Really Right Stuff TA-3-LC-HK Leveling Base + TH-DVTL-55 adaptor plates on the base of my video and stills head = bliss.

How to use the same tripod for video and stills

The Problem

I shoot both stills and video which often requires me too carry both a fluid head and a ballhead in the field.  Not wanting to carry two tripods, I very quickly realized that it took far too much time and frustration to swap the fluid head for the ballhead under any sort of time pressure (as is often the case in the field) and guessed there had to be a better way.

The Solution

I have always been a fan of Really Right Stuff’s products.  They are the photographic gear equivalent of a high-end german car – engineered to perfection.  As soon as I realized my problem swapping tripod heads in the field, I began combing their product lineup for some ideas.  What I found is a solution so elegant, I wanted to share it.   Continue reading

Travel Photography Workshop in Sun Valley Idaho with Jonathan Kingston and Krista Rossow

On Assignment: Sun Valley

October 9 – 12, 2014 – Sun Valley, Idaho


I am pleased to announce I will be teaching a travel photography workshop titled On Assignment: Sun Valley with National Geographic Creative photographer and former photo editor at National Geographic Traveler Krista Rossow.

Whether you want to take your travel images to the next level or begin approaching travel publications, you will learn how to go beyond simply showing what a place looks like to capturing what a place feels like.  For complete details follow the button below.

Learn More

MindShift Rotation 180 pro at Smith Rock

The Ultimate Bag for Adventure Photography?

Overview

Just under a year ago, I received a call from my friend Dewitt Jones telling me I needed to check out this cool new camera bag he was using.  “It was made for you!” he exclaimed.   The bag Dewitt was referring to was the new MindShift rotation 180 Professional and anything that Dewitt takes the trouble to give me a call about, I take seriously.

I have been kicking the tires on my new rotation 180 pro for the last week and am thoroughly impressed.  I would venture to say it is the greatest leap forward in camera bag technology since the Domke F2.

Here is why…
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Women prepare to demonstrate their devotion by walking across a bed of hot coals in India.

What I Learned from Five Years in Mini Storage

In 2002 I was a freshly minted graduate from Brooks Institute, and had just received the opportunity of a lifetime – a one year contract to move to India and teach at a newly opened photo college.  To facilitate a quick departure from the USA,  I took all my possessions and in a feat of amazing, Herculean and smart packing crammed everything into a 6’×10′ storage unit in Santa Barbara, California. In my mind, I envisioned living and teaching in India for a year, then returning to southern California with tales of adventure and glory and picking up where my life left off.   

This is not what happened.

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Peak Design Slide camera strap on a Nikon D4.

Hands-on review of Peak Design’s new Slide camera strap

Note: As a follower of The Nomadic Photographer, you are eligible for a 10% discount on all Peak Design Products.  Use the coupon code “kingston” at checkout or simply follow this link to have it automatically entered for you.

I am a huge fan of Peak Design’s CapturePro camera clip.   After my first trip using it to carry my Nikon D4 in various Alaskan conditions, I knew I could never go back to a using standard camera strap during extended assignments.  The CapturePro saved both my neck and my wrist while carrying my heavy rig for days on end.  One of the things I appreciated most about the system was the ingenious Leash safety strap that rapidly adjusted to any length and doubled as a bracing /stabilizing strap when running and gunning video on the fly.  The width of the leash strap never bothered me because it never carried the full weight of my camera for any extended period of time thanks to the CapturePro system.

Fortunately or unfortunately – not all my assignments are extended affairs.  For short shoots and grab shots where I didn’t bother putting on the CapturePro camera clip – I found that the leash strap was somewhat lacking in the comfort department.  Shortly after this realization, I contacted Peak Design to beg them to design a wider strap that used their pioneering Anchor system.  As if I had rubbed the proverbial genie bottle, the next day a note appeared in my inbox from Peak Design letting me know that a wider strap – called Slide – was already under development and that they would send one my way when it was finished.

Slide arrived on my doorstep the other day and I have been kicking its tires since. In a nutshell Peak Design has broken new ground with Slide. In my opinion it is the best camera strap on the market for the following reasons: Continue reading

garmin-fenix

The Garmin fēnix for Photographers

A perfect moment for a little help from my Garmin fēnix. Sunrise in a fog bank in the middle of the inside passage, somewhere in Alaska.  The watch has saved me hours of work in post production thanks to the GPX tracklog it stores.

How I use the Garmin fēnix and Adobe Lightroom to automate the process of geotagging my images

The Problem

When I decided to pursue photography as a profession, little did I know I was also signing up to become one part librarian and one part IT professional.  Every day spent in the field, results in at least one obligatory day in front of the computer color correcting, cataloguing, and captioning photographs – all necessary evils that add value to the final image for my clients.

One of the key pieces of metadata clients request is the photographs location information.  While easily added by hand to one or two images, the fun level quickly drops to zero trying to remember where a specific image was taken after a multi week assignment on another continent covering an assortment of locations and potentially thousands of frames.  Compounding this frustration, $300 point and shoot cameras come with built in GPS that automate this process, but $6000 pro DSLR cameras do not!

Needless to say, when I found a way to automate the task of entering location information into my photographs, I jumped at the opportunity as it meant less time in front of the computer, and more time doing ANYTHING else.

The Solution

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JDK-101002-5927

6 Rules for Photographers Entering the Business

A male rock climber scales an orange cliff at an area known as The White Mountain near Yangshuo, China (Model Released, Sean Ouyang). (Jonathan Kingston)
Taking pictures like this is the easy part of being a photographer.

 

From time to time I receive emails asking for advice from photographers who are just entering the business. Having recently replied to such an email, it made sense to share my answer with anyone who stumbles across this blog. The business of photography is evolving so quickly that marketing strategies that worked 1 year ago don’t necessarily apply today, however there are a few rules I have found to be true:

1) Only show work that you actually want to do. Editors and art directors love to pigeonhole photographers. You might have the best shot in the world of “x” but if “x” isn’t what you want to photograph – don’t show the shot.

2) Find a way to make yourself visible to the people you want to work for. 10 years ago this meant sending out promotional mailers on a regular basis to editors and art directors. Five years ago this meant sending out emails to the same. Today it means finding the social media channels those art directors are watching and being active and visible on them. Tomorrow it will mean something different. I don’t have the magic formula for this… I am experimenting just like you are.

3) Do good work. Don’t prove – rather continually improve.

4) Plan on starving. It isn’t feast or famine in this business – its only famine. Either you don’t have enough work to eat, or you are too busy to eat. The end result is the same either way. As a side note, most pro photographers net LESS on a year to year basis than the starting salary of school teachers.

5) Be nice… to everybody. The photography world is small and incestuous.

6) Find a way to survive. Some of the best photographers I know could not make it in the business and some of the worst continue to make ends meet. Your skill as a photographer only takes you so far. Your skill as a businessman/woman is MUCH MORE important. It is a long term game of attrition. If you can find a way to survive – you will win in the end.

Jonathan Kingston Explores the World in Search of Images and Insights