Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hopeless for spring / Nikon D1-X

A pleasant Saturday afternoon at the Brooklyn Botanic with the D1X and the 17-55 F2.8 G. The colors from the DIX are unbeatable. ENJOY

It should be here before you know it. Canon 10D

Yes indeed, spring should be here soon, we hope. This shot was taken with the Canon 16035 F2.8 L. I know it;s cliche but who cares.

Friday, February 4, 2011

There's always Venice to fight t he winter blues / Nikon D-200

Yes indeed. Venice, what can I say other than it's a phenomenon. The lens used was the kit lens or the Nikkor 17-70 F3.5-4.5. An ideal travel lens.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Close up / Nikon D2-H

The D2-H was a workhorse. I put those 4 mega pixels to good use. I had two of them and used an all my jobs. It was the model I used for the longest time. Here is a close up of a tulip near it's end with a lens that I cannot remember.

Two from Castellammare / Canon G-11

A great travel camera. Nothing more to add. These were shot in Castellammare del Golfo. The my Cousin's Cu ce' ce' caffe and wine bar. The shot of the cortile is from a building in the corso, or main street.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Summer dreaming. / Panasonic LX-3

Ah, Washington square on a summer day. I can hope. can't I.

Why all this need for more pixels is BS. / Fuji S1-pro

The blogs are all astir about the fact that neither Nikon nor Canon came out with new maxi mega pixel cameras this year. Some are actually going nuts. I can only say that a lot of this is BS. Here is an example from 2001 with the S1-Pro that had a puny 3,4 mega pixel camera. I believe that the colors and image quality have not been equaled. This is a JPEG out of the camera. I have 13X19 enlargements that are excellent. It's nice to have the extra pixels for cropping but this race for bigger and bigger is insanity. OK, the S1-Pro was very basic, it's AF was useless and the body was very plastcky. But for many applications it was outstanding. Nevertheless, this is a shout in the wind. The race for more pixels will go on and on. That doesn't mean that the older cameras are useless. I prefer my Canon 5D to the 5D II that I gave to my daughter. The files were just too large. The difference in IQ was not visible at all.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Another summer photo / Nikon D-200

The old rail road station at Mystic Connecticut. The lens was the 17-55 F2.8 Nikkor G.

More summer dreaming / Olympus E-300

It's the only way to fight the winter blues. Look at what was and will be soon. The lens was the Olympus 14-45 F3.5-5.6. BTW, more snow is on it's way.

Let's have some summer already.. / Olympus E-300

Enough of this snow, of this white on white. Here are two shots in that time in June when all the leaves are still very delicate. The lens was the 14-45 3.5-5.6 Olympus.

Monday, January 31, 2011

More snow photos / Canon 5D

There's nothing else to photographs these days. I used the Canon EF 35mm F2 lens. I hope the snow goes away but more is in the forecast.

Food for thought about Cartier Bresson

From our friends at IR/News
We were barely out of the first room of his early work when we realized Cartier-Bresson shot JPEG. There was no way he would capture Raw or even Raw+JPEG and then fiddle with the tone and color for hours. He was a man of action. And a man of action puts a couple of rolls of film in one pocket and his Leica 35mm in the other and sets off on his world journey.

No Raw, no laptop, no Lightroom, no presets, no workflow.

As the curator rightly pointed out on one of the rare bare spots on the walls of the exhibition, the small camera was an innovation the young Henri could not resist. It made photography so convenient. And beat the pants off drawing and painting images when it came to productivity.

It was the visual Twitter of its day. A short exposure for the complete image.

But Cartier-Bresson was something of a haiku master (to stretch that metaphor). His short exposures were packed with poetry. Early on and late in the day.

We simply enjoyed the extensive show, marveling at the man's focus on what was before him and not on the politics. Later, thinking it over, one image stuck in our mind.

It was an early shot when he was on the French Riviera at Hyeres. It's a landscape oriented image, a 3:2 aspect ratio.

That aspect ratio mattered to him. He printed for publication but didn't appreciate the inevitable cropping. So much so that one agency he used would print the clear frame around the image (forming a black frame on the print) to show it was full frame.

Reproductions of the 1932 gelatin silver print vary quite a bit. But trust the flatter, lower-contrast ones (even if a higher contrast image looks better to our eye). In those days one shot for publication and publications required flat prints. The flash exposure of a halftone would put a dot in the unexposed dark areas of the image so the ink wouldn't clog up the shadows on press.

Here's a link to a good reproduction:

Now that you can see what we were looking at, let's just say it's a pretty unconventional shot.

At first, the subject appears to be the stairway. It consumes most of the frame, after all, with its iron railing. It isn't a spiral, but climbs at steep angles with sharp corners. The railing itself is bent, not curved, to follow the steps. All that folds back upon itself to make the narrow descent to a hairpin turn at street level. This stairway is obviously on a very tight corner.

But when your eye gets down to the street, you realize there's another subject in the frame: a cyclist. Not a racer, but an ordinary fellow making his way through the city. The bike has fenders, the rider wears a dark suit and a cap. At least, that's the way it seems. He's something of a blur.

That's one unconventional aspect of the shot. A blurred subject.

If a sports photographer today took this shot, he would use a much faster shutter speed to freeze the cyclist and a very shallow depth of field to get that shutter speed in natural light. He'd zoom in a bit to crop out the distracting railing as much as possible without leaving the context confusing. If he didn't just run down the steps to lean over into the street for the shot.

And he'd have a completely different shot. The railing would be blurred, the cyclist sharp. Like Cartier-Bresson, though, he would have caught the cyclist in the open part of the road -- but unlike Cartier-Bresson he would have done it shooting in Continuous mode at 12 frames a second or more. Cartier-Bresson did it in just the one exposure.

The pro would have had a dramatic shot of the cyclist.

Cartier-Bresson, instead, gives us a meditation on movement. There are the awkward steps of the staircase, frozen on that corner, emphasized by their iron railing. Fixed and inefficient, the path of the elderly, the playground of children too young to leave home. And in contrast there is the blur of the young man on wheels, rolling through a hairpin turn over cobblestones.

You can't look at the shot and not feel the freedom that flows through it. The arduous steps with their bar-like railing and the still figure somehow, magically, racing by it without even moving.

That was Cartier-Bresson. And why he shot JPEG.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

More white on white scenes / Canon 5-D

Enough already I need to see colors. Shot with the Canon 35mm F2 EF lens.