Archive for MindShift Gear PhotoCross 13 Sling Bag

A Review of Night Sky Settings

Posted in Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Photography Workshops, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2018 by lilybug1960

A Review of Night Sky settings.
 
I was really fortunate that in my 2 shoots on Driftwood Beach I was able to have the Milky Way present in the sky for one of them. It was questionable for a while with the haze, and never did clear completely, but it was enough for me. I wanted to take a moment and talk about the settings I use for night skies. They are a starting point and can vary from place to place and should simply be used as just a starting point. First, my lens of choice is a Tamron SP f2.8 Di VC USD lens set at 15mm on a full frame camera, in this case the Nikon D-850. I shoot in Manual Exposure and Manual Focus modes setting the shutter speed to 30 seconds, aperture at f2.8, and ISO to 3200. I use the RAW setting on the camera since I will be adjusting the White Balance in Lightroom. On this lens I set the focus ring to infinity, on otherslenses I will back it off just a little. A must is a sturdy tripod and ballhead, for this image the Sirui N3204X tripod and K30X ballhead. A cable release or self-timer is needed to minimize camera shake. When I did this scene I did my first exposure at ISO 3200, but it was a little too bright, so I brought the ISO down to 1600. You want the image to be bright on the LCD, but you do want to see your Milky Way, be careful about it being under exposed, you will need the extra light for the processing of the image. After your first exposure, zoom in on the LCD to make sure your stars are good “point” sources of light, if not, adjust your focus. That is why I love this lens, it is always spot on at the infinity mark.
 
Get to your location and let your eyes adjust, use an App to locate the “Galactic Core” and move around to set your composition. Be patient and learn to process the image in Lightroom or another program, because more than half the image is achieved in the post processing. Most of all have fun!
 
#WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #Sirui, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional
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Tips for shooting at Driftwood Beach

Posted in Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Photography Workshops, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2018 by lilybug1960

Tips for shooting at Driftwood Beach.
 
I just returned from 5 days on Jekyll Island while attending and presenting at the Annual Expo for the Georgia Nature Photographers Association. I wanted to share some of my observations as tips for shooting on Driftwood Beach and some notes on the Expo as well.
 
Driftwood Beach is much like shooting on any beach with some special subjects to consider. The trees, or driftwood, is a key to the composition so make sure you scout to find the tree that appeals to you the most. The trees will be on dry land except for rising or falling tides near their peaks. I personally like to have swirls and wet sand around the wood to reflect the morning sky. Using a simple App to determine where the sun will rise on the horizon will help you to get set up for that perfect image. Plan to be able to shoot on a couple different days just in case the weather conditions are perfect. Lower humidity will hopefully eliminate some of the haze on the horizon and help if you want to shoot sunstars. A slight breeze will help with the gnats, and believe me, you want the help with the gnats! I put some type of bug spray on every 15 minutes, and if you miss a square inch, they will find it. I like the smooth water so for me using a Neutral Density filter is a must. A circular polarizer will remove the reflection, so an ND filter is better. You will want either a 4 stop or 6 stop. I use the square filters from Sirui. When the sun is rising and the detail in the foreground and sky are so dark due to the sunlight, a Reverse Graduated ND filter is needed. I used a 2 stop Reverse Graduated ND filter for my images. A good tripod is needed as well for longer images. Watch the legs to make sure they aren’t in the water because it will sink in the middle of your exposure and cause blur. Be ready to run around and work other trees as well, and most of all have fun.
 
The GNPA Annual Expo kicked off Thursday with some pre-conference classes and workshops. I taught a Macro class and then we went out to shoot around the building. On Friday I took a group to Harris Neck NWR, which is an incredible location and everyone should visit it, even if it is just to see the birds that visit and reside there. Once the Expo started officially and all the presentations were in one location, the break out sessions and meetups were great because you got to meet so many new folks, shoot with friends and people who share the same passion for nature. The Expo, to me, isn’t about all the presentations or workshops, its about the sharing of knowledge between photographers, the camaraderie that is there. I never leave one of these events that I don’t see the formation of lifelong bonds and friendships. For me, seeing so many people that come hoping to walk away with more knowledge is a personal goal to make sure I do my best to give them that which they seek. I hope most of all to inspire people to try new things, shoot new places and most of grow their passion for photography and nature. I hope everyone will check out the GNPA or NANPA, or the local equivalent, wherever you live. Go to their meetings and conferences, you won’t regret the experience!
 
Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens on a Nikon D-850, Manual Exposure mode, f22, ISO 64, shutter speed of 15 seconds, Sirui 4 stop Neutral Density filter and 2 stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density filter, Sirui N3204X tripod and K30X ballhead, MindShift Gear PhotoCross 13L slingbag, processed in Lightroom Classic CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #Sirui, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional, #MindShiftGear

Finishing your vision

Posted in Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2018 by lilybug1960

Finishing your vision.
 
I have posted 3 images from my experience on Thursday morning at Driftwood Beach, but when I left I was saying to myself…”if I only”. If I only had 5 more minutes to shoot that tree with the long branch in the foreground, if I only could be there when the tide was higher, and so on. You can never really finish your vision without visiting on different days and in different conditions. I went back Saturday morning with Ken Hubbard to shoot and it looked like we were set for an “epic” sunrise complete with some nice clouds and high tide. However as the sun approached the horizon, there was just enough haze to prevent the clouds above us to light up dramatically. It didn’t stop us though from working more compositions that we could visualize in our minds. One for me was to try and capture a sunstar in the crook of the branch. So I positioned myself to a point where I could capture that and used a 4 stop Neutral Density filter and a 2 stop reverse Graduated Neutral Density filter to hold back a little light on the horizon. I felt really good about the images I captured, but I did walk off the beach saying..If I only…
 
Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens on a Nikon D-850, Manual Exposure mode, f16, ISO 64, shutter speed of 8 seconds, Sirui N3204X tripod and K30X ballhead, Sirui 4 stop ND filter and 2 stop Reverse Graduated ND filter, MindShift Gear PhotoCross 13L slingbag, processed in Lightroom Classic CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #Sirui, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional, #MindShiftGear

Driftwood Beach Sunstar

Posted in Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2018 by lilybug1960

Driftwood Beach Sunstar.
 
I have shared the experience leading up to this image, shooting the Milky Way, then sunrise, now walking off the beach, and it was just a perfect ending to a perfect morning of shooting. When the Sun had appeared over the horizon it was behind some haze, which made for some great imagery, but I couldn’t put a sunstar into my frame because I needed a clean light source. As my friend and I started to leave we approached the tree where we had started our morning’s journey, the sun emerged from the haze and became a point source of light. Knowing if I could place that light partially behind a branch, I could achieve the sunstar I was hoping for all along. I found a nice perspective to place the burst in a hole between branches causing some nice diffraction of light, set my aperture to f22 to get nice length in the burst’s spires, quickly metered and adjusted my shutter speed, and “click”, done!
 
I talk often about a photograph being nothing more than a “moment in time”, and I try to teach my students to improve their photography, think of every click as creating an image vs simply capturing a photograph. I tell them an image has a process the photographer goes through to capture it, the thought, the selection of a lens, the position we place our cameras, we try and capture our feelings and emotions in our images. I tell them to improve, stop taking photographs, start creating images. I feel that instead of capturing a moment in time (whatever that shutter speed is), start capturing and creating a memory of that moment or of that event. Start creating an image that you can share that memory and evoke the emotions of the viewer to feel they were there with you when you created that image. I will have vivid memories of the morning each time I see one of the images I created, and remember the people we met, and the experience we shared, and I will remember walking off the beach seeing the sun shining through the window of the branches.
 
Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens on a Nikon D-850, f22, ISO 64, shutter speed of 4 seconds, Sirui N3204X tripod and K30X ballhead, Sirui 4 stop ND filter, MindShift Gear PhotoCross 13L sling bag, processed in Lightroom Classic CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #Sirui, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional, #SiruiFilters, #MindShiftGear

Driftwood Beach, Moonrise and the Milky Way

Posted in Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2018 by lilybug1960

Driftwood Beach, Moonrise and the Milky Way.
 
Yesterday started at 4 a.m. for me, remember I am an insomniac, by preparing for a trip to Driftwood Beach. It is about a 2 minute drive from our hotel for the GNPA Expo, so it didn’t take long to get there. A good friend and I decided we would go out and shoot the Milky Way and a sunrise. After walking out on the beach and finding a perfect subject we set up and noticed that a layer of haze had moved in and blocked the view of the Milky Way. We were standing around talking when 2 other photographers walked up and we started chatting. They had been out since about 1 a.m. and said the haze had just moved in…of course it did. As we talked for a few minutes, I noticed the haze moving out. The other 2 photographers said they were going to call it a day since it was hazy, but I stated I wouldn’t give up on it just yet as it appeared to be moving out. They chuckled and commented about my optimism, but after about 5 more minutes they noticed it really was moving out. We all set up and shot for about 40 minutes before our new friends did call it a day and 4 other photographers showed up as well. We all continued to shoot when I noticed the beautiful orange crescent moon rising over the horizon. I recomposed slightly to include the moon in my frame. The scene, slight layer of haze and all, was exactly what I had hoped for on my first trip to Driftwood Beach, and surely not to be my last trip. We stayed until after sunrise and I will post those images in the next few days as well, and trust me when I say, you want to see how our morning finished. What an incredible scene!
 
Tamron SP 15-30mm f2.8 Di VC USD lens on a Nikon D-850, Manual Exposure mode, f2.8, ISO 1600, shutter speed of 30 seconds, manual focus set to Infinity, Sirui N3204X tripod and K30X ballhead, MindShift Gear PhotoCross 13L slingbag, processed in Lightroom Classic CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #Sirui, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional, #MindShiftGear

Pay Attention to your Background

Posted in Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Photography Workshops, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2018 by lilybug1960

Pay attention to your background.
 
While I lead my group around Zoo Miami, I would try and find “lessons” as we walked. When we got to the Lion’s enclosure, a great lesson presented itself. From the spot that seemed a perfect area to photograph the Lion there was a tree behind it that I knew would present itself as a distraction in the finished image. I explained to the students that were with me at the time to do their compositions, then remove their eye from the viewfinder. When they returned their eye back to the viewfinder I asked them if their compositions looked the same as they did only moments prior. Everyone now noticed the tree behind the Lion where they missed it before. I then moved the group to our left enough to remove the tree from being a distraction. When you compose your image it is easy to develop “tunnel vision” and to miss objects in your frame that aren’t elements that will aid in your image but instead distract. Take a few seconds to remove your eye from the camera and then when you return it can be enough to break that “tunnel vision”.
 
Tamron 100-400mm Di VC USD lens on a Nikon D-500, Manual Exposure mode, f8, ISO 200, shutter speed of 1/800th of a second (first image) 1/500th of a second (second image), Sirui P326 carbon fiber monopod, MindShift Gear PhotoCross 13L Slingbag, processed in Lightroom Classic CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #Sirui, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional, #MindShiftGear

Mother and Child, part 2

Posted in Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Photography Workshops, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2018 by lilybug1960

Mother and Child, part 2.
 
This is a variation from the image yesterday where mother and young Zebra were parallel, this image the young Zebra is feeding. Even with the change of position, you can see how the young Zebra would still be fairly camouflaged if a predator were nearby.
 
Tamron SP 100-400mm Di VC USD lens on a Nikon D-500, Manual Exposure mode, f8, ISO 200, shutter speed of 1/125th of a second, Sirui P326 monopod, MindShift Gear PhotoCross 13L Slingbag, processed in Lightroom Classic CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #TamronUSAMagazine, #Sirui, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional, #MindShiftGear