NC, USA - http://danajophotos.com/
I'm a creative photographer specializing in weddings, and I love capturing life's beauty wherever I go. My husband, Darren, is a tech and travel writer, doubling as a fantastic co-pilot.
Even casual travelers know the wonders of GPS
. It's hard to imagine how we functioned on the road just a few years back without a satnav at our disposal, and now that our smartphones are also well equipped
to guide us from point A to point Z (and everywhere in between), having a true sense of direction isn't quite as necessary as it once was. But GPS satellites are useful for quite a bit more than just routing us. In the photography world, geotagging is becoming an increasingly attractive way to effectively track ones travels in a unique, refreshing visual fashion.
If you aren't familiar with the term, geotagging
refers to embedded GPS data on each image, which can then be read by various photo applications and mapping software. When you take a photo using any existing DSLR, a great deal of "metadata" is embedded onto each image; this data enables individuals to see what aperture
, shutter speed
, white balance setting and focal length (among other things) were used when a particular shot was composed. These pieces of information are remarkably useful when comparing shots after the fact, and geotagging adds one more vital bit of data to the mix: coordinates. Read on to find out how you can start adding GPS data to your images, and why you should make the effort to do so.
I recently embarked on a trip to Montana's northwestern corner
, primarily concerned with a couple of things: enjoying a few days of skiing and snowmobiling, and keeping my shutter going all the while. Truth be told, it's harder than you might think. Managing to capture photos -- let alone ones that you'd be proud to show off -- in wintry conditions is certainly a challenge, but it's not completely impossible if you prepare well and allow a bit of extra composing time out on the hill.
Being the family photographer while out on the slopes (or on the trails) requires extra effort, but I've got a few tips to make things as painless as possible. If you've splurged on a winter vacation, you won't want to return home without any images to prove it. Read on to see how I pulled off a few clutch shots while skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort
and covering the trails in nearby Olney, MT.
It's a mouthful of a name, but Columbia's new Circuit Breaker Softshell heated jacket
is exactly the kind of hardware that avid winter adventurists
and residents of frigid locales
have been clamoring for. Heated gear has been around for awhile, but older implementations have generally been prohibitively expensive, extremely bulky and short on life. Reviews have generally been mixed, and the cold weather world at large has really been waiting for battery and charging technologies to advance to a point where a heated jacket could be taken seriously. The Omni-Heat Circuit Breaker is it.
This coat is one of three new launches from Columbia for next
ski season (it's slated to go on sale to the public on October of 2011), accompanied by a pair of Omni-Heat electric boots and a set of electric gloves. For this review, we're going to focus on the most sophisticated of the three: the Circuit Breaker Softshell jacket, albeit a pre-production version that may be altered ever-so-slightly prior to October. Was a jacket filled with heating elements able to keep our core satisfactorily warm during a frigid snowmobile trip through northwestern Montana and during a near-blizzard at Whitefish Mountain Resort
? Read on to find out.
Femtocells aren't new
. For the past few years, they have trickled out onto Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint using various names, and while they're perfect for those who have subpar cellphone coverage in their own home, they aren't great for avid travelers dealing with international roaming. If you're unfamiliar with the technology, it works as such: a femtocell is a miniature cell tower, of sorts, which connects to your home broadband Internet connection. This basically creates a cell tower in your home, and it routes your calls out through the Internet instead of via the nearest "real" tower.
Unfortunately, all of the US carriers have locked their femtocells to work only in America, and even when you change locations domestically, most require you to update your address in your online profile before it can work elsewhere. There's a GPS beacon attached to all of them, which works as the ball-and-chain for travelers. The ultimate femtocell would be the one that you could take anywhere, and plug into any Internet connection, in order to have five bars of local cell service anywhere in the world. It would all but eliminate roaming fees while you were chatting in your overseas office or hotel room. But wouldn't it be even nicer if you could take that idea, and make it mobile? That's exactly what Ubiquisys is doing with its newest product, the Attocell
. Read on for more details.
It's shaping up to be a busy, busy weekend for sports. The NFL's Pro Bowl
is set to take place Sunday night, and a few hours prior, the NHL's All-Star Game
will kick off in North Carolina's capital city. This weekend
will be the first that Raleigh has hosted the All-Star Game, with the Carolina Hurricanes being the host team and their RBC Center being the host facility. Those living here (like me!) will be quick to point out that Raleigh
brought home a major national championship before the more populated Charlotte, with the Stanley Cup coming to NC during the 2005 - 2006 season.
The city has been doing an awful lot of planning since it found out it would be this year's host in April of 2010, including the finalization of RDU's sophisticated Terminal 2
this past week. We're still no closer to having a legitimate public transportation system (outside of a few sporadic bus routes), but there's plenty of southern hospitality to go around for those coming to town. If you're planning a trip down below the Mason–Dixon Line in order to attend this year's NHL All-Star Game, read on to discover five can't-miss places to visit (and eat at) while in Raleigh.
Up until now, we've covered
three of the more basic, essential aspects of understanding the minutiae that goes into composing a photograph. While traveling, it's easy to run into vastly different scenes from hour to hour, making it all the more important to understand how and why your camera reacts the way it does. The goal here is to get you more comfortable with manually controlling your camera so you can accurately capture whatever it is you've traveled to see, and while it's not nearly as simple to grasp as ISO
or shutter speed
, getting a basic understanding of metering is essential to understanding how exposure works.
When you think about exposure in general, you think about how brightly lit or how dark an image is. We've all seen the wedding rehearsal pictures that were so underexposed that everyone looks like a silhouette, and we've all seen the sunrise shot from the beach where everything looks white -- a telltale sign of overexposure. In this guide, we'll provide you with the knowledge you need to know in order to grasp metering and how it affects the exposure (darkness / brightness) of your travel shots. And we'll also refrain from drowning you in technical knowledge that you have no time to ingest. Read on to get one step closer to mastering metering.
You've schooled yourself on ISO
, and you're starting to get a handle on shutter speed
. Next stop? Aperture. This particular setting is exceedingly important when trying to wrap your head around the basics of manually controlling a camera, but it's also one of the more confusing. For starters, not every camera and lens can achieve the same f/stops (in case you couldn't guess, aperture levels are measured as f/[number]
), and similar to shutter speed, changing the f/stop does more than just one thing.
Tweaking the aperture can change the outcome of your photo in a drastic way. But before you go cranking that number beside the "f" on your camera screen, let's break down the basics on what aperture is, what it affects and why you should care. Read on for a few pointers that every shooter should know.
Now that you've got a grip on ISO
, it's time to talk about shutter speed
as it relates to light. What is it, and how can it be tweaked to better the photographs that you'll take on the run? A great question, and we're glad you asked. Simply put, shutter speed refers to the length of time that the shutter stays open while snapping a photograph. In general, the longer a shutter remains open, the more light is allowed in. And the more light that is allowed in, the brighter a picture becomes.
There's a fine line that is walked with shutter speed. If you don't leave the shutter open long enough, your images will turn out too dark to be useful. Having a shot that's too dark can spoil an otherwise great vacation memory, and it's nearly impossible to brighten an overly dark photograph using Photoshop (or a similar editing application) without adding a lot of noise and grain. On the flip side, leaving the shutter open too long can result in a couple of negative outcomes.
We'll discuss these and walk you through an example after the break, so grab your advanced point-and-shoot, interchangeable lens camera or DSLR and read on get a better feel of how changing the shutter speed can change the outcome of your snapshots.
Selecting a camera bag
can be a daunting process. There are literally hundreds upon hundreds of options
, and even bags that aren't specifically designed with cameras in mind can be altered and repurposed for use with your setup. Kata
is a respected name in the bag industry, offering quite a few travel packs and a handful of dedicated camera packs. Where they stand out is their rigidity and flexibility. The company's packs are stronger, stiffer and more rugged than the average bag, and the prices show it.
The Kata 3N1-33
is its highest-end sling / torso pack that's designed for hauling around a robust DSLR rig. It's not nearly as bulky as some of the backpacks we've seen, but the internal compartments are arranged in a way so that you can carry around a 15.4-inch (or smaller) laptop, a DSLR (with or without battery grip), a long-range zoom lens, five or six other lenses, a camera flash and a handful of chargers, batteries, pens, keys, business cards and any other small essentials that you typically would carry on a business or travel shoot.
But what truly
sets this bag apart in our mind is the handling capabilities. You can wear this pack a half-dozen different ways: as a standard backpack, as a left or right-handed torso pack, or in a x-strap configuration that's a hybrid of the two.
Wondering how this bag fares against the competition, and if it's really worth the $130 or so that it's selling for? Read on for our full review.
ISO. Three little letters which stand for International Organization for Standardization (not exactly thrilling) and make a monumental difference in the outcome of images, particularly in low-light scenarios. It's one of the most prominently featured specifications of any modern digital camera, and it's one single aspect that can make a night-and-day difference in the outcome of your shots. If you're on the road, on vacation or just galavanting about with your new camera, there are a few key pointers you need to know about how ISO works, and how it can affect the snapshots your take. We'll spare you the behind-the-scenes, science-y explanation on ISO though and get right to the heart of the matter.
While film and photography purists may balk at the assumption, the average photographer really only needs to know a couple of things about ISO -- particularly the novice who simply needs their vacation photos to look at least somewhat like how they remember the scene looking.
FIn general, if a camera has a wide ISO range then it can capture faster moving action in low-light settings. Also, higher ISO ranges enable handheld shots to be taken further into the evening (and without blur). The gallery below highlights every single ISO stop between 200 and 104,200 on a Nikon D3s
. Few cameras will offer an ISO range similar to this, but walking through it shot-by-shot gives you a great view of how a boosted ISO alters the outcome of a shot. Pictures are worth a thousand words, as they say. All of the other settings were kept constant for these shots (Shutter Speed: 1/8 of a second; f/5.0; 50mm focal length, no flash fired; auto white balance; tripod-mounted shot). Click the 'Read More' link here for a deeper dive into ISO, along with loads of pointers on how and when to tweak the value when shooting.
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