PetaPixel Playing With The Truth




In a recent blog post the tech/photography site PetaPixel suggested a workaround for getting more camera gear on your next flight. The solution is, just lie. Forge your own press credentials and say you are with a media service. Apparently the major airlines have deals for traveling media professionals and will allow extra baggage for just $50 a bag. As a traveling photographer always worried about weight,  I read through the PetaPixel article with interest. That is until I reached the bottom of the post when author DL Cade quoted Canadian photographer Von Wong (another Fuji x-photographer) who said, just make your own credential. “Boom. Instant proof.” Seriously?  What happened to ethics? Why not just join an organization like National Press Photographers Association and buy your own media ID card. Granted, it is not as cheap as making your own card. For years I have suggested joining NPPA for just this reason. NPPA membership isn’t cheap, but you join a community of professionals. You’re helping underpin an existing voice in the photographic community that advocates on behalf of photographers everywhere.

For residents in the United States and Canada (prices in USD):

Professional Membership  $110 annually

Student Membership  $65 annually

Retired Professional Membership  $65 annually

Family Membership  $60 annually

For those residing in countries outside the US and Canada:

International Membership

International memberships in the NPPA are now open to all professional and retired visual journalists, as well as students. Additional shipping fees apply.

Airmail: add $70 to any membership

Click here to download a PDF of the membership application.

Why would such a well know website like PetaPixel suggest  photographers lie to airlines about their photographic credentials? This jeopardizes the very program that they are trying to take advantage of. These airlines’ exception clauses are designed for photojournalist, production companies, photographers doing location shoots, and other traveling photographers who need to carry extra gear. If this service gets abused then the airlines will quickly change their policies. Frankly, my guess is if you are a wedding  photographer doing a location shoot, show the airlines your business card and perhaps even a portfolio and explain that you need this service. You just might get the same deal.

But to me the bigger point is how PetaPixel seems to be encouraging it’s readers to  work the system by lying about their creds. Maybe this is why these folks don’t join NPPA, because you have to sign off on a code of ethics to be a member!

Editors Note: I am having server issues at the moment. So please be patient. If you receive an error while trying to post please try again later or post on the Facebook comment section below. ~MB

Jessie’s Venice


f/4, 1/9 sec, at 19.1mm, 200 ISO, on a X-Pro1

A rainy evening in Venice.


I haven’t posted photos by Jessie (my daughter) in quite some time. Frankly, it is because she hasn’t been shooting. School kind of gets in the way of photography. But while traveling Italy she has found the time and seems to have gotten her mojo back. Again, I am very proud of her images.

PS. Jessie’s loving the X-Pro1 and the 18-55 mm.


f/5.6, 1/160 sec, at 52.7mm, 200 ISO, on a X-Pro1



f/9, 30 sec, at 32.9mm, 200 ISO, on a X-Pro1



f/22, 1/350 sec, at 34.3mm, 1600 ISO, on a X-Pro1

The graphic’s angles of Burano.

Florence at Night


It goes without saying many people have photographed Florence at night. But I haven’t. So here is my contributions to an already large body of work on this beautiful old city. I hope you enjoy these. Tomorrow we are off to Venice. Ciao!


Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore or Il Duomo di Firenze.

Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore or Il Duomo di Firenze.


The Palazzo Vecchio (the town hall)

The Palazzo Vecchio (the town hall)


A panorama of the the Palazzo Vecchio on the right and Il Duomo on the left.

A panorama of the the Palazzo Vecchio on the right and Il Duomo on the left. (click for larger resolution)


A broader panorama of the the Ponte Vecchio then the Palazzo Vecchio, Il Duomo and finally the the Basilica di Santa Croce.

A broader panorama of the the Ponte Vecchio then the Palazzo Vecchio, Il Duomo and finally the the Basilica di Santa Croce.

How to Photograph and Still have a Family Vacation.

f/6.4, 1/680 sec, at 14.5mm, 200 ISO, on a X-E2

A view of Florence from atop the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore or Il Duomo di Firenze.

Florence is the capital of the  Tuscany region of Italy. The city is viewed as a cultural, artistic and architectural treasure. Florence is also known as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. It is the home to such wonders as Michelangelo’s David and Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and countless other historic works of art. Of course, when you are on a family vacation the goal is to see all these wonders and stuff yourself on gelato, pizza, prosciutto and still have time to shop.  If you’re like me you also want to try to grab time to take memorable photos in the midst of all this.

I often get emails from photographers asking me how do I balance taking photos with the need to focus on the family while on a vacation? One answer is marry an understanding wife. My wife Alou, is more than accommodating with my need to take photos at every place we visit. But the other answer is don’t confuse your family vacation with a photo workshop. For me the vacation always takes precedence over the need to photograph. This is not just a bunch of photo ops for you, it’s family time. So I don’t stress out the family to get photos. Better to schedule a photo workshop (try my Rajasthan workshop in Feb. 2015 ;-) ) than to obsess over your photos opportunities.  The truth is, if I see a photo as we walk from one museum or cathedral to the next I stop and take it. If I can work out a photo from a viewpoint that we all want to see then I do – otherwise I let it go. Let me encourage you to do like me and enjoy your family and relax. If you make this your priority then more than likely you will still walk away with some great and memorable photos from your trip.


f/8, 1/10 sec, at 19.1mm, 200 ISO, on a X-E2

A view of Il Duomo di Firenze from street below.


f/16, 1/140 sec, at 56mm, 200 ISO, on a X-T1

A view of the Great Synagogue of Florence or Tempio Maggiore from Il Duomo.


f/5.6, 1/4000 sec, at 56mm, 800 ISO, on a X-T1

A view of the Tuscan hillsides with the Basilica di Santa Croce in the foreground.


f/6.4, 1/640 sec, at 22.9mm, 200 ISO, on a X-E2

The terracotta roofs of Florence.

f/6.4, 1/350 sec, at 24mm, 200 ISO, on a X-E2

A view of the Ponte Vecchio, a Medieval covered bridge over the Arno River.


f/14, 1/18 sec, at 86mm, 800 ISO, on a X-T1

Cherubs glow in the setting sun reflect in the windows of an apartment across from the San Gaetano Church.


f/11, 28 sec, at 24mm, 200 ISO, on a X-E2

A view of the Florence Central Market from our apartment balcony.

Buongiorno From Roma

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona


We left Rome today and are now in Florence for the next few days. Rome was everything I had dreamed it would be. Well, almost. Everyone said the coffee would be the best I have ever tasted. So far I have not had a bad cup of coffee. But I don’t find it head and shoulders above the rest of the worlds cappuccino’s and espressos. Now the gelato… that’s another story!  I am sure there is no better ice cream on the planet!

I think literally half of Rome is under construction. Most of what we wanted to see was under scaffoldings. Seriously, the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps and more all under renovation. Oh well, looks like we will just have to visit again! Here are a few images from Roma! Arrivederci Roma,


Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona


Our neighborhood Trattoria.

Our neighborhood Trattoria.


Inside, St. Peter's Basilica.

Inside, St. Peter’s Basilica.


One of the smaller domes of St. Peter's Basilica.

One of the smaller domes of St. Peter’s Basilica.


A pano of Rome from atop St. Peter's Basilica.

A pano of Rome from atop St. Peter’s Basilica. ( click to view larger)


Light hitting a piller collum the Roman Pantheon.

Light hitting a collum inside the Roman Pantheon.

The Colosseum.

The Colosseum.





Rajasthan 2015 Photo Workshop Announced


I am thrilled to say that we set our plans into motion for the next Rajasthan Photo Trek (workshop). We have run this workshop for two years now and have been given high marks from all our participants. If you want to make photos in one of the most exotic places on earth with the most colorful dress and exciting locations then Rajasthan is your choice. Join me and photographer and author Piet Van den Eynde as we travel for two weeks across the Indian state of Rajasthan, the Land of Kings. Continue reading

A Podcast: A conversation on the Fujifilm X System with Piet Van den Eynde #02

Piet and I checking out the menus of the X-E2 and X-100s.

Piet and I checking out the menus of the X-E2 and X-100s. © René Delbar


Last year after the Rajasthan Photo Trek, Piet Van den Eynde and I decided to take a few minutes to talk about our experience with the X-series cameras in the field. Piet is a brand ambassador for Fujifilm Belgium, an Adobe Lightroom Guru and an e-book author with Craft & Vision. More importantly he is my co-leader of the Digital Trekker Photo Treks. Last year after our first Photo Trek together Piet and I thought it might be fun to do a podcast about the Fujifilm X-Series gear we used. You can listen to that conversation HERE. That podcast turned out to be one of my most listened to podcasts and quite a few people had asked for a sequel… So, always eager to provide the content that people want, we though it might be fun to do this again… sort of a part two. This year, after the Photo Trek was officially over Piet and I huddled under a blanket together – no really it was the only way to deaden the sound in our cheap concrete day-rooms – and recorded this podcast. We talk about the latest gear and how we have been using the X-system since our last podcast. I hope you enjoy this conversation. Continue reading

Review: Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 Smartphoto Printer

fujifilm -instax

Probably one of the biggest surprises of this Fujifilm Rajasthan Photo Trek was my last minute purchase of the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 Smartphone Printer. This printer opened so many doors with people to photograph that it should be considered a must have for any photographer traveling to new places.

Continue reading

Review: iBattz Mojo Refuel Battery Case (iPhone 5)

iBattz Mojo Refuel Battery Case

iBattz Mojo Refuel Battery Case

One of the great things about using an iPhone (or any smartphone, for that matter) is that you can do so much on the phone from email, photography, graphic rich games, navigation using your GPS and so much more. The problem is that all of these tasks create a huge drain on your battery. By the way, while Apple doesn’t publish their battery specifications, doing a quick Google search reveals that the iPhone 5 has a 1440 mAh battery, iPhone 5S a 1570 mAh battery, and the 5c 1507 mAh battery. These are not huge. Comparatively, the Galaxy S4 features a 2600 mAh battery. To combat this lack of power, many companies are offering power banks and cases. Continue reading