Saturday, February 12, 2011

ZaZa Gallery Canvas Wrap Print Review

A few weeks back I was followed on twitter by a canvas photo printing company called ZaZa Gallery @ZaZaGallery in California. I followed them back, and checked out their website. I figured maybe I would try them eventually for a canvas print. They can also be found on Facebook. After about a week or so of following them, I noticed a promo they kept tweeting about getting a free print in exchange for a link to their site on the photographer's blog/website, and a review of the print once the photographer receives it. I tweeted back at them, and said I would like participate in their promo. They sent me back a gift certificate code, and I then ordered a print of a recent photograph I took of the Wood River in Exeter, RI. I ordered a 16X24 print with the cost of $78, and then shipping finished out the value of the gift certificate. Shipping cost was around $25. The details on the order of my print were a 16X24 gallery wrap print on a 3/4" stretcher bar. I selected no color correction or re-touching, as all of this is done in the post-processing of my work, so I kept from adding the extra cost to the print by not doing that. Just about all printing companies charge a fee for re-touching and color correction.

It took about a week for the print to arrive at my home. I live in Connecticut, and they are in California, and I selected standard Fed Ex ground for the shipping, so the shipping time was as I expected. I was excited to receive this print from ZaZa Gallery, as I have had many other prints made from Canvas on Demand and Bay Photo, both very reputable canvas printers, and I wanted to do a comparison. I am happy to report that the print quality of the ZaZa Gallery print was as excellent. It was easily as good as both CoD and Bay Photo. The print is sharp, the colors accurate, and looks just as it did on the screen of my computer after I was done post-processing. Keep in mind, it helps to start with a high quality digital file. If you send them a out of focus photo, or one shot with bad lighting, it won't look as good. One great thing that ZaZa does, is a full gallery wrap on a 3/4" stretcher bar.

The last time I ordered a 3/4" canvas from Bay Photo, they wouldn't do a full wrap on a 3/4" stretcher bar. They would only print out to the edge, then leave the wrap portion white, so you have to get floater frames to make them look right hanging on the wall. This is especially important if you have art hanging in a gallery like I do at Voila Gallery in Wickford, RI. By offering a full gallery wrap on a 3/4" bar, vice a 1-1/2" bar, it saves the photographer a bit of money in cost. That savings can be passed on to the buyer of the art, for the same quality of print. This is especially important in today's art market. People will only usually buy art when they have disposable money. If you can save the buyer a little money and still maintain the same high quality of printing, perhaps they will be more apt to buy the print.

Concerning the physical wrap on the stretcher bar, it is done well. The corners are tight, the canvas stretched correctly around the bar, and stapled every couple of inches on the back of the bar, so this print should last for a very long time based on the fact it is assembled well. The print quality should endure also, unless you were to hang the print in the path of direct sunlight, as any artwork that is, usually suffers.

If I had been paying for this print, and not receiving it as a promo, the price point would have come in below both Bay and Canvas on Demand. When you look at the quality of the print, this is an outstanding value. The differences in ZaZa, Bay Photo and Canvas on Demand are that with Bay, you have to get the 1-1/2 bar to do a full gallery wrap, which will cost more money. Also, Bay and CoD offer a dust cover on the reverse side of the print. While this isn't really a big deal, as the viewer doesn't see this portion of the print, it does give their canvas prints a bit more of a "finished" feel, but again this is a buyer preference. Also, CoD and Bay prints came with hanging hardware already attached in the case of Bay Photo's canvas (comes with a serrated hanging bracket). In the case of Canvas on Demand, they include wire, eyelets and a hook, that are easily attached with a Phillips screwdriver. I would like to see ZaZa do this in the future, as it allows the buyer to instantly hang the work, and costs little to include. I am fortunate in the fact I print and frame often enough that I have accumulated a considerable amount of hanging hardware in the form of hooks, eyelets and wire. It would be nice if they would offer the option of a dust cover, or paper covered back, as it also covers the staples up.

In the end, I think the canvas prints from ZaZa Gallery are a phenomenal value, and I highly recommend them to anyone thinking about having photographs printed on canvas. Printing on canvas looks great, clean, and is a bit different than the traditional paper print, matted and framed. The framing alone can add considerable cost to buying the artwork. The artwork, not the frame is what we're after. Right?
Awesomesauce!!!! It friggin works!!! My Pentax 16-50 f/2.8 lens failed completely for the third time this started about a week ago, focusing really slow, or not finding focus lock. I found this thread on Pentax Forums: about a week ago coincidentally, and put it in the back of my head in-case my fears were realized again....The first time the motor was replaced by Pentax, out of warranty, the second time it failed within 90 days of repair, so it was under warranty, then this morning it went while out shooting landscapes. Well I decided that had nothing really to lose this morning, since if I screwed it up, it was going to go in to Pentax anyway, so I would button it back up, and send it in. I am happy to report, after about 20 minutes of work (I am a Navy Sonar Technician, so I have a lot of electronic repair experience), via the DIY procedure, my 16-50 focuses again. Saves me $400, since it is not under warranty for the last repair anymore. Sweet.

The only things I would add to this DIY would be a bit better picture of the weatherseal position on the lens once it is replaced, or before it is taken haste caused me to not really pay attention, and the first time I put it back on, I had it upside down. Also, getting the 6 gold contacts to line up into the holes during the re-install can be tedious. Also, I would recommend the user of this procedure looks at the DOF scale on the lens while they are turning the SDM motor back and forth, as to not over-turn the motor/gearing. Un-attaching/re-attaching the spring for the apeture can be troublesome also. But if you get it on either with the spring hook up or down on the apeture hook, it will work either way, so take it where you can get it.

Below is the link to the procedure for the fix, it is pretty good, with decent photos, and descriptions.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Got a Shot up on

YEAAAH! This may not seem like a big deal to some, but I was checking my email this morning, and noticed that the photo of the day at was from ME!!! This is one of the largest shot of the day sites on the web, so it is some great exposure for me and my work. Some of the work that gets displayed there is from world famous photographers, like Marc Adamus, Will Burrard-Lucas, Ian Plant, Brett Cohen, and Stephen Oachs. The shot can be found here: - March 17th, 2010

If you have never been to Earthshots, check the place out and look at some of the work that has been posted there over the years. Some of the stuff there is from photographers linked off my blog, or my website. Enjoy.


Friday, March 12, 2010

What I've Been Up to the Last Six Months - Part 2

Hello again...I just wanted to finish part 2 of what I have been up to the last 6 months. Well on the last post, I left off heading into the Winter of 2009/10. It was kind of an odd winter here. We got missed on most of the snow storms that usually clobber New England. I snowed really bad only once this winter, and the rest of the snowfall was pretty benign. So in that time, I got a few things.

First we'll start at Stepstone Falls in West Greenwich, Rhode Island. You'll remember this falls from my last post, where I shot it in the fall. Well this time I was trying for something a little more intimate. So I framed these using a longer focal length to isolate the patterns in the ice near some of the cascades.

We'll move on to one of the weekend sunrise sessions that Ben Jacobsen and I went out on, to Sakonnet Point in Little Compton, Rhode Island. It seems like everytime we go here the sky either is clear, or all overcast. This morning looked like it had a lot of potential when we were setting up, but then the sky just lit up for a minute, then kind of flopped. So it was another strikeout at Sakonnet. Here are a couple from that morning. I did B&W on a lot of stuff here to salvage something from that morning. The thing about this place is it is the furthest away place you can drive to in Rhode Island. You actually have to go through Massachusetts to get to it in a reasonable amount of time in the morning.

By far the best sky I had all winter, and probably all year was this set from Beavertail State Park, in Jamestown, Rhode Island. It was a mostly cloudy afternoon, and I kept looking at the sky, and thinking, this is either going to be a flop, or an amazing sunset. So I told Katie I was going to go shoot, and went out. Glad I did. This will probably go down as one of the Top 5 sunsets of my life. Many people probably don't sit around counting sunsets or sunrises, but if you shoot them all the time, the good one's stick in your mind, and then you have the photographs as memories. So as the sun started to move towards the horizon, I started to think it was going to be a flop, then the sky just lit up, and it lasted for what seemed like forever. I took a lot of shots, and the great thing was I didn't have to do a lot post processing on these. The waves were up also which made for a good foreground.

The rest from this set can be found here:
Beavertail Lighthouse Set

One more morning session with the guys. We do this almost every weekend. You see the pattern yet?? Again we went to Beavertail State Park. I find myself shooting here a lot lately. The rock formations are really cool, and when the waves are up, it renders some really great seascapes, with a lot of interest.

More from this day can be found here:
Recent Work Page 4

And finally one more set from Watch Hill, Rhode Island. One of my favorite spots, especially for sunset, as East Beach faces Watch Hill, Lighthouse to the west, and is one of the few west facing spots in Rhode Island with a strong foreground and scene. Many time there are too many houses or stuff that ruins the scene. This was one of those nights when it all works out. Every shot had a histogram right in the center, the light was wonderful, the clouds were perfect, and the seas cooperated.

And the rest from this set can be found in here:

And in closing, I will be entering a Open Juried exhibition at the South County Art Association Gallery this weekend. It is for their annual Photography show. I am entering one of my favorite shots. Why is a favorite you may ask? I haven't been able to duplicate it, in all the times I have been there. I can never get the wave action the same, a comparable sky, or comparable light. So I guess it is a special and unique shot. Also I and the Naval Submarine School First Class Petty Officer Association are donating a print of this shot at a benefit dinner for Bryce Tarter. He is the son of my Division Officer. Bryce went missing after a party near Armstrong Atlantic University in Georgia on the 31st of January. The dinner is on the 20th of March at Subvets in Groton, CT. So if you are close, feel free to drop in, pay 8 dollars, eat some ziti, and buy tickets to some great things being raffled off, with the proceeds going to the Tarter Family in their search for Bryce.

The photo the FCPOA and I are donating, entitled Coming Storm. Printed at 16X24, on a "Float on Metal" mounting.

Also, you can find out more information about the search for Bryce Tarter here:
Bring Bryce Home
And they have a facebook page here:
Bring Bryce Home at Facebook

Thanks for reading, and keep checking back for new updates.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

What I've Been Up to for the Last Six Months - Part 1

Wow, been a busy 1, 2, 3... Whoops, six months since I posted. I guess I fell into the thing where someone starts a blog, posts once or twice, then forgets about it. So I will try to keep up on this now. Work, not the photographic kind either has been taking up a lot of time lately, and it doesn't seem to be getting any better. Well in that time I have had a few good chances to get out and shoot. Most of these have been sunrises, out with some of the photographers that are members over at New School Of Photography Forums
So what you see in this post will be a smattering of my work from the last 6 months. Some from all over New England.

My Mother-in-Law came out in late September, and along with her helping to paint Katie's and my bedroom, we took her up to Acadia National Park. Some of these shots are from the sunrise from the last morning up there, when I took Elaine, my Mother-in-Law up to the top of Cadillac Mountain, to watch sunrise from the first place in the United States to see sunrise everyday. Initially I wasn't too thrilled with that sunrise, as it was really foggy that morning, and obscured much of the view to the east.

I got a few other cool shots from that weekend. It was a mostly "meh" weekend as far as the weather goes, as it rained just about everyday, but we got to spend some time together, and Elaine, Katie, and Kaylin got to see one of America's National Parks. I had been there for the first time this last summer, and had maginally better weather. Maybe next year will be better for weather up there.

Along with a colorful fall in Acadia, I was able to get out with the creator of, and shoot in Arcadia State Park in Rhode Island, at a place called Stepstone Falls. The great things about Stepstone, is it is the only natural waterfall in Rhode Island, and it is only about 10 minutes from my house, so easy to get too, and there are a ton of good compositions there. Below is one. I used a longer shutter time here to get the streaks of the water through the shot. There are also a few other shots below it from other times I got there during Fall of 2009.

Stepstone Falls - Autumn 2009

Stepstone Falls - Autumn 2009

Ben, Eric (from NSOP) and I also got over to Ayers Gap in North Franklin, CT. Ayers is a small tract of land, owned by the Nature Conservancy. Basically about a mile long ravine, holding some of the best small waterfalls in the State of Connecticut.

I used an 8 second shutter time here to get the spin in the floating leaves. Really cool effect. The problem with it is using shutter speeds that long, can blow the highlights out in the waterfall itself, so you basically need to under-expose by about a 1/3 to a half a stop.

One more from Ayers - Autumn 2009

And one more great place this fall for me was Enders Falls, in East Granby, CT. I had been there before, and I got some of my best images from there, and it didn't dissapoint this time either.

Enders Falls - Autumn 2009

Enders Falls - Autumn 2009

Well at this point we moved into Winter, and I took a trip up to New Hampshire one late night to get a shot of Mt. Washington at sunrise. Well that plan didn't pan out, so I took that chance to shoot some waterfalls I had been meaning to get photos of. Sabbaday Falls was the first one. Conveniently right of the Kancamagus Highway, it is a hundred yard walk from the lot. Great waterfall, and you can get eye level with it due to the way it comes into the ravine it has cut out, and the "landings" the Park Service has setup for people to view it. You are literally 10-15 feet across from it where I took these:

Along with Sabbaday, I got up to Screw Auger Fall up in Grafton Notch, Maine. Very photogenic falls, and I was glad I got to shoot it.

In the interest of keeping you guys coming back, I will get part two of this post up at sometime this week. So stay tuned, I am going to start working this blog more. And I hope you enjoy what you see. The photos from this post can be found here:

Fall Color

Recent Work




Sunday, September 20, 2009

2009 Chief's Pinning Ceremony

Last Wednesday I photographed the 2009 NAVSUBSCOL Chief Petty Officer's Pinning Ceremony. This is the annual transition where selected First Class Petty Officers are made Navy Chief's. This is arguably the biggest rank transition in the US Military. There is a lot of tradition behind it all, part of it I don't know anything about as I am still a First Class, but hoping to change that some year in the near future, and go through the transition to Chief myself. So enjoy these photos of one of the most important transitions in the US Military.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ugh, I hope the highlights don't look as bad on the three shots from my last post as they do on my monitor here. I know they weren't blown on my processing monitor. I think it is compression from Smugmug. It does funny stuff sometimes.