5 Things You Need To Do Before Your Next Photography Vacation

The days are counting down and you can hardly wait. It’s vacation time, finally. Precious days, away from work, in some awesome place you’ve been dreaming about for a long time. You have the photo gear you think you need, so what else is there to do until you arrive in your chosen paradise?

Well, quite a bit, actually. If you want to make the most of your trip, from a photographic perspective, there are five things you should do before the trip. Everyone thinks the photography part happens when you get there, but the truth is, it begins long before you arrive. Preparation is key to taking the best photos you can possibly take. So get the jump on your next photo vacation. Here are five simple steps to get started.

1. Practice

practice

Practice is the only way to get better…at just about everything.

In the weeks leading up to your trip, you should get outside and practice taking pictures. Seems kind of obvious, I know, but nobody does it. No matter how much natural talent you have, if you want to get really good at something, you have to practice. Tennis star Rafael Nadal doesn’t just show up every year in Paris and expect to win the French Open. Well, actually, maybe he does, but that’s because beforehand, even though he’s spent countless hours on clay courts over the years, he spends the weeks leading up to the tournament practicing on clay. A lot. It’s like anything. You wouldn’t give a speech in front of hundreds of people without a lot of practicing, would you? Continue Reading →

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Stock Photography: Is it Un-American?

I often enjoy reading The Atlantic online, and I like the writer James Fallows, especially. So when his recent article, “Finally I Hear a Politician Explain My Country Just the Way I Understand it” appeared, I thought, oh, I want to read that.

It has to do with US President Barack Obama’s speech in Selma, Alabama, to commemorate the historic civil-rights marches that took place on the Edmund Pettus Bridge 50-years ago.

Obama is nothing if not a fine orator, so yes, the speech was uplifting and might one day become a part of his legacy. But I was particularly struck by what he said in his speech, which you can see at minute 28:21 above. In his trademark, persuasive style, Obama was making a plea for American unity. In one of the most emotional moments of his speech, he said Continue Reading →

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The Great Debate: Mirrorless or DSLR?

bigfootMirrorless or DSLR? Ah yes, a question for the ages. (At least these ones.) If you’re still not sure which way to go, I’ve put together a quiz that might help you decide which one is best for you. I tried to make it fun, but I also put a lot of thought into the questions and how I scored the answers. Even when the options seem kind of silly, there is some reasoning behind them. For example, if you really want to get a good, high-resolution shot of Bigfoot, you’ll want a camera with a looong battery life, and that means a DSLR. (Let me know how that works out–I promise to post your shot!) In the meantime, check out my friend Graham’s book on what Bigfoot has been up to lately. Turns out the big guy is just misunderstood. (A very funny book, beautifully illustrated, for only 12 bucks.)

You can have a go at the quiz by clicking the image on the top right in the sidebar, or here.

Once you answer the questions, if you want to hear my take on the whole deal, you’ll have the option to sign up for a video in which I talk about the only real decision you have to make when it comes to deciding to go with a mirrorless system. And there’s also a bonus video on my favorite piece of gear for travel photography. It’s all free, so what are you waiting for?

Take the quiz, and let me know what you think in the comments. Are you a mirrorless lover or not?

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Mezzojournal: 7 Days in Palermo, Sicily, Where Life Happens on the Street

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Noting my empty glass, the waiter didn’t even bother asking, he just brought another small carafe of the house red. The first one had disappeared with antipasti and a plate of pasta ca ancióva. The second would be helpful in dispatching the coming purpetti ri sardi, balls of minced sardines, tomatoes and capers. I didn’t ask for dessert either, but the waiter silently placed a bottle of limoncello in front of me, with a mini cannoli, a cookie, and a wedge of watermelon. On the house.

I was in Altri Tempi, a classic trattoria on Via Sammartino in Palermo. After paying the check (unbelievably, only 15 Euros), I suppressed the urge to hug my waiter and headed out into the strong Sicilian sun. I walked through Continue Reading →

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The Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 Versus … a Two-Year-Old Pocket Camera

Otus-85-ZF.2-Product-sample-II

She’s a beaut. (Except for the rubber ring.) Image courtesy of Zeiss.

 

Laaaadieeesss and Gentlemennnn! I have for you the lens test to end all lens tests! Not a mere test, mind you, but an epic showdown, a clash of the titans, the ultimate cage match! Pixel peepers rejoice!

In one corner, wearing all-metal trunks in black with yellow piping, we have the Zeiss Otus 85mm, a lens so sharp the TSA banned it from carry-on luggage. A lens so sharp the state of California passed legislation requiring it ships with a warning label. Diamond cutters in Amsterdam are currently investigating ways to harness its fearsome powers.

A lens of this ground-breaking resolution makes sensor engineers wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. But Sony has risen to the challenge with confidence and quiet dignity. The world’s biggest sensor maker answers the Otus with Continue Reading →

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