From Gitzo: We are proud to inform you about the official launch of our new Monopod range.
Gitzo monopods continue to set the standard for professionals and advanced amateurs. The ideal monopod needs to be rigid, lightweight, extremely fast to open and close, fast and precise in height adjustments for rapid changes in shooting position. Thanks to Carbon eXact and G-lock Ultra, the new Gitzo monopods have all these features. Rigid and lightweight – Carbon eXact tubes
Carbon eXact tubes optimise fibre composition for each tube size, to make the narrower tubes stiffer, and the wider tubes lighter compared to the predecessors’ Carbon 6X tubes. Series 4 (top leg diameter 37.0mm) models replace the previous Series 5 models; the slimmer top tube contributes to easier gripping and lighter weight, while ensuring rigidity from the stiff Carbon eXact tubes. Improved ergonomics – new leg locks
G-lock Ultra has even more comfortable operation and reduced risk of dust entering the locking mechanism. Smooth movement, solid footing - new big foot
The new big foot (diameter 50mm) realizes solid footing on any surface, while providing smooth movement with its integrated ball. This big foot can be removed and replaced by optional feet and spikes. This big foot is also available as an accessory (GSF50M). Product range
B&H carries the new Gitzo Monopod range (see above product codes for links).
We are proud to inform you about the official launch of our new Systematic tripods – Gitzo’s top of the range tripod family, the choice of exacting professional photographers who use long lenses and heavy cameras.
Not only are Systematic Gitzo’s strongest and most stable tripods, they’re also modular, with a top casting element that opens and closes to allow each tripod to be configured with a flat disk, geared or sliding center column, video half-ball adaptor, leveling base or other Systematic accessories.
The latest range features Carbon eXact tubes, new ultra-stable feet and the Easy Link attachment, making the Systematic even more stable, versatile, and ergonomic. Modular system
A Systematic tripod allows a choice between various centre columns, flat plates, video half-bowls and accessories. All Systematic tripods are supplied with a flat plate, but the optional Systematic accessories can be fitted by simply unlocking the lever in the top casting, lifting out the flat plate and fitting in the alternative accessory. New Easy Link attachment
An Easy Link attachment (3/8” thread) is added, allowing the user to attach various accessories, expanding the functionalities of the tripod for advanced shooting techniques. For example, a Manfrotto arm can be attached to use lighting accessories or the Manfrotto Digital Director. New Ultra-stable Feet
For a solid footing and maximum stability on any surface, Systematic tripods are equipped with new, ultra-stable big feet. The feet can be removed and replaced by standard-sized rubber feet (included), or optional feet and spikes. Other new features
- Leg angle selectors – easier and speedier to switch between the 3 leg angles
- Carbon eXact – improved balance between rigidity and weight
- G-lock Ultra – more comfortable to operate, reduces dust entering the locks
The latest Systematic range covers lightweight Series 3 tripods all the way up to the most rigid Series 5, in various combinations of leg sections and maximum heights. New Systematic Tripods
B&H carries the new Gitzo Systematic tripod range (see above product codes for links).
by Sean Setters
I recently ran across a Canadian Geographic
article – How We Chose the Wildlife Photography of the Year Winners
– and realized that longtime friend of the site Jonathan Huyer (huyerperspectives.com
) had been awarded top honors in the "Animals in Action" category for his picture of two polar bears perched atop an iceberg.
Because he is such an active member in our own Community Forum
, I was not suprised (but of course impressed) by the accolade. As such, I reached out to Jonathan to ask if he'd answer a few questions regarding his winning image (seen above) and the challenges associated with photographing in such challenging conditions. How did you get into photography?
I've always been a bit of a gadget geek, and I fell in love with cameras at an early age. The digital revolution really helped fuel my passion. If I can identify a single turning point, it would probably be when I went on a sea kayaking trip in the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia in 2008. A professional photographer was along for the journey, and I marveled at his technique and results. As soon as I got home I started investing in better gear, pushing my creativity, and booking more trips! What's the story behind your Canadian Geographic winning image?
The trip to Baffin Island was an exploratory adventure, to look for polar bear mothers with cubs on the ice. Local Inuit had indicated that bears were plentiful in that area, and for me that was all the advice I needed to hear to sign up. Arctic Kingdom, an experienced northern travel company, handled all the logistics. The story behind this particular shot is, to be honest, almost embarrassing. We spent three days cruising around by snowmobile and qamutik (sleds), before we finally came across a mother with her yearling cub on a frozen-in iceberg. I spent the first half hour gleefully taking gigabytes of close-ups with my 500 mm lens, not even thinking of any other photo opportunities. Then a buddy of mine who was on the trip with me asked if I could take his picture in front of the bears. So I pulled out my second camera with the wide-angle lens, which I had been using mostly for aurora images at night. I took his picture, and it was only then that I realized that the wide-angle view was kind of interesting. So I then asked him to step aside, and I fired off some more images to capture the entire scene. When I got home I showed the picture to a pro wildlife photographer, and he nearly fell off his chair. But I still didn't realize the potential of the image. I went ahead and entered it in the contest, thinking that one of my other pictures would stand a better chance. I was just too fixated on the mindset that the only good wildlife shots are taken with telephoto lenses. What preparation was necessary to get the shot? What gear did you use?
The preparation consisted mostly of knowing how to survive and function efficiently in extremely cold weather. I've made several trips to the Arctic, and each time I go I learn something new... usually through mistakes! The biggest factor is probably mental --- just being prepared for long days of waiting, and the potential for not seeing anything at all. At the same time, you need to be ready to jump into action in an instant, should you happen across an opportunity. For this shot, I used a Canon 5D Mark III
handheld, with a 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens at a focal length of 45 mm. For the majority of my images, I was using a Canon 1DX
with a 500 mm lens mounted on a tripod. What are your most-used lenses for photographing wildlife? What are your most-used for landscapes?
My 500 mm f/4 L II
lens is definitely my first choice for wildlife, and I usually carry a 70-200 f/2.8 L II
lens on a second camera just in case the animal gets too close, or if I want to capture a wider scene. My favourite landscape lens is the 24-70 f/2.8 L II
, due to its incredible sharpness and versatility. I also really like the 82 mm filter diameter, which lets me use graduated neutral density filters without risk of vignetting. I shoot with full-frame bodies, so typically the 24 mm focal length is wide enough. On a crop-sensor body, I'd look for something a bit wider. You typically shoot landscapes and wildlife in the great Great White North [Canada]. But if you had to choose one genre over the other, which would you choose and why?
Tough question! I sure enjoy landscapes in my beautiful mountain town of Canmore Alberta, but it would be hard to give up the adrenaline rush of wildlife photography. The downside to looking for wildlife is that it always entails long hours of waiting, with many more missed opportunities than successes. But perhaps that makes the results all the more worthwhile, when everything comes together. There is an incredible appeal to being able to spend brief moments with an animal in the wild, quietly capturing images while at the same time leaving it completely undisturbed. That is the gold standard of wildlife photography, and every time it happens for me I get more and more hooked. A while back you authored an article for us, Cold Weather Photography Tips, which I would consider a must-read for anyone planning to shoot in extremely cold conditions. Overall, what's the most challenging and/or surprising aspect of shooting in sub-zero conditions?
I've found that it's a battle of endurance, both mental and physical. You need to be able to put up with a large amount of discomfort, and be mentally prepared to tough it out for an extended period of time. We went several days on the Baffin Island trip without any success, and it was crucial to stay optimistic and hopeful. The physical side was surprising for me, since you don't normally equate photography with anything athletic. But I found that in the Arctic, being in good physical condition was a great benefit. You are weighed down heavily by the bulky clothing, and often need to slog through deep snow carrying your big lens and tripod to get in position for a shot. On this trip, lack of sleep was also a major issue as we had the good fortune of photographing auroras almost every night. I'm a former marathon runner and triathlete, but after a week up north, I was totally spent. On the plus side, I was definitely grinning like a kid!
What does it take to stand out in wildlife and landscape photography?
I'm not sure that the goal should be to "stand out", rather I think the goal should be to find your passion. For me, I love the Arctic and I will definitely be going back as soon as I can. But no matter what it is you enjoy, go after it! You might later find yourself developing a creative style that makes you stand out from the crowd, and if so, great. But that is the secondary objective. The first is simply to shoot your passion, and enjoy the experience.
Check out more of Jonathan Huyer's work at huyerperspectives.com
Through 10/31, SmugMug
is offering a 31% discount
on Pro Packages for new members.
For today only, B&H
has the Pelican 1650 Case with Foam Set
available for $199.95 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $249.95. Product Highlights
- Unbreakable, Watertight, Hard Case
- Ultra-high Impact Structural Copolymer
- Foam Set Included
- Built-In Automatic Purge Valve
- Watertight to 30'
- Oversized Folding Handle
- Top Handle
- Retractable Extension Handle
- Built-In Wheels
- Lifetime Guarantee of Excellence
B&H also has the Pelican 1610 Case with Foam Set
on sale for $169.95. Regularly $209.95.