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"Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph." – Matt Hardy

  

"I think a photography class should be a requirement in all educational programs because it makes you see the world rather than just look at it."  -  Author Unknown

 

"A man’s heart away from nature becomes hard; lack of respect for growing, living things soon leads to a lack of respect for humans too."  – Luther Standing Bear

 

"Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow."Imogen Cunningham

 

"Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter."  - Ansel Adams

 

"When you follow your bliss….doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors; and where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else."  - Joseph Campbell

 

"You can outdistance that which is running after you, but not what is running inside you." – Rwandan Proverb

 

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

"Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."  -  Pablo Picasso

 

"We have been taught to believe that negative equals realistic and positive equals unrealistic."  -  Susan Jeffers

 

"Always leave enough time in your life to do something that makes you happy, satisfied, even joyous.  That has more of an effect on economic well-being than any other single factor."  -  Paul Hawken

 

"Satisfaction of one's curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life."  -  Linus Pauling

Wednesday
Aug122015

We are getting ready for our Arches trip in September and just received our NEW bags from Lowepro! The Flipside Sport 20L. This is a lightweight bag that will carry A LOT of our mirrorless gear. In the below photo the gear this bag holds:

3 camera bodies and grips for each, 7-14 2.8, 12-40 2.8, 40-150 2.8, 75 1.8, 14-150 walk-around lens, FL600 flash and a 1.4 teleconverter.

The ENTIRE thing only weighs 14 lbs. This is the perfect bag for hiking in Arches National Park because we can strap our tripods to it and it holds a water bladder as well.

Can't wait to head out now that we have our perfect bag!

 

 

Friday
Jul242015

And ANOTHER New Product Partner - BlackRapid Camera Straps!!

We're on a roll these days and are happy to welcome another product partner - BlackRapid Camera Straps. For the ultimate in comfort and accessibility there is a wide variety of BlackRapid straps to choose from. Single camera staps, double camera straps, camera straps specifically styled for women and sport camera straps....there is a BlackRapid strap for every shooting need.  We will be featuring these in our workshops and will have demo straps available for student use during workshops as well. 

Thanks BlackRapid, and welcome aboard!

www.blackrapid.com

Wednesday
Jul222015

Announcing a New Product Partner - Rogue/ExpoImaging!

We at Natural Connections are having a really good year....and we have added yet another product sponsor to our lineup.  Rogue lighting modifiers by ExpoImaging!  Up until now, our workshops have been mostly about the natural lighting you get with landscape and travel photography.  But we are adding a new aspect to some of workshops this year and into the future....artificial lighting.  

On our upcoming Arches National Park workshop this September we will be integrating some artificial lighting.  Being in the desert provides a fantastic opportunity to do some Milky Way photography and to capture star trails as well.  Often when capturing stars in our images, the images are greatly enhanced by 'painting' surrounding objects with light.  And that is exactly what we intend to do....pull out the speedlights, gels and flash bounce reflectors.  

This is where Rogue products come in.  They have a full line of speedlight light modifiers from reflectors to diffusers to grids and color gels.  And we will be using them all.  Rogue has generously donated many products for our students to use while on our workshops. This allows us to add an entirely different element and opportunity at learning for our participants. 

Thanks Rogue, and welcome aboard!

www.expoimaging.com

 

Sunday
Jul122015

Our Olympus Story

Jeff and I are asked about once a day how/why we switched to Olympus from our pro Canon DSLR cameras and lenses.  We repeat this story so often to our customers at Showcase and to our NCPW students that we thought we should memorialize it in writing, for at least posterity's sake if nothing else. 

December 23, 2011 Jeff and Ledra become engaged and subsequently decide on a May wedding in Hawaii. Never having been to Hawaii, we of course had to take every piece of camera gear we own...5D Mark II, 1D Mark III and 8 'L' lenses accompanied us on our dream vacation.  We had two maximum sized carry-on bags EACH in addition to our 3 checked bags.  As ridiculous as it seemed, we knew we would regret not having everything we may need for any photo opportunity that could arise. But before we left, I decided that I wanted a small camera to keep with me in the bag no matter what the occasion - from walking to the gift shop to sitting at dinner. So we asked Showcase's Olympus Rep to borrow their most popular PEN camera at the time - the EP5 and two lenses.  This camera was the size of a point-n-shoot camera with tiny lenses. 

Cut to Maui....then Oahu....then to Kaui and back to Oahu....all in all, two cross country flights and 3 island hopping flights in 10 days....and driving the entirety of 3 islands. Although we tried to relax for some of the trip, there was always the desire to shoot.  We took out the DSLR gear here and there...shot some waterfalls, etc., but mostly left it in the room or in the car.  But one thing that did happen was that I was true to my desire to keep a camera with me at all times.  Every time I walked out of the room, left my lounge chair, went for a walk, stepped out for shopping or went to dinner - we had the Olympus with us. There were times that Jeff even had to take the camera away from me so I would stop playing with my dinner and actually EAT it. Our walks would take twice as long because I couldn't quit stopping every 10 feet to shoot something.  

We enjoyed our 10 days and eventually ended up back home.  After all the files were downloaded and a vacation book ordered and received....we noticed something very surprising.  Not only did we find that 80% of the photos in the book were from the Olympus camera, but that about 80% of all pictures taken on the trip were with the Olympus as well.  That led us to the natural conclusion that we needed to purchase one of these little guys for a 'backup' or 'walkaround' system for when we didn't want to carry all of our pro Canon gear.  Luckily the first OMD model had just been announced and we purchased the EM5.  

From day-1, I basically confiscated the camera and considered it mine.  Over time, I noticed that I tended to bring my camrea with me more and more....and consequently, found that I was shooting a lot more.  I decided to bring the Olympus on our next workshop instead of the Canon.  During the course of the workshop, each and every participant asked about the tiny camera I was shooting with and wanted to try it.  People were blown away.  After about a year of owning the EM5 I suddenly realized that I had not touched my Canon gear at all for the entire time I had owned the Olympus.  And the decision was made.....I sold every piece of my heavy Canon gear and dedicated fully to Olympus.  Within 6 months Jeff followed suit (a Canon user for 31 years) and we became a 100% Olympus household.  

Over time our workshops started reflecting our personal camera choices.  More and more of our students wanted to know about this tiny little system we were shooting with.  After any given workshop a number of our students would visit us at Showcase and purchase the Olympus system....the EM5, then the EM1 and then the EM5II.  Every workshop we ran seemed to produce more and more Olympus users....and many of those students have been frequent repeaters in our workshops ever since.  

Seeing the success we were having in our workshops with Olympus cameras, our Showcase Olympus Rep and his bosses began supporting our efforts.  Olympus began providing us with loaner cameras and lenses for each workshop we do.  Now people can join us on any workshop and be able to sample the OMD system first-hand for free....for the entirety of the workshop if they wish.  

The bottom line is that we love these little cameras.  The convenience of having a Pro system packed into such small components is fantastic.  The size of these systems make our workshop participants fall in love with photography all over again....they can carry 4 pro lenses and a body in half the space and with half the weight of the DSLRs they used to carry.  

With all of this said about Olympus, we want to EMPHASIZE that our workshops are not an Olympus-only kind of thing.  Not at all.  We welcome any and every other camera system out there on our workshops.  Olympus just happens to be the system we choose and like to promote.  

 

 

Friday
Jul102015

MORE Exciting Olympus News!!

Right on the heels of the 7-14 2.8, Olympus followed it up with its newest Pro lens offering the - 8mm 2.8 fisheye.  Another quality metal and weather-resistant lens for the Olympus Pro lineup.  This one will take your creativity to absolute new levels.  You'll see a new way of looking at the world through this new lens.  

Just as with the 7-14 2.8, we will be adding some images made with the 8mm fisheye from our Arches National Park trip in September.