Max Stansell Photography: Blog en-us (C) Max Stansell Photography (Max Stansell Photography) Fri, 21 Jun 2024 09:34:00 GMT Fri, 21 Jun 2024 09:34:00 GMT Max Stansell Photography: Blog 97 120 How to keep in touch with Photography when you can't get out Hey Ya'll!  How's everything going? Me? Well that's what this blog is about. I've had to have a minor surgery that has kept me in the house for a couple of weeks. (don't worry nothing serious ) Couldn't have picked a worse time for this to happen. I've got two photo projects I'm working on and the weather has been great and I'm tied to the house for a couple of weeks. So what have I been doing with my time? I'm trying to do as much photography stuff that I can to keep me in touch with the art that I love so much. Even writing this blog is one of the things that is keeping me busy and in touch with Photography. So in this blog I will give some advice if you end up like me all raring to go but can't .  So here I go with some suggestions.

-Go back in your catalog of photos and re-process them. Go find a photo you like from 5 or 10 years ago and process it like you do now. With all of the advancements in Lightroom and Photoshop I bet you can do all sorts of things that you couldn't do then and really make some of those old photo's really pop. This will give you something to do that will improve your skills and bring back to life old photos.

-Go through all of your equipment and make sure it's spotless and clean and ready to go. This will get the camera back in your hands and while you're going through your gear you might find that you need some gadget that you can order online and they will bring it right to your doorstep. Someone recently gave me an old film camera so I cleaned it and ran some test film through it to make sure everything worked fine. And of course I ordered some stuff like a new lens off of eBay to make this camera into a Kit. 

-Listen to photography related podcast. They are great and you can learn lots of stuff from them. Some of my favorites are "The Digital Story", "PetaPixel", "This week in Photo" , "Picture this" and " The Future of Photography" and there are many more.

-Do some indoor Photography. Set up a table and start photographing things from still-life  to water drops. There are all kinds of things. You can go on Youtube and look up a specific shot and see how they did it. Look up Photography ideas and there will be all kinds of neat stuff that you can find to shoot.  I took my medium format film camera and figured how to hook it up to modern strobes. You could also do some sort of macro photography indoors. Table top photography has endless possibilities. 

-I can't believe I'm going to say this but you can read a photography book. I have several (don't tell anyone Im a Nerd) They are pretty cool and you can learn a lot. Looking at a photo in print is much different than on a screen. You can study the greats without leaving your couch.

-Go on to YouTube and search for the type of photography that you like. There will be all kinds of tutorials on how to do stuff and short videos of trips if your into street and travel like I am . I can spend hours going through YouTube watching the how to's and the where they went.

-Do some online learning with Kelby One or Creative Live. Lots of learning from some of the best in their fields there may be some cost but its well worth it. You can learn things from iPhone photography to Astro or even using your iPhone to do Astro photography. Everything from editing to portrait lighting can be learned through these online courses.

These are just a few of the things that you can do that are photography related if you get stuck in the house for a while like I have or in the winter when its too cold to go outside. In Photography there is so much to learn and do that you could and I have almost spend a life time learning. And these days it's as easy as typing on your computer. I'm sure you have some ideas that I haven't even thought about please share. So until next week Get out and shoot!



(Max Stansell Photography) blog cleaning editing gear landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography podcast table top Tutorial website workshops Fri, 21 Jun 2024 09:00:00 GMT
Most Familiar Focal Length Hey Everyone! Hope you're having a great week! Me? Not too bad. This week I want to talk about the most familiar focal length that you're not shooting. Now we've always been told that the 50mm focal length is the closest to the human eye can see. I would even broaden that out a bit to 40-60mm somewhere in there is the sweet spot of the human eye. I think that back in the film days that 50 mm was the most familiar focal length and that was the lens that you always got with your new camera was the nifty fifty. But I think that in modern times that the familiar focal length has changed. In this modern age of photography everyone has a camera on them (Smart Phone)  and most of the normal lenses are set to 28mm range give or take a few millimeters. Everyone has a camera and they are used to seeing the world through that 28mm focal range. We take selfies, photo's of family and friends, events, landscapes almost everything is taken with our phones and we've got used to the focal length. The look of it. How it frames a scene. It's fairly wide compared to the 50mm and distorts the face of someone a little but we've got used to it. We like the look. Why don't you have a 28mm lens for your camera then? Well to tell you the truth there aren't that many to choose from. 

Now I really didn't notice the 28mm range until I started shooting film again. My film cameras I either had a fixed 40 or 45mm lens or had on interchangeable lens camera's had a 50 on them. But when I started shooting them they seemed tight. Too close and I was always backing up. Back in the film days I din't do that, the nifty fifty was just right. The reason is the smart phone camera that I have with me all the time taking shots of all kinds of stuff my eye had readjusted from the 50 to the 28mm of the phone. I had a 28mm for my Pentax but didn't use it too much I decided one day just to shoot the 28mm and I loved it!. It stayed on my camera almost all of the time. I would only pull the 50 out to shoot something across the street long distance for my street and travel stuff. Otherwise the 28mm was just right to my eye.  I loved this combination so much (28 and 50) I even got a 28 for my digital cameras and have a 28 and a 50 that I take with me when I'm shooting digital street to emulate the film set up that I have with the same focal lengths. I just love the combination of the 28mm (the new familiar) with the 50mm (my old familiar) when I'm shooting street or travel type photowalks. I just got a "new to me"  film camera system and the first thing I did was order a 28mm for my new system. Even in my medium format system set up I have a 30mm equivalent and a 50 equivalent focal length which matches my 35mm film and full frame digital cameras set up closely.

The new familiar ,28mm, has that look and is very versatile. It's great when shooting environmental portraits. It's wide enough without distorting the scene. It's great for landscapes rural or urban wide enough to get all of the scene in. Its great for taking a photo of someone your having lunch with or something close up like in street photography. This is a great lens for family photos during holidays. There are lots of advantages of the new familiar 28mm.  The 28mm is small and lightweight and great for carrying with you when you're on the go. The prices aren't much different than the nifty fifty maybe a little more but well worth it. I bought one used for a couple of hundred for my digital and even less than a hundred for my film cameras. There is not much bad to say about this little lens. For me it has become one of my favorite lenses and focal lengths. If you haven't shot with one I highly recommend getting one and trying it out. Until next week get out and shoot! Maybe the new Familiar.

(Max Stansell Photography) 28mm 50mm blog Canon Focal Length gear landscape learning Lens Max Stansell Photography Pentax Photography Sony street travel website workshops Fri, 14 Jun 2024 09:00:00 GMT
Long Telephoto 100-400mm Hey Everyone! Hope you're having a great week. This week I want to talk about the final adjustment of me going back full frame. My long Telephoto solution.  As you can see from the title of this blog I have Chosen the Sony 100-400mm lens for this section of my photography kit. But I wanted to give you a review of the lens and why I chose it instead of other lenses in this range. When I was shooting crop sensor I had an effective full frame equivalent of 15-525mm focal length. But since I've gone back to full frame I could only go to 105mm. So I needed a long telephoto. Previously when I was shooting full frame Nikon my longest lens was a 70-200 mm that I used for portraits and landscape. It was a fantastic lens . But I rarely shoot portraits anymore. The 70-200 is a great lens but I wanted something a little more. I mainly shoot travel landscape Cockspur LighthouseCockspur Lighthouse and occasionally wildlife. The 70-200 would be great for landscapes but for travel a little big and for wildlife too short.  When I was shooting crop sensor I liked that I had the option to shoot up to 525mm.  But I rarely shot at the very long end of that focal length.  I could get a third party lens from Tamron or Sigma that would fit this focal length and work great but I wanted to stay with Sony lenses. I also wanted to buy used to keep the cost down. I could have gone 200-600mm but I thought that was just too much especially on how I would use it.  So the Sony 100-400 seemed the right lens for me but there are two versions. The original came out in 2017 and the newer one  in 2022. I decided to go with the older one after watching many reviews and articles on both of them. So the lens I got was the Sony 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 G-Master OSS. What does all that mean? It's a 100-400mm focal length. Maximum aperture is F4.5 at 100mm and 5.6 at 400mm. It's a G- Green HeronGreen Heron Master lens which means it's the top of the line , one of the premium lenses the only one in my kit. And The OSS means that it's optically stabilized . 

So that was my reasoning behind getting the lens that I did let me talk about the lens itself . First of all the build quality is fantastic. Built like a tank! Much like my 70-200 that I had with Nikon. It's a weather sealed lens that means I can get it in a little weather. It has all of the seals to protect it and your camera. It has 4 switches on the side of the lens. It has a AF/MF switch .  It has a range switch Full to Infinity to 3meters, It has a OSS off and on switch. And a mode switch with 2 modes. Mode 1 is for everyday shooting and Mode 2 is for Panning.  It has 3 buttons on it that can be used to control something on your camera like turning Eye Auto Focusing on or off.  It Also has a switch that will tighten or loosen the lens to Zoom more smoothly depending on your taste.  It also has Snowy EgretSnowy Egret a removable tripod collar that can be adjusted or removed as needed.  As of this blog I've only used just a couple of times and it is sharp and easy to use.  There is an art to using longer lenses which I am learning but not great at yet. Maybe it's the weight or the size of the lens but it may take me a while to get used to it. It is a great lens that will give me many years of service.

Well that's it for this week and hopefully the end for all of the gear change blogs that I have been writing lately. LOL So until next week make sure you get out and shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) 100-400 blog camping gear hiking landscape learning long Telephoto Max Stansell Photography Photography Sony street Telephoto travel Tutorial website workshops Fri, 07 Jun 2024 09:00:00 GMT
Bronica ETR SI First Thoughts Hey Ya'll! Hope you're having a great week. Me? Pretty good. Today is another rainy day so I thought I would spend my time writing yet another blog and yet again about another piece of gear. I know , I know I have GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). As you know I've been really into film this year. From shooting , Developing and Scanning I've really been into the process and the film project I'm doing. Then I got to thinking what kind of project can I do next year that will keep me into film?  I thought how about medium format and try to shoot fine art landscapes and such. The only problem I have with that is I don't have a medium format camera. Well I didn't. I do have one now. And that's what this blog is about the Bronica ETR SI. This is a Japanese camera made from 1989 - 2004 when digital was killing film camera's. The company has been around since the end of WWII and the ZENZA BRONICA first appeared in 1959. So it's a company that has a history in medium format cameras. This isn't a sexy camera like the Hasselblads are. It is known as a workhorse no frills camera. It is also known as a poor mans Hasselblad. Which is funny I also own a poor mans Leica with the Canon Canonet QL17 LOL. This camera was mainly a studio and Landscape camera . Let me go over some of the specs.

It's a SLR type camera. Which means you see through the lens when you focus. Unlike the twin lens and the Rangefinder type of cameras. Which means there is no parallax going on. What you have framed is what you get.

It is a system camera. Which means you can configure the camera many different ways. With different film backs, to viewfinders and lenses.  It also has a speed handle that can be attached that has shutter button and rewind lever attached. It is very versatile and can adapt to many shooting situations.

This is a 645 (6cm X 4.5 cm Negative) medium format camera. It has many different film backs to shoot all sorts of film. It can shoot 135 film (35mm) , 120 film, 220 film and polaroid . Using different film backs for all of them. You can also switch film mid roll. For example If your shooting 120 color and take a couple of shots , You can take the film back off and put one that has 120 black and white film without finishing the color film and go back and forth.  This will keep you from wasting film when changing back and forth between types of film. It can also shoot panorama with a special film back using 35mm film.

Lenses- It uses Zenzanon lenses made by Bronica. In earlier models it used Nikon Nikor lenses until they had their lenses perfected. The lenses also include the leaf shutter along with aperture .  The lenses come in maximum aperture of f2.8 and f4 and are super sharp and are plentiful and can be easily purchased.

Shutter- As mentioned above it has a leaf shutter instead of a focal plane shutter. It has a range from bulb to 1/500 of a second. With a leaf shutter you can sync your flash at any speed it isn't restricted to a certain shutter speed like a focal plane shutter. This camera also has a mirror lock-up feature to keep camera steady when shooting at low shutter speeds. The shutter is controlled from the main body and must have a battery power to operate. If battery dies it shoots at 1/500 as a default.

Other features. It has a multiple exposure lever so you can take more than one shot on the same frame, Battery check button to check the strength of your battery and a cable release socket.

Viewfinders- You can choose between two different viewfinders. One is the waist level finder that you look down and through the lens and the other is a prism view finder that you look through like a normal SLR. The prism view finder has a meter in it and can shoot in Aperture Priority. With the waist level you have to use a hand held meter to get the proper exposure.

I was very lucky to find this particular camera .  What I got with the kit was the body, 2 film backs a 120 and a 220, Prism and a waist level viewfinder, 2 lenses a 50mm and a 75mm both max aperture f 2.8, and Speed handle. All in the original boxes with receipts when they were bought in the early 90's.  Main body , lenses, prism viewfinder and 120 film back had never been used. They were owned by a professional portrait photographer that had purchased as a backup. He died a few years ago and a friend was selling them.  I saw the kit on Facebook marketplace and was surprised when I inspected them how good of shape they were in. I was very lucky. I am now learning all I can about 120 film and have shot one roll through it and developed it . I am pleasantly surprised at my results. I am very excited about using this camera for years to come and projects to come. Well that's enough about gear for today. Until Next week Get out and Shoot!


(Max Stansell Photography) 120 film blog Bronica film back fine art landscape learning lenses Max Stansell Photography Medium format Photography website workshops Fri, 31 May 2024 07:47:02 GMT
Medium Format Film Project Hey Ya'll! Hope you're having a great week! Me? Super! Tomorrow I leave for a photography trip with my club and I'm super excited. But that will be another blog. This week I want to talk about a project I'm thinking of doing. If you follow this blog you know I'm in the middle of a film project and I'm really enjoying it. So I was thinking what kind of project can I do next year that involves film. Right now I'm shooting 35mm film and its easy to get and I' used to using it. But what about another type of film? Then I thought what about medium format film? Now I didn't know anything about medium format film. Never shot it and don't even have a camera that will shoot it.  So I had to start researching medium format film. Let me tell you there is lots to learn. First of all there is the film. The film most commonly used is 120mm film. There is also a 220 film that is basically the same as 120 but longer so you can get twice the shots on a roll. But 120 is the most common and many manufactures make it as for 220 I could only find one company that still make it and its in China. So that's the type of film but it's not that easy.  Depending on what camera you get determines what size the negative will be.  There are many sizes. There is 645 cameras. They make a negative that is 6cm X 4.5cm thus the 645. There is 6x6cm and 6x7cm they are kind of close a square and not quite a square.  Then there are the 6x9cm which is more a traditional aspect ratio. Now that's a lot to take in. The bigger the negative the less shots you get on a 120 or 220 roll of film. So with the price of film that has to be taken into consideration. The bigger the negative the more resolution and the less grain and sharper the image will be.  

Next is the camera type. I've only used 35mm before and have used SLR and Rangefinder type cameras but with medium format there are all kinds of cameras you can get and use. Like 35mm camera's these cameras are old and they really don't make them anymore. But there are so many different kinds. There is the twin lens reflex. TLR's. They are the ones with two lenses in the front and have a viewfinder that you look through the top while the camera is at waist level. There are foldable camera's. They fold up fairly flat and when you open them there is a lens and bellows system. But you must be careful when buying so you don't have light leaks in the bellows. There are Rangefinder type of cameras that look like their 35mm little brothers but much larger. These camera types are either fixed lens camera's or in the TLR's hard to find lenses to change out if at all. You have SLR cameras that look like the 35mm cameras but much larger!  Then you have system SLR camera's. The system camera's are more versatile than all of the above. They have interchangeable lenses. They may have interchangeable view finders. (A waist viewfinder and a conventional viewfinder.) The most cool thing is the interchangeable film backs. With these film backs you can shoot 120, 220, 35, polaroid, and digital if the backs are available. These camera's were mostly used by professional photographers. Some of the film backs also rotate so when shooting you can go from landscape to portrait without moving the camera you just rotate the film back. All of these cameras can come with a leaf shutter or a focal plane shutter. The advantage of a focal length shutter is the speed you can get faster shutter speeds. With a leaf shutter you can sync your flash at any shutter speed. Focal shutters are louder and leaf shutters are quieter.

So there is lot to figure out. What size negative and what type of camera . The prices of these cameras can go from 3 to 4 hundred dollars for a camera to thousands. This all depends on type, condition and of course brand. A Hassabald is much more expensive than a Yashica. I also need to figure out what I want to shoot in this project. I plan to shoot fine art type of photography. Landscapes and Still life. Shooting Medium format is a slow process. Not fast like 35 or super fast like digital. I have made a couple of decisions after all of the research I've been doing. I have decided on the 645 size of camera and negative size. This size is more than twice the size of 35mm film and should give me the look I'm Looking for. I have also decided on a camera. I purchased a system camera set up. It's a Bronica ETR SI. It has interchangeable Lens , film backs and viewfinders. I'll go over it in another blog. I got a great deal on Facebook Marketplace. I got it early so I could practice with it and I can use it in my film project I'm doing now so when I get ready next year for the Medium Format project I'll already be comfortable with the camera .

Projects are a great way for a photographer to learn more about theirselves and to challenge them in photography. I hope you can find a project that motivate you to get out and shoot. So until next week Get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) 645 blog Film landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Medium Format Photography Rangefinder SLR TLR website workshops Fri, 24 May 2024 09:00:00 GMT
It's the Shooting Experience , Not the Image Quality Hey Ya'll! Hope you're having a great week. Me? Pretty good. First of all I want to start out to give props to Derrick Story who has one of the best Photography Podcast around! I borrowed this title from him. He has a podcast on this topic and it really resinated with me. Because that's how I feel about photography. First if you haven't listened to his podcast it's the Digital Story and it can be found in any of the podcast services or you can google "The Digital Story" and listen to it there. Now back to the subject. When your buying a camera or camera system is the most important thing to you image quality? Or does the camera have to feel good in your hand? To me it has to feel good. I have to like where all the buttons and gismo's are. Shooting should be fun and not complicated or uncomfortable. But for some people it's not like that it's the bottom line of image quality that is the most important. How many megapixels , what's the burst rate, how fast does it focus . Image quality is everything. If you're a professional photographer I can understand that. But very few of us are Professional. Since this is my blog and it's all about me! LOL I'm going to take the other side of this argument and say that the Shooting Experience is more important that the image quality.

I have been in photography for a long time. When I got my first camera image quality was the furtherest from my mind because all film camera's pretty much had the same quality.  It was the shooting experience , how the camera felt in our hand , the taking of the photo's with friends and family. That was the fun part. Getting the photo's back from the lab and looking at them a week or so later it wasn't on how sharp the photo's were but the people and things in them. Now when I got into digital there was a time when I was obsessed with the megapixel count and how fast it shot (the image quality) But then I got away from that and started shooting crop sensor camera's and the image wasn't as important as the experience. You have a much better experience hauling a crop sensor camera and lenses compared to carrying around a full frame sensor camera. And the quality didn't change much. If you look at my website 90% of the photo's are shot with a crop sensor and they look great! (or at least i think so) I have shots on my website that were shot with point and shoots and with iPhones . So I think getting a camera for quality isn't as important as it used to be because any camera you buy today will give you great photo's. Even your phone. So maybe that's why I like film so much it's the experience, the feel, the sound of the shutter and the mirror slapping up and out of the way. Zone focusing, using old lenses on new digital camera's just for the feel of the old lens even though new lenses may be sharper. I like to set up my digital camera's as much as I can like old film ones . I like using lenses that have aperture rings on them to set the aperture like I would on an older film camera. I usually shoot in Aperture Priority or Manual to keep it close to as what it was when I was shooting film. I do like smaller cameras to shoot because large ones are just too heavy to tote around. I would rather take a point and shoot camera to shoot on a photowalk instead of a big bulky camera like I did on the last trip to the low country. I used a point and shoot and a film when walking around Savannah and had really good images. Were they as sharp and flawless as a more modern full frame camera kit? No but I don't even own a modern full frame camera kit. Mine still works fine. I think of camera systems as tools that you use. I wouldn't take a film camera to capture a race car race. I would take a big lens and camera to catch what I could. But I would take the film camera for a walk about a town and not the big lens camera.  I would take a crop sensor camera on a hike because it would be more comfortable (shooting experience) than a big digital camera that might have better quality images. How a camera feels in your hand is more important than the technical aspects of it. If you're not comfortable you won't take very good photo's. But I've seen photo's taken with a phone that are great because it was the right tool for the job at the right time and the photographer was comfortable using it.

I feel as I've gone off of the reservation a little. What I'm saying is that its not the technical aspects of the gear that is important its how it feels to you when your using it that is important. I have a Sony 24- 105 lens that takes great photo's but its just too heavy to take around with me so I'm having the conversation with myself should I change it out for a 20-70mm lens that is newer and lighter has an aperture ring that my 24-105 doesn't .  I'm thinking so I just haven't pulled the trigger yet. To me the 30mm difference in the lens is less important than me hauling a twice as heavy lens with me. I would get better photo's with a lens that I'm bringing with me and using instead of a lens that sits in my bag because it's too heavy. The shooting experience is more important than quality of the image. Well I've gone on enough on this subject. Please enjoy your gear and don't get it just because it's the newest and the greatest it should be comfortable to make the shooting experience greater ! So get out and shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog gear image Quality landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography shooting experience website Fri, 17 May 2024 09:00:00 GMT
Photography is Subtraction Not Addition Hey Ya'll ! Hope you've had a great week! Me? Pretty good! This week I want to talk about a subject that will improve your photography by leaps and bounds. We as photographers are always trying to find the magic cure or recipe to great photography. We try new gear or special editing techniques. We download all sorts of presets hoping some other photographer has found the magic combination of settings in Lightroom. But there really isn't any secret sauce! The key is to keep it simple. Make your photo's simple. How do we make a photograph that will catch someone's eye? It's by taking out everything that is not needed in the photo .  Taking away all of the distractions for the viewer to see what was so special in the photo you took. By Subtracting! Why do we want large megapixel camera's? So we can crop and still have good resolution. Why do we crop? To get rid of unwanted things in our scene. We Subtract. To me that's the main reason to Raven's Roost Va.Raven's Roost Va. have a high megapixel photo. So we can crop or subtract. Thats why cropping works! 

It's not what you leave in but what you leave out that will make your photographs good. People use longer focal lengths for that exact reason when shooting street photography or wildlife or landscapes. To isolate what is important in a shot and to take away everything that is not. One of the great sayings in photography is " If your not getting good photo's move closer your not close enough" The saying is true because when you move closer you take away all of the surrounding stuff that doesn't matter to your photo.  Your Subtracting the junk to make your photo better. When you edit one of the final steps in editing is to do a boarder check. Checking the boarder for unwanted things that are poking in your photo. Subtracting the junk that isn't needed or wanted for the good photo. Distractions! Less is More!

Cades Cove TreeCades Cove Tree Someone long time ago asked Michelangelo the famous Renaissance sculptor and painter. " How did you make the "David" statue out of a single peace of Marble. He said " I took away everything that wasn't David". He Subtracted! So as we can see this system ins't new it has been going on for centuries ! Now I'm not saying that using this method that you will become the Michelangelo of photography but it should make your photographs more appealing and simple. Without all of the distractions you can show the people what you liked about the photograph to begin with.

So how do we do this in practice? It's all good to say that we need to subtract the distractions in our photo to make them Light House StairsLight House Stairs better but how? I think we should slow down. Get back to basics. We've become button pushers and don't take enough time setting up the camera , composing( framing) or waiting for just the right moment. We want to click , click, click and move on to the next thing. I am very much guilty of this process. As a matter of fact until I started shooting film again I was very much the "Clicker of Photos" My expensive camera just became an expensive point and shoot.  So I think that slowing down getting the correct aperture , composition and waiting for the correct moment to push the shutter is how we eliminate (Subtract) distractions. 

So that's it for this week. Subtract distractions for better photo's. So until next week Get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog composition gear hiking landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography Simple street subtraction travel Tutorial website workshops Fri, 10 May 2024 09:00:00 GMT
Classic Debates in Photography Hey Ya'll! Hope you're doing great! When writing this its the first day of Spring so Happy Spring! This week I want to talk about some of the Classic Debates that we photographers have about our great hobby. We photographers love to debate and have fun disagreements with our Photog friends. One of the classic is about camera companies. In my camera club one of the questions that we ask new members is what type of camera that they shoot. No matter what kind of camera it is we hear oohs and  cheers from the people who have that camera and from those that don't. The most classic is Canon vs Nikon these camera lovers are really loyal to the brands that they have chosen and get very outspoken about their cameras. I guess because they have spent so much money on them and want to reinforce their decision to investment in them. LOL So lets get started with the debate.

Full Frame Sensor vs Crop Sensor.  This is one of the most debated topic and people are really serious about it.  Ever since the first Full Frame Sensor Camera came out. (Crop Sensors were first) this debate has begun. They both have positives and negatives to them and I have even written a blog on this one Debate.  I have many years shooting both and can tell you that the differences especially with newer cameras are very small. Full  Frame Sensor are better in low light but not as much as they used to be and crop sensors give you more depth of field. Camera's with full frame are larger and crop sensors are smaller.  Those are the biggest differences. 

Manual vs Auto. Some photographers say that you are not a real photographer unless you shoot in Manual. Others say I can get better photo's quicker by using the Auto settings. I started photography in an age that there really wasn't a choice. It was manual only. I think you should know how to shoot in Manual but think you should use the auto modes and use manual when they don't work. It will make your work flow less complicated and concentrate on composition instead of what shutter speed to use when shooting manual only. 

Photoshop vs Lightroom. This debate has also been around for a while. Photoshop was the first editing program for older photographers then Lightroom came out with easy editing and organizing system.  I use both. I use Lightroom to organize my photo's and do the simple editing that I do and if I have to do some heavy lifting or editing I'll send the photo to Photoshop to do the things that Photoshop is better at. But choosing one over the other is just silly . You should be using both to get the best out of your photo's.

Zooms vs Prime Lenses. I have also had a blog on this subject also. I have a love for both and think that both of them have a place for your photography. Zoom lenses are great for when changing your position is hard like Landscape and wildlife. Primes are great for when you can control your position like Portraits and Street photography. Zooms tend to be heaver than primes and usually have a larger minimum aperture . They both have their place. But to choose one over the other I don't think that is right. But using both to fill out the needs of your photography.

Film vs Digital. This is mainly an Old guy debate as most young photographers have never shot film. But for guys like me _MSP6316_MSP6316 this can be a debatable topic. I like both. I like the look of film . I like the flaws in it. Digital can be flawless and is awesome to shoot with and you can shoot to your self content. With film your limited on the amount of shots on a roll of film. Film is like listening to vinyl record albums. It has a something , something that you can't put your finger on. This is a debate that I have with myself all of the time.

Color vs Black and White. This is a big debate among photographers. Some folks won't shoot Black and white and some won't shoot color. Since the digital age you can shoot both at the same time and I do this sometimes . There is a saying that states " when you shoot color you take pictures of their clothes when you shoot black and white you shoot their souls". Don't know who said this but I do like it. Black and White has a timeless feel to it and sometimes shooting in color the colors just get in the way. I love both and sometimes shoot both at the same time and pick the one I like the best in post.

Natural Light vs Artificial Light.  Among portrait photographers this is a big debate. Some will only shoot in natural light and say that it gives the best colors . Those that shoot with the aid of flash or strobes really control the light and can shoot in any situation. A definite advantage to be able to shoot with the aid of flash because the possibilities are endless. Shooting in Natural light does and can have a special quality to it but getting the light just right can be tough.

So here are some of the classic debates in photography. Do you have some that I don't know about. Please list them in the comments. So let's stop debating and start Shooting! So Get out and Shoot! 

(Max Stansell Photography) Auto black and white blog color crop sensor Digital Film full frame gear landscape learning lenses Lightroom Manual Max Stansell Photography natural light Photography Photoshop Prime Strobes website workshops Zoom Fri, 03 May 2024 09:00:00 GMT
Spring "Low Country" Photo Workshop Hey Ya'll! Hope everyone had a great week! I sure did I went on a workshop to the Low Country of Georgia and South Carolina. The camera club that I have been a member for over a decade decided this year to take a trip in the spring. Usually we only do a Fall Colors trip in the Mountains somewhere but this year we did a spring trip. We had one planned in 2020 but COVID put a stop to it. Our fall trip is a week long trip but we wanted our spring trip to be shorter to give people who can't take a whole week off to go to the mountains a chance to go on a trip with us. Our trip was to start on a Wednesday and come home on a Sunday. Last year we took a scouting trip to help plan our trip for this years workshop. Afterwards we (Mike, Robert and myself) had many meetings and came up with an itinerary for the trip. We had settled on two days in Savannah Ga. and two days in Beaufort SC. Caitlin our club's president secured our lodging at both places and as always she did a great job. So then there was just the countdown to the day the trip began. We had 10 people attend and one of them was a former member that had moved away to Tampa Fla. and he drove up to meet us in Savannah. So here goes a day by day of our workshop.

Day 1.  The day was a travel day mostly. We wanted to get there as quick as we could to be some rain that was in the forecast for the next day. We arrived early enough to park our cars at our first rental. (we were too early to check in) Our Florida compadre met us just as we were getting ready to head out. Our house was just a couple of blocks away from the famous Forsyth Park and fountain there. So that's where we headed first. We tried to get as much in as we could walking the streets of Savannah because we knew that rain was on the way the next day.  We wondered down from Forsyth park towards the waterfront stopping along the way for drinks and to take photo's.  When we finally got to the waterfront we found a place for supper. We had a nice supper and explored the waterfront area. We then started the way back to Forsyth Park to get a nighttime shot of the fountain. We did so and headed back to the house. We did a lot of walking and some folks took an Uber from the waterfront back to the house instead of walking the 10 or so blocks. It was a good full day!

Day 2. The weather dictated most of this day. Thunder and heavy rain early in the morning. When the rain slacked up a bit we headed out to Tybee Island to maybe get a shot of a lighthouse or two but the rain was too heavy so we just got something to eat at a local restaurant and headed back to the house. By early afternoon the weather had gotten better but our President had gotten a touch of food poisoning and was really out of commission for the rest of the day and most of the next. Some of us went to the Tybee Island Lighthouse and to Pulaski National Monument to take some photo's of the light houses. It was very windy but we managed to get a couple of shots. We decided to have Pizza delivered that night to the house instead of going out to eat. The rains didn't ruin our time in Savannah but it did seem to cut it short.

Day 3. The first thing on our agenda was a sunrise at Tybee Island pier. We loaded up very early with all of our stuff because we were going to Beaufort SC and checking out of the Savannah house. We had a nice shoot at the pier and had another hearty breakfast.  Then off to the Beaufort area. We were too early to check in and our house was at a gated community just outside of Beaufort.  Our first stop was to get some photos of Shrimp boats which we did then we went to Port Royal Cypress Wetlands. This was a fantastic spot to shoot wild birds, alligators, snakes and other wild life.  We spent quite a while there walking the boardwalks and taking in all the sights and sounds. We then walked to a local place and had lunch that was quite good. Our president stomach was starting to get better. We stopped at a ruin of an African American church and took some photo's and then went to Hunting Island State Park to scout out the next mornings shoot. We had planned to go to a seafood restaurant that evening but we needed reservations and had called too late for the day so we made reservations for the next day. We then went to a place that was near our next shoot which was Sheldon Ruin Church to do some light painting. We stopped by the house to drop off our luggage and then headed out . We went to the restaurant under much hype of the menu of Steak and Potatoes. We got there and there was no steak and patatoes but the menu was Wings and things. It still was a great dinner and we went to the church to do some light painting which worked out great. Then it was back to the house to get some shut eye and up early for another shoot.

Day 4. Up early! We headed out to Hunting Island State Park to shoot the driftwood trees with the sunset. We got there and it was dark and we headed out down a short trail to get to the beach . It was in a different place than the scouting trip and it was fabulous!  There were many trees there and we got there about an hour before the sun peeked its eyes out so we got really good shots. After we exhausted the shots there we went to the lighthouse there at the state park and the "No See Ums" were out! Got a few shots of the Lighthouse and it was off to Beaufort to eat breakfast. The restaurant was packed and we are a group of ten so it's hard to seat us and we waited quite a while for seats. We finally got in and had a great breakfast or brunch it was so late. By then everyone was done and wanted to go back to the house. So we didn't shoot the town of Beaufort as much as I wanted but  folks were tired. We had reservations at a very cool restaurant that evening and had a great meal of seafood. When we got back to the house we were going to do some light painting. We were going to use sparklers and lights out on the beach. We got to the beach and the "no see ums" were terrible swarming. They died down a little later but were bad at first. We tried to light the sparklers but they were duds and couldn't get them lit. We dished that idea and worked with some colored lights that we had brought and got some good shots.

Day 5. Day 5 was packing up and heading to Magnolia Plantation before going home. We went to the plantation and it was nice. We took a train ride and walked through the gardens and saw the plantation grounds. It was a nice place to visit. Then we all headed home.

All in all it was a great trip and I got some good photo's. I always look forward to the clubs trips and workshops and can't wait until the fall trip.  Until next week Get Out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) Beaufort blog gear Georgia landscape learning Light painting Max Stansell Photography Photography Savannah South Carolina street Sunrise travel website workshops Fri, 26 Apr 2024 08:22:22 GMT
Photographing with Film VS Digital Hey Ya'll! Hope you're having a great week! I know I've been writing a lot about film photography the last month or so and it's mainly because I've been really into film during the same time. I've talked about camera's, developing and scanning and even how to meter. I have talked about all of the technical and material stuff but I haven't talked about the feel of shooting with film again. We photographers are really into gear and the how-to of photography and I think sometimes we forget about the why and the feeling of photography. We concentrate on megapixels and how many frames per second and auto focusing . We forget all of the famous photographers over the last 100 years didn't have any of these modern convinces and their photographs still stand over and above a lot of modern photographers. Not that there aren't great photographers now but gear isn't the reason of what made them great. It's the feel , the art of the photography that made the greats great. To me shooting film is back to basics.

Back to Basics. Shooting film makes me go back to basics. The seeing the scene. With film photography I have to slow down. Each shot cost money. Even with me developing my own film and Scanning it myself its almost 50-.75 cent per shot which doesn't sound like a lot but does add up after you're used to shooting for free with digital. Each shot matters. So you take your time waiting for the perfect scene. When you find that perfect scene then there is the metering part. These are 50 plus year old camera's and trusting how you are metering is really key to getting a good exposure. Knowing if you're going to error in exposure you should error in over exposure. Framing and composition is very important. Although you can edit that in post every time you crop you introduce more grain. Every part of the process in film photography affects the way your final image will turn out .  The film itself is very important. The manufacturer the ISO of the film do you want to shoot black and white or color. All of these things matter when shooting film.  Even the way you develop the negatives and what chemicals you decide to use will change the way the final image will turn out.  Everything matters when making decisions when shooting film.  Maybe that's why I like it so much. You have to be involved in the shooting process and even the developing process. They all make a difference when shooting film. You are involved. You make all of the decisions. The camera's I use for film are 100% mechanical. The only thing that is electronic is the meter. I really like that. Film fits the style of photography that I like Travel and Street.  For younger photographers that are just discovering film it's all new and the nostalgia of film. For me it's back to the roots that I remember.  Are the images better than what I get with digital?  If you're looking at technical things like sharpness color and pop. No not really but if you're looking for the "how does it make you feel" factor then yes. You've heard me say this before it's like listening to a vinyl record album compared to listening to a digital recording. The vinyl has pops and cracks that you can hear but that gives it character and something you can't put your finger on. Film is the same way. The grain and the colors just give it that something.

Shooting Digital. When I first started shooting digital 24 years ago I had to learn what Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and being able adjust your ISO.  I had to relearn. I had shot manual for over 20 years and had only had film cameras that were mechanical manual camera's. I din't even have auto focus. That was something else I had to learn.  After a couple of years I had it all figured out and became basically an Aperture Priority photographer just like I am today.  When I'm shooting digital I tend to shoot a lot and almost anything compared to when I shoot film. If something looks a little interesting I shoot. I don't think so much because my camera does all of the thinking for me. I pick the aperture and the camera does the rest. Really if you looked at my photo's most everything starts at F8 and my camera at this point is just a point and shoot. I will adjust my Aperture depending on what look I want but basically I put on F8 and let it eat.  I don't have to think about metering, I don't have to think about ISO or focusing . The camera does it all and it does it great. But after a while you stop thinking and just point and shoot. It (to me) takes the fun the artistry to it out of the shot. If you mess up when you're taking the shot you can fix it in post. Digital images you can do so much in post that its an art in itself . And believe me if Ansil Adams had Lightroom and Photoshop he would be one of the experts .  But everything seems so slick and automatic.  For me it seems like the involvement feels less than when I shoot film. Don't get me wrong I'm not knocking digital I love to shoot digital but I also love to shoot film. 

Conclusion. I love the involvement I have when I shoot film. I love the process from start to finish. I think that shooting film makes me a better digital photographer. I think that going back and forth between film and digital makes me a better photographer. Where if I only shot digital I get into the point and shoot mode and don't think as much because I know I can fix in editing.  If you take a better photo in digital then when you edit you even get a better photo. So if you look at the technical aspect of Film VS Digital I'd say that Digital wins but if you are looking at feel and that X factor I'd say that Film wins. So until next week get out and shoot !

(Max Stansell Photography) aperture priority auto blog film gear ISO landscape learning manual Max Stansell Photography negatives Photography Shutter Priority website workshops Fri, 19 Apr 2024 10:00:45 GMT
How to Meter for Film Photography   Hey Ya'll! Happy Friday! Hope your week is going great! Me ? I'm doing well and excited about this weeks topic. As you know I have been working on a film project this year and have been getting into and relearning how to shoot film. It's not as strait forward as you would think it .  Many of the camera's that are used "now a days", are old camera's and the meters that are in them may not be as accurate as they used to be when they were brand new if they work at all. For one thing they don't make the same batteries as they used to .  Batteries used to be made with mercury which was outlawed and they Alkaline which is not as stable as mercury was.  The voltages are different too which affects the accuracy of the meter. So if you have a in camera meter that works and that is accurate you are very lucky. What is nice about these old camera's is that you don't need a battery to operate the camera the only thing that the battery operated was the meter.  So we just have to find a different way to meter. That's what this blog is about.

Shooting film is different than digital. When shooting film you hear expose for the highlights because you can bring the detail out of the shadows. So you can shoot up to a Stop under exposed with no problems. I set my exposure compensation at 1/3 under exposed just to save the highlights. If you over expose the highlights you can't get the details back. Film is the opposite . All the details are in the highlights so if you want to error you Over expose. Most films can be over exposed one or two stops but can only be under exposed one stop. The best practice is to get it right in camera and a good meter that you can trust no matter if it's in your camera or not. Hope that explanation isn't too muddy.

When metering for film and not using the camera's meter ,if it had one, there are a few choices. You can go with inexpensive to expensive and from convenient to not so much. Here are the ways. The Sunny 16 rule. This was developed by Kodak many years ago and works great but might not be as accurate so we are going to stick to mechanical meters. So the meters are.  Use your Smart Phone, A on camera meter that attaches to hot or cold shoe, Handheld meter, and a Spot Meter. I'm only going to talk about 3 of these. Spot metering although is very accurate it is very expensive to buy a meter that does this. And unless you are a high end professional photographer I wouldn't recommend. Film is expensive enough. But the other three I have used and will discuss. You can also use the obvious your digital camera set to the same ISO and transfer the settings to your Film Camera. But that's big and bulky and you have to carry 2 camera's. And it's a pain. But it does work.

Smart Phone, You can use a APP on your phone. Some are even free. Your smart phone uses the camera on your phone and you point the phone at the scene press a button and the app will give you the settings for your camera .  I used an app that I paid 5 dollars for and I got that I could calibrate the phone to match a trusted meter that I have. Using this is easy but cumbersome and inexpensive because you already have the phone and can use a free app. If you are only going to shoot film every now and then this might be the way to go.

Hand held meter, A dedicated hand held meter is accurate and easy to use. I think is a must for any serious photographer to have. Very useful in flash photography. The draw back here is that they are rather expensive and are bulky. You can get a decent one for 200 to 300 dollars. If you already have one like I do this is another no cost alternative. But it is bulky and something extra to put in your pocket or around your neck. 

Hot/Cold shoe Meter, These little meters connect using the Hot/Cold shoe on your camera. So they are always on your  camera and you don't have to have something in your pocket or carry with you. They come in two basic colors black and a silver to match your camera . They come in many prices mine was 70 bucks. Mine is accurate but can be adjusted if not. The one I have is USB rechargeable so no batteries. These are handy and sit atop of your camera but may take away from the look of your camera if your into the coolness of film cameras .  Some of them have dials that may mimic what your  camera has and look cool also. Mine has a dial and a digital read out for the numbers. I think the most convenient of the three.

Shooting film is fun but expensive so you want your meter to be right. All of these choices work and give accurate readings.  My choice is the hot/cold shoe one just for the convenance of it. It's always there I don't have to fish into a pocket to pull a phone or another meter out. It's USB chargeable so I don't have to mess with batteries. It was fairly inexpensive I've paid more for filters. So if you want to shoot film these are the choices for metering but you could always go the Sunny 16 rule. So until next time. Get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog cold gear hotshot iPhone landscape learning Max Stansell Photography meter Photography shoe smartphone website workshops Fri, 12 Apr 2024 00:38:04 GMT
My Newest Film camera is 50yrs old! Hey Ya'll! How's your week going? Mine? Pretty good. It's a rainy day so I thought I would catch up on writing some Blogs. This week I want to talk about an old camera I just got off of eBay for 100 bucks. As you know by reading my blogs I like used and old stuff. I have a photography project shooting film that I'm in the process of and I do have a couple of great film cameras. But I just needed one more! LOL I was looking at a camera that could shoot manual and maybe auto a little and had a fixed lens. There is all kinds of newer automatic plastic camera's but I wanted one a little more advanced and it needed to look good too. I like the rangefinder style of cameras especially for what I'm going to used it for. Street and walking around a EDC (Every Day Carry) film camera.  I have a 1961 Canon Canonet (the original) but it's big and heavy and the lens is 45mm. A little long for what I like for walking around with. I have a Pentax MX a great camera and I have all the lenses to go with it but I will bring all of the lenses (I can't help myself) which makes it too heavy and bulky and no auto on it at all its fully manual. What I decided on was a Canon Canonet 17QL GIII. It is the last version of the Canonet that Canon released in 1972. They produced the camera until 1982.  They were very popular cameras and that means there are lots of them out there so the prices will stay down. Now buying from eBay is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of trust going on because these are not established camera companies that you are buying from . Usually it's an individual that is selling them. I have been very lucky on the things that I have bought and sold on eBay and have had no problems. So I found one and purchased it. One of the main reasons that I got it was because the light seals had been replaced already something that you have to do with old cameras because they just go bad so I just went for it. When it came in I was pleasantly surprised it was in good shape . I cleaned it up and inspected it . Everything seemed to work. There was no visible fungus on the lens and all functions worked. So I had to put it to the test and run a roll of dummy film through it to make sure it advanced and rewinded when I wanted it to. It passed again. Now it was time for a real test . So I got a roll of Kodak Gold 200 and loaded it up.

So now lets talk features of this new to me but old camera. It is a rangefinder camera which means when you look through the viewfinder you're not looking through the lens but through a window on the side of the camera. Inside that window you can see a yellow frame which is where you're photo will be. There is a meter on the right that only works in the auto mode. Auto mode for this camera is Shutter priority . You pick the shutter speed and the camera picks the aperture .  If the camera thinks that you are over or under exposed it will not let you take the photo.  The meter runs off of an odd sized battery. The original batteries were Mercury and newer ones are Alkaline . The mercury ones keep the correct voltage longer so the meter will read accurately longer. Alkaline work but they don't last as long. I checked the meter and it reads accurate with a new battery in it. Meters in older camera's are usually broke or don't read properly so this is a plus for this camera. This camera comes with a battery check button where you can push the button and a light will shine letting you know that the battery is okay. The lens on this camera is a 40mm f1.7 which is a nice fast lens although I would like a wider one but that's what it comes with. The lens is very sharp and crisp and has good contrast. It is a 48mm filter thread which is a odd size. I had lots of filters and lens hood for 49mm so I got a set up ring that goes from 48-49mm so all of my old stuff would work on this camera. When shooting in Manual mode you have to use an external meter or the Sunny 16 rule. I will have a blog on how to meter for film on old manual camera's like this one. You can use a meter or an app off of your phone. This camera is a quick loading camera that means you don't have to thread the film into a slot when loading it you just lay it down and it will do it for you. It has a film indicator window on it so when you advance the film it will let you know that the film is advancing. It also had a ready to fire indicator window that will be orange when the shutter is ready to advance. And of course it has a counter to let you know how many shots you've used. It uses a leaf shutter which goes from B "bulb" to 1/500 of a second. Not super fast so I might need a ND filter if I want to shoot at open apertures in sunlight. This will mainly be a walking around camera so I think that I'll be good with the Sutter speed. It does have a self timer on it although I have read and heard on Youtube not to use it because if it breaks you're camera will not work and this function is prone to failing on this model. Not a problem I have a I phone for that. It does have a hot shoe that I haven't tested . Not planning to shoot flash with it but its nice to know I could.

I took my new little camera with me on a photowalk to Kinston NC about 20 miles from my house and walked around town shooting things I saw. I used either a phone app that I had calibrated to be accurate or my digital camera to compare to make correct exposures.  So when I shot it was a little time consuming. I'd have to Meter , Set the camera , Focus and shoot. Focusing on this camera is a little different than other camera's. There is a little patch in the middle of the screen and when you're out of focus there will be two object there you focus until there is one object . It works really well as I got some really sharp shots from this photowalk. I got kind of into a grove shooting this little camera and enjoyed it quite a bit. The next day I developed and scanned the film myself and was shocked on how good this camera did.  So for about 120 dollars (which includes shipping) I've got a good little rangefinder camera that will shoot in auto and manual with a nice sharp lens! Well that's it for this week . I've been having a ball shooting film again and going through all of the processes of developing and scanning. Until next week . Get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog Canon Canonet film gear landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography rangefinder SLR street travel website workshops Fri, 05 Apr 2024 09:00:00 GMT
Vintage Lenses on New Cameras Hey Y'all! Hope you're having a Super week. This week I want to talk about gear again. LOL ! Thats what I do. Now you know I love shooting used gear. And if you've been reading my blogs from the beginning I do like shooting film also. But what about shooting vintage lenses on your new mirrorless camera? Can it be done? You bet it can and it's pretty easy and fun to do.  Bringing life into old and vintage lenses is great. The older lenses were built to last. Film lenses and camera's were built to be used a lifetime and still have lots of life left in them. I personally shoot a camera that is over 60 years old and it still functions like it was new. New 60 years ago not like new today. If that makes sense. Now I'm not saying that a vintage lens is sharper or quicker than a new lens is because it's not but it has a quality that gives it  character.  Vintage lenses are manual focus lenses and have an aperture ring that you have to manually have to set.  So getting sharp focus is up to you.  But why would you ever shoot a vintage lens on a new mirrorless camera? The first reason is that it's just cool and fun to shoot. Some of these lenses come in focal lengths that just aren't common anymore. I have three or four vintage lenses but the one I like to use the most is a 28mm. It's a focal length that you just don't see anymore on modern lenses. Another reason to use vintage on new cameras is to get some photography mojo working again. It slows us up to take time to compose and focus the shot. Instead of just pointing and shooting like we can now with our modern cameras and phones. So how do I find a vintage lens to shoot? You may already have one on an old film camera that is stuck way back in the closet. If you have an old SLR film camera chances are you've got a 50mm f1.4 lens on it.  It really doesn't matter if your old camera was a Canon, Minolta, or Nikon you can adapt it to your new camera. If you don't have one you can find one on Ebay or in a pawn shop very cheaply. Sometimes less than 100 bucks. Now think of that a 50mm f1.4 for 100 bucks. These old lenses are built with high quality metal and glass and are fantastic.  Now these are manual focus lenses but can easily be zone focused for street photography for fast shooting. All the markings are there for easy set up. Speaking of set up how do you make your new camera use vintage lenses?

I shoot Sony cameras but I'm sure you will have the same settings on whatever camera you have you will have to dig a little in the manual or look up online. The first thing we need to do to shoot vintage lenses on new cameras is to get a lens adapter. For example the vintage lens that I use is a Pentax 28mm. I shoot Sony so I have to get an adapter that takes the Pentax mount and adapts it to a Sony mount. You can get these adapters off of Amazon for 25 bucks or so. Modern mirrorless camera's are little computers with all kinds of sensors on them. Old vintage lenses have no electronics at all so when you put the adapter on your vintage lens and hook it to your camera your camera doesn't know that there is a lens there. Most camera's are set up by default not to release the shutter if no lens is attached. So you will have to go into the menu and find that setting and change it. Most modern camera's have Focus Peaking to help focus when in manual.  The camera highlights in some color the areas of the image that is in focus. You will have to also turn this on to help you focus. My cameras have in body stabilization. How great is that to have a 50 year old lens and now it is stabilized ! When you put a modern lens on the camera it can see what focal length it is through the electronics on the camera even if it's a zoom lens.  The camera adjust the Stabilization to match the focal length. When you use a vintage lens you have to put that number in. For example I set it to 28mm for my lens. Then when the camera can't see the focal length it goes to 28mm otherwise it's in Auto and adjust to what lens I have on. Now if I changed to a 50mm vintage lens instead of the 28mm I would have to go and change to 50mm. But since this is the only one I am using currently I don't have to change this setting. And that's about it. You can set your camera on Manual or Aperture Priority like I do. I adjust my Aperture by the ring on the lens and focus and shoot. If you're in Manual you do the same but set the shutter speed like normal. So that's really all there is to do. So if you have a vintage lens you only have to come out of pocket about 25 dollars or so for the adapter and you can rock and roll with a vintage lens.

So be the cool kid on the block like me? LOL ! And until next week Get out and Shoot!


(Max Stansell Photography) 135mm 28mm adapter blog camera settings focal length gear landscape learning Lens Max Stansell Photography Mojo portrait street travel vintage website workshops Fri, 29 Mar 2024 08:34:45 GMT
What's your favorite Lens? Hey Y'all ! Hope your having a great week. Me pretty good. This week I want to talk about my favorite lens and maybe you can tell me your favorites. Now lenses are not like children even though we may treat them as carefully as we do our children. We do have favorites! For me usually the favorite is the newest but not always. I've gone through lots of lenses during my photography career. I even own the first one I bought from a friend Cliff Clark while I was in high school. Back in the day when I started in photography it was film and I had a 50mm that came with the camera and longed for a longer lens. Cliff had one for sell a 135mm f2.8 Chinion lens. It was sharp with plenty of contrast. I still have this lens although I don't really use it I have adapted it to some of my miriness cameras. It was a manual lens like all lenses were back then and my eyes aren't as sharp as they used to be. LOL My first Favorite Lens.

My Favorite focal range is in the mid-telephoto range like a 24-70. My first one in this range was back when I was shooting Nikon. I had the holy trinity of lenses. I had a 16-35mm , 24-70 and 70-200. But by far my most used was the 24-70 f2.8 lens. This Nikon lens was sharp had great contrast quick to focus and just a dream to shoot with. It was built like a tank and was heavy like one also. I've taken so many fantastic photo's with this lens and loved it dearly. This may be the reason I hung onto my Nikon gear so long after I started shooting mirrorless.  It was hard to sell this great lens but I had to let it go for newer gear in the mirrorless family I was shooting. The next favorite lens in this focal range was the Sony 16-55mm f2.8 lens. This is a crop sensor lens made by Sony for the crop sensor cameras that I shoot. The effective full frame equivalent is 24-82mm right in my wheelhouse for photography.  I still have this lens and love it dearly and am not planning on getting rid of it anytime soon. It is also very sharp and very quick to focus and built like a tank also. But what about other focal ranges?

Wide angle lenses. I've had a few wide angel lenses and have had a few that I really like. One of my first was a prime lens that I had got for my full frame Nikon. It was a 14mm f2.8 Rokinon lens. It was an inexpensive but sharp lens and built like a tank. It was a manual lens and was great for astro photography. My next favorite was on my crop sensor mirrorless Sony its the 10-18 f4 lens made by Sony.  It is an older lens but is still a fantastic lens. I've used it on lots of landscapes and waterfalls. Its super sharp lens and is still in my kit. I also have one for my full frame camera 16-35 F4 lens. It may be one of the few lenses that I have bought brand new as most of them I buy used. This lens works great for my full frame and has a aperture ring on it which I love for changing my aperture.

How about longer lenses? Besides my first lens I talked about earlier I've got two lenses that I have used that were my favorites in the past. The first one is when I was shooting Nikon a 70-200 f2.8 lens. This was a fantastic lens for many photography styles. First it was a great portrait lens super for head shots with great bokeh. I have used it to shoot weddings a great walking around lens to get all of those great candid shots. It was great for landscape photography for isolation shots and last but not least it was great when used in conjunction with a 2.0 converter for wildlife. This is a super lens and hated to see it go. It was built like a tank and was super heavy especially holding it for a wedding my arms would get sore. The next lens was built for my crop sensor camera its the 70-350mm that gives me a 105-525mm full frame focal length. This lens is super sharp and quick to focus and I always get stunning photo's when I use this lens which is still in my kit.

Primes. Lets not forget these great lenses. As a old film photographer I really love my primes since zooms back then were inferior to the prime lenses. Prime lenses are great! They are inexpensive , sharp, and  have wide apertures .  What's not to like. My first favorite was my Pentax 50mm f1.7. I've had many 50mm lenses but the first one is my favorite and I have a copy of one now on a Pentax film camera. My next one is the Nikon 85mm f1.8 lens. This was a fantastic portrait lens and street photography lens. I hated to sell this lens but the person I sold it to "Caitlin" loves this lens also. I've also had this lens in the Sony mount and love it. I now have a 20mm f1.8 that may be my favorite prime right now. Its a Sony and has an aperture ring and is a fantastic astro photography lens but can be used on my crop sensor camera as a street lens at a 30mm full frame  equivalent.

Now for the winner, winner, chicken dinner! This is an all purpose lens that touches the wide , mid and telephoto ranges. It is "spoiler alert" is my newest lens. I have used this lens for a couple of months now.  And it's been on the full frame over 90% of the time since I've got it. It's the 24-105mm f4 lens by Sony. It's sharp quick to focus and is built like a tank. It's my all in one lens. I bought it used from MPB. I traded some not so favorite lenses for it. How long will it be my favorite? Not sure I do have two more lenses coming but for now it is . What is your favorite? Until next week Get out and shoot your favorite lens! 

PS. It's been a while since I've written this blog and my favorite has changed! A couple of times. LOL I'm now in love with a 50mm and a 28mm lens that I shoot on a Sony A7C and my Pentax MX film camera that I have the same set up. It will probably change again. LOL Get shooting!



(Max Stansell Photography) blog gear landscape learning low light Max Stansell Photography Photography primes standard Zooms street Telephoto travel website wide angle wide aperture workshops Zooms Fri, 22 Mar 2024 09:00:00 GMT
Scanning Film Hey Everyone! Hope you've had a great week! This week is a continuation of last week about scanning your photo negatives to get them into your computer and into Lightroom or Photoshop. First let me start off as saying I am not a professional at scanning but I do it pretty well for me.  If you are an avid photographer you probably already have the tools you need to do this. So lets start there, what you'll need.



  1. Film Negatives
  2. Digital Camera
  3. Tripod or stand
  4. Light Box

I'm sure you already have these things if you're reading this .  The digital camera can be any modern digital
camera . I'm using a Sony A7C that is a 24 MP full frame camera. But it doesn't matter if it's crop sensor or full frame sensor. Megapixels doesn't matter all that much either but more would be better but whatever you have will be fine. For lenses almost anything will work I'm using a Macro lens set up but a 50mm
prime will work too. Some sort of tripod or stand . I have converted an old black and white enlarger stand that I didn't use anymore into a copy stand but tripod will work.  Light box of some kind. I'm using an old iPad that I don't use anymore and googled white and saved a white photo. Cranked up the brightness on it and it seems to work. I did put a diffuser on it that I had laying around. I would suggest defusing the light if you can. But you can buy light boxes from Amazon for under 50 bucks. And really that's the basics of what you need. 

The how to's.  First set up your tripod or stand and set up your light box underneath.  Try to make sure that your camera and your light box are level. You don't want to distort your photo by having your camera tilted one way or the other. Place the negative in a negative holder or flat on the light box. Use black construction paper
to frame the negative so your camera will only be focusing on the light coming through the negative. Focus and take photo. Care must be taken on keeping dust and particles off of the negative. Negatives create static and are magnets for dust and stray particles. The cleaner you keep the negatives the less work you will have in Lightroom or Photoshop removing all of the dust.  Also leave a little of the space between each photo in when you take the photo. That clear space is perfect for getting the correct white balance. And that's it for the scanning now to the computer!

Now load those photo's onto your computer. I do most of my editing in Lightroom but you could use photoshop just as well. Once you have them in you have a scanned negative but you don't want a negative you want a positive. There are two ways to do this. The manual way and the easy way. I have done both. The manual way is basically going into the curves section of your photo and reversing everything. This will make a positive but the colors will need to be tweaked and basic panel can also be tweaked. But remember everything is backwards! So if you try to increase exposure with the slider you have to darken to lighten and vice versa. The easy way is to get some sort of plugin in Lightroom or action photoshop. I have used both in the past. The one Im using now is "Negative Lab Pro" in Lightroom. This is my workflow now.  First after I get into Lightroom I create a virtual copy of the negative and stack them. I edit the copy that way if I screw it up I can get my original scan without having to actually re-scan the negative. One I have the scan I take it into the develop module. I make sure it's oriented correctly . Sometimes they are backwards and you can just flip horizontally. Then I get the white balance picker and choose the space between negatives. Then I crop. I then bring up the plugin . I have many choices to choose from but for this I just choose basic and hit the convert button. It converts the Negative into a Positive photo and your colors should be close . I then look for spots and specs of debris that was on the negative and remove with the healing tool. If I need to sharpen. Old manual lenses and old eyes sometimes it's not in focus. I'll take to Topaz AI Sharpener. If you have grainy photo's that's just the way film looks and a de-noise program will not work because those spots your seeing are not noise its grain in the film. And you are basically done. You can print or send to social media.  It's pretty awesome and is fun to do. It can be a little time consuming but worth it in the end and you did it your self. The whole process to go from film to Negative to Scan cost approximately one or two dollars per roll. Compared to the 12-20 dollars a roll to a professional lab that will send you back your negatives. A big savings and the results can look great! And the more you do it the better you will become.  You can practice on old negatives you might have in your closet in a shoe box somewhere. There are all kinds of tutorials on Youtube where they will take you through the manual process of converting Negatives to Positives. It's pretty easy. Now this is a basic set up to get you started you can improve your photo's by using better lightbox than an iPad. One that has a CRI (Color Rendering Index) of 90 or better. I did and my scans did improve. So until next week get out and shoot! Some film!


(Max Stansell Photography) blog copy stand gear iPad iPhone Lab landscape learning Lightbox macro Max Stansell Photography Negative negatives NLP Photography Pro scanning SonyA7C website workshops Fri, 15 Mar 2024 09:00:00 GMT
How I Develop Print Film Hey Everyone! Hope your week is going well! This week I want to talk about how I develop my film. Yes I said film! There is something about film that I really like. It's like listening to old vinyl record albums . Something about the analog system. I won't get into many specifics of how but an overview. I have been developing film off and on for more than 40 years. I have developed black and white film and color slide film and now color print film. It's a lot easer than you think. If you can bake a cake you can develop film. It's all about following directions that come with the chemistry that you are using. Depending on the manufacture of the chemistry you're using the only thing that really changes is the time and temperature of the chemicals that you use. One of the reason that I am developing my own film is that its a lot cheaper than sending it off to a professional lab. I already have all of the special tools that you will need to process your film. So all I had to do is find all of my stuff get some chemicals and go. If you have been reading my blogs you can see that I'm doing a film project where I use a film camera and at the end of the year make a photo book of what I've captured. I have some film that I bought a few years ago before it got so expensive and I'm going to use it for the project. The last time I developed film was in 2019 before COVID.  I was really surprised how much the price of things have gone up! But that's another story. I'll also tell you how after the film is developed I scan the negatives with my digital camera to get them into Lightroom or Photoshop and make them ready to print. So that's a lot lets get started.

Tools you'll need. This will sound like a lot but you can buy kits with everything for under 150 dollars.

  • -Developing Tank and film reels. This is a light proof tank that all of the film processing will take place.
  • -Changing bag. This is the light proof place that you put the film onto the reels into the developing tank 
  • -Chemical bottles. This is what the stored chemistry is kept in . You can reuse the chemicals for up to 20 rolls of film.
  • -1000 ml graduated measuring cup
  • -Thermometer to get the chemicals to a certain temperature.
  • -Timer, You can use your phone
  • -Disposable rubber gloves to keep the chemicals off of your skin

Any other items you'll need you'll have at home like scissors and a bottle opener . So here is the process to develop the film.

First you have to get the film onto the reels and in the developing tank in complete darkness. This is where the changing bag comes into play.  This takes some practice and I would try on a dummy roll of film if you have one before trying it on the real thing.  Inside the changing bag you'll place scissors, bottle opener, film, developing tank and reels. Close the end of the double sided bag and place your arms into the sleeves. You then open the film with the bottle opener cut the film leader off with the scissors then thread onto the reels and put inside the tank and secure the tank before taking your arms back out. When this is done you're ready to process the film that is inside the lightproof tank. You can now take everything out of the changing bag.

Mix the chemicals . For color print film the process that you use is C41 it will be printed on the film box of the film your using. This is the process that is used for most color print film. Black and white is a different process and slide film is even different than that. You mix the chemicals according to the directions that come with them. Making sure to clean your funnels and mixing stick between not to cross contaminate the chemicals. 

Next is getting all of the chemicals to a certain temperature. It is usually 102-106 degrees Fahrenheit.  This is easily done by placing all the chemical bottles in a larger tub full of water at the desired temp using the Thermometer. You will have to add hot water to keep the chemicals at the desired temp during the process to keep the temp in range.

Now down to business. Follow the instructions that came with your chemicals! These instructions are just what mine were yours may be different. This is where your timer comes into play or your phone.

  1. Pre-wash film by putting warm water into the tank and let sit for a min. Then dump out.
  2. Add Developer to tank for 3 min. Agitate every 30 seconds(this is to dislodge any bubbles) then pour developer back into storage bottle
  3. Wash with water for 1 min. Change water 3 times
  4. Add Bleach to tank for 3 min. Agitate every 30 seconds(this is to dislodge any bubbles) then pour developer back into storage bottle
  5. Wash with water for 1 min. Change water 3 times
  6. Add Fixer into tank for 5min. Agitate every 30 seconds(this is to dislodge any bubbles) then pour developer back into storage bottle
  7. Wash film thoroughly at least 6 times. You can open the development tank now and see your negatives!
  8. Hang film to dry with a weight at the bottom so film doesn't curl.

Thats basically it. Keeping times precise and temperatures accurate are a must. Making sure your utensils and funnels to get chemicals back into storage bottles clean between chemicals is also important. I know it sounds like a lot but after you've done it a couple of times you'll be a pro. Just follow the directions. Really the hardest part is getting the film onto the reels and into the tank is the hardest part. You can develop 2 rolls of film at a time. All of this developing can be done at your kitchen or bathroom sink. I would suggest the kitchen because you have more room.  Now you have negatives of your film I cut into five frame strips and put in a protective sheet that has sleeves for the negatives. The next step is to Scan and get them into your computer. If you had all the equipment you could print with an old time Enlarger in a darkroom but that's a lot it's much easier and better on the computer. I'll have to explain that in another blog next week since this one has dragged on. So until next week get outside and shoot! Some Film!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog C41 DevelopingTanks Film Home landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography website workshops Fri, 08 Mar 2024 10:00:00 GMT
12 Rolls, an additional Photo Project. Hey ya'll! Hope you're having a great week! Me doing great. This week I wanted to talk about an additional photo project I'm starting on top of the one I'm already doing on small towns in eastern NC. I'm an older guy who started my photography journey in the film days in the era of manual only! I have been watching a lot of Youtube videos on film photography. I pulled out some of my old cameras and started checking the meters on the ones that have meters to make sure they still read correctly. And they did. I had at least 3 cameras that still had film in them. Now I used to develop my own film and even printed way back in the day in a make shift darkroom that I converted my bathroom into. But the problem with doing that is that you have to do a lot of film stuff to make the developing part really worth it because if you don't you'll do a couple of rolls and then you won't touch for years and your chemicals just go bad. I just got rid of some chemicals that were dated 2018! LOL  Back then I was shooting more film and having fun. I could actually get film fairly cheaply. But when COVID hit and the lock down a lot of younger photographers got interested in film and shooting film became cool. So film stock , cameras and everything associated with shooting film Guitar CrosswalkGuitar Crosswalk got expensive and harder to find. So while rummaging through my stuff I found 12 rolls of film that I had bought rather cheaply a few years ago. So I got to thinking . Maybe I should do a film project and name it 12 rolls.  Shoot the 12 rolls and make a book out of the good photo's I get.  Not to become a full time film shooter but maybe take the camera with me when I go on a workshop or an outing and take a few shots with film until the 12 rolls are exposed . So which camera to use? I have a couple that I would be comfortable with using for the project. A 1961 Canon Canonet rangefinder and a 1982 Pentax MX SLR. I also have an Olympus Point and shoot just one step up from a disposable camera that my mother had. I decided on the Pentax because it has a meter built in (which I just checked to be accurate) . And I also have multiple lenses that I can use with it as the Canon has a 45mm fixed lens. As the title indicates I have 12 rolls of fujifilm color 200 35mm film. I do not plan to develop these rolls myself. I still have to research but I want a company that will develop my film and send me the negatives and downloadable scans would be fine. But I plan on using my camera to scan these negatives and processing them in Photoshop to get what I want out of them. I have done just a little research and most of the companies don't send back your Pentax MXPentax MXPentax MX, My Pentax MX from 1982 Super camera works great! negatives and this is a must for me or I will just do them myself.

So what will I take photo's of ?  My photography life. If I go out to shoot wildlife with a friend maybe a shot of my friend with his camera setup with a in the wild background. If I'm shooting travel like our camera clubs spring trip to Savannah and the low country. I'll shoot iconic scenes and maybe shot of my friends. So it will tag along with me on all of my shoots. The only downside? I'll be lugging around extra gear. LOL I'm very excited to start this project. Film just has a look to it . It's hard to explain but it has a look. Can't wait to see the end Bell and Howell Canon Canonet 19Bell and Howell Canon Canonet 19Bell and Howell Canon Canonet 19,1961 Range finder Camera Fun to shoot! project and it will be good to use an old friend my film camera that I haven't used too much since digital came around. So now I have two photography projects going on at the same time should be an exciting year!

Until next week pick a photography project and get shooting!

PS. I have been checking photo labs and the prices are through the roof to get a roll of film processed at an average of 15 dollars a roll. I can get the chemicals to do 20 rolls of film for under 30 dollars. So I'll be developing mine again. Hopefully I don't mess them up too much. Other blogs will cover the process of processing the film and scanning the film. Cheers!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog Film gear landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Pentax Photo Book Photography Project street website workshops Fri, 01 Mar 2024 10:00:00 GMT
Migrating to new Mac Mini M2. Hey Everyone! Hope ya'll are doing great. As a spoiler alert I will be talking about computers on this blog. Computers are a big part of photography and I think that going over my transition from a 2015 iMac to a Mac Mini M2 computer and all the trials and tribulations that this process brought to me. First let me tell you that it was a great success and I'm using my new computer and it works great. I am very pleased. I was nervous prior to transferring everything over. I have used my old iMac for almost 8 years and came very fond of it. Most of my best photo's were edited on it and this blog began on it. First I had to prepare for the migration. The migration is transferring all of the data and settings from your old computer to the new computer so its set up and has all the files that your old computer had.

Preparing . I first wanted to clean up my old computer. I have a 1TB drive on my old iMac and only a 512gb on the new Mac Mini. So I went in and deleted old Lightroom backups they take up a lot of space and I deleted everything except for the last month. I had a lot of files in my Documents folder so I copied all of  those files to an external hard drive. I had lots of video clips and movies that I had made I either removed them completely or put on an external drive. I wanted my old iMac to be as lean and mean as it could before the migration. I wanted the migration to be as smooth as possible. I knew that the migration would take some time and I wanted it to go as quickly as possible. I had to also make sure that I had an extra keyboard and mouse to run the old computer because the new computer I was going to use the one I have on the iMac. I had to scramble a little because I just got rid of a whole lot older computer equipment to include keyboards. I did find a portable blue tooth one that I had when I was using my iPad Mini for my main travel computer. Whew! Before the migration I disconnected all of the external hard drives I had attached to the iMac. Now I was ready for the new computer.

The Mac Mini didn't show up until 4:30 in the afternoon on the day that our camera club had a meeting so I had to wait until the next morning before I could start. It was worse than Christmas for a little kid wanting to open presents. LOL. The next morning I hooked up my new computer to the new monitor. You can transfer the info during migration 3 ways by WiFi, ethernet or thunderbolt.  I chose Ethernet because it was faster than wifi and I didn't have thunderbolt on the old iMac. Yes it's that old. So I broke out a ethernet switch and hooked a cable from the switch to each computer. I went online with my iPad and found the apple video on the procedures . I turned on my iMac and went to the Migration wizard . I turned on the the new computer got my old keyboard and mouse connected and started the start up process then it got to the migration part. I followed the instructions on the iPad and then it got to the part where all the info is transferred over .  It took about 45min to an hour for it to be complete. Now for the obstacles .

All of the obstacles were software related. First you have to sign into iCloud so you need to know your password. You also need to know a lot of passwords to different programs you have. I hooked up on of my external drives and nothing. This was the drive that has all of my photo's on it. Most external drives are windows based and you need a program to let your Mac talk to the drive. After I downloaded a newer version of this program the drive showed up. I had to update a lot of my programs because my old computer had an intel chip in it and the new computer has Apple silicon. This took a while but worked . I like to use clean my Mac by Macpaw on my computer. It has anti virus stuff and cleans and runs scrips to keep your computer running fast and smooth. Then there was the reactivation of all my software like Topaz and On1. So after a day or so I got everything running smooth. I'm sure something will come up in the future but I've got it 99 % done. Being patient and following the directions will let you do this easily. So until Next week Keep Shooting and get outside! 

(Max Stansell Photography) blog data ethernet iMac keyboard landscape learning M2 MacMini Max Stansell Photography migration mouse Photography router settings thunderbolt website wifi workshops Fri, 23 Feb 2024 10:00:00 GMT
Upgrading my Main Computer Hey Everyone! How's your week been? Me? So So. I have been dreading upgrading my computer for a few years. This week I want to go through the process that is was to choose the correct one for me. Like many of you , You know our world is surrounded by computers. We all have phones that are mini computers we may have laptops or some sort of tablet and then there is our main computer. Some sort of desktop computer with a monitor and keyboard and mouse. This main computer is where I do the majority of my photo and video editing where I write my blogs that you're reading now. I know that big desktop computers are dwindling in popularity and the younger folks a laptop will do but for me I need the larger computer. I am a Mac user and have been rocking the iMac 27 inch since 2015. I did upgrade the hard drives and the ram to solid state drives and 32gb of ram. But it is long in the tooth as computers go and Apple does not support it anymore. I knew this day was coming but I was trying to put it off as long as I could. But the day came when Adobe Lightroom would not update because the operating system is too old. there are some workarounds to upgrade my operating system and I tried on an old laptop but it was too unreliable for my main computer.  So to upgrade is the only answer. The perfect answer was to get another iMac to replace this one. But they do not make the 27 inch any more only a 24 inch one and I don't think I could go back in size on the monitor. I did hear that they may come out with one in the future but it would be very expensive. And I need a computer now. All I knew is I wanted to stick with Mac because all the electronics I own are Apple and I have never had a problem with any of them in the past and the ecosystem that they live in is great. 

The system I chose to get was the Mac Mini .  This system has been out for years .  It is a small flat box that sits on your desk and takes up less room than a good sized book. Your keyboard and mouse hook up by blue tooth so no cords there. The only catch is you have to get a separate monitor to attach to it. There are many configurations of the Mac Mini. I've got the one that has the M2 chip in it. The older Macs were powered by Intel chips but Apple decided to make their own and this is the second generation of that processing chip. I'll be getting 512 gigabytes of storage and 16mb of ram on this machine. But the monitor is the big decision to make.  On my iMac the screen is a 5K an excellent monitor but it can't be used as a separate monitor with the Mac Mini. So I'll have to get a new monitor. 5k monitors are expensive and really hard to find. The easy choice would be to get one from Apple but the Studio Display that they sell is 1600 dollars. It would cost as much as the system I'm creating. So its not a choice for me. Don't get me wrong its a great monitor but not in my price range. Now there are  literally hundreds of different kinds of monitors to choose from. I wanted one that was as close to the monitor I had on the iMac as I could without breaking the bank. A 27inch one that is as close to the 5K monitor that I could get. I did a lot of research and without getting into the weeds of monitor specs I decided on a BenQ 27inch 4K Designer Monitor. This monitor is designed for creatives and the colors are fantastic. You still can spend a lot of money on monitors up to 1000 dollars is easy to do . This one is a mid priced one and I got it during black Friday sale to save some extra dollars. I had this monitor on a list of other monitors but what took me over the edge on this one was the sale and all the good reviews I have seen on youtube of this monitor.

Other accessories.  The keyboard is the same one that I used for the iMac and same with mouse and my external drives. I will have a 2 terabyte solid state drive that I will use for files and be the buffer of my main computer just like I do with a 250 gb SSD that I have on my iMac. I've got a docking station with extra ports and it will house the 2 TB SSD and will have a SD card reader in it also. I plan on taking the iMac since it's such a good screen and convert it to a monitor by gutting out all of the components and installing a special circuit board that will make this monitor a stand alone and it will be the second monitor of my system. But I'll do that in the future right now I have a small smart TV that I'm using as a second monitor really just to watch TV on while I sit at my desk.  I will put out another blog on how I've set everything up and the migration of my info on the old computer to the new one and the transfer of license of different programs that I use to include my cloud storage.  As of this writing which is a few months in the future of this blog being posted I've received my monitor but not the computer yet. It's the Sunday before Thanksgiving and I should get my computer from Apple in a week or so. I'm still using my iMac which I love until the new one gets all set up. 

So until next week. Get out and shoot! 

(Max Stansell Photography) BenQ blog Computer external drives iMac keyboard landscape learning Lightroom M2chip MacMini Max Stansell Photography monitor mouse multi port Photography Ram Upgrade website workshops Fri, 16 Feb 2024 10:00:00 GMT
2024 Photo Project Roanoke River LighthouseRoanoke River Lighthouse Hey Everyone! Hope your week is going well! This week I want to talk about a photo project I have in mind for 2024. I think that photography projects are great! They tend to fill out the times when we are not traveling taking photos with our families or friends. But what to take photo's of ?  My answer is things that interest you. A few years ago I did a photo project on visiting all of the state parks in North Carolina. I printed a map with all of the parks on them and marked them off as I visited them. It was quite the challenge because it was the year Covid raised its ugly head and things were closed for quite a while but I did get them all in and made a cool book of all the state parks. This year I wanted a project that would take me on day trips that I could grab my wife and dog and take off for a nice trip. Or if my wife was busy I could just take off on a little exploration photography trip. But what to take photo's of? Living in eastern North Carolina I could have chosen a number of things to photograph. Tobacco Barns has always been interesting to me. They are a dying thing as they don't use the old tobacco barns and they are rotting and falling down. Or since I live in the Bible belt maybe Churches of eastern NC. There are some really old and historic ones that would make great photographs. Maybe light houses but there is only 7 here in NC so a yearly project might not be the way to go but a cool project none the less.  So there are many choices to choose from. I'm sure you can think of lots of them yourself. Maybe the fall of the small family farm and the rise of solar panel farms popping up everywhere.  But that would be more of a journalistic Photography and you would really have to be ingrained in the farm community like the son or daughter of a farmer.  I think that a good project is one that you are familiar with. Like the State parks I had visited almost all of them before but not in one year.

I have lived in eastern North Carolina all my life except for my time in the military. I went to high school in a small eastern town and have traveled all over eastern NC.  So my project for 2024 is to visit and photograph the small towns in eastern NC. Now there are lots of towns but I grew up only a block away from the Albemarle sound. So small towns with water connected to them in some sort or way. But I didn't want it to become a beach project full of touristy shots of sandy beaches and piers so ocean beach towns are out. I want small towns that maybe are on a lake or a river or sound that in the early days of the towns existence these waterways was the only mode of transportation or commerce. There are quite a few of these and my family tree ,which winds through the beginning of our country here in eastern NC. So I may explore that more also. My family  came into the states in the late 1600's so right at the beginning of the colonization of the states from England. So I am very interested in the history of these small towns and the region .  When I think of the project I think of the book that I will eventually make.  A two page spread with a town and a small explanation or write up on each town.  I want to tell the story of the town in photo's.  Much like a brochure would if you were promoting the town. I think traveling to all these small towns and spending the day walking the streets and visiting the coffee shops and restaurants and diners of these small towns would be a fantastic way to spend maybe a day a week .  I have a list started with 16 towns on it but I'm sure as I get out and about many more will come .  Do you have any photo projects?  You should. Photo projects are a great Barker House Light HouseBarker House Light House way to expand your photography skills and are just fun to do.  If you don't know what to shoot a photography project will solve that problem. Now that I have announced this project I have to complete it. Thats the hard part but I'm looking forward to exploring small towns near me.  Until next week . Get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog book camping landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography project small towns street travel website workshops yearly Fri, 09 Feb 2024 10:00:00 GMT
Washington NC Photowalk Hey Y'all ! Hope you're having a great week. This week I want to talk about a recent photowalk I did in Washington NC. Not Washington DC. LOL This is a little town population about 10000 and is located in eastern North Carolina in Beaufort County. It is the county seat and is located at the intersection of the Tar River and the Pamlico River and then flows into the Pamlico Sound. It is known to most North Carolinians as "Little Washington" not to get it confused with Washington DC. Little Washington is home to one of the largest historical districts featuring Victorian era homes and ante-bellum homes. Among some of its famous former residents are  journalist Charles Kuralt and film producer Cecil B. DeMille. All of this information I have pulled off of the City of Washington web page. What I can tell you from experience is that being located on the water there are all kind of water activities from fishing, kayaking, sailboarding , and sailing. Also outdoor recreation in hunting. The town has been transformed into a town trying to attract tourist and the downtown is full of shops and restaurants .  Let me tell you about my trip.

I have been cooped up in the house due to weather being cold and also rainy from the holidays last year and I needed to get out. This town is on the list of my photography project "Small towns in Eastern NC" so this was a good preliminary visit. I have been here before but it has been years and I didn't remember much. So me and my wife got in the car and headed about an hour or so north to visit this little town. We parked in the harbor district by the docks and started walking. The streets have been lined with brick but not red brick like you see everywhere these were tan bricks and look very nice. We headed toward main street and noticed that there are crab statues all painted up in various places in town. Kind of a town mascot I guess my county does the same thing with pigs and I have seen it done with bears also in another town Newbern. There is an under ground railroad museum that was closed when we went by but it's housed in a rail car in a pretty yard with a big mural on a wall.  We then started walking through the town at all the quant shops and older buildings. Being in the bible belt there were a few churches but one stood out the Saint Peters Episcopal church established in 1822. Where there was the church and old grave yard with revolutionary era graves there. We had a wonderful time walking the streets and taking photos. There is a North Carolina Estuarium there that is a learning center that we wanted to visit but it was closed also. For lunch we ate hot dogs from Bills Hotdog stand. It one of those local places that have been there since 1928 and is a staple of the community. So we got the specials two  hotdogs all the way chips and drink for 6 dollars and some change. They were pretty good. We jumped in our car and investigated some more stuff before we headed to our next destination which was "Goose Creek State Park" only 20 minutes away. After a short visit there we headed back home. I really enjoyed my trip to Little Washington and can't wait to go back in the spring. 

Until next week get out and explore and shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog Eastern NC gear learning Max Stansell Photography Photography Photowalk street travel Tutorial Washington NC website Fri, 02 Feb 2024 09:44:27 GMT
Shooting in Super 35mm? Hey Everyone! How's your week going? Mine? Fantastic! At the time of writing this blog it is a week before Thanksgiving and I am already in the holiday mood! Too early for my brain but just right for my heart. This week I want to talk about shooting in Super 35mm mode or Crop mode as it may be referred too, I think Nikon calls it DX mode. What is Super 35mm mode? Basically its making your full frame sensor shoot like a crop sensor. Your camera crops the shot only using the middle of the sensor down to the APSC crop sensor size. Now why would you ever want to do this? Well I can think of a couple of reasons why.

If you shoot Sony like I do the crop sensor and the full frame cameras have the same lens mount. Which means you can swap back and forth lenses between each type of camera. Now why would you want to do that? One reason is just for practicality .  Instead of buying two lenses  one for each camera you only buy one that can be used by both. Usually people buy full frame lenses and use on both of their camera body types for the reason that the full frame lens is big enough to cover the crop sensor sensor completely. Full frame lenses are larger and can easily be used on crop sensor camera's but you have to add that 1.5 crop factor. Multiplying by 1.5 will give you the full frame equivalent of the lens on your crop sensor camera. The sensor being smaller its like cropping in on a full frame or zooming in. So a 35mm lens on a crop sensor would be like a 50mm on a full frame.  So now that we have that explanation out of the way back to the why would you need to swap lenses between cameras. I've recently started using a full frame camera again after years of using a crop sensor camera. Now I'm transitioning back over to a full frame camera. I have fantastic lenses for my crop sensor camera especially my long lens. A 70-350mm which is a 105-525mm equivalent lens. Now I don't shoot much past 100mm but if for some reason I need to shoot longer I could use this crop sensor lens on my full frame camera and my camera will know what type of lens is on and automatically switch to Super 35mm or Crop mode giving me that 105-525mm reach. This will save me lots of money on a full frame equivalent to this lens that I won't use too much. So that's a positive of Super 35mm.

Another way to use the Super 35mm or Crop mode is with prime lenses. Let me give you an example. Say I'm out doing street photography and I have a 50mm lens on my full frame camera. I see something a little out of reach that I can't walk to. I can push a button on my camera that I have programed to put my camera in Super 35 mode and it automatically switches into crop mode and my lens is now equivalent to a 75mm without me having to change lenses. When I'm through I can hit the button again and I'm back at 50mm. Very convenient when you're out shooting and not having to change lenses all of the time. Another great advantage of  Super 35mm mode.

So if Super 35mm mode is so great why isn't everyone using it all of the time? Well for one reason most people just don't know about it. Or maybe their camera system doesn't offer it. I'm not sure about other camera systems just Sony but I'm sure they have something similar. The biggest disadvantage to shooting a full frame camera in crop mode or Super 35mm mode is that when you crop into a full frame sensor you lose megapixels. 1.5 times the megapixels to be exact.  That can be a lot. If you have a 24 megapixel camera and you use crop mode its down to 10 megapixel which is small compared to today's standards. But if you have a larger megapixel like say a 60 megapixel camera your still shooting a 37 megapixels. So depending on what kind of camera you have I really don't think that this is such a disadvantage as smaller sensor camera's are.

Knowing what your camera can and can't do can really impact your photography and your wallet .  You may not need to buy that new equipment or gear to do what you need to do or you might just need to read the manual of your camera.  Hopefully I have brought something new into your photography. Until next week get out and shoot! 

(Max Stansell Photography) APSC blog gear landscape learning lens Max Stansell Photography megapixel Photography prime Street Super 35 Urban website workshops Fri, 26 Jan 2024 10:00:00 GMT
Sony A7C New EDC? Hey Everyone! Hope your week is going great! Mine pretty well. This week I want to talk about yet another change in my camera kit set up. I know it's been nothing but changes so far this year. My current EDC (every day carry) camera is a Canon G7XII which I got a few years ago to take on a trip with my wife to Washington DC instead of my regular camera Kit. It became my EDC camera for when I traveled back and forth to work and to the store and such. So if I needed a camera or a shot that suddenly appeared I would use it. Now it's in my hiking backpack and I only used it when I'm hiking but it does stay  with my backpack and rides in my car everywhere I go. But since I've retired I really don't need something as small and compact as the little camera that the Canon Point and Shoot is. I have a little more room and I'm not in such of a hurry as I have no place I have to get to in a hurry. As I joke with all of my friends " Every Day is Saturday except Sunday" LOL  As you have read in my previous blogs I have gone full time full frame sensor shooting and not crop sensor shooting anymore.  My main camera is a full sized Sony Mirrorless camera and all the full frame large lenses that come with it.  Too big of a kit for everyday and casual shooting that the EDC takes care of. I have always liked range finder cameras for this type of photography especially the Leica's. But buying a Leica is like buying a sports car they are very expensive for what you get. I do like the Fujifilm camera's' for this also the X-Pro Series of camera's . But they are crop sensor camera's and I would have to get different lenses to fit them and they become expensive and I'll have two separate kits one of the things I was trying to avoid. In 2020 Sony came out with a camera that is compact and rangefinder shape and to me was trying to compete with Fujifilm with a retro look that Fuji cameras definitely have. Most Sony camera's are all black and this one had an option for a silver top like the older camera's and Fuji's come with. I chose to use the A7C as my EDC camera for all of those reasons and more. The A7C is a full frame camera and uses the same sensor as my full frame camera. It is basically the same size and shape as my crop sensor Sony's that I have been shooting for years. It can use all of the lenses that I have for my full frame Sony so it works for a great Backup camera.  I also ordered a 50mm 2.5 compact lens that was really designed for the A7C which will pair great with the A7C and my Full sized Sony. I believe that this camera will be great for casual shooting and street photography. It looks good is small and compact and packs just as much as a punch as my Full Sized camera does.  It doesn't have as many custom buttons as my Full sized Sony but I kind of like that it makes it simple to shoot and I won't have to think as much. As you know I'm not a big thinker! LOL!  I am very excited about taking this little camera everywhere I go whether it's the coffee shop or to a Camera Club Meeting. Well that's it for this week . Whats your EDC? Is it just your phone or do you have a specific camera set aside just for a EDC? Until next week Get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) A7C A7III backup blog compact EDC gear landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography retro Sony street urban website workshops Fri, 19 Jan 2024 10:00:00 GMT
Tarboro NC Photowalk Hey Y'all ! Hope you're doing well. I've just started a photography project of visiting small towns in eastern North Carolina and learning about them and photographing them. Today I want to talk about a little charming town located on the Tar River. Tarboro. Like most of the little towns I'm going to explore this one was incorporated before the revolutionary war in 1760. It like many towns in the eastern US boast that George Washington slept here and he did in 1791.   Being in the bible belt there are many beautiful Churches and buildings in Tarboro.  Now I'm no expert on Tarboro and don't claim to be I'm just learning about this little town. With a population around 10,000 this little town is twice the size of the one I grew up in. So I know small town charm and this town has it. It boast to have one of two "original" Town Commons. The other being in Boston. So if that's true I've been to both of them! Pretty cool.  It was considered an inland port up to the Civil War. Farmers would bring their Cotton, Tobacco and other wares to be shipped on steam boats to coastal ports to be shipped around the world. Located in Edgecombe County it is its county seat and has a large and beautiful Courthouse. Now about what I saw on my first trip there.

My wife accompanied me on this trip this first week of January. It was cool and crisp morning with temps around 40 degrees. We started early because I wanted to get good light to shoot in.  It was an hour long drive there and by the time we arrived the sun had come up and the little towns people were just starting to stir. Not knowing the town and doing just a little research we kind of did a drive through the town to see where we would start from. We saw a big mural right beside the visitors center and parked there .  From there we headed toward the Town Commons. I don't know how many acres this is but it's pretty big for a small town. It is speckled with monuments and park benches . Looks like a great place to have a picnic. But not today it was too chilly to stand or sit still long. Along the Town Commons are victorian style houses all kept up well. We walked down the sidewalk enjoying the views. It reminded me much of the town I grew up in. We walked down the side walks toward downtown and the Courthouse stopping along the way to take photo's of interesting buildings and houses. We stopped by a couple of churches that had very unique buildings with large steeples and bell towers. Along main street the concrete sidewalks have been replaced by brick giving it that old time look and feel. Lots of small shops and restaurants line the streets. Looks like the main street businesses in town are still alive and well with very few vacancies of shops or buildings. Many small towns have died with the coming of strip malls and shopping centers but this little town still has charm and vibrance.  We made our way back to our car taking photo's of the Colonial Movie theater and Murals along the way. We parked by what said was the visitor center. We went into what we thought was a manned visitor center but was really just a hall in the public building filled with brochures and pamphlets and maps. It was nice and warm inside so we looked and gathered more materials for research. We got in the car and made a quick trip to a nearby McDonalds for a bathroom and coffee break. Important things for folks our age. There was a Local Coffee shop that we didn't stop by maybe on our next trip when it's warmer. After our break we headed to the Blount-Bridgers House and Arboretum. The house was built in 1808 and kept up pretty well. A retirement home of a Revolutionary war Officer. There are walking trails that take you through the town and you can hear the history of the buildings and history of the town via your smart phone. We were planning on taking one of these walks (2 miles) but when we stepped out of the car the wind was howling and it being 40 degrees we decided to do this walk another day when it warmer. We decided to cut our trip short but I will definitely come back in the spring or summer to this charming town. I am looking forward to returning to Tarboro and exploring the historic district even more. There is an old church and graveyard I want to explore and the riverfront area that we didn't get a chance to see on this trip.  If your out and about and need somewhere to go , checkout this charming little town on the Tar river.

Gear for this project I'm trying to keep very simple I'm using one camera and one lens. My Sony A7III and a 24-105mm lens. This combo should cover all of my needs for checking out these cities. If I decide I need something more I will make a return trip with the gear I need. I'm trying to keep my kit light so I can enjoy my exploring and keeping it to one lens so I don't even have to think about what lens to use because I've only brought one. Just a filter or two and a small Platypod stand that I can use to set my camera on for longer exposures if needed. All of this fits into a sling bag that I can throw across my shoulders and go. I'm trying to keep it simple for this photo project.

Until our next adventure get out and shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog exploring gear landscape learning Max Stansell Photography North Carolina photo project Photography photowalks small towns Tarboro travel website workshops Fri, 12 Jan 2024 10:00:00 GMT
Big Changes in 2024! I've Cropped out the Crop. Hey Everyone! Hope you have had a great week. Me it's been a crazy one so far. I can't believe what I have just done. I'll get to that in a minute. This week I've upgraded my main computer with a Mac Mini. I have been using the same main computer since 2015 so this was a big change for me. I'll get to all of the how the computer change and the migration of my computer in other blogs. But its been a big change. Life is nothing but change after change but when you quit changing its the beginning of the end. You know "Adapt and Overcome". Last year I retired so that was a big change and I'm still adjusting. But today I did something that I thought I would never do. I have packed up all my crop sensor camera's and lenses and shipped them off to MPB. Yep I have got rid of all my crop sensor stuff. If you have followed me you know I am a big advocate of the crop sensor and have been using it exclusively for many years after changing from my Full Frame DSLR Nikon. Well I'm going back. Not to Nikon but to Full Frame. Here is my reasoning. 

For the last couple of years I have been sporting two camera kits. One Crop sensor and one Full Frame. What this means is I have two sets of lenses , Bodies and all of the accessories. If I was using one or the other for a backup on a trip I would have to have two sets of lenses . Although I could have used full frame lenses on my crop sensor camera it makes it kind of out of balance. Full frame lenses being larger making the camera out of balance and front or lens heavy. So in my opinion if you're going to shoot crop sensor camera you should shoot crop sensor lenses also. So I have recently changed to using my Full Frame camera as my main camera and my crop would be my backup. Two kits. The full frame has sparked my photography Mojo again and I'm really starting to shoot more and have more fun with photography again. I have been watching YouTube videos (of course LOL) of this small full frame camera that Sony had put out years ago that has a cult following much like the Fujifilm 100V cameras have now. It's the Sony RX1 R.  It was released in 2013 and has a fixed 35mm lens. So I was thinking I should get one of these camera's but they are so popular they are going for almost 3000 dollars! For a 10 year old camera. And it's only a one fixed lens. Thats more than my Full Frame Sony I have now times 2. Then I started thinking about the Sony's A7C that came out a couple of years ago. It's a full frame camera in a crop sensor body it's virtually the same camera and sensor that I have now but in a crop sensor body. I like that. And it's a couple of years old which means I can get it used which makes it cheaper than the new A7CII that just came out. It's a full frame camera that is in the form of the crop sensor camera that I've been shooting for years with some upgrades. Not to mention that it's Full Frame.

So I have packaged up all of my crop sensor lenses and body and have shipped them off to MPB and trading for a A7C and a 50mm 2.5 compact lens. This "new to me" camera will be a backup camera and a street photography camera .  I can use all of my Full frame lenses and it will be a good backup for my Full frame I have now. It has the larger battery like my Full frame uses so I don't need to buy extra's. It has a full articulating screen which will be nice. The one I'm getting has the silver top to give it a retro look which I like also. Why not? The sensor is the same as my Sony A7III with an upgraded processor. This camera will be great for street and casual photography. So I am very pleased with my decision but it does leave a gap in lenses. I now don't have a long lens in my lineup. The longest I have is a 100mm. I don't use the long end much but will probably get a 70-200 with a 2X converter in the future to plug that gap. Or just rent one when I need it . So lots of changes for 2024. New Computer and New Camera Systems. Once I have the new camera in hand I'll write a review of it with all of the specs. 

So until next week get out and shoot! 

(Max Stansell Photography) A7C A7III blog crop sensor dynamic range full frame landscape learning low light Max Stansell Photography megapixel one kit Photography Sony website workshops Fri, 05 Jan 2024 09:45:37 GMT
Shooting Full Frame Again. My Thoughts? Hey Y'all! How are you doing this week? Me? I'm doing great! I have been shooting quite regularly after returning from my Fall Colors workshop. After returning I decided to make my Full frame camera my main camera instead of my crop sensor camera. The main reason was financial not really having the funds available right now to upgrade my crop sensor body. I traded some prime lenses that I wasn't using too much to purchase a mid-range zoom for my Full frame camera body making it more versatile instead of using primes all of the time. Now I love my crop sensor camera and will still be using it for longer focal length stuff and maybe street photography for the size and portability. But my full frame will be the main camera for now. Now I really haven't shot a full frame camera for a long time .  The Nikon D800 was really the last time I shot a lot with a full frame and I thought this week would be a good time to tell you my thoughts on using my Full Frame Sony A7III.

The main reason I switched to crop sensor cameras to start with was for the size. As you may know I do a lot of hiking and Backpacking and the size of a Full frame camera was just too much to lug around on a hike.  I started for the size but was surprised by the quality of the photo's I was getting. After deliberating long and hard I decided to switch from Full Frame Nikon DSLR to a Mirrorless Crop Sensor Sony and haven't looked back. I love my Sony camera's and lenses. The first thing that I noticed after I got my mid-range zoom for the full frame was the weight of the new set up. The full frame was considerably heaver . I mean a lot at first. I use a wrist strap with my cameras because the neck strap to me just gets in the way all of the time but the first time I put this combo together I almost changed my thinking. Holding this Full frame was a lot harder to do than the crop sensor. But after a while I got used to it and am still not using the Neck strap. But I may need to do some upper body workouts! LOL

Ergonomics. The other thing that is really different is the ergonomics of the Full frame Sony compared to the Crop sensor Sony. The Full frame Sony is designed much like older DSLR's that I was used in the past. The crop sensor Sony's are more of the Range Finder type camera design. The range finder design has the viewfinder off to one side instead of the middle like DSLRs. Where the buttons and dials are feel better on the Full frame to me than do the Crop sensor cameras. The larger size make it easier to hold to me even though it is much heaver.  The size of the viewfinder is much larger on the Full frame compared to the Crop sensor camera. Making using the viewfinder much easier for older eyes like I have. The resolution of the viewfinder is also better on the Full frame making it easier to see and compose.  I used the display on the Crop Sensor camera maybe 80-90%.  I tend to use it less on the Full Frame maybe 50%. I did change my over the shoulder bag for the Full Frame camera than I was using for my Crop sensor. The older bag which I love wasn't as deep as the bag that I'm using now and with the larger lenses the newer bag works better for the full frame. I say newer I've had this bag for years. One of the ones I bought and didn't use much. I did change the strap to a peak design strap like I did on my other bag that I love so much. But even though its a larger camera the bag seems smaller and hangs and works well. Its a LowePro Event Messenger 150.

Quality. The build of this camera is more robust than the crop sensor camera. It was produced to be an entry level pro camera and it feels like it.  The battery is much larger than the one is in the crop sensor and can last all day if you're just doing photography. Which I love! I don't have to worry about the battery. The sensor size is 24 megapixel just like my crop sensor camera is. Which is great for my computer storage. Also the Full frame sensor is much better in low light. Just physics. The larger sensor just has more surface area to collect light than a crop sensor does. I don't do a lot of low light photography but it will help. Dynamic range is also an area that the crop sensor traditionally looses to the Full frame. In newer camera's I don't think that this is as big a issue as with older camera's like mine. One of the reasons I wan to upgrade my Crop sensor. The full frame has dual card slots which is nice but not a necessity to me. But I can shoot one slot in JPEG and the other slot in RAW which is nice and I always have enough room on my disc's.

Lenses. I actually have a great assortment of lenses to use with the Full frame. I have some primes a 20mm, 50mm and 85mm and have two zooms a 16-35mm and 24-105mm. This is a great assortment of primes that I can use for portraits and wide aperture shooting. The 50mm is a macro lens also. My zooms are high quality zooms that I really love!  The 16-35 is perfect for those wide angel landscapes or for street photography. The 24-105mm is my main lens and the focal lengths that I shoot 95% of the time. I suspect that this lens will be on my lens most of the time. Now I won't have the focal range that I do with my crop sensor camera. The range with it is 15-525mm full frame equivalent with three great lenses. Anything long range I'll be shooting with the crop sensor camera.

I have only been shooting a couple of weeks full time with the Full frame and I really do like the photo's I'm getting out of it. Would I have got the same quality of photo's with the crop sensor? Probably, But I'm enjoying shooting with this new to me Full Frame camera .  I plan on shooting this camera for the next year and then decide if I want to upgrade my crop sensor or my Full frame. LOL What I really know is that I still love shooting and love tinkering with my equipment. Until next week , Get Outside! and Shoot! 

(Max Stansell Photography) 16-35 24-105 OSS blog camping crop sensor full frame gear hiking landscape learning Lowpro Max Stansell Photography Photography Sony street travel website workshops Fri, 29 Dec 2023 10:30:22 GMT
My Camera Setup for 2024 Hey Everyone! Hope you're having a great week. The new year is almost here and I wanted to talk about my camera set up for next year. There is quite a change. If you've followed me you know I shoot almost all used equipment. I am mainly a stills photographer so specs on video performance really doesn't matter to me so that's one reason I shoot used. I am retired now so money is also a factor that keeps me in the used market also. I also can trade equipment with the company I use (MPB) which is fun and financially the right thing to do. If you have been following me you know I have been shooting a crop sensor Sony from when I gave up my Nikon D800 for the smaller mirrorless camera's many years ago. I have been a primarily crop sensor shooter although I shoot other camera's also. This year I'm going to switch it up a bit and start shooting a full frame sensor camera for my main camera again. During a recent Fall Colors workshop I noticed that my Sony A6500 was struggling a little in low light conditions. More than my photog friends with newer cameras were. Nothing that can't be fixed in post editing but there was a difference. The Sony A6500 was released in 2016 and was the flagship of the crop sensors for Sony then but a lot has changed in technology since then. I will be updating this camera body to the newer Sony A6700 that just came out this year but lack of funds will delay this purchase until maybe late 2024 or early 2025. This year I need to update my main computer set up that will take up that extra money . It is also old as it is a 2015 iMac that needs to get updated to run the newer AI driven photography programs that are coming out. It's so old that its not supported by Apple anymore and I can't update the operating system in it. So it takes priority over my older crop sensor camera . So what will my set up be for 2024?

I like to shoot lots of stuff but I'm mainly a landscape and travel photographer so I don't need a fast shooting or a quick focusing monster that the newer cameras offer. My main camera for 2024 will be the Sony A7III full frame body. This body came out in 2018 and shared many features as its siblings did the Sony A9 and Sony A7RIII. It quickly became a staple for portrait, wedding and product photographers world wide. It has many features that professionals like. It has a 24mp CMOS full frame sensor, dual card slots , in body stabilization, and has been a workhorse in the photography industry since it was released in 2018 and is still used but maybe more as a backup capacity now a days. For me this is a perfect body for me and it will solve my problems that I was having with the crop sensor. It will be better in lower light it has a better display and is set up more like the camera's I grew up with and feels really good in the hand. It has the newer battery which last a long time compared to the crop sensor I have been shooting. I had to carry 4 batteries with me when I went somewhere with the crop sensor because they wouldn't last but the larger battery last all day and I can leave the camera on with out being aware that I have to cut the camera off to save power. Thats awesome! I have a couple of zooms that I will be using with this camera a 16-35 and a 24-105 lens. These will be my main lenses although I do have 20mm, 50mm and a 85mm prime lenses that I will use when needed with this body. The only draw back that I have with this camera is the weight. Not that it's heavy compared to other full frame cameras just that it's heaver than the crop sensor camera's that I'm used to. I will use this for all of the photography that I will do next year except for wildlife where the crop sensor camera will do better and I have the lenses for and maybe street photography where being small is an advantage and doesn't intimidate people as much as a larger camera does. I do have a 70-350mm crop sensor lens that I could use with the full frame body but my camera will automaicly crop down and make the megapixel count down to 12ish compared to the 24. Not ideal ,but it's an option.The only other reason to use the crop sensor is maybe if I was traveling somewhere where space would be a concern. Like a plane trip somewhere. But that's not likely.

So this will be a big change for me. I have shot full frame before but it has been a while and getting used to the weight will be something to get used to. But I think that it will be a minimal concern. I think the quality that I will get from this set up and the versatility that I will get from the zooms I have chosen to use will be a overwhelming factor when taking this camera out and about to shoot. It's late 2023 and I have started using this combination and am very pleased with it. I have it set up much like my crop sensor camera was using the custom buttons for settings I shoot to quickly go to shooting situations I shoot like street. I do like the front dial that my crop sensor didn't have to adjust my aperture on lenses that don't have the aperture ring built in which I really like. My EDC camera is still the point and shoot Canon G7XMII. This is a cool little camera that I got myself for a trip to Washington DC with my wife and it produced such good photo's it became my EDC. (Every Day Camera) I also use it as my hiking and scouting camera.

For video next year my set up hasn't changed. I'll be using the GoPro 9 and my phone the iPhone 14pro. The GoPro I'll use for hiking and maybe mounting on things and the iPhone is just handy and the quality is really good. I am not much of a videographer and these two camera's will fill all of my needs.

Well that's what I'll be shooting in 2024 . I like shooting older cameras and this set up will work for me well. What are you using? Has your set up changed? Let me know. Until Next week get out and shoot! PS... I have made even more changes in my Kit since I wrote this blog stay tuned to this blog in later issues I will discuss them. Cheers!

(Max Stansell Photography) 2024 blog Crop Sensor Full Frame landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography Sony A7III SonyA6500 street Travel website Wildlife workshops Fri, 22 Dec 2023 10:03:00 GMT
Full Frame Lens Upgrade Hey Y'all! How's it going this week? Me ? Pretty well! This week I want to talk about my full frame set up. This is something that you haven't heard me talk much about for a while. If you've been following me you know I'm primarily a crop sensor shooter. I use an older Sony A6500 and three great lenses that I use to produce a great kit. I have been shooting this for quite a few years and love the set up. It's powerful and I've got a great set of lenses to go with it. I recently (within the last year or so) got an older full frame Sony A7III. I have a set of primes that I've been using with it and use it for street photography and portraits. But I have recently decided to change things up. Now I shoot just about all used bodies and lenses. I am a stills shooter and updating every year just doesn't make sense. Now I use my crop sensor camera for Landscape, travel and anything needing a long lens. So just about everything I shoot. During my last Fall Colors workshop I was noticing that my old crop sensor body is getting long in the tooth and some of the photos I took then looked at the back of other folks camera's I saw a big difference. Color science and quality and low light performance is where my old camera was struggling just a little. Nothing I can't fix in post but that's a lot of work sometimes. I do plan on updating the body in the near future but I also have a computer I need to upgrade more. Being retired makes it difficult to do them both at the same time. So I got to thinking a full frame sensor would fix most of the challenges that I was having at the workshop. But with my full frame camera I really only have mostly prime lenses that I use with it. ( lenses that are not zooms) I have a good wide angel zoom that I can use with it, a 16-35mm F4 lens that is very sharp and works great. All the other lenses I have are primes except for a Kit lens that isn't a great lens. So what to do?  What I need is a good mid-range Zoom.

Zoom lenses are expensive. Compared to Prime lenses they are expensive even used. I will have to do some wheeling and dealings to get one now that I'm retired and then which one to get? In the Sony line up there are many to choose from. Not to mention 3rd party lenses like Sigma and Tamron Lenses. Just within Sony there is a 20-70mm 2.8 a 24-70mm in both F4 and F2.8 and a 24-105mm F4. So there are a lot of choices. With different prices too. While I was on my Fall Colors Workshop I notice that one of the best photographers in the club was using a 24-105mm F4 lens on his Sony Alpha 1 camera.  I had that lens on my radar and seeing him use it made me want that lens. I did research and I still wanted that lens. For a new lens it was 1200 dollars from any of the camera stores new. But in like new condition from MPB was only 844 dollars. Only! LOL Now there was just the paying for it. I have lots of primes and this lenses focal length would make a few of the primes obsolete. Whats good about MPB is that you can trade in lenses to lower the price of the "new to you" lens you want. But which ones? Well I decided on 3 lenses .  Two Primes and a Kit Zoom lens. The first prime to go is the 35mm F1.8 lens. This is a fantastic lens but I haven't used it much and if your not using it you need to let it go to something you will use. The next prime to get rid of is a 55mm Zeiss F1.8 lens . One of the first lenses that Sony had made for the full frame Sonys and a great lens. I have only used this lens a few times since I got the lens it was in a bad focal length for street or portraits for me. So it's gone. Next is the Kit lens a 28-60mm which is not wide enough or long enough to be very useful. So it's gone. So that the tree lenses that I've traded for the 24-105 zoom. After trading in the lenses I only owed 41 dollars. So in my mind I was trading in lenses that I wasn't using for a lens that will be in my wheelhouse for 41 dollars. So that's what I've done. I have made many purchases with MPB and have been nothing but impressed with the lenses and bodies I've got from them.

So the Sony FE 24-105mm F4 OSS lens is fantastic! It's an optically stabilized lens so with its stabilization and the Camera in body sensor stabilized sensor this should be able to shoot at low shutter handheld and get sharp photo's. Nothing but good reviews on this lens. But how will this change my photography? Probably 95% of everything I shoot is below 105mm if not more. This will make this camera my main camera used for everything except for travel when I have to take a plane or when space is very important or when I need a long lens (which I don't have or want for the full frame). This will make my upgrading of the Crop Sensor not as important as it was when it was the main camera. I did keep some primes. I kept a 85mm F1.8 for portraits and a 50mm F2.8 macro lens that I can use as a macro for both of my camera bodies. So except for a couple of shooting situations I have become a full frame sensor shooter again. Not since my Nikon days and the D800 have I been a full frame shooter. I have some upcoming projects and I'm excited on how this camera and the two zoom lenses (16-35 and the 24-105) will perform. I'm sure they will do fantastically! The one thing that is sure is that change is always happening and embracing it will make me and you a better photographer. I'll let you know how the transition back to full frame goes.  Until Next week Get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog crop sensor focal length full frame landscape learning lens Max Stansell Photography Photography prime Sony stabilization website workshops Zooms Fri, 15 Dec 2023 09:46:38 GMT
Motion and Shutter Drag! Hey Everyone! Salutations! Hope you're having a great week. I have and have been busy writing blogs. Its been a rainy week so I've got into the writing groove. This week I want to talk about a cool photography technique, trick, hack whatever you want to call it. And it's showing motion by using shutter drag. You can make very interesting photographs by showing motion in your shots. A silky smooth waterfall looks much better than a frozen in time one that was shot on a high shutter speed. Dragging the shutter is the act of keeping the shutter open while a moving object is moving through it. The object will blur a little showing motion. This technique can be used in street photography or landscape , sport or any style that the subject is moving and it makes a unique shot that gets peoples imagination going .  It can be fairly simple to do and when you get the hang of doing it you can turn it on in just a second and get that unique shot while you're out shooting something else.  Maybe you're shooting a dance class and you get all of the individual shots of the pretty dancers but now you take a few of them spinning or dancing and you drag the shutter you have art!  Here is the technique and some tips. The MetroThe MetroCommuters waiting for the Metro in Washington DC.

To drag the shutter your camera should be stable relative to your subject. Tripods can come in handy. But when your out on the streets maybe a post or trash can will act as your tripod. Shooting in manual or shutter priority is the best setting for your camera. Then you slow down your shutter until you get the desired blur that you want. You may have to experiment a little to get that blend that you want and it depends on how fast your subject is moving . A car travels much faster than a person walking. So different shutter speeds. A cool way to practice this is to go out at night and set up your camera and tripod near a road and try to capture light trails from the cars. You get cool red ones from the tail lights and white ones from the headlights. Waterfalls of course are my favorite for me especially during the fall when all of the leaves are changing and you get that silky smooth water of the water fall. Be careful not to make it too Spring Fall FallsSpring Fall Falls silky and experiment with the speeds.  But a field of wheat swaying in the breeze or clouds passing by a old building would be good too. How do we get the low shutter speeds in the daylight?

Using Polarizers and ND filters for daylight shutter drag. A polarizer filter is usually 1 1/2 to 2 stops of light that is cut out. If its a very cloudy day this might be all you need. But you may need to add a Natural Density filter to it to get the shutter speed you need. A veritable ND filter could also come in handy. They come in ranges of stops and you can dial in the amount you want to get the speed of shutter and the perfect exposure. I try to under expose 1 to 2 stops and bring it back in post editing to get the look I like. You should experiment to find out what your settings will be to get that look you like. For bright days you might need a 10 stop ND filter which is black and focusing gets troublesome. But you can get some cool shots with this technique.

Panning. Panning is the art of moving your camera at the same speed as the subject so the subject is in focus and the surroundings blur. Remember I said your camera should be stable "relative" to the subject. Panning is a art but looks good for moving things like bicycles, cars , busses and almost anything. But it does take lots of practice to get it right. I'm so so at it . I probably need to practice more. LOL

Adding motion to your portfolio shots really brings your whole collection up a notch! And makes your time out shooting more exciting trying to get that cool blurry shot that shows motion.  So until next week Get out and shoot! Some Motion.

(Max Stansell Photography) blog gear landscape learning Long Exposure Max Stansell Photography Motion Panning Photography shutter shutter drag street Tripod website workshops Fri, 08 Dec 2023 10:00:00 GMT
Photography Should be Fun! Hey Y'all! Hope you're having a great day. Me Fantastic! Its a rainy day here so I thought I would sit down and talk a little bit to y'all about my favorite subject , Photography. If you follow my blogs I talk about lots of different area's of photography. And there are plenty. You can really get deep in the weeds talking photography. We can be talking about something technical or some new gadget or software that just came out but what we really don't talk about is how to have fun in photography.  We get caught up in the "how to" of it all. Which is great but I think we just go a little overboard with whatever we are exploring at the time whether its technical or artsy.  I am guilty of this as much as anyone else and maybe more.  Being a photographer is much more than knowing how to use your camera (the technical aspect) or the Artsy side of it with composition ,lighting and all of the things that come with that. It should be fun also! My photo wingman (Robert) and myself have taken many adventures and we have a blast going out and shooting but we approach the shooting part different. Robert is a big reader of photography books and articles and when he goes out shooting he has a purpose. Maybe its showing motion , or a certain lighting aspect and that's what he looks for. Me I do less preparing and just go and shoot. I shoot everything from the fly on the wall to  really thinking about a shot. Is his way wrong? No I don't think so and I think that I used to shoot like Robert does also. But I don't anymore. I've been shooting much longer than he has and maybe it's something we have to go through. We (me and Robert) some times have a discussion on a certain photo that I may have taken. And he'll say something like "oh I love the way you positioned that in your subject or I love the layers of this or this angle I never thought of that ",  and he'll ask what I was thinking or how I thought of it. And I haven't . I haven't thought of any of it. I just shoot because to me shooting is most of the fun in photography. If you look at my photo's from a shoot you will see how many different things I look at and shoot and they mostly don't have a rhyme or reason to them. Its more of a "Squirrel" affect. I just see and shoot. I could be shooting a landscape and a fly lands on my leg and I shoot the fly. If I'm in a city and I walk by what I think is a silly sign I shoot and try not to think.  And that's fun. If you know me thinking is not my strong point! LOL 

The pure act of shooting and having fun gets lost sometimes because photography is technical (not as much as it used to be) for the most part and you have to get past that.  Photography should be just fun to do. Thats why we started in the first place. Because it was fun. Not because it was technical. It can be fun just shooting by yourself but its more fun in a group. Maybe you have a photography wingman like I do or maybe you are part of a photography club.  Shooting with like minded people is great and you just have a ball. My photography club is getting ready to go on our annual fall colors trip to the North Carolina mountains and we just had a meeting about things we want to see and do while there. Not once did we talk about anything technical except where the sun might be coming up at at a certain place. We talked about the things we would be seeing and shooting and the smiles kept getting bigger and bigger the more we talked and planned. It was fun and photography should be fun. I just want you to remember why you started photography in the first place . Because it was fun! Not because you wanted to shoot weddings or sports or senior portraits. Because it was fun! So learn all of the technical stuff but don't forget to have fun!

To me having fun with my camera is the best! My camera has taken me to places that I may never have gone before! I have heard it said that the camera is the passport to the world and I believe it. But don't take it too seriously it should be FUN! It doesn't matter what kind of photography or how technical you are with it , it should be fun to shoot and not laborious or too technical. Remember its not just about the Keepers from a photoshoot but the whole shoot. The Keepers will come just keep shooting! Remember Keepers don't have be be works of art they could be the photo's that you post to Facebook or Instagram. Memories and fun are what your shooting for! So until next week get outside and shoot and have some fun!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog camera club editing fun gear groups landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography shooting technical website workshops Fri, 01 Dec 2023 10:00:00 GMT
My thoughts on buying used and MPB. Hey Y'all! Hope you're having a great week. This week I want to talk about gear. No surprise I am a gear head. LOL I do love gear! But like most of you I live on a budget and can't buy the newest and greatest thing that comes out every year. But I do like new gear even if its just new to me. For the last 5 or so years I haven't bought anything new. I've always chosen used. I have been very pleased with my purchases and have saved quite a bit of money that I could use on photography trips and adventures. But buying used can be scary because it's not brand new. I have been very successful in my used purchases some by luck when buying from an individual but from a company that I use called MPB. 

MPB is a company that buys and sells used photography gear. The one in North America is located in New York City and they have one in Europe also. I have been dealing with the one in NYC exclusively and highly recommend it. This is how it works . You go on their website and find what you want say a camera body. You usually have a choice between "like new" condition "Excellent" , "Good". These condition ratings are explained in the website and I find them to be true. The things I got that were like new were like new and the things that were only good worked fine but maybe had some cosmetic scratches on them but didn't effect operation. I also like that I can sell or trade older equipment in to help purchase items knocking the already low price even lower. To me this is win , win! If your selling or trading equipment you give them what you think the estimate of your gear is they will send you a FedEx label and you ship it to them. When they get it they will let you know by email and inspect your equipment if they agree and they have with me so far. They will cut a check or take that amount off of your item. Your biggest problem is just packaging up your item and getting it to FedEx. If you can tell I love this company. As a matter of fact Sony just came out with a new camera body and I'm going to wait until they get them in stock before I buy it just to save some money and to be able to sell the camera body that I'm using now. Now the only question to answer is used equipment for you?

In my humble opinion if you are a stills photographer like I am I think that used is for you. If you shoot video or something that fast focus is a must like wildlife or Sports it may not be. Most of the advances in camera's now a days is in video and fast focusing but if you're like most of us that super fast focusing or video features is not a factor. If you're really like me you don't even care if your stills camera shoot video at all. That would be great a camera that only shoots stills with no frills camera and no video. I would be first in line. But I don't see that happening. So for me and most people I think that used is okay. I'm shooting a camera now that came out in 2015 and am pleased with the quality. Thats why I can wait to upgrade for when the new camera body gets in MPB.  Buying used is a great way to save some of that hard earned cash and upgrade your equipment when needed. 

So when you think it's time to upgrade your gear don't for get to think used instead of new.  Until next week make sure you get out and shoot! 


(Max Stansell Photography) blog Buying Used camera bodies FedEx gear landscape learning Lens Max Stansell Photography MPB Photography purchasing Shipping used website workshops Fri, 24 Nov 2023 09:22:47 GMT
Bokeh What is it and how do I create it? Hey Y'all! Hope you're having a great week! This week I want to talk about this funny word we use in photography, Bokeh. The term “bokeh” comes from the Japanese word “boke,” which means “blur” in English. And that's just what bokeh refers to. It's the quality of the blurry parts of a photograph. So why would we want part of the photograph blurry when we spent all this money on sharp lenses? LOL  Bokeh and the use of it can make a photograph visually pleasing. Everyone has scene this in portraits where the subject is in focus but the background is blurred out. But it can be used in other types of photography also. In landscape the main subject maybe a tree or a brook is in focus but the forest behind it is blurred. We can use this technique to isolate the subject in a busy scene. Maybe isolate a single sunflower out of a field of sunflowers .  So we have "making the photo more visually pleasing" and " isolate the subject" and there is one more use and that is to use Bokeh as a artistic aspect of the photo. I'm sure you have seen Christmas lights all blurred out making a artistic glow or water on a glass blurred out . So there are three reasons to use Bokeh as I see it. #1 visually pleasing, #2 isolate the subject #3 Used as an artistic item.

So how do we create Bokeh when we are out and about taking photo's? There are a few things that can control Bokeh and they can be used by themselves or in combination to create this effect. One way to control Bokeh is with Aperture .  The smaller "F" stop number the smaller the depth of field and the greater the Bokeh. Depth of field is the amount of the photo that is in focus. So the part that isn't in focus is the Bokeh. By using a fast lens one that has an maximum aperture of f2.8 or smaller can create great Bokeh. You can take a photo of a person and only the tip of their nose is in focus and everything else be out of focus. So the opposite can also be said the larger the f-stop number the more of the photo will be in focus. So f22 more of the photo will be in focus than f2.8. So Aperture is one thing that can control Bokeh. The next thing that can control bokeh is the type of lens used. The LeafLeaf longer the lens the easier it will be able to create bokeh. For example a wide angel lens say 14mm is almost built to make everything in focus and it is difficult to make things within the photo blur. On the other hand a telephoto lens say 200mm is built to isolate things and Zoom into something. These lenses are much more easier to make things blur in the photograph. Combining a low aperture with a longer lens makes it easer to make parts of the photo blur. The final thing that can help is being close to the subject will make it easier to blur everything else. So there are the three ways to create Bokeh. Aperture, type of lens, and proximity to the subject. By using these three things together and adjusting them you can control the Bokeh in your photo to make it more pleasing to look at , to isolate the subject or to use Bokeh as an artistic subject. 

Using Bokeh as a creative technique can make your photo's stand out of the crowd. Until next week Get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) Aperture Artistic blog Blur Bokeh Bokehlishous gear Isolate landscape learning Lens Max Stansell Photography Photography Pleasing portrait Street Telephoto Tutorial website wide Aperture wide-angle workshops Fri, 17 Nov 2023 10:00:00 GMT
Treat Photography like a Sport? Hey Everyone! How's it going this week? Me? Not bad thanks for asking. This week I wanted to talk about improving your photography. But how do we improve? Well there are lots of ways to improve but what if we looked at our photography skills like a sport? If we wanted to get better at a sport what would we do? We would practice, but practice what? We must practice the parts that we are not good at. Here is an analogy for you. I've recently just started playing golf again and like photography its a solo sport. If I analyze my game I can see where I need to improve to get better. Maybe I drive the ball okay but I don't putt well then I need to practice on my putting. You practice and try to improve the things that you are not good at. So first you must analyze your photography skills and what you're good at and what you're not. This takes a lot of honesty on your part and when you identify the weak parts of your Photography game then you can take actions to improve them.

Photographers seem to search for improvements in equipment much like in golf that new Driver or Putter will improve my game. The answer is Lightbulb Water LighthouseLightbulb Water Lighthouse the same for both golf and Photography. It's probably not the equipment. If your camera was purchased in the last 8-10 years and working properly its not the camera. It may be in the skills we use when we use the camera. Maybe we are only taking advantage of 10% of what the camera can do. Learning how to use our gear will make us better photographers. Read the manual or watch a video of how to do things on your brand/model of camera. Modern cameras are amazing and many of us will become better just by learning our camera.

Maybe the technical aspect of your Photography game are solid. You know your camera and how it works but you're not creative with it. Much like in golf. You can hit your clubs well on the practice range but getting good results on the course isn't happening. Photography like golf is more than just pushing the shutter button, creativity needs to be more focused on to be creative. In golf being able to curve the ball at will and making creative shots will save a round. In photography different Points of View, Perspective will create more story telling photo's .  So try shooting from a worms view, around a corner, through something to make more interesting photographs.

EYESEYES The act of taking the photograph may not be your weak point. Maybe its the editing the photograph that you are weak at. I think that editing is at least 50% of the end result of a great photograph. I don't have a good golf analogy for this one creative scoring is just a fancy way of cheating. LOL To improve this part of the Photography game you might need to take a workshop, watch tutorial videos and practice . Maybe get with someone that is good at editing to help you along. Which brings me to my next point.

When you go out and shoot with others you will learn a lot. Just by watching and observing others you can learn a lot. Photography with others will help your Photography game. Like in golf playing with a group even folks you don't know will make you play or photograph better. I encourage all of you to join some sort of camera club. I have improved so much after joining the camera club that I belong to now. We have monthly meetings with presentations, printed contest, monthly challenges. We also have monthly outings and workshops where we travel around and try different types of photography. You get to shoot and learn with people with the same interest in _DSC4702_DSC4702 photography and make friends that you can go out and shoot with. 

So my advice is to treat your photography like a sport. Practicing what your weak at will bring your whole game up and you will make fantastic photographs. Trying to improve and try new things in photography is not only fun but will make you better. Getting out of your comfort zone will also help. So until next week analyze your Photography Game and get outside and shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) Artsy blog editing gear golf landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography practice software Sport street technical travel Tutorial website workshops Fri, 10 Nov 2023 09:18:01 GMT
Fall Workshop What Worked and what Didn't Hey Everyone! How's it going this week? This week I want to talk about my Fall Colors workshop and what worked and what didn't. Last week I went over the events of the workshop and where and when we went to them. First I want to say that the workshop was a big success despite the interruptions of weather that had with our trip. A good time and photography was had by all and I highly recommend it to anyone. But after each photography or camping trip I like to go over what worked and what didn't and how do I fix the things that didn't in the future. I try to be a highly organized person and I do use a spreadsheet to help me in packing .  I'd like to say that I have that system pretty much controlled and I had no problems with the things I brought and didn't really bring anything that I didn't need. This is an example of previous examinations of trips and correcting for that. So here goes a list of what went well and what didn't in no particular order.

Camera Gear. The camera gear that I brought with me worked well and had no problems. The choice of lenses and camera body worked flawlessly and am very happy with the outcome. Just for a overview I took a crop sensor camera and 3 lenses that ranged in full frame equivalent from 15mm to 525mm in focal length.  I also had all the correct filters and accessories with me and did't want or need anything else to document the trip. So this was a win!

Video Recording. This was a fail. I brought a GoPro and some accessories to document the trip and make a video at the end of the trip. For me trying to photograph and do video at the same time is very hard to do and you end up not doing any of them well. This was the case with me. I started out trying to video everything we did for the first couple of days but my photography suffered and I slowly quit using the GoPro at all. So for the first couple of days I can make a video but for the second half of the trip nothing.  I have asked for video clips from my fellow photogs that went with me but have not got much .  Robert my normal wingman couldn't come to this workshop and he is a great videographer and usually documents our trips but I failed. Big Fail on my part .

Weather. We had mixed weather while on our trip. When we left it was raining and it rained off and on during our trip. The temps were cooler than we are used to at home but it really didn't get cold as we have had in the past even though we did see snow. So the weather not perfect but it wasn't a fail.

Mobile Photography Editing. This may be where I struggled the most on this trip. When I go on a trip instead of a laptop I use a iPad pro for my Cades CoveCades Cove mobile editing and backing up. The edits will sync up with my home laptop and when I get home they are there. This didn't work this year. It has in the past and the reason. (which I didn't figure out until I got home) was that my main computer is a 2015 iMac and is so old that the operating system can't be upgraded which is fine but the new Adobe Lightroom Classic will not load onto it because of the operating system is too old. Now my iPad pro is newer and has the newest version of Lightroom. These two versions seem to clash and the system did not work. I could edit a few photo's on the road but the big sync stuff didn't work. And also the backing up of my SD cards to the SSD drive I have didn't work 100 percent for some reason. It may have been me and I may have interrupted the transfer while in the mountains . But I still had my daily SD cards so I didn't loose any info and that's how I got all of my photo's downloaded to my old computer at home. The fix? I need to upgrade my old computer and this should correct all of the mistakes and allow the new versions of Adobe for years to come. I am currently researching upgrading my main computer. I'll keep you updated.

Accommodations (House). The house that we rented from VRBO was fantastic! Kudo's to our Club President Caitlin on choosing this one. It was kind of perched on a ridge and could have views all around the house of the valley below. Some of my best views could be seen from the window of our house. Everyone had a bed ( no sleeping on the floor or couch) and some even had their own bathrooms. The house had balconies on the bottom and second floors to enjoy the views. A ample kitchen and open common area gave plenty of room for lounging and editing photo's. Even though I shared a bunk room with 3 other snoring guys it was quite comfortable and I've been in a lot worse places. Big Win!

Itinerary .  We took a lot of time and refinement to come up with our schedule of events for the trip.  We wanted to go to some of the old spots Mingus MillMingus Mill from trips gone by to some new ones that we haven't been before. We wanted everyone to have something that they were used to shooting in the itinerary. We wanted wildlife shooters to get to shoot some wildlife. We wanted landscape folks to shoot some landscapes. After all it is Fall colors . And we wanted to do some travel type shooting by exploring some towns. Mission accomplished.  We did go to some new places some I don't need to see again and others can't wait to go back to. And I'm sure that is true for all of the participants of the workshop. I did enjoy some days over other ones as I'm sure others did also. Over all a big win!

To me the trip was a big win! Not only for me but the whole club! I would like to see more of these trips happen! As a matter of fact we are planning on taking a trip this spring that we are just starting to plan. We had one planned the year Covid happened and didn't get to go but we are planning for this spring. So I'm excited about future trips and will try to correct my fails to be better for the next trip. Until Next week get outside and keep shooting!

(Max Stansell Photography) Autumn blog Camera Bodies Fall fall colors Gear GoPro landscape learning lenses Max Stansell Photography National parks Photography Photography Club travel Video VRBO website wildlife workshops Fri, 03 Nov 2023 09:00:00 GMT
Fall Colors Trip To North Carolina Mountains Hey Y'all ! How are you doing this week? Me? Great! I just got back from a week long Photography trip with my Photography Club the Goldsboro Area Photography Club. This is an annual trip that we take somewhere to take in the Fall colors. We have traveled to West Virginia in the past and also Washington DC once. But North Carolina is our main spot. We rent a house or cabin for a week and share all of the community experiences like food and gas for the cars we use to go place to place.  We plan our itinerary well in advance with a group of people that includes the officers of the club and senior members that have lots of experience in where to go. These houses that we rent are reserved well in advance and choosing a week to go is usually the 3rd week in October that is when the colors are usually popping in the North Carolina mountains but Mother Nature does have the final say. So some years we have less color than others. But one thing is for certain we always have a great time. I like to call it Summer Camp for old folks!  There is lots of laughter in the house and special nicknames are given to everyone that attends. It can get quite goofy. Now these trips are no vacation! Its called a workshop for a reason. We work, and are on the go the whole trip. We usually leave before the sun comes up and arrive back to the house well after dark. Driving and going to different spots to shoot the whole time. When we are at the house its backing up the days shoot and maybe edit a shot or two before it's time to get ready for the next day's activities. Early to bed and early rise is the routine that is followed. We usually eat out once or twice a day and either bring something to eat with us or eat at the house. Depending on the days activities. New attendees are surprised on how much we just keep going and are usually the first to say that this workshop isn't a vacation. We try to capture and do different kinds of photography from landscapes with beautiful colors to wildlife and some street/travel photography. This year was no exception as we did Landscape, Wildlife, Travel/Street, and even some night time light painting. So here goes a day to day rundown of how this years trip went. 

Linville FallsLinville Falls Day 1- Travel and Linville Falls.  We had a big countdown to this day on a group Facebook Messenger thread Linville FallsLinville Falls and it finally came. We left early for a 5ish hour drive to get to Linville Falls just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. When we arrived to Linville Falls early afternoon and I have never seen so many people. The parking lots were full and people were parking on the access road to the parking area as we did. I have visited these falls many times and even camped near by and have never seen so many people. We trudged on and hiked the trail to the falls and the falls overlooks. I couldn't get a photo of the falls because of the people but I did get some shots of the gorge and the surrounding areas. We then drove to our house. What a house and a location! Kudo's to our President Caitlin for finding this gem. We had views all around a great house to spend the week.

Day 2- Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. This is the first time that we have done this while in the mountains and we were all excited about the Great Smokey Mountain RailroadGreat Smokey Mountain Railroad trip through the mountains during Fall. It was very chilly and we had open air cars so we could get good photo's. It was a fun trip and I got a few photo's although to me the photographic opportunities were not as much as I had thought. Our plans were to walk the town of Bryson City but the weather started getting bad (rain) so we went back to the house . Later on in the day we drove to Great Smoky Mountains National Park Cherokee Visitor Center in Cherokee to view the Elk. Again Lots of people there and we spent some time there and then back to the cabin which was only 20ish minutes away.

Cades CoveCades Cove Day 3-Cades Cove day. Cades Cove Tennessee is part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP). There is about a 12 mile loop that you can drive and see wildlife and Landscapes. They also have a Mill there that you can visit and see.  The gates open at sunrise and if you want the early morning light you need to get in line before the sun comes up. I think we had about an hour and a half drive to get there and we sat in line. We had to leave at 4:45 in the morning!  We got on the loop early and got to see all kinds of wildlife Turkey, Cades CoveTurkey, Cades Cove from bear, deer, turkeys, horses and a hawk. And the landscapes did not disappoint either. We had the wildlife guys in the lead car to spot the wildlife because they have the eye to do so. We took two laps of the loop and on the second lap it started to rain. We went to Pigeon Forge where we had lunch at the Mill a country style meal restaurant  and there were lots of people. For our trip back we had a list of places to go to with over looks and waterfalls on the way to Clingmans Dome to shoot a sunset. Clingmans Dome road was closed for some reason. We soon found out why .  It was still raining so we decided to head to the house and if the weather permitted we would stop at one of the spots. But the rain kept coming and as we climbed up to Newfound Gap the rain turned to SNOW! Yes SNOW! Now that's a scene to see snow coming down on Fall Colored trees! We never did stop because it kept raining/Snowing and we made it to the house. And we found out that the road to Clingmans Dome was closed because of road conditions.

Dry FallsDry Falls Day 4- Helen Georgia and Falls day. Finally the weather had cleared and we had blue skies. We left and first stop was Cullasaja Falls a road side fall that slithers down the side of the mountain. Next stop was Dry falls CherokeeCherokee that gets it's name by being able to walk behind the falls. What was great about this place is that there was no one there. After having wall to wall people in other places it was great to go somewhere that we had it to ourselves. The colors were popping and I had a great time photographing them. Next spot was Helen Georgia. We as a group have never been to this spot before I had been earlier in the year. This town is all decked out as a Bavarian-style town. Piped in music and restaurants and shops galore. This made for some interesting photography and it was a unique stop on our trip. We also had a great lunch there.  The next stop was Tallulah Gorge Rim Trail where there were waterfalls. There is a deep gorge at this Georgia State park which was neat to see.

Living WatersLiving Waters Day 5- Waterfall Palooza! This is waterfall day one of my favorite days . First on the list is Sunburst Falls. This was one that we haven't been before and when we got there there was a couple getting engagement photo's done with pumpkins on their heads! It was very cool to watch and we got some snapshots of them. The next big falls was Living Waters Retreat .  There is about a 1/2 mile trail that has about 5 or 6 falls surrounded by beautiful trees with all of the colors. One of my favorite places. We spent a couple of hours there. We then went to eat in Brevard a beautiful town with a BBQ place that we have been to before and wanted to return. We had a great lunch before the next set of Falls. The next set was High Falls, Hooker Falls and Triple Falls. These three falls are located in Dupont State Forrest. The last falls was Looking Glass Falls. We as a group have been there many times before but usually in the morning. This was the first time in the afternoon. I like the afternoon better not as many people or as cold. So the day was full of Waterfalls and Hiking and Landscapes. A great day.

Elk, CherokeeElk, Cherokee Day 6- Elk Day! Even though we have seen the Elk one day before we really wanted to do the Elk again  Elk , CherokeeElk , Cherokee especially the Wildlife guys. We arrived early at Cherokee Visitors Center and shot some of the Elk (not really) in the fields and then worked our way to a stream that they cross a couple of times a day and really makes for a great photo's. I actually got a few really good shots and for me that's surprising I'm not really a wildlife photographer and really don't have all of the big lenses like the Wildlife guys do. I also got some good photo's of the little village that they have set up at the visitors center. After that the main group of us left and the hard core Wildlife guys stayed behind to get more shots. The rest of us went out to eat and then back to the house for some down time to do laundry or take a nap. That afternoon when the rest had joined us we went out to do light painting on Mingus Mill which is an old mill in the park. So we went out and worked the scene in the dark with big lamps to get our shot. Real fun! And it started to sprinkle as we were finishing up.

Sylva, CourthouseSylva, Courthouse Day 7-Cataloochee Valley Day. We were scheduled to go to Cataloochee Valley and shoot Elk and Landscapes but the rain came back. We decided to go out and have a good sit down breakfast. We drove to Sylva North Carolina and Man in Sylva NCMan in Sylva NC small outdoorsy town with hiking and fly fishing as major interest. We had a great breakfast and the rain looked like it was going to let up so we decided to shoot the city but as we started the rain came back. I got a little wet. So we went to the cabin to relax while waiting for the rain to subside. It did subside and we were itching to get out and shoot so we decided to go shoot Sylva again and then we went to Dillsboro, North Carolina to shoot the towns.  While shooting Dillsboro it started to rain and we came back to the cabin. We relaxed in the house for the rest of the day and got our things together for the ride home. The last day was just a travel day as we were out of the house by 8:30 in the morning for the ride home.

Despite the rain interfering with our trip we had a ball.  The colors were popping and we got to go to some great places for the Fall Colors! Its hard to explain the beauty that is in the mountains in the Fall.  The color of Autumn the crispness of the weather and the company of like minded photographers out having fun and learning. I love these trips and they are the highlight of my year.  If you get a chance to take a photography workshop trip somewhere Go! You will have a ball and learn a lot! So until next week get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog elk fall colors Georgia Helen landscape learning Max Stansell Photography National Parks North Carolina Photography small towns street Tennessee travel waterfalls website wildlife workshops Fri, 27 Oct 2023 09:00:00 GMT
What are my Favorite Photography YouTube Channels? Hey Everyone! Hope you have had a great week! I have been on a blog writing blitz this week making many blogs for future publication. It comes in waves (the writing that is) and I just take advantage of rainy days to get and stay ahead .  One of my favorite things to do to pass the time is watch YouTube.  It is probably where I get most of my on screen content from.  I do watch some TV but mostly News and the Golf Channel LOL. And of course Netflix and Amazon Prime. But most of my on time screen watching is YouTube. I am a visual person and love to watch and learn how to do stuff on YouTube. You can learn how to take photo's to how to change brake pads on your car. It is a great platform to enjoy and watch and learn. This weeks blog is my Favorite photography YouTube channels. Now there are Thousands and Thousands of Channels on YouTube about photography and I know I haven't even come close to seeing all of them but here are a few of my favorites in no  Spring Fall FallsSpring Fall Falls particular order. It depends on my mood and what I'm interested in shooting at the time.

James Popsy- His channel is based in the UK and he does mostly Landscapes but does go into street every now and then. He is funny and informative on his channel and answers questions like is JPEGs any good anymore? He of course tries out different camera's and accessories. To me its not so much the content but he is a joy to listen to .

Bull ElkBull ElkThis Bull Elk was at Cherokee North Carolina. Tony and Chelsea Northrup- This husband and wife couple give reviews of camera gear and go over different aspects of photography. They have the most popular printed photo photography lesson book in the world that is constantly being updated with video's incorporated into the printed book. They started out in stock photography and do portraits and Wildlife a little of everything. They even have a podcast that I listen to that is very enjoyable. They have loads of content on YouTube.

Mark Denny- Mark Denny is a local North Carolina guy that quit corporate America to be a full time Raven's Roost Va.Raven's Roost Va. Landscape photographer/Instructor. He has great tutorials on Lightroom and his in the field work is great to watch and he goes into great detail. He has become one of the ones I really like to watch and learn from.

Thomas Heaton- Thomas Heaton is a Landscape photographer based out of the UK and has an enormous following of landscape photographers. He has worked as a Studio Assistant before going out on his own. He combines camping or RVing from his Van into his Photography. He teams up with well known photographers here in the US on great road trips. Lots of content on his channel and well worth the watch.

Road to the TempleRoad to the TempleGoblin Valley State Park Utah Nick Page- A former golf Greens Keeper turned photographer . Is a self taught landscape photographer that runs workshops and has fantastic photo's. He takes you through the shoot and the post processing of his great landscapes. He also loves to shoot storms with lightning which looks cool but may be a little to dangerous for me. He is based out of the Pacific Northwest of the US.

Adorama TV- This is a great channel with loads of reviews of equipment but also instruction and how to with famous photographers/instructors like Mark Wallace, PamPam Gaven Hoey, Lindsey Atler and On Set with Daniel Norton. And many more. You can watch a live stream event where the photographer takes you through a whole photoshoot from start to finish explaining everything as they go. A great channel with lots of content to watch.

Pierre T Lambert- A street photographer that travels the world taking photo's and brings you along for the shoot. During the recent (in the last couple of years) race riots in Chicago he was there shooting the whole thing and it was very interesting to watch. There are loads of street photographers to follow and watch on YouTube he was just one that popped up in my mind first.

To find any of these folks just bring up YouTube and put their name in the search block and it will show many videos of these people. Subscribe to them and you will always have their latest and greatest videos and it doesn't cost a penny just your time which you would be wasting watching the Big Bang Theory or something similar . So learn something. Until next week check theses out and let me know what your favorite channels are and Get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog content gear landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography street travel tut Tutorial Video website workshops YouTube Fri, 20 Oct 2023 08:39:28 GMT
Raleigh Photo walks Hey Y’all! Hope you are doing great this week! Me? Pretty well. This week I want to talk about taking small photo walks of a nearby town or city. For the last two weekends me and my photo wingman Robert , have been taking photo walks in Raleigh NC a nearby city. It is much larger than the town we live in which is a rural town. Raleigh is a bigger city with lots of neat stuff to see and do that is different than our town. So for the last two Sundays we’ve been traveling the hour or so to Raleigh to photograph the town. The first time we went we went as if we were tourist although we had both been there many times .  And the second time it was street photography that was our main goal. I love both types of photography it lets me take photo’s of all kinds of things that I normally don’t. 

First day as a Tourist. First stop after an enjoyable ride to Raleigh was the Arboretum . I have driven past this place many times but have never gone in.  I was pleasantly surprised . It was awesome. It had all kinds of plants and flowers and interesting stuff to see.  We spent over an hour roaming the grounds taking photo’s and having fun. Our next stop was to the NC Museum of Art. Outside they had a mirror maze that was pretty cool and when you got inside you got disoriented because of all of the mirrors. They created cool shapes and shadows to photograph. The next stop was downtown Raleigh to visit Museums and walk the town. It was very hot and we walked a lot .  We went to the food mall on Morgan street and the food was excellent. We walked quite a bit and I would suggest to wear comfortable shoes when doing this kind of photography.  After the museums we decided to go to Durham to the Tobacco Campus. These are old cigerett plant buildings that have been converted into shops and restaurants. This is a very cool place but we didn't figure that most of the shops and stores would be closed on Sunday but it gave us a chance to photograph the buildings without all of the people. What was cool is that the Durham Bulls were having a ball game and the stadium was just next door and we did some people watching as they were going into the stadium for the game. All in all a very good day of shooting.

Second day Street Photography. this day was not as structured as the first day we actually decided on the drive up where to start. We started at Raleigh Union Station the Amtrak station in Raleigh. This is a very cool structure to shoot and the people are a plus while they are waiting for their train to arrive. After the train station we started walking. The area around the train station is very cool with unique shops and restaurants and just cool places to visit. This part of downtown has a very cool vibe to it and although we were there on a Sunday morning with hardly any people we still got some people shots. For lunch we went back to the Morgan Street Food Mall and ate and it was a good place to eat and take a bathroom break. After lunch we slowly made our way back to the car at the train station and after we arrived we decided to check out the observation deck at the airport. This has been on Roberts List of places to visit for a while and we had some extra time so we went. The deck was a neat place to visit. The had the aircraft Radio traffic piped into the observation deck and you had a neat place to watch the planes take off. What was really cool is seeing the families sprawled out with little kids watching the planes take off. After the observation deck we decided to head home. This was another scorcher of a day we didn't walk as much as the first day of shooting in Raleigh. 

The two days were a great break to summer heat and super photo opportunities.  Make sure that you go somewhere and have a photo walk with a buddy. You'll get some shots and have a ball. Remember having fun is the best part of Photography. So until next week Get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog Exploring gear landscape learning Max Stansell Photography monochrome North Carolina Photo Walk Photography Raleigh street travel urban website workshops Fri, 13 Oct 2023 08:26:44 GMT
A typical Camera Club meeting. What to expect. Hey Everybody! Hope you're having a great week. Me? Pretty good. Last night my Photography Club had it's monthly meeting and I really love these meetings. Have you ever been to a photography club meeting? They are pretty fantastic for photography minded people to gather and talk nothing but photography. When I'm at home and try to talk to my wife about photography (when she can stay awake) she just doesn't get it. But when you talk to photography crazies like us its fantastic because they are as interested as you are! I have wrote about my photography club in the past but have never explained how a typical monthly meeting goes. I have been a member of this club for a dozen years or so and have acted as one of its officers a couple of times and am currently a Vice President.  We have between 35 and 40 active members and usually 20 or so show up for meetings and then we have the Zoom participants.  During the Covid crisis we had Zoom meetings which worked out pretty well. But now that the crisis is over we mainly meet in person with just a few via Zoom.  We meet at the local community college but have met in our local arts council in years past.   We hold our meetings on the 4th Monday of the month at 6:30pm and the meetings last about 2 hours. We have a very diversified group of members aging from 17yrs old to 82 and about a 50/50 male/female split maybe a little more males than females but its close. So here goes a rundown of a typical club meeting.

-We usually start with welcoming new visitors to the club. We ask them what they like to shoot and what camera system they shoot which always comes with ooh's and aah's from other camera system owners trying to make the newcomer feel at home with laughter. We explain the advantages of becoming a member and the price of dues. The price of dues have not changed while I've been a member.

-The next 10 or so minutes are taken up by announcements and going over our schedule for the rest of the year and any changes that may come. We are a very active club we have some sort of workshop every month on all kinds of topics and we go out and shoot that theme. Maybe its wildlife we go shoot wildlife or portraits and so on.

-Gear talk or Lightroom/Photoshop tips. A short talk about gear or editing is handled here by some of our more experienced photographers in the club. We try to keep this part of the meeting about 5 min or so. So it's just for quick tips or small pieces of gear that can be helpful to our members.

-Main Topic . The main topics are chosen by our officers early in the year . Then we find people to give presentations on these topics. These can be power point presentations to video inspired talks. We have people volunteering to do these presentations. We have the wildlife experts talk on wildlife, Landscape talk on Landscape stuff and so on. We try to cover all types of photography from street, portrait , macro, food, landscape, travel and wildlife. We may also have a presentation on workflow or composition. We sometimes get guest speakers to come and talk to our club or zoom in from across the country on certain topics. All of this is planned out by our officers at the beginning of the year and a schedule is posted of meeting topics and workshops prior to the start of the year so people can plan their schedules to attend workshops or meetings. We recently went to shoot milky way and meteor showers at a lighthouse 3 hours away so some people planned and stayed at hotels to avoid the drive home in the dark. Planning is Key for our club.

-Photo Contest. We have quarterly printed photo contest. The officers pick the topics. Say portraits, Travel, Faces, Landscape, Macro.  The members rate the photographs on 5 categories during a break on forms provided by the club. They are turned in and tallied up by one of the officers. The entries are anonymous so you can't just choose your buddy you have to rate the photo on a form that we provide. We rate all of the photo's not just the one that you like. We give ribbons for 1st , 2nd and 3rd place and give Amazon gift cards for them also. If you win one of the contest you cannot enter the other contest that remain. This is so one person doesn't win all of  the prizes. At the end of the year we pick the winner from the 4 and they have the photo of the year. We print photo's for those that want their photo's entered if they don't have the means to print.

-Photo Critiques and Member Spotlight. These are alternated each month. Photo Critiques, These are photo's that are taken by our members we put them up on the big screen and say what we like and what we don't like about each photo. Guided by one of our senior members to make sure it doesn't get crazy and keep the pace up. This is a great help to all of our members to have eyes on your photo's and see things that you don't notice as the photographer making you a better photographer. Member spotlight is a small presentation of one of the members of the club. We like to have new members do this so we can see what they shoot and get them more comfortable showing their work.

-Ending comments. This is where we discuss the details of the next workshop which is usually the Saturday following the Meeting unless there is a holiday that interferes .  We discuss meetup times duration what you need and such. We then thank the club for a great meeting and wish them safe travels home.

So there you have it a typical photography club meeting. So if your interested go to your local photography/camera club and join. You will meet new friends who love to talk about photography and you will learn and have a ball. So until next week Get out and Shoot!


(Max Stansell Photography) blog camera community critiques food gear landscape learning macro Max Stansell Photography meeting Photography portrait presentations sport street topics website workshops Fri, 06 Oct 2023 09:00:00 GMT
Get ready for Fall Colors! Max Stansell Photography Hey Y'all! Hope you're having a great week!  Me ? Great! It's the last week of August.  That means its hot sticky but it also means that Fall is just around the corner! This is my favorite time of the year to do photography. I love the fall colors and the cooler temperatures.  And while I'm sitting in my house in shorts with the Air Conditioner on I'm already thinking of shooting in the fall. This year for me should even be better now that I'm retired and don't have work to keep me from getting out and shooting Autumn and all of its glory. So how do you get ready for Fall Colors? 

Preparing for fall colors is the key. Its more mental than gear related. Planning where fall foliage will be the _MSP2491_MSP2491Max Stansell Photography best .  My camera club does a Fall Colors trip each year which is usually a week long trip to the mountains to witness the fall colors. Sometimes we get great colors and sometimes not so much. Its hard to tell when the leaves are going to change. There are prediction maps that will show what they think the leaves will do in certain areas of the country and I guess it's a real science to figure out when and where the leaves are really going to Pop each year is different depending on weather of the summer before and the temps.  Even the elevation matters.  All you can do is research all you can and plan Fall Colors HouseFall Colors House with the best info you can get and hope for the best when you're taking long trips to see leaves.  In your local area scout out places nearby that have lots of leaves. I live in the south and there are lots of pine trees which do nothing in the fall you have to really look more leafy trees which in my case its go west. Softer leafy trees turn first like maple, apple, fruit trees. Then the Harder trees like oak turn later.  Sometimes in the south the just turn brown and fall with no color. Thats mostly what happens near my house but just a few hours drive away there are lots of colors to be had. Just plan and LeafLeaf hunt for the colors. 

Fall colors aren't just in the leaves of the trees but in decorations and festivals that happen this time of the year. I love me some fall colored decorations. With dried corn stalks and Pumpkins! I love me some pumpkins and of course orange is my favorite color. Fall is also in the clothing that is warn when the temps get cooler the sweaters come out with all of the colors of fall. Shooting festivals is one of my favorite Maple LeavesMaple Leaves things to do with lots of people watching and colorful decorations. When I think of fall I think Football, Pumpkins, Thanksgiving, Halloween and all of the colors that go with it. You can look up on the internet when festivals happen where you live and visit them with camera in hand and shoot ,shoot, shoot!  Did I mention Octoberfest? There are many beer enthusiasts that love this and they are always colorful.

So while you're in your house avoiding the heat of the dog day's of summer start planning your fall _DSC8464_DSC8464 trip/shooting season. My camera club has already started on our weekly itinerary on our fall colors trip. As you can see I'm a fanatic for fall colors. Especially Pumpkins! LOL As you can see I really didn't talk about gear because I think fall colors is more of a vibe than what gear you use. So until next week get out and shoot! Pumpkins! Pumpkins! Pumpkins! LOL

(Max Stansell Photography) Autumn blog Colors Corn Fall Festivals Harvest landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography Travel website workshops Fri, 29 Sep 2023 09:00:00 GMT
Fall Colors Trip Gear Hey Y'all! Hope you're doing well this week. Its almost fall and that means Fall Colors! Leaves changing and the temps dropping making it great to get out and shoot! My Photography club has an annual trip that goes to the mountains for a week of shooting fall colors , waterfalls and wildlife with a background of the leaves changing colors. Hopefully the leaves will cooperate this year but I know wether they are in full Fall Color or not there will be great photo's and good times to be had. I thought I would take the time this week to go over the things that I will be taking with me to capture this event. I am very lucky that I own a few different camera kits and must choose when going to a trip. For this trip which is mostly landscape photography with some other styles thrown in I want to be as versatile as I can be. For me that means Zoom lenses and being quick and nimble. I have both a full frame kit and a crop sensor kit.  Each kit has specific purposes. I also want to think about all of the accessories that I'm going to take with me and a backup camera if something should go crazy with my main camera that I choose for the trip. Its a lot to think about and you want to make sure you have your kit all figured out in advance and don't just grab stuff off the shelf at the last minute as your walking out the door because you don't want to forget anything and you may have to purchase something prior to your trip that you will need. So here goes the list of what I'll be taking camera gear wise for our Fall Colors trip.

Camera Body- I'll be taking my trusty crop sensor camera a Sony A6500. It is an older model and this may be a final farewell before I upgrade the body next year. This model came out in 2015 so its got some age on it.  I bought this body used from a camera club member and it has been great! It is small and versatile and gives me great images.

Lenses-I'll be taking 3 lenses with me. Three zooms. A 10-18 f4 , 16-55 f2.8 and a 70-350 f4.5-6.3. The full frame equivalent will be 15-27mm, 24-82mm and 105-525mm respectively. That gives me quite the range. All of these lenses are fantastic glass especially the middle zoom which will be on the camera 90% of the time. That's just my range that I shoot most of the time.

Phone- Yes my phone is the iPhone 14pro. I will be using this for making pantographs and macro shots . This phone does great work and I actually took a macro lens out of my bag and will use this instead. 

Backup Camera- My backup camera will be the Canon G7XII that is my EDC (Every Day Carry) camera. It comes with ND filter and a polarizer filter if needed. It can do the job if need be. I have used it as my main camera on trips to DC and Greenville SC and it performed great. Here is the link to a blog I wrote on my EDC Camera. My EDC Camera

Video Camera- I have a GoPro 9 that I will be taking with me to film the different spots along the way. Maybe a shot or two of something unique like under water at a water fall. I will be making a video of our trip after we return from all of the video clips of the places we travel to.

Filters- I have two filter kits that I will be taking with me. One filter kit by Breakthrough Photography has a Polarizer and a 3,6,10 stop ND filters. I also have another kit of Polarizers 67 and 62mm and a Variable ND filter that goes between a 1/2 to 8 stop. I've used the Variable ND the last trip we went on and it worked great so don't know how much I'll use the Breakthrough Photography one unless I need a 10 stop for anything. But I'll be taking both sets.

Tripod- I'll be taking my trusty ProMaster 525C Carbon fiber travel tripod. This thing has been with me all over and is stickered-up with all kinds of stickers from different places it has been. I simply love this tripod it is big enough to carry twice the weight of anything I own and its small and lightweight .  This tripod is simply fantastic and won't go anywhere without it. Except for our last outing I forgot it and had to borrow a big tripod and I really missed this one. LOL Thanks again Anita.

Bag and Accessories- The bag is a Shimoda Explore Version 1. I bought it off of Kickstarter campaign. I simply love this 30 liter travel bag. Its just the right size for my landscaping kit with the capability to get even larger with the roll top. Of course I'll have all of the batteries with all of the camera's mentioned above. I'll have a shutter release cable and head lamp for nighttime stuff. And plenty of SD cards so I can have a different one each day for photo and video. A "L" bracket will be attached to my camera for easy horizontal and vertical positioning on the tripod. Cleaning Supplies like , blower, sensor swabs, lens brush and plenty of micro fiber cloths. I will have rain protection for me and also for the camera and lenses.

Computer and Editing- I will be using my trusty iPad Pro with iPencil for all of my editing and backup while on the road. I'll be using a Scandisc solid state external drive to hold all of my backups. And iPod pro's ear buds for when I get up early and watch something on the internet and don't want to wake anyone. I'm a early riser. Of course I'll have all of the charging stuff for all of my gadgets and a small surge suppressor to use so I don't use too many outlets. Typical travel stuff.

Clothes- The biggest thing to remember in clothes is to layer your clothes. The weather can change from very cool in the morning to very warm during the day and being able to peal clothes of and put on is a big advantage as the weather changes. Stocking caps, neck covering and warm gloves are also on the list to bring. I also like to bring some hand warmers. These are little pouches that when you take out of the package and shake they get warm. They are great to have in your pockets while your waiting for the light to get just right keeping your hands nice and toasty on those chilly mornings by a waterfall. Here is a link to a blog I did on dressing in the winter. Winter Dressing the Part

Well I think that's about it for gear. I think its good to plan this stuff well in advance and get use to using whatever you're taking before you get there so when you get there you can concentrate on the photo's and not the gear.  This setup had worked well for me in the past and I have no worries about it this year. I am already excited about this trip and its less than a month away! Love the colors and all of the decorations that are up in the North Carolina mountains. I love to see me some pumpkins! Pumpkins! Pumpkins! Pumpkins! LOL Until next week start planning your next adventure and get out and shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog camera Camera Bag Canon Carbon Fiber gear hand warmers hiking iPad landscape Layering learning Lenses Max Stansell Photography Photography ProMaster SD Shimoda shutter Release Cable Sony tripod Tutorial website wildlife workshops Zoom Fri, 22 Sep 2023 07:43:36 GMT
Custom Camera Modes/Settings Hey Y'all! How's your week going? This week I want to talk about Custom Camera Modes/Settings. Do you even know what they are? We have the modes that are standard with our Camera's. M, S, A, P, (Manual, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Program Mode. )  But the custom ones are the modes that you create. They are usually on the same dial as the MSAP settings and usually are designated as simple as 1 and 2. They are not the scene modes that some camera's have for different types of scenes that are shot in JPEG. These are custom settings or modes that you set up for different types of photography. These can come in very handy when your out and about shooting. Have you ever been out shooting and a special situation comes up and you miss the shot because you were fumbling with the settings on your camera and missed the shot? Say your out on a landscape shoot and all of the sudden a bear shows up in your scene and you want to get some great shot of that bear. If you have one of these modes set up for wildlife photography all you have to do is click to the correct number and bam you have all of the settings 22814418_10210727646164222_1824769434837060805_n22814418_10210727646164222_1824769434837060805_n you use in wildlife like maybe a higher shutter speed , continuous auto focusing or whatever you want. This is a fantastic way to travel knowing that your camera is set up for anything that comes up in a hurry. 

I have two main cameras. I have a full frame and a crop sensor and I use one camera for certain things and the other for other stuff. I use the custom settings to quickly go into a different style of photography without trying to find all of the settings in a menu. For example I have one of the custom settings on my full frame camera set up for Night Sky Photography.  I have a the camera in Manual exposure mode. I have the shutter set to 20 sec. I have the shutter on a 2 sec delay to eliminate shake. I have the ISO set to 2000 to start with. I have all of these things preset so I don't have to fight to find all of those little settings that take forever to find in the menus when we look for them. On my crop sensor camera I have set up for street photography. I have it set to Aperture Priority, Raw + JPEG set on Monochrome. That way the back screen is in monochrome like I like when I'm shooting street. I have it in Auto ISO.  All the settings I like for street photography and I just have to make one click to get them. So now you know what custom Mode/Settings are how do you set them?

I shoot a Sony and I'm sure its different for other types of camera's you just have to look at your manual or look at a Video on how to do it. For me I set my camera up the way I want it for the custom setting. Like for street I'm in Aperture Priority, Raw + Jpeg, Auto ISO all of the settings I like. Then I go in the menu and _MSP3848_MSP3848 find Memory (this will differ with your camera I'm sure) and set the memory 1 to my settings by pushing the "set"  button and Everything is put to the 1 on my Mode dial. On my camera there is also ways you can save settings to the SD card so if you use the same SD card you could have up to 8 different modes. The problem with these SD card modes is that when you format your card they are gone. So for me they are useless. So I just stick with the two main ones on the Mode Dial of my Cameras. It is just that simple. So you can simply switch from one mode to the other mode without changing  or hunting for all of the different types of menus items.

Custom Settings/Modes can come in very handy and you don't have to buy anything,  its already in your camera you just have to learn how to use it and use the full extent of your camera. So until next week get your camera out and set up those modes so you'll be ready for that next shot. Get outside and shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) Aperture Priority blog Camera Settings Custom Camera Modes Focus Modes landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Metering Monochrome Photography Portraits Settings Shutter Priority street website Wildlife workshops Fri, 15 Sep 2023 07:28:36 GMT
Fake Photo's The FireStorm That the New Photoshop AI has Created Hey Everyone! Hope you're having a Fantastic week. This week I want to talk about the firestorm of discussion that the new Photoshop AI Generative fill has brought to the photography community. Let me start out as saying I respect everyones opinion and I am no expert on the subject and these are just my thoughts. During a monthly meeting at my photography club the subject of using Photoshop in our quarterly photo contest or not. When I say Photoshop its not the software but the verb that has been associated with the Editing Software. Which means major editing and manipulation of the photo. And the discussion started. First there was one person that simply asked the question about using photoshop to enhance their photo to make it look like a painting in photoshop. Then the firestorm started. People got very defensive about how altering a photo in photoshop wasn't photography anymore. But then it was okay to take something out of the photo using photoshop but putting something in (Generative AI Fill) was wrong. I was sitting to the side listening to all of this and I was keeping my mouth shut because I really didn't care if someone used the new tool or not and didn't want to add fire to the flame. But I was kind of surprised at the reaction of my fellow photogs. I could understand if its journalism not wanting to alter the photograph. But this isn't journalism its art. Everyone always fights for photography to be classified as an art but then when you try to create something new its bad its not photography anymore.  Now everyone has their own opinion and I respect that but the main reason that people were arguing about the new AI was not because of the technique used with it but because they didn't know what was real or not anymore. They feel as they have been tricked by the photographer or photograph. Someone did something on the computer that tricked them and they can't trust photography anymore. That is what really what got them so on negitive side of the issue. There were even post on our Facebook members page showing photo's that were clearly not real but people were mad because they were tricked into believing something on Facebook. Yea I know believing something on Facebook. LOL There was even one post that showed a lady going on and on about a website that has gotten 100000 likes and shares for photo's that weren't real and she was mad and jealous of all the attention and she said so. So why didn't she just not go to that page anymore? Thats the real strength in all of this. If you don't like it don't use it. Some of the arguments were that is was okay to take things out with this new tool but not too much. It was very entertaining to listen to.  And this was just in my small little club meeting. 

So here's my opinion of this situation. It's just another photography tool that the computer has brought to our fingertips. There have been many. HDR for example . Remember when that became a big thing and everyone was using it. You could clearly tell that it was HDR and everyone overused it. Then the fad was over and we only merge photo's to increase the range of light in harsh conditions. There have been similar discussions when the healing brush, layers, crop tool, Content aware fill... came out. Content aware fill is just the weak sibling of Generative Fill. It matches the scenery and and fills in the scene. Sometimes it works and sometime it doesn't . The same with Generative fill. Or sky replacement.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. When Sky Replacement it first came out in Luminar people went crazy using it. Now not so much and Photoshop has even incorporated it into its editing tool because it was so popular. So how is this new tool (Generative fill ) so offensive ?  Because it works well and you can't tell if the photo has been altered.  And that is what is causing the uproar.  I believe that if it's NOT meant to be journalism you can alter the photograph because it's Art. Whether I like it or not. Art is Art. Now I don't get or understand a lot of Art to tell you the truth but its someones else's interpretation of something. All photographs , paintings, sculptures or any form of art should be thought of this way. Its an interpretation of something .  Wether its on the internet , TV or print. Even if they haven't altered the photograph the way they took the photograph the perspective of how they shot it can show their interpretation of what they saw and not what is real. If you shoot in low perspective things look larger and taller than they really are. Things that are shot closer are bigger than they really are. Like that fish you caught and held close to the lens to make it look bigger than it actually was. Even the Cypress Trees IRCypress Trees IR lens we choose alters what is real. If we use a telephoto we compress the scene bring things in the background closer. Like mountains in the far distance that look like they are right behind the subject you are shooting. If we use a fisheye lens we distort the whole scene. If we want photography to be thought of as art we have to let people express theirselves however they can. We don't have to like it or believe that if it's a photograph it's real. It's an expression of someones thoughts. Always has been.

It has been said that the new AI is the biggest change in Photography since the invention of digital. Remember the big uproar about what was photography and what it wasn't back then? We survived that and for my money came out ahead of the game in the long run. I am a much better photographer now than I was in the film days when I began as a photographer. I think we can survive an editing software advancement. There are those that say that I don't care if it used if they put a statement on the photograph saying it was altered.  Every photo you see in print or on the internet that is not journalism has been altered in some way or another. Thats a lot of statements. It would be easier to put a statement on a photograph that hasn't been altered. Ansel Adams was famous for altering what came out of the camera by dodging and burning and all kinds of darkroom techniques that he used and invented. He would spend hours in the darkroom getting his photographs just the way he interpreted them to be not on how real they looked.  Now for a photography contest? Contest have rules and if its in the rules that you can't use then you can't use. I have no problem with that. But we should just think about what rules we want to put on art. Thats all I'm saying. So until next week Get Outside and Shoot and Express Yourself.

(Max Stansell Photography) AI Art Artificial Intelligence blog Content Aware Fill Fake Fake News Fake Photo's gear Generative Fill Journalism landscape learning Luminar manipulating Photography Photography as Art photoshop real Realism Sky Replacement website workshops Fri, 08 Sep 2023 08:42:46 GMT
30 Day Challenge! To improve your Photography Neuse River Tone MappedNeuse River Tone Mapped Hey Y’all ! Hope you’ve had a great week! Me pretty good, thanks for asking. This week I have another challenge to help improve your photography. We all get in ruts shooting the same thing every time we go out to shoot. It may be a different scene but it’s the same photograph, you know what I mean. With this challenge I want to get you out of the normal and get you into the uncomfortable to get those creative juices flowing. My camera club has monthly challenges and the winner of the challenge gets to pick the new challenge for the month. This month's challenge by Mike our winner was post one photo a day and make a comment or critique on someone else’s. This has been a big success and we have people posting that don’t normally post on our facebook members page. During this challenge I decided to challenge myself and only post photographs that were taken with my phone or my EDC camera that is a point and shoot.  I also wanted my photo’s to be resent not ones from my archive of photo’s that some of my camera club buddies were doing. It has been fun and challenging for me but that’s not the challenge that I want you to take.  No I want to push it a little bit more.

So here’s the Challenge. Since most of my viewers are from my camera club my challenge is to take and post a photograph each day of month. It doesn't have to be to Facebook it can be to whatever you want. Instagram, Flicker, or any other site.  This can be a “day in the life” photo. It might seem boring to you taking a photograph of your farm if you live on a farm but to someone that doesn’t it can be very interesting. But that’s not the end of it . I want you to use a camera that you don’t normally use. For example if you use your main camera to shoot everything maybe you can use your phone or an old point and shoot that is in a drawer somewhere just wanting to to be used. I came up with this part of the challenge today while hiking with Forrest the Wonder Dog. I had a GoPro mounted on my hiking stick and I wanted to just take a photo and I couldn’t for the life of me get it out of the video mode to the photo mode. It took me 10 minutes to figure it out. And it’s just because I don’t do it enough. So when I do this challenge I’ll be using my GoPro everyday for this challenge. Now if you’ve just got a new camera by all means use that one. Or if your phone is your main camera use something else. Take a photo and post and try to be creative when you do it. Change point of view or change lenses to something you don’t normally use. I bet after a month of doing this one photo a day that when you pick up your main camera you will be more creative in how you take photographs.  

Take the camera that you’ve chosen , (me my GoPro) with you everywhere you go if you can . Be on the lookout for photographs and take out that camera and snap. The more you do it the more you will be accustomed to the camera and the more fun you will have. You’ll get in the groove. Remember just take a photo on your daily activities. Going to the grocery store, taking a walk, out on the farm, commuting to work. Remember what is boring to you may be very interesting to someone else.  If I win this months challenge with my camera club this is the challenge that I will make to my club.  Try this challenge and let me know what you think?  How did it work for you? Did you get some great photo’s? Until next week get out and shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) 30day blog challenge comfort zone gear landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography pointandshoot POV website workshops Fri, 01 Sep 2023 08:20:44 GMT
Get into Focus "Focusing Modes" Hey Y'all! How's your week going? This week I want to work on your Focus! This topic I came about while listening to my favorite Podcast the Digital Story by Derick Story. The "Auto Focus Mental Block" episode he goes into a little more detail than I'm going to go into and if you're not listening to this podcast you should start, there are over 900 podcast that you can listen to and learn from. Anyway back to the topic of the day Focusing. For me focusing was never a thought until the digital age of camera's came along. Starting my photography in the mid 70's everything was manual. From exposure to Focusing and until I got into the digital age I never had to think about what focusing mode I was in because there was only one "Manual". You turned the ring on your lens until things looked sharp. Simple enough. But with Focusing modes came a lot of decision making and what modes or how to focus became a thing. There are a few things to consider when focusing a modern camera. First where in the frame are you going to Focus and then how much are you going to let the camera make the decisions on how to focus. 

Focus Area, This is where in the frame do you want to focus. In the old days it was the middle of the frame you had a split focusing ring that you got sharp to do this with. But now with the modern technology you can put that spot anywhere. Depending on the make and model of your camera you have focusing spots that your camera looks at to focus . You can choose one spot or many or groups of spots to focus on. You can even move that spot around in the frame as you shoot by moving a joy stick or some sort or pad. On some camera's you can move just by touching the back screen where you want to focus and it does it for you. This is great technology and can be much more complicated than I just explained. But Focus area is basically where do you want to focus.

Focus Mode, This is how do you want to focus on the area that you picked. Most of us have this set to Single AvaAva focus mode just because its easier than trying to figure out how to change to another mode. LOL When you depress the button (Shutter or Back button) your camera focuses one time you may hear a beep and done. Usually its shown on your camera as AF-S for auto focus single mode. This mode is great for stationary subjects and usually produces the sharpest shot. Or at least it use too. The newer camera's now focus so well it really doesn't matter what mode your in you will have a sharp photo. AF-C or Auto Focus Continuous Mode means that as long as you have the button depresses (shutter or back button) your camera will search for focus.  This mode is great for moving subjects as your camera will keep focusing as your subject moves. And of course there is AF-M for auto focus manual. Your camera can still focus manually if you choose to and it is best for hard to focus things like Macro or a very busy frame and you want to pick out what is in focus. Most modern cameras have a focus peaking ability that works with manual focus mode and will highlight what is in focus with a particular  color to let you know it is in focus. These are the basic modes but there is much more to Focusing.

With newer camera's there are all sorts of advanced focusing modes that you can set for your camera .  There is Face and Eye detection when turned on this will detect faces and eyes on the faces to make sure they are tack sharp.  They even have animal face and eye detection that when turned on will find the eye or _MSP2682_MSP2682 face of animals so when you take the photo of your pet the eyes are always tack sharp. They even have modes that you can register a face. Lets say your shooting a wedding and you want to make sure the brides face is always in focus you register her face and then any group photos that she is in the camera will find her face and make sure it is in focus. There are modes where you can lock into subjects like sports athletes and lock into them while they are running at you and you keep focus while they are coming at you shooting mutable frames. Camera's are crazy with all of the things that they can do to help us get into focus.

As you can see there is lots of choices to make when focusing and that may be part of the reason we keep our camera's on single focusing mode and one spot or center spot area. It's too hard to choose and hard to find on our cameras to make a change if we wanted too. Thats why learning your camera and what it can do and how to change quickly between settings is important when taking photo's. I would suggest practicing with your camera on changing the settings. You can do this on the couch of your living room while watching TV. Practice changing between modes and area's on your camera this will make you more proficient when out taking photo's and DiceDice less fumbling around trying to get the shot. For me I keep my settings pretty simple but can change quickly if I have to. I am usually in AF-C (continuous mode) and my area for my camera is Wide which means the camera picks the point of focus. But I can always over ride quickly if its choosing something that I don't want to focus on. And when I'm doing slow work like studio I put on single and move my spot around or if I'm doing portraits I have eye auto detect on. My advice is to practice with your settings and you will find the settings that you use the most and helps your photography the best. So until next week get into Focus and get outside and shoot.

(Max Stansell Photography) AF-C AF-S blog Focus focus area Focus modes Gear landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography Tutorial website workshops Fri, 25 Aug 2023 09:00:00 GMT
Keywording Sucks! Until Now? Hey y'all! How's everyone doing this week? Good I hope. Let me tell you I really love photography. Some parts more than others. I love taking the photo's and editing is just something I have to do. But there is one part that I really don't like and that's Keywording.  I really hate keywording. For those that don't know what keywording is its associating words with the photograph that you're working on. This is to help you find it in the future. It also helps if it's put on the internet and helps people find it. You can open up your browser in Lightroom Classic and type in a word like "dog" and if you've keyworded correctly all the photo's of dogs should show up.  But if you haven't put the keyword on the dog photo it won't show up. Now if you've been shooting for a while like me you might have 100,000 photo's in your Lightroom catalog. It would be very hard to find that dog photo that your looking for unless you can remember the date and year you took that photo. If your like me you can't remember what happened last week. LOL So keywording is important. Normally when you come back from a shoot say a city walk. When you bring your photo's into Lightroom you can put keywords that are common to all of the photo's. The name of the city, cityscape, street and maybe a few others. But if you've taken 100 photos they will all pop up if you put in the name of the city. So putting in individual keywords on each photo is the best way to keyword.  Maybe there is people in the photo. People, maybe they are wearing hats, Hats etc... But what a laborious job this is and if your like me you'll get the generic keywords in and that's it. Thats why keywording sucks! But what if AI could help?

A new keywording AI program from the company ON1. ON1 is a software editing company that has many cool products. From De-Noise and Sharpening programs that will work seamlessly with Lightroom. You use them as a plugin in Lightroom so it can easily become a part of your Workflow with not many hassles. The new Keywording AI software doesn't quite work that way. But you can open  up the program and point it at the photo's that you want to keywords to be added to and push a button and it does the work for you. In theory this is fantastic. No more keywording for me! LOL Well not quite. The Program works like this. First you open up the Program Keywording AI and find the folder that the photos are in that you want to keyword. Then you select the photos that you want keyworded. Push a scan button and the program goes to work looking at your photo's. It does take some time to analyze .  I selected 50 photo's and it took about 15 min. Now some of that slowness might be my computer. I have an old iMac a 2015 model. I know I need to update. LOL But it did find a lot of keywords. It even put the county that the photo's were taken that had GPS data associated with them. You can also put in keywords manually to add to what the AI found. Say you took a photo of Ava. The AI isn't going to know who Ava is so it won't add it. But you can easily add that keyword. Then you close the program and go to Lightroom and re-sync you folder that the photo's were in and all of the keywords that ON1 AI found will be in your photo. When you export that photo all of those keywords go with the photo. Now you can look up photo's with all of the Keywords that were added by the AI. Now is it perfect? No it isn't . It may put in some random keywords that don't match anything in your photo. I found that if I had some big billowing clouds the AI thought they were mountains. You can easily delete these. This is the first version of the program and I'm sure that with versions to come that it will be more precise and speedier.  This is a great start to solving the problem I have with keywording. 

Now I have just started using this program and don't quite know where I'm going to insert into my Photography Workflow. I will probably only keyword my winners not all of my photo's so I will put my generic keywords on import and after all of my editing is done then use ON1 Keyword AI for the winners. That's what I'm thinking now. I think that this is great software to do something that I hate doing and it will just get better with time. At the time of me writing this blog the price was 39 dollars but will probably go to 60ish soon.  Still a good deal to do a job that I don't want to .  Until next week keep shooting and get outside!

(Max Stansell Photography) AI blog keyword landscape learning Lightroom Max Stansell Photography ON1 Photography Sync Syncing website workshops Fri, 18 Aug 2023 09:00:00 GMT
Greenville SC Trip Hey Y’all!  How’s it going this week? Me ? Pretty good . Thanks for asking. This week I want to talk about a trip I took to my Sisters house in Greenville SC and the photography that followed. First of all Greenville SC is a larger town with all of the  features of a large town but it also has a neat downtown area with quaint shops and restaurants .  The first day after our travel to Greenville which is a 5 hour drive from my house in NC was a trip to the downtown area. We had lunch at a place called the Nose Dive and had a great meal. We then walked the town being guided by my sister and her husband.  We had a great walk that ended up in the Reedy River  park.  The park boast a suspension walking bridge a waterfall and many cool places to sit in the shade with the Reedy river rolling by.  We then went to visit my niece and her husband and we took a walk through Furman University that is a very pretty campus. The campus has a lake with a bell tower in the center of the lake on a little island.  They had a rose garden and a Japanese garden that was also very pretty.  

The next day of our trip was the 4th of July.  We lounged around and had a cookout and played games like corn hole. It stormed that night so no fireworks for us but there was lots to be heard.  The next day was more of a shopping day for me and my wife. While my sister and her husband went to work we explored some stores that we don’t have at home to see what we could see. My wife had a good time she is a professional shopper and is very good at it. LOL

The next day we traveled into the NC mountains to see some waterfalls. These waterfalls I have seen while taking trips with my camera club in the fall but I have never seen them in the Summer. We drove to DuPont State Recreation area where they have 3 really nice sets of Falls. The have High Falls, Triple Falls and Hooker falls. It has been quite a while since I have been there and it was nice to see the falls in the summer time with all of the leaves a green color instead of the multi colors of autumn.  But I still prefer the the autumn colors to the summer ones. We were planning to go see some other waterfalls but my planning was poor and the drive times were too long so we decided to just go back to my sisters house. But it was a good day and we got to see some waterfalls.

The next day was a trip to Helen Ga. This is a town that we saw on a YouTube video and thought it looked very cool. It is an older mining town that was transformed into a tourist spot with an Alpine or German feel to it. All of the houses look like they were from the Austrian hillside with quaint shops and restaurants. They have music piped into the whole town. They have tubing down the river that goes through the center of town and you can view via a foot bridge that goes over the river. The also have a roller coaster that is built into the side of the mountains there that you can control the speed of the trip down. We did not partake in the last two activities but the shopping and site seeing and the restaurants we enjoyed quite a bit. It was well worth the two hour drive to and from there.

The last day was spent thrifting at some thrift shops one of my wife's  favorite activities. Then it was the long drive home. It was a good week vacation and I got some photo's to boot! For you gear freaks like me I used a G7XMII Point and Shoot for my main camera and a iPhonePro 14 for all of my camera needs which worked out well not having to haul a lot of gear and annoying my family with camera gear. So until next week get out and shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog Downtown Furman GA Georgia Greenville Helen hiking learning Max Stansell Photography Photography South Carolina travel website Fri, 11 Aug 2023 08:40:48 GMT
How to use GPS to Geotag your photographs Hey y'all! How is everyone doing this week? Me? Pretty good. Hey have you ever looked at one of your old photo's and said "Hey that's cool but where did I take it?" Me too. I sometimes can sort of tell the area but not the precise place I took a shot. This is where GPS (Global Positioning System) comes into play. Being able to add the GPS coordinates to your photographs in the metadata is a great way to find those locations that you can't remember. But how do we get those mysterious numbers on our photographs and how do we use them? Thats what we are going to talk about this week.

How do I get the GPS data? Well with technology being what it is you would think that this is the simple part. Well not really. Although a few camera's have the ability to get the GPS data and put right on your photo most do not. I think that there are devices that you can hook up to some camera's but they are expensive. There is however a few couple of ways to put the GPS data on your images. The first one requires your camera to have bluetooth capabilities .  If it does you should be able to sync your camera to your mobile device to get these GPS coordinates added to your photo at the instant you take it. It then has this info burned into the file and follows the file where ever it goes. All you have to do is before your outing sync your camera and mobile device and you will get them the rest of the day. You may have to go through your camera's phone app to sync them together and there may be a setting on your camera to allow the information to go to your camera from your phone but it can be done and is pretty easy. Mine was a little difficult to set up at first but now that its set up , its easy all I have to do is choose which camera my Sony crops sensor camera or my Full frame Sony and sync and its done. The other way is to take a photo with your mobile device when you get to the site that you take photos at. When you get all of your photo's imported you can sync the metadata from the iPhone  to the rest of the photo's that were taken in that area and you will have the GPS data. The only problem with this is that you have to remember to take a mobile device photo at each different location that you go to in that day so you can get the GPS data for that location. Either way you have to remember to either sync your phone to your camera or sync a phone shot with the regular photo's in Lightroom.

So how do I used the GPS data now that I have it on my images metadata? If you're a Lightroom user like most of us are you just have to open up the Map Module and your photo's will be shown on the map where they were taken.  There is lots of things that you can do in the Map module but for me it's just getting the location of things. This is a neat feature that really doesn't cost you anymore money. Something new to try if you have never done it before. So until next week get out and shoot and note your location with GPS data.

(Max Stansell Photography) blog Bluetooth Geotag GPS landscape learning Lightroom Maps Max Stansell Photography Photography website workshops Fri, 04 Aug 2023 09:00:00 GMT
Best Laid Plans? McAfee's Knob Hey Y'all! Hope you're having a great week. Me not too bad. This week I want to tell you about a recent trip to the Appalachian Trail for an over night Backpacking/Photography trip. Me and my photography wingman Robert have been planning this trip for a year or longer. The trip has been planned and canceled at least twice before because of weather or some other reason. Robert is new to backpacking and ever since we have done a little backpacking this trip has been on his bucket list. McAfee's Knob is the most popular and most photographed overlook on the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian trail for those that don't know is a continuous foot path from Georgia to Maine. The trail is almost 2200 miles in length and takes up to 5  months to complete for those that dare to take it on. I love to hike and backpack but that's a little too much for me. What we had planned was to drive to Salem Virginia ( a 4 hour drive) spend the night and hike up the next morning. While on the way up set up camp and the next morning go to the outlook and photograph sunrise.  Then hike back down the mountain and drive back home. Keeping my pack lightweight was a concern. My photography gear was going to be simple. My EDC camera a Canon G7XII Point and shoot and my iPhone14 Pro. We both wanted that iconic photograph of the sun rising just breaking the horizon with a sunburst with the knob in the fore ground. Well that was the plan. It didn't quite go as planned. This is what happened.

We had set a date to go and Robert had made a reservation at a hotel in Salem. We have had lots of rain prior to our trip so checking the weather was something I did many  times a day to see what the percentage of rain was going to be. It was ranging 40% to 50% chance of rain but we were determined to go whatever the weather was going to be.  Robert was going to drive and had put his truck in the shop to get it serviced before we left.  We were planning to leave on a Friday and come back on a Sunday. Thursday came around and his truck was still in the shop and had to have some repairs done to it and parts were backordered. So the first change to plans has happened. I was going to drive. I usually don't drive because I have a really old truck (24 years old) and dependability is always a concern.  I recently got a newer vehicle so it would be a good test drive for my "Max mobile" to take. So I arrived at Roberts house at the specified time and we were off. We had a good drive with no problems and arrived in Salem on time.  Robert went into the hotel to check in. I waited and waited and he didn't come out. So I went in to find out that the hotel had problems with the hot water and only some of the rooms had it. It was too late in the game to find something else and we took the room. It was a nice room and Robert went to check the hot water. We had hot water! Whoop Whoop!  We had planned to just chill out and head out after breakfast in the morning. We both got up early and got ready to go but they didn't start serving breakfast until 7am and we were ready to go at 6. So we took off. We were only a few miles from the trail head so it only took a couple of minutes to get there. We got our packs and headed up. It was up hill all day and it was expected. The views on that first section of trail were not expected. They were Fantastic!  We had Fog with the sun breaking threw the trees creating sun rays. There was also wildflowers growing along the way. We took our time and took some shots. We made it to the shelter that we were going to stay at and set up camp. Shelters are 3 sided buildings built for through hikers to stay at along the AT. Robert set up his tent and I set up my hammock system. But this wasn't the shelter that we planning to stay at. We had miscalculated the shelter arrangements but we stuck with this one. This would mean that we would have a longer hike in the morning to get to the knob for sunrise. Well we headed up the trail. We made it to the shelter that we had planned to stay at and still had a mile and a half up and the climb got tougher. We finally made it to the top and I was soaked in sweat. There wasn't too many people up there and wasn't too crowded. Which it's known to be. We took our selfies and photos and really enjoyed ourselves. Then headed back down to our shelter .  Heading up was tough on the heart but going down was tough on my knees. My left knee started getting stiff with all of the pounding on it going down hill and it seemed longer to get down than it did going up. Maybe because of the discomfort of my knee. We finally made it back to the camp and we both chilled out while through hikers stopped to eat lunch on their long trek.  We got back around 12 noon and I had made up in my mind that I wasn't going to go back up in the morning. It was just too much for this old man to do. So if I wasn't going back up why would I stay overnight when I know rain was coming?  I asked Robert if he wanted to go up in the morning or just pack up and head back down the mountain before the storms come. He was ready to go! We packed up and as we were we could hear the thunder in the background. The storms were not suppose to come before 4 but it was 1:30. We headed down the mountain trying to beat the rain. We were both sore from all of the other hiking we did during the day.  We got just a little wet toward the end. But didn't get soaked. 

So out trip really didn't go as planned but still a success ! We had an adventure! And that was the whole point. We got some memorable photos too. Maybe not the ones we had pictured in our minds but still some good ones. Things don't always go as planned but don't let that get to you. We had a great trip and had lots of laughs along the way. I limped for a day or so afterwards but am fine now.  So adventures don’t always go the way you want but they are still adventures. Until next week get out and shoot and find your adventure!

(Max Stansell Photography) Appalachian Trail Backpacking blog Blue Ridge Mountains camping CanonG7XII gear hiking iPhone14pro landscape learning Max Stansell Photography McAfee's Knob Photography point and shoot Virginia website workshops Fri, 28 Jul 2023 09:00:00 GMT
Travel Photography with Family Hey Y’all! Hope everyone is having a great week! Me? I have been having a good week. I’ve been traveling with my wife and Forrest the wonder dog! This week is about doing travel photography when your with your family. Doing photography while with my family has always been a challenge. You want to shoot all kinds of stuff and use all of your gear that you have to shoot it .  You are usually hauling a lot of stuff when you’re doing your photography and that doesn’t leave room for their stuff. And if you’re like us when we travel I am the pack mule carrying everything in a back pack. My water their water any gifts that are bought in a gift shop any snacks and hauling all of your camera gear too. A few years I came up with a system that works for me and my family that doesn’t cause too much anguish on their part waiting for me to set something up and on my part being the pack mule. Years ago I went on a photography trip with my camera club to Washington DC. We stayed there for a week and it was great. I wanted to do the same trip with my wife so the next year I booked an Air B&B and got train tickets to DC. The only thing that I didn’t bring was all of my photography gear like I did with the camera club.  I went out and purchased (yes another camera) a high end point and shoot and that would be my camera for the trip. It’s small and doesn’t take up too much room leaving room for all of the other gear I have to haul. It has ended up being my EDC ( Every Day Carry ) camera. The week in DC was a great success and I got some great shots.

This is my current system for traveling with my family. I have the Canon G7XMII. It’s an older version I believe they have newer versions. It will shoot in all of the modes from Manual to Program. I have an adapter on it so I can use polarizer filter or a ND filter on it. It has a focal length of 24-200mm and goes from 1.8 to 2.8 maximum aperture’s . It’s a great little travel camera. I can use this in conjunction with my iPhone 14pro and I have a pretty good system. If I know that there will be some stunning photo’s to be had like say the Grand Tetons then I will bring my Landscape kit along and try to go out and photograph those iconic scenes early in the morning where there are less people and my wife can sleep in. That way I don’t feel rushed. But other than that I use the Point and Shoot Canon that I have and I love it. I have a Peak Design clip that I can put on my backpack or if I’m not using the backpack I use a Fanny Pack that it will easily fit into and be out of the way when not using it. If I need super wide shots my iPhone works great and also does great Panno’s.  I can adjust the aperture on the fly and can do long exposures If I need by using a small tripod or a Platapod camera mount. If I feel the need to do some video I can either use my phone which is more convenient or I can use a small GoPro 9 that I take with me for hikes and such still a small package and works great.

For editing on the road I do everything on my iPad Pro with the M1 chip .  I use Lightroom and Photoshop when needed to do my editing and it syncs with my main catalog at home with all the edits on it after I turn on the computer. I have been using this system and really like it for the road. I have a cellular model so if I don’t have WI-FI and have a cell signal I can still do work. This blog is being written on the iPad as we speak. I’m sitting in my sisters house on a week long visit.  The iPad is small and convenient to use charges pretty quick and the battery last a long time. I back everything up to a SSD drive that I bring on trips.

I find that using this setup is less hassle for me with gear and for the photography that I do when traveling with my wife and dog it works out great.  My wife doesn’t have to stand around tapping her foot while I’m fumbling around with gear and I’m not rushed by an annoyed wife.  When I go hiking with my dog this is a great set up and when he’s pulling me with the leash I can use just one hand to take photo’s.  On this particular trip I brought my landscape camera but haven’t used it once I have been using my little camera for everything . All of the photos in this blog were taken with my little camera or my iPhone. With the little camera I still feel like I’m doing photography without lugging the bigger camera around.  I’m also less of a threat when doing street photography and less of a target for thieves. So set up a system that you can enjoy and not annoy them with. Until next week Get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog CanonG7XII Editing iCloud iPad iPhone landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography point and shoot travel website workshops Fri, 21 Jul 2023 09:00:00 GMT
Incorporate Mobile Device into your Photography Hey Y'all ! Hope your week was a good one. Me? Busy, Busy ,Busy. This week I want to talk about something that is easy and quick to do. It won't cost a dime extra and it will make your photography experience easier. It's to incorporate your mobile device into your photography workflow. We all have them now some sort of mobile device that we have with us all of the time. Now a days the camera's on them are pretty good and the programs in them are much more advanced than what is in your big boy or girl camera. But most of us just lug them around and check the weather or emails and don't use them as a added resource . I am guilty of that myself. So in this blog I want to talk about the ways we can incorporate the mobile device into your photography workflow.

Used to reference things. Using your phone to look things up is a great way to start to incorporate it into Tybee Island Pier SunriseTybee Island Pier Sunrise your photography. There are many apps that can be very helpful to your photography. One of them is "Photo Pills" This app is a very good app and can do lots of stuff from letting you know when and where the sun will rise. When and where the moon will rise and what position the milky way will be in the sky.  It will help you with long exposure with calculators that will help you figure out how long of a shutter speed to use when doing long exposures like when using a natural density filter. Another app that everyone uses is Google . It can tell you all sorts of information like where the nearest restaurant is or information abut where you are that could influence a photograph. Of course there are weather apps that can help with when its going to rain or if its going to be cloudy all day. So you can see that using it as a reference tool is very handy and you may be already doing that as well.

Hunting Island BeachHunting Island Beach Use as a framing tool. If you are doing landscape , architecture or any photography where you have time to really work on the framing using your cell phone to get to the right angle quickly and take test shots is a great way to use your phone. Say you went to an area that you haven't been before and you were doing a landscape. Before setting up your tripod and camera up and moving it to many places to see if the perspective is the right one use your mobile device and the camera on it and try out different places until you have found the best spot and then set up your tripod and camera. This could save time and potentially get you to a spot quicker and maybe one you haven't even thought of before.

Use as a second camera. The camera's on your mobile devices have become so good you could used them as a second camera. For example on a nature recent trip I had a long zoom hooked to my camera but I was using my phone for the wider shots. Phones take great panorama shots of scenes and can be used for wide angle shots. When doing street photography have your main lens on your camera say maybe a 50mm but when something wide comes up instead of using your main camera and changing lenses just pull your phone out and take the shot. On a recent trip to Savannah and Charleston my photo buddies were doing this and getting great shots with their phones. They got such good shots with their mobile devices when I got home I had to upgrade mine to a newer model . 

Used as a video camera .  If you're interested in video this is a great way to start. The video on these devices are fantastic. I have a small youtube channel with mainly hiking and photography videos but when I was starting out I used my cell phone as a video recorder and it worked great. So if you want to try your hand at video blogging this is a great way to start. I watch many thru-hike videos of people hiking the Appalachian trail or the Pacific Crest Trail and they use their phones and it looks really good. So if your out and about and want to take a short video of a town or park or yourself using your mobile device is a great way to go.

We all have these devices and like our cameras we don't use them to the fullest extent that we could. Listen you've already paid for the phone. Use it more than to check Facebook or your email. Incorporate it in to your photography work flow. So until next week pull out that mobile device and get outside and shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) Android blog gear iPhone landscape learning Max Stansell Photography mobile Device Panorama Photography second camera street video website wide angle workshops Fri, 14 Jul 2023 08:39:58 GMT
Things you need for a Photography Trip Hey Y'all !  Hope you had a great week. This week I want to talk about taking a photography trip and what you need for your trip. But I'm not going to talk about camera gear you probably already have that figured out but I'm going to talk about the accessories that you may need to support your trip. If you have never taken a photography trip before you might not have thought about these things before. I've been taking one or two big photography trips per year for the last 10 or more years I've come up with a checklist of things that I think you should take. Most of my trips have been taken in a car but a few have been while traveling by air and no matter how you travel these things will come in handy. So lets get started.


2563e370f98e53afa59b4ddfed93f6212563e370f98e53afa59b4ddfed93f621 Computing. As photographers in the digital age we need some sort of computer to edit , manage and backup our photography. Laptops are the overwhelming choice for this but I use an iPad Pro that I can do the same thing that will do all of the tasks mentioned before and is smaller to carry. What ever you decide to take make sure you have all of the cords and cables you need to charge your device.

Storage. Extra SD cards is a must I like to have an SD card for each day of shooting. I take the spent card store it in a SD card wallet  and that's one of my backups. So if your taking a 7 day trip 7 cards. Some type of external drive to hook to your computing device. I have a 1 terabyte SSD (Solid State Drive) that I hook to my iPad and backup all of my photo's to. That makes two copies of my photo's. One on the SD Card and one on the SSD drive. I store these in separate places incase luggage is lost or stolen so I always have a copy no matter what. 

Chargers. Make sure you have a charger for all of your devices. Phone, watch, earbuds, batteries etc... A multi-port USB charger can come in very handy so you can charge more than one thing at a time. Nothing is worse than a dead battery when traveling. Another good tip is to take a small multi port surge protector with you. Hotel rooms or sharing a room with someone makes electrical outlets precious . So a 3 or 4 port surge protector allows you to charge many things at one time without hogging up the outlets in the room.

Earbuds , head phones or plugs. Having earbuds or headphones work great when your flying canceling out PodcastPodcast the noise of the plane. But they also work great to listen to music or watching movies or videos when traveling with friends. They may not
want to listen to your music . If your like me I get up way earlier than my travel companions so I use earbuds to watch the local news on my iPad  without waking others up. Ear plugs can come in handy if your sharing a room with someones that snores loud and still you can get a good night sleep.

Mobile Battery. A mobile battery charger is handy to have when you're traveling. You don't need a super large one but one big enough to recharge your phone a couple of times. Comes in handy in Airports especially. We keep everything on our phone's and nothing is worse than a dead phone when traveling. A 5000 mah or a 10000 mah will be large enough and can be had pretty cheaply.

Camera Accessories

Rain Gear. You never know what the weather is going to do. Rain gear
for your camera and you is a must when traveling. If it looks like rain take your rain gear with you. Something as simple as a disposable shower cap that you get at a hotel can save your camera gear. I always have one in my bag.

Cleaning Supplies. Keeping your camera clean while traveling is a must on getting good photo's. Taking enough microfiber cloths blowers brushes whatever you use to clean your camera stuff is a must when traveling. I always have a microfiber cloth in my pocket for quick cleaning .

Other Considerations

Clothes. Now this is one of the hardest things to do is pack for a week long trip. What I usually try to do is pack enough clothes for 4 or so days and have a way to wash clothes half way through the trip.  That will keep the bulk of your clothes down. Try to pack with layering in mind so you can peel layers off if it's too hot or add layers if too cold. I personally try not to pack cotton items because when they get wet they stay wet. I usually have polyester or blends to keep as dry as possible. A Puffy jacket almost always goes wherever I go. They are small and lightweight and can be compressed to not take up precious room in your suitcase. Comfortable shoes are more important than cute shoes. On a photography trip you may be walking for miles and miles and keeping blister free is a must. I also try to take an extra pair of shoes incase I get one pair messed up.

Toiletries. I'm not going to get into toiletries that you must take just make sure you have what you need and not any more. Use small bottles like the travel sized bottles you can get to save room and make sure you have enough medication that you will need for the duration of your trip. I also take stuff like tums  or aspirin for those upset stomachs or headaches that come from traveling.

Water Bottle. A water bottle or sealable cup is great to have traveling. If your staying at a hotel the free coffee in the lobby is much better than the coffee that is in the room and if your cup is sealable you can take it with you. Later during the day you can rinse out your cup and put water in it to make sure you don't get dehydrated which could leave you with headaches and weak.

Now is this everything you might need? Well no , everyone is different and have different needs. This is just some suggestions. I would also say sit down and think about what you might need on your trip. Make a checklist and have it handy if you think of something add it to the list. Before long you will have a good packing checklist and if you use it while you're packing you won't forget anything. Nothing is worse than being somewhere away from home and you have forgot something important because you rushed to pack and didn't take it with you. Like your Camera ! LOL Summer traveling season is coming up so get out there and travel and keep Shooting!

(Max Stansell Photography) batteries blog blower chargers cleaning computers gear hydration landscape learning Max Stansell Photography packing Photography trip website workshops Fri, 07 Jul 2023 07:56:05 GMT
The Camera's that Made Me Hey Y'all ! How are you doing this week? Me ? Pretty well. This week I want to talk about he past. We all have one and most are very different. But the past I wan't to talk about is our photography past. More importantly the camera's that we used or owned that shaped how we see things and how we do things when it comes to photography. Some of our most basic instincts and feelings are formed when we are children and the things that surrounded us. For example when I grew up as a child in the 60's and 70's when black and white was still a big thing. I can remember watching the moon landing on a black and white TV with rabbit ears trying to adjust the picture for my dad. I was the remote! LOL But now my grandchildren  were born with phones that took photo's so they have always had a camera in their hands that could take video as well as stills. So their experiences will be much different than mine. Growing up in a lower income family meant we didn't have fancy cameras. We had cheap ones that were only brought out for special occasions like birthdays, Christmas or a vacation that was taken by the family. This is when I got to use the camera. So lets look at the camera's that shaped me.

Kodak Brownie. The Kodak Brownie has been around for a long time and had many variations from made from cardboard to plastic. The one I Brownie MemoriesBrownie Memories got to use on family vacations or special occasions was a plastic one. Really no Focus just point shoot and advance the film until full and then rewind and then send to the drug store to get developed.  I would say the mid 1960's to early 70's is when we used this camera the most. This camera has disappeared from our family probably sold in a yard sale wish I still had it.

Poloroid camera. I do remember using this camera and was amazed that it would flash and the photo you could see right away. The photo's didn't seem to last like the film ones did as we only have one or two photo's left that were taken with the Polaroid .  Film then as now was expensive.

Pentax K1000. My first real camera that I bought was a Pentax K1000. This a totally manual SLR 35mm film camera. Back before the internet we had catalogs that you could buy things through. I bought this camera from Sears and Roebuck specialty catalog. The camera cost me 99 dollars.  It had a 50mm lens and the film I bought from a company called Clark. When you bought the film you also got an envelope to send the exposed film and in a week or so you would get your photo's back in the mail. I got this camera when I was a teenager and took it to high school with me many times and still have photo's of people and events from my high school days. I purchased a 135mm lens for this camera from a friend and still have the lens. So I had a small telephoto at 2.8 that I used. I sold this camera after I joined the military while stationed in the Philippines and hated to part with it .

Old EyesOld Eyes Pentax MX. My next camera that replaced the K1000 was the Pentax MX. The only thing different from the K1000 is that this had a self timer on it so you could shoot selfies or photo's with the family. I shot a lot of color slide film with this camera and developed myself. I still have this camera and that first 135mm lens that I bought as a teenager and still shoot occasionally with it. I used it until I got my first digital and haven't looked back.

Kodak DX 4900 Digital- This first digital camera was crazy I could take photo's and put on a computer right away! I got this in early 2000's maybe 2002 or so. Before this camera I was developing and printing black and white but after this camera no more chemicals and converting my bathroom into a darkroom. This camera changed the way I took pictures .  I could see the photo's instantly!

I have had many digital camera's since that first Kodak digital camera when I went to Nikon and shot with many camera's and then I switched to Sony and have gone threw many cameras and still shoot Sony. But those first cameras when I was looking through a viewfinder for the first time and seeing the Square of what the shot would look like changed me forever and gave me this great hobby that I have now and enjoy decades later. What camera's made you? What was your first one? Let me know in the comments. Until Next week Get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog Brownie Cameras gear K1000 Kodak landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Pentax Photography Polaroid website workshops Fri, 30 Jun 2023 09:00:00 GMT
Stepping out of your Comfort Zone "Photography Wise" Hey Y'all ! Hope your having a great week. Me? Not too bad. Today's blog is about stepping out of your comfort zone in photography. Now I would like to take credit for coming up with this topic but really I used the Digital Story podcast my favorite photography podcast that comes out weekly and you should be listening to it also. But during this podcast Derrick Story was talking about getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new.  I know a lot of people that only shoot Landscapes or Wildlife or Natural light only. Thats the only thing that they will shoot. And if they pushed themselves they would find out that shooting stuff that your not used to will make you a better Landscape, Wildlife or any type of photography. Pushing the boundaries of what your used to will make you better.  It certainly has for me. When I got into digital Kimbrell ChristmasKimbrell ChristmasMax Stansell Photography photography I was mainly a Landscape photographer but then I started shooting a lot of product photography with flashes and all sorts of props and doing a lot of experimental photography.  That made my landscape photography better. It made me look at light in a different way it made me look at perspective in a different way. It made me a better photographer. And it made me smile.  The work I was doing experimenting was turning out pretty good . People actually noticed .  My landscape stuff people would look and say "pretty" but that was about it but the experimental stuff I was Raven's Roost Va.Raven's Roost Va. doing got them thinking and I got responses like "how'd you do that?"  Thats awesome! We should have a workshop on that. But I was selfish I was doing it to make my other photography better and I was learning new skills that would crossover to all types of photography.

Let me tell you a story of one of my friends Mike. He is a fantastic photographer. He mainly shoots Wildlife and Sports. Really anything with a big lens! He recently went on a trip with me and my photography wingman Robert to the low country of Savannah Ga and Charleston Sc. Where we mainly did street , architecture type of photography. The lens that he had on his camera 90% of the trip was a 24-70. Which was way smaller than the 800mm EagleEagleThis Eagle was at a Photo Expo at Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. lens that he brought with him and only pulled out once. I could tell that he was a little nervous on the first day but after just a little walking I could see the smile on his face and his camera kept going up to his face. I think he carried a larger lens with him maybe a 28-300 or something but he didn't pull it out. He was shooting and having a ball.  The next day was more of the same and I think he pulled the 800 out to shoot at a distant Lighthouse but the rest of the day it was the same 24-70.  I think the whole trip and experience really changed the way he might think about photography.  Like I said before Mike was already a fantastic photographer but I think he had forgot how to shoot with just a 24-70 and have fun.  The photo's that he produced were excellent but the smile on his face while shooting was even better.

Blue Water SplashBlue Water Splash Its important not to get stuck in just one way of doing things whether it's maybe only using Photoshop or Lightroom to edit photo's and maybe using some other software maybe just on a trial run just to see how it works. For me its stepping into infrared photography and editing it in Lightroom and photoshop. At one point I was doing a lot of composite work merging two or three photo's together to make something altogether different. Sometimes Its just using one lens for a day just to get you out of that comfort zone of being able to use whatever focal length you have in your bag. If you only have a 50mm you have to figure out a way for it to work and it takes you out of that comfort zone making you think. If you think that your shooting the same thing all the time  Man Waiting for T BostonMan Waiting for T Boston you probably are. So think outside of that box and try something completely different. If you only shoot wildlife try street photography. If you're a street photographer try Landscape. Get out of that comfortable photography zone that you've put yourself in and try something new. It will improve your photography and broaden your horizons. So until next week get out and shoot ! Something Different.

(Max Stansell Photography) blog city gear landscape learning lightroom Max Stansell Photography Photography photoshop portraits product street website wildlife workshops Fri, 23 Jun 2023 08:06:57 GMT
Tips for shooting in the Rain! Hey Everyone! Hope you had a super week! Mine? Pretty good thanks for asking. This week I want to talk about shooting in the rain and some tips and tricks to make it easier to do so. First of all why would you ever shoot in the rain? Well sometimes it just can't be avoided. Here in North Carolina the weather pattern has been nice during the week and rain on the weekend. I think it's been 9 weekends in a row now. Now if  your retired like me you can wait and go when the weather is nice but let me tell you sometimes shooting in bad weather is the time to shoot!  You can get lots of photos that you wouldn't normally get. With all the water and puddles for reflections there are all types of opportunities to get unique images. You may have planned a trip way in advance and the weather didn't cooperate. You still want to get those memories. You might be on an outing and the bottom falls out and you get wet you should be  prepared to keep you and your gear dry. So there are many reasons to shoot in the rain or what to do to protect your gear from the rain.

Know your Gear. All camera's are not made the same. Knowing your gear and how weather proof it is , is important. Mine for example is an older Sony and not really great at being weather protected.  Usually higher ended cameras are more weather resistant than entry level cameras. And some companies just do a better job at weather proofing their cameras with gaskets and just engineering of the camera. Now I'm not afraid to take my camera out in light rain or sprinkles but when the heaver stuff comes out I need to protect my camera against water damage. Some lenses come with gaskets on the side that hooks to the camera to keep moisture and water out but some don't so even if your camera body is a good weather sealed camera but the lens is not there is a potential for water to seep in between the lens and the body. So knowing what gear you have and how protected it is against the elements is a very important part of shooting in the rain. 

Being prepared for emergencies is another thing that can save your equipment if the weather is bad. I was out shooting a waterfall one day I had hiked over a mile in to get to the waterfall. The weather was nice but out of the blue one of those afternoon thunderstorms popped up and I got drenched ! I had put my camera back in my bag but my bag wasn't weather proof either. So at first it would protect but after a while in the rain the bag would get soaked and damage my camera . Luckily for some reason I had a full sized trash bag with me that I put my camera bag into to keep it as dry as possible. What Im getting at is be prepared. Now in all of my camera bags I carry an emergency poncho. They are made out of thin plastic and are made for only one use but they can save your butt in case of a sudden downpour. Its about a 5 dollar investment to save your expensive camera gear.

Planning to shoot in the rain? There are many ways to protect your gear in the rain. First the simple stuff. Wear a rain jacket to keep you dry you can tuck you camera under your jacket when not shooting and bring it out to shoot. Using a small umbrella is another great way to shoot in the rain. They are quick and easy to deploy when it starts raining and they are great for shielding your camera from the rain .  They make rain covers to go on your camera to protect from the rain. You can get inexpensive ones for 5 bucks or so or really expensive ones.  They work great but can be cumbersome to use so bring your patients with you when shooting in the rain because it is more difficult. Another simple thing to do is carry one of those disposable shower caps like you get at a hotel. You can wrap one of these around your camera body and maybe lens depending on how large your lens is to keep it dry.  Once your gear is protected then its time to shoot. Keeping your lens clean and dry is difficult. Use a lens hood on your lens it will help keep the water droplets from getting on the front of your lens. Try to never point your lens upwards towards the rain. I know it sounds simple but I always do it. Bring lots of dry microfiber cloths with you to keep your lens free and clear of water droplets. Don't change lenses while in the rain! There are just too many chances for water to sneak into your camera body once it's wide open to the elements. Be very careful even if your inside after shooting in the rain. A wet rain jacket or hat could have water drip into your camera .  The goal here is to use common sense to protect you gear when shooting in the rain.

Try to enjoy the experience. With all of the water around look for reflections! The colors are more vibrant when they are wet. Using a polarizer filter can come in handy with all of the reflections out there. Experiment , Experiment, Experiment with your photography in the rain. Motion of water falling or running down a window, Puddles, People rushing to get out of the weather with a news paper over their heads. There are so many fun and unique possibilities when it's raining. I hope some of these tips will help you get out and shoot in the rain!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog landscape learning lens Max Stansell Photography Photography polarizer rain cover reflections umbrella water waterproof weatherproof website Fri, 16 Jun 2023 09:00:29 GMT
Being A Nimble Photographer. Lessons learned from Low Country Trip. Hey Y'all ! Hope you're having a great week. Me? Well I came down with the Covid so I've got some time to catch up on my blogging so that's a good thing I guess. I recently took a photography trip with a couple of photo buddies down to the Low Country of Georgia and South Carolina. This was a 4 day trip with all kinds of photography to be had. Landscape, CityScape to Street Photography and even some Infrared. So there was a lot. What did I learn from this experience?  Well I learned that we did a lot of walking and being quick and nimble means that my kit needs to be that also. I thought I had it figured out. Not so much. My thoughts were that we were going to have 2 full days of shooting street photography and a full day or so of Landscape. So being me I figured that I would bring my street kit a Full frame Sony with some lenses and my trusty Landscape crop sensor kit with some zooms.  That made good sense to me at the time of packing.  My companions had it figured out more than I did they brought one camera and one maybe 2 lenses when we went into the streets of Savannah or Charleston I had my Full frame and at least three lenses with me .  I was carrying a 16-35, 28-60 and a 85 prime.  I just had too much stuff with me so I spent a lot of time changing out lenses and fumbling with equipment. Now don't get me wrong I got some good shots in but my comfort and my photography would have been better suited if I just had one lens and one body.  Maybe a 24-70 or a 24-105 would have suited me better than the combo of lenses I was taking with me. Of course my landscape stuff went with out a hitch .  So why is being a nimble photographer important?

Being quick and nimble especially in a city or urban environment is important because you are usually walking everywhere.  We were putting 10 to 12 miles in each day and lugging unnecessary equipment wears you down especially in the latter part of the day. The first day we were taking night time photo's of the fountain at Forsyth Park in Savannah and I was pooped.  It could have been a lot of factors that worked against me but one of them was the equipment that I was carrying. Having not to change lenses so often also makes you a better photographer because you can concentrate on the composition and not the focal length of the the lens that you have to change too. So even if I had made myself use just one lens like a 50 or a 35 I would have gotten better photo's .  But for me I think a 24-70 would have done the trick. Also I had two camera kits with me on the trip. I think for the next trip it will be one kit only. The reason that I took two kits is because I could. We had plenty of room in the truck we were riding in. This was the first time that I ever took two kits and may be the last.

What else did I learn? Well maybe for the street and urban stuff I don't need a super wide and if I do I can use my phone. Both of my photo buddies had iPhone 14pro and 14proMax and their shots with them were stunning. I have a iPhone 2020 SE which is an iPhone 8 hardware with iPhone 11 chipset in it. I still got some good photo's with it but am looking to upgrade to a better quality phone. For the landscape stuff I'm pretty dialed in I have three lenses that give me a range of 15mm to 525mm all I could ever want . My main lens is a 16-55mm 2.8 lens ( a 24-80 mm equivalent) that I love and 90% of my photo's are taken with. I also had a converted infrared camera with me that I got from one of my photo buddies. It’s a Canon EOS M that has been converted to Super Color IR and a 18-55 lens. I was able to switch back and forth pretty easily between my Landscape Sony and the Canon without having to unpack anything and enjoyed shooting both. Although this was the first time using the Canon and I don't quite have it all figured out yet. I do believe it will become a good addition to my Landscape kit replacing a point and shoot Lumix that I bought converted years ago.

So summary on what I would do different. Only take one kit. When shooting in an Urban environment one camera and one lens .  Use my phone more to take Wide and Panno's.  If you want to know more about being a Nimble Photographer there is a blog by Derrick Story called the Digital Story and he also has a website called the Nimble Photographer where he has many discussions and Tips on becoming a Nimble photographer.  I didn’t coin the phrase Nimble photographer but I try to live by it. Now I will always keep going out with friends to shoot new and old places. Because that's what photography to me is all about going out and having fun. So until Next week Get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog cityscape Gear landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Nimble one Lens Photography street website workshops Fri, 09 Jun 2023 09:00:00 GMT
My thoughts on AI in Photoshop Hey y'all ! Hope you've had a super week! Mine? Not too bad. This week I want to talk about Photoshop and the New  Generative Fill AI
that the Beta version has in it.  There has been an uproar on the internet on how this is going to change photography. And maybe it will. From the beginning of photography photographs have been altered. Whether is was dodging and burning in the darkroom like Ansil Adams was famous for or in the digital age of many photo manipulations. Photography is around us in everything we do from print in Magazines and Newspapers to online.  Almost every photo that you have ever seen has been manipulated in some sort. Beautiful women have been photographed and made even more beautiful by removing a blemish or smoothing out the skin to where people don't even look like people anymore.  The art of making someone loose weight just by the movement of a brush stroke has been with us awhile. Even the artful painters of years gone by used their judgment on how the subject they were painting looked. So why all the uproar of the new AI? All this has done is taken the people with the skill needed to do the manipulation out of the job. 

Since layering came out in Photoshop you could do what the new AI is doing. It was just harder. You had to have skill to do it. Now it's just easier. Just like when the healing brush and content aware fill came out it was like magic. Or when sky replacement came out. These things were going to change photography. And they did . They just made it easier. Will it change photography as we know it? It's hard to tell. But in my opinion it will just make it easier for the everyday man to do the job instead of a specialist. You will be able to add things to the photo just by typing "add hat" or " sunglasses" but you could do those things before but it did take a while. You had to go out to the internet and find those things in a photo cut them out add them to your photo make it look real by dodging and burning to make the light look right . Sound familiar ? Kind of what Ansil Adams was doing in the early 20th century. We've always had the way to do it. The new AI just makes it easier. I think its just a progression in what skill is needed. Let's use an analogy to kind of explain what I'm talking about.

When man used to roam the earth looking for food he walked and carried everything. Then the wheel was invented and they figured out how to use a cart to put things in. Then they figured they could put an animal on that cart to pull it. Then they figured out how to make a horseless carriage with a motor. But you had to be skilled to drive it. Changing gears and all. Then they came out with Automatic transmission and everyone could drive it putting chauffeurs out of business. Now they have gotten rid of the gasoline motor and have an electric motor car that can drive itself. Almost. But it will be coming . It's evolution . You either except it or not. The same is with the new AI in photoshop. You can do it the hard way like all the composite's that I've put in this blog or you do it the easy way with the new AI. Eventually it will be the new AI. Its evolution just like taking photo's with your phone. Who would have thought that that was ever going to happen. But its really made a whole type of camera (point and shoot) disappear .  Only very few even exist and they are specialized camera's that are very expensive for what they are when you can just carry your phone with you.

The moral view. A lot of AI has come out where it does all of the thinking and grabbing info from all of the internet causing copyright issues/concerns. There is even a statement with all of the smart people in the world that AI (not photoshop AI) will be the new doom and gloom event that will end the world with machines taking over the world. But I think that's a little on the far end of the spectrum of things. With the new AI in Photoshop they have taken the high road only sampling photo's from what is in Adobe Stock photos. I think eventually they will pay the contributors to Adobe Stock if their photo is used. It may be only a fraction of a penny but it will be something. I think that in the future there will be a credit type of system for using the AI. With the new AI it is using the internet to go to a server in Adobe and all of that cost money so I'm sure there will be in the future a credit. If your a subscriber maybe you get so many credits a month for free and have to pay for extra. But either way its good that Adobe is trying to take the high road in this. And of course you must be connected to the internet and I am assuming that you should have a fairly fast computer to run this new feature.

If you think about what the new AI really is. A new way of doing something that we could already do but easier its like going from stick shift to automatic in cars. It could bring out artist that were out there that didn't have technical skills needed to do the same thing in photoshop. Maybe the next Ansil Adams is just around the corner and will use AI instead of a dark room and dodging and burning.  Anyway those are my thoughts on the subject. The according to Max side of things. Until next week please get out and shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) Beta blog brush burn composite content aware fill dodge Evolve Generative Fill AI heal learning Max Stansell Photography Photography Photoshop software website workshops Fri, 02 Jun 2023 09:00:00 GMT
Playing Chess not Checkers when doing Photography? Hey Y'all ! Hope you had a great week! This week I want to talk about something that I just figured out. I recently went on a trip with a couple of photo buddies to the low country near Savannah Georgia and Charleston South Carolina and I found out that I'm  a Checker player not a Chess player when it comes to Photography. I always thought I was a Chess player but no.  What do I mean when I say this? A Chess player is thinking many moves in advance and a Checker player is mostly reactive. My photo buddies Mike and Robert were showing up to different sites with shots already in mind. They knew when and where the sun would come up or go down. They knew in advance what the keeper shot was going to be. Me on the other hand I was just showing up and trying to get what I could get playing it loosely and what moved me at the moment. They were playing Chess and I was playing Checkers. Now there is nothing wrong with playing Checkers and I think that most of us are playing Checkers. Being reactive instead of proactive. Lets look at some of the advantages and disadvantages to both.

Playing Chess. Being proactive. These people have shots in mind well before arriving at the location. They have the composition, what lens they will use, the camera settings and most important the patients to wait until the moment is right before pulling the trigger or shutter. They do not take as many photo's as the Checker player but the quality ratio of the ones they do take is high. Being a portrait photographer, landscape photographer or shooting architecture are all very much in their wheel house. But being spontaneous like street photography not so much. These are the thinkers of the group and usually have lots of experience shooting many different situations. They know what they like and are not willing to sacrifice.

Playing Checkers. Being Reactive. These people are a make the most out of the situation. They show up and figure on the fly how to shoot the scene .  They take many more photo's than the Chess Players with a less quality ratio photo's although they do get their keeper shots in.  They are more spontaneous and quick to the draw taking photo's of almost anything .  Sometimes they miss a shot because they didn't think ahead but they get other shots because they are thinking out of the box. Which can be a good thing. They are shooting what the situation gives them and not a pre-concieved shot that they were wanting to get. Street photographers and Sports are in their wheelhouse. We all start as snap shooters or Checker players and then either grow into the Chess player or stay the Checker player.

Photo trips with friends is a good way to see how others think when they are shooting. It always astonishes me how me and another photographer can be only a few feet away and shooting at the same thing but the photographs are totally different. Their thought process may be totally different than yours but it might be better too. The difference between Chess and Checker players can be the difference between Photographers and Snap Shooters some would say. I guess I fall under the category of Snap shooter or Checker player. Where my photo buddies fall under the title of Photographer or Chess player. In the big wonderful world of Photography I think there is room for both. Which one are you? Thats all for this week until next week get out and shoot some!

(Max Stansell Photography) Checkers Chess landscape learning Max Stansell Photography on the fly out of the box Photography Planning Portrait Proactive Reactive researching sport street website workshops Fri, 26 May 2023 08:50:06 GMT
Challenge Yourself! One Lens Challenge! Hey Everyone! Hope you've had a great week! You know sometimes you just have to challenge yourself. Here lately I've been in a rut photography wise and I'm trying to snap out of it. Getting new equipment sometimes will snap you into a good photography groove but I don't want to spend money. I asked my photo wingman what we were going to shoot this weekend and he came up with a challenge. So here goes the challenge. A one lens Macro shoot street walk through Wilmington NC. Now Wilmington is a beautiful sea side town in North Carolina full of Azalea's in the spring. They even have a festival which is the largest festival in North Carolina every year. I've been many times but not this year. They have lots of old historic homes with trees covered in Spanish moss. The plan is to get there in the early morning and walk the city and meet up for lunch to compare photo's and establish bragging rights. We must also walk at least 3 miles during this challenge. I kind of hesitated on the one lens thing but the more I thought about it I liked it so I agreed to it. 

My kit for the challenge. The body I will be using is a Sony full frame A7III at 24 mp and then I started thinking about what lens to use and I could use a variety of lenses to accomplish this task the only parameter its that it had to focus close up.  Maybe a 16-35mm or a Prime 35mm. But what I decided on was a 50mm macro with a maximum aperture of f2.8. Nothing too fancy. I grew up shooting a 50mm back in the film days so composition will be fun and I will have to work a little bit more than I would with a zoom. I'm sure there will be some shots that I will want to get that will be too wide for this lens so I will have to do a pantograph and stitch them together in photoshop. I will also bring a small flash and diffuser if I really want to go Macro to give me enough light. I am not going to tote a tripod with me to keep me quick and nimble.

The day of the challenge Me and Robert set out from my house and drove the hour and a 45 min to Wilmington. The weather forecast had changed from the last time I looked at it which said no rain until after lunch. And of course it was raining when we got there. We made our way downtown found parking .  We then donned our raincoats and headed out into the rain. The rain was a light rain . Heaver than a  sprinkle but lighter than a downpour. Manageable. We set the time to meet at 1100 at a bar and grill to have lunch. We had more than a hour and a half to shoot before lunch time .  And off we went into different directions. My plan was to stay outside and find things to shoot and Roberts was to go to some shops and shoot things until the rain died down. I came across a few things to shoot in the rain and I came upon a outdoor market but felt odd with my camera shooting items for sale so I kept on.  Shooting in the light rain was fun! I had a blast looking for objects to shoot much like a scavenger hunt. The lens I was using was very slow at focusing and it took me a while to get used to it. As I kept going it became easer to find things to shoot. I was getting in the groove!  Before I knew it the time had passed and I ended up at the lunch spot. I still had a few min. to spare so I circled the block and took a few more. We had a nice lunch and drove home talking about our small adventure and how we were going to post our photo's to our camera club's members page and let them figure out who was the winner. No mater who actually wins I feel like a winner because I really had a good time shooting with only 1 lens.  I have never traveled over an hour and a half to shoot with only one lens. But it was fun and freeing .  I didn't have to think about what lens would make the image look better. I only had one choice and I had to figure it out. That took all the gear out of the equation and put my skills at work trying to get the best image with just the 50 for everything. I loved it .  You should give it a try. Shoot with only one lens for a day and see what you get. I did pretty well and I have a number of images to choose from. 

Who won? Well the photo I submitted to the club was not the favorite. So in technical terms I lost. But I think I really won because I challenged myself got some good photo's , Shot in the rain which I hardly ever do and most important of all I had a great time with a photo buddy exploring a pretty city. So Win, Win, Win! I know Robert will say that's what losers say! LOL

So until next week challenge yourself with something new. A new technique or shoot something different than normal and you will have a great time. Get out and shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog Challenge full frame funk landscape learning lens Macro Max Stansell Photography mojo NC one lens Photography rain slump website wilmington workshops Fri, 19 May 2023 09:00:00 GMT
Low Country Trip Hey Y’all ! I hope that you’ve had a great week. I certainly have. This last week I took a photo trip with a couple of Photo Buddies Mike and Robert. We have had this trip planned for quite awhile and were eager to get going. This trip was to go to the low country of Georgia and South Carolina.  We planned on driving to Savannah and working our way up the coast to North Carolina following Highway 17.  As with any trip hotel reservations and an itinerary had been made months in advance.  This means that we were at the mercy of the weather. Prior to the trip its has rained if you include Friday 19 weekends in a row. We were a little nervous but we were in luck it only rained one night and didn’t really hinder our photography at all.  This trip had two purposes in mind. First of all to have fun and shoot as much as we could and second to scout a potential Spring trip an four day trip much like we were taking. And of course food will be a main part of this trip also as the food being fantastic in this part of the country with a Southern flair. So lets get started with Savannah Ga. 

The low country is a beautiful place with live oaks and Spanish moss everywhere. Savannah does not disappoint. With 18th and 19th century architecture with beautiful houses and buildings. And of course the Forrest Gump backdrop to “Life is like a box of chocolates you never know what you’re going to get” vibe . Everywhere you turn there is a a photo to be had. But capturing this lovely place is very hard. Especially if you’re trying to take one photo that represents Savannah.  There are iconic shots to get like the fountain at Forsyth Park or the suspension bridge that we traveled over to get into the city. But I think you need a lot of photographs to tell the story of Savannah . Savannah is more of a feeling than a photo opp. After a 6 hour trip with a stop in the middle for some down home cooking at a local restaurant just off of 95 we made it into Savannah. Too early to check into the hotel but they did let us park our car right in front of where our room would be. Then the walking started. You can travel the city in many ways. Of course you can walk but you can Uber and there are busses  that can take you where you want to go with little or no fee. But we hoofed it. I think I had over 20000 steps or around 11 miles. So if your not as mobil as I am you might want to take alternative transportation. At first we made our way to Forsyth Park taking many photos’ along the way. I had been to Savannah before but Mike had not and it was nice seeing his face light up at all of the beautiful sites. After shooting Forsyth park we decided to make it back to the hotel and then find some food. We ate at a local tavern and the food was excellent. We headed back to the room just to grab some gear used the bathroom and off to Forsyth Park to capture the fountain at nighttime.  It was hard to shoot but we got some and came home went to the water front for a minute and got in well after 9 almost 10. A big first day. Our next day would start early and make our way to Beaufort SC. 

We were going to a national monument (park) and were going to hike a mile and shoot a lighthouse. When we arrived the park was closed and would not open until 9. So with quick thinking from Robert, our cruse director, we went to Tybee Island pier to shoot the sunrise. And I must say that it was one of the best sunrises that I have seen in quite a while. The colors were fantastic! We stopped on the way back and tried to shoot the lighthouse that we missed earlier from afar. I didn’t have enough lens to get there but I’m sure Mike did. As he had a 800mm lens with him. Then off to breakfast at a local restaurant the Sunrise Cafe. I highly recommend. We had a local breakfast with grits and all of the fixings . Next stop was Wormsloe Plantation. There is a 10 dollar cost to get in but being military veteran‘s we got in for 8. The plantation doesn’t open until 10 so we got there a little early so we found a local coffee shop to have a cup of coffee and relax a bit before going back to Wormsloe. Wormsloe is a beautiful plantation with live oaks on either side of the driveway creating a canapé of green. The money shot! We then headed to the visitor center and took a mile long hike through the plantation looking at ruins and old-timy settlement. After the plantation we headed to Paris Island Marine base. Robert had been stationed there and lived in Beaufort SC for a couple of years. He had lots of stories to tell and we toured the base. We did not see a lot of activity on the base but at least I can check that off of places to visit. Our next stop was Hilton Head and Harbor town golf resort. It was very nice and we had lunch at the light house restaurant overlooking all of the yachts and the 18 green. The next destination was Beaufort it self. We arrived at the hotel but it was too early to check in so we headed to eat at a local restaurant called the Dockside. Food was excellent. Then we headed downtown.  There was a small festival happening in the downtown with music and booths to shop at. It had started to sprinkle and rain a little so we cut it short. I would love to go back to this little town to explore even more.  Off to bed after 9 and up early to head to Charleston SC.

Our first stop was Hunting Island State park and of course we got there too early. They open up the gates at 0600 and we got there at 0530 but only a half hour wait. We arrived at the parking lot in the dark and headed to the beach. The goal of this shoot was to capture sunrise with driftwood in the fore ground. This took a little walking down the beach to reach the dead wood yard. The sunrise was okay but not as good as the day before but still good. We then headed to the Hunting Island Lighthouse and took lots of photo’s . I do like me a lighthouse. With no people in sight we had free rain over the shoot. We then went to a boardwalk that took us out the the marshes. I think Mike got some good shots here because he had his 800mm lens out. Me not so much. The next stop was back to Beaufort to get a late breakfast almost a brunch but it was very good. Then off to Charleston. On the way we stopped at Old Sheldon Church. This is a ruin of a church that was burnt down during the Revolutionary War rebuilt and burnt down again during the Civil War with big live oaks all around. Very cool. When we got to Charleston at about 1330 and I knew we were too early but I was trying to get a parking place like we did in Savannah but the guy at the desk went ahead and checked us in and we decided to rest for a coupe of hours before heading out. We took a Uber to the boundary (waterfront) and started walking . We walked around for a couple of hours and got us something to great at an English Pub. Food was great but the wall coverings were crazy with one dollar bills stapled to every inch of every wall and windows. It was very cool. We took an Uber back to the hotel and rested a few hours before heading out again. We then took an Uber out to the bridge and set up and waited for the sun to go down .  The bridge did not disappoint we had lovely colors and again we took an Uber back to the hotel and  again it was after 9 o’clock .  The next morning we decided to sleep late and get breakfast in the hotel before heading out.

Our last day was mainly a travel day but we did stop in Southport NC to eat at a local eatery called "Fishy, Fishy" and it was good. We sat outside and watched the pelicans fish while we were eating. We then walked the quaint little town. All in all it was a great trip and fun was had by all. Now we just got to get the camera club to go. It’s important to plan trips and ones with your friends are the best. So until next week Get out and Shoot!



(Max Stansell Photography) Beaufort blog Charleston SC Cityscape Infrared landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography Savannah Georgia Sunrise Sunset travel Urban website Fri, 12 May 2023 08:12:18 GMT
Shooting What You Can't See? Infrared Photography Cape Lookout IR 2Cape Lookout IR Hey Everyone! Hope you're doing well this week! I'm doing pretty well. This week I want to talk to you about a type of photography that you can't see with your eyes. Thats right! You can't see. Infrared Photography. Infrared Photography has been around for decades and there is even film for just shooting infrared but we are going to talk about Digital Infrared. Now I'm not going to get into the Science of Infrared but what's cool about it is when its best to shoot it. Infrared is perfect to shoot in the middle of the day when the sun is the harshest.  Now if your like me if I go somewhere I want to shoot all day long not just in golden hour or when the light is perfect. I want to shoot all day. So infrared photography is perfect for the time of day that the light isn't great for other types of photography. What is infrared photography? Infrared photography is used to capture wavelengths of light that aren't visible to the human eye. What does it look like? Infrared has a strong appeal for fine art photography. It looks surreal and otherworldly, with trees taking on a bright white or yellow hue and skies a red or blue hue. Leaves appear frozen over, and skies take on dramatic colors in both black and white and color photography. There is a lot to infrared and the science but really its pretty simple to shoot. You can either use a camera that has been converted to infrared or you can use a filter on your regular camera and shoot infra red. Let Somerset Plantation House 2Somerset Plantation House 2 me go over both.

Having a camera converted. For a few hundred dollars you can send your camera into a company that specializes in converting camera into infrared only cameras. Thats right infrared only! So once you get the camera converted it can't take regular photo's anymore. So ideally it would be an older camera that your not using and have it converted and use it occasionally. After you have your camera converted you can use it like your regular camera but it will only take Infrared. This is great and its fun to shoot. If you don't have an extra camera you can buy a camera that has already been converted. Just make sure its in the same system of your Yates Mill Pond IRYates Mill Pond IR main camera so you can use all of the glass that you have for your main camera. Many years ago I bought a converted point and shoot camera. And I have had some success with it taking it with me on trips and shoot once or twice on a trip just to have something different.  The only problem with it is that its JPEG only and doesn't shoot in RAW which comes in handy because there are some special post processing stuff that you need to do which can strain the JPEG. Other than that it works great. I'm thinking about maybe buying another one but one that shoots RAW so I can do more with the images afterwards in post.

Using a Infrared filter on regular camera. I just bought a Hoya Infrared 72 filter. This filter make your camera an infrared for black and white. Although you can do some other edits with it. You have to buy it for the filter size of the lens your going to use so I suggest getting one that will fit the largest lens filter size you have and use step down rings to fit other lenses. Cape Lookout IRCape Lookout IRMax Stansell Photography This is the mistake I made. I had a couple of lenses that are 55mm filter size and that's what I bought so now I might have to buy a bigger one so I can use it on all my lenses. The filter looks like a ND filter very dark and you will have to do longer exposures to get the shots. A tripod will be a must and some way to trigger your shutter. And of course it there is wind you will get blurry leaves in the trees. So there are drawbacks to using this filter but it does work and you can get great shots and its a great way to see if you want to get into infrared more and maybe get a camera converted. And if you don't like it you've only spent 40 bucks on a filter. I guess the price depends on the size of the filter.

For me its something I can shoot while waiting for golden hour. Kind of like Macro photography is pretty good during harsh lighting. But the results you get can be fantastic and the responses you get from people is really mixed. Some love it some don't understand and some are wondering when did it snow by that lighthouse?  But for the price of a filter you can try your hand at shooting what others just can't see by shooting Infrared. So until next week get out and shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) Black and White blog Filters Hoya Hoya72 infrared IR Kolarivision landscape learning long exposure Max Stansell Photography Photography point and Shoot website workshops Thu, 04 May 2023 06:49:54 GMT
Cleaning your Camera Hey Everyone! Hope you had a great week! This week's topic is from a fellow camera club member. As one of the officers in our camera club one of my duties is to come up with a gear related topic each meeting to give a 5 or so min. discussion before our actual meeting starts. I put the question to our camera club membership page and got quite a few good suggestions but one of our new members suggested how to clean your camera so that's how I got this topic. First of all cleaning you camera is just part of taking care of your gear. Gear is expensive and we don't want to damage it just through neglect. Clean gear not only gets you clear photo's but also will last longer if well taken care of. So before we get into the actual cleaning lets get to how to protect and keep our camera equipment clean as possible.

Prevention. Keeping your camera from getting dirty in the first place is key to not having to clean it all of the time. The more you rub on the expensive lenses the more potential there is to damage them. First of all if your not using your equipment it should be stowed away in a clean dry place. Your camera bag will be fine unless you just got in from a rain storm.  In each of the compartments of my camera bag I have desiccant bags to absorb any moisture. You get these little bags in every thing you buy from shoes to electronics. Instead of throwing them away put them in your bag to help absorb moisture.  Keep lens caps on front and rear of your lenses when not in use. This will keep stray dirt and dust off of your expensive lenses. The same with your camera body if its stored without a lens on it put a cap on it to keep dirt and dust out. A protective  screen protector for your rear display is a must. These displays are easily scratched and the screen protector works great just like it does on your phone.

Cleaning. Cleaning your camera comes in phases. The first phase is cleaning the outside of your camera and lenses. Microfiber is your friend. I keep small microfiber clothes in each of the compartments of my camera bags. Little small squares that you get from all kinds of places work great for this. You seem to get one with electronics , from the eye doctor, and they just accumulate. I take them and put in my camera bag and always have one in my pocket for easy access. These are great for wiping down your camera's outside from dust and debris. You could also use pre-moisten cloths that you can get for cleaning electronics also they work great.

The second phase is the lens glass itself. Keeping these clean and free of debris can make post processing easier without a lot of processing to get out pesky spots. The first line of defense is blowing the debris away from the glass , not with your mouth because you'll just end up spitting on your camera. But with a blower. I keep a small one in my bag just for these purpose's. You'll find that a blower will get out most if not all of the stuff off of your lens. The second thing you can do after blowing is use a lens brush. These are inexpensive brushes that are very soft and made for lenses. These will get the stubborn debris off of your lens. 

The third phase is for stubborn smudges or water marks on your lens. A liquid lens cleaner and a microfiber work well. There are some prepackaged wipes that are made especially for lenses.  Zeiss makes the one's that I'm thinking about but I'm sure there are more. These in conjunction with a microfiber clothe will get these lenses clean as new.

Now lets talk about sensors. Our camera sensors have electricity running through them and that makes them into a dust magnet. If you're using a mirrorless camera this is even worse because the sensor is just right there when you remove your lens. Not like a DSLR that has the mirror mechanism to protect the sensor.  Most cameras have a setting on them that will de-magnetize them and shake the sensor to get the particles to fall off.  This should be your first defense for cleaning .  Second should be holding your camera upside down sensor facing the ground and using a blower to blow away the dust. If your using a DSLR you will have to lock up your mirror to get to the sensor to do this.  The third is using a sensor brush. This is not the same brush that you used to clean your lenses . It is made especially for delicate sensors .  These methods usually get all of the dust off of your sensor. But if your sensor still needs cleaning then using a sensor swab to clean them is the final step. Using the correct sensor swab with the correct solution on it for your sensor gently wipe one direction stop at the end of the sensor and go back with the other side of the swab. Throw swab away don't use it again. If you need to keep cleaning get a new swab and repeat until clean. FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR YOUR CAMERA to do this. On mirrorless cameras it not to hard but on DSLR's you have to use a setting on your camera to lock up the mirror open the shutter for cleaning. I can't say it enough follow the instruction in your camera's manual on how to do this. Most of the dirt and dust that get on your sensors comes when you change out lenses so try not to change in dusty or dirty areas. I try to always blow out my camera before changing lenses but its not always practical to do when in a rush. 

Keeping your camera clean and in good working order is easy to do if you take the time to find out how. If you are not comfortable on cleaning your sensor you can take it to your local camera store and they will clean it for a small fee. Having well maintained equipment (clean) will extend the life of your equipment and make your picture taking more enjoyable. So until next week Get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog blower camera's cleaning dust gear landscape learning lens Brush Max Stansell Photography Photography sensor sensor Brush sensor swabs spots website workshops Fri, 28 Apr 2023 08:24:08 GMT
Tripods , Three Legged Monster Revisited Hey Everyone! I hope you had a Fantastic week! Me? Well thanks for asking it was great! This week I want to Revisit a Blog that I did in 2015 about Tripods, Tripods, Tripods! If your new to photography and you'e talked to some more experienced photographers you can find that Tripods can be a very controversial subject  Some don't even own one and others live by them and have one everywhere they go.  I guess I fall closer to the later but I don't take one everywhere.  Like all things there are pro's and con's to be considered when using tripods.  Let me go over why I like to use a tripod when I can.  When I'm doing landscape work it helps me see the scene it also slows me down and lets me work the shot and think over what Im doing without running and gunning like most of us do.  Its also a must for any type of long exposure photography whether it be astro photography , waterfalls, or time lapse.  I also use a tripod when doing portraits.  This is where I differ from a lot of portrait photographers.  I like the tripod because it is like a book mark.  Let me explain what I mean.  If I have a subject posed and I see a fly away hair that I need to take care of with my camera on a tripod I can simply walk over take care of the fly away and go back to my camera and the only thing that has changed is that the fly away is gone and SNAP I can take the photo.  Without the tripod you see a fly away you walk over with your camera fix the hair and go back to the approx place you were recompose, refocus and take the shot.  Its a lot less work with the tripod and less time spent recomposing the subject.  Well there's my spin on the controversy.  Lets talk about parts and pieces.

Tripods come in all sorts and sizes.  They are made of all kinds of materials from aluminum , plastic, carbon fiber, even wood if you can find one old enough.  Aluminum is the industry standard and there are many really good aluminum tripods.  Carbon Fiber is the new kid on the block and they are lighter in weight with the same strength as their aluminum counterparts.  I have many tripods most are aluminum and one is of carbon fiber.  Aluminum is cheaper and for my money it is the best choice for most people.  Unless you are carrying your tripod for long distances aluminum is the best choice in my opinion.  

As the saying goes "Size Matters".  I personally have had tripods that could reach as high as 7 feet and as small as 6 inches high.  Not only size should be considered, but the weight that the tripod can support also.  No matter what tripod you pick you must be able to support your most heavy camera combination. So if you just have a small point and shoot or mirrorless camera system a small tripod will do.  But if  you have a big boy combination with heavy lenses then you must go big.  Each tripod has a maximum camera weight rating and you should consider this. With your heaviest camera and heaviest lens weigh you rig. You should have a maximum rating on your tripod to handle this with ease. My main tripod will hold 17 pounds but I use a mirrorless crop sensor camera and my heaviest combo is only about 3 pounds so I'm well with in. But if I had a full frame DSLR and a big 70-200 that wouldn't work on my tripod. It would be too flimsy and shake while taking the photo.

How your camera connects to your tripod is another thing you must think about when getting a tripod.  We've talked about size, material, of the legs what about the tripod head that sit atop the legs of the tripod.  There are many types of heads but the two basic design are Pan and Tilt and Ball Head.  The pan and tilt head does exactly as it says it pans back and forth and tilts up and down.  The ball head has a more versatile system where everything sits on a ball and can be moved in any direction and angle.  I use the ball head for all of my tripods.  Atop of the tripod head is the part that hooks up the tripod to the camera.  Long time ago you just screwed the camera onto the mounting plate of the tripod head but that was a pain.  Now they have quick disconnecting mounting hardware that a plate hooks to your camera and stays on and a mounting bracket hooks to your tripod head and with a quick move of a lever the camera is secure and with another move its off.  There are a few styles of quick disconnects the industry standard is Arca Swiss but there are others like Manfrotto quick disconnects. I use a Arca Swiss type of bracket on my camera's. I also use a bracket that is called an "L" bracket on all of my cameras.  As the name suggest it is a bracket that is shaped like an "L" and fits your camera.  The beauty of this bracket is that I can be taking a photo in Landscape mode and with a flip of a lever I can turn my camera to Portrait mode with out changing my tripod position. Lets talk about how the legs extend. There are two different ways that they can work there are Screw type and clamp type of locks for you leg extensions. I use the screw type just because I've always had them. I have had the clamp ones and they seem to me to be a little finicky but people swear by them so I'm sure they are fine. Then there are the feet to consider. Many tripods come with different kinds of feet for different surfaces . Some are spikes to stick in the ground when you're doing landscape and some have rubber feet when your inside on your  nice wooden floors. Being able to change the feet are a big plus when choosing a tripod.

Believe it or not I have just skimmed the surface of the "Three Legged Monster" There are many things that we could talk about.  For me the main thing I want to convey is that if you have a tripod and don't use it you should give it a try.  Using a tripod can slow down your process and have you taking and thinking more about what your photographing instead of just the point and shoot mentality that we have gotten use to.  Tripods will also make your photo's sharper by eliminating hand shake. 

As you can see Tripods have been a part of photography from the beginning of the art and will be for a long long time. So get your tripod and lets get out and shoot!


(Max Stansell Photography) Ball Heads blog carbon fiber L Brackets landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Pan and Tilt Photography portrait Tabletop Tripods Travel Tripods website workshops Fri, 21 Apr 2023 09:00:00 GMT
First things to do after you get your New Camera Hey Everyone! Hope everyone is have a great week!  I am.  This week I want to discuss the things that you should do after you get your new camera. We usually think that we've bought a new camera that it should be as up to date as it can be. Well that's not always the case. Your camera might be new and shiny but depending on what you got it could be years old. So one of the first things to do is check your firmware version and make sure you have the latest firmware version.

 Firmware.  Back in the film days we really didn't have to worry about firmware because everything was mechanical but now in the electronic and computer age everything seems to have some sort of program in them.  And for some reason there is always an update to be had.  Firmware ( in simple terms) is the program that electronics use to do whatever they do. When you update your firmware you are altering the program that was in the device that your updating. Usually fixing some sort of bug or adding some sort of feature.  Much like Lightroom or Windows updates they correct bugs or improve stuff. In your camera this could mean better focusing or faster focus.  Maybe they add some sort of new software to make your camera like new.  As long as the hardware can handle the upgrade the possibilities are endless.  Some company's put out lots of firmware updates and some do not.  Making sure your camera has the latest and greatest update can make the camera perform like brand new saving you from having to upgrade or buy a new one. If you haven't checked your firmware you should. If you  have never updated the firmware you may tell a big difference in the way that it works.  Installing the firmware is easy and all of the camera companies will have a step by step procedure for you to follow to make sure you have the latest and greatest.  This usually involves installing on your computer some sort of program that when your camera is connected to your computer the program updates the firmware.  On older cameras it was installing the firmware on a SD card and inserting it into your camera and going through a series of procedures to update the firmware. In any case it's fairly easy to do .

But now a days its not just camera bodies that get the firmware update its also Lenses.  Newer lenses have small computers in them also that can be tweaked to give that lens a sharper focusing and quicker focusing.  So check your lenses especially if they are fairly new.  The firmware updates that you do to them can make them really nice lenses.  If you have a new body that has super fast focusing powers but your lens is still using the old way of focusing a firmware update to that lens could make it perform just like a brand new lens. I just got through checking all of my lenses for the firmware updates and they were all up to date. Its a good feeling to know that all of your equipment is up to date and running as efficient as it can.  I think this should almost be an annual event or even a simi-annual event to check the firmware of all of your electronics.

 The next thing you should do is read the manual.  I know nobody likes to do this .  New camera's can do all sorts of things that we might not know they can do until we read the manual. Another good alternative to this is to watch a video on how to set up your camera and go through all of the settings. This is usually one of the first things I do because now a days camera's are so complicated and have so many options that Bell & Howell /CannonBell & Howell /CannonHere is the new addition to my film cameras . 1961 Canon Canonet 19. learning from someone that has more experience using your make and model of camera and how to set it up is a great starting point. Whats nice about a video is you can rewind as many time as you want to get all of the facts right to set up your camera. You can find these videos on youtube or on places like Creative Live. I usually use Creative Live because I buy my camera's used and they have all kinds of video's on my particular camera and can usually get a print out of all of the settings and where to set.

Accessories. Make your camera yours. Maybe a new camera strap or a fancy lens cap.  Or a new camera bag. Making your camera yours is a great way to make your camera more enjoyable to shoot. I don't do a lot but I always have a camera strap system put on my cameras . I usually use the Peak Design system that have the little buttons that you attach to your camera to put on the strap. or a plate on the bottom of the camera that will attach to a clip attached to my backpack. If your new camera that is in the same system as your old camera say your own Nikons and you buy another Nikon your accessories might work for your new camera like a remote shutter release system. Maybe an "L" bracket to put on your camera . I usually have these on all of my cameras.  Make it yours. Oh just thought of this is to get a screen protector for your display to keep it from getting scratched because believe me it will get scratched. Just like you protect your phone screen you should definitely protect your camera display.

After all of this done you should shoot, shoot, shoot! The more you shoot the more familiar you will be with your new camera. Being very comfortable with your camera and not fumbling with it only comes with hours of practice . So shoot everything and anything.  Getting used to all of the dials and buttons and knowing where they are will help you get the shot when it counts. Make photography more natural instead of a process of figuring out a new gadget. So until next week take your new camera and get out and Shoot, Shoot,Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) Accessories Bags blog camera camera straps camera systems Firmware gear landscape learning Lenses manual Max Stansell Photography New Peak Design Photography video website Fri, 14 Apr 2023 08:34:14 GMT
Table Top Photography Hey Everyone! Hope everyone is healthy and safe today.  This week I want to talk about something I don't talk about a lot Table Top Photography. This type of photography can be great fun especially on the cold days of winter.  You don't really need lots of equipment but you can buy lots of gear to do this if your a gear head like I am.  But you don't need to.  You can use Sunlight through a window or many flashes.  The one thing that you will need is your imagination.  I have done everything from still life to food photography and all are great fun to do.  When I first started I went on YouTube and found channels that showed you how the shot was created and then I would try it .  I did everything from Splash photography (dropping things in water) to motion photography (dragging the shutter) .  This is a great way to start to get your Photography juices Wine glass SplashWine glass Splash flowing.  Then you can start altering the process with using items that you have at your house. You can use almost anything from bed sheets to cardboard that you have laying around.  Here are a list of things that might come in handy when doing Table top Photography.

1. Table. Of course you need a table. Any table will do but a portable table that you can move and maybe set up and put away when not using could come in handy.  It doesn't have to be fancy it could be anything from a TV tray to a fancy table .  I actually use a steel table that I found in a dumpster maybe 20 years ago and its still going strong.

DiceDice 2. Some sort of lighting.  This could almost be anything from a table light to fancy strobes.  I have used them all .  I even have some constant LED lights that I picked up recently that I have been using that work great.  But almost anything.

3. Camera. Yep any camera will do from point and shoot to your iPhone.  But the camera that you normally use will be the best because your used to it.  Being able to shoot in manual will be a plus.

4. Tripod. A tripod comes in handy for a couple of reasons .  First it keeps your camera steady but more  Red HeartRed Heart importantly it keeps the frame constant. If  you have your camera on a tripod and have the scene set up you don't have to reframe when you're adjusting the object that your shooting. You just adjust it.  You don't have to pick up your camera and put to your face and readjust .  

5. Lenses? Almost any lens will do.  I tend to use a 50mm a lot when I'm doing table top photography. But a 24-70 would work great also. Really any lens will do . Macro lenses are also nice to use to shoot small stuff. Little things. 

What about shooting fine art? You can do this on the table top also. You can take simple photo's and take them into Photoshop and add some layers of texture to them and you have some really nice pieces that you could print and hang in your house as fine art. They are really cool to do and once you get the hang of it and the photoshop skills you can just fly thru these and make many.

So as you see tabletop photography can be fun and you can really build your photography skills up by just playing with your camera at home. So until next week pull out that table and shoot some stuff.

(Max Stansell Photography) blog fine art flashes gear learning macro Max Stansell Photography Photography reflectors splash Photography still life strobes Tabletop triggers website Fri, 07 Apr 2023 09:00:00 GMT
Bringing a Friend on Adventures Hey Everyone! Hope your week has been Fantastic! Mine has been pretty good. Thanks for asking! This week I want to talk about taking adventures no matter how small and how having a friend or friends with you will make the event even better. Now normally I talk about photography and this week will have a little in it but it will be mostly about "Adventure".  We all want a little adventure in our lives but its hard to get off of that couch and out the door to do them. I have found that photography has gotten me out of the house to seek more adventure but even more that that taking a friend  with me even makes it better.  Back in 2019 I started a adventure/project to visit all of the state parks in my state and even with the "TP Apocalypse" (Toilet Paper) dealing with Covid I was able to complete my goal. This was a personal goal and mainly done alone or with my companion Forrest the Wonder dog.  If you remember not too long ago I talked about having a Photography Wingman when traveling but I think for almost all of your adventures you should have a friend with you to make it just more fun! In just this last week I've had two small adventures and had friends along to make the experience even more fun even when things don't go quite as planned. Let me tell you about my two adventures.

Backpacking with a Noob. I have been an avid backpacker over the last decade or so but it's usually a solo affair or my son goes with me. I have never gone with a friend into the back country. My photography wingman Robert had not gone backpacking before. (well as a civilian) So this was a chance to make his trip as enjoyable as possible and give him a great experience. Now ruffing it to Robert is staying at a Motel 6 and not really sleeping in the woods. So I got all the gear that he would need for the backpacking trip and put in a nice pack for him to carry. I even supplied the meal that he would make for himself. The couple of weeks prior I sent him messages on Backpacking Tips and sent little videos on how to do stuff backpacking related.  I had picked an easy place to do the backpacking at. So from the time we left the truck it was a learning experience for him. We had a ball. He made a video of the experience. We set up his tent, blew up his air mattress and got him all settled in. After another small hike we took a break. He went to his tent and fell asleep. It was nice to see that he was comfortable enough to get some shut eye. That evening he cooked his meal and we did some night time photography.  I made a fire and kept it going for a few hours . It got cold at night and we left early for fear of rain. When we got to the truck it started sleeting and snowing a little mixed in with the rain. We had such a good time that next week we are going on another Backpacking/Photography adventure up in Virginia. I'll let you know how it goes.

Night time Photography in the city. During the week the next week after our backpacking trip. Robert and myself invited Caitlin to Raleigh NC (the closest big city near us) to do some night time photography.  We are all members of the local camera club and all of us have been officers of the club at one time or another. So we are pretty active and have become good friends. On the way to the shoot we stopped and got supper at the suggestion of Caitlin and it was fantastic. We talked of trips we had taken and future trips we were planning. We then traveled to a park where we could do some night time photography and also to a bridge overlooking a busy street to get some light trails. The whole night was planned by Robert and he always has interesting things to try. While messing around with flashes I had my camera on my tripod but didn't have the legs spread out like I should. I bumped into the tripod and it fell over bringing my camera and lens into a Nose Dive right into the concrete lens first and smashed up my lens. It broke it pretty good. Good thing it wasn't an expensive one. But no use in crying over spilled milk. I just grabbed another lens and kept up with the shoot. We had a ball cracking jokes and just being silly. I really enjoyed my time with my friends out on a small adventure. Did we get any great shots? No not really but we had fun.

So there you go two small adventures both taken with friends making them even better. I could have done both of these solo and I have in the past but its nowhere near as fun as with friends that share a common interest .  So if your part of a camera club you can always ask if anyone wants to go on a trip with you so you're not by yourself.  You won't be sorry. Going in small packs of friends is fun and safer than going solo. I have another trip planned with some photography friends in a couple of months and am looking forward to that trip also. Not only for the Photography but also for the experience. So until next week grab your buddy and get outside and shoot.

(Max Stansell Photography) backpacking blog Camping experience friend gear landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography website wingman Fri, 31 Mar 2023 09:00:00 GMT
Basic Tips to Astro Photography Hey Everyone!  Hope everyone is doing well and is healthy and safe.  This topic is a spur of the moment one that just occurred to me that I haven't talked about astrophotography before.  While attending a Zoom meeting with my camera club, a lady gave a great presentation on astrophotography, and I just wanted to jump in and give my 2 cents worth.  But I didn't want to be that guy, you know, Mister Know It All.  So this morning I figured I would just send a link to our group of one of my blogs about the subject and there wasn't one.  So this one is going to be it.  Now, I'm no expert on shooting at night, but I have done it a couple of times with both successes and some failures and wanted to share the little that I know with y'all.

Moon Shots.  When trying to get the exposure right on a very bright moon against a dark black sky, you just end up with a white dot if you let your camera do the work.  You need to go into manual to take this shot. Let's think a little about what shooting a full moon is anyway.  You're shooting the reflecting light of the sun.  So you can leave your white balance on "auto" if you're shooting in RAW, which you should be, or you can place it on "daylight" because that is what it is.  The best rule of thumb for me is to use the sunny 16 rule.  This is an old rule developed by Kodak when they were trying to teach people how to use a camera back in the beginning of the consumer camera photography.  The rule states "put your aperture on 16 then match your ASA(ISO) and shutter speed and the photograph will be properly exposed in sunlight." This rule works great for shooting the moon.  Now, you will need a tripod and a telephoto lens, and I would suggest using a remote trigger to keep the camera shaking down to a minimum.  This should give you a properly exposed moon. The gear I used for this shot was a Sony A6500 (a crop sensor camera) and my Sony 70-350 mm lens.  There are all kinds of moon phases, and you can just google and find out when the full moon, half moon, etc. will appear.  So good luck with shooting the moon! LOL  No, not that kind. LOL Taking a photo of the full moon can be a challenge.  

Shooting Stars. Shooting stars is a whole different thing to shooting the moon. The moon is very bright and shining, but stars are far away and have very little light.  So capturing that light is the trick.  I break shooting stars into two categories:  pinpoint stars where the stars are focused and are points of light (shooting the Milky Way also falls into this category) and star trails where the light of the stars makes a trail across the frame of your camera. 

For both types of shooting of the stars in these categories, place your camera in RAW and your white balance to AUTO, and that will take care of these settings and can be adjusted in post production very easily.  We will be shooting in manual mode and will be focusing in manual also.  Auto focusing has a hard time picking out stars to focus on, and manual will be much easier.  A large aperture wide angel lens will be needed.  Remember, we want to catch as much light as possible, so the larger aperture will come in handy.  An "F-stop" of 2.8 to 1.4 is recommended, the largest one you have; a sturdy tripod with a remote release; a head lamp or flashlight with a RED setting is best for working in the dark to preserve your night vision; and of course getting away from light pollution, sources from a town, street lights, or anything that produces light.  Really the farther away from civilization the better.  Shooting in a new moon, which means "no moon or moonlight," is better for this type of photography.  Let's start with star trail since this is the easier of the two.

Star Trails.  The example that I have put here is of what not to do.  Notice the light pollution on the right,  and the composition sucks.  But I did get some trials.  This was a single shot long exposure.  The first thing to remember when shooting stars is that they are not a stationary subject.  The stars move, or really the earth moves.  To get trails the exposures need to be 30 seconds or longer.  Now, you can take some longer exposures of
the stars and get small star trails, say a minute or so, you have to play with the times to get what you like.  Set up your scene with your camera and wide angel lens.  Put your aperture one click from wide open.  If you have it wide open, you could have trouble focusing because of diffraction.  Focusing is one of the hardest things about astro-photography.  This is what I've done.  During the day get your lens that you're going to use and focus on something at infinity and slowly get it as sharp as you can.  I mark this on my lens with a sharpie.  You'll notice that the infinity mark on your lens might not be the actual spot that it's in focus.  When you have this at night when you're back in the field, put your lens at this mark for starters.  Using live view you should be able to magnify what the screen is seeing and pinpoint one star and try to get it in focus as much as you can.  Then have your live view, go back to normal, and you'll be pretty sharp.  My starting points for star settings are aperture is one click from wide open, Shutter 25 sec ISO 3200 take a shot and see what you get.  Make adjustments and trial and error until you get what you Carolina Beach 2020Carolina Beach 2020 want.  If you want trails, make the shutter longer until you get the length you want.  Not too long because you'll be grabbing more light.  Then if your camera has a time lapse feature, use that so your camera will automatically take a photo just past your shutter speed time. You'll have to figure out how many shots you want to take.  Let your camera do the work.  When you get them in post production like Photoshop, you can stack the images together, and you will have very long light trails and sharp ones also.  This is something that takes lots of practice and experimenting, but don't forget the basics of photography like composing a good scene.  Try to have something in the foreground to give interest and contrast to your image. An intervalometer could be useful if your camera cannot do time lapse.  You can get these on Amazon for not too much, but make sure they are for your model of camera.  

Star scenes and the Milky Way.   Just about all of the settings are the same with this type of shooting stars as Max Stansell Photography with the star trails, except we want our shutter to be 25 seconds or shorter because we don't want the blurry stars; we want pinpoint stars.  Focusing will be the same as above, and the starting point settings are the same.  Remember, unless your are really out in the middle of nowhere, you will have trouble seeing the Milky Way with the naked eye.  Finding the Milky Way and certain stars and constellations will be the hardest part because the earth is rotating and the subjects are constantly moving.  Using an app on your phone can be very useful.  Shooting during the new moon (NO MOON)  will also be very useful.  I use the app Photo Pills, and it is a fantastic app for seeing where and when the moon, sun, and Milky Way will be moving through your scene.  It has a virtual horizon that you can use with your camera, and it will show you where the Milky Way will be while you're scouting during the day.  And then when it's the best time to shoot at night, you can go and set up and not have to struggle with location of the Milky Way or stars.  Setting up your scene is still very important with foreground interest and experimenting with shutter speeds and ISO settings.  Remember, the lower the ISO setting, the less noise.  The higher the setting, the more sensitive it is to light.  So there is a balancing act you will have to do to get this right for your camera.  Full frame sensor cameras tend to have better light gathering capabilities, but you can use smaller sensors also.  I use a crop sensor camera and do just fine.  My equipment for shooting night skies is a Sony A6300 or A6500 (Crop Sensor Camera) and a Rokinon 12mm f 2.0 manual lens.(18 mm full frame equivalent).  In lenses, use what you have, the widest aperture.  Maybe a 35 or 24 or even a 50 mm with a 1.4 to 2.8 f-stop will work fine.  Use what you have at first, but wide would be better.

This is a fun type of photography that some photographers really specialize in.  There are all types of gizmos and things you can get to help you with your star photography.  I just covered some of the basics.  You can get devices that track the stars and move while you're taking a long exposure to keep your stars sharp.  There are telescopes and all kinds of things.  You can have GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) overload or you can be like me and just dabble a bit.  Either way it's great fun.  So until next week, get outside and shoot some stars!

(Max Stansell Photography) Astrophotography blog learning Max Stansell Photography Milky Way Milkyway Photo Pills Star Trails Stars Startrails Tips website workshops Fri, 24 Mar 2023 09:00:00 GMT
The Scoop on Light Meters Hey Everyone! Hope you had a great week. This is a continuation on basic topics of Photography that I have been doing the last month or so. This is the first time that I have reposted a Blog of mine. This was originally written two years ago and posted and got a fairly good viewing with over 400 views. I recently went on a Natural Light Portrait workshop and one of the participants asked me why the instructor was  talking about hand held meter instead of using the meter in his camera. I gave her an explanation but then thought about writing a Blog on it but researched and found that I already had but thought it was worth rehashing.  So here it is.  This week I want to talk about light meters. There are basically two camps on this: those who are for light meters and those who are against them. I am for light meters in certain situations. Let's talk about light and how your camera works. First, light is the basis of all we do in photography. Without light, it's just a black square. Being able to measure light accurately is important when taking photographs. 

All modern cameras have built-in light meters that measure the light coming off of your subject. Your _MSP9577_MSP9577 camera sees this and makes corrections via a computer for the shot, and you have a great photo. But the reflective light can be misleading, causing your camera not to get the best exposure. When you're shooting a dark subject, the light that comes off of it will be darker than everything around it and cause your camera to lighten your photo incorrectly, creating an over-exposed shot. And if your subject is white, just the opposite will happen. Your camera can get fooled. This usually only happens in very extremes of the light spectrum, and you will have to override your camera by some sort of compensation. Your camera is set to expose all of your photos to 18% gray. So technically, if you are over or under 18% gray tones in your shot, your camera will try to get you to that 18%.  Most of the time you won't notice this except on the extremes, and you can usually fix it in post-production software. The type of metering in your camera is reflective metering, meaning it measures what is reflecting off of your subject.

A handheld light meter works in a different way. It measures what it sees. For example, if you're taking a photograph of a dark subject, you measure the light at the subject. If you measure the light before it hits and reflects off of the subject, you will get a truer reading. So if you're taking a photo of a dark subject and you set your camera manually to the readings your meter got and take the shot, you will get a perfectly metered shot. If the light stays the same, you can move a white subject into the same spot, take the shot, and the same settings will apply because the light didn't change. Take the shot and you will have a perfectly metered shot. If you're doing a landscape, measure the sun and set your camera to the meter's readings, and you will have a perfectly metered shot. Using a handheld meter is incident metering. You are measuring what hits the meter not what bounces off of the subject.

So when should you use a handheld meter? Should you use it all the time? Okay, now let's get practical.  You could use a handheld meter all the time and get great photos, but it's not practical to do so. The meter in your camera will work great for 90 percent of the photography that is done. Landscapes, sport, Portrait Workshop-6Portrait Workshop-6 wildlife, and street photography are things that can happen fairly quickly, and using a handheld meter would get in the way. The one type of photography that I always use a handheld meter for is when doing off-camera flash and/or portrait photography with or without strobes. I find this to be the best way to set your lights and get the metering perfect each and every time. If you have a model, go to the model's face, point the meter at the light and pop the flash, and you can set your camera to what the meter says and have a perfect exposure. If your lights and subject stay in the same place, you don't have to meter again. With your Head Shot 2Head Shot 2 camera in manual, you just shoot and everything will be properly exposed. Others will say, "Well, I only have to take a couple of test shots and adjust my camera or lights until I get it right in camera." And that is true. But to me it's sloppy, and I can meter once and have it perfect. Then I only have to think about my subject, posing, and composition. So in my humble opinion, when doing off-camera flash/strobes, it's much easier to use a meter, put everything in manual, and shoot that way. So I am in the for meters camp of thinking. There are many ways to get a light meter. And of course, the old saying "buy nice or buy twice" applies here. I have an older meter that I have had for years and it works great but you can get apps on your phone that may also work. But I cannot recommend them because I haven't tested or used them.  Sekonic is a very popular and reliable brand name that is the industry standard for photography light meters.  

So if the weathers bad and  you're stuck inside, do some Portraits and use a handheld meter and see how easy it is to use. Until next week, pull out that meter and shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog how Incident Metering landscape learning light Light Meter Manual Mode Max Stansell Photography meters Photography portrait Reflective Metering Sekonic strobes to website when workshops Fri, 17 Mar 2023 09:00:00 GMT
Day Hike and Scouting Gear Hey Everyone! Hope y'all had a great week. This weeks blog might be more of a hiking blog than a pure photography blog but there is some photography in it as well. This week I want to talk about what I have been doing a lot of the last few months. Day Hiking. The gear that I use for this is kept to the minimum. I'll be talking about the gear that I use when I take a day hike and or a photography scouting trip. They are almost the same except for a few items. I haven't really done many photography scouting trips because I haven't had the time before. I would have to get to work or this would be my only chance to check out this cool waterfall or what ever I was looking at. Now that I'm retired I have the time I will be doing more photography scouting trips to find places to shoot and then come back when the light is Walking down the PathWalking down the PathWalking down the Path First edits with Luminar as a plugin to lightroom. I think I'm going to like it. #MaxStansellPhotography #funwithphotography #Getoutandshoot #awesomestuffisee #SonyA6300 #alphashooter #NorthCarolinaPhotographer #NorthCarolinaLiving #visitNC #NorthCarolina just right.

Day Hiking, Here recently I have been using day hikes as my exercise to get me back in shape. I am fortunate to have a state park only 10 miles from my front door which makes a hike real easy. For exercise I prefer going on a hike instead of just urban walking down a sidewalk. Of course any type of walking is good for you. I like it because the terrain is uneven and your body needs to use more muscles to help keep you in balance. I usually take the day hike with my faithful companion Forrest the Wonder Dog and he really likes the hikes. I think he likes the smells more than anything. I have been going out to this state park for 10 years now and use it for training and trying out new gear for hiking or backpacking. I'm the guy that you will see at this little park with a big pack on my back hiking the trails. I'm trying to get used to the weight before I go on a backpacking trip. But for day hikes I use a small pack made by Mountain Smith. Its a 25 liter bag and its plenty big enough to carry what I need on a day hike. So lets get into the list of things I take on a day hike. 

Backpack, Like I said earlier I use a Mountain Smith Backpack but you could use almost any type of pack that can carry the essentials that you will need for a hike.

Clothing, Depending on the weather I'll have maybe gloves, stocking cap, rain coat, fleece sweater. I tend to dress cold because after you get walking you warm up. But I have always the room in my pack if I need to take off a coat and carry it if I get too hot. What I wear is also dependent of the weather but I never wear 100% cotton for hiking. If you sweat the cotton will stay wet for a long time and could cause hypothermia. The old saying is that Cotton Kills. I use blends or water wicking material that will dry quickly if I get wet for some reason. Almost anything from expensive hiking clothes to Walmart brand as long as it doesn't hold water.  A good hat is also good to have. It can be a baseball cap or a big brimmed hat. I usually have a baseball hat on.

Footwear. Probably one of the most important clothing choices is footwear. This is not where to save money and skimp. You want good socks and shoes that fit properly. The socks preferably wool socks cushion your feet and wick water away to prevent blisters. Shoes shouldn't be too tight because your feet swell with prolonged walking. Try to break shoes in before taking a long hike . Wear them around the house or to the store to get them comfortable before a long hike.

Food and Water. Keeping hydrated is very important especially during hot humid weather. Keeping some sort of food with you like a power bar or something sweet if your a diabetic and your blood sugar gets to low will help you get out of the woods. I always have these things with me.

Toiletries. I always have a kit that has some toilet paper or wet wipes with me . If I'm out many miles and the urge hits me I can get off trail and take care of business during an emergency. A small first aid kit with some band aids is also handy if you get a cut or blister.  I also always have chap stick and bug repellent and sun screen. I buy these in small one use packets to keep the weight down.

Medications, Any medications that you might need. Tumms , aspirin etc...

Trekking poles. This may have been the best purchase that I have ever made for hiking. I'm not talking about a big stick but special designed poles kind of like ski poles that will help you keep your balance and help up and down hills. They will save your knees and give you the confidence to look at your surroundings instead of just the trail in front of you. I have one that I use when Forrest the Wonder Dog is with me and on small hikes and a pair of poles when I'm taking longer hikes over 5 miles and when I'm backpacking. The single one that I have has a mounting spot on it where you could put a small tripod or camera mount and use it as a bipod . I mount a Go-Pro when I go some where new and I can quickly turn it on or use the pole as a selfie stick and photograph myself. With my double pole set up I have a little device that I don't even know if its made anymore but its called a Stix Pix and you can attach a GoPro Mount or a Phone Mount as I have shown here. This attaches to the pointy end of the Trekking Pole and you can use as a selfie stick to video or photograph.

Camera- My main Hiking/Scouting Camera is the Canon G7XMII that I have talked about in the past. Its a great little point and shoot that I use as my EDC Camera (Every day Carry) . This is the link to the blog about it. EDC (Every Day Carry) Camera It is small and I have a peak design clip on my backpack strap that I can attach it to for easy access.

Fanny Pack. I know , I know nobody likes a fanny pack. Except me. LOL I like the convince of having it sitting right in front. I usually have my phone , wallet and keys in the pack . If I'm somewhere I need a map the map goes there and a snack. If its cold I usually have a vest of some sort that has lots of pockets so I don't need the fanny pack.

Forrest Stuff.  If Forrest the Wonder Dog is going with me I have a collapsable bowl , poop bags, Leash, His Harness , and Jacket if colder than 40 degrees. When we hike to keep my hands free I have a small belt that I wrap around me and on the end of his leash is a carabiner that I hook to the belt and then I'm hands free. The carabiner will slide around me on the belt. I don't hook to my pants belt because it tugs at your pants if he see's a squirrel or something. It's much easier with the separate belt. You need to practice with this set up so you don't get tangled up in the leash and trip. Small commands like Stop, Come do really come in handy. Its taken a while but I can tell Forrest to stop when we get to a road without touching the leash.  Of course if you're on a longer hike water and snacks you'll have to tote.

For Scouting I usually have all of the above and add a Go-Pro to the top of the Trekking pole that I talked about earlier. I'll also take a mini tripod that I can use for my EDC camera or the Go-Pro. I rarely take a big boy camera unless I know that there is a waterfall or some feature that I know that I'm hiking to just for the photo. Then I would add the camera and maybe a tripod. But usually if I'm going that far I will take my Landscape backpack with all my gear and it has room for all of the gear mentioned above. 

Well that's about it for Day Hikes and Scouting Gear. Until next week get out and take a hike and Shoot!


(Max Stansell Photography) backpack blog Canon G7XMII cotton kills day Hikes first aid Go-Pro hiking shoes landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography scouting Trips Stick Pic synthetic Trekking Poles tripod website wool workshops Fri, 10 Mar 2023 10:00:00 GMT
Camera Kits. Do you have more than one? Hey Everyone! Hope you're having a great week.  This week I'll be talking about a first world problem. I have noticed that I have more than one camera kit. I know, I know I have a gear problem. Most people have only one camera and a few lenses and that is normal . But me ?  I'm not as normal as most folks. I have many cameras and kits that I use quite a lot for different stuff. You may have  more kits than you realize if you use your phone for photography. Now is just one kit Okay? It's more than Okay, it's normal. Let me go through my kits and explain why I have separate ones. Being abnormal.

Film Kit- This is my oldest kit. Some are camera's I bought new and others I bought as antiques but they all work and I have used all of them at least once. My main camera in this group is a Pentax MX that I bought in 1982. My first SLR type of camera was a Pentax K1000 that I sold and the MX replaced it. I have various lenses to go with this camera but I really only use it once in a while. I have about 20 rolls of film that I can use. I also have a Canon/Bell  Canonet a 1961 era camera that I shoot and it still works well. I did have to replace the light seals in it but it works great and is very retro. My oldest camera is a Kodak box camera that goes back to 1920's. This kit is only used when I really want to spark up my photography mojo.

EDC (Every Day Carry) Kit- If you follow this blog you have heard me talk about this kit quite a bit. This is the camera Kit that I have with me everywhere I go. The grocery store, Barber shop, Walmart almost everywhere I have this kit. I also have it with me when I go hiking or backpacking. And especially when I take trips with my wife this is the one I use to take photos. It's a Canon G7XMII Point and shoot camera. It can do everything my big camera's do but in a very small package. It works great for street photography because its so small and un intimidating .  I have filters for it like a polarizer and ND filter that can attach to the front of the 24-100 f1.8-2.8 lens. Your EDC might be your phone but I like a dedicated camera that has a larger sensor that I can shoot in Manual or Aperture or Shutter Priority just like my big camera's. I would suggest this type of camera for a first camera for anyone interested in Photography.

Landscape and Wildlife Kit- This is what I would call my main kit. I am basically a Landscape and travel photographer but this is the kit I use for my Landscape work. This used to be the camera that I used for everything from portraits to product or tabletop photography but now its just used mainly for Landscapes. Why you ask. Well it's a great camera and I have fantastic lenses for it. It is my most dialed in kit. It is a crop sensor Sony A6500. Its a older camera and I may upgrade the body. But it still takes great photo's. Just about all the landscapes you see on my website were taken with this  camera. I use the crop sensor camera for this for a couple of reasons. One is size if I have to hike a mile or so to get to a water fall I would much rather carry a small camera kit than a larger one. The other reason is that with a crop sensor camera you get more depth of field something you want in landscape. For most people that are not professional photographers I would recommend a crop sensor camera over a full frame camera. The size and price are reason enough and you can't tell the difference  in photo quality as far as I can tell. That being said my next kit is a full frame kit. LOL

My Everything Else Kit- This is my newest kit. I use it for Portraits , Street, Tabletop almost everything beside Landscape and Wildlife. The main reason is ergonomics. I love the way this camera fits in my hand and all of the dials and buttons just fit for me. The camera is a Full Frame Sony A7III. Nothing fancy it's a older camera now that I bought used. I use mostly primes on this camera although I just got a Kit lens for it that is a zoom. This bag that I use for this camera is the bag that I call the purse. Its an over the shoulder bag and I usually have a lens or two in it to change out. Right now this is my fun camera to shoot. 

I'm sure this sounds excessive and maybe a little.  And I know it sounds expensive but all of this kit was bought over many years and most of it was bought used cutting the cost. And it just kind of evolved it wasn't planned at all. I got the EDC for a trip to Washington DC with my wife and I didn't want to bring all of my kit.  It worked great and it became my EDC camera going to with me to work and everywhere else. My film cameras I have had for decades. My Landscape and Wildlife camera was my main camera for years until I got my everything else camera that I traded in a lot of things to get this camera. I already had lenses for this camera. So it just kind of evolved. Well that's enough about this silly first world problem or maybe not a problem. Until Next week Get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog Canon G7XMII Crop Sensor EDC Film Full Frame Gear Kits learning Max Stansell Photography Pentax MX Photography Point and Shoot Portraits Sony A6500 website Wildlife Fri, 03 Mar 2023 08:44:50 GMT
The Basics "The Exposure Triangle" Hey Everyone! How was your week? Mine was pretty good. Thanks for asking. LOL Hey today I want to talk about something very basic in photography. The Exposure Triangle. I am giving a presentation on this subject with my local photography club and thought I would write a Blog about it. I can't believe I haven't written one on the subject before now. We have a lot of new members and new photographers in our club so I was tasked to give this presentation. So what is "The Exposure Triangle"?

The Exposure Triangle has been about since the beginning of photography.  These three settings are aperture , shutter speed and ISO. All three of these settings work together to give you the perfect exposure. Whether you're in full manual operation of your camera or one of the automatic modes of your camera. When your in auto the camera does all of the calculations and make the decision on what the settings should be. The camera gets it right most of the time but understanding the exposure triangle is the key to shooting in manual and controlling your camera when the auto doesn't work. I have been shooting SLR "Single Lens Reflex" cameras for over 45 years and the first few decades it was always in manual operation and under standing the triangle is the only way to get great photo's when shooting in manual. If you have a perfectly exposed image and you change one of the three settings you will have to make an adjustment on one of the other ones or both.  They all work together to get the perfect exposure. What is perfect exposure? It is the brightness of the photo when you look at the scene without the camera. How it looks naturally. You can have a photo over exposed ( too bright) or under exposed (too dark) Your light meter or your eye can tell you if its right or not. Modern camera's have made this very easy with the WYSIWYG. (What You See Is What You Get) Technology of today. In my day you may have to wait a day or two to see what the photo looked like or until you got it into the darkroom yourself.  But now you can see instantaneously what your adjustments are. You can see what the Shutter Speed , Aperture, and ISO does to your photo's. So let's talk about the big three.

ISO, ISO is how SENSITIVE your sensor or film is. In my day it was called ASA for film. The higher the number the more sensitive it is to the EYESEYES light. The higher the number the more sensitive and more grainy the film or your sensor on the camera can be. Grain or noise is more intense in the higher ISO's. With modern technology this is not as much as a problem as it use to be. Going above 500 ISO used to be a problem but now you can go as High as 16000 with newer cameras and not notice at all. You just have to remember that the Higher the number the more SENSITIVE the sensor is. Any change in this setting you will have to change one or both of the other settings.

LeafLeaf Aperture, I think that this is (for ME!) the most important of the three. Aperture controls the DEPTH OF FIELD of the image by controlling the size of the hole in your lens (the Aperture ring).  The depth of field is how much of the scene is in focus. The larger the depth of field the larger the area that is in focus. This control will let you blur out the background on a portrait or let the whole scene be in focus for a landscape shot. The larger the F-Stop number on your lens the more DEPTH OF FIELD you will have and the smaller the F-Stop number the smaller the DEPTH OF FIELD will be. For example a portrait shot at F-2.8 will have Fall Colors HouseFall Colors House a small DEPTH OF FIELD and the landscape shot at F-16 will have a large DEPTH OF FIELD.  This is one of the ways we show our artistic side when choosing what Aperture we use but when we change the Aperture we must change one or both of the the other settings.

Shutter Speed, Shutter Speed controls the DURATION TIME that the shutter is open and controls the amount of light that is captured during the recording of the image. The longer the shutter is open the more light that is let in. Using the control of this setting is great for capturing or showing motion in a photo. Longer shutter speeds are used to show the flow of a water fall giving it that silky smooth look. Fast shutter speeds are used for wildlife to freeze the action of the bird in flight or a humming birds wings. The measurement comes in increments like 1/1000th sec. or 1/60th of a second up to 30 seconds. The smaller the increment of the shutter will let in less light and the longer increment of shutter will let in more light. A shot at 1/1000th sec.  will freeze the action but a shot at 1 second will blur the action.  Longer exposures will require a Tripod to keep the subject of still objects in focus and not have blur from the movement of your hands. A general rule is _MSP2682_MSP2682
that anything under 1/60th sec. Blue Water SplashBlue Water Splash Shutter speed should be on a tripod but with modern cameras and camera's with stabilization this is no longer the case and you can go lower than the 1/60th sec.  This is also very handy for Night Time Photography with shutter speeds around 20 seconds to start with. But remember if you make a change to this setting one or both of the others will have to be changed.

Learning how these three settings and mastering  how they work will make you a better photographer and let you control what is coming out of your camera. If you shoot in manual mastering these three is a must. If you shoot in one of the auto modes when your camera gets it wrong you will be able to quickly adjust and overcome the mistake your camera made and get the proper exposure. The exposure triangle is used by every photographer on the planet and is very easy if you take the time to learn it. Until Next Time ! Get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) Aperture blog exposure triangle Fundamentals ISO landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography Shutter Speed website workshops Fri, 24 Feb 2023 10:00:00 GMT
Camera Modes Which One and Why? Hey Everyone! How's it going this week? I'm doing fine thanks for asking. This week I want to get into basics a little. The last couple of weeks I talked about specific kind of photography but this week and maybe the next couple of weeks I want to dive into the basics of photography. We have some new photographer members of my camera club and since the majority of my readers are in the photography club I thought I would go into the basics. So this week I want to talk about what camera modes to use and why?  Back when I started photography there was only one mode "Manual" and that is what I used for decades before the newer and smarter cameras came out. Then I had to learn what the other modes were and why would I ever use them? I didn't need them before why do I need them now?  Even auto focus had me puzzled and I had to figure all of that out. Modern cameras now are just small computers that take in all of this exposure information and make decisions on how to focus and what the proper exposure is, they do this in a mili-second. Now many photographers will say I only shoot in manual that is the only way to get it right. I was apart of this club for a long time  because I just didn't know better. We spend a lot of money for our cameras we should use it and take advantage of the tech that is built into it. Most cameras today are light years ahead of what I started with as a new photographer. They all shoot video that is of the quality that you could film a feature movie with and you could use any of them to shoot high fashion shoots and make lots of money as a product photographer. I 11-sony-a630011-sony-a6300 mean any modern camera can do this now. But just shooting in manual all of the time and not using the features is like buying a new "Corvette" and putting it in neutral and pushing it down the street. Sure you can get it to where you want but really what can it do on the open road when you put it in drive? The same with your camera it will work perfectly well in manual but what will it do if you put it in drive? Or in our case, camera modes. Let's talk about the different camera modes and what you as a photographer can do with them. There are four main camera modes, most cameras have more but we will talk about the four Main ones. Manual, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, and Program mode. _MSP9733_MSP9733

Manual Mode, In manual mode you ,the photographer, make all of the decisions. What the Aperture , Shutter speed, and ISO. The Exposure Triangle that we will discuss in another blog next week. You can even go as far as manual focusing if you want to go to extremes . But auto focus always does better than my old eyes. The advantage to this mode is that you control everything. Perfect for the "A personalities" in the world. The MetroThe MetroCommuters waiting for the Metro in Washington DC. This used to be a hard one to master when it was the only choice. You shot a roll of film and sent it off and a week later you see if your decisions were good enough. But now a days you can see instantaneously what your decisions have done make learning easier. I think that everyone should be able to manually operate their camera if the camera doesn't get it right. You should be able to over-ride the camera and know why.

Shutter Priority- We use shutter priority when Shutter Speed is the most important part of the exposure  Sandstone Falls New River Gorge NPSandstone Falls New River Gorge NP triangle that we want to control. The camera will make all other decisions for you.  It will manipulate it and also it will adjust your Aperture upon the decision you made for shutter speed. Shutter speed is used to mostly control motion. If you want to freeze your subject like sport or wildlife shutter speed is important. If you want to slow down the shutter speed to show flowing water you could use Shutter priority but I would suggest that you use a tripod when you get to 1/60th a second or so to eliminate camera shake and making the image blurry. So Shutter Priority is for motion.

DavidDavid Aperture Priority- This is the one that I use the most and its when the Aperture is the most important thing in taking the photograph. The Aperture controls the "depth of field" how much of the photograph is in focus. When we see with our eyes everything is not in focus all of the time. When you look at something everything else blurs a little. I like to do the same with my photographs. For me it is the Art in Photography is with depth of field guiding your viewer to certain portions of the photograph or making a busy scene less busy by bluring out the background.  And just the opposite you can use Aperture to make as much of the scene in focus like a landscape.  When you adjust the aperture the camera makes all other decisions just like in shutter priority except it controls , shutter speed and ISO if in Auto. This mode is great for portraits , street and candid type of photography.

Program Mode- We make a joke that the "P" on your camera stands for Professional. But it stands for Program mode. In this mode the camera makes all of the decisions for you except for ISO but if your in ISO Auto It will do that too.. Sometimes this is a great way to start. By putting your camera in Program mode and looking at the settings it chose you can go into one of the other modes and put those settings in for a start if you don't know where to start with your settings. Using program mode basically turns your fancy camera into a point and shoot camera. Which could be good in certain situations. If you keep your camera in program mode and something happens right in front of you like a car wreck all you have to do is lift your camera and start shooting and you will get well exposed shots. Maybe not the artistic shots that you want but those first few will be usable then you can switch over to one of the other modes.

_DSC6457_DSC6457 Your fancy camera is trying to have a perfect exposure every time. But it is set to make the scene 18 percent grey. If you are in that kind of light the auto modes work great and maybe say 60 to 70 percent of the day its like that but what if its dark outside? Your camera will brighten it up and it won't look natural and you will have to over compensate for it by knowing the exposure triangle basics and being able to adjust the right setting on your camera to get it back to where its supposed to be. Most cameras have an exposure compensation dial that they can use when in the program modes , Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority or Program Mode. The advantage of using the program modes is speed. The camera automatically will make the adjustment on the fly. So say your doing street photography in Aperture Priority mode if you go from a shady to sunny spot in the street the camera will adjust for you on the fly. If Man Waiting for T BostonMan Waiting for T Boston you are in manual you can make the adjustments but it take more time and you might not get the shot of the person passing by. The last decade or so I have become more dependent on Program modes and only use manual when my camera is on a tripod. Maybe 10ish percent of the time . The other 90 percent I'm usually in Aperture Priority mode. But by knowing my camera I can quickly go into manual or use exposure compensation if I have to to correct the exposure.

Other modes. Depending on the manufacturer you camera could have many other cool modes . Not all are the same. Mine has an auto mode that I control ISO and everything else is controlled by the camera. I have scene mode where you can pic scenes and the camera will adjust accordingly to the scene for example night scene, or fireworks, or sunset, many scenes. Mine also has a video mode and a Slow and Quick mode that works with video where you can shoot in slow motion or hyper lapse. I'm sure your camera has many of the same .  Knowing your camera and reading the manual watching operational videos on your specific make and model camera will  make you more proficient in using your camera thus a better photographer. Well I have blabbed enough on this subject so until next week. Get out and shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) aperture blog Camera Modes landscape learning Manual Max Stansell Photography Photography Program Shutter sports street website Wildlife workshops Fri, 17 Feb 2023 10:00:00 GMT
Choosing your first Prime Lens Hey Everyone! Hows your week going? Mine Great! Thanks for asking. Today I want to talk about your first prime lens. There are so many which one to get? Why a prime? What is a prime? All good questions and we will answer them. When your new into photography you get a entry level camera which is awesome and the company, no matter what brand you get, will put an inexpensive lens on so you can shoot right away. Its usually a zoom lens that give you many focal lengths to play with. These Zoom lenses are called Kit lenses and can be great lenses but more than not they are cheaply built and have smaller aperture ranges. But for someone just starting they are great! So after you've shot with them a while you start thinking about your next lens purchase. Really this will be your first lens purchase. You do some research and see what all the popular pros are shooting and those lenses are expensive and seem to be made out of un-obtainium. I think your first lens purchase should be a prime lens. It only has one focal length. Instead of being a 16-55mm its AMT2016-sony-a6300-review-0423-2AMT2016-sony-a6300-review-0423-2Photographer: Anthony Thurston a 35mm or a 50mm. Instead of having a variable maximum f-stop rating of f3.5-5.6 it may have a rating of f1.8 or f2.8. These lenses are cheaper have wider apertures and are sharper than the kit lenses. So there is the why to get a prime and the what is a prime. But which one? Well let me tell you about my story. When I started in photography long, long time ago zooms were made out of un-obtainium and weren't that good or sharp. So when you bought a camera it usually came with a 50mm prime lens usually at f1.8 or 2.8. That is what you learned on and your feet were you're zoom. Now how does that help you? It doesn't I just wanted to talk about the old days. LOL Lets talk about some of the different focal lengths.

24mm is a very popular focal length now a days for VLOGing and for video most phones shoot at the widest in the 20's and the photo's that are on instagram and face book shot with phones are starting to be the normal for some folks. I think of 24 being a specialty wide angle lens and would not get this lens for my first prime. Unless your a VLOGer.

35mm is another popular lens.  It's not as wide as the 24 but wide enough for environmental portraits and Art MuseumArt Museum street photography to capture the whole scene. This lens is very popular with street photographers being able to get into tight corners of the city and still be wide enough to get the shot. This is a good choice for a first prime lens if you shoot in the city a lot or love to shoot environmental portraits.

50mm is the bread and butter lens. It is said to be the closest to how we see the world threw our own eyes. This is a good street although not as wide as the 35 but also great for portraits with the least amount of  Max Stansell Photography distortion.  Good for head shots and full length as well. They are sometimes called the nifty 50.  They can be had for just a couple of hundred or even cheaper used. This is a great value lens and I think every photographer should have one in their lens lineup. But the first one?

85mm is a portrait beast for head shots. Maybe a little too tight for everyday DavidDavid street but I would have one on me if I shot a lot of street for the longer shots that can compress a little. One of my favorite lenses to shoot portraits with. I just love how one can really blur out the background. If you take a lot of Portraits its a must have in your lens lineup. But the first one?

135mm this is another great portrait lens and the first focal length that I bought as a teenager. This lens is long enough that you can do some telephoto work with it and shoot scenes that compress (bring the background in closer) .  I actually still have that lens that is so old that it is a screw mount lens as it screws into the body of the camera instead of a bayonet type that all modern camera's have now. 

SarahSarah So which one to use? Well it depends on what type of photographer you are. If you notice in all of the descriptions above I never mentioned Landscape. I don't think that a prime lens would be my choice for landscape although you could certainly use  one It would not be my choice. The easy and simple way to check is if your using Lightroom look and see which focal length you use more often by sorting your photos by focal length. The one with the most photo's wins. That would be the focal length that I would get. But take into consideration on what your going to use the lens for .  If you take portraits then the 50 or the 85 would be great choices. If you like environmental shots then the 35 would be great. If your a VLOGer then the 24 would be great. I really don't think the 135 should be the first. I think its too specialized in what it can do and the others are more versatile. My opinion.  So there you have it which prime to get first. So until next week . Get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) 135mm 24mm 35mm 50mm blog compress landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography portrait Prime street website workshops Zooms Fri, 10 Feb 2023 10:00:00 GMT
Macro Photography "how to" Hey Everybody! Hope you're having a great week.  This week is a continuation on Macro Photography.  I've got a pot of Chili cooking and its raining outside so what a better time to talk about Macro Photography.  The small world of macro photography can be found anywhere you are. You don't have to go to a special place you can use your back yard or inside on a rainy day to take Macro shots from another world. Making the ordinary look extraordinary !  What I'm about to give you is my way of doing Macro Photography I'm sure there are many ways and you can focus stack images to make the whole photo look sharp I'm not going to get into that much detail.  First off let's pick the subject.

Picking a subject. Well this is subjective! LOL Well it is .  You can choose anything you like because when its photographed so close up its hard to recognize as the object that you started with and becomes something more abstract. For my exercise today I'm going to use a coin. And like any photograph make sure the background is good. For this first exercise I'm going to use a 28-60 kit lens and an a 10mm extension tube. I'm using a on camera flash shooting through a small diffuser which is really making my background turn black. You don't need a flash you could use LED lights or bright sunlight from a window or your back yard.  I'm shooting all manual. I can use the auto focus to get me close to sharpness then I switch to manual focus for fine tuning. When I'm in Manual focus I use the focus peaking found on most modern camera's to tell me what is in focus and what is not. Remember when shooting in macro really close up you have a very small depth of field. To get the whole object (the coin) I would either have to shoot from above so the whole coin is in the same focal plane in focus or if I shoot from the side I would have to take multiple photo's with focus in different spots and blend in photoshop to get all in focus. That process is another discussion. I kind of like the blurry parts of a photo sometimes. As you can see with the first photo the middle is in focus but the bottom and top of the coin are out of focus and its more a close up shot than a macro. After I took the photo with the 10mm I took it with a 16mm and it looks closer but still not macro for me . But it does a good job. Now I could have combined the two extension tubes and got a 26mm which would have gotten me closer. But I decided not to and decided to go to a dedicated Macro lens. You can see that the 16mm on the right is a closer shot and that only the bottom of the coin is in focus. The next shots I took was with a 50mm dedicated macro lens that I bought second hand from MPB. I used all the same settings But I had to switch to a more sturdy tripod because this lens is much heaver than the kit lens that I was using. This photo on the left shows that with my first attempt I didn't get as close as I could have but did get much closer than the kit lens and the larger extension tube. I focused in manual using the peak focusing option in my camera or you can use the digital zoom in feature that most of modern camera's have. This lets you zoom in and fine tune your focus before you take the shot. As you can see the zoom in feature on the right photo of the photo on the left I could zoom in and really see the detail of the year date on the coin. The other method that I like to use is to get the subject the way you want it and with peak focusing option on my camera I can slowly go closer or further away and watch my focus come in. With peak focusing a color is used to highlight what is in focus on this photo on the left you can see how the focus is along the bottom of the coin and extends to the background as well. Hopefully you can see the highlights I took a photo of the back of my camera with my eye phone. But the bottom of the coin there is a small section that highlights the 1921 and extends to the background showing what is in focus. Those are really all of the techniques that I use. Nothing special. Macro photography can be fun and exciting but it also can be tedious work and small fractions of a inch matter. There is a whole world out there that no one else sees or notices .  So until next week get out and shoot!


(Max Stansell Photography) blog close up diffuser flash landscape learning macro Max Stansell Photography micro Photography website workshops Fri, 03 Feb 2023 10:00:00 GMT
Macro Photography for Beginners "Gear" Hey Everyone!  Hope you had a great week! This week I wanted to talk or share my thoughts on Macro Photography. Now I'm no expert and have recently acquired another Macro lens. I've had several over the years. But I've got one to add to my Landscape Photography Kit. So if I'm out and about and the light has gone bad I still can do some Macro Photography. Some really close up shots. So this blog will be mainly about gear. So lets start with the first question.

What is Macro Photography? Macro Photography is when the object size is the same size on the sensor or 1:1 Ratio or better.  So if your have a one centimeter object that your taking a photo of it will take up 1 centimeter on your sensor. What does all that mean? Not much to you and me except that you can focus real close. You can take photos of bugs and spiders and they take up the whole screen on your viewfinder without cropping the photograph to make it large.  When your shooting Macro you are shooting a whole new world that you can't usually see with your eyes or that you ignore altogether. Very Cool. 

What lens do I use to do Macro Photography. If you don't have a dedicated Macro Lens I would start with extension tubes.  Extension Tubes are put between your lens and a camera and let you focus closer.  They are inexpensive and don't have any glass in them so they won't effect the quality of your image. You can get a good set of three for under 50 bucks. You can use all three or stack them to get the effect you want. Macro Lenses come in a variety of focal lengths and price points. And as with everything in Photography you get what you pay for. But you can get some good gear on the cheap to start out.There are some third party lenses that are very inexpensive but they are manual focus only. Dedicated Macro lenses are versatile remember these lenses can be used for other stuff too. A 105mm Macro is an excellent focal length for portraits and is used by many in the portrait industry for head shots. The focal length as it pertains to Macro Photography will determine your working distance to your subject. The longer focal length you will have more distance between you and your subject the smaller the less working distance. Make sure you put into consideration on the type of camera your are using. A crop sensor will have to multiply the focal length by 1.5 to get the working focal length. A 50mm will act like a 75mm on a crop sensor camera. 100mm seems to be the sweet spot for premium Macro lenses but they come in all focal lengths. But remember to be a true macro it must magnify at a 1:1 ratio no mater what the lens says on the side of it. Some cheaper lenses say they are macro but aren't they may get close to the macro ratio but not quite. I have owned a 105mm macro when I shot Nikon and it was a excellent lens I sold that one and eventually got an older 60mm nikon lens that was also a good lens  but when I got rid of all of my Nikon gear that was the last lens that I held onto and used an adapter to fit it to my Sony cameras and used it quite a bit. I then sold it and was without for a while until I just purchased a used Sony 50mm f2.8 lens which I like very much. I have just started to play with it again that's why this blog was started.  These lenses can be expensive and I hear there are good third party lenses from companies like Tamron that make good ones. 

Accessories for Macro.  When shooting Macro photography the closer you get to a subject the more light you need. One of those Physics things. So to add light you can use artificial light like an LED light or a Flash. They make LED and Flashes that attach to the front of your lens and then go to your hot shoe of your camera. You can also just use a regular flash. Almost any will do you don't have to spend a lot of money on these because you will be using it in manual and not TTL. So you can use a basic flash that you can get for 60 bucks or so. A diffuser will also be handy to make that small flash look huge to the little object that you will be take a photo of. Now if you're going to be using your flash off camera you will need some sort of trigger  or cord to get the flash off camera. These can be inexpensive also.

Thats about all that you will need to shoot Macro and you probably have most of these things already in your photography arsenal. So get them out and dusted off and start using . My next blog on Macro will be about the how to do the macro shots not on gear. So until next week get out and start shooting.

(Max Stansell Photography) blog close up extension tubes landscape learning Lenses macro Macro Lenses Max Stansell Photography Photography website workshops Fri, 27 Jan 2023 05:00:00 GMT
Hiking and Walking to improve your Photography Hey Everyone! Hope you had a great week. This weeks title might having you think that I'm a little crazy. And I am! LOL I think that the more Physically fit you are the better that you'll do everything. You think better and you don't get as tired on a long day. Now when we are in our 20's and 30's we really don't have to think about it but as we get older we do. Now I am no physical specimen I'm like every one else to big and out of shape. But I have been working on it and by the time this blog comes out I will have lost over 35 lbs and can hike or walk many miles without getting tired.  This is all due to me getting off of my butt and going for a hike. This morning me and Forrest the Wonder Dog went for about a 4-1/2 to 5 mile hike , the temp was perfect in the low 40's perfect hiking weather. While I was hiking I was thinking about this blog and what I wanted to talk about. If you know me I have just retired and your probably saying that you don't have time to hike or walk 3 or so miles a day. I am here to tell you that you can and I have done it with a full time job and commuting 3 hours a day. It can be done. I use to commute to work and worked pretty much in a cubicle but at lunch time instead of going Into the woodsInto the woodsIn the woods again. I used to hike. I used to hike a lot. About 4 or 5 years ago I was hiking a lot of miles, I could go up to 14 with a pack on my back in the mountains. Thats going up and down over rough terrain. Over a year ago I hurt my knee. As knee injuries go this wasn’t the worst that could happen to me but it was bad enough to keep me from hiking. They really can’t repair the problem unless it gets worse and have to replace the knee. And I’m no where near that yet thank goodness but I will have to deal with this knee problem. I have been taking short hikes with my hiking partner Forrest at the Cliffs of the Neuse. Little mile or two at a time and the terrain isn’t too awful bad at cliffs of the Neuse. Yesterday Me and Forrest went into the woods at Raven Rock State park and completed a 5 Mile hike. This was the first real test of my knee in a long time . The terrain is very rocky and uneven except for this level spot where we took this photo of us. Forrest was a great partner when he heard me huffing and puffing he slowed down and when I was doing ok he sped up. I had his leash clipped to my belt loop and was hands free of his leash (except for a couple of Squirrels) LOL This particular trail was the first time I hiked over 5 miles and after a couple of years I came back and didn’t know what all the fuss was about. It was not a piece of cake for me yesterday I had my camera gear with me (and extra weight My Belly) that I carried with me but we made it OK. I look forward to getting into the woods again. #MaxStansellPhotography #funwithphotography #getoutandshoot #awesomestuffisee #northcarolinaphotographer #northcarolinaliving #sonya6300 #alphashooter some where to eat I put on some walking shoes and started walking. Before long I had a three mile trek that I would do every day to get my steps in.  Just that little act along with eating properly and the pounds will come off. So what's the secret? Here's mine.

Walking or hiking and I prefer hiking because you use more muscles because of the uneven ground you have to keep your balance which uses more muscles. Its not about how far you go but how long you do it at a time. Walking an hour a day 4 or 5 times a week is great. The average hiker goes about 3 miles per hour but depending on the terrain I go anywhere between 2 and 2-1/2 miles an hour. On flat ground just walking I can get to 3 mph. So find you a track that is about 2 to 3 mile long and take a walk. Walking is therapeutic and slows your mind down from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  During this hike you will burn about 350 to 400 calories .  If you eat healthy Low Carb and High Protein diet and Keep the Calorie intake down.  AMT2016-sony-a6300-review-0423-2AMT2016-sony-a6300-review-0423-2Photographer: Anthony Thurston Count those Calories! The weight will come off. For me personally I have kept my calorie intake between 1500 and 2000 per day. I record everything I eat and suggest that you do to and after a while you'll know what you can eat and not eat. At first you will be hungry but your body will adjust and you won't be hungry. Stay the course!  If you burn more than you eat your body will use the fat that you have accumulated to keep your body engine running and the pounds will come off. I would suggest taking a multi vitamin once a day just incase your missing out on something  because of your diet. It might take a couple of weeks before things start to happen but they will and the pound will slowly come off .  I'm averaging 1 pound per week. I weigh myself every morning at the same time. Sticking to your new routine is the key and it will work. Thats the secret.

Here are some tips to Hiking and Walking. If your walking wear comfortable shoes. I wear Skechers. They are fairly inexpensive and are soft on my feet. If your walking on a sidewalk or street they will cushion your feet from the hard surface. If your hiking I would wear a more aggressive souled shoe for traction so you don't slip. I wear a pair of trail runners that I use for backpacking. While hiking I also use a hiking stick ,(trekking pole) to help with balance. They have more than once saved my bacon from falling. Dress in comfortable clothes. In colder weather layer up.  A hikers moto is " if its cold outside be bold and dress cold" they say that because after your body starts working you will warm up and if you dressed too warm you will have to take some off. Like a big coat.  I carry a small backpack with water maybe a energy bar. I also take my everyday cary camera my Canon G7XMII a point and shoot incase I see something interesting. I have a collapsable bowl that I bring for Forrest to drink out of .  I listen to music or a podcast while I'm hiking so a pair of ear buds are great. Lately I've been listening to smooth Jazz radio on Pandora. I really don't have milage goals but I have step goals. If you have some sort of pedometer that can count your steps that is great. My watch counts mine. I set a goal of 10000 steps a day. I usually hike or walk 3 or 4 days then take a rest day to let my muscles relax. Keep and eye out on the weather and if its going to be rainy take a rest day but if you like the rain have at it.

Being in good shape will help your photography and keep you more energetic. Last year Me and Robert went to Zion National Park to hike Angles landing. Its 2 miles up to Scouts landing then another 1/2 mile straight up to the top of Angles landing.  I was very heavy and carrying camera equipment. I struggled to get to Scouts Landing and was very wobbly there and did not do the Angles Landing. I didn't do it because I was not fit enough to do it. Robert made it to the top and got some great photo's but more important he got a great memory because he was more fit. Don't miss out because you're out of shape. So until next week get out and hike and shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog calories exercise fitness footwear hiking hiking shoes landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography point and Shoot street walking website workshops Fri, 20 Jan 2023 10:00:00 GMT
Kit Lenses with Primes Hey Everyone! How's it going this week? Hope you're having a good one. This week will be a bit controversial for serious photographers and I might get some flack but I think what I think. This week I want to talk about kit lenses and how I use them in my photography. So what is a kit lens? A Kit lens is a less expensive zoom lens that manufactures put with cameras so they can sell them as a kit. Usually not great lenses and are usually the first lenses put out to pasture after someone really gets into photography. They want the professional lenses that all of the YouTube and inter web people say is the best lens to get. And make no doubt these professional lenses are better lenses but are they worth the money? To me it depends. Let me give you my situation. I have a crop sensor lens camera that I use for landscape and have very high quality zoom lenses that I use with it . (I think Zooms are a must for Landscape) Then I have a full frame camera that I use mostly Prime lenses with and I love the way a prime lens looks on a full frame sensor.  When you take a portrait with an 85mm f1.8 lens the background just melts.  Now my full frame I use for everything except Landscape/Wildlife.  So portraits, Street, product every thing in between.  I recently purchased a kit lens for my full frame a 28-60mm lens that works great for just kicking around and taking photos around town or street photography.  Its small and compact. Now its not as bright as my Primes but does great for daylight and well lit shots. So why didn't I get the professional lens for my Full Frame? Cost vs Quality ratio.

Cost of Kit lenses.  The price of a kit lens can be as much as 1/4 the price of its professional lens equivalent.  I got my 28-60mm for less than 300 used and if I had gotten the professional one say a 24-70mm f2.8 it would be well over 1000 dollars used. Thats a big cost savings. I don't think the photo quality between the kit and the professional lens is a big enough difference for me to get the professional one. Plus the professional one is twice the length and probably 3 times the weight.  Again I don't need the weight I like to be as nimble as I can be. So for me it was a no brainer to get the kit lens for casual shooting. If I want to get serious I can pull out my primes.

Solved a problem.  Getting this kit lens solved the problem I had when doing street photography and that's changing lenses every 5 seconds going from a 35mm to a 55mm or a 85mm this 28mm-60mm kind of put me in a good sweet spot but not being large and protruding like say a 24-105 would be.

Now I would not use this lens for my main Landscape or Portrait lens especially if I were selling stuff. But if you're just starting out a kit lens is the lens you have with you so shoot it.  Every camera Manufacturer has their kit lenses and some are really good.  I've heard good things from the Fuji line of lenses and I'm sure Canon and Nikon have great kit lenses also. The one I've been talking about is from Sony and was made for the A7C model camera that came out a couple of years ago. I purchased my copy used from MPB for around 250 dollars and it was like new. I always suggest buying used to save a little dough. I know a lot of professional and high end photographers trash these little lenses but I do think they serve a purpose and can be quite handy little lenses. So until next week get your kit lens out and keep shooting!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog everyday kit lens landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography Primes street website workshops Fri, 13 Jan 2023 10:00:00 GMT
New Year, New Plans What Santa Sees'What Santa Sees' Hey Everyone! I hope today is a great day for you. As this is the first Blog of the new year I thought I would take time to talk about making plans for this year.  Now is the time. The earlier the better.  I think that planning is a big part of success to travel or just photo or camping trips. For me spur of the moment things usually don't work out as well as a well planned trip does. I am in the process of planning my year and it is a big year for me as I just retired from my day job and have plenty of time. Just not plenty of money. LOL Thats how it goes when you have money you don't have the time and when you have time the money has dried up. Now being on a fixed income now I really have to plan out my larger trips in advance and put away money for them. The shorter more spontaneous trips mid week I can do a lot easer now that I don't have a full time job to go to.  Planning early saves time money and organizes your trip.

Where to go? Well that's a big question for anyone.  And everyone has a different answer.  For me this year my big trips will be New York City and the Fall trip with the camera club.  But I plan to have smaller trips in-between to fill up the gaps. A good rule for me at least is take a trip per month. Now this doesn't have to be a big trip or even an over night trip but maybe a day trip to a city or park that is near you. Believe me it can be done I visited all of North Carolina's state Parks in one year by just planning ahead and I wasn't traveling all of the time and still had time for my full time job. There were 42 parks by the way.  My New York City Trip will be with my Wingman Robert.  We plan on taking the train to NYC and public transportation from there.  We plan on going in the springtime. We are also planning a Low Country trip from Savanna back to NC this will probably be a long weekend with camping on the way.  Where to go is the first question.  When is the second question.

When to go?   Setting firm dates on when you are going somewhere helps in the planning.  Questions like do I need to take Vacation?  How many days do I need to take. Making reservations in advance usually is cheaper and you can usually guarantee vacancy.  If you are going to national parks you may need permits putting in for these as early as possible can almost guarantee that you have the right permit on the right day of your trip. Last year on our Utah road trip we had to have permits for a few of the parks that we had to enter into a lottery system but being early we got the dates and times we wanted.  If you are flying making reservations early is great to make sure you have a seat and by doing this you have already paid for you're trip before you even leave then all you have to pay for is incidentals why you are there.  But say you are not traveling far maybe you want to go to a festival of some kind you need to know the dates and if you plan on staying over night you may need a hotel.  If you're planning a camping trip reserving camp sites is a must especially if your going to stay over the weekend.  Since COVID the parks have been packed and making reservations through Recreation.GOV or can be hard to do.  Once you've planned your trip with reservations then its what will you need for your trip.

What to take?  Whether its a camping trip or a Photography trip bringing the right gear is essential.  Taking what you need and leaving home what you don't need can make life a lot easier.  Clothing that is suited for the weather that you will encounter on your trip is crucial.  Comfortable footwear is a must. Nothing is worse that having to walk through a big city and you have blisters on your feet because you brought cute shoes that didn't fit well or were not broken in. If you plan on staying a week or more only take enough clothes for 4 days and find some where to do a load of clothes. No one cares if you ware the same outfit more than once on a trip.  This will keep your pack lighter. If your taking camera equipment with you on a long trip don't take everything you own.  Think about the situations that you will be in most of the time and take the equipment that will handle those situations. When I went to Utah last year I had my landscaping kit with me and when I went to Boston I had a totally different kit with me.  Choose the right tool for the job at hand. Keeping gear lightweight and manageable will make traveling through terminals much easier.

Planning in advance makes the year go by easier. If you have a full time job and you have your year planned out you have something to look forward to.  You can say to yourself in two weeks I'll be in Boston or wherever you see yourself being.  If you have a multi-day trip planned make an itinerary. Itineraries help you organize and make the most of the time you have for your trip. You don't have to wander what your suppose to do next its in your itinerary.  It makes a good outline of what you'll be doing you don't have to be a stickler to it but its a good start.

So get set and start making your plans for this year.  I hope to see you on your travels. Until Next week get out and shoot.


(Max Stansell Photography) blog landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography planning reservations retired scheduling travel trips website working workshops Fri, 06 Jan 2023 10:00:00 GMT
The Year in Review 2022 Hey Everyone! Hope you're doing great! This week I want to look back at my photography of 2022 . It has been a big year for me.  I have traveled more than I usually do and have got some great photo's. I have taken two photography trips that included a plane ride which I haven't been on a plane in a long time. I did a lot of it with my Photography Wingman Robert and we have some trips in the future planned as well. So I'll go through the trips in order as they were taken.

New Years day shoot at Mount Mitchell NC the highest point east of the Mississippi. Robert and I had Mt. Mitchell SunriseMt. Mitchell Sunrise planned this one well in advance and drove to the mountains and shot the sun coming up on the first day of the new year. We also got to witness a young couple get engaged while we were there which was cool. We got some great shots on the way down from the mountain. It was a great start to the new year.

New Jersey. Our next road trip was to New Jersey where Robert had some family that we were going to stay with. I had never been to New Jersey before so this was all new to me. We drove and stayed at Norfolk the first night went to the ship yards and the next day went to the Naval Museum we had the place to ourselves and it was awesome. We then drove to stay with friends of Robert and had a nice visit there. Then it was off to Jersey and Asbury Park where the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi got their start. We got to see lots of cool places but it was COLD. On the way back we stopped in DC at the Iwo Jima war memorial to take some photo's. Great trip!

Congaree National Park. Robert, Mike and I went to this National Park in South Carolina. None of us had been there but it was Nice .  We had good food and fellowship.

Pawleys Island.  Now this wasn't much of a photography trip it was my 40th anniversary but I always have my camera with me so I got some shots and we stopped at Myrtle Beach State park while we were there and may go back in the future.

Utah Road Trip.  This was by far the most epic of my trips this year. Robert (Wingman) and I flew to Las Vegas got a rental and embarked on a 1600mile road trip which took us through Utah's Mighty 5. Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyon lands, Capital Reef and Arches. We stayed in 5 different hotels and traveled through Nevada, Arizona, Utah , Colorado and New Mexico. We visited state parks in Nevada and Utah and Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. We SpiresSpiresCanyonlands National Park Utah ended up staying in Taos NM and flew out of Albuquerque after going to the top of Sandia Peak which is over 10000 feet high. It was a overwhelming trip and we could have stayed a week or two at each of the places we went to. It was a whirlwind trip.

Shenandoah National Park.  My wife and I took our little teardrop trailer to the Shenandoah National Park to camp for a long weekend. It was crowded but very nice. Even though we were in a big campground we were secluded .  The deer would come right up to within 10 feet of you before they would scurry off. We drove up and down skyline drive stopping at different outlooks. Got a few good shots but really had a good time just camping.

Boston. We took a long weekend and flew to Boston. There were 6 of us that went Me and Robert, Anita Boston Harbor at NightBoston Harbor at Night and Caitlin, Roberts son and Eric Caitlins friend. We had a Air B&B at Revere Beach. We used public transportation (Subway's/Trains) to travel around and took one or two UBERS.  Seeing the Sites of Boston was pretty neat. We traveled along the Boston Freedom Trail that takes you to a lot of the historic sites. We had good food and a good time was had by all.

Raven's Roost Va.Raven's Roost Va. GAPC Fall Colors Trip. This is usually my big trip of the year. But not this year. But its still a big trip.  We went to an Air B&B in Wintergreen Ski Resort for our home base. From there we went to West Va, The Blue Ridge Parkway, Richmond and other local places. Good food was always had at local restaurants Spring Fall FallsSpring Fall Falls and lots of good photo's and fun was had by all. I think we had 7 of us all together.

Goose Creek overbite Camp- This last one was a small spur of the Goose Creek DriftwoodGoose Creek Driftwood moment trip that Robert and me took to Goose Creek State Park in North Carolina to shoot the night stars and Sunrise. Robert got much better photo's than I did but I had a blast camping in a tent again.

These were the major trips of the year but there was some smaller trips (day trips) That we took to Raleigh, Greensboro, Wilmington, New bern, and Edenton. So this was a busy year for me travel wise and photography wise. I hope I can keep it up next year. I plan on taking some more camping type of trips to places next year as well.  Considering all of the places I went this year and how far I traveled I really didn't spend that much for the fun I had. The money/ fun ratio was good.  What did you do this year? And have you started planning for next year? Start planning until next week get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog Boston Camping Carolina colorado Congree hiking landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography South street travel Utah Virginia waterfalls website West workshops Fri, 30 Dec 2022 10:00:00 GMT
First Camera "What should I get?" Hey Everyone ! I hope everyone is having a good new year.  This week I want to discuss something that happened to me over the holidays and has had me thinking ever since.  While at our Christmas party for the camera club I am a member of one of our newest members asked me about what camera should she get for her first camera. It kind of through me off a little and I tapped danced around the subject and told her about buying used and to do research before she made her decision.  I told her that I could recommend a camera to her but it would be my opinion and to tell you the truth there really is no bad camera's out there. I got to thinking about it and wondered if I helped her at all trying to figure out what camera to get. I don't think so I started talking about sensor size and her eyes started to glaze over. LOL But after long hard thinking over the last couple of weeks I came to a decision on what camera to get. But before I tell you let me go through my thought process with you.

So your first camera is a big decision and one I haven't had to make in over 45 years when I bought my first one from the Sears Catalog! But things have changed a whole lot since the film days. So first I wanted to figure out what a beginning photographer needed in a camera. Not knowing what type of photography She wanted to do . (Forgot to ask that important Question) I'll stick with general photography. To really learn photography you need to be able to shoot in Manual and learn what all of the settings mean. So the camera should be able to shoot in manual and all of the other modes also. It should have a good range zoom on it to keep from having to buy many lenses at the start. It should be fairly affordable .  It should be easy to use. So I got to thinking what camera would fulfill all of those needs?  

The camera that fulfills all of those needs was right in front of my face and in my Backpack. It was the Canon G7X series or similar in another brand. My EDC (every day carry) camera. It fulfills all of the needs that I mentioned above.  Now a days people are used to using their phone to take photo's and that works great but when you want to advance you want something that is more. My little point and shoot does that. It has a 1" sensor which is considerably bigger than the one in your phone. It can shoot in manual or any of the auto modes. It has a 24-100 equivalent f1.8-2.8 Zoom lens on it. It shoots in Raw and Jpeg. You can get an accessory like I did and you can use filters. I have a polarizer and a ND filter that I can use on it. It is easy to use and has a touch screen that works great and is similar to that on a phone. It is a great starter camera! If you decide that you want to go deeper into photography later on you can invest in any system and still have a great backup camera. When I go on trips this is my backup camera.  I should have pulled the camera out of my backpack and put it in her hand she would have fallen in love with it. This is a great camera to learn on and I have won monthly Photography challenges with this little camera.

So Maria this blog was especially for you or anyone that is looking to get a first camera this would be my recommendation . A first camera should be one that you learn on and fun to shoot  this one checks all of the boxes and does not break the bank. It is not suppose to be a professional one. So I think a point and shoot that can do all of these things is the one to get first. Here is a link to another blog that I have done on this camera. MY EDC (Every day Carry)  So until next time Get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) Beginning Photographer blog Canon CanonG7XII first camera landscape learning Manual Max Stansell Photography Photography point and Shoot Touch Screen website workshops Sat, 24 Dec 2022 14:59:05 GMT
GAPC Fall Trip "Virginia!" Hey Everyone! This week I wanted to talk about the Fall Colors trip that my Photography Club GAPC (Goldsboro Area Photography Club) took a couple of months ago. We went to Waynesboro VA and stayed at the Wintergreen Ski Resort that is near there. The Air B&B was Spacious and well located in the mountains. Let me tell you that the colors were popping! I have been on Fall Colors trips for 8 years and the colors have not been as good as they were this year.  These week long trips are great for my photography soul.  I get a whole week where I don't have to think about work or anything else and just photography. I can spend time and talk to people who love photography as much as I do. Where ever we go its fun and gorgeous with colors .  We need lots of things to shoot so we go to different areas every day and it planned out months in advance taking into account driving direction food stops and where the nearest bathroom is. We have great planners! This year wasn't as target rich as some of our other trips. We had never been here before and it took a lot of google searches to find stuff to fill our days. These are truly Raven's Roost Va.Raven's Roost Va. workshops we leave early and come back to the house late. It is not a vacation but it is fun. I like to say its summer camp for old folks.  We eat at local restaurants and usually really good food.  We visit quaint towns with great character and great shops. As you can tell I am very into this yearly trip.

We have a week to really do nothing but photography and fellowship with the other like minded folks in our workshop.  We learn a lot about each other which makes us very comfortable around each other. This year in Virginia where we had never been before. We mainly split days up into days like Blue Ridge day, Shenandoah Spring Fall FallsSpring Fall Falls day, Richmond Day. Each day was in a different direction and we tried to hit places that were grouped together.  We don't know each specific place we will shoot but have a good idea of the area and sometimes we just ride up on a place that is fantastic that we had no Idea about. I think the furtherest day we had driving was West Virginia day but it was well worth the ride. We had some folks that had not been to the places in West Virginia and it was nice to see their reaction to the sites and how beautiful it was. We had one member that had not done Landscape before and it was nice to see her get all excited and working the scene like she would a Portrait Photo shoot.  These trips really make you want to shoot all of the time .  The first day is Glades Creek Mill WVGlades Creek Mill WV usually my worst day because I haven't gotten into the grove yet but by the second day and we pull into a location I go on Auto Pilot and start shooting like a pro (or at least I think I do).  After the long day and a relaxing supper we are back to the Air B&B to download  photo's and look at what everyone else got. Sometimes theirs are a lot better than what I got but sometimes not. It it really nice to see 5 or 6 people shooting from the same place and see all of the different shots they get and may not be anything like you got. Its a real learning experience. If we really have some new photographers with us we may even give a class on photo editing using Lightroom. 

Sandstone Falls New River Gorge NPSandstone Falls New River Gorge NP On these trips it really is the journey not the destination. Or at least it is to me. I enjoy the seeing new or old places and making the shots. The act of taking the photo is just as important or maybe even more important to me than the final product. As you can tell I really enjoy these trips and can't wait until next year when we go back to the North Carolina mountains.  Hopefully we can get some new folks to go with us and show them the wonders that we have seen in the past. So until next week Get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) autumn blog camera Club Colors Fall landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography website workshops Fri, 23 Dec 2022 10:00:00 GMT
Recharging Station at Home and Traveling Hey Everyone! Hope you have had a great week! This week I want to talk about how you recharge your electronics and batteries. It seems like with all of the electronic gadgets that we have ,we have to do a lot of recharging. It could be GoPro batteries or your watch or almost anything else. But how do you do it. Do you just search the house looking for an empty wall socket to plug your stuff into? What about all of the adapters that come with all of your gadgets that you have to recharge? As you may know if you follow my blog I am a organizing freak and I love to have everything just so. So as with my Camera bags everything must have its place. My batteries as well. I have come up with a system for home and travel to help me with this problem.  Too Many Gadgets and not enough sockets. I have created charging stations. I have two in my house one is for my computers and one is for my batteries. They are very simple to make and with no particular way of making them but it gets all of your stuff in one  place.

At home charging station. This can be put anywhere. On top of a counter cabinet or even in an unused drawer. Now I have two charging stations one for my Laptops and iPads. And one for camera batteries. For laptops I have work and personal ones so multiple machines. The first charging station is set up on a plastic shelf that I keep saying I'm going to replace with a more permanent one but I never do.  I use a power strip surge protector that also has USB ports in it. So My LapTop charger can plug into one of the sockets and iPads, Phone (work phone), watches and almost anything else can be charged conveniently beside my workstation which is just a old fold out table made into a desk. I also have a wireless charger for my work phone and ear buds. I try to keep all of the cables wrapped up as neat as possible but they always seem to be spaghetti on a pile on the top of this small shelf.  I would like to get a more permanent cabinet with a drawer that I can put everything in. But for now its this plastic shelf.  I also have a separate charging station for all of my batteries.  This includes camera batteries , of which I have three types . Four if you count the GoPro batteries. So four different chargers. Also have lots of AA rechargeable batteries that I like to keep somewhat charged up . I use these for Flashes and Strobes. I have built this charging station up in the same way I did my iPad charging station with a power strip that has sockets and USB ports for all of my stuff.  I have a big shelf that I keep all of my camera gear on and this power station resides there and on the table beside it that I use for Photography. I can also use the power strip to plug constant LED lights that I have when doing tabletop photography. 

Having these charging stations helps keep my batteries and devices at home charged. If I'm out on a photo shoot when I get home I can go right to the station and take my used up batteries and plug them in without hunting and looking for the correct charger because it is already hooked up to the power strip or is nearby.  Very convenient. The same with my laptop that I use around the house. It stays plugged in until I need it. But what about on the road what do I use?

On the road Charging station. When I travel I take a small power strip it has only 3 sockets on it .  I have two power bricks made by Anker that have 2 USB ports in them. So that will give me 4 USB ports to use for battery charging and phone charging and one port left over for a laptop if I bring one. I only bring the chargers of the electronics that I'm traveling with. All of this is stored in a small bag that I can shove almost anywhere in my luggage.  When I get to a hotel or an Air B&B I make a little charging station that I used to charge batteries and phone or iPad. So just like at home when I get back to the hotel I can take my spent batteries and right away put in a charger so they are ready for the next day. I know this sounds pretty simple but it keeps me from hunting for power sockets when your in a hotel room for all of your different devices and helps you from loosing cords and cables when traveling because they are always in one place.

So what does this all cost? Well that's the cool part. You already have all of the chargers, Cables, batteries and anything else you would need. So just a Surge Suppressor Power Strip is all you need. You may already have one or you can pick one up for 15-20 bucks and assemble your own charging station. If your a neat freak like me you may want to get some sort of wire ties that will keep all of your cords in check. But that's it. Well that's enough for this week until next . So Get out and Shoot!


(Max Stansell Photography) Batteries Electronics landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography Recharging Station Surge Suppressor website workshops Fri, 16 Dec 2022 10:00:00 GMT
Landscape Photography "What Lenses to use?" Hey everyone! Its Max again with my thoughts on photography.  Hope you had a great week.  This week I want to talk about Landscape photography and what "I" think the lenses you should be using. First of all you can use any type of lenses to take landscape but these are the ones that I think you should use. I have three lenses that I use for landscape photography. Before I get into what lenses I use first lets talk about the different types of lenses.

First there are prime lenses. These lenses are sharper (debatable ) they are lighter have a wider aperture and are cheaper. So why aren't everyone using them for landscape photography? They are of one focal length. You can use them and there is nothing wrong with it but they aren't as versatile as zooms. When your out in nature you can't always get to the right distance you want because of the terrain that you're in.  So when using a prime only there will be a lot of times where you just can't get the right perspective because of the limitation of the one focal length of the lens you are using. Now you can make the argument that Ansel Adams only used primes and you would be wrong. A lot of the photo's he took was with a bellows type of lens that lets you change the focal length and also vertical perspective like a tilt shift lens would. So he was using a type of zoom lens in the field on a large format camera.

Zoom Lenses. These lenses are sharp, heavier , not usually as wide aperture as primes, and are expensive.  So why would you ever use them? They are more versatile in this environment than primes.  Zoom lenses let you adjust your focal length to the situation that you have. Most people for all types of photography are using zooms whether its portraits , sports, or landscape. Primes aren't used much for anything anymore because the zooms now are so good.  They are expensive and in photography you usually get what you pay for.  A good zoom if cared for can last forever and is a good investment.  You can get zooms in aperture as wide as f2.8 but they are expensive but the variable aperture range lenses are good too.  To tell you the truth there aren't many bad lenses made anymore. So Zoom lenses are the choice for Landscape. But which ones?

If you are a landscape photographer I recommend 3 to 4 lenses. The fourth being a macro lens for close up shots of plants, bugs and things. But the first of the Zooms I recommend is the wide zoom. Somewhere between say 16-24mm.  This lens will let you take wide landscapes and get all of the scene in the frame. It's also good for closed in situations say like on a trail or in a forest.  They are great for waterfalls and almost anything that you want to get all of it in.  They do not have to have a wide aperture of 2.8 but if you got the money.  The one I use is a constant F4.

The next Zoom I would get is the mid-range zoom. It will be somewhere 24-70mm.  This is a great lens and probably the first one I would get. If you've got the money I would get this one at f2.8 aperture if you can afford it. This is the focal length that I used the most. Its my bread and butter so I got the best one I could afford for my kit. I recently went on a fall colors trip and this was the lens I used 90 percent of the time if not more. Its always attached to my camera and seldom comes off.  It has always been my favorite zoom and focal length.

The last Zoom is the Telephoto Zoom.  The big boy.  This one can be a variable aperture and these lenses can be expensive. I would suggest buying this one used. As a matter of fact I would buy all of them used. But use a friend or a established company to buy them from. The range of this zoom is say 100-400mm.  This will let you zoom in and isolate different subjects in a large scene. If you're photographing a large canyon you can get the wide open shot first then take this lens and isolate different aspects of the scene. Work the Scene! This is a great lens for this and can also be used for the occasional wildlife shot when you don't want to get close like a bear.

So these are my suggestions for Landscape lenses. Three Zooms.  A wide Zoom, Mid-Range Zoom and a Telephoto Zoom.  I would not recommend a all in one zoom like a 24-300. These large range zooms usually aren't as good in quality as the specific zooms I mentioned above and you won't be satisfied with the quality. Also a macro lens.  I personally don't have one at the moment and am searching for one to add to my kit but I think the macro is the least important of the kit and would be used the least.  Well there you have it my thoughts on Landscape Lenses and what I think you should have in your kit. Until next time Get out and shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog landscape learning Lenses Max Stansell Photography mid-range zoom Photography Telephoto Zoom website wide Zoom workshops Fri, 09 Dec 2022 10:00:00 GMT
Photography fail? Or Not. Goose Creek GrassGoose Creek Grass Hey Everyone! Hope you had a great week. This week I want to talk about a trip I took last weekend. It was a spontaneous trip for me. Which is unusual. I woke up Saturday morning and wanted to shoot some new to me lenses I had just got and was thinking where to go. I decided that I wanted to shoot a sunrise and the best way to do it where I wanted to go was to camp out and wake up early and head to the site. I got on the inner web and made a reservation at Goose Creek State Park. The reservation was for a more primitive campsite but you could still drive there. Me and Forrest the Wonder dog were going to go camping.  About 10 min. after I made the reservation my Photography Goose Creek DriftwoodGoose Creek Driftwood Wingman Robert sent me a message and was wondering what to do. So I asked him to join me. He said yes. This is a big yes for him he doesn't go camping much or at all. Camping to him is staying at a Motel 6. LOL He even went out and got a tent. I met him at his house and we headed out to the State Park. He was excited and geared up for the trip. He only brought a GoPro with him and he was planning all kinds of stuff. Like a astro shoot which I didn't even think about. But I was game.   We made it to our campsite and set up camp.  He was putting this tent up for the first time and struggled a little but managed to get it set up .  We went for a little walk to a dock that was near by and decided that's where we were going to do the night shooting. He had the Photo Pills app out and knew where the Milky way was going to be and what time.  We made our way back to the camp and cooked or heated up some Chili that he brought and had a good meal. We cleaned up and waited for the sun to go down.  After it got good and dark we headed to the dock with Forrest leading the way.  We got there and he set up and started with the shoot.  I struggled a little trying to get good focus.  I had forgot all about astro photography I haven't done it in a while and I was doing everything wrong and struggling .  I should have had my camera all set up and ready to go before we went to the dock. But I got some shots but no winners with tac sharp stars. They were a little blurry.  But I couldn't tell until I got home and put them on the big screen.  We sat around waiting for his GoPro do do its thing and we saw all of the stars the Milky way and airplanes flying across the sky. Even saw some shooting stars.  It was very cool.

We made it back to camp and hit the hay we had to get up early in the morning and then go to the place that we were going to shoot the sunrise.  I woke up early as usual and went outside and made some coffee and then. Drip, Drip, Drip and more drops and the sound got louder and it was raining! It Rained for about an hour or so I got in my truck and just looked at my phone until it stopped. Robert got up and before too much longer it stopped raining. We headed to the spot that I had picked out. The first photo of this blog was taken there a few years ago. When we got there the sun had not crested the horizon yet but it was hidden by clouds and you could see the lights of a town across the sound where we were at. It was very pretty with Spanish moss hanging from the Live Oak trees were silhouetted with the water sparkling with the lights of the town.  I got my camera out and started shooting. I had Forrest attached by a leash to my belt loop and he was tugging me quite a bit. I tried to put that out of my mind and kept shooting.  I make lots of shots and had fun shooting.  Robert filmed us with his go pro and made a time lapse of the sun rising but you couldn't see the sun much.  After the shoot we went back to the campsite and packed up and drove home. Fun was had by all.

When I got home I downloaded my photo's and looked at them closely. My astro shots were not quite sharp enough I tried running them through a sharpening program but they were too far gone .  My sunrise shots were sharp and well exposed but the compositions just didn't work. I really didn't get any keepers from the shoot. So was it a failure? Maybe in some people's eyes.  But I got to go camping, See the milky way, and witness another sunrise with Forrest. The photo's didn't turn out the way I wanted but you can't be successful all of the time. Failing is part of learning, so what did I learn. Photographically I didn't prepare as much as I did for the camping part of the trip. Being Spontaneous  doesn't always work for me. I sometimes need a little of time to think and prepare. But I did have fun with a Friend and Forrest the Wonder Dog.  So over all a win! Just remember your not always going to have winners and that's Okay.  If you get out and experience life that's the most important thing. So until Next week Get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) Astro blog Camping Goose Creek SP landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography Sunrise Tents website workshops Fri, 02 Dec 2022 09:24:04 GMT
How to Prevent GAS “Gear Acquisition Syndrome” Hey Everyone! Hope you have been enjoying your week. By the time this Blog is released it will be in the Holiday season! And what better time to buy gear right? Today I want to talk about something I don’t really have any business talking about is how to prevent having gear acquisition syndrome or GAS.  I have been caught in the lure of bright shinny things in the past and have seemed to buy everything under the sun related to photography gear.  But after the last 4 or 5 years I have come under the conclusion that I don’t need the newest and greatest thing since sliced bread every time something new comes out.  It has been a hard realization and I have downsized my gear to what I think is the essential gear that I need for the types of photography that I enjoy doing.  My journey in photography started in the 70’s and had continued in some shape or form since then.  I have bought my fair share and probably your fair share of photography equipment as my journey has evolved.  I have bought everything from studio strobes to Big full frame DSLR’s and all of the top lenses to go with them.  I have got all of the cool accessories and gadgets that someone talked me into.  Why? Probably because I thought if I got the same camera as my photography hero at the time had I could shoot photo’s like him/her.  Did I? No.  I was still the lousy photographer that I was without the shiny gear.  I just learned how to operate more stuff.  Now if you have the disposable income then go for it but if you're like me and don’t this is what I think you should do with all the money you were spending on new and shiny equipment.

Limit yourself to one camera item per year. Lens or camera body. Use it for a year and really learn it before looking for something new. First of all if you have a fairly new camera body whether its a DSLR or a mirrorless one you don’t need another one.  Your may want one but you don’t need one! It won’t make you a better photographer it will make you a poorer one.  Don’t get me wrong you need a good body but it doesn’t need to be the latest and greatest. Especially if you are only a stills photographer. Most of all of the new advancements in camera’s in the last 5 years is in video and fast focus.  If you shoot sports or wildlife where fast focus is important than a newer body may be what you need. But remember people shot sports and wildlife with film and manual focus.  If your shooting anything else the camera you have is fine.  I personally don’t buy new camera’s when I upgrade for a couple of reasons. I don’t need all the new stuff for what I shoot and it’s cheaper.  I shoot with  cameras that are both over 5 years old and they work great for me. Now lets talk lenses. Lenses  last forever! Buy one good one and you don’t need another in that focal length. Buying used is the way to go you can get a great lens for less than the new one and it will be great. When buying used I suggest a company that specializes in photography gear like or I have bought and traded with both and have been nothing but satisfied with what I bought at a good price. All the items are tested and inspected and rated on their condition.  The better the condition the more they cost but still considerably cheaper than new.  So now you have bought your one item this year a camera body or lens now what to do with all of that extra money? 11-sony-a630011-sony-a6300

I would suggest spending it on training or travel. I would also suggest joining some sort of camera club. Check in your surrounding area and there may be a club you can join and go on workshops and outings and really learn a lot.  That’s what I did.  I joined a club over 10 years ago and my photography has got so much better and you get to talk to like minded people about photography.  I cannot recommend this enough. Travel , Sometimes to get those great shots or vista’s you have to go where they are. You can’t get them from sitting at your house or just staying in your home town. Although there are 22814418_10210727646164222_1824769434837060805_n22814418_10210727646164222_1824769434837060805_n great shots around home traveling to a new environment really wakes up the creative juices.  I have been traveling more this year and have had a great time and got some great photo’s to boot. Training and Travel will make you a better photographer more than new gear. Joining a club whether its in person or online will make you a better photographer because it will give you techniques and challenges that you never thought of before. Making you a better photographer. Learning new editing techniques and shooting techniques is easily found in a club and annual dues are probably cheap and you’ll meet great people who maybe want to learn something from you. Any kind of training whether its a paid workshop or Creative Live or YouTube content is a great way to be a better photographer. 

Gear is great and its taken me a few decades to figure out that its not what makes a great photo. You are what makes the great photo. I went on a _MSP1594_MSP1594 trip to Boston this year for 4 days . Two of those days I was using a full frame camera with great lenses the other two days I was using a point and shoot camera. I took just as good photo’s with the point and shoot as I did with the Big Boy camera. It just took a little effort and the actual shooting was the same.  We all like nice gear but we don’t need to go out and buy the next best thing when our camera is awesome that we already own.  Becoming a better photographer takes time and shooting lots of photo’s.  The more you shoot the more you learn and the better you get. So until next week get outside and shoot!


(Max Stansell Photography) blog camera Clubs GAS gear Gear Acquisition Syndrome in Person landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Money online Photography Travel website workshops Fri, 25 Nov 2022 10:00:00 GMT
Is your Camera Customized to you? Hey Everyone! Hope everyone is doing well this week. This week is about customizing your camera to you.  If you have a modern camera there are many ways to customized your camera to the way you shoot and the way you like to have things organized. Now I can't go into specifics of every camera because they are all different but they can all be customized in some way to make , making pictures more easy.  First I will go over how I have one of my camera's set up to shoot. I wouldn't expect anyones else's camera to be like mine. Yours should be your configuration unique to you. The camera I'll tell you about is mainly used for street, product and almost anything but my landscape and wildlife stuff which I use another camera.  I only shoot prime lenses on this camera so no zooms. I have many customizable buttons on my camera and I'm guessing you do too. Lets go over those first.  My C1 button I have programed to toggle between mechanical shutter and electronic shutter. If I get in a situation where I need the quiet I can just push this button without fumbling through the menu's trying to find it.  My C2 button turns the touch screen on and off. I am a left eye dominate shooter which means my nose touches the back display and if touch screen is turned on my nose will change the focus.  This button lets me keep this feature off until I want it like doing focus stacking where I can touch where i want it to focus and snap.  My C3 button toggles between eye autofocus and animal eye focus.  This stays on people most of the time but if I come to a dog or cat I can press this button and it will focus on the animals eye.  My C4 button is to toggle between regular shooting and Super 35 ( crop sensor) mode. In this mode if I'm shooting a 35mm lens and I need a little reach real quick I can press this button and it will crop 1.5 times making this lens to shoot like a 50mm. This comes in handy while shooting street stuff when you see things and don't have time to change your lens.  As you can see these 4 buttons have been customized to how I shoot. You may have totally different things to put here that fit your style of shooting.  Doing any changing will take some reading the camera manual and googling how-to do whatever your planning to do. Don't feel bad about googling I have to do it all the time and sometimes looking at a how to video or a step by step procedure is a great help. Here are some other things to think about while customizing your camera.

Mode and Custom Settings.  If you have an advanced camera you will have a dial that has M,S,A,P ,Auto, Scene, movie and maybe custom set up. So there are many modes to shoot from. Manual , Sutter Priority,  Aperture Priority, Program, Auto or Scene.  Some people shoot in manual all of the time. Me I shoot in Aperture Priority 90% and Manual when on a tripod or at night. There are usually custom settings that you can use that might be on a M1 or 2 that you can set up the settings that you shoot when you shoot manual. So if you're shooting in Another mode and you want to quickly go to manual you can put on M1 where you put your favorite setting so you can have a quick start.

ISO- Manual or Auto. In Manual you pick what ISO you want. In Auto the camera can decide and you can set limits that the camera can't go past. For me I shoot in Auto most of the time but I have a range between 100-1200 ISO.  You can change the range anytime you want and get your camera set so it shoots the best for your camera.

Focus- Focus is a big one do you want to single focus on one spot or mutable spots.  Do you let the camera pick or do you pick. Do you do continuous focusing? What about back button focusing where you focus with a button on the back of your camera . Lots of decisions to make to make it easer for you to shoot the way you shoot and what you shoot.  I shoot continuous most of the time and back button all of the time. If I need to pick a point I can turn on my touch screen and pick one or can use my joy stick on the back of the camera to pick.

White Balance.  Do you choose or do you let the camera choose?  If you shoot in RAW you can change later if you don't like it.  Do you custom white balance which is done mainly for portraits to make sure you get the skin the right tone. Depending on what and how you shoot this could be different for each person.  I shoot in Auto and Raw so I can make changes in post 99 percent of the time if I'm taking a portrait I'll use a gray card or a color checker passport so in post I can dial in the correct white balance.

Card slots? If you have two card slots how are you going to use them. Will they be used to make duplicates on separate cards or is one card set to be a overflow incase one fills up?  Or do you shoot RAW + JPEG Raw on one card and JPEG on the other.  Thats what I shoot it gives me a backup but doesn't take as much space then I can shoot in a special mode say Black and White and my JPEGS will be black and white but my RAW will have the full color.

Customizable Menus .  If you have customizable menus you can put the things that you change the most in this special tab and you can get to them quickly.  I have a function button on the back of my camera that brings up 8 things that I can choose from the menu for quick reference. I also have a tab in the menus for Favorites where I can put important stuff.  Like Format so I don't have to search for it I know its the first item in my Favorites tab.

As you can see there are many things that you can do to customize your camera to you.  When you get your camera customized to you the camera is easier to use and you can concentrate more on photography not settings on your camera.  I'm always customizing mine trying to make it easier to use and I'm always finding new and interesting things about my camera that I didn't know. I have another Sony camera body but it's quite different and all the buttons are not the same.  But I try to make it as close to this camera so its familiar when I use it and don't have to relearn it. You've spent a lot of hard earned money on your camera make it work for you and customize it to you.  Until Next week Get outside and Shoot.

(Max Stansell Photography) Back button Focus blog custom settings Focusing modes ISO landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Modes Photography Priority Settings shutter speed website White Balance workshops Fri, 18 Nov 2022 09:28:29 GMT
My thoughts on Street Photography Hey Everyone! I hope you had a great week.  This week I want to talk to you about Street Photography and what it means to me. Now I shoot many kinks of photography but mainly Landscape/Travel. But I do love Street photography. Especially in a locale that I haven't been before. I love walking the streets and seeing what I can capture.  There are many forms of street photography.  I think there is portraiture , architect, casual, fine art, and many more. It can be a shoot from the hip to get the shot or right in your face to get the shot.  There are many different styles and ways of doing street Bartender waiting for Customer BostonBartender waiting for Customer Boston photography.  The equipment used can be just an iPhone to one body and one lens.  It doesn't matter what type of camera equipment you use its the capture that is important. I have been reading a book. Yes a book!  The book is titled "Street Photography Assignments 75 reasons to hit the streets and learn" by Valerie Jardin.  It gives you assignments to do to grow your Street photography skills. The author only uses one lens and body for all of her work and her work is amazing!  So I have been trying to use some of the techniques that I've found in her book. To me Street photography is about exploring and documenting.  When I was growing up I remember looking at News Papers and Magazines with Man Waiting for T BostonMan Waiting for T Boston Black and White photo's in them and you could see the story in the photographs no mater what the subject was.  If it was a riot or if it was poverty or a sporting event.  To me that is what street photography is like. I'm not out to get a story or watch a sporting event I'm there to document and capture beauty and action and how life was in the moment and time I pushed the shutter button.  I am not the in your face kind of shooter when doing street photography I'm more of casual and lets just see what I can see and using the techniques that I'm learning maybe start to tell the story like those photo's I used to see.  Here are just a few of the techniques I try to use.

- Reflections .  I love me a refection.  I love to find a puddle of water in front of a cool scene and use it to my advantage. Or a window  or even a mirror of a parked car or building.   DD GirlDD Girl Reflections seem to open up the scene and zoom into the subject all at the same time.  This may be my favorite technique and I'm always looking for one.

-Selective Focusing and Framing.  I love to use a frame when I can find one.  A window , a fence anything that can be used to Isolate the subject and bring it out in a creative way. I have used the arm rest of park benches to do this .  Almost anything you can use you  just have to be creative.

-Silhouettes and Sunburst. Shooting into the sun or bright light to give the silhouette of the subject is a very cool shot.  Making a sunburst at the same time is even cooler. To make the sunburst you have to use a small aperture and catch the sun on the corner of something and you will create the sunburst.  Very Cool.

Struggling Biker BostonStruggling Biker Boston -Catching Day Walkers.  I love this technique you find an interesting back drop for you subject to walk through and just wait for people to come your in one place getting great shots.  Good to do while you're resting or taking a break.

-Shadows. Looking for shadows in a big city and make great photos.  You can have people coming from the dark shadow into the light you can have people waling in the light between shadows.

-Using different angles.  Looking up at a subject gives it a bigger than life appearance. Also looking down gives it a smaller appearance. Using all Points of view will give you more interesting photographs. Stairs and Shadows BostonStairs and Shadows Boston

These are just a few of the techniques that are in the book I mentioned above and as you can see these are basically advice or tips that can be used with all types of photography.  If you haven't done much street photography pick a town or small city to explore. Look at the downtown area it will be the most interesting.  Go with a friend and just explore see what you can see.  There is lots of stuff out there!  If you're like me Street photography will be a fun way to explore different city's.  This month I'll be traveling to Boston with some friends to do just that explore and have a good time with my camera.  So until Next week get out and shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog journalism learning Max Stansell Photography monochrome Photography places Street Time website Fri, 11 Nov 2022 09:30:00 GMT
Pretty Pictures not good enough for Photography anymore!? Hi Everyone! Hope you had a great week! This week I want to talk about the modern Photographer and how the role of Photographer has changed. Not too long ago if you wanted Pretty Pictures you called a Photographer to come and take them. You were assured that these photographs were well exposed and looked like the people or places you wanted represented. Pretty Pictures. If you lived in a small town like I did as a teenager (back in the 70's ) with the population of only 5000 there were only a few people that had SLR cameras and knew how to take Pretty Pictures with them.  So photography wise you were a Big Fish in a small town. And it was that way for decades before and after when I was a teenager. But then digital came about.  Smart Point and Shoot cameras and then smart phones, iPads, camera's everywhere in your computer even in your car when you back up. And they can all take Pretty Pictures and even video.  Everyone reading this has a smart phone in their possession that can take Pretty Pictures and do what it took hours of work to do for a Photographer in my day in seconds.  A perfectly exposed Light House StairsLight House Stairs photograph can be taken by anyone by pulling a smart phone out of their back pocket and "Click" boom there it is. Smart phones have come to the point where they can be used for professional work. For quick snapshots for the local paper, to real-estate Photography. The smart phone and point and shoots have changed the meaning of Photographer as we used to know it. So why do we as Photographer's keep buying big fancy camera's and lenses? We can take "Pretty Pictures" with our cell phones? Because there is more to Photography than just taking Pretty Pictures!

Goldsboro Fire HouseGoldsboro Fire House One reason is the joy of the experience of taking a photograph. If you take a long road trip its not really just the destination its the journey. To me photography is like that. I love the process of photography. Making a composition then deciding what aperture to put the camera at. What about shutter speed on moving subjects. Do I need a tripod for a longer exposure? I love this process even more than the final result. Its all the stops you make along the way (the journey) of taking the photograph. The act of not letting the algorithm of a smart phone decide for me what all of the settings should be and what the photograph should look like.

Another reason is taking photographs that aren't Pretty Pictures. Using your camera to take abstract art or light that you can't even see like infra The MetroThe MetroCommuters waiting for the Metro in Washington DC. red photography. Super long exposures of scenes that remove all of the people because they were walking by. Blurry photographs to show an emotion of a scene. These are all things that you can't do with your smart phone.

As you can see Photography is more than the end result. It is much more than how many likes you can get. Its more than the pretty sunset or sunrise or that beautiful waterfall. Its about experiencing the people and the places you go and how you got there or met them. Photography to me is a way to get out into the world and experience new things. Bringing a camera has gotten me out of the house and let me see things through a new DiceDice window. It has been a my Passport to the world.  It has led me to new friends and experiences that a smart phone would never do. It has changed me from a "living to work" mentality to "working to shoot or working to live" way of life. Photography, especially in recent years has shown me new places and things that I would have never got to do or see through my lens if I didn't have the fancy camera. 

Oops, I've gotten on a tangent again and started talking about me again. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you just want Pretty Pictures use your smart phone.  You will get a perfectly exposed photograph. But if you want to live the life of a Photographer don't take Pretty Pictures and get yourself one of those fancy camera's and start the journey of a lifetime of photography. Photography is one of the hobbies that you can do your whole life.  They can wheel you Wine glass SplashWine glass Splash outside while your at the rest home while you're clutching your camera and you can look up and take photos of the clouds. Being a Photographer is a life long journey.  So until next week get outside and shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog Cellular different Perspective exploring joy landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Phones Photography POV smart Phones thinking outside the box unique website workshops Fri, 04 Nov 2022 09:00:00 GMT
5 Mistakes that Beginner Photographers Make   DCIM\101GOPRO Hey Everyone! Hope you had a great week! This week I want to talk about Mistakes we all have made in photography. Now I'm not talking about when your learning the exposure triangle but after your a pretty good photographer but still beginning.  Some of these mistakes have thrown me for a loop for hours of me trying to find out what in the world is going on.  Trying to blame on my camera when it was just me and something I have done or  not done. Hopefully after reading this if you do the dumb thing that I've done you'll recognize it quicker than I did. So here we go with the list of 5 mistakes.

1. Everything is blurry when I look through the camera. Have you ever been shooting and while your looking through the camera every thing looks a bit blurry but when you preview on the back of the camera or use Live View everything looks ok? Well this happens to me quite a bit and its easy to fix.  What has happened is that you have bumped your diopter adjustment on your camera.  It's the little wheel that is just beside the eyepiece of your viewfinder. It is used to make corrections for folks that use glasses if they aren't using them. It only effects the view finder of your camera. Simply look through the viewfinder and look at the settings on the screen if they are blurry simply move this dial until they are sharp and now everything will be sharp when you look through the view finder.

2.  I press the shutter but nothing happens. This happened to me when I first got a new camera.  I went to a festival and was going to shoot all of the interesting things happening there with my new camera.  When I first went into the festival and took that first shot and nothing happened. I turned on and off the camera to see if that would fix it but nothing.  I tried and tried and nothing. What had happened is I had accidentally pushed the button or dial in my case and put the shutter to a 30 second time delay. So when I pushed the shutter nothing happened.  It took me quite a while sitting on a bleacher at the festival trying to figure out the menu of my new camera to figure out what had happened.

3. I take the shot and it seems brighter or darker than usual. This one has happened to me and it actually has a few causes that will make your camera do this.

- The first one is that you accidentally hit the ISO button and put your ISO way too high causing the sensor to be way too sensitive to light than it needs to be and the photo or photo's turn out too bright. Yep I've done it shooting along at 400 ISO and all of the sudden I'm at 25000. I had hit the button on the back of the camera, I had to reassign that button because I did it so much. 

- The second reason is that I had accidentally put my camera in manual bracket mode.  In this mode your camera at each touch of the shutter makes one dark one light and one just right exposure. Usually when I shoot in bracket mode I have it on continuously make the brackets with one touch of the button. But in Manual it does one at a time.  I have shot like this for hours before I figured out what was happening. I eventually  looked at the back of my screen and made it where I could view a lot of the photo's at one time and I saw the pattern . One Dark, One just right, and one Bright.  Thats when I had figured out what I had done. Luckily it was only set to half a stop of light so I could recover my photo's in post.

-The third one is that I accidentally hit the exposure compensation one way or the other .  I usually figure this one out pretty much because I tend to use the exposure compensation quite a bit but it can happen.

4. Dead Battery or SD card full.  I have seen people do this quite a bit. Especially in the DSLR days when batteries lasted quite a while. You show up at the site and bam battery dead. Whats even worse is if you have a back up battery and haven't charged it you're really dead in the water. The best way to avoid this or a full SD card is preparation before you go to the shoot . Always make sure your batteries are charged and you have a fresh card in your camera. And always carry extra's with you.

5. Spots on your images. When you get home after a longs day shoot you're excited to get your images loaded onto your computer to view.  When you get there you notice that there are spots or a spot on your photo's.  Especially when  your stopped down to F11 or greater.  The sky has spots all in it. You need to clean your sensor! You have dust on it!  Keeping your equipment clean is something we must all do to keep our images clean. It is a simple as wiping down your equipment .  If your sensor is dirty you can clean it but if your too scared too ,take it to someone that you trust to do it like a camera shop.  With mirrorless cameras dust and dirt are more a problem than with old DSLR cameras because the sensor is right there when you change lenses.

So there you go 5 mistakes that we make while shooting.  They can all be avoided if we take the time to learn our camera's and keep them serviced  well. So until next week keep shooting and get outside!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog bracketing diopter ISO landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography Shutter website workshops Fri, 28 Oct 2022 07:53:16 GMT
My Evolving Workflow Hey Everyone! I hope everyone had a great week! This week I want to talk about my ever evolving workflow. This year I have been traveling a lot (for me) and trying to incorporate an iPad instead of a laptop into my workflow. My old work flow was Backup SD cards to a mobile SSD Drive, edit some if I'm on the road on a laptop, and wait until I got home to import the majority of my photo's onto Lightroom Classic on my Mac at home then final edits and go to Photoshop if I need to. It has modified here and there but basically has stayed the same. This year I brought a iPad mini into the mix in place of the laptop and the Adobe Cloud.  Still the same workflow until this last trip to Boston where I used my iPad as the main editing tool. So basically here is the new flow. Backup SD cards to a Mobile SSD drive, import to iPad , the iPad syncs these photo's to a SSD drive on my Mac at home and into Lightroom Classic, when I get home turn on my computer the photo's sync from the Adobe cloud.  All the edits that I made from my iPad go to my main computer at home so I'm not wasting time re-doing edits from Lightroom to Lightroom Classic. This has been a game changer for me. I now have all of my photo's on my phone , iPad and Mac and even my Laptop that I really don't use that much anymore. I can edit anywhere with my iPad or even my phone if I wanted too. I don't.  Let me go into a little more detail.

SD card Backup. If i'm on the road backing up my SD card is the same process. I use the RavPower file hub and copy all the info off of the SD card to a mobile SSD external drive. With the speeds of the new iPads using the M1 or the M2 chip and the thunderbolt connection I could use a wired file hub and do the same thing using the files app on the iPad. So that's one copy SD card to the Mobile SSD. Then I will upload files from the SD card into Lightroom (mobile) with the iPad. I import these files into a Album. I use one for the year or create a special one if it's a special trip like Boston was. This will put the files into Adobe Cloud. When the files are in the Cloud I can access them with any of my mobile devices they are also Synced to Lightroom Classic on my Home Desktop Mac to an SSD drive I have connected to the computer. These files will have all of the edits that I make while on the iPad .  SD card to the Adobe Cloud. Two Copies. And last but not least the SD card itself is the Third Copy.  I'll put a new card in if I am traveling and save this one until I am home. If I am home I'll disregard the backing up of the SD card with the RavPower file hub and go strait to the iPad and Adobe Cloud.

After I have the files on the Adobe Cloud then its time for editing. Using Lightroom (mobile edition) I can go through and cull of of my photo's. I do this with placing 1 star on the photo's that I think I want to process. Then I start editing. Using the iPad and Lightroom (mobile) as my main editor I can edit anywhere without having to be chained to a desk. I can edit on the couch or in an airport.  I use the apple pencil to help with these edits and it works great. All of my edits are synced to the SSD drive on my home computer where if I need to take these photo's to Photoshop or say a plugin like NIK tools I can do so for heaver edits. I usually don't do heavy edits so this will only be a couple of photo's out of a shoot.  This was the process when I went to Boston a few weeks ago and it worked great. The majority of my edits were done by the time I got home. I didn't have to get home upload my photo's and start from scratch. After these photo's are done with I let them sit a month or so on my SSD drive that is connected to my computer then I transfer them to an Archive Hard drive I have hooked to my MAC desk top and they are automatically synced to a Back Blaze Cloud service I have. Thats about it. 

What do you need to do this workflow? Well you'll need an iPad with the Lightroom (mobile) app installed. If you are already a subscriber to the photographers special from Adobe (which you should be) you already have all you need. I think you get 20 gigabytes of storage in the Adobe Cloud with this package and the latest and greatest in Lightroom Classic, Lightroom (mobile) and Photoshop. You will just have to go through the setup process to get everything synced. I have all of my winner shots from all of my years of digital synced to the Cloud and onto my mobile devices from Lightroom Classic and now I am syncing all of my photo's I take now to the cloud. There will have to be some sort of cleanup process so I don't use up all of my cloud storage. I haven't quite figured out all of the details on that yet. I'll let you know when I do. It might be as simple as deleting them from the cloud and putting all of my winners back into the syncing collection that goes to the cloud. That way I'm only saving the winners on the cloud. I'll have to figure that out. Using the iPad and the pencil makes editing very easy and convenient. Now I have been using an iPad mini and not the newest version to do these edits and have not had a problem at all with speed or editing. I do plan to upgrade this year to an iPad pro which will have the new "M" chip in it which is suppose to be even faster than my Mac at home. The reason that I'm upgrading is really for the size. This iPad will replace my MacBook air that I have and I will no longer be using Laptops for anything and this MacBook will slowly fade into the sunset and my editing devices will be my iPad and my Mac Desktop at home.  I'm cutting out the laptops altogether in my workflow and everyday computing also. I don't have anything against Laptops especially if that's your main computer and you don't have a desktop version. For me using the iPad has become much more enjoyable.  I have tried this with the big Boston Experiment and the last couple of local shoots I've gone on and it has worked great!  Is this for everyone?  Maybe , Maybe not .  Thats for you to decide but for me having a small mobile device that I can do edits on and it sync to my home computer is a game changer. 

Until Next week keep exploring and trying new things and get outside and Shoot!  Just a update all of the references to the iPad mini I do with the iPad Pro with the M1 chip in it and its fantastic.  But the iPad mini still works and well. Happy Shooting! 

Here’s a little update . I have purchased an iPad Pro 11 inch and am using it I on our annual fall colors trip to the mountains and it is working great! And I have figured out the deal with the Adobe cloud.  You get 20 gig of storage with the Adobe subscription.  So after I get back home and all of my photos are on my main computer I then erase the photo’s off of the Adobe cloud.  Then I get my winners from Lightroom classic and add them to a collection that automatically syncs with Lightroom and doesn’t use hardly any storage and it goes to all of my devices and my Adobe storage shrinks after the erasing of photos ready for the next shoot. So until next week! 

(Max Stansell Photography) Adobe Adobe Cloud Backblaze blog Cloud edit file Management iPad iPad mini iPad Pro landscape learning Lightroom Lightroom classic Max Stansell Photography Photography Photoshop website workshops Fri, 21 Oct 2022 08:05:14 GMT
Photographers "Do You Need a Laptop?" Hey Everyone! Hope you had a great week. This week I bring up a question that I've had on my mind a while. One I'm sure you haven't thought about at all. Do you really need a laptop as a photographer? Now I'm not talking about a photographer that is a professional that his whole income is based on his or her photography. But the average person that loves photography but maybe just does it on the side a little for some extra cash to buy new gear. I don't think so and I'll get to the why in a little bit. I was in the belief that as a photographer that you had to have a laptop to do editing and all of that stuff. But I don't. I was under the impression that photographers sat in coffee shops with their laptops doing important editing on their computers. I don't.  Let me tell you what I use my laptop for mostly.  I use it as a food tray at supper time while I'm watching TV eating my nightly salad and I use it to browse the internet looking up weird facts that I never know the answers too.  Do I use it to edit photographs? No.  I use it to look and research others photo's.  So really I don't use it for photography at all. Now don't get me wrong I see nothing wrong with using a laptop for editing and doing all of your photography stuff. But I don't think it is essential. I think editing your photo's on a larger screen on some sort of desk computer is better for a few reasons. First your editing in the same place every time with the light in the room staying basically the same which helps in consistency. Two you are using a larger and stronger computer most of the time that will make your editing quicker and more efficient. Three your storage for all of your photo's is probably stored right beside your main computer so you won't have the tendency to loose stuff.  All of this makes sense. But what about when you travel you say? Well that's when I used to think I would really use a laptop. Because I need to back up my work and I can edit on the road.  That all makes sense right?  I can see the reasoning for thinking that but for me not so much.  For years I have been carrying a laptop to do what I just mentioned backup and edit on the road.  But for one I found that I really didn't edit on the road that much. Maybe a photo or two to go on social media but the bulk of my photo's were being edited at home after the trip. So until this year the only reason I took my laptop traveling was to back up my SD cards at the end of the day maybe edit a photo or two, review my photo's of the day and browse the internet.  This year I started using an iPad mini to do all of my travel stuff and haven't missed my laptop at all. So tell me why do I need a laptop as a photographer?  I don't. I don't use it at home for my photography and I don't need it on the road for photography. So I don't really need one. So now I'll get to the why.

This year I have been focusing on my travel more as a photographer. So far I have visited 8 different National Parks and many state parks and larger cities. This whole year I have been only using a iPad mini to do all of my photography stuff on the road with no problems at all. There has been a learning curve and maybe the mini isn't the best choice for this task of photography on the road but it works and works well. To tell you the truth I could do all of this with my phone but that is an extreme I think. I use Apple products for all of my personal computing needs. My main computer is a Mac I do have a MacBook Air for a laptop and my iPad Mini.  My computers are getting old.  My main computer is a 2015 model. A few years ago I converted my hard drive to a SSD and that sped up my older computer considerably and as of now I have no need to update because it can do everything I ask of it. I will of course have to replace some day.  My laptop is a 2017 and same as my Mac I converted to SSD which has extended the life of it. But it is slower and I only use it when I'm in front of the TV at night.  My iPad mini is a 5th generation and works well for travel. Its small compact and is equipped with wifi and Cellular .  But I think it will be the next replacement maybe next year not so much for what it can do but a larger iPad would do better I think especially with the "M" chips that apple is putting in the iPads now a days. With a larger iPad I can also have a case that includes a keyboard and as with my iPad mini the newer iPad will replace my laptop. I may never get another laptop. I don't see the need for it especially for my photography. Now I don't have any problem with anyone using a laptop to do all of their photography work on for many people this is the only computer they own and a must ,but for me I'll keep the larger computer for editing and an iPad for everything mobile. 

So there you have it my and I mean my thoughts on laptops for photography. I know I'm in minority but I think in the future more people will be going this way and eventually I think larger computers will be the way of the past like stick shifts and gasoline engines. But that will probably be after I'm long gone. As with everything else I'm trying to streamline ,like my camera gear to now my computers, and not too much into the future I will only have a main computer and an iPad for all of my photography and computing needs.  Until next week don't forget to get outside and shoot!

Hey this is an update Last week I gave the results of my Boston trip and the big experiment and that I edited all of my photographs on the iPad mini. Well I have updated my iPad for editing to the iPad Pro for my photography needs and my workflow has changed a bit that will come in next weeks Blog. Happy Shooting!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog computers editing iPad iPad Pro landscape Laptop learning M1 M2 Mac Max Stansell Photography Photography Ravpower Ravpower File Hub SD SSD storing Travel website windows Fri, 14 Oct 2022 07:18:07 GMT
Boston, The Big Experiment! Hey Everyone! Hope you had a great week! I had a great one. Last weekend me and some of my photography friends went to Boston and we had a blast.  Last week I went through the pro's and con's of JPEGS and RAW formant photographs and the experiment that I was going to undertake on this trip. Well spoiler alert it went great!  I decided to shoot in RAW + JPEG but instead of using the RAW as my main photo I was going to use the JPEG and see how it went.  It worked great. I took almost 1000 photos and only used the JPEGs to edit and post with in LightRoom and they looked great!  I even took my experiment a little farther and I used my Full Frame Sony and prime lenses for the first two days and used my Canon Point and shoot for the last two days.  And all of the photographs looked good. The Full frame may have Boston Harbor at NightBoston Harbor at Night done better in low light but that seemed to be the only advantage to it over the Point and shoot. The point and shoot was more stealthy than the full frame.

So talking about going full circle.  When I first started in digital I started with a point and shoot camera then a crop sensor camera then a full size DSLR then I went to a Crop Sensor Mirrorless to a Point and shoot camera .  I started shooting in Film then Digital Jpegs then RAW and with this trip to JPEG. When I started in photography I was shooting in Manual only, then went to Automatic modes on my cameras.  And with all the Revere Beach Sunrise BostonRevere Beach Sunrise Boston camera's and formats I always got good results.  I always had good looking photographs. So what does all of this mean?  Well for one thing I'm not always going to shoot in RAW.  Only when there is a time and place for it.  I'm not going to shoot in Manual all of the time. Only when there is a time and place for it. And I always don't have to shoot with the Full Frame camera. Only when there is a time and place for it. When will I shoot RAW, JPEG, Manual Settings, Automatic Settings, Full Frame, Crop Sensor or Point and shoot? Lets go through the list.

RAW Format- Landscape work , Portraits , Astro anything that require some more intense post processing. Stairs and Shadows BostonStairs and Shadows Boston  

JPEG Format- Shooting Street, Sport, Wildlife and everyday stuff that I can quickly edit.

Manual Settings- When I'm on a tripod. Dragging the Shutter. Or having to overcome some drastic lighting situation that the camera can't figure out.

Auto Settings.- Almost all of the time except when mentioned above.

Full Frame camera- Portraits, Street, Still life

Crop Sensor camera- Landscape , Sport, Wildlife

Point and Shoot camera.- Everyday shooting, Street

Piano ManPiano Man What it really comes down to is that it really doesn't matter what equipment or how you adjust your camera or what format you shoot in you can still make great photographs because a camera doesn't take the photograph you make the photograph.  Thats what I've found out with this big experiment.  I will start to use my point and shoot without worrying about quality issues. I won't shoot in RAW all of the time because there is no need for it. If you have a somewhat modern camera it will let you make great photographs not mater what brand or size.

There was one more thing that came out of this experiment that I wasn't expecting to happen. All of the photographs that were taken in Boston were edited on an iPad mini. That's right! Nothing was edited on my desktop or a laptop. It was fairly seamless .  I created an Album in Lightroom on my iPad and added all the photo's from each day.  They were automatically synced with my Lightroom Classic on my Mac at home. All the edits I made were synced through the cloud to my main computer.  I didn't have to upload anything when I got home they were already there. All 1000 photo's. Editing on the iPad was easy I just had to get used to Lightroom instead of Lightroom Classic that I'm used to. Using the apple pencil made editing easy.  I liked that I wasn't tied down to a computer to do edits I could do them anywhere. I'm going to keep trying this editing process to see how I like it.  Whats nice about it is that if I want to do some heavy edits its on my Mac the photo's are there already where I can do anything to it. As most of my edits are light ones the iPad seems to be the new thing I didn't know that I needed to incorporate into my editing flow. More to come on this subject as I learn more.

Be open to new ideas and maybe some old ones too to make your photography more fun and exciting.  So take what camera you have and get out and shoot! Make some great photography!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog Boston CanonG7XII crop sensor full frame iPad JPEG learning Max Stansell Photography Photography point and shoot portraits RAW SonyA7III sport Street website wildlife Fri, 07 Oct 2022 08:09:05 GMT
Raw or JPEG? Hey Everyone! Hope you had a great week. This week I want to talk about the difference between shooting in RAW and JPEG and what I think about it.  In a few days I'm taking a photography trip to Boston Massachusetts in the US.  While there I'll be conducting an experiment on RAW vs. JPEG file format.  I'll shoot RAW+JPEG but I will only use the JPEG files and have the RAW's for Backup. Its backwards of what most people do (me included) but I thought I would give it a go.  I was listening to a Podcast and it was talking about how to get out of a slump and shooting in JPEG was one of the ways. Just shoot. So on this trip to Boston I'll only be posting JPEG shot images and see how it works out. Lets talk about RAW and JPEG files a bit.

RAW Files. Images shot in RAW is exactly as it sounds. It is the most amount of information (data) recorded by your sensor with no post processing done to it .  Its RAW data. And when we look at it on a computer it looks dull and doesn't pop at all.  We have to post process this image to get it looking like what we saw on the back of the camera on the display which is a JPEG. We can do a lot to these images in this format and is what is shot by professionals around the world .  It is the standard that most photographers use. Shooting in RAW. But it does have some disadvantages also. The files are larger and it take longer for your camera to write to the memory card you have in your camera. So if you're  shooting high action sports or wildlife this could be a disadvantage to shooting in RAW.  You have to post process this format if you want it to look anything like you have on the back of your camera. When you take a photo the image that you see on the display is a JPEG file which means that it has been compressed and processed by the camera. For me a lot of the time I'm trying to get the final photo to look like it did on the back of the camera.  So isn't that unnecessary editing? RAW format is excellent for Portraits , Landscapes and any type of art  photography where post processing is a must.

JPEG's files. Images shot in JPEG are compressed files and have had some processing done to them that cannot be undone. This means that they are smaller files and what you get is what you get. You cannot back out of a JPEG and make it a RAW file. It doesn't work that way. These files are smaller and take up less room and can be processed by the camera and written to your memory card faster than RAW files.  This makes them great for Sports and Wildlife.  With JPEG's there is less editing .  And there is also less room to post process.  Although you still can process the images. When using JPEGs you can have camera profiles burnt in or cooked into your files.  Like film simulations or different effects can be "in camera" edited. But remember you can't undue what is done. 

So why would you ever shoot in anything but RAW?  You have full control over everything.  Well I guess its in how you shoot and what you shoot and the style of shooting that you do. If I were doing professional work where I was getting paid I would definitely shoot in RAW with a JPEG backup. But if I don't plan to sell my photo's?  If I am doing fine art photography I think shooting in RAW is also a good idea.  But if your like me and don't sell or really do fine art photography.  I mainly do landscape and travel photography. Do I need to shoot in RAW.  It would be quicker and easier to shoot in JPEG and just lightly edit my photo's.  That's what the experiment is going to be about when I go to Boston.  To see if there is a big difference between shooting RAW and JPEG.  Or can I just shoot in JPEG and shoot in RAW when I need to? It doesn't have to be either/or but maybe and. To me its kind of like shooting in Manual all of the time because someone on the internet said that professional photographers shoot that way.  But if your like me and have been shooting manual for most of my life I like shooting in an auto mode like Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority. When I started photography many moons ago there was no auto modes. Just manual. I know that if I don't see what I like that after years of shooting in manual just a couple of adjustments and I have what I want but 90% of the time the camera gets it right. Really the only time I shoot in Manual now is when my camera is on a tripod and I'm doing some sort of long exposure like a waterfall shot. So why can't I do this with RAW vs. JPEG? JPEG is like shooting in Auto and just go to RAW when I need to Like doing Astro Photography or long exposure when I'm on a tripod. And since I'm shooting RAW +JPEG anyway there is nothing to change. Anyway those are my thoughts about RAW vs. JPEG .  I'll let you know how the experiment went and if it changes the way I photograph things.

So get out and experiment with your photography. Don't be afraid to try something new. And until next week Get out and Shoot!


(Max Stansell Photography) blog Editing file size iPad Journalist JPEG landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography Post Processing RAW RAW + JPEG Sport storage street website Wildlife workshops Fri, 30 Sep 2022 09:00:00 GMT
Fall Colors Workshop Waynesboro VA Hey Everyone! This blog is a special edition than my normal Friday blog. The Goldsboro Area Photography Club (GAPC) has a couple of openings for our Fall Colors Workshop that will be in Waynesboro Va from Oct 15 to 22 ,2022. During this workshop you will get hopefully some really good fall foliage , sunrises, Sunsets, Waterfalls, quaint towns all decked out in holiday and harvest decorations photographs.  You will have a chance to really take some time and learn maybe a new technique like photo stacking or HDR. Maybe learn something new in Post Processing. Most importantly you will be Seneca RockSeneca RockCheck out the people on the top of the rock! able to fellowship with like minded people about photography. Have you ever been on a workshop before?  Maybe it was a day or half a day and you learned one thing or another. Think about a whole week what you can learn and experience as a photographer doing photography every day for a week.

We have two slots available the first one at a discounted price because we had a member that had to drop out and he is selling his spot at a Dry FallsDry Falls great price and the other slot is at regular price. I'll go over the numbers at the end of this blog. If you like fall colors (and who doesn't?) we will be right on the Blue Ridge Parkway and just outside of Shenandoah National Park. I know what you're thinking. It's kinda weird to go off for a week with people that you don't know that well.  I understand. I have been to all of our Fall Color Workshops. The first one I had only been a member for maybe a year but really only saw members at the meetings and workshops that were half a day. This was out of my comfort zone. When I arrived at the meeting place I got into the car with a mother/daughter duo. I had met the mother at the meetings but not the daughter. I Looking Glass 2Looking Glass 2 can say that after that trip we have become life long friends.  I just got back from a trip to Boston to do some photography with them. So don't be shy we are a welcoming group.

Let me explain how it works.  We get a house through Air B&B or VRBO for a week.  We split the cost by who's going. This trip the cost came to 310 dollars. That pays for your lodging the more people usually the cheaper. You can't stay anywhere in a hotel for 310 a week. We have separate sleeping arrangements for guys and gals. We usually always have a Guy bathroom and a Gals bathroom so you ladies don't have to follow one of us. LOL  We car pool everywhere and the price of all of the gas is split between all of us. Depending on the price of gas this Mill Shoals at NightMill Shoals at Night is usually in the 60 dollars range maybe a little more.  Food for the house. Coffee , sandwich materials, bottled water, Pizza's etc.... is all split between everyone. Maybe 25 or 30 bucks not much. Most meals are eaten out and you pay for your own. We do sometimes make sandwiches and take for lunches. Thats pretty much the cost. Let me give you a typical day.

Early Rise. We usually start early to get a sunrise shot,Waterfall or destination. Depending on how far we need to drive will dictate how early we get up. If the place is close by and we aren't doing a sunrise we will get breakfast at a local restaurant if we leave super early we will grab a New River Gorge BridgeNew River Gorge BridgeNew River Gorge Bridge at Fayetteville Station in New River Gorge National Park. biscuit or something at a fast food place because they are the only ones open. This is the only time we eat at chain restaurants.

First location. Whether its a Waterfall, or scenic shot we will spend plenty of time for you to get your shot or many shots.  This is the time that you could borrow say a lens from someone that has the same camera system as you or get advice on how to shoot.  We don't have one instructor teaching anything we have many with decades of experience in shooting that can help you if you need it.

Glade Creek MillGlade Creek MillThe Famous Glade Creek Mill in Babcock State Park in WVa. Lunch. Lunch can either be a bag lunch that we prepared or a sit-down lunch at a local diner or restaurant.  We have had sit in the grass picnics on the blue ridge or in a National park at picnic tables where we got to see a bear get tagged and measured.  Usually not the big meal of the day.

Afternoon Location. This could be a scenic overlook or looks or a charming small town like in the morning you will have plenty of time to shoot we try not to rush anyone.

Supper. Depending if we are doing a sunset shot or not this is usually at a decent hour. Usually at a local restaurant .  This is usually a nicer meal but it could be order in pizza. Bull ElkBull ElkThis Bull Elk was at Cherokee North Carolina.

Evening time. This time after a long day is spent taking showers, sitting around in your PJ's editing the days shots. This is where you can get great post processing tips and tricks.

This is a typical day and we stay busy all day. It's called a workshop for a reason. The Fall Colors workshop has been the highlight of my year ever since I've started going.  I rearrange my yearly schedule around it. The fist day is where you'll make most of your mistakes with the camera but as the week goes on you'll be surprised how easily the Cass Scenic Railroad State ParkCass Scenic Railroad State Park photographs come and you just have to concentrate on composition. You don't need any special equipment if you have a camera no matter what type you are good to go even if its only a smart phone.

This deal is for members of the GAPC only! If you are not a member you can join for 35 dollars membership dues. Being a member has many benefits this trip is just one of them. 

Prices .1st person 250 dollars payable to Jack (we will get you all the info) if not a member 35 dollars payable to our treasurer.

2nd person 310 dollars and must be a member or pay the 35 dollar due.

Please leave a comment that you want to go on the Facebook page (not this blog) and someone will get in touch with you. This is for people in the Goldsboro NC area and surrounding counties.  Come have fun with us. 

Here are some video Links. 2021 West Virginia Workshop  2017 NC Fall Colors  2016 Fall Colors WV

GAPC Washington DC

(Max Stansell Photography) blog Colors" landscape."Fall learning Max Stansell Photography Photography Virginia Waynesboro website workshops Sun, 25 Sep 2022 15:09:57 GMT
What is your EDC (Every Day Carry) Camera Hey Everyone! Hope you had a great week.  This week I want to talk about the camera you take with you where ever you go. The Photographer Chase Jarvis once said “ The best camera is the one you have with you”.  I am a firm believer that if you are a real photographer at heart that you should always have a camera on you. If your like me I’m always looking for great photographs and wouldn’t it be a shame if you found that great photo oppotunity and didn’t have a camera with you.  I have been shooting long before digital and tried to have some sort of camera with me but it always didn’t work out. But since digital started and I got my first Kodak digital camera I have always had a EDC camera with me.  I know , I know now a days we have Smart Phones that can do a great job and I agree the new iPhones and Google phones take fantastic photographs and all I have to do is have my phone with me and I have my EDC camera.  And that is a great option. I just listened to a Podcast on “This Week In Photo” where they were talking about what a iPhone 13pro can do even control ProPhoto lights.  Here is the link to the Podcast I’m Referencing “This Week In Photo iPhone 13”.  Also A link to the Website which has great Photography articles in it  TWIP (This Week In Photography) .  I think phones are great and I use mine to do Panographs when I’m out and about they work great and the photo is already stitched together.  But I like to have a dedicated camera when I do photography. The ergonomics are better for taking photographs and I don’t have to worry about getting a notification when I’m shooting.

What is my EDC camera? Well I have had it for a few years and its an older point and shoot but I like it very much. It’s the Canon G7XMarkII.  It’s a fantastic little camera.  I have just sold a lot of Sony Gear that I had grown out of and I sold one of my Crop Sensor Body’s that I was using as a backup camera so now this Point and shoot has become my backup camera when I’m on photography shoots with my big boy camera’s. It has a 1 inch sensor can shoot in manual and RAW. A one inch sensor is many times larger than a smart phone sensor and just smaller than a micro 4/3 sensor found in Olympus and Panasonic camera’s.  The touch screen makes going through the menu’s very easily and I wish that Sony would use the same touch screen on their camera’s. When it first came out on the market it was used mainly as a V-Logging camera but it’s out of date now because it doesn’t shoot 4K video which doesn’t matter to me because I shoot mainly still photographs which it does great. I have put an adapter on the front so I can use circular polarizer filter on it and have put a bottom plate on it which makes it a bit bigger and feels better in my hand. Gives my pinky finger somewhere to go. It doesn’t have a view finder but works well in low light. It’s has a 24-100mm f1.8-2.8 lens and can get some good bokeh out of it. It is a great walk around camera and would not hesitate to use if my main camera failed for some reason. I do have a cell phone a 2020 iPhone SE which is just a boosted iPhone 8. It’s basically the hardware of the 8 with the microprocessor of the 11 inside.  It’s small and compact and only has one lens instead of three or more of the newer and larger cellphones. So I guess its a backup to the Canon.  You can still pick up this camera from Amazon New for about 640 dollars. That’s 200 more than I paid for my phone. So a little pricy. The newer G7XMarkIII cost about 750 dollars. So you can spend a little more and get the newer version or save some money with the older one. The newer one shoot 4K that’s the biggest difference between the models.

So there you have it my EDC (Every Day Carry) Camera.  Let me know what you use. Is it your phone or do you have a dedicated camera like me?  Until next week Get out and Shoot!


(Max Stansell Photography) blog Canon EDC Everyday Carry Filters G7XMII landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Nimble Photography Point and Shoot website workshops Fri, 23 Sep 2022 07:23:54 GMT
How do you Share your Photography? Hey Everyone! Hope you had a great week! As Photographers we should take photographs for ourselves first.  Taking what we like what we (not others ) think is the best shot. Wether it be portraits or street photography.  We should be the first customer. But after we edit and finally say its done. Then what?  Sharing your photography with others is a great way to show what you have done to others and maybe inspire someone else to get off the couch and see what you’ve seen. But how do you do it? There are many ways like Social Media. It’s called social for a reason because it can be personal.  Which I think is fb-artfb-art great! You want people to see your work.  Even if your not selling it.  I don’t try to sell anything anymore.  It was too much of a hassle to me I would much rather be the amateur photographer than try to make money out of it. I’m too old for all of that stuff. If I were in my twenties then maybe but that window has long past been closed. But I do like to share my photography. Here are some of the ways I do it.

Facebook- Yea I know nobody likes facebook anymore its all Snap Chat , Tic Tock or what ever the newest thing is. But Facebook works for me.  My Family and Friends are on Facebook so when I post they can see it. My camera club has theif Facebook page so I can share there and get tips and critiques to make my photography better.  You’re reading this probably on Facebook. So Face book is a great place to share.

flickrflickr Instagram, Flickr, 500PX. Photography related websites. I know I started on Flickr and have quit and restarted a couple of times and Instagram has gone Video for some reason and I have over 1300 photo’s there. But these are great places to see great photography and to share your photography.

Vero, I have just started using Vero a fairly new social media platform. So far I like it. It really makes my photo's look good. It has separate sections for video and other types of media but it does have a section just for photographs.  You can follow different photographers and like and comment just like you did in instagram and you can use Hashtags. So far I like it we'll have to see how it does in the long run.

Website- When I first started I did it the hard way I had a friend that had some server space and I created the website from scratch doing all of the coding myself.  And what a pain it was! But now its so easy and for just 5 bucks a month you can have a professionally looking web site that is easy to manage and drag and drop to add photo’s.  I have mine on Zenfolio but there are many more that will work great and are fairly inexpensive if your just showing off your photo’s.  I did go to “Go” and got my own URL “Max Stansell Photography”. All I had to to was type in the name and no one else had it so I made it mine for about 10 or so dollars a year. Creating your own website is easy and cheap and a great way to show off your work.

Business Cards? Yea Business Cards.  This is a great way to get people to look at your website. If you meet someone just give them a card so they can look your website up.  It doesn’t have to be fancy and business cards are cheap.  You can get hundreds for 25 bucks and they look great. You could have just a white one with your name and a QR code on it that takes people to your website. With just a plain white card you have a place to put email or any other information you need to when talking to someone. I always have some in my camera bags with me and in my wallet.

So as you can see there are lots of ways to Share your photographs. Please keep Printing them so you have something to pass down not just a hard drive full of images. But then Share online you are probably a better photographer than you think and you will hear praises of how good you are. Then they will say you must have a good camera! LOL So until next week Get Outside and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) 500px blog Facebook flickr instagram landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography sharing social media vero website workshops Fri, 16 Sep 2022 09:38:16 GMT
RavPower File hub Update. Hey Everyone! I hope everyone is doing great this week. If you can remember when I took my trip to Utah I was using A RavPower File hub to backup my SD cards and everything was fine except the Dating on the Files. Well I figured out what I did wrong! Yes it was user error , the nut behind the wheel. Here is a quick overview of the file hub if you don't remember.

The RAV Power File Hub wireless travel Router. There are Four things you can do with this device. (1st) its is a backup battery source.(not a large one at 6700mah battery) (2nd )it can act as a wireless router from a wired ethernet cable or (3rd) it can be hooked up to wireless intent say at a hotel and be a secure WIFI with another layer of security. You don't have to subscribe to some sort of VPN service. With this device you can do many things but the main thing I want to do with it is (4th) backup my SD cards.  To use you simply Plug in your SD card and your SSD drive hold in the transfer button for 5 seconds and the device will copy everything off of your SD card to your External Drive into a Time Stamped File.  You can then access your files via WIFI and edit them on your device.  This is pretty cool .  The very cool part is that its only 60 bucks.  There are fancier devices that can do this but they can cost up to 800 dollars for a 1TB drive one that they don't even make anymore.   The draw backs are that transfer times of data are not as fast as a laptop.  But it's not terrible. Maybe only a minute or two longer from SD to SSD.  But you can choose what hard drive you want to go to by hooking up any drive you have to it. So it's versatile . The size of this device is small at 4.4 X 3 X .9 inches weighing only 7 ounces.

Screenshot The problem that I was having when I was on the road is that every timed stamped folder had the same date. I didn't notice until a few days in and I panicked a little but all my files were there and I just had to rename the folder. Well I said I would get back to you when I figured it out. I have another trip planned in a few weeks and I wanted to get this figured out before I left. And I did. The time and date stamp comes from the File Hub. You can set this manually or have the internet do it for you by syncing the time and the date each time File hub hooks up. Well this is where I messed up. I wasn't hooking this device to the internet or manually setting the date each day. For each hotel we were in during our trip I just needed to connect to the WiFi and it would automatically set the time and date.  Which I did not do. My iPad has Cellular coverage and I was using that for my internet so I didn't need my file hub to be connected to the hotel Wifi for anything . Or so I thought. So now there is an extra step to make sure that the file hub is connected to the internet before I transfer the files and a new folder each day will be made and all of the files from the SD card will be put in that folder. I did a test the last three days to make sure it worked and it did I just needed to make sure it was hooked to the Wifi before I started transferring files. If you want more info on the way I view and transfer files while on the road I'll refer you to this blog  Traveling without a Computer . So until next week get out and do some traveling! Get out and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) Backup blog Computerless files landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography RavPower Router Security Travel Hub website WiFi workshops Fri, 09 Sep 2022 07:41:02 GMT
Tripod Replacement for Urban Photography Hey Everyone! Hope you're doing great this week. In a couple of weeks I have a trip planned that will take me in an urban street photography climate. I don't do a lot of street photography but always enjoy it when I do.  Being a gear head for this trip I wanted to challenge myself. Don't buy any photography gear! That's a big challenge! I'm testing out a street photography kit that I will take with me trying to keep my set up light and nimble and inconspicuous.  That's going to be tough. So I know that on this trip there will be some night scapes and some things that will require a tripod.  A tripod is a very cumbersome piece of equipment especially if you're taking it on a plane. Light and nimble I want to be so I won't be taking a tripod.  But I will be taking a camera support with me to take some long exposures. I'll be taking a Platypod Ultra in place of my tripod.  This will save weight and be small and inconspicuous.  I have had a Platypod Ultra for quite a while and  haven't used it very much. I think it was on sale and I got it.  This will be the perfect photowalk camera support.  If you don't know what a Platypod is its a plate that you can hook a ba,llhead to and put your camera on. Its large enough that your camera won't tip over with a  reasonable size lens on it.  It comes in two sizes the Ultra which I have and the Max which is built for large DSLR's.  This plate is small enough to fit in your back pocket.  It comes with feet that you can attach that have a pointy end for added support in rough terrains and a rubber end for sitting on tables or surfaces that you don't want to scratch.  Or you can just use it without the feet.  It also comes with a strap that you can wrap around a pole or small tree and secure it. It is very versatile.  So here's a few reasons to use a Platypod.

1. Inconspicuous- The Platypod has a very small foot print compared to a tripod.  Many places don't allow a tripod like museums, some National Park trails, historic places. But a Platypod is not a tripod and most of the guards don't pay it any mind and let  you use it. I'm thinking of a situation where you have people shoulder to shoulder looking at something behind a rope. You could sit your Platypod on the ground at your feet with a wide angel lens and with your phone trigger your camera to get the whole scene. Pretty sneaky and neat.

2. Small and Lightweight- Like I said before this will fit in your back pocket and depending on the size of your ball head it can be a very small package. Easily put in a pouch of your backpack or camera bag.  It comes with a carabiner that you can use to hook to your bag or belt loop. This will not be a problem getting through security at an airport.

3. Perspective- This little camera support can give you many point of views that you can't get with a tripod. First of all it can get very low to the ground giving you that great perspective.  And you just have to set it down.  You don't have to struggle adjusting legs trying to get it lower. You can put it in nooks and crannies that a tripod just won't reach or can get too because of the large foot print that a tripod has.  Think of the possibilities the rail of a staircase, the rail of a bridge.  When I took photo's for New Years at Mount Mitchell NC this would have worked great. I ended up setting my camera on a support and this would have been more secure and gave me sharper photo's.

Now will this Platypod take the place of my tripod for everything? Of course not .  I love my tripod and love using it but this is great for Urban environments where being nimble and inconspicuous is important. In  upcoming weeks I'll talk more about the trip and what I am doing to get prepared for it.  So until next time Get Outside and Shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography Platypod Platypod Ultra Street Ultra Urban website workshops Fri, 02 Sep 2022 09:00:00 GMT
My Urban and Street Photography Kit for an upcoming trip. Hey Everyone! Hope you are doing well.  For the last couple of weeks I have been fine tuning my camera gear for an upcoming trip.  This trip is going to be in an Urban environment with lots of neat street scenes to take photographs.  With this kit I want to be nimble and lightweight and inconspicuous at the same time.  And my biggest goal is not to spend any extra money on Photography Gear.  Now that's a tall order! To be in an Urban environment without screaming I'm a photographer and have thousands of dollars of equipment with me is the goal. But also have enough gear with me to do the job whatever circumstance comes up.  We will be taking Public Transportation and Ubers wherever we go so I don't want to stand out any more than I already will looking around with eyes wide open to new places.

So let's start with my bag.  I have a great photowalk camera bag that I call my purse that I use that is an over the shoulder bag but it is too small to use all day with carrying coats and water with me. So a backpack is the choice but I don't want to use a photography backpack that looks too Photography "Look at Me". So I'll be using use an everyday day pack from Mountain Smith. Its a 25 liter pack made for day hikes. So inconspicuous. I'll put a divider cube that is made for carrying camera stuff inside of the bag at the bottom and leaves plenty of space for a puffy jacket and any things I may buy on the way.  It has water bottle pockets on the side to carry a bottle of water.  I have used this system twice in Washington DC for trips and it works great. (Well a little update I did purchase another everyday bag that I will be doing the same as I did with the Mountain Smith bag. I saw this bag in a store and loved all of the origination inside. Its built for a college student and doesn't scream photo gear. It's an Osprey "Flare" and is 27 liter bag so just a couple of liters bigger than the Mountain Smith. Osprey is a great backpacking gear company with solid built products that are warrantied for life. This one looks like an everyday backpack.)

Camera body is next. I'll be using my full frame Sony A7III.  Its an older model but works great and I love the ergonomics of it.  Its a 24 megapixel sensor camera and works great in low light.  Its small and I'll be using a Really Right Stuff "L" bracket on it.  I'll only be using the base plate on it unless I might need the side piece and then I will put it on. I'll take an extra battery with me.  This camera has the larger Z batteries by Sony and one battery can last all day not like the other Sony's I have used that ate batteries.  I'll be using a Peak Design wrist strap rather than a neck strap.

Lenses. For this trip I'll only be using Prime lenses. Sort of.  I'll get back to that in a moment. I love Prime lenses for lots of reasons. They are lightweight , sharp, and wide aperture. I'll be taking three lenses with me. Now I only wanted to take two lenses. But as I thought of it I needed and extra wide angel lens to capture city scapes and maybe tight spots in museums.  The first lens is the Sony 85mm f1.8 lens.  This is a fantastic lens and will be my longest lens.  It creates great separation when shot at wide aperture and compresses well for longer shots.  My next lens and the one that will be on the camera 90% or more of the time is the Sony 35mm f1.8.  This lens is great for walking around and shooting what you see. Again Great Separation at wide apertures and can get close for closeup shots.  The last lens will be a surprise to you. It is a Sony 10-18mm f4 APSC (Crop Sensor) lens.  I know what your thinking if you use that lens you will have a heavy vignette around the frame. And normally I would agree with you.  But when you zoom from 15-17 there is  no vignette.  So I can use this dialed into 16mm and I have the full 24 megapixel without cropping. So I can use this lens on both of my cameras the full frame and the crop sensor. So I will have effectively 3 Primes with me a 16mm a 35mm and a 85mm. But if I need that little bit extra when using these lenses I can go into Super 35 or Crop Sensor mode on my camera and make the same lenses a 24mm (16mm) a 50mm (35mm) and a 127mm (85mm) .  Of course when shooting in Super 35 or Crop Sensor mode the megapixel will be knocked town to 10 megapixels.

Filters and Accessories.  The only filters that I will cary are Polarizer and Variable ND filter with step up rings.  I will not have a tripod but will be using the Platypod Ultra which I have a whole other blog for next week.  I will have all of the lens cleaning accessories that I always have with me on a shoot like a blower, lens brush, microfiber clothes cleaning wipes.  An emergency Poncho and cover for my camera incase of rain. And that's about it nothing out of the ordinary.

That is pretty much my Urban Street Photography Kit.  I have been testing and tweaking it but it seems about right.  It is lightweight , nimble and inconspicuous.  So until next week Get Outside and Shoot. 

(Max Stansell Photography) 10-18mm 35mm 85mm A7III blog Boston full Frame landscape learning Lightweight Max Stansell Photography ND Osprey peak design Photography Platapod Polarizer really right stuff Sony Street Think Tank Urban website workshops Fri, 26 Aug 2022 06:49:59 GMT
My Trip to Shenandoah National Park Hey Everyone! Hope your doing great this week. I just got back from a weekend trip to Shenandoah National Park.  This trip I took with my wife and Forrest the Wonder dog. This trip was for me an excuse to get away with my wife for the weekend and spend some time away from our phones and just relax.  We took our little Teardrop Camper that we got a five or so years ago. It's a great little camper. We have camped on and off through the years and have always used tents but the camper was meant to get two old folks off of the ground.  I still like my hammock for camping in the backcountry but this little camper is great for a weekend away. Almost glamping in a way. Compared to all of the campers in their tents this weekend it was a definite upgrade to what they were doing. Car camping is great because you can get away to a location like a National or State park you can sleep under the starts but you still have the amenities of a bathroom.

Shenandoah is a National Park that is not too far away. We could have got there in four in a half hours if we drove by interstate but we decided to take the backroads there and it took us an hour longer but well worth it to see small little towns and the countryside instead of traffic on Interstate 95. Shenandoah is located in the mountains of Virginia along Skyline drive. The northern part of the park is only 75 miles from Washington DC.  
Skyline drive is an extension of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Really the same road they just change the name to Skyline Drive when you enter Shenandoah.  It is a long Park that goes right up the ridge line of the mountains. It has over 500 hiking trails and the Appalachian Trail that runs from Georgia to Main runs right through it. So we left home and took the drive that was about five and a half hours and arrived at the park entrance. There is a fee to get into the park but if you have an annual pass to the parks that will get you in and save you 30 bucks. The pass is good for 7 days if you don't have the pass. There are several Campgrounds in the park and we stayed at one that was on the southern end of the park called Loft Mountain Campground. 

The Loft Mountain Campground is a National Park Campground. We have never camped with our trailer (I must really get a name for the trailer) at a National Park Campground before. The fee was a little expensive for what you get at 30 dollars per night. But the campground was very clean especially the bathrooms. It was set up really nice and you didn't feel crowded there were plenty of trees and growth to make you feel like you were camping in the wilderness. Shenandoah is known for its bear population and there are strict rules for keeping food locked away. We did not see any bear but did have a family of deer that regularly roamed the campground eating leaves from the foliage around the campsites. They would get within 10 feet of you before they scurried off.  The campground also had a camp store that sold camping supplies and also had coin operated showers available.

We arrived in the afternoon on Friday and set up camp and hung out at the campground. We played cards and took Forrest for a walk around the campground. The next morning we got up and made breakfast then headed out to Skyline Drive.  Skyline Drive runs north and south through the park for over 100 miles. At 35mph speed limit it can take you a while to navigate the whole park on the drive. There are two visitor centers one is about midway and the other is at the northern part of the park. There are little stores and restaurants called Waysides that you can stop and shop and eat at. And there is one gas station in the middle of the park. We drove along Skyline drive stopping at overlooks along the way to take photographs. Skyline drive was built in the early 30's by the Civilian Conservation Corp. And the park was established in 1936 I believe.  It is a slow and winding drive through the park with many overlooks. Be on the lookout for bicycles while driving . There are many cyclist making their way up and down the hills.  We even saw a bicycle built for 4 with a family of 5 pulling a trailer for the smallest of the family. It was quite a site to see this young family cycling up the hills. Later in the day when we were at camp this family came into the campground and stayed just adjacent from us. We grilled some chicken for dinner that night and after eating it started to get stormy as a front was coming trough. We spent the night in our camper watching a movie. Yes it has a TV in it and a Blue-ray DVD player. The rain cooled off the air and made for a pleasant sleep. We woke and had breakfast the next morning and packed up camp and headed home. 

Shenandoah National Park is a pretty park and must be amazing in the fall when the leaves change. There are waterfalls and all kinds of beautiful scenery to see. Make it a point to visit this Park you won't be disappointed .  Until Next week Get outside and shoot.

(Max Stansell Photography) blog camping landscape learning Max Stansell Photography National Park Photography Shenandoah Skyline Teardrop Virginia website workshops Fri, 19 Aug 2022 07:35:39 GMT
Photography Hacks and Best Practices. Hey Every one! Hope your having a great week! This week I want to go over some hacks and best practices that I have developed over the years of photography.  We all have little things we do to help us along and some of these I may have mentioned in other blogs along the way. These are things that I do that seem to help me when I'm doing my photography thing. Some of them might not seem like photography specific related things but they will help. So here are 10 hacks or best practices that might help you.

1. Keep an organized photography bag. Keeping a organized bag will speed you up when you're out photographing. Having a specific spot for everything in your bag does a few things. First it keeps you from loosing stuff.  If you have a specific place for everything you can quickly know when something is missing.  Because you will have an empty space where there is not suppose to be.  I lost a camera strap for over a year because I just shoved it in my bag where it wasn't suppose to be and when I went looking for it I couldn't find it because it was a black strap in a black pocket and I didn't see it.  This was at a wedding I was shooting and I took the strap off because it was getting in my way I said to myself Ill just put it here so it won't get lost. Well it was lost even though it was in my bag. I ended up getting a new one before I found this one and now I have two. The second thing it will do is speed up you're photography.  When you're out shooting you don't have to look for something you know where it is and you can quickly get to it without searching.  You can do it in the dark because you will be so familiar.

2. Keep micro fiber clothes everywhere.  You've heard this hack before. If your like me you have these little micro fiber clothes laying around everywhere. You get them at the eye doctor in almost every electronic you buy they just accumulate. So in every slot of my camera bag I put one or two at the bottom under a lens or under a battery.  That way when I'm out in the field and I need one there is one very handy.  I always have one in my pocket also. So if I'm shooting away from my bag I can pull one out.  It also comes in handy if you're out shooting with a friend and they need a cloth you can quickly pull one out of your pocket for them to use. This has happened to me more than once.

3. Gaffers Tape. Gaffers tape is wonderful. Its very sticky but it does not leave a sticky residue when you remove it. It's like duct tape without the mess. It comes in handy when putting cords away or just to hold something together.  I stick this tape in various places to always have it handy. I will put a piece on a large lens hood or wrap it around something like a lens brush so I always have some in my bag without taking a roll of it with me. This tip can get you out of a jam.

4. Medicine.  If your older like I am sometimes you need the help of say a Tylenol or a Tums to get you through the day. Instead of taking a bottle of each I use an old film canister and put a few of each in and use it as a pill bottle. This works great and is the perfect size to keep the weight and clutter down in my camera bag. I then can wrap Gaffers tape on the outside the bottle to use like in the item above.

5. Emergency Rain Poncho.  I always have an emergency rain poncho with me. Here is the reason. I went to a state park to shoot a waterfall its about a mile or so hike in to get to the fall. When I left the weather was fine but one of those afternoon thunder storms snuck up on me and it started a downpour.  I got pretty wet.  I did have a Plastic bag that I covered up my gear with but I got soaked. From then on I carry one of these little disposable ponchos with me.  They only cost about 5 dollars and really come in handy.

6. Take an umbrella. Along with the tip above about rain ponchos. If it looks like you'll be shooting in the rain. Maybe doing street photography take a small umbrella with you. Not so much to keep you dry or your camera dry but to keep water spots off of the front of your lens. Theses little umbrellas are handy and deploy with a touch of a button.

7. Check Camera Settings before you arrive. Make sure your camera is ready to go for that first shot.  If your going on a camera shoot before you leave or travel make sure your camera is set up to shoot the second you arrive. Make sure the ISO is set to where you want it.  Maybe you were shooting Night photography and you have the shutter set at 30 seconds and you don't check it. When you arrive at the first spot the next day and you frame up your shot and click! Nothing happens for 30 seconds and you may miss the shot. So give your settings a once over before you leave so this does not happen to you.

8. Batteries, Batteries, Batteries. While most of us are shooting digital and even more are shooting mirrorless cameras always have fresh batteries at the beginning of the day. One of my mirrorless cameras is notorious for eating batteries. So the night before a day trip or after a day of shooting on a multi day trip the first thing I do when I get to the hotel or at my house is put a fresh battery in my camera. Charge up the one that came out and any that you have used up during the day so the next day you have a fresh set with you. Nothing can stop your photography like a dead battery. Be prepared and always carry a spare or two.

9. Have lots of SD cards. Another of my nightly checks before a trip is to make sure I have an freshly formatted SD card in my camera for the nest day. When I arrive at my hotel after a shoot I pull out my SD card and insert a fresh one and format. Boom! Camera is ready for the next day! The one I took out I backup and store in a camera wallet. I shoot one SD card or more per day and a fresh one every day. These cards are fairly cheap and beside a dead battery this can stop you from shooting. If you're shooting and your card gets full and you don't have another then you are stuck deleting shots off of your card to make room wasting time. I always carry one or two spares with me just incase I have a card go bad or I fill one up.

10. Comfortable Shoes! Wearing comfortable shoes is one of the best things you can do for your photography shoot. Trying to hike or walk a city street or just being on your feet for an extended time. If you don't have comfortable shoes your feet hurt and you can concentrate on the matter at hand , shooting! Wear comfortable clothes as well. Tight fitting binding clothes will also make you uncomfortable leading to missed shots.

Well there are ten hacks or best practices. I could probably come up with more with a little thinking. I'm sure there are some stuff that you do that could help us. Share a hack or best practice that you do.  So until next week please stay safe and get outside and shoot!

(Max Stansell Photography) batteries blog bug spray camera bag hacks landscape learning Max Stansell Photography Photography poncho sd cards website workshops Fri, 12 Aug 2022 07:23:36 GMT
Advantages of shooting a Full Frame Sensor Camera. Hey Everyone! Hope your having a great week. Last week I talked about the advantages of shooting a crop sensor camera which kind of highlighted the disadvantages of shooting a Full Frame Sensor camera. So this week I wanted to highlight the advantages of shooting a full frame sensor camera.  A disclaimer I am not a professional photographer although I have been paid to shoot things like weddings , portraits , events etc… but I do have 45 years experience of playing with and obsessing with cameras.  From film to Digital. I have owned several Full Frame cameras and currently have a Sony A7III in my camera bag. My first full frame camera was a Nikon D800 a fantastic camera with a 36MP sensor on it and it made great images.  The main difference between the crop sensor camera’s and the full frame sensor camera is of course the Sensor Size. Not in Mega-Pixels but is surface area.  So here goes some advantages of shooting a full sensor camera.

1- Low Light capability. The surface area of the sensor of a full frame is larger than a crop sensor  and catches more light. Bodie Island StarsBodie Island StarsMax Stansell Photography If you had a 24 MP crop sensor and a 24mp full frame sensor the size of each of the pixels of the full frame is 1.5 or more larger than that of the crop sensor.  The surface area allows it to catch that much more light which makes the full frame sensor better in low light shooting situations. Say Astro photography, Wedding photography or anything that is in low light. The images with have more detail and less noise than that of a crop sensor in the same situation.

2- Shallower Depth of Field.  The depth of field is how much of your frame is in GardeniaGardenia focus. A shallow depth of field is great when taking portraits or isolating your subject with a busy background. This is maybe the biggest plus for me. I love that blurry background or Bokeh.  This makes full frame camera’s great for weddings, portraits sessions or almost anything that shallow depth of field is wanted.

3.- More resolution.  Mega-Pixels wars!  These full frame sensors can be from 12mp to 60 plus MP.  This comes into play when cropping in. So in post production maybe you took a shot of a scene but only liked one corner of the image with a large MP sensor you can crop in and not hurt the quality of the shot.  This can make this great landscape or wildlife shooters.  For example if you had a 42mp sensor camera and you cropped in 1.5 times you now have a 19mp image. Which is still great for printing. 

4. - Dynamic Range.  With a larger sensor you have a greater dynamic range. What does this mean? I’ll give Antietam National CemeteryAntietam National Cemetery you an example now the numbers I’m using are made up and are just used to make the point. If I use a crop sensor camera at 24mp and shoot a shot lets say between total black and blown out white there are 1000 shades of grey or color.  With that same 24mp in a full frame sensor maybe you would have 2000 shades of grey or color.  Normally you can’t see this unless you zoom in and look at a certain point of the photo and compare side by side but it is there and it is an advantage of full frame cameras. So the transition between colors will be more fluid with the full frame and more pixelated with the crop sensor.

5. - Larger Camera and lenses. For those that have large hands this can be a plus and I hate to say it but if your shooting professionally customers like to see a photographer with a larger camera. For some reason they think that you have to have that large camera to shoot professional.  And that’s not so. But it can be an advantage if your shooting professionally. So there’s that.

There you have it 5 advantages to shooting full frame sensor camera’s. They are great camera’s and I shoot both crop and full frame and I love them both.  And if you took photo’s from both camera’s and mixed them up and showed them to someone they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference of which camera took them. Believe me I have done it.  Well that’s enough of that until next week.  Keep shooting no matter what camera you have and get outside!

(Max Stansell Photography) blog crop sensor dynamic Range full frame landscape learning Lenses low light Max Stansell Photography Photography website workshops Fri, 05 Aug 2022 07:41:29 GMT
Advantages of Shooting Crop Sensor Cameras! Hey Everyone! Hope you had a great week. This week I want to talk about Mirrorless Crop Sensor Cameras and the advantages they hold. First of all what is a crop sensor camera? A crop sensor camera has a sensor smaller than a Full frame sensor camera which is the size of old 35mm film. There are Micro 4/3rds camera's and APSC cameras. These are the ones I'll be mainly talking about but there are all types and sizes of camera sensors.  Crop sensors get a bad rap from a lot of the Full Frame and Medium format shooters.  But they are great cameras and can take great photographs. I use crop sensor camera's and full frame camera's.  But I wanted to give you some reasons to use crop sensor cameras. 

- They are smaller. The bodies tend to be smaller and more lightweight than their full frame counterpart. AMT2016-sony-a6300-review-0423-2AMT2016-sony-a6300-review-0423-2Photographer: Anthony Thurston Especially if you are comparing them to their Full Frame DSLR counterpart. This makes them great for travel , landscape, street .  Anywhere you have to carry your gear. One of the first reasons I went to mirrorless crop sensor camera was because of size. I did a lot of hiking at the time and my full frame DSLR was just too big and heavy.

- The lenses are smaller. This is a big advantage from the full frame counterpart. Much more than the bodies the lenses are much smaller and lighter but still give you great quality. This with the smaller bodies make them great for travel photography.  You can get very good lenses in the crop sensor size.  And sometimes they can fit in your pocket! Street photographers like the smaller lenses because it makes them more inconspicuous when in a crowd.

- Less expensive.  The crop sensor and bodies and lenses are cheaper than full frame cameras.  Almost by half!  A 24-70mm 2.8 full frame lens can cost up to and beyond 2000 dollars but a crop sensor lens with the same specs only 1/2 the price.  The money you save on equipment is more money that you can spend on travel and experiences.  

- Smaller File Size.  The files that these camera's produce are much smaller than the larger sensor camera's. This creates two advantages for you.

    - This makes the camera quicker!  More frame rates! Crop sensor camera's are used for sports photography quite often because they are quicker when a photographer has continuous shutter on the cameras can be very fast and buffering is not as much as a problem as with full frame cameras. So great for Sport and Wildlife photography.

   - The smaller files are great on your computer also!  The smaller files take up less room and are easier for your computer to process! What does this mean? It means you don't have to update your computer as much and you can use that money for more experiences.  The smaller files make them easier to process and to store! 

Price LandingPrice Landing -Larger Depth of Field- The depth of field in these cameras are generally larger than their full frame counterparts.  The depth of field is the amount of the photo that is in focus. Say if you took a photo with a 50mm lens equivalent on a full frame camera and a crop sensor camera and they both were set to F4 the crop sensor would have more of the frame in focus than the full frame camera.  This is an advantage when shooting landscapes or anything you want more depth of field.  I use my crop sensor camera for Landscapes for that reason. Dasiy FieldDasiy Field

To sum up there are many advantages to using a crop sensor camera. They are lightweight, smaller, cheaper, smaller file size and larger depth of field. When I was first considering a crop sensor camera I only shot full frame. I was worried about quality. I got an inexpensive crop sensor camera and used the kit lens that it came with and started comparing similar shots used with each and I couldn't tell the difference. I liked the crop sensor so much I sold all of my full frame stuff and shot only crop sensor for many years .  I've just recently got another full frame camera to play with. The quality is great in these little camera's and are a great investment for anyone wanting to get into photography.  Next week we'll talk on the advantages to Full sensor sized camera's. So until next week get outside and keep shooting.

(Max Stansell Photography) APSC blog Crop Sensor File Size landscape learning Lighter Max Stansell Photography Photography Portable Smaller website workshops Fri, 29 Jul 2022 08:37:21 GMT
Timing is Everything! For National and State Parks. Hey Everyone! Hope you're great this week.  I just got back from a hike with my hiking buddy "Forrest the Wonder Dog" and while I was hiking I was thinking about this subject. Timing is Everything!  When Traveling to National and State Parks. I just got back a month ago from a week long photo trip to Utah.  We were very careful on the Timing of our trips to the parks and tried to time them perfectly.  That doesn't always go as you think it should because some of these parks were on the way to somewhere. But over all we planned well. Here are some tips on timing your photography or any other type of trip to National or State Parks.

1. Time of year. Planning the time of Double ArchDouble ArchArches National Park Utah year can greatly effect the enjoyment factor you will have on your trip. Take into consideration the climate of the region that you are going to. Is it going to be covered in snow? Many parks when in the dead of winter have many trails and roads closed due to weather. Or is it going to be scorching hot? Visiting a place in the dead of summer might not be so good if you're going to Florida or Texas. Try to go when schools are in session. I know this is not as a big factor now because of Covid and many kids are home schooled. But this can be a big factor. Families take their kids on vacation during summer break making the parks more crowded. When we planned our trip to Utah the weather was a big consideration and spring wild flowers. The temps were cool in the morning and in the 70's during the day. Perfect for hiking.

Forsyth Park FountainForsyth Park FountainForsyth Park Fountain, Savannah Ga a lovely 30 acre park. Great fountain and lots of shade on a hot summers day. #MaxStansellPhotography #funwithphotography #Getoutandshoot #awesomestuffisee #SonyA6300 #alphashooter #NorthCarolinaPhotographer #NorthCarolinaLiving #visitNC #NorthCarolina 2. Time Arriving at the Park. As the old saying goes . "The Early Bird Gets the Worm" This is also good in photography.  Don't sleep in! I know you're on vacation but you can sleep late when you're at home.  Use your time visiting these places smartly. The golden hours in the morning and evening are the best light to shoot in. Getting somewhere early is key. Maybe scout a place to shoot one day and go early the next when the light is best. If your a wildlife photographer wildlife is more active in the morning and the evening.  They usually chill out in the heat of the day. I like to get up early head out and shoot then come back to my camp or restaurant for breakfast. If you need some energy early take a breakfast bar with you to hold you over. Heading out with a full stomach after a big meal could mean disaster.  If your stomach is iffy like mine is you have to be very careful when you eat and hike long miles. Just saying. After your morning shoot and breakfast then is the time to scout more places to shoot. Visit the visitors center ,chill out in the heat of the day.

3. Using your time wisely.  As I said earlier your at a special place one you don't regularly visit.  After your Sunset HerringSunset HerringMax Stansell Photography morning shoot. Visit a nearby town. Most of the towns near National Parks are pretty cool destinations in themselves. Check out a coffee shop or a restaurant.  Visit the visitors center see the movies that they usually have telling about the park.  Scout for evening shots or shots for the next day.  Take a hike or Take a nap! Nothing is better than laying in a hammock swinging in the breeze getting some rest.  So you can go out later or get up early the next day. LOL

As you can tell I love visiting State and National Parks and seeing different things.  So just don't sit in the house on the weekend get out and explore and shoot!


(Max Stansell Photography) blog early Bird landscape learning Max Stansell Photography National Parks Photography State Time Management Timing website workshops Fri, 22 Jul 2022 08:48:29 GMT
What do I Shoot? Stills! Hey Everyone! Hope you had a great week.  This week I wanted to share my thoughts on how I approach photography. People I meet and I show my photo's to sometimes say "You must have a good Camera" or "What kind of Camera shot this?". And as photographers we know its not the camera. But I do have good camera's . Yes I have more than one camera.  And so do all of my Photography friends. But really any camera made in the last 10 years is a good camera. It's how you use the tools you own.  I shoot on three different formats or sensor size , one inch, APSC(cropped) and Full Frame. Really four if you counting my iPhone. All of them give me great photographs. Yes photographs I shoot Still's mainly.  I dabble in using a GoPro every now and then but that's for more documentary type video. Like where I've been.   My cameras are geared toward and set up for Still Photography. Here are my good camera's and what I use them for.

1. The iPhone. Like most of you I carry a smart phone everywhere I go.  I use this for taking quick snapshots maybe a selfie or two.  I also use it for reference shots. For example my wife sends me to the store to get something she just ran out of. I can take a photo of the item and look for it at the store. Or if I'm at the store I can take a photo of something and send it to her to make sure I'm getting the right thing or not . Usually not! LOL. Smart phones have become a very large part of ours lives in that way.

2. A One Inch Sensor.  I have a point and shoot camera that really goes with me when I'm at work everyday. If I get a chance to take a walk or visit a city park while I'm at lunch that is what I take with me to shoot with