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Rainy Day Flowers


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.
 the beauty of decay
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.
Slipper slice
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.
 Inner beauty
FC orangeorchids
FC Chastity
FC littleorchid

Butterfly Expedition


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.
Black Butterfly

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.
 Indecent proposal

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.
Crystal

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.
White

Monarch

Minimal

 BlueDrop

Seeing Miami Anew


fabsforns:

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…

View original 313 more words

Flamenco night


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 a7II review, by Alfred Forns


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.

Sony a7II, 16-35 Vario Tessar f/4, 1/50, ISO 6400 Out of camera.

Sony a7II, 16-35 Vario Tessar
f/4, 1/50, ISO 6400
Out of camera.


Sony a7II, 16-35 Vario Tessar f/4, 1/60, ISO 4000 Out of camera, opened with Adobe dng converter 8.7.1

Sony a7II, 16-35 Vario Tessar
f/4, 1/60, ISO 4000
Out of camera, opened with Adobe dng converter 8.7.1

Sony a7II, Sony 16-35 Vario Tessar (by Zeiss) f/4, 1/60, ISO 200

Sony a7II, Sony 16-35 Vario Tessar (by Zeiss)
f/4, 1/60, ISO 200


Sony a7II, Sony 16-35/4 Vario-Tessar f/4, 1/40, ISO 6400 Out of camera, opened with Adobe dng converter 8.7.1

Sony a7II, Sony 16-35/4 Vario-Tessar
f/4, 1/40, ISO 6400
Out of camera, opened with Adobe dng converter 8.7.1


Sony a7II, Sony 16-35/4 Vario-Tessar f/4, f/4, 1/60, ISO 5000 opened with Adobe dng converter 8.7.1 Out of camera, no noise reduction, adjustments.

Sony a7II, Sony 16-35/4 Vario-Tessar f/4, f/4, 1/60, ISO 5000
opened with Adobe dng converter 8.7.1
Out of camera, no noise reduction, adjustments.


Sony a7II, Sony 16-35/4, Vario-Tessar f/4, 1/60, ISO 5000. Metadata included in picture. Full size, out of camera, converted with Adobe dng converter 8.7.1

Sony a7II, Sony 16-35/4, Vario-Tessar f/4, 1/60, ISO 5000.
Metadata included in picture. Full size, out of camera, converted with Adobe dng converter 8.7.1

Miami Mystery


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:

So Epcot again it is!


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!

Sony a7s, Leica 35 Lux ASPH. f/1.4, 1/25, ISO12800

Sony a7s, Leica 35 Lux ASPH.
f/1.4, 1/25, ISO12800


Sony a7s, Zeiss 55/1.8 f/1.8, 1/60, ISO 320

Sony a7s, Zeiss 55/1.8
f/1.8, 1/60, ISO 320


Sony a7s, Leica 35 Lux ASPH plus B&W 3X filter f/1.4, 1/60, ISO 250

Sony a7s, Leica 35 Lux ASPH plus B&W 3X filter
f/1.4, 1/60, ISO 250


Sony a7s, Leica 35 LUX ASPH f/1.4, 1/6400, ISO 100

Sony a7s, Leica 35 LUX ASPH
f/1.4, 1/6400, ISO 100


Sony a7s, Leica 35 Lux ASPH, B&W 3X filter f/1.4, 1/800, ISO 100

Sony a7s, Leica 35 Lux ASPH, B&W 3X filter
f/1.4, 1/800, ISO 100


Sony a7s, 35 LUX ASPH, B&W 3X filter f/1.4, 1/1250, ISO 100

Sony a7s, 35 LUX ASPH, B&W 3X filter
f/1.4, 1/1250, ISO 100


Son a7s, Leica 24 Elmarit f/23.8, 1/60, ISO 10000 hand held

Son a7s, Leica 24 Elmarit
f/23.8, 1/60, ISO 10000
hand held


Sony a7s, Leica 35 LUX ASPH f/1.4, 1/640, ISO 100

Sony a7s, Leica 35 LUX ASPH
f/1.4, 1/640, ISO 100


Sony a7s, Leica 35 LUX ASPH f/1.4, 1/100, ISO 100

Sony a7s, Leica 35 LUX ASPH
f/1.4, 1/100, ISO 100


Sony a7s, Leica 35 LUX ASPH f/1.4, 1/6400, ISO 100

Sony a7s, Leica 35 LUX ASPH
f/1.4, 1/6400, ISO 100


Sony a7s, 35 LUX ASPH f/1.4, 1/100, ISO 100

Sony a7s, 35 LUX ASPH
f/1.4, 1/100, ISO 100


Sony a7s, Leica 35mm Lux ASPH, hand held, 1/60, f1.4, ISO 5000

Sony a7s, Leica 35mm Lux ASPH, hand held, 1/60, f1.4, ISO 5000

Macro Photography And Digital Painting


fabsforns:

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…

View original 60 more words

How we do fireworks


We love doing fireworks and Florida’s Disney World has three parks that offer nightly shows. You can choose from a variety of locations, using foregrounds to make the photo more interesting. Fireworks by themselves are kind of boring. Cityscapes under them usually work, but incorporating people or structures usually give you a stronger image.
Normally we do the fireworks with a tripod mounted camera and slow shutter speed to have light trails common in this type of image.

Sony A 7r Leica Super-Elmar 18mm f/3.8 ASPH Hand-held, no filters 1/500, f/4, ISO 1250

Sony A 7r
Leica Super-Elmar 18mm f/3.8 ASPH
Hand-held, no filters
1/500, f/4, ISO 1250


I will have to give credit to my husband for the idea of trying high shutter speed and ISO to experiment hand held firework images. I happily went along, since we travel to the parks a few times a year. Nothing to loose but a night of shooting.

There is a great element of luck capturing fireworks, even if you are familiar with the show. Even if you do fast shutter speed, there are no guaranties of getting a good image.

The Sony 7r is a great camera, but it has an DSLR sensor, which becomes a problem with Leica wide angle lenses. Anything under 50mm and even the, you get vignette and a color cast. Leica lenses are range finder lenses, not totally compatible, except for the WADE lens, Tri-Elmar 14-16-18mm, because of it being a new design. There are still way to go around this, using Lightroos free plugin called Flat Field, which calls for you to take a control picture through a clear white balance filter, and the software will use both pictures and correct the problem.
We didn’t have to do this, because the sky was going to be dark anyway.
At the beginning of the show, I was trying the 50mm Noctilux, further away from the people. Mid show, there is a laser show and some talking, and I sued the time to change lenses and go wider.
Instead of standing up to eye level, I decided to kneel on the ground and look up, getting more space in the sky.
I set the camera to Aperture Priority, Auto ISO, f/4 and -1 Ev compensation, to avoid burning the white lights. Normally, at the end of every show, the intensity of the fireworks is much bigger than before and many times a lot lighter, so it is a good idea to move your aperture to a smaller one or your shutter speed to a quicker one, and you have more chances of getting a better exposure.

Since our lenses are manual focus, we either focus on infinity and go back a point or two, or in the case on the structure, we use the magnifying feature of the camera and make sure the borders of the structure are sharp. My suggestion is, if you use AF, to lock the focus and then turn the lens to MF to avoid AF jumping as you shoot.

Here is an example of slow shutter speed on the same show and location. This time, I used the Leica M240, 24mm Elmarit ASPH at f/4, ISO 200 (This Leica’s native ISO is 320) and a shutter speed of 1/500. A three stop neutral density was used to be able to extend the capture time.

Your camera may have long exposure noise reduction. On the Leica M240, you cannot disable this, but on the Sony A7r you can. The bad part about noise reduction is that it takes a while to process, as long as your exposure time, affecting the amount of images you can take during the show. My advise is that it is worth keeping it on. Best to have less picture with a clean sky than many with artifacts and posterized darks.

You can clearly see the difference it makes. This is a traditional approach to fireworks and what most people expect to get. Nothing wrong with that, but trying something different is also good. A cable release was used to avoid camera movement in the long exposure. No mirror up needed, Leica does not have one.

Leica M 240, Elmarit 24mm ASPH, ND filter, ISO 200, f/4, 8 seconds. Tripod and cable releasse.

Leica M 240, Elmarit 24mm ASPH, ND filter, ISO 200, f/4, 8 seconds. Tripod and cable releasse.


Here is another example of hand held fireworks:
Leica M 240, 500mm Noc, ISO 100, 1/60, f/2.8, HH

Leica M 240, 500mm Noc, ISO 100, 1/60, f/2.8, HH

You get a lot of smoke when you do fast shutter speed, which may be an asset getting what we call the nebula look.

Results:
Since this was an experiment, we did not know it if was going to work or not. Some of the images were very interesting, getting a complete different look, almost like galaxies in the sky. Most of them we will not keep, but we did get a bunch of interesting images not available with longer shutter speeds.

Hints:

Scout location if you have the time and try to get there early to secure a good spot.. If you are using a tripod, be careful of somebody tripping on it or moving it while you are capturing a long exposure.

Try to include other elements, like structures or people in your image, they add interest.
Try to include other elements, like structures or people in your image, they add interest.

If you only have one night of fireworks, you can try to do one camera in a tripod with long exposure, and another hand held for fast speed hand held. This requires quick reflexes and the ability to multitask.

Leica M 240, 50mm Noc, ISO 200, f/4, 8 seconds, ND filter

Leica M 240, 50mm Noc, ISO 200, f/4, 8 seconds, ND filter


Sony 7r, Leica 50mm Noctilux f/0.95, ISO 2000, 1/2000, F/2.8, hand held

Sony 7r, Leica 50mm Noctilux f/0.95, ISO 2000, 1/2000, F/2.8, hand held


Epcotfireworks18mm
Leica M240, Christmas fireworks

Leica M240, Christmas fireworks

It has been a long time


We have not been to the blog since December 1st of last year. Shame on us!

It is not that we are not taking photographs, nor stopped in our testing of new equipment. Sometimes our priorities get a little shook up and we need to stop and re-evaluate.

Some of you know that I went through a life chafing event, health related. Although I am officially rid of the Big C, some of the sequels are still around, in the form of lack of interest and energy, which I try to fight, sometimes with no results.

Yes, we have been active in photography. Yes, we have tried new things, but since I am the main communicator in the couple, the bucket stopped there.

We had big illusions to a trip to Guatemala with Raul Touzon, to document the Holy Week processions and events. An unexpected surgery got on the way and we were left behind and hospitals enriched their bottom line. to be perfectly honest, missing the trip hurt me more than having the surgery.

But I have come to terms with the cards that were dealt, and slowly put the pieces back together.

Since December, we have acquired and enjoyed the Leica monochrome, that has only one channel and shoots only black and white.

Very enjoyable camera, not for all uses, but worth having if you like B&W.

I will ask Alfred to write a small review, he’s more tech oriented than me. In the mean time, just to break the ice, I will include some pics taken after the last December post.

Will try and keep up the Blog, it used to be fun. I will reclaim that fun!!!

Great to be with you guys again!

Coral Gables tree. Leica M Monochrome, Voigtlander 12mm

Coral Gables tree. Leica M Monochrome, Voigtlander 12mm

Leica X-Vario. Youth Fair

Leica X-Vario. Youth Fair

Leica M, 35 Cron. Little Havana

Leica M, 35 Cron. Little Havana

Leica M240, Super Elmar 18mm, Magic Kingdom

Leica M240, Super Elmar 18mm, Magic Kingdom

Leica M240, Christmas fireworks

Leica M240, Christmas fireworks

Leica M240, 18mm Super Elmar, from the hip

Leica M240, 18mm Super Elmar, from the hip

Leica X-Vario, Youth Fair

Leica X-Vario, Youth Fair

Leica M240, 18mm Super Elmar, Youth Fair

Leica M240, 18mm Super Elmar, Youth Fair

Leica M240, Voigtlander 12mm

Leica M240, Voigtlander 12mm

Leica M240, 75mm Cron, French Pavilion, Epcot

Leica M240, 75mm Cron, French Pavilion, Epcot

EpcotChinesepavillion

M240, 35 Lux, Port Orleans, Riverside WDW

M240, 35 Lux, Port Orleans, Riverside WDW

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