Monday, 27 September 2010

Nikon supporting Surf Life Savers

Nikon Australia has announced its support of the iconic Australian and vital not-for-profit service: Surf Life Saving (SLS).

$30.00 from the sale of every D3100 Digital SLR camera sold during the busy Christmas season will be contributed to SLS. And both the SLS and Nikon are hoping hundreds of thousands of dollars will be raised to assist in the implementation of water safety education and surf lifesaver training programs, purchasing and maintaining rescue gear and equipment, purchasing first aid supplies, and other SLS projects this summer.

Every year, SLS is responsible for helping more than 550,000 people along Australia’s coastline, including rescue operations, preventative actions and administering first aid. SLS is committed to reaching out beyond the red and yellow flags to provide surf safety education programs to everyone in the community. School education programs have been implemented, alongside community courses in first aid and resuscitation and other initiatives to ensure all Australians and tourists have access to basic surf survival and rescue skills.

The just released Nikon D3100 Digital SLR - an impressive looking new entry-level DSLR – hit the stores Australia wide last Friday, September 24.

Australian RRP for the newly released Nikon D3100 Digital SLR camera:
Body only: $949.00
D3100 + 18-55mm single lens: $1049.00
D3100 + 18-55/55-200mm: $1299.00
D3100 + 18-55/55-300mm: $1449.00

Friday, 24 September 2010

Keeping Your Camera Gear Dry

As I sit here in the office with the rain gently falling, a low soup like fog hanging in the air and the de-humidifier softly humming in the background, it reminds me are we all doing our best to keep our gear dry?

Your camera and accessories don’t like getting wet – and that wetness can be caused from direct contact or contact through the atmosphere: as in humidity.
Humidity is a silent killer. Direct contact with water is more often an instant killer. Cameras and lenses do not like water and are not happy chaps when they are wet.

If your camera gets wet, do NOT turn it on and remove the batteries and memory card from the camera. Unfortunately, if your digital camera is wet with salt water, chances of your camera being resurrected are slim. Salt is highly corrosive and, depending on how wet your camera got, the damages could be beyond repair. In this case, you really have nothing to lose by taking your camera apart, washing/wiping it down with fresh (or distilled) water and a cloth to attempt to remove any salt. It is however, time often wasted.

For those battling humidity, pack your bags with rice or silica gel crystal sachets. The sachets can be popped in the oven every six months for a quick revive and another round till the next shoe shopping spree.

If you are caught out in the rain, do anything to keep your camera dry. Even a plastic shopping bag and rubber band, which pack flat, are a good start and a lens hood to keep droplets off your lens.

Dry your camera as quickly after your exposure as you can and when finished open all doors, extend all lenses and place all your gear in a well ventilated area. Some even use a hair dryer on the lowest/coolest setting to gently blow air around their equipment. It is important the pressure is soft and drying as that is what you want to do is dry the water, not push it around.

And when the worst appears to happen, get an expert to look at it. In reality, you may be better off buying a new one and hopefully your insurance will cover that – now there’s another blog!

This image was taken as the camera took a nose dive into the sea.
Unfortunatley it ended the cameras life.
Many thanks to Anna Billingham (C) for allowing us the use of this image.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Photography Style - Is it Important?

By Danielle Lancaster
While looking through some images yesterday, I was reminded of one thing I preach.

‘Each time you pick up the camera, work on your style.’

The topic, ‘having your style’ has been niggling at photographers since the first capture. Why is it so important? Do so many aim to be a Master of the Lens? And if so, what does this mean?

Being a master, I believe, is having an eye for light and composition and an element of Lady Luck on your side. It comes firstly from patience.

Each time I pick up my camera I aim to gain at least one image for a folio and hence this image catching my eye yesterday. It fits perfectly into my framing folio.

Folios can be comprehensive. A couple of mine are: frames; portraits, wildlife, textures.....the list goes on and yes you would expect that after 20+ years in the industry. However, each time I pick up my camera, no matter for fun or work, I aim to push myself to add at least one image to a folio. Then I have succeeded in pushing myself another step. Do you?

Image (C) Danielle Lancaster 2010
Injune, Queensland, Australia

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

New Nikon Coolpix P7000

Now this is one camera us Nikon users here at Bluedog are keen to try out.
Due for release next week in stores across Australia, it could well give the Canon G11 a run for its money.

Yes, I have a Canon in my kit. I grabbed the G9 after rave reviews from colleges and while I have been a bit if a Nikon fan, there has been a huge gap in this arena between the two and I am the first to admit Canon, to date has been winning. Could this change?

Nikon claims the COOLPIX P7000 ‘combines advanced shooting functions and simple operability in a compact body that looks, feels and performs like a digital SLR. Features include a high performance NIKKOR lens, Zoom Memory function and Long Exposure NR, providing greater control over shooting and resulting images.’

No doubt its list of features is impressive, and as a photographer who requires a good quality professional’s compact that can perform like a digital SLR, this is catching my eye, especially at only approx. 360 g and for a couple of extra grams I can add an external speedlight. But has Nikon caught up? Let’s see.

Street photojournalism in areas such as Burma where these two images were taken by Danielle Lancaster is often much easier with a point and shoot.

Our top 5 features from Nikon’s claim to fame list:
1. An effective pixel count of 10.1 million pixels and a 7.1× optical zoom NIKKOR lens with a zoom range beginning at the wide-angle 28mm focal length (equivalent with 35mm [135] format)

A large CCD image sensor, high-performance NIKKOR lens and new image-processing engine—EXPEED C2—that achieves greater image quality and faster image processing, have been adopted for rendering capability that enables capture of photographic works of art.

i. Large 1/1.7-inch RGB CCD image sensor Individual pixels with greater pitch enable richer tonal expression and a broader dynamic range for excellent image quality, even with shooting at high sensitivities.
ii. NIKKOR lens A lens-shift vibration reduction (VR) function and two ED lens elements that effectively suppress chromatic aberration have been adopted for the 7.1× optical zoom NIKKOR lens that covers a wide range of focal lengths from the wide-angle 28mm to telephoto 200mm (equivalent with 35mm [135] format). These features of the NIKKOR lens enable capture of sharp, high-resolution images.
iii. Built-in ND filter: Enables a three-stop decrease in shutter speed. This allows you to apply slower shutter speeds when shooting in bright surroundings.
iv. 6-blade iris diaphragm

2. Specify zoom focal length and register camera settings
i. Zoom memory
This function allows you to easily specify a preset focal length with zoom photography. As zoom can immediately be switched from a wide-angle position to a specified telephoto focal length, capturing images at the intended angle of view is fast and easy.
ii. User setting modes
Up to three combinations of settings specified by the user can be registered by the camera. Simply rotate the mode dial to apply registered settings and achieve the intended results quickly.

3. Superior rendering with shooting at high sensitivities in dark surroundings
i. Low noise night mode
The camera automatically detects surrounding brightness and controls noise while applying a higher ISO sensitivity setting.
ii. Noise reduction filter
The level of noise reduction processing performed can be adjusted according to shooting intent.
iii. Long exposure NR
Reduces the noise that occurs with shooting in dark surroundings at slow shutter speeds.

4. High-speed response that ensures certain capture of fleeting scenes
Preserve precious photos with instant capture of sudden movements or fleeting expressions. A power-up time of approximately 0.95 seconds and a shooting time lag of approximately 0.23 seconds ensure quick response to sudden photo opportunities.

• Power-up time measured according to CIPA guidelines. Shooting time lag measured according to Nikon standards: 28mm focal length (equivalent in 35mm [135] format), shooting distance of 2 m, ambient brightness of LV 10; images recorded to 4-GB Class 10 SDHC memory card.

5. Tone level information display for checking exposure
The new tone level information function not only allows users to verify exposure with a histogram (graph showing brightness distribution), but also allows them to choose the desired tone (brightness) from nine levels.

• The horizontal axis shows the number of pixels and the vertical axis shows luminosity.

Just another feature we think is tops for those of us who see the world a little curved.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

The essentials in my photography kit.

Guest post by Sheryn Ellis after her trip to Lake Eyre, outback Australia.

“It was soon apparent what I could and could not live without while travelling and photographing the outback…

The essentials in order of use:
• Canon 5D MII with battery grip;
• 24mm-70mm f2.8L lens: my favourite lens, I took at least 95% of my photos with this lens;
• Circular polariser: used at all hours of the day, only came off for star trails and when I didn’t want to ‘stack’ filters;
• Cleaning cloths: I always had one or two in my pockets at all time and every few shots was checking to see if dust and/or sand had blown onto my lens;
• Blower: used constantly to blow dust and/or sand off both the camera and the lens (used first to avoid scratching when wiping with a cloth). The blower was used every single time a lens change was made.
• Tripod: my Vanguard tripod was my first choice this trip, it’s lighter than my Manfrotto, easier to change from vertical to horizontal positions and I’m comfortable with the ball head. I’ve got to say I used my tripod more on this 8 day trip than in the previous 4 months.
• Lockable cable release: generally it was plugged in so that as soon as I put my camera on a tripod I was ‘good to go’! Definitely a must for star trails.
• LED Cap Light: a gift before my trip from another avid photographer. This is an awesome little light and should take off with photographers as it makes life so much easier once that sun starts to set.
• Second camera: Canon 20D – taken along for Michael to ‘play’ with but I did pinch it a couple of times rather than change lenses in the windy, dusty landscape.
• Lowepro camera bag: plenty of storage room, well padded and zips securely to keep out 99% of dust and debris.

After this trip I have promised myself that I WILL ‘practice what I preach’ – it is truly essential to keep all your kit clean and well maintained – I discovered on day one that my Manfrotto tripod, which has been floating in the back of my car for the last 5 months, had just enough sand in the head for it to have ‘fused’ itself on and it took several hours of frustration, WD40 and a screwdriver to get the tripod back in working condition.

My final tip is for ‘downloading’ on the go: ALWAYS check the number of files that you are downloading from your card to ensure it matches the number of files that actually download to your external hard-drive.

Photograph by Michael Ellis.
Birdsville Track, Cooper Creek detour road.
Sheryn standing on top of the ‘Pathy’ – anything to get that ‘shot’

Photograph by Sheryn Ellis.
Taken during a Wrightsair 2 hour scenic flight over Lake Eyre.
Canon 5D MII 24-70mm lens with circular polariser

Sunday, 5 September 2010

World first photographic climb for Story Bridge

On April 24 at 7.20am in a world first, Story Bridge Adventure Climb (SBAC) offerred climbers the chance to take their own cameras to the top of Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge.

SBAC CEO Paul Lewin said the Photographic Climb gave photographers the opportunity to take shots of Brisbane skyline… while being part of the skyline.

“It’s really something only a privileged few have had the opportunity to do, up until now.”

“We’re the first bridge climb in the world to allow people to take their own photographic equipment on the climb,” he said.

“At 80 metres above the river and smack in the middle of the city we offer the best vantage points in town for photographers to get images of the bridge itself, the river, Brisbane and surrounds.

The new climb is in direct response to feedback from avid photographers.

“There have been numerous people request the opportunity to take their own camera up on the climb because they realise the types of shots that are possible,” said Mr Lewin.

“We like to tailor the bridge climb experience based on how people tell us they would like to see it evolve.

“We’ve been very innovative in our approach with the various climbs and currently have four daily climbs on offer: Dawn, Day, Twilight and Night.

However for avid photographers there is much more to capture than the city skyline. The great steel structure, which opened on July 6th 1940 five years after construction commenced, structure itself makes for intriguing images.

Anyone interested in joining a Bluedog tutor for a climb? If so email

Facts about the Bridge:Construction took five years, one year longer than planned.
Queenslander, Dr John Bradfield was Consulting Engineer. His design team prepared 600 working drawings.
The Story Bridge project cost £1,492,000.
Seven years later, the State Government sold the Story Bridge to the Brisbane City Council for £750,000.
Sadly, four men lost their lives during construction.

Bridge Specifications
The Bridge is 1,072 metres long from the southern to northern anchor piers.
The river span is 282 metres long.
The Bridge’s summit is 74 metres to ground, similar in height to a 22-story building.
The width of the Bridge is 24 metres, including footpaths.
The river clearance at low tide is 35 metres, or 10-stories.

Construction Facts
39,100 cubic metres were excavated for foundations.
41,250 cubic metres of concrete used
12,000 tonnes of structural steel used
1,650 tonnes of reinforcing steel used
1,500,000 rivets were used to construct the bridge.

Currently the bridge is repainted every 7 years using 17,500 litres of paint
There is approximately 105,000 square metres of painted steel surfaces.

Fast facts:
• Climbers will have about 1hour and 45mins on the bridge.

• Shots can be taken from various points on the bridge.

• The climbs will be run monthly initially and then weekly depending on demand.

• There are only eight spaces available

For more information terms, conditions and list of equipment allowed visit
Historical Facts