And the Skies Opened Up – No Problem

Kodiak Brown Bear captured by Z 9 / 800f5.6AFS

Some of the worst weather can make for the best photography! I’ve said that forever in part because it has so often delivered for me. I love the saturated light rain can bring. When you have a 1100lbs mom and three, two year old cubs, the last thing you want to do is leave especially because of a little thing like rain. And when you’re literally standing out in the middle of nowhere with no cover within miles, your only option is to pack up and head back to camp. Or is it? I have a simple rule of thumb when it comes to shooting in the rain, if I can take it so can my gear. Many have asked how the Z 9 does in inclement weather, especially when using the FTZII with F mount lens attached? It all work simply brilliantly, simply brilliantly!

As you can see below, it was one of those gloppy Alaska rains I was shooting in. To work in such conditions, I always carry a dry, white towel with me. With great care, I would pull it out of my jacket with the bears right in front of me feeding, blot my gear dry (never wiping) when needed, put it back under my jacket and continue on shooting. What you see below was what the rig would look like just prior to plotting it dry. I have never had any issue shooting in the rain working like this nor those shooting with me. I have total faith in my gear which includes the white towel keeping me in the game. Cause moments like this, you don’t want to leave!

Small, Bright … Brilliant! Nikon Aculon

Nikon Aculon 10×25 Bins

Bins are an essential tool for wildlife photographers! My standard is the Nikon 12×50 which was $1200 when they were available, big, bright, gorgeous, and not practical when also working with a big lens. I saw my good friend Javier with these small little bins that literally fit in his shirt pocket and I was on a mission to add them to my kit. The Nikon Aculon 10×25 which sells for typically $70 is simply brilliant! I cannot recommend these enough to folks no matter your binocular needs but especially to wildlife photographers. Since they are so light and small, you will never find a reason not to go out with them. And having that extra reach at times makes all the difference. I still have my 12×50 but they stay home most of the time. The Aculon are always in my kit!

BlowerBaby

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!

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