Monthly Archives: May 2017

A Full Frame Camera is a Big Deal

If you’re like most photographers, you likely started out with a basic or mid-level crop sensor camera.

And though crop sensors have many great features and virtues, by and large, full frame cameras are what the pros choose to use.

At some point, you may find that you need a camera with more capabilities. But before you make the transition from a crop sensor to a full frame body, you might consider some of the differences that make working with them a little different.

As I already alluded to, one of the nice things about full frame cameras is that they have more features and functions you can use to take better photos.

Now, that doesn’t mean that if you buy a full frame camera like the Sony A7R II shown above and below that you will automatically turn into Ansel Adams. But there’s certainly more there for you to work with to get improved images.

For starters, full frame cameras typically have a much more user-friendly interface, with wheels, buttons, and dials that are easy to reach with your thumb as you grip the camera and menu systems that actually make sense.

In other words, though there’s more stuff there to work with, full frame cameras actually make it easier to change settings, even while you have the camera to your eye to take a photo.

You’ll likely also find that there are buttons on a full frame body that aren’t there on a crop sensor body – like those to change the drive mode, the metering mode, the autofocus mode, and the ISO.

Full frame cameras tend to have an LCD panel on the top of the body as well (some crop sensors do too) that make it easy to check your camera settings.

Plate Collodion Photography

I’ll be the first to say that creating a great photograph is tough work.

But, boy, do we have it easy these days compared to the photographers of yesteryear…

I mean, I can get discouraged when shooting with my Nikon D810, but really, what do I have to complain about?

In fact, compared to the process that photographers had to use in the Civil War era, you and I have it easy.

To document the war, photographers used a wet plate collodion process.

Essentially, it involved chemically-coated panes of glass which were used as negatives.

As you might imagine, lugging these huge panes of glass around was both hard work and required great care to ensure they didn’t break.

But believe it or not, the wet plate method was actually a simpler process to create a photographic negative than what came before it.

In 1841, William Henry Fox Talbot (pictured above) introduced the calotype method, which involved using silver chloride-coated paper to create images.

The silver chloride darkened when exposed to light to create the image, just like the digital sensors in our cameras today must be exposed to light to create an image.

Prior to Talbot’s calotype, photographers often needed an hour or so to expose the paper to get a quality negative.

However, the calotype process slimmed that down to just a couple of minutes, mostly because the paper could be removed under the cover of darkness and chemically processed to further develop the image.

The problem, of course, is that photographers needed to have a mobile darkroom with them in order to create prints.

The other issue is that this process produced images that weren’t as clear or sharp (as seen above) as those created with the daguerreotype method.

So, on the one hand, the daguerreotype method produced sharp results but required exposures of an hour or more.

On the other hand, the calotype process required little time, but a laborious workflow to create images.

That’s where the collodion process came in.

Best Tripods of the Year

When it comes to photography accessories, there’s nothing as valuable as a tripod.

Sure, filters are great, but at the end of the day, you can emulate most of their effects in post-processing.

Camera remotes are nice too, but by and large, you can get away with your camera’s self-timers.

Speedlights and reflectors can be beneficial as well, but if you shoot in the morning and evening hours, you can capitalize on beautiful Golden Hour lighting.

What’s difficult to do, though, is find a good substitute for a tripod.

You can set your camera on the hood of your car, but that might risk your camera falling off or scratching the paint.

You can rest your camera on a bean bag as well, but that’s not as versatile a solution as a tripod.

With that in mind, here’s my picks for the best tripods of the year.


Best Tripod Alternative – HandlePod


Though HandlePod isn’t technically a tripod, it still serves the same purpose.

In fact, it might be even more versatile than a tripod given that you can use it in a myriad of ways.

For starters, you can set it up as a tabletop quadpod, with its four rubber feet serving to give it a sturdy, stable base for your camera to take tack-sharp photos.

You can also fold the handle down 90-degrees, press its four feet against something strong like a wall, and you’ve got another means of steadying your camera.

Fold the handle down to 180-degrees, and you’ve got an ideal setup for taking photos and videos with a stabilizing handle that helps you get cleaner shots.


Removes a Few Billion Images Backlash Ensues

When you think of websites that were big during the dot-com heyday of the early 2000s, Photobucket is probably one that comes to mind.

The Denver-based company came on the scene around 2003 to offer essentially a photo-hosting service. Users could upload images to Photobucket and embed them on third-party sites like Amazon, eBay, blogs, and so forth.

And up until June of this year, that service was free and supported by advertising revenue.

The problem for Photobucket is that the service was being used to host billions of images online – a service they say isn’t sustainable without fees.

In fact, as reported in the Denver Post, the cost to offer free hosting accounted for about 75 percent of the company’s costs. What’s more, all that usage of their service resulted in no revenue.

From a business standpoint, you might understand why Photobucket elected to change their terms of service and begin charging people to host their images on their servers.

But the way the company handled the change seems to be a much bigger issue than the price hike.

The service, which sports about 100 million users, quietly increased their prices from free to up to $400 per month for image hosting services.

And as if the huge price increase wasn’t enough, users were informed via email just 30 days before the new pricing policy took effect. Many users report receiving no such email in the first place.

What’s more, the details of the price hike were buried in the fine print, approximately 500 words into the terms of service document.

The company posted a short note online to let its users know there was a change to the terms of service, but, again, how many users actually frequent the terms of service page of any service or product they use?