Saturday, February 27, 2016

Settling in with a new Canon 7D mark II

After almost six years of loving my Canon 7D camera body, I finally upgraded to a new 7D mark II.  The 7D mk 2 is a great camera--many people refer to it as the little brother of Canon's flagship 1DX body--so I knew I'd enjoy it once I got settled in.  What I didn't know is just how long it would take me to get settled in.  24 hours and about 700 photos after I unboxed it, I wanted to share my first impressions of Canon's premier APS-C camera.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

I'm not dead yet

I've had to take a little time off from photography this summer to devote some much needed attention to our vehicles and living quarters.  Don't worry: I'm not dead yet.  Things will pick back up again as soon as time permits.  Until then, I'll be taking some family portraits tonight and trying not to drool over the recently announced Canon 7D mark II body.  [Updated: A year later, I finally bought one]

Monday, September 15, 2014

Shooting sports with a remote camera

I've been shooting with off-camera flashes for several years now.  I generally trigger them wirelessly using my Cactus V4 radio triggers.  Toward the end of my son's last soccer season, it occurred to me that I could probably use the same technology to fire a remote camera instead of a strobe.  Since that epiphany, my theory has been confirmed by several blog posts by Scott Kelby, who used Pocket Wizards to trigger remote cameras at the NFL football games he photographs.  I was finally able to try this technique for the first time while shooting the neighborhood boys jumping their bikes and while shooting my son's YMCA soccer game.  The theory worked well, but doing it efficiently was more difficult than I expected.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Enjoying a total lunar eclipse

This past Monday night--actually the morning of Tuesday, 15 April--the Western Hemisphere got to enjoy the first of four full lunar eclipses in the next 18 months. Although it was cold and the event occurred in the wee hours of the morning, local time, the skies were clear and dead calm, making for excellent photography conditions. I couldn't resist dragging out my big lenses and heading outside at 2am for a little moon-gazing.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Sandhill Cranes along Nebraska's Platte River

For the fifth straight year, my daughter (now 12) and I spent two days wandering county roads south of the Platte River between Grand Island and Kearney, Nebraska, in search of Sandhill Cranes.  It's an easy search.  Half a million of these handsome birds stop in central Nebraska for six weeks each spring to rest and bulk up for their migration to their summer breeding grounds in Canada, Alaska, and Siberia.  This year, we found more large gatherings of cranes than ever before.  That, combined with the better lenses we took with us, made for a very productive photo outing.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bald eagles on the Mississippi River

Every winter, as the weather gets colder in the northern USA, the Mississippi River freezes over, and thousands of bald eagles lose access to their primary food source.  They then fly south in search of open water in which to fish.  The Army Corps of Engineers operates two dozen or so locks and dams along the Mississippi to facilitate shipping access.  As the water passes through each dam, the resulting turbulence prevents the water just below the dam from freezing and also stuns the fish as they pass through.  That's a double bonus for the eagles, so they congregate by the hundreds at the base of each dam during the cold, winter months.  This creates a target-rich environment for bird watchers and photographers.  My daughter and I recently drove six hours each way to take in this spectacle for ourselves.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Friday night lights, 100 and counting

As you read last month, I've started photographing high school football for the first time this season.  The Lincoln Christian Crusaders are having perhaps their best season ever, and that happily coincided with my own piqued interest in shooting sports.  My inaugural outing went OK.  I learned a lot, and wanted to correct some mistakes at my next outing.  The next home game was the final regular season game, which is traditionally when the team's seniors are honored.  This also happened to be head coach Matt Farup's 100th game coaching the Crusaders.  LCS won the game, finishing the regular season at 7-1 and earning a #2 seed in the playoffs.  In short, it was a special occasion for several reasons.