Joe Farace

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Joe Farace Posted: Oct 05, 2011 Published: Aug 01, 2011 1 comments
You don’t always need a lens to make photographs. When I was a student at the Maryland Institute College of Art, our instructor Jack Wilgus had all his students make their own pinhole cameras and shoot images with them. I took the easy way out and used a Quaker Oats box and used photographic paper cut into a circle to fit the box as my capture media. My homemade camera produced round, negative images that I kidded myself into believing echoed the style of early photographs but now, as with many things photographic and not, I know better. Yet one thing remains: you don’t need a lens to make photographs. Sure, many new SLRs, such as the Olympus E-30 that I tested (April, 2009, issue of Shutterbug), have a “pinhole” filter but the camera itself uses a lens and internal software to create the look of the real thing. But shooting film in a real pinhole camera brings back that very “ah-ha” that Ernst Haas was talking about.
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Joe Farace Posted: Oct 03, 2011 Published: Aug 01, 2011 2 comments
Edward de Bono is a physician, author, and inventor who originally came up with the concept of “lateral thinking.” He wrote Six Thinking Hats and is a proponent of the teaching of thinking as a subject in schools. I’ve often said that the most useful photographic accessory is the one that’s between a shooter’s ears, and while lenses are important to accomplishing your goals as an image-maker, it’s your brain that will ultimately help realize that vision. This month’s featured websites are a perfect example of that kind of thinking, including a blog by a Shutterbug reader who has taken the concept of a photo a day (http://farace.smugmug.com) into an entirely new direction.
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Joe Farace Posted: Sep 08, 2011 Published: Aug 01, 2011 27 comments
Canon offers five different 70-300mm zoom lenses in its product lineup. Why so many? They obviously think this is a popular and practical focal length range and I happen to agree. I even own one of them myself—the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM—but the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM tested is the mac daddy of ’em all. Part of the reason for its high price tag ($1599) is that it’s the only one of the five lenses that is resplendent in white paint (the better for TV cameras to see), making it part of the “L” series. (See “Just For The ‘L’ Of It.”) Canon’s L lenses typically have wide apertures fixed throughout the zoom range but in this case all five lenses in this focal length range have identical f/4-5.6 apertures.

The new Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM telephoto zoom lens features two Ultra Low Dispersion (UD) elements for improved image quality and reduced chromatic aberration. It incorporates a floating focusing mechanism for sharpness from close-up (3.9 feet) to infinity plus an Image Stabilization (IS) system that Canon claims increases usability by approximately four stops. The IS system includes a function that allows it to continue to operate even when the camera or the lens, the latter being a better idea, is mounted on a tripod. There’s an optional ($189.95) Canon Tripod Mount C for mounting on a tripod or monopod but I was unable to get one for testing. The lens is dust- and water-resistant and features a Fluorine coating that resists smears and fingerprints and significantly eases lens cleaning, but that doesn’t make me suggest less vigorous lens protection. More later.

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Joe Farace Posted: Sep 06, 2011 Published: Jul 01, 2011 1 comments
This month’s column marks a special anniversary since this column, originally called Website of the Month, was originally launched in July 1999. In a much more recent column, I mentioned not hearing from Shutterbug readers about their own websites and since then the dam burst and I’ve been flooded by e-mail. Thanks to all of you who took the time to write. Working through all those e-mail messages takes time but for this month I’ve selected four reader sites that are “submitted for your approval,” as the late Rod Serling often said. Look for more readers’ sites to appear on a regular basis as well as a photographer’s blog of the month, which started unofficially last month.
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Joe Farace Posted: Aug 24, 2011 Published: Jul 01, 2011 4 comments
As a student at the Maryland Institute College of Art, I attended a class on color and my very first assignment was landscape photography. I wasn’t then or am I now a serious landscape photographer, but as a serious student I developed a set of personal guiding principles on the “what” and “how” of photographing landscapes that I still follow today. These four principles are not cast in concrete and are presented here only as guidelines for your own explorations in landscape photography.
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Joe Farace Posted: Aug 08, 2011 Published: Jun 01, 2011 3 comments
I’m spending the next few days working with Tim Fiedler (www.dracophoto.com) on the latest incarnation of my how-to blog (www.joefaraceblogs.com). This new version features a WordPress (http://wordpress.org) structure and theme. WordPress originally started as a free blogging system but soon evolved into a full content management system, including access to thousands of plug-ins, widgets, and themes. In January, my blog was restructured to feature a different topic for each day and since this issue’s theme is Travel & Location Photography be sure to check in on Tuesday. There are subjects for the rest of the week, too, including Macro Monday, Landscape Wednesday, Automobile Thursday, and Portrait & Glamour Friday.
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Joe Farace Posted: Jul 13, 2011 Published: Jun 01, 2011 1 comments
As I write this, the temperature outside my office window is -11˚. It’s at times like this when my thoughts go to my favorite (warm) place to kick back and relax. Acapulco is different from other Mexican resorts because it’s a city with a wonderful history first and a resort second, and then there’s that old Hollywood connection. You can see some of my Acapulco photos in the self-published book Acapulco, Paradise of the Americas (www.blurb.com/my/book/detail/196617) with text by my friend Don Bain. For examples of my travel photography, you can preview the first 15 pages and see why I love Acapulco so much. If you would like a copy, I’ve removed all markups from the softbound edition so Shutterbug readers and their friends can purchase it for just the cost of production and shipping.
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Joe Farace Posted: Jul 01, 2011 Published: May 01, 2011 2 comments
I only get to be in touch with you once a month through this column and Digital Innovations, but if you want more frequent reports, you can follow me on Twitter (www.twitter.com/joefarace) for daily updates on what’s new in digital imaging along with a dash of silliness. What’s more, my how-to blog (www.joefaraceblogs.com) has been restructured to feature a different topic each day of the week, such as Macro Monday, Travel Tuesday, and because I ran out of alliterations, Landscape Wednesday, Automobile Thursday, and Portraits and Glamour Friday.
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Joe Farace Posted: Jun 22, 2011 Published: May 01, 2011 51 comments
This month I’ll celebrate one of those “milestone” birthdays that everyone talks about and here in the Pixel Palace things are definitely looking up. Digital MD’s (www.digitalmd.net) Kevin Elliott repaired all of the Windows-related problems on the Boot Camp partition on my iMac and by the time you read this I’ll have installed Windows 7. Then I’ll be ready to test all of those $29 just-as-good-as-Photoshop Windows-only products that I’ve passed on as of late. There’s no news from Yahoo! about getting my Flickr account fixed but I don’t expect any and I am just too lazy to create a new account and upload all those photos—again. You can see what’s there at www.flickr.com/photos/joefarace or better yet visit my SmugMug page (http://farace.smugmug.com/) to see how my photo-a-day project is progressing and lots more.
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Joe Farace Posted: Jun 01, 2011 38 comments
Tamron has always been a pioneer in the do-everything zoom lens category and their new AF18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD lens is no exception. Don’t be intimidated by those initials—it’s all good stuff—and I’ll get to them shortly. The 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 is part of Tamron’s Di II family of lenses that are engineered specifically for digital SLRs with image sensors measuring 24x16mm, typically referred to as APS-C. The sensor size of the Canon EOS 50D I tested the lens with measures 22.3x14.9mm so I guess that’s close enough. The 15x zoom range of the lens provides a 35mm focal length equivalency of 28.8-432mm with the Canon EOS 50D’s 1.6x multiplication factor, but that will be slightly different for the Nikon and Sony versions that are also available. Shooting full frame? Check out Tamron’s Di lens series for 35mm film cameras or digital SLRs featuring larger (24x36mm) sensors.

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