MH PhotoDesigns, LLC: Blog https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog en-us (C) MH PhotoDesigns, LLC 2024 [email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:29:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:29:00 GMT Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2018/5/canon-ef-200-400mm-f/4l-is-usm FOR SALE: Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens with Internal 1.4x Extender in like new condition for the amazingly low price of $9699, $1,300 less than the current price of a new one at B&H @ $10,999.00

The lens with included accessories: the E-145C Lens Cap (lens hood made of tough synthetic fabric), the rear lens cap, the lens wide strap, the ET-120 Lens Hood, the lens trunk and the lens manual. The lens and other items listed will be shipped only after your payment is verified and money is received unless other arrangements are made.

SHIPPING CHARGES TO BE DETERMINED ONCE DELIVERY DESTINATION IS KNOWN. Insured shipping via FedEx Ground to US addresses only.

Many have seen our images we’ve made with this great, versatile lens. It will gets you from 200 to 560mm in an instant, and to 784mm with the additional of an external 1.4X TC. I would’ve never thought of heading out to photograph without having it along for the trip. If you love to photograph wildlife, live in a location with a great variety of birds, or enjoy shooting sporting events, this is likely the best lens for you. And you have never seen a price this low for one in like new condition before. If you have been seriously considering this lens, please do not hesitate.

We are the Original Owner and ONLY maintenance cleaning service by Canon CPS factory trained technicians.

Additional images and information may be requested or you may schedule to see in person. This is an expensive purchase and will only sell to someone comfortable with the purchase as I respect what it's like to make a decision of this caliber. I have a number of references available upon request for others that have purchased larger, more expensive items from us as well.

SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY!

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Other items available for additional costs:

4th Generations Designs CRX-5 Lens Foot - New 122.00 (Selling for 95.00)

Tamrac 5793 Super Telephoto Lens Pack - Black (fits lens and pro body) New 199.00 (Selling for 175.00)

AquaTech Soft Cap Silicone Lens Cover - New 39.95 (Selling for 30.00)
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If you would be interested in the ENTIRE SET-UP @ $9900.00
Insured shipping via FedEx Ground to US addresses only.

 

PLEASE CONTACT US IF INTERESTED OR TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT HAVE.  

Marcus Hammitt - MH PhotoDesigns

Email:  [email protected]
Phone: 715-572-0802

THANK YOU!

 

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2018/5/canon-ef-200-400mm-f/4l-is-usm Sun, 27 May 2018 12:23:25 GMT
FOR SALE: Canon Pro9500 Mark II Photo Printer https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2018/1/for-sale-canon-pro9500-mark-ii-photo-printer For Sale:


CANON Pixma Pro9500 Mark II

Professional Inkjet Printer

(Comes complete with existing ink along with a complete extra set of [5] ink tanks)



Canon Pro9500 II BlackCanon Pro9500 II Black

 

 

Professional Printing Performance for Large Archival Photos.
 

It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The same can be said for works of art. When you take a photograph, you are capturing your artistic ideas through imagery. The time has come for you as a photographer to invigorate and expand your artistic spirit through printing. The best way to reach these extraordinary heights is to print, exhibit and preserve your works of art up to 13" x 19" with the Pro9500 Mark II Inkjet Photo Printer.
 

The revered 10-full color pigment LUCIA Ink system includes gray, black and matte black inks that collectively produce monochrome photographs of unrivaled quality when using the professional finish and texture of Canon Fine Art Photo Papers. These genuine Canon papers combined with LUCIA Inks provide phenomenal photo vividness and longevity. 

 

 

Canon Pro9500 II Ink TanksCanon Pro9500 II Ink Tanks

 

 

 

Terrific Resolution

This level of quality is achieved by 4800 x 2400 maximum color dpi3 thanks to Canon Full-photolithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering (FINE) with a patented printhead firing ink droplets as small as 3pl. This delivers professional quality and detail for all of your photos. 

High-Performance Ink Tank System

This amazing 10-full color pigment LUCIA Ink system delivers unparalleled professional photo quality plus gray, black and matte black inks for professional Black & White photos. 

Ambient Light Correction

Have professional quality in virtually any type of lit setting as this new technology optimizes color output to match the specified lighting condition of the room you're admiring your photos in. 

Beautiful & Borderless

Whether you want stunning color prints or classic Black & White's, print what you feel as a professional without borders up to 13" x 19". 

Auto Photo Fix

This built-in technology is perfect for your home photo lab as it automatically categorizes your images into one of five types - Portrait, Scenery, Night Scenery, Snapshot with Scenery, and Snapshot with Night Scenery - then applies optimal image correction. For instance, it will automatically brighten faces that are backlit and under-exposed, and correct color cast to help ensure more accurate skin tones to help you produce gorgeous images. 

2 Way Paper Feeding

To add to your options, this feature lets you load photo papers in the back of the printer and thicker fine art papers in the front, so you're always ready to print with the paper type you want. 

USB 2.0 Hi-Speed

Plug the cable into your computer for a super-fast connection for your data transfers.

 

 

 

We are selling this printer as we just really never have a need for it.  It has "EXTREMELY LOW USE" as we generally use our professional labs due to the high volume of images we have printed day to day.

We are asking the Selling Price of $500 which includes an additional 5 new extra ink tanks. [Brand New]  

This printer sold new for just over $1000 and they still sell new for around $800.  The real bonus for anyone interested is that each ink tank sells for around $12 each.  We are including over $60 worth of ink alone!


If you are interested, please contact us via email at [email protected]

Marcus Hammitt

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) canon for sale ink photographs printer printing https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2018/1/for-sale-canon-pro9500-mark-ii-photo-printer Sat, 13 Jan 2018 01:23:25 GMT
SOLD: Canon 600 EX-RT Speedlite / MagMod Setup https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2018/1/Canon-600EX-RTLighting SOLD:


(2)-CANON 600 EX-RT Speedlites w/ Canon ST-E3-RT Transmitter

Flash units are in EXCELLENT condition -
Includes everything included in the original packaging from Canon

They have a very low amount of flash usage


(B&H Lists Canon 600 EX-RT Speedlites for $579.00 each - 100.00 instant savings = $479.00 ea.)

(B&H Lists Canon ST-E3-RT Transmitter for $285.00 ea.)

Related image

 

(2)-Bolt CBP-C1 Compact Battery Pack - (B&H Lists for $69.95 ea.)

 

Bolt CBP-C1Bolt CBP-C1 Bolt CBP-C1Bolt CBP-C1

 

 

(2)-Sto-Fen OM-ET Omni Bounce Diffusers - (B&H Lists for $9.99 ea.)

Sto-Fen DiffuserSto-Fen Diffuser Sto-Fen Diffuser 2Sto-Fen Diffuser 2

 

(2)-MagMod Complete Kits - (MagMod Lists for $359.70 - 24.75 = $334.95 ea.)
          (Our kits are similar to this now current Wedding Starter Kit)

MagMod KitMagMod Kit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The complete setup sells for over $2400 at regular prices. 
We are asking the Selling Price of
$1700.00 for the entire set.

We are selling these flash / transmitter units making room for some new gear. 


We would possibly consider selling items individually but preference and pricing negotiation will be given to anyone interested in the entire setup.
 

If you are interested, please contact us via email at [email protected] or Facebook messenger.

 

THANK YOU!

Marcus Hammitt

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) 600exrt canon flash unit magmod speedlite https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2018/1/Canon-600EX-RTLighting Sat, 13 Jan 2018 00:45:12 GMT
Choosing a Gimbal Head https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/11/choosing-a-gimbal-head There are so many Gimbal Heads available and not a lot of data on what's different about them.  Some things are obvious but there is no data to help you make an informed decision. The one big thing that is obvious is cost and maybe some functional characteristics. I have listed some things I think about when looking at a Gimbal Head.

I think it's also important to understand why you want a Gimbal how you plan to use it.  I plan to use a Gimbal on a tripod for when I am on location for many hours shooting action (i.e. BIF or air shows, etc.) with heavy equipment.  For me I mount my Pro Series Canon bodies and 400 to 600mm lens combo on our gimbal setups.

 

Things to consider:

  1. Cost
  2. Solid build strength (w/bearings in pan and tilt head)
  3. Craftsmanship / quality of build
  4. Secure mounting of Gimbal on tripod (3/8 – 16)
  5. Mount plan (Pan / Swing Arm) square (90°) to each other
  6. Smooth Pan / Tilt movement
  7. Lock position of Pan and Tilt heads
  8. Adjustability (up and down of mounting Platform)
  9. Locking height position of Platform on Tilt Bar
  10. Compatibility with Arca-Swiss plates
  11. Locking of quick release plate and safety screws
  12. Weight
  13. Finish
  14. Rated to support weight of equipment
Really Right Stuff PG-02 Pano-Gimbal HeadReally Right Stuff PG-02 Pano-Gimbal Head

I highly recommend these models for the ultimate in build quality and overall performance:

  • Really Right Stuff PG-02 FG - Full Gimbal Head
  • Wimberley WH-200
  • Zenelli CarbonZX

 

Wimberly WH-200 Gimbal HeadWimberly WH-200 Gimbal Head

I do a lot of purchasing from B&H Photo and Adoroma and generally have a certain level of confidence in products they sell vs an internet special of a no-name brand.

So many seem to be knock-off copies of each other
(even low cost copy of Wimberley - so do you pay the high price or take a chance). What do you think?

 

Some other models to consider (no particular order):  
(Just remember... you typically get what you pay for so be sure to read their reviews)

  • Pro Master GH10
  • Movo GH700 Pro
  • Gepe SK-GH01
  • Jobu BWG-J3K
  • Jobo DMG-HD4
  • Jobu Pro2
  • Jobu Jr. 3
  • Induro GHB2
  • Sirui PH-20
  • Custom Brackets CB
  • Photo Clam
  • Kirk King KC-1
  • ProMediaGear Katana
  • Rob Pleas GH-13R
  • Opteka GH1 Pro
  • Neewer Pro
  • CowBoy Studio
  • Beike BK-45
  • Eteyo Pro BK-45
  • Koolerton BK-45
  • Nest NT-530H
  • Benro GH2
  • Benro GH3
  • Luxebell Q45

 

We leave you to do some more of your own research.  The one thing to keep in mind is what are you willing to skimp and save on and what are you willing to spend to protect your large investment that is attached to it?  I think of both the tripod and gimbal head as my base that supports ALL of my investment.

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/11/choosing-a-gimbal-head Wed, 16 Nov 2016 13:02:59 GMT
Cold Weather Gear - The Ladies Edition https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/11/cold-weather-gear---the-ladies-edition For the ladies...

As many of you know we photograph year round, sometimes in the most adverse conditions.  As winter approaches I thought I'd do a blog post about the cold weather gear we use that allows us to stay out in the elements for hours at a time.  Over the years we've tried many variations of cold weather gear.  As many of you have experienced, they all fail at some point to keep you warm and toasty without overheating.  Advancements in technology have given us even more comfort options to choose from.

The last couple of winters we've researched gear that would allow us the ultimate in comfort, both for staying warm and also regulating excess heat at the same time.  There are a number to high tech fabrics and insulation options nowadays and it is hard to compare apples to apples.  Many times we don't realize the performance shortfalls until it's too late and your out in the elements when you realize your choice has failed you.  Good, high performance gear doesn't come cheap, but staying warm as we get older is PRICELESS!  Be sure to research your gear before you buy!

 

We will cover the gear we use from head to toe and everything in-between for you to do your own research and hope you find gear that works for you.

 

Head Gear:

Keeping your head warm is crucial to maintaining your core body temperature.  (hoover over image for more info)

Using a head liner (balaclava) keeps all the cold, drafty air from reaching your neck area.  It also allows for a quick cover up of your nose and face on those brutally cold, windy days.  A warm, wind resistant hat or ear band finishes off this area.

 

Carhartt's Cable Knit Hat  Carhartt's Acrylic HatCarhartt's Acrylic HatWarm and comfortable. Carhartt's Force Fleece Head Liner  Carhartt Force Head LinerCarhartt Force Head LinerDesigned for use in cold weather with a 92% polyester/8% spandex blend with a fleeced interior for warmth. Offering full facial protection, the mask pulls down below the chin when not needed and includes a moisture-wicking, anti-microbial inner finish. Flat-seam construction enhances comfort and its protection extends below the neck line.

 

 

Base Layer:

As we start to layer the body it is important to remember that layering is key to regulating proper temperatures. There are a number of manufacturer's now making base layers in a variety of weights.  We just choose the polar weight as it allows us to possibly use less mid layers which in turns lightens the amount of clothing we have to deal with.  To me this is the MOST important layer next to the outer shell.  The rest are easily adjustable throughout the day.

 

 

Cabela's Womens's E.C.W.C.S. Polar Weight 1/4-Zip Pullover with Polartec Power Dry

Cabela's Women's E.C.W.C.S. Polar Weight Bottoms with Polartec® Power Dry

(hoover over images for more info)

Cabelas E.C.W.C.S. Polar Weight Polartec Base Layer - TopCabelas E.C.W.C.S. Polar Weight Polartec Base Layer - TopWomen's E.C.W.C.S. Polartec Power Dry Polar Weight 1/4-Zip Pullover ups the ante in the base-layer game with a high-efficiency grid system that provides 20% more warmth Cabelas E.C.W.C.S. Polar Weight Polartec Base Layer - BottomsCabelas E.C.W.C.S. Polar Weight Polartec Base Layer - BottomsWomen's E.C.W.C.S. Polartec Power Dry Polar Weight 1/4-Zip Pullover ups the ante in the base-layer game with a high-efficiency grid system that provides 20% more warmth

 

 

GSX Women's Hyper-Formance Quarter-Zip Hoodie  (hoover over image for more info)

GSX Hyper-Formance HoodieGSX Hyper-Formance HoodieStay cool, dry, and comfortable on your next workout with the GSX Hyper-Formance Quarter-Zip Hoodie. Lightweight 84% polyester, 16% spandex fabric wicks moisture away from the skin and offers plenty of stretch for increased ease of movement. Princess seaming throughout ensures a flattering, feminine fit. The drawstring-adjustable hood cinches up easily for a customized fit. The quarter-length front zipper allows for controlled ventilation, while the slight drop-tail hem adds extra coverage in back.

 

 

 

Mid Layer:

As we reach the mid layer, this is where you can easily add or subtract layers to help regulate temperatures to the weather conditions.  It is important to remember that layering is key to regulating proper temperatures.  You want each layer to wick moisture and transfer excess heat out at the same time.  The high tech fabrics of today do an excellent job of helping with this.

 

UnderArmour Storm Caliber Women's Sweatshirt Mid Layer  (hoover over image for more info)

UA Storm Caliber Women's SweatshirtUA Storm Caliber Women's SweatshirtArmour® Fleece fabric finished with highly water-resistant UA Storm technology. Soft, brushed inner layer traps heat for all-day warmth & comfort. Signature Moisture Transport System wicks sweat to keep you dry & light. Adjustable 3-piece hood with crossover neck & pop color lining.

 

 

 

Socks:

Depending on the footwear you have you may need to consider a good heavy pair of socks, as well as a sock liner depending on conditions.

 

Carhartt Women's Arctic Wool Socks  (hoover over image for more info)

Carhartt Women's Arctic Wool Heavy SocksCarhartt Women's Arctic Wool Heavy SocksSweat Wicking, Anti Odor, Heavyweight Wool Sock

 

 

Boots:

BEST boots we've ever owned!  PERIOD!

 

Baffin Impact Boots  (hoover over image for more info)

Baffin SelkirkBaffin SelkirkTemperature Rating: -100C/-148F Liner: Removable, multi-layer inner boot system featuring a waffle-comb foot-bed Base: Arctic Rubber Shell, EVA Midsole, Polar Rubber Outsole, Locking snow collar with extendable gaiter, Buckle top with Velcro ankle-strap fastening setup, Waterproof seam-sealed nylon upper.

 

 

Gloves:

Heat 3 Gloves - The "Ultimate Glove" for cold weather photography!  (hoover over image for more info)

Heat 3 GlovesHeat 3 GlovesThe next generation HEAT 3. Thumb and index finger right and left with silver fabric for perfect use of your i-phone and all touch screens. Palm side now full goat leather for more warmth and better grip. Additional 4 oz Primaloft on the cuff for even more warmth.

 

 

 

Outer Gear:

Klim gear offers amazing flexibility and mobility, Gore-Tex shells for water proof, wind proof and ultimate breathability. All that along with excellent insulation and build quality.  This year she has added a matching parka and pant setup to her cold weather gear collection.

Klim Photo GearKlim Photo Gear

 

Klim Women's Intrigue Parka

For females looking for ultimate comfort and serious performance in a style at home in all winter sports, the womens Intrigue Jacket is the perfect choice. Guaranteed waterproof and breathable thanks to KLIM GORE TEX technologies, the Intrigue combines serious performance features with a relaxed, comfortable fit. As in the benefits of premium insulation and incredible details you get the ultimate, all-purpose, all-features-packed jacket.

Klim Intrigue JacketKlim Intrigue Jacket

Features:

  • Guaranteed to keep you dry
  • Gore-Tex two later performance shell construction
  • 100 gram thinsulate insulation throughout
  • Houndstooth womens-specific shell texture (grey only)
  • Female-specific comfort fit with articulated arms
  • Nylon striated shell texture (black only)
  • Waterproof, insulated, removable hood system
  • Coordinated linings
  • Embroidered and die-cast logos
  • Ribbed high comfort collar
  • Max flow two part ventilation (pit zip)
  • Three pocket cargo capacity (2 external hand pockets, two internal soft lined pockets)
  • Quilted comfort liner
  • Bottom hem adjustment
  • Integrated snow dust skirt
  • Snap-adjust cuffs
  • Jacket-to-pant attachment loops

 

 

Klim Women's Intrigue Pants

Enjoying your gear that fits and feels right. For the female out there looking for more performance out of a casual-styled pant, the Intrigue is a knockout success. No-compromise, Guaranteed To Keep You Dry Gore-Tex performance and 100 gram Thinsulate insulation only start an impressive list of top-of-the-line features never offered to the female in a fashion-forward, performance driven set of outerwear.

Klim Intrigue PantsKlim Intrigue Pants

Features:

  • Guaranteed To Keep You Dry Gore-Tex performance shell construction
  • 100 gram Thinsulate insulation throughout
  • Houndstooth women’s-specific shell fabric [gray only]
  • Nylon striated shell texture [black only]
  • Anatomically correct female-specific fit and patterning
  • High comfort, high-back articulated waist band with belt loops
  • Klim seat dry tech construction
  • Half-length side zip entry
  • Four-pocket cargo capacity (2 zippered hand, 2 velcro-closure rear)
  • Back-of-leg hem length hold up system keeps slush and muck off your pants in transit
  • Zippered and snap fly closure pant-to-parka attachment loops
  • Quilted comfort liner
  • Integrated powder hater boot gaiter design
  • YKK zippers throughout

 

Well that concludes the gear we use for the majority of the time we spend in the extreme cold of winter.  We may add more technical aspects and additional gear as things change or we add to our cold weather gear.  YOU NO LONGER NEED TO BE AFRAID OF THE COLD!  Now get out there and capture some images!

 

==============================================

Want to learn more about Gore-Tex and all of it's benefits?  Click here

Want to learn more about Thinsulate Platinum all of it's benefits?  Click here

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) GSX baffin cabelas carhartt cold weather gear gander mountain goretex heat3 insulation keweenaw klim selkirk thinsulate underarmour winter https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/11/cold-weather-gear---the-ladies-edition Thu, 03 Nov 2016 16:46:50 GMT
Cold Weather Gear - The Men's Edition https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/11/cold-weather-gear For the men...

As many of you know we photograph year round, sometimes in the most adverse conditions.  As winter approaches I thought I'd do a blog post about the cold weather gear we use that allows us to stay out in the elements for hours at a time.  Over the years we've tried many variations of cold weather gear.  As many of you have experienced, they all fail at some point to keep you warm and toasty without overheating.  Advancements in technology have given us even more comfort options to choose from.

The last couple of winters we've researched gear that would allow us the ultimate in comfort, both for staying warm and also regulating excess heat at the same time.  There are a number to high tech fabrics and insulation options nowadays and it is hard to compare apples to apples.  Many times we don't realize the performance shortfalls until it's too late and your out in the elements when you realize your choice has failed you.  Good, high performance gear doesn't come cheap, but staying warm as we get older is PRICELESS!  Be sure to research your gear before you buy!

 

We will cover the gear we use from head to toe and everything in-between for you to do your own research and hope you find gear that works for you.


For you ladies out there... we will do another blog on Heidi's gear as well...  STAY TUNED!

 

 

Head Gear:

Keeping your head warm is crucial to maintaining your core body temperature.  (hoover over image for more info)

Using a head liner (balaclava) keeps all the cold, drafty air from reaching your neck area.  It also allows for a quick cover up of your nose and face on those brutally cold, windy days.  A warm, wind resistant hat finishes off this area.

 

Ice Armor Fleece Hat Ice Armor Fleece HatIce Armor Fleece HatWarm and comfortable, water resistant, windproof, anti-pilling polar fleece. Carhartt's Force Fleece Head Liner Carhartt Force Head LinerCarhartt Force Head LinerDesigned for use in cold weather with a 92% polyester/8% spandex blend with a fleeced interior for warmth. Offering full facial protection, the mask pulls down below the chin when not needed and includes a moisture-wicking, anti-microbial inner finish. Flat-seam construction enhances comfort and its protection extends below the neck line.

 

 

Base Layer:

As we start to layer the body it is important to remember that layering is key to regulating proper temperatures. There are a number of manufacturer's now making base layers in a variety of weights.  We just choose the polar weight as it allows us to possibly use less mid layers which in turns lightens the amount of clothing we have to deal with.  To me this is the MOST important layer next to the outer shell.  The rest are easily adjustable throughout the day.

 

Cabela's Mens's E.C.W.C.S. Polar Weight 1/4-Zip Pullover with Polartec Power Dry

Cabela's Men's E.C.W.C.S. Polar Weight Bottoms with Polartec® Power Dry

(hoover over images for more info)

Cabelas E.C.W.C.S. Polar Weight Polartec Base Layer - TopCabelas E.C.W.C.S. Polar Weight Polartec Base Layer - TopMen's E.C.W.C.S. Polartec Power Dry Polar Weight 1/4-Zip Pullover ups the ante in the base-layer game with a high-efficiency grid system that provides 20% more warmth Cabelas E.C.W.C.S. Polar Weight Polartec Base Layer - BottomsCabelas E.C.W.C.S. Polar Weight Polartec Base Layer - BottomsMen's E.C.W.C.S. Polartec Power Dry Polar Weight 1/4-Zip Pullover ups the ante in the base-layer game with a high-efficiency grid system that provides 20% more warmth

 

 

Mid Layer:

As we reach the mid layer, this is where you can easily add or subtract layers to help regulate temperatures to the weather conditions.  It is important to remember that layering is key to regulating proper temperatures.  You want each layer to wick moisture and transfer excess heat out at the same time.  The high tech fabrics of today do an excellent job of helping with this.

 

UnderArmour 1/4 Zip ColdGear Infrared Mid Layer  (hoover over image for more info)

UA ¼ Zip ColdGear InfraredUA ¼ Zip ColdGear InfraredColdGear® Infrared technology uses a soft, thermo-conductive inner coating to absorb & retain your own body heat. Armour® Fleece has a brushed inner layer & a quick-drying, smooth outer layer. Soft inner layer traps heat to keep you warm & comfortable. Moisture Transport System wicks sweat away from the body.

 

UnderArmour ColdGear Infrared Dobson Softshell Hoodie  (hoover over image for more info)

UnderArmour ColdGear Infrared Dobson Softshell HoodieUnderArmour ColdGear Infrared Dobson Softshell HoodieTreated with UA Storm durable water-repellent finish. Waterproof, windproof laminate resists the elements. Undetectable ColdGear Infrared advanced ceramic coating. MagZip Magnetically connects the front-center zipper.

 

 

 

Socks:

Depending on the footwear you have you may need to consider a good heavy pair of socks, as well as a sock liner depending on conditions.

 

Carhartt Men's Arctic Wool Socks  (hoover over image for more info)

Carhartt Men's Arctic Wool Heavy SocksCarhartt Men's Arctic Wool Heavy SocksSweat Wicking, Anti Odor, Heavyweight Wool Sock

 

 

 

Boots:

BEST boots we've ever owned!  PERIOD!

 

Baffin Selkirk Boots  (hoover over image for more info)

Baffin SelkirkBaffin SelkirkTemperature Rating: -70C/-94F Liner: Removable, multi-layer inner boot system featuring a waffle-comb foot-bed Base: Arctic Rubber Shell, EVA Midsole, Polar Rubber Outsole, Locking snow collar with extendable gaiter, Buckle top with Velcro ankle-strap fastening setup, Waterproof seam-sealed nylon upper.

 

Gloves:

Heat 3 Gloves - The "Ultimate Glove" for cold weather photography!  (hoover over image for more info)

Heat 3 GlovesHeat 3 GlovesThe next generation HEAT 3. Thumb and index finger right and left with silver fabric for perfect use of your i-phone and all touch screens. Palm side now full goat leather for more warmth and better grip. Additional 4 oz Primaloft on the cuff for even more warmth.

 

 

 

Outer Gear:

Last winter I tried a pair of Klim's Keweenaw Bibs as they were one of the only companies to make bibs for TALL people.  Little did I know I had really stumbled onto one of the most advanced pieces of clothing I've ever experienced.  Amazing flexibility and mobility, Gore-Tex shell for water proof, wind proof and ultimate breathability. All that along with excellent insulation and build quality.  This year I have added the matching parka to complete my setup.

 

Klim Tech ParkaKlim Tech Parka

Headlining KLIM's dominant line of insulated, ultra-cold-weather gear isn't easy. Thankfully, the all-new Keweenaw Parka from KLIM is up to the task with the most advanced lineup of 3M™ Thinsulate™ insulation material technology built inside the proven durability of KLIM's GORE-TEX® waterproof and breathable chassis. The KLIM® Keweenaw is simply the most advanced insulated Jacket on the snow. If you demand protection from the most extreme cold weather conditions and demand the highest quality, this is your next jacket.

  • New double the amount of 3M™ Scotchlite™ reflective material compared to previous version
  • New welded zipper treatments eliminate stitching bulk and seams
  • New orange colorway highlights hi-visibility preferences
  • New colored pit zippers and pulls accent the style upgrade
  • New style lines give the keweenaw a fresh, fast and clean look

Exterior Features and Benefits:

  • GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY®
  • GORE-TEX® two-layer laminate technology
  • Double storm flap over front zipper
  • Aggressive patterning
  • High-strength cordura® in high wear areas
  • Helmet-friendly adjustable collar
  • Double stitching for increased durability
  • Heavy-duty dual-head two-way center front zipper
  • YKK® zippers throughout
  • Water resistant YKK® zippers in exposed areas
  • Glove-friendly zipper pulls
  • Kill switch D-ring
  • Embroidered logos

Insulation Performance:

  • Klim's 3M™ Thinsulate™ zonal insulating technology puts high-tech insulation material in specific zones to maximize warmth and comfort
  • Features: 3M™ Thinsulate™ platinum insulation, 3M™ Thinsulate™ platinum insulation--antimicrobial odor control with X-Static®--the Silver Fiber® and siliconized 3M™ Thinsulate™ platinum insulation for maximum mobility and comfort

Max Flow Ventilation: 3 ports:

  • 2 wide open pit zips with interior storm flap
  • 1 mid-lower horizontal back exhaust vent with snow dust barrier mesh

Cargo, Comfort and Ride Features:

  • 4 exterior pockets (two chest, two hand)
  • 4 interior pockets
  • Quilted interior comfort liner
  • Snow dust skirt
  • Interior mp3 headphone port and securing loops
  • Internal pocket key clip
  • Integrated internal hand gaiters
  • Waist adjustment
  • Fleece-lined comfort collar and beard flap
  • Adjustable velcro cuffs

 

 

Klim Tech BibsKlim Tech Bibs

KLIM®'s Keweenaw Collection returns to dominate the snow's most demanding conditions. Still the most mobile and comfortable Insulated gear available, Keweenaw pieces from KLIM® continue to pioneer custom zonal Insulation construction and feature a robust chassis, ample cargo and Intelligent ventilation options. Keweenaw proves that warmth, mobility and comfort can be perfected.

  • Insulation range from 180 grams 3M Thinsulate™ insulation to 200 gram with some areas having an additional 300 grams fleece inside
  • 100 grams of insulation in the bib front and rear
  • New high-loft insulation package resists compression at speed
  • Zonal insulation mapping technology
  • New wider bonded reflective with increased surface area
  • New welded zipper flap treatments
  • New style lines
  • Highly breathable, two layer GORE-TEX performance shell with 200D nylon face in high-wear area new . . . bonded wider 3M Scotchlite reflective material
  • New style lines
  • New removable anatomically-shaped knee/shin pads
  • New highly functional gaiter design with boot loops
  • Belly friendly stretch side panels
  • Zonal Thinsulate™ insulation technology
  • Heavy-duty nylon
  • Side zipper ventilation
  • Fast forward technology for increased mobility
  • Articulated knees and seat
  • Double head center YKK® zipper with front flap
  • Full-length side zips
  • 2 hand pockets
  • Water-resistant YKK® zippers
  • Glove-friendly zipper pulls
  • Non-slip adjustable suspenders
  • Moisture-wicking hanging liner
  • D-ring

 

Well that pretty much concludes the gear we use.  I may add more technical aspects and additional gear as things change or we add to our cold weather gear.  YOU NO LONGER NEED TO BE AFRAID OF THE COLD!  Now get out there and capture some images!

 

==============================================

Want to learn more about Gore-Tex and all of it's benefits?  Click here

Want to learn more about Thinsulate Platinum all of it's benefits?  Click here

 

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) baffin cabelas carhartt cold weather gear goretex heat3 insulation keweenaw klim selkirk thinsulate underarmour winter https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/11/cold-weather-gear Wed, 02 Nov 2016 18:26:31 GMT
How to Photograph Birds in Flight https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/5/how-to-photograph-birds-in-flight It can be incredibly rewarding to photograph birds in flight. Equally, however, there can be nothing more frustrating than the very same thing. 

As with any and all types of wildlife photography, success is down to a combination of the usual factors which you have to juggle with: namely, light vs shutter speed vs aperture vs ISO. Unless you are fortunate enough to live in one of the sunnier parts of the world, you’ll rarely have the ability to photograph every bird in flight at f8, 1/8000 sec and ISO 100 (and to be honest, would you want to? (Then there would be no challenge) And so, the trade-offs begin – but don’t be disappointed. Even with a cloudy sky and a camera with less than stellar high ISO performance, you can work the conditions to your advantage.

 

Panning and Tripods vs Handheld 

Before you even begin to worry about your settings, one of the key tips to successful bird in flight photography is the art of panning. That is, to follow your subject in the frame. Following the bird in an erratic movement, so that it bounces around your viewfinder is rarely going to result in good photos, and so a good panning technique is essential, especially with larger telephoto lenses that will dictate the use of a tripod and gimbal head. But, whether you have a big heavy telephoto or are hand holding a smaller lens, the rule remains the same: keep things smooth and steady to increase your chances of success.

 

Really Right Stuff TVC34L Carbon Fiber TripodReally Right Stuff TVC34L Carbon Fiber Tripod

 

A good tip here is to try and get the bird in your viewfinder when it is further away from you. This is especially true the more magnification you have, as the field of view can become very narrow, making it even harder to find and focus on the subject. The further away it is the easier it will be to follow, and as it gets closer you will more easily be able to compensate for its direction and speed. This should give you a much better chance of smooth tracking than randomly picking a bird out of the sky that’s already filling the frame, and then trying to keep it in the viewfinder. 

 

Using a gimbal head (such as the Wimberley Head Mk II or Induro GHB2) and tripod will without doubt make this a lot easier. But, if you are handholding, make sure you exercise proper technique.  Keep your elbows tucked in at your sides to help brace the lens, and when you turn to follow the subject do so by twisting at the waist, remembering to keep those elbows tucked in.

 

Wimberly WH-200 Gimbal HeadWimberly WH-200 Gimbal Head

 

Composition

Just a quick word on this as with all types of photography it can be very subjective. But as a rule, try to provide space for the bird to fly or look in to. If you do crop a wing, rather than hit delete, wait until you get home and see if you can balance the image back out by clipping other parts of the bird out of the frame too. This doesn’t always work, but having clipped parts of the subject can achieve quite dramatic images sometimes.

 

Florida Getaway 2016-049Florida Getaway 2016-049

 

Settings

With the essentials out of the way, let’s talk settings! It’s key to remember that there is no perfect setting for the perfect flight shot. Rather, there are good settings for the perfect type of flight shot you want to achieve.

 

Depth of field

As with most wildlife photography, the general rule (unless you are trying for something more specific) is to almost always to have the eye of your subject sharp. The same is true of birds in flight, however it’s important to remember you’ll never get enough depth of field to render the entire bird sharp regardless of its size and especially one with a large wingspan. But that’s ok. Get the head sharp and the image will work nicely.

 

Florida Getaway 2016-052Florida Getaway 2016-052

 

A general rule of thumb, to give yourself maximum chance of getting a bird’s head sharp, is to shoot at around f/8 or f/9 – provided there is enough light. You could shoot beyond that, but all you’ll be doing is sacrificing light and shutter speed to gain minimal extra depth of field. Don’t feel too disheartened if your images have misplaced focus at first and just keep plugging away, remembering to smoothly pan with your subject and keep the focus point as close to the bird’s head as possible. Once you are comfortable with your technique, you’ll find it possible to get sharp head shots at larger apertures such as f4 and f2.8, but I find the sweet spot for my tastes is usually between f/5.6 and f/8 depending on the size of the bird.

 

It’s also important to remember that if you’re photographing a bird that’s flying straight towards you, your camera’s focusing system will often pick up on the difference in contrast between the outline of the bird and the background, especially if the background is clean. This means even if you have the focus sensor square on the head, it may be picking up the wings further back, or sometimes contrary to that even the tip of the beak. Either of these situations will place the depth of field too far behind or in front of the bird’s eyes. Sadly, there really is no magic setting that will help you nail it every time in such situations, but practice makes perfect!

 

 

 

Autofocus

Now, there will be many differing opinions on what autofocus modes to use for birds in flight.  Some say using a group of focus points together to give a wider spread and more chance to find the target works best, and some will say single point works best. Personally speaking, I almost always default to single point. This is the fastest focus mode as there are less calculations for the camera to deal with and I can more accurately try and position the focus point where I want it. There are exceptions, and occasionally I will switch to other AF focus points.

 

 

Another setting to contend with is autofocus tracking scenarios.  With Canon, many of the newer bodies have scenarios for you to choose to set a delay between how long it takes for the camera to be tricked into switching from its current locked on target, to another one either closer or further away in the frame. For example, if you have locked on to a bird, and that bird flies behind a tree briefly before coming out the other side, with AFT on a fast setting, the camera will instantly refocus on the tree as it will have become the most contrasty and prevalent object in the frame. With AFT switched to a slower response time, it will keep the focus set to where the bird was and ignore the tree for a pre-determined amount of time. If the bird then flies out the other side of three moments later the camera will continue to focus on it as if the tree was never there.

 

 

Slow vs Fast Shutter Speeds

There are two main schools of thought here. You can opt for high shutter speeds to freeze the motion of the bird, or you can slow things down and show movement within the bird’s wings. You can even go one step further and slow things right down in order to create a sense of movement across the entire image.

Each method has its own merits, and it can be a matter of taste as to which you feel works best. Often though, the light can play a part in dictating which method to use. For example, low light lends itself very well to slow shutter speeds in order to keep the ISO levels down, for those who are worried about noisy images.

Regardless of the type of image you are after, finding the perfect shutter speed will require a little trial and error depending on several factors, such as the speed of the bird both in terms of its pace across the sky and speed it flaps its wings (relative to whether you want to freeze them or provide some motion blur).

 

Perspective

Finally, the last thing you want to do with your bird in flight photos is be looking straight up at the sky. There are two reasons for this. The first is that doing so will often require over exposure to get detail on the underside of the bird (which will almost always be in shade, as the sun is of course above the bird) and the second is the simple fact that it will produce the least dynamic and interesting shots. There are of course always caveats to ‘the rules’, so if the clouds are picturesque or the color of the sky is just right, experiment to see what works.

 

January Projects 2016-039January Projects 2016-039

 

Practice

My bottom line is practice, practice, practice. Start off with something large and slow, and work your way down to smaller faster birds. Smooth panning will often be the key factor in increasing your success rates, so the more time you spend improving your ability to track birds in the viewfinder, the better your flight shots will become.

 

And remember... 
Life is short... so go make some images to remember the journey along the way!

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) BIF Birds Birds in Flight Nature Photography Wildlife https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/5/how-to-photograph-birds-in-flight Wed, 04 May 2016 21:04:13 GMT
FOR SALE: HP EliteBook 8740W Laptop Computer [SOLD] https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/5/for-sale-hp-elitebook-8740w-laptop-computer NOW SOLD!:


HP EliteBook 8740W Laptop Computer

Running freshly installed WINDOWS 10 Pro

Also Includes Microsoft Office 2013 Professional


 

HP-Elitebook-8740W-SideHP-Elitebook-8740W-Side

 

 


SPECS:

Intel i7-820M - 1.73 GHz Quad Core Processor (w/HyperThread)

8 GB DDR3 Memory

500 GB Main Hard Drive

NVidia Quadro FX 2800M Graphics Card

Blu-Ray DVD Drive

Lighted Keyboard


 

HP-Elitebook-8740W-TopHP-Elitebook-8740W-Top

 

 

 

This is a great photo processing laptop and is still an overall fantastic performer as far as computer processing goes today.  This HP EliteBook 8740W was one of HP's elite line of laptop computers and has a proven track record to perform all the necessary duties of today's intermediate to advanced laptop user.
 

We are selling this laptop as we upgraded our traveling laptop computer and just are no longer in need of this unit.  We are asking the Selling Price of $500 and includes everything listed above.  (Windows 10 Professional & Microsoft Office 2013 Professional are included)


If you are interested, please contact us via email at [email protected]

Marcus Hammitt

 

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) Computer For Sale Laptop New Used Selling https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/5/for-sale-hp-elitebook-8740w-laptop-computer Wed, 04 May 2016 00:26:51 GMT
FOR SALE: Dell S2409 Monitor https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/5/for-sale-dell-s2409-monitor FOR SALE:


Dell S2409 Monitor

 

 

Dell-S2409-Monitor2Dell-S2409-Monitor2
 
Dell-S2409-MonitorDell-S2409-Monitor



SPECS:

Dell S2409 LCD Features

  • Full HD (1920 x 1080) native resolution
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 5 millisecond response time
  • Inputs: 1x VGA, 1x DVI, 1x HDMI
  • 1,000:1 contrast ratio

The S2409W LCD was originally available from Dell for US$379

We are asking the Selling Price of $200


If you are interested, please contact us via email at [email protected]

Marcus Hammitt

 
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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) Computer For Sale Monitor https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/5/for-sale-dell-s2409-monitor Mon, 02 May 2016 16:19:00 GMT
FOR SALE: Dell XPS 9000 Desktop Computer [SOLD] https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/5/for-sale-dell-xps-9000-desktop-computer NOW SOLD:


Dell XPS 9000 Desktop Computer

Running freshly installed WINDOWS 10 Pro

Also Includes Microsoft Office 2013 Professional



Dell-Studio-XPS-9000-FrontDell-Studio-XPS-9000-Front

 

 

Dell-Studio-XPS-9000-SideDell-Studio-XPS-9000-Side


SPECS:

Intel i7-920 - 2.67 GHz Quad Core Processor (w/HyperThread)

12 GB DDR3 Memory

750 GB Main Hard Drive

750 GB Secondary Hard Drive

AMD Radeon HD5800 Series Graphics Card

Sound Blaster X-Fi Sound Card

CD-Rom Drive

TSST Corp DVD +- RW Burner Drive
 

Brand New Dell:

Wired Keyboard & Mouse

 

Dell-Studio-XPS-9000-BackDell-Studio-XPS-9000-Back

 

 

This is a great photo processing PC and is still an overall fantastic performer as far as computer processing goes today.  This Dell XPS 9000 was one of Dell's top of the line PC's and has a proven track record to perform all the necessary duties of today's intermediate to advanced PC user.
 

We are selling this rig as we upgraded our main computer and photo processing computer and just are no longer in need of this unit.  We are asking the Selling Price of $500 and includes everything listed above.  (Windows 10 Professional & Microsoft Office 2013 Professional are included)


If you are interested, please contact us via email at [email protected]

Marcus Hammitt

 

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) Computer Desktop For Sale New Used Selling https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/5/for-sale-dell-xps-9000-desktop-computer Mon, 02 May 2016 15:51:43 GMT
Lens Comparison Tool https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/5/lens-comparison-tool Ever wanted to make that next BIG lens purchase but just weren't sure what to get?  Have you ever wondered how one lens performs over another you may have had your eye on?

 

Well we wanted to share a site that I have used as reference for a number of years to compare lenses in actual image quality before I made the decision to push that BUY button.  We've done A LOT of research over the years before buying all of our lenses in our current arsenal of gear.

 

Lens Lineup ComparisonsLens Lineup Comparisons

 

A few years ago we made our first BIG purchase. It was Canon's EF 300 f2.8 L IS and I can't begin to tell you how long I did research on it. But after reading all the reviews I could find, I decided that it would likely fit within my budget and most importantly it would preform to my expectations for what I was looking for.  At the time it was the sharpest lens in the Canon lineup and it would give us a great focal length to start with.  It also worked extremely well with a 1.4x converter, giving us up to 420 mm of focal range to work with. Over time we continued to add more and more lenses and they continued to get more and more expensive.  We can't stress enough... do your homework, try one out if you can, maybe even rent one if you're just unsure, but always remember the lens is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of your setup and will outlast any camera body for many, many years if you buy one that will allow you to grow with it.

 

Canon EF 300mm f2.8 L ISCanon EF 300mm f2.8 L IS

 

 

 

If you want a great resource to compare some lenses in a side by side comparison on a chart with images, just click on this link.  

Digital Picture Website - Camera & Lens Reviews
 

***  Be sure to check out the TOOLS section and the Lens Image Quality comparison tool  ***
 

It's interesting to play around with different lenses, aperture settings and with and without extenders

to compare all the choices of one lens against another.

 

 

Lens Comparison ChartLens Comparison Chart

 

HAPPY RESEARCHING!

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) Camera Camera Lens Lens Lenses Tools https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/5/lens-comparison-tool Sun, 01 May 2016 15:19:01 GMT
Back Button Focus: Making Focusing Easier https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/4/back-button-focus-making-focusing-easier There are still many people that have not heard of back button focusing, and of those that have there are many who are not entirely sure of its benefits. For me, using the back button focus is a real game changer in all all types of photography but especially for sports and wildlife.

Canon cameras have the equivalent of One-Shot or AI-Servo modes.  For Nikon users, you can shoot in AF-Single (AF-S) or AF-Continuous (AF-C). Those using One-Shot and AF-S modes mean that your camera focusses at the point you half-press the shutter button. If your subject moves (which is guaranteed to happen at some point with wildlife) you have to release and repress the button to focus again. As a result, most photographers will find themselves looking away from the viewfinder to change between the two modes depending on the type of scene they are shooting. This is precious time, and can often result in missing shots.

Back button focusing allows you to separate the focusing action from the shutter button. So instead you press AF-On when you wish to focus. This allows you to remain in AI-Servo /AF-C mode whilst maintaining the benefits of being able to focus and recompose your shots like in One-Shot or AF-S.

 

Here’s an example of using the AI Servo to lock focus and recompose:

Whilst photographing this great grey owl perched in the tree, I was using back button focusing. I pointed the chosen focal point (the center point, as it is most accurate) at the owl and pressed AF-On to focus. Then, having released AF-On, I was able to recompose the shot and press the shutter to take the image. All the time in AI Servo mode!

 

December Projects 2014-021Great Grey Owl

 

 

Here’s an example of using Back Button Focus along with AI Servo to track the subject:

Are you more into action photography? Then the biggest advantage of using back button focus is for you.  Each time you have a moving subject you just need to simply press and hold the AF-On button and follow the subject while in AI Servo mode.  The camera's AF system will do it's best to track the subject allowing you to concentrate on pressing the shutter button to capture the image while everything is happening quickly right in front of you. There are many advancement to AF tracking, especially in the newer cameras.  Canon, for one, offers adjustments case settings which help the AF system track more effectively.

 

Florida Getaway 2016-052Florida Getaway 2016-052

 

There are other reasons why you should make the change, too. You’ll never have to fiddle around with the dials to switch to manual focus. Just don’t press AF-On, manually focus the lens with the focus ring, then press the shutter, and your adjustments aren’t altered.   It will not make any adjustments to the focus until you press the AF -On again.
 

Making the Switch

I imagine that by now you have decided you want to make the switch – at least just to try it out.

 

For Canon Users

Go to your menu and head to Custom Functions. Select the shutter button, and change its function to Metering Start. Then change the function of AF-On button to Metering and AF Start.

 

For Nikon Users

Go to your menu, and enter the Autofocus custom menu. Scroll down to AF activation and switch it to AF-On only.

Some older Nikon camera users will find this under the AE-L/AF-L option.

 

Still not sure and want to see it in action then watch this video by Tony Northrup as he explains it in more detail

 

And remember... 
Life is short... so go make some images to remember the journey along the way!

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) Back Button Focus Camera Focus Focusing Technique https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/4/back-button-focus-making-focusing-easier Fri, 29 Apr 2016 10:00:00 GMT
Canon's Lastest 1.4x III & 2.0x III Extenders https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/4/canons-lastest-extenders Need some extra reach to get those amazing images?  Is a longer, more effective focal range lens not in your budget?  Already have that BIG lens but it still leaves you wanting more reach?  These are all real world problems that we all face. Maybe considering a teleconverter might be an answer to get you the reach you desire.

We're a huge advocate of using the right tools to get the job done.  We've used Canon's 1.4x II and 2.0x II in the past with only acceptable performance from the 1.4x II model.  The 2.0x II always left us with mixed results and image quality not on par with what we were willing to work with.

We have since updated and continue to use Canon's latest 1.4x III (version 3) teleconverters on a number of our lenses.  We have had great success with this particular model on our EF 600 II, EF 100-400 II, EF 70-200 II.  Performance is great with each of these lenses and we continue to use these extenders on a daily basis with very satisfactory results.

However, as a previous owner of Canon's EF 2.0x II (version 2) teleconverter, I can honestly say it made a better paperweight than providing quality images.  Since this time, Canon has developed a newer teleconverter known as EF 2.0x III (version 3). The biggest improvement has been in the optical quality from the original predecessor, but more importantly is the added benefit of electrical controls built in to the extenders that give it many improved features as well.    

Most noticeable improvements:

- Much sharper overall, especially in the corners

- Slightly better contrast
- Less CA in the corners
- Faster auto focus
EF 2x IIIEF 2x III

                                                    
 

 

 

 

 

At first glance looking through the viewfinder we noticed an improved light transference as it offered a bright, clear view through the lens combination. We especially noticed that there was a huge increase in auto focus speed over the version II and it seemed to lock onto subjects with much more ease.  Initial test results on the older Canon 1Dx left us impressed with the upgrade from Canon.

As word of the new 1Dx II continues to grow and field tests are now trickling in, there have been a number of reports of some enhanced features of the new camera and long lenses.  Especially those that are used with teleconverters.  Our main reason for testing this latest 2x III telecoverter is that when it is coupled with our EF 600 II f4 L super telephoto lens, we will have an effective focal range of 1200 mm to work with.  More importantly is that the new 1Dx II offers the flexibility of F8 autofocus at ALL focal points with a large number of them being cross-point.  This is a game changer in the long lens and higher aperture arena.  With the extra reach, improved AF and improved image quality it was something we needed to start testing.

The initial test proved that there had been some major improvements from the previous version.  In this image we captured the image with our original 1Dx version I along with our EF 600 II f4 L IS coupled with the new EF 2.0x III.  Let's just say we were pleased with the results and can't wait to give it a test run on the new 1Dx II in the coming weeks.

 

Apr8-Bluewinged-TealBlue-winged TealShoot at 1200 mm Canon 1Dx - EF 600 II w/ 2.0x III Teleconverter

 

And remember... 
Life is short... so go make some images to remember the journey along the way!


 

 

Canon Compatibility Charts

Extender 1.4x Compatibility ChartExtender 1.4x Compatibility Chart
Extender 2x Compatibility ChartExtender 2x Compatibility Chart

 

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) 1.4x Extender 1.4x III 2x Extender 2x III Canon EF Extender Extra Reach Focal Range https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/4/canons-lastest-extenders Tue, 26 Apr 2016 10:09:46 GMT
How Not to Get Burned When Buying a Used Lens https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/4/how-not-to-get-burned-when-buying-a-used-lens Whether you’re doing photography in a professional way or as a passion, it’s an expensive discipline. And we are not just talking about cameras and lenses, but about almost any other accessory that’s necessary for our photos to turn out the way we want them to be.

Nowadays, with digital, we save a lot in terms of the cost per shot thanks to the replacement of film with digital. We get our first true glance of the potential costs of DSLR photography when we move from a kit-lens to any other lens. The world becomes new, everything has a new point of view, and then we become lens-maniacs. The problem is that high quality glass comes with a fat price tag on it.

 

 

Lenses are built to last a seriously long time, but when you find their prices too steep, you start to look into buying high quality lenses for a fraction of their original retail price without losing much in its design and manufacture quality – a world of possibilities becomes wider and more colorful when you start to think of these second-hand options, and even more when you find out that you can mix lens brands with different camera bodies thanks to adapters and other innovative toys.

Even though a lot of care is taken by companies around lens design and manufacture, there are certain things that you have to keep in mind when buying older lenses.

1. Mount Type

You have to achieve communication between the lens mechanisms and the camera body (some are electronic, and some are mechanical). If this is not possible, the lens just won’t work. The easiest way of achieving this, is by mixing lenses and cameras with compatible mounts (or bayonets). But there are situations in which you may want a specific lens to work with a brand new camera body. If the mounts are not compatible, adapters are the way to go. A simple good search using the lens model and camera body model will usually throw up a result that you can use.

 

Various LensesVarious Lenses

 

2. Seller

If you are considering buying second hand lenses, there are two options. The first is via traditional friend-of-a-friend face to face deal. In this case, you should do some questioning about the selling availability, this means “why are you selling it?” and if the answer suits you, you can make the call.

The other way to go is via Stores, we can surf through endless catalogs online for mint or in-good-shape lenses:

These websites have trusted sources; even eBay has a reviewing system in which sellers get recognition, so you can trust them to a certain extent.

 

3. Physical Test

Nothing beats a live preview of the lens. When you have the chance to really touch the lens before buying it, enjoy your little inner Sherlock, and look through it over and over again. Look for any sort of damage and above all, test it on your camera. When doing this you should look for:

  • Smoothness: every aperture and focus ring should work as smoothly as possible. This means, without any bumps, speed-ups or a grainy feel when turning it.
  • Light flow: Use a powerful LED lamp to run some light through it, and any obstacle in the light beam, will be seen – even little dots or scratches.
  • Fungus: This is very VERY important; there is a huge difference between dust, and fungi that have found a place to live in a lens. Generally speaking, this happens when the owner did not store / keep the lens in a place with low humidity. This can happen to you as well, so use as many silica gel bags as you can for your camera bodies and lenses.
  • Mechanicals: On vintage mechanical lenses, it’s easy to run some tests on the aperture blades and the aperture level mechanism. Run through every position possible, and feel if everything is running nice and smoothly. But not too smoothly – some of these lenses are “clicky” and metallic, so you must look for a “toughly built” quality. When the lens has electronic mechanisms, you can still move the rings to see if the focus and zoom mechanisms are running well. In both cases, the best tests will be with the lens mounted on your gear. Mount it, try it, shoot with all apertures and download the images to analyze every portion, don’t worry about getting picky.
  • Threads: The thread at the end of a lens is used to screw in a filter and it might be damaged from improper mounting of filters or bumping of lenses and filters or even by applying too much torsion to the screwing. You’ll want to avoid this, especially if you want to achieve beautiful landscape results with circular filters.

4. Condition

There isn’t much to say about this, only trust deals in which the seller clearly states “perfect condition” “like new” or “mint”. Skip the “Slight Damage” or “Cheap adjustments” deals – the cost savings are rarely worth it.

 

Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8 L IS IICanon EF 24-70mm f2.8 L IS II

 

5. History

Not all lenses are built like tanks. Do some research on the lens’ historical legacy to be sure that they have come through the years without any bumps on the ride (recalls, manufacture upgrades due to problems etc). This is very important, and a lot of photographers don’t take it into consideration when doing their research in terms of comparing lenses and reading reviews. The most significant evidence, that something is built with high quality standards, is by looking at their performance through the years.

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) Buying Camera Lens Seller https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/4/how-not-to-get-burned-when-buying-a-used-lens Mon, 25 Apr 2016 11:00:00 GMT
Shooting From A Blind https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/4/shooting-from-a-blind Have you ever considered shooting from a blind?  Did you ever feel like you didn't want to mess with the setup of a large and cumbersome hunting blind that really wasn't developed for photographers?  Well here is a alternative to consider.  Easy setup and extremely portable to help get those tough, one of a kind images with some of Mother Nature shy critters.​

The LensCoat LensHide covers you, your camera/video gear, and your tripod. Made from lightweight, breathable camouflage material, a large camo mesh-screen allows you to see your subjects while you are covered and out of sight and doesn’t obstruct your peripheral vision.

LensHideLensHide

Quick and easy to set up, our roomy LensHide allows you to make adjustments to your gear so your movement is unnoticed by your subjects. A Velcro closure on the back of the head keeps the LensHide in place. An Elastic Cinch strap secures the LensHide to your lens. And a Velcro sealed top slot allows for quick and easy use of an external flash.

The ultimate in portability, the LensHide folds into its own integrated storage and carry pouch with belt hoops which is also an accessory pocket when the blind is in use.

 

The LensCoat LensHide from LensCoat on Vimeo.

 

Features-

 

  • Expanded Mesh Window
  • Velcro closure for securing on your head (back of head)
  • Elastic Cinch cord to secure around the lens
  • Velcro front closure
  • Integrated storage pouch with belt loops and 2 d-rings / internal accessory pocket
  • Lightweight, breathable, poly/cotton material
  • Made in the USA
  • Weight 2.5lbs

 

​For more information... visit www.lenscoat.com

 

 

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) Birds Blind Max4 Photography Realtree camouflage https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/4/shooting-from-a-blind Fri, 22 Apr 2016 16:51:48 GMT
SSD vs HDD - Why Solid State Drives https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/4/ssd-vs-hdd---why-solid-state-drives SSD vs HDD - Why Solid State Drives

Solid state drives provide substantial benefits over traditional hard drives. Whether you're refreshing an old laptop or trying to maximize the potential of the latest desktop, SSDs are the ultimate way to "feel" the difference in your everyday computing performance!

Still confused about all the hype surrounding SSDs?

SSD vs HDD

What you do know is…

Your slow computer is driving you crazy

And it's most likely 'cause of this thing…

Your hard drive is slowing you down

And no, DON'T defrag your hard drive…

Don't degfrag you hard drive again

Instead…

Consider upgrading to

a solid state drive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wondering why SSDs are better than HDDs?

SSDs are…

 

 

DURABLE

Hard drives consist of various moving parts making them susceptible to shock and damage, while SSDs use a non-mechanical design of NAND flash mounted on a circuit board and are shock resistant up to 1500g/0.5ms.

HDD versus SSD inside view

And because SSDs have no moving parts…

SSDs are faster than HDDs

While HDDs take longer to access data because of their need for the disks to spin, SSDs can be up to 100 times faster as data can be accessed instantaneously resulting in total system acceleration.

In fact… SSDs are BLAZING FAST

SSDs are way, way faster than HDDs

Which leads to…
a better more responsive PC gaming experience

Faster game load, installation, file copy and gaming

A faster system boot, file copy, virus scan and more…

A faster system boot, file copy, and virus scan

A faster read/write time with your favorite media apps

A faster read/write time for you favorite media apps

Aside from better performance SSDs have other benefits

SSDs are more RELIABLE

One universally accepted metric for measuring SSD reliability is known as an “annual failure rate.” Exhaustive studies have shown that SSDs have an annual failure rate of tenths of 1%, while the AFRs for HDDs can run as high as 4 to 6 percent.

Source: networkworld.com

SSDs use LESS POWER

SSDs use less power than HDDs

Which can lead to up to 30 more minutes of battery life for notebook users.
Source: storagereview.com

SSDs are COOLER

SSDs run cooler than HDDs

Thanks to no moving parts and completing tasks faster, SSDs run at cooler temperatures.
Sources: anandtech.com; techreport.com (case testing)

SSDs are LIGHTER

Making mobile users who lug around their notebook happy.

SSDs are lighter than HDDsOCZ Trion 100 SSD

SSDs are quieter, er, SILENT

SSDs are quieter than HDDs

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) HDD SSD Solid State Drive hard drive hard drives storage https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/4/ssd-vs-hdd---why-solid-state-drives Wed, 20 Apr 2016 11:43:34 GMT
Photography Backup Workflow https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/4/photography-backup-workflow Photography Backup Workflow

Data loss is a very painful experience that unfortunately many of us go through at some point of our lives. I spend quite a bit of time advocating the need for a well-established workflow that incorporates solid backup strategies to prevent data loss. And during this process, I came across many different backup routines practiced by other photographers, some of which I found to be downright scary. You have probably heard of horror stories of professional photographers losing their life’s work, or wedding photographers losing images of weddings that they were not able to deliver to their clients yet. It sure happens, and it usually happens at the worst possible time too! It is one thing when you lose your personal data / photos and totally another when you are dealing with a client who paid you money. I cannot imagine how one could even handle a situation with lost photos, as it would most often be impossible to recreate those precious moments. Sadly, for many of us, it seems like data loss has to take place in order for us to seriously consider a solid backup strategy and workflow. But it does not have to!
 

ioSafe 214

Any time you deal with data, there is always a potential for partial or complete loss and it is not a matter of “if”, it is a matter of “when”. You might think your data sits safe on your computer and your external drive, but what if you lose both? Have you thought of a possibility of burglary, fire, flood or other natural disasters? What do you have in place today to protect your data from such catastrophes? If you have never thought of such questions, it might be a good time to revisit your workflow and make necessary adjustments, before it is too late.

1. Start with a Solid Workflow

Before you think about a backup strategy, it is a good idea to revisit your current workflow process. Where do you import your images? Where do you store your images and how? Is there a single place where your data resides, or is it scattered in different locations? These are all very important questions to ask and if you do not have the answers or you are confused about the process, this is where you need to start. Personally, I like taking a simplistic approach to file management. I always import my images to a single folder and store them there, which makes it easy to locate, backup and potentially restore images.

If you have not read my article on "What is your Photography Workflow?", now is the time to do it, as you need to understand what workflow stands for and what it is comprised of.

Here are my recommendations on setting up a workflow process:

1.   Do not reinvent the wheel – use best practices

2.   Do not oversimplify

3.   Do not overcomplicate

4.   Do not dismiss important workflow components

5.   Take time to establish a good, solid workflow

6.   Once solid workflow is established, stick to the same process for consistency and efficiency

7.   If new technology is available or there is a faster/better way to do something, make your workflow flexible to potentially      modify it as needed

8.   Look at all recommended options before committing to a certain workflow process (again refer to point #1)

 

2. File Management and Organization

A major part of your workflow starts with the transfer of images from your camera to your computer. Whether you copy images, or import them via software, you need to decide where and how you will be storing those images. And this is one of the most critical steps, because it will define your backup strategy going forward. While some photographers prefer importing images first and organizing them later, I strongly oppose such practice, because it can lead to inconsistencies and other problems in the long run. My preference is to organize images at the time of import and if I never have a chance to revisit my files, it is not a big deal, as images were properly named and stored in the first place. This leads us to the importance of file management and organization – a topic that we have written about a number of times in the past due to its importance.

Another article that you should give a read is on "How to Organize Photos in Lightroom". Whether you use Lightroom or any other software, I recommend that you check this article out, as I discuss the process of organizing and storing images in detail. In short, I store all images in a single folder called “Photos”, which is located in the root folder of my storage drive, and I group photos in folders by event name. A very simple and yet effective method of storing images that works for myself and thousands of other photographers. But how do you actually do it? Let’s take a look at two different methods – manual file management and file management via software.

2.1 Manual File Management

A manual file management is the most simplistic approach to file management and organization, since everything is done manually and it is something that you are already familiar with. You start by copying images to a designated folder, then you decide on the folder structure and where those files will reside in the file system and finally, you name the files to your liking. You do this on the file system level and the process is really no different than the process of transferring other files from external media.

Manual file management is simple, because it is easy to understand. Those who do not use Lightroom, Bridge or other software with file management capabilities often end up using this process and sometimes even quite effectively. Since you would know exactly where files are going, it also simplifies the process of backing up images.

However, there are many disadvantages to manual file management. First, it is quite inefficient, since traditional file systems are not designed and optimized for easy file management and indexing. Your computer might have the capability to preview your RAW images, but it surely has no way of reading the proprietary EXIF data / metadata in order to be able to filter through specific criteria, like the type of gear that was used, or the date when images were captured. Your operating system cannot go through this data and index it, to make it easily searchable for you. In addition, there is a big potential for file duplication, as your operating system has no clue about what photos you are copying – it just does what you want it to do. Even if you do efficiently manage files on the file system level, how would you be able to locate a specific photo without going through tens, hundreds or even thousands of images? That’s when file management via imaging software comes into play.

2.2 File Management via Software

Whether you use Lightroom or any other file management software, the advantages of software that is capable of going through images and extracting information are numerous. First, being a specialized tool for photography needs, such software can be very efficient in scanning through and gathering of valuable metadata, then indexing it for searching. Software can reduce and potentially even eliminate duplication, which can save space and improve the efficiency of the backup process. Once indexed, images can be easily searchable in many different ways. For example, you can use Lightroom’s library filter to see what lenses you use the most, which is really neat. You could filter through specific metadata such as lens used, camera used and even find images captured at specific apertures and shutter speeds.

But just like any other process, file management with software certainly does have its own disadvantages. It is more complex to understand. It requires the creation and potential maintenance of a database catalog, which adds more steps to the backup process. If done improperly, it can result in files residing in different partitions / drives, folders, etc, making it difficult to identify file locations. And lastly, it is often impossible to share data and access it from multiple computers, making such process potentially difficult to implement in workgroup environments.

2.3 Hybrid File Management

But what if you were to combine the best of the two worlds to create the most efficient way to organize your photos? I came up with a name for such a process and I called it “hybrid file management”. I personally use this method and after tens of thousands of images stored over a period of 8+ years, with very positive feedback from many other photographers, I would call this the ultimate way to organize images. In short, you get all the advantages of both manual file management and file management via software. If executed right, you end up with very few disadvantages to worry about. The reason why hybrid file management works the best, is because you organize images both on file system level and software level. If you ever lose your software catalog / database, you have enough information on file level to be able to easily rebuild that database from scratch. Since files are already properly named and sorted, you don’t have to worry about doing it again via software. You also do not lock yourself into using one particular software package – you could easily move to other software in the future with this approach.

So how does hybrid file management work? Below are some of the steps, which you can extract from the same article I pointed out above on organizing images in Lightroom:

1.  First, decide on a master folder to store your photos, such as “Photos” or “Pictures”. Ideally, put it in a root folder of your storage drive, as previously explained.

2.  Come up with a proper and consistent way to name files, so that you have enough information on the file system level to be able to quickly locate files. Ideally, each of your file names should contain the date (year, month and day) and the name of the event or sub-event, followed by a sequence number.

3.  Import images using software such as Lightroom and create folder structure during the import process.

4.  Do not heavily rely on keywords and other software-based indexing criteria to reduce software dependency. If you need to reorganize or rename images, do that through software to avoid potential mismatches between the database and the file system. Software such as Lightroom performs moving and renaming of images on the file system level and automatically remaps images in the database after the completion of the process. Use the provided tools to mass-rename images when necessary.

5.   After completing the editing process, force the software to write changes to each image (this will write changes to DNG files or force the creation of sidecar / XMP files), so that you do not lose your changes if your database gets corrupted or lost.

Once you come up with a solid workflow and you organize your images, it is time to think of a backup strategy.

3. The Simple Approach: Hobbyists

What is the “bare minimum”, low-cost approach for performing backups if you are a hobbyist? Beginner photographers cringe when looking at complex backup strategies of enthusiasts and pros, because the process can be over-the-head complex and very expensive. So if you are just starting out or if photography is your small hobby at the moment, I recommend a different, simpler and more cost effective approach for backups. No, I won’t suggest keeping your images on your memory card as a backup – that is not good enough even for a beginner. You want to make sure that you are protected against two main potential problems: hard drive failure and loss / theft / natural disaster. Always keep two backups at the minimum in two separate physical locations. The second part is very important. Do not just rely on keeping one single backup or multiple backups in a single location. This is something you should not skip on and it should become a good habit in the future. Hard drives fail and having another backup will certainly give you a peace of mind. But it won’t protect you from theft, flood, fire or other natural disasters. So while buying that external drive for backups, make it two in order to have two copies of the same data. Establish an offsite backup routine, depending on how often you shoot and how important your pictures are for you – have a weekly, monthly or quarterly process of updating your offsite backups to keep that data somewhat fresh.

The good news is, hard drives are very cheap nowadays. You can buy a small, portable, large capacity hard drive for less than $100. Just buy two of those and store the second drive somewhere safe, preferably away from where you live. If you do not want to pay for storage services, perhaps you could ask your parents or your relatives to store that drive for you. If it is too much of a hassle, just get a storage box in your local post office or bank and make it a routine to drop off the updated backups.

As for the backup process itself, you can do it manually at zero cost, which would require copying and overwriting files each time, or you could pay $20-50 to buy backup software that will backup your photos automatically. There are many different software and hardware solutions out there to accomplish automated file backups. Apple offers Time Capsue and there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of backup software suites. I personally used to love Acronis software for backups and used it for many years. You can backup and restore not only individual files, but also entire volumes / partitions, if needed.

So here is the quick summary:

1.   At the minimum, buy two external drives for backups

2.   Backup to one drive on a continuous basis either using automated software tools, or manual file copy

3.   Backup to the second drive as often as you will be taking it offsite. You can rotate the two drives, but you have to make sure  that you are not just doing incremental / differential backups – you have to have full backups for rotation

If you follow this process, you will have your images stored in three places: your computer, an external drive connected to your computer and another external drive that is sitting in an offsite location.

What about Cloud Storage?
With cloud storage getting incredibly cheap and potentially even free, you might wonder if it is worth keeping your backups on the cloud. Companies like Dropbox, Copy, Amazon, Google and many others have been offering free limited storage or practically unlimited storage if you subscribe to their services. For example, if you are an Amazon Prime member, you will get unlimited storage for your photos without extra cost. And you can upload not only JPEG images, but also RAW files as well (provided that RAW files are from Nikon, Canon or Sony cameras. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Why wouldn’t you skip on the second external drive, since the “Cloud” can be considered an offsite backup? Well, it all depends on how much you shoot and what your upload bandwidth is like. Unless you live in an area where providers can supply you with a boatload of upload bandwidth, trying to upload your entire collection of photos might take a very long time. I would start by estimating the total storage that your photos are currently consuming. If it is reasonable and your bandwidth can keep up without angering your ISP, then go right ahead. It will save you the hassle of going offsite for backups.

In case your computer hard drive dies, you have a backup of your files on an external drive. If both fail, you still either have the offsite backup, or a backup in the cloud depending on which route you take. With this method, you won’t risk losing everything you have, as the likelihood of all three failing or disappearing on you is extremely small.

4. Solid Backup Strategy: Serious Amateurs and Pros

If you are a serious amateur or a pro with a large collection of photos, creating a solid backup strategy is your responsibility, so you should take it very seriously. If you are a pro, it is a part of your job, it is what you are paid to do, even if you think you are not paid enough. I cannot imagine what this photographer went through, trying to explain to 20 different customers that her photos were stolen from her car:

Leaving 20 photo shoots in a single location like a car is not something one should do. This is a serious problem in the workflow process and if the photographer followed best practices, she would have had copies of every shoot on her home computer or a single external drive at the minimum. People can be nice and understanding, but some might start a lawsuit and bring your business and you down in no time! I can’t blame clients suing photographers for such poor practices. You cannot repeat a wedding. You cannot bring back a deceased person. Those memories would be lost forever all thanks to a poor workflow and no backups. Don’t make the same mistake – re-evaluate your current workflow processes and make sure that you back up after every single photo shoot.

Obviously, for a serious amateur, semi-pro or a pro, a simple manual backup process with two external drives, or one external drive + cloud storage would not work for a number of reasons:

1.   A single, cheap external drive is not only unreliable, but also too slow to handle thousands of images from every shoot

2.   External drives are often limited in capacity, which limits how much data can be backed up to them

3.   One should seriously evaluate cloud storage reliability, bandwidth capacity and simulate failure to see how much time a  restore would take to complete. For critical shoots and time-sensitive jobs / clients, cloud storage might not be an option

A more serious approach should be taken with establishing a good backup strategy, which involves fast, reliable storage and images stored in multiple locations. You want to follow the 3-2-1 backup rule, which states that three copies of data should be kept (1 primary and 2 backups), with files kept on two different media types and one backup being offsite. So far that’s the only option that I talked about for a reason – it is the best backup strategy and it really works.

Now if you don’t have a lot of content and you have a lot of time on your hands, you could adopt the above-mentioned workflow for hobbyists and still be fine. However, if you cannot afford to be down and your business heavily depends on your ability to quickly process images, you should look into more serious storage solutions.

First, start off with your editing machine. Does it have enough redundancy built-in to keep you going if a primary drive fails? While a lot of photographers prefer editing from a laptop with a single hard drive, I would explore the possibility of adding a secondary drive in a mirror / RAID 1 configuration. This way, no matter where you are, you won’t have to worry about dealing with repairs and restoring your work – the data is duplicated on two drives. If one of the drives fails, you can continue working and you can replace the failed drive at your convenience. However, this does not mean that you should think of the second drive as a backup, it is NOT (see more on this below)!

If you have a dedicated workstation, ideally, you should have a separate volume dedicated for photos, which is hosted on two drives in a mirror configuration (protected with RAID 1). In such configuration, if one of the drives fail, you will have the exact copy of your photos on the other drive. So if you experience a failure, you just replace the failed drive and the rebuild process will be very fast. In comparison, a failed RAID 5 volume might take several days to complete and during this process, everything will slow down to a crawl.

RAID is not a form of Backup!
Whether you run RAID 1 (mirroring), RAID 5 (striping) or any other type of redundant RAID, never make an assumption that your data is backed up and you do not need to back it up elsewhere. RAID does not replace backup. When RAID volumes need to be rebuilt, especially if it is a RAID 5 volume, there is always a chance that another drive might fail during the rebuild process. In fact, most people buy drives for a RAID volume in the same time-frame, which increases the chance of more than one drive dying at the same time. RAID is great to keep your storage running and keep you working, but you should always have at least two more backups, as explained above.

What about external storage? Remember, for a 3-2-1 backup, you will need at least two more backups on different media, with one being an off-site backup. Which means that aside from your working machine, you will need a primary backup device and a secondary backup device that will be taken off-site. I recommend that you size your primary backup device with a good potential for future growth. I personally have over 3 TB of just images alone and growing rapidly. So for me, a small storage box with a couple of drives simply won’t cut it. After going through a number of different storage solutions, I ended up choosing the Synology DS1515+ for my current needs. It is a very powerful device that hosts a total of 5 drives (4 TB each) and gives me roughly 20 TB of total storage. I put everything I have on the DS1515+ and it still has plenty of storage left for me to use.

Synology DS1815+

The way I would size your storage needs is by looking at each year of images. How fast is your data growing each year? If you have a lot of data and you don’t want to invest in a big storage box, one solution would be to start archiving your work. By using this method  – you archive your old images to external drives and mirror the data. Then keep two mirrored drives in a closet and another drive in an off-site location. You would do this for each year. To mount and dismount drives when you need access to them, you would need an accessory device which is connected via USB 3.0 to your machine. I personally prefer all of my data to reside in one place, because I find myself accessing older images often and I do not want to store so many hard drives. There is no right or wrong – you can go with either way, as long as you are not forgetting about 3-2-1.

As for off-site backup, there are plenty of different options, including options for cloud storage. I have been backing up to CrashPlan as my cloud storage solution.  They do offer sending the initial backup through to them on a hard drive, if you are not looking forward to uploading massive amounts of data.

To recap, here is my recommended backup process for serious amateurs, semi-pros and pros:

1.   Dedicate two separate hard drives for images on your editing machine. Put them in RAID 1 configuration for redundancy.

2.   Get an external storage array with 4+ drives to make it your primary backup volume.

3.   Either use another external storage for off-site backups, or subscribe to a solid cloud solution tailored for photographers.

4.   Use automated software for backups to replicate data in order to improve speed and efficiency of backups.

 

5. Summary

The thought of potentially losing data is very scary, especially when your work depends on it. If you have been slacking on establishing a solid workflow process with a working and proven backup strategy, don’t wait until you lose data – act now and save yourself a lot of time and money in the future. It might require a bit of effort and some investment, but it is totally worth it!

Please keep in mind that the above-described processes work for me and many others, but they might not be ideal in every case. Take time to evaluate your backup needs and come up with a solution that you can actually simulate for a potential disaster. You do not want to end up with something that does not work, or you are too lazy to properly execute. Make it a strict and a routine practice to not only back up your photos, but also check on those backups, making sure that they are taking place successfully.

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) Backup Images Photography Processing Workflow https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/4/photography-backup-workflow Thu, 14 Apr 2016 09:56:55 GMT
How to Organize Photos in Lightroom https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/4/how-to-organize-photos-in-lightroom

How to Organize Photos in Lightroom

Lightroom has become a very essential part of the workflow process for many photographers, including myself. I cannot imagine managing my photo catalog without Lightroom and I use it every day for my photography needs. In fact, 95-98% of my post-processing work is done in Lightroom and I only occasionally use Photoshop for advanced photo editing / retouching, which not only simplifies my workflow, but also decreases the amount of time I spend on post-processing. Over the past few years of using Lightroom extensively, I have come up with efficient ways to store, organize and access photos on my computer, so I wanted to share a few tips with on how I do it for both personal and professional work. Although there are many ways to organize images, this particular method has been working great for me.

 

1. Where do you store your pictures and how?

The first question is, where and how do you currently store your pictures? I used to store all of my photographs in various subfolders of my hard drive (commonly in “My Pictures” or “My Documents”), but after I got into photography, I decided that it was best to keep all of my photographs in the root folder of my PC’s hard drive that I use solely for storing photos. Hard drives are really cheap nowadays, so creating a properly organized and redundant storage for your photography needs does not have to cost an arm and a leg.

For those on a budget, I highly recommend getting a fault-redundant external RAID array (two hard drives that can be configured in RAID 1 / Mirror configuration). If you shoot RAW like me and have a lot of photographs, my favorite solution on the market today is Synology (5 bay) and if you have lots of photographs, I would get the 8 bay version. With larger capacity hard drives, you could get a boatload of storage on even the 5 bay version. These are rock-solid solutions for photographers and they easily outperform the proprietary Drobo system. The nice thing about a storage array unit like this, is that it is configured for speed and redundancy. If a single drive fails, the system continues to run, but prompts you to replace the faulted drive as soon as possible. Once you replace the drive and everything re-syncs, the system goes back to regular operational mode.

2. Folder structure and organization

Now that you have figured out where you will be storing your pictures, it is time to figure out what your folder structure will be. There are many ways to do this and everyone does it differently. I will show you what works for me and will leave it up to you to decide whether you want to adopt it or create your own. Here is my current structure:

File Structure 0File Structure 0 File Structure 1File Structure 1
File Structure 2File Structure 2 File Structure 3File Structure 3
 
 


In the root of my hard drive, I have one folder called “Photos”, where I store all of my pictures. Inside “Photos”, I create one folder per year. Then inside each year, I then store photographs by month and then by event. For example, if a special event was held in January it would be stored in “Photos\2016\January\Special Event”. 

Go ahead and create the first top level folder “Photos”. Do NOT create any more folders underneath and do NOT move or add any photos yet.

3. Create a new Lightroom catalog

Once you define and create your initial structure, it is now time to create a Lightroom catalog. Start off with a new Lightroom catalog by going to File -> New Catalog. For performance reasons, I prefer to store my catalog along with image previews on a fast SSD drive, while storing the pictures on a fast external storage array, but you might want to keep it all in the same drive for simplicity purposes. If you have under 10,000 pictures, you can store them all in a single catalog without much impact on Lightroom performance. If you have over 10,000 pictures, then I recommend creating one Lightroom catalog per year. Just create one folder in the root folder called “Lightroom” and store all of your catalogs there.

4. Modify Lightroom Preferences

For every new catalog I create, I slightly modify the default settings to fit my needs. Although you can do this later, it is probably best to do it in the beginning, as you might forget to take care of it later. The first thing I make sure is set up right (you only need to do it once) is Lightroom Preferences. Go to Edit -> Preferences and under the “General” tab, set similar settings as shown below:

Lightroom Preferences - General Tab

There are two settings that I changed here. I modified the “Default Catalog” option, where I set it to “Prompt me when starting Lightroom” – this basically makes Lightroom prompt which catalog I want to load when I start up Lightroom, which is convenient if you use multiple catalogs. If you only have a single catalog, there is no need to change the default setting. The second option is “Show import dialog when a memory card is detected”, which simply tells Lightroom to automatically fire up the import screen when you insert your memory card.

The next tab is “Presets”, where I typically leave everything by default. The only thing that is worth mentioning on this page is the “Location” where you can check or uncheck “Store Presets with Catalog”. Lightroom allows storing your user presets (such as default import settings, file naming convention, copyright information, etc.) either in a general folder that is used for all of your catalogs, or in each of your Lightroom catalogs where you can set different presets depending on the catalog. I personally use one preset for all of my Lightroom catalogs and recommend leaving this option unchecked as seen below:

Lightroom Preferences - Presets Tab

The next tab called “External Editing” allows you to specify the default File Format and Color Space for use in external applications such as Adobe Photoshop. If you use RAW format for your images, you should always edit images in Photoshop with the best format that preserves all image details and the widest color space. I use TIFF format (default) for files and ProPhoto RGB (default) for color space for this reason. Bit Depth should obviously be 16 bits and I leave the resolution at 240 (default), with ZIP as the compression method:

Lightroom Preferences - External Editing Tab

I also leave “Stack With Original” checked, so that an image that is edited externally stays attached to the original RAW file.

Let’s now move to the “File Handling” tab. This particular tab is very important, because it controls the way your pictures are imported into the catalog. Here is how I have my File Handling tab set:

Lightroom Preferences - File Handling Tab

Pay attention to the “Import DNG Creation” settings on this page. I set “File Extension” to “DNG”, “Compatibility” to the latest Camera Raw version available, “JPEG Preview” to “Medium Size” and left “Embed Original Raw File” unchecked. The important settings here are “JPEG Preview” and “Embed Original Raw File” that control the total size of your DNG files. By default, every RAW image contains a full size JPEG image inside that is stored as a “Preview” (the “Preview” image is what you see on the back of your camera when you take a picture). By setting the “JPEG Preview” option to “Medium Size”, you are telling Lightroom to generate a smaller version of a preview inside DNG files, which will save you up to 15-20% of space per file (depending on the size of the RAW file). While you might think that it is not such a big deal, it does a make a huge difference when you have tens of thousands of pictures. The only penalty is the fact that the image opens slightly slower when you try to open a full version of it in Lightroom later, simply because it has to generate a full size version from the RAW image. If the speed is important, you could always generate full size previews in Lightroom later. The checkbox “Embed Original Raw File” is something I would recommend to leave unchecked, because if you check it, your DNG files will actually be much larger than the original RAW file (DNG + RAW will be combined in a single file).

I leave the last “Interface” tab at its default settings.

5. Modify Lightroom Catalog Settings

The next thing we need to modify, is your Lightroom Catalog Settings. You will have to do this once for each of the catalogs that you create. Go to Edit -> Catalog Settings to bring up the “Catalog Settings” window. I usually leave everything to default values in “General” and “File Handling” tabs. However, if you want Lightroom to render bigger previews to match your monitor resolution, pick a different value under “Standard Preview Size”. Note that the larger the preview size, the more space Lightroom’s cache will take on your hard drive.

The most important tab for me here is the “Metadata” tab, where I can specify what data is written into my images by Lightroom:

Catalog Settings

The first two options “Offer suggestions from recently entered values” and “Include Develop settings in metadata inside JPEG, TIFF, and PSD files” are checked by default and I do not touch them. The last option “Automatically write changes into XMP” is unchecked by default. This is the one I usually recommend to turn on, because it makes Lightroom write your changes right into the DNG files (or XMP sidecar files that go with your RAW files) as you work on them. Why is it important? Because if your Lightroom catalog was to fail and you lost all of your catalog data, the image file would still keep all changes that you’ve made in Lightroom! It is also very useful if you happen to open that same file in Photoshop or other Adobe applications, because all changes will be immediately visible as you work on the file. And if you were to lose your Lightroom catalog completely, you could just import all the images from your hard drive and all changes would migrate through (except for the history). The penalty of keeping this option checked is slower performance, since every change is immediately written to the DNG / Sidecar file. If performance becomes a problem, you can turn off this setting and occasionally force Lightroom to save changes to files by selecting all files (CTRL+A in the root folder) and saving changes (CTRL+S).

6. Import your photos into the Lightroom catalog

Your preferences and catalogs settings have now been modified. Let’s start importing your pictures! Fire up the photo import catalog by going to File -> Import Photos… or press CTRL+SHIFT+I on your keyboard. Once the import screen comes up, it will look like the following:

Lightroom Import Screen

The entire import screen is organized very similarly as Lightroom itself, the left side being the location where you will be grabbing the files from, while the right side serves as the destination side, along with import settings. The middle section shows all images to be imported. The “From” section has been designed in such a way that Lightroom is able to differentiate between permanent storage and your device or card reader. The nice thing is, the import screen is dynamic, meaning whatever changes happen in the system, the screen gets updated in real time. For example, if you open the import screen and then disconnect your camera from the PC, the device will simply disappear from the screen. Reconnecting the camera will add the device back into the screen.

Since I standardize on the DNG format, I typically leave “Copy as DNG” selected in the top middle section. If you choose to keep the original RAW files, then pick “Copy” instead.

The right import menu consists of several sections: File Handling, File Renaming, Apply During Import and Destination. Let’s take a look at the first two sections – File Handling and File Renaming:

Lightroom Import Screen Handling and Renaming

6.1 File Handling Section

The File Handling section consists of four choices – “Build Previews”, “Build Smart Previews”, “Don’t Import Suspected Duplicates” and “Make a Second Copy To”. I leave the Build Previews option on “Minimal” to save time during file import. However, if you have plenty of storage and you want to speed up the time it takes for your files to render when you zoom into them, you can set this option to “1:1”, which will generate full previews. Normally, I don’t recommend this, unless you want to speed up the process of editing high resolution files (see my article on efficient Lightroom workflow for high resolution images).

The “Build Smart Previews” option can be very useful for situations where you have a laptop that stores just the catalog and your actual images are stored on external storage. If you happen to travel and need to disconnect from your storage, keeping this option turned on will create image previews that you will be able to work on, as if you were still connected to your storage. Once you come back and reconnect to your external storage, all the changes will be retained. If you are using a desktop PC and the storage is attached permanently, I would turn this option off.

I always keep “Don’t Import Suspected Duplicates” turned on and if you would like Lightroom to back up imported images, then the last option “Make a Second Copy To” should be turned on.

6.2 Apply During Import Section

This section is another important one, since it lets you choose an import preset with your Lightroom settings, write Metadata and Keywords into each image as it gets imported. I have already made some changes to the way I import files and being able to choose what you want before the import process starts is a great idea, because it saves tons of time for me during the image editing process. Once you make changes to an image and save the preset, it will immediately show up on this screen.

The next field is called “Metadata” and it is used for writing additional data into each imported file. For example, if I wanted to include my copyright text in every image (do not confuse this with a watermark), I would need to create a new Metadata preset and make some changes: I wouldn’t waste time by filling out every single field and only pay closer attention to IPTC Copyright and IPTC Creator fields, where you can provide your name and contact information.

The last field is “Keywords” and that’s where I type keywords related to what I am importing. Keywords can be great to be able to locate photos by event, location, theme, etc. For the above example, I used “Garden of the Gods” keyword, which saves this keyword to each file and the Lightroom database. If I go back to the Garden of the Gods again later this year, I would use the same Keyword to group the two events together. That way, even if I end up putting photos into different folders, I will still be able to locate them by this keyword.

6.3 Destination Section

The last section identifies the location of where the import process will store files. The first field is called “Into Subfolder”, which I always leave checked, since I do want Lightroom to create subfolders for me. The next field is a drop-down with two options: Organize “By Date” and Organize “Into one folder”. If you select Organize “By Date”, you will get an additional field called “Date Format”, where you can specify the format of the subfolders that will be created by Lightroom.

Lightroom Subfolders

 

As you can see, the system is set to create a folder under “E:\Photos\2014” called “Gardens of the Gods”, where all the photos will be imported. If I pay another visit to the Garden of the Gods, I will choose the same folder and the system will create files with a different date, so I won’t ever run into any problems with duplicate file names.

I always sort my import images by “Capture Time” under “Sort” drop-down. Once you choose the destination folder, simply click the “Import” button to start importing your images. The import window will go away and you will start seeing the images popping up in your Lightroom catalog.

7. Post-import check

Now that you know how to import your images with custom templates, go ahead and import all of your pictures into Lightroom and make sure that everything gets transitioned correctly. Do not forget to change the folder names along with “Custom Text” and “Keywords” fields upon each new import in the “Import Photos” screen going forward. Otherwise, you will end up with a bunch of unwanted folders and incorrect file names and keywords. If you accidentally imported your pictures with wrong settings, it is not a problem. Just select the imported pictures, then change the keywords under “Keywording” section in the “Library” module, then rename the folder to the correct event name and go to Library -> Rename Photos to mass rename your pictures. If your pictures go out of sequence for whatever reason (for example your sequence numbers are repeated, but with a different name), then simply select all pictures and batch-rename them all by pressing “F2” on your keyboard. Give it a new sequence number and it will start renaming them based on the age of the image or your selection criteria.

8. Perform full backup

By now, you have done a lot of work to re-organize your photographs and you have completed importing all of your pictures into Lightroom. It is definitely a good time to perform a full backup of both your Lightroom catalog and your pictures. Many people assume that the backup functionality in Lightroom backs up their photographs too. That’s a very wrong assumption! Lightroom does NOT backup your photos – it only backs up your Lightroom catalog, which is useless without your images. You can afford losing a Lightroom database, but you cannot afford losing your pictures. Therefore, you should always backup your photographs first, then worry about Lightroom.

Here is how to perform a full backup:

  1. Close out of Lightroom.
  2. Get your external backup drive ready, plug it into your computer and turn it on.
  3. Go to the root folder where you are keeping your photos. In my computer it is “E:\Photos”. Select this folder and drag and drop it into the backup drive’s “Photos Backup” folder or something similar, which should start the copy process.
  4. Wait until all pictures are copied / backed up. Make sure that you do not have any errors and the copy process is completed 100% successfully.
  5. Now backup your Lightroom catalog. Locate the Lightroom catalog file in your hard drive (which should have an extension “lrcat”) and also copy it to the external drive. I usually store my Lightroom catalogs in a folder called “Lightroom Catalog Backup” on my backup media.

The above process could be easily automated by third party backup programs or with some built-in backup tools within your operating system. I highly recommend to set up an automated job that backs up your computer as often as possible. I also recommend backing up your data to at least two different locations every time.

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) Images Photography Processing Workflow https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/4/how-to-organize-photos-in-lightroom Wed, 13 Apr 2016 07:19:53 GMT
What is your Photography Workflow? https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/4/what-is-your-photography-workflow What is a Workflow in Digital Photography?

If you have been reading articles on photography and post-processing, especially from a professional photographer, you have probably stumbled upon the word “workflow” and wondered what it meant. In this article, I will explain what a workflow is and what it is comprised of in the world of digital photography. Please note that the workflow process can vary greatly from one photographer to another, because of too many variables involved and because there is no established, standard workflow that applies to everyone. Therefore, information that I provide in this article should only be used as a reference point to get an understanding of how workflows work in general. It will be totally up to you to establish your own digital photography workflow and you should ultimately design the process that works best for your needs.
 

What is a Workflow in Digital Photography?

A digital photography workflow is an end-to-end system of working with digital images, from capture to delivery. It is comprised of a series of inter-connected steps developed by photographers to simplify and standardize their work. Simplification and standardization are the two key words here, because a well-established workflow process will not only help you in simplifying and speeding up the process of working with images, but will also allow you to stay organized, improving your efficiency and bringing consistency to your work. The number of steps involved in the workflow process varies, but generally consists of the following:

1.    Setting up the camera and capturing images

2.    Transferring images to a computer

3.    Importing images into a photo application

4.    Organizing and sorting images

5.    Post-processing images

6.    Exporting images

7.    Backing up images

8.    Printing or publishing images to the web

Let’s go through these one at a time.

1. Setting up the camera and capturing images

The workflow process starts with your camera, so your camera settings and how you take pictures will definitely impact your workflow process. For example, if you take pictures in RAW format, your workflow process will be a little more complicated than if you were to shoot in JPEG. Why? Because RAW images require you to process them before they become usable for print or publishing. RAW files also take up a lot of space, which will certainly slow down your import, export and backup processes. If you shoot in JPEG format, you need to decide what color profile to use, what compression and image size to use, what white balance settings to use and more. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but you will have to decide what works best for you.

Nikon Shooting Menu

In addition, if you decide to shoot HDR or panoramas, you will have to shoot in brackets/sequences, which will add another step in your workflow process to process HDR images or stitch panoramas. Therefore, you should decide in advance what settings you want to use in your camera and how you want to capture images.

2. Transferring images to your computer

There are many ways to transfer images to your computer. The first part is physically connecting your SD/CompactFlash card to your computer, which you can do with a card reader or by connecting your camera with a USB cable.

The second part is the actual process of copying files from your card/camera to your computer. This is where you have many different options to do this. You could use your operating system to copy the files to a particular folder on your machine, or you could use software like Adobe Bridge, Lightroom or Aperture to handle this process. I personally prefer to use the latter method for importing my images. I heavily rely on Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for transferring images and this application has simplified my workflow significantly, because many of the steps described in this article are now done within this single software package.

3. Importing images into a photo application

This step depends on how you handle the process of transferring images to your computer, because some software will do both in one step. For example, if you use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom or Apple Aperture, these programs will both copy images to your computer and import them into into a photo catalog at the same time, saving you a step.

Import LR DialogImport LR Dialog

The nice thing about using such software, is that you can customize/fine-tune the import process and tag images with certain keywords / metadata and even push some image-processing presets to each image upon import, which will save you even more time in your workflow. Check out our upcoming detailed guide on "How to Import Photos in Lightroom", where we show how to properly manage this process.

4. Organizing and sorting images

Once your images are on your computer, you need to decide how you want to organize and sort them, so that they don’t end up scattered all over your hard drive. If you use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom or Aperture, you have many more options to keep your photographs organized.

Lightroom Keywords

You can do everything from adding keywords to such things as ranking your favorite images with stars, labeling images with colors, creating custom image groups and much more. The nice thing about using Lightroom and Aperture, is that all image information is stored in a database, which makes the process of locating specific images very easy. If you are looking for a good way to organize your photos in Lightroom, take a look at our upcoming “how to organize photos in Lightroom” article. This is also a good time to quickly review your images, identify the ones that are bad/blurry/out of focus and get rid of them. Let’s now move on to the next step – post-processing images.

5. Post-processing images

Now that you have organized your photographs on your computer and within your favorite photo application, it is a good time to sit through and work on your images. You might wonder if this step is necessary if your picture is already good right out of the camera. I say “your going to need to do some basic editing”, if you shoot in RAW, and “most likely” if you shoot in JPEG, since there will always be images that might need some tweaking here and there to make them look better.

Adjusting Temperature and Tint in Lightroom

I am not going to go through the process of post-processing an image, because this step can be a quick one second change to fix an exposure problem or an extensive process that might take hours to perfect. I normally post-process 95%+ of my images within Lightroom and only use Photoshop when I cannot fix something in Lightroom. Therefore, my workflow depends on whether an image needs further work in Photoshop or not.

6. Exporting images

Once you are done working on your images, the next step is to export those images for print or web publishing. Again, there are many variables to consider here. If you are printing an image, you have to find out which image formats the printing company can work with. They might ask for TIFF files with Adobe-RGB color space, or they might only accept JPEG files in sRGB color space. Another important factor is image size and how big you want to print.

Lightroom Export Dialog

If you are exporting your images for the web, like publishing your photographs on your blog, Flickr, Zenfolio, etc., you have to decide what image dimensions to use during the export process and pick sRGB as the color space. Another consideration is to remove EXIF data from your images, if you do not want others to see what settings you used when you took those pictures.

7. Backing up your images

While your machine is busy exporting images out of your photo application, it is a good time to start your backup process. If you have not been backing up your images, you should definitely come up with a backup plan as soon as possible. How good is your workflow if your hard drive crashes and you lose all of your precious photographs? I used to back up my images to a single external drive once a week before, but after losing some very important images when my hard drive crashed in the middle of the week, I now have a redundant setup with two mirrored hard drives and I back up to a different external storage device after every photo shoot. On top of this, once every month I take my external drive to an off-site location and duplicate its contents to another drive. This might sound like an overkill, but I know that my photos are safe and I won’t lose them. Don’t forget to back up your Lightroom/Aperture catalog as well. Remember, backing up just your photographs or just your catalog is not enough – you need to back up both.

Synology-DS1515+Synology-DS1515+

If you have a lot of photographs and you are looking for a good backup storage solution, there are many great products on the market today that are created specifically for photographers and videographers. My personal recommendation would be to get Synology DiskStation products, which not only offer data redundancy, but also are amazingly fast in terms of transfer speeds. For a small to medium environment, the Synology DS1515+ 5-bay server would be my top pick and for larger environments with more data, the Synology DS1815+ 8-bay server is the way to go.

8. Printing or publishing to the web

The final step is to print your photographs or publish them to the web. For printing, take your exported images and upload them to the printing company’s website (if they allow you to do that) or copy/burn the files to a thumb drive/CD. If you have a printer and you want to print images yourself, you might not need to export images from Lightroom/Aperture or whatever software package you are using – most of them support printing right out of the application and give you all the tools you need for printing.

Lightroom Publishing Manager

As for web publishing, again, if you use Lightroom or Aperture, they either already come with a built-in functionality to publish directly to Flickr, Zenfolio, Facebook and other popular websites, or you can install plugins that will allow you to do that. If you have a website or a blog that you want to publish your photos to, you will need to use the exported images from step 1.6.
 

Summary

If you are a photographer, the question is not whether you have a workflow or not (because you do), but how good and consistent it is. Back when I started my photography journey, my workflow was truly terrible and I suffered from all kinds of problems – from failing to locate images on my computer, to efficiently processing hundreds of images from my camera. It took me several years to come up with a workflow process that keeps me organized and efficient, and the process has gotten simpler and easier to manage, thanks to the new tools that are rolled out in new versions of Lightroom. I know for a fact that my workflow will change overtime and as other new technologies such as cloud storage become more available and affordable, I will surely add and remove some steps in my workflow. I highly recommend that you go back and review your workflow process and see what you can optimize and improve – I am sure you will find new ways to do things that will make you more organized, efficient and reliable. Lastly, please note that the above article only covers the workflow steps in general. Your real workflow will be much more detailed, with more specific steps under each section.

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) Images Photography Processing Workflow https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/4/what-is-your-photography-workflow Tue, 12 Apr 2016 19:37:16 GMT
How do you get such sharp images? https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/4/how-do-you-get-such-sharp-images We get asked by a lot of people how we manage to capture the sharpness and detail that we do in our images.  Well to answer that there are a lot of things that go into producing sharp, high detailed images.

First:  

Having a good camera and lens combo that works for what you are looking to capture is the first thing you need to start making a good image.  Not everyone is after the same subject matter.   We tend to do a lot of wildlife photography but we also do some portrait work as well.  Two totally different animals (no pun intended) from the standpoint of the gear we would select to do the job.  Learn what you like to capture and buy the gear that works for both you and your budget.  I would highly recommend investing into better lenses if you already have a camera body that seemingly works for you until your budget allows an upgrade if need be.  A wise investment in glass will outlive many camera bodies that you have over the years to come helping you to produce the best quality images you can with the combination you have.


Great wildlife lens for those on a little bigger budget
(Canon EF 100-400mm II f/4.5-5.6 L IS)

Canon EF 100-400mm II f/4.5-5.6 L ISCanon EF 100-400mm II f/4.5-5.6 L IS

 

Great all-around portrait lens for those on a little bigger budget
(Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8 L IS II)

Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8 L IS IICanon EF 70-200mm f2.8 L IS II

 

Second:

You need opportunity, and that is sometimes the hardest part.  With wildlife you've got to be out there to capture images when that special moment takes place because it doesn't just happen when you show up.  You've got to put your time in to get the shot!  Wildlife photography is some of the most difficult, yet rewarding photography there is.  You just never know when you may have the chance to "get the shot".  With portrait photography, learning how to work with people and getting the pose is the hardest part.  There is a lot of variety in how you go about doing photography in many of the different areas so find what you like to shoot and you'll begin to find what works best for you.

 

Florida Getaway 2016-054Florida Getaway 2016-054


 

Third:

You need light!  No, I don't mean you need to take along your studio lighting gear on your safari, although there may be a time and place for that as well. What you do need, however, is mother nature to provide you with good light to give your subjects a dimensional look.  Without good lighting your subject will look dull and lifeless so learn to work with the light that have.  In studio or on location with portrait work you can control the light and this makes all the difference in the images.  For us, lighting is the largest factor in what kind of images we are able to produce.

 

                                                      Canon 600EX-RT Speedlites w/ ControllerCanon 600EX-RT Speedlites w/ Controller              Einstein 640ws StrobesEinstein 640ws Strobes



Many beginning photographers don't realize the importance of each of these things. Get yourself a decent camera and lens, get out in the field and learn to work with the gear and lighting you are given, as they will be the stepping stones to the next level in your photography.  And most importantly... get out there and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!

 

And remember... 
Life is short... so go make some images to remember the journey along the way!

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) Blog Camera Images Lens MH PhotoDesigns Sharpness Technique https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/4/how-do-you-get-such-sharp-images Mon, 11 Apr 2016 18:39:32 GMT
SIGNATURE SERIES: The Florida Collection by MH PhotoDesigns https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/3/signature-series-the-florida-collection
During our trip to Florida for the Spring of 2016 we were able to capture lots of new and exciting images.  We are looking forward to releasing some of these image into our Signature Series Collection.  So, due to popular demand we've decided to bring the Great Egret to center stage as the first of the Florida images to be released. 
 

These items will only be featured in our Signature Series gallery. Each will be personalized with details about the image that we’ve taken on our journey. Our Signature Series Canvas’ are sure to be a wonderful piece of art for any décor, any personality or any season.

​    Feathery Spectacle Desk MockupFeathery Spectacle Desk Mockup
 

Each of the special images is featured on either our PREMIUM TRADITIONAL CANVAS or our all new PREMIUM LEATHER CANVAS to accessorize your home or any office décor. They will be available as both framed or unframed. The framed model will offer a shadowbox style frame in either Black or Walnut which adds some added dimension and elegance to each canvas.  Canvas FrameCanvas Frame


 

The “eARTh” without “ART” is just “eh”

Feathery Spectacle Floor MockupFeathery Spectacle Floor Mockup

 

Please follow the link to purchase one of these Signature Series Canvas’
for yourself, or as a gift for a loved one, or a friend.

www.mhphotodesigns.com/fineartgalleries

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) Canvas Display Egret Florida Florida Wildlife Great Egret Leather Limited Edition MH PhotoDesigns Nature Photographer Photography Plumage Signature Series Wildlife Wildlife Photographer Wisconsin Photographer https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/3/signature-series-the-florida-collection Tue, 29 Mar 2016 20:27:44 GMT
SIGNATURE SERIES: The Bugle - Elk Country https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/3/signature-series-the-bugle---elk-country SIGNATURE SERIES by MH PhotoDesigns!

We are now offering a limited collection of special images featured on either our PREMIUM TRADITIONAL CANVAS or our all new PREMIUM LEATHER CANVAS to accessorize your home or any office décor. They will be available as both framed or unframed. The framed model will offer a shadowbox style frame in either Black or Walnut which adds some added dimension and elegance to each canvas. These items will only be featured in our Signature Series gallery. Each will be personalized with details about the image that we’ve taken on our journey. Our Signature Series Canvas’ are sure to be a wonderful piece of art for any décor, any personality or any season.

​  ELK COUNTRY Desk MockupELK COUNTRY Desk Mockup

 

Whatever you may be looking for, whether it be mammals, birds, landscapes, or flowers… we are sure to have something for everyone. We are always adding new subjects to our collection of images, therefore throughout the year we will be showcasing new and exciting images to the Signature Series Canvas Gallery.

Please follow the link to purchase one of these Signature Series Canvas’ for yourself, or as a gift for a loved one, or a friend.

The “eARTh” without “ART” is just “eh”

 

ELK COUNTRY Floor DisplayELK COUNTRY Floor Display

Please follow the link to purchase one of these Signature Series Canvas’ for yourself,
or as a gift for a loved one, or a friend.

www.mhphotodesigns.com/fineartgalleries

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) Bull Canvas Display Elk Leather Limited Edition MH PhotoDesigns Nature Photographer Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Wildlife Photography Signature Series Wildlife Wildlife Photographer Wisconsin Photographer https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/3/signature-series-the-bugle---elk-country Tue, 29 Mar 2016 00:06:00 GMT
Meet the Great Grey Owl https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/3/meet-the-great-grey-owl In the far north reaches of northern Minnesota lies the Sax-Zim Bog.  A tranquil and peaceful area that is home to many different critters in the winter months. We've traveled to this area a few times now and have been lucky enough to see the what some call "The Phantom of the North".  No they're not scary, but the Great Grey Owls are mystical by nature.  To be lucky enough to come across one of them in the wild is absolutely magical.  

December Projects 2015-016December Projects 2015-016

 

As we search for them throughout the bog area, they just seem content with our presence as we come upon their place in nature.  They seem to just go about their business looking for their next meal along the ditches of the forest where they perch high in the trees allowing them a good view of the hunting grounds below. Every now and again they stop and pause to give you a look as if they are telling you it's okay to share in this moment.  

December Projects 2015-012December Projects 2015-012

 

On our last visit to the bog we got all our still images captured that we wanted and decided to turn on the video recorder so we could bring some of the magic we feel back for all of you to enjoy. So, for your magical enjoyment we invite you to view this magical creature in action. Hope you enjoy!

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) Canvas Display GGO Hunter Leather Limited Edition MH PhotoDesigns Minnesota Minnesota Wildlife Nature Nature Photographer Owl Photographer Photography Raptor Signature Series Wildlife Wildlife Photographer Wisconsin Photographer https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/3/meet-the-great-grey-owl Fri, 25 Mar 2016 18:56:45 GMT
Great Northern SnoCross Series Racing Action https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/3/gnss-racing-action Unfortunately we didn't get out to photograph until late in the season for the Great Northern SnoCross series of races.  The first weekend we traveled to Timber Coulee Thunder for some racing action followed by the Great Northern SnoCross Championship held in Plymouth, Wisconsin the following weekend.  

Thanks to some friends of ours that were racing we decided to get out and enjoy some SnoCross racing action on some beautiful spring days here in Wisconsin. Seeing we were pretty new to the sport we didn't know a lot of the racers as we began shooting at these events.  After the first few laps, that was it, the rest was history.  We were HOOKED on SnoCross!!!

 

SnoCross Racing Action

There were many teams represented at each of these events.  With age groups from just little kids, to racers well into their 40's and 50's. The aggressiveness of the sport is what draws you in. The two pictured above stood out for us.  They are sisters and they dominated the track during each of the races we photographed. It was very enjoyable capturing images of their aggressive riding style.

SnoCross Racing Action

During each of the races we added some new friends and faces to our portfolio. The aggressive riding style and determination of some of these young racers is what we wanted to capture in our images.  We can appreciate fine tuned equipment along the need - want - and desire to win.  Photographers are like racers, we all have an addiction to work hard crafting our art form. 

SnoCross Racing Action

Thanks to all the racers and families that have taken time to let us know how much they have enjoyed seeing the images and a special thanks to those that have purchased images.  It means a lot to us to knowing we captured that special moment and it allows us to continue to follow our passion of photography.

Until next season...

To see ALL of the racing action or to purchase prints
please visit our website for more details:  
SnoCross Event Galleries

 

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) Extreme Photographers Racing Riders SnoCross Snow Snowmobile Sports Wisconsin https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/3/gnss-racing-action Fri, 25 Mar 2016 15:54:54 GMT
SIGNATURE SERIES: Bald Eagle - Catch of the Day https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/3/catch-of-the-day SIGNATURE SERIES by MH PhotoDesigns!

We are now offering a limited collection of special images featured on either our PREMIUM TRADITIONAL CANVAS or our all new PREMIUM LEATHER CANVAS to accessorize your home or any office décor. They will be available as both framed or unframed. The framed model will offer a shadowbox style frame in either Black or Walnut which adds some added dimension and elegance to each canvas. These items will only be featured in our Signature Series gallery. Each will be personalized with details about the image that we’ve taken on our journey. Our Signature Series Canvas’ are sure to be a wonderful piece of art for any décor, any personality or any season.

Catch of the Day Desk MockupBald Eagle - Catch of the Day

 

Whatever you may be looking for, whether it be mammals, birds, landscapes, or flowers… we are sure to have something for everyone. We are always adding new subjects to our collection of images, therefore throughout the year we will be showcasing new and exciting images to the Signature Series Canvas Gallery.

Please follow the link to purchase one of these Signature Series Canvas’ for yourself, or as a gift for a loved one, or a friend.

The “eARTh” without “ART” is just “eh”

 

Catch of the Day Floor MockupBald Eagle - Catch of the Day

Please follow the link to purchase one of these Signature Series Canvas’ for yourself, or as a gift for a loved one, or a friend.

www.mhphotodesigns.com/fineartgalleries

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) Canvas Catch of the Day Display Eagle Leather Limited Edition MH PhotoDesigns Nature Photographer Photography Signature Series Wildlife Wildlife Photographer Wisconsin Wisconsin Photographer Wisconsin Wildlife https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2016/3/catch-of-the-day Fri, 25 Mar 2016 11:40:01 GMT
Small Business Saturday 2015 https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2015/11/small-business-saturday-2015 SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY SALE!

November 28, 2015

We love sharing our images with you but what would be better than having one of your very own to display in your home or office.  We'd like to offer you 20% off any order of $50 or more from our SHOWCASE, EVENT or FINE ARTS galleries. 

Items include: Gift Prints, Canvases, Framed Canvases and Metal Prints (all galleries), along with Matted Prints from our Fine Arts Gallery.  Once you've selected an image be sure to look and see all the different medias available for it to be printed on. 

Give yourself or a loved one a special gift at this special price this Holiday Season.

Just visit our website.  Go to the GALLERIES section and use the
(case sensative) COUPON CODE: SBS2015

Sale ends Monday, November 30th at midnight!


VISIT OUR WEBSITE GALLERIES:
www.mhphotodesigns.com



MH Ad Space 2015MH Ad Space 2015

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) Business Coupon Prints Sale Saturday Small https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2015/11/small-business-saturday-2015 Sat, 28 Nov 2015 13:52:53 GMT
The Ever Changing World of Digital Photo Processing https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2015/7/the-ever-changing-world-of-digital-photo-processing As photography gear has progressed in the world of camera bodies and lenses available to us as photographers, so has the world of computers, networking, cloud storage and software available to us.  It's an ever changing world of gadgets and mobile devices as well.  The introduction of more and more mobile devices has led us on yet another journey in our photography as I began looking at our processing workflow.  Not only are we working from home but we are able to work remotely now as well.  I will cover more about that in a later blog, but for now I wanted to touch base on my core processing system.  

Recently as I was downloading over 1500 images from one of our events I realized I was losing valuable photo editing time waiting for everything to download to my computer before I could really dig into the processing side of things.  It's not that the computer I had couldn't handle it, but there was a definite drag on the system as I would try and multi-task and do probably more than I should all at once it became more of a nuisance than anything.  I'm a little impatient when it comes time to dig in and work.

I thought to myself.... hmmm, maybe its time to look at a new computer system. It had been over 5 years since I built the last computer and computers have come a little ways since then as I started to look at what was new on the market.  Gone were the days of quad-core processors and memory limitations.  I thought to myself that maybe someday I will have to probably consider an upgrade.

Well a couple of weeks back I got an email from HP and they had some promotional things going on for their computers systems.  I cautiously opened the email to see what kind of deals they had.  At first I thought, oh its just the standard computer's on sale.  Nothing what I was really looking for, but then I looked a while later and got re-directed to another page that I hadn't seen before. BEHOLD... the world of custom built and Octa-Core Processors!  New to the market just a few months ago, they have now made it into production machines. Did you hear me?  EIGHT PROCESSING CORES!  A new world in pc computing for sure!  Sorry Apple lovers, you don't have them yet.  You're still stuck with quad-cores! (What's a computer review without a little PC vs Apple love?)

I began building a custom configuration just to see how much this new photo processing beast just might cost.  As I worked my way through all the options I soon realized that it was more than just the processors that had changed.  I now had many more options.  Memory?  What is this? 32 GB of ram?  Unheard of before the new chipsets and motherboards had arrived.  I continued to build my next dream machine... one component at a time.

As I headed to the shopping cart to check on the damages I soon realized that HP was running a pretty kick butt promotion.  The custom configured system not only was on sale but there was an additional 30% off savings.  Now, how could any tech geek pass up a deal like this?  Well I sat on it for a few days and thought about whether or not I wanted to make the upgrade.  The more I continued to process photos and each second that I waited for things to happen as I worked through my thousands of images I realized it was time for a change.  Every second counts when you're behind a computer for many, many hours at a time processing images and I decided that I just can't afford to waste anymore valuable time while I processing images.

And so... I pulled the trigger!  Thank you for your order it said!  And now I had to wait a couple of weeks for it to arrive.  I kept busy and didn't think to much about it.  The two weeks went by and HP delivered as promised.  Upon unboxing I made to sure to check out the internals of course.  And it was nice to see a clean and compact build design.  The video card took up half the space as she is sporting an Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 video card with lots of onboard memory to give us a boost with the new Adobe GPU processing capability.  As I worked my way around I had to admire the new newest chipset by Intel as well.  An OCTA-CORE beast known as the i7-5960x Extreme.  It comes liquid cooled and sporting a very cool radiator system to pumped the heat away from the chip as its chugging through thousands of images in Lightroom and Photoshop.  I plugged it in and began to breathe life into the newest member of our family.  YES... computers are family.  We live on them more than we spend with real people some days so they might as well become family. We talk to them, smack them when they get out of line and even shout a few choice words from time to time.  How can they not be like family?  

So after an hour of re-cabling and getting everything ready to go and connected to the network I spent the next 12 grueling hours getting all the system updates, software installations and fine tuning completed.  I never like this part as its pretty intense and lots of things to do but I know in the end its all worth it.  You just gotta keep at it!  She's now up and running and all I can say is WOW,  what had I been missing?  I immediately launched Lightroom CC and imported some photos. How much faster could it possibly be, right? Well let's just say... ALOTTTTT! Importing and DNG conversions along with image previews chugged away at an astonishing rate.  Minutes instead of hours of waiting to complete the task!  

I thought I was done being impressed at this point and then I switched to the develop module in Lightroom and WOWZERS... I was again blown away at the GPU accelerated processing that Adobe released in the latest CC version of Lightroom.  I immediately saw the bonus of running a graphics card with extra on-board memory to really boost the overall performance.  As I switched between standard and accelerated it literally gave me twice the speed flipping through images and rendering them.  This thing is CRAZY FAST!

I still have a few things to tweak as I get back into my full workflow processing images again and then I will give a final review of the system.

 

 

For any of your techno geeks out there.  Here are the specs:

Windows 8.1 Pro
Intel i7-5960x Extreme Octa-Core Processor
32GB DDR4 Ram
512 SanDisk Solid State Drive (SSD)
2TB Secondary Drive
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 4GB GDDR5 FH GFX Video Card
SuperMulti DVD Burner
802.11 with Blutooth Wireless Network Card
Bang & Olufsen Sound Card

 

 

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) Computer Core Octa Photo Photography Processing https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2015/7/the-ever-changing-world-of-digital-photo-processing Sun, 12 Jul 2015 10:32:25 GMT
MH PhotoDesigns Photography Gear - Part II https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2015/2/mh-photodesigns-photography-gear---part-ii As we previously had shared our tripod of choice for our main rig we also wanted to also mention that we both shoot from a tripod when conditions call for it. 

 

THIS IS OUR SECONDARY RIG SET-UP...

We have a Gitzo Series 2 Mountaineer GT2541 Carbon Fiber Tripod with a Really Right Stuff BH-40 LR Ball Head.

 

Gitzo 2541 Carbon Fiber Tripod w/ Really Right Stuff BH-40 LR BallheadGitzo 2541 Carbon Fiber Tripod w/ Really Right Stuff BH-40 LR Ballhead

 

 

With this setup we also have a Wimberly WH-200 Gimbal Head that we primarily use for birds in flight and other special applications.  This head provides maximum fluid motion and stability for those hard to get shots.

 

Wimberly WH-200 Gimbal HeadWimberly WH-200 Gimbal Head

 

 

ADDED ACCESSORIES

How many times do you find yourself messing around with leg adjustments trying to get your gear level?  Or do you just say "it's good enough" and try shooting from a non level platform?  

Well by doing that you take away many of the advantages of having a gimbal head in the first place.  They work best in a leveled position with them set to work with the camera/lens combo that you are using.  Special attention needs to be made to the way you initially set them up for each particular camera/lens combo.  Please take the time to accurately get things right.  It will make a difference in your ability to track moving subjects effectively.  Here is where a leveling base can help.

 

What is a leveling base you ask? 

A leveling base on your tripod is the perfect foundation for gimbal heads, pano gear and even ballheads. Each RRS leveling base offers ±15° of leveling capability and locks solidly with just a twist. Choose a leveling base with a flat platform for direct mounting of a tripod head. Or choose a leveling base with a clamp if you want quick-change convenience for multiple tripod heads on the same tripod.

 

Here are the (2) leveling bases we use.  The one on the left is a custom one specifically for the  Really Right Stuff tripod we use and the other is a universal model for other makes of tripods out there.  Both offer quick release levers for secure mounting and quick change outs between gear and I believe are a much need accessory to help maximize performance of your shooting ability.

Really Right Stuff - TA-3-LK-HK Leveling Base  (LEFT)

Really Right Stuff - TA-U-LB Leveling Base  (RIGHT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CAMERA / LENS PROTECTION

We end up shooting in many weather conditions so it is important to be ready for just about anything.  Since we don't just get to shoot when the weather is nice we protect our gear with Storm Jacket PRO Covers.  These covers offer us a compact, easy to store solution for protection against the inclement weather.  They have various models to choose from but we choose the the PRO series models as they offer a velcro slot in the bottom allowing you to leave your camera rig mounted to a tripod or monopod.  They make a nice addition to any gear bag!

 

Storm Jacket Gear CoversStorm Jacket Gear Covers

 

 

 

Well, as you can see there is a lot that goes into the gear that we need to begin producing some of the high quality images that we strive to create.  Like everything, it is good to have a backup plan.  By having some of the gear we have, it allows us many options on how we want to shoot.  Having multiple items, some with different purposes, allows us the opportunity to change up the gear we use and how we want to capture the images in that particular situation.

 

And remember... 
Life is short... so go make some images to remember the journey along the way!

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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2015/2/mh-photodesigns-photography-gear---part-ii Fri, 20 Feb 2015 20:16:44 GMT
Wildlife Gear & Gadgets - Vortex Binoculars https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2015/2/wildlife-gear-gadgets---vortex-binoculars For anyone looking at getting or adding some binoculars to their gear bag be sure to check out Vortex Optics. The company is based right here in good ol' Wisconsin. They offer products in just about every price range and budget.  And best of all, they offer what I believe is the best warranty in the industry. We have a pair of the Viper HD binoculars that they offer and they offer AMAZING image quality!  On par with image quality of the Swarovski binoculars (at nearly 4x times the cost) but not knocking the Swarovski's as they offer some of the finest out there.  Be sure to check out VORTEX OPTICS!
 
 
Warranty Statement from the Company:
Our VIP warranty is about you, not us. It's about taking care of you after the sale. VIP stands for a Very Important Promise to you, our customer. We will repair or replace your Vortex product in the event it becomes damaged or defective—at no charge to you. If we cannot repair your product, we will replace it with a product in perfect working order of equal or better physical condition. You see, it doesn't matter how it happened, whose fault it was, or where you purchased it. You can count on the VIP Warranty for all Vortex Optics riflescopes, prism scopes, red dots, rangefinders, binoculars, spotting scopes, tripods, and monoculars. 
 
Unlimited Lifetime Warranty 
Fully transferable 
No warranty card to fill out 
No receipt needed to hang on to.
 
www.vortexoptics.com
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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2015/2/wildlife-gear-gadgets---vortex-binoculars Sun, 15 Feb 2015 15:00:00 GMT
MH PhotoDesigns Photography Gear - PART I https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2015/2/MH-Photo-Designs-Photography-Gear---Part-I Wildlife photography for us has become passion of ours over the last number of years and we continue to strive to master our craft.  Many times we are asked how we get such images, and the answer is that there are a number of things that go into making great images.  I get asked all the time about our gear and what we all use.  I am going to give an overview of the gear we use as a point of reference for anyone interested.

THIS IS OUR MAIN RIG SET-UP....


IT'S ALL ABOUT THAT BASE:

It all begins with a sturdy base.  We typically use a tripod for many of our wildlife adventures.  Our main tripod is a Really Right Stuff - (TVC 34L) Carbon Fiber Tripod.  Weighing in a 4.7# it is the workhorse of tripods for us.  It offers exceptional height range of 68.3" for us taller folks and it is built extremely well.

* Other brands for you to consider in the heavy duty tripod arena: Gitzo, Induro and Manfrotto (just to name a few)

 

Really Right Stuff TVC34L Carbon Fiber TripodReally Right Stuff TVC34L Carbon Fiber Tripod

 

 

 

The tripod coupled with a quality Really Right Stuff - (PG-02 FG) Pano-Gimbal Head keep all the big gear in check and allow for fluid motion and stability, both of which are crucial in creating great quality images.

* Other brands for you to consider for gimbal heads: Wimberly, Induro offer top notch gimbal setups as well.

 

Really Right Stuff PG-02 Pano-Gimbal HeadReally Right Stuff PG-02 Pano-Gimbal Head

 

 

 

When not panning the skies chasing birds in flight we couple the tripod to our Really Right Stuff - (BH-55) Ball Head for landscape and still photography with Really Right Stuff camera brackets and L-plates.

* There are many manufacturers that produce good quality ball heads for you to consider.

 

Really Right Stuff TVC-34L Tripod w/ Leveling Base and BH-55 LR HeadReally Right Stuff TVC-34L Tripod w/ Leveling Base and BH-55 LR HeadReally Right Stuff TVC-34L Tripod with Leveling Base and BH-55 Ball Head. The 1D X is attached with the B1DX-L L-Plate.

 

 

There are times when sneaking up on wildlife is better done by driving around is search of critters.  Sometimes wildlife doesn't seem to mind a vehicle being near versus a human on foot.  For this situation this I find that our "The Vest Guy" large bean bag does the trick.

  The Vest Guy - Bean BagThe Vest Guy - Bean Bag

 

 

At this point you should begin to have an understanding of the importance of what your gear is supported with is just as important as the gear itself.  Now that you know what we prefer to have under our main gear, let's get into the camera and lens combo's we use.

 

 

 

CAMERA BODY

There are many things to consider when purchasing a camera body.  Budget is probably the first thing to consider.  The other is what type of photography are you considering.  There are two types of camera bodies in the Canon lineup. There are both Full frame and Crop sensor models, both of which have pluses and minuses.  I have switched my main rig over to full frame primarily as I find it works better for what type of images I am trying to produce.  I will, however carry a crop sensor version with a shorter focal length lens to give me some opportunities throughout the day as it can be handheld and allows more flexibility to get the shot.

 

Main Camera Body - Canon EOS 1Dx

  • 19 Megapixel Full Frame Sensor
  • 61 Point AF System
  • Extreme Low Light Sensitivity and Low Noise at High ISO
  • 12 Frames Per Second
  • Dual Digic 5+ Processors with Dedicated Digic 4 Processor for AF and Metering System
  • Higher Voltage Battery for Driving the Super Telephoto Lenses AF System Faster
  • Dual CF Card Slots

 

 

Second Body - Canon EOS 7D Mark II

  • 20.2 Megapixel 1.6x Crop Sensor
  • 65 Point AF System
  • Improved Low Light Sensitivity and Improved Noise at High ISO
  • 10 Frames per Second
  • Dual Digic 6 Processors
  • Dual Card Slots (CF / SD)
  • Shown with Additional Battery Grip

 

 

Landscape / Portrait Body - Canon EOS 5D Mark III

  • 22.3 Megapixel Full Frame Sensor
  • 61 Point AF System
  • Extreme Low Light Sensitivity and Low Noise at High ISO
  • 6 Frames per Second
  • Dual Digic 5+ Processors
  • Dual Card Slots (CF / SD)
  • Shown with Additional Battery Grip

 

 

 

TELEPHOTO LENSES

With lens selection comes many decisions that will need to be made depending upon your subject and shooting style.  Budget will be a large factor as well, as good glass is extremely expensive.  You can spend from hundreds to 10's of thousands of dollars on good quality glass.  The most important thing to remember is that making a purchase of a lens is that it can, and should be, considered a LONG term investment.  Camera bodies will come and go every couple of years but quality glass can last upwards of nearly 20 years or more. Many of the lenses that Canon has updated in the recent years were the same lenses they had for many years.  While some updates like AF and internal components were upgraded the lens and glass elements themselves remained unchanged for many years.

 

 

 

Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Super Telephoto Lens

This is the workhorse that we use for producing many of our wildlife images.  This lens is fast, accurate and produces some of the most amazing images we have made to date.  Newly added to our gear line up in the Spring of 2014 we have continued to grow and to learn how to tame this monster and in turn make some great images.  Learning your gear is key to reaching the next level of photography.

 

 

Canon EF 200-400mm f4 L ISCanon EF 200-400mm f4 L IS

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x Super Telephoto Zoom Lens

While this is the newest member of the lens lineup we have to work with it wasn't what we started with.  There are stepping stones that we all need to make along our journey and this is just one of those steps for us.  We look forward to putting this lens to good use for our wildlife work along with many of our sporting events that we shoot throughout the year as well.

 

I know there are many other things that I would like to cover but I think the best way to approach it all is from multiple posts that I will share with you all.  While many of this gear I have shared with you all may seem over the top or too expensive, please remember that this is where we are today and not where we started many, many years ago.  It is a process to begin how to master the craft of photography and I highly encourage you all to get our there and learn your gear. There are many great opportunities out there just waiting for you to capture it.

 

Life is short... so go make some images to remember the journey along the way!

 
 
 
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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2015/2/MH-Photo-Designs-Photography-Gear---Part-I Sat, 14 Feb 2015 14:00:00 GMT
The Journey.... MH PhotoDesigns from the Beginning https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2015/2/the-journey-mh-photodesigns  
In the days ahead I will take you on a little journey on how MH PhotoDesigns was born. Somewhat of a history lesson you might say. Hope you enjoy!
 
Where did it all begin? Well I guess it began back in 1986 when I received my first, very own "film" camera. It was an 8th grade graduation gift if I remember correctly. I'm getting old, I know. Don't judge! ;)  I probably didn't even know that I had the itch back then it was just something that I remember enjoying filling up a 24 or 36 exposure roll of film. Taking it in and waiting a week to get it processed and then getting duplicates of all the good and not so good images I took. I think we all can remember those days.
 
 
 
==========================================
 
 
Life went on, years went by. And then in the year 2000 we were to go on an Alaskan vacation. There was barely talk of such a thing as a digital camera. We were still in the dark age of film for the most part. I remember doing research on cameras and at the time decided on getting a Kodak DC280 digital camera. What would be better than unlimited photos on our trip to see all of what Alaska had to show us in all the glory of a 2 megapixel beast of a camera? Ok, it wasn't a very big camera and the file sizes you could literally fit thousands of images on a tiny little CF card, but in its day it was revolutionary!
 
It was just a mere 15 years ago, yet it seems like yesterday. So much has changed in the field of photography and that has allowed us to expand our horizons and be the creative artists we are today.
 
Pictured is my Kodak DC280.
 
 
 
==========================================
 
 
So a few more years go by... Then one day a spark ignites once again. The year was 2003. Did you see the newest Canon Digital Rebel? I thought, WOW, 6.3 megapixels! Now we're getting somewhere. I jumped on the opportunity to get one of these and it produced even better images than before and for once I had a DSLR. Interchangeable lenses... hmmm, now we have some more options!
 
Time went on and I was hooked once again. For 2 years I continued to capture images but at the time about all you could do was store the images on a hard drive and show family and friends images on your computer if they came over to visit. Printing wasn't really an option any longer do to the fact that I now took a few more than 24 to 36 images like in the days of film. With images now numbering in the thousands I continued to hone my craft.
 
 
 
==========================================
 
 
The year is now 2005. Canon has had out a legendary camera for a while now. The Canon 10D was the market leader of the time. I was doing some more research about the camera and whether or not it would be a viable upgrade. But wait!... there was a new camera body about to release. The newest member of the Canon family. A Canon 20D boosting a whooping 8.2 megapixels. What could a photographer possibly do with that much image size?
 
Well for nearly 5 years that camera proved to be a performer. I learned a lot about photography while shooting with this camera. I didn't have a lot at the time. A camera body, kit 18-55 lens and a 55-200 telephoto for those far and away shots. Or at least what I thought was far and away.
 
The journey continued....
 
 
 
==========================================
 
 
 
A number of years has passed by once again. It's now the year 2010. Photography and taking pictures was about all it was. Nothing really exciting or revolutionary... or was there?
 
It was a time of birth for high speed internet. Facebook had come to the public domain for the first time. A new era was about to begin! We now were able to send large amounts of data across the internet. As the camera files got larger and larger it was a revolutionary time in the industry, but this also meant that downloading and sending files across the internet would be possible with the addition of high speed internet service. Most importantly to us at the time was we were now able to share our images via Social Media networks and other Photo Sharing sites. For us a new era of photography had begun!
 
As far as camera technology, it was an industry leading time as the Canon 7D hit the market. For the first time an 18 megapixel, cropped frame sensor superstar had entered the market of digital photography. We began building our gear bag a little more once again. Adding new lenses such as the 70-300 DO IS, a revolutionary diffractive optics lens from Canon that reduced the weight and size of the lens to allow you to have a nice focal range and still be able to travel around easily with it.
 
We and I now say "we" began to enjoy photography in a whole new light. There were now two photographers as my wife Heidi joined the ranks as a photographer. It wasn't long and we had to add a second camera body to the mix. Being that the 7D was such a great camera, we decided to add a second one and over the next couple of years we continued to slowly add new lenses and gear to our camera bags. Boy... this hobby just got a little bit more expensive. :)
 
Many people in our industry claim that the gear doesn't make the photographer but I can say that having the "RIGHT" gear along with the drive, ambition and dedication to reaching new levels of perfecting our craft is what has led us to where we are now. What many people may not know or understand about the art of photography is that it is much more than just pressing a shutter button. For us it was more than just a hobby by this time, it had become the start of a life long passion to continue to pursue our dream of bringing images of what we see in the world of photography to YOU!
 
Stay tuned... more to come!
 
     
 
 
=======================================
 
 
 
As our gear bag has grown, so have we as artists. Every artist needs the tools of the trade to make his art come to life. We just wish all we had to buy were new paint brushes. ;)
 
There were many exciting times since 2010. We had begun what is now officially known as MH PhotoDesigns. We built a brand and reputation for producing high quality images. And the best part, we were now able to share our work with people from all over the world. This thing called social media had blown up and had taken over the world! It was the catalyst to get our business off the ground and running.
 
So it is now the year 2013. We've expanded to many types of photography from Sports and Portraits to Landscapes, Nature and Wildlife.
 
BUT... yes there is always a BUT, I've always had a special place for the wildlife images we've been able to capture over the years. So in 2014 we decided to expand on what we felt was a strong suit for our photography. Taking photos of "Nature", and especially "Wildlife" and "Birds in Flight", meant adding some new equipment to get some of those one-of-a-kind images. So in the Spring of 2014 we bit the bullet and pushed the order button on a new Canon EF 600 II L IS behemoth of a lens. Many probably don't even know what this is, but for us it was a huge investment decision and one that we felt would allow us to get to that next level in our wildlife images. This lens, coupled with a Canon 1Dx Pro Series camera body, makes for what most in our industry would consider the ultimate setup for wildlife photography. What we can say is that we are WOW'D each and every day at what we are now able to create. For people who hunt, you'll know what we mean when you get that adrenal rush from getting "the shot". If the thrill dies, then so does the passion for what you do. We work to continue to build on that passion every single day. Rain or shine, wind, snow or below zero temps, we are out working to become even better at our craft.
 
So there you have it folks, the history of MH PhotoDesigns. We hope to make 2015 a memorable year and hope to take you all on a journey you'll never forget.
 
Life is short... so go make some images to remember the journey along the way!
 
We look forward to sharing images with you all in 2015
 
 
 
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[email protected] (MH PhotoDesigns, LLC) https://www.mhphotodesigns.com/blog/2015/2/the-journey-mh-photodesigns Fri, 13 Feb 2015 22:02:42 GMT