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Forum: Repairs and Warranty Service 12-30-2018, 07:46 PM  
Sensor cleaning in downtown Toronto?
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 6
Views: 625
Thanks. I know that. Their location isnít convenient. Thatís why I asked about downtown Toronto options.
Forum: Repairs and Warranty Service 12-13-2018, 09:25 AM  
Sensor cleaning in downtown Toronto?
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 6
Views: 625
Yes, I've tried to do this myself without any success. I think it needs a professional cleaning.
Forum: Repairs and Warranty Service 12-13-2018, 09:00 AM  
Sensor cleaning in downtown Toronto?
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 6
Views: 625
My camera has a pesky, persistent spot on the sensor. Is there anywhere I can take it in downtown Toronto, or do I need to send it to Sun Camera (which isn't at all convenient)? Thanks
Forum: General Photography 08-29-2018, 12:10 PM  
Featured in Feature Shoot Magazine!
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 23
Views: 732
She's a sweetheart. I'm sure she didn't take offense :)

I also would like to encourage Pentaxians who pursue fine art photography to consider entering Critical Mass, if you have a strong body of work and would like to get exposure for it across a wide range of photo editors, publishers, gallery owners, curators and similar professionals. As I mentioned in the original post, this publishing opportunity came up because one of the Critical Mass jurors remembered my work and wanted to write about it.

Even the process of selecting and sequencing the 10-image portfolio and writing the statement is a good exercise in and of itself.

There is a two-step process:
- In the first stage, you pay about USD $75 to enter Critical Mass. Your work will be seen by about 25 pre-screening jurors and they will select the 200 Finalists.
- If you make it the Finalist Stage and you choose to go forward, you pay $200 and your portfolio is seen by all 200 jurors (and you receive a small print from the Critical Mass Collecting Initiative). The 200 jurors then select the Top 50.

There are only a few "prizes" awarded among the Top 50, but Critical Mass is really about exposure, not awards. The portfolios of the Top 50 are published on Photolucida's website (there is an archive going back almost 15 years), and professionals, educators and others often access that website when looking for topics, story ideas, artists, etc.

Even you don't make the Top 200, your work is seen by 20+ jurors. And if you make the Top 200, it is seen by 200 jurors. They retain an archive (for each year they participate) of thumbnail-sized images of your work, plus your statement, and they may go back to your work and contact you about opportunities (like articles, shows, etc.)

Unlike a traditional, face-to-face portfolio review, there is no guarantee that you will receive detailed feedback from each juror. Jurors, however, can opt to provide feedback and Finalists receive that written feedback at the end of the process.

Find out more here:
Critical Mass | Photolucida
Forum: General Photography 08-29-2018, 06:43 AM  
Featured in Feature Shoot Magazine!
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 23
Views: 732
Glad you like them! But Clarice isn't obese. She's tiny under that heavy wool coat. I photographed her a few weeks before she was shorn for the spring season.

---------- Post added 08-29-18 at 09:45 AM ----------



They are very dapper fellas. They were rescued from a school hatching project. (After the chickens were hatched and some turned out to be roosters, no one wanted them so they were going to be killed. That's the fate of many roosters. But someone stepped in and arranged for them to be brought to the Sanctuary. They are best friends with a pig named Jasmine.)
Forum: General Photography 08-28-2018, 02:34 PM  
Featured in Feature Shoot Magazine!
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 23
Views: 732
I'm thrilled and grateful that a photo editor and writer from Feature Shoot chose to write an article about a portrait series I've created about rescued farm animals. The project is called "The Barn Is My Studio." I connected with the writer through participation in Photolucida Critical Mass last year. I was one of the 200 finalists, and she was one of the 200 jurors who reviewed my work.

Soulful Photos of Animals Saved from Slaughter or Neglect - Feature Shoot
Forum: General Photography 07-13-2018, 02:55 PM  
In NYC July 19? Come and see a Pentaxian (me) and her photos on The Fence 2018
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 13
Views: 653
I'm not sure if it's ok to share this, and whether this is the best place to post this, so moderators are welcome to move it.

I have some exciting news to share. Portraits from my project on rescued chickens have been selected for The Fence 2018, North America's largest outdoor photography exhibition. I'm one of 43 national winners, which means my series will be exhibited (for 2-3 months at a time) in eight cities, beginning with Brooklyn, NY (as well as Atlanta, Boston, Calgary, Durham NC, Santa Fe, and Sarasota). The photographs are printed 30" high and printed on durable material that can withstand exposure to the elements for several months.

http://fence.photoville.com/artist/is-this-my-beautiful-house/

I made these portraits using a K-1, some shot in available light and others shot using flash.

The portraits are part of a larger, ongoing project featuring the chickens' rescuers, too. I've self-published a Blurb book (which has nearly sold out in its first print run of 150 and I've ordered a second run - happy to talk about the process of "medium-sized" Blurb print runs if anyone is interested). You can see more of the photo series on my website (link in my profile).

Through the project (including print sales, book sales and t-shirt sales), I've been raising money to help individual rescuers pay for veterinary care for their rescued chickens.

Although the exhibition in Brooklyn Bridge Park has been open for nearly a month, the official opening reception takes place next Thursday, July 19th. There is a walking tour that starts at 6:30 pm (beginning at Jane's Carousel) and I'm travelling from Toronto NYC to join the tour. I'd love to see some Pentaxians there as well! You can find out more on United Photo Industries' Facebook page.

I'll also be participating in a Teen Day, on the afternoon of July 19th, and I plan to talk up the features and benefits of Pentax to counter the Canon-Nikon indoctrination that tends to take place in photography classes.

If forum members are interested in my experience with applying for The Fence, I'd also be happy to share what I've learned over the past couple of years.
Forum: Photographic Technique 07-11-2018, 03:04 PM  
Travel Photography tips
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 43
Views: 2,101
I've never had trouble spending too much time on photography when on vacation with my husband because he enjoys photography almost as much as I do. We started learning together: we made a plan to give each other good cameras for Christmas one year, and then learn how to use them, in preparation for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Borneo.

You've got 9 months. If your fiancee isn't already a keen photographer, then suggest that you get her a camera as a gift (maybe her birthday or Christmas) and then take a weekend workshop together. When travelling, my husband and I have taken some fun educational tours together, led by local photographers. In a private session, there is an opportunity for the less experienced person to learn something about camera controls, while the more experienced person spends time photographing the scene, and yet you both are photographing together. Try it in your own city or take a weekend or day trip somewhere interesting where you can find an instructor.
Forum: Welcomes and Introductions 07-09-2018, 08:11 AM  
Hello again
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 4
Views: 249
I've been away from the Pentax Forums for ages, so I feel like I should say hello again.

I got distracted by a job-hunt (post-layoff), then moving back to Toronto for a new job, then all the work involved in getting the rest of my family relocated as well (including buying a house). And then, to top it all off, I managed to fall and break BOTH my arms this spring, so I've been unable to photograph at all, and my computer time was rationed (because the broken bones were aggravated by typing).

But I've missed everyone in the forum, and now that life has settled down a bit I hope to get back to participating more frequently.

Here's a link to a project I've been working on for the past year or so (until my accident):

Is This My Beautiful House? - frogoutofwater photography
Forum: Welcomes and Introductions 07-09-2018, 05:19 AM  
Hello from Toronto!
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 18
Views: 557
Welcome to the forum. I just moved home to Toronto after living in NYC for ten years. I hope you enjoy your new camera and this online community.

I picked up my first DSLR about five years ago, and I found it was very helpful to take a hands-on introductory class (mine was six, two-hour lessons) to help get me comfortable with my equipment and shooting in manual mode. It was also a lot of fun and I enjoyed meeting other students, doing short in-class excursions and completing the homework assignments. Henry's Camera offers a 5-week introductory course.

After that, I benefited from some online courses as well as books like Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure.

My work is here: Frog out of Water Photography
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 10-11-2017, 02:32 PM  
Recommend a fine art print service in UK?
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 7
Views: 724
I am hoping to provide a small print (8"x10" or 11"x14") to a person in the UK, who is going to be making a donation to a charity I support (related to the image) in exchange for the print.

She is willing to pay the shipping for the print from the US, but I've looked into shipping costs and they seem ridiculously high. USPS is the lowest (around $25) for a flat package (print sandwiched in cardboard with a bit of bubble wrap in a thin box. UPS and Fedex seem to want close to $100 or more, which seems crazy.

So I'm looking into the possibility of finding a reliable fine art printer who could make the print in the UK and ship it to the recipient. The print is a bit tricky because of the tones (lots of near whites and some tricky detail), so I either want to make the print myself (which seems cost-prohibitive) or trust it to someone recommended and reliable.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!
Forum: Post Your Photos! 03-05-2017, 10:29 AM  
Pets Selfie with art director on my shoulder
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 3
Views: 575
My father spends a couple of months every year in Puerto Vallarta, and this year, he spent almost a week in the hospital with pneumonia. To thank his wonderful doctor for taking care of him (and my stepmother, who also got sick - but not as sick as him), he took me to visit her in order to do a photo shoot with her family of rescued animals: 5 dogs, 2 cats, 2 birds - plus the feral cat colony she cares for.

Of course, I was in heaven photographing everyone. This isn't my best quality photo, but it was a lot of fun to make this selfie with one her birds perched on my shoulder. I photographed into her mirrored china cabinet. Since I was photographing into a mirror, I decided not to use flash - hence, the high ISO.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 02-18-2017, 02:28 PM  
K-1: How to toggle off mirror-up shooting?
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 5
Views: 556
Ok, thanks!
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 02-18-2017, 02:12 PM  
K-1: How to toggle off mirror-up shooting?
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 5
Views: 556
Thanks for helping. I am in the Drive Mode and using the 4-way pad. But there is no "off" mode for Mirror-Up that I can see. And it's still doing it.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 02-18-2017, 01:59 PM  
K-1: How to toggle off mirror-up shooting?
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 5
Views: 556
This is a dumb question, but I have somehow set my K-1 to mirror-up shooting, and now I can't switch out of it. And as I tried to fix it, I somehow set the camera to interval shooting, and I can't turn that off either.

In the menu that has the mirror-up option, I've arrowed over to M-UP and then arrowed down, but the choices only seem to be M-UP and M-up video. There's no off button.

Thanks for your help.
Forum: Pentax K-1 02-12-2017, 10:04 AM  
Trouble seeing focus point
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 6
Views: 771
I agree it would be better to have it illuminate with the AF button. But at least now I can make it light up with the AF mode button. That definitely helps - thanks!
Forum: Pentax K-1 02-11-2017, 02:51 PM  
Trouble seeing focus point
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 6
Views: 771
I have. The image itself seems clear through the viewfinder. It just seems like the focus point is faded and hard to see. Is there anything to make it brighter or sharper?
Forum: Pentax K-1 02-11-2017, 11:28 AM  
Trouble seeing focus point
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 6
Views: 771
I feel like I've suddenly (in the past month) had a lot of trouble seeing the focus point in my viewfinder. I'm not sure if it's my deteriorating eyesight, or whether I accidentally shifted a setting, or whether it's always been difficult and somehow I'm fixating on it.

But whatever the problem, I have reached the point where I'm failing to shoot in focus regularly. Is there any setting I can adjust to make the focus point brighter?

Thanks
Forum: Pentax K-1 08-24-2016, 08:10 AM  
K-1 + 60-250 at Catskill Animal Sanctuary
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 5
Views: 1,352
I've been thinking through the options myself. Since I already had the 60-250, I'vde decided to use for a few months so that I can assess its weight and its limitations (e.g., vignetting, max aperture, max reach) and whether it would make sense to get the 70-200 instead. Also, for most purposes, I think f/4 is enough for what I do - I don't need f/2.8.

For the kind of photography I do, which is mostly animal portraiture, it's usually not going to be a problem to have some issues around the edges of my frame. As I mentioned earlier, I often crop images a little anyway and I'm not photographing a subject where corner-to-corner sharpness and squareness is essential.

I would be interested in the modification that some people have done to their lens, but I'm not comfortable doing it myself. I wonder if I could persuade a repair shop in NYC that is used to dealing with funky camera gear to do it for me, using the template and instructions that Pentaxians have developed.

BTW, the first photo is of Shy Girl (an ancient pot-bellied pig) and Jaqueline the goat in the background. The second is of Violet the goat with a rooster friend whose name I don't know.
Forum: Pentax K-1 08-24-2016, 07:13 AM  
K-1 + 60-250 at Catskill Animal Sanctuary
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 5
Views: 1,352
Yeah, I know I need to do more to be in better shape. I do walk, bike or use the elliptical machine for 30-60 minutes almost every day, but it's about time I added back the Pilates core and strength training again. (I stopped because of injury.)

I do have some full-frame primes (50mm and 100mm macros, plus the 77 and the 200) but I find them really limiting for what I do at the Sanctuary. I'm very restricted as to where I can stand, sit or crouch, and a fixed focal length often doesn't work for the image I want to take. And the moments are too fleeting and varied to make switching primes an option, except in very limited circumstances. I also carry all my gear for a couple of hours at a time. They are a better option at the Wild Bird Fund (and I'll try them out this weekend).
Forum: Pentax K-1 08-24-2016, 06:39 AM  
K-1 + 60-250 at Catskill Animal Sanctuary
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 5
Views: 1,352
I had my first weekend photo trip with the K-1 this past weekend. I was particularly interested to see how well I handled the extra weight of the camera + unmodified 60-250, and of course I wanted to see how the images turned out.

Most importantly, I love how the images turned out. The K-1 stabilization seems to have made it possible for me to get sharp images at slightly lower shutter speeds than I'm used to, even while hand-holding a much larger and heavier lens than the 55-300 (my usual lens of choice for these excursions).

I also loved having more pixels to work with - because I often crop down with these images at the sanctuary (because I can't zoom or foot zoom to get the composition I want).

The vignetting that comes with using the unmodified 60-250 on some settings wasn't nearly as limiting as I expected it to be - I was conscious of trying to shoot a bit loose (something I do anyway), so that vignetting that I couldn't fix could be cropped out, but when I reviewed images I often found that the vignetting only affected the very outer corners of the shot, so there was little adjustment/cropping needed. And the 60-250 works well most of the time for the kind of images I'm making.

Images at high ISOs were significantly less noisy than what I'd experienced with the K-3. This is a HUGE plus for me, because I often photograph without flash in poor light (at the Wild Bird Fund hospital, for example).

The negatives:

Well, that lens/camera combo is significantly heavier, and for someone like me with back, shoulder and hand difficulties, I noticed it. I used the Cotton Carrier vest to relieve some of the weight when I was just walking, not shooting, and that helped. But I think I need some strength training - and I'm not sure I'll be able to handle a heavier lens.

I did miss the extra reach that a longer lens would have a few times.

But all in all, that's a very short list of cons, compared to the pluses.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 08-16-2016, 11:22 AM  
What to look for in a commercial printer / photo books
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 1
Views: 745
I've printed with a couple of different vendors over the past few years, and I think the short answer is that you need to experiment and your wish list will evolve as your skills evolve.

Here's the long answer ...

I started off making some books with MyPublisher.com a few years ago. I found their set-up pretty easy to work with, using their software and dragging and dropping images into their templates but using their downloadable software. Overall, I was satisfied with their image quality and pricing (prepare your book and wait for a good offer - like 30-40% off), but I did sometimes find that their were defects in the books (e.g., black spots etc). It was relatively easy to get that fixed - send a few photos and they'd ship replacement books. What I didn't like was their outrageous shipping costs - that, and the fact that I never seemed to be able to speak to a human.

At about the same time, I tried making books with Blurb, but for some reason I found their software less easy to use - and since MP was working for me, I stuck with them.

I'm very fortunate to live in NYC and I can take classes at the excellent International Center of Photography. Among other things, I started learning how to print my own work and my standards and expectations regarding print quality increased - MyPublisher.com didn't cut it for me anymore. In 2015, I took a pair of excellent courses taught by the founders of an Indie photobook publisher called Conveyor Arts. I learned a lot about book design and the book production process. They are an offset printer, unlike MyPublisher and Blurb's digital printing services. I also started learning Adobe InDesign, which is the software Conveyor Arts uses. It was a steep learning curve (and I'm only part-way up the slope), but it has been very helpful.

I liked Conveyor Arts because of the flexibility of their book design system - practically any size book, any layout I wanted, lots of interesting cover, paper and folding options. And - it was significantly less expensive than publishers like Blurb and MyPublisher when it comes to making "more than a few but less than a lot" of books. Image quality is very high, turnaround was quick (when I gave them enough notice about expected delivery of files) and shipping was inexpensive. The downside is that to take advantage of their best prices, you have to do a lot of the work yourself - and that means properly laying out your book in InDesign, converting your images to CMYK and soft-proofing those images to make sure they look right in CYMK (and not just pretty on your screen).

In 2015, through the course I took with Conveyor Arts, I created and self-published a children's photo book that is now sold at Catskill Animal Sanctuary as a fundraiser for their farm rescue operations. I order the book in small quantities (about 25 at a time), so it's a moderate layout each time and I can refill when they sell out.
https://store.casanctuary.org/collections/books/products/photo-book-cas-anim...ent-photo-book

More recently, I've been looking into doing a large print run (offset printing as opposed to digital printing) with Blurb. I've made a draft of the book through Blurb's InDesign plug-in and requested a quote. The good news is the price is amazing for high volume offset printing. The bad news is that it's a huge chunk of change upfront. I probably will go that route at some point, but I'll need to arrange pre-purchases to fund the book via Kickstarter or something similar.

So, after the "all about me" section, here are my thoughts on your questions:

What do you look for in a vendor?
- Print quality, reliability in printing, and an easy-to-use returns/correction problem if something goes wrong (because it will at some point).
- Reasonable shipping prices (some vendors offer great discounts on books but gouge you on shipping).
- Good promotional discounts offered frequently
- Good quality paper - I usually go up at least one quality level from basic but don't necessarily find much value in going beyond that
- Reasonably quick (and reliable) turnaround on book orders
- Reliable shipping without damage (properly packaged materials)
- Flexibility in page layout, but as a novice I also wanted something simple enough to use the first few times around
- Good FAQs on how to prepare images for high quality printing
- Now I'm interested in channels to sell my book online (Blurb has it), but I'm not sure that's something you need if you're just making a few books for yourself and friends or family
- A not too obnoxious logo in my books (Blurb and MyPublisher put their logo in your book on the back page. You can pay to have it removed, but sometimes the charge to do so is high. So now I just leave it, but I don't want it to be garish.)
- Responsive customer service (a knowledgeable and sympathetic human being who will answer my questions online in a reasonable time frame)

Do you care if they offer software to design the book or if it is all done online?
- I prefer to use software (InDesign) or software I download from them.

Do you care if the book is printed in the same country you are located in?
- No.

Do you have any other tips before starting on this project or while putting the book together?
- Spend an afternoon in a bookstore with a good photo book section looking at books. Or make a photographer happy by buying some :)
- Even before I start making the book, I like to make small prints of a large number of my images (e.g., on 5x7 paper) and then lay them out on the floor or a big worktable, to see which images work on paper (not all do) and how best to sequence them. Yes, you can sequence them in the software itself, but it's easier to see the overall sequence, and to add and subtract images, if you do it physically. You also might discover that there's some processing work you need to do to get more consistency in the overall look of your images. And, you might discover that you're missing some images - something that you need to tell the story or complete the sequence. Sometimes this sends you back into your digital archives to find something, and sometimes you need to go shoot some more.
- You also might want to get some construction paper in different sizes and cut it up to represent the book sizes that the vendor offers. When you hold in your hands a 7x7 book, or an 8x10 or a 12x12 book, you get a better feel for what you want to do. Get some prints that suit the different book sizes (just print them on a regular color or BW photocopier - they don't need to be on photo paper) and size them to fit the book.
- File organization is critical (and I learned some good practices from Conveyor Arts). I create a separate file folder (with sub-folders) for my book project. Generally, there are two image folders. One has copies of my Adobe RGB files that have been prepared to look good as digital prints and are sized at 300 dpi (or as close to that as possible). (These sometimes look a little different than the base photo file that I keep in my main directory - for example, they might be a little brighter because they're being printed.) These photos also may be named differently than my original files. For example, my original photo files have names like "Clarice-160118-2893", which means a photo of Clarice the sheep taken on January 18, 2016 - with 2893 being the file name from the camera. The file name in my book folder is Clarice-01-F (F for final) and -01 because sometimes there is more than one Clarice photo in my book. The second folder has the same images converted to the color space required by the publisher (e.g., CMYK).
- I also save image files that are larger than what the book currently calls for. For example, although the 7x7 book I'm making really only needs image files that are about 5" long or high (at 300 dpi), I might decide in the the future to make a larger version of the same book, so I don't want to have to go to the trouble of creating publisher-ready files at a larger size. The downside is that these files take longer to upload and sometimes are a bit more cumbersome to work with, but I'd rather have that headache than to have to recreate large publisher-ready files.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread. And proofread some more.
- Ask someone to look at your sequence before you press the "buy" button. And get them to proofread your work, too.

PS - Many years ago (1987!), I worked at Black's Photography in Vancouver. And many years before that, my dad went to school with the Black's sons.
Forum: Pentax K-1 08-08-2016, 07:25 AM  
Post your K-1 pictures!
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 24,692
Views: 2,098,076
I am particularly interested in the quality of images taken at high ISO because I often am photographing animals in less than ideal lighting situations (e.g., in the basement hospital of the Wild Bird Fund) where I can't use flash.

This photo was taken outside yesterday, but because I was shooting handheld and using a fairly high f-stop (f/10) and 1/125s in some shade, the ISO floated to 5000 in TAV mode. This is about a 50% crop. In Lightroom and/or Photoshop, I did some noise reduction (can't remember exact settings), raised the shadows and did some selective sharpening (in PS, using shake reduction filter) on the bee.
Forum: General Photography 08-01-2016, 08:01 AM  
For bird photographers: my new favourite book
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 2
Views: 767
This book just arrived at home and I am in love with it. And it's a steal at just over $20 US. The photographer is Gerrit Vin, and the book is associated with the Cornell Ornithology Lab.

https://www.amazon.com/Living-Bird-Years-Listening-Nature/dp/1594859655

So many lovely photos, combined with some wonderful essays about various aspects of bird life. As someone who has been experimenting with photo books, I particularly like the surprises hiding underneath the dust jacket front and back covers.

Buy it for yourself or a birdwatcher friend, or put it on your Christmas list.
Forum: Pentax K-1 07-20-2016, 08:09 PM  
Can your K-1 arrive too soon?
Posted By frogoutofwater
Replies: 2
Views: 837
I told Mr frogoutofwater yesterday that I was thinking of getting the K-1 soon. And we had a little chat about our summer expenses (mostly travel).

My K-1 showed up today :)

I was kind of hoping it wouldn't show up until after he'd left for his mountain-climbing holiday. Then I could say, "What? This old camera? It's just something I found in the back of my closet ..."

On the other hand, now I have something to play with while Mr frogoutofwater is away.

I know the K-1 is supposed to be awesome - do you think it can make me coffee in the morning?
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