Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Another Berkeley Favorite - Used Book Stores

Actually, this bookstore (Pegasus) is at Rockridge in Oakland, just across the border from Berkeley. I find used bookstores to be a sign of true culture. Of course, that' just my opinion.
View from Pegasus, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 Series II Kit Zoom
iso 800, f5, 1/320 sec.
Unedited image straight from the camera
The light on this foggy morning was very subtle. It was the soft shadows around the bench the first caught my eye. Then the line of the bookshelves provided a nice lines, intersecting with the window ledge to focus attention near where the people outside were walking by.
Not an important shot, but a fun one none and an exercise in composition none the less.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hangin' Around in Berkeley - Quite Literally

While walking around the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, I met these young fellows.
Hanging Out in Berkeley, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1, Lumix 20mm f1.7 Lens
iso 400, f5.6, 1/100 sec.
Hanging out in trees has a dramatic history at UC Berkeley. History's longest tree sit-in, a protest against the university's decision to cut down a grove of 42 native trees to make way for a new athletic center, took place there. From December 2006 to September 2008, protesters literally lived in the treetops, getting supplies brought in, and waste taken out by volunteers. In the end, the protesters lost and the trees were cut down.
(Click Here) to read more about the tree sit-in on wikipedia.
These guys were doing nothing of the type, and I would guess were waiting for their parents who probably work at the university.
Gotta love Berkeley. At least I do.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Newport, California - Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve

We arrived last night in Newport Beach, California, where we're attending the wedding of a close family friend.
I awoke early, being on East Coast time, and decided to find a nice place to take a sunrise walk. Pulling up Google Maps, I immediately found the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve, just a couple of miles from our hotel. While the web said it didn't open until 10:00 AM, I took a chance, and was rewarded with an open, yet empty parking lot. Here are a few scenes from the morning walk, all shot with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 and Series II 14-42mm kit zoom.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Small Music Venue? Try a Fisheye!

Jake and the Burtones with Melissa Wright, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, Rokinon 7.5mm f3.5 Fisheye Lens
iso 3200, f3.5, 1/50 sec.
I'm getting ready to leave on a trip, and pulled the card out of my GX7 to download what was on there, before formatting and getting ready to leave. I remembered this shot of local band Jake and the Burtones and guest Melissa Wright when it came up.
They were playing at the Mad Horse Brewpub in Lovettsville, VA when I decided to give this shot a try. It's not really a small venue, but the band was tightly packed into the corner. I also wanted to try to get the whole group and include some of the artwork on the walls in the shot.
One of the challenges I've had shooting these guys is that there's a single microphone for vocals, which you see just left of center in the image above. This means that they spend a lot of time facing each other, with the microphone in between them. My real goal is to get the fisheye right up to that mic, with all of them looking in to sing at the same time. This was really just a test shot to see how the fisheye renders a group close up.
Apart from the extreme distortion at the edges, which is par for the course with a fisheye, it looks pretty good. I'll have to pursue the shot I really want soon.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Mamiya Press Universal and Fuji FP3000B

I'm continuing to enjoy shooting instant pictures with my new Mamiya Universal. Here's a shot I made with Fuji's black and white iso 3000 pack film. I used the standard 100mm f3.5 Mamiya Sekor lens for this one.
Cropped, From Scanned Print
And, for reference, here's what the whole image looks like, scanned from the paper negative:
From the Paper Negative
I really need to photograph the Universal camera so that I can share all the details of what's included. It's a big heavy beast, but has a lot of interesting features.
I've received my first online scans from film I shot in the Universal, and am really impressed with the image quality. As soon as my film returns home from The Darkroom (thedarkroom.com), I'll make high resolution scans of a few images and share them as well.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pana-Leica Summilux 15mm f1.7 For Micro 4/3 - Great, but Neither Here Nor There?

Image Source: http://shop.panasonic.com/shop/model/H-X015K
Leica's product emphasis seems nearly as varied as my own these days. With the advent of the new Leica T system with APS-C sensor, Leica seems to have made it even more clear that sensors smaller than that are not serious enough to warrant their direct attention. That said, their compact camera offerings continue, and are pleasing to many. To me, it seems that Micro 4/3 is in a bit of a no man's land with Leica.
Actually, Micro 4/3 is occupying a similar place for me personally. With only so many hours free to use my camera gear, I find my interest pulled in many directions. Leica rangefinders are my most common companions. However, on any given day, you may also find me with a Nikon SLR, a medium format film camera, or even a 4x5 pinhole camera in my hand. Yet, my Micro 4/3 gear persists. It's still my favorite choice for many types of travel.
Anyway, back to Leica. Their collaboration with Panasonic continues, and the newest addition to the Pana-Leica lens kit is the 15mm f1.7 Summilux. I won't speculate on the performance of the lens, except to say that I expect it to be wonderful, just like the 25mm f1.4 Summilux is in my opinion. For more on those aspects, please
(Click Here) to read a nice introduction to the lens by Napier Lopez on mu-43.com.
From my point of view, the 15mm focal length, which provides an equivalent field of view as a 30mm lens on full frame 35mm sensors, is an odd choice. To me, it's neither here nor there. In between the classic lengths of 35mm (a wide normal) and 28mm (what was once considered a very wide angle lens), 30mm equivalent field of view would take some getting used to. Now, my view on this is not purely based on sticking to the most common lengths. For example, I find the 40mm focal length on full frame to be nearly ideal for my style of shooting.
I am very pleased to see the Pana-Leica lens lineup continue to grow. I'm certain that many people will make great use of this non-standard field of view lens. I'll have to keep my eyes and mind open to see if it leads to any new styles or views that I should consider.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Color Instant Shots with the Mamiya Universal

Yesterday, I posted about using Fuji FP3000B black and white pack film in the Mamiya Press Universal camera. So how does the color version (FP100C) work with this big old camera? Pretty well, I'd say.
This first shot was made with the Mamiya 100mm f3.5 lens. It's cropped significantly. I focused on the convertible top, folded just behind the seats.
The following two shots were made with the Mamiya 50mm f6.3 (very) wide angle lens.
The FP100C does an amazing job on the color of skin tones. The shot below is with the 100mm f3.5 again.
I'm already having a lot of fun with the Mamiya Universal. I'll enjoy the Fuji pack film while it lasts!