Wide Angle Wanderings

When Marcie Reif’s daughter was born, she intended to take up photography as a way to document her child’s early years. “I was a teacher and worked with kids all of the time, so taking pictures was a fun diversion,” she says. She figured she could earn extra money on the side taking photos of kids, but as she got better at it, her side venture started growing. A few years in, Marcie finally decided to quit her teaching job and started her business as a family, newborn, and lifestyle photographer based in Atlanta.

On the flip side, Marcie also became involved with Clickin Moms, an organization dedicated to female photographers at every skill level. “Taking pictures of my kids as a hobbyist, especially down by the beach, is what grabbed the attention of that group,” she says. “Every time we went down to the water, I’d rent new lenses or a different camera—always looking for something new to play with.”

Marcie and her family recently took a Disney cruise—right as other families are also starting to plan their winter vacations to warmer climes—and she brought the Tamron SP 15-30mm F/2.8 VC wide-angle lens with her on her trip. “It’s such a versatile lens for a vacation like this, where we’re carousing on the cruise ship and on the beach,” she says. “This lens lets me capture the kids as they’re playing or otherwise entertaining themselves, with a good portion of their environment in the background; after all, you want to remember where you went on vacation! I especially like this lens because it’s not intrusive, meaning my kids are generally more cooperative in terms of letting me take photos.”

The lens is also a stellar performer in a variety of lighting situations, which is crucial when you’re constantly on the go on vacation. “Of course I love shooting at the so-called golden hour, but that’s when you might be having dinner or your kids are tired after a long day in the sun,” Marcie says. “The 15-30 performs well even during midday and nighttime scenes. It’s liberating to not have to wait for a certain time of day to shoot, ensuring you don’t miss a single moment of your trip.”

Marcie also appreciates the lens for the creativity it allows her on the fly. “When you’re on vacation, you obviously want to capture the memories for your photo album, but I also find myself playing as if I were an artist,” she says. “I really like the 15-30 because it lets me experiment with light and colors so effectively.”

A prime example of the 15-30’s performance was a photo of Marcie’s son snorkeling in the clear waters of Castaway Cay, Disney’s privately owned island. “I knew the lens would be able to capture the sky, the water, and all of the colors beautifully,” she says. “It almost looks like it’s not real. I barely had to edit this image afterwards. The only thing I did was add some contrast and a bit to the blacks. I also removed some people from the photo to make it appear like we were there by ourselves.”

© Marcie Reif
15mm, F/2.8, 1/4000th sec., ISO 200
The 15-30 also allows Marcie to hang back when her kids are immersed in play. “It’s not always necessary to capture your subjects’ faces when you’re going for a candid vacation photo,” she explains. “My son was just playing with this shower in this photo. Kids can sometimes get caught up in what they’re doing, and rather than distract them so they’ll look up for your photo, just take the photo. That’s part of being on vacation with kids—you have to capture them when you can. This picture ended up being one of my favorites, with that water falling on his head, and the way the lens was able to capture the movement and light here without being overblown.” 

© Marcie Reif
30mm, F/3.5, 1/800th sec., 200 ISO
The same type of furtive capture happened back on the ship when Marcie spied her daughter looking out over the water. “I asked her to look at me, but she didn’t really want to,” she says. “I loved the way the wind was blowing her hair and the way the light was coming through it, though, so I took advantage of those elements instead. I also appreciate the lines and curves of the ship’s form. Whenever I could, I’d try to bring my kids up to that bar and shoot at different angles just for that reason.”

© Marcie Reif
15mm, F/3.2, 1/1600th sec., ISO 200
To show how the 15-30 can be wielded for portrait photos, Marcie asked her friend’s daughter for a picture as she showed off her red heart sunglasses. “I was close enough that I could have reached out and touched her—you can actually see my reflection in her sunglasses,” Marcie says. “I’m still able to get an attractive close-up, with my subject super-sharp and the background blurred out nicely, which prevents it from distracting from my smiley subject. You can still tell exactly where we are, though.”

© Marcie Reif
30mm, F/2.8, 1/2500th sec., ISO 250
A photo of Marcie’s daughter decked out in her Princess Jasmine outfit made for a similarly sweet shot. “I placed her in front of the ship’s porthole because I liked how the light was streaming in through it,” she explains. “I knew the clarity would be good, and she was just happy she got to pose holding her genie lamp, which is why she has such a natural smile. It was a win-win for both of us.”

<center<© Marcie Reif
30mm, F/2.8, 1/100th sec., ISO 1600

Marcie says the 15-30 is tailor-made for photos like the one she took of her kids and her friend’s two girls hanging out in the surf. “The very slight distortion on the wave that I get shooting at the widest end of the lens is what I’m drawn to,” she says. “It serves as a leading line of sorts. I also love the way the lens preserves the sky and how you see all of the color in the image from their bathing suits centered right in the middle. The only thing I would’ve changed about this image, if I’d had the time, is to keep the horizon from going through their heads. I usually try to keep an eye on that, by either crouching down or getting up higher, but I had to break that rule to quickly capture this moment.”

© Marcie Reif
15mm, F/2.8, 1/6400th sec., ISO 250 
The lens also allows Marcie to indulge that artistic side she loves. “I visualized the scene of my son dashing across the beach before he even did it,” she says. “He was running around, so I simply jumped in front of him and waited for him to run through my frame. I was drawn to the sand, the sky, the colors, the yellow in his bathing suit. Once again, the lens is perfect for this—the wide angle at the 15mm end distorts the image ever so slightly, just enough to take a photo that might seem kind of ordinary and make it look more creative.”

© Marcie Reif
15mm, F/4, 1/4000th sec., ISO 250
The 15-30 handled superbly when it came time for Marcie to document a Disney day’s-end favorite: nighttime fireworks. “Fireworks can be pretty hard to shoot, especially because they happen so quickly,” she says. “I always think of them as a big challenge. I really loved how this particular image came out, however, because you can see my son and tell he’s in awe of the show, even though (once again) you can’t see his full face. The light on their faces is a reflection of what they’re staring at in the sky. It was the perfect end to a great day.”

© Marcie Reif
30mm, F/2.8, 1/60th sec., ISO 2000 
To see more of Marcie Reif’s work, go to http://marciereif.com

Tamron Announces New VIP Club

Tamron USA Announces the Launch in 2018 of New VIP Club

 For Owners of Multiple Registered Tamron Lenses

 

December 26, 2017, Commack, New York-Tamron USA announced the development of a new VIP Club for registered owners of multiple Tamron lenses. To be launched in 2018, the VIP Club will include select users who have registered their Tamron lenses through the company’s online warranty registration system since May 2011 through January 15, 2018 (certain exclusions apply, see website for rules and details). There are three VIP Club levels: Silver for those having registered four purchased lenses; Gold for those having registered five purchased lenses; and Platinum for those having registered six or more purchased lenses. Club membership will be evaluated each year to include new members who qualify and to increase the level of existing members if applicable. The VIP Club will be in effect February 15, 2018 and 2018 members will be notified by email. Complete rules and details of the program are available at www.tamron-usa.com/vipclub.
 
2018 Silver Level Benefits (Four Registered Lenses)
Tamron owners who have purchased and registered four lenses during the time-frame of May 2011 and January 15, 2018 are eligible for these 2018 membership perks: Welcome gift; $50 bonus rebate each year of Silver status towards any Tamron lens; 50% off one Tamron event ticket each year of Silver status; 10% discount on non-warranty repairs; invitation to participate in the Tamron VIP Member contest; and three issues of the new Tamron magazine mailed to the member’s home.
 
2018 Gold Level Benefits (Five Registered Lenses)
Tamron owners who have purchased and registered five lenses during the time-frame are eligible for these 2018 membership perks: Welcome gift; T-shirt; $75 bonus rebate each year of Gold status towards any Tamron lens; 50% off two Tamron event tickets each year of Gold status; free pass to one event per year of Gold status; 15% discount on non-warranty repairs; invitation to participate in Tamron’s VIP Member contest; and three issues of the new Tamron magazine mailed to the member’s home.
 
2018 Platinum Level Benefits (Six or More Registered Lenses)
Tamron owners who have purchased and registered six or more lenses during the time-frame are eligible for these 2018 membership perks: Welcome gift; T-shirt; Tamron apparel; $100 bonus rebate each year of Platinum status towards any Tamron lens; 50% off three Tamron event tickets each year of Platinum status; two free passes to any Tamron event per year if available (excludes Summit); 20% discount on non-warranty repairs; lifetime limited warranty on any new Tamron lens purchased and registered within two years of Club induction at Platinum level; free shipping on any lens sent in for repair; exclusive Tamron Photo Tips Hotline; free 2-week lens loaners, if available; invitation to a 4-day workshop (The Workshop Summit, details below) if qualified; invitation to participate in the Tamron VIP Member contest; invitation for chance to be profiled on the Tamron website; and three issues of the new Tamron magazine mailed to the member’s home.
 
The Workshop Summit
Members of the Tamron VIP Club Platinum level whose latest lens purchase and lens registration was within the past two years as of January 15, 2018, will be invited to a 4-day/3-night Workshop Summit scheduled for Fall 2018. The Workshop Summit is limited to 25 participants, first-come/first-serve. Invitations will be sent to qualifying Platinum Level members in Spring 2018 by priority mail. The Workshop Summit includes three nights hotel, meals, transportation to/from hotel/airport in destination city, workshop transportation, workshop and loaner lenses. Airfare, home airport transportation, and other incidentals are not included. The Workshop Summit will be offered each year, and Platinum level members may participate in one Workshop Summit during the life of the program.
 
Tamron VIP Program Rules and Details
Complete rules and details are at www.tamron-usa.com/vipclub.

Shooting Wildlife and Wilderness in World-Class National Parks

At least twice a year, Cecil Holmes says farewell to home base in Huntsville, Alabama, and heads out to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. While he’s there, he also makes the four-hour drive to Yellowstone National Park, where he complements the wildlife and landscapes he photographed in the Tetons with the geysers and geothermal pools (and yes, more wildlife) found in Yellowstone. 

While photographers can find different attractions to document in the parks depending on the season, Cecil enjoys the late spring for his national park adventures. “These images were all taken in June, when there’s still snow on the mountains, the temperature is warming up a bit, and the crowds haven’t built up yet,” he explains. “Plus, as the snow melts and it starts getting warmer, the wildflowers come out in full force.”

This time around, Cecil packed his Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 VC G2 and SP 150-600mm VC G2 lenses to ensure he could capture every photographic opportunity the parks threw his way. “In the Tetons, the 24-70 is the perfect landscape lens,” he says. “And the 150-600 is indispensable as a compact wildlife lens. I’ve got everything I need to document the entire trip with just these two tools.”

Here, Cecil walks us through seven images he took on his latest trip, as well as how he used the lenses to capture them.

© Cecil Holmes

150-600 at 500mm, F/8, 1/500th sec., ISO 1400
Park regulations in Yellowstone mandate that visitors stay at least 25 yards away from most of the wildlife (it’s four times that for bears and wolves). But what’s fantastic about the 150-600 lens is that when you’re photographing an animal the size of an SUV, you don’t need to get terribly close to get a full-frame image of it.

In this case, we happened to see a group of bison on the side of the road and jumped out. I had my camera on auto ISO (and I usually shoot everything in Aperture Priority), so I set the aperture for F/8. The camera selects the shutter speed based on the auto ISO, so I set the auto ISO to a maximum range and then indicated to the camera I wanted a minimum shutter speed of 1/500th sec. It adjusted the ISO based on the light from that point. That’s really the best way if you’re doing a “run and gun” approach as you’re cruising along, because if you have too slow a shutter speed and the bison moves, it will ruin the shot with motion blur. 

© Cecil Holmes

150-600mm at 550mm, F/8, 1/500th sec., ISO 500
In the late spring, the pronghorn, or American antelope, starts to shed its winter coat. That’s another reason I love taking pictures in the Tetons at this time of year, because you can track down a lot of these creatures hanging out with that ragged coat look. Some of them may have already shed most of their coats; others still have their coats hanging off the side of them. It makes for awesome images either way.

I tried to place some of the grass and reeds in front of the pronghorn in the frame as an appealing visual element. When people think of wildlife photography, they often think strictly of the animal in front of the camera. But for a more compelling photo, it’s important to incorporate as much of the animal’s environment as possible. I was able to blur out the foreground a bit, as well as the background, which gives the photo a bit of three-dimensionality and makes my subject pop.

© Cecil Holmes

150-600mm at 600mm, F/8, 1/250th sec., ISO 800
At the Teton Raptor Center near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, birds are brought in to be rehabilitated. People call from all over Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana to report injured birds, and the goal of the center is to eventually release them back into the wild, if they get better. 

We attended a birds of prey show here, and it was a controlled environment where we could get fairly close to the raptors. They bring each bird out every two or three shows so it doesn’t get too stressed. I’d never been to a show like this, so I brought along my 150-600. I decided to put it to best use by stepping back a bit and capturing some tight headshots. 

This photo was of a bald eagle named River, in what one could call its teenage years, before it had lost its brown feathers and morphed into the white eagle we’re used to seeing. It had just dipped into a bathing pool and was trying to dry off, which is why its feathers look so ruffled. The crisp sharpness of the 150-600 allowed me to capture every detail in every feather, and I blurred out the background to get that eye-catching color contrast of brown and green.

© Cecil Holmes

24-70mm at 24mm, F/8, 25 sec., ISO 100
This photo of Moose Falls along Crawfish Creek wasn’t a planned shot at all. We were just driving down the road right before sunset when I saw the sign for it; we didn’t have a lot of time to capture the remaining light. I said, “OK, if we get out of the car and hear water, we’ll grab our gear and run down; if we can’t hear the water, that means it’s too far and we won’t make it.” We got out and heard the water, and it turned out the falls were only about a tenth of a mile from where we parked. It was flowing really nicely, as the park had had a huge amount of snowfall this winter—meaning lots of corresponding snow melt creating lots of full rivers and streams. 

Typically when you’re shooting waterfalls, light is your enemy—you don’t want very much of it, because you want a longer shutter speed to get that smooth, creamy effect in the water. The light was really starting to fade at this point, so I used a 25-second exposure at F/8. If I’m photographing a waterfall in the daytime, I’ll shoot at F/16 to get a lower shutter speed, but in this case I didn’t need that low shutter speed— I needed to get my aperture open enough to get a shutter speed that wasn’t going to be minutes long. The 24-70 really came through for me in this low-light situation.

© Cecil Holmes

24-70mm at 24mm, F/16, 1/80th sec., ISO 100
The Grand Prismatic hot spring is one of the most photographed geothermal attractions in Yellowstone. Many photos of it that you see from above are taken from either a helicopter or plane, or by people who hike the trail that overlooks it. But when you’re right down there with it, it’s challenging to shoot—it’s not nearly as impressive as when you’re seeing it from up high. Plus, if you’re photographing it on a nonwindy day, the steam emanating from it will just rise and hang in the air. You want a little wind to blow the steam around a bit.

Luckily, I had just enough breeze so that the steam was moving. I was standing right on the boardwalk next to it, and I got down and put my camera as low and close to the pool as I could get it without actually touching anything—you don’t want to scald your equipment! I was trying to capture a sunstar (you can see the sun poking out from behind the cloud in the upper right), but I wasn’t able to get it. Because of that, and because the light wasn’t great, I decided to see what would happen if I turned it into a black-and-white photo. That changed everything. It created a mood I wasn’t seeing in color, and it brought out the textures, patterns, and contrasts of the pool and surrounding area.

© Cecil Holmes

24-70mm at 24mm, F/8, 1/200th sec., ISO 100
The Morning Glory hot spring is one of my favorite pools to visit in Yellowstone. It’s not very big, maybe about 20 feet wide, and the boardwalk there puts you right along the edge of it. I took about three or four shots at 24mm vertically and then created a panoramic composite. I was finally able to capture that elusive sunstar, and the clouds in that vibrant blue sky added to the overall effect as well.

It’s essential to use a polarizer for an image like this. If you don’t, you’re going to get reflections off the water and won’t be able to see all of those colors and details beneath the surface.

© Cecil Holmes

24-70mm at 24mm, F/16, 0.3 sec., ISO 100
While the shot of the Morning Glory Pool was my favorite photo from Yellowstone, this photo of the John Moulton Homestead was my favorite from the Grand Tetons. The morning I took this photo was horrible. It was raining when I woke up, but I figured I was already awake, so I went out anyway to see if I could get anything. I thought maybe, at the very least, I’d get some lightning shots over the mountains.

Right at sunrise, sunlight started to peek out and hit the barn. And then, for about three minutes, this amazing double rainbow appeared that stretched from the John Moulton Homestead to the T.A. Moulton Barn about a quarter-mile down Mormon Row. After that, the sun disappeared and it was gloomy for the rest of the day. Only about 10 photographers were out that morning to witness it, as opposed to the 30 or 40 who might usually be out and about. For someone like me who doesn’t live in the area, this was a once-in-a-lifetime deal. 

To see more of Cecil Holmes’ work, go to www.cecilsphotos.com

Oren Helbok at Pennsylvania’s Strasburg Rail Road with the Tamron SP 15-30mm F/2.8

Oren Helbok has been fascinated with trains since he was a kid growing up in the Bronx, when he’d head down to the local tracks with his dad, a skilled amateur photographer, and have picnic suppers. “My first photo was of a steam train, taken when I was 6 years old,” he says. “I was completely swept away by the engines.” 

Today, Oren’s fascination continues, and he now regularly heads out between 60 to 70 days a year to photograph the steam trains near his home in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. “The Strasburg Rail Road, which is the oldest continuously running short-line railroad in the country, is only about two hours south of me, and there are a number of other railroads that also operate steam,” he says. 

When he was a boy, the trains were all about the hardware. “Now that I’m older, I’ve realized the thing that’s most important about the trains is the people who are doing the work,” he says. “So while I still enjoy capturing pictures of the trains themselves, I also want there to be some connection to either the landscape, the places they’re traveling through, or the people working on the trains.”

Oren recently spent a full day at the Strasburg site with the Tamron SP 15-30mm F/2.8 VC wide-angle lens. “This lens was recommended to me by a fellow photographer who said if I was looking for a stellar wide-angle lens, this was the one to try,” he says. “And it’s the best there is. What I was looking for was a super-wide-angle lens that I could use in a locomotive cab. I wanted to capture these guys at work, and I needed something that could get as much of that small space from inside as possible. The F/2.8 maximum aperture helps me out when the lighting isn’t great, and the Vibration Compensation (VC) feature is indispensable to counteract the movement on the train. Steam locomotives don’t ride like Cadillacs—they tend to bounce around, so the VC is infinitely helpful.”

Although he’s not trying to fool anyone into thinking his images are from another era, he does try to lend them a historical feel by eliminating modern distractions. “If I’m out in the middle of the landscape, for example, I’ll go out of my way to avoid a billboard or taking a shot right from the side of the highway, unless there’s some kind of story I can tell about how that train comes through that particular landscape,” he says.

As for how he photographs the people in his train photos, Oren tries to stay unobtrusive and captures many of his images from the back or the side, where his subjects’ faces aren’t in full view. “That’s not to dehumanize the work that’s being done, but to depersonalize it,” he says. “What I mean is, a photo isn’t necessarily about one particular person—that person stands for all of the people throughout the history of steam railroading who’ve done this job. I try to make my photos somewhat timeless that way.”

He did that with one crew member standing with his back to Oren. “That guy had been at work just 30 minutes, but it was August and one of the hottest, muggiest days I’d ever experienced down by the trains,” he says. “It was brutal. He’d already sweated right through his shirt. I wanted to show that aspect of the job without the distraction of his face or expression. I let the sweat speak for itself.” 

© Oren Helbok

24mm, F/2.8, 1/200th sec., ISO 1600

Oren enjoys showing the workers in their element, including when they’re hosing down and detailing the cars (a.k.a. the “spit-and-polish” job) and shoveling the coal. “The tight spaces I show here is exactly why I needed this 15-30 lens,” he says. “I wanted to capture as much of what’s going on as possible in a very small piece of real estate. I needed the big, wide view that the 15-30 offers.”

© Oren Helbok

25mm, F/9, 1/200th sec., ISO 640

© Oren Helbok

19mm, F/8, 1/200th sec., ISO 640

Every month, a locomotive undergoes what’s called a boiler wash, which is when the crew cleans out any accumulated gunk. “When you put water into a boiler and heat it up, if there’s any crud in that water, it can separate out and end up coating the surfaces,” Oren explains. “That gunk blocks various orifices you don’t want blocked and makes everything less efficient, so once a month they have to open up all of those plugs and wash the boiler out.”

The man seen here had just finished up that job. “I shot this in the engine house, so there was a significant amount of light coming from behind him from the building’s large windows on the left-hand side,” Oren says. “There were also some fluorescent fixtures running across the ceiling, but by this time of day, with the other track empty and no engine sitting there, the light was able to come in unimpeded. That helped give me just the right illumination I needed for this image.”

© Oren Helbok

30mm, F/2.8, 1/320th sec., ISO 2500

Sometimes Oren is even lucky enough to get some steam in the shot. “The photo of one of the crew working on top of the train was taken in perfect conditions for that kind of thing,” he explains. “With steam in particular, cold weather is best, as well as humidity. It was a seriously hot day, so I didn’t have that cold, but the air was so humid it couldn’t absorb anything else. That meant the steam, instead of vanishing, simply hung in the air.”

© Oren Helbok

30mm, F/7.1, 1/1000th sec., ISO 250

Of course, he also had to grab a shot of the person at the top of the train crew hierarchy. “The engineer is the one who’s in charge,” he says. “He’s got his hand on the throttle and is the one who gets to drive the engine.” This was another chance for Oren to hold his camera outside the car as the engineer peered out of his own window, offering a more intimate environmental portrait. “At this railroad, they’re trying to provide a very particular experience for their customers, without modern items getting in the way,” Oren notes. “That’s why this engineer looks like he could’ve stepped out of another time period. All of the guys who work here dress the part and look authentic. Maybe once in a while you’ll see a crew member with keys attached to a caribiner, but that’s about as anachronistic as it’ll get.” 

© Oren Helbok

30mm, F/11 1/250th sec, ISO 200

Another experiment Oren’s been dabbling in: capturing pictures of the landscape while he’s riding in the train. “I won’t look through the viewfinder in those cases, but rather hang the camera out over the gate and either use Live View or just shoot away and hope for the best, based on what I’d already seen with my own eyes,” he says. “In this one in particular, you not only have the lines of the railroad car itself, but the lines in that field next to the train car. In Lancaster County, there are a lot of Amish farms, and they regularly plow their fields and create those lines. The VC on the 15-30 was critical here to keep everything sharp.”

© Oren Helbok

15mm, F/10, 1/400th sec., ISO 1000

Capturing the whole train itself against the context of the landscape is another way Oren put the 15-30 to the test. “I had set myself the challenge of going out the entire day with that one lens, and using it not only in tight spaces, but also in wide-open areas,” he says. “I wanted to make the most of it in completely different situations. So yes, I show a train here, but it’s a train against that landscape, with that huge sky filled with cumulus clouds. That gives a whole new angle to the story I’m trying to tell.” 

© Oren Helbok

15mm, F/13, 1/400th sec., ISO 400
The railway’s bicentennial is coming up in 2032, and Oren is already in prep mode. “It’s going to be quite the party,” he says. “I’m extremely fortunate that I have so many options in steam railroading within a couple of hours of my home. I’ll have my camera ready!” 

To see more of Oren Helbok’s work, go to his website https://www.wheresteamlives.net/ or Facebook www.facebook.com/oren.helbok/photos.

Dominic Cox Documents New York City with his Arsenal of Tamron Lenses

Dominic Cox grew up in the heart of New York City, with two parents who were artists and a penchant for people-watching. “I grew up with some of the best scenes in the world before my eyes,” he says. “I couldn’t draw or paint like my parents, but I soon realized that the camera allowed me to record what I observed. I’m still interested in documenting so many different things: city streets, the people in them, the beach and ocean, cars, boats, planes. I just keep my camera ready and wait for what unfolds.”

When it comes to portraits of people on the street, Dominic strives for authenticity. “There was once a photographer who said that all photographers are voyeurs,” he says. “I don’t know if that’s an absolute truth, but I do know I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that yes, I’m definitely a voyeur—but not in a creepy way. I don’t like to take photos of people who are posed and perfect, but I do try for pictures you wouldn’t be ashamed to see yourself in if I showed you. I’m trying to show something honest.” 

When he’s out roaming the streets, Dominic brings his Tamron SP 70-200mm VC, SP 15-30mm VC, SP 150-600mm VC, SP 35mm F/1.8 prime and SP 85mm F/1.8. “I love the versatility I can achieve with these lenses in my bag,” he says. “The 15-30 is one of my favorites recently, and I’ve barely scratched the surface with it. And I appreciate the fact that Tamron is adding image stabilization across their line, especially since most of what I shoot is handheld using available light. I have to shoot this way. Not only is it difficult to carry a tripod around (many places won’t let you in with one), but I like to be able to have spontaneous movement, cut angles, get low. I don’t want another piece of equipment I have to drag along with me, because it would just slow me down.”

Dominic tries to balance his subjects and their environment, with his subjects taking center stage. “I have my favorite range of apertures and a distance I naturally shoot from,” he explains. “If I’m shooting on a city street, I’m not necessarily trying to blur everything out so you don’t know the person’s in an urban environment. For instance, high-end fashion photographers might take a picture of a model in an amazing gown in a back alley somewhere in the Meatpacking District, and they’ll shoot wide open and get close so they can blur out all the trash and other distracting elements, which I can appreciate in those circumstances. However, when I shoot, I want to show the background, as well as make the subject and the foreground stand out. I never tire of looking at a photo with an urban backdrop. For that reason, F/2.8 is one of my favorite apertures to use. It borders on documentary, because I’m documenting a specific place and a specific time.”

Dominic usually doesn’t know beforehand where he’s going to end up—or what photos he’s going to end up with. “I’m somewhat of a nomadic wanderer, though I will stay in a particular area for a while, just to observe and let things happen,” he says. “I want people to fall into my frame, for someone to show up pure and unaware. I want to capture the essence of the person without having them pose, and that 70-200 lens especially helps me stay unobtrusive so I can do that.”

Whether he concentrates on color or black-and-white photos is something Dominic tries to decide before he heads out. “I like to mix my work up,” he says. “Even on my Instagram, I’ll post three color photos, then alternate those with three black-and-white photos. I like black and white because it focuses your attention on expressions and textures more, on the light and shadows, whereas with color, it’s how we see things every day. I almost feel like you have to up your photography game to show the emotion you see in black-and-white photos in a color image, because you’ve got the color existing as an added distraction if you don’t shoot it right.” 

Dominic finds himself on his photo walks at almost any time of the day. “Of course I appreciate the so-called golden hour in the mornings and late afternoon/early evenings,” he says. “But in the morning I’m usually out for a ride on my bike or doing some other form of physical activity (it’s when I’m the most motivated), and in the early evening, I’m a homebody who likes to have dinner and watch a movie with my wife. So I do find myself out and about in the midafternoon in the harsh sunlight, and I actually enjoy it. I like the challenge of working with different apertures and shutter speeds to get the desired results, of trying to create an appealing photo in demanding conditions. Anyone can take a photo when the ideal lighting is present. But try doing it when the clouds are going back and forth in between the buildings, when the light is constantly changing. That’s when you feel like you’re creating magic.”

Dominic talks about eight images he recently took in his hometown with his arsenal of Tamron lenses:

© Dominic Cox
30mm – f/3.2 – 1/320 – ISO 800

I saw this scene first at the ground level. This is a bar on the South Street Seaport in lower Manhattan, right on the Hudson. I walked up from the riverside and saw the people milling about and thought it exemplified just hanging out in the city. I didn’t want to take the picture straight on, though, so I went up to the top of the building and shot down instead with my 15-30. I thought it was a more interesting vantage point, and it also offered a bit of anonymity as well. I liked the contrast of the lines of the metal gate leading down into the pattern of the hexagons below. 

© Dominic Cox
200mm – f/2.8 – 1/500 – ISO 100

This was a vendor in an outdoor flea market, and as soon as I saw him I thought, “Wow, I’ve got to photograph this guy.” He looked like a model you’d see in a Gap or Old Navy ad, with that tattoo under his clavicle reading, “Sometimes I imagine being free.” I also loved all of the different elements that complemented the photo, including the retro items he was selling. By placing the words “Brooklyn” into the top of the frame, I was also able to establish a place for the photo. I used the 70-200 for this, zooming all the way in to 200mm to capture this candid moment.

© Dominic Cox
200mm – f/3.2 – 1/1600 – ISO 100

I grew up in Washington Square Park, where this photo was taken, and it holds many fond memories for me. I would spend nights in this park, and I recently took a trip back to New York for the purpose of retracing a lot of my footsteps. This guy was a typical New Yorker, sporting a look I’ve seen many times in my own life—he’s wearing those signature boots, for example, which an old friend of mine who was a punk rocker used to wear back in the day. I identify with the look. Plus, the dog reminded me of Toto from the Wizard of Oz. In terms of the fountain, I wanted to add that in to make the image a little more dynamic, but without taking away from my subject. I blurred it out just enough so that the dog owner was still clearly the focus of the photo.

© Dominic Cox
30mm – f/2.8 – 1/800 – ISO 3200

I love black-and-white photography, but sometimes a photo just calls out for color. This night scene of a food stand in New York City was taken on 42nd Street with the Tamron 15-30 as I was heading west from the East Side. Now, I don’t usually eat the type of food you find at food stands like this, because I tend to eat healthier fare, but I wanted to take this photo because it’s the type of fast food that many New Yorkers live off of, even well into the night. I even called this photo “Farm Fresh,” as a tongue-in-cheek reference to what clearly isn’t farm-fresh food. I loved the color of the signs on the stands and the lighting. It wasn’t hard to expose for, since there was enough ambient light. I didn’t want it to be completely exposed anyway—I like the fact that there’s some shadow in the photo. I really wanted the focus to be on the light that was over him, where the steam was rising up over his cooking. Shooting it at 1/800th of a second at F/2.8 did the trick.

© Dominic Cox
200mm – f/2.8 – 1/500 – ISO 640

This photo was taken in Times Square, where I was visiting after more than a year’s absence. I was there for hours with my camera, just waiting for photo opportunities to pop up. I was across the street, under a scaffold trying to stay dry, when I noticed this couple with their baby. You can’t see the dad, who’s behind one of the planters. But the real focus was on the mother and child. The beauty and intimacy of the moment just struck me, especially since the child was the one holding the umbrella while the mother knelt down next to the stroller in the rain. It was a warm, comforting scene. 

© Dominic Cox
200mm – f/5.0 – 1/200 – ISO 100

This photo was taken out of photographer’s envy. It was taken on Fifth Avenue, right near Tiffany and Co., an extremely ritzy area of Manhattan. The woman was a model on location, being fussed over by a team of people. I was across the street with the 70-200mm lens and I was able to steal that shot as the photographers commissioned to take her picture were at work doing the same. It would be a dream for me to have that kind of opportunity in the near future, with a model all styled with hair and makeup, and a team taking care of all the other logistics so I could just concentrate on composition.

© Dominic Cox
180mm – f/2.8 – 1/400 – ISO 100

This woman is a vendor at an outdoor flea market, selling straw bowls, and she was sitting down during a break and taking a call. She happened to look up as I was taking the picture with the 70-200, but it’s not like I asked her to pose, so it still looks natural and authentic. Everything about this scene made for a great color photo, from her flawless, incredible skin to the colorful headwrap she had on to the tapestry of the bag she was carrying. The fact that you can see part of “New York” on the bag also gives a sense of place, like I discussed earlier. Although she was my subject, I wanted the bowls in the image also, so I placed them subtly in the foreground.

© Dominic Cox
35mm – f/1.8 – 1/500 – ISO 100

Louis Mendes is probably one of the most photographed photographers in the world, and a centerpiece of the New York City landscape. I was returning a lens on Ninth Avenue last year, and he was out there taking pictures; he frequently stands in that location and takes people’s portraits for a fee. I spotted him, and he looked so interesting and distinguished, from the way he was dressed to his classic 1940s camera. I walked up to him and started a conversation with him and it led to this portrait with the 35mm. 

To see more of Dominic Cox’s photos, check out his Instagram @PhotographyIsTheMuse.

Just Announced – Tamron 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3

October 26, 2017, Commack, New York— Tamron USA, Inc. , announces the launch of a new ultra-telephoto zoom lens, 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD (Model A035), for full-frame Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras. The Model A035 delivers fast and precise AF performance and consistently powerful VC (Vibration Compensation) 4 stops*1 benefits thanks to the high-speed Dual MPU (Micro-Processing Unit) control system that is found in the latest Tamron lens models. The advanced optical design of Model A035 includes three LD (Low Dispersion) lens elements for aberration reduction and Tamron’s original eBAND Coating for superior anti-reflection performance. At 1.115g (39.3 oz), the new lens is the lightest in its class*2 and features magnesium alloy in key areas of the lens barrel to ensure weight reduction, and improve strength and portability. Model A035 is compatible with Tamron’s 1.4X tele converter and the Tamron TAP-in ConsoleTM that enables lens customizations for focus adjustments, VC mechanism adjustments and more. Additionally, an Arca Swiss compatible tripod mount is available as an optional accessory. The new Tamron 100-400mm will be available in both Canon and Nikon mounts on November 16th at $799.

Product Highlights

1. High-speed Dual MPU (Micro-Processing Unit) control system delivers quick and highly
responsive autofocus performance plus outstanding VC image stabilization

The Dual MPU system includes an MPU dedicated to vibration compensation processing, enhancing the computational capacity of the entire system. An MPU with built-in DSP (Digital Signal Processor) provides high-speed digital signal processing and achieves outstanding autofocus performance and vibration compensation, both indispensable for ultra-telephoto photography.

2. Superb image quality in an ultra-telephoto zoom lens

The Model A035 includes three LD (Low Dispersion) lens elements for optimal optical design and aberration correction. Lighter weight, increased light transmission and crisp images with excellent contrast are achieved by reducing the number of lens elements while ensuring an appropriate balance with aberration correction. The A035 has minimum object distance (MOD) of 1.5 m (59 in) and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:3.6 for close-up work.

 3. Exclusive eBAND Coating reduces flare and ghosting

The new A035 features Tamron’s eBAND (Extended Bandwidth & Angular-Dependency) Coating, which has an extremely low refractive index and fine multiple-layer coating technology, to achieve outstanding antireflection performance. BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) Coating, with excellent antireflection characteristics, increases light transmission. These coating technologies greatly reduce the ghosting and flare that can occur when subjects are backlit.

 4. Lightest weight, 1,115 g (39.3 oz) lens in the ultra-telephoto zoom lens class*, and only 196.5 mm (7.7 in) long

Magnesium alloy is used in key areas of the lens barrel to improve weight reduction, strength and portability. Total length of 196.5 mm (Nikon mount) means a compact size for an ultra-telephoto zoom lens covering up to 400 mm, and the A035 can therefore be easily carried in a standard camera bag. Combined with excellent vibration compensation functions, the compact size enables successful handheld ultra-telephoto photography.

5. Optional accessory tripod mount is Arca-Swiss compatible

An Arca-Swiss style tripod mount is available as an optional accessory. Designed exclusively for Model A035, it provides quick and secure attachment to a tripod and greater stability. An easy-to-hold grip shape includes an expanded mounting plane, and the use of magnesium helps achieve lighter weight, thereby further facilitating handheld photography.

6. Compatible with tele-converters and TAP-in Console

Model A035 is compatible with tele converters designed exclusively for Tamron lenses to achieve 1.4X and 2X the original focal length*. It’s also compatible with Tamron’s TAP-in Console (Model TAP-01), an optional accessory enabling users to update lens firmware and customize the lens settings, including adjustments of focusing positions for autofocusing and the operation modes for the lens’s Vibration Compensation system.

*Use of the 1.4× tele converter results in light reduction of 1 F stop; use of the 2× tele converter results in the loss of 2 F stops

Available focusing mode when used with 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD (Model A035)

  When using viewfinder When using live view mode
With 1.4x tele converter AF3*4/MF AF4/MF
With 2.0x tele converter MF AF4/MF

3 Autofocus functions normally on any camera that offers F/8 autofocusing (see your camera’s instruction manual for your camera’s ability).

4 Subjects with low contrast and/or luminosity values can sometimes result in out-of-focus images.

7. Moisture-Resistant construction and fluorine coating for enhanced weather protection

The surface of the front element is coated with a protective fluorine compound that has excellent water- and oil-repellant qualities. The front surface is easier to wipe clean and is less vulnerable to the damaging effects of dirt, dust, moisture or oily fingerprints, allowing for much easier maintenance. Also, with active use of the A035 for outdoor photography likely, sealant is used in each of the movable and joining areas of the lens barrel to resist the intrusion of moisture.

 

 8. Electromagnetic diaphragm system now used also for Nikon-mount lenses

An electromagnetic diaphragm system, which has been a standard feature for Canon-mount lenses, is now employed in Nikon-mount lenses*. More precise diaphragm and aperture control is possible because the diaphragm blades are driven and controlled by a built-in motor through electronic pulse signals.

* Available only with cameras compatible with the electromagnetic diaphragm (D5, D4s, D4, D3X, Df, D850,D810, D810A, D800, D800E, D750, D600, D610, D300S, D500, D7500, D7200, D7100, D7000, D5600, D5500, D5300, D5200, D5100, D5000, D3400, D3300, D3200, D3100).  (As of October, 2017; Tamron)

9. External design places importance on functionality and ease of use

While inheriting the design that makes use of many organic curves and the delicately polished form down to fine details that characterize the SP lens series, the new Model A035 comes with a highly sophisticated design that also places a lot of importance on the lens’s functionality and ease of use, featuring an overall form that faithfully encompasses the internal structures within, a slim Luminous Gold brand ring and the switch shape design.

Fly Fishing in Wyoming with the Tamron 70-200mm

Fly Fishing in Wyoming with the Tamron 70-200mm

Growing up in Colorado, and now a grad student at the University of Wyoming, Ben Kraushaar has spent his entire life immersed in the great outdoors. He’d always been interested in taking pictures while enjoying Mother Nature, but it wasn’t until 2012 when this casual hobby captured more of his attention.

“I’d decided to hike the Colorado Trail, a nearly 500-mile backpacking trip that starts in Denver and ends in Durango,” he says. “I wanted to document the journey, so I finally invested in a relatively decent camera. My goal was to fly-fish the whole trail and take photos the entire time. After that trip, I published an article about my experience in a fly-fishing magazine, and that was the catalyst for all of my future adventures.”

This summer Ben indulged both passions in Wyoming, where his girlfriend, Anna, was conducting fieldwork. To capture photos on this fly-fishing trip, he used the new Tamron SP 70-200mm VC G2 lens, which he says was invaluable for its focal-length range and Vibration Compensation (VC) technology. “With the 5-stop image stabilization on this lens, it made shooting handheld much easier—and I primarily shoot handheld when I’m fly-fishing,” he says. “It’s too much to haul a tripod into the backcountry. The VC proved especially helpful, as I generally have to use a really fast shutter speed to slow the bend of the rod down to freeze it. The best fly-fishing photos are also generally in lower light, so having that VC allows me to use that faster shutter speed in those lighting conditions to freeze the scene.”

Telling the story of a full day of fly-fishing means paying attention to every aspect of the sport. “It’s more of a lifestyle than an individual event, so there are plenty of things associated with it that can serve as subjects,” Ben notes. “Whether it’s photos of people camping, getting ready to fish, or the actual act of fishing, there’s plenty of versatility in terms of the tale you can tell. You also can’t neglect those amazing landscapes in front of your camera, or the close-up shots of the fish if you’re lucky enough to catch one.”

Ben typically heads out in the late afternoon or early evening for his fly-fishing adventures. “The best fishing is during those times, and that coincides with the best light,” he says. “I don’t mind shooting in midday if it’s overcast, but when it’s sunny, it’s hard to reduce all of the shadows. I shoot all natural light, mainly because carrying extra lighting equipment would be difficult. Since I’m also fly-fishing, I usually have my rod and other fishing gear, so I try to keep my photography equipment to a bare minimum.”

The 70-200 G2’s maximum F/2.8 aperture helps Ben set the scene as he wades, often knee-deep, into the water. “When I’m shooting a photo of someone casting a line, I try to use a low aperture like that F/2.8, especially when there’s a busy background,” he says. “Whether it’s trees or bushes, that low aperture helps blur out the background and isolate my subject. It also eliminates noise when I’m trying to get a silhouette of my subject against a blue sky or the water.” 

Ben’s biggest challenges when fly-fishing? Besides that less-than-ideal lighting during midday fishing expeditions, it would be the natural perils that come with the sport. “Sometimes the rivers are really slippery,” he says. “I have to do my best to try not to fall in and ruin my equipment.”

Which leads to the important matter of Ben keeping his gear protected. “I’ve yet to drop my camera in the water, but I have dropped five phones,” he laughs. “Sometimes I can tuck my camera in my waders a bit, so when I’m walking and splashing in the water, it’s not getting very wet, but the moisture-resistant build on this lens helps immensely on dreary, drizzly days. Sometimes my favorite photos come from when I’m out in the rain or snow, so having that water resistance is clutch and gives me the confidence that I’m not damaging my gear.”

Here, six of Ben’s images from his trip to the Cowboy State:

© Ben Kraushaar
200mm, F/2.8, 1/400th sec., ISO 400

This is a photo of my girlfriend, Anna. She’s a wildlife biologist. She always likes wearing colorful bandannas to keep the sun off her face and neck, and she’s shooting me a little glare here because I’m taking her picture. What’s nice about the 70-200 G2 is its capabilities as a portrait lens. With that F/2.8 aperture, you can achieve appealing bokeh and create some beautiful portraits.

© Ben Kraushaar
190mm, F/2.8, 1/400th sec., ISO 400

This photo of Anna catching a trout was taken on a river near Pinedale. It was evening, so the gold reflection on the water is from that last golden light in the sky. The river was mostly in the shadows, but the sun was really low, so I was able to capture all of those yellow-orange tones. 

I was standing up on a hillside for this shot. At that higher perspective, I was able to get nothing but water next to her in the frame. If I’d been positioned lower, I would’ve gotten the bank on the other side of the river, which would’ve taken away from the photo. I was at 190mm, so I was zoomed almost all the way in.

© Ben Kraushaar
200mm, F/2.8, 1/1600th sec., ISO 100

© Ben Kraushaar
70mm, F/2.8, 1/3200th sec., ISO 100

These next two photos show Anna casting a line, which means I had to try to freeze the action, as I discussed earlier. Usually, the line and the tip of the rod are moving really fast, so to freeze that and not get any blur of the line or rod, you have to shoot really fast. I usually end up shooting 1/1000th or faster for fly-fishing. Having that F/2.8 maximum aperture at 200mm allows me to get really tight and isolate my subject. 

© Ben Kraushaar
116mm, F/2.8, 1/640th sec., ISO 100

When you’re out on the river, there are an endless number of potential objects to shoot through and use as frames for your subjects. It’s really fun to play around with. In this case I blurred the greenery in the foreground a bit, which made an effective frame for Anna as she was wading away from me.

I also like the composition of this image (the whole walking-away narrative), because with fly-fishing, there’s a mysterious aspect to it. People will often post a picture of themselves fishing somewhere, and they won’t want to give their location away because it’s a sweet spot. So having just a hat in the photo, or someone looking away, adds to the whole secretive nature of the sport. 

© Ben Kraushaar
70mm, F/2.8, 1/2000th sec., ISO 100

We were at a lake near Dubois, Wyoming, and we came upon this scene with this one huge, random boulder. If you look around the rest of this area, it’s pretty clear of any sort of rocks, yet here we had this one beast. I wanted to take a landscape shot, but by putting a person into it, I was able to create a sense of scale. With this lens, you can zoom out to get a wider view or get the subject tighter in the scene by pulling the background in closer.

© Ben Kraushaar
200mm, F/2.8, 1/2000th sec., ISO 100

This is a photo of one of my girlfriend’s collaborators on her research project; she’s also really into fly-fishing. Here’s where she’s holding up the ultimate prize—a fish she caught. Sometimes you can spend over an hour trying to figure out what fly to tie on or what the fish are eating, so when you finally do catch a fish, it’s a very rewarding experience that proves you solved some sort of puzzle.

When that happens, the atmosphere changes from super-quiet peacefulness to animated excitement. I wanted to document that energy, and the emotions she was showing through her facial expressions, when she got to finally hold the results of all her hard efforts. By zooming in to 200mm, I was able to capture that moment.

To see more of Ben Kraushaar’s work, go to www.benjaminkraushaar.com

Shooting the Last Frontier with Vinit Mode and Two Tamron Lenses

Two Tamron lenses accompanied Vinit on his trip to the Last Frontier: the Tamron SP 15-30mm F/2.8 VC and the SP 150-600mm VC G2. “I definitely wanted to have the 150-600 with me for taking pictures of wildlife,” he says. “And I found it useful for other logistical reasons. For example, when you’re in Denali National Park, you can’t take your private vehicle into much of it, so we were on a bus. Shooting through bus glass can be tricky, but my handheld pictures of the snowcapped mountains through the windows came out amazing.”

Read more

Lakota Wolf Preserve Trip : October 8th

Out most popular trip is coming around again.

Join Bergen County Camera and Tamron on October 8th, 2017 as we return to the Lakota Wolf Preserve.

At Lakota Wolf Preserve, you will be greeted with numerous opportunities to get unobstructed pictures of the wolves in their natural settings. Since you will be photographing the wolves where they live, in a stress free environment, you will get the best possible photo opportunities. Come as close as 3-4 feet to the wolves during our private photography session.  We will end our morning at the Brook Hollow Winery for a wrap up session and complimentary wine tasting.

There will be a pre-trip evening lecture on Wildlife Photography at Lakota Wolf in our Westwood store, on October 5th 2017 from 7-8pm. The lecture will cover the layout and rules of Lakota, what to expect, what lenses are best suited, and how to get that great shot! The lecture will be presented by Tamron.

 

This trip is limited to 30 people so be sure to reserve early.

Tickets can be purchased below.

 

Eventbrite - Bergen County Camera Trips and Meetups 2017