city, education, photography

Blue Hour Teaser // Fair Day

If you hang around photographers long enough, you’re bound to hear myriad gushing tales about the “golden hour”.  And it is great.

But what you don’t hear as often, and I’m not sure why, is the blue hour.

It’s the period of time after which the sun has gone down and real darkness of night sets in.  And it is truly magical.  As a side note… it’s also commonly called “the magic hour.”  Go figure.

So Elle and I, like many Texans, have an annual tradition of spending a day at the famed State Fair of Texas.  And when the sun goes down, it is one of the best places to explore and photograph this fantastic time of day…

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So it gave me the idea to do an entire post on all things “blue hour”.  And since I’m spending the month in the Rockies, I’m working on putting together something informative and beautiful…. check back soon!

~ andrew

 


 
Take your photography to a new level… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014
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instructional, photography

The Budgeting Photographer’s Best Friend

I don’t care if you’re an amateur or professional… photography is expensive.

That’s why I rarely buy brand new.

Canon has a refurbished section now that is full of basically brand new equipment, with the one-year warranty, leaving the budgeting photographer like me to save hundreds, or even thousands.

But over the years, another shop that has earned my trust is KEH.com.  No, they’re not paying me to do this.  I just recently had such an amazing experience, I wanted to finally give them some formal love.

I’ve been in the market for a 5D MK III for a LONG time.  Plus, an ever-growing long list of lenses of course.  So this month, the time came to pull the trigger on a new 70-200/ 2.8 and a MK III.

I researched the best deals for weeks.  This is my full time job, and I have to support my family, so the best deal (without going grey market) is what I need.

I was moments away from just purchasing both refurbished from Canon.  My budget was $4000, give or take a few.  The Mark III was running just over $2700, and the lens was about $1300.  Well, fortunately for me, Canon didn’t have either available at the time.  So I had to go looking elsewhere.

And I remembered my old friends at KEH.

They’ve been around a long time.  In fact, they perfected the industry standard for accurately rating used equipment.  I’ve bought lenses in the past from them and been very happy with what I got… but a camera body?

I don’t buy used cameras.  Factory refurbished maybe, but not used!

So KEH had an EX+ (the highest rated, just below NEW) Canon 5D MK III for $2802.  But here’s where it gets good.

Two days prior, I received an email from KEH saying they miss me, and want to extend a 10% coupon!  So let me make this long story a little shorter…

I ended up getting a nearly brand new (only 2500 shutter accusations) Canon 5D Mark III and a beautiful 70-200 F/2.8L IS together for only $3400.

And here’s the kicker.  They pay top dollar for used equipment, and I ended up selling my oldest MK II (well used) and a questionable 70-200/2.8 (that they’ll of course fix up to be gorgeous), for $1300.  So in effect, I came in at almost $2000 under budget!

That made for a VERY happy day.

And then I got the equipment in the mail the next day, and it may have been even happier.

The lens was better than described and the camera just as they said… basically brand new.

Looking forward to making some beautiful images with my equipment for years to come, and sharing them all with you…

Cheers!

— andrew


 
Come learn light with me… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014

 

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photography, portraits

Shameless Wife Promotion

Let me take a moment to brag on my better half…

Being the wife of a photographer, Elle has the “privilege” (these are air quotes and denote sarcasm) of being my model when doing test shoots.  But she also gets free commercial photography when she decides to start a business of her own :)

So when she created Ellen Slaton Yoga last year, I knew we were going to have fun, impromptu shoots together.

I’m so proud of her dedication, hard work, and love for yoga and building her business.

And her talent for writing, and the down-to-earth, personal style is really shining through with her blog, Highway Sounds.

So I just wanted to share a few portraits from our short shoot the other day…

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It should be no surprise to me, her husband.  But I have to say, that she keeps impressing me more and more every day.

— andrew


 
Come learn light with me… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014

 

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film, photography

Hummingbirds. By Remote Control

~ andrew

Music: Parlours Liars


 
Take your photography to a new level… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014
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art, photography

SE V

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It’s back…

On November 13, Seed Effect, will be celebrating their fifth year of bringing  transformation to the people of South Sudan through Christ-centered micro-finance.

Most of you know that Elle is now their social media guru and chief storyteller, and we returned this August to capture more stories and images from the embattled region.

Come out to Seed Effect Turns Five to see my work, hear Elle’s stories, and as a special treat this year, filmmaker Trey Hill will be premiering an amazing short film.

Please join us, and help give the South Sudanese a hand-up…

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Date: Thursday, November 13th, 2014 | 6-9 pm

Location:  The Laundry, 1818 Chestnut St., Dallas, TX 75226

Admission: $19 per ticket

Cocktail Party | Fundraiser | Photography Exhibit | Short Film Premier

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— andrew


 
Take your photography to a new level… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014

 

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digital darkroom, instructional, photography, workshop

Remastering An Old Favorite // Lightroom Tutorial

I’d like to think my style has changed… become more refined over the years.  So I wanted to show how I process my images now.

And what better way than working with an old favorite that needed a little “remastering”?

I hope this Adobe Lightroom 5 tutorial is helpful… please feel free to let me know in the comments, and tell me what else you’d like to see.

~ andrew


 
Take your photography to a new level… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014
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photography, random thought

Top 10 Photography Gadgets

Your camera and lenses are the most important tools in your bag.  Hands down.  But there are so many more helpful instruments out there, that sometimes choosing what to pack and what to leave behind is overwhelming.  Here are my top ten, don’t leave home without them!

10.  Filter Holder

Filters help us achieve the look and feel we want in camera.  I hear the excuse all the time, “Why use that when you have photoshop?”  But to put it bluntly, getting it right in camera the first time is where we get the latitude and quality that makes professionals stand out from the amateurs.  Though I often handhold my 4×6″ ND filters, my Cokin Z Pro Series Filter Holder allows me to hold my filters (up to 3 at a time) in one consistent place, making it easier and more accurate to shoot long exposures and time lapses.  The downside though, is at super wide focal lengths, the edges of the holder are visible in the frame.

9.  Velcro… Yeah, You Heard Me… Velcro.

How did people live without velco??  On most trips I carry a 15ft roll of the stuff.  “Why?”, you may ask.  Well, I can tell you many uses, but I seem to find more on nearly every trip!  Right now I use Scotch Self-Stick Reclosable Fasteners on my tripod legs to fasten my intervalometer and cable releases.  When shooting long exposures and time lapses, you don’t want them flapping around in the wind messing up your shot.  I also use it on my pocket wizards to fix them to whatever I need; the power packs, stands, flashes, etc.  There are so many uses, I could hardly name them all…

8.  Filter Pouch

My Lowepro S&F Filter Pouch 100 allows me to keep all of my filters in one place, where I can access them conveniently.  It clips around the neck of a tripod, and can hold several circulars, 150mm x 100mm NDs, and even a filter holder.

 

7.  Multi-tool

It’s hard to argue this one.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had emergencies where I’ve had to tighten crews on my lens in the field, or cut something, use my players to fix a wayward piece of metal, etc.  No matter where you are or what you’re shooting, you’ll thank me if you take your multitool, I promise.  And I recommend the Leatherman Wave.  It has just about any and every tool you would ever need in the field to fix any problem… you could even field dress a deer with it.

6.  Small Stand

The Manfrotto 5001B 74-Inch Nano Stand fits in a standard size suitcase.  When space and weight are a premium and I’m traveling around the world, this little bad boy gets packed first.  It folds down to less than 20 in, and can easily support speedlights and boom mics.  When full size stands won’t do, this compact solution will save the day for you.

5.  Geared Tripod Head

It’s an obvious and necessary accessory… a good tripod head.  But recently I’ve been introduced to the Manfrotto 410 Geared Head.  It was love at first use for me.  It’s heavy and meaty, which I love for it’s stability when shooting long exposures.  Now I’ll admit, it’s not the best for mobility with video, but I rarely shoot anything but handheld or static shots anyway in video.  Its precise controls, and super fast yet secure quick-release plate keep me loyal.  It’s perfect for landscape, long exposures,  and architecture… the majority of my work.

4.  2X Tele

A good 2X teleconverter is a must for nature shooters.  It’s all fine and good to have your 500 or 600 f/4, but let’s face it, they are beasts.  And sometimes a 5 or 600 isn’t even enough.  A good 2X like the Canon EF 2X III Extender will give you what you need with minimal image degradation.  I often use it just in conjunction with my 70-200/2.8 so I can have a 400mm reach without the bulk of a prime, when hiking or backpacking.  It’s not better than good prime glass, but it’s a supremely valuable tool when space and weight are a premium.

3.  PocketWizards

If you shoot portraits, these are a must.  Whether you’re using strobes or speedlights, PocketWizard Plus III Transceivers are the best solution to consistency and stability in communication between your camera and lights.  But something that most folks don’t know about these little magic machines… you can also remotely trigger your camera.  It comes in really handy for wildlife and sports photography.  They run on two AA batteries, and they’re quite small, so you don’t have to worry about them taking up valuable space in your bag.

2.  Intervalometer

I really don’t know how I lived without this for so long.  Seriously.  My work was so much more difficult and time-consuming without the Canon TC-80N3.  It will control long exposures and time-lapses like a boss.  You can tell it exactly how many frames at what intervals… I mean.  Remember the days of the cable release with your 35, medium, or large format camera?  Yeah, this totally kicks their butts.  And what it does most valuably for me, is that it allows me to get a little shuteye when I’m shooting star pictures and night time-lapses.  I really cannot say enough about this genius, little gadget.

1.  Graduated ND Filters

Again, it’s only been the last few years since I’ve really seen the necessity of my Singh Ray Graduated Neutral Density filters.  I’ve already talked about “getting it right in camera”…. well, this is how you achieve that.  Have you ever been shooting a scene and not been able to balance the amazing sky with your perfectly composed landscape?  Well sometimes these shots would be impossible without grad and reverse grad nds.  There is no Lightroom or Photoshop equivalent, though one can achieve decent results in post.  You really can’t argue the difference in quality once you start using the appropriate filters.  And it opens your ability to convey the emotion and drama you envisioned for your image without it looking too “photoshopped”.  Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with Lightroom and Photoshop, I use both everyday for very single image I shoot.  What I want to do though as I grow as an imaging professional, is to minimize the distraction to my viewers.  I want them to get lost in the fantastic beauty of my image… and I don’t want them seeing the tell-tale signs of having to use Photoshop salvage an image.

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The fact is… there are so many wonderful little gadgets that help us take our images to new heights of creativity.  I would love to hear which I’ve left off the list that are true must haves.  I know there are plenty out there with which I am not yet familiar.  Thanks in advance!

— andrew


 
Take your photography to a new level… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014
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