Archive for the Controversy Category

I oopoomoo, do you?

Posted in Art of Photography, Controversy, Inspirations, TCBlog, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , on December 7, 2011 by Darwin

Today is the official release date of oopoomoo! This is a new website that Samantha and I put together that is the one-stop shop for everything Sam and Dar. But it will be more than just a photography site, or a place to get eBooks or workshops. The concept behind oopoomoo relates more to our attitude towards life. Life is short:  why not just do the things you love and live a balanced healthy lifestyle? Why not give back a little instead of always taking? Why not live a little softer on the planet? Why not have fun and smile a lot? Well, oopoomoo is our attempt to live that kind of life. We are photographers and photography instructors and we love our work. But we also love nature, hiking, eating, drinking, art, music and, in short, life. We want oopoomoo to reflect our passion about these things, and we want to share our passion for living well with the world. We would love to have you come along!

Ultimately we will be ending all our other websites so we can concentrate on oopoomoo and all the fun and meaningful projects we hope to engage in. So we will stop posting on our personal blogs (both this blog and Sam’s blog will finish at the end of the this year). Ultimately we will also end our personal websites and have everything we do happen at oopoomoo.

Finally, over at oopoomoo we decided affiliates and sponsorships wasn’t our thing.  We’ll let others continue on with these kinds of partnerships because they are good at them! We find our time is pretty much taken up trying to live our new philosophy on life.

Drop by oopoomoo and let us know what you think and stay tuned for all sorts of interesting posts on photography and life!

Darwin and Sam

Dredging Up the Canon 7D

Posted in Camera Review, Controversy, Photography Gear, TCBlog, Techniques with tags , , , , , on September 24, 2011 by Darwin

Note: To see all future reviews please note this blog is no longer active, please visit me over at oopoomoo.com

Almost two years ago Samantha and I did a little review on the Canon 7D that caused a bit of a stir. We felt that the 7D is one of Canon’s most user friendly and best handling cameras. We loved it for that. What we did not like was the quality of files from the camera which we felt were sub par. Of course a vocal majority of people blamed our methodology, and the way we used the camera for the shoddy results; according to them the camera was not the problem, it was the testers. If that is the case then why do we get really fine results from the Canon EOS 1Ds, the Canon Rebel Xsi, The Canon Rebel T2i, and the Nikon D300s? Others accused us of being paid by Nikon for the bad review. Really? Wow. It goes on on on. In the end neither Samantha or I and the way we do photography could get acceptable results from the camera.

In the intervening time, we have received dozens of emails from 7D users telling us they see exactly what we saw in our review (crappy files). They all want to know if there is a ‘fix’ for the camera that they otherwise love. I had hoped that Canon would have addressed whatever issue was causing the problem (too strong of an anti-aliasing filter, or some adjustment to the sensor) but they don’t seem to have (to my knowledge). For example, here is an email I just got yesterday from another unhappy 7D owner:

I know this is old news to you, but it’s new to me and I’m wondering if you can help? I bought a Canon 7d about 6 months ago. I took it out of the box, shot the usual dumb pictures of my kitchen and back yard, but didn’t really look at them. I won’t bore you with the details, but for a bunch of reasons I put the 7d down and didn’t get back to it until today.

So today, I took the 7d and my wife’s Nikon d300 out and shot about 150 pictures, most of the time shooting identical or similar pictures with both cameras. Long story short, the Nikon pictures are perfect and the 7d pictures look like the ones in your 2009 article. Every single one.

A few of the Canon pictures, ones that have a distant subject and something in the foreground, look as though they might be tremendously front-focused. I don’t mean a little bit; I mean they’re focused about half-way between me and the subject. I’ll have to go out tomorrow and test that.

In any case, the problem has nothing to do with diffraction, or raw conversion programs, or any of the other things that commenters bashed you with. They’re just not sharp.

This makes me sad, because like you, I love the way the camera handles, and the color is fantastic, better, I think, than the Nikon. Also because I was dumb enough not to do this until it was too late to return the camera, and I don’t even feel that I can sell it honestly. So as of now, I feel like I might have burned 1500 bucks, or whatever. I Googled “soft Canon 7d”, and I found your blog.

Sooooo, here’s the question: Since you’ve been aware of the issue for a year or so, I’m wondering If you ever found out what the problem is. Did Canon ever acknowledge that there is a problem? Can it be fixed? Or is it just a paperweight that I might as well throw away? If there is a fix, could you just point me in the right direction?

The point of this post is not a ‘we told you so’ or to rehash the results of the test. The point is simple; numerous people have troubles getting an acceptable file from the 7D (it’s not just us). Are there any 7D users out there that have solved this problem and if so how? Does anyone know what the cause of the problem is? Has Canon addressed the issue or made a fix (e.g. firmware update)?

Not only have we heard complaints about file quality but we have also heard about severe front-focus or back-focus problems with the 7D that can’t easily be fixed with micro-focus adjustments (this sounds like the problem in the email above). We want to hear from 7D users who have had any  ‘problems’  (focus or otherwise) with the 7D and learn how you fixed those problems. We would like to help out frustrated 7D owners to get them the camera they thought they purchased. Please constructive comments only, bashing and name-calling will not be tolerated. Thanks in advance.

Readers have sent in these really helpful links as well:

How to fix auto-focus problems with the 7D

Canon 7D Auto-focus Petitition

Nudity is Evil but Sex Isn’t

Posted in Art of Photography, Articles about Photography, Controversy, Ethics, TCBlog, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2011 by Darwin

Samantha and I made a website using Photocrati (a WordPress plug-in) quite awhile ago where we showcased our nudes in the landscape fine-art photography. Photocrati  is specifically designed for photographers and is a great plug-in to produce a good-looking, functional website. It’s user-friendly and great for photographers who know little about HTML or coding (like us). We built the website in a day and loved the results. Photocrati highly recommends  Bluehost (based in Utah) as the hosting company to use for photographers and we went with that option. The interface between the Photocrati and Bluehost was seamless and we could not believe how easy it was to make a website!

All went while until about 2 weeks ago when Bluehost sent us a note that they were going to close our site down because of  ‘adult content’ (specifically nudity) which is not allowed in their terms and conditions (we admit to not having read these terms closely and missed the part about zero tolerance for nudity). We just assumed that a host of photography sites would have no problem with things like fine art nudes, or boudoir photography because these types of photography are common.

In discussions with Bluehost they told us that a women in a bikini is OK (no matter how sexually provocative), but nudity is forbidden. So we could post a shot of a buxom woman, in lingerie with a gun and stilettos stepping on another woman in a back alley but we can’t post an image like the one below. Hmmmm….

So we have had to move our Gaia Nudes Gallery over to this gallery page on my website… check it out and see if you think any of the work is offensive.

If you are planning a photo website with fine art nudes then don’t sign up with Bluehost — of course if you want to post your dominatrix lingerie photos, then Bluehost is happy with that! I guess sex is good, nudity is bad.

©Darwin Wiggett - Nude in Utah

Some new interview links

Posted in Art of Photography, Articles about Photography, Artistic Development, Controversy, Good News, Humor, Instruction, Photography Gear, Techniques, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2011 by Darwin

Sam and I were lucky enough to be invited to a cool photography podcast based out of Calgary called I am Aduro. This podcast is run by Al Del Degan of Aduro Phorography and Andrew Bolton of Zombie Darkroom. We had a great time chatting and laughing with Al and Andrew. Check it out (click on the Listen Now button on the bottom of the link page) and learn what Sam really thinks of Peter Lik’s photography and why I have little respect for most Leica photographers! As well you’ll learn what it really takes to make a living at photography and the underlying theme for the show is fine art nude photography plus there are lots of cool and interesting links.

Speaking of Fine Art Nude work, check out an interview just posted where Sam and I talk about our upcoming Gaia Nudes, Nudes in the Landscape photo workshop. Click here for more.

©Darwin Wiggett

Fabulous Film Fridays – March 4

Posted in Art of Photography, Controversy, eBooks, Fabulous Film Fridays, Good News, Image Processing and Software, Instruction, Techniques with tags , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2011 by Darwin

Thanks to everyone who made comments and voted on the Battle of Beep and Bop (Samantha and my little Holga shoot-out). Anyone who followed the battle knows that I made a wee mistake with my Holga, Bop, which resulted in washed-out overexposed images. I thought for sure that Samantha would win the contest and I would be stuck on vacuum duties for a month. But alas and thankfully, once the votes were counted, the surprising result was a tie! It seems some people liked my ‘high key’ images, calling them ethereal and airy (and other arty terms I didn’t understand). I don’t care what they were called as long as I am not doing the Hoover Hose Dance for a month!  There will be a rematch of the Beep and Bop and you’ll be invited to come along so stay tuned.

We wanted to give a small reward to those who took the time to comment on The Battle of Beep and Bop and the best comment earned a free eBook from us from the Visual Wilderness website. We like Brad Mangas’ comment:

I really want to vote for Sam because she wears cool hats, but in the short videos you two make I seem to hear Darwin talk more so for some reason I relate to him more thus his picture delivers a more personal feel to me. So I must go with my heart and vote for Brando. I would like to trade my free ebook for an all expense paid workshop please, thank you.

We also liked Kelly Morgan’s comment which is as arty as my overexposed photos.

I vote for Beep. I like the soft focus and color in the alley shot. In general, I like the effort that Bop gives. Bop seems to infuse Holga essence into these everyday scenes, while Beep seemingly records pencil sketches on cocktail napkins. It’s almost as if Bop, in its passive-aggressive manner, mocks Beep for even trying. And that is blatantly blurring the lines of friendly competition, and that is why I would like to see a photo from Bop of Darwin vacuuming with Beep around his neck.

We couldn’t decide who was more erudite, so we award both Brad and Kelly one of eBooks!

Some people might wonder why I didn’t just adjust the brightness of the overexposed film images in Photoshop to give a better result. For sure, some post manipulation of the scanned negative can give a better looking result. Below is one of my grossly overexposed negatives. Looks pretty ‘ethereal’ wouldn’t you say?

©Darwin Wiggett

With my Imacon film scanner and Photoshop I managed to squeeze all the information I possibly could from the negative and I got this result:

©Darwin Wiggett

The looks pretty good but there is a big price to pay for making a crappy negative and then trying to suck information out of it in a scan and that’s noise — check out the details of an enlarged section of the ‘fixed’ photo from above:

©Darwin Wiggett

With a properly exposed negative I might get film grain but no noise from the scanner – so unless I try to pass this off as a Georges Seurat pointillism masterpiece, it’s pretty crappy quality for a photo.

Just for fun, I took the same shot with the Canon G11. Thanks to the instant feedback of digital and the histogram display, I did not mess up the exposure!

©Darwin Wiggett

Fabulous Film Fridays – February 25, 2011

Posted in Art of Photography, Controversy, Fabulous Film Fridays, Good News, Humor, Photography Gear, Techniques with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2011 by Darwin

Head on over to Sam’s blog for the final results of the Battle of Beep and Bop. Sam is still all smug about my small mistake with my Holga camera. I do not call it a mistake, I call it a ‘decision’ for art’s sake. We’ve decided to let you vote for the winner — and the  best vote explanation receives one of our Visual Wilderness eBooks!  So make sure you drop by and explain why either Beep (Sam) or Bop (me) should win the battle. And be kind to me, I am sensitive!

 

Samantha demonstrating proper Holga shooting technique

The Battle of Beep and Bop

Posted in Art of Photography, Artistic Development, Controversy, Fabulous Film Fridays, Humor with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2011 by Darwin

Samantha and I decided to have a little competition for this week’s Fabulous Film Friday. We grabbed our Holga cameras and a couple of rolls of 120 film and headed for Inglewood in Calgary. The rules were simple. Walk the streets for two hours and make images. We would then get the film developed and scan the negatives to display them here. There was no post-processing except for removing dust spots and a minor curve or colour correction to get the scan to be a good representation of the film image.

I thought I had this contest won before we even started. Hell, I have 25 years of experience with film – I doubt that Sam has shot 25 rolls of film in her life! And who showed Sam how to use a Holga? And who kept reminding her to take the lens cap off, to set the aperture to sunny or shade, and to always remember to focus the lens? This contest wouldn’t even be fair!  Loser vacuums for a month!!

Samantha: I have to admit, I was pretty intimidated when you were so…helpful.

Darwin: Except that I was so busy being charitable, that I forgot to check Bop for one critical setting.

Samantha: Right!  Tell our friends what that setting was, Darwin (grin grin).

Darwin: Well there is a shutter setting for normal (about 1/60th of a second) and then one for Bulb (where the shutter stays open as long as you hold down the shutter button).

Samantha: And what setting was Bop at for this bright sunny afternoon in downtown Calgary?

Darwin: Ummm… well… Bulb. I forgot to change the setting from last time I took pictures with Bop.

Samantha: Let’s go back to that part you were just saying about ‘professional photographer of 25 years’….

Darwin: Oh, you mean the part about the professional shooter of 25 years with a handful of washed out negs.  Actually I am surprised I even captured anything on those washed out negs, but I did manage to get a couple of shots with something there.

Samantha: Guess I didn’t need all that help after all, but thanks anyway.  So, do we call the contest yet or post a couple more results next week?

Darwin: I doubt a couple more results will save me, but sure, let’s do that.  I don’t want to vacuum for a month!

©Samantha Chrysanthou

©Samantha Chrysanthou

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

Watch me Win!

Posted in Art of Photography, Controversy, Fabulous Film Fridays, Humor with tags , , , , , , , on February 17, 2011 by Darwin

Stay tuned for Fabulous Film Fridays tomorrow when Bop will devour Beep. This should be easy.

Fabulous Film Fridays – February 4, 2011

Posted in Art of Photography, Controversy, Fabulous Film Fridays, Humor, Photography Gear, TCBlog, Techniques, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2011 by Darwin

Samantha and I have discovered a major drawback of sharing  our film cameras. Often we can’t remember who actually took a particular photo on a roll of film especially when we shoot the same subject with the same camera. For example, we both shot photos of an old car in a snowstorm. Sam used Beep, her Holga (and she has the pictures to prove it) but she also used Linny the Linhof to compose some photos (the evidence for that fact will be presented below). I had my Canon G11 digital camera (and I have photos to prove it) and I also used Linny to make a panoramic photo of the old car (or at least I think I did).

Anyway when we got the film developed from the Linhof, there was one photo of the old car – just one. I quickly claimed the image. Here it is:

©Darwin Wiggett (well I think)...

And so, I filed the image (shot on Fujichrome Velvia 50 slide film) into my film binder. Done.

But wait… when processing my G11 images later, I found this little video that I made. Guess who is shooting the car with the Linhof?

Well… when Samantha saw this video, the conversation went something like this:

Samantha: Hey, where is my photo from the Linhof?

Darwin: (silence…his brain is working hard to understand the question.)

Samantha: Well?

Darwin: Whoops… I must have it in my film binder.  I thought it was my shot. I guess I accidentally stole your photo. I’ll go get it for you.

Samantha: Good, I’ll post it on Fabulous Film Fridays as a warning to others to guard their film. And by the way, you always get the title of our project wrong, it is Fabulous Film Fridays, not Fantastic Film Fridays like you say in the video.

(sidebar): Sam goes to post the January 31st Fabulous Film Fridays blog using the old car photo and the video as evidence that Darwin is a stealer of images. She re-watches the video and notices that the angle of her composition of the old car is very different from the developed photo above. She concludes she probably did not make the image.

Samantha: Hey Darwin, this keeps getting weirder.  I think that was your image after all!  But then where is my photo from the angle we see in the video?

Darwin: Well there were some blank slides, maybe you forgot to pull the dark slide and so had unexposed frames.

(At this point Samantha gave Darwin a pointed look.  She’s never forgotten to pull out the dark slide, whereas Darwin admits to taking rolls of film without taking out the dark slide.  Darwin thinks:  Maybe that wasn’t the right thing to say.)

Darwin: (silence)… Well maybe we lost a roll of film?

Samantha: No, the stuff we shot before and immediately after the car is on the same roll.

Darwin: Right. Maybe you composed the photo and because the angle was so tight, you did not like the comp and so you didn’t make a  photo?

Samantha: Maybe….

Darwin: Well… so we think the old car photo is now mine? (he asks hopefully). If so, then I will make a B+W version from the scan just for fun.

Samantha: Yes, you can have it.  It’s pretty good, but you may want to take a closer look at my Composition and Design eBook for a few tips!

©Darwin Wiggett (by default and reluctant agreement)

 

Setting a Bad Example

Posted in Controversy, Techniques, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , on November 21, 2010 by Darwin

Photographer R. John Knight captured a couple of shots of me on the November Fire and Ice Photo Tour capturing the elusive ‘road shot’. Of course I am a trained professional and know how to get a road shot without injury — notice my expert technique in John’s photos! I am obviously totally aware of my surroundings!

But don’t try this at home without special training (which takes years to qualify by the way)… what’s that rumble I hear?? Aaaaargh!!

©R. John Knight

©R. John Knight

The result taken with my Canon EOS-1ds Mark III and the Canon TS-E 17mm lens:

©Darwin Wiggett

Disclaimer – of course this image was made on a road closed to traffic. I was pretending to make photos but really I was just trying to catch a nap but John woke me up!

 

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