Fall Workshops 2014

Just a quick post and reminder for workshops coming up this fall.

2014 Early Autumn in the Potomac Highlands: September 11-14 This workshop will cover digital photography basics while capturing images in spectacular locations in the Potomac Highlands region of West Virginia. We’ll work on subjects such as long exposure techniques, creative composition, filter use and more. This workshop will include sunrise/sunset and waterfall photography. While not at peak, the autumn colors will be coming on nicely at this time, and we’ll avoid the massive crowds associated with this region during peak foliage season. Primary locations may include Dolly Sods Wilderness, Blackwater Falls, Elakala Falls, Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Lindy Point and Pendleton Point.

Workshop tuition is $425. You are responsible for lodging, meals and transportation. To reserve your spot in this workshop, please email either randall@randallsanger.com  or todd@toddfwilliams.com and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have, or provide additional information. Group size: 10 participants.

Tripod Shopping, 101

This post is about both a learning experience, and a product review.

First, let me say that I went through several cheaper tripods.  By several, I mean maybe 4 or 5.  Then one day I was reading tripod reviews, and several people said the same thing…don’t skimp on a tripod if you are going to be shooting landscapes!  Finally, the light came on!  So, I am hoping that by writing a bit about how I arrived at this point, and what tripod I decided to go with, I may help someone avoid some pitfalls.

I can’t even remember all of the tripods and I had used before, but suffice to say they were very similar to a Sunpak.  I’m sure you know the ones I am referring to.  Perhaps much like ones you’d see here.  So I went through at least 3 of those, that I know of for sure.  They either broke, or didn’t any longer function properly.

It was after returning home from a great shooting trip where I would have missed many shots had someone not loaned me a backup tripod.  I decided right then and there I would not let that happen again!  So, I began to research brands and feedback from various types of photographers.

I felt fairly certain I wanted to go with carbon fiber, knowing that it is strong, yet light.  Being that I often hike a great deal to get to some of the more remote locations, weight can be a big deal.  So those several ounces or pounds do make a difference after a long day of strenuous hiking.  After much reading and asking questions, I finally settled on the Induro CT213, shown below.

INDURO CARBON 8X CT-Series tripods are the strongest, most stable tripods ever offered. A wide stance cross-braced magnesium alloy spider, ultra-light 8X layer Carbon Fiber legs, oversized center column lock and enhanced leg angle locks all contribute to a tripod with up to 35% greater stability, rigidity and higher load capacity. Includes interchangeable rubber feet and stainless steel spikes, a tool kit and deluxe carrying bag and strap.
Height: 20.9″ Folded / 61.2″ Extended

I have been using this model for about two years now.  I will start off with a list of pros and cons and then do my best to break each one down further.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Easily Adjustable
  • Well Made

As I mentioned earlier, the weight of carbon fiber is great.  Saving  you some extra ounces or pounds to carry around is always a good thing!

Cons

So far, I honestly cannot think of any cons.

I will say there was an adjustment period switching from a flip-lock to a twist-lock type of tripod.  I now actually prefer a twist-lock, and find it both easier to operate, especially in adverse conditions or with gloves on, and also more durable.

Overall Impressions

I shoot a full-frame body, often with heavy zooms, an L bracket on a ball head, and other accessories.  I always feel my equipment is very secure on this tripod.
If I were buying a tripod again today, this one would certainly be in my top two or three choices.  I think it delivers great quality to price ratio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Links
Induro CT213
Acratech Ball Head – To be reviewed at a later date!

 

Reminder

Most all of my images are available for sale, directly from ToddFWilliams.com (Prints, Metal Prints, Thin Wraps) or from Our-WV.com, (my exclusive spot for canvas gallery wraps.)  I will be linking images in posts, so that you may click  them and be magically transported to the host for that image, where you may purchase prints in the various mediums.

Thank you for all of your encouragement and support!

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Dolly Sods

A mid-morning, autumn image atop Dolly Sods Wilderness area.

 

This image is from a mid-morning adventure atop the ever beautiful Dolly Sods! It was such a blessing to get out on this beautiful morning with my good friends Randy and Brent. I remember this particular morning well, as the temperatures were a bit on the chilly side with the wind, as it often does, was blowing rather hard.

I normally pack a fleece in my pack, but on this morning I had forgotten it.  I was so excited to get up and on the mountain, that many thoughts probably escaped me.  I did have a couple of light layers on with a shell, but it was still cool!  Most of the time when I see a scene like this unfolding before me, the last thing on my mind is the temperature.   I know on this particular morning I was actually shivering at one point, but didn’t realize it until later on.

Windy conditions often make for challenging shooting, especially if there are many leaves / vegetation in the frame.  Many of the shots I made that morning had lots of blurry leaves in them!