I received my new Nikon 35mm f/1.8 AF-S lens on Friday. I am in love with it. You hear from people that have them, how incredible the shallow depth of field is of the 1.8 aperture. I have to tell you that you have no idea how awesome it is until you take that first shot.
The shot above was taken at a Minor League baseball game. Walking the halls I saw this wall of baseballs. Scattered through-out were random blue balls. They made for an easy subject. I absolutely love how shallow the depth of field is. When your eye gets to the back of the picture you can barely tell that your looking at baseballs.
For some people, the thought of cleaning your gear is a daunting task. I will admit that even I thought so too. Daunting or not, it still has to be done.
I am not an expert yet on cleaning gear, but Moose Peterson is. He has a great 4 part video tutorial on how he cleans his gear. Although watching these videos will not immediately make you an expert on cleaning gear, it will leave you more comfortable in doing so.
Sharing the fun stuff with everyone is nice. However if nobody shared their mistakes then we wouldn’t be able to learn from them. So here is one of my mistakes.
This past weekend we got a good amount of snow here in New Jersey. I was so excited. This was the first time that I would get to shoot beautifully snow-covered trees and lakes with my new D5000. Or so I thought…
The night prior to the storm I had taken a lot of pics. This exhausted both of my batteries. So the next morning I place one battery on charge so it was ready for shooting the snow. The mistake here was that the location I charged my battery was nowhere near my camera.
Fast forward to 3:30pm the day of the snow fall. I grabbed my gear and headed out to the local park to take some amazing sunset pictures of the snow-covered lake. I park my car, open my bag, and turn the camera on. I looked down at the screen and the battery is blinking. Not to worry, I had my newly charged battery with me. Let me just go into my bag and…wait a minute…where is it? OH NO! It was still on the charger back at home. UGH!!!!
The park is 10-15 minutes away. By the time I traveled back to get the battery and back to the park, the light would be gone. It was hard to swallow but I wasn’t able to take any pictures of this beautiful park. While I was there I did take the time to scout the park for good shooting locations, for when I come back.
So the lesson here, always keep your equipment together!
Using a tripod is the ultimate way to stabilize you camera. Sometimes you find yourself in situations where you can’t use a tripod. Sometimes they are too bulky to carry around. Other times your are simply in a confined situation and it’s just not practical. So what do you do in those situations?
I use a small bean bag. This is perfect for taking shots from your car or other confined space. You may not have a lot of room to move around and the bean bag comes in handy. There are many out there with various prices. Depending upon what you are shooting, you may not need the biggest and best bean bag out there. In fact, you can get one for not a lot of money.
I have picked up one of those bean bag wrist supports for your arm when using a computer mouse. The thing was only like $10. It gives me enough stabilization to get the shot I want. It is not too big and my lens sits on it perfectly. Plus it’s small enough to keep in my camera bag.
So if you can, pick one of these up. They come in handy in a pinch.
Winter is drawing upon us. Today in the Northeast, we are getting hit with some cold weather (rain, snow, hail, wind). What does this mean for photographers? That means working with cold gear. Working with cold gear isnt terrible, but working with cold batteries is terrible. Cold batteries will have a shorter duration between charging cycles and that leads to more downtime when shooting. This is where pockets come in handy. Keep those batteries warm by keeping them in your pockets. Pockets on a photo vest are good. I like to use my jean’s pockets, mainly because they are so tight and close to my body. If for some reason I dont have them on me, I will keep them insulated like heck using whatever I can find (gloves, shirt, hat). So keep those batteries warm and yourself too!
If you’re anything like me, you love the fun stuff but hate the grunt work. Sure it’s fun to make great pictures. However, taking care of your gear may not be as fun, but is equally important.
There are reasons why the manufacturer puts directions in the manual for proper care of the equipment. It plays a big part into the longevity of the equipment and stretching your dollar as far as you can. Proper maintenance is imperative to the success of your equipment.
So the next time you finish a shoot, dont just leave your gear lying around. Take a few moments to clean everything and properly put it away. You’ll see longer life from your gear.
Well this weekend I failed to follow one of the most important rules of photography.
“Make sure all of your batteries are charged”
I thought I was OK. My main battery was fully charged. However my backup battery was dead. Luckily my camera tends to run amazingly long when the low battery signal comes on. So I was able to get through the night. Yet another one of thos lessons you don’t learn until you learn the hard way.
I took some great pictures on the way home yesterday. I ran into one problem. My memory card was not in the camera. How the heck did that happen?!?! I thought that something like this could never happen to me. Well, it did. I recently uploaded pictures from my card to my computer and never returned it to my camera. So I was limited in the number of pictures that I could take. So remember to ALWAYS take the time to double check your equipment. It is worth the time
I hear this question from time to time. Heck, I have even asked it when getting into photography. That question is…
Why would I need a 50mm fixed focal length lens when the lens that came with my camera covers from 18mm-55mm?
The answer is Quality. Fixed focal length lenses (or Prime lenses) are usually better quality lenses than the kit lens that comes with your camera. They are made of better glass and have a better sweet spot. Your pictures will be sharper too. Its one of those things that you wont understand until you take pictures with a Prime lens and then try taking pictures with the kit lens again.
Will using a Prime lens automatically make you a better photographer…..NO! You still need to focus on good composition, lighting, depth of field, etc. However, using good glass will help the process.
For the longest time I believed that surge protectors were a marketing ploy to get people to purchase an unnecessary piece of electronic equipment. At least advertise them as what they are (glorified extension cords). Well, yesterday that glorified extension cord may very well have saved the life of my media room.
I was watching football yesterday with some family. We were well into the 4:00 games and the food for that matter, when the lights in my media room got real bright. Not only that, but the fan we had running began to run super fast. It was then that I realized that we were in midst of a power surge. And just as the light bulb in my head went on, the light bulbs in my media room went off, along with the rest of the power in the house.
I had been witness to many power outages, but never a power surge!
Sure enough, after roughly 10 minutes, power was restored. I took inventory of my media room. TV..check, Stereo..check, Cable box..check, Computer 1, Computer 2, Hard Drive 1, 2, and 3, Monitor 2, Printer 1, and 2. Everything looked to be OK. Except for Printer 2. The monitor of the printer was fried and the paper feeds a little funny now. And wouldn’t you know it, Printer 2 was NOT plugged into a surge protector. I guess those things do work after all.
Nevertheless, I am glad the important equipment in the media room is safe. Only one printer was sacrificed, but more so, my faith surge protectors has been restored.