Category Archives: Location Photography

Brian Rueb’s Five Photography Tips

We’ve been fans of Brian Rueb’s stunning landscape photography for some time now, and are very excited he’s made the following contribution to our ongoing Five Photography Tips series. We previously featured him here and here. What follows is Brian’s text and a small sample of his gorgeous work. See the links at the end of the piece to see more.

I often get asked my advice on what someone seeking to become a better photographer should do in order to achieve their goal. I think everyone, whether professional or not, is always seeking tips and ideas to help them get better. Rather than give some of the typical answers I read in various advice pieces in magazines and online I’m going to give you five different steps to becoming a better landscape photographer.

STEP 1 – Bust out of your comfort zone.

We all have different levels of “comfortable” when we’re out with the camera, no matter what subject we focus on. For me, it was always easier to stay close to the road, and off the unknown trails, and most importantly, out of the dark. If getting a shot required me hiking somewhere in the dark in order to be there for the good light, it wasn’t happening. My mind is an active place where every dark turn sees me mauled to bits by a bear or mountain lion. I couldn’t ever see a scenario where I ventured out into the darkness just to take photos. Obviously if that mentality persisted, I wouldn’t have a portfolio, and would probably be photographing weddings or senior portraits.

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JMACC’s Ice-Gripper

JMACCPHOTOGRAPHY posted a nice shot on their blog, which was taken at Marsh Creek State Park in Pennsylvania. The great state of PA is no stranger to ice, but the photographer was prepared with a new Induro Adventure Series Tripod, which was a recent Christmas gift. The post reads, in part, “the tripod was holding onto the ice perfectly,” which helped enable the shot.

©JMACCPHOTOGRAPHY

Nice job, and enjoy your new Christmas gift!

Nathan Beaulne’s Patience Pays Off

Growing up in Timmins, Ontario, Nathan Beaulne had ample opportunities to explore wildlife. “It’s in northern Ontario, so you’re pretty remote,” he says. “It’s pretty much stuck in the middle of the bush.” For the last fifteen years he’s been living in the more populated Barrie, Ontario, but Barrie is still located so that with a short drive, Beaulne can observe a wide range of Canada’s diverse birdlife.

©Nathan Beaulne

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Mikhail Volkov at Longwood Gardens

Mikhail Volkov was shooting with his Induro gear at Longwood Gardens to take advantage of their famous seasonal lights. His blog post on the subject even features panoramas he got using the Induro AT214 and the BHD2 ballhead.

Mikhail Volkov's blog, Everyday Visual Adventure

Thanks for the beautiful post and enjoying our gear, Mikhail!

Eric D. Brown and His CT314

We wrote about Eric D. Brown’s engineering approach to photography and related gear last winter. Looks like our old friend is still taking his Induro CT314 into the wild, and getting great results. Here’s a beautiful shot he took at the Antelope Slot Canyon earlier this year.

"Sands of Time" by Eric D. Brown

You can see more of Eric’s landscape and wildlife photography at his wide-ranging blog. Good luck on that doctorate dissertation, Eric!

Nancy Lehrer’s Trifecta

When she was growing up in the San Fernando Valley in the 1960s, no one could’ve guessed young Nancy Lehrer would achieve substantial accomplishment in three very different fields. Lehrer describes herself in the following way: computer scientist by profession, classical musician by history, and photographer by passion.

After high school, Lehrer headed north to San Francisco State University as a classical oboe major. Upon graduation with a B.A. in Music, she went to Boston University for graduate school and studied with Ralph Gomberg, who was the first oboist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the time. “Then, as an incredibly poor, starving graduate student, I finished my Master’s at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst,” she says. While at Emerson, she began taking computer science classes, and ended up with another Master’s, this time in Computer Science, and a new career. All these years later, she is not disappointed by the switch.

©Nancy Lehrer

Lehrer points to an analogy in photography which summarizes the future she was facing with a classical music career. “Say you want to be a great landscape photographer, and that’s all you ever wanted to do,” she explains. “Then you realize that in order to pay bills you have to do weddings, bar mitzvahs, senior portraits, and stuff like that. In music, to make ends meet, you have to do a lot of part-time gigs in community orchestras in places that don’t really have the high quality of standards you trained yourself to do. Getting into another field where I could be more choosy about what I did in music was actually fun, and it was a very well‑paying field, highly in demand, allowed me to live where I wanted to live.”

All the while Lehrer was studying classical oboe and computer science, something else was constant in her life: photography. In 1978 while in college, she bought her first 35mm SLR, a Canon AE-1 with a 50mm lens. She used it exclusively for the next 20 years, occasionally substituting the 50mm with “a really cheap 100‑millimeter lens,” she says. “That was all I had.”

©Nancy Lehrer

As her career as a computer scientist accelerated, she stopped photographing anything other than vacations. Eventually, she got a Yashica with a Zeiss lens. As digital technology improved, in 2002 she bought a Canon Digital Rebel XT. “That rekindled everything for me,” she recalls. “That’s when I really got back into photography seriously and started first with Flickr, but then found the local camera clubs and local camera professionals I could hang out with and talk to in order to learn about digital photography and digital processing.”

Shortly after it was announced, she purchased a Canon 5D Mark II. “I have a whole variety of high quality Canon lenses and pretty much have been sucked in,” she laughs.

©Nancy Lehrer

Digital photography reinvigorated Lehrer’s interest in the art. Her subject matter is vast, but she’s partial to black and white street photography and color landscapes. Lehrer has her own thoughts and terminology on her shooting. “My landscapes aren’t really landscapes. They’re tighter. They’re more like the 50 millimeter view of nature. I’d say those are my two most successful sorts of genres, the street stuff and then the tighter nature kind of thing. Not the big, expansive landscapes. I just haven’t gotten there yet, I just don’t see it yet.”

One of Lehrer’s most interesting series of photographs were done in the Lower Antelope Slot Canyon of Page, Arizona. Lehrer claims a maturity to be able to frame her shots from a tripod just the way she wants. Her tripod of choice is the Induro CT-114. “It’s the carbon fiber and I love it,” she says. “I just put it in a regular backpack. I’ve recently been banging it around Utah and it’s held up just fine. No problems there. Yeah, I’ve been very pleased with it. I know someone else who has a little bit larger model in our club, and he loves his as well. He’s also banging it around. It’s certainly my go-to tripod.”

©Nancy Lehrer

Recently, Lehrer picked up not one but two First Place awards at the Spirit of the Mountains 2010 Photo Contest, hosted by the National Park Service. “Waiting for Breakfast,” a delicate study of an Argiopes Garden Spider in a dew-soaked web, won Best of Show. “Stand Tall,” a shot looking up at redwoods, won First Place in the Plants category. She also snagged an additional four Fourth Place awards. You can check out the details on her blog.

©Nancy Lehrer

Her next project may be chronicling her native San Fernando Valley. “It’s where I grew up,” she explains. “It mostly was built in the 50’s, so it’s got this 50’s southern California ranch house style structure to it. The change in the San Fernando Valley has been mostly downward, economically. There’s a lot of Mexican-art influence, so you have these great old 50’s looking, cheap modern-ish buildings that now have these brightly colored signs and fences around them.”

Her days in the San Fernando Valley are rooted in photography. “I was born in ’59, and in the 60’s, I remember everybody had cameras. When I was really little my father had a Brownie camera and I would take pictures with that. I would take it to camp when I was in fourth grade and became the camp photographer. I had an Instamatic later. I always was trying to capture what was going on around me.”

When asked if she still plays the oboe, Lehrer responds she did up until a few years ago. “The oboe is not so easy to play for enjoyment. It’s one of those working-hard instruments. I’ve always needed a creative outlet, so once I got more and more into photography, I found less and less of a kind of creative need to do it through the music.”

Nancy Lehrer Photography
Nancy Lehrer Blog
Nancy Lehrer on Flickr
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Nancy Lehrer on Twitter

Written by Ron Egatz

Michael Greene on Nature’s Trail

After leaving his hometown of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Michael Greene earned a B.S. in Business Marketing from Ohio State University, and a Master’s in Mass Communication from Arizona State University. He found his home in the Grand Canyon State, and now lives in Scottsdale. Although he didn’t study photography in school, he got a quick education when working at a local news station with a staffer who helped him with questions about his first camera, a Canon PowerShot S45.

Greene moved on to an S70, then a Digital Rebel, before discovering a high school friend was living close by and working as a professional photographer. They began shooting together, and Greene received a lot of mentorship. He was hooked on photography and began to get very serious. Buying a Canon 5D, and later, the 5D Mark II, Greene has been shooting these cameras exclusively for almost three years.

©Michael Greene

Landscapes are the primary subject Greene has been interested in photographing. In 2003, he was hiking with a friend in Payson, Arizona’s Horton Creek. It was here he first became interested in shooting natural scenes. Recalling his Pennsylvania roots, Greene shot a different kind of landscape back home. “There’s no 12,000, 13,000 foot mountains,” he says of his native state. “You have a lot more intimate scenes—mostly pictures of streams with rocks and water. Slow shutter speed and cascading creeks—that’s what drew me to landscape photography in the first place. I knew that was what I was interested in shooting. When I decided I really wanted to take it to the next level in 2008, I wanted to start incorporating more skies into the picture, and to incorporate scenics with water and sky, which is something I wasn’t doing up to that point in time. I was taking pictures of water, but it would be in a canopy of the forest, the trees.”

©Michael Greene

He often does extensive research online before heading to a new photographic opportunity. Once there, he takes time to scout locations while backpacking. “I think every photographer needs to be spontaneous, but I’m premeditated as possible with this stuff,” Greene says. His blog is a great resource containing the research he puts into a shoot.

Preferring both a natural and film look to his images, Greene believes in a minimal amount of color correction in post-processing. “I try to keep the pictures as natural as possible,” he says. “Normally I boost up the vibrance levels slightly for Web presentation because the files are so much smaller, but not much. I try to make the picture look as good as possible without overdoing it and without taking, quote unquote, artistic liberties. I don’t like rocks that are supposed to be gray looking blue or purple. I will experiment with white balances and tones to try to bring out the best colors, like my Bryce Canyon photos. I noticed, for Bryce Canyon, because the reds show up so much in the rocks, especially at sunrise and sunset, you really have to cool off the images quite a bit to achieve some kind of balance in color.”

©Michael Greene

To achieve this, his white balances will be at 2800 or 3200 for some of those images. He’ll use the tint slider included as part of the white balance adjustment in Adobe Camera Raw plus or minus 25, often adding a bit of purple. “It’s important to not adhere to any rules when you’re doing these things to try to strike a balance,” he says. “I’ve definitely learned more about color, and the relationships of colors. I understand more now what color is and how to create certain colors so I use a lot of the selective colors in Photoshop. A good tip is just extracting cyan from red will boost your reds greatly, and that’s always a nice thing to do. If you pull cyan out of pictures you usually can enhance colors quite a bit, naturally and tastefully if you don’t go too far. Sometimes I use the black as well. Instead of adjusting the contrast, I’ll just adjust the selective color of black as well.” Greene shoots in RAW and uses Photoshop exclusively for his color correction work.

©Michael Greene

Along with his Canon 5D Mark II, Greene uses Canon L Series lenses: 16-35mm, 28-70mm, and the 70-200mm f/2.8. Greene’s tripod is an Induro CT313. “I got it when I got the 70-200mm lens because the old tripod I was using, a Gitzo, didn’t have enough load capacity. I couldn’t get a clear picture with it. I wasn’t really happy with that tripod,” he recalls. “I’m using the Induro for everything now. I just got back from a backpacking trip in the High Sierra. We were in Sequoia National Park and we hiked on the High Sierra Trail. It’s the east-to-west trail in the Sierra Nevadas. The John Muir Trail runs north-south, down through the southern parts of the mountain range up into Yosemite and beyond. The High Sierra Trail cuts across the range, so it goes really up and down, up and down, over and over. It starts in a grove of giant sequoias and they just carved it from giant trees to the giant mountain. It goes all the way to the top of Mount Whitney. We did some hiking on that. We didn’t do the whole thing, but we did about the first 17 or 18 miles, and it was pretty difficult. There’s a lot of ups and downs, and we also hiked through a couple different lakes. We did about 43 miles, out and back, over six days and five nights, and I took it with me on that trip and it worked out well. Obviously it’s a little bit more weight, but I would prefer carrying the more weight and just having the peace of mind and the ease of use.”

©Michael Greene

“I’ve enjoyed the tripod immensely. It’s flexible,” he continues. “You can raise the legs up 90 degrees, so even if you had a vertical shot or you want to get down lower, you can expand the legs out to 45 degrees or 90 degrees to get lower to the ground. I’ve set up on the sides of very steep cliffs or in swift‑moving water or slippery rocks. I went up to Point Sublime with a buddy of mine a few weeks ago. There was—and I’m not even kidding—60‑mile‑an‑hour wind gusts, and that cliff was about a 700‑foot drop straight down. I didn’t want to get too close to the edge, otherwise I would have probably tried to incorporate more foreground imagery, because there were some nice shrubs. So I did set up, and I was glad I had the Induro, because it was solid. I still didn’t feel comfortable taking my hand off it, but I’m sure it would have stayed. I can pretty much set up on whatever. I’ve set up in some very, very precarious situations. That kind of comes with the job.”

©Michael Greene

“The value behind the CT313 is amazing,” Greene concludes. “I really don’t know what more you could ask for. The tripod’s built extremely well. It’s easy to use, it works extremely well, and for the price it’s an amazing brand. I can’t imagine that I would ever even consider switching brands right now. As far as brand loyalty goes, I’d say Induro is probably the most loyal I am to any kind of camera equipment that I have. I would say the Induro is, in terms of value, out of every single piece of camera equipment that I own, the very best value, the best bang for your buck.”

Also a sports fan, Greene originally went to graduate school to get into sports journalism. He has shot professional football, college football, basketball, mixed martial arts and boxing. Although he doesn’t promote this work, it’s an area he’d like to further develop his skills in.

©Michael Greene

With our national parks as his main subject matter, Michael Greene’s photography reminds us of both the beauty and intense fragility of our natural world. We are stewards of this beauty for a brief moment, and the richness and compositions he presents challenge us to understand this. Although most of us do not consider the places he photographs, nor their importance, the world is fortunate we have him to capture them temporarily for us, our consideration, and our reverence.

Michael Greene Photography
Michael Greene’s Blog

Written by Ron Egatz

Kevin Williams at Home in the Natural World

As a Colorado native, Kevin Williams feels a spiritual connection not when he’s in cities, but when he’s hiking in the natural world. A self-professed introvert, he feels at home with a camera and no roof over his head. “I look around me and I see asphalt, concrete, streetlights, cookie cutter houses, shopping malls, and parking lots,” he says. “I find this kind of stuff distracting and ugly. I want to focus on sharing and exposing people to the wondrous things that we have while we still have them.”

Nikon D300, Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 @ 10mm, 1/50 sec @ f/11, polarizer on lens. 9-shot HDR lightly tonemapped by Photomatix Pro and finished by Lightroom 2. ©Kevin Williams

Concerned with preservation of the wild on many levels, Williams is all about capturing the beauty of landscapes. “We’re over seven billion on the planet and growing,” he continues. “There isn’t going to be room for it much more at this pace and we’re going to have a mall in Yellowstone if we’re not careful.”

Now living outside Denver, Williams is never far from the beauty he not only thrives on personally, but relies on for his moving photography. Working as a computer programmer, Williams rediscovered photography several years ago. “I realized I was getting older and couldn’t do some of the more extreme sports I used to do as a kid. I needed a new hobby,” he says. “Photography was a good opportunity to have excuses to go hiking and get out amongst nature as well as be visually creative.”

Nikon D300, 14-24mm f/2.8N @ 20mm, 1/15 sec @ f/11, ISO 100. 7-shot HDR lightly tonemapped by Photomatix Pro and finished by Lightroom 2. ©Kevin Williams

A self-taught programmer, Williams is also a self-taught photographer. Looking to shooters like David duChemin for inspiration, whom he credits with showing him how to not be obsessed with gear, but more concerned with individual photographer’s vision. Williams also does Internet research, regularly applying new techniques and judging the value of their results.

The landscapes Williams is responsible for are moody, silent, and exquisite. Whether it’s early morning fog burning off a waveless lake or two fence posts, one fallen among high prairie grass, his vision of the outdoors is not only beautiful, but lonely in the best sense of the latter. There’s a solitude he presents viewers that is comforting. With not even a bird in the distance of his landscapes, we cannot help but become connected to the earth. The land and the sky beyond and above it is what Williams demands us to consider. Although much of his macro work is also impressive, it is landscape photography where he seems to be most in his element. Shot digitally, on film, and even with a little subtle, tasty HDR, these are places Williams makes us want to visit.

Nikon D300, Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 @ 10mm, 1/320 sec @ f/8, polarizer on lens. 5-shot HDR lightly tonemapped by Photomatix Pro and finished by Lightroom 2. ©Kevin Williams

In synch with his main subject of nature, Williams has embraced an almost holistic approach to his art. “I’ve got Chris Orwig’s book, Visual Poetry, which is also really shaping my perspective on all this and how we view this primarily for the love of it. If you don’t enjoy doing this that’s kind of a sorry state, if you ask me. We do this because we love to and then we share with everyone else. Let’s be generous with it.”

Williams is currently primarily shooting a Nikon D700 with a wide range of lenses, although he finds himself drawn to his 70-200mm more often than not. In addition, he says, “I’ve found using a telephoto lens for landscapes is really opening up things visually for me I hadn’t noticed when I shoot with the wide angle lens. I use the Nikon 16‑35mm as my wide angle lens, which I really enjoy. It’s really sharp—great colors, and those are my primary lenses.” He also occasionally employs two Nikon speedlites.

Nikon D700, 16-35mm f/4 VR @ 28mm, 25 sec @ f/22, Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer and 3-stop ND-Grad. Three photos stitched into a panorama in Photoshop CS5 (6492x4114 pixels), then lightly processed in Lightroom 3. ©Kevin Williams

Primarily a digital shooter, Williams has explored film work. “I’ve been doing some film, just for educational purposes, because it’s fun and interesting and different,” he explains. “Digital is so pervasive now, not to mention my background with computers, that film is kind of interesting, because it’s the old way of doing things, not the new way. I can scan an image and get a much bigger digital file than I can get out of my Nikon.” His film camera is a Mamiya RZ67.

Being a programmer, Williams has carefully and linearly thought out his technical process, but is also open to the organic flow of his art’s evolvement and creation. “Details not too hard to capture,” he declares. “The luminescence in an image happens pretty quickly. But with tone, really you need time. Even the photo journalists and the portrait shooters have a term called dragging the shutter, where they will personally shoot at a relatively slow shutter speed so they get more ambient light, more saturation, and more color into the shot. If you set your camera to 1/50th of a second, you need all this flash power. All you’re getting is light from the flashes, and you’re not getting the ambient. The same is true in nature where you get more detail and color in the shadow areas and more richness to the brighter areas. I started shooting with an ND filter over the lens a vast majority of the time, just to get more time—light over time—into the camera, and it really saturates better.”

Nikon D300, 14-24mm f/2.8N @ 20mm, 1/15 sec @ f/11, ISO 100. 7-shot HDR lightly tonemapped by Photomatix Pro and finished by Lightroom 2. ©Kevin Williams

To get many of his impressive images, Williams employs Induro tripods. “I’m pretty sure I got the first hint of Induro tripods from Scott Bourne’s, Photofocus,” Williams says. “He mentioned he had just sold his last Gitzo tripod, and switched over to Induro. I think I had a Flashpoint tripod from Adorama, which was pretty decent, but, there was a piece in one of the legs that broke, and I needed to get a new tripod. It was a fortuitous recommendation. Everybody needs a good tripod. Don’t waste you’re time paying the newbie tax of buying the cheap tripod and then buying the next cheapest tripod, on and on. Go ahead and get a good tripod. I saw his recommendation and that he had been shooting for thirty‑some odd years and knew a good tripod when he saw one, not to mention using big glass. I looked at the site, read the specs, and tried to find some reviews online. I ordered one and I have been extremely happy with it. I’ve actually ordered two now.”

Williams uses his Induro gear in all types of conditions. “They’re all weather. Snow, heat, mud, sand, ocean, whatever,” he says. “When I get home, I will wipe it off with a cloth. I might get in with a toothbrush, if they got some mud or sand or something like that in a spot where it shouldn’t be. But, they don’t require kid gloves. They’re great.”

Nikon D300, 14-24mm f/2.8N @ 14mm, 1/5 sec @ f/8, Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer and 2-stop ND-Grad. 3-shot HDR lightly tonemapped by Photomatix Pro and finished by Lightroom 2. ©Kevin Williams

With the inherent nature of his landscape work and macro photography, Induro is integral to his workflow. “I couldn’t do most of the shots that I do without it,” Williams states. “It’s either I do a lot of long exposure, or I’ll do some HDR, or I’ll do something where I just do not want to raise the ISO, and I’m fine with the half‑second exposure. So, the tripod is crucial.” He also cites the issue of the carbon fiber weight. “They’re not really heavy. I’ve got a pretty big one and so you do notice that it’s in the pack but, it’s not a big deal. The benefit of having it outweighs the two, three pounds, or whatever it weighs. I am really impressed with the rigidity and strength and light‑weight balance they’ve achieved; the way they did the carbon fiber and the materials. I’ve got the CT314, which is kind of the big, fat legs, and I think it’s four section. I use the short center columns. I like to get the camera low and spread the legs out so it’s really stable. It might not even move if you kicked it. It’s so stable. That’s why I use the short center tripod. I just got back from Hawaii, and I bought the CT113, which is much lighter, but it is still sturdy enough to do all the long exposures of the ocean and all of that kind of stuff. The bigger one I use if I’m using a bigger lens, or if I use my film camera, which is really heavy. The smaller one is great for hiking, and weighs a lot less, but it’s still very sturdy.”

Williams isn’t done with his Induro collecting. “I can’t wait to get a monopod, too,” he says. “That’s on my list. Definitely. If you’re hiking, you could probably get a one second exposure with the monopod, if you had a stabilized lens. Or, if you’re shooting telephoto, where your hand movements are magnified so much, even though you might wiggle a little bit, the monopod can give you a shot, where you wouldn’t get it otherwise.”

Nikon D700, 16-35mm f/4 VR @ 20mm, 13 sec @ f/22, Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer, 5-stop ND and 3-stop ND-Grad. Lightly processed in Lightroom 3 and sharpened in Photoshop CS5. ©Kevin Williams

When asked about his future, Williams is full of direction. “There’s definitely going to be some changes in the results of my work,” he says. “You’re shooting to convey a message and to tell a story. How do you shoot to tell the story you have in your mind, and how do you process it to lead the eye through the photo? I think my end product is going to be much improved in terms of a clearer vision of what this picture is about. It’s going to be improved quite a bit. I’m building a collection of prints to show. Then I think I want to branch out in other ways of trying to share what I’m trying to put together. I might add some computer wallpaper downloads on my site. I’d probably do different screen sizes, as well as iPhone and iPad types of sizes.”

Before wrapping up our conversation, Williams is asked about advice for new photographers. He surprises even us. “I couldn’t recommend Induro highly enough,” he says. “I think for someone doing nature work or landscapes, you can just get a cheap camera, but get some decent filters and a really good tripod and you can make much better pictures than someone hand‑holding with a fancy camera.”

Kevin Williams Photography
Kevin Williams Blog
Kevin Williams 365 Project
Kevin Williams Photoblog
Kevin Williams on Twitter
Kevin Williams on Flickr

Written by Ron Egatz.

Leander Hutton’s Five Photography Tips

5pttinyinduroLeander Hutton recently published “Five Tips for Photographing a Meteor Shower” on his blog. We really enjoy what he does and how he writes. Here is his post for our Five Photography Tips.

This week is peak time for annual Perseid meteor shower. Astrophotography was actually my first photographic interest, being a Astronomy student in college spurred my interest in photography. I’ve compiled five tips for making good looking astrophotos and some specific ones for meteor shower events.

  1. This should go without saying, but a sturdy tripod and a remote trigger are necessity. You can get around the trigger by using your camera’s count down timer. This allows you to get your hand away from the camera when the shutter goes up and reduces vibration. Also check to see if your camera supports a mirror lock up mode for shooting. Most do for cleaning only, usually the mid-to-higher end models have it for shooting. This will further reduce vibrations introduced by the mirror flapping up.
  2. As far as lenses go, the wider the better. A fisheye works best. Some of these things can streak all the way across the sky so having a full 180 degree is desirable. An f/2.8 maximum aperture will be beneficial too, although i’ve squeaked by at f/4 before. If you don’t have a fast wide angle lens I highly recommend renting one from a site like LensRentals.com. These guys are the best in the photo rental industry in my opinion. I’ve used them several times for several jobs and never had a single bad experience. *Lens Rentals is not a sponsor of this blog, I just really happen to like them.* If you don’t like the fisheye look you can use software like Fisheye Hemi to “defish” the photo in post.
  3. Keep your exposures around 20 seconds or less. There’s a couple of reasons for this. Firstly it keeps the thermal noise down on the sensor (this can be a problem on sticky summer nights) and secondly you probably don’t want to streak the stars too much. You really want to meteors to be the only thing streaking, this gives the best impression of motion.  If you’ve got a motor drive telescope mount you can use that to track with the motion of the Earth. Most these mounts have a place for a camera tripod thread.
  4. Don’t be afraid of higher ISOs.  Meteors are relatively faint, chances are you’ll miss a few if you’re at ISO 100 or 200. I typically shoot at ISO 400 or 800 for these and with most modern DSLRs that’s not really a problem. Even a five year old model will be fine at ISO 400.
  5. Find a dark sky. This may be the hardest part of all. Every year more poorly designed street lights and billboards go up that fill even country skies with nasty light pollution. I recommend getting at least 15-20 miles outside of an medium sized urban area. Go even further out if it’s a larger one. Also, know your sky. The Perseids will appear to come from the constellation Perseus. Study a star chart for the time of night you plan to be out to know in what direction to generally point your camera. You can find free ones on skyandtelesope.com.
©Leander Hutton

©Leander Hutton

Leander also sent me this line in an email: “I just purchased an Induro BHD1 and an AT213 tripod and I’m throughly enjoying it. I’ll probably have a review of it in a few weeks. Really good stuff!” We’ll keep an eye out for this review. Thanks so much, Leander! Great tips!

Leander Hutton’s site and blog

Leander Hutton on Twitter

Leander Hutton on Facebook

Leander Hutton on Flickr

Capturing Drift, Controlling Vibration

D.C. Chavez posted a great story chronicling his commercial work with Formula Drift drivers for an energy drink sponsor. He mounted a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and a 16-35mm f/2.8L lens on an Induro BHD3 ballhead inside champion Chris Forsberg’s car. Despite a tremendous amount of torque in drift driving, Chavez writes, “the BHD3 is the only ballhead I have used so far that has not loosened up after a lap or two with the 5D MK II.”

Known for his blog, where he documents putting off-the-shelf commercial photographic gear through real world production experience, Chavez also provides detailed accounts of how to use equipment which can baffle some mere mortal photographers.

The footage Chavez shot so impressed the director, he asked to incorporate is into the commercial. See the Canon and Induro rig’s results at :10, :13, and :24 in the below video.

Chavez also details work for another drift team sponsored by Hyundai. He documents how he eliminated vibration his in-car camera suffered by applying a Magic Arm. As always, a deeply informative piece. He even closes with a shout-out for the Induro CT313 tripod, which he hiked with over four days at elevations of 10,000 to 14,110 feet. Hooray for Induro Carbon Fiber!