atn 36: links from creativity to photo instruction


This is an eclectic selection of links for around the net. Without further ado:

Photo Instruction Resource

I’ve been a fan of professional photographer Will Crockett and the photo instruction on for years now. The free content (and there’s a lot of it) is accessed by subscribing to the weekly Shoot Smarter newsletter. Once you’ve signed up you can access the wide variety of useful content, ranging from using a light meter on studio portraits to documenting the working of a shot. They also have instructional DVDs and other educational materials available for purchase.

Photoshop / Lightroom Contest with Benefits

Brian Auer at Epic Edits Weblog has come up with another great contest to benefit photographers, the Photoshop / Lightroom Action and Preset Extravaganza. Have you developed your own favorite action or preset for one of the image editing programs, something that has made your life easier or enhanced your workflow? Would you like to share it with the world? Entering your action or preset in the contest has a couple of benefits: you will have a shot at a number of cool prizes and the entries all become part of an online resource of presets for photographers. Hurry, though, the contest ends January 2. Complete details are available at Epic Edits.

Business and the Changing Times

Chase Jarvis had a recent post titled “After Photography” (which is also the name of the book featured in the commentary). It’s an intelligent post on the changing world of photography, a hot topic around the photo blogosphere. The post closes with a mention of “cheese” at the end, which reminded me of my favorite business book of all time: “Who Moved My Cheese?”. It’s a short, simple book about a few mice dealing with an ever changing environment. If you haven’t read it yet it‘s well worth the 30 minutes or so of cover to cover reading. It should be available at your local library, bookstore or you can find it here on


New Year’s Day is coming up and I’m especially looking forward to it because of the launch of my new photo a day project for 2009. As a result, I’ve been thinking a whole lot about creativity. There was a helpful post about reaching one’s potential recently on another of my favorite blogs, A Photo Editor. This article features videos of Ira Glass, the producer of “This American Life”, a wonderful weekly radio broadcast on NPR.

Glass talks about reaching higher levels and says “the most important possible thing you could do is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline”. It sounds reasonable to me, especially coming from someone at the top of their field.

Thinkin’ ’bout a lens

Hey, I’m enjoying the new Olympus E520, it’s a fun little camera. The things I’ve read pretty much ring true, it’s a well-made camera that’s a little more susceptible to noise than the competition. With after Christmas pricing on photo equipment so darn low I’m eyeing a Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX . The kit lens does a great job stopped down but the f2.8 all the way through (coupled with the built in image stabilization) should help with low light / noise, assuming the Sigma is decent wide open. Is anyone using this lens and would you recommend it?

That’s it for this week, I’m sure many of you may have more time off work coming. I’ll be out shooting when obligations aren’t calling. Gotta be ready for a photo a day!

- Jim T.