Monthly Archives: August 2017

The New Spectrals

Think Tank Photo have just announced a new line of shoulder bags for DSLR and mirrorless systems.  The new Spectral shoulder bags feature a Fidlock clasp that enables one-handed access to gear and then locks automatically when closing the flap. An additional zippered closure gives peace of mind while traveling and can be tucked away when actively shooting. Constructed with durable yet stylish materials, the Spectral Shoulder Bag offers Think Tank quality and ingenuity at a reasonable price. The Spectral 8 is under $100.  And don’t forget that when you use my URL you will receive free gear and free shipping with your order of all Think Tank gear, including the Spectrals.


Posted in Accessories, Mirrorless, Photography

MIOPS Smart Trigger Review

I purchased the MIOPS Smart Trigger last summer after seeing it being used by a few photographers in Europe. This a combination trigger, intervalometer, remote and a whole lot more. The nice part is that it is well built, small and light. The MIOPS can be purchased for $220 to $240 based on the camera cables you need.

The unit measures approximately 2.5 in. X 4.0 in. and weighs just under 4.0 oz. including the battery.

The MIOPS trigger has six modes of preprogrammed operation and one “Do It Yourself” port. A really useful feature is that you can vary the sensitivity of each of the modes as appropriate. 

The controller is very durable. I have had it in my bag for over 1 year and is does not show any signs of wear and continues to perform very well.

A 128×128 pixel, full-color display, is mounted just above the large buttons, used for operation and selecting menu options on the front of the trigger.

The device is powered by a 3.7 V/1020 mAh. lithium-ion rechargeable battery.

The MIOPS can be used with Sony, Panasonic, Olympus, Canon and Nikon, as well as other brands. The trigger hardware is identical for all configurations with the exception of the supplied cables that need to match the I/O ports of your camera.

This allows you to use one MIOPS with various camera models as long as you purchase the right connection cables.

The trigger unit is used in two ways, either to trigger an external flash or to activate the shutter of your camera. Flash units are connected via the PC sync jack, and cameras are connected via the remote shutter release jack.

The MIOPS internal (replaceable) battery can be charged via a micro-USB cable and any USB charger or your PC’s USB Port,

The MIOPS is manufactured using a strong plastic with well configured, raised push button controls. The screen is an LED display and is easy to read in most lighting conditions. It has an internal microphone and a light-sensitive sensor for activating laser and lightning modes. For the DIY mode, an additional port is provided that can be connected to an external sensor.

The trigger can be mounted using the camera hot shoe or on any support that has a 1/4 20 screw mount.

The MIOPS can be used remotely via the free MIOPS smartphone app for IOS and Android phones.

For triggering with the MIOPS it is best to set your camera to manual exposure and manual focus.

Lightning mode: allows you to capture flashes of lightning without the need to leave your shutter open for long exposures in the bulb mode. Sensitivity can be set from 1 to 99 to trigger the sensor for capturing lightning flashes. In the lightning mode the MIOPS can be used to trigger the camera with other sources of light. As examples: fireworks, flashes, and other forms of artificial light.
Sound Mode: requires you to use a dark environment with the MIOPS triggering a flash.

Set your camera on bulb and open the shutter, the sound activates the MIOPS to trigger the flash and you capture the action.   You can use the MIOPS to trigger the camera but the shutter lag makes high-speed photography nearly impossible.


Time-Lapse Mode: here you set your camera in bulb mode so the MIOPS can control all the shutter speed and shooting intervals. This is useful is your shutter speeds need to be 1 second or greater. If you are shooting at shutter speeds of less than one second then use your camera’s shutter setting and set the MIOPS’s Exposure to 00:00.You can set the interval (this is the time between each exposure), and the total number of images that will be captured for the time-lapse sequence.
Laser Mode: for this mode you will require an external laser directed at the MIOPS sensor. The MIOPS will trigger the camera or a flash when the beam is broken by any object passing between the laser and the MIOPS. This mode requires a constant laser beam to be directed at the front sensor.

The MIOPS trigger can be adjusted for a delay before the unit triggers the camera or flash from 1 to 999 mili-seconds. An additional setting allows you to set the number of frames that will be captured after the beam is broken. These can be from 1 to 999 at a maximum frame rate of 2 images per second.

HDR Mode: this is a mode that is good for cameras that either do not have an internal bracketing mode or where the camera is limited to just the 3 shot bracket. The MIOPS trigger will allow you to set 3, 5, and 7 shot brackets. I prefer to use the camera’s internal bracketing/HDR modes.
DIY (Do It Yourself) Mode: this mode is used to connect external sensors to your MIOPS. The external sensor can be of any type if it meets some technical specifications. The DIY mode enables you to trigger your camera or flash unit based on a signal coming from an external sensor. The DIY port is located on the left hand side of the device. It is under the protective cover. It is a 3.5 mm stereo jack. The external sensor should be connected to the DIY port only.

The DIY mode has three different parameters as follows:

The first one is the threshold value. It is given as a percentage and reflects the required change in the signal level to initiate triggering. As the input signal can be anywhere between 0 and 3.3 Volts, one percent change is equal to 0.033 Volts. You can set the threshold value using this as a guide.

The second parameter is the delay. As in the other modes, you can add some delay to the triggering event. The delay can be set to any value between 0 and 999 milliseconds.

The third parameter is called the “mode”. This parameter specifies how the output signal of the sensor should change to qualify as a trigger event. There are three options: Change, Rising, Falling. If you set the mode to change, it will not matter whether the voltage is going up or down. Any value above the threshold will qualify as a triggering event. If you want to detect increasing voltage only, the mode should be set to rising. And finally, if you set the mode to “falling”, you will only detect decreasing voltage changes.

Scenario Mode: works in combination with the smartphone app. You can store up to three different scenarios to the MIOPS to be executed later. When you create a new scenario and run it, it will be also stored to the MIOPS. You can run each scenario later. To make any change you must do it via the app on the phone. The scenario mode screen lets you choose one of three previously stored scenarios. The screen will display which step is currently running and when the scenario ends, the MIOPS will return to the selection screen.

Smartphone App ModeThe smartphone app has been designed as an interface to configure and control your MIOPS Smart. It is available on iOS and Android platforms. The iOS version must be 7.0 or higher. The Android version must be 4.3 or higher. The smartphone and MIOPS communicate via Bluetooth. Your smartphone has to be Bluetooth 4.0 compatible.. The application’s interface is basically the same for most of the functions as in the MIOPS trigger. 

In conclusion, I have no hesitation in recommending the MIOPS Smart.  There are a number of other features that are available when you use the smartphone app that I will leave for a future post.

MIOPS Triggers are available at Hunts Photo & Video – here is a link to the Panasonic Version – use the search field for other versions. 

For more information, you can visit the MIOPS web site at


Posted in Accessories, Photography, Product Reviews, Time-Lapse

Bisti Badlands on a Cloudless Day

This image was captured in the fall of 2015.  Back then, the cloudless sky did not appeal to me. Looking at this image two years later in B&W has it own appeal.  Would love to go back next year and explore the region some more. 

Posted in Black & White, Photography Tagged , , |

Iceland – The Land of Fire and Ice Photo Workshop – Sept. 22 – 29, 2017

September  22 – September 29, 2017 

Iceland – The Land of Fire and Ice – is an experience for non-photographers and photographers alike. The country provides the opportunities to capture mighty glaciers, waterfalls and spouting geysers. Majestic mountains, magnificent coastlines and smoking volcanoes. September is the beginning of the awe-inspiring Aurora Borealis – the Northern Lights.

Iceland is by far an ideal destination for viewing the Aurora Borealis. Its modern infrastructure and excellent location, midway between Europe and the United States and with direct flights, makes it ideal for the sighting of the Northern Lights.

In late summer Iceland is truly magical. As this workshop is scheduled for September and solar activity permitting we should have some opportunities for seeing and photographing the Aurora Borealis.

Please note: as the northern lights are natural phenomena, we cannot guarantee sightings.

On this tour, we will take you to the very best photography locations Iceland has to offer. We will visit the many rugged volcanic landscapes, the iconic giant waterfalls, glacier lagoon, the black volcanic coastline.


A detailed day by day itinerary will be provided on registration along with recommendations for clothing, equipment and all relevant information to ensure an exceptional experience.

Location Highlights 

Reykjanes peninsula: The lava scarred Reykjanes peninsula lies on the MID-Atlantic Ridge that borders the America’s and Europe. We will photograph, volcanic landscapes, moss covers lava fields, the Icelandic coastline, Lighthouses, ship wrecks and the famous Blue Lagoon. In addition, we will get a chance to photograph geothermal pools and a geothermal plant at night.


The Golden Circle: This is the region of Thingvellir – Geysir, – Gullfoss one of the largest and most beautiful waterfalls – The Highlands region. We will visit Þingvellir, Iceland’s first national park est. 1930. where the  Viking Parliament was established in 930AD.

Geysir geothermal area is known for its erupting springs with the famous Strokkur that spouts regularly every 5 to 8 minutes.

Vatnajökull National Park: Vatnajökull glacier is the largest of all the glaciers in Iceland.


Jökulsárlón lagoon is beautiful glacial lagoon full of icebergs that range in color from white to deep blue to crystal clear. Exceptional light makes for phenomenal landscapes.

Skaftafell, Iceland’s second largest national park.  Here the landscape is representative of the various formations created by volcanic and glacial activity

Reynisdrangar: basalt sea stacks situated near the village of Vík í Mýrdal. A very photogenic church atop a hill makes for some beautiful photo opportunities. 

Dyrhólaey: a 120-meter high promontory is the southernmost part of the Iceland. Here you can feel and capture images of the power of the Icelandic seascapes.  Elevated views and sea level views are possible.

Skógafoss one of the biggest and most beautiful waterfalls in the country, 25 meters wide and a height of 60 meters. On sunny days one or two rainbows are usually visible.

Seljalandsfoss, one of the most picture perfect waterfalls.  Here you can actually take a path and go behind the falls and photograph through the falling water.  

Búðir is the home of a famous inn and restaurant Hotel Búðir and a very old small church. The original old house and Hotel Búðir burned down on 21 February 2001 and was rebuilt to resemble the original old inn house.

Arnarstapi or Stapi is a small fishing village at the foot of Mt. Stapafell. In Jules Verne’s A Journey to the Center of the Earth, Stapi is the last stop on the route the protagonists take before they climb Snæfellsjökull and enter the interior of the planet through a tunnel in the crater.

Hellnar is a fishing village. The beach has spectacular rock formations. One of these is a protruding cliff called Valasnös, which reaches across the ocean front and into the sea. Here there is a cave known for its colorful changes of light and shade.

We will also visit  Djupalon, Svortuloft, Skardsvik, Bjarnarhofn and many other exceptional photographic locations.


Registration requires a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 10 participants. 

The trip fees are $3,350. Accompanying non-photographers $2,950 – no special arrangements will be made.

The single supplement fee is $950.

Fees include accommodation, breakfast each day and all transportation in Iceland

The fee does not include:

Your air fare to and from Reykjavik, Iceland, airport taxes, travel insurance (highly recommended). Meals other than breakfast. Personal expenses, tips, alcoholic drinks, telephones, laundry, personal travel if incurred and incidentals.

Please complete the registration and release forms A deposit of $1,500 is required to confirm your reservation. The balance is due by September 5, 2017.

Please make your payments to Shiv Verma and mail them to 652 Dedham Street, Wrentham, MA 02093-1149.  Credit cards and PayPal are accepted (a 4% fee applies) please call 617.759.0010 if that is how you wish to pay.

Travel & Accommodation 

Please make arrangement to arrive in Iceland Keflavik International Airport on the morning of day 1.  You will take the FlyBus to the Foss Hotel in downtown Reykjavik and check-in to the hotel.  Check-in is in the afternoon but the hotel will do its best to accommodate you. For those arriving very early, breakfast will be available at the hotel.  Fly bus details will be sent to registrants.

We will be staying at the Foss Hotel in Reykjavik on a double occupancy basis.  For  two nights we will be on the southern coast in Hali where we will be staying at the Hali Country Hotel 


Contact us at 617.759.0010 or email
sv @ (please remove spaces)

Posted in Photography

Fall Foliage and Landscape Photo Tour – October 6 – 9, 2017

October 6 to 9, 2017.

The Finger Lakes region of upstate New York comprises series of eleven glacial lakes. Native American legend implies that the Creator looked upon this land with special favor and reached down to bless it, leaving the imprint of His hand, hence, the Finger Lakes. Each lake offers it’s own unique photo opportunities.  From streams and waterfalls to massive gorges.  This photo tour/workshop will cover two of the regions lakes. This tour/workshop is suitable for all photographers. We will work with individual participants to maximize your experience and to enhance your photography.


We will arrive late evening on October 6, 2017

Day 1 – October 7, 2017

Taughannock Falls State Park

Pronounced Tuh-GA-nick.  We will travel the length of this magnificent gorge which is about 1 mile photographing the two unique faces of the gorge. Taughannock falls has carved a 400ft deep gorge through layers of sandstone, shale and limestone.  At the end of the trail we will reach the falls. With a 215 foot plunge, this waterfall stands three stories taller than Niagara Falls.

Robert H. Treman State Park

Here we will photograph Enfield Glen with its craggy gorges and winding trails. Here is where we can capture the beauty of the 115ft tall Lucifer Falls and Devil’s Kitchen.

Day 2 – October 8, 2017

Watkins Glen State Park

Surrounded by picturesque wineries and a glacially carved landscape of rolling hills, waterfalls, lakes and gorges, Watkins Glen State Park offers unbelievable natural beauty. We will capture the beauty of the spectacular 156-foot She-Qua-Ga Falls and the 165-foot Hector Falls. Both these are roadside shots. 

We will hike the gorge that is a 1.5 mile trail that follows the stream that has years carved its path creating waterfalls, pools, and cliffs. 

The park has about 20 major waterfalls.

Day 3 – October 9, 2017

Buttermilk Falls

Buttermilk Creek descends more than 500 feet in a series of cascades and rapids with a natural pool at the base. Time and weather permitting we will take a trail upstream for some exceptional landscapes.

Ithaca Falls

The falls have a  drop of 150ft and width of 175ft, Ithaca Falls is the region’s most powerful and most impressive.

Depart mid to late afternoon.

Our days will be based on a very flexible schedule allowing us to respond to the opportunities based on the weather and light conditions, so you can have the best experience each day. We start early each day so as to capture images in the best light, breaking at midday for lunch and then head out for more photography, concluding after sunset  Dinner is at a location of your choosing.  We will use our own vehicles, car pooling is suggested.


Registration is limited to 6 photographers and the cost is $775 per photographer.

We will be staying at the:

Quality Inn
356 Elmira Rd.,
Ithaca, NY, US, 14850

Tel: +1 (607) 272-0100

Double occupancy and breakfast included. Please complete the registration and release forms. A $300 deposit is required to confirm your reservation.  The balance is due by September 20, 2017. Please make your payments to Shiv Verma and mail them to 652 Dedham Street, Wrentham, MA 02093-1149 


Posted in Photography