Grand Canyon and Sedona Arizona Trip

Lisa and I recently got home from 1 week out west which was a terrific trip.  We flew non-stop from Newark airport into Phoenix and I was able to secure tickets at $300 after some diligent research.  Our first accommodations  were Forest Houses Resort in Oak Creek Canyon (just outside of Sedona).  For the 2nd leg of our trip we stayed at the Yavapai Lodge within Grand Canyon National Park.  We found the rates at both to be reasonable and the rooms were more than adequate.  I also booked a rental car from Phoenix at $16/day thanks to hotwire.

red rock country sedona

Sedona, Arizona. This photo was taken from Red Rock Crossing. Image by Dave Blinder, please contact me for licensing or prints.

For photography equipment I brought along my Canon 5DsR dslr as well as my Canon SL2.  I brought three lenses with me, the Tamron SP 24-70mm VC G1, Tamron SP 150-600mm VC G2, and the Tamron SP 90mm VC G1 macro lens.  I did not use my macro lens much as I was often on the go, and did not want to swap lenses in dusty environments.

elk wildlife picture

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. Image by Dave Blinder, please contact me for licensing or prints.

For the sake of brevity I am not posting pictures from each and every park we visited, however I am happy to answer any travel questions that I can help with.  Some of the many attractions we enjoyed include: Slide Rock State Park, Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Red Rock State Park, Cathedral Rock, Devil’s Bridge, Palatki Heritage Site, Tuzigoot National Monument, Walnut Canyon National Monument, Little Colorado River Gorge, and of course Grand Canyon National Park.

south rim grand canyon art print

Early morning view of Grand Canyon National Park Arizona. Image by Dave Blinder, please contact me for licensing or prints.

I found the lighting conditions around Sedona to be challenging during my trip, yet I really enjoyed my time spent in the area.  Photographic momentum picked up for me when we made it to the Grand Canyon.  It would be difficult to take a bad sunrise or sunset picture when standing in front one of the natural wonders of the world.  I also found the Navajo tribal land (just beyond desert view) to be very peaceful and a very immersive nature study area.  Do yourself and check out the Little Colorado River Gorge when in the area.

arizona ground squirrel picture

Rock Squirrel at Little Colorado River Gorge. Image by Dave Blinder, please contact me for licensing or prints.

Now that it is finally springtime here in New Jersey, I look forward to photographing the regularly scheduled birds and bees.  Let me know if you have any questions about my Arizona pictures or any of my travel accommodations.

Arizona yellow bird id picture

Lesser Goldfinch Female with Fledgling at the Verde River in Cottonwood Arizona. Image by Dave Blinder, please contact me for licensing or prints.

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Ecotourism in SE Florida 2018; a visual essay

Nike Missile picture

A National Park Service volunteer provides information on the history of the Nike Missile at Everglades National park in Homestead Florida. February 2018, photo by Dave Blinder

Crocodile viewing Everglades National Park

Crocodile viewing at Flamingo Campground Marina. An NPS ranger gives information on American Crocodiles. Everglades National Park in Homestead Florida. Photograph by Dave Blinder, February 2018.

Robert Moehling is Here picture

Robert Moehling interacts with customers at Robert is Here. Homestead Florida, February 2018. Photo by Dave Blinder

Robert is Here produce

Cashier uncorks a coconut at Robert is Here Fruit Stand. February 2016 in Homestead Florida. Photo by Dave Blinder

Robert is Here owner picture

Robert Moehling attends the customers at Robert is Here Fruit Stand. Homestead Florida in February 2018. Photo by Dave Blinder.

Florida Everglades tourism

Tourists look for wildlife. Pa-hay-okee Overlook at Everglades National Park in Homestead Florida. Photograph by Dave Blinder, February 2018.

Florida Key Deer photography

A Florida Key Deer Buck approaches a woman. No Name Key in the Florida Keys. These volunteers were outdoors picking up litter and recyclables. February 2018, photograph by Dave Blinder.

Picture of Old Bahia Honda Bridge. Summerland Key

Fishing in front of Old Bahia Honda Bridge. Summerland Key in the Florida Keys. Photograph by Dave Blinder, February 2018.

Florida Keys Photography

Kurt Hassleman snaps a scenic shot. Summerland Key at the base of the Old Bahia Honda Bridge. Photograph by Dave Blinder, February 2018.

Girl on beach picture

Girl picking up seashells on Florida Keys. Summerland Key at the base of the Old Bahia Honda Bridge. Photograph by Dave Blinder, February 2018.

Shark Valley Miami Picture

Cyclists on bike trail at Shark Valley. Shark Valley. Visitor Center in Miami Florida. Photograph by Dave Blinder, February 2018.

Biking at Shark Valley Florida

Cyclists on bike trail at Shark Valley. Shark Valley. Visitor Center in Miami Florida. Photograph by Dave Blinder, February 2018.

Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk Wildlife Viewing

Birders at the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk. Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve in Naples Florida. Photograph by Dave Blinder, February 2018.

Parking lot for Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk

Photographers at the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk. Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve in Naples Florida. Photograph by Dave Blinder, February 2018.

Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk Naples photography

Photographers at the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk. Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve in Naples Florida. Photograph by Dave Blinder, February 2018.

Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk picture

Birders at the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk. Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve in Florida. Photograph by Dave Blinder, February 2018.

Everglades Florida dog friendly

Visitors at the H.P. Williams Roadside Park. Turner River Road, Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida. Photograph by Dave Blinder, February 2018

Big Cypress Florida photography

Young Photographer at the H.P. Williams Roadside Park. Turner River Road, Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida. Photograph by Dave Blinder, February 2018

Big Cypress National Reserve picture

Visitors at the H.P. Williams Roadside Park. Turner River Road, Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida. Photograph by Dave Blinder, February 2018

Informational links on Florida scenic points of interest:

Nike Missile Base at Everglades National Park

Robert is Here Fruit Stand in Homestead Florida

Pa-hay-okee Overlook in Everglades National Park

Old Bahia Honda Bridge in Summerland Key

Shark Valley Visitor Center near Miami Florida

Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk in Naples Florida

H.P. Williams Roadside Park in Big Cypress National Preserve

Please let me know if you have any questions on the images, places visited, or photography equipment.

All images taken with the Tamron USA 18-400mm VC HLD zoom lens and Canon Rebel DSLRs.

Purchasing equipment through my Amazon Affiliate links helps support my informational posts. Thank you!

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Common Lizards of the Florida Everglades

Only 2 days until my return to Everglades National Park in Florida

Here is a look at two common lizards I photographed at ENP in 2013. Main Park Road in Homestead is teeming with wildlife if you slow down to appreciate the biodiversity.

The Green Anole is a native lizard to the area, whereas the Brown Anole is an introduced animal originating in Cuba.

Photography equipment used for the pictures:

Tamron Lenses USA SP 90mm Macro Lens + Canon T2i + Canon Speedlight 90EXII

 

florida green lizard picture

A common lizard of Everglades National Park. Green Anole photographed off of Main Park Road in Homestead by Dave Blinder in December of 2013. Tamron SP 90mm VC Macro Lens + Canon T2i

small brown lizard florida picture

A common non-native lizard of Everglades National Park. Brown Anole photographed off of Main Park Road in Homestead by Dave Blinder in December of 2013. Tamron SP 90mm VC Macro Lens + Canon T2i

 

Two locations I have done well with for macro wildlife photography within Everglades National Park are Paurotis Pond and the parking area near Pa-Hay-Okee.

Do you have any questions on the photography techniques or finding wildlife within Everglades National Park?  If so, leave a comment here on WordPress and I will gladly try to help.

 

Tamron 18-400mm high resolution pictures

Full resolution sample images from Tamron USA‘s​ 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Model B028 ultra-telephoto all-in-one zoom lens

These are SOOC ( straight out of the camera ) JPEGs with no editing performed. Both shots are with the lens at full zoom, 400mm, at maximum aperture F/6.3 and taken on a 24mp SL2.

Tamron 18-400mm lens sample picture

Full Resolution SOOC sample image from the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Model B028 ultra-telephoto all-in-one zoom lens. Taken on a 24 megapixel Canon SL2 by Dave Blinder. Order via my Amazon affiliate link – http://amzn.to/2eMYfUO Nikon Mount

Flower photograph camera settings:

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Model B028

Canon EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR camera

Handheld with VC On (Vibration Control) at 400mm

1/640 F/6.3 ISO 400 using the Center Point One-Shot Autofocus and Auto White Balance

Tamron 18-400mm lens sample picture

Full Resolution SOOC sample image from the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Model B028 ultra-telephoto all-in-one zoom lens. Taken on a 24 megapixel Canon SL2 by Dave Blinder. Order via my Amazon affiliate link – http://amzn.to/2eMYfUO Nikon Mount

Bee photograph camera settings:

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Model B028

Canon EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR camera

Tripod-mounted VC Off (Vibration Control) at 400mm

1/60 F/6.3 ISO 800 using Manual Focus and Auto White Balance

 

Due to possible compression you may want to download the full pictures from my personal Google Drive – https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwfEzS2JEk2EbTVRR01oTEwxaTQ

To order these lenses now try my Amazon Affiliate links (gives me a small commission):

http://amzn.to/2xle2W3
Canon Mount

http://amzn.to/2eMYfUO
Nikon Mount

Opteka 15mm f/4 vs Tamron 15-30mm

I picked up a Opteka 15mm lens online to use as a lightweight backup lens for Real Estate Photography and also landscapes.  Unfortunately the Opteka 15mm f/4 LD UNC AL 1:1 Macro Wide Angle Full Frame Lens comes nowhere near filling the shoes of my Tamron SP 15-30mm VC F/2.8 lens.  As such, I can’t rely on the Opteka for any serious work.

Comparison test images below.  All shots taken on my tripod mounted full-framed Sony A7R I (using the Fotodiox Pro Canon EF adapter).  2 second delay and manual focus techniques were employed for both shots.  Exposure information – ISO 400, F/16.  0.3 second shutter speed with the Tamron and 1/10th second shutter on the Opteka yielded a similar brightness to the frame.

The upper left corners of the Opteka 15mm lens are fairly soft.  The upper right corners of the Opteka 15mm are extremely soft.  Center sharpness is surprisingly not bad.

See below to reach your own conclusion:

Tamron 15-30mm + Sony A7R Landscape Photography

Tamron SP 15-30mm VC + Sony A7R

Opteka 15mm + Sony A7R Landscape Photography

Opteka 15mm F/4 + Sony A7R

 

Tamron Upper Left Crop

Tamron SP 15-30mm Upper Left Crop

Opteka Upper Left

Opteka 15mm Upper Left Crop

 

Tamron Lower Left Crop

Tamron SP 15-30mm VC Lower Left Crop

Opteka Lower Left Crop

Opteka 15mm F/4 Lower Left Crop

Tamron Upper Right Crop 15mm

Tamron SP 15-30mm Upper Right Crop

Opteka Upper Right Crop

Opteka 15mm Upper Right Crop

Tamron Lower Right Crop

Tamron Lower Left Crop

Opteka Lower Right Crop

Opteka Lower Left Crop

Tamron Focal Point Crop 15mm

Tamron Focal Point Crop

Opteka Focal Point Crop 15mm

Opteka Focal Point Crop

 

Do you need digital photography lenses, cameras, or accessories reviewed and tested?  Send me an email at daveblinderphotography@gmail.com to get started

 

Intro to Landscape Photography Course- Visual Arts Center of NJ

I am very excited to be offering a 5 week course, Introduction to Landscape Photography, this fall on Thursday nights at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey in Summit, New Jersey.

We will take a look at all of the building blocks in making a successful landscape image as well as the best camera settings and accessories. Given enough time, we will also broach on classic landscape compositions and modern digital landscape photography techniques. The goal is for participants to make consistently impactful photos and of course a greater appreciation for the arts.

WildcatRidgeLandscape.jpg

Landscape Photography (16F-1109)
Instructor: David Blinder
Experience Level: All Levels
Thursdays, 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
5 sessions: Oct 20, 2016 – Nov 17, 2016
Members: $ 160.00 – Non-Members: 190.00
Lab Fee: $ 35.00

Registration info in link below:

http://public.artcenternj.org/public/AdultClasses.faces?medium=photography+%26+digital+media

Visual Arts Center.jpg

Sea Isle Reflections

This is an impromptu composition that was dictated by the lighting conditions.  My intention for this night photography session was to photograph stars in the sky, but the punchy light from the moon and the promenade limited the definition possible in the sky.

Fine Art Landscape Photo

Fine Art Photograph taken at night at the Jersey Shore in Sea Isle City

The camera settings here are a focal length of 18mm, aperture at F/5.6 and ISO speed of 400.  Increasing the exposure would have blown out the highlights and decreasing the exposure would have rendered the scene too dark for my tastes.  I originally started off at a higher ISO but the image looked washed out so I lowered it a full ISO stop.  I do not shoot still photos in incremental ISO’s as anything other than native ISO values can deteriorate dynamic range or image quality.  Other settings: RAW file format, Auto White Balance, Mirror Lock Up, 2 Second Timer, VC (stabilization) off, tripod firmly in the sand

The composition in this photo is a pretty straight-forward rule-of-thirds setup.  The horizon is placed about 1/3 of the way down from the top of the frame and the houses occupy approximately 2/3 of the horizontal length of the frame.  Putting those elements dead center in the photo would have killed the dynamics in my opinion.

American Goldfinch DSLR video; filmed in Cape May, New Jersey

It was a real treat to get some close footage of our vibrant state bird recently.  I knew that I would want footage from several different angles to create diversity… even in a short wildlife video.  Varying the focal lengths and my angle of view on the birds was how I tackled that challenge.

Footage shot in 1080p at 30fps on the Canon EOS 7D with the tripod mounted Tamron SP 150-600mm VC zoom lens.  DSLR was set to the desired shutter speed of 1/60th of a second and I adjusted the aperture and ISO value to get as good of an exposure as possible for each clip.  Unfortunately it was a windy day so I had to strip the audio of the birds interacting and feeding.  I don’t think anyone would have enjoyed listening to the hissing and popping caused by the wind hitting the microphone outdoors.

Photography with Intent

Photography with Intent

I did originally compose this shot (tripod mounted camera of course) putting the thick central line (gap in my exterior car panel) off-center as I find the compositional Rule of Thirds very effective. However, before pressing the shutter, I realized that the prominent diagonals (mud on my car), minimalistic subject matter, and a central divider would give this photo a “pop art” feel to it.

When I make photographs like this I know they will not be popular on my flickr page where “in your face” wildlife shots get me the most views. While I recognize that wildlife is still my bread and butter subject matter with my audience, I do my best to diversify at times without alienating my viewing audience.

Tamron 90mm VC macro lens, Canon EOS 7D DSLR, Manfrotto 190xProB tripod with 489rc2 Ballhead, F/22, ISO 100, 1.6s exposure, Aperture-priority mode, One-shot Auto-focus Mode near center of photo, 2 second timer, Mirror Lock-Up, RAW file format