Sunday, December 30, 2012

Must be a proud Canadian Photographer!

This post is a reply to a comment someone (Anonymous) left in response to my article “Favorite On-Line Resources for Photography Products and Services - Part 3 - Where I Shop For Products” (http://www.eyesonphoto.com/2009/01/favorite-on-line-resources-for_08.html). Usually I would not even publish this kind of comment but thought it deserved a response. Here is the comment followed by my response:

“Anonymous  -   Sunday, December 30, 2012 2:25:00 PM PST
Wow, thanks for supporting the Canadian economy. Must be a proud Canadian Photographer!”

Well I understand the dig and I do support some Canadian vendors and retailers. Read below. However you must know several facts first. Then read on, and check out my reply to your comment.
1st, My audience for this site is mostly U.S. based. Over 80% of my visitors are from the U.S. I cater to my readers. I do have a few Canadian, European and Aussie readers also but even most of my Canadian readers cannot purchase products from the retailers I deal with.
2nd, Many products I purchase are simply NOT even available at local stores. What am I supposed to do, do without or use inferior products? Think not. Look at several examples. I purchased the BlackRapid (www.blackrapid.com) shoulder strap that I blogged and raved about on this site. No local supplier carried this product. After I got it several photography friends also purchased the same products from the U.S. Then, based on my recommendation, a local store, Lens and Shutter, started carrying the product. Another example is my Canon M80 Portable Backup unit which I also blogged about. Canon Canada, in their wisdom, decided not to import this product at all! They did not think it would sell well. So I went out of Canada and purchased one directly from Japan. I had read great reviews about another great backup option, the Sanho Corporation (www.hypershop.com) ColorSpace HyperDrive. Oh, no one in the Vancouver area carries this product and Amazon.ca just started carrying the product a few months ago and do not carry the great new HyperDrive with built in WiFi. So again, off to purchase from the U.S. Oh, and no one around here carries the great Paul C. Buff Einstein 640 lights, American Made, that I purchased directly from the manufacturer. The list goes on, and on. Oh, and I never did find a local supplier for the great Tripod Accessories I like from the American company Really Right Stuff (www.reallyrightstuff.com).
3rd, Some Canadian companies like Canon Canada sees a fixed markup with a suggested retail price that they control and regulate as a means of increasing profits. Way too often I can purchase the exact same $1200.00 lens for less than $1000.00. I pay taxes when I bring them into Canada on the smaller amount and so I end up saving on Taxes also. But I do pay taxes which go to… oh yes, Canada. I do not understand when the Canadian Dollar is higher than the U.S. dollar why there would be a 20% plus difference on most items. So much for a competitive free market. Note the differences are based on L Series Lenses and the high end Flash units and that the differences on non L series lenses and camera bodies are minimal so I usually purchase those in Canada.
4th, the 3rd item is partly facilitated by this item, I live right next to the border and go into the U.S. every week to pick up my mail at my P.O. box. So, yes I am lucky to be able to do this but it makes purchasing products out of the U.S. so much easier.
5th, again kind of like item 2 above but rather on the scope of the items carried. Shopping on-line, searching and browsing great sites like Amazon (www.amazon.com), Adorama (www.adorama.com) and B&H Photo (www.BandH.com) allows you to find (and purchase) items you never knew existed before because they are NOT available locally! You can find the smallest most amazing products like the Kacey Enterprises DSLR Camera Paint Pole Adapters for Pole Aerial Photography (www.kaceyenterprises.com) which I blogged about. I know several other photographers that have ordered these products from the U.S. company. I won’t mention their names for fear that someone may suggest they are not good Canadians.
On supporting local companies:  Well every year I purchase stuff from Kerrisdale Cameras, (last big item was the Canon 100mm Macro), and from Lens & Shutter (last big item was the Epson 3880 Printer) and from Beau Photo (Lots of big items although they didn’t have the last big item I wanted) so I went and purchased my new Sekonic LITEMASTER PRO L-478D Photographic Light Meter at Photo Experts in Surrey, all in the last year. Apart from a few issues with Kerrisdale Cameras, Beau Photo, Lens & Shutter and Photo Experts are EXCELLENT local retailers that I support whole heartedly. Most of my readers unfortunately cannot purchase from them.
On supporting me:  See I also get great support from U.S. vendors like Canon U.S.A and several others. I am a certified Canon Professional in the U.S. because they gave me that honor. I get priority and cheaper repair services and free loan equipment. When I approached Canon Canada years ago I was basically told where to go. Based on my years of service records with Canon U.S. and friends dealing with Canon Canada repair (in Toronto), I can emphatically say that the Canon Service out of California is much better in many ways. When I approached Canon Canada for help with the Delta Photo Inspirations show the Delta Photo Club puts on every year they said they weren’t interested. When I asked them for support in way of donations or products or swag to give as prizes they blew me off. Nikon gave us a $500.00 camera last year for the same show. Oh, and Epson gave us a big 13”x19” printer the year before. Canon Canada could do a lot better to promote their products and make their prices competitive and so I have no qualms about purchasing Canon products out of the U.S., especially when it saves me a lot of money.
So about your comment:  In general the Internet has caused a lot of problems because of the anonymity it affords readers and people who post comments. Normally I would not have even published your comment but thought it deserved to be published with a response. You see, kids all over the world now deal with bullying through the Internet because other kids can leave anonymous comments; people can post hateful messages about people and even post religious hate comments. Now, don’t get me wrong, your comment cannot be compared to any of these examples except that it is anonymous. This anonymity allows you to be big and strong and trash my shopping habits and yet it protects you. It protects you from me and even from other readers knowing who you are. I hope you feel very good and very proud about your comment.
Your comment is solely based on your limited knowledge of who I am and my shopping habits based on what you have read on my Blog. So, it’s not a complete picture. On my post about where I shop on-line, at no point do I mention I buy ALL my stuff from those on-line retailers? But you made that assumption. Incorrectly I might add. Now perhaps you think you know me because you may be a member of the Delta Photo Club or some other local club I teach workshops at or judge at, but again, you do not know me very well for if you did you would know I do indeed purchase a LOT of products from Canada! Thousands of dollars every year in fact.
Now if you did know me, I would have expected you to come to me and ask me why I purchase so much from the U.S. and then I could have simply explained it to you. You may decide that my reasons mentioned above are acceptable or perhaps not acceptable to you. I’m OK with either. The question is are you OK with yourself making unfounded accusations about people and then hiding behind the anonymity afforded by the Internet? Was your comment meant to be a little “dig” because perhaps you don’t like me? That would be bullying. Or are you truly a great Canadian that will only purchase products that are made all over the world, in Canada only? Have you never purchased a product outside Canada. Do you not take advantage of the Duty Free liquor sales when returning from abroad? Oh well, your loss.
A final thought. My blog about purchasing on-line is based on where I have had success buying on-line. The reason I created the list is because many readers asked me where they could safely purchase items from. Specifically they asked me where they could purchase items they could NOT FIND at their local American and Canadian Retailers. Most of these readers being in the U.S. but some from here in Vancouver Canada. I was merely doing them a favor. And for that, you decided to make your comment?
Oh, and another thing. You’ll notice there is a lack of Canadian companies mentioned in this blog post. Not my fault the better companies are U.S. and not Canadian. Having said that, there is a great Canadian company I support that makes the best Lens and Sensor Cleaning Products, LensPen (www.lenspen.com). They are even in our very own GasTown section of Vancouver. They are a great company and have supported the DPI show every year for which we are thankful. This product however, specially the SensorKlear II is very hard to find in Vancouver. Also, some retailers do not carry their products at all. Beau Photo does not carry their products. And some retailers carry a fake illegal knock-off of the same product just so they can make more money. I always make sure I buy the original LensPen products. But if the retailers aren’t willing to support ‘local’, ‘Canadian’ companies? Why should I support them?
At this point I must thank you however. The local retailers I mentioned are all very good and deserve mentioning. When I update by blog “Favorite On-Line Resources for Photography Products and Services” I'll make sure to add a local Vancouver section for local readers. My oversight but for now they are mentioned here.
Thanks again. I hope you have a nice day!

© 2012 Francois Cleroux
(Version 1.11 - December 2012)
Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Photographers iPad Apps - 1 of 3

Here is my first installment in my on-going series of iPad Applications. This is part 1 of 3 in the Photography Specific Applications. Like the Non-Photography Specific Applications, this will be an on-going and evolving project and newer and better apps are created and updated. 

As I write this new post about apps that will specifically help the photographer, I have already found new general apps (and games) that are excellent. I will write about them later but for now, I have been using CrossCheck (a different kind of Project, To-Do, Checklist, Organizer that works very well), ACTPrinter (which, allows you to print from your Workstation to your iPad) and FlipBoard (which gathers some of the best News Web Content in various subjects that you choose and shows it to you in one easy to use application). Since my last writing I have continued to use and still love AudioNotes.

iPAD CAMERAS

I will break the iPad Photography Applications into different groups. Leading off is the Camera Section. There are various, no, numerous iPad Applications that you can use that allows you to 'take photos' with your iPad. Some are basic with simple to use settings, others give you more control of various settings like shutter speeds, some can be used to enhance images like HDR and Exposure Blending, Multi Images to enhance resolution and Automatic Stitching software. Yet, other camera apps allow you to get creative with filters and different looks.

MegaCamera HD - The built in camera is a s basic as you can get so the first thing I did when I acquired my iPad was to look for a better camera. The first one I found that I liked was MegaCamera HD. This application has several great features going for it. One, it allows you to shoot in higher resolution (using interpolation techniques) up to 16MP. In test I found ths works fairly well. Secondly, MegaCamera also allows you to do Image Stabilization. This works very well and you even have control of how much stabilization you want. It also has a timer built in. Lastly, it has various shooting modes beside the Standard which includes, Low Light, Light Paint, Dark Paint, Panorama 360, MultiExposure, Continous Shutter and TimeLapse Modes! Well written and works well.



Pro Camera - Also this is a very basic camera app it has a Heads Up Diplay (HUD) that allows you to Lock the Exposure, White Balance (WB) and Focus. This in turn gives you better control while photographing your subjects. It also includes a timer.

8mm HD - For Video I love this application. It is designed to reproduce the 8mm films of old including different framing options, different film looks and even a jitter control. Works very well and is fun to use.

Hipstamatic - For a fun simple camera with some funky post processing controls, try Hipstamatic. It has become trendy and has its own following kind of like the Holga crowds. They have a web site and even an on-line magazine where you can submit images. Un-fortunately the Post Processing requires Log In and so doesn't work when off-line. This App sells you a life-style rather than just a camera.

PhotoSynth - This is a camera that aids you in creating Panorama or larger Stitched images buy guiding you along. It works well when outdoors in larger areas but has its problems in smaller tight spaces.

Vintique - Vintique is a basic camera with great post processing capabilities and another twist. Right after you shoot you image, it brings you to a crop tool that allows you to precisely adjust the crop of your image. Once that is decided you can then do tons of processing adjusting exposure, colors, WB, and so on and then you can apply a variety of Filters and Effects including adding Frames. Once you have completed you image you have the ability to sahre your images in a variety of ways. Great little app.

PHOTO ALBUMS

Again the iPad comes with a basic album called Photos that lets you view photos that are on your iPad and it allows you to display them and organize them into groups. It also allows you to synchronize images with folders on your computer which is a great feature. It allows you to Share your images on-line and you can GeoTag images so you can view images based on Loction.

The issue I have with the app is that it gets organized in one way with all the images on your laptop available. If, you want to share images with a client, you may not want them to see all those photos. So, some sort of 'portfolio' type application is required.



Albums - Albums allows you to create Accounts, based on Names or you can make the Accounts 'Album Names' or 'Project Names'. Each Account can be password protected with a different password making it easy to hand it to a client, tell them which account(s) to go ito and you can give them the passord or you can log in for them. If you need to step away, you can rest easy knowing they will not go and look at other peoples images. Albums also allows you to Rate Images and you can create Smart Albums based on Ratings but also on other Meta Data. Nicely implemented, works well.

Pad Folio - This is by far my favorite based on looks. This app is fairly basic. It lets you create basic portfolios where you can set the default home page image for hat portfolio. From the home page you can access any of the portfolios. One nice feature is the built in business card where you can quickly e-mail a client your contact information. Simple with good looks.



So these are the basics. I will have editing software in instalment 2 and photographers utilities in instalment 3. Just like the iPad Apps blog, if you know of any excellent apps or don't agree with my choices, let me know. Do you know a better app that I did not mention, let me know. Note that I try a bunch and then choose the ones that work best and will not select some if they have problems even if they are very good. If and when they fix their problems I may add them to the list. Your input is always appreciated.

© 2012 Jean-François Cléroux

(Version 1.01 - November 2012)


Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.

Friday, November 2, 2012

11 Papers, 3 Languages!

So the exhibition (invite in blog below) started and it quickly garnered a lot of attention. I and the Exhibition has been mentioned in 11 different newspapers in 3 different languages in the first 2 days.

Some of these clippings show some of the students excellent work. A congratulations goes out to all the students, their teacher Navneet Saxena and Vivek High School!

I have already been invited to travel to Paris and Vienna next year to teach a workshop there where I can continue to mentor these excellent students. 












© 2012 Jean-François Cléroux

(Version 1.00 - November 2012)


Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why Photography, Still Life and Learning

One of the reasons I love photography is because you never need to stop learning. There is always new gear, new computer software, new techniques and a never ending quest to master them all and of course a never ending supply of subjects.

Because of this never ending quest, I am now taking a new class (yes, not teaching) that will hopefully help guide me, my photography and my art to a new path. In class two last night we discussed “Why Photography?”
It seems a simple enough question. But upon analysis of one’s own photography and why I do it, it can become more complicated.

The most common answer is almost always “Because I Can’t Draw” or “Paint.” But then, I wonder why some people think they can just pick up a camera and “Create Photographic Art”. Don’t get me wrong here, this statement is not meant to trash people’s abilities so let’s look at the statement.

Drawing well or painting well requires a lot of skills that are learnt through years of training and practice. Learning to paint like a Master can be even more challenging. When someone makes the statement they can’t draw or can’t paint they usually mean they “Cannot draw (or paint) something that will look realistic.” That’s the point isn’t it?




Guido Mocafico

What I mean is that these people think or believe that their drawing or painting must look realistic to be good art. This is their belief. The belief that art is merely a copy of the real world. With a camera, they can achieve this task by simply ‘clicking the button’ (words chosen carefully). Click. Print. Done. Look, a perfect copy.

Obviously these people do not understand what art is. Most art is NOT merely a copy of the real world but rather planned and calculated look at the world, real or imagined, that is created using specific mediums with specific techniques and chosen viewpoints. In and amongst this, stories or statements (political or otherwise) can be added or created within the image. Some art is not this at all but rather aesthetically created (not necessarily pleasing) from nothing and is not a re-creation of anything at all.

Looking at a simple still life image, drawn, painted or photographed, we see what looks like a simple re-creation of life. But, most well done images are far from that. They are usually ultra-calculated, the correct ‘subject’ must be found, the supporting objects must be carefully chosen, the colors need to work together and then a platform and backdrop must be chosen to add or complement the actual subject. One wrong move and it could fail miserably. Then we need to deal with light. Light is always so important. And, finally a view point needs to be chosen.


Scott Peterson

Some people cannot put any of this together in any sort of artistic cohesive fashion and so their images fail miserably. Yet, others can magically create these scenes in minutes but may fail with the lighting and the technical aspects of the photography.

You see much like painting, photography has a tool much like the paintbrush (or palette knife, or twig), and it’s called the camera. It can be used in many ways. The tool can be changed and modified to create a myriad number of varying tools. These can then be used in conjunction with a whole slew of various techniques (brush strokes). Combined, the subject, the light, the tool and the technique, creates a final image.

By simply clicking the button, one is not creating art, but rather copying a scene. Monkeys have been taught to capture ‘scenes’. It’s funny how they intrinsically know to photograph other monkeys but they do it. They are not creating art. If you are simply a clicker, are you a photographer?

Some people like ‘copying scenes’ and that’s OK. Some may do it to remember a trip, or to capture their grandchild’s first steps. Others may do it to capture a beautiful scene or beautiful object so that they can see these things again later. And, that’s ok also, but a copy of a beautiful object is not art.


Francois Cleroux - This image is a result of hours of work. 20 plus poppies and
combinations of poppies were photographed. Lighting was carefully crafted.

So, when someone says they do Photography because they can’t paint, can an argument be made that they can’t ‘photograph’ either? New photographers need to spend the time to learn the tools and techniques required to purposefully create images much like a painter will choose his canvas, paint, brush and a style of strokes to create the image he wants.

As a new photographer, I encourage you to learn everything you need to learn about photography from the tool to the final print and to learn to see the world, your subject or your imagination in new ways. Do not simply become a ‘clicker’ but an artist, a photographer.

Take classes that will help you with the 'technical' aspects of photography and then learn the artistic aspects of photography. For me, I am taking a three semester class that will help me explore my photography from an artistic and creative perspective that will hopefully guide me to newer and better.

I hope that this post is not insulting to you as it was not meant to be. If you are a clicker and thats why you have a camera, great. If you see yourself as a photographer/artist, then I hope this encourages you to learn more. If you do not agree with my statements, please let me know but mor importantly, let me know why. As an artist, why did you choose photography?

© 2012 Jean-François Cléroux

(Version 1.00 - October 2012)


Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.

International Show Invitation

So six of my images were selected to be shown in Chandigarh, India at the Government Museum Art Gallery. Here is the invite for all of you.


This would be my second International Showing with my first in Seattle, US. It is exciting when your images get sellected and displayed and it encourages you to continue your work.

Now, in all honesty, this show stems from the 7 day workshop I did for Vivek High School, Chandigarh, India in Vancouver this summer. It was a great experience for me and I had much to learn from the kids and their teacher. I hope to see them all again in India.

In a past Blog I spoke about Project Based Learning and will soon Blog about Goal Based Learning. My iPad Photography Apps Blog is just about ready to post and my next post will be about some thoughts on "Why Photography".

© 2012 Jean-François Cléroux

(Version 1.00 - October 2012)


Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Up-coming Workshops & Judging Dates

An Intimate Evening with the Epson 3880
Photography 101 - Delta Photo Club
Tsawwassen Alliance Church, 4951 12th Avenue, Delta

Monday November 12, 2012 - 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM

Back by popular demand this informal workshop discusses all aspects of digital photographic printing. An excellent class for ALL printer owners and those wanting to learn more before buying a printer.

Topics will include Printers, Paper Brands & Types, Inks, Terminology, Paper Handling, Care of Prints and Printers, Fine Art Printing, Color vs B&W, Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, ICC Profiles, Soft Proofing, Monitor Calibration and Digital Printing Workflow, Drying Prints and so on. Lots of great tips and important information.

$10.00 Open to everyone and free for Delta Photo Club Members. Note: Please RSVP with Francois by E-mail (In Contact Section) or at the Club, Thanks.

Long Exposure PhotographyPhotography 101 - Delta Photo Club
Tsawwassen Alliance Church, 4951 12th Avenue, Delta

Monday December 10, 2012 - 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM

Over the last few years the use of neutral density filters to create long exposure photographs has become a very popular technique in the field of landscape photography. Artists such as David Burdeny, Joseph Hoflehner, Michael Kenna, Michael Levin, Alexey Titarenko and others have propelled Long Exposure Photography to a point where the current king of long exposure filters, the Lee Big Stopper, has a 4 to 6 month waiting list. This genre has had other artists explore Long Exposures to push its boundaries in many ways from 1/8 second exposures to 30 minutes and longer.

This class will introduce you to Panning, Long Exposures, Ultra Long Exposures, Night Photography, Night Into Day Photography, Painting With Light Photography and other variations but will mainly focus on Fine Art B&W Long Exposures.

Itinerary:

Introduction to Long Exposure Photography
The Setup
JPEG/RAW
Long Exposure Filters
Metering and Exposure
Techniques and Technical Information
Black & White, Colour, Composition
Post Processing for Long Exposures

In the Spring I will offer a 1 Day on Location Workshop where you can can use your own gear and learn hands-on.

$10.00 Open to everyone and free for Delta Photo Club Members. Note: Please RSVP with Francois by E-mail (In Contact Section) or at the Club, Thanks.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

iPad Apps Update

I have added two new Apps to the 'Top Non-Photography iPad Apps' list.

15) Line2 (9.95/mth) - (NEW) A lot of people wish their iPad was Phone Enabled. Well, with Line2 you turn your iPad into a full-fledged phone complete with voice mail and text messaging. As an added bonus you also get to choose the Area Code you want. I chose a Montreal 514 Area Code so that people in Montreal can call me locally without long distance.

So far the sound quality has been good over Wi-Fi. Will need to try and report back on how it is over 3G or LTE connections.



16) FieldRunners2 (2.99) - (NEW) I have added a second game to the list. Perhaps Angry Birds should be on this list as it is a great game. However it is a game I have not gotten into. I did find a new jewel of a game that got me addicted for a time called FieldRunners2.

© 2012 Jean-François Cléroux

(Version 1.00 - September 2012)


Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Major Publication Wants Free Photos Yet Charges $155,000.00 For One Ad

It is becoming way too frequent of an occurrence where you hear about photographers (and writers) being offered nothing of very little for their work. The title of this post is copied from another Blog (link below) I just stumbled across and tells of another one of these stories.
 
Major Publication Wants Free Photos Yet Charges $155,000.00 For One Ad
 
I have always been a proponent of charging what you are worth knowing your time, technical and artistic skills and your investments in equipment are all worth something. Why would anyone give that away for two minutes fame? Note that 'who you are', the years of growing up (or not growing up in my case), the years of mistakes and experiences all make up who and what you are and all play an influential role in your art or photography. Why would you just give that away?
 
In November 2010 I had an image appear on the cover of Popular Photography. I Blogged about it here: First Magazine Cover. This was an accident as the image was 'sold' to be published in the magazine. The image did make the magazine inside and took up about a half a page. I was surprized to find it on the cover, not just because it was my image but in this particular case it was an image of me.

The point here is that I sold the image. I was paid for my time and my work. Not only did I spend the time making the image, photographing it over two days (the planet and my portrait), renting a fisheye lens (I have now purchased one), and spent hours of editing time, I also had to spend time negotiating, dealing with several e-mails, had forms to fill out as it was purchased in the U.S. and I am in Canada and then had to resize a final image and digitally send the image.
 
I didn't make thousands on it, but I did get paid. In the end, my hourly rate was probably below the minimum wage laws but I did get paid. This image was seen in Popular Photography and then another magazine, a British publication picked it up and again I was paid.
 
It has always been a struggle for photographers, the getting paid part. There are always those that will work for free (shame on you) and those that will work for next to nothing looking for their first big break. The problem is if and when you get your first big break and you think you will be able to now start making money, you will not get paid because other photographers will be giving their images away (like you did) and the client will opt for the free stuff like they did with you.
 
If ALL photographers stopped giving away their images, publications that do not know or understand the value of paying for good photographers, would have to pay and would. Years ago they all did but now with the popularity of photography and the relatively cheap and abundant equipment there has been a huge influx of new photographers and an even larger group wanting 'their big break'.
 
In the Fine Art Photography world it is no different. I charge $300 or more for my un-framed images. Many photographers ask how I can sell images for so much. I ask them how can I afford NOT to and then I wonder why I do not charge even more.


 
I have recently taken a two day workshop with famed B&W Long Exposure artist and photographer Michael Levin (www.michaellevin.ca). The biggest reason for taking the workshop was not to learn how to do long exposures, that’s easy, but rather to hear the second day of the workshop stuff on the business aspect of being a photographer. Getting a better understanding of the Fine Art Photography business, how many images should you have in a Limited Edition series, how to price your images and why, how to approach a Gallery or other avenues of income and so on . . . was way more important for me. I learned a lot on that day and some of my thoughts and ideas on business aspects were also re-affirmed. Knowing I am headed in the right direction and on the right path helps. Oh, and I did learn a few more things on Long Exposure. Bonus!
 
When someone asks you ‘How much?’ or ‘What would you charge?’ don’t sell yourself short. Don’t be tempted to do it for free as a learning experience. Sit down and spend the time required to decide what your images should sell for and what your time is worth. This should be a valuable exercise and remember, 'You only get paid what you think you're worth.'
 
One thing I have learned over the years also is that by underpricing yourself, you let the other party know you are in-experienced and you may lose jobs because of it. Generally if clients ask ‘How much?’ it’s because they are interested and usually willing to pay. A

In response to the blog post should we as Photographers boycott Travel & Leisure Magazine? How do we deal with this on-going issue of photography being de-valued and the trend of companies not paying for images. Then there are those companies under the guise of ‘Photo Contests’ that get thousands of submissions to get FREE access to use submitted images whenever they want as often as they want, but then let’s not go there right now as that’s another rant for another day.

© 2012 Jean-François Cléroux

(Version 1.10 - August 2012)

Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.

Monday, August 20, 2012

On Going Pro & Upgrading Your Equipment

This is based on a reply I posted on a social site to someone asking about going pro and thinking about replacing their Canon 450D with a Canon 5D MkIII. Several replies stated it’s NOT about the camera but the photographer. Others stated that the 450D was good enough? Someone stated he doesn’t get the respect because he doesn’t own a ‘pro’ camera but that shouldn’t matter as they should only look at his images. I and others asked what kind of photography does he do or want to do.

A part of being a pro photographer is being able to deliver the goods. By that I mean good quality images. I know way too many photographers that have had to replace ALL their gear because they purchased an Olympus system or a Canon consumer camera like a 450D/T2i or a similar Nikon DX system and purchased the non-pro lenses like the Canon EF-S or Nikon DX lenses.

The reason they had to upgrade is there ALWAYS comes a day in the PRO world where someone wants a LARGE print or a very high quality image. Whether it is a large print of a wedding shot, family portrait, or perhaps a print for making a large product poster/advertisement or perhaps even a 2 page spread in a high quality mag. You need pixels for this. And, if you want excellent quality enlargements you need QUALITY pixels which is why over 94% of the pro's making their living at photography (not a hobbyist that occasionally turns a buck) use High End DSLR's, Full Frame DSLR's, Medium Format Cameras (that now shoot 160 Mega Pixels), and some even still use Large Format Film!

Also, as a pro you use your camera a lot and it gets abused. The pro quality cameras and lenses put up with way more abuse and wear and tear. For this alone the pro or prosumer cameras are worth every penny over what you would pay for a consumer camera.

On the lenses, the Pro lenses are Sharper and Clearer Optically and generally focus faster. Many allow more light in to the camera and will give you that Shallow DOF that non-pros are always looking for. This extra light also turns into extra contrast in your images which also adds to the sharpness. These lenses are also much more durable. I just hosted 11 students that came from India to Canada so they could take a 7 Day workshop with me. Two of them broke their Nikon DX lenses by barely ‘bumping’ the front barrels. One was dead and the other still usable but now has a wobbly front barrel. Not sure how good the images are. And, on the same trip someone dropped a camera from 3 plus feet and it landed right on the front of the lens onto concrete. The drop broke the filter, but the Canon L Series lens was OK. This isn’t about Canon vs. Nikon, but rather Pro vs. Consumer products.

Your Pro Lenses will also last a lifetime if properly taken care of. And, they tend to retain their value very well. Check out the cost of a used Pro Lens like a Canon 50mm f/1.2 or Craigs List or eBay. You see even old ones retain their value unless they have been abused.

On the warranty issue, I am a Canon CPS. I recently sent in my only non-pro lens (my wife usually uses this and a pro lens for cleaning). Canon does not give pros discounts on repairing non-pro gear!

Now just because you have a pro camera, doesn’t mean you will take pro quality images! But, likewise, as someone mentioned, people will not take you seriously with a non-pro camera. Designers, Editors and so on will not think you’re a full time pro shooting a dinky camera and they also think (perhaps rightly) that you will not be able to deliver the high quality images they require. Some of the consumer cameras will give you pro quality images, but if you do not get taken seriously, you may miss a lot of opportunities.

So as a pro, you need to combine your pro skills and artistic skills and pro gear and make pro quality images. But even then your not there. Most pro photographers (but not all) make it as pro photographers not just because of their images but because of their business skills! You need to be able to sell yourself, promote yourself, and talk to people, approach art directors and the people buying the prints. Your personality comes into play here also.

Every year I have people ask me if I think they are ready to go “professional”. I usually give them the above advice. But, in the end, you do want a better camera. And, if you do not go pro, you’ll at least have a camera you’ll be happy with that will last you a lifetime if you take care of it. Learn not only how to use it, but how to ‘technically’ take the best images you can with it. Learn how to take Tack Sharp images and learn how to do it without thinking. Then, work on whatever photography genre you want to photograph and sell, and perfect that also.  If you take excellent quality images that are artistic, commercially viable, news worthy, or whatever, they will sell. But, no matter how good a capture of a scene is, if the image is poor quality, not sharp (non-intentionally), not properly exposed, not well cropped, not well composed and so on, it will not sell.

As far as Art Directors are concerned, they see thousands of images every month with new potential pro photographers wanting to make it in the business. Your images have to stand out! They need to be perfect technically and they need to be different than the rest artistically. This may not be the case for Photojournalism or other genres, but then they still would need to be perfect. Who wants to read a newspaper with a bunch of blurry pictures?


© 2012 Jean-François Cléroux

(Version 1.00 - August 2012)


Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Vivek High School Workshop

So this past week I had the privilege and pleasure of hosting eleven students and their photography teacher from Vivek High School in Chandigarh, India which is currently in session (They only get the month of June off). The students (Janvi Sidhu, Pranjal Marwaha, Shazia Suri, Ashmeet Kaur, Garima Garg, Abhay Iqbal Singh, Aditya Singh Surjewala, Ranjeet Singh Grewal, Nikhil Ghai, Sidak Sandhu, Pratul Garg) and their photography instructor (Nanveet Saxena) joined me for a 7 day Intermediate Photography and Concepts Travel Course.

We`ve lost one student!
Here he is.

This special workshop which I created for them included travel to Victoria, the Butchart Gardens, Whistler, the Vancouver Downtown core, some beaches, Stanley Park, Gastown, and Chinatown and included introductions to photographic concepts like Multiple-Exposures, Long Exposure, HDR, Panoramas, Stitching, Night Photography, Basic Studio Lighting, Model Photography and basic reviews of Exposures, Composition and creating Tack Sharp Images. All the students had their portfolios reviewed and assessed.


The students were all happy to be away from regular class but were put through their paces with this intensive 7 day workshop that included several very long days including one that ran into the late evening as we photographed English Bay at sunset and then the Rowing Club, the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and Canada Place from Stanley Park in the dark. Classes were held at Vancouver Photo Workshops (www.vancouverphotoworkshops.com).




The day trip to Victoria and the Butchart Gardens was great but the Whistler day trip was a special opportunity as all the student got to photograph the 2012 Crankworx Whistler MTB Festival Red Bull Races (www.redbull.com) right on the track. A great experience.



They specially enjoyed the Introduction to Studio Lighting and then shooting the two models. Thanks to models Jennie Roth and Tamara Bradley. Special thanks also goes to Gerry Alston for his help greeting the students at the airport upon their arrival, seeing them safely to their hotel and spending the rest of the Saturday and all of Sunday showing them around Vancouver and the North Shore. Finally thanks to the team at Moose Travel Network (www.moosenetwork.com) for their bus, efforts and patience.


Students enjoying a swim at Porteau Cove
This was a great learning experience for me also and I greatly enjoyed the company of the students and their instructor and learning about them and their culture. I hope to accompany them and further instruct them again next year.

© 2012 Jean-François Cléroux

(Version 1.10 - August 2012)


Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Top Non-Photography iPad Apps

Every once in a while the best technology rises to the top. I have had my iPad now since the iPad Gen 3 was launched on March 17th, 2012. I have used this iPad for personal reasons, for work and for photography. The iPad itself, the technology behind it, the build quality and even the OS is exceptional. Don't get me wrong, it does have its quirks, and its problems but it is excellent. I may post on these issues at some other date but this post is about app, utilities and services for the iPad, at least some of the good ones I have found.

The tablet itself is great but without software it would be useless. The things I like the most about the iPad is the Apple App Store, the Apps themselves and the cost of the apps. I particularlay like the cost of the apps. Many are Free, many are $0.99 cents to $4.99. What a great deal, specially if the apps are useful for you. Some larger commercial business apps are more expensive and can run into the $50.00 range and some can get into the hundreds. If they are great business tools that can help your business processes out or safe you tons of money, they are probably worth it.

This post is about the apps available for the iPad that I have found to be excellent. The iPad comes with some excellent built in Apps, but here I will blog on General Apps, Photography Specific Apps and on Technology/IT related Apps in three separate posts. My years of working, using, servicing and teaching technology gives me the ability to recognize well written software and shortcomings. I have found some apps lacking and in some cases I have contacted the developers making some suggestions to improve their products. In one case my suggestions were implemented within the next upgrade that was released and then thanked in an e-mail. Nice to see some companies listening to their customers.

Apps need to be easy to use or intuitive, you know, that perverbial 'user friendly'. Personally I have never liked the term. For me, I find that almost all software is 'user friendly' as I have used so many different programs over the years, good and bad, that I just have the intuition to know, based on design, layout and workflow, what I should do and how I should do something. For beginners, or those new to technology, what may be a user friendly program to use for many, may be very challenging for them. When I rate a program, I judge it partly on how intuitive it is to use, ie. does it make sense, on how well it does its job, no matter how easy or difficult the job is, the cost and the overall look and feel of the program.

Here are some recommended general use applications for the iPad. Please note that some of these great apps also work on the iPhone but I have no first hand experiance on the iPhone and so will not make any recommendations.

1) DropBox (Free) - So DropBox is not so much an App as it is a Service. Using you computer go on-line and sign up for this free service that gives you storage on the Internet, or the 'cloud' as some people call it nowadays. The Free option gives you 2 Gigs of memory to store any file you want. Whats nice about using this type of service is that it makes your files or documents available to you anywher in the world as long as you have internet access. It can also be a great way to Backup important files. I will be doing a review of On-Line Backup Solutions for your PC's and Macs in the Fall. If you require more space than the Free 2 Gigs of memory, you can pay a small monthly or yearly fee to get more storage. There are other companies offering similar services, including some that offer more free space but I like DropBox for several reasons the biggest being its acceptance in the industry as being the most standard. This means that some other apps now intergrate seamlessly with DropBox. I have such an app next on the list. Other companies that offer free space includes Microsoft, Google and others.

A warning about using such products; One, make sure you read all the licensing and agreement terms. Are your posted files and images always yours, even if you die or do some rights get turned over to the provider? Two, are your files private or are they being screened by the hosting company for valuable private information? Just because all your friends use a service doesn't mean its safe to use. China for example has state sponsored hackers actively trying to hack into most businesses and personal computers in North America as we speak. Proof of this has already been reported by various security companies and confirmed more recently when Google warned many large businesses that Chinese sites and IP adddresses were trying to hack into their (or more politely worded as 'were interested') in their sites. This infuriated the Chineses Government and caused them to pronounce a bunch of denials and then attack Google about their claims.

The sad part about all this was NOT that Google told these companies that China was 'interested in their sites' but rather that these companies IT departments did not already know that China was trying to hack into them. Four months before the first word of this comming out, I already was actively preventing Chinese hackers at 6 different IP's (two of which were MS Server 2008 Boxes??) from hacking into my clients site. Why would these IT departments of the very large companies not know this was going on?? It's their job to know. More heads should have roled over this.

Anyways, back to where we were... Some tech companies have developed some free programs and services that are meant to do nothing more than to get access to your data. Be leary of off shore companies. Do you really want to store your personal and private information in China, Russia, or some other Eastern Block countries. Having said that, some of these mob-esque companies have now opened up shops developing programs here in Canada and the U.S. just to make themselves look more legitimate. Google and Microsoft, i'll trust them, others, not so much.

Another big warning! It is very important knowing where these companies are for another reason. Not necessarely where their headquarters are but where the physical data is stored. Many Provinces, States and Countries have Privacy Laws. In British Columbia where I live, it is illegal for companies to store private and confidential information outside of Canada. So Law Firms, Accounting Companies, Doctors and anyone else that stores any identifiable client information, so almost all companies, should never use these services unless they know their Data is actually stored in Canada.

2) CloudOn (Free) - Ok, I must rate this as the best free app out there! The first application I looked for when I aquired my iPad was something to view and compose Microsoft Office Documents like Word and Excel files. Microsoft in their not so wise reasoning have never created Office for the iPad which I would gladly have paid their big buck demands for as Office is a business tool I use all the time. A no choice option for me. But loh, it's not available. So the search was on and the best program I found as a replacement was QuickOffice. A good program which I review below. CloudOn however is free. This program runs on the Cloud and so requires an Internet connection. To connect to the Internet it requires a place to save files. This is where DropBox comes in. It will look at your DropBox files and will opn up a Word/Excel/Power Point like interface that will allow you to edit or even create new Office documents without owning Microsoft Office. If you have a PDF file in DropBox it will show you those files also. CloudOn's newest update also allows you to use the Free Google Drive. Google Drive is like Drop Box except i allows you to store 5 Gigs of data for free. Oh, wait, if I use both free services I can get 7 Gigs of free space. CloudOn will access both of these.

3) QuickOffice Pro HD (19.99) - Quick Office Pro is probably the best MS office replacement available that is a standalone product that lets you work on local files or create new files. It is also integrated into the built in iPad mail app and is also a SaveBack program. It supports Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 formats and also lets you view PDF files. This works great with DropBox and other Cloud apps and is a cleaner experience than using CloudOn. The Apps are not as sofisticated as CloudOn in what they do in the way of features but they do handle all the basics that most users need or require. And, unlike CloudOn, it does not require Internet access, but it does cost $20.00.

4) Document Manager Pro (2.99) - This great file manager will alow you to transfer files to and from the iPad to your PC or the Internet (think Drop Box) using a nice friendly interface. It supports file transfers using Wi-Fi, USB and iTunes.

5) RoboForm (19.99/yr) - In this day and age of a trillion apps, web services and on-line retailers, passwords become a big issue. RoboForm is a great password management tool. It is also a long time favorite. It is available for you PC, Mac and On-line also. On-Line and non on-line Password management tools have proliferated in the past two years. Like other apps mentioned above this can be a big security risk. Make sre that you completely check out what company you setup with and who the owners are and what contries they are based out of. Tuff to do but unfortunately I can't mention which companies may be bad as I could get sued. Just know RoboForm can be trusted and that I do not get paid for saying this. This great CNet 5 Star rated app (free for the iPad but you pay for a yearly service) is currently on sale for 9.99 for the first year.

So, all the warnings I said about using services like DropBox from other companies is doubly so here. There is also a risk involded that by using an infected PC or a system with a Keylogger on it that you may inadvertently give out your Master Password thus giving out ALL your passwords. Think twice about using these types of utilities. What you can do is allow a company like RoboForm to remember all your non important, non confedential, non secure web site information which is probaly the majority of your passwords and not allow it to remember things like Banking Information, PayPal accounts and so on. Play it safe.

6) Bamboo Paper Notebook (Free) - From the creators of the Bamboo and Intuos Tablets comes this great Sketching, Doodling, Note making pad. Create lists or just about anything. Draw with your fingures or use a Stylus. I do recommend the Bamboo Stylus for the iPad. Works great. The nice thing wth this is you can import a photo, or a map and then draw or write overtop of the images. Greate for creative thinking and hashing out projects. Makes a great napkin replacement.

7) Quick Sale Professional (29.00) - So this is mostly business app but a great one it is. This app will allow you to create quotes, invoices, oreders and other forms on the fly. It can automatically create and e-mail PDF versons of these while you are on site with clients to get Quote Approvals or Invoice Payments. It can litterally transform your business. It has a bit of an Inventory system built in but as of this moment it does not tie into other programs and would not be suitable for keeping track of inventory for more than one sales person. It is loaded with a multitude of great features and is very customizable. There is a Free Lite version available but it is somewhat limited.

8) Onavo Extend (Free, for now) - This app is all about saving money and based on my tests Onavo Extend will do that for you. Most iPads are 3G/4G enabled as data is important specially in todays workforce. The Data plans we purchace are limited and/or capped and once we go over the plans limits it can start costing a lot of money. This is where Onavo comes in. When you request data, say from the Internet, the Onavo servers will gatehr the data and will then compress it. Once compressed, their servers will send your iPad the compressed data and the Onavo App on your iPad will decompress it. This is all on the fly and very seemless and the speed decrees is neglegable.What happens is that by compressing all this data you can end us using 2 to 5 times less data depending on what you are doing. This can add up to a lot of savings. Currently Onavo has a few limitations and will not Stream Video for example but that will be available soon. The Pad app has great built in reporting and it will show you how much of your data plan you have saved with breakdowns on what services saved what. All very well done. I am guessing that once this product is complete and streaming is available that this may become a $10 or $20 dollar app. It is free right now but would well be worth it even at $20 per year as a service as this can save you $20 to $50 per month depending on how much data you currently use. Brilliant.

This app makes you wonder why not all apps do this, or rather why the OSes or Web Browsers do not all do this automatcally. Imagine if all the worlds web traffic was cut by 2 to 5 times!! I find it odd that years ago ALL modems used compression to save data transfer times and costs and that now years later we do not do this at all. Perhaps its something Onavo should look at doing.

So back on the security track for a moment. I'm not saying this app does this, but rather that it could do what I'm about to suggest. If all the data you request from your Data Provider like mail, web pages, even secure corporate data, (think, you are logged into your personal corporate web site) and videos and such all get collected by the Onavo servers, compressed and then sent to you, what would stop them from seeing, reading, copying or extracting all that information? So the question becomes who is Onavo? If you log into your Canadian corporate site, download data garnered by Onavo outside of Canada and then download it onto your device, are you breaking the Law? At some point during the transaction you have sent all your information outside Canada. Just something to think about.

09) Epicurious (Free) - Although one can simply use Safari to get to Epicurious.com, this app makes browsing and finding recipes much nicer. Add the fact that Epicurious is the best source for recipes on the net and you have a winner.

10) USA Today (Free) - USA today is a great U.S. newspaper. Thir iPad version is concise with great articles and covers many sections including the headline news, sports, technology, entertainment, the arts and others. It gets updated throughout the day and posts breaking news. A great deal for free.

11) The National Post (Free) - Probably Canada's best written and informative newspaper. Again, like USA Today, the National Post has various sections and its free.

12) TED (Free) - "Riveting Talks by Remarkable People, Free to the World," is the slogan for TED. This creative and worthy project brings great lectures to the masses for free. See some incredible lectures from some of the best talet from around the world. The App has a great interface that is free to use. Most lectures are short and make it easy to fit into a busy life schedule. Your never to old to lear.

13) Linda (Pay Service) - Linda.com is an on-line school with great class offerings that are mostly technology related. Need to learn Excel or Word, Programming, PhotoShop or just about anything else. A great offering of classes. So pay by the month or year and take all the classes you want.

14) W.E.L.D.E.R. (Free) - So what list would be complete without a pastime game on it. W.E.L.D.E.R. is a Scrabble like game with a board layout, tiles, and word creation. Fun to play and very educational.

15) Line2 (9.95/mth) - (NEW) A lot of people wish their iPad was Phone Enabled. Well, with Line2 you turn your iPad into a full fledged phone complete with voice mail and text messaging. You also get to choose the Area Code you want. I chose a Montreal 514 Area Code so that people in Montreal can call me locally without long distance.

So far the sound quality has been good over Wi-Fi. Will need to try and report back on how it is over 3G or LTE connections.

16) FieldRunners2 (2.99) - (NEW) I have added a second game to the list. Perhaps Angry Birds should be on this list as it is a great game. However it is a game I have not gotten into. I did find a new jewel of a game that got me addicted for a time called FieldRunners2.

This is the first iteration of my Best General iPad Apps List. There are other great apps I use that have some major flaws and so they are not on my list. Perhaps, as the apps evolve and are updated, they may make it on the list. As mentioned before, many of the built in apps like 'Maps' are excellent and free.

If this has helped you find a good product, please let me know. Have a better product or a great app not on the list? Let me know. Don't agree with my pics, let me know why.

In the comming weeks (Months?) I will be posting a similar list with Photography related and/or specific apps followed by Technology/IT pecific apps. I hope you find this helpfull. If you know of any apps you think should be on this list, please let me know. I will check them out and report back to you and if worthy, I will add it to the list.

© 2012 Jean-François Cléroux

(Version 1.10 - September 2012)


Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.


Monday, June 11, 2012

My Trips to the US: Palouse and Vincent Versace

The Palouse, WA - (C) 2012 Francois Cleroux

Its amazing the amount of incredible places and things we have to photograph here in Canada, or specifically here in Vancouver. Yet, despite this abundance of photo worthy scenes, I find myself heading over the line often.


In February I was in Florida. Last week I was with the Delta Photo Club (DPC), or at least 20 of its members, in The Palouse in Washington (not to be confused with the town called Palouse). Most of you may never have heard of the Palouse, or, perhaps because most of you reading this blog are photographers you may know about the Palouse. But, for those of you who do not, it is a region in eastern Washington south of Spokane encompassing parts of southeastern Washington, north central Idaho, and technically into northeast Oregon. For photographers, the region however is the smaller region of rolling fertile hills where wheat, canola and legumes are grown. This marvelouse region surrounding the towns of Palouse, Pullman, Endicott, St. John and Rosalia centered by the town of Colfax, where most photographers base themselves, is a marvel.


White Fluffy Clouds, Palouse, WA - (C) 2012 Francois Cleroux


This region is agricultural reserve land that is some of the most fertile land around anywhere. The long rolling hills, the cut-in patchwork crops and the usually dry weather featuring white fluffy clouds along with some great old barns and rusty old cars makes this a magnificent picturesque region and a photographers dream. So much so that photographers come to this region from all over the world.


I was also there with the DPC two years ago and I plan on going there again and I encourage all of you to fit the Palouse into you travel plans in the near future. In the next few months I will be blogging about this region a little more and showing some more images from there. I'll also have a neat announcement about it also.





Crop Dusting in Palouse, WA - (C) 2012 Francois Cleroux


So after a few days back to Canada, off I was again to Seattle this time. Turns out that Seattle's largest (and best) camera store, Glazers, was having a two day photo festival on Friday and Saturday. Their three stores (main store, rentals, studio and lighting) are all on one block and the road was shut down for the festival. They had great pricing and specials on many items.


Like most festivals they had a vendors area with Canon, Nikon, Hasselblad, Zeiss and all the usual suspects. A great chance to check out some new items and ask questions. They also had some workshops and lectures throughout both days the reason I was particularly interested in going was because the event kicked off on Thursday evening with a lecture from a photographic idol of mine, Vincent Versace. Vincent is famous for his years of being portrait photographer to the stars. His career has seen him travel the world for different magazines, companies and organizations which included a job in Burma (Myanmar) to photograph Aung San Suu Kyi. His photographs are mostly all about light, of which he is a master. His portraits, travel photography, landscapes, cityscapes and flowers and other works all reflect his deep appreciation and love of light.



Poppie - (C) Vincent Versace (Inserted with Permission)

He is a trained stage actor and a writer. He has written a great book on digitaly editing portraits with an emphasis on light. The book, 'Welcome to Oz' now in its second edition is a detailed marvel that steps you through the entire process for creating beautiful yet subtle changes to your images to enhance not only the subject but more specifically the light and mood of the image. He also places an emphasis on mapping and planning your images, paying attention to detail and using a tablet (which he recommends). He has a brand new book being released very shortly called 'From Oz to Kansas: Almost Every Black and White Technique Know to Man' which is available for pre-order on Amazon.com. I have already pre-ordered this book and will review it when I get it.


A month ago or so I hosted an evening with our local Wacom rep Bonnie Avery. She showed all those who attended how to setup their tablets, how to use them and why and got into the details of the Intuos 4 and the new Intuos 5 tablets. It was a great evening. At the end of that class I showed everyone and recommended the Welcome to Oz book and suggested if you want to learn to use a tablet, work your way through this great book and in the process you'll learn a whole lot more.


Of course I brought my book along and had the opportunity to have it signed. More importantly I met Vincent and had a chance to speak with him on a few subjects and ask several questions.


Untitled - (C) Vincent Versace (Inserted with Permission)

Although I knew of and about Vincent Versace I had never had the pleasure of seeing him interviewed, on tv or live before. Now, I must say that I go to these types of events all the time and hit up any and all lectures I can attend as they are usually very insightful and most often a great learning experience. After spending over two hours of non stop listening to Vincent, the gentleman that came with me and I decided it was the most spectacular, awe inspiring, thoughtful, and humanized photography lecture we have ever attended.


Mr. Versace is probably one of the most technically proficient photographers around, both for in-camera and post editing and is a master printer. Although he did not go into any technical details at all, he did speak to, and in the process re-affirmed what I have been teaching for some time - the emphasis on taking your time, using a tripod, using great glass like a prime lens, making sure your exposure is perfect and spending all the time required to make your print perfect.


Artistically he spoke about focus. Actually he suggested photographers spend more time looking at what should be out of focus. So, don't think 'in focus' think 'out of focus' when composing. I think the better photographers instinctively do this. As beginners however most photographers always want to make sure that their images are sharp where they need to be sharp and so they usually use smaller apertures to ensure greater DOF and thus sharpness. With experience comes the comfort of confidence knowing that your image will be sharp if properly focused and camera held steady even when shooting at f/2.8.

As an added bonus, the first 50 people that showed up at the hall received a free autographed 8x10 image. I was very lucky to get one and will have it framed and will post it on my Wall of Honor. I did miss out on the hands-on workshop with him on the Friday morning as it was sold out. But, at only $50.00 for the morning it would have been an excellent deal and a great experience. Perhaps next year. For more information on Vincent Versace check out his site at www.versacephotography.com and his blog at www.thesunnist.com.


Overall, my past few American weeks have been excellent and oh so very inspiring and after my trip to Bistou Lake Alberta for Fishing and Photography, i'll be heading back to the U.S. for a few days in Canon Beach, Oregon.

© 2012 Jean-François Cléroux

(Version 1.01 - June 2012)

Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.