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  • Green Mountain Camera Now Carrying 3 Legged Thing Tripods

    3 Legged Thing is a British tripod company that specializes in compact, stable, modular tripod systems

    Green Mountain Camera is extremely excited to announce the formation of a new relationship with 3 Legged Thing. 3 Legged Thing designs and manufactures high-quality, unique tripods. They are a British company with a presence around the globe, but has only a handful of dealers within the United States. Green Mountain Camera is happy to join the ranks of authorized dealers in the USA.

    3 Legged Thing Tripods In StockWe've started to receive 3 Legged Thing tripods, and they are now available for sale in our stores and online. So far we've received some carbon fiber models, including the very popular Brian, Frank and Eddie. We look forward to carrying more of the 3 Legged Thing line-up in the near future. Any customer suggestions are highly appreciated. Let us know what you want to see, and we'll be happy to get it in for you.

    3 Legged Thing tripods have some very unique features that will appeal to serious photographers--both amateurs and professionals. 3 Legged Thing has produced a great video that explains some of the awesome features found in Brian. Even if you aren't interested in this tripod, it is definitely worth a watch.

     

  • 10 Awesome Quotes on Photography

    Ansel Adams with Speech Bubble

    Quotes are great. And, we've found that photographers are great quote makers. Here we've compiled a list of ten awesome quotes--in no particular order--photographers (mostly) have said about photography.

    We've heard so many customers make the same complaint as number 8, by Strand, and we find this especially relevant with the recent Kodak bankruptcy and overall uncertainty surrounding film. We don't agree with number 5, by Warhol, but found it interesting because during our search for awesome quotes we found most photographers commenting on the struggle they faced of making photography a recognized art form. It seems Warhol wasn't the only one who shared number 5's sentiment. Especially, it seems, during the early part of last century.

    1. It's not YOUR picture, it's MY picture! Garry Winogrand to a guy who told him not to take his picture.
    2. You only get one sunrise and one sunset a day, and you only get so many days on the planet. A good photographer does the math and doesn't waste either. Galen Rowell
    3.  It's about time we started to take photography seriously and treat it as a hobby. Elliot Erwitt
    4. Never boss people around. It's more important to click with people than to click the shutter. Alfred Eisenstaedt
    5. Photographers feel guilty that all they do for a living is press a button. Andy Warhol
    6. Photography is not cute cats, nor nudes, motherhood or arrangements of manufactured products. Under no circumstances it is anything ever anywhere near a beach. Walker Evans
    7. I don't care if you make a print on a bath mat, just as long as it is a good print. Edward Weston
    8. Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. Paul Strand
    9. There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs. Ansel Adams
    10. Let the subject generate its own photographs. Become a camera. Minor White

    Do you have favorite quotes on photography? Please share. We'd love to see them.

  • Mark Byland and Astrophotography: "My God, it's full of stars!"

    Andromeda Galaxy & M32, M110 Satellite Galaxies

    Andromeda Galaxy & M32, M110 Satellite Galaxies

    When I see images like the one above, I am immediately stopped in my tracks. It is hard for me to comprehend the surreal reality conveyed by such an image, and yet I find it so beautiful. Questions like, "How can this exist out there, beyond the sky?", "What is this?", and, ultimately, "How was this taken?", all start to fill my head. I always assume a massive telescope planted in an observatory on top of a mountain with a team of scientists must have captured an image like this one. The truth behind how this image was taken is very different, however. If Mark Byland, the individual who captured this image, never started working for us several months ago, I probably would still assume capturing this image was only possible by a dedicated, professional team. Don't get me wrong, dedication is absolutely required (as you will see in how long it takes to capture and compose an image like this one), but obtaining images like the ones Mark captures of the night sky are closer within reach than I, and I assume many others, would think.

    The Pleiades

    The Pleiades

    Astrophotography, or AP, as this type of photography is called, is a serious hobby for Mark. Yet, when you talk to him about his AP passion, he is very humble about the whole experience. He has an "anyone can do this" attitude and is happy and eager to talk about AP with anyone.

    Mark started his journey into Astrophotography with an interest in Astronomy as a kid by a common interest with his father. It wasn't until 2009, however, that his interest in non-Earth objects propelled him into Astrophotography. He recalls:

    I managed to photograph the Lunar Eclipse in February of 2009 with a cell phone camera held up to the eyepiece of a 76mm reflector telescope. The feeling that overcame me having just captured my first ever pictures of a distant non Earth-based object has been the same feeling that compels me to do what I do every time.

    Lunar Eclipse

    Lunar Eclipse Captured by Mark in 2009

    Now Mark uses a setup that is a bit more advanced than a cell phone held up to a telescope. As he explains:

    I use a simple setup consisting of a two telescope "piggyback" rig on top of an automated, electronic mount that tracks the sky as it passes overhead (or as we move underneath it to be more technically proper). One telescope is sending information to a laptop via a CCD camera tracking a chosen star, which guides the electronic mount. The other telescope sits on top and has a camera hooked up to it for making the images.

    I use a modified Canon EOS Rebel XT digital SLR camera. The IR/UV filter has been removed from the camera to enable the capture of a fuller spectrum of light frequencies. A Baader Type II clear glass filter has been re-installed to keep the autofocus working, just in case I want to use the camera for every day shooting, which requires a Custom White Balance. I shoot unfiltered on the scope, but there is an image style called 'narrow band' that refers to using a set of filters to isolate certain light frequencies and create more accurate LRGB images. For what I'm doing, and the level that I am currently at, my setup suits me well and I do my best to push it to it's maximum capability.

    Telescope Imaging Rig

    Mark's Rig

    This setup wasn't acquired as a "ready-to-go" rig for the images Mark captures. It has taken him a lot of time and trial with different equipment and hardware to get it to where it is now. Still, Mark is humble about the image capture of distant objects:

    Image capture is the easy part after you get to know the setup process and understand the equipment capabilities. Most of the time, it's literally 'set-it-and-forget-it', just maybe check on things every hour or so to make sure nothing has gone wrong.

    And, check on things he does. Mark was telling me the other day that he was up until 4:30 in the morning working on some image captures the night before.

    Many people may think that the images Mark creates are a single capture. In fact, they aren't, and are actually a composite of many captures stacked and edited into one image. And, this is the part of Astrophotography that is perhaps the most difficult, and artistic.

    "In Astrophotography, it's the processing that will challenge any individual through most of their early years."

    The Horsehead Nebula & NGC2024

    The Horsehead Nebula & NGC2024

    Mark explains the process involved in creating the above image:

    This Horsehead Nebula image is from just a few weeks ago. When looking out at the night sky on a clear night, this time of year, the Orion constellation is very visible high in the sky during most evening hours. If you take a look at Orion's 'Belt', the far left star is called Alnitak. That's the brightest star in this image. The red glow you see is actually gas, mainly consisting of Hydrogen Alpha or Ha, for short. It shows up mainly red in images and this is what my modified came is geared to capture now that the factory IR/UV filter has been removed. The exposure consists of about 3 total hours of exposure at 3 minutes per frame, so there are actually many images captured of this scene. The captures were stacked and calibrated for noise in a program called Deep Sky Stacker. I then did output stretching and color level editing in Photoshop CS4 to come up with this final image. Total time to produce this one image was 4 hours for imaging and 4 hours for editing, for a total of 8 hours. I'm conservatively estimating the edit time, and that's for one single image. On a night where you may get 2-3 good images captured, you can spend the next week in edit mode stacking and tweaking to get things just right. Needless to say, I find it fun and much more a learning experience in gathering information about what I shoot.

    Mark encourages everyone to get in to Astrophotography and capture the night sky:

    It's really as easy as taking the camera outside on a tripod on a really clear night. Compose a shot with the sky, set the Camera to manual mode, set a 20-30 second exposure, ISO 800-1600, and stop the lens down to f/8-10 and see what the sensor brings in. For all of it's meaning, that's Astrophotography.  Some of my favorite shots consist of no more than doing this type of AP. It's easy to get cool results to load up on the computer screen. With a little practice you can compose some really cool shots like star trails, or time lapse movies using still frames, etc..

    If you have any questions for Mark, please feel free to contact him at mbyland@gmcamera.com. Also, Mark will continually post AP photos and updates in the category on the right labeled "Mark's AP Corner".

    All of the images in this article were taken by Mark Byland and are his property. Please do not copy or distribute these images without his sole permission.

  • "Femto Photography": Born in a Lab at MIT

    MIT Media Lab's Camera Culture Group has developed a process for visualizing light at a trillion frames per second. The name? "Femto Photography". This seems like something sports photographers could really get behind. Perhaps sifting through a trillion frames of images for a one second moment would be a little too tedious. Even the most patient editors would have a difficult time with that one. Of course, yes, we know it wouldn't be possible in the first place. An exposure time of 1/1,000,000,000,000 seconds is a little too short for a moving subject to be properly exposed. It is still fun to think about, however.

    In all seriousness, this is way cool. Visualizing the propagation of waves through water is one thing, but being able to visualize the propagation of light is something else. Check out the video below. It shows pulses of a laser and the light emitted and propagated from that pulse. It takes approximately one-billionth of a second for the light to travel across the entire bottle. Slowed down, it takes a little bit longer than that....

  • Benj Gershman and O.A.R.

    This is a different kind of post for us, but is pertinent in the sense that it relates to camera equipment and photography.

    Last night I went to an O.A.R. concert at Burlington's Waterfront Park.

    Burlington Waterfront Park ConcertIf you have never had the chance to enjoy the waterfront of Lake Champlain, it is a real treat, and one of the most beautiful spots in Burlington. It is also a big reason why many people travel to Burlington. Seeing a concert on the waterfront is a really cool experience. While watching a show you have terrific views of (if the weather cooperates) a beautiful sunset over the Adirondack Mountains of New York, which are visible just across Lake Champlain.

    Last night in between songs, and as the sun was setting, the band members of O.A.R. were taking a moment or two to take in the scenery, commenting on how beautiful the venue was. At one point, I glanced over at the bassist, Benj Gershman, and couldn't help but notice he was taking some photographs of the sunset laid out before him. I got pretty excited too, because it was unmistakable to pick out the camera he was using. Propped up in his hands was that solid classic, the Pentax 67.

    Pentax 67 Medium Format Film Camera

    Pentax 67 Medium Format Film Camera

    I thought it was pretty cool to see a famous musician taking photographs during an actual set, using none other than a classic medium format film camera. So, today I figured I would do a little research and look into things a little more. Lo and behold, Benj is an avid photographer, and has a website dedicated to his photography at www.benjgershman.com. We recommend you check out his work. It is pretty cool and he definitely has a creative eye.

    If used and classic camera equipment excites you as much as it excites us, we recommend you check out our website dedicated to the stuff. You can find all of our used camera equipment listed at www.theusedcamerastore.com.

  • Sekonic to host a Live Online Video Seminar August 11th, 2011

    Sekonic Live Online Video SeminarSekonic just notified us of an upcoming live video seminar to be hosted 8/11/2011 at 1:00pm (EDT) on the Sekonic website. We think this is a great (FREE!) opportunity to pick up some new information, tips, and/or tricks. Sekonic provides the following description for this seminar:

    Log on August 11 at 1:00pm (EDT) for a free one-hour live seminar, hosted by noted photographer and educator Joe Brady. You'll have a front-row seat from the comfort of your home or office as you participate in our interactive streaming-video seminar broadcast in real time here on this page. In this session, we will explore common lighting situations that can occur when shooting outside, along with easy-to-follow solutions that give you the quality you want for your environmental portraits.

    Sekonic continues with the following information about what will be specifically covered:

    Creating portraits on location can be a great way to have both flattering light and beautiful surroundings to complement your subject. The place you and your client choose can help tell a story that says something about what is important to them.

    All of this sounds wonderful, but there’s a problem here as well. Many times, the light and cast shadows are not particularly flattering on your subject. Sometimes the problems are obvious and sometimes they are subtle, but to create a quality portrait, these are issues that have to be dealt with.

    In this session, we’ll explore a few common lighting situations that can occur when shooting outside, and we'll offer you some easy-to-follow solutions that can help you solve these challenges. We’ll explore ways to overcome problem lighting with tools that are simple and effective, and we’ll use a handheld light meter to provide us with all the information we need to control and shape the light in beautiful environmental portraits.

    In case you missed part 1 of the series (Control the Light and Improve Your Photography:
    Part I – Portraiture using Available Light), we have posted it here for your convenience:

  • Zeiss Camera Lens News Issue No. 40 - Macro Photography

    More than 3 months ago Zeiss transformed their Camera Lens Newsletter into a blog. The previous newsletter was a series of articles assembled in an easy to download, print and/or view PDF file. The new blog format has the advantage of being more current and up-to-date by providing instant publishing of current topics. The Zeiss Camera Lens Newsletter is now simply a collection of blog posts for the last quarter (3 months), usually on a given subject or topic. This CLN is on macro photography, and the articles can be found here.

    Our favorite articles are Mozart in Miniature, and the ongoing series of articles about Zeiss lens names with this one highlighting Planar. Mozart in Miniature helps to highlight the detail and artistic bokeh of the 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar, a customer favorite for our store.

    Also, although this is not exactly on-topic in regards to Camera Lens News, it does involve Zeiss lenses. The Zeiss M-mount lenses continue to be tight in supply. Luckily, we have started to see more and more come through the pipeline. More recently we have received the Biogon T* 35mm f/2, which can be found here.

  • Carl Dunn: World Published Rock Photographer

    Mick Jagger Color Photograph by Carl Dunn

    Mick Jagger (Rolling Stones) - Fort Worth, Texas

    Stop in to any record or CD store anywhere in the world and you can find examples of Carl Dunn's work. Carl Dunn has been photographing musicians for over 40 years. His scope of work includes 10s of thousands of photographs of some of the biggest names in music. Carl has photographed David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, James Marshall Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Elvis, Jeff Beck, and The Who, just to name a few. His album and book credits include Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Moody Blues and many lessor known artist from the 70's, as well as having credits in many documentary films. Early on, Carl was able to form unique relationships that allowed him full access to the biggest names in music. He's shot musicians in varied environments from concerts, to bars, in studios, backstage and in candid situations.

    Robert Plant B&W Photography by Carl Dunn

    Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) - Dallas, Texas

    Many of his images are iconic in nature. Carl's ability to capture a musician in a single moment and to tell a story about their artistry through a single image is remarkable. Yet, speaking with Carl you do not get the sense that his photographs are really that big of a deal. In fact, for Carl, you get the sense that photographing musicians is a second nature to ordinary life: "I shoot the same photograph over and over." He likes to consider his photography as a "curiosity driven by some underlying passion."

    Pete Townshend B&W Photograph by Carl Dunn

    Pete Townshend (The Who) - Dallas, Texas

    Carl is a Nikon shooter, and he always has been. Carl's choice in a camera system was based on the quality of Nikon lenses at the time of his start in photography. In considering lens sharpness, Carl thinks that "Nikon [lenses] compared to other 35mm manufacturers of the day were by far the best with the possible exception of Leica." His early photographs were shot with a Nikon F and the Nikon 300mm f/4, 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.8, and 180mm f/2.8. The 300mm f/4 was stolen, however, so the majority of his early photographs were taken with the remaining three lenses.

    David Bowie B&W Photograph by Carl Dunn

    David Bowie - Memphis, Tennessee

    Carl has recently been working on scanning many of his older negatives into digital files. He acquired a Nikon Coolscan 9000 from us a little while ago (unfortunately these great scanners are discontinued and no longer available), and is impressed with the quality. The scans require a little bit of work, and Carl makes sure to use the multi-sampling functionality to get the highest quality results. One issue that plagues his work is getting the negatives clean. Years of storage, even in archival negative sleeves, have not been kind to the scanning process. Carl tries to get the negatives as clean as possible with PEC-12 emulsion cleaner by Photographic Solutions. Scratches and stubborn spots cannot be resolved in this way, however, so Carl resorts to post-processing. He spends a lot of time with each photograph, viewing the digital image at 100% and correcting any artifacts at their size scale.

    Photograph by Carl Dunn

    Paul Rodgers and Brian May (Queen) - MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada

    Carl lives in Texas, but has been our customer for several years now. He first contacted us when he was interested in a Nikon D3 and saw that we had some. Lucky for us, Carl has been a customer ever since, and he calls us up whenever he needs something, or to just talk about life. Carl's transition into digital photography has been a satisfying one. Carl is especially impressed with the low-light advantage of the Nikon D3. He says, "With Nikon's ability to capture at low light I find the biggest advantage  is to get the shutter speed up and the aperture squeezed down." Carl has often told me that he likes to shoot stopped down to at least f/5.6 because that is when he gets a more 3-dimensional feel to the image. And, being able to use a camera with a very clean high-iso allows him to do this and still be able to maintain a useful shutter speed. A tip he suggests, "The main thing is to avoid over exposure, which is especially critical with digital cameras and concert lighting."

    Concert Hall Panorama by Carl Dunn

    Jeff Beck Group - Palace Theater, Louisville, Kentucky

    One of the more recent excitements in digital photography for Carl is the panorama. In his earlier days of photography he tried capturing concert venues with a wide-angle lens. Unfortunately, the wide-angle never captured the entire feel and moment of the concert. With digital photography Carl is able to capture multiple images and stitch them together to get a perspective that would not otherwise be possible with a single shot using a wide-angle lens.

    Concert Venue Panorma by Carl Dunn

    Jeff Beck Group - Eastman Theater, Rochester Jazz Festival, Rochester, New York

    In addition to the changes seen by digital photography, Carl is amazed by the quality of modern lenses. He notes that the sharpness of his current images are far better than anything he has before produced. His most used lenses are the Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 and the Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 VR. The first instinct many photographers might have is that these lenses are too slow for the low-light situations of concert venues, wanting to grab for a f/1.8 or faster lens. Again, the unparalleled high-ISO performance of the D3 allows for Carl to use smaller apertures and still maintain a fast enough shutter speed for sharp images.

    James Marshall Hendrix B&W Photograph by Carl Dunn

    James Marshall Hendrix (The Jimi Hendrix Experience) - Dallas, Texas

    Carl is still photographing musicians, and recently followed Jeff Beck. He is a contributor to the UK Cancer Research charity and auction held annually at Abbey Road Studio in London and hosted by Sir George Martin. Carl has published a book of his work and the book can be seen at http://www.thisisrockandroll.com/. He has prints available for sale at http://rockandrollgallery.com/. Prints and books are also available directly through Carl.

  • Memory Card Myths Demystefied

    The good people at SanDisk recently sent us some information about memory cards. There are a lot of myths surrounding memory cards, and certainly a lot of confusion when it comes to SD cards and differences in speeds, and those speeds when thinking of taking stills vs. video.

    We've copied the document SanDisk provided to us for you here. We hope it helps in demystifying any confusion you may currently have about memory cards.

    Memory Myths – Clear the Clutter
    The basic concept

    Think about a memory card as if it is a sponge. The data from your camera is a glass of water. Three basic principles govern the relationship between the sponge (card) and the water (data).

    Card capacity – how much water (data) can the sponge absorb
    Write speed of the card – how quickly can the sponge (card) absorb the water (data), expressed in MBS (MegaBytes per Second)
    Read speed of the card – how quickly can I wring out the sponge (card) once it’s full of water (data), also expressed in MBS (MegaBytes per Second)

    1. All cards are created equal
    False.

    SanDisk is one only of six prime manufacturers of flash memory wafers in the world, and we are the leader in flash memory cards. In addition to manufacturing our own flash, we also manufacture our own controllers (the “traffic cop” under the hood that determines where data gets written on the flash). Our controller technology reduces the likelihood that any one sector wears out prematurely, so the life of the card is maximized, and bottom line – you come home with your pictures and/ or video content.

    We also write the code that allows all the components to communicate and we do our own assembly and rigorous quality control testing. This is not the case with some other brands of flash cards on the market.

    2. Class is relevant to all performance in all types of memory cards – both for still and video.
    False.

    There are a few measurements of speed for flash cards, just like you can measure the speed of a car in both miles per hour and kilometers per hour.

    There are two measures of speed for CompactFlash cards – MBS (megabytes per second) and the “X” factor.

    Example: our Extreme CompactFlash cards are both 60MBS and 400X. These numbers represent the rate at which data can be transferred from/ to the card and host device (camera/ camcorder). If you know the MBS number (in this case 60MBS), you simply divide that number by .15, so in this case:
    60MBS/ .15 = 400X
    Conversely, if you know the “X factor, you can easily calculate the MBS:
    400X x .15 = 60MBS

    It’s a little more complicated with SDHC cards where there are three measures of speed. Let’s take an Extreme 30MBS, 200X, Class 6 card as an example. The same relationship between MBS (megabytes per second) and the “X” factor applies to SDHC as to CompactFlash:
    30MBS/ .15 = 200X

    In addition to the MBS and “X” factor, SDHC cards are also designated with a Class rating (typically Class 4, 6, or 10). The Class rating system is ONLY relevant when shooting full 1080P HD video onto SDHC cards. It is not applicable to CompactFlash cards and is NOT relevant to still photography when using SDHC cards. By definition, Class is the MINIMUM sustained read/ write speed of an SDHC card expressed in MegaBytes per Second (or MBS). The Class system was developed when flash based video came into vogue a few years ago, as a means to ensure the end result would be a drop-out free
    video when viewed on your television or PC. For example:
    -your camera manual specs a Class 6 card for shooting 1080P video
    This means you need a card with a minimum sustained write speed of 6MBS (megabytes per second) to ensure proper video quality from your camera/ camcorder.

    In addition, the Class rating is the MINIMUM video recording speed of the card, not the maximum performance (speed) of the card. SanDisk Extreme SDHC cards (ideal for video and still photography) run at a MINIMUM of 6MBS for video recording, and a MAXIMUM of 20MBS for burst shooting. Bottom line – not all Class 6 cards are created equal and the Class rating is only relevant to SDHC cards and only applicable to shooting 1080P HD video.

    3. The speed of a card is more important when shooting video vs. still photography.
    False.

    When recording video, you are shooting a small, but sustained stream of data onto a card (a garden hose). When you are shooting RAW files (still photography) at a burst rate of 5 or 6FPS, you are sending a 10 – 20 megabyte file (based on your particular camera brand/ model) onto a card 5 or 6 times per second (like aiming a fire hose at your memory card).

    4. CompactFlash cards are “professional” and more durable than SD cards.
    False.

    CompactFlash was the first form factor to the market and was the mainstay in digital
    photography for about 5 years. SD cards were developed to allow more compact camera designs, but they are actually more durable than CompactFlash cards because:
    -they are truly waterproof, shockproof, magnet and x-ray proof*

    5. SDXC cards are faster than SDHC cards.
    False.

    By definition:
    0 – 2 gigabytes = SD Card
    2+ - 32 gigabytes = SDHC Card
    32+ gigabytes = SDXC Card
    SDXC is simply a measure of a cards’s CAPACITY, not speed.

    *Up to 32GB capacity (refer to http://www.sandisk.com/about-sandisk/proof)

    If you are looking to purchase new memory, or upgrade the memory you have, please visit our website here:

    Green Mountain Camera : Photo Accessories : Memory Cards

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