This summer, I had planned on taking the family on a vacation that they will never forget to Disney’s Aulani Resort on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Ofcourse, I wanted to document the trip but, I was indecisive weeks prior to the trip to which camera or cameras to bring. Here were the options I considered and why:
Nikon D800 DSLR with a 28-70mm lens: I had expectations that this trip to Hawaii would be one that the family will never forget so what better tool to bring than a 36MP machine with one of the sharpest lenses that I own. Plus, if I really want to, the D800 is capable of shooting 1080p video. The main problem is… this setup on my shoulder is worth alot of $$$ and I would be worried of theft, damage, or leaving it somewhere.
Canon G10 Point and Shoot Camera: This has been my “go to” vacation camera for several years. Small, pocket-able, and produces great images due to it’s 14MP sensor. The problem is, I dropped this camera awhile back and it damaged the video capabilities. Still images were great but, I wanted to include more video on this trip.
GoPro Hero 3+ Black: I knew the video capabilities of a GoPro and it would have accompanied me to this trip no matter what. The question I had was, are it’s still photo capabilities sufficient enough to capture my vacation of a lifetime? Before leaving for Hawaii, I practiced shooting stills with the GoPro.
The fourth option was to purchase a new Canon G16 point and shoot: The new G16 obviously has great still image capabilities plus it is capable of 1080p video (vs 720p video in my G10). The G16 also had built in wifi which will allow me to post images on social networks almost immediately.
Ultimately, I did not purchase a new camera as I could not justify the cost since I had all the capabilities of the Canon G16 already… just in different devices I already had. As we boarded the plane, what I had in my ThinkTank Streetwalker Pro backpack was my Canon G10, GoPro Hero 3+, extra batteries, chargers, and accessories.
I had both cameras on me most of the time throughout the vacation… obviously, if we were near water all I had was the GoPro in it’s waterproof housing. What surprised me when we got back home and I injested all the images and videos I took on our week long vacation is that over 90% of the images and videos I took were using the GoPro!
Who would have thought that a GoPro is all I really needed to capture our vacation!
Below are some still images and a YouTube link of the video I created… again, only camera I used was a GoPro!
YouTube link to video: Our Aulani Vacation… 2 seconds at a time.
The first time I was at this basketball facility, I wasn’t prepared to set up a remote camera. So I made a mental note to myself to bring a magic arm to attach to the base of basketball hoop the next time. That opportunity came about a month after the first visit.
Jan 17 2015 || Sacramento, CA: Bay Area Renegades invade Jam On It’s MLK Dream Big Festival Basketball Tournament held at McClellan Park || © 2015 John Encinas, all rights reserved || www.johnencinas.com
Photography is a hobby for me… I came to the conclusion that photography will not be my main source of income decades ago… not because I didn’t think I had the eye, the technical skills, or business sense but, when I made an effort to make money with my photography… it turned into a job. That personally took the fun out of it for me.
So, here I am now… I use photography as a distraction from the real world. Sure, I get hired for a couple gigs here and there for some extra cash that is usually invested back into my photography.
So when another photographer located 3000 miles away whom I have never met in person holds me in high regard as a photographer… it humbles me to no end. Our friendship started a few years ago on Instagram then eventually found each other on Facebook where we would talk photography.
Here’s a link to Ibis “Throwback” Veliz’s website below. The reference to me is in his “About Me” section.
Thank you Ibis!
Recent had the opportunity to test out my newly acquired fplate (www.fplate.net) and I cannot believe I waited so long to purchase one. The image above was literally the first image that was captured after the initial setup, prefocus, and test shots.
Nikon D800 | Nikkor 17-35mm @ 22mm | 1/400 | f4.0 | ISO 6400
Here’s where I placed the camera mounted on the fplate. I’m sure people who were was watching me setup was taking side bets to how many times I would hit my head against the wall as I was trying to stick my head in a small area to prefocus the camera. In hindsight, I have a solution to that problem and I’ll share it on a future post.
A full frame 36 megapixel Nikon D800 shouldn’t be the first camera one would grab to capture fast moving action such as baseball. Mainly due to the slow frame rate that tops out at 4 frames per second. Practicing the skill of anticipating the action can definitely help negate the slow frame rate. Some of the advantages of the D800 for sports is the fast autofocusing system also found on Nikon’s flagship D4. The one reason why I will continue to use a D800 for shooting sports are the files that the D800 produces. The image files are simply awesome. One added benefit of the 36 megapixel sensor for sports is the amount one can crop the image without any degradation. The D800 has definitely found a place in my toolbox.
It’s that time of year again… 11u Solano Nationals had their first practice today which gave me the opportunity to test some newly acquired gear… more on that in future posts.
I’ve been shooting with remote cameras for awhile now. For outdoor sports, primarily baseball… I invested in a pair of Manfrotto Magic Arms many years ago to attach a remote camera to fences, backstops, etc. I have an earlier post HERE where I outline the equipment needed to set up a remote camera.
Although, I had the equipment for outdoor sports, I didn’t really have any equipment for indoor sports such as basketball and volleyball where I would setup a remote camera on the floor to provide a very low perspective. All I did was place a AA battery on the bottom of the camera with some gaffer tape so that the camera can be slightly angled upwards to capture the action. It gets the job done and it’s cheap.
The main problem with that method is consistency and accuracy. So, I decided to step up my remote camera game and purchased a floor plate from fplate.net. What’s neat about the fplate is the ability to mount a Pocketwizard directly to the fplate for an overall clean setup. I also installed an Induro ballhead so that I can precisely compose the remote camera to whatever angle I need. I don’t have to move a AA battery around to try and get just the right angle. The Induro ballhead is equipped with a QR plate so I also purchased a universal L-Bracket so that I can quickly change from a horizontal to a vertical orientation on any of my cameras.
Can’t wait to give my new remote setup a try.
I’ve always tried to be in the right place at the right time. Being able to capture emotion is one of the most difficult things to do in sports photography but, when I capture it… I am reminded why I do what I do. Click on the image above to view my new Game Winners, Walk Offs, and Championships portfolio on the main website.
Setup as a floor remote, I gaffer taped a single AA battery at the bottom of the camera so that there is a slight tilt upwards. I plan to purchase an fplate in the near future to give me a more consistent and sturdy base. The remote camera is triggered via Pocketwizard.
Remote: Nikon D800 with a 35mm lens @ f4, 1/400, ISO 5000
Main: Nikon D3s with a 85mm lens @ f4, 1/400, ISO 5000
Dec 20 2014 || Sacramento, CA: 11u Bay Area Renegades vs Jam On It held at Jam On It at McClellan