Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Level Playing Field in Photography

Finally! The playing field is  level between professional photographer and enthusiast or hobbyist. 

 It is so easy to create professional quality work, and even have your work published, that the label of "amateur" hardly applies in the world of photography.


If you are old enough to remember when you only had 35mm film, you'll recall feeling like you could not complete with the pros. They shot a thousand pictures at a time, and you were limited to maybe two or three rolls of film (36 exposures each) which had to last a month (and you dreaded the developing costs).

Digital has changed all that.


You had one camera, maybe a Mamiya, Minolta, or a Miranda, and two lenses (the 50mm lens which came with the camera and an off-brand 135mm tele). This meant you were stuck with one type of film (and thus limited in photography subjects) until you finished the roll. The pros had three or four cameras on every shoot, Nikons of course, with different ISO films and lenses attached.

Digital has changed all that.


The pros had superior photos, certainly because of their talent, but also because they were paid to practice. They got the assignments which paid them while they developed their skills. Their learning curve was fast and steep. For the rest of us, it took years to learn the craft.

Digital has changed all that.

So I say, game on!


Let's buy some high quality lenses and great versatile camera bodies. We'll get high quality zoom lenses, auto-focus, auto-exposure, and motor drives (which in the past was another luxury only the pros had). Best of all, we get all the FREE shooting and processing for as many photos as we can take.

That is way better than what even the professionals used to have in the past.


Camera. You can get a complete DSLR camera set up with two zoom lenses for what you might spend on dining out over the course of a year. These are wonderful times for us, the students and adult learners. Also, you can shop on line, so we don't have to make a trip to the big city to get a good deal. You can even find great deals on camera equipment at Costco or Best Buy. For Processing. I recommend Lightroom. It is a very versatile program supported by Adobe with free tutorials. Also, there are many free videos on YouTube, and many good classes for a fee you can take as well.  

MY AFFILIATE LINKS (you pay the same, but I get a commission):




·         Camera (Kit with 2 lenses)
·         Camera bag
·         Camera Batteries and Charger
·         Camera body (an extra one)
·         Camera Strap
·         External drive storage
·         Filters and Filter kits
·         Lenses (a couple of extras)
·         SD Cards
·         Tripod


For the really important (and expensive) items like additional lenses or when you want to upgrade your camera body, Adorama is reliable, they provide safe shipping, and have an excellent return program. They usually have the lowest price on an authentic Nikon camera battery.

If you are buying an off-the-shelf kit, meaning a camera with two lenses included (like an 18 - 55mm zoom and a 55 - 200mm tele), plus charger and accessories, you can find a good package deal at Costco.

Best Buy has a good deal on quality camera tripods, a good selection of camera bags, sometimes on SD cards or camera batteries too. ALWAYS buy the name brand camera battery for your camera. I only buy Nikon batteries now because I bought two of the off-brand batteries and they simply do not last as long.

Staples is an office supply place that has good deals on SD cards and Terrabyte drives, especially around Thanksgiving (sometimes before, sometimes during, and sometimes after). When you are in the market for an additional drive, watch the Staples sales flyer every week for the sale price. I buy Seagate drives because they are small and so far, super reliable.

Get a cool camera strap on Amazon, and ditch the Canon or Nikon strap. You are just asking for someone to grab your camera when you use the logo to brag.  If you are taking photos in a sketch area, or developing country, then get a security type strap with can't be cut with a blade. Pacsafe has different styles.

See my separate blog post on filters, which ones to buy, and how to use them.

If you are getting extra lenses, I would recommend a standard 35mm or 50mm f1.8 lens. This is usually very inexpensive, and you will need it in low light situations.  The kit zoom lenses which come with the camera do not have a wide an opening,  The next extra lens to get is a super wide angle, or wide angle zoom. Get something that goes to 8mm so you can take some really crazy shots of cars and statues, and the insides of small rooms.  You can by an off brand, rather than your camera's brand to save money. You will only need this lens once in a while, so don't spend more than you have to.

Here are a couple of my wide-angle shots with my Sigma 8-16mm, which I bought at Adorama:

Buoys in Maine

Fall foliage in the forest

Good luck in your digital photography! Please post comments and pictures!


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Classic Land Rover Magazine - Mike's Article NOV 2019 Issue

This article starts my series called "Behind the Metal Dash," where I'll be discussing everything from warning lights to gauges, switches to cables,

Nov 2019 Article

Monday, October 7, 2019

Mike's Land Rover Repair YouTube Videos

Here is my playlist of a few repairs I've made.


Click Here

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Friday, June 21, 2019

Classic Land Rover Magazine - Mike's Articles - July 2019 Issue

Two articles just published.  Download the article as a pdf file by clicking the cover or link below.


I hope you like these articles!  Please comment below.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Two Essential Gauges for Your Land Rover

I just installed two additional gauges in my 1970 Series IIA Land Rover.

Due to the lack of available space on the metal dash, I opted for the small 2 1/16 inch (52mm) gauges:

1) Lucas voltmeter
2) VDO tachometer

I selected these for their style which fits with the Series IIA look.

I purchased my Voltmeter from Nisonger Instruments here:


Scroll down to the bottom of their page to see the gauge.  Peter at Nisonger was super helpful answering my questions and telling me about the options and the install process.

Finding a tachometer in the classic style and one which operates within the range for my engine was a challenge. VDO had the right tach which goes only to 4000 RPM's, which is what you need.  Why?

For a Series Land Rover, you don't need a 9000 RPM tach. That is for race cars. You'll never go that high and you'd have less needle movement to see on the gauge face if your tach range is too high for your vehicle.

I got mine on Amazon with free Prime shipping:

VDO Tach


To install these, you'll need a gauge panel. I bought this small one to fit under the steering column:

Gauge Panel


Be careful not to install too close to the front of the dash or you can't slide the gauges in due to the lip of the lower dash blocking the top of the gauge panel. The gauge panel includes tiny sheet metal screws which work fine.

About the instruments:

Out with the old: The old ammeter on the Series Land Rover is useless when broken, but it looks reassuring because it's always in the charging zone. Only when I replaced my alternator did I realize my ammeter wasn't even connected. When the ammeter is connected, ALL of your electrics run through it, so if it shorts or fails, all of your electrics in the car go out. You are dead in the water.

In with the new: The voltmeter is way more useful, and tells you the voltage of the battery when car is not running (ignition key clicked on without engine running). With engine running, you can clearly see that your alternator is charging and what the range is. You always can see the electrical load you are using too, engine on or off.  So it's recommended.

RPM's good to know: It's important to see your RPM's at different engine speeds and when shifting. The VDO tachometer is super easy to install, and I simply hooked up one of the wires to an extra spade on my ignition coil. It worked perfectly as soon as I connected it, and it's accurate. The tach packaging does not come with any instructions, so you have to go on VDO's website, find your tach, and download the 2 page instruction sheet. It's here:


These are excellent directions, easy to follow, and they show set up, step by step, and sheet has great illustrations and diagrams. I was very pleased with it. If you have any questions, call the 800 number on the VDO website and they are very helpful.  I had a question about the bulb that slides into the back and they were super helpful.

Don't forget to check out the shirts on  www.Rovershirt.com

Thanks for reading!