New Pug Pillows starting at $25

Products

How fun is this pillow?

Pug dog throw pillow

A cute black and white pug pillow available in a variety of sizes starting at $25.

http://pixels.com/products/pug-dog-square-format-edward-fielding-throw-pillow-14-14.html

New Pug throw pillow by fine art photographer Edward M. Fielding. Our throw pillows are made from 100% polyester fabric and add a stylish statement to any room.   Pillows are available in sizes from 14″ x 14″ up to 26″ x 26″.   Each pillow is printed on both sides (same image) and includes a concealed zipper and removable insert (if selected) for easy cleaning.

According to BuzzFeed: Pugs are majestic little lumps that emit rays of happiness and sunshine.

Pugs

Pugs don’t climb stairs – they bound!

Photography Prints

The line up. The usual suspects rounded up and put in a police line up. Fine art photography by Edward M. Fielding available as frame art, canvases, cards and more.  View the whole collection of pug fine art photographs here.

Photography PrintsBad Dog by Edward M. Fielding

But its not all about painting the town red, pugs are comical, funny and lovable!

Art Prints

Who can resist those eyes?  Miss You by Edward M. FieldingAvailable as prints here.

Or this tongue?

Art PrintsThe Big Lick, funny pug dog photograph by fine art photographer Edward M. Fielding.  Available as cards, prints, metal and canvas.

How true!

Sometimes playful and clownish, sometimes calm and dignified, always sturdy and stable, good-humored and amiable — this is the Pug.

Though peaceful with all the world, the Pug will sound off with his rather odd bark when visitors arrive. Then he will welcome them inside with snorts, snuffles, and grunts.

As is the case with most short-faced dogs, his large expressive eyes, wrinkled forehead, cocked head, innocent expression, and strange sounds bring out parental feelings in many people.

A Pug is very childlike and always needs to be with you.

pug Art Prints
Unlike the more energetic members of their species, pugs sleep an average of 14 hours a day, and any pug owner can tell you it can be quite a feat to get a comfy pug off the couch.

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My next camera purchase?

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Fujifilm X100T 16 MP Digital Camera (Silver)

In a previous post about cameras to really learn photography with – https://edwardfielding.me/2014/09/08/which-camera-to-really-learn-photography/ I talked about the virtues of Fujifilm’s retro styled but high tech nod to the classic rangefinder camera’s of old.  This line of cameras feature the sweet spot of 35mm lens equivalent and classic easy to read dials for seeing setting at a glance without having to scroll through menus.  Great optics and large sensors mean even professionals can get excited about these compact gems.

Well the version that is getting me excited comes at the end of next month.  November 30th is the drop date for the Fujifilm X100T 16 MP Digital Camera (Silver)
.  With classic retro good looks and a killer set of features, I think this just might be the camera I take to Italy next summer.  I love idea of shooting freely with a mighty little camera unencumbered by a big bag of lens and other crap that might just attract too much attention from the pick pockets.

What gets me so excited about this little camera?  Well for one I just love the concept.  Getting back to simple controls so one can truly be creative without wasting a lot of time flipping through menus.

The large sensor (16 megapixels) means I’ll have nice big files for printing huge images for my fine art portfolio.

The 23mm lens married with the APS-C 16.3MP X-Trans CMOS II Sensor w/ EXR Processor II (same as in crop sensor DSLRs) will give me the equivalent of a 35mm lens on my Canon 6D full frame, which is my “go to” focal length.  35mm is just the perfect focal length of the story telling kind of photography I like to do for the book cover market.

My last professional compact camera was the Panasonic Lumix LX-5 which has a couple of major drawbacks.  A smaller 10 megapixels, dials that move all over the place in your pocket and no viewfinder.  Lack of a view finder (you can buy one for an additional $140 or so) drives me crazy and makes me think I’m shooting with a cell phone.

The new Fujifilm X100T 16 MP Digital Camera (Silver)
also features a new Electronic Shutter up to 1/32000 seconds – the world’s fastest settable camera, new Classic Chrome Mode which expands Film Simulation Modes to 11 modes and full HD Movies – 60fps, 50fps, 30fps, 25fps, 24pfs with exposure adjustment.

It also features some cool things like a

  • ISO up to ISO 51,200.
  • Program mode exposes as long as 4 seconds
  • Seven customizable Fn buttons
  • Aperture can be set in third-stops directly at the aperture ring
  • Built in Wi-Fi
  • 3″ screen.

A very exciting feature is a built in intervalometer for time lapse movies.  This is something my Canon 6D doesn’t even have.

The built in ND filter allows for 3 stops of aperture. No need to screw on an filter to get smooth waterfalls.

Bottomline

Bottomline is that Fujifilm took a look at where the market was going.  Low end point and shoot cameras are disappearing as consumers pick up cell phones and say “why do I need a camera?” and go snap happy with their cell phone and Facebook.  Meanwhile professionals are looking for quality and camera stripped down of all the silly stuff created to entice amateurs.  Sure the Fujifilm X100T still has some silly stuff like creative film modes like “sepia!” that any pro will never use when they can do it better in Photoshop but where it counts, quick to use dials, big sensors, great viewfinders and quality optics, the Fujifilm X100T beats out the competition and even rivals DSLRs.

Fujifilm X100T 16 MP Digital Camera (Silver)

What is the best lens for food photography?

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I run into this question a lot.  People ask what is the best lens for food photography?  Is there a right answer?  Well, it all depends.

Like any photography situation or application there are a variety of ways to approach the subject.  No one lens is the right answer to any situation or subject.  Its up to the artist behind the lens to determine what they want the view to see in the final image.

For landscapes you can go with wide angles to show more of a vast landscape or move in close to a rock or log in the foreground to create an exaggerated sense of scale.  Or you can zoom in on distant mountain peak to isolate a single element of the scene.

Same with wildlife. You can zoom in with a big bazooka lens to document the subject up close or you can go wide and show the animal in its environment.

food Art Online

Food photography also has a range of applications.  You might show the chef at work in the kitchen, make the viewer’s mouth water with a plate shot or go in super close to show the texture of a strawberry.

A variety of lens can be used but if I were to choose one lens to get started in food photography, it would be the one recommended to me by Andrew Scrivani, the NY Times columnist, commercial photographer and stylist.  He does most of his work with the Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro.

food Art Prints

And I also shoot most of my food photography with this lens. Its not the newest, fastest or most exciting lens. It hunts for focus and has a plastic build quality but it is sharp, in a great focal range for food photography and is inexpensive. You can pick one up for about $300.

User feedback – “I use this mostly for food photography, and it’s a great lens. I originally used a 50mm f/1.8, but when it developed a defect in focusing, went for this macro lens version. Sometimes I miss the really low f-stops, but overall, I like it. It functions well as a non-macro lens as well. Somewhat slow to switch from close to far, and a little noisy, but nothing that’s really bothersome.”

The macro give you the ability to get really close to your food and can uncover detail that would otherwise be impossible to detect by the naked eye. Ideal for shooting extremely minute subjects such as insects or the petals of a small flower, the lens offers a nine-element design and a floating optical system that focuses down from infinity to one-half life size (0.5x). It also functions beautifully as a general-purpose normal lens.

food Photography Prints

And should you want to focus down to life size (1:1), you can add an optional Life Size Converter EF to increase the working distance–a valuable feature in close-up shooting.  The Canon Life Size Converter EF sells for around $280 street price and is made especially for the Canon 50mm macro.

User feedback – “This item was primarily designed for the Canon EOS 50mm f2.5 Macro 1:2 lens. This adapter allows you to amp your lens to a 1:1 or twice the image resolution. (Image resolution is the detail an image holds. The term applies to raster digital images, film images, and other types of images. Higher resolution means more image detail.) Be sure to add it to your lens before than mounting it to the camera so that your electronics are properly compensated for during metering. You will loose a f-stop or or two using this adapter.”

Equipment mentioned in this article:

My Equipment: Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

tips

I’m headed to Banff later this summer and I needed to add a landscape lens to my equipment bag.  I have a cheap 14mm manual focus fisheye lens that I used a number of times this winter in Hawaii but it has a couple of drawbacks.

  • Its heavy
  • It has a lot of distortion
  • It has a weird lens cap
  • Can’t use filters with it.

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My other wide choices currently is a Canon EF35mm f/2 IS USM
fixed focus prime lens which has become my standard go to lens and the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens for Canon EOS SLR Cameras
“kit” lens which came with my Canon EOS 6D 20.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only)
and is suppose to be an L quality lens but it has failed me a number of times.  Its extremely soft in the far end for my tastes and its reach isn’t that far anyway.  Besides its heavy and huge.  Attracts a lot of attention for its trouble.  Its not far enough to catch any wildlife in Banff so that lens will sit home to be replaced by the reasonably priced 70-300.  Besides, 24mm isn’t all that wide.  So in comes the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
which can replace my 35mm for this trip.  So the two lens, the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
for landscape and the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens for Canon EOS SLR Cameras
for wildlife and closeup landscape I should have a nice light rig for hiking around Banff.

The Canon EF 17 – 40mm in a nutshell:

  • 17-40mm ultra-wide-angle zoom lens with f/4 maximum aperture for Canon SLR cameras
  • 3 aspherical lens elements and super UD glass element create superior optics in all conditions
  • Powerful ring-type ultra-sonic monitor (USM) produces fast and silent autofocusing
  • Focuses as close as 11 inches; supports screw-in 77mm filters or up to 3 gel filters
  • Weather-resistant construction; measures 3.3 inches in diameter; 1-year warranty
  • $839 – $850
  • Lowest price lens in the “L” or red ring Canon line up of professional level lenses.

From one of my first test shoots using my new Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

Sell Art Online

Canon 17-40 f4 AF-100 Lens Test from Erik Naso on Vimeo.

Normans Bay 5d mkII + Canon 17-40 from duncan sharp on Vimeo.

Canon M – The M is for Mirrorless

tips

My journey back into photography and specifically full on digital photography started with a mirror-less system, specifically the Panasonic G line of micro-four thirds cameras. The advantages in size and cost are substantial. My micro-four thirds system – body and several lenses, fit in the space of my full frame Canon EOS 6D 20.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD and EF24-105mm IS Lens Kit.

The cost of this lighter system comes in the sensor size. Small sensor means less of an ISO range, smaller files and less forgiving when it comes to post-processing. Plus it means a whole new batch of lenses that only fit in the micro-four thirds cameras from Panasonic and Olympus.

But now there is a new option for Canon uses who have a collection of Canon EF lens. The Canon EOS M 18.0 MP Compact Systems Camera compact camera using the 18MP APS-C ‘Hybrid CMOS’ sensor. This camera has two lenses specifically made for it or you can us an adapter and use the Canon EF mounted lenses you already have. Like perhaps the small Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens or “pancake”.

Is this first version of the Canon M ready for prime time?  Well not exactly.  The autofocus is slow compared to other mirrorless cameras.  Maybe in the next go around or perhaps a firmware upgrade will solve the problems.

Essential Equipment

Selling Points:

  • Small size, lightweight
  • Large sensor size
  • DSLR quality for stills and video
  • Can take Canon EOS lenses
  • Simple controls
  • Great menu system
  • Touch screen
  • Live View focusing
  • Great video in a small package

What’s Missing?

  • No viewfinder – just non-rotating LCD
  • No built in flash (who cares about an under powered flash anyway)
  • Slow focus


Inspired by EOS technology, Canon developed the new EOS M Digital Camera. Canon introduced the market to Full HD video capture with smooth, quiet continuous autofocus made possible by Movie Servo AF and STM lenses, advanced CMOS sensor technology, and the processing power of DIGIC 5. The EOS M Digital Camera leverages these key technologies to deliver high-quality moving and still images with creativity provided by Canon’s extensive family of interchangeable lenses.

 

 

Which camera to really learn photography?

tips

Sell Art Online

A discussion of cameras that truly address the needs of real photographers.

I’ve come to the conclusion that beginners truly wanting to learn photography need a striped down camera. Instead of something with all the bell and whistles, which quite frankly the stuff professionals simply ignore, someone just starting out in photography would gain more value from a simple camera. And I’m not talking about things like “IA” or “Intelligent mode”, “Automatic mode” or “Idiot mode” as in the camera does all the work, no I mean a camera that gives the user quick and easy access to the three basic factors in photography – ISO, Aperature and Shutterspeed. It also would include a real viewfinder instead of an LCD screen and a single non-zoom lens.

Back in the film days the go to learners camera found in high schools everywhere was the Pentax K1000. It featured a needle exposure meter and an all mechanical design that could be used without the need of batteries.

The Pentax K1000 (originally marked the Asahi Pentax K1000) is an interchangeable lens, 35 mm film, single-lens reflex (SLR) camera, manufactured by Asahi Optical Co., Ltd. from 1976 to 1997, originally in Japan. The K1000’s extraordinary longevity makes it a historically significant camera. The K1000’s inexpensive simplicity was a great virtue and earned it an unrivaled popularity as a basic but sturdy workhorse. The Pentax K1000 eventually sold over three million units.

Pentax K1000 camera

Instead of going through a bunch of confusing software menus, a camera such as this gave the user instant access to all of the important elements of an exposure via mechanical dials.  Plus this was the pre-autofocus days so the user was actually fully involved in selecting where the image would be focused on.

I picked up this Petri Racer camera at a flea market basically as a photo prop because to me it has all of the features of what one would expect in a film era single lens reflex camera.  Although this is actually a rangefinder camera.

The Petri Racer is a Japanese fixed-lens 35mm rangefinder introduced in 1966. It features a built-in match-needle coupled CdS lightmeter but no automatic exposure program. It could be equipped with a Petri 2.8/45 or 1.8/45 lens. The shutter is a ten-speed Petri.

Petri Racer Rangefiner Camera

With a rangefinder camera you don’t look through the lens but rather through a separate view finder.  To focus you set the distance of the subject on the lens.  Street photographers love type of camera because they can preset the focus and then shoot from the hip without bringing the camera to their eye and perhaps alerting their subject.  Without a mirror flipping up and down, rangefinders are also very quiet.  Also the camera came standard with a 35mm lens which is a favorite focal length of street photographers as it provides enough of a wide angle to include the “story” of a scene.

For someone learning photography, this camera like the Pentax K100 has a lot of mechanical features and all of the settings are visable at a glance.  On the lens itself there is an ASA ring (to days film sensitivity or ISO), aperture setting, shutter speed (The Petri Racer only has 10 shutter speeds from B to 500) and distance settings.

The only thing important thing missing in these basic vintage mechanical camera is the instant feedback afford by today’s modern digital cameras.  The ability to gain instant feedback on exposure, composition plus the zero cost of recorder images digitally compared to the old film days of buying expensive film and waiting until the roll is finished and processed to see how well you are progressing to me is the most amazing thing about modern photography.  Digital has the ability to shave years off of the learning curve as well as saving the beginner a lot of money.  If your first 10,000 photographs are your worst as famously said by Henri Cartier-Bresson, is true then at least with digital it doesn’t really cost anything to shoot, evaluate and delete 10,000 images.

Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

Modern equalilants

So are there modern equivalents to these old workhorse learning cameras?  Unfortunately in the digital era there haven’t been too many “striped down to the essentials” cameras on the market.  Manufacturers have been in such competition to bring out feature after feature that even today’s inexpensive point and shoot is chock full of “features” that most people probably forget about after they leave the store.  Who really wants to have to remember a laundry list of “exciting” features and modes for every situation under the sun?  Wouldn’t you rather have an understanding of exposure and then easy access to controlling the elements of exposure – ISO, Shutterspeed and Aperature.  Don’t you think if you got all of the whiz bang features and modes out of the way maybe we could concentration on taking a good photograph instead of flipping through menus?

Well finally there are some cameras coming out of the market that addresses this interest for a more basic, let me say “photographers camera” as opposed to gadget lovers camera.

One of the major players in the rangefinder market has always been Leica.  The favorite of famous street photographers, Leica cameras have always been focused on quality where it counts. Fantastic lenses, sturdy bodies, and only the features photographers really need. Leica 10773 M-P (Typ 240) 24MP SLR Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Black)

But beginning photographers rarely have $7,000-$8,000 to spend on a camera!

Luckily for those a bit more budget conscious we are now starting to see some more reasonably prices rangefinder type cameras come on the market.  In the past I’ve had experience with some “pro” style point and shoot cameras like the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX7K 10.1 MP Digital Camera with 3.8x Optical zoom and 3.0-inch LCD – Black, which include more manual dials then the average point and shoot and emphasis a quality lens.

One camera that has caught eye lately is the Fujifilm X30 12 MP Digital Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Silver)

The Fujifilm X30 is a stylish, premium compact camera with class-leading functionality, superb design, enhanced battery performance and unrivaled image quality. This large-sensor premium compact has evolved from the best-selling X20 camera. In addition to its high quality 2/3-inch X-TransTM CMOS II sensor, the X30 features an impressive real-time viewfinder, EXR Processor II and a new control ring along with extra dials and function buttons for more control. Tilting 3.0-inch 920K-dot LCD monitor, improved battery performance (approximately 470 photos /charge), remote WiFi shooting from your smartphone and a variety of manual functions make shooting with the X30 a true pleasure.

  • 12MP 2/3-inch X-TransTM CMOS II sensor with no Optical Low Pass Filter
  • 2.36 million dot OLED viewfinder with 0.65x magnification
  • Bright F2.0-2.8 Fujinon 4 x Optical Zoom Len
  • Instinctive control ring
  • 11 Film Simulation Modes including – New Classic Chrome, Provia, Velvia and Astia

I’m thinking that this camera would make a fantastic camera for someone who really wants to learn photography.  In has the instinctive manual controls needed to truly grasp the concepts of photography. The new control ring, which automatically determines the most appropriate settings for the chosen shooting mode, functions like aperture, shutter speed and more can be quickly chosen without taking your eye from the viewfinder. This is complemented by the manual zoom ring, and physical dials which have become a hallmark of the X series.

I also like the large sensor, HD video quality, fast autofocus, large viewfinder (something missing from a lot of smaller cameras) and an built in interval timer for time lapse video (something my Canon 6D doesn’t even have).  The camera also has WIFI features such as remote control via a smartphone and WIFI image transfer.  Rather amazing package for less than $600.

This trend for more easy access to controls is certainly one I’d like to see continue. The market needs more cameras focused on photography and less on glitz. The low end market is disappearing as the snapshooters realize that all they need and want is their cellphone to take Facebook snaps. Time to bring out cameras for real photographers who want easy access to the things they actually want.

The Fujifilm X100S 16 MP Digital Camera with 2.8-Inch LCD (Silver) features an larger sensor.

Food Styling Book Review

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I just got my copy of Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera by Delores Custer and its one hefty book. Considered by many in the food photography and food styling industry to be the bible of food styling, Custer puts over 30 years of experience into what could be considered a textbook for anyone interested in entering the field.

At just shy of 400 pages, this book is packed with so much information that there is value for anyone from a “do it yourself” food blogger to someone interested in a career as a food stylist to professional photographers wanting to work with major clients on big production food assignments.

I myself shoot a lot of food stock and fine art food related still life photographs, so I’m always up for learning some new tricks.  Plus my wife and I are fooling around with a new food blog – 325 degrees.

Sell Art Online

Delores Custer has had an amazing career, working with the big names like Julie Childs and TV shows like the network morning shows as well has local and national advertising campaigns. In the book she not only shares her hard earned tips for shooting everything from bacon (and how to get those perfect waves) to ice cream be it fake or real.

There is hardly and blank white space in this book. No fluff. No filler. Its 400 pages of dense material from the practical to the entertaining. No space is wasted. She starts out with an overview of the industry and the business side of food styling. And then goes into the day to day job of the food stylist (basically getting the food to look great for the camera), tools of the trade, overcoming challenge foods, and then tips for chefs, caterers and bloggers who want to stylize their own food and lastly a review of food trends. At the end of the book there is a glossary and extensive index as well as resource list.

Art Prints

Basically if you could pick clean the brain of a professional food stylist with tons of experience and a client list of all the top brands, this is the result. Its a wonderful reference book.

Getting perfect eggs for the camera

This book shows you how to make perfect eggs for the camera

I say reference book because there are parts of the book you will read through to get the background on the industry and the job, and the rest of the book you will be referring to when certain situations come up, like photographing sandwiches or something. Like a good cookbook, this book will sit on the shelf and be taken down time and again for reference, if it doesn’t just sit on the coffee table for years.

 

From the Inside Flap

Behind every mouthwatering image of food is a dedicated food stylist whose job it is to consider, plan, and perfect every detail from the curve of an apple stem to the fan of a shrimp tail.In Food Styling, master stylist Delores Custer presents the definitive reference in the field—complete with detailed information on essential tools and useful equipment, step-by-step guidance on achieving the perfect shot, and a wealth of tried-and-true techniques for everything from voluminous frostings to mile-high sandwiches. Based on her thirty years of experience styling for advertising, magazines, books, television, and film, Custer shares her expert guidance on how to achieve stunning visual perfection for all media.
Chapter by Chapter

Chapter highlights include:

-Food Styling Overview
-The Medium is Everything
-Your Food Styling Teammates
-You Got the Job…Now What?
-Prepping the Assignment
-At the Shoot
-About Photography
-The Basics of Propping
-The Basics of Tv & Film Production Work
-The Food Stylists Tools of the Trade
-Working with the Food
-The Business of Food Styling
-Beyond Food Styling
-Tips for Chefs, Caterers, and Others who want to Style their Food
-Reviewing the Last Fifty/sixty years of Food styling and photography

Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera by Delores Custer

Reving up my Canon EOS 6D with SD Cards

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Heading to Banff in the Canadian Rocky Mountains in the next few weeks. Still need too order a few items. One of them is another SD card. I plan to shoot some video on the trip and want to make sure I have enough storage. Plus be fast enough as not to slow me down.

The Canon 6D supports UHS-1 cards. The UHS-1 standard allows a theoretical bus speed of 312MB/sec. It is “theoretical” because buses have overhead (usually one “large” file will transfer faster than lots of “small” files) but more importantly, nobody actually makes SD card technology that can transfer data that fast. So really it’s the physical speed of the card that becomes the barrier and not the speed of the bus.

I’ve used Transcend SD cards in the past and they have been good performers at a good price. A Transcend 32 GB High Speed Class 10 UHS Flash Memory Card retails on Amazon for under $20 and provides a transfer rate of up to read 85 Mb/s ; Write 45 MB/s.