13 Years Ago!


August 2005, I had come out from the east coast on a family vacation. I brought along my trusty Canon G5 P&S and while I was mostly still shooting JPEG I was excited that the camera allowed RAW and full manual control. One morning, before the family woke up, I drove into Mt Rainier NP and found a beautiful little waterfall to photograph. Last week, as I was scouting for an upcoming photography workshop with McKay Photography Academy, I realized I was standing in the same spot, looking at the same waterfall. Almost exactly thirteen years to the date! And a few days later, as we returned as a group I had a few moments to contemplate this wild ride of life and how in no way could I have imagined this life today. I have no deep statement about this other than to say - you are probably reading this because you are at least a little passionate about photography and who knows where life will take you but bring your camera along for the ride! That morning I also captured this shot of Mt. Rainier in Reflection Lake When I returned home I printed these images along with one more of my daughter from the vacation. I matted and entered three photos into our local town fair where they all received a bit of recognition - Honorable mentions and 2nd place in a landscape category!  When I went to pick up my photos someone had left a note that they wanted to buy the photo of Mt Rainier. To say I was excited is a bit of an understatement. You see before I had submitted these photos I told myself that if they received any type of recognition I should take that as a sign to get more serious about photography. And not only did I have three ribbons someone actually wanted to pay me money for my photo! Now - I look back at these photos and see quite a few things wrong but there is enough that was right that got me where I am today.

Sony 1.4x and 2x Teleconverters. How Good Are They?

I use the Sony 1.4x and 2.0x Teleconverters with the Sony 100-400GM Lens and share results on image quality, focus speed and focus performance while searching the Arctic for polar bears. Tested with the Sony a7RIII and Sony 100-400 GM paired with the 1.4x Tele and 2.0x Tele.https://youtu.be/A6Seehp2imkI found the optical performance of the 1.4x and 2x teleconverters when matched with the Sony 100-400 GM to be absolutely fantastic. Colors, contrast, and clarity all remain excellent. But there are drawbacks - watch the video above for the full story.Buy Links (Your use of these links supports reviews like this)Sony a7RIII: https://bhpho.to/2i7Z3F8Sony 100-400 FE f/4.5-5.6 GM: https://bhpho.to/2JIxM7FSony 70-200 f/2.8 GM: https://bhpho.to/2LfkuoTSony 1.4x FE Tele: https://bhpho.to/2JGWntMSony 2.0x FE Tele: https://bhpho.to/2Lev1APDownload RAW Photos to evaluate (For your personal use only)[gallery td_select_gallery_slide="slide" td_gallery_title_input="Sont Teleconverter Samples" ids="18611,18613,18612"]

Sony 1.4x & 2.0x Teleconverter Photos from the Arctic

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Want to see more from my arctic expedition?


Wild Arctic Photography - Part I

This is Part I.  Click here to watch Part II - Waterfalls, Polar Bear Cubs and Arctic FoxI venture to the far north with Mckay Photography Academy and Poseidon Expeditions. We cruise the waters of Svalbard, Norway looking for Polar bears and finding amazing scenery!https://youtu.be/Xyi9zkr30O0The Poseidon Expedition crew was awesome, the ship the M/V Sea Spirit was comfortable and packed full of nice little touches including the 24/7 cookies and coffee bar. There was also a regular bar but I was more interested in the cookies :) A full tour of the ship is in part 2.   I am full of praise, the knowledge, and friendliness of the guides and the crew was just fantastic. See all our locations in part II.


Sony a7RIIISony 100-400 GMSony 1.4x TeleconverterSony 2.0x TeleconverterCanon 24-70 f/2.8 USM L IISigma MC-11 Adapter82mm CPL FilterPanasonic GH5Panasonic 12-35Panasonic 45-200Mavic ProQuiet PropsDrone Float SystemPolar Pro ND Filters for Mavic ProPlatypod SystemBuddiesman CF TripodOutex Waterproof housingHave questions about the gear? Send me an email toby@photorec.tvSee it all on KIT.com

A few of my favorite photos (Follow me on Instagram for more)

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Location List

  Have questions about the trip? Send me an email toby@photorec.tv

Travel Adapters and Charging on the Go

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBsy4J4U39gWhen traveling you still need to keep everything charged and ready to go. From camera batteries to your phone there are a few items out there that will make your next trip a bit easier. 

Passport: First Fail-Safe Global Travel Adapter

  • Univeral adapter good for traveling in multiple countries
  • Includes four USB ports to charge devices
  • Built-in circuit breaker to protect devices

Zendure 26800mAh Quick Charge 3.0 Portable Charger

  • Capable of charging your devices multiple times
  • Supports quick charging to charge your devices quickly and recharging the battery itself
  • Pass-through charging to act as a hub

Zendure 10000mAH Portable Charger

  • A smaller size and cheaper version to charge devices


UPWADE 2 Outlet Travel Power Strip 

  • A long winding cord to give you room from the outlet
  • Includes two power ports and four USB ports to charge devices

Check out more gear!➨ My Recommended Gear: https://kit.com/photorectoby➨ Recommended Travel Gear: https://kit.com/photorectoby/travel-gear

Southwest Tour - March 2019

McKay Photography Academy Presents "The return to the Southwest"Photograph the Grand Canyon, Slot Canyons, Horseshoe Bend and Zion NP - this is going to be a special trip with amazing opportunities to capture incredible images and check items off your bucket list! It will sell out in minutes. Add your info to the pre-list now. More info can be found on the 2018 trip page.

Vietnam Photography Adventures - Part Three!

We left Vietnam and head for Cambodia and Siam Reap- amazing floating villages of Tonlé Sap and explorations of Angkor Wat and all the surrounding temples like Ta Prohm!Watch the SeriesVietnam Photography Adventures Part 2Vietnam Photography Adventures Part 1

Back to the Serengeti

I am headed back to Tanzania and the Serengeti - Below you can catch up on all my videos from the last trip. You can learn more about the gear I took last time and the gear I am taking this time. Follow me on Instagram to see new posts and follow my stories of this awesome adventure.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ey32OiOFi3ohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abWRJCy3IPAhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6qskQ0Jueohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtXxhdQSxIk 

Vietnam Photography Adventures - Part Two!

Leaving the amazing Halong bay behind we venture south through the city of lanterns, Hoi An, the city of Hue and of course Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City and exploring the Mekong Delta - Snakes on me, Snakes in a bottle and so much more.Watch the SeriesVietnam Photography Adventures Part 3 Vietnam Photography Adventures Part 1

Would you? On our #mckaylive travels up the Mekong river, we came across Bebe, 7 year old, 50lb boa. I think he liked me! Traveling with the McKay crew is as much about fun experiences as it is about the photos.

A post shared by Toby (@photorectoby) on Feb 4, 2018 at 7:59am PST

Vietnam Photography Adventures - Part One!

Dark alleyways of Hanoi, remote mountain villages outside Sa Pa, and the awesome Halong Bay are some of our destinations in part 1 of our Vietnam Adventures!

Watch the SeriesVietnam Photography Adventures Part 2Vietnam Photography Adventures Part 3 

Return to New Zealand - April & May, 2019

Join us in New Zealand - May 2019

THE DETAILS:Dates: April 29th - May 6th, 2019Length: 7 nights/8 daysAbout: Focused on the Amazing South Island of New Zealand!This tour will be at excellent accommodations including 3 nights at the beautiful and historic Hermitage Hotel at the base of Mt Cook with epic views from every room! This allows us direct and easy access each day to an amazing array of landscape photographic opportunities that are some of the best in the world, including the opportunities for star photography and access to beautiful easy hiking trails in the area during optimal light!In order for us to do the most and get the most out of this tour, we will be keeping this tour to a VERY LIMITED number of 16 photographers and 4 MPA team members. This will be a 4-1 ratio and include David and Ally McKay, Toby Gelston of Photorec.tv and Steve Scurich, MPA Instructor.As we are limited on this tour to strict numbers, reply back to be on the priority list so you do not miss out. This will be a FIRST COME first serve situation from that list!

Iceland Travel - 2017

Sometimes it feels like everyone you know has been or is in Iceland - if you haven't visited you might be wondering why - is it the Donuts?[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_T-30mjDCg&feature=youtu.be[/embed]

Shots from Iceland!

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Grand Teton National Park Photography Adventure

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0ts4wAlKRcWe just spent a fantastic week photographing with Animals of Montana and the beautiful landscapes of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park - Scenery, wildlife and photo tips all packed into this trip report from some of the most beautiful landscapes of North America!Cover Photo from Ryan B - http://www.ryanbarnesfoto.comThank you very much to those trip participants that shared photos with me - You can see more of their work atAdi V - https://www.facebook.com/adivaxmanTim L - https://www.instagram.com/designlucasphotos/Vince T - https://www.instagram.com/bytesofcreativity/Ryan B - http://www.ryanbarnesfoto.comKate M - https://www.instagram.com/kmcaptured/David N - https://www.instagram.com/newbold_d/Follow me on Instagram Filmed withPanasonic GH5Sony A7RII Thank you to the sponsors that made the trip and prize package so awesome!!Round-trip airfare from anywhere in the USA and Accommodations on the trip provided by McKaylive.comMindshift Gear 36L UltraLight BackpackSpider Holster Kit & Spider Holster Hand StrapMeFOTO GlobeTrotter Air Travel Tripod$300 Gear Credit to LensProToGo$500 Gift Card to B&H PhotoOne year subscription to Photorec.tv Silver plan membership

Yellowstone National Park with the Canon T6i

My daughter and I just returned from a great camping trip to Yellowstone National Park - She used the Canon T6i with an old  Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 and a refurbished 55-250 STM Lens - here are a few of her favorite photos from the trip.   This entire package is affordable and capable of great results. Honestly it is more about going someplace interesting than the gear you use. 


We will return to Croatia for a photo tour - This tour will likely sell out quickly. Add your name to the pre-notice list to be notified when it opens for sign up.   Please notify me of the next Croatia Tourhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pz4JRlKer2g&feature=youtu.beComplete List of gear - GH5, DJI Mavic (and more)Itinerary and Photos -We started our Journey in Trogir- a fascinating old town with twisting alleyways and a medieval castle that protected the harbor.
 Our Guide - Tanya Jucik Braculj was awesome - contact her to arrange any type of fantastic trip in and around Croatia - tanja.jukicb@gmail.com        

Photographing Washington DC - Cherry Blossoms, Sunrise Monuments - Tips, Tricks and Adventure!

I spent a weekend with McKay Photography Academy in Washington DC - Photographing the monuments and memorials at sunrise, sunset, the Cherry Blossom festival and all the cherry blossom trees around the tidal basin and Jefferson Memorials. Watch for tips on photographing sunrise, sunset and the monuments plus all our adventures!https://youtu.be/TmeuOMguXJk TWO MORE DAYS TO ENTER TO WIN A TRIPJoin me on a future trip - Yosemite NP, Glacier NP, the Arctic - learn more at http://photorec.tv/travel

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II Review

After two months of using the EM-1 Mark II including a weeklong trip in subzero temps in Alaska - I share my thoughts on this top of the line Micro 4/3rds camera - How well does it do at high ISOs, how good is the stabilization and more...https://youtu.be/SdKpor-nvDs Reviews like this are made possible by Photorec.tv members - want to have a detailed conversation with me about the pros and cons of the EM1 Mark II or another camera, want to figure out what is the best camera for you? Become a member todayBuy the Olympus EM1 Mark II from B&H Photo and support Photorec.tvLenses Used in Alaska/During Em1 Mark II Review

The Olympus 12-100 f/4 Provides 6.5 stops of IS when used with the EM1 Mark II

Full Resolution Images on DropBox

[gallery columns="4" td_select_gallery_slide="slide" ids="13425,13426,13427,13428,13429,13430,13431,13432"]The Olympus e-m1 Mark II camera some reviewers have chosen it as the camera of 2016 and a few weeks ago I wondered if it was going to be my perfect do-it-all camera! For the last month, almost 2 months now,  I have used the Olympus as a do-it-all camera for photos and videos including a week long trip to Alaska in sub-freezing temperatures. In this review I will share what I love about this camera, what I don’t love, how it compares to a few competitors and whether or not it can work for me and replace two cameras I typically take on my travels - my Sony A7RII mostly for photos and the Panasonic GH4 - mostly used for video, vlogging and timelapses.Strengths of the Em1 Mark IIStabilization - I can get 2 to 3 second exposures HANDHELD with this camera and in 4K video that sensor stabilization plus electronic stabilization translates to extremely smooth footage. This camera is a  joy to shoot handheld video with and in all the Alaska footage I shot I saw no signs of the  annoying wobble you often get from electronic stabilization. Note that THE really serious stabilization, 6.5 stops, SYNC IS as Olympus calls it is achieved with their 12-100 f/4 lens which I have not tried.Swiss Army Tool 

"best tool I can compare the EM1 Mark II to is one of those ridiculous Swiss army knifes, the really thick ones"

I have mentioned In the past that these cameras are tools to me and the best tool I can compare the EM1 Mark II to is one of those ridiculous Swiss army knifes, the really thick ones, the amount of features beyond the stabilization they have packed into this camera include ridiculously fast AF,  60 frames per second RAW when you half press the shutter button, 18 frames per second with autofocus tracking and silent shooting, hi res shooting, live bulb, live timer, live composite, 4k video, and built in time lapse! All of these features makes the EM1 Mark II an extremely flexible and versatile tool. And on top of the full feature set you have the freedom to FULLY customize this camera - you can even switch the on/off button to other functions! You will find yourself spending a good bit of time in the menu if you haven’t shot with Olympus more and I did experience several camera freeze ups after customizing until I reset the camera and went a little lighter on the customization.About that AF - I struggled to really get the C-AF and tracking to nail fast moving subjects - overall focus is VERY fast but this wouldn't be my first choice if I was primarily shooting wildlife or sports.  In video C-AF was very good with face recognition/focus working reliably enough to use in most situations.  Certainly a step up from the GH4 which cannot always be relied on to stay focused.Rugged BodyAll of this performance and features are contained in a portable and rugged body that I didn’t worry about using in the rain or  in subzero temps  - in fact I left this outside for several hours in 20 below zero fahrenheit - minus the battery and it continued to perform just fine.    Battery life in normal temperatures is decent - if you have two batteries you should be able to get through a day of mixed photo and video just fine and the charger is quick charge which is really helpful.   The dual card slots are nice and you have an excellent amount of flexibility in how you use those two cards - backup redundancy or photos to one and video to the other though only one is high speed and that might be the cause of some buffer issues I saw that I will address in a moment.Solid Image and Video Quality Below ISO 1600I was for the most part happy with the image and video quality - Excellent quality and great detail under ISO 1600 - above that things can get rough in some situations but a little noise reduction and I am still for the most part happy.   If I look at some of my favorite images of 2016 - the vast majority were under ISO 1600 - which I mostly mention as a way for you to look back over your images to decide how important clean higher ISO is to your photography.  One of the goals of the Alaska trip was capturing the  northern lights photography and they are best shot at shorter exposures and higher ISOs and the Olympus didn’t handle that as well as the Sony with loads more shadow noise.  I got useable shots but really appreciate the flexibility of the Sony when I need clean higher ISOs. Video quality is certainly good though the panasonic GH4 4k and 1080 video looks a little better to me in most situations but of course the Gh4 is not sensor stabilized for that we are waiting for the GH5 or as many of you mentioned in the comments of the Ditching Sony video - the G85 which at 1/2 the price looks as good if not slightly better for video. For photos the G85 doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles - certainly not as good at capturing fast action but generally on par and actually offers more lenses than Olympus with the DUAL IS!  So a quick summary of the strengths of the olympus. This is a great all around camera that is fun to use, provides nicely stabilized video AND gives you a ton of bells and whistles along with good image and video quality but it does have a few issues- Low light performance.  Over the last year I have mostly shot with the Sony a7R2 this is a full frame sensor and one of the best in its class in both resolution and detail so it is hard for ME to NOT compare what I have been used to seeing with what I get out of the Olympus but that isn’t a fair comparison so I looked at matching it up against APS-C sized sensor like the Sony a6300, a6500 the Nikon D500 and the Fuji XT2 - all of those cameras are definitely better in low light performance but the Olympus isn’t too far behind and it even beats the Canon 80D! Now again, the EM1 Mark II offers stabilization that gives you some flexibility with shooting slower shutter speed but vs everything above you are going to generaly find your photos noisier.  The most fair comparison- pitting the EM1 Mark II against other Micro 4/3rd sensors on the market -  it is the current king in low light performance.  However figuring out the true value here is tricky - at two thousand dollars this is not a cheap camera and is more expensive than everything I just compared it too - So you then have to start deciding exactly how much it is worth to you to go smaller and lighter. And  - About being lighter - as I start to price out lenses what I mentioned is already an expensive camera well it doesn’t get any cheaper with these nice lenses AND the weight savings start to vanish- though your bag can be smaller or you could choose to go with cheaper and smaller primes which is fun - but if you want the best lenses you will still be carrying a fair amount of weight and paying top dollar.Remember I am not only reviewing this camera but trying to figure out if it can work for my needs so I can carry less and I had major concerns about the Wifi control turns out you have enough control even if you have to be round about how you setup AF for video BUT there is still one issue for me- While using the remote you cannot shoot 4K video, only 1080P - I shoot in 4K, I plan to shoot in 4k in the future so why Olympus do you give me a 4k capable camera that suddenly becomes a 1080P camera if I want to use the remote?   In researching this and complaining about it online someone pointed out that the Fuji XT-2 limits you to 720P when using wifi. SO Just a thank you to Panasonic for giving a 4K camera, the GH4, that always remains a 4K camera AND you don’t have to be round about to do auto focus with the app.  Another small disappointment when you shoot a crazy burst you don’t get to review any of those images until they all finish writing to the sensor which can take some time with the larger bursts. SO in final summary  - I really enjoyed using this camera, if you are looking for a top of the line Micro 4/3 camera well suited for wildlife photography, general travel photography including vlogging style video - this is the best you can BUY... BUT at its current cost there are some competitors that while they might not offer all the bells and whistles or all of the portability they do either outclass it in low light performance or resolution or both.  And while I would love to simplify to one camera, one lens system I am just not willing to make this big a change in resolution or low light performance, especially when my GH4 still looks better for video even if it isn’t as stabilized.  I will be looking at the Panasonic G85 and while I hope to review the Fuji XT-2 soon it isn’t in the running as a replacement despite many of you recommending it - the 720p during wifi remote use, the 10 minutes limit to 4k without the power grip AND the lack of fully articulating screen means it cannot be a do it all camera for me.  Buy the Olympus EM1 Mark II from B&H Photo and support Photorec.tvLenses Used in Alaska/During Em1 Mark II Review

Reviews like this are made possible by Photorec.tv members - want to have a detailed conversation with me about the pros and cons of the EM1 Mark II or another camera, want to figure out what is the best camera for you? Become a member today

Northern Lights Video - Explored

I recently traveled to Alaska with McKay Photography Academy  - If you don't follow me on Instagram you missed out on some fun stories! Insta Stories is where I am doing much of my vlogging and behind the scenes content these days.   My Youtube vlog is coming soon - in the meantime here is a look at the stunning Aurora Borealis display we got to see - shot over two nights - Gear list and info below the video.  We are making plans to return to this awesome viewing location in March -Drop your name and email if you want to be on the pre notice list?Be sure to watch full screen - 4K resolution possible.https://youtu.be/stZKwVzlw94Captured over two nights outside Fairbanks Alaska- KP index was a 1 and 2.- Temperatures were -30°F to -10°F

A breakdown of the shots seen in the video

screenshot-2016-12-07-17-33-31 screenshot-2016-12-07-16-52-30 screenshot-2016-12-07-16-53-23 screenshot-2016-12-07-16-58-11 screenshot-2016-12-07-17-03-28 Captured with the Sony A7RII and Batis 18mm - 4 second exposure ISO 3200 Captured with the Sony A7RII and 12mm Laowa - 30 second exposures ISO 1250.All the individual shots were placed in Final Cut Pro - :04 seconds in a 30fps video.   Notice the shorter exposure shots capture a bit more of the detail but the difference isn't huge between a 4 and 30 second exposure!

Aurora Borealis Camera Gear

Sony A7RII- B&H Photo LinkLenses - Batis 18mm f/2.8 & Laowa Optics 12mm f/2.8Olympus E-M1 Mark II- B&H Photo LinkLenses - 7-14mm f/2.8 and Lumix 12mm f/1.4Mefoto Travel Tripod CFTriggerTrap Kit for SonyJackery Thunder 10050mAh (used to power the Sony)Some additional information: I wanted to shoot more with the Olympus, but in the freezing dark, I found the familiarity of my Sony easier to work with AND I could power the Sony with the external USB for longer time lapses. I was provided only one battery with the Olympus and wanted to save it for some video work. Both cameras performed well in the extreme cold, with one exception. On our first night of shooting, I didn't have the sony plugged into the USB battery and left it running a series of shots. It died in about 40 minutes! I expected that, but it got so cold that the internal battery must have died and I had to reset the date and time.

Pre Notice List Sign up

Hunting with the Hadzabe of Tanzania

https://youtu.be/PtXxhdQSxIkWe go hunting with the The Hadza, or Hadzabe, a nomadic tribe that lives around the Lake Eyasi region of Tanzania in Africa. Hours spent in the bushes (going in circles sometimes) looking for this small group of  nomadic hunter/gatherersthat suddenly appeared with bloodied dikdik in their hand. Watching them start a fire without matches, smoke weed, roast Dikdik and then we all head out on a hunt - a squirrel hunt!Learn more about Mckay Photography Academy Learn more about Thomson Safaris My Big 5 Safari PhotosStabilized Shots from the Crane | Buy from AmazonSafari and Wildlife Photo Gear recommendationsThose cool wooden sunglasses