Sunday, January 07, 2007

My favorite photography sites

There are three great photography sites I read almost daily. They are Digital Photography Review, Fred Miranda, and PhotoDistrict News. Each site is fairly distinct in the way it covers photography. DP Review covers news, gives reviews and has forums broken down by equipment (Canon, Nikon, etc.). FM has reviews and forums broken down by type of photography (nature, wedding, etc.). PDN covers the business side of photography with articles on ad agency photo-buying trends and photojournalism.

DP Review is the largest of the sites. It has excellent in-depth reviews of nearly every camera on the market. No matter if you are a pro, serious amateur or weekend snapshooter it is worth your while to check out the camera reviews at DP Review before purchasing. To see their actual performance there are photo galleries for each camera.

The forums at DP Review cover hundreds of subjects no matter what you're shooting. It is easy to find out which lens is the best to buy, how to clean a dirty sensor, use flash effectively or get any information on any photography subject. The people on the forums seem eager to help with questions but there is still some crabs who will like to belittle others. Don't get into any Canon vs. Nikon discussions. It brings out the worst in some.

DP Review also an excellent glossary of photography terms, a learning center for tips and tricks of the trade and a buyer's guide which provides a side-by-side feature review of the top cameras.

The Fred Miranda site was started by a young Brazilian photographer. It is geared toward a serious discussion of equipment and techniques for pros and serious amateurs. There are excellent equipment reviews by actual users of the gear. Most of the reviews are given after the product has been used for many months even years instead of lab testing right out of the box. The forums are based on the type of photography you prefer. I check into the City Still and Abstract section and also the Landscape Photography forum. I can post some of my work for others to comment. Everyone seems pretty cordial here without any flame-out posts.

PDN is the essential magazine for anyone who shoots or buys photography for the media. Hot topics are stock photography, photojournalism, and trends. A story example would be this one about the lives of studio producers who set up shoots for high-end advertising.

PDN is keeping a close watch on the use of cell-phone photography. Hardly a professional's topic you might say? But cell phone cameras are improving in quality and performance quite rapidly. They are now sporting 2-3 megapixel sensors and some even have flash units. Soon we will see 4-5 megapixels. (Don't get caught up in the megapixel game. I'd prefer a 2-3 megapixel with a clean, noiseless sensor over a jammed, noisy 5 megapixel anyday).

Why is cell-phone photography important to the craft? The recent cell-phone photos of Saddam Hussein's hanging made newspapers around the world. Other images of similar events shot from cell-phone cameras have made it into top newspapers and magazines throughout 2006. The ubiquity of cell-phone cameras means that people will capture more journalistic events than ever.

Unfortunately many of the articles and services of PDN require login and subscription. If you are interested in the business side of photography then a subscription to PDN is worthwhile. Not only will you get access to its online version but the subscription includes the monthly print magazine as well.

There are other sites to visit as well including Luminous Landscape, the all new Shutterbug site and finally, for inspiration, there are a couple of portfolio sites I enjoy checking out.

The first is Cambridge in Colour by Sean T. McHugh. He presents his brilliant work of the campus of Cambridge University using low-light, long exposure photography. He also provides a description of his techniques and a tutorial.

The other site is by an Icelandic woman named Rebekka who has stunned the Flickr world with an astonishing and versatile portfolio of images. Her enchanting images of Iceland will make any pro-am shooter consider a photo safari to this remote country. Rebekka also enjoys making self-portraits which adds to her allure (sorry, no nudes...she's a mother with two kids).

Both sites show what can be done by people with vision, inventiveness and a willingness to take a chance. Oh, I guess they need a camera too (it ain't all about the equipment).


Copyright 2007 James D. Fisher
All Rights Reserved.


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