Thursday, October 10, 2019

How I organize my rechargeable batteries to get the most out of them

We are currently having rolling blackouts here in California due to high winds and fire danger. This means that many homes and businesses may be without power for days. Yesterday, knowing we still had power, I charged a bunch of my batteries in preparation for an upcoming event. I posted this photo (below) and had a bunch people write to me and ask me about my labeling system.

Instead of responding to everyone individually, and knowing that this was a common question, I thought it would be good to share my technique here on the blog.

So...here is my system for managing all my rechargeable batteries.


I typically label all of my equipment with labels from my Dymo label maker. The bigger and more expensive equipment has a label with my name and email address. But I also mark almost all of my batteries with a label to help me identify their age and grouping.



These are the Canon LP-E6N batteries which are used in all of Canon's 5D cameras. I currently have 5 of these batteries in my rotation. I have labeled them based on when I got them. So that "B" battery that you see has been in use for a really long time, probably since the Canon 5D Mark II. The "F" battery came with the Canon 5D Mark IV and is the newest. The original "A" battery has been recycled already, but lasted through many years of shooting.

When do I recycle one of these batteries? I take them out of my rotation when they give me errors in the recharge process or they do not last long in the camera.

The camera batteries are easy to keep track of since I only have 5 of the LP-E6N batteries and 3 of the LP-E19 batteries (for the Canon 1D X Mark II), but keeping track of all my rechargeable AA batteries is a different story.

I have labeled my Canon flashes to keep track of my oldest to newest as well

I literally have hundreds of Powerex Pro AA batteries in my arsenal, with 40 being used in my Canon 600EX-RT flashes in a typical day. I wanted to devise a plan to use them as efficiently as possible, and came up with this strategy:

1. I always keep a group of 4 batteries together throughout their life (which means that they are used together in a flash and charged together in the Powerex C980 charger).
2. I always label the sets of batteries with the date I put them into use.
3. Since I start using many batteries at the same time, I position the labels (even though they have the same month and year printed on them) in different places on the batteries to identify their grouping.


I just entered these eight batteries into my rotation, hence the Oct 2019 labels. As you can see, I have one set labels high and on the back and another set labeled low and on the front. This system allows me to enter many sets at the same time, but still easily identify them by their own group.

You may be wondering why I want all these batteries to be grouped together. The reason is this: some of my flashes get used more than others, and I do not want to mix a newer battery with full power with an older one which is at the end of its life.

The Powerex Pro AA batteries hold 2700mAh which is awesome and they can be recharged hundreds of times. I typically use a set for up to 2 years before retiring them to my household battery drawer. Even though they might be less than optimal for my professional use, they are still very good for household appliances like remote controls and other things.

I hope this all makes sense to you and helps you be more efficient with your batteries and charging.

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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.
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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.
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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Oooops! - Sorry about the incomplete blog post!

I just noticed that the last blog post went out incorrectly and was missing half the text. Sorry about that everyone.


The error has been fixed and the post is now complete, You can see this image and all my other favorites, now with the complete text, HERE.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

My favorite images from my recent safari in Tanzania

In the past, I have created many blog posts to show you all images from our photo tours in Tanzania. But, much like my last post from the Costa Rica photo tour, I have decided to put all of my favorite photos into this one post.

As safaris go, this was a really short one for me, with a total time of only 7 days. But as you will see, we saw a ton of amazing wildlife and had so many great photo opportunities.


All of the photos in this blog post are in the order that I shot them. On our first game drive, we saw this group with 3 generations of elephants.


Whenever we are driving, I am on the lookout for the Lilac-breasted roller. This one was sitting on a branch close enough for a nice tight shot.


Our guides drove us near these elephants and we were all excited to see this youngster nursing.


There is nothing cuter than a baby elephant.


...although this baby baboon was pretty cute as well.


This little baby was checking us out while hitching a ride.


I remember photographing these little guys, because it was the last light of the day.


We had nice warm light on the baby baboons as they played with each other.


Hang on!


We thought we were done shooting for the day, when I saw this amazing sunset. I asked our driver to stop so we could get one last shot for the evening. We had a couple of zebra in front of us, and when I went to edit the photo I was excited to see the sunlight coming through the zebra's mane. (Photographer's note: I did quite a bit of post processing to get this final image. I had to dodge and burn (lighten and darken) certain areas to get everything the way I wanted.


This is one of my all-time favorite photos from Africa. Our group finished breakfast at our lodge and we were all driving to a local air strip to fly to the Northern part of the Serengeti. On the way to the strip, our guides saw this large group of lions, with many cubs. We stayed and watched as the young and old interacted, and we all knew that this was a highlight moment. I used the Canon 1D X Mark II and Canon 100-400mm lens to zoom in nice and tight on these faces.


Look at the interactions between the adult females and this young cub.


Unlike previous trips to Tanzania, this time we saw some amazing leopards in clear view!


I love seeing the two adult females loving each other, while the cub looks on.


I also teach our guests to shoot tight and wide. This is one of the times when shooting wide really shows the breadth of the scene.


I saw this giraffe running in front of us and quickly changed the camera settings to 1/15 sec to motion pan this beautiful youngster in motion.


Although I have photographed seven safaris now, this was the first time to experience the great migration and see the thousands of wildebeests making their river crossings.


This particular river crossing started in a straight line and then, as the wildebeests continued coming down the banks, they changed their pattern and created this arc. I love the way their shape takes your eyes from one edge of the frame to the other.


Here is another motion pan shot. I saw these wildebeests moving in front of our vehicle and, since they were not moving all that fast, I changed my shutter speed to a very slow 1/6th of a second and carefully moved my lens with the first animal to capture the movement in the animals.


Previously, I mentioned that we had great sitings of leopards on this trip, and this was probably the best.


This beautiful female leopard was posing on this rock for quite a while as we photographed her nonstop. And yes, those are raindrops you see in the background.


She had the most amazing eyes and perfect coat!


We spent a lot of time with her and followed her as she moved from one position to another.



Another incredible African sunset.


I have photographed hippos many times in the wild, but never seen two of them spar like these two were doing. Our group was having a blast photographing these two as they opened their mouths wide and splashed each other.


Previously, I wrote a blog about these last two images, but I needed to include them again, as they are definitely favorites. We were photographing another wildebeest river crossing when one of our guides yelled "Their is a croc in the water!". We all quickly reframed our shots to include this massive crocodile which was heading towards the wildebeests.


The crocodile missed his mark and did not end up with a kill, but it was incredible to catch the wildebeests as they stepped on, and jumped over this crocodile.

I hope that you enjoyed viewing all these photos as much as I did taking them!

If you want to join me on a trip to Africa, or other amazing places, please click on the link below.

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Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
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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.
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Thursday, September 26, 2019

Shooting my first MLS soccer game - San Jose Earthquakes vs Philadelphia Union

Many months ago, I was invited by John Todd, the San Jose Earthquakes team photographer, to photograph one of their MLS Soccer games.  With my crazy schedule, the only game I could shoot was last night's match.  So last night I was able to join many of my fellow photographer friends and capture photos at my first ever professional soccer match. 


Before the game started, the team mascot (Q Mascot) wanted to get photos with some of us. I think he liked my camera gear. My buddy, John Lozano shot this photo of me and Q (yeah we are now on a first name basis).


And...of course, I had to reciprocate and get a picture of John and Q.


I was behind the net, prepping my camera gear when Krazy George walked by, getting the crowd into the spirit. For those of you who are not familiar with Krazy George. This guy has been leading cheers all over the US for many many years, and he is credited for starting the first "wave". I remember him stirring up the crowd back in my day at San Jose State University. We laughed about the old days and then he struck this pose for me.


I heard a loud commotion across the field and saw the rowdy San Jose Ultras waving their flags and cheering. I grabbed my Canon 5D Mark IV, with the Canon 24-70mm lens, and ran over for some photos. As soon as I saw the flags waving, I slowed my shutter speed of my camera to get some motion in the flags (also hoping the flag waver would keep his head still). I shot this photo at 1/30th of a second to get my desired effect.


This was one of my first shots of the game. As you can see from the first photo in this blog post, my main camera for this sport was the Canon 1D X Mark II married up with the Canon 200-400mm beast of a lens. I had both of those mounted on my Gitzo monopod, and chose to use one of my Acratech ball heads on top to easily take the camera on and off the monopod.


As always, I look for action and reaction. I saw the referee raise the yellow card and took this shot. I was not intending the capture the one player spitting, I promise you that.


The referee came over to review the video and since I was standing 15 feet from this, I figured it would make a good photo. Remember, the job of a photographer is to tell a story, and this is part of the story.


Since this was my first professional soccer game, it took me a while to determine the best shots, but I did find myself watching for high balls which might lead to headers.


Shooting at 14 frames per second was helpful in capturing the peak of action on the field.


More reactions captured during the game, with one player pleading his case and another down on the ground.


The San Jose Earthquakes scored the first goal, and I was happy to have a clear shot of the celebration.


Here is another good action shot. And...for those of you wondering about my camera settings, I shot almost everything at ISO 3200, f/4, at 1/1000 second.


This game was key for the team, as they really needed a win to help earn a playoff spot. But the team's top player, Chris "Wondo" Wondolowski, was red carded during the last game and not able to suit up. He announced that he would join the San Jose Ultra in their area, and cheer with them. 


At half time, Q was back for more photos...


...and the fans in the Ultra area was boisterous as ever!



Wondo" was cheering right with them, and the fans were loving it.


John captured this image of me as I moved from one area of the field to another.


I was back to capturing the action during the second half.


The Earthquakes had a chance to go up 2 to 0 as Carlos Fierro sprinted forward and took a shot on net. As you can see, I was not in the best position to capture the shot (without the post in the frame), but it still tells a story. His did not score on this shot, since it was determined that the play was offside.


Shortly after the Earthquakes thought they were up 2 to 0, the Union scored a goal and tied the game. Using the long reach of the 200-400mm lens, I locked focus on Daniel Vega (the goalie) from the opposite side of the field, and got this shot of him diving for the ball.


This is the uncropped version of the same shot.


The Union quickly scored a second goal, and Wondo reacted to his team being down. He did his best to get his team rallied. 



The Earthquakes played hard, but could not even the tally.



The final whistle blew and the game was over.  I saw Danny Hoesen down on the ground, processing the loss.


Nearby, Andre Blake (the goal tender from the Philadelphia Union) and some of his teammates celebrated their victory.

Even though the home team did not come out victorious, I had a great time shooting the game. Thanks so much to John Todd (and John Lozano) for invitation and for the fun evening. I look forward to shooting soccer again. It might be in the San Jose area or it might be in Tokyo during the upcoming Summer Olympics. 

__________________________________________________________________________
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.
__________________________________________________________________________