BrickHouse Photo School

Tips, Tricks and Reviews for Photo Hobbyists

Archive for April 7th, 2009

Why You Need A Shoe-Mount Flash

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The majority of people who visit this Website are amateur photographers, photo hobbyists and students interested in pursuing photography as a future career. With that audience in mind, I try to bring articles with general appeal.

One of the main questions I get asked is about flash photography or using artificial light sources to make images. For lack of a better word, those who write me are “afraid” to use artificial – or flash – lighting because they don’t understand it and they often have taken photos with flash and had bad results. With that in mind, I am going to begin a section on flash lighting. Look for more posts to come in the near future.

With an external flash, you can direct where you want the light to go - or where you don't want it to go. Hard lighting from the side gives this image a unique look. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Schneider)

With an external flash, you can direct where you want the light to go - or where you don't want it to go. Hard lighting from the side gives this image a unique look. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Schneider)

External flash units are beneficial for numerous reasons. First and probably the most important, they allow you to become more creative in lighting. You can play around with the light and get more interesting – and more professional looking – results. Secondly, they allow you to shoot in low-light conditions. Finally, they reduce the limits on your photography. You’re no longer a slave to the sun. No lighting? No problem, you’ve got a flash.

One problem you may be having is simple: you’re using the built-in flash on your camera. You probably have a popup flash on your DSLR and have used it as your main source of strobe lighting. That’s a mistake. While good for fill light, a popup flash is often too narrow. Many times, you’ll see washed out colors in close up subjects or huge cast shadows, which are equally unappealing.
If your camera has a hot shoe mount on top, which if you’re using a DSLR, it does, you are able to attach what’s called a shoe-mount flash.

Although there are great third-party flash units (Metz comes to mind), I recommend purchasing a brand-specific flash because it syncs with all the features the manufacturer has developed.

For Nikon users, I recommend starting out with the SB-600 AF Speelight unit. It’s a great flash to begin with. Canon users should start with the Speedlite 430EX II and for Olympus users, the FL-50R is the right choice.

In future postings, we will discuss various techniques you can use with your shoe-mount flash that will help your photos look better.

Good luck and keep shooting!

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Tiffen’s Dfx version 2.0 Digital Filter Software offers an incredible two thousand filters and effects

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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.

Based on the success of its original award-winning Dfx Digital Filter software that revolutionized the digital filter market, Tiffen introduced Dfx version 2.0.

The new version now features multiple masking and layering capabilities with its Photoshop and Aperture plug-ins, previously only offered with the Stand-alone edition, plus more than 1,000 new filters and effects including: Ambient Light, Close Up Lens, Dot, Eye Light, Flag, Gobo, HFX Star, Haze, High Contrast, Ice Halos, Rainbows, Sepia, Sky, Soft Contrast, Soft Light, Warm Center Spot, Warm Polarizer, Water Droplets, Wide Angle Lens and 812 Warming.
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Professionals and enthusiasts alike can now choose from a palette of more than 2,000 standard, exclusive and special effect filters that simulate Tiffen’s award-winning optical equivalents. These can all be quickly and easily customized, then saved to a filter library for later use.

An exclusive new feature with Tiffen Dfx version 2.0 plug-ins for Photoshop/Elements and Aperture owners is multiple masking and multiple layering capabilities without having to exit the plug-in each time. This revolutionary new feature, speeds workflow and extends the already incredible capabilities inherent with Dfx Digital Filter software.

Unlike other software that professes to offer you selection technology that is precise, our exclusive EZ Mask, one of seven mask types, allows users to create precise multiple masks with just a few quick strokes.

Tiffen Dfx version 2.0 is available as a Stand-alone application for still images, specific plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop or Elements, Apple Aperture and the most popular video post-production host software, such as Apple Final Cut Pro, and Express, Adobe After Effects and Avid Editing Systems. Tiffen Dfx version 2.0 is available for Windows XP and Vista and Macintosh systems v10.4 or higher and its new comprehensive Stand-alone edition has a suggested retail price of $99.95.

All Tiffen Dfx version 2.0 software is available as a free trial download from the Tiffen Website.

Current owners of original Dfx editions will be able to upgrade to the corresponding Dfx version 2.0 edition and should visit the Tiffen website for complete details.

Books for Your Library: ‘The Sadness of Men’

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Photo books are a great addition to any library. As photographers, we are constantly searching for new ideas and are always interested in seeing concepts-done-well. Here’s a suggestion to add to your library …

The Sadness of Men is a 50-year retrospective by accomplished photographer Philip Perkis. Perkis, a noted photography educator, began photography in 1957 while serving in the U.S. Air Force as a tail-gunner. His formal training began when he started studies at the San Francisco Art Institute. He studied with famed photographers Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange. In addition to his photographic work, he has taught at numerous schools, including the graduate faculty at the School of Visual Arts at NYU and is a professor emeritus at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
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The book is his first published collection. Each image in the book builds upon the previous, guiding the viewer along the world through Perkis’ eyes. The images are a subtle look at the everyday; its sadness and the rhythm of the world.

The book is available at Amazon.com.

Written by jeremyparce

April 7, 2009 at 8:00 am

Auction Aims at Helping Children Through Photography

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You can now buy photography and help raise money to support children in the Philippines and Haiti.

An online auction held at One Image is focused on raising money to benefit Little Children of the World. All money raised from the auction will go directly to the charity.

‘Ballet,’ by Diego Uchitel is one of the many images available for bidding at the One Image online auction. The image is a 16x20 black-and-white photograph and has a fair value of $1200.

‘Ballet,’ by Diego Uchitel is one of the many images available for bidding at the One Image online auction. The image is a 16x20 black-and-white photograph and has a fair value of $1200.

Started by John Kunichika, Stephan Moskovic and Keiko Shimizu, One Image seeks to “harness the creativity of the world for the benefit of young children abroad who also want to grow up and create beautiful works.”

Little Children of the World, the benefactor of the online auction, is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1987 in Atlanta. The organization provides health services, services for children with disabilities, low-cost housing, education and orphanages in the developing world.

Photographs offered in the auction come from various artists including, Diego Uchitel, Cleo Sullivan and Carl Posey. The auction runs through the spring of 2009.

Written by jeremyparce

April 7, 2009 at 6:30 am