The Best Travel Camera for a Middle East Adventure

I recently received a message on facebook from a friend looking for advice on a travel camera. She wants to photograph her 4-week journey/adventure to the middle east to visit family, with a follow-up week at The Cochella Music and Arts Festival. To be completely honest I’m a tad jealous, but as a professional travel photographer I do have some pretty well tested thoughts and to help her (and possibly you) out in this matter.


Question about the best way to photograph and video travel economically

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Winter Fest Photography Mini-Workshop

Couple takes family photo
A couple takes a photo on the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia, SC.

What is there to do in Columbia on the first Sunday of 2011 after church ends, and before the first kickoff?  If you found a digital camera under the Christmas tree this year, and aren’t sure how to get the most out of it for your family pictures, it might be a good idea to stop by the South Carolina State Museum at 1:30 or 3.  Didn’t get a camera this year, but want to learn some tips to improve your digital photography?  You’re invited too!

One of the great things about digital photography is that the cameras have become so advanced they can do a lot of the work for us, but thats also a tremendous drawback, because we tend to be lazy and forget the basic fundamentals of taking a good photograph.  During these 1 hour mini-workshops, I will be covering some basic tips and tricks that you may have forgotten, or never learned to help you get the most out of digital photographs, all geared towards helping you record your family history.

If you want to learn more come by the South Carolina State Museum this Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 1:30pm or 3pm.  The best part about this is that since its the first Sunday of the month admission is only $1, and the seminar is free with the price of admission.  Trust me when I say its a much better value than the $1 double cheeseburger at the McDonald’s up the street.

While you’re at the Museum don’t forget to stop by the Lipscomb Gallery on the first floor to check out the amazing work of 24 South Carolina photographers featured in the Palmetto Portraits Project exhibit (in full disclosure I am one of the photographers).  The exhibit runs through (closes) on January 9, 2011 so this may be your last chance to see this amazing collection of more than 240 portraits from around SC.  For more information on the PPP visit and for more information about exhibits and programs at the South Carolina State Museum visit

Winter Fest Press Release PDF

Making it work: Behind the scenes of a ground remote…

I have received several emails from readers and people who have seen my shot from the 2008 Carolina Cup Races, that I posted a few weeks ago, so I decided that I amy going to demystify how you make a shot like this work, by using a remote camera.

For those who don’t know, a remote camera, is a camera which you place in a specific location ahead of an event that would not be accessible during the event, and is then triggered by a hard wire, or radio signal. The list of equipment I used to make this image is as follows.

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Digital SLR
Lens: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM
Remote Trigger: Pocket Wizard (not pictured) and LPA Designs Pre-Release Cable CM-N3-P
Mounting Hardware: Ultra-Pod II
Protection: Kata E-702 GDC Elements Cover






Complete Setup: This is what the setup looked like when it was completely assembled. The camera and lens were mounted to the Ultra-Pod II and then inserted into the GDC Elements Cover. After everything was strapped down and the camera was protected from any flying mud or sudden rain showers, I used the left arm hole to attach the PocketWizard and the Pre-Release Cable to the camera and then cinched up all the other loose openings. You don’t have to use a rain cover or a remote cover, a clear plastic bag, a plastic cup, and some tape will do the same trick. I really do prefer rain covers as opposed to remote covers, so you can see to make any adjustments to exposure or focus without disturbing the entire setup.

Now comes the setup. Be prepared to get there early, some venues require you have the remote in place days before the event, while others will allow a remote to be placed hours before the event. It is also a good idea to make sure your liability insurance is up to date, because if someone or something trips over your remote and gets injured, you could be in some hot water. Once you have looked into all of the logistical details, its time to place the remote. It generally helps to have some working knowledge of the event or sport you are photographing, because you will have to anticipate everything happening long before it actually occurs. Since this was not my first time photographing a steeplechase or horse racing in general I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to see. With this in mind I chose a fence to place the remote under, and estimated the spot in the jump where most ofthe horses would come over. With these things in mind I had my assistant for the day, Cindy stand at that position in the jump so I could focus and frame the image up. Once everything was set, I taped all of the adjustment dials, focus rings, etc… on my camera in place so they wouldn’t move, made sure the whole setup was nice and tidy, and proceeded to make some test images of Cindy and I jumping around the frame to verify focal plane, and framing of the image. Once this was all done, it was time to go make some feature shots while waiting on the race to begin. *This is why it is important to use a pre-release cable, because it will keep your camera awake and ready to fire, so there is no delay firing the first frame when the time comes.* When the race began I decided to shoot from down the track with my 300mm f/2.8 and 1.4x converter, with the PocketWizard on the hot shoe of the camera, so I could have two angles of the shot, incase the remote didn’t work for some reason. Once the event is done with, you can go back to your remote, and collect your images and hope you got what you envisioned.