Bicycle Portraits – everyday South Africans and Their Bicycles; a Photographic Book in the Making

Had an email from Stan Engelbrecht who is trying to spread the word about a photography project he is working on:

Hi Decisive Moment. I just discovered your blog. Great work! I thought you might be interested – I’m working on a very exciting book project (Bicycle Portraits – everyday South Africans and their bicycles; a photographic book in the making) at the moment and I wanted to share it with you.

Please have a look at out Kickstarter pledge/reward page – we are using an alternative way of raising funds by essentially taking pre-orders (with benefits, depending on the pledge amount) from an online community who want to see the project succeed. It’s an interesting concept – truly independent, community based and very inspiring. Check it out!

Stan Engelbrecht
Director / PhotographerDay One Publishing, South Africa
+27(0)82 928 6586
silencebegan (Skype)
@bicycleportrait (Twitter)

I have had a look at the photos – see what you think:

Adobe Lightroom 3 – Is It Any Good?

I had an email from a regular reader/contributor/buddy (that’s you, Alex) who wanted to know if TDM will be reviewing the latest version of Lightroom:

Reason for emailing, I was wondering if The Decisive Moment had caught up with the latest version of Adobe’s Lightroom?

Lightroom 2 has always been great for image workflow ~ managing large numbers of images, making exposure/tint adjustments, simple editing, printing, and uploading images, with links with Adobe Photoshop for more detailed work. Paul of Paul’s Studio had originally recommended it to me, and 10,000 images later it has proven its worth, at least to me! I was therefore keen to try out Lightroom 3, currently available as a beta, especially as it adds support for tethered shooting.

Previous ventures into tethered shooting had always been sooooo challenging – using Canon’s EOS Utility and Digital Photo Pro, remembering to start all the bits of software in the right sequence, hoping nothing went to sleep, never daring to unplug or switch off – often more of a distraction on a shoot! With Lightroom 3, just plugged in my EOS 7D in and it worked first time, every time. Being able to see full screen images (rather than occaisionally sharing the display on the back of the camera with the model) brings a new dimension to a live shoot!

Now I’ll be honest, I hadn’t planned to try it out – my wife won’t let me spend that much money on something that I already (kind of) have and I hate installing something, finding I like it and then getting locked out when the thing expires. However, Alex’s email has re-kindled my interest, so perhaps we’ll get a copy…

Anyone got anything to add or ask, feel free to put it in the comments or email direct.

Ricoh GXR with 50mm & 24-72mm Lens Units

Ricoh GXR with lens and viewfinder attachedI have taken delivery of this innovative and unique camera today in order to learn a bit about it so that I can write a review.

The GXR is a fascinating concept which reminds me a little of my medium format film days (in that the shutter was contained in the lens, rather than in the camera body).

It’s exciting that I’m struggling to pre-judge this camera as I can’t quite place it in a neat little box; it’s not a DSLR, but it’s not really a compact either.

In amongst the various files I have been sent there is all sorts of information about developments of the system and some news about the next lens units expected. These will be published on TDM soon, once I have decided the best way to work this review.

This camera is making me think; I like that!

If anyone has any experience of this system and would care to share, or if anyone has anything specific they would like to know, please get in touch.

Memory Card Issues

I have been using Sandisk Extreme III CF cards for some while now, without any issues to report. However, this weekend I had to do a very important shoot – my first as a full time professional. I got through five cards, all 4Gb, one of them I have had for ages, four of them were brand new at this event.

After transferring the images to my computer, several files from more than one card are showing as corrupt. I have never had this before. I’m using a Canon 50D which is less than a year old, I have tried transferring the files by connecting the camera and by putting the card in a reader – both get the same result.

However, if I open the image straight from the card without importing it first, it appears to be okay.

Now I notice some pictures are missing altogether. Basically, I shot around 150 couples in a formal pose as they made their way into a dinner dance function. Whilst processing, I realized someone was missing; the event organizer, who is also my wife’s father! I knew I had photographed him right at the beginning, so I got out a copy of SanDisk’s RescuePro and ran it on the offending card. I found about eight images which were in the original transfer.

If it was one image, I could imagine having deleted it by mistake (not easy to do by accident, though). If it was a set of images from the very beginning of using the card, I could – at a real stretch – imagine that I had formatted the card without thinking (not that likely). But the missing images are a small group from within the middle of the card. I would have to have deleted eight images one after another and, apart from the sequence you go through to delete individual images, I just would not have had the time during the shoot.

I’m thinking there must be some kind of issue either with the card, the camera (firmware version) or a combination of the two. Does anyone have any thoughts on this, or had similar (or other!) experiences with other makes of card?

Camera: Canon EOS 50D firmware version 1.0.3
Card: SanDisk Extreme III 4Gb CF (brand new, unused)

Canon UK, You Are Grinding My Gears!

Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration (pretty much an outright lie, really). I don’t have any great issue with Canon in general, it’s just with the PR people.

On the Canon UK website, they have a section of “PR Contacts” complete with names and email addresses. However, I’ve emailed them all and not had a single response. I suppose it could be a problem with junk mail in either direction, but I don’t seem to have junk issues with other people.

It puzzles me why a company such as Canon would want to tell you who to contact and then not reply. Maybe The Decisive Moment is not “press” enough for them?

So, if anyone at Canon UK (or anyone who knows someone at Canon) reads this post then please get in touch. We only want to be friends!