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A7r II First Impressions and Sample Images

Just got my A7r II and it is a pretty awesome camera. I don't feel like the dynamic range is that different from my D800, the detail is better though. The 5-axis stabilization is awesome, it really helps in low light. I feel like I get a lot of latitude from the files. The autofocus seems about on par with the NX1 I was shooting with and seems to do a good job in most situations. I don't know if it is on par with my D800 without doing a side by side comparison. I am fully converted to having an EVF instead of an optical viewfinder for most things.

Here are a few sample images:
 

Sony A7r II Straight Out of Camera

A7RII Edited File

Bountiful Temple

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The Iron Cowboy

I had the amazing opportunity to work with Fezzari Bicycles on a video of James Laurence, otherwise known as the Iron Cowboy. He just completed the amazing feat of doing 50 Iron distance triathlons in 50 days in all 50 states. I was lucky enough to follow him all day at the final race in Utah. Check out the final video below.

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What it's really like on the road.

A lot of people tell me how great it must be to take trips for my work to amazing places. It is great and I love what I do. Most people don't know how much work photographers really put in on the road. Let me tell you about a recent trip to Bryce Canyon. 

The Milky Way hangs in the air over Bryce Canyon as the sun approaches

3:00 PM Hit the road for Bryce
7:00 PM Arrive set up a time lapse and shoot the sunset
8:30 PM Set up camp and eat some dinner
10:00 PM Prep lighting equipment for night shooting and head out
10:30 PM Scout for night time lapses and shoot test shots
11:00 PM Start first night time lapse
1:00 AM Pack up gear and head back to camp
1:30 AM Get some sleep
3:45 AM Wake up to shoot the Milky Way
4:45 AM Setup Milky Way time lapse
6:45 AM Shoot the blue hour
7:00 AM Head to sunrise location
7:30 AM Shoot sunrise
8:00 AM Pack up camp 
8:30 AM Hit the road to get back to my family

It was a whirlwind trip for me. One of the main goals of the trip was time lapses but I also came away with stills that I love too. Look for the time lapses over on www.capturebeyondlimits.com I love what I do and its amazing to get to go on trips like this, but when you only get two hours of sleep it is definitely work.


 

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Outdoor Camera Bag Shootout First Impressions

I'm working on a comprehensive review of the best outdoor camera bags right now. I have now tried all the bags and thought I would offer some first impressions of each bag. The bags in the test are the Fstop Tilopa, Gura Gear Bataflae 32, Clik Elite Contrejour 40, Mountainsmith Parallax, and the Mindshift Gear Roatation180 Professional Deluxe. First off all the bags have amazing build quality and you really can't go wrong with any of them. I'll throw out some of my favorite standout features from each bag.

 

Mindshift Gear Rotation180 Professional Deluxe

The rotation system is really cool. I like that you can access your camera and a lens or flash without pulling the pack off. I like it a lot better than I thought I would.

 

 

Mountainsmith Parallax

My favorite thing about this pack is the chest carrier that you can pull out while the pack is still on your back. It also has color coded pockets for batteries and a laptop sleeve.

 

 

 

 

Fstop Tilopa

The configurable ICU (Internal Camera Unit) is awesome. You can get different sizes so you can decide how much gear you want to carry. I like the back panel access and it fits just like a good hiking packpack.

 

 

 

 

 

Clik Elite Contrejour 40

The Contrejour has a good amount of space dedicated to non camera gear. This is really nice on hikes. I really like the hip belt and shoulder straps on this pack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gura Gear Bataflae 32

bataflae

The Bataflae is great for travelling. Two spots for waterbottles. Lots of pockets, I really like that.

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My favorite camera this holiday season

I get asked by a lot of people for camera recommendations. With Christmas just around the corner I thought I would tell you what my favorite camera is for Christmas. The camera I have been telling people about more than anything else has to be the Sony a6000. 


 

pSNYNA-ILCE6000L~B_alternate1_v500.png

Why this camera over a typical DSLR?
For starters it's only $600 for the body and kit lens. It also is packed with an amazing feature set. These are my favorite features:

  • 11 fps continuous shooting with autofocus
  • 1080 60p HD video
  • Focus peaking to help with manual focus
  • 24 megapixel
  • Great autofocus system
  • Big sensor
  • Small and lightweight

    If you are looking for a camera less than $1000 I would definitely pick this one, once you get over $1500 I have other cameras I would recommend.

    What's your favorite camera this year?

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Getting started with time lapses

 Today I wanted to walk you through how you get started with simple time lapses. You don't have to have a big time lapse slider to get some cool content. Getting started with time lapses is actually pretty simple.

One of my first time lapses

To get started you will need a camera with an internal intervalometer or a remote with an intervalometer. An intervalometer is something that makes the camera take pictures at a certain interval. The other thing you will need to get started is a sturdy tripod so there is no movement over the course of your time lapse. 

That's pretty much all you need to get started. Now just find a scene where there will be good movement, whether it is clouds, people, cars, etc. To get the best results put your camera in manual so that the exposure doesn't change during the time lapse. Once you have the camera settings right it is time to program your intervalometer. Knowing what to set your intervalometer at will take some practice but I'll give you a few tips to keep in mind. 

  1. Video is typically played back at 24 or 30 frames per second. So if you take 300 pictures you will have a 10-13 second time lapse when you make it into a video. 10 seconds is plenty long for a clip. Most of the time when I use a time lapse in a video it is only for 5-7 seconds.
  2. If your subject is moving faster you will want to take the images at a shorter interval. For instance when shooting people moving I will shoot at an interval of about 2 seconds and if I am shooting clouds I will shoot at 3-4 second intervals. When capturing stars it is usually about 35 seconds between shots.

A good place to start is to set your intervalometer for 200 shots at 3 second intervals.

To post process the time lapse you will need to get all the images together. If you want to make edits to them do it as a batch edit in Lightroom or Photoshop so the same changes happen to each image. This will ensure your video will look smooth without any abrupt changes to exposure. To make it into a video you will need some type of video editor. I use Adobe Premiere Pro, but you can even use Quicktime Pro or the Gopro studio. Basically you just want to make each image one frame of the video.

I hope this gives you a good start in time lapses. Feel free to comment if you have any questions.

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Why I Shoot Landscapes

Landscapes are a big part of why I'm a photographer. They are what I started in and how I really fell in love with photography and nature. There is something incredible about watching the sun come up over a beautiful area. Almost none of my clients come from landscape work. So why keep spending so much time shooting something with a small pay off?

Fall leaves under a light snow (Click to Enlarge)

The simple answer is because I care and I want other people to care. I want my images to illicit an emotional response from the viewer either subconsciously or consciously that makes them care about nature. 

This post was inspired by an article in the Adventure Journal called "Hell Yes Some Things Should Be Sacred".

To me being able to connect with nature is incredibly special. It is no wonder that some of the greatest minds in history have gone into nature to meditate. I hope that my images will make viewers care a little more about the beautiful places on this earth so that we can continue to take our children and grandchildren to experience the wonder of the outdoor world.

 

Cascade Springs (Click to Enlarge)

God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But He cannot save them from fools.
— John Muir

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Behind the Scenes from P-Town Cross

Shooting the P-Town Cross race was a great experiment for me. I wanted to see what I could capture over the course of one hour. I was pretty pleased with the results. I thought I would give you a little insight into how I was able to get all the footage.

To accomplish all this I loaded up my Clik Elite Contrejour with the following gear:

My strategy was pretty simple: cover the first 20 minutes with aerial footage, then break out the DSLR and slider for the rest of the race. I think it's really amazing that I can carry everything for aerial coverage, a DSLR, four lenses, a meter long slider, and a tripod. It wasn't even that bad to carry. This is why I love lightweight equipment. It helps me carry an amazing kit and I can even hike in to more remote locations with everything I need.

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How Photography and Video Can Boost Your Brand

It doesn't matter how many words you write about your brand, with text alone not very many people will believe your claims. We are inherently skeptical about most of what we read, this is why images and video are so important to improving your brand. Throughout this post I will use the example of a cycling brand, but the principles apply to just about anything. Let's say this brand has a new road bike out and it promises to make you go faster, climb better, is more comfortable etc. You probably wouldn't believe it unless there was something to back it up? 

A fast way to backup your claims is with photos or video, but how do you show speed, climbing ability, or comfort? 

Although it requires much more time to produce, often it is easier to tell these stories with video. You can show someone going fast, climbing a steep grade, looking comfortable over rough terrain or simply giving a testimonial. 

With a still image it can be a little more difficult to tell these stories.

How do you show speed?

A panning image can be a great way to show speed

Although there is no movement in this image you get the sense that the rider is moving fast. The blurred wheels and scenery are associated with speed.

How do you show your bike climbing better?

A rider ahead of the pack on a short climb

By utilizing a shallow depth of field the focus is kept on the rider that is ahead of the pack on this short climb. This is a great way to show that a rider or bike is climbing better,

 

These are just two examples, but we could go on with other aspects. The key to boosting your brand's credibility is to find a way to tell your story visually.

I would love to help tell your brand's story, feel free to contact me at chris@chrismabey.com to talk about what we can do to tell your story through photography and video.

 

 

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Why shooting for yourself is so important

Let's face it, being a photographer is not the most lucrative career. You have to be in it because you love creating great content, but what if you have lost that love

It can be easy to get stuck in a rut when you are working long and hard on various assignments. I spent most of the summer shooting content for the company I co-founded, Capture Beyond Limits. It was a lot of shooting time lapses, and product shots and while it was great getting everything ready for the launch of the company and I still got to be shooting outside, I still missed shooting some landscapes. 

On a little trip we took to Southern California, I headed to the beach at La Jolla to shoot at sunset. I had initially planned on shooting a time lapse, but traffic was bad and I got there too late for a time lapse. On top of that, there weren't any clouds to make it interesting. So I decided it was just going to be a shoot for me. I was able to come away with some shots I really liked and most importantly I was reminded of why I love being a photographer. As a photographer you have the chance to capture amazing places and people doing amazing things.

La Jolla Shores

I hadn't lost my love of photography before this shoot, but it was definitely more work. After shooting in La Jolla my passion for photography was reignited. Remember to take the time to shoot what you love, find some personal work to tackle. Personal work gives you the opportunity to try new things and to really do what you love.

So whether you find a long term project to tackle or if its just a one time shoot go out and shoot for yourself, you might be amazed at what will happen.

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