Holiday Gift Guide – Part 5: The Books!

Hope you were able to snag all of the great deals on Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, which seems to be extending out this week.

The things that are not part of those door busters are the things that will probably last the longest: books.
It has been an interesting year in the photo book market, and some of the most respected organizations in the space have put together their own book gift guide for 2022
Here are the links:

and Aperture.

Admittedly, I did go to MOMA to see all of the books in person.
Some great ones, although I didn’t leave with any. Will probably be going back as I’ve had my eye on a few.

However, my favorite book this year has been:
Gordon Parks: The New Tide: Early Work 1940–1950

This book is published by one of the finest book publishers in the world, Steidl. High quality, great writing. Regulation size book, and book you’d be proud to give, are add to your own library.

I’m sure you know of the breadth of work of this master photographer, writer, musician, director and social historian. Here is an exploration of the early work, with many images not seen before.

If you are not familiar with his legacy, Gordon Parks (November 30, 1912 – March 7, 2006) was the first African American to be a staff photographer for Life magazine. He is best remembered for his iconic photos of poor Americans during the 1940s (taken for a federal government project), and for his other many photographic essays for Life magazine, and as the director of the 1971 film Shaft. As the first African American to produce and direct major motion pictures—developing films relating the experience of slaves and struggling black Americans, and creating the “blaxploitation” genre.

and check out the Gordon Parks Foundation for more info as well.
A documentary on him has just been released on HBO – Choice of Weapons

Of course, I always feel that the Family Of Man, which has influenced photographer for decades, should be in everyone’s library. A photo book about the human condition form birth to death, told by over 250 photographers from all over the world, with prose interspersed by Carl Sandburg. A classic

Honestly, I usually have a few copies about to give as gifts. As I looked it up on Amazon, it let me know I’ve ordered this book 18 times!!

At a $17 price for the paperback, you can’t go wrong.

Next up is The Photographer’s Playbook: 307 Assignments and Ideas 

This is a great book of thought starters to help you get your creative juices flowing from some of the best practitioners around. About 1 page per “assignment” this will def get you thinking

One note is that many photo books are not large production runs, so as a result they go out of print. Sometimes a fave photo book in a first edition is a special gift for someone one you know will appreciate it.
I actually did that this year, and can’t wait to see the reaction!

A fast listing, and I know there are sooo many more, and you will find the photo books ones that speak to you fro giving, or getting.

Holiday Gift Guide 2021 Part 4 – Audio

Ok, let’s talk about audio.
You know that it’s 50% of your content, unless it’s bad. Then it’s 80%

First recco is this beautiful audio recorder, called Tula

The form factor alone should be enough to convince you to carry with you.

You can set the mic to omni for a conversation or even add a lavalier mic to hone in on one or the other participant.
This small footprint unit comes with a pedigree. The creators of the Soyuz line of mics and mic capsules have made this mic/recorder to top level specifications.

Tula mic/recorder goes for about $230.

When you want to go more mobile, and connect directly into your camera , the Rode Wireless Go II. With a receiver and 2 wireless mics, you can quickly hook up your subjects for an interview situation. In NYC, I’ve seen the local news station using these as they cover the local beat.

Another solid choice is the Deity Duo,

looking like many mini mics on the market, but this one has another trick up it’s sleeve: you can either have it just forward facing, OR have it pick up from behind as well, so you can capture the interviewers questions as well.
About $100 ON SALE TODAY, 11/26 FOR $68 at BH!

Let’s go more pro, if you want to get some of the best
Sennheiser receiver/ transmitter system has been in my kit for years,

For lav mic I prefer the Tram tr50

or the Sanken COS 11-D

It’s funny, as i think the Tram is more popular on the west coast, and the Sanken on the east coast.
If you live in a major metropolitan city, like AL, Chicago or NYC, I would suggest going into a local vendor to actually hear the mics to make your best choices

If you are going into podcasting world, a perfect mic is the
Shure SM7B

Couple it with the best headphones Sony MD 7506, around $90
Yep, that good for the best price. Nice and flat so you can mix as you like.

what do you plug into for your podcast?
If you are going to be stationary, I’m partial to the Rodecaster Pro,

which mixes, records, and exports to my fave podcasting platform, Anchor. Once you export to this , it will send your podcast to all the majors.

If you are on the move, and really only have need for no more than 3 mics, the MixPre 3II is a great choice, with a small form factor and high end pre-amps,

plus support with upgrades to the firmware when needed.

Pack all of that into an Orca bag , that you can get from 16×9 suppliers. Your size needs will vary, so choose the bag based on the gear you’ll transport and use.

More guides coming!!

All Black Friday Content Creator Links in One Place!

Before continuing down listing of the selected items for the gift guide, figured I’d share a list of links to some of the better companies with great Black Friday deals, to give you a head start before things run out!
Many of the items have been called out in the first 3 Holiday Gift Guides!

So tomorrow as you spend 1/2 day at work, or flying to see folks, get a bunch of your gift purchases sorted

Twelve South
Lume Cube

Peak Design
Aperture- a great place for photobooks!
BH Photo

Spider Holster


More detailed list calling out some cool items coming tomorrow!





Holiday Gift Guide-Part 3 : Bags, Straps & Supports

Every photographer I know has multiple bags, for multiple situations.
Or is it truly a Goldilocks and the 3 bears situation? What looks great, may not be best in practice .
And how do you buy one for someone as a gift?

Just got notice that Peak Design is having a 30% off sale!!

After trying out a TON of these for walk-around, the best bag out there is, hands down, the Peak Design Everyday Sling

Another great bag in their line-up that has added space, like for a laptop, with plenty of room for gear, is the Peak Design Everyday Messenger .
That is a great way to have your portable office with you to post as you shoot. Plus it seems to have more of an office look to it, than a gear bag.
About $220 BIG 11 hour limited time sale at BH! ends tonight!!
Like I said, different bags for different uses.
And easy call for anyone on your gift list is this Tech Pouch
This has all the right places to put your goods, and is always part of my travel pack. Put your wires, connectors, chargers, SSD drive, all the tech you need, into one organized pouch.  $60

Onto how you hold your camera. On your shoulder, in your hand, in a bag?
Peak Design strap and updated connectors.(they are on V4, all good, just get better)

Basically you easily attach the low profile anchor mounts to the camera, and securely clip in the strap. Another design feature is this easily adjustable clamp on the strap. Best I’ve seen, and it always locks securely to the chosen strap size.

And as i believe that I should have my camera in my hand at all times on the street, I depend on a wrist strap. Once again, many have been tried, and the best out there, and the only one I depend on, is
SpiderLight Hand Strap,  they have a Back Friday sale right now

So many choices and how to decide. I have way too many, but like the bag choices, the right tool fro the right job, applies here as well.
Here are some great choices:
Peak Design Travel Tripod/carbon brilliant compact design, utilized every bit of space. I would still go for the carbon fiber model as you want to lighten your carry load a much as possible.

Sirui Monopod, with a fluid head is a great choice Also converts to a table top tripod.

$136, and add a fluid head if you are a run-and-gun videographer

Manfrotto also has a Black Friday sale starting now!

Manfrotto/BeFree has all you need in a short package Befree-Advanced. Perfect for the backpack

• High-performance photo/video kit in an ultracompact size
• Sony’s Alpha dedicated plate maximizes camera stability
• 3-Way Fluid Tripod Head, fully foldable handles, 13lbs payload
• Compatible with Arca-swiss and Manfrotto 501PL video plate
• Optimal combination of portability, solid footing, and easy set-up

Manfrotto quick release head, in their newly launched MOVE series of products. All designed for speed of operation. You can either connect the 2 parts and get 360º rotation, or pick a spot and lock it in. Fast movement between tripod, monopod, or gimbal.
You have seen the quick release flat connectors. This is a new take, and has a huge payload capacity at about 45LBs,

Platypod – a needed bit of kit for a fast, easy way to set your cameras, or speedlight.Basically, a solid plate with the right holes and tripod type mounting screws, with well designed slots to allow you to put your camera or speedlight where you need it.

Platypod is available in all kinda packages, depending on your needs.

More gifting ideas on the way!!

Black Friday Deals are in force, and I’ll try to do a separate post for all.

Holiday Gift Guide – Part 2: Instant Fun!

OK, I don’t usually share just one item on the gift guide series, but due to the time frame, here we go:
The Fuji Instax Wide printer, is one of the most fun and useful tools I have seen this season. What I love about this product is the personalized creativity you can add to it. Check out the short tutorial below.


It’s an instant printer that connects easily to your phone, via Bluetooth and a free app,  a great size to hand out, 2.4 x 3.9″ , Fuji has increased the peace with the addition of this very cool item to the Instax line-up!

As you gather with family and friends as we emerge from our pandemic cocoons this year, you may want to hand out an image IRL.

But wait there’s more!

Not only can you print out your faves from your phone, you can add a QR code that can link to a website,  an audio file, locations, custom sketches that you create!

While first working through this printer, I made a print with a QR code to my website.
As a test.
That evening, I ran into an old friend who asked what I was up to. I shared some of my recent and vintage work on my phone, and they let me know what a fan of Springsteen they were. I shoot a lot of rock and roll, so shared some of those mages.
I printed them a vintage image, below, with a QR code link to my website.

Go ahead! try it! Scan the code!

Next up is recording a holiday message to my daughter on a pic of us from wayback.

So multi use, too much fun, too much usefulness, unique, custom handout.
Pick one up and make sure you get a bunch of film! You’ll be using it!

It comes with a stand, wrist strap, and the built in rechargeable battery last for about 100 prints.

About $150 USD! 

Annual Holiday Gift Guide – Part 1 : Road Warrior or Home Office?

Are you back on the road, or still rocking the home office?
Or maybe slowly getting back to the office?

We have some products to call out for the gift guide this year no matter where you are working from!

For the content creators we have add-ons for your laptops when out in the field:

For the first time, we have a card reader dongle that has a slot for CFast cards,CF cards (for you old school folks SD cards, micro-SD cards, and MS cards!
The EZQuest reader is a USB C, so compatible with all your newest gear. One slot for each card format, and it lays flat, depending on your computer.
The big news is, of course, the versatility for the reader.

If you don’t need all of the card reader capabilities, you def need a few extra ports!

This little beauty from OWC,The Travel Dock give you an extra USB-C (or use for pass through power, 2 USB-A, and an HDMI port to hook up an extra monitor. It’s the old packs small, plays big. Perfect travel companion.

And of course you can also hook it up to your current iPad.

Add on an OWC Envoy Pro SSD external drive,
and you’ll get blazing fast speed, Up to 980 MB/s Data Transfer Speed for your mobile editing. And you can use it to record directly from USB type C cameras to this, as an external drive. WiIP67 waterproof rating means it can survive for up to 30 minutes in 3.3′ of water. Loved the included software for back-up.
The include connection cable has USB-C and USB A ends.
Best news is that it doesn’t get overheated!

Prices are coming down , and keep an eye out for Black Friday deals. The 1TB is currently about $230

For the home or rad, this folding laptop stand is the best!

I bring this into every company I go to and it sits in my apt loaded with a laptop otherwise.
Folds flat so easy to transport. about $50

If you are an iPad person, or just prefer that screen for you workflow or entertainment flow,
The good designers’ at Twelve South, have come out with a smart, well made, iPad holder, that can be used on a table top OR clamped onto a ledge, to hang down to you preferred level.
The Hover Bar Duo Comes in at about $80
It even has a digital pen well, when used in the desktop mode.
Heavy base, so you know it won’t tip over with the weight of a full-size iPad.
It’s a simple , and super useful product with a good price.

This is the company that came out with the best thing in flying,
As most of us are using Bluetooth headsets, airlines have not yet caught up to this trend. The AirFly is not just what you want, but what you want to give as a gift!
Forget recording the events on the plane and just sit back , relax and wear your personal head set watching a free movie

It’s the AirFly!


Between $40 and $60 dollars.
A great tool for anyone using BT: Plane, Gym, Car, even your new vinyl turntable.

I don’t travel without it.

Speaking of your Bluetooth earbuds, The best case I have found comes from Catalyst.

Solid construction, well designed, and you can wirelessly charge the airpods, or use a cord to charge, 330ft Waterproof Total Protection Case for AirPods Pro, Secure Locking System, Full-Body Protective Rugged case for AirPods Pro, Shockproof

It comes with a carabiner  but I just put in my bag.
I have tried many of these, and this one has the best features I’ve found.
A gift, stocking stuffer, or for yourself, a def buy at $50

For the home office, make sure you have an upgraded camera like the Logitech Brio.

Built in laptop or tablet cams are terrible and this unit , hard to get during the pandemic is a solid 4k camera with adjustment tools for lens angles. Show as much or as little of your environment.

Of course you’ll have a Lume Cube Led light,  suction cupped to your laptop for added illumination.

Big sale happening right now!

Keep coming back for the rest of the lists!

The Day The Computer Died…

It served me well.
For over 10 years my Mac Pro tower was my daily companion.
Photo editing, video editing, and those oh so long hours looking at social posts I didn’t need in my life.
With 2 screens and the ability to plug in a myriad of external drives, it was an upgradable powerhouse.
And I say was because, well, it was time to be replaced. Didn’t want to but had to.
Programs were no longer able to upgrade from the old Tech.
And the number of crashes were killing me.
What to get?
Apple had just come out with the cheese grater tower, with a $6k starting price. Nope.
So, I was on the hunt for a previous model.
EBAY? CraigsList?

Sure, some of the specced out packages looked good, but who were the sellers? Lots of positive feedback, read well, but this would be a substantial purchase.
I was concerned.
So I went to OWC site, also known as MacSales and started to wander around.
This company is reputable, I trust them, and have done business with before, but never on this large of a purchase.
I made a few calls to sales and the tech dept, gingerly describing what I needed for speed, RAM, etc.. They answered all patiently, made suggestions, but never a hard sell.

I have to say, I was not disappointed with the conversations.

Relieved, actually. This was a lot of dough, and I was looking for some competent advice.
I also wanted to be assured that what I would get, was warrantied, tech supported, AND returnable. Just in case.

After much deliberation, I went with a Mac Pro trash can. You know, the one that is a cylinder, and looks sleek? The one I bought was new/old stock, IE brand new, never opened, except to spec it out for my needs.

Once I got it, the good techs at OWC gave me step by step migration instructions so could get all material transferred over to my new computer, from the old. Easy Peasy!

Then I came into some other issues: Cables to connect things, as this unit is a Thunderbolt 2, and USB computer.
I had way more things to plug in, than outlets on the new unit.
Once again, I consulted with OWC and got a Thunderbolt 3 dock.

I know, I know, 3, not 2?
Well, some of my newer devices were UBC 3 and USB C.
It did require getting some adapters to go from the unit to the computer.

Now, the Mac Pro, while sleek looking, has a spiderweb of cable coming from it, and I wanted a bit more of a cleaner look.
I called them for any possible solutions, and they had a simple one: get a longer cable between the dock and the computer, and hide the dock! Genius!!

With all of my calls, they wanted to make sure totally happy was good with my purchase, and they had a new idea:
A dongle that I could connect both of my monitors to, and only take up ONE outlet!! Yes, 4K compatible.

Had to have. I know more pluggable things are coming, so I’ll take any extra outlets I can!
One thing to note is that you need to add a keyboard and mouse. I just used the one from my older Mac Pro, and life is good. Did treat myself to wireless keyboard when i wanted to use my TV as the monitor.

One of the last things I purchased was a warranty, that included the cost of shipping.
Being an Apple products owner for years, I know this is a good investment, and like I said, I trust OWC.

What’s the upshot of all of this?
If you are going to replace a computer, or buy another, put your trust in OWC to make your purchase.
With great customer service, tech support, warranty avail, and all of the extras you may need to customize your rig, you can’t go wrong.
They help you get what you need. Try that with EBAY.

And yes, I bought the computer with my own money.
This is not a sponsored post.
Hopefully just a helpful one. OWC made it easy

NG: shortly after the new Mac Pro came out last year, they introduced the M1 chip. Felt like I dodged a bullet. And save a ton of dough!

Tik Tok Creators, Time to Light up The World!

As most TikTok creators know, a good ring light gives you that semi-flat, appealing light that makes everyone look great.
Even without filters!

You needed to have access to AC for your light, which meant you stayed close to home.
Lume Cube, the people who brought you the laptop light that EVERYONE uses for Zoom calls, came out with a Battery Powered 18” ring light that you have to check out.Right, battery powered, so you are wires free! They call it cordless, but you know what it means.

It comes in a kit that includes batteries, AC adapter, charger, phone holder, flexible neck to place phone in various configurations, a light stand, and all comes in in carry bag.

(labor dale sale of 15% off!)
Where was I…. oh, yeah, right..There are some very strong pros, and just one minor con.

First of all, it’s lightweight, which will help you schlepping the gear to the outdoor creations. I had been using a much heavier unit, which always stayed inside.

There are easy to use controls to set your light intensity, and color balance,- tungsten/daylight/custom between 3600-5600K  and even check how much battery life you have left!

They claim 70min on full charge, although I haven’t had to drain them all the way down yet.You can adjust the color temp to balance for Daylight or Tungsten (indoor) or anything in-between.

All I ever ask a piece of gear to do is deliver what it says it can, and keep it simple. This scores on all counts.

I was looking for a solution when I would create on my rooftop in NYC. No plug-in power, so I was always fighting bad shadows or squinting.

With this battery powered ring light, problem solved. Of course, my neighbors weren’t too happy about the rooftop light. Have to figure out how to be more stealth!

Take this light ANYWHERE, and create your content, properly lit.

And remember: it does come with anAC adapter, so you CAN plug it into an AC outlet.

Now I did say there was one con: the light stand is less that I would hope for.

It’s a bit hard to lock in place, and felt a little less than sturdy with everything mounted. Keep your camera to lightweight mirrorless, or a phone.

It does make the whole package more lightweight, although I just swapped out a Manfrotto light stand that I swear by all the time, and issue sorted.

So go forth, go into the world and create!

In my TikTok life, I will admit that I have now learned that cats don’t like tin foil on a counter, and get totally freaked out when a cucumber is placed behind them while they are easting.
It’s the little things.

Some notes about the company : from the first time I saw the LumeCube submerged in water at a trade show, to popping one on top of my camera,

to the almost daily usage on my laptop for meetings, this company has continued to produce quality LED  lighting products and accessories that deliver. This Ring Light adds to the lighting solutions I count on.

BTW, I’ve heard that the LumeCube with barn door and snoots, has become a favorite with macro shooters. Makes sense to me!



A Great New Product You May Not Need In A Year

This year, the pandemic did not slow down product development. As a matter of fact, it birthed new product categories, all related to to Covid.
Getting to see, and handle, products that were yet to hit market, was all over zoom.
So all samples to be shipped, and evaluated. Shipping has been an issue all over, but we are coming out of all, as we get back to normal, safely.
Masks became a manufacturing category, as well as, unfortunately, a political statement.

It’s about safety, and respect for others. I hope that you wear one when working as a street photographer, event photographer, and most cases when you are with others, unless all concerned are vaccinated. Look at most newscasts and you can see the reporters all wearing mask.
Consider a face mask a standard part of your kit, at this writing.

One of the standouts for me was AirPop Face masks.
Yep, we are all trying to find the best fitting, safest, and convenient ones possible. Aren’t we?
Heck Will.I.Am just came out with a high tech mask, that looks to sell for about $300.
Maybe not.
AirPop had an intriguing product that goes out at a $70 price point, including 4 replaceable filters that are good for 40 hours per use. So some good value when you long at the full package.
More than the price point, is the design:
First of all, there are adjustable straps for your ears, helping you find the most comfortable tension, while maintaining the safety, and sealing to your face.

The insert is pretty trick as well, with a flap that helps insure great fit depending on the shape of your face.

Admittedly, it took a beat to get the insert fitted in but that gave me the confidence of the tight fit. they call it the Ergo-Flex Seal.
One of the best parts of the design is the fact that it gives you the seal for protection, with a design so your mouth isn’t up against the mask, so you have a better experience for exercise, and honestly, any activity.

When they did the presentation, they were also debuting a coming product which has a sensor, that connects to an app, that tells you the quality of the air. On first glance, it looked like the air valve on some of the early masks we all saw, that had been deemed not sufficient for protection, but instead was a very high tech piece of gear, that gave great protection and an connected app gives you the data.

That one is still to come, and I’ll let you know what the deal is once it’s in use.

To recap:

  • Masks are a standard part of your gear,
  • Airpop has a great fitting and breathable solution
  • Price point makes senes when you take into account 40hrs per filtration insert, comes with 4, and washable outer.


After The Zoom Call, Get Creative! Lume Cube Helps Put It Together

Is anyone’s eybeballs swimming from all of the zoom calls? Or perhaps you you love a more comfortable chair?
I’m totally with you.
After doing all of the connections with your co-horts, maybe it’s time to create something for your audience.
You know who I’m talking about: your friends, your followers, heck, maybe even your family! Upgrade your vlogging life!
Lume Cube has become the standard issue light for your computer and keeping you looking good on all of those meetings.
They have just introduced a system, The Mobile Creator, that encourages you to take off that light, add your phone, and maybe a higher quality microphone and let your creative juices flow.

Is it that TikTok you want to make to grow that audience? or maybe that cooking show you always felt was the right way to share your cool ideas.
When you want to make it easy, and even be able to take it outside, with minimal set-up, this is the the package for you.
Dress it up, or dress it down, you can have all of the items you need in one place. You can go vertical or horizontal, as you can see.

I have personally put things together from bits and pieces, and honestly, it usually looks a bit haphazard.
With this set up, you don’t need to hunt for all pieces. It’s all here

So you can just do the tripod, phone holder, with 2 attachment points so you you can add your own gear. About $60.

OR add a light, the Lume Cube Mini. Or 2! ( with one light, it’s about $120.)

OR go all in and put the mounting hardware, light, and Rode Micro Mini mic, all in one place, as you see above. This will set you back $180.

And you can also make it nice and compact-

Step away from the meeting, forget about going on mute , and create something to share with the world. Here are the tools.

What will you make?


Real World Review – Fuji S-10 FTW In The Street

I’ll admit it.
There is a holy grail search for the best camera for the street photographers. Mirrorless is a winner from my perspective, and yes, size matters.
True, there will forever be discussion, comparisons, preferences.
Potato, Potatoe. ( Fuji, Sony, Canon, Nikon, Leica are all great choices!)

Tried a bunch, and I’m a Fuji photographer: love the files, and camera designs feel right. What’s up with this new one, the S-10?

In the Goldilocks scheme of things, my Fuji ranges are this: one is small, my X-100f, one is heavier, the X-T4, with much more capability.
The things I love about the X-T4 : Ibis, dual card slot, bigger battery, dedicated movie mode, ability to shoot 4k FLOG 400mps in movie mode (shot 2nd unit for a feature with this) and using the full compliment of Fuji Lenses.
And just the ergonomics. Top design is outstanding, and all of my controls are right there.
The X-100 series, is slim, leaf shutter, fixed lens, and a no-brainer for me, as it also fits right in my jacket pocket. Great for that simple walkabout.

So why the S-10??

The S-10 comes in right at the middle!

And on paper the Fuji S-10 covered a lot of bases.
First thing you notice, is the S-10 smaller than the X-T4,

It uses interchangeble lenses, and battery is the same battery I use for the 100F.
The dial design seems to be aimed at the newer user, as shooting modes are displayed on top.the old PSAM range (program, aperture, shutter speed, manual)
There is a dedicated ISO button to change up your ISO in manual, although you can create 3 separate auto ISO ranges, so you can set and forget.

It can take only 1 SD card, and UHS I only, so no back-up in the body.
The LCD is fully articulating, much like the X-T4, so great for vlogging.

IBIS (lens stabilization) is built in so that helps both the newbie, and the pro for a better chance at a sharp image.
The video capabilities are quite strong. mic inputs and headphones with an included dongle.

I can see how that saves space on this body, same as the X-T4. Still wish the X-T4 had a regular headphone jack like the X-T3, but I digress.

There is a built in flash, not super strong but fine for the friend snaps, or a fill light.

You can customize all of the buttons on this body, which I find super useful to match my other Fuji bodies for consistency.
On that point, when I first started to shoot with it, it did take a moment to get into the rhythm of fast changes in the controls.
Not a steep learning curve.
The body build overall is solid, and felt well built in the hands.
When you talk about basic ergonomics, the S-10 works, although if you have large hands, you may want to put it in your hands before purchasing.

What am I missing from the X-T4? not a whole heck of a lot, and at under $1000 vs $1700, the S-10 is a darn good deal.
The highlights:

*The LCD is fully articulated, and can be reversed to close in on body and be protected.
*The excellent Fujifilm algorithms for the classic film types, so you can adjust your jpegs in camera.
*Built in stabilization (IBIS)
*One SD card slot
*smaller battery
*smaller footprint overall than the X-T4

For the full story, here is a link to a comparison chart of the S-10 and the X-T4.

Yes, this a high recco piece of kit. If you are currently in the Fuji system, you have the lenses. If not, get the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS lens, which is corresponds to a 27-84mm equivalent focal length. I use that lens all the time, and dang happy with it. Great for video as well. Or you can go for the 16-80mm, with an equivalent 24-120mm-equivalent zoom which gets you a longer reach with an f/4 all the way through the focal range.

I may have to add this to the camera bag. I walk around NYC all the time, and ounces count!

Whether you are new to the Fuji system, or looking for an add -on, this camera will not disappoint.

and a little vid from BH

Peak Design Goes Mobile With Some New Tools

My fave walkaround bag is the Peak Design Everyday Sling 10 L. Some of the other bags in the line serve me well as combo office/gear bags (what’s an office?), or a perf weekender backpack.

The design touches on this bag, showed me that workers  know how to make the right kind of camera bag. I will always have a close look at their upcoming products.

Now, when I’m Zooming away on my laptop, I always have my phone next to the computer for slacks, txts, etc. Problem as finding the right compact phone stand.
Tried the Pop-Socket, and while cool, didn’t alway stay where I need it to, especially with any finger movement.

Peak Design came up with a system , that uses interchangeable connectors to stand up/attach/and otherwise put the phone where you need it.
There are good parts and other parts they are working out, but let’s look at the good parts first:
You get a choice of a case that uses magnets to secure the parts. Limited choice right now, but there is a solution. You can get a freestanding magnetic square, attach it to your favorite case and each part pops in like it was made for it. That way, no matter what phone you currently use or change out, you can just add a square and you’re set.
My main use was the phone stand or mobile tripod:

Continue Reading »

Holiday Gift Guide 2020 Wrap Up!

How are you doing out there?
No crowded lines at the stores, winter is coming, and you may have tricked out your home work environment just right.
Screen fatigue is real, and hopefully you get a chance to step away and create some content!
Here is a wrap-up of all of the gift guide suggestion this year. Of course, if there are some things that you may need, no harm in gifting yourself, right?

The Work From Home choices
Items to help in video production
Is this the year for a podcast, or just an upgrade on your audio gear?
Sometimes sitting down with a good book, is what you need. Turn off the screens, put down the phone, and dive in.
Sale days have been extended, and you may find some deals still to be had, although timely shipping could be a consideration.

The global situation has caused some items to be delayed, and as they come in , I’ll pos them here.

There are some last minute items that are great as stocking stuffers, or smaller gifts that still have great purpose.

One item that has gone in my bag is the Catalyst AirPod Pro case. Waterproof up to 330 ft, shockproof, and honestly, just a solid case fro your expensive airpods.

Sure, slipping the white case into your pocket is good, depending how you live your life, But for rugged protection, this case is the deal!

Continue Reading »

No More Dingle Dangle With Your Phone battery!

This item just came in from the folks at Mophie. The Juice Pack Connect!

You know em, you love, and they have been taking care of your mobile battery needs for years.
Now that smartphones can charge wirelessly, many of us have been depending on A: an external battery with a cable, or B: laying your phone onto a charging stand or discs.
While this stops your easy use of the phone, it may not be convenient.
Mophie came out with a system, that includes a wireless battery, a small flat dock for your phone, and have incorporated a phone stand as well. Continue Reading »

Holiday Gift Guide 2020 – Cyber Monday Edition!

As we start the headlong process into the holiday season, Cyber Monday is considered the next big deal day after Black Friday.
We have looked around to see what may be a good choice for your hard earned dollars and came up with these:
Platypod– this is a set of tools that should be in your kit to get those hard to line up shots. Close to the ground , strapped on a tree, balanced on rocks, or whatever else you can think of, versatility is the name of the game. Go basic, or go for this complete set-up with the biggest savings today. (it may say Friday, but i have been assured prices are still good!)

Peak Design has some of the best bags, and straps out there. Now with a great deal! Continue Reading »

Holiday Gift Guide 2020 #4 – Turn The Page!

Just going to take a break from the gear for a sec. And yes, Cyber Monday is here.
Honestly, there have not been crazy deals in abundance this year. With ordering down, products from Asia coming in slower, there is less inventory to begin with, so not as much need to blow it out the prices.
However, there are some solid deals, and for your year end purchases, and gifting ideas, we’re here for you.

Now let’s tuck into some book suggestions for this year:

A brand new addition came from a current exhibit at The Whitney MuseumWorking Together: Louis Draper and the Kamoinge Workshop, Working Together is an exhibition that chronicles the formative years of the Kamoinge Workshop, a collective of Black photographers established in New York City in 1963. “Kamoinge” comes from the language of the Kikuyu people of Kenya, meaning “a group of people acting together,” and reflects the ideal that animated the collective. They told the stories of their lives with a first hand knowledge that had been missing.

Then we have The Life and Work of Sid Grossman

A member of the Photo League, his work leans a bit to the Life magazine way of seeing, and the printing is exquisite in the book. Not new, but a pleasure to look at.

One of the most iconic jazz photographs ever, was the
shot that Art Kane did of all of the luminaries of Jazz, taken on the steps of a brownstone in Harlem.
This book, ART KANE. HARLEM 1958, gives you an insight into the making of that image, and a great read.

Gordon Parks was a master photographer, cinematographer, director. You would do well to have any of his many books, so here is a a possible start: Half Past Autumn: A Retrospective

or perhaps this volume: Gordon Parks: The New Tide: Early Work 1940–1950

I know, the suggestions are leaning more towards the humanity side of photography.
Here’s another!
Sabine Weiss. catalogue d’exposition – I’ve suggested this book before, and she was just awarded a major honor at Arles. You may not of heard of her, but you have to discover her work.
Books are bit harder to come by, but not impossible. A special gift indeed.

Family of Man – As always, this is a book that should be in everyones library. 256 photographers documented the human condition from birth to death, in cultures all over the world. The exhibit was shown in 1955 at MOMA, and to this day, is still the most viewed photo exhibit in history. many photographers have cited this book as the inspiration for their photographic life. I certainly do. And at about $16 for the paperback, it should be in everyone’s library.

The Photographers Playbook – In case you may be getting creatively, stuck this is one of the best collections of project starters for the photographer in your life.

This one is not a photo book, but a book about the artist’s process – The Artist’s Way

It’s the 25th anniversary edition, and many of my creative mentors have used this book, and it’s suggested techniques.

Find your creative voice.

I know there are many choices out there for your gifting choices, and each giftee’s leanings will influence your purchase. These are just one way to go!

These books, are usually not discounted, except on Amazon, so those links are included here.

More Gift Guides coming shortly!


Holiday Gift Guide 2020 # 3 – Have A Listen!

As we go headlong into the holiday season, and you have able to gather your thoughts, perhaps you figured that others may like to hear what’s on your mind.

Yes, we are talking about PODCASTS!!
It’s a perfect outlet for yourself, your insta followers, and your perspective clients.

The following gear selections are reccos based on real life usage. On microphones, the ones listed below are my personal preference, but if you go to a brick and mortar pro audio store, put your ear to a few to select your fave.

The most user friendly, quality unit out there, is hands down the  Rodecaster !

And you have to love a company that constantly upgrades the firmware. Rode does a great job. 4 XLRs, deep dive audio controls, an 8 pad loaded with your fave music bumpers, or sound fx, plus bluetooth, so you can do interviews over your phone wirelessly. Winner!

A pro mixer, with less bells and whistles, you have the MixPre 3II . you can have up to 3 mics on this, and yes, you can also do remote interviews via phone, with the proper cable.
A tiny unit that can be power by LP batteries or even your phone charging battery. Small size, with commercial grade quality. This is the unit you want to take on location. They also do regular firmware upgrades, so another solid company.
Add on Rode mic booms, as a perfect way to set whatever mics you choose at the proper height and distance or you and your guests

Sony 7506

Whether you are in a studio, or on location, these headphones are pro quality, at a sweet price point of about $90.
Best part is that these headphones don’t add color to your audio. You can add what you like in the mix, but you’ll hear good, clean sound with these. And for podcasts, you can afford one for each guest!

Then the podcast mics. A few choices out there, but this is the standard. Just do it.
Shure SM7b

Mogami Cables

And to finish out your rig, Mogami cables are the best. There are others you can use, and will work great, no problem. these just finish out a top notch set-up

For the travel set-up with the MixPre 3II, I have found that the Orca-28 is perfection. Just right, quality construction, and it opens up in all the right places. Show up on set ready to go.Orca bag

If you are moving around with the Rodecaster, and for instance, 2 Shure SM7B’s, after searching, this Pelican case is the deal. No wheels, but not a large price tag either. About $140 Pelican Vault

And if you are doing some location sound, these days, a boom set-up is the the deal.

I’m a fan of the Sennheiser MKE 600, and you can get it as a full kit with boom pole if you like.
Or choose your own preferred mic, and the K-Tek is a darn fine boom pole.


Yes, this is just a small selection. But a proven selection.
Remember, audio is 50% of your production.Unless it’s bad, then it’s 80%.

Holiday Gift Guide 2020 #2 – Motion Gear

You’ve upgraded your social content, right?
In these crazy times you’ve realized that video gets more traction than straight still posts.
It’s true, as I’m writing a non moving post.
So let’s look at some of the highlights from this past year in the video game, and see what may be right for you, or a giftee.
Light is everything, whether you shape what is natural, or control it.
This year, I watched a pretty solid webinar by Nanlite, and tried a coupla units.
Solid high adjustable output, well built, and consistent through the line so you can add additional lights as needed, knowing your color will be consistent.
They have some units with a variety of output, shape, and most importantly, are silent! That seems to be the issue with a lot of units out there.
I went with 2 x 100 units as a start and have been very happy with them. check out the line and see what may be on your list of needs. And yes, part of the line is battery powered as well.
Nanlite Compac 100 Dimmable 5600K Slim Soft Light Studio LED Panel

On the more portable line up, the Lume Cube Go, is always in the bag, and adds that extra bit of kicker for your DSLR/Mirrorless vids, or even yor smartphine vids.

And if you are shooting video with your phone, I’d like to recommend the BeastGrip (Big Sale going on now!). It has all of the handheld versatility you need. Cold shoes all over, you can add more, and it fits a ton of phones. I use it with a Samsung Note 10+ primarily, and sometimes an iPhone 11Pro


OK, now let’s up the ante a bit.

If you have gone into the world of sliders, one of the stars in that universe is Edelkrone. Even if your goal is to get a great B-Cam footage of an interview, having a SliderOne V2, with a HeadOne, plus a flex head, will serve you right.

Once you program it with the free app on your phone, you can repeat a motion, so you set and forget it. Sure, you need to keep a distance locked , or a t/ stop that gives you a good depth, this company makes a solid product, and your should have some in your kit. Just make sure you have batts to power em both. They last a long time, so no worry. I’m using my Canon batteries.

 And a huge sale going on RIGHT NOW!!

And when you want to shoot with a larger screen, and take that sweet 4K output out of your camera, and put it onto a SSD drive with no time constraints. (30 min? hahahahah) How about 150 min in 4k on a 1TB drive?

Go for the Atomos Ninja 5

When you want to trick out your rig, and need that cage for your camera, or need an arm to attach a monitor, or any number of ideas you have to make content creation easier, my highest recco for SmallRig. Many items are available here in the US, although originate in Asia. PLUS! Black Friday Deals right now!

I usually go right to the site, and figure out what is needed to make the rig work thew way I want.

here is just some of the range of items they make:

So maybe this became a list of what to ask for the holidays. Or maybe , you just want to make sure your are buying the gear you need before year end.

Whatever the case, stick around as tomorrow we will tackle the audio parts of your content creation, including podcast reccos!!

Holiday Gift Guide 2020 # 1 – WFH Edition

How are you doing as we go headlong into the holiday season in an unprecedented (yep,I said it!) time?
I’m hoping that the time spent working from home has made you think, or rethink the best ways and tools you need.
We’ll start this years series of gift reccos with items that can help you work better at home.
Laptop stand – MOFT Z
This thing folds flat, is made of fiberglass covered in material, and lightweight enough to move around your home office with you. Stand up desk, perfect angle for vid conference, or just a good angle for general couch work!

Logitech Brio -Best Webcam

If you are tired of being a blurry blob, and want to show you have stepped up your remote video game, this is the webcam to get.

Had been out of stock for awhile( I scored mine on EBAY near the beginning of all this) Put your order in!
Lume cube Mini

And to compliment your new webcam, is a bit of extra light so you don’t look like you are sitting in a cave. Plus it’s a good, soft, light, bi-color, and can be charged as you use it, for those loooooong days of meetings. Now the whole set-up, including the suction mount for your laptop, is about $55.00!

For your audio pleasure, there are a couple of ways to go. Yes, you can you your wireless ear buds. I’m partial to AirPod pros, but any Bluetooth will do.
If you want to go for the full look, this
Jabra Evolve 70 has a ton of bells and whistles.

Optimized for Skype for Business, you can get it with, or without, a charging dock, has 100′ ranges, and has a cool red light they call a busy light, on both earcups that lets’ people know you are on a call. 15 hours of talk time. It comes with a great case, but where am I going?

And next to your laptop, you may want your phone for txts email, stock tips, or gamesA couple of ways to go here: One I’ve tried, and it works, is a double pack of this Anker charging base. It’s simple, 2 of them cost about $40.00, and I can even put my AirPods wireless charging case on them.


A more versatile, although not a charging deal. is the new Peak Design mobile system. You can get a case for your phone that will let you attach a slim, and strong folding stand.

Brilliant design, and you can take the stand part off, and the phone will still wireless charge.

OK, only on Kickstarter for now, but keep your eyes peeled, and maybe back em. they have been pretty successful so far!

And an item, I just reviewed, the OWC dock:


These items have been tried, used, and proven to be useful.

Where it’s for your, a partner, or a gift, these will make anyone smile when they unwrapped it, and send you a FaceTime thanks!

More Gift Guides on the way!


Muscle Up Your Wimpy Laptop

Working from home is where we are at now, and you may have found that the lightweight slim laptop you have from the office was great on the road.
But you’re not on the road these days.
Being able to add some versatility, additional peripherals, is what you need right now.
How about a larger screen, for the interminable remote meetings? Or even streaming a great movie?
OWC has got this handled.
The Thunderbolt 3 Dock   has all you need to plug in your extras, and increase the productivity of your laptop.

As you have discovered, USB C needs extra power than on-board BUS power for older USB plugs.

This unit gives you the power you need, (yes, you have to plug into an outlet) to super charge your basic USB outlets, and gives you additional Thunderbolt 3 ports.

And with media card readers, you now get back the ability to load in Micro-SD (go-pro?) and regular SD cards, back at your fingertips. Plus you can plug in your headphones, or Jabra Type headset. Although most laptops have the headphone port, you could use it for a mic.

I know, you may move around your home office. Is the couch better for you? Maybe a balcony?

This unit has a software feature for an easy disconnect, when you need to leave the extras on a desk, or dining room table, for the comfort of a simpler workspace

Safety first, right?

All in all, this unit has been designed by a trusted manufacturer, gives you 14 ports of usability, solidly built, lets you charge your electronics from one place, and basically lets you take the power inherent in your laptop, and utilize it to max capacity.

Is there a downside? Hmmm…

Well, it’s not cheap, which in a way is a good thing, $250 USD. You know a solid company, with a track record will stand behind the product.

Who knows, watch for some holiday deals and you may catch a break.

It’s already in my home office, and working away.

It’s time to build out your home office, for real.


Latest Wireless Charging Mat From Mophie – No More Jiggling!!

Yep, wireless charging for your phone is pretty cool.
Just laying it on top of a pad with no cables does seem like an easier deal. And with multi-use charging pads so you can charge your watch, air pods and phone at once is super useful.
Until you wake up and your phone hasn’t charged. At all!!
Has this ever happened to you? Jiggling your phone till you see the charging symbol, or percentage ring, confirming the right placement, only to find out that it wasn’t quite in place, or moved?
It has happened to me more times than I care to know.
Frustrating at best, causing me to use a cable on an external battery to get the day going,
Mophie has come up with a solution that may seem simple, but works like a champ! The Mophie 4-in-1 Charging Mat

With ridges outlining 2 places for phones, and 2 places for air pods, a dock for your watch (need to add your own charging cable) this unit has been a lifesaver!
It. Always. Works!!!!
They call it the EASY-ALIGN design, and i have been waiting for something like this.

Now, if you work at a company that requires you to use a company phone, and you have a personal phone (keep all of that stuff separate!) this dual charger is what you need.
And maybe it’s a couples thing where you can both charge your devices at once. Only one watch port though. There is an extra USB port on the back if you need to add another charging cable. Or if your other smart watch can lay flat you’re good.


This sits on my bed stand and I know, when I wake up, the devices are charged and ready.

Simple, yes? and about $125 .

Time to start your gift lists!

The Affordable Action Cam With ALL Accessories Included!

Truth be told, I don’t ski, skateboard, sail, or bike.
I DO snorkel a coupla times a year.
SO why would I want or need an action cam?
Good question.
And the answers are many: time lapse being a huge one, having a small, quality, capture vid camera for the beach, body mounted cam for documenting the day, a diff kind of webcam. etc..
Basically, a small video camera that can capture life.
Having used everything from the first GoPro to the current DJI Action Cam, there have been some great improvements along the way.
Front and Back screen, and simplified touch screen menus are 2 of the majors upgrades, plus image stabilization.
They may all come from the same factory, so many features are shared, although the apps, and build, are specific to brands.

A new player in the field, Akaso, sent me their new entry into the market to check out. The Brave 7 LE!

4K, waterproof down to 131FT/40M while equipped with the included waterproof housing, water resistant right out of the box.
and the beauty here is that everything you need is INCLUDED!! Continue Reading »

Best Way To Carry Your Audio Gear – Orca Wins!

How are you doing out there?
In NYC, we are starting to get back out into the world of production!
and not just with Zoom! Physically.
2 weeks ago, I was live on set for the first time in months. Whew!
Before the whole shut down happened, I discovered the best way to carry my audio gear. Simple, and a quality set-up.

In the set-up: I’m talking about a MixPre 3ii, with 2 Sanken lavalier mics, my trusty Sony 7506 headphones, batteries, and cables, and some extra goodies.
Sometimes I would switch out the lavs for 2 Shure SM58 mics, when I’m doing a one-on-one interview for a podcast, so throw some cables and small mic stands in the bag. Cloudlifter, as well. Just to boost the gain if needed. Yes, that is the double Cloudlifter, but a single may be more versatile for your needs.

This was all jammed into an Orca-28, and the bag is built just right.

Continue Reading »

Nikon Brings the Z Series to the Next Gen – Time to Order?

So, who out there can shift camera systems whenever a new body comes out?
Yep, thought so.
I was raised on Nikon, and have a ton of amazing lenses, plus bodies, that i’m not sure when/if i’ll ever sell.
Yes, since Sony and Canon have done major releases recently, you have to put a line in the sand.
Who are you going to shoot with? And invest in?
OK, I did move to the Fuji system a few years back, and am very happy I did. My back is very happy. My walkabouts in NYC are less strenuous.
More on that later.
Nw the Z- series was a temping move and i worked with it for a very long time.
Familiar menus, solid build, quality as i knew. Plus it was super easy to balance on a gimbal. For some reason.
Well now, a coupla years later Nikon has update the cameras, and If you haven’t given them a look, you really should.

This is crazy, but the 1st gen only had one card slot, and everyone knows, 2 slots are way better.

Before i post the company line, I do want to let you know that I have a Nikon to Fuji adaptor and still pull out that glass when needed.the 500MM Mirror was a champ this summer.

and here you go!


The High-Resolution, High Performance Z 7II and the Versatile, Multimedia Powerhouse Z 6II Offer More Innovation, Power, Speed and Precision to Step into a New Era of Creative Freedom
Continue Reading »

Lume Cube – It’s About The Quality of Light

I’m definitely a problem v. solutions kind of person, and look at gear to make life easier. And make better content.
The new goal/problem was to find a small, powerful source of light, to add onto my Fuji, and be able to get interviews at trade shows.
What was needed was a nice, compact, source of light, battery powered.
After looking around the landscape, Lume Cube, a company that has been leading in the tiny light category has come up with a solution.

Well, they came up with a few, actually. Continue Reading »

Let’s Go For A Walk!

Are we finally seeing some good times in the wild? I mean, our neighborhoods?
In my neighborhood, in NYC, the plywood has come down from the stores, the streets are alive with the outdoor restaurants.
I have been taking the subways, buses, and a coupla taxi’s. The taxi drivers have to remember the mask deal, especially in a closed space.
Mostly, it’s walking. That’s how you see what’s really going. Like always, right?

So, the basic walking kit has been in use, and this is what it consists of:

*Fuji X100F with a lens shade
*Spare batteries for the camera and the phone
*Extra SD cards- I’ve been going either SanDisk or Sony, 128gb, super fast cards.
*LensPen, because you need to keep it all clean.
*A wrist strap, so I have that extra bit of security carrying the camera.
*And it all goes into a Peak Design Sling 10L

*Plus, if you are new to this, you may want to check out the listed book on the 100V

All of it is here in this link.

Why this gear? One main reason is that I have used this setup for years, and it works.

First, the main event ,the camera.
the Fuji 100V has a leaf shutter and can be put into electronic shutter mode, so it can be silent.

The files are beautiful. Plus, you can access all of the Fuji film stocks as algorithms for your JPGs. Things like Provia, Acros, Classic Chrome, Sepia. They are added to JPGs only as you are hopefully shooting RAW and JPG, for editing later. In LightRoom, the FujiFilm film stocks come up as a choice in develop mode so you an get those formulas added to your RAW files, as well.
The small size of the camera is ergonomically right, AND most importantly, I’m not digging into menus to adjust my exposure. A hallmark of Fuji cameras, it gives an analog feel to a sophisticated camera.
I go for the all black version, as it has a more has a discreet presence, and being silent, when using electronic shutter, you can get shots that you may have missed.

The lens shade, allows me to be fast, and not missing the opportunity. With the shade, nothing is hitting the lens, and you grab and go. In jacket weather, I sometimes juts go out with the camera in a jacket pocket.

Always have spare batteries when you are out walking. Nothing hurts worse than having an empty camera when you see the shot.

SD cards can get filled up. Or go bad. Yes, that does happen. I usually pack 2 extra.
LensPen: I have one of these in every camera bag. They just work. cleans the lens, and wipes away and dust. Cheap, and cheerful.
And the wrist strap. EVERY camera I own has a wrist strap. On this smaller camera I use this simple strap.

The more robust, interchangeable lens cameras, get the SpiderHolster spiderlight wrist strap. It’s perfect and after a full day of shooting is still comfortable.

Now the bag.

We all have a bunch perhaps, or have tried a few.
This Peak Design Sling 10L is my perfect walk around bag.
Room for my Fuji x100f, with space to scale up to a X-T4 with a 14mm, a 56mm, and a 55-200 (my crop duster). Or the leave out the 56mm, and add in the 50-140mm.
Straps on the bottom to hold a monopod, tripod, or lately, an umbrella!

Into the front pocket, I slip credentials, biz cards, SSD hard drive, and maybe a protein bar.
There is an inside flap, which has been able to hold an iPad, when that may be needed. Yep, have the keyboard case, and the pencil so things can be edited on the run.
When we can go inside again, this will be more useful.
The shoulder strap is comfortable, and easily adjustable.
There are a couple of design features I especially like:
*The zipper top opens TO the body, as opposed to away. An extra bit of security.

*And the bag itself has a somewhat of a defined shape as opposed to soft, shapeless design.
It allows me to easily slip my camera in and out of the bag.

This is the basic kit.
I do always throw in a Baggu reusable bag, because while you are out, you may need to pick up some things. Like dinner, or some groceries.

I have added a carabiner to the back handle to hook up a bag to.
Now, one thing that is NOT on the bag is a water bottle holder.

Now, I will toss in the Fuji X-T4, with a 14mm lens, for street when I want to switch up the lensing. I’ll break that more robust kit down in another post.

Stay safe and healthy out there!

A Lot Of Time On A Tiny Balcony

How are you doing today?
Have you zoomed enough? Are tired of looking at a screen?
Well, I am!
So, for a bit of respite, I go out to my tiny balcony and catch up on some reading.


Trust me, it’s no big deal, but I have used this lately more in all the years I’ve lived here!
And catching up on my reading. Mainly books about photography, and the odd detective novel thrown in. Walter Mosely is my current fave as he can deliver a visual that sends me to that place!

If you want to skip the post, here is a full list of some starter books that’ll keep adding to.

When I left LA for NYC, I left 95 boxes of books behind. Yeah, I know. I do miss many of them.

There are books that have been next to my bed, and in my NYC bookshelf, that bring me to the great outdoors, currently about 92º, to get inspired, informed, and sometimes, just luxuriate in the images I’ve not gazed at in too long.
Let’s get to it:
For a faster read, there are a couple of books I go to:
Aperture’s Photographer’s Playbook, and PhotoWork: Forty Photographers on Process and Practice.

The Playbook has 1 or 2 page ideas that may spark a personal assignment. Interesting if you’re feeling blocked, or just want to expand.
The PhotoWork book is great because it gives some insight into the photographic mind. The same questions were asked of everyone, and the answers can add up to a better portrait of each photographer.

Then there are the books about photographers like Larry Fink and Mary Ellen Mark. They seem to be taken from classroom events they taught, and although I’ve been making photographs for decades, I get a nugget or 2 from each one that sticks with me. It’s called the Photography Worksop Series from Aperture.


Honestly, there is something in the Fink book that jogs my brain, every time I edit and get to selects. Scary.

Then have been diving into the Sally Mann autobiography. If you are familiar with her imagery, this cuts deep. Highly recommend.

One book that I haven’t cracked yet is the Dan Winters book, The Road To Seeing. I have picked it up, and put it down a few times. Big commitment and know I will get there before the end of summer.

The current perfect blend is the Life And Work of Sid Grossman.


Beautifully produced, superior printing, and not just a book of photographs, but a great read on his life, and personal conviction.
” A photograph is as personal as a name, a fingerprint, a kiss. It concerns me intimately and passionately. I am not ashamed of that” Sid Grossman

When the sun starts to set, I do head back into the smallish NYC apt, and go through the list of docs on image makers to watch.
More on that list in another post.

And yes, If you purchase from the links provided, we do get a small commission. No price change for you, but it helps support these efforts.


How Are You Doing Today?

I hope you are all staying safe and healthy. Best wishes to you, and your family.
Sure, most communications start with that in these days of covid.

But what can you say, other than to wish your fellow humans the best?
© Damon Webster, 2020. All rights reserved.

And how are you spending your time at home?
If you have been working, chances are you are spending more time in front of screen than ever, and the concept of a 9-5 day (or 8-6), has been blown away.

In NYC we are slowly starting to open up, with restrictions. Heck, even B&H is taking on-site customers!

© Damon Webster, 2020. All rights reserved.

If you are a photographer or videographer, I hope you have been documenting this historic time, as things are moving fast. I look forward to reading what all of the cultural anthropologists will say about this time.

© Damon Webster, 2020. All rights reserved.

© Damon Webster, 2020. All rights reserved.

© Damon Webster, 2020. All rights reserved.

Trying to use my shelter in place as productively as possible, it was time to dig through all of the accumulated gear, and see what was needed, and what needed to be sold!
That was cathartic! And profitable!
Not quite the keeping ” does it spark joy? ” but what is being used, or will be used. Things came out of hiding, lived in the light of day, got evaluated, and either were listed on ebay, given a go, or put away.

Then, of course, was going through all of the archives, and realizing what photo files need better tagging. A ton!
just try looking for a specific image and all it is tagged with is New York, and a date.
Not good enough.

And then the scanning. If you have come to photography in the digital age, you don’t have to worry.
There are nightly sessions with my Epson V850 scanner, making my negs and transparencies into digital files that can be more easily accessed.
Truth be told, even though the scanner can create hi-res files, still doesn’t beat drum scans.
So the flatbed scanners files let me see what I have, and then have judiciously selected images for the expensive drum scans.
Holy Moly! the difference is staggering. the depth on drum scanned images is incredible. I’ve been using Duggal, here in New York for that.

Don’t get me wrong – i have binged a TON of TV, bought too much rice, probably have enough TP to last me for a long while,

© Damon Webster, 2020. All rights reserved.

and have a flock of masks to choose from before walking out the door. And my office clothes have definitely taken a back seat to more comfy options.

The home office has been tricked out with proper lighting, optional green screen, a headset, and some good mic options. Why not, right?

And podcasts are all the rage. Before the shutdown, I was about to start a podcast about exploring your city. Hah! timing, right? With severely limited public events, and venues, now have to rethink this.

How have you been spending your home time? If you have kids, I think I have an idea, and if you are caring for someone at risk, bless you and the service you provide.

If you would like to share your experiences during these days of covid, please contact me @, and let’s see what we can do to get it posted.
Looking for image related experiences, and how your photographic life has been affected during all of this.

So stay safe, and stay healthy! look forward to hearing from you!
Wear a mask, and remember to Vote!

© Damon Webster, 2020. All rights reserved.


Nikon Inc. + NYC Salt Expand Partnership to Help Amplify Diverse Voices

Thsi is a good thing to see in the midst of all the rest. I personally have donated prints to NYC Salt sales, and encourage you to support them.

Today, Nikon Inc. announced the expansion of the brand’s partnership with NYC Salt, an organization that helps create opportunities in visual arts as well as pathways to college and careers for underserved youth from diverse backgrounds in New York City. This important partnership will expand to include a variety of programs that align with Nikon’s ongoing commitment to supporting the next generation of creators and amplifying diverse and underrepresented voices in the arts.

    Nikon Inc. + NYC Salt Initiatives

Emerging Talent Scholarship: Nikon will establish an annual $10,000 Emerging Talent Scholarship to an eligible student graduating from the NYC Salt program and entering a visual arts field, providing them with a foundation to help follow their dreams and pursue a career in the visual arts.
NYC Salt Camera Locker Equipment Fund: Nikon will support NYC Salt’s camera locker program through an equipment fund which will grant access to the latest Nikon cameras, lenses, and other equipment, enabling students with the necessary tools to advance their photography and videography skills.
Nikon Ambassador Mentorship Program: Nikon is collaborating with its network of world-renowned Ambassadors in the U.S. to coordinate a mentorship program for NYC Salt students, allowing Nikon Ambassadors to interact with the NYC Salt students, share their expansive knowledge and supplement the NYC Salt curriculum for 2020 and beyond.

    Public Print Sale:

Nikon is also working with its Ambassadors to organize an online public print sale of their images, with all proceeds going to NYC Salt to help expand their educational offerings to students. The print sale will take place from now through August 31.

Nikon Adds New FF Mirrorless To The Line-Up

It’s the way things are going: either go smaller with mirrorless, or go big with 100MP medium format. Even today, Canon announced the end of the 5D line.

Nikon has committed to the full frame mirrorless system, and with the new, Z5, has brought the line-up to a sweet affordable price.

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Best Gimbal Hack I’ve Used!

First of all, do you use a gimbal? great way to get smooth pro video with your DSLR or Mirrorless cameras. After going through a bunch (will be selling the left behind gimbals) I’m partial to the Ronin SC.

Coupled with a Fuji X-T4, and a SmallRig ball joint with a Feelworld monitor (I know, not Small HD, but does the job) this rig has great software, right weight, and responsive. That is a key element. Connects to a sweet app, easy to control through it, and even updates firmware from your phone. Well done!

There is one thing I know you feel if you have gone out with your gimbal rig of late.

The weight! Plus the fact that the configuration is a little unwieldy.

The question comes up as to how to carry, after your arms get a bit wobbly, or you need to tend to swap the camera battery replacement, media card swap., on the fly.

Once it’s built, I want to be able to easily use it, without breaking it down, and rebuilding, and remain mobile. So it was time to figure out a shoulder strap solution.

It started with perusing my new favorite accessory site, SmallRig. Well made, well thought out, additions for just about any gear you own.

After looking at a ring to fit the Ronin SC with 1/4-20 holes to add things like a mic, light, etc. I came upon this set-up.

Now the idea of having a safe and secure ring to add a strap to the gimbal, and not only be able to sling it on my shoulder when not in use, BUT also be able to help set it against my body for controlled moves, is a huge winner in my opinion. Especially if you are out and about these days, covering events, you have to be on the move.

The strap was the next consideration. Peak Design has been my favorite currently, as the ability to adjust the length, and lock up fast is critical.

Plus the comfort factor. The interchangeability of the strap for different gear, using the anchors, is key. It comes with 4 anchors and a 1/2-20 clip, usually to put on the bottom of your camera.

Yes, SmallRig has a strap, but since I already owned one, a bit of savings. The design is more to my liking in it’s ability to adjust and lock the strap to the preferred length.

I did add on these 2 small bits, to ensure the right spacing for the anchor cords.


So that is one way to give you some more gimbal transport freedom.

Another way is to connect one end of the strap to the ring, and the other end to the bottom of the gimbal, giving you a different weight distribution situation. Using another piece included with the Peak Design strap, and attaching that to the bottom of the gimbal. The same anchors that you have on the strap can then be attached to the bottom. Different balance situation

You can also spread the detachable tripod part of the gimbal, and use your body to help stabilize the gimbal even more, letting the legs spread on your body, while the rig is secured on your shoulder, and you further stabilize the shot, with your hands on the stem of the rig.

Basically this whole addition to your Ronin SC (or perhaps other gimbals as well) will make your rig a more portable, fast action, and comfortable tool to work with.

Check out SmallRig, Peak Design, and as always, BH is my top shop for gear.

Stay Healthy, Everyone!

Your Stand Up Desk Just Got Portable!

WFH is the order of the day now, and a return to an office seems to be a ways off.
So now you are spending even more time in front of your screen, than ever before. Intently concentrating, making sure you are engaged, or looking like you are, forces you to stay on that keyboard!
If you have been feeling the strain on your body, you are not alone.
One of the best ways to help out the pinches, aches, and overall discomfort is to make the move to a stand-up desk.
And I’ve done the research. Most solutions are way too big, and being in an NYC apt, space is at a premium.

Check this out:
The Moft Z

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The Best Way to Top Off Your New Camera

There is a 20% sale on if you’d like to get one of these!

I have always skipped generations on cameras as I feel that I’ll get the life out of my current bodies before I’ll see enough upgrades. Glass is forever, but the little computers we hold in our hands (ok, sensor upgrades) will keep getting better.

Having just done the research on the new Fuji X-T4, it was time. So many reasons for the upgrade from X-T2, but prime ones: in body IBIS, flippy screen, headphone jack, separate stills/video switch. 

Wish the headphone jack didn’t need a separate dongle, but have just dedicated a 3.5 mm headset to the dongle. Not a big deal. Working on a bluetooth solution. Concerned about latency.

But I digress.

The first thing is with new/new to you is the camera unboxing. Making sure all of the parts are there, get that hand feel on the body, to see what the physical updates are, and of course, charging the battery. Full charge, remember!

By staying with one line of cameras, the menu systems are usually familiar, and you can start to see any changes to that, which could affect your way of shooting. Usually not huge. And I’ll admit I do scour manufacture sites to see what the they call out as new.

So…..battery was charged, menu set and buttons customized to your preferred way of shooting, and now what?

My final bit of getting the camera ready for it’s first shoot comes with the addition of the SpiderLight Hand Strap. This is my absolute favorite hand strap, and sits on all of my cameras. The Lite version, as opposed to Pro, sits better for me on mirrorless. Pro adds another safety strap, if you like, for security more on the larger DSLRs.

Here is the main process of getting it installed. It’s easy, and I always feel secure and comfortable, even on a long day hold.

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I See The Light: Packs small, Plays BIG!

Yes, the portable battery powered LED light market offers sooooo many options. You can honestly get the perfect light for what you require to illuminate.

Top of mind for me right now is small, portable, bi-color, with a decent battery life.

LumeCube has been a player in what I’d call the action LED light market. I own a few, and whenever I snorkel, this is on my action cam.

Bulletproof product, in my opinion.

When they introduced the lite panel last year, I was all over it! Looking for an event/trade show interview light, ticked a lot of the boxes, but had one main problem for me:

You couldn’t ramp it down enough. The quality of the light was great, but it was way too intense for the interviewee. I had to add some additional diffusion just to take it down a few notches. They did fix that issue and came out with the Lite Panel GO. I still wanted to get something that was even MORE compact.

The folks at Lume Cube heard this from a few folks, and went to work.

The new Panel Mini has so many cool features, and has an awesome battery life And not just by making it it smaller.

Well, it is smaller, but some of the best features is the fact that you can ramp down the output to 1%, select your color temp, and it’s about the size of a business card!

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Battery Power For Every Situation. Like Outdoors!

OK, now that things are opening up, you can probably leave your house and get some air! Whew! Do it smart and safe, please!

Part of that is making sure you carry your own power for your phone. I think it’ll be awhile till you can plug in at the local restaurant or pub. And of course of you are on a trail, or beach, you’ll need a solid option as well.

And if you are powering things like a Sound Devices MixPre 3ii, or a Rodecaster Pro mixing deck for your podcast, you’ll want to show up contained, with no need to rely on power outlets. (Yes, pretty specific, but these will be covered in future posts. Best podcasting tools)

Here are some solid options for you from Mophie (big sale right now!) and MyCharge.

This first one is in my bag for all walk around: fast charge, small footprint no extra cables needed, fully contained. The MyCharge Turbo.

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For a Little Peace, Listen to This

When you’ve done the Zoom calls, binged on all the recco TV shows, perhaps it’s time to take some solace in a good music listen.

I’m not talking about a podcast. Nope. Takes too much of your attention.

Talking about some of your favorite music. Filtered through more than your ear buds. Over ear. Some quality. Luxuriate in that. On the couch, on the porch, by the pool (if you are so lucky!)

There are a few solid choices that fit into the same price range. About $300.

Of course, the Sony WH1000MX3 are a lot of folks go-to blue tooth headphones. To be honest, it does help to get through the clutter of all the brand choices, with a known brand that all of your friends have. Good choice.

As we move through the choices, one of my faves is the Focal Listen. They are a high end company concentrating on the headset category, and while they do make the $3000. headset, these are 1/10 the price, less than $300, and separate the tracks of a high end recording to give you that distinct aural pleasure of hearing a track, like the first time.

And new to this group, is the BeyerDynamic Lagoon ANC Traveller offering. Admittedly, this unit gives a crisper, more defined separation of the tracks, than the Focal Listen BT headset. You will hear the nuance of instruments, and the mix is closer to what the original recording engineers intended. I will say that it was a slightly bit quieter than the Focal.

Bose has always had a solid footing here, and have consistently upped their game. And the price. About $350. Used to be the gold standard. And this new rig has Alexa Voice Control

When I’m home , and wired, the BeyerDynamic dt770 has always been my go to, coupled with a small DAC or amp to boost up the juice, and give a listening experience like no other. Under $200 for the headset, but you will need that external tiny DAC. That will run you about $75.

When we do start flying again, or if you need to connect to a TV, via blue tooth, I’d highly recommend the Twelve South AirFly Pro BT transmitter. It’s my plane travel companion, so it’s getting a bit less use now. Or even if you have 2 people that want to listen to the same thing at once. Also avail through Apple

So there you have it. When you’d like to shut out the rest of the world, enjoy high quality audio, and hear music more the way it was meant to be heard, you win with any of these options. Add Airfly to connect with a friend to watch a movie.

And if you really want to get the best in your listening, check out HD Tracks. From Jazz, Classical, and Billie Eilish (her brother is a good producer) you will no doubt find something to your taste.

On a personal note, Beats are not quite the audiophile headsets you want. Move on.

And one additional note. The better the headset, the more the quality of the recording is revealed. Tried some classic tracks from the 70’s and 80’s . and a lot of the rock then was not done very well.

Stay Healthy!

Time To Add To Your Photo Library

While we are spending a bit more time in our homes, you may be thinking ” Gee, I’ve looked through all of my photo books, twice, and maybe it’s time to get some fresh perspectives”

Aperture to the rescue with a fantastic 50% sale!

With books broken up into categories:

And if you want an expert to help you redo your photo book collection, they have even curated collections:

Enjoy, have fun looking, get inspired, and treat yourself to some new work!

I’ll be honest, I have just gone through the Larry Fink workshop book, and it has made a change in my photography. It was one concept that makes me look at my own images different. (this one is not 50% off, but still discounted!)

Magnum Is Back with the Square Print Sale!

You should be indoors, and perhaps looking at your walls, wondering what you could do to spruce them up!

Magnum has the answer, and signed or estate stamped prints by photographic masters will do just what you need!

I have 3 in my home and love them! Each one strategically placed so I see them as I move through the apt..

Please remember: they are 6″ x6″, so when framed, they fit almost anywhere in your home, without overwhelming the space.

California, USA. 1956. © Elliot Erwitt / Magnum Photos /Estate Stamped
“In life’s saddest winter moments, when you’ve been under a cloud for weeks, suddenly a glimpse of something wonderful can change the whole complexion of things, your entire feeling.”
Elliot Erwitt
 California. 1956.

Over 100 international photographers looked over their personal archives in search of images relating to, or capturing events that changed the course of history, society, a life, or a practice.
Their museum-quality signed and estate-stamped 6×6” prints are available for $100 through Sunday, April 12 on
Magnum photographers will be donating 50% of their proceeds from the sale to Médecins Sans Frontières’s COVID-19 emergency response. These donations will be matched by a private charitable donor, up to a figure of $500,000.

Route 12, Wisconsin, 1963 © Danny Lyon / Magnum Photos
“Skip Richheimer and I, both bikeriders, both photographers, were heading out of town to the scrambles at Elkhorn Wisconsin, Skip driving a VW Beetle. Five bikeriders approached us from behind, I’m sure heading to the races at Elkhorn as they passed around the car, like a swarm of bees. The bikers reached an overpass, lifting them up off the ground as they rose up before us. One of the bikers leaning to the side to speed past another. The great body language of motorcycles. That spring I showed the pictures I made at Elkhorn to Hugh Edwards, then curator at the Art Institute of Chicago. On May 8, 1963, he sent me a letter. “How I wish I had some influence in the world so that there might be a book of them, with a glorifying text by someone like William Burroughs, James Jones or John Dos Passos, the reproductions done by a great firm like Conzett and Huber in Zurich or Pizzi in Milan.” Three of the greatest living writers and the two greatest reproduction houses in the world. I was twenty-one. The letter changed my life forever.”
Danny Lyon

Bob Dylan. Woodstock, NY. 1968. Taken with Kodak Ektachrome Infrared Film. © Elliott Landy / Magnum Photos
“To capture a flickering moment of joyous experience and share it with others—that was the reason I began photographing in the first place, and that is still the reason I take pictures today.

One of the things I like to see most when I look at a photograph I’ve just taken is something I’ve never seen before. Therefore, I’ve always enjoyed experimenting. This was the fuel behind my exploring the use of Kodak infrared color film in the late 60s. It was impossible to know what the resulting photographs would look like because the colors of the image were dependent on infrared light which is not visible to human eyes.

When I used infrared film I tried a variety of color filters. So, this image was a complete surprise to me. In fact, neither Bob nor I realized its power and beauty when we looked at it with a slide projector but passed it by in our quest to find a photograph for the cover of The Saturday Evening Post. I don’t recall either one of us commenting on this picture.

This image seems to reflect the otherworldliness of his music—different than anything before.”
Elliott Landy

And a pluson this is the charitable donation that is made with every sale.

They have joined up with a few other organizations in this, Aperture and The Everyday Projects Org. Plus Aperture has a crazy good book sale right now!

And due to the current world situation, there may be delays in delivery, but they are great communicators. so don’t worry!

Light Em Up!! Photographing Fireworks Guide

Living in A Powder Keg and Giving Off Sparks!

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