Another package from ZipLens

Click to enlargeMy nephew is getting married this weekend and despite my protests I was roped into doing some of the photography. I had originally intended to actually put my feet up and enjoy the ceremony and ensuing festivities… you know… like an actual guest. It’s too late for me but know this ye ignorant unwed: wives wield a fearful persuasive power that cannot be explained, only experienced.

Anyway, I took the opportunity to rent some lenses from my favorite online rental shop: I’ve rented from ZipLens in the past (see our review) and the experience this time was just as good as it’s always been.

I decided to get a 17-55 f/2.8 and an 85mm f/1.4 for the weekend so about a month ago I put in my order with a specific reservation for this week (you can make a reservation request in the notes when you place an order). ZipLens responded that day telling me that the lenses were reserved. And lo and behold they arrived today as promised. Rental of both lenses for the week including shipping was $160 total ($105 for the glass,

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Review: Arizona Highways Photography Guide

Arizona Highways Photography Guide

The Arizona Highways Photography Guide was written by the editors and contributors to Arizona Highways magazine. It’s broken down into three parts of about 100 pages each: The Basics, Types of Photography, and Places for Photography. Read on for a short review and how you can get a free copy.

This book covers a broad range of photography topics and, while it doesn’t go very deeply into any of them, it does provide a lot of very practical information. Every single page is filled with beautiful color photos that are used to illustrate a point and are each accompanied by a useful tip.

For example, page 40 includes this tip under a photo of a fast-moving motorcyle rider: “By using a slow enough shutter speed and panning with the motocross rider’s movement, the photographer was able to blur the background to heighten the sense of speed,” and it includes the shutter speed, ISO, and aperture settings.

Page 78 discusses depth of field and hyperfocal distances with helpful and clear diagrams. The tip on page 138 explains how color plays an important role in the composition of a photo of a bobcat at the top of the page.

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Review of the Think Tank belt system

This guest article was written by Lane Hartwell, a San Francisco-based freelance photographer whose images appear in Wired News, San Francisco Magazine, the San Francisco Bay Guardian and Diablo Magazine. You can follow Lane’s photography on and view her portfolio at

Think Tank beltThink Tank Photo is a Bay Area based company making making bags and belt systems for cameras and lenses. I saw a belt system on a pro shooter several months ago and watching her work with it, I was convinced it was the way to go. If you saw a carpenter walk around with a bag or backpack and take it off every time he needed a different tool, you’d buy him a toolbelt. The think tank belt system is a tool belt for photographers. I’ve been using the Think Tank belt system for several months now and thought it was about time for a review.

Like most photographers, I’m in search of the perfect bag. I own 3; The Lowepro Slingshot 200, the Lowepro Rover, and a Domke shoulder bag. Each are great for specific uses;

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Converting Film Negatives to Digital with

NegativesIf you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got a shoebox (or maybe even a slightly more elaborate storage system) full of old negatives from your film days. I’ve been casually thinking about scanning some of my old negatives and especially the negatives from my wedding to preserve them. Negatives can be stored for decades but I don’t store mine in anything near ideal conditions. In theory, digital images can be stored forever (assuming you’ve got a good backup process in place… you do backup your files, don’t you?)

The trouble with scanning negatives is that it’s cumbersome and, if you care about the quality, the equipment can be quite expensive. Your average consumer-grade desktop scanner with negative scanning unit will do in a pinch but it won’t match anything near the quality or speed of a dedicated negative scanning machine. And you’ve still got to deal with dust and scratches on the negatives which must be cleaned and inspected and… well, you get the idea. It’s a pain.

So I was pleased to hear about a service called ( which aims to takes all of the hassle and pain out negative scanning.

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Online Help Choosing a Camera

New digital cameras are being announced at staggering speed, and those of you who might be considering a new purchase may be slightly overwhelmed by the sheer number of options. One way to start is by using the Digital Camera Advisor. This online tool allows you to enter personal preferences about a number of items and attributes, including camera usage, price, brand, and physical and imaging attributes. After you have made your entries, the site offers camera recommendations.

screenshot Digital Camera AdvisorTo start, merely click one of the buttons and then move sliders or click checkboxes to indicate your choices. Unfortunately, the first button–camera usage–is one of the weaker pages, because the choices are so limited. You can choose between action scenes and landscapes, for example, but not nature shots or portraits. Still, take a stab and move forward.

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8 Online Lens Rental Stores Compared

While big chain stores have a great selection of gear  including lenses, lighting, bodies, and accessories, they don’t deliver and their rates are high.

Rentglass package







If you just want to try a lens out before you buy a copy, if you are looking for a bargain rental and don’t mind waiting a little while to get it, or if you just can’t rent anywhere locally, then one of these online lens rental shops could be the perfect fit.

Read on to find out more.

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Photographer Gary Parker

I admit it—I’m smitten. Photographer Gary Parker is my man of the moment. An award-winning photojournalist, portrait and commercial artist, Parker’s work delighted me instantly.

His website is correct when it describes him as a photographer who truly captures souls. It states, “No one’s quite sure how he manages, but Gary elicits from his subjects – human adult, child, animal, four-legged or two-toed – the part of themselves most of us try to hide – the spirit within.”

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Improve Your Images

Most of us like our photographs, or we’d stop taking them. Yet often we will see someone else’s picture and stare in awe. “How did the photographer do that?” we may wonder. Often, the leap between that person’s work and our own seems vast.

Physician and photographer George Barr has posted a series of online essays that may help answer that question. “Taking Your Photography to the Next Level” provides details about a host of factors that combine to create impact–or lack of it–in an image.

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Protect My Photos?

A while back I wrote a review of Protect My Photos, an online photo backup service. In the past few months I’ve received a few emails and some comments on the original post indicating that some people have had a few problems. Protect My Photos worked fine in my testing and there are inevitably people who have problems with any product. However, in my experience, for every person who complains there are 100 others who just cancel their service without saying anything.

If you’re interested in online photo backup there are a ton of options out there.

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Do a DoubleTake on Your Photos

How would you like to turn your 6 megapixel D100 into a 17 megapixel super D100 for less than $20? You can if you use a Macintosh running OS X. Well, maybe it really won’t actually turn a D100 into a 17 megapixel camera, but you’ll be able to create images of 17 megapixels or even larger relatively painlessly.

Enter a progrom called DoubleTake for Mac OS X. It’s a handy little shareware gem that does a stellar job of stitching images together to form a huge photograph that’s ideal for printing at up to poster sizes with incredible detail.

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