Yesterday was a cool rainy day, and we headed to Fairchild again. Butterflies were not in the best of moods. We got some, but spent more time with the flowers, since it was cloudy, we could work longer than we usually would.
In this case, I sussed the Leica 35 Summilux ASPH FLE, with a close up filter. I have found this to work very well for me vs a macro lens. I’m not aware of an f/1.4 macro lens, and if there is, I’m sure it would be really big. So happy camper with my combo, that coupled with the mirror less Sony a7 mkII is now my favorite macro rig.
Tomorrow it is supposed to be record cold here, low of 37F, praying for cloudy skies to go out again. In the meantime, here are some from yesterday.
For one reason or another, mostly health related, we had not visited the Butterfly Garden at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. So Valentine Day seemed like a good time to do it, since the rather was on the cold side for Florida. Sun was out and a little breeze for macro, but were going to be inside an enclosure, so it should be OK.
Lots of people since it was a week-end. We were there early and enjoyed lots of spots with shade. Sun will yield tremendous contrast and many times, white glare from the sunlit leaves in the background, so we avoided it. The cool weather was perfect because they get a bit lethargic. Happy butterflies move too much for good pictures.
We took a lot of gear, not knowing which would work better. One camera, the new Sony a7 mkII, and a handful of lenses: Leica 35 Summilux, Leica 75 Summicron, Sony 70-200G with extension tubes, Lensbaby Sweet 35 and Edge 80. No tripods, although they are allowed, I would think kind of difficult when the place is busy. You gear will most likely end up on the ground. No flash is allowed in consideration to a couple of Hummingbirds in there. I was laughing thinking the ones in Costa Rica and Ecuador must be extinct right now with the 8 flash set-ups.
Since I wanted a certain look to the pictures, most successful came from the 35mm with close up filter and the 70-200 with extension tubes. All wide open in my case.
Looking forward to our next expedition, on a week day this time, to work a little more comfortably.
The WordPress family keeps growing. Here is the first entry from our friend Susan.
Originally posted on Visual Personae:
I have always enjoyed taking pictures in the natural world. I have been underwater with a camera, in the swamps, up mountains, abroad and in the USA, but I have always needed to venture out of my familiar territory. The camera has been a way to share what I have seen and appreciated. I have always believed that what was interesting was what we were unaccustomed to seeing. To this end I have lugged around the heaviest equipment you can imagine: lenses, cameras, tripods on airplanes and on my shoulder in parks and on trails in the most exotic locations I could manage to get to. The beauty of the world I live in here in Florida has always escaped my capture, either because I just wasn’t ready to see it or because it was just too familiar (if you want to know what water looks like, don’t ask a fish). Truly, it was time…
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We were at Cava, Coral Gables, last night and took a few pics of the dancers. Very talented group.
Sony 7as, Zeiss 55/1.8 @ f/2.8, Auto ISO
Sony just released their new family member in the mirrorless full frame family. First came the a7, followed by the a7r and now the a7II. Each being different and serving a particular need.
Adjusting to this new camera was easy since we had the a7r, purchased initially as a back up to the Leica M, then we started liking its potential, huge files and great quality. We did not keep the r model, switching to the a7s due to its fantastic ISO performance.
Fabs has an image taken at just over 100,00 ISO that needs to be seen to believe and I have one from the Hunted House at Disney, 64,000, that looks normal. Amazing.
Here comes the new family member, a7II, we got intrigued with the 5-axis stabilization plus 24 MP sensor and decided to give it a try. On the first time out we were not surprised. Well, there was one big surprise which was unexpected: ISO performance was much better than we thought. I have lots of 4000 and more that show little noise and good quality. Will be shooting many more images and posting results but with the two initial session, we could see it is a winner.
The exciting part is being able to use the Leica lenses. It does have some native lenses producing high quality images, all by Zeiss. The 55 f/ 1.8 is one of the sharpest around and the test reviews rank it among the best in the class. The 35 f/2.8 is also a great performer and worth adding to the collection. The 16-35 f/ 4.0 is also very sharp and has a close up focus capability, allowing interesting images with close up perspective, unique. Have not used myself, but have seen reports from the 24-70 f/2.8 and they do not match the quality of the just mentioned. I will probably rent one for a week and try it myself, it is a practical focal length.
Having the stabilization in camera, means all lenses will be stabilized and the system works well. My preliminary images taken at one second with the 16-35 have produced some critically sharp images. Shooting at ¼ second is routine with decent hand holding technique. As mentioned before it’s a perfect back up for the Leica M if you can’t have a spare M!!
The new camera is slightly different than the previous, being heavier, larger grip, top bottoms more ergonomically placed and a very nice dark finish. For using Sony as a system, I would go for this new one paired with the a7s, lethal combination.
By the way, one warning regarding this new offering, it will cause some problems with third party extreme wide angle lenses. The a7s sensor solved that problem and was usable with all including the Voigtlander 12mm full frame. You will find some light fall off on the corners which is no problem and also some purple fringing around the periphery but not as noticeable as the a7r model. This is easily corrected with an Adobe plug-in called Flat field converter. Easy to use, but one more step during processing.
Highly recommend this new camera, mirrorless is the way to go, they are small, good performers and will be taking over the camera sales yearly until being the dominant factor. Presently, they are not as good in the autofocus performance but this new offering is narrowing the gap considerably. It has 117-point phase-detection AF system with 25 point contrast-detection system being capable of capturing action. I have noticed the increase AF speed over the others but not tested the performance with tough/fast moving subjects.
Will be posting lots of image samples after our next shoot which should give you a visual representation of what this jewel is capable of doing.
All images are out of camera, opened with Adobe dng converter 8.7.1, no noise reduction, adjustments, and if you click on them, you will get the full resolution version, with our permission to download and edit them as trial.
So Art Basel Wynnwood was here again, and we took Maggie Steber’s workshop again, Miami Mystery, to Miami Noir as I like to call it. It was great, very good at motivating Maggie is. Although Wynnwood is certainly changing, less wall writers and more galleries, it is still a spectacular place to view art, interesting people and enjoy yourself, if a little warm for December.
Here is a short slide show of my story line. You may interpret yo your imagination:
After a long summer break, mainly due to the Florida summer heat and humidity, we decided to take a chance and visit Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival.
I still had the knee problem, so we rented an electrical scooter to move around. It was very cool and efficient, and it made our visit so much more pleasurable. Even though I had the carriage, I chose to go light on the gear and just carried the newly acquired Sony a7s and a couple of Leica lenses.
The little Sony is the youngest one of the a7 family. We had the a7r for while, but it was problematic with the Leica lenses because of purple fringing and vignetting. There is a Lightroom plugin, called Flat Field, that will handle that, but you need to take a control picture and we really did no want to go through the trouble.
This little gem does not have that problem, being a newer camera. At least, it worked perfectly on my 35mm Lux, which is my main lens when I use Leica.
The ISO capabilities are extremely good and pixels are very dense, except it only has 12MGs, which does not really bother me. My beloved Nikon D3 was that exact resolution and it was fine.
So here are some of the pics we captured, most of them with the 35 Lux. Only used the 24 f/2.8 for the fireworks, though I could have used the 35 after all.
I used the B&W 3X filter for some flowers or objects close ups. Be aware that you need to focus moving back and forth until you find sharpness exactly where you want it. I tend to use it wide open, but if you like more detail all around you can use a smaller aperture.
More to follow soon!
Michael Brown has been very inspirational for me for many years. Check out his work!
Originally posted on "Macro Art In Nature":
I just started back painting some this week. Back to “macro painting”.
Have been looking through some of my older paintings and some of the newer images that I think might work pretty well for what I have in mind.
I enjoy painting within a computer.
To me, … it’s relaxing.
Also, … I have found that art buyers and designers are just as receptive to those digital creations as they are with straight photography.
All is has to be to them is, ………. “different”.
I have also been searching for various canvas textures to print these on now.
There has been some new papers etc. that has come out in the last few years, some of which I have only recently become aware of.
Some cool stuff out there!
The following two images were created in the past few years, … and the one of the frog has been…
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