Archive for July, 2009

Nikon’s been quiet over the last year since their major release of their D3x. The D5000 was released, but I consider that consumer oriented. A new D3000 was also announced today.

Enter the D300s — officially announced today by Nikon. From first glance, it looks to be a healthy upgrade from the D300. Dual card slots (previously only seen on the D3 and D3x) 720 p HD video. It’s never been a secret when Nikon has the technology in current releases, that they like to port it into future upgrades and releases in their camera bodies.

New lens upgrades too! The venerable 70-200mm f/2.8 as well as the fabled 18-200mm sweeten the pot for those of you sitting on the fencepost waiting to buy. If you’ve watched Nikon’s habits of releases, you’re in good company if you’re waiting to see what they may do to the D700. I strongly suspect it will follow before the end of this year.

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Designers have always wrestled with large files. Photographers are seeing what happens as digital photography camera bodies are producing larger image sizes with the megapixel wars raging. As any photographer who shoots on location will tell you, getting the files from here to there and then storing them, is always an issue that needs to be addressed.

Kingston released it’s mega huge USB flash drive. The DataTraveler 300. It’s a hulking 256GB. At this time, only available in Europe and pricey at close to $1,000 USD.

That flash drive would hold 64 4GB CF cards worth of data or 32 8GB CF cards. That’s a lot of data!

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I have had a Chimera Maxi softbox for speedlights for several years. I currently use 2 Westcott Apollo softboxes as I find them very portable. They fold like an umbrella. The Chimera does not and assembles much like a traditional softbox with 4 ribs into a speed ring. I may use the Chimera for macro work. You won’t need to tape the shoe as you would with most metal mount shoes. There’s a hole for the set screw to reside. This is a fairly small softbox. You will also need the Chimera speedring to assemble the box and mount it. The Chimera Maxi lacks an interior baffle for extra diffusion.

You’ll find that you can’t use the supplied “foot” with an SB800 or SB900 to get the speedlight on the bracket. Have a look instead at the Stroboframe Shoe (red knob in the photo). It’s a cold shoe mount that will hold your speedlight securely. You will still need an umbrella swivel bracket mount to affix to the top of your light stand. Here’s a few imgages to show mounting.




I have several Stroboframe cold shoes and use them almost exclusively now. They work well in Justin Clamps and all kinds of applications where you want to attach a speedlight to a mount.

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I’d wandered out to view a local fireworks display over the Fourth of July celebration weekend. I didn’t expect to shoot but brought my camera along anyway.


I ended up doing a bit of guessing what my settings would be and hadn’t done any homework beforehand. Looks like ISO 2500, f/4 — f/6.3 with shutter speeds of between 125 and 250 worked out with burst mode of 5 frames per second.

I went to Lexar’s site for their Image Rescue recovery software to help steer a friend in trying to recovering some images on her Lexar Pro card. Lo and behold, there are some suggestions for shooting fireworks.

Lexar has a free section of Tips and Lessons here. There are sections addressing both Technical and Subject areas of photography and Technical Lessons. There is also a collection of videos that cover some aspects of Lightroom and Photoshop.

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Lastolite has a section of free video tutorials. Reflectors, umbrellas, background lighting, Ezybox hotshoe (lightbox for small flashes/speedlights) etc.


It’s Lastolite products, but you’ll get the idea FC_cleghorn_even if you don’t use their product. Mark Cleghorn does the free demos. I like his book on portrait techniques. He understands lighting very well and he has a nice touch with working with people.

There’s two nice ones in there that describe and show the different kinds of umbrellas and reflectors.

Have a look at the demo on the Ezybox hotshoe portable softbox for flashes. A very portable solution for using speedlights on location. It can be mounted on a stand or a pole. It folds up very small compared to most softboxes.

Although the videos are designed to show you how to use Lastolite products, they also push your creative thinking.

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I dropped by my friend, Sandy’s house to loan her a lens for her upcoming trip west. Of course I had no choice but to watch the hummingbirds since she has amassed quite a crew. She runs her sandysandysweblog with due dilligence and mentioned my visit.

It was a good opportunity to try rigging with my SB900 with my 70-200mm lens for several reasons. One being that the reach of a SB900 is greater than an SB800. The other being that I could only use a Manfrotto Super clamp with an extension (heavy duty flex arm) on it. There was nowhere to set up my tripod. I’ve used this rig before but only for holding a speedlight to use it as a hair light. I wanted to see if it would hold a camera body, speedlight with a 70-200mm lens. It did and that’s a heavy rig! Pix to come of the setup.

Here’s a few shots of the hummers. They are such interesting little creatures. Fascinating to say the least.




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