Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Global Scamming

I believe that I understand the knee jerk reactions of group members when the group is suddenly cast into a bad light.  The excuses come immediately, the feelings of being mis understood, the "Circle the Wagons" reaction.  After a while however it starts to become evident to other group members that if this group truly has merit  then the actions of a few, no matter how damning, must be overcome and the perpetrators must be exorcised.

I am speaking of Climategate.  It has been recently disclosed that some who call themselves Scientists have been fudging the numbers.  In the first instance to refer to oneself as a Climatologist infers a field of study that just does not yet exist.  There are licensed Cosmetologists but not Climatologists.  It is safe to say that this important field of study is in fact being developed which emphasizes just how brand new the field is.

As a species we expect much more from certain groups.  Scientists are one such group.  From scientists we expect truth even if it hurts, scientific method, peer review and an attempt to eschew politically motivated "Truths."  From those who have perpetrated the Global Warming Scare we got none of those things, quite the opposite in fact.  This is serious for many reasons but perhaps the biggest reason is that it's so darned important to us.  Every craftsman knows you must trust your tools, if you can't,  then replace them.

To the other true scientists in the world I say it's time to stand up.  Take the beating coming to you.  Punish the perpetrators of the hoax, fix the problems and get on with this important work.  Otherwise the politicians will gleefully run with the crap that's been developed and create a world we do not want and do so in your name.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


As I write this the Memorial Service for the slain Police Officers is starting in Tacoma WA.  These 4 were gunned down at a local coffee shop while they caught up on reports and enjoyed a cup prior to starting work on a Sunday morning.  Strangely the gunman spared the lives of the other customers and workers in the shop.

Two days later the gunman was on the losing end of a gunfight with Seattle Police and was found to have been severely wounded by one of the slain officers and to be in possession of one of their guns.  Later it was reported that the gunman had told others that he was going to kill as many people as he could starting with cops and to also include schools.

The information paints this picture:  the gunman entered the coffee shop and immediately shot the 4 people he saw that were armed.  He then picked up a weapon from a fallen officer to perhaps (or probably) finish his murderous rampage with the others in the shop.  As a final action one of the dying officers was able to launch one into the gunman who then shocked from his wound, fled to the car waiting for him and was driven away into hiding.  The officer saved several lives in the coffee shop and perhaps many others in other locations.

It is the middle of an unusual cold spell in the Pacific Northwest, temperatures are not expected to rise to freezing (32 Fahrenheit, 0 Celsius).  This weather has been with us for a week and is expected to have a week more before returning to the usual 45 degrees and raining winter weather.  My sister also reports snow on the North Shore, and that's not northern New England but Lake Pontchartrain just outside New Orleans.  Fitting weather for the Memorial service.  Also fitting weather I think for the alternative energy lovefest & political sideshow commencing in Copenhagen.  In fact it could be an omen if this conference truly had anything at all to do with science.  Sadly it's all about politics, pseudo-science is the sheep's clothing.

Friday, October 30, 2009


I recently returned from a trip to the East Coast.  Sleepy Hollow  (New York's Catskill Mountains) and Maine.  The time spent in New York at a family wedding was altogether too short.  Maine was unseasonably cold.  It seemed to be snowing or raining just about always.  My brother in law who knows how much I love Acadia National park told me on Tuesday that Thursday morning would be a great day for the coast.  Turns out he was absolutely correct.  The morning was very cold but there were only a handful of clouds in the sky,  a photographer could have designed it.

I did my homework and had a 5 page itinerary in a spiral notebook.  Arrived at Acadia at O-Dark-Thirty to find it closed.  HUH???  Since when is a National Park closed?  I had noticed a few photographers at a bay I passed so they probably were as disappointed as I was.  By the time we got into the park the sun was well up.  Oh well.  I later overheard some folks talking about black ice so perhaps there were some safety issues.

I did have a great time photographing the pink granite.  I was particularly impressed with the eroding forces on the granite, ice, plant life and in particular the lichens.  The lichens were various shades of green or else a grayish blue color.

The day grew steadily more cloudy and by noonish it was socked in.  I missed the sunset I was hoping for but as I was driving back I could REALLY feel the cold in  my bones.  Funny how I didn't notice it at all walking though the park.  Probably a good thing for me the day turned cloudy.

On this trip I brought a couple dozen large prints.  A few on photographic paper, some on canvas and several on some very nice Arches watercolor paper.  Anyone who asked for or admired a print was given it.  Now this is a junk-science sample but all of the prints from the DP1 were given away as were all of my xPan (film) prints.  The bayer sensor digital images (Nikon DSLR) came home with me.

Click on images for larger version

This DP1 continues to be a pain in the ass to use,  but those colors....

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

new Blogs

I have started 2 new blogs.  The first iPhone meanderings is of course for iPhone images and observations about Apps.

The second is for my pre ordered Canon S90, yup...S90 meanderings.  What else?

Sunday, August 30, 2009


QuadCamera is an iPhone App ($1.99) which takes either 4 or 8 images and displays them together in a grid or in a photo-booth like strip. I had it in mind to make some sort of a kaleidoscope type image. These are the first attempts. I touched the volume rocker half way through one of the images and interestingly the screen icon displays on the image. I don't know if that will be of any use to me or not.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


OK so I succumbed to the siren call and bought a new 3Gs Apple iPhone. For the past handful of years cell companies tried different internet access schemes. I've tried a few and found them to be lacking. I had imagined that this would be the "Killer App" for cell phones, portable internet access.

The iPhone does a very fine job of accessing the internet but it turns out it means a whole lot less than I had imagined. It's the Apps. Little single function programs that start instantly, run quickly and cost nothing ... or close to nothing. The 3 most popular prices are Free, $.99 and $1.99. Accessing the internet, although faster than I remember on previous phones, just isn't important in most cases.

Camera. Here's the fun part for me. The camera isn't great, but not too bad either. 3 MP f2.8 fixed aperture, variable shutter speeds and variable ISO. The images are small but more than adequate for the screen and seem to hold up well for 5x7 or 8x10 prints (most do). The screen displays the image prior to taking the picture, like any LCD viewfinder. Touching the screen forces the focus, exposure and White Balance (yes white balance) to adjust for the spot touched.

There are several photo Apps, I have close to 20 loaded on my phone, and I'm finding that for the most part I use a half dozen regularly. One very good App allows me to perform many standard Photoshop functions on the image. Most of the other Apps let me play, different effects, filters, text. One of my favorites simulates images from Holga or Lomo cameras.

There are several sites dedicated to reviewing the latest Apps, and countless personal photographer's blogs displaying nothing but their iPhone images. I learned on one of these blogs that the photo site Flickr lists the iPhone as the one responsible for the most uploads.

I'll probably write more about photography with the iPhone here but for now here are a few images.

Friday, June 19, 2009

DP1 and Nikon compare

As the DP1 was a new concept in cameras I started this blog in hopes that my experiences might be of some use to others. I am flattered to have received several e-mails from folks finding my experiences of use. Now that the DP1 is over a year old and the DP2 is available there is less use for this blog.

Lately I've noticed discussions image comparisons between Foveon and Bayer sensored cameras. The problem I see with comparisons is that they are tests which must be run...who wants to do that?? Not me.

I offer these 3 examples from a trip to Utah / Arizona last fall. I brought 3 cameras with me, the DP1, my xPan and my Nikon with wide angle lenses (12mm and 10.5mm fisheye), I'm a big time wide lens fan. I primarily used the Nikon when the DP1's lens wasn't wide enough, like at Horseshoe bend. I tried to get images with the same settings. What I found is that in every case I preferred the Foveon image. They are better all around, color, detail, "Snap"...whatever.

There are 3 sets of 2 images each, in each case the Nikon images are the wider lens.

DP1 and Nikon 2

DP1 and Nikon

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Film, Scans, Digital & DP1

One of the blogs I follow is "In My View" by Chris Eastwood.   Judging from the photos of himself which he publishes, one of Chris' many talents is to actually look younger as time passes...not sure how he does that.  Like me Chris shoots and scans film in many different sizes (including 120 folding cameras)  and uses digital camera (s) as well.  In a recent post he compared various scans of 35mm film to similar images shot digitally.  This caused me to look again at my previous conclusions of scanned (B&W) film and to adjust my projected pixel count of film downward.

I took some scans of Acros B&W film on my Epson V700 scanner.  I had thought I would do some 1mm square scans but it proved too difficult. I was able to make some 5mm x 5mm scans (well 4.96 x 5.03 but close enough).  I scanned at 3200, 4800 & 6400 DPI.  I clearly saw a difference between 3200 and 4800.  Between 4800 and 6400 the differences weren't as easy to see.  I determined that the 6400 scan had a few areas which were better than the 4800.  I'm  not sure what this means as far as actual resolution...4900?...5200??...6300???  Oh well.

The results interpolated onto a full frame of 35mm film are still quite impressive.  At 4800 I estimate slightly more than 30 megapixels, at 6400 it's almost 55 megapixels.  Either way it's a bunch.  Less than I first thought but still a bunch o pixels.

Now.  What does this mean?  I'm not sure but I think it means that film is still viable for me. Film has grain.  Digital, if there's enough light is quite grain and no noise.  (although interestingly there are a lot of grain simulation software titles enjoying brisk sales). Film is in most cases still scanned with a digital chip...much like the chip in a digital camera. Film images are post processed with the same software as digital images and printed exactly the same way...but still...there's something about a film image which I enjoy.  I think what my test does for me is to ensure me that I am getting my fair share of pixels.  That's something.  Or perhaps I'm a Luddite. 

A little over a year ago I was on the verge of selling the last of my film gear. My thought was to buy one of the "Next" wave of digital cameras (like the Nikon D3), then I bought the DP1.  The images I get from this little digital camera are quite startling.  The feeling of these images is remarkably film like.  I think it's the foveon fact I'm sure of it.  As a result I am less than satisfied with my other digital images.  Adding a larger chip, or many more pixels would do nothing at all for me, just make me unsatisfied with a bigger image.  I am however enjoying a renewed sense of satisfaction with my film images.

The DP1's range is a LOT like negative film, not too bad in the shadows and absolutely wonderful in the brightest areas.  Digital does better in the shadows but where digital handles brightness by falling off a cliff, film is much more graceful.  The DP1 while perhaps not as smooth as film still goes a lot farther without displaying the phony colors we've become accustomed to with the bright yellow circle around the sun at sunrise and sunset.

Doing a digital comparison of various camera's capabilities is to me very confusing.  Adding the extra confusion element of film vs digital makes it worse.  Pixels must be "Peeped", uprezed or downrezed...perhaps side to side rezed is better???  It's fun for a while though so many of us do it or read with interest the results of others.

Film has grain, or grain like elements.  These become increasingly noticed as scans are larger.  This makes the film images look less sharp, less clean, less usable.  Digital images have software manufactured picture elements.  Digital cameras actually have no pixels at all (well most of them don't) but rather have a bunch of sites sensitive to greys.  The rest is done with increasingly sophisticated software.  The same types of software are used to upsize images...essentially making it up as they go...making something out of nothing.  The results though are great, and getting better.  Causes me to wonder though if cameras have a future at all in digital "Photography."

Perhaps my enjoyment of film is a lot like eating sushi or Chinese food with chopsticks vs a fork.  I know in my mind that chopsticks don't make the food taste better but...!


Monday, May 4, 2009

The Tuba Guy

Most cities seem to have a collection of individuals best described as characters.  Over the last 30 years or so I've met several of these characters.  Many have had something distinguishing about them...  wit, sense of humor, artistic or musical ability.  One such person I've enjoyed interacting with is Seattle's Tuba Guy, AKA Ed McMichael.   Previously with philharmonic and symphony orchestras he left that life behind, hit the streets and became well known in the city for his wacky hats, his tuba and his happy demeanor. 

The Tuba Guy could be found on most days outside a sporting event playing his tuba for tips. Very quick to give a "Thumbs-up" if you pitch him a buck, or inquire as to his state of mind, the Tuba Guy also seems to have memorized just about every fact or statistic about the team the fans are coming to see.

On the way to the Seattle Opera one evening I passed the Tuba Guy playing outside a hockey game.  Probably because of my tux he knew I wasn't going to the game and played Papageno's song from Mozart's Magic Flute...where I was in fact going.  Very interesting and entertaining to hear Mozart on a solo tuba...might even say you haven't heard opera at all until....

Coming home from  performing outside a college game Ed was attacked by a group of teenage boys last November, robbed and beaten.  Some days later he died from the beating.  The mental anguish he suffered from having been attacked by residents of his beloved city was perhaps more serious than the severe physical trauma itself.  The teenagers were sentenced last week to between 36 and  72 WEEKS in detention.

Goodbye Ed.  Seattle is diminished by your passage.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

DP1 at 1 year

I've had my DP1 for just over a year  now.  It fits into my shirt pocket.

I was immediately impressed with the image quality attainable with this little camera.  In the year I have learned how to better use this tool, and how to work around it's much reviewed shortcomings.  The more I use it the more comfortable I become with it and the more I like it.  I don't believe It will ever be as comfortable and intuitive as my Nikon F, circa 1970, but it is more comfortable for me than any other digital camera I've owned, and it fits into my shirt pocket.

Digital cameras seem to fall into 2 general categories, point and shoot and DSLR.  Point and shoots are small, easy to carry, slow to use and the image quality, although improving is not in the DSLR category.  DSLR's provide great image quality but are BIG, noisy, intimidating and increasingly ridiculously expensive. The DP1 is the size of a P&S and shares some of their slowness.  The camera does provide the ability to get around some of the slowness problems and delivers images that flat knock you out.  I consider the image quality to be superior to my DSLR.  Sigma has delivered a 3rd category of digital camera, available no where else as of yet.  A high quality image maker that fits into a shirt pocket.

Perhaps the most written about shortcoming of this camera is it's slowness.  Slowness seems to fall into 4 categories, “slow” lens (f4), slow to focus, shutter lag* and slow to write to the card.  

*Shutter lag is most often a slow focus issue

Slow lens.  A faster lens would be nice but not at the expense of size.  In reality the f4 lens isn't that  big a problem.  My favorite DSLR lens is an f4 12 ~ 24mm.  So f4 is the same.  Also, without a mirror assembly to slap around causing vibration I can hand hold the DP1 at a much slower shutter speed.   With the DP1 if  “Continuous” shooting is selected 3 shots are fired dramatically improving the odds of a sharp image at a slower shutter speed.  Finally although many DSLR lenses are faster than f4 very very few of them are as good wide open as the lens on the DP1.  The lenses that are great wide open often have names like Leica or Zeiss and are wildly expensive.

Slow to focus & Shutter Lag.  I had originally not understood why DSLR's had a mirror.  It made no sense to me.  As I researched it I found that auto focus doesn't work well at all without the mirror.  The DP1 has no mirror and is subjected to the focus handicap.  They are working around it and I am led to believe that the DP2  focuses much faster in low light.  There is a really simple work around, manual focus.  First however a brief operational review of auto focus with a DSLR.  The Nikon I own has 3 auto focus selections.  In 2 of them a failure to achieve focus disables the I automatically lose the shot.  In practice this is unusually frustrating to me.  Also, I often photograph musicians in dimly lit clubs (flash usually).  Quite often just before I release the shutter, or while I am actually pressing the shutter release, the camera will pick up something else, like a guitar string or something and change focus.  I get back home to find strings in perfect focus but not performers.  Not good at all.

Manual focus.  I liked this camera immediately but really started to appreciate it when I took a minute to consider manual focus. This is a feature I believe that isn't offered on other pocketable cameras.  The way this works is this:  the lens has a quite remarkable depth of field, even wide open.  I adjust the focus for more or less what I estimate the distance to be and the lens D.O.F. takes care of the rest.  This completely eliminates focus lag and shutter lag.  When I press it fires... instantly.  It's quite simple and it works!  For instance, f4 at 8 feet everything from 5 feet to 17 feet is in focus.  f7.1 at 8 feet everything from 3.75 feet to infinity is in focus.  How simple is that?

Slow to write to card.  This is a real slowness that has no real work around.  A faster card reduces write time slightly but it's still too long.  I believe that this is something which could be fixed, here's why.  The camera has a 3 shot buffer.  When Continuous is selected 3 images shots are taken and stored in the buffer.  The camera is “On-hold” after that for several seconds while it processes all 3 of the images.  If only one shot is taken the camera is still on hold 'till the shot is processed even though there is obviously room in the buffer for 2 more images.  Sigma!  Don't close the front door to the buffer if there is still room for more images!  Virtually all other digital cameras had the identical problem and fixed it!  Get er done!

I've taken a lot of images with the DP1. Even with eliminating 2 out of 3 of the continuous images I take, and removing the poor images the Sigma file on my eSATA drive is 135 GB and contains 12,000 images.  I'm guessing that's about half of what I actually took.

Customer service, excellent.

I have had to return the camera twice, once for dust and once because I damaged it.  In each case Sigma had a brand new replacement camera in my hands exactly 1 week after I dropped it in the mail.  The dust replacement was no charge.  I paid for the damaged camera but it was VERY reasonable.

Damage:  extending lenses are quite easy to damage while extended.  I damaged the DP1.  Sigma replaced it for $160.00 total charge.  As a reference I had previously damaged my TVS111 film camera (extending lens).  The repair cost me $180.00 + tax + S&H and although it's better it's not quite right.

Non removable lens.  Quite a bit of chatter about this on the web.  Some folks think this is a death sentence. I personally think it's whooey.  As someone once said, if you have more than one lens it's a certainty the wrong one will be on the camera.  I had my Nikon F film camera for 30 years and never really outgrew the 50mm lens.  There is a lot to be said for having one lens that really suits you and learning how to work well with it.  I have come to really appreciate wide angle perspective and although I might have wished for a wider lens I like this lens very much.

Also, Sigma appears to be planning a 3rd DP camera with perhaps a telephoto lens.  I notice today that the DP1 is on sale for $350.00.  Need 2 focal lengths, buy 2 cameras.  The DP1 has a world class lens.  A lens of that caliber is quite a steal for $350.00 and it comes with a camera attached.  What you need then is a shirt with 2 pockets.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


A lot has been written about pixels and more is sure to follow.  As a Sigma camera user I am aware of the confusion and marketing hype around this term.  Does my DP1 have 4.7 mega pixels, or 14?  Does my 10 mega pixel Nikon have 10, half of that? a quarter of that? or in reality no pixels at all.  And the question many have asked, just how many pixels on film anyway? 
I guess it depends upon where one starts and how they chose to count.  The funniest thing to me about this is that if the images aren't printed I can't see where it matters at all.  To look ultra close at an electronic image, called pixel peeping by many, has no significance other than that assigned by the peepers themselves.

Now when an image is printed then the fullness of the "Negative" comes into play.  There is a quality which might be called sharpness, clarity, impact, whatever.  The more pixels that go into the process the better the result.  Sharpness in lenses is typically measured in line pairs per mm.  The principle is easy enough to understand, the better the lens the more it can resolve.  So how do pixels and line pairs compare and how many does it take before we can't perceive a difference?  I have been under the conception that 5 line pairs per mm makes a sharp print.  Ctein in an essay on T.O.P. today argues that the human eye is capable of determining a difference in prints until they exceed 30 line pairs per mm.  WHEW!  That's a bunch.  He further argues that at today's best, printers are capable of delivering half of that or 15lp/mm.  15 lp/mm equates to about 100 megapixels at 8x10 prints.  I guess that would be about 40 mega pixels for a Foveon sensor.  Still a ton. Kinda puts the argument about 4.7 vs 14 into perspective.

Now the question about film.  Some very smart folks have written about the theoretical limits to film.  Good essays.  Wrong of course, but well written anyway.  The limiting factor for film, assuming a perfect exposure with a world class lens (ha) is the scanner.  Scanners seem to come in 2 types, drum and CCD.  Drum scanners cost a years pay and take a year or so to really learn to use.  All others in my opinion are consumer grade CCD scanners.  Some are quite expensive, some quite reasonable,  all use the same technology and produce acceptable scans but not drum scan quality.  My scanner is an Epson V700 which is actually a quite good CCD scanner, flatbed type, reasonably priced.  Although marketing rated at up to 6400 dpi, I find that I seldom scan at that level.  It just makes the files larger and doesn't seem to add much.

I have a couple of cameras with outstanding lenses and if I use a fine grain film I can actually see an improvement in scan quality all the way up to 6400 dpi.  The image with this post was taken with a Contax TVSiii.  This is an excellent film "point and shoot" with a world class Zeiss T lens.  I usually have this camera loaded with B&W film and in this instance Fuji Acros, a fine grained 100 ASA film.  Interestingly I dropped the camera just before entering the restaurant and the image isn't in perfect focus...not that it seems to matter much in this instance.

Details: I test scanned this image at increasing resolution and indeed saw a difference all the way up to 6400 dpi.  About 30% of this image was cropped out.  The pixel size of this image, 70 % of the negative is 6012 x 6967 pixels.  When I do the math that's 41.9 mega pixels.  Projecting this out indicates that a full size 35mm negative of this quality would scan to about 60 megapixels...more or less.  Further, as scanners get better perhaps there are more pixels to squeeze from this image.  Who knows.  Film still has things to teach us.

At any rate, on a cold rainy Halloween morning to have this pretty young woman bring me a cup of hot coffee and a smile was wonderful.  She was quite pleased with the print I made her.  Prints.  Good for photographers.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


I've been wondering about prints a great deal recently.  I don't print very many of my images and wonder what other photographers are doing.

"Back in the old days"  B&W film was developed and then a contact sheet was printed.  As much of an art as "Seeing" in B&W is, evaluating contact sheets is probably very close.  However, all of the negatives were printed at least once even if very small.  Negatives were (still are) stored in a sheet of some sort, they were a paper type previously and now are clear plastic.  The contact sheets were stored with the negatives.  Pretty good system actually.

Now with digital we take a lot more pictures.  The image files display nice and bright, clear and large on the computer screen.  Much easier to evaluate and with the software available much easier to adjust the images as well.  That being said, an overwhelming majority of images never "See the light of day."  Also, it's a real chore to browse photos with another person.  Finding the images one wishes to show inside a folder, inside another folder, in yet another folder on a hard drive etc. Often distraction or boredom arrives before the images are found. While it's quite true that DAM software like Aperture or Lightroom can fix this problem they require some discipline around keywording.  More often than I would like to admit I've had trouble finding a particular image.

I believe I make a hundred or so images a year.  I have 2 printers at home and will also quite often use Costco and now Adorama.  They each have machines that are the equal of most custom labs and they also offer printer profiles for their printers.  With the profiles it's quite easy to get a print that's a good match with what the screen shows.  I have prints all over the house in folders.  Yes I know, folders of prints vs folders of digital images but I do look at them. I also use folios.  I like the ITOYA art profolio.  They come in many sizes and I find deals on these on line.  It's a good way to display images I think.

I've also made a few books.  I should probably do more of this.  Although the cost of the books seems high initially the actual per print cost is quite reasonable, the quality is good and improving.  

Still, if I consider my 4 star and 5 star images which I have double stored and also saved to DVD, few are printed.  

To have 5 star images not printed I'm guessing one must expect to be "Discovered" after they go.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Kodak introduced a new color negative film recently, Ektar 100.  It is finer grained and more saturated than Portra 160.  These images are from the first roll I shot, walking around town on an overcast day with my xPan.  When we get those heavy grey days I tend to think B&W or a subtle color film, like Portra NC.  This Ektar seems to have done quite well.  There is more than enough saturation.  The film also converts well to B&W.  I tend to prefer B&W film over color film converted to B&W but I am really liking the way this film converts.  

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Nothing unusual here.  These are snapshots.  My youngest son at one of his college hockey games, his sisters, mother and the old guy he calls dad.  He recently finished up his enlistment, 6 years, special ops.  Now he's quite close to graduating from college with a degree in Geology.  A scientist, wow!

On camera flash, Aperture priority.  I failed to let it focus properly for one picture.  Pretty simple stuff.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I shoot a lot of B&W film.  I keep a Contax TVS on my belt usually loaded with a fast T Grain film like T Max 400 (pushed to 800) or T Max 3200 or Ilford Delta 3200.  I often have a slower emulsion film loaded into the xPan and have been known to waste a few sheets of 4x5 as well.  It only makes sense then to try the DP1 for B&W.  Bottom line is that I like it for B&W, I like it a lot.

When I bought a digital camera I went from shooting 2 rolls of film a month to shooting twice that many images a day.  The expectations I have are that I will spend about as much time per image as I did in the darkroom.  How foolish am I.  Instead I have all of these images processed just enough to see they have potential and then no further.  "I'll get back to them later."

The slowness "Problem" with the DP1 is conditioning me to once again think more and shoot less.  This thinking more is absolutely crucial for B&W.  It's years of looking at tones, shapes, lines etc and trying to determine how the B&W film will see the colors.  Suddenly with digital it's all about color.  Others such as my friend Dan Sniffin have advised me that I need to slow down.   They're right of course but hey...individual images are free after all aren't they?

These images were all shot in RAW, in color of course, processed in SPP.  The process I have been using is to de saturate the image in SPP and boost the contrast a little.  I try manipulating the Fill Light slider a bit but usually don't love the results.  I save the file as TIFF and have a look at it in Aperture.  Once again it seems that few of the Aperture adjustments (or CS3 adjustments) are really needed.  I'm at the start of the learning curve.  I'm thinking there are some really good B&W's in this camera.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

negative fill light

I was wandering in the rain tonight and came across a tavern that advertised "Aerialists tonight." It was early so I had a chance to look around the place, mid sized tavern with a very high ceiling.  Built into the rafters were some ropes, drapes and a small trapeze.  I found a spot in front of a 6 foot high jukebox which offered me a flat stable surface and a bit of protection from the folks who crowded in just before showtime.  

So many people squeezed in that I'm sure we were way over the fire marshal's limit and more kept coming in.  Once I put my arms up to situate the camera it was almost impossible to put them down again.  A pickpocket would easily have robbed anyone near but probably not have been able to get away.  

It's funny I suppose but a guy kinda bumped into me a couple of times and then looks at me and says, quite demanding "I'm trying to get through, EXCUSE ME!!!"  WTF?  "You'd better be able to fly then ass hole."

Oh well.  Couple of shots here.  It was very dark.  I was shooting full open, ISO800 and -2 or even -3 EV so either 3200 ISO or 6400 ISO.  None of my images are very good, the aerialists moved quickly and constantly but it is interesting to me how Negative Fill Light works here.  Top image AUTO in SPP, next image has negative fill light applied.  It seems to work the way a spotlight would have worked.  No particular manipulation, I did crop a bit to take nearbye heads out.  The 3rd image is just to kinda show the height of the ceiling.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Couple o fisheyes

Because I am a big fan of wide angle lenses I brought my Nikon with me to Zion, Bryce.  These 2 images are obviously fisheye, Nikons fine 10.5mm.  

In the Bryce image I am really drawn to the 2 trees.  Many folks consider the distorting of vertical lines as in the trees to be a fisheye "Problem."  I just love it and often look for ways to include it in my images...doorways, narrow hallways, whatever.  Oh well,  as they say in the car business,  "There's an ass for every seat." 

The second image always catches my eye when looking at thumbnails.  I've judged it to be a dud many times but still come back to it.  The subject matter is mediocre, the fisheye wasn't held level so there is a "U" horizon.  Unlike the verticals I kinda like my horizontals flat.  The image is poorly exposed,  washed out on the right...detail is sloppy.  Then it dawned on me, it's the red.  The leaves are kinda red, more like a reddish brown but red all the same.  Red does indeed have staying power.  As my friend John Barclay tells me..."If you see red, shoot it!"   Guess he has a point, or pernt dependent upon where you live.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Good Fortune

The later fall is an ideal time to visit many popular places, particularly in the south.  The crowds are gone and the daytime temperatures are not blisteringly hot.  The weather is a lot less predictable, but that adds to the excitement when things fall into place.

Zion NP in November, sunrise at the Towers of the Virgin.  Yesterday it was in the upper 70's and sunny, today it's cloudy, windy and cold (tomorrow it will snow).  As the wind blows the clouds around the sun briefly illuminates a small spot, then it clouds up, then another spot, then clouds up again.  I noticed that in addition to our group there were a dozen or so other photographers (2 with view cameras), all set up,  all hoping for some magic... nobody really expecting it though. 

The first shot above is of The Towers, interesting on a cloudy morning.  The second is the mountains and clouds behind us.  Then the sun shone through, turning the Towers golden for just a few seconds.  It was so sudden and for so brief a time I'm not certain that everyone there that morning was as lucky as I was. This was the only sun I saw all morning, what a great time for it.

I always carried the DP1 and usually the xPan.  This morning I was confused about lens choice so I also carried a Nikon DSLR with a couple of lenses.  I was lucky that I had the DP1 on the tripod.  The 1 shot I took with the Nikon (while the DP1 processed)  just wasn't the same.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The right place. The right time.

How often these words apply.  It seems that planning, preparation & persistence are just the first steps, luck either adds or removes the final piece.  While it's true that we need to be prepared for luck to help us,  we also really need it to help us.

On a photo shoot in Utah this past November, thinking we were on the road to Kodachrome Basin State Park my sister and I were actually driving into Bryce Canyon.  My watch told me that it was officially "O Dark-thirty," it was also about 31 degrees with a freezing rain/sleet mixture falling.   As we were about to make a u-turn we noticed a thin orange flame of a sunrise. Leaving the car on the side of the road, idling as I remember now, we grabbed a camera each and ran across the road, down into and out of the ditch, under tree limbs, over deadfall and reached the edge of the cliff with a few seconds of color left in the sky.  Very few.

As a result, a couple of minor scratches and these images.

Technical info.  ISO 50 -3EV. (f5.6 1/15 sec).  Processed without manipulation in SPP.