Who is Rick Sammon?

Why he’s my new hero! Rick (an American) got himself down to Cuba and shot some great images. Since I’m thinking of doing the same (and as a Canadian this isn’t an issue) I asked Rick for some suggestions. I was going to rent a car but Rick said I should get a driver and bring more money than I would think I would need. Sounds like sound (but expensive) advice.

Here’s the link to Rick’s site and here’s his blog. Have a look at his travel tip around saying thank you when you’ve taken someone’s photo.

I’m going to add a permanent link to Rick’s site on my main page.


Which lens is better

Ken Rockwell (You do read Ken Rockwell’s daily blog don’t you?) has a new review out on the Canon 28-135 f/3.5-5.6 IS lens where he states he prefers the $410 (US) beauty over the fabulously more expensive (over $1,000 in anybody’s currency) 24-105 f/4 L. Note the “L” classification which is Canon-speak for luxCANON-28-135ury which equals expensive.

So if you’re a Canon full-frame shooter, which lens should you buy: the $400 lens or the $1,000 lens? 

If you’re Rockwell, the answer is simple: Buy the less expensive lens. Why? Because it is cheaper but it is ALSO lighter and easier to handle. In fact, he calls it his favourite Canon midrange zoom.

When it comes to buying lenses, the trick is to ask yourself just when and where are you going to use this particular lens. For example, when it comes to my Nikon system, it makes no sense to me to haul around the very heavy and large 17-55 f/2.8 zoom when I’m walking around on vacation and shooting mainly snaps during the daytime. My 18-200 f/3.5-5.6 zoom is so much lighter for this job. The 17-55 has its time and place to shine (low light, indoors, weddings, parties, street festivals in the evening) when the 18-200 covers the waterfront when it comes to range from sun-up to sun-down.

So am I comparing the image quality between the $1200 17-55mm to the $800 18-200mm? Of course not, but the best camera and lens combination is the one you’re carrying around with you. And trust me, the 17-55, just like my 105mm f/2.8 macro get to be a large pain in the neck after a few hours of carrying them around.

By far, my favourite combination right now is my wife’s D-90 with a 35mm f/1.8 mounted on it. Light as a feather, sharp as tack and fast as a speeding bullet, the 35mm gives my DX sized D-300 a close to normal or natural viewpoint. To zoom in, you walk forward two steps. To zoom out repeat the previous instructions twice in reverse. 🙂

Bellies and babies

The Bellies and Babies workshops are getting rave reviews from their attendees and, best of all, they are coming to Canada in August and September. The program is designed for the newly emerging professional photographer who wants to create a successful pregnancy and baby’s first year portrait series for new mums and dads. The five-hour course focuses on marketing, customer service, posing and product templates. For those who can’t make the workshops, there is a DVD from the 2008 tour for sale as well.Bellies and Babies

So why am I going to bellies and babies? At 60 and male, I’m hardly the target audience.

It’s the marketing! I don’t expect I’ll ever be shooting anybody’s belly or their baby but marketing is marketing and from what I read, this workshop is filled with good ideas. It’s run by Sandy “Sam” Puc, the owner of Sandy Puc Portrait Design in Littleton, Colorado. Her bio says that she is known for her passion, energy and great enthusiasm. (Now who does that remind you of? See my Testimonial page for a clue.) So i just had to sign up for the Toronto workshop. And, here’s even more good news, the workshop costs just $79 (US).

Here’s the deal when it comes to these sort of workshops. This year I’ve attended a bunch of day and half-day photographic workshops. Without exception, I’ve learned new things about how to take photos, how to print photos and how to run a successful photography business. If you’re thinking of becoming a professional photographer, you owe it to yourself to check out some of the excellent workshops that are available to you.

Thanks to Sandy Puc for permission to use this lovely photo. Come to workshop and learn how you can create images just like this beauty.

How to get close-up racing photos

My friend Mike Walker is one heck of a good photographer. He got some images at the Hobie 16 2009 North American Open Championship held in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Want to know Mike’s secret for getting such wonderful close-ups of the boats coming up to a floating “mark”? (That’s a sailing term for a course marker.) He used a waterproof camera set to take an image every five seconds. Here’s the link.

NIK Software free seminars

I’ve been using NIK’s complete package of software and I love them all 🙂

These are good people who have made a series of really good products for creative photography. Even better, they’ve been offering free online seminars that show you how to get the most out of their products. Here’s the link:


BTW Henry’s Cameras in Canada now handles the NIK line. Go get um and enjoy the online workshops.

Post-processing guru – David J. Nightingale

David J. Nightingale is so good he might turn you off photography. But don’t despair. David shares his fantastic post-processing technique on his website Chromasia. David is today’s guest writer on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider blog. Go here and see for yourself one of the most creative photographers active today. And have a look at the free tutorial (David offers tutorials on a per tutorial or life-time subscription) where David talks about changing the tonal range and using the curves tool in Photoshop.