Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Weber Spirit E-310 Gas Grill


After owning a mediocre grill for many years, I finally purchased a good one... the Weber Spirit E-310 gas grill.

Recommended by America's Test Kitchen as the best gas grill for under $500 (check out the video here: https://youtu.be/mUPX-9zkMeA) I decided that larger wasn't necessarily better for the money.  I wanted a grill that could cook evenly throughout its grilling surface.  America's Test Kitchen's video convinced me that this grill would be the best.

Apparently Weber grills aren't discounted below a certain price from retailer to retailer, so my family and I decided to purchase the grill at Ace Hardware since they offered free assembly and delivery.  We went last Friday but found they did not deliver on the weekends.  Monday was Memorial Day, so we asked if they could deliver at 9 AM on Monday since we had a huge family party happening for lunch that day.  They said they could do it.

Sure enough,  precisely at 9 AM, the guys delivered the assembled grill!  I fired it up and grilled lots of burgers, hot dogs, brats, and kebobs for the party.  And just like the video said it would do, the grill performed perfectly!  I had the entire surface area of the grill covered with each type of entree and every time... no hot spots on the grill!  Each burger came out exactly the same as the other regardless of where that patty was located on the grill.  On my old grill, if I had the patties in the "sweet spot" where the heat was best, the other areas would not even cook at all!  You could expect the meat to be raw!  Not the case here.  Perfect grill marks on everything and nothing burnt!

After the burgers, I put on Hot Dogs, Brats and Kebobs and they all did the same thing.  Nothing burned and everything was evenly cooked with nice grill marks.  The grill grates are made with porcelain enameled cast iron so heat retention is very good.

High praises for this grill!  If you are in the market for a grill, consider the Weber Spirit E-310 grill.  While it is more expensive than most grills its size at $499 on sale, in my opinion, it's well worth it.



Friday, May 27, 2016

Rode VideoMicro - Microphone for DSLR Cameras



The Rode VideoMicro microphone is an inexpensive microphone solution for DSLR video shooting. It is powered by your camera (be sure your camera has this ability) so it does not need an external battery source.  It's small and lightweight and also includes a "dead cat" wind screen too!  While not as full sounding as their more expensive versions, Rode offers a nice solution for those who want a very small and lightweight mono microphone to improve their audio quality.  Priced around $59.

(Images borrowed from the internet)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

First Field Trip of the 2016 At Chicago Botanic Garden




It was a chilly day today for our first field trip of 2016 for Balanced Exposure students... but the consensus was that feeling a little cold is better than sweating in the sun! The Chicago Botanic Garden looked beautiful as always!
Images taken with a Nikon D750 and Nikon 24-70mm f2.8. HDR image processed with Lightroom CC.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Steadicam Merlin 2 - Video Stabilizer For Handheld Shooting


For an upcoming class at Balanced Exposure, I purchased the Steadicam Merlin 2 for handheld motion shooting of videos.

It takes FOREVER to get this thing set up properly, but once it is, the shots are amazingly stable!  Fluid shots are possible when using a stabilizer rather than jerky shots while moving.  I'm looking forward to letting my students try this device!

At one time, the Steadicam Merlin 2 cost around $595, but checking the sales price on B&H, it's currently selling for $295.  Still costs more than some may want to spend, but it's at least it's within a reasonable range.

My upcoming class description can be found on YouTube by clicking here.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

May 3, 2016 Two Sunfish - No Salmon





I went to Racine Harbor to try my luck fishing today. Nothing. Not even a nibble.  So, my friend Jim and I decided to try Lake Zurich in Illinois.

Ended up only getting two small Sunfish.  One of them is pictured here.

The sunrise was taken at Racine Harbor.  At least we got to see nice scenery!