Thursday, 28 June 2012

Rick Sammon seminar - Kitchener - September 2012

Rick Sammon, a Canon Explorer of Light, is one of the most active photographers on the planet. The dude just can’t sit still!

Rick has published 36 paper books, including Secrets of HDR Photography, Exploring the Light, and Digital Photography Secrets. Rick’s book, Flying Flowers won the coveted Golden Light Award, and his book Hide and See Under the Sea won the Ben Franklin Award.

He is also a leader in iPad and iPhone photography apps. His apps include:
• Rick Sammon’s Light It! – a collection of live-action movies that show Rick’s basic lighting techniques.
• Rick Sammon’s iHDR – an interactive iPad app that shows the user the wonders of HDR photography.
• Rick Sammon’s 24/7 Photo Buffet – an e-book that offers 24/7 access to Rick’s best photo tips, tricks and techniques. iPhone and iPad versions available.

Rick, who has photographed in almost 100 countries around the world, gives more than two-dozen photography workshops (including private workshops) and presentations around the world each year.
He co-founded the Digital Photography Experience podcast ( with Juan Pons and also hosts several shows on and has a three-day class on

Rick has been nominated for the Photoshop Hall of Fame, is considered one of today’s top digital -imaging experts, cutting through lots of Photoshop “speak,” making it fun, easy and rewarding to work and play in the digital darkroom.

When asked about his photo specialty, Rick says, “My specialty is not specializing.”

See for more information about Rick.  

Introducing The Event

Saturday, September 22, 2012 - 10:00am till 12:00pm
Bingamens Conference Centre in Ballroom BC
425 Bingemans Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario

Saturday Morning you will be treated to Rick’s first presentation in Canada. He will be demonstrating a Speedlite Shoot.

Rick will demo his favorite speedlite tips, tricks and techniques. We'll have a model, some soft boxes and a background.

Rick will show you how you don't need a professional studio to get professional quality results.

Saturday, September 22, 2012 - 1:00pm till 4:00pm
Bingamens Conference Centre in Ballroom BC
425 Bingemans Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario

In the afternoon Rick's presentation will be “Exploring the Light”. In this informative and fun-filled presentation, Rick Sammon will begin by sharing his people, wildlife, landscape and travel pictures from around the globe – illustrating the difference between taking pictures and making pictures. For every image, Rick will share a photographic technique, digital darkroom tip, or a photo philosophy. He will cover seeing the light, controlling the light, playing with the light, HDR photography and some composition techniques. 

This is not just a slide show of pretty images. Rick is here to share what he’s learned over his many years as a professional photographer. As Rick “takes” us on a visual journey through the exciting world of digital photography, he will share some of his favorite Photoshop CS5 enhancements. 

Come and learn from one of the best teachers and photographers of our time. To reserve your spot visit us here...

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Chetlenham Badlands - Photographic Destinations in Ontario

Cheltenham Badlands is a small example of Badlands formation in Caledon, Ontario.
The site is located on the southside of Old Base Line Road (between Ontario Highway 10 and Creditview Road/Peel Regional Road 12) and features exposed and eroded Queenston Shale. The formation is located along the Niagara Escarpment.

“Badlands” is a geologic term for an area of soft rock devoid of vegetation and soil cover that has become molded into a rolling landscape of rounded hills and gullies. Such areas are rare in Ontario and this is one of the best examples. They exhibit the reddish hue of the Queenston Shale that forms them; the iron oxide in the shale produces this colour. The narrow greenish bands that can be seen throughout the shale are due to the change of red iron oxide to green iron oxide brought on by the circulating groundwater. The relatively soft shale is essentially clay and is easily eroded by water. This site was acquired by the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 2000 and is under the care of the Bruce Trail Association.

The Badlands, near the villages of Inglewood and Cheltenham Ontario, are an Earth Science Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI), managed by the Bruce Trail Conservancy. In order to protect the sensitive environment of this site from degradation, visitors are requested to comply with the following: no sliding or digging, stay on the flat area in the vicinity of the interpretative signs, stay off the trail during wet conditions, no tobogganing, no motorized vehicles, no bicycles, no horses and please, do not litter. The Side Trail is closed due to erosion. Take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but your thanks.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Photography gear suggestions for a Tanzania photo safari

The African safari dream vacation is booked.

Now comes the tiem to make sone decisions -- what camera equipment do you take with you to get the photos you sooooo want to show off?

Camera bodies:
Take a main body and a spare if you have one. One will suffice... but two is optimal.

On my next Safari I will be taking the Canon 5D MkII and the Olympus E30.

I suggest full coverage from wide angle to telephoto.  On my next photo safari to Tanzania I will be taking the 11-22mm f2.8-3.5 wide angle, a 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 and a 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 with a 2.0x teleconverter for my Olympus body.
For my canon body I will have a Sigma 150-500mm f5-6.3 and a 17-40mm f/4.0L

An external flash is also a suggestion. Filling in shadows and creating proper lighting indoors and when shooting local tribes people is something a flash will help you with.

Camera Bag:
A backpack camera bag is ideal. You'll want to be able to carry your equipment on to airplanes to avoid theft, so a backpack works best.

I will have my gear in a LowePRO protrekker 400 as it will fit both my bodies and lenses in the bag while I am travelling.

I am not going to tell you that this is a deal breaker… you can choose to shoot in any light situation you want… but why chance it.

I will take a monopod , a beanbag and a light carbon fibre tripod. Chances are you will be using the bean bag most while on safari and when not using it the ISO adjustment will compensate for any low light situations. But for golden hour or blue hour shooting you will be kicking yourself in the butt when you see a scene at low light and you have no way to steady your camera for a couple seconds.

Storage Media
I shoot all my photos in RAW and will take a minimum of 5 media cards for the 7 day trip. Each card will be a 16gig Sandisk Extreme CF cards and will hold between 800 and 1100 images on each card.

Other accessories:
Take a rain cover for yourself and your camera body if you are going to be there in the rainy season like we will. While rain last for very short periods of time in Tanzania, the down pours are hard.

Batteries and chargers:
 I have four batteries for each camera body and I will take them all. I will also be taking chargers with the appropriate wall plug to charge my batteries as they drain. You can also buy a solar panel charger from a company called voltaic systems for a couple hundred dollars if you want to go that route.

I will be taking my entire cokin P series polarizers and ND filters with me when I travel. I also have an assortment of Tiffen filters I use.

At some point on your safari you will wish you had the right filter. Harsh light or bright skies and darker foregrounds will definitely have you scurrying to borrow someone’s filter if you do not take your own.

Lens cleaners and cloths:
Take cleaners and cloths for both your lenses and sensor (if you know how to clean your sensor) If you are not careful when changing lenses you can easily get dust on your sensor.

If an African Safari is something you have always wanted to do, check out our trips in the next couple years on the Photographers Lounge.

We also have just a fun African holiday with a group of us coming up in April 2013. The photo safari price is under $4000 and includes all your land based costs and food... Shoot me an email if you are interested... kevin @ . Its just going to be a great holiday with friends in Tanzania.... taking photos, sharing stories by the fire under the full moon in April of 2013, making new friends and enjoying the beautiful country of Tanzania. 

Monday, 4 June 2012

Tips for photographing an air show

An air show brings back childhood fantasies of flying plastic planes and yearning to be that Top Gun pilot that seems invincible. That’s probably why you will see generations of families sitting on lawn chairs… grandfathers, fathers and young boys… and they all have a camera to try and recapture those childhood fantasies.

As with any photographic genre, there can be real expensive. Your camera and lenses can range from discount specials, to the kind that breaks the bank. You know the kind, the long lenses that leave others with envy. Just remember, it’s not always the gear that takes the great photo, it’s the space between your two ears that will make your photos better than the others.

My gear that I took to the Waterloo  air show this year:
Camera and gear: Olympus E-30 DSLR, tripod to rest the camera with larger telephoto lenses on it. (Although, using such fast shutter speeds can eliminate the need for a monopod)
Lenses: Olympus 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 for those flyby’s at low level and crowd photos, 2x teleconverter to stretch out the focal length to capture high flying aerials, and I brought my Olympus 11-22mm f2.8-3.5 wide angle for some ground photos offering a different perspective. Wide-angle lenses are a big help for ground photos as they yield dramatic perspectives. They also allow you to get close enough to the aircraft to eliminate foreground clutter and still fit the entire craft into the frame

Memory and batteries: I always carry spare batteries. At any given time in my camera bag I will have 3 spare batteries to make sure I have enough. I will also go through over 1000 shots quite easily at an air show in a couple hours. For memory, I like to use as fast a memory card as possible as I will be shooting in burst mode. I will take two 16 gig memory cards and probably go through almost both of them. The really big acts happen towards the end of the show. Nothing is more irritating than an excellent day of shooting only to discover you only have 14 shots left on your last memory card to shoot the display you have been waiting all day to see.
Clothing:  Wear a hat! Keep the sun off your head. Cargo pants… I do not know the rules where you live, but some air shows will sometimes not let you bring in camera bags… therefore all the various pockets in the cargo pants will come in handy for carrying your various items. But before you stuff all that loosely into your various pockets… put everything in Ziploc bags to keep them safe.
Accessories: Sunscreen, earplugs, comfortable shoes, photo vest and bring some water.

OK, here are the photography tips:
Practice shooting other fast moving subjects before you get to the air show. Expect to use the first day of an air show as your practice day, getting down the timing you will need to capture good photographs of planes in flight.
I could write all the technical jargon on this topic for a few pages. But for the sake of time and saving trees; allow me to keep it simple. A general rule is “Put your camera on shutter priority and do not shoot at a speed slower than twice the length of the longest part of the lens you are using.”

In other words, if you are using a 100-400mm lens, shoot no lower than 1/800. There is a notable exception to this generalization, anything with a propeller. Propeller driven aircraft are a challenge. If you shoot them at a high shutter speed the image you capture will be unnatural looking in that the propeller will be frozen in flight. A much better alternative is to lower the shutter speed and capture the ever elusive “propeller blur”

Prop blur occurs when the shutter speed is adequately slow enough to capture at least some of the arc of the tip of the propeller. This can be achieved if you shoot anywhere from 1/125 to 1/180, but the results are hit and miss, which leads me to this, shoot in continuous mode.

Another thing you could always shoot at is just to put the camera on shutter priority and shoot at 1/1000th of a second in the hopes that this will help to eliminate blurriness caused by hand shake. For the average photographer this will work just fine. However, all other things being equal in shutter priority, increasing the shutter speed simultaneously adjusts your aperture, resulting in blurriness because of decreased depth of field. So increasing the shutter speed isn't a perfect solution.

Personally I like to pan with flying images at a fairly high shutter speed. I set my camera on manual mode, set the aperture to a mid range, F5.6 to F11, depending on brightness, and set my shutter speeds up around 1/800. Again, depending on how bright the day it. It’s just one of those things you will have to determine on the day of. I adjust for the light and fine tune with my ISO and EV to get the right exposure. I am not a firm believer in stretching the limits of my gear. I rarely shoot at full focal length or at an aperture of an f2.8

Now when it comes to shots of the crowds or photos of stationary airplanes, I’ll jump over to aperture priority mode. With most air shows occurring in reasonably good weather, worrying about the amount of light while shooting a lower aperture generally isn’t a problem. Shoot whatever you feel comfortable with. I generally choose an aperture of f9.0, or some mid range f-stop to get the optimum image out of my lens. Occasionally I will dial it down to f2.8 if I am focused on macro images.

Choose Your Location WiselyGet to the show early to scope out the best possible location to shoot. How do you find that best spot? Here is a tip… The best spot is where all the photographers with the big lenses will be standing. Don’t let them intimidate you. Nuzzle up and remember my first piece of advice. The composition and the quality of the photos are greatly influenced by what’s between your ears, not the 24 inches of steel the guy beside you has.

If you get there early enough you’ll be rewarded by being right on the fence thus preventing the little kids from getting in front of you and ruining your shot. Once you get the prime spot, set up your chairs and umbrellas, settle back and guard your patch. J

Take it from me…
Be prepared for some disappointment. Missed timing with half a plane in the frame, blurry shots, someone’s head in the way. But seeing that you are shooting in the digital format… if you have the memory capacity… shoot to your heart’s content. But do not delete anything till you have had a chance to look at the images on the computer. You never know what you will miss happening in the air while you’re deleting those shots at the show.

Most Importantly:
An air show can be a lot of fun. Don’t get so engrossed in shooting that you forget to have a good time with your family. It’s good to have some great shots for your portfolio, but living the excitement with your child who may have
childhood aviator fantasies of their own is more important.

From the Waterloo Air show in Breslau,

Kevin A. Pepper

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Rick Sammon's Digital Imaging Diaries: Guest Blogger: The Awesome Kevin Pepper!

I am a little humbled today... Rick Sammon's Digital Imaging Diaries: Guest Blogger: The Awesome Kevin Pepper!: © Kevin Pepper Today's guest blogger is my friend and photographer Kevin Pepper . Together, we are leading lightning workshop to Venezue...

Friday, 1 June 2012

Rick Sammon's Digital Imaging Diaries: Pros: Please Be Kind Part III

Rick Sammon's Digital Imaging Diaries: Pros: Please Be Kind Part III:

I read this BLOG post this morning and wanted to share it with everyone as a reminder to do your due diligence before you choose a workshop