Fotograph Fridays!

How I get the shots…

Hey! I actually held to my previous promises! I’ve recently been diving back into my photography, and I know a while back I promised a look at my Photographers Kit, so that’s what we are doing this week! Keep your eyes open as well! I’ll be starting to sell my prints online in the near future! Still working out the logistics of that though. So, if you’ve been reading for a while, you’ve seen my photos before. Photos like this…

Or this…

Either way, you’ve likely seen my work before. Well now you get to know the secret behind all of it. The first piece of any good photographers kit is well obviously a camera, you can’t do much without it. There are two cameras I use regularly, and one of them you’ll probably be surprised by.

The first camera at my disposal should be one that you’re pretty familiar with, it’s one that sits in our pockets daily. In this case my particular brand of phone is the new Google Pixel 4 XL. It takes some truly incredible photographs.

The second camera at my disposal is probably a little more what you were expecting out of my kit. I’m running a Sony A7 II, Full Frame Mirror-less Camera. The great thing about mirror-less is what you see is what you get in most cases. This particular camera boasts a pretty wide range of settings as well, with wi-fi capabilities that allow for remote control via Cell Phone. Attached is the standard Sony FE 28 – 70mm f3.5 – 5.6 OSS lens.

Now that cameras have been established. Lets talk lenses. You’ve already seen one of them, in the previous photograph. The Sony FE 28 – 70mm f3.5 – 5.6 OSS lens allows for a wide variety of control, and offers the most robust functionality as it is designed for use with the Sony Alpha Series cameras. It’s the one I find myself most often using because of its versatility, and the added zoom functionality. My biggest complaint is generally the size of the lens, as it does tend to add a fair amount of weight to the system in use.

The next lens in my kit is the Rokinon T 3.1 14mm ED AS IF UMC De-clicked Cinema Lens. This lens serves a dual purpose, I opted for the de-clicked cinema lens on the chance I ever use the A7 for videography (Though I have no plans to in the near future). This lens however does boast an insane field of view, and is borderline fish eye. Some of my best photographs have been as a result of this lens. The downside, it’s massive, and adds a significant amount of weight to the camera, it also does not allow for any autofocus as a result of it being de-clicked.

The final lens in my kit (for now) is the Samyang AF 35mm/f2.8 Prime Lens. This lens is short, light and versatile allowing for a plethora of uses, from portrait photography, to quick point and shoot auto-focus shots. So far, I haven’t found any downsides to this lens, and will often times use this lens when i’m using my Peak Design Capture Clip (You’ll see that a little later).

Another important aspect of a photographer’s kit, Lighting. Proper lighting is key, key, KEY to getting a great shot. Without adequate lighting a Photographer is often left with flat photographs, or photos with harsh shadows when dealing in portrait photography. I have two tools in my kit to help alleviate these problems.

The first of these two tools, is a collapsible reflector. One of the greatest assets to a photographer is natural light, and on a sunny or even overcast day, there’s a plethora of light at your disposal, the reflector allows the photographer with help from another person to augment light subtly and fill in shadows as needed.

The second of my tools, does not rely on the sun, to help alleviate shadows. Pictured above is the Genaray LED-6200T, 144 LED Variable Color On Camera Light. This battery operated light is Hot Shoe compatible and is versatile enough to match most lighting conditions. Most of the pictures seen above at least of the camera and lenses were filled in using this light. The kit comes with battery, charger, and a standard US power adapter, as well as car adapter, should you need more power than the battery provides.

Last in the kit are miscellaneous tools, that just help me when i’m out and about. I’ll go into those few items now.

One of my newest, and favorite additions to my kit is the Peak Design Capture Clip. Using the two wheels it loosens up and clips in place on any standard leather belt. The plate itself pops off, and screws into place using a standard allen key screw that locks it tightly to the camera, the quick release ability allows me to capture on the fly, and without the use of a bulky strap. The Peak Design plate also allows you to swap between any of their products without changing plates, it’s a truly unique and fantastic platform.

Another important tool, one that is oft overlooked is a decent tripod. At the moment i’m locked into a small tabletop tripod, as I can’t afford a larger one yet (They get prohibitively expensive, quickly). But, a tripod is key to taking stable photographs, especially when dealing with long exposures, and night photography.

This particular item is less of a tool, and more of a photography augment. This is a portable Lensball, with the suction cup tripod mount. It allows for unique photos and is produced with lens grade crystal. I hope to use this more going forward.

The last tool, in any photographers kit is software. As with most I stick to the adobe products, leveraging Lightroom, Lightroom Classic, and Photoshop for all of my photography editing needs. My biggest suggestion for those starting out with the editing process. Make sure you’ve got a large memory card, or multiples at your disposal. You are going to want to shoot in RAW, as it offers you the most versatility when it comes to editing your photographs.

So, that’s my kit. That’s how I get the photographs you see either here, or on Facebook/Instagram. My last suggestion to all, who are learning. Experiment, Experiment, Experiment! we are never perfect, and as a photographer the day you think you’ve mastered your craft, is the day you stop growing. There is always something to be learned! If you are interested in purchasing any of the gear seen above I’ve left links at the bottom for you to check out. Next post will likely be in two weeks after my trips to Philly and Boston.

Until next time…

Dave

Links:

1. Sony A7 II with Sony FE 28 – 70mm f3.5 – 5.6 OSS lens
2. Rokinon T 3.1 14mm ED AS IF UMC De-clicked Cinema Lens
3. Samyang AF 35mm/f2.8 Prime Lens
4. Impact 7-in-1 Collapsible Reflector Disk 42″
5. Genaray LED-6200T, 144 LED Variable Color On-Camera Light
6. Peak Design Capture Camera Clip v3 (Black)
7. Pedco Ultrapod II Tabletop Tripod with Mini Ball Head
8. Lensball Pocket 60mm
9. AmazonBasics SLR Camera Sling Backpack Bag – 8 x 6 x 16.5 Inches, Black
10. Google Pixel 4 XL

Fotograph Friday Returns!

The skyline on a crisp november night – Hunter’s Point Park

Finally back with a Fotograph Friday! it’s been a while, but i’ve slowly been getting out more with the camera. So hopefully there will be more of these moving forward.

The water looks truly incredible in this shot. This was taken at ISO 50, 30 Second Exposure, at an f/stop around 7. Was using the standard 28 – 70 mm Sony Lens that came with the camera. Also did a few with my 14 mm Lens, and 35 mm Prime Lens.

Blog post coming up with pictures and information on all of my photography kit. Got some cool gadgets to show off.

Have a happy friday all! See you soon!

Dave

Fotograph Friday – Hudson Yards

Shift your perspective, a skyward search – Hudson Yards/34th

This week’s post comes as I traverse my way back to Grand Central. One of the more enjoyable aspects of my commute thus far is the opportunity to spend some time in Hudson Yards on my way home from work. I’ve unfortunately yet to get up on the Helix as the line is always been daunting. Regardless it’s a truly clean and enjoyable area to spend a little extra time to think and shift ones perspective. Lately, I’ve needed that space to assess some aspects of my life that have changed or needed improvement. But enough of that for this week, don’t want to make this too long.

Next weeks blog post is a bit of a mystery to me still, i’ve spent a lot of time this week brainstorming ideas all of which I’m excited to write about (therein lies the problem). That said I can assure you there will be a Tuesday post, appearing at its normally scheduled time of Noon.

Oh, and one last thing since a lot of friends have asked how I pulled off this photo. I recently acquired a new lens for my Sony a7r Mark II that has an extreme wide angle. It allows me to capture large areas a normal lens just doesn’t give me the option for. It’s a Rokinon Cine 14mm T3.1 ED AS IF UMC lens, designed for full frame cameras. This particular lens gives me nearly 120″ angle of view, hence the nearly fisheye capacity of the lens. I’ll try to get a comparison shot for next week’s post between this and a standard lens.