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This post is dedicated to Steven Galloway.

Instead of asking young children you are interested in capturing on film to “look at the birdie,” why not take the opportunity this Pentax and DC mash-up is giving you to ask them to stare into the wild eyes of the Joker and really think about what the consequences might be if they allow a circus clown to spritz them with their lapel flower (hint: they will probably involve acid scars). You’ll get some hilarious pictures that way.

DC Comics and Pentax have ganged up to put out a special edition of their Optio RS1500 camera. Just in time for the upcoming Green Lantern movie starring Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan (the best Earth Lantern), the RS1500 comes with seven DC skins, a 4 GB SD card, and a Green Lantern protective case. The retro-styled skins feature Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Catwoman, Joker, and, of course, Green Lantern. If they’re like the other Optio RS1500 cameras, you’ll be able to switch out the skins at will.

So far mention of the special edition camera has been limited to Europe, where it’ll retail for 129 Euros and be available on May 1st. If this seems like something you’d like to see stateside, get that sourpuss off your face and send some emails. Yes, Europe gets everything better than we get, but if you promise severe monies to Pentax, chances are they’ll give us Yanks a chance to get our hands on this cam, too.

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Softboxes to Go

Using diffuse flash outdoors

Unless I am working in a cave or at night, I don’t use flash outside as a prime light source.  Often  nothing beats natural light for taking flowers and other facets of the natural world; but there are times when shadows need to be in-filled. A big plus point gained by using a reflector is that you can see the effect before releasing the shutter, but on windy days, it can be a liability. I discovered the Honl Traveller 8 Softbox last year. It has an 8 inch (20 cm) diameter circular diffuser panel and having used it extensively in the UK, China and South Africa, I would never venture out without it. I use it to in-fill taller erect backlit flowers in a border where there are too many plants to use natural backlighting as the sole light source. Light from the Honl Softbox gives a much wider spread and softer light than the Sto-Fen Omni-bounce and hence casts softer shadows to inner parts of the flower; yet it also adds a certain crispness to floral parts compared to shooting in natural light, which perks up the definition of macro shots. It weighs a mere 3.7oz (105g) and folds flat in my camera photopack.

10 Species Back from the Brink

Animals that have escaped extinction

WWF have listed 10 animal species that were on the brink of extinction before habitat protection, hunting control and captive breeding programs helped to redress the balance. Photography plays an important part in public awareness of endangered species – both in their native countries and worldwide.

1 Amur tiger  2 Gray Whale  3 Southern White Rhinoceros  4 Black Rhinoceros  5 African Savannah Elephant  6 Mountain Gorilla  7 Saiga  8 Indian Rhinoceros  9 Golden Lion Tamarind  10 Przewalski’s Horse

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Canon’s new flash offers continuous lighting

The Speedlite 320EX is the “ideal flash unit for professionals looking for a secondary flash,” claims Canon. “It offers a guide number of 32 (m/ISO100), as well as the ability to change the flash coverage from 24mm to 50mm by manually extending or retracting the flash head.” Canon has also added a Video Light function, a first for the firm, offering continuous lighting capabilities for photographers shooting high-definition video with their EOS DSLRs.

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