Home > Newsletter > JHP Newsletter - 2007, No. 5, 25 September

JHP Newsletter - 2007, No. 5, 25 September

Greetings from Nairobi, Kenya. I've just arrived to prepare for a three-week James Hager Photography tour, and wanted to fill you in on some happenings.

Equipment: Canon EOS 1D Mk III

My Canon EOS 1D Mk III was promptly repaired by Canon. The vertical grip shutter release had a faulty contact that caused it to send a shutter firing signal as soon as the button, or even the normal shutter release button, was pressed instead of a focus/meter signal. They replaced the switch and the body works great now. I tested it out on a short trip to shoot moose and elk (see below), and the improved high-ISO performance of the body let me capture some images in low light that I probably wouldn't have tried with my Mk II's.

Equipment: Gitzo GT3540XLS

I got a new Gitzo GT3540XLS tripod to replace my old Gitzo G1348 tripod. Both models have carbon fiber legs for light weight and good vibration damping, but the older G1348 legs are free to rotate which made operating the locks a chore sometimes because two hands were required: one to tighten the upper lock at the same time another was loosening the lower lock. The 6x legs on the GT3540XLS do not rotate, and it's a breeze to operate the leg locks with one hand. Both tripods have four leg segments, and the GT3540XLS extends to 78 in (198 cm) to facilitate shooting on uneven ground, and because it doesn't have a center post, it will get down to ground level. It collapses to 27.6 in (70 cm) and weighs just 4.3 lb (1.95 kg). If you are thinking about getting a new tripod, or if you are tired of your first-generation Gitzo carbon-fiber tripod, I would highly recommend that you get one of the new 6x models.

Equipment: Powerex MH-C9000 WizardOne Charger-Analyzer

Battery chargers usually aren't the most exciting pieces of photography equipment, but the Powerex MH-C9000 WizardOne Charger-Analyzer is one slick piece of equipment. It can handle up to 4 AA or 4 AAA NiMH or NiCD batteries, and it treats each battery separately to properly charge each cell. It operates in five different modes: Charge for normal charging, Refresh & Analyze (charge, rest for one hour, discharge, rest again, then recharge) for batteries stored for more than two weeks, Break-In (charge slowly, rest for one hour, discharge battery slowly, then recharge slowly) for conditioning new batteries or charging those stored for more than three (3) months, Discharge, and Cycle (charge/discharge for a set number of cycles then charge). After a battery is charged, it reports the available mAh so that cells of equal capacity can be matched for optimum performance. It will also report bad cells that should be trashed. If you want to know that your rechargeable batteries are absolutely ready to go, instead of blindly believing a "dumb" battery charger, then this is the battery charger for you.

Travel: Moose and Elk in Colorado

I took a short three-day trip at the beginning of September to shoot moose near Walden Colorado and elk in Rocky Mountain National Park. Walden is known as the moose capitol of Colorado because moose were reintroduced into the state near there. I was able to get lots of shots of cows with calves with my new Canon 1D Mk III in light levels where I wouldn't have been shooting with the older Mk II's. The cow below-left was standing in a beaver pond and eating grass from the bottom. The highlight of the trip was finding three bull moose in a clearing early one morning, and two of the bulls did some posturing to see who was the larger individual (below right).

Cow Moose
Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado
Canon EOS 1D Mk III, 500 f4,
1/90 sec, f5.6, ISO 500
Two Bull Moose
Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado
Canon EOS 1D Mk III , 500 f4,
1/60 sec, f4.5, ISO 640

Then I spent a day at Rocky Mountain National Park to get shots of the elk at the beginning of the rut. The cow below left was part of a very small harem, and the bull below right was cleaning his antlers after sparring with another bull.

Cow Elk
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Canon EOS 1D Mk III, 500 f4,
1/30 sec, f8, ISO 500
Bull Elk
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Canon EOS 1D Mk III, 500 f4,
1/180 sec, f8, ISO 250

I'll tell you all about Kenya in a few weeks.

Take care, and happy shooting.

— James

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