It’s in the Bag


For me, a camera bag is a constantly evolving beast, especially these days as I complete my transition to mirrorless video maven. I’m teaching a couple of seminars on travel photography for National Geographic Traveler in the next couple of  months, and so it was time to update the pictures of my latest gear configuration for travel. Here’s a breakdown of what I take on travel gigs these days… Read More

Raising the Dead in Oaxaca

I’ve already seen the first Halloween candy in the supermarket, so I figure it’s not too early to talk about the mother of all “Halloween” celebrations, the Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, Mexico. I had the opportunity to cover the festival last year with my friend, Richard Ellis, longtime Reuters and Getty shooter and founder of the Charleston Photo Workshops. I’ll be heading down again with him next month to co-teach a travel workshop around the festival. Here’s a taste of what we will see:

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Bali: Back to Basics

It’s not easy lugging gear around on what is essentially a family vacation. But when you get a chance to go to someplace as exotic and photogenic as Bali, it would be crazy not to take advantage of the photo (and video) ops that abound on this beautiful island.

And so, when I planned my kit for a recent trip to this Indonesian island with my two sons and my brother, a trip that was essentially going to be a boogie boarding safari, I knew that the pounding Balinese surf wouldn’t be the only thing I’d be shooting.

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That Daring Old Man in the Flying Machine…

…and unlike that daring young man on the flying trapeze, my moves may not be graceful, all girls I cannot please, but damn, I can produce some pretty nice-looking aerial HD video for clients who can’t afford the big, nosemounted, two-man crew, aerial Hollywood video helicopter setups when they need views higher than the growing army of DJI drone-ographers can get them.

Preparing to shoot aerial video of Atlantic City and surrounding areas on the Jersey Shore.

There are three factors that help me compete with the big boys.

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Four great still-Shooting feats my sub-$1K mirrorless can do that my $3K DSLR can’t….

pSNYNA-DSCRX10~B_main_v500Yes, this blog is about the issues you deal with when a still shooter dips his or her toe into the movement pond, but sometimes you just have to shake your head at the advances in still shooting that mirrorless cameras with electronic shutters allow that seem to be glossed over or not covered (or maybe it’s just that I’m not reading that many stills blogs).

But there are four killer features on certain mirrorless cameras with electronic shutters that every still shooter should know about, and rejoice. Especially when you keep in mind that we’re talking about a sub-$1000 camera and lens combo that weighs next to nothing….

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Mirrorless, Mirrorless, on the wall….

….what is the fairest camera of them all (especially for an old man in motion)?

Once I started shooting the run and gun videos for my assignments documenting private jet journeys around the world for National Geographic Expeditions, it didn’t take me long to figure out that answer. And unfortunately, it wasn’t my beloved DSLR.

Here’s a look at just one 48-hour stop in Morocco on a recent around the world trip…it gives you a pretty good idea of the frenetic pace of these types of trips.

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Going Stealth in Ethiopia

Whenever my pal Dr. Al Ruenes calls me to work on one of the humanitarian projects in Africa that he runs through his non-profit called ASSISTS, I know I’m in for a ride. So when he called me to document a project that he and some other medical organizations were doing that would create a training module for African surgeons dealing with the scourge of fistula, I said “yes” before he could finish the first sentence of his question.

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Stills Experience is Still Experience

I have been a travel photography columnist in one or another major American magazine non-stop since 1986. That’s a long, and I’m fairly sure, unmatched, continuous, 28-year-tenure as a photo columnist that began at Travel&Leisure, moved to National Geographic Traveler, then to Popular Photography, Endless Vacations, and currently at Outdoor Photographer magazine.

Many times over the years, I’ve written about how video didn’t interest me because, while I love the storytelling aspect of it, to do it well, you needed a crew. And I always have worked by myself, or with just one assistant or fixer, and I’m not about to change my ways at this late stage of the game. As it turns out, I was wrong…. Read More

My Search for Bigfoot

Sometimes, when you combine things that you wouldn’t think would go well together, you come up with a winner. Think “sea salt” and “dark chocolate,” for instance, or maybe even “Woody Harrelson” and “Matthew McConnaughy.”

Left to Right: the foldout legs of the Oben, the Varizoom “Chickenfoot,” the Manfrotto original, and the Sirui.

Well, the same can be said of putting three little feet on the bottom of a monopod. At first blush, you look at this arrangement and think, “what’s the point?” If you want a tripod, use a tripod, and if you want a monopod, stick to the tried and true one-footed design…

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