10 Carry On Friendly Photo and Video Accessories for Holiday Plane Travel

10 Carry On Friendly Photo and Video Accessories for Holiday Plane Travel

Plane travel can be a source of anxiety for photographers. Checking bags isn’t safe for most gear and being able to skip the baggage claim carousels is always a bonus anyway – especially around the holidays. There are a lot of small items to shoot with, including high-quality mirrorless cameras, tiny lenses, and small flash gear. However, it is sometimes hard to skimp on support systems, lighting, and storage in order to save space. Rolling bags, tripods, and light stands all tend to be a pain to try and take on a plane. Here are 10 items that you should be able to take on board with you without having to sacrifice your shooting needs. I say “should” because the TSA is a fickle fish – what flies at one airport may not fly at another and, as always, different carriers will be more strict than others. These are my personal favorite items that I have air traveled with for trade shows, overseas vacations, and for smaller gigs without incident (so far!) on both large airliners and regional jets. AlienBees LS1100 Backlight Stand   This little light stand fits into almost any bag – collapsed it is under a foot and a half and extends up to 3 feet. Don’t pack this for lighting portraits of basketball players but for family get-togethers (especially if everyone is sitting around the couch) it is perfect. Think Tank Airport International V2.0 Rolling Camera Bag  This bag is specifically designed to adhere to TSA standards. It combines the soft give of a fabric body (good for inevitable overstuffing) with the protection of a hard...
10 Tips for Better Architectural Photographs from a Former Architect

10 Tips for Better Architectural Photographs from a Former Architect

Architect-turned-photographer John Cooper has spent the last year converting his three decades of building experience into high quality architectural images.  Despite already having the knowledge of a registered architect and member of the American Institute of Architects, Cooper has learned a lot through trial and error after changing roles and capturing the structures he once helped to create. Here are his 10 pieces of advice for aspiring architectural photographers. 10 Tips for Better Architectural Photographs from a Former Architect Architectural photography should be a prerequisite for all photographers. It covers all of the basics of available-light shooting in one subject matter. Understanding these principles, and heeding some of these extra bits of advice, will improve all of your photography – not just architectural photography! 1. Obtain permission to be on location. I totally agree with our legal right to photograph public spaces but things are different in actual practice. At 4:30 in the morning it is much easier to show a permission slip/pass than to discuss the Constitution. 2. Shoot only in “blue” and “golden” hours. It may seem restrictive (and it took me a long time to be convinced) but the quality of light really is just better during these early morning and early evening hours. The blue hour is the hour preceding sunrise and the one following sunset while the golden hour is the first and last hour of sunlight in a day. Check the times throughout the year to find out when it is optimal to take advantage of these magical hours. 3. Scout your location and check a few problem questions off a list: What is the...
First Impressions and Sample Photos from the Panasonic GX7 Micro Four Thirds Mirrorless Camera

First Impressions and Sample Photos from the Panasonic GX7 Micro Four Thirds Mirrorless Camera

Panasonic’s GX7 boasts in-body stabilization, up to 40 FPS using an electronic shutter, and Light Speed AF all inside a super stylish design with a comfortable rubber grip. One of BL’s biggest micro four thirds enthusiasts took it out for a spin – check out the results below, along with some personal observations on performance and features. First, the facts: • Sensor: 16.84MP Micro Four Thirds (2x Crop) MOS Sensor • File Format: JPEG, MPO, RAW • Video: 1080p HD • ISO Range: 200-25600 (Extended Mode: 125-25600) • AF Points: 23 • Ports: USB 2.0 • Flash: Hot Shoe, Built-In • FPS: Up to 10 (except when using the electronic shutter feature for 40 FPS) • Live View • WiFi • Weight: 14.18oz Other notable features include an impressive action-stopping 1/8000th of a second shutter ability and flash syncing at 1/320th of a second and a DSLR-esque twin-dial control system. The fully 90 degree tilting viewfinder is also a welcome feature. Manual focus is super easy with the GX7. You can touch the area on the screen where you want to zoom in for manual focus assist. There’s peaking as well. The touch screen is capacitive (responds to your touch). Besides the ability to change key settings while shooting, you can review images by swiping through them with the flick of a finger. As mentioned above, the GX7 has this crazy 40 FPS mode when using the electronic shutter. However, to use it you are limited to reduced-resolution JPEGs but it’s still a fun option to have. As silly as it may look, tilting the EVF to point the...
Nikon D610 Review with Sample Images

Nikon D610 Review with Sample Images

Court Leve, a well-known and respected photographer in Northern California, reviews Nikon’s D610 DSLR. Find out how it compares not only to its immediate predecessor, the D600, but also to the D800, D300s, D700, and D3s. The D600 was famously fraught with controversy surrounding its oil and dust build-up issues and many believe the D610 is a smoke n mirrors release put in place to prevent a formal D600 recall. Find out if the D610 is a true upgrade or merely a less expensive substitute for other full frames on the market. Nikon D610 Review with Sample Images by Court Leve Nikon’s D610 is an updated version of their D600 and includes a couple of internal improvements: • Increase in frame rate from 5.5 to 6 FPS • Installation of an improved shutter mechanism, replacing the version on the D600 that apparently was the point of much contention with regards to oil or dust on the sensor. To any Nikon DSLR shooter, the D610 will feel familiar and I was able to get it up and running without referring to the manual. The dials, buttons, and menus are all easy to navigate, are intuitive, and clearly marked. Here is how it compares to other Nikon cameras: • The D610 is considerably smaller than a D800 and a touch smaller than the D300s. • The shutter is notably quieter on the D610 compared to the D3s, D700, and D800. • Controls are the same as on other D-series cameras with the exception of the center button on playback. Instead of being able to zoom in quickly for a more detailed view, it toggles to...
10 Great Outdoor Photography Gifts Under $100

10 Great Outdoor Photography Gifts Under $100

Marc Muench, Andy Williams, and David Rosenthal are passionate about photography and teaching. They host workshops all over the world specializing in wildlife and landscape photography. They put together a list of 10 great photography gifts under $100 (and we’re smitten to be included in that list)! 10 Great Photography Gifts Under $100 reprinted with permission by Muench Workshops It’s the gift-giving time of year, so we thought we’d put together a list of some of the coolest photo gifts for the outdoor photographer that you can give or put on your own list for Santa Claus or Hanukkah Harry! We don’t receive anything for recommending these items, we use them ourselves and love them enough to recommend them to you and your friends. Share this post with the spouse, significant other, or family members of your photography friends – they’ll be very grateful! Enjoy (gift-giving) photography, – Andy, Marc, & Dave Neos Overshoes – A great invention, these super light waterproof overshoes go over your boots and keep you dry and toasty warm even when standing nearly knee-deep in icy water. Lenscoat Raincoat – A must-have for the outdoor photographer. We love the weather protection this little sleeve gives when caught out in the rain. The medium size will handle most DSLRs and medium lenses (up to 200mm). BlackRapid Camera Strap – We love the comfort and strength of these straps when we’re carrying our cameras. Try the “Classic” for most DSLRs and the “Metro” for smaller cameras such as mirrorless systems. SmugMug Photo Website – If your photographer doesn’t have their photos online, give them a stunning photo website on SmugMug. Start...