Love your camera

By Rick Jacobi

I think this is an important part of one’s photography. A camera that you love and inspires you to shoot. There are many cameras that a person can own today, and they are all good. That being said then you should own a camera that speaks to your heart.

I am a street photographer and usually carry two cameras with me. I have bought and sold cameras in the last few years trying to find the combination that I really love. I have had expensive and inexpensive cameras that for me were not fun to use. I would not shoot as often because it was not enjoyable using these cameras. I would make up excuses in my head and would lose interest in shooting.

You will gain more creativity, more passion and motivation if you “Love Your Camera”. Don’t worry about what some other photographer uses for a camera. Remember they are all good. Just use a camera that is fun for you.  You might be thinking that I have this brand of camera with all the lens that I don’t really enjoy shooting with. What should I do? “Sell” it and get the camera system you would love to use. If you are not sure which one, rent them to find the one you love. It will be worth the money for all the fun you will have, and your photos will be better.

Unless you are a professional photographer, your photography is a hobby. Enjoy it to the fullest.

Enjoy your camera.

Rick Jacobi is a Volunteer Photo Guide with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes

Less is Better with Age

By Rick Jacobi

I was fortunate to be a trip leader this last May on a workshop in Tuscany for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops. I have been on a lot of workshops and have done some extensive traveling. Mirrorless cameras have become more popular over the last couple of years because they are so much lighter. I am still seeing though; a lot of people traveling long distances and more than one airport change carrying a heavy bag of photo equipment. I used to be one of those people with the big 40lb black bag.

I now carry one camera body {Sony] and two lens. Lens 24-70and 70-200. In addition, a small back up camera body just in case. It can fit all in a small camera bag weighting less then 15lbs which is a lot easier to carry than the 40lb or so bag. Do I miss some shots by not having a wider-angle lens a macro or a 100-400? The answer is yes. But the question is how many, and I figure less than five photos that I would keep on a week-long workshop or trip. To me I’d rather feel comfortable walking through airports or the streets of a city enjoying myself rather than carrying all that weight and having a sore back the next day. Those shots I might miss don’t make up for the discomfort of a large camera bag. I am not saying to sell your equipment and buy a mirrorless camera. Just take what you think you need and then take less.

If you are driving that is a different story. I am talking about traveling by air and connecting flights. If it is one flight or a car then take the kitchen sink but again take only what you think you will need. As we get older less is better and you will still get great shots. Just give it a try.

Rick Jacobi is a Volunteer with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes

Always be ready and carry two camera bodies

Author Rick Jacobi

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There are a lot of times when I go shooting that I will carry  two cameras.   Typically one is with a wide angle lens and the other a telephoto.  Last fall I was fortunate to go to Western Mongolia  for the “Golden Eagle Festival”.   Each year this festival brings together nomadic Kazakhs  and their Golden Eagles for two days of competition.

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In setting up my photographic plan I knew  I could not get all the photos I wanted with just one camera body and one lens.   So I decide to carry my Sony A7Rll with a 70-300mm lens for telephoto shots and a second camera with a smaller fixed 28mm lens for close-ups.l1030635-edit-edit-edit-edit

If your second camera body and lens is smaller than your first, there is no strain on your body.   So going into this shoot the  only thing I was  missing was a  focal length between 28-70 mm.  I knew that this wouldn’t be a  not problem as I could plan my shots accordingly.   I would simply need to get closer to my subject with my 28 mm._dsc9395-edit-edit

If  I had only brought one camera I certainly would not have gotten all the shots that I wanted. Next time you go out to photograph an event or do street photography think about carrying a second camera on the other shoulder.
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Rick Jacobi is a trip leader for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

 

My Camera: bringing down the walls

Author: Rick Jacobi

This blog is not about the quality of your photos, composition of your image or the brand of a camera.  It’s about what a camera can do for you in the presence of a stranger.  So many times when I’m shooting so called “Street Photography”, I have found that my camera has brought down walls that separate me from that person. Once  you engage  a person by asking if it’s “okay” to take their photo and receive approval, you now have entered into their world and space. You have established a connection, a level of trust between the two of you. It may only last seconds or linger for a few minutes but it is a special time for both of you.  The person holding the camera has now been invited into that stranger’s “house”. I have this aspect of street photography to be exciting and very rewarding. It is a privilege and an invitation that would not happen without my camera. I try to take advantage of that invitation by taking the best photos I can. It doesn’t always come out the way I would like but sometimes it is not about the photo but sharing that moment for that short time.

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Recently, I was in a “take out” pizza place in Connecticut waiting to pick up my pizza. I asked the person making the pizza if I could take his picture. He said sure (very few times have I had someone say no).  After a couple of photos, he asked if I wanted to see how he cooked the pizza and invited me to come behind the counter.  In just an instance, I was learning how the coal oven worked and how he could tell if the pizza was done. Without my camera I would never had the opportunity to be invited into his “house”.   Right away the wall between the two of us came down and we shared that moment. The photos did not turn out the way I had hoped but again it is not always about the photos but the bonding a camera can bring between two people for a second or two.L1007037

Rick Jacobi is a Trip Leader and the Board President for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

Considering a Mirrorless Camera?

_DSC1317Author & image copyright:  Rick Jacobi

There has been a lot of discussion about Mirrorless cameras among photographers especially in the last year. One of the main reasons people are talking is the size and weight difference between DSLR and Mirrorless. The Mirrorless bodies and lenses are a lot smaller, which means less weight.

I was a Canon photographer for many years. The last Canon camera I had was the 5D Mark lll along with four lens. The lens were 24-105mm, 100 Macro, 100-400mm and 70-200mm. About a year and half ago I bought my first MIrrorless, which was Fuji X-T1 four fifth sensor along with two lens. I liked the camera but I felt I wanted a full frame and Sony had just come out with the new A7ll full frame. I sold my Fuji, lens and all my Canon equipment and bought the new Sony.

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When I sold the Canon Body and lens I felt that I had lost my best friend. Could I ever get a sharp photo again? It is like selling your car and thinking you will have to walk from now on. I had A7ll for a few months but did not like EVF, because it was not up to par with the experience of looking through the Canon viewfinder. I liked the feel and the weight of the Sony but the EVF bothered me every time I took a photo. Then Sony came out with A7Rll and with all the reviews I read, I knew that I had to have that camera. I traded in my A7ll and bought the new Sony A7Rll and 24-240mm lens.

The biggest concern in giving up my Canon was wondering if I would ever feel really comfortable again with a camera. Would I regret selling my Canon? Would I ever have a best friend in a camera. The answer is overwhelmingly, YES! I finally feel comfortable with my camera [Sony A7Rll] and I don’t have any regrets selling my ex- best friend [Canon 5D Mark lll].

I am not trying to sell anyone a Sony but rather hoped that by sharing my experience it would help you in your decision making process should you be considering a change from a DSLR to Mirrorless. It is definitely not an easy decision and very hard to let go of your DSLR but I am happy that I made the switch. I have less weight and get tack sharp photos. The EVF in the later model is so much better and with its added features it makes shooting that much more fun.

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Now my photo travels are so much more enjoyable without the heavy gear bags. Since I do a lot of street shooting, the the 24-240mm lens handles everything I need and the photos are (did I say) tack sharp! Sony has a lot of lens and adaptors too so you can use your Canon or Nikon lenses.

If you are thinking about changing I would recommend renting a Mirrorless camera for a few days to test drive. You may even want to rent a couple different models before finding that perfect new friend in your camera. Currently there are four great mirrorless cameras on the market: Panasonic Lumix, Olympus OM-D, Fujifilm x-T1 and Sony. Mirrorless cameras are not for everyone but there is a strong market trend going in that direction with many professionals making a switch too. I personally think this is the future in photography so I hope Canon and Nikon get on board or they risk being left behind.

Advantages of Mirrorless:

  • Smaller size and less weight
  • Fast frame speed
  • Live View – what you see is what you get.
  • Ease of manual focusing with focus peeking. {Love this}
  • Face and eye tracking.
  • EVF – what you see is what you get.
  • EVF – image review.
  • Easier to clean
  • Less camera shake

Disadvantages

  • Battery life is shorter. Need to carry two or three batteries with you.
  • Harder to focus in low light but easy to do with manual focusing and peeking.

Rick Jacobi is a trip leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.  These photos were taken with the Sony A7RIII at the AHPW Creepy Crawly Critter workshop.