Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ned's ten favorite smartphone travel apps for 2014

TripIt! image courtesy of Concur Technologies, Inc.I've tested thousands of travel apps, some of which I've purchased myself, including general travel apps, and specific ones for airlines, trains, rental cars, etc., as well as for cities, countries, and travel destinations, such as national parks and historic sights.

Here are my top ten favorite general travel apps for 2014. I use all these apps personally in travel planning, and/or while away.

10. White Noise — ($1.99: iOS, Android Windows 8) Too much noise coming from outside your room, or even inside it, possibly from another room, a dripping faucet, or a roommate? White Noise can rescue you. The “white noise” it makes can help most travelers get to and stay asleep by blocking distractions. I use the built-in “air conditioner” sound. White Noise also has a built-in clock display which shows through the night, and you can setup alarms to wake you as needed.

New feature for the NSL "Travel" Photography Blog

Silver Explorer - AntarcticaThis blog has carried articles about important general photography issues, photography and the law, specifics of travel photography, the works of great photographers, using smartphones in photography, the digital darkroom, issues of government and photography, equipment, as well as general photography and travel photography advice.

Missing among these articles for travel photographers has been articles about travel itself.

Sometimes a pure travel article is just the right one for a travel photography blog. Travel photographers have the same needs and issues that any traveler has, so including articles in this blog about travel generally, which can help travel photographers with their personal needs while on the go, or while planning their journeys makes sense.

Starting this month the NSL Travel Photography Blog will include articles about general travel which will hopefully help photographers know more about the issues affecting their journeys, assist photographers in travel planning, and help photographers while on the go to help make their treks more enjoyable and productive.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Photographing trains...Stay off the Tracks!!!

Diesel locomotive, Amtrak's Auto TrainLately, I've heard from many travel photographers, amateurs and professions alike, looking to make images of railroads, their yards, tracks, passenger and freight cars, and locomotives.

Making photographs while on train tracks and in train yards is very dangerous and there is much cause to stay off railroad property, and their tracks:

It's illegal to be on or very near to railroad tracks for photography without the permission of the railroad which owns and/or uses the tracks. (Many railroads share tracks with other railroads. You need at least the permission of the tracks' owner.)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Nature photographers' clothing and gear color really matter!

Great Blue Heron, Copyright © 2012 NSL Photography, All Rights ReservedBirds typically have sharper vision, and significantly superior color vision than humans. Birds can see certain light frequencies, including ultraviolet, which are invisible to most humans.

Their superior eyesight can diminish the nature photographers’ ability to get closet to birds, desirable to help photographers make sharp, detailed images of these beautiful feathered animals.

Nature photography has five keys for success I call “Wildlife Photography's Five P's”: Preparation, Practice, Patience, Persistence, Propaedeutics.”™ This article concentrates on “propaedeutics,” learning connected with any art or science. The more we learn about wildlife as photographers the more successful we can be making wildlife images.

Learning about avian eye physiology helps bird photographers understand how bird’s superior vision affects the photographers’ ability to make great images of birds, thus aiding them in maximizing their bird photo opportunities.

Friday, July 4, 2014

It's US Independence Day: Time to celebrate and photograph spectacular fireworks

Fireworks at the Philadelphia Museum of ArtToday, in the United States we'll celebrate our nation's birth. In Philadelphia, America’s birthplace and it's first capital, that means the annual “Philly 4th of July Jam and Grand Finale Fireworks” held at the foot of the Philadelphia Museum of Art tonight, where more than a half million Philadelphians and visitors will enjoy one of the country's best Independence Day concerts. This year it will star The Roots, Ed Sheeran, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Hudson, Aloe Blacc, Ariana Grande and Vicci Martinez performing live, with actor and comedian Marlon Wayans serving as host, followed by one of the largest, most spectacular fireworks displays in the nation.

I'll be there. If you're there too, look for me south of the Art Museum.

This year I'm going to continue experimenting while photographing the fireworks. I'm going to use a variety of neutral density filters to enable me to use longer exposures, and capture more fireworks' bursts in my images. I'll be experimenting with neutral density filters which add 1, 2, or 3 f/stops to my exposure. I'll explain below what that means in terms of shutter times.

Monday, June 9, 2014

National Nature Photography Day at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

Female Baltimore Oriole with mulberry in its mouth, about to feed its young in the nest below, at the John Heinz National Wildlife RefugeSunday, June 15th is the ninth annual National Nature Photography Day. This day was designated by the North America Nature Photographers Association to promote the enjoyment of nature photography, and explain how photographs have been used to advance the cause of conservation and protect plants, wildlife, and landscapes locally and worldwide.

Many National Wildlife Refuges across the US will be celebrating this day with family programs.

I think it's especially auspicious that National Nature Photography Day is on Father's Day in the US. This is a great opportunity for fathers and their children to enjoy a day walking in the wild and making nature photographs together. Going out into a national or state park, wildlife preserve or wildlife refuge to experience nature “in the raw” can be a wonderful family activity at any time, but on Sunday's special day, it seems like a perfect time for dads (or moms) to introduce and build their children's interests in the outdoors, wildlife, the natural world, and photography.

I was invited by the US Fish and Wildlife Service's John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge to run a special National Nature Photography Day program at the Heinz Refuge. The program is free for all to attend.