Category: Homewood at Plum Creek

Morning Sunrise

It should still be warm today, but I’m expecting a 20 degree drop in temperatures tomorrow.  Since this might be the last day it is warm I went out and made this image with a 35mm effective focal length and then cropped it.  I have been working with the Fujifilm camera again to get some comparisons between using it vs. the Sony A7Rii.

Sony A7R ii Trial Samples

I have been trying the Sony A7Rii camera with the Sony 50mm F1.8 and Tamron 28-200mm lenses.  It has taken some effort to learn the Sony menu system, but I think I have everything working the way I prefer.  One thing of interest to me is using the 42MP raw files in LR with my new computer.  So far, I have had no problems with them.  Another thing of interest is the ability to do severe crop zooming with the above gear so that I can minimize the number of needed lenses. 

Below are some examples of severe crop-zooming and resizing.  The original image first, followed by a crop from it.  The first set is from the Tamron lens at 200mm focal length.  The second set is from the 50mm prime lens with the picture made through the window.

Which One?

I took the original version of this picture of Mom & Dad on Christmas in 1957.  My brother took this picture of the print many years ago and then recently sent me the picture in a text message.  I then copied the picture in the message and loaded it into LR and then later resized it to what you see here. 

Looking at the old picture I started thinking about the camera I used.  It was the first camera I ever owned.  I think it was a Brownie Bullseye.  I made a number of pictures with my first camera, and I don’t think I have a single original print (the negatives were never saved), but my brother has some of the old prints. 

In 1957 I had one camera, and now I’m going back to one camera.  I sold all of my Pentax cameras and lenses, and plan to sell the Fujifilm X100V camera and the Olympus TG-6 camera.  I feel like I am starting over just like some 63 years ago.  I am first trying replacing what I had with a Sony A7R ii camera, Sony 50mm F1.8 prime lens, and the Tamron 28-200mm zoom lens.  I’ll let you know what I think of them and if I’m keeping them, and if I keep them, what other lenses I’ll be using.  If they work for me I’ll go ahead and sell everything else that is left.

If the Sony doesn’t work for me, I could keep the Fujifilm X100V, or replace everything with another camera.  Hopefully it won’t take too long for me to decide so that I can get on with some other things.  Some of the other cameras I’m thinking about are the Leica CL, the Leica D-Lux 7, or maybe an Apple iPhone.

Will Try a Sony A7R ii

I did it.  I sold all of my Pentax cameras and lenses.  I’m now waiting on the delivery of a Sony A7R ii and a few lenses to try.  I’m now going to check to see if it could be my one and only camera to get me through the coming second lean year of less photography.  If the Sony works out to my satisfaction, I might sell my Fujifilm X100V that I used to make these images.  I love the X100V, as I did the Pentax K-1 II and KP cameras, but they are not general purpose type cameras.

Long ago (the A7R ii camera is five+ years old), I thought about getting the 42MP camera along with a prime lens and then doing a lot of crop-zooming.  The reason I didn’t get it then was my computer could not handle the large files.  Now that I have a new MacBook Pro with twice the memory and speed I should be able to handle the large Sony files.  I also didn’t like the available lenses at that time and now Tamron has some nice smaller, less expensive lenses for the Sony E mount.  The final push to get me to try the Sony A7R ii camera was the drop in the cost of it.  It is now affordable.

But, the Sony could be a machine that I won’t love to use.  It might be OK technically, but leave me lacking something, so I don’t know if I will keep it.  I’ll use it for a few days or weeks, after I get it, and see how well I like it.

Selling Excess Gear

I have an excess of cameras and lenses that exceed my number of photo opportunities.  For that and other reasons, I’m in the mode of trying to decide what to sell off, which will probably be some or all of my Pentax gear since they are the oldest technologically.

I had, like lots of others, thought that the covid-19 disruptions would diminish faster than it is happening.  We haven’t even peaked yet.  Even if, or when, we have vaccines available, it will take time to learn which are the most effective and then get enough people to take them so that we can get back to social activities, travel, etc.  I am now expecting that we will be wearing masks and social distancing at least until next summer, and it could be longer, even after we have the vaccine distributed.  That is too long for me to just sit here with photography gear as I wait and twiddle my thumbs.  By the time I can get back to photographing similar to what I used to do, I might not be physically able or desire to do the same things.  In addition, too many of my cameras would have become obsolete and I would be wanting newer ones.

One thing that I would like to do in the interim is sell off some of my gear and try some new and different cameras and lenses.  That would give me something to do to occupy my time, make test images, and write about my findings, but it probably will not happen due to the cost and no real need for the cameras.  Rationally, the best thing to do is to probably sell off all of my Pentax gear, and then as conditions improve, watch the reviews of the new gear that might come out and wait and get only what I might need … not want.  I plan, for now, to keep my X100V and the TG-6 for blogging purposes.

Less is Better

As I get older, the more I like this kind of older looking monochrome image.  Most will claim that is because I’m remembering how some images used to look in small B&W prints, and they are probably correct, to a degree.  In addition, I have been finding that a lot of current processing is “too much” in the sense that the images are over saturated, over sharp, and with colored tones that aren’t real, so I’m rebelling.

With thoughts about another bleak winter coming, I have been working on a style that I think I like better.  I have been flattening, reducing dynamic range, decreasing contrast and clarity, etc.  So far I have been using it on all of my cameras, mostly in B&W; but, it also works well in color.  I like that it works nicely on my Olympus TG-6 which is a small camera that I can carry in my pocket.  In addition, other than for focal range differences with different lenses, I can create images with any of my cameras and it is hard to tell which camera was used.  I am even going to go back and rework some much older images I made while traveling.

My biggest concern is lack of new things to photograph so I keep trying to find different views of things right here at Homewood at Plum Creek.  The images above were all made a short distance behind the Community Center.

Using my X100V

I’m now back in the mode of thinking about just using my Fuji X100V for the majority of my images.  I like to use it to capture the light and colors on jpeg images straight out of the camera.  I’m using it like it was an interchangeable lens camera with effective prime focal lengths of 35, 50, and 70mm by using the in-camera digital zoom.  I’m also mostly photographing everything at f/2 and riding the continuous exposure control using the front dial.

I even think I might be able to photograph events at Homewood this way but we need to get back to having them again before I can test this idea under various lighting and location conditions, especially since I used to make most of those type of images with a variety of zoom lenses.  At the moment I have the Pentax K-1 II in case I need it for those situations.

Pentax Uncertainties

I have been close to shutting down this blog, until I manage to come up with something different.  If I do that, my intention has been to keep my Fuji X100V camera and keep experimenting with B&W styles while making pictures for myself, and selling the Pentax gear due to lack of a use for it.  But I really like the Pentax system.  Can I find a use for it?

If I keep the Pentax gear, there might be possible uses for the longer Pentax lenses, and I might also use them for some of my B&W styles.  The above are a few trials that I made this morning through the window.

My hope is that I can also use the effective 150mm F2.8 macro lens on the Pentax KP outdoors to make other detail B&W images when the days are dreary, dark, and maybe wet.  I’ll try that this fall even though it is brighter now.  In the past, I would be making colorful images of fall foliage, but it doesn’t look like I will have that opportunity this year.  The last time I made good fall images was in Oct. 2015 in WVa.

The advantages of the Pentax system are the longer focal lengths, image stabilization, weather resistance, and cost.  These are all features that I would need for outdoor images, provided that I can get out and around enough, and that I can find suitable subjects.  I could keep and use the Pentax K-1 Mark II with the 28-105mm FF system for indoors event activities within Homewood, provided we ever have them again, and use the Pentax KP outdoors when I need the longer focal lengths under more questionable conditions.

I would really regret selling my Pentax gear just because I don’t have a use for it.  The solution is to find a use for it.

Much but Nothing Yet

There is a great deal of worry going around, even here at Homewood, but nothing to photograph, yet.  After the so-called debate in the U.S., I heard nothing but worries from those around me.  They are worried about what Trump is doing to the country and what will happen during and after the elections now that he is so widely using his antidemocratic ranting and raving to encourage violence and actions to discredit the very foundation of democracy:  Our right and ability to vote.  I will never understand, or vote for, any republican since they have all enabled him to destroy so much in the U.S. and to turn us against each other in a manner that hasn’t been seen since the Civil War.