July 4th Fireworks Photos! A Simple Guide to Cool Images

(This is a previously published article, but the fireworks haven’t changed, so it should all still hold true.)

Living in A Powder Keg and Giving Off Sparks!

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What is it about fireworks that draws us close, cause us to emit uncontrollable ooohs and ahhhhs, and brings a group experience unlike any other? That shared , almost primal feeling of amazement at seeing those colored explosives, bursting in air, and the crescendo of the finale, is an experience like no other.

Here are some tips on creating your own iconic images. And some more. Here too.

Want the basics?

1. Shoot with a tripod
2. No Flash
3. ISO 100 is sufficient
4. Photograph peoples reactions too. You may want to get those ooohhs and ahhhhsss on record. Mass happy reactions! Remember-no flash!
5. Experiment with focal lengths for a new look at the same patterns.
6. Set your focus to infinity
7. Shutter speed should be set to “bulb” or shoot 1-4 secs. Experiment!
OR
Set your point and shoot to “Fireworks” and shoot away. You may not get the best , but you’ll have a memory.

And have a happy and safe 4th!
For all of our friends around the world, keep these tips handy for your country’s celebrations.
Hmmmm…maybe July 14th for our French photographers.

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CE WEEK – A Fast Look at Some Cool New Tech

It’s the halfway mark to CES in Las Vegas, and CE WEEK has come to NYC.
What that means is that a lot of new tech that may be useful for you as a photog, or just tech for your life is getting shown off. Haven’t put into a real world review situation yet, but looks good at first gut reaction.

Here is a quick look at what caught my eye:

The folks at Leef design showed off a flash drive with 16g to 256 gb for your smartphone, giving you tons more storage in your hand.
The cool factor with the iBridge is the design. With a gently curved form, one plugged into your phone, it sits in the natural nook of your palm. Store your media here and use the sweet app it comes with:
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Then, the good folks at Olloclip iPhone lenses (always in my bag)have an action set with a wide angle and telephoto on one mount, PLUS a case to take care of that ” take off,put on case” issue.
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Next up, iRig, who has been a good friend to the musician forever introduced a studio quality mic at a under $200, price point. Connect direct into your iPad, iPhone using their mic room app. AND you can monintor using the headphone jack in the back of the mic.
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They also introduced their mini tripod, iPhone holder (selfie stick if you must) for a compact holder system.
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And if you want to add you own favorite mic, including XLR units, they make a compact pre-amp that’ll take that and even a 1/4 in. plug-in.
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I’m about to work with the handheld digital mic that plus directly into my iPhone for easy walk-around interviews.
Review to come.

OK, I’ve been holding off getting a pen that reads my writing, sends it to my phone, laptop, iPad, is searchable, etc. while, this is the important point: is comfortable in my HAND. I think I’ve found it: the Neo smartpen N2
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MyCharge HubUltra has a mega battery, 12000mAh, in a small package. With built in cables, you need this for the long hauls.
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We must all be dropping our phones, because I saw a bunch of clip systems for your holding security.
One of the easiest to use was the FlyGrip, which attached by 3m Mounting glue to whatever case you like.
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In the audio area, these bluetooth earbuds from JLab,look promising with enough ways to customize a fit, to make it comfortable for you. About time!
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Is the age of douchebaggery over via wearing earpieces for your phone? This company, Clip&Talk is banking on it with a new device that has a spring clip to keep the device at hand, a swing arm to charge, and a micro-sd card holder. Coming soon is a health tech version. We do take all of out temps via the ear, so this device give you some solid info via their app. Health version coming in a few months.
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And if you watch Amy Schumer, they had a skit on her last show that used this next product, Ripples, or something like it: A machine that puts cool designs on your coffee. More of a barrista’s dream, but a funny bit of tech to see.
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And of course one of my fave frames, the Padcaster, got an interview. You’ve seen it used in an Apple commercial so it may look familiar.
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That was the first blush, and I may have forgotten some things but I’ll add them shortly

Real World Review: Nikon D750 – A Lot To Love In A Smaller Package

First of all, I’d like to say that Nikon has totally gotten the Wi-Fi right! The Nikon D750 works like crazy.
After shooting for the day at the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island, I was transferring the photos to my phone while on the subway and posting to social media, immediately.
Right until the subway went underground.
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Just had to open with that as I’m very excited about that feature. (yes, used a bit of Instagram filtration)

Ok, let’s get down to rest of the real world review.
The Nikon D750 has become the choice for photographers everywhere with good reason.
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Smaller form factor than the D810, outstanding auto-focus choices, (I go for the c with a single) and a ton more.

The auto-focus was super fast and dead on. The choices of the grouping of focus points was a fun exercise till I found the right one. Went with a group of 4.
The range of the focus points, while still at 51,like the D810, had a smaller overall coverage on the whole versus the D810.

The new deeper grip,smaller size, and weight made the D750 a very comfortable camera for a day’s walkabout. Felt the difference from the D810 immediately. I have been going with a wrist grip from Cotton Carrier for the street shooting. Always in the hand, and always ready. The lighter weight and smaller footprint help that comfort factor.

Another added feature is the U1 and U2 choices for setting your customized settings depending on the situation. Easy to get to and very handy in a rush.

Some photogs have even been posting their settings for landscapes and portraits for you to emulate, but it’ll tag the images with their metadata if you go that way.

Find you own way on this front. Experiment and customize to your specific needs.

Another asked for and answered feature is the variable angle LCD.
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get all artsy and shoot the ground.
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Finally! The real deal vari-angle LCD on a full frame Nikon camera. Great addition for the street photography side as well. My favorite use is shooting above a crowd, in what call the Hail Mary shot.

The megapixel wars rages on, but this unit sits at a very comfortable 24mp. That is your first difference with the D810. 36mp vs. 24mp. What you need, depends on what you shoot. Are you in the studio? Landscapes? Still lifes? More MP is always good, but you’ll pay and extra $1000. for that. Maybe use that money towards good glass.

Here is a shot right out of the camera. No post.
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And a blowup from that frame:
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Photo details:
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The 24MP could be all you are looking for.

The advantage of the Nikon system is also the legacy of the developed tech.
You will get an outstanding video camera in the d750, and many of the same features in the D810 are present.

Like the D810, the D750 can output uncompressed video to an external recorder and simultaneously record compressed video to one of the SD cards. The camera has built in stereo microphones but also features a 3.5mm jack for an external microphone or headphone. I’m a fan of the flat pass ( kinda like video RAW)
Remember, you’ll have to get you post production chops honed if you want to use the flat pass, which need to be color corrected to the best advantage. A skill you can learn that will give you a better image, in my eyes. Or go with the color from the camera, which is still awesome.

And another word about the Wi-Fi: no more Nikon dongles!
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The app worked flawlessly, and the connection from the camera to my iPhone was fast. I was able to review over 1000 images pretty quick and post appropriately. Admittedly, it was Instagram and Facebook, but that what we do.
And not a clunky proprietary site that made a transfer hard. They smoothed out the rough edges. As you can see, it loaded the JPGs and NEFs. I always shoot both, so I can post a smaller file fast. Last year, The Guardian in the UK contacted me 10 minutes after I posted an Instagram shot asking to use it, with credit. Heck yeah!

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2 SD card slots, so the death of the CF card seems all but assured in the consumer world.

You do get some scene choices and I’m always a fan of the “miniature” selection but it works best from a rooftop, or anywhere you can back off enough to have a spatial differential.
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A strange choice on the inputs was to go with USB 2 instead of USB 3, or another faster transfer technology.
Yes, there is a mic input, and yes, just use it as a guide track for your real external mic.Of, course a headphone jack.

So……
*24 MP
*Smaller body
*Full Frame
*Variable angle LCD
*Built in Wi-Fi
*Shutter life of 150,000 actuations
*6.5fps (15 RAW at this speed)

Other features include Zebra patterning to indicate overexposed highlights on the screen when shooting video, but I wish it had Zebra focusing, OK,maybe in a software upgrade.

It is a perfect upgrade from a D700, and $1000 less expensive than a D810.

You will use this camera for a good long time. Pick up the Nikon D750 at BH with a whole bunch of extras thrown in, for about $2000 USD.

Miggo Agua : Serves and Protects With A New Take On Camera Carrying Bags

New York City has changed the way I carry my gear. And the gear I carry.
When I was in LA, carrying a heavy bag and tossing it into a car on the way to a new destination, was no big deal.
In NYC, the gear is with me for the long haul. All dang day.
The beauty of the streets here also demands that I have a nice, small, discreet camera, ready at all times.
So there is the full frame DSLR, with glass in a backpack, and a smaller street camera stashed in that bag?
No, I want to have that smaller camera ready at hand.
And I don’t want to depend on my smartphone. I like RAW.
Let’s talk about how that happens.
The folks at Miggo came up with a great solution so while using my backpack, my camera is always at hand.
They have designed 3 bags that protect your gear, while keeping it at the ready. The Agua

https://vimeo.com/126576492
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Using the smallest version, I keep a Fuji 100T at my side, by my hand. With the backpack on, I add the incredibly light diagonal strap bag to the setup. Did you notice that the flat bottom lets the bag sit upright on a table? Cool, right?
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ThinkTank Photo Offers You A Little Freebie

FREE CAMERA STRAP OFFER!

Our friends at Think Tank Photo just announced a special “Gear Up For Summer!” special offer. Buy one of their highly acclaimed backpacks and they’ll include a Blue Camera Strap V2.0 and Camera Support Straps V2.0 (a $44.50 value) for free!

Take a load off your neck, shoulders, and back by using Camera Support Straps V2.0 along with the Camera Strap V2.0. These straps keep your camera’s weight off your neck and shoulders and transfer the load onto your backpack’s shoulder straps and waist belt. You’ll hardly notice your camera is there even though it will be ready to go for hassle-free shooting.
Blue Camera Strap and Support Kit
Think Tank’s backpacks are renowned for three design principles:
· Capacity — Their backpacks are the most efficient shape for carrying the most amount of gear in the smallest package. They’ve got you covered whether you’re hauling around multiple bodies with a vast array of lenses and support gear (like a laptop and tablet), large telephoto lenses or a lightweight, stripped down kit.
· Portability — Flying with your gear? All of their backpacks are sized for US Domestic and International carry-on on regular sized airliners. They’ve got bags for commuter and regional aircraft, too.
· Quality — Lesser bags use inferior hardware, materials and manufacturing techniques. Professionals choose Think Tank Photo because they know they only use the best YKK zippers and other high quality materials. They know you can’t afford to have a broken bag while on a trek.

And don’t forget that by using my link you receive a Think Tank product free with your order, free shipping, and the best customer service in the industry. Offer valid through May 31, 2014.