Reflections on 2015

Standard

  As 2015 draws to a close I’m sitting in a hospital room reflecting on where this year started and where it has ended. As I sit here I’m reminded of opportunities missed; mostly out of pride and opportunities that I have not put enough time or effort into. This isn’t a post about all the things wrong with the year, in the midst of this storm, I choose instead to be grateful for being able to share this story.This story isn’t about photography per se, photography was a big part of my life in 2015. I don’t think I officially stated that I was doing a 365 project at the start of the year, I definitely approached the year with shooting and sharing every day in mind. This year I’m very grateful to Allison + Partners and Samsung for continuing to believe in me and my photography and for continuing to keep me on as an Imagelogger in 2015; being an Imagelogger is the single event that has pushed me to my creative limits not just as a photographer but as a writer/journalist as well. Becoming a better photographer forced me to become a better storyteller. Understanding how the emotional weight of an image can tell a story has made me rethink the way I tell stories with words – make them more visual. 

  
This past year has also made more keenly aware of the impermanence of life. Where you are today is not necessarily where you’ll be tomorrow; the last four months of the year have shown me that this isn’t an omen but a hopeful promise. I truly pray that no one has to live through a time like that but knowing that it is temporary has kept me and my family pushing forward. Don’t allow the impermanence of your current successes lead you to becoming prideful, boastful, or cocky. Don’t allow the fleeting trials or bad hands color your judgement going forward and keep you from living a joy filled life. There’s beauty to be found all around you; capture it in your memories and learn to look back but not live in them for too long. 

  
I’m not sure what 2016 will have in store for me or any of you. I encourage all of you to learn something new. Get out of your comfort zones, don’t be afraid to fail. If you’re scared of making that next move; it’s probably worth it. I’ve been blessed with a network of support that extends from close friends and family to an extended family that I’ve never met in person. To my colleagues on the verge of launching new endeavors and businesses I wish you much success; may we continue to be collaborators, competitors, but above all, continue to push one another to greatness. 

  

Advertisements

Samsung’s Beast Mini aka the NX500

Standard
The NX500 is a 4k shooting Beast that's easy to carry all day.

The NX500 is a 4k shooting Beast that’s easy to carry all day.

It’s been a little over two months since I first got the NX500 in my hands. After long NY winter shooting with the NX1 on a near daily basis it was refreshing to have a camera that was light enough to drop in my messenger bag and forget it’s there. Just because the camera lost some of its size, it by no means lost any of its power. Read on for some of my impressions on the NX500 and some sample images.

Disclosure Notice: I’m part of Samsung’s Imagelogger program in which they send me shiny new cameras to try and take many, many pictures with. This is not a paid placement; all opinions from here on are my own. 

NX500 ProductWhen I first took the NX500 out of the box I was absolutely floored by how light it is. Sure, I absolutely get that it is a (relatively) tiny camera but I still can’t get over the technology that powers it. Inside the small and svelte frame is a 28-megapixel back-side illuminated APS-C sensor and DRIMe 5 image processor – the very same sensor and processor combo found in the larger (more expensive) NX1. The NX500 is capable of capturing 9fps in full resolution and comes with a gorgeous 3-inch AMOLED touch display and boasts 209 auto-focus detection points. When combined with the NX500’s Hybrid Phase Detection AF system, those 209-phase make for speedy changes in focusing that make shooting 4k video on the NX500 a dream.

NX500 w/ NX-45mm f/1.8 2D-3D at ISO3200

NX500 w/ NX-45mm f/1.8 2D-3D at ISO3200

Ultimately the biggest reason that I’ve fallen in love with the NX500 is that much like the NX300, the NX500 has allowed me to disappear into the background and capture those fleeting moments of city life without drawing too much attention to myself. For my style of shooting, I’d gladly give up a viewfinder for a chance to capture my subjects without drawing too much attention to myself. The NX500 is my current favorite camera for my street photography and it’s clear to see why; you don’t have to take my word for it, check out the gallery below for more photographs made with the NX500 and be sure to leave a comment. NX500 

If you’re ready to dive into the world of 4k video and pick up one of the best APS-C cameras under $800 consider shopping via the link below. It helps me keep the lights on and writing more posts like this one. Thanks again for your support.

//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=ss_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=alwri-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00SYKXMKS&asins=B00SYKXMKS&linkId=ZOSFPLHWCVKBSN72&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true

Samsung NX1 – First Impressions

Standard
It's here and here are my first impressions.

It’s here and here are my first impressions.

The Samsung NX1 is the latest flagship NX-mount interchangeable lens camera from the Korean electronics manufacturer. It promises to be high-level piece of kit with 15fps of continuous shooting and more AF points than any other camera, the NX1 is looking to dominate the mirrorless market and make some converts out of the tied and true DSLR pros and high-end enthusiasts; but can it deliver?

Disclosure notice: I am a participant in Samsung’s Imagelogger program and will periodically get gear sent to me. No monetary compensation has been provided for this post or any other post on this site. The following hands-on impressions are my own.

The Specs

  • 28.2MP BSI APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • DRIMe V Image Signal Processor
  • 4K Video Recording at 24 fps
  • UHD Video Recording at 30 fps
  • 3.0″ 1036k-Dot Tilt-Touchscreen Monitor
  • 2360k-Dot XGA OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • Advanced Hybrid Autofocus System
  • 205 Phase-Detection AF Points
  • 15 fps Burst with AF
  • Includes Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5

Hitting the streets

NX1 with the NX 16-50mm S Lens at ISO 6400

NX1 with the NX 16-50mm S Lens at ISO 6400

On a rainy and cold November afternoon I took the NX1 to the Union Square area in New York City. One of the features that caught my eye on the NX1 was the weather-sealed magnesium body. Make no mistake this feels like a metal bodied camera and I love it. This isn’t like one of those cameras that’s weather-sealed but feels a bit too plasticky in your hands. There’s a heft to the camera – significantly heavier than my NX30 but still nowhere near as bulky as a traditional DSLR.

NX1 with 16-50mm S Lens at ISO 800

NX1 with 16-50mm S Lens at ISO 800

Having been familiarized with the NX system of cameras the menu system is familiar and settings can be accessed through a variety of ways from physical dials on the camera and i-Function button on the lens to a few screen taps on the gorgeously large Super AMOLED display. Seriously it’s an amazingly bright and sharp display. Probably one of the best I’ve seen on a camera.

As mentioned above the NX1 has a plethora of physical controls to help you get the shot you’re looking for without taking your eyes off your subject. The addition of a mode lock button on the top right and a separate dial for drive selection on the top left are new and welcomed additions to the camera body. The rear buttons are in familiar places with a few notable exceptions – having been shooting with the NX30 I’ve grown accustomed to being able to toggle between video and stills with a dedicated button where my right thumb would rest and adjust certain settings like AF and ISO with a tap on the jog dial found to the right of the display. These have been moved out of the box but can be designated through the settings menu. I’ll be exploring this in more detail at a later date.

NX1 with 16-50mm S Lens at ISO 800

NX1 with 16-50mm S Lens at ISO 800

During my first outing I found that the NX1 delivers the goods – quick autofocusing (though admittedly Continuous AF seemed a step quicker than Single AF) and even after a day of shooting out in the rain (no protection) the NX1 never missed a step. I was only able to spend a couple of hours and managed to get around 125-150 images and still have around 90% of the battery. The flip up screen was helpful in getting low shots and shooting from the hip (zone focusing folks. Zone focusing) though I admit that I prefer the swivel screen from the NX30; after seeing both side by side though I’ll take the sharper display over the swivel screen.

NX1 with 16-50mm S Lens at ISO6400

NX1 with 16-50mm S Lens at ISO6400

The Wrap Up

Keeping in mind that this is an APS-C “crop sensor,” in all honesty the NX1 can deliver some seriously sharp images in low light that have only been seen in full-frame cameras. The weight savings, even with the heavier combo of NX1 body and NX 16-50mm S Lens, makes this a serious consideration for the pros in the audience that may be a bit skittish about carrying around a “crop sensor” body instead of a full-frame. From my first few shots I’m hooked on this beast of a camera; definitely looking forward to bringing you a more thorough once over.

Like what you’ve read so far? Help keep the lights on and consider purchasing via the affiliate link below:

Samsung NX1 28.2 MP Wireless SMART Compact System Camera with 16-50mm f/2.0-2.8 “S” Lens

Camera bag of the moment – Lowepro Urban Report 250

Standard
I've been using the Lowepro Urban Reporter for most jobs over the last few months; here's how it holds up.

I’ve been using the Lowepro Urban Reporter for most jobs over the last few months; here’s how it holds up.

At last year’s Photoplus Expo in New York City I got a chance to chat with the folks at Lowepro and check out some of their latest gear. I’ve long been a fan of their products but had recently been wooed by my Brenthaven BX2 backpack for covering events, but I often found myself wondering if I really needed all that space as I’ve learned to pare down the gear I took to these shows. I was ditching excess weight in my kit bag, maybe it was time to reconsider what my event bag should be.

The Lowepro Urban Reporter 250 in this review was sent over by Lowepro; they wanted me to review their bag so they sent a sample to keep. These are my impressions from real every day use of this bag.

Styling and function

Lowepro Urban Reporter 250 (1).jpg

The first thing that pops into mind when I received the bag was – “this is bulkier than I remember.” It’s not that it’s a big bag, for a camera bag it’s pretty compact and ultimately you want the foam cushions that protect your gear to get the job done. Specifically, the Urban Reporter 250 measures 41.5 x 17.5 x 28.5 cm with the camera compartment measuring 34 x 10 x 24.5 cm. The bag weighs a little over 2-lbs. without your gear so it won’t add necessary bulk on your trips.

If you’re looking for a bag that doesn’t look like a camera bag the fact is that there far more discrete options available on the market. That being said, the Urban Reporter 250 is a good option that looks like a slightly pudgy messenger bag. It’s a good option for taking along for a specialized shoot or event – one that may not require much gear – but you’ll definitely skip this one if you’ll be in need of additional gear or tripod/monopod (the Urban Reporter 250 doesn’t have a compartment for a tripod).

SAMSUNG CSC

The Urban Report does maximize the space that it does have with plenty of room for personal carry-alongs. The clasps on the saddle pockets can fit additional batteries, a flash gun, snacks, or a bottle of water. Meanwhile the main compartment features a main padded insert with two dividers for customizing the main pocket for your specific load out. Just behind the main padded compartment is a discrete laptop sleeve that fits up to a 15-inch laptop or full-sized tablet. The rear of the bag has a zippered faux pocket that can be used to carry documents or can be unzipped to be stacked onto your rolling luggage.

The Urban Reporter is a fully functional bag that’s ideal for day trips or commuting but may not be the most stylish option out there. That said, it’s a great bag for event photographers that are looking for a no-nonsense bag that gets the job done.

Urban Reporter Series- Street-smart messenger bag from Lowepro on Vimeo.

Gear Watch: Olympus E-PL7

Standard

E-PL7_SLV_design_front2

While you were sleeping, Olympus announced their latest addition to the Pen Lite lineup – the Olympus E-PL7. Beating the Photokina madness and hoping to win over consumer mindshare early, Olympus pulled the veil off their mid-range micro four-thirds camera that boasts three-axis in-body image stabilization, a 16-megapixel sensor powered by the TruePic VII processor, in-camera WiFi, and an all new 180-degree flip down selfie touchscreen. All in a small package then the previous version of Pen-Lite cameras.  Continue reading