for bringing this product to market and I look forward to receiving them for years to come." — What does this subscriber know that you don't? Why not subscribe to The Luminous Landscape Video Journal and find out! Become a better photographer, and support this site at the same time.
March 30, 2003
Mike Johnston's highly popular Sunday Morning Photographer column celebrates its first anniversary today, and Mike offers up his thoughts on this occasion.
Update: In my Canon TC-80N3 intervalometer release review from last year I described how it could be used to take an automated series of bracketed exposures — for example 3 bracketed frames every 5 minutes, 10 times in a row while shooting a sunset. It works, but setting the release and camera the way that you think it should, doesn't. I have now updated the review to explain the appropriate technique.
March 28, 2003
In yesterday's tutorial on Canon camera's DEP mode I gave the impression that this is available on all Canon cameras. Unfortunately it is not. I have now updated the article to reflect this, and have added a comment about the less desirable A-DEP mode found on numerous Canon models, regrettably including the new 10D.
Steve's Digicam has now published their review of the Kodak DCS Pro 14n. Sadly, Steve has found the same flaws and arrived at essentially the same conclusions as I did earlier this week — he's just been more polite about it than I was.
March 27, 2003
How to properly set depth of field on a modern lens that doesn't have a depth of field scale can be problematic. You can use tables, but they're slow and awkward, and measuring distances can be problematic and inaccurate. Many Canon SLRs, both film-based and digital, feature something called a DEP mode, but most photographers don't realize that it can be used for precision landscape work and similar applications. My new tutorial titled DEP, explores this topic and also describes a new technique for its use which you may find useful.
March 26, 2003
I have added two updates to the second part of my Kodak 14n review. The first is some insight into the colour fringing problem that has been seen. It has now identified by several experts as being colour ailiasing. The second is a brief comment from an employee of a major U.S. photographic retailer who has done his own test of the 14n.
Chris Breeze has advised me that BreezeBrowser 2.6 is now available. In addition to a number of functional enhancements the program now includes support for the new Canon EOS 10D and also the just announced Powershot S50. This is very welcome, and coincides with my receipt today (finally!) of a 10D for review. I also intend on reviewing the S50 since it's been a while since I've look at the current state of the art in digicams. Both reviews will appear within the next one to two weeks.
March 24, 2003
Part Two of my Initial Kodak DCS 14n review is now online. There are some surprises! In bright sunlight and at high shutter speeds the 14n can actually exceed the Canon 1Ds in image quality. But, even with the latest firmware revision — the one that will be included in shipping cameras — noise is very objectionable at high ISOs and at slow shutter speeds. Is the Kodak 14n ready for prime time?
Update: I have added some further thoughts to the second part of the Kodak 14n review that was published earlier today.
March 23, 2003
Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning column for this week is titled — So You Say You Want to Turn Pro? The title says it all, and it's loaded with the harsh truth about making a living in photography.
The first part of my preliminary review of the Kodak DCS 14n is now complete. Part Two, a look at the camera's features, capabilities and software will be published on Monday or Tuesday.
Update: Following some correspondence with a representative from Kodak I have added an additional comment on the issue of USM and resolution to Part One of the report.
March 22, 2003
After the PMA show in Las Vegas earlier this month I spent a week shooting in the National Parks of southern Utah along with 3 other photographers. In my new location portfolio — East Of Zion — you will find selected photographs from that shoot along with a detailed discussion about how some of them were taken.
Alert: I spent Friday afternoon shooting with the new Kodak DCS 14n. My initial impressions are now online and are focused primarily on image quality and a comparison with this new camera's primary market competition, the Canon EOS 1Ds. A second segment, to be published early next week, will concentrate on features, capabilities, firmware, software and additional image quality analysis. Futher evaluations of files from my Friday test will be added here througout the weekend.
If you're wondering where Issue #7 of The Video Journal is — it's late. But, it will contain my examination of the Kodak 14n and so we hope that you agree that the delay will have been worthwhile. It should arrive in subscriber's mailboxes in mid-late April.
March 20, 2003
The past 18 months have produced huge changes in the regulations and procedures associated with air travel. These have had a dramatic effect on photographers who travel extensively with their equipment to location shoots. Even the amateur traveling on vacation has been affected. In Flying with Photo Equipment in 2003 I look at whether the new regulations spell the end of photographic travel, and if not, how can we best cope with the new situation?
If you are...
A paid-up member of my January 2004 African Safari workshop, or
Previously registered for the Summer 2004 Iceland Workshop waitlist, or
Have submitted articles for publication that are not already online
March 18, 2003
The new Canon 10D has now started shipping in many markets, but Camera Raw does not have support for this camera built in. What to do?
There is a solution, but it takes a bit of work. Discussion Forum member Ken Dunham has published detailed instructions on how to modify Camera RAW to be able to read 10D files. I have checked with Thomas Knoll and he reports that the patch will work. But, please be aware that the 10D has a slightly different color space than the D60, so the temperature / tint sliders will not be calibrated accurately.
The proper solution will follow when the next version of Photoshop ships with Camera RAW capability built in. (No, I don't know for sure when this will be).
This begs the question — where is my Canon 10D review? The simple answer is — nowhere. Due to reasons which I won't go into here Canon was unable to provide me with a review unit prior the camera's official announcement at PMA two weeks ago. Then, immediately afterward I was traveling for a week. So, will there be a 10D review on these pages? Eventually — when Canon can get me a sample — hopefully next week. Of course I regret the delay. I know from your e-mails that a lot of people around the world have been waiting for my field report, but regrettably the situation has not worked out to anyone's satisfaction.
The other camera for which everyone is eagerly awaiting a review is the Kodak DCS 14n. Again, Kodak has promised me a review sample as early as possible, but the courier hasn't rang my doorbell yet. Unfortunately the seemingly endless delays and confusion associated with the 14n launch continue. One Kodak rep says that the cameras started shipping last week, and indeed some dealers have received samples. But, there are reports that real shipments won't now begin until May. It's hard to know for sure, but the delay in getting samples into reviewer's hands is not a good sign.
March 17, 2003
Epson announced several new photographic inkjet papers at PMA earlier this month, among them UltraSmooth Fine Art Paper. My preliminary review is now online — the first in print anywhere in the world. Is this the paper we've been waiting for?
March 16, 2003
It's Sunday again and that means an always fascinating new article by Mike Johnston. This week Mike looks at the SLR viewfinder. This is without doubt the best primer on this subject that I've ever seen in print.
C.C. Lockwood is one of America's outstanding nature and wildlife photographers. This coming summer he will be leading a remarkable 8-day wildlife and landscape workshop in Alaska. The workshop dates are July 12-19th, 2003. The cost of this all-inclusive exclusive workshop is $5,400.
I have known C.C. personally for several years and we have worked together on a number of occasions. He co-lead my Grand Canyon Rafting Expedition in 2002. If you've ever wanted to do an Alaska shoot in the company of an experienced photographer and teacher, this is your chance.
"Many thanks for all your work, and for the superb DVDs: not only for your input to the DVDs and the photographs shown, but also the excellent quality of the filming and sound on the DVDs, which makes them a joy to watch in their own right." — What does this subscriber know that you don't? Why not subscribe to The Luminous Landscape Video Journal and find out! Become a better photographer, and support this site at the same time.
If you are...
A paid-up member of my January 2004 African Safari workshop, or
Previously registered for the Summer 2004 Iceland Workshop waitlist, or
Have submitted articles for publication that are not already online
March 15, 2003
Landscape photographers can usually be categorized as either hunters or fisherman. By this I mean ones shooting style — slow and contemplative, or fast-paced and spontaneous. In my new article titled Fishing vs. Hunting I explore the question of these photographic styles using two dramatic, and dramatically different images which were both taken last week in Utah's National Parks.
March 13, 2003
Cone Editions announced a new version of their well known PiezographyBW system at the recent PMA show. It works with both current Epson and Canon printers and uses custom monochrome profiles instead of proprietary printer drivers. But, the previous version of Piezography remains popular and so I have now published The Final 1st Generation Piezography Review, writen by Vladimir Kabelik. I will publish a review of the new system as soon as the product starts shipping.
March 12, 2003
Yesterday the hard disk on my main desktop PC crashed. (Not the server that this site runs on — there's no problem there). All of the data on the PC's drive was found to be irretrievable (unless I want to spend an estimated $3,500 with a data recovery service, and even then there are no guarantees). The cause was a failure of the bearings in the Toshiba hard drive. The drive was only 18 months old.
Fortunately I have backups of most important files as well as all of the image files that were on the disk. And, applications can be easily reloaded on a new drive. But, I did lose some important data. This includes...
— Everyone on my January 2004 African Safari workshop or waitlist
— Everyone who has registered for the Summer 2004 Iceland Workshop waitlist
— Anyone who has submitted articles for publication that are not already online
I apologize for any inconvenience. Are you properly backed up?
March 10, 2003
The current (March 25, 2003) issue of PC Magazine features its annual 200 Hottest Sites, and I'm very pleased to announce that The Luminous Landscape has been listed as one of the 100 Best Classic Web Sites. In fact this is the only web site about photography that was selected for the magazine's listing.
Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning article for this week is titled The Digital Shopping Dilemma. It should be required reading for anyone contemplating the purchase of a new digital camera.
March 9, 2003
I have just returned from attending the PMA show in Las Vegas, which was followed by a 5 day landscape shoot in southern Utah. The first of a number of photographs from this trip is now online as the site's new Home Page featured image. A full report and extensive portfolio will follow in a week or so.
Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning article has been delayed until tomorrow. It will also take me a few days to catch up on e-mails and Forum messages received during the past week. There will also be a number of fascinating new articles published in the days ahead. Stay tuned.
March 4, 2003
I spent yesterday at the PMA show in Las Vegas and my updated report is now online. I am now on a 5 day shoot in the Grand Staircase Escalante and Capital Reef National Park areas of southern Utah. I will be off-line for the balance of the week.
Final update: 6:30am PST.
Reminder: As you likely know this site has no sponsors or commercial relationships. No ads and no pop-ups. But, we do publish the world's only quarterly "magazine" about photography available on DVD video. These disks contain up to two hours of broadcast quality video programming exclusively about photography — including location shoots in some of the world's most remarkable locations. We also feature hands-on test reports on the latest and best equipment, and digital imaging tutorials as well as interviews with leading photographers. We are now in our second year of publication. Find out more. Support this site. Subscribe to the Luminous Landscape Video Journal.
March 2, 2003
Today sees the opening on the PMA show in Las Vegas. As information about selected new products becomes available I'll be updating my PMA report throughout the day. As mentioned previously I will not be reporting on the thousands of new digicams that are being introduced this week. I will be attending the show beginning on Monday.
March 1, 2003
Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning column will not appear tomorrow, but will return next week.
I spent last weekend on a shoot in Big Sur, California. This is the spiritual home of landscape photography in America; the home turf of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. It has been more than a decade since my last visit, and it was a great pleasure to explore Hwy 1, the Carmel Valley Road and the Coast Road during two and half days of landscape work. A report and portfolio are now online.
Current and prospective owners of the Canon EOS 1Ds will be pleased to learn that a mail-list devoted to this camera has just been started. The moderator is well known street photographer and screen writer John Brownlow.
February 28, 2003
Australian landscape photographer and regular contributor to this site, Nick Rains, recently visited Vietnam. He shot exclusively on this trip with his Canon EOS D60 and in this photo essay shares with us his impressions and images.
I have published today photographs made by members to my Costa Rica Wildlife Workshop which took place last month. There are some exceptional images in this collection, which I know you'll enjoy viewing.
February 27, 2003
The Canon EOS 10D (the successor to the D60), was announced today. This DSLR appears to offer a significant upgrade to the features of its predecessor, but at a reduced price. It will be available next month for less then U.S. $2,000 and likely closer to $1,500 once the initial rush by early adopters is over. I am also told by industry insiders that unlike with the D60 there will not be any shortages. Canon's new CMOS chip fabrication plant is now up to speed and there will be no supply constraints.
A preview look is now available at Steve's Digicams, where you can read all the specs, and also at DPReview. I am planning a hands-on review of a production camera and a field comparison between the Canon D60 and 10D in a few weeks.
On the Kodak DCS 14N front, Kodak has announced that shipments will finally start next week, nearly six months after the camera was first announced at Photokina. Retail price will be just under U.S. $5,000. Interestingly Kodak has also stated that the camera will ship even though there remain a few loose ends, which they expect to fix with a downloadable firmware upgrade in the days ahead. I expect to have a review sample for testing and to be able to provide a Canon 1Ds vs. Kodak 14n review some time later in March.
FYI: IBM 1GB Microdrives has now dropped to below $200. Here is an online store that has them for $199. And, to answer the question that I've been asked a thousand times — I own four 1GB Microdrives and started using them when they first came out more 2 years ago. I have used them for many thousands of frames in conditions ranging from -32C in northern Quebec in winter to +40C in Death Valley in summer; from below sea level to +11,000 feet in the Sierra. I have never had a problem with one failing or doing anything other than working perfectly. Oh yes, and they're typically just as fast as many sold state drives and have comparable MBTF ratings.
February 26, 2003
Virtually every digital camera features histogram review. I believe that the histogram is possibly the most valuable tool that the digital photographer has available to improve his or her exposures. Yet, many photographers haven't learned how to use them effectively. In my new article titled Understanding Histograms I examine how to read and make sense of this new tool.
Update: Details on Pentax's long-expected digital SLR are now available on my PMA 2003 preview report.
February 24, 2003
A Sunday without Mike Johnston's weekly column feels incomplete for many photographers. I apologize for the delay in its publication this week. I am on a 4 day landscape shoot in the Big Sur region of California and found myself on Saturday and Sunday in an area with no accessable phone service. Here then is Mike's column, titled What's an SLR Supposed to Be?, 24 hours late, but well worth the wait. I'll be back online on Tuesday.
PMA 2003 has been updated with a link to photographs of the new Canon EOS 10D.
February 21, 2003
At long last, here is my Costa Rica workshop portfolio. When I lead a workshop I always do my own shooting as well. It is only when I am working alongside workshop members that I see what they are seeing and can be of assistance. With some groups I do more of this than with others. On this particular workshop all of the photographers were technically competent and needed little in the way of advice, and so we simply ended up shooting comfortably together. This allowed me to produce a number of images with which I am pleased, and a handful which will form part of my portfolio and which will also see their way into future exhibits and books. In the near future I will be publishing the work of some of the workshop members as well.
I'm now traveling in California on a shoot and will only be online and checking e-mail intermittently until Tuesday the 25th.
February 20, 2003
Anyone working with a digital camera has to face the choice of the convenience of shooting in JPG format vs. the higher image quality yet reduced convenience of working with RAW files. No longer. Adobe has now shipped Camera Raw, a plug in for Photoshop that works with virtually every major manufacturer's RAW file format currently on the market. It seamlessly integrates within Photoshop's file browser and provides ease of use and image quality unavailable with virtually any other product.
Because of the release of Camera Raw and today's review, the publication of my Costa Rica portfolio will be postponed until tomorrow.
My PMA 2003 preview has been updated as well with new colour films and a pro digital back from Fuji.
February 19, 2003
The PMA show is now less than two weeks away and there is considerable excitement brewing. I have now started a page titled PMA 2003 which I will update regularly before, during and after the show with selected items that I find to be of interest. I'll be attending the show for a couple of days, but until the show opens I am counting on observant readers to supply me with information on new product announcements.
My African Safari / Workshop scheduled for January, 2004 has now sold out. Thanks to everyone for your interest. My next scheduled workshop will be in Iceland in July, 2004. I expect to have an announcement available with further details within a few months. You can add your name to the Waitlist for a priority notification.
In my Ultimate Shootout article of last month I made the claim that Canon's new digital SLR, the 11MP 1Ds, produced images superior to medium format drum scans. I took a lot of flack for this, even though many pros who I have spoken with and who have started working with the camera are also coming to the same conclusion. It therefore gives me a chuckle (and no small satisfaction) to report that the review of the 1Ds in this month's Shutterbug magazine by Jay Abend comes to the same conclusion as I did.
Jay is a well regarded commercial photographer with extensive film and digital experience. He owns and operates his own drum scanner. Here are a couple of brief quotes from his review. "The files look like really good, really clean, really sharp medium format drum scans." and, "It brings medium format image quality to a digital SLR..." Read the review for yourself. Many magazines this month have 1Ds reviews, but most are PR fluff. Jay's is well written and done from the perspective of a working pro.
February 18, 2003
When I discovered some weeks ago that I owned four Canon "L" series lenses covering the 24mm focal length I threatened to do a comparative review. Several readers said that they would find this of interest and so that review, titled 24 vs. 24 vs. 24 vs. 24, is now online. Don't get too excited though. These are all extremely fine lenses, and when it comes to image quality at moderate apertures there's little to choose between them.
The American magazine Photo Techniques is featuring a portfolio of my latest prints for sale in their current issue. Individually made original 13X19" prints can be purchased for as little as U.S. $65 each. You can find out more here.
A reminder — there is still just one place left on my January, 2004 African Safari Photographic workshop. Life is short. Death is long. Regret lasts. Sign up now! — SOLD OUT —
It's likely not of much significance to photographers at this point, but majority ownership of the venerable Victor Hasselblad AB of Sweden has been taken over by a Hong Kong company, their long time Asian distributor The Shriro Group. With Fuji manufacturing the XPan as well as the new H1, one would have thought that Fuji would be the natural buyer.
February 16, 2003
On this Sunday morning Mike Johnston looks at the Bronica RF645, its pros and cons, and the special promotion currently available that may make it a great bargain for anyone seeking a light-weight medium format rangefinder camera.
February 15, 2003
Did you ever dream of going on a photo safari in Africa? How about a 12 day photographic workshop with world-renown wildlife and landscape photographer Michael Reichmann, the publisher of this site?
Today we publicly announce our most exciting workshop yet — The Luminous Landscape African Photo Safari / Workshop.
This exciting trip will take place from January 2 — January 13, 2004 — just 11 months from now. Most of the available places have already been reserved by people on our workshop wait list. But, there are still a few places left. They won't last long though, so if the idea of joining the photographic trip of a lifetime has you excited — don't hesitate. Registrations are first-come, first-served. The time to sign up is now!
February 14, 2003
In addition to slowly catching up on the many hundreds of e-mails that arrived during my recent 10 day trip to Costa Rica, I am now working on the nearly 2,000 frames that I shot while there. Two images that I am most pleased with (in addition to one that is now on the site's title page) are to be found as my Featured Image for February, and also my featured Miscellaneous Moment for the month. A full article on this workshop along with many more photographs will likely appear by the end of next week.
Two of my friends — Alain Briot and Steve Kossack — each exceptional nature photographers, teachers and guides, have now teamed up to conduct an exclusive five day field workshop in the Southwest from September 25 to 29, 2003. If you're itching to do a shoot in this part of the world and want to work along side a couple of very talented photographers, this is a workshop not to be missed.
February 13, 2003
We live in a dusty world. As photographers we are constantly fighting dust — on our film, our lenses, and now on our digital SLR's imaging sensors. Any digital camera with interchangeable lenses is prone to dust. Some more than others. Since we have to live with the problem we need to understand the best tools and techniques for dealing with it. In my just published Understanding Digital Sensor Cleaning I explore the tools and techniques that photographers need for dueling with dust.
February 12, 2003
Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning column for this week (slightly delayed due to my recent travels) is titled Lashed to the Mast: The Digital Odyssey. It concerns Mike's inexorable turn to the dark side. Mike also begins a new feature this week titled the Sunday Morning Photographer Book Bets Book of the Week. (We'll have to find a shorter title Mike). This week's review is of Atget by John Szarkowski.
Nikon's second VR (Vibration Reduction) lens is now starting to ship in some markets after a delay of many months. It is the AF-S VR 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED, and according to a first review at the Grays of Westminster site (a U. K. Nikon specialist dealer) it's a lens that Nikon enthusiasts will welcome with great enthusiasm.
Due to a couple's recent cancellation Steve Kossack's April 17-21, 2003 Death Valley Workshop has had two places open up. If you'd like to do a long-weekend shoot with one of the southwest's leading photography guides and teachers act quickly before these spots disappear.
February 11, 2003
I returned late last night from leading a very successful wildlife and landscape workshop expedition to Costa Rica. The first of my images from that trip is now online as the site's new signature image on the home page and here. A full workshop portfolio and travel report will appear shortly and will include details on the making of that image. The workshop will also be featured in a future issue of The Video Journal.
Several new articles will also appear later this week, including a tutorial on Understanding Histograms.
The days ahead will be exciting ones in photography as a number of new products near introduction at the PMA show in early March. I expect to have several hands-on reviews as well as a live PMA report.
January 30, 2003
As of today I am in Costa Rica conducting a 10 day wildlife photography workshop. I will therefore be offline until Tuesday, 11 Feb. This means that I will be unable to respond to e-mail as well as Discussion Forum messages directed to me. Please refrain from sending e-mails until mid-month so that my mailbox doesn't get backed up.
Due to my absence I am publishing Mike Johnston's next Sunday Morning Photographer article a few days early this week. It is titled Collecting Photography Books, and is one of Mike's most interesting articles in months (at least I think so). His Feb. 9th article will be published on Feb. 11 when I return.
While I'm away our automated online order system for accepting your Video Journal subscriptions and renewals will continue to function as always. If you are not yet familiar with this unique resource for passionate photographers I urge you to do so. As one recent subscriber recently wrote, "Many thanks for all your work, and for the superb DVDs: not only for your input to the DVDs and the photographs shown, but also the excellent quality of the filming and sound on the DVDs, which makes them a joy to watch in their own right." Other subscriber's comments can be found here.
Have a good couple of weeks. Do some photography, and catch up on some of the 1,500 pages on this site that you haven't yet read. I'll see you soon on The Luminous Landscape.
January 29, 2003
A separate hand-held meter is one of the most useful accessories that the serious photographer can add to his or her equipment arsenal. In my experience the most versatile such meters are made by Sekonic, and the Sekonic L-608 is the latest version. In this review I also include brief tutorials on incident and spotmetering.
January 28, 2003
Anyone shooting wildlife or sports either needs or is fascinated by super telephoto lenses. I have explored this topic recently with my reviews of the Canon 500mm and 600mm f/4 IS lenses. Today Nikon photographer Tom Hill shares with us his experience with the Nikon 600mm f/4 AF-S lens.
Sign of The Times: Sony has announced that it is discontinuing production of its 17" and 19" CRT monitors. This includes the tubes themselves, so products from their numerous OEM customers will also be discontinued. According to Sony this is due to the increasing popularity of LCD displays.
January 27, 2003
Steve Kossack's last Death Valley workshop sold out in just a few hours when I posted it here a couple of weeks ago, so he is now announcing another one in the same location, a month later. Steve is a talented landscape photographer who works primarily in the U.S. southwest, where he makes his home. This latest workshop will be in Death Valley National Park from April 17-21, 2003. (This is not a Luminous Landscape workshop. I am promoting it because Steve is a friend, often acts as my assistant on my workshops, and is highly spoken of by people who have hired him as a guide or who have attended one of his workshops in the past).
A page with selected photographs taken by members of my recent Bosque del Apache / White Sands workshop is now online. You may enjoy seeing how different photographers interpret the same scene.
January 26, 2003
This is the time of year for "the best of" lists, and for this Sunday Morning Mike Johnston gives us his photographic Best of 2002. And, just a reminder — Mike is one of the finest journalist writing about photography today. If you enjoy his column every Sunday on The Luminous Landscape, consider subscribing to his printed newsletter The 37th Frame. You'll be supporting Mike's efforts for the photographic community and giving yourself a damn good read as well.
Yesterday's article comparing high-end digital to medium format film has created quite a stir. On some of the boards I have been compared to "participants on the Jerry Springer show", and worse. (Don't you love the high level of discourse found on some boards? What some people write there is almost as good as the comments made by participants on the Jerry Springer show.)
In any event, I have received some thoughtful and articulate comments from readers and would like to share them with you on the page Shootout Follow up. I'll continue to add new comments to it, both pro and con, in the days ahead.
If you experienced trouble reaching this site, and others on Saturday it's because of the SQL Slammer worm that has infected the Net. Its effects now appear to be under control, but huge sections of the Net were slowed to a crawl on Saturday morning. There is no effect on personal computers or any web pages.
January 25, 2003
And now for something controversial. I have just published a comparison between high-end 35mm digital (the Canon 1Ds) and medium format film. Since I have recently sold almost all of my medium format equipment you may find the results of interest. The article is entitled — The Ultimate Shootout.
January 23, 2003
In late 2002 Canon introduced its 24-70mm f/2.8L lens, replacing the highly regarded 28-70mm f/2.8L that has been in their line for about 5 years. Since this has been one of my favourite lenses I was curious to find out if its replacement had more to offer than wider angle coverage and improved weather sealing.
On a winter landscape shoot last week in Mt. Tremblant National Park in Quebéc I had a chance to find out first hand. The results are fascinating.
January 21, 2003
Today sees the publication of the latest addition to my Understanding series — Understanding Digital Workflow. This was written in response to a number of requests that I've recently received for an explanation of the steps and settings that I use when working with a digital SLR. This is the second digital workflow article that I've published in the past two weeks, the previous one being on how to catalogue the vast number of RAW files flowing from your DSLR.
January 19, 2003
Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning column for this week is titled Pentax Under Glass. In it Michael considers the forthcoming Pentax DSLR and issues related to sensor size.
The shopping cart for placing a Video Journal subscription was unavailable most of Saturday and Sunday. It is now back online and the system is once again able to process your orders. The outage was due to a problem with DXCart, the company that provides us with this service. Sorry for any inconvenience.
January 16, 2003
One of the most frequent requests that I receive is for descriptions of the situations involved in the making of some of my photographs. In a new essay titled The Making of Two Photographs I look at two of my recent pictures and what went into their creation.
A reminder to both new and regular readers — this site is made possible through your subscriptions to The Luminous Landscape Video Journal. This is the world's only quarterly "magazine" about photography to be published on DVD video. Each disk contains between 90 and 120 minutes of broadcast quality video programming, and is playable on any PC, Mac or movie DVD player, anywhere in the world. It's the Luminous Landscape on TV. Read what subscribers are saying.
A reminder as well that next week, on January 22nd and 23rd, I will be conducting a two day seminar in Toronto titled — Professional Digital SLRs — Purchasing,Best Practices&Workflow. There are still a few places available if you're interested and able to attend.
I will be doing a winter landscape shoot in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebéc for the next 5 days. I will therefore only be online and checking e-mail and Forum messages intermittently until Tuesday, Jan 21st.
January 15, 2003
The Kodak DCS Pro 14n, a 14 Megapixel DSLR announced with much fanfare (and to the surprise of many) at Photokina in late September has been delayed again. According to sources at Kodak retail shipment will now commence in mid-February. The reason for the delay is given as the need for some additional image quality refinements.
This announcement was coupled with the first publication on Tuesday by Kodak U.S. of some sample images from a pre-production camera. Unfortunately these samples display quite poor image quality, showing a lot of noise (though they were shot at ISO 80) and also some posterization and other nasty effects. On the other hand some sample images that have just become available on a Japanese web site look much better, so it's hard to know what's really going on.
The Kodak faithful (or at least some of those who have pre-ordered the camera) are in a total flap over the delay and the poor samples. You can read some of the discussion that's taking place online on the Kodak SLR Talk forum of DPReview.
I expect to have a sample of the 14n for review some time in the next few weeks, and will report my impressions here once I've had a chance to put it through its paces. Until production cameras ship it's just too early to draw any reasonable conclusions.
January 14, 2003
The move to extensive shooting with a digital SLR brings with it new and different workflow issues. Over the next two weeks I will examine this topic with two tutorials. This week's is concerned with how to catalogue the vast number of RAW files flowing from your DSLR, how to name them and how to find them in future. Next week I will publish a tutorial containing a comprehensive RAW file DSLR workflow.
January 13, 2003
Steve Kossack has just announced his next workshop. Steve is a talented landscape photographer who works primarily in the U.S. southwest, where he makes his home. This latest workshop will be in Death Valley National Park from March 20 - 24, 2003.
Steve's workshops sell out quickly, so if a chance to do a few days of shooting in one of the world's most remarkable locations for landscape photography strikes your fancy, contact Steve right away. Though open to all, this workshop will be geared to those who are shooting digitally and who would like some field experience as well as advice from an experienced guide and teacher. (This is not a Luminous Landscape workshop. I am promoting it because Steve is a friend, often acts as my assistant on my workshops, and is highly spoken of by people who have hired him as a guide or who have attended one of his workshops in the past).
January 12, 2003
Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning Photographer column for this week is about lens Flare — what it is, how to eliminate it and how to live with it when you must.
January 10, 2003
In a recent article entitled Whither Nikon I looked at Nikon's introduction of its new DX lens line, designed for reduced frame digital cameras. I questioned the wisdom of this move, beyond providing true wide-angle capability to existing DSLRs. In a new article titled Not So Fast, Nikon photographer Jim Norris explores the current state of Nikon lens mount based digital cameras.
January 9, 2003
Regular contributor Alain Briot continues his examination of how to sell your fine art photographs with an article titled Selling Your Photographs at Art Shows. This article provides numerous examples and illustrations derived from Alain's broad experience in this area.
January 8, 2003
DPReview has announced that the Canon EOS D60 has been discontinued. This is in anticipation of the release of a new Canon digital SLR at the PMA show in early March. Apparently the source of this information was Canon, Canada. I spoke yesterday with Canon and here is what I've been told. The D60 has not been officially discontinued. But, I was told that there is no stock, their is no ETA on new shipment arrival, and dealers have been told to stop taking orders. Draw your own conclusions :-)
As to what's coming to replace it, there is no information officially available, and likely won't be for another 6-7 weeks. Given that the D60 will have had a life span of just 12 months, and was continuously backordered during that period, we can only hope that Canon is gearing up production appropriately for its successor.
The Winter CES (Consumer Electronics Show) is now on and LetsGoDigital has created a page with reports on photographic products and announcements from the show. Since this is not a photographic show per-se don't expect too much of note. The major manufacturers are going to be keeping their powder dry until PMA.
And speaking of manufacturers, it was announced yesterday that Minolta and Konica will be merging. Interesting times.
January 7, 2003
In The Third Variable I explore how ISO has become the third active exposure variable. No longer do we choose a film speed based on our anticipated shooting needs and then have to stick with it for 12, 24 or 36 exposures. We can now change the ISO of each frame that we shoot depending on our need at the time, and on some digital cameras we even have automatic ISO bracketing.
Yesterday's move to the new server is now completed and went smoothly. The Discussion Forum had a few hiccups yesterday but is now working normally, and response times are very fast. We now have a server that is hopefully fast enough and large enough to handle our continued growth for the next year or two. For those interested, an average of 10,000 people visit the site daily, and generate some half million page views per month. Monthly bandwidth is more than 60 Gigabytes.
None of this is inexpensive, so if you'd like to enhance your photographic knowledge while at the same time supporting this site have a look at The Luminous Landscape Video Journal — the world's only DVD video-based quarterly publication about photography. We'll both be glad you did.
January 5, 2003
Mike Johnston's Sunday Morning column for this morning is a bit of a departure — it is based on a contribution to our Discussion Forum made by reader Dan Honemann in response to an earlier column of Mike's.
The Luminous Landscape is moving to a new server today. This is the second move in six months, and is designed to accommodate the continued growth of this service as well as to anticipate future expansion. Some users may experience brief service interruptions and the Discussion Forum may not be reachable until later today. I regret any inconvenience. (If you are reading this sentence you are on the new server.)
January 3, 2003
Call for Nikon Authors! I am looking for someone to become the Nikon equipment Contributing Editor to this site. If you are a professional or advanced amateur with extensive Nikon equipment experience, — especially digital and lenses — find out how you can help expand this site's coverage.
I have been informed that Epson Russia has now made the Gray Balancer and CD printing software for the Epson 2200 printer available for free download. Note that this version is in English and for the PC only!
We have heard from some Video Journal subscribers in Europe that they have not yet received their copies of Issue #6. This is to let you know that all subscribers were mailed the latest issue during the first week of December. It appears that the Holiday Season mails to Europe have been slower than usual. If you're still waiting, be assured that your copy will likely appear in the mail within the next week or so. We apologize for any delay.
This gives me an opportunity to remind new readers that the Video Journal is the world's only "video magazine" about photography. It is published quarterly on DVD video. Each issue features between 90 minutes and two hours of broadcast quality video programming — exclusively about photography. There are no ads, and the content, like this site, is completely free from commercial content. Read what other photographers are saying.
January 2, 2003
Though I always indicate the camera and lens used for photographs that I publish, readers frequently ask what lenses I own and what I think of them. I have therefore just updated the page about my Canon 35mm lens selection to reflect some recent changes and additions.
Loxahatchi National Wildlife Refuge is located in south central Florida, very much in the heart of the northern snowbird community. I spent a morning shooting there during Christmas week and look forward to returning often when I visit family in Florida.
Due to a cancellation caused by illness two openings have become available in my Costa Rica Workshop / Expedition which begins at the very end of January. If you have an interest in joining this exciting trip please drop me a note and I can provide you with information on a substantial discount available for this last-minute opportunity.
Archive Creator Version 1.1 is now shipping. If you haven't read my review of the pre-release version of this worthwhile program and need to archive large quantities of digital files, you may find that this program is just what you need.
What's New listing for prior years are also available...