Sunday, November 23, 2014

Meditation Retreat Slideshow

I have been attending a meditation group for a few years now. I am not a religious person, but find the philosophical discussions and meditation practice to be very good for me.
Recently, one of my fellow students and her family invited us to their home for a one day retreat. Here's a slideshow from that day.
In addition to Buddhist meditation, we had a seminar on the seven chakras, or primary energy centers in the body. It was very interesting, and led to some insights for me. Importantly, the chakras are each associated with a different color. I've decided to work on a project to photograph images that I think represent the characteristics of each chakra. This could be a very long project for me, as there's a lot to cover. I've already experimented with images to represent the saccral chakra, which is associated mostly with the color orange. Once I have a few more images, I'll share them here.
All of these images were made with my Nikon Df and 24-120 version 1 VR zoom. It is one of the most hatest lenses by Nikon in recent years. It seems I'm on a theme of trying to make good images with the most reviled Nikon lenses. This lens's most attractive feature is ease of use. The zoom range is very useful for shooting an event, even though the f-stop (f3.5-5.6) is pretty slow.
I am finding that making slideshows with selected pictures is a very good practice. I learned that from David Alan Harvey at the Magnum workshop I attended last summer.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lumix DMC-GX7 for Live Music

I've been focused on other cameras lately. So many great cameras out there, so little time to shoot them.
I read an interesting piece on Steve Huff's blog about using the Lumix GX7 for live music.
(Click Here) to read it, and see some nice GX7 images from bars in Amsterdam.
Here are a couple of shots of my friends Jake and the Burtones, shot with my GX7.
Jake and the Burtones, Plus Melissa, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, Bower 7.5mm Fisheye Lens
iso 3200, f4 (or so), 1/50 sec.
Burtones, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, Lumix 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 Aspheric Series II Zoom
iso 6400, f3.5, 1/100 sec.
The GX7 does pretty well in low light, even at iso6400. Not like a full frame Nikon, of course, but respectable. And so much easier to lug around.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Facebook Activist Deborah

Image Source:
This lady, Deborah, is reportedly from Brazil, and now living in Montreal. She photographs her life, including some NSFW (not safe for work) nudes, and posts them on Facebook.
I'm not sure exactly what the activism is protesting; this deserves more reading. But, this of her is really intriguing to me.
(Click Here) to read more on the blog Meta Around the Corner.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What You May Have Found in a Photojournalist's Bag in 1945

As you probably can see, I love vintage cameras. I've put together a nice Leica kit, all with equipment that was made before or during World War II. Here it is.
It includes:
  1. Leica IIIC (stepper) camera
  2. 5cm f2 Summitar (uncoated) normal lens
  3. 3.5cm f3.5 Elmar (uncoated) wide angle lens, with auxiliary finder
  4. 9.0 cm f4 Elmar telephoto lens (black), with auxiliary finder
The 9.0 cm Elmar and IIIC body were made during the war years; the other two lenses were made earlier.
This is a very capable kit, still today. Covering wide to long focal lengths, it all fits in a small camera bag, and doesn't weigh much at all. It's a blast to use.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

And Now for Something Very Abstract

I have been into meditation for quite a while now. It helps me to keep my mind clear. On a trip to California earlier this year, I visited this labyrinth in an urban garden and did a little walking meditation, camera (Lumix GX7 and 20mm f1.7 lens) in hand.
Berkeley Labyrinth, by Reed A. George
I decided to capture some long exposures of the labyrinth markings as I walked twisting and turning through them. I attached a 3-stop neutral density (ND) filter, and shot several images at 1/4 second and f16.
Then I manipulated the images in Snapseed on my iPad. Here are the results:
Quite abstract, I know. I feel that they do say something about the state of mind I was in during the walk.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Final Round of Found Prints from The Gilded Flea

I've made two posts already of found prints and an internegative that I recovered from my friend's antique shop "The Gilded Flea" in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. (Click Here) to go to their website; they have tons of amazing stuff.
Here are some more prints that I picked up on my visit. I selected them just because they interested me.
Can anyone guess why I liked this one? The lady with the Polaroid, of course. She's even got her flash bulb pointed to the ceiling for bounced flash. I bet her shot came out great.
And who can argue with "Rockley Music Co.?" Apparently, they also sell Frigidaire appliances.
On the back of this print, it says "It's running fine now."
And finally, this one. Hey, honey, come sit in this tree so I can take your picture!
Thus ends a round of found prints from the past. I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I did.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Morning Out Birding as Winter Approaches

Yesterday, I joined a bird watching walk at my nearest wildlife preserve, which is called Banshee Reeks. The walk happens monthly, and is sponsored by the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy. (Click Here) to read about the organization. They host quite a number of interesting events.
I realized that the walk was happening at 7:35 AM; it started at 8:00 AM. I quickly grabbed my Lumix GX7 and 100-300mm f4-5.6 OIS lens and headed out the door. A quick stop at Peets for my Saturday morning coffee, and away I went. I arrived just in time to join the group.
I really am a telephoto guy at heart. Though I've expanded my skills to include normal and wide angle lenses, from the start I've loved shooting long lenses. The 100-300 Lumix lens is a fantastic combination of long reach (600mm equivalent) and compact size. Because of the OIS vibration isolation, it's even more reasonable to use handheld.
Considering that it's winter, and the majority of migratory birds have already gone, we saw quite a range of birds: white throated sparrow, bluebird, fish crow, American crow, flicker, hawk (didn't get a good identification, but probably either red tailed or red shouldered), an immature bald eagle, mockingbird, plenty of robins. It's always great to go with someone like our tour leader Joe and his sidekick Del, who can spot and identify birds well beyond my capabilities.
Knowing that I had to get back home, after about an hour with the group I just wandered off into the forest and sat down. After a few minutes, I heard a single bird call. Then, I heard a different bird answer, much closer to where I was sitting. Within a few minutes, a small group of tufted titmouse had been drawn to an old hay bale, rolled off into the woods next to me.
I sat and enjoyed watching them for another ten minutes or so, and then got up, got the blood back into my legs, and began the walk back to the car.
I shot a few more pictures on the way back.
I think that telephoto lenses get underrated for their use in landscape photography.
Finally, coming around a corner in the trail, I got a quick shot off of this Mockingbird, against the blue autumn sky.
It was a very nice way to spend just a couple of hours on an autumn Saturday morning.