Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gallery at 18th Street: Photographer Allison Bailey

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Gallery Opening for Photographer Allison Bailey
Penn Camera 18th Street
Thursday, September 30th

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Allison brings a variety of experience to photography: she has a Ph.D. in political science, is a business owner, and has worked extensively in community service positions. As a Ph.D. candidate at Emory University, Allison lived overseas while researching ways to bring permanent ends to civil wars, a dissertation that was motivated largely by the human costs of war. After graduation, Allison became a specialist in African affairs, and has spent a great deal of time on the continent, from rural villages in Ghana, to the magnificent Okavango Delta. Her work involved working with African, French, and American officials to facilitate development and security in Africa.

As a result of her work and personal experiences, Allison’s photography often captures images of everyday life, and aims to evoke an emotional response. This may be a new look at the experience of riding the Paris Metro, modern life in a medieval village, or a unique view of a well-known landscape. Motion and emotion drive her selection of subjects, and she focuses on the intangible in each of her photographs.

You can view more of Allison's work at

Just Announced: New Nikon Coolpix Cameras

By Brendan Keenan, Penn Camera Tysons Corner
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It's a great time of year for the photographic industry. Every other year, the Photokina trade show is held in Germany, and since it is a bi-annual event, most manufacturers make big product announcements and we learn what kind of toys we'll have to play with in the months to come. While Nikon is sure to be no exception, they have already announced a few new compact cameras ahead of the big show that are currently getting a lot of attention. With good reason. Their recently announced models offer an ultra stylish compact, a super versatile compact with a long zoom lens, and a high performance model offering quality and precision good enough for serious photography.

If you like a camera that is pocket sized, but offers style and a good range of features, the recently introduced Coolpix S80 may be just what you are looking for. An ultra thin compact, this 14 megapixel camera still packs in a 5x wide angle optical zoom lens to give the user a good range even in such a slim and sleek camera. It also boasts a high resolution huge 3.5" OLED touch screen, for outstanding ease of use, as well as amazing image clarity and color. It also comes with 720p HD video, Nikon's VR image stabilization, and is available in a variety of colors. This may well be the hottest new compact come the holiday season.

If you are looking for a camera that offers even more versatility, but without having to carry around multiple lenses and big bodies, the new Coolpix S8100 is perfect. This camera packs a big 10x optical zoom into its fairly compact frame, plus a lot more. It has an advanced high performance CMOS image sensor for outstanding image quality, and can shoot full 1080 HD resolution stills and video. And you won’t miss a shot either, since it offers high speed shooting of five frames per second in continuous mode! With fast start up time, fast auto focus, and a very quick shutter, you can be ready at a moments notice to get those great shots other cameras might miss. It also has a large, high resolution 3” LCD screen, as well as Nikon’s VR image stabilization, which will definitely come in handy, since this camera has a 300mm equivalent telephoto lens. Looking for big range and performance without the big camera? Look no further than the Coolpix S8100.

Which brings us to their last recently announced model, the P7000. This camera is the highest end Coolpix camera to date, and is aimed at serious amateurs, even professionals who like to have high performance cameras that are more portable than some of their other gear, but offer precise control over all aspects of shooting. From low light, to fast action, to wide angles and close ups, this camera can do it all. It even offers compatibility with Nikon Speedlights, and offers lens attachments for even more range and control. If a more run of the mill point and shoot just won’t do, and you’re looking for the highest level of quality in a nice portable package, than the P7000 is perfect. Precise image control, and versatile features allow more advanced photographers to unleash their creativity, without a whole backpack full of gear.

So if this is what they announce before the show, what will Nikon have waiting to debut at Photokina? We’ll be here to bring you all the best new cameras as soon as we hear about them. Until then to learn more, visit our website, or stop by one of our stores to learn more about all the newest gear and equipment that is coming soon.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Gallery at Fair Lakes: Photographer Allen Pearson

Join us!
Gallery Opening for Photographer Allen Pearson
Penn Camera Fair Lakes
Friday, October 8th

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Allen’s art has been described as “unique, beautiful, and natural”. Allen captures the unique beauty of nature missed by most people during their hectic schedules. Although digital photography is used for his art, no image is ever touched up or edited to get that perfect photo. “Nature’s beauty doesn’t need help from me,” Allen says. Having a passion for nature and an eye to capture its beauty, the natural world is his studio.

He has photographed at National Parks, however, most of his work has been done in Northern Virginia parks, including Green Springs, Mason Neck, River Bend, Runnymeade, and Walney Nature Center. Allen’s passion for nature photography began when creating a wildlife garden. Creation of the wildlife garden attracted butterflies, birds, and rabbits allowing photo opportunities of various species.

Allen has coupled his passion for dogs and cats with his photography skills too. “Dogs and cats are a part of nature so I focus on creating fine art of these furry friends to portray their natural beauty” Allen says.

Allen participates in arts festivals throughout the Shenandoah Valley and Northern Virginia and with the Loudoun Arts Council, Manassas Arts Guild and Vienna Arts Society.

  • “Creation Sings”, Loudoun Arts Council’s “Leesburg’s First Friday”, Leesburg, VA, 20176, (July 1-31, 2010).
  • “Creation Sings”, Vienna Arts Center, Vienna, VA 22180, (March 23-May 1, 2010).
  • “Creation Sings”, an audiovisual presentation featuring images of nature and music by pianist, Mary Dart, Convergence: A Creative Community of Faith, Alexandria, VA (September 1-30, 2009).
  • 39th Annual Treasures of Arts Show; Juror Ann Gordon, (November 2008).
  • Ballston Arts + Crafts Market, (May-September 2008, June-July 2009, September 2010).
  • Vienna Arts Society Photography Exhibition, (July 2008, 2009, 2010).
  • 38th Annual Treasures of Arts Show; Juror Marian Van Landingham, Founder of the Torpedo Factory, (November 2007).
  • Annual Fine Arts Festival, Manassas, VA, (October 2007, 2008, 2009, April 2010).

Blog: Allen Pearson’s Photos

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Special Event at Penn Pikesville THIS WEEKEND

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Special Event this Weekend
Join us for Picture It!
at Penn Camera Pikesville
Create better images
Saturday, September 11th from 10am -5pm

- Great Deals for Back to School (savings valid in all stores)
- Canon T1i Kit PALLET SALE: Major savings on this popular digital SLR!
- Meet representatives from top brands
- Free Clean & Check (limit 2 items)
- $50 On-the-Spot Sensor Cleaning: A $25 savings
- Free Mini-Seminars (space is very limited)
- Free Camera Appraisal by our Collectible Camera Expert - let us make you an offer.
- Enter to Win Prizes!

Festival at Woodholme (Next to Trader Joe's)
1809 Reisterstown Road, Pikesvile, MD 21208

Meet with representatives from:
Canon Video
MAC Group
Think Tank
Black Rapid

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Your personal theater on the go – The Nikon Coolpix S1000pj

By Brendan Keenan, Penn Camera Tysons Corner
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In the world of point and shoot cameras, consumers might perceive that most look the same, and usually offer like or near identical features, and controls. All too often, companies don't take chances, but go with what has worked in the past, adding a mega pixel or two, and giving last years model new colors and a bigger LCD screen. So how do you really set one or two apart from the bunch? Luckily, Nikon has always managed to find an answer to that question. They had one of the very first Wi-Fi cameras a few years back, a couple years ago they debuted the first point and shoot with built in GPS, and they continue their tradition of design innovation with their latest unique entry, the Coolpix S1000pj; the first camera with a built-in projector.

Of course any camera with a new, unique feature has to prove it is, first and foremost, a good camera. So let’s put the S1000pj through its paces. On the surface it looks and feels much like any other good compact point and shoot. Not too small, and ergonomically comfortable to hold and control. Resolution is 12 megapixels, considered fairly high with current comparable models ranging typically from 10-14 megapixels. The picture detail is certainly sufficient for most people, with image quality remaining high even when the image is cropped or enlarged for bigger prints. Colors are accurate on automatic under varying types of light (a must for those looking for a true point and shoot), and lighting is well controlled, though in low light using one of the dedicated scene modes can make a difference and give a better exposure. Only in those really tricky times though. The flash range is average for this size camera, meaning about 10-12 feet. Overall, it stacks up solidly against even the newest point and shoot cameras on the market.

Nikon doesn’t skimp on the features with this small camera either. It comes equipped with a wide angle 5x optical zoom (28-140mm equivalent) lens for a good range, with Nikon’s VR, or vibration reduction technology, to help counter camera shake. It has Nikon’s now standard set of over a dozen specialized scene modes, for those hard to get pictures. It has a few other new features as well, such as smile shutter, which will actually set the camera to go off when your subject smiles. It can come in handy with kids who are all smiles until you ask for one, and just trying it out usually makes people laugh. It also has a blur warning, which will tell you if the picture is not sharp after it have been taken, giving you the chance to take the picture again. It has one other thing many point and shoot cameras don’t have, which is support for a wireless remote. This can come in handy while taking photos, as well as in the projector mode.

Which brings us to the one truly standout feature on this camera, its projector. The first of its kind, it is deceivingly well-integrated into the camera design. It appears to be just another window or lens on the front of the camera, and when activated, focus can be controlled by using a slider on top of the camera. The projected image is 640x480, or standard VGA resolution, with a brightness of 10 lumens. This is not particularly bright as projectors go, which makes sense - it is built into a small camera. What this means is that it is best suited to use in a dark room, at a range of about 6-8 feet max. This will produce a decent sized image on the wall, and trust me, watching the video you just shot move across the wall (or the ceiling!) is never disappointing. Don’t expect home theater quality, we are talking about a camera here. It makes for a great slideshow in a small room. Want to show off those vacation photos? Now you can just dim the lights.

All things considered, the Nikon Coolpix S1000pj would hold its own against similarly priced cameras with similar specs. Of course, the Nikon has one thing those cameras don’t. If you just love to have something fun, and functional, something you can use all the time, and show off when the time is right, the S1000pj might be just the camera for you. If you never turned on the projector, it would only take good pictures. When you do turn it on, it becomes the center of attention. Nikon may not always do things by the book, but they know cameras and imaging, and they have another winner on their hands.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Photographing Autumn Leaves

By Brendan Keenan, Penn Camera Tysons Corner

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One of the most exciting times of year is coming for photographers. Few times of year offer such a unique opportunity to capture wonderful landscapes and scenic shots as in the fall. Particularly in this area, the change in foliage is a truly beautiful event that many photographers want to capture. Here are a few tips on how to get the most out of your shots when photographing the leaves in autumn.

When shooting large vistas, or panoramas, make sure to use a small aperture (high f-stop), to capture as much detail as possible. A wide angle lens is a must have if you want those expansive shots, full of ranging colors. Another great tip is to shoot from a lower angle. This can give a more unique effect than some shots when held at normal height. This is a lot easier with the use of a tripod, which will also come in handy when using available light since you can shoot slower shutter speeds. A long enough exposure can even help you capture the leaves falling, not just the wide variety of colors in the trees.

Close up photography of leaves on the ground, or floating in a puddle can also capture the essence of fall. This is a great time of year to get out into nature and experiment with macro. A brightly colored leaf or two, floating in a puddle that is catching the sun just right can be a beautiful sight, and photograph. If you can't find it in nature, you can always fake it. Spraying leaves with water can give that beads of morning dew effect at any time of day, in any lighting; and if you can't find a puddle, a dark bucket will suffice, provided you crop the frame tightly enough.

Sometimes the sharpest pictures aren't always the best. A winding forest path, with the sun shining through the leaves can be given a dreamy effect with the correct use of soft focus. A special effects lens, a soft filter, even a little breath on the lens can produce this effect. Obviously using a special effects lens like a Lensbaby or a filter is preferable to breathing on your lens or filter, but it's a trick that can work. The effect of selective soft focus that a Lensbaby can give will let you control sharpness very precisely, for some stunning results.

The lighting will change throughout the day, so there will always be ample opportunities if you use the light to your advantage. Experiment with your images, delete what doesn't work, and try to improve on what does. As with everything in photography, practice makes perfect, so try as many different things as possible. Just imagine the possibilities. From a shot up high of an entire valley of vibrant colors, to a single tree on a hillside slowly dropping its leaves for the winter, down to the intricate detail of a single leaf itself, fall provides photographers of all levels the chance to get out, and just have fun with your photographs. For photographers, this is one of the best times of the year to get out and shoot.

To learn more and continue to build your skills, visit our Classes section on for information on upcoming seminars and classes covering a wide variety of areas.