So, here's the bio part:
Why would you want to go to Iceland and spend 9 days hanging out photographing in Iceland with me?
Hmmm. Well, I've been working as a professional photographer for a long time and I've learned a lot of good stuff that works and might help you up your photography game, which could make photography even more enjoyable for you. I know my way around multiple systems and formats. I can help you hone your camera handling skills so when photographic opportunity comes your way you are ready to grab it. I've worked in challenging environments and can help you do the same.
As a former university instructor I'm pretty well practiced in teaching people so I won't waste your time with ponderous pedagogy; we'll get straight to the important stuff and I'll explain it in a way that nails down concept and practice for you. We'll also focus like a collimated light source on getting to good locations and getting great shots.
Think of my role on this expedition as that of a facilitator for your vision. Someone to get you to the right places and make sure we're all working at the top of our game, to help you bring home images of which you will be proud. Think of me also as a good fellow traveler who knows when to turn off work and turn on good conversation; someone to debate with over dinner and celebrate with at the end of a long day of image making.
What are we talking about?
The photography expedition to Iceland is being produced by Craftours and is aimed at photographers who can take the time to dive deeper into this incredible country and have a great time shooting, learning, experiencing, and creating treasures for their portfolios. It's a nine day adventure that runs from October 27 - November 4, 2018.
Let's get the cost out of the way first....
The entire cost of this tour is $3798.00 (per person based on double occupancy).
Here's what the package includes:
Round trip international airfare from the U.S. to Iceland.
All taxes and round-trip transfers to and from hotel.
Private deluxe motor coach with experienced driver.
First class hotel accommodations.
Breakfast daily, as well as some lunches and dinners.
Photographic opportunities in the interesting town of HAFNARJORDUR.
A full day exploring (with me in tow) the natural wonders of the Golden Circle. You'll be surrounded by artistic inspiration as we visit the famous Strokkur Geyser, hot springs, and the amazing Gullfoss Waterfall. Horse stables and a greenhouse.
A journey to the Reykjavik Botanic Gardens. Lots of shooting time at every location.
The option to add on a tour to the Reyjanes and Blue Lagoon.
We'll do a photographic tour to participate in an Aurora Borealis Hunt.
I'm not doing this alone. We'll have a professional tour guide for the entire trip.
We'll head out for a photo trip to make images at an Icelandic horse farm.
You'll have professional Craftours escort and staff to assist you before and during the expedition.
This adventure is "camera brand neutral." There will be no sales pitches for any "just released" products. Pack whatever you want....
At every opportunity I'll put together workshops and mini-seminars about techniques you'll be able to use right away. And I'll be photographing with you, available to share tips, opinions, critiques and hard won shooting secrets all day, every day.
If you like what I write on the blog I bet we'll like hanging out together and seeing, photographing and soaking in experiences in one of the most interesting locations in the world.
Why am I writing this right now? On June 20th?
Craftours has a minimum tour size and we haven't hit our target yet. We're close. We only need a few more intrepid photographers to make the trip work. I'd love to get to Iceland on my birthday. I'd love to get some great shots of the land and of the people. If you are interested please get in touch with the folks at Craftours and help me make this happen. We're looking for a few more people to sign up by the end of this month!
They have a toll free number: 877-887-1188. Or head to their website: Craftours.com
And now for the disclaimer: I am not an employee of Craftours. Craftours will be responsible for the production and execution of the expedition. I am getting paid to participate on this expedition as the workshop teacher, photography instructor, imaging facilitator and all around, genial host. I'll be eating meals with you, celebrating with you at happy hours and marveling at how great
Iceland can be; just like everyone else on the tour. I'll be there to teach, help, coach, illuminate (literally and figuratively), and generally assist you in making the most of your photography on this adventure.
Now, to sweeten the pot. Bring your swim gear and goggles. I'm sure we'll find some great places to swim. I'll help with your stroke technique if you'll also critique mine. OMG. Swimming and photography! All the good stuff at once.
I hope to see you there.
Panasonic adds new "Night Mode" to their GH5 camera. Here's why I like this new feature: It has actual benefits.
Every once in a while a camera maker comes out with something in a firmware upgrade that goes beyond just C.Y.A. and fixing stuff they promised to have working at the time of launch. I'm appreciative to Panasonic for including a new feature called, Night Mode, in the set of improvements in the latest firmware update for the GH5. It adds real functionality to the camera for me.
Most camera screens are made to work under a bunch of different lighting conditions but work best in average room light, shooting average subjects. Most rear camera screens just flat out suck if you are trying to compose outdoors in full sun (thank goodness for the miracle of EVFs...) and most rear screens are too bright and too blue for low light work. The light output, and the color range (too much stuff in the blue spectrum) of that light output, messes with your night vision and is generally bright enough, in low light situations, to act as an annoying and distracting beacon to everyone around you.
Most of the times I am shooting in the theater I am experiencing a combination of issues with conventional screens. A lot of dramatic stage work is done with lower levels of stage lighting and the house itself is quite dark. If I need to check settings and actuate the rear screen the light from the screen is overwhelming. Nearly as obnoxious as the bright screen of a big cellphone. If I go ahead and take a look, or use the rear screen to change a setting, I have my vision temporarily compromised by the blast of light. I could always chimp camera settings through the EVF finder of my mirrorless cameras but they too have the same brightness issues when it comes to the preservation of my night vision.
With the GH5, you have the option of switching either the EVF, or the rear screen, or both, to Night Mode; depending on how you use your camera. I used Night Mode for the first time last night. I was shooting some additional promotional shots of the Zach Theatre production of "Heisenberg" from a stationary position just to the right of the center section of audience seating. There was no one on either side of me but there were people in the row just behind me.
Normally, when shooting with an audience, I would disable the rear screen and make all my settings, and do all my reviewing, on the EVF. Many times it's an advantage to be able to pull the camera away from my eye and into my lap to check settings or make a quick assessment of sharpness or composition. I miss having that option with a conventional rear screen set-up while shooting in a dark theater.
Last night I set the rear screen to Night Mode and left the EVF in its normal implementation. It was great to be able to keep one eye on the action while I looked down at a menu item. It helped keep me from missing important shots. The deep orange on a darker screen was much, much less intrusive than the same screen when not used in Night Mode. I also tried using Night Mode with the EVF and it's very workable if you already know you are in the ballpark for color temperature settings. It might take a while to get used to judging exact exposure with the new set up because without colors the visual cues for correct exposure are different. You might depend more, at first, on histograms.
When using Night Mode in the EVF I was surprised at how much better I could see into shadows and how much more accessible faces in the audience were when taking the camera away from my face. I did the last quarter of the play with Night Mode enabled on the EVF and found that, not being seduced by color, my compositions where a bit tighter and better balanced and I didn't have the same level of eye fatigue I sometimes get when I spend the whole day shooting (we had a marketing shoot all afternoon followed by a break and then plunged into a full dress rehearsal shoot).
I give Panasonic double two thumbs up. The first two elevated thumbs are for coming up with the idea in the first place (although aircraft instrumentation and some car instrumentation has featured the lower output, red/orange spectrum illumination options for decades) and including it in cameras I like to use. The second set of odd thumb signals is for making the implementation so flexible. I like being able to chose how I want each screen to work instead of one setting being universally applied.
The new Night Mode feature should be a boon for everyone who works in low light and for many who suffer more acutely from eyestrain caused by spectrum sensitivity and excessive screen brightness.
I predict that every single camera maker will copy this and put it into their pro series cameras just as quickly as they can. I can't believe this feature hasn't created more buzz on the web. It actually helps make shooting conditions better for many artists.
The monochrome rendition distills images down to their essentials.
Color doesn't get in the way...
Every time I use the GH5 I am a bit more impressed.