Word and Image

Posts tagged “Techincal Tips

Detail

We’re beyond just another pretty flower. I have been striving to get detail – close-up of the inner anatomy of flowers. For some flowers it’s not an easy task. The angle and the light conspire to obscure the target. Bees have it easy. But it’s not so for me and my camera. And then, you get it! Serendipitous? No, skill. Ha ha!  It’s more like 50% close your eyes and shoot, and, 50% skill. Eh? Let me tell you that it took all summer to get to the point where I got these shots.


Pan(dem)ic

I am a firm proponent for cameras. After all, right tool, right situation. Soup should not be eaten with an iPhone for a spoon. Alas, I am shoveling shit against the tide. Digital camera sales are 10% what they were in 2010. Aha! Everyone has one. The system is full! Nope! Not hardly, it’s more like everyone uses an iPhone as their prime camera. Can you really squeeze all that power down from my trusty digital camera into the little itty bitty iPhone? Uhhhh… no! But that doesn’t stop most of the world from using iPhone. My lament, a lone voice among so many iPhones. I suppose you can drive either a Hyundai or a Porsche. You choose. The camera fallout: fewer cameras to choose from. It’s not so bad. Hardline phones have evolved into mobile communicators. We see the world through two eyes. There’s no telephoto zoom on my eyeballs. Check the fine detail in the flowers. iPhone would have a hard time matching my camera. Easy or hard, it’s a choice. I shall not let a podiatrist do my brain surgery.


(Happy) – memory

I pulled up a random pic in Lightroom. Boston, near the Old North Church, fall, 2016. How did I know? Colleen’s white winter jacket with liner. I got her those earrings. Nikon D200?? It was retired in 2014. Aha! I had dropped my Nikon D610 to the ground (October 2014) necessitating major repairs. Ha! I almost forgot that!

Jules has said it: “I don’t know what I remember because I’ve seen your pictures all my life.” True enough. Or: my own memory is linked to the cues from the pictures I have taken. … my external brain drive if you would so understand. Otherwise, I would have no direct recollection without the image posted here. But, now, I do recall much of that cold fall trip to Boston. Colleen? Her memory would not be so clear as mine on the events of that day. It seems that taking the picture “cues” my brain differently to recall events. Ha ha! (Photographic) – memory.


Ruby throated

Hummingbird. In flight. Ho hum…. It’s a BIG freakin’ deal!! If you are the consumer, pics like these are a dime a dozen. Someone has come before and patients sat and waited and waited. Amazing! They got a shot and it’s commonplace enough that … yawn. It’s not an easy shot. No way! I got one. The circumstances were just perfect. It won’t happen again for me. That’s what makes this so special.


Good – Bad

The upper right and left are examples (i.e. poor exposure, composition) of pics placed in a newsletter posted by “cat proud” weavers who can’t take proper pics of their beloved cat. I laughed at Colleen. She contends they are sound (cute) photos. I disagree, of course. There’s no excuse for accepting a bad photo.

iPhone or camera? Jules makes a cogent argument for using her iPhone nearly exclusively. It’s always at hand. She will concede a camera is better. But iPhone is right handy. Me? Obviously, I’m all about the camera. (She shot with my camera.) Ha!


Rembrandt light

Rembrandt light. Before I forget, this lighting scheme reminds me of that. I have created a studio set up by chance. We were merely cleaning up and straightening things out. (The spinning wheel has provenance back to the 1860’s.) Colleen thinks I’m a genius. I work along the theory that even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while. Whatever! The effect first worked on my cat. And now it’s wildly successful on another precious subject. Gee, sometimes I am very humbled to get worthy shots.


Exercise

I have a good example of the zoom capability of the Sony RX100 VI. Three successive photos show the telephoto detail of the hydrangea in the distance. How far? … near ½ mile. You can’t see the petals. But, that dot of color indeed is a large hydrangea bush.

Of, course, if you saunter over, you just might get some nice blossoms.


Evolution

No, not the genetic debate. (Shhh… there really isn’t any debate.) …It’s the change occurring in my photography as a result of change in my cameras. It has caused my technique to evolve. Evolution is slow and the change that results is subtle until it isn’t. I found the DSLR viewfinder of my Nikon D610 to be restricting. I got (am now) used to a movable LCD screen that allowed me to get down to eye level with my cats. This translated to: getting down to eye level with the flowers in my garden. There are a lot of moving variables to consider: shutter, composition, focus…. I get it that iPhone users just want to click and forget. All around me, family has little or no interest and they are quite content to have iPhone as their primary camera. That little tiny lens… Yes, a screw driver is a hammer in a pinch. But, the converse is untrue.


Don’t do this – what???

My (former) wife once told me my oldest (dearest, favorite) daughter was a funny looking baby, while she was still a baby. I ignored her and thought she was crazy. (Ha ha, you’re gonna go crazy wondering to whom the pronoun applies.) On those rare occasions when I offer photographic technical advice, it usually is thrown back in my face – sometimes vehemently. This was such a case. As is often the case we got a blast message accompanied by our little one in a green dress. I was immediately struck by the wide angle distortion – i.e. the iPhone was held high and above the child to create a large forehead tapering downward to a smaller disproportionate body. My gentle advice was promptly rejected and the purple shirt pic was sent to absolutely refute and state that, “She’s beautiful!” How does you deal with a second mistake compounding the first? Yeah, yeah, bad grammar; it hurts don’t it? The second is still wide angle distortion, the same just different. This time the forehead is still large because the camera is too close to the face and still slightly angled. I swear that the child is not hydrocephalic! And, I do indeed have pics of a normal head, face, and body on this very same child. She is no circus show attraction. It’s been quite a while since I offered photo advice because of past experience. I think I shall not be offering advice again. I will keep my thoughts: that this is a “funny looking kid” to myself. Even my own very beloved wife admonished me on this one, “you could have said it differently.” Ok! She’s a “looking, funny kid.” And, NO! I will not tell you how to correct this technical issue. I got issues of my own!


Free

My wife (in this case “ex”) influenced me in subtle ways. I thought I was free and independent. No. She said I took too many pictures. I took the same thing over and over. She never liked how she looked in pictures. She was too fat or too…  And, in looking retrospectively, she was right. She inhibited me in ways too subtle to realize until now. I get encouragement or, at worst, amusement from my current wife. She’s a positive influence in a way I never realized till I started looking back through the archive of my slides. Night and day? Nothing so drastic. It was much more insidious.  Bitter? No. Sorry (I was so clueless). Today, she/we do things I would have never done before. Progress! – true love…


Technical prowess or blindness

My kids make fun. They tell me I’m blind. Or, at the very least I don’t pay attention. Colleen says the same. I concentrate and am oblivious to an earthquake. It served me well when I was in a noisy operating room. I was testing and comparing three cameras and their ability to photograph flowers. I zoomed the lens and let fly. It’s amazing what the camera saw that I did not. It’s equally amazing to get good shots. What I learned is that a blind squirrel does get a nut, sometimes. As for seeing detail, I’m lazy. The camera does the work. Press (the shutter button) early and often. Then again, what they didn’t tell you is when to do it. That’s judgment and it’s something you have or not. But… I did not see the pistil nor the water droplets.


See what I mean?

So, I have been lamenting the lack of patience I have to wait and calmly compose a good photo. It’s not a job! So, I enjoy it how I enjoy it. I guess it’s good that I enjoy and that I get images as good as I do. I’m better than the average iPhone user and not as good as a professional. I’m free. Ha ha. No $. No responsibility. No one to please. (I do value Colleen’s feedback.) Nope, it’s just me. I am a work in progress. Each image teaches me. I hope to not repeat the same mistakes. I rarely make the same mistake… twice in the same day.


Pretty good

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I have so many flower photos it’s impossible. Too many good ones. It is random. I should have many more good ones while I have so few. Technically, most are good and then, most fall just slightly short of good. Confused? It’s a mixed bag and I am confessing again to be lazy. I just go out and shoot and shoot. I don’t have the patience to really slow down. I just point and hope. It’s a hell of a bad habit. But, then again, once in a while I do get something noteworthy. Which is to say, something good happens by my madness. Or, “even a blind squirrel gets a nut sometimes.”


Almost great

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I was in the garden taking flower pictures. I think – unfortunately – that I am blind and just press the shutter and hope for the best. It’s awful. There’s no plan. Just point and shoot. Bad! The flowers (subject) are not going anywhere and can’t complain if I spend time getting the right shot. And I really don’t check as I go. I simply take more than one and hope one of the two will be good. So, it is, that I took this picture to find that I almost got a bee. That! That would have been a winner. Close but no cigar… another one that got away.

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Meanwhile, I guess my vision has faded with age. To ask wife and kids, that has been a lot longer than recently. I shot the hibiscus. I didn’t know it had cat hair all stuck to it. Maybe, it’s not cat hair. It doesn’t look like cat hair. But then, what is it?


What’s on your phone?

I use a camera. On my iPhone it’s an odd potpourri of images. It’s rarely of great import. I just don’t think that dinky lens is better than real glass. Snob! Right! I document things that I need to remember. I take a pic that I can send instantly to someone. I photo things I plan to buy. I photograph recipes. It is a portable walking memory for me to remember items like a book to borrow. Otherwise, I have a camera on me nearly every time I carry my phone. It’s my system and my thinking. It works for me.


Heron

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I’m using my Canon EOS M6 Mark II with a manual zoom. That’s a mouthful. I would refer to it as the M6 but then you’d be confused. Ah! You probably don’t care. It’s about the picture not how I take it. There is a disadvantage over my all-in-one point and shoot camera. It doesn’t have electronic zoom. Don’t ask. But the bottom line: I can’t zoom in a little extra and get that heron really close. You learn to live with the technical limitations of your gear and adapt to whatever is at hand. I had that discussion with the boss over the $2000+ Nikon D780 body. Nope. … not getting it for reasons too numerous (2000+) to counts. No! Hey! I/we was out riding the bike, not bird watching.


Unrelated

Unrelated to the fact that Nutley is stealing the bowl from under Willow’s nose, I have just accomplished a marathon backup. Thing can go missing so easily. My problem? Multiple backup drives all over the house. Sorry. They are in places which changed regularly as I moved around the past couple decades. Shifting sand. It’s always nice to do something you have not done. In this case I lost a folder of files, about a thousand images, from 2007, my Nikon D70. What’s a thousand in the scheme of nearly a million images. Not much. I have the OCD. And I don’t lose anything because I never throw anything away. Laugh. I’m not sure what to do. I began with the external hard drives within reach. There were nearly a dozen within ten feet. (slap forehead with hand for emphasis) Nope! I had made a redundant mistake across a dozen drives. That folder was missing in each and every. I have a database tracking my images. The missing folder was for real. Quit, give up, a lesser man with less OCD might. I made a trip to the basement fully expecting to paw through storage bins all day. Third bin, and I found a group of drives. About four tries later, the missing folder! See! OCD works! It’s a bad precedent. Any other missing folders? And how would I know? … I’m not losing any sleep. There comes a time when you have to stop worrying.

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Nutley is a porker. He’s gained weight steadily since he came to live with us. He’s probably the heaviest now. And the other cats are all good natured. They allow Nutley to invade their bowls and defer to him. He’s not aggressive. He just noses in. His hearing is uncanny. I swear he can hear the others licking their bowl. Ha! This last pic is Ray. Twins. But I’m sure it’s Nutley who’s getting extra. Ha! It’s all unrelated. And one cannot effectively image the sweat on my brow to locate that missing folder. How’d I know anyway?


Tele(photo)

Prime lenses are commonly wide-angle lenses. When they discuss the best all around lens it’s usually in the range of 35mm. it’s good for portraits and landscape and street photography, an all in one all-purpose lens for all occasions. For me? I’m usually shooting at max tele on my zoom lens. I get rid of distracting background. I don’t have to move closer. It’s a good all-around lens for the lazy photographer. I don’t get the idea of 35mm. I can shoot at wide angle. My zoom allows. But I find most of my shots are near to max tele. It’s how it is.


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.


Isolation

Me? I photograph. Even if I am sheltering in place, I’m still photographing. There was an article on not sharing your camera – germs. Ha! The cats? No one else would use my stuff. It’s like toothbrushes. Not really, but, it’s akin to my sitting down to loom (weave) on Colleen’s devices. Once upon a time I said that about spinning…. Rainy days bring out color saturation. Out of the box the image of forsythia can easily be enhanced. I chose to show you what the camera gave me. There are lots of cat portraits. I shoot the cats because they are available, though not necessarily willing. And, when you get it (a good shot) you know it. There are just so many good ones and so few posts.

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