Product Review Neewer N40S

September 19, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

20170826_untitled shoot_000220170826_untitled shoot_0002  Hey Everyone !  I've got a new product review that I want to share with you.  As you may know I have fell in love with the Sony Alfa series of camera's for doing the majority of my personal photography.  Most of this stuff is outdoors but I wanted a flash that would do TTL.  I am a big believer in the Yongnuo brand of inexpensive flashes for my Nikon camera and have several and can use them in manual mode with my Sony A6300 which is fine but I wanted at least one flash that I could use TTL with and hopefully one that would easily travel.  So I started my search for a small flash that could do TTL. 

20170826_untitled shoot_000120170826_untitled shoot_0001 I stared with Google and of course my beloved Youtube.  The flash that kept coming up was the Nissin i40.  Made in Japan. It does TTL and high speed sync with a guide number of 40.  So I looked it up on Amazon and it was 260.00 which was out of my price range. Then I saw the Neewer N40S made in China.  Its pretty much a copy of the Nissin i40 and the price is right at 75 bucks so I had to try it.

My first impressions of it when I got it was that it is small.  It feels well built and comes with a case that is well built. The guide number is 40 and the guide number of my Yongnuo's are 58 so they are not quite as strong as the Yongnuo's are.  But thats ok Im not looking to do a lot of flash photography with my Sony.  Very easy to operate with dial and not a digital display with complicated menu's.  The unit can be run in Manual, Automatic , TTL and High Speed Sync, and has a video light built in .  Now the Video light is not its strongest feature but its kind of cool that it has one.

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Here are two photos that were both taken at 1/2000 sec @ f4.0 the one on the left without flash and one on the right with flash. High speed sync check! This little flash has ticked all the boxes on my checklist.  I think for the money and what Im going to use it for its the right one for me.

Keep Shooting

Does gear really make the Photo?

August 14, 2017  •  2 Comments

They say that admitting to a problem is the first step in solving a problem so here goes.  I have been a gear hound for a long time.  I have GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) .   For some time now I have been under the impression that gear makes the photo.  Now I'm not alone .  There are lots of you just like me.  I have accumulated some of the finest gear that money can buy and my photo's have improved but was it because of my gear or the know how that I have acquired learning how to use this gear? My Camera'sMy Camera's  To be honest I think it is a little of both.  Good gear does matter to a point for sharpness, depth of field, dynamic range but composure , making long exposures , composition these are all things that the camera does not control we do. Do we really need the top of the line gear if this is just our hobby and most of what we use are images for is for putting on some website?  Do I need 36 megapixels? Do I need 42 megapixels?  I say no unless your printing for Bill Boards!  So what do you need for good photo's?  My answer is simple the best camera you can afford.  Most of all the new camera's that are coming out now will do the job.  So don't max out your credit cards buying the most expensive thing out there just because some article says to do so.  So what is my criteria for a good camera?  One that you can put in full manual mode, that you can shoot in RAW, and change lenses(some of the built in zooms work fine too).  I don't think megapixels make a difference in today's cameras all of them have plenty. DSCF0513DSCF0513

My camera club goes to the Mountains once a year and spends a week with the Fall colors and Water falls and wild life.  This week is the most photo active time of the year for me as I am not a professional full time photographer.  Some of my best photo's of the year come from this trip.  I usually carry my big camera and all of my expensive lenses with me and really get good results.  A couple years or so ago I purchased a Sony Mirrorless camera that has become my go to camera.  Its small and compact compaired to my Big Nikon Rig that I have.  I bought it for backpacking because of its size and weight but I have come to love it.  So this year when my camera club goes to the mountains the Sony Mirrorless camera will be my main camera for the trip.  I will use it for the water falls, wild life , all the fall colors and everything else.  I will take my Nikon and 1 lens as a backup.  The Sony kit will contain the following items

  1. Sony A6300 body
  2. 2 kit lens 16-50 mm and 55-210 lens
  3. 18-105mm F4 lens and 10-18mm F4 lens
  4. Pentax 28mm  f2.8 manual focus lens W/Sony adapter
  5. Nikon 60mm f2.8 macro manual focus lens W/Sony adapter

My Nikon will be the D800 with 24-70mm 2.8 lens.

10404408_10203141767201989_3296463740236017661_n10404408_10203141767201989_3296463740236017661_n We will be visiting some of the same water falls that we have visited in the past that I used my Nikon on and I want to see what the difference is with my Sony mirrorless and my full frame Nikon.  Will my photo's be better, worse or the same? I believe they will be the same but only time will tell.  If they do turn out the same or even better what does that mean.  Will I get rid of my expensive equipment? Will I sell ?  I don't know I still like my big camera and lenses for portraits especially when using studio lights or flashes.  But I could use my mirrorless to do the same.  All that is still up in the air but for the foreseeable future I will be using my Sony for everything except portraits.

How many times have you been looking at Facebook or some other social media outlet and saw a fantastic photograph to be dismayed when you find out it was taken with a iphone. Remember photography is suppose to be fun and not a see who has the most or the biggest gear contest.  Enjoy your photography save your money so you can go more places to use your photography.  Remember it's not the camera it's the photographer that takes great Photo's.  I plan on gearing down and make things more simple not more complicated. Get out and Shoot! 


William B. Umstead State Park Hike

December 13, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Umstead 2Umstead 2 Located in Raleigh NC William B. Umstead State Park is a great park with 22 miles of hiking trails that are well used.  The park is situated in Raleigh and the town folk use it a lot for hiking, trail running, Biking ...   Umstead 3Umstead 3 The 22 miles of trails give you access to most of the park and vary in lengths from short to long trails.  Me and a couple of my photography friends went up there to do some hiking and get some exercise.  Of course being photographers we had to document the event.   GOPR2757GOPR2757DCIM\101GOPRO We had a great time and fellowship and also had a little foot problems by one of the guys that I'm sure will be corrected by our next hike.  Please enjoy the video from the link below!


Umstead State Park Hike Video

Hiking Gear

December 09, 2016  •  Leave a Comment


As a Landscape and Nature Photographer hiking is kind of second nature.  You have to get to great locations to get great shots that everyone else does not have.  The further your hikes go the more importance to what you bring is.  Weight matters!  My everyday/hiking kit I try to keep as light as possible.  The kit I'm going to show you is right at 7lbs.  My big professional Nikon D800 camera and one lens weighs in at 5lbs. Thats only 1 lens no tripod filters or anything else just camera. My hiking kit consist of 4 lenses and (I have other ones in the wings to switch out if I need to) Tripod, filters, and lots of other goodies.  Here is a photo of my stuff and a itemized list.


1. Camera Sony A6000 (crop sensor) with Pentax 28mm f2.8 vintage lens which I used on a film camera about 30ish years ago. With the crop sensor the lens is at  a focal length of about 42mm good for close photographs like a walk in the woods.

2.Wide Angle lens Sony 10-18mm f4.  Gives me a focal length of 15-25mm with the crop sensor. Super sharp lens for Big Landscapes like the Mountains.

3. Mid Range Telephoto- 18-105mm.  This one gives me a focal range of 25-150mm. This is the lens that gets swapped out a lot with other lenses. This is a great all in one lens and has given me some great photo's depending on where Im hiking this may or may not be in the bag sometimes swapped out for a vintage 35-70mm f2.8 lens.

4. Telephoto Pentax 80-200 mm f4.6. Gives me a focal range of 120-300mm. This is a cheap plastic lens that I got 30 years ago but its lightweight and pretty sharp. This is the range that I use the least.

5. Peak Design clip.  This allows me to put my camera right on my backpack strap to keep my hands free but gives me quick access to my camera.

6. GoPro Session 4 on a hat clip.  The GoPro is the newest addition to my camera kit I used to use my phone for everything video wise but this is a great piece of kit!  I can use for biking also and its water proof.

7. Peak Design Leash.  Love this for this small camera gives me a sense of security when its strapped to my wrist!

8. Batteries and Charger.  Mirrorless cameras can eat up batteries so I carry 2 extra and odds and ends in this case.

9. Polarizer Case. I Carry circular polarizers for most of my lenses

10. ND Filters. I carry a variable circular natural density filter and step down rings to fit most of my lenses.

11. Anker 10500 mAh.  I use this to charge GoPro, Camera Batteries, iPhone.

12. Bag for GoPro and cleaning clothes for lenses

13. Joby Gorilla Pod for GoPro

14. Stick Pick Mount. Allows me to put GoPro on my hiking stick like a selfie stick.

15. Trail Pix Ultra light Tripod.  Im able to use this with my hiking sticks with one from a buddy and create a tripod that will handle up to 7 lbs.

16. Altoids , Advil, Tums, moist lens clothes for my glasses and or lenses.

17. Outdoor Products Hydration Pack.  I got this from Walmart for 40 bucks and it works great for this small load.

18. Fleese Skull cap, Neck warmer, Waterproof gloves , and bandana.  For keeping warm and such.

19. Kelty Trekking Poles.  This is probably one of the best kept secrets in hiking. Trekking poles will save your knees and save your butt from falls they are great long trips.

20. Emergency Poncho, wet wipes.  Poncho is for rain showers .  I got caught in the rain once on a hike and just got drenched and since then I always carry a emergency poncho.  And for those emergency bathroom breaks without a bathroom the wet wipes or toilet paper is a must.

21. Finn the Explorer, Sunglass Case, Lens Brush .  Finn the Explorer is new and he travels with me and I try to take a photo of him when we go to a new place.  Sunglass Case and lens brush are self explanatory.

Charleston SC Photo/Camping Trip

November 19, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

_DSC7397_DSC7397 In August my wife and I took a weekend trip to Charleston SC.  We took our Teardrop trailer and stayed on Joint Base Charleston. Joint Base Charleston is a base comprised of Air Force and Navy and we stayed on the Navy side for a very reasonable price.  If you are military or Retired military don't forget to check out military bases for camping spots they are very reasonable, clean and safe.  Charleston is a big place with lots to do and you can't see it all on a weekend. _DSC7375_DSC7375  My suggestion is to divide it into smaller trips to really get a good taste of Charleston.  That's what we did.  We decided to just go to the historic downtown area of Charleston and take a guided tour of the city from the back of a horse drawn carriage. Beside the downtown there are many things to see in Charleston. There is the Air Craft Carrier Yorktown that is a floating Museum that I really want to go see.  There is Fort Sumter with all of its Civil War History which I think you  have to take a ferry or water taxi to get to.  There are  _DSC7405_DSC7405 museums and an aquarium that you can go see if the weather gets rainy.  Folly Beach isn't far with all the beach things that you come to expect from a coastal community.   _DSC7347_DSC7347 There are old Plantations that you can visit like Magnolia Plantation.  There is the Angle Oak Live Oak tree that is estimated to be over 500 years old located at Angle oak park.  So you can see that there is lots to do and oh yea! Charleston is known for its fine restaurants! Lots to do and see and eat in Charleston!