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Wildlife Photography

MindShift Exposure 15 Field-tested: A Bag for Both City and Country Mice

Shoulder bags for photographers tend to be aimed at either photojournalists or hip street shooters. They come in a number of really attractive designs, including two of my favorites, the and the . However, they’re not designed for extended outdoor use in rough conditions. In contrast, many of the great bags and backpacks for wildlife and sports photographers are anything but stylish, and are often not that practical in confined urban settings. So I was very excited when Think Tank introduced the new and . The Exposure series offers serious weatherproofing (even without using the rain cover), room for a good amount of gear and a laptop, and is stylish enough that they’re at home just about anywhere you’d take your camera. I took an Exposure 15 along on our recent photo safari to Africa, where it did double duty as my computer bag around the camps, and as my all purpose shooting bag when we were touring in Johannesburg and Cape Town…

Family group of White Rhino captured with a Google Pixel 2

Tips for using your Smartphone on Safari

We’re just back from a very productive photo safari to Botswana and South Africa. We had a great group of participants, and had day after day of amazing wildlife experiences at two really excellent camps. Our personalized tour through the sights and sounds of Soweto was also a unique experience. While I brought and mostly shot with my traditional and DSLRs, I also brought along two flagship smartphones and put them to the test. You can read about what I found they were great for, what they couldn’t do, and get some tips on how to use one on your next safari in . Quick note: We’re starting to organize another high-end photo safari to Botswana and South Africa, possibly invitation only and probably Spring, 2020. If you’d like to be kept in the loop email us at .

Holiday Savings on our 2018 Alaska Bear and African Wildlife Photo Safaris!

Happy Holidays and best wishes for the New Year to all of our readers and clients. We’d like to help you celebrate with a special offer for savings on the last few openings we have for our wildlife photo safari to Botswana and South Africa in May, and our Alaskan Bear photo safaris in July. If you sign up by January 5th, we’ll give you 10% off – the largest discount we’ve ever offered – on either trip. Lorrie and I hope you can join us.

All trips feature small groups, personalized instruction, excellent accommodations, photographer-friendly transportation arrangements, and some of the very best wildlife photography you’ll find anywhere on the planet!

You can .

For more .

Cool new websites for Wildlife, Bird, and Landscape shooters from B&H

While nearly all of us know B&H for selling photo gear, some of us also know them as an excellent educational resource. I’ve been happy to speak at their event center, and lead photo walks for them, as well as speak at their OPTIC conference. Now, B&H has pulled together a variety of education and product resources custom tailored to specific types of photography. These mini-websites include Tips, Articles, Reviews, and Pa Product Guide for each area. The two of most interest to our readers are likely the:

Think Tank StreetWalker Rolling Backpack 2.0 field tested: Airport-friendly photo backpack

Adjustable dividers allow a customized fit for your DSLR or Mirrorless gearI love using my Think Tank when shooting from a vehicle, like a safari truck in Africa, or a boat in Alaska, or even from a blind in Texas. With room for both my photo gear and my 15-inch laptop, it is one of the most-versatile photo backpacks on the market. But lugging it through airports, especially on the super-long walks we often face on international connections, is painful. So I was quite excited when Think Tank released a Roller version. I used a as my backpack in Alaska, and it did everything I wanted.

 

Nikon D7500 field tested: A winner DSLR for mid-range budgets

Nikon D7500 DSLR Camera (Body Only)Like almost every pro Nikon shooter, I’m eagerly awaiting the new Nikon D850. In the meantime, I needed an updated backup camera for my . I wanted one good enough to use for “pro” work, but small and light enough that I could easily carry it in a messenger bag with my drone for field work. I’d already shot with the Nikon D500 and , which are both excellent cameras, but decided to be a little more adventurous and purchase the newer , that fits many of the features of the into a smaller, less-expensive, package.

Finally, a hard-shell photo case with Think Tank features and flexibility

All of us have wrestled with the need to protect our photo gear while traveling on increasingly-crowded commercial airliners, but still have it available in a more-convenient, soft-sided, package when we get closer to where we are going. I get questions about how best to do this all the time from our readers and safari participants. Over the years we’ve had a variety of solutions, but none have been ideal. Now, leading photo bag maker has teamed up with leading hard-shell case maker SKB to create a unique hybrid offering. The combination cases offer a Think Tank designed set of dividers in the form of a removable backpack, enclosed in an SKB hard case. As always, if you , you’ll get free shipping and a free gift. The prices are amazingly reasonable, too!

Images from our South Texas (Rio Grande Valley) photo workshop

We just finished a really fun, and successful, photo workshop in the Rio Grande Valley. Off to our Hill Country workshop next! Some of my personal favorite photos: . Currently we don't have specific plans for when we'll be leading another workshop in the RGV, but if you like what you see and would be interested, message or get in touch through our website. Thanks, as always, to our hosts, Steve Bentsen and the Jackson family.

Podcast with David Cardinal on building a photo business--by Skip Cohen University

PictureI had a lot of fun earlier this week recording a podcast for Skip Cohen University on my career in photography, and some thoughts for those who are looking to make a living in the photo business.

MindShift Moose Pack MP-3 v2 field-tested: A winner for wildlife and action shooters

Moose Peterson MP-3 V2.0It’s no secret that I loved my original MP-3, and made it my “go to” camera bag when I had to bring my wildlife photo gear somewhere and needed to make efficient use of space – particularly for trips involving small planes or a bit of hiking. So it was great news for me when Moose Peterson teamed up with Think Tank’s MindShift brand to produce a new, improved, version. I’ve been using it for a while now, and am very impressed. It retains the flexible design of the original, but offers improved shoulder straps, an even more-rugged build quality, and a few other nice touches.

Upgraded Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 and new Nikon PC 19mm lenses announced

Photo of  AF-S NIKKOR<br/> 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VRThe Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens (in all its incarnations) may be one of the most popular pro lenses ever. Now, Nikon has improved on an already great lens with the new . It features a closer MFD (Minimum Focusing Distance), new coatings for yet lower distortion, improved VR, all at about the same size and weight (actually a touch lighter according to the specs). The only downside is the by now familiar price increase. The current is selling for about $2100, while the .

New Sony RX10 III field-tested: The ultimate all-in-one Superzoom is now even better

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III Digital CameraNo one like carrying a lot of camera gear, or changing lenses. But for many of us it is a necessary evil to get the shots we want. But the question I get asked most is "I want a camera that does it all, but I don't want to carry several lenses or a big backpack or tripod, what should I buy?" The new is an excellent answer. With a 1-inch-format 20MP sensor, and a 24-600mm super-zoom lens from Zeiss, it takes remarkably good images for an all-in-one camera, and it does it across a massive focal length range. The big upgrade from the Mark II is an increase in zoom range from 200mm to 600mm at the long end (resulting in a slightly larger, and more-expensive, camera).

Magellan eXplorist TRX7: The ultimate off-road GPS and navigation system

Every serious nature photographer spends at least some time "off the beaten path." In particular, back roads, dirt roads and trails are often the only way to get where you need to go. Unfortunately, the otherwise-amazing navigation tools like Google Maps that we rely on for street driving are nearly useless once we venture beyond the main road grid. Magellan aims to take up the slack with a purpose-built off-road navigation system, the . I’ve been fortunate enough to give one of the first units a full field test…

Texas bird photo trifecta: Pro tips, live presentation, and discounts on our April South Texas workshop and ProShow software

We’ve got all sorts of goodies today for bird photographers. First, I’ve written up some of my favorite “pro” tips for bird photographers in a (makers of ProShow, our favorite slide show software). Photodex also put together a cool video from some of the shots from our previous South Texas bird photo workshops to accompany the blog post.

And tonight (Wednesday, February 3rd) I’ll be speaking (and showing illustrative images, with plenty of tips and tidbits of advice) on South Texas Bird photography at the Bay Area Bird Photographers meeting (7:30pm at the Palo Alto Baylands). It is free and open to all. I hope you can join us! (Meeting info at the end of this article).

Sonora Desert Museum: Truly a museum turned inside-out

It has been many years since we last visited the Sonora Desert Museum, and it has only gotten better over time. Not only is it just about the best, and most fun, way to learn about the desert (specifically the Sonoran Desert, but also deserts in general), but the exhibits are remarkably photographer-friendly (while still being very respectful of the animals, like this young Mountain Lion). One thing that always strikes me when I visit is how little real contact we have with most of the creatures that inhabit our continent. For example, I have many thousands of photos of African Leopards in the wild, and essentially zero of their North American equivalent, the Mountain Lion, in the wild…

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