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.