Focus & Filter : Great Deal to Step Up Your Photography – Under $15!

You have the new camera, and have figured out that the upgrade in your photographs is massive. How do you take the next steps? Want to crush it in the photo contests, and social media? Or maybe you just want to be the master of your photo domain?
The camera manual has some good info, now it’s time to expand the horizons.
Andrew Darlow, photo book writer, has come out with a new tome which is geared to the intermediate and advanced photographer titled : “Focus & Filter, Professional techniques for Mastering Photography and capturing the Perfect Shot”

Almost 200 pages, with 50 assignments you can try after walking through the lessons, to prove the technique. Worth $15? Continue Reading »

Nikon Starts the Summer Going Wet & Wide

It’s official! Summertime has begun.
Nikon has introduced an update to their excellent outdoor camera, newly named COOLPIX W300.

It’s waterproof, shockproof, dustproof. Oh yeah, and freeze proof for your wintry excursions.
16 megapixels, and 4K UHD video.
With Wi-Fi, it’s a pretty easy share to your phone, via an app, and posting all over the dang place.
Basically, when you don’t want to put your smart phone in danger, and the go-pro menus still infuriate you, this is their perfect catchall, do everything you need camera, in a nice small package.
Continue Reading »

Maybe The Best Photojournalist Traveling Bag!

I’m definitely a problem v. solution person. Need starts the search for the right gear solution.
And like many of us (all of us?) have a plethora of camera bags. the most fickle of gear options.
So, when my well planned flight from an event, went awry and I couldn’t put my ThinkTank Airport International in the overhead, and had to give it to the Flight Attendants who assured me that the bag would be in the hold and awaiting me at the gate. It wasn’t, then did, but that is another story.
Point being that the experience made me change things up. I needed a hard case, just in case I have to check my camera bag.
First solution was a Pelican 1510, with Trek Pak dividers, and then a ThinkTank backpack in my luggage, empty, then transfer once I got to a hotel/location. A bit funky, but it worked.
After 4 travelling shoots, I am ready to share this perfect solution from SKB.
They combined a great hard case, with a ThinkTank backpack, designed to fit perfectly inside the case!
Now, this is what it looks like:

I have packed it with a few different configurations-A mirrorless system with 2 bodies, and a plethora of lenses,& another with a mirrorless camera and a 4K video camera, broadcast handheld mic, lav, mic, etc. (this photo is just a sample image from SKB. Mine is all covered in stickers from events and cities)

It all depends on what the event will be.
An extra added beauty to this rig, is that there is enough space around the bag to add my many, many, many, lithium batteries. Seems we should be carrying them in the cabin now, and not checked. Thanks, exploding hoverboards and Samsung phones! I do keep them in mesh Muji bags so they are not flopping around. these have 2 compartments so I put used, and fresh batts in appropriate sides.

Plus, I always put a few TSA approved locks in that space, in case I do have to check the bag
The SKB outer case has a red button for raising and lowering the external handle, and is nicely places on one side of the top of the handle. This way you won’t accidentally lower it as you are rolling in with your hand in the middle of the grip.

The combination of a hard, waterproof case, with a ThinkTank quality backpack, has been a perfect combo.
Yes, the size is the same as a Pelican 1510, so you know what will fit.
Diving into the backpack a bit, you have a the adjustable dividers, and zippered see though compartments on the lid.

You can add a laptop or table to the outside, and the compartments for cards, easy to reach cables, pens, etc, are right where you need them.
One things.
There is a side pocket that I add a Gitzo traveler tripod into, secured by ThinkTank straps from some other bags. The tripod does get packed into my luggage. I could put a monopod with a ball head into the case, but I packed that into luggage as well.

What’s the downside? The only design flaw I saw was a zipper on the bag that had a tendency to catch on the weather resistance zipper cover. They are looking into that.

So. will it work with DSLR rigs? Of course it will! 2 bodies, the holy trinity of lenses (15-25, 24-70, 70-200 all f/2.8) tighter and heavier.

Cost is about $290 .Definite recco for purchase!
Yes, I have added another bag with some extra gear onto the handle. Full transparency, I brought my Nikon DSLR and lenses in addition to the mirrorless rig, to SXSW, in the additional bag. Yep, was still not sure the mirrorless could handle the speed of shooting live music.
And if you order via this link, you will get a bonus gift!

OK, here is what mine actually looks like, with the 4K Canon video cam, and Fuji X-T2 in there:

Nikon Gets Ready to Intro New D7500 DSLR : Legacy Tech, Lighter Weight


You’ve been looking for that upgrade from the phone, and not sure if mirrorless is the way you want to go?
Nikon is bringing out a new DX format DSLR this summer, that could make your wallet smile.
With an incredible range of ISO 100 up to 1.64 million (yep, that’s right), your low light concerns may go away. Now with any camera using that high of a range, the files get a bit “grainy”, shall we say.
The bigger news for me is the eliminated low pass filter, so you’ll now get better clarity, and sharpness. It seems to be the trend as companies are realizing that the possibility of moire happening on your photos, is way less of a worry, then better looking files. Good call/
And for the families looking to capture the families extracurricular activities, sports, fast-moving kid, you can shoot a burst of 8 frames a sec, with a 50 RAW shot buffer.
Spray and pray with confidence on this affordable unit.
Articulated LCD, touchscreen controls, and lighter weight than the D500 (16% lighter), and all of the legacy tech that was developed and perfected with the D5 and D500, this is one for serious consideration.


Oh yes, the 4K UHD can be saved UNCOMPRESSED via HDMI to an outboard hard drive.
But all of that is probably not for the enthusiast, unless you are full on conversant in video. You can just save videos to the media card!
With stabilization, zebra focusing help, and the ability to save files as MOV or MP4, you just saved the need for a separate video camera on vacation!

A bit more than entry level, but with all the bells an whistles you would ask for, at a great price and Nikon build quality, could be the enthusiasts go-to. You;’ll have to wait till the summer to see it in your hands, though. A little pre-news.

And now, the official word: Continue Reading »

Real World Review – Tether Tools Case Relay – Long Term UNINTERRUPTED Power!

What photo problems makes you dive down the rabbit hole of possible solutions?
How many times have you late night googled a range of terms to find the right answer to a specific problem?
Too many times to count, for me.
One of the recent trips down the information highway was road mapped by a constant issue: Portable, uninterrupted power.
You know that you have many, many batteries for each of your devices: cameras, speedlights, smartphones, tablets, etc.
And all of the chargers needed to keep them topped off. A basket full, right? Ok, we all need a lot of power.
Specifically, I was on the hunt for a system that allowed me to do an overnight time-lapse. The trick was having enough power to keep the camera on during the process!
Without interruption.
Sure, you can switch out batteries, but you’ll have a glitch in your sequence.
After a ton of research, I found the most cost-effective, and portable solution:

The Case Relay System from Tether Tools.

It’s a simple concept-a dummy battery inserted into your camera, leading to a unit that, not only prevents any electrical overcharge but also has a battery enclosed, and a connector to another higher capacity battery.
Even if you need to change the large battery, the internal battery keeps the shooting going as you change batts.
This is especially critical in video productions.

They make battery adaptors for most of the cameras out there. Personally, I use Nikon, Fuji, Sony (for Atomos+ Fotodiox FlapJack light), Canon video, and BlackMagic Pocket Cinema adaptors. I’ll tell ya, these cameras can all use a bigger battery. More so on the mirrorless and video cameras.

Not just for continuous on time lapse either. If you are running a photo booth, or covering a loooooong event, you need this system.
And a new item recently released, allows you to access a D-Tap battery, giving you double USB, outlet. No, it’s not USB 3.0, but you’re just looking for the power.

At a price of $100 for the main set-up, and a range of prices for the coupler (dummy batts) is from $30-$40.
You may want to either get into their velcro strapping system, or work out something on your own to hold the whole set-up while in use.

This system has become a permanent addition to my imaging tool kit, I have all of the adaptors for the cameras, and use a solid phone charger to power them.

This simple concept makes it a great product. Coupled with solid design, tech, and sweet price point.
It always comes down to problem/solution.

Continuing their goal of improving the tethered experience, they just came out with Case Air, which is the first camera controller to truly rival CamRanger. Plus smaller and cheaper.

Wireless tethering made easier.

I first became aware of TetherTools while searching for a proper table to add to a support for tethering my camera to laptop (another late night google hunt). They have the best solutions I’ve seen, plus the right add-ons to make the system complete.
Obviously, they are speaking with photographers and know the needs of the community.
Ye, I’m a fan. And great customer service as well.

Good people, making solid products.