Our friends at Think Tank Photo just announced an exciting Black Friday special that actually starts now! With this special offer you get a $50 rebate on their renowned rolling camera bags. And, should you order a roller plus one of their popular Urban Disguise shoulder bags you are eligible to receive a $100 rebate! And, to top this off you’ll receive free shipping not only on these items but on all Think Tank Photo gear!
To partake of this special holiday offer simply click here and you’ll be directed to Think Tank’s roller page. There you will find a link you can click to download the rebate form. Really easy!
Think Tank’s rolling camera bags are renowned for being the best made, most innovative rollers available. Each comes with easily configurable inserts, innovative security measures, and Think Tank’s “No Rhetoric Warranty.” The rollers are sized so as to make it easier for you to roll your valuable photography gear onto airlines as carry on, as opposed to having to check it.
The new 58f1.4 AFS hit the desk yesterday and to say it’s impressive from the get go is an understatement! It’s a big sucker, feels great in the hands and looks sexy as hell on a body. It has a 72mm filter size with the whole lens being that diameter. It comes with a deep, scalloped shade just making the 58mm looks sexier. But what’s important is the image quality. I bounced around the house looking for subjects and I naturally turned the lens on my gorgeous wife, but she said she was having a bad hair day. So I can’t post those (I run into that a lot with my family). So then I turned the lens to the flowers, focusing on the
pistol stamen (I don’t do flowers) to show just how shallow the DoF is and the lens, sharp. Oh ya, it’s sharp! I’ve had the 50f1.4 AFS since it was introduced, use it a lot. It’s also a very sharp lens but is physically smaller (and costs less) than the 58mm. The knock I’ve had about the 50mm though is its focusing speed. The 58mm is a tad faster than the 50mm, but focusing speed is still not lightning fast. I have a lot of shooting to do this weekend which I’m lookin forward to. This is a schweeeeet lens!
The D610 is just a fun camera to use! And while fun is an important reason why we own our gear, there has to be that technical reason as well. It’s no secret I’m a huge fan on the D600 and the D610 is supposed to be the D600 with its issues resolved. Well, I’m of the opinion it’s a bit more than that. I have no insider info, just my experience shooting with the D610 this past week compared to my shooting with the D600 prior. It’s just a better experience with files just a tad sweeter. No, don’t have resolution charts or side by side comparisons, just the experience of looking at images giving me the belief the D610 does a tad better job of taking and producing images. Here’s a couple of examples that have me thinking this. This first one as it appears, is a sunset shot looking to the west with the sun below the horizon and the lights on in the hangar. I’m shooting with the 50f1.4AFS (being repl as of today with the 58f1.4AFS) and not having a tripod and being tired, raised the ISO to 800 and went click. Simple, clean results, just a tad nicer than the D600 (field smoke always makes for great colors!).
Went to the Houston Space Center and dragged the D610 around though I was shooting with the Coolpix A most of the time. Finally, at the end of the tour I pulled the D610 out and shot with it. I was looking for just a detail shot to zoom on in post to see what the D610 would deliver. Again, I was shooting at ISO 800 with the 18-35AFS handheld. You can see for yourself the 200% crop and what the D610 delivers. That’s simply a clean file with lots of detail.
I need the D610 for those times when I need to blend. The D4 is just not a “blend in” body but the D610 sure is! I have so much faith in it, I instantly put it to work on a project. At the end of the evening of the 40′s hangar party, after I’d taken the portraits, I was still looking for a way to get higher to shoot down on the festivities. That’s when I thought of “Betty’s Dream.” A couple of seconds later we were inside and through the hatch shooting. I took up the D610 / 18-35AFS and made the clicks real fast (I love the slightly faster FPS of the D610). I realize many would love to see the side by sides, charts and the rest but that’s just now how I go through a piece of gear. I take it in the field and use it where it will either fail or pass and in my book, the D610 more than passes. It delivers what I need to deliver to my clients and I feel it does it better than the D600.
And in case you can’t picture popping through the hatch of a B-25, here’s Jake going up for the shot after I got down. The trick is, DON’T pull on anything red inside the cockpit!
It had been a GREAT day! By 8:30 we’d already put in seventeen hours and thousands of clicks, but that was the point of volunteering. There was a huge 40′s party in the Texas Flying Legends Museum hangar for the WWII vets and their family including a great 40′s band, dancers, Patton look alike, surrounded by the P-51D “Cripes A Mighty” and B-25 “Betty’s Dream.”. “Betty’s Dream” was partially pulled into the hangar and even a gorgeous LaSalle drove up delivering some of the reinactors who were guests, parking under its wing. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and than started to work all the activities. It was a target rich photographic opportunity. But being a control freak, I wanted more than just the grab shot under hangar lighting. Then it dawned on me … the Rapid Boxes!
The folks (all friends) were great and open to anything. So I asked the couple in the top image (who came in the LaSalle), Miles & Kim if they’d be up for their portraits being made with the car. I described to them briefly what I wanted to do and when they saw me point out of the hangar into the darkness, I got the strangest look. I just said, “trust me.” Jake ran to the truck, got the Rapid Box lighting kit duffle I had with us and we set up the lights. In literally just minutes, we had the Westcott Rapid Box Octa/ SB-910 / PocketWizard FlexTT5 and Westcott Strip Box / SB-910 / PocketWizard FlexTT5 on Manfrotto 5001B Nano Stands set up (both flashes connected to SD-9s all powered with Eneloop AA batteries). The speed in which we had it all set up even impressed the guests. It sure impressed me!
With the D610 / 18-35AFS in hand (I really like the D610!), I got Jake to stand in for the models, hit the test button on the PocketWizard, took my first shot, looked at the LCD and went to work. I was at f/8, 1/25, underexposing ambient light making the flashes, set at zero (using cs e4 makes this part easy), the main light. The Octa was the main light on the folks and pointed up a tad to slightly light the underneath of the wing of “Betty’s Dream.” The strip light as you can see was to the side and feathered to do a little fill on the folks and than light up the side of the LaSalle (reflections of the lights on the car were minimized by flash placement). No, this wasn’t enough light to really do “Hollywood” lighting, but that’s wasn’t the goal.
The “folks” are all dear friends, president and pilots of the Texas Flying Legends Museum. One is a seating congressman even. The very quick and impromptu “portrait studio” (which was up, used and down in less than ten minutes) was merely an extension of the night’s fun. Like I said, we’d all had already put in a full day. I had minutes with each couple before they went back to the guests. It’s a simple, clean shot capturing the memories of the evening. And if I didn’t have the Rapid Boxes with me, I would have never thought of or attempted such a shoot. A single off camera flash would have looked like crap. The Rapid Boxes produced gorgeous light very quickly making me a hero. Can’t ask more from your gear!
When it comes to working with the folks, this is how I did it. First, my beautiful bride would go get the couple so they were already happy by the time I got them. I told them I wanted them to pose for the period which meant body language you see with the gentleman holding the ladies elbow. I would take one click and than show them the LCD because there were standing in total darkness. I assumed the were wondering just what the heck the photo would look like. Once they saw the LCD, it was all a piece of cake. Ten minutes after we started set up, we were torn down and back at the party with the others. Personally, this kind of flash photography I can get into. It was quick, easy and great light. I simply can’t say enough about the Rapid Boxes. They earned their name and keep this evening!
Oh, and this last portrait, this is very special to us. We had the great fortune to spend three days with three Tuskegee Airman, and one in particular really took a shine to my wife. Alexander Jefferson pictured here was simply a hoot to get to know. I’d already spent the day with him, talking up a storm and telling me a ton of stories. When he got in front of my camera he said, “Moose, get my good side!” And when I asked the trio to squeeze in tighter, Alexander said, “sounds good to me!” He was great and it was an honor to get to know all three and able to call them friends. Amazing what photography has brought to our lives!
To me, the Df is one sexy body! And as someone who has a Nikon collection starting with the rangefinder, I love the whole concept of the camera. With that being said, I can understand many’s questions filling up my email box, Df – why?
I have to admit, I like the whole concept about having a “retro” looking and “modern” functioning DSLR. There is most definitely a romance to it that hooked me instantly. Knowing it has the same guts as my beloved D4 doesn’t hurt one bit either. But answering the question “why” when it comes to the business side of photography, or the practical side of problem solving, I don’t have an answer for folks. I’m already receiving a ton of email asking for comparisons between the Df, D4, D610 and I have none (and this blog post is why you’re not getting an email response). The tag line in the Df marketing though I think does answer in large part the “why” question for me personally. Putting the passion back into your photography. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that’s something I talk about, a lot. And for that reason, it makes 100% sense to me. Being a romantic, having a piece of gear in hand that puts you in “the” mood can only help your photography!
We’d been on for 6 days, up at 0430 and not hitting the sheets until 0000 so we took a morning off. We decided to see some of our history, play tourist and tour the Houston Control Center. Having grown up in the era of moon walks, having an uncle very much part of the program, it was a must see. And it didn’t disappoint! I wanted to take photos but I wasn’t wanting to carry the D4 / 18-35AFS un the Vulture strap, I wanted to play tourist but wanted Raw files knowing the tour would be quick, lighting varied. I had the perfect answer with me, the Coolpix A.
The Coolpix A simply slipped into my back so carrying it worked great. It has a fixed, 28f2.8, amazingly sharp lens which worked perfect for the tour. Now you might be asking what one does when 28mm is too narrow. It’s a old photography technique, physically move closer. The framing than was done by simply moving closer or further away from the subject. The first two images were actually taken through the plexi separating folks from the rooms. Even with that, I was amazed by the results. One cool thing on a side note that most think about but I didn’t until I was shooting. There is not noise, you don’t hear the shutter! Keep in mind I’m the guy who likes to rip the shutter of the D4 because I like the sound. But in this environment where folks are listening to the guide, that shooting style just isn’t appropriate. The Coolpix A just rocked!
Now I got the Coolpix A to be the Moose Cam. It had plenty of action in those regards the prior week. I’ve not even edited all the video it shot but I learned one thing I want to pass along. It had a great Auto ISO mode which works great shooting stills or video. But if you want to control the Shutter Speed when shooting video, you need to go to Manual Mode where you can manually set the ISO. Videoing aircraft, I want the prop to blur so you want a shutter speed of 1/60 or less. Otherwise, you’ll see that “prop slap” as I call it. I’ve had A LOT of Coolpix cameras in over the years and I can honestly say that the Coolpix A is the finest one I’ve ever shot with!
Oh ya, we’re walking out the door on our latest project and Mr UPS walks up and hands me a B&H box containing a D610! Hot Dogs, I charged the battery on the flight and landed with the camera ready to go, Lexar 64gb SD loaded, and all my settings inserted (I’ll be posting my settings here soon). Than we dealt with really slow, slow, slow luggage, horrible traffic and when I could finally shoot, it was dark! Argh!!! So as you read this, I’m out shooting it up with this great priced killer camera. mtc.
You might have noticed, I travel a bit. Getting the back end, computers and the like, safely to the location is just as important as the cameras. I’ve been lookin and lookin and finally found the perfect combination for me and wanted to share it with you. The Think Tank Shape Shifter (black case) has been around for quite some while and is has a huge fan base (and I can see why), it’s great! It can carry nearly everything in my former briefcase along with a body and a couple of lenses. But Think Tank just upped the game with the newly introduced My 2nd Brain (gray case on right) and Powerhouse case (gray case on left). This combination frees my hands since it’s a backpack, it protects it all and easily goes under the seat of a plane and best of all, everything inside is totally and easily accessible. While a bit early for my Africa trip, this appears to be the perfect solution with its weight restrictions. Check it out, it might work for your traveling gear needs as well!
Note: I changed up the lighting for this product in a heartbeat switching to the Westcott Rapid Box Octa/ SB-910 / PocketWizard FlexTT5 setup just 20″ above the product. I needed a bigger light and had it instantly. I’m in love with Rapid Box!
Video capture keeps getting better and better so I wanted to up my Moose Cam game. And in the beginning of my search I was just thinking video but than I thought there might be more to the Moose Cam than just video so I broaden my search. I moved up to the Cooplix A as my Moose Cam because of that. Why the Coolpix A? There are a number of reasons, the first is its image quality which I like coming from the combo of its sensor and its 28f2.8 lens. This goes for the stills as well as the video. It shoots Raw, you can add a SB-910 to it (I’m not going there), it has a menu system and features much like the D610 which makes it familiar, flexible and fit in with my system. And it has a response AF and shutter release that I can operate wearing gloves. And it’s built like a tank with an all metal case. I’ve already taken in on a few road trips and this week I’m throwing it into the deep end and have all the faith in the world it will deliver. Now, if I can just get to editing all I’ve shot … argh!
This is simply cool (you know how I love
toys, tools)! The Vello Wireless ShutterBoss works up to 250′ away from your camera giving you cast control over operation and firing. You truly need to read the instruction book on this remote, it does that much! Here’s the short list:
- Works with mutiple brands (need correct cable)
- 99 Possible Radio Channels
- Up to 250′ (80 m) Range
- Trigger Camera Wirelessly or Wired
- Dual-Function (Focus & Trigger) Release
- Delay Release Function
- Multi-Exposure Mode
- Interval Control
- Long Exposure Control
- LED Indicators–Pre-Focus & Exposure
What the heck is Behance? Coming from the guy who can’t even pronounce it correctly, that’s a great question. Behance is one of the very cool new features of Adobe Creative Cloud (CC). It’s got many applications, from business to social and what I’m trying is a little on the teaching side. Right now, I just have a couple of Projects loaded but what you can see (watch the video above) is the progress in my finishing an image. No, it’s not a step by step Photoshop lesson. Rather, I’m using it to help photographers see the finished photo in the viewfinder when they go click. It’s the ol which came first, the egg or the pixel question I’m trying to answer. You can follow My Projects on Behance and hopefully, it will help your photography down the road. You can find me here.
Yeap, the D610 is already shipping! I expect mine on Tuesday (along with some new Lexar of course), just in time for my shoot at Wings Over Houston and I can’t wait! I did a lot, a lot of shooting with D600 and really enjoy having a 2nd “knock around” body that is not only light, but delivers great images. Since I’ll be doing a lot of flash (SB-910 / SC-28) walking around, the D610 is great because it has CS e4. I’ll be using it with my new best friends as well, the Westcott Rapid Boxes so I’m excited. I’ll be blogging about it all so stay tuned. Below is just one of the thousands of images I shot with the D600.
Not only will Moose teach 7 days of workshops / shoot with you, and be on at least 6 morning and 6 afternoon game drives, but photographers will have full access to Moose for the 7 days of the safari while he is there.
· As per the website the safari includes the following … (and I have expanded on them a little more)
· Luxurious accommodation on a shared basis at Singita
· Accommodation for your arrival night of October 11th at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg if required.
o You will only require this if you arrive in Johannesburg the day prior to the start of the safari.
· Private round-trip charter flights from Johannesburg to Singita. (Luggage allowance is 30 kgs per person)
o Getting your photography equipment to the Game Reserve and 20 kgs (44lbs) is not much when you consider that it would include your clothing, and personal effects as well as your photography gear.
· All airport fees for the use of the private landing strip at Sabi Sand.
· 2 private safari vehicles and all private safari activities at Singita Castleton camp.
· At no time will there ever be more than 1photographer per row of the photography vehicle, each vehicle has 3 rows so no more than 3 photographers per vehicle.
· All road transfers to/from Johannesburg airport and the Emperors Palace hotel in Johannesburg.
· All meals and drinks, including premium wines, spirits and liqueurs (excluding French champagne) at Singita.
· Daily laundry at Singita. (To limit the amount of luggage brought with)
· All Tourism Levies, and the 14% VAT (Value Added Tax) as well as all daily fees that are required by the Sabi Sand Preserve.
Singita Sabi Sand is a very special place and it is the ultimate in luxury, and the images that they have provided me do not do the place justice.
Pricing is for Singita Sabi Sand with Moose is $11,995.00 per Person sharing, and spouses and partners are priced the same, we are however running Photoshop World Expo discount of $1200.00 per person that expires on September 30th 2013.
· A couple of important aspects of Images in Africa Safaris that provide buyer protection.
We are licensed, bonded and insured in the State of Florida (License # ST38899).
We carry $1,000,000.00 of liability insurance.
We offer trip Insurance through a 3rd party carrier for all of our safaris, which removes the issue of financial loss to due to cancellation, or some unforeseen circumstance.
Safari dated 10/12/2014 – 10/21/2014
When my guy Gabe at B&H says he has the answer to my lighting questions, he’s not kiddin! I’ve gone nuts fore the Westcott Rapid Box – 20″ Octa Mini Softbox and Westcott Rapid Box Strip – 10×24″. I’ve found my light shaping tools!
OK, the dust has settled, had a chance to check ‘er out and ya, the new Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G Lens has been ordered. Now, what’s the difference between it and the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, I don’t know, yet. But I’m going to find out. I shot the 58Noct back in the day and the 55f1.2 for a while so I’m looking forward to taking a trip down memory lane in 2013.