Links


 

Introduction

There are probably thousands of other sites useful to the photographer. Described below are just a few I have found to be interesting and/or valuable resources.

 

Links

Whether new to digital photography or a veteran you will have heard about this site:  www.kenrockwell.com. I mention it first not because of merit but because it may be the best known photography site out there. It is controversial, to say the least.

Rockwell does a good job of exposing photo-hype and the perils of techno-obsession but I am increasingly hesitant to recommend more than one visit - and that only to satisfy your curiosity.

The site is infested with contradictory advice, bullying as to what you should or should not photograph, hyperbolic opinion and flat-out errors. Rockwell claims to make his living on the "cut" he receives from the online sellers he promotes. As a consequence you will find a huge amount of commentary and product discussion aimed at massaging you in the direction of purchase from those businesses he has a relationship with. This is hardly the best prescription for objectivity. On one page he will tell you "The camera doesn't matter" but then, on the next, he remembers this is no way to generate sales so insists a $10,000 Leica is your best choice. And so it goes. Lately, he has become a Canon "fan boy", which suggests his cut from sales of those products may be better these days than from others.

Quite frankly, I find his fanatical advocacy of online photo-shopping (and patronage of specific businesses in particular) an influence of dubious value at best. My personal experience is that the best deal can usually be found locally with the enormous benefit of customer service only minutes away should there be a problem. Furthermore, you are supporting the local economy.

You might pick up something useful at his site but ... watch your step as you might if walking through a cow-pasture and - beware the "bull".

Here are some of my favorite photo links (no special order):

www.dpreview.com Hosted by British photographer Phil Askey and his army of colleagues. Askey has tested and compared a vast number of digital cameras using consistent, accurate and repeatable measures of performance and posts photographs taken with the units he tests. He doesn't just shoot test patterns but interesting landscapes, portraits and urban scenes. A nice combination of art and technology. Very up to date. Very commercial and self-congratulatory for my taste but worth a regular visit If you want to keep abreast of technology developments. Hosts many huge forums with vast memberships, contests, tutorials etc. A bit of a circus but always useful.

www.photozone.de Excellent technical reviews of Canon and Nikon lenses plus much more. Hosted by Klaus Schroiff.

www.normankoren.com: Excellent resource for the avid photographer - many topics in digital photography, "how to" - including working from scanned film. Don't miss this. Koren covers every important aspect of making fine images. Unfortunately, he has moved on to other activities and the site is gradually falling behind the times. Needs some serious updating to reflect recent technology advances.

www.bythom.com: Thom Hogan caters for Nikon enthusiasts but most of his excellent material is generally applicable to digital photography regardless of what you are using. Unlike Rockwell, there's nothing insane or off the wall here and remarkably little partisanship - just solid information and a lot of experience. I wish Hogan would post more pictures as his work looks very interesting but all we get are a few offerings at postage stamp size. Criticism: for some, maybe, a bit too much space devoted to photo equipment market analysis and trends.

www.cambridgeincolour.com: A finely crafted site both visually and technically. Covers a wide variety of photo topics including an excellent section on color perception and color management. Hosts forums and an active visitor community. Highly recommended. One of the best looking photo sites on the Web. 

www.photographylife.com: Hosted by photographer Nasim Mansurov and colleagues, features a large number of equipment reviews, photo tutorials and commentary. Mansurov knows what he is doing. You can learn a lot from him.

www.luminous-landscape.com: Hosted by Michael Reichmann and colleagues. This site has a lot of everything. There are numerous technical articles by a variety of photographers, equipment reviews and featured guest commentary on subjects of interest to photographers. There's quite a bit of promotional material but it's off to the side where you don't have to look at it if you don't want to.

The following two are more mainstream/commercial in terms of content. You will find news, shopping links, forums etc. Lot's of interesting "stuff".

www.steves-digicams.com 

www.imaging-resource.com

Nikonians should bookmark the following for Nikon's own technical tests ...

http://imaging.nikon.com/

Nikon owners can also do themselves a lot of good by joining this Forum:

www.nikonians.org

There you will find professional quality moderating, a lot of really useful information, photo galleries, contests, technical articles, answers to questions and ... some malarkey as well.

 http://www.dpbestflow.org/  

Recently discovered ... American Society of Media Photographers. Many excellent articles and references. Funded in part by the US Library of Congress.

 

About Forums

Most photo sites host forums, blogs and commentary sections. These are always entertaining, sometimes useful but frequently a waste of time.

  • Many participants are there simply for the purpose of satisfying their lust for blood by criticizing in the rudest ways they can think of those comments made by others. They are the "drive by shooters" of the Internet, out for sport and not much else.
  • "Fan boys" - those uncritically loyal to a certain product - populate many forums for the purpose of defending their choices as a means to constructing and publicizing a self-image. We all know how that goes. Choosing product "X" informs others I am a more discerning purchaser than the average idiot and/or I am so well established in life I can afford and will have only the best. This sort of thing plays out in many other life contexts - choice of automobile, home, clothing, computer, audio gear. It's 99% a "guy thing", as well - something we could do with less of.

Many other scenarios thrive in these places, their workings best left to the examination of psychiatrists than to be taken seriously by real photographers. You will find some thoughtful, objective contributions, of course, but it may take a lot of sifting through the uproar, noise and chest-beating.

As for your own participation, resist fuelling confrontations that waste time and discourage responsible visitors. Avoiding response in kind to unpleasant contributions is a good discipline to cultivate although this may be difficult when you are yourself the subject of an attack. This way sets a constructive example and helps build a positive atmosphere for sharing information and experiences.

The best forums exercise some control over content/behaviour and attract those who value civilized discourse (while not ruling out having some fun).  These can be very useful places. You'll find questions competently and respectfully answered and ignorance recognized as something we all harbor to some degree rather than a flaw in character to be ridiculed and made sport of. A good example of such a forum is nikonians.org.


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