September 16, 2014, 10:03:19 PM

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Messages - miah

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Photography Technique / Re: Travel set up
« on: September 10, 2014, 11:48:13 AM »
Whoa tomscott, you could drop 80% of those clothes and maybe talk Neuro into loaning you his 600 big white! Leave the jeans behind and wear synthetics: they wash easier and dry faster. I'm a bit of a minimalist, but I ascribe to the "wear-one-wash-one ethos." At most you need 2 of anything, one to wear and one to wash and dry overnight. Your hostels will have sinks. Take a drain stop and a clothesline and you're set. This is an easy place to pair down and save weight/bulk. Think about it, do you want to look stylish and smell fresh as a daisy or nail that Amazonian jaguar shot?  :o

Photography Technique / Re: Travel set up
« on: September 10, 2014, 10:31:13 AM »
I've spent nearly a year traveling all over S America, have much the same gear as you and seem to have similar interest in photographing people/wildlife. I would take the 5D3 + 24-105 + 70-300 (I have both the DO and L, and while the L's IQ is superior, the DO is much smaller/lighter/less conspicuous and has afforded me some of the best photos I've ever taken). If you have the space I'd also take a 35mm f/2 (I have the older model which is much smaller/lighter than the newer IS version--who needs IS in a 35?) for low-light street shooting. I also carry a MacBook Air 11-in and love it. People who recommend against carrying a computer have rarely seen how small/light the MBA is and are typically traveling for 2 weeks, not 2 months. I find it a great travel companion that helps me improve my photography technique as I go; heavy editing waits until I get home and have access to a desktop computer.

I second the motion to take a small travel tripod of some sort. You'll regret it if you don't.

Keeping your gear with you, especially being in a group with a guide, you don't have to be paranoid about theft. Most people everywhere are fantastic, just be aware that there are a few bad apples wherever you go. My travels in Central and South America were all solo and I only got ripped off once, in Bolivia, by a known-by-the-police pro who swiped a bag when I turned my back.

Redundancy is key. Have at least two cards and/or HDD's with your images placed in two different places. Buy a few Sea to Summit dry bags for your Mac, your external HDD and cards. These work well for weather, rain, stream-crossings, dust, humidity, etc.

I like the Mindshift Rotation 180 backpack which fits the 5D3 set up I describe in the lower fanny pack--all accessible while still wearing the pack.

No matter what you take you're going to have a great time and get some amazing photos. The truth is 85% of your shots will likely come from your 24-105. Happy trails.

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Mindshift - Does it fit?
« on: August 22, 2014, 02:19:08 PM »
Thanks.  I appreciate that is really useful information.  So you'd think the 5d3 (with a wrist strap and plate - not an L just a bottom plate) and the 70-200 should fit? Do you carry the 70-300 upright or on it's side? The 70-200 is just a bit longer.  Do you think there'd be room for the 17-40 besides?

I carry the 70-300 complete with collar/plate vertically, but I think the 70-200 might be too long to do that. I don't have a 70-200 to try it out for you, but if it fits vertically it will be extremely tight. The 70-300 fits like a glove with one velcro-stabilized divider between it and my 5D3+24-105 placed on its side with the LCD facing the velcro divider (that puts the 24-105 towards the skinnier side of the fanny pack).

There definitely is not room for a 17-40 to boot, but you could put that lens in an accessory pouch that clips onto the fanny pack if that lens needs to have super-quick access. Otherwise, the cleaner option is to put whichever additional lens is used least (70-200 or 17-40) in the upper compartment of the backpack--a place still fully accessible while wearing the pack by simply sliding it around in front of you and accessing that compartment through the back zipper.

To be clear: the 5D3 + 24-105 and 70-300L snugly fills the fanny pack, but their irregular shapes allow me to also fit the other items I mentioned in my previous post.

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Mindshift - Does it fit?
« on: August 21, 2014, 10:34:52 AM »
I got one of the first Mindshift Rotation 180 packs during their Kickstarter campaign. Excellent product in all respects that I've since taken across the USA, SE Asia and around Hawaii.

I've carried on the entire pack (including rotational fanny pack) on many flights without a problem. You have to not put much more than a flat light disk in the rear backpack pocket or the pack will bulge too much to fit in the overhead bins. Inside the fanny pack I carry a 5D3 with 24-105 + 70-300L without a problem. I can also fit inside the fanny pack several filters, a neatly rolled Joby shoulder strap with Kirk QRC-1, a Hoodman Loupe, a wireless remote and some extra CF cards. I put my tripod in checked luggage, but attach it to the backpack when I arrive. I carry lots of additional camera gear in the upper backpack compartment inside the optional, padded camera insert.

I've used a lot of different packs/bags over the years and have found this one to be superior. Hope this helps.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Tamron 150-600mm bird pics
« on: August 20, 2014, 11:42:47 AM »
Very nice shots, Alan. Which body (5D or 70D) were these shot with? Do you prefer one or the other for use with the Tammy?

On the 5DIII. I prefer the 5DIII in general, but in practice there is little difference between the two. The better noise and IQ of the 5DIII balances the 70D's greater reach so both produce images of similar quality and resolution when you are cropping a small bird. For moon shots, which are basically monochrome, the 70D gave marginally better resolution in my tests, agreeing with jrista in his very careful analysis.

Thanks, Alan. Your observations mirror my own when shooting with my 5d3 and T3i, once again supporting the belief that filling the frame typically beats the size of the sensor.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Tamron 150-600mm bird pics
« on: August 19, 2014, 11:48:46 PM »
Very nice shots, Alan. Which body (5D or 70D) were these shot with? Do you prefer one or the other for use with the Tammy?

Nicely done! Can you give us info on body/lens/settings/interval/lapse time?

Photography Technique / Re: The definition of insanity
« on: June 25, 2014, 02:55:12 PM »
Thanks for your perspective, guys. My wife is actually exceedingly patient with my photography most of the time, but sometimes it's "her trip too." I get that. I guess I just need to adjust my kit (and frame of mind) for the company I keep, pairing down to the basics when it's not specifically a "photo trip." I'm just so unaccustomed to having a car to cart things around, I went hog-wild on this last trip and threw in the kitchen sink.

Like unfocused, my typical solo travel kit consists of just one body and two lenses, either a 5D3 + 24-105 + 70-300 L or even lighter, a T3i + 15-85 EFs + 70-300 DO. But I have to disagree with him about shooting what everyone else has already shot. First off, it's not like you're "wearing it out;" it may have been shot a million times before, but it's the first time for me, so I still enjoy it.

For example, while on the big island the park service told us there was presently no flowing lava at HI Volcanoes. So, my wife and I embarked on a 10-hour, ankle-deep thrash through a muddy, unmaintained "trail" in the rainforest outside of the national park to look for possible run-off from Pu'U O'o volcano (based on data from the USGS). Goose egg. Gluttons for punishment, we thrashed in again some ten days later through knee-to-sometimes-thigh-deep mud (more rain) for 12 more hours, half of which was in the dark--and lo and behold: LAVA!

Sure, there are plenty of great shots of molten goo to go around, but there's nothing like getting up close and personal with new earth. Really new earth. If this was the only shot I came home with, I was glad to have packed my 5D. Next time, however, I'll only take one lens.  ;)

Photography Technique / Re: The definition of insanity
« on: June 25, 2014, 11:42:08 AM »
Lighten up,, I used this trip as an example, but the same could be said for any of my non-photog family, friends and acquaintances. The point is, nobody wants to wait. Photography, at least good photography, requires patience--something that's often in short supply.

Because I was going to one relatively small island for 3 whole weeks and had the luxury of a rental car, I splurged and took more gear than I normally do when traveling alone on foot, by canoe or by bike. It was to be a break from having to travel so light. I thought I could really take my time to set up and wait for the critters, for the light, for the many photo opportunities that patience usually affords, but it was not to be.

I'm just curious if others have encountered this oil and water metaphor themselves and if so, what's the solution? I'm leaning towards getting a smaller/lighter super zoom for whenever I'm in mixed company and calling it good.

Photography Technique / The definition of insanity
« on: June 25, 2014, 10:33:03 AM »
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome… I don't know how many times I have to be taught the same lesson: photographers and non-photographers are like oil and water.

I just returned from 3 weeks on the big island of Hawaii with my wife. We had a great trip, but I once again schlepped way too much photo gear along thinking I'd have the time and quiet to really focus--pun intended. Instead, I should have left the bulky, heavy, expensive, theft-prone camera pack (replete with 2 bodies, 6 lenses, tripod, filters, timers, flash, etc.) at home, and simply taken my 5D3 and 24-105. Nothing else was really used.

In my experience, when I travel alone or with another photog, there always seems to be time to set-up and shoot, but when I'm with one or more non-photographers, all of that "nonsense" takes too long.

Can anyone relate?

Lenses / Re: Value Lens for birding
« on: April 21, 2014, 12:29:57 PM »
I too use the 400 f/5.6 with Kenko 1.4x on my 5D3 for birds. I don't miss IS too much because BIF shooting requires a high shutter speed anyway. In low light I use a tripod/gimbal. This lens is light, small, sharp and the AF is very fast. I especially like the built-in lens hood. I bought mine from Canon through their online store: refurb $900. Recommended.

Canon General / Re: Insurance for Camera gear
« on: April 14, 2014, 06:04:00 PM »
Neuro's getting a bit better rate, I'm paying $10.35/1000, but I'm amazed that they write these policies at all. My gear is outside, in the weather and susceptible to spill, hanging on my motorcycle in unlocked panniers, in third-world nations, at night, often unattended. It's like a checklist of risk. Yet in many years of traveling I've only had to lodge one claim for a theft that occurred in Bolivia--so maybe the insurance companies are smarter than I think? State Farm replaced everything, Fed Ex'ed it to my home in the U.S., no deductible, no questions asked--in spite of not having what anyone might consider a serious police report. Amazing. And well worth $10.35/1000.

Canon General / Re: Insurance for Camera gear
« on: April 13, 2014, 11:05:22 PM »
You should be able to buy a State Farm Personal Articles Policy as a stand-alone, with no connection to homeowner's or renter's policies. Mine covers 17K with no deductible for $176 annually.

Like resale value, we have to keep this "build-quality" issue in perspective. A lens that could take repeated falls off two-story buildings would be great, but not if it requires two sherpas to lug it around for you. For my purposes, traveling solo with minimum kit either on foot or motorbike, durability must be balanced against size and weight. After seeing the images posted on this thread, I'm convinced the Tammy's IQ is more than adequate for my needs. I think we can all agree that the price is an exceptional value. And now with wickidwombat's comparing the build-quality to that of the Canon 100L--a lens I own, love and have carried over hill and dale without a hitch--I'm convinced that the Tammy has the right IQ, AF, size, weight and build-quality to go ahead and place my order. I'll keep it tethered to me, as AlanF and I discussed in this thread, but expect it to last through many a trip.

Thanks to the early adopters who bought this lens and shared their experiences here!

Tried out the Black Rapid RS-4 this afternoon. The Tammy is very comfortable hanging from it. As some might know, my 5DIII once fell off the 300mm when it was slung over my shoulder. I'd like to secure the 5DIII to the Black Rapid and also have an extra safety link from the Tammy/camera to the shoulder strap in case the screw comes loose from the Tammy tripod bush. I am thinking now of getting the Black Rapid wrist strap, screwing that into the 5DIII and threading its loop through the shoulder strap that is attached to the lens tripod mount. Has anyone tried something like this or has a better suggestion?

Sorry for the tardy reply, AlanF, but this is the first chance I've had to take photos of my strap set-up. I haven't yet dropped a lens or body, but I came close to dropping my 5D one time when changing lenses from my shoulder strap. So, like you, I prefer a fail-safe.

I prefer the Joby strap to Black Rapid. I like their rubber bushing/style of lock-nut better and I can adjust the length of their strap very quickly with one hand/no buckles. That means I can wear it long enough to hold my camera/lens beside my waist, gun-slinger style for quick action, then quickly suck it up under my arm pit if I want to scramble up a rock without banging the camera into everything.

Both body and lenses-with-collars are equipped with Induro PU-60 base plates for my tripods.

I attach the Joby slider to a Kirk 1" Std Quick Release which attaches to either the camera, for short lenses, or collars, for long lenses. This allows me to quickly doff the strap and attach either the body or lens to my tripod in a heartbeat. I got the idea to use the Kirk SQR from Neuro, and it hasn't let me down yet.

Next, I use an Optek neoprene wrist leash (very soft and comfortable) on my right wrist, making sure to tighten up the toggle. It stays on my wrist all day. I modified the tip of the leash by sewing on a 5/8-inch, male-side, Fastex Side-Release buckle. I then sewed a very short female Fastex buckle to the right-hand strap bracket on the 5D body, using a short length of webbing. Make sure any leash attached to the camera body itself--chest strap or wrist strap--is as short as possible to minimize wind flappage.

This set-up allows me to have both my lens and camera attached to me at all times, together and/or independently. The wrist leash is long enough that I can still get into my backpack, take a drink of water, etc., without unclipping myself from the camera body, as the whole rig hangs at my side from the chest strap. If I want to change lenses while all leashed up? No problem. Lenses with or without a collar? No problem. Quickly jump to a tripod regardless of lens? No problem.

This is the most versatile set-up I've come up with. I don't like hand straps--something you were leaning towards--because they often use up the body's tripod mounting threads where I'd prefer to have a base plate. Too, though they offer some added stability, they're too slow to get in and out of as circumstances change. Finally, you can see in the photos that I keep my collars rotated 90-degrees when dangling the camera/lens from my Joby so I can quickly lift the body by its grip and rest the barrel of the lens on my left hand. Obviously, I have to loosen the collar screw and rotate things right-side up when jumping to a tripod. I find this 90-degree collar tilt also puts the body/lens in the best gun-slinger position for a quick-response shot.

I hope this helps.

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