Digital memories

I’ve been saying it for sometime but now that’s it’s in the Globe and Mail it must be true! Ivor Tossell in the New Media section is talking about how fragile our recording mediums are for storing images. He agrees with me that DVDs can become unreadable over time and will fail thus making gigabytes of date unreadable. One suggestion he offers is to upload your images to a Flickr or Smugmug account like I do.


Less Guns – More Cameras

Sony is reported to be bring out a new Playstation 3 that features a safari to Africa but focuses on taking virtual photos of hi-rez graphic images of animals. Most other video games involve the various shooting, knifing and hitting and appeal to a certain demographic. Now if you can’t afford the photo-trip to Africa you can always buy the game. It’s cheaper than a new camera 🙂


Well I did it! I got an SB-900 flash and it’s cool!! Here’s a link to Nikon’s site:

The recycle time is very very quick. So far, (and yes I’m reading my manual) it’s working just fine. My exposures are right on and the unit while a little bigger than my old SB-28 (yes I still own one of these workhorses) it’s not as big as my old Metz 402 it’s got just about (if not more) power.

I like that it comes with filters and can work remotely off the camera. And as any of you know who have been in one of my classes at Henry’s School of Imaging know, I’m very big on not using the built in flash but getting a BIG (you can’t have too much light) and mounting it off the camera or at least bouncing the light off the ceiling.

Yes it’s pricey but it’s a lifetime investment. I won’t be throwing out my SB-28 (I can use it as a second flash either on the camera with the SB-900 working in remote mode or tether it to the camera through an extension cord) anytime soon.

Is it a JPEG or Raw on the viewer?

That’s a great question asked by one of my students on the weekend. He said that if he was shooting in the combined RAW — JPEG format (so he was getting both a JPEG and Raw image at the same time saved in memory) which one was showing up on his view screen.

I said (in the heat of the battle of teaching) that I didn’t know. Having given it some thought (and yes I checked out my answer on the the Internet) the correct answer is you are viewing the JPEG image. Why? Because the RAW file isn’t an image. It’s a collection of pixels which have yet to be processed so the only image available is the JPEG.

I knew I knew that. I just didn’t know it when I was asked. Honest 🙂 No really 🙂 🙂 I mean it….. ‘)

Got three classes this weekend at Henry’s School of Imaging and it looks like we’re generating quite a bit of interest in our photographer’s dream trip to Israel.



It’s true!! We’re going to Israel on a Photo Tour!!

Yes it’s true. What was just an idea has blossomed into a a reality. Next year, we’re going to Israel and we hope you’re coming with us.

Here’s the link:

Michael Willems and I are organizing a photo adventure to Israel.

As you should know by now both of us have been teaching at Henry’s School of Imaging and so many of our students have asked about what is the next step for them in their photographic development (pardon the pun which film photographers will get) and this is it.

We’ll have lots more to say about this great adventure so stay tuned and email me at peterwestphoto at to reserve your spot or to get more information.


Why will some cameras work without a memory card?

Great question. And one for which I didn’t have a ready answer. But thanks to one of my students we found out at least one good reason. You see it would seem to make sense that a digital camera should not work without a memory card. Who wants to be shooting all day just to find out that there was no memory card to record the images inserted into the camera. Some cameras have a warning in the menus that you can switch on to alert you to that there is no memory card present. But why not just make it necessary to insert a card before shoot?

Here’s the answer and I really should have remembered it. Some photographers, especially those working in a studio with their clients reviewing their work as they shoot, don’t use memory cards but have the camera tethered to the computer through the USB cable so their images are (a) saved on the computer’s hard drive and (b) are immediately visible on the computer screen.

Of course! And, I saw this in one of the online You Tube photography videos. Thanks to my astute student for reminding me and offering this explanation to the class.

What does this button do?

This was one of the questions during my Canon Rebel workshop at Henry’s School of Imaging in Mississauga last weekend. And my answer was: I don’t know (well actually I did) but why don’t you push it and find out!”

I swear I actually saw a lightbulb light above this guy’s head as he realized he could find out for himself. This is a great lesson to learn. With the new digital cameras, with their ability to be reset back to factory specifications, you can experiment with your camera on your own.

Now there are a couple of settings that don’t automatically get reset. One is white balance which should be set on Auto White Balance (AWB) and an exposure or flash compensation that you’ve dialled in or out. On the Nikon cameras you will also want to reset the size of images from normal to large.