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Some Day My Prints Will Come

For decades I was schooled in conventional (film) photography. So it’s natural that I am a lover of photographic prints. And although I enjoy the convenience and portability of electronic display devices, I simply prefer to view my work on hardcopy prints.

Last last year, I ordered a large format printer – the Epson P800. Normally it makes prints up to size 17″ x 22″. Add a roll paper feeder and it can produce enormous panoramas up to 129″ wide. Since the printer was in high demand at the time, my waiting time was about a month for delivery.

When I finally received the printer, I was preoccupied with a lot of other work. To ensure that the printer was working properly I used to make only two or three prints and then set it aside.

Jump ahead two months and I’m attending the WPPI Conference & Expo. I think to myself that I should learn about printing papers to get the best results from the investment in my Epson P800. And so at WPPI I stop at several makers of fine art papers to get educated.


Hahnemuhle is a German based company that offers a wide variety of papers. I look at their large catalog and am stumped by some of the terminology. So I start asking questions.

What is baryta paper? I’m told that it is paper coated with barium sulphate, a substance used on traditional photographic paper. When baryta paper is used for inkjet printing, it supposedly reproduces the effect of silver halide processing.

Many of the paper descriptions include a gsm value. I find that gsm is an acronym for grams per square meter. Thus a square meter of Canvas Metallic 350 gsm paper is heavier than FineArt Baryta Satin 3500 gsm paper.

I am also curious about paper with the rag description. I learn that this paper is made from cotton linters or rags and is superior to wood-based paper.


The helpful representative left me with this sampler – a collection of their fine art photography papers and other helpful literature. For more information please visit Hahnemuhle.

Namhoon Kim is the Marketing Manager for Durico Media. The company is based in southern California. As you can see from the below photograph, they have a rather large selection of papers.

I helped myself to about a dozen of their print samples all on different paper stock. I find that the samples are the only way to determine if a paper is suitable for one of my prints. Reading a catalog description does not give me the know-how to select a paper – I require hands-on to feel the surface and a sample photograph to give me the visual feedback.

For more information, please visit Durico Imaging.


Epson is probably best known as a manufacturer of printers. They also are a large producer of high quality printing papers.

My visit to Epson is to find out more about their printing papers and luckily I am handed a “Print Sample Guide” to take with me. It has their complete line of papers with printed samples: photographic, matte, cotton fine art and canvas.

Before I depart the representative shows me their new software Epson Print Layout. This app is for users of Epson professional printers and provides a convenient and elegant way to organize, set up and print your images. If you’re a user of a high end Epson printer, you can download a copy of the Epson software from here.

For more information about their papers, please visit Epson.


Paperwise, I’m 3 for 3. I walked away with samples from three different manufacturers. So with samples in hand, I am prepared to make my paper choices. Now I’m ready to fire up that printer that has been sitting idle waiting for me.

 

 
Written by: Arnie lee

 

 

Hover and Shoot


You don’t ordinarily think of looking at drones at the Wedding and Portrait Photography International Conference & Expo. However, DJI had a booth there showing off the new Mavic Pro.


At the DJI booth, representative Laura Schutz showed me the company’s newest drone. She emphasized that drones are now simpler to fly. And drones are now much more affordable.

Users have invented innovative ways to use drones for airborne photography. DJI, a pioneer in the industry, recently released the Mavic Pro which builds on the simpler and affordable features.



The Mavic Pro is compact. When not in use, the rotor arms fold tightly against the unit’s body making it easy to store and transport.

Owing to its efficient motors, flying time is up to 27 minutes at 40 mph.

The unit’s remote controller has a range of more than 4 miles. It can send livestream directly to popular smartphones.

Mavic Pro has five built-in sensors that can detect and avoid obstacles during flight. There is also a set of backup sensors that can take over in case one is malfunctioning.


Specifically for photography is a camera that shoots 4K at 30fps mounted on 3-axis gimbal for smooth, jumpfree video. Stills are captured at 12MP.

Its GPS capabilities enable accurate positioning whatever your location.

In “ActiveTrack” mode, the drone follows or flies alongside the subject.

In “Gesture Mode”, the Mavic follows you until you give it the go-ahead to snap your “selfie”.

The “Terrain Follow” mode flies the drone at a fixed altitude above the ground.


This Mavic Pro is taking video footage of me.

The Mavic Pro has many features which set it apart from other drones. The DJI website has many videos that demonstrate these features.


The suggested price of the Mavic Pro is $1000.

For more information about the Mavic Pro, please visit DJI.


 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


 

 

Canon’s Latest Mirrorless


This past February at the Wedding and Portrait Photography International Conference & Expo, I stopped at the Canon booth to take a look at the company’s new M5 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera.


Canon is best known for their full featured DSLR cameras. Although I own several high end DSLRs from both Canon and Nikon, I’ve been a devoted user of mirrorless cameras for at least five years owing to the compact size and electronic viewfinder that I highly value.

Sony has been a leader in the mirrorless realm with Fujifilm, Panasonic and Olympus close behind. Canon has been playing catch up with its M series for a couple of years. I now consider the M5 a strong contender.

The new M5 now uses a 24MP sensor with Dual Pixel AF for faster and more precise autofocus. This is Canon’s first M series with built-in viewfinder. The M5 combines in-camera digital and optical lens stabilization. The tilting LCD has doubles as a touchscreen. And the camera has a built-in flash.


This is the Canon M5 with the 18-150mm EF-M lens.


The tilting LCD also functions as a touchscreen. Touch the screen to activate focus manually.

As you can see the M5 has a convenient, dedicated exposure compensation dial.

The M5 also captures full HD 60p movies in MP4 format. The touchscreen can be used during video operations to affect focus.

The camera includes Wi-fi and NFC capabilities as well as bluetooth to send images to a smartphone.

The suggested price of Canon M5 with 15-45mm EF-M lens is $1099. The suggested price of the Canon M5 with the 18-150mm EF-M lens is $1479.

For more information about the M5, please visit Canon.


 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


 

 

Instant Photography – prints while you shoot


At the Wedding and Portrait Photography International Conference & Expo held earlier in February, I couldn’t help but notice several attractive displays at the huge Fujifilm booth.


Fujifilm has been producing instant photo cameras since before the turn of the century (2000) as a successor to the groundbreaking Polaroid line.

Their most popular model is the Instax 70 Mini which comes in six vivid colors – white, yellow, blue, gold, red and black.

All of these cameras feature auto focus, auto exposure, self-timer, fill flash and tripod socket. They also have a convenient “selfie” mode.

Fujifilm’s line of instant photograph cameras are an attractive addition for enhancing wedding, reunion, or party events. Make the rounds among the guests with one of these cameras and there’s an exciting picture for them to see.



Instax Mini film is packaged in sets to produce 10 – 62mm x 46mm photos – about the size of a credit card.

In addition to photographs with white borders, the packages of film can be purchased with these designs and colors: black, sky blue, rainbow, candy pop, stained glass, shiny star, comic, air mail, stripe, and Hello Kitty. There is also a monochrome film package for producing black and white photos.

Here’s a photo of me taken with a colorful border. It takes about 90 seconds from pressing the shutter release until the photograph is fully “developed”.


Here’s a couple of wedding displays that were created from Instax cameras.


The suggested price of Instax 70 Mini is $110. The Instax Mini Film sells for about $15 for 2 x 10-exposure packages.

There is also an Instax Wide 300 model camera which can take instant photos that are double wide: 62mm x 92mm.

For more information about the Instax line of cameras, please visit Fujifilm.


 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


 

 

Lightweight, Convenient and Protective


At this year’s Wedding and Portrait Photography International expo, I spent several hours talking to vendors of cameras, equipment, accessories and services. The people at the Think Tank booth, gifted me a small accessory for everyday use.


This accessory goes by an unorthodox name: My 2nd Brain 11. I suppose the name suggests that all of your necessities can be easily kept in this single case.

The “11” refers to the size of a tablet or notebook that it can hold, in this instance an 11″ model of either.

Load up the case with what you need, throw it over your shoulder and you’re ready to attack the world.



The inner pocket is well padded and provides protection for my iPad. The outer pocket is perfect for holding my cell phone. A non-zippered pocket on the reverse side conveniently holds standard letter-size papers.

The case opens wide and has several elastic-mesh pockets for securely holding pens, business cards, notepads, more. The padded shoulder strap is fully adjustable.

My 2nd Brain 11 comes in black and green. The suggested price of My 2nd Brain 11 is $85.

Think Tank also has larger My 2nd Brain cases for 13″ and 15″ tablets or notebooks.

For more information, please visit Think Tank.


 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


 

 

“Wet” shots

25th July 2016

A “must-have” for the pool owner

For nearly thirty years my wife has been after me to build a swimming pool in our yard. Finally, I sort of succumbed to her pressure two years ago. But instead of building one, we found another home that already had a built-in pool.

I have to admit that the swimming pool has been a great addition for the family, especially for the grandkids who drop in regularly to cool off. This being our second summer as pool owners, we’ve hosted many ad hoc combination swim/BBQ dinners. This in turn has given me lots of opportunities to photograph the kids in action.

Late in 2013 I added a neat camera to my growing collection of equipment. The Nikon 1 AW1 had just been introduced as the first rugged mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera. The feature that won me over was the AW1’s underwater capability. Without having to use a bulky and expensive housing this compact unit is usable down to 49 feet. Additionally, it is shockproof from falls up to 6 feet and can operate in temperatures as low as 15 degrees F. Along with the camera, I opted for two lenses: a zoom 11-27.5mm (30-74mm equivalent) and a fixed 10mm (27mm equivalent).

For extra protection, I ordered two accessories: the orange silicone protective jacket and the convenient hand strap.

 

Here’s a sampling of how I use the AW1:

 


teaching one of the young ones to swim

a very cold and wet whitewater trip

 


underwater action

a pair of grandkids

 


lounging on top

half submerged, half above water

 

 

As an old school shooter, I’m both comfortable and used to messing around with the camera settings. However with the AW1, I’ve come to use it almost as a point-and-shoot camera. Of course the overwhelming number of images that I’ve shot have been in and around the pool, usually with lots of sun. Although I’ve haven’t changed the ISO, white balance, aperture nor shutter speed on the AW1, the photos have turned out well.

For those occasions when the natural light is low, pop up the built-in flash which works underwater too. Press the red-dotted button and you’re shooting movies – either above water or below water. And of course I can change lenses from the zoom to the fixed wide-angle.

 

All in all, I have found the AW1 great not only in and around the water, but it performs well on dry land too.

 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


WPPI 2016

28th March 2016

The Wedding & Portrait Photography International Conference and Expo

Can you guess who the target audience is for this convention?

For those professionals who want to enhance their skills – posing, lighting, equipment, marketing – the WPPI is a week-long “university” taught by experts. This year’s WPPI took place March 3rd through March 10th at the MGM Conference Center in Las Vegas. WPPI organized more than 250 classes and seminars for 13,000 anxious attendees. These classes were taught by 175 instructors including notables such as Joe McNally, Tamara Lackey, Lindsay Adler, Roberto Valenzuela, Bambi Cantrell, Hanson Fong, Kevin Kabota, Jerry Ghionis and Gary Fong to name a few.

In addition to the conference, the expo highlighted 270 exhibitors showed the newest cameras, lenses, equipment, lighting, accessories, supplies, marketing material and services. All of the major camera manufacturers will set up booths to demonstrate their latest equipment.

Following is a look at those items that caught my attention at the this year’s WPPI a couple of weeks ago.

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Presentations and Seminars

There were many opportunities for everyone to learn new posing and lighting techniques right on the expo floor. All of the camera makers and many vendors were holding demonstrations conducted by well-known photographer/educators.






DXO One

This small unit is a camera that works in conjunction with an iPhone. With a large 20mp 1″ sensor and f/1.8 lens you attach it to your iPhone to control settings. It also works “off-phone” if you want a small, lightweight camera. Though small, it can capture RAW images too. I found it very straight-forward to use and the images were quite good considering the convention hall lighting.

Suggested price is $499. For more information please visit DXO



MagMod

MagMod makes a set of accessories to improve the quality of light from your flash unit. These include a snoot to narrow the light to a beam, a sphere to diffuse and soften the light and a bounce that reflects the light output and avoid harsh shadows, gel which add various colors to the light and grid to focus the light.

What is unique about these accessories is that become part of your flash unit using a magnet for instant attachment. Price for the complete set is $235.

For more information please visit MagMod



RL Handscrafts

I received two demos at this booth. One was for their Derringer above left for carrying from 1 to 3 cameras. You wear the strap on both shoulders with wide padded straps that relieve pressure points and back. The straps are adjustable for easy access to any of the cameras. Price is $485.

For carrying two cameras, the Clydesdale above right can help you more easily carry your equipment. The strap attaches solidly to the camera’s tripod socket. RL makes several styles differing in weight, padding, air holes for easier breathing, color. Prices start at $205 to $425 for the deluxe version.

For more information please visit RL Handcrafts



Sony G Master Lenses

Sony is the undisputed leader of mirrorless cameras. They have been rapidly adding lenses to support their highly acclaimed full-frame models: A7R II and A7S II cameras.

Three of Sony’s new lenses made it to WPPI for demoing. These are the 85mm f/1.4 GM, 70-200mm f/2.8 OSS and 24-70mm f/2.8 GM. Prices are $1800, $2900 and $2200 respectively. For the 70-200mm lens, Sony is also releasing 1.4X and 2.0X teleconverters. Sony claims a higher resolution of the G series lenses compared to others and superior auto focus performance.

For more information please visit Sony



Spider Holster

Spider makes a holster with a unique locking-clamping device for conveniently carrying your camera at your waist. The holster is adjustable and is worn like a belt to either side. The clamping device is solid and easily slides into the holster for hands-free carriage. Price for the Spider Pro holster is $135.

The company also has a variety of heavy duty hand straps that come in a variety of colors. All are made of durable material, attach to the camera with a tripod plate and include a removable wrist strap. Price for the black model is $65 and $75 for other colors.

For more information please visit Spider.


Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 

Looking at a Few More Gadgets

Consumer Electronics Show is a yearly showplace for the newest whiz bang devices that are making their way to the marketplace. I returned from CES with a stack of brochures and notes about some of these products.

Here’s a few more of them that interested me most at this year’s CES.


Parrot Bebop 2 – Lightweight Drone

Further down one of the aisles there was a large crowd gathered. This was the Parrot booth where I witnessed a cool choreographed “dance” of a fleet of colorful drones.

The Bebop 2 drone is lightweight with 3-axis stabilization. The integrated 14MP camera with fisheye lens records in either still or video modes which you can aim through 180-degree direction. You control the Bebop 2 with either your smartphone or tablet which shows you what the camera sees. The battery can power the drone for about 25 minutes.


 

The Bebop 2 also has a built-in GPS receiver that you can programmed to follow a pre-set path. I’m guessing that this is how the choreography was performed.

The suggested price is $549. For more information please visit Parrot.


Robo 3D R1+Plus – 3D Printer

I’ve owned an early model 3D printer for a couple of years. At first I printed many of the samples that you can download for free from many online sites. This certainly expands the use of the printer but only for those owners who have the know-how and expend the effort to find the projects.

The Robo R1+Plus is one of only a few 3D printers that are available at retail stores. It offers one of the largest build size for this class of printer: 10″ x 9″ x 8″.Robo has wisely created a set of ready to print projects that can be offered at the point-of-sale. A potential buyer can see some of the many things he/she can create with the printer.

The suggested price for the R1+Plus is $799. For more information please visit Robo 3D.



New Balance Shoe – Midsole Made with 3D Printer

At the 3D Systems booth, sports shoe maker New Balance was showing a new running shoe with a midsole made with a 3D printer. The midsole is the result of a special powder that offers strength and durability.


For more information please visit New Balance.



pq Custom Eyewear – Printed with a 3D Printer

It took me a few minutes to figure out what this display was about but it’s turned out to be very interesting. This booth was pq Eyeware by noted designer Ron Arad.

These are custom designed frames without hinges and manufactured using a 3D printer made by 3D Systems.



For more information please visit pq Eyeware.


 
 
Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 

All Things Techie

The Consumer Electronics Show has been the face of the electronics industry for almost 50 years. Except for one year, I’ve attended the show continuously since 1980 first as an exhibitor for many years, next as an industry member and lately as part of the press.

CES is held each year in early January in Las Vegas. This makes traveling to CES a respite from the cold and snowy winter weather of my home base in Michigan. I walked many miles through the aisles and took in the breath of new gadgets that may make their way to our homes and businesses in the next months.

Along with 170,000 attendees, I was privy to see some 3,800 exhibitors that occupied 2.5 million square feet of floor space showing their products.

Here are a couple that caught my attention.


DXO One – iOS Camera

One of my first stops was at the DXO Labs booth where their rep Elodie Petiot demonstrated a small, standalone camera that melds seamlessly with the iPhone and iPad.

The DXO One has a high resolution 20MP sensor with a fast f/1.8 32mm equivalent lens and attaches directly to the iOS device through a Lighting connector thereby eliminating the need for a wifi connection. An iOS app provides control over all of the cameras’s features – focus, exposure, shutter speed, aperture setting, ISO setting, more. Captured images are immediately transferred to the iPhone for editing or sharing online.

The suggested price for the DXO One is $475. For more information please visit DXO.


Sony Alpha 7R II Mirrorless

I’ve been using Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras for the past four years, but Sony’s new full-frame a7r II has been on my radar scope since it became available late last year. With a whopping 42-megapixel sensor it should fits into my fondness for landscape photography. Its BSI (back sided illuminated) sensor enables Sony to pack more light gathering power onboard, thereby boosting sensitivity to 102,400. Autofocus speed is said to be 40% faster than the earlier a7R model. Other improvements include five-axis image stabilization and shutter dampening for less camera vibration.

What’s holding me back from purchasing this camera? I’d also have to shell out a big investment for a set of full-frame lenses.

The suggested price of the a7R II is $3200. For more information, please visit Sony.




 
 

Stay tuned for a look at a couple of 3D printers that caught my eye at CES 2016.

Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 
 

PhotoPlus Expo

09th November 2015


 
 

The PhotoPlus Expo is the largest photography show in the US. This year more than 21,000 photo professionals and enthusiasts flocked to New York City’s Jacob Javits Center to attend the various events. These included more than 100+ classes conducted by 140 speakers covering posing, lighting, equipment, software, services, business techniques and strategy. In addition there were 15 photo walks across the New York City landscape in which participants were mentored by noted professionals.

I took an interest in the more than 250 exhibitors covering more than 100,000 square feet of space and demonstrating their goods and services.

 
 


Following are some of the exhibits that I stopped by during my visit to PhotoPlus Expo.

There were an abundance of live seminars and demonstrations on the expo floor. These covered a large gamut of photo topics: better use of equipment, lighting techniques, wedding and portrait sets, directing and posing subjects, post-processing and software usage.

Many well-known photographers and educators were on hand for the seminars and floor demos: Hanson Fong, Joe McNally, Lindsay Adler, Tamara Lackey, Terry White, Julianne Kost, Scott Kelby to name a few. With more than 100 classes, there is learning for every photographic category.


Equipment

For those interested in trying new cameras and accessories, all of the major manufacturers had exhibits and representatives to demonstrate their wares and answer questions. Even hard-to-find accessories such as these long lenses were available for hands-on trial for the many interested photographers.

 


Services

Many attendees use the services available at PhotoPlus to clean and/or service their equipment Here is a Canon rep cleaning a DLSR while the owner waits. The major manufacturers Canon, Nikon, Sony and Panasonic all had technicians on hand to provide service to those with extended service contracts. They also provided complimentary cleaning.

 


Barber Shop Leather Accessories

I was attracted to goods at the Barber Shop booth. They had a very attractive collection of leather camera straps and cameras bags. Barber Shop is an Italian company and these goods were exquisitely stylish and solidly made. For more information visit Barber Shop.


LowePro Camera Bags

Based on my many years of satisfaction with their products, I stopped at the LowePro booth. On display were several dozen of backpack style camera bags in sizes varying from small for a single camera to extra large for two cameras with six or more lenses.

I took to their Urban Reporter which looks more like a messenger bag rather than a conventional camera bag. It has room for a laptop, a large camera and ample padded storage for several lenses and accessories.

I also saw their new DroneGuard. This is a case designed to carry a drone (e.g. DJI Phantom) and accessories. This makes transporting the drone convenient and safe.

You can learn about their product line by visiting LowePro.


Urban Reporter 350

DroneGuard

Tornado Hexcopter Drone

Drones are available in many different sizes and sport a wide variety of features. It’s almost essential that these flying devices have excellent digital equipment, stabilization and easy control if the desired end result is quality photography and video.

At the Yuneec booth, the Canadian company’s product director Mark Padilla gave me a demonstration of their Tornado H920. This professional drone has a lightweight carbon fiber body controlled by a sophisticated remote that includes “pilot view”, video downlink and instrumentation.

The camera provides full 1080 HD. Since the drone’s landing pods are retractable, the camera has an unobstructed view. Additionally, it is mounted on a controllable 3-axis gimbal for steady shots.

For more information please contact Yuneec.

Below you can see Mark giving me a demo of the Tornado H920:

 



Cotton Carrier Harnesses

As an outdoor photographer, I typically carry two or more cameras on assignment and headed to Cotton Carrier to look at their products.

Their “vest” holds one or two handsfree depending on the options selected. Each camera is held to the vest using a locking connector and leash. They also have a Speed Belt for holding a camera at waist level.

You can learn more about their lineup at Cotton Carrier


Epson SureColor P800

Over the years I’ve owned several professional quality printers. The most recent was limited to 13″ wide prints.

I’m now interested in a printer for making larger prints and stopped to talk to the Epson representative who demonstrated their new SureColor P800. This device can make 17″ wide prints on a very wide variety of papers, has several paper handling features including roll feeder, uses large capacity ink cartridges with enhanced black and white printing. The samples produced during the demo were superb. The SureColor P800 is now on my wish list.

You can find out more about the P800 by visiting Epson.


Kodak PixPro SP360 Action Camera

Kodak’s Rep Amanda Drain gave me a demo of their innovative PixPro SP360 Action Camera. As its name suggests, it captures 360 degrees as 1080p HD video.

The camera itself is a cube with a dome on top. It’s weather resistant and ruggedly designed to withstand drops and knocks. It has Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity and can be controlled with either IOS (Apple) or Android devices.

To see samples of the 360 HD video and for more information please visit Kodak PixPro.


If you’re ready to experience the PhotoPlus Conference next year, mark your calendar for October 19-22 at Jacob Javits Center in New York City.

Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 
 

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