Photography News

My brand new Nikon D800 arrived earlier this week.

Unfortunately, thanks to a retailer I will never use again, there’s a really unpleasant story that goes along with it.  Part of me wanted to put the entire story here and let Google preserve it for all of time, but what good is revenge at this point?  The damage has been done, and I have responded by buying my lenses, memory cards, Black Rapid and my parents’ HD video camera elsewhere.

If you’re buying a new camera in Australia I suggest you do the same.

I took the day off work yesterday so that I could go to an appointment, and while I ate my breakfast I heard the screeches of a flock of cockatoos as they flew over my house.  I’ve heard them a few times lately, but they tend to fly overhead and disappear before I have time to grab my camera.  This time they stayed, and at one point they even gathered on my front lawn as a group to nibble the grass.  There must have been 200 birds.

The photos are beautiful, but they don’t even begin to explain just how many birds there were yesterday.  Cars driving down my street were honking their horns to scare the birds off the road so that they could pass.  People came out of their houses and gathered on the footpath to watch the spectacle.  At one point about one hundred birds flew directly over me – just two metres above my head – and I had to dive for cover in case I was bombed!  The dog almost lost his mind at that point.

It was this wonderful, magical experience that lasted for about 10 minutes.  I felt so lucky to have been home that morning, to have had my lovely new camera in my hand, and to have been able to capture some of the magic without really knowing my way around the new gear yet.

It was almost as though the Universe was trying to help dispel some of the negativity I was holding on to.  A little bit of fairy dust in the form of a flock of birds, and a morning at home so that I could enjoy them.

This camera really does change everything for my photography.  I am such a lucky girl.

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Yesterday afternoon I wandered down St Kilda Rd to the Albert Park Lake, just as the sun was beginning to set.  It’s a beautiful little oasis in the heart of Melbourne, and also my favourite new spot to run.  One lap of the lake is close to 5km so it’s ideal for this stage of my training.

And besides, there are just so many beautiful things to look at.  There are graceful black swans, who occasionally dip their heads underwater and wiggle their little butts in the air.  The talkative, quacking ducks.  There were lorikeets and seagulls and other waterbirds whose names I don’t know.  The setting sun bathed all of this in a spectacular golden light yesterday and it was all a bit magical.

This time I didn’t bring my running shoes, just my camera.  My precious Nikon D200 will be heading to its new home in about 10 days time, and for the first time in about seven years I will be without a camera!  I mean, sure… I’ll still have my iPhone and my film SLR body and my Fujifilm Instax Mini 25 and my assorted lenses, but…

Yeah, don’t feel too sorry for me.

Especially since my brand new Nikon D800 is winging its way to me as we speak.

(There are not enough exclamation points in the world to convey how excited I am about this, so I’ll just use one!)

 

 

And best of of all?  My D200 is going to an excellent home – its grandparents’ place!  My dad used to be an excellent landscape photographer, but sort of lost interest over the years.  I’m hoping that the instant gratification of a digital SLR will reignite some of that passion.

Mum will take lots of photos of her garden, and her family.  I’m so happy to be handing over custody to those two.

I’ll take it out for one last spin weekend after next, when we head to Apollo Bay and The Twelve Apostles for a couple of days.  I’d hoped to be breaking in the new camera on this trip, but in some ways I’m happy to be giving my D200 such a great send-off.

 

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Filtered

by Elizabeth on August 25, 2011 · 2 comments

in Photo Posts, Photography News

31 Photos in 31 Days
Gran & Grandpa’s typewriter

 

I’ve never been a fan of applying filters to photos in the editing process.  I think that they are often used to disguise flaws, or make a boring image worth paying attention to with cheap tricks.  I’ve always preferred to get the shot right in the camera whenever possible and maybe just adjust the white balance and contrast after the fact.

To be completely honest, just writing that makes me feel like a terrible snob.

There is undeniable value in learning the technical aspects of how to get the best shot you can, but I think I’ve been a bit unfair on the people who love to use filters.  The truth is that this photo was pretty unremarkable before I started to play around with colour adjustments, vignettes and the burn tool.

Now I love it.  That’ll teach me for being judgemental!

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Instagram stickers!

by Elizabeth on July 18, 2011 · 1 comment

in Art, iPhone, Photography News

 

Most of you are already aware that I am a card-carrying Instagram tragic. I grab my phone and take a picture whenever my dog does something adorable, whenever I’m cooking something that I want to brag about, or just to show my followers where I am and what I’m doing.

For those who don’t know, Instagram is a free iPhone photo app that makes it simple to apply a cute filter, and upload it for your friends to see. It’s like Twitter for photos!

About a month ago I decided to hunt around and see what services were being built from the Instagram API. I was pretty sure I’d be able to find a desktop app for my Mac (and I did – meet InstaDesk!) but I was surprised to discover just how many people had been hard at work creating other cool products for Instagram addicts like me.

If you’re curious to know what sort of stuff people are making, check out this comprehensive roundup.

It wasn’t until I discovered Artflakes and Instagoodies‘ print services for Instagram that I realised my life was incomplete without sticker versions of my favourite photos.  I placed orders with each, and last week my prints arrived in the mail.  I thought I’d review them here in case anybody else has the bug.

 

 

Artflakes is run by a small team in Berlin and they are best known for producing art prints, canvases, posters and greeting cards.  Their ArtStickers are just one part of what they do, and they have done a great job in automating the upload process and making it painless.

The finished product is a set of beautiful, big vinyl stickers that are completely removable.

 

 

At the main screen, you simply enter your username and wait for your photos to appear on the next page.  The next step is to select the photos you want to print, and adjust quantities as you go.

Click the “buy now” button and you’re done!

 

My stickers took about three weeks to arrive (which isn’t bad, considering the $4 shipping fee), and came very well packaged.  Inside were my ten 10x10cm (4×4 inch) vinyl stickers, and I was really surprised to discover that the print and colour quality was excellent.  Also?  They are HUGE – they feel like polaroids to hold.

 

 

If I had one complaint, it would be the curl in the paper that they use.  I imagine that this can’t be helped though, and I can tell that it wouldn’t affect the stickers once they were stuck in place.  It’s not a big deal.

My 10 stickers cost about $25 (Australian) delivered, so they’re probably not something that you’d indulge in too often.  I plan to use my stickers in my paper journals, so for that reason I would probably choose my favourite shots to print every few months or so.  My Canon Pixma printer does a pretty good job, but I don’t think it can match the quality of these prints.

In summary: Recommended!
pack of 10 ($ 20.86)
pack of 25 ($ 41.86)
pack of 50 ($ 62.86)
 
Delivery to Australia: $4 / 3 weeks.
(All prices in US dollars)

 


 

Instagoodies uses the already popular Moo to print cute little sticker books of your Instagram photos.  Each photo is 1 inch square, and the Instagoodies interface makes it really easy to populate your book with your favourite photos.  Each little book is made up of 90 stickers, and you can either choose 90 different photos or let Instagram repeat your favourites to make up the correct number.  Easy peasy!

 

 

The finished result is super cute, and very tiny.  Mine was unfortunately a little damaged by the rain, but I was pleased to see that the cardboard cover did a great job of protecting the stickers inside. Still, I was a bit surprised that they arrived without a bit of plastic for waterproofing.

The colours are perhaps a little less vibrant than the Artflakes prints, but the lightness gives them a certain charm.  I noticed that some of my darker shots looked better in the little Instagoodies photos than in the big vinyl stickers because they’d been lightened up a bit more.  Mind you, the difference is hard to spot.

They’re cheap, they’re tiny, and they are adorable!

 

In summary: Recommended!
book of 90 ($ 14.00)

Delivery to Australia: $2 / 3 weeks.
(All prices in US dollars)

 

So… which one would I recommend?

If you’re looking to turn your entire Instagram gallery into a little sticker book, then Instagoodies is for you.  It’s quick, it’s relatively cheap, and you can share your stickers with the world!  I bet this would make an awesome present for school age kids too, as they’d be fun to use for personalising books and trading with friends.

I love my little sticker book, but I’m more likely to order again from Artflakes.  The large size of the stickers makes them a little more usable for me, especially as mine will be finding their way to my paper journal.  They are big enough that you could use them on the cover of a blank book (this would make a great gift) or even frame!

Printstagram looks interesting too, offering posters, mini prints (they look a lot like instax minis), stickers and mini books.  They might be next on my list to try.

 

Meanwhile, can I just say how refreshing it is to find such innovative services that are actually catering to an international market? Both of these websites charged reasonable delivery and got the job done on time.

Good job, team. The world is finally getting smaller!

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So with less than six weeks to go in my 101 Things in 1001 Days project, it’s time to start crossing some items off my list! One of the items on my list is “Sell some photos”, so today I put a selection of my favourites together and made them available for purchase.

If you’ve been watching my journey and want to lend a hand maybe you’d like to buy a print?

Postcards start at about $2 (AUD), and there’s great discounts if you buy them in bulk. The best part of all is that you can choose postcards from any seller to get the discount, so it’s worth having a good look around the site! I recommend Natalie Perkins‘ gallery for some beautiful illustration.

If you’re more of a greeting card person, you can choose from two sizes at $2.52 or $3.79. Greeting cards come with matching envelopes, and discounts for multiple orders apply to these as well.

Or maybe you’re after something for your wall?

Matted prints begin at $30, and you can choose between white, off-white and black matting.

Of course, you would really make my day if you bought a framed print! However, at $95 I think this option is overpriced and you’d be better off doing it yourself.

I’ve spent some time adding work to my RedBubble store today, and will update it over time. These are the photographs currently available in my store.

I have an online portfolio at Scarlet Arts with more of my work, so if there’s something over there that you’d like me to list for sale just let me know.

I’d also love to hear from anybody else with an online store for their art; I love discovering new artists, and it would be fantastic if I could return the favour somehow!

Thanks for reading – spread the word!

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Part of my 101 Things in 1001 Days challenge.

Tim and I went out this morning to buy ourselves a new scanner. We chose the Canon Canoscan 8800F, which has a special backlight and mounts to scan 35mm and 120mm negatives, and slides.

I gave it a test run this afternoon with a roll of B&W film I had developed a couple of weeks ago, all shots from my kitchen. I need to be more careful about dust, but otherwise I am so happy with the results!

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Click on the images for a larger version.

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#085 – Buy a new lens

by Elizabeth on September 22, 2008 · 2 comments

in 101 in 1001, Art, Photo Posts, Photography News

Part of my 101 Things in 1001 Days challenge

Last Friday I finally replaced the lens that I broke in the US, 18 months ago! I bought a beautiful 70-300mm VR f/4.5-5.6, and have spent the past few days putting it to work.

I can’t even begin to explain how much more “me” I feel, now that I am shooting again. For a while there I had stopped framing imaginary shots in my head. As weird as that sounds, it’s something I’ve done for years – with or without a camera in my hand.

Now that I have the equipment I need to take the shots I love I am seeing the world the way it is supposed to be seen. I love my new toy, and I’m happy to cross number #85 off my list!

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D200

by Elizabeth on January 25, 2007 · 5 comments

in Photography News

d200.jpg

Yesterday it arrived – my brand new Nikon D200 and 50mm f/1.8 AF lens. It’s beautiful, and I feel all inspired for the first time in ages.

I loved my D70 to death, but it feels like a toy compared to my new camera. It has a magnesium alloy body, it’s fully weather sealed and the LCD screen is big and bright. Most importantly, there are dedicated buttons for settings that I could only access via the menu on my D70. Major design improvement in that regard.

Plus, I can shoot at ISO 100 for the first time since shooting film, and I didn’t realise until yesterday just how important that can be. Shooting with my new prime lens has also made me truly appreciate the value of speed in a lens. The next item on my wishlist is probably the 18-200mm VR, but at close to AU$1000 I have a feeling I’ll be waiting a little while.

I’m so excited that I don’t even care that I’ll be living on 2 minute noodles for the next few months 🙂

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