Waiting & Experimenting

I was waiting in the car when I made these.  I was photographing through the glass with the Nikon J5 and the 30 – 110mm lens.  I am still in the mode of trying different types of photography with this set-up.  I really like the small size and weight but I’m still not sure about the image quality.  I might decide that it is good enough for a “take with me system” for just-in-case I see something or for when I know I will need the longer focal lengths; but probably only in good light.

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Posted by on July 31, 2015 in Hanover PA, Photography


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Morning Images

We had a lifting fog and I was standing out front when I took the first two pictures as Misty and I were starting our morning walk.  The last picture was taken when we got back to the Villa and I switched from the Canon 70D to the Nikon 1 J5 with the 30 – 110 mm lens to get a picture of the morning sun shining through the high fog.

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Posted by on July 29, 2015 in Homewood at Plum Creek, Photography


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The Second Coming


    Turning and turning in the widening gyre

    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

    The best lack all conviction, while the worst

    Are full of passionate intensity.

Poem by  William Butler Yeats (1865-1939). It sounds to me like Yeats wrote this poem about the people running for election in the U.S.  The following was taken from CNN.

The American electoral circus has taken the stage and people around the world are watching in disbelief. To say they are not impressed would be an understatement.  A Colombian columnist called Donald Trump a “lab rat,” for testing the U.S. tolerance of toxic political debate.  In India, a commentator writes dismissively that the “self-declared ‘greatest’ democracy is descending into a farce.”

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Posted by on July 28, 2015 in Dark Heritage, Photography


Another Evening

I was in my lounge chair reading when I looked up and took these images.  This time I used my Canon 70D with the Canon 18 – 135 mm lens.  I took these for the colors and the light.  Not having many things to photograph, I don’t pass up rich light, shadows, and colors.

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


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My Desires


If I followed my desires, I would like to be more like Saul Leiter in both what I photograph as well as his approach to photography.  But since I don’t have similar street scenes to photograph, I need to find other things to photograph.

Another problem is a conflict in focal length.  Saul used longer focal lengths to compress the scenes; which I also like to do; but, I find cameras like my X2 with a prime lens more to my liking from a usability perspective.  If I want to photograph more like Saul I will need to use one of my other cameras with a longer lens.

It primarily comes down to finding enough things to photograph.  I like to take pictures and have tended to photograph whatever I see with a range of cameras.

PS, I photographed the above picture while sitting in my lounge chair thinking about my Leica X2 and what to photograph.  That is a picture of a nice cold glass of ice tea that I took with the Leica X2.

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Posted by on July 26, 2015 in Homewood at Plum Creek, Photography



Conflicted … What Camera, What Photography?


I am still conflicted when it comes to which camera I prefer to use and a bit of the problem is that I don’t know what I will be photographing.  Out of the cameras I’m currently using, the Leica X2 is the easiest to carry, next is the Nikon 1 J5, and then the Canon 70D.  In terms of image quality the Leica X2 is best (used to make the above picture), then the Canon 70D, with the Nikon 1 J5 at the bottom.  In terms of versatility the Leica X2 is the most limited.

The differences really come to the front when I look at which lenses I use with them as well as what I photograph.  If I am photographing with a fixed equivalent 35 mm focal length, there is no question to the all-around best.  It is the Leica X2.  The only problem I have with the Leica is using it out in the sun since I have trouble seeing the LCD to compose.  That could be remedied if I purchased an add-on optical viewfinder.

For long-range photography at focal lengths beyond an equivalent 80 mm I can use the Nikon J5 with the 30 – 110 mm lens when the lighting is adequate.  It is so much easier to carry than the Canon 70D with longer lenses, that the weight and size advantages out-weigh the better image quality of the 70D for long focal lengths.  This wouldn’t necessarily be the case for others, but I walk with a cane or walking stick when going further distances and often need to shoot with one hand.  My main problem with this choice is that I have to use the LCD to compose and I have the same problem as with the Leica X2.  If the LCD is in the sun it is hard to compose with it.

It is somewhat limiting, but I can usually resolve the sunlight on the LCD issue by only photographing when the LCD is adequately shaded.  I find that trying to shade it with my hand doesn’t work, so I usually need to use if from within the car or in a heavily shaded location or during the hours close to sunrise and sunset.

I have not decided on what I will do when photographing inside when I need focal lengths other than an effective 35 mm.  The Nikon 1 J5 with the two zoom lenses might work if I don’t pixel peep; i.e. look too closely at the digital noise.  So far, when photographing something critical for others, I have used the Canon 70D with the Sigma 17 – 70 mm lens.  It isn’t light or small, but I’m not walking much when shooting inside so I have been able to use it; but that might not continue.

There are other issues that haven’t affected me too much yet.  One is that it takes two hands to shoot with a zoom lens.  The lenses in the Nikon CX format are very easy to turn to zoom and I have managed; but often times, since I primarily shoot at either end of the zoom range, I pre-zoom it and leave it there.  It is another reason that I prefer to shoot with prime or fixed lenses like with the Leica X2.

The second remaining issue is camera control.  I like the Canon and Leica controls and ease of using them.  I can set and use them in any manner I prefer.  The Nikon is somewhat limiting, but I have been working around most of them … not all.  The third issue can be real limiting depending on what I am shooting.  That is needing to use an articulated LCD for some work.  The Canon 70D has a fully articulated LCD and I can shoot with it in various ways.  The Nikon has a tilting LCD and that suffices.  I just don’t bother to use the Leica X2 down close to the ground since the LCD doesn’t move and I have trouble bending.

Another issue I have is switching back and forth between different camera systems, controls, etc.  It has always been my dream to have and use only one camera for everything I photograph.  So far that hasn’t been possible; but there is a potential solution that solves most, if not all, of the above conflicts and issues.

The solution is to limit what I photograph and use only one or two of my cameras.  I have been gravitating in that direction since it is the least costly solution; but, I have been doing it mostly by only using one camera for a period of time and not switching frequently.  I have been using the J5 with the 30 – 110 mm lens for my outdoor shooting while photographing flowers, wildlife, etc.; but using the Leica X2 whenever I plan to only photograph with an effective 35 mm focal length and/or I desire the smallest setup just in case I see something.

My current plans are to primarily use the Canon 70D when I’m not walking much and/or while inside.  I am also thinking about getting the hand grip and the optical viewfinder for the Leica X2.  To a degree, my expanded uses of either the Nikon 1 or Leica X2 (or to using only one of them) also depend upon the style of processing I use as well as subjects that I photograph and on my desired image quality.  I am not sure of what I will be photographing in the future and this is my primary issue.  If I had ample opportunity subject-wise, I would prefer to just photograph with the Leica X2.  If it had a viewfinder, articulated LCD and a normal zoom lens it would be perfect.

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Posted by on July 24, 2015 in Homewood at Plum Creek, Photography


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Seeing Differently

I haven’t been anywhere to see something different, so I thought that I would look at my every day, common scenes in a different way.  In addition to sometimes needing to “walk in someone else’s shoes”, we also sometimes need to look through someone else’s eyes.

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




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