Tag Archives forguest post

3 Top Travel Cameras for Amateur Photographers

The following is a guest post from Simon from  ViewBug – A very useful article for those of you looking for a good travel camera. Enjoy!

With the arrival of summer, so comes sunny days, outdoor adventures and vacations. Plenty of you are faced with the challenge of picking out a new camera to capture it all. With the amateur photographer in mind, I’ve picked out a three top cameras, each in its own category, all perfect for travel.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20

This camera is the very latest in Panasonic’s line of “travel zoom” cameras. If you haven’t heard that term, it was coined by Panasonic with its first Lumix DMC in 2006, as describes a compact point-and-shoot with a more powerful lens and zoom. This new category caters to the travel photographer, who needs the portability of a point-and-shoot, but wants the flexibility of a stronger zoom to capture their shots. The main attraction is it packs in a 24mm ultra-wide angle 20x zoom lens into its only 1 inch thick body. This means that you can have an impressive zoom that’s portable enough to stuff in your pocket, making it a very accommodating travel companion. The lens is equipped with Panasonic’s Power O.I.S. optical image stabilization, which is a big help when taking photos at a high zoom level without a tripod. It can take photos up to 14MP and can even record video up to full 1080p HD. On top of these strong main elements, it comes with a wide range of high-tech features, controlled with its 3-inch touch screen. It includes automatic, manual, semi-manual shooting modes, with a whopping 17 scene modes. Highlights include a panorama shot mode, multi-exposure HDR mode and night shot mode. To top it off, the high-speed of this camera also allows for 3D photos to view on any 3D-enabled device. While retailing for $350, it can be found online for around $260.

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS
PowerShot SX40 HS

For any amateur photographer more serious about their travel photography, but not wanting to step all the way up to the costs of a full DSLR, the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS is a fantastic alternative. Not only priced more for the beginner, it is also designed for one, thanks to a great image stabilization and range of automatic shooting modes. It is also smaller than a full DSLR, making it easier for a newbie to adjust to. The fitted lens has a ultra-wide and long 35x zoom lens and 12MP capability, with an upgraded CMOS image sensor and Digic 5 processor from the previous model. And it has you covered for HD video, with 1080p at 24fps. Along with the standard shooting modes, this PowerShot spices things up with creative modes like fish-eye, miniature effect, monochrome, toy camera and super vivid. The 2.7 inch viewfinder can also pop out and rotate for your convenience. And not only is it already cheaper than buying a DLSR and lens, it’s come down from its original price of $530 last October, to around $379 today.

Nikon Coolpix AW100

This camera marks Nikon’s first attempt at a rugged point-and-shoot, also making them the last among its major competitors. While late to the category, their first attempt with the Coolpix AW100 was a strong one. The solid design allows this camera to handle 5 foot drops, sink to 33 feet underwater and survive freezing 14F temperatures. It doesn’t slouch in the imaging department, with a 16MP CMOS sensor and full 1080p video capability. While zoom is limited due to its rugged design, it still fits in a 5x optical zoom with Nikkor Ed glass lens. Two cool travel-centric features included is GPS for geo-tagging and an e-compass. And it also comes in a few fun colors, from basic black to blue, orange and green camo. While the blue and camo look cool, they might be a bit easier to lose underwater or out in nature, so I’d personally go with the orange. This camera was first released with a $379 price tag last summer, but can now be picked up online for around $299.

Simon is an amateur photographer and blogger for social photography website Viewbug.com that also specializes in photo contests.

Growing As An Artist

This is a guest post by Larry Lourcey.  Hope you enjoy!

Photography used to work kind of like this…. there were the pros, who had the high-end, mega cameras and the amateurs who had point and shoots.  The line between great artists and everyday shooters was pretty easy to spot.  Things have changed now with digital.  Technology has allowed even a part-time amateur to have a camera that isn’t much different than what the pros use.

So how do you set yourself apart from the pack?  Quite simply, you do it by growing as an artist.

Now there are two components to this process – input and output.  I wrote a blog article a while back about the first part.  Basically, you have to feed your brain with creative nutrition if you want it to work for you.

The second part is practice.  You won’t get better at photography by thinking up great concepts, you have to actually try to create them.  Are you going to fail on some of this projects?  Absolutely.  Is your vision always going to translate to the printed image?  Nope.  Will it help you to grow as an artist?  You bet!   So where do you start?

I’m a big fan of self-assignments.  What this means is that you come up with an idea and give yourself a deadline to get it done… then actually DO it.  I’ll even give you a few ideas to get you started:

Do a series of self portraits.  I’ve done this one and it is much tougher than it sounds.  The good news is, you always have access to the model!

Grab your favorite CD and create an image to illustrate each song on the album.  It can illustrate the meaning of the song or maybe just a literal portrayal of the title.  Lots of wiggle room here!

Do a series of 12 portraits, each representing a month of  the year.

Photograph landmarks of your hometown – just do it in a creative way.

There are literally thousands of ideas you can come up with.  The concept isn’t nearly as important as the execution.  Pick one and go for it.  You’ll be surprised what you come up with!

Larry Lourcey is a professional portrait artist, located in Plano, Texas.  In addition to his Photography Blog, he also has a website dedicated to photography education .  You can follow him on Twitter at @larryphoto