Loading...

Follow Andy Mumford on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

I'm really excited to announce that I'll be teaming up with Jonas Paurell of Vagabond Expeditions to run a photography expedition to the Arctic Circle in February next year.  We'll be using dog sleds, snow-mobiles and snowshoes to explore Swedish Lapland, meeting the semi-nomadic reindeer herding Sámi communities, and experiencing the northern lights in this incredible winter landscape.

Jonas is a Swedish photographer and mountain guide with years of experience in Lapland who'll be leading us through this fantastic part of the world.  We'll be basing ourselves in a large modern mountain hut which we'll have exclusive use of - it really is an opportunity for a unique photography tour in an incredibly special place.  You can find full information on the workshop webpage here.

Below are a selection of Jonas' images from last winter,  and I recommend you also check out some of his videos from the area, which I've also linked below.







Jonas' videos from Swedish Lapland
Northern Lights, landscape photography - Kebnekaise (Day 4) - YouTube
Northern Lights, landscape photography - Kebnekaise (Day 2-3) - YouTube
Landscape photography, northern lights, kebnekaise day 5 7 - YouTube

 

 

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

The Fuji X-H1 is Fujifilm’s latest APS-C sensor flagship camera, but does this camera replace the X-T2 in Fuji’s line up?  I spent some time shooting landscapes with the X-H1 in Tuscany last month and had the chance to compare the cameras side by side to see what the differences are.

The X-H1 uses the same 24mp XTRANS III sensor and X-Processor Pro as the X-T2, and indeed the X-T20, X-E3 and X-Pro 2, so the image output from the cameras is exactly the same.  If your prime interest is in shooting still images then it’s important to understand that the images from both the X-T2 and the X-H1 are identical, the differences between the cameras lay in other areas.

I made a video outlining the practical differences, which you can see below

Fujifilm X-H1 - A Practical Comparison with the X-T2 - YouTube

The headline difference between the two cameras is that the X-H1 has 5 axis IBIS (in body image stabilisation) which can work on it’s own or in conjunction with the OIS (optical image stabilisation) in Fuji lenses.   Fuji claim that it gives between 3.5 and 5.5 stops of stabilisation depending on the lens, meaning you should be able to handhold the camera with considerably slower shutter speeds than normal without there being any shake.  Arguably though IBIS really comes into it’s own with video where it removes camera shake in handheld video and makes panning shots much smoother. 

VIDEO

Fuji are clearly marketing the X-H1 as a camera aimed at people who shoot primarily video, which is noticeable in that most of the differences it had at launch over the X-T2 were in it’s video capabilities.  It’s the first  Fuji X series camera to be able to shoot F-Log, a flat profile which is essentially similar to shooting RAW in photography.  F-Log allows more detail, colour and contrast to be pulled out in post-production, making it easier to attain a particular look or to match the video to that shot with other cameras (for example a drone).  Without F log, you’re forced to shoot your video in one of Fuji’s film simulations, and while Provia is a relatively neutral profile it’s still quite contrast-y and saturated.  

On top of that, Fuji introduced a new film profile specifically for the X-H1. Eterna has a more cinematic feel than the existing profiles and has less saturation and contrast, as well as more flexibility to pull detail from the highlights and shadows than the other film simulations

The X-H1 also introduced the capability to shoot at 120fps in full HD, which allows true slow motion, as well as being able to shoot 4K video at 200mbs, as opposed the X-T2 ‘s limit of 100mbs

One final significant video difference is that the X-H1 can shoot longer clips.  It can shoot 4K continuously for 15 minutes compared to the X-T2’s 10 minutes.  It can shoot Full HD for 20 minutes compared to the X-T2’s 15 minutes. 

A few months after the launch of the X-H1, Fuji introduced a firmware upgrade (Version 4) for the X-T2 which implements a few of the X-H1 features like F-Log and 120fps in Full HD into the camera, bringing the cameras much closer together in terms of video features.  However, the ability to shoot longer clips, to shoot 4K at 200mbs, the Eterna film simulation, as well as IBIS still mean that the X-H1 has the edge for people who shoot mostly video.




BUILD & CONTROLS

The first thing you notice when you see the X-H1 is that it’s quite a bit bigger than the X-T2.  This feeling is strengthened when you pick it up and feel the additional weight.  The X-H1 weighs in at 673g compared to the X-T2 at 507g, and this increase is down to the IBIS mechanism inside the body as well as the fact that the magnesium frame of the X-H1 is 25% thicker, making the body tougher.  The handgrip is significantly bigger and deeper, which makes the camera really fit well in the hand and much easier to hold out in front of you when shooting video. The exposure compensation dial of the X-T2 has been replaced with a small LCD screen containing all the essential shooting parameters, and overall the right side of the camera looks and feels very much like the GFX, Fuji’s medium format camera.



Personally speaking I switched from using dSLRs to Fuji mirrorless cameras because I wanted to cut down on the size and weight of my camera equipment and I really like the form factor the X-T2.  It’s a wonderful combination of ergonomics and sturdiness, fitting perfectly into the hand but having a tough enough build that I’ve taken it with me to all kinds of harsh environments, from -20º and blizzards in northern Norway to spray filled environments next to Icelandic waterfalls.  It’s a really well balanced camera, and its size and weight mean I can carry an extra body (an X-T20) for shooting B-Roll or time-lapses, 3 lenses and a DJI Mavic drone in a small backpack that’s easy to carry with me on long hikes or us steep hills.  The X-H1 feels like a step back in that respect, and I prefer the size and feel of the X-T2.

The X-H1, like the newer X Series cameras, has a touch screen and Bluetooth connection, and how important these things are will depend on the shooter.  While I like the idea of wireless connectivity, it’s not something I use in practice, and touchscreens certainly aren’t something that I feel I need.  I prefer to use the joystick to focus, particularly as I’m often shooting with gloves, although I do find the “pinch to zoom” a useful feature.  Still, touchscreen is something I can happily live without but I do accept that some people really do find it useful.

CONCLUSIONS

So where does that leave the differences between the two cameras then, which should you choose?  The cameras have identical image and video quality, but the X-H1 is €300 more expensive, so it’s really going to come down to how much you want or need IBIS in your shooting.  The stabilization works incredibly well and you can see in the video I linked above the difference between handholding the camera with it turned on and with it turned off.  It provides much smoother footage when holding the camera still, and makes a huge difference when you’re moving the camera, for example making a handheld panning shot or walking with the camera.  So if you’re shooting video then the X-H1 is probably the camera for you, but if you’re shooting mainly stills then the necessity of IBIS starts to become a little more debatable and depends on what kind of photographer you are.  I shoot mostly landscapes and mostly on a tripod where IBIS makes no difference whatsoever.  I also shoot street photography, particularly when I’m travelling, but its rare that I feel a need for a slow shutter speed as even if the camera is steady, there will be blur from elements in the frame moving during the exposure.   This however is the way I shoot, for other people it may be different and from experimenting I was able to get sharp handheld telephoto shots at 200mm down to around 1/40.  If this is something you need in your photography then you’ll love the X-H1.  

For me though the IBIS comes at a cost that exceeds its advantages.  First of all there’s the increased size and weight, which matters to me as I like to travel as fast and light as possible.  Secondly there’s the faster battery usage; Fuji lists the X-H1 as being good for 310 shots on one charge against the X-T2 which is listed at 340 shots per charge.  I couldn’t really measure this with any degree of accuracy as I’m constantly using the camera differently.  I might be using it to shoot a bit of 4K B-roll video, then on my tripod with the LCD screen on to shoot images, then with the LCD and EVF off to shoot a time-lapse, all of which use the battery differently.  I did notice however that I needed to change the battery considerably more often on the X-H1 than I do on the X-T2, and this was in the warm environment of Tuscany so I’m not sure how it would handle cold climates like Norway or an alpine winter.

FINAL THOUGHTS

At the end of the day though the image and video output from both of these cameras is superb, and if you’d like to see more about the image quality you can expect check out my X-T2 review or have a look at the video review above.  

You can’t go wrong whichever you choose to buy and Fuji seem to be constantly taking on board feedback from their customers to improve their line of X Series cameras.  The X-H1 is probably not meant to replace the X-T2, something that will become more apparent with the launch of the X-T3 either later this year or early next. Rather, it’s a new line that’s focused on the growing video market, so think of it this way: The X-T2 is an amazing stills camera that also produces fantastic video, the X-H1 is a fantastic video camera that also produces amazing stills.

If there’s anything I haven’t covered either above or in the video, just drop me a comment or an email.  Also, thanks to Fujifilm Portugal as ever for lending me the camera to test.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

I’ve just returned from leading a workshop in the gorgeous rolling hills of Tuscany and next month I’ll be in Iceland to lead two workshops in some of the most stunning landscapes in the world.  However, when I’m not travelling I often lead small or 1-to-1 workshops in my home city of Lisbon and on the coast here.

The coast west of Lisbon has some of the most wild and wonderful beaches for photography that I’ve ever seen and it’s always a pleasure to take people there shooting.  One evening we headed down to Praia da Ursa to shoot the sunset and while we there a huge storm blew in from the Atlantic. The light was wonderful, but the hike back up the narrow trail to the top of the cliffs was a bit tricky in torrential rain.  By the time we got to the top we were soaked to the skin



On another evening I headed out to Louriçal, the beach right next to Cabo da Roca. Sadly we didn’t get the special light we were treated to at Ursa, but the thick overcast cloud made for some moody images

The following morning, the clouds cleared around sunrise giving us some fantastic conditions for capturing Vasco da Gama bridge.

If you’re interested in doing a workshop with me in Lisbon, or joining me in Iceland, Italy or Norway, have a look at my workshops page or drop me a line.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Andy Mumford by Andy Mumford - 2M ago

Pretty soon into our  trip to Lofoten we realized the sunrises were often something special there.  The high latitude means that the sun rises quite slowly above the ocean, casting it’s light almost horizontally onto the snowy peaks and bouncing off the bottom of any clouds.  It really is wonderful

The coastline near Vareid is a great place to capture the peaks of Flakstadpollen looking across the fjord to the south west with the sun rising from your left and picking out the mountains with golden light.  We headed out there before sunrise on what was probably the coldest day of our trip.  The wind was incredibly fierce on our backs lowering the temperature to around -20°, and walking out to the edge of the fjord was pretty treacherous as the rocks were covered with sheets of ice.  I set up during the blue hour and jumped up and down to keep warm while I waited for the light to come. 



The rest of the day gave us quite heavy overcast weather but sadly no snow, so we explored the islands some more, heading down to the brilliantly named town of Å at the tip of Moskensøya.  Fishing is still a major source of income on the islands and wherever you go you find the racks where codfish are left to dry in the sun.  At the time of year we were there most of the bodies of the fish had gone and only the heads, which we were told are exported to Nigeria to used for soup, remained.  The smell when you get close to them is quite overpowering, but at the same time it’s hard to resist taking photos and trying to create dynamic graphic images.




That evening saw us back at the viewpoint in Reine capturing the village nestling below the peaks of the Reinefjord during the blue hour and waiting for the lights to come on.

When we arrived the clouds above us were really thick and heavy but across the ocean we could see that the mountains on the mainland were being bathed in beautiful late afternoon light.

Sadly the clouds around us never cleared so we never got any of that light.  Reine however looks great beneath moody cloud and we spent an hour shooting panoramas of the whole scene as it got darker and darker, waiting for that moment in the blue hour when there’s still plenty of light, colour and contrast, but it’s dark enough for street lights to come on and give the scene another element.




The following morning the weather was still thick and cloudy.  After being gifted so many beautiful sunrises, on this morning the sun was completely absent, hidden behind cloud so thick that it was impossible to tell when it had actually risen.  We’d picked out another spot on the fjord looking across to the peaks of Flakstadpollen a little further south than Vareid, where we’d been on the previous morning.  The moody conditions encouraged a different approach, focusing on capturing the cold atmosphere.  Down next to the fjord's edge we’d noticed that the water lines had frozen into some fantastic shapes, so using a wide angle I got the camera very close to the ground and used them as leading lines into the composition.  It’s the kind of location that when you start to look you find so many fascinating shades and textires to compose with and despite the freezing weather I really enjoyed shooting the location.



On our way back to breakfast we passed the well-known Skangsanden beach in Flakstad, a common sunset and aurora destination.  We hadn’t had the right conditions to shoot it during the trip, but as we passed in midmorning the overcast weather was leaching all of the colour from the scene and as the wind scoured the beach it created an incredibly remote  moody feel.  There are a lot of different foreground textures there, so again I focused on trying to capture the mood and fit it to the scene.

Later in the afternoon Kostas and I attempted to capture the beach at Ytresand in the late afternoon light.  The clouds had cleared by this point and the contrast was really high.  From where we were shooting there wasn’t really a fixed focal point and the foreground was a mess of rocks, but sometimes it’s a nice challenge to work in places where there’s no obvious composition and less than optimal light and see if you can come up with something that works.

As the light got lower we decided to head over to the islands between the bridges across our local fjord and shoot the wonderful peaks from there.  The conical shape of Volandstind really does pull the eye, and composing it meant getting as low as possible to cut out the road and bridge.  Ideally I’d have liked to have a lot more snow in the foreground to cover the grass that was starting to show through the snowfall.

The next morning was our final one before we left and we felt we could still get more from the islands we’d shot on the previous evening  Once again we were treated to a wonderfully colourful sunrise above the peaks of Flakstadpollen.  Because I was happy with images I’d shot here on previous days I played around with shooting video and timelapses, capturing abstract images of the seaweed and experimenting with different exposures to create a particular kind of mood in the scene infront of me.



After breakfast and cleaning the apartment we climbed into the jeep for the 7 hour drive to Tromsø, stopping on the way at the incredibly picturesque fishing village of  Henningsvær and it’s famous island football pitch.



Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Light is the raw material of photography and “good light” is something all landscape photographers seek.  

In this video I take a look at the quality of light at different times of day and in different weather conditions, focusing on the golden hour, the blue hour and overcast light.  The golden hour is the period just after sunrise or just before sunset when the sun is low on the horizon casting warm beams of light almost horizontally across the landscape.  The blue hour is the time just before sunrise or just after sunset when the sun is below the horizon and the light is much more even and less contrast-y.  The whole of the sky reflects indirect light onto the scene, and the bottom of any clouds picking up colour from the distant sun.  Finally overcast light is when thick clouds descend giving us dull, flat light with very little contrast or colour.

Each of these different qualities of light affects the mood and feel of images and calls for a different approach to landscape photography.  In this video I look at the process I go through in my own work when trying to match the light of a scene to its mood.

Using light in landscape photography - YouTube
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Andy Mumford by Andy Mumford - 3M ago

Back at the beginning of March I headed to the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway with Kostas and Konstantinos, my colleagues from Light Explorer Photography Workshops, to spend some time shooting in this incredible place.  There’s something about snow covered landscapes that’s so incredibly evocative, especially since where I live in Lisbon winter just means grey clouds and rain.

Lofoten is an archipelago of small islands in the arctic circle characterised by dramatic peaks that rise from fjords and ocean beaches. It’s a stunning place, the kind that when you first see images of it it seems almost as though it can’t be real.  From a photography point of view it’s just a wonderful place to spend some time, particular in winter when there’s a blanket of white snow across everything, and when there’s a possibility of seeing the dancing green light of the aurora at night.

We arrived in Tromsø, one of Norways most northern cities and a lovely place situated on islands in the middle of fjord.  From here it’s a 7 hour drive to Lofoten, and while it’s possible to fly directly to the islands themselves via the airport at Leknes, we wanted to see a little more of the north of the country at this time of year so opted to take the long and scenic route.  Driving south we were quickly overwhelmed by how beautiful this place is in winter, and after crossing the bridge to enter the Lofoten archipelago we immediately wished we could spend more time in the eastern part of the islands which are absolutely stunning, but quite a drive from where we were basing ourselves in the westernmost islands.  

After the long drive we settled into the house we’d rented in Fredvang and then for our first evening headed to Reinefjord, a fjord in the island of Moskenesøya at the very tip of the chain of the archipelago (although there are a few more scattered islands a little more distant off the coast).  Reinefjord is almost certainly the most well known view in Lofoten, with a handful of small islands scattered across the fjord, each covered with wooden huts like the iconic red fisherman’s huts on the islands of Hamnøy.  The view from the bridge to the island is perhaps one of the best known in Norway but that takes nothing away from what a wonderful scene it is, even with a clear sky in the blue hour.

We were back for sunrise the next morning and took our time capturing the location from the blue hour until after the sun came up and the clouds took on some beautiful colour.  At this latitude the sun rises and sets slowly in winter which means the colour in the sky lasts for longer and the golden hour seems to go on for hours.  




We spent a couple of hours shooting Hamnøy before heading up to the viewpoint in the village of Reine, from where you can see all the scattered island on the fjord and the granite peaks that so dramatically overlook them.

By the time we got back to our accommodation it was almost 3 hours after the sun had come up but the sun was still low enough to give wonderful light and the series of winding frozen streams next to our house made for a particularly interesting foreground

We spent the rest of the day exploring the fjords around us and experiencing how quickly weather conditions can change here.  Our first stop was at Skjelfjord and already after the bright and sunny morning the clouds were starting to roll in and create a much more moody atmosphere.  We spent some time wandering around on the thick ice on the frozen fjord, and while it’s an impressive place there’s not really a focus point for images so I played around with different foregrounds and used the drama in the sky, and I also got some drone images as well.



We continued on our journey and just after passing through the village of Ramburg I saw this small red hut that overlooks the stretch of beach there.  It’s one of those scenes that you can’t resist capturing, but even as I was I knew in my head it would work much better with more snow and resolved to return here to shoot the scene again if we had the right conditions during the trip.  I didn’t realise at the time that we would get them just a few hours later that very day.  

By mid-afternoon the clouds had rolled in and heavy snow was falling.  At the southern end of Flakstadpollen, the  next fjord along, the snow was already really deep on the frozen ice of the fjord but from the road we could just make out a thin strip of water which looked like a stream but was actually a gap between the sheet ice that covered the fjord and the snow covered land.  The water appeared incredibly blue against the white of the snow and as the clouds rolled in the landscapes disappeared in a white out.  It was a wonderfully atmospheric scene and something that I almost never get a chance to shoot so we spent a good couple of hours in the falling snow composing shots around the water and the blocks of ice that were drifting along it.




From here it was a short trip down the road past the frozen lake of Storvatnet to the village of Nusfjord, one of the oldest fishing communities on the islands.  The location of the village at the end of a fjord surrounded by peaks, with the red rorbu cabins on stilts above the water made for some fantastic images in the snow.  This kind of weather is great to shoot in as it creates a naturally minimalistic scene with details in the landscape hidden under a blanket or whiteness, and the near monochrome effect it creates everywhere is particularly beautiful.

By the time we left it was getting late and I fancied returning to the red hut I’d shot earlier in the day with the white out conditions we were now experiencing.  As soon as we got back to the hut I knew the shot would work as the blizzard had totally removed the horizon and covered the area around the hut with lots of snow, making the whole composition much more minimal and stark, with the hut providing a splash of colour.

After that I wandered down to the beach in front of the hut to take some more shots.  Living in Portugal I’m no stranger to the beach, but I have to admit this is the first time I’ve ever seen a beach covered in fresh snows.  The contrast between the white snow and blue water was wonderful, but the image needed a focus point so I set the camera up on a tripod with the shutter on a timer so I could walk around in front of the camera and do a self portrait.

It snowed for the remainder of the night and when we got up the next day everywhere was covered in thick snow.  We didn’t have any particular plans for our sunrise shoot, but as we were crossing over the bridges that connect Fredvang to the other side of the fjord, the view along the length of the fjord from the snow covered islands between the bridges caught all our eyes.  We pulled in and headed out into the snow and were treated to a wonderfully colourful sunrise with the first light of day picking out the tops of the snowy white peaks.  




Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Earlier last month I took the Fujifilm X-E3 with me on my trip to northern Norway’s Lofoten Islands to put it through it’s paces shooting landscapes.  My usual travel set up is the X-T2 as my main camera with the X-T20 as a secondary camera, which I use for shooting video, doing time-lapses and shots at a different focal length when my X-T2 is attached to a tripod.  The X-E3 is a really similar camera to the X-T20 and recently I’ve been getting a few questions about which to get and what the differences are, so after Fujifilm kindly offered to lend me one I took the X-E3 with me on the trip in place of my usual X-T20.

Here’s a video I put together outlining the practical differences between the two cameras.

Fujifilm X-E3 - A Practical Comparison with the X-T20 - YouTube

Overall I found the X-E3 to be an excellent camera, which is to be expected as it shares all the same image making capabilities of the other cameras in Fuji’s current X Series line up – a 24,3mp sensor, the X Processor III and 4k video at 30 fps.  Basically you’re getting the same image quality as the flagship X-Pro 2 or X-T2 in a camera for around half the price but where Fuji differentiate the cameras is in the feature set.  The X-E3 lacks the weather sealing and tough build of the higher end cameras, the EVF is smaller, and the smaller body make it a little less ergonomic in the hand than the bigger X-Pro 2 and X-T2.  

However, this is all true of the X-T20, and while that camera can be described as a baby X-T2, the X-E3 with it’s rangefinder styling is more a more diminutive X-Pro 2.  The two smaller cameras have a lot in common; they’re similar in price, they have similar features and their similar dimensions make them feel almost the same in the hand.   A major factor in which you prefer is going to come down to whether you prefer the more SLR style of the X-T20 with it’s “pentaprism” bump or the rangefinder styling of the X-E3, but there are other important differences.  For me the major one was the lack of articulating screen on the X-E3.  A lot of the landscapes I shoot are wide angle with the camera close to the ground, and an articulating screen is superb for this.  I really missed it in the X-E3 and often found myself having to get down on my hands and knees in the snow to see the screen or use the viewfinder, and back home in Portugal I spend a lot of time shooting at the coast, so an articulating screen is really an essential on any camera I use for landscapes now.  

The rangefinder styling of the camera also necessitates moving the drive dial from the left of the top plate of the camera and using a button combined with the rear dial to change drive settings.  I found this a little less intuitive as I’m often switching between single shot, bracketing and video mode and personally I found it easier with the dial, although I accept that this is subjective.  The X-E3 also replaces the d-Pad of the X-T20 with a joystick, which I found much more useful.  The introduction of the joystick on the X-T2 was something I really liked as it made it considerably easier to quickly select my focus points and it's something I really miss on the X-T20.  Having it on the X-E3 makes focusing a lot easier for me, and I much prefer it to either the d-pad or touch focus.  The X-E3 also features Bluetooth connection as well as the standard wifi that the X-T20 has.  It's a nice touch, but not something I really use much.

Overall though the X-E3 is a superb camera for the price and which you choose between this and the X-T20 is almost certainly going to be about style preferences rather than any significant differences in the cameras' features.  And while it lacks some of the more professional features and build of the flagship cameras you certainly won’t notice that in the images it produces, which are identical. That being the case, the X-E3 makes a fantastic entry into the Fuji X Series, a great carry around camera with the bundled 18-55mm lens, or as a back up camera to something like the X-T2, X Pro2 or X-H1. 

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Since I first started landscape photography I’ve always enjoyed making long exposure images of water. I love the surreal feel it gives the landscape, and in this video I discuss the gear and technique required to shoot them at one of my favourite locations in Carrasquiera, Portugal

It's a location I've been shooting for almost 12 years now and have captured some of my favourite long exposure images while there.  Sadly, on the day I went to shoot this the clouds disappeared leaving me with clear skies which isn't ideal for landscape images, but as this was the third time I'd made the 200km round trip to try to shoot the video (the first time the tide was a little too low and the second time the wind was ferocious and recording audio was impossible) and as the location generally works well even without clouds, I decided to shoot the video anyway.

How to Shoot Long Exposure Images - YouTube
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

The Western Digital My Passport Wireless SSD is the latest iteration of a portable back up hard drive that WD started with the Ultra a few years ago, and for me is an absolutely essential piece of kit for any travelling photographer. 

So what is it and why is it so useful?  Well, essentially it’s a portable solid state hard drive with a slot where an SD card can be plugged in, and with the touch of a button backed up onto the drive with no need for a laptop, so it can be backed up in the field, in the airport, or anywhere.   I’ve never really liked travelling with a laptop if I can avoid it as I just prefer not having to carry one with me or leave it in the hotel room or refuge, and I rarely want to do significant editing while I’m on the road.  However, having a laptop that you could used to back up the files onto an external HD gave a level of security incase a camera got dropped, or a card corrupted or damaged in some way.  When Western Digital launched the My Passport Ultra I was really impressed as it was something I’d been wanted for a long time, an external hard drive that could back up an SD card without the need for a computer or external interface.  WD than launched a wireless version which could connect to an iPad or iPhone, and while this was also superb my main problem with both of these drives was that they were HDD with a spinning disc, which makes them pretty vulnerable to drops and banging about in a bag. 

The latest version with a  solid state drive, which means it has no spinning disc or moving parts inside it making it a tougher, longer lasting and faster, is pretty much perfect for travelling.  The fact that it’s a flash drive does make it more expensive than a spinning hard drive but for me it’s worth it as I know it will survive a lot of the bumps my hard drives are often subject to, as well as lasting longer.  It also comes in a rubber case, which gives it a little more security, and while I haven’t seriously dropped it yet, it’s been banged around a fair bit since I bought it and functions perfectly well.

The drive comes in different sizes; 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB, and I went for the 500GB version as it’s very rare that I ever shoot anything like that amount of data when I’m travelling, even with the 4k video on my cameras and drone, and shooting full uncompressed RAW images.  The back up function is superb and couldn’t be simpler.  You simply turn it on, insert the SD card into the slot in the side, then press the SD button and the drive starts to copy the data on the card. 

While it’s copying, the 4 blue LEDs on the front flash in sequence, and then when it’s done you just pull the card out.  It has SD 3.0 and WD claim up to 65MB/s, and I found when I copied 100GB of data from a 128GB card and it too around 30 minutes.  It creates a new folder for each card so files are kept well organized, and so when you get back home it’s easy to connect the disc to your computer via either the USB 3.0 cable or wifi, and then add the disc to Lightroom (you just click on Add Folder and add it to your different discs) and from there import the images to wherever you want to put them.




So as a back up system it’s really useful and reliable, but it also has other functions which I really like.  First of all, it creates it’s own WiFi network and comes with a password so it can connect to a tablet or smartphone via the WD My Cloud app. The app has nice functionality which allows you to see and organize everything that’s on the drive.  You can view photos (even raw files) and videos on a bigger ipad screen to check for things like focus etc

You can also open RAW files in Adobe Lightroom CC on a mobile device and edit them.  Now I much prefer to do serious editing back at home on my laptop, but the mobile version of Lightroom has a fantastic amount of features and it’s fine for quick edits on an image to post on social media while you’re on the road.  If you like, you can then save the images into Adobe Creative Cloud and the edits you’ve made on it will still be there when you open the image from Creative Clound in Lightroom CC on your laptop at home.  So, if you want it the WD My Passport Wireless SSD does give the ability to edit RAW files while travelling without the need for a laptop.




Another function I really like about the drive is the ability to use the WiFi connection to connect to an iPad and watch movies or videos while travelling.  Before I go I’ll copy a couple of movies and documentaries onto the drive, and then while I’m sitting waiting in an airport or hanging around in my room I can connect my iPad to the drive and stream something to watch.  Combined with the VLC app, you can watch pretty much any kind of video file, and I'm now no longer confined by the limited storage left on my iPad and can take enough stuff on the SSD so I’ll always have something to watch no matter how long the trip. 

Finally, the drive has it’s own inbuilt battery which gives it up to 10 hours of power for backing up the cards or connecting to a tablet or phone.  Additionally though, the drive has a USB slot which allows you to charge devices from it’s battery.  I’ve found that it will charge an iPad mini or one of the batteries from my Fuji X-T2, which just adds to it’s usefulness in the field.

Overall, I’ve found it to be a fantastic thing to take with me on trips.  Just the one touch back up in a sturdy, reliable drive would make it an essential piece of kit for me, but the additional ability to view and edit RAW images, to watch movies and documentaries via streaming and to use as an additional power pack for my phone, tablet and camera batteries are absolutely brilliant and anyone who spends any amount of time travelling and photographing or shooting video should have one in their bag.

You can buy them from the Western Digital website

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

It's been just over a year since I started my Youtube channel and I've been blown away by what a fantastic place it is for photographers and photography.  I still feel I'm learning about making videos as I go and there's a long way to go before the finished product is as good as I'd like it to be.  I'm also incredibly slow at making them, but like everything, practice makes...well, if not perfect, then certainly better...

My latest video is a topic I've written about in blogs and articles a couple of times before, using telephoto lenses for shooting landscapes.  It's not just about bringing the scene closer, but using the characteristics of telephoto lenses to create a completely different perspective on the scene than you can get with a wide angle or mid range focal length.

I'm hoping to get a couple more short videos done over the next month or so, then I'll be in Norway and hopefully I'll be able to put together a few videos that go from shooting on location right the way through to editing.

Landscape Photography - 6 Reasons Why You Need A Telephoto Lens - YouTube
Read Full Article

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview