I use a JVC GR-DX25EK digital video camera and a Sony Alpha 100 DSLR still camera with a 18-70mm zoom lens, Sigma 70-300mm F/4-5.6 APO DG Macro zoom lens, Sigma 10-20mm F/4-5.6 EX DC lens, and a Sigma EF 500 DG ST flash. My backup point-and-shoot camera is a Sony DSC-HX9V. I carry my camera equipment in a Tamrac Adventure 9 camera bag and print to a Canon Pixma ip4000 printer. Scanning of photos, slides and negatives are done on an Epson Perfection V300 Photo scanner. I use Spyder2 Suiteto calibrate my LCD monitor’s colour.
I edit the footage and write it to DVD’s using a LG DR4812W DVD Recorder.
Some useful utilities I use:
- Google Picasa – I use Picasa for all my quick editing such as straightening, fill light, retouching, cropping, etc. I add captions and tags from within Picasa before uploading to Google+, Flickr, Facebook and Picasa Webalbums. I also use Picasa to geotag my photos with Google Earth. Two useful buttons to add to Picasa are the Picas2Flickr and Picasa to Facebook buttons to quickly upload batches of photos to these two sites.
- Digikam – free photo editing software for Linux, Mac, FreeBSD and Windows and with do batch geotagging and also uploads to various photo sharing sites.
- Flickr Uploadr – allows you to publish a batch of photos into Flickr directly from your computer. Once you install the Uploadr, just drag and drop in your photos, add some tags, and you’re done! I really like the auto resize function.
- Flickr Widget – a really useful Yahoo Widget that allows you to have a photo frame on your desktop that scrolls through your favourite Flickr photos, or your contacts, or the most interesting photos of the day, etc. For your own photos you can edit captions, sets, groups, etc all without opening your browser!
- Flickr.Net Screensaver – sources photos live from Flickr including favourites, tags, groups, etc. Slickr is another excellent screensaver that will work even if you are offline.
- Google Earth Flickr Photos – open this KML Feed in Google Earth to view Flickr photos nearby the location you are viewing in Google Earth (automatically updates as you move the view in GE).
- Your Explor’r Widget – a Yahoo widget that will keep an eye on Flickr to see which of your photos make it into the top 500 most interesting for the day and then alert you. It will also search for any ocurrences of your photos that appeared in the most interesting Flickr photos of the day.
- Useful Flickr shortcut URL’s:
- See last two days comments people have left on your Flickr photos
- Keep an eye on replies to comments you have left on other people’s photos
- Tip to monitor for comments left, new photos, group comments, etc in specific Flickr groups – make use of the RSS feeds on those pages and use your RSS reader to quickly scan for these updates
- See most popular cameras used
- See world map and zoom into locations to see photos taken there
- Flickr Inspector – quickly check available details on any Flickr user.
- Flappr – fast flash based Flickr searcher with some useful features. Only pity is that the Interesting search only seems to work on random dates.
- Flickr Leech – use it to display the global most popular photos, or photos from a particular user or set, etc.
- Portable Flicka – Portable Flicka is a utility that lets you download photos from flickr. Download from your photostream, photosets, groups, favorites, or from your contacts or the user you want. Now handles photo licenses.
- Flickr Set Manager – allows you to automatically create new sets on Flickr based on various criteria such as interestingness, date posted and tags, or even from a random set of photographs.
- Flickr Storm – use it to search most interesting Flickr photos by a tag.
- Localize Bookmarklet – bookmarklet that enables mapping, geocoding and geotagging directly in your Flickr photo page. It works with all common browsers without the need for any extension.
- FlickrFly – a script that can be linked from the description or comment of a geotagged Flickr Photo to fly you that location in Google Earth to see where the original photo was taken. To input the geotags to your photos, use GETrackr from within Google Earth. See some of my photos that have been Geo enabled on my Flickr site.
- Mosaic Maker – create mosaics of your photos.
- Ron Bigelow Photography – interesting articles on some technical issues.
- Polarisers – interesting facts about them
- GreaseMonkeyScripts for Flickr(allows you to customise / hack the appearance of various sites):
- Multi-Group Sender – sends a photo to multiple groups in one go
- Flickr sets on the Left – shows double the number of sets, all grouped on the left
- Flickr Exif Info – display more information (like aperture, exposure, etc…) from the addition EXIF data directly on the photo page
- Flickr Contacts Organiser – all sorts of advanced information about your Flickr contacts
- Flickr MultiMailer – mail multiple recipients in one go
- Flickr Photostream Graphr – shows graph of daily views of your photostream on your Flickr home page
- Google Maps in Flickr – easy way to see your geotagged photos on Gmap without leaving flickr
- Flickr Georadar – see other photos taken nearby whilst looking at a Flickr photo
- FlickrPM – Adds icons for mail, profile, favourites, flickr scout, flickr inspector, interestingness and photo archive next to usernames in forums and on individual photo pages.
Books on Digital Photography:
- Digital Photography Pocket Guide by Derrick Story ISBN0596100159 – a pocket size guide to take with you, with quick reference on how each common feature works on digital cameras (A-Z of what does it do) and also a How Do I section with tips for different types of situations. Average customer review at Amazon 5/5 stars.
- How Digital Photography Works by Ron White ISBN0789733099 – detailed information on the hidden workings of digital cameras and photo editing software. Some quite technical topics covered in easy to read language and clear diagrams eg. how autofocus works, how compression algorithms work, how digital lenses manipulate space, how photographers control depth of field, etc and contrasts how these work on traditional film cameras as well digital cameras. Average customer review at Amazon 4,5/5 stars.
- Digital Photography All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies by David D. Bush ISBN0764518003 – 7 books in 1 covering taking great pictures, basics of image editing, editing with Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, restoring old photos, printing and sharing your digital photos. Average customer review at Amazon 4,5/5 stars.
- Gary Friedman’s Complete Guide to the Sony Alpha 100 DSLR camera is an excellent compliment to the user guide as it explains each and every knob and function on the camera, and more importantly, why and when you would use them. Really recommended as the user guide is a bit bland on this important information. It is available as a PDF download. Average customer review at Amazon 5/5 stars.
- The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby is a book full of useful advice and tips for digital photography. Average customer review at Amazon 4,5/5 stars.
- Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson gives an in depth exploration of exposure and the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO sensitivity for all situations. Average customer review at Amazon 4,5/5 stars.
Buying in South Africa – try these places that have great prices on cameras:
- Foto Discount World – great service and lowest prices and are open through the festive season
- Orms Pro Photo Warehouse
- Cameraland – well known in Cape Town for their excellent advice on cameras and accessories over the years. Have never had much luck with e-mail queries to them though. Better to walk in and visit them in Long Street, Cape Town.
- Before selecting a camera have a look at DPReview for excellent user reviews
Gallery of my latest photos on Flickr (click to view large)
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