Tascam TM-2X – Killer Mic, Amazing Price!

The Tascam TM-2X attached to the SmallRig Cold Shoe Handle 2094 on Z 9

I’ve been on a long time search for what I considered the perfect ambient sound mic. I’ve got a drawer full and finally I found it. The Tascam TM-2X is a small, stereo, killer little mic for only, hope you’re sitting down, $99! It has a shock mount, runs off camera power, and slips into the hot shoe of a camera. The mics swivel (see gallery above) and comes with a deadcat. The Tascam TM-2X comes with an arm placing the mic in front of the camera body (so sounds from the camera are hidden) but it’s plastic. I wanted something a little more substantial so purchased the The SmallRig Cold Shoe Handle 2094 (new version). I am not using this as a handle, just a repl for arm that comes with the Tascam TM-2X. I’m using the Tascam TM-2X just for recording ambient sounds, like those at a river, in a forest or on the ramp. It is not replacing the other mics in the kit, but being added to them which, with the addition of the Tascam not only got smaller and lighter, just a bit more complete. Love this little mic@

ProStaff P3 10×30 – OMG!

The gorgeous Nikon Prostaff P3 10×30 bins!
I was into Nikon long before I was a photographer. I grew up using my dad’s Nikon binoculars he brought back with him from the war. They help foster my love for birds. You come to The Ranch and you’ll find a pair of Aculons in each window. And my Nikon 12x50s are always on my desk. So you can say, I have a binocular addiction! This past week, my dear friend Harry needed a pair of new bins and picked up a pair of the brand new (just released in June) of Prostaff P3 10×30 and OMG, are they gorgeous! They are the same basic size of the Aculon, a tad heavier but man, are they BRIGHT!!! They are built like a tank armored coated and did I mention, they are BRIGHT! I picked up a brand new pair (can never have enough) for $109! And I no sooner got them in and Sharon tried them and I … was getting a 2nd pair. They are great!!!

The Traveling Cleaning & Repair Kit

Some of the contents of my Cleaning & Repair Kit that travels with me.
I recently received a great email from Kent (thanks) which in part he asks “Thanks for the sensor cleaning video, but what all do you take with you on your trips to maintain your camera gear?” This is a great question! So good, I created a KelbyOne Class on this topic but I don’t go through everything that I have with my on projects. Not that I guarantee I’ll list everything here, but I’m going to make an attempt at it. First is what is in my sensor cleaning kit. Its contents are:

VisibleDust Ultra MXD-100 Green Sensor Cleaning VSwabs  x20
VisibleDust Ultra MXD-100 “Green” Corner Swabs x20
Visible Dust Swab light
Nitcore Blower
VisibleDust Quasar R 5x Sensor Loupe
Eclipse Optic Cleaning Solution 0.05oz
Lens Clens (known as Pink Juice)

This is just my sensor / gear cleaning kit. It all fits in the small case you see in the lower right corner. The “stuff in the case in the upper left corner is the repair / spare parts case. What’s in it takes longer to list and sadly, much I can’t link. You might have to do some searching to find the same or like item as I’ve had some of it for a long time. Its contents is:

Micro screwdriver & Tronic tweezers set
Spare Z body & rear lens cap
Repl Tripod rubber foot
Spare DK-33 / DK-2 eyecups
Nikon DK-17a Anti-fog eyepiece (though I don’t how I can use it on the Z 9)
Spare 10-pin / PC covers Z 9
Spare Nikon BS-1 Hot Shoe Cover
Spare Zenelli Head parts
Kodak Lens Tissue (long discontinued now sorry to say)
Spare batteries for Sensor Loupe
VisibleDust Mini Quasar 7x Sensor Loupe (emergencies)
Krazy Glue (not opened)
Gaffer Tape
KAIFNT K451 Ultra Low Profile Screwdriver Bit 23 piece Set w/Mini Ratchet Wrench
Piece of clean, white T Shirt
Leatherman Wingman
There are some other small odds & ends that have no name and they’re “just in case”

All of this is housed in that plastic case pictured in top left corner. The two plastic cases, parts & sensor cleaning are simple cosmetic cases I think I picked up at Walmart. Those two cases reside in a Think Tank Logistic Manager V1 case. That is always packed in my checked-in luggage vertically so when scanned, its contents are for the most part invisible. And that Kent, is what I take with me to keep the gear cleaned and functioning in the field. Thanks for the great question!

The Kiss of Light for Color

Australian King Parrot captured with Z 9 / Z400f4.5 w/Profoto A10

Color is so important to us humans. It is to critters as well, especially to the birds of Australia’s rain forest. How do we capture “true” color? In this case, the before image has an overall green tint because of the light coming through the rain forest canopy. How can we set the stage for our subject and make it the star? This is a very important question to ask when the stage is almost as important as the star! I want to tell you about this unique rain forest in my photo as well as its resident. That makes the subject, the star, smaller in the frame yet it still smacks you between the eyes. This is style of photography. Telling a visual story!

The answer is real simple, the execution can be nearly as much. A kiss of light, that’s all it takes! It’s obvious though, right? Photography – write with light. If you read the caption, you can see that along with the Z 9 / Z400f4.5 (a combo I really love!) is the Profoto A10. You’re probably saying though, “I don’t see the flash.” You’re not supposed to and the reason you don’t “see” it is two fold. One is, the Profoto A10 creates a gorgeous, gorgeous light! I just love the light from the A10. The second reason you don’t see the flash is because it’s not being used for exposure, it’s being used for color! The A10 was set to 3.8 power, shooting in Manual Flash Exposure. Its light just kissing the parrot removing the green color cast so the true color comes through. The Z 9 was in Aperture Priority set to +.03. The Z 9 took care of the ambient light exposure, the stage, and the A10 “kissed” the star, the subject, so just its color came to life. Move the slider back and forth over the young male Australian King Parrot and look at the subtle yet dramatic difference that kiss of light makes. I have one of my Fn Buttons on the Z 9 set to disengage the flash so I can have a before and after photo in a split second of each other. I do this so I can constantly help myself learn to see and use the kiss of light for color.

Can Air Power w/o The Can!

home made nozzle
Back in May I first wrote about the Nitecore Blower. I have come to really love it! Recently, I had one particle of sand that simply would not blow off with it and I thought if only the airstream were a little more concentrated. I thought about it and when I got home I started to look through my collection to see what I could adapt to do the job. I grabbed the nozzle of a giant blower bulb and sanded down the sides so it fits snugly into the brush attachment (the air goes through the top, not the brush). I take the “filter” off the Nitecore and bam, can air power! It’s trivia, godo trivia, I just wanted to pass along.

Rode VideoMic NTG

The Rode VideoMic MTG a top a Z 30

Once the Z 30 hit my desk, I was instantly looking for the perfect mic for it. Perfect in not just sound, but size, weight, price and ease of use. The Rode VideoMic NTG fit my needs like a glove. You can see in the photo above when compared to the small size of the Z 30 how small the VideoMic NTG is. What be hard to see how conveniently the mic cable folds and is held by the mic so extra cable isn’t flapping in the wind. You charge the mic via USB-c port and it turns on and off with the camera, you don’t to think about it. It has a simple big knob on the rear that you turn to perfect volume, using the camera’s sound graph to adjust. And if you use it on the Z 30 or example in the Selfie mode, the sound is great! Like any shotgun mic, the closer the better. I’ve used the NTG to about six feet of the sound source until the sound started to fade. If you’re looking for great little mic, I highly recommend this one!

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