PowerEx 8 Cell Battery Charger Overview

February 17th, 2012 by John Adkins

 

Looking for a reliable battery charger?  Well then, go get this one now, right now, I’ll wait.

Seriously though, if you’re using speedlights (or any AA rechargeable battery consuming device) then you know what a hassle it is keeping them charged.  At one point, I literally had every outlet in the house littered with little 4 count battery chargers that took all night to charge and sometimes wouldn’t even charge one or all of the batteries in the deck.

So after a few years of frustration with small chargers, I finally sprang for the PowerEx 8-Cell battery charger.. and I am in love.  This charger simply rocks!  It has individual charging circuits for each battery and can charge either AA or AAA rechargeable batteries.  What’s so great about the individual circuits is that you can mix batteries of different charge levels at a time.  With most standard chargers (the cheap-o ones) if you have batteries of different charge levels, it won’t charge them.

Another great thing about this charger is that you can charge your batteries in 1 hour!!  When I first used this charger, I was able to charge 16 batteries in less than 2 hours!!  That is awesome.  Also, it has a “Soft” charging cycle which extends the battery life and only takes 2 hours to cycle.  If you have a bunch of AA rechargeables lying around that won’t hold a charge anymore, this charger will condition old batteries and bring them back up to optimal performance.  It also has a LCD display that tells you the status of each battery.

There are many other cool features about this charger, but the ones I listed above were enough to sell me on this product.  I seriously may buy another one soon.

I haven’t yet switched to the PowerEx series batteries because I have so many Energizer batteries lying around that still seem to kick out the juice, but over time I am planning on slowly migrating to them.

If you’re on the fence about getting a good charger, then go ahead and make the jump.  I can’t believe I waited so long to get one of these, it simply makes my life easier.

Win a Gura Gear 22L+

February 10th, 2012 by Chris Klapheke

Be our Valentine!

This Valentine’s Day we’re giving away a Gura Gear Kiboko 22L+ to one of our lucky customers!

The Kiboko 22L+ is one of the hottest photo backpacks on the market today, and has a value of $379.

You can see more about the 22L+ here.

The Valentine’s Day prizes don’t stop with the Kiboko.  We’re giving away a bunch of Gura Gear t-shirts and lens cleaning cloths too!

Four ways to win—each way is a separate entry for you!

  1. Follow us on Twitter here: @OPGear on Twitter

  2. Like us on Facebook here: Outdoor Photo Gear on Facebook

  3. Tweet or retweet this message:

    Win a @guragear Kiboko 22L backpack from
    @OPGear! Details here: http://opgear.us/xIwrIN

  4. Leave a comment below with a Valentine’s Day message for your special someone: your significant other, your favorite photographer, or even your mom!

If you already follow us on Twitter or Facebook, you are automatically entered in our giveaway. Tweet or post a blog comment for extra entries!

We’ll pick the winner randomly from all entries on Feb. 15, and notify you by email.

Thanks for all your support, and Happy Valentine’s Day!


Universal L-Bracket Advantages

February 6th, 2012 by Mike Moats

An L-bracket allows photographers with short focal length lenses without collars, to easily change your camera from a horizontal position to a vertical position.Here is my D7000 with a matching specific L-Bracket attached set in the horizontal position.

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Because the L-Bracket is designed to wrap around the side of the camera, I can now reset the camera to a vertical position.

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The problem with L-Brackets is they are all designed to fit each individual camera. So if you change to a new camera you have to buy a new L-Bracket for that camera. Not that it would be a big deal if the L-bracket was cheap, but my last one cost me $130.

Acratech makes a Universal L-Bracket that will fit most all DSLRs and other camera formats as well. This bracket runs about $225 which is pricey, but it will fit all your cameras and will prevent you from having to spend way more in the long run buying L-Brackets every time to buy a new camera.

Eckla Gear Carts Video Overview

February 2nd, 2012 by Matt Dennison

We thought you might like to see a little video we put together on the Eckla Gear Carts.  They sure make it easy to haul your gear!  Check them out  in the store here.

Thanks to Maxis Gamez and Curt Edwards for your help!

 

Eckla Gear Carts Video Overview Transcript

Transport your gear quickly and easily over all kinds of terrain, trails, beaches, docks, fields, just about anything. There’s two kinds of carts, the Beach Rolly and the Multi Rolly.

The Multi Rolly has a foldout chair for photographers so you can sit on your shoot without unpacking. Wide tires let you navigate in sand, mud and just about any terrain. Easy assembly. Fold flat for transportation in you vehicle and it sets up in seconds.

There are lots of accessories too, like cargo nets and bottle holders. The Rolly is made with precision German engineering, and it’s made of sturdy aluminum frame which prevents corrosion and makes it lightweight too. Carry your gear with these and save your energy for fun.

 

2011 – My Year in Photos by Bret Edge

February 1st, 2012 by Bret Edge

Here we are in 2012. Already. It doesn’t seem like a year ago that we ushered in 2011, but calendars don’t lie.  2011 was an interesting year for me.  I spent more time in the office building my business and less time in the field doing what we all love to do – photography.  As I culled through images made in the past year it quickly became evident that I didn’t get out enough.  I live in Moab, for God’s sake.  Arches and Canyonlands are in my backyard.  There is no legitimate excuse to not be out exploring this beautiful landscape more often.  So, in 2012, I resolve to do just that.  I’ll spend more time making images and less time marketing them.  Not too much less, because I do still need to pay the bills.

Every year I squeeze in a few big trips, consisting of a couple weeks each, to locations throughout the western United States.  Looking back on all the photos from our 2011 adventures brought back some wonderful memories.  We celebrated my son Jackson’s second birthday at a campground in Death Valley, ate dinner by a campfire on the beach in Cape Kiwanda, summited a 14′er in Colorado (Jackson’s first!) and spent Thanksgiving week exploring Valley of Fire in Nevada.  No doubt, I am a lucky man.

The images I’ve chosen to share as my favorites aren’t necessarily my best.  One photo was five years in the making, another has tremendous emotional appeal, a couple I just really like and some were made in a place I’m now obsessed with and can’t wait to visit again.  If I were assembling a 2011 portfolio to present to an art buyer only a couple of these would make the cut.  The important thing is that these images mean something to me.  I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoyed making them.

Slot Canyon & River Rock, Nevada

I found this slot canyon by chance while wandering around Valley of Fire State Park one morning following a sunrise shoot.  I was struck by the contrast of warm, colorful sandstone walls and the cool blue river rock in the mud on the canyon floor as well as the three dimensional feeling created by the wide angle lens and striations in the rock.

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.

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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.

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