Hardware MacOsX Workflow

Apple: C’mon, already… update the MacPro

OK, a general rant on Apple and folks who make their living using Apple computers.

I’ve got a production suite at my photo studio, and another at home. They do the same thing… edit and store images and video. My MacPro at home is from 2006; my MacPro at the studio is from 2009. It has been several years since the line was updated, and the updates were just little housekeeping features_subnav_macthings like slightly faster processors.

Other Mac lines have enjoyed some nifty technology boosts, like Thunderbolt connectivity and USB 3.0 — but you can’t get a MacPro with either. I put an aftermarket USB 3.0 card in my MacPro at the studio and still get USB 2.0 speeds with it. Argh!

Rumors have had it that the MacPro will receive the love this year – but with Apple behind in iPad and iPhone development, who knows if it will happen. All told, I’m admin for five MacPro’s and one aged but still fighting G5. I need to replace at least four of them this year! I’m maxed-out on OS – 10.7.5 is the highest I can go on any of the machines I have.

For years the MacPro ruled the personal computer roost with it’s robust processors, the ability to put a lot of RAM to use, and great graphics speed. Couple that with a case that has four internal hard drive slots and room for two DVD burners, and you had the perfect production machine. Now Windows-based machines have closed the gap and probably surpassed even the MacPro. 

Apple, where’s the love? Don’t forget the people who for years have been your bread and butter, too.

Gadgets Photography Reviews

Review: Mastering the Nikon D600 by Darrell Young

Mastering-the-Nikon-D600_250pxIf you follow our website, you may remember that I really liked Darrell’s book on the D800. I have now purchased a D600, and read the new Mastering the Nikon D600 with a certain sense of déjà vu. the  D600 book is also a real winner! 

One of the things most people do when they get a new camera is… run out and take photos. Darrell is careful to point out that the first thing you should do is setup the camera to make sure it is going to function they way you want. Chapter 1 covers basic camera setup, and is a few minutes well spent going over the chapter with your camera in hand. Darrell then launches into all the menus of the camera… the playback menu, shooting menu, custom setting menu, and setup menu.

There is some real substance in every chapter, but I particularly like the explanations and depth in the shooting menu. Nikon has created user setting with U1 and U2 settings on the mode dial, and they can be tailored to your particular shooting needs. Also, a discussion of the D600’s ability to shoot smaller images than the native 24.2 megapixels… FX settings for shooting at 13.6 megapixels, or even 6.0 megapixels. This is something the D800 doesn’t do, and I’m happy that my D600 does. Are you shooting some images for eBay? You might well want to choose the small DX setting of a 2.6 megapixel image. Darrell points out that you’ll get the best images from the native sensor setting, but for special applications, you have the tools in your belt to shoot smaller images.

camera menusEver wanted to do time-lapse photography because you didn’t have an expensive intervalometer? Well, just flip to page 144 in the book and read all about how to do it with the D600 with no accessories required.

The retouch menu is geared for folks who want to create as much as possible “in camera” and minimize computer editing. There are a number of pretty cool editing effects available in the D600, and I still am a fan for certain images of the miniature effect. Follow the directions and you can make a cool image. Did you know you can even compare frames side by side to see the retouch filter effects? Yep. 

The “my menu” is something that is a boon to photographers – different from user settings, it allows you to store frequently used settings in a special menu section so you don’t have to wade through page after page of items – the shooting menu is vast! Darrell talks about using the my menu to the fullest in chapter 7. On my D600 in my menu, I have set up the top two items to be clean image sensor and virtual horizon. Have you ever tried the virtual horizon? It is most usable when the camera is mounted on a tripod, and the virtual horizon shows you which directions to move the camera to make it level. I loved my old Nikon F5 – great film camera, but Nikon decided to make the hot shoe tilt down 15 degrees, thus foiling any attempts to use a bubble level with it. So you can imagine how much I use this feature when shooting architecture.

Yes, there are more chapters covering metering, histograms, white balance, and autofocus modes and use. There are brief discussions on live view and a little more in depth discussion of the movie modes of the D600. Finally, one of the all-time greatest assets to a photographer is covered, in the chapter on using Nikon speedlights. Indeed, as Darrell says, “Light is a Photographer’s Friend!”…

The age of digital has made our tool sets so much greater than ever they were in film days. With the introduction of the Nikon D600, pros and amateurs alike have a tool that simply begs to make images. The perfect compliment for the D600 is Mastering the Nikon D600 by Darrell Young. Once again, Darrell has hit a home run. For a list price of $40, although quite a bit less on Amazon, you can have the ultimate reference work for your new camera. I highly recommend this book to you, Nikon D600 owner!

Mastering the Nikon D600
by Darrell Young
Rocky Nook / Nikonians Press
ISBN 978-1937538194 (pbk.)
Available on Amazon.comfor about $23,Kindle edition about $17.

Books Photography Reviews

Review: Mastering the Nikon D800 by Darrell Young

Darrell Young has written the definitive book on the Nikon D800. If it isn’t covered in this book, you probably don’t need it. Seriously, this book is a long look inside the digital candy box for Nikon geeks and other photographers who actually (gasp!) read the manual. Unfortunately for me, reading the manual sometimes leaves a little to be desired. Darrell explains what the manual really is trying to say… and even provides the page numbers for the content in the Nikon manual. That’s what I call thorough.  I only wish the Nikon manual provided the page numbers for Mastering the Nikon D800. 

Heard of the Nikonians? I quote: “Nikonians® ( is a user community and reference site for Nikon photographers. Found in April 2000 it helps digital and film photographers to shorten their learning curve. The members and visitors improve their photography skills and results while making long lasting friendships across borders and often continents.” The page before the foreword has a 50% discount voucher for a Nikonians Gold Membership. That makes Darrell’s book actually cost nothing with the savings in membership cost.

Mastering the Nikon D800 is over 500 pages of reference. The layout is easy to understand, and it’s easy to find the chapter you are looking for, with chapter markings on the edge of pages – nice visual reference. There are many, many illustrations of menus, illustrative real-world images, and technical notes on where to find that overview in the Nikon manual. The back of the book has a… you guessed it… a nicely fleshed out index. Thoughtful suggestions are included in almost every section, including the great resource of setting up your new Nikon D800 – first chapter. Included in this chapter is a broad overview of all the Nikon D800 menus… whetting your appetite for the full chapter covering that particular area. Darrell ends each chapter with his conclusions on what he takes away from the section – and primes you for the next chapter.

Subsequent chapters cover all the menus – playback, shooting, custom settings, setup, retouch, and the powerful my menu and recent settings. I was already using my menu to house just a couple of items, but that list has grown now that I’m aware of more of the powerful back-features you might not find in the menus, or might not understand. 

Darrell then launches into the meaty chapters on metering and exposure modes, histogram use (which one and why), and the demon of digital photography, white balance. How and why white balance behaves the way it does is nicely explained, and should help a shooter who might usually shoot auto white balance be more comfortable creating a custom white balance to lessen post-processing. Also, if you shoot with a consistent light setup, like strobes in a portrait setup, you can create and fine tune a custom white balance just for that setup, and use it over and over. How to do it is all here. Final chapters cover autofocus, how the autofocus areas are determined, and release modes, plus a short section on the live view feature.

How do you setup the D800 to include your copyright statement and embed it in every image? Chapter 5. How do you accomplish in-camera perspective control (like having a PC or TS/E lens)? Chapter 6. How do you control and correct in-camera the vignetting caused by some very wide angle lenses? Chapter 3.

But wait, doesn’t the D800 shoot video? That is covered briefly along with a short chapter on speedlight usage, including the Nikon Creative Lighting System technology. Read about setting up the D800 pop-up flash as a commander for wireless TTL photography with Nikon speedlights… I read a few derisive comments on the web about having a pop-up flash on a pro camera, but it makes perfect sense to me, as I occasionally use wireless TTL, and having a built-in commander just makes that even easier.

I’m more and more impressed with the image and handling qualities of my Nikon D800’s, and Darrell’s book Mastering the Nikon D800 has granted me huge new insights on what the engineers at Nikon have created. Keep up the good work, Darrell.

Mastering the Nikon D800
by Darrell Young
Rocky Nook / Nikonians Press
ISBN 978-1-937538-05-7 (pbk.)
Available on Amazon.comfor about $23,Kindle edition about $17.

Books Photography Workflow

Review: Tabletop Photography Using Compact Flashes and Low-Cost Tricks to Create Professional-Looking Studio Shots

Cyrill Harnischmacher’s new book “Tabletop Photography” is a further sign of the digital revolution in photography… virtually all of the techniques he teaches in this new book are techniques that will only work with digital. I’m not a digital native, but I got here as quick as I could; my experimentation with digital imaging began in the mid-1990’s. The flash techniques I learned relied on an antiquated system known as “Polaroid” – using a sheet or pack Polaroid holder on the medium or large format camera to test your lighting setups. Polaroid was great, but I wouldn’t be satisfied with it now that I have that magic histogram on the back of all my cameras.

Today, we simply shoot a test in-camera, look at the image and histogram, and adjust. Repeat as needed. Polaroids used to cost around $2.00 for a pack film sheet… today, the preview is free. I like free, but I’m also enamored with cheap… I mean, low cost. Cyrill has developed a style of studio shooting that uses inexpensive, last generation flash units, all set on manual control. Setting up a studio with three last-generation flash units, triggering units, and a small infinity tabletop could be done for well under $1,000 US dollars, maybe half that. Early in the book Cyrill states that the reader should expect to learn and become expert on using manual modes with these small flashes… he states, “This is easier than you might expect.”

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And, he’s right. Remember that test shot and histogram? Today, it is easier (and less expensive) than ever to master manual flash levels with multiple flash units. He specifically mentions buying last-generation gear like the venerable Nikon SB-24 flash (truly a pro flash, rugged, dependable, and nowadays, cheap on eBay). It’s younger brothers the SB-25 and SB-26, are also readily available. This isn’t to say that your SB-800’s and SB-900’s won’t work – just that the gear doesn’t need to be current generation.

The hardest part of the whole studio photography with small flash units boils down to this: how do I make them fire? There is an excellent discussion on sync cables, wireless infrared, radio control, and even some on the newest wireless TTL control. This is the nuts and bolts of the book – how to actually make the gear work. Shooting directly into a laptop or desktop computer is also briefly discussed.

Next the reader learns about light shaping tools, reflectors, and how to set up a tabletop studio… really, you can do this on your dining room table. Shooting with white and black backgrounds is covered, as well as how to select a backdrop. When you see the shot Cyrill did of an egg in a glass flute, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that it was done with small flashes. Then, near the back of the book, you find the chapter on shooting products for eBay. I figured out a long time ago that there are really two secrets to selling on eBay… writing a great description, and providing really pro-quality photos of the item, especially when the item is photography related.

The final chapter is the do-it-yourself chapter on building your own accessories. From simple platforms to hold multiple flashes to shoot through a softbox, to small flash honeycomb filters, this chapter has several ideas I’m going to steal… I mean, use.

Cyrill states in the preface that “This book is intended primarily for amateurs who are making their first foray into tabletop photography and who don’t already own studio lighting systems.” He hits the mark, having written a book that meets this goal admirably. After reading the entire book, the only slightly negative thing I can say is that I would wish to add a few more lighting diagrams. The size and coverage of the book is really just right, and there are a number of topics I didn’t even hit on. Now, if I can just find a super cool crystal guitar like Cyrill shot for the book cover..

Tabletop Photography
Using Compact Flashes and Low-Cost Tricks to Create Professional-Looking Studio Shots
by Cyrill Harnischmacher
2012 1st Edition Rocky Nook, Inc.
ISBN 978-3981229318

Available Editions:

Books Photoshop Workflow

Review: Cracking Camera Raw by Michael N. Roach

Cracking Camera Raw: The Illustrated Guide To Working With Raw Images in Adobe Photoshop CS5
by Michael N. Roach

I’ve just read and appreciated this new work by Dr. Roach on Camera RAW. I was an early adopter of RAW files. After seeing what I could do, even with early versions of Photoshop, I was sold. I learned just enough to actually use the basic features, and got good results (mostly) with my methodology.

Adobe CS5 is a game-changer. The Creative Suite’s fifth version is bullet-proof on functionality, and Photoshop CS5 was more than an incremental step up from CS4. One significant portion of that is the enhanced RAW capabilities it offers. Enhancements in de-mosaic, sharpening, and the new processing engine put this version far ahead.

Dr. Roach offers this tutorial in a step-by-step presentation and analysis of each and every tool within the Camera RAW module. I learned new tricks… I especially like the local adjustment tool and the graduated tone tool, neither of which I had noticed before. The section on tools has concise descriptions of all the tools, and the illustrations show the results of the tools on images. I had never realized the full potential of the detail tool, but you can bet I’ll be using it more now.

As with all of Dr. Roach’s writings, the reader will benefit from clear discussion with ample illustrations. Build your standard RAW file methodology from these tips and explanations, and you’ll be well on your way to true mastery.

PS – as I write this, CS6 has just been announced by Adobe. The upgrade prices are (as usual) a little steep for my budget. I’ll be using CS5 for a while yet, probably until well into next year. I think this illustrated guide is a sound investment for today, and for months or years to come.

Books Photography Reviews Workflow

Review: Architectural Photography by Adrian Schulz

Rocky Nook’s new book Architectural Photography by Adrian Schulz provides a comprehensive update to architectural photography techniques in a digital age. My original introduction to this subject was a book by Norman McGrath called Photographing Buildings Inside and Out. Norman in years past had reservations about calling his craft “architectural photography” – but not Schulz. His 2nd Edition (2012) of his original 2009 printing of Architectural Photography leaves no one in doubt that he has mastered his craft, his tools and his ability to convey this mastery in the written word

Schulz starts out with a review of modern architectural photography, starting with a very brief history of photography, then a definition of the types of architectural photography. My only reservation about the entire book is that I believe he left out one key type of architectural photography, but I admit my bias in this statement. He lists documentary, postcard, vacation, advertising and artistic types… but the omission I see is the type of architectural photography I do – photographing building products in architecture with the specific idea of representing the products to architects for inclusion in their future projects. Maybe this will be covered in the 3rd edition.

The chapter on camera technology is about as up to date as you can make a printed book – and is current as of the first months of 2012. Many different camera systems are discussed rationally, and with strengths and weaknesses noted. Most architectural photographers fall into two categories today: first, those still shooting view cameras and film; and second, those who are shooting high-resolution digital cameras. The first group is declining quickly, as film gets harder to come by and less easily processed. The second group is quickly growing, as camera sensors get larger megapixel counts, and lens technology for D-SLR’s improves.

Shooting techniques is discussed with the desired result being to redirect the eye of the photographer in ways of seeing… after all, photography is really about seeing what others pass by or miss entirely. It talks about light, and shadows, and how a photographer will craft his image to use both to his (and the building’s) best advantage. I picked up a couple of new ways of thinking about architectural photography that I had never quantified. One was Schulz’s statement about focal length of lens: “A good rule of thumb for choosing focal length is: As short as necessary but as long as possible.” (page 129) 

In post-processing, the author discusses ways in which to maximize the digital image through the use of software. Many examples are given with clear illustrations. The discussion on why architectural photographers should be shooting RAW captures is nicely laid out. A few specific software tools are mentioned, but most of the techniques can be done with any professional level editing program

For anyone in the field of architectural photography, this is probably a “must-read” book. For anyone not in the field but wanting to break in, read this book and find a mentor working in the field. Preferably, Adrian Schulz.

Architectural Photography, 2nd Edition
by Adrian Schulz
Published by Rock Nook
ISBN: 978-1-933952-88-8 (paperback)

iPad Photoshop

Review: Dr. Roach’s Photoshop Tutorial App for the Ipad

Dr. Michael Roach’s newest version of Photoshop tutorial is a hit. Roach takes aim at photographers and artists who are ready to take a systematic, measured approach to learning arguably one of the most difficult photo editing programs to master. With this tutorial open on an iPad in view, a user can go through and unlock many of Photoshop’s mysteries.

Systematic is a word that best describes Roach. During his tenure of 30+ years teaching photography at an East Texas university, Roach devised a systematic methodology of instruction that turned thousands of students into photographers. Roach adopted Photoshop at version 3.0 and has taught every version since.

Have you ever bothered to look at every menu item and every tool? I know I haven’t. I’ve been using Photoshop as long as Roach has taught it, and in the first 30 pages of the tutorial I learned several things I had not known. I learned more about functionality I had never used in the next 150 pages.

The illustrations are excellent, set up in a cartoon/graphic novel approach, with just the right amount of detail on each topic. Some items are fully explained, and some are noted as being beyond the scope of the beginning tutorial… watch for a more advanced tutorial in the future, I suspect.

Because a user can set their pace, and learn in a systematic approach, I can highly recommend this tutorial. If you have used Photoshop some and have upgraded to version CS5, there are new tools and techniques covered in the tutorial that will give you a jump-start on this version. If you have never used Photoshop and are just realizing what you can do with it, this is definitely for you.

As a digital photographer, I use Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop daily. Lightroom to me is the plate, and Photoshop is the gourmet entrée that you are going to ravenously consume. The bonus is that after consumption, you won’t feel bloated, but rather confident in your new familiarity with Photoshop CS5.

Get the App here.


Digital Lifestyles

Traveling Europe with a 13” Macbook

I just came home from a 24 day trip across France and Spain. My trusty white 13” Intel Macbook has a lot more miles on it… but worked like a champ. My AC adapter for power and charging was 100-240 volt compatible, so I didn’t have to worry about a voltage converter, just a plug adapter for the European style sockets. Wifi is strong on this older Macbook, and I got good performance in most hotels I stayed in. The size of this smaller Macbook is perfect for lugging around on the road – and much lighter than my 17” Macbook Pro.

Before the trip I upgrade this machine with a new battery, new 500 gig hard drive, and installed the latest Mac OS X 10.6.7 and Lightroom 3. I stored over 300 gig of images on the laptop hard drive, backed up with an external 500 gig hard drive, and kept the shot memory cards for almost all of my images. My mentor Dr. Michael Roach had a horrible wreck on his way back from a long trip to Morocco, and many disks of his two sets DVD backups of images were damaged – but luckily he was able to use unbroken disks between the two sets that he had in different pieces of luggage, and he didn’t lose any images. So for this trip, I decided in advance to take enough memory cards to not have to format and re-use cards, plus backups on two different hard drives.

I carried the Macbook in my photo backpack by Crumpler – a unique design that opens from the strap-side of the pack. It would be next to impossible to steal anything from this pack with it on my back, a feature I really like. The laptop sleeve is removable, so I was able to take that weight out of it when I reached a town that I would be in for several days.

Lightroom was usable with the max 2 gig of RAM, but I made one big mistake – I took along a card reader that would read both memory cards I was using on the trip (Compactflash and SDHC)… on the surface this seemed like a good idea, but in use this particular model turned out to be incredibly slow in reading either memory type. I was daily downloading anywhere from 400 to 1,000 images for me and another photographer, so I wasted a lot of European hours in the hotel downloading images. My next upgrade for this kit is a “faster-than-USB 2.0” Firewire 400 reader.

All in all though, a great trip, made better with my Macbook. Now all I have to do is pay all the bills… and download my Lightroom catalogs into my Mac Pro at the house.

{click for larger image}

Digital Lifestyles Gadgets Reviews

I’m Loving My Magpul iPhone Field Case! is a great place to talk about all things Apple. And, digital imaging. And how you create artwork in the digital age. And… well, you get the point. So I decided to devote a few paragraphs to a new product I found for the iPhone.

Photo by Britt Stokes

I recently ordered some items from a retailer in California. While on their website, a new item caught my eye – a Magpul brand case for my iPhone 3G (they also make a case for the iPhone 4). I was intrigued… Magpul is famous in the military community for making tough, reliable products. I decided to try one out.

I had been carrying my phone in a disappointing “carbon” case from the Apple store… two piece slip-over design to protect the back and front edges (around the glass) of the iPhone. This set me back $34.95. Within two weeks of getting it, the “chrome” topstrap was already broken. Your mileage may vary, but I was pretty disappointed.

So yesterday I got my package from the brown truck of happiness… and there was my new Magpul phone case. I immediately threw the old case in the trash, and slipped my phone it the new case. It fits perfectly. Really. No slop, no soft rubbery-stuff to start loosening up in a few days. The military-grade synthetic rubber cushions the phone. It has button covers for the volume control and top control switch (on-off). The camera lens has a nice little window, the headphone jack is easily accessed, and the ring/mute button is uncovered. The standard Apple charger I use at my bedside clicked right into place.

Photo by Britt Stokes

Today I realized that carrying the phone in my pocket is easier with this new case – the old case was very slick, and shifted around in my pocket constantly. Also, it was so slick on the sides that I dropped the phone a few times. The new Magpul case is tactile enough to be very easy to hold, and has a few strategically placed ridges on the sides and back to aid in grip.

The case colors available are black, flat dark earth, olive drab green, foliage, orange and pink. And now, for the very best part… the case is designed and manufactured in the USA, and suggested retail price is just $9.95.

All in all, I think I’m in love.

You can see more at under Miscellaneous Accessories  or go directly to the product page. I bought mine at, or find it at other merchants.

Digital Lifestyles Media Photography

Ansel Adams: Analog Photography and the Creative Process Revisited

I recently visited the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, to view an exhibit of Ansel Adams works titled Ansel Adams: Eloquent Light. The show ran from May 29 through November 7, 2010. In total, I made four trips to the museum to see this exhibit.

Ansel Easton Adams was born in early 1902 to parents Charles and Olive Adams in San Francisco, California. As a boy, his family traveled to Yosemite (which had become a national park in 1890) when he was about 14 years old, an experience which provided life-long inspiration. As a young man he studied to become a concert pianist, but was hampered by arthritis in his hands.

Adams first acknowledged photograph is an image dating to 1927. His formative photography years were in a period of photographic innovation;

Digital Lifestyles Photography Workflow

Another sunny day in digital paradise

Ah, the wonderful rays of summer sun falling on beatific scenes. The sweet smell of fragrant flowers, the gentle hum of bees busy about their work. The sudden sound of a camera motor whirring to re-cock the shutter. And perhaps the one I like best… the sound of not having to reload my camera with film. Kind of like the sound of one hand clapping, isn’t it?

Yep, I like digital. I’m thoroughly entrenched in the world of CMOS and CCD, compact flash and lithium ion batteries. Bigger hard drives, better image sensors, faster motor drives, more options.

Ten years ago I was doing this with film. Ugh. Set it up, shoot a Polaroid proof, load film, shoot, unload film, put it in a cooler, repeat.

Last summer I was doing all this digitally, but with an Arca Swiss 6×9 F Line camera delicately connected to a Sinar eMotion 22 megapixel back via a Kapture Group sliding back adapter. Mounted on the front was a Nikkor 65mm view lens, and on the back was a 90 degree Hasselblad prism finder. With my reasonably lightweight tripod, this was a 19.5 pound rig… a serious pain in the… shoulder. (Shoulder 0, gravity 1.)

THIS summer… however… I’m traveling a little lighter (over 6 pounds lighter!) and shooting the new Nikon flagship D3X with the Nikkor 24mm Tilt/Shift. The key phrase here is lighter, folks, not light. When I pick up the tripod and sling it over my shoulder, I still know it is there and there is a small anvil on the end, but I have significantly decreased the size of the anvil. (Shoulder 1, gravity 1.)

Surely, you say, I can’t expect to get those great architectural images with a mere SLR? You must use a view camera for that!

Well, I have to say that I am very favorably impressed with the D3X. It is a pretty smart camera (lucky for me), and the sensor is where all the money is. That jump from my D3 (which I still love) to the D3X was tremendous. Image quality is fabulous. Color balance and rendering of the buildings I shoot is superb. And FAST. I’ve spoken before in previous articles about shooting quickly on site. This is commercial photography, not art… time is money. Shooting quicker gives more opportunities to shoot more views in a day. More views in a day can translate into getting my traveling done quicker. Getting the traveling done quicker can mean that I get to go home sooner and spend time with my vaguely neurotic cat.

[slidepress gallery=’nikon-d3x-sunny-day’]

I don’t shoot the D3X handheld much – probably less than 10% of the shots so far with it were not on a tripod. Pretty reversed from the D3, which I shoot over 80% of the time handheld. Of course, I’m shooting at ISO 100 on the D3X and ISO 200 on the D3, so that helps a little. Probably the real difference is that I’m shooting mostly with the shift lenses on the D3X, and I’m just not able to shoot a shift lens straight when it is shifted unless the camera is firmly locked down to something. When I do, I seem to feel drunk, nothing is straight.

OK, so I can’t reverse the effects of gravity. Lightening my load is an important consideration now for me, with knee ailments getting in the way of easy mobility. But weight is only one consideration… a second is that I can work faster in the field. Finally, a solution from Nikon for the professional architectural photographer – the D3X with the appropriate tilt/shift lens is the package for me!

Postscript: Since I finished this article, I got lucky at a tradeshow this week and picked up a carbon fiber tripod. The legs weigh 3 lbs 7 oz. Sweet. I put an older Bogen 410 head (all geared for us picky architectural shooters). With this setup and the D3X and 24mm T/S lens, the whole package comes in at 11 pounds 11 ounces. (Shoulder 2, Gravity 1. Big smile on the face of the guy who has to lug it.)

Featured Photography

Lensbaby Fisheye Optic

A long time ago, in a world that only used film, a lens was developed to see the whole sky. Cloud studies for meteorological use prompted the invention of the fisheye lens. It wasn’t long until the keen eye of the “art” photographer saw one and decided to use it to make images that could not otherwise be made. Fisheye images aren’t like rectilinear images, where straight lines mostly stay straight… fisheye lenses give you a convex rendering with curved straight lines, and encompass a huge area into a single image. Imagine if you will the end of a dog’s nose about six inches from the front of the lens… yep, you’ve seen photos with fisheye lenses before.

There are two basic types of fisheye lenses, circular and full-frame. The full-frame lens covers the full 35mm or FX sensor size frame with image – no cut-off corners. The circular fisheye is designed to project a circular image slightly smaller than the height of a 35mm or FX sensor, with vignetted corners. The second type is now available for your Lensbaby Composer (or any of the other Lensbaby models that accept the optic swap system with a special adapter).