Sunday, February 27, 2011


This may be out there somewhere but not on any of my Canon cameras.  Seems to be available on Smart Phones but not real cameras.  Let's face it, Digital Cameras are designed by engineers governed by their Marketing Department Masters.  Not photographers, the end users.  There is an inherent problem with this.  Case in point: Downloading pictures and emailing them.

A BUTTON on the back of a camera, not yet another godforsaken menu-pick.  The new button, universal among manufacturers,  when pushed, transfers the photo DISPLAYED on the back of the camera to the DESIGNATED or AUTOMATIC EMAIL bucket on the computer designated on setup via WiFi.  The photo is in 6" x6" dimensions to accommodate 4x6 in vertical or horizontal jpg and 72 dpi resolution, not the "full RAW FILE monty."  Option to include Copyright and Watermark info if desired.

Digital Photography is a hassel.  "If you want pictures,  shoot film.  If you want work, shoot digital."  - John Ares

Current process:
1. Take the card out of the camera
2. Locate and connect card reader to computer with the correct functioning slot for the card.
3. Insert card
4. Wait for Lightroom or other software to recognize card
5. Go through endless dialogs to download photo including setting up new folder with correct name and important Metadata, manually designating presets to "work automatically."
6. Wait up to 30 minutes while entire card is downloaded.
7.  Select photos.
8.  Export the photos
9.  Select the correct EXPORT dialog preset from a list.
10. Send files
11.  Log into Email and select photos and send.
12.  Endure interruptions encouraging upgrades for security and the photo software by Adobe.  The upgrades now include the latest camera models from native manufacturers like Nikon and Canon denied to Adobe and they had to spend time and resources to reverse engineer.  Great business models.  NOT.  Lets grow up folks! 

Just remember, this 12 Step Program explained in Marketing's Powerpoint presentation is for our benefit and makes life "easier, better, saves time & money."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Adobe has some serious bugs and performance issue in their flagship programs.  Providing feedback to them formally is a pain and always goes unacknowledged except for the user forums where comments go on forever it seems without resolution.  I had a clipboard issue that was one example recently.  I still get e-mails.

In any case, I am posting this in the hope that ADOBE actually trolls and finds this.  There are a lot of fixes needed on the MAC Versions.  Adobe needs to employ more programmers than lawyers!

Make your voices heard.  You are not alone.


SERIOUS Develop commands like Tone and Crop are still unstable and frequently reset on their own.

ANNOYANCE: IMPORT Preset - not a default.  Must always select. Easy to forget to set.  Why not a preference? Fewer clicks are better.

SERIOUS Synchronize is DYSFUNCTIONAL.  Major problems.  Bridge shows 102 photos.  Lightroom after SYNC shows 22.  I have NO TRUST IN THIS PROGRAM.

When Synchronizing, it shows only the new ones in the folder that were imported.  Should be an INTUITIVE button to show the entire folder contents.  ALTERNATIVE: HIGHLIGHT THE CORRECT FOLDER just synchronized in the TREE FOLDER PANE with BOLD YELLOW.  Don’t make me think about what should be obvious.

Should be an AUTO SYNC option in preferences.

Autosync is would be a nice feature.  A preference, prevents constant guessing of what updates were made.  Put a timer on and let it run at 3am.

PREFERENCE for Delete default.  DELETE from disk is not the default. Level of security should be selectable.  Fewer clicks are better.

Selections do not work properly
Selecting multiple photos and hitting the delete key, only selects one.  Must right click.  
Same with flagging picks.

To select the VIEW PICKS filter, you now need to click twice.  Clicking once does nothing

Folder structure collapses when changing or adding folder names, forcing retracing of a lot of steps.  Worse performance than 2.X

Use MAC Color Sceme on Folder Tree Structure.  I carefully color code my folders and in both Bridge and Lightroom, it is not shown.  Yet, in Photoshop, when I try to find a file, the folders open in all their relevant, colorful glory.  Surely the Mac / Adobe “Special Relationship should allow for this to happen.

Import JPEGs and convert to DPG: don’t give me an excuse and message that it was’t done.

Add to a given collection - quick, the B key is quick collection, what is the shortcut key to add to a SPECIFIC Collection?

Need one EASY shortcut key to go to Library, not compound.  How about L.  Change L for lights out.  Lights out should be FULL SCREEN slide show without the loading delay.  Current feature is of limited use to me.

Camera Raw updates not coordinated.  Despite having Lightroom 3.3, and CS5, Adobe  Updater still thinks I am out of date.

Keywording panel is too hard to customize.  I repeatedly need to fill in only a few fields but have to scroll all over creation.  How about “Right click and use check boxes for the fields you want to see.”

Explanation of creating a hierarchy needs to be better.  I have lots of creatures with Common names and Latin names and Adobe hasn’t made my life INTUITIVELY easier here.

Some Items are UN-LABEL-ABLE. Need to skip some and just remember the one that needed a label or rating.

VIEW /Sort View is a mess.  Buried many menu clicks deep, it should always be visable.  I frequently have to do sorts Ascending and Descending, by date and by filename.  Make Sort a different menu bar item and use checkboxes so we can do things quickly, not having to back in repeatedly. Fewer clicks are a good thing.

COPY TO AND MOVE TO should support longer lists of folders. ACDSee does this better, but they are flailing and uncommunicative as well.

Use MAC Color Sceme on Folder Tree Structure.  I carefully color code my folders and in both Bridge and Lightroom, it is not shown.  Yet, in Photoshop, when I try to find a file, the folders open in all their relevant, colorful glory.  Surely the Mac / Adobe “Special Relationship” should allow for this to happen.

Enable Mouse/Trackball wheel scrolling to go to next picture.

Using MAC OSX, switching to Lightroom requires going via Bridge, or other application.  Most of the time, my monitor 2 appears and not the main view.  Could be a video card issue.

Adjustment Brush wanted, not just in Camera Raw.  Dodge and Burn is messy and awkward.

Opening shots from BRIDGE, you can’t pre-determine where the picture will appear between two monitors.  Arbitrary and files can get buried and hidden.

INCREDIBLY, PHOTOSHOP STILL DOES NOT AUTO SAVE DOCUMENTS. Auto-update Open documents is a useless term.  AUTO SAVE OPEN DOCUMENTS is better, should be default setting.

I have NO IDEA what AUTO-UPDATE DOES.  It surely does NOT AUTO SAVE.  Deceptive name to the function. Electric Iris has a plugin ( but that is not the answer for a program that just celebrated its 20th ANNIVERSARY!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

PORTRAITS: Tibetan Portrait - The Power of Compassion

BOOK REVIEW: Tibetan Portrait - The Power of Compassion Photos by Phil Borges

Learned of this book at the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art in Staten Island where this exhibit is in it waning days.  The museum is lilliputian, but the grounds are photogenic in themselves and perfect for a party / celebration.  The view from Lighthouse Hill is one of NYCs best kept secrets but that is a post for a another time.

The book has stunning photographs of Tibetans from circa 1994.  Count on this venue to keep you up to date even it takes 20 years.  Photographers learn in many different ways as most humans but we, DUH, tend to be more VISUAL in our learning preferences.  This book is a PRE-DIGITAL LESSON in four things: 1. Human expression,  2.  Subtlety of color (B&W combined with Sepia), 3. Lighting and  4. Use of  "Frames" in a pre-photoshop era.

The book it out of print but available.  Rizzoli is the publisher.

Steve McCurry, Richard Avedon and Annie Liebowitz are among my favorite portrait photographers.  Whether studio or outdoors, the human being is still among our most fascinating subjects.

Tibetan Portraits succeeds because these folks are NOT from here.  They look different.  You will not see them in the local Chinese restaurant.  They are different, they are Tibetan.  Their culture is in their eyes. The Dalai Lama shot is stunning, yet he blends in with the rest of the subjects.  Much to learn here.  The text accompanying the photos is provided by the Dalai Lama.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Having a variety of backgrounds is important for any studio or enthusiast photographer.  Having a primo background that is contemporary and painted with different tints can give your work a distinctive look.   Model Beatriz Carranza is depicted below using a Wescott background.  (Her contact info is found in my portrait gallery here.)

However, you want to change things from time to time and BLACK and WHITE are basic alternatives.  So much so that Botero has given away a ton of their plain white #000 background when you buy another background.  Except it isn't Muslin, most likely it is nylon or polyester.  Muslin by the way is a fabric weave of COTTON.  Flannel is a different weave of cotton.

So why then is the black version of the #000 near $80.00 or so?  It is a mystery of the seas.

To avoid that toll, I went to a fabric store today and saw they had a MUSLIN department.  The material is 9 feet wide and I got 3 yards as it is sold by the yard.  Cost?  Under $30.00.  You may want to have someone sew a flap on one end so it can be supported in a background stand.  Voila!

Here is the earth held up to my black background.  Just kidding.  See this and more in my Surreal Gallery.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Long Lenses are critical if you are a bird or wildlife photographer.  There is no using a point and shoot with a 140 mm equivalent zoom lens.  A minimum 400-500 mm is required.  OK.  However, a picture is worth a thousand words.  Check out the current lineup of Focal length by manufacturer and their prices.  What is wrong with this picture?

The prices are from B&H today but the exact pricing is not important.  The BIG RED HOLE above is the gap that is the elephant in the room and NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT IT.

What this says, is that if you want a 600 or 800 mm 5.6 lens, you must spend over $8000!

I am using a Canon 70-200 2.8 L with a 2x extender.  The resulting 400mm 5.6 beats my 170-500 Sigma hands down, never mind the image stabilization.  I pushed the extremes and equipped the Sigma 5.6 with a Sigma 2X converter and have a rarely used 1000mm f/11 manual focus dreadful, unsharp compromise.  Autofocus requires f/5.6 or better.

Now, why must we spend $8000 for a decent 600 mm?  Do market forces dictate so little demand for the lenses and the expense of manufacturing so high, dictate that nothing decent can be had for say $2500?

Here is a challenge for long lens manufacturers, Canon, Nikon, Sigma, and Tamron to come up with a single focal length 600 mm  IS 5.6 lens that does not break the bank.

Here is my T-Shirt design shot with my Canon telephoto from a safe distance.

See my bear gallery shot with various long lenses.


Funny you should post on this. Just yesterday, I noted with some dismay that the Canon 500/4 now costs more than $9k. Not so long ago, the previous version (the $9k is for a "II" model) was less than $5k.

The dollar has depreciated against the yen. Many costs are up. But few of us who actually try to make a living with such glass have been flourishing.

After years of limping with a Canon 300/4 IS and Canon teleconverters, I found a great, open-box deal last year on one of the few well-built, off-brand 300/2.8s remaining on the market. It's surprisingly good, even with the Canon 1.4x. And the 2X combo is fairly practical.

Certainly, I would like to have the white 500/4, 400/2.8 or even the 400/4 DO. But I simply don't see a business plan to support owning any of them - let alone a 600/4. I guess Canon figures safari-addicted doctors and lawyers will pay for the arm candy. Perhaps they figure that if the price is higher it will draw more conspicuous consumers.

Certainly there's more profit in such folks than in pros struggling to make more for less in the digital age.

-- greg smith;


I don't think any manufacturer is going make a fixed f5.6 400mm, 500mm, etc. at a lower than $3K price.

Reason being they don't NEED to......

Between SI (Sports Illustrated) type photogs and the remaining news services (plus the well heeled customer "Hobbyist" shooters) they will sell whatever limited numbers they produce. At a decent profit I'm sure, too.

Lens rental places will buy them and make oodles of money for the "one safari of a lifetime" folks who need that lens on a once in a lifetime type trip.

I haven't bought a lens over 300mm EVER.........Especially only owning 1.6X crop type dSLR bodies.

It's similar to the tiny world of UW shooter lamenting about new EVIL cameras with APS-C sensors and interchangeable lenses in smaller bodies. It would be GREAT if these took off meaning a lighter smaller housing to travel with.

But a conversation I had with a photo industry friend the other day spells it out...........

I cried "Why isn't my beloved Canon announced one yet?"  

If you read the rumors sites neither Canon nor Nikon are rushing to bring one out and compete with Sony NEX-5 or other models like the Olympus E-PL2, a few other Panasonic and the like...

The MAIN reason, they don't HAVE to.

They're already tooled up to produce a few hundred thousand (close to a million?) each of lower end dSLR cameras (such as the newest Canon Rebel T3i) the Nikon D3100 and other various priced models. They also can then sell you lenses, flashes, accessory grips, etc.

Right now look how cheap a dSLR is that take astounding pics at higher ISOs than1-2 generations ago. So "fast" lenses aren't needed as much for 99% of dSLR owners.

YES, for isolation you need to vary your technique but it isn't that hard with even a moderate zoom variable aperture lens like a f4-5.6.

I routinely shoot my Canon 60D at ISO 400 - 800 and higher.

Awhile ago I thought the low priced dSLR would die soon.

Now I'm not so sure.....

    David Haas


DATA POINT:  Unfortunately,  major lens rental places IN NYC don't seem to have 600mm or above for rent AT ALL last time I looked Anyone please prove me wrong, there may be a business opportunity here to rent 600mms in NYC.


ADORAMA SPECIALS for February 7, 2011

A bunch of cool stuff this week including memory Card discounts.

Click here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

CANON LENSES: Gaps in the line

This is a major failing of the Canon Marketing team in my opinion.  Looking over the Fall 2010 EOS System catalog, the most glaring need is in the area of the Canon 15-85mm 3.5-5.6 IS USM.  Canon needs to make a slightly wider version of this maybe 12-85mm.  However, this would be IDEAL as an "L" Series 2.8 Lens to satisfy those of us using APS-C sensor cameras.

The Existing lineup of L Series lenses has only a 16-35mm 2.8L USM and new fisheye 8-15mm.  These are hardly good for portraits.  The L-Series lenses that are made are the 24-70 2.8L and the 24-105 4.0L.  Nice, but not wide enough as was outlined in the chart of my previous post.

The Canon solution is for me to sell all my APS-C cameras and get a couple of FULL FRAME Cameras like the Canon 5D Mark IIs, and that is considerably more painful than buying one lens.

If you feel the same way, please provide feedback to Canon at:
carecenter@CITS.CANON.COM   copy me too at

and Canon Rumors at:

Marketing Lenses: Industry Failings

I think that camera and lens manufacturers such as Canon, Sigma and Tamron have missed the boat in the way they market lenses. Similar to the great, deceptive MEGAPIXEL wars (much ado about nothing) giving a "35mm equivalent" is not especially helpful.

I frequently like to shoot fairly wide, around the magic angle of 90 degrees, the full frame equivalent of 20mm.  To do this using the highest quality lenses from Canon is a challenge as their L series ZOOMS  mostly stops at 24mm.  At this end of the lens spectrum, every millimeter counts.

The Sea Lions below were shot with an 11-18mm Tamron Lens at 11mm.

See more of my Sea Lions and Seals here.

The following chart I derived from a  Wikipedia  chart and illustrates typical angles of view.

What does this all mean?  For real meaning, I want the camera and lens manufacturers to start marketing lens angles using DEGREES of Diagonal coverage, not Focal length.

The Sea Lion shot above is available for sale as a T-Shirt here.


Click here to see this week's specials.