One of my favorite subjects to shoot during the winter months are slab cut rocks, which are thin slices of rocks that are polished smooth exposing all kinds of great abstract designs. Each year I search out companies online that sell these rocks and this year I found “Dandy Slabs” which is a premier site for rare, high grade and old stock lapidary materials – slabs, rough rock and collector specimens. You can chekck them out at www.dandyslab.com.
I shot these images using my Tamron 60mm macro lens. When I’m shooting indoor I like using a short focal length lens and working in close with the subject.
This first rock is a Deschutes Picture Jasper Slab and I liked the rich warm tones and lines.
This part of the rock reminded me of a mountain range, and the bright area on the left is the early morning sun with a large flock of crows in the sky entering the scene.
Finally! After many, many months (possibly even a year or so) of research and investigating, I finally purchased myself a ring light, or rather a ring flash modifier that I can use with my existing speedlights.
There are several makes and models to choose from which made the process a little more difficult than I expected, but I made a decision based on my shooting style, what would work with what I already have, and what my pocket book could let go of.
I decided on the Orbis Ring Flash adapter for quite a few reasons. Number one, it will work with my speedlights …all of them. There are a few other ring flash adapters made for speedlights but some of them will only fit specific models. The Orbis is designed to be a universal fit, and it does indeed fit both sizes of my Nikon speedlights.
The holidays are now over. Your naughty/nice tally has been reset and another year is a head of us! Apparently, you were super good because you got that new camera gear you had been asking for. The excitement of getting what you wanted has passed, and now it's time for you to take your new toy and put it into action.
Many times, this is much easier said than done. Many people get stuck pondering what to do next once they have their new gear.
Never fret (yes folks, some of us still use that word…). We have four tips to make this transition easier. Not all of these suggestions are applicable in all situations so yes, your mileage will vary. Some may seem basic, but you can never underestimate the importance of mastering the basics. Nonetheless, these ideas are better than you engaging in a staring contest with your new and exciting toy. The new gear always wins the staring contest… I promise…
1. Read… The Manual
Regardless of where you are in your photographic journey, it is beneficial to read the manual. You need to be familiar with how to use your new equipment before you take it into the field. The last thing you want is to get the killer moment presented to you in the field only to miss it because you were futzing around with your gear. Your gear are your tools which enable you to make the photographs. If you start reading through the manual and you don’t understand stuff, don’t worry. This is all about learning
A very common source of confusion for nature photographers is how to properly calibrate a monitor.
Glenn has provided a short video tutorial on how he calibrates his monitor. No matter what calibration system you use, you'll find this video helpful. If you don't calibrate yet, this video will clear up some of the mystery!
You can see useful Color Management tools in the store here.
Learn more about Glenn, check out his images, books and workshops here.
I love watching the reruns of the TV hit comedy sitcoms from the past on TBS, and my favorite is the “Seinfeld” show. If you are a fan of that show, you may have seen the episode titled “The Bubble Boy” which was about a young man that had to live in a plastic bubble, which doesn’t sound funny, but it was. When I captured this image it reminded me of that show.
I shot this at the edge of a river which had a small waterfall. The crashing water of the falls produced bubbles which flowed to the edge were I was standing. I thought that the bubbles would make an interesting abstract image, so I set-up my camera. I needed a fast shutter speed to stop the quick movement of the bubbles as they past by, and at that time the the highest ISO I could shoot with my Fuji S3 camera and produce a decent noise free image was at ISO1600, so that’s where I set it. I set the f/stop at 3.5 which is wide open on my 180mm macro to also help increase the shutter speed. The light was an overcast day and I got the shutter speed up around 1000th of a second.
I shot about 40 images, and out of all the images this was the only one that worked without any softness in the details from the quick swirling movement of the bubbles. You see me and the legs of the tripod, and the trees towering above me. It was shot in the early spring and the trees were bare as they had not started to bud yet. Very cool stuff, try it next time you’re near some waterfalls.
You can visit Mike's blog and learn about his workshops here: Tiny Landscapes
Mike's eBooks are available in the OPG store here: Mike Moats
PDN has named the Induro Gimbal GHB2 the Tripod Head of the Year. Their story leads off with “If you like shooting wildlife but feel constrained by traditional tripod heads, discover Induro’s latest line of gimbals and liberate yourself.”
You can read PDN's review from earlier this year after the break. Thanks, PDN!
I’ve really fallen in love my iPad; so much in fact that I broke down and bought an Apple MacBook (but that’s another story). There are so many new applications being released for the iPad that it’s hard to stay on top of them all, but here are a few of my favorites.
Here’s a glimpse into some some of my favorite iPad apps:
1. FolioBook— if you want to create a beautiful portfolio of your work, then look no further. This application is great. It took me only a few minutes and I had a super slick portfolio that I can now show off to friends or clients.
2. Photogene– I’ve long had this application on my iPhone, but it’s 10X better on the iPad. This program really allows you to do quite a bit of editing. Sure, I would love to see a Lightroom app, but until then Photogene works just fine.
3. Easy Release– If you need a model release on the fly then this is the application for you. I’ve had this loaded on my iPhone for quite some time, but the iPad version is much easier to work with.
4. Photo fx Ultra– One of my biggest complaints with the iPad is the ability to print to a wireless printer. This application does a decent job of allowing me to do just that…my only complaint is that it cost $8.00. (If anyone from Apple is reading this, get us a free print app!)
5. LightTrac– ever wonder what the angle of the sun will be at any given time of the day at any given location? This makes planning for sunset/sunrise by locations a breeze. I almost feel like I’m cheating when I use it.
6. PS Express– Photoshop Express is a great iPad app and the best part–it’s FREE!
7. Google Earth–An essential tool for researching any area that I’m traveling to.
All of us at OPG would like to welcome Guy Tal to the blog and to the store. Guy has a new e-book in the store: Creative Landscape Photography. This e-book is full of stunning images, discourses on the philosophy of landscape photography, and creative exercises that will unlock your potential and take your images to the next level.
Guy will also be posting on the blog from time to time, giving us his unique perspectives and viewpoints.
Guy hones his craft in Torrey, Utah, in the heart of a unique and scenic desert region known as the Colorado Plateau. He chooses nature photography as a way of capturing and sharing the beauty, power, and fragility of wild places and the life that inhabits them. Guy migrated from Israel in his twenties and transitioned his life as well–from soldier and student, to naturalist, photographer and writer.
Guy has lived in the American West for 15 years and also has a Fine Art Print gallery in Torrey.
You can learn more about Guy, view his images and check out his gallery here: Guy Tal
There's a new kid in town in the cold shoe department! From the same awesome guys that came up with the Orbis Ring Flash adapter, comes the all new Frio Universal Cold Shoe Adapter. This cool gadget will connect any hotshoe flash to any 1/4-20 threaded stud and it connects very securely.
The Frio is made of a hard, durable plastic, is very light weight, and is smaller than the standard plastic shoe that comes with most flashes. This little guy is so small that you can literally pack 10 of these in any bag and take up little to no space.
But does it work, you say?
Let's check it out…
As stated above, the Frio simply screws on to any 1/4-20 threaded stud (which is pretty much standard on just about all light stands, tripods and just about anything else you can attach a flash to), and the flash hotshoe just slides right in.
The Frio has a "dual locking" mechanism in that there is a plastic tab that you have to push down to get the flash in the shoe, then it has a slot that picks up the locking pin mechanism on just about every hotshoe flash.
I used mine on an umbrella swivel adapter (as I do with all my shoe mounts). Because the Frio has a metal threaded insert and not a plastic one, you get a very secure fit to your stud mount. Also, you can wrench it down pretty well without fear of stripping the threads …not so with plastic threading.
You can see in the photo below that the Frio is approximately half the size of the standard plastic cold shoe that comes with your flash.
Just to test the Frio's actual strength out, I turned my flash over to a 90 degree angle. Not only did it not even budge, I