Sunday, January 20, 2019

The adorable baby animals in Africa

We are on our fifth day of our safari photo tour here in Tanzania, Africa and we have seen a ton of amazing wildlife. So far we have been lucky enough to see lots of young animals. So much so that I thought I would write a blog to show you some of the cute little creatures we have seen in just the first four days. And yes, we are now at my favorite lodge which has good a very good Internet signal, so I can get this out to all of you.


Seeing elephants in the wild is just incredible. Seeing the young elephants just melts hearts.


We were driving along in our caravan of Land Cruisers when we saw these tiny little Bat-Eared Fox who were playing in the grass.


At one of our rest stops, we noticed that there were a bunch of baby monkeys playing in the trees. All of our guests grabbed their cameras and went to work.

All of these images were captured with the Canon 1D X Mark II using both the Canon 200-400mm lens and Canon 100-400mm lens.


I was photographing the first baby monkey (that you saw above) when I looked directly up and saw this cute little thing looking down at me. I think he was really checking out the camera equipment.


Before heading up to the Ngorogoro Crater, our drivers had to check in with the park officials. I knew that this stopping point was a haven for baboons (who like to raid the vehicles for food). We saw this baby baboon, got down low to capture photos of this cute little guy at his eye level. And yes, he is obviously a male. :)


I couldn't decide which baby baboon photo I liked the best, so I am including both for you all.


We woke up yesterday morning and headed down into the crater. One of the first sitings was a large group of zebras (who are currently walking around outside my luxury tent right now). We saw this youngster nursing and we all smiled as we captured the moment.


We were driving around when one of our guests spotted these two little jackals. Oh my goodness, they are too darned cute.


This was probably the most incredible moment from yesterday's safari in the crater. This tiny wildebeest had been born maybe 15 minutes before we came across this family. It was just learning to stand and walk. You can see that the umbilical cord is still attached. Amazingly enough, just five minutes after this, this newborn was running with the rest of the pack!


Another baby baboon, also nursing .


This photo was taken about 2 hours ago, in the Ndutu area of Tanzania (which also happens to be my favorite location in the country).  We found this young cheetah and its mother lounging in the grass. I know that this was a highlight for many of the guests, because it was the main topic at today's lunch.

I need to run now, as our afternoon safari is about to begin.

__________________________________________________________________________
Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________ 

Monday, January 14, 2019

On my way to Tanzania - The challenge of packing for Africa

Packing for an African safari is always a challenge for photographers and photo enthusiasts. We do not want to end up in Africa with too little or too much gear. We need to have more than one camera, both as a backup in case one fails, but also to keep one camera with a wide lens and one with a long zoom lens. Changing lenses when on a dusty safari is not optimal for keeping a clean sensor.

I am bringing two camera bodies (Canon 1D X Mark II and Canon 5D Mark IV) and a fair amount of lenses and accessories. I packed all camera gear into my larger ThinkTank Airport Security 3 rolling bag a couple of days ago (after returning from Las Vegas) and then yesterday decided to repack into my smaller ThinkTank Streetwalker Rolling backpack.


As you can see, I packed both cameras, a Canon 24-105mm lens, a Canon 100-400mm lens and a bunch of accessories into my rolling backpack. I decided to hand carry the Canon 200-400mm lens with me outside the pack, saving room for all the other goodies. Unlike our guests who can pack just what they need, I bring extra memory cards, card readers, filters, backup devices, and a sensor cleaner in case our guests need assistance.

I am in Tanzania for the next month leading two photo tours, and for the first time we will have many guests using the Canon 200-400mm zoom lens. Thank you to Canon's CPS who provides free loaner cameras and lenses to my guests!!!

This morning I got up at 5am and made it to San Francisco International Airport by 6:15am. I am currently on the first leg of my long flight to Africa. I am happy to have one of my favorite couples on board who went with me to Costa Rica and are joining us in Tanzania for the next couple of weeks. Glenn was able to pack his two camera bodies, the 200-400mm lens and the 100-400mm lens all in his Thinktank backpack. Pretty impressive.

I may not be able to blog much for the next two weeks since the Internet access in Tanzania is not that fast and writing time is limited. I do plan to post daily images to my Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, so check there to see what we are seeing each day.

__________________________________________________________________________
Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________ 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

A CES recap - and a slightly scary look into our future?

I just got back from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and I have had a couple of days to process everything that I saw there. I also took my 21 year old daughter with me, so it was interesting to get her perspective as well.

Let me start by saying that I have always liked the CES show since I am a gadget guy at heart. I could do without the large crowds, endless lines, and being charged double prices for everything at Starbucks in the hotel, but I guess that is part of the experience.


This year, like most other years, the big electronics companies were showing off their bigger and higher resolution televisions. Just when people are getting familiar with 4K TVs, all the big companies were showing their upcoming 8K screens. And along with those new higher resolution sets, they were also showing off the OLED technology. The video above shows what I felt was the most impressive booth at the show, with LG proudly displaying this mass of OLED screens. Click on the video above to get the full experience.


Canon was not showing off any new DSLR or mirrorless cameras, but did have this Canon EOS R and Canon RF 28-70mm lens laser-cut in half. That was pretty cool to see.

What made this year slightly different for me was that I left that show without seeing one thing that I just had to have. In past years, I always came across at least one cool new piece of technology that had me drooling.

What I found most interesting about this year's show was the abundance of products being designed because the technology exists, not so much that we all need it. Let me explain that a little bit. We saw all types of appliances for the home which had integrated high-def screens and voice commands. We saw pet feeders which allow you to communicate and reward your pet from afar. There were wearable devices for just about everything, some interesting and some just ridiculous. But, as my friend Steve Wozniak says, "products should be designed because we need them, not just because they can be built."


Walking around the South Hall of the show, we came across this prototype of a flying car, and everyone was stopping to look at the vehicle and watch the company's video. It wasn't until we walked away that my daughter turned to me and said "Isn't that basically the helicopter that we already have today?" And she was exactly right.

I took my daughter into the North Hall so that she could see all the automobile exhibits. Amazingly, what used to be a large and loud hall full of car audio and car navigation systems was now a quiet hall full of technology for autonomous driving.

We saw lots and lots of autonomous vehicles that were more like pods than cars, and each of them promising the driverless experience with large screens surrounding the inside of the vehicle. As I looked into these, I thought "I guess people will spend even more time in front of screens in the future and never again look outside a car window." That scares me a bit.

All in all, the show was interesting, but left me wondering what percentage of these product concepts would hit the market and stick. I guess only time will tell.

Oh, and speaking of technology, I took all the photos and videos that you see here with the tiny little DJI Osmo Pocket. This is a pretty cool little toy that I will be taking with me to Africa tomorrow. As we walked back to our hotel on the last day of the show, I saw this reflection shot, raised the Osmo over the wall and grabbed this shot. Not too shabby for a tiny little thing.


If you were one of the 200,000 people at the CES show, I would love to know your thoughts about what you saw.

__________________________________________________________________________
Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________ 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Presenting for Tiffen at the CES Show in Las Vegas - and a surprise guest!

For the last 3 days, I have been lucky enough to present for Tiffen at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. I have been using their filters since the beginning of my photography career, and really appreciate their quality.

For the first time ever, I brought my daughter along for this trip and she got to experience the craziness of 200,000 people in Las Vegas. Also, since she is now 21, she got to experience LV as an adult, with a limited amount of drinking and gambling. She was also nice enough to take some photos of me presenting my Olympic images in the Tiffen booth.

I brought along the new DJI Osmo Pocket, which she used to capture the photos (The second one is in panoramic mode).



The crowds were great at all three presentations, with the last one being this morning at 11am. As I was presenting today, I saw a familiar face in the audience. But since I was presenting, it did not occur to me who it was.

It wasn't until I was done that the Tiffen staff told me that Katie Couric was there watching the presentation. Having seen Katie at numerous Olympic Games, and always admired her work, I was excited that she would take the time to stop and watch the show.

I sent her a message thanking her for stopping by and she told me how much she liked my photos.  That made my week.

Well...I am now done presenting at the show, and looking forward to tonight's hockey game here with my home team (San Jose Sharks) playing against Las Vegas. Then it is home tomorrow, just in time to pack for my trip to Tanzania.

Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________ 

Monday, December 31, 2018

My favorite photos from 2018

It has been an amazing year, starting with the winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, with two African safaris and a trip to the rain forest of Costa Rica in the middle of the year, and ending with a trip to Hawaii.

I have compiled all of my favorite photos in this 4 minute video. I hope you enjoy it!


Click the image above to watch the video in full resolution.

I hope that all of you have an amazing 2019 that is full of excitement and great photo opportunities!


Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________ 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Photographing the island of Kauai from a helicopter with the doors off

While in on the island of Kauai a couple of weeks ago, I was anxious to take a helicopter ride to capture some aerial photos.  But I have tried photographing through small aircraft and helicopter windows before, with mixed results. I only wanted to do so if I could find a company willing to let me fly with the doors removed. After calling around, I was happy to find out that some of the local helicopter tour companies did offer "doors off" charters.

I scheduled a ride for our last full day on the island. Luckily, the other photographer (Tom) who I had met a couple of days before, had just taken the same flight and reconfirmed my choice of lens and camera settings.

As is always the case, these flights are weather dependent, so I had to wait until the following day to see if the flight was happening or not. I woke up to pretty clear skies and the flight was a go.

After a couple of safety briefings, I was all set to go.


I decided to take up my Canon 1D X Mark II and a Canon 24-105mm lens. I figured that I might want the faster frame rate of this camera, but ended shooting all the images at a medium burst rate, so any of my Canon cameras would have worked. The 24-105mm focal length worked perfectly for getting wide shots and good close-ups as well.


We took off from Lihue airport and flew inland towards the mountains.


Since it rains so much on Kauai, there are an abundance of waterfalls on the island. I took this first shot once this waterfall was in sight.


A couple of seconds later, we flew into a position where I could see the pool at the bottom of the waterfall, and I zoomed in a little closer and took this shot.

There are a couple of challenges when taking photos from a helicopter. They are:

* The helicopter is moving at 100mph, which makes it hard to keep the camera steady when holding the camera outside the chopper.
* There is a lot of vibration from the rotors and the outside weather conditions.
* The lighting is constantly changing, requiring camera settings to be changed frequently.
* Quite often the rotor blades are in the shot, so it helps to aim low with the camera. I also shot in burst mode to try and get a shot with no rotor in the shot. Some images required me using Photoshop to remove the blade from the photo.

This one minute video below will show you some of the challenges I was dealing with. You will see the changing light conditions, the vibrations and even the rotors (towards the end of the video).

Click on the image above or HERE to see a one minute video clip taken from the helicopter

To help mitigate all these issues, I did the following:

* I tried to keep the camera pointing down under the rotors, but high enough not to get the bottom of the chopper in the frame.
* I did use Adobe Photoshop to remove the blade from some photos.
* I tried to keep my shutter speed over 1/1000 sec to get sharp images even with the all the movement.
* I was adjusting my ISO when pointing in very dark or very light scenes.


We flew over Waimea Canyon which is the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. I loved the variations in the terrain and color.


There were numerous times when we saw rainbows, making for some really nice photos.



For the latter part of the flight, we flew along the Napali Coast and took in the amazing landscape. I took many photos as we flew over the deep blue water and along the red and green coastline.



(Photographer's tip: Since we had overcast skies, the RAW images were muted in color and contrast. Each of the images in this blog was brought into Adobe Camera RAW where I made adjustment to bring the images back to the way that we saw them from the air. Most notably, I adjusted the Dehaze slider to +50 and the Vibrance to +30. I also increased the contrast of these images in the +15 range.)



I took this image to include the helicopter in the shot. Having the chopper and the rotor in the shot actually helps to tell the story. No, this is not a drone shot. :)


And here is a similar shot without the helicopter, which highlights the colors in the ocean more than in the previous photo.


The coastline of Kauai is just spectacular. Even in muted light, the formations are breathtaking.



Another rainbow, this time over the Napali Coast.


For the last part of the flight, we flew over the wettest part of the island. This also happens to be one of the wettest spots on Earth, with measured rainfall at over 450 inches per year. Seriously! Waterfalls are everywhere.




We were flying back towards the airport when I saw that the late afternoon sun was hitting just the tops of these mountains. So pretty.


Just before we landed, we flew over the Wailua Falls, which were made famous during the opening credits of the television series "Fantasy Island".

This was my third "doors off" flight and it was another fantastic experience. Not only did it let me experience the beauty of Kauai from the best perspective, but it also let me capture these images to share with all of you.

Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________ 

Monday, December 24, 2018

The beauty of the island of Kauai

After photographing the wedding on Maui, my wife and I flew to the island of Kauai for a much needed 4 days of vacation. It has been a really long time since I have been on Kauai and I was excited to get back.

We landed on Sunday afternoon, went to the hotel and basically just relaxed for the day. After working all weekend, it was nice to just kick back, have a couple of Mai Tai drinks and do nothing.

The next day, we woke up to high winds and rain. Not exactly what you would want in Hawaii, but we decided to get out and make the most of our time on the island. We walked down to breakfast, and I brought my camera gear and tripod with me. A gentlemen who was sitting near us, saw the tripod and told us that he was on the island to take photos as well. He and I started talking photos and sharing ideas of where we wanted to shoot. He told us about a grove of rainbow eucalyptus tress that were nearby, and my wife and I thought that would be a good place to visit. After finishing our breakfast we headed out.


It didn't take too long to drive to the trees, but as soon as we parked and I went to get out of the car, the rain started dumping down. I jumped back in the car and waited it out. As is usually the case in Kauai, 5 minutes later and it stopped raining. The good news is that the wetness of the trees helped bring out even more color in the bark.


Amongst the rainbow eucalyptus trees, there was plenty of other foliage. I really loved the patterns of moss growing on this one tree, which was nicely nestled with all these ferns.


We walked around the trees and took a lot of photos. Me with the Canon 100-400mm lens mounted on my Canon 5D Mark IV and my wife with her iPhone. The colors in the bark were just amazing!


As we were driving down the road back towards the hotel, we saw this grove of trees on a nearby monastery property. After waiting for the rain to subside once again, we got out and roamed in this area. I was shooting photos of the tree trunks when this rooster came nearby. I said to my wife "I need this rooster to go dead center in my photo" and sure enough, he did just that!


I switched to the Canon 24-105mm lens and got low to the tree roots to get this shot.


Since we were right by the monastery, we decided to walk around and check it out. This is the view from the back of the monastery. Not too shabby.


Also on the same road, we stopped by these waterfalls. Using the low light from the rainy day, I set my ISO to 50 and my aperture to f/36 to give me a slow shutter speed of 1/4 second. I wanted to capture the motion of the water and also to capture the nearby branches blowing in the wind.


For the second half of the day, we drove around the Poipu area of the island. It is in this area where you can find the water spout. Again, I used the muted light to get a slow shutter speed for the blow of the water.


The next morning, we woke up to overcast skies once again, but signs that we might see sunlight. From our balcony, we watched these windsurfers going back and forth in the ocean. I took some photos at high speed but then kept with the slow shutter theme of the trip and started shooting images at 1/6th of a second. I panned along with this guy until I got a sharp image.


We decided to spend the day driving up North, towards the town of Princeville. Along the drive, we diverted off to some side roads and found some beautiful views, like these converging orange and yellow flowered trees.


The sun was starting to come out and the light was just too perfect on this tree not to stop and take some photos.


Right by the tree (in the previous photo), there was this grove of trees all in row. I liked the way that this one "random tree" existed in front of the order of the others.


Eventually, we made our way up to the Kilauea Lighthouse, and the sun finally came out!


This lighthouse is more than 100 years old.




We were walking along the pathway on Kilauea Point, admiring the views when I spotted this butterfly. My wife was admiring the great markings on the outside of the wings, so I worked hard to capture an image with both the top and underside of the wings in the photo. It still amazes me how well the newer Canon 100-400mm lens can focus almost at macro distances.


The next day we drive to some other water falls on the island. This particular one is famous for being featured on the old show "Fantasy Island".


Kauai is well known for the amount of wild roosters and hens that roam the island. The tourists see them as a great photo opportunity, but the locals are not too thrilled with them. I saw this one hop up on a rock, with a killer view of the valley below. It was too good a pose not to photograph.


This rooster climbed up on a tree stump and started crowing. I think it was jealous that I spent so much time photographing it's buddy and was crying for attention. 

On our second to last day on the island, I took a helicopter ride with the doors off, and captured some really cool aerial shots, but that blog is coming next. 


I took this last photo on the morning that we flew home. We woke up to see the sun rising amongst the clouds. It was a beautiful view to start our last couple of hours in Hawaii.


Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________