Wednesday, November 30, 2016



Ahh, the last month of the year, and the photos this month are once again, amazing, and changing with the seasons as well.  Great photos from all around the world.  So, enjoy these photos found from photographers from all over the world, from professionals, and amateurs, who happen to have found the perfect composition, and the being in the right place at the right time.  Congratulations to all the following Photographers:

Photo by Pamela Locke
I looked at this photo a dozen times, came back to it, and reflected on a recent blog I did about developing the "eye for Photography".  And then I mentioned to Pamela, that she had definitely had the eye for photography because how many people would just drive through this countryside and totally not see what she is seeing?  The light through the trees, the fog, the mist, the mood of this picture.  And I think if I was driving down this road, I would be thinking that the flashing of the light would give me a migraine!!!. But, Pamela saw the beauty of light.  Congratulations Pam.... this photo is amazing. 

Photo and computer work done by:  Keeling Meyrick

Now once in a while, we have a winning photo, that goes, shall we say, is just a little bit different.  But, you have to say that this takes a lot of creativity, and it goes beyond the camera.  Yes, first, you have to premeditate this whole work of art.  You have to think about the photo in the end, and what it will turn out to be in the end.  And then you hope you have the talent to make it happen.  And in this case, Keelling made it happen.  Amazing work of art.  So, congratulations to Keeling for creating an amazing work of art. 

Photo taken by:  Giuseppe D'amico
A good animal photo? A good action shot?  All of the above.  The shutter speed was set perfect to get the action of this bear eating a fish.  Perfect shot of nature in it's finest.  Congratulations to Giuseppe for this magnificent photo.   This is simply titled: Fishing - Kamchatka, Russia .  So we can appreciate what it takes to get a photo like this??  Yeah, a big lens as well.  You wildlife photographers know how to pack the big lenses.  By the way, Giuseppe has a photo that is in the running for being chosen as a photo of the day by National Geographic Magazine.  Let's help him out by voting his photo as the best.  Go to:

This photo was posted from:  "24 Stunning photos of Nature that look like Heaven"

“Breathing in the fresh air, finding beautiful patches of large-flowered trilliums, and standing among 400-year-old giants never ceases to provide a thrill.”

No photographers name was posted but this notation was noted:  The “Wilderness Forever” Photo Contest received over 5,000 entries this year. The exhibition of winning photos can be seen on display in “Wilderness Forever: 50 Years of Protecting America’s Wild Places” a new photo exhibition at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC through summer of 2015.

So, this is from an expired collection, but, the photos are very worth looking at, and of course, they are all winning photos.  I am adding one more photo from that collection here to add to the Photos of the week:

Mountain Goats, Colorado

Portrait of the Week:
Photo taken by:  Brooke Doesburg

This Portrait of the Week just makes us all smile for Christmas.  To me it sparks interest in wanting to go and create the same photo as well.  What a smile, and it was just well posed, and you can tell the child was having a good time.  The lighting on the child is perfect, the lighting in the background was also done well, and even blurred out just right.  This photo was submitted to "Photoshop & Lightroom" but that is the beauty of working that in the computer:  You never know what was done to improve upon that photo.  It just came out magnificent.  Congratulations, Brooke on a well done photo, that everyone will love.

That's it for this week's Photos of the Week.  Congratulations to the winners, and I hope you enjoy the special recognition.  And as usual, a special advertising blitz on this blog will be going out so that many, many people all over the world will see these amazing photos.  Be sure to share this special Photos of the week with all your friends and family.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016



1- The Cokin Riviera Classic is a Modern Tripod with a Retro Feel
2-Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 Lens for Micro Four Thirds Review: Fast & Cheap Glass


The Cokin Riviera Classic is a Modern Tripod with a Retro Feel

The Cokin Riviera Classic is a Modern Tripod with a Retro Feel

The Cokin Riviera Classic in the field.

Tripod design isn’t typically something that gets us excited—the majority of tripods on the market look more or less the same—but a new product from Cokin known as the Riviera Classic is throwing some classic style into the tripod market.

The Cokin Riviera Classic is a modern tripod with a retro feel.

The Riviera Classic is a modern tripod that is meant to match the feel of a number of “retro looking” digital cameras that are currently popular in the photography world.

It works like a modern day tripod, with telescopic leg sections, an invertible central column, a multi action head and an ergonomic tightening handle, the wooden and leather details of this tripod make it look like an antique.

The metal tightening dials on the Cokin Riviera Classic.

The handle is made of Iroko wood, which the company says will patina over time. The tightening dials are made of knurled aluminum, designed to mimic the details found on vintage cameras.

The handle on the tripod is made from Iroko wood.

It has a max height of 63 inches and a folded height of 23.6 inches. It weights 3.4 lbs and can hold up to 11 lbs. No details yet on availability or price, but overall its quite the classy looking tripod and would make an awesome accessory for shooting film or digital.


Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 Lens for Micro Four Thirds Review: Fast & Cheap Glass

If you’ve ever lusted after a really fast lens—even faster than f/1.2—imagine how compelling the thought of an affordable f/0.95 lens might be. Well, buckle your gadget bags folks, because the Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm for Micro Four Thirds cameras is an f/0.95 that pops into the shopping cart for less than $400.  

First Impression/Construction
The Zhongyi Mitakon 25mm f/0.95 lens is small. Filter diameter is 43mm and the overall length is about 2.4 inches. In fact, it’s so small that its size was a slight turn-off at first. Let me explain. The only other f/0.95 lens I’ve ever used is huge, with a capital uge. The venerable Canon screw-mount 50mm f/0.95 has a 72mm filter size and weighs more than 21 ounces. That’s heavier than five quarter-pound hamburgers (uncooked weight) with extra pickles. In contrast, the Mitakon weighs just a hair over one-half pound.

Side-by-side the comparison must look like a jellybean sitting next to a hen’s egg.
So I was a bit deflated when I unboxed the Zhongyi Mitakon 25mm f/0.95 lens and unwrapped the jellybean. It looks just like any other lens instead of a freak. Remember that the f/stop is calculated by dividing the measured diameter of a lens into its measured focal length.

An f/1 lens, mathematically at least, has a diameter equal to its length. It follows logically then, that any lens with an f/stop larger than f/1 is bigger around than it is long. That’s one reason why we see so few of them. And that’s why I was surprised and a tad let down when I first opened the box for the Zhongyi Mitakon 25mm f/0.95 lens.

The mild preliminary disappointment vanished when I examined the mechanical
construction of the Zhongyi Mitakon 25mm f/0.95 lens. The focusing helicoid is smooth with just enough resistance. The aperture ring has no click stops and is likewise glassy-smooth, although a bit stiffer, which is ideal. The front and rear caps are generic and detract from the overall high quality appearance, but everything else looks topnotch.

This is a manual focus lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras, many of which have digital focus aides and Focus Peaking features. I used this lens on a Panasonic Lumix GX1, Lumix GX8 and Olympus Pen F mirrorless cameras. Focusing was easy with the Zhongyi Mitakon 25mm f/0.95 lens because of the enhanced manual focusing features offered by these cameras. If your camera does not maximize manual focus, it’s possible you could have a problem with any manual focus lens.

The manufacturer claims eleven (11) aperture blades, but I can count only 9. And short of disassembling the sample, I’ll stick by my count.
They also claim that the Zhongyi Mitakon 25mm f/0.95 lens' optical design incorporates 11 elements in 9 groups, including one Extra-low Dispersion element, four Extra-high Refractive Index elements and two High Refractive Index elements. I did not disassemble the lens and I’m not going to speculate about the absolute accuracy of this information. Anyway, it’s performance that matters, right? Not specs.

The Zhongyi Mitakon 25mm f/0.95 focuses close to about 25cm, or 9.8 inches. I can confirm that it does focus this close, and the close-up results are remarkable.

In bright light at f/8 the results are excellent. Notice the honeybee near the center of this shot, then look at the same bee below. ©2016 Jon Sienkiewicz
This bee was cropped from the photo above. ©2016 Jon Sienkiewicz
Even wide open at f/0.95 the Zhongyi Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm is sharp. It’s easy to misunderstand how sharp it is because of the miniscule depth-of-field that exists at that lens opening. In dim light I was able to obtain good results. In bright light at a smallish aperture, say f/5.6 or f/8, the results are excellent.

In dim light I was able to obtain good results shooting wide open at f/0.95. ©2016 Jon Sienkiewicz

These tomatillos (physalis philadelphica) were shot at f/11 from about 11 inches away. Edge-to-edge sharpness is very impressive. ©2016 Jon Sienkiewicz

The bokeh is a bit unremarkable, despite the 9 (or 11) aperture blades and the near-circular opening. Not to say that there is anything wrong with it, or that it looks bad. Some image highlights became lopsided ovals and some high-acutance edges were nicely smooshed. Let’s call the bokeh “acceptable” but not the singular reason to buy this lens.

Let’s call the bokeh “acceptable” but not the singular reason to buy this lens. ©2016 Jon Sienkiewicz

Is this lens truly an f/0.95? I have my doubts. Based on some admittedly unscientific tests and concurrent comparisons to my Panasonic Lumix 25mm f/1.4 Summilux I’m pegging the true aperture to be somewhere between f/1.2 and f/1.4. But so what? The results are terrific, it’s faster than my f/1.4 and it’s fun to use.
Be Forewarned
The Zhongyi Mitakon 25mm f/0.95 lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras does not work with several not-so-old Olympus cameras because of the configuration of their “ladder like internal structure” as per Zhongyi. These Olympus models are definitely affected: E-PL6, E-PL5, E-PM2 and OM-D E-M5 (original model). The OM-D E-M5 (Mark II) is fine to use according to Zhongyi’s website.

Here’s a typical example of the results I got with the Zhongyi Mitakon 25mm lens at f/0.95. The brown stigma in the center is very sharp as are the closest petals. Depth-of-field is very shallow and bokeh is okay, but not terrific. ©2016 Jon Sienkiewicz
First and foremost, I like this lens. I managed to capture some images with the Zhongyi Mitakon 25mm f/0.95 lens that I’m very happy with and I had a lot of fun playing with the shallow depth-of-field. It’s a nice, compact companion for my Olympus Pen-F. Despite the disparaging things I wrote at the beginning about this lens being smaller than I had expected, it is not a lightweight where image quality is concerned.

Micro Four Thirds camera owners can choose from a healthy variety of lenses. Olympus and Panasonic both offer robust assortments, and third party lens makers including Sigma, Tamron and Rokinon deliver unique pieces that fill niches and expand the array. Henceforth, you can include Zhongyi Mitakon in this elite group.

And don’t forget that one of the best features of the M43 system is the ability to adapt and deploy virtually any lens from 35mm film cameras. If you read my article New Life For Favorite Old Lenses: Micro Four Thirds Cameras Open The Door you already know that. Read the complete story here



Monday, November 28, 2016


Photo courtesy of

Maybe you have heard someone say:  "they just have a good eye for photography".  How does someone get a "good eye"?  Wouldn't you love to just have that "good eye" so that all your photos come out fantastic?  Is that what it takes?  Are you born with a "good eye"? 

Read through this article written by: MARGARET CRANFORD.  She has studied this subject out and has discovered what it takes to get that "good eye" for photography.


Although there is much pleasure to be derived from taking a technically excellent photograph, there is a strong argument that a truly great shot depends most on your eye.

Look at the photographs you see every day in magazines, the press, or on display in a gallery. The shots you really take note of are the unexpected–the ones that catch a moment that could have been unnoticed and missed forever.

“Ruin” captured by PictureSocial member Linus

So for most beginning–but serious–photographers, you need to work at developing your eye.

Most of us–and probably all of us who hanker after taking a memorable photograph–can recognize a great view or a breathtaking sight. After all, this is why there are scenic routes, lookout points, and sightseeing trips all over the world. However, how many of the photographs taken at such set opportunities fail to grab you in the same way that the actual scene does? Often it’s because the picture has a clichéd air to it: it’s the same view of the same scene that a thousand other photographers have snapped before.

Look for an aspect of a shot that others will have missed. A different angle, something incongruous that only you have noticed, a certain shadow… Quite often this happens by accident, and you only see how good or how average your photograph is when you upload it and start editing. So take multiple shots in each session, and then study them critically to see how cropping, adjusting the colors and other editing techniques can turn an ordinary photograph into a great one.

“Orleans, France” captured by PictureSocial member Clive Orange

You also need to develop your ability to look at ordinary scenes with a fresh eye, to spot the beautiful or unexpected in ordinary surroundings. Heading for a well-known beauty spot is in itself clichéd, and unlikely to produce a memorable picture. However, how many people take photographs around the place you live? How many people take photographs on your street?

Sugar Cane” captured by PictureSocial member Alan Nixon

Look local, get out and about in your area, finding the less well-trodden path the over-looked backwater, and see what your eyes are showing you. Remember to change your viewpoint; as shots taken low down or looking down are often the most dramatic and unusual. Look up too, as it amazes me how many people just look around themselves at eye level, never spotting the architecture and life that is going on above their head.

“Fountains Abbey” captured by PictureSocial member Gavin Long
Once you have found the sort of photography that means the most to you, whether that is landscape, action, wildlife, urban, macro or portraiture, you can learn more about the techniques and equipment need to take better and better shots. Your eye and your ability to see a good shot come first.

About the Author: Margaret Cranford (alecarte dot com) is a photographed based in Clevedon, North Somerset in the UK ( She creates and sources watercolour paintings, photographs and prints.

Sunday, November 27, 2016


Don't you just love taking pictures?  Don't you just love the memories you can capture?  How about the great artistic things you can capture with your camera? 


It’s a simple question. Why am I taking pictures? What’s so special about photography compared to other visual art forms?
I’m not writing this to give you an answer, but I’m sharing why I love what photography does for me and why I think it’s such a great hobby to integrate into my life, which also resulted to me starting a photography blog site.

“Random Encounter” captured by PictureSocial member Willy Yohanes
As I share my personal reasons to these questions and I’d like to encourage you to add yours in the commenting section as well. Feel free to add a link to your blog or gallery for everyone to enjoy as well.
I’m sure everybody has a GREAT story to tell.

I believe we all picked up a camera at a very young age, no matter how simple or basic that camera may have been. My first camera was a Canon Snappy 50 given to me by my mom when I was 8. I believe it was because of the 84 Olympics ads that I saw in the magazines that kept advertising this camera. It’s unusually long frame and that little orange tab to make the flash fire were icing on the cake for an 8-yo! I wanted the star-spangled version but that was unavailable in Asia back then.
Anyway, my mom was a shutter bug, not in a technical or artistic sense, however.

Like most moms, she snaps everything and records every little embarrassing memorable moment my sister and I go through. It was like a diary for her, and she ended up having suitcases of photo prints sorted in plastic bags and Dymo labels (remember those? Damn I’m dating myself too much here!).

Fast forward to my grade school and high school years, my camera adventures circled around taking photos of friends, skateboarding antics, and martial art events. In college, the acquisition of a proper SLR opened the floodgate of gear lust and more serious phases of photography.

Now that I’m a father, my camera’s job circled back to what my mom used to do, documenting my son’s adventures. My son’s daily photo diary started four years ago and I’m still doing it now. I wished I was able to start the daily photo project earlier, but at least I took enough pictures of him since birth that my collection can still be considered ‘complete’.

Photo captured by PictureSocial member Kameron Barney

Photography also fills a lot of less personal needs for me. From taking pictures for my businesses, earning opportunities through paid photography services, or even starting my online blogging journey (this site!). I wouldn’t have experienced those things if it wasn’t because of photography.

Many feel that photography isn’t an art nor should it deserve as much attention as paintings because it’s relatively easy to get into photography. While I do agree to a certain extent, there are several factors the naysayers fail to realize as well.

Anyone with an image-capturing device can get started with photography, that makes it fun and personal for everyone. Yes, you don’t need talent to take pictures, but unless your goal was to make photography your art medium, there’s nothing wrong with just snapping pictures with no concern on technicalities nor aesthetics.

I don’t think there’ll be many people out there walking into an art store buying a set of paint brushes and start painting out of convenience or impulse. I’ve yet to see a major headline news moment being drawn or painted either, it’s just not an immediate way to communicate compared to photography. Ever wondered why it’s easier to find a camera for sale than a set of art brush?

I appreciate a good sketch or painting as much as anyone, but for a guy like me who has no talent in painting or drawing, there’s a big, invisible wall preventing me from connecting to any paint artist.
A photograph, on the other hand, allows me to imagine as if I’m seeing the place through the eyes of the photographer (I hate that cliché, but there’s no better phrase).

With digital photography, the immediate feedback connects us even faster. Camera phones, remote uploads, social media sharing all allows us to see the world as it happens – yes, even if there’s no skill involved!

Now how is that a bad thing?

“Colorado Road” captured by PictureSocial member Scott A. Pope
As with any hobby, the success, growth and longevity depends greatly with its marketability.
The technology revolving around photography is highly addictive and the way brands play into people’s minds produced both amusing conflicts and insipirational camaraderie. The simple fact that most of the products aren’t that different but they are marketed in such a way that only subjective comparisons can be made these days allows photography to be an endless source of debate, which by itself is entertaining and attention grabbing already.

Film cameras in the past get to enjoy a life cycle of about 2-3 years per model. Now in the digital world, even the highest models only get 18 months of life before being supplanted by a new model. Entry level cameras won’t even last a year before they’re due for replacement.

New technologies bring out new needs for additional accessories and gadgets, and for most of us gear heads, we’re more than willing to help out the economy and feed that gear lust of ours.

The biggest reason, I believe, is just the ability of capturing a moment as it happens with just a single click of a button. Sure, skilled and experience photographers may capture the scene in a more artistic manner compared to the casual snapper, but the key point is, you captured what you want to remember right then and there!

Our brain and its stored memory are amazing, you can piece together fragments of an event and relive the entire day with ease. If it’s a group event, all of you can recall every single detail collectively with just one photograph. The emotions a photograph can throw back at you can be overwhelming at times regardless of technical execution.

The ability of photography to connect to our past, associate us in an event, and preserve memories without words or interpretation makes it an influential hobby for all of us.

Photo captured by PictureSocial member Trandinhkhiem
What’s your story? How did you get started with photography? Where has it taken you and what else will you do with it? Share it below for the world to see:

About the Author: David (from is a freelance photographer, blogger, and writer providing quality and free photography-related tutorials, camera reviews, and Adobe Photoshop tips through his blog and workshops.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


FROM: 123Photogo

Here is some great photos to enjoy today
from my friends on Facebook and
Photography friends:

A beautiful picture of a deer in autumn - Amazing Animal Pictures

Baby panda playing - Amazing Animal Pictures

A beautiful picture of a Jaguar - Amazing Animal Pictures

He is Kermie. He is a baby sloth. Cute or not?

compliments of Amazing pictures on Earth

Compliments of Amazing pictures on Earth

Steven Maxx Photography

Steven Maxx Photography

Steven Maxx Photography

Clay Cook

Clay Cook

These are just a few of my photographic friends, who I have added to my "Like" pages.  All of you who have pictures posted in this blog today, can I just say:  You all inspire me, and make me continue to want to keep my photographic pursuits going.  Taking pictures, and doing this blog.  These photos today all qualify as "PHOTOS OF THE WEEK".   They were all amazing.  In fact, I think I will do some specializing on some of these photographers and highlight some more of their work, right? 
I am truly THANKFUL for all of you, my friends, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL OF YOU.