Gallery Tour of Baltimore

Pro Photo Rental Brings Gear Rental to those Without Unlimited Amex cards

My main escape in life these days is photography. In a life that consists of networking and running and trying to stay on top of all the latest trends, services and events, shooting my camera and trying to capture the perfect moment in pictures is a true love of mine.

In the past, I’ve handed off some words of wisdom about buying a digital SLR cameras to new photographers. Thousands of photos that I’ve taken are on Flickr, with the best being over at my photoblog. I’ve shot events, buildings, people and even the inauguration.

Last year sometime, my friend Micah Baldwin, introduced me to Jared Kohlmann the founder and curator of ProPhotoRental.com. I’ve been a fan since, and have rented all kinds of equipment from him.

Gear rental is important for me for a few reasons. For one, I simply don’t have a lot of budget to go and buy lenses and the ever-illusive Canon 5D Mark II, a $3000 investment that I am nowhere near able to get yet (Hey, Jared… when are you gonna have a Mark II in stock for me to rent?! :)). Though admittedly, Jared gives me a discount on my rentals, even without those discounts, the prices are cheap.

For instance, at SXSW, I made a 7-day rental of the following equipment:

  • Canon EOS 5D
  • 580 EX-II Speedlight Flash
  • EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS telephoto lens
  • EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens

The cost of this rental for a week (without discount) is a mere $335. Far less than you would spend at Penn Camera, who, by way of example, would charge $20 a day in addition to a $400 deposit just for the flash!

Clearly, it makes sense to rent often if you’re in the market to buy gear and you want to try it out. A lot of photographers recommend investing the most money in lenses as opposed to going out of the way to upgrade a camera body. Either way, with PPR, you can try out the bodies or a variety of lenses in the Canon, Nikon or Olympus variety. (Who uses Olympus?! That’s like suggesting that Kodak is actually a good camera manufacturer! ;-))

Below, some of the shots taken with PPR gear:
Alex Hillman
Canon 5D, 70mm, f/2.8, 1600 ISO, 1/160th sec, Flash fired

The District Superimposed against Washington
Canon 5D, 160mm, f/5, 800 ISO, 1/8000th sec, No flash

Inauguration Day
Canon 5D, 300mm, f/5.6, 200 ISO, 1/320th sec, No Flash

WordPress Plugin Pack: Photography

Every day, I get emails, IMs and other questions asking me “What plugins do I have to have in WordPress?” My answer is always the same – depends on what you do or want to accomplish. There are two plugins that are absolutely required, in my opinion, for any WordPress blog – Akismet to combat blog spam and All in One SEO Pack to handle all the basic search engine marketing stuff that most of us forget (or maybe don’t even know how to do) every day.

I will be releasing these “plugin packs” regularly so feel free to request (by email) packs you’d like to see. All plugins released are GPL and publicly available – but I will provide a zip that includes all the plugins for one easy download.

The first plugin pack is for photographers.

  • Lightbox 2 – frames photos in an aesthetically, pleasing frame over a darkened screen.
  • WordPress Flickr Manager – provides controls for managing your Flickr library and inserting Flickr content into posts.
  • Yet Another Photoblog – allows you to turn a WordPress install into a Photoblog
  • SlidePress – Turn your photos into slideshows.
  • NextyGEN Gallery – built on the Gallery software, leveraging WordPress functionality.

Download the Entire Pack

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Las Vegas Photowalk – Be there!

I’m still not sure how many of you will be in Vegas for Blog World Expo (or who happen to be passing through this coming Friday), but if you are going to be there, bring your cameras!

Photo Credit: Roadsidepictures

Digital Photography School (Darren Rowse, also from Problogger) is hosting a photowalk and Kris Krug is leading the walk. I had a part in organizing this, but Darren and Kris have done most of the work.

We’ll be meeting at Caesar’s Palace and leaving for the walk promptly at 6:30p. Would love to have you come out. I, for one, will have a 24mm f/1.4 lens provided by Pro Photo Rental who will also be in attendance.

The details from the DPS blog are as follows:

Date – Friday 19 September (we know not everyone will be there on the Friday night but it was the only real time available when we surveyed the organizing team).

Time – 6.30pm – 8pm (we’ll be leaving on time so get there a few minutes early – details below on what to do if you’re late).

PlaceCaesars Palace Hotel – Caesars Palace Dr Las Vegas – for those of you attending Blog World Expo this is about 1.8 miles from the convention centre – a reasonably quick cab ride.

We’ll be meeting at Caesars and then walking south along the strip – as far as we can go in the time.

Exactly where to meet – outside Caesars near the Valet parking area there are three large Fountains/Water features. We’ll be meeting there. Look for a bunch of people who look like bloggers with cameras :-)

Here’s the map on Google Maps

Walk Leader – Photographer Kris Krug from Static Photography will be leading us on the walk. He’ll give us some good tips and direction along the way.

What to BringWalking shoes, a drink (it’s Hot in Vegas) and most of all your camera and any lenses/accessories that you want to play with. Keep in mind that we’ll be out around dusk (should be a nice time to shoot).

What we’ll do – this will partly depend upon how many of us there are and where Kris leads us but we’ll most likely be sticking to the Strip (heading south) and might even head to one of the Casinos (if a group of 60 photographers doesn’t freak them out too much).

This will be a fairly informal walk. While Kris is “˜leading’ the idea isn’t for it to be a teaching session – rather a time of connecting, sharing ideas, getting to know one another and having some fun with one another and our cameras.

At 8pm some of the group may continue on together – it’ll be up to the general group consensus at this point.

If you’re late – if you are running late you can try to catch up with us on the walk. We’ll be moving south down the strip. We’ll attempt to give updates on Twitter as to our location – follow @digitalps (DPS’s twitter account) and I’ll have someone login and update every now and again.

If you’re going to share your photos on Flickr we’ll have everyone Tag their images with DPSVegas so we can all see the shots.