Photography projects — length of time

How long should pho­tog­ra­phy projects last? Is there a time limit? Should‚there be a set amount of time? Can it span years, can it span a life­time? Hmmmmmm.

I took this shot this past sum­mer and it is part of‚a project that never seems to end.
Does it even matter?

Photography transcript 5 — Nikon D80 VS Canon 30D —

[Cam­era clicks]

Please note that this is an audio tran­scrip­tion. Gram­mer and punc­tu­a­tion will not be perfect.

Hi there every­one and wel­come to the pod­cast #5.‚ My name is Marko and we are com­ing to you from fan­tas­tic Mon­treal, Que­bec, Canada, on this 22nd of Novem­ber 2006.
So, for today’s show, we are going to go through a lit­tle bit of the jour­ney that I just went through.‚ I was just in the mar­ket for a cam­era and it took me months and months and months and months to decide which cam­era I was going to get.‚ There were a lot of con­sid­er­a­tions for the cam­era and money being one of them, qual­ity being another one, am I just ready to go com­pletely dig­i­tal at this point, all these fac­tors just weigh­ing on my mind day after day, month after month, but after squir­rel­ing away some peanuts for many months I decided to take the plunge and buy a cam­era.‚ So the ques­tion was, which one to buy?‚ That is really what we are going to talk about today, which cam­era did Marko buy?‚ Actu­ally, the two choices were the D80 by Nikon and the Canon 30D.
Before we start, I should tell you that this is just my sub­jec­tive opin­ion on it all.‚ There is no tech­ni­cal test.‚ I did not really mea­sure any­thing.‚ All I did was com­pare the two cam­eras and used my eye to make the best deci­sion pos­si­ble.‚ It was a pretty dif­fi­cult deci­sion for me because I am a Nikon per­son.‚ I have always been a Nikon per­son and I have three lenses that are Nikon so part of the thing was, you can­not use your Nikon lenses in any effec­tive way what­so­ever with the Canon sys­tem and vice versa.‚ Nat­u­rally, my first instinct was to go with the D80.‚ It was in my price range.‚ I was look­ing at about 1100 to 1200 Cana­dian dol­lars and although that is a lot for a cam­era, for sure that is a lot, for some­thing approach­ing pro­fes­sional grade or pro­sumer, those are just what the prices are and after squir­rel­ing away for months I was pre­pared to plunk down the cash.‚ I got to tell you, I bought that cam­era a few weeks ago and I really like that cam­era.‚ It really did it for me.‚ It was really easy to use.‚ It was very intu­itive, espe­cially since I am totally used to the Nikon sys­tem.‚ I love, love the auto focus on it.‚ I love the body.‚ I love the way the con­trol works and I love the way that it worked until ISO 400.‚ I must con­fess that I am extremely, extremely crit­i­cal and at the end of the day it was all about what was going to give me the best bang for my buck at the time I am going to buy it.‚ Obvi­ously, in two months from now or three months from now things will change, but I know a lot of you are prob­a­bly going through a sim­i­lar dilemma, which one to buy, which one to buy.‚ If you want to learn from the ben­e­fit of my expe­ri­ence or take what­ever I have to say with a grain of salt, yahoo.
Back to the Nikon D80, I really, really like this cam­era and I liked it until ISO 400.‚ I did some tests and I did these tests with a good friend of mine, Dominic Fuiz­zotto, who is an excel­lent pho­tog­ra­pher as well and he is kind of a gad­get guy, even more so than I, and we com­pared every­thing at his place using his fan­tas­tic sys­tem, despite my own decent sys­tem, his is bet­ter, what can I say?‚ Any­way, we did it at his place and the D80 was absolutely fan­tas­tic until about 400.‚ Now, when I say absolutely fan­tas­tic until about 400, I am talk­ing about enlarge­ments.‚ What I am talk­ing about is, tak­ing a shot, print­ing the actual result at 8 x 10 or larger.‚ That was really the cri­te­ria for me.‚ If you are going to print at 4 x 5 or you are going to use it for your com­puter, there is no dif­fer­ence between the cam­eras, really.‚ You are going to get great results.‚ Both the Canon and the Nikon, the D80 and the 30D, are amaz­ing, amaz­ing, amaz­ing at 4 x 5 or less.‚ You will never see grain, noise and grain, all these reviews that peo­ple are talk­ing about.‚ You really will not notice it until you blow it up.‚ I really loved the cam­era until ISO 400 because even at 8 x 10 when I made my results and I printed my results, they were fab.‚ They were superb and they were great.‚ How­ever, when I went to 800, I started to notice more noise than my eyes are com­fort­able see­ing and I am a bit of a noise freak and I am a bit of a por­trait freak, so I do por­traits.‚ As I have men­tioned before on the blog, I always focus on the eyes, I get the eyes tack, tack sharp and I love to see detail in the eye­brows, on the eye itself, in the eye­lashes, and I must say that when I was mak­ing my enlarge­ments at 800, ISO 800 or greater, I started to lose detail in the eye­lashes, eye­brows and the eye and I started to see a lot of noise.‚ For those that do not know, noise are those lit­tle pix­i­la­tion effects that you see and to any­one but a trained pho­tog­ra­pher, they will prob­a­bly never notice, but once you get more into any­thing, when you get more into any­thing and you get more fuzzy.‚ So, at ISO 800 and plus at 8 x 10 enlarge­ments, I found that the D80 was not accept­able to my crazy picky eye.
Other advan­tage that the Nikon has over the Canon is it is qui­eter.‚ I really like the fact that it was quiet, whis­per quiet when you click the shut­ter.‚ Another lit­tle thing that I also liked about it, I liked the fact that it kind of had built in mul­ti­ple expo­sure.‚ I do a lot of play­ing and some­what cre­ative pho­tog­ra­phy and it is always just to play with a gad­get from time to time.‚ I do not do it that often.‚ I shoot almost always on man­ual or aper­ture pri­or­ity, but I was kind of into play­ing with the mul­ti­ple expo­sure but­ton just to see what kind of cool effects you can get.‚ The Canon does not have that fea­ture.‚ Of course, you can do any­thing you want in Pho­to­shop so it is not the hugest deal, but it is nice to do stuff in cam­era.‚ Okay, now on to the Canon D30.‚ The Canon D30 is — as you have prob­a­bly guessed that the cam­era I ended up buy­ing and although the motor is not as quiet as the Nikon and although the auto focus is not as amaz­ing as the Nikon, I ulti­mately went with that cam­era because of the noise fac­tor.‚ Once you hit ISO 800 or once you hit ISO 1600 and you com­pare the results side by side — and I am going to put up some pho­tos on the blog so you could com­pare them your­self.‚ These are my pho­tos.‚ Feel free to rip them apart.‚ Feel free to tell me that my tests were inac­cu­rate, but at the end of the day when I com­pare the two side by side to my eye, I found there was con­sid­er­ably less noise in the Canon than the Nikon.‚ Again, this is at 8 x 10 enlarge­ments only.‚ If you are at 4 x 5 or smaller, did not see the dif­fer­ence, both very pleas­ing, both very fine, but at 8 x 10 enlarge­ments and greater, the Canon 30D wins out over the D80 in terms of noise.‚ At the end of the day, again, for me it is all about the sharpest, best pic­ture I can make and the best por­trait that I can pro­duce and for the extra 100 dol­lars or 150 dol­lars — Canon is offer­ing a superb rebate right now, but it still came out to be 100 or 150 dol­lars more for the Canon — I went with the Canon because I am a por­trait freak and when I look at eyes I like them to have all the detail as pos­si­ble.
That was my basic expe­ri­ence, actu­ally.‚ One of the fac­tors that made the expe­ri­ence a bit harder is, again, the Nikon glass.‚ If you are not going to make big enlarge­ments, really, at 4 x 5, every­thing is equal.‚ There is really no need to go buy oppo­site the make that you already have.‚ Sure, I have Nikon lenses and now it is going to cost me a few extra bucks in Canon lenses, but it is because I am crazy picky and it is because of the enlarge­ments.‚ Most peo­ple are not going to make enlarge­ments.‚ Most even pro­sumers are going to keep their images small.‚ They are going to keep them for com­puter, for email, for their web­sites, in which case it just does not mat­ter which cam­era you get because the results are going to be superb.‚ So, I would go with what the other review­ers are say­ing at‚ They have an absolute, absolute, really thor­ough com­par­i­son on both cam­eras them­selves and then between those cam­eras and other cam­eras.‚ That review is superbly tech­ni­cal and it was one of the sources I went to before I made my deci­sion, but again it is only really about the enlarge­ments as far as my expe­ri­ence tells me.‚ If you have glass from Canon or Nikon, stick with that sys­tem.‚ Do not cross over unless you are a lit­tle bit freak­ishly obsessed.
That sums up my review.‚ I hope it is help­ful to peo­ple.‚ Again, take a look at the pho­tos.‚ Com­pare them side by side, but the best test is going to be your own eye.‚ Buy it from a store that you can return it.‚ Test it first or buy some cards and go to the store and do some tests by your­self.‚ Take one shot with the Canon.‚ Take one shot with the Nikon.‚ Com­pare for your­self.‚ Everyone’s eye is dif­fer­ent.‚ Every­one has dif­fer­ent sub­ject mat­ter.‚ You really need to just com­pare for your­self to get the best test pos­si­ble.
As always, we love to hear com­ments about this pod­cast or stuff you would like to hear in future pod­casts.‚ I got a very nice com­ment on the bul­letin board from a new mem­ber.‚ I think I may have my first groupie.‚ She loves the pod­cast.‚ She just wants me talk about more basic ele­ments, which I am absolutely pre­pared to do in my very next pod­cast.‚ It is just I am so in the thick of this com­par­i­son right now, I wanted to make this com­par­i­son about the cam­era that I ulti­mately ended up choos­ing.‚ The next one will be for my new “groupie,” we will get back to some basics and do a show about more basic pho­tog­ra­phy.
That is it for today, every­one.‚ Thanks very much for lis­ten­ing to the show.‚ As always, please leave com­ments on the blog or inside the bul­letin board on and I will be more than happy to answer those com­ments.‚ Please post some pic­tures at the bul­letin board or you can even post pic­tures as com­ments on the blog and I will be happy to review them as well.‚ Have a nice day, every­one.‚ Keep shoot­ing and we will see you all again or hear you all again or speak to you all again in around two weeks.‚ Thanks every­one.‚ Bye now.
[Cam­era clicks]

Nikon D80 versus Canon 30D — Photography Podcast 5

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #5 is ready for down­load­ing or sub­scrib­ing. In this pod­cast we dis­cuss the mer­its of both cam­eras and why I chose 1 over the other. Thanks to Dominic Fuiz­zotto for help­ing me with these tests. You can read seri­ously tech­ni­cal com­par­isons of these and other cameras‚at The images below are from my test. I tried to be as con­sis­tent as pos­si­ble. Note that there are some pro­por­tion dif­fer­ences but that is attrib­ut­able to the fact that the Canon is an 8.2 mega pixel cam­era and the Nikon is a 10.2 mega pixel cam­era. These eyes in these images were cropped from the orig­i­nal ‘raw’ images at 100% mag­ni­fi­ca­tion. They were saved as jpegs at 90% qual­ity, the ISO was 800. At lower ISOs there was no difference.

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast tran­script #5

Fill flash — Photography podcast # 4

This pod­cast is ded­i­cated to fill flash in por­trai­ture. When do you want to use fill flash? You want to use fill flash when­ever your subject’s face can use a bit of extra light. If you don’t see the player below, click here to learn how to use fill flash in pho­tog­ra­phy. Pic­tures accom­pa­ny­ing this pod­cast will be uploaded shortly.

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast tran­script #4

Photography transcript 4 — Fill flash —

[Cam­era clicks]

Please note that this is an audio tran­scrip­tion. Gram­mer and punc­tu­a­tion will not be perfect.

Hi there every­one and wel­come to the Pho­tog­ra­phy Pod­cast on‚ My name is Marko and we are com­ing to you from Mon­treal, Que­bec, Canada, on this Novem­ber 2, 2006.
It is a beau­ti­ful sunny day in Mon­treal, albeit cold, and sunny days are a great time to talk about fill flash.‚ This whole pod­cast is actu­ally inspired by a new mem­ber that posted some pretty inter­est­ing pic­tures on the bul­letin board.‚ I quite like those pic­tures, but I thought that those pic­tures could be even bet­ter if they would have just used a lit­tle bit of fill flash.‚ In a nut­shell, what fill flash is, is it fills the shad­ows of scenes and it is par­tic­u­larly use­ful in por­trai­ture.‚ So even on a sunny day, which may seem counter-intuitive, a great thing to do is use a bit of fill flash. ‚What hap­pens is the sun, espe­cially when it is high above, will hit the subject’s head and cast like a shadow in their eyes and on their nose and it is not attrac­tive at all.‚ So, you have this per­son with dark cir­cles under their eyes and it is really not so flat­ter­ing and some­times it is really dis­tract­ing.‚ What is a really good thing to use is fill flash.
Now, most mod­ern SLRs and dig­i­tal SLRs have the abil­ity to use fill flash.‚ Some­times you can use fill flash on the lit­tle flash that comes with the cam­era or if you have an actual cam­era that you mount on your flash via the hot shoe, you can def­i­nitely use fill flash there.‚ It is such a sim­ple pro­ce­dure.‚ All you have to do is turn on the flash and fire the cam­era and there you go, you have fill flash.‚ You should know what set­tings you are on.‚ You could be on a man­ual set­ting, you could be on a more auto­matic set­ting, but even in the sun, take a pic­ture of a per­son and use the flash.‚ What is going to hap­pen is that flash is going to fire at the per­son and it is going to fill their face with a bit of light and gen­er­ally it will make the pic­ture more attrac­tive.‚ Actu­ally, for this pod­cast, we are going to put up a cou­ple of shots on the blog with and with­out fill flash and you can kind of see the dif­fer­ences.‚ Now the inter­est­ing thing about fill flash is that you can vary the amount of the fill flash.‚ What most peo­ple will do is they will put it on an auto­matic — they will put their cam­era rather on an auto­matic set­ting, turn on the flash and just shoot and although gen­er­ally that is bet­ter than not using any fill flash at all, espe­cially on a bright sunny day, it is not the best thing pos­si­ble.‚ It has been my expe­ri­ence that the best shots or gen­er­ally very good shots that use fill flash have the fill flash used at a strength that is less strong than the ambi­ent light.‚ That is to say, the light that is light­ing the sub­ject, the nat­ural light, let us say, well, the fill flash should be less strong than that light.‚ What hap­pens is if the fill flash is at the same strength as the light that is nat­u­rally light­ing the sub­ject or the ambi­ent light, it does not quite look as flat­ter­ing as it could.‚ If the fill flash is stronger than the sub­ject, well, then it is not even called fill flash any­more.‚ That is really the main light for the sub­ject and that makes the sub­ject.‚ Unless you are look­ing for a spe­cific effect, it makes it look less pleas­ing than nor­mal.
That said, for that spe­cial effect, I mean you will see this all the time in fash­ion or fash­ion mag­a­zines where the model is just blasted with light.‚ She is flaw­less gen­er­ally and they will retouch her for hours after­wards and she will look good, but it is not gen­er­ally the most nat­ural look for gen­eral pho­tog­ra­phy I would say.‚ A good thing to do is read the cam­era man­ual and fig­ure out how to adjust the flash.‚ It is usu­ally under some­thing called flash com­pen­sa­tion or fill flash, but it is gen­er­ally really easy to do and what you want to do, again, is let us say you are using the lit­tle flash on the cam­era, you just want to lower that by one or two or three stops even and what that will do is it will just add a touch of light to your sub­ject and light them in a very pleas­ing way.‚ If you were to use, let us say, minus one stop of light from the flash, what the flash is doing is it is cal­cu­lat­ing the amount of light in the scene that is nat­u­rally there and then it is giv­ing you one stop less, minus two gives you two stops less, minus three gives you three stops less.‚ These flashes can work in dif­fer­ent fash­ions, it could work by stops or other incre­ments but what looks very nat­ural or more pleas­ing, let us say, is when there is less light com­ing from the flash than the actual light that is light­ing the sub­ject.
Per­son­ally, when I use fill flash, I almost always choose, let us say, minus one and a half or minus two stops of light, so I am just giv­ing the sub­ject a lit­tle bit of light, but I am not accen­tu­at­ing the light from the flash so it tends to look more nat­ural.‚ If you have a hot shoe mounted flash or a more pro­fes­sional flash that you mount on the cam­era, it will usu­ally be really, really easy to fig­ure out how to give less fill flash or neg­a­tive flash, let us say.‚ There are some arrows or there is some but­ton that allows you to do plus a third of a stop, plus two thirds of a stop, plus one stop, or minus a third, minus two thirds, minus one, minus two, minus three, etc., and you could just play with those and see the effect that you are going to get.‚ In fact, I highly rec­om­mend, espe­cially if you are not so famil­iar with fill flash, is to just go ahead and exper­i­ment, as always.‚ Take a shot with the reg­u­lar flash set­ting, just turn it on and shoot, see what you get.‚ Minus it by one stop of light, shoot it, see what you get.‚ Minus it by two stops of light shoot it, see what you get.‚ Com­pare all three and see which one is most pleas­ing for you.‚ It would be my guess that those shots that are minus one to minus two, they might well be the most pleas­ing shots, they cer­tainly are to me, but every­one is dif­fer­ent.‚ Of course, if you are going for the exact oppo­site effect, you could choose what­ever you want, but then I would sug­gest to you it is not called fill flash at all.‚ If you go plus one or plus two stops of light from the flash, you are doing the oppo­site, you are get­ting a cool effect if that is what you want, but then it is not called fill flash.‚ That is your main light and the main light is light­ing the sub­ject and the ambi­ent light is actu­ally act­ing as a sec­ondary light.‚ It is no longer the main light.‚ You can also, of course, use fill flash from sec­ondary sources of light by either hav­ing a sec­ondary flash some­where or a sec­ondary light some­where, but if you are already at that level, then you pretty much already know what you are doing.‚ I guess this par­tic­u­lar pod­cast is geared for just using your cam­era to add some extra light to the faces of some­one.‚ We are talk­ing in par­tic­u­lar about por­traits because it is really hard to fill flash or to use fill flash on a land­scape scene.‚ Flash typ­i­cally has a very short range or rea­son­ably short range and if you are tak­ing pic­ture of a moun­tain or any­thing like that, well, your flash will just never hit the moun­tain, it will never make a dif­fer­ence.‚ That is why it is par­tic­u­larly use­ful for por­trai­ture or even close up pho­tog­ra­phy, but pho­tog­ra­phy that is rel­a­tively close to the cam­era as opposed to land­scape or scenic pho­tog­ra­phy.
That cov­ers it for today’s show.‚ It was a really short show.‚ I will be putting up some pho­tographs on the blog that go along with the show notes and you could really see the dif­fer­ence by using minus one and minus two as opposed to the nor­mal shot and as opposed to no flash at all.‚ I am going to put those up so peo­ple can see the dif­fer­ences and hope­fully learn from them.‚ As always, if you are able to com­ment or choose to com­ment it is so appre­ci­ated and if you are inter­ested in hav­ing your pho­tographs cri­tiqued, well, just join the bul­letin board on, upload a cou­ple of pic­tures and it is absolutely my plea­sure to cri­tique them.‚ In fact, I would like more mem­bers to cri­tique them as well, but each and every shot that gets uploaded that peo­ple want cri­tiqued, it gets cri­tiqued by me.‚ I have a lit­tle bit of expe­ri­ence so I hope the tips that I have given other peo­ple thus far have been use­ful and appre­ci­ated.‚ Well, that is it for us again.‚ This was our fourth pod­cast on‚ We hope you enjoyed it.‚ As always, you can leave com­ments on the blog or through the bul­letin board and we will be back in two weeks’ time to do another pod­cast.‚ Thanks so much for lis­ten­ing every­one and happy shoot­ing!
[Cam­era clicks]