Category Archives: Photography

Part of my love of photography is sharing it. I hope you enjoy some of the images I’ve captured.

Brandi Carlile at Woodland Park Zoo 8/24/2016

On a clear and warm Wednesday night at Woodland Park Zoo, avid KEXP supporter Brandi Carlile played before her second sold-out crowd in as many nights.  Obviously energized by performing in her home town, she wowed the audience while moving between stomping Americana and bluesy ballads with ease.Brandi-1

The harmony duo Secret Sisters opened the show with an intimate 30-minute set.  Supporting their upcoming album produced by Brandi Carlile, the sisters delivered sweet harmonies and solid, self-proclaimed songs of tragedy interspersed with intimate stories.  Truly in awe of opening Brandi, a friend for whom they sang at her wedding, The Secret Sisters left me wanting more.

After a short break, Brandi immediately lit up the place with the two rousing stompfests “Raise Hell” and “Hard Way Home”, both from her Bear Creek album.  Backed by her two guitarists, twins Phil and Tim Hanseroth, she got the crowd on their feet, enthusiastically clapping and singing along.

As she waved at friends and family and handed guitar picks to kids in the front, Brandi launched into “Wherever Your Heart” from her latest album.   Knowing shows at the Zoo have to be over by 8:30, Brandi got standing cheers when she asked “Do you think the Zoo will let me go Bruce Springsteen tonight and play for 3 ½ hours?”  While that wasn’t going to happen, we were treated with an hour and a half of spirited music from a John Denver cover of “Country Road” to Dolly Parton sing-a-long “Heart Young”.   We got an exciting wash board and percussion jam on “Dying Day” from her 2009 album Give Up the Ghosts.

Next up she told a story of going to the Grammy’s last year with dresses in plastic bags “so they could be returned after the awards” and joining Bonnie Raitt for an Eagles tribute after which Brandi and the band played “Peaceful Easy Living”.

In spite of playing in front of 5,000 people, the evening felt intimate as Brandi brought everyone into her world with personal stories and spirited songs.  She shared her feelings about the complexities and sacrifices of motherhood with “The Mother”, a song about raising her daughter Evangeline.

Finally, we got the anthem “The Story” from 2007, the clap-along “Mainstream Kid” and show-ending Johnny Cash classic “Folsom Prison Blues” joined on harp by Brandi’s brother Jay Carlile who lit it up with Tim’s guitar challenges.

For an encore, Brandi hit the stage and divided up the crowd for 3-part harmonies on “Turpentine”.  Blazing in purple light and sporting a cello opening, Brandi killed it with Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California” complete with the reverb-drenched refrain before bringing out The Secret Sisters to wrap up the show with an acapella rendition of “Amazing Grace”.

The show could have gone on all night as Brandi carried the evening with her powerful voice, charm and spirit.  All in all, this was a memorable performance and everyone left happy.


 

The Jayhawks @ KEXP 7-19-2016

Jayhawks (16 of 16)The Jayhawks performed 3 new and 1 old song at KEXP yesterday for an acoustic, live taping.  They sounded amazing in the acoustic setting.  Later that night, they played at The Neptune for a more electric set which was really nice.  Had the pleasure of photographing the KEXP session.

 


Control Your DSLR for Less Than $40

For several years now, Camranger has been the only choice if you want to tether your Nikon, Sony or Canon DSLR wirelessly to your phone or tablet.  While the Camranger is a worthy device that allows you access to all your camera settings remotely as well as instant viewing of your images, even in live view, the $299 pricetag, to me, seemed excessive.  By the time you add extras such as the USB cable, mount, etc, you’re approaching $400 not including your tablet.

2016-07-11_8-37-53Well, this weekend, I’ve discovered a $40 alternative.  All you need is a TP-Link MR3040 Battery Powered 3G Wireless Router and a $9 app called DSLR Dashboard (Android) or QDSLR Dashboard (IOS).   If you go to DSLRDASHBOARD.INFO/, you can download new firmware for the router that will turn your $30 device into a $300 Camranger, with virtually the same functionality.  When I got the TP-Link router, I was surprised that it is the exact same device used for the Camranger, just rebranded.  Same case, etc.

You will also want to pick up a 1-foot USB cable to attach to your camera.  For my Nikon D810, I needed a USB-3 Mini cable.

Here are the steps to create your wireless tethering device…. Since I am using Windows 10, that’s what I’m describing here.  I’m sure if you Google your OS, you can find what you need.

  1. Download the TP-Link MR3040 ddserver OpenWrt Firmware.  You can get it here.  If your TP-Link only has a two-way switch, you’ll want the V1 version.  The B&H link I listed above is for V2 so you should be fine.  Note where you downloaded this file.
  2. Plug the TP-Link directly into your computer’s ethernet connection.  Make sure the router’s battery is fully charged or that you have the device plugged in with the adapter.
  3. Flip the switch of the router to 3G.
  4. Access the router’s control panel by typing into a browser 192.168.0.1.  Once there, you will type in a user name/password of admin/admin (case sensitive).
  5. Once in, click on System Tools/Firmware Upgrade2016-07-11_8-43-34
  6. In firmware upgrade, choose the file that you downloaded in step 1 above.
  7. When the firmware is upgraded, the router will restart.  When it restarts, you will lose the connection because the firmware changes the IP address.
  8. Once restarted, type in 192.168.1.1. Now you will have access to the new OpenWrt firmware.
  9. Now, in the Open WRT password login.  It’ll warn that there is no password.  Simply type any password into the password and log into the router.
  10. Pick another router password.  This will be the admin password.2016-07-11_8-46-40
  11. Ignore SSH – Hit Save and Apply
  12. Go to System/System
  13. Pick Sync with browser to set the time
  14. Create a wireless network
  15. Click on Network/Wifi
  16. Enable the Generic SSID (mine was already enabled)
  17. Edit Settings
  18. Under ESSID change the name of the network from OpenWRT to whatever you want to call it.
  19. Check the LAN button under network.

That’s it.  Download the app to your tablet or phone, connect to the new wireless network (I called mine DSLR Dashboard) and you can now completely control your camera from your device as well as see images instantly as you take them.  When using my iPad for tethering, while RAW files work fine, they are huge files on my D810 so I shoot in RAW and JPG so that the JPG files transfer instantly.

There you have it.  Enjoy!

Kevin Bacon at Triple Door

20160615-Bacon-_ASL1684I saw Kevin Bacon with The Bacon Brothers last night at Triple Door in Seattle. Honestly, I went because I thought it would be cool to see one of my favorite actors in person playing music. Having never heard the band’s music, I didn’t know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised.

The music was 70’s influenced Americana and the songwriting was quite strong. Kevin played guitar, hand percussion and harmonica. He really seemed to be enjoying himself. The band was extremely talented and tight. All in all, it was a really fun show. One of the highlights was when Kevin said he had always wanted to tour in a rock and roll tour bus.  When they finally rented one, he fell in love with it.  And, as he said, “What do you do when you fall in love?  You write a song.  The song is called Bus”.  Glad I went. Here are some of my images from the show…


Playing with the Ricoh Theta S

This is pretty cool.  You can move around this photo by grabbing it with your mouse.

 

Take a look around by moving the image with your mouse or finger. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Fuji 100‑400mm f/4.5‑5.6 Samples

Yesterday, I picked up the brand new Fuji 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lens along with the Fuji 1.4 teleconverter.  I have to say, I’m quite impressed with this lens.  Weighing only 3 pounds, compared to my Nikon 200-400 f/4 at almost 8 pounds, and costing one third of the price ($1899 vs. $6799), this lens is extremely sharp, lightweight and well built.

I took it out to the bridge deck above the Mt. Baker tunnel to shoot downtown Bellevue from across Lake Washington.  This is about 3 miles away.  Unfortunately, there was definitely a haze in the air as you could barely see Mt. Rainier so keep that in mind.

This first shot is taken hand held at 400mm at 1/150sec f/5.6, ISO 200.   The image is quite sharp for hand held at a fairly long shutter speed.  Fuji states that the image stabilization gives you 4-5 stops and I believe it.

DSCF2397Here’s one taken hand held at 1/1800 sec at f/8, ISO 800 with the 1.4x Teleconverter.  There is very little loss of sharpness using the teleconverter which was released along with this lens.

DSCF2432

This one is quite remarkable.  I was hand holding this shot of a sailboat about midway into the lake.  Taken at 1/400 sec at f/20, ISO 800 and the 1.4x teleconverter..  Again, not bad!

DSCF2424

I’m very impressed, I have to say.  The shots at ISO 200 are tack sharp!  These were taken with the Fuji X-Pro2.   Stay tuned for more on this lens.

 

Gear Review: Think Tank Urban Appoach 15

tank (1 of 1)In my opinion, nobody makes better, more thought-out, camera bags than Think Tank.  They just seem to think of everything when it comes to the needs of a photographer.  They seem to be one of the few bag makers that are gearing up for the mirrorless market.

I’m going to come right out and say that the Urban Approach 15 backpack is an outstanding bag for your mirrorless system.  This bag is specifically designed for mirrorless gear and includes an outside, zippered pocket for a 15″ laptop or tablet.  Visually, this is one of the nicest looking backpacks I’ve seen.  It’s has a matte black finish and is accented with bits of leather.

The bag includes backpack straps and a foot pocket on the side that holds a travel tripod firmly and securely.  The front flap has an outside zippered pocket that’s perfect for a lens cloth, keys, memory cards are anything else you may need quickly.  It’s not huge, but holds enough.  Inside the flap are two more zippered pockets with plenty of room for batteries and other accessories.

The interior itself is completely configurable.  As you can see in the photo, I’ve got it filled with my Fuji X-Pro 2 with a lens attached plus five additional lenses including the 100-400 zoom!   There’s still room for a flash and another lens if needed.  All this in a bag that’s only 18 inches long and 11 inches wide.  All this gear and the bag weighs less than 23 pounds.  The zippers are sturdy and come together so that you can lock them with a TSA lock, if needed.  You can even put a 16 oz water bottle in the side pocket.

The Urban Aproach 15 is a backpack, which means you have to remove it from your shoulders to access the gear.  I don’t mind since my camera is usually out anyway.  The back of the bag, like all Think Tank bags, is beautifully padded for comfort with a larger lumbar support.  It’s vented so it doesn’t get too hot.  The shoulder straps are nicely padded as well.  This is one comfortable bag especially with the lighter weight of the mirrorless systems.   There are loops on the front of each shoulder strap for attaching a modular pack, water bottle or anything else you need.  I like to use the Black Rapid backpack strap when hiking.  It attaches nicely to these loops.   And, get this… there’s even a pull-out handle on the back so you can slip the bag over your luggage roller handle or rolling camera bag when you travel.  Really, they did think of everything!  Oh, and it even has a rain cover that protects the entire pack from moisture.

This has quickly become one of my favorite bags and my go-to bag when carrying a lot of mirrorless gear.  I absolutely love it and you will, too.

Check it out here!