Print Partner | Voted Best Print Company For Photographers

For those of you who already know you want to print with Print Partner and just want the Print Partner Coupon Code it is coolwildlife30.

It wasn’t so long ago I bought my Epson 2880 printer and I was thrilled to be able to print up to 13×19 for my wildlife prints.  And best of all I had a variety of options available, I could print on glossy, matte or art paper so I had a variety of offerings that I or my clients could choose from. When I look back on those days I am reminded of the amount of time I spent printing, framing, matting and if it was for a client the additional crating and shipping.  Then there was the cost of the inks and the waste when I messed up if the paper jammed up or the colour was off and I had to reprint. Returns if the shipment was damaged or lost in transit and on and on.  Even for my own home printing needs, I’m no longer happy with just a 13×19 framed wildlife print, it’s just too limiting given all the available options today.

People not only want framed landscape and wildlife prints they want metals, canvas, acrylics, wall peels, etc. and they want them in large formats and of course they want them yesterday.  Whether printing for clients or your own needs if you want options you will eventually be exploring  outsource printing options.

Owl Wall Peel

Customer installing 9 ft Wall Peel

When you finally decide to outsource you will be overwhelmed with all the options that are out there to choose from.  There are the Costco, Wal-mart’s of the world all the way up to high end gallery printing and everything in between so how do you choose?  I built out a checklist of what a print service would need to provide to earn my business and used that to narrow down the list for a final selection:

My Outsource Checklist:

  • Quality was my #1 priority (accurate colour reproduction  to match original image)
  • Available Print media (archival prints, canvas, acrylics, wall peels, metals, framed under glass, etc.)
  • No print size restrictions (I wanted the option to go big, like 9 foot big, as shown in the image herein)
  • Shipping and returns handled by the outsource company, no touch from me
  • Prompt customer service with a personal touch and a direct point of contact
  • An easy to use web interface for uploading images and placing print orders
  • A fair price
  • White label possibilities should I wish to move in that direction in future

I initially started with a smaller print company called Fotomoto however they were acquired by Bay Photo, a much larger company with 300 + employees based in California.  They did a good job however I felt like I was just a number

Wildlife Print Wall View

Choose Your Room & Wall Colour

and as a Canadian the USD conversion killed any profit margin.  Thus my quest for a Canadian printing company began.  After a ton of research I narrowed down a short list, interviewed them and long story short finally chose Print Partner based in North York, a suburban district in Toronto, Ontario.  They met every requirement on my checklist right down to using the same x-rite monitor colour calibration software I use which helps to insure what I see on my monitor is accurately reproduced on theirs.  They even offered to send me a few sample prints in the mail so that I could compare those printed images to my originals for colour accuracy.  And here’s a nice touch, through their web interface I can even select the type of room the print will hang in along with the exact print size and wall colour so I can provide my clients with a visual rendering of what the wildlife print will look like in advance of their purchase.   It’s that kind of attention to detail that I believe sets Print Partner apart from the competition.

I’ve run several print jobs with Print Partner and it has been top notch in every way.  I have processed orders through their online portal for standard sizes which was super easy and when I required a custom size my point of contact James was quick to respond, accepted my image and processed my order for me the same day.  The three large metal prints were crated and on the truck for delivery to Idaho in nine days.

By my assessment Print Partner is definitely a premium printing service provider.  They offer international shipping, five star customer service, all of the modern day print media one could want all at a reasonable price.  For Canadians using a US A based print company is no longer a viable option with today’s currency exchange so switching to a Canadian print company is a no brainer.  For those of you living south of the Canadian border using a Canadian print company makes doubly good sense, you get the benefit of a favourable currency exchange along with the additional discount offered below, that’s pretty tough to beat.  Whether you’re a professional photographer printing for clients or a hobby photographer printing for yourself and friends, I highly recommend that you give Print Partner a try, Coolwildlife votes them as the best print company for photographers.

Print Partner has generously offered all Coolwildlife patrons a 30% Print Partner discount code.   This is NOT a one time offer, it will apply to every order you process, just enter coolwildlife30 in the discount code field to receive a 30% discount on all of your orders. 

Print Partner Logo

Posted in Photographic Print Offerings Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Coolwildlife | Apology For Blog Post Glitch

I wanted to apologize to you all this morning, I had a follower email this morning to advise that they received an old blog post from the Coolwildlife blog this morning.

I am looking in to the matter now as that was not a blog post that I sent out.  If you see future blog posts with past dates please DO NOT click on any links and delete the post.

Apologies once again for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Sincerely,

Bill Maynard

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Nikon MB-D18 Grip: New Finding on Battery Required For 9FPS on Nikon D850

Nikon MB-D18 Battery Grip For Nikon D850Just received my Nikon MB-D18 battery grip today and I have been looking forward to finally testing for myself which batteries provide the uplift from 7 fps to 9 fps.  I have read countless reviews, blogs and followed the forums and there are many versions out there on this topic.  Nikon lists that the Nikon EN-EL18a or Nikon EN-EL18b are required to get 9 fps.  Another forum I read states only the EN-EL18b will work.  None of the blogs, forums or Nikon’s sites mention that the original Nikon EN-EL18 that shipped with the Nikon D4 would work.  The EN-EL18a is a 10.8v 2500 mAh battery in contrast to the original EN-EL18 which is also 10.8v but only packs 2000 mAh.  Thus it made sense to me that the original EN-EL18 might not have enough juice to power the Nikon D850 to the 9 fps.

I tested it this evening for myself and I can confirm that both the Nikon EN-EL18 and the Nikon EN-EL18a provide the 9 fps so if you have a few of the original 18’s there does not appear to be a need to purchase new 18a or 18b batteries to boost the frame rate.

 

 

Posted in Wildlife Photography Gear Review Tagged , , , , , , |

Expert Shield – Best DSLR LCD Screen Protectors

You’ve just spent thousands of dollars on your new DSLR and for a couple of dollars more I just think it makes good sense to protect your investment by applying an after market LCD screen protector, but which one?

There are several on the market but the best I have found are those from Expert Shield, specifically the glass ones.  They are super easy to apply without bubbles and once applied you wouldn’t even know they were sitting there over top of your LCD.  I must also mention that their level of customer service is over the top.  Two examples: I recently purchased a Nikon D850 and applied the glass LCD screen cover without a hiccup however the small top LCD protector which is included was a little too large and did not fit properly so I trashed it.  At the same time I had purchased the Crystal Clear D5 screen protector which is a plastic version because they did not have a glass version for the Nikon D5.  I spent 45 minutes trying to get that protector to sit correctly but could not get it applied without bubbling around the edges.  The two glass protectors I purchased for the D850 and the D500 installed in a matter of minutes without any bubbling at all.  Each LCD protector you purchase comes with not only the back LCD protector but also the smaller top LCD protector so both LCD’s are protected.

I was going to leave the D5 as it was with the bubbles however the Expert Shield team reached out to me several days later to make sure everything went ok with my purchase.  I advised them of the issues with the top LCD for the Nikon D850 and the issues I had with the Nikon D5.  They promptly asked me to send them a picture of the top LCD on the D850 given it was a new camera on the market so they could make sizing corrections if required.  I received two replacements in the mail within days.  They also had their engineering team create two glass versions of the Nikon D5 screen protector for me to try and I am happy to say that both the D850 and the D5 protectors fit like a glove first try without issue.  All of this extra attention was provided at no extra cost to me which as you all know is not often the case these days.

Expert Shield has a great product, especially the glass versions of their protectors, and they get an 11/10 for customer service thus I am confident that they are the best DSLR LCD screen protectors on the market and they have earned my business go forward.

Application Tips:

  • Use a Microfiber cloth to clean your LCD and remove any dust, oils, etc. before application.
  • A hot steamy bathroom keeps the dust down so try that as your location of choice for applying screen protectors.
  • Place side one on the LCD screen and get it perfectly aligned while you still have the peel back layer applied.   Then tape the bottom of the protector in place to the body of the camera.  Now flip the LCD protector up remove the side one peel back and flip the LCD back in to place. Remove peel back layer two and you’re presto a perfect fit every time.

 

Posted in Wildlife Photography Gear Review Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Heat3 Layer System – Best Photography Glove

Smart Just Got SMARTER. IHeat 3 Layer Systemntroducing the Heat3 Layer System designed for photographers by photographers. The Heat Company solicited feedback from hundreds of photographers using the current Heat3 Smart glove to find out how they could improve it. They got a lot of  feedback which has resulted in what is in my opinion the best photography glove available on the market today, the Heat3  Layer System.

The new Heat3 Layer System now gives photographers the flexibility to build the perfect glove/mitten system for whatever shooting conditions they may be going in to.   The outer shell no longer has the liner built in like the Heat3 Smart glove.  There is a shell similar to what is currently on the Heat3 Smart glove but it has no liner built in, a magnetic system for the thumb flap and more insulation in the thumb area.  Now photographers are given their choice of three removable liners to wear inside the shell. Heat 3 Merino LinerEach liner varies in thickness from warm, warmer to warmest giving you the flexibility to build out the glove as warm as you need it to be for the conditions you’ll be shooting in.

A new third windproof and waterproof layer called the hood has been added to the system. The hood fits over top of the shell for added protection from the elements during extreme cold shoots. You’d use the hood when you’re in between shooting or moving locations.

Then there are the little tweaks that just make the glove more usable for photographers. Each of the three liners has a pouch for hand warmers on the back of the hand so the warmth of the warmer is closer to your hand when you require it on colder days. The liner, the shell and the hood all have attachment points so the system stays bundled together and the tether strap holds all three pieces to your wrist so no piece drops in to the snow by accident.  Oh and the shell has magnets now on the thumb flap where the annoying velcro was positioned so when you wipe your nose you now longer take off a layer of skin from your nostrils, hey it’s the little things that matter.:))

The gloves are now available now at Cool Photography Gear.

 

Heat 3 Layer System

Posted in Wildlife Photography Gear Review Tagged , , , , , |

Black Rapid Double Camera Strap Review

Black Rapid Camera strap Yeti double strap

As a wildlife photographer I have two camera’s with me 85% of the time.  Usually a long prime lens like the Nikon 600mm mounted on a Jobu gimblal head and tripod for those shots where I absolutely require the reach to the subject and a zoom lens like the Nikon 80-400 VR or 70-200 VR slung by my side for those times when the action moves in a little closer. By slung I mean with a black rapid strap which up until now was just a single strap but I recently picked up a double strap as well.

Why use a Black Rapid camera strap?

I’ve been shooting with the single Black Rapid Sport strap for two years now and it’s been a great addition, especially when a long hike is required to get to where I will be shooting.  I always found the straps that went around my neck after time put a lot of pressure on my neck and became very uncomfortable over time.  Many times if I was shooting with my longer lens I’d take the second camera off and just set it on the ground to give my neck a rest.  But with the Black Rapid strap I found the weight distributed across my shoulder to be a lot more comfortable and I can carry it around all day without fatigue from pressure points.

Why the need for a double strap?

Fast forward to today and I decided to give the Black Rapid Yeti double strap a try.  Don’t get me wrong the single Black Rapid Sport strap has served me well over the years and is great for single camera applications however I now envision myself being in situations where I will be carrying two bodies slung by side.

Example:  I’m planning to go back to Katmai National Park for another Grizzly Bear Photography tour. Last time I was in Katmai I so wished that I had an underwater camera available and handy to get right down into aBlack Rapid Camera Strap - Yetind below the level of the water when capturing the bears and pools of salmon.  I just purchased a Nikon AW130 underwater camera that I will sling from the strap on the left and I will carry my Nikon D4s and 80-400 VR on the right hand strap.  Sure one day I may pony up for an underwater housing for my DSLR but I need to convince myself that I’m going to do a lot more underwater photography before I drop $5k on a housing so this will be my first experiment.

Same deal when I head to the Pond Inlet Floe Edge in June 2016, I plan to have two camera’s slung around my body so I can capture Narwhal’s underwater and above where the opportunities present themselves.

Another application I envision which necessitates the dual Black Rapid Yeti strap is when I wish to bring the majesty of the landscape into my images.  My second regret while in Katmai shooting the grizzlies was that I often wished I was carrying a much wider angle lens to capture images that accented the bears within the context of the landscape and glaciers.  My second body on that trip was usually the Nikon 70-200 VR but it simply wasn’t wide enough to capture the ice capped mountain peaks and the bears on the tidal flats in the same frame. With the Black Raid Yeti strap I wouldn’t have to choose as I could have both wide angle and tele lenses at the ready on two camera bodies.

Changing lenses: Another great thing about having the dual strap is the changing of lenses, especially when I’m out in the field and it is muddy and wet and you can’t set one camera down.  Now with both bodies attached to my body I don’t have to worry about dropping a camera or setting one down on the ground where that really is not an option due to the conditions.

Is It Comfortable?

This new Yeti double strap is very comfortable.  The shoulder pads have ample padding and have a rubber underside so it stays in place better than some other straps I’ve tried.  Both strap lengths are totally adjustable so you can get the cameras to sit right where you want them.  I adjust my straps up to almost the shortest length so the cameras sit high up on my hip, any lower and I find they have a tendency to swing a little too much for my liking.  The second reason to keep that strap short is to keep the second camera out of the dirt and the snow when you find yourself kneeling down to take photo’s.Black Rapid Camera Strap - Yeti

With this setup I can walk around with two cameras, one of those being a Nikon D4s DSLR and a Nikon 80-400 VR all day long without fatique.  As a fun little side experiment, I wanted to see how the strap would do with my Nkon 600mm VRII attached to the Black Rapid Yeti and to my amazement the weight was very tolerable with a winter jacket on and it was balanced against my hip just fine as shown in the picture above.  Note, I have the fastener attached to the foot of the lens NOT the camera body which would out too much strain on the camera mount. I’m not saying I’d want to carry that beast around all day but it was to know I could sling it up for a hand held session if I wanted to.

The trick to being ready to shoot quickly

There are two clips that sit on either side of the camera so you can limit the motion of the camera on the strap when not in use.  I use the back clip fastened down so the camera can’t glide too far back behind me however I leave the front clip unfastened so the camera is free to come up to my eye without the need to unclip first before shooting.  In wildlife photography a matter of seconds can mean missing an opportunity, so I always keep the front clip free moving.

If you wish to support my website and blog I’d appreciate you making your Black Rapid purchase through Cool Photography Gear.

You can check out the Black Rapid Yeti Camera strap in action through the video below.

Posted in Uncategorized, Wildlife Photography Gear Review Tagged , , , , , , , |

Drone For Wildlife Photography – To Fly or Not to Fly?

Lily CameraI have been considering a drone for use in my wildlife photography for a few months now but wondering just how many practical applications there really are. I was well intended when I bought my GoPro but it’s been in my bag with one or two exceptions. I tried it for underwater photography but found the results were lack luster.  Perhaps I need to get a little more creative in my approach.

This morning I was reading about the Lily Drone. The best part is that there is no need to manually control this drone, you wear a tracking device, throw the Lily Camera in the air and it takes off and follows you wherever you go. Like most photographers I have no pictures of myself, let alone pictures or videos of me taking pictures of wildlife so I could use the Lily to do a personal documentary if I so chose. If I placed the tracking device on my dog and set her loose in a field that might bring back some interesting footage, I’ve often wondered what she sees and where she goes.

As you can see I’m struggling to find wildlife photography applications for the Lily but it’s cool factor is just so high I really want one so I’m looking for other wildlife photographers to help me out here. How do you use your drone for wildlife photography? Can you envision wildlife photography applications for the Lily Drone?  Then there’s the whole question on whether I should be getting a drone that I can fly or one like the Lily that has no requirement for an operator.  Of course what I’d really like is the best of both worlds, one that I can fly if I want with the option to track me like the Lily.

For those of you who have not heard of the Lily Camera you can check it out at www.lily.camera. I like that it is ultra-portable weighing it at 2.8 lbs and is only 10x10x3 inches so you can easily pack it in with your other gear but its battery life is limited to just 20 minutes. It’s waterproof, which is very cool, but because of that the battery can not be removed and replaced by a spare on the fly so you need to spend two hours charging Lily in between flights which is not cool. With 12MP stills, 1080p at 60 fps and 720p at 120 fps slo-mo video it has everything I’d want if I could just think of a way to creatively use the little gizmo. All suggestions welcome please.

Posted in Wildlife Photography Gear Review Tagged , , , |

Nikon D800/D800E update coming in June 2014

Nikon D800s

 

For those of you who are in love with your Nikon D800 and Nikon D800E bodies or especially those considering a new purchase there’s an upgrade on the way in June or so it is rumoured.

Like the D800E, it will sport an AA-filterless 36MP sensor, only with better moire suppression software built in. It is also said to contain an Expeed 4 (or 4a) image processor, sRAW, improved shooting in low light, the same AF improvements as the D4s, 5fps continuous shooting (6fps with the battery grip), and a price somewhere around $3,000. Those I know shooting with the D4s tell me the new AF rocks.

For those considering your first Nikon D800 please note these new releases generally cause early adopters to sell in favour of the upgrade so keep your eyes open for a good deal on a used body at a reduced price.

Details on the new rumoured specifications can be found at this Nikon D800/D800E replacement link.

Posted in Nikon camera updates

Best Winter Photography Glove For Extreme Cold

Ask any wildlife photographer what their biggest challenge is with shooting during the cold winter months and 9/10 times they are going to tell you that it is keeping their hands or feet warm.  The other 1/10 has something to do with pissing ice cubes.:))  I’ve wrestled with the warm hand issue for over 15 years and have yet to find the perfect photography glove.  All the gloves I have tried have always had a weak point in their design.  If it was warm it didn’t provide the dexterity required to work the camera controls, if it provided dexterity it wasn’t warm, if it had warmth and dexterity it wasn’t water resistant and so on.

 

GOOD NEWS my photography friends, your prayers regarding cold hands have been answered. Paul Burwell recently reviewed a cold weather photography glove in the Spring/Summer 2014 Outdoor Photography Canada Magazine that he really liked so I snapped up a pair right away to test.  Without a doubt this glove is the best cold weather photography glove I have ever used.  It’s called the Heat 3 Smart Glove by The Heat Company and they’ve thought of everything, and I do mean everything, down to the smallest detail.  This glove oozes quality from the moment you put it on.Heat 3 Smart Glove

 

The story behind the making of this glove is worthy of its own paragraph so you understand the demands that were placed on the designers of this glove by the intended audience.   The Heat 3 Smart glove was a custom build at the request of the special combat forces in Germany and Austria (SEK, Cobra) for a one piece glove which met their requirements for warmth, waterproof, windproof, grip and tactility.  Project Heat3SpecialForce was a spare no expense, produce the best possible glove mission and the result was a glove that met all of the special forces requirements.Good for them I say, but even better for us photographers as our requirements are exactly the same, except we aren’t firing a sniper rifle.

 

Here’s a run down on the features of the Heat 3 Smart Glove For Photography:
  • Available in Five (5) colours – Black, Green, Beige, Brown, Grey
  • It’s a mitten and a glove all in one design, with the fingers and thumb being exposed only when you need the extra dexterity for shooting
  • Zipper pouch on top of the glove for placement of heat packs when required. (Room for a key, spare memory card, etc)
  • Palm side has full goat leather for added grip, warmth and durability
  • Easy access zipper across the palm opens up to expose the fingers for working the camera controls.  Keeps snow out and warmth in when zipped up.
  • The entire length of the palm side of the glove from the zipper in the palm to the top of the wrist cuff is cut through inside making it very easy to stuff heat packs into the glove all the way up to the wrist.  On extremely cold days I wouldn’t hesitate to stuff two hand heat packs into the wrist area, two hand heat packs into the top side of the glove above the fingers.  And if I was still cold I’d add two foot warmers, which are thinner and have an adhesive backing, on to the palm and fingers side of the glove.  Excessive yes but it shows how accommodating this glove is to heat packs if they are needed.
  • Silver  fabric on thumb and index fingers allows the use of an iPhone or tablet while in the field  (I’m thinking CamRanger :))
  • Primaloft insulation technology for optimal warmth.  (Warmer wet or dry than any other synthetic insulation)
  • Draw-string across the wrist to keep snow out and warmth in
  • Extra long cuffs with its own elastic draw-string to clamp down around your forearm to keep the snow out
  • Elastic joiners between first three fingers make it easy to remove glove without pulling the lining out of the mitten
  • Outer shell made from an Elastic Microfiber with water resistant and breathable qualities much like Gore-tex.
  • Elastic wrist cuff that attaches the mitten to your wrist so you can take the mitten off but still have it attached
  • Magnetic clip to keep the top of mitten pulled back when your fingers are exposed
  • Velcro on the thumb to keep the thumb flap of the mitten held back while your thumb is out of the glove
  • Additional leather thumb flap with Velcro to cover the thumb opening when not in use, keeps snow and wind out

 

This crazy long list of features is why this glove is already the #1 winter glove in Europe and fortunately it is now available in North America at www.coolphotographygear.com.

Note: There have been many complaints within the photography community regarding various brands of heat packs, they simply do not retain heat on cold days.  I will be testing The Heat Company hand warmers and foot warmers once the cold weather hits again and I will post another blog on their performance after my tests are complete so stay tuned.

Heat3 Smart Glove Retail Price: $199.99 CDN (Small price to pay for warm, dry hands during extreme cold photo shoots)

My only regret is that it took me 15 years to find these bad boys.


Heat3 Smart Glove Features

Posted in Wildlife Photography Gear Review Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |