BrickHouse Photo School

Tips, Tricks and Reviews for Photo Hobbyists

Archive for February 23rd, 2009

Sigma announces the launch of the new 10mm f/2.8 EX DC Fisheye HSM lens

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I will often publish media releases related to photography on this blog in order to help keep you informed. These media releases are created by the respective companies. I edit the releases for space as needed.

This autofocus fisheye lens is designed for use with digital SLR cameras equipped with APS-C size image sensors. The Nikon version produces a diagonal angle of view of 180°(154° for Sigma, 167° for Canon).
The diagonal field of view of this fisheye lens produces striking images with exaggerated perspective and distortion. The minimum focusing distance of 5.3 inches, and maximum magnification 1:3.3 allows subjects to be as close as 0.7 inch from the lens’ front element.

Sigma's 10mm f/2.8 EX DC Fisheye HSM lens. (Photo Credit: Sigma Photo)

Sigma's 10mm f/2.8 EX DC Fisheye HSM lens. (Photo Credit: Sigma Photo)

This close focusing capability allows close-up photography and also it is possible to make use of large depth of field that covers wide range of subjects. The Integral hood blocks out extraneous light and the Super Multi-Layer Coating minimizes flare and ghosting, creating superior image quality. The HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) ensures fast and quiet autofocusing and allows full-time manual focus override by rotation of the focus ring. This lens is supplied with a gelatin filter holder at the rear.

The lens is now available for Sony/Minolta digital SLRs, and Pentax digital SLRs.
The street value of the lens in about $1,000 US.

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Ritz Camera Centers files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

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Ritz Camera Centers Inc., the largest U.S. specialty camera and imaging chain, on Monday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The Beltsville, Maryland-based company filed for protection from creditors with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Delaware.
Ritz operates Ritz Camera, Wolf Camera, Kits Cameras, Inkley’s and The Camera Shops, Ritz Camera Interactive in addition to companies not related to the photographic industry.

Written by jeremyparce

February 23, 2009 at 11:25 pm

Posted in News & Notes

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Equipment Profiles: Nikon’s AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 D lens

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Nikon’s AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 D lens is the perfect portrait lens for any serious photography hobbyist. This lens provides very sharp images in a lightweight, well-constructed design.

Nikon's AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 D lens. (Photo Credit: Nikon USA)

Nikon's AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 D lens. (Photo Credit: Nikon USA)

Who Needs This Lens?
This lens needs to be in the bag of every serious amateur photographer. This lens will allow you more creative freedom to explore photography with its fixed and super-fast f/1.8 maximum aperture. The focal range on this lens is perfect for portrait work.

Where Will I Use This Lens?
The wide aperture setting will really allow beginning photographers and advanced hobbyist the ability to achieve a shallow depth-of-field, thus giving portraits a professional look. Furthermore, with its f/1.8 maximum aperture, photographers are able to shoot quality images in low-light situations. The lens is also perfect for indoor sports photography, especially capturing images at basketball games.

By the Numbers
Lens: Nikon’s AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 D
Minimum Focus Distance: 2.8 feet
Focusing: Auto and manual focus.
Weight: 13.2 ounces
Price: About $450 US

Photographers You Should Know: George W. Ackerman

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Information for this article came from the U.S. Archives
George W. Ackerman was one of the many U.S. government-employed photographers who made images during the Great Depression. Ackerman started with the Bureau of Plant Industry for an annual salary of $900.

Unlike his peers, Ackerman’s photographs often depicted farmers utilizing modern farm machinery and the modern advances that had come to the U.S. agriculture community. He traveled the nation, documenting how farmers labored. Many of his peers during the Depression often focused on the poverty and difficult conditions many rural people faced, yet Ackerman showed hope in his images by focusing on the positive things that were happening in rural America.

'Farm Family Listening to Their Radio.' (Photo Credit: George W. Ackerman, August 15, 1930 National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Extension Service)

'Farm Family Listening to Their Radio.' (Photo Credit: George W. Ackerman, August 15, 1930 National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Extension Service)

Ackerman said he tried “to paint the rural scene as I saw it, modern and up-to-date in many respects.”

During his tenure in federal service, Ackerman made an estimated 50,000 photographs during his 40-year career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, many of which appeared in private and government agriculture publications. Often, those images were not credited to him.

Workshops

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Here’s a list of photographic workshops that may interest you:

John C. Campbell Folk School
March 29-April 4: “Photography Boot Camp”
April 26-May 1: “Nature Photography for Digital Enthusiasts”
June 28-July 4: “Digital Macro Photography”
July 5-10: “Introduction to Photography”

Wilderness Institute
August 28-September 8: “Alaska Adventures 2009”

Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures
April 2-5: “Savannah, Grand Lady of the South”
April 23-26: “Springtime on the Outer Banks”
May 21-24: “Maine Coast & Lighthouses”
June 12-19: “French Wine Country”

Domke: The Camera Bag You Should Own

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There are a multitude of camera bags to choose from and it seems that most people just grab the first one they see on the shelf or they buy the bag that matches their camera. (“Hey, I bought a Nikon and look, there’s a Nikon bag!)
That’s too bad, too. Camera bags protect the hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars you spent on your camera, lenses, flashes and other gear. It just stands to reason that you want a bag that can withstand a little wear-and-tear.

One of the best-made camera bag systems – yes they are “systems” – comes straight out of the photojournalism trenches. It’s a Domke bag and these bags are worth every penny they cost.
The bags aren’t cheap. If you want one, expect to spend about $150 US. But if you get one, you’ll probably have it for life.

My Domke bag has been through a rough life and even though it doesn’t look the best, it’s still a durable as the day I bought it.

The bags were created by Jim Domke, a photojournalist and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer. In the 1970s, the Inquirer changed the way it allocated work cars. Before, each photographer had his own private work car so the trunk became the camera case. Then, the Inquirer decided to go to a car pool, meaning the photographers had to switch their gear from car to car.
The problem was, there were no portable camera bags available. Camera storage was mostly large metal boxes that were no where near portable.
So Domke, with the go-ahead from the Inquirer, started designing camera bags that would fit the bill for photojournalists. Thus, the Domke bag was born.

Domke bags are made of canvas. Durability has never been a factor – these bags can withstand the day-in-day-out life of a photojournalist so I have no doubt they can withstand the abuse from a student photographer or a photo hobbyist.

Find your nearest Domke retailer and give one a look. Even better, buy it. You’ll be glad you did.

Written by jeremyparce

February 23, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Photographers You Should Know: Hans Namuth

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Information for this article was received from the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

German-born photographer Hans Namuth specialized in making portraits of famous artists, writers, architects and other creative types. His is most noted for his portraits of painter Jackson Pollock.
Namuth began his photographic career while serving as an assistant to fellow German Georg Reisner, whom Namuth met while living in Paris, France. Paris was booming with German expatriate community in Paris and Namuth was well-known among the expats.

Jackson Pollok. (Photo Credit: Hans Namuth from the National Portrait Gallery)

Jackson Pollock. (Photo Credit: Hans Namuth from the National Portrait Gallery)

Namuth traveled with Reisner in 1935 to the Spanish island of Mojorca where Reisner had a photography studio. After returning to Paris in the autumn, Namuth and Reisner maintained a studio and supported themselves by working as photojournalists. In 1936, Namuth and Reisner received an assignment to photograph the Spanish Civil War.

In 1941, Namuth traveled to the United States and joined the U.S. military. After the war, his main priorities were to raise a family and enjoy photography as a hobby. He met a teacher, Alexey Brodovitch who inspired Namuth to pursue photography as a career.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, he photographed such people as Oscar Hammerstein, Richard Rodgers, Frank Lloyd Wright, Allen Tate and, of course, Jackson Pollock.

Namuth died October 30, 1990 due to injuries sustained in an automobile accident.

Links to some of his images can be found at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

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