The Camera Carry Quest

Any photo-enthusiast already knows, finding “the bag” is a daunting challenge.  Maybe selecting a style isn’t too tough… a backpack, or maybe an airline carry-on friendly roller?  Or maybe the protection and durability of a Pelican (or similar) hard case?  After that, options explode and it’s easy to get overwhelmed…

There’s a galaxy of camera carry options out there!

 

If you’re like me, you might have a small museum of camera-carry options collected over the years.  At least for me, this happens because I fall in love with a bag for one type of shooting environment, but then I find it doesn’t meet my needs for other shoots.  Having a stack of bags lying around, for lack of better word, sucks.  Every gig starts with an anxiety stricken debate over which bag to bring, and then a time consuming gear shuffle ensues as I move everything from one bag (or case) to another.  It’s exhausting.

LowePro FreeLine BP 350 AW | click for larger view

I recently picked up a new bag, though… and after putting it through it’s paces pretty hard during a week of adventure shooting in Utah, I have to share my enthusiasm for this pack!  I am *not* sponsored by LowePro, and have received no compensation or coercion to write this… I am just a good ‘ol consumer who shelled out the bucks to buy this bag.

Meditating on my money well spent!

It’s called the Freeline, and it’s made by LowePro.  And it’s pretty awesome.  It has a new and unique divider system, and I dig it.  It has big side access zippered openings on both sides, both with pockets and organization on them for smaller items.  It has a big zippered opening on top, with a large area for “whatever”… holding non-photog gear just as easily as it can be used for additional gear, depending on the day’s needs.  A smaller pocket on the top front has been great for quick access items- boarding pass while I was traveling, remote shutter release when headed out for some night shooting… business cards at the quick and ready…

High alpine hiking in American Fork Canyon, Utah

As is usual for LowePro, the bag carries very comfortably- even when I really loaded it up.  On my trip I did some high alpine hiking up around 10,000 ft, and wanting to be prepared for anything I brought my Canon 5D IV with 70-200 attached (love that this combo fits in the bag, BTW!).  I brought my 24-70, and my new Sigma 14mm ART- an incredible lens, but that’s off topic right now.  I brought my DJI Mavic Pro and controller, I brought a speedlight and wireless commander, a healthy stack of ND and polarizing filters, and of course my tripod.  I brought my iPad Pro.  And then the necessities like water, Cliff Bar, yada yada.  That’s a lot of gear to be hiking with in such rugged terrain, but kudos to LowePro for making bags that handle the load so well.

The biggest differentiator of this bag, for me anyway, is it’s versatility.  It’s not all that big, I have bags that are bigger.  And it’s not my only bag that’s “customizable”… which is usually code for “comes with more velcro-in pads for your pile in the basement”.  But this bag just seems to “work”.  It’s like it makes the best use of it’s space, so while it’s not the biggest, everything can fit the nicest.  And yet it’s all still quickly accessible, which is something I really value.

There are already great product shots on LowePro’s site, along with a video that runs through the bag’s features etc, so I won’t bother.  But if your quest for the perfect bag feels more like a hero’s trial of continued disappointment, you might check this one out!
Here’s the link: http://www.lowepro.com/us-en/freeline-bp-350-aw-black-lp37170-pww/

LowePro FreeLine BP 350 AW | click for larger view

Cheers!

Alta and Snowbird | Little Cottonwood Canyon | Salt Lake City, Utah

Goodbye, Winter

Do you think it’s finally safe to say “Goodbye” to winter?

Photo from a few seasons back, my buddy Benji and I ski-mountaineered 11,000 ft Lone Peak, part of the Wasatch Range in Northern Utah.
 
We did it in the spring, when the snow would be most stable and avalanche danger would be much more manageable. The down side was that we had to start our ascent hiking on dry trails because the valley is only about 4500 ft high, and all the snow in the sunny desert valley had already melted. Hiking with camping gear, skis AND SKI BOOTS, food, and climbing gear… each of our packs easily weighed at least 50 lbs, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were closer to 70! Felt like 90 by the time we reached our base camp spot…
 
Epic adventure though… would do it again in a second!

6 Steps to Image Stacking for Long Exposure

Here’s a quick-tip/full tutorial about an image processing technique that’s both versatile and powerful- and it only takes a few clicks!  Like so many features in Photoshop, the software does the heavy lifting for us… we just need to know where to click to get it going.  So let’s dig in…

  • SUMMARY:
    Image stacking, or just “stacking”, is actually a pretty broad term that means taking multiple images and, one way or another, combining them.  This tutorial focuses on stacking to extend the duration of your capture, resulting in a long exposure / slow shutter image.  I’ll run through it click-by-click in Photoshop (and you’ll be surprised how easy it is!), as well as how to do it manually- so users of other programs can still easily use this technique.  I’ll run through a couple of the pro’s and con’s of stacking a long exposure, and finally I will glance over a couple alternate uses of stacking to maybe help spark some creativity and further exploration…

Continue reading “6 Steps to Image Stacking for Long Exposure”

The Widow Jane Mine, Rosendale NY

After getting that taste of warmer weather just a few days ago, it was extra hard to accept the cold-and-rainy day yesterday.  What’s an adventure-photog to do?!

Thinking outside the box a little, I remembered a place that caught my curiosity… a place that would hopefully provide cover from the monsoon-like wetness pouring from above…

The Widow Jane Mine, which is found basically roadside (just behind the Snyder Estate historical house) in Rosendale NY, is rich in history.  It’s origins go back to a time when “Rosendale Cement” was known world-wide as the very best available, and now this room-and-pillar mine is open for exploration… and some other very interesting things, too!

This time of year most of the mine is filled with water… which limits the exploring one can do… but also presents a very neat photographic opportunity, with the body of water protected underground it sits perfectly still, giving a glassy mirror-like reflection of the pillars and ceiling.

QUICK-and-DIRTY Details:

  • In 1891 almost half of the cement in America was manufactured in the Rosendale Cement Region.
  • Rosendale Natural Cement was used in the building of the most enduring landmarks of the nation. The Brooklyn Bridge, the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, the wings of the U.S. Capitol, the Washington Monument, Grand Central Terminal, the Croton Aqueduct and dams, the Pennsylvania Railroad tunnels, the New York State Thruway, and thousands of public works projects all got their start underground in the cement mines of Rosendale.
  • The mine is now used as a venue for historic interpretation and special events, including musical performances because of it’s unique acoustics.
  • The water of this mine, which gets purified from flowing through the rock, is used by a distillery in Red Hook, Brooklyn for their Widow Jane Bourbon Whiskey!  Check them out!  http://widowjane.com/about/
  • The mine is owned and managed by:
    The Century House Historical Society at the Snyder Estate

Climbing in the Gunks

A few days ago I had the opportunity to shoot some rock climbing at the Trapps cliffs in the Mohonk Preserve… more affectionately known as “The Gunks” (because they are in the Shawangunk mountains).

By the way- did you know that we are licensed by the FAA to shoot photos and video commercially with a drone?  It sure adds a great perspective to adventure sports photography, doesn’t it?!

Continue reading “Climbing in the Gunks”

Wrapping Up Winter

Yesterday’s adventure took me to the Catskills, skiing at Belleayre Mountain and shooting two terrific people.  Married 42 years, they’re a total inspiration- don’t you think?!  And… they can turn a pair of skis pretty dang well, too!

 

It was a treat to get such a great day on snow this late in the season, with perfect snow conditions and a little sun poking through between the almost fairy-tale-like flurries.  It was a pleasure shooting with you guys!

Waterfall Workshop – April 14th

We’re excited to announce the date is set for our 2018 Waterfall Workshop!

This is event brings photo-enthusiasts together for a sharing of ideas… all are welcome, totally regardless of experience behind a camera!  As a professional art and adventure photographer myself, I unafraid to say there is so much more for me to learn!  So this meet-up is designed to not just help give newer/aspiring photographers a jump start into creating beautiful waterfall imagery… it is also to get deeply experienced photogs together- everyone has their own style, and we can inspire each other’s creativity by infusing some fresh perspective.

We will first meet for breakfast at The Market in Gardiner, NY.  If you’ve never been, everything they serve is fresh and delectable… and they have some of the best coffee around.  After we’ve had a chance to meet each other and mingle for a few, I’d like to go over just a couple basic guidelines to ensure everyone has the best possible experience, as well as talk just briefly about some strategies well-suited to what we’ll be shooting.

What we’ll be shooting is a waterfall, of course!  Awosting Falls.  From Gardiner it’s a quick roll up Rt 44/55 to Lake Minnewaska State Park, and from the lower parking lot it’s a short “hike” (walk, really) to Awosting Falls.  The State Park charges an entry fee of $10 per vehicle, unless you already have an Empire Pass which gets you access to ALL New York State Parks.  At breakfast I’ll suggest/encourage we carpool up to the park; save some bucks, and some dinosaurs.

Once we’re at Awosting Falls, it’s time to go swimming!  Just kidding… there’s actually no swimming allowed at the Falls.  We’ll have to settle for taking pictures…

I will be entirely available to everyone in the group, and eager to provide coaching, share tips and tricks, answer questions… whatever I can do for you!  I want to assist and inspire everyone to “level up” in this thing they enjoy doing; Photography.  It does not matter what camera you bring- cameras, lenses, flashes, whatever… they are just the tools and they work scientifically.  It’s the operator that adds the ART to the picture…

We’ll aim to be back at The Market by noon (and anyone that needs or wants to leave earlier is free to do so).  If any of the group is interested in sticking around for a few I’ll demonstrate a little of my processing and image development workflow… but that is an entire massive topic in itself, and THIS meet-up is primarily about capturing beautiful images IN-CAMERA.  Maybe it’s just me, but I would much rather spend more time out shooting and getting it captured the way I want, than sitting behind a computer tweaking things and manipulating the captured image.  Speaking of sitting behind a computer… time to wrap this up!

Here are the specifics:

  • Meet at 9am @ The Market in Gardiner, NY
  • $10/car entry fee into Minnewaska State Park
  • Awosting Falls is a quick, easy walk along a well-maintained carriage road
  • I will be 100% available to coach, assist, Q and A, etc
  • Back to The Market in Gardiner around noon
  • THIS EVENT IS OFFERED AT NO CHARGE.
    There is no catch.  I am not trying to sell anyone anything here.  This is about connecting people with a shared interest and passion, that is all.  I do ask everyone attending also embraces this same philosophy- no sales talk please!

What you need to bring:

  • A camera.  Any camera.  Yes, ANY camera.  Yes, even a cell phone will work- if you have the interest, and that’s all you’ve got, yes definitely come!
  • A tripod is highly recommended, but not a requirement.
  • Sunglasses are highly recommended, but not a requirement.
  • Proper footwear for walking on a gravel carriage road, and potentially moving around some rocky terrain (depending how adventurous you want to get- it’s NOT necessary).  Sneakers should be fine, hiking boots are great.  Wouldn’t recommend flip-flops though…

Attendance and RSVP
I have created an EVENT ON FACEBOOK for this meet-up, and I will be monitoring that to see how many people will be attending.  Please, PLEASE! RSVP by clicking “attending” on the event page on Facebook.

If you have any QUESTIONS, or if you do not have a Facebook account and want to RSVP, please drop me an email at ryan@sundogpro.com

Carpe Noctem

Carpe Diem is a well-known latin phrase, meaning seize the day.  It’s an excellent philosophy for any photographer, be it a pro or hobbiest/enthusiast.  Carpe Noctem, you might have guessed, means seize the NIGHT.

If you’re not afraid of the dark, and willing to give up some precious sleep… and dress warm… night time photography has a lot to offer, and can be hugely rewarding!

This image was captured for a client working on a community farming project, and- along with the rest of the images we provided- are meant to convey the beauty of the area and visually convey the opportunities present in living/raising a family in this area rather than in the Metro NY area.

Why are we posting about this today?  Well, this weekend is the New Moon- which is kind of a funny name for what really appears to be no moon at all.  This upcoming Saturday, March 17, the moon will be almost entirely in the Earth’s shadow… Continue reading “Carpe Noctem”

Happy Snowy Day

Remember when you were a kid, waking up in the morning and seeing that blanket of white outside… and you just knew, NO SCHOOL TODAY!!!

As we grow older, our view- and appreciation- of that morning “winter grace” tends to fade.  It’s no less beautiful… but now it means needing to shovel, plow, or snow-blow.  It probably means having to wake up even earlier, and it adds time to your workday commute.

And then… if you’re a loony-tune like me… Continue reading “Happy Snowy Day”