Category: Homewood at Plum Creek

Raw for B&W & Changeability

Earlier I mentioned that I was only taking jpeg color images with the Canon G7X II.  I did this early since I found that the jpeg color images were as good or better than what I was getting using raw to make color pictures with the Canon.  I have since changed.  I am now only making raw files with the Canon if I use it while out walking.  I have changed to raw so that I can make better B&W images.  I have more latitude to tweak the files and thus I can try to make better B&W images if I desire.

I also only save raw files with my Fujifilm cameras now.  I like the in camera ACROS images but using the raw files gives me more latitude to go beyond ACROS if I want for B&W as well as make color images.  I can also adjust the “colors” to create different B&W images with different tone control than just using the LR version of ACROS, but still use ACROS if I prefer.

PS, I used the G7X II to make these images as I am thinking more about how to make images to better portray this new wet world I’m living in.  The question is, what will this year be like?  Will it be another of the wettest years on record here in Hanover, PA or will it shift to one of the driest years on record?  It is going to be hard to get accustomed to a warmer global climate and the less predictable wilder wider swings in the weather.

G7X II not for Wildlife

I took a walk yesterday with only the G7X II in my pocket.  I saw a Heron in Plum Creek and decided to see what it would look like if I tried to make a picture at maximum zoom.  As wider or closer scenes go, the G7X II is acceptable for a lightweight system but I won’t be using it for wildlife.

In the past I had longer focal length zoom lenses on DSLR cameras, and I did photograph wildlife, but the amount of wildlife has declined quite a bit and I have gotten tired of carrying heavier gear.  If we had more wildlife around and I thought I would feel like carrying it around, I could walk with the Fujifilm 55 – 200mm lens on my X-T2 in good weather.

More Tests with Canon G7X II

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It was still wet and dreary outside, but I was anxious to see how the Canon files held up to some of my normal processing that I use for flowers.  Since we don’t have flowers this time of the year, I made this image of a rose leaf from an in-camera jpeg.  To make this I had to crop  and then increase the size to make this.  So far, I’m quite pleased with the Canon sensor and lens output after a little help from LR Classic.  It doesn’t get as close as the TG-5 for extreme macro images but with more megapixels and the better lens I can crop more with the Canon.

For those who wonder, the “P” mode chose ISO 125, f/4, and 1/80 sec. but I had the exposure dialed to -1.3 at a focal length of 9.78mm in macro mode.  I then processed the jpeg in LR to increase the contrast and clarity and pulled the blacks down.  The out-of-camera jpeg was as shown below before I worked on it.

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Later the sun finally came out, but it was windy when I took the camera out to see how the camera’s images looked in the distance.  The following are out of the camera jpegs that were loaded into LR for evaluation, but I made no changes to them.  The first image below was around the widest focal length.  The next below was zoomed in.  The third image is a crop of the second that has also been upsized to 2100 pixels wide from 1695 pixels.  I don’t see any problems with this 4.2x zoom lens under these conditions.  It is way superior to the small sensor and lens of the Olympus TG-5 camera.  I like the resolution of this one-inch sensor and lens.

Self Portrait

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Several have noted that they never see my picture among the ones that are published here at Homewood at Plum Creek, so I thought I would remedy that.  I took this picture in a mirror as I was walking past it in one of the hallways; but it didn’t look like this until I had processed it to feel like I feel, an old man.

I used the Fujifilm X100F to take the picture and then used LR in addition to some older software that I have and had almost forgotten about.  I like the look and I might use the software to age some of my future pictures from around Hanover.  All I would have to do is keep the cars and people out of the scenes and they would look like they could have been made years ago.

As I write this post, I’m waiting for the delivery of the Canon G7X II camera to be delivered.  As I made this image, I kept thinking that I wouldn’t need to use cameras like my Fujifilm cameras if all I did was make images like this.

Hawk with Fujifilm X100F Camera

I was walking with the X100F on a 40-degree F. dreary day when I saw a red tail hawk sitting in a tree in the middle of the floodplain and made the first image.  See the hawk in the tree in the middle?  I also cropped another picture of it from the same location and show it in the second image.  Never underestimate what you can do with a Fujifilm X100F camera, but a longer focal length zoom lens would be nice if it were small and fast.

My Photography in 2019

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Starting a new year and I’m still dithering about which camera to use for what and when.  The difference isn’t just due to image quality.  It is also an issue of ease of carrying and using.  I try to use all of my cameras but pick the one that is adequate for the conditions.  In really lower light with faster action I use one of my Fujifilm cameras, but when I want a pocket camera or need a rugged waterproof camera, I have been using the Olympus TG-5.

I used the Fujifilm X-E3 camera with the 27mm lens to record this morning’s sunrise.  I used the Fujifilm X100F to make the image of water boiling in the tea pot when I didn’t want a large depth of field, but I wanted to get close.  I used the TG-5 to capture the essence of the weather when I was inside looking through the screen at a parked car when it was raining, and I wanted the maximum depth of field.  In all cases I tend to reach for the smallest lightest camera that will do the job.

I use my Fujifilm cameras for all of my Homewood images when I need to achieve maximum image quality, but I often will carry the TG-5 when out walking since it is smaller and lighter and more rugged and when I have the time to enjoy the challenge of making different images with it.

For most of my Homewood event photography I have been mostly using my Fujifilm X-T2 with zoom lenses since I need to photograph a wider range of subjects at varying distances, usually from behind the audience so that I don’t disturb the residents.  The question for the coming year is what setup will I mostly use?

My current main problem is the arthritis in both of my hands, especially in my thumb joints.  Between my hands, my back, and my knees, I find that I have a worsening issue with my ability to carry, hold, and use my cameras.  I would really like a better camera for use with my hands, but finding one isn’t easy.  When they have been adding more functions to cameras over the years, especially additional abilities to use the cameras for making longer 4K videos, etc., newer cameras have been getting larger and heavier.  I don’t need a lot of functions, especially not for videos, but no one makes new, basic, lighter, easier to use cameras without multiple capabilities these days that are affordable.

But carrying and using my existing cameras isn’t my biggest concern.  My biggest concern is what to photograph.  In the past I have tried different cameras and lenses to enable me to photograph additional things with extended capabilities like macro and longer focal lengths.  I’ll continue to search for other things and different ways of photographing them.  As in the past years, I will continue my search for the optimum camera and lenses that meet my physical and photographic constraints as well as maximizing my photographic opportunities while reducing my number of cameras to a minimal set; but, the least expensive solution is to use the cameras I have along with a few prime lenses and reduce the number of images that I make.  Rats, that doesn’t sound like much fun.