5 New Year’s Resolutions to Shoot for in 2016

For many, the beginning of a new year signifies a fresh start, but it can also bring into sharp focus a list of should haves, could haves, and would haves that had long been left to fade somewhere in the midst of the prior year. Shots you should have gotten. Clients you could have taken on. Wisdom you would have gained. 

Go ahead: take a few moments to reflect on all the things you wished you’d done. Put your past year’s grievances on paper, then take a good, hard look at them. Don’t spend too much time on it, though—there’s little to be done to fix the past, but you’ll at least have a reference for future resolutions. 

Last year’s list of did nots can turn into this year’s list of will dos!

Speaking of will dos… We asked our team of pros, amateurs and novices to share how they resolve to grow as photographers in 2016. Read on to see what they said.

New Year’s Resolutions for Photographers

1. Finish a Previously-Started Photography Project

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to finish up a project I started some time ago… I started routinely taking pictures of my favorite waterfall and only recently realized I’d captured every season except for winter. It’s become a personal mission to capture those final shots and perfectly piece all the seasons together.” 
– Amanda, Graphic Design

2. Develop a New Series of Images

"I resolve to develop a new series of images in 2016. To observe more intently  with the ultimate goal of capturing a complete arc of a visual story. I resolve to redouble my commitment to my art and be fully present along the journey it takes me." 
– Sally, Repairs

3. Get Comfortable with a Variety of Cameras

“It’s been a while since I’ve used any of my actual cameras—I’ve been resorting to the convenience of my Samsung Galaxy phone. But, I just got a Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 for my birthday and remembered the handful of different cameras I have sitting on the shelf at home. I want to start familiarizing myself with them again, and learning what the benefits and pitfalls are of using each and every one of them.” 

– Carole, Marketing

4. Spend More Time Photographing with Family

“It hit me the other day that my wife and I will be an empty-nesters soon and then I will not be able to teach or influence my children as I have in the past. My daughter has been out of the house for 2.5 years, but whenever she comes home the main topic is photography. This past summer before my daughter went to study abroad in Italy (including a class in film based photography), we took a couple of days to go out shooting and then came home where I showed her how to process film and paper. It was like a mini class before she took her class for credit. She ended up as the lab assistant for the teacher, learned a lot and made an A for her class. She still talks about that time we spent together. 

My son is also into photography and is the co-editor on the yearbook staff at his high school. Like most 17 year olds, he doesn't think his dad is all that smart, but he does realize that I do know photography and related items. He saw what my daughter and I did together and her prints from Italy and commented on us doing some of the same, so I want to make time for that. Some of the best times we have had together involve photography, and I want more before he goes off to college.” 

– Larry, Inventory

5. Shoot More Just for Fun

“I want to take time out of my schedule to go to new places and step out of my box to photograph things I haven’t seen before.” 

– Kristina, Product Photography

How to Avoid Abandoning Your Resolutions

Determining your New Year’s resolutions can be a fun and challenging exercise, but make sure you’re not setting yourself up to abandon your goals from the get-go. 

Try to be as specific as possible with your resolutions, and limit yourself to a few (or even just one) to avoid feeling overwhelmed and frustrated as you work towards accomplishing them.
Alternatively, being too ambitious in your goal setting might also prove to be a setback, so start small and build momentum with minor achievements. Take time to revel in your accomplishment, then use the confidence boost to set a new goal and start working towards it.

Finally nailed your resolution down? The trick to making sure you stick to it is simple: share it! Make a post about it on Facebook, and ask your friends to share theirs as well. Even better, make it a group effort so that everyone who participates is responsible for keeping tabs on the others. 

Last, but not least, track your progress! Take time each week to recap what you did to work towards it. If you’re challenging yourself to take a new photo every day, make sure to share it on Instagram or on your blog so you can visualize what you’ve done. Even the smallest of steps count!

Cheers to a New Year

Now that 2016 is here, it’s time to get started on your resolutions. We hope this post has inspired you to spend time thinking of your own.

Make sure to leave us a comment and let us know what resolutions are on your list for 2016. We look forward to reading about them! 

In Focus with Ed Cooper

Written by Amanda Pharis

Ed Cooper is perhaps best known as a mountaineer and large format photographer; his photography tells the stories of exploration and history-making ascents that humble and inspire. As a landscape photography hobbyist myself,  his work is captivating and instills a sense of wanderlust, motivating me to travel and photograph everything.

What brought Ed Cooper to my attention was happening across his photography on social media after following a rabbit hole of mountain-scape photography and Mount Rainier ascents in particular. The element that grabbed me first was the depth of his work. From Maine to British Columbia, it would seem that he has taken the “portrait” of every scalable peak in North America from afar and on their summits, documenting the trek and the climbers themselves in between.

I chose to interview Ed Cooper because not only does he have an expansive gallery of breath-taking views and rich scenery, he is telling the story of the North American landscape through his art of photography.  Through his social media channels, Ed Cooper elaborates on the photography he has taken over the past several decades, documenting a very competitive era of climbing in the 50’s and 60’s (frequently with large format gear). Swiping through his Instagram is like reading a visual history book on peak ascents and the early years of our National Parks; going into detail regarding the climb or subject, the setup of the shot, and the gear he used  to take the photo.  

What would you say is the reason you are inspired to do photography? Why landscapes? 
I first became interested in photography when I was 13, but there was no subject that I had a passion for and so I lost interest. It wasn’t until I went out west with my sister when I was 16 that I was introduced to the mountains. Being from New York, I had no idea of what real mountains were. My sister and I hired a guide to take us up Mt. Rainier in 1953. I had finally found a subject that I was passionate about. At first I took pictures of climbs, but soon I began to seek out the mountains, and other nature subjects, for their portraits.
Looking through your expansive work makes me homesick for the west coast; what is it about shooting in the west that is so enchanting?
The West Coast is where the big mountains are. I honed my skill shooting in the mountains, but it wasn’t long before I expanded my horizons to include the sea, the desert, flora and fauna. And I didn’t restrict it to the West Coast; I made a number of trips back east to try my skill at these peaks and other scenic attractions.
One of the words I would use to describe your photography, would be “immersive.” Is it the intrinsic quality of landscapes that provide that feeling or technique?
I never took a course in photography, or sought the advice of other photographers, in my career. I have an “innate” feeling of what makes a good photograph in my judgment, and I had that almost from the start. I go to some location, look around, and zero in on what I think best represents the subject. At that point, I almost become “one with the subject” and everything else fades out of my consciousness. Recently I had a photographer ask me what I thought about the “rule of thirds”. I had no idea what it was and I am still not sure what that rule is.
What were some of the difficulties of being a landscape photographer early in your career? 
Like many photographers, my main difficulty was finances. For a number of years I got by on practically nothing. I remember one month in October 1960 when my total expenses for the entire month was $7, and that included gas for the clunker I was driving. I managed to get some very unusual equipment for my 4x5 gear by shopping in the New York area for cast-off war surplus camera equipment, including a 36” spy lens, weighing about 20 pounds, which I adapted to making a one-of-a-kind telephoto lens for large format photography. It wasn’t until I had been serious about photography for 15 years that my photography generated enough income to support a family.
Mountaineering is difficult enough with standard gear and packs; what is it like hiking with medium and large format gear? What are the challenges of packing with cumbersome camera gear? 
My first medium format camera was a 2 ¼ square Voightlander Perkeo camera which I acquired in early 1956. This was no heavier than many 35mm film cameras. In 1961 I acquired another  2¼  square camera, a Zeiss Super Ikona IV, I could shoot both color & B&W on the same trip. The weight was still not overbearing. It was not until 1962 when I acquired my first large format camera, a 4x5 Speed Graphic camera; that weight and bulk started to make a difference. I had to be selective on which equipment to bring on a particular hike or climb. For the first ascent of the Dihedral Wall on ElCapitan, I carried the two 2 ¼ cameras. For hiking and climbing around Yosemite Valley for non-technical climbs, as well as a trip in the Canadian Rockies, I brought along the 4x5 camera. As time went on, I kept moving up in camera size as well as lens size and weight, up to an 8x10 view camera -- I had to be very selective on which equipment I took where.
What was your favorite mountain-scape to photograph and the most challenging? Were there opportunities for photography that were too dangerous?
I can’t really pick a favorite mountain-scape to photograph. I like them all, and wherever I happen to be working with a camera is my favorite at the moment. The most challenging would have to be on big wall climbs or dangerous climbs, like some volcanoes, where I have much more to worry about than simply getting photographs. I have to rank Willis Wall on Mt. Rainier as the most dangerous climb I have done. I did get a few photos characterizing the dangerous nature of the climb, and I certainly would not go up there again, or recommend any one else to go up there. Liberty Ridge in the center of Willis Wall is supposedly the “safest” route on the wall, where a tragic accident occurred in 2014, with an avalanche sweeping six climbers to their deaths. I have climbed that route as well as a more dangerous line on the wall.
You stated that you have “gone completely digital”. What is your preferred set up now and why have you made the switch? 
The reason that I have now gone completely digital (starting in 2007) is two-fold. First, as the years went by, I found it more difficult to carry heavy packs with all the (film) photography gear that I needed for large format photography. That included not only a view camera, but a heavy tripod, an assortment of lenses of different focal lengths, a generous supply of film holders, a changing bag, and other accessories. I had also accumulated a film photography library of over 100,000 images already.
Second, I saved a lot of money. My film expenses really mounted up. At almost $2 for every sheet of 4x5 film shot (including processing) I couldn’t afford the 50 sheets a day or more of shooting in the field. Further, I didn’t have to scan film to digital form as I was already shooting in digital. I did give up the extremely high resolution result of converting film to digital. I typically scan 4x5 at 2400 dpi, giving an image size of roughly 280 MB, good enough to make a 30x40 inch print at 300 dpi. With digital it is hard to go bigger than 16x20 prints without noticing degradation of the image, but the cameras are getting better all the time with higher resolutions.
What would you say is the biggest difference between film and digital beyond developing time and convenience? 
Digital allowed me to experiment more, knowing that I wasn’t burning a hole in my pocketbook. I could shoot a lot more and have a choice of exposure times to get the best result. And, the images are ready (with sometimes downsizing) to post on social media sites.
You’re very active on social media; how much time do you devote to it a day? What leverages have you seen since becoming active on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter?
Every day I am in the office I try to devote some time to scanning selected film, and posting to Instagram and Facebook. For me, I don’t just post an image. I describe what the photo is and any historical facts about the image, but also why I took the image and what about the image that stood out for me. Very few people who post do this. That is perhaps why starting from 0 followers on Instagram a year ago in the autumn, the number of followers is now about 40,000. For many of my posts I wed 20th century images to 21st century Instagram. It seems to be popular. And, for very recent photos, NO SELFIES!!! 
What advice do you have for aspiring landscape photographer enthusiasts and pros? 

People do photography for many different reasons so it is difficult to give blanket advice. I would say that getting out there and shooting and seeing what your results are is very important. You can see what works and what doesn’t work. Books on photography, and how to sell your photography, can help. Being a member of a camera club might help. Pick a subject for photography that you are passionate about would be very important. The world is wide-open for you as a photographer. Your results will be what you make them!

Thank you Ed Cooper for this wonderful interview and your wealth of knowledge! To learn more about Ed Cooper and his stunning photography, you can follow him on Instagram or check out his websites below. 
Instagram: @ed_cooper_photography
Personal site: http://www.edcooper.com 

7 Tricks for Taking Killer Halloween Photos of Your Kids

7 Tricks For Taking Killer Halloween Photos Of Your Kids

Sit for a spell, and read up on our quick list of tips for spooking—*ahem* we mean shooting—the best Halloween photos of your kids this year. 

1. Capture the Magic from Behind-the-Scenes

Visit your local Halloween shops and document all the fun that goes in to choosing a costume and getting ready for the big night. Take your camera so you can photograph your kids trying on silly accessories, frightening masks, and crazy wigs. Don’t forget their priceless reactions to spooky, motion-activated decorations, too!

2. Trial and Terror

Trying to create the perfect portrait before trick-or-treating is next to impossible. Before Halloween, I suggest a planned dress rehearsal. Go out to the nearest pumpkin patch or Halloween festival for a test run. Take as many pictures as possible to get comfortable with photographing how active your child is in the midst of all the excitement.

3. Best Impressions Matter

Sitting and standing still are probably two of the most challenging requests for children. Get your kids in character for a photo shoot by asking them to do their best impression of their chosen Halloween character. Ask your zombie to walk like the dead towards your camera, and then show him how creepy he truly looks. 

4. Authentic Atmosphere

Take your pirate to the beach or your superhero to the city. Ask yourself what are the most coveted parts about your child’s costume. Perhaps it is the extravagant makeup or a handmade accessory. Bring those details to light by zooming in on them. This will make for engaging, fun photos to share with the whole family later.

5. The Golden [Hour] Rule

Prior to nightfall, get some photos on the porch. Both the golden hour and twilight are the ideal times to shoot impactful images that are rich in color. This would also be a fantastic opportunity to gather the whole trick-or-treating crew for a group photo. They are a crowd favorite and bound to exhibit a wide range of personalities. 

6. Embrace the Darkness

When darkness falls, forgo the flash. Embrace it by keeping an eye out for upcoming pockets of light. Along the sidewalk, street, or as you approach the porch—these are all wonderful chances to add a little drama to your photos. Ready your camera while the kids’ backs are to you at the doorsteps. With your shot already framed, you will be all set to capture their expressions as they turn around with their treats.

Don't forget these tips for shooting in low light!

7. Spooky Camera Settings

Make the most of your camera’s capabilities by spending a few minutes looking at your settings. Your point-and-shoot most likely includes a night setting that would be picture-perfect for Halloween. If you’re using a DSLR, don’t hesitate to increase your ISO and open up your aperture to allow for a faster shutter speed making it easier to photograph all the action.

P.S. Find out how to tweak your settings, stance or lighting for more spooky Halloween effects here.

Written by Kristina Sooy, an Atlanta newborn photographer.

Have any frightfully snap-tastic tips of your own? Leave them below so we can try them out, too!

Visit us at www.keh.com today! We have a great selection of cameras, lenses, and accessories for you. If you have any questions, feel free to call us at 1-800-342-5534.

Top 5 reasons to consider buying a mirrorless camera

Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless cameras have come a long way since they first hit the market. From lackluster electronic viewfinders to a limited variety of native lenses, there were plenty of reasons why it wasn’t thought to be viable for professional photographers to use on the job. However, the times have changed and the technology has changed along with it. Mirrorless cameras are increasingly becoming more relevant in the professional arena of photography with better sensors, higher resolution and improved autofocusing. Both Nikon and Canon, the biggest brands in the industry, have added mirrorless cameras to their product lines.

So what does this mean for the professional photographer? It means they have more options and more versatility in the tools they can use to get a great shot. Here are five main reasons why mirrorless cameras are now a viable option for professional photographers to use.
1.  It’s significantly lighter than the average DSLR camera. Traveling photographers will appreciate a slim, compact mirrorless camera body to carry around easily when on-the-go. Who wants to haul a 5 pound bag of gear worth thousands of dollars with them (on top of your usual luggage) through an international airport? Without the need to protect a mirror inside, mirrorless cameras are able to cut down on the bulk. “It's a versatile and capable option for those who want the flexibility of a DSLR system without the extra weight,” said Michael Reese, an Atlanta-based photographer, of the Nikon 1 mirrorless camera series. “Sometimes having less camera in the way leads me to capture a higher number of better images.”  However, if you appreciate the feel of a DSLR, there are also mirrorless cameras with DSLR-styled bodies like the Sony A7R.

2. The smaller size of a mirrorless camera maintains a lower profile for street photography. Just about all mirrorless camera brands have a small, vintage rangefinder-styled model. These are ideal for street photographers who want the feel of a rangefinder without the Leica digital rangefinder price. People are less likely to notice a photographer with a smaller camera versus the bulky DSLR that screams, “I’m a professional!” With the inconspicuous Fuji X-E1, a photographer can take high-resolution street photos at 16-megapixels without drawing too much attention to themselves.

3. Electronic viewfinders (EVF) show the image exactly the way it will be captured. No need to look back at the image in the screen after the shutter snaps like with other cameras. Mirrorless cameras show the exposure as it is being created. Like to shoot in black and white? See the black and white image live in camera and make the right adjustments before pressing the shutter button. It’s easy to see how the EVF feature of mirrorless cameras can save you time in post-production later.

4. Shoot Full HD quality video with fast and accurate autofocus tracking. Continuous focus tracking is good for taking photos of moving subjects, but essential for shooting video. Take advantage of the video capabilities of a mirrorless camera to shoot Full HD video clips at 60 frames per second with an Olympus OM-D E-M5. There is even an autofocus mode available in video mode that detects faces and prioritizes a specific eye to focus on.

5. You don’t have to give up your DSLR lenses. With the right lens adapter, continue using your current DSLR lenses ­­– with the added ability to use lenses from all the other brands that exist. Have some older vintage lenses in your collection? Those, too, can be used with mirrorless cameras when you find the right adapter. Finding adapters for your DSLR camera to work with other lenses can be difficult and costly. But with mirrorless, a larger variety of lenses are at your disposal. This is one of the biggest advantages of having a shorter distance between the sensor and the lens.

So not only can a mirrorless be useful to get shots one normally wouldn’t be able to with a DSLR camera, but it can also cut down the amount of work needed in post-production and save time. Photographers of all experience levels should consider adding a mirrorless camera to their collection of camera gear. We have a great selection of used mirrorless cameras for you to shop and if you have any questions, feel free to call us at 1-800-342-5534.

Top 10 tips for how to take care of your camera gear

Your camera is your partner in photography and you love it. How else will you take amazing photos of the view from your favorite hiking trail? That’s why it‘s important to take good care of your camera equipment at all times. We put together our top ten tips for making sure your camera stays in good shape.
Tip #1: Keep your camera clean. Dirt can cause serious damage to your gear. Be sure to clean your equipment thoroughly with a soft cloth after every shoot and avoid grimy surfaces.
Tip #2: When you are not taking photos, keep you camera in a bag or case. This protects it from getting wet, scratched, being knocked over or any number of potential accidents. Don’t have a bag yet? We have a wide selection of camera bags and cases.
Tip #3: Use your camera regularly. Just like it’s essential to drive a car regularly in order to keep it working well, it is crucial to use your camera gear regularly. Leaving your gear sitting for an extended period of time can lead to issues like dust build-up and mold growth in humid places. This shouldn’t be a challenge for the photography lovers out there – we know how hard it is to put your camera down.
Tip #4: Always use lens caps on the front and back of your lenses. It is easy to scratch your lens, therefore you should always have lens caps handy for when you’re not taking photos or changing lenses frequently.
Tip #5: Keep your camera safe with a strap and battery grip. Sometimes even that rubberized grip can slip right out of your hands. Use a camera strap to help catch your camera if you do drop it for any reason. Also, add a battery grip to help you keep a steady hold on your camera when shooting in portrait orientation. Not only will you gain an easily accessible shutter button, but also some added battery life.
Tip #6: Place silica gel packets in your camera bag when it’s humid. Humidity and camera gear don’t mix very well, especially in the heat. Silica gel packets will keep your gear dry in humid weather, preventing fungus and mold from growing.
Tip #7: Protect your lens with a UV filter. Placing a good UV filter on the front of your lens can protect the glass from potential scratches and shattering. It’s a small thing, but it goes a long way in preventing large repair fees for fixing a broken lens.
Tip #8: Keep your camera out of the water. We know your camera is an extension of your hand and we totally understand the desire to take it everywhere with you. But don’t ruin it by getting it wet. Water damage is the worst kind and highly expensive to fix. Use specially designed waterproof cases if you really want to take portraits of dolphins or a rain cover for rainy days.
Tip #9: Insure your camera gear. We suggest adding your camera gear to your home owners’ or renters’ insurance policy. You invested a lot of time and money into that gear of yours. Protect your investment and be sure you can replace it if the worst happens.
Tip #10: Don’t attempt to clean your sensor. Not unless you are equipped with the right tools. Finding specks and dust in your photos is not fun. However, don’t rush to blow into your camera. Your breath may be fresh, but it can damage the coating on your sensor and your lenses for that matter too. Always use a sensor swab or static charged brush for dry cleaning your sensor.
Keep these ten most important tips in mind when handling your camera equipment and it will definitely last. But if something unfortunate does befall your precious gear, don’t be shy! Feel free to ask us questions anytime and we can also repair your gear. Have more crucial safety tips in mind? Share with us below in the comments.