Wednesday, December 1, 2010

ThinkTank Gear and free stuff

Hi folks,
Remember when you use the link to the left to order ThinkTank gear online, you will receive a free gift from ThinkTank.  The free gear includes the Cable Management 20, the Pixel Pocket Rocket memory card holder, the Modular Pouch, Camera Strap, and the Security Tag.   ThinkTank makes the best camera bags and modular systems out there, quality is second to none and they have killer customer support.  The sidelines are full of ThinkTank gear.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Protecting your gear

Since it's been pretty nasty in most of the country weather wise, protecting expensive camera gear from the elements is probably on most sports shooters minds.  There are a couple of companies that make rain covers for camera's and lenses such as Kata, Aqua Tech, Tenba, etc.  Some are inexpensive and some are not.  The best way to choose is to see the cover in person and see if you find it easy to use the camera, see through the lens, work all the buttons, etc.  Keeping dry is important but if you can't get the shot you might as well just come in from the rain, unfortunately you probably won't find a good selection in your local camera store, they will usually carry just one or two brands.  I have the Kata system, it works okay but I've found it a bit bulky, so I don't always carry it with me since it doesn't really fit in my bag very well. I also find it a bit difficult to shoot with, hard to see through the eye piece, so it has to be pouring for me to bother with using it.
ThinkTank has come out with a rain cover that looks very promising.  Reviews have been good and it has a ton of neat features that show a photographer was actively involved in it's design.  I use the ThinkTank modular belt system and have been really pleased with the it, every bag has it's own rain cover.  Their new rain cover system looks a lot less bulky than the one I'm using and I like the fact that there is a place for the camera straps.  Here's a link to the ThinkTank Hydrophobia .   If you are looking for a roller bag, The ThinkTank Airport Series seems to be the bag of choice among most pros. 
As you may have guessed by now I am a big fan of ThinkTank bags, they're well made, well thought out and their customer service is second to none.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Great interview in Photo mag

One of my college buddies was interviewed in a photography magazine.  I'd never heard of this magazine but it's a great interview anyway. :)  So here's the link to a PDF of the magazine, his name is Chris Walters. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


This isn't something that you would use shooting sports but I've been playing with it a bit and using it for my work lately so I thought I might share.  I'm no expert, far from it, in fact if anyone has any tips for me I'd appreciate it.   But you can make HDR images quite easily in photoshop.  I do a simple 2 stop bracket (set AEB in camera and shoot in motordrive mode) I shoot 3 images, one at 0, one at +2 and one at -2.  Then it's just a matter of going into photoshop under File>Automate>Merge to HDR


 pick your 3 images

Photoshop will automatically merge the images into one.

You really need to use a tripod, if the images are not exact it will show.  If you're shooting a person they need to stand very still.  If they move during one of the shots it will have ghosting or be blurry.  This works great for landscapes and architectural stuff.

Here's an example of an interior shot I did using this method.


The effect is subtle, with the HDR image I get a lot more detail and texture in the dark rug and in the shadow areas and the windows are a bit brighter. It was a dreary Seattle late afternoon, so the light was really that blue outside. 

Monday, January 11, 2010

Raffle day is here!

I took all the entries across the street to my neighbor Evelyn so she could draw the winner.  Drum roll please, and the winner is.............John Rowland!!!    Congratulations John, I'm sure you will love your new ThinkTank bag.  Thanks to everyone who entered and special thanks to Brian Erwin at ThinkTank for donating the bag for the raffle.  ThinkTank not only makes great bags, their customer service is second to none.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's here!

Big box on the front porch when I got home tonight!  Camera and lens not included.  :)  do you have your "Ticket" # yet???  Only 3 days left!!!  Anyone can enter, do it today!!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Learn how to use the tools of the trade

Okay, why is it some photographers sound so proud when they tell me they never use flash?  Flash is not the tool of the devil, people.  It's a really handy photographers tool, if you consider yourself to be a professional photographer then you darn well better be able to bust out some light when needed.  It's a real dogfight out there these days and if you want to survive then you had better be able to use your tools.  I have several images in my portfolio that I used a flash or strobe and I'll bet you wouldn't be able to pick them out.  The light is subtle but essential.  If something looks "flashed" then you're doing it wrong.  You don't need to spend thousands on studio lights or monolights, most of my stuff is shot with shoe flashes, even the architectural stuff.
I had to shoot a mall in Houston, no real budget for an assistant, they could barely afford to hire me. :)  I flew out with all my gear as carry on, no time for the airlines to lose luggage, this was an in and out in one day job.  So I threw in a couple of shoe flashes and some off camera cords.  No light stands, no room. Most of the mall was fairly well lit and I was able to shoot ambient, but there was one shot that just didn't work, the guest services kiosk was too dark, no light near it and bright lights behind it.  I really wanted that shot, so I grabbed a flash and held it up and out.  Just enough to put some light on the front of the kiosk and balance the other lights.  I had the tools to do the job. It's one of my favorites from that day, I like the motion blur of the woman behind the desk.

I know, it's not sports, but I've written so many articles on why flash is essential for shooting fast moving sports at night or indoors.  I thought maybe an example of other uses might make my point. Learn to light!!!!  Here's a tutorial on using flash and lighting techniques.