Recently, I had a chance to visit the beautiful country of Jordan, where I had a chance to stay for a whole month with my family. Although this was a family trip, I did not want to miss the opportunity to do some photography, so I grabbed a bag full of gear with me, along with my trusty travel tripod. I decided to share our adventures and trip logs from Jordan in a series of image-heavy posts and this is the first of the series. Hopefully, it will give a good idea where to visit and what to photograph in Jordan to our readers.
If we’re lucky from time to time we get the opportunity to capture an interesting bit of nature playing out before our eyes. I had one such opportunity on Saturday afternoon when I was able to photograph a blackbird chasing a hawk in flight. I was sitting at my kitchen table having just returned from Grimsby harbour after trying to photograph some terns in flight with my Nikon 1 setup. It was a very dull, grey, overcast day so I cut my session short and had returned home.
Today is a big day in the photography world, because Sony has just unleashed a true monster, the Sony A7R II, something that will seriously impact the photography industry. This is the camera that I have been personally waiting for, this is the game changer. I know this sounds a bit over-hyped and potentially over-promising, but as I was reviewing the Sony A7R, I asked myself “what would be an ideal mirrorless system look like for landscape photography?”. Based on my experience shooting with the Sony A7 II and Sony A7R, the wishlist included: lower-noise shutter, vibration-free shutter mechanism with EFCS (electronic first-curtain shutter), electronic silent shutter, high-resolution sensor with superb dynamic range, in-camera body image stabilization (IBIS) and full 14-bit RAW support. Well, the Sony A7R II today not only includes most of the items from my wishlist (the 14-bit RAW support is unclear at this time), but it also comes with more – this camera will be the first to feature a full-frame 42.4 MP BSI CMOS sensor, which means better low-light performance. Sony claims an improvement of two stops, which is huge. Faster sensor readouts also allow the A7R II to capture 4K video at 30p/25p/24p (with Super 35 support), making this camera highly desirable for both digital photography and videography needs. On top of this, the A7R II will come with a much more advanced AF system with 399 AF points (based on on-sensor phase detection points) and will be able to autofocus with third party lenses. Its OLED electronic viewfinder has been refined with impressive 0.78x magnification. This is why I called this camera a “game changer”, as it has more to offer than anything else on the market today. It sets a new benchmark, setting a new challenge for not only Nikon and Canon, but also medium format camera manufacturers. After this announcement, Canon’s 5DS already sounds unattractive and the camera has not even hit the shelves yet (sorry Canon fans, but we weren’t that enthusiastic after finding out that Canon did nothing to improve the dynamic range on the 5DS). And with Zeiss backing up Sony with its amazing Loxia and Batis lines of lenses and Sony working hard on releasing high-quality lenses, the Sony mirrorless system is gaining traction quicker than anyone anticipated. The only drawback of this announcement is the price – the Sony A7R II will be Sony’s most expensive mirrorless camera to date, with its MSRP price of $3,200.
I have been recently invited to review a piece of gear that I cannot yet talk about (info coming soon), a.k.a. the mystery camera, so I decided to post a couple of images from it that I captured recently from around the Denver area. I will give you a few hints and hopefully it will be easier to figure out what the mystery camera is. It should be a fun exercise, because it will get you to pixel-peep, something you probably have not done in a while :)
Buying photography equipment for the first time is a daunting task. Useful guides exist to help beginners choose a good camera, but few newcomers realize that the camera itself is only the first of many pieces of equipment necessary to create a full setup for photography. In this guide, I will suggest a complete kit — everything from lens cloths to computer monitors — that will provide a beginner with high quality images (and room to grow) for a price of around 2000 US dollars.
We have just announced the Photo Spots Project and we are so excited about it, that we decided to launch a contest for our readers! We want to make the process of submitting Photo Spots not only useful for everyone, but also fun, engaging and rewarding. Yes, the latter is important, because that’s how we get to thank our readers for being so awesome! So for the next 30 days, we will be accepting entries for photo spots from everyone. One person will win a brand spanking new, freshly announced Fuji X-T10 (come on, who can resist the temptation for owning this awesome camera?). If you do not want to Fuji X-T10, feel free to pick any other camera or lens of equivalent value. You can also just claim cash prize (details below).
NOTE: Please note that our submission form had some issues earlier today. Those should be fully fixed now.
During the past few weeks, I have been working on a project that I have been planning for years – the Photo Spots Project. Basically, the idea is to open up the ability for our readers to share their favorite photo spots with the rest of the community. You name the spot, upload one or more images, describe how to get to the spot, add some information (such as the country, GPS location, etc) and your adventures to the post and submit it. We will review each submission one by one and if it meets our standards, we publish the photo spot for everyone to see (meanwhile, our team at PL will be posting our favorite spots from our photo adventures to encourage others to join and contribute).
I am finally back home and I have been slowly coming back to my senses, after a terrible food poisoning accident and a crazy jet-lag. After a month of amazing travel time in Jordan, our whole family managed to get badly poisoned after eating between our flight from Chicago to Denver airport. All that travel and outside eating in Jordan and not a single incident and we come home and get hammered, go figure! Since then, it has been a mix of diarrhea, throwing up and sleeping for 20 hours straight due to body intoxication. The last time I got poisoned this bad was 13 years ago. Oh well, airport food has never been great, so we should have kept it safe by eating snacks instead. Another lesson learned!
For our readers in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s that time of year again — days are hotter, nights are shorter, and the air is stuffier. With the changes in weather, two different creatures are beginning to emerge from their deep winter slumbers: the insect and the macro photographer. As macro photography grows more popular, a key question arises: what is the best way to light a bug’s picture?
Most people who enjoy taking images of birds will attest to the fact that it can be especially challenging to photograph hummingbirds. These little ‘pocket rockets’ dart around constantly and very seldom stay in one place long enough for us to find them in our viewfinders, let alone actually get an image. If you’re like me even being able to capture a decent image of a hummingbird on a feeder with its wings spread is an uncommon feat.