Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Dos and Don’ts of Photographing Lava Fields

5:30:00 AM

  • Photographing Lava Flows on Big Island, Hawaii, USA

    Photographing Lava Flows on Big Island, Hawaii, USA

  • Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii, USA

    Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii, USA

When you look at images like the ones above, it’s hard not to get inspired to quit your job, grab a camera, and go photograph the lava fields on Hawaii’s Big Island. But the question is:

Just how do you come away with stunning photos like these?

Getting photos like these takes a lot more than just technical skills. Although technical skills with your camera are essential, some knowledge about what you should and should not do while photographing lava fields is critical for achieving fantastic photos. Here are few tips to get your started.

Research

Before you book that ticket and hop on the plane, find out all you can about photographing lava. Access to lava is difficult and it is not always possible to view it (sometimes lava flows stop entirely or is located in area where access is impossible). Make sure that you are physically capable of the long hike that might be necessary to get to the flowing lava. Even with the required research, I also highly recommend that you arrive well before it is time to photograph the lava flows. This extra time gives you opportunities to explore the area and look for alternative subjects and compositions to photograph.

Equipment

When considering equipment, make sure you think about both photography equipment and non-photographing equipment to carry with you. Besides the obvious photography gear like tripods, camera, lenses, water, and food,  here are few other things we recommend you bring along:

  • Macro lens: Besides flowing lava, the lava field offers numerous opportunities to create stunning images of details and macro shots. We like to use our Indro tripod with a small center column to get close to the subject.
Big Island, Hawaii (HI), USA

Big Island, Hawaii (HI), USA

  • Headlamp: Flowing lava is best photographed in low light around sunset or sunrise. This means that you’ll be hiking back from (or hiking to) your destination in near darkness. A good headlamp can help you navigate your way in total darkness.
  • Good hiking shoes and a medical kit: Hardened lava fields often contain shreds of glass which are very hard on your shoes. They can easily cut exposed skin when it scraps against this sharp glass shreds. We recommend that you bring good hiking shoes and a medical kit. Try to avoid walking on lava with your bare feet.
  • Weather protection: The weather in Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii’s Big Island can be unpredictable. It’s best to carry rain protection for both your gear and yourself. We have encountered numerous down pours, strong winds, and cold temperatures while photographing these lava flows.

Technical Knowledge 

  • There is a very short window of optimal light (during sunset or sunrise) when the ambient light and light from the lava is balanced enough to capture good photos. During this time your exposure changes rapidly as the ambient light changes. Frequently check your histogram and make changes in your exposure as necessary.
  • Avoid camera shake by stabilizing your tripod. We do this by attaching a weight on the center column of our Indro Tripod and by using a 2-second timer or remote release.
    Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii, USA

    Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii, USA

  • If you are trying to capture dynamic photos of lava flows (such as the explosions that occur when the lava comes in contact with ocean), you’ll need remote release.
  • Dark rocks combined with low light make focusing difficult during low light conditions. Avoid focusing on dark rocks and try to focus manually on a high contrast edge located close to your subject.
  • Avoid focusing on thermals created by intense heat. This will throw off your focusing sensor and may cause blurry shots.
  • If you are taking macro shots, use the Depth of Field feature on your camera to ensure that your focus is set correctly.

Creativity

Photographing lava fields is not just about lava flows. A little bit of creativity goes a long way for creating stunning images that show-case the mood and diversity of subjects found in the area. Here are few tips to get you started

  • Use long exposure to capture some unique patterns and light in the smoke swirling around the flowing lava.

    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

  • Look for creative moody shots like these in the surrounding areas. Here is a shot we took from the overlook in Volcano National Park during an heavy overcast skies.
  • Even after the sun had gone down, you can capture some stunning shots of the Milky Way and/or stars with lava lighting in the foreground. We use our Indro Tripod for long exposure shots like these.

Now that you know the dos and don’ts about photographing lava fields, the only thing remaining is for you to take a trip and try some of these out yourself. And if you have experienced this, feel free to share your own experience and images in the comments below.

About Author Jay Patel

I could startoff like this – “Seeds of Jay Patel’s appreciation for beautiful places were planted early in his childhood….” but it would get boring really fast. I will just sum it up and say that I am a Landscape and Wilderness Photographer who loves to capture dramatic light. My photographs have been published in various magazines, calendars and advertising materials throughout the world.

Patience is a virtue...unless you are chasing your dreams

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New Samsung SSD T5 Announced With Transfer Speeds of up to 540 MB/s

5:09:00 AM

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Samsung recently announced the newest addition to their SSD family: the Samsung SSD T5. With a lightning fast transfer speed of up to 540 MB/s and storage capacity of up to 2TB, it may be just what we photographers are looking for.  Samsung has also added some eye-catching features to their newest creation, providing photographers and videographers alike with a potentially helpful new tool.

Samsung SSD T5

The T5 offers:

  • 4 different storage options: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, or 2TB
  • Portability: it weighs 51 grams and is relatively tiny in size (3.0 x 2.3 x 0.4 inches)
  • 2 connection cables: USB-C to C and USB-C to A (more information about this in the next section)
  • No moving parts
  • A shock-resistant internal frame
  • The ability to withstand drops of up to 2 metres
  • Data encryption
  • A mobile app for Android users

All in all, the T5 offers photographers a chance to travel smoothly and safely with their work.

Since it can withstand significant drops, the T5 is ideal for people who travel a lot and wish to avoid accidentally damaging their files in the process. Also, it won't take up much space, giving bulkier items a chance to fit into your camera bag.

Its speed will allow room for quick file transfers and users will be able to work on their images without having to import them. The connection cables are compatible with almost any modern device. Unless you have gadgets that aren't available in the market right now, you'll be able to connect them to the T5 without a problem. Data encryption will let you easily secure your SSD and keep everything in it safe.

Samsung SSD T5

As mentioned earlier, there are four different versions of the T5, available in 2 colours: Deep Black and Alluring Blue. Deep Black represents the 1TB and 2TB models, while Alluring Blue represents the 250GB and 500GB models. The prices are as follows:

$129.99 for 250GB
$199.00 for 500GB
$399.99 for 1TB
$799 for 2TB

Compared to other hard drives, the T5 has seemingly ridiculous prices. However, if you take its lightning speed, portability, and size into consideration, the cost might make a little more sense – but you will need to weigh-up features vs price. Being able to store your photography files in the Samsung SSD T5 may sound like an incredible investment to some, and a horrible waste of money to others.

Whether it proves to be a success in the long term or not, the T5 is certainly revealing tremendous progress in technological advancement.

Would you invest in Samsung's SSD T5? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

Further reading on the Samsung SSD T5:

Imaging Resource
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23. August 2017

4:01:00 AM

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Photographers’ PSA: CrashPlan Terminating Home Backups

12:29:00 AM

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CrashPlan for Home – the popular consumer online backup service offered by Code42 – is being discontinued. As of Tuesday, Code42 announced that it will no longer offer CrashPlan for home subscriptions, as it is moving its focus to small business and enterprise customers.

Code42 Ends CrashPlan For Home Subscriptions

Announcement from Code42 ending their CrashPlan for Home offering

Many photographers rely on an online backup service as part of their workflow. CrashPlan for Home was a popular service that easily and conveniently backed up data without too much ongoing thought – allowing you to get on with capturing your images!

CrashPlan May No Longer Be a Cost Effective Option for Many Photographers

The sad thing is that the CrashPlan for Home option was probably one of the better online backup options for photographers. The demise of the plan means less competition which is usually a bad state of affairs for consumers. While the business plan still exists on CrashPlan, it is significantly more expensive than the CrashPlan for Home plan.

Photographers on CrashPlan for Home Need to Make Other Arrangements

Users have until October 2018 to move to another backup service. Code42 are providing discounted options including transferring to CrashPlan for Small Business or taking up a discounted subscription with Carbonite, though there are several other options on the market that you may want to take a look at (see below).

Options for CrashPlan for Home Customers

Big CrashPlan for Home Users Might Have Problems

Over on Reddit a few of the photographers in the community who were heavy CrashPlan users and were above 5 terabytes of backups are reporting a few problems in moving their files. If you fall into that category, you might want to contact the company directly prior to making other arrangements.

Also, depending on the size of your backup, sending it all up the pipes to a new service might take you quite a while.

Depending on your level of technical know-how, there are various options on the market for backing up your files. Here are a few of the most popular ones.

Carbonite – The folks at CrashPlan are pushing these guys as an alternative. However, they do charge extra to back up external drives.

Arq + Amazon Glacier – This is actually 2 services. The very cheap storage at Amazon AWS (Glacier) in combination with a desktop app to manage your backups called, Arqbackup. Just remember that while this is cheap for storage, getting it back in the event of a crash of your system can be expensive (this is where Amazon pings you).

BackBlaze – Seems to be the most popular alternative to CrashPlan, but file retention is only 30 days meaning you need to make sure all of your local files are connected to BB every 30 days or you can lose them.


What Backup System Do You Use? Tell us in the comments!

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Time Trap Photography is dedicated to freezing those special moments in life that can be revisited and admired for generations to come. - Shannon Bourque

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“Life is like a camera. Just focus on what’s important and capture the good times, develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out, just take another shot.” — Unknown

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