Pentax 55-300mm f/4.0-5.8: Bargain of the Decade

Pentax DA-L 55-300mm f/4.0-5.8 EDMore specifically, I’m referring to the Pentax DA-L 1:4-5.8 ED, a telephoto zoom that performs far above its price point. It’s a budget variation on the DA 55-300 4-5.8 ED, differing from its more expensive brother only in that it lacks the "quick shift" focus adjustment and has a plastic mounting bayonet rather than steel. Optically they’re identical. The DA-L version is supposed to be a "kit" lens; that is, sold as part of a body/lens package deal. Pentax doesn’t show this lens in their lens catalogue because it’s not available separately. Well, it’s not supposed to be available separately: Many enterprising retailers split up kits and sell the camera bodies and lenses separately. If you check around on eBay you’ll find several reputable, trustworthy retail outlets doing this (but be sure to check with reputation web sites before buying from a dealer you’re not familiar with). I paid $179.00 for mine.

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The Old Nags Head

The Old Nags Head is a pub in the village of Edale in Derbyshire, England.
The Old Nags Head Inn
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Bruce Gilden Does Photography Critique (courtesy of recently posted this great video of famed street photographer Bruce Gilden critiquing photographs that were submitted specifically for this purpose. The result is pretty wonderful, which is a little unexpected for me. I’m not a big fan of Bruce Gilden’s photography and even less of the way he does photography. But his critique of photography seems to coincide with my own views to a remarkable degree. In other words, I don’t care for the photographs he makes but I love how he talks and thinks about photography. He’s the complete inverse of Henri Cartier-Bresson, in my book.

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Plagiarism in Photography and Graphic Design Courses

Plagiarism in the Visual Arts

Whenever you start teaching at a new college or university one of the first things you’ll have to do is attend a seminar on the institution’s academic policies, including plagiarism. I’ve been through this several times over the years and yet I’m still able to confound the presenter when I point out the special difficulties of detecting plagiarism in the visual arts. It’s as if they’ve never thought of the problem before.

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Posted in Academics, Art & Design | 1 Comment

New Film Rebate Downloads

7cd00410 - Independence Pass
Kodak Elitechrome 100EC

I’ve just added a batch of new film frames to my collection of EPS downloads. List below.

Click on any of the images above to see the full gallery.

Download Links

Film Frame EPS Downloads (compressed in zip format)
  6×7 645 35mm
Fuji Velvia 50
Fuji Provia 100
Fuji Velvia 50
Fuji Provia 100
Kodak E100S
Kodachrome 64
Kodak Elite Chrome 100EC
Kodak NC160 Portra    
B&W Ilford HP5+ Ilford HP5+ Kodak Tri-X (4 frames)
Ilford HP5+ (2 frames)
Ilford Pan F+ (2 frames)
Generic Generic 67 Generic 645 Generic 35mm
Movie Generic 35mm Movie Film (8 frames, academy format, no sound stripe)
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

I am making these film rebate files available under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. This permits all uses – even commercial uses – as long as you give attribution.

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Another “Pay to be in our book” scam: “International Contemporary Masters”

Not long ago I was “invited” – via email spam, no less – to submit photographs for inclusion in the “International Masters of Photography” book. Even though I didn’t fall for that one and even though I reported it as spam to the spam-friendly host ( I’ve been getting more dubious “offers” from the same IP address range. Continue reading

Posted in Art & Design, Photography, Publishing, scam, spam | 1 Comment

Dorrance Publishing Scam… or Not?

I recently received an email from an outfit called Dorrance Publishing regarding my textbook A Semester of Photoshop. The subject line of the email was the rather alarming “Your Copyright Registration with the Library of Congress” and I first assumed it was the Copyright Office informing me of a problem with my registration. A quick glance (after opening the email in a web browser, since Dorrance is one of those clueless entities that sends email in HTML-only format) was enough to reveal that Dorrance is some kind of publishing company kindly alerting me to the fact that my book is a “candidate for publication” with them.

An unsolicited email with an alarmist subject line and evasively-worded opening paragraph set off a few alarm bells here, to put it mildly. So off to the search engines I did go… and I was not disappointed. Continue reading

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Gag Orders in Wedding Photo Contracts?

Here’s an interesting article on what, if it catches on, could be a disturbing trend in wedding photography: A contract clause (buried in the fine print, naturally) that prohibits the customer from posting negative reviews. (You can read the story at

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QR Codes: Don’t Put Them on Your Web Site!

Stop it, people! Stop putting QR codes on web sites!

A picture of a QR codeQR codes are those now-ubiquitous 2-dimensional barcodes that appear in magazines, advertising posters, etc. like the example shown at right. Yes, I know I am, in fact, "Putting a QR code on a web site by using this illustration, but that’s the point: I’m doing it as an illustration, not with any expectation of anyone using it.

QR codes are intended for print media. The user sees the QR code, scans (takes a photo of it) with a phone or tablet and is then whisked away effortlessly to the web site linked in the code without having to type in a URL. (The longer the site’s URL the more advantageous a QR code is because few people will make the effort to type in a long string of text.) There’s no point in putting a QR code on a web site because the person seeing it is, by definition, already on the web and doesn’t need any special technology to avoid typing: An ordinary link does the job.

(And if you use an image of a QR code as a clickable link on your web site you’re a wanker of the highest order.)

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Kodak Instamatic: The First Nail in the Coffin – 50 Years Ago

Kodak Instamatic Camera - Image from Wikimedia - Creative Commons License
Kodak Instamatic Camera
Image from Wikimedia – Creative Commons License

According to the George Eastman House blog, March 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the Kodak Instamatic family of cameras. These cameras truly revolutionized photography for the masses, opened a path toward unprecedented profits for Kodak and… ultimately led to the company’s demise. (True, Kodak isn’t gone yet, but as a photographic entity it might as well be at this point).

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