Action Camera! Compact and versatile!

While planning a trip to Belize, I realized I needed a camera that can go from the mountains to the beaches, so it needed to be waterproof, and fairly rugged.  I was already planning on taking my pocket shooter – but this trip had a lot of adventure tours; meaning that I would not want my expensive DSLR or Bridge camera along.   I needed something different.

I was considering the GoPro Hero Action Camera:

GoPro Hero 8 Bundle with accessories - available on Amazon

GoPro Hero 8 Bundle with accessories – available on Amazon

The GoPro is Ideal; can take pictures or movies, has an Waterproof case for underwater shots, and has numerous adapters for helmets, bikes, chest mount, and more!

Since I am always looking for the better way, I called my cousin Barry Shapiro, who does commercial  television and movie productions.  Barry said his crew was using GoPro’s and “cheap action cameras” because of their capability, size, versatility, and the fact that they are easily and cheaply replaceable.  I have to admit, this sounded really good, so I took his advice and bought

Akaso Action Camera
Akaso waterproof Action Camera, available from Amazon.

I liked this camera (there are lots of choices!) because it came with some basic accessories, two batteries, and could shoot at 20 megapixels.  Since it was well under a hundred dollars, I immediately decided to accessorize!

Neewer 44-in-1 Action Camera Accessory Kit, Compatible with GoPro Hero 4/5 Session, Hero 1/2/3/3+/4/5/6, SJ4000/5000, Nikon and Sony Sports Dv in Swimming Rowing Climbing Bike Riding Camping and More
Neewer 44-in-1 Action Camera Accessory Kit, Compatible with GoPro Hero 4/5 Session, Hero 1/2/3/3+/4/5/6, SJ4000/5000, Nikon and Sony Sports Dv in Swimming Rowing Climbing Bike Riding Camping and More – Available from Amazon

This gave me a carrying case, floating strap, chest, head, and arm mounts, and more.  I was like a kid in a candy store – and I had not yet spent $150!!!  My Cousin Barry told me all the guys on set use this action mount to put a camera almost anywhere – So I bought that too!  It is versatile and strong enough to hold my other cameras as well!

TOAZOE 11" Adjustable Robust Articulating Friction Magic Arm Clamp Holder Mounts Kit for DSLR/Mirrorless/Action Camera/Camcorder/LCD Monitor Video Vlog Rig w/Smartphone/iPhone/GoPro/Arlo etc
TOAZOE 11″ Adjustable Robust Articulating Friction Magic Arm Clamp Holder Mounts Kit for DSLR/Mirrorless/Action Camera/Camcorder/LCD Monitor Video Vlog Rig w/Smartphone/iPhone/GoPro/Arlo etc – Available from Amazon

But I didn’t stop there, I knew I also needed

32 MB microSD card (I bought 2)

Safety straps (to secure the camera in case you have it in a precarious position) (this set comes with caribiners)

FYI:  I bought everything from Amazon, because I am a Prime member and could get everything within a few days.  I also wanted to test out the equipment and understand it before the trip, and become familiar with it.  As for the pocket shooter I was taking, I have a waterproof case to transport it, so I could use it without having to dismount the Action cam.  The Pocket shooter (a Canon) has a long zoom and more settings than the Action cam – They complement each other well.

You can get everything from Amazon – Here are some links:

There are a lot of good videos on using action cameras – check YouTube because you will get some great ideas (like getting tether straps) and tips for underwater photography.

I will be adding some photos and more as I use this cute little camera – I can’t wait to take it on a trip, and tell you all about it!



Big Accomplishment as a Google Guide

Got this today:

Chenkin top Google Photographer
Alan Chenkin recognized for over 5 Million Views on Google!

In my role as a Google Guide, I frequently take pictures and occasional videos of the places and restaurants I visit while traveling or staying local.  While this has been a slow year for traveling or even going out, I have been keen to take photos and inspire everyone who will be traveling post-pandemic.

For the most part, I use my Google Pixel phone camera.  It’s adequate for quick posting of plates and dishes of food, and can be fairly ubiquitous as everyone lives on their phones these days.

While traveling, I used either my pocket shooter, a  Canon SX720  (Great zoom, quality images) or my Bridge Camera, A Nikon B700 (Goes from Close up to insane zoom without changing lenses, and sends images to phone via Bluetooth app).

On occasion I carry my DSLR, a Nikon D5600, But it requires a larger bag for the additional lenses and accessories.  I have to say it has more controls and post-processing options than the Nikon B700  Bridge camera, especially when adding filters for effect, or doing time lapse photography.  When you are traveling or taking quick shots for a restaurant review, the compact nature of the Google phone or the Canon SX720 make it easier to take and post quality pictures.

Even if you are not a Google guide, I hope my pictorial reviews will inspire you to better photography and good choices with cameras for your photographic adventures!

Thanks for reading my blog, and hoping all your shots are good ones!



What’s it like to work as a paparazzi?

By Alan Chenkin, Learned about celebrities reading magazines at the supermarket checkout
Being a Paparazzi is hours of boredom, moments of action (when a celebrity may be sighted, and photographed), and negotiation for fees for pictures. It is surveillance work, and requires some detective work, knowing people who can give you information on a specific star’s whereabouts, (and sometimes paying for the info). You also can be detested, Scorned, punched/threatened/assaulted, and jailed, if you are too aggressive. You also may be carrying expensive lenses and cameras, which can be subject to damage. If you are good, the reward is cash for your photos. You also have to know publicists, who may compel you to photograph their clients so they can get exposure in the tabloids.
How Paparazzi Work – How Stuff works
Oops! I'm the Paparazzi.
Paparazzi exist to feed the hunger of the press and the famous for more exposure – While I am sure many are professional and have some respect for the subjects, many are invasive and push the limits to get their pictures.  This can mean anything from an argument with a celebrity (or their bodyguards) to a fight that ends with someone arrested, or even loss of life (in the case of Princess Diana).
Reddit discussion– “If stalking is a crime,why are paparazzi tolerated?”
And now, Paparazzi need to be savvy with operating Drones!
Up and coming stars seek out the attention of Paparazzi to get more exposure and celebrity status.  If they are fortunate and become famous, they frequently “turn” on the paparazzi and deny them access, abandoning the resource they needed to get their fame.
So if I have not freaked you out, please hire me to train you as a world-class drone piloting, risk-taking Paparazzi at my famous photographer school. (Just joking, although a kickstarter for this may be fun).  Take a look at my Photography blog: The Good Shots.
Thanks for reading my blog! – Feel free to upvote, like, repost and share!
Edited and expanded from my answer on Quora.

Need a new pocket shooter? Check out this camera….

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t lug a lot of camera equipment around.  Not that I don’t want to, but casual camera work does not always require a DSLR and a bag or two of “must carry” equipment, like lights, backdrops, extra lenses, etc. etc.

My first pocket camera was a Nikon, and it was small (a big plus) but lacked resolution and zoom features.  It served me well until I gave it to my grandson, and he got a lot of use out of it.

Even though I have a great camera in my Google Pixel XL smartphone, I find the lenses and sensors on a small camera make for great pictures.  especially if you want to blow them up, or make extensive editing/cropping.

After the Nikon, I got a Canon SX600.  compact, fits in a shirt pocket, and decent battery life.  It did have wifi, but no bluetooth.  18x zoom, 3″ LCD screen, and 16MP resolution.  While it still is one of my favorites, I felt it was time for Bluetooth and more zoom.  (I love more Zoom)!

So I got myself a new SX730HS, like this:

The Canon SX 730 HS (specifications), Available on Amazon and eBay

The 40x optical zoom is awesome, especially for a camera of it’s size. With image stabilization (tip: use a tripod or rest it on a railing for steadying it at maximum zoom) it gets in really close.  With a 20.3 mega pixel image, Bluetooth, and wifi, you have a lot of bases covered.  It also has a feature called “image assist”, to keep your subject in focus as you zoom.  (Did I mention I like to zoom)?

The Unforgettable Photograph: 228 Ideas, Tips, and Secrets for Taking the Best Pictures of Your Life, from Amazon Books

The camera is a little bit larger than what I would have liked, it’s big for my pocket and I keep it in a LowePro Tahoe case from Amazon.  I also use a carabiner to clip it to my belt loop.  It fits nicely in a suit  jacket pocket or a coat.  I like to keep it handy, but don’t like it to be exposed to the elements or potential crooks.  The LowePro case has a pocket for spare batteries and an SD card or two.  This comes in real handy when your battery dies and you are taking some really promising shots.

I also strongly suggest you get a set of spare batteries and an extra charger so that you always have a fresh battery on hand, especially if you shoot movies.

SX730 batteries and chargers on Amazon

SX730 batteries and chargers on eBay

The Canon SX730 HS is a comfortable and efficient camera for all around snapshots, with the capability to wirelessly transmit your pictures to your smartphone, which will send them to the cloud.

I would feel very comfortable taking this camera on vacation, because of it’s size and features.  You can shoot on full automatic or use the shutter/aperture, and scene settings to your best advantage.  Not to mention movies.

Here is hoping you enjoy all the pictures you take!

Nikon B700 Bridge Camera Review

This is an amazing Camera :

Nikon Coolpix B700 4K Wi-Fi Digital Camera (Certified Refurbished)

It’s a Nikon – Ultra High quality Nikkor Lens; exceptional clarity in almost all light conditions
Smaller than a DSLR – One Lens does it all (You never need to change lenses, or carry them around everywhere)
ZOOM – 60x Optical, + Digital equivalent to a 1440MM telescopic Lens!
Wide angle and close up modes, I shot a coin collection with great detail
Lots of shooting modes – from night scenes to Beach; I almost always used it on Auto
Built in adjustable diopter (for eyepiece, no need to put on eyeglasses)
Eyepiece allows you to focus in Bright lights and glare, like at the beach
More than a snapshot camera, without hassle of DSLR.
Wifi lets you commit photos to your smartphone, and upload to the cloud – available immediately!
Camera comes already setup, you just have to tweak it for your needs (just start shooting) in Automatic mode.

This camera is best for 
Someone who travels, and wants all the features in a compact package
Student who wants better than a “snapshot” camera for hundreds less than a basic DSLR
Anyone who wants to have a camera with features comparable to expensive DSLR’s in an easy-to-handle format.
Parent who goes to sporting events, and can zoom in on their active children (80x Zoom)

The pictures below were taken at wide angle and then full Zoom ACROSS A FOOTBALL FIELD at Virginia Tech, THE LONG WAY! I was able to pick out my GF and her son in the stands. It was tricky to keep the camera steady, and the lighting was not optimal, but it worked great! I had to steady the camera against a seat back, even with the anti-vibration mode on.

Nikon Coolpix B700 Digital Camera with 32GB Card + Case + Battery & Charger + Tripod Kit (Certified Refurbished)
I use this camera with the Nikon Snapbridge app on my android phone.  It works bluetooth or Wifi, and takes a 2MB image from the camera into the cloud (the full size image is on the SD card).  it also lets you control the camera (best with a tripod) so you can be in the action.  I prefer a Holster case, a leather handgrip vs.  the standard neck strap, and extra batteries.
If you are looking for a camera that will give you a lot of value and capability for almost every situation, this is an excellent choice.
Disclaimer:  I own one, and love it.  
Thanks for reading my review!  Please feel free to share!
Photographer's Guide to the Nikon Coolpix B700: Getting the Most from Nikon's Superzoom Camera
I hope you found my point of view enlightening and informative.  Consider Liking, retweeting, upvoting and saving!

Do this one thing and you will have better pictures!

It doesn’t matter whether you shoot with a smartphone or a fancy DSLR camera – there is one tip that will help you get better shots.

Are you ready?  Take more shots.

Example of burst mode – From Wikipedia

Everyone is smiling around the birthday cake?  take 4 or 5. or more.  Someone may blink, or move so much the picture is blurry, so you need a way to compensate!

you may not get a second chance for a “once in a lifetime” picture, so don’t be stingy with your pictures, take extra shots.  SD cards are cheap.  So is cloud storage.  You already have the basis for a good picture, even if it is a snapshot!

Many cameras (like my Nikon) have the ability to take pictures in “burst mode”,  where one click of the shutter takes multiple shots.  This is great for many situations where you want multiples and will get them without  effort or coaching your subjects.  I find this is great when shooting pictures of puppies, children, cars in motion, and other fast-moving objects!

No matter what, always think of your composition before clicking the shutter – multiples of a bad shot are just terrible, but multiples of a good shot are inspirational.

Burst mode, also called continuous  shooting mode, or continuous high speed mode, is a shooting mode in almost all still cameras.

In burst mode, several photographs are captured in quick succession by either pressing the shutter button or holding it down.[1] This is used mainly when the subject is in successive motion, such as sports photography. The photographer can then select the best image of the group or arrange them in a sequence to study the transitions in detail. (this description is from Wikipedia).

With all the options you have with a modern camera, or even settings on a smartphone camera, you may want to carry a “cheat sheet” with you, so you have a fast reference to the shooting modes that you would use in any situation.  Because they are like the “Cliff Notes” of your camera’s manual, cheat sheets are usually a small laminated card, or cards, that have quick reference to the available shooting modes and tips for your camera.  There are also general tip sheets relating to Depth of field, exposures, etc.

Sweet As Photos - Plastic Double-Sided Photography Quick Reference Cards / Cheat Sheets

Even if you shoot a lot of pictures, these guides will give you a refresher on composition, exposure, shooting modes, etc.  It is a good item to keep in your bag, and review when you take your camera on a trip or review prior to taking some shots on vacation.

PhotoBert Photo CheatSheet for Canon EOS 5DS/5DS R Digital SLR Camera

Tell your subjects to hold the pose, and click the shutter one more time!

I hope you found my point of view enlightening and informative.  Please share, like, and upvote!

Smartphone accessories that turn your phone into a super-camera!

Firstly – Do you need a stand-alone camera?

Camera Lens Kit by Zeso | Professional CPL, Macro & Wide Angle Lenses | Multi-use tripod & Selfie Remote Control | For iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, iPads, Tablets | Universal Phone Clip & Hard Storage CaseORNikon D3400 24.2 MP DSLR Camera + AF-P DX 18-55mm VR NIKKOR Lens Kit + Accessory Bundle 64GB SDXC Memory + SLR Photo Bag + Wide Angle Lens + 2x Telephoto Lens + Flash + Remote + Tripod+Filters (Red)

For most of us, all we require is in a smartphone.  Selfies, snapshots, etc., don’t require high resolution, or need to be strikingly clear.  Adequate will do  – in those situations.  However, if you want more than just a snapshot, and like pictures that are clear, composed well, and give you control over the final product, than it may be time for you to consider getting a camera to add to your capabilities.  Let’s consider some options:

Smartphone lens kits

Cell Phone Camera Lens Kit, Vorida 5 In 1 HD Lens Kit 12X Telephoto Lens + 198° Fisheye Lens + 0.65X Wide Angle Lens + 15X Macro Lens, Clip-On for iphone 8 7 6s plus 5, Samsung & Most SmartphonePhone Camera Lens, 4 in 1 12x Telephoto Lens Kit + 0.65x Wide Angle Lens & 15x Macro Lens + 180°Fisheye Lens, Clip-On Cell Phone Lens for iphone x 8 7 plus 6s, Samsung Galaxy Note SmartphonesAFAITH Mobile Phones Lens 10-in-1 Lens Kit for Smartphone, 8x Telescope for telephoto / fisheye lens / 2 in 1 macro lens and remote control Selfie Stick Monopod + Bluetooth + Mini Tripod Monopod for iPhone 7 / iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s / 6s Plus, Samsung Galaxy S8 / S8 / S7 / S7 / S6, Huawei P10 / P9 / P8, Sony, HTC, Nokia und andere Smartphones PA051

These kits turn your Apple or Android phone into a multi-lens digital camera!  You can get tripods, zoom lenses, macro, close up, and special effects lense that just clip on to the phone.  No fancy technical twist on gimmicks, just a way to use your phone’s camera like an expensive DSLR.  Usually in the $15 to $75 price range, these adapters can up your game if you are traveling  or want more from your phone’s camera, without the added bulk of a big camera.

Pocket Cameras
Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II Compact Digital Camera w/ 1 Inch Sensor and 3inch LCD - Wi-Fi, NFC, & Bluetooth Enabled (Black)Sony DSCWX350 18 MP Digital Camera (Black)Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ80 black, DMC-TZ80EG-K

These small cameras usually come loaded with features (Zoom, Close up, wide angle, Macro, etc.) and fit in purse or pocket, even with a small carry bag.  Three of my favorites are above. Personally, I carry a Canon SX 600 as my pocket shooter.  The good part is it’s not always out, like when you are swimming at the beach, so it can be tucked away for when photo opps appear!  (If you are at the beach, consider waterproof cameras, like these from EBay. Don’t forget a floating strap).  My daughter still has the waterproof Nikon I bought her 4 years ago.  with the big yellow floating strap, it’s hard to misplace, and easy to find -especially when snorkelling!

Now you have some options for upping your photo game.  You don’t have to carry all the fancy photo equipment like I have, but you can take shots that will look like they were taken on an expensive camera!  Make sure your lenses are clean (especially on the smartphone – they have small lenses), and take multiple shots – extra never hurts!

Have fun and take pictures!

Thanks for reading my Blog! feel free to share!

Getting a new Camera for a trip?

Congrats on the new camera!

    —Or the Decision to get a new Camera!
Collins Need to Know? Digital SLR Photography: Expert Advice on Getting the Best from Your Camera

Plan on taking time to get to know your camera, and the camera settings, so that you have a “feel” for what your camera can do, but let me add more:

SLR Camera Wrist Strap Hand Belt Wrist Band with 1/4 Qucick Release Plate for Canon for Canon Nikon Sony DSLR CameraCase Logic SLRC-202 Medium SLR Camera Bag (Black)Tamrac 5769 Velocity 9x Pro Photo Sling Pack Bag (Brown/Tan)

Get a “nose bag” or “sling bag” and either a sling or a hand strap. this keeps your camera near and ready to shoot. You don’t want to fumble for it, and you can keep a hand on it while walking around – so you can just pull it out of the bag, focus, shoot, and put it back. quick and easy, less fumbling, etc. Less strain than typical neck strap, in my opinion.

5x Genuine SanDisk Ultra 16GB Class 10 SDHC Flash Memory Card Up To 40MB/s- 266x SDSDUN-016G-G46 (Newest Version)

Bring extra SD SD cards, and change them daily, so you have a fresh card every day and (if your camera gets lost or stolen), you don’t lose a vacation worth of shots. Upload them to the cloud daily (if you have wifi).
Also get an extra battery or two, you don’t want to run out of power. (and an adapter/charger for european or local power).  You can get Spare Camera Batteries on EBay.
Also put a UV filter on the lens (if you have a screw mount), it will protect it from accidental scratching and any impact.  UV Filters on Amazon.

Take two or three exposures for your shots. It’s not like your “wasting film”, and you can always choose the “best of three”. Also shoot at 6MP or more (preferably more); you want to catch as much detail as possible for your awesome shots.

Keep your lens clean and have your camera ready to go. also consider a small tripod, to steady the camera for zoom shots and occasional filming, to keep the camera steady. Lens Cleaning kits on Amazon.

CamKix Professional Camera Cleaning Kit for DSLR Cameras (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony) - Double Sided Lens Cleaning Pen / Alcohol Free Optical Lens Cleaning Fluid / 50 Sheets Cleaning Tissue / Brush / Blower

Don’t be afraid to shoot on automatic, or use the scene settings (like night scene or beach scene). TAKE THE SHOT, check your settings, then take MORE SHOTS. keep a small note pad handy, and record the settings your used, time, and thoughts. also pay attention to light, so if the sun is behind the subject, you can adjust the exposure (or use the flash) to brighten the subject in the foreground. 

Take lots of shots. share them. show them off. This is your story, own it, enjoy it, and let your pictures help you tell it!

Best of luck!

Thanks for reading my Blog! feel free to share!

Welcome to Good Shots Photography!


Cameras were once the domain of serious professionals with expensive lenses, exotic film and developing chemicals, and limited opportunities due to the cost and limitations of film photography. 

Today the camera built into our cell phones liberates us from the old days of film cameras and brings us into the new film and video age.  But cameras are not obsolete;  we all like to have a pictorial record of our lives and travels.  We also enjoy when the images are clear, sharp, and capable of being blown up to poster size or printable on a mug or Tshirt. 

For me, carrying  several cameras is fun and lets me take some amazing shots.

Here is the camera stock I carry:

Google Pixel XL, Verizon Wireless + GSM unlocked 128GB, Quite Black (Certified Refurbished)

Phone – Google Pixel XL with 12.3MP main camera and 8MP selfie camera.  I always have it on me, so I almost never miss a shot.

Canon PowerShot SX600 HS 16MP Compact Digital Camera - Wi-Fi Enabled (Red) (Certified Refurbished)

Pocket Shooter – Canon Powershot SX600 HS with 18x zoom, one button movie mode, wifi, and fits in a pocket (even with the small case).  

Nikon COOLPIX B700 4K Wi-Fi Digital Camera, with Total of 48GB along with Deluxe Bundle and Xpix Cleaning Accessory Kit

Bridge camera – Nikon CoolPix B700 Long Zoom camera with 60x zoom, wifi, Bluetooth, eyepiece  and swing out LCD screen.  Usually set on full Automatic, in a case logic nosebag with a hand strap.  You never have to change the lens – it goes from Close-in Wide angle to the equivalent of a 1440mm DSLR lens. Great when you have limited carry space (international trip, picnic, beach) where you only are carrying a small bag but want the features of a bigger camera.

Nikon D5600 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm VR AF-P Lens (Black) 1576 + Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Lens + Lithium Ion Battery + Charger + Sony 64GB SDXC Card + HDMI Cable + Remote + Card Reader Bundle

DSLR – Nikon D5600, with 18-55mm  and 70-300mm zoom lenses with Autofocus and Vibration reduction.  Kept in a Nosebag or a Tamrac sling bag, with a leather palm grip.  I also carry spare batteries, charger, sd cards, and filters (gradient, CPL, UV) in the Tamrac bag.  (My tripod is in the car).   when I want the benefit of the larger lens, more exposure control, and a kick ass DSLR, this is what I carry.  

Regardless of what camera you carry, I hope you get a lot of enjoyment from it and wonderful memories.

Please read my blog for camera tips, personal experiences, and ideas on how you can use your camera(s) to enhance and enrich your life.