Category Archives: Gear

TWiP Guest

I  joined Frederick Van Johnson as a TWiP guest on his podcast, “This Week In Photo, episode #484” –  along with portrait photographer Joseph Linaschke.

Cheryl Machat Dorskind Guest Twip photo

Topics Discussed

  • DJI’s new Mavic Pro drone folds up and fits in your hand
  • Flickr remains relevant while Yahoo circles the drain
  • Panasonic’s GH5 to arrive in 2017 with 4K video at 60 fps & 6K video
  • Using clarity and flash to emphasize blemishes

Click here to access the podcast

At the end of the podcast I recommended two inspiring books

M Train by Patti Smith

TWiP Guest book suggestion

Patti Smith is a writer, a performer, and visual artist.  Winner of the National Book Award for Just Kids, M Train is a memoir discussing Smith’s photographic muses; the how, where and why of the photographs, as well as other captivating ruminations.

“Some months before our first wedding anniversary Fred told me that if I promised to give him a child he would first take me anywhere in in the world. Without hesitation I chose Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni, a border town in northwest French Guiana, on the North Atlantic coast of South America….

A letter arrived. It was from the director of Casa Azul, home and resting place of Frida Kahlo, requesting I give a talk centering on the artist’s revolutionary life and work. In return I would be granted permission to photograph her belongings, the talismans of her life. Time to travel, to acquiesce to fate. For although I craved solitude, I decided I could not pass on an opportunity to speak in the same garden that I had longed to enter as a young girl. I would enter the house inhabited by Frida and Diego Rivera, and walk through rooms I had only seen in books. I would be back in Mexico.”

~Patti Smith

Hold Still by Sally Mann

TWiP Guest book sugggestion
Sally Mann is one of contemporary’s most renown photographers, having received NEA, NEH, and Guggenheim Grants and her photography is held in major institutions internationally. In this memoir, Sally Mann includes both narrative and images. It is a page-turner!

“These are not my children at all,” she writes. “These are children in a photograph. They represent my children at a fraction of a second on one particular afternoon with infinite variables of light, expression, posture, muscle tension, mood, wind and shade.”

“…the kids were visually sophisticated, involved in setting the scene, in producing the desired effects for the images and in editing them. When I was putting together ‘Immediate Family,’ I gave each child the pictures of themselves and asked them to remove those they didn’t want published.”

~Sally Mann

Click here to access the podcast




Also posted in Education, Inspiration, Photography, Photography Books, photography quotes, Reading lists Tagged , , , , , , |

Lightweight Tripods

To create great photos you’ll often need a tripod. Manufacturers have added some panache to tripods making them almost a fashion statement. I  have created a list of lightweight tripods for all camera models. Price tag, manufacturer, portability, and style were considered as I compiled this list.

In addition to price point, consider the weight of the tripod, the height — both the collapse size and maximum extended size, along with portability. Also, do not forget to account for the weight of your camera and the lens to make sure the weight is below the load capacity I provided. 

For DSLR cameras and many mirrorless cameras:

Davis and Sanford Traverse Carbon TR654C-36 

For still photographers, this tripod is the most economical model around. $170

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 2.15.27 PMWeight: 3.25 pounds

Folds down: 18.5 inches

Maximum height: 65 Inches

Load Capacity: 12 pounds of gear

Arca-Swiss quick release

Ball Head with level

Carrying bag 



Manfrotto 190 Go! Aluminummanfrottogo

$190 + $89 (BallHead)

Twist and lock legs allows you to open and close the sections all at once with one turn of the wrist

Weight: 3.75 pounds

Maximum height: 57.48

Load Capacity: 15.4 pounds

Folds down: 17.1 inches 

You will need a ball head for this tripod. I recommend:

Manfrotto 496RC2 Compact Ball Head with RC2 Quick Release

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 2.11.47 PM

MeFoto RoadTrip

   mefoto      mefoto monopod                                                                                  

$199 (aluminum)  $349 (carbon Fiber)

With 12 colors to choose from – you can customize the model with interchangeable leg colors. Available in titanium, blue, chocolate, gold, green, hot pink, and orange.

Maximum height: 61.6 inches

Minimum Height: 15.4 inch

Load Capacity: 17.6 pounds of weight

Weight: 3.6 pounds (aluminum) Carbon fiber 3.1 pounds

Inner column can form a monopod

Arca-Type Quick-Release

Converts to Monopod

Spiked feet (great for tough terrain)

Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom Flexible Mini Tripod w/ BH1-01EN Ball Head


gorilllapod with ball head

Weight: 1.21 pounds

Max Weight Load: 6.6 pounds

Maximum Height: 11.7 inches

Minimum Height: 4.7 inches

Folded Length: 12.5 inches

Quick release with bubble level

For deluxe Point and Shoot and Bridge cameras

Joby GorillaPod Hybrid Flexible Mini with Ball Head – Grey/Black


Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 2.02.20 PM

For small lightweight point and shoot cameras, and Bridge cameras weighing less than 2.2 pounds. Useful in environments where a tripod would be difficult to use or carry. Terrific for unconventional self-portraits (think placing the tripod on a rock, a fence, a lamp post).

Weight: 6.4 ounces

Max Weight Load: 2.2 pounds

Maximum Height:10.1 inches

Minimum Height: n/a

Folded Length: 10.1 inches

Quick release with bubble level

For Smart phones

Joby GripTight Gorillapod Stand for Smartphones (Black/Charcoal)

smart phone joby


If you already have a tripod and want to mount your smart phone that is 2.1-2.8 inches wide:

Joby GripTight Mount for Smartphones

joby smart phone mount reg

Joby GripTight Mount XL for Smartphones


For smart phones 2.7 to 3.9 inches wide:

Jopby smart phone mount xl

All the products include links to BH Photo where I have been purchasing my camera equipment for a very, very long time. As an educator, I take product recommendation quite seriously and put a lot of time and effort into finding the products that I would purchase myself (or already have). If possible, I would appreciate your using my links, as I get a tiny affiliate fee for the time and care I put into my product recommendations.

Have fun shopping and if you thinkI have left off a noteworthy product, I’d love to hear about it.

~Cheryl Machat Dorskind

Also posted in iphone6, Photography Tagged , , , , , , |