While the rig looks cool, it is surprisingly usable.
And, the gear is truly impressive.
Here is the back view:
Based on what you see here and knowing what I've already reviewed, you can likely figure out what the next review subject is.
Crazy rigs of course need a name.
I decided to call this one the RRS Radical Rig with "Extravahead" in the running.
Sean had some other good ideas – please share your own alternative name suggestions with us.
Great deal: the Canon USA Store has the Refurbished Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens available for only $779.20 with free shipping. Compare at $1,099.00 new.
Refurbished items from the Canon USA Store are like new and come with a retail-matching 1-year warranty.
Tamron announces the launch of a high-performance, high-speed zoom lens for full-frame Sony mirrorless cameras
April 27, 2018, Commack, New York - Tamron announces the launch of the 28-75mm F/2.8 Di III RXD (Model A036)- a high-speed standard zoom lens for Sony E-mount full-frame mirrorless cameras. This new zoom lens delivers superb optical performance, including both outstanding image quality and beautiful background blur effects (bokeh) only possible with a fast aperture, thanks to a new optical system designed specifically for mirrorless cameras. The lens will be available at Tamron's authorized USA retailers on May 24th at $799.
The usefulness and versatility inherent in compact full-frame mirrorless cameras are enhanced by this new Tamron lens' compact size and lightweight-it measures only 4.6 in. and weighs just 19.4 oz. The Model A036 incorporates an all-new high-speed and precise AF driving system. The RXD (Rapid eXtra-silent stepping Drive) strikes a balance between speed and silent operation, making it perfect for both video and still image capture. In addition to shooting portraits with creative, defocused backgrounds, photographers can enjoy dynamic wide-angle expressions like never before thanks to a Minimum Object Distance (MOD) of 7.5 in. at the wide-angle zoom setting. The lens also features Moisture-Resistant Construction that is useful in outdoor photography, plus hydrophobic Fluorine Coating that is highly resistant to fingerprints and dirt. In addition, the Model A036 will fully match with various camera-specific features including the in-camera lens correction and Direct Manual Focus (DMF) system features of Sony cameras, enabling this new zoom to take full advantage of the advanced functions that ensure comfortable user experiences.
Superb optical performance, including both outstanding image quality and beautiful background blur effects (bokeh), provided by fast F/2.8 aperture.
The Model A036 features a new design that leverages the advanced image quality of the latest full-frame mirrorless cameras. To balance beautiful bokeh with high image quality, the optical formula (15 elements in 12 groups) includes a special XLD (eXtra Low Dispersion) element, LD (Low Dispersion) element, GM (Glass Molded Aspherical) element and two hybrid aspherical lens elements in the optimal arrangement to correct aberrations and reduce the overall lens size. The lens also employs Tamron’s BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) Coating that boasts exceptional anti-reflection performance throughout the entire zoom range, even when shooting in backlit conditions. In addition, incorporating the nine-blade circular diaphragm design, the lens will perform in versatile situation, providing beautiful soft portrayal at wide open aperture to a clear and sharp image when stopped down.
Comfortably lightweight (19.4 oz.) and compact (4.6 in).
Extra emphasis was placed on creating a high speed, fast aperture zoom lens in a compact and lightweight design because standard-range zooms are generally the most frequently used. Weighing only 19.4 oz. with a total length of just 4.6 in., the A036 enables photographers to enjoy the mobility provided by a compact, lightweight, full-frame mirrorless camera in all situations from casual snapshots to stunning portraits and dramatic landscape photography.
Minimum Object Distance of 7.5 in.; Working Distance 2.24 in.
The Model A036 breaks from the convention that the MOD of a zoom lens must be fixed throughout the focal range and achieves a MOD of 7.5 in. at the 28mm wide-angle end which delivers a maximum image magnification of 1:2.9. The working distance of just 2.24 in. from the front element allows photographers to enjoy close-up shooting that emphasizes the sense of perspective unique to wide angles. At the 75mm telephoto end, the 15.3 in. MOD provides an image magnification of 1:4, thereby enabling close-up shooting with a pleasantly blurred background similar to a macro lens.
All-new “RXD” stepping motor AF unit is excellently quiet and therefore perfect for video capture.
The AF drive incorporates a sensor that accurately detects the position of the lens and an RXD (Rapid eXtra-silent stepping Drive) stepping motor unit optimized for AF control. This achieves quick and precise AF operation, allowing users to maintain pin-sharp focus on continually moving subjects or when filming video. Additionally, the AF motor is exceedingly quiet, virtually eliminating extraneous AF drive sounds during video recording.
Consistent with Tamron’s exciting, ergonomically superb next-generation design.
The Model A036 features a mirrorless-oriented design that adheres to Tamron’s new “human touch” lens design concept. As signified by the Luminous Gold brand ring, careful attention to detail has produced an optimum shape reflecting the characteristic look of a Tamron-branded lens, whether on its own or attached to a camera body. This design emphasizes consistent brand identity combined with ease of operation.
Moisture-Resistant Construction and Fluorine Coating for weather protection.
Environmental seals are located at the lens mount area and other critical locations to prevent infiltration of moisture and/or rain drops and afford Moisture-Resistant Construction. This feature provides an additional layer of protection when shooting outdoors under adverse weather conditions. Also, the front surface of the lens element is coated with a protective fluorine compound that has excellent water- and oil-repellant qualities. The lens surface is easier to wipe clean and is less vulnerable to the damaging effects of dirt, moisture or oily fingerprints, allowing for much easier maintenance.
Compatible with main camera-specific features and functions.
Tamron’s new 28-75mm zoom is compatible with many of the advanced features that are specific to certain mirrorless cameras. This includes the following*:
Whitetail fawns are cute and curious – and they are bundles of energy (when not sleeping).
This one abruptly stopped after leaping around, intently watching something of interest.
Alert poses are one of my favorites for wildlife with the ear position usually being ideal.
From a compositional standpoint, the direction of the gaze adds weight to the side of the frame being gazed toward.
That means this fawn works well being positioned toward the left side of the frame to provide overall balance.
Of course, the beautiful SNP spring green landscape nicely compliments the colors of the fawn.
Fawn photography at this location can make use of all available telephoto focal lengths, from short telephoto to the longest super telephoto focal lengths available.
The flexibility offered by a zoom lens has its advantages and, in this case, the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens' built-in 1.4x extender was especially helpful.
I have a unique, limited opportunity for you: I'd love for you to join me for "Whitetail Fawns and More", a Shenandoah National Park Instructional Photo Tour.
Our goal is to photograph these beautiful little creatures along with many of the other great subjects found in Shenandoah National Park while actively learning photography skills.
Read the just-linked-to detailed description to learn more.
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr.
For years, I’ve been searching for the perfect camera. Now, as a disclaimer, I don’t actually believe such a thing exists. Rather, there is a perfect balance of technology and physical size for my own intended purpose of everyday carry.
I categorize myself more as a cinematographer than a photographer, but I’ve always wanted a camera I could utilize as a director’s viewfinder for location scouting, as well as something that had the capability of capturing stunning candid photos for use in a look book or simply to share on social media. At the end of the day, I firmly believe that the best camera is the camera you have with you. Some may say, just use my trusty smartphone. However, I’ve rarely connected emotionally with an image produced by a small sensor the same way I do with images captured by more traditional cinema or larger format photography sensors. Aesthetically, achieving the shallow depth of field on a small sensor camera is much more difficult with current technology. I’ve used all of the fancy depth mapping and dual lens tricks that very smart people have built to try to simulate the depth of field achieved by a proper camera. However, whether it’s strange edge artifacts or just a much less pleasing focus roll off, those images just never felt right to me.
This same small-sensor aversion is also what kept me away from Canon’s original G Series and other PowerShots. However, with the introduction of the larger 1” sensors in cameras like the G Series, XC10, and XF400 I saw the beginning of a move in the direction I had always been hoping for.
About 8 years ago, I purchased a 4' x 6' (1.2 x 1.8m) softbox from eBay (they aren't even available anymore) and really liked the soft light it projected onto my subjects.
However, the more I used it, the more I realized how impractical it was.
The biggest problem was that the softbox's weight was too heavy for my studio strobes' spring loaded mounting fingers.
The softbox would mount to a studio strobe under ideal conditions, but any movement of the softbox (repositioning, small gust of wind, etc.) would cause the it to dismount from the strobe and [usually] break the modeling light and/or flash tube in the process.
And even if the softbox stayed connected to the studio strobe, the studio strobes positioning handle couldn't be tightened tight enough to prohibit the softbox from slowly inching its way downward at the pivot point. The problems inherent to the weighty modifier meant that it was rarely ever used. That is, until I recently came across a solution to the problem.
Shown above is a Mountable Speed Ring, and it works with any soft box that features a traditional speed ring and spoke design (it won't work with collapsible/umbrella-like folding ones). The mountable speed ring features a threaded insert that can attach to a 3/8" stud which is mounted in a traditional umbrella swivel. This setup relieves the strobe's mounting fingers from supporting the weight of the modifier; instead, the fingers only have to support the weight of itself.
The mountable speed ring will be especially helpful for anyone suspending a large softbox above a subject or with the modifier pointed downward at a significant angle as gravity will be pusing the strobe into the mounted speed ring instead of pulling the speed ring away from a traditionally mounted strobe. However, if planning to do this, it would likely be best to permanently affix the 3/8" stud to the mountable softbox with epoxy/glue. The mountable speed ring's risk-reducing design may be the most economical insurance you ever buy.
There are three versions of the mountable softbox currently available for compatibility with Paul C. Buff/Alien Bees/White Lightning, Bowens and Profoto. However, while I cannot confirm that this is the case, if you have a similar non-mountable speed ring with interchangeable mounts (most third-party speed rings are designed this way), then you may be able to swap out any of the mounts available to make it compatible with your own strobes.
In the Imaging System – Cameras section of the presentation material, Canon notes:
1Q: Unit sales were limited to a slight decline despite one-off factor
Full year: Increase market share through sales expansion of new products, including mirrorless models
Improve product mix, and new product composition to raise profitability
On the same page Canon displays a picture of the EOS M50 with the label "New Mirrorless Model - M50." It will be interesting to see what Canon has up its sleeve in regards to mirrorless cameras which may further impact its market share in 2018.
Fair warning: This isn't the most entertaining or polished "How To" video that Adobe has released, but the narrorator does cover a lot of information in this lengthy walkthrough on creating profiles in Adobe's newly revamped Camera RAW plugin. [Sean]
From the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom YouTube Channel:
An advanced, step-by-step guide to creating Creative Profiles in Adobe Camera Raw for use in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) 10.3 and later, Lightroom Classic 7.3 and later, and Lightroom CC 1.3 and later. Please keep in mind that profiles are very different from presets, and as such, there's lots of stuff that can go wrong while making them. Experiment, have fun, and go slowly.
For more details and specifics, download the SDK with sample files from this link.
Issues fixed in Lightroom Classic CC 7.3.1 (April 2018 release)
Some presets are not converting to new format. For more information about the solution, see this tech note
With B&W legacy presets, the profile resets to Adobe Standard
Develop presets not sorting correctly
Translation errors in other languages for some profiles
Black and White Mix settings - Unable to Copy/Sync
Lightroom backup catalog error issues. To resolve corruption issue in the backed up catalogs, update to Lightroom Classic CC v7.3.1 and then back up your catalogs again. If you're backing up your catalogs on macOS, see this known issue related to catalog compression below.
(Only on macOS) When backing up your catalogs on macOS, Lightroom Classic doesn't compress (zip) catalogs that have a file size less than 4 GB. As a workaround to this issue, manually compress the backed up catalog files. Compressed files take up less hard disk space. By default, Lightroom Classic saves backed up catalogs to the following location on macOS:
Meeting more of you is always high on my to-do list, I have wanted to offer photo workshops/tours/experiences for a long time (many of you have requested such) and my Shenandoah National Park commercial use permit just arrived.
While I enjoy others enjoying my images, my primary goal is always to help you get great images and I'd love for you to join me for nearly a week of wildlife and outdoor photography in this great location.
I have cleared space in the schedule and made it through the logistical issues involved in making this trip happen, including acquiring the necessary SNP permit and having an important-for-wildlife-photography park policy change implemented (this will be one of the first tours falling under the new rules).
Due to the latter issues, this is a relatively short-notice trip.
When and Where: Sun, June 3 - Sat, June 9, 2018 in Shenandoah National Park
The plan is to meet at the lodge on Sunday afternoon, just as the park's busyness of the weekend is winding down, and we will wrap up after a morning shoot on Saturday, as the park gets busy again.
Hopefully you, along with 2 or 3 (at most) others.
While large groups are far more profitable from a business perspective, photographing wildlife in the field is challenging in large groups and keeping the group small means better opportunities and more personal attention.
$2,250 due in full to lock in your spot.
Email me at Bryan@Carnathan.com to sign up or ask questions!
What are We Photographing?
Our primary photo subject will be wildlife.
Wildlife, by definition, is "wild" and that means it is unpredictable and there can be no guarantees.
That said, Shenandoah National Park is one of the best locations in the world to photograph whitetail deer and whitetail fawns are one of the cutest creatures on the face of this planet (it seems that everyone loves pictures of them).
The timing for this trip is such that most of the fawns will be recently-born and the foliage for the always-important image backgrounds should include beautiful bright green colors.
Even with the high whitetail density found in SNP, fawns remain quite challenging to photograph, but the rewards are worth the effort.
Deer are not the only wildlife subject found here and there is high likelihood that black bears will avail themselves as subjects along with a variety of birds and other smaller mammals.
We will be opportunistic and take advantage of any subjects that we encounter - and those moments are part of the excitement.
In addition to the immersive wildlife photography experience, there will certainly be opportunity for some landscape photography.
My time in the field is very limited and I need to have a high probability of good opportunities when I make such time investment. SNP rarely lets me down in that regard.
Basically, we will work hard to capture some great images, attempting to build out your portfolio and light up your social feeds as well as working on improving your photography skills.
And, we'll have fun along the way.
There is a Sense of Urgency for this Trip
CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease) has been detected within 11 miles of SNP (according to the SNP wildlife biologist I talked to in Mar 2018).
This awful disease is always fatal to deer and when it reaches within 5 miles of the park, implementation of an already-established plan will significantly reduce the deer population here.
That means this awesome experience is at high risk and that is one of the reasons I chose this photographic opportunity first.
While the implied definitions of these terms varies, I see "workshops" typically laid out with a planned schedule and "tours" typically designed to put you in front of subjects at the right time.
I'm calling this trip a "tour" because the primary goal is for you to get great images and we will be opportunistic in that regard, making a firm schedule difficult to implement.
That said, we will spend a lot of time together and I will teach, answer questions (bring many), critique images, assist in editing, etc. throughout our time together.
Thus, the educational element will certainly be there.
In the field, we will photograph side-by-side.
You taking great images home will be the primary goal, but you capturing those images yourself is important and I can best describe what you should do if I am doing it myself at the same time.
This also provides the participant opportunity to watch how it is done.
Your constant feedback and questions are important and will enable me to provide you with the best experience possible.
An "expedition" is another type of immersive photography experience and this event involves multiple daily mini-expeditions.
Certain is that we will have an adventure.
This will be a moderately strenuous trip, with much of the strain dependent on the size and weight of the gear you are carrying.
There will likely be some easy wildlife photography opportunities encountered, but we will be carrying our gear through the woods, tall grass and light brush over hilly terrain, often attempting to keep ahead of moving wildlife.
Thus, one needs to be in reasonable physical condition.
What is Included
Transportation during the experience (I am happy to provide free transportation to and/or from the park if you are directly on my route from the north - primarily RT 81) along with everything described in the Tour/Workshop/Adventure/Expedition section above is included.
By not including the items listed below in the fee, individuals are able choose their level of spending.
What is Not Included
Transportation to/from Big Meadows Lodge including the required National Park entrance fee.
Lodging. We will be staying at the Big Meadows Lodge. I usually get a very basic lodge room, but other options are available, ranging from camping to cabins.
Food. Because of the remoteness of this location, our food will primarily consist of what is offered at the Wayside Diner or the park lodges along with any food brought along into the park or purchased at the camp store.
Because it gets light very early at this time of the year (getting enough sleep will be one of our challenges), we will begin photographing before services are open. I usually pack breakfast to eat in my room prior to the morning shoots. I take a cooler with jugs of ice and ice is available at the lodge (you need bag/bucket to transport it from the ice machine).
Typically, we will eat second breakfast/early lunch (or perhaps both) at the Wayside Diner (usually open 8-8 at this time of the year) or optionally the lodge and we will likely eat at the lodge for early or late dinner (it closes at 9:00).
I suggest packing granola bars and/or bringing other snacks along while photographing (especially in case we find an amazing subject that we don't want to leave).
Plan to have water or other drink available to take with you.
At this time of the year, the days are long and the nights are correspondingly short.
Our best opportunities will be found early and late in the day and we will target these times.
Fatigue can kill mental and physical sharpness, so we will usually return to our rooms mid-day for some downtime and a nap.
We will go back out mid-late afternoon and stay out until the light level drops too low for good images.
These plans are all very flexible and we can target any specific interests the group has.
Travel insurance is strongly recommended.
As this tour is being scheduled close to the tour dates and because of the small group size, no refund can be offered for cancellation.
Aside from a great attitude and a strong interest in photographing wildlife, you are going to need some gear and mid-upper-grade gear should be considered for good results from this event.
For fawns, a camera with a reasonably fast frame rate (fawns are almost constantly moving) and high-performing AF system is preferred, but not required.
This generally means a DSLR camera or a late-model MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera) should be in your bag.
A telephoto lens or lenses will be needed with a full-frame equivalent of at least 400mm (250mm on an APS-C) suggested and having longer focal lengths available is preferred.
Wildlife activity is greatest early and late, so wide apertures are often an advantage and the wide aperture's ability to blur the background can be useful.
Any telephoto lens can work, but there may be times when an f/4 or wider aperture is preferred.
This is a great event to break out your big lenses for and it is also a great time to try a new one, perhaps via renting.
I primarily use a monopod while photographing wildlife in this location.
It is not as stable as a tripod and requires more effort to use, but it is much faster to set up and adjust.
While neither are mandatory, one or both is preferred.
I always take both to this location.
We can potentially make use of a full range of landscape photography gear, including ultra-wide to wide angle lenses and circular polarizer and ND filters.
It is highly recommended to bring a laptop, enabling review of your images throughout the time we have together.
Bring an external hard drive for an additional level of backup.
Bring adequate memory card capacity, enough batteries to last at least a day with enough chargers to restore that capability overnight.
Consider what failure of any piece of gear means for your experience.
Consider bringing a backup for items identified as critical.
As always, feel free to ask us for gear advice.
Weather / Clothing
The weather in early June is typically very nice in Shenandoah National Park.
However, the mountain can create its own weather and that can be at least somewhat unpredictable.
Rain gear may be very appreciated at times, including rain covers for camera gear while in the field.
Plan for walking in brush (including mild briars) and woods.
The wildlife we are pursuing is acclimated to humans and they do not seem to care what we are wearing (though you might get their attention if you look like a black bear, a primary deer predator).
Camo clothing is not necessary, but it is a good option.
I wear mostly camo and part of the reason is to be less obvious to other park visitors.
Insects can be annoying and ticks are reportedly present (I have yet to find one on me at this location).
Permethrin and other insect repellent may be appreciated and I also wear a ball cap to help keep gnats out of my eyes (and avoid sunburn).
Especially mid-day, shorts may prove the most comfortable option at times.
Researchers from NVIDIA, led by Guilin Liu, introduced a state-of-the-art deep learning method that can edit images or reconstruct a corrupted image, one that has holes or is missing pixels.
The method can also be used to edit images by removing content and filling in the resulting holes.
The method, which performs a process called “image inpainting”, could be implemented in photo editing software to remove unwanted content, while filling it with a realistic computer-generated alternative.
“Our model can robustly handle holes of any shape, size location, or distance from the image borders. Previous deep learning approaches have focused on rectangular regions located around the center of the image, and often rely on expensive post-processing,” the NVIDIA researchers stated in their research paper. “Further, our model gracefully handles holes of increasing size.”
In a recent publication directed to its investors and based on a reevaluation of future cash flow, Nikon announced that it will suffer "extraordinary losses" from its investment in Nikon Metrology NV, its Belgium subsidiary that produces "...laser scanners; coordinate measuring machines; portable measuring solutions; and in-process measurement, video and microscope measuring, X-ray and computed tomography (CT) inspection, large scale measurement, microscope, and semiconductor systems." (Bloomerg)
The reevaluation revealed that the fair market value of the investment in Nikon Metrology NV decreased by almost $95.6 million (10,343 million yen).
I had been watching this pair of red fox kits (what baby fox are called and not to be confused with the kit fox species) at a relatively close distance, within photo range, for perhaps an hour with essentially no good images captured.
They were running, resting, wrestling, eating (the mom or dad would occasionally bring them captured food), nursing and simply being extremely cute.
While I was thoroughly enjoying watching the adorable babies, I of course wanted photos to take home.
The problem was the thick brush including vines, trees, limbs, grasses, etc. constantly obscuring the view and creating hard shadows that were nearly as problematic as the obstructions.
There were very limited unobscured areas to shoot into at this location and the kits seemed to seldom go into these.
At one point, the kits started running together in a big circle.
I saw that the arc, if followed, was going to lead them through one of the small openings.
I told the small group I was with to get ready, followed my own advice and when they hit the opening, I hit the shutter release.
The result of anticipating the shot was one of the few images worth processing I captured on the trip and anticipation is often the key to successful wildlife photography.
Wildlife is frequently moving and determining where that movement will correspond with a good composition is often what is required for good results.
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr.
SmugMug and Flickr Unite to Form the World’s Most Influential Photography Community
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – (April 20, 2018) – SmugMug, the largest, most comprehensive, independent photo management platform in the world, today announced it has agreed to purchase Flickr, the online photo management and sharing application. Together, SmugMug and Flickr represent the world’s most influential community of photographers, marrying SmugMug’s deep industry expertise and strong digital tools with Flickr’s global tribe of tens of millions of photographers. Following the close of the transaction, the brands will continue to operate as separate entities with the shared goal of providing photographers with both a place to fit in and a place to stand out. SmugMug and Flickr believe that all photographers—from the hobbyist to the prosumer to the professional—belong together.
“Since day one our passion has been empowering photographers to tell the stories they want to tell, the way they want to tell them, and our investment in Flickr reaffirms this commitment,” said Don MacAskill, CEO of SmugMug. “Uniting the SmugMug and Flickr brands will make the whole photography community stronger and better connected. The enduring quality of photography is so much more than clicks and likes—photography has the power to change the world. Together, we can preserve photography as the global language of storytelling.”
Established in 2002 as one of the first photo storage and sharing services, SmugMug is home to millions of passionate photographers and billions of secure photographs. The SmugMug platform provides photographers with website designs that offer a safe, easy and convenient way to share, showcase and sell their stories. SmugMug gives photographers complete control over who accesses their photos, and provides robust e-commerce features that make it easy to turn passion into profit.
At its heart, SmugMug encourages and empowers its community of photographers to learn, share, and inspire one another. SmugMug provides 24/7 support, from real people, along with tips, tutorials, and training events, and also hosts webinars and forums with leading photographers.
Founded in 2004, Flickr is an active, global community of photographers that encourages users to find their inspiration. Home to tens of billions of photos and two million groups, photography lovers come to Flickr to share their passion, discover spectacular images, hone their craft, and engage with friends old and new.
“We share SmugMug’s mission to cater to people—professionals, amateurs, and everybody in between— who invest time, energy and love into their photos,” said Andrew Stadlen of Flickr. “We look forward to becoming part of the SmugMug family and continue to grow, innovate and delight our global community of photographers.”
Tomorrow, April 21, you will be able to access any National Park without having to pay an entrance fee. So if you don't have any plans, why not pack up the family along with some camera gear and visit your nearest (or favorite) US National Park?