Monthly Archives: May 2017

In-Depth Review of Tamron’s SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens

So many times it occurs to me what a wonderful time we as photographers operate in today. We find ourselves constantly being introduced to new and better gear… cheaper cameras, faster glass. That last bit about lenses is particularly true.

This robust fast telephoto lens is Tamron’s updated version of the of their first generation (model A009) 70-200mm f/2.8 and offers upgrades that make that this new comer a powerhouse in the world of fast telephoto glass. Wildlife and sport photographer… get in here.

First Impressions

The SP 70-200mm G2 offers a heavy hitting package of style and function which is evident right out of the box.The lens itself looks wonderful with it’s flat, matte black finish and contrasting bright white lettering. A great thing about updated versions of the SP line is the readily apparent attention Tamron has paid to improving not only the form, but also function of their reimagined lens offerings. The entire lens looks sleek and professional grade.Overall, the 70-200mm is substantially built but not at all overly weighty for a lens of this focal range and speed. The Canon version weighs in at 3.3 pounds (1,500g) is just tips the scales of Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM which weighs 3.28 pounds (1,490g). Nikon shooters will enjoy a .5oz shedding of body fat with their model at 52.4oz (1,485g). In general, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the the 70-200mm balanced in the hand.

Something that I noticed once I zoomed for the first time with the SP 70-200mm was that it internally articulates; meaning that as the user zooms in and out, the lens remains the same length. I admit I was not aware of this prior to the review but was elated to find out. That feature alone goes a long way with this author.

Quality of Build

As we mentioned, the lens is a substantial telephoto which means the idea of feathery delicacy isn’t expected and shouldn’t be for a lens intended to get into the thick of sporting events or wildlife photography. The SP 70-200mm feels extremely solid. The lines are elegant and the design of the lens flows well… that being said, you can definitely be sure that this is a tool meant to be used. It isn’t going to have trouble handling the elements or the demands of rigorous photo outings.The zoom and focus rings feel great and turn smoothly but firmly; nice and gripping without feeling overly rubbery. The zoom ring especially is easy to manipulate for a lens of this size and doesn’t feel as if you’re going to twist the lens right off the camera while zooming.

The Ultimate Guide to Color Theory for Photographers

Color is all around us, and when used correctly it can help your images come to life. Color has the power to transform your compositions; from dull and uninspiring to exciting and alive.

Understanding Color Theory

There is a lot to explore when it comes to color theory, and how it affects our images, but understanding the color wheel and how the different colors work together and complement each other is a great place to start. Different color combinations provoke different feelings and responses; with some color schemes working together much better than others.

By understanding how different colors work together, you’ll be able to see things differently, and get the most from the colors around you. Here’s a basic look at some different color combinations.

Analogous Colors

First, let’s look at analogous colors. These are the colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. An analogous color scheme can consist of anything from two colors on up to half the wheel. These colors – think blue and green – can often make for a pleasing and harmonious color combination.

Complementary Colors

Complementary colors are shades that are located directly across from each other on the wheel. Think: blue and yellow or orange and green. These colors are complementary because they are said to work well together. Complementary combinations can create a high-contrast and vibrant look especially when used at full saturation.

Split Complementary Colors

A split complementary color scheme takes two colors that are directly opposite, and another color that’s one of the complementary colors’ analogous color. This type of combination often works extremely well, helping to balance out an otherwise high-contrast color combination.

Can Photography Be Used as a Form of Therapy?

Photography is not only a form of art; it is also a means of expression and a way of communicating thoughts and feelings. A single photograph can tell a hundred different stories. This is one of the reasons why some people have taken it as a hobby and, for others, a form of therapy.

Examples of Situations Where Photography Was Used as a Form of Therapy

Before we continue the discussion on photography as a form of therapy, let’s look at some examples of situations where taking photos successfully helped a person or several persons bounce back from a painful or depressing experience.

Here are two inspiring stories:

  1. A Vietnam war veteran in Spokane, Washington uses photography to deal with his PSTD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and depression caused by memories of the war. He actually formed a camera club for veterans. It has done a lot of great things for many of them. The club has helped veterans cope with post-war problems like being reclusive, fear of crowds, getting people to understand what and how they were feeling, and depression, among many others. The veterans look at their cameras as non-destructive substitutes for the guns and weapons they carried while fighting in the war.
  2. Another story where photography figures prominently is that of a person who figured in a serious road accident back in 2009. Waking up after a weeks-long coma saw him bound to the wheelchair as he could not walk and move his left arm. When his therapist suggested that he take up a new creative hobby, he learned about the possibility of using photography as a form of therapy. The improvements he noticed have made him emotionally and physically stronger.
  3. The Two Types

    There are two types of photography that are considered effective forms of therapy: therapeutic photography and phototherapy. Both types do not require specific photographic skills, training, or knowledge.

    1. Therapeutic Photography

      The technique involves self-conducted and self-initiated photo-based activities, where a person or a group takes photos as a form of therapy. In such situations, there is no professional counselor or therapist working with the person or persons in need of therapy. As such, no actual therapy session is involved; it is only the photos and the activity itself that provides the therapy. It is important to note, however, that therapeutic photography is not confined to taking photos. It also includes viewing photos, posing for photos, discussing or talking about photos, and imagining or visualizing photos. Most people who take up therapeutic photography often join groups, such as camera or adventure clubs.

    2. Phototherapy

      Phototherapy techniques use personal photos, images shot by other people, and photo albums of the person concerned in therapy practices. The photos are used to help a person express feelings, thoughts, emotions, and even remember important incidents that are otherwise difficult to explain in words. Any form of photography can be used for this type – as well as in therapeutic photography – including films and videos, digital or otherwise.

    Therapeutic Photography: How It Helps People In Need of Therapy

    There are many reasons why photography can be an effective form of therapy. There are also several methods of doing this, especially since it can be considered a personal form of rehabilitation. One person, for example, can choose to write down thoughts and feelings first – using words or phrases – and then convert these into images.

    Basically, it’s not about the photos per se; it is more about the process of shooting the images. Carrying the camera, feeling it in your hands; hearing the click and looking through the lens, and even the process of walking around to look for scenes or situations to shoot – all these make photography therapeutic.

  4. Below are the top five reasons why photography can be an effective form of treatment.

    1. Photography gives us the opportunity to view the world objectively. It shows us images that depicts how we are really living, not the often-guarded thoughts we keep in our minds. Thus, we become mindful of the things around us and in what is happening, as opposed to what we think (and like to believe) are happening. Developing mindfulness in photography is therapeutic because it unmasks the realities we thought we knew.
    2. Photography is a form of self-expression. It can effectively show a person’s true psychological state. It can also manifest a person’s genuine emotions. In other words, it allows a person to reach a better understanding of itself. This is therapeutic because it helps liberate a person from something previously misunderstood.
    3. Photography allows us to see more deeply and pay more attention to what we hear, feel, think, and see. We learn to ask questions; these questions will often enlighten us about particular things we used to be worried or confused with. This is therapeutic because it enables people to enhance understanding and learning; which is also a way of healing.
    4. Photography helps improve every day experiences. What used to be ordinary for you can change after you took a photo of it from a different angle. For example, a simple red rose can turn into a beautiful gift of nature after you captured it on camera while in bloom. Ordinary things become more special and meaningful. This is therapeutic because it gives an overall sense of happy and positive feeling.
    5. Lastly, photography can help unleash artistic and creative skills. Take for example a child with Down syndrome or a person in a wheelchair, or someone who is hearing impaired. These people may find it difficult to express themselves verbally, but through their photos, they could communicate and express their thoughts and feelings fluently. Knowing that you are capable of doing something despite the challenges and setbacks is definitely therapeutic.

Insurance for Photographers: What You Need To Know

Bottom line: You need insurance as a photographer. Though it may seem like you don’t because you may think nothing can go wrong, you actually do. When it comes to photography, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and think that Murphy’s Law applies at all times.

Determine the Kind of Coverage You Require

The kind of coverage you require is based on your needs and what you’re specifically doing. For example, when you open a studio or rent office space for your photography business or agency, you’ll need to purchase insurance to cover any possible fires, floods, and other disasters before you’ll be allowed to move in.

Even if you’re working or being a hobbyist from your own home, you’ll typically still require insurance for your client’s belongings and property (home insurance only applies to… your own home). Any insurance policy worth its salt and your money is one that will insure you for damages and also provide legal consultation.

If you’re going to be traveling across state lines or even internationally for shoots, providers usually have international coverage for extra fees, so be sure to ask your provider about this option.

How Much Do You Want to Spend?

It all comes down to budgeting. If all you can afford is one, basic plan, that’s definitely better than nothing, yet if you have a bit of flexibility with your budget, it’s highly advisable to consider various plans to get the best bang for your insurance buck.

While having too much coverage isn’t ever really a bad thing, higher level options do come with costlier deductibles, so you have to be certain that you’ll be able to replace the equipment that’s valued below that deductible.

Understanding What You Need to Make a Claim

Before you ever get to the point of having to make a claim, you should be well prepared to make one. Do this by compiling a list of all of your pieces of equipment, which would include how much you paid, when you bought them, and serial numbers. Such a list is great to have around if your claim is ever questioned or if you’re claiming for a theft.

Treat this list as super-important. It’s recommended that you back up such a list just as you would a client’s files. Make sure your insurance agent gets a copy of this list, too.