A Light-Weight DSLR System

150225-132929_Plum Creek

I like the Canon SL1 camera well enough that I purchased the Sigma 17 – 70mm (f/2.8 – 4) zoom lens for it.  I am still checking it out under various conditions but so far I like the features for the cost.  I took the above picture with it at the 70 mm end of the zoom while I was out with my first walk with it.

I have also taken some indoor pictures of people with it and it performed OK.  The Canon exposures and white balance of all pictures are a lot more pleasing than I get with my much heavier and more expensive Pentax K-3 camera.  As of now, I plan to switch and photograph with the Canon SL1 and the Sigma lens for a while to see how well I adapt to it.  So far the reduced weight and easier carrying of this system outweighs the few advantages of the too-heavy K-3 and longer lenses and it should work for most of my projects at Homewood.

The Canon SL1 with the 24 mm prime lens and the 17 – 70 mm Sigma lens are working out to be a very good, inexpensive setup for most of my photography.  The two major issues facing me are longer focal lengths and photographing close to people.  I need to figure out if I can have an adequate amount of fun photographing with the 70 mm limitation.  If I miss the longer focal lengths I will have to decide what to do about it.  The other issue is about photographing in and among people.  The combination of the Canon shutter noise and DSLR form factor are not ideal among people.  I need to decide if the Ricoh GR focal length works well enough for that kind of photography.

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Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Homewood at Plum Creek, Photography


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Sun Sets on One Project and Rises on Others


The sun has set on my longest project of the year.  That was photographing the work of the model railroaders here at Homewood at Plum Creek as they built and prepared their displays for their annual open houses during the holidays.  I finalized that project by creating a video with the images.

The reason that I am mentioning this on my blog is that many of the pictures that I now take are not shown on my blog due to privacy reasons.  This creates a slight dilemma for me since I have less and less time to find and take pictures to display.  While I have already decided to take on another major long-term project from now until the end of the year, and while such projects usually mean fewer pictures for my blog, I am not giving up on my blog.  There will be gaps between posts, but I have some additional ideas in mind for other projects outdoors after it warms up.  If I go forward with them, these might generate some interesting pictures for this blog.

The changing nature of my photography is also having an impact on my cameras and lenses and I hope to be writing about some of those changes as time goes on.  I will also be having more to say in the future about my past purchases of the Canon SL1 and the 24 mm pancake lens.  In addition, I will be mentioning some other pending acquisitions as well as about how the sun is setting on some of my cameras and lenses … maybe on the majority of them.

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Posted by on February 25, 2015 in Homewood at Plum Creek, Photography, Railroad


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Cold, So Cold

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Posted by on February 23, 2015 in Homewood at Plum Creek, Photography



Morning Fog after the Snow

Don’t forget to click on a picture and see them larger in gallery mode.


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Posted by on February 22, 2015 in Homewood at Plum Creek, Photography


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I am still waiting for warmer weather.  I grabbed this hand-held picture last evening.  You can see the moon with Venus to its left, and then Mars above Venus, a little to your right.  It looked a lot more interesting earlier when you could see the shadows on the moon from the light spilling around the earth; but by the time I got home and switched cameras and lens and went back outside it was mostly gone.


The following picture was taken this morning before the sun crossed the horizon, and before the snow arrived.


Addendum … the snow arrived around 10 am.


As an aside, I am still trying to decide what to do relative to cameras and lenses.  I want to reduce the number I have.  I used three different cameras for this post … the K-3 with 300 mm focal length, the GR with its 18.3 mm focal length, and the Canon SL1 with its 24 mm focal length.

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Posted by on February 21, 2015 in Homewood at Plum Creek


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Spring Will Come


I took this picture this morning through the window.  The temperature was -1 degrees F.  My only problem with the picture is that I used my Canon SL1 with the 24 mm lens, and then had to crop it quite a bit.  If I am going to continue using this camera for pictures like this one, and those in the previous post, I probably should get a longer lens.  My original intent when I got the camera was to only use it with the 24 mm lens, or maybe another longer prime lens.

The weather hasn’t been conducive for me to get out and find anything to photograph and I haven’t felt much like it anyway; therefore, I will take a break from photography and blogging until I manage to actually see something new that is worth photographing.

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Posted by on February 16, 2015 in Homewood at Plum Creek, Photography


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Of Little Interest

I have been pondering two things … what will I photograph in the Borough of Hanover and what focal length lens will work best.  I really need to find the answers in order since what I photograph determines what camera and lens I need; but maybe not.  Since I have already photographed the most interesting areas, I have been exploring some of the back areas.

I was standing in one of the public parking lots when I took the above pictures.  My reaction was that there was nothing of interest around me but I took some pictures anyway so I could continue my evaluation of the Canon SL1 camera with the 24 mm lens.  Even after studying them, I found nothing of interest, unless it was the thought of what was missing.  From the size and age of the trees along with their locations I imagine that these lots were previously plots where buildings once stood.  They were probably vacant and falling down so the Borough acquired the lots, tore down the buildings, and paved the lots for parking.  This parking lot is typical of many such lots through-out the Borough.  I am guessing that what is missing was of more interest, but I can’t photograph that.

I then tried cropping a section out of one of the pictures, and converted it to monotone.  You can see the results below.

And the answer is, using an old phrase, “you can’t create a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”  I found nothing of interest in any of these pictures and it means that I will have to work at making images around Hanover.  I have already photographed some of the “noted” areas that others think of since they are on the main roads and that is why I have been, and will continue, looking for the unusual and mostly not seen areas.

I still have no idea as to whether to concentrate on details or the bigger picture; but if I wish to concentrate on details I will need a longer lens.  The problems are that longer Canon lenses are heavier, larger, and expensive if they are good fast lenses.  That means more compromises if I get a long Canon zoom lens and my gut reaction is that I have little interest in more compromises that will probably end up as wasted money.  I might just use my K-3 and 55 – 300 mm lens and shoot from close to the car so that I don’t have to carry it far.  If not that, I might use a micro 4/3 or one-inch system.

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Posted by on February 14, 2015 in Hanover PA, Photography


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