Photographing a subject straight down from the camera’s point of view can be harder than it sounds. Tripods and ballheads are designed to allow you a capture nice steady shot in either portrait or landscape view. With a ballhead you can easily swivel the attached camera 360° while tilting it up, down and sideways. Even if your ballhead allows you to point the camera straight down you’re likely to see the legs of the tripod in your shot.
Arkon solved this problem for DSLRs, Mirrorless, Smartphones and Tablets
The NEW Clamp Stand for DSLR Camera, Tablet, or Phone is an arm that attaches to a table or desk and let’s you shoot straight down without the actual stand being in your shot. Arkon has several mounts and arms for smartphones and tablets, but most of those aren’t suitable for bigger cameras due to the weight of a DSLR/Mirrorless and the attached lenses.
This new Clamp Stand for DSLRs is designed from the ground up to hold bigger devices. It extends up to 29.5″ tall (from the clamp on the table) and extends out to 27.75″. This gives you plenty of clearance to photograph your subject without the stand being in the way.
On the end of the arm there is a standard 1/4-20 screw/mount which is found on the bottom of just about all cameras. They also include a phone holder and tablet holder for mobile applications.
One of my hobbies is critiquing and redoing user interfaces in my head. I have been slowly making a transition from my Nikon DSLRs cameras to Nikon Mirrorless cameras. I started with a Nikon Z6 and now use the Nikon Z6 II pretty much as my primary camera. I’m not quite ready to sell my Nikon D850 because it’s just so good! However, I can see the day in the future where I just shoot with mirrorless bodies.
I’ve never been a big fan of Nikon’s menu system
Although I have enjoyed shooting Nikon since 2007, If you were to ask me to name the things that are my least favorite, the menu system would certainly be high on the list. At least the new Z mirrorless models do have a touch screen. This makes moving through the menus a little faster as you can just tap on the option you want instead of having to arrow up, down, left, and right all the time. I have a suggestion I’ll share at the end that would make all the difference in the world, but that’s not why I’m writing this post. I’m here today to point out something that really pisses me off. I noticed it first with the Z6 and have run into it on the Z6 II as well.
You can’t use that feature and I’m not going to tell you why!
2020 has sucked for the most part. There’s no other way to say it. However, I feel that better days are on the horizon. With that said, people look to me for holiday gadget recommendations, and quite frankly I haven’t really been in the mood to flaunt gear with so many people out of work and struggling due to the pandemic. So this year, I’m going to keep the list short and relatively low cost.
First off I want to thank you all for the overwhelming support of my NEW Photography Master Class on Fridays. The viewership has been amazing and I’m really enjoying the dialog. I’m excited to have a dedicated timeslot to talk about all things photography.
I’ve had several Wacom tablets over the years. I use them almost exclusively when I retouch photos and if I ever dabble in creating art. I love my 27″ Cintiq QHD display tablet. However, when I need to take a tablet with me on the go I’ve always preferred carrying a Wacom Intuos Pro Small. With that said, I stopped carrying my previous version. While it was “small” it was still bulky enough to take up more space and weight in my bag than I wanted. My backpack is always heavy. I decided to remove some things to lighten the load. Every ounce matters. I figured I could just use my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil as a tablet if I really needed to. While this solution did work, it just wasn’t the same as a Wacom graphics tablet. Wacom has been refining their pen/tablet technology for years! The newer tablets have a pen that offers 8,192 levels of pressure. This level of precision is amazing. The pen also has configurable buttons on the side and the top can be used as an eraser. Apple Pencil is great, but it just can’t do as many things as you can with a Wacom pen.
The NEW Wacom Intuos Pro Small makes its way back into my life and my backpack!
I’ve been carrying a laptop Mac pretty much since the category was created. Although they have become thinner, lighter and much more powerful than the early days, mobile devices are just easier to bring along. I always have my iPhone with me and in most cases I have my iPad Pro 10.5” with me. The iPad is becoming more and more useful as a potential MacBook Pro replacement. As a matter of fact I’m on a plane as I write this post on my iPad Pro.
When I do a photo shoot on location I either shoot with my Nikon D850 DSLR or my iPhone X. When shooting with the D850 I’m usually anxious to see what I got and share a couple on social media. I rarely share an image right out of the camera. This means that I usually apply a few edits in Lightroom CC on mobile first. While there is a mobile app for Nikon that allows me to wirelessly transfer images to my iOS devices right from the camera, as it stands today it can only transfer JPEGs. This means that I would either need to shoot RAW+JPG or convert individual images into JPG and then transfer them.
As a portrait photographer I shoot in studio most of the time. One of the side benefits of shooting in a controlled environment like a studio is that you can also shoot tethered to your computer. I’ve been shooting tethered into Lightroom Classic CC for years. While every DSLR out there has a USB port (usually on the side) for image transfer, they are rarely designed for having the cable attached 100% of the time. This is to say that when you’re moving around the cable itself can get pulled and stress the port that it’s plugged into. Unfortunately that stress over time can actually break the connection inside the camera resulting in an expensive repair. Back when I was shooting a D700 I had to have it repaired twice. Just recently I had to have my Nikon D810 repaired. That repair was the most expensive to the tune of a few hundred dollars because it involves having to replace the logic board in the camera.
Reduce the stress and save the port with a TetherBlock
I got the opportunity to review the 2017 DSLR of the Year. It’s the Nikon D850. This camera is so hot that it’s still in short supply several months after it’s release. When Nikon offered to send me one for review (full disclosure, it was a loaner and has been returned. This was NOT a paid review. P.S. I don’t do paid reviews), I jumped at the chance. I wanted to do something beyond just listing specs and showing sample photos. I wanted to do a LIVE shoot, but let YOU the user experience the entire video in 360°. Here’s how it came out:
If you watch the above video you should be able to pan around in a 360° space and watch anything you want when you want. As far as I can tell, this is the first review of the D850 of this kind. If I’m not the first to do it, it’s still a first for me 😀
I’ve really enjoyed flying my drones over the past few years and adding them as a tool to my photography/videography story telling. My trip to Iceland last year was the first time I shot more footage with my DJI Mavic Pro drone than any other camera that I brought with me on the trip (see my Iceland video here). The more I flew it the more confident I got that I wasn’t going to lost it. This allowed me to capture footage that I probably otherwise wouldn’t have gotten because I wouldn’t have stepped out of my comfort zone.
Last week during Adobe MAX, Adobe took the wraps off its new photography system: Lightroom CC. Wait, wasn’t there already a Lightroom CC? Yes. Let me try to clear up some confusion I’ve seen out there. First off if you were already using Lightroom CC the good news is that Lightroom Classic CC is the same product that you’ve invested time in to learn and have been using for years. There is one change though besides the name. It’s much faster in most areas than it was before. The team has spent the last several months boosting the performance of Lightroom Classic CC, which is what we all wanted.
OK then what is Lightroom CC? The existing version of Lightroom has been branded Lightroom Classic CC and there is a brand new built from the ground up application called Lightroom CC. This new desktop application now fits in the Lightroom CC family as a seamless way for photographers to have their images everywhere.
Didn’t Lightroom (Classic) CC have the ability to sync my photos and have them everywhere? Not completely. If you import images into Lightroom Classic CC, you still have the ability to sync images, but what gets sync’d are smart previews and not the original full resolution JPEG and Raw files. Now with the NEW Lightroom CC you get full resolution files sync’d and backed up to the cloud no matter where you import them from. If I import my DSLR raw images they get sync’d to the cloud. If I shoot into the Lightroom CC app on my iPhone or iPad (yes Android too) the full resolution JPEGs or Raw files get sync’d to the cloud and appear everywhere.
Should I use Lightroom CC or Lightroom Classic CC?