Why This Is The Best Time To Follow Your Dreams

January 31st, 2012 by Robert Rodriguez Jr.


The Path, Hudson Valley

The Path, Hudson Valley

I received the following email recently and thought I would share it and some thoughts that occurred to me after reading it…

I am an artist living in Ireland but originally from the Hudson Valley. I was wondering if it would be possible for me to use one of your photographs as a reference photo for a painting I would like to do. I would of course credit you and ad a link to your site as well. Could you let me know if this would be possible. Your photos are amazing! You are a true artist, Thank You…

First, I was deeply honored and humbled that she would want to use one of my images as inspiration for her art, and of course I said yes. But more importantly it reinforced the idea that technology has connected the world in an unprecedented and fantastic way that can serve as inspiration and benefit to us all. Sure there are the negative aspects to any powerful technology, but never in any other time would someone half way around the world be able to find me, connect with me and my work, and then share the results. I’ll share the final piece here when it’s done.

There is also something to be said for sharing and generosity in this age of limitless connections, via social media, the internet, Skype, etc. Your voice and vision is as valid as anyone else’s, your personal experiences unique and worth sharing if you truly have something to say. While it may seem at times that people worry most about privacy issues, there is also the ability and potential to share your vision and creativity in a way that allows the message to truly dictate the exposure. In days past, that was never the case, and your voice would be overpowered by the status quo.

NYC’s Central Park — a street photographer’s dream!

January 30th, 2012 by John Batdorff
A New York City dancer thinking

Always on point

New York City is a street photographer’s dream come true with photo ops around every corner. I’m all about maximizing my time when traveling, and lucky for me there’s something to be said for the old adage… in a New York minute. Like most of my trips, I generally have a few images in mind that I plan on capturing, and then leave a bit of free time to allow for things unforeseen. The thing about street photography is you need to be quick to move and always be on the lookout for new photo opportunities. High traffic locations like NYC Central Park are great locations to maximize your time and efforts. In the matter of a few hours I had a chance to shoot a landscape, people, portraits, macro, etc.

What to Photograph During a Winter With No Snow

January 25th, 2012 by Jerry Monkman
Rocks and surf at dawn, Wallis Sands State Park, Rye, New Hampshire. (Jerry Monkman)
Rocks and surf at dawn, Wallis Sands State Park, Rye, New Hampshire. F16, 30 seconds. (Jerry Monkman)

If you live in the northern U.S., you are probably experiencing a low snow winter this year. In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where I live, we haven’t had any appreciable snow since before Halloween! The gray and brown hues of a snowless landscape can definitely make it hard for a landscape photographer to be inspired enough to get out there and shoot. I feel fortunate that I chose his winter to start a new project I call 0630, where I go out every morning and make a picture at 6:30 (you can read more about the project in this post I made over at the Outdoor Photographer website.) The project has forced me to get out and shoot, when I normally would have stayed in bed, and it’s really getting my creative juices flowing and giving me good practice on techniques I don’t always use on a regular basis. For most of the last 6 weeks, I’ve been shooting primarily 30-45 minutes before sunrise, so here are some tips on what to do when it’s winter, it’s dark, and there’s no snow.

New Rogue Flash Bender Diffusion Screens Overview

January 20th, 2012 by John Adkins

Do you already own a Rogue Flash Bender made by ExpoImaging? If so, then you will definitely want to pick up one of the new Diffusion Screens. These handy screens improve the light from the flash bender by diffusing the light giving it a softer quality, especially when used in close to your subjects.

The Rogue Flash Benders are handy speedlight modifiers that simply velcro on to your flash, and can then be adjusted and formed to better control and shape the light. The new Diffusion Screens simply velcro on to your already existing Flash Bender and help to spread and soften that light. The new Diffusion Screens also come in two sizes, one for the large Flash Bender and another for the smaller one. The large screen creates a 9″ by 8″ source of light and the smaller one is 9″ by 4.5″.

To give a frame of reference of the differences between using a bare flash and the Flash Bender with the new Diffusion Screens, check out the images below.

You can see in the photo above and to the left, what a hard shadow a bare speedlight creates, while in the photo to the right you can see how softer the shadows are and how much more diffused the light is by using the Flash Bender and Diffusion Screen. The flash used to light both of these photos was the same distance from the subject and also at the same angle. This modifier also appears to use roughly 2 stops of light. The only post work done to these photos was cropping, and combining them on one frame.

Ice Makes Great Macro Shots

January 19th, 2012 by Mike Moats

With the above average temps that we have been having here in Michigan, the stream ice is about five weeks late, but better late then never. I always look forward to shooting the ice as it is my time to shoot abstracts. I’ve mentioned in the past that the abstract don’t sell, but I like them and it’s just fun being out in the woods.

Here is a nice shot of the stream and how I set up at the edge to shoot. I use my long telephoto macro lens in the 180 range, as it will reach out farther into the stream if I need to.

My camera is the Nikon D7000.

Who is taking the pictures of me? It’s a Panasonic GH2 on a tripod with self timer set at 10 secs.


This first image was shot in the area you see me in above.

If I’m shooting out into the ice a ways, I will be at an angle that sometimes needs a little extra depth of field, so I will set the f-stop at f/16. With all this cool details, you want to get it all in focus.


Snapshot: The Road and a Thunderhead

January 12th, 2012 by Bret Edge

Last summer I took a three day motorcycle trip throughout southern Utah. I always carry my 5D Mark II, tripod and an assortment of lenses along with my amazing Canon S95, which resides in a pocket in my jacket for easy access. Riding a motorcycle opens your eyes and lets you see things you’d never see in a cage, er…car. You’re not isolated from the environment in a neat little cocoon – you’re in it, surrounded by it, part of it. When it’s hot, you’re hot. When it’s raining, you’re wet. You feel the wind and the heat and the sand in your teeth. It’s an experience unlike any other.

Making images with the 5D Mark II requires digging it out of the tankbag, taking off gloves and helmet, finding a place to safely park the bike and the whole process requires more time and effort than I’m usually willing to expend. All this means I end up using the S95 90% of the time. Such is the case with the photo above.

Guess How I Get Colorful Fall Leaves In The Winter

January 11th, 2012 by Mike Moats

I decided to take a shot of this colorful fall leaf clutter and use a nice soft feel dreamlike look with Nik Software Color Efex Pro. I started with the “Midnight” filter and then added some “Polaroid Transfer” filter. Then added a Vignette to darken the corners.


How to use a vignette in Silver Efex Pro

January 11th, 2012 by John Batdorff

Here’s a quick video on how I’ll use a vignette in Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro to direct the viewer’s attention in the frame.

Hi, everyone. John Batdorff here, and today I thought we’d process this image of the Great Migration that was shot in the Serengeti earlier this year. What I like about this image is I have the wildebeest here just staring at me dead center of the frame. And so I think we can apply a small vignette to really draw more attention to this image. It appears a little flat in color, but if you look at the histogram and take a look at this dip here, that represents the contrast. And so I think once we convert this out, we’ll have a decent image to work with.

Let’s open this up in Silver Efex Pro, and this is the default conversion. It’s still kind of flat, but we’re going to make a couple quick maneuvers here to bring it to life. Let’s work the structure on the global adjustment. I’m going to increase this and then moving it to the right that’s increasing it. I think I’m going to wind up right around 60, and that works nicely. Now I’m going to increase the highlights a little bit and then the shadows. I think that’s making this image pop pretty well. One thing I want to point out whenever you’re using the structure sliders, if you have a lot of noise in your image, it’s going to bring that to life as well. So, either you work the noise early on and get rid of it early on using Define or Light Rims Noise Reduction, or you deal with that on the back side. I typically deal with it on the back side, but it really depends on the image. This one, if there is a lot of noise, I’ll probably deal with it, like I said, on the back side.

Anyway, I feel pretty good about this image right here. What I’m going to do next is come on down and use the color sliders. I want to get this beard to pop a little bit more, the highlights if you will. So I’m going to use the yellow and increase it. You’ll

Need a Good Gear Bag? Kata OMB Review and Deal

January 9th, 2012 by John Adkins

Looking for a good quality gear bag that can hold a little bit of everything? Then this bag might be for you!

I stopped by to see my friends at Outdoor Photo Gear the other day and they had just received a shipment of these bags in. While I wasn’t really in the market for a new bag, I couldn’t help but notice the size of this thing and how well made it is (its a Kata –duh). Its billed as a medium sized bag, but this thing looks like it will hold everything but the kitchen sink! So I had to check it out.

Its the Kata KT-OMB-75 One Man Band Bag and I believe it would store everything a one man band could possibly throw in it. Its surrounded by pockets all the way around and on top. The front pocket zips open to reveal a large, flat storage area with smaller, utility style pockets for everything from notebooks, to pens, chords and all sorts of smaller knick-knacks. It also has a flat pocket on each side and another voluminous one on top. On the outside top of the bag, there are straps that can be used to strap on a tripod or light stands.

Detailed Gura Gear Chobe Review

January 6th, 2012 by Dan Carr

Editor’s note:  Welcome Dan Carr to the blog!  Dan spends the winters as a senior photographer for Skier magazine in Canada as well as shooting commercial images for many of the biggest winter sports brands and resorts in the world. In the summer he shoots a range of other commercial and sports photography specializing in motorsports. His work has been featured in more than 50 different publications from Japan to Canada and everywhere in between.  Check out his blog with incredible equipment reviews  and news here.


Started by world renowned wildlife photographer Andy Biggs, Gura Gear has gathered a strong following from nature and wildlife photographers in the last couple of years with their Kiboko 30L backpack. The Kiboko was designed by Andy specifically to hold large super telephoto lenses during travel and in the field. It’s take a few years but this past Autumn, Gura Gear expanded their lineup to include two new bags; Kiboko 22l and Chobe 19-24L. We’ll be taking a closer look at the new 22L Kiboko in the coming weeks but today I want to give you my thoughts on the new Chobe shoulder bag.


Gura Gear Chobe can be purchased from the Outdoor Photo Gear Store.



Colorado based photographer Daniel Kelly Brown made this great little animation of the Chobe which is also worth watching.