London Drugs Whistler Tech Conference Recap – Exciting New Products

Every fall, the top London Drugs Experts come together for an event where our vendors show off all the new exciting tech releases hitting store shelfs before the new year. This year’s event was held in the picturesque mountain village of Whistler BC. With over 60 vendors showcasing their goods, the show floor was packed with exciting and innovative products! From new cameras, TV’s, phones and audio equipment to gaming, and an abundant assortment of accessories too, there was something for everyone. We’ve highlighted some of the tech items that we found especially exciting and hope you will too!

  1. Kodak Smartphone camera accessories – Estimated arrival early November

Kodak was the name in photography once upon a time. So much so that in Quebec the term “Kodak” means camera. This was the company that invented the digital camera after all. They have drifted off since the transition to digital, but the good news is they are slowly making a comeback. Their new smartphone camera accessories help you get the most out of the camera in your cell phone. With a portrait light that connects directly to your phone, a mini tripod and multiple lens adapters, the possibilities to elevate your phone photography are endless. With a macro lens adapter allowing you to focus extremely close up, a fisheye adapter to provide a 170-degree field of view (including black corner vignette) and an ultra-wide lens adapter to add that little extra expanse to your image. Look for these to hit shelves at London Drugs sometime in November.

  1. Logixx Wireless QI Canvas Duo – Estimated arrival mid November

Logixx are quickly proving themselves as a smartphone accessory powerhouse. Their Peels Air Pods Case allows for infinite personalization, and have become very popular, as have their wireless charging accessories. New out on the market is their Wireless QI Canvas Duo. No longer will you be faced with the decision to take turns charging devices or buy multiple charging mats. The new Dual Charge Mat is sleek, modern and features two sides, allowing you to charge multiple devices at the same time. Now your watch and phone can charge in harmony. A great bedside accessory that will look sleek in any space.

  1. Logiix Wireless Suction Battery Pack – Available now

Logixx’s battery packs are practical solutions for those extended periods when charging isn’t an option. The suction battery pack sticks to the back of your phone and will charge it wirelessly. Building off feedback from their previous model, they have made the new version a little shorter, while still carrying the same power. This was done to allow camera usage while the phone is charging. A great way to make sure you can continue snapping and charging without worry, when previously your battery would be ready to give out.

  1. Nikon Golf Rangefinder – Available online / via special order in-store

Nikon have a long-storied history in optics. You might know Nikon primarily for their cameras and binoculars, but did you know they also make time-lapse, long term live cell imagery systems for medical research in addition to personal glasses? Nikon does many things and does them incredibly well, and this golf rangefinder is no exception. With 2 models available, you can be sure that avid golfer in your life can determine the distance to the pin accurately every time. Bonus: they are weatherproof, so those rainy days on the course are no problem.

 

  1. Polaroid Originals Lab Printer – Estimated arrival mid-November

Polaroid: the name speaks for itself. Instant colour positive images from a time when images lived in film canisters for days. Now imagine taking that selfie from your Instagram and printing it as a Polaroid. Imagine no more, as the new Polaroid Originals Lab Printer does exactly that. Just lay your phone on top with the image displayed on your screen, press the button, and instantly you have a Polaroid of the same image. Using the Polaroid Originals app on your phone, you can even add your own custom edits prior to printing. The design screams Polaroid, as it is styled in that classic blocky polaroid fashion. This printer is a must-have for anyone who truly loves the nostalgic and tangible experience of a Polaroid but doesn’t want to sacrifice the ease of smartphone photography.

  1. Arcade 1up GamesGolden Tee available now, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles  available for pre-order

Arcade 1Up is bringing the essence of the arcade back and into your home. Their freestanding and countertop models are reviving the arcade experience for a new generation. Back in the day, the original arcade games were a social experience where you engaged with friends. In a world where online gaming has become the norm, the rebirth of these classic arcades is being well received. This fall London Drugs will be adding to our Arcade 1Up offerings with two new classic titles: Golden Tee golf and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Keep an eye out for these on display in your local store between now and the end of November.

  1. Marshall Headphones – Available now

Marshall guitar amps are synonymous with rock and roll. The iconic nameplate plastered in the center of a large amp stack is legendary. With all the headphones on the market, something that stands out as unique is the Marshall headphone line. Offering excellent noise cancelling properties combined with exceptional audio quality, they are an option not to overlook. Add in the vintage styling with modern touches in all the right places, and you have an awesome pair of headphones that really stand out from the crowd.

  1. Sony PlayStation VR – Available now

VR isn’t anything new, but if you have been on the fence about getting on board, consider the Sony Playstation VR system. It comes in as a more affordable option when compared to many PC options on the market and is equipped with a decent library of games to enjoy. The headset fits comfortably, is easily adjustable and when combined with headphones, becomes a completely immersive playing experience. Following along on screen while others play is just as entertaining too. With titles such as Everybody’s Golf VR, Firewall Zero Hour, Tetris Effect, Gran Turismo Sport, and Astro Bot to name a few, the library of games available is continually growing, and includes something for everyone to enjoy.

  1. Wandrd Prvke Photography Backpack – Available online

Have you searched aimlessly for a camera bag that is both functional and looks good? That is the guiding principle behind everything Wandrd makes. Their bags are a great option for the traveller looking to have a fluid combination of fashion and function for their camera gear and personal items. The integrated camera cube makes removing all your camera equipment quick and simple, and transferring it from one bag to another a breeze. Take a look at the many options here.

 

This is just a small sampling of what was on display at our tech conference in Whistler. There is a lot more in-store that our LDExperts will be thrilled to tell you all about. Hopefully, this list made you as excited as we are about all the new products coming to store soon! Drop by any London Drugs location and speak to an LDExpert today, or visit our website to find the latest and greatest tech. What new tech products have you most excited this fall? Let us know in the comments below.

 

13 Back to School Problems SOLVED

The new school year is now underway, and if you’re struggling to fully adjust, you’re not alone. It can be a stressful and busy time of year. To help ease into things this September, here are 13 tips to solve common issues you might be experiencing with the kids now back at school.

Problem #1

Tough Mornings: The days are getting shorter, so the mornings will be getting darker.

Solution: Wake up ready to take on the school run with the Philips Wakeup Somneo Light. It will wake you gently with a simulated sunrise that’s clinically proven to help you feel more rested.

Problem #2

I don’t have enough computer storage space: Too many kids shows taking up valuable storage space and there’s not enough room on the computer’s hard drive for their study projects.

Solution: A good external hard drive is the answer. Take a look at the Seagate Expansion Portable 8TB hard drive or the Transcend 4TB StoreJet and free up some of those valuable gigabytes.

Problem #3

Protecting your computer: The kids are a little less than delicate with their tech equipment.

Solution: The sturdy Asus C202SA Chromebook has been designed to withstand rough-and-tumble handling. It has a robust rubber-wrapped protective guard, it can survive a “drop test” from a height of 3.9 feet, and it can repel up to 66cc of liquid.

Problem #4

Too many bags, not enough hands: How can kids carry it all?

Solution: The Targus 17″ Voyager Laptop Backpack not only has a top-loading padded notebook section that can accommodate notebooks with up to 17” screens—it also has a large front cooler compartment for convenient food storage.

 

Problem #5

I don’t know anything about tech: How am I supposed to know what to buy?

Solution: London Drugs’ friendly tech experts are available in store to discuss technology needs for students. Ask them about laptops, portable memory devices, Bluetooth wireless headphones, software and accessories.

Problem #6

I don’t have time to shop: I’m too busy to go to the store.

Solution: Shop from the comfort of your home online at LondonDrugs.com and have your order ready for pickup in-store within two hours. London Drugs also offers free standard shipping on orders over $75.

Problem #7

Tired eyes: I worry about how long my kids are staring at screens.

Solution: The Asus 31.5inch Curved Monitor has a blue light filter that protects eyes from harmful blue light. It emits low blue light levels and is certified flicker-free. Add to that 25% sharper images and up to 77% more onscreen space – and you can see why this is the crème de la crème of monitors.

Problem #8

Restless kids: Are your kids bored of studying in their rooms?

Solution: Let them study on the go with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. Its fast processor and expandable memory provide an efficient platform for multitasking. It even comes with an S pen that never needs to be charged. Or choose an 11-inch Apple iPad Pro with its all-new, all-screen design to get the most from working on the go.

Problem #9

I don’t know what to do with old devices: How do I recycle?

Solution: Students upgrading electronic devices can recycle their old devices through London Drugs’ What’s the Green Deal? in-store comprehensive recycling program.

Problem #10

My house is noisy: The kids can’t focus on the podcast or play they need to listen to.

Solution: Treat their ears to some JVC Bluetooth Noise-Cancelling On-Ear Headphones. Bluetooth wireless technology lets them pair their smartphone or tablet for easy access to their saved playlists, while noise-cancelling technology helps block out all the noise fellow family members are making.

Problem #11

My kid’s workspace is boring: How can I brighten up their study area?

Solution: Great for homework, to-do lists and doodling, the Quartet Glass Desktop Dry-Erase Pad is fun and functional. This frameless desktop pad adds a convenient feature to any workspace and doesn’t stain, scratch or dent.

Problem #12

Busy lives: Trying to fit in time for family fun.

Solution: Try these cool retro Arcade 1Up Games, fun for almost any age. Relive the glory days of arcade gaming in the comfort of your own home with the family.

Problem #13

Back to school is expensive: And I don’t want to pay more than the other parents.

Solution: Keep costs low and get extra peace of mind with London Drugs’ price match guarantee.

Capture the Beauty of Fall with these Photography Tips

It’s hard to pick a favourite time of year for photography, but fall makes a pretty good case for the most photogenic season. Fall is the perfect time to explore your surroundings and experiment with your photography; the vibrant leaves and soft light create an opportunity for all kinds of beautiful landscape and portrait shots. To help spark your creativity, our LDExperts in the Photolab have some tips to share for capturing great photos of the fall foliage. Keep reading below to see them all!

Explore Your Location

When heading out shooting, take the time to explore your location and find the perfect subject. There might be a tree with glowing red leaves right around the corner from that one that only has half its leaves left. It also helps to do a little research when your planning your shoot – take a peek through local hashtags on Instagram to see where people have spotted some of the best and most colourful trees, or search out articles from the previous fall season which may indicate some good spots to check out.

Single vs Multiples

A single leaf vs. a pile of leaves. A single coloured tree alone in a field vs. a rolling hillside covered in vibrant leafy trees. Play with numbers and create drastically different images.

Use All Kinds of Subjects

Obviously, the fall season presents beautifully coloured trees. But fall produces much more photo opportunities than just the trees; fresh mushrooms in the forest, apple picking, pumpkin patches and corn mazes also make for great fall photos. A photo walk around your neighbourhood might unearth some seasonal photo inspiration. Or check out event listings in your area to see what other fall activities might present some fall-themed photo ops.

Shoot Rain or Shine

Don’t rule those rainy days out! Fall colours pop on overcast days. The moisture also lends itself nicely photography. Think of wet droplets on bright leaves. Imagine a bright red leaf floating in a puddle with a pretty reflection on the water surface. Overcast days might surprise you so don’t write them off. Instead, be excited about them! If it’s sunny, the early morning and late evening sun is ideal. It creates a warm glow and sidelight. If you’re shooting portraits, this may be the only light source you need!

Capture Fall in Action

If you’re shooting people, there is lots of action you can capture in the fall, from children playing in leaves, to a couple standing face to face with leaves falling around them (you’ll need someone out of frame to throw them in the air for that one!). The act of pumpkin picking or apple picking also lend well to action shots. For more subtle action, someone sipping steaming apple cider in a colourful park is simple but impactful.

Try New Vantage Points

Glowing leaves on a blue sky, shot from below can have beautiful colour contrast, but so can climbing a hill to get the overview of the valley covered in turning leaves. Play with your vantage point and consider what you want as an end result.

Tech Corner (Bonus Tips for the Advanced User)

Focus

Fall air can be crisp, and allows your eye and your camera to see further when compared to summer. If you’re shooting wide, stop your lens down to F16 and capture that depth of the image. Or, if you’re shooting people, open your lens up to F2.8 and have that pretty bokeh with coloured trees beautifully blurred in the background.

Equipment

Tripod and filters are key. Shooting with a tripod will allow you to shoot at slower exposures and lower ISO’s while shooting deep depth of field. Filters will allow you to add contrast and pull back the sky. If you’d like to learn more, pop by a London Drugs store and talk to an LDExpert today to find out how filters can help improve your fall photography.

Showcase Your Best Fall Shots

After all that attention and care you’ve taken to get the best possible fall photos, you’ll want to do them justice by showcasing them! To truly make the colour in those fall leaves pop, an aluminum metal panel is a great print surface for your images. The high-gloss finish will make them look sharp and vibrant. Our Photolab can even print them up to 40×60, for images that will give that ‘wow’ factor. Glossy prints and enlargements, as well as metallic prints, are also excellent choices for displaying your colourful fall photos.

Need some help picking the right print surface? Our LDExperts are always happy to help! Just visit us at your local London Drugs Photolab. If you already know exactly how you want to showcase your images, you can get started with your order online, or on your smartphone using our London Drugs Photolab App for iOS and Android.

 

 

The Cutest First Day of School Photos

If you’re like any parent, the first day of school for your kids is filled with emotions. You can’t believe how fast they’re growing, yet you beam with pride knowing they are about to embark on another school year. The latest back to school trend is snapping a photo to capture the moment and uploading it to social media with the hashtag #FirstDayOfSchool. It’s a fun way to share your those photos every school year and reminisce at the previous years before. We’ve rounded up 11 adorable photos of little ones ready to hit the books (or playgrounds!). Also, keep reading to learn how you can make the most of your kids’ My First Day Of School memories, with photo templates and prints from our London Drugs Photolab!

 

To mark these special milestones in you and your child’s life, why not get your #FirstDayofSchool photos printed? Our Photolab offers quality prints in different finishes such as glossy, pearl, bamboo, metallic and even canvas! Also, the print size options are nearly endless, starting at 4×4 for square prints to 8×12 for glossy to 40×60 for canvas. We can even turn those precious memories into fridge magnets!

Our Photolab also has My First Day Of School photo templates, so you can easily pop in a photo of your child and add their info in, like age, current likes, favourite subject, what they want to be when they grow up, and the date. Simply visit your local London Drugs Photolab, fill out the order form with the info above, and submit it to our LDExperts with your chosen photo. We can print you as many 8×10’s as you like!

 

6 Photography Tips for Capturing Great First Day of School Photos

Back to school can be many things: emotional, stressful, hectic, exciting or all of the above. Most importantly though, it should be memorable. Capturing the memories of your little ones heading off on their first day of kindergarten, or their first day of the new school year can be a fun annual tradition. We’ve put together some tips on how to capture the day, so your photos pop, and the memories live on.

1. Do Some Planning

Planning your back to school photos is the first step. It might seem like you can just capture what you see on the day, but a quick 5 minute plan will help ensure you capture everything you’re hoping to, and won’t look back on your photos wishing you had remembered a key shot. It can be as simple as a shot list of must-have photos, or as complex as getting props, coordinating colours and upgrading your camera equipment. If you’d like to go all in, you can even have a custom lunch box kit made by our London Drugs Photolab with a photo of the family pet, or a shot from your summer vacation and incorporate that into your first day of school shoot! The plan all comes down to what your goal is, and what time you have available.

2. Pick Your Background Wisely

Do you ever wonder why certain photos just pop so much more than others? A very simple way to improve the overall aesthetic of your back to school images is to be very conscientious of the background. There are a couple key components to this: distance, technical settings, and content.

Compare the two images above. Notice how in the doorway (image left), separation between the subject and the background is lost, whereas when shooting with more distance between the child and home (image right), it creates a nice clean separation.

Another element of backgrounds is clean walls. It could be a colourful wall, a fence, or even the side of the house. A clean clutter-free background will let your little one pop as the subject and remove all the visual distractions in the image.

Lastly if you want to put a little more planning in, or are dropping them off at school, think about incorporating the school into the background, or the bus rounding the corner. This idea would require a little more thought and timing, but can lead to pictures that have that added storytelling element.

3. Shoot at Their Eye Level

 

Get down on a knee so you’re aiming the camera straight at your child, instead of aiming the camera down on them. This will play into that background point above, and will make your horizon line seem more natural vs when shooting from your eye level. This is a technical point many photographers overlook, but will really help make the image pop. Compare the vantage point in the two images above, and how they impact the image. Notice how when shot at their eye level (image right), the image has more depth, and pulls the viewer in?

Now that we have our background all sorted, let’s dive into the most important part of the image: your child!

4. Have Fun with Props and Outfits

This is where you can let your creativity shine. What would you like to incorporate into the image? Your imagination is the only limit here. Some parents have an adult-size “Grad 20XX” t-shirt made. They photograph the child in it every year until they finally fit into it, creating a very fun growth visual year over year.

Others make chalk boards with stats like: age, grade, teacher, school. This can be done by writing directly on the board, or by adding it using an editing program afterwards.

Our Photolab also offers My First Day Of School photo templates, so you can easily pop in a photo of your child and add their info in, like age, current likes, favourite subject, what they want to be when they grow up, and the date. Simply visit your local London Drugs Photolab, fill out the order form with the info above, and submit it to our LDExperts with your chosen photo. We can print you as many 8×10’s as you like!

Another fun idea is to print out last year’s photo as an 8×10 print, and have your child hold it up.  As the years go on, the image slowly gains depth as each year, if you look closely, you can see the previous year’s photo continually disappearing like opposing mirrors.

5. Shoot More Not Less

It’s better to shoot a wide variety of images so you have lots to choose from, rather than not shooting enough and later wishing you had taken more. And if you happen to love all of your first day of school shots, you can print a back to school photo book showcasing a whole bunch of them! Another fun idea is to create custom photo gifts for family. And, if you pop into your local London Drugs Photolab, ask about the Take and Create options for custom children art items! You can have them draw their first day of school using our Take and Create booklets, and then our Photolab can print those drawings on a mug, magnets or even coasters for the grandparents!

6. Shoot with Shallow Depth of Field (Bonus Tip for Advanced Users)

If you’re using a smartphone camera, portrait mode replicates the shallow depth of field effect. If you’re using a mirrorless or DSLR and aren’t too familiar with the manual settings, use aperture priority mode.

In aperture priority, use the smallest F stop number available on your lens (usually somewhere between F1.8-F4). This will let the camera calculate everything else and you can focus on your shot. This is what creates that beautiful blurred background and even more levels of separation. The image above shows the aperture blades at different F stops. The more open, the shallower the depth of field is.

 

Hopefully these tips inspire you to have some fun with your camera this back to school season, and create memories you and your children can cherish forever. Remember to print your photos and remove them from the digital-only realm. Prints are great for framing, but you can also use these images in lots of other creative ways, like on a mug for grandma, or on next year’s family calendar (for the month of September, of course).  Or explore our LDPhotolab website for many more unique ways to share your child’s first day of school memories.

 

In the Field with the New Sony RX100-VII Camera

Sony has just dropped their RX100-VII compact point-and-shoot camera! Our LDExperts had the opportunity to take it into the field at the Richmond Sunflower Festival and put it to the test. Watch the video below to get a peek into the camera’s key features and see actual footage from the RX100-VII. Then keep reading below to find out what we think (and catch our exclusive video with Jin from Sony Canada at the bottom of this post)!

The Sony RX100-VII is the seventh iteration of Sony’s top-end point-and-shoot RX100 line. The newest incarnation brings many features of the A9 mirrorless into a compact pocketable camera. The all-new 20.1 MP, 1” stacked sensor can capture bursts at 20 frames per second, has incredible autofocus and can create 4K HDR video!

The impressive spec list of this camera doesn’t stop there. The most notable performance upgrades come in the video features. Sony decided to include an integrated 3.5” microphone jack, and continuous autofocus with face, eye and object detection in video mode (including eye detect for animals). Combined, these features open this camera up to anyone looking to create high-quality video content with sound.

Equipped with a Zeiss 24-200mm F2.8-4.5 lens, this camera can achieve nice wide-angle shots for up-close action, with the telephoto abilities to get right in on the action from the sidelines. The burst mode of 20 frames per second with no blackout or dropped frames is lightning fast, and ensures you can capture those moments of high-speed action.

Having it out in the field at the sunflower festival, we spotted a hummingbird to put the camera’s quick focus and burst mode to the test. When we spotted it, we quickly pulled the camera out hoping to capture the shot. To our pleasant surprise, the camera powered up, and zoomed in in no time.  The autofocus instantly locked in on the hummingbird and the burst mode captured it beautifully. The quick response of the RX100-VII proved it as a capable pocket power machine.

These features also translate well for parents with active kids. The autofocus and burst mode combine to make sure you always capture your children in any activity they are participating in.

It’s also great for shooting in manual mode! For the more seasoned photographer, the camera’s manual controls allow full control over all settings, to really capture the shot you want. The front ring dial also allows for a custom experience by choosing what setting it controls.

Overall, our impression was how capable this camera was for such a small package. We strongly recommend it for anyone looking for a serious upgrade from their phone, but without diving into the interchangeable lens world.

Watch Jin from Sony Canada walking through even more camera feature highlights.

Pick up your Sony RX100-VII at London Drugs here!

World Photo Day: Tips for Exploring the World with Your Camera

When it comes to photography, the world really is our oyster. There are seemingly endless opportunities to capture scenic landscapes, stunning landmarks, and people from every walk of life. In celebration of World Photo Day, our LDExperts Robin Hoffman and Shidan Bartlett, both avid photographers, are sharing tips for photographing their favourite spots around the world and right at home. Keep reading below to learn their tricks of the trade, and be inspired for your next photography excursion!

Hawaii, USA with LDExpert Robin

Photo by Robin Hoffman

Like most things, travel photography takes planning and forethought.  I think that I love the “planning” part of our vacation as much as the actual travel.  To get photos that aren’t just snapshots you need to plan ahead and have the right gear.  I generally start researching a year or more in advance by searching out locations before travelling. This is the key to knowing what you want to see and photograph before you even arrive. I like to Google search images of the locations I am visiting so I can see different vantage points and what each looks like at different times of the day.  A great example of this was during my husband and my recent trip to Hawaii. I had many spots I wanted to photograph but didn’t know where the spots were or how to get there.  My solution was to book a private tour guide that specialized in photography.  The guide in Maui was particularly helpful because instead of worrying about driving on the Road to Hana we sat back and were able to concentrate on the scenery and photography instead.  A local will always know spots off the beaten path and, when someone else is driving, it gives you the opportunity to relax and enjoy yourself.

Photo by Robin Hoffman

Our guide took us deep into the Bamboo Forrest to shoot the waterfall photo you see above, on a hiking trail that I know I would not have found myself or that I wouldn’t have attempted without a guide. The trail was made more challenging after a hurricane the previous week but our guide helped us get to our location unscathed for the most part.

Packing for the location you are going to is equally important.  It is easy to get caught up in an “I will take everything just-in-case” scenario.  Remember that you will need to haul your bag around sometimes on long hikes so be mindful of weight.  It is easy to lose the patience needed to time a great shot if you’re tired from lugging around unnecessary gear.  It is equally important that you remember to take all the things that you don’t typically travel with as well. This is where pre-planning helps.

Again I make a list of everything that I think I “might” need as I am looking for my locations.  Once I am done deciding on the scenic gems I want to shoot, I can add and subtract equipment from the list.  A great example is that I rarely travel with a tripod as they add weight to my already over-packed suitcase (I am in no means a light traveller) but, for our trip to Hawaii, I knew it was a must.  I would need it for the many waterfall and long exposure shots I was planning for on the islands. I also knew that with shooting in midday sun I would need a 10-stop neutral density filter.  A wired shutter release was also necessary, so I could get those beautiful silky waterfalls or the glass-like water at sunset. Both of these shots required anywhere from 3-second to 2-minute exposures that would not be possible without the right equipment.

The settings to get shots like these will depend on time of day and what kind of filters you are using.  The waterfall photo above was a 3-second exposure at f/16 and a 100 ISO using a circular polarizing filter instead of a neutral density filter. Meanwhile, the sunset photo was taken after hiking out onto very sharp lava rocks and shooting 30-second to 2-minute exposures as the sun set. The key to long exposure is to take lots of photos using different settings until you find something that works for you.

Veracruz, Mexico with LDExpert Shidan

Photo by Shidan Bartlett

While travelling sometimes I only have my iPhone with me for quick captures, as my gear is in the hotel safe if going out late at night. The capture in front of ‘El Gran Cafe de la Parroquia’ was from Veracruz, Mexico. This was taken in a moving car with my iPhone! The exposure was 1/15 of a second, with the help of the iPhone’s stabilized lens, it turned out nice. The iPhone’s wide 28mm equivalent lens lets you capture the whole cafe. This cafe has been one of the most well known and historic in all of Mexico, established in 1808! I decided to use the VSCO app (available for iOS and Android) to convert it into monochrome. It is a street capture, seeing the people inside and the tradition of coffee, I loved framing the iconic sign in the photo.

Photo by Shidan Bartlett

Once inside, I again used the iPhone to capture the very beautiful Italian machines that must be several decades old. Remember to capture the details when you visit places, it gives more context to where you are, and allows you to tell detailed stories of where you were.

White Rock, Canada with LDExpert Shidan

Photo by Shidan Bartlett

Here is a local photo taken at dawn from the beach in White Rock, BC, of the famous White Rock Pier.  This was taken using my sturdy Manfrotto aluminum tripod amongst the rocks. The exposure was 2 seconds, aperture of f16 and ISO400.  The 2-second shutter slows the movement of the family of geese in the water in the right of this photo with a beautiful graceful movement. If I would have shot with a longer exposure, I would need to use an ND8 or ND64 filter; the geese wouldn’t appear in my photograph then, but the water would be extra smooth on the shoreline and under the pier. I chose the family of geese, as I feel it added something special to this photo.

Photo by Shidan Bartlett

The photo above is of a ‘Golden Hour’ sunset at Crescent Beach in Surrey, BC. Notice the low angle and leading lines of the pier. This photo was taken with a very small Manfrotto Pixi tripod to keep the angle super low while under the pier. The tripod was a couple of inches in the water, and maybe 6 inches above, so I could capture my foreground subject, the large rock. Use your camera’s self-timer or remote app from your camera manufacturer to release your shutter and avoid any further camera shake. I took several exposures with my circular polarizer filter to ensure I got the exposure and contrast I was envisioning for this photo. To soften the water to that silky smooth look and accentuate that beautiful setting sun and sky my favourite exposure was this one at 14 seconds long, the aperture was f16 and ISO200. Some HDR processing was also applied in post using the Snapseed app (available for iOS and Android) to bring out more dynamic range details in both the rock and barnacles.

Paris, France with LDExpert Robin

Photo by Robin Hoffman

Paris was at the very top of my bucket list for a very long time.  I wanted nothing more than to shoot photos of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral.  Again, these two locations required a great deal of planning before travelling.  First was finding a location that would actually be a great vantage point to see the Eiffel Tower itself.  After a great deal of research, we found that climbing to the top of the Arc de Triumph would give us an incredible spot to emphasize how imposing the tower was and how it dominated the city skyline.  After climbing many stairs to the top, I realized I forgot my circular polarizer at the hotel but did my best to cut thru the haze using HDR settings in my camera.  In some ways, I actually enjoyed my time at the top of the Arc de Triumph more than at the top of the Eiffel Tower and took many shots from its vantage points.  I do HIGHLY recommend shooting from this location and not forgetting your circular polarizer.

Photo by Robin Hoffman

Next it was on to the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral.  I feel so blessed to have had time in this stunning structure before it was damaged by fire.  I loved walking around inside and out. Some of the vantage points in the back courtyard where hardly any people gathered provided much cleaner shots of the great cathedral. Again, this was a location that required graduated neutral density filters or a circular polarizer to photograph properly.  As it was cloudy/rainy the whole time we were in Paris, both of the photos above were shot with f/stops of f/16 and ISO 400-800. I also recommend trying to shoot early in the morning or later in the evening as the light is better and there are fewer tourists around. The polarizers gave more contrast, particularly to the sky but also to the highly detailed structures.  Again, take your time and experiment with the manual and built-in settings in your camera.

Here is a shortlist of some of the equipment I find most helpful when travelling:

Most of all, have fun and remember you are on vacation!

Banff, Canada with LDExpert Shidan

Photo by  Shidan Bartlett

Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate while you travel and then suddenly it does! This is the Bow River at Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. There was a quick break of rain this day, and instead of continuing to explore the many quaint shops in Banff, I grabbed my Nikon DSLR and went for a walk to the river before the rain came back! A foreground subject really helps with your framing and composition.  Whether it is a canoe, a flower or something else, it gives a nice depth, and adds to your photograph – in this case contrasting colour! The canoe, in the shot above, was great by itself, but hearing the train coming really forced me to be more patient with my shot, instead of walking away to take a photo somewhere else. I waited and waited. I loved the colours of the train’s cargo cars with the canoe in the foreground. To get that beautiful river reflection, it helps that this was taken during the break in the rain, and even though it was very cloudy, it still was a beautiful and inspiring photographic memory. For this shot, I used an exposure of 1/200 second at f7 and ISO 200.

I also wanted to share with you a cool behind-the-scenes photo of the London Drugs Photolab at work printing some of my prints of this shot as 24×36 enlargements, and the process of making some photo books of my photography. These were all actually ordered with our London Drugs Photolab App!

Photo by Shidan Bartlett

Proudly Displaying Your Photos of the World

We all see the world in a unique way – and we capture it in unique ways too! When you’re printing your photos, it’s important to choose a print surface that suits – or even enhances – your unique image. A vibrant shot like Robin’s waterfall photo in Hawaii would look even more stunning on an aluminum metal panel, which would bring out the bright lush green hues. Meanwhile, Shidan’s black and white photo of the Gran Cafe in Mexico would look phenomenal on a textured bamboo or canvas print. In honour of World Photo Day, why not pick your own favourite photo of the world to print today?

Taken photos on your travels using your smartphone? LDExpert Shidan knows the easiest way to showcase them:

As an LDExpert I love to recommend our London Drugs Photolab app (available on iOS and Android) to print all of life’s moments you cherish and even create your own stellar wall prints as well as fabulous photo books from not only your DSLR or Mirrorless cameras but also from our smartphones. Smartphones today take phenomenally better photos than they did in 2009. Sensor, lens technology, and the advent of computational photography, have seriously advanced the quality of everyone’s photography, but my iPhone won’t replace my Fujifilm mirrorless camera or my Nikon DSLR anytime soon! However, like Seattle-based photographer and social artist Chase Jarvis says, sometimes “the best camera is the one that’s with you”. I like to think of my iPhone as complementary to my cameras, and I must say, it is the must-have accessory to use, WITH your camera!

 

About LDExpert Robin Hoffman

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” ~ Saint Augustine

Let me introduce myself, my name is Robin and I am a Photo/Electronics and Mobile Specialist for London Drugs in Kelowna, BC. My love of photography has been a part of me my whole life starting when I was little girl.  I would get film with my allowance so I could take photos with my Diana toy camera. My photography has come a long way since that toy camera and has evolved into shooting with a Sony A7R Mark III.  While I have worked part-time with London Drugs for the past 14 years, my passion lies with photography and travel. As wonderful of a company as London Drugs is to work for, if I am being honest, I work to be able to buy more camera gear and to take at least one bucket-list worthy trip per year.

Follower Robin on Twitter: @ScrapgoddessBC

 

 

About LDExpert Shidan Bartlett

Hello, my name is Shidan Bartlett, a Photo Electronics and Audio Video Department Manager in our Richmond No.3 Road location. I have been a Photography Expert with London Drugs for over 23 years! I am also a local photography instructor and workshop facilitator. Photography has been my passion since I was given my first camera, a Nikon Nikkormat, when I was 18 years old. All the camera gear out there today (and yesterday!) take fantastic photos! You need to be inspired to go out and be creative, take a moment to plan and make those great photos! Share your photos and print your photos. To quote Chase Jarvis, “the best camera is the one that’s with you”; don’t be afraid to not only shoot with your iPhone or smartphone, but to also use it as another tool, and accessory to compliment your camera equipment! Check www.londondrugs.com for London Drugs photographic learning events and photowalks in your area.

Follow Shidan on Instagram: @ShidanBartlett

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