Who’s In Charge? You Are With The Right Gear!

Photo of battery chargers from Sony, Nikon and Canon.
Battery chargers from Sony, Nikon and Canon.

Story and photos by Dan Clements

Are you the less-than-proud owner of a bulky, single-battery charger similar to the Sony, Nikon, and Canon models above? Wouldn’t it be great to have a lighter, more functional unit that charges two batteries at a time? Well, you can, as it were, be in charge.

My frustration with bulky external battery chargers peaked about two years ago during a photo trip in Ranthambore, India. By way of background, Nikon has been my go to camera system for decades, but the battery charger that ships with the D750, D850, Z, and other models is one of the most poorly designed accessories I have ever used. It is bulky, heavy, and the plug-in system looks like it was designed by Rube Goldberg.

At one point on our India photo trip I tried to charge batteries, but the charger kept dropping out of the electric wall outlet.  Yes, it was that heavy! I had to stack a piece of luggage and a field guide beneath the outlet to keep the charger, battery, and adapter plug from falling out of the wall socket. When we returned to our Seattle-area home, it was time to look for alternatives. There are many choices of third-party chargers, some better or better suited to my needs than others. After doing a bit of research and reading recommendations on Amazon, I purchased the EN-EL15 RAVPower Battery Charger Set unit for $38 US. It has performed flawlessly.

Photo of RAVPower charger plugged into international power converter (left) and power bank (right).
RAVPower charger plugged into international power converter (left) and power bank (right).

Here is what I like about it. For starters, it is smaller and less than half the weight of the Nikon MH-25 charger (4.5 vs 1.8 ounces). It also charges two batteries at a time. That is a big advantage for someone ,like me, who does a good deal of cold-weather and night photography, both of which eat up battery power.

Next, it utilizes USB to micro-USB charging cables, another feature I have really enjoyed. On the left side of the photo above, for example, the USB plugs directly into the CleverTrips power converter I use when traveling overseas. In the past year I have been in Morocco, Russia, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Finland, and France, and have not had to repeat the luggage/book trick to keep the charger plugged in.

The USB charging cable also has greater flexibility than a “regular” plug. The right part of the photo shows the unit plugged into the power bank I use in the field. It can also be plugged into the USB ports in most modern vehicles, so you can re-charge batteries while on the road.

RAVpower makes chargers for Nikon, Canon, and Sony camera systems. While the unit ships with a nice 15” flat USB to micro-USB cable, I use a multi-cable 3-in-1 charging cable to reduce the number of cables in my camera case.

While I have not done true benchmark testing of the time both units take to charge batteries, the Nikon generally takes about two hours to charge one battery, and I am estimating the RAVpower unit takes about three hours to charge two batteries. I shoot with a grip that contains a second battery, so almost never have two dead batteries.

So, you owners of bulky, single camera battery chargers, consider tossing those units and migrating to a lighter, more functional, dual-battery, USB charger!

Dan Clements is an adventurer who has a deep appreciation and respect for the world’s natural wonders and life in its many varied forms. He has climbed, skied, sailed, SCUBA dived, and traveled throughout the world: visiting over 75 countries. After a successful 30 year career in public finance, he is working to help develop a greater appreciation of our natural environments through photography, publishing, and travel.

When he is not photographing he enjoys back country skiing, distance running, mountain biking, and opera. Everett, Washington is base, and where he and his wife raised two sons.

Happy New (Fiscal) Year and Auld Lang Syne

Photo of Susan Day.
NANPA keeps Susan Day on the go. Photo credit: Susan Day.

By Susan Day, NANPA Executive Director

It’s hard to believe that this fiscal year over! Today we welcome Dawn Wilson as NANPA’s next president as well as new board members Beth Huning, Trent Sizemore, and Kika Tuff. Lisa Langell will stay on for a second term and be a great mentor to the incoming members. I’m looking forward to working with and helping everyone achieve NANPA’s goals and dreams.

Continue reading

Showcase 2020 Winner Profile – Betty Sederquist

Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Altered Reality: "Bear Altercation © Betty Sederquist
Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Altered Reality: “Bear Altercation” © Betty Sederquist

How I Got the Shot

This was taken at a bear rescue center called Fortress of the Bear in Sitka, Alaska. I was shooting from a catwalk above the bears looking down into a spacious enclosure. These bears were in a pond. I added painterly effects later.

Continue reading

Weekly Wow! Week of June 29, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "Leaping Lechwes” © Carol Grenier.
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “Leaping Lechwes” © Carol Grenier.

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, June 29, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

Continue reading

A Visit to a Marshland

Gull on a Stump, Mill Creek Marsh
Gull on a stump, Mill Creek Marsh. 500mm, 1/1000, f/6.3, ISO 560.

Story and photos by Sastry Karra

During February 2020, before the pandemic started, I went out with my camera on a cold but sunny day to Mill Creek Marsh. The marsh is a nature preserve in the New Jersey Meadowlands, near Secaucus, and is an interesting oasis of nature in an urban setting.

Photo of mallard ducks floating among the stumps in the marsh.
Mallards are among the year-round residents. 500mm, 1/1000, f/6.3, ISO 450.

The Jersey Turnpike goes through the marsh, and it’s near shopping malls and subdivisions. Just across the Hackensack River is the Meadowlands Sports Complex. The skyline of Manhattan is visible in the distance. You wouldn’t expect to find a nature preserve here, but there it is. The 209-acre property was going to be drained for a housing development but, instead, was acquired by the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission in 1996.  Beginning in 1998 efforts were made to return the marsh to a more natural state, with the tidal flow reestablished and native plants and grasses replanted.  A 1.6 mile loop trail takes you through part of the wetlands.

Twisted Roots and Stumps of an Old Forest of Atlantic White Cedar Trees
Twisted roots and stumps of an old forest of Atlantic white cedar trees. 175mm, 1/1000, f/5, ISO 400.

Back in the 18th century, large portions of this area were covered in a forest of Atlantic white cedar trees, most of which were cut down to make roads and houses. Hundreds of stumps were uncovered in marsh enhancements since 1998. The marsh is on the Atlantic Flyway and more than 280 species of birds have been spotted here.

Photo of several gulls in the marsh, one of which is preening.
Preening. 500mm, 1/1250, f/6.3, ISO 400.

The unique vegetation in the marshland, reflections in the still water and the birds that rely on these wetlands combine for an impressive array of photographic choices. I’m looking forward to returning when it’s safer and as the region starts reopening.

The day I was there, the light was good and, as usual, I emphasized a fast shutter speed and allowed the camera to decide the aperture and ISO settings.

Aerial Reconnaissance: photo of a gull flying over the wetlands
Aerial Reconnaissance. 500mm, 1/1000, f/6.3, ISO 400.

Jaganadha “Sastry” Karra was born in India, but left when he was 24 years old. For the past 27 years, he’s worked as an IT professional, and has been living in NJ since 2004.

During his spare time, he goes outdoors and takes nature photos, especially waterfalls. Along with his wife (who loves hiking), they go to many nearby state parks where he can experiment with different compositions. In the summer, when his friends play cricket, he’s been experimenting with sports photography. Find him on instagram at #sastrykarra, where he posts most of his pictures. On Facebook, he’s active in some photography forums, like NANPA. “Maybe I’ll see you there!” he says.

Great American Outdoors Act Clears Senate

The Yosemite Valley from the Mariposa Trail by Carleton Watkins. Watkins’ photos were instrumental in getting Congress to pass the Yosemite Grant in 1864, preserving the valley and leading to the creation of national parks. Public domain.

Last week the United States Senate passed the Great American Outdoors Act by a strongly bipartisan vote of 73 to 25.  The bill provides billions of dollars in funding for parks, trails and public lands, including funding for some of the maintenance backlog in national parks and wildlife refuges, as well as permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).  For nature photographers who photograph or lead tours in parks, refuges and public lands, this is good news.

Continue reading

Showcase 2020 Winner Profile – Don Larkin

Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Scapes: "Icebergs on Diamond Beach” © Don Larkin
Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Scapes: “Icebergs on Diamond Beach” © Don Larkin

How I Got the Shot

It is a simple life for an iceberg in Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Iceland.  It is born from a nearby glacier, and slowly gets pushed out to sea, only to find its way back home to retire on the same black sandy beach from where it came. On this morning, the sun rose underneath a layer of clouds, with the sunlight shining through the icebergs and illuminating the different colors and shapes.  I waited for the waves to approach to show the motion of the water, and the arrival of the icebergs.

Continue reading

Weekly Wow! Week of June 22, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "Female Anhinga Emerges From the Swamp” © Kelley Luikey
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “Female Anhinga Emerges From the Swamp” © Kelley Luikey

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, June 22, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

Continue reading

Weekly Wow! Week of June 15, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "Spider Wasp with Spider” © Tom Myers
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “Spider Wasp with Spider” © Tom Myers

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, June 15, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

Continue reading

Four Tips to Be Your Professional Best on Zoom

Screen shot: Like almost everything else in our professional lives, NANPA's monthly communications meetings have moved to Zoom.
Like almost everything else in our professional lives, NANPA’s monthly communications meetings have moved to Zoom.

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Blog Coordinator

It seems like everyone is on Zoom these days. In a previous article, NANPA’s Teresa Ransdell gave some great tips for using it, which will help the professional photographers who lead workshops, teach and speak and who have been moving their business to Zoom or similar platforms during the corona virus restrictions.  If you’re new to Zoom, are you presenting yourself professionally, with good lighting and thoughtful backgrounds?  You want your video presence to look and sound as professional and artistic as your photographs, right?  So, here are some tips to consider as you ramp up your online video conferencing.

Continue reading