Why the Technical Stuff Matters

Along with normal how-to articles and essays, I’ve always liked reading and writing very technical, nitty-gritty articles about photography — sometimes, articles on topics that rarely come up while actually taking pictures. In fact, I usually don’t even use my own sharpest aperture charts in the field, as useful as they are, since I don’t like carrying around charts. So, then, does all that technical stuff matter? Is it even worth talking about in the first place? These questions are very important to ask, since most people don’t want waste their time on topics that are unnecessary for their photography — do these articles actually help? There are no easy answers, but a recent trip I took to Death Valley makes a compelling argument for why some of this highly-technical information really does matter.

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When People Downsize Their Camera Gear

This short article summarizes some of the feedback that I have received from seniors who have downsized their gear, or are thinking about doing so. The desire to downsize camera gear is not restricted to seniors! Some of the actions that seniors are taking may make sense for other photographers as well. It has been quite surprising to witness the number of comments and contacts that have occurred since my senior-related article, Senior Perspectives on Photography. I’d like to thank all of the readers who have contacted me and shared their personal experiences! Not only has it been an enjoyable experience to hear from all of you, but very enlightening as well. One of the common topics that these more ‘mature’ photographers wanted to discuss with me was their decision to downsize their gear. There was certainly a range of approaches that people have used to better align their gear with their photographic interests and their need for smaller, lighter camera gear.

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My Complicated Relationship with Seascapes

I have a confession: I have a love/hate relationship with seascapes. Sometimes I feel like they are easy, monotonous and a little bit of a sham — an easy way to impress others without having to put in the requisite amount of work. On such days I vow never to shoot a seascape again. And then there are moments when I cannot resist the pull of the ocean. When the sky looks like it will go up in flames at sunset casting it’s glow on everything the light touches — the sand, the rocks, the water. When the tide is high and the waves crashing violently into the surf promise dramatic foregrounds. ‘This will be my greatest seascape,’ I tell myself as I pick up my gear and head for the beach, bracing for the challenge ahead.

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Vietnam – Two Lenses on Traditional Culture

Although having one of the fastest growing economies in the world over the last decade, with significant advancements in modernization and higher living standards, Vietnam is still home to many traditional cultures living in several regions of the country. These include the northern and central mountain areas, the Cham region on the south eastern coast, and the Khmer precincts of the Mekong Delta. Because of severely diminishing numbers, many of these cultures are considered “vanishing”.

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Fun with a Fisheye

Wait…wait…nope, it’s gone. I really can’t remember what spurred me to purchase a fisheye lens of all things. Alpha Whiskey’s the last person on Earth to suffer GAS (or even gas) and I spend not a single, solitary second of my day salivating over gear. Heck, my camera is 5 year-old technology, positively prehistoric to the insecure masses scrambling over each other to reach the latest product rumour. (Run faster!)

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Discovering the Houston Skyline

A year and a half ago my family moved from the suburbs of Washington D.C. to Houston, TX. The move came at a good time for me because I was about to enter my final year of college, and I was not spending much time at home. Moving can be stressful, but I quickly learned that Houston is a vibrant city with plenty of photographic opportunities. During the summer of 2016 I posted my first guest article about cityscape and architecture in Pittsburgh, PA. This post will mirror that one as I share my experiences photographing iconic scenes of Houston while imparting some knowledge I learned along the way.

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Fire and Brimstone

A little less then a year ago I posted an article at PL detailing the itinerary of a day in Yellowstone National Park. Since that article I had the pleasure of revisiting the park during my yearly foray to the land of “fire and brimstone.” The reason I visit the first National Park of the United States history every year is for a project I have undertaken to document the change of seasons that occurs there every autumn. Yellowstone National Park has many faces to go along with its four distinct seasons. The frozen wasteland of winter gives way to new life and the rains of spring, and as May turns into June, the simmering heat of summer overtakes the park. And yet, it is Yellowstone’s shortest season (Fall) which offers the most intrigue with its unpredictable weather patterns and the unique behavior of its wildlife.

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Photographing Water Birds in Winter

I recently made a couple of changes to my photography gear which resulted in me adding a Nikon 1 V3 to my kit and selling my J4 with WP-N3 waterproof housing. I wanted to put my new acquisition to the test and decided to photograph some water birds. So, I headed off to La Salle Park in Burlington Ontario as I had heard that there was over a thousand birds at that location. While the winter is often drab and dull, photographing birds can still be a very enjoyable outing.

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