Matt Hill's successful Kickstarter campaign in November 2014 raised nearly 200% of the asking pledge goal, and for the first time, shares how he prepared for, ran and fulfilled his Kickstarter fine art photography campaign. He also shares what he would do differently if he were doing it again for the first time.
A recent $200.00 price drop of the DJI Phantom 3 Advanced and Standard models means that investing in a drone is now more economically attractive than ever. However, as a recent drone recipient, let me provide a word of warning – the costs associated with drone ownership may balloon very quickly.
For example, you'll likely want a few accessories to go along with your drone. An extra battery, a case, extra props and/or prop guards are all high on the list of must-haves for many new drone owners. So let's look at our total after adding a few accessories at their current cost (subject to change) for the DJI Phantom 3 Advanced/4K as well as the cost of registering the drone:
Of course, the above totals are only a guide. A different case or a change in the price of the various accessories (a common occurrence, especially with the battery) will cause the total to shift one way or another. And while a new drone owner may not feel that filters are a necessity upon first purchasing the UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System), the filters may become an eventual purchase if not an initial one. Overall, I think the above list is a decent, average representation of desired accessories.
As you can see, our $799.00 drone investment has grown by more than 50%. But we're not done yet, not even by a long shot.
Being a responsible citizen, you're going to want to purchase insurance – liability, at the very least – for your drone. And that's where the dollar signs really start to add up. Unfortunately, insurance companies want nothing to do with drones. They're simply too risky. So when you find a company that will give you liability insurance covering your drone, it's going to cost you. Note that most photography gear/liability insurance plans will not cover drones without a huge modification to your premiums and deductibles.
So how much are we talking about? In my case, even with fairly low-risk usage, the lowest insurance premium I could find – with a $500,000 liability policy (the lowest coverage available) which does not cover gear replacement – was $695.00 per year. And at that price, the company would not allow me to pay monthly, but instead insisted that the total be paid up-front.
If that insurance premium total surprises you, you're not alone. I was aghast when my insurance agent told me how much the insurance would be. But keep in mind, that's also a rough number for relatively low-risk commercial use. You may be able to find something less expensive, but your intended usage may cause that figure to go up considerably. And if you want gear coverage too, that premium may seem small by comparison. If you're absolutely sure that your use will be limited to non-commercial purposes, a home owner's insurance policy may cover drone usage at little to no extra cost, which can certainly save you a bundle.
So lets look at our investment again, assuming any commercial use:
Now our $799.00 drone investment has grown by more than $1,100.00, for a grand total that is significantly more than double the cost of the drone itself. And if you don't currently own video editing software, you can add that to the list too. And if you're recording 4K footage with your drone, you may even need to upgrade various computer components to ease the burden of 4K video editing. As you can see, the costs associated with owning a drone can quickly snowball.
Should you still buy a drone? If you have the money to cover the costs, and you're interested in aerial filming/photography, then absolutely. I had so much fun flying the DJI Phantom 3 Advanced this past weekend that the cost seems well worth the investment at this point.
But just be warned, your bank account won't likely be flying as high as your new drone.
To help with your pursuit of Lightroom knowledge and mastery, longtime Lightroom team member Benjamin Warde has rolled up his sleeves to create “Lightroom Coffee Break,” a new bi-monthly video series designed to give you helpful Lightroom tips and tricks in 60 seconds or less. We currently have two videos ready for viewing, but be sure to tune in every other week on YouTube for further servings of Lightroom knowledge, as there are many more to come.
The first video in the series can be seen above. The second video is below. [Sean]
Utilizing an advanced material known as “Clear Glass Ceramic”, the SIGMA WR CERAMIC PROTECTOR is a highly reliable filter with outstanding protective capabilities.
The shock resistance of the SIGMA WR CERAMIC PROTECTOR has undergone a rigorous drop ball test based on the ISO 12311:2013 standard using a 49g metal ball, 3 times the weight of a standard metal ball. The test proved the excellent shock resistance of SIGMA WR CERAMIC PROTECTOR compared to conventional protectors.
MELVILLE, N.Y. – Canon U.S.A. Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, announced today the company will return as a Sustaining Sponsor to the 2016 Sundance Film Festival (January 21–31, 2016). In sponsorship with Sundance Institute, Canon will pay tribute to the best of independent film and offer exciting new programs dedicated to the filmmakers behind the camera.
Canon celebrates the creativity behind every film at the Festival and is pleased to share that at least 51 of the 247 films premiering as part of this year’s slate – over 20 percent – were shot using Canon equipment. Canon-shot projects screening at the Festival include the seven-hour true crime documentary O.J.: Made in America, Miles Ahead, Liz Garbus’s Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper, The New Yorker Presents, Holy Hell, Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, and Bryce Dallas Howard’s short film solemates.
“In sponsoring with the Sundance Film Festival, Canon and the filmmaking industry connect and grow together,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO, Canon U.S.A. “The Festival is an annual reminder that the tools we engineer are being used at the highest creative level all over the world, and the conversations we have with filmmakers here help shape the new products that we create for the industry.”
In 2016, Canon will again invite select Sundance Film Festival attendees for a hands-on exploration of the filmmaking process at the Canon Creative Studio (427 Main Street; open Saturday, January 23-Tuesday, January 26, from 11am-6pm). At this daily hub for cinematographers, directors, editors, producers, and crew, guests will explore how Canon supports all aspects of filmmaking -- from production design to image capture, through edit and workflow. The Canon Creative Studio will also serve as host to the invite-only Raise Your Glass with Canon cocktail party on Sunday, January 24, Canon’s fourth annual celebration toasting the filmmakers who push creative boundaries.
Inside the Canon Creative Studio, guests are invited to experience a touch-and-try display of the latest Canon gear, including the new EOS C300 Mark II Digital Cinema Camera, an EOS C500 Digital Cinema Camera mounted on Intuitive Aerial’s Aerigon professional cinema drone and a pitch-black demonstration of the ME20-FSH Multi-Purpose camera, Canon’s exciting new ultra low-light, four million ISO camera.
Each day, Canon Live Learning will offer hands-on workshops with Canon’s newest cinema camera, the Canon EOS C300 Mark II. Loren Simons, Canon senior product and sales trainer, will lead intimate groups on walking tours through scenic downtown Park City, exploring the camera’s high-sensitivity shooting capabilities, dual-pixel CMOS autofocus, and internal HD/2K/4K recording system.
To exhibit how Canon serves filmmakers through the post-production process, Canon is honored to partner with Adobe for a live 4K post-production demonstration led by filmmaker Jon Carr. Utilizing two of Canon’s DP-V3010 4K Reference Monitors, Carr will demonstrate his tricks of the trade for editing and coloring 4K footage shot with the EOS C300 Mark II camera in Adobe Premiere Pro CC software.
While motion picture is at the heart of the Sundance Film Festival, Canon is rooted in supporting the art of still photography. The walls of the Canon Creative Studio will be adorned by a never-before-seen gallery of original images from leading cinematographer Polly Morgan (Holy Hell, The Intervention), shot with a range of Canon EF lenses. Festival filmmakers will also have the opportunity to have their portrait taken by photographer Michael Ori on the Canon EOS 5DS R DSLR camera. Canon will send their guests home with an 8x10 copy of their portrait, printed in-house with the new Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 Professional Inkjet Printer. Canon has partnered with No Film School to launch a new filmmaking podcast out of the Sundance Film Festival, debuting with 10 live episodes recorded on-site at the Canon Creative Studio. The podcast will feature lively interviews with top festival filmmakers including Roberto Schaefer, ASC, AIC (Miles Ahead, Quantum of Solace), Wolfgang Held (Sophie and the Rising Sun, Years of Living Dangerously), Nick Higgins (OJ: Made in America, The Crash Reel), Martina Radwan (Trapped, The Eagle Huntress), Richard Henkels (Author: The JT Leroy Story), Bernardo Britto (Glove, Jacqueline (Argentina)), and Bérénice Eveno (solemates, Verbatim: The Ferguson Case, The Free World).
On Monday, January 25, in the New Frontier Gateway Microcinema, Canon will present a screening and panel in celebration of the 10 year anniversary of the Canon EOS 5D camera called “A Decade of DSLRs: Creative Minds Talk the Evolution of Hand-Held Filmmaking.” Moderated by Ryan Koo (Founder, No Film School and author, The DSLR Cinematography Guide), cinematographers Bryce Fortner (Too Legit, Portlandia), Tom Hurwitz, ASC (Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper), and Joe Passarelli (Anomalisa) will join photographer, director, and Canon Explorer of Light Lauren Greenfield (The Queen of Versailles) and Canon’s Senior Film and Television Advisor Tim Smith in discussing evolution of DSLR filmmaking, with an eye to the future.
Canon is also pleased to partner again with Indiewire, the leading news and networking site for the independent film and television industry, to deliver exclusive content and share up-to-date happenings from the Canon Creative Studio. Throughout the Festival, Indiewire will feature a series of interviews with Sundance cinematographers called “How I Shot That,” presented by Canon. To read the series, please visit
This is a question that I've been asking myself since the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens was introduced back in 2012. Since that time, I have second guessed my own decision multiple times, my vacillating illuminated by the fact that I've had and sold two different 24-105 L Lenses since then. Initially, the significantly higher price tag of the 24-70 f/4L IS made the recommendation decision considerably easier. Now that the list prices have completely equalized (though rebates potentially change the equation significantly), the merits of the lenses themselves become the bigger decision factors.
The first significant fact to understand is that these are both great lenses and for most, there is no wrong decision to be made here. Both lenses are well built including weather sealing, focus fast and accurately, have a great general purpose focal length range and have IS. They share a very similar design including appearance and on many accounts, can be used interchangeably.
The primary and significant advantage held by the 24-105 f/4L IS is the extra 35mm of focal length range on the long end.
The 7-years-younger 24-70 f/4L IS is a modestly smaller and slightly lighter lens. It is 0.52" (13.3mm) shorter when retracted (actual measured length) and 0.68" (18.5mm) shorter with the hood installed. The 24-70 weighs 2.3 oz. (65g) less with hood installed (actual measured weight). Are these differences? Yes. Are they significant ones? Not so much.
A stronger advantage for the 24-70 is its very impressive macro capability. A 0.70x maximum magnification from a non-prime-macro lens is eye-opening and significantly more impressive than the 24-105's 0.23x spec. However, it should be kept in mind that a 12mm extension tube can push the 24-105 to 0.60x maximum magnification. Disclaimer: I have not made an image quality comparison with the extension tube in play.
Image quality comparisons I have made show that:
At 24mm with a wide open aperture, the 24-70 f/4L IS bests the 24-105 L IS in sharpness by a modest amount. The 24-105 L delivers a sharper image at 50mm f/4, but at 70mm the 24-70 f/4L is back up to near equality with the 24-105 L. These two lenses perform more similarly at f/5.6 and at f/8 their results are nearly identical. The difference is negligible at f/11.
The 24-70 has less distortion, especially at 24mm. It also has noticeably less CA at the wide end, but more at 70mm. The 24-70 f/4L IS has less vignetting at the wide end at f/4, but more at the long end. By f/5.6, the two lenses are close in this regard.
Affecting image quality on a limited basis is the aperture blade count. The 24-70 has 9 blades vs. the 24-105 L's 8. This difference will primarily be noticed when point light sources are photographed at narrow apertures, with the odd blade numbered aperture creating 18-point sun stars vs the even's 8-point stars.
Another difference between these lenses is Canon's 4-stop Hybrid Image Stabilization featured in the 24-70, correcting both angular and shift movement in macro mode. The 24-105 L has 3-stop non-Hybrid Image Stabilization. Theoretically, the 24-70 can be handheld in 1/2 as much light as the 24-105 can be handheld in.
If price remains a deciding factor for you ... even though the list prices are equal, there remains at times a considerable difference, thanks to a rebate and a reward differential.
Willing to buy a white box and/or gray (same lens not imported by Canon USA) version? On eBay, the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS Lens can currently be found for as little as $595 – an incredible value. Not too far behind is the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS Lens in white box condition currently priced at starting at $675.00 on eBay. These prices change, so check these links to get the latest.
Buying these lenses in refurbished by Canon condition is another great option. Expect Canon refurbished lenses to be in like-new condition and they usually (verify) have a same-as-new warranty. Check refurbished inventories at B&H, Canon and Adorama.
My Own Decision
After going back and forth, and back and forth, and carrying both lenses some of the time, I've personally settled on the 24-70mm f/4L IS as my primary walkaround, travel and general purpose lens. I usually have a telephoto zoom with me, reducing the value of the 24-105's focal length advantage. That leaves all of the other advantages to outweigh the 24-105's primary advantage. I've used the 24-70 f/4L IS in the 4 corners of the 50 USA states and many locations within. It has served me very well and has now permanently replaced my 24-105 f/4L IS.
Complete Package 500Ws monolight with High-Speed Sync, TTL for Canon and Nikon, IGBT technology, lithium-ion battery, and multi-voltage AC power pack in one complete package
S1 TTL Remote The S1's TTL remotes give the users direct control over any S1 light in any shooting mode from the camera position. This camera-mounted transmitter is available for both Canon and Nikon cameras and supports E-TTL II and i-TTL protocol. Having three individual groups gives users the freedom to control lights individually to create dynamic lighting ratios with a working range of up to 300' (100 m)
Power Suppy Each Interfit S1 comes standard with both battery and AC-power sources. The interchangeable 4500mAh Li-ion battery provides up to 350 full power flashes in Manual and TTL modes and over 400 full-power flashes in High-Speed Sync mode. This wire-free power source gives photographers the freedom and mobility to venture out from the studio and rapidly set up and reposition lights on location. For traditional studio work, the S1 also ships with an AC power pack (adapter). This multi-voltage (100-240V) adapter can be used anywhere in the world and lets photographers continue to shoot while their battery is charging
Shooting Modes The S1 has three different shooting modes, each to serve a different purpose and shooting style. Interfit's S1 Remote for Canon or Nikon enables photographers to take advantage of their camera's TTL system just like they would with a speedlight. This automated light output uses the S1's entire 7-stop power range (500W - 7.8Ws), is automatically calculated in 1/10th stop increments, and allows for +/- 3 stops of exposure compensation
Manual Mode and High-Speed Sync For those that prefer to have complete control of their light and have time for fine-tuned adjustments, the S1 can be used in the traditional manual mode. Manual shooting mode also utilizes the entire 7-stop power range, controllable in 1/10th stop increments. While in manual mode, users can access the S1's High Speed Sync mode, reaching shutter speeds up to 1/8000th of a second. High-Speed Sync mode utilizes the top 4 stops in the power range (500Ws - 62.5Ws) and is manually adjustable in 1/3-stop increments
IGBT Utilizing IGBT technology, the S1 is able to offer short flash durations while maintaining color accuracy throughout the power range. Flash duration ranges from 1/1000 at full power, down to 1/9000 at minimum power. While shortening the flash duration, Interfit was also able to improve color accuracy, giving the S1 a consistent 5700K (+/-100k) color temperature throughout the entire power range
"Colin McMaster is one of the world’s best when it comes to rally photography. The fast-paced motorsport that covers the globe throws up more than its fair share of great images – and great challenges – as he explains to CPN Editor David Corfield...
Colin McMaster lives life by the clock. The sport of rallying – itself governed by hours, minutes and seconds – extends far beyond the lens for him. Rallying is his livelihood and much of his downtime is given over to his passion: photography."
The Nikon D500 introduces 4K UHD video recording capability to the Nikon DX-range. Check out the official sample video.
The Nikon D500 can record 4K UHD (3840 × 2160)/30p/25p/24p as well as 1080/60p video for up to 29 min. 59 sec, with simultaneous output via HDMI available. It is also possible to generate 4K UHD time-lapse movies within the camera. In Full HD or HD mode, the D500’s electronic Vibration Reduction function reduces the effects of camera shake in the horizontal, vertical and rotational directions during hand-held movie recording, while Active D-Lighting preserves details in highlights and shadows to capture footage with natural brightness.
B&H has the Nikon D500 available for preorder with an expected availability in March.
Although the two days I spent in Shenandoah National Park last June were mostly rainy with heavy fog, I managed to get close enough to this adorable just-born fawn for some clear images. The white-tailed deer fawn may be my favorite baby animal and this photo alone would have made the trip worthwhile.
My camera choice for this trip was the EOS 5D Mark III. I made this choice for the combination of image quality (the EOS 5Ds and 5Ds R had not yet arrived) and AF performance.
While I had several telephoto lens choices along, the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens was my primary wildlife lens. The deer I photograph in Shenandoah National Park are often at least somewhat approachable (though mothers with fawns seem to be an exception), making 400mm often adequate and the 560mm option is available at the throw of a switch. The other issue is that getting close to the animals is often a requirement to eliminate trees and other obstructions. The need to get closer makes even 400mm on a full frame body very frequently too long (unless head shots are desired). The zoom range feature of this lens offers plenty of flexibility in framing at a range of subject distances.
My second choice lens on this trip was the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens. This is another incredible lens that offers an even longer focal length range than the 200-400. Yes, the 200-400 has the built-in extender, but the 100-400 is also compatible with extenders. The 100-400 is considerably smaller and lighter, but the 200-400 has a wider aperture – a full 1 stop wider at the long end. As I mentioned, the weather was rainy with heavy fog, which translates to dark and being able to stop motion in 1/2 as much light was important.
The next thing you are going to say is that ... this photo was captured at f/5.6. That is correct. The fawn happened to be at the edge of a clearing with an above-average amount of light on it. It had been nursing from its mother moments before and I was using f/5.6 to gain some depth of field. So, in this case, the 100-400 L II would also have worked well.
Moments later, the fawn was bouncing around in the woods and ... that meant that the 200-400 L was the right choice.
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.
January 20, 2016 – A must-have of the fall-winter 2015-2016 is undoubtedly the tweed: the famous Scottish fabric that has populated for years the wardrobe of women, as well as of the men.
A warm fabric, elegant and above all timeless; the tweed has now become a must that couldn’t miss in the Barber Shop Bags collection. In particular the Pageboy, the smallest of the family, decided to wear this precious fabric, thus giving rise to the new VANITY TWEED version.
Though the name tends to be feminine, the new tweed Pageboy is unisex and appropriates for both women as well men. This bag is perfect for carrying a camera kit essential (1 DSLR camera with standard lens, 1 additional lens or flash medium and small accessories). The Pageboy also has a padded interior pocket perfect to protect from bumps and drops your smartphone or your mini I-Pad.
The protective camera satchel can be removed when not carrying with you the photo gear, and so you can use the bag as a daily “shopping bag”.
As all others Barber Shop Bags, also this one can be personalized with the initials of your name (up to 3 characters) choosing from several color combinations including red, blue, silver and gold. This gives you the possibility to have an handcrafted product by skilled artisans, but also a customized and very personal bag. Barber Shop products are entirely handcrafted in Italy with the utmost care, using only selected Italian leathers. Leather, being a natural product, will change over time, giving each piece its own authentic personality.
And to be a real stylish photographer, Barber Shop Bags created a shoulder strap with the same tweed fabric and that will allow you to carry your gear securely in any environment: outdoor, sport events, fashion shows or wedding.
A perfect combination designed by Barber Shop Bags and ideal for those photographers who want a technical and professional product but at the same time a stylish and elegant kit.
"Travel photography can provide some of the most inspiring and intriguing imagery. Photographs trigger our memories, help us to illustrate a story, and show us a sense of place. When we travel, those memories can often seem richer, more vibrant, and more significant to us than when we are at home.
First impressions aren’t something that we only get when we meet new people. Each minute impression that you get from seeing a new country, a new town, or a new restaurant is something that you can express visually. When you travel (or play tourist at home), what are your first impressions of the place? What colors, scents, or sounds stand out? Each of these experiences can be expressed through the visual medium of photography.
When you hear the sound of horse hooves clacking against cobblestone streets or the deep horn of a passing ship in the sea, you can bring those memories and experience to life through your imagery. When you smell fresh baked bread wafting down a street, or feel the warmth of the sand beneath your feet, each of these moments tells a story and creates a sense of place. Bringing that sense of place through to your photography is what makes a travel image a lasting moment, rather than a fleeting snap shot, and your memories will be so much more vibrant for it. Not only is it important to capture the literal look of a place in travel photography, but for strong and memorable imagery, capturing the ambiance is important as well."
I encountered numerous lion's mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata, AKA the giant jellyfish or the hair jelly) while walking the docks at Seward Harbor in Alaska. With a Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens mounted to the Canon EOS 5Ds R, I was focused on harborscapes and was not expecting small subjects such as jellyfish. While I could have gone back to the SUV for the 100-400mm Lens, I was able to find a couple of these subjects just below the dock, allowing me to occasionally get close enough to fill much of the 70mm frame.
By photographing a lion's mane that was near the surface with a circular polarizer filter cutting the reflections and by adding some contrast in post processing, I was able to get an underwater look from a surface-captured image. In post, I removed some debrise in the water and increased saturation a bit to brighten the colors. Hard to see at this resolution is the small jellyfish, one of the lion's mane jellyfish's prey, just out of tenacle reach toward the left side of the frame.
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.