25 November 2009

Alaska Images and BorrowLenses.com

Frigid Arnica (Arnica frigida) Near Wonder Lake, Denali National Park, AK

Scamman's Spring Beauty (Claytonia scammaniana), Stony Dome, Denali National Park, AK

North Fork Gorge Creek Valley in Summer, Denali National Park, AK

Shedding Male Caribou (Rangifer tarandus), Near Savage River Campground, Denali National Park, AK

I uploaded more images today from my trip to Denali National Park this summer.  Some samples are posted above.  I now have about half of my Alaska images uploaded and I hope to have the rest uploaded by the end of the Thanksgiving break.  You can browse gallery by gallery on http://www.bestnatureimages.com/ or try using the search box to your right and use the search term "Denali".  I'll make a specifically Alaska-themed gallery (and slideshow) once I have all the images uploaded.

At the bottom of my blog you may have noticed the addition of a commercial banner for BorrowLenses.com.  I've been meaning to write a review of this company on my blog for a while now.  I've used this lens rental service on two occasions now.  Once when I went down to St. Augustine, FL to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm to photograph nesting herons and egrets and then again when I went to Denali National Park, AK.  The first time I just rented a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens, but when I went to Denali I rented that lens, plus a Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS lens, a 1.4 teleconverter, a spare EOS Rebel Xti body, battery grip, and heavy-duty tripod w/ Whimberly head. 

In the interests of full disclosure, I've joined BorrowLenses.com affliate program, so if you click on their link from my website, and you eventually rent from them, I'll receive a 5% commision.  While I'm sure I'll soon be able to retire on the proceeds of this endeavor 8-), I planned on writing a postive review of their service long before I knew I had the option of signing up for this program.  

I was a bit nervous at first renting lenses (especially such expensive ones) through the mail.  But I decided to go for it and I've had such positive experiences, I'm sure I'll do it again.  To start with, their equipment rentals are reasonably priced (in fact the best rental prices I could find from the few reputable companies online) and certainly a world more affordable than buying the actual equipment.  Their website is also very easy to use and navigate and their selection of equipment is impressive.  If you aren't independently wealthy and are going on a special trip or need a specific piece of equipment for a special shoot, renting is really a great way to go.  On both my trips I was able to capture some quality images that I would have been less likely to capture using my own equipment and right now purchasing a Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS lens outright would lead to some serious marital disharmony in my household.

Each time I rented the equipment arrived on the day promised and in excellent condition.  Each time I've corresponded with the company the customer service has been prompt, friendly, and best of all, extremely competent.  Luckily I have not encountered any problems with late/damaged equipment, but the customer service I have received makes me confident that any issues would be dealt with promptly and professionally.  The equipment comes with all the appropriate packing materials and clear instructions with prepaid labels for return shipping at the end of the rental period.  They do their very best to make everything easy.  My one small criticism of this company is the fact that they appear to continually recycle their packing materials.  While I laud their environmental commitment and I'm sure it helps them keep the bottom line down and prices low, I nearly had a heart attack being shipped and return shipping close to $10,000 worth of camera equipment in a box with 0% of it's structural integrity left.

So if you have a special trip or project planned and you need some more equipment, or if you just want to try out one of these fast super telephotos before you mortage the house, I highly recommend this company.  I've been very happy with their service and I'm sure you will be too.

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