Friday, March 22, 2019

Want a fun and entertaining book for free?

Here is something different for all of you.

A good friend of mine, who used to work at Apple, has retired from the corporate world and become a writer. Like me, Marc Jedel left the board rooms and boring meetings and is following his passion in the arts. He just finished his second book and was kind enough to offer any of my blog readers a chance to download his first book for FREE. Thanks Marc!

Marc's books are humorous murder mysteries that fall into a sub-genre called cozy mysteries (like the old Murder She Wrote series for those that remember) because they’re clean and do not have any violence or sex. Well... if they do, they take place off-page. Marc told me that his mysteries wound up like this mostly because writing violent scenes when it’s dark outside would probably frighten him and writing sex scenes would frighten his friends and family. He is a funny guy.


Anyways...as I mentioned, he has two books:

* Uncle and Ants: A Silicon Valley Mystery (Book 1). Mysterious attacks. Mischievous nieces. Can a clueless uncle catch a tech-savvy killer… and be home before bedtime? If you like clever humor, sassy side characters, and average Joes facing extraordinary circumstances, then you’ll love this twisty mystery.

* Chutes and Ladder is the side-splitting second novel in the Silicon Valley cozy mystery series. 
When a camping trip uncovers a corpse, this amateur sleuth is stuck putting out the fire. Marty vows to investigate. After all, it’s poor manners to let a friend’s death go unsolved. Like quirky sleuths, wacky sidekicks, and laugh-out-loud moments? You’ll love this offbeat whodunit.


The books are really fun and easy to read. I am currently part way through the second book.

You can download the first book for free from Amazon using this LINK only between now and Mar 24th.


If you look at his Amazon page, you will see Marc's portrait. He asked me to shoot this for him about a 6 months ago ago. I started with a standard "back of the book" typical headshot but since his character always wears Hawaiian shirts, we thought it would be fun if he did the same.  Marc even had fun with the photos and created this page.

Download the book, kick your feet up and have some fun. I am!

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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.
__________________________________________________________________________ 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Zebras in Africa - These black and white stripes are everywhere

Today we are going back to my recent trip to Africa for another blog post. This time I am focusing on the referees of the African plains, the zebras. During the reverse migration, it is not uncommon to see thousands of these animals during our 10 day safari. And did you know that every one of these animals has their own distinctive pattern?


It was early in the morning on our January safari and we were driving into the Ngorongoro Crater as the sun rose. We looked to our left and saw these zebras sparring in the early morning light. I got out my Canon 1D X Mark II with the Canon 200-400mm lens and captured many images of this activity.


We also saw this young zebra (foal) nursing.



There is nothing cuter than a young zebra. They actually start with brown fur, which falls off to reveal their black and white stripes.


At one point, we came across two cheetahs who were crossing the plains in Ndutu. They seemed to be in a hunting mode and I was confused why these zebra would just stand there and wait to be eaten. These were the dominant members who were watching out for the others in the herd. If I was a zebra, I would have been heading for the hills (even though I know they can not outrun a cheetah).


On the February safari, we saw these zebras standing in front of this large flock of flamingos and I thought it made a nice composition. Just as we started shooting photos, these two started sparring, giving us even better subject matter. I made sure that all of our guests were shooting a shutter speeds of at least 1/1000th of a second to freeze the action.


It was fun watching them as they jumped and swatted at each other.


It is this activity that may explain why zebras, which are related to horses and donkeys, have never been domesticated.


Once the zebras were done sparring, they sprinted away.


Most of the time, we will see zebras coexisting with the wildebeest. These zebras were within sight of a family of lions and they were on high alert. The zebras have excellent eyesight, and even night vision, which is why the wildebeest like to travel with them. This is an added layer of protection for the wildebeest who have poor vision.


We saw an endless line of zebras coming over a hill and crossing this small lake. We had fun capturing images of them as they ran through the water.


Since we had so many of these animals crossing in front of us, and everyone had nice shots of them frozen in action, I encouraged our guests to slow their shutter speeds to try and capture some motion pan photos. For this shot, I changed my camera settings from 1/1250th of a second to 1/20 sec (by setting my ISO to 100 and my aperture to f/36) and panned with this group.


Whenever I see zebras in or around still water, I always look for their reflections.


Using the reach of our long lenses, we zoomed in on small groups of zebra to highlight their reflections. I converted this photo to B&W using NIK SilverEfex Pro, since I thought that this particular image would be more dramatic without color.

__________________________________________________________________________
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, March 14, 2019

Photographing a baby - A new member in our extended family!

It's funny that the last blog post was about a newborn wildebeest in Africa and today's blog post is about a newborn member of our extended family. I didn't plan it that way, but sometimes things just have a way of interconnecting.

We were actually in Tanzania when we got word that our niece had her baby, about 6 weeks premature. And ever since then, Caitlin and Adam have been asking us when we can get up to Sacramento to photograph their new baby boy, Patrick.

Two days ago, my wife and I drove up north to make that happen, and it was such a fun time. Patrick is now a month old and has grown from 4 to 6 pounds. He has more strength and has filled out a bit. This actually helped for taking photos of him.

As you will see in the following images, I used a combination of window light and added light from a flash in the new MagMod MagBox (which I love).


For this first shot, we put Patrick on the bed by a window and I used the natural light from the window to light his little feet. Knowing that he is so small, I chose to shoot many of the close-up shots with the Canon 100mm macro lens.


I got down low on the bed and shot some really tight shots of his cute little face. This is also using only the window light.


Since Patrick has dry skin on his little face, I retouched every photo to remove the dry flakes of skin. I used the Adaptive Healing Brush feature in Adobe Photoshop and painted out the flakes using the pen of my Wacom Intuos tablet.


We wanted to get a photo of Patrick's hand on top of his parents's hands. My wife took this BTS shot of me taking that shot. For this photo, I removed the Canon 100mm macro lens from my Canon 5D Mark IV and switched to the Canon 24-70mm II lens. (You will see that I have the Canon ST-E3-RT wireless transmitter on the camera, but I was not using any external flash at this point.)


This is the final shot from that moment.


I used the NIK SilverEfex Pro software to convert many of the images to B&W.


While shooting the previous photos, I noticed their rings, which I don't remember seeing in the past. Adam told us that he made these rings. My wife asked them to take off the rings and put them in Patrick's hand. I switched back to the Canon 100mm macro lens and took this photo. This is one of my favorites, since it shows how small his little fingers are.



We wanted to get some photos of Caitlin and Adam with their new son, but neither of them had planned on having their photos taken. Instead of having them change and having Caitlin put on makeup (since they are a little busy right now) I suggested that I take photos with them behind Patrick, and use selective focus to blur them. We moved Patrick close to me and had them on the far side of the bed to create some distance.


Ahhhhhhhhhh. I shot these photos at f/2.8 so that Patrick would be sharp and his parents would be soft in the background. And it works well since Patrick is my main subject here.


Next, we moved Patrick to a beanbag that was draped with a black blanket. I decided to add some light at this point. As you can see from this photo, I had two Canon 600 EX-RT flash heads mounted in the new MagBox soft box. (For those of you photographers who want a soft box that sets up in seconds and is all connected using magnetics, you need this product!)


I liked the results I was getting with the MagBox, but felt that it needed to be closer to Patrick and at a different angle. I asked Adam if he was OK being my VAL (voice activated light stand) and he agreed to help out. So I handed him the MagBox and gave him direction on where to hold it.


Having the directional light very close to Patrick, and shooting in manual mode (ISO 100, f/4, 1/200 sec) on the Canon 5D Mark IV, I was able to create some really nice images like these.


I was walking along the side of the bed, heading to change lenses, when I saw Patrick's feet sticking up. I had to shoot this!



I kept the camera in manual mode (this time at ISO 1000, f/4, 1/80 sec) and used only the window light to light his toes. This is another favorite from the day. I like this because it was unplanned, different from what I usually see from newborn photos, and I love the pattern of all 10 toes.


I converted this one to B&W as well.


My niece really wanted a photo of Patrick in this metal bucket. I started with the MagBox on my Manfrotto light stand, and shooting on the rug. Looking at the images on the back of the camera, I decided to have Adam help me with the light once again and to pull the rug back to shoot against the hardwood pattern of the floor. Why? I thought that the rug was a bit distracting, and I did not want the baby evenly lit.


See how evenly he is lit?


I asked Adam to hold the MagBox low and to the side of Patrick.


I changed the camera settings to kill more of the ambient light in the room, and relied almost exclusively on the light from the Canon 600 EX-RT flashes. See how much more dramatic this photo is compared to the other?


Caitlin put Patrick in his crib with the monogrammed sheet, and I thought it would be fun to try and shoot the light through the slats on the side of the crib. I stood over the crib while Adam pointed the MagBox through the side of the crib. Something different once again!


Then we moved the light to a more traditional spot (over head) and took some photos with Patrick and this stuffed bear.


This is one of the last photos we took. Adam loves skateboarding and has a plethora of them in their house. He pulled out this really old board which fit Patrick just perfectly. Caitlin placed the little guy down on the board carefully and he took a nap. I took numerous photos as his hands and feet moved around, with this being my favorite.

Overall, we spent about 4 hours taking photos, with many breaks in between. It was such a pleasure to take these photos and just as much fun getting home and retouching them. I then sent them off to Caitlin and Adam and got the best message back. Caitlin said "These photos seriously make me want to cry." That is the best!

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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, March 10, 2019

The Wildebeests of Africa - A newborn trying to stand for the first time

If you ever go to Tanzania during the migration or reverse migration, you will likely see tens of thousands of wildebeests and they follow the rain.  You may have heard of the "Big 5" (animals that most people want to see in Africa). Well...the wildebeest are part of the "Ugly 5". Not the best looking animals, but they are everywhere.


Here is a group of wildebeests crossing a small lake in the Ndutu area of Tanzania.


Since we see so many of these animals, I typically don't photograph them unless I try something different. To capture this photo of the wildebeests in motion, I set my camera to a shutter speed of 1/30th of a second and panned along with the them as they ran.


Our photo tour group was in the Ngorongoro Crater when we heard there was a wildebeest ready to give birth in the area. Our guides drove us to the spot where we saw this female who was in labor. You can see the back legs of the offspring coming out of the mother.



We waited for the birth, but it was a slow process. We decided to go to our lunch spot since we were all hungry. Later we returned to the spot where we saw this little one standing up a with it's herd. It had been born maybe 30 minutes earlier and it was already up and walking.


Amazingly, these animals can not only stand within minutes of being born, but they can run at the same speed as the rest of the herd within an hour of being born. This is a necessity for survival so that they are not easy prey for the spotted hyenas.

We thought that this was the youngest wildebeest that we would see, but...


...on our second tour we came across this newborn just after it dropped from it's mother. Some of our guests actually saw the birth!


We watched as the adults coaxed the newborn to get up and move.

Click the image above to play the video

Before capturing the still images, I switched my Canon 1D X Mark II into video mode and captured this one minute video of the newborn trying to take it's first steps. It was an awesome sight to see in the wild and, in this case, the video captures that experience better than still images.

__________________________________________________________________________
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.
__________________________________________________________________________ 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Tanzania, Africa - The Maasai Tribe members

This week, I am changing things up a bit and not sharing images of the animals of Tanzania, but instead the people from the Maasai tribes that we visited on our two photo tours.  They are an interesting group of semi-nomadic people with a primitive way of living. Some of the tribes will open up their homes to us (for a fee) so that we can learn how they live. It is so different from the western civilization that it is fascinating.


When you visit Tanzania, you will likely be drawn to the bright blue and red colors that these people wear.






Many of the tribes are nomadic, but now that some have built school houses and other hard-walled facilities, this is not always the case. The women are tasked with most of the hard work, such as building the homes (made with mud and cow dung), getting the firewood and water, and doing all the cooking. The Maasai men traditionally have more than one wife, and visit them in each of their own huts when they desire.



It is very common to see the Maasai woman wondering through the area gathering water while the boys tend the goats and cattle. The Maasai people typically live off of their cows. They eat the meat, drink the milk and even drink the blood at times. The amount of cattle and children determines the wealth of the male owner.



As you can see from these photos, even the young boys are put to work at a very early age. I asked our guide if these young children are ever in danger from the wild animals which roam the area and was told that this can be a problem for these youngsters out in the open.


Here you can see the Maasai women in their traditional clothing and the jewelry made from beads.



I have visited many Maasai tribes in the past, and always carried my Canon 5D Mark IV and Canon 24-105mm lens. This time I decided to bring my Canon 5D Mark IV with the longer Canon 100-400mm lens to get tighter shots of the people. Here you can see this woman who has stretched her earlobes, which is another common practice amongst their people.



The Masaai were doing their traditional dance while our guests were taking photographs. The Maasai men are more attractive to women if they can jump high. It is also a way for the men to make themselves look bigger and stronger in the face of wild animals.


While the others were photographing the dancing, I looked around and took photos of the children who were watching the elders' performance.


The beautiful young girl was taking care of this toddler. I saw all the flies on the little one's face and wanted to shoo them away.


Here is a mother and her daughter. The babies are not recognized as people until they are 3 months old. This is mostly due to the high mortality rates (in previous generations) when many babies failed to survive past the first 2 months.


All the youngsters were smart enough to stay in the shade of the hut.


As I mentioned, the women do most of the work in the Maasai culture. The men "retire" at 35 and let the women do everything from that point on in their lives. And the work is not easy, with the women having to carry large loads very far distances.


This young man is wearing a traditional Maasai blanket, which can be purchased in most stores.


The tour company that we work with in Tanzania is very generous and had donated money to this particular Maasai tribe to build a school house. I was in that building and took this photo of the teacher. Perfect catch light in his eyes.



This little one was so cute. I captured this shot of him as he clapped his hands to a song.


Mike sat down with the kids and took some selfies with them...


...while Rachel (sporting her awesome hat) made a new friend.




Glenn (another one of our guests) let this young Maasai boy try his camera. I think I need to work on his hand positions, but that will be on the next visit. :)


__________________________________________________________________________
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.
__________________________________________________________________________