Photography Equipment

What Kind of Photography do You Like to do?

Before you make an investment in new camera equipment, it’s a good thing to know what you plan to do with it.  I know it seems like there’s an obvious answer.  You’re going to take pictures with it…duh!  But, if you look past the obvious, you’ll realize that every time you buy a new piece of equipment, you’re also making an investment in the time it takes to learn how to use it, in the storage space it takes to carry it, and the additional add-ons you’ll need to buy so it works the way you want it to.

So before I buy new photo toys, I try to figure out how the new equipment will fit into my lifestyle.  Will I use it a lot?  Will it make my photography better?  Can I do something similar with the equipment I already have?  I know I have a limited amount of accessible space in my Roadtrek Agile motorhome, so I need to make sure I get the biggest bang for my buck.

But this story isn’t about what I would buy.  It’s about you. So, take a minute and think about the subjects you really like to photograph.  If you’re the type of photographer who only likes to take pictures of one thing, such as birds, or landscapes or your grandkids, you’ve got some easy, though not necessarily cheap, choices to make.  But if you’re the type of photographer, like me and my wife Rochelle, who like to shoot anything and everything, your choices are much more difficult.  Continue reading

So You Want a New Camera?

I don’t know many RV travelers who purchased a motorhome just to park it in the driveway.  Nope, the main reason to get a motorhome is to go out and travel – to visit beautiful places, enjoy the scenery and to pack in as many unique and exciting experiences as possible.  And the best way to remember all of your travels is with a camera.   But what’s the best camera to have when you’re travelling in a motorhome?  Well, that depends on how much time, money and space you’re willing to devote to your new hobby.  So, to help you make up your mind, I’m going to tell you about all of the types of cameras available today.

For all of us who didn’t get a new camera for Christmas this year, there’s no need to fret.  Most of the big camera manufactures don’t come out with their latest, wiz-bang technology until the first of the year anyway.  And if the early rumors are correct, 2014 looks like the wiz-bangiest year for camera technology yet.

But before you start pouring over product announcements, reviews and specifications, it’s a good idea to narrow down your wants and desires so you end up buying the camera that best suits your needs.  And to do that, you need to know a little bit about the types of cameras that are available. Continue reading

Winter Photography Gear. What do You Need to Pack in Your Class B.

You might think two people who live in Sunny California might not know anything at all about Winter.  You’d be wrong.  Did you know that “Sierra Nevada” is English for “Snowy Range”?  And it didn’t come by that name by accident.  The Sierra Nevada range is the proud owner of several world “snow” records.  Most snow in a day – 67 inches.  Most snow in a single storm – 15 ½ feet.  Greatest snow depth – 37 ½ feet.   And being avid skiers and photographers, we’re out in the white stuff all winter long, so we’ve picked up a thing or two about shooting photographs in the snow, the rain and the cold.El Capitan From Cathedral Beach

The cramped closest space inside our Van-sized RV’s can make packing for winter a challenge.  For clothing, I suggest using layers.  Light Merino wool sweaters pack up small, resist wrinkling and are very, very warm.  I like the zippered top I got from Minus 33 so much, I quickly got on line and bought another.  But before you get to the sweaters, make sure to put on a warm base layer.  My current favorites are the tops and bottoms in Columbia’s new Omni-Heat line.  Finally, get yourself a water-proof shell.  Big bulky parkas take up a lot of space in your RV and if the day warms up, you’ll start to feel like you’re wearing a sauna, not a jacket.  So again, I go for small and light, from makers like Columbia or Marmot. Continue reading

Get the Perfect Shot with Smartphone Apps

Don’t let the sun go down on you.  At least not without knowing exactly where and when it’s going down.  If you can integrate naturally occurring events, such as the rising and setting of the sun and moon, storms, fog, and the tides into your photography, you’re going to get shots that will make you proud.

If you’re going to get up before sunrise to get a shot, you sure don’t want to waste the effort by being in the wrong place, at the wrong time.  So, take a little time beforehand and invest in a couple of Smartphone apps.SONY DSC

Our favorite app is called the Photographer’s Ephemeris.  You can use it to find out exactly where you should be to capture a beautiful sunset or maybe a rising moon over your favorite landmark.  You can project out to future dates and to anyplace on a map.  It will take a bit of effort to master, (Rochelle is much better at it than I am) but it will pay off quickly.  You can buy a version for your Apple or Android device, or try it out for free on your desktop computer. Continue reading

How to Store Your Camera Gear on the Road

Last week I wrote a post titled “Digital Photography Packing List”.  You might have looked at it and said to yourself, “That’s nice, but how in the heck do I fit all of that into my itty-bitty Class B?”  I have to admit, it’s not easy.  And if you don’t do it right, you can end up with thousands of dollars of camera gear spread out all over your floor.  Trust me, this can happen.  The first time we went out in the Roadtrek, I hit an unexpected speed bump and we had cameras flying everywhere.   Boy, did I feel like an idiot.

So, to make sure that never happens again, I came up with a plan.  And like any good plan, it relies on a lot of redundancy. IMG_1412

So, first of all, you need to figure out what photo gear you want to bring.  That’s easy for us because we always bring it all.  If you can do with less, by all means do it. Continue reading

Protect your camera, and yourself, from the rain

It’s raining here in Sonora today.  Not much of a rain, it’s really more of a sprinkle.  Most of the time you’d pay little attention to a few drops falling on your head.  But when you’re out shooting, that little bit of rain can be a big SONY DSCpain in the, well you know where it hurts, don’t you?  It’s especially annoying if you’re waiting for the perfect shot.  You know the one, when the clouds part and the sunshine blasts through in those gorgeous rays, and maybe you even see a rainbow.  But all of that gorgeousness isn’t going to mean a thing if your camera and lens are sopping wet.  A year or two ago I had a great idea (Hey, a great idea every year or two isn’t bad if you add them all up) and I came up with a cool way to protect myself when I was shooting in the rain.  It’s called a Tribrella, and it’s such a simple idea, you’ll wonder why you never thought of it yourself.

A Tribrella is simply one of those clamp-on umbrellas that attach to your folding camp chair.  Fit it onto your tripod and your camera and you are instantly covered.   How easy is that?  But, you do need to find the right umbrella.    Here are the requirements: Continue reading