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Newsletter January 2008

Courses, long term storage, SWPP, neat image review

Newsletter January 2008

Newsletter January 2008: Well, talk about hitting the ground running! January has been a real kick start to the year for us with a lot of stuff going on. 2008 looks to be a very exciting year for both All Things Photography and the photographic world in general.

I have always subscribed to worldwide feeds and Google updates to keep me "in the know". However, after 10 years away from the UK I forgot how easy it is to get things done here, business or otherwise:

  • Trade shows
  • Conventions
  • Well stocked stores with everything you need
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    Helpful people
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    Great postal service (I received my English driving licence exactly 3 days after applying)

I am in Nirvana compared to Spain.

After reading many of the latest news updates, I have a feeling that technology is going to boom in the camera world this year. I can see manufacturers stepping up the race with new features that are now seriously starting to "shy away" from the megapixel race. Hooray!

Features such as the gimmicky face detection and smile recognition cameras will probably adorn most new consumer cameras by the end of the year. Some useful, some just there to attract you to buy a particular brand. Just make sure you look at what is really important to your photography before getting swayed by these features.

What will they think of next?

A camera that only shoots the Bride and Groom when they have paid their bill?

Note: Already 48 new DSLR's, lenses, compact cameras and printers were unveiled ahead of today's huge PMA trade show in Las Vegas. These include a new Nikon D60 which on the face of it only has very subtle differences to the D40. The main changes at a glance are:

  • Double dust attack system (vibrate and magnetic effect to attract the dust away)
  • New D-Lighting to assist dynamic range
  • Digital Rangefinder to show actual distances when manually focussing
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    "Stop Motion" mode which allows the user to create animations - A first for the DSLR and something I think will edge DSLR's closer towards Still/Video hybrids…we shall see!
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    A sensor that determines when your camera is held to the eye and subsequently switches off the screen

All in all a few nice touches if buying for the first time. However, not enough for an upgrade from the D40x as far as I can see. Remember, all cameras have pretty much the same ability to capture images. Don't be duped into upgrading by small "gadgety" features unless they form an integral part and assistance to your workflow. Or maybe you just love it and have to have it.

By the way, did anyone see the new 2008 British Royal Family Portrait? To be honest with you, I, as well as many other photographers, noticed so many flaws.

Here's my "tongue in cheek" 2c worth:

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    The image is not centered well
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    The wrought iron table on the left is distracting
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    Candlestick at the back sticking out of a head (move slightly to the left and a bit lower next time please)!
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    Queenie not looking at camera…maybe she spotted the Tea and Cheesecake being wheeled in
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    Wills and Harry look as though they are in a penalty line up
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    Not the most colourful of images but maybe that is just the web version

Apart from all that, everyone looks so much older making me notice even more, my own mortality (I hit 40 last year, humour me). Time stops for no-one so if you made a resolution to get started with your own photography business in 2008 don't procrastinate any longer. Just get stuck in because you are a long time gone!

Newsletter January 2008- So, what's new at ATP?

  • Wedding Photography Courses
  • DLSR Beginner Course in Dorset
  • Long Term Storage Worries and Solutions
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    Neat Image Review
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    SWPP and Other Conventions

1. Wedding Photography Courses

Only a week or so after putting this short course up at ATP, it was fully booked. Therefore, I am thinking of making it a regular thing (maybe monthly) throughout the year. Due to my own wedding commitments and other projects in 2008, I am still undecided as to when to hold them. Any interest and feedback would be greatly appreciated.

2. DSLR Camera Course

Some of the most frequently asked questions that I get at ATP are to do with the settings and functions of a Digital SLR camera. Understandably, many people are buying DSLR's due to their affordability and incredible image quality. That coupled with the fact that most households now have their own PC, editing software and printer.

However, understanding the camera is a different thing. A lot of people now want to venture out of "point and shoot" mode and get creative which is excellent! Having used an SLR since the age of 12 back in the early 1980's, I decided to run another short 1 day course. This time explaining the ins and outs of the DSLR and how to make the most of it.

The fundamentals and principles haven't changed in nearly 30 years. Just the features, and once you "get it" your photography will excel and you will get so much more enjoyment from this expensive and beautiful piece of kit.

3. Long Term Storage Worries and Solutions

Time is creeping on and I am assuming that many of you have been storing digital images for a few years now in one form or another. When was the last time you checked to see if your old back up CD's were still "readable"? What about that first ever external hard drive you bought. The one that is now packed full with old but priceless images of your family as well as important documents?

I am also guilty as charged as I have disks going back more than 15 years. To be honest some are a little slow to read. I don't know if it is because I am using a slightly more advanced computer system or if it because the CD's are becoming a little "tired". Either way it is slightly worrying. Therefore, I fully intend to migrate all the data back onto external hard drives again (digital storage is so much cheaper now than it was then).

4. Neat Image

I have mentioned Neat Image in various parts of ATP and always raved about it. I thought it was about time I did a review. For the unaware, Neat Image is an excellent piece of software that either bolts on to Photoshop as a filter or can be used as a standalone product. It is great for anyone shooting digital images.

It is classed by many reviewers as the finest digital noise reduction software currently on the market.

5. SWPP and Other Photographic Conventions

I went to my first convention at about 14 years old at Olympia, London in the early 1980's. The feeling was amazing. Having only previously played with my father's Olympus OM1 and my own Chinon CM4s in the past, my knees trembled with excitement. I tried out all the latest SLR’s (Canon A1 etc) with a 6mm fisheye and 2000mm lens and was in heaven.

Maybe it was the saucy models in skimpy attire with hundreds of photographers fighting for the best view that made my knees tremble. Who knows, I was young, and it was a long time ago!

Anyway, due to living abroad I have found it hard to attend these gatherings in recent times. So, as soon as we got back to the UK I made a point of getting myself to the first available show. That was the SWPP convention in London a couple of weeks ago.

Apart from the obvious advances in technology, not much else has really changed. The format is similar with suppliers pitching their wares and certain areas designated for photographers to test out new kit and techniques. Regardless, I still got that buzz!

Masterclasses

I watched a few Master classes. David Williams, Kevin Kubota and Martin Graham-Dunn which were great. Plus I picked up a lot of inspiration from all the award-winning photographic entries of 2007 which adorned much of the wall space in and around the hotel.

If you get a buzz from photography, intend to start your own photography business or you are simply an enthusiastic amateur, I would heartily recommend attending one of these conventions. The next "biggie" is Focus on Imaging in Birmingham from the 24th-27th of February. It is Europe’s largest annual imaging show.

  • More here (note: link removed as these have now ended for good): Focus on Imaging
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    For more information on the SWPP, go to: SWPP

So, I think that is enough for this month…(what a big issue, sorry about that)! I'm currently getting started with designing and preparing the "all new" ATP. I hope to get moving with that soon...good things are coming once the update is complete!

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    More camera, equipment and software reviews
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    Forums
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    Competitions
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    Upload your own pics for critique
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    Other stuff…

Have a great February (Don’t forget Valentine's Day) and see you soon. Remember your comments are always welcome.

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