Max Stansell Photography: Blog en-us (C) Max Stansell Photography (Max Stansell Photography) Sun, 12 Aug 2018 16:31:00 GMT Sun, 12 Aug 2018 16:31:00 GMT Max Stansell Photography: Blog 97 120 Product Review "Rokinon 24mm f2.8 AF Lens" _MSP0280_MSP028014mm, 12mm, 24mm Hey everyone I just got a new lens to my kit the Rokinon 24mm f2.8 AF (Yes Auto Focus!) lens.  If you don't know the name Rokinon in lenses your in for a treat.  Made in Korea by the Samyang Optics company the Rokinon name is for lenses sold in the US everywhere else it name is Samyang.  I don't really know the reason for this but its the same lens.  I have used Rokinon in the past and they are known for their Inexpensiveness , Sharpness and Build Quality.  They are built like a tank.  The other thing that they are known for is that they are mostly a manual focus lenses and just in the last year have started putting _MSP0283_MSP0283 out AF lenses.  I have been pleased with the quality of the lenses that I have had in the past and when I saw this one I had to give it a try.  I own a 14mm f2.8 that I used when I had my full frame Nikon D800 and it was awesome! Used it for wide focus situations and night photography. A very sharp lens!  When I changed my camera set up to crop sensor Sony A6300 I got the 12mm f2.0 lens with the Sony mount.  Another very sharp lens and I use it mainly for astrophotography.  Both of these lenses are manual focus but with this wide of focal range the depth of field is very large and its easy to focus with a manual focus lens. 

_MSP0216_MSP0216 If you have been following me on Instagram or Flickr you know that recently I have been shooting a lot of street type photography.  I have been doing a lot of photo walks of different towns and city's.  Now I'm going to start talking about effective focal length of some lenses. Let me explain on a full frame camera the effective focal length of a 50mm lens is 50mm but on a crop sensor camera like mine the sensor size is 1-1/2 times smaller than a full frame sensor camera so you must multiply the focal length of the lens by 1.5 to give you the full frame equivalent size.  Sorry for the Photography Geekiness .  Now for my street Steel and ShadowsSteel and ShadowsSteel and Shadows taken between the Dillian and the Raleigh Union Station #MaxStansellPhotography #funwithphotography #getoutandshoot #awesomestuffisee #northcarolinaphotographer #northcarolinaliving #sonya6300 #alphashoote photography or photo walks  my kit is very small that I use for this and my main lens has been a Sony 35mm f1.8 lens (52mm effective focal length). This is a great lens but tends to get a little tight in certain situations the other lens that I carry with me is a Sony 10-18mm f4 lens (15-25mm effective focal length) which is great for architecture type photography but too wide for everything else.  So I started looking for something in the middle.  And couldn't find anything in the Sony line up that would give me approx. 35mm effective focal length which comes to about 23mm.  Then I came across the Rokinon 24mm f2.8 AF lens that has just came out a month or so ago.  I got on B&H photo website and found that they haven't even shipped yet in the States so I went and ordered one.  And by luck it shipped the next day. This lens gives me the focal length that I was looking for in-between my 10-18mm and the 35mm that I have and so far its the perfect focal length for street photowalk type photography.

Its a small lens which is great for my kit!  It keeps the weight down.  Its just a little bit smaller than my 35mm and its lightweight.  The autofocus is very snappy with little or no distortion that I can tell.  I took it to the Raleigh Union Station yesterday to try it out and it worked great just wide enough to capture the scene but not too wide.  I have some sample photo's here so you can see the sharpness of the lens and the difference between my 35mm (effective focal length 52) and the 24mm (effective focal length 36mm). So if your looking for an affordable alternative to the more expensive lenses I recommend the Rokinon line of lenses. So get out and keep shooting!

_MSP0212_MSP0212 _MSP0213_MSP0213



(Max Stansell Photography) 24mm blog f2.8 learning Max Stansell Photography Photography Rokinon website Sun, 12 Aug 2018 16:31:18 GMT
Pentax MX 35mm Film Camera _MSP9732_MSP9732 I started taking photographs with my mom's Kodak Brownie camera when I was a little boy and that really sparked something in me with photography.  I think we had a few other camera's in the house I remember a polaroid camera but my first real camera was a Pentax K1000 that I bought from Sears picking it out of the catalog.  They actually had a photography catalog.  I saved my money and for 99 dollars I got it.  And like any other teenager I took photo's of family and friends.  I kept that camera that I bought in the mid 70's until 1981 when I  sold it.  I replaced it with the Pentax MX an upgrade from the K1000.  It was produced from 1976 until 1985 and was Pentax's Flagship _MSP9733_MSP9733 Professional SLR until the introduction of the Pentax LX.  This is a fully mechanical camera and manual camera.  It has a button battery that operates the light meter only. This is a great student camera.  And it is built like a small tank.  Much smaller camera than Canon and Nikon cameras in 1976. I have a Canon Canonet 19 Rangefinder camera and the Pentax SLR is much smaller that it is and about the same size of my Sony A6300 mirrorless camera.

 Because I have started my film project this year I have started using it again and it works as well as it did when I first got it in 1982.  I did replace the light seals but mechanically it is very sound and the best of my film cameras to date. I have an assortment of lenses ranging from 28mm to 500mm but my favorite is the 50mm f1.7 and a 35-70mm push pull zoom I have for it.  This camera just makes shooting fun.  You can find them on Ebay now but they are not the most popular cameras around.  But you can find them fairly cheap.  Don't think I will ever part with mine.

_DSC0012-Edit-2_DSC0012-Edit-2 Old EyesOld Eyes


(Max Stansell Photography) 35mm blog Camera film learning Max Stansell Photography Pentax Photography website Mon, 30 Jul 2018 13:52:57 GMT
Argus Rangefinder _MSP9722_MSP9722 Hey everyone !  A couple of weeks ago it was international camera day.  I was looking for a rangefinder type camera preferably one from the 1960's.  So I put a request in my camera clubs facebook page hoping one of the older members had one stuck in there closet hadn't used in a while and wanted to part with it.  I got one answer from one of the newer members saying he had picked some up in an estate sale but he didn't know anything about them.(he had two)  So he said that he would bring them to me at the next club event.  So when we had a scavenger hunt he brought out a shoe box with a whole bunch of camera stuff old lenses, meters, and the two cameras.  I must be honest I had _MSP9723_MSP9723 never seen cameras like this before.  They were heavy , square-ish , black , had gears on the out side of them.  So I told him I would have to do some research on them he said just take them and let me know what you find out.  He said he got them for 20 bucks.  So I started my research and found out that one of them was an 1942 Argus C3 Rangefinder and it had a 50mm lens on it.  The other one was even older it was a 1939 Argus C2 rangefinder that had a 100mm lens on it.  They shot 35mm film and had the nickname the "Brick".  Now I have just got back into film and these were 35mm camera's could I clean them up and they work?  I got online found operation manuals and learned all I could about them. These are some of the fun facts I found out.

-They were produced from 1938-1966 in Ann Arbor Michigan.

-They have interchangeable lenses (but they are a pain to change)

-They had 3 lenses a 35mm, 50mm and 100mm that you could buy for the camera.

-They cost 35 dollars originally which is over 600 dollars in todays money equivalent.

-They are made primarily of Bakelite Plastic and Metal Castings

-They have 2 viewfinders one to focus with and one to compose your shot with

-They have no metering system so you use an external meter or use the Sunny 16 rule to set exposure.


So I cleaned the best looking one out of the bunch the 1942 model and made sure everything worked by using a dummy roll of film that I have to practice loading and advancing the film and shooting the camera.  After I felt confident on the operation I loaded it up with fresh film and took it into the back yard.  I did find it difficult to get it into focus.  The focusing viewfinder and the composure viewfinder are small.  And while rewinding the film after I was thorough I only rewound 1/2 of the roll when I opened up the back (oops) and ruined half of the roll.  But I developed it anyway and got just a few in focus out of that half of a roll. Hey but it was a 76 year old camera and it worked! 1942 Argus C3 Test Shot1942 Argus C3 Test Shot  Now am I going to use the camera to take photo's?  No it will be a shelf decoration but I know it works and it was great fun finding out about it and its history. Oh by the way I asked my photo buddy what he wanted for the camera's and he said I could just keep them he only had 20 bucks in them.  Thanks John! So when you find an old camera that you want to put on your shelf for decoration find out all you can about it. Its great fun and you'll enjoy your decoration even more especially when someone ask about them.  Get out and Shoot!


(Max Stansell Photography) 35mm Argus blog Camera Film landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography website Sun, 22 Jul 2018 20:58:52 GMT
1961 Canon Canonet 19 Bell & Howell /CannonBell & Howell /CannonHere is the new addition to my film cameras . 1961 Canon Canonet 19. The Canon Canonet 19 is a sleek retro looking camera with great lines and a non cluttered look. It was the first of the Canon Canonet line of cameras.  The Canonet line ran from 1961 through the mid 70's and was the first attempt at making cameras for the everyday man that wasn't a professional photographer.  Up until this camera Canon was making Leica copies with minor variations.  Canon wasn't the strong brand that it is today.  A rangefinder type camera Canon had only made one SLR to this point.  Rangefinders were still King.  This camera is a 35mm film camera with a auto function (shutter priority) and a light meter with no battery!  It has a 45mm f1.9 lens and a leaf shutter which makes this a quiet camera to use.  This camera is great for street photography and everyday photography with a bright and large viewfinder as rangefinders do.  As you can see by the Bell & Howell /Canon logo Canon partnered with Bell & Howell to make this camera.  Bell & Howell was a motion picture camera maker based in the United States.  But make no mistake this is all a Canon product.  This camera can be shot in manual although the meter doesn't work when in manual so you would either have to use the Sunny 16 rule or a external meter. Here are some of the features. _MSP9739_MSP9739

-35mm film and can shoot to ASA 200 in auto.  In 1961 ASA's didn't go very high but with a lens with a f1.9 aperture shooting in room light at 1/60 isn't a problem. In manual you can shoot any ASA you want.

-Slenium Photocell wraps around the lens element so any filter that is placed on the camera the photocell see's through it so no compensation is needed. Also no battery is needed.

-The camera in Auto will not let the shutter work if the exposure isn't right.  You can push on the shutter button but nothing happens.  So in auto you can't shoot under or over exposed.


-The viewfinder like most rangefinders is bright and large. Since your not looking through the lens frame lines are drawn to show what will be in the frame. Also the aperture setting is at the bottom of the viewfinder to let you know what aperture your at.

_MSP9738_MSP9738 - Self timer.  This camera has a self timer that is about 7 sec long

-The film advance lever is located at the bottom of the camera giving the top of the camera clean lines.  Its in a odd place and Canon moved it to the traditional top of the camera in later models.

This camera was touted as the poor man's Leica and sold off of the shelves.  You can still find these in yard sales for a great price and they are great lightweight walk around cameras.  These are the camera's that gave Canon its popularity from the common man.  Still getting used to mine but so far I love it.  Right now its a 57 year old camera that still takes great photo's and looks great doing it.  Get out and shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) 19 blog Camera Canon Canonet film learning Max Stansell Photography Photography website workshops Sat, 14 Jul 2018 13:12:19 GMT
My Film Project Old EyesOld Eyes I have started shooting film again. Why you ask? I began my photography obsession many years ago in the mid 70's is when I bought my first film SLR (Single Lens Reflex).  Of course back then there was really no choice just film.  So I shot like most teenagers do friends  and family and events.  I always had my camera near by.  I only knew enough about photography to get a good exposure and that was about it .  As I grew older joined the military and got married I started taking photo's again and got a little more serious.  In the mid 80's I was shooting color slide film and developing it at home.  I did that for a while.  Later in the late 90's and early 2000 I was shooting Black and White film developing and printing at home.  This was a big operation and labor intensive.  Especially when you make your one and only bathroom a darkroom.  When digital came out I jumped on it full bore and set my trusty Fully Manual SLR on the shelf and that's where it has stayed for 15 years.  I had been shooting manual for so long I had to learn how to shoot Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority and all of the fancy stuff that camera's were doing.  It was like I was learning all over again how to shoot a camera. I started with a point and shoot and worked my way to the biggest baddest camera Nikon had to offer and all of the lenses to go with them.  I had to learn how to process my photographs in Lightroom & Photoshop.  Slowly but surly I started to go away from the big full frame cameras and started shooting mirrorless crop sensor camera's.  And I loved the way they feel in your had like 35mm SLR's did.  And I just love my mirrorless camera and lenses. IMG_1114IMG_1114

But something was missing .  I can't put my finger on it but it was the sound that a mechanical camera makes.  The weight of the camera.  Rewinding the film.  The Analog process I was missing.  I listened to a podcast called the Digital Story by Derrick Story and he also has a blog the Analog Story.  I listened and started to get excited about film again. I wanted to crank that crank and manually focus and turn dials that clicked. I wanted to shoot film again.  I heard that shooting film will make you a better digital photographer.  It will slow you down. I don't want to go fully to film I will always be a digital photographer first but I do want to shoot some film when the occasion suits.  How to go about it now in the digital age when film is kind of scarce?

First I got my old trusty 35mm Pentax MX off of the shelf. Cleaned it up well.  I had to replace the light seals that go around the door. Those are the little felt or foam pieces that keep the light from ruining your film.  That was a chore and it took me a couple of times before I got it right but I did.  What about the light meter in the camera? Was it any good?  The only way to find out was to get a roll of film shoot it and get it professionally developed.  I went to my local Walmart and guess what ? Film was on sale! 4 rolls for 5 bucks! So I bought 2 ,8 rolls of film.  I shot a roll of film in a couple of days and took it to Walgreens to get developed.  Well things have changed in 15 years.  They have to send your film off so it takes a week to get it back . But not really because they don't give the negatives back you just get a CD with the scanned JPEGs on them. All for 15 bucks!  I  was not a happy camper over the price.  But when I got my photo's back they were all correctly exposed!  So Yay! Light meter works and is accurate!  Now I can't afford 15 bucks every time I shoot a roll of film So I had to come up with a way that I could develop them myself. I had never developed color negative film before but I had done black and white and color slides so I had all of the equipment I just had to get the chemicals and learn how.  So I did and I developed my first roll of film and it worked out great! I had color Negatives! 

                                                                                                   So now I have color negatives I need to get them scanned into my computer so _DSC0012-3_DSC0012-3 _DSC0012-Edit-2_DSC0012-Edit-2 I can get them into Lightroom and Photoshop and print.  But how I really don't have a scanner that can do a good job. I don't want to spend anymore than I have to.  So I decided to use my Mirrorless camera to scan the negatives to get them into the computer.  I used my iPad with a white background to produce the light that shines through the Negative I had a old film holder that I had from the B/W days to hold the film and I used my Sony A6300 and a adapted Nikon 60mm Macro lens that I have to focus Manually.  I have the camera Tethered to my laptop so I can look at the Negative larger to make sure its sharp. And it worked! I don't know If Ill keep using this system I would like something that autofocuses because my old eyes don't work like they used to.  But for now IMG_1118IMG_1118 this will do until I find a better way.

Now there in the computer but still a Negative so there is some processing that needs to be done.  The image must be inverted to make it a positive image. That can be done in photoshop.  The colors also need to be adjusted because Negative film is made to be projected onto film paper and the color cast are made for that.  The first couple of times I did all of this manually.  And there are Programs that will do this for you but of course they cost money and Im trying to do this on the cheap.  I did some research and found a free action that will color correct you photo's in photoshop.  It does a pretty good job better that I was doing manually.  Its good enough now that I can live with it later on I may want to upgrade to a Software that does a better job. So after I get everything into Lightroom its just like all my other photo's I can go through my regular work flow and can publish to Flickr, Facebook, Instagram or even print if I want.

It seems like a long process and it is.  But I really enjoy it.  Analog Photography is like listening to LP's on a record player maybe not as clear and it has pops and scratches but to me that's what makes it great.  Thats all for now Keep Shooting!

(Max Stansell Photography) analog blog camera devolop digitize film learning max stansell photography pentax photography sony tutorial website workshops Tue, 05 Jun 2018 15:42:15 GMT
'Podcast' The Ones I Listen to PodcastPodcast In my current "real job" I do about an hour or so commute everyday too and from work.  To occupy my time I have listened to the radio, audio books, iPod and all sorts of things to keep mind working on these two boring hours a day.  I'm kind of slow to learn new things and I have only found out and started listening to Podcast for about a year now.  I only listen to Photography related podcast and do have some favorites that I will share with you later.  Photography Podcast are a great way to learn new things , Photography news, tips and techniques, learn from more experienced seasoned photographers. So for these two hours a day I'm doing photography.  Maybe not taking photographs but getting inspired to take photo's or new gear or try a new technique.  So here are my favorites. Itunes podcastItunes podcast

1. The Digital Story Photography Podcast.  This Podcast is currently my favorite and has over 600 episodes that last about 30min each. Derrick Story a California based photographer/Author/workshop instructor covers a variety of different topics related to photography.  He also runs the Nimble Photography, and The Analog Story blogs.  He is truly a great story teller and a pleasure to listen to. He is into lightweight gear and shoots Micro 4/3's cameras.  He is the one that got me back into film photography again.

2. The Landscape Photography Podcast.  This Podcast is about Landscape photography and is hosted by Nick Page a Washington State based photographer.  A young photographer that has become pretty famous in a short time.  He also has a YouTube channel where he will take you with him on his trips around the west coast and abroad on workshops shooting landscapes.  His podcast are very informative and funny at times.  He does interviews with famous Landscape photographers.  His photo editing tips and tricks with luminosity masks have helped me a lot.

3. Tripod.  If you like Nick Page you will like this older Podcast.  This podcast was done by Nick before he got his own show and it is much like the Landscape photographer podcast.

4.  Recompose Photography Podcast.  This is hosted by Juan Pons and Andy Williams two very seasoned and famous Landscape and wildlife Photographers.  Based out of the North Eastern US they Conduct workshops all over the world.  They formally ran the Alpha Mirrorless Podcast for the TWIP (This Week in Photo) network which is also a great podcast .  They go over tips and tricks and gear.  Super Podcast.

5. Photo Taco Podcast.  Hosted by Jeff Harman a California based photographer/instructor.  This podcast covers a variety of subjects from backing up you photo's to Astro photography. Very informative. This is apart of the Master Photography Team.

So these were my top 5 Podcast shows and here is a list of good shows also that you may like. logopodcastlogopodcast

1. Master Photography Podcast.  This podcast has different topics from travel photography, Portraits, landscape , street photography and the business side of photography.

2.  Photography Tips from the Top Floor.  This is a Podcast that originates from Europe and is very good and almost made my top 5.

3.  The Candid Frame.  This Podcast centers around interviews with Famous and up comming photographers.  This podcast has been around for years and is very interesting.

4.  This Week In Photo  Another well established Podcast with over 500 episodes. 

5. Picture This! This is a podcast by Chelsea and Tony Northrup.  Both Photographers and instructors and very Big on YouTube.  They usually have a different perspective of topics and are very funny.

These are but 10 podcast to listen to.  There are a lot more but these are my current favorites.  Podcast are good to listen to while your doing house work or yard work or even editing photo's.  They are a good source of info and keeps your head in the Photography game.  So try them and keep on shooting!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog learning max stansell photography photography podcast tutorial website Thu, 31 May 2018 22:20:16 GMT
RAW+JPEG! and why you should shoot this way Elvis in WindowElvis in Window I only shoot in RAW because only amatures will shoot in JPEG.  Have you heard this or something simular to this?  I have and I probably have said it myself. Don't get me wrong I still think shooting RAW is the best way to shoot.  But whats wrong with a JPEG?  That's what you see when you look at your photo on the LCD screen of your camera.  And I bet that's what you see 99 % of the time on your computer and mobile device.  So why shouldn't we shoot in JPEG too?  How many times have you got home after a shoot and what you saw on the back of your camera is what you wanted in the first place and you had to spend time processing your RAW photo to get back to the JPEG rendering that was on the back of your camera?  I know I have.  We have very powerful cameras that we have paid a lot of money for.  The technology of these cameras are amazing! We have WiFi and all of these modes that we can shoot in but if your like me your shooting in RAW and spending time on the computer changing photo's to get them to look like whats on the back of your camera or changing them to B/W.  Why don't we let the camera do this for us? I listen to a lot of Podcast (a future blog) and I started hearing about shooting in RAW+JPEG. And there are some really good reasons to do so.  This weekend I shot in RAW + JPEG for the first time and I loved it!  Flag SailFlag Sail

Shooting in RAW+JPEG lets you use the power of your camera for processing your images.  First you shoot in RAW because all of the reasons that you've always heard about.  You can correct all of the mistakes better you can change the white balance on the fly you can do a lot of stuff with a RAW file that you just can't do with a JPEG. But at the end of the day how many photographs do you really do all of this heavy lifting of the shadows and really working the photograph?  The answer for me is not much.  This weekend I went out with my Photography Club and I took 300 photographs out of those 300 I really only had to work hard on one photograph to make it look the way I wanted. And I had the RAW file to do that with. When you shoot RAW what you download onto your computer isn't what you saw on the back of your camera.  So you spend time getting that RAW image to look like the JPEG that you saw.  Why not just use the JPEG?  If it looks the way you want it too out of camera? Why spend the time making the RAW look like your JPEG?  Just use the JPEG.

_MSP9038_MSP9038 I love black and white photography.  When I shot film that was what I shot most of the time.  Did you know you can set your camera up to shoot RAW + JPEG and then set your Camera Profile to shoot B/W.  You will now get the RAW file with all of the color and all of the info and a JPEG in B/W.  You will also see on the back of your camera the photo in B/W.  And I'm telling you the JPEG rendering is very good! Your Camera company have spent a lot of time and research money to make them look great!   The most work you'll have to do in post is crop. Depending on your camera you may have many modes, Portrait, Vivid , B/W, Sepia,Sunset and many more to play with. This will free you up your creativity because you know you always have that RAW file in the background if you need it.

Using WiFi and posting to social media.  Posting to social media is what I do with most of my photographs.  Camera's have been out with WiFi for quite a while but how many of us actually use them?  I must admit that I don't use often but using the JPEG file makes it easier because there is less processing that needs to be done and the file is smaller and easier to transfer via WiFi.  I did this this weekend (Memorial Day Weekend) I went to my local Veterans Cemetery and took some shots of the tombstones with the flags.  I sent the JPEG to my phone using WiFi sent it to "Snap Seed" to do a little crop and then sent to social media.  And it looked great!  I could have done with my iPhone but wouldn't have gotten the shot I wanted.

Would I do this for all types of Photography? No I wouldn't.  I wouldn't do this for Portrait photography.  Landscape? Maybe. Sports no I would shoot JPEG.  But Photography like Travel, urban, street are almost anything else I would. And I will.  To the next photo walk you do try RAW+JPEG and see what you get.  You'll be surprised. Have Fun and Keep Shooting!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog learning max stansell photography photography raw+jpeg tutorial website Wed, 30 May 2018 09:47:52 GMT
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.

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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

(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) blog hiking learning max stansell photography photography tutorial website workshops 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