Darktide Wild: My Dream is finally coming true...


Ever since I was young, I've loved wildlife and wanted to work around them in some way. I found photography after high school and due the connections I already had, I started shooting action sports. I've shot and loved it for the past 7 years. It has taken me to some great places and I've been able to meet some amazing people. I wouldn't change it for anything in the world. I learned to use a camera and to get work done on a quick deadline. All of the skills and experience I've gained from my time in action sports has lead me to pursue my dream of becoming a wildlife photographer. While action sports is still something I will occasionally shoot, the bulk of my time and effort will be in my new venture, Darktide Wild, a division of Darktide Photo. 

Darktide Wild will be all about wildlife and the world around us. I plan to use my photography to educate through conservation and teach people through workshops about both photography and the animal kingdom. With this new venture comes a whole new section of content as well. I am happy to say along side my workshops and prints, I will be launching the Darktide Wild YouTube channel this winter with all new content! It will include things such as a behind-the-scenes look at some of my trips, gear talk and reviews,  and original shows to educate the general population about the beauty of all animal life and how you can help wildlife too. 

I am currently working on a new site that will be home to all of my Wild work, as well as a new blog and place to sign up for workshops. As of now, I'm planning on launching this new site in the coming weeks. Until then, please follow me on Instagram to receive updates on my progress and see new wildlife content regularly. I will post when the new site is done and I hope you all will join me. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me and ask. Thank You to all those who have supported me and my photography over the past few years. 


First Time for Everything: Food Photography

No matter what type of photography you specialize in - whether it be action sports, weddings, or commercial - it's always a good idea to branch out and try new things. Learn a new type of photography that makes you think. If you take a photo of something and your first reaction is 'it sucks' then figure out what you could do to improve it and try it again. Add something new to your bag of tricks. 

For me, food photography is the challenge I wanted to improve on. I love food so why not? It can't be that hard to make a simple image of food, right? I'm not saying I'll instantly create top shots worthy of being published in magazines and such, but creating basic, quality images can't be that hard. Turns out - I was wrong. It's an incredibly difficult, but fun challenge.

For this shoot, I had a strobe I rented for the weekend to shoot another event. I wasn't doing anything with it at night, so while my wife was cooking, I set up a small studio area on the kitchen table and started shooting. For the next few nights, I shot cookies and milk, pizza and steak. I used my Nikon D500 and a Nikon 105 2.8 Macro lens for the shots. The strobe was a Phottix Indra 500 that I used Pocket Wizards to sync. This allowed me to both turn down the power and fire off many shots at full burst and then also use the full power of the strobe to sync at high shutter speeds for different looks.  Here are some of the top shots of the weekend. Comment below and let me know what you think of my first attempt!


Strobes and Road Bikes

Got to take the strobes back out into some real world shooting this past weekend on a job covering a Road Bike Ride Day. Here is a short list of gear used, and I hope you enjoy the photos!! For more images make sure to click click here.

NIkon D500

Phottix Indra 500 

Pocket Wizards

Nikon 10-24mm and 105 Macro 


Photo Epic: Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Rounds 1 & 2

There is just something about shooting short course racing, maybe its the fast laps, the fans, or the door to door action but whatever it may be, there are always some great photos to take away from the events.  Here are my top shots from this past weekend of shooting the opening rounds of the 2017 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series.  If you are interested in any of the photos please feel free to contact me. 


Images on this site may not be used; distributed; copied; printed; published; or displayed in a commercial manner without the prior written permission of the Photographer Russell Johnston / Darktide Photo. Images are authorized for personal social media, with the use of credit applying back to Photographer. Not crediting photographer or using images for any commercial uses without prior written permission will result in a charge of 10 (ten) times the Photographer's customary fee for such usage.

Camera : Nikon D500

Lens : Nikon 300mm 2.8 VR II and 16-35mm F4 VR

Edited using Phase One Capture One Pro 10



The Move to Micro 4/3 - A Week in the Dirt

Welcome to part three of the "Moving to Micro 4/3's" blog series! Keep a look out for the fourth and final segment in this series. If you want to read any of the previous parts of this series, click the links below. Thank you! I hope you've been enjoying this series. If you have any questions, feel free to email me or comment below. 

Part One

Part Two

Part Three (this one)

I have had my own EM1 Mark II for about two weeks now, along with the 12-40 and 40-150 Pro lens in my bag. For those who are just joining us and don't really know my backstory, I used to be a Canon shooter with a 1DX body and a few Sigma lens. I moved to Micro 4/3 for the weight and cost after getting a EM1 Mark II to test for a few days and falling in love with it. This isn't to say there aren't any problems with this camera, but for the most part, it's been a spectacular little camera. Last Tuesday, I got the call stating I was good to go. I packed my bags and started on the long drive to Las Vegas, Nevada to shoot one of the biggest races in the Off Road industry - the Mint 400. I knew right away, this was going to be a great test to really see what this camera could do in real world shooting environment. This wasn't just a test to see how sharp the images were or how well the AF performed. It was a test on the camera system itself and how it would handle a week in the dirt. It was if the size difference really helped or actually hurt me. It was to test the weather-proofing and more! I shot mostly photos throughout the weekend, but played with the video as well. Here are some images and thoughts on it.

Does the Size Help?

After four long days of shooting and having to carry around my bag with camera gear, water, extra clothes, laptop and such, I did notice the difference in weight and size throughout the whole system. Before I continue, I need to point out there are smaller cameras out there, the bodies by Sony and Fuji come to mind. The main reason I didn't go with a smaller camera and went with a Micro 4/3's system is the size of the lenses. The 40-150 was my main lens for shooting action and while a bit short for this type of subject and my style of shooting, I must say it was great. I will be adding an Olympus MC-14 soon to hold me over until I am able to pick up the 300mm PRO. 

Going back to size, it really deals with shooter preference more than anything. Even to me, it's not too big of a deal, since I did carry large cameras and lenses around for a long time. It was nice not to have to deal with the weight, after a mile and a half of stomping through the desert to get to my preferred location. The shot below is a great example of when size helps out. It was shot with the Mark II and the 40-150 PRO from an R44 Helicopter. Having the EM1 made it easy to move around and not have to worry about hitting someone in the head with the lens. For those familiar with an R44, it's not the biggest seat in the house to shoot from, especially when you're shooting from the back seat. 

Auto Focus and Tracking 

There's no better way to test the AF and Tracking of a camera then throwing it into high speed mode and letting it go. The photos above have no editing at all, the sharpness is 0 as well. The only thing is they are resized to 2500px on the long edge. The camera is doing 18fps and this is at 150mm F2.8 on the 40-150 PRO lens. For those who are wondering yes, I'm pretty happy with the outcome. I think the camera did great. This type of shooting was hard at times, even for the 1DX I was shooting with. These trucks are doing close to 75mph coming through those turns at times, so the Olympus did spectacular keeping up.  

Weather Proofing

When most people hear Weather Proofing two things come to mind, Rain and Snow. I didn't get any of those at the Mint 400. Instead I got dirt and dust - a lot of dirt and dust.  I had two problems though. The clutch on the lens has dirt in it now so I need to get that cleaned soon for sure. It's not too bad, but you can definitely hear it moving around. The second issue is so much dirt was on the camera that some of it must have gotten pushed into the screen and locked it up. I couldn't move it or pull it out until I got back and cleaned the pivot point. They aren't too big a deal for me, just something I need to watch a bit more for when shooting in the dirt and dust again. I'll be in it plenty of times. 

More Images 

Part 4 Coming Soon

I will be doing the final part of this blog series come end of the month as I head to Big Sur for a wildlife shoot with the 300mm F4 Pro lens to see what I can capture.

The Move to Micro 4/3 - A Weekend with the EM1 Mark II

Thanks to Olympus, I was able to get my hands on a EM1 Mark II kit for a few days while waiting on mine to come in stock. Since I plan on shooting less sports and more wildlife / nature, I picked two spots to do some testing: Mt Lauguna and the San Diego Zoo. Also a surprise head-shot shoot at the end. 

A Day in the Mountains

Mt. Laguna is about an hour east of San Diego, and a perfect place to get away for the day and test a camera. The main purpose of taking the camera out on this trip was to see how the size and the weight was in real world use. I packed everything I had for a day trip: camera body, 4 Lenses, Water, Food, Tripod, Jacket, Small Chair, and some other small things. Let's just say this was so much lighter then any of my bags with Canon gear in them. I had no problem hiking with all this for the 6 hours we were out ( We did about 5 miles so not too much ). I found I was using the 7-14 PRO most of the trip. I'm not a wide angle person. I don't really know why, I just don't use them often, but this lens made me love it - small and sharp. I also used the 40-150 PRO a good amount and the 300 PRO for a few shots but I didn't have much real use for it. I finally got to use the Live Comp function of the camera and it's easy to call that a game-changer for sure. I need to spend some more time with it and Live Blub but both seem to be great tools that are built in the camera. Now its not all good. I enjoy most of it, but there's a few things The main thing that really bugged me was the battery life. I come from a 1D so I didn't expect the same but these little batteries really don't last long. I will need two for a good day of shooting and one more for shooting at night. Also, talking about the batteries, I think Olympus messed up by not allowing the camera to charge via USB like some of the other cameras on the market can do. Hopefully they can fix that in an update some how. 


San Diego ZOO 

I love the Zoo. It's an amazing place to just go an relax - a place to learn both about the animals and how to take photos of them. What better place to take the EM1 and the 300mm F4 Pro lens? I was going to take in all the lenses but after thinking about it, I only took the big gun in. There wasn't much going on in the middle of the afternoon. That being said, the AF system did great, it had no problem getting focus fast and staying with subjects. 


Shooting for a Friend 

Just a few hours before having to pack up the camera to get it back to Olympus, a buddy of mine hit me up to see if I could do some head-shots for him real fast. Great timing for sure on this one. I don't shoot this kind of thing often, but sure why not. For the first time all weekend, I used the 12-40 PRO, and wow what a great little lens it is. I don't think I will be adding it to my bag anytime soon but I can see it going in the bag at some point. I also found some great use of the flip out screen and the touch focus - two things I didn't have on my Canon 1DX. Overall, for the short amount of time we had, I'm happy with the photos. That Live Comp mode is going to be one of my most used things for sure. 


So Whats NexT...

.... well I guess I wait till my body comes in the mail to go out and shoot some more jobs and work with it. This little camera really is a great tool that every time I have pulled it out of the bag I have found something new, something neat that I like and can find a new way to use in my work. I do know now for sure that my first two lenses will be the 7-14 PRO and the 40-150 PRO. Those two lenses are just so great. I will most likely be getting the 1.4 Tele as well. As for what's after that, well my eyes are on the 300 PRO by the end of the Summer. Just in time for a Yellowstone trip and the 25 PRO for commercial work, if the need comes. I will also be buying a housing to do underwater work, both photo and video for wildlife and commercial use. I hope to see some new PRO lens come out this year as well as the rumors sites are talking about. There will be a part 3 to this blog series which will be released in the next few weeks. For up to the date information, follow me on social media and feel free to ask any questions you might have. I'm here to help.

The Move to Micro 4/3 - A New Chapter

This may sound crazy, coming from a guy who has been shooting with the Canon 1DX for the past year and the Canon 5D Mark III two years before that, but I'm switching. I love Canon cameras. I like the full-frame look, the optically amazing lenses, the AF speed and tracking, the build of the bodies, the battery life, and so much more. It's easy to see why many sports and wildlife shooters pick this system, myself included. So I love Canon so much, why would I start to look elsewhere?

A big reason I started looking around is because of the weight of a full camera system. For a sports and wildlife shooter, it can go anywhere from 20 - 60 pounds, depending on what you carry. Think about it, you have two full frame bodies, a wide angle, a telephoto, probably a prime or two, a macro lens, and the long glass, like the 500 or 600mm lens. All of that is just the basics - you still need to add in the batteries, cards, cords, laptops, and lights. Plus, if you're hiking, you need to add on all of that essential gear - things like water, snacks, a tent, sleeping bag, first aid kits, and so on. I'm still a pretty young guy compared to a lot of other photographers, but I would rather not be carrying hundreds of pounds of gear around for days on end. Of course, you can make your kit as small as you want if you're only on a day job or it's a simple shoot, but if you're going out of town for a long hike or a really involved shoot, most likely, you'll be taking everything.

The second reason I started looking is because of the cost. After doing the math, my mind was blown! We aren't talking about a few hundred, or even a grand or two. By switching over to the Micro 4/3 system, my savings was around $8,000! No matter who you are, what you do, or where you are in life, that's still a lot of money. I know some of these cameras are nowhere near the same level as my 1DX. However, keeping an open mind, from what I've seen, the best bodies come from Panasonic and Olympus, along with the professional level lenses, which aren't too far behind Canon's quality at all. They will do the job 95% of the time. Though I will admit, they will not work for everyone or every shoot. I have a plan to help me work around their shortcomings, should I ever need it. 

Why Micro 4/3 Over APS-C or Full Frame Mirrorless 

- System as a Whole is smaller

- Cheaper but still high level optics and bodies 

- Panasonic is leading the way with video at the under $5,000 price tag

- Olympus has some really neat tricks for photographers like Pro Capture 

- There is a native lens out there that will fit your needs, from fish-eye to 800mm

- They have both Pro Bodies for work and even smaller bodies for travel and fun

- Cheaper and lighter again for putting underwater, something I plan to do alot more of this year 

- Not just a single company, Micro 4/3 is a system that a group of companies are building on.

- Cameras like the Lumix GH5 are pushing the limits in the Video World for price and size.

I explained why I think Micro 4/3 is a good - not perfect, but good enough - fit, I should explain why out of all the cameras there are I chose the new Olympus OMD EM1 Mark II to use for my work.


Why the OMD EM1 Mark II

- 10fps with large buffer

- 18fps with C-AF for those times where speed is king

- Pro Capture, this is amazing, I will talk more about it in later blogs

- Small and Lightweight yet built like a mini tank

- Olympus Pro Lens, once I held one I was sold

- Olympus has their own underwater housing and ports

- Olympus is known to do big updates to cameras, not just try to sell you a new body.

- High Res Mode, perfect for when I need to shoot products

What about when my EM1 Mark II won't do the Job?

See? I told you I had a plan. I really don't know for sure when it won't be up to a specific task, since I haven't really used it that long, but if I believe that there is a job where the Olympus just won't cut it, I will rent a Canon 1DX Mark II or the new Fuji GFX 50S camera depending on the job / client needs. At the end of the day, I'm a photographer. I can use any camera you hand me to get a job done, but it's my job to pick the right tool for the right job.  

So, there it is. The start of my journey to Micro 4/3. Now I'm waiting, as I type this, for a Olympus OMD EM1 Mark II to get in stock. Despite the high price tag most people are balking at, they seem to be sold out everywhere. My Canon 1DX is up for sale as well, if anyone is looking to buy one. I would also like to end this post with a question I know people will ask, what happens if it doesn't work out for me? It's a tough question, but I really think it will. While I don't own the camera yet, I have spent time with it at a local camera store and loved it. I got to test the whole system for about an hour or two and have been talking with pros and Olympus techs for all my questions. If in the end, it doesn't work out, I'm planning on waiting at least a year before making any big changes. Olympus did an amazing job with updates on the EM1, not only fixing bugs but adding big updates to the camera, such as higher speed shooting and major fixes to the AF system. If the updates they release aren't what I need, I can say I learned a lesson and go pick up a Canon 1DX Mark II, like I had planned to do before this camera caught my eye. Though I just don't see this happening.

Here are some sample images from my hour with the camera while testing it with an Olympus Rep. 




A Look Back : 2016

As 2016 starts to come to a close, I am taking some time to go back and look at what I've had the opportunity to experience. It's amazing what we can forget when we get wrapped up in the day to day of life. I don't want to forget. I want to remember them. I want to be able to see where I've come from and where I'm at now. Plus, I get the added bonus of being able to clearly define where I want to go next!

I've included some highlights from the past year below. I have several client spots open for the start of 2017. If you like my work below and are interested in working with me, please send an email to russell@darktidephoto.com or give me a call at 760-791-9738.


2017 IS COMING...

Day One with Strobes!!

Strobes are always the next level a photographer works on to increase their skills. They take years to master, but we all have to start somewhere. After putting it off for over a year, I finally bit the bullet. 

I have used flashes for some projects, but never in-depth and always small uses. Once you add the action and speed of things like motocross to the power and complexity of a studio strobe, things start to get a bit complicated. 

To get started, I picked up the trusty Profoto B1 light from my local camera shop and wonderful supporter, George's Camera, here in San Diego. I set off to see what I could do. 

All of the shots I've included are done via HyperSync, not High Speed Sync. I had to use my Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 to get the Hypersync to work. If you don't know how the two differ, a simple Google search can give you some great articles about the subject and when to pick one over the other. I plan on using both in my work but this shoot called for HyperSync. 

Overall I learned a lot from the few hours that I had with Max. Cant wait to get back out there and shoot some more and keep on learning! 


Rider : Max Lee

Light: Profoto B1

Camera: Canon 1DX

Lens: Rokinon 14mm and Sigma 120-300 2.9 Sport


Here is one of the set ups that I used while shooting Max, the light in this photo was a bit close to the subject but it was all in the testing and getting to know our gear. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!  

Day Trip: Drone at Windansea


Drones have been something I've been wanting to test out for awhile. It's just another tool in my bag of skills I've been wanting to be able to offer. Plus, having a different perspective on my photography subjects can help get some amazing photographs. However, I've never had a reason to buy or rent one. It didn't seem like something I wanted to put money too, if I didn't have any clients interested in it. As luck would have it, I didn't need any clients.

I got my hands on one from a good friend and took it out to see what I could do. It was a DJI Phantom 4 Pro model. I feel blessed for this experience for two reasons: one - I had two batteries to use, which kept the fun going for a lot longer than if I only had one and two - I'm located in San Diego and got to capture some amazing views using this new tool. I was able to shoot some RAW photos with it, as the image looks just as soon as my GoPro Hero 5 and grabbed a few 4k stills to see how good that capability was. 

I'm taking it out a few more times in the coming weeks as I travel around for the holidays to shoot some personal work. I'm going to work on getting a few more images on these trips and will be updating this post with them. I'm already starting to think about how a drone will fit into 2017 for me. Follow me on social media (channels at the bottom of the page) for updates. Feel free to ask all the questions you might have. 


Why Did I Buy a GoPro Hero 5, plus my review


Why Buy A GoPro?

Why not? So many people, including myself, really don't see the GoPro as a Professional level camera. It's a small camera that is great for filming action sports or fitting in places where you don't want to put a real camera. It's something that is meant to be so simple that it helps everyday people record their favorite memories and in that thought process many people just don't see it doing the job of a professional level camera. It doesn't help that the user base producing content with the GoPro isn't skilled enough to make it look professional. The content ends up looking bad and therefore gives the impression that level of quality is the best it can do. While this may sound like a negative aspect to the camera, I believe that it's actually good! This small amazing camera is made with two purposes in mind: to be a simple way to capture homemade video and photo AND to capture big moments in small ways - like in Hollywood Films, the Jump from the atmosphere, scenes from the bottom of the ocean or from the Space Station.


So why did I buy it? I have 3 main reasons for picking a GoPro after all these years:


  • I want to start doing more Behind The Scene videos and Vlogs of what I do when out on shoots. GoPros are great for this - they are small and pack a punch with a great image. 
  • Underwater Photography is one of my main reasons. I will go more into depth on this since most people call me crazy for getting a GoPro for underwater work. Now that they have added RAW photos to the Hero 5, I can't wait to use it. Add a nice dome and you have a nice Fisheye Wide Angle that will allow you to get up close. Not perfect for everything though.
  • The final reason is to have a smaller camera for everyday moments. I really don't like having my 1DX with me at all times. It's an amazing camera and by far the best the camera I have ever owned but it's not needed for everything. Sometimes a small camera that fits in your pocket is all you need to get the moment. 

Why pick a GoPro over an Advanced Point and Shoot?

It's a great time to be a photographer or someone who needs to travel with a camera. There are so many amazing cameras at some really good prices. One of the more talked about styles of camera is what is called an Advanced Point-and-Shoot. It's a camera with a built in lens and smaller sensor than a DSLR but has the power of the bigger cameras. Panasonic, Canon, and Sony all make some really good models. I did a test run of one and still found that I wanted to go with the cheaper and less powerful, in terms of features, GoPro. 

I used to own the RX100 Mark IV, buying it for underwater and blog work. It was an amazing camera with an amazing image. Sony really did a good job with that one, but I had to sell it since it wasn't really working for me. The AutoFocus wasn't the best and overall I just didn't want such a big housing for a small camera set up. (This has now been fixed in the new RX100V) The menu system was also a huge pain in terms of trying to change even the simplest settings. 

I have seen what people can do with a GoPro. Some of these people just don't need a DSLR. Having a camera with just a shutter button can at times make it so much easier to focus on the actual content of the shot. In looking at photos taken with a GoPro, I found many companies that create some amazing accessories to make this camera even better - companies like Polar Pro, Lume Cube, and Kneckt. There is a huge amount of support for this little camera and seeing that makes my experience with it even better. I love to see what people have created to work alongside the GoPro, all because GoPro made the product in a way that could be expanded upon.

My Review of the Hero 5


First Thoughts

Getting home from Best Buy with the new camera, I couldn't wait to see the camera in my hands and feel it out. I have to say that GoPro did a great job on this one. Having it be waterproof right out of the box is a great add on. I also really like that the front glass can come off - I can already see the third party world making tons of cool add-ons for that one. I also really like the large shutter button design. It's just easier to feel and thus helps you make sure you get the shot. The frame that comes with the camera is neat as well and I think it fits a lot of people's work better than a housing. 

I can't talk about the body without a bit of talk about the new touch screen and UI that GoPro did for the Hero 5 Black. The touch screen - as long as it's not wet - is great and works well. Once it's wet, though, it's done until it's dry, as I've had no luck with it while snorkeling. The UI is, I think, one of the biggest updates on this generation of cameras. GoPro really thought this out and made it really easy to mess with settings and see, in real time, what those settings are doing. 

Video Quality

I know a lot of people were mad that this camera didn't have any updated specs over the Hero 4 Black, such as 4K at 60 or faster frames at HD. I don't mind it that much and think they have packed a ton of stuff into a tiny body. Putting 4K 60p into this camera would have been really really nice but at the same time, I don't see it needed. My camera will live at 2.7k at 60p for most of the time. Protune is great and I love that we have control over the shutter this time around in video mode. Superview in 4K is pretty neat as well when shooting underwater and wanting to show the viewer what is going on. 

Wifi and Phone App

One thing that I always hated with other GoPros when using them was sending wifi to the phone for viewing the photos or live view. It always was a huge pain to get the two to work and the lag was at most times just not worth it. This time around it looks like the new apps with the GoPro Hero 5 are working great so far. It's really fast to connect and download photos to your phone for posting and such, but there is still a good amount of lag on video. Maybe an update will fix that later on. So far I'm happy with this though and can't wait to see how I use the Wifi for shooting. 

Raw Photos

This image was shot in RAW and pushed to the extreme to show what GoPros can do. 


Finally, GoPro changed something that helped me decide to purchase one. They added RAW Photo Capture to the camera so we can finally get all the detail that tiny sensor is putting out and bring out the colors and all the details. They also made a huge mistake. RAW Photo, at the time of this review, only works in Single Photo mode, not burst or time-lapse. GoPro needs to fix this ASAP. They also made no mention of this in the marketing material for the camera, which is sad to see them doing. They also made the mistake of not being able to set your shutter speed or set a low and high limit so you know what you can get. 

Other than that, I have to say GoPro is a special camera for photographers. You can't expect it to get the same level of shots your DSLR can get, but at the same time it can get a shot that your DSLR wouldn't be able to get in the first place. To me, that's a huge thing. I love finally having a camera that I can add a few lights to, a dome port, a dive rig and for under $800 I can be in the water with a small rig that can still get really wide and take great photos. 

Final Thoughts


GoPro has done an amazing job with this camera. It really is a perfect camera to throw in your pocket and be able to get all the cool moments of your life. This camera is no longer just aimed at Action Sports. I will, of course, use it that way for some of my photo work where I don't want my Canon 1DX to be put in a place where it can be destroyed, but I can see this camera be used for family trips, blogs, BTS shots, a great first camera for kids to learn on, great camera for underwater work where you don't need or want a bigger camera. I love that GoPro bumped the price down to the older launch price of $399 for this model, and made it waterproof out the box. 

If you're looking for a great camera at a great price the Hero 5, in my mind, is hard to beat. If you don't need waterproof without the case or planning to go deep all the time, don't need RAW, or don't need any of the new updates, take a look at a used Hero 4, as they are dropping in price along with all the third party accessory that have been made for that version as companies make room for the Hero 5 updates.  

- PROS -

- RAW Photo in Single Shot, so far really happy with how much better the raw files are.

- Waterproof out the box. Was hard to put it underwater without a housing at first but after using I'm loving it, but can't wait to get the dive housing. 

- Touch Screen. Really nice to be able to touch the screen and change settings fast as well as preview images.

- Updated User Controls. I hated the older versions of the camera and how you had to change settings, this new update makes it easy and really fast. 


- CONS -

- GoPro changed the size of the lens protector, meaning we have to buy all new domes and filters for underwater use.

- NO RAW Photo in burst or timelapse. I can understand burst since that is a lot of data but for timelapse? Need to update that one. 

- No new Flat profile, would love to see a new flat profile that gets a bit more range for video use. 

- No zooming in on photos while reviewing them. I understand the screen isn't high res but I would like to double tap to see the photo at 100%

- Would like to see GoPro work with flashes like the Lume Cube so we can hit the shutter and the lights go on for the photo then back off. 


Behind the Image : San Diego Sea Turtle

- Camera Settings -

GoPro Hero 5 Black - Super Suit Housing - ISO 200 - 1/600 Shutter - F2.8 - No Flash

Ever since I moved to San Diego, I wanted to swim with one of the rare local Green Sea Turtles. Too often the water was too rough to be able to swim to where they can be found or the water was just so murky that you couldn't see more than a few inches in front of you.  Well, finally, this past weekend, everything seemed to come together. The water was really clear and we - my fiance, Kaylee, and I - were able to swim fairly easily in. We made our way right over to the area known as Turtle Town, the place where turtles like to hang out and man, is it a long swim! 

After about 20 min of looking, Kaylee finally spotted one and I couldn't believe it! We finally had found one of these amazing animals. After swimming with it and getting a few photos, we said it was time to head back in since we had been swimming for so long and were both getting tired. A few minutes after we started heading back, I looked back to see this guy was swimming behind us! Time to shoot some more photos and it's a good thing I did. I kept diving down trying to position him in front of the sun rays to light him up since I had no lighting on the camera unit. The result is this image.

Yes, I did take this with a GoPro. Shocking, I know! I can't imagine what I might have gotten with my Canon 1DX, but let me tell you this - this little camera is amazing. My full review is coming but I am so happy I picked this little thing up. There is a common misconception that a GoPro can't get a good photo and all it's good for is snapshots. After using it for the last week and a half, this camera is proving to be useful for more than just snapshots. I'm thrilled I finally picked one up, as it's made it's way into my bag for good. After a shot like this, I can't wait to hit the water again, this time with a dome and some lights!