Sunday, November 28, 2010

Kenya bound...

My bags are packed and off to the airport in a half hour en route to Kenya for a couple weeks of photography. Here's what I travel with (above).... 

Bag 1 (left) Carry-on is a Gura Kiboko bag with all the really expensive, fragile stuff (bodies, lenses, filters). Gura is the best bag for traveling with a ton of gear! I've got a 500/4, 300/2.8, 70-200/4, 24-70/2.8, 24TSE, 17-40/4, 1DS mark III and 5D mark II in there... amazing that it all fits! 

2) Personal item (second carry-on) has laptop, documents, point and shoot, etc.

3) Checked bag is a large MEC duffle bag (very little weight in the bag iteself) with tripods, heads, reflectors, chargers all padded with underwear, t-shirts, pants, etc!

Dust is always a problem for me on photo shoots and I expect it to be bad in the dry African savannah ecosystems. Dust is especially problematic for shooting video with tee 5D mark II.... it's a serious pain to remove dust spots from HD video! To save me the agony, I'm now using a product called Dust-Shield, which is an optical quality thin plastic film that seals the camera chamber and prevents dust from getting on the sensor. I just had my camera cleaned and put a fresh dust shield on... see next two photos. It works great and makes life so much easier! 

The next photo is the most important item I'll be traveling... Imodium! In foreign countries, you're exposed to a range of 'bugs' that will inevitably result in gastro-intestinal distress. Imodium has saved me on many trips, so I could keep photographing and spent less time in agony in third-world washrooms! 

Be sure to follow the blog and my facebook page over the next couple weeks to see the photos and hear the stories from the trip!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Backroads near Thornbury, Ontario - subtle morning landscape

November is a drab time of year for photographing landscapes in this part of the world (central Ontario). The leaves are off the trees and everything is more-or-less a shade of brown. I find it difficult to be inspired to get out and shoot. On the plus side however, sunrise happens fairly late, so it's easy to get up and catch  morning light.

Last week I was cruising around the backrounds near my place when I stumbled across this scene. The  dawn colors were subtle so I used a Singh-Ray LB ColorCombo polarizer to enhance the scene. And of course, I used an ND grad (Singh-Ray 2 stop hard edge, 4"x6" size) to balance the exposure and add drama to the sky while properly exposing the foreground. Without filters there wouldn't have been much of a photo here.... the sky would have washed out to dull.

On a lacklustre morning I pulled off a decent shot.... I'm glad that I didn't sleep in!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Must read book: VisionMongers by David duChemin

Every now and then I stumble across a book that truly inspires me. "VisionMongers: Making a Life and Living in Photography" by David duChemin is one such book! I'm about half way through it and has inspired me enough to plug it here on the blog. 
The book is full of practical advice about how and why to pursue a living in photography. All aspiring pros should consider this the definitive must-read (in addition to John Shaw's Business of Nature Photography). Seasoned pros will enjoy the philosophy behind the book and pick up plenty of tips to sharpen their business skills.

Here's a link to David's blog, from which you'll find Amazon links to purchase the book.

If you get a chance to read it, let me know what you think.
Happy shooting!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Moved to Owen Sound & great luck with Coyotes this morning

Coyote photographed near Owen Sound this morning.

I've been incredibly busy lately which accounts for the lack of blog posts over the past couple of weeks. First and foremost, I've moved to the town of Owen Sound in a great apartment close to downtown. I'm finally settled in but it was no small task moving my stuff (second floor apartment). I have way too much photography gear; one room is completely jammed with everything from blinds and waders to camera packs and tripods.

My trip to Kenya is coming up in a few weeks so I'm starting to get organized for that. Traveling by plane with tons of camera gear is always a pain in the ass. I'll be fine-tuning the packing of camera gear right up until the last minute.

This morning I went out for a quick photo shoot on the outskits of Owen Sound with my buddy Craig (the guy behind In early morning light, we stumbled across a pair of coyotes in a farm field close to the road. One of the animals was very pale/tawny in appearance and obliging for the camera. We shot from the van and it was certainly the best opportunity I've had photographing wild coyotes. Immediately afterwards, I locked the keys in the vehicle. The excitement of the coyotes helped to offset the wait for a tow truck driver who was able to unlock the van in a couple of seconds.

Both of these photos were shot with a Canon EOS 1Ds mark III and 500mm/4 lens at ISO 400 from a tripod set up in my van.