Nature Photography Blog

John Slonina is a professional nature photographers. His company Slonina Nature Photography leads instructional photo tours and workshops throughout the United States. His photo tours visits several national parks which include Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Mt Rainier, Olympic, Acadia, Great Smoky Mountains, Mt Rainier, Olympic, Arches, Canyonlands, Everglades, Big Cypress, Katmai and Lake Clark.

 

Gift Certificates are now available

Slonina Nature Photography Tours and Workshops is now offering Gift Certificates for their tours and also prints. 

Gift Certificates are good for trips like Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Alaska, Arizona, Utah, Mt Rainier, Olympic, Everglades, Big Cypress, Great Smoky Mountains, and Acadia. 

Join us on an adventure of a lifetime. We have a small group size. All Skill levels are welcome. Give the gift of photography.  This is a great gift for the holidays and someone's birthday or anniversary. 

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Feisol CT3372 Tripod Review

There are two types of Tripods Lightweight and Cheap or Ones that work. Buying a nice tripod is an important investment. It is important to keep you camera steady.

alaska_photo_tour.jpg

Every month I get at least half-dozen queries from folks asking my advice about tripods and tripod heads. As a wildlife photographer and landscape photographer I often use heavy camera bodies and long lenses which require a great tripod. It is very important for photographing in low light, night, and time lapse or any photography for that matter. I have always had an interest in different tools and equipment that is available to the nature photographer.

When I was introduced to the Feisol CT-3372 I was eager to test it in the field. It is part of Tournament class tripods. Second generation CT-3XX2 series. These are available in 3 and 4 section variants. I prefer 3 section over 4 section tripods because it is more slightly more stable and sets up a little quicker. Either version is fine a 4 Section tripod will be smaller to pack if space is an issue.

It is rated to handle loads up to 12 kg (27 pounds). It uses FEISOL’s new Rapid anti-leg-rotation technology. The leg locks secure the legs and unlock with a quick twist. Each leg section is moisture and dust resistant. The Leg release mechanisms will go past 90 degrees. This helps for some of the weird angles photographers get stuck in. Preset leg angles at 25, 50, and 75 degrees. This also allows the tripod to drop nearly to the ground for those low angle subjects like landscapes, wildflowers, reptiles, amphibians, and insects ect. This tripod will hold up in adverse conditions that nature photographers experience in the field.

The CT-3372 Rapid tripod fulfills all the requirements of the serious photographer. This Tripod is large and affordable. The base plate is about 3.5 inches. This is where the legs attach and give it stability.  This is bigger than most in the industry and is one of the reasons why these tripods are so stable. It can easily handle long lenses like a 600 F4.

The pricing is extremely competitive. It is cheaper than competitors like Really Right Stuff and Gitzo. I had always used Gitzo tripods since the ‘90s. The old aluminum ones were really heavy. Next came carbon fiber which is a lot lighter. Now carbon fibers have got even better. This tripod has multi-layer carbon fiber.

A tripod bag with a wide shoulder strap is included.  Foam covers on all 3 top leg sections. The legs are supplied with standard rubber end caps and these can be replaced with stainless steel or alloy spikes as an optional extra. Options include a center column which I do not recommend on any tripod I would recommend a leveling base for panoramic and level a gimbal head for action photography.

Feisol offers the quality I am looking for in a tripod.  It has great Specs. It is comfortable and offers great support it is durable and made of lightweight Carbon Fiber (CF) tripod. At just 1.74 kg (3.84 pounds), the CT-3372 Rapid offers the additional durability you need while making transport and setup effortless.

So bottom line it offers great weight-to-stability ratio. This is extremely important. It is simple in use, quick to set up and retract. The legs swing to almost any angle for setting up close to an obstacle. It also extends to over 5 feet when attaching a tripod head without a tripod.

I wanted to thank Michael Affemann Vice Presidents Sales of Feisol USA and Gary Farber of Hunt’s Photo and Video for their help.

10% off Feisol CT-3372 tripod

http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/detail_page.cfm?productid=CT3372&mfg=Feisol&show=yes&sp=rnZ4J

 10% off  Feisol CT-3342 tripod

http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/detail_page.cfm?productid=CT3342&mfg=Feisol&show=yes&sp=rnZ4J

Please ask for Alan Samiljan or Gary Farber (781) 662-8822 and mention my name

Equipment Review: My favorite Two Bags to Transport Gear

Carrying camera gear can be a real pain so it is important to make things as confortable and easy as possible. I have tried and tested several bags throughout the years and here are my two favorites.

LoweproTrekker Backpack 

Lowepro Trekker Backpack series has always been top notch. It is extemely confortable for my body frame. Large padded waist belts, an adjustable harness system with well-padded shoulder straps and a padded backrest are critical. There are several different adjustments to maximize comfort. There is even space for a hydration reservoirs.

The bag has two handles which helps you transport and put the back on and off. The handles make it much easier. I like the hand for unloading and loading the backpack into my car or the overhead bin on a plane.

The backpack is weather resistant but includes a lightweight rain cover. You never know when you are in the backcountry and the weather gets ugly.

The bag uses high grade, heavy duty YKK splashguard zippers enhance the seal. Zippers can fail. This bag offer 5 buckles that help secure a heavy load and take some of the stress off the zippers.

LowePro has different models depending on how much gear you need to support. The Protrekker AW series includes. The 300, 400, 500.

Airlines are a major consideration when purchasing a bag. No matter what bag I buy I want to make sure it fits in the overhead big on my plane. The Pro Trekker 400AW is approved as legal carry-on for the US. If you travel internationally or use a regional jet it may be more difficult.

When I am booking a flight just to be on the safe side I make sure it is a larger plane. Boeing 737, 747,757, Airbus 320 are common choices. You can usually tell by how many seats are on the plane, how wide the rows are etc.

There are compression straps attached to the bag. You can attach clothes, a tripod, and other gear.

There are multiple pockets for filters, microfiber cloths, small tools, space batteries, memory cards, spare lens caps etc. There is even an option to fit a laptop (up to 15 in widescreen).

This bags fits a 500mm F4 with camera body attached, a medium telephoto lens, and three small lenses. You can rearrange to fit multiple DSLR’s, lenses up to 400 (2.8), 4-6 lenses, flash units etc. I reverse all the lens hoods.

I recommend you check out any Lowepro product. I have used several of their bags throughout the year.

Here is a special from Hunt’s Photo and Video. Great Deal

20% off any Lowepro backpack, bag or case

http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/store.cfm?manufacturer=Lowepro&sp=7IRAy'

Think Tank Photo Urban Disquise Bag

 

Think Tank Photo Urban Disguise. This bag allows you to carry expensive gear and it just looks like a laptop bag.                                       

I own the Disguise 60v2

I love this bag. It is roomy and very easy to customize to fit your gear. The quality is excellent with strong materials and great zippers.

Gear Profile

Carries one pro size or regular size DSLR with 24-70 f2.8 attached, plus 2-5 additional lenses, and a 17” widescreen laptop**

Two regular size DSLRs with standard and wide angle zoom lenses attached

Two pro size DSLRs (body only) in padded front pocket, plus 3-6 lenses in main compartment

This bag is comfortable. You can use a padded strap or a convenient handle. The bag also has a compartment for tablets, papers whatever you want to put in there. You can easily get things out while not exposing your gear.

It also has an organizer pocket. The organizer pocket allowed me to keep a lot of small thing in order. There is a hook for keys. A red zippered pocket for priority items like boarding passes etc. There is an enclosed memory card wallet and several locations you can fit business cards. It has a rain cover also for extreme weather.

This is not a bag to fit big lenses or to travel miles into the backcountry.  I still prefer a photo backpack for hiking etc.  I use this bag for three reasons.

The first is for overflow photo gear that doesn’t fit in my photo backpack for big trips. If I fly to Yellowstone or Alaska I take multiple lenses, macro gear, chargers, my tablets, wires etc. It gets crazy how much gear you have to bring as an outdoor photographer. I also have to bring extra gear since I am a photo workshop leader. So this bag with my photo backpack fits everything no problem and it is neat and organized.

The second reason I use this bag is for airplanes. You are allowed one bag as carryon. My one bag is my photo backpack. A computer bag doesn’t count as a carryon. This is your chance to bring extra gear, books, tablets, magazines, maps etc.  

The third reason is non photography related. This bag fits a lot of things and is incredibly organized. I use it to fit my laptop, cords, mouse, books, magazines, passport, boarding pass, keys, maps, prescriptions, chargers and numerous other things.

So in conclusion this is a great bag with multiple uses. I am super impressed with the Think Tank Photo line of products.

Here is another great special from Hunt’s Photo and Video

15% off any Think Tank Photo Urban Disguise Series Bags

http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/search_link.cfm?sid=428&skey=62150454&sp=4ftoI

 15% off any Think Tank Photo Camera Bags, Belt Systems, Rain Covers

http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/listing.cfm?cid=8&manufacturer=Think%20Tank%20Photo&sp=4ftoI

Please ask for Alan Samiljan or Gary Farber (781) 662-8822 and mention my name

Hunts Photo and Video Specials

photo tours and workshops

Hunt’s Photo and Video is having special rates for Slonina Photography Follewers. I just wanted to pass the sale info along to everyone in case you are in need of any camera gear. I have been photographing for almost 30 years I trust Hunt’s for all my photography needs. They offer first class customer service, have great prices, and are big supporters of the photography community. If you attened any nature photography conference you probably have met Gary Farber. He works incredibly hard to support nature photographers. He is on the board of directors for the North American Nature Photographers Association (NANPA).

Please note I do NOT get an financial benefit if you order from Hunt’s. It is just a company I trust and I know several staff members personally. 

 

Please ask for Alan Samiljan or Gary Farber (781) 662-8822 and mention my name

10% off  Feisol Tripods

www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/search_link.cfm?sid=220&skey=98411773&sp=rnZ4J

or use coupon code: rnZ4J

 

10% off Delkin USB 3.0 Universal (Multi-Card) Memory Card Reader

http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/detail_page.cfm?productid=DDREADER42&mfg=Delkin&show=yes&sp=9397m

or use coupon code: 9397m

 

10% off any BosStrap Camera Strap

http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/store.cfm?manufacturer=BosStrap&SP=10BOSS

or use coupon code: 10BOSS

 

10% off X-Rite ColorMunki Photo for Monitors, Printers and LCD Projectors

http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/detail_page.cfm?productid=CMUNPH&mfg=X%2DRite&show=yes&sp=DBUX2

or use coupon code: DBUX2

 

$12 off Hoodman HoodLoupe 3.0 Professional

http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/detail_page.cfm?productid=HLPP3&mfg=Hoodman&show=yes&sp=EmjyA

or use coupon code: EmjyA

 

15% off Phottix 3-Ring Auto-Focus AF Macro Extension Tube (Nikon or Canon mount)

http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/search_link.cfm?sid=349&skey=16700835&sp=0WbmX

or use coupon code: 0WbmX

 

15% off  Promaster Automatic Extension Tube Set (Nikon or Canon mount)

http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/search_link.cfm?sid=350&skey=39637005&sp=FuMoT

or use coupon code: FuMoT

10% off Kenko Auto Macro Extension Tube Set (Nikon or Canon mount)

http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/search_link.cfm?sid=336&skey=95597843&sp=UWBMr

or use coupon code: UWBMr

 

10% off Naturescapes SkimmerSack Beanbag

http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/detail_page.cfm?productid=R567&sp=xcvpz

or use coupon code: xcvpz

 

10% off Wimberley Plamp 2 Articulating Arm

http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/detail_page.cfm?ProductID=PP200&sp=311gx

or use coupon code: 311gx

 

$20 off Lightning Bug Camera Lightning Trigger (including Nikon and Canon cables)

http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/detail_page.cfm?productid=LIGHTNINGBUG&mfg=MK%20Controls&show=yes&sp=8WVUT

or use coupon code: 8WVUT

 

FM Photography McClamp 'The Stick' Support Bracket – 10% off

http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/detail_page.cfm?productid=3304&sp=m3Jr8

or use coupon code: m3Jr8

 

Tamron 150-600mm lens  -  no promos available at this time

http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/search_link.cfm?sid=234&skey=39632161

Camranger Wireless Camera Control for Canon and Nikon DSLRs - no promos available at this time

http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/detail_page.cfm?productid=1001CAMRA