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Month: October 2018

Choosing a Tripod for Travel – Nature Photography

Posted on October 31, 2018 in Uncategorized

In today’s camera market, you will find an endless supply of gear, some useful, some not so, some quality, and some not. This variety makes it harder to find exactly what you need, especially when you are not sure of exactly which features you need and which you can do without. A tripod is an essential part of an arsenal carried by any Travel and Nature photographer. You already know that for sharpest images you need to use a tripod. What you are wondering no doubt is why there is such a significant price range among the different manufacturers of tripods, and whether or not it makes sense for you to make a significant investment in a tripod.

Basic Function of a Tripod

First, let’s quickly examine what a tripod will do for us. First and foremost, it supports our camera, attached lens, and some of the other gear, like a flash unit, etc. It helps us position our camera at an odd angle at times. It helps us get higher than our typical shooting stance, and get lower at times for macro work. The most appropriate tripod for you will depend on your shooting style, and choice of subject matter. There is not one tripod out there that is better with every subject matter; on the contrary, most tripods are specialists. Most are build to be versatile, but each is build to excel in a certain area of photography.

So, what areas should your tripod excel to be useful for outdoors shooting?

If you are planning to shoot nature, there are certain aspects of the outdoors which your tripod will have to endure, which it would not, if it was used indoors.

  • Moisture is an enemy of photography gear. If you plan to shoot landscapes in the wilderness, wild animals, birds, etc., your camera and you will end up in some wet environments. As such, you have to make sure that your tripod choice reflects this fact. Many manufacturers build tripods specifically meant for the outdoors, and they are built to be moisture resistant, if not proof.
  • Terrain is always a concern outdoors. A good tripod should have spiked feet, simply because you will often end up on loose soil, dirt, and other surfaces that will be uneven, and require sharp spikes to secure the tripod, and attached gear.
  • Load is a very important aspect to consider. How heavy is your camera and your heaviest lens? Are you planning on getting larger heavier lenses in the future? Are you planning to try a medium or a large format camera? While it is tough to predict, always try to plan ahead. Your choice of a tripod will reflect your future purchases. Always, make sure you tripod has at least 30% of capacity for future upgrades to your equipment. If you plan to shoot wild life, you will have some really heavy lenses, and a tripod will have to support them, and allow you to pan smoothly, when shooting animals in action.
  • Weight is probably the main determining factor in your purchase. Remember, when you travel and explore, you will have your tripod with you, and depending upon how much walking you do, weight of your tripod will be more or less important to you. However, always aim for highest ratio of weight to load. In other words, look for lightest tripod rated for highest weight. Outdoors are often rough environments and every pound counts. Think about this a lot.
  • Leveling is important especially for panoramic shooters. If you plan to capture panoramas of nature, your tripod base must be leveling. Look for a tripod with a large easy to use bubble level (spirit level). A level base is a “MUST” for good panoramas.
  • Flexibility of shooting positions is important when you change subject matter on the fly. If you are like me, you will shoot macro, landscapes, panoramas, and perhaps even some animals, depending on time of day and weather. If so, a flexible center column is a must feature. Look for a tripod which allows for multiple positions of the center column. My favorite tripods allow for the column to be vertical, horizontal , and everything in-between. A tripod should allow you to get low, and have more than one foot angle. Best tripods for this job will offer up to three different angles for the feet, which will allow you to get very low if need be, to shoot flowers, insects, etc.

How Much Money?

Choosing a tripod is not easy. Some manufacturers do make things easier and group them into specialties, like outdoors, studio use, etc. Do as much research as you can, because there is not one ideal model that suits everyone. Remember the old saying: “You get what you pay for”. This is very important when deciding how much you are willing pay. Keep in mind, a huge budget will not mean you get the best tripod, but it will mean that you have more choices. Do not look for a cheap tripod, which you think may suffice. Your shooting requirements will change, and within a year or two you will be shopping for another one. Strongly consider Carbon Fiber. CF tripods are lighter than any alloy, more durable, will not bend, and flex under the weight of your gear, and do not rust, corrode, or are adversely affected by moisture. They are more expensive, but without a doubt worth the extra money. Look at this purchase as a long-term investment in photography. After all, your images will only be as good as your shooting ability and your gear.

Humans Are Travelers – Interesting Insights About the Traveling Nature of People

Posted on October 30, 2018 in Uncategorized

We humans are basically travelers. The evolution of basic human settlements and the foundations of modern civilization may actually even be attributed to our race’s nomadic nature; because people travel a lot, they consume natural resources and personal energy quickly, which prompted establishments of places to stay, grow, and live.

From the traveling nature of the human race, we may learn at least three things. One, people have to prepare for the trips. Next, humans have a great potential to adapt to the surrounding environments. And one more important thing is, we humans are able to develop by taking care of the resources and places that we travel to, stay in, and leave behind.

Even if we people are already settled or we have places to stay such as residences, it is vital to always remain prepared to move around. This is one reason why we are using purses and bags all the time. Humans of all ages, of all generations, have used “carriers” or “packages” to bring along a wide variety of things, for immediate use or consumption. If you are no longer creating a list of what you need to carry while away from home, chances are this is because you already have a pouch or handy bag prepared any time of the day.

One of the greatest characteristics of the human race is the potential and power to adapt according to the environment. Our surroundings contribute to almost all of our activities; people work, play, interact, rest, and even reproduce, wherever they go. Humans who are able to adapt as quick as the environment demands, make full use of whatever resources are available to them; those who are not keen to adjust decide to keep moving until they are pressured by their current situation to do so.

And of course, the places traveled on are likewise impacted by the “passersby.” Compared to Mother Nature, the human race is just coming and going to any place.

For the people who decided to stay in one expanse, they face the challenge presented by scarce and consumable resources needed to live and grow. As a result, leaders arise who make room for improvement of the natural environment and the training of others to take up this task. Next thing which is recorded in history books: civilizations are born.

And obvious parts of the chain reactions: the new groups of people coming to these settlements are shaped by the cultures there, or they are able to “tweak” the previous shape, and really both are likely to occur at the same time.

People need some place to stay and live. Yet we are all basically travelers in this world, really.

Fuerteventura Travel Guide

Posted on October 28, 2018 in Uncategorized

With year round sunshine and beautiful sandy beaches, Fuerteventura is the perfect destination for holidaying in the Canary Islands. The island offers quieter resorts than the larger islands with the exception of Corralejo which offers a very lively scene. For families there is the resort of Caleta de Fuste and for couples there is the laid-back Costa Calma on the south coast with its peaceful natural beaches. Other Fuerteventura resorts include Playa Barca and Playa Jandia.

Fuerteventura has more than 150 beaches which are regarded by many as the best beaches in the Canary Islands. All of the resorts have a main beach which is well equipped with sun beds and family facilities. Due to the size of Fuerteventura beaches, visitors can always find a quiet spot, especially on the beaches that continue into long stretches of undeveloped areas of pale sandy beach. All of the beaches shelve safely to the calm clear waters surrounding the island.

The liveliest beaches are found in Corralejo, however you only need to take a short walk and you will find stretches of unspoilt beaches which many regard as similar to those of the Caribbean. Corralejo offers excellent conditions for water sports like windsurfing and kite boarding.

Costa Caleta is a purpose built resort with restaurants, cafes and shops which attracts mainly families.

Just south of Corralejo is a national park of protected sand dunes known as El Jable. This protected area of sand dunes is particularly popular with naturists looking for a secluded area to relax in!

The most beautiful beaches are found on the southern Jandia peninsula. If you are looking for a romantic ‘get away’ then the beaches of Jandia and Costa Calma are the perfect choice with many secluded coves. With long stretches of beach that soon become semi-deserted you will always be able to find a secluded spot for a touch of romance. Both Jandia and Costa Calma also have very nice promenades to stroll along when you want a break from the beach.

For total dessert island seclusion you can hire a car and drive to one of the many naturist havens like Cofete Beach which is located in the Jandia Natural Park.

The island offers some of the best surfing and windsurfing conditions throughout the Canaries. The large stretches of unsheltered coastline offer excellent conditions, especially in the autumn when the large Atlantic swell hits the shores. Corralejo and Caleta have some highly recommended surf schools.

Other water sports available include water-skiing and sea kayaking.

Families will love a leisurely cruise on a glass bottom boat from which they can explore the underwater world without getting wet!

For something different, this beautiful island can be explored by horseback or by quad bike. Most resorts offer horse riding lessons and treks through the islands interior, across the unique red volcanic landscape, passing through quaint villages or just taking a quiet gallop in the surf. For an exciting way to see the countryside you can speed away on a quad bike, riding through beautiful verdant green valleys, sand dunes and volcanic craters.

Away from the glorious beaches there is plenty to do including excursions into the intriguing volcanic interior and taking a ferry ride to nearby Lanzarote. For bird watchers there are some great nature walks which will take you through a variety of habitats which are home to native and migratory birds including hawks, vultures and kestrels. Many of the hotels arrange escorted walks for hiker’s and bird watchers.

Mild winters and hot summers make Fuerteventura a perfect all year round destination. The weather is very similar all year round with June to September being the hottest months with temperatures around 29C and low humidity levels. Summer evening temperatures hover around the low 20’s. Spring is a great time to visit as temperatures hit the mid 20’s, there is an average of 7 hours sunshine a day, beaches are less crowded and there are plenty of special offer holidays to be had.