As close to vertically level as possible is often the ideal camera position for photographing a bird, especially one swimming. Of course, when a bird is swimming, perfectly level would mean a nearly or partially submerged camera. I don't recall seeing an underwater housing for a birding lens and I therefore prefer to be high enough above-water to keep the lens dry.
On this day, I was sitting on the ground at the edge of the creek with two tripod legs and one of my own legs in the water. Though I was bending over uncomfortably hard to get to a low-positioned camera, all was good with the setup. That is, good until I heard two Canada geese getting into a squabble. Two very loud geese were taking flight from mid-stream and headed directly toward me. While that shouldn't be a problem, they were watching each other instead of where they were going.
It didn't take long to realize that I was directly in their trajectory. I raised a foot to block the rapidly incoming fowl and held the camera and lens tightly with both hands. Minimally, the first goose crashed hard into my boot. I say minimally because I turned my head just prior to impact and I'm not sure if the second goose crashed also or was able to correct itself in time (wish I had video of that). There was lots of flapping and ... lots of water covering both me and the gear.
I quickly sacrificed the remaining dry areas of my shirt to dry the camera and lens. Fortunately, both were weather sealed and fine, but ... I still don't like to take chances and like to keep the gear clean – much more than I cared about my shirt.
Capturing interesting behavior is always a goal of photographing wildlife, but this behavior was a bit over the top and ... I was unprepared to capture it. The Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L Lens would have been ideal for this accident scene. The best I could do was photograph the rude goose after the incident.
While photography is often used to tell a story, very often photographing creates stories. This day gave me a story that I'll long remember. Go photograph frequently and you will likely have many interesting stories to tell.
Disclaimer: No geese were harmed in the making of this image.
MELVILLE, NY – Nikon has released the Android version of the SnapBridge app, which enables constant connection of a compatible Nikon digital camera to a smart device*(1) using Bluetooth low energy technology.
SnapBridge is an app that offers users a number of convenient services by utilizing Bluetooth low energy technology to enable seamless connection of a Nikon digital camera to a smart device, all while consuming very little power.
SnapBridge can be downloaded free of charge from the App Store and Google Play. The iOS version of the app is scheduled to be available from the App Store later this summer.
TOKYO - Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce that two Nikon digital SLR cameras, the D5 and D500, have been awarded the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2016, sponsored by Germany's Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen.
The Red Dot Award: Product Design is a world-class award presented to products released over the past two years that exhibit superiority in terms of a total of nine aspects, including innovation, functionality, ergonomics, ecology, and durability.
2016 is the 61st time the Red Dot Award: Product Design has been held. Winners selected from roughly 5,200 entries from 57 countries around the world will be on display at a special exhibition to be held from July 5 to July 31, 2016 at the Red Dot Design Museum in Essen Germany.
The Retrospective 50 features a dedicated slot for most 15" laptops
The exterior of each Retrospective shoulder bag is purposefully simple, allowing photographers to inconspicuously blend into their shooting environment
Within the Retrospective series main compartment, are two collapsible nylon pockets (one on each side). These pockets are tall enough to fit most flash units or other accessories. A hook-and-loop strap can be used to secure the contents or it can be tucked into the pocket for quicker access
The Retrospective series all have an organizer pocket inside the main compartment. It gives photographers enough space for small, but significant, accessories necessary for a successful shoot
Hook-and-loop panels securely fastens the main flap down, keeping valuable photo equipment hidden from view
A wide storage pocket is located on the back of the Retrospective series. This pocket can be used to carry magazines, newspapers, or other paperwork, depending on the size of the bag
A fully adjustable, canvas strap is integrated into each Retrospective bag. For extra comfort, a breathable cushioned pad slides along the strap for optimum positioning. Sections of non-slip material on the pad helps keep the entire strap on your shoulder
The Retrospective series each have a removable carrying handle for convenience
CUPERTINO, California – April 19, 2016 – Apple today updated MacBook with the latest Intel processors, improved graphics performance, faster flash storage and an additional hour of battery life, making the thinnest and lightest Mac better than ever. Featuring an all-metal unibody enclosure, MacBook is now available in four aluminum finishes — gold, silver, space gray, and for the first time on a Mac, a gorgeous rose gold. With a stunning 12-inch Retina display, highly responsive full-size keyboard, Force Touch trackpad, versatile USB-C port and all-day battery life in a design that is just 2 pounds and 13.1 mm thin, MacBook is the future of the notebook.
“MacBook is the thinnest and lightest Mac we have ever made and it’s our vision for the future of the notebook,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Customers are going to love this update to MacBook, with the latest processors, faster graphics, faster flash storage, longer battery life and a beautiful rose gold finish.”
The updated MacBook features sixth-generation dual-core Intel Core M processors up to 1.3 GHz, with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1 GHz, and faster 1866 MHz memory. New Intel HD Graphics 515 deliver up to 25 percent faster graphics performance, and faster PCIe-based flash storage makes everyday tasks feel snappier — from launching apps to opening files.* And now with up to 10 hours of wireless web browsing and up to 11 hours of iTunes movie playback, MacBook is the perfect notebook for all day, on-the-go computing.**
MacBook comes with the incredibly small and versatile USB-C port for charging, data transfer and video output in a single connector that is one-third the size of a traditional USB port. Following the introduction of USB-C on MacBook, the ecosystem of Apple and third-party USB-C accessories has continued to grow, giving users added flexibility and capability.
With no moving parts or vents, MacBook is entirely fanless for silent, efficient performance. Designed for the wireless world, MacBook is equipped with the latest wireless technologies, including built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 for fast wireless connectivity. It is perfect for tasks like streaming content from your MacBook to your Apple TV using AirPlay, exchanging files quickly using AirDrop or using wireless headphones.
Apple also today made 8GB of memory standard across all configurations of the 13-inch MacBook Air.
Every new Mac comes with OS X El Capitan, the latest version of OS X that refines the Mac experience and improves system performance. El Capitan builds on the groundbreaking features and beautiful design of OS X Yosemite, with updates to window management, built-in apps and Spotlight search, and performance improvements to make everyday activities — like launching and switching apps, opening PDFs and accessing email — faster and more responsive.
iMovie, GarageBand and the suite of iWork apps come free with every new Mac. iMovie lets you easily create beautiful movies and you can use GarageBand to make music, or learn to play piano and guitar. The iWork suite of Pages, Numbers and Keynote makes it easy to create, edit and share stunning documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Pages, Numbers and Keynote for iCloud let you create a document on iPhone or iPad, edit it on your Mac and collaborate with friends, even if they are on a PC.
Pricing & Availability
MacBook is available in select Apple Authorized Resellers starting tomorrow. MacBook comes with a 1.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core m3 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 2.2 GHz, 8GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage for $1,299 (US), and with a 1.2 GHz dual-core Intel Core m5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 2.7 GHz, 8GB of memory and 512GB of flash storage for $1,599 (US). Configure-to-order options include a 1.3 GHz dual-core Intel Core m7 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1 GHz.
This mother great horned owl may be the most popular and most photographed of its species in the Mid-Atlantic states at this time. Being able to photograph a primarily-nocturnal bird, very visibly sitting in its nest throughout the day, is an unusual situation and MANY photographers took advantage of this opportunity. I made this opportunity a priority and carved most of a day out of my schedule to get my great horned owl photo.
The viewing area of this nest is in a public park with a significant bank and stream separating viewers and the owl family (two owlets are deeper in the cavity). This meant as much focal length as possible was needed in front of a full frame camera (and a significant amount in front of an APS-C model). For me, this meant the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens in front of an EF 2x III Extender along with the ultra-high resolution Canon EOS 5Ds R.
While this uncropped image indicates a clear view on the nest cavity, that was not completely the case. Getting the right position for a semi-clear view of this owl was challenging and I spent much of this day leaning to the side so that I could use a tripod position immediately next to another cooperative photographer for the best-available view. My primary concern was getting a clear view through the tree branches on my side of the creek as these branches became very defocused and lowered contrast over a significant portion of the image if in the frame. The branches on the nest tree were of a lower concern as the healing brush in Photoshop made branch removal a trivial task.
While the owl spent most of the day sitting nearly motionless, it occasionally changed positions. When a loud motorcycle came into the park, the mother great horned owl showed her personOWLity, making for one of my favorite shots of the day.
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr, Google+, Facebook and 500px. If reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.
The Sigma 50-100mm F1.8 DC HSM Art Lens, 24-35mm F2 DG HSM Art Lens, and 20mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Lens were chosen as this year’s best DSLR telephoto zoom lens, best DSLR wide angle zoom lens, and best professional DSLR lens, respectively
RONKONKOMA, NY – April 19, 2016 – Sigma Corporation of America, a leading DSLR lens, camera, flash and accessory manufacturer, today announced it has received three awards from the Technical Image Press Association (TIPA). Sigma was awarded with the honors of Best DSLR Telephoto Zoom Lens for the Sigma 50-100mm F1.8 DC HSM Art Lens, Best DSLR Wide Angle Zoom Lens for the Sigma 24-35mm F2 DG HSM Art Lens, and Best Professional DSLR Lens for the Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Lens.
The annual TIPA Awards honor the best photo and imaging products introduced during 2015 through 2016. Renowned in professional photo markets across the world, TIPA awards are among the highest accolades photo and imaging products can receive. The TIPA organization has a worldwide membership of 27 photo and imaging magazines from 16 countries across five continents.
“We are once again honored to have the Sigma 50-100mm F1.8 DC HSM Art Lens, the 24-35mm F2 DG HSM Art Lens and the 20mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Lens selected by TIPA for their outstanding quality and impact on the industry. The thorough judging criteria take into account not only the innovation, but also the use of leading-edge technology, design and ergonomics, ease of use as well as the price/performance ratio. We are incredibly proud to have Sigma lenses meet these high standards,” comments Mark Amir-Hamzeh, president of Sigma Corporation of America. “We pride ourselves on designing and manufacturing the very best lenses using today’s most cutting-edge optical technology. I want to thank the Sigma design and manufacturing team for their commitment to engineering excellence and look forward to seeing the inspiring images Sigma fans will create using our lenses.”
If you’re like me you like to know what’s going on inside your camera or lens to some degree. They are tools, and if I want to get the best use out of my tool I need to know it’s strengths and weaknesses.
You may not have noticed, especially if you shoot just Canon or Nikon, but there’s been a quiet change in autofocus motors going on. Or you might have barely noticed marketing-fluff terms like ‘linear focusing’ or ‘electromagnetic focusing’ without really understanding what they meant. Even if you understood the general terms, you probably aren’t really certain how they work, or how they might be better or worse than what we’ve been using.
So I thought some of you might like taking a look into what might (or might not) be a big deal: the changes that are being made in autofocus motors. Today I’m going to discuss linear electromagnetic focusing motors. I may do another post about linear-piezo and ring-to-linear piezo motors later, but those are, so far, less common than the electromagnetic motors.
DJI on Sunday introduced the Matrice 600, its next-generation aerial platform, marking a new era for professional aerial photography, filmmaking and industrial applications.
The M600 integrates DJI’s brand-new A3 flight controller onboard and features advanced Lightbridge 2 video-transmission technology that offers high frame rates and HD live-streaming capability at distances up to five kilometers.
“The M600 is the most-powerful and easiest-to-use professional platform DJI has ever produced,” said Senior Product Manager Paul Pan. “We’ve pre-programmed all M600 platform data and information into the A3 flight controller, remote and transmission system to minimize setup and get you flying as quickly as possible.”
The M600 is a six-rotor system with a maximum payload of 6.0 kilograms, making it ideal for the full range of DJI’s Zenmuse gimbals, including the Z15 series and the Zenmuse X series cameras, which are unmatched in providing stabilized aerial imagery. The M600’s carrying weight also allows it to fly the Ronin MX, DJI’s newest handheld and aerial three-axis gimbal. The M600’s propulsion system is dustproof to simplify maintenance and increase durability. It has actively cooled motors for more-reliable flight, and its landing gear is retractable for full 360-degree, unobstructed imaging.
The M600 is powered by six DJI Intelligent Batteries. The customized battery-management system and power distribution board allow all six batteries to be turned on and off with the push of one button and keep the system aloft, should a single battery fail. The M600 will fly up to 36 minutes with a Zenmuse X5 camera attached and up to 16 minutes with a larger camera, such as a RED EPIC. Flight time will vary for different cameras, gimbals and a number of other conditions.
Integrated A3 Flight Controller
Setting the M600 apart is its integrated A3 flight controller. It uses sine-wave-driven, intelligent electronic speed controllers to ensure the M600 performs accurately, safely and efficiently. Meanwhile, self-adaptive flight systems adjust parameters automatically, based on different payloads.
It’s upgradable to the A3 PRO system, which features advanced diagnostic algorithms that compare sensor data from three Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) units and three inertial measurement units.
The A3’s GNSS system can also be optionally upgraded to DJI Real-Time Kinematic technology, offering centimeter-accurate positioning to allow for complex maneuvers in an industrial setting and so that cinematic shots can be precisely replicated. The RTK technology can also withstand magnetic interference.
The M600 supports the DJI GO app, which includes a live video feed, battery and redundancy status, transmission strength and other data to keep the user informed of flight status at all times. The app also provides access to aperture, shutter speed, photo and video capture on any Zenmuse X-series camera, plus remote focus on the Zenmuse X5 and X5R cameras.
The M600 is a top-quality development platform, compatible with the DJI Onboard Software Development Kit and Mobile SDK to work with different industrial applications. It has dual parallel CAN and API ports for connecting DJI devices, including the Guidance sensor system, RTK GPS units or third-party components.
The M600’s retail price, including the integrated A3 flight controller with Lightbridge 2 and a full set of batteries, is $4,599.
Works Seamlessly with Ronin-MX
When paired with the new DJI Ronin-MX, the M600 offers best-in-class three-axis aerial video stabilization. The latest in the Ronin line is also the most-versatile, working both on the ground and in the air with minimal setup.
The Ronin-MX works perfectly with the M600, as a fully integrated system that includes the A3 flight controller, Lightbridge 2 transmission system and gimbal in the air. It’s the first universal aerial gimbal DJI has made that communicates with the onboard DJI flight controller.
It’s fully compatible with a rich selection of DJI accessories for long-distance focus and aperture control and features remote start/stop controls and video transmission. The Ronin-MX is built for convenient, handheld use, but it also has multiple operation modes, including underslung, upright and briefcase. Apart from the M600, it’s also compatible with video cranes.
“For film directors, the M600 is a game-changer. There are other options out there, but none that integrate a top-class flight controller, video-transmission system like Lightbridge 2 and support for a wide range of cameras and gimbals,” said DJI Executive Creative Director Sheldon Schwartz. “If you go with the new Ronin-MX on the M600, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to get unparalleled stability and cinematic-quality shots.”
The Ronin-MX has a built-in, independent IMU module, a Bluetooth module and a 2.4GHz receiver. It operates through the DJI GO app and has settings for SmoothTrack and gimbal-tuning for various cameras, including some of the RED series, DSLRs and other professional camera. It also operates in multiple modes, including aerial and car mount.
Mounted on the M600, the Ronin-MX’s CANBUS port allows all flight controller data to pass through to the Ronin-MX, meaning the gimbal is positionally aware and able to keep the horizon level. The Ronin-MX can pan 360 degrees, tilt +45 to -135 degrees and has redundant slip rings, offering enhanced reliability for operators. With an optional accessory, the Ronin-MX can transmit video real-time from a mounted camera, making full use of the M600’s Lightbridge 2 capabilities. It will also be compatible with the DJI Focus, through a wireless adapter mounted to the Focus remote.
The Ronin-MX is powered by a 4S Ronin-M battery. Third-party cameras mounted on the Ronin MX can be powered by an optional onboard DJI battery.
The Ronin MX is compatible with a wide range of cameras from Arri, Black Magic, Canon, Panasonic, RED, Sony and Nikon. Its maximum load weight is around 4.5 kilograms.
The Ronin MX retails for $1,599. Bundled with the M600 and integrated A3 flight controller and Lightbridge 2, it will sell for $5,999.
Tamron lenses awarded with two prestigious TIPA awards in 2016
April 18, 2016, Commack, New York - Tamron Co., Ltd., a leading manufacturer of precision optics, has announced that its SP 35mm F/1.8 Di VC USD (Model F012) and 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC (Model B018) have both been presented awards with the "TIPA Awards 2016" hosted by the TIPA (Technical Image Press Association).
BEST DSLR PRIME LENS: SP 35mm F/1.8 Di VC USD (Model F012) Excerpt from the Award Citation of the TIPA Jury: At approximately 80mm long and between 450 and 480g in weight (depending on camera system), the full-frame Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 is constructed with 10 elements in 9 groups. It utilizes two molded glass aspherical elements with one LD (low dispersion) and one XLD (extra low dispersion) element, which greatly reduces chromatic aberration. The lens has excellent resolution from corner to corner, no vignetting even at full aperture, a minimum focusing distance of 0.2 meters and Tamron's VC (vibration compensation) system (except on the Sony mount version). Full time manual focus override is always available, a great aid when doing close-ups.
BEST ENTRY LEVEL DSLR LENS: 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC (Model B018) Excerpt from the Award Citation of the TIPA Jury: When entry-level photographers start to look beyond their kit lens, or purchase a lens with their camera body, they will be excited to own a lens that offers a wide range of focal length options, and the Tamron 18-200mm fits the bill. Constructed with 16 elements in 14 groups, this lens for APS-C format cameras yields a 35mm equivalent of 28-310mm. It is compact: an average of 95mm (3.8 inches) in its various mounts and is said to be the world's lightest (400g, 14.1 oz) in its class. Vibration reduction helps users get steady pictures, particularly at the longer focal length ranges.