MindShift Gear Giveaway!


No Purchase Necessary and Void Where Prohibited.


I am excited to announce that camera bag maker MindShift Gear and I will be giving away a Mindshift Gear’s Rotation 180º camera backpack to one lucky soul. This is a fantastic backpack! I own one of these myself and I can tell you it is build like a tank but is light as a feather. Last year I did a video review on this bag and it did real well. Read that review HERE. Why are we giving this bag away you might ask? Well, we are just like that, kind, generous and giving people… that and the fact that we are using this giveaway to promote our latest workshop offering, the Kashmir Valley Photo Trek and Workshop. This bag and workshop go together like Oreos and Milk or Astaire  and Rogers. Because for three nights we will be trekking and camping in the Indian Himalaya among the nomadic shepherds and this bag was made for something like this.

Here is how it works. All you need to do is visit this LINK or click on the image above to go to the entry page. Here you simply enter your name and email address. You will be asked to verify your email and once you do then your name is entered in the lucky drawing. As they say on TV, “But wait, there’s more!” Once entered you are give a unique link to share. Every time someone enters the giveaway using your link you get an extra 5 entries! How cool is that? So the more you share the more people enter the higher your chances become. So enter now and start sharing. Oh, and come and join us on our Kashmir workshop, it is going to be amazing!


Product Features




Take a hike: photo trek with Matt Brandon through Kashmir

Our bad ass guide for the Lidderwat trek, Abul Aziz.

Our bad ass guide for the Lidderwat trek, Abul Aziz.


I have received a couple of emails asking just how hard is the trekking portion on the Kashmir Photo Trek & Workshop. Before I get into that I need to define a term. Many North Americans are unfamiliar with the term trek or trekking.   The term “trek” simply means to walk or to travel. I used the Digital Trekker as my brand name because frankly mattbrandon.com was taken and I was running a trekking company at the time called Frontier Treks & Tours. So the whole trekking moniker seamed natural. I mean, I was shooting a digital camera and knew way back then digital was the new future. So I became the Digital Trekker. Recently I thought why not add the trekker to my workshops. So I bought the domain IndiaPhotoTreks.com and there you have it, the birth of the photo trek. But it seems the down side to this is people think we will be backpacking all the time. Not always the case.  But there will be times when we will do some hiking. That brings me to where we started this post.

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Planning your 2015 Photo Workshop schedule.

I have two workshops scheduled for 2015 and another workshop still in the planning stage at the time of this writing. So photo workshop schedule make sure you include these. Two completely different places featuring two totally different cultures. The first workshop of this year (that isn’t sold out) is the Kashmir Valley Photo Trek.  Everything you need to know about this is below. Please check it out.

The second workshop is the aptly named  Photography Tour of Bhutan run by the amazing photographer and my good friend Robert van Koesveld and with wife Libby Lloyd. I am flattered to be a guest instructor on this trip. The dates for this breathtaking tour are 18 September – 2 October 2015. Learn more about it HERE.

So while you are trying to make up your mind what workshop is best for you take a moment and read, workshop participant, blogger, musician, film critic, photographer and Renaissance man Fernando Gros’ blog post How To Choose And Make The Most Of A Photographic Workshop.


Sometimes the view is so amazing you have to put the camera down and just soak it in.

Sometimes you just have to put the camera down and soak in view.

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First Look: Fujinon XF 16-55 mm f/2.8 R LM WR

The not yet release Fujinon XF 16-55 mm f/2.8 R LM WR

The not yet release Fujinon XF 16-55 mm f/2.8 R LM WR

A few weeks back I sat with two of the marketing managers for Fujifilm in our local Starbucks. One was from Malaysia and the other was the regional marketing manager from Japan. As we spoke and drank our coffee we talked about all the good things happening with Fujifilm within Malaysia and globally. As we were getting ready to leave one of these men asked, almost in passing, if I would like to shoot the new 16-55 mm. I was stunned. This is the hottest new lens from Fujifilm. As far as I knew no one had even seen it yet, let  alone used it. After picking up my jaw from the floor I said, “Heck yeah!”. “Ok, we will get it to you Friday, just in time for your assignment.” (I was currently shooting for a Hong Kong based magazine on the markets of Penang).

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Review: Zhongyi Lens Turbo Adapters ver II for Fuji X mount cameras (FX)

Zhongyi Lens Turbo for the Canon EF – Fuji X-Mount

Zhongyi Lens Turbo for the Canon EF – Fuji X-Mount


I recently was sent a Canon EF – Fuji X Lens Turbo Adapter from a Hong Kong Based company called Zhongyi Optics. A Lens Turbo is a cool little adapter that fits between your lens and your camera body. It is suppose to both increase the speed of your lens a full stop and adjust the crop factor to full frame. This version was made specifically for fitting Canon EF lenses on to a Fujifilm X-Mount. This sounded too good to be true. In short, it was… sort of.  Not that it wasn’t fun and in fact with a few caveats I’d even say it’s worth the $150 they sell it for. Continue reading

Fujinon 50-140mm f2.8 LM OIS WR: Review

Fujinon 50-140mm f2.8 LM OIS WR

Fujinon 50-140mm f2.8 LM OIS WR


For more than 3 years Fujifilm has been producing stunningly sharp lenses for their X-series camera. The 35 mm f/1.4 was one of their first lens and it was so sharp I was sure it was a software trick inside the camera.  Then came the other lens with the 56 mm f/1.2 being the go-to for portrait photographers. But there was still an obvious gap in their lens line up. Sharp or not, there was not a 70-200 mm f/2.8 equivalent lens, that is until now. That hole is now filled with the Fujinon 50-140mm f2.8 and it is amazing. Continue reading

2014 Gift Guide the Discerning Photographer



Every year I try to create a Christmas Gift List that I think my readers might enjoy. It started out as a list of things I had that I thought others should have as well. But it has since morphed into both a list of things I can vouch for and things I am putting on my own wish list. I wanted to get this out before the notorious “Black Friday”. For those of you that are not American, this is the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday and it has proven to be the biggest shopping day of the entire year.  I think I gave you a real variety – but no fedoras or pipes this year. Sorry. I did manage to add a bow tie , though . They are in general price categories from the most costly to the least. This way if you have a budget you know where to look at a glance. So without further to-do here is my list.


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Marco Pierre White and Greatness


Recently I watch an episode of Master Chef Australia that featured Chef Marco White. This is Master Chef Australia  not US. I have always been amazed at the kind but gentle guidance that the chef Gary Mehigan, chef George Calombaris and food critic Matt Preston give each participants. Often  Master Chef Australia has celebrity chefs come to teach and inspire the contestants. This last episode featured Marco Pierre White. I have heard many people compare him to Hell’s Kitchen’s Gordon Ramsay. But there is no comparison, White discovered Ramsay and I would venture to say Ramsay patterned his gruff evil demeanor after White. Continue reading