Sunday, April 19, 2015

Everyone, I Mean Everyone, in Japan Loves Cherry Blossom Season

Even the dogs...
Dogs Enjoying Sakura, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 35mm f2 AF-D Lens
 
DMC-365.blogspot.com
 
 
 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Cherry Blossoms, Light Painting, with the Nikon Df

I have the opportunity to shoot cherry blossoms every year, usually in both the Washington, DC area, and in Tokyo. Very different opportunities, of course, but each very nice.
 
I find that when a subject becomes routine to me, I am challenged to make pictures that are interesting to me, and probably to anyone else who's looking. A few years back, a friend and I started to experiment with light painting the cherry trees (using flashlights to artificially light the trees in the dark). I feel that I've gotten better at this over time. Here's the first shot I was happy with from a quick outing last night with the Nikon Df.
Light Painting, Cherry Blossoms, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 35mm f2 AF-D Lens
iso 100, f11, 131 secs exposure
 
Having gotten the first shot I had in mind, I started playing around with other ideas. First, I tried adding some red light (two small red light flashlights, one in each hand).
 
Light Painting, Cherry Blossoms, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 35mm f2 AF-D Lens
iso 100, f11, 231 secs exposure

 
Okay, I guess, but nothing special. Then, I got an idea. I've always wanted to photograph the blossoms falling from the trees, or at least represent that concept. So, I grabbed a small branch of blossoms and used the flashlight to light it as I simulated it falling from the tree. Here's what that looks like.
 
Light Painting, Cherry Blossoms, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 35mm f2 AF-D Lens
iso 100, f11, 202 secs exposure
 
Then, I decided to try more of that, switching from the 35mm to 24mm Nikkor.
 

Light Painting, Cherry Blossoms, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 24mm f2.8 AF-D Lens
iso 100, f11, 435 secs exposure

Light Painting, Cherry Blossoms, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 24mm f2.8 AF-D Lens
iso 100, f11, 384 secs exposure

These are kind of cool, and probably my favorites from the evening.
 
Then, I decided to put it all together. Maybe it's a bit much, but here it is.
 
Light Painting, Cherry Blossoms, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 24mm f2.8 AF-D Lens
iso 100, f11, 486 secs exposure
 
This was an interesting evening of experimentation. It gives me ideas for some further exploration, but I have to do it fast; the cherry blossoms won't last long.
 
At least these aren't just like every other cherry blossom shot I see every year.
 
DMC-365.blogspot.com
 

Friday, April 17, 2015

More Men at Work - Nikon Df in Japan

Here's a guy working on the outside of a building in Ryogoku, Tokyo. Ryogoku is the home of Tokyo's sumo wrestling, and this business sells "chanko nabe," the hearty pork soup that is a mainstay of the sumo diet.
High Work #1, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AIS Lens
iso 1100, f8, 1/500 sec.
 
After taking this shot from steet level, I went up to the platform at the Ryogoku train station to capture this view from a higher perspective.
 
High Work #2, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AIS Lens
iso 1100, f8, 1/500 sec.
 
The Nikkor 50mm f1.2 lens functions very well as a normal lens when stopped down, though that's not normally how I'd use it. It's really purpose-built for extreme low light applications.
 
DMC-365.blogspot.com
 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Polaroid/Fujifilm FP100C Instant Negatives from the Mamiya Universal Press Camera

I'm still having fun with my Mamiya Universal Press (MUP) camera. Today, I used it to shoot some portraits of my daughter on her birthday using Fujifilm FP100C instant film. Note that pack film is larger than the 6x9 image that the MUP lenses are designed for, hence the vignetting in the corners.
Scanned Instant Print, 14th Birthday, by Reed A. George
MUP, Fujifilm FP100C Film, f5.6, 1/125 sec.
 
 
I was so pleased with some of the images that I decided to figure out how to recover the negatives from the film backing, which you usually throw away.
 
(Click Here) to see a video from the Film Photography Podcast describing how to recover a negative from Fujifilm FP100C instant pack film. Beware that the process uses bleach. Wear gloves and keep a fan on while you work.
 
It was actually pretty easy to do, and the results are quite impressive. Here's a scan of the same negative that was used to make the print above:
 
Scanned Instant Negative, 14th Birthday, by Reed A. George
MUP, Fujifilm FP100C Film, f5.6, 1/125 sec.
 
I think I could have done a better job scanning this negative. The highlights are too high, and the colors are washed out compared to the print.
 
Here is a more impressive comparison, showing the scanned print (left) and negative (right) at 100% magnification.
 
100% Crops (Print on Left, Negative on Right)
 
As you can see, the negative has a lot more detail and sharpness, and grain. Pretty interesting. I could make a 5x7 print from the negative just fine.
 
DMC-365.blogspot.com
 
 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Invited for Dinner - Japanese Style

If you're a fish, never accept an invitation to dinner in Japan...
Where Shall I Sit?, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AIS Lens
iso 800, f2, 1/250 sec.
 
Fugu (Pufferfish), by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AIS Lens
iso 800, f2, 1/500 sec.
 
DMC-365.blogspot.com

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Heading to New Orleans for the LHSA (International Leica Society) Spring Shoot 2015!

New Orleans, by Reed A. George
 
 
My two plans for traveling this spring happened to fall right next to each other this year. Both are controlled by schedules other than mine - the trip to Japan has to be on my daughter's spring break, and the LHSA Spring Shoot has it's own time constraints. So, while I'm still adjusting to jet lag from the Japan trip, I'm gearing up for my trip to New Orleans this week, to go to the Spring Shoot.
 
What better place for a Spring Shoot than New Orleans? I can't think of any.
 
(Click Here) to read about the program. Everyone's welcome, member or not, so please join us! Hope to see ya'll there (a little Southern touch).
 
DMC-365.blogspot.com
 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Today's Image From Japan - Lumix DMC-LX100

Matcha Tea, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100
iso 400, f1.7, 1/60 sec.
 
We wrapped up our last day in Kyoto with some very nice Japanese tea and sweets.
 
DMC-365.blogspot.com