Monday, January 28, 2008

NAPP Photoshop CS3 Seminar Coming To Phoenix

Photoshop CS3 for Photographers Tour
Phoenix, Arizona
Thursday, February 28, 2008

I'm very enthusiastic about Kelby Traning coming to Phoenix next month. Here is the pitch from their website...

You can join best-selling author Ben Willmore and the NAPP team for the Photoshop CS3 for Photographers Tour, an entire day of Photoshop training that you don't want to miss. This is your chance to learn the hottest tips and tricks in photo restoration and repair!

The seminar is only $79 for NAPP members, or $99 for non-members. At the seminar you'll receive our invaluable keyboard shortcuts guide, our "goodies" disc, and a detailed seminar workbook that includes all the techniques presented in a step-by-step format so you can spend the day learning instead of taking notes.

For more info go to Kelbytraining.com.

Sony World Photography Awards Competition Ending Soon

The Competition
Throughout the five days and evenings, a series of events will take place amongst over 300 diverse photographs on exhibit, all derived from the three finalists work in each of the 11 professional categories. The exhibition will be open to the public for five days.

On the final evening, (24th April), a spectacular awards ceremony will pay tribute to the photo industry and announce the winners in each professional category as well as the overall amateur winner. One image will be named world photograph of the year and receive the coveted "L’ iris d’Or", including a $25,000 cash prize.

A cocktail reception of 400 VIPs including finalists, Academy Members, photographers, Judges, press and other industry leaders will commence the evening followed by the Awards Ceremony taking place in the Grand Auditorium in front of over 2,000 people.

For Professionals
The Sony World Photography Awards incorporates eleven Professional Award categories with a winner in each category, a Lifetime Achievement Award and proudly presents "L’ iris d’Or" – the Sony World Photography Awards, Photograph of the Year, whose winner claims the $25,000 prize. Three finalists will be nominated in each category with all nominated finalists receiving free accommodation in Cannes along with VIP tickets to the cocktail party, awards ceremony and gala dinner. For further information click on For Professionals.

For Amateurs
The Sony World Photography Awards also recognises amateur photographers and incorporates an Amateur Award, covering eight categories. The winners from each category will be exhibited in Cannes with the overall winner (and guest) being flown to Cannes and put up in a hotel for the Awards presentation. For further information click on For Amateurs.

The deadline is coming up fast - January 31, 2008.

Popphoto.com at PMA 2008

The popphoto.com team of editors will be reporting live from the Photo Marketing Association's 2008 trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada all week. Check back often for their continually updated coverage of the hottest new digital cameras and accessories being unveiled and touted at the show, such as the Pentax K20D, the Canon EOS Rebel XSi, the FujiFilm S100FS, and much more. They'll also have live podcasts from the show floor, exclusive analysis of hot products and other cool coverage from Las Vegas.

Popphoto.com will be at the 2008 PMA conference in Las Vegas.

Popphoto.com - Cool Cameras for HDR Photography

Pretty much every DSLR out there can be used to make High Dynamic Range images, but some make it easier than others.

Briefly, HDRI involves capturing the same scene at different exposures, then merging and processing these bracketed shots through a specialized workflow to pull as much detail out of the image -- from the darkest shadows to the brightest highlights.

Read the entire online article.

D80 Firmware Version 1.10 Update From Nikon

Nikon has released firmware version 1.10 for the D80 digital SLR. Available now via Nikon's support website, the update adds certified Windows Vista compatibility, USB MTP protocol support and improves long exposure noise reduction processing under certain conditions.

Modifications enabled with upgrade of A and B firmware from Ver. 1.01 to Ver. 1.10:
The product will be "Certified for Windows Vista"

Support for the new USB Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) has been added. The PTP option in the setup menu will be modified to MTP/PTP. The icon will also be modified. The effects of noise reduction processing performed at shutter speeds of 1 - 8s with shutter speed set to "bulb", when ON is selected for Long Exp. NR in the shooting menu, have been approved.

Visit the Nikon Technical Support firmware update page for the download and instructions here:
D80 Firmware Update 1.10 - Windows
D80 Firmware Update 1.10 - Macintosh

Thursday, January 24, 2008

First Look At The New Pentax K20D

Pentax has announced the new K20D DSLR and Popular Photography and Imaging seems to like it a lot. Check out their first look.

Hasselblad To Provide Digital Demos In The Phoenix Area

Hasselblad USA will be in the Phoenix area on February 6th, 7th and 8th and will be available to provide personal demonstrations of their latest digital capture technology.

If you are interested in learning about the latest advances in professional digital capture products, contact Hasselblad USA's regional manager Jeff Payne to schedule an appointment.

Jeff will be in the Phoenix area during the following time frames:
Wednesday, February 6th: 12:00pm-5:00pm
Thursday , February 7th: 9:00am-5:00pm
Friday, February 8th: 9:00am-12:00pm

You can contact Jeff via phone at 800-536-6661 or email at:jpayne@hasselbladusa.com
To learn more about Hasselblad technology visit us on the web at:Hasselblad Website

Monday, January 21, 2008

Richard Avedon Exhibit At Phoenix Art Museum

Richard Avedon: Photographer of Influence
Norton Photography Gallery
January 12, 2008 – April 13, 2008
Richard Avedon’s career as a fashion and portrait photographer spanned nearly seven decades in the 20th century and just into the 21st, leaving an indelible impression on American culture. The early years of Avedon’s prolific career were spent photographing the era’s leading models in designer clothing for magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. For his signature portraiture style, Avedon placed his subject in front of a spare white background, drawing a viewer’s attention to the posture, expression, and gestures of the people he photographed. This exhibition includes both his early fashion photographs as well as powerful and revealing portraits of actors, politicians, artists, writers and intellectuals.

Phoenix Art Museum website.

CNET Explores The Future Of Adobe Lightroom

CNET talks with Kevin Connor, Adobe’s senior director of professional digital imaging product management for Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop and the Digital Negative format about the future of Lightroom. Read the entire article.

Location Announced For Scottsdale Digital Days Photography Workshop

Event coordinators just recently posted the official location for the upcoming Digital Days Photography Workshop in Scottsdale, Arizona. Scheduled for February 9th and 10th registration is occurring now. B&H Photo & Video is the official retailer for this event.

Chaparral Suites
5001 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85250
(480) 949-1414
February 9 & 10, 9am-5pm

6x17 Digital Camera From Seitz

If you have an extra $40,000 lying around why not pick up the 160MP 6x17 digital camera from Seitz Switzerland. I’ll take two…

Here’s some info from the official Seitz website.

• Create a high-resolution (160 million pixel) 6x17 digital scan in just one second
• Capture action thanks to a minimum exposure speed of 1/2000 sec. (per pixel) - images full of speed, motion and life!
• Benefit from an outstanding image quality in virtually all light situations:
- 16-bit per channel (48-bit RGB) color depth
- anti-blooming
- low noise
- dynamic range of 1:2,600 (11 f-stops)
- Seitz image optimisation algorithms
• Use world-class large format Schneider or Rodenstock lenses - or reuse your existing set of lenses
• Process a high-definition high dynamic range panorama directly in the RAM of the computer (single-pass, multi-pass)
• Use a very user-friendly software with very advanced features
• Take advantage of the latest technology in tablet PCs for image control, display and storage
• Remove the Seitz D3 digital scan back and use it with the Roundshot D3, the Alpa family of medium format cameras
(Alpa 12 SWA, WA, TC, XY) or with other medium or large format cameras (in the future)

This substantial resolution makes it possible to create high quality reproductions. A variety of different formats is possible: 6x6, 6x9, 6x15 or a full 6x17 panorama. No limits for high definition photography! The camera can also be used in the studio, running the software from a computer (Mac, PC, Linux) via gigabit ethernet connection. Another possibility is to use large-format lenses of existing 6x17 panoramic cameras such as Linhof Technorama, Fuji and others. These lenses are connected to the Seitz camera on an optional adaptor plate.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Shutterbug Looks At New Sony A700 DSLR

Shutterbug takes a close look at the new Sony Alpha 700 DSLR...

The original A100 remains a very fine 10-megapixel entry-level D-SLR but the new enthusiast-level 12-megapixel model is even more desirable because of more effective technology, much greater speed, more rugged construction, and a richer feature set. It should be a strong contender in the mid-range category in spite of fierce competition from other recent 10- and 12-megapixel models. While the A700 does not include a Live View mode, it’s a powerful camera, part of an extensive Sony system that should satisfy even the semiprofessional photographer. Whether you already own Dynax lenses or are considering a multi-talented, high-resolution D-SLR, be sure to ask for a demo of the A700 while comparison shopping for your next camera...

Read the entire three page review at shutterbug.com.

Corel PhotoImpact X3

Corel Corporation announced the PhotoImpact® X3 which is retailing for $69.99 (US and Canada) and is now available through corel.com. Upgrades from PhotoImpact 10, 11 and 12 start at $49.99 SRP (US and Canada).

PhotoImpact® X3 is targeted at the casual user and graphic arts hobbyists since it provides one-click corrections and easy-to-use composition tools.

“Corel’s Digital Media solutions offer the broadest portfolio of products to enhance the way users live, work and play,” said Denise MacDonell, Director, Product Management, Digital Imaging at Corel. “Project-oriented users will find that PhotoImpact X3 has the perfect mix of easy-to-use editing capabilities, creative project templates and digital art - all at an affordable price.”

Mamiya Provides IR Filter For ZD Digital Back

Mamiya has released a filter that will allow its ZD Digital Back for medium-format SLRs to capture infrared images. The IR Photo Filter YD401 replaces the standard IR cut filter in the back and allows both infrared and visible light to be transmitted to the sensor. IR cut filters block infrared and allow light in the visible range only to reach the sensor. Photographers will be able to switch out the IR-cut and YD401 filters themselves without any alterations to the ZD back by Mamiya.

The IR Photo Filter YD401 will be available in mid-January 2008. Pricing has not yet been announced.

New Version Of ExpressDigital Darkroom Software

ExpressDigital is proud to announce the next generation of its powerful workflow software, Darkroom v8.9, designed to help photographers make more money in their business. These new features reflect the ever-changing photography landscape, including fast digital output, enhanced wireless support, advanced greenscreen and more.

"By working closely with professional photographers, conducting extensive photographer surveys and watching industry trends, we gauged the needs of the professional photographer and built a new version of Darkroom to fulfill those needs," explained Graham McFarland, Founder and CEO of ExpressDigital. "We found that photographers are anxious to use new technologies to enhance their business and to deliver new, diverse products to their customers."

Fast Digital Output
Darkroom v8.9 cuts photographer screen time by streamlining new digital delivery options into an intuitive wizard system that allows digital files to be as easy to sell as the print. Darkroom photographers can quickly save photos, at a user-set resolution, to a CD, DVD, or memory card. Not only can Darkroom users create digital photo products for their customer, photographers can create interactive slideshows as either a product or sales pitch. The slideshows are distributed by CD/DVD, email or an online posting. Photographers can also access the tools to make products, such as custom photo albums, with the fully integrated PDF printing feature. This universal file format allows photographers to submit a custom photo book project to their favorite professional printing lab.

Enhanced Wireless Support
Darkroom v8.9 took the recent advances in wireless technology to a new level with its integrated internal FTP server. This finely tuned system makes using a wireless camera easier than ever before. With its integrated FTP server, photographers can expect quick setup and seamless support. Photographers who prefer to use a Hotfolder will also see vast improvements in speed and efficiency. The enhanced wireless support in Darkroom provides new workflow opportunities for all industry photographers.

Advanced Greenscreen
As a leader in photography workflow software, ExpressDigital maintains its edge in the industry with advanced greenscreen technology. Darkroom v8.9 provides new state-of-the-art chroma-key algorithms that are smarter and more accurate than ever before. The expanded drop-out adjustment tools give photographers more precise advanced control, while easy-to-use presets allow for a fast and efficient greenscreen workflow.

These features and more are available in the new Darkroom v8.9. For complete details please visit expressdigital.com

Pricing and Availability
ExpressDigital Darkroom v8.9 is immediately available for purchase. The retail prices are as follows: Darkroom Core Edition - $495, Darkroom Professional Edition - $1395, Darkroom Assembly Edition (Plus 6 hours phone training) - $2995, Darkroom Assembly Edition (Plus 2 days on-site training) - $4395. Upgrade pricing is also available.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Super Bowl XLII: The Ultimate Shoot-out

This year the Superbowl is coming back to Arizona, and no I don’t have tickets. But being a sports shooter at the farthest end of the spectrum of an NFL photographer at the “Big Game”, I was interested to read a recent article on popphoto.com regarding the shooters on the sidelines. Here is a brief excerpt.

..Just off-field, sports shooters and their assistants will dash up field and down following the plays. Runners will rapidly ferry memory cards from sideline DSLRs to the nearby media trailers. There, images will be transmitted almost instantaneously to the home offices of the Associated Press, Getty Images, Reuters, Sports Illustrated, and other news organizations.

The goal: To be the first and fastest to deliver images of the game to their print- and web-based clients -- and the world. This intense off-field action carries with it potential rewards just as significant as those of the big game itself...

Not nearly as intense as an NFL game, shooting Youth Sports is rewarding when I see the faces of the players and parents as they view my images. I’m just glad I can capture the action of these “Big Games.” Read the entire article on popphoto.com.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

NYIP Award of Merit Winner

Several years ago I decided to explore photography education possibilities, beyond a couple of community college courses I had taken. Up until that point anything I knew about photography was primarily self-taught. Those classes were fun and I learned several things, including the now ancient art of darkroom processing and printing, but the classes were limited in scope.

After some research I determined that the New York Institute of Photography would be a good choice. The self-paced, NYI Complete Course in Professional Photography seemed to provide what I was looking for, and as luck would have it, NYI was offering an enticing discount at the time. So in 2005 I became an NYI student.

I was immediately impressed with the amount of material NYIP sent me. Since I opted to pay for the entire course in one lump sum, not only did I receive an additional discount, I also soon found on my porch, a couple of boxes filled with course materials, DVDs, audio tapes, CDs, books, photographic umbrella, 5-in-1 reflector disc and more. I dived into the material and then completed and submitted the first photo project.

Fast forward to October 2007 and the first project is the only one that I had completed. Life, kids, chronic procrastination and starting my own photography business put NYI on the back burner. I found myself saying ‘I’ll get to that next week’ for about two years.

I am the reason why they provide three years to complete the course. I will inadvertently utilize all of that time by the time I’m done, and I do plan to finish. Back in October I completed and submitted the next two assignments, realizing I could have improved my current skills if I had been reading the NYIP material up to that point.

Recently I received the critiqued projects back in the mail along with notification that both projects had received the NYI Award of Merit. NYI also purchased the rights to those photos for their Student Archives and website. This was a pleasant surprise and provides me with additional motivation to complete the course. I’ve included the four awarded images in this post, and thank NYI for recognizing my work. Even prior to receiving this distinction, I would recommend the New York Institute of Photography to any beginning or advanced amateur photographer looking to improve their technique and knowledge of the photography business.


Nikon and Canon Lead Japanese Camera Market

Tokyo-based BCN said that, having captured 43.3% of Japan's DSLR market between January and November, it expects Nikon to hold on to the top spot once December's sales have been calculated. Despite the successful launch of the 40D, BCN's research suggests that Canon will not be able to overcome its second place, having secured a 39.9% market share up to November. Pentax were positioned third, having taken 6.3% of the market to November.

However, taking compacts into account as well, Canon led the market for the fourth consecutive year. It took 21.2% of Japan's overall digital camera market, ahead of Matsushita (Panasonic), which jumped from fourth to second place with 14.9% of the market, mainly because of the success of the Lumix FX33.

With Electronics giants Panasonic and Sony both launching DSLRs in the second half of 2007 and expected to continue to engage with this relatively high-margin market, 2008 is likely to see the big two's market dominance challenged. The Japanese market for DSLRs grew almost 50% in the first 11 months of 2007, in terms of volumes and around 35% by value.

Nikon was bullish about the additional competition: "Next fiscal year [from April 2008] our competitors will develop their marketing to full extent in the digital SLR market, and we expect this will stimulate market growth and contribute to sales." In November 2007, Nikon revised its sales projections, stating that it expected its DSLR sales to increase 43% over the previous year and account for 40% of the Global DSLR market in the financial year ending March 31st 2008.

The Japanese market buys 14% of all DSLRs and 10.3% of all compacts made by Japanese manufacturers*.

* Figures from CIPA represent only cameras made by Japanese manufacturers. This makes them fairly representative for all DSLR sales, as Samsung is the only major non-Japanese DSLR manufacturer.

Sony A200 DSLR Hands-On Preview

e-Photographia has acquired a pre-production version of the Sony Alpha 200 DSLR and provided a hands-on preview. Several close-up images of the camera fitted with the Carl Zeiss DT f3.5-4.5 16-80mm lens are provided.

Terry White Introduction To New Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 For Macintosh

Terry White takes a first look at the new Photoshop Elements 6 from Adobe for Macintosh on the Adobe Creative Suite Video Podcast.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Upcoming Contest Deadlines And Events

Jan. 15:
IPN Go Indie Contest Extended Deadline Entries are being accepted in the second annual GO INDIE contest, sponsored by IPNStock (a partner of PDN within Nielsen Business Media). The contest is open to amateurs and professionals. Details at http://www.goindiecontest.com/.

Jan. 15:
PDN Photo Annual Annual Contest Extended Deadline The PDN Photo Annual Contest is accepting entries through the extended deadline of Jan. 15. Categories include Advertising, Magazine / Editorial, Photo Books, Photojournalism, Corporate Design, Personal, Stock Photography, Web Sites And Student Work. Details are at http://www.pdnphotoannual.com/.

Jan. 18:
Pictures of the Year International Deadline January 18 is the deadline for the University of Missouri School of Journalism's 65th Annual Pictures of the Year International contest. A call for entries will be posted Dec. 10. Details online at poy.org.

Jan. 18:
Art Directors Club Award Deadline The deadline to enter the 87th Annual Art Directors Club Awards is Jan. 18. The awards include a photography division with various editorial and advertising categories. Details on the ADC Web site.

Jan. 18:
Center Project Competition Deadline Center (formerly the Santa Fe Center for Photography) is accepting entries in three competitions, all with a deadline of Jan. 18. Photographers may enter work in the 14th annual Project Competition, which supports long-term documentary projects and fine-art series; The Singular Image, which recognizes individual photos; and Review Santa Fe, a two-day conference for photographers featuring portfolio reviews. Details at visitcenter.org/.

Jan. 20:
Magenta Emerging Photographers Exchange Deadline The Magenta Foundation is accepting entries in its fourth annual Emerging Photographers exchange. The contest is open to photographers in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. under the age of 34, with a top prize of $5,000. The deadline is Jan. 20, 2008. Details online here.

Jan. 21:
Blue Earth Alliance project submission deadline Blue Earth Alliance is a non-profit organization that sponsors photography projects that educate the public about threatened cultures, endangered environments and other social concerns. (The alliance provides financial and professional support, though the photographer is primarily responsible for developing funding requests for the project.) The next submission deadline is Jan. 21. Submission guidelines and other details are available online here.

Jan. 30:
Overseas Press Club Awards Deadline Entries are being accepted for the Overseas Press Club Awards, including several categories for photographic reporting abroad. OPC awards include the Robert Capa Gold Medal Award (for photography reporting requiring exceptional courage and enterprise), the Oliver Rebbot Award (for magazines and books), the John Faber Award (for newspapers or wire services) and the Feature Photography Award. The entry deadline is Jan. 30. Complete details and an entry form are available online here.

Jan. 31:
Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize Deadline The $20,000 Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University recognizes collaboration between a writer and a photographer on a documentary project. The deadline to enter is Jan. 31, 2008. Details online here.

Feb. 1:
NPPA Best of Photojournalism Deadline The deadline for the National Press Photographers Association Best of Photojournalism 2008 contest is Feb. 1. Entries are now being accepted in categories in four divisions: Still Photography, Photo Editing, Web Sites and (TV) News Video. Details online at bop.nppa.org.

Feb. 15:
Center for Photography at Woodstock Photography Now Deadline Entries are being accepted for the Center for Photography at Woodstock’s annual Photography Now exhibition. The deadline to enter is Feb. 15. Details online at http://www.cpw.org/.

March 15:
The Great Outdoors Photo Contest PDN and National Geographic Traveler co-sponsor The Great Outdoors Photo Contest, which has separate amateur and professional divisions. Entries are being accepted in categories of Scenics of The Natural World, Outdoor Sports And Activities, Parks, Islands and Underwater, and Gardens. The deadline is March 15 with an extended deadline of March 31. Details at http://www.thegreatoutdoorscontest.com/.

Microsoft Usually Annoys, Yet Still Can Inspire

Since I’m on the subject of the Microsoft Professional Photography website, check out the Icons of Imaging section for some inspiration.

Profiled photographers include, Phil Borges, Colin Finlay, Reed Hoffmann and Art Wolfe to name a few. Good stuff.
image © Art Wolfe

Download RAW Codecs For Vista

Sony and Olympus users can now view RAW images within Windows Explorer on the Windows Vista operating system. RAW Codecs are now available on the Microsoft Professional Photography site for download.

Sony cameras supported are the Alpha 100, Alpha 700, R1 and 828.

Olympus cameras supported are the E-1, E-3*, E-300, E-330, E-400, E-410, E-500 , E-510 , E-10, E-20, C-70 ZOOM, C-5050ZOOM, C-5060 Wide Zoom, C-7070 Wide Zoom, C-8080 Wide Zoom, SP-310, SP-320, SP-350, SP-500UZ, SP-510UZ, SP-550UZ, and SP-560UZ.

Other available RAW codecs for Windows Vista include ArdFry, Canon, Nikon, and Pentax.

New Firmware For Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm Digital Lens

Olympus has released updated firmware for the Zuiko Digital ED 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD lens. The update offers improved focusing precision on distant subjects when using continuous autofocus mode.

Firmware updates for lenses and cameras are downloaded from the Olympus website.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Photoshop CS3 Video Podcast From Terry White

Terry White has added a new post to his Adobe Creative Suite Video Podcast covering how to add a spotlight to your images using Photoshop CS3. Find the link to this new post in the Podcasts section below, along with new casts from the Digital Photography Show, LightSource and Photoshop User TV.

Fujifilm Sponsors Rainforest Alliance Photo Contest

National Contest to Build Awareness for Conservation through Photography; Prizes Include Trips to New York City and the Galapagos Islands and Fujifilm Pro Digital Cameras

“Fujifilm believes that sustainable development is the most important issue for our planet, the human race, and all business entities in the 21st century,” said Bert Aerts, president of Fujifilm Hunt Chemicals USA, and a member of the Rainforest Alliance’s board of directors. “Fujifilm’s global Green Policy aims to stay at the forefront of efforts to attain this goal in terms of our company’s impact on the environment -- and we are proud to partner with the Rainforest Alliance in this unique effort.”

US residents are invited to submit photos illustrating sustainable agriculture, forestry and tourism. The Rainforest Alliance is an international nonprofit conservation organization.

To qualify, photos must be submitted to raphotocontest.org by March 15, 2008. The winners will be announced on the Rainforest Alliance’s Web site rainforest-alliance.org on April 18, 2008.

New Digital Camera Reviews Posted

Five new digital camera reviews have been added to the Recent Digital Camera Reviews section.

- Canon PowerShot A720 IS
- Canon PowerShot SX100 IS
- Nikon CoolPix P5100
- Olympus E-3 DSLR
- Olympus SP560 UZ

Adobe Announces Photoshop Elements 6 For Mac

Adobe Systems Incorporated today announced the highly anticipated Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 software for Macintosh is now available for pre-order at adobe.com. Photoshop Elements 6 software for Mac combines power and simplicity so consumers at all experience levels can easily achieve outstanding results with their digital photos. In advance of its early Q2 2008 ship date, the Macintosh community will get its first peek at the new product features during the Macworld Conference & Expo, Jan. 14-17 in San Francisco (Booth #S1302).

"We're excited to showcase a brand new version of Photoshop Elements at Macworld," said John Loiacono, senior vice president of Creative Solutions at Adobe. "In this release, we've focused on going beyond the basics to make everyday and advanced tasks even easier to achieve. Photoshop Elements 6 for Macintosh allows people to organize and find photos quickly, unleash powerful editing tricks without any heavy lifting and creatively share photos that give them all the bragging rights."

Make Photos Look Their Best
Photoshop Elements 6 software helps photo enthusiasts achieve desired results quickly and easily. New features based on proprietary Photomerge technology let users easily combine the best facial expressions and body language from a series of shots to create a single, perfect group shot. The new Quick Selection Tool reduces a once time-consuming select-and-adjust task to a single click. Photographers -- beginner to expert -- can choose from one of three edit modes, each geared toward a different experience level. A new Guided Edit mode helps walk users through the steps of improving a photo. Photoshop Elements 6 software streamlines editing with clean, uncluttered screens that draw focus to the photos, with new tabs providing simple access to the many capabilities of the program. Additional enhancements include an improved conversion tool that dramatically converts color images into elegant, nuanced black-and-whites.

Create and Share Photos in Fun, Unique Ways
Photoshop Elements 6 software offers creative options to tell stories in fun and engaging ways. Customizable layouts let users create scrapbook pages, photo books, greeting cards and burn to CD/DVD for high impact sharing which requires no previous experience. Additional sharing options include ordering prints, creating personal online albums for sharing photo creations on the web, printing photos into real U.S. postage stamps and showcasing creations on a CEIVA Digital Photo Frame.

Pricing and Availability
Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 for Macintosh will run on Leopard, (Mac OS X v 10.5), as well as previous versions of Mac OS X starting with 10.4.8. and is immediately available for pre-order at http://www.adobe.com/ for an estimated street price of U.S.$89.99. The software will later be available at Amazon.com or from one of the following retailers: Apple Stores, Best Buy, Staples, Costco.com, Fry's, Circuit City, Microcenter, J&R, Buy.com and NewEgg.com. Information about other language versions, as well as pricing, upgrade and support policies for other countries is available on http://www.adobe.com/go/photoshopelmac.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New Book - The Creative Digital Darkroom

Wondering what to buy with that holiday gift card? Another photography related book that will be available in a couple of days is The Creative Digital Darkroom from O'Reilly Media.

Co-authored by photographer and teacher Sean Duggan, The Creative Digital Darkroom translates skills, concepts, and nomenclature of the traditional darkroom into digital solutions for photographers who sense that, despite the newness of the technologies at hand, there remains a timeless method for learning and practicing photography the right way. This is not a Photoshop book per se, but it does focus on the photographic aspects of Photoshop, something other books claim to do but rarely have the discipline to accomplish. The Creative Digital Darkroom includes:

- Four sections that cover the black & white darkroom, the color darkroom, creative techniques, and production essentials
- Chapters that begin with a thorough foundation followed by numerous tutorial examples that apply the theory to real-world examples
- Examples and a layout that enables readers to find, understand, and apply the featured techniques quickly and easily
- The authors are both renowned photographers and Photoshop experts

The Creative Digital Darkroom

PeachPit Provides Online Lightroom Resource Center

Peachpit publishing now offers an online resource of their own for Abobe Photoshop Lightroom. Here is their invitation - If you’re a serious photographer who works with a lot of images every day, Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom software can help streamline your workflow, enabling you to get more done, faster. Whether you’re just learning Lightroom for the first time or looking for pro-level tips to help you do more, better, we’ve got the resources to help. On this page, you’ll find excerpts from our latest books as well as free articles, interviews, podcasts, and downloads from today’s leading Photoshop and Lightroom instructors.

Check out the Peachpit Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Resource Center for yourself.

Mustek Produces Hybrid "MP3-Digi-Web-Cam"

Digital product manufacturer Mustek has launched the hybrid DV550 this year's CES. This 5-megapixel model is part digital camera, part camcorder, part MP3 player, and part webcam. It will retail for $149.99 when it becomes available in March.

The DV550 is palm-sized, with a faux-leather covering and flip-out LCD screen, giving it the appearance of a tiny camcorder. It snaps 5-megapixel photos, and is capable of taking JPEGs at a maximum 4032 x 3024-pixel resolution.

It has a 2.5-inch LCD and built-in flash. Shutter speeds range from 1/6 to 1/4000 of a second. Scene modes include Portrait, Macro, and Landscape, and Color modes include Sepia, Black and White, Sketch, and Pastel.

On the camcorder side, the DV550 can record 640 x 480-resolution movies at 30 frames per second, on par with standard digital camera Movie modes. The camera includes 34 MB of internal memory, and accepts SD and SDHC memory cards for added memory.

The DV550 also plays back MP3 and WMV files, acts as a WAV-file voice recorder, and can be used as a webcam. It runs on three AAA batteries.

Joe McNally Video On YouTube

There is a huge buzz about the upcoming book, “The Moment It Clicks” from Photographer Joe McNally. The book, due next month, combines a coffee table format of wonderful images with photography secrets, insight and training. McNally is known for his work in Sports Illustrated, National Geographic and Time magazines. A video introduction for the book has appeared on the Nikon website and now McNally has his own YouTube channel. All I can say is that McNally will be getting my $35 bucks when this book hits store shelves in February.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Holiday Photo Shoots

Over the holidays I had several family photo sessions, most on-location at client homes. Here are a couple of samples. Adobe Photoshop shines in these situations since many times an on-location background doesn't quite provide exactly what I want. In this first image, due to the location of a nearby wall restricting camera placement, I couldn’t place the subject so the Christmas tree would fill the entire left side of the frame. This is when the Photoshop clone tool came to the rescue allowing me to widen the tree for a balanced image.

In the second sample, I liked the pattern on some pillows on a living room couch, so I positioned the subject in front of these and used a wide aperture to throw them out of focus. Then in post-production I used Adobe Photoshop to remove the lines between the piled up pillows to produce a cohesive and neutral background pattern.

Both images were taken with the Sony Alpha 100 DSLR, Sony 18-70mm f3.5-5.6 lens on a tripod with an AlienBees B800 strobe as the main light and two Quantaray slave flashes as Fill and Hair lights.


PopPhoto Digital Days Workshop Comes To Scottsdale, Arizona

Popular Photography & Imaging Digital Days Photography Workshops is finally coming to the Valley of the Sunstroke. The sight had listed Scottsdale, Arizona early last year as an upcoming location, even providing a date, but soon removed it due to scheduling problems.

They have now posted Feburary 9th and 10th as their Arizona dates, and registration is now available. In addition to PopPhoto, the event is also sponsored by Sony, Adobe, and Pantone. All attendees receive an educational DVD created by the experts at Popular Photography & Imaging. This two day workshop includes the following:

Beginner Session
This class focuses on:
• Understanding the Basics of Digital Imaging
• Introduction to Adobe Lightroom
• Storage and archiving files
• Basic color calibration
• Transferring images to your computer
• Using available light when shooting and so much more!!!

Intermediate Session
This class focuses on:
• RAW vs. JPEG
• Single Focus or Focus Tracking
• Exposure Compensation
• Portrait lighting with live models to photograph
• Tips & tricks for Photoshop CS3
• More advanced color calibration
• Image critique from live model shoot
• Famous guest speaker ...and so much more!!!

Attend Beginner Session Only for $69
Attend Intermediate Session Only for $99
Attend Both Sessions for $139

Joby Announces Gorillapod Flexible Tripod Kit

Joby introduced a new Gorillapod kit at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show. The Gorillapod Go-Go! package includes an Original Gorillapod tripod and three mounting clips. One clip has a standard tripod screw for attaching a camera equipped with a tripod mount, the second clip has an adhesive strip so that it can be permanently attached to any device, and the third clip has a suction cup that can be used to temporarily attach a camera phone or any other electronic device. That allows the Gorillapod to be used both as a stabilizer while shooting photographs and video, and as a stand for devices that are displaying photos or videos. The Gorillapod legs are flexible and can be wrapped around available objects for creative camera positioning.

The Gorillapod Go-Go! package will be available in March 2008 for $34.95. Gorillapod owners will be able to purchase the three clips separately for $11.95.

ZINK Imaging And Alps Partnership

ZINK Imaging, Inc. and Alps Electric Co., Ltd. ("Alps") today publicly announced their 24-month long strategic partnership to design, commercialize, and market a range of ZINK(TM)-enabled digital printing products.

In this partnership, ZINK Imaging, the inventor of the ZINK Technology and manufacturer of the ZINK Paper(TM), is working hand-in-hand with Alps on the development of ZINK-enabled print engines and devices for partner companies looking to deliver innovative printing solutions to their customers. These companies will bring ZINK-enabled products and ZINK Paper to the marketplace under their respective brands.

ZINK Imaging and Alps are actively collaborating with numerous global companies and expect the first in an extensive roadmap of ZINK-enabled products to ship in 2008. One of the first products will be a ZINK-enabled pocket-sized mobile printer for wireless printing from camera phones and digital cameras.

ZINK Imaging and Alps together are creating a new "ZINK" category of printers where small, simple, mobile, earth-friendly, and no ink are key features. At the heart of this new category of printing is the ZINK Paper. The patented ZINK Paper is an advanced composite material with embedded yellow, magenta, and cyan dye crystals. A ZINK-enabled printer uses heat to activate and colorize these crystals. The printing process is now radically simple. Just add paper(TM) and print.

Alps is a multi-billion dollar electronics supplier that was established in 1948 with expertise in developing highly evolved devices with advanced functions by fusing a wide range of core and proprietary technologies. Alps has a long history in developing printer products and has a very strong reputation in the consumer thermal printing market. Their expertise includes material design, fabrication of their own print heads, miniaturization of electronics, and achieving high image quality through precision machining and mechanical design.

"We are committed to developing a new generation of printing solutions for our partners and, ultimately, end-users," said Mr. Yoshitada Amagishi, General Manager, Peripheral Products Division, Alps. "Our partnership with ZINK Imaging is enabling us to create totally new printing categories powered by the ZINK Technology."

"Partnering with a global market share leader in thermal printing is key to our success in creating an entirely new printing category," said Wendy Caswell, President and CEO, ZINK Imaging. "Together, our partnership has the capability and flexibility to deliver almost any type of ZINK-enabled product to our brand partners with the assurance of high quality and performance."

Find out more at zink.com

Monday, January 07, 2008

Polaroid Provides Instant Digital Printing

Once celebrated for cameras that made their own prints, Polaroid Corp. plans to update the concept this year by selling a portable printer for images on cell phones and digital cameras.

And like those old Polaroid instant-film cameras, the new printers should have a wow factor: they require no ink, because they employ a thermal printing technology from startup Zink Imaging Inc.

The 8-ounce printers, a bit bigger than a deck of cards, are due to go on sale around back-to-school time for about $150, Polaroid and Zink announced Monday at the International Consumer Electronics Show.

Once connected to a phone or camera by Bluetooth wireless or the USB port, the printers need less than a minute to churn out 2-inch-by-3-inch pictures, which can be peeled off a backing and used as stickers. Sheets of paper for the device will cost about 40 cents each, less if bought in bulk.

The Zink technology, which uses heat to activate minuscule dye crystals embedded in the photo paper, won raves at the influential Demo conference a year ago. But until the CES announcement, Zink had not lined up any partners who would bring its technology to market.

Polaroid is a natural fit, and not just because of its photo-printing history. Zink was founded in 2005 by private investors who bought many technologies from Polaroid as it was coming out of bankruptcy. Now Zink and Polaroid are based in the same complex in Waltham, Mass.

Zink also announced that Tomy Co. would be its partner in Japan. Prices and availability dates were not disclosed.

Another mobile printer with thermal paper debuted at CES, though it is much larger and designed for business people.

The $300 Printstik from Canada-based Planon Systems Solutions Inc. is less than 2 pounds but prints in black and white, in the familiar 8 1/2-by-11-inch paper dimension. After a connection via USB cord or Bluetooth wireless, the Printstik can churn out paper copies to ease the task for people who tire of reading text on the small screens on devices like BlackBerrys.
Provided by The Associated Press.

ViewSonic Announces Digital Picture Frames

ViewSonic, best known for making Mac and PC-compatible display systems, is now offering LCD digital picture frames. The company is offering seven and eight-inch models for $99 and $119 respectively (estimated street prices -- the prices on ViewSonic's Web site are higher).

The widescreen displays can communicate with a host Mac or PC using USB (they're recognized as mass-storage devices when connected), or can load images directly from a camera's memory card. They include CompactFlash, SD, MMC, MS, MS Pro and xD-Picture card support.

The digital picture frames sport 128MB of built-in memory standard, and can browse and display photos individually, display thumbnails of all photos in memory, or will show them in a slideshow complete with transition effects. While the resolution of the displays is limited, they will scale down higher-resolution images to display on their screens.

The 7-inch DP701W4WH has 800 x 480 pixel resolution, 220 cd/m2 brightness and 400:1 contrast ratio. It's embedded in a white acrylic bezel and can display either BMP or JPEG images; it also incorporates a clock and alarm.

The 8-inch DF88W-523 is a widescreen model; the 8-inch DF87G-533 uses a conventional 4:3 aspect ratio. Both frames can display JPEG, BMP and M-JPEG files, and the DF88W also displays MPEG2 and MPEG4 video. The DF88W features 800 x 480 resolution and 300:1 contrast ratio; the DF87G has 800 x 600 resolution and 500:1 contrast ratio. Both integrate speakers for MP3 sound, a remote control and clock, alarm and calendar.

Sony Announces New Alpha 200 DSLR

Sony has today revealed it latest Alpha digital SLR, the A200. This new entry-level digital SLR has a ten megapixel APS size CCD (note the switch back from CMOS), Super SteadyShot (sensor-shift image stabilization), three frames per second continuous shooting, Sony's Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) and a 2.7" 230,000 pixel LCD monitor. The A200 is set to ship in February for $700 with the 18-70 mm lens or $200 more for a dual-lens kit which adds the 75-300 mm. This model appears to be very similar to the A100 apart from higher sensitivity, faster AF, a slightly larger LCD, a new Fn button and other subtle control changes.

Digital Photography Review provides a detailed preview of the new Sony DSLR. If you can’t afford the A700 with the improved CMOS sensor and ISO range, the A200 sounds like a good value.

Photographer, Editor, Publisher And Sage Herbert Keppler Dies

Herbert Keppler, former editor and publisher of Modern Photography and Popular Photography, died Friday night at the age of 82 from heart failure after a brief illness.

Mason Resnick's Adorama News Desk editorial recalls how Keppler gave him his first break in the business.

Adorama has also published a tribute, noting several of their own products "benefitted from Keppler's design suggestions."

Jason Schneider has published a tribute to him at PopPhoto.com. After citing his many accomplishments, he concludes, "What probably mattered to him most is that millions of photography enthusiasts all over the world thought of him as "Kind Old Uncle Burt," the man whose sage, warm-hearted advice and counsel helped them get more out of their photography for more than half a century."

He was also responsible for 'cleaning up' the shady practices in American mail order retailing with the establishment of a Mail Order Code of Ethics, and received numerous awards and titles, including one of the highest awards to be bestowed on a foreigner by the Emperor of Japan for his contribution to the development of the Japanese camera industry, which included numerous visits to offer his advice to manufacturers. He was elected to the Photo Marketing Hall of Fame in 1985 and received the Photographic Manufacturers and Distributors Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991. He will be missed.

Microsoft Releases Pro Photo Shoot Outlook Plug-in

Microsoft recently released the Pro Photo Shoot, a new add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook. Via the application, photographers can add details of the client and equipment for a photo shoot appointment in Outlook without any hassles. Microsoft Pro Photo Shoot supports Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 and 2007 running on Windows XP and Windows Vista. Download it from Microsoft.

Unfortunately it would not install on my Windows Vista computer with Microsoft Office 2007. I will troubleshoot this issue, but hopefully other users will have better luck. This plug-in sounds like it could have some initial value to session scheduling.

Sony Announces 16GB Memory Stick PRO Duo Media

The newly announced Sony 16GB Memory Stick PRO Duo media is ideal for Sony A700 DSLR and Handycam camcorders based on AVCHD™ technology and high-end Sony digicams. The memory stick can store up to 110 minutes of high-definition video recorded in 1920 mode and more than 4000 still pictures in 10 Megapixel resolution. The 16GB Memory Stick PRO Duo™ media will be available in March 2008 and will come bundled with an USB adaptor for around $300.

Friday, January 04, 2008

New 32GB Media Drives From Corsair

Corsair is expanding its Flash Voyager and Flash Survivor USB drives with new 32GB capacity offerings. The all-rubber Flash Voyager or the aluminum-encased water-proof Flash Survivor can both be used as portable back-up devices for critical or sensitive information. “Our newest USB additions will allow a whole new set of users – multimedia, technical and data conscious – to take advantage of rugged, high-performance solid-state storage,” said Jack Peterson, VP of Marketing at Corsair. The CorsairFlash Voyager 32GB costs $229.99, and the Corsair Flash Survivor 32GB $249.99.

Flash Survivor
An extremely durable, water resistant, drop-tested flash USB memory drive. By design it is perfect for transporting valuable data such as personal files, photos and applications without having to worry about damage or loss of data due to the elements.

Features
• Encased in extremely strong CNC-milled, anodized aircraft-grade aluminum.
• Water resistant to 200M through the use of a EPDM waterproof seal.
• Protected from vibration or impact damage through the use of a molded shock dampening collar.
• Plug-&-Play with any USB 2.0 certified peripheral computer port (backward compatible with USB 1.1).
• Includes the True Crypt security application (Windows Vista/XP/2000 compatible only) allowing for a virtual encrypted drive using AES-256 encryption.
• USB extension cable and Dog Tags included.
• Protected by a Limited 10-year Warranty.

Flash Voyager GT
Corsair's Durable USB Drive Designed and Built for Speed

Features
• Plug & Play functionality in Windows® Vista, XP, 2000, ME, Linux 2.4 and later, Mac OS 9, X and later
• Includes the True Crypt security application (Windows Vista/XP/2000 compatible only) allowing for a virtual encrypted drive using AES-256 encryption (not preloaded on 512MB, 1GB, and 2GB models)
• Lanyard, USB cable (not available on 512MB and 1GB models)
• ReadyBoost™ compatible
• Limited 10-year warranty

NPPA 2008 Best Of Photojournalism Contest

The National Press Photographers Association's 2008 Best Of Photojournalism contest is now officially open for entries, and some new rules and a few category changes are now posted on NPPA's Web site.

There are no entry fees for NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism competition and the contest is open to all photographers, picture editors, and Web site producers around the world, not just NPPA's members. Helpful "How To Enter" resources are also available online in English, French, German, and Russian.

The online entry mechanism is quick and easy, and NPPA staff in Durham are standing by to help with answers to any of your questions.

All entrants must obtain a Contest Identification Code to enter any division of the contest. Please go to this link to log in, and you will be automatically registered for the contest.

The Best Of Photojournalism contest committee said they made several rule changes this year in an effort to sharpen competition and highlight new stories, as well as to reflect the changing face of photojournalism around the world.

Major changes this year include:

The Still Photography division adds several categories, and eliminates some others.

• Last year's Humor category has been eliminated.

• The Road to Office documents the essence of the campaign trail and its impact on a candidate for elected office.

• Individual and Team Sports Action have been merged, and a new category, Sporting Field of Play, has been added.

• A new category has been created to recognize Non-traditional Photojournalism Publishing by independent presses, boutique wire services, photojournalism agencies, and the like.

• The Natural Disaster Picture Story and Environmental Picture Story categories have been merged.

• A new Investigative Issue Picture Story category has been created for watchdog reporting and in-depth documentary work.

The Web Site division sees some category changes as well, but there are also more fundamental changes to the site classification system, to recognize great work that has been done in the last year and to level the playing field within each class.

• The size cutoff for Large sites has been moved down to 1 million unique views per month, which will allow several mid-sized sites to compete against the larger sites.

• Bloggers are getting moved up as well, to compete directly against other Independent sites. The blog-only categories no longer exist.

• There are now Web Video categories in the Web Sites division, in addition to those in the Video News Photography division. The categories and judging focus are different in the two divisions, so entrants are encouraged to read the rules carefully in deciding where to enter.

To read all of the rules in detail, please visit bop.nppa.org.

The 2007 Best Of Photojournalism competition drew entries of more than 55,000 still images and layouts, over 1,500 Web sites, and over 900 video entries from more than 50 countries around the world. NPPA contest coordinator Thomas Kenniff said that he expects the rule changes will sharpen competition and highlight emerging trends and stories, and that he expects the 2008 Best Of Photojournalism contest to be the biggest and most exciting year ever in the competition's seven year history.

Kenniff reminds contest participants that the entry period ends February 1, 2008, this time and that this year's entry period is one week shorter than in the past. "While we know photojournalists are deadline-driven, NPPA encourages everyone to get their submissions in as early as possible," Kenniff said. NPPA expects more entries this year than ever before, and with the shorter entry window the contest committee expects that the last-minute crush is likely to be significantly more intense than in previous years.

This year's Best Of Photojournalism competition is sponsored by Canon and The Poynter Institute for Media Studies. Judges for the four divisions of competition will be announced at a later date.

For more information on NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism contest please visit bop.nppa.org or contact Kenniff at contests@nppa.org.

The Best Of Photojournalism is sponsored by Canon, The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, and the National Press Photographers Association.

Tamron Revamps Educational Purchase Program

Tamron has revamped its Educational Purchase Program to make it easier for students and instructors to purchase lenses through the program, and to allow its educational rebates to be combined with regular Tamron rebates. The program provides rebates ranging from $10 to $100 on a selection of Tamron lenses. The rebates are available to students and instructors who are employed by or enrolled in eligible institutions, and who teach or major in photography, photojournalism, visual media, fine art, design, film, video, or communications.

To participate in the Educational Purchase Program, eligible purchasers must buy a Tamron lens that is included in the program from an authorized Tamron dealer, and then submit proof of eligibility, proof of purchase, and a rebate form to the company in order to receive a rebate. Submitting paperwork and ordering a lens in advance is no longer necessary, as it was under previous program rules.

Complete details on the revamped program are available on Tamron's Web site.

Photo Illustrator Hugh Kretschmer

Hugh Kretschmer, the in-demand photo illustrator, explains how his creations for Esquire, Men's Health and others are done without the aid of Photoshop. Here is an excerpt from the American Photo online article.

At first glance, professional photographer and photo illustrator Hugh Kretschmer's work looks like the result of Photoshop wizardry. His surreal photographs reveal other worlds, born of Kretschmer's imagination, where a man's body can be firmly set in the ground while his head is, literally, in the clouds; where a giant alien woman attempts to eat all of New York; where tightrope walkers perch gracefully over tiny beds; and where the walls of sound rooms are, of course, covered in ears. Beyond the potency of Kretschmer's content, though, what's really amazing is that the bulk of his work is done manually, through a detailed process of collage and assemblage, with minimal digital finessing. Here, we consider the unusual process behind three of Kretschmer's photographs: Reformed Liar, All Ears and Return of the Thin Man.

Read the entire article on popphoto.com.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Hitachi announces 500GB laptop drive

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies has announced what it says is the world's highest-capacity 2.5-inch mobile hard drive: Its Travelstar 5K500, with 500GB of storage capacity. The new drive is expected to be available beginning in February, 2008. Pricing was not announced.

The Travelstar 5K500 will be available in both 400GB and 500GB capacities, as well as an "Enhanced Availability" (EA) version designed to work in server environments. The drive employs a Serial ATA (SATA) interface.

The new Travelstar 5K500 also features Hitachi technology including Rotational Vibration Safeguard (RVS), which stabilizes the drive -- particularly in installations where it may be perturbed by premium speakers that cause the chassis to vibrate. It features Bulk Data Encryption (BDE) security in a special 1.5Gbps SATA interface. Data is written to three separate platters within the chassis; the drive features a 1.9 watt read/write power draw and a 0.7 watt low power idle.

The Travelstar 5K500 measures 12.5 mm tall and spins at 5400 RPM.

Ridata Announces New Compact Flash Media

Company press release:

Advanced Media, Inc., is a manufacturer and marketer of the popular RIDATA brand of recordable CD and DVD media, electronic storage products, and digital media accessories. The company is introducing the first Smart Compact Flash™ Cards at CES 2008. Featuring high-speed access to reading and writing and up to 16GB of storage capacity, the self-monitoring CF card is ideal for virtually any flash media storage application.

“We are pleased to introduce the RIDATA SMART CompactFlash Card, which is the first of its kind in the industry,” stated Harvey Liu, Advanced Media president. “The flash memory market is growing quickly due to the number of new applications that use flash media for storage. As capacity continues to increase, RIDATA saw the need for an internal data monitoring system to ensure the safety of your data.”

The new rugged, reliable, RIDATA memory cards are available in two series of "Supreme 150X (up to 8GB capacity-SLC format)" and "Lightning (up to 16GB MLC format)". It features innovative functionalities such as Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology so users can easily monitor the CF card’s status. The card is capable of providing notification to users in real time to protect vital information and data.

Reliability and Endurance
The new Smart Card offers long-term reliability and endurance with a Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) of 5,000,000 powered-on hours. It also offers maximum endurance of 100,000 times of program/erase cycles. Its embedded Error Correction Code (ECC) supports two random bits of a sector on-the-fly ECC corrections.

Compatibilities
Ridata’s Smart Card conforms to the CompactFlash Association Standard, the PC Card standard and is PC Card ATA and true IDE Mode compatible. It is also host ATA disk I/O BIOS DOS/Windows file system, utilities and application software compatible. The controller supports Ultra DMA Mode to Mode 4. Also supported is CIS implemented with 256 bytes of attributed memory. Lastly it supports 8 or 16 bit host transfers with any host speed using Input/Output channel ReaDY (IORDY).

Power Savings
Another feature of the RIDATA Smart CompactFlash™ Card is its low power consumption. In standby mode with an automatic power management function, users acquire longer battery life from a digital camera or other device. The non-volatile card requires no power to store data, but requires a 3.3V/5V single power supply to read and write data.

File Systems
Regarding the 4GB, 8GB and 16GB CF cards, users should use the cards on devices that support a FAT32 file system. Some older devices only support FAT16 file system and these systems have a maximum capacity of a 2GB CF card. Please refer to the owner’s manual for the device’s file system compatibility.

Liquid Image Underwater Camera

If underwater photography is your thing but you don't like awkward waterproof cases for digital cameras, Liquid Image is building a 5 megapixel camera into a diving mask.

There are some folks who, when presented with a camera of any sort, immediately think to themselves (or say out loud), "Hey, that's great, but can I use it underwater?"

(No, we don't understand these people either.)

Underwater photography aficionados do have some options, however, with a growing number of mainstream camera manufacturers offering underwater-capable cameras, or underwater cases that can be fitted to standard camera models. Although these solutions are (we suppose) better than not being able to take underwater pictures at all, they suffer from a few drawbacks. For instance, users are always trying to compose shots through a viewfinder or LCD, and that's a pain when wearing underwater goggles. And users still have to hold on to the darn things and swim at the same time.

Liquid Image—formerly Zocker Toys—aims to solve some of these problems with its Digital Underwater Camera Mask, which it will be showing at the 2008 CES show in Las Vegas. Put simply, Liquid Image has built a digital camera into a standard diving mask, so users don't have to hold on to a separate camera while swimming, and they can compose their shots just by moving their heads: the camera lens is mounted above and between the eyes, so it automatically shoots what the wearer is looking at.

The Digital Underwater Camera Mask will be available in two resolutions—3.1 megapixels and 5 megapixels—and features 16 MB of built-in memory, plus additional storage to microSD cards. The cameras offer a USB interface for offloading photos, and run off two AAA batteries loaded along the outside edges of the mask. The cameras also shoot VGA-resolution video, and are optimized for a photographic distance of 1.2 meters (about 5 feet). Users won't be able to take them deep-sea diving—they're only good to about 15 feet—but they should be more than good enough for play in the shallows or the back yard pool.

The Digital Underwater Camera Masks should be available in "spring" 2008 (we're assuming they're referring to the northern hemisphere with a suggested starting price of $99.
By Geoff Duncan, Digitaltrends.com

Sandisk Announces 4GB Cruzer Titanium

Sandisk has announced a new addition to its Cruzer line of USB flash drives. The 4GB Cruzer Titanium Plus offers an extra measure of archiving security to photographers who use a flash drive to carry and transfer image files. Software included on the drive automatically creates an online backup copy of any file moved onto the device from a computer running Windows 2000, XP, or Vista.

Sandisk has partnered with BeInSync to provide the online storage component. BeInSync uses Amazon Web Services to store files in a password-protected online account. Files are retained online for 30 days when they're deleted from the drive, as long as backups do not exceed its 4GB capacity. The storage service is free to Cruzer purchasers for six months, after which time it costs $29.99 per year. The drive has a crush-resistant metal case and comes with security options for encrypting and password-protecting the files stored on it.

The Cruzer Titanium Plus will be available in March 2008 for a $59.99 retail price.

New 'Photoshop CS3 Raw' Book

O'Reilly Media press release:

"Raw data is the holy grail of digital photography," said award-winning photographer and best-selling author Mikkel Aaland, when his book Photoshop CS2 Raw was published two years ago. The same is still true today.

"Anyone who is serious about digital photography and wants to produce the best possible picture needs to shoot and process Raw," notes Aaland in the introduction of his new book, Photoshop CS3 Raw (O'Reilly, $34.99 U.S.).

Aaland's up-to-the-minute edition focuses on the important features of Adobe Photoshop CS3, including Camera Raw's new retouching tools, expanded controls and ramped up sharpening features. Aaland also explains how to use Camera Raw in conjunction with Photoshop CS3 and Adobe Bridge 2.0 to capture organize and optimize Raw images so you can produce the best possible digital photographs.

With a personal teaching style that illuminates and inspires, Aaland offers easy-to-follow visual instructions to demonstrate how Raw data gives you greater flexibility and control during the editing process. You learn which tools to use for each phase of your workflow, from managing shoots to perfecting photos. Once you apply these techniques to your own work, you'll understand why so many professionals turn to the Camera Raw plug-in -- and to Photoshop CS3 Raw as their guide.

Easy-to-follow instructions and beautiful illustrative graphics help you gain quick understanding of Photoshop CS3's three distinct working environments for Raw files: Camera Raw, Bridge and Photoshop itself.

With this book, you'll learn how to:

• Decide when (and when not) to shoot Raw

• Organize and manage your Raw images in Adobe Bridge

• Automate Raw capture and processing with scripts and actions

• Achieve optimal tonal control and accurate color with Adobe Camera Raw

• Sharpen Raw images smartly

• Create stunning black-and-white images from your Raw files

• Save and archive DNG files

Between the gorgeous examples that Aaland lays out and his clear writing style, you'll not only learn how to best utilize Photoshop CS3's Camera Raw, but you'll also enjoy the journey of learning these skills under Aaland's tutelage.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

US Department Of Transport Announces Restrictions For Li-Ion Batteries

Passengers will no longer be able to pack loose lithium batteries in checked luggage beginning January 1, 2008 once new federal safety rules take effect. The new regulation, designed to reduce the risk of lithium battery fires, will continue to allow lithium batteries in checked baggage if they are installed in electronic devices, or in carry-on baggage if stored in plastic bags.

Common consumer electronics such as travel cameras, cell phones, and most laptop computers are still allowed in carry-on and checked luggage. However, the rule limits individuals to bringing only two extended-life spare rechargeable lithium batteries*, such as laptop and professional audio/video/camera equipment lithium batteries in carry-on baggage.

"Doing something as simple as keeping a spare battery in its original retail packaging or a plastic zip-lock bag will prevent unintentional short-circuiting and fires," said Krista Edwards, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Lithium batteries are considered hazardous materials because they can overheat and ignite in certain conditions. Safety testing conducted by the FAA found that current aircraft cargo fire suppression system would not be capable of suppressing a fire if a shipment of non-rechargeable lithium batteries were ignited in flight.

"This rule protects the passenger," said Lynne Osmus, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) assistant administrator for security and hazardous materials. "It's one more step for safety. It's the right thing to do and the right time to do it."

In addition to the new rule, PHMSA is working with the FAA, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the battery and airline industries, airline employee organizations, testing laboratories, and the emergency response communities to increase public awareness about battery-related risks and developments. These useful safety tips are highlighted at the public website: http://safetravel.dot.gov.

Carl Zeiss "Best of 2007" Photo Contest

Now that 2007 is history, a current Carl Zeiss AG contest is seeking your best photos from 2007 using a Zeiss lens.

There are two categories for the contest, which is open only to photographs captured using a Carl Zeiss lens. The first category is specific to photos taken with Logitech webcams, Nokia cell phones, and Sony compact or bridge cameras. The second category is expanded to submissions from SLR, rangefinder or medium format camera users. In both cases, submissions will apparently be judged on creativity and composition.

All submissions must be completed by 7th January 2008, and only one photo submission per photographer is accepted. There are ten prizes in each category, with only the grand prize differing between the two. The winner of the first category will receive a Nokia N95 8GB camera phone, while the winner in the second category will receive any ZM, ZF, ZK or ZS mount Carl Zeiss lens of their choice (excluding the Distagon T* 2.8/15 ZM and Sonnar T* 2/85 ZM). In either category, second place will merit a set of Carl Zeiss Conquest 8x20 binoculars, and third place will receive a Logitech Quickcam Orbit MP webcam. Fourth through tenth places in each category will receive a Carl Zeiss lens cleaning kit and 30 pre-moistened optical cleaning cloths.

For more details, visit the Carl Zeiss website and click on the Conditions or Participation Form links.

Olympus Releases RAW Codec For Windows Vista

OLYMPUS RAW codec is the program to import and display the RAW data file (file extension is .orf) into Windows Vista. This can be used if your computer's OS is Windows Vista. Please check in the operation manual for your digital camera if this RAW data file works on your digital camera. If you cannot select RAW data file on the camera MENU, you cannot capture RAW data images.

Target Models
- E-1, E-3*, E-300, E-330, E-400, E-410, E-500 , E-510 , E-10, E-20, C-70 ZOOM, C-5050ZOOM, C-5060 Wide Zoom, C-7070 Wide Zoom, C-8080 Wide Zoom, SP-310, SP-320, SP-350, SP-500UZ, SP-510UZ, SP-550UZ, SP-560UZ

*A part of the parameter does not apply to RAW developing of images.

Download codec directly from the Olympus website.