Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Phoneographic: Take Better Photos and Videos with Your Phone (Kindle Edition) - I want to speak with the folks who want to use the camera on their phone to take pictures that express their feeling and help them share their view of the world. I’d like then to believe they could enjoy the creative process known as photography. I want to guide these casual picture takers toward a quest to improve and expand their skill at photography as an outlet for personal enjoyment and expression.

New Book by my friend Ross Johnston - The Minolta SRT 201 SLR Film Camera: A Review and Walkthrough of This Classic Camera Kindle Edition - Each new Minolta model reflected improvements in camera technology and/or added features that were wanted by professional as well as hobby photographers. The Minolta SRT 201 SLR film camera is the camera model I have owned and used for many years. SRT 201 cameras were first made available in the mid-1970s and availability continued into the very early 1980s.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Smartphone photos - Prickly Pear is New Jersey’s only native cactus! Flat, fleshy, oval, evergreen pads stand erect or lie horizontally on the ground. These guys grow in the sandy ground all around our neighborhood. I should have taken the pictures a couple of months ago when they were blooming bright yellow flowers.

New Jersey Prickly Pear cactus in a patch in the sunlight

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Learning Food Photography

Food Photography - That's something I've been experimenting with and practicing lately. Here's one where I mix a food shot with depth-of-field practice. I recommend any new photographer to go ahead and shoot your meals before you dig in - even at a restaurant! -- Later - Rob

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Life and Art of Alessandro Gray

The Life and Art of Alessandro Gray is my newly published novella. It's the story of Alessandro Gray. Alessandro is the son of a blacksmith from the western part of Virginia.

Our story begins with Sandro’s birth in the 1840s and follows him through military service in the Civil War, becoming a prisoner of war and surviving the ordeal to become a successful newspaper publisher in New York City. Along the way we experience the strong family bonds of Sandro’s birth family. Sandro holds on to his family values throughout his life. His own loving family is proof of that.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Autofocus Test Chart - Test Your Autofocus Camera

There are easy ways to test your camera’s autofocus system. You may want to test how quickly your camera acquires focus or how well it holds focus once acquired. When you check you camera’s focusing ability using these linked, printable targets, be sure to check both the center and the edges of the photos you produce. We’ll cover these questions, and more, in this video.

However, before you bother viewing my video or printing targets, consider the fact that your autofocus system probably requires a lot of light to work properly, and, if you change too often from one subject to another you may not be giving your autofocus system enough time to catch up.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

My New Books are on Amazon

A basic guide to photography intended for people who are just beginning to take their photography activities seriously.I want to speak with the folks who think they can’t take pictures and help them believe they could enjoy the creative process known as photography. Tell Your Story with Light: The Basic Guide to Great Photos and Video

And, The JournalistThe Journalist  Ben lives in a world where traditional news outlets struggle to survive. Newspapers and other news outlets are in the process of disappearing altogether as a result of rapid technological developments and massive shifts in social behavior. Ben’s an experienced reporter. He’s worked for the same New York City newspaper for almost ten years. 

Thursday, May 30, 2019

My Blue Yeti USB Microphone

The Blue Yeti USB Microphone is popular with YouTubers and Vloggers.  I like this microphone and plan to continue using it as my main recording device. However, there are some problems that should be considered.

The USB plug appears to be under engineered and some people on YouTube report that their Yeti USB broke after six months of use. In this video I share my quick and easy fix for that problem.
Until I moved my Yeti away from all vibration sources, such as my PC, there were issues with vibration and hum with the Yeti, I suspect many types of microphones have the same issues. As you will see in the video, only one fix for vibration hum worked for me. All the other suggested fixes that I found on YouTube were fails for me.

In general, USB microphones present some advantages when compared to other types of microphones.
1) They are often less expensive
2) They use the computer for power and don’t require a separate power supply
3) The preamp and analog-to-digital converter are internal
4) The Blue Yeti also has a headphone jack for monitoring your recording in real time
5) The Blue Yeti can be removed from its heavy metal stand and then mounted directly on a shock mount
6) The Blue Yeti is threaded with a standard mount for attaching to a stand or boom mount

If you’re exploring the types of microphones available, in addition to USB microphones there are Condenser Microphones, Dynamic Microphones, Drum Microphones, Ribbon Microphones and tube Microphones.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

My New Book is a Novel - The Journalist

Finally, after writing and rewriting endlessly, my new book is now available in paperback at here: THE JOURNALIST

The Kindle eBook is scheduled for mid-August.

Ben Duckworth faces many challenges. He frequently questions his career choice. “Why did I choose Journalism?” As newspapers disappear around the country, all news outlets struggle to survive. They’re in the process of disappearing altogether as a result of rapid technological developments and massive shifts in social behavior.

Ben’s worked as a reporter for over 10 years. He’s working for a New York City newspaper when he receives the bad news.  His coworker, Abbie, looks back at him with a pained expression and says “There’s no easy way to tell you this. You and I are laid off effective the end of this shift. Our work for the Daily Register has ended.”

Ben takes Journalism seriously. He’s earned an undergraduate degree and a year toward his masters. Problem is, he’s fighting an uphill battle in a field with rapidly shrinking opportunities for advancement. He feels that he’s made his sacrifices, having moved from a small town in Western Pennsylvania to New York City to pursue his dream.

Ben also encounters high adventure and undreamed-of romantic encounters. He travels to New York on an assignment and discovers his boss has lied to him about his reason for being there. He’s been tricked into a face-off with a powerful monster.

But he seldom ventures alone. A wide-ranging cast of supporting characters are there, some to offer their whole-hearted support and others to wait for their chance to block his path. A few are even determined to kill our hero.

This story moves through varied locale including New York City, Manhattan, Long Island, the Finger Lakes Region, Maryland, Virginia, Texas, the Karaganda Region of Kazakhstan, Washington DC and Miami. Our cast of characters is quite large. Our central cast includes protagonist, Ben Duckworth, and personalities such as Martha (Ben’s housekeeper and friend), Max (the cat), Abbie (Friend), Mike Nicholson (Ben’s Boss) and romantic interests Emily, Stefanie and Liz.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Getting Hooked on Photography

I'll dial the Wayback Machine to the mid-1970s. That's about the time I found my first full-time job which paid enough to allow me to become a true, though modest, American consumer. I came along at the end of eight-track tapes. It was a time when cassette tapes, component receivers and woofers were the leading edge in stereo. It was also near the time I bought my Atari 2600. That was impressive!

I was only mildly interested in photography at the time. I had an old camera that had been in the family. Probably a Kodak Brownie. The first camera I bought on my own was a Kodak 126 (cartridge) "Instamatic". That was all I needed for what I was doing with photography.

One day I was walking along 12th street and saw some interesting objects in the display window of a family run optician practice. They looked like they might be cameras, but I couldn't tell for sure. I walked inside and spoke with an old guy who probably owned the place. He explained that they were 35mm SLR cameras. To me they seemed to be a type of device sent from another planet.

The guy explained how they worked but I didn't understand what he was saying or what it had to do with taking pictures. He showed me a Japanese Ricoh and a German Leica. They had a weight to them and a metallic feel. There were orange and white numbers marked on a large lens barrel and a small housing at the top. Looking down through the lens I could see it was amazingly complex with many components hiding down there.

He explained that the lens was actually composed of about 6 to 8 high quality glass elements that were organized into groups which functioned to manipulate light rays of various properties to all come to focus at one place. Impressive!

Then he showed me where the flash would attach, where the camera body attached to a tripod and how the lens could be removed and changed for other lenses with other optical capabilities. Then he showed me the price tags. Being a small business, I understand now that they were charging close to full retail. I couldn't imagine how to justify paying that much for a camera. My Instamatic had cost less than $25.

I began reading magazines (This is long before the Internet.) such as Modern Photography to learn everything I could about those 35mm cameras and about what was happening with photography in general. This all generated within me a great desire to own a modern camera that would help me demonstrate my artistic talent and viewpoint to the world. I also learned about places such as 47th Street Photo and B & H Photo which featured deeply discounted mail order prices and more brand names such as Pentax, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus and Canon.

I settled for a Konica 35mm rangefinder for my first purchase. It bridged the gap fairly well while I taught myself more about photography and saved up for the best SLR I could afford. The results of the multi-element lens did not disappoint. With this basic but good quality camera I learned about lens filters, tripods, flash photography and the properties of 35mm film.

I preferred to shoot transparencies. It was with the film that I could afford to be a true American consumer thanks to Kodak. I tried a lot of other brands, but I always came back to good old Kodachrome and Ektachrome for transparencies and Kodak brand print film. The Kodak film products consistently delivered excellent results that rewarded the efforts I had made to take good pictures.

There was a time when I thought I wanted to go pro. I managed to sell a few shots to magazines as well as two photo essays with pictures and narrative about environmental issues. That was about the time I discovered that there is a huge gap between a good hobbyist and a professional. I figured that with an all-out effort I could gross as much as three of four thousand dollars a year. After subtracting a year's worth of equipment costs, transportation costs and allowing myself $1 an hour as 'salary' I could manage to be $5,000 in the red. Fortunately I didn't quit my day job.

Photography has held an important role as a hobby throughout my life. It's an essential portal that diverts me to the exotic mind set of creativity. It grants me a clear separation from humdrum daily routines. After all, I can't draw, paint, sing, keep a drum beat or play hockey.

Returning to the present we find that film is almost history now. For many folks even cameras are history as their cell phones and other devices seem perfectly adequate for taking and sharing pictures. Still, it seems that they very much enjoy taking those pictures regardless of the technology involved.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

A popular video featuring the Minolta SRT 201 SLR Film Camera

I’ve done four recent videos on the
SRT 201 SLR Film Camera including one that covers loading As I mention in the video, this camera hasn’t taken a picture for 20 years. There were many questions about how well it would function optically, electronically and mechanically. film and installing a battery.
Here's one of the pictures back from processing
If you’re trying to “renew” the SRT 201, the battery is another big issue. The original PX-13 mercury battery has not been available for a long time due to issues with mercury. For a while, batteries that claimed to replace the PX-13 produced the wrong voltage which made your exposure readings wonky.

Now, I exclusively use the “WeinCell MRB625 Replacement Battery for PX625/PX13” because it’s performance matches that of the PX-13 very well. I’ll post some stills of me unloading the film, sending it away and then reviewing the pics I took using this battery.

For this video I chose to feature Ilford black and white film. The processing was included in the price and everything worked perfectly. Later I’ll post the video with the unloading, the prepaid film processing and the resulting photos. Also, in that video we’ll load a roll of print film and install the battery. Then we’ll look through the viewfinder to see how the match needle exposure works. Here's the video . . .