Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas, here is a view you have seen before many times, the view from our deck and the river in front of our house. It is nice to have time at home to enjoy the view. Camera is my SigmaSd14 on a tripod with a remote release, mirror locked up and with my new liner polarizing filter. I hope you enjoy your holiday as much as I will. Bill Wilby

It is nice to get comments and to hear from people who read my blog. The comment below is very interesting to me because yes, the photo the person is asking about is a photo that I took in 1976. It was taken just out side of Alert Bay, my home town, and is looking toward the mouth of the Nimkish River. The person seen on the boat is David Uhl, Alert Bay fisherman proud of his new seiner. I only sold or gave away a few of these photos so I would be curious as to where it may have been the last 3o years. It was taken during the winter maybe in January as there is snow on the hills. As to the name Pictures, Prints and Promises, that was the name of my photography business at that time. I owned and operated a small gallery and frame shop in Alert Bay and sold my photos.This may not be the right photo, I took one shortly after with Malcolm Island in the back ground and the seiner is captured from the bow. Bill Wilby

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

No time to post these days with the Christmas rush, but I have lots to say. You will have to wait until things slow down but what is on my mind is pricing. I read DPreview Sigma forum every day because of my interest in using and selling the Sigma SD14. Our name has been there and many people from around the world have been checking our site and my blog. Please check back and I will put my thoughts together. Right now and for the last 25 years I am helping people find the right camera at the right price. I would like to share some of this experience with you. Thanks Bill

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

This time of the year I don't get out much. But sometimes I look out the window and see the light, drop everything pick up my Sigma SD14, we have more stock coming soon, and rush out side for a photo. This one is at ISO 50 with no tripod so it is not tack sharp. What is important is that this was shot in the cameras RAW mode and processed with the Sigma excellent software on full auto, and saved to a jpeg in a few minutes. I could have done much more with it and it may or may not have looked better, but I would rather get back to my mission of helping people discover what fun a Sigma SD14 is. Hope this doesn't sound to much like an Ad. Bill

Sunday, December 02, 2007

It has been a very exciting week. My Sigma supplier has been able to adjust the Canadian price for the Sigma Sd14 so now we can sell it any where in the world and be competitive. The body is now 899.00 Canadian dollars. Also this week the new Nikon D300 arrived in our store. I took some comparison photos and Max posted them on the Sigma SLR forum at DPreview. There was a lot of interest, more than 400 people from around the world viewed the comparison. There was suggestions of how we could have done it better, so on Saturday morning Max re shot the photos and posted them again. There has been more than 200 views again, the last time I looked. The photo is of City Hall. I have thought of making it our on-line store front with the help of photoshop. The photo above may not be Bob the beaver as I saw two beavers swim by early this morning. Maybe one is Betty.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

As promised, a update. This photo of me is taken with the Sigma SD14. If you have been reading my blog you will understand that this camera is very unique in how it captures colour. I have been going to photograph people with it but have not had a chance. So here is a photo of me with a hair cut ready for the Christmas season. The camera I am holding is also one of my favorites, and is proving to be a good seller with its resent price reduction, the Pentax K10D. Bill

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

First snow in Grand Forks. You may think the first camera I would pick up this morning would be the new Nikon D300, but no, a quick photo on a tripod with a relativity simply Sigma Sd14 is more for me. I haven't the time to read the book and set up the Nikon. I would rather leave that to the person that buys one. For me a quick photo and a hair cut. Bill

Monday, November 26, 2007

Nikon D300 update, it is here. I will update you again this week when I have time for a hair cut. For more info on this camera Ken Rockwell received his last week and has been posting info on his site found here.

The Nikon D300 is here, well almost here, I received an invoice today for the first one which means it will come today or tomorrow. As of right now it is unsold, you could be one of the first in Canada to own one. It is also priced about the same as the U.S. only in Canadian dollars with a Canadian warranty. There is no review posted of this camera that I know of as it is still too new, but dpreview have posted a preview found here.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

This is too much fun. Here are two more photos from the Sigma sd14 that I have posted earlier in colour. I do get to play a little on Sunday. Look for the highlight detail on the flag pole. Bill

Black and white with the Sigma Sd14. In the Sigma software this took me all of 1 minute to make the black and white I wanted. I can hardly wait to print some on our new Fuji Pearl gloss paper. It has been a busy week and no time for photos, but this morning the river look so peacefully with a little ice. These are off the deck ISO 50 too cold for a tripod.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Using the SD14. What a pleasurable experience it is. Even when walking to the mailbox with my grandpa and my dog, the camera delivers true (or better) to life colors and amazing detail and sharpness. This is because of no need for an antialiasing (blurring) filter, that provides a very real sharpness rather than a simulated, noisy one. Later in the day I took the SD14 into a dark room to create some very basic physiograms. The first one was taken over a 33 second exposure at f/8, with the IR filter off, as the LED was infrared, like your television remote. The camera had no problems with the image and I couldn't even see the light as I was taking it. The second is of a medical grade deep violet LED that is so intense it can be harmful to your skin. This part of the visible spectrum is the hardest to capture, the Sigma does it beautifully and sharply. Max.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Yesterday Panasonic lowered the price of the FZ18 in Canada. If you have been reading my blog you will know this is one of my favourite cameras. This camera has been hard for me to sell lately, not because there is not the demand, but because of the difference in cost between Canada and the U.S. Grand Forks is a border town, I can look out the window of our store and see the United States of America, customers here are more aware of differences. There are two reasons that it is hard to sell the Fz18 , my customer not wanting to pay too much and myself not feeling good about it costing more here than there. Of course what I have to offer a customer is very different, and for some more value, than from a larger store experience but there is a point where too many dollars is also important. Canadian warranty is usually better and most customers understand what it can mean to spend the money they earn, in this town, not out of town or out of the country. This brings me to one of my personal rants about how our media and Government have misled the consumer into believing that prices should drop in Canada as our dollar is stronger. As I see it, it is not as much about our dollar being strong as it is the U.S. dollar being very weak. Eighteen months ago was the last time I was in England and Europe and guess what, the exchange was almost the same then as it is today. But in the last eighteen months the U.S. dollar has lost 30 per cent of its value against not only the Canadian dollar but also most of the other world currencies. I think I know what is going to happen next, that Panasonic FZ18 camera that now costs Canadians less in Canada, also just went up in cost on the other side of the border. As well as checking industry news every morning I check prices. I think with the weak U.S. dollar we will see prices rise in the U.S.The photo above was taken with the FZ18 during a dinner cruise of the Toronto harbour where I was able to speak with this industry's suppliers about cross border prices and there was the thought that someday, for Canadians,a camera bought at home might not just be better for Canada, but it might cost less too. Bill Wilby

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Using the Sigma Sd14 camera has changed something for me. I have started looking more for colours in my photos. The photo above was taken this morning while looking at the blue reflected in the water. When viewing the photo I began to think that the depth of colour I see may have something to do with the colour black, captured with this camera. The third dimension displayed in a two dimensional flat printed photo often is because of the texture defined by its shadow. An example would be the contrast of the dark shadows that can separate the trees from the forest. Also I was just reading the forum titled "Sigma SLR talk" on and someone wrote that this camera has a personality. If using this camera can affect how I feel and think about my photography I would agree. Bill

Saturday, November 10, 2007

This photo is taken with the Sigma Sd14 camera, it is for Leif, who would like to see a photo taken in less than Ideal conditions. I will call it Falling leaves. It was in the shade with a long exposure on a tripod. Bill

Friday, November 09, 2007

Euro Prints

Euro Prints, our new print size which is very popular in Europe, 41/2x6, seems to be a huge hit for anyone with a camera that shoots in the 4:3 aspect ratio. This includes most compact, rangefinder, and some digital SLR models. Traditional 4x6 prints use the 2:3 aspect ratio, cutting off the top and bottom of the image. This also means that the subject's heads will often get trimmed as well. Our Euro Prints preserve the aspect ratio of the client's camera, resulting in the image being printed as it was intended by the photographer. This is perfect for scrapbookers or people without the need for standard albums, as your pictures feel more like a 5x7 and less like a 4x6. Move your mouse over the image above to see what I mean. Max.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Golla Bags, most of you may never heard of this Finnish company that produces some of the most fun bags we have ever seen. We have some in stock with more coming soon. They have a great web site here is the link.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

News Flash, Bob the beaver was sighted this morning just after dawn swimming down stream. In other news people are now using our new web site Foto Depot to upload photos to share with friends by creating albums. These same people sometimes order photos to print, and put them in one of our many new albums to chose from. There are still others who find our new selection of photo frames very exciting and enlarge their photos to display. I might even pick one for a new photo of Bob, if I see him again in better light. The photo above was taken last Sunday when the light was very nice, with my Sigma SD14. Bill

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Another Sigma Sd14 photo from Sunday. This one shows how close the 17 to 70 F2.8 Sigma lens will focus. This was shot at ISO 200 1/320 of a second and F4. It is not perfect, but was also not very hard to do with this camera and lens. Bill

Monday, November 05, 2007

If you have been reading my blog you will know that I am getting to know the Sigma SD14. Sunday was a wonderful day here as the light was warm and the sky mostly clear. To my surprise I found things about using the SD14 that I was not expecting. I went to take an early morning photo at the ISO 50 setting and realized a tripod would help. As you may also know, with my love for stabilized cameras and lenses, it has been awhile since I have set up a tripod. I have forgotten how it feels to adjust a good tripod, and take a little more time to compose a photo. The camera didn't focus quite the way I wanted so I switched to manual focus and with my free hand, thanks to the tripod, I began to experiment with focus. What's next, manual exposure? My point is not only can the Sigma SD14 capture a photograph like no other camera, it also provided me with a feeling and experience that I haven't had with a camera for a long time. From the sound of the shutter to the large viewfinder this camera just feels good and that for me makes a difference in the photos I capture with it. This photo shows the contrast of the warm November light on the trees and rocks and the deep blue refection of the sky in the river. I have printed this photo 16x24 and the depth it has I think is the result of the Foveon sensor. The feeling I have when I look at the photo has to do more with the experience of using the camera. Oh and the tripod too. Bill

Friday, November 02, 2007

I have updated the software in the Sigma SD14 and downloaded the editing software. I am going to lose sleep with all the photo ideas this now gives me. After seeing the editing software and understanding with Max's help, what possibilities it offers, this adds much more value to the camera package and will make it even more fun to sell. This new photo was taken this morning with the camera set to ISO 50 which is now possible with the software upgrade. When selling this camera I plan on doing the firmware upgrade and including a test print to test for a clean sensor. My demo camera did have spot on the sensor which required my cleaning. Bill

Thursday, November 01, 2007

As promised more photos from the Sigma SD14. I really enjoy using this camera, the shutter is very quiet, and the controls are well laid out. It even has a built in hand warmer. This is a inside joke for Sigma users. It snowed a little just after I took these photos. Bill

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sigma Sd14. My demo for testing has just arrived and if all goes according to plan you will hear much more and see many photos from this camera. This camera is not well known of in main stream photography and that may well be part of the appeal for me. What makes it different from the others is the foveon sensor that captures the photo. Other digital camera sensors do not capture each red, green and blue colour at each pixel.The Sigma Sd14 does. They have a great site, here is the link. Contact Photo Arts is the only stocking Canadian dealer at this time and we plan to sell in store and on line across Canada. Watch for our new link and photo gallery on the home page. Please click on the photo to view larger image. Bill Wilby

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Something about this time of the year, there is a time about now 5:45 pm when the light just "pops" in front of your eyes. The day has been cloudy and rainy and then for 15 min. you can forget the rain as the light pops before your eyes. Lucky for me there is usually a camera near by like my Panasonic FZ18. Bill

Monday, October 22, 2007

Check out Foto Depot, I find it really exciting. Now we have a new way to share, store and order photos with Foto Deopt, Contact Photo Arts and Foto Source.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Hi there. This is Leif. I'm back in Canada, but organizing my photos from Scandinavia, and I decided to make another post... This is from London, England, actually. I stopped over on my way back home, and most of my time there was overnight between my flights, in the darkness. I broke my tripod in Iceland (my lightweight tripod was NOT designed to work as a support for a high-tension clothes-line while camping... To its credit, it did do the job for two weeks before failing in the last week of my camping trip around Iceland!) So this shot of Westminster Abbey was taken using a fence as a tripod. The shot was crooked, but I didn't care about that at the time - photoshop can (and did) take care of it.

The other shot is from a medieval stave church in Norway. I'm really impressed with how well the K10D handles 'blackness', even at higher ISO settings (the shot of the abbey is at 400iso, 1/4 sec)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Passport photos and more passport photos, these are mostly the photos I take these days. Fall is here and on Sunday there were a few moments to take some fall photos. These two photos were captured with my Panasonic FZ18. I think everyone should have one. And we do have stock. Bill

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Grandma's new kittens. This photo is for the family members who may have not met the new kittens yet. I stayed with her Monday night and had the pleasure of meeting her mew kittens as yet unnamed. Bill

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hi - This is Leif posting again. I took my laptop with me when I went on my travels through Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway, but was rather busy exploring so didn't get the chance to organize a post. It was heavy to carry both my K10D and my laptop around, but worth it. I took far more photos than I would've otherwise, and used the RAW function regularly too, since I had the space on my computer. Basically, I just had fun on a regular basis with my K10D. This has resulted in two good things (I had fun & I have some fun photos) and a bad thing (I have more photos than I know how to deal with). I'm thinking it would be good to find a program for making a photo database or something, so I can easily navigate all my photos...

I will try to post some few photos from the places I went to. For now, here is a photo of a 14th century castle in Malmö Sweden, at early morning. I had to fly out that same day from Copenhagen (twenty minutes away by train), so woke up REALLY early to explore this somewhat small and neat city while I could.

Also, here are two photos from Helsinki. Many people I spoke with didn't have much to say for Helsinki. Certainly compared to Stockholm, Helsinki lacks a certain 'beauty' or picturesque quality. But I must say that Helsinki is VERY inspiring and fun for photography, or I think so at least. They really have some amazing architects there, and they know how to work with spaces and light and shapes. These two photos are from the steps up to the big cathedral, and a sky-light inside the museum for modern art.

I'd also like to say that a lot of museums do permit photography. The K10D is really handy in low-light conditions, with display glass that makes using a flash very problematic. I got lots of good close-ups of Viking-Age artefacts that will serve me well in my studies and teaching.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Just a Quick note, we are back from our adventure and hard at work trying to catch up. Here is a photo, more to come. Bill P.S I cropped the flag so you have to guess where we went.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Some people say it's a jungle out there, so if you haven't seen our add here is a copy. Sandy and I will be away to our annual buying show Sept. 22 to 26. It was last year at this time we started this blog to help introduce the new products and services found at that show. So stay posted this Fall for more from our jungle buying show. Bill P.S Forgot to say the store will be closed for those days we are not here.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Another photo with the Panasonic FZ18. This has been cropped a little bit but the eagle is across the river. I am really enjoying this camera. Bill

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Panasonic's newest ultra zoom camera is the FZ18. It has a 18x zoom. For film this would be a 28mm to 504mm range. It will photograph something and make it look 10 times larger than we see with our eyes. Here are two photos that show this range.The 18x zoom can be misleading to a buyer as it is referring to the focal length difference in the lens. As the wide angle view of this camera, is wider than most digital cameras, the 18x zoom can be easily miss understood. The focal length in this lens is 4.6mm to 82.8mm or 18x. There are many things to like about Panasonic's new FZ18 and we have them in stock. Click on the pictures to make them bigger. The deer is in both photos.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Hi - this is Leif again. I'm just about to leave for a trip to mainland Scandinavia, and I may be able to post while I'm there, but I thought I'd put another few photos up quickly before I leave.

One here is taken of the building opposite my favourite building in Reykjavik. The Ráðhús, or City Hall, has some really fun lighting and lines. This building faces it, and the precious moments of darkness (or near-darkness) just after midnight in mid-July let me get this fun shot of the small pond (with a duck!) that surrounds the Ráðhús, making it seem as though it's submerged in water. Maybe I'll post some shots of the Ráðhús itself some other time.

I went for a sunrise walk in Vík in mid-August, leaving my tent around 4am, with the sun rising shortly afterwards. The sun rises and sets quite slowly and stays low on the horizon for a long time, so I had lots of time to explore and try different things with the shadows and light, as well as just enjoy the sunrise! I also finally figured out just the right time of day and conditions to get a shot of the black sands that actually shows how celestial they seem up close - needed to be right before the sunlight hit the sand, with some fresh morning ocean-spray on the sands.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Bob is back, or maybe he never left, but he was across the river this morning eating some small bushes.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Hi - this is Leif in Iceland again. Around August 10th I stayed a couple nights at a very small campsite in the southern-interior of Iceland (called Hólaskjól, and you can check out the map on my blog at I went for a long day-hike as soon as I got there, expecting the sun to persist. The area is quite interesting, with a large gorge and river, and another river with a flat sandy flood-plain. There is also an old lava floe from about 1000 years ago that has been covered almost entirely in thick soft moss (sometimes almost a foot thick, seriously!) Anyways, it started pouring rain just as I was about three hours from my tent and any shelter. So I used the complete rain-shield on my lowpro camera bag for the first time ever, and got thoroughly soaked to the bone, while my camera remained dry.

Much later that day (around 9pm) a heavy mist or omni-directional rain came up, and I remembered a landscape of moss-covered lava not far away. So instead of putting on my soaking boots, I went with cold bare feet in sandals and took some shots. It was worth it, and the landscape seemed very surreal, with light coming from just above the horizon and glowing as though it was only a few hundred metres away. I got very wet again, and there were millions of beads of water on my camera, but thankfully the K10D is water-resistant so I don't have to worry so much about that.

Here are a couple sunsets too. The first is from Reykjavík looking some 100km over the ocean to the Snæfelsness peninsula. The second is from a lake called Mývatn in the north - this sunset took about an hour and a half and was spectacular with lots of colour the whole time. When the colour from the sun had mostly left the sky, the moon rose over the hills. Sunsets here last forever this time of year, so it can be a leisurely process to set-up a tripod and get the shots you want. The light changes constantly though, as the sun moves, so different colours appear and disappear over periods of a few minutes.

- Leif