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  • My particular choices for video gear

    I am on my way to mastering video as a way of visually telling stories. A student asked about the gear I have chosen to use during that evolution. That question prompted the following answers, which became another blog entry. Keep in mind that MY answers to these questions are unique to my process. Every videographer / photographer solves their problems differently.  With that in mind….

    18

    Jul 16

  • Road Warrior 102 for the photographer (part two of two)

    In the first of this two-part blog posting, I wrote about all the non-gear related things that make my life easier as a photographic road warrior. In this posting I will talk about the gear related technologies that do the same thing for me. On my educational web-site, The Wells Point, I have a podcast showing all of the contents of my traveling camera bag. It is now slightly out of date, since I recently switched to the smaller Olympus Pen cameras, from the larger DSLRs. But the gear that I take with me (besides my cameras and lenses) has not changed at all. You can see exactly what that includes here. The logic behind switching to the smaller Olympus Pen cameras was the subject of a recent blog entry.

    29

    Jun 15

  • Road Warrior 101 for the photographer (part one of two)

    I have been making photographs seriously since 1972, when I fell in love with photography during an intro to photography class in high school.  I have been taking pictures for money since 1980, when I graduated from college after studying the history of photography.  I have been traveling around the globe to make photographs (and to teach classes) since 1986.  In all that time, I have used hundreds of different cameras. Along the way, I have picked up a few things that have become constants in my tool kit as a photographer.  They are part of my process, regardless of where I go, who I am working for, or what gear I am working with.

    15

    Jun 15

  • What I am carrying in my camera bag and WHY

    Photographers love gear. I love gear. But, in the end, my gear does ONE thing. It solves my problem(s.) Usually that problem involves getting something in front of the camera recorded for a publication, exhibition or web-site. The gear I use is constantly changing. Every couple years I create a new podcast to show what I NOW carry with me when working. This record of my gear is accurate for late summer of 2014. In a year or two it will be outdated, as will my cameras and I will have to do this all over again.

    15

    Oct 14

  • Video Hardware That Works For Me

    I recently blogged about the software that I use when making my narrative videos. Here, I will be talking about the hardware, the cameras, lenses, microphones, recorders, tripods, etc., that I use. My technology choices (whether hardware or software) are very specific to my process, my workflow and my budget. The gear I use solves my unique set of problems and nothing more. Every person making videos should ask themselves, does the gear I have (or the gear I am considering) solve my problems?

    25

    Apr 14

  • Video software that works for me

    Digital imaging software programs, like the cameras I use, solve a given set of problems. Nothing more, nothing less. Lightroom, for example, is one of many options for software to turn RAW files from my camera into TFF or JPGs for my paying clients to use. In video, there are similarly a myriad of choices. The choices I use to edit my video/ sound and to make my time-lapse animations don’t make me taller, smarter or sexier. They solve my problem most efficiently and inexpensively.

    11

    Apr 14

  • Thinking about organizing the personal project

    My favorite kind of photography is the personal project (or photo-essay.) The thing I like the least about them is the time and effort required to keep such projects organized. But, I need to be organized in order to execute the projects efficiently, to promote the work to potential funding sources and exhibitors, as well as to have the same work reviewed and published. I made this podcast explaining how I organize my personal projects.

    19

    Mar 14

  • What I hate about online camera reviews

    I rarely look at online camera reviews, unless I am trying to answer a very, very detailed question about a specific setting, button or control an a given camera. While some of the reviews can be useful, a lot of them are garbage. I am still trying to figure out who to blame, the reviewers who write the junk or the end-users who put too much faith in the same reviewers.

    31

    Jan 14

  • Lighting Workshop with Victor Rodriguez, Jr.

    In November of 2013, I took part in a lighting Workshop with Olympus Trailblazer, portrait and fashion photographer Victor Rodriguez, Jr., at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem, PA. During the three hour workshop, I gathered video clips, which I then made into this short, three minute video.

    24

    Nov 13

  • Steering Clear of the RAW Format Wars

    Most professionals (and serious photographers) working digitally, shoot RAW files. They usually do so because of the incredible degree of control and the higher image quality that comes with RAW files. Being able to correct white balance after the fact is one of the many great things about RAW files. The worst thing about RAW files, in my mind, is what I call the ongoing proprietary RAW file wars. In this blog entry, I will talk about what you need to know to stay clear of the RAW format wars.

    22

    Nov 13

  • Artfully road testing the Olympus Tough TG-2 camera

    While I was experimenting with the Olympus Tough TG-2 I went a bit overboard in trying to see just how far I have moved past my previous concern in terms of “fearing for the camera’s safety.” What happened was I dreamed up the idea of videos made from weird angles via a rig I would make, putting the camera near the ground to show what it feels like to be riding my motorcycle, a Suzuki C-50, an 800cc Cruiser. In the end it all worked out fine but in between, I definitely had a few of those “do not try this at home” moments.

    29

    May 13

  • Olympus OMD EM-5 over a Canon 5D

    A friend, who uses a Canon 5D, wrote to ask me if I am now using my Olympus OMD EM-5 cameras full time as my “only” cameras. Since I am doing just that I started thinking about how answering him could be turned into a blog entry. Since I am sponsored by Olympus this may appear to be obviously biased. But in my defense, I was using Olympus gear long before they started sponsoring me.  As I have blogged about before, I evaluate cameras based on how well they solve the problems that I face as a photographer.  The question is, in what situation is an Olympus OMD EM5 a better camera than a Canon 5D?

    14

    Sep 12

  • Safety tips for working in less developed countries

    I work a lot in the developing world, partly because my wife is from India. Before we met, I was also working a lot in the nether-reaches of the globe because personal projects and paying work took me there. A friend just asked me if I had any tips he could incorporate into his working process as he heads off to Mexico. The challenge for me in writing this blog was not coming up with advice but rather with figuring out how to explain those things that I do almost automatically when I am photographing in places like India, Guatemala, Vietnam or Turkey.

    31

    Aug 12

  • The travelling camera bag of a professional photographer (me!)

    Every photographer has series of problems they have to solve. The most basic problem is how to get the subject in front of the camera onto the chip, film or paper. Another example of such a problem is what gear a traveling professional will take on the road and how will they carry that. In this podcast I take you inside my camera bag to show you how I solve that particular problem.

    16

    May 12

  • The future of photography is women

    Among the classes that I taught while I was recently in Singapore, at the behest of Objectifs – Centre for Photography and Filmmaking, was a class on street photography. At the first meeting, I scanned the room like I always do. I saw Singaporeans of all ethnicities, a few Europeans and two people from India. What I did not see among the many eager faces were any men. The class went really well with only women and it set me to thinking about how, I could argue, the future of photography is women.

    03

    Feb 12

  • Solving the problem of camera straps

    Whenever I buy (or advise a photographer about) a piece of gear, I always use the same criteria. I simply ask, “Does it solve the problem?” I used to only apply that test to cameras or lenses. Increasingly, I use it when considering other camera related gear such as tripods and flash cards. I have been using it often recently because entrepreneurs are increasingly coming up with novel solutions to problems that I once thought were not “solvable.” A classic example of this is camera straps.

    11

    Nov 11

  • Which camera do you use and why?

    I just finished up a great road trip to California where I was photographing and teaching. Throughout the trip I was using my Olympus PEN cameras constantly. The reaction that my cameras drew was fascinating. Many of the students were very interested in what I was using because of the size of the cameras and lenses. Half the pros I encountered smirked at my “tiny” cameras. The other half wanted to know more. Nearly everyone asked the same question, which went something like “which camera do you use and why?”

    28

    Oct 11

  • Buying lenses for travel photography

    A student-to-be wrote me question about what to bring to a class later this year. His question was specific to the class I am teaching but also broad enough that I suspect I will be revisiting the same topic in the future. So I figured I would kill two birds with one stone and make a blog entry out of the answer to his wise question.

    29

    Jul 11

  • Why I am not a big fan of the Gorillapod

    A student, who will be in my next class at the Maine Media Workshops, wrote me with a question about buying a tripod. She had already viewed my podcast on the table-top tripod that I use and she wanted my thoughts on that on that tripod as compared to the Gorillapod. This was not the first time I have been asked this question. For me, a question asked more than once usually merits a blog post and so here is her answer (and today’s blog post.)

    02

    Aug 10

  • Gear and old gear

    My last blog entry, exploring gear and goals left me thinking about my own gear acquisition history. I have written before about how, these days, I tend to be slow to adopt new gear. I only displace technology that works well for me if the newer technology is a notable improvement. (DSLRs that capture video are one example of a notable technology shift.) I will be first to admit this was not always the case. In college and during my first few years as a freelancer, I churned through different sets of gear. I was trying to figure out who I was as a photographer (and which technology would help me make the photographs I wanted to make.) In looking back, I have noted that certain pieces of gear have stayed with me throughout over my career, including some that have been with me a very long time.

    14

    Jun 10

  • Goals and gear

    A friend wrote me with a variation of the most common question I am asked, “What gear should I buy next?” In a technology-based pursuit like photography, the question appears to make sense. This is doubly so in a creative pursuit which is largely shared through advertising driven media. Before I answered him, I grilled him with a few more questions. Then I came back to him with a suggestion for the one thing that every photographer should be spending more time and money on, especially these days.

    11

    Jun 10

  • A Lesson About Lessons in Photography

    Golf, as a sport and the popular obsession with it have long mystified me. Even in the wake of the recent crash and burn of Tiger Woods, I normally would not follow it much. However, a friend who is as much a golfer as he is a photographer has pressed me to write something about golf and photography and I did so back in October of 2009. I would have left it there but I recently stumbled on a great article in the New York Times titled, “A Lesson About Lessons,” by Bill Pennington. As I read it, I thought that much of what he wrote applies to photography as much as to golf.

    17

    May 10

  • Technologies, necessary and otherwise (part three)

    This is the last of three blog entries, for the moment, exploring my thoughts on technology. The entire set came from things swirling through my head lately. Events, especially e-mails, prompted me to organize those thoughts into the first two e-mails. This entry explores the starting point for all three posts, which was the fairly non-technical process of spring-cleaning.

    26

    Apr 10

  • Technologies, necessary and otherwise (part two)

    Earlier this week, I blogged about GPS technology and how one photographer, Lowell, had found a great use for that particular technology, one that does not interest me in the least. Another photographer, Michael, recently wrote me about another technological question he had issues with. I know now how he and I deal with the technology in question, but we wondered about others.

    23

    Apr 10

  • Technologies, necessary and otherwise (part one)

    I recently blogged about what I think of as the four questions each photographer should ask themselves. The fourth, and newest question was “What technology/software/camera gear will keep me focused on what I do best…?” The idea was that we are so overwhelmed with new digital imaging technology offerings that sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. A recent email exchange prompted me to think about that question again. This will be the first of a few blog entries exploring my thoughts on digital imaging technologies, necessary and otherwise.

    19

    Apr 10

  • Everything you should know about buying a serious camera

    I am working with an intern who is looking to move from film to digital photography. A family friend is moving up from a point-and-shoot to a serious Digital SLR. After giving both of them the same basic answers, I realized that their question is one I have answered dozens of times over the years. I also I realized that their question (and especially my answers) are a blog entry in the making.

    29

    Mar 10

  • Internet good news and bad news

    It is such a cliché to say, “What did we do before the Internet,” yet it also is a good question. For my teenage daughter, there is no such thing as life without the Internet. I do remember that time and as a rule, I prefer today’s technology over the “old days,” of going to libraries, photocopying pages, writing notes, etc. I am not here to wax nostalgic about times gone by. I am here to offer a few new, useful resources. Then I will talk about something of a drawback to the Internet.

    01

    Mar 10

  • Buying various types of camera insurance

    A friend is heading off to India on a fascinating assignment. Besides giving him advice on India, our conversation turned to the potential risks there. Inevitably, (and wisely) this led us to the question of insurance, particular in terms of cameras. I walked him through the various types of insurance I have. As I did that, I realized how often I mentioned the mistakes that I made over the years, as I figured out what to do in terms of insurance. Wanting to save him (and others) from the problems I encountered, I transformed that conversation into this blog entry.

    26

    Feb 10

  • The biggest little gear discovery that I recently made

    When I was at the big Photo Plus trade show in New York City in October, I was looking at all sorts of new gear for photographers. I saw many things there, including one item that completely captured my attention. Before blogging about it, I wanted to buy one and try it. I have done that and now I am ready to tell you about the biggest little gear discovery that I made at the Photo Plus trade show in New York City.

    23

    Nov 09

  • Just back from the photo trade show

    I am just back from the big Photo Plus trade show in New York City. On one level, it was like years past with big crowds, lots of new toys and plenty of old friends to see and catch up with. On the other hand, some things were new and interesting and that is what I am going to be sharing in this post.

    26

    Oct 09

  • Inside the travelling camera bag of one photographer (me!)

    This podcast goes inside my traveling camera bag to show you all the gear I carry when I am traveling

    26

    Aug 09

  • Basics of capturing images for a time-lapse animation project

    This enhanced podcast introduces the viewer to the basics of capturing images for a time-lapse animation project, in this case while photographing a flower market in Bangalore, India.

    06

    May 09

  • Top ten keys to be a successful photojournalist (Part two)

    I just wound up an interesting assignment in California.  I wrote the first half of this two-part blog entry right after the first day of the project.  Now that I have finished and I am writing the second half of the entry, certain points I wanted to share are even clearer to me than when I started.

    04

    May 09

  • Spring means motor drives and motorcycles

    When mid April rolls around, many things seem to happen all at once. Tax day is the most obvious one. For many photographers in the chilly North East, April is the time to start venturing outside again to photograph regularly. For me, mid-April also means I can start riding my motorcycle after the long winter hiatus. I was out riding recently and I ended up thinking about the similarities (and differences) between the folks outside enjoying their cameras and enjoying their motorcycles.

    20

    Apr 09

  • What kind of tools do I use and why? (Part two)

    I am now heading home after a productive workshop in Guatemala, where the mix of cameras the students had in the class struck me as interesting. The discussion we had around camera choices is something that I thought would interest other photographers. (This is the second of two entries on the topic of what kind of tools I use.)

    06

    Apr 09

  • The latest in electronic flash in my camera bag

    As promised, this blog entry will not include any writing about my “philosophy.” For the moment, I have happily returned to talking about cameras and photographing. In this post I am going to highlight the other new and important piece of gear in my camera bag.

    16

    Feb 09

  • The best flash card wallet I have ever used

    Regular readers of this blog may be wondering when I am going to stop writing about my “philosophy” and return to talking about cameras and photographing. I will right now. In this post, I am going to highlight one of the most important pieces of gear in my camera bag.

    13

    Feb 09

  • The questions I would ask any accomplished photographer.

    If I could corner an accomplished photographer in a bar and ask them anything, the questions I would ask are not the ones you might expect. They have little to do with the camera brand they use, the paper they print on or the bag they carry.

    05

    Jan 09

  • Which is the best tripod

    I just finished teaching a great class at the Lepp Institute called exploring “Light, Shadow, Twilight and Night: Using Available Light.” Obviously, we worked a lot at twilight and into the night and I was repeatedly asked, which is the best tripod?

    08

    Dec 08

  • Highlights from the PhotoPlus expo in NYC

    There were hundreds of new and interesting things to see at the PhotoPlus expo in NYC. A couple jumped out at me as interesting and important to the aspiring and accomplished photographers who visit this site.

    27

    Oct 08

  • A “knock around” camera

    If you are like me, you probably have been looking for a “point-and-shoot” camera to use when you would rather not carry your “work” camera. Some folks call these cameras “knock around” cameras, to be used when you are just “knocking around.”

    29

    Aug 08

  • Audio for multimedia

    It has been exciting to start experimenting in multi-media in my own work, mixing sound and images. As my grandfather used to say about so many things, “they tell me it’s the future.”

    25

    Aug 08