StoneTether – Bluetooth technology to help you find what you have lost

Stonetether has been extremely successful with their Kickstarter campaign.  The raised 2,400% of their goal, and shipments are projected to start in April of 2015.  What is it that people are so excited about?  A recent news release states that their product is a blue tooth tracking device, about the size of a quarter, with a range of 500 feet.  Attach it to anything from luggage, to your dog, or even your kid.

Leaving on a trip, and need to remember your camera bag?  Record the date and time you’re supposed to leave, and if that item goes out of range, because you left the house without it for example, you get a reminder.

If you missed the kickstarter campaign, have no fear.  Visit their website, and stonetether.com, and check out the early adopter discounts currently available.   The device costs $20, and looks to be a great idea for people who have things they need to keep track of.

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All you need to know about Christmas photography

‘Tis the season to be jolly . . .

Christmas Table Setting

Christmas Table Setting

but that can be difficult when you are a photographer! There is nothing more complicated than harsh sunlight, early evenings, and thousands upon thousands of little Christmas lights to mess up your photographs, which can be really upsetting when you are trying to capture those wonderful memories. Christmas photography really is like no other time of year, and that means that you will need to throw out (almost) everything that you have learned about photography up until now! There are some really great ways that you can bring the seasonal time of year to your camera – this is how I am doing it: Continue reading


How to take festive photographs of Christmas lights

Christmas is an absolutely fantastic time of year for photographers – not only because it is great to create a physical memory for

Christmas Lights at Dusk

Christmas Lights at Dusk

all these wonderful times, but also because there is no better time to practice some of your more complex photographic skills. The festive season is often considered to be more complicated for photographers because of the bright lights in a dark setting. You don’t want glare, but at the same time you don’t want to use your flash and ruin the atmosphere. So what do you do?

Here are my three top tips on how to photograph Christmas lights and holiday decorations this Christmas 2014: Continue reading


Christmas Buying Guide for Photographers

Are you looking for something to give the photographer in your life?  Not sure what to get the photographer that already has everything?  He are some ideas for your holiday shopping:

 

Black Rapid Cross Shot Strap.  A long strap that goes across your torso, with the strap on the left shoulder, and the camera on your right hip, or vice versa.  Approximately $45.

A Beautiful Anarchy by David Duchemin.  I’m currently reading this book, which is not exclusively a photography book.  This is a book about bringing out your inner creative.   Do you want to nurture your inner creativity?  This book is about creativity, and the obstacles that block you from becoming more creative. $10 for the Kindle edition.

 

Domke Chronicle Camera Bag.  A nice traditional camera bag, sized for a moderately sized kit, and includes a tablet pocket.  Approximately $330.

 

The Sirui Camera/Video Monopod.  63″ tall, 4 section monopod.  It has fold down feet for added stability, but that can be removed when you want to use it as a standard monopod. $160.

 

 

 

OnSlot LCD Cleaner. Cleans the LCD screen of your digital camera in the field. Stores conveniently on the hot shoe mount when not in use. $20.

 

 


Shoulderpod S1 Professional Smartphone Rig. Photo tool for the Smart Phone photographer on your Christmas list. It can be used as a tripod mount, filmmaker grip, or traveler stand.  $35


Tips for traveling by commercial airlines and bringing your camera gear

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Now let’s be honest: no one really enjoys traveling that much, but there is no one that dreads it more than photographers! Bringing expensive and delicate camera gear on any journey is naturally stressful, but when you are flying your nerves can get completely out of control. That is why I have put together some of my top tips for traveling by plane with your beloved camera gear – and getting there in one piece!

Airport Night Photo

O’Hare Airport At Night

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Fall Colors

Today is the last day of summer.

Bright Leaves Up Close

Bright Leaves Up Close

Soon there is going to be an explosion of color, as the leaves turn to brilliant red, yellow, orange, and brown. It is an amazing color palette. Since the colors come and go according to both temperature and altitude, you need to research for fall color shooting.

Location is a consideration. If you live in a zone that is known for its fall color, then no problem. If you don’t you, might need to travel a bit. Think about a park, a nearby National Forest or Preservation area. Go look in your back yard; it may seem common to you, but spectacular to those who haven’t seen it.

Camera/lenses , important but don’t fret over it. If you have a DSLR, then likely you have a lens that will work just fine. If you want to take expansive, colorful landscapes, then you might consider a wide-angle lens. If you don’t have one, think about renting one.. If you want to be closer, then you might consider a much longer lens; say a whatever to 300mm lens, (these lenses now come in multiple iterations). Even a 400mm lens might be just the ticket. You might like the flattening effect it gives.

Filters are another consideration. A circular polarizing filter will intensifyi colors. If you plan to use several lenses, don’t purchase a filter for each lens. Buy the requisite size step up rings and then one filter large enough to cover all your lenses. A graduated neutral density filter is also useful. If the scene being photographed has a broad contrast range beyond your camera’s dynamic range then the use of these filters is a must. These come in stops as # 1, 2, or 3–very useful on a bright day. Another piece of essential equipment is a tripod or some support for those situations that require longer exposure times (think water as in creeks and rivers) is vital. A beanbag stuck in the crook of a tree will do the job so don’t break the bank.

Camera settings relate to the available light. Think about depth of field. Use large aperture for nice bokeh in background, small aperture for greater depth of field. White balance settings are also important. If you are able, set a custom white balance. If not set daylight for being out in the full light. On most days, I set my WB to cloudy as this enhances the reds and yellows, something I like. You might also set various picture controls so use them to your advantage.

Give some thought to the time of day. The golden hours are terrific if you can be there at sunrise or sunset. If not, any light can be good light with some adaptation. Use your filters, adjust your camera settings, get into the woods and do some detail shots of leaves or a single leave. The sparkles of light that leak through the upper canopy of the trees can make the forest scenery look like jewelry.

The most important tool in the box is you. A bit of imagination, a willingness to play with your camera will make all your shots better. Hey, all you can lose is a few pixels. Have fun.


8 Autumn Photography Tips

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This is one of my favorite times of year to photograph outdoors.  The air is crisp and clean, and the colors are absolutely amazing.  Here are some tips for getting great autumn images.

Fall Pumpkins

Fall Pumpkins

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