Welcome to my monthly newsletter - October, 2009

Greetings,

Welcome to my new and freshly-designed newsletter. I would like to thank you all for the positive compliments, encouragements and wishes from my September Edition #1 and Edition #2, 2009 newsletter. September's edition is full of information as well.

Kudos from readers - Thank you!

Hi Maxis,

I first wrote you last November about your use of the Canon 400/5.6 lens and your provided me with some excellent feedback. I did purchase that lens, and a Feisol CT 3342 tripod and a Jobu Jr gimbal head (good Canadian product). Great combo. However, as you pointed out to me, that lens will not autofocus at 560mm with a 40D. I quickly became enamored with the extra reach of 560mm and used it a lot, but manual focus can be difficult and takes time and the right kind of lighting if you are going to get it tack sharp. So some of my images were sharp and other were out of focus. So having become committed to 500+ mm, but having a lousy back, I have just purchased a used 400/4 DO.. which will autofocus at 560mm. Now I have to master the equipment and sharpen my skills. Hopefully I will get to take one of your affordable workshops.

Keep it up Maxis, I look forward to each of your Newsletters. As much as I love "*.*", its nice to know there are other, more affordable alternatives in terms of gear and workshops. "*.*.*" is a wonderful forum and a great place to learn, but there is a very strong "*.*.*" bias.

My best,
Glen F.

Let’s begin with a question from - Don Smith

Question: Hi Maxis. Let me congratulate you for your recent accomplishments. I remember when you and I used to shoot together. You've grown so much and your photography is just as good as the "pro's" but without the price tag. I love your "Affordable" theme. Remember our expedition to the Everglades? Good times!

I'm writing regarding your September Edition #2 Newsletter. You mentioned that you walked around the pond looking for opportunities. The first thing you thought was "I need my 70-200mm and Polarizer". My question to you is: What made you think of the Polarizer?

I can't thank you enough for your priceless tips and techniques. Looking forward to your next newsletter.

Don Smith

Answer: Hi Don,

So good to hear from you. How can I not remember!!

You bring an excellent point. I Recently got another email about the same question. Think of a Polarizer this way. If you need to remove any glare, haze, reflection or if you want to saturate the colors - a polarizer filter is your best option.

Let's say you are in a car show and want to prevent reflections from chrome surfaces, a polarizer can help you. If you are photographing a waterfall and want to remove the glare from the rocks, use a polarizer If you want to saturate the colors, think of a polarizer!

There is a lot more about polarizer filters that I can cover in this newsletter but if you want to find out the physics of Polarizer filters, you can search online about it. There are tons of useful articles and information available to everyone!

Got a question? Feel free to ask. Email me your question and help others!!


Photography Insurance? - My Experience


Stolen Wheels and Tires
Stolen Wheels and Tires. Maxis Gamez, All rights reserved

Last month as I was getting ready to leave my house to photograph Spoonbills, I realized something was terribly wrong with my vehicle. OMG! They've stole my custom wheels and tires!

We all know how bad the economy situation is and how is affecting our current and perhaps future life style. We must learn how to adapt to this hard times. Getting my wheels and tires stolen is not as devastating as loosing ALL my photography gear. Luckily, my car insurance company covered all the expenses but most importantly, I removed all my gear from my vehicle the night before!!

I was told by the Police department that the bad guys are moving from community to community looking for ANY opportunity to make a couple of easy dollars. During this hard times we must protect our valuable assets. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR, GPS, STEREO OR ANYTHING VALUABLE IN YOUR VEHICLE!

The total cost and repairs were over $2700 dollars!!. Imagine if I would of left my photo gear in the car the night before? We all work very hard for what we have, do yourself a favor and get insurance for your photo gear.

NANPA (North American Nature Photography Association) offers an excellent insurance program for photographers. The insurance is based on the amount of money you wish to insure every single piece of equipment you own. I highly recommend getting insurance for your gear.

To learn more about NANPA insurance program, you may visit NANPA's insurance program page.

Canon EOS 7D - The Ultimate Bird Photography dSLR? - Update

Canon 7D
Canon EOS 7D - Canon, USA. All rights reserved
(image property of Canon, Inc. Used for reference only)

I've been keeping a close eye to this camera. There are several people posting "sample" images all over the web. However, some folks are enthusiast and they love to claim how great or bad the camera is.

I recently had the opportunity to use a 7D for a week. I will dedicate November's newsletter entirely to my experience. This will not be a battle between Canon bodies, this review will focus directly to my own experience and should be used as such.

For now read more about EOS 7D from Dpreview.

 

Spoonbill Landing
Roseate Spoonbill Landing Pose - Maxis Gamez, All rights reserved.
Canon 40D, Canon 400mm f/5.6 L @ f5.6, 200 sec, ISO 400, Manual exposure, Handheld, Almost full frame.

Thanks to my "bumping" technique, I was able to capture this Spoonbill just before landing. This technique allows you to get ready for the perfect shooting window, increasing your changes of capturing birds in flight. During my last photography seminar, I explained how I successfully apply this technique.

This is a great example why I enforce so much to learn how to photograph in manual mode. Notice how the exposure works so well with the Spoonbill against the dark green background. During my upcoming "Exposure and Fill Flash" seminar, I will be showing how I set my exposure and use my histogram to capture images like these.

Catle Egreat
Cattle Egret Landing Pose - S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All rights reserved.
Canon 40D, Canon 500mm L @ f/5.6, 1/2000 sec, ISO 400, Manual exposure, FEISOL CT-3471LV carbon fiber tripod, Almost full frame

Some folks say that professional photographers shoot with BOTH eyes open. As I was photographing the Spoonbill you see below, I noticed with the corner of my non-shooting eye this Cattle Egret approaching. I quickly moved my lens and photographed a landing sequence which allowed me to pick the best out of the series. Pay close attention at what's coming or moving around you!

Spoonbill Pose
Roseate Spoonbill Elegant Pose - S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All rights reserved.
Canon 40D, Canon 500mm L @ f/5.6, 1/1250 sec, ISO 400, Manual exposure, FEISOL CT-3471LV carbon fiber tripod, Almost full frame

Roseate Spoonbills are by far one of my favorite bird to photograph. While viewing your subject through your viewfinder, pay close attention to the feet, head and most importantly.... eye contact! but not only with Spoonbills. Keep looking!

Wood Stork
Wood Stork Elegant Pose - S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All rights reserved.
Canon 40D, Canon 500mm L @ f/5.6, 1/2000 sec, ISO 400, Manual exposure, FEISOL CT-3471LV carbon fiber tripod, Almost full frame

Wilet with Crab
Wilet with Crab Elegant Pose - S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All rights reserved.
Canon 40D, Canon 500mm L @ f/5.6, 1/1250 sec, ISO 200, Manual exposure, FEISOL CT-3471LV carbon fiber tripod, Almost full frame

As you can see, capturing an attractive pose is all about paying close attention to your subject and press the shutter button at the right time.

Black-bellied Plover
Black-bellied Plover Pose - S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All rights reserved.
Canon 5D, Canon 500mm L @ f/5.6, 1/800 sec, ISO 200, Manual exposure, Handheld, Almost full frame

I photographed this Blacked-bellied Plover for over 35 minutes. Again and again... pay close attention to the behavior. Setting your camera to manual mode will allow you to concentrate on capturing behavior. Join me in my November "Exposure and Fill Flash" photography seminar!

Black Skimmer Skimming
Black Skimmer Skimming - S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All rights reserved
Canon 40D, 500mm L @ f/8, 1/2000 sec, ISO 400, Manual exposure, FEISOL CT-3472LV, Almost full frame.

Photographing Skimmers skimming for fish is not an easy task. After HUNDREDS of images, I picked this one. Still not 100% happy with this image. However, I'm ready for the next opportunity.

Acadian National Park - Maxis Gamez, All rights reserved
Skyway Bridge, St. Petersburg, Florida - 7 images Panorama - Maxis Gamez, All rights reserved.
Canon 5D, Canon 70-200mm f/4 L @ f11, Various exposures, ISO 50, Manual mode,
FEISOL CT-3472LV carbon fiber tripod and FEISOL CB-50D Ball Head

7 images Panorama was stitched using Panorama Maker 5 Pro and Photoshop CS3. If you are into landscapes and panoramas, Panorama Maker 5 Pro won't let you down. Able to stitch RAW files directly, this software is a bargain. I highly recommend it.

I recently had the change to use FEISOL's CB-50D Ball Head. My first impression was how well this ball head is made. The ball head is rock solid just like FEISOL carbon fiber tripods and didn't disappoint. You be the judge. Check out this panorama at a whooping 1920px by 909px. Follow this link to see it.

http://www.gvisions.org/panorama/images/Skyway_Bridge_Panorama_2.jpg

Skyway Bridge
Skyway Bridge, St. Petersburg, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All rights reserved.
Canon 5D, Canon 70-200mm f/4 L @ f8, 6 sec, ISO 100, Manual exposure,
FEISOL CT-3472LV carbon fiber tripod and FEISOL CB-50D Ball Head

Skyway Bridge
Skyway Bridge, St. Petersburg, Florida - Maxis Gamez, All rights reserved.
Canon 5D, Canon 17-40mm f/4 L @ f11, 8 sec, ISO 50, Manual exposure,
FEISOL CT-3472LV carbon fiber tripod and FEISOL CB-50D Ball Head

As you can imagine, creating landscapes and panoramas, you have to be as steady as you can be. Notice how sharp the bridge is on the second image. FEISOL's CB-50D Ball Head did an excellent job. Using a rock solid ball head is just part of the formula. Using a cable release and mirror lockup helps tremendously. Oh!! Did I say you can buy this ball head for only $159?? Why even bother with any other ball head?

Quick Mask - Before and After

Marbled Godwit - BEFORE

Marbled Godwit
Marbled Godwit - S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All rights reserved

AFTER

Marbled Godwit
Marbled Godwit - S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All rights reserved

Black-bellied Plover - BEFORE

Black-bellied Plover Feeding
Black-bellied Plover - S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All rights reserved

AFTER

Black-bellied Plover Feeding
Black-bellied Plover - S.W Florida - Maxis Gamez, All rights reserved

Quick Mask (QM) is by far one of my favorite Photoshop techniques. QM is powerful and allows you to edit your images with great control and details to the next level. I ALWAYS try to do everything I can to get my images "right" out of the sensor. However, there are times when the image is just worth the extra editing. The key is to make it as natural as possible.

Quick Mask allows you to:

  • Remove unwanted elements from your photographs
  • Add necessary elements to your photographs
  • Increase canvas size
  • Amazing control over parts of your photograph
  • Curves, Levels, Hue and Saturation
  • Selective Sharpening
  • and much more.

I rarely use QM. However, there are times when QM is the only way out and is a good technique to have available when time comes. Depending on your ethics, you can go as far as your imagination lets you. Some folks will argue the amount of editing photographers should do to an image. In my opinion, the choice is yours!

Photography Exhibits & Seminars:

Corkscrew Exposure - Fill Flash Seminar

Affordable Bird Photography Workshops Updates:

Bosque del Apache, New Mexico - December 2, 3 and 4, 2009 - SOLD OUT!

Bosque del Apache, New Mexico 2010 - 3 spaces available - More information coming soon! Contact me to reserve your spot. Limited to 4 people, this workshop will fill fast.

White Pelicans Workshop, January 2010 - Click here to learn more

  • January 9th-10th - 2 spaces available
  • January 30th-31st - 1 space available

This is a great opportunity to photograph White Pelicans up close and personal. I often use my 70-200mm lens to get full frame shots! This workshop is expected to fill fast. Contact me if you have any questions.

 

In November's edition...

  • My experience with a Canon 7D

I hope you find the first October's edition useful. Please email me your questions.
Thank you and I hope to hear from you soon!

Sincerely,

Maxis Gamez
941.623.5155
maxisgamez@gmail.com
www.gvisions.org

All images contained within this email are Copyrighted by the author Maxis Gamez. All rights reserved.
Copying, reproduction, or distribution of these images in any manner is protected by United States of America Copyright laws and International Copyright laws and is strictly prohibited. Thank you.
www.gvisions.org | maxisgamez@gmail.com | 941.623.5155