Tag Archives: photography workshops

It’s all in the Bag!

On today’s Blog I would like to talk about Camera bags.lowepro-pro-runner-200-aw-dslr-trekking-backpack Over the years I have owned many different types of camera bags and I must admit I will likely own many more. But what really makes a good camera bag? Is it the size? Is it how it feels? Well Camera bags are definitely a preference thing, so let’s go over a few things that will help in your first or next decision on buying a bag.

Most people buy a camera bag for a place to put some gear in so they can take more stuff with them to a destination. Something to think about when buying a bag is what size will be the best for me.lowepro-protactic-450-aw-wearing Are you buying a bag for day trips that you can throw a few lenses in and a couple accessory’s. Or are you looking for a bag that you can take on a plane and travel with. It’s all a fine balance of what really works for all the gear and keeping it small so you don’t have to pay for oversize luggage or so it fit in a overhead compartment. Plus you also don’t want something to big or you will be walking like Quasimoto after your trip. Another thing is do you want a bag that can hold a laptop as well?

So this is how I choose a bag and I recommend you do the same to. I take all my gear to the camera store and say this is what I need to put in a new camera bag.Lowepro-Pro-Trekker-II-AW-Camera-Backpack-Open I want something that is comfortable and offers good support while attached to my back. Remember if you are lugging a ton of gear you need to buy a bag that will spread the weight across your back evenly. You also need to tell them what other acessorys you would like in your bag. They all seem to have different stuff that is included, so see what one suites your needs best. Here are a few options I like to have in my camera bag. I seem to be fond of compartments to keep memory cards in. Memory cards are something that no matter how much I try to be careful with, I will loose. So for me to have one spot with no excuses to stash cards in saves me money in the long run.LWP-APEX-140AW-OPEN Another big seller for me is a bag that includes a holder and straps to put my tripod on. This has worked really well when I was hiking the mountains in BC, Alberta, Washington, Poland and Quebec as it allows you to have both of your hands free on hard trails. Compartments with zippers are a big one too! Nothing like opening your bag to find out all your small acessorys have been rattling around your camera and lenses for your hour + hike. One thing I like about Lowepro is they all come equipped with a rain cover that will tuck away in the bottom of the bag. This has come in handy for me a few times and ironically both were in a rainforest, one out in Bc and another in Jamaica.

tumblr_ksixwdNV191qz7lxdo1_500It’s always a tough call as to what bag will make you happy in the long run. I always like to make sure I have a bag that I can always have room for another lens or two if I decide to buy some later. This way you are not spending the money again on another bag! Larger bags can also make a good place to bring a few beers on a over night camping trip. Well good luck on your next purchase.
Here is a link to help find the right pack for you. click here

I just wanted to thank you all for reading my introduction to equipment blogs. I hope I have helped inform some of you on what to look for when spending money on this expensive hobby! I have been doing some research on what types of blogs I would like to offer you for the future. In doing so I have decided to offer specific product reviews on new and old gear to help keep you all up to date on what’s hot and whats not. I have been talking with a few different companies about reviewing there equipment and they have said yes so I can’t wait to share so more info with you soon. As well I have decided to offer some insight on traveling to specific destinations in the world and some random species spotlights. So I hope you enjoy what I have to offer for you in the future!!

What takes better pictures, people? or cameras?

On today’s blog I would like to talk to you about cameras. I constantly get questions on what camera should I get or is this one better then that one. So before I get into some detail about cameras I just want you all to know my opinion on what camera really works best. The best camera is just like a lens, it’s the one you have! Cameras don’t take pictures people take pictures so anybody who says my camera doesn’t take good pictures either has a broken camera or should get some lessons. Now a top of the line camera may have better picture quality but it can’t take better pictures then what you already take.

So first off let’s talk about the big debate, who makes a better camera Nikon or Canon?Canon-vs.-Nikon-Full Well the correct answer would be Nikon and this is why! people ask me what camera is better all the time and I say it’s what feels right in your hands. Is Nikon really a better camera….. I will always say yes :) but the true answer is they are all the same. One point of the year Canon comes out with a better camera and then at another point in the year Nikon catches up or surpasses them. This will keep on going back and fourth forever to help retain there current customers. Lately other manufactures have stepped up to the bar like Sony, Pentax, Olympus or Fuji. So when you are looking for a new camera don’t overlook these names as sometimes they can offer some functions better then Nikon or Canon.

Z_nikon-d7100_front-600Lets talk about some of the different types of cameras you can buy. The most common DSLR on the market for an average user would be a dx camera. A dx camera would be a Nikon D5200 or a D7100 or for Canon it would be a T5i or a 60d. A dx sensor is what would be called a crop sensor, crop sensors are smaller sensors then a regular 35mm sensor, in Nikon’s case they are 1.5x smaller. This is where a crop factor comes into play. So let’s give you an example of what your effective focal length would be with a Nikon dx with a 1.5 crop factor.Z-7d2-front If you had a lens on a dx body that is let’s say a 18-105 well in all reality the real focal length would be 27mm to 160mm. So your all sitting there thinking why would they call the lens a 18-105?? Well the lens is what it is and it can’t change but the crop factor or size of the camera sensor makes the difference. The advantage of a crop sensor is that magnification that allows extra distance to your lens. Many people like it for wildlife because that 400mm lens just turned into a 600mm lens and with today’s large 24 megapixel sensors that’s a ton of information to work with. But on the down side if you wanted something like a super wide angle then you loose out cause a 12mm lens would be a 18mm. So you have to take the good with the bad.

Canon_5260A002_EOS_5D_Mark_III_847545Next would be a fx camera or otherwise known as a full frame camera. Full frame cameras have large sensors that can capture much more information than a dx for editing purposes. It use to be that full frame cameras had much bigger sensors then dx bodies but the dx bodies are slowly catching up. Some full frame cameras range from 24 to 50 megapixels now. So lets explain why you would need this big of a sensor. Basically the larger the sensor the larger the file size for your picture, this will allow you to blow pictures up to larger sizes without loosing quality in your images. Another thing about shooting full frame is you have to use FX or full frame lenses.Nikon_D610_Camera The reason for this is the quality of glass needed to provide a crisp clear image. Now a downfall could be to some that a fx lens are usually going to cost you close to 1000 dollars or higher in some cases. All the extra costs for fx should be greatly justified before spending that extra money. Now as far as focal length it is a 1-1 system. Meaning there is no crop factor so a 18-105 lens is what the true focal distance will be. Again this will help being able to shoot with wide angles but now that 400mm lens is nothing more then a 400mm lens :( So we have a big trade off to deal with.

A77iiLast I would like to talk about a newer technology system called mirrorless. Mirrorless cameras are becoming very popular right now and seem to be coming out at great prices. DSLRs use the same design as the 35mm film cameras of days gone by. A mirror inside the camera body reflects the light coming in through the lens up to a prism (or additional mirrors) and into the viewfinder for you to preview your shot. When you press the shutter button, the mirror flips up, a shutter opens and the light falls onto the image sensor, which captures the final image. In a mirrorless camera, light passes through the lens and right onto the image sensor, which captures a preview of the image to display on the rear screen. Eliminating this mirror allows for these camera’s to produce faster shutter speeds of up to 10-12 frames per second.k3 Now that sounds all fine and peachy but this new technology has come with some flaws. Tracking subjects coming straight at you or a bird in flight that is flying up and down seems to be an issue for this camera. Many mirrorless cameras are working on a predictive tracking to help photographers follow these subjects and seems to get better with each model that comes out.

So what camera sounds the best to you? Is it a crop sensor camera that allows you an increased focal distance with a small price tag. Or would it be a full frame camera that can allow you to blow those amazing images up to life size pictures. Or how about the new mirrorless technology that has a good price tag and seem to be the possible way of the future? What ever you decide remember what I said in the beginning, camera’s don’t take pictures, people do. If you ever have a question about a camera please feel free to ask as I have held many in my hands over the years.
Thanks for reading today’s blog and good luck on your next purchase!

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Looking through quality glass

Today I wanted to speak to you about what makes a good lens.dpsocialnet_24-105 When most people start out in photography they are attracted to that great kit lens price. The common thing I hear is why should I buy this camera for let’s say 1800 when I can buy this camera and two lenses for 1799. Well for the average person I can’t really see any issue with that but for a more serious photographer it may be an issue. Let me break things down for you a little for what makes a good lens and what makes a great lens.

14-24-D3R_5629-600When professional photographers are looking for a new lens 9 times out of 10 they are looking for something with an aperture of F1.4 to F2.8 the reason for this is the quality of glass. Having a aperture like this usually makes the lens bigger and heavier then a lens of the same focal distance of a aperture of say F3.5 to F5.6 The reason for this is the quality of glass they use the thickness of the glass they use and the amount of glass they use. All these combined together can make one sharp lens!

Removing-the-rubber-gasket-from-the-Nikon-70-300mm-VR-lensWeather sealing can make a big difference on a lens as well. Most high end lenses come with a dust ring at the bottom of the lens to keep dust and dirt out from between the body and lens. This in turn will help keep dust off your sensor when shooting in dirty or harsh environments. Other types of weather sealing can be on the body of the lens it’s self, some have tight o-rings under the aperture and focal rings to keep the water out so you can shoot in the direct rain.

Now let’s talk about the honest truth of what makes a good lens. The best lens you can have is the one you have on your camera!. Dealing with what you have is the key to making a good picture. Sometimes even the best lenses have a fault in some types of light so don’t think there is a perfect lens. Most people go out and buy a lens for a specific purpose but forget it can be used for many other types of photography.sigma_120-300os2 Like an example would be a telephoto lens, most people would use one for sports or wildlife and forget that it to can make a great landscape lens. Now the personalities between a wide angle and a telephoto for landscape are huge but sometimes it’s all about the perspective. A telephoto lens will compress a image creating less depth to give it a different look. Sometimes images that work well can be a pano of a mountain range over a valley from a distance. This will still allow you to capture the valley but compress it so the mountain will pop more in a image.

When I first started out with photography I was all about getting myself a wide angle lens. Once I had one in my hands I thought look out world I’m going to photograph some of the best landscapes now. Well I got that lens out there and snapped away and after a while I realized that I actually hate this lens. Well hate my be a strong word but I can tell you its a word quite close. Now my reason for disliking this lens is for the fact of how much depth a wide angle can really give you. Two factors come into play for me to like a wide angle picture. One is the foreground has to be wild enough for me to hold my eye. Having a boring foreground will just wash your image right out. Another thing I need is a crazy looking sky, something that’s busy to keep my eye looking around the picture. Basically I only use my wide angle for very close up pictures of a building or when I’m in a tight area and need that wide to capture the sides of something. Other places I find a wind angle comes in handy is while shooting inside an abandoned building.

571_24-70mm_f28_horizontal-smMy go to lens for the last while with landscapes tends to be a 24-70. Keep in mind I do shoot full frame so 16mm on a dx body camera would be close to 24mm with a crop factor. This lens allows me to shoot wide and zoom into a landscape so I can see what can be cropped out and just how much the perspective can change. So what is the best lens for you? My best answer is the one you can be most creative with! Creativity is what sets off one photographer to another so if you just go out and take pictures be prepared to be classed in with everybody else who just takes pictures.

If you want to learn more about how to be creative with your lens come join me on one of my composition classes. click here for composition classes for 2015

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Getting ready for spring are you?

After enduring the coldest February on record I think everybody is ready extra early for spring and summer this year. Now that our days are starting to get longer and we have some warm sunny crc3days it won’t be long for all the new growth to start popping through the ground. As we approach this time of year we always get into the habit of spring cleaning. We do this as if it’s a new start to the year or season. Putting away all the winter stuff and getting all our lawn and garden equipment ready is only part of it. For people like us it’s more about getting our cameras outside and taking some pictures again. I have noticed this winter in particular, people have been staying inside due to the very cold temperatures. That’s quite alright as some people are just not built for the winter season and others like myself tend to melt in the summer so it’s a trade off. So let’s meet somewhere in the center like May 16th?

Side profileOn May 16th I will be holding a raptor in flight workshop at the Canadian Raptor conservancy. In hopes for warmer days we will be outside standing in a natural environment with a lush green backdrop. During this day we will be photographing raptors in flight such as the Golden Eagle, Bald Eagle, Harris Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, Aplomado Falcon, Broad-winged Hawk, Great Horned Owl, Barn Owl. Some static birds may include the Great Grey Owl, Snowy Owl, Peregrine Falcon and the Eurasion Eagle Owl.

Our sessions for the AM class will start at 8:30 with a brief instruction for our morning shoot. During the time we are in the field I will be walking around making sure you are all getting the photographs desired. After wearing out a battery and filling up a memory card or two our am session will end at 12 noon. The PM class will begin at 12:30 and as well will have a brief instruction on the afternoon shoot. Help will be provided for afternoon attendees as well to get the desired shots. Our Pm session will end at 4pm before the light falls behind the trees.

During the day we will be offering a mix of raptors throughout the AM and PM. Some birds will be repeated like the Golden and Bald Eagles and a few others but the order of birds will not be Bald Eagle in flightdetermined until the AM of the 16th. The cost for the raptors in flight is 149 plus HST for a half day, people will have the choice to pick a AM class or a PM class. Or the option is there to do both as a full day for 249 plus HST

So don’t miss out as this workshop is going to fill up fast!

For all inquires or enrollment please contact me at chrispepperphotography@gmail.com

 

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We are on the Air!!

Hello fellow photog’s and viewers!

Hanging out in BanffIt’s nice to be back on the air again and posting blogs for my viewers to see. Over the past few weeks I have been spending some time re vamping my site. Switching over to a WordPress site has been a bit of a learning curve but I now have a grip on things. I look forward to keeping you all posted on some product reviews, trip reviews and share some pictures from my recent outings.

Thanks for viewing my blog.

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