Landscape and Nature Photography with Jason Odell & Matt Suess Aug. 8-15, 2024
I’m extremely excited to announce that I’ll be traveling to the Faroe Islands in 2024 as a co-instructor with OM Digital Ambassador Matt Suess for a weeklong photo safari! The Faroe Islands is a legitimate bucket-list destination, as it was named the Faroe Islands the most authentic and unspoiled group of islands in the world by National Geographic.
The Faroe Islands are located 320 kilometres (200 mi) north-northwest of Scotland, and about halfway between Norway (580 kilometres (360 mi) away) and Iceland (430 kilometres (270 mi) away).
From rugged seascapes to fishing villages and puffin colonies, your time in the Faroe Islands will be unforgettable. And with the help of Matt and myself, your photographs will be unforgettable, too!
This week, we bring you our annual holiday gift ideas! In addition to the usual items, which never go out of style, we’re also including some items that we’ve been personally fond of over the past year.
Treat your loved one (or yourself) to some new gear
It’s that time again! “Black Friday” has morphed into “most of November” for deals and sales on photography gear and software. Here are some items I strongly recommend for the photographer in your life (even if it’s you).
Many of the items on this list are indispensable when you’re in the field
If you’re moving from XQD to CF Express Type B, make sure you have a memory card reader that supports both formats, such as this one by Sony. Older XQD readers won’t read CF Express cards, and some CF Express readers won’t read XQD.
Professional flash units that won’t break your budget
I recently picked up a pair of Godox flash units and a wireless (radio) controller for my OM-1 camera. They work really well, and are easy on your wallet. I recommend the TT350O for Olympus/OM users.
Computer & Travel Accessories
On the road? Consider upgrading your backup drive to a portable SSD. They are small, extremely fast, and have no moving parts. I use a 2TB SanDisk portable SSD when I’m on the road.
Most newer cameras can be charged directly via a USB-C cable. Save the bulk of packing your standard charging brick and consider a multi-port USB-C charger to charge both your camera and your smartphone. This 40W dual charger by Anker has enough power to charge the Nikon Z9 battery, either in-camera or using the charging cradle.
When it comes to traveling, I like to pack my gear in a rolling bag, then transfer it to a shoulder bag when I’m out shooting. The ThinkTank roller bags are my personal choice for carrying larger kits through airports. When I’m traveling light and just want a backpack, the ThinkTank/MindShift Backlight 18L or 26L backpacks are amazing. They can hold lots of gear, and open from the back, making them more secure.
I personally use Adobe Lightroom Classic in conjunction with Adobe Photoshop. The newest masking features in Lightroom put it at the top of its class for raw image editors. I also recommend the following plug-in tools:
Topaz Photo AI: This suite of tools delivers some of the best sharpening and noise reduction I’ve seen; far superior to using Lightroom alone. The suite also includes the new Photo AI program, which is still evolving but bundles sharpening, noise reduction, and up-sizing images into one application. I have recently started re-thinking my triage criteria for “acceptably sharp,” as Sharpen AI (and Photo AI) can sometimes work miracles on slightly soft subjects. Any software package that makes me re-think my workflow deserves recognition.
DXO Pure Raw 3: This is my go-to tool for noise reduction and detail retention on high ISO images.
Infrared Conversion Services
If you have an older camera, why not give it new life by converting it to infrared? Kolari Vision offers a variety of conversion options, but the most intriguing (to me, at least), is the full-spectrum conversion. When paired with Kolari’s clip-in filters (for mirrorless cameras), it means you can have one camera that can truly deliver a wide range of creative infrared looks.
Cameras and Lenses
If you’re really looking for an upgrade this holiday season, you can check out the holiday specials at B&H Photo.
I’m back from a nice trip to New England and Canada, and while fall colors can be hit or miss, I did find some fun landscape subjects. We were driving along the Fundy Trail Parkway in New Brunswick, when we came across a trailhead to a waterfall. After a short walk down some trail stairs, we found ourselves on a viewing platform. Of course, I hadn’t brought my tripod, nor a set of ND filters on this trip.
I did, however, have a polarizer, and I was able to take advantage of the Live ND feature in the OM Systems (Olympus) OM-1 camera. Live ND is a computation feature that simulates a solid ND filter for extended exposure times without using a glass filter, up to 6-stops. This feature, combined with the tremendous image stabilization in the OM-1 allowed me to easily capture sharp shots hand-held at 1/2 second while not needing to stop down to f/22. I simply braced myself on the railing and captured images until I was happy.
The Live ND feature is so useful for casual long exposure shooting that I’ve taken the extra step to assign it to a function button on my camera for easy recall. Photography should be fun, and this situation certainly was.
I chose to leave these images un-cropped so you could get an idea of the framing. All of these subjects were within 5-10m from me. I shot all of them at 600mm and wide-open at f/6.3. Click any image to enlarge it.
One thing I will say about this combo, the Z9 and the 180-600mm have a combined weight of over 7lbs (3,300g). If you’re not using a monopod, hand-holding this lens will get tiresome after awhile. With a the Nikon Z8, you’re still dealing with a 6.3lb kit. (I certainly noticed it, although I was also at 9000′ (2743m) elevation…