Month: August 2017

Gear Testing at Moss Landing Harbor

I wanted to get out of the house for a bit and do some gear testing, so I headed down to Moss Landing Harbor for a few hours. It’s generally a great place to watch and photograph otters and is about an hour away, and there’s a parking area quite close to where the otters hang out so it’s a very convenient place because I can photograph with a lot of gear without having to haul it around. Just add a camp chair and a sun hat and your set. I had also seen reports that the Elegant Terns...

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What’s in my Camera Bag

(last update: August, 2017) I am a photographer that specializes in outdoor nature photography, especially birds, wildlife and landscapes. I’ve been shooting digital since 2005 and started as a Canon user, but starting in 2014 I started shifting my gear to the Fuji XT mirrorless cameras. Early in 2017 I sold off the last of my Canon gear, so I am now 100% shooting with the Fuji X-T1 and X-T2 cameras. One of the reasons I made the shift was weight: my old Canon setup with the 150-600 lens weighed about 8 pounds; the equivalent Fuji setup (the Fuji X-T2, the Fujinon 100-400 and a 1.4x teleconverter) is about 3 pounds. That makes a huge difference in the field, especially when you want or need to hand hold the camera. If you’re familiar with Canon gear, the size and weight of this set up is very similar to a Canon body with the classic 100-400 lens attached. Here is a look at what’s inside my bags: My Primary Bag (Fuji) My Tripods and Supports Other Bits and Pieces and Travel Gear My Primary Bag My primary camera bag is the Lowepro Runner 450. I like this bag; it’s comfortable to wear and it’s got good organization with inserts for a big lens and three pockets, and it carries my gear with a bit of extra room without feeling stuffed....

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Getting started in bird photography: Choose Your Weapons

(last update: December, 2017) I frequently get asked about about buying gear to get started in bird photography, primarily from people who have outgrown their point and shoots and are interested in upgrading. The reality is that you aren’t going to go far in Bird Photography with a standard point and shoot, a low-end DLSR with the standard “kit” lens, or your phone camera. There are options depending on your interests and budget, but most bird photography solutions start as “really? that much?” and work their way up to “you’re joking, right?” — and then continue all the way to “Not a chance. My spouse will kill me.” Birds rarely want to have their pictures taken, and out in the wild, if you move towards a bird, it will fly off and laugh at you as it leaves. Because of that, your photography gear needs to be able to take photos of small feathered things from a fairly large distance. That means it needs to have significant magnification power. Camera gear typically defines that power in terms of millimeters, or MM. A 24mm lens shoots very wide and is used for landscapes. A 200mm lens is known as a telephoto and shoots a narrow slice of the area it’s pointed at, but magnifies that area so it looks to be close. This kind of magnification is what we need...

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I bought an iMac

I bought an iMac. Last week, I pulled the trigger and bought myself an iMac. This has been in my long term plans for a while, and I finally decided it was time. I ended up getting the stock 27 inch model with the 2 Terabyte fusion drive. I added 16 gigs of Crucial RAM for a total of 24 rather than spend money on Apple’s RAM. My preference by far would have been the 512Gig SSD, but Apple seems to have underestimated its popularity so units with that build option were backordered 10-14 days. Because of the larger SSD part of the fusion drive with the 2TB — the 1TB fusion only has 32GB of flash, where the 2TB has 128GB — the model that made sense was the high end unit. Since I could literally order it and have it delivered to my porch the next morning, I went with the stock instead of buying a CPU or any other upgrade. And yes, it’s wonderfully decadent to have a computer delivered to your door on demand. I have traditionally used migration assistant to shift my data from machine to machine, but for this update I decided to manually copy stuff over and reinstall all of the apps from scratch. I did this for a couple of reasons, one was to leave behind literally a decade-plus of random...

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