Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Coping with electrical devices while traveling

Belkin Mini Surge Protector Dual USB ChargerThere's an issue which keeps coming up for international travelers. Years ago it wasn't like today, where everyone seems to be carrying equipment needing to be plugged in or charged to work.

Traveling abroad in the '60's through 80's, I only had to worry about having extra alkaline batteries, and if my hotel had a bathroom adapter for my electric razor.

Today, my list of travel and photography gear, needing an electrical outlet to work or get charged, seems to go on forever. My travel electrical needs, like so many travelers, is significant.

Just as most every country has its own language, and currency, and definitely its own culture, countries have their own electrical power specifications. Travel photographers, like any traveler, need to be aware of the electrical milieu of the countries they're visiting, so they are prepared for their stay.

Smartphone Apps for Photographers: iBird Explorer Pro

iBird Explorer ProOne of my photographic passions is wildlife photography, I've traveled to many locations in the world and the US to see and photograph wildlife. When home, you'll generally find me visiting the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge for a number of hours each week.

An important part of wildlife photography is properly identifying the wildlife you encounter, both flora and fauna. Sometimes, especially if you've not visited a location before, identification isn't easy. I'm often visiting wildlife locations with well studied wildlife enthusiasts, or wildlife experts, and they are very helpful in identifying wildlife, but sometimes I'm out alone and need some help.

I used to carry several books with me when out, bird guides, wildflower guides and butterfly guides, for example. These can get heavy, and sometimes you get so busy thumbing through their pages, you miss seeing and photographing some wildlife, because you're unaware they're in front of you.

Now I use a number of wildlife guides on my iPhone.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Protecting your lenses while traveling

The Eiffel Tower, Paris, FranceImmediately when purchasing it, most everyone considers protecting their camera for travel and home. Typically, everyone purchases a camera case or bag to haul it around. Some travelers purchase a camera strap with a steel cable in it to prevent slash and grab thefts.

The same travelers rarely think about protecting their SLR or DSLR lenses from being damaged, which when you think about it, makes little sense.

SLR and DSLR users generally own at least two lenses for their camera, and often have more. Looking at many vacationers' stable of lenses, I often see a wide angle zoom, a normal-telephoto zoom, and often a fast prime lens. Sometimes they also own a macro or telephoto lens.

If you add up the cost of the lenses, even when they own just two, they will equal or more likely exceed the value of their camera.

I was in Paris a few years ago. I went to the Eiffel Tower one evening to take night photos. The crowd at the tower was huge. After finishing we walked back to the Metro to return to our hotel along with many who had visited the Tower that evening. The neighborhood is filled with row homes having front steps with metal railings.

Along the way I was accidental pushed into one of those railings by the crowd. The front of my lens hit the railing. Despite the lens cap on the lens, the UV filter atop the lens was smashed.

And we thought the Florida law was bad?

Hay bales on the farmA while back I wrote about a proposed law in Florida which would make it a first-degree felony to photograph a farm without first obtaining written permission from the owner.

Wilton Simpson, a Florida farmer said the bill is needed to protect the property rights of farmers and the "intellectual property" involving farm operations. Simpson, also said the law would prevent people from posing as farmworkers so that they can secretly film agricultural operations.

Of course, Simpson couldn't name a single instance when that happened.

The originally proposed bill was so crazy, it even would have made it a first degree felony to photograph a farm from a public road, where the farmer enjoys no expectation of privacy whatsoever.