This page points to all recent articles published on dslrbodies.com, sansmirror.com, gearophile.com, and filmbodies.com, and is updated as new articles appear (most recent on top). For articles from previous months, check the Articles Index Archive.
- The March 2015 Patagonia Workshop has a couple of openings still.
Today’s Articles (Thursday, October 16, 2014):
Another Nail in the DX Coffin. While I was wandering around in Africa in August, a much better known local photographer was outing himself. I’m talking about Bob Krist, long-time Nikon DX user, and his new affiliation with Sony. Article on dslrbodies.com.
October 15, 2014 ______
We’re Going Backwards. If you don’t have an imagination, then all you have is history to guide you. It appears that statement is more and more true of most of the camera industry. Article on dslrbodies.com.
- Accordion pages have now been removed from sansmirror.com, dslrbodies.com, and bythom.com. That means that everyone should be able to see every page on the sites again. As a reminder, ALL menu items on these sites (menu bar at top, below header) are active pages, and have pointers to all the pages below them, and often other useful information. Since my sites are broad and deep in terms of pages, sometimes the menus will be too long to display (especially on mobile devices). Thus sometimes you just need to drill down one menu at a time.
- As part of my removing the accordion pages on dslrbodies.com, I also updated the section on teleconverters, added more Nikon Repair Experiences, updated the announcements section, and cleaned up a lot of other bits and pieces.
October 13, 2014 ______
Workflow: Slow or Fast? I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get across the problems we photographers face in a more graphic way that’s easier to understand. Article on dslrbodies.com.
Nikon Software Updates. Capture NX-D and View NX2 get updates. Article on dslrbodies.com.
October 13, 2014 ______
Wait a Month. After having a very flat run through the first half of the year, the yen/dollar relationship is now once again changing as the yen loses value. Article on dslrbodies.com.
October 10, 2014 ______
Nikon 1 Lenses. I’ve posted two reviews of Nikon 1 (CX) lenses (18.5mm, 70-300mm) today. But in thinking about those lenses I’ve also realized that Nikon needs a slightly better lens plan than it has produced so far. Article on sansmirror.com.
Nikon 18.5mm f/1.8 Lens Review (CX). The 18.5mm f/1.8 for the Nikon 1 cameras (CX mount) is the “normal speed” lens for the system. Article on sansmirror.com.
Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 Lens Review (CX). The 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR ED is a very long telephoto zoom for the Nikon 1 cameras (CX mount). By very long, I mean 190-810mm equivalent. Article on sansmirror.com.
October 6, 2014 ______
D750 or D810? That’s the question I keep getting. It’s an interesting question, and one that that has a nuance to it: it’s not "should I get the D610, D750, or D810," is it? Article on dslrbodies.com.
Did We Hit the Bar? Following up on my last two articles on the subject of improving sensors and closing windows, let’s contemplate the following chart... Article on dslrbodies.com.
October 3, 2014 ______
Which Chart is Right? There’s a Panasonic presentation chart making the rounds at the moment that trumpets mirrorless camera growth. Article on sansmirror.com.
October 1, 2014 ______
Sensors Are a Moving Target. It’s really easy to graph an interesting subset of that using DxO’s data. Article on dslrbodies.com.
Help Save a Film Factory. FILM Ferrania has a unique Kickstarter project: fund them so that they can preserve Trixie, Walter, and Big Boy. Article on filmbodies.com.
October 1, 2014 ______
Why Are We Still Getting More Pixels? A quick comment I made in my article about the iPhone 6 got one reader with design experience in displays taking me to task. Yes, I have some explaining to do. Article on dslrbodies.com.
Olympus and Panasonic News. You might have noticed these smaller items, so I put them in one spot. Article on sansmirror.com.
September 29, 2014 ______
Watch for Closing Windows. Yes, the D300s replacement conversation continues. Ad infinitum, it seems, as we’re now three years into the “where is it” wait. The problem I see is this: the window is closing and Nikon may end up mis-timing a replacement launch if they’re not careful. Article on dslrbodies.com.
Still Dreaming. don’t know if it’s just the Asian business press not getting details right, not challenging assertions, or whether something is getting lost in the translation, but consider this quote from Nikkei Asian Review. Article on dslrbodies.com.
September Software Updates. Article on dslrbodies.com.
Previous articles can be found in the Articles Index.
Thom's Monthly Teaching Point — Go Back, Then Repeat
I’m a little late with this month’s teaching point, so I’ll keep it brief and directed at what I was doing in August. As you may have guessed, I was in Africa for almost the entire month. First with a group of former African photo workshop students, then with a new group.
No, there won’t be a blog of these trips. If I did blog what happened, it would just make you all super jealous and clamoring to sign up for my next African workshop, which currently isn’t scheduled. Worse still, I’d have images scrolling on forever. That’s how good it was. Let’s just say that within 30 minutes of getting off the plane we were sitting at a wild dog den with pups. Things got better from there. I saw things I haven’t seen in 20 years of traveling to Africa regularly, and everyone probably filled more storage space than any previous trip. Come on now, mother Cheetah with cubs posing as if I had laid them out on a termite mound? Lions and dogs hunting with us in the fray, too?
And then there’s that elephant shot up above, taken at about 70mm with a Sony RX100III. Yes, 70mm. While on the ground, not in a vehicle. This trip I probably got closer to just about everything while walking than ever before, including lions on a hunt. Why am I on the ground? Viewpoint. It only takes a trip or two before you start to realize that shooting down at animals from the tops of vehicles doesn’t give you the same impact as shooting at eye level (or below) does.
One of the things that amateurs don’t realize about pros is this: all those really great shots we have in our files? Most of them didn’t happen the first, second, or even third time we went to that place. Sometimes we’re lucky and we get it the first time, but more often than not it took many repeated visits to get the photos we show.
Some of that is just observing and learning. I really looked clairvoyant when the first morning we headed out in Moremi with the group of first timers when I said “you really shouldn’t be concentrating on the game over in the open to the left—you can shoot impala just about any time. You really should be looking…OMG…to the right at the treeline where that Cheetah is watching the impala.” Really, I didn’t know there was a Cheetah sitting there when I started the sentence. But the thing is, I’ve been on safari enough times to know where I should look, and guess what, sometimes the animal is actually where it should be ;~).
All this is true of landscape photography, too. The really great shots take time to understand how to develop. Right time of year, right position, right lens, right light, right clouds, right everything. Most of the time you go somewhere, something isn’t right, so you observe and learn. And come back. And back. And back.
It’s part of that “practice makes perfect” thing that we got hounded about when we were kids. It really does help. While I expect to make some good shots every time I go out on a trip, I expect to make great shots by going back and eliminating some of the problems and issues that happened the previous time.
Which reminds me. I’m going back to the Galapagos for a sixth time in December of 2015 with a group of students, and there are still openings for that workshop. If you want to get the full benefit of your teacher having a strong sense of what does and doesn’t work the first time you’re there, then you should join Tony and I on that trip.
So I’ll make that my last point in this month’s teaching: what you want is help to get you up to speed with a place or a subject faster, because you can’t always go there as many times as the pros tend to. So ask lots of questions of those that have been there before. Find out what they know so that you have that knowledge before you get there. If you do this well enough, it’ll almost be like taking your second trip, not your first.
If you're wondering where the previous Teaching Points went, they're here.