Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Tripods according to TSA - Straight from D.C.

Gitzo Systematic Series 3 TripodThe rules and regulations about what items may not be carried into scheduled airlines' airplane cabins is definitive. TSA (Transportation Security Administration) lists items in their Prohibited Items List which are definitively banned.

It's to be expected TSA can't list everything which might be a good idea to prohibit. There are far too many items that travelers might take in their carry-ons, to think any group of people could possibly imagine them all or even most.

Unfortunately, when we try to use the list to evaluate if a questionable item would be permitted or prohibited, we find it's virtually impossible to use the list to predict what a TSA TSO (Transportation Safety Officer) will decide.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Intro to Night Photography: Cityscapes — Focus, Noise, Exposure, Effects

Belfry and Cloth Hall, Bruges, Belgium - Copyright © 2009 NSL Photography. All Rights Reserved.At night in a city, virtually any city, the scene before you changes dramatically. In some locations the architecture and spirit of the city is merely enhanced, shown with a different, though recognizable look.

In other locations, the city at night transforms into a new place, sometimes brighter and more adventurous, sometimes more alive and mysterious.

Either way, making images of cities at night can allow you to often capture a “new city” with a different life than it has during the day. Making photos at night has its own challenges, but it's still subject to the same set of constraints as daylight photography; aperture, shutter speed and light sensitivity. The difference is, these constraints often push you and your equipment “to the edge,” compared to photographing the same city during the day.

Last week I discussed night photography trade-offs and constraints, the potential of star trails at times, and the equipment needed to produce high quality night photography in cities.

This week we'll get down to the nitty-gritty of actually making our night cityscapes. We'll talk about focus, noise and camera settings

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Don't let passport hell ruin your vacation or kill your business trip

US PassportJon renewed his US passport about a decade ago and happily traveled with it across the globe. Last year, planning a great trip to France, with its myriad of travel photography opportunities, for the summer, six months away, he glanced at his passport to see it still had eleven months before it expired, so he put it away in his desk.

Three months before his trip, by chance, Jon learned his passport needed to be valid for at least six months when he entered France, and an additional three months beyond his planned departure back home. He immediately applied to renew his passport and got it in time. Had he not discovered his passport wouldn't pass French passport rules, his trip would have been over before it started. His lack of knowledge about passport regulations could have cost Jon several thousand dollars.

While US passports for adults are valid for ten years from their date of issue, the problem with trying to maximize one's ten year passport term is that many countries won't let you use your passport as it nears expiration.