Tag: camera

Taking Photography To Another Level

Taking Photography To Another Level

I picked this baby up on eBay since I’d been wanting to get back into film photography. It’s a Canon EOS 1n, a professional-grade film camera. It works with (almost) all of my existing lenses, so it seemed like a good fit. I just shot my first roll of Kodak Ektar 100 and can’t wait to get it developed.  I should have thought this through a little better, since this camera is…well… a bit… heavy.

It’s a boat anchor!

I’m going to have to get creative with carrying this when I go traveling, but after trying “smaller form factor” cameras and not liking them for being too small, I’ll make it happen.

The camera was a joy to shoot with, I’m looking forward to taking more great pictures in the future.

Do you have any suggestions or tips for getting back into film photography? Please feel free to leave comments below. Thanks!

 

360-Degree Content – Apparently, it’s a thing!

360-Degree Content – Apparently, it’s a thing!

We love to shoot pictures and video with our phones or our favorite cameras, and these images can be anything from a captured moment at a family gathering, to a picturesque scene from an exotic island paradise. But…what about everything that’s outside of the field of view? Evidently, some folks have been crafting ways to capture images that don’t have a limited field of view. These images capture 360 degrees all around, and make the resultant file more of an immersive experience for the viewer.

As someone who sure does “love his gadgets”, I wanted to check this out and get in on the phenomenon… so, I started out my research by finding out what I need to do such a thing. Turns out there are a few cameras on the market that do this, ranging in price from a few hundred dollars all the way up to a few thousand. Since I didn’t want to break the bank on something so new, I went for the cost-effective alternative. I picked up an Insta360 Nano camera from Amazon and instantly started playing around with it.  I shot a little test video… nothing overly riveting, but if you watch below, you can actually pan around (either with your finger, or by moving your phone around if you’re watching on a mobile device) and feel like you’re right there in the car with my friend and I.

Since this format is still very new, playback isn’t fully supported on certain web browsers and devices. If you want a fully immersive experience, click here to visit the video directly (Use Google Chrome if on a desktop browser) or get to the video in the YouTube app on your mobile device to get the panning around experience.

What I mean by that, is while watching the video, you can pan your phone around and it will pan the video playback to give you that different vantage point; almost as if you’re using your phone as a portal to view the action of the video from different angles. Very cool!

The video quality isn’t super crystal clear, and I think that comes from the fact that it’s still an incredibly new technology,  and this was created to hit a price point more so than a certain level of quality.

Let’s not forget about pictures, though, because I think this is actually where this camera does a better job.  Here are a few 360 pictures that I shot, which you can manually pan around with your finger to get the full experience.



I intend to take some great pictures of my upcoming vacation and some other fun things around here and there.  Now, Periscope has granted the ability for users to broadcast in 360, so be sure to follow me on Periscope so you can be notified when I go live.

My Photography; The Past, Present, and Future

My Photography; The Past, Present, and Future

It’s no secret, I love photography. 

My first digital SLR was an Olympus E-500, which I bought… gosh… I forget how long ago. I bought it as a kit shortly before it was discontinued. I had two kit lenses with it, and I remember it taking very nice shots for being fairly inexpensive. I then upgraded to a Canon Rebel XSi, mainly since I wanted more choices for lenses. This was my first foray into the land of the bigger-brand cameras.

I shot on the Canon platform for many years, and I’d done all kinds of shoots; engagement, casual portraits, travel… and had great results. I also had many fellow photographer friends who constantly sung the praises of their respective cameras each time we talked about what we were using. Nikon guys loved their Nikons; Sony folk loved their Sony’s, and so on. Being the inquisitive and curious individual that I am, I wanted to see what life was like on the other side of the pond.

Some would say the grass was greener with a Nikon. Others say it was so with a Canon. Some said one brand’s lenses were better. Some say the tech is best in a Sony body. Some said one brand was better for certain types of photography. Some said ergonomics were better on one than another. I made the jump to Nikon in 2013 to find out for myself what it was like. 

It was actually a lot of fun.

I sold my Canon 5Dmk3 and all of my Canon stuff to make the jump to a Nikon D7100. 

I shot with my trusty Nikon for 4 years. We traveled together, we did portrait shoots, and lots of fun and casual shoots.  I found that the grass wasn’t greener, it was still just as lush and green as it was on the Canon side, it was just…a different feeling grass. 

The tech wasn’t any better or worse, and the ergonomics weren’t any better or worse. The sensor on the D7100 is a crop-frame size, versus the 5Dmk3 being full-frame, but the images I got were just as good with plenty of detail and dynamic range. 

In the end, I learned that the grass isn’t greener switching to a different camera platform. There are technical differences between them, if you want to take the time to find them out, but photography (like any art form) is very much about “feel” for me. The grass is still just as green and lush if you know how to properly maintain it. Lawns don’t take care of themselves, they have to be cut, watered and maintained, much like someone’s skill in photography. Switching over got me excited about shooting again, and it forced me to “focus” on the craft, and not so much what gear I was using. 

Fast forward to this year, and I’d been wanting to look at upgrades for my trusty Nikon. For technical reasons I needed to make a change in camera bodies to be able to take my images to the next level. I’d been looking at the Nikon D810, because I wanted to upgrade to a body with a full-frame sensor. I’d had one in the past, and remembered what was possible with that versus what I’d had. Once I’d heard about the recent financial news from Nikon,  I started looking at the company in a different light; something just didn’t feel right about the whole situation. 

I knew from years back that making the jump from one platform to another isn’t all that easy, so I spoke to a few fellow photographer friends what they thought, and got mixed opinions. I asked if they thought Nikon’s news would mean the company would go under, or if it was just a bump in the road and they’d rebound. In the end, they’re a huge company with a huge following, so it’s quite possible nothing awful would come of this, but I still wasn’t feeling reassured. Maybe this was the signal I needed to start looking at some other options.  

After running some numbers and seeing where I was at, I figured out now was just as good of a time as any to make my upgrade to a full-frame camera, by going back to where I came from. 

With the Canon 5Dmk4 out now, the price on the 5Dmk3 was right within my budget. So, as of now I’m back in the Canon camp with the kit that I had before I switched over to Nikon. I’ve got a Canon 5Dmk3, with the 24-105 f/4L lens. 

I remember the reasons I made the switch in the first place, and am enjoying those all over again now. I’m excited about photography again. I now have a camera that gives me the technical upgrades I’ve been looking for to allow for more possibilities with my future photography. I don’t regret making this jump, or any of the jumps I’d made, because it’s all a matter of gaining experience. In the end, it’s a matter of cultivating the grass so it always stays green. 

If you’d like to see some of my pictures, please take a look at my newly-updated photography portfolio and online store by clicking here. 

 

 

Friends can make anything fun

Friends can make anything fun

I had a sudden opportunity come up earlier today that prompted me to pack up my camera gear and head into New York City. I had the opportunity to meet a famous photographer; someone whose photographic work has inspired me, and whom I’ve been trying to meet from other opportunities but things hadn’t worked out, mostly due to scheduling conflicts. I figured it was a nice day, and I had the evening free so I’d try to make it. Little did I know what I was in for. The details of the event he was at were very informally explained to me by a friend at the camera shop I usually go to. He was attending this event as well, and he simply told me to go into “Times Square.” I knew nothing about what was going on, except to bring my camera and come in to Times Square for an informal shoot during which I could meet this famous photographer.

I left my apartment around 4ish, and tried to contact my photo-store friend to find out whereabouts he was. No luck. After a few texts (safely executed during the trip down there, of course.) I figured I’d give Ash a call and see what he was up to, since I was heading into the city and I hadn’t seen him in a while. Overjoyed at my visiting the city, he decided to rendezvous with me in Midtown. Thank God, but we’ll get there momentarily.

So, 4:30pm I got to the PATH station, finally heard back from my photo-store friend who gave me snarky remarks instead of the information I needed. I didn’t know if it was a scheduled event, or an informal event,  or where it was. I asked if there was a big group and he simply replied with “It’s Times Square.” Sadly that was of no use to me. There was a 5PM group photo (presumably of all the photographers that showed up to this) that I missed because the PATH train took way too long to get in there, but I didn’t really care about missing that so much. I prefer to be behind the camera anyway.

So, about 5:15 I’m finally within walking distance of Times Square, and thus I’m trying to find my photo-store friend to meet up with him as I’d said in our phone chat earlier today. I told him I’d try to meet up with him when I got into the city, and he was excited at that prospect. Sadly, none of my phone calls or texts were answered. So, during my first lap of 42nd and Broadway to 47th and back, I had no luck in finding the gaggle of photographers.

During this entire ordeal, I was getting bumped into left and right by the copious amounts of people there. It was extremely uncomfortable to say the least, and I felt my anxiety starting to get the better of me. I was frustrated that I couldn’t find this event that I was “invited” to; I was in Times Square, with no idea other than that. It was like someone said “Let’s meet in the United States” and ended the conversation there. It’s practically a useless invitation. I learned my lesson, no more spontaneous trips to Times Square on a Saturday in the summer time. Nooooo sir.

At that point I had lost interest in meeting the famous photographer guy, and my photo-store friend was not exactly high on my list. For someone expecting me at an event, I was annoyed at the failure to communicate. Sure, maybe he didn’t feel his phone vibrate, it happens to the best of us. But, if I knew someone was looking for me or I was supposed to meet someone, I’d be a little more attentive to my phone so I’d be able to meet up when the time came to do so. I digress; I figured it was time to see where Ash was, and it turned out he was literally just a few feet away from me. We met up, and hilarity ensued.

Ash had some plans later on in the evening, but had a few hours to kill so we decided to make the best of it and do our own thing, and frankly I had a phenomenal time. We grabbed a Starbucks and had a chat, then proceeded to do 3 more laps of Times Square in an attempt to find this photographic event that I was starting to doubt was even going on at all.

Ironically enough, photo-store guy started texting me again with location updates (and snarky remarks) as to where the mass of photographers were, including the famous guy. Each time we went to the coordinates given, there was no such mass of photographers. I was getting tired of the wild goose chase, and photo-guy’s attitude, so Ash and I took some silly pictures around Rockefeller Center, and then I headed home because I was done wandering around.

I’m really grateful for Ash having been there for me. If I were alone, I’d probably have given up after having some sort of panic attack from the tons of people in Times Square bombarding me from all corners. The jam-packed train rides didn’t help either, but I am enjoying the peace and quiet of my apartment and my bed which awaits me.

Pause

Pause

Ever have that feeling where you’re faced with a situation, and instantly make a snap decision to remedy it? ‘Course you have. We all do it constantly, but sometimes it helps to take a step back and think about whatever this decision is. A few questions come to mind, but namely the big one: “Am I making the right choice? Or, am I just jumping the gun?”

We’ve all had our gun-jumping escapades in our lives, we’ve all made snap decisions that we may have regretted. But, rather than regret them, let’s learn from them, and use that life experience to guide us in future decisions, so maybe we don’t have to make a decision too quickly, and cost ourselves something.

I’m encountering all kinds of issues with my satisfaction regarding my camera. I’m just not feeling it the way that I used to, it seems to be making my photography more of a chore and less of a joy. I’m even considering switching to a different manufacturer altogether. But, I’m clearly not thinking rationally.

I am plagued by the syndrome of being a “gear slut”, which means I put my interest in the equipment itself first, then the craft second, but I want to remedy this, because it gets to be a problem when I start to find fault in what I have in order to justify getting something else.

I’m catching myself before I dig my hole any deeper than I already have. I’ve put a lot into my camera rig, and it would really be a major bonehead move to buy all new stuff without really knowing everything there is to know about the gear I have, and what it’s capable of. Not to mention, there are pro’s out there using the same stuff, and getting the results I’m after.

My solution? Pause. Take a deep breath, step back, evaluate, and re-evaluate. Troubleshoot, probe, investigate; learn. Stop trying to win the award for “Most gun-jumping.” I’ll leave that to the bonehead.

The pro’s that are getting those results that I’m after have one huge thing over me right now: Experience. That, right now, will be worth more to me than any lens, camera body, accessory, or whatever.