photography

Posted by matt on February 14, 2008

Matt’s Photography

My photography is split into 2 primary websites:

Some other older flickr stuff is available here.

Matt’s Brief Photography History:

Matt Apps, Athens, Greece, 2009

While I always appreciated nice photography, I didn’t even attempt anything remotely interesting photographically until the digital age. I can say that I never bought a roll of film (though I have purchased quite a few disposables). The first digital camera I got was in 1999 and was a POS P&S. It did 640×480, didn’t focus half the time and took some of the worst pictures.  Digital has come a long way in 10 years.

In 2006, I found a few stock photo sites, and since getting a few of my pictures out there for sale, it’s allowed me to fund my photography habit. I’m lucky that first batch I submitted was accepted as I’ve improved as a photographer a lot in the last couple of years. I can credit the micro-stock business for the photographer I am today.

My Stock Photography Links:

  • Shutterstock - The first site I joined in early 2006, this is where I submitted a lot of my early work.
  • iStockphoto - More of my ‘quality’ stuff is probably here–equally as important as Shutterstock ($-wise at least) .
  • Dreamstime - in 2007, I was very surprised when one of my first approved images turned out to be the 1 millionth image on their site!
  • Fotolia - an international site, my pictures sell while I’m sleeping.
  • BigStock Photo - This site has been around awhile, but one of the weaker earners for me.

My most popular images for sale at Shutterstock:



Flickr

This page is automatically synced w/ my flicker account, so feel free to check either to see what I’m up to.  I’m notoriously behind on getting my stuff online.

Matt’s Current Photo Gear:

Being a tech-head, digital photography is an excellent (though expensive) place for me to be. I’ve plowed all I’ve made stock-wise back into buying gear, and have now settled on a pretty good setup that I’m currently happy with.

Camera Bodies:

Canon 5D MKIII - Not much to say that hasn’t been said about this great camera.  This thing is a low-light monster, and is perfect for how I shoot.  It does everything really well, and I plan on keeping this thing for some time.

Canon 7D - The focusing system is amazing.  The speed is crazy.  The quality excellent.  The 1080p video gorgeous.  This camera does it all at a good price.  Now my back-up body.

Primary Lenses:

I feel it takes 3 lenses to get by when you are traveling, and if you want to lug it, one bonus. These you should always have with you, IMHO. Here they are:

eagle-320x480.jpgCanon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM - In summer of 2007, I bit the bullet and bought this bad-boy (alliteration alert). This is my workhorse lens, and I can’t recommend it enough–it’s excellent, though expensive (this replaced my 28-135 which I liked, but you can see the difference in the 24-105). I leave this on at least 2/3 of the time during the day if not more.

Canon EF-S 10-22/3.5-4.5 USM - Early 2007, I got this ultra-wide lens. You can’t beat the range it gives you and the dynamic pictures you can take of rather normal things. For traveling in cities, this lens is great for landscapes. If I have time at a site, I usually try to put together a shot with this lens. Even though it doesn’t have the “L” designation from Canon, this lens is top-notch.

Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - Got this late 2007 (2007 was a big lens year for me I guess) as a supplement to my Canon 50mm 1.8 which is a bit long on my rebel. At 1.4, this lens is REALLY fast, extremely sharp, and the 30mm is great for indoors. I call this my ‘bar’ lens, as if you are out at night, it’s usually dark and most cameras are useless. I hate using flash, so if I can hold steady, this lens usually does the trick.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM - Not great for traveling light, if you want to do any type of wildlife or sports, this is your lens.  Quality is unbelievable and deals can be had if you search (Canon had a $200 auto price reduction earlier this summer which made it a good buy).  Picked this one up spring of 2009.  The Bald Eagle was shot w/ this lens, Tomahawk, WI July 4th, 2009.

My other lenses:

Lensbaby Composer - Tap into your artistic side with lensbaby.  They are tough to use, but yield pleasing results.  The composer is the easiest of the Lensbaby family to use.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II - At $80 (it’s actually gone up in price the last few years), you still can’t beat the value of this lens. After getting my first rebel used back in 2005, I quickly bought this lens and was very impressed. It still has some of the best bokeh you will find, especially at $80. Now that I have my 30mm, I haven’t used this much, but it is still lighter and longer than the 30mm, so no need to get rid of it.

Other Accessories:

Lowepro CompuTrekker AW Camera Backpack - This thing is essential for my travels. It’s super-padded, has room for all my lenses, etc. and also holds a laptop. I don’t use this day-to day, but it is my plane carry-on. When traveling around for the day, I switch to…

Tamrac Adventure Messenger 4 DSLR Camera Bag - Once off the plane (or if I’m mobile) I switch to this pack. It holds my 10-22 and my camera w/ the 24-105 and the 30mm.  It also holds the Lensbaby in the front, the flash if I need it, and my Garmin Oregon 300.  For sports/wildlife, I can take out the 30mm and replace with the 70-200 for some real shoulder-killing weight.

B & W 77mm UV (Ultra Violet) Haze Multi Coated (2C) Glass Filter #010 - It has a long name, but basically, if you are going to drop $1000 on a lens, you should protect it. And you shouldn’t protect it with a junky $20 filter, as that kind of defeats the purpose of buying a nice lens! I have this filter on my 24-105 and my 70-200, and the coating on it is amazing. It can start raining, and after a min or 2, you won’t see anything on the lens… not spots, nothing! It cleans so well that maintenance alone is worth buying it. I should really get one for my 10-22 as well…

Vosonic 8390 160GB MP3, Video, photo dumper - They don’t make this version any more, so I linked the 8360. I guess the OLED screen on the 8390 was expensive and flaky on some units but mine has been awesome. This is one of my favorite devices, photography or otherwise. Each day on the road, I dump my 8GB card on to the 160GB drive for safe keeping. I actually have an older version as well, the 6230, that I also dump a second copy on that too. That way, if one of the devices goes hay-wire, I still have a copy of my pictures. This thing does everything–MP3’s, DIVX videos, pictures, long battery-life, it’s the best companion on trips. Forget any version of an iPod, this swiss-army knife is what you need.

Canon 430EX Speedlite Flash - This flash is excellent, but I don’t use it as much as I should. When loaded on the Rebel, it’s heavy and rather intimidating looking. You get some great results though, but only if you use a..Sto-fen Flash Diffuser - To tame the harshness of your flash, you need one of these. I’m annoyed that it’s $20, so the link is to a different, cheaper brand. It’s a piece of plastic so I’m sure it’s just as good!

Pro Optic Auto Extension Tube Set - Rather than get a macro lens, these 3 turn any of your other lenses into a macro lens (though it takes some work to figure out what works best). I’m not a big macro guy, so these are good enough for me.

Giottos Rocket Air Blaster - Sensor cleaning technology is great, but you still need to blow some air to clean out now and again. This goes with me and works wonders.

Gitzo G-1228 Mountaineer Reporter Mk2 Carbon Fiber Tripod - I got this used from Laurin Rinder in 2006, and it has worked quite well me. While it by no means is quick to deploy, it is about the sturdiest thing you can imagine. Have to love that carbon fiber. After you use a good tripod like this, you won’t believe how wobbly other tripods are in comparison.

Manfrotto 1441RCNAT 3030G Tripod Head - This thing is a little big and a little crazy, but gets the job done. It came w/ the tripod I got from Laurin, and I’ll probably get something else, but these things are expensive, and it’s working so no need to change it right now.

Matt’s ‘historic’ cameras:

1999-2001 Largan Lmini 350 - 0.6 MegaPixel - this thing was terrible in most every way, but it was digital, which is what a digital guy needs.  Yeah, 0.6MP.

2001-2003 Sony FD-90 - 1.6MP - Great optics, but sloooow camera.  Made you slow down, but almost too much.  I still have some pictures I really like from this camera.  If it only had 10x the sensor quality.

2003-2005 Olympus 5050z - 5.0MP - My first prosumer camera, this taught me the photo basics, mainly aperture, shutter speed and ISO.

2005-2006 Canon Digital Rebel -  6.3MP - The first in a crazy-upgrade cycle of Rebels.

2006-2007 Canon Digital Rebel XT - 8.0MP - I started selling stock photos and the upgrades in both lenses and cameras now were ‘funded’ (mostly).

2007-2008 Canon Digital Rebel XTi - 10.1MP - Sensor cleaning = good!  A great camera, I only really upgraded because in stock photography it helps to have higher MegaPixel for increased size for increased $$.

2008-2009 Canon Digital Rebel XSi - 12.2MP - While still a very capable camera, I’ve vowed this is the last Rebel I’d buy… I’ve been investing in lenses lately.

2009-2012 Canon 7D - Great body, and served me well for almost 3 years (a long time for me).  Now the backup.

2012-??  Canon 5D MKIII -  Not sure what else I’d ask this camera to do, other than be cheaper.  It’s an improvement over the 7D in most everyway.  It’s at least 3 stops faster quality-wise.  12800 ISO never looked so good.

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