Thursday, February 12, 2009

Favorite places around the net

Not a lot going on today in the way of photography since i spent all day at work (10am-10:30pm), so i figured i'd share some of my favorite places to visit on the net!

This Week in Photography (TWiP): Very cool weekly podcast hosted by pros covering a wide variety of topics, and current events in the world of photography. Each show is roughly an hour and a half long and shows are posted every week. Its the one i look forward to most out of all of my podcasts. Great hosts, good humor, and great information make it an A+ in my books.

7 Photography Questions Podcast: Another very cool weekly podcast. I really love the format of this one. The concept of the show is that the host (Dr. Audri Lanford) interviews one professional photographer each week. Each photographer has a different topic they cover for the week. One week she may be interviewing someone that specializes in Wildlife Photography, like Roy Toft. The next week she could be interviewing someone who specializes in pet photography. What i really like about it is that the week before she does an interview, she sends out an email saying who its going to be, and what questions her subscribers have for that photographer. She takes the 7 "best" questions and those are the ones she asks. The shows vary from 30 mins to over an hour, depending on how she cuts it up. Sometimes she may chop an interview to last two shows. One good thing about her format is that its not based on current affairs so you can download past shows and still get useful info from them. Its not like a show like TWiP where if you go back to July you will probably already know most of what they are speaking about. Another A+ for me.

Pro Photography Show: Another good podcast, but this one is only monthly. Gavin Siem hosts this one, and most of the time has a nice roundtable of pros from different fields with him. He does a few interviews too that have been really good, like his interview with Rick Sammon. This is another pretty topical show where most of the news is current, so i dont usually go back and download older shows. This is definitely worth throwing on your iTunes podcasts though so you can start at the current show and just stay with it from there.

Texas Photo Forum
: A great forum for Texas photographers, however there are people from all over that are members as well. The traffic through the site is pretty high and most of your posts get answered fairly quickly. There is a ton of information available to anyone interested in photography, whether you are looking to buy your first camera or are a seasoned pro. This is probably my most visited site on the internet. I have become a forum junky in the last few months, and this one is at the top of my list. I think i like it just for the fact of it being statewide. Ive already met a few other photogs off of the site, so its a good way to make new contacts as well as new friends. The forum is very easy to navigate with a ton of different sections, including a buy/sell section that i have personally used. It helps to make a buy or sale locally to avoid the hassle of the shipping process involved in national or worldwide buyers and sellers. Definitely worth checking out.

Photography on the Net (Canon Digital Photography Forums): Easily the #1 all around best forum ive ever been to. The traffic on this site is insane. For instance, it is 11:35pm right now and there are currently 1660 active members online on the forum. If you have a question about anything it will get answered almost immediately in most cases. One word of advise however, if you are going to post something, DO A SEARCH FIRST. I'd say 9/10 times the exact question has been asked and answered, probably many times over. You are free to post whatever you like, but there are some people that get really sick of hearing the same questions over and over. Most of the time there will be a few jerks that tell you to search first with a few other sarcastic comments that will discourage you from posting anything else in the future. Thats the only reason im saying now to search the forums, so you dont have to hear it in a rude manner in the future. Back on topic now. I can (and a lot of times do) spend hours on this board and never run out of information to learn. The catigories are broken down very well so that you can read about specific areas of photography. There is a section just for lenses, one for cameras, one for lighting, etc, etc. There is a critique section as well. Also, it has a great buy/sell section with a TON of new posts per day, so you can usually find almost anything you are looking for on a daily basis it seems. This is the site I go to if i have a question that i'd like answered with as many perspectives as possible. Ive had posts grow to 50 replys or so in a very short period of time. Another site i would definitely recommend bookmarking.

Roy Toft Photography: This is the website of Wildlife Photographer Roy Toft. This guy is an unbelievable photographer. His images have been featured in National Geographic, Nature’s Best, Smithsonian, Audubon, Wildlife Conservation, Discover magazines and other notable publications to advance conservation efforts globally. Roy was the instructor at the Tamron workshop i attended last November. I learned more from him in two days than i probably had learned anytime prior. He knows how to connect with people and explain things in a way that you can grasp. I was still throwing the idea of really focusing on photography around a little before i took this workshop. After it was over, there was no doubt in my mind that this is something i really want to persue. Ever since then i have made an effort to read any book i can get my hands on to take in more information. All of that thanks to Roy Toft. Roy leads tours all over the world to some of the greatest spots a photographer could ever dream of. He hosts trips to places like Bostwana Africa, Costa Rica, Alaska, and Japan to photograph some of the best wildlife the world has to offer. All the while he is teaching you and showing you how to improve as a photographer. I am doing my best to try and make the Costa Rica trip in December '09. His constant efforts for wildlife conservation put a special mark in my heart. I have personally written him a few emails with random questions i had for him and he has always written me back in great depth very soon afterward. I sent him an email a couple of weeks back with a couple of questions regarding the Costa Rica trip and his wife actually wrote me back letting me know that Roy was on assignment until February 11. She said if i had any questions i could call her if i'd like, or that Roy would write back once he got back in and settled. Today, February 11, I got a response back from Roy himself answering all of the questions i had and told me to give him a call if i needed anything else. Please check this guy out and let him know what a good job he is doing, not only with his photography, but with his conservation efforts as well.

Opacity: Urban Ruins: This site is dedicated to the photography of abandoned locations, like psych wards and hospitals, military facilities, etc. The pictures this guy takes are incredible. He does a great job of making you relive what it was like there through his photos. It can be a very creepy site as well, so dont look at it while you are alone in the dark! But do check it out when you can. You wont be disappointed. Click the Locations button in the menu to access all of the places he has documented, with a short description of each place. Many places have multiple galleries from different times he has visited. This is a wonderful site for some really cool wallpapers as well! Check it out for sure.

Arlington Camera: My local camera store here in Arlington, Texas. These people are great here and extremely knowledgable about everything to do with photography. They have events all of the time as well. I attended a Tamron workshop this past November that was fantastic. I learned a lot from the two days i spent attending. Arlington Camera also does rentals, which i havent personally taken advantage of quite yet, but im sure i will in the future at some point when i really need that 100-400L or long prime for a sporting event. Check these guys out if you are a local. Their prices are consistantly lower than any other brick and morter store ive been into, and their employees far more educated about photography. If you can, talk with Rick. He is my salesman there. Tell him Brad sent you! If Rick is unavailable however, anyone else can give you great assistance. You just may not get the same smart-ass remarks that Rick likes to fire off from time to time. :)

Thats all i can think of at the moment. Im sure there are many more, but im just not thinking too clearly right now after a looooong day at work. Check these links out though and let me know your thoughts!

Thanks guys.


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