The Doug Plus Rox Photography Blog

Welcome to Our Blog

Welcome to the blog of Doug and Roxanne, two photographers who are head-over-heels in love. In this blog you’ll find our musings about photography, camera equipment, image editing programs and more. Roxanne is a talented photographer who enjoys wildlife and landscape photography. Doug is a published author and photographer.  We’re both Canon shooters. Between us we have a bushel full of lenses, and lots of enthusiasm. Currently we’re exploring the area near our home with Lensbaby Composers. Stay tuned for news about our photo shoots and lots of photos. The following image is one of Doug’s Lensbaby captures. He tweaked the image in Photoshop using images of textures on layers with different blend modes.

ThinkTank Photo Spectral 8 Product Review

I started using ThinkTank Photo bags in 2011. Their bags stand up to the test of time and have great zippers that never snag. Currently I’m using two of their bags, the Urban Approach 5 and the Spectral 8. Both are compact and hold a surprising amount of gear for their size.

The Spectral 8 is a Swiss Army Knife of a camera bag. It will hold a standard dSLR with one small lens mounted and 1-2 small extra lenses. If you’re a mirrorless shooter, this bag holds a mirrorless camera with 3-4 extra lenses. There’s also room for an 8” tablet, a smart phone, extra batteries, and other sundry items you carry on a photo shoot.

The bag has a unique magnetic latch that enables you to open the bag with one hand and locks automatically when you close the bag. It also has a zippered flap that you can close when security is an issue. When not needed you can stow the flap in a pocket to keep it out of the way. Also included are straps that you can attach to the bottom of the bag when you need to carry a tripod with you. When you travel, there’s a pass through flap at the back, which makes it easy to carry the Spectral 8 on a roller bag. If you’re shooting during inclement weather, a waterproof rain cover is  included. The bottom of the bag is also waterproof

The bag is attractive, spacious, and extremely functional. It looks more like a handbag or a man bag, so you remain inconspicuous while shooting. I give the bag high marks. It holds everything I need for a photo shoot and them some. The bag sells for $99.75, which is a bargain as far as I’m concerned. If you need to carry more gear, consider the Spectral 10, which sells for $119.75, or the Spectral 15, which has room for a 15 inch laptop and sells for $139.75. Watch the following video for a look at all of the features.

For more information:

Spectral 8

Spectral 10

Spectral 15

Death of a Drobo

When you’re dealing with a mechanical device, failure is inevitable. It’s a matter of when it will fail, not if. And when will be at the most inopportune moment.

In the case of a hard drive packed with your images, failure without a backup is disastrous. The Drobo I used to store all of my old images went belly up. And it went with little or no warning. Fortunately I had a backup. I was looking for a specific image and noticed several images in the folder were corrupt. I looked in other folders and noticed lots of corrupt files.  Apparently the Drobo had been in its death throes for some time. And my system was running bog slow, a nasty side effect of the dying Drobo. Then it just stopped.

Due to the fact that the Drobo uses a proprietary system for redundancy, the only recourse would have been to buy another Drobo to read the disks, which were probably all corrupt. Due to the cost of a new Drobo, that was not an option. But I had enough in reserve to buy a 5 TB LaCie external drive. And fortunately, I had backups of every folder on the drive, and I had all my Lightroom catalogs stored on another drive as well. So recovery without losing any of my precious images was possible.

The first thing I did was copy the backed-up images to the new drive. In Lightroom, I loaded the catalog for each year. Of course Lightroom could not find the photos because the Drobo was no longer connected to the system. Missing_FolderBut the folder structure of the backed-up drive was identical to what was on the Drobo. All I needed to do was select the root folder on the Drobo, and show Lightroom where it currently resided. In a few seconds, Lightroom knew where all the images were and the restoration was complete.

Long story short, back up your image files frequently. Best practice is to create two backups, one copy in your home for easy access, and one copy in an external location in case a disaster like a hurricane or flood should affect your home and destroy the original and the backup.


Doug Sahlin’s new book, The Art of Lensbaby Photography is available as a Kindle book at Amazon.com. Click on the bookcover for more information.

The Art of Lensbaby Photography: Master your Lensbaby Equipment and Become a Better Photographer

Learning to See

Photographers see their world through a viewfinder or LCD monitor. But do they really make an effort to create images that show the beauty in their world, or are they merely attracted to all the bells and whistles on their digital cameras? In the old days, just about everything was done manually. You adjusted your exposure manually, and manually focused the lens. Back in the old days, many photographers used prime lenses(lenses with a fixed focal length), and had to walk closer to or farther away from their subject to frame the image. This is known as foot zoom. In the old days, the photographer was in control of the image he was creating. He had to be. Unless he had a darkroom, he had to wait until his film was processed to see whether or not he got the shot he envisioned.

The advent of digital cameras with auto-exposure, auto-focus, and zoom lenses tended to make photographers a little lazy. They saw something that piqued their curiosity, zoomed in or out to pick the low hanging fruit, took a picture and moved on. Photography is so much more than that.

If you consciously make an effort to be in control, you slow down and make sure you’ve got all the settings right before taking a picture. When you slow down, you have the opportunity to determine if what you see in the viewfinder is what compelled you to stop and take a picture. If it isn’t, you can zoom in until you remove objects that will distract the viewer, or move to a different vantage point and then take a picture.

The first picture you take is what caused you to stop. But you’re not done yet. Milk the scene for all it’s worth. Is there a picture within the picture? Can you create a more interesting or different image from a snail’s eye view or bird’s eye view? When you slow down and take multiple pictures of a scene or subject, you learn how to see. You notice textures and patterns. You notice shapes and curves. Instead of taking a picture of an oak tree, take a picture of a pattern of leaves, a close-up shot of the veins in the leaves, the texture of the bark and so on. Think creatively outside the box and you learn to see and put a unique stamp on your photography.

Another thing to remember is that you don’t have to carry every lens you own. If you limit yourself to one or two lenses, you’ll use your creativity to make wonderful images, instead of rummaging through your camera bag and using technology as a crutch. Less is more.

The following images were photographed with vintage manual focus prime lenses mounted to Fujifilm XE-2 with an adapter. I started with a 50mm f/1.4 Pentax Takumar and then switched to a 135mm f/2.8 Pentacon lens.
Cheers,
Doug

Shapes and repeating patterns

Shapes and repeating patterns

Details of a vintage railroad car.

Details

Lines and Curves

Lines and Curves

Details

Details


Books by Doug Sahlin

Doug Sahlin’s Lightroom CC books. To learn more about a book or to purchase it, click a book cover.

Find the Arrow in the FedEx Logo

One year at Photoshop World, I had the pleasure of listening to Jay Maisel’s presentation. He talked about how he grabbed his camera and went shooting everyday. He told a story about what happened one day when he met with some friends. It went something like this:
His friends asked him, “OK, what did you shoot Mr. Big Shot Photographer?”
Jay replied, “I shot the arrow in the FedEx logo.”
They laughed and said, “There is no arrow in the FedEx logo.”
Jay showed them the photograph.

FedEx

Fred
Jay wasn’t looking at the logo as a whole. He was looking for things that interested him and shot the arrow in the FedEx logo.

Shoot the arrow in the FedEx logo.


Books by Doug Sahlin

Doug Sahlin’s Lightroom CC books. To learn more about a book or to purchase it, click a book cover.

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