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Site News Archive - 2014 October
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2014 October 30

I guess we'll give digital a turn.  Here's a shot from Wednesday:

A Tenacious Stand of Color
Canon 6D with EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
ISO 100
f/7 @ 1/160th

Normally this lens has no corner darkening at this aperture, but I added some.  More film-like or something. 
I like primes, but I keep an old 28-135 around for when I just don't feel like carrying more than one lens.   The 28-135 is actually quite a good lens, although mine is so worn that it doesn't zoom all the way to 135.  It says 135, but it seems more like 110 or 120mm. 

New Canon EF Lens!
Many of us have been hoping Canon would introduce a semi-affordable walkaround lens that has good optics.  Not that there's anything wrong with the 28-135... except for one thing.  I would prefer a zoom lens that could do 24mm and still be able to go to 100mm or better.

Well, I guess Canon was paying attention.  They're introducing a new 24-105 non-L zoom.  Pre-order yours here.  Release date is 12/22.

If I can get hold of this new 24-105, I'll review it. 

24mm is wide enough that it's relatively useful on a crop-sensor DSLR such as the T5, although currently the 55-250 is on there most of the time.

Gingko Tree
Canon Rebel T5 w/ EF-S 55-250mm II IS

As for the foliage, autumn color is almost done now in the Northeast.  That gingko tree was a few days ago;  I didn't get the chance to get back to it today, but it's probably a couple days past peak. 

It looks like Missouri to North Carolina should still be in peak foliage about now, unless you're in the highest elevations there. 

Browning and leaf drop have really set in now.   Autumn's final project, for me anyway, is to find "that one tree" in the first few days of November.  Then I can start talking about food some more, and maybe put a couple of reviews up here.

I have to remember to talk about how certain types of shoes become totally worthless when there's all-purpose flour on the kitchen floor.  You might as well be walking on banana peels.

2014 October 28

Yesterday was a late-autumn quest for that One Tree.  With the rainy weather coming in at the end of the week, there will be substantial leaf blowdown.  There could still be that "one tree" well past Oct. 31, though.

This has become an art project all its own. 

This particular "one tree" is very brightly-colored;  the trees around it were either leafless or they were oaks with brown foliage. 

That One Tree
October 27, 2014
Fuji Instax Mini camera & film
f/22 ("Fine" or "Fair" setting)

The leaves are about the same hue as they actually are on the film.  The sky and clouds acquired a bit of a magenta-red cast, which the film doesn't have.  I don't have time to mess with it right now.  Maybe later I'll try to match the scan with the film just a little better.  For now, I like this picture.  It's a good day in late autumn when you can find color this bright.

2014 October 26

Posting this Saturday night, but really it's from the 12th anyway. 

This is why I love film...

Autumn Is About This
Velvia 50 (4x5)
Speed Graphic w/ 210mm barrel lens
Cloth shutter, 1/280th sec. at approximately f/5.0

This picture is very special to me, because baby JR was with me.  He was seated in his baby sling (the Bjorn, actually), which of course was on me.  He had a front-row seat, more or less between me and the camera I was setting up.  Looking back I'm not sure how I quite managed to get this picture with him wanting to grab at the Speed Graphic (so cute!!), but it worked out pretty well.

Incidentally the 210 has pleasing bokeh;  it has more aperture blades than I've ever seen on any lens I can recall. (I have to check, but it looks like maybe twelve blades.  Old-school, made in USA.)

That said, almost nothing has pleasing bokeh when you've got a lot of thin branches in the background.  Especially when some of them are brightly-lit by the sun.

Saturday we took some more pictures, finding a bit of foliage still intact.  I'll post some digital pics when time permits. 

2014 October 24

There's been a lot going on, and as I probably mentioned twenty times before, I have tons of photos to post.  (Speaking of which... I'd also like to see the work that comes out of those Yosemite & Bodie workshops.)

Now, on to that food project I've been talking about.

This is a pizza recipe unlike anything I've made previously.   It has me more excited about pizza than I've been in a while.

One bite, and I knew immediately it was the best pizza I've ever had.   (That doesn't happen often;  I've tried a lot of different ones over the years.) 

Okay, it's one of the two best pizzas I've ever had;  the other one is made with recipes from this.  But right now, I'm calling it the best pizza I ever ate.

OM2 Photo Session

This one is a special type of pizza not made in the traditional way, but when you taste it, you might never know it.
I made this pizza recipe in a home oven, after lots of work and many different test runs.

Now, you can make it, too.  The new ebook is ready

2014 October 23

Soon you should start seeing some of the many, many pictures I've shot this autumn season.  It's still not over, though we've had almost a week of bad weather and its typically bad lighting conditions.  

Here's hoping this next week will see some sunny days.  I wouldn't mind getting out there again to photograph the remaining colors of autumn.  As of today, there are still trees that are mostly green or partly green, so that gives hope that we could see colors developing for at least another week

Anyway, I'm almost done with the food-related project.  This is a fun one.  I plan to unveil it either tonight or tomorrow, but we'll see how that goes. 

2014 October 20

Late autumn... time for the oaks.   Then again, this place intrigues me.   I probably won't make it there this season, but I'm going to have to plan a photo shoot there sometime.  Or here, or here.  With film.
Speaking of which, it's time for some film.

Oak Tree In Late October
Yashica Electro 35G
Fuji Superia 400
October 23, 2011

An Autumn Drive
Can't remember what camera, but it could have been the Electro 35.  I think this was more early- to mid-autumn, but it's all good.
Fuji Superia 100, most likely (have to check). 

These are just a couple from previous years;  I still have a ton of RVP50 / 100 and Lomography 200 slide film shots to post.  They've been sitting around here for a couple weeks, but I've been so busy taking more pictures, I haven't had time to put them up here. 

Maybe this week I'll be getting some more film back from the lab, too. 

Last, but not least... another food-related project is almost ready.

UPDATE:  Some days it says "cloudy" and you get mostly sun;  today it was the other way around.  It was calling for sun until one or two in the afternoon, but now it's "mostly cloudy all day".   There's cloud cover from North Dakota to Maine to southern Illinois... but there's always something to photograph out there.

2014 October 19

Sunday afternoon

Outside the coastal areas and southern US,  the late part of the foliage season is upon us.  This is when leaf blowdown really starts to be significant.

It's amazing how fast that happens.

Maybe, as in early autumn, we're back to the search for "that one tree":   surrounded this time not by green, but by leafless branches.
Here's a quick one from this afternoon:

October 19, 2014
Panasonic DMC-FZ200
Auto ISO 160
f/4 @ 1/1600th sec
Actual focal length about 70mm (out of a possible 108mm)

A colorful tree tends to look better among leafless ones than among green ones.  This was not the greatest example;  I didn't have time to search one out today, but I may try soon.  

It might be time to break out the Olympus OM2 again.

2014 October 16

I did finally finish that roll of Velvia 50 in the T70;  I should have it back in a few days.

October 15, 2014
Canon 6D

The past few days have actually been cloudy, rainy, and sometimes foggy.   This week of October is generally peak for a lot of regions;  it's not really the greatest time to have days of soaking rain, but you have to look for photo ops anyway.  I have a ton of pictures to post.

New gallery is ready:  Early Fall Color,  Page 3:  Time For The Slide Film!

2014 October 13

Sunday morning there was no frost that I could discern.   The big weather sites were saying "frost everywhere".  They also said it would cloud up in the afternoon.  Instead we had gorgeous, pure-blue skies all day long.  And the foliage was great, even if there's still some green.

I'm glad the weatherman is wrong sometimes.

On Sunday I was mostly looking for stuff to photograph with 120 and 4x5. 

In past years I've been known to drive as many as four-hundred miles in one day, simply to find good autumn foliage.  Average people can't relate to this;  only other artists know what it's like to seek that perfect photograph.  Well, "almost" perfect;  only God can make something perfect,  but you know what I mean.

There have been many times when I've driven more than 150 miles one way, just to take one photograph (or try). 

This year, I have to be a bit more conservative in that department.  My new photo assistant prefers much shorter drives. 

Daddy's Photo Assistant
October 12, 2014

He also prefers to work from one of these (truly one of the greatest inventions ever.  I know for a fact that a couple of you are going to be needing one of these soon...)

This was a quick snapshot after "we" set up the Speed Graphic on the tripod.   Overhead there was a nice maple, so the Speed is looking up into the canopy.  Just for my own reference:  aperture halfway between f/4.5 and f/5.6, shutter speed 1/280th of a second.  (That's "C3" on the Speed Graphic).  Velvia 50.   We'll see how it goes. 

On the 11th and 12th I took so many pictures (both film and digital) that it's going to take some time to make galleries.   I have an early-autumn slide film gallery in the works;  I'll try to get that posted when time permits. 

2014 October 12

When The Oaks Turn Color
October 11, 2014
Canon Rebel T3 w/ EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
Pick up a refurbished one for next to nothing through this link

Or, get this camera instead;  newer and better.  Ignore the newbies who hated this camera.  They didn't take the time to learn it.  A DSLR is not for everyone, and some people really are better off hiring a pro.  But if you've spent years shooting film, using a DSLR is a piece of cake.  (I still look at a DSLR as a light meter for 4x5 and medium format...)

The oaks are coming in!   Early autumn is a time of flashy scarlets and bright oranges.  Later, the oaks provide brown, reddish-brown, and burgundy hues that make the whole scene right.

By the time you read this, (most) everything from New England all the way across to the upper Midwest should have gotten a frost.  Some areas will have had a freeze.  Check your state's foliage maps;  for some places, this is the time to be out there! 

2014 October 10
Friday evening

Just a quick note...  The 4x5 film article has been updated;  I fixed one or two careless typos.  (You guys will keep me on my toes, I hope).  I also added a bit more stuff you might find enjoyable.

Soon I should be adding a 4x5 shot from that day.  Actually, a couple (maybe).  Check back tomorrow, too.

Once again I'm reminded of the importance of lighting.  It doesn't matter whether you carry a 4-megapixel pocket cam or a 4x5 field camera... lighting wins.  It is more important than resolution, lens type, or anything.   It helps to have the right equipment in the first place, but good lighting can make a decent camera into an awesome one, as long as you know how to take advantage of that lighting.

On a food-related note:  for a long time I have been thinking about, experimenting with, and researching the importance of water in pizza making.  Thus far, I do not believe you'll find the subject treated in such depth anywhere else but my pizza book

Some people might read it and start talking about those topics on forums, as if they've always known, but nope... I've been paying some attention and haven't seen anything like that so far.   Not in the depth that I've covered it. 

Generating or collecting specialized knowledge is really a lot of work.   I've found that good books are worth the money.  There are some people who seem to think all information should be free, right this second, but that completely disregards all the hard work it takes to generate the knowledge.  Ultimately I don't think that's a workable kind of economics.

 "The worker is worth his wage", as the saying goes.

2014 October 9

Here's one of those scans I promised.  It's from that first roll of autumn Velvia.

Fall Color In September
Velvia 50
Canon EOS 620

Smitten with the colors of RVP50.  Again.  Velvia 50 and Velvia 100 are still my favorite photographic things ever made.  And this time of year may well be the best time to use them.  This is what it's all about.  The digital camera is allowed to go along and act as a sketch pad, but it had better behave.

I have to say, lately I'm really enjoying the RVP 50 as much as the 100;  possibly more.  I've read that Fuji is making RVP50 in 4x5 again, but only for the Japan market.  It would be nice to get some more of it over here, too. 

No need to mess with fancy adjustments;  it just looks right.   And the transparencies look even better.

For reader Frank...  I'm slowly working my way through a roll of Velvia 50 on the Canon  T70.  Should be some good ones on there.  As he reminds me,  that viewfinder is one of the nicer, clearer ones out there.  I can do without all these electronic viewfinders;  just give me a good optical one from the 70's or 80's.

2014 October 6

Sundown, 4th October 2014
Pansonic DMC-FZ200
Handheld / Auto ISO 100 / I think this was f/4 or f/5
JPG + RAW  (this photo was JPG)
Some adjustment

I finally got around to reviewing my second-favorite bridge camera, the Panasonic DMC-FZ200.   (Reminder to self:  I have a couple of DOF comparison shots for the article;  they'll be uploaded as soon as I get the chance.)

Also, the first couple rolls of slide film arrived back from the lab a few days ago, but I've been busy shooting more photos.   I'll try to get some scans up here soon.   Autumn + Velvia = pure joy.

2014 October 3

I was standing around waiting for the clouds to clear out a bit.  Someone pulled in to the parking area.  I turned around, and I thought to myself "That fellow has to be a photographer."   He wasn't carrying a camera, but he did have a photographer's vest.

He walked up and said, "Oh, a view camera.  You don't see many of those."

Full story here.

2014 October 2

You know what time it is...

Four holders now contain a total of eight sheets of RVP50.  Let's see what I can find out there today.

Not even the 36-megapixel full-frame DSLR's can surpass the resolution of big film.  And they certainly can't beat the dynamic range.   The whole 4x5 experience is one of the things I like best about photography.  There are many others who feel the same way, too.

As far as I know, Kodak Ektar is still available in 4x5 (get a box or two here);  this would be a good time of year to put it to use.
(Get your Fujichrome Provia 4x5 here;  Velvia 100 4x5 through this link.  It helps keep my site on-line.  Thanks!)

2014 October 1

Kodak Elite Chrome 100
September 30, 2012

In much of the Northeast and upper Midwest, the color changes accelerate as September gives way to October.  Sometimes the most remarkable changes can happen within just one day.  

I've mentioned that some northern locations are at or near peak already.  Sometimes there are small areas of peak color, only ten or twenty miles across.   That might be why different sites with foliage reports are giving inconsistent data for the same locations.  Their observers could be far enough from one another that they're seeing these differences.  You don't even need to go to another county or township;  I've even seen it where one hillside will be drab, while another one nearby will have blazing color.   And if you don't get out there and look in a few different places, you might get an impression that it's not near peak yet.

I said earlier that 2013 was a lost autumn for my local area, but it could have been great elsewhere.   For that autumn, I think I was seeing the results of a local drought or something.

The 2014 fall color is shaping up to be very good in a lot of different places. 

Soon I should have the first batch of autumn 2014 slides back from the lab.

In the meantime, here's one from summertime.  This was processed regular E-6, not xpro'd.  The restaurant had very dim tungsten lighting, so I can't even really say it was the film here.  I still like the effect, even if their broccoli was not up to what you can make at home.

Restaurant Meal With Broccoli
Aug. 2014
Lomography Xpro Color Slide 200 @ 800
processed E-6
Nikon 6006 with Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 Series E @ f/1.8 or f/2

Actually, this film at 800 did very well in daylight and also in brighter indoor situations.  When I get the chance I'll try to get a few more scanned;  maybe I'll put up a gallery just for these.

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