New Outdoor Photo Gear Product Video Intro

May 4th, 2011 by Chris Klapheke

Matt, our webmaster and graphics wizard, has been hard at work creating a new OPG intro that we'll place on the many gear review videos we have coming up.  We think it's pretty cool!

We’re Back On the DPE Podcast with Rick & Juan!

May 3rd, 2011 by Juan Pons

After a busy break, Chris from OPG is back on the DPE podcast as the "Gear Guru".  He'll be featuring a group of gear each podcast, and discussing that gear with Juan. 

Both Rick and Juan love answering your questions. No question is too basic or too advanced, so if you have questions you would like answered, please send them on in and they’ll get to it pretty soon. You can send your questions via email to or click on the “Contact us” button on the top of the website.

The DPE podcast is sponsored by the amazing folks at SmugMug. Make sure to check them out and if you sign up by following this link, you get an awesome 20% off your first year! How cool is that!

This is Episode number 34 of the Digital Photo Experience Podcast with Rick Sammon & Juan Pons.

Make sure to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes here: DPExperience Podcast on iTunes so you don’t miss a single episode.

Listen to the podcast here:

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To download the mp3 file directly click here

Hope you enjoy this episode.

Show Notes/Links

New Ebook and Photo Contest from Guy Tal

May 2nd, 2011 by Chris Klapheke

Our friend and contributor Guy Tal has been rather busy of late.  In addition to publishing a new ebook, Guy is running a ten week creative photo contest, with new themes and prizes every week.  Here's the lowdown on Guy's new projects:


First, Guy's new ebook.  Having previously brought us Creative Landscape Photography, Guy has now turned his attention to image processing, and has published Creative Processing Techniques for Nature Photography.  Both of Guy's books are great reads, and are rather unique in the ebook field.  Guy not only brings us technical tips and know-how on his subject matter, but also discusses the mental side of things–the vision and the thought processes behind creative images.  My favorite feature of Guy's books is that he includes thought-provoking exercises for the reader to perform, creating ebooks that are not only informative, but interactive. 

In Creative Processing Techniques for Nature Photography, Guy covers subjects such as:  Comfort Zones, Dynamic Visualization, Workflow & Analysis, RAW Processing, Global & Local Adjustments, Output and more.

Check out both of Guy's books in the  OPG Store here.


Second, Guy has also been busy putting on a Creative Photography Contest, and OPG is a proud sponsor.

This contest will run 10 weeks, with a new theme and a new batch of prizes every week. At the end of the contest, there will be a Grand Prize Winner for lots of gear goodies.

The first week has just ended, and Guy says he received lots of entries, and some incredible images.  He'll be posting the winners and entries on his site as the contest goes along.

Read about the contest and jump in with an entry here.  Fun stuff!

Choosing Rain Covers for Your Gear Repost

April 29th, 2011 by Chris Klapheke

Editors note:  Since it has been raining, ahem, just a little bit around the country, we thought we'd repost an entry dealing with different rain covers for your gear.

Hydrophobia in the rain

Rain Covers can protect your gear from the elements—not just rain.  Mother nature throws all kinds of corrosive at your gear:  sand, salt spray, snow and dust to name a few.  Think of washing your clothes the last time you shot near the water or in a dusty field.  That same stuff that made your clothes dirty is on your gear!

Your choice of rain covers is all over the board, both in price and in sizes.  From $5 plastic disposable covers to high tech solutions running several hundred dollars, it might be overwhelming as to which one to choose.

The answer to your rain cover can reveal itself with a little analysis of two things:  the lenses in your collection, and why you’ll need a rain cover.  Keep in mind that one size rain cover probably won’t fit all your lenses, and you may find a different rain cover need for different lenses.  Just as you need different lenses for different situations, you may need different rain covers as well.

Take your lenses out of storage and line them up on a table. A quick look will (maybe painfully) remind you of the amount of investment you have to protect.  Grab a tape measure—yes, you’ll need to measure your lenses, both length and diameter.  If you want your rain gear to cover your hood, include that in your measurements.  Keep in mind teleconverters, and add a few inches for them if you use them.  Also, some rain cover manufacturers include the measurements for your camera body, so  measure those as well.  It only take a few minutes to measure, and you’ll want to save this information.

Using Long Lenses to Create Dynamic Landscape Photographs

April 21st, 2011 by Bret Edge

Pick up most any coffee table book featuring landscape photography and you’ll likely be confronted with image after image of sweeping vistas and vast panoramas. Most of the images are probably photographed using a wide angle to moderate focal length lens. What you won’t see are a bunch of photos created with a telephoto lens.


Long lens landscape photography isn’t as easy nor is it as natural as using a wide angle lens to compose a landscape photograph. Our eyes don’t see at 200, 300 or even 400mm. Normal human vision is similar to the field of view of a 50mm lens. The most challenging aspect of using a telephoto lens to photograph landscapes is learning to see like a telephoto lens. Your goal is to extract small, interesting sections from a much larger landscape. As if that isn’t difficult enough to do with the naked eye, a telephoto lens will also dramatically compress the distance between foreground and background elements. Factor in the technical challenges of working with a long lens and you might be tempted to just throw in the towel. Don’t do it! Here’s why.

Street Photography and the Golden Rule

April 18th, 2011 by John Batdorff

I spent a while chatting it up with this charming guy with the help of an interpreter.

If there’s one thing I was reminded of while in Africa it was my need to “connect in order to create.” That connection may be as simple as an exchange of smiles between me and a young man stacking charcoal or as intricate as an interpreter explaining my every word. As a photographer, my curious nature places me in situations that can be hard to navigate and at times difficult to explain. I found throughout the years that being sincere, respectful and giving a big smile are key ingredients to successfully navigating language barriers.

Here are a few guidelines to try to follow when traveling abroad:

1. Be polite and respectful. Don’t be the ugly tourist with camera.
2. Consider a local guide when traveling abroad. S/he can really help break down the communication barrier.
3. Spend some time getting to know your subject before getting the camera out.
4. If you’re in a town for a few days consider going for a walk without your camera. Scouting an area and connecting with people/shopkeepers can pay dividends when you come back with your camera in tow.
5. Telling a story — Try to tell a story with your images. I avoid shots that simply portray poverty. Taking a keen interest in what a person does for a living or how he or she supports their family is what I’m interested in photographing.
6. Lastly, remember safety is key. I love street photography but it’s very easy to get caught up in a “moment.” Having a travel partner that can watch your back is just common sense.


How to Photograph from an Open-Roof Safari Vehicle in Africa

April 8th, 2011 by Andy Biggs

Editor's note:  Welcome Andy Biggs to the blog! Andy has been a long time supporter of OPG, and is the designer and manufacturer of the wildly popular Gura Gear Kiboko bag.  In addition to running Gura Gear, providing commercial stock images and teaching workshops, Andy conducts incredible photo safaris to Africa.  Andy heads overseas six or more times a year, covering nearly every accessible part of the African continent.  Having traveled with Andy myself to several stops in southern Africa, I can tell you that Andy's safaris are first class, and that you'll have the photographic experience of a lifetime.   You can find out more about Andy, see his images and learn about his safaris at his website www.andybiggs.comWe look forward to more articles and videos from Andy in the future! –Chris

There are many different types of safari vehicles in Africa, and this is the first in a series of videos to try and explain what the vehicles are like. This video specifically describes what the pop-top, or open-roof vehicles are like in east Africa. There are other vehicle types in east Africa (Tanzania and Kenya), however this video specifically addresses the open roof type. I'll shoot similar videos in Botswana and in Kenya later on this year, and my goal is to use these videos to visually explain what the vehicles are like before travelers get to Africa.

You can find the Kinesis Safari Sack described in this video in the OPG Store here.

Winners Announced in our SmugMug Pro Giveaway!

April 5th, 2011 by Chris Klapheke


Congrats to our two winners in our SmugMug giveaway! 

Sharon Thomas of Santa Fe, New Mexico

Debra Schmidt of Deltona, Florida

These two photographers win a year of a SmugMug Pro account courtesy of OPG and our pals at SmugMug.

Many thanks to Katherine at SmugMug!

Finding Character In Contrast

March 31st, 2011 by Mike Moats

One important element that I look for when out walking with my camera is contrasting colors, shades, shapes, and sizes. Interesting variations within subjects play an important part in creating images with character.
This is an agave plant that I found at a botanical garden. You may have seen the work of photographers who have converted a color image into a black and white image and then added a small splash of color in order to create a contrast that pops. This plant reminds me of those images, but this plant’s outer leaves were naturally black and white with the green leaves underneath providing a contrast with character.

Think Tank Photo, Retrospective 30 Camera Bag Review

March 27th, 2011 by admin

Think Tank Retrospective 30

Every photographer needs a good camera bag (ideally a few).  So when it came time to upgrade my trusty old LowePro shoulder bag, I decided to check out the latest bags by Think Tank Photo.  Its not that I didn’t like my old LowePro, but I was wanting a bag that was slightly bigger and one that doesn’t look like a camera bag.  This is where Think Tank Photo came in with their latest line of shoulder bags called the Retrospective series.

The Retrospective line are camera bags designed not to look like camera bags, which, if you’re a photographer who has spent any time in crowds or in locations where its best to not look so conspicuous, then you can most definitely understand how valuable a bag like this can be.  Think Tank has several sizes and color styles available, but I decided to go with the largest, the Retrospective 30.  I also chose the Pinestone color as opposed to the black.  I think I like this color primarily because it looks even less like a camera bag and also has a more ‘rugged’ look to it (which should go well with my rugged good looks, cough ;)

Not only does this bag look great, but it has a ton of room!  This bag can easily hold 2 camera bodies, multiple lenses (even a 70-200) a flash or two and all the batteries, cables, gels and what not that you can stuff in it.  The interior is easily customizable with removable, velcro dividers and can be configured to hold any camera body with just about any lens attached.  I like the Retrospective 30 because its size allows you to place a camera with a lens attached in various positions, depending on the lens you use and still have room for various other necessities.