Friday, April 27, 2012

Snack-sized landscapes

As promised, a very personal view of landscape photography. Maybe not what Greg Hocking will recommend when he runs his low-light landscape course at Shoot Photography, but then he's an expert and I'm not. Still...

If landscape photography is to serve me as travel reminders - 6 x 4 postcard size prints - or background scenes to incorporate with my table-top photos, I can't see the use of hauling out 4 Kg of heavy DSLR and lenses on my trips. I don't wear a back pack, and I don't want to roll my gadget bag behind me - I want to sling a small shooting pouch over one shoulder and hop on the bus.

I still want some choice of viewing angle in case I need to select a certain portion of the scene. I also want good low-light recording with a minimum of electrical noise. I want to get the thing done with RAW files so I can deal with my inevitable mistakes later. I will find a tripod and a cable release a comfort.

So I choose a Fuji camera - in my case an X-10. Fits the criteria perfectly and is small enough to share that shoulder pouch with a Manfrotto table-top tripod. Records up to 1200 ISO flawlessly before it starts to noise up. Lets me choose four or five colour or monochrome styles for the recording ( in jpeg). Lets me spin it on its axis for 120, 180, or 360 degree panoramas - and these are surprisingly successful, for a weird idea. You gotta pick your scene, though. Vast vistas of vague vacuosity ( I remember Spiro Agnew...) lead to panoramas that look like the backdrop to a model railway layout. Come to think of it that actually sounds good for my toy car pictures. Hmmmm.

Had I more money and patience I might have waited for the Fuji X Pro-1system. Larger sensor, interchangeable lenses, better low-light performance. But bigger to carry and every time I change lenses someone sneezes on my sensor. I shall be very satisfied with my X-10.

Should you wish to take the snack-sized approach to landscape, I would also recommend that you look at the Olympus and Panasonic mirrorless micro-4/3 cameras and in particular, come in and speak to Gavin Carvalho about them.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It's Nearly Dark Outside....

Once a day, every day, you get a chance to be fabulous. Greg Hocking is fabulous EVERY day, and he is going to run a workshop on the 6th of May to show you how he does it.

Maybe I am exaggerating a little - Greg is a good guy so he can stand the humour - but he really does have something good to show you. He's going to be detailing the equipment, techniques, and aesthetics of landscape photography for the end of the day - when light falls and the beauty of colour and texture increase.

Greg is a Hasselblad Master, holds numerous awards for his landscape work, and has conducted courses all over Australia - and the world - dealing with landscape photography and colour work. I know - I attended one a few years ago down in Margaret river and my appreciation of colour management rose immensely. Also my appreciation of red wine. Well, red is a colour.

To help out with this project, but not to anticipate his teaching, I thought to make a list  for landscape enthusiasts of the sort of equipment that we here in the shop might be able to supply. Okay, some of it is to my own taste, and I have nowhere near the expertise that Greg has, but I'm the one writing the blog. Or I will be in two days time after ANZAC Day. I'll write a landscaper's menu so that if you want to have a snack, a meal, or a banquet, you can get what you like.

In the meantime, computer on over to and look up Greg's section in the workshops advertisements. It's not going to be expensive, and hopefully it won't be cold or rainy on the 6th but book in now so you get your chance.

Talk to you in 2 days.


Small Flash - Big Light

Kingsley Klau was talking at the WAPF weekend about his forthcoming courses on small flash technique. It was great to hear someone confident with the equipment and able to produce really outstanding flash photographs - many people shy away from this when they could do so much more.

I asked Kingsley what sort of equipment he will be discussing with the workshop attendees - sort of trying to get an idea where we in the shop side can contribute. Of course there was an ulterior motive - I wanted to get his inside tips on flash for myself. I use the Nikon system and this seemed a good chance to get ahead.

From what Kingsley said it looks as though he will be using several flash heads in soft boxes to do his setups. The flash units might be Nikon, Canon, Pentax, or other small speed lights. We will be able to supply Nikon SB 700 and SB 910 flashes that work very well as slave or master units. The Canon people have a ready supply of 430EX and 600RX speed lights in store right now. Pentax should be able to supply 360  and 560 units as well.

The soft boxes that Kingsley mentioned are made by Lastolite. The smaller of the two is called the Ezybox Speed-lite and is 22cm x 22cm. It wraps and straps on the front of most flash units with two overlapping Velcro straps. It is secure enough not to blow away from the front of the flash.

The larger soft box from Lastolite is the Ezybox Hot Shoe Kit. It is 28cm x 38cm and comes with a bracket at the rear of the box to support a flash unit with a hoe at the back - there is even space to mount a dual flash to push more light into the box. The whole is supported on a tilting mount and a medium-sized folding light stand.

Actually, you might also want to support the smaller flash unit on a similar stand - small CL units are available for as low as $55, though a more versatile size would be about $ 89. In any case, the manufacturers of the flash units always enclose a plastic "foot" with their flash with a tripod socket moulded into the bottom of it. Very useful; you can mount the thing on a light stand or balance it on the floor or table quite independently of the camera body.

The realization that you can have a 2 or three light setup for studio results out on the beach is mind-boggling - particularly when it is small enough to sling over an average shoulder and doesn't need a power station or an electrician's ticket to run.

Want to know more? Computer on over to and look for Kingsley's section in the workshop area. He'll be conducting the workshops on April 29, June 10, and August 12 but it would be wise to book now to make sure you get a spot. It's only $ 189 and it could be the best lighting workshop deal of the year! 

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Whadda Ya Want?

Pardon the vulgar title - but it came to us while we were writing the previous blog posts and directing them over to the Facebook site - that it would be nice to be able to serve our guests the photographic cocktail of their choice. And the best way to find out what you want is to ask you.

If you have access to a computer - as you are currently reading this on a computer we can take that as a positive....type back to us here and tell us what stories you would like to read. Let us know what topics occupy your mind and what subjects you would like to know more about.

We're happy to share what we know, and happy to go find someone who knows more than we do to answer an inquiry. Of course, there will always be questions that cannot be answered - secret technical information that would compromise state security were we to divulge it, or who took the last muffin from the packet. But there may well be things that are NOT trade secrets that we can elaborate on.

This has two benefits - you get to find out what you want to know and I get to sit down at the keyboard after a hard morning on the sales floor. My feet thank you.

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Nikon In Fashion

Fashion....wonderful word and wonderful images. And if you have ever wondered how they do it - with the Nikon system - here is your opportunity to find out.

Christian Blanchard is one of Australia's leading fashion photographers. Nikon Australia realized this and asked him to be their ambassador and teacher at this year's Camera Electronic Nikon Workshop Day.

It is to be held at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle on Sunday, the 6th of May from 10:00 to 5:00. Nikon Australia will be bring along a great deal of their top-flight gear including some of the latest releases and participants will get an opportunity to try it with their own equipment.

Christian will be revealing some...but perhaps not all...of his secrets for getting the best from his fashion models and integrating the Nikon equipment into his business. There will be a very good professional model in attendance to help demonstrate the fashion and portrait lighting, both with studio flash and the Nikon portable speed lights. This is right there in front of you, and close up - not a dry textbook or video on a computer screen. You've got questions? Ask.

You'll get fed, and well - this is the Esplanade, remember - and there will be ample time in the afternoon for group and individual photography with the model and some of Fremantle's attractions. If you have hankered to try a special lens, or body, or combination of the two, all you need to bring is a memory card or two and you can experience the magic.

To sweeten the deal, Camera Electronic has decided to offer a Camera Electronic Sensor Clean Voucher or a Shoot Workshops Voucher to the value of $ 50 for every participant.

Book on line at or ring us up here at the shop on 93284405. The basic cost is $ 199 ( but remember that free voucher) and you would be wise to book now as there may be quite a rush when the photography students see this offer. See you there.

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Half Vast Prices - Students Take Note.

Here is a chance for students to score up big on the upcoming NIKON workshop. They can book for this now and get a ticket at half price. That means a full day with Christian Blanchard at the Esplanade Hotel learning his techniques for fashion and beauty photography for $ 99.50. Plenty of pro Nikon gear provided and a professional model to work with.

Still counting pennies? Well think of this - we are also including a Camera Electronic Sensor Clean Voucher for free for you. Or if you are a clean student and do not get your sensor can have a Shoot Workshops Voucher for $ 50 instead. Do the math - this is the best Nikon photo education chance you'll have all year.

Ring us now on 93284405 and book a seat at the workshop. It will be at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle on Sunday May 6th - 10:00 to 5:00. If you'd like to do it online pop over to;


This is a once-in-a-year event with the industry representatives from Nikon Australia and the staff from Camera Electronic bringing you the latest releases as well as the expertise of one of Australia's best fashion photographers - not a book - not a video - the real chap showing you just how he does it and how you can do it too.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

The New Useful Wideangle.

Ask photographers who used the 35mm SLR and rangefinder long ago as last week, in some cases...what the most frequently used wide angle lens is. The answer is likely to be the 28mm lens.

28mm is a useful broadening of the view for landscapes, groups. and interiors without entering the realms of photographic distortion. And by this we mean perspective distortion as well as lens aberrations - we've all seen the automotive or architectural shot taken with a 24mm or 21mm lens with the subject that looms out towards the viewer. Sometimes it is a valid artistic statement and sometimes it is just plain wrong. Well the 28mm doesn't do that.  The scene looks natural, albeit wide.

The new 28mm AF-S G lens from Nikon is a bright one - f:1.8. It has eleven elements - two of them aspherical - and improved coating to pass even more of the light that it receives. Combined with the increasing ISO capability of Nikon FX cameras, this lens looks as though it will open up wedding groups and large interiors to perfection. No more dark corners or need to boost with flash.

It's just been announced, and we hope to see an example soon. When we do, we'll mention it.


Entry on a Higher Level

" Entry Level " is a phrase that gets bandied about quite a lot these days in reference to cameras - as does " Enthusiast " and " Pro ". Sometimes you wonder if these are labels or libels.

Take for example the new Nikon D3200 DSLR camera. Imagine entering photography with a 24 megapixel camera that is capable of working at over 12,000 ISO. One that has a full 1080 and 30P video operation, or a 920,000 dot LCD screen at the back. And capable of broadcasting via the WiFi system to send the images to a distant storage device, as well as recording them on an SDHC card.

Of course if you are used to being fabulous and far ahead of the crowd this may be nothing more than your due, but if you are one of the older generation of photographers that remember mixing our own film emulsion from reindeer hooves, it can seem nothing short of miraculous.

The fact that this camera is light and portable, and takes all the Nikon AF-S lenses for auto-focusing means that you have access to one of the world's most capable optical systems. There is literally no photographic task you cannot accomplish, nor any genre denied you on technical grounds. It will still be impossible to get a flattering shot of some people, but that is not Nikon's fault, nor yours. At least they will be well-lit and sharply focused, and the Expeed processor means there will be a good colour balance.

Keep watching this space and when they first appear in the shop, we'll tell you.


Friday, April 13, 2012

I AM INSPIRED By Nikon Workshop 2012

I AM Fashion   I AM Nikon   I AM Teaching

I AM Christian Blanchard


Be inspired like never before! Hear the story and see the images of Western Australia's own Christian Blanchard, extraordinary photographer who shoots internationally and specialises in editorial fashion. He recently serves as director of photography on film sets.

Enjoy an inspirational morning session with Christian followed by lunch. Then an afternoon session of shooting with virtually the entire Nikon DSLR and lens range. The team from Camera Electronic and Nikon Australia will be on hand for assistance plus you will get the chance to learn some of Christians tricks.

Christian Blanchard is a freelance photographer and film director. Capture Magazine recently named him one of Australia's top ten. He strives to strike the balance between creative expression and commercial acumen, both of which are key to his success.

Limited Number's - Be Quick!
Sunday 6 May 2012, 10am - 5pm

Esplanade Hotel Fremantle

Model & Pro Equipment Provided

Lunch Included
$ 199 (inc GST)

Register NOW:

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Race in for a Spyder Deal

Here is your chance to score a snip. Datacolor have introduced their new generation of Spyder monitor calibrators and they are keen to get your business.

So keen, in fact, that they have a special promotion just starting. You can upgrade to the new Spyder 4 Pro or Spyder 4 Elite from now until the 31st of May, 2012 and they will give you a trade-in discount of $ 30 or $ 50 for the respective models.

 The deal is you trade in an older Spyder calibration device or a similar calibrator from another manufacturer - and claim your discount on the new gear. To make it fair on them, they need you to physically bring in one of two things:  either 1. The USB plug connector and serial number cut off from your older Spyder product or 2. The complete device if the calibrator is from a different manufacturer. You fill out a Datacolor form with your credit card details and they credit you back.

Best of all - we have stocks of the new Elite 4 and Pro 4 right now. This is a great opportunity to get the  best new Spyders going, and increase your colour accuracy by up to 26%. If you are using iPhone and iPad there is Spyder support and you can fine tune calibration results over multiple monitors. 

All your mates will be green with envy....but you can make it so that they are an accurate, repeatable, printable green.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Elemental, my dear Melidonis....

You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to know where that came from...nor do you need to be a great detective to locate one of the most useful photo-editing programs on the planet.

I refer, of course, to Adobe's Photoshop Elements.

Let me be frank - I am a  biased fan of this program and have been since first starting to convert from analog photography to digital work. I got my first Elements 3 as a free inclusion with a scanner and have since advanced up the numbers to Elements 6. I may - or may not - pop again for a newer version to get even more features. May not? Well, I am so comfortable with the 6 version that I may not want to change.

Photoshop Elements contains many of the 'elements' of the major PS products but has concentrated upon the photo visuals rather than adding the full graphic design capabilities. You can clean, alter, cut, paste, publish your images very easily with this, and to a surprising depth of detail. Text, shapes, graphic features really do exist in the program and are perfect for enthusiastic users. The interface and the tools that are presented for use are a little simpler than that of the PS CS5 but infinitely more usable for that.

Can it do a pro job? I do weddings, studio publicity, montages, and dance shows using it, and the customers pay me money. It hosts several fun plug-in programs that further extend my repertoire, and as it supports my cameras, I can work RAW with ease.

Okay - enough of me - this is an advertisement for the Shoot workshop next door and for Nick Melidonis' workshop course on Photoshop Elements. He's teaching the utility and use of this program over two weeks  -Monday 16th of April from 6:30 to 9:30 and then Monday 23rd of April at the same times. The course costs $ 279 and should be very good value for money - this is real practical guidance delivered directly rather than pasted into a book or video - you can ask questions as well as listen and see clear explanations.

Please book for this by either telephoning 9228-8232 or contacting Shoot on:

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Weekend Workshop

I am tempted to play with the name of the expert lecturer who will be conducting two workshops on the weekend of 14th and 15th of April at the Shoot premises - he is Michael Coyne - and as he is the doyen of travel photography, the phrases "Golden Coyne" and "Coyne of the Realm" come to mind. Tempting, but I'll refrain....

You see, he really IS the best in travel photography, and doesn't need me punning to advertise his teaching. He'll be covering the travel aspect on Saturday, the 14th, and then will switch emphasis on Sunday, the 15th, to editorial and magazine photography. He will be able to show you how you, too, can get published.

The workshops are separate - and they will each attract a $ 295 fee for attendance - but as they are a full 10:00 to 4:00 timespan with one of today's most concentrated photographers in these fields, you get real value for money. This is a must for aspiring photojournalists.

Curious to see what Michael has captured and published in the past? Click over to;

Have a look at his work in Iran - in China - in the Phillipines. Wow.

Then pop over to the good folks at the Shoot website and register.


--> Camera Electronic: April 2012

Camera Electronic