Here are some video highlights of last Friday’s Carnival Photo Workshop at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.
Here’s a brief excerpt form reknowned photog. David Peterson, on why speed lights (flashes) are indispensable and how to use them to augment your natural light photography.
Why You Should Own an External Flash
Filed in Tips by David Peterson
Why You Should Own an External Flash
Almost every modern camera comes with an on-board flash, even the higher-end DSLRs. You may wonder why, since almost every modern photo taken with an onboard flash is ugly: blown out highlights, red eye, harsh shadows and that characteristic look that screams “flash photo!” So why do manufacturers insist on including an onboard flash on cameras that are generally marketed to people who should know better? Let’s find out…
The onboard flash does have limited uses. The best use for it is somewhat opposite of what most hobby photographers use their flash for: as a fill light during the day, rather than as a primary light source at night. In very bright outdoor light, your onboard flash can be used in a pinch to fill in those dark shadows, especially on people’s faces. It can also help bring out detail in a backlit subject.
The onboard flash can also be used in situations where you can’t turn the ISO up high enough (especially if your camera produces grain at high ISOs). But that’s where its usefulness ends. Because when your best reason for using it is because “it’s better than nothing,” you probably ought to mostly avoid using it.
That’s why every photographer needs to have an external flash.
Technical Reasons Why External Flashes are Better
Before we get into the primary reasons why external flashes are superior to your onboard flash (because they make for better pictures), there are also some technical reasons why you ought to use an external flash. The first is because you’ll save your battery’s life, especially if you find yourself taking a lot of flash photos. An external flash has its own set of batteries, so it won’t suck down your camera’s battery. This also means it has a faster “recycling” time – you can fire the flash more often, without having to wait as long between shots.
An external flash also has more power than an onboard flash (much more power, often as much as 15 times more), which means you can illuminate subjects at a greater distance. You can also illuminate wider shots – an onboard flash has a narrower range than an external one and can sometimes leaves the edges of the frame in darkness.
The so-called selfie has grown far beyond your 15 year old daughter’s instagram & snap chat account. The science of capturing an image of you and your friends has fed an industry of gadgets and do-dads to help you shoot your new hair do, & goofy expressions. Like it or not, the selfie and the selfie stick is here to stay…but may be more useful than you thought.
Take the time, if you will, to ready about a unique “twist” on the new, old favorite….
Product Review- The Pro-Master Selfie Stick Twist
I brought the Pro Master Selfie Stick Twist from Fort Worth Camera to several events over the past weekend. The handy and durable Selfie Stick Twist added an entirely new perspective to each event, and I’ll re-cap my experience with it over the course of the weekend, as well as provide some tips to make the most out of your selfie stick experience. I tested the Selfie Stick Twist at our Radio Station’s “Big Buck Contest” in Mineral Wells, Texas, The Burleson Wine Crawl in Burleson, Texas, and at Texas Motor Speedway, during the AAA Texas 500.
The Selfie Stick Stigma
I’ll start off by saying that there is a slight misunderstanding about the purpose and limitations of the selfie stick. It does take selfies, but it also does so much more. While everyone that said something about it was obviously interested in the product, several people started off the conversation with quips such as “What is that weapon you have there?”, and “Is that one of those selfie stick thingies?”
Obviously, there is still some work to do in educating people about the benefits of taking the best photos possible with your smartphone. While much of the feedback and questions were positive, I couldn’t help but notice some of the sideways glances I was getting from primarily more mature adults. While the prolificness of self-portraits (selfies) on the internet can be irritating to some, for many they are a way to capture a special moment in time with friends, or in a special setting. Selfies tell a personal story about exactly where you were, what you were doing, and who you were doing it with in one quick snapshot. For those in the entertainment industry, they can be a glimpse into the everyday life of a personality. The thousands of free apps that have been created illustrate the demand and growing popularity of selfies. If you are going to take self-portraits on a regular basis, why not take great ones? The Selfie Stick Twist has several features that make it easy and fun to use, while still being portable enough to bring along on almost any outing.
The Bluetooth remote! This is not the first Selfie Stick I’ve used, but it functions the best by far. It includes a wireless Bluetooth enabled remote that allows you to either attach it to the stick, use it in the other hand, or even use it from a distance. I wound up using the remote in my right hand, while maneuvering the Selfie Stick in my left. It made it super easy to get up and above the crowd (very helpful when you’re 5’2”) and also allowed me to keep a very firm grip on the stick. Previous models I’ve used have featured the shutter button right on the stick. The problem with that set up for me was the fact that I would have to remove my thumb from the grip to take the shot, sometimes causing blurring from the movement and definitely not making me feel very safe about my iPhone 5s on the other end. The Bluetooth remote solves that problem, and also makes it much easier to hand off to another person in your group for a shot from a different angle, while still allowing you to control the shutter. It does come with a clip that will attach to the stick in case you would like to use it with one hand, but after trying that out for a bit I opted to remove it for the weekend.
The Selfie Stick Twist is called so because of the unique twist telescoping monopod. This feature is also all about ease of use. It takes a fraction of a second to extend counter clockwise, and when twisted clockwise it locks in place to keep it extended in exactly the place you want. I didn’t have any issues with it loosening up, and while the stick is fully extended, the Bluetooth remote will not only activate the shutter button for photos, it also will start and stop video on your smartphone. As soon as I showed this feature to inquiring minds, the next question was “Where did you get it?!”
Party People love the Selfie Stick Twist!
It was also interesting to note that the selfie stick brings out the party animal in many people who are shy around a “regular” camera. For the events above, I brought along my Sony Nex-6 DSLR as well. Every once in a while I would try to capture candid shots of strangers going about their business. This is MUCH easier to accomplish with the selfie stick. When I was at the Burleson Wine Crawl, several people ran up to me and either jumped in front of the shot, or tried to dance and sing behind me to get on camera. At every event, people came up to me while I was using it to ask me to take our picture. Even when the smartphone was being used as a forward facing video camera, I noticed people jumping around behind me trying to photo-bomb the video. I attached my Sony Nex-6 to the Selfie Stick Twist for a short time to get a feel for how the product would function as a monopod, however the shutter button app on my smartphone wasn’t as reliable as the Bluetooth remote, so I quickly switched back to my iPhone 5s.
Top to Bottom Features
The Selfie Stick Twist is loaded with small features that make it a joy to use. Starting at the top, you’ll notice a small rubber protrusion that when pulled, extends the spring loaded smartphone holder. The built in grips on the underside of the mechanism keep your smartphone securely in place. The smartphone holder also features an adjustable mount, complete with 50mm-100mm measurement lines to fit today’s larger smartphones. It adjusts to fit phones as large as the iPhone 6 plus. The small layer of foam ensures that your smartphone comes away unscathed. When removed, the ¼ inch threaded mounting stud is exposed to attach another camera, microphone or other accessory. Next, the adjustable ball head is easy to loosen, tighten and adjust with one hand due to the ergonomic thumb lock. It not only swivels, it also will switch to portrait view to take a sideways shot, or to utilize the sweeping panoramic features of the iPhone’s camera. I found myself taking amazing panoramic shots, especially at Texas Motor Speedway where the scale of the track inspires the use of the panoramic style. Moving down to the telescopic arm, the high quality aluminum structure and tight twist design make the Selfie Stick Twist the most stable feeling selfie stick I’ve tried to date. The five sections can be extended or retracted to any length, unlike selfie sticks I’ve tried before that rely on set increments. The color of the Selfie Stick Twist I chose happens to be pink, which works great for me because it makes it easy to find and identify, and also provides a little insurance against theft because of the bold color. The grip is similar to a golf club grip, with the rubberized handle slightly tapered at the top. The fact that the bottom is just a little wider also helps with the secure feeing in your hand. At the base is a ¼ inch threaded socket. This presents a ton of possibilities, including the ability to attach it to a flexible tripod or other accessory for more on-the-go applications. Finally, the small wristlet sized woven strap allowed me to keep it with me at all times, even while using both hands to switch gear around.
After sharing the place that allowed me to try out the Selfie Stick Twist (Fort Worth Camera), the next question was “How much is it?” I came back with, “Well, what is your best guess?” The average guess was “around $100”. With the Bluetooth remote, the high quality aluminum construction, and the extremely easy to use twist feature I can understand why it people thought a hundred dollars would be fair. However, if this was the “Price Is Right” no one would have taken one home! It retails for only $19.99 on Pro Master’s website. For around $20, you can add an entirely new dimension to your smartphone photos, small video camera footage, or DSLR shots for years to come. That, coupled with the quality of the construction makes the Selfie Stick Twist one of the MUST HAVES for any selfie taker or smartphone videographer.
Easy Pressure – Practice the motion of adjusting the aluminum ball head at home before taking it to a live event. It’s easy to use once you get the motion down, but the last thing you want is to fumble with the mount at the wrong moment. It doesn’t take much of a twist to secure it, and the aluminum could potentially be stripped if you over tighten it. Easy pressure will do the trick.
Remote Strap – I did drop the Bluetooth remote on several occasions. Luckily, it did not break, but I’ll be adding a small wrist strap to the remote next time I visit Fort Worth Camera.
Have Fun – The more that I used it, the more I enjoyed it. It made it so much easier to get shots with groups of people, above the crowd shots, and I made several videos with it over the weekend. The casual nature of selfies makes for a fun experience, and the conversations that were started simply by carrying it around were also enjoyable. I met several new friends after answering people’s questions, just by continuing the conversation about what kinds of photography they enjoyed as well.
Length: Retracted, 1’ 4”, Fully Extended 4’, 2 ¾”
(with smartphone mount on)
Weight: 10 oz
Colors: Pink, Black, Green
Material: High Quality Aluminum
Written by Allison Hocking
KFWR – 95.9 The Ranch and KTFW – 92.1 Hank FM, and LKCM Media Group
We are currently receiving high demand for the Nikon P900, and for great reason. The zoom power of the COOLPIX P900 is nothing short of spectacular. This is 83x (2000mm equivalent) optical zoom—more than any Nikon COOLPIX yet. Advanced shooters will appreciate the outstanding image quality and DSLR styling—a sure grip, a swiveling Vari-angle display, a high-resolution Electronic Viewfinder that turns on automatically when lifted to your eye, even a PSAM mode control dial. Those who simply want great photos and Full HD videos without any fuss will appreciate the point-and-shoot ease and long battery life—up to 360 shots per charge! And everyone will appreciate the built-in Wi-Fi® and Near Field Communication technology (NFC)** connectivity which wirelessly connects the COOLPIX P900 to a compatible smartphone or tablet for instant photo sharing and remote camera control. Change the way you see, capture and share the world.
Because of such high demand we are taking orders on the camera right now! Put your name on the top of the list and call a sales person today at Fort Worth Camera to get your hands on one!
Do you enjoy photographing your food almost as much as eating it? Has your passion for posting food pictures made you think about starting your own food blog? If so, join the food experts of the Central Market Cooking School & the photo experts of Fort Worth Camera for a very unique class of food photography and plate design. Whether you’re a beginner foodie or photograher or just wanting to take the leap into the world of food blogging this class has lots to offer. You will rotate through stations designed to teach you the art of plating, how to set up a dinner party table & how to get the best photo results from any camera. We’ll also provide lighting instruction specific to this unique type of photography.
Follow this link to sign up
- Sarah Hooton, Central Market Cooking School Manager
- Brandon Heiss, Westcott
- Crystal Vastine, Creator of Fort Worth Foodie Blog
- MacKenzie Hughes, Photography Expert at Fort Worth Camera
For these days we will be hosting several events and workshops around the entire city! This event will be sponsored by Canon, Sony, Nikon, Tamron, Westcott, Pentax, Profoto and more! Each of our sponsors will have their own workshops and focus on a specific product and type of photography! For more information call us at our store or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Most events will be free and available to all ages and skill type. More details coming soon.