Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Top 40 GIMP plugins

Here are some great plug ins for GIMP.

Top 40 GIMP plugins

My favorites:

ISO Noise Reduction
Red Eye

More on GIMP

Friday, December 21, 2007

Holiday picture

Picture taken of tree, ornaments and lights. Canon 30D, 18-55mm kit lens.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Amazon Gift Cards: The perfect last-minute gift

Forgot to order that gift online? Did you run out of time? Try Amazon Gift Cards.They're the perfect gift, especially at the last minute. They can be delivered via postal mail or email.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

FREE Photoshop tutorial

Photoshop tutorial on bringing out detail in the shadows.

Out of the Shadows

Monday, November 26, 2007


I've decided I'm going to give the GIMP a try. I've grown tired of Adobe Photoshop's ever-increasing cost and complexity and Photoshop Lightroom's cost. I'm looking for less for a lot less. I don't need (yet!) any fancy stuff. I've been using Photoshop Elements and find its image editing features to be solid, yet its photo cataloging abilities to be sub-par.

As far as I know, GIMP offers little, if any, cataloging/tagging/metadata capabilities. But that's okay because I've also been using Picasa, which is FREE, easy, and -- so far -- bulletproof.

So I'm going to begin using Picasa and the GIMP together to see if I can't rival something similar in functionality to Photoshop Lightroom.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Master Your DSLR Camera, Part 1: Program Mode

From lifehacker:

This is a nice beginning article on how to use program mode on your digital camera. It talks about flash, ISO, and white balance, to start.

Master Your DSLR Camera, Part 1: Program Mode

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Twelve Essential Photographic Rules

From comes this list of 12 rules of photography:

1. Sunny 16 Rule
The basic exposure for an average scene taken on a bright, sunny day is f/16 at a shutter speed equivalent to one over the ISO setting—that is, f/16 at 1/100 sec at ISO 100. From this you can interpolate, and try f/22 at the beach, f/11 on a cloudy-bright day, etc.

6. Largest Digital Print Rule
To calculate in inches the largest photo-quality print you can make with a digital camera, divide the vertical and horizontal pixel counts (see your manual) by 200. For critical applications, or if you want exhibition-quality prints, divide the pixel counts by 250.

10. Megapixel Multiplier Rule
To double the resolution in a digital camera, you must increase the number of megapixels by a factor of four—not two. Why? The number of pixels in both the vertical and horizontal dimensions must be doubled to double the pixel density across the image sensor.

Twelve Essential Photographic Rules - - PopPhotoSeptember 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Catalog shots made simple by Adorama

Nice little tutorial on taking catalog photographs.

Catalog Shots Made Simple

Saturday, September 22, 2007

11 tips for beginners

This is a brief yet very good article on the things to keep in mind when starting photography. Worth a read!

11 Tips for Beginner Photographers

1. Don’t go crazy buying the most expensive equipment right away.
2. Consider a tripod.
3. Keep your camera with you all the time.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

ACDSee Pro 2

ACDSee Pro 2 Released - - PopPhotoSeptember 2007

I've tried the Beta and liked it. So, if you're not in the Adobe camp, give it a try. It's pretty affordable, too, at $129.

Adobe offers expanded RAW support

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hasselblad rolls out 39-megapixel camera

Everybody needs one of these!

Monday, September 17, 2007

BlogRush: A new traffic-driving tool

So I signed up for BlogRush with the hope of driving more targeted traffic my way. Will it work? I don't know? Is it worth a shot? Maybe. Will I offend more real and potential readers with one more ad? Perhaps.

That is not my intention. I hope to derive more readers, a more active dialog about today's issues, and, to be completely honest, a little more cash. I'm not here to make a fortune in the blogosphere, but wouldn't it be nice to get a little change for inspiring others to think about what's going on in the world?

How does it work? Basically, two ways. You install the BlogRush widget. You get one credit each time the widget loads. This means, that within the network, if I get 100 pageviews today, my blog gets "published" in other BlogRush widgets 100 times today.

I also get credit if you sign up. (See all the links in this post?) Sheesh!

If your blog gets 500 pageviews, I get 500 credits. It's like a giant Ponzi scheme, only it appears to be made of real money! :)">BlogRush with the hope of driving more targeted traffic my way. Will it work? I don't know? Is it worth a shot? Maybe. Will I offend more real and potential readers with one more ad? Perhaps.

That is not my intention. I hope to derive more readers, a more active dialog about today's issues, and, to be completely honest, a little more cash. I'm not here to make a fortune in the blogosphere, but wouldn't it be nice to get a little change for inspiring others to think about what's going on in the world?

How does it work? Basically, two ways. You install the BlogRush widget. You get one credit each time the widget loads. This means, that within the network, if I get 100 pageviews today, my blog gets "published" in other BlogRush widgets 100 times today.

I also get credit if you sign up. (See all the links in this post?) Sheesh!

If your blog gets 500 pageviews, I get 500 credits. It's like a giant Ponzi scheme, only it appears to be made of real money! :)

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Need to upload photos from your local hard drive to your Flickr account? Now you can do it easily with FlickrSync.

"Synchronization" is only one way (local drive to Flickr online), but this makes for a really great online backup solution.

Neutral density filters and better sharpening to come in Lightroom

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Water ripples plug-in for Photoshop

A Potter Wasp

A Potter Wasp
A Potter Wasp,
originally uploaded by Kaipu.
Now, this is a PHOTO!!! Tremendous, award-winning photograph of a wasp in hover-flight.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cool Photoshop downloads from Adobe

Adobe - Photoshop Exchange beta

Here are some cool downloads that show you how to create various effects, like water droplets and ripples, lightning, aging, etc. Almost 9,000 entries.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Digital Photo Workflow: One Pro's Approach

RAW Workflow: A Pro’s Approach

There are as many approaches to workflow as there are photographers. What do you do?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Memory sale at Calumet

There's a great sale on CF memory at Calumet Photography -- 1GB Ultra II for $25! Plus, it's buy one, get one free.

So you get two 1GB Ultra II CF cards for $25!!! Don't miss it.

Shop for Memory & Media at

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

I think I'm going to have to break down and buy Lightroom...trying the trial version and it works pretty well. It's feature-rich, but pretty intuitive. My system is a little slow, so is now the time to buy a Mac desktop? I've always used PCs on the desktop, but both Mac and PC in the laptop variety...or do I just go the normal route I take --  upgrade the motherboard, video card, RAM, and CPU? Now we're talking real money.

Darned digital photography! It's going to cost me an arm and two legs.

Adobe - Photoshop Lightroom Design Center

Digital photos piling up?

Where do you rank? I betcha most of us have WAY more than 1000 digital photos "laying around."

Digital photos piling up | Tech news blog - CNET

Adobe updates Photoshop Camera Raw

Due out June 1. Get it here (when available).

Adobe Updates Photoshop Camera Raw - - PopPhotoMay 2007

Shutter speeds: What does it all mean?

This is a nice article explaining shutter speed, how and when to use it.

Shutter Speed Effects

Monday, May 28, 2007

Photo management software comparison

This is a good overview of photo management software.

ImpulseAdventure - Comparison of Digital Photo Catalog Software

How to make (more) money in professional photography

Good general and specific advice for the budding professional photographer.

Professional Photographer Magazine

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Automatically upload photos to Flickr

I've yet to try this, as I am not at my home computer. If this works as described, this will be a most-useful tool in anybody's photography arsenal. I use Flickr for 2 main reasons: To display photos to the outside world and, most importantly, to back up my photos.

When I get back from any photo shoot, I upload my photos to my computer. But I don't stop there. I then upload all my JPEGs to Flickr. At the very least, if my computer melts down, I may have lost my RAW (which I backup to DVD on a monthly basis) files but I'll still have my JPEGs. Needless to say, if it's a really important set, I'll back up the RAW files immediately.

When I get home and have a few spare moments, I'll follow the steps at the link and perform this automatic upload magic.

Hack Attack: Automatically upload a folder's photos to Flickr - Lifehacker

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Enhancing the contrast of your photos by the digital Photography School

This is a great article on enhancing the contrast, in the right amounts, to really make your photographs pop.

5 Techniques for Enhancing Contrast in Digital Photos

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Canon introduces new large format printers

If money is no object and you need some 24 inch prints, then go for the new Canon iPF6100 ($3495). If you can settle for "small" 17 inch prints, then go for the much less pricey iPF 5100 ($799). Both offer 12-color pigment inks.

Both are sure to please.

Canon Introduces the iPF6100 and iPF5100 Large Format Printers

Monday, May 14, 2007

Fodor's Focus on Photography

Nice site on how to take travel pictures. Now that summer is here, and we're on our way to great summer vacations, take a look at the tips and techniques on this site and take some great vacation pictures. > Focus on Photography

Panasonic's new image sensor

Time will tell whether it ever makes its mark on the consumer markets.

Panasonic Develops New Image Sensor acquired by Amazon is one of my favorite camera review web sites. I used it extensively for purchasing all of my digital camera gear. Hopefully, Amazon can figure out a way to make this most excellent site even better without clouding the objectivity of the information.

Amazon Acquires

Friday, May 04, 2007

Yahoo! Photos shutting down in favor of Yahoo-acquired Flickr

It's about time! I like the idea of a one-click move of all my yahoo photos to flickr. Great idea.

Breaking: Yahoo To Shut Down Yahoo Photos In Favor Of Flickr

Monday, April 23, 2007

Win a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II

Check out the site and submit a photo and you may win a Canon 1Ds Mark II...good luck.

The Crestock Photography Contest 2007 | Blog

Monday, April 02, 2007

N00bs Guide to Flickr

I use Flickr for 2 main reasons
  1. It enables sharing my photos with my friends and family
  2. It serves as an online backup of all my Jpegs
I originally started using Flickr for #1. However, with hard drives as they are, and after having lost a complete drive a few years ago (no service or software could revive it long enough to get the data off it), I decided a while back that storing stuff online was a great idea. Though I use RAW+Jpeg on my Canon dSLR, I can only back up my Jpegs (currently -- and in fact I haven't found anywhere that provides good, free online storage of big photo files). That's okay; I'd rather have my Jpegs backed up and not my RAW rather than have nothing at all backed up online.

By the way, I also make regular backups of my data onto both external hard drives and DVD/CD. I'm a little paranoid now.

Anyway, here's a post for Flickr noobs. Flickr has lots to offer but it's certainly not the most user-friendly site on the web.

Newbie's Guide to Flickr | Webware : Cool Web apps for everyone

Monday, March 26, 2007

Monday, March 05, 2007

Free (paper) Lens Hoods

Here's an interesting site that shows you how to make free, out of paper, lens hoods for a variety of lenses from major manufacturers, like Canon, Nikon, Olympus, and Sigma.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Using Converging Lines in your Photography

Great article from that fount of photographic knowledge, Digital Photography School, on how to use converging lines in your own photography to make more effective and compelling photographs.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sigma Announces Photo Contest

Sigma, ubiquitous lensmaker for SLR cameras, has announced a photo contest called "Faces in Nature." Three prizes are offered; all, of course, are Sigma lenses. But they're really great lenses, so if you want a chance at winning one, enter now.

I would love to win 2nd prize, a Sigma 12-24mm EX DG wide angle zoom.

But first prize would be nice, too:

It's a Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 EX DG Macro zoom, valued at $1200.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Calumet Photographic -- Photo-dodo's newest partner

Come meet our newest partner, Calumet Photographic and see what the pros shoot with!

Calumet has retail stores in many areas, including New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. They also sell via telephone and, of course, the web.

The folks at Calumet are knowledgeable photographers who can help you select the right equipment and they can help you take better photographs -- they offer workshops in their retail locations on various topics, some of which are Photoshop, RAW workflow, and digital SLR techniques.

Known for their service after the sale, you can rest assured knowing that you will be supported before, during, and after any purchase you make with them.

Not sure what to buy? They rent and sell used equipment, too.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Online photo editing with Picnik

There's a whole host of online photo editing tools. I recently ran across a review of the most popular and useful apps on TechCrunch, where I stumbled upon Picnik, which got TechCrunch's approval. In fact, the folks at TC like it best out of all the online photo editing applications.

Picnik uses Flash. It is fast. The UI is very intuitive. It has a limited number of tools, but for quick edits, especially if you're "on the go," you cannot beat the utility of this tool. It's best thought of as an online version of Google's Picasa.

There are two especially neat things about Picnik. First, you don't have to upload any photos to their servers. You simply browse your hard drive for the photo(s) you wish to edit and -- voila -- use the tool.

The second really cool thing is Picnik's integration with Flickr. You can use the tool and then automatically have the edited versions of your pics posted on Flickr.

Really nice job, Picnik!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

"Photoshopper" cartoon strip

Is More Better when it comes to Mega Pixels?

This debate will continue into the next century: Whether higher pixel counts in digital cameras make for better photographs. Let's clear up a few things right away.

First, better photographs are more a function of the photographer than the camera. I've seen $5000 cameras, in the wrong hands, make absolutely terrible pictures. On the other hand, I've seen professional photographers make stunning photos from a one-megapixel camera phone. So, let's get the notion that more megapixels is better out of the way right away.

All the above said, will a pro photographer be able to take better pictures with a 10-megapixel camera than with a 6-megapixel camera? The answer is: It depends. If the only thing that differentiates between the two cameras is the sensor (more pixels packed in the same area), a pro might be able to take a better photo with the 10 than with the 6. That's if, and only if, the sensor, camera processor, and all other factors can deal effectively with more pixels per same area. And that's a big IF.

You see, when more pixels are packed into the same small area, noise becomes a real factor. Light gathering also becomes a factor. The same amount of light is hitting the sensor, but each pixel is effectively getting less light, proportionally, in a 10-MP camera versus a 6-MP camera.

One could surmise, then, that to get better images out of a 10-MP camera, versus a 6-MP camera, one would have to build a bigger sensor. And this might work. But now, your lens and other optical qualities of the camera may come into play. Use the same 50mm lens on an APS-C-size sensor versus a 35mm-size sensor, and you get less light concentration on the bigger sensor. Noise would be lower, in general, because each pixel would be farther apart, but vignetting might become a real burden.

Who knows? The best pros use the highest resolution dSLRs with the biggest sensors. But hand them a 6.1-MP SLR with an APS-C-size sensor, and many, if not all, observers would be hard pressed to be able to tell the difference between pictures taken by either camera.

Photography is such a subjective art, like all art, that the method for the output is far less important than the output itself. The discerning eye, the composition, the lighting, the perspective -- all are far more important than the camera.

Pros use SLRs because they allow, or enable, more creativity. You can alter the shutter speed, the aperture, change the ISO, etc., while capturing as much image detail as possible. Many pros also favor camera RAW, which uses as little camera processing as possible. Then they use post-processing software in the digital darkrooms to output the best possible photos.

After saying all of the above, it's still easier to sell a 10-MP camera than a 6-MP camera, at the same price point. Just remember, as with everything, you usually get what you pay for. Better camera = more money.

But just as a Formula 1 driver could beat you in a race on the street in his loaner Fiesta, a pro photographer could better you in the image department with his disposable camera. Tools are just that: Tools. In the right hands, greatness can be realized. Quality tools in quality hands gives the chance at perfection.

More megapixels, better photos: Fact or fiction? | CNET

Monday, February 05, 2007

Check out our new Photo-dodo Online Store

In the interest of providing all of the tools that a photographer might need, Photo-dodo opened its own online digital photography store over the weekend. Powered by Amazon, the store features all of the best equipment, software, hardware, and photography gear that will enable the budding photographer to take the best shots and create the most spectacular images -- only your imagination can limit your photographic success!

Featuring a digital photography lab setup, our store will guide you to making wise purchases that only add to your repertoire without breaking the bank (unless you want to), in a step-by-step approach. As your talents and skill levels increase, move to the next stage in the lab series.

Feel free to drop us a line at to tell us what you like, what you dislike, and what you'd like to see in our store.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

LadyBug Nest

Hiking through a redwood park in the Oakland hills I came across this giant nest of ladybugs. Had a Canon Powershot SD450 on hand to take this pic in macro mode.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.0

Adobe has been beta testing Lightroom for quite some time now. It looks like Lightroom is out of beta since Version 1.0 will be available on February 19, 2007 (however, it's for sale right now). This is great news for digital photographers. By most accounts, Lightroom will serve as a complement to Adobe's own ubiquitous Photoshop. This link will take you to the first review we've seen on Version 1.0.

Get Lightroom before April 30, 2007 and save US$100 off the expected retail price of US$299.

You can check out the beta version here.

For those of you who have used, and thoroughly enjoy, Raw Shooter Essentials, or the more fully-functional Raw Shooter Premium, this may be the way to go when you need an upgrade. Pixmantec, maker of Raw Shooter, was purchased by Adobe sometime last year. There will be no further upgrades to Raw Shooter. Sigh.

Adobe's Lightroom looks like it's taken some of Raw Shooter's features and built them in. Plus, you get the added advantage of Photoshop integration. This one belongs in any digital photographer's toolbox.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

New member with a new camera

Welcome ckshark, our newest contributor to the site. You may know him by his two previous posts, Fall Pic1 and Fall Pic2, which were taken with a Canon 5mp point and shoot camera.

Well, now he's got a brand new Canon digital SLR, the 30D, which has been reviewed here and here. In short, Digital Photography Review says,

It's a great camera to shoot with, image quality is excellent and the high sensitivity performance is still notably better than the competition, the EOS 30D inspires confidence and delivers shot after shot.
Now we expect ckshark, aka Clark, to contribute some really outstanding photographs to Photo-dodo. He has a great eye for excellent composition and he's eager to expand his photographic resume.

Welcome, Clark. Here's to some really outstanding contributions in the future!


The title of this post is symbolic of how I feel about this whole endeavor in getting Photo-dodo its own domain. As I spoke about before, I registered with GoDaddy and then I chose to host the site with Google. But I made one critical mistake; I used Google Apps for Your Domain (GAFYD), which is a really cool thing in concept, but not so cool when you make a mistake, as I did.

I made the mistake of registering with GAFYD the domain rather than This caused all sorts of problems. Essentially, Photo-dodo kept going down; I kept getting 404 errors -- "Page not found."

Once I got Google to help me remove, all has been well. I will keep you posted on any other issues as they arise, but, for now, I think all has been settled.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Photo-dodo has a Squidoo lens!

Check out our new lens on Squidoo. Lenses are a great entry point to Photo-dodo. They give you the nuts and bolts to get a good understanding of a topic, like photography. Then, head on back here for more detailed information.

Just another way for us to gain some more exposure on the 'net.

Photo-dodo on Squidoo

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Web site outages, snafus, and calamities

The last week or so has been exasperating, to say the least. I registered,,, and with GoDaddy.

That was easy.

Then I decided I'd continue using the Blogger weblog publishing tool and use their new "custom domain" feature. Essentially, a blogger can register a domain name and point it to their address (in my case,

That was easy, too. However, setting the GoDaddy DNS parameters...oh, boy! To make a really long story short, getting one setting wrong kind of put the FUBAR to it all.

I think I've got it right now. (But I thought I got it right the other 12 times, too!)

I wish to express my sincere apologies to Photo-dodo's readers. I really am sorry that there were so many outages. Hopefully, the pain is over.

Thanks for sticking with us.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

How to be a curious photographer

Nice work over at the digital Photography School on how to be more creative.

How to Be a Curious Photographer

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Adorama is a great resource for photographers

You've no doubt seen the Adorama links and banners on; Adorama is a trusted merchant that not only sells great photography equipment and supplies but also is a fantastic resource for photography knowledge. They have a wealth of resources for hobbyist and professional photographers.

Today, I'd like to talk about a recent experience I had with Adorama. As you might know, especially if you print a lot of your own photographs, today's inkjet printers offer high-quality, low-cost prints. However, ink does run out, and when you go down to the local office supply store or big box electronics megalo-mart, you often pay prices that are, to put it gently, a little on the high side.

So I looked for some better prices online. I have a Canon PIXMA printer, which contains 5 inkwells: Black, photo-Black, Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow. After experimenting with both Canon inks and so-called "compatible" inks, I can say that by far the best output is generated with genuine Canon ink. Canon's web site offers the inks at the retail price of around $12 per color. I found some merchants offering the inks at around $6 per ink. However, their shipping policies were a little silly: $6 per ink plus $5 or $6 per ink, effectively making the inks as expensive as the manufacturer's retail price.

When I looked at Adorama's web site, I found a little higher retail prices than those at the discount e-stores, but the shipping was much more reasonable: $6.95 per order. Since I run through ink so fast, I generally buy 4-6 ink cartridges of each color at a time. This shipping fee effectively adds only a bit to the cost per cartridge. Adorama lists Canon inks at around $11. Not a huge savings over the manufacturer's price, but every little bit counts.

Adorama's customer service really is second to none. They're on the East Coast and I'm on the West Coast. I ordered my ink on January 5 and got it on January 11. Certainly no speed record was set, but still this is a very reasonable delivery speed.

They offer toll-free ordering and customer service, they buy used equipment, and they have a wealth of helpful links, including FREE photo lessons.

BONUS TIP: Buy from Adorama through Amazon. For my ink order, I actually purchased through Amazon because I was able to get my inks for around $8 each with a flat shipping charge of $7.95. My order of 12 inks came out to a little less than $103, or $8.54 per ink, far less than regular retail. Two other important notes. First, I received genuine Canon ink. As I stated before, this is very important. Second, shopping through Amazon is a truly easy, fast, secure, and enjoyable experience.

Adorama and Amazon make purchasing photo equipment and supplies a wonderful endeavor. Best of all: I didn't have to leave my house.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Fall Pic2

Second pic at Lake of the Springs. This path leads up to the boat launch area. I was practicing framing techniques and leading the eyes through the picture. Shot this and Pic1 with a Canon PowerShot 5mp.

Fall Pic1

Fall pic at Lake of the Springs Resort (Thousand Trails)

How to make a light tent

The folks over at the Digital Photography School have posted a how-to on making an inexpensive light tent. Looks pretty easy to make and the results speak for themselves.