First, and most importantly, know what genres of photography you enjoy the most and if that genre requires a tripod. Then, buy the largest, highest quality tripod you're willing to carry that fits in your budget. Specifically in that order; do not put budget ahead of any other aspect of the tripod. If you go too cheap, you may very well end up with a tripod that meets none of your needs when you're forced to replace it due to instability or fragility. The adage, "buy cheap, buy twice (or more)" applies here.
As promised in my previous blog post, I'm revisiting my thoughts on the Leofoto LN-324C Systematic Carbon Fiber tripod I picked up before going to Forks, WA. The trip gave me my first chance to use the tripod in a real world setting for photos I cared about. After putting the Leofoto LN-324C and LH-40 ball head through the roughest conditions I ever plan to use it in, it has stood up admirably. There are no conditions to this conclusion. It is an excellent tripod, full stop. The value oriented pricing only makes this combo that much more appealing.
My B2 ball head has had an issue with drift since purchase, and after months of dealing with it, I felt it was now time to finally fix the issue. The G2 a high quality, low profile ball head with huge capacity and smooth action that punches well above its weight. It compares favorably against more well-known name brands even if you take out price as a factor.
So I had this vision in mind: I wanted to get a photo of the Space Needle superimposed on Mt. Rainier. Now that I have the 100-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6 lens from Fujifilm, I'm able to get this shot... if it's even possible. I've seen others who've composited the Space Needle onto a photo of Mt. Rainier, or Mt. Baker, and even Mt. Hood (uh, wtf?) and the results always look less than stellar, mostly because I've lived here most of my life and I know those shots weren't possible using the angles they'd chosen of either object. I wanted to do this for real, all in camera, so I consulted a map and looked around Queen Anne hill and settled on Bhy Kracke Park.
I went out early on Friday morning to take photos of downtown from Kerry Park and was greeted by wildfire smoke blotting out the sunrise. All attempts to capture a golden sunrise on what was essentially a cloudless morning were thwarted, so I popped on the 50-140mm and 2x teleconverter and aimed the front element at the Space Needle. After spending nearly a year under an ugly veil while undergoing renovation, the scaffolding came off a few days ago and revealed the new, modern look. So, in spite of it all, I ended up getting some clean shots of the Space Needle's new look.
Every year for the Seafair air show, the Boeing Museum of Flight holds their Jet Blast Bash, inviting fans of aircraft of all types to watch the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels preflight demonstration and takeoff. Although you don't get a view of the actual air show demonstration that takes place in the box over Lake Washington, it's a great alternative to the endless crowds at Genessee Park if you care more about the airplanes than the hydroplanes.
Discovery Park is the result of the former Fort Lawton grounds being returned to the city of Seattle. On the grounds remain a few reminders of its past and one of the sites is a lighthouse on the park's northwest corner, a point at the mouth of the Lake Washington Ship Canal just south of Shilshole Bay and Golden Gardens Park. After a stop in Magnolia, we went to Discovery Park for the walk, hiking the loop and stopping at the beach and lighthouse so I could take a few photos during the sunset.
So, if you read my previous gear review on the Manfrotto BeFree Compact Carbon Travel Tripod, you'll understand that I needed to replace that turd quickly. This time choosing not to ignore my better judgment, I decided to give the Benro Slim Carbon Travel Tripod (TSL08CN00) a shot. This will be the third Benro tripod I've bought with my own money and while the ProAngel didn't work out after a couple of months of use, my Adventure Series 2 Carbon has held up quite well.
The other day I received an opportunity usually reserved for working or aspiring professionals: The chance to have a guided shoot with a Fujifilm X Professional Photographer FOR FREE! Fujifilm Pro Photographer Kara Mercer hosted the event, bringing along a metric ton of lendable gear, but more importantly, a wealth of knowledge and an outgoing attitude you usually don't find between photographers in the pro photo world.
Last weekend I took a few photos of Snoqualmie Falls while staying at Salish Lodge. The weather was gray, the clouds lifeless. The photos didn't come out half bad, all things considered, but then I decided today to process a few with the Acros film emulsion. Suddenly the photos came to life.
went to Suncadia to take a week off from the city. being out near Cle Elum, it was also a chance to escape the light pollution of western Washington and attempt to capture the Milky Way Galaxy now that it's mostly above the horizon at my latitude. while I have ultra-wide lenses and fast lenses, I have not one that's both, so I chose to use the ultra-wide lens for increased opportunities for composition since I was shooting from a gap in the woods.
While some of my lenses are weather sealed, most are not, and I began to fear for the worst: Lens mold. None are moldy or otherwise show any defect, but I don't want any future problems, especially if I end up swapping or selling a few of my lenses. Instead of relying on these gel packs, which are hard to recharge in the microwave due to being sealed in plastic baggies, decided to buy a sealed case from the only manufacturer of them that I fully trust: Pelican.
Went with Craig to Wallace Falls State Park near Gold Bar, WA to shoot the falls and get some hiking in. The weather was a bit uncooperative, ending up sunnier than we were expecting. The forecast called for overcast skies by noon but, despite the gathering of some clouds, it didn't manage to block out the sun much...
Hitched a ride with Craig and Brianna to Mount Vernon to find a tulip farm on Monday evening before the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival of 2018 came to a close. We figured Monday would be the best day of the week to avoid large crowds, while going as late as possible would afford us the widest range of natural light and hopefully include golden hour. Our needs were met by Roozengaarde Tulip Farm: They were open until 7pm and ejected patrons at sunset, far later than the oft shared Tulip Town, which closes at 5pm. As a welcome surprise, the weather was exceptionally nice as high temps crept to nearly 70 degrees Fahrenheit and mostly clear skies...
When I review a product, I want to make it plain that I do not receive products to review nor am I paid to do these reviews. When I review a product, it's something I've bought with my own money after days or weeks of research to ensure it will meet my needs. Because of that, my reviews will usually end positively, and that's the only reason why. I don't review things I have never owned, been gifted or am paid to write about. I don't seek out manufacturers or sellers and attempt to persuade them into gifting me a product in exchange for a review and "exposure." I am not a "mommyblogger" or an unemployed housewife with a camera. I will never shake down a product manufacturer nor refer to myself as a "social influencer." I review products because I like doing it, I enjoy trying new products and prefer to use brands that are less popular. It's these choices that I hope give my reviews a little more value due to scarcity. These are my opinions and my opinions only...