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JT Blenker
Dallas, TX

Articles written by JT Blenker

The Rundown on Choosing a Tripod That Fits You

If you’ve been photographing a short time, you may just now be looking into a tripod to add to your kit. You may have purchased a tripod early on and are now realizing that the plastic tripod from the big box store wasn't the most positive choice for taking images and now you’re looking at tripods that don’t break the bank. Usually we are looking at tripods out of absolute necessity and are thinking that they are mostly all the same, which like most things, is simply not true. Tripods have a multitude of features depending on what your needs are, and for those looking at investing into a new tripod should watch this breakdown video from Joe Edelman on choosing a tripod that fits your needs.

Photographer Has a Close Call With Flipping Car

When using a camera on a race track it's best to be cautious, and in this case really lucky. What looks like a back woods rally circuit, there are a multitude of onlookers and spectators for the day's racing. We see the number 50 car becomes airborne on a ramped corner in the beginning of the video, and while attempting to hold the line over compensates for the turn and careens toward a camera man pitched at the end of the inside of the turn.

Is a PPA Super One Day Class Worth It?

Twice a year Professional Photographers of America hosts a learning opportunity for any photographer, whether they are a PPA member of not. PPA calls these Super One Days and they are available throughout the country and held by local photographers that give their time and expertise to a diversified set of subjects in many local communities. The options for classes range from different aspects of the business of photography, to shooting many different types of imagery, to post-processing, and even creating with prints and products in mind. The diversity of options available and that it’s many times a local photographer offering a class makes these educational opportunities worthwhile.

Thomas Heaton Trades a 5D Mark IV DSLR for a Canon M5 Mirrorless Camera

Thomas Heaton put out a new YouTube video a few days ago that many photographers, especially those who hike out to destinations, will have a lot of interest in. Heaton is downsizing not only the amount of equipment for his next landscape photography adventure, but he’s also trying out Canon’s APS-C mirrorless system that’s on loan from Canon. As we see in the video, he does have some reservations about using the M5 system over the 5D Mark IV and specifically going from the L-series glass to the less robust lenses with the Canon M5.

How Did You Become a Photographer?

This coming week will be busy for me as I travel across Virginia to several VPPA guilds and talk about a huge passion of mine with astrophotography. I will also tell them what made me a photographer and who made me a photographer is them. It’s one of the very first things I state when I start my talks and it needs to be said. Other photographers are the reason I’m a photographer today.

2017 Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year

On September 14, 2017 the Royal Observatory Greenwich announced the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year awards. The Guardian writes of the awards, "Awe-inspiring views of the Universe were celebrated at the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2017 awards ceremony, held at the Royal Greenwich Observatory." The competition inspired entries from all over the globe and this is the first year entries included images of the furthest planet in our solar system and asteroids streaking through the images. Of the over 3,800 entries competing in the 9 categories an overall winner has been chosen and the images simply speak for themselves.

The Lily Drone is Back… Kind Of

Back in 2015, the “Throw-And-Go” Lily Robotics drone was building steam and making waves. Its Kickstarter campaign centered around its ability to launch out of water and to be thrown off a cliff to immediately rescue itself and follow its adventurer as they traveled quickly over any terrain. The Lily drone had massive appeal and was slated to be an incredible way to capture and film outdoor enthusiasts and people who just wanted a durable drone to take with them on their adventures.

Making a Four Foot, Travel-Friendly Syrp Magic Carpet Slider

I started using Syrp for time-lapse and motion control almost a year ago and I find the system very good for what it is; a way for photographers to step into motion control at a relatively low price point. The first piece of Syrp kit I purchased was their Genie Mini and having the ability to pan was a way to add more interest in any time-lapse I wanted to create. After a month I went ahead and purchased the rest of their 3-axis kit including the Syrp 5.2' Magic Carpet Long Track Slider which has been great to use. The only issue is if you want a longer slider, Syrp doesn't make a way for you to connect two of their metal sliders together. With very little ingenuity, you can connect as many metal sliders together as you'd like at a relatively low cost.

Are Your Solar Eclipse Glasses Safe?

There’s an incredible amount of excitement going into next weeks solar eclipse here in the United States. If you’ve been planning to watch the eclipse yourself and have “solar eclipse” glasses that you bought from Amazon, then check your email. TechCrunch is reporting that over the past 24 hours, Amazon has sent out recall notices to tens of thousands of buyers of the glasses because they were not able to verify the glasses were safe and met the certification standards to view the eclipse safely.

Photography Adventures on a Budget? Go Camping

So you want to create images and travel to gorgeous and beautiful places but how are you going to afford to travel several days or weeks and still pay for food, a roof over your head, and the costs to go from point a to b, c, d, e, etcetera? Well, do you like to camp? For those photographers where money is tight or who just want to have the most flexible arrangements possible, camping is one of your best options to get to out of the way places and still get some rest in between your photographic pursuits.

Getting Uncomfortable and Being a Creative

What’s holding you back? Is it work or responsibilities? Is it just life getting in the way? Is it you making a commitment to taking that next step? This morning I was overlooking the Rio Grande into Mexico and I thought that there's no place I’d rather be than right here in this moment. This is what getting out of your own way feels like. It’s happiness and adventure and exhilaration. It’s when we’ve overcome ourselves and have accepted the fact that we just have to move. We have to pick a direction and go.

The Costs of Producing Photography Gear

We all have or will want to buy gear that is out of our price range or that we think doesn't have enough value compared to another competitor's products, and we'll choose what we can afford today over what might be a better piece of equipment bought later. I'm certainly one of those photographers that learned what I value after committing to several manufacturer's products over others that I tried and had to abandon due to their workmanship, cost, or my actual need. Maybe you are going through this internal debate now with a lauded piece of equipment that will be a benefit to you and your work, but the price exceeds its perceived value to you. Do you really need that equipment or is there a cheaper alternative?