Sunday, December 20, 2015


 My beloved D2x was getting a bit long in the tooth, ISO-wise, so with a bit of Christmas money, I bought a Nikon D7000. Not as tank-like as the D2x, but about 4 stops better in the ISO range, as the following pics from Carbon Leaf, show.
The auto ISO function on the D7000 is great. I can set the Aperture and Shutter speed I want, and the camera will set the ISO for proper exposure. I found this function very helpful. One less thing I have to worry about.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Return to Form

Got a chance to use up some of the expired film I had. This is a Black and White shot, straight from the camera, to the developer, to your eyes.
Sharp eyed readers will notice it's more of a Sepia tone than Black and White. Not sure if this is an effect of the developing, or the age of the film, but it adds a wonderful hue to the image.
Shot with my Nikon F3HP, 135mm Tamron Adaptall lens at f/2.8 and about 1/2000 of a second.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Absolute Total Chaos

 This band needs no introductions. But on the outside chance you don't know who they are, it's Gwar, with their new lead singer, Blothar. It was Gwar's 30th anniversary and as always, they put on an incredible show. While Oderus, their original singer, had to go back to his home planet, Blothar seems to be an acceptable substitute. 
Gwar's shows are always a mass of chaos, and everyone in the audience gets sprayed liberally with fake blood and other fluids. Photographers are especially vulnerable and many of them will cover their cameras in plastic bags. Personally I think that being exposed, lends an element of danger to the whole thing, knowing that at any time, one could get a face full of goo. 
I used, for this event, my new Olympus OM-D E-M5 and it performed flawlessly. It was certainly much much lighter and at the of the ten hour concert (there were 20 bands in play) I didn't feel worn out.  It also helps the camera is listed as "splashproof" so I was not worried. I'd given my assistant my D2x to use and she took a full on blast from one of the many stage props. But the D2x is also built to take it, so no worries there either. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Heresy Continues

 As you are well aware, I'm no stranger to Black and White photography. If I could find a dedicated dSLR that shot in monochrome exclusively (and that I could afford...I'm looking at you Leica) I'd dump everything and use that for everything.
Well, I got close, these shots are not from my Nikons, but rather a new camera I picked up with some birthday money (thanks!) It's an Olympus OM-D E-M5, certainly a mouthful, and an interesting camera. It's tiny, like too-small-for-my-hands level of tiny, but with the battery grip, it fits, barely. It's micro four thirds format, and has a host of "art" filters built in, one of which is "grainy B/W", of which you see here.
There is a learning curve to using a new camera, and I'm looking forward to seeing what it can do but so far, I'm impressed with it.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Reworking some images

 It's easy to take a million shots at a concert, even more so when the band is as dynamic as the lighting. It's also easy to get overwhelmed when you get home and realize you took over 1000 pics, and as you do a quick once over, realize you got way too many that could be usable. So you grab the top 10, and skip the rest, figuring you'll get around to them one day.
Well this is that one day, and here they are. While my Nikon D2x is getting long in the tooth, it can still get the job done when the chips are down (and the light is right.)


Thursday, July 2, 2015


Old film cameras are a dime a dozen, almost literally. No one (at least around here) wants them anymore. While I have the professional series of Nikon film cameras, (F3, F4, F5) some of the lower level have peaked my interest.
This is a Nikon FE with MD-12 motor drive, and 50mm f/2 lens. Not fully functional, but I got it for a song and a dance. I'm trying my hand at restoration and so far, it's been going pretty well. For a camera made nearly 40 years ago, parts are easy to come by.
As with all my cameras, it will see use. Unsure just yet how, but I will post something I take with it, in the near future.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Old Ways

A co-worker of mine owns this Lotus Elise. He was kind enough to loan it out to me for an afternoon photoshoot. This was taken at a local school yard on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
I shot it with my Nikon D2x, 17-35mm lens and an ISO of 200. While I should have brought a tripod (we shot it elsewhere around town and I didn't want to lug around too much gear) it's sharp enough.
I used to drive Italian sports cars exclusively when I was younger and wish I'd been into photography at that point in time. No matter, I can borrow the Lotus anytime.
It's nice to have friends like that!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Still here

Had a bit of time this weekend to shoot something different. A dedicated Infrared dSLR. In this case, a Canon 10d (shhh! don't tell anyone I'm using a Canon, it's a secret between you and me) since it's been directly converted to capture Infrared only, you can use it as a normal camera, no more clunky filters or long exposures.
As you can see here, the white sections are the heat, with the darker being cooler parts. Works well also for smoothing out skin blemishes.
I borrowed a 50mm f/1.8 lens from a friend, which works well with portraiture.
It is taking a bit of time to re-adjust to the new control layout, and some things on the 10d are extremely awkward to adjust.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Thoughts on the Year

A shot for a friend. It's funny, but I used to think photography was a huge part of my life. I couldn't wait for the weekend to arrive, so I could grab the camera and go find something, or someplace, or someone, to shoot. Winters were rough, because it was cold and rainy, and not much real snow, so I occupied myself with other things until the weather warmed up. 
But then something came up. A true dear friend needed me. Then family needed me. And suddenly, photography didn't seem so important anymore. Those people in my life, that had hit rough spots became much more important. To be there for them, to help as I could. They say life happens while you are busy making other plans. So this is what has happened. Life. I can't say it got in the way, because it's not something so base as an inconvenience, nothing so derogatory. Instead, it opened my eyes to what is important, and it's not weekend photography. 
So I've had a change in my priorities. I still shoot, but no longer am I so eager to ignore the world and escape into the lens, and the post the results here. We do not live in a vacuum, and to think otherwise is foolish, and self-centered. And there are enough self-centered people out there that the world doesn't need another one.
If you haven't seen it by my posting speed, consider this journal inactive. When my friend is better, when she has crossed the last hurdle, when my family is better and crossed the last hurdle, when I am a better man for helping with those hurdles, then I may return here with new shots, but for now, I want to thank all of you, my dear readers, for simply being here. For simply being.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Of Fog and Macros

Still on my journey with the Macro lens. I'm shooting every day, even if I post nothing worthwhile. 
This morning, we had ice rain. This afternoon, heavy fog. I deliberately amped up the ISO in this shot to increase the noise so that it might add to the fog effect. I would have tried this shot with my 17-35mm and come away disappointed, I think, so in a way trying landscape work with a prime went rather well.
Oh and tomorrow? More ice scheduled. Go figure.

Monday, January 5, 2015

More Macro Work

Okay, so I goofed. I meant to bring my camera to work this morning, and with all the other stuff I had to bring, I forgot. But rather than skipping out, I shot one more Macro event for your viewing pleasure. The following image is intentionally overexposed. Continuing with the single light setup I cranked up the power to 100%, set my aperture to 11, ISO to 100, and a custom white balance of 3000k for a light blue tint. Then ensuring the framing is correct, I poured apple juice into the glass, and used a remote trigger to freeze the action with 1/250th of a second for the shutter speed.
The idea is hardly unique, but without a helper, I had to shoot at this angle. What I'd like to do, which requires two people, is angle the glass at about 30 degrees to really get the water splash curve up and over the glass. Then get down on the level of the glass, parallel with the lip, and shoot.
When I get a helper for this shot, I'll give it a swing. Until then, enjoy!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Macro and Light Work

So, getting a headstart on staying on top of my goal of shooting daily, I pulled out a set of cheap wine glasses and I used only one light, trying to give them depth and direction. The first shot was converted to Black and White (which made almost no difference, but I'm throwing that out there) and the second one was shot with a blue filter over the single light, which was set at 45 degrees to the subject matter. I set my Aperture to 11, ISO 100, Shutter speed for the Black and White was  3 seconds, and on the blue one, 1/250th of a second (I tripped the flash.)
With a single light, you can create dynamic lighting, and while the subject here is rather simplistic, I want to explore this option more with a person, I think that could create some great images.

A Month of Macros, Catching Up

Okay, so the "severe fog warning" was a bust. I was up in time for it, there just wasn't any. What we did have was rain, which effects thereof can be interesting to shoot, but given I wasn't feeling all that swift this morning, I decided against. What I did do instead, was work with some more controlled lighting, and my ever growing collection of ties.
While my job allows casual dress, and indeed almost demands it, my last job was three piece suit and tie affair, and so I have a large collection of ties. Arranging them to be interesting, however, much much more challenging that I was expecting, and in the end, I don't think I pulled it off. The settings were the same as the miniature work from the other day, with the exception of different colour background. In any case, I'll let you be the judge. Tomorrow is the start of a full work week, and I will be shooting some detail from the city.

New Project: One Lens a Month

Every photographer, at one point in time in their life, collects too many lenses. I get it, we all love new gear, whether it's the online steal we couldn't pass up, or the hidden gem found at a thrift store, we accumulate gear like it's going out of style.
The trick with all of this gear, is using it. Sometimes it gets used once or twice and set back in the closet, forgotten, other times, it becomes our go-to lens. In this series, I want to use only one lens for the entire month. In this case, for January, I'm going to use my Sigma 50mm f/2.8 Dedicated Macro.
I've mentioned the lens on this journal before, and the issues with working with Macro lenses, but as a quick recap, they have very narrow Depths of Field, and do not tolerate sloppy handling. I'm going to try to post a picture a day show with my macro lens. The astute of you will notice it's already the 3rd of January. Yeah so I'm a little late on this. So here's two shots to get things going. 
This Sea Creature was a local hobby store close-out, I think I paid 2$ for it. I wasn't sure what to paint it, so I went with underwater type scheme. I'm not a fast painter, nor an especially good one, so it took me some months to get it to this state. 
The background was an ordinary 12"x12" scrapbook sheet, taped to my desk, two strobe lights, at half power, at 45 degree angles from the figure, and my Nikon D2x. F/10 and 1/250th of a second for the shutter speed. No other adjustments, pre- or post-, were made. In other words, straight from the camera.

This Minotaur is a work in progress so forgive the sloppy painting. All the settings listed above, were duplicated here. The figure is from a company called "Reaper Minis" and this is from their "Bones" line. They are truly affordable (he was 3$) and nicely detailed, but made of some of the most infuriating material I have ever seen disgrace a miniature. It's a weird mixture of recycled plastic and...well..rubber as near as I can tell. As such, any paint has issues sticking to the material and either becomes tacky and never dries right, or glosses up and pools, sliding right off the surface. Scrubbing them (I bought more) with soap and water (or Simple Green) made little, if any, difference. Even primer had issues, but in the end, I found a very good primer that is airbrush-ready (I'm using my airbrush on a red dragon.)
In any event, I chose the Macro lens because it's both a great Macro lens, and a fantastic (if a few stops slower) 50mm normal, or prime, lens. So while I am re-acquainting myself with Macro work, I can always use it as a normal lens. I just heard on the radio it's supposed to be foggy tomorrow morning. If I can get my carcass out of bed in time to catch it, that will be the next set of images.
Stay tuned!