Short Topics

I just got back from ten days in Alaska, so today's blog is a catch up of short topics. This year's Kelby Worldwide Photowalk is scheduled for 1 and 2 October.  I am leading the photowalk in Williamsburg, Va.  I got the word from Kelby right before I left for Alaska and just activated the website last weekend, so our Williamsburg walk, on 2 October, still has openings.  The weather will be much more pleasant than last year's July date. Williamsburg the home of Colonial Williamsburg historical buildings and the College of William and Mary.  It is full of photo opportunities.  Mark will be there, and we would love to fill up the roster to the limit of 50 photographers.  Remember, there is no cost, and the voluntary photo contest has lots of prizes.  You can sign up here.

Photowalks are a chance to hang out with new people; ask questions about techniques; shoot a variety of new subjects; and have fun.

Fallen tree in Elizabeth City, NC


We've talked about how the costs of photographic equipment - new cameras, lenses, flash, tripods - can quickly add up to prohibitive sums of money.  Consider renting the gear to ensure you really want to buy it.  Or, maybe, you need something for a special occasion.  My trip to Alaska, last year, convinced me that I needed a very long lens, but I wasn't ready to spend $7,000 for a new lens that I wouldn't use in my usual photography with people as my subjects. provided the solution for my dilemma.  It was a Nikkor 200-400mm F4 zoom, and I got it the day before we left for Alaska.  I had used them before, so I knew they were a good company.  They will ship the equipment to your location, on the day you specify.  Once again, everything worked fine.  Yesterday, I shipped the lens back and was sad to see it go. More on that later.

Nikon 200-400, F4 on a monopod


Speaking of equipment, you should pay attention to what you buy.  We all complain about the prices of camera gear, but I recommend you don't take short cuts.  When I bought my camera, I bought it with two Nikon batteries.  Later, I decided I needed to have spares and bought two generic camera batteries.  How different can a batteries be, right?  Well, during my trip to Alaska my last generic battery failed.  That's right, both generics died 18-24 months after purchase, and the original two Nikon batteries are still chugging along, more than three years later.  We were on our way to Anchorage the day after the second generic failed, so I was able to buy a new Nikon battery in Anchorage.   Consider carefully when you buy generic gear.  It wouldn't have been funny if the battery had failed in the Denali wilderness.

Lone trees in the tundra, Denali National Park


Finally, if you haven't been to our Facebook page,, go over there and "Like" our page.  We post things there that aren't on the blog, and it's another way you can get questions answered quickly.

I've got a just a few photos from Alaska to share over the next couple of blogs.  See you Thursday.