Archive for June, 2012

Working on Some Images…. Yellowstone/Grand Tetons on My Mind

Posted in Instructional Photo Tours on June 29, 2012 by roamin with roman

I have been working on finalizing this year’s Yellowstone/Grand Teton photo tour and it spurred me to work on some night images from my previous trips there.  Teaching night photography on all my tours is one of the favorite things I do on them.  It takes often photographed scenes and puts a fresh new spin on them.  All the images in this post are very good examples of this and anyone who has been to these parks knows how difficult it can be to get a fresh take on some of the most photographed icons in the world.  The top image of Schwabacher’s landing and Yellowstone Falls below are perfect example as the crowds there can be unbearable during the day.  Yellowstone and the Tetons revert to their quiet wild self at night.

The lack of crowds and the absence of noise is a real treat!  During the day, you lose some of that experience…… although since I have written the Night Guide……we are running into a lot more photographers!  Good luck avoiding the crowds at either Oxbow Bend or Old Faithful, both pictured below, during the day!

The barns (shown below) are another example of where you will encounter throngs of photographers during the day. After a quick tutorial on focusing at night and composing, we head out to these iconic locations while the crowds are busy slumbering away for the night. I love to see the thrill on my clients faces when they get to photograph them for the first time at night for themselves.  By the end of every tour, they are all experts at night photography!  This is why siesta time during the mid day hours is so important too!

I am often asked the question: “Aren’t you bored going to the same locations?  My response is always the same……no way!  The image below of White Dome Geyser is a great example of that as I have probably photographed it more than 100 times!  I tried a new composition of this geyser and the Milky Way was particularly bright this evening. Every day is different and every year I get something new to add to my portfolio.  Sharing my love of photography and teaching my clients new things is a thrill unlike no other!  That is why I keep my group sizes (4 on US-based tours) so small!!!  You will not get lost in the crowd on my tours and you get me standing there beside you answering any questions that you may have. 

I only have 1 spot left on this year’s photo tour that runs from September 27th – October 6th.  If you wish to join me and learn more about night photography you can secure your spot by submitting your $500 deposit using the Pay Now button on my website and use a credit card or PayPal.  Just enter the amount and then follow the credit card instructions or log into your PayPal account.

Don’t worry; we will also be taking all the classic day time images too……just remember to take advantage of siesta time when we get the chance!

As always you can email me personally at: rkurywczak@gmail.com so that I can answer any other questions that you may have.

 

Radio City Music Hall Photo Contest Winner Announcement!

Posted in Instructional Photo Tours on June 16, 2012 by roamin with roman

Congratulations Betty Wiley for having your image above chosen as the winner of my Radio City Music Hall workshop photo contest!!!   Susan and I felt the image showed a great perspective of the grand lobby and your processing made it shine!  You will receive your choice of any Topaz Labs Software.  Congratulations to you!!!

 

As Susan and I were looking through the images, the image above caught our attention because of the unusual perspective and composition……so I decided to choose a runner-up!  Congrats George Garbeck!  Your prize is $50 off any workshop over $125 or $125 off any of my longer tours. 

Congrats to you both and all that participated!!!

Induro GHB2 Gimbal Head Review

Posted in Instructional Photo Tours on June 15, 2012 by roamin with roman

I am always on the lookout for new gear that I can recommend to all of you that I would use myself. Every once in a while a product comes along that catches my attention and the Induro GHB2 Gimbal Style head is one such product.  For over 7 years I have used the Wimberly v1 Gimbal Style head and have enjoyed it very much.  Frankly, I am not sure why Wimberly decided to change the design as in my opinion; the v1 version really didn’t need any!  But someone at Wimberly decided they needed to make changes and when I tried the v2 version, I immediately felt that the “improvements” were a step back…..although not a big one.  Even though v2 was a significant weight savings over v1, the smoothness and fluidity of motion were just not there when compared to the older v1 version, especially in the panning movement.  Many people who switched to v2 agree with me, but there were no other alternatives….until now!

Induro has now come along and introduced their version of a Gimbal style head for those of us who use long glass. I couldn’t wait to test my beloved Sigma 300-800mm lens on it to give you all an alternative to Wimberly.  Given that the lens is one of the heaviest on the market, I felt that if the Induro performed with it mounted on the head, than most lenses on the market today would perform well using it.  Appearance wise, both the Induro GHB2 and the Wimberly v2 look similar.  Both heads have a quality finish and build; with the Induro having an additional clearly marked scale to aid you when setting up your lens. Remember, with all Gimbal style heads, proper set up to perfectly balance the camera/lens combination is critical to fluid operation!  I have provided some easy assembly instructions at the bottom of this review for those of you who decide to purchase the head for easier set-up.

The included quick release lens foot plate is the first major difference when comparing the Induro GHB2 head to the Wimberly head.  This may seem trivial….but given that Wimberly charges over $50 for their quick release foot plates……that is a significant savings.

After I adjusted my body/lens combination, I took the entire set up out into the field, photographing birds on the beach, to compare how it performed in every range of motion.  The first thing I noticed when I was carrying the whole setup over my shoulder, locked down, was how solid it was with no worries about it flopping or falling.  I decided to try and leave the tilt knobs unlocked and carry it over my shoulder as I often did that with my Wimberly head when trying to reposition myself quickly out in the field and found that the Induro didn’t flop forward or backward nearly as quickly as my Wimberly v1 version did. The v2 performed better than the v1 in that regard.  As I put the Induro through the mornings shoot, it wasn’t quite as smooth as the Wimberly v1 in the vertical/tilt movements but was definitely the equal of the Wimberly v2 in that regard.  The Induro’s panning motion was the equal of my v1 head but clearly performed more smoothly than the Wimberly v2 head. A few more days of testing and retesting confirmed what I found on that first day.

Now, I am not saying that the Wimberly v2 isn’t a quality product but I always strive to give everyone choices when it comes to purchasing gear and this is where the second major difference comes in……the price!!!  The Induro GHB2 comes in around $100 less than the Wimberly.  Factor in the lens foot plate, which is not included in the Wimberly, and you can save yourself about $150 or more in total.

 Even if you call my un-scientific tests equal in performance between the Wimberly v2 and the Induro GHB2…….if I was in the market today for a gimbal style head …… I would definitely choose the Induro GHB2 because it performs as well or better than the Wimberly v2 and save myself the $150 too!!!

 

Assembling the Induro GHB2 Gimbal Style Head

Those of you with no prior experience may find initial set-up a little tricky, but I have to give you a simplified version for you to help make set up a bit easier. Once you do it a few times, you will become a pro at it. First, mount the lens foot plate on your lens.  Make sure it is secure!  Mount the base unit onto your tripod. Make sure the tilt knob and pan knob are also locked down. Attach and lock the quick release mount platform to the vertical adjustment rail roughly in the center of the scale. Keep the quick release locking knob loose and place the camera/lens combo with attached foot plate on the platform base…..roughly center it…..then lock it down.  It helps to have someone give you a hand the first time you try to adjust the height of the mounting platform as it can be difficult to hold a lens….especially one as heavy as the “Sigmonster” when tightening the platform lock knob in place. You are trying to align the center of your lens with the center of the tilt knob that controls vertical movement. Grab a firm hold of your camera/lens combination then slightly loosen the platform lock knob.  Once you have the lens centered with the tilt knob center, lock it down tightly.   I recommend you periodically check that knob to make sure it remains tight!  Unlock the tilt knob a bit and slightly loosen the quick release locking knob. Evenly distribute the weight of your camera/lens set up, front to back, on the foot plate so the combination doesn’t flop forward or backward. Securely tighten the quick release locking knob. Your camera and lens combination are now perfectly balanced. Having done this setup more than a few times myself, I found it was just as simple as it was with my Wimberly head.

***Remember*** If you change camera bodies, change the camera/lens combination, put on the 1.4x or 2x teleconverter, add a battery pack or flash unit that this will change the weight distribution and you will have to rebalance the entire set-up on the foot plate.