Field test of the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Lens: A pro lens at a prosumer price

Unless you make a lot of money with your mid-range zoom lens, or are willing to spend what it takes to get the best, $1900 for the 2 pound is a hard price to justify. For that price, you get an ultra-sharp, ultra-fast, lens, but you don’t even get VR. I’ve enjoyed using Sigma’s version, the . It is much less expensive, but not as solidly built and also isn’t stabilized. Until now there hasn’t been a value-priced version of a 24-70 f/2.8 that could measure up to the Nikon. That’s why I was excited to work with the new , which not only featured a fast focus motor but unique among mid-range pro zooms, also has image stabilization….


Nikon DSLRs over the years: From the Nikon D1 to the Nikon D4

I was fortunate enough to be able to shoot with a on my recent Alaska photo safaris. It was a blast, and allowed me to get some great images that I probably wouldn’t have gotten with previous DSLRs – especially those requiring High ISO shooting. It gave me the chance to reflect back on the last 12 years of my photography of bears in Alaska, starting with film and progressing through the D1 and nearly every other Nikon DSLR since. I put my thoughts together in an .

Join us for a B&H Photo Walk through the Bronx Zoo in June

I’m really happy to say that I’ll be leading a photo walk for B&H through the Bronx Zoo in New York on Thursday, June 7th. The event is free, but you do need to pay for your Zoo admission. For those of you in or around the New York area its about the easiest way to get some practice in on your wildlife photography. Open to photographers of all ages and all amounts of gear! You can . Lorrie and I hope to see you there!

Inexpensive Canvas print option -- Easy Canvas

Canvases on display from a show I did on The American WestRegular readers will know that I love getting canvases printed by . They do a great job, and provide awesome customer service. However, they're not cheap, so I periodically get asked about a less expensive alternative for when ultimate quality isn't needed. I've finally found one, , who is running a large , with discounts and 2 for 1 pricing. I did a test print and din't get the same tonal range as with COD, but their prices are meaningfully lower and the quality is certainly very acceptable. [NOTE: I don't have any financial relationship with either company]. For the curious, I don't print canvases much myself because...

Alaska Brown (aka "Grizzly") Bear & Puffin Photo Safari 2020

Tuesday, July 14, 2020 - 18:00 to Tuesday, July 21, 2020 - 12:45

July 14-21, 2020 Accepting deposits now.

We will honor the 2019 price if you .

2019 was as another great year for Bears & Puffins, we're looking forward to 2020!

It seems like just yesterday, but 2020 will be my 20th year returning to the Cook Inlet in Alaska to photograph America's most spectacular animals.

Spending a week [6 nights, giving us 5 full and two partial shooting days for the second session -- longer than other trips to the area] with Alaskan Coastal Brown Bears, often called Grizzlies, is truly a life-changing experience. Unlike the bears at Brooks Lodge in Katmai, which are stressed out and offer very limited viewing, we'll be able to see bears in their native and un-stressed environment.

One day the bears will be grazing on the nutrient rich grass and the next they'll be up to their shoulder digging in the mud for clams. Without question these are my favorite weeks of the year.

We're guests of an exclusive small lodge -- the unique Silver Salmon Creek Lodge -- catering to small groups and accessible only by plane, and the bears are right in the area, so our shooting opportunities are maximized.

To get a better feel for what you'll be able to see and capture, here are , or enjoy this slideshow of some of our 2015 highlights:

Then--as difficult as it is to tear ourselves away from the bears--we'll take boat trips out to photograph both Tufted and Horned Puffins. This is truly a special treat, as we will be there about the only time of year that there are bears and perching Puffins to photograph. We'll have ample opportunity to work on both flight shots of the Puffins and "posed" shots from our tripods of them standing outside their burrows or returning from their fishing trips.

I'll be shooting with you the entire week. The trip is limited to six photographers, so we'll have plenty of time to work together. Each evening we'll talk about the next day's shooting and cover shooting strategies for making the most of it. We'll also review our shooting each day and discuss what worked and didn't work. I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have. I can't guarantee that you'll get world class images, but I'll work to make sure you have the best possible chance!

And of course we'll have plenty of exotic Alaskan scenery to photograph. From brilliant sunrises to eye-popping Lupin and Fireweed fields on the mountains there will be something for everyone. We'll also almost certainly get some chances to photograph Bald Eagles and a variety of other birds. If we're lucky, on our way to the Puffin rookery we'll get to photograph a sea otter, like this one that's been hanging out there for several years.

Both film & digital shooters are welcome. If you need help selecting or renting equipment, let us know and we can assist you. All participants will also receive a detailed package with plenty of information on how to prepare, what to bring, and how to safely photograph the bears and puffins.

Top of the line Pro Instruction!

Wildlife Photo Instruction: All participants will have plenty of 1-1 personal instruction time while we're in the field on game drives. We'll also have focused sessions on taking great scenics, including panoramas.

Classroom Photo Instruction: As always, we will have a projector and screen with us and will be providing photo instruction in digital workflow and image editing and image enhancement using Photoshop.

A typical day involves plenty of relaxed interactions with the famous Alaskan Coastal Brown Bears like this mother and cubs clamming.

See what our participants have accomplished!

You don't have to believe us when we tell you that there are great opportunities for amazing photos on the trip,
and that you'll learn how to take them. Have a look at the participant slideshow from one of our 2015 trips:

If you've had your fill of photography, we're in one of the world's foremost Salmon fishing spots. Yards from the Lodge is world class Salmon fishing and at low tide the beach has an abundance of Razor Clams to dig for. Clamming and fishing also provide some excellent opportunities for bear photography, so you'll always want to have a camera along.

Trip Info:

We'll once again have two photo safari sessions, July 9th to 15th and July 14th to 21st . We've made the sessions two different lengths (5 nights at the Lodge and 6 nights at the Lodge to allow for flexibility in peoples' schedules and budgets) Accommodations will be at the world class Silver Salmon Creek Lodge with three home-cooked meals each day (the lodge features a chef and a baker, and seldom has more than fifteen guests) and nice rooms. Since we're right in the middle of the bear rich coastal plain we couldn't be any closer to the bears, so we'll have all the time we want to photograph them. The Lodge has a boat and captain who will take us out to a Seabird Rookery featuring Common Murres, Horned and Tufted Puffins and Kittiwakes, as well as Auklets and Oystercatchers.

Bald Eagles are seen almost continually, and we can often get fairly good shots of them. We should also have some great opportunities both weeks to photograph clamming bears. Last year we even saw a pair of clamming Ravens--something very new and truly unusual. For non-shooting spouses or companions there are a range of other activities at the lodge, ranging from enjoying the spectacular views of the Cook Inlet to world-class Salmon and Halibut fishing as well as kayaking and boat tours of a nearby lake--which featured a nesting pair of Loons with young this year.

New: the lodge has a rental Nikon 200-400mm lens & tripod for those who either don't have or don't want to travel with their long lens.

It's truly a special trip so we hope to see some of you coming along with us next year!


Day-by-Day Itinerary:

Pre-trip: Meet for dinner in Anchorage.

Day 1: Morning private charter flight from convenient Lake Hood field (next to Anchorage Airport) directly to Lake Clark Park near our lodge. Weather permitting, we'll be there in time for lunch and an afternoon (and optional evening) shoot. We're likely to start seeing bears from the time we land, so be ready!

Days 2-6: (Days 1-5 for Week 1) 5 full days of bear photography, along with a boat trip on the lodge's own custom-built "photo-friendly" boat to visit the Puffin, Common Murre & Kittiwake rookeries. July gives us nearly unlimited shooting hours, with the brightest times mid-day providing some time for (optional) photo classes and working on images (or taking a walk, doing some impromptu fishing, or just relaxing).

Day 7: (Day 6 for Week 1) After breakfast we'll pack up and head back to Anchorage, reversing our charter flight from the beginning of our trip.

Earlybird Price for 2020 (currently honoring our 2019 price for 2020): $6695 per person -- double occupancy, and include photo instruction, all food, lodging at Silver Salmon Creek, wine, beer, and requested soft drinks, boat trips & guiding once at the Lodge, and transportation (air charter) from Anchorage to and from the Lodge. Note: Hotel room in Anchorage for the first night is on your own, or we can book it for you and pass along the additional cost.

Spouses welcome! $250 discount for a spouse or companion. Single supplement $1400 when available. $300 discount for a non-shooting companion.

To Sign-up, you can by
, or give us a call at (650) 851-8350!

For more information:
E-mail: safaris [at]
or Call +1.650.851.8350

IMPORTANT NOTE: [[[ height=420px scrolling=no]]]

Ultimate Photo Accessories, including headlamps, aka “dork lights”

Okay, they’re not really called “dork lights.” They’re headlamps, but it’s hard to deny that they make you look a bit like a dork. However, they’re invaluable, so for my contribution to Chris Gampat’s piece on the B&H blog on the most interesting and useful accessory in my camera bag, the choice was a no brainer. You can , including some other great recommendations, and when you’re convinced you can buy yourself the cat’s meow of photographers’ headlamps, the – it features a retractable cord, multiple brightness levels, and both white and red LEDs for regular and night vision use.

Nikon D800 sensor blows away the competition in DxOMark tests

The set the all time record score of 95 on its DxOMark tests, eclipsing the previous "king for 3 days," the . In short, purchasers of either camera are likely to be delighted with the images they get. Of course there is more to a camera than just the image quality, but if you'd like to read up on all the scores of the D800 and the D4 you can head over to the  You can from B&H, or the .

Deciding between the Nikon D800 and Nikon D800e? Here's some help...

Think birds aren’t as important as people? Think again…

When a war correspondent fudges an image there is no question that it is a problem for them, and for their news organization. And when a nature photographer fibs about a contest image, as happened with the “Wildlife photographer of the year” that’s a known bad thing. So too when photos in National Geographic or other nature magazines have been fudged to distort reality. This week though, truth in bird photos has reached a new zenith…

Details emerge on Nikon D800, Nikon 55-300mm now $247

Details continue to emerge about the expected Nikon D800. Reportedly a couple shooters have early versions and are confirming that the camera will indeed feature a 36MP full-frame sensor, while being smaller than the D700. At first this seems a little looney, as such a high-resolution camera is unlikely to be able to match the low noise capability the D3/D3s/D700 pack of full-frame sensor cameras have come to be known for. But maybe Nikon is crazy like a fox…

Making Sense out of Sensor Sizes

--by David Cardinal

It has become almost impossible to actually figure out how big a sensor is, or how long a lens is, just by glancing at the specs. For most of the photography industry, for many decades, 35mm was more or less the norm. By definition that meant a standard size film negative, about 35mm by 24mm – corresponding to today’s “full frame” sensors – and a simple measurement of focal length for lenses could be read right of the lens as a result.