Max Stansell Photography: Blog en-us (C) Max Stansell Photography (Max Stansell Photography) Sat, 03 Feb 2018 12:47:00 GMT Sat, 03 Feb 2018 12:47:00 GMT Max Stansell Photography: Blog 97 120 My Work Flow Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 7.16.10 AMScreen Shot 2018-02-03 at 7.16.10 AM Hey everyone!  I have done a few blogs and videos on different portions of my process but haven't really gone through the whole thing. So just imagine that you've just got back from and outing of shooting and you have taken all of these great photo's.  You've looked at them on the back of your camera but you need to get then off and into your computer for processing.  I shoot in RAW format but when looking at the back of your camera your looking at JPEGs which have been compressed and have been processed by your camera so if you really like the photo thats on the back of your camera you still have some work to do to make the RAW file with no corrections to look like the back of your camera. We also want to safeguard our images, make backups for safety incase of equipment failure.  So now you have your SD card with all of your images on it this is Copy 1 of your images.  Lets get the images onto your computer.

Import into Lightroom

Getting the images onto my computer I will hook up a card reader and insert my SD card .  I use Adobe Lightroom to do almost all of my editing and all of my organizing. I have made a video that is a couple of years old and its basically how I do things now except I don't store any of my photo's on the hard drive of the computer.  I keep all of my photo's on an external drive.  I also just copy to my external I "don't copy as DNG" I still like the DNG but it takes too long to convert. Everything else is basically the same.  Lightroom stores everything in Catalogs I have one master catalog that has all my images through the years in it.  It is stored on my main IMac computer.  When I'm traveling or camping I have a mobile catalog that is stored on a SSD external drive so I can edit and cull photographs  while I'm away.  When I get back home I can transfer those photo's back to the master catalog with all my edits from my mobile computer/laptop intact.  Think of the lightroom catalog like your iTunes library.  All of your images edits are kept there like all of your music on iTunes library.  Notice I said all images "edits " are kept there your original RAW files are still on your Hard Drive whether its a internal one or a external. Here is the link to the import video that I have on Youtube.  

Importing into Lightroom

Library Module and Culling

After you have your photo's in Lightroom the Culling process starts.  This is choosing the best images (the ones you want to process).  This can be Arrows and blocksArrows and blocksArrows and blocks. Correlation of the parts. Relations. a big job!  If you say took 500 images out of those images you'll probably only have maybe 50 at the most that are worth processing. So getting down to the 50 or 20 good photo's that you want to process is Culling.  There are many ways to do this and you kind of got to figure this out for yourself but this is how I do it.  I go through 4 or 5 images at a time and pick the ones I like by rating them to a "1" rating.  I do this very quickly and here is my logic for this.  When you walk into a room full of people it doesn't take but a few seconds for you to find the prettiest/most handsome in the room.  Our minds eye picks out the person in a flash and will also find the best photo in a flash.  Now after going through the photo's I have knocked out the 500 number to about 100 real quick.  Then if I need to I'll do it again and rate a 2  to the best photo and I have knocked the images down to 25.  I can process those photo's and then I can pick all of the unrated photo's and delete them.  By doing this you will keep the number of useless photo's down and keep the speed of your computer up.  Now I don't get rid of everything if I have photo's with family or friends in them I usually keep them but the rest of the unrated are deleted.  I don't need 50 shots of the same tree that I will never use taking up space on my computer one or two will do.  Here is a video that I make a couple of years ago on the library module and my culling process.

Library Module and Culling 

Processing (Five Step Tango)

tango-party-design-poster-vector-illustration_10083-26tango-party-design-poster-vector-illustration_10083-26 My Processing  Procedure has not changed in many years.  I use a process called the five step Tango that I hijacked from a photographer/teacher Jack Davis along time ago and it works well for me. I usually take less than 5 min. on most photo's to process unless I'm doing a portrait or a composite that will take longer when I bring it into Photoshop. Some people really get into this portion of the workflow process and thats great but for me the least amount of time I spend on the computer after a shoot the better.   I have a couple of video's on processing that I will link here also.  Here is the link to the Youtube videos.

Five Step Tango

Lightroom Develop Module Part 1

Lightroom Develop Module Part 2

Exporting Photo's

fb-artfb-art Now you have your photo's processed what next?  How do you share what you have done so far?  In the film era you sent your film away or you processed it your self and had prints made.  Today you have many options.  You can share with family and friends many ways through the internet.  Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, 500px are just some of the ways you can share your images.  What about prints? What about Canvas? Putting your photo's into Calendars, cups ,stickers?  Me personally most of the photo's I take flickrflickr and process are shared through the internet with the above mentioned web sites and of course this site!  I love to see the feedback and ratings I get from these sites and friends. I also create a couple of canvas's and I do print small for my house or family and friends usually 5x7 and 8x10's.  But what about the future when Im long gone.  I think prints are one way for future generations so see my work.  I've also started making books.  We did this for a end of year project this year with my camera club and it was pretty great.  So that's one project that I will be doing yearly and maybe for large trips in the future.


I still have my original RAW photo's on my SD card I also have another copy of on my external drive that I have been using for all of my edits.  In the digital age at least two copies of your work is needed to be safe that you don't loose what you have done.  So now I have to place the SD card back into my camera to use again so I will need to format the card which will erase all of my RAW data and I will only have one copy of my images.  I have done many backup strategies in the past and the one discussed in my last blog post Backup Strategies (check out that blog for more detail)  is the one that I use now.  Backing up to a cloud base storage.  That backs up my Main Computer and external drives but what about my laptops and mobile devices.  I also back those up to external drives every couple of weeks or so using time machine or PCs backup program.  Im real big into backups after I had my macbook pro have some problems with a video card and I had to have the motherboard replaced I had just done a backup of my laptop so when I got it back from Mac I just ran a restore and it was back to where I left it and I didn't loose anything.   By having  one copy of my files at home and one on the cloud if anything happens like fire hard drive crash or computer stolen I still have a backup on the cloud.

I hope this helps in some way and doesn't confuse anyone.  This is my workflow process and it works for me and for what I do in photography.  I am not a professional photographer just an photography enthusiast / hobbyist  that loves to share.  Keep Shooting!



(Max Stansell Photography) blog export learning lightroom max stansell photography photography photoshop sd website workflow Sat, 03 Feb 2018 12:43:57 GMT
My Mobile Computing _MSP6749_MSP6749 Hey Everyone! Hope everyone is dealing with the cold weather better than I am.  As I get older the cold effects me more than it used to.  Anyway this blog is about my mobile computing solution.  I have two main computers both are Mac.  My iMac which has a 27inch Retna screen which is awesome and I have a 15 in Macbook Pro that is awesome!  Its an older one but I have upgraded the ram and the hard drive and its quick and works great. To replace it would be very expensive with a new model, so to have it broken or stolen and it would break my heart. And its pretty large and heavy compared to newer models.   So I wanted to get me a mobile computing device that ticked three boxes. Box 1 it had to be inexpensive so if it broke or got lost not a big deal.  Box 2 it had to be small and lightweight.  And Box 3 it had to be able to run Lightroom so I could backup files to an external hard drive.  So I went on a search for the machine that would tick those three boxes and let me tell you that was hard but I finally made a _MSP6753_MSP6753 decision and went with a machine that will work.

The machine I went with was the Lenovo Miix 320.  It is a 2 in 1 laptop/tablet with 4 gb ram and 128 SSD hard drive.  The operating system is Windows 10 64bit with a 10.1 display at 1920x1200 resolution. It has a detachable keyboard and can be used as a tablet. I got this machine refurbished off of Ebay and it looks like brand new.  I was a little nervous ordering it off of Ebay but everything worked out ok.  This little machine has ticked all of the boxes mentioned above.

Box 1 had to be inexpensive.  My goal was to try to keep the price under 300 dollars.  Which is almost impossible in itself thats why I went with refurbished.  That actually kept the price down and brought in all kinds of computers that were available.  I wanted a laptop that had a real operating system not a Crome Book that are selling for the price range that I want.  This machine came in at 199.00 !  Tick!

Box 2 Small and Lightweight.  This little 10 inch screen machine only weights 2.2 lbs . It does have a small screen but the resolution is great and sharp.  They keyboard is crunched together a bit, but it has full sized keys and doesn't take long to get used to.  Its small enough to go into a small backpack or small shoulder bag. Tick!

Box 3 Has to be able to run Lightroom and make backups to an external drive. This is probably the most important box of all.  The minimum ram requirement for Lightroom to run is 4 gb of ram which this machine does have, just does. Thats one of the reason I wanted a SSD to increase the speed.  It does run Lightroom.  I won't be processing a lot of photo's on it , but its nice to know I can without any problems. The machine comes with 2 USB 2 ports and one USB C port so transferring files via USB works fine. Tick!

_MSP6755_MSP6755 So this machine handled all of my Criteria for my mobile machine.  Would I love to have a 13 inch Macbook Air ? You bet , but they just cost way too much and if money wasn't a factor thats the way I would go.  But it isn't.  Im really surprised how well this little computer works. Browsing the internet and all other regular computer functions this little computer works great.  It runs Lightroom well enough to process photos , cull and backup with no problem although it is a little slow but not that bad. I think that this little machine will work well for what I need when I go camping or on a photo outing with out worry of theft or breakage.  Im not really promoting any brand or operating system because Im a die hard Mac guy  but for this purpose I hope this little machine will be the ticket!  Only time will tell.  Keep Shooting!

(Max Stansell Photography) 320 blog computers computing laptop lenovo lightroom mac max stansell photography miix mobile photography tablet website Mon, 15 Jan 2018 00:29:59 GMT
Photo File Backup Strategy Hey everyone! I hope the holidays were safe and full of happy memories.  Its the beginning of the year we've had our first snow of the season and its very cold out side with temps in the single digits in the mornings.  Very cold for Eastern North Carolina. So I have been taking this time to clean up photo files from last year.  Deleting the ones that I will never use and making sure the ones I keep are key worded and making sure things are backed up. Which leads me to this blog's discussion Backing up our files.  In the age of film it was a lot simpler.  You could print your photo and hide away your negatives in a box some where and there you have it.  It was backed up your photo in one place and negative in another.  Now if you had them both stored in the same place and there was a fire you were done! Lost everything.  So if you were real serious about safety you could store your negative's in another place in case of fire.  Seems simple enough but in the age of digital it seems to be a lot more confusing.

First lets talk about mobile backup.  When your  on a vacation trip or workshop that last a couple of days. How to backup files? In film days you didn't you just put your roll of film in a safe spot and hoped for the best.  With digital its good to have multiple copies of your files for safety when the storage device you are using fails, and they will fail. Here is the system that works for me and how I back up my files.  First lets say I'm on a week long workshop somewhere very remote no internet, phone service just beautiful Landscapes every where. My first backup is my SD card.  I have purchased enough of them to last a week.  SD cards are pretty cheap now you can get them where ever you see a sale and before you know it you'll have quite a few.  Before my trip I format all of my cards put them in a card case that I have labeled Day 1, 2, 3 etc... On day one I use day one card at the end of the day I back that card up to a external drive that I take with me then take the card and put it in the case and take card labeled 2 into my camera and am ready to go.  I don't format anything while Im on a trip.  Now I have two copies of my images from day 1. Pretty simple and fairly inexpensive.  When I travel I have my cards in one bag and my external drive in another.  The external drive doesn't need to be real fancy you can get one for 50 bucks give or take.  If you get a SSD external drive it will cost a little more but for speed and durability I would recommend it.  These external drives don't need to be huge they could be 250-500 gig they are only temporary until you get home to back them up again.

At home backup.  I have gone through so many different strategies for backing up files.  I have bought external drives , put files on CD and DVDs, Tried to mirror external drives and really couldn't find a system that has really been easy or efficient until now.  First of all let me say that most people save way too many images.  For example if you took 20 photo's of this spooky tree and you picked one image to process and used that one for making a canvas 5 years ago.  Why are you keeping the other 19 that you didn't like then and haven't used since? DELETE them! Save space and time and effort backing them up.  Now Im not talking about family photo's I keep all photo's of family members that are half way decent. I do.  But workshops, or just riding around cull out the ones that you know your not going to ever use again. What I usually do when I import photos into lightroom after a shoot I go through them and the ones I like I'll give them 1 Star I then will go through those and cull even more etc... At the end of the year I'll go through all my photo's and anything without a star I get rid of.  Im probably not going to use anything after a year anyway. So thats step one. Get rid of excess.

Step two has changed over the years but let me start by saying there are many ways to back up your files and my way is by no means the best for everyone just best for me so far.  The most important thing is to back up your files no mater how you do them make a back up of your art. My first backup plan was like most of your plans I had none! I put everything on my hard drive with no backup incase of drive failure.  Of course as my drive got full my computer slowed down so I had to find a way to get files off of my computer.  So I started making CD's with files on them.  I would take older folders of photo's and put them on CD's and that got them off of my computer but still didn't have a backup.  Then I got my first external drive and I would put one copy of my photo's on computer and one on external drive my first real backup. But I didn't have a backup of what was on the CD's.  So then I got another External drive and Copied all of my files from the CD's to the external drive and copied my external to the other external drive. Now for the first time I actually had a backup of all my files.  But how to keep the backup? Thats the trick it actually takes me to physically make the backups.  Which if your like me "Lazy" its hard to do.  So then I tried to import to both drives but then I had raw files on one drive and processed files on the other.  What to do?  I want a system that will be simple.  I want a backup that is safe away from my active backup (the one that I'm using in Lightroom).  

I'm on a podcast listening craze for the last couple of months and one of the podcast that I've listen to was Alpha Mirrorless with Juan Pons and Andy Williams.  Both are wildlife and Landscape photographers that travel half of the year and I've pretty much copied what Andy Williams does for his backups. You can listen to their backup episode #17 which gets into detail. So I've just started a cloud based backup system through a company called BackBlaze which can automatically back up your computer and any external drives connected to them for 50 bucks a year. There are many more companies that do this but I used this one on the advice of Andy Williams and Juan Pons.  What I like about it is I don't have to think, its simple I don't have to take the time to make the backup.  If something should happen to my system you can retrieve from the cloud or they will ship you a external drive with all your files on them.  They have been in the business for quite a while with a good safety reputation.  The only downside of this is that it takes a while for the initial download of all your files.  Im still in that process but after the initial it should be fairly quick.  Then Ill have a copy at my house and one away from my house incase of a fire theft or computer crash or whatever. And I can access from any computer anywhere to download a file.

Thats pretty much my system when I import to lightroom from my SD card or from my mobile external drive (I keep my photo's on external drive not computers hard drive) it goes to my drive and will be backed backed up by Backblaze on the cloud. I have tried to make my back up plan like my camera situation by making it simpler, smaller and more efficient.  Again this is my system use any system you want but please use a system and keep on shooting!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog cards cloud drives external file hard learning max stansell photography photography sd storage tutorial website Sun, 07 Jan 2018 14:36:28 GMT
Lightroom Catalog Management on Laptops Hey everyone! Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving holiday and ate lots of Turkey!  I know I did.  This Blog is how I plan to manage my Lightroom catalog on my laptops for next year.  File management is a ongoing process for me and I change it every so often.  This year I'll be adding a small travel laptop to the mix.  Currently I have my iMac with a 27inch monitor that I love.  I also have a 15 inch Macbook pro that I have had for years and have upgraded the Memory and Hard drive to an SSD and I just love it!  But its a little on the heavy side and I want a small laptop or 2 in 1 computer to take with me when I travel. _DSC4702_DSC4702  Whether its camping in my Teardrop trailer or on photo workshops with my photography club.  The last couple of years I have kept a separate lightroom catalog on my laptop and my all photo's catalog on my iMac separate and Merged them at the end of the year its not too hard to do and it seems to work out ok.  But if I add another computer to the mix what then?  Do I work with three lightroom catalogs?  And when I have my photo's on a laptop catalog its can be difficult to look at them on my iMac if I haven't transferred them to it.  So here is the solution that I plan to try this year.  Im going to purchase a SSD external hard drive for faster operating speed. Im going to create a Lightroom catalog and put the catalog and everything on the SSD drive.  Then no matter what computer I'm using I can bring up the catalog on the SSD drive and edit my photo's on the iMac, MacBook Pro or my travel computer.  

_DSC4701_DSC4701 I haven't purchased my travel computer yet but I have a few requirements that I'm looking for.  First it should be small and portable 11-12 inch screen. It has to have the ports so I can backup photos to an external drive.  I want it to have an Solid State Drive (SSD) for optimum speed.  And as much ram that I can get at a low price (maybe 8gb)  And it must be cheep in the 300ish range.  That way if I break it loose it or it is stolen I'm not heart broken like I would be with my Macbook Pro.  I don't plan on storing anything on it so the hard drive doesn't need to be large 128gb will be fine. I really don't plan on doing a lot of editing but I want it to be capable of running Lightroom Classic so I can cull out bad photo's and maybe edit one or two photo's now and then.  Other than that it will be a web browsing email looking at computer.  Now with the price range I just gave you can figure out that my travel laptop will not be a Apple product.  I would love for it to be but I want my travel computer to be cheap.  So it will be a Windows operating system so I will have to format my drive so it will work with Windows and Mac products so I can pass the information between the two operating systems.  I currently use Adobe Creative Cloud for  Photographers which is a 10 dollar a month subscription for both Lightroom and Photoshop and you can only run 2 computers on the subscription at a time so I'll have to sign out of one of my devices and sign on to my travel Laptop for this to work.  From what I have read this should be possible Adobe even gives you instruction on how to do so.

(Max Stansell Photography) blog database laptop learning lightroom management max stansell photography photography travel website Sat, 16 Dec 2017 19:29:48 GMT
I Jumped! Making the Switch from DSLR to Mirrorless, Nikon to Sony AMT2016-sony-a6300-review-0423-2AMT2016-sony-a6300-review-0423-2Photographer: Anthony Thurston Well everyone I have finally made the switch I am officially a full time mirrorless shooter!  As you may know I have been shooting DSLR's in some form or fashion for many years.  I went from entry level camera's to professional grade camera's and lenses.  I used to shoot film camera's when I was younger completely manual operation from exposure to focusing.  So I have evolved from film shooting black and white developing in the bathroom to color slides to point and shoot digital to entry level DSLR's, Professional DSLR's and now to mirrorless camera's.  There was a learning curve at each step and I would like to think that my photography skills improved with each level.  So your probably wondering why switch if I have been shooting professional grade camera's?  I have many reasons.  But first let me say that the professional cameras are great!  I'm not putting them down in any way or fashion.  I learned a lot using them and am thankful that I went through the process of getting them and using them. But why switch? Let me go through how I got hooked on mirrorless cameras.

About 5 or 6 years ago my photography got me out of the house to start exploring different areas of our state.  I started _MSP9570_MSP9570 hiking all of the trails I could find at State and National Parks and wanted to do more.  Me and my son decided that we wanted to start back packing.  This entails hiking into the woods with everything you need to camp overnight Tent , Sleeping bag food ect... Well we soon found out that the packs were heavy and then carry a Full frame Camera and a couple of professional lens the weight really added up.  Camera and a couple of f2.8 lenses could weigh up to 20 lbs. Thats like 3 1 gallon jugs of Milk that you carry around with you on top of all your camping supplies.  That made the pack very heavy and it was heavy enough with just the camping stuff.  There were many pack configurations that were tried to relieve the weight of camera and lenses but nothing seemed to work.  I was working on getting lighter camping equipment but the weight of the camera was just too much.  I had to come up with a solution that would still give me good quality photo's so I started looking into micro 4/3 cameras and I set up a checklist of things that I wanted out of a little camera.  Some of them were that it had to be able to shoot in manual, it needed to be able to shoot in RAW, it needed to be able to change lenses. I actually had it down to two camera's an Olympus and Sony.  They both had great reviews but I finally picked the Sony because of the sensor size.  It had a larger ASP-C sized sensor and the Olympus had a micro 4/3's a smaller sensor.  So weight was the first thing that brought me to the Mirrorless camera's but after a big learning curve there were many other things that brought me to become a mirrorless camera user. Here are some of them.

11-sony-a630011-sony-a6300 -Sensor Quality- Sony makes a lot of sensors for many camera company's beside Sony, there is Nikon, Iphone and maybe more but those are two big ones.  The sensors are great and the quality of the photographs I was taking were just as good as my professional camera as far as I could tell.

-Customizable buttons- The Sony camera's are very Customizable the camera comes with custom buttons and all of the buttons can be customized to you and your style of photography.  For instance I love back button focus so my camera is set up for it.

-Size-Not only is it lightweight but it is small also.  A small footprint camera takes up less room in a pack or bag and you can carry more with you and still be lighter than a full size DSLR.  I think this makes you a more nimble /mobile photographer.  I think that this makes you a better photographer especially at the end of the day when the photographers have been lugging around a big camera you are still rested enough to keep looking for good shots not looking for some where to sit down. 20171102_untitled shoot_000120171102_untitled shoot_0001

-Price-Overall the price of mirrorless cameras can be cheaper especially in the ASP-C sensor sized camera. Now like everything you can spend as much as you want for mirrorless but like everything else you don't have to.  You can also adapt vintage lenses from the film days to your camera with a cheap adapter.  I use some of my Pentax and Nikon lenses on this small body and it brings me back to the days of film when everything was manual. And the size is about the same also.

-What you see is what you get-WYSIWYG when you look through the view finder or the back of the camera what you are looking at is what the sensor see's so you know before you take the photo if it is correctly exposed or in focus there really is no need to chimp and it take the guess work out of exposure and lets you concentrate on composure light and subject.  After the big learning curve there is less fiddling with the camera.

22730511_10210704932196387_7018311079726609722_n22730511_10210704932196387_7018311079726609722_n All the things above and more make the mirrorless camera's more fun to use.  Isn't that why we love photography so much its fun! That's the reason I am gearing down not up!  I have sold all of my big boy cameras and lenses and now only have one camera. I think this will make me think more about photography and less about gear.  Now when I go somewhere I carry my camera and 3 lenses and filters.  The lenses are 10-18 f4, 18-105 f4 and a 70-200 f4 full frame equivlant to 105-300. This kit is very light and I can carry very easily in a shoulder bag that I call my purse.  I used this system at our annual photography workshop couple of weeks ago and it was fantastic!  While everyone was lugging around a large camera and one lens I had my purse with 3 lenses at my disposal at the same weight or less. I know famous people like Jason Lanier and Gary Fong have made the switch but they are sponsored by Sony.  I am the only one that I know that has made the switch from DSLR to Mirrorless.  I know I'm the only one in my photography club that has made the Jump into full time mirrorless.  Some have dabbled in mirrorless but none have gone full in.  I believe I am the first of many that will eventually switch to mirrorless. For me and the photography that I do Landscape, Travel and occasional Portraits this camera works for me. I don't need the Professional camera rig this mirrorless fits me and the photography that I enjoy. So choose the gear that is right for you! Keep Shooting!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog changing dslr fun learning max stansell photography mirrorless photography website Thu, 02 Nov 2017 23:48:22 GMT
Does Gear Really Make the Photo II ,Post trip conclusions 22814418_10210727646164222_1824769434837060805_n22814418_10210727646164222_1824769434837060805_n Hey everyone hope you had a good couple of weeks. Well this is a part II to the Does Gear Really Make the Photo blog.  My camera club went on our annual trip to the mountains for a week of fun Photography.  We shot wildlife , waterfalls , cityscapes, Landscapes and  Macros.  We shot it all and had a great time.  As I stated in my last blog my experiment for this trip was to use my Crop sensor mirrorless Sony A6300 for my main camera for the whole trip.   We went to some of the same places that we went to in 2015 so I will show you similar shots that I took 2 years ago and this year and see if you can tell the difference from a 36 megapixel full frame camera compared to my 24 megapixel Crop sensor mirrorless camera that I used on this trip.  But first let me tell you about the experience I had with my little camera on this trip.

22687733_10210704932316390_5072236385493429418_n22687733_10210704932316390_5072236385493429418_n Using this camera on this trip was fantastic and I think made my photography better because I could carry so much with me without being weighed down like a pack mule.  I used a little side bag that I called my purse that held my camera 3 lenses , batteries , SD cards, Gopro, filters, sunglasses and phone.  And I had room for a sandwich also if I wanted to. LOL! The weight of this bag wasn't anymore that that of a Full frame camera and a good 24-70 f2.8 lens.  I loved having this bag with me I could change lenses on the fly and it was better than a backpack because I didn't have to take it off to access it. The three main lenses I carried was a Sony 10-18 f4, Sony 18-105 f4 and Sony 55-210mm f4.5-6.3 .  The last lens was the weakest in the set but at a range that I don't use often but I did get a few good ones out of it. This lens I will replace with a better quality one.  While on the trip I used a Canon 70-200 f4 L non IS lens with a adapter that makes it autofocus with my Sony.  It 22730511_10210704932196387_7018311079726609722_n22730511_10210704932196387_7018311079726609722_n worked great and quality was fantastic.  I will be purchasing this lens soon.  My main lens was the 18-105mm and was a great walk around lens.  Worked well on the long exposures also.  The 10-18 was a fantastic performer when I used it mostly for long exposures.  I had circular polarizers that I used often and a Lee filter kit that I used for waterfalls (long exposures) and sunrises and sunset. And all of this fit into my little purse quite well. I had the flexibility to add and remove things as I needed them all while being light weight. As I get older and less agile the weight and size of my gear makes a difference in my stamina and that will effect my photography.

Quality of my little mirrorless camera didn't surprise me it is a fantastic camera with a great sensor.  As you probably know I have been using a Sony crop sensor mirrorless for the last couple of years.  I first bought one to use hiking and slowly fell in love with it. I upgraded from a Sony A6000 to a A6300 this year and it is a great camera.  A mirrorless crop sensor has been my main camera for a couple of years now and I think Im going to take the plunge and get rid of all of my Big Boy camera and lenses and go to a mirrorless crop sensor from now on.  I have already sold a couple of lenses  and plan to sell my full frame bodies and other lenses and flashes that I have.  I'm going to gear down instead of gearing up like I usually do.  The quality of my photo's were the same or even better in my opinion.  Below are some photo's that I have taken from 2 years ago and from this trip.  I put them side by side so you could see if there was a big difference in quality of the photos.  Take time to look at them and see if you can tell which one was a Full Frame camera with F2.8 glass or my little mirrorless sony with F4 glass.

The Photo's on the left side column were taken with a Full Frame Nikon D800 with F2.8 Lenses the photo's on the Right were taken with Mirrorless Crop Sensor Sony A6300 with F4 lenses.  To me it is hard to tell the difference. Especially if they are going to be used on the internet or make prints or canvas's that I would print.  Are the Full Frame cameras great? You bet they are they are fantastic!  The Professional 2.8 glass is Awesome!  But do I really need it for the type of photography that I'm going to do?  I don't think so. The mere size and weight of theses cameras are what is really turning me and the quality of the shots that I'm getting with this small camera is some of the best I've shot.  If I were doing a lot of portraiture or weddings the larger camera would be an asset but for what I do it is not.  So now I am taking inventory and getting rid of all of my larger gear.  Will I ever buy a full frame camera again? Probably , but it will be of the mirrorless cameras that are full frame that makes them smaller.  But for now I'm going to stick with the camera that I used this year.  Any thoughts let me know and Keep Shooting!

2015-10-25-MSP-333Photo 1 D800 70-200 2.8Max Stansell Photography 20171022_GAPC FC Day 8_011320171022_GAPC FC Day 8_0113Sony A6300 70-200 f4

2015-10-24-MSP-0222015-10-24-MSP-022Max Stansell Photography 20171018_GAPC Fall Colors 2017_001620171018_GAPC Fall Colors 2017_0016 20171018_GAPC Fall Colors 2017_001820171018_GAPC Fall Colors 2017_0018 Looking Glass Falls NCLooking Glass Falls NCMax Stansell Photography 2015-10-24-MSP-0732015-10-24-MSP-073Max Stansell Photography 20171022_GAPC FC Day 8_009020171022_GAPC FC Day 8_0090

(Max Stansell Photography) blog frame full learning max stansell photography mirrorless photography tutorial website workshops Sat, 28 Oct 2017 15:13:16 GMT
Product Review Neewer N40S 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.

20170826_untitled shoot_002120170826_untitled shoot_0021 20170826_untitled shoot_002320170826_untitled shoot_0023











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

(Max Stansell Photography) blog flash learning max stansell photography neewer photography sony speedlight tutorial website workshops Tue, 19 Sep 2017 21:32:49 GMT
Does gear really make the Photo? 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! 


(Max Stansell Photography) blog camera gear landscape learning max stansell photography photography tutorial website workshops Mon, 14 Aug 2017 16:21:59 GMT
William B. Umstead State Park Hike 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

(Max Stansell Photography) Hiking Max Stansell Photography Photography Trails Video website Tue, 13 Dec 2016 14:34:55 GMT
Hiking Gear  

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.

(Max Stansell Photography) Fri, 09 Dec 2016 18:22:54 GMT
Charleston SC Photo/Camping Trip _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!


(Max Stansell Photography) Camping Eating Max Stansell Photography Photography Tourist Travel blog website Sat, 19 Nov 2016 13:00:00 GMT
Grayson Highlands State Park Va Sugarloaf OverlookSugarloaf OverlookMax Stansell Photography Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia is a must see if you live in the Southeastern US.  This lovely park Perched high in the Virginian Appalachians, in the Jefferson National Forest, this state park is home to grassy pastures and meadows, 5,000+ foot peaks, wild ponies, and crystal clear mountain streams lined with rhododendron tunnels. Providing a variety of unique sights, trails, and boulders, there’s something here for everyone. Creek CrossingCreek CrossingMax Stansell Photography Activities include hiking, bouldering, primitive and RV camping, and horseback riding. My wife and myself took our Little Guy Teardrop trailer there this summer in hopes to see the wild pony's there.  We hiked up to the Appalachian Trail that travels _MSP1283_MSP1283Max Stansell Photography through the park to find them but we didn't have any luck.  The park is high enough in altitude to keep the hot weather away and it was a very pleasant temperature while we were there.  Our teardrop trailer did exceptionally well and we really enjoyed our trip.  My trusty Sony A6000 was my main camera and it performed well.  I love this park and have already gone back from the time The "AT' Grayson HighlandsThe "AT' Grayson HighlandsMax Stansell Photography we took this trip for a little fishing trip.  Caught some local brook trout and had a great time in the area. If you like camping the outdoors and great scenic views this is the park for you.

(Max Stansell Photography) Camping Grayson Highlands Max Stansell Photography Park Photography State Virginia blog landscape website Thu, 17 Nov 2016 13:00:00 GMT
2016 Fall Colors Workshop _MSP2088_MSP2088Max Stansell Photography Yet again I have had a long break between Blog Post.  Mostly because of my Laziness I guess. Life gets in the way me and my wife have been taking trips in our teardrop camper, work , and all sorts of things seemed to get in the way.  My biggest  photoshoot of the year has been on my photography club's fall colors trip to West Virginia this year.  It was a great trip on the heels of Hurricane Matthew.  We went to places that we haven't been before which made it new and exciting. Seven total of us went with 5 of us the whole time.  We stayed in a great cabin in Davis WV and drove every day somewhere new.  I think we logged 2000 miles for the whole trip.  The colors at our cabin seemed to be the most vibrant from all of the places we visited. I also took a GoPro Session 4 with me to record some of the actions and have made some short youtube videos to watch that I will link you to.

Day 1:Blackwater State Park WV/Swallow Falls State Park MD

The first day took us to Blackwater State Park WV which was about a 20 min ride from our cabin. Actually I would almost consider this our second day because the first day consisted of driving to WV from Goldsboro but this was our first day of shooting.   _MSP2370_MSP2370Max Stansell Photography The colors at Blackwater State Park were very nice and the waterfall was great.   We were here on a Monday and there were not too many clouds. After the waterfall we went to a overlook that looked into the valley that had some great views. From  here we traveled to Swallow Falls State Park in MD where we were greeted with some great falls and a small hiking trail.  The drive to and from Maryland was a beautiful drive with lots of farm houses.  Here is the link to day one Video.  Day 1 Fall Colors Workshop Video

Day 2: Babcock State Park WV and New River Gorge Bridge National Park WV.

Day two took us to Babcock State Park home of the famous Glade Creek Grist Mill.  If you look up West Virginia you'll see this mill.  It was a fairly long drive but we left early _MSP2491_MSP2491Max Stansell Photography and after a small detour made it to the mill.  We spent a couple of hours taking photo's of the Mill and then went to lunch.  After lunch we went back to the park so Tim could fly his drone then we were off to New River Gorge National Park. I believe when it was built it was the first or second largest suspension bridge but now I think its third regardless it is a big bridge and we spent the afternoon taking our time photographing this large structure. Here is the link to day two video.Day Two Fall Colors Workshop Video


Day 3: Seneca Caverns, Seneca Rocks, Dolly Sods WV


We started our third day underground with a tour of Seneca Caverns which took us 150 ft underground.  We had a great tour guide and enjoyed our time underground with some interesting photo's to boot. 2016-10-12-MSP-0512016-10-12-MSP-051  After the caverns we went to Seneca Rocks which are a number of Large Rocks that go along the ridge of a mountain.  And then we were off to Dolly Sods .  Dolly Sods was a beautiful mountain top with great views all around but takes about an hour long dirt road drive to get there.  Dolly sods wasn't very far from our Cabin so it was a good place to end the day. Here is the link to day 3 video.Day 3 Fall Colors Workshop Video

Day 4: Harpers Ferry, Antietam National Battlefield WV

Harpers Ferry WV is a very historic place and a lot more bigger than I thought.  I had always seen it in hiking videos and it looked like a sleepy little town and I wasn't expecting it to be connected with a National Park.  We drove to Harpers Ferry and met one of our photo buddies there and enjoyed the day wandering the streets of Harpers Ferry.  We then drove over to Antietam and went on the battle field tour and really got some good photo's of the surrounding area.  We then went the the National Cemetery at 2016-10-12-MSP-1412016-10-12-MSP-141 Sharpsburg and had great light to get some moving photo's. Then we drove back to our cabin. Here is the link to Day 4 video.Day 4 Fall Colors Workshop Video


Day 5: Cass Scenic Railroad State Park WV

Day five took us to Cass Scenic Railroad State Park in WV and some of our group had been there before.  I wasn't really expecting much but was pleasantly surprised to find lots of photo ops and had a good history tour from our tour guide.   _MSP2974_MSP2974 We rode the train on a 2 hour trip and they have a 4 hour trip also but I recommend the two hour instead of the longer one.   We had a great time had lunch there in the park restaurant and really enjoyed the whole experience. Here is the link to Day 5 video.Day 5 Fall Colors Workshop Video


(Max Stansell Photography) Babcock Blackwater Cass Caverns Dolly Gorge Max Stansell Photography New Park Photography Railroad River Rocks Scenic Seneca Sods State Swallow Virginia West blog park website workshops Tue, 15 Nov 2016 17:46:55 GMT
New Personal Project "365 Print" _DSC6406_DSC6406 Hey Everyone!  I know its been a while since I've posted but as all of you know life gets in the way of things.  A lot has gone on since we last met.  My wife and I have taken a couple of trips in our new Little Guy Trailer and are getting better at using it and learning all of the ins and outs of it.  Well now to my new personal project. 

You have heard of 365 day Photo projects that have you take or post a photo every day for a year.  As simple as that seems if you work 40 plus hours a week and commute another 15 on top of that you really don't have time to plan, take and process a photo a day.  I propose in my project is to print a photo for every day of the year.  In other words print at lest 365 photo's a year.  In my new years resolutions I had to print more.  This project will certainly do this.  Now you don't have to print one every day.  Just 365 a year so you can print in batches.   _DSC6457_DSC6457

One of my most favorite things to do with family is to look at old photographs of years gone by.   When my parents were young and everything was in black and white .  You look ate the photo then turn it over to see what is wrote on the back.  In the digital age we don't have that bring out the shoe box and look at photo's and Im afraid that in the future this act will be lost.  So I've come up with this project.  I may even go back a few years and print those as well.  I want my grandchildren to be able to tell their  children and show them the photo's that I have taken and hold them in their hands.  

IMG_4152IMG_4152 This is not a artwork project its more of a journalistic project.  The prints don't have to be large they can be 4x6, and they don't have to be perfect prints.  They don't have to be artsy they can be plane snapshots of everyday things , your house, Car, everyday stuff along with your artsy stuff.  Your family wants to see photo's of family along with your fancy shots so mix them up.  

​So go find some shoe boxes and start filling them up with memories for your family. _DSC6932_DSC6932

(Max Stansell Photography) Max Stansell Photography Photography Tutorial blog learning memories printing website Sun, 08 May 2016 20:20:08 GMT
Teardrop Trailer _DSC6468_DSC6468 A couple of  weekends ago my wife and I became the proud owners of a Little Guy T@G Max Teardrop camping trailer.  Teardrop trailers have been around since the 30's when a Popular Mechanics Article was written on how to build one. These little trailers are really a travel trailer that was designed to be a way to stay overnight with out getting a hotel on a long trip. They can be pulled by almost any car and are great for camping , Tailgating , or any kind of travel.  We got one so we can travel more, see different places, without paying too much money for hotels , food etc...  These little trailers can have all kinds of amenities with them. _DSC6464_DSC6464  Mine has a queen size bed , TV, AC, AM/FM , DVD, 2 Burner Stove, Sink, Fridge and everything runs off of a 12 Volt deep cycle battery except the AC.  So you could be away from electrical outlets and still watch TV or cook etc...  They even have Solar Panel hook ups if want to recharge your battery if your way off of the grid.  

What I like about them is that they get me and my wife out of the house together. Now I love to go backpacking and hiking and taking my camera with me deep into the woods.  Putting up a hammock or tent and staying there all night my wife doesn't like roughing it as much as I do though.  It brings amenities of home with you as you camp. _DSC6448_DSC6448  We have been tent campers for quite a long time and enjoy setting up a tent in a state park or national park but we decided to upgrade to this little guy that is really a tent and kitchen on wheels. But it doesn't have the cost of a big RV trailer that would have to be towed by a larger vehicle than we have and would require a lot more maintenance than we would like to do in our older years.  Right now its a bit of a learning curve trying to figure out everything with the trailer but we are fast learners.  

We took one trip already with our teardrop.  We went to a state park not to far from here to Medoc Mountain State Park.  A nice little park thats about an hour and a half away and a great spot for our maiden voyage.  And everything went pretty well the weather didn't cooperate very much it was chilly and calling for rain that it finally did late at night. IMG_2254IMG_2254  We stumbled through getting things set up and put in the right places learning about the stove as we cooked a couple of meals in our new kitchen.  We are towing our new trailer with my old faithful truck my 1999 Ford F150  "Betsy".  We plan on buying a new car in a couple of years but until then "Ole Betsy" will be our tow vehicle.  This weekend I built a hard tonneau cover for my truck for security and maybe a little of gas milage boost would be a plus.  It turned out pretty good and I saved myself hundreds of dollars.  Plan on going on another trip this coming weekend Im sure there will be a blog about it.  

Keep shooting!


(Max Stansell Photography) Camping Max Stansell Photography Photography RV Teardrop Trailers blog website Fri, 08 Apr 2016 12:00:00 GMT
Wedding Shoot _MSP0859_MSP0859Max Stansell Photography ​Hey everyone!  I know its been a while but I have been busy the last month or so.  First I purchased a small Teardrop camper and then I had a wedding that I was the main photographer in.  I have never been the official photographer at a wedding before.  I have done bridal shoots and shot at receptions but never the whole thing.  I prepared quite a bit and really worked hard to make sure that it was a great experience for the bride and groom.  A friend from my photography club wanted some experience shooting a wedding so he asked if he could be my second shooter and after I got the OK from the bride he was in.  I met with the bride and groom twice before the big day.  The first meeting was to get to know them and let them know me and see some of my work I quoted them a price and in a couple of days they had decided to hire me.   _MSP0676_MSP0676Max Stansell Photography This was about a month or so out so I had plenty of time to get in the wedding photographer mode.  For me that is a 180 degree turn from my Landscape and travel photo guy that I am most of the time.  My second meeting was the night of the rehearsal and it was great because I got to go through the ceremony twice so I knew where to stand and where to go.  The rehearsal was great for me and took a lot of pressure and anxiety that I was having and I got to see everyone that was going to be in the ceremony.  On the day of the wedding I had a checklist made and I checked it twice and when it came time to go I was ready.  We had decided to do the formal shots before the wedding so I started with the groom and there was lots of family around and the bride kicked everyone out so we could get the first look photo which turned out great. After that took all of the brides photo's and then started with the family.   _MSP0820_MSP0820Max Stansell Photography By the time the ceremony began I was in the groove and it went well.  My partner was taking photo's that I wasn't and we worked very well as a team.  When I was at one end of the hall he was at the other.  We made a point out of not taking the same shots.  We got a lot of photo's  but not many duplicates. When I got home and started looking at the photo's I was very surprised at how good the photo's turned out.  I have given the bride and groom a link to look at the photo's while they are on their honeymoon but I haven't gotten a response from them yet I can't wait to hear what they have to say.  I created a slide show of the wedding for them and will have a link below that you can check it out.  The equipment that I used was my faithful Nikon D800 and my primary lens was my 24-70mm f2.8 although I did use a 70-200mm f2.8 and a 85mm f1.8.  For the formal part of the shoot I used Yongnuo 580II manual flashes with 45 and 43 inch shoot through umbrellas.  For the rest of the wedding except for the ceremony I had a Yongnuo 586 TTL flash on top of my camera.  This was a inside wedding and at night and I had to bump up the flash compensation 2/3 .  Bouncing off of a fairly tall ceiling.  For the dancing part of the wedding I used my TTL flash with a manual flash used for backlight that turned out really well.  Things I would have done differently?  I would have sync'd my camera's time and my second shooters camera's time it would have made editing somewhat easier.  And maybe a better job on the formals but over all I was very pleased.  Check out the Slideshow!

Keep Shooting!

Wedding Slide Show

_MSP0658_MSP0658Max Stansell Photography _MSP0883_MSP0883Max Stansell Photography

(Max Stansell Photography) Max Stansell Photography Photography Tutorial blog website wedding Fri, 01 Apr 2016 12:00:00 GMT
Product Review "Yongnuo 622N and 622N TX TTL Speedlight Triggers" 414BFcFy2sL414BFcFy2sL Hey Everyone!  This is another product review.  This week its on Speedlight Triggers.  I have triggers that I use for my speed lights and my Studio lights but the ones I have are manual only and I don't have the flexibility with the ones I have to turn certain flashes off without going to the flash to do so.  I'm shooting a wedding next month and for the reception I'm going to have some speed lights on stands to create some backlight and I'll have a flash on my camera for Main light .  The backlight flashes will be on opposite corners and I want to be able to switch the closest one to me off with out having to go to the flash.  I just want to push a button on the trigger on my camera to do that for flexibility.  I looking into a lot of options to do this and with Pocket Wizards I could do this but Pocket Wizards are very expensive.  I turned to my favorite inexpensive speed light company Yongnuo for the answer.  I purchased the Yongnuo 622N TTL Transceivers and the 622 TX TTL transmitter.  I got 3 transceivers and the transmitter for the same price of 1 Pocket Wizard. _DSC6273_DSC6273  Now I normally use Manual only flashes for all of my portraits etc.. but for gun on the run type of shooting for receptions I want to use TTL on My camera.  The Yongnuo 622N let me put the trigger on my camera and then I can put my TTL flash on it.  It has a pass through hot shoe so all of the information from my camera goes to my TTL trigger and Flash at the same time.  I can then set up other flashes elsewhere and transmit TTL to them.  I can also adjust the power of each flash independently from my camera without going to the flash itself as long as the flashes are TTL.  I can use the same set up with a TTL on my camera and Manual flashes remotely and the manual flashes will fire.  I still have to set the power on them manually though.  This is the set up that Im going to use for the reception.  I'll have a 622n on camera with TTL flash on top of it then I'll have manual flashes mounted on stands and group them one on "A" Channel and one on "B" Channel then from the trigger on my camera I'll be able to change the channels to cut on or off certain remote flashes. Problem solved!!!  This is all done with the Transceivers one alone but with the 622N TX transmitter on my camera I can also control the individual settings of TTL remote flashes.  Now I won't be using the 622N TX at the wedding but I went ahead and got it and it will come in useful for small shoots like Christmas photo's or something Im trying to do real quick when I don't have time to really set up a big set.  I do believe for Studio lighting and formal portraits I'll still rely on my Manual flashes and strobe so I can dial in my exposure manually.  Triggers can be bought for both Cannon and Nikon camera systems.

_DSC6277_DSC6277 Here are the spec's for the Triggers



Compatible flash mode: i-TTL, manual flash
Compatible Shutter sync: Front-curtain sync, rear-curtain sync and high-speed sync (HSS / FP), the highest sync speed is 1 / 8000s.
Support FEC, FVL function
Support modeling flash and red-eye reduction flash
Support flash zooming (auto)
Built-in AF assist beam emitter (AF Lamp)
Settings saved automatically
Compatible with Yongnuo / Nikon series flashes
Support PC port triggering strobe flashes

System Type: Digital FSK 2.4GHz wireless transceiver
Distance: 100m
Channel: 7
Flash Mode: i-TTL manual flash
SYNC Mode: Front-curtain sync, rear-curtain sync, hi-speed sync (Auto FP)
Group Control: 3Groups (A / B / C)
Sync Speed: 1 / 8000s
Input: Hot Shoe
Output: Hot shoe, PC port
Compatible type of flash: Hot-shoe flash, Strobe flash
Battery: AAx2 (support 1.2V rechargeable battery)


YN-622N-TX adopts flexible LCD menu control, supporting mixed use of the A/B/C three groups of flashes using i-TTL, manua, or super sync flash mode and equipped with the AF-assist beam emitter. LCD screen display, multi-buttons quick operation
The firmware can be upgraded through the USB interface via
Support wireless shutter release function
The focal length(zoom)of the A/B/C three groups of flash can be adjusted separately
Grouping flash mode: i-TTL/Manual flash/Super sync
Supporting mixed use of the A/B/C three groups of flashes with i-TTL, Manual flash, or Super sync flash mode
The exposure compensation or flash output of A/B/C three groups of flashes can be adjusted separately
Shutter Sync: first curtain sync, second curtain sync and FP high-speed sync, the highest sync speed is 1/8000s
Support exposure compensation, flash value lock function(FVL)
Support simulate (modeling) flash, red-eye reduction flash
Support the flash zooming (auto)
Super Sync (SS) time delay adjustment, for higher x-sync speed than the camera allows

Hope this Helped and Keep Shooting!

(Max Stansell Photography) Max Stansell Photography Photography Speedlight Triggers Tutorial Yongnuo blog learning website Fri, 26 Feb 2016 13:00:00 GMT
Product Review "Yongnuo 568EX Speedlight" 41zl9yX4ltL41zl9yX4ltL Hey Everyone!  I just got booked to do a small intimate wedding for one of my daughters co-workers and friends so I had to take a look at my gear that I'll need for the event.  As many of you might know I am a gear hound and I have had GAS (gear acquisition  syndrome ).  I have lots of gear and almost everything I'll need for the wedding and love shooting in manual with manual strobes or studio lights for many reasons.  This is what I'll use for the portraits.  For on the fly lighting I'll need to be shooting TTL lighting just for the ease and flexibility on the fly shooting that will be happening at the reception.  This is a totally inside event and it will be at night.  I have a couple of Nikon TTL flashes but they are smaller ones and I fear this venue has tall ceiling and I'll need something with more punch!   _MSP6505_MSP6505 So I needed a larger TTL flash.  Well the Nikon ones cost up to 500 dollars and I'm not going to do that!  I could borrow one but I really don't like to borrow unless I really have to.  (I will be borrowing a Nikon D800 body for my second camera) So I started looking at 3rd party flashes.  I went to the Yongnuo brand because I have some experience with the brand.  I have used and will use in the wedding some manual 560II flashes that I have gotten from them and they worked great and were cheap!  I purchased a TTL 568 EX and have been very pleased with it so far.  This weekend I have been trying out the different aspects of the flash testing it against my other flashes (Nikon) and it has done pretty well with ease of operation.  I cannot talk about the durability of the flash and maybe after the wedding I'll be able to because it will get a good workout then.  Here are some of the specs of the Flash.

Guide # of  58 - I don't know all of the math but the higher the number the more powerful the flash.  

LCD Pannel- Easy to see and can be backlit at any time by push of button

TTL Wireless-  Will work wirelessly with Nikon/Cannon infrared "in Camera" lighting  IE  Nikon's CLS

Auto Focus Assist- Has a red autofocus assist light for low light focusing

+- 5 stop flash compensation-  able to increase or decrease for different lighting situations

High Speed Sync-  Will high speed sync up to 1/8000 shutter speed

Manual operation- Able to adjust from 1/128 to 1/1 power in manual

Rear Curtain Sync- will do rear curtain sync

Cost- 100 dollars  Yay!!!

​These are some of the specs of the flash and there are more but these especially the price are my favorite!  If you are needing a new or second TTL flash I would recommend this one to you.  Remember when you buy it needs to be specific to your camera i.e..  Nikon or Cannon.

Keep Shooting!


(Max Stansell Photography) Max Stansell Photography Photography blog flash learning light product review speed website Fri, 19 Feb 2016 13:00:00 GMT
Photo Walk "Fayetteville NC and Airborne Special Operations Museum" The CapitolThe CapitolMax Stansell Photography Hey Everyone!  Photowalks I'm really starting to like them.  Last weekend me and my wife went to Fayetteville 

Hay LoftHay LoftMax Stansell Photography

NC to the Airborne Special Operations Museum and downtown Fayetteville NC.  Now I work in Fayetteville well really Fort Bra

gg for the last 10 years.  I've even done work on the museum but I was always in the back part of the museum and had never seen what it had to offer.  I was really surprised on how nice the exhibits were and really enjoyed myself.  And the price was right ! Free! After the Museum we walke

d around downtown on Hay street (the older part of Fayetteville )  and even to Market House which is the symbol of the town.  I liked it so much

that I'm thinking of taking another trip before too much longer.

Airborne MuseumAirborne MuseumMax Stansell Photography

Old and NewOld and NewMax Stansell Photography








Airborne MuseumAirborne MuseumMax Stansell Photography

(Max Stansell Photography) Fayetteville Max Stansell Photography Museum Photography Photowalk Tutorial blog website Fri, 12 Feb 2016 13:00:00 GMT
Lake Pungo, Lake Mattamuskeet "Photography Workshop" Crab PotsCrab PotsMax Stansell Photography This weekend went on a Wildlife photoshoot at Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge with my photography club.  We usually go on workshops to shoot once a month and this month we went on a wildlife shoot.  At this particular spot is a bird migration spot for many water fowl.  Water fowl of all kinds migrate here from up north.  Tundra Swans, Canadian Geese, Snow Geese, many species of duck also migrate here.  This time of the year its a great place to take photo's of birds.  Neal Jernigan a local wildlife photographer who leads workshops (and is also a member of the club) took us there.  We had a great time although the snow geese had already left for the north.  But we still had lots to shoot. PelicanPelicanMax Stansell Photography  Birds, ducks ,landscapes and all kinds of stuff. We started at Lake Pungo and saw some birds but not like we saw last year .  Last year we saw 10's of Thousands of birds in one field.  We also saw some bear last year but alas they weren't around this year.  Because the wild life at Pungo wasn't great we went to Engelhard NC a fishing community and took some great shots by the docks of the shrimp boats.  We then had lunch at a local restaurant that was great.  We always try to eat at a local spot.  We then went to Lake Mattamuskeet and shot birds until it was time to shoot sunset. A super day was had.

Mattamuskeet SunsetMattamuskeet SunsetMax Stansell Photography Now Im not a wildlife photographer and this is a chance to get me out of my comfort zone.  Wildlife photographers use a lot of large lenses and my biggest one is my 70-200mm f2.8 and I do have a 2 X converter that will make it a 400mm f5.6 lens which is still on the small size for Wild life photographers.  Whats good about going out with a group is that you can borrow equipment and learn from people that do different kinds of photography.  Most photographers love to give advice and help others and talk about how we do things. (we don't really get the chance to do so) White HeronWhite HeronMax Stansell Photography

Shooting wildlife seems to be all about getting good focus.  With the long telephoto lenses you would think that its easy to get great  focus all of  the time , but you would be wrong.  Its very difficult to get focus on a fast moving object like a bird or moving animal.  I have nothing but respect for the wildlife photographer that can get great focus on a fast flying bird.  And not to mention composition on a moving target is almost impossible for me but to the seasoned wildlife photographer it can be done easily.  

So try you hand at wildlife photography even if its just birds in your back yard.  Keep Shooting!

_MSP9963_MSP9963Max Stansell Photography


(Max Stansell Photography) Max Stansell Photography Photography Tutorial blog club learning photography website wildlife Fri, 05 Feb 2016 13:00:00 GMT