Saturday, April 20, 2013

I love this city

These photos shot with the E PL-2 date from last winter and are all from the River Cafe'
under the Brooklyn Bridge. Alas, this fantastic restaurant was severely damaged by hurricane Sandy and is slowly being renovated. I wish them good luck and may they get back in operation.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Perhaps these may help

I have always tried to make this blog a place to come to for solace and relaxation; free from political or other personal views. Because of the senseless  tragedy that took  place in Boston with it's concomitant wall to wall coverage of what may be a fruitless police chase and with the constant and repetitive views of the bloody aftermath, I want to provide a few  pleasant photos. I just went to the Brooklyn Botanic, a place that gives me much solace and I want to share a few images in the hope that they may be helpful. This is not to make anyone forget what happened but as a way to stop and smell the roses as the trite expression goes.
If it's important, the camera was the Nikon D-700 with the Nikkor 29-105 F 3.5-4.5. A so called non digital lens that I have had almost forever but that still shows that all the BS about "digital ready" lenses is just that. It even has macro capabilities as shown in the bottom photo. I used manual focus as the wind made it almost impossible to use auto focus.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Photo lesson

I have come to the conclusion that the best shots are made when one has his back against the wall. literally and at times physically. They come out when one's resources and capacity are being stressed to the limit. These available light shots of my daughter and colleague Jennifer and her friend Jon, at the Spring Fair held in Greenpoint and sponsored by TheGreenponiters.Com web site that Jennifer owns and runs, are prime examples. Shot at ISO 3200 and hand held and naturally wide open and without flash in very dismal light nearer to darkness  show that when one pushes hard things  can happen. I was surprised at how many shots I was able to keep. The camera was the Nikon D-700 whose great low noise qualities did help and made it really easy.  The lens was not very fast. It was the Nikkor 24-85 F 2.6-4. In the film days, these shots would probably have been impossible. The film that had to be used would have been Ektachrome Type B with a speed of 160, that was considered fast. OK, I was younger and could have hand held my Leica at about 1 15th of a second with the Summicrons at F2  or even used a lens at 1.4 but still it would have been almost impossible in view of the lack of light. Perhaps photography is becoming just too easy and may not be much fun anymore.

Fantastic lens fron Sigma

I have always respected Sigma's innovation and integrity. Many times they surpass the big guys and show us how it can be done.

Sigma Corporation develops world's first F1.8 constant aperture zoom lens

RONKONKOMA, NY, Apr. 18, 2013 — Sigma Corporation of America (, a leading researcher, developer, manufacturer and service provider for some of the world's most impressive lines of lenses, cameras and flashes, today announced the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art lens, the market’s first zoom lens to achieve a maximum aperture F1.8 throughout the entire zoom range.
This revolutionary, wide aperture, standard zoom lens is created for DSLR cameras with APS-C size sensors, which translates to a focal range of 27-52.5mm on a 35mm camera. With a minimum focusing distance of 11 inches, and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:4.3, the 18-35mm is ideal for landscapes, portraits, still-life, studio, close-up and casual photography.
"Exceptionally fast apertures were previously unavailable in zoom lenses, so photographers turned to several prime lenses in a session to get bright images at various focal lengths. We're incredibly excited to be the first manufacturer to bring the F1.8 standard zoom to the market and to provide photographers with a new level of creativity and convenience, with the outstanding image quality at the core of the new Sigma Global Vision," said Mark Amir-Hamzeh, president of Sigma Corporation of America.
Amir-Hamzeh added that because developing a large aperture wide angle zoom lens can prove to be technologically and optically challenging, often resulting in various distortions, aberrations and field curvature, Sigma has tapped into its long history as a lens pioneer to overcome those issues in this new generation lens.
"Our experience with the wide angle designs of our 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 II DG HSM and our 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM, and our research and development in our Aizu factory have prepared us for this technological advancement,” he said. “Our wide, glass-molded aspherical lens and the incorporation of Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass have optimized power distribution of the optical elements and compensated for various aberrations, as well as curvature of field at the widest angle. We’re extremely proud of this achievement."
The 18-35mm is the latest addition to the company’s company’s Art line of lenses, designed under the new Global Vision. The Global Vision lenses have a sleek new design with the manufacturing year stamped on the barrel, and are categorized by use into one of three groups: Art, Contemporary and Sports. The Art category delivers high-level artistic expression through sophisticated and abundant expressive power.
The new 18-35mm lens incorporates Sigma’s improved AF/MF switch and the use of Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) compound material, which has a high affinity to metal parts, consistently performs well at extreme temperatures, and reduces the size and weight of the lens. It is also compatible with Sigma’s new USB Dock, which will be available in coming months, enabling photographers to update lens firmware and adjust focus parameters from their computers.
Convenient handling is achieved with internal focusing and zooming, which prevents changes to the size of the lens. Additionally, the front part of the lens does not rotate, so special filters like circular polarizers can be used.
The 18-35mm lens’ Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting and provides sharp and high contrast images, even in backlit conditions. The petal-type hood that is supplied with the lens will provide extra protection from flare and ghosting. Sigma’s Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) ensures a silent, high-speed AF function and the optimized auto focus algorithm results in smooth focusing and full-time manual focusing capability. Lastly, the nine-blade, rounded diaphragm creates an attractive, round bokeh at large-aperture settings.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The candid portrait

I do not like the so called "studio portraits." and whenever I had to do them, I always tried to emulate a one light with reflector set up; one that mimicked that north window light effect. The reflector was needed as film or digital needs it in order to compensate for it's lack if dynamic range.
Here is a disparate set taken with different cameras and at different times to show how a one light on camera can get good results.
Canon 10-D

Canon 5-D

Nikon D-700

Nikon D2-H

Fuji S2-Pro

The proportions are all wrong

The nasty laws of physics being what they are, we now have this. I feel that the small cameras are great but when the lenses are bigger than the cameras it is funny. It just looks wrong.

  Fujifilm has  now officially introduced the Fujinon XF 55-200mm F3.5-F4.8 R LM OIS telephoto zoom for the X system of mirrorless cameras. Notable features include optical image stabilization with a claimed 4.5 stops of anti shake, dual linear stepper motors for focusing, all-metal barrel construction, and superior optical properties . The lens also sports an aperture ring like that on the company's XF 18-55mm zoom. Fujifilm has also updated its roadmap of upcoming lenses to include the XF 56mm F1.2 R, which is half a stop faster than previously projected, and scheduled for release in January 2014. Finally the company is promising firmware updates to improve the autofocus speed of both the X-Pro1 and X-E1, which will be available to download in July. Very exciting no matter what the results may look like to the eye.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Mathew is one of the boys that had been participating in the enrichment programs offered by the Walter K. Hoerning Fund. This fund, in memory of my dear friend Walter K. Hoerning, a child welfare worker in Brooklyn who sadly left us too soon, provides all sorts of program to help inner city boys. My wife is on the board and I volunteer my photographic services.
These shots were taken on 4-14-13, at our annual awards ceremony.  The venue is the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music where many of the boys take courses. Some of the boys perform. Here we have Mathew, who attends La Guardia high School for the Arts and is majoring in dance. He is quite a talented dancer. The photos ware shot with the D-700 without flash.

BTW. visit the fund's site for information on it's activities,

With great sadness and solidarity

Our Thoughts and Prayers  Go to those in Boston.

   Will this madness  ever end?

boston_bombing_4152013.jpgWe hate to bring sad news to our feed, however we are asking that our readers send their thoughts and prayers out to all of those who were affected by these bombings in Boston today. Details are sketchy, however it is known than many were injured.
I almost decided to forgo posting today but this would only have empowered the miscreants who did this cowardly act. I will go on but sadly.

Great going Nippon Kugaku

Total Production of NIKKOR Lenses for Interchangeable Lens Cameras Reaches 75 Million

TOKYO - Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce that total production of NIKKOR lenses* for Nikon interchangeable lens cameras reached seventy-five million at the beginning of November 2012.
Nikon (then Nippon Kogaku K.K.) released its first NIKKOR lens for Nikon SLR cameras, the NIKKOR-S Auto 5cm f/2, in 1959 along with its first SLR camera, the Nikon F. Since releasing that first lens many years ago and establishing the NIKKOR tradition, Nikon has expanded its lineup of interchangeable lenses, recently adding a line of interchangeable lenses for Nikon 1 cameras and bringing total production to seventy-five million.
At the end of May 2012, total production of NIKKOR lenses for Nikon SLR cameras reached seventy million. Since then, Nikon has continued to actively release new NIKKOR lenses.
In June 2012, Nikon released the compact and lightweight AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR, a normal zoom lens compatible with the Nikon FX format, offering a frequently-used range of angles of view, and support for a wide variety of photographic scenes, as well as the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, an ultra high-power zoom lens compatible with the Nikon DX format and offering a 16.7x zoom ratio. In addition, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR was announced its release, the Telephoto zoom lens compatible with the Nikon FX format.
New lenses for Nikon 1, Advanced Cameras with Interchangeable Lenses, have also been released recently. In November 2011, the 1 NIKKOR 18.5mm f/1.8, an extremely light fixed focal length lens with the fastest maximum aperture of f/1.8 was released, and in September 2012, the 1 NIKKOR 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 2.5x normal zoom lens was released. In the year that has passed since the October 2011 introduction of the Nikon 1 system, Nikon has released six 1 NIKKOR lenses, including a low-profile fixed focal length lens, a normal zoom lens, and a high-power zoom lens.
NIKKOR lenses are extremely popular with a wide variety of users, from beginners to professional photographers. The lineup currently consists of more than 80 types of lenses, including zoom lenses, ultra wide-angle to super telephoto lenses, and specialty fisheye, Micro, and PC-E lenses for SLR cameras, as well as 1 NIKKOR lenses for NIKON 1 cameras. Nikon will continue to actively develop and release high-performance, highly functional products that meet and exceed user expectations.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Look ma, no flash...

My Nikon D-700 makes me feel like when I was a young photographer shooting Tri-X with no flash ever. I took it as a sign of weakness to use a flash. As my career changed and I had to shoot a lot of color negative film, flash became  necessary. Then came digital and everything I shot had a flash fill. It just made the images snappier and it compensated for the early medium's low dynamic range. With the D-700, the paradigm has Naturally, the shots were hand held.