Friday, December 25, 2015

Santa's Photographer uses an Olympus OMD EM1

For the last four season I have been the official photographer for Santa on the Polar Bear Express operated by the Indiana Transportation Museum. This is a great group of people passionate about trains and Santa.

Every year I try and ride several round trips with Santa getting the event in both day and night settings. Personally I like the night images more. They set the holiday mood much nicer. For the last several season I have been using the Olympus OMD EM1 as my camera of choice. I downgraded in size from Nikon gear. However I did not downgrade in image quality. The complete Olympus package works so well for this type of event. The gear size and weight are a huge factor for me. I am busy moving between five passenger cars bouncing along at 20mph. That does not sound fast but on an old rail line, it's fast enough. These cars are swaying.

The other feature where Olympus has an advantage is with the built in image stabilization. The night images would not come out nearly as good without this feature. Since the cars are so dark at night I am using the 17mm 1.8 lens opened wide. No flash at night, it ruins the mood. I will use a flash during the day as fill light.

Being the official photographer to Santa is a workout. After one ride, I am worn. It can be difficult being in the right place and time to get that magic moment. These images are used for the museums marketing. Both online and print. I do not take a picture of every child with Santa. Instead I am looking for that image that would be used for advertising. A moment that defines the event. Below are some of my favorites from this season.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!









Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A visit to the National Air Force Museum with the Sony RX100M3

This past week before the Thanksgiving holiday I had business to attend in Dayton Ohio. My meeting was in the morning leaving my afternoon free. The business was only 15 minutes away from the Air Force Museum. So by 12:30 that afternoon, there I was heading into a very cool museum. This was my third visit to the National Air Force Museum in two years. I have yet to see everything. One could spend an entire day doing nothing but reading all the presentations along the walls.

So this time, being on business, I wanted to travel lighter. The last two times I brought my full Olympus gear and tripod. This time I only brought my Sony RX100M3 and my Tamrac Zipshot Mini tripod. When folded this little tripod will fit in a coat pocket. It is perfect for the Sony camera.

In previous blog post I discussed creating art using the in-camera features. That was one of my main objectives during this visit. In the cold war section of the museum there is a series of bare aluminum aircraft with colorful insignia. Having shot in this section before, I knew black and white looked good with the directional lighting. So I setup the Sony RX100M3 with Black and White, Superfine JPEG and used the filter option based on what color I wanted highlighted.

So here are the results. These are straight out of camera. The first image was printed on my Canon Pro 100 printer. It looks fantastic printed. Not bad for a little 1" sensor!

So is this art? My answer, Yes. There is vision and intent creating these pictures. If ever in the Dayton area, do stop. The size of this place will blow you away. Take care and safe travels.






Monday, November 23, 2015

Meeting the Medicine Buddha

Recently I had the pleasure of working with the Tibetan Monks. Not many people here in the state realize we have THE Tibetan monastery in Bloomington Indiana. This service was with the Medicine Buddha. Not being fully versed in all that was happening, it was a healing cleansing service. Being held in a private residence. The house itself could be the subject of another blog entry.

When covering these types of events I tend to enjoy capturing close up images. Especially when there is an alter having a Buddha. The alter was a temporary setup just for the event. The image was taken after the ceremony. This Buddha held my attention for several different compositions taken. This is the composition I favored most. Mainly due to the other pictures having a more distracting background.  Secondly, the light on Buddha was captured from another camera flash. How is that for timing? Without the flash the image becomes less brilliant with no shadow. The light was a gift from Buddha. So on next to processing the image as I see it in my mind.  If you have read any of my other post I like to go dark and then bring out the light. The first image below is the original out of camera. It was taken with my Olympus OMD EM-1 free hand, no flash. The image stabilization in the EM-1 camera is fantastic. Allowing me to get images like this without a tripod.


Initial capture with Olympus OMD EM-1
Once again, Capture One was used to process the image. There has been a learning curve to Capture One. If coming from Lightroom give it time to get use to the change in workflow. RAW images do have a different look in Capture One versus Lightroom. To me the difference is in color and clarity. They seem to be just a bit more brilliant.

Looking at the finished image below. The overall exposure was reduced a good three stops to beginning the painting in of light starting with the Buddha. Thanks to the flash, from the other camera, I had detail and shadow and highlight in Buddha to work with.

Using the layer brushes in Capture One I started painting in light to the Buddha. Along with light saturation, clarity and structure were increased slightly. It was slow going to get the detail and effect I was looking for. During this process I will make several virtual copies, so if something happens I can revert back to a previous copy.

The light behind Buddha on the wall is natural light. You can see it in the original, however it is more pronounced when the overall exposure is reduced. It frames the Buddha wonderfully.

Finished Buddha,now looking for a title.
Once Buddha was complete ,it was on to the other items in the view. The candlelight gave me a nice soft light up front to use and highlight the glow on the Orange and Vase. The glow also reflected nicely off the front of the bowl.

The remainder of the alter was highlighted with bringing some detail out in the feathers and contrast in the flowers. When I work an image to this detail I already have a title in mind. This one I do not. I having been playing around with "Awakening Hart" but still not sure. So help me along. What should I  title this art? Take care and safe travels.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Wedding Weekend with the Sony RX100M3

It's a rare occasion in our family when we get together. With everyone busy with their own schedules it makes for a difficult time to get everyone together for even the simplest of gatherings. This past October we had such an event on my wife's side with a wedding. You know you are moving up there in age, when the flower girl from our wedding is now getting married. And that's just what happened. Knowing this was going to be a quick overnight trip to the shores of Michigan, I was debating what gear to take, since there were going to be four adults in a Mazda 3! Side note on the Mazda 3. This is our fourth Mazda and our second Mazda 3. It was the first road trip for this Mazda 3 and did it perform nicely. OK now back to cameras.

So what to do with gear? My hope was to capture the Grand Haven lighthouse at night. Knowing this I was ready to grab my Olympus OMD EM-1, tripod and big bag. Instead I had a thought, or a moment of laziness, not sure. But anyway I was up for a personal challenge. Could I capture the lighthouse at night with a small sensor camera like the Sony RX100M3? So the challenge was on.

As you can see in the picture below. Equipment storage was about as small and light as can be. I had the RX100M3 in its Sony case. The Tenba case held two extra batteries and a card. Last was the tripod. I did not even bring my laptop or battery chargers. It was pleasant traveling this light.

Road Trip! Why throw all your camera gear in the trunk, when it fits in the glove box?

Road trips are always nice in a new car. This one was also uneventful, making it even better. We arrived just as the bride and her father were about to start down the aisle. I had just enough time to turn the RX100 on and snap this in aperture priority without checking any of the camera settings. I think it came out well. Post processing was a slight crop and change to B&W all done in Capture One.

As I become more familiar with the camera the fear of ISO noise on a small sensor is fading. I can comfortably get usable images upwards of 3600.

The quick capture as the bride and father walk down the aisle. 1/80s - F2.8 ISO 5000
The bride and father image was shot at ISO 5000. I did no noise reduction on this image. The image is very usable. In fact I think the noise is controlled and adds fine to the grain of the image. So after a wonderful ceremony it was on to the party.

This wedding had one professional photographer and two videographers covering the event all day. I think weddings are some of the hardest events to work. The professionals did a great job all day. I politely stayed out of the way and just watched good hard work from a distance.

Sony RX100M3 with on camera flash.
The reception was in the Family Center of the Parish. A nice hall, nothing fancy, however very functional for a multitude of church happenings. The one thing I did find odd was the cake placement. This beautiful cake was placed in an unlit corner of the room with the wall behind draped in black. Absolutely no light placed on the cake. So I finally got to use the built in flash of the RX100M3.

I popped out this little flash not expecting much and was pleasantly surprised by the results. The above image is straight out of camera. This was a dark corner of the room having several different light sources around the area. The camera did a good job with the white balance. TTL metering was also spot on. The wedding photographer came in with two studio lights and lit the cake with the strobes. I chimped over his shoulder to see. The newlyweds will be happy with his work.

So the main part of this weekend challenge was to get the Grand Haven lighthouse at night. I was really looking forward to this. Yes I took pictures of the family and got all the relatives pictured with my wife, but my goal was the lighthouse. I was on a mission. So onward to the picture of the lighthouse below.























Oh where is the night shot of the lighthouse you ask????? WELL two things.

First the weather. Upon exiting the Family Center it was starting to drizzle. By the time we drove over to the lakefront it was raining, hard. On top of that the sand was blowing, sideways. Great! This camera is not weather sealed. For the price of these Sony cameras I was not going to risk getting water and sand inside the workings of the camera.

Second, I have discovered why there are no night shots of the Grand Haven lighthouse. Well the lighthouse does not LIGHT! Yes thanks to modern technology, there is now a radio/gps beacon flashing red on top of the lighthouse. The lighthouse is not even lit. You can not see the thing. There where a few choice words out of my mouth at the moment of discovery. You would think the city would at least light the building since it would be beautiful at night along the beach and walkway.So now what to do. Well we went back to the hotel since the weather was really turning bad at this point. The challenge failed, or so I thought......

The next morning after breakfast my wife wanted to see the beach and lighthouse during the day. The weather had passed and the morning was calm and crisp. She was driving, so off we went. Glad we did make the final stop. Because out of the river at the opening to the lake exits this very big ship. I have taken pictures of the lighthouse in the past but never with a ship along as part of the subject matter.

This ship was being towed from the stern into the lake. Not sure what type of great lake ship this is, thought it was an ore ship to begin with but not sure. Anyhow it gave me opportunity to photo something unexpected.

This first image is tightly cropped to compose just the ship and lighthouse. Otherwise no post processing was done in Capture One. This shot was camera in hand leaning over a guard rail to capture the two in subject.

1/400s- F9.0 ISO500
In post processing, upon zooming in the detail for this size sensor is impressive. No it can not compete with full frame sensor. However these images would have no problem being printed up to an A3 print size.

The last image is my favorite as the ship was just being pulled out of the river and crosses the lighthouse. The reflection in the sand is a bonus. This image was processed in Capture One. I worked the exposure, pushed the colors and did a slight white balance change.

1/650s - F9.0 ISO 500

In conclusion, it was a pleasant trip to see family and have good food. I was glad that I did not lug my bigger gear up with me. With the way events were progressing I would have hardly touched it. And this is where these smaller RX100 cameras come into being. They are the perfect carry around camera. If you demand more from your images than a cell phone can deliver then you need to look at these Sony cameras. The quality is there.

So did I meet my challenge? Well my goal was to capture a unique picture of the lighthouse at dark. This did not happen. However I did get a second chance. And although it was captured during the day, I think the image is still unique. So in that regard a success. Take care and safe travels.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Picture Process Before and After: When Is It Art Part II

To carry on the conversation about photography as art. I would like to discuss the photograph becoming art within the camera. This may be a very difficult task for some of you. For others like myself. It's very easy. The reason it is hard for some? Because there are those of you who ridicule the in camera art functions!! Yes, you know who you are. Both my Olympus OMD EM-1 and Sony RX100MIII have very good in camera art functions. For example, the dramatic black and white from my Olympus is very nice. I love the contrast built into the filter.

Dramatic B&W from the Olympus OMD EM-1
Looking at the above image, why would you not like to use this filter on occasion? It creates some great punch. So is this not art. Back to my previous blog entry. There is vision and intent to create this image.

Art filter using my Sony RX100M3
This above image taken with the Sony RX100 on a walk with the dogs. Recently I started experimenting with the filters in the RX100. Sony, like Olympus, has done some really nice work with the in camera use of filters. With images like this, the most I may do is crop. Both of these images have nothing done to them.

So is this art? I believe it is. And the use of these in camera filters is not just a gimmick for beginners. If you have never used them give it a try. You may be surprised by what you get. Take care and safe travels.



Sunday, October 11, 2015

Picture Process Before and After: When is it Art?

About twice a year we travel to Eastern Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains. My wife and I just love this part of the country. We do this to enjoy the vast beauty of nature and to get pictures I turn into art for my web site www.silverstreamsgalleria.com.

I wanted to discuss art as it applies to myself and my interpretation of the work presented on my web sites and blog. First the definition of "Art"; (as defined by Oxford Dictionaries)

  1. the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power:
  2. the various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance: 
  3. subjects of study primarily concerned with the processes and products of human creativity and social life, such as languages, literature, and history (as contrasted with scientific or technical subjects): 
A very liberal definition of a noun indeed. So "Art" can be defined in any way either by the originator (artist) or by the viewer. So is photography an art form? Yes. Is every photography an art piece? No. So what defines a photograph as art? Intent and vision of the photographer. Is my answer.

So lets use a wedding photographer as an example. During a very busy wedding day hundreds of images will be captured. Of those images there are two categories, for arguments sake, those that you want to define the day,it's that "money shot". And the others. Lets start with the others. These are pictures that need to be taken. There is intent, but maybe not vision. They would be the group of cousins with the bride and groom, friends from school, etc. They are pictures taken to record the day. Probably very little post processing. Check exposure. Crop. And that may be all. History markers, I was here and so were they. A very good picture and very important to the newly married couple. But not art.

Now lets get into the art. At some point in the day the photographer becomes an artist. When it is time to take those images that define the wedding couple and define the photographers style. That style is created through intent and vision. This is the reason this couple was attracted to this particular photographer, for his/her artistic qualities. 

The art begins with the vision that photographer has for a particular look. This will encompass the couple, location, equipment and experience of the photographer. Every art piece begins as a captured image and ends as completed art using pre and post processing of that picture into something greater. Because intent and vision.

Every photographic art piece begins as a picture. It's what you do with it that tuns it into art. Looking at definition #1 above. It is every photographers personal expression that defines their art.  So therefore, I am an artist. Are you? 

On to the images of my art from the Smokys this past summer. Off the beaten tourist path there is an area in the park that has some old homes/cabins. Exploring this area I came upon this scene and loved the quality of the wood patterns and grain versus the stone of the fireplace. I took a number of pictures in this cabin room, always coming back to the fireplace.

Equipment used in this instance was my OMD EM-1 on a tripod and the 14-40mm/2.8 lens. A very good lens by Olympus. The first image up is straight out of camera. I liked the relationship of the window to the fireplace, and wanted to try creating a darker mood.

The initial capture using OMD EM-1 on tripod. Smoky Mountains

Below is the intermediate image. Processed in Capture One. I use my technique of bringing down the overall exposure. Then brushing in the the light using the detail layer brushes in Capture One. The light rays were also brushed in. The mood is there. This is what I had envisioned in my mind when capturing the image.

Intermediate Image almost done. Processed in Capture One.

Now for the final image. Coming across on the blog the image may look the same as the intermediate image. The final image has a very subtle layer of glow added with onOne software suite 9.5. When printed I can see the difference. The glow adds to the ambiance as a mood enhancer. Glow is good when added at a very low level. 

Final Image. A very slight bit of Glow added.
So there you have it. A discussion of how I define art and another example of my art in process. The reason for this blog is this very discussion. I want to discuss the art of photography. Not just the hardware but what we do with the image after capture.

So what do you think? Do you agree with me on the photographer as artist? Are you one?

In a future blog I will talk about creating art straight out of the camera.

Take care and safe travels.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Blood Moon Challenge

This past week we had the blood moon for all the world to see, unless you were covered by clouds. We had the clouds in our area of the world. However the weather was perfect. A light warm breeze that made waiting outside a very nice experience. What I thought was going to be relatively easy turned into one of the more difficult image captures I have had in a long time.

In all, I was working the camera for a little over an hour trying to time a shot between the cloud movement. The earth and moon movement. So every time there was a break in the clouds I had to recompose the shot and manually focus quickly before the next round of clouds. It proved very challenging.

This first image shows the clouds floating by. I shot this around one second to capture the streaking clouds. Not the greatest of images, however it does show the incredible light intensity between both halves of the moon. It almost looks like the moon is reentering earth's atmosphere.

As far as gear went, I was using the OMD EM-1 on tripod. The lens was the 40-150mm/2.8 with the 1.5x extender. So the camera was reaching out to 420mm. Post processing was straight out of camera for the first two shots. Processed through Capture One.

Blood Moon in Clouds Half thru the process. Captured with Olympus OMD EM-1 on tripod.
This is the image worth working for. Finally had time between cloud clusters to get a good image. I like this one for the way the clouds frame the moon. This was also at the peak of the eclipse with the moon being most "bloody". Cropping was the only thing done to the image in order to zoom in on the moon plus reposition in the sky.
The capture of the night! Olympus OMD EM-1 on tripod.
The last image is my personal favorite of the night. This was created using Topaz Star Effects, which has some really nice ways to bring out the star burst. Other than the star effects, nothing else was done to the image.
My vision of how the moon was presented in the sky that evening. In an other worldly fashion.
So if this moon event only happens once every 33 years, I am happy with what was captures in the skies above me. Given the cloudy conditions for what they were. Just think what camera gear will be available 33 years from now to capture the next blood moon? Take care and safe travels.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Picture Process Before and After: State Park Pokagon

In July the I made a visit to Pokagon state park. My first time to this park. This is one thing governments have done correctly throughout our nation. So many great state parks to visit and hike. Located in Northeast Indiana, Pokagon is well know for its winter toboggan run. Being in the area for other family matters I had time to hike some of the trails. This was done after just visiting the Smoky Mountains. So after climbing mountain trails, walking flat Indiana was no issue other than.....the flying insects. They were bad, even with bug spray they ate me like a cheap buffet. So onward I went walking, fighting for every ounce of blood with every step. The geography of the park is very dynamic ranging from wooded paths to marsh and on to a very nice lake trial. For this trip I found the marsh area to have more of the interesting plants and wildlife. The park has made a wonderful elevated walkway through the marsh. Even has areas to stop, sit and observe the wetlands. Very nice, when not being attacked by bugs. The one thing you have to watch out for is the snakes that crawl up and sun themselves on the deck.

The elevated walkway through the marsh. Watch for snakes!

Lighting was very flat that day but still bright enough to wear sunglasses. I had my ND filters with me and actually used  them in this image to tint the color a bit. Between the filter and the white balance I was looking to pull the clouds out a bit from the overcast nature of the sky. I think it worked. From the above picture of the walkway you can see that there is a lot of tall growth right up to the walkway. I came upon this more open area that gave me some depth to the view. I seem to be attracted to water in my landscape art work. So naturally the opening in the Lilly pads attracted my eye into framing this.

Using my Olympus OMD EM-1 on a tripod I worked with the settings trying to bring out the clouds and focused on the water. Recomposing several times brought me to this view with the water centered in the middle. The whole day the lighting was doing nothing for the image. I did think I could work the light in post process

Pokagon Marsh, shot with Olympus OMD EM-1 Original Shot

I liked the composition and the clouds in this image. However I needed to bring out the light in the water. My goal was to have the eye wonder between the clouds and the water. Using Capture One for post processing for all the work, I first started by bring down the exposure. Once this is done I then begin to brush in the light using the local adjustments brush in Capture One. The brush layers function is very powerful in this application. Plus Capture One handles RAW files much better than Lightroom.

The other goal was to create a unique sky. So again using the adjustment brush and layers I worked with the hues of the sky to bring in a more "other world" look. This coming from a sky that had absolutely no detail. It was just a very gray and dull day. So I feel good what I ended up with in the sky.


Final image after brushing in the light using Capture One
In the end I came away with something I was pleased enough to print in large. I used an InkPress Watercolor Rag 200. This is a great paper for fine art. And very affordable. More on this paper in another entry. So what do you think of the final picture? Take Care and safe travels.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Picture Process Before and After: One Cool Creek

Up first is a picture just recently taken.  I hope to create a process template in writing these entries consistently from post-to-post. Its all a work in progress. This template will follow along the following.

First, Location. Where am I what I am looking for in that location. Time of day and season.

Second, Gear I am using to capture the picture. Camera, lens, tripod, filters, etc. All in very general terms not doing an analysis of the image quality of the sensor down to the single pixel.

Third, Why take this shot? What did I first see to want me to get this capture? Are there variations of this capture? Did I recompose from slightly different positions?

Fourth, Post process. What software did I use and what changes did I make in each software or plugin.

Fifth, The final product. Love it or hate it!

So here we go for the first image.
First Image from Walkway. Shot with Sony RX100III
We have this wonderful nature trail park in our community. Great place to do a quick little walk around nature. We have had a heat wave come through that was the hottest of the summer, until this evening when I took this picture. Our family Westie was full of energy so it was time to visit the park and see the squirrels.
On trips like this I almost always have my Sony RX100III with me ready to shoot. As in this review by Camera Labs. Its a great general carry around camera. So it was a nice evening, just hitting that golden hour. We come over the walkway above Cool Creek and I see this reflection playing on the water. The creek was very slow since we had very little rain for weeks at the time of this picture. The reflection was very vibrant. So I set the camera in manual, freehand, no tripod and took several exposures concentrating on the reflection. Did not recompose. My goal was capturing the light in the trees and vibrancy of the reflection, without blowing anything out.

For this series of images, I processed the picture solely in Capture One. This software is slowly replacing my Lightroom workflow. It's a different mindset versus Adobe products. However, I am liking the brush layers much more.

Processed in Capture One, intermediate image.
So what am I thinking here? Well its about the reflection in the creek. So the first adjustment I made, was to drop the exposure to the point were I was just getting the highlights in the trees. This was about two and a half stops. That's a lot, things got very dark outside the highlights. Next, what I did was slowly brush in the light (increasing exposure, saturation and brightness). Capture One has great control when selectively brushing in local adjustments.

As I was brushing light onto the rocks I had a "moment". These come to me, every so often. The rocks in the creek, once highlighted looked "off" in the reflection. So I flipped the image and the reflection becomes the primary image, not the secondary. The now floating, along with the rippling water, rocks helps to keep the viewers attention just awhile longer.

Final Image of One Cool Creek

Once lighting was brushed in and the image flipped, one last adjustment was made. That was a final crop. As you see in the intermediate image, there was still natural light along the side of the image. Initially I was going to use this until I flipped the image and made the reflection the primary. To eliminate this noise I simply cropped it away.

And there you have it. What began as a walk with the wife and dog in our local park, became something entirely different. I find it completely relaxing and peaceful how I can take an image first seen in my head and work it into something so unique. We are all so very capable with these creative gifts. And that's what I want to do with this blog. Get the creative juices flowing. You may like the image or you may hate it. Not your style. That's OK. It's all art. There is no middle ground. However I hope you enjoyed the article and have learned something. Take care and safe travels.





Sunday, September 20, 2015

Journey to the Center of the World

From time to time I find something on the web I wish to share. This is one of those times. National Geographic sent a photographer into the largest cave in the world. Located in Vietman. He came back with some incredible images. Watch the 25 minute video towards the end of the article. Enjoy.

The Gear We Choose

What gear we use and why? What a great time to be a photographer with so much great equipment being available. I started my photographic journey in the digital age. First playing with Canon equipment, as discussed in the previous blog. Then moving on to Nikon for 5 years, to Fuji, to currently Olympus and Sony.

The Canons were used for an employer. I just never cared for how Canon felt in my hands. The gear always feels cheap to me. Can't say why,just does. So I never went to Canon for my own work. However, love their printers.

Then owned two Nikon D300 bodies. Finally traded those in after five years of heavy use. Each body had over 500k of shutter actuations. Great gear, great imaging. Used them for all my pro work. At this time mirrorless was just coming into its own. So I started looking to replace the Nikon gear with something smaller and lighter.

Fuji walked into my life as an X-Pro1 with several Fuji lenses. It was a love/hate relationship for about a year and a half. Loved the image results, hated some of the quirks of the camera. The JPEGS were stunning the RAW not so good out of Lightroom. There were to many compromises for me to use the gear with a high degree of confidence on a regular schedule. So out it went to be replaced by an Olympus OMD EM-1.

The Olympus OMD EM-1 is now my go to camera. I also have the 14-40mm 2.8, 40-150mm 2.8 and 17mm 1.7 glass. There are many good reviews out there on the web about this camera and these lenses. Agree with them all. I photograph a lot of sport with this gear and also shoot a lot of work with studio lights. It all looks good both in JPEG and RAW. The gear has not failed me and just works. I do not have to think about it. But even this small mirrorless wonder is to big for some of my work so into my toolbox comes the Sony RX100III.

I wanted something even smaller to be a general carry around type camera. So I was able to get a good deal through Amazon on a Sony RX100III. This I use for family events. Out and about town. And even some of my landscape stuff. It is just a really good little camera. Image quality is right up there with my EM-1. The video is great and its not even the 4K stuff everyone now desires. Its still new in my arsenal so I am still learning what it can do. It normally takes me about 6 to 9 months before I am fully comfortable with a new camera system.

In all of this journey through camera gear, never once was image quality an issue. Everyone of these cameras produced great pictures for me, my clients and for competition. It was never about the gear. But which system provided to me the best tools to accomplished what was needed at the time. None of it failed. All the equipment was made very well and reliable from each manufacturer. It is my belief that there is no longer crappy gear made. Everything out there in your local camera store is good, reliable and produces great pictures. The competition is to tough out there to make anything but the best. The buying public would weed these companies out quickly.

So how do you choose your gear? I would like to know. For me, it begins with what works between my fingers, eyes and brain. It has to click when I hold the camera up to my eye. How the dials, menu and view finder work when I need to access something or make an adjustment. Beyond that, what can I afford?

Once I settle into new camera gear. I tend to use it for a long time. The yearly upgrade path is not part of my program. So the equipment gets a good workout.. You will not see a lot of new gears reviews here. After all in the end its not about the gear. "Its About the Picture"! Take care and safe travels.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Pixels Explained a Good Read

In my own wondering of the internet I may fine an article with information I wish to pass on. This is one of those moments. Helen Bradley over at Digital Photography School has a very good and short article on the subject of pixels and photo size for printing. Take a quick read. It's always good to refresh on these types of subjects. Especially if you do not do a lot of printing.

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Wee Bit of History

I begin my photography journey around 2000, when I started working as a safety crew member for Indy Car Series. My responsibility was to photograph any mishap with an Indy Car during practice, qualifying and during the race. All crashed cars were impounded by our group. We would then photograph and report all damage back to Indy Car. This data they would use making the cars safer. It was all fun. I would tell people my job was to "Look important, but stay out of the way!"

So guess what happens when no one is crashing on the race track. We watch and play with the cameras taking pictures of the action. Back then, these were Canon cameras, since they were a sponsor. About the same time my two sons were young and I wanted to take more photographs of them in their activities. So my photography interested started to quickly expand with these activities.

Since then I have continued to learn and grow my skills in the craft. I started getting really serious when I enrolled in the New York Institute of Photography online course for professional photography. A very good program that taught me the fundamentals. And still try to enroll in other classes when time and funds allow.

Like most photographers in this digital age, I have owned or borrowed a variety of gear to use. For me it's never been about the brand. Only about which camera can function best between my hands, brain and eyes. Camera selection is for another post. Safe travels and take care.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Beginning of the Blog

The first entry in what I hope will be a blog helpful to all as I explore my journey through photography. This blog has been in thought for a long time, with ideas floating through my head as which direction to go.
There are many photography blogs covering a vast subject matter. Some incredible blogs well established for what they offer. So the question is how can this blog be different? What would make you want to keep coming back?
For starters this will not be a gearhead review of every new camera/lens out there. I am not that interested in all the new stuff the moment it ships. I will review and discuss equipment I have owned/used in the past along with my current gear in how I make my art. It, end the end, is About The Picture.
So onward I go on this journey. I am sure the look and feel of this blog will evolve over time. My hope is to give back to those who read this, what I in turn have learned through photography. Safe travels and take care.