Thursday, September 15, 2016

Does the perfect camera gear bag exist? Is it possible to design one?

Tardis Camera BagPermit me to remove the suspense before I even start. There's no such thing as a perfect camera gear bag.

I've been in the midst of a discussion for a couple of months about the perfect camera gear bag. Many photographers have two, three, four, perhaps more camera gear bags. For this article I counted mine. I have seven camera gear bags, plus Pelican cases for shipping or hauling gear for various special shoots.

The problem is, all bags have some strengths and weaknesses. Many bags are general purpose, while others are for specific uses.

There are shoulder bags, belt bags, belt systems, sling bags, roller bags, and backpacks to haul photo gear. I use a backpack when in transit, a smaller backpack hiking, when shooting wildlife images, a Dryzone backpack by Lowepro for rain, snow, rainforests or rafting and a modular belt system by Think Tank in cities. I have other bags for other purposes.

Each bag isn't quite suitable as a “perfect” multipurpose bag. Some are heavy, not protective enough in all conditions, a pain to carry all day, or scream “Steal me!” Some aren't large enough, for some shoots.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Eight tips to improve your travel photography

Eiffel Tower, Paris France - Copyright © 2009 NSL PhotographyStrictly speaking, “travel photography” could be defined as the documentation of an area's landscape, scope and sphere of activity, but I don't think that definition really tells the tale.

To photographers, travel photography involves telling the story of an area through photographs which speak about its physical landscape, its cities and towns, its outposts and their history, people, and culture, but there are more elements of travel photography.

Travel encompasses both the human-made and natural worlds. So, in addition to the human-made world, travel photography includes telling the story of the natural world and it's physical landscape, history, its denizens and their way of life.

There is still one more, often forgotten element of travel photography.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Photograph the July 4th fireworks well during your holiday vacation

4th of July, Philadelphia, PAIf you're traveling to America’s birthplace, Philadelphia, the only UNESCO World Heritage City in the United States, during the long Independence Day Holiday weekend, you're in for a great concert at the foot of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with more than a half million people in attendance, followed by one of the largest, most spectacular fireworks displays in the nation.

All over the U.S. on the evening of July 4, there will be fantastic fireworks displays in large cities and small towns, in every corner of the country.

Even though it's not particularly difficult to make great fireworks images, many have a real trouble with it. Problems come because making fireworks images takes thought and planning, and because many don't understand that while it's dark outside, fireworks are extremely bright, so very long exposures only wash out the photos. An exposure of just 2–4 seconds is all that's needed to capture the light, including the fireworks' tails.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

6 safety tips for travelers when viewing and photographing wildlife

Muskox at Renodde, Scoresby Sund, GreenlandIt's summer vacation season in the northern hemisphere. Travelers are visiting cities across North America, Europe, Central America and Asia. Vacationers are seeking travel to see nature in action while visiting national parks, rain forests and even underwater reefs.

Some vacationers are planning ecotours of fragile, generally pristine and relatively undisturbed natural areas.

Many are planning trips to see and photograph wildlife in their native habitat in hot spots like the Galapagos archipelago off Ecuador, South Africa’s Kruger National Park, the great parks of Tanzania and Kenya, as well as Svalbard and Greenland in the Arctic and Alaska's huge Denali National Park.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What is takes to make great garden photos when traveling

Garden of Eden Botanical Garden, Maui, HawaiiGarden tourism draws millions, across the world each year. Australia's National Botanic Gardens attract 400,000 visitors per year while Britain's gardens attract more than 16 million garden enthusiasts every year. In the U.S., Longwood Gardens, in the suburbs of Philadelphia, welcomes more than a million visitors each year.

Most every garden visitor can be seen documenting their visit with a cellphone, point and shoot camera, or DSLR. Some take their garden photography very seriously, using high end cameras, multiple lenses, tripods and other photography gear.

If you're interested in improving your garden photos, I've have some tips for you, about equipment, lighting, expanding and contracting your “field of view,” choosing when to shoot and three specific hints.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Zika and Lyme Disease are a problem for millions who spend this summer outdoors in the U.S.

2016 Map of U.S.A. of Range of Mosquitoes Transmitting Zika Virus and Ticks transmitting Lyme Disease
This summer, millions of Americans, and travelers in the U.S. will encounter the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes potentially carrying the Zika virus, along with varieties of the North American black-legged tick carrying Lyme Disease.

How wide-spread the transmission of Zika will become is unknown. This is the first summer since some cases of Zika have been reported in the U.S. On the other hand, the black-legged tick, otherwise known as the Deer Tick, has been transmitting Lyme Disease in the U.S. for many years.

Travelers, wildlife and travel photographers, hikers, campers, and others enjoying parks, wildlife refuges, forests, and other outdoor venues in the range of these disease transmitting insects in the U.S., as shown on the map above, will need to take precautions to avoid their bites to prevent contracting Zika and Lyme Disease.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Twelve P's of Wildlife Photography™

Harlequin Duck (Breeding Male)
Travel to see and and photograph wildlife is becoming one of the most desirable types of travel in the 21st century. Spotting an animal in the wild, then capturing it can be rewarding and exhilarating.

Wildlife photography is a genre many photographers aspire to do well. Unfortunately, many photographers out in the wild for the first time don't have great success. While they may have experience photographing animals in zoos, photographing animals in the wild is different and far more challenging.

To help achieve success in making great wildlife images, I've developed the “Twelve P's of Wildlife Photography™.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Google's Nik Collection of plug-ins now free

Nik Collection Logo, courtesy Google Inc.If you're an Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom user, or use another compatible photo editor, you might have know about Nik Software's plug-ins which enhance the capability of these powerful photo editors.
Nik plug-ins help photo editors turn digital color images into spectacular black-and-white photographs, combine photos into a magnificent HDR images, correct color and retouch images with ease, and sharpen images perfectly.

Beginning on March 24, 2016, Google made the full Nik Collection available as a free download for both Windows and Mac based computers.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Secrets of photographing birds in flight: Part II

Adult bald eagle at the Conowingo Dam Travel to destinations to view wildlife in their native habitats is getting more and more popular. Images of flying birds are among the most coveted photos for “wildlife travelers,” because making photographs of flying birds is both challenging and satisfying.

In Part I, I discussed my secrets for shooting birds in flight covering such issues as: location, lighting, exposure, photographer's clothing, best lenses, RAW vs. JPG and more. In Part II below, I discuss my secrets about composition, focus, handholding, and using tripods and monopods.