Sony a7 RII For Sale

Ron Niebrugge Miscellaneous, Photos Leave a Comment

Sony a7 RII for sale.

Sony a7 RII for sale.

I am selling my full frame Sony a7RII.  It is in great shape except for small scratches on the LCD screen.  Used for less than 5,000 images.

Asking $3,100 for the camera and two extra batteries (approx $100 new for batteries) and Really Right Stuff L bracket ($175 new) plus the Metabones T Smart Adapter Mark IV for Canon EF lens to Sony E-Mount so that you can use your current Canon lenses ( $400 new).  We can take credit cards.  Let me know if you have any questions.  Would rather sell as a bundle, but could break out the metabones adapter.

 

Canon 600 f/4 IS For Sale

Ron Niebrugge Miscellaneous 9 Comments

Canon 600 f/4 IS Lens.

Canon 600 f/4 IS Lens.

I’m selling my baby, my 600 f/4 IS lens – this has been an awesome lens and helped me capture most of my wildlife images over the years.  I am the original owner, and have the manual, original box, lens caps and strap.   It comes with a neoprene cover which has kept it protected over the years.  There are a few minor scratches on the barrel, and some of the paint is worn off one part of the foot.  The front of the lens coating and glass is all in great shape.  I can provide closeup images of the wear to anyone who is interested.

I’m asking $5,600 plus shipping.  I believe I can get more then this through EBay, but would rather avoid the hassles and commissions if I can sell direct.  We can take Visa, MC or Amex.

Why am I selling?  Since I photograph far more bears then birds, I don’t really need the extra reach, and shoulder pain has slowed me down a bit, so I’m looking to downgrade to the 500.

I’m also selling my carbon fiber Gitzo 1548 along with the original Whimberly Head and could do a package on all three.

Wilderness First Responder

Ron Niebrugge Alaska, Miscellaneous, Photos, Travel 4 Comments

Tess

Tess after surviving one of our training situations.

Well I passed my Wilderness First Responder Class!  It was a long, challenging week and a half, but I’m really glad I did it!  It was a wonderful experience for many reasons.  The WFR certificate is the equivalent of an EMT, but the difference is, the WFR emphasis is on wilderness medicine where medical help might be hours or days away.

Why was this such a great experience?  First, the sheer amount of knowledge that is imparted is amazing.  Not only did I learn an incredible amount, but then being able to apply it in very real life wilderness situations just added a whole level to the learning process.

But, all this material wouldn’t have amounted to much if it wasn’t for people like our lead instructor Deb Ajango.  Her endless real life Alaska stories were alone worth the price of the course!  She has seen and done it all, I don’t think I have even had a more interesting educator.

Finally was the group of people I meet and worked with as part of this class.  By it’s nature, the students in a class like this are the kind of people I find interesting – people making a living in the outdoors.  The kind of people who make career decisions based more on lifestyle then financial gain.  So the class is made up of kayak,  climbing and hiking guides, and in Seward, kayak guides are definitely the majority.   As the class progresses, this wonderful bonding experience is created as the group overcomes challenging, even stressful training.

So couple great material, a fantastic instructor and a wonderful group of students and I must admit, this class ended up being a far great experience then I ever expected!  Hopefully I’ll never need to use these new skills, but it is sure nice to know they  are there.

 

Book Review – Photographing the 4th Dimension Time

Ron Niebrugge How to, Miscellaneous Leave a Comment

Jim Goldstein provided me with an advanced copy of his newly released ebook book; Photographing the 4th Dimension – Time so that I would have an opportunity to provide a review.  I was more then happy to do so as I can’t remember ever seeing a photography book dedicated specifically to the concept of time.

I should start by saying I have known Jim for many years from the online photo community and telephone communications.  He is an excellent photographer and writer with a real eye for color and design elements – everything I have seen him produce is top notch.

Jim is a former Alaskan who now lives in the bay area.  On my trip to San Francisco a little over a year ago I finally had the pleasure of meeting Jim in person.  During that visit, it was Jim who gave me my first look at an Ipad, so I guess it was fitting that the first book I read on an IPad was his!

First, I gotta say a book like this on a device such as an IPad is really cool thanks to the extra multi media elements like embedded videos and live links to websites.   This makes reading a book an entirely new experience!

Now to the book.  It has a wonderful design with a perfect balance of real life examples including photos, videos and charts, along with accompanying text.  The book begins with a chapter on exposure which includes the best illustrations I have seen on the subject.  Next is an interesting discussion on human perception.  Then comes the main course with chapters on:

  • Long Exposures including light painting and star trails
  • Sequences – including images from different times of day and year, along with a section on time-lapse video.
  • Mixing Motion with Still Photography – including flash strobe effects and cinemagraphs (more on cinemagraphs later)
  • Gear – informative chapter on the tools of the trade.
  • Field Checklist –  A final section of helpful lists and charts they can be printed for easy reference.

The best chapter for me was the one on long exposure – this one is worth the cost of the book alone.  I have done very little with light painting or star trails, so to have suggested starting points for things like exposure will save a lot of time experimenting in the field.  I have never done a star trail image where I stacked multiple exposures, and I know this the best way to minimize noise with today’s digital cameras.  Jim doesn’t just brush over the technique, but goes into great detail with capture and post production processing even recommending helpful software programs.

For me personally, because of my personal experience the chapter on sequences was the least helpful.  But, if you are just starting out doing sequences – time-lapses in particular, this chapter will have you off and running in no time and will save you a lot of wasted time spent learning the hard way!

Now the other chapter worth the price of the book alone was the one on mixing motion with still photography.  The possibilities and the examples Jim provides of the use of flash strobe will keep the creative juices flowing for days.

But, what I found fascinating was the second section of the chapter covering the creation of cinemagraphs.  I have seen some really cool uses of this technique and never really knew how it was done.  If you don’t know what a cinemagraph is, here are a couple of Jim’s examples of cinemagraphs.  If you have a slow internet connection you might need to wait a bit for the motion to kick in.  The possibilities with this technique are endless!

So, all and all, I gotta say this is an excellent book covering a unique topic.  The concepts are laid out in a concise, easy to follow manner with lots of examples.  I definitively recommend this book, I think it could provide photographers of all ability levels with lots of creative ideas and techniques that should lead to hours of fun!

 

Giving away a bunch of cool fun stuff!

Ron Niebrugge Miscellaneous, Photos 63 Comments

When you sell a photo, it isn’t uncommon to receive copies of any publications in which your images appear.  I must admit, even after all these years it is fun seeing your images in print, especially on the cover.

Unfortunately, we have a small house that barely has room for our junk, so we end up throwing away a lot of valuable items.  I got to thinking, I rather pay the postage and send this stuff to someone who could use it then just see it go to waste, so that is why I have decided to give it away.

How do you qualify?  All you have to do is leave a comment either on this blog post, or on the corresponding entry in Facebook letting me know you are interested.  You don’t have to write anything fancy, “Count me in” would do just fine.  Since I’m just doing this to be nice and not to increase my follower numbers, you don’t have to worry about spamming your friends by re-tweeting this on Twitter or sharing it on Facebook to qualify – just tell me you are interested.  This should make the odds of winning much higher, and the winner will be someone who really wants this stuff.  Of course, I don’t mind if you give me a shout out.

So what am I giving away?  The best thing is this Guide to Zion.  It is a great book, with nice maps and descriptions, and will cost you $20 bucks at the Zion Visitor Center.  I also have some smaller, but very nice guide books including Stirring the Senses, Denali Road Guide and Denali Walks.   I also have a bunch of 2011 Calenders.  A Zen of Hiking calendar, a kayaking calender, a nice Audubon calendar, a Northern Lights calendar.  There are a couple magazines as well like Sunset.  I also found an extra CD – I’m keeping one but the other one will go.  If  other stuff arrives and I can fit it in the box, I’ll add it!

I’ll do the drawing on Friday – I’ll make a list of each person who is interested, add a number next to their name, and then I’ll use a random number generator.  So, put your name down before Friday and good luck!

Keeping Your Camera’s Digital Sensor Clean

Ron Niebrugge Equipment, How to, Miscellaneous 39 Comments

About a year ago I wrote a post on sensor cleaning for digital cameras.  What I didn’t say at the time – I was really hoping I would be cleaning my sensor for the very last time because I was going to begin testing a prototype product that would protect the sensor from dust.

Well after one year I’m beginning to think I may never need to clean my sensor again!  I love this product!  Unfortunately, it hasn’t been available to the public until recently so I  had to wait until now to write about it.

So the product is called Dust Shield and is made by Dust-Aid, the company that makes the great cleaning products I wrote about in my Sensor cleaning post.  Effectively the product is a clear optic filter that is placed over the opening to the camera’s chamber sealing off the chamber and sensor.  This product has a number of advantages – some not so obvious:

  1. The main advantage is clear – by sealing off the chamber I am able to prevent dust from ever reaching the sensor.  I should add, before installing, I went to great lengths to completely clean the chamber including the sensor and mirror – otherwise every time the mirror flipped up and down I was afraid it would just reposition existing dust, possibly onto the sensor.
  2. When working in a dusty environment the camera is still going to pick up dust, but now it lands on the Dust Shield instead of the sensor.  The selling point behind the Dust Shield –  it is far easier to replace the shield then clean the sensor.
  3. But here is an advantage I didn’t anticipate.  What I found is dust was far less likely to show when on the Dust Shield.  I believe this is because the dust is now landing a fair distance away from the sensor, it just doesn’t create ugly black spots like it does when it lands on the sensor.  I’m always surprised at how little spots or scratches on filters aren’t viable on the final image – I believe the same principle is at play.
  4. When it does get dusty, the Dust Shield is far easier to clean then the sensor – usually a couple of puffs from a hand held blower and I’m good to go.

Of course I know what everyone is thinking – what does it do to image quality?  I gotta admit, I was skeptical.  Having spent some $8,000 on one of the finest cameras available, and a bunch more on top quality lenses – I did not like the idea of now adding a piece of film to the image path.  My photos are our sole source of income, I just can’t  sacrifice quality no matter how convenient!  I had to be sure image quality didn’t suffer – here is my review.

I felt the best way to really test this product is with my absolute sharpest combination of equipment.  So I mounted what I think is my sharpest lens, my Canon 100 macro, on my best camera, a 21 mp Canon 1DsIII.   I used the two second timer with mirror lockup with a  f-stop of /8, – probably about as good of a combination as I could get.  I then mounted the whole thing on a monstrous Gitzo 1548 tripod, placed a bean bag on the camera and photographed a dollar bill taped to the wall.  If I couldn’t detect softness with my best setup, then I’m not going to see it with say a lessor camera or with a softer lens like the 100-400.

Full frame version of the dollar.

Full frame version of the dollar.

For reference, here is the full-frame version of dollar.  The red represents the area in which I cropped a 400×600 area of the image with the results displayed below the jump.Read More

Arches iFotoGuide App

Ron Niebrugge Equipment, Miscellaneous, Moab, Utah 3 Comments

Arches Photography guide application for iPhone and iTouch.

Arches Photography guide application for iPhone and iTouch.

Well I must admit I am a reference material junkie!  I have shelves and shelves of books – guide books to National Parks, birds and animals, plants and wildflowers, animal tracks, geology…  The list goes on and on.  Not only do I have a bunch of book here, but I also keep many more in our trailer, and we usually send a box back and forth depending where we are traveling.  Unfortunately, they take up a ton of space and weight.

I also have to admit that I’m hooked on apps for my iTouch / iPhone – I have an iTouch.  Maps, weather, depth of field calculators, even Northern Light predictions all on this tiny device, it is amazing!

So, when I heard that a couple of friends, Dan Baumbach and Bret Edge had created an Arches National Park Photography Guide iPhone application, well I thought that was ingenious!  What a great idea – I could easily travel with all this information right in my shirt pocket!  A perfect marriage of information and technology.

Dan recently provided me a copy to review, and I gotta admit I love the product!  This application actually has a lot of advantages over a hard copy book because it is able to link to current information in real time such as weather forecasts, along with providing links to websites for local restaurants, hotels and campground – what a great resource!

The app is also packed with all kinds of useful information on Arches National Park, information useful to photographers such sunrise and sunset times along with an interactive map and information on backpacking, wildlife and wildflowers.  But the real meat to the application is the information on the different photo locations within Arches.  This information includes photos, maps, descriptions on how to get to the location, even the GPS coordinates.

It just so happens that I have spent a fair amount of time in Arches over the last two years, and have been to all the locations described in the app, and found the information accurate and concise.

The application cost $4.95 – much cheaper then most printed guides, and more valuable.  They have many more iFotoGuides planned for the future.

Southern California Photography Workshop

Ron Niebrugge Anza-Borrego, California, Miscellaneous, Photos, Travel 13 Comments

Wildflowers, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California.

Wildflowers, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California.

This winter I’m going to offer two weekend photo workshops in the beautiful Anza-Borrego Desert in Southern California.  You can read about all the details here:  Anza-Borrego Photo Tour / Workshop.

The timing of the announcement is perfect because over the last two days Borrego Springs has received almost an inch of rain, with more forecasted for the rest of this week.  An inch of rain my not sound like much, but that is a huge amount for this area.  This, coupled with some earlier storms all but assures us that there will be some wildflowers.  Even without wildflowers this is a wonderful area, but wildflowers can completely transform the desert.

Right after uploading the page, and before I had a chance to announce this workshop, someone spotted it on our website and has already signed up.  I only have permits for two weekends, and only for 5 people at a time, so these could fill quickly – and when they do, that will be it.  So check out the page and let me know if you have any questions!

In addition to this workshop, we also offer a number of Alaska photo tours.