Time, Effort and Practice Pay Off
The following hummingbird photos were sent by Butch, a former student. As you can imagine, out of every 100 students, probably no more than 1 or 2 stays with photography or advances beyond basic snapshots. Butch has far exceeded what most students ever attain. After about 5 years, out of the clear blue, Butch sent me these photos and added I was the first to advise him to use a flash and HSS to “freeze” hummingbirds in flight. He’s learned well and I applaud his persistence. I particularly like that he used a slow enough shutter speed to leave some blur in the wings.
Canon EF 135/2.0L USM
I recently bought this lens, one of Canon’s sharpest. I’d always wanted one but didn’t have a need for it. Now that I’m mainly shooting studio nudes, I can put it to good use. When I saw it on Canon’s Refurb shop for $799.99, I jumped since it retails for $999. But wait, it gets better. While waiting for the lens to arrive, I noticed Canon had further reduced the price to $679.99. Calling Canon, I was pleasantly surprised when the rep cheerfully adjusted my price and refunded the extra $120. In the end, I got a great lens for 32% ($320) off retail.
As I get older, I’m suppressing my measurbater tendencies. I considered doing a test shoot using various targets to measure and quantify its sharpness compared to other lenses in my bag but the idea was quickly dismissed. I’ll take some test shots and post them over the next few weeks. If you’re a measurbater at heart, read what Roger Cicala, Founder & CEO of LensRentals.com says about the EF 135/2.0.
Canon Refurbs are returns or overstocks. A defective or damaged lens goes through Canon’s repair facility where a Canon trained tech goes through each lens. Parts aren’t repaired but replaced and the product is tested. At the factory hundreds of lenses come off the line and each is given a cursory inspection but at the repair center, lenses are tested individually. In my experience, every refurb has always arrived in pristine condition and the only difference is that it may not come in an original retail box. This lens only came with a lens pouch, front & rear caps and paperwork.
In the case of overstocks, a dealer or distributor may have overestimated how many units they could sell or the company may have gone out of business or the product might have been superseded by a newer model or technology. In such cases, Canon sells them as Refurb in the original box, just like you find at a store.
Wishing Everyone a Merry, Merry & a Happy, Happy!
Lots to Report Today
First, be sure to check out the details of the 4-hour Photoshop Elements class. This class is for those who don’t want to waste time. In 4 hours, in the comfort of your own home, Rob Sheppard will teach you everything you need to know to immediately start doing useful, creative, fun projects with Photoshop Elements. Take advantages of the Early Bird Special pricing before Sept 30.
Second, Photoshop World in Las Vegas is just around the corner. On Oct 3, 4 and 5, three million crazed PS users will descend on Las Vegas for 72 hours of ’round-the-clock Photoshop (OK, so it’s only 3000). If you’re an old hand, you know how much learning can be crammed into 72 hours. If you’re a noob, you’ll be blown away by how much you learn in 72 hours. If you’d like to connect at PSW, let me know.
Third, for San Diego locals, great news. Deer Park Winery in Escondido has reopened after a hiatus of several years. The winery boasts one of the most complete antique American car collections in the US. Over the next few weeks I’ll be scouting the site for photoshoot classes so if you’d like to join me, send an e-mail. Entry is just $5 and there’s a nice deli on the grounds. The winery is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10AM until 5PM and is located on Old Highway 395 between Welk Resort and Old Castle Road.
Fourth, in case you missed my earlier announcement, 2 more videos have been uploaded to the video area. I’m finding videos easier to produce and pack more information than MMTs so I’ll be doing more videos over the next few months. For the moment, low resolution versions will be on YouTube and high rez versions will be on this site. As I get more proficient, I’ll start differentiating by putting more complete videos on this site and using YouTube for teasers and trailers.
Fifth, I’ve posted a bunch of SoCal events on the Tips & News page so check out what’s happening from Native American Pow Wows to Bates Nut Farm to Art Tours to Canon Events. If you know of any photo ops that may be of interest to others, send me the link and I’ll post them here. Also check out the Fall Photoshoot schedule. Wild Animal Park photoshoots are back starting on September 19.
Sixth, you may recall my post where I mentioned Benjamin Kanarek, a Paris-based fashion photographer. He must have followed my link from my post on his site. The guy actually posted a reply on this site. I was surprised that he took the time to review and comment on my post. Now, if I can only figure out a way to get him to hire me as an assistant on one of his shoots!
Finally, Canon has agreed to give away 1D Mark III dSLRs to my readers (kidding, just checking to see if you’re still awake). This is the year I finally get off my duff and photograph some burrowing owls at Salton Sea. If you’re interested in joining me, let me know and we’ll coordinate. Since I can probably get away easier than most of you, I plan to go out to Salton Sea on a Wed or Thu and have prime locations scouted by the time you arrive on the weekend. This is tentatively scheduled for November.
Rob Sheppard to Teach Photoshop Elements
On Saturday, November 14 from 9AM until 1PM, Rob Sheppard will teach a 4-hour Photoshop Elements class jam-packed with tricks, tips and shortcuts used by professional photographers. Whether you are a complete newbie or an experienced PSE user, you will learn more about Photoshop Elements than you ever imagined possible. After this class you will be able to enhance and edit digital photos faster, easier and more precisely than ever before. Most of the material from this class also applies to Photoshop CSx.
If that’s not enough, you’ll receive 60 days of e-mail support after the class. That’s right, for 60 days, if you encounter a problem and just can’t figure out how to apply Rob’s tips, send me an e-mail and I’ll get you an answer. What class have you ever taken that offers that kind of help?
Anyone with the slightest interest in photography knows the name Rob Sheppard. He’s the editor of Outdoor Photographer magazine and editor/founder of PCPhoto as well as author of over a dozen books on photography. Obviously, it’s not easy to book someone as much in demand as Rob.
The cost is just $59.95 ($49.95 early bird special until Sept 30). Rob’s classes typically range from $150 to $950 so this is a screaming deal. Click HERE to register today. Seating is limited.
Monday Morning Tip
Until I started teaching digital photography, I didn’t realize there are just as many female gearheads as there are male gearheads. (A gearhead lusts for shiny new toys regardless of whether they know how to use it or will ever need it.) One of the regular questions I see on forums is, “What lens should I buy?” This is usually from someone who hasn’t even learned how to use the current lens(es) they own. Somehow, digital photography has become enamored of the idea that buying a new lens will improve one’s photography. I think this is an extension of the first era of digital photography when everyone was convinced that buying more megapixels would improve one’s photos. Allow me to disabuse you of such silly notions. Buying more lenses means you have less money in your wallet.
Today’s MMT is for the more rational among us who are interested in the art of photography and not in being a one person economic stimulus program for camera companies. As always, the full MMT is in the password protected area of Tips & News.