Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mt. Kidd

Nothing original, I just like photographing this mountain any time I see it.

Rockface Kananaskis

Shot today in Kananaskis country, a 3 image stitch, made with the 5D2, 70-200 L IS f4 lens.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Website UP!

my new website is up and running, and the photographs loaded. I note some duplications and I need to start working on image descriptions but you can inspect the site and let me know what you think. I have not yet moved the blog over yet(as you can see).


Thursday, April 26, 2012


You may notice that the website has changed drastically and isn't complete. I finally broke down and paid for a new website to be set up and only now are they loading all the images. I'll be moving my blog over to the new site too once all the bugs are worked out but the new site should be cleaner, the images bigger and hopefully I'll do a better job keeping the content current.

I'll post on the blog here once the new system is fully functional.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Focal Lengths I Use

As part of looking for suitable lenses for a D800e, I decided to do a little survey of my recent good images and what lens and focal length was used to make them.

35 were made with the 70-200, at all manner of focal lengths, though 11 were used for stitching purposes and might have been shot in a single image with a wider focal length and possibly a wider lens altogether (though I'd guess prob. still the 70-200 since much of the stitching is done at 150 mm +.

14 were done between 24 and 70 mm., most at the 24 or close, the longest at 58 mm. and the next longest 40 mm. - rather suggesting the top half of the lens is surplus to requirements.

7 were  made at 17-24 mm. with most at 17 mm. suggesting a fixed focal length lens would serve well here.

I would interpret this as suggesting:

1) I need a 70-200 - that using an 85, 100, 135 and 200 would be awkward, slow, and still have significant gaps (135-200). The Nikon 70-200 isn't as good as the new Canon 70-200 f2.8 L IS II, but is close, and as good as my 70-200 f4 L IS which serves me very well.

2) I probably don't need zooms at the wider end - something in the 15-18 mm. or the 14-24, then 35 mm. , 50 mm. Only three images were made at focal lengths > 24 mm. and less than or equal to 40 mm. which even sugg. I might reasonably skip the 35 mm. lens and go from 50 to 24 and onto 15 mm.

3) I'm surprised at how many images I'd hate to lose were made at 17 mm. and could probably have been made at even wider without difficulty - it may be the third most common focal length, but still definitely needs to be represented.

Your figures are almost certain to be different as this very much depends on the kind of photography you do, not just subject but the seeing and composing as well. None the less, you might find it helpful to do this analysis to see where you need to beef up your coverage, or how to plan for a new system, in whatever format.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lenswork Monographs

I recently received my first Lenswork Monograph Made Of Steel. First let me comment on the idea and execution of monographs, and then this particular volume.

I had felt a larger size would be nice but in fact when the book arrived, I felt it was just the right size. Quality of the printing is as usual superb. The only thing missing is an option to subscribe to the whole series as I'm sure to want every one of them. I have some reservations about doing an entire book about a single project. My preference would be to lean towards retrospectives of a photographers best work which might well include several projects or genres. I guess it depends on whether you think the subject or the image is paramount. I'm quite sure that others won't feel the same and that's just fine.

That Brooks Jensen is able to produce these monographs as inexpensively by tagging them on to the print run for Lenswork itself is brilliant and Brooks is to be congratulated on a wonderful idea.

I have seen and enjoyed many of the images from Made Of Steel before, from Lenswork and especially from Brooks website but it is a delight to see this as a single publication. Many of the portraits are remarkable. Some of the tool photographs are fine artisitic images while others are more illustrative. That said, as a statement about a disappearing part of modern society, this is an important book and gives a great insight into the places and the people, fast fading from the modern landscape.

I`ll be signing up for the whole series.

Lens Tests

I have placed an order for a Nikon D800e and that raises the question of what lenses to use and where to go for information. I know the quality of what I have (17-40, 24-70, 50 macro, 90 tse, 70-200 and rarely used 300.

My go-to sites for information are:

1) - i find the ISO target images the most useful in understanding about resolution, especially as he has retested most lenses with the Canon 1Ds3 and Nikon D3x so we can make some reasonable predictions about the D800(e).

2) - I don't think we can say much about function on a 36 megapixel camera when testing with a 12 so some of the older tests are of less value (yet a bad lens will remain bad - only worse).

3) - good testing but very limited selection, and again consider the camera with which the testing was done.

4) - helpful but they specifically say you can't compare diff. systems - even within one brand.

5) - not formal lens testing with numbers and graphs but practical testing and comparisons. Yes, you have to pay for access, but paying $100 or so if you are purchasing a $3000 camera and perhaps as much as $7,000 in lenses, information well worth having.

What have my investigations so far shown me? The following are my impressions and remember I have not done any personal testing, not yet having the camera.

Well, the Zeiss 15 is stellar and significantly better in the far corners than the already very good Nikon 14-24 - but at $3000, and as I'm not your typical landscape photographer concentrating on near far compositions - it may not be sensible.

The Nikon 24-70 has a good rep but looking at the images I'm not overly impressed, especially at the 24 end. The Nikon 24 f1.4 G is terrific and as good or better than the Zeiss, and cheaper, faster, and auto focus.

The Nikon 35 1.4 is also terrific, and better than the f2 lens at the apertures I use - f8 and f11.

The Nikon 50 1.4 g tests very well but oddly doesn't seem to have a great reputation - barring evidence to the contrary, it will be part of my collection.

I wish there were more information on the 70-200 on either the D3x or the D800 but it looks to hold up well enough - near perfect at 70-100 and decent if not exceptional  in the corners the rest of the way. As this focal length is by far my most frequently used  lens, and as generally with longer lenses there is less opportunity to move forward or back to frame, I think I will have to at least give it a go. I wish Nikon made a high quality f4 lens for less weight ...

As to the D800 itself and the whole business of switching cameras - I was prepared to spend the money on the Pentax 645D - here I can spend about the same for camera and lenses and gain live view, image stabilization, and more flexibility.  If I find that Canon releases an even better camera within the year, I'm sure my D800e will not depreciate too badly and the lenses can be sold, or adapted for use on the Canon if need be.

Some argue that 36 megapixels isn't really a lot more than 21 since the linear increase in print size possible is the square root of the increase in pixels (about 31%) but that's the difference between 20X30 and 30X40 and for me that's important and may even pay for itself.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Quick Visit To Vancouver

From Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C. Three images, blended, shot with the 70-200 f4 IS L lens on my 5D2, images blended in Helicon Focus. I'd found the tree the previous morning but despite waiting for clouds, never did get the really soft lighting I wanted, so came back at sunset and now the only problem was the light was failing fast. The tree is an ancient cedar, about 10 feet across at the base and this bole reached about 10 feet high.

And since I literally had to walk across the bridge over the road to get back to my car, it just seemed sensible to stop and photograph the Lions Gate Bridge. F16 @30 seconds.