Category: Tripod

Back from the Land of the Long White Cloud…

Waterfall-at-the-Gates-of-Haast-NZ-South-Island

I have been back a week now, and starting to get some of the stock organised from the New Zealand (South Island) Junket. I had a fantastic time, and managed to improve my skill set immensely as well as come back with some beautiful memories and shots. I’d really love to get back there soon, and possibly move there in the future. It seems to be one of the last paradises left.

I was somewhat disappointed from the wildlife point of view, but I guess that’s because I aimed to see so much that I didn’t allow myself the luxury of the time necessary to just sit and wait for the local fauna to begin to ignore me and get on with normal activities. Somehow I lost sight of that in the euphoria of making the trip happen. Still, I met some great people, managed to generate a bit of free publicity for my business internationally, hopefully it’s generating further interest when each of those I chatted to gets home themselves. Best of all I enjoyed a magnificent country with a population working quite hard to live in an environmentally sustainable manner, with an environmental, economic and social focus. Fantastic to see in action.

Overall, I’d say there was not much I could have done to improve this trip being my first overseas working photography trip. As I said, unintentionally I think I prioritised scenery and flora over wildlife, but then on reflection I’m not sure in this instance I could have done it any other way now. I would need to have that focus purely for the trip I think as so much of the wildlife is birds, which requires quite a bit of waiting at times.

One of the other glaring gaps in my planning for the trip was the lack of a 35mm Lens. I can see that because I wasn’t originally planning to be doing so much landscape when I was organising the trip originally. Certainly I was planning on seeing the landscape, but hadn’t consciously realised I’d be shooting that above everything else. Still lessons learned, and still plenty of stock. And certainly I could do with more landscape stock. Still on landscape, I was very happy with my filter work (see featured shot above). I believe I’ve improved that significantly on the trip, and also found that I can achieve similar results with my AF-S NIKKOR 14-24MM F/2.8G ED (1.7X) without a filter with a bit of patience. Great considering a special adapter is required to use filters on such a lens. And it gives me great results such as this one below.

Barrow Downs 2

 

Although both the images in this post required a tripod, I did do far more handheld over the course of the trip, and also felt that my ability to shoot handheld in difficult circumstances improved significantly as too did my ingenuity for when I didn’t have a tripod but needed some extra stability.


The Essence of Change…

Well I’m in my last Seven Days here in New Zealand, and feeling like I’m running to of time. I’ve actually managed to achieve the bulk of what was on my list to get done while I was over here this time, but I have missed some of the Optionals, and one of my Non-Optionals. Stewart Island will have to wait for another time I’m afraid. Weather wasn’t that good for the day that I was going to try and do it, so I decided the money could be spent elsewhere this time.

Until I get back, the featured aperitif


Using the Camranger

I have to say that I looked at this device a while ago when I realised that Nikon just wasn’t going to put wireless on a lot of it’s cameras for a while yet. It also offered way more possibilities than the Eye-Fi devices did, even though they were handy. I still use them on occasion, for a quick transmission of photos to show someone. The Nikon Wifi units such as the WU-1B or WU-1A themselves seem of little use to me in their current incarnations, and better units cost significantly more but with no better functionality until you reach the $1000 price range.

The best feature for me is of course the iPad application. It allows me to stop cramping myself into some ridiculously tight spots.


Let’s Lose Some Weight…

I’ve scraped enough extra cash up to invest in a carbon fibre legged tripod & Three Axis Head for the trekking while outdoor and wildlife shooting. The gear is mounting up in the weight department over the last year and makes 15km or more walks, or all day walking and carrying quite an effort physically.

In fact I managed to buy from an Australian Company for $100 cheaper than I could get it from any of my usual overseas “grey market” suppliers. A pleasant surprise, and as I’ve said before, happy to support Australian Photographic Gear Suppliers as long as the prices are not unreasonably different. I do always look at my preferred Australian Suppliers first, but it’s not often they’re willing to be competative. When they are I’m willing to give them my support in return.

I opted for another Manfrotto Tripod. I’ve been happy with the previous metal legged model I have, but just need to trim some weight. Tripods are well known culprits. It’s a tricky balance between sturdiness and stability; compactness & weight being the counterbalance.

Of course not only do you have to contend with the overall stability, but the flexibility of directional control provided by the tripod head. I had two choices of head available without going out on my own special choice. I opted for the X Pro 3 way head as against the alternative 496RC2. I’ve tried a couple of friend’s “Ball Heads”, and confess to not finding them my preferred mode. It is probably me, but I find it easier to deal along each axis individually, than wrestle with the weight of the camera & Lens while trying to position a “Ball Head”. Either of course has the same Rectangular Quick Release Plate as my other tripods, so I have streamlined changes of camera out in the field.

I’ve yet to take it on a trek out, only having received it today, but since posts have been scarce for a month and a half, it seemed a good opportunity to get back into posting action. Life outside of Photography has been rather busy and full of change.