Word and Image

Technical tips

Action

Look. This is what you need to notice: The hand is (motion) blurred. The blocks are in motion falling down. The child has a wonderful expression – joy!

Can you guess where we’ve been recently? Yes! We cautiously made a field trip and did a visit in the midst of corona. Everyone’s been intelligently quarantined – for us, it’s been months. The auto everything camera of today has made me lazy. I press the shutter and magic occurs and a perfect image appears on my memory card. Not so fast, there’s a lot of factors in play – lighting, shutter speed, ISO, F-stop, zoom, composition, timing… Hey! That makes me scramble, I’m always seeking the perfect moment. I’m not sure you ever get there. But some moments are better than others. I am very thankful to have captured “moments” more than “almost.”


Canon G3

Canon G3

I have to credit Lisa with transitioning me to digital photography. She bought me this camera one birthday long ago. Until then I was an Ektachrome slide photographer. Nikon would not put out the digital D70 for a year or more. This (G3) was the camera recommended by the camera shop. I enjoyed the use of it though I never made it my “go to” camera. Nonetheless, I used the G3 to shoot some of Susan’s daughter’s wedding though I never did use it extensively. And then, the Nikon D70 came in 2004. I shot Dave’s high school graduation and never shot another frame of slide film after that. Just like that – analog slide to digital. Julia swore she could always tell my scanned slides from digital images, until she stopped complaining one day. Yup, I still have this camera. It’s unused. It occupies a treasured spot on the shelf, honorably retired. (My mistake. it’s gone missing. The G3. I have an extensive collection of unused gear. It’s there somewhere, just where, I’m not sure.)

The latest greatest? I just learned (realized) how much I have evolved. I did a photo shoot with a mirrorless camera. Advantages over my big Nikon DSLR: smaller, lighter weight!, LCD viewfinder. I shoot at different angles and compose differently. Embrace change? It’s a tool (camera). Know your camera and it’s capabilities. Use it. I love learning new things after all these years.

And, once more I apologize to my dear (present) wife. Colleen weaves. She reads (weaving), takes classes, and watches video at every opportunity. I have often wondered why? You know it, already? And then, I look at what I know and how it evolved. She’s always right. And, I can hear, “I told you so,” coming right around the corner at me!


It’s not the camera

A while back I had a post of the cameras I’m currently using. Musing, I was looking retrospectively and reflecting on how my taste and interest has changed and evolved. Succinctly put, it’s not the camera – it’s the photographer. You can make anything work. As a weekend carpenter I know that when you don’t have a hammer, a screwdriver will do. Reflecting on the Sony RX100 VI vs the Canon M6 Mark II: both are excellent cameras. The Sony has a greater electronic zoom. So, I can get close from far away. Telephoto! The Canon lets me zoom quickly. It’s manual adjustment. How quaint! Knowing the advantages and drawbacks, that’s my job. And so I try to reach for the right camera for the right job. Had the world not gone corona, we would have been looking at Scotland pics right about now. So many (trip) plans got changed. Hopefully, health remained unchanged.


Portrait

Typically, a portrait is vertically composed. With iPhone it’s mostly? Vertical too? Most folks are too lazy to turn their phone. With a camera, the photos (portraits) are mostly horizontal. Same, you can’t be bothered to turn the camera vertically. Enough! Vertical! Horizontal! I will admit I am mostly horizontal (camera). Lazy! Guilty.


Forgiveness

Cardinal, as in bird, is a very skittish one. He does not like to pose. Male? You bet. This is its specific coloration. The female is another color. Duh! It’s a soft photo. (it’s a nice way to say, it’s out of focus). But you will forgive me, if the eyes have a catch light in them. It just makes the photo seem sharp. Not. But that’s my argument and I’m stickin’ with it. My bad, I was shooting through the window (glass) and the screen. Of course, I was challenged. I got a shot or we would not be speaking about this at all. And, not another word – ’bout me being challenged.


No

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Sometimes, I have to go take a picture for this blog. The new Nikon D780 is out and reviewed. It fills me with camera envy. I have been faithful to the Nikon line since the Nikon FTn. I have had a progressive body up to the Nikon D610. And then, the timing of my purchase was such that the D750 was released about two weeks after my purchase. (Yup!! Buy high! Sell low! Duh!) Enough tech and numbers, I grew older and my interests changed, not for photography but for cameras. Point and shoot cameras grew up. The iphone turned everything on its ear. Now compact, sleek, carry in your pocket cameras could do everything as good as a big DSLR without the heft, and especially, the cost. I can now upgrade or change for way fewer $$ as the whim carries me. Longing? Yes, I long for the brand new spiffy D780. (Hint: Colleen?!) But no! Not for the $$$$. There’s more bang for your $ and I no longer shoot events, parades, or weddings. The D610 works great. Nikon made a good product that lasts. Therein lies the need for advertising to convince this poor consumer to shell out $$ for a spiffy newer better beat all DSLR. Ante up? No.


Spring

There’s a problem posting a vertical pic alone. It’s just disproportionate to the page. So, I don’t too often (post verticals). Pairing! Yup, I tend to pair a horizontal pic and it’s more pleasing in the layout. It’s spring! Time for crocuses. It’s stark bright spring light. It makes me feel “spring.” Elle? She’s our shy cat. She’s wary and generally hiding in a safe strategic spot ready to bolt to safety. She trusts me to let me shoot a pic. Otherwise,  I never get too close. She doesn’t trust me that much.IMG_3923


Fickle

I got a new camera a while back – about a month ago – and it has supplanted my last latest greatest camera – just like that. There is a role for everything…but for now…. I used to love my big ‘ole Nikon. I do, still. It has a definite role. And, it is my “go to” serious camera. But, the images I shoot are just fine with the easier to maneuver, easier to handle, easier to reach for, more available – point and shoots. Well, mirrorless is not quite all that, but it is close enough – for now. TMI? Suffice to say that I have a new toy. It’s got my interest. I’m taking pictures again. All good – right?

Cats. Sleeping, dreaming, plotting their next round of mischief… cute. And Elle, my poor solitary kitty. She skulks. It’s her way. And I catch her. She’s okay now. I even get her out in the open occasionally. Lucky!


Detail

I shoot a lot (of images). Most are duds. Some images strike me when I edit. The good news is that there are many more good images. So, my edits have been more gestalt. I look through the images about 28 at a time. There are standouts that get another look. And then, another pass; maybe something will still catch me and I’ll pull the image. It’s nice to have a lot of choices. Who shoots grapefruit? Hey! It’s a Longaberger pie plate! …and stand. They go for big money these days. My artificial flowers are a mixed bag. You don’t put orchids with geranium. Fiber ready to be woven, the finished product is in Colleen’s imagination and skill.


Remote control

New toy! When I was a neurosurgeon, we (our specialty) got the best toys. (He who dies with the most toys wins.) Bluetooth. I’m hooked into the new camera with my phone and with a dedicated remote. This is the first camera I have that is capable of firing via Bluetooth. (It’s not my first ever remote.) It’s new technology which opens up a whole new avenue of possibility. It’s not brain surgery. But the toys are getting better and better.


HDR…again

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Aha! I got a better HDR. The camera had two HDR settings. Neither option gives you a natural look. It’s a look. And it’s different. My cup of tea? I think not. You can fall into the trap of thinking that you can just go ahead and Photoshop whatever effect you want in post-processing. Compromise?!

Shoot video or still. You can get decent still images from high def video frames. But, you really don’t do both well and end up half baked. But you got both? I have to admit I’m a color image kind of guy. … and happy.

Choose. I shall keep HDR in mind. There will be an image appropriate. Meanwhile, I’m good.


Auto focus

Before auto – everything, photography required a bit of set up: shutter, aperture, lens, focus, film, ASA/ISO. Ha ha! Point and shoot – iPhone, then on instantly to Instagram. I, too, am impatient. Too much. The eye and the mind can think faster than camera and fingers. I see things I can’t shoot. The camera does its best to keep up. Sometimes it fails. Focusing through a window screen it’s too much to ask. The lens/sensor it too good but not smart. Or, you can fool it. I thought I did. Confused. It’s why you shoot doubles and hope one came out. There is still image degradation shooting through the screen. But I’ll take it. The alternative was, miss the shot, or climb out the window.


In use… what’s in your pocket?

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While I have been on the subject… what camera is my current fav. Well, it varies. I have a Nikon D610, Sony RX100 VI, Canon G7X, and a Canon EOS M6 II in rotation at the moment. I started as a SLR/DSLR person with the requisite lenses to show for it. I have been through the Nikon body line, but no more. I stopped at the D610. It’s 5 years old and working just fine. It’s huge and clunky, too much of a statement for my purposes these days. I’m not shooting for profit or magazine. The G7X was my dive camera. I loved it. I am preserving it for future dives. It has 89k clicks. I want it to last; I have an expensive dive housing specific to this camera alone. The RX100 has been through 7 iterations. I succumbed at the 6th. It has been a great go to camera for 99k clicks in a bit more than a year. The EOS M6 is my foray into mirrorless. It’s less clunky and way lighter on the shoulder. This one is a work in progress. I have had a host of point and shoot style Canon (mostly). They have had far less play. They have a role but for some reason, portability was not the main consideration. The iPhone is great for photographing something I need to remember. Otherwise, it is not a memory keeper. I know I’m swimming uphill with this idea, but that’s my opinion and I’m stickin’ with it.

You can well think; a camera is a camera as an image is an image. Pixels, schmixels. I happen to subscribe to the notion of getting the best image available. So, I have a higher level of expectation and tend to leave the smaller point and shoot cameras behind. No, i did not shoot with all of these. Some were collected for a few bucks when film went away. Curiosities.


HDR

High dynamic range. It’s a photographic technique. Smash three images together to get a better “whole.” The concept: the high, medium, low tones are too great to be captured together in a single image on film or sensor. Sensor! We can capture three images and put all three together. Complicated? My new spiffy camera can do it “in camera” by merely pressing the shutter. This is not a good example. The image looks spooky. I can immediately appreciate the manipulation. And, the casual viewer knows something is not quite right. But, we got much more detail in the image than from out of the camera “automatically.” You can get “instant” black and white as easily as going to another “setting.” What happened to “work?” Is it craft if it is so easy as to change a setting “just like that!”?


481, 379

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… and counting, since 2003, when I started using a digital camera until now. Oops! Database miscalculation – make it 526,183 images not counting my iPhone pics. Aren’t you impressed I have kept track thru a database? This image is nearly the last to date (as of a month ago). It’s all cataloged (very roughly) in a database, and, in Lightroom. It would be a monumental task to look thru the Lightroom catalog too. I’m not bragging. And, you might well shake your head. Too many, too many pics. And what for? Throw away the duds. (I did, a few) That’s just digital. There are more than 100k of slides too. I did not count print negatives. Those were too hard for me to track. (Read: lazy) … I like the symmetry – the roof, the sky (who sees such a clear demarcation), and the sun poking thru the clouds. … I ‘ve been thru at least 15 different digital cameras. Favorites come and go as the model changes and the technology improves. Would I, should I, upgrade? Of course! I don’t drive/lust fast cars. (thank $$$ goodness) Cameras have been my weak spot though my camera envy has been well controlled. I have held a Leica but never shot one. I am permitted my passion. There are far worse things… Some days, it’s good to glance back at the legacy I have made. And, I shall keep shooting. Why go thru all of this? I am able to locate an image  – in not too much time – upon request. Organization in the midst of chaos, imagine that!


Screen shot

I am limited by technology and laziness. We have a birdfeeder. It has not been particularly productive to see many interesting birds this year. Mostly it has been LBJ’s. It’s term Colleen uses. Her mother used it before her and it does not mean LBJ, the president. It’s “little brown jobs.” I did not bother (lazy) to remove the window screen this year. Then, a cardinal – male and female – and a woodpecker showed up. My bad, there is definite image degradation due to the window screen. And I was further limited by the camera at hand. The lens was simply not strong enough to pull in the bird. The little image in the corner was due to the limited (Canon) lens. Even at 150mm the bird was tiny in the image. The electronic (Sony) telephoto did a much nicer job. Both camera’s images were degraded by the (window) screen. But, as always there is something to see. Any camera is better than none. Otherwise, this would not be an illustrated post.


New…

..idea? Nope. Selfie, selfie stick? Not new either. New camera… new opportunity. I can pair my camera to my phone and have a remote trigger. I can use a monopod and extend my reach. The idea? …take a pic and not really look like you are the photographer. Ha ha. I got a tolerant spouse. And, I got a messy kitchen. Hey! We eat well. It’s all on the counter to remind me that I shouldn’t buy anything else and the inventory reminds me to use it. The new selfie? It’s a go.


White balance

It’s a term. Light has color. Tungsten and daylight, remember the lesson from a few days back? Here’s another example. Color corrected for ambient lamp light the flowers look decidedly different. And, it is especially so because these are silk flowers. Maybe not silk, but realistic enough looking, I am recently impressed to feel they are no longer to be ignored. Oh, light? The light is the same. The camera corrected for the color difference between room lights and daylight, Photoshop in the camera if you will.


White balance

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Here’s a lesson. Light has color. Daylight is one color while light bulbs give you a different color. Confused? Or, don’t care? But evening light in your living room tends toward yellow. We hardly notice. Don’t mention fluorescent! Ever! It’s, by far, the worst light to shoot with color film or digital sensor. Meanwhile, here are examples. And, if you are keen to correct things, the camera will adjust by custom white balance. It’s work. Mostly, we/I won’t bother. But if you do, it does/can dramatically change the tint of your image. I only ever cared when I started diving and red is lost as you go deeper under water. But, it’s good to know. That way it’s your choice. At least it’s my choice to be lazy. Of course, you could always – flash. But that’s a whole ‘nother lesson. And, I was lazy and didn’t caption to label the different light. If you care, you would know the differences. Or, if not, be sure to ask me. 🙂

Hint: (The top picture was white balance – corrected.)


Experi(mental)

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In a follow-up to the new camera post, here are some shots and observations. Different? Better? Needed? Canon EOS M6 II, mirrorless digital camera

Film cameras are done. Like time, life is one way, forward. Film is around. I will likely never shoot another frame.

  1. From the early film camera of my youth – Argus C3 “brick” was the camera my mother got and I used once. I was an utter dismal failure. Don’t ask. Later, Kodak Instamatic to Nikon SLR to DSLR.
  2. From the early film camera of my youth – Argus C3 “brick” was the camera my mother got and I used once. I was an utter dismal failure. Don’t ask. Kodak Instamatic to Nikon SLR to DSLR. I believed that I had evolved to the pinnacle of development. No, NO!
  3. Flash has always been a challenge (for me). But, it works. I prefer to defer (rhyme). Cameras have built-in flash that leaves a lot to desire but it’s there.
  4. WiFi, Wow! Double wow! The darn camera connects to my iPhone and I can download images to my phone, hence, to message and email instantly. I know you could do this before. But, moi? It’s the first time it worked without agony for me.
  5. Selfies? Never easier.
  6. As an aside, we live on a pond and the water level/table is high. The neighbors have a pool. It’s the oddest…. attached to the house no more than a few feet wide and about twenty feet long. What do you do with that? Laps, it’s too short. Frolic, it’s too small. Just picture me – puzzled.
  7. So far as digital cameras go, they almost cook your breakfast now. There are a myriad of settings and adjustments that you can customize on the fly. TMI!! But it’s there. It’s a steep a learning curve as you like. Or, you can shoot in automatic and the camera will do a spiffy job. Whatever! We’re a long way from film. I have my iPhone (thanks Dave) but I keep my camera ready 99% of the time.
  8. Need? There’s wine and there’s wine. There’s beer and there’s Bud.

 

 


Doldrums

It’s leap year! Leap day!

How do you get out of a rut? Huh? I’ve been in the camera doldrums. Eh? I’ve been just doing the same old… We’re planning to travel again. Ah! Photo ops! But… Shake things up. I’m fortunate to be able to shop cameras. Anything new? Any new ideas? Ah! Well, I’m looking to lighten the load I carry. The big old DSLR is weighty – mighty! I’m ditching my big 80-400mm zoom on the next trip. …too much weight. Mirrorless – ILC (interchangeable lens camera)  – lose weight. I’m not yet ready to give up a camera for the ubiquitous iPhone shot. That tiny iPhone lens can’t compete with a dedicated lens/real glass. So, I got one. It was $$ but not $$$ or $$$$.

And, I got a series of shots I would not have bothered to shoot a few days earlier. Yeah, fun again. It’s good to have fun.

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I read (still). Ha! Photography! Still. And sometimes you learn something. After all these years… Simple. Pose. Those selfies….? Nah! Try turning your heads together. Wow! What rock have I been under? Yeah, yeah, someone needs a haircut.

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Just for fun. It was a rare time when Colleen was driving. I was sleepy. That darned vintage car followed us right to our destination! … and parked in the driveway two houses down. It followed us home!


Spider

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Yup, done this one before too. No problem. I haven’t done it many times and I don’t think I have done it upside down. Oh! Sure! Yes! Done that too! No matter, it’s still fun and unique. It’s not easy to get the shot. A point and shoot camera has certain disadvantages. Focus on small objects is a problem. But the main advantage is that I had a camera at all when I found this spider asking for his close-up.


Ominous

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We went down to the beach at sunset. The beach faces east; there’s no real sunset view. It had rained the day before. No big deal, it rains. But we are entering fall and the turbulent waves had done a number on the beach sand. There was a three-foot ledge from wave erosion overnight. A lot of sand had been washed away. There goes millions $$$ in beach replenishment. The towers in the distance are the bridge at the inlet. The waves speak for themselves. Our otherwise tranquil beach was roiling. I have often read about telephoto perspective. “It” compresses the scene to make things look crowded upon themselves. I did it! With a point and shoot! Sometimes, I surprise myself.


Out of the box

I have lots of great flower pictures… too numerous to count. And, I like to post images straight from the camera… no manipulation (Photoshop). That is not to say that I don’t. I have added or moved people around in group shots. I have added open eyes – someone always has their eyes closed in a group shot. Part of the reason is that I’m lazy. I don’t want to spend time in Photoshop. So, I visualize my shots and try to get things right in the camera before I press the shutter. It works… often. Sometimes, I touch up. There are purists among us who disapprove. Back in the day – Ansel Adams – the negative was just the starting point for the print process. Photoshop makes it easier to massage the pixels. There are masters; I am strictly amateur.