Nitecore BlowerBaby

If you’re like me, you see this gizmo and gotta to wonder, what the hey? Well, it is a replacement for your blower bulb, it’s that simple. Charged by a simple USBc cable, this battery-operated blower (sensor screen in the photo above) replaces your old blower bulb. It works, and does a good job blowing off dust from the sensor. Works well even in high humidity. It’s physically small, and even sounds kinda cool. And if the $99 price works for your budget, I highly recommend it. Then, on the other hand, that old blower bulb works too.

Can Never Have Enough 24mms!

PT-19 Fairchild captured by Z 6II / Z24-70f2.8

It all started with the 24f2.8, graduating to the 24f2, and culminated with the brilliant 25-50f4. Then the 24-70f2.8 came out with the D3 and I was hooked. With the introduction of the Z bodies came new, brilliant zooms incorporating 24mm which it would seem is a favorite focal length in my visual storytelling journeys. I love, just love the Z14-24f2.8. The Z24-200 is the sleeper lens of the decade, a great little, versatile lens. Then there is the Z24-70f2.8 that I got on day one of its release that just gets pounded in my photography. Love that lens! And now, because it would seem I don’t have enough 24mm zooms, I’ve added the spectacular Z24-120f4. Why one more 24mm based zoom? Simply, I needed that extra reach without having to go and change lenses or move to DX. I have projects coming up, one very special one that this is the ONLY tool that will solve the problem at hand. Once the shoot is in the can, I’ll describe it more thoroughly but right now, I had to laugh at myself because I gave my dear friend Chuck a bad time about doing exactly what I’ve done. Now the tables are turned. I guess you can never have enough 24mms!

Earlier Than You Think

White-breasted Nuthatch captured by Z 6II / 180-400VR / SB-5000

Studies show that on average, birds are nesting 7-10 days earlier than they were a few decades ago. This is in response to their world warming up and I would imagine insects hatching earlier for the same reason. With nearly a dozen nests with eggs here at The Ranch now, my own field observations would bare this out. If you’re into or want to get into photographing nesting birds, you want to get out now or the season might just pass you by!

Thunderbay 4 is In The House!

OWC Thunderbay 4

I needed more storage space, but I didn’t want it taking up a ton of space in the office or be so loud that Sharon and I would have to scream to hear each other in the office. It also needed to have a bunch of space and it to be fast! I talked with my IT guy Chuck and he put me (as well as our son Jake who just upgraded to it as well) onto the OWC Thunderbay 4 and it does all that I want and a whole bunch more! It is small, incredibly small that the two (prime and physical BU) take up less space than a loaf of bread. Whisper quiet, only hear them at times when I’m zooming through a folder for images. And they are fast!!! I loaded mine with 4 – 18TB HDD drives that with SoftRaid Pro (also OWC) running Raid 4 gives me 54TB of storage space. All of this and it didn’t use up all our budget. I’ve had it for months now and waited till now to tell you cause I wanted to have a true field test with the system. It’s a beautiful thing, Thunderbay 4 is in the house!

Small Rig – More Than Video Gear

Small Rig Z 9 cage w/Z70-200f2.8 & Z1.4x attached

Small Rig has a great line of accessories for our gear! I have lots of it in my kit from their small ballheads and L-Brackets to now their Cage for the Z 9. Many think of Small Rig as supplying accessories for just video folks but they do so much more. You might look at the cage on the Z 9 above and just think it’s for my video work but I got it for a totally different purpose. It’s for my air-to-air photo missions!

Whaaaaaat you say! Yeppers, I use the cage for a number of reasons, the main one is for protection. Every part of an aircraft is designed to take a nick out of our gear! There are so many sharp and pointy edges that take off paint the Cage protects against. It’s marvelous! Then, I have the SmallRig Articulating Arm with Dual Ball Heads attached to the Cage where I attach the Keymission 180. It’s rock-solid even in the slip stream. The Cage can be attached to the Platyball head as it has Arca Swiss groves and even has a wrench built in to easily and quickly remove it. I highly encourage you to check out Small Rig, you might find there accessories that make your photography simpler even if you don’t shoot video!

Z 9 – Flash – WR-R11a

Z 9 / WR-R11a / SB-5000

The Z 9 utilizes the same Nikon Wireless Flash System that has been part of the Nikon line for the past six-plus years. There is a few updates to the system since then, mostly software (make sure you’re using the most current firmware) but one recent one is hardware. Nikon brought out the WR-R11a about a year ago and to me, it’s worth the price. It replaces the WR-R10 which works with the Z 9 and its ten-pin socket. The WR-R11a is a more robust unit with a hinge at the ten-pin socket preventing the unit from being accidentally hit and broken off (WR-R10 has no hinge). Both units work WR-T10 Remote that permits you to fire the camera taking a still(s) or start and stop video recording. You can pair up to 18 flashes with the unit with a working distance of about seventy feet and remotely fire the camera from about one hundred feet.

There are a couple of Menu items in the Z 9 that are grayed out until the WR-R10 / WR-R11a are attached. One is the Photo Shooting Menu (see below) and in the SetUp > Wireless remote (WR) options. Once a unit is inserted into the ten-pin both menu items become active. SetUp > Wireless remote (WR) options have to do with how the two units talk with each other, Pin or Paired. The other as you see in the video below has to do with how you work with thet wireless flash. Hopefully that covers all the questions. If not, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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