No More Long Focal Length Pictures?

I am in the throes of trying to decide whether to totally give up taking pictures of wildlife with long zoom lenses.  I have made the decision to change to a lighter weight camera with prime lenses to reduce the size and weight of my gear … at least for the events I photograph here at Homewood.  If all works well, I will be using a Fuji X-T1 with two or three prime lenses to replace my Canon 70D with lenses between 17 mm and 255 mm.

I have two options that I’m considering for my other photography.  First is to keep my Nikon J5 and lenses as my second camera.  If I go that route I could still use my Nikon one inch sensor camera for wildlife and flower images like above which were all taken with it at 110 mm and then cropped and resized.  The second option is to sell the Nikon 1 system and keep my Leica X2 or Ricoh GR primarily as a backup camera and use my X-T1 with a few prime lenses for all of my photography.  If I take the second route I will have no long focal length lenses for wildlife.  The first option gives me more opportunities for different types of pictures and the second option retains a higher quality camera and forces me to learn how to get the most out of wide-to-normal prime lenses and photograph exclusively with them.

It is coming down to sticking to what I have mostly done in the past when I used long focal length zoom lenses, but with lower quality, or forcing myself to learn what I can photograph exclusively with wide-to-normal prime lenses with a better camera and lenses.  My long zoom capability has been my crutch in the past when I didn’t know what I was going to photograph.  I always seemed to be able to extract an image from a distance out of the overall larger view.  Prime lenses would force me to get up close.

I am waiting for the new camera to be delivered so that I can spend some time using it and see which choice I prefer to make:  only using shorter prime lenses with better image quality, or keeping an option for longer focal length images albeit with lower image quality.

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


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Early Light on the SunPatiens


While I’m pondering what lenses to get and thinking about what I’ll be able to do with them, I stepped out this morning and took a picture with the Leica X2.  It doesn’t focus close but I was able to crop the image to get the above.  These flowers are only about an inch across and since I’m concerned about being able to get pictures of flowers in the future with a normal prime lens I experimented on them.


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


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Future Changes in my Camera Gear

It was a noisy morning wakeup for some on Friday.  They showed up outside my Villa at 6 am.  I waited until it got lighter to make these images.  You can’t see it was noisy, but it was.  You can see the dust they were stirring up.  They were cleaning the roads before they seal them.

I used my Leica X2 with its 24 mm lens to make the above images.  I really like that focal length and camera, but I am not sure about the future.  I miss having a viewfinder and a tilt LCD on the Leica X2; therefore, I am thinking about replacing it with a Fuji X-T1 with a prime lens.

I am also planning to sell my Canon 70D and all of its lenses.  It just isn’t fun to walk around using the camera due to the size and weight.  I am going to try replacing it with the Fuji X-T1 with prime lenses rather than heavier zoom lenses.  That will create a big change in how and what I photograph as well as reduce the amount of gear I use.

If I get the X-T1 and use it to replace both my Canon 70D and Leica X2, I have been thinking about getting three primes lenses and no zoom lenses.  The prime lenses I had been thinking about were the Fuji 18 mm, 35 mm, and 60 mm.  I could also get the 23 mm f/1.4 R lens with an effective focal length of 35 mm, but I don’t want too many lenses.  The 23 mm focal length has been a good all-around focal length for many pictures and it could possibly be a one lens compromise for the 18 and 35 mm lenses.

The above dithering about what lens focal length I should get wasn’t getting me to a decision, so I took a step back and thought about why I’m making a change in cameras.  I feel that it is necessary to reduce the size and weight since it is hard to walk around with a cane and a camera and sometimes with a bag; therefore, I need something lighter and smaller, but with good image quality.  From this perspective, smaller and lighter, both the Fuji 23 mm and 35 mm lenses are medium in size; but, the Fuji 27 mm F2.8 lens is a smaller and lighter lens and is also a focal length compromise between the 23 and 35 mm lenses.  It also has a better price, so I plan to try it as a better compromise due to weight and size.  I have ordered the X-T1 with the 27 mm lens.  I will use that lens while seeing if I like the X-T1 in terms of size, weight, and ergonomics.  If I keep it and sell the Canon and Leica, I will then probably eventually get the 18 mm and 60 mm lenses.

As you have probably already figured out, this change in my cameras and lenses will create changes in what and how I photograph.  I am going to let the “tail wag the dog” so to speak; i.e., adjust my photography to fit lighter and smaller gear.  I will be writing about that after I get the X-T1 and am sure that I’m keeping it.  I tried the Olympus E-M5 with the 14 – 150 mm lens and ended up not keeping them.  The ergonomics and image quality weren’t quite what I’m looking for.  Note that I haven’t mentioned how the Nikon 1 J5 camera and lenses fits into my future scheme.  I’m still pondering that.

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


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Last evening’s rainbow went from horizon to horizon.  Sorry, but my 17 mm lens wasn’t wide enough and I didn’t take the time to take and merge two pictures.

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Posted by on August 21, 2015 in Homewood at Plum Creek, Photography


Penn Township Emergency Services Center

The Men’s Group here at Homewood at Plum Creek toured Penn Township’s Emergency Services Center.  Our bus driver had stars in her eyes as she dreamed.

I am contemplating a change and reduction in cameras.  I’ll have more later about it, but I will make note here that I took most of my pictures at 17 mm (effective 28 mm on the Canon 70D).  I literally had my back against the wall to make it work for the group shot.

Another reference point for later:  I got tired of carrying and using the Canon 70D with the Sigma 17 – 70 mm lens while walking around with a cane.


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Mini Projects

While getting ready for two Homewood events/trips this week where I have been asked to take pictures, I have been working off and on refining one technique that I like more and more.  It is the above style of pictures.

I have been looking for a project that fits my local environment and I might have found a new one.  I have noticed many leaves and other small objects on the ground as I walk.  I have picked some up and took them home to photograph and others I have photographed on the ground.  I think I like what I can do with then better if I bring them home to photograph.  I am still experimenting with different lenses and lighting but at the moment, the above represent my latest results.  One potential use for these pictures might be for prints.  I am thinking about printing those around four inches square and displaying groups of 4 to 8 in one frame; but this assumes I make a set I like.

To make the above I have put the objects on a one-foot square piece of white foam board and lighted them with two LED lamps that I have.  I still hope to figure out a way, and location, to set my lights up where I can leave them out and take the pictures quicker.  I may need to look for some smaller lights, etc.  I then developed a sepia preset to quickly make the above.  I may tweak it some more since it is a work in progress.

Since I am photographing two different Homewood events this week I may or may not display some pictures from them; but, I’ll see if I can get some suitable pictures for the blog.  Since I will be busy working on the event pictures I may not be posting regularly this week.

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Posted by on August 18, 2015 in Homewood at Plum Creek, Photography


It’s the Lens!

I have been using different cameras and lenses and trying different ways of photographing different subjects.  My desire is to decide which cameras I am going to eliminate so that I can reduce my assortment of cameras down to two.  I like to mostly use one camera but I always want another for backup and sometimes I need a small camera to carry in a jacket pocket.

For the above pictures, I used three different cameras and different lenses including primes and zoom while photographing a range of different subjects.  If I just made pictures like these, which I like to do, I could almost use any camera.  I have a number of divergent constraints when deciding which cameras to keep.  When photographing events here at Homewood I need a wide range of focal lengths and low light capability.  When photographing for myself I need a small, light camera with good ergonomics.

I plan on using my Olympus O-MD E-M5 for my Homewood projects, providing I can find a lens that is fast enough to handle the poor lighting conditions.  I may have to get some fast prime lenses or the 12 – 40 mm F2.8 PRO lens, but I am trying to avoid that because of the cost, size, and weight.  In the recent past I have been using my Canon 70D for such work but I think I can back-off on image quality and make-do with the E-M5.  My 14 – 150 mm lens will do fine for outdoor photography.  The issue is what about indoors, and I have yet to try it for multiple events.

When I go out to do my own photography I will also use the E-M5, probably with the 14 – 150 mm lens.  That means that all I need to decide is which camera to keep and use for walking and driving about when I just need a camera for in-case I see something.  Will it be the Leica X2 or the Nikon 1 J5?  If I were to primarily make images like above, I would choose the Nikon 1 J5.  I am finding that the issue, no matter what I’m photographing, isn’t the camera.  It is the lens focal lengths, speed, close focusing ability, and size and weight.  It is also a matter of the camera ergonomics but that is driven to a large degree by the size of the lens.

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Posted by on August 17, 2015 in Homewood at Plum Creek, Photography


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