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Archive for the ‘Equipment’ Category

Which DSLR Lens Should You Choose?

15 May

Nothing gives you more creative control over your photo snapping, than venturing into the world of DSLR photo-ing.

You can trick out your camera with new lenses, lights, tripods, and more to get just the photo-style you’re looking for. But, figuring out what lens to pick up first can be daunting.

So, we asked our Twitter followers (that’s you! Or … it could be) what lenses they first bought (or wish they had) after their kit lens – and we got lots of great answers and advice!

We’ve put these tips into this helpful guide so buying your first lens will be easy-peasy.

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Upper Yosemite Falls Moonbow – Getting The Shot

12 May
Upper Yosemite Falls Moonbow - May 9 2017
Upper Yosemite Falls Moonbow - May 9 2017

A large moonbow arcs across the mist from Upper Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park

There are quite a few photos in my portfolio that I look back upon and question my sanity due to the absurd conditions I’ve endured to capture them. This particular photo is up there on the insanity scale.  This past winter has seen extraordinary snowfall levels in the Sierras and now that Spring has rolled around the water levels are quite high in Yosemite Valley due to the snow melt.  That translates to huge waterfalls and under the right conditions moonbows (rainbows at night via moonlight).

I’ve taken moonbow photos from the Upper Yosemite Falls trail several times, but this year was like none other. I took up position in a new spot this year with a good friend Brian Hawkins. Our hike started off innocently enough with a hike that started at 4:30PM and later ended at 5:30AM. The reason for the long duration of the shoot was a combination of bringing a lot of gear (3 Canon DSLRS, 2 tripods and 4 lenses plus extra layers of clothes) and the interest in shooting multiple time lapses + stills. Time lapse sequences run a couple hours and the moonbow wasn’t going to appear until 11:30PM.

Start of the Upper Yosemite Falls moonbow hike (4:30PM)
End of the Upper Yosemite Falls moonbow hike (5:30AM)

Now that I type it all out It really is rather nuts. I of course don’t think this before the hike because I have selective memory issues or quite simply my elevator doesn’t go to the top floor when it should.

Hiking with a full photo backpack means slow going on a hike that is 1.5 miles with a 1250 foot elevation gain. Leaving “early” affords me the time to properly stake out the right location, set up all 3 camera, eat and start shooting. On the way up the focus is squarely on the task at hand and making it to the setup spot early.

Waiting in heavy mist and gusty winds.

Are we having fun yet? Waiting in heavy mist and gusty winds. Only 4 hours to go.

The most painful part of the excursion is the wait. This year this was particularly true given the setup spot quickly became inundated with heavy mist from the falls when the wind kicked up (10mph gusts). Without exaggeration we were waiting in a windy rainstorm. A sane person might consider moving to avoid the heavy mist, but once you’ve invested the time to setup multiple cameras and climb down steep side trails it quickly becomes a less attractive option. This of course was constantly second guessed through out the night as conditions remained miserable. Eventually we called uncle and left the cameras running but took shelter an 1/8th of a mile away on the main trial to stay dry.

So what does one think during the hours of waiting for the moonbow to appear and during the moonbow sequence run? Let me tell you in order of thought.

  1. I am so freaking wet and cold.
  2. I should have brought more layers to stay warm and dry.
  3. It’s so wet I’m not sure any of this footage will come out.
  4. I don’t think I could have carried anything more.
  5. What the f*ck are you thinking that this would be a good idea!
  6. I’ve never seen conditions so good for moonbows, but it’s too good. There’s too much water.
  7. What was that noise!? F*ck it better not be a mountain lion. Crap it was just my jacket hood rubbing against my head.
  8. I can’t feel my fingers. I should use those hand warmer things. Cr*p they’re in my camera bag back in the heavy mist. Forget it I’d rather have cold hands than get wet again.
  9. I wonder if my batteries died. I better go check.
  10. Upon returning repeat all the above thoughts
  11. I am so freaking cold. I am never going to do this again. I don’t know what I was thinking.
  12. Now that it’s so wet and windy how am I going to retrieve all my gear
  13. Holy sh*t! I can’t believe I’m here at 3AM

Then after all of this I get to my camera to see the most amazing sight, Yosemite Falls roaring full of water with the biggest moonbow I’ve ever seen. All those earlier thoughts are lost as I get more stills taken. The results, like the photo above, are like a narcotic that wipes my mind clear. With the photo high in place packing up is less cringeworthy albeit still miserable. Trying to remember, pack and not leave behind gear and accessories for 3 cameras is tough enough, but particularly mentally challenging when cold and tired. Fortunately years of experience and more importantly being a little too anal for my own good make this a little easier.

Unlike years past the extra effort of trying to dry off gear took some extra time. It also required another round of gear packing. By the time this was all complete the hike down could begin at 3:50AM.

Canon 5D Mark IV + Canon 11-24 drenched from the heavy mist off the falls.
Canon 5D Mark II + Canon 16-35mm Mark II drenched from the heavy mist off the falls.
Canon 5D Mark II + Canon 16-35mm Mark II drenched from the heavy mist off the falls.

The hike down was cold, but dry and thus in my mind warm. On the way down thoughts of mountain lions hiding in the shadows quickly subside, instead focusing on not twisting an ankle due to fatigue or carelessness. Also important is to not step on the many millipede that crawl across the trail. In between dodging millipedes I’m left wondering how well my footage and still came out. Cold and tired I’m thinking it’s doubtful anything could have come out and back to questioning why I thought this was a good idea.

Fast forward 7 hours as I write this and it’s become apparent several shots came out, but I won’t know how much until I’m back home. Between three cameras it’s likely it worked out. I really shouldn’t do this again, but come next year I’m sure all this will be mentally blocked and I’ll be making a similar hike / moonbow shoot just like I did in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 and this year. Apparently I’m a slow learner.

Authors Note: Excuse the typos if any as I typed this on my phone and I’m still very sleep deprived.

The post Upper Yosemite Falls Moonbow – Getting The Shot appeared first on JMG-Galleries – Landscape, Nature & Travel Photography.


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How to Get Your Photos Featured in a Photo Magazine

12 May

Your Instragram feed is flawless. You’ve got the likes, followers, fans even … what’s next?

It’s time to make the jump from your personal digital stream to the big time.

Get your work published in a real live magazine!

We spoke with Megan Breukelman, the Editor-in-Chief of Atlas Magazine – only a super inspirational digital fashion magazine + website focused on the promotion of the next generation of fashion creatives, nbd. JK, BIG HUGE DEAL.

She dished on why you would want to be published, how to even start your quest, and tips for getting accepted by your dream magazines.
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Lighting Tips for Perfect Portraits

09 May

Snapping a portrait, is much more complex than than pinning up a laser backdrop and requesting your subject say “cheese.”

The key to a polished look is lighting!

Read our tips for making your pals look their best in any light (you might just want to add some shine to help them look their best).
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Meet The Aquapac Waterproof DSLR Case

27 Apr

Water and camera guts don’t mix. That’s just science.

So, give your precious DSLR the ultimate protection – the Aquapac Waterproof DSLR Case!

It’s rated to keep your camera bone dry down to 30 ft below the water’s surface.

Aquapac protects your photo snapping pal from sand, snow, rain and all your messiest adventures.

Head on over to the PJ shop to learn about our cameras’ new favorite go-to outfit.

LEARN MORE or BUY


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Personal Photo Gifts for Mom from Parabo Press

24 Apr

Turn your photos into amazing Mother’s Day gifts, that will certainly make you the golden child in your mother’s eyes.

With our Parabo Press app, it’s easy to order up the perfect Mom’s Day surprise made with the photos right there on your phone.

Organize your photos on your compy? No sweat. Order up a gift from the Parabo website.

Either way, Mom will love it!

Plus, you’ll save 20% on your gift with the coupon PJMOM, now through Parabo’s standard shipping Mother’s Day order deadline 5/3.
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A Passion for Wrecks and Images Give a Photography Enthusiast a Second Career

21 Apr

photography-wrecks

Image: Pongsatorn Sukhum

Pongsatorn Sukhum was on his way to becoming a professional photographer. A long-time camera enthusiast, he took a year off college while studying in the UK to work in a studio that shot advertising photography. He then moved into editorial photography, shooting for travel magazines and building up a collection of underwater stock images that combined his love of photography with his passion for Scuba diving. In the mid-nineties, his work was shown in a group exhibition in his native Thailand. Today, Pongsatorn runs an engineering business in Bangkok but his continued work in underwater photography, and in particular, his images of World War II wrecks off the coast of Thailand are an example of how talented enthusiasts can keep their professions while maintaining their passion for image-making and even contributing to the preservation of the subjects they love to shoot.

Pongsatorn now produces fine art prints of his photography which he sells through his website. But publications call him whenever they need images to complement their editorials on wrecks in the region and he is still commissioned occasionally for advertising work. If he’s not working on an engineering project, he’ll dive one or two weekends each month and when he’s not on the water, he’ll find time each week to process images and research ships.

Artistry Meets Expertise

That demand for professional imagery from a photographer who only works in the profession part-time continues for a couple of reasons. The quality of Pongsatorn’s photographs is certainly one factor. Pongsatorn may not be a full-time photographer but his images are professional quality. He shoots in black and white to convey the sense of being in an environment in which color has been stripped away by the water, and to convey the mood at the depths where the ships rest.

“I feel that the characteristics of high-speed b/w film faithfully capture the light and ambiance at these great depths,” he told us by email. “I also believe that entering the water loaded with b/w film is a mindset.”

The result is a collection of atmospheric shots in which the fragility and graceful lines of the diver are set against the solidity of a slowly decaying steel hulk placed in front of a backdrop of silty grays.

But the continued demand among buyers for Pongsatorn’s skills can also be put down to his expertise. Underwater photography is demanding. Photographers have to be skilled in diving as well as in image-making. They need to understand their equipment and the environment as well as the subject of the shoot.

“Underwater, we can’t change lenses, add filters, or replace batteries so advanced planning is required,” says Pongsatorn. “Familiarity with the layout of the wreck is crucial to avoid delays associated with orientation.”

Pongsatorn keeps a collection of construction blueprints related to the wreck he’s about to shoot, as well as sketches that he updates regularly. Before the dive, those plans are transferred to a waterproof slate for use underwater so that he’s not trying to communicate a new idea to a co-diver or assistant while they’re swimming. The choice of shots, too, poses a range of different problems. Wide angle images mean keeping other divers and their bubbles away from the scene long enough for Pongsatorn to get his shots. That’s not usually an issue when shooting wrecks that aren’t popular dive sites but for well-known locations, Pongsatorn usually pleads for a ten-minute head start. Before some shoots, he’s even asked the Thai Navy to cordon off a wreck for a day.

While underwater photographers don’t have the same daylight worries as landscape photographers, they do have to cope with other challenges. Weather conditions can restrict accessibility to remote sites to certain times of the year, and sediment raised by the actions of a swimming photographer can reduce visibility.

“This happens frequently as the wrecks are naturally on the sea bed (with the exception of the so-called vertical wreck) where there is a great deal of sediment just waiting to be disturbed,” says Pongsatorn. “Diver buoyancy control and proper finning techniques need to be practiced.”

Learn How to Fin

Often, the constraints of time and the limitations of depth mean that Pongsatorn can only make one or two dives to a low-lying wreck on any given day. Some dive profiles, he says, are so deep that he’ll only be able to stay at the site for as little as five minutes.

“As you can imagine, deep wreck photography is a very low-yield activity. However, these challenges make it exciting and create opportunities for some truly creative work.”

For other photographers looking to specialize in underwater photography, Pongsatorn notes that while no official training is required, there are numerous basic courses and workshops available that will explain how light behaves underwater and how to set up and look after equipment. Photographers who happen to live in tropical areas can start by photographing clown fish, he recommends, as they’re easy to find and tend to stay in one place. Once they’ve mastered finning and have control over their stability, photographers can pick a subject and study its behavior.

Most important though is to respect the environment in which you’re shooting. On his blog, Pongsatorn has highlighted campaigns for shark preservation and attacked dive operators who remove artifacts from the wrecks they visit.

“There are several operators who specifically set out to loot. It’s in their literature. They abuse the legal loopholes and lack of enforcement. It’s sad to see all these artifacts being hauled up day after day. These people need to be educated.”

Similarly, divers who venture into a wreck exhale bubbles which can get trapped below decks and under bulkheads. In time, these air pockets corrode the metal and exert an upward pressure on the metal plates, causing them to collapse, Pongsatorn warns.

It’s that kind of knowledge and that level of concern that combines with creativity and artistry to produce images that are attractive to buyers — both of art prints and for commercial use. Find a subject for which you feel passionate enough to want to study and understand completely, bring to it your photography skills, and you also won’t need to give up the day job to earn money from your photography.


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7 Secrets of Black and White Photography

20 Apr

We’ve all heard it … “to master black and white photography you must learning to see in black and white” – but just how do you do that?

It can sometimes seem like actually learning to see in black and white is a skill for only the chosen few. But trust us, it’s for you too!

Here are seven (not-so-secret-anymore) secrets that will help you train your brain and expand your eye for the art of black and white photography.

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Camera Showdown: Phone v. DSLR

18 Apr

We’re going to answer the age old* question “What’s a better camera – a phone or a DSLR?” once and for all.**

*The actual age of the question is something like 15 year. The first camera phone was released in 2002.

**Not “for all” so much – it’s pretty subjective.

Look at our pretty chart and decide for yourself.
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Custom Essay Writing Service, Buy Argumentative Essay

14 Apr

our essay writing team will work on it relent lessly to ensure that its quality
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