EasyCover–The Otterbox For Your Nikon D750

My EasyCover for my Nikon D750 came in yesterday. I wrote about buying these earlier for the Nikon D4 camera. [Read More] Most of the pros I know would wish they would make a model that covers the camera name and model.

While many amateurs may want to show off their gear, most pros try to do the opposite.


The primary reason I recommend this to you is the same reason I would recommend you have an Otterbox for your cell phone. The Otterbox promotes itself as surrounding your phone with a cushion of air and inspired by the crumple zone of a car; this case can take a hit and keep your precious phone as good as the day you got it.

The EasyCover comes with 2 x Screen Protectors. I didn’t put these on right away and most likely will.

As you can see from the photos, you still have access to everything, including the ability to move the screen. In addition, the Custom-Fit Silicone Material provides an excellent cushion from minor bumps.

You can still get to the memory cards.

You can also use your microphone, headphone, HDMI, and USB access.

You can still get to the battery very quickly.

An Otterbox and the EasyCover cannot completely cover everything. 

You still have access to your flash as well.

It comes in either Black, Yellow, or Camouflage.

Covering Meeting With The Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM S Plus 2X Converter

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM w/ Sigma 2x, ISO 5600, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

This morning I was covering the FCA Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Breakfast at the Marriott Marquis, where the TCU and Ole Miss football teams were enjoying the master of ceremonies, Ernest Johnson, Jr., a sportscaster for Turner Sports.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM w/ Sigma 2x, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/200

Aeneas Demetrius Williams is a former American football cornerback and free safety who played with the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams of the National Football League (NFL). He was the featured speaker today at the FCA Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Breakfast — at Atlanta Marriott Marquis.

I was trying to ensure I captured the number of folks at the event, the new logo for the Bowl this year, and a couple of moments here and there.

Here is a small sample of some of the coverage.

When covering an event like this, you need some long glasses or be between the audience and the speakers.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm, ISO 12800, ƒ/4.5, 1/60

This wide shot is from the same place I shot the two top photos. The difference is a 14mm lens vs. a 600mm lens.

When you are in a banquet facility where the room size is a football field, you need to bring the exact glass you would cover for a football game. Due to logistics, you need the long glass because you cannot get the subject to fill the frame enough from some places you need to position yourself.

Seeing 20/20 with your Camera Lenses

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM S, ISO 12800, ƒ/4, 1/2000

As we get older, we need to go to the eye doctor. People ages 20 to 30 should have an eye exam every two years unless visual changes, pain, flashes of light, new floaters, injury, or tearing occurs. Then, immediate care is necessary.

Yearly exams become essential in the late thirties when changes in vision and focus, along with eye diseases, are more likely to develop.

Your camera lenses are probably less likely to change in focus just from aging alone, but heavy use will affect the lenses.

[cropped version of the above photo] Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM S, ISO 12800, ƒ/4, 1/2000

After getting my new Nikon D750, I calibrated the lenses I own to the camera. I also decided to check one lens before the big Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl game on New Year’s Eve.

Just to remind you, anything in front or behind the book should be slightly out of focus. However, if the points in front or slightly behind are sharper than the book cover, this is when you need to make adjustments either to the lens or the camera fine-tune focus adjustments.

The Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM S can be fine-tuned and calibrated for 16 different focus points using the USB dock and software you put on your computer.

This USB dock also lets you update the firmware on the lens.

So I took a couple of hours to shoot, make adjustments and then reshoot targets to get the lens in focus.

I then check all the cameras again with the camera.

Just like you need to see an eye doctor to adjust your prescription, take the time, check out your camera, and fine-tune focus the lenses. You will be surprised as to how sharp your lenses really can be.

Nikon NPS 2015 Calendar came in, and time to reflect once again.


This afternoon my Nikon NPS pocket calendar arrived. I have been able to put the 2014 calendar in my collection since 1983.

I enjoy looking back, seeing what I did in the past, and counting my blessings. This is the time for reflection at the end of the year.

In the spring of 1984, after I was offered my first job at The Hickory Daily Record, I had to get some new camera gear. Here are the two pages I used to research all the prices at the time.

My parents got me my first gear as my graduation present from East Carolina University. It was a blessing to have my parents help me with college and my gear. I went to my first job debt free–no college loans, car loans, or credit card debt from having to buy equipment.

Here is my first week of work hours at The Hickory Daily Record, with my first day being May 21, 1984.

September 3, 1985, Don Rutledge called me about a job in Richmond, VA. I would drive up that Sunday, September 8, and interview the following day with Warren Johnson. They offered me the job on September 13.

Little did I know how huge of an impact The Hickory Daily Record and working on The Commission Magazine would be in my life. What a blessing it was for me.

On May 7, 1993, I was offered the job work at Georgia Tech in the communications office.

As you can see, after turning the pages, I would graduate the following week with my M.A. in communications from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Then, I would pack the next day and start my drive to Atlanta, where I have lived ever since.

Sometimes you have to look back, celebrate the milestones, and remind yourself of all you have gone through. Looking back reminds me of how God has provided opportunities for my family through the years.

I leave you with this scripture verse:

Matthew 6:25-34 

[ Do Not Worry ] “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? …

Education and Journalism have a lot in common.

There are a lot of similarities between education and journalism. Just take the storyline and the learning curve, for example. Above is the storyline, and below is the typical learning curve.

I believe the connection between the two is people find themselves in crisis and looking for solutions. Education and a good story both have problems and answers given. How the main character responds in a story can be either a comedy or tragedy.

Storyteller & Educator

The storyteller and teacher must master their content before creating content for their audiences.


I have always liked this illustration for helping me to grasp how learning takes place. While working on my master’s in the education department, the school taught these stages.

I learned that when you teach if you don’t know what level your students are in and what class you are teaching, you will create a problem for the learning environment.

The storyteller and teacher must master the subject. Then, they must be able to go to the highest level of learning, which is a synthesis or the ability to create something new.

The storyteller and the teacher must be able to look at their audience and know how to lead them through the crisis to understand eventually.

Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 7200, ƒ/6.3, 1/250

Great teachers and storytellers have three things in common:

  1. Know their subject as an expert
  2. Know their audience
  3. Know their craft to connect the audience with the subject
If you are a teacher or storyteller and find yourself struggling, it is with one of these three things most often.
When I was in the education classes, I noticed we spent a lot of time learning about our audience. We learned educational psychology, which helped me learn how we know and what we can learn depending on the audience’s age.
In my communication classes, we worked on the craft of telling the story. Either we were learning how to write, use visuals, or design to help get across the message of the subject.
Both education and communications emphasized our need to know the subject well, but both education and communications classes were weak in one of the other two areas.
Teachers and storytellers, you both need to dedicate your life to learning more about all three of these areas. Your subject will evolve as well as the audience.
There are endless ways to engage your audience. It would help if you mixed things up, or your style can get in the form of learning or storytelling. You become predictable and boring.
Most of all, keep the passion and curiosity vibrant.

Photographing the Ramblin’ Wreck

Nikon D2X, Sigma 120-300mm, ISO 1600, ƒ/4, 1/1250

Through the years I have photographed the Ramblin’ Wreck coming onto the football field before home games at Georgia Tech.

Nikon D2X, Sigma 120-300mm, ISO 800, ƒ/2.8, 1/640

The cheerleaders all jump onto the Ramblin’ Wreck and then it tears through the banner made for the game onto the field.

I would try different angles every once in a while as able. Many times I had to shoot something on the field at the same time so I could rarely change my angle.

Nikon D100, 70-200mm, ISO 400, ƒ/8, 1/1000

One thing I learned was shooting on the ground level I often had a very cluttered background and if I shot at a higher depth-of-field the background competed too much with the foreground.

Nikon D2X, Sigma 120-300mm, ISO 400, ƒ/5.6, 1/3200

By getting up higher I was able to eliminate the stands which helped to clean up the background.

Nikon D2X, Sigma 120-300mm, ISO 400, ƒ/5.6, 1/3200

I could capture the Georgia Tech football team running onto the field behind the Ramblin’ Wreck. This was one of my favorite angles to work for many years if I could get into the stands rather than being on the field.

My suggestion is to look for new angles and know what you are trying to highlight in your photograph.

Review of Fuji X-E2 Camera Body Update Ver 3.00 and Camera Remote APP


Two changes happened today for my Fuji X-E2. The first is a new firmware update, and the second is a new app that lets you remotely control the camera. The photo above shows the APP on my Motorola Turbo Android phone and the Fuji X-E2 on a tripod with the 18-55mm lens.

This update is excellent and that all Fujifilm X camera owners will love.

X-E2 Camera Body Firmware Update Ver.3.00

Details of the update:

1. AF+MF–function enables seamless manual focusing. After half pressing the shutter to autofocus on the subject, fine adjustment can then be made using the manual focus ring. After playing with this I did find this to be a really valuable upgrade. It works great. You must be in Single and not Continuous Focus Mode.

2. Enhanced wireless function for shooting from your smartphone or tablet devices*

By downloading the free FUJIFILM Camera Remote** app to your smartphone or tablet devices, users can use the Remote Control function, which allows a wealth of control, even from a distance. This functionality is great for a wide variety of shots, including group photos, self-portraits and animals in their natural habitat.

* Android™, smartphone and table devices, iPhone / iPad.

** After updating the Firmware Version 3.00, FUJIFILM Camera Application app cannot be used.

Requires installation of FUJIFILM Camera Remote app to your smartphone or tablet devices


FUJIFILM Camera Remote

3. New Classic Chrome Film Simulation DID NOT TEST [Since I shoot RAW and post process I am more pleased with this than the out of the camera JPEGs]

The X Series’ Film Simulation modes represent Fujifilm’s wealth of experience in color reproduction technology. “Classic Chrome”, which delivers subtle colors and beautifully muted tones reminiscent of vintage reversal film, has been newly added to the existing selection.

4. Interval timer shooting DID NOT TEST [Maybe one day, but just haven’t done much time lapse]

The new Interval timer shooting function allows X-E2 users to capture time lapse photography. Set the starting time, the shooting interval (1 sec. to 24 hr.) and finally the number of frames (1 – 999), and the camera does the rest.

Here are the screen grabs from the app:



The APP connects with the camera much faster and more reliably than the previous one. However, the APP will disconnect you from your present Wi-Fi connection and look for the Fuji X-E2, which was a real problem with the earlier APP.
Overall if this were the only improvement, this would be great.
Once connected, you can touch the screen where you want the camera to focus as long as you are in AF mode. You can control all the functions of the camera that I could test.
There is no real-time action as I had hoped. Instead, there seems to be a little delay. However, the wait is not due to Wi-Fi, and I know that the Nikon D750, which I am comparing, does a far superior job connecting and controlling the camera.
I commend Fuji on upgrading my Fuji X-E2; however, I wasn’t ecstatic about the performance, given what I can do with my Nikon D750.
While I am very thankful for the Fuji Firmware upgrade that Nikon seldom does on their cameras–I am not impressed with the performance compared to their competition, like the Nikon D750 W-Fi camera.

Review of Battery Grip Holder Pack For Nikon D750




I decided to save some money when buying a battery grip for the Nikon D750 and bought an off-brand.

On eBay, I found a High-Quality Multi-Power Battery Grip Holder Pack For Nikon D750 Vertical Camera for $78 and $10 for shipping from overseas. Here is the LINK

It comes with two types of battery holders. It works with six AA batteries or EN-EL15.




The grip fits perfectly onto the Nikon D750, and everything works great.

There is a second set of buttons and dials on the back.

The Sub-Menu dial is on the front, just like the camera and shutter release. Lightweight, and I like it because I prefer the vertical grip when shooting verticals and adding a little more balance for the lenses.

Everything works excellently; that is all the pros I can think of right now.

Cons–Even after turning off the camera and the grip, the battery will drain just sitting around in the hold.

The Nikon MB-16 is still available for pre-order. Here is that LINK. The price is $369. So if you are bothered by the battery draining, save money and buy the Nikon MB-16.

Photographers may need a class in IMPROV

Nikon D750, Sigma VR Zoom 120-300mm  ƒ/2.8 IF-ED, ISO 4500, ƒ/2.8, 1/640

All these photos were taken at Roswell High School’s Improv Troupe “What’s the Buzz?” performance on December 5, 2014. That’s my daughter in the blue shirt on the left above. I guess you can tell I am proud of her.

In business today, it pays more than ever to be able to think on your feet. So what better way to train yourself than to learn how to do IMPROV?

Tina Fey is an alumnus of The Second City, an improvisational comedy enterprise in Chicago.

Tina Fey boils down the rules here in her book Bossypants.

The first rule of improvisation is AGREE. Always agree and SAY YES. When you’re improvising, this means you are required to agree with whatever your partner has created.

Now, obviously in real life you’re not always going to agree with everything everyone says. But the Rule of Agreement reminds you to “respect what your partner has created” and to at least start from an open-minded place. Start with a YES and see where that takes you.

Nikon D750, Sigma VR Zoom 120-300mm  ƒ/2.8 IF-ED, ISO 4500, ƒ/2.8, 1/640

Robert Kulhan is an adjunct assistant professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and said to CNN, “Improvisation isn’t about comedy, it’s about reacting — being focused and present at the moment at a very high level.” So the first rule of improv is a Worldview perspective that lets you join the client where they are at the moment.

In business, you don’t have control over what happens. IMPROV teaches you how to work as a team and learn to go with the flow.

Tina Fey says the second rule of improvisation is not only to say yes, but YES, AND.

The YES, AND principle in performance improvisation means listening to what someone else says, accepting what they say, and then building on that. In business terms, it means getting any idea brought to the table and then taking that idea further.

Nikon D750, Sigma VR Zoom 120-300mm  ƒ/2.8 IF-ED, Sigma 2X, ISO 4500, ƒ/2.8, 1/640

Critical Thinking

The problem with many people in business is they put Critical Thinking often in front of brainstorming and creative thinking. It would help if you had an unconditional acceptance atmosphere for new ideas to come forward. The analysis paralysis occurs if you jump too quickly to critical thinking.

Tina Fey says, “Always ensure you’re adding something to the discussion.”

The third rule Fey talks about is one I get tripped up on in business situations.

Third Rule is MAKE STATEMENTS. This is a positive way of saying “Don’t ask questions all the time.” If we’re in a scene and I say, “Who are you? Where are we? What are we doing here? What’s in that box?” I’m putting pressure on you to come up with all the answers.

In other words: Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.

Try and be the fly on the wall in your business situations. Listen to yourself and self-audit your comments and body language.

Rule four–THERE ARE NO MISTAKES, only opportunities.

Nikon D750, Sigma VR Zoom 120-300mm  ƒ/2.8 IF-ED, Sigma 2X, ISO 4500, ƒ/2.8, 1/640

Better Listener

You will not know how to respond to others when they finish if you have not listened to them. For example, how often do you talk to someone that is just waiting for you to finish speaking so they can say what they already are planning on saying? Improv teaches us to listen attentively, not just for words but for emotion, intention, point of view, and much more.

Saying yes to things you would typically sabotage will help you believe in yourself and your ability.

IMPROV also teaches you to embrace your emotions. These emotions in business help to connect with others.

“Some people misunderstand improv….It seems that improv is all about being funny. But it is not. Improv is about being spontaneous. It is about being imaginative. It is about taking the unexpected and then doing something unexpected with it….The key is to be open to crazy ideas and building on them. And funnily enough, this is exactly what is needed if we are going to make our enterprises more creative and agile.”

– Paul Sloane

The Leaders Guide to Lateral Thinking Skills

Rules of Improv

1. Always Agree and Say Yes–You are required to react to whatever your partner has created. In real life, you will not agree to everything, but this helps remind us to respect whatever our partner has created. At least start from an open-minded place. Start with a yes and see where that takes you.
2. Yes AND–Add something of your own. Don’t be afraid to contribute. Always make sure you are adding something to the discussion.
3. Make Statements–Asking questions always make your partner have to come up with all the answers. Statements are your way of being part of the solutions. Don’t stand around pointing your finger at obstacles. Make statements with your ACTIONS and your VOICE.
4. There are no MISTAKES, just OPPORTUNITIES–In improvement, there are no mistakes, only beautiful happy accidents.

Nikon D750–Wreaths Across America

Nikon D750, 28-300mm, ISO 125, ƒ/8, 1/125

Today is National Wreaths Across America Day. Owner of Worcester Wreath Company formed this organization in 1992 to:

REMEMBER the fallen
HONOR those that serve and their families and,
TEACH our children the value of freedom.
– See more at: http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org

Nikon D750, 14-24mm, ISO 320, ƒ/9, 1/30

These are the ceremonial wreaths. The ceremonial wreaths represent each branch of the military service, including the POW/MIA and Merchant Marines. The one closest to the camera is the MIA, which I had the honor of presenting.

The letter sent to my grandparents stated that the U S Marine Corps “regretted to inform that 2nd Lt. James Stanley Leary, Jr., 2-G-23 Fourth Marine Division..had been declared Missing in Action while engaged against the enemy on the Island of Saipan, Marianas, in the Pacific.”

[To get this photo, I used the tilting Vari-angle LCD to put the camera way low and look through the LCD to compose on the back of the camera. I love this feature and used it again in the photo below.]

Nikon D750, 28-300mm, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/125

I shot the photo in RAW and recovered the shadows and highlights in Lightroom. Here is what it looked like before I adjusted the image:

While Nikon has many settings that will get some pretty great JPEGs out of the camera, they still do not compare to shooting RAW and then working on the image to tweak and fine-tune your vision.

Nikon D750, 28-300mm, ISO 360, ƒ/8, 1/500

I didn’t use a flash in this photo because I was too far away. This photo is 250mm full-framed but put me a good 20 or more feet away. However, with the dynamic range that the camera caught, I was able to again open up the shadows and tone the highlights for a good photo.

Nikon D750, 28-300mm, ISO 140, ƒ/8, 1/250

I did increase the saturation using Adobe Lightroom’s vibrance and set all the photos to +27.

Nikon D750, 28-300mm, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/125

After ingesting the photos into Adobe Lightroom, one more thing I do first enable profile corrections.

Lens Corrections is a tool within Lightroom’s Develop Module that allows fixing such lens problems as distortion, chromatic aberration, vignetting, and perspective correction “non-destructively” without leaving Lightroom. Note that lens correction is not a simple fix that applies to any lens – corrections are lens-specific. In addition, since each lens model design has a unique optical formula, you must uniquely customize lens corrections for each model.

Nikon D750, 28-300mm, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/200–Popup flash used 0 EV

One family asked for a photo, and when I saw the man’s hat, I took the lens shade off the 28-300mm, popped the flash up on the Nikon D750, and filled in the shadows. Unfortunately, while I could have done an OK job using Adobe Lightroom to open the shadows, the flash added a catch light in their eyes.

Photographers there will be failures–How do you turn them into success?

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/6.4, 1/80

We had a group of about 25 photographers who gathered to hear Bob Rosato is the Chief Operating Officer of USA TODAY Sports Images.

To start our time, Gibbs Frazeur Atlanta-based freelance photographer, opened us up with a moment of reflection.

A good number of those attending have lost jobs due to budget cuts over the past few years. Gibbs pointed out how this can be a “fresh new start” for each of us. A fresh start is a much better way to look at our new situation than just Wallowing in Self-Pity.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 28-300mm, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/320

Bob Rosato gave us a peek behind USAToday’s Sports Desk curtain. He helped us first to see that no matter who our clients we need a system that must be in place that meets their needs.

Bob walked us through the workflow that they have designed for covering events. First, using PhotoMechanic, they ingest images into their computers and go through a filter that puts the best photos into a picks folder. Then from their narrowing down those images, they will move to their online Content Management System.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/3.2, 1/250

Continuous Quality Improvement is built into the system to improve speed and efficiency. Using “Code Replacement” is a way to improve the accuracy of spelling players’ names and saving keystrokes to get images in a timely fashion. Want to know more about “Code Replacement?” Here is a link where you can learn how to use this tool with PhotoMechanic here [http://wiki.camerabits.com/en/index.php?title=Speeding_Up_Captioning]

Nikon D750, Nikkor 28-300mm, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/320

“Bob, what happens when Murphy’s Law strikes? Can you tell us of a time when things didn’t go as planned?” was asked to Bob and his response was you learn the most at those times. You are not as likely to get better when things are going well. It is when things go wrong that you learn from those mistakes.

Bob and Gibbs’s messages at that point collided with me. When we hit bottom, we can look at our world differently. We can choose to see our world differently.

Later during our 5-Minute shows, Jason Getz, who was laid off last December from the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, shared a photo that he would have never taken had he not gone through this experience.

He had to shoot weddings and, in the process, learned some new skills that he applied to one of the games.

When you feel like things are all coming apart and you are hitting bottom, you have an opportunity for a “Fresh Start.” First, take a good look at what brought you to this point. Not every time we hit bottom is it because we failed–sometimes those we produced work for can no longer afford your services.

Like a tornado that hits without warning and destroys a home, that family now has a “Fresh Start” and has to rebuild. You may, however, see that maybe there are things you did that you will avoid or handle differently in the future–you learned something valuable.

The most successful most likely have failed a few times. If you haven’t failed, you are not taking enough risks and will most likely produce mediocre work. So take risks and push yourself.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 28-300mm, ISO 7200, ƒ/3.5, 1/60

Why talking to other photographers is a great way to learn?

Gibbs Frazeur and Johnny Cochran had not seen each other in 27 years when they were both students at Ohio University. Gibbs lost a great job years ago and can relate to what Johnny Crawford went through after being downsized out of a job at the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. Having someone come beside you while you are going through a tough time makes the journey not as lonely.

We learn from each other than just from making mistakes. Our colleagues can help shed light on things that they have experienced.

Hopefully, we will meet again soon and catch up with each other. The best part is seeing people who have overcome those “Murphy’s Law” moments.

The Big Reveal for Photographers


The Big Reveal

This photo is another example of exposure to the sunset, which creates a silhouette of a person and then uses your flash to reveal the subject.

Most photo books call this Fill-Flash, but the silhouette reveals language that Dave Black coined, which I think describes what is happening better. That is because the flash here becomes the leading light, not a fill light.

Here is the lighting diagram for the photo above. I also have a CTO +1 gel on the flashes. The MagMod system is holding the gels in place.

Here is the photo without the flashes. How I wish I had the outfit behind the dancer in this photo and the other image.