For the folks that have been following along here at the blog you may recall I spent a great deal of time last summer using a Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye Lens, which was loaned to me by Gentec International, the Canadian distributor for Sigma lenses. Today I am pleased and honored to have been featured in a recently designed promotional piece for this lens. Each of the images featured on the promo card were created as I traveled throughout my home province of Ontario, Canada. To view more of my photos created with this lens please follow this link to the Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens and scroll through the various thumbnail images, clicking on each to view the larger, sharper version. This lens was an indispensable tool for my frog-scapes, landscapes, and everything in between…not too mention highly addictive and a ton of fun too
Posted in Announcements, Photo Gear, Publications | Tagged andrew mclachlan, fisheye lenses, fisheye photography, gentec international, nature photography, photography, sigma 15mm f 2.8 ex dg fisheye lens, sigma lenses | 6 Comments »
At 2:00 p.m. on February the 11th as I stood in the sunshine on the island of Cayman Brac, looking out over the Caribbean Sea, towards the island of Little Cayman I saw my first Tornado ever. What a cool sight to see. This type of tornado is actually called a waterspout. Waterspouts typically are very short lived with many lasting only 20 seconds or so and they are somewhat tame in comparison to tornadic waterspouts. By the time I grabbed my camera from the backpack this waterspout was already dissipating, but a few seconds earlier it was touching down on the ocean’s surface. Note the torrential rain on the right side of the composition. Either way, it was a good day to be on dry land
Posted in Caribbean, Cayman Brac, Environment, Landscapes | Tagged caribbean, cayman brac, cayman islands, landscape photography, little cayman, nature photography, photography, tornado, waterspouts, weather | 4 Comments »
The Cayman Islands is most noted for its amazing snorkeling and scuba diving and when I was making arrangements for my recent trip to Cayman Brac I made certain that I would be prepared to photograph life in the deep blue sea. The above photo was created on my departure as I began the long journey home. I created this image through the window pane of a Twin Otter aircraft using my Sony RX100. This amazing, yet tiny camera that will fit in a shirt pocket was my go-to piece of photo gear for my underwater adventure. The camera captures a 20 mega-byte image file when set to its RAW image capture mode. To find out more about how I used the camera underwater and for a few tips on underwater photography please read my recent article Into The Deep Blue Sea in the Creative Photography eMini-Magazine, a completely free and very informative on-line magazine and resource published by Denise Ippolito.
In the seascape image below I have encountered a little backscatter within the water column. Backscatter is the result of debris in the water and since I was photographing facing the sun, the effect of the debris was exaggerated but I do love the sun’s rays of light penetrating the surface. I do wish that a shark could have been swimming out of the depths for this image though
On one particular afternoon I came across a couple of local fishermen that were cleaning their catch and throwing the blood and guts back into the ocean, which attracted a great number of Stingrays. I grabbed my camera and immediately jumped into the water with the rays to create numerous images of them.
Fishes that are found within the oceans have always amazed me with their superb camouflage skills and during my numerous snorkeling trips I came across a few Peacock Flounders. Check out the image below to see how well they blend into their surroundings.
One of the most commonly encountered fishes were Parrotfish. Their colors were so intense, often resembling colors you would expect to see in neon signs.
I found some of the corals and sponges to me most fascinating too, especially the tube sponges that were most often encountered in deeper water of about 30-40 feet. Upon taking a breath I would dive down to create images of them. I found this to be most difficult to do as I would be fighting the body’s natural tendency to float back up to the surface. Often it would take several attempts to create the image I was seeking.
I was quite pleased with the Sony RX100′s performance below the sea in a dedicated housing and am looking forward to diving into Horseshoe Lake to experiment with some freshwater imagery.
Please click on the images to see the larger, sharper versions.
Posted in Caribbean, Cayman Brac, Sony RX100, Underwater Photography | Tagged cayman brac, cayman islands, flounder, nature photography, parrotfish, photography, seascapes, sony rx100, stingrays, underwater photography | Leave a Comment »
On the morning of February 7, during my two week stay on the tiny island of Cayman Brac my destination was Pollard Bay on the eastern tip of the island, along the south shore. The shoreline here is very rugged and quickly meets the 140 foot bluff that is the spine of Cayman Brac. At 5:00 am I awoke to the sound of the alarm clock, jumped into the rental car and drove east, along the left side of the road until I reached the end, which is at Pollard Bay. I gathered my gear and walked out across the rugged and very sharp rocky coast to await the rising sun. After a few minutes of meandering around I came upon this indent in the shoreline where the waves were rolling in and out in a pleasing manner. I composed the scene with my Nikon D800 and Nikon 18-35mm lens firmly mounted to the Manfrotto BeFree Tripod, which is an ideal photographers travel companion. I created numerous compositions on this morning and will share more of them with you in a future post, but the image above is my favorite from that morning. Many of my favorite sunrise images tend to be captured prior to the sun becoming visible on the horizon. For me that is the sweetest light of all.
Please click on the image to see the larger, sharper version.
During my recent trip to the Caribbean island of Cayman Brac in the Cayman Islands, Gentect International the Canadian distributor for Manfrotto tripods was kind enough to loan me the Manfrotto BeFree, which is a small lightweight tripod designed for travel. When the tripod arrived at my home just prior to my departing I knew instantly that this lovely little tripod would be perfect for my travels, and throughout my trip I was constantly reminded why having a small light weight tripod is so beneficial for travel. Whether I was using my wide angle zoom or my large and heavy Nikon 80-400 mm VR lens the tripod met my expectations of what should be expected in a travel tripod – lightweight yet sturdy.
First and foremost the Befree Tripod comes with an attractive and very useful carrying bag. I would often hang the tripod from the handlebars of a bicycle to ride down the road to nearby photo destinations.
The Manfrotto Befree Tripod weighs in at only 3lbs and is 15.75 inches in length when fully closed and boasts a maximum payload of 8.8 lbs. As is the case with most tripods designed for travel it is not overly tall when fully extended. With the center column extended the tripod will reach a height of 56.7 inches and 48.4 inches tall when the center column is not extended. Since I am 6 foot 1 inch I did find this a tad short, but I also much prefer to photograph my landscapes from a lower perspective, so this was not really too big of a concern to me. Also, it should be noted that when any tripod’s center column is extended the stability of said tripod becomes immediately less stable. As a result I was not extending the center column during use, and I would advise strongly that folks avoid extending the center column of any tripod unless they absolutely need to do so.
The Manfrotto Befree Tripod comes with its very own mini ballhead incorporating Manfrotto’s quick release system that has been in use for a number of years. I have found this to be a very functional system that provides the convenience and stability a photographer would need. The quick release plates easily screw into the tripod threads on your camera by means of a collapsible-type of thumb screw and once tightened to the camera you can then tighten a small set-screw to prevent the quick release plate from twisting during use.
Three features I particularly liked about this tripod were; one of the legs has a rubber section incorporated into it which I found greatly improved the carrying comfort and which would be very handy for use in cold climates. Secondly, each leg has a silver adjustment tab that allows each leg to adjust independantly for use on uneven terrain or to fold it down for storage inside the carrying bag. Lastly, the legs of the Befree are four section legs that are controlled by three lever-type cam-locks. I found closing and locking the levers to be a very simple process, I would loosen each leg-lock, close the legs, and then with one simple motion use the palm of my hand in a rolling motion to close all three of the locks.
The leg-locking levers and mini ballhead are protected by misuse from airport baggage handlers due to the manner in which the Befree folds down for travel. The leg-locking levers and ballhead are protected by being positioned inside the sturdy aluminum tripod legs.
Below you will see a series of images that better illustrate the fantastic features mentioned above. Please click on each image to see the larger, sharper versions. If you are looking for a small, light weight tripod for your next travel adventure do consider the Manfrotto BeFree. I found it to be an amazingly light, yet sturdy tripod that ensured I was able to create the tack sharp images I demand from my work. This tripod will become my brand new companion for all of my travel photography needs.
Posted in Caribbean, Landscapes, Photo Gear, Reviews | Tagged cayman brac, cayman islands, gentec international, landscape photography, manfrotto, manfrotto befree tripod, nature photography, travel photography, travel tripods | 4 Comments »
Before I left for my trip to the Caribbean island of Cayman Brac in the Cayman Islands I was aware of the Barn Owl population on the island. My research had informed me that these owls use the numerous caves found along the island’s bluff as roosting sites. On several nights while I was photographing treefrogs I could hear these owls calling nearby and did witness a couple of late night fly-bys too. My guide on the island had directed me to a couple of caves that would be productive, but the owls were to wary and would fly out when I would try to make my approach. Eventually my guide and I traveled to the eastern end of the island for an owl that was more tolerant of folks inside the cave. After climbing halfway up the bluff we made our way down into a large cavernous cave and sure enough a Barn Owl sat near the top of the cave, which was open to the sky, undisturbed by our presence. I quickly created numerous compositions of this owl, both wide views and tight crops. For the wider views I utilized the pop-up flash on my Nikon D800 to help illuminate the cave walls inside. Each of the images in this post were created with a handheld Nikon 80-400mm VR lens and to better describe how dark it was inside the cave I dialed in an ISO setting of 5000. Having previously tested my Nikon D800 at very high ISOs I did not hesitate to dial this setting in and fire away
Which of these photographs is your favorite?
Barn Owls are an extremely rare sight here in southern Ontario, so having the opportunity to photograph wild specimens on Cayman Brac was a real treat during this recent trip.
Please click on the images to see the larger, sharper versions.
It has been a most hectic week for me since my return from paradise on the Caribbean island of Cayman Brac within the Cayman Islands. I have been busy sending submissions to clients and preparing my entries for the BBC / Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition, which closes on February 27th. I held off on entering any images until my return from Cayman Brac as I felt the island held many great possibilities for imagery that would be worthy of entering into this year’s competition – I entered 6 images from my recent trip into the contest.
Each and every morning I would set the alarm to wake me about forty-five minutes before sunrise. I would then walk down to the beach and commence capturing numerous sunrise images. When photographing sunrise scenes it is always a best practice to get into the habit of looking behind you to see what is going on in the western skies, as I did on the morning I created the above photograph. To accurately record the lovely pinkish tones I use my Singh-Ray 3-stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter and because I was photographing at daybreak just before sun-up my exposure was long enough to pleasingly blur the ocean waves.
During my trip to Cayman Brac I really wanted to travel as lightly as possible, which was made possible by Gentec International the Canadian distributor of Manfrotto Tripods. Gentec was kind enough to loan me the new Manfrotto BeFree Tripod for my trip to Cayman Brac. Please keep an eye open next week for my full review of this wonderful tripod that makes traveling a breeze.
Do remember to click on the image above to see the larger, sharper version.
Posted in Caribbean, Landscapes | Tagged caribbean sea, cayman brac, cayman islands, gentec international, landscape photography, manfrotto, manfrotto befree, nature photography, oceans, photography, sunrise | 6 Comments »