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Photography Bean Bags Made In The Algarve Available Now!

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I always discuss Photography Bean Bags on my Digital Photography Fundamentals Workshop when it comes to shooting with a slow shutter speed. Usually I get the “Where can I get one?” question, therefore, I decided to look into getting these made right here in the Algarve.

Bean Bags are a great substitute for a tripod particularly when using air travel where a tripod can be a pain. They are also sometimes a better choice than a tripod when the winds are high using a long shutter speed. In my opinion, they are a far better choice than the small mini tripods available due to the greater flexibility of camera position Bean Bags offer.


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The Importance Of Clean Equipment

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As you may have read in previous posts, I have recently been having an issue with my Nikon AF-S 80-400mm lens. It was having trouble locking on focus and keeping locked on with Continuous Auto Focus. It would “hunt” making a terrible mechanical noise. I thought it was time to be sent off for a motor service.

I’m not actually sure what fixed the issue, but a full clean of both front and rear elements, a clean of the electrical contacts (which is what I believe to have been the problem) on the lens, a blow with my Giotto’s Rocket Blower and also a blow on the camera mirror itself and as you can see from yet another Wally action shot that everything is back as it should. Remember, for all the electronic wizardry such as Auto Focus and Metering, the camera needs a clear view of the reflected light.

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Super Dog!
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“Is My Camera Good Enough?”……….

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…..is a question I often hear from attendees on my Workshops and other events. People who are worried that their slightly older digital camera isn’t up to the performance of “state of the art” models or even their level-entry camera will not provide the performance required to take great shots.

Whatever age or model camera you have, it has one goal; to capture reflected light. Of course, newer cameras may do this with a better intelligence, higher number of pixels, better in low light etc., however, this doesn’t mean that older technology suddenly becomes redundant. We live in a material world which the camera manufacturers are well aware of with clever marketing. I’m very aware that these “state of the art” cameras can bring new features and far superior image quality but most of these are not necessarily required by everyone wanting to simply take great pictures.

The amazing 6.1MP Nikon D70s

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My DIY Reflection Pool

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I have been wanting a permanent reflection pool for a long time, some of you may remember my Temporary Reflection Pool from 2015. I thought of a few locations, but in the end I decided to place it near the Oasis Hide. It has been constructed to have early morning sunrise light which is when birds often look for water, of course, this means there is a possibility of some nice back-lit photos towards sunset time too.

It had to be raised off the ground to bring it almost to the height of the lens hole in the hide to get eye level with any birds and I was going to build a wooden platform when I had a brain wave. Last year one of our Water Heater Solar Panels sprung a leak which meant they had to be replaced. Luckily, we still had the old panels so I decided to strip one down to use the chassis as body to hold the water.

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Striped down Water Heating Solar Panel

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Quadpod!

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Living in the northern hills of the Algarve has many dirt tracks, some of which are actually classed as main roads, some others you wouldn’t attempt to drive a car up. Therefore, when we first arrived here I was determined to invest in a Quad to get around the terrain. I opted for a CanAm Outlander Max which has the added benefit of 4×4 when the going gets really tough.

It enables me to get to some areas that would otherwise be a day-long trek. Carrying the 500mm lens and camera on the Quad has been tricky and therefore I am now looking at ways to customise it to carry equipment.

Today, I modified the front rack so that I can attach my Lensmaster RH-2 Gimbal (or any other tripod mounted device) to it. Originally, I was hoping to also carry the lens and camera on the Gimbal attached but I think I’m asking for trouble. So my next task is to make a custom rear box to fit the camera and 500 lens in securely whilst driving. The Gimbal will remain on the front rack whilst driving and I can then also use the Quad as my tripod, or rather Quadpod!

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Quadpod

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