WORLDWIDE INSTAMEET 11 X MOMENT by Isaiah Winters

Click on photo to be taken to article on Moment Website

Click on photo to be taken to article on Moment Website

I had the amazing opportunity to meet up with fellow Moment Lens lovers and instagrammers in New York City on 21 March, 2015 for the 11th World Wide Instameet. This meetup was organized by the awesome photographer Jose Tutiven (@tutes) and Moment Team member McKenzie Barney (@mckenziebarney). 

I was lucky enough to have one of my photos featured on the Moment website, and was included in some the videos created to showcase what went on during the event. It was a blast meeting other photographers and artists in New York City, which is one of my favorite places on Earth to photograph. The day was full of amazing photos and conversation, can't wait to head back up there for the next one!

 

Books & Prints coming soon! by Isaiah Winters

I just wanted to let you all know that I am now putting some finishing touches on design and layout for photo books I will be releasing soon! They will contain some of my favorite images over the past year, and all will also include some work that hasn't been seen anywhere else. I tried a few different companies and have decided to go with Artifact Uprising, an amazing company based in Colorado that provides amazing quality work at a great price. Click here for a link to their website!

5 X 5 Artifact Uprising Photo Book

There will also be a way to order prints and things like calendars soon!

Sony A7II Announced! by Isaiah Winters

This is the camera I have been waiting for! Very excited to give it a try and see if it's worth a purchase, stay tuned for more information about it. While the specs have remained mostly the same from the A7, the huge change is that this is the first full-frame camera with 5-axis stabilization! There have also been 30% boost to Autofocus speeds, which is what I am looking forward to. It was just announced to be released in Japan on December 6th, stay tuned for information about a US release and price. 

Kanye West's Runaway by Isaiah Winters

Still one my favorite short films of all time! If you haven't checked it out you definitely should. The way that they shot this film inspired some of the post-production techniques I have used on many of my photographs. Enjoy!  

Review of Fujifilm X-A1 by Isaiah Winters

Here are my thoughts on the fairly new offering from Fuji's X-Series of cameras. The X-A1 is the entry level model in the line-up, and there were some things it did very well and others not so well. Check out my video review! 

 

Lee Morris and the Nikon DF Hipster Review by Isaiah Winters

Seeing as in I almost got killed by a few Nikon DF owners who read my previous blog post about it, I found this new video by Fstoppers absolutely hilarious. Lee Morris goes out and defends his views about the somewhat "controversial" DSLR and gets the opinions of tons of people. Check it out below! 

Ladibird: The iPhone Camera on Steroids by Isaiah Winters

One of the most exciting photography products we have seen in a while was recently shown at CES this year, and it comes out of Singapore. Three University of Singapore students did something that most big companies haven't been able to lately. They took the World's most popular smartphone, which already has a fairly decent camera and sensor, and super-charged it. What we have here is the Ladibird, an iPhone case that also doubles as a premium 50mm 1.8G prime lens. Many people could never dream of achieving the type photo quality of photo quality on their smartphone that this awesome invention will provide. With this case and the app that accompanies it, your iPhone will be capable of taking photos in low light with incredible detail and with options like narrow or shallow depth of field (which can create amazing bokeh). 

The case has been funded through Indiegogo and once production starts in the summer of 2014, you can expect it to run you about $300. While this initially may sound like a lot of money, once you add up the cost of purchasing a DSLR or premium mirrorless alternative with a 50mm 1.8G lens the Ladibird comes out way cheaper. It will also probably be much easier for people to get out and use, since not everyone is interested in learning how to use DSLRs, yet many of them always have their smartphone handy. I think once this case hits the market it will be exciting and I can't wait to do an initial review on it. I recently got a chance to correspond with the creators during CES and they wanted to let everyone know how grateful they were that they got to spend time in Vegas. They also hope to be there again soon! I'm sure if they keep pumping out products like this that generate such a large amount of buzz that won't be a problem!

Why the Nikon Df scares consumers by Isaiah Winters

I've been into photography for quite some time now, ever since I was a child I always wanted to have a camera with me. Even if it was one of those cheapo disposable cameras with 100 film ( I always begged my mother for the more expensive 400). As I grew older, I became interested in other things and stopped spending my money on film and time in the darkroom. Around this time, we began to see the inclusion of decent sensors in smartphones and if a person wasn't using a cheap point-and-shoot they were using their smartphones. I even fell into this and began using my iPhone for most of my photography on the go. It was something I had already paid for, was using everyday for a number of tasks, and was always available to me.

After spending some time doing this I began to feel like I wasn't able to capture some of the images that I wanted to, this led me to start leaning back towards the world of cameras, and even more importantly, the world of DSLRs. I was shocked when I got my first Nikon and saw just how expensive it was to get an entry-level DSLR, and it almost scared me away from getting back into the hobby. Luckily I had been viewing the work and tutorials of great photographers like Matt Granger (www.mattgranger.com) and Nico Mojica (www.camcrunch.com) and I just had to get back into taking real photos.

Even though I knew it would be similar to outgrowing your first bike, I wanted to make sure I didn't overwhelm myself when I started so I opted for the entry-level Nikon D3100. My local Best Buy was having a sale on the kit and I just could not pass it up. After convincing my wife that $500 is actually very cheap for a DSLR with two kit lenses (which was not easy mind you) I took my new toy home and began using it. It took a little bit of time but I easily learned all the functions of the camera and paired with Adobe CC began producing some fairly decent work with it. 

Taken with Nikon D3100  (f/11 1/200s ISO200 66mm)

Fast forward a little bit and after acquiring a bunch of gear, as well as selling a bunch. I now have a home studio with a decent amount of lighting equipment and I also went from the D3100 to the D5100, and now I am truly in love with my used D7000. I am slowly moving up because that is what my budget allows, and everyone will take a different route. Some may start out with the very best gear, but without investing time and studying (which I spent hundreds of hours doing) all of that expensive gear won't help you out at all. I would tell anyone remotely interested in photography to beware of getting G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) because it can lead to severe financial hardship, like famous photographer Zack Arias may be able to tell you. 

So now we move on to the topic of DSLRs like the Nikon Df, which has a very niche market but tell a story of the greater issue going on in DSLR sales today. The initial ads for the camera were met with an amazing amount of hype and once again the Nikon and greater photography community was excited again for this product that was going to change things and get us back to "Pure Photography". Something that was so exciting that consumers and enthusiasts were going crazy for any information they could get their hands on about it. 

In reality what we got was a camera that "fuses" the new with the old and combines the body and feel of some of the older film cameras with the sensors and features of newer high end DSLRs like the Nikon D600 and the Nikon D800. The camera has an EXPEED 3 image processor with 16.2MP sensor and many of the features of the other full-frame Nikon cameras. There is one big feature which is missing though, and that is video. I am not a big user of the video features but if someone if paying upwards of $3000 for a full-frame camera, they better get the same features as other cameras in a similar price point. I understand that to make the camera smaller they had to also have a battery that was smaller, and from initial reviews I doubt it would even be able to power video recording for very long if at all. 

I have no problem at all with the Nikon Df and I am sure if I was wealthy and dying to get rid of some cash I would go pick one up, I think the styling is amazing and it does remind me of older cameras I used to use during high school. My problem here is with the fact that Nikon spent so much time and money marketing the Nikon Df to be this huge game changer and revolutionary product. When in reality only photographers who are well off, and rich hipsters will be the ones putting up the cash to pick this camera up. At the time of this post, this Nikon Df, which had generated so much buzz before it was initially unveiled, is #75 on Amazon's DSLR Best Sellers Rank. It also has a whopping (wait for it).... 29 Customer Reviewers in the two months it has been available. 

With the availability of newer and better smartphone cameras, what is a huge company like Nikon going to do to get people more interested in DSLRs or even the almost comatose point-and-shoot market. I know tons of people who look at my work online and on instagram and ask what camera I use, but once they start looking into the costs and all gear necessary they simply back off. With the new iPhone 5S or the Nokia Lumia 1020 why would anyone want to spend time worrying about a heavy clunky DSLR, or even a lightweight alternative like the Sony A7.

All of these ideas that I have are sadly being backed up by the recent earnings reports by big photo companies like Nikon and Canon. Sales seem to be down across the board and Nikon just posted a 41% drop in operating profit due to the drop in demand of higher end SLRs among hobbyists. There are also reports coming out that say only Nikon, Canon and Sony will survive all the new smartphones that are becoming people's go-to cameras. I hope that they can take a new approach and find a way to get people back into the idea of using dedicated cameras, because I would hate to see a company like Nikon continue to lose profit and relevance during this smartphone revolution. 


Nikon D3300 Announced, Where's the Beef? by Isaiah Winters

So after all that we have seen at CES we finally get a look at some new products from the Nikon. The long suspected 35mm 1.8 prime, a tease that the Nikon D4S is in development, and we got the Nikon D3300, the successor to the popular D3200. While I think this camera will be great and serve it's purpose as an entry-level DSLR, I don't think it really helps Nikon much when it comes to trying to appeal to new consumers. The D3000 series has always been one that tried to be consumer friendly, adding things like very simple guide modes and user-friendly menus. 

This camera does add some interesting features like a smaller and lighter body, upgraded EXPEED 4 Sensor and removal of a low-pass filter. The kit which will retail for about $649.99 next month and comes paired with Nikon's new 18-55mm lens that they are calling the "Mark II" (sounds like they haven been watching too much Iron Man). The lens itself comes with some interesting new features like being able to retract down it's barrel with reduces the size of the camera and makes it seem more portable. 

While all of this sounds good and fine I think my big problem is that Nikon isn't really paying attention to what is going on in the market, and if they are they aren't doing a great job at showing it. The D3200 is fairly new and had more than enough for people just getting into photography with its speed and amazing 24.2 MP sensor. Why in the world would they make sure incremental updates to a camera that was already tiny to begin with and add things that your average shooter (the person this series is marketed at) would never understand nor notice in the first place. If you want to get more soccer moms and novice shooters moving up to a DSLR you need to add a feature that you can market and sell easily!

Wait for it.....WIFI!!! Why is it not included in this camera??? Wifi is already included in some other Nikon cameras without the need for a dongle or an eye-fi SD type device. Pair that with a great app so people can edit and send their pictures out on the go, during a child's soccer game or a family get together and you have something you can make a commercial for and sell. Everything is moving towards making technology more seamless and faster so you can get your stuff out there to social media. I love you Nikon but get with it. 

snapfish vs shutterfly by Isaiah Winters

So like many photographers who are just starting out and want to start making prints, I found myself trying to decide between arguably the two largest companies Snapfish and Shutterfly. Luckily for me both companies were running promotions for the holidays that allowed me to have some 4 x 6 prints made for free if I paid shipping and handling. So I set out to order two sets of the same pictures and compare them. I found that when I looked for information online there weren't too many places where potential customers could really get a good look at the differences between the two companies. Snapfish is the cheaper of the two, but most times this means that the work may not be as good as the competitor. After having both sets of photos for over and week, and going over them with some fellow photographers I have made my decision over which company I will be going with. Let me show you some examples and explain why below. 

Left: Snapfish (Matte Finish w/ White Borders) Right: Shutterfly (Glossy Finish)

In this first pair of pictures I wanted to show two images that are Black and White. The first thing that I noticed when I compared the images was the the contrast and color seemed like they had been sucked out of the Shutterfly images on the Right. While the ones from Snapfish really kept the contrast and drama I was going for when I took the shots. Not everything with the Snapfish pictures was perfect though, as I noticed that the images were a lot softer than they originally were. Shutterfly seemed to retain it's sharpness, and you can really tell this if you look at the Woman's collar in the corner of the Top Right Photo and compare it to the one in the Top Left. 

Left: Snapfish (Matte Finish w/ White Borders) Right: Shutterfly (Glossy Finish)

It wasn't until I moved to this pair of images that I really started to see some of the issues that I had with Shutterfly. Since it is $0.15 a print vs Snapfish $0.09 a print I really expected better quality from them. Shutterfly uses Fujifilm Crystal Archive while Snapfish uses Kodak Paper. The picture in the Top Left looks almost exactly the way it did when I took it, and when it was post-processed. The one on the Top Right looks as though it was really faded and the image lost some of the power that made it popular with some of my followers. I would not feel comfortable showing someone a copy of the Shutterfly print. Moving to the images on the problem, the Bottom Left is a tiny bit softer than I would like but it shows the original image for the most part. The Bottom Right actually seems like it has a little bit TOO much contrast. This goes against some of the problems I had in the first set of images and leaves me confused as to why there isn't consistency if they were printed together. Shutterfly prints also seemed to pick up fingerprints extremely easy, but I know that most Glossy photographs do. 

Left: Snapfish (Matte Finish w/ White Borders) Right: Shutterfly (Glossy Finish) 

When I got the the last pair of images I really wanted to compare, I found that I was having the same exact problems that I had while looking at all the others. I have no doubt that Shutterfly produces good images and has some amazing products but for what I am going for they are not for me. I would absolutely not feel right showing a potential client prints from them. Snapfish is the company I decided to go with and I ordered a number of larger prints from them. They came in and look amazing, even better than the 4 x 6 images I got with my trial. The only problem I noticed is that the Matte Finish on the Snapfish images can scratch easily so make sure you get them in your portfolio/album/frame as soon as possible! I probably did more damage than the average person would while I was trying to make my finish decision though. I also want to note that these are pictures taken of pictures so there are things I may have notice that will not translate well on a computer screen. Both companies regularly have trials for free prints just like the ones I received. I urge anyone that may be on the fence to give them both a try and see what you think! 

the lost lake by Isaiah Winters

This type of double exposure photography was something that I wanted to try for a long time. I just had trouble deciding on which photos I wanted to use to go about doing it. I felt like this high key photo of my wife, combined with a picture of a lake I took near my home went together perfectly. I spent a great deal of time trying to blend them together so that the outline of her face and the treeline/lake went together perfectly. You can see what the original photo looked like, then the photo in black and white, and then finally color. I ordered a large print of the final image and I hope to share that on here very soon.