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Photofocus Podcast Episode #102

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N O T E – We had problems with this show and had to post the raw feed. Sorry for any inconvenience.


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Photofocus Episode 102

Special Guest: Frederick Van Johnson ( or

Show notes by Bruce Clarke ()

Discussion – iPhone 4s

Scott just got his iPhone 4s and is very pleased with the quality of images that it can produce. Frederick feels that with all the editing and sharing features of the iPhone, it can now replace most point and shoot cameras. There is even a school in London that will be offering a course on iPhone photography. Scott doesn’t buy into the hype when something is created with a particular camera or mobile device – if the pictures or video is good then he doesn’t care what you used to shoot it with.

Discussion – Nikon Announces the D800

Nikon announced the brand new D800. On first blush, Scott was impressed but then we he saw the frames per second and higher mega pixels he changed his mind. He wonders why they couldn’t have put features like built-in WiFi rather than just increasing the mega pixels. He will reserve his final judgement until the camera comes out but is skeptical about the cramming more mega pixels. into the same sized wafer. One feature that Scott does find attractive about the D800 are the video features.

Discussion – The War on Photography

A photographer in South America was killed recently for photographing a monument. Scott recently wrote about the war on photography on the Photofocus website. It seems like the war on photography started with 9/11 and Scott has asked for one shred of proof that photography has played a part in any terrorist activity. Scott has found that with a little grease, he has been able to shoot almost anywhere which proves his point that it has nothing to do with terrorism. That is a bit of an extreme case but there are other options. Rather than hiring a police escort, another option is to inform people of what you are doing. For example, even though there are CFRs that pertain to photography in National Parks which give the public the right to take pictures there, Scott makes a point of visiting the ranger station to let them know where he’s going and what he’ll be doing. Quite often they will even provide him with some useful tips on where to go for the best shot or where wildlife has recently been spotted. The lesson learned is that by being more pro-active, you’re less likely to run into problems with uninformed security people who think photography is illegal.

Listener Questions

This week we kick things off with a question about the Canon 100-400 Push-pull telephoto lens:

Question One – Reducing Mega-Pixels

Brad Seifert wonders if dialing down the mega-pixels on a camera like the D800, would help improve image quality?

Frederick: I tend to throttle my camera up to the best quality they can provide. I will shoot RAW and dialing it down isn’t in my future.

Scott: In theory I can understand whey people would think it would work but I haven’t actually tried it.

Question Two – Photographing Detail on Black Cars

Huay recently went to an auto show to photograph some details on some classic vehicles but had a very hard time doing so with the black cars. Any thoughts?

Scott: Huay is having trouble holding details in the blacks. In the film days we had to choose where we wanted to hold detail but now we have more options. HDR would be one option. I photograph a lot of cars and with flash you tend to get an all-or-nothing if you use the flash on camera. The best way to deal with it, is to expose for the blacks and see what that looks like.

Frederick: If he is going to expose for the blacks, try to bring a tripod and expose for the blacks in the car. Play around with some HDR and try to get as much data as you can.

Question Three – Editing Photos

Sarkar from Bangalore India asks: In street photography, we do not ask for model releases. Is it fine to sell these prints or enter them into photo competitions?

Scott: I don’t know about the laws in Bangalore but it’s no problem to take a picture of someone in the United States. It’s always a good idea to get a model release and then you have it covered. A great app you should have on your phone is called Easy Release and then you have a model release with you at all times.

Frederick: I agree. It’s always a good idea to get a model release. If you happen to get a great shot and ever want to use it for commercial purposes, you’ll need a model release.

Wrap Up

We want themes and questions from you. Be sure to visit the blog at for articles, how-to’s, videos and more. E-mail us at [email protected] follow us on Twitter. Don’t just take pictures – make pictures.

Frederick Van Johnson is at

Show notes by



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