Posts Tagged ‘books’

I am happy to announce two stock books that have recently published. Some of my own words appear in both of them as a response to aTaking Stock FCgree to interview questions for content inclusion. Both books are pertinent to the stock photo industry and would be a great addition to your reading material if you shoot stock or even have the idea to shoot for the stock industry. I have great respect for both authors: Rob Sylvan and Lawrence Sawyer.

I don’t have my hardcopies yet, but I assure you that the material inside is worth a read since both authors have experience in the industry to make it worth your while.

Taking Stock by Rob Sylvan

See It, Shoot It, Sell It! by Lawrence Sawyer

I must agree that today’s photographer needs to understand and know a lot more than using the equipment. The common fallacy that pushing a button and the camera “taking the picture” is easily misleading for the uninformed. Microstock is no longer in its infancy so read the latest information that you can lay your hands on. An edge is an edge if you do your homework. 😉

Congratulations to Rob and Larry. It’s in print!

Both books are available for order online at their respective links that I listed.


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Spring has sprung and looks like Jason Odell has too in launching his offerings of Spring Webinars for Capture NX2. You do need to attend live, and I don’t think he’s offering a download for the course. Jason handles the broadcasting of The Image Doctors for Nikonians. The guy knows his stuff.


I purchased his ebook, The Photographer’s Guide to Capture NX in pdf format. Capture NX does take some time to learn and it is helpful to have a guide to learn. Capture NX is Nikon’s proprietary software used for conversion of RAW files (NEF) and postprocessing. There are other applications such as Adobe’s Photoshop and Lightroom that enable you to convert NEF files to workable product such as tif, psd, and jpg.

There are some paperback books available too. Real World Capture NX2 by Ben Long. Nikon Capture NX2 After the Shoot by Mike Hagen. Will Capture NX2 replace Photoshop? Not really. Despite the healing tool and other features that you’d find in Photoshop, you will need an application that would allow you different types of tweaking such as removing logos. CNX2 is not a replacement for Photoshop on the back end.

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As winter sets in where I live, my thoughts of making images turn to inside locations due to the cold weather. That also brings some other introspective thinking in regards to creative content. We’ve all fallen into the traps of believing in how our gear might “do something” for our photography. A designer normally doesn’t think like this unless it’s in terms of software lust. However, any designer can tell you that as a pro, you learn to jump start your thinking in order to meet deadlines.

So, what do photographers do? Have you developed ways to jump start yourself? Photography is creative no matter how you look at it. I love looking at the direct mail product catalogs that are bursting in my snail mailbox. Many of them like L.L. Bean will mimic stock depictions even if they are product catalogs. Harry & David has some beautiful shots of foodstuffs in their catalogs. Make sure you don’t ignore what’s under your nose for inspiration.

I’ve had the Idea Index book by Jim Krause for years. It was great for a design jump start. Did you know that he’s also published a Photo Idea Index book?

What’s it going to do for you? It won’t meter your light or sharpen your stuff, but it will ignite the spark for thinking about the making of your images. It matters not how technically proficient you are if the image lacks for artistic content. Krause has demonstrated this clearly by using visual examples from a point and shoot and mid range DSLR body throughout his book. There is no attempt to tell you how to make the specific image, but it will point you in a direction by varying your ways of thinking via composition, viewpoints, color, leading lines, light, etc.

It’s much cheaper than an 85 f/1.4 portrait lens. If it doesn’t magically appear under your tree, then you should gift it to yourself. An easy read and good alternative to gear buying in a tight economy.

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You’ll find some of my tips here on photography, design, stock, speedlight shooting, Nikon and myriad thoughts. It’s the musings of observation. Maybe a mild rant or pet peeve. Shoots and discussion too. I apologize in advance for lack of photos. I’m presently figuring out how WordPress works. In no stretch of the imagination will I attempt to reverse engineer hardware. I think that Russ Macdonald does a much better job than I could ever dream about.

SB900 Firmware update
Nikon has released a firmware update for the SB900 speedlight. This particular speedlight is very different in that it allows for firmware upgrades to the hardware. It’s the first of its kind. Firmware upgrades are made through the camera body. D3, D700, D300 and D90 and a CF card. A card reader is also required.

I believe that Nikon has improved their auto white balance and suggested that it be used with the newer bodies. Speedlights in particular. Looks like color temperatures have been tweaked.

I switch off between using the SU800 commander and SB900 to control multiple speedlights. Using the SB900 is nice because it allows you 4 groups (Master is in use as a 4th). I like using a Master as fill off camera.  I’m still getting used to the interface buttons of SB900 and was faster on SB800’s since I use 4 of them. Still, easier to use Remote and Master functions as a button. Double pushes of buttons for adjustments OR option to use the spin dial is nice. Menu set easier to get to without double pressing and holding (as on SB800s). I’ve not had time to play with the supplied gels. The cover to set them in place is more clever than a rubber band. Maybe it will prolong their shelf life.

The SB900 is larger than an SB800. If you’re used to using a Lightsphere on your SB800’s, you’ll need to get a new one to fit the SB900. The Guide Numbers are close, so I wouldn’t say that an SB900 is dishing out more light than an SB800. Ah, but you have the ability for coverage to 200mm! The SB800 was limited to 105mm. Bring on the beams with your tele!  The prices have come down on the original MSRP of SB900’s by a lot. Best Buy actually had a 1 day fire sale on the SB800’s when they wanted to clear out inventory to make room for the newer SB900. I’m not so sure that Nikon isn’t missing the boat here if they plan on retiring the SB800. It had a very long technological life span since it’s original release in 2003. They need something in the mid range price point beyond the SB600.

Depending on need, when I only want to take one speedlight out with me, it’s the SB900. If space or weight is a concern, I pop an SB800 into the bag. So… is the SB900 better? Not in terms of more light. Use and control of the light is the improvement.

New Book on Nikon’s Creative Lighting System
A new book on Nikon’s CLS is available for preorder through Amazon! Nikonians Press.
The Nikon Creative Lighting System by Mike Hagan. This is great news. There hasn’t been much in documentation for Nikon speedlight shooting. It remains a mystery to many.

Nikon D700 books
It’s all about documentation. Nikon previously had some very difficult to understand manuals. Obtuse with a dozen cross references that sent you to the cross references. No wonder people were recalcitrant to read the manuals. Forum posters everywhere were constantly shouting RTFM!  Nikon’s latest releases of manuals are much better. I had the feeling that the original manuals were translated from Japanese to English/other languages.  The latest manuals appear to have been written from scratch in English. Kudos.

Still though, it’s wise to dig into the other materials available. There’s secrets to be learned. Not like Easter Eggs in software, but sheer usability things that Nikon built right into their equipment.

Thom Hogan has a new eBook (CD release) out on the Nikon D700. You’ll get a printed handy reference guide with it. It’s very comprehensive.

J. Dennis Thomas
also has a Nikon D700 Digital Field Guide coming. I’m supposed to get a prerelease copy to review. Thanks, Dennis! Great guy that you are. Preorder it on Amazon.

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