Friday, August 31, 2012

Perfection Lost

Near Perfection, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, 135mm Hektor f4.5
iso 200, f8, 1/125 sec
I've written before, recently, about the challenges of photographing often-photographed subjects. Yesterday, I decided to re-familiarize myself with an old lens, now that I have a Leica M9 that accepts older lenses without demanding a lens code and UV/IR filter, or cropping the image by a factor of 1.33x, as the M8 did.
All images in this post were made with the Leica Hektor 135mm f4.5 (ca. 1955). I think it's front-focusing by a small amount, but by f8 it looks pretty good. It certainly has character.
I went to my local Buddhist temple, which has a gorgeous set of small ponds with lotus flowers. The image above is the one that I think anyone would take. The amazing shape of the blossoms, along with the incredible colors and the repetition of the shape three times make for a nice, standard composition.
I wanted something more, something that may not appeal to everyone, but required a different perspective from me as an artist. The following images are what emerged - I call them "Perfection Lost."
Perfection Lost Number One, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, 135mm Hektor f4.5
iso 200, f8, 1/250 sec
You see, as Buddhism would teach us, all things are temporary. The blossoms achieve perfection only to be destroyed, to "go to seed," as some would say. They maintain beauty, just not perfection. And going to seed just starts the cycle over again.
Perfection Lost Number Two, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, 135mm Hektor f4.5
iso 200, f9.5, 1/90 sec
Perfection Lost Number Three, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, 135mm Hektor f4.5
iso 200, f8, 1/125 sec
Perfection Lost Number Four, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, 135mm Hektor f4.5
iso 200, f6.7, 1/180 sec
You see, life is not linear, going from start to finish. It is circular. It goes in cycles. That's comforting to a person a little past mid-life.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Speculation on the Leica M10 - to be Announced in September?

Leica M9
Image Source:
Steve Huff has posted his information and speculations on what the much-expected Leica M10 will be like.
(Click Here) to read Steve's post.
There is also a poll at the bottom of the page. I'll admit that I voted "No," I wouldn't buy the camera described in the text.
Why is that? Well, a Leica M with electronic viewfinder (EVF), video capability, and speculated $9k-$10k price won't work for me. I have a great EVF camera in the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, getting even better with the DMC-G5 or soon-to-be-announced DMC-GH3. I expect my Leica M to be a rangefinder, as much a part of Leica's once-innovative, now-established design history as possible.
One thing I really like about Steve's post - he thinks this will drive the price of used M9s up. Like the smug new homeowner, I have just purchased an M9 at a steal of a price. I am waiting for the Paypal eCheck to clear (another story on its own), and the mail.
So, I hope my faithful readers won't mind a new spike of Leica images and stories. I have decided that since Panasonic doesn't have a long history in still photography (or any film camera history), I'll follow their (still existing?) collaboration with Leica for that part of my photography. I have had M9 on the brain for a couple of years now. I'm very excited to get started with it.
But don't worry, I am still very engaged in Panasonic cameras. This may just change my timing a little, driven by cost. For example, I did decide to hold off on the Olympus 75mm f1.8 Micro 4/3 lens, even though I know it's going to be great. While my bank account recovers from the M9 purchase, I'll see if Panasonic has an analogous lens to introduce. I would like the 75mm lens even more if it were from Panasonic, and included OIS, for example.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Interesting Options Coming in September? New Lower Cost Leica M9, Fuji XPro Cameras

Leica M9
Image Source:
I think it's still in the realm of rumors, but probably correct. LaVidaLeica has a post hinting at a Leica "ME," to be announced at Photokina in September. Reportedly, it will be along the lines of the M9, with a real rangefinder, and will cost less. Well, that will be interesting to see. I don't know exactly what they'll do to reduce the cost, but I'd like to see an affordable Leica M digital (along the lines of the Leica CL from the 70s). It won't invalidate the original M9 and new M10 (also expected to be announced), any more than the CL invalidated the M6 (it didn't).
(Click Here) to see the post on LaVidaLeica
There are also some rumors of new Fujifilm Xpro cameras to be announced, following on the XPro-1. I find the XPro-1 very interesting, but I think most users have some complaints. The biggest one is focus speed, from what I can tell. I hope Fuji has addressed the issues.
I have recently bought a used Leica M9. Even though I've spent my camera budget for the foreseeable future, I welcome all of these new additions. Looking forward to hearing the official announcements!
By the way, new M9s are lower in price than I've ever seen right now:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lumix DMC-TS3 Makes A Great Vacation Camera

Waterslide Series, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3, iAuto, Burst Mode
I took the little waterproof DMC-TS3 into the pool with me. I turned burst mode on and captured the series above, first try. Sometimes automation is a good thing.
In good light, this is one heck of a nice little camera.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Rome With A Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1, by Al. on

Rome, by Al. on
Image Source:
More vicarious travel with Lumix! I've never been to Rome, Italy. Al. on has posted six great images (including the one above), taken with a Lumix DMC-GX1, Lumix 20mm f1.7, and Olympus 45mm f1.8 lens.
(Click Here) to see all of the pictures in the post on
The picture above tells a nice story, in my opinion. From all appearances, the musician is on own in the square, impervious to the views from passers-by. He certainly has style.
Some of the other pictures give totally different messages about Rome. The water fountain looks so refreshing in the Italian heat. The statue and officer say something perhaps menacing? That's the great thing about photography - we get to interpret them any way we choose.
Al. really was able to give us a feel for Rome with a very compact camera kit. Thanks for sharing, Al.!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Unique Images Shot With Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5


Image Source:
TRIPLE BEAM DREAM shared some very unique images, all made with a Lumix DMC-LX5, on
(Click Here) to see the post on dpreview
Here's one I took myself with the LX5:
Light and Shadow Study, by Reed A. George
Panasonic DMC-LX5
The LX5 is one great little camera. I'm looking forward to seeing if the recently-announced LX7 is any improvement at all. The LX7 doesn't have a larger sensor; in fact it's smaller than the LX5 sensor. But, new technology may have further improved the high iso performance. The LX5 does well in this area, but could always be improved. High iso noise is the bane of small sensor cameras. However, the overall (tiny) size of the LX5, coupled with its great image quality overall, makes it a great choice for a carry-everywhere camera.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

On Style, and Photographing Over-Photographed Subjects

Lotus Leaf and Water,by Reed A. George
Lotus Leaf and Water, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 24-85mm f2.8-4 at 85mm
iso 100, f/16, HDR
I read a nice little post on this morning about style. Specifically, it deals with flower photography.
(Click Here) to read the post on thefixedfocus
I remember several years back saying to one of my photographer buddies that I should stop taking flower pictures. My reasoning was that it had been done so much, so well. Does the world need any more flower pictures? Even good ones? Well, I think if they're REALLY good, then the answer is "yes."
I still shoot flowers and other overly-photographed subjects, like lotuses (above). I just think the hurdle to making a successful shot is higher with these subjects.
So, yes, I was wrong. I still shoot flowers. I even shoot pets on occasion, which I think is even more over-done.

Friday, August 24, 2012

I Need To Do More Black and White Photography

Door Latch, Antietam Battlefield, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, Lumix 20mm f1.7
iso 100, f3.5, 1/200 sec
No, I'm not ready to sign up for an $8,000 camera that ONLY does black and white.
(Click Here) if you're interested in that.
But, I do want to do more monochrome photography.
I found an interesting video program on getting the most from your black and white imaging. It is normally $79, but currently available fore $59.
(Click Here) to get info on the program.
DISCLAIMER: I know nothing about the producer of this program, and have not tried it myself. If I decide to, I'll let you know. If you decide to, please comment here on your experience!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Report on Floyd Fest Featured on Cosmic Vibes Live Music Blog

The Crane and the Kids, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Lumx 12-35mm f2.8 at 12mm
iso 400, f5.6, 1/125 sec
I love music festivals. I recently attended Floyd Fest in Southern Virginia. I wrote up a report for the music blog Cosmic Vibes Live.
(Click Here) to see my report on Cosmic Vibes Live.
(Click Here) to see my picture gallery on Cosmic Vibes Live.
I really enjoy photographing and writing together. My music project has afforded the opportunity to work with the great guys at Cosmic Vibes Live. It's a no-stress affair, with both sides appreciating what the other brings. I look forward to doing more and better reports for them in the future.
This was my first (and last) outing with the Lumix 12-35mm f2.8. I think it did a nice job. I just prefer shooting with primes.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Image Source:
Olympux E-PL3, Lumix 14mm f2.5
BLX on posted two monochrome images. The first one, above, is really nice in my opinion.
(Click Here) to see the second.
I love how the shot above is complemented by the human element in the second. It adds a dimension to the scene. Neither shot would be great on its own. Together, they are really nice.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Film Challenge Results - Seven Rolls in Seven Days

Oklahoma Irrigation, by Reed A. George
Leica M4-2, 50mm f2 Summicron
Exposure Not Recorded
American Girl, by Reed A. George
Leica III Model G, Canon 50mm f1.4
Exposure Not Recorded
Red Rock Canyon, by Reed A. George
Leica CL, 3.5cm Elmar f3.5
Exposure Not Recorded
I wrote earlier about the experience of entering the July Seven Rolls in Seven Days Challenge on rangefinderforum.
(Click Here) to see all of the results, and comments by the OP on
Each entrant was asked to pick three best shots to share; most of us got the message (not all).
As I've mentioned before, this was a wonderful experience for me. I got to shoot some of my old Leica cameras, and the drive it took to shoot a full roll per day, even on boring days, was great. In fact, I got very ill during the experience, but pushed through, finishing my roll on a couple of consecutive days between the hours of 11:30PM and midnight. But, I made it.
Everyone should try this.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 Goes Fossil Hunting

Fossil Skull? by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3
iso100, f3.3, 1/640 sec
I took my little DMC-TS3 to the beach yesterday, where it belongs. The waterproof feature makes it perfect for trips like this. We went looking for fossils, and found a lot. The one above is by far the most intriguing. I'm still conferring with the experts (not me) to decide what it might be, but I'm pretty convinced it's a skull of some type.
These deposits are from the Pliocene, about 2-5 million years old.
In addition to the big find, there were lots of great shell fossils to peruse.
Shell Fossils, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3
iso100, f3.3, 1/640 sec
More Shell Fossils, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3
iso100, f3.3, 1/400 sec
I loved how this eucalyptus tree grew on the edge of the cliff.
Eucalyptus on the Edge, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3
iso100, f3.3, 1/400 sec
I am very pleased with the Lumix DMC-TS3. For all of these shots, I used the Intelligent Auto (iAuto) setting. They are all directly out of the camera, with no editing whatsoever. It couldn't be easier to get decent shots in good light. And, the GPS is also very useful.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

G3 Shots from Springtime in Japan (Sakura)

Sakura, by xellz on
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3
Image Source:
xellz posted a few shots from last spring in Japan, shot with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3.
(Click Here) to see the whole post on
I think the framing in the shot above is expertly done. The exposure here must have been tough. The sakura (cherry blossoms) in the foreground could be a little brighter, but with the full sun in the frame, it would be difficult to accomplish that without blowing out the exposure throughout the whole sky. In fact, this shot would be an excellent candidate for high dynamic range (HDR) imaging - where you combine mulitiple shots to get the exposure you want in each portion of the image.
Here's a shot I took in Japan last spring:
Contemplating Springtime, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Pana-Leica 25mm f1.4 Summilux
iso 160, f2, 1/2500 sec
I could have benefitted from a slightly smaller aperture on this shot. I would like the hand to be in sharp focus, as the face is. However, I wanted the sakura to be out of focus as they are. In fact, I love how they turned out.

Friday, August 17, 2012

DMC-G5 Is Now Available in the USA

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
Image Source:
I see that the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 is now available in the USA.
(Click Here) to read about the G5 at
(Click Here) to buy it at Kenmore Camera.
So where am I on this camera? Well, I'm not sure yet. It is the obvious upgrade to the DMC-G3, which is my standard kit. Is the upgrade worthwhile?
The G5 brings increased maximum iso setting (moving up from 6400 to 12800, like the GX1). However, what's not yet clear is whether the sensor is really up to it. I am looking forward to seeing how much better the new 16Mpixel G5 sensor is than the 15.8 Mpixel G3 at high iso.
Continuous shooting is increased to 6 frames per second (fps), above 4fps on the G3.
Two things that do matter to me are a better grip than the G3, and longer battery life. However, this means a different battery size. Therefore, keeping one G3 as a backup to the G5 is not a great plan; I would need to carry two different chargers when I travel.
Things I personally care less about include a higher resolution LCD display, more video options, and digital filters.
I think I'm going to wait and see if the rumored DMC-GH3 gets announced in September as expected.
If I have to go to a new battery anyway, I may want the really high quality video and audio features of the GH3 (including external stereo microphone jack). That could come to good use in my music project.
So, if you want that G5 right away - it's at Kenmore! Get it while it's in stock. I'll wait a while.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Well, That Started A Conversation - Post On Returning My 12-35mm f2.8 Lens

Starting Early, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Lumix 12-35mm f2.8 X Lens
iso400, f4, 1/200 sec
I posted on dpreview that I had decided to return my Lumix 12-35mm f2.8 zoom lens. Boy, did that get responses!
(Click Here) to see all of the responses on dpreview
The only one that got me thinking much was about the ethics of returning a lens. I find this one very interesting. Yes, it's true, I did know all of the specifications before buying, and there was nothing wrong with the lens itself. However, I certainly stayed within Amazon's generous policy of being able to return something, merely because it did not suit me. I was completely honest with Amazon that I had simply changed my mind, paid the shipping both ways, and got my money back. This is why Amazon is so great. They want me to be fully satisified. If I'm not, they're willing to refund my money. So, if they're happy and I'm happy, why should anyone else question it?
Anyway, as I said in all of my posts, the lens itself is just fine. It's just not for me.
I can buy with confidence here: 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ryan Lussier Reports On Three Months of Shooting Film On Steve Huff's Site

Ryan Lussier's Film Work, Contax G2
Kodak Porta 400, Zeiss 50 f/2
Image Source:
Ryan Lussier has posted a nice article about using film over the past few month on Steve Huff Photo.
(Click Here) to read Ryan's post on
First off, this is no story to restart a controversy over film versus digital. Ryan admits that he likes digital as well. Raised on digital, Ryan is also no old man going back to his youth.
Ryan gives some details of how he processes and scans his films, basically the same as I do. Get the negatives developed at the drug store, then take on the scanning at home. He uses a Plustek scanner; I use an Epson V750. One thing I learned from Ryan is a product by Ilford called Antistaticum. It is a cloth for removing dust from negatives. I'll be ordering one today.
I also saw another interesting post this morning on GetDpi, from a person who put away their digital camera, grabbed an old 8x10 (really large format!) camera, and some Polaroid film. The results are very cool.
(Click Here) to see what old analog technology can do.
Do me a favor - buy your Antistaticum, film, or whatever else through my blog's links to Amazon:


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rumor - Four New Lenses To Be Announced By Panasonic at Photokina in September - Does This Affect My Olympus 75mm Lens Order?

Lumix 35-100 f2.8 X Zoom
Image Source:
According to a post on 43rumors, Panasonic will announce four new lenses at Photokina in September. The 35-100mm f2.8 news has been out there for a while. This could be a nice lens. I think a tele-zoom at f2.8 would be more interesting to me than the 12-35mm f2.8 turned out to be.
(Click Here) to read the original post on 43rumors.
Speculation also says that Panasonic is likely to announce a lens that competes with the new Olympus 75mm f1.8. This has me thinking - should I wait and not purchase the Olympus lens?
Reasons to NOT purchase the Olympus 75mm:
  • Mega OIS (vibration reduction) will likely be included in the Panasonic lens. Since I use Panasonic bodies, and Olympus puts vibration reduction in their bodies, I won't ever get this from an Olympus lens.
  • Frankly, I'd rather have a Panasonic lens.
  • The Olympus lens is only available in silver.
  • I've already been waiting six weeks for my Olympus order to be shipped
Reasons to GO AHEAD and purchase the Olympus 75mm:
  • Who knows exactly what Panasonic will announce? I'm convinced 75mm is a great focal length for me. If Panasonic announces a 60mm, that won't be long enough for me.
  • Most importantly, when will a new Panasonic lens really be available? Probably 2013. I'm not waiting that long.
  • I'm sure the Olympus lens will have wonderful build and image quality.
  • I somehow doubt that Panasonic's lens will be f1.8 or faster (but that's just a guess). I want that fast f-stop.
  • I'm impatient.
So, I'm going ahead with my Olympus 75mm f1.8 purchase.

Monday, August 13, 2012

So This Poll Has Me Thinking... Should I Be Planning My Photos More?

View Poll Results: Do you stage your pictures?
Yes, I usually do56.94%
Sometimes I move things around or adjust the lighting.2331.94%
I shoot what I see.4461.11%
Voters: 72. You may not vote on this poll

Table Source:
I found the table above on rangefinder forum. I really enjoy these polls there. I am in the middle grouping, where I normally like to just shoot what I see, but sometimes arrange things a little. I rarely stage a picture. I am beginning to think that this is an area that would improve my range and results.
I have been reading a book by Chris Orwig, People Pictures: 30 Exercises for Creating Authentic Photographs.
Here is a link to the book on Amazon:
Chris' book is a series of assignments for exploring and improving your people photography. I have been reading it slowly, over a month or so.
In the past, I have had good luck with following assignments in photography books, most notably the book Contemplative Photography.
(Click Here) to see my post on that book and the associated exercises.
For some reason, I have not actually done any of the assignments in Orwig's book. I think it's a real stretch for me. In fact, he comes at photography from such a different place than I do, he has an assignment that "challenges" the photographer to take an unstaged series of photos.
I don't like the look and feel of totally posed photographs. However, I think the trick is in getting the shot set up, then getting a little bit of unstaged emotion from the subject. I don't have any interest in taking high school portrait-style images. But, a little planning can really help. I will challenge myself to actually perform some of the exercises in Orwig's book, and report back.
Here's an example of a mildly-staged shot. I asked these girls if I could photograph them as they lay onthe grass in front of the stage at the Floyd Festival. I simply asked them to put their heads as close together as possible, then walked up between them so that I could shoot nearly straight down. I like the result. If I hadn't been nervous and feeling like they'd want me to hurry, I would have added a little fill flash. They don't look like they're bothered by my presence now, do they? That was a feeling I generated myself. Next time, I'll stay a little longer and try to get the perfect shot.
Buddies, by Reed A. George
Panasonic DMC-G3, Lumix 12-35mm f2.8 at 17mm
iso400, f3.5, 1/3200 sec
So, I'll try to put some focus on planning my shots a little more, and see what develops.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

How's This For a First Shot With a New Camera?

Image Source:
Member cohomology on posted this first image from a new Olympus OM-D, using the Panasonic Lumix 14mm f2.5 lens. Wow. If I got this from the first shot of a new camera, I'd go buy another one just like it. Or, I'd put the original one away and only use it when I'm in a slump. The dynamic range in this image is awesome. No, I'm not count intensities or gray levels on a tiny image on the screen. I'm looking at the detail in the shadowy foreground, coupled with the bright detail in the clouds. Very nice.
(Click Here) to see the original post on
Inside a Tiny Sushi Shop, Tsukiji, Tokyo, Japan, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Lumix 14mm f2.5
iso 400, f2.5, 1/50 sec
I really enjoy the miniscule 14mm f2.5 prime lens. In addition to the classic use of a wide angle for landscapes, as cohomology uses in the top picture, I find it's great for small interior spaces. A 12mm would be even better.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Some User Shots From Another Photographer Using the Lumix 12-35mm f2.8


User DHart on mu-43's Image From the Lumix 12-35mm f2.8
Image Source:
Forum poster DHart has shared some great images, made with the new Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm f2.8 lens. I'm not sure how they got their hands on the lens. As of the day of writing (July 7, 2012), I have not seen it in stock anywhere.
(Click Here) to see all of DHart's images in this post on
This post was part of my decision to go ahead and buy the lens. Now, as you may have seen, I've decided this isn't the lens for me.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Fun Little Sidenote - Stars With Great Cameras

Scarlett Johansson using her Leica M6
Scarlet and Leica
Image Source:
Just scanning the blogs this morning, and found an interesting post about celebrities and their cameras. Scarlet is always interesting - camera optional.
(Click Here) to see an extensive collection posted on a site called retronaut.
I guess it's cool seeing Seal with his Leica, but I like some of these a lot more.
I don't need moviestars to give credibility to my cameras, but there's something cool about seeing them using this stuff. I especially like the James Dean pic, where he's wedged between walls, using his Rolleiflex.
Now I need a shot of Einstein laying on his back shooting a pre-war Lumix...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Damsels - Not in Distress - Pentax M42 Macro on Lumix DMC-GH2

Damselflies, by GShooter on
Image Source:
Poster GShooter on posted two awesome images of damselfiles, made with a Pentax screwmount 100mm macro lens. This is right up my alley. The subject, the equipment, the execution are all great!
(Click Here) to see the original post and comments. GShooter followed up with links to high resolution images.
I bet no one at Asahi Optical ever dreamed how that sweet little macro lens would end up being used...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fujifilm Announces Discontinuation of Velvia in Some Formats

Image Source:
Fujifilm has announced that they are discontinuing some formats of Velvia - the standard in super-saturated slide film. The iso 100 version will be dropped in 35mm, 120, and 4x5, while iso 50 Velvia in 4x5 and 8x10 will also go away. This is similar to the news of Kodachrome going away some time back, in my opinion. Loss of a real benchmark film.
(Click Here) to read about the announcement on
However, all is not yet lost. Fujifilm is seeing good participation on their film-specific site
(Click Here) to go to Sign up! It's free, and will keep Fuji in the film business longer.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Gecko - Not An Insurance Ad! - Shot With Lumix DMC-G3, Pana-Leica 45mm f2.8 Macro Elmarit

Hawaiian Gecko, by member foxtail1 on
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Pana-Leica 45mm f2.8 Macro-Elmarit
Image Source:
foxtail1 on posted a series of pics of this cool little gecko from Hawaii. The image above isn't the best one; it's the only one I could link to for some reason.
(Click Here) to see them all.
That is one great lens. I use mine as a short telephoto / portrait lens a lot. I need to do some macro work with it. The serious competition for the Pana-Leica 45mm in Micro 4/3 mount is the Olympus 45mm f1.8. The Oly lens is faster and smaller. It offers great results. The only things the Oly lens doesn't provide is image stabilization (because Olympus builds that into their bodies), and macro capability. I love the Pana-Leica lens, personally.