Life’s a bed of roses when viewed appropriately. Just pay no attention to the thorns.
Tag Archives: Homewood at Plum Creek
I took my Panasonic Lumix LX7 with me this morning when I was walking Misty. It fits in a jacket pocket so I plan to try to take it with me when I’m out. It will take a while to use it under different conditions before I pass final judgment, but so far, I like it.
I like the fog since it helps me simplify my compositions by eliminating the extractions in the background. One of my goals this year is to try to simplify some of my compositions and I need all the help I can get since I find that most scenes in Hanover are quite cluttered. From what I have been able to determine so far, it will either be a matter of taking pictures in fog, removing objects in my images, or taking close-ups of small details.
The following pictures are quick copies of the images with little tweaking. I will probably work on them some more later.
The above picture is a picture of my bed. I took it with natural light using my new 21mm lens (effective 31.5mm) at an ISO of 6400, f/4.5, 1/50 sec and hand-held. The only extraordinary thing that I did was to use the camera level to make sure that I was holding the camera level in two planes so that I didn’t get any distortion. Why am I showing this picture?
In earlier articles I have discussed my intention to take pictures for various projects and that I think we should always have a purpose for taking our pictures. I have also mentioned that many of my projects do not provide me with pictures that I wish to display individually in my blog. Much of my photography is a long-term effort to collect a series of pictures in support of a particular story. The above picture is one for a project about the place where I live; but I’m showing it here to demonstrate something else … one of the ways that I get ideas for projects.
I subscribe to a magazine called LensWork. I am just mentioning it here to make the point that I have used many of their “project portfolios” to trigger ideas of my own. They aren’t identical but in many cases they have been adapted along similar lines. I quickly get tired of most web articles about camera gear and strive to find articles either in hard print or on the web that give me ideas about what to photograph. You might want to try the same approach.
I used my 55 – 300mm Pentax zoom lens set at 107.5mm, f/5.6, ISO = 400, and 1/200 sec. to take the above picture. This was a clear case where I needed the zoom’s focal length to reach across the pond. The conditions were also such that I didn’t want to be changing lenses while out in the field. Conditions like this, along with the potential of seeing wildlife, have made this lens one of my favorites except for when it isn’t.
There are many situations when the 55 – 300mm f/4-5.8 zoom is not my preferred lens. These are when I find it too heavy to carry long distances, when I desire greater image quality such as sharpness, when I desire a faster lens, and when I’m working among people who don’t like to be “shot with a cannon.” For those times, I prefer to use a prime lens. I will occasionally use my 18 – 55mm zoom lens, but not often. I don’t like the quality of the images as well as those taken with a prime lens so I generally only use the 18 – 55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens during inclement weather since it is weather resistant as is my K-5 camera.
But, the decision process of which lens to use is sometimes foggy since I can’t see into the future. My preference when going out to take pictures is to decide which lens I’ll need before I go and then put it on the camera and not take any other lenses. I usually manage with my decision, but not always. I have three prime lenses for the Pentax K-5 … the 21mm f/3.2 (on order), the 35mm f/2.4, and the 50mm f/1.8, which give me effective focal lengths of 31.5, 52.5, & 75mm. A big difference between Pentax and Nikon or Canon is that Pentax decided to produce small light-weight primes rather than fast primes; therefore, the Pentax primes are lighter and create a more discreet camera-lens combination than its competitors. I love the smaller, lighter size of the system when using primes, but I still have to decide which one to use. I try to error on a slightly wider focal length than I think I’ll need since I can then crop-zoom to get the composition desired.
I’m going to change my setup in order to decrease the chances of having the wrong lens with me. If I know that the odds are high that I might need different lenses, I’m going to start taking a camera bag with an extra lens or two in it. I have mostly avoided this in the past since I didn’t want to carry any more weight than necessary. Since my circumstances have changed … my back is doing better and the weight isn’t as much of a problem, and I’m not out in the field for long periods of time any more … I am going to take a bag and multiple lenses. But, this also means that I need to get familiar with changing lenses while out in the field. I’ll let you know how it works for me and tell you a little about my bag setup as well as different strap arrangements at some later date. My desire is to work the kinks out and have my techniques perfected before spring so that I can concentrate on taking pictures.
BTW … if you aren’t using prime lenses, try them. I really prefer the image quality, the lower weight, and greater ease of carrying a more discreet system. I’m looking forward to my new 21mm prime lens and will use my primes more than my zooms if I take less wildlife pictures.
Start of another day
When I wrote my last article I had four different cameras in the house, and they all worked. I had gotten them for use in different situations and I started thinking about how I would choose which camera to take and use depending on where I went or what I was photographing. It was then that I seriously realized that I had a lot of duplicative capability and that I was going a lot less.
After sweating through some buyer’s remorse about my last acquisition, the Olympus E-PL5 and its’ kit lens along with the Panasonic 20 mm f/1.7 lens, I decided to return them. The quality of the K-5 images was better than that of the E-PL5, while the E-PL5 was smaller with only slightly poorer ergonomics; but, do I really need both? I finally decided that they were too similar and that I don’t need both. Having a smaller camera was not going to increase my productivity.
Thinking some more about the future, I decided to reduce down to one camera and then see if I need another. I have said for a long time that I thought that I would prefer to have one camera that I knew well, and I decided now is the time. I sold my Canon S95 pocket camera along with my Fuji X100 (gulp). I now only have one camera in the house, my oldest, the most versatile, now discontinued, Pentax K-5. Since it was my best general purpose camera in terms of ergonomics, usability, and image quality, I decided to use it for everything … whatever that is. And that is the root of my problem. What am I going to be taking pictures of? I have no single preferred style or type of photography so I will just use the K-5 and direct my energies towards developing my vision, rather than researching and getting different cameras in hopes that another camera will open up opportunities.
All of this just goes to show that I seem to have lost my way when it comes to photography. Those who have followed my blog will recognize that I have wondered around a circle and arrived back to almost where I was years ago … at least camera wise. I hope that this turning away from camera worship will help me to find my way in photography. I hope to learn, and find, what it is I prefer to photograph. I hope to simplify my photography and concentrate on deciding what I wish to achieve, and then build from there. Maybe if I eliminate all the chaff and dust I will find the kernel and then I can plant it and let it grow. I would like to find my muse and then feed it and nurture it before I decide what my next camera will be.