Sunday, August 31, 2014

Studying Up for Magnum Days Workshop

I'm very pleased to have been accepted into a Magnum workshop in Provincetown, Massachussetts, which is coming up in a few weeks.
I will be studying with Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey. Mr. Harvey has a wonderful online magazine, entitled Burn.
(Click Here) to read Burn magazine for yourself.
What interested me the most there today is a video interview with Constantine Manos, another Magnum photographer who happens to be located in Provincetown. Click the link below to see and hear Manos' thoughts on becoming a successful photographer.
Mr. Manos states that in order to be successful, a photographer needs to have a portfolio of at least forty images that show the message they want to communicate. That message should be focused, and the images should hold to a theme. This focus on a single theme, at least for the scope of each portfolio, seems to be critical. Manos also believes that printing an image is necessary for it to really exist.
I have a few projects that have led to this number of presentable images. Street photography from various cities, but in a single style, make up one of those. Live music, specifically local performers from the mid-Atlantic region where I live are another. Another of my current projects, focused on meditation, is not quite there yet.
Always more to do!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Professional Traveler Dusty Blackthorn Makes Great Images with Lumix LX5

Dusty Blackthorn, guest poster on SteveHuffPhoto, is a "professional traveler." From the look of his pictures, Dusty takes some interesting modes of transportation.
Image Source:
Dusty has been using a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5, but says he feels his pushing the limits of that camera.
(Click Here) to read his post on Steve Huff's blog. He has a couple of other interesting shots there.
Dusty is looking for input on what camera to upgrade to. Personally, I think he's mastered the LX5 and should stick with it.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lone Cypress, Pacific Grove, California

Here's a shot I made this afternoon of the Lone Cypress on the 17 Mile Drive in Pacific Grove (near Monterey) California.
Lone Cypress, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, Lumix 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 Aspheric Series II Kit Zoom
at 23mm, with 3 stop ND + Polarizing Filter
iso 200, f22, 0.5 sec.
Edited in Snapseed on my iPad
This same spot is photographed hundreds or thousands of times every day. I tried to think hard about composition. I used the ND and polarizing filter to allow me to shoot a long exposure (1/2 second), in an attempt to make the water motion smooth and ethereal. It worked at a certain level.
What a gorgeous place this is.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

More UC Berkeley Trees

A couple of days back, I posted about the tree sit-in protest at Berkeley from 2006-2008. You may or may not think the protesters crazy for living in the trees for so long, but you have to admit that the landscape on the campus is beautiful and is worth protecting. Here's a shot I took on my walk around UC Berkeley.
Berkeley Trees, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1, Lumix 20mm f1.7 Lens
iso 400, f1.7, 1/640 sec.
This is an unedited image straight from the camera. I shot it wide open to render the leaves in the foreground sharp, and slightly blur the trees in the background.

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 (, 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?

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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
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!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fuji Instant Pack Film FP3000B, Negative and Positive,and Mamiya Press Universal

My very good friend Dennis recently sold me his Mamiya Universal kit. Initially, I was not interested, as the Universal is an enormous and heavy medium format kit. More on that later. I'll post some images of the kit and why I now really find that I like it.
Well, one of the things that came with the kit was a Polaroid back. Unfortunately, it is designed for Polaroid 80 series film, which is no longer available. About a week of trolling ebay yielded a very nice replacement, which allows use of Fuji pack film. Currently there are two film options in this format - color at iso 100, and black and white (FP3000B) at iso 3000. How's that for a range?
Unfortunately, the FP3000B film has been discontinued. There are still stocks of it around, but at 2.5-3X the original cost. I have a few packs, but probably won't be able to buy more.
Here's a shot of my wife, made with the Universal, 150mm f5.6 lens, and FP3000B:
Scanned from Print
I was quite pleased when I saw this appear as I peeled the backing paper away. It's quite interesting to get a really sharp image with great optics on instant film. My old Polaroid camera just doesn't stand comparison.
Both types of pack film produce negatives in the process, but of very different types. The 100 speed color film negatives must be removed from the backing and bleached, producing a transparent negative. FP3000B produces a paper negative, which you simply have to protect and allow to dry in the dark (or near dark). Here's what the negative from the print above looks like:
Paper Negative, Fuji FP3000B Instant Pack Film
If you take the dry negative and scan it on a flatbed scanner (I use an Epson V750), you get something like the image above. Invert the tones and flip the image horizontally in Photoshop, and you get this:
Positive from Scanned Negative
Pretty cool, huh? The scan from the negative is sharper than the original print, but also shows grain. I love the slightly uncontrollable factors like the edge patterns and occasional black dots. This feels like real photography to me.
One note - you'll notice lens vignetting on instant prints from the Mamiya Universal. It's designed for maximum size images of 6x9 on 120 film. The pack film image is larger than that. Reportedly, the Mamiya 75mm and 127mm lenses don't vignette on pack film. I don't have either, so can't say for sure.
Having shot a few rolls of film in the Universal, I'm anxiously awaiting an email from The Darkroom, notifying me that the film I sent in last week is processed and scans are posted. Based on the instant results, I'm expecting some amazing image quality from the normal medium format film I've shot.
More to come from the Mamiya Universal!
Need great film processing? (Click Here) to visit The Darkroom. They're the best in the business.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Belizean Kids Selling Mango

We met these two kids on the beach at San Pedro, Belize. They were selling fresh mango slices (which the boy's carrying in the tub on his head). They were quite good at their jobs.
Fresh Mango on the Beach, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7
iso 200, f5.6, 1/320 sec.
I loved how the people in Belize were generally quite happy to have their photograph taken. This image will remind me of their welcoming attitude for a very long time.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Little Inspiration a la Richard Avedon

I absolutely love shooting film, especially black and white. I also love medium and large format, including the Rolleiflex, chosen instrument of my friends Charlie Arnhold and Alain Durand.
Richard Avedon is one of the most famous portrait photographers of any time. Avedon used a Rolleiflex f2.8 twin lens reflex (TLR) camera for many of his portraits.
Ingrid Bergman, by Avedon
Image Source:
Always using plain backgrounds, Avedon's portraits seem to show a very direct connection between model and photographer. I love that about his work.
For more Avedon inspiration, check out this post on the blog
Still plenty to learn!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Paal Audestad - 36 Images With His Old Leica M4

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Norwegian music and performance photographer Paal Audestad recently got his Leica M4 repaired after many years on the shelf. He took 36 images with it, thoughtfully, without even a light meter to help. And got 36 great images.
You must (Click Here) and see them all on the Leica Camera Blog. I'm quite impressed.
The post gives some insight into "slow photography" with film, versus blasting away with digital. It doesn't discount either approach. Funny, though, I don't think of an M4 as slow by any means. My Mamiya Universal, or 4x5 Speed Graphic? Now that's slow.
The funniest part of the story is how Audestad once lost his M4 during a night of partying. Where did he finally find it? In the refrigerator. Hilarious.
Audestad says he'll keep this little project with his M4 going as long as he can, he says perhaps until the M4 breaks again. That could/should be a very long time, Paal.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Planning My Next Theme - Maybe

Great Falls, VA, at About 17 Degrees Fahrenheit, by Reed A. George
Well, if you've followed the twists and turns of this blog for a few years, you've seen it change quite a lot. If not, I can tell you that my focus shifted from mainly Panasonic/Lumix/Micro 4/3 gear in the first year to a prolonged emphasis on Leica, and on old film cameras. Recently, I've been thinking more about the creative process and how it relates to gear and format.
I think all of this has been useful for me, and I don't plan to drop any of it. I still shoot Lumix when the mood strikes me, and have zero problem relying on a full Micro 4/3 kit for much of my travel. I'll never lose the love for my Leicas. However, lately, some friends and I have been leaning more toward medium format film cameras for our weekend outings.
In my Skeletons From The Closet series, I used several of my old medium format cameras. My friends Charlie and Alain are Rolleiflex users. I love my Rolleiflexes as well. I recently picked up (through the favor of another friend) a wondrous Mamiya Universal Press camera kit. I also really enjoy medium format folding cameras, and my Bronica ETR (6x4.5 format) kit has been sitting idle for far too long.
So, I may just have to start a new emphasis on medium format film shooting. In fact, my first couple of rolls through the Mamiya are on their way to The Darkroom as I write this.
Don't know about The Darkroom? (Click Here) for the best film processing I've ever found.
As I've learned that focusing on just one type of equipment is only satisfying for a finite period of time, I'll figure out how to make the best creative use of this type of gear. I won't limit myself to one camera or maker. I will commit to the "slow photography" movement, at least for this part of my shooting. With a Mamiya Universal, you don't have much choice but to commit to slow photography. :)
Anyway, that's my thought at this point in time. Again, this will not be an exclusive focus. I surely won't be traveling with just a Mamiya Universal very often. But, it could be a new dimension to add to my subjects.
Input always appreciated! Drop me a comment with your thoughts.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Nikon FM2 - One of the Best SLRs Ever Made

I haven't shot my Nikon FM2 in a long time. Too long. Here's a shot I made with it in 2011, most likely the last time I used it.
Southern California Doorway, by Reed A. George
Nikon FM2, Fuji Sensia Slide Film
The FM2 is sort of the perfect result of one branch of SLR evolution, in my opinion. Not the same branch that ultimately ended up in the Nikon F6, a highly technical feat of automation and speed, the FM2 is the result of optimization of simplicity and effectiveness.
Now, some may argue that the FM3A was the successor to the FM2, and continued the evolution. In fact, that's the official word from Nikon. (Click Here) to read a little about the FM2 on Nikon's page. I have no experience with the FM3A, so am not in a position to say. However, it's hard to imagine that it does what the FM2 does only better. I suppose I owe it to myself to check that out.
In a way, I think of the FM2 as similar to the Leica rangefinder. While it benefitted from lots of experience in design and implementation, it didn't become a collection of features and gadgets. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
I started thinking about my FM2 because I read a post by Nick DeMarco on Rangefinder Chronicles, about Nick borrowing his father's FM2, and how much he enjoyed it.
(Click Here) to read Nick's post.
I have no reason to put off shooting my FM2. I know for a fact that it's sitting there, where it's been for the past three years, 100% ready to go and shoot. I'm even sure that the battery (which is unnecessary, anyway) is still charged and ready to go.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Leica Cameras Underwater - Not My Leica Camera, Thank You!

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I've never explored whether or not Leica ever made equipment specifically for underwater photography. Well, of course they did! And, they did it to an incredible level of precision, as you'd expect.
I found a nice post on the Leica Barnack Berek Blog about this very subject.
(Click Here) to read the full post.
Leica (actually Leica Canada, ELCAN) developed the housing you see above, which in the images shown in the post went around a Leica M4 rangefinder to protect it from the deep. The lens is specially developed for the index of refraction of sea water. In fact, they made different front elements to make the salinity and resulting diffraction of different seas around the world. Amazing.
I have a hard time imagining placing my Leica rangefinder in one of these and jumping into the ocean. I suppose I should have the same confidence in this housing as I would other wonderfully-engineered Leica products. With proper maintenance, I'm sure they're nearly fail-proof.
Apparently, the lens designs, which actually consider the water as part of the optical path, were capable of producing underwater pictures that are indistinguishable from images taken in air.
This post didn't have any example images. I did however find this old cover from the Leica Photography magazine:

Image Source:

I have no way of knowing what equipment was used to make the image above. Being from a 1954 issue, and based on the fact that Leica Canada started up in 1952, it's unlikely to be from the camera above. If not, I'd love to see what they used to take this one!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Leica Thambar - Exclusive, Unique, Beautiful Imperfection

I've heard of the Leica Thambar lens before. That's about all I could say about it before taking a little interest in it this morning.
Here's what sparked my interest - a post by awslee on Rangefinder Forum.
Image Source:

(Click Here) to see the post and more images.
The Thambar is a screw mount (LTM), 90mm f2.2 lens. Made in the 1930s to respond to the need for a portrait lens that wasn't too sharp, the Thambar certainly delivered. The lens relies on uncorrected optics to render interesting, soft backgrounds. It also uses a reflective spot filter to change the effect near the center of the image.
(Click Here) to read the best description I've found of the Thambar, on the Leica Barnack Berek blog.
The Thambar is one of those very special lenses, one that you probably wouldn't put in your bag very often. Couple that with the scarcity (only a few thousand were made, and now about 80 years ago), and the likelihood of my ever owning a Thambar is reduced to near zero. But boy, would it be fun to try one out.
Hmm. I bet someone in the LHSA (International Leica Society) has one. Any of my friends there want to lend me their Thambar for a few hours?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Off-Stage at the Music Festival

I shot these images at a recent music festival (River and Roots, in Berryville, VA). I find myself interested in photographing more candid settings with the friends I've made in the local music scene. Of course, I still photograph them on-stage, but I really like hanging out, sharing thoughts, and capturing moments off-stage as well.
It's interesting to me that through the festivals that I regularly attend, as well as the bands that I've now known for several years, I'm watching people develop, families come into existence and grow. That continuity makes it even more fun.
I shot all of these with my wartime Leica IIIC and 5cm f3.5 Elmar, on Tmax 100 film.
Hope you enjoy the shots.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

More Rolleiflex Images from the Smithsonian Folklife Festival - Celebrating Kenya

Yesterday, I shared a couple of images from the China side of this year's Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Today, Kenya.
All of these were shot with my Rolleiflex T twin lens reflex (TLR) camera and Kodak Portra 160 film.
Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2014 - Kenya
It was a very bright, contrasty sunny day, as you can see in the second image. So, getting under the tent coverings helped to diffuse the light quite a bit, leading to better overall images. That said, it made getting a natural looking background more challenging.
In any case, people did seem to like being photographed with an old TLR camera. I've had this camera for several years. I used it quite a lot when I first bought it, less so recently. I've still got it in my bag, and plan to shoot more with it in the near future.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2014 - With Rolleiflex T

Two of my photography buddies have taken a (re)new(ed) interest in shooting Rolleiflexes. Both of them now sport Rolleiflex f2.8 cameras, while I shoot a Rolleiflex T f3.5 model.
Together, we all went to check out the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, whose focus in 2014 was on the countries of Kenya and China.
(Click Here) to read about the festival.
One of the events in the China program was flower, drum, lantern dancing. I captured these images of one of the group's leaders, who I believe is named Yue Ying (I can't seem to confirm that).
Flower Drum Lantern Dancer, by Reed A. George
Rolleiflex T f3.5 Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) Camera, Kodak Portra 160 Color Print Film
I used my Rolleinar 1 closeup lenses on the T for these shots. Actually, I could have done them without the need for the Rolleinar, as I was at the long limit of focus with them installed. That said, I like how they reduce the depth of field for portraits like this. So, no harm done.
It was fun getting the old TLR out again. You'll be seeing more TLR images in the near future, including some from the Kenya portion of the festival.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Real Macro With a Leica Rangefinder? Why Not?

I shot this image with a gadget that I picked up on ebay, called the "Accura III," a Japanese version of an early Leica Visoflex attachment, which essentially converts your rangefinder camera to an SLR.
Tiny Blossom, by Reed A. George
Leica IIIC Rangefinder Camera, Accura III attachment, Leica 5cm f2 Summar lens
Now, this is really bending the rules of what camera systems are good at. Rangefinders were designed for getting no closer than a few feet from your subject, and for generally short focal length lenses. In the history of photography, SLRs came in to dominate most applications, and certainly macro and telephoto.
Here's the Accura III:
Accura III Closeup Adapter for Leica Screwmount Cameras
I was inspired to pick this up when I saw it cheap on ebay because my friend, Charlie, loaned me a much more premium version, his being made by Novoflex. Charlie's Novoflex has the correct 13.5cm f4.5 Hektor lens attached to it, which is a much more suitable focal length for this type of rig. The Novoflex also allows a lot more range in focus, as it has a bellows between the lens and the adapter housing. I haven't tried that rig yet, but expect good results; it's always good to have a future project in the queue.
My Accura III is quite limited in what it can do. With the 5cm Summar attached, it becomes an extreme closeup affair, with little to no focus adjustment. You basically have to get very close to your subject, and move the camera until things appear to be in focus through the dim little eyepiece.
This was a pretty half-hearted try, handheld, while I was trying to finish up a roll of film. Sharp? Nope. Carefully executed? Nope. But, I find it rather pleasing. Both the Accura, and especially Charlie's Novoflex, deserve more exploration.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bike Riding with the Fuji Instax Neo

My wife and I went on an all-too-rare bike ride together last weekend. I took the Fuji Neo along.
Before the Ride, by Reed A. George
Fuji Instax Neo Instant Camera
I carried the Neo around my neck the whole ride. It's very light, so that didn't present a problem at all. I decided to try and capture some motion blur in one of the more wooded sections of the trail. First, I tried the B setting, and overexposed to the point that the image was useless. For my second try, I simply turned off the flash, which resulted in a longer exposure. Here's what I got:
Daylight Motion Blur, by Reed A. George
Fuji Instax Neo Instant Camera
My wife had some challenges with her biking shoe clips, namely getting them to clip in and then unclip. Here she demonstrates the emergency evacuation procedure, which consists of pulling your foot out of the shoe, leaving it attached to the pedal. No kidding, these shoes were the biggest safety hazard of the ride.
Pedal Clip Challenges, by Reed A. George

Fuji Instax Neo Instant Camera

I'm really enjoying the little Fuji Neo. I'm hopeful that Instax film for it will be around a while, even while Fuji discontinues it's older pack film. There seems to be a lot of focus on Instax, and I seem them popping up in various places. If you're looking for a fun photographic diversion, give one a try. The Neo happens to have a lot more creative settings than the other models, including B (time exposure), exposure compensation, and the abilty to turn the flash off when you want. Buy yours from my Amazon link below and support my blog!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

New Leica Store in Kyoto Japan!

Gion Crossing, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Summilux 35mm f1.4 Lens
iso 640, f6.7, 1/90 sec.
As you probably know, I'm a Leicaphile (meaning I love Leica cameras). I'm also a Japanophile (meaning I love Japan). Today I read that there's a new Leica store in the Gion District of Kyoto, Japan. Excellent news.
(Click Here) to see a great 3 minute video about the new store, built into a 100 year old "machi-ya" (traditional Kyoto style house). So beautiful.
(Click Here) to read about it on the Leica Camera Blog.
I think the craftsmanship of Leica cameras fits perfectly with the deep character of this traditional area of Kyoto.

I can't wait to visit!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Walter Ulreich Shares His Experience Going Back to a Zeiss Folder

Old Style, Kyoto, by Reed A. George
Zeiss 521/16 Medium Format Folding Camera
I love shooting old cameras. I have a few favorites, one of which is the Zeiss 521/16 folder, with Tessar 75mm f3.5 lens, which I used for the shot above.
(Click Here) to read more about this particular camera. This is the one that happened to have an old roll of film still in it, with pictures from JFK's Fourth of July speech in Philadelphia. (Click Here) to read about that roll of found film.
So, what made me think about this today? Well, as the post title mentions, Walter Ulreich has made a blog post that shares his experience in going back to a Tessar-equipped Zeiss folder after many years. His test images are quite impressive, certainly worth a look.
(Click Here) to go to Walter's post.
Amazing what a well-preserved old (very old, near 80 years old) camera can do!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Water Lily - Imperfections of Film and Long Telephoto

Water Lily, by Reed A. George
Nikon F Film SLR, Sigma 400mm f5.6 (pre-AI) Telephoto
I continue to explore the 400mm Sigma lens that I won in the Film Photography Project Walking Workshop giveaway. As you may have seen, it works pretty well on my Micro 4/3 Lumix DMC-GX7. But, it's not of the same quality as the more modern Micro 4/3 lenses. In fact, I think it's much more at home on the type of camera it was designed for, a film SLR.
As you can imagine, the shot above was taken from a long distance. 400mm has a very long reach.
I like the combination of the tight perspective of the telephoto, the narrow depth of field, and the significant vignetting in the corners. For all its imperfections, this image says what I want it to.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

More Fun With the Fujifilm Neo Instant Camera, and a Review

Hair, by Reed A. George
Fujifilm Instax Mini Neo 90
A couple of weeks back, I posted about the Fujifilm Instax Neo camera that I'd just bought. (Click Here) to see that post, which includes several images.
I've gotten more interested in instant photography lately. I really like the Fuji pack films which fit many Polaroid cameras, including my 103. (Click Here) to read about that camera. However, one can only guess that these films are not long for this world. In fact, discontinuation of one of the two types, Fujifilm's black and white FP3000B, has already been announced. FP100C is still being made, but who knows for how long.
So, probably the most attractive thing about the new Fujifilm Instax Mini Neo is that there's a good chance this film will be around for a while. Fuji's doing a good job of introducing new cameras, and even some with creative controls like the Neo, so hopefully that will keep the market strong.
(Click Here) to read a nice review of the Instax Mini Neo on
For not too much money, the Neo is really a nice, fun little camera. Buy yours through my Amazon link below!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Combining Systems - Micro 4/3 (Lumix GX7) and Nikkor Super Telephoto 500mm f4 AiP Lens

Just for fun, I decided to take out my enormously heavy Nikkor AiP 500mm f4 lens, and mount my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 body to it, for some bird photography. That's right, the body mounts to the lens in my mind, as it's tiny in size compared to the big telephoto.
I put the combination on my even heavier Gitzo tripod with Manfrotto gimbal mount, and commenced to photographing wading birds at my local nature walk. I set the GX7's in-body image stabilizer to 500mm, but left it on. You would usually turn it off when using a tripod.
Here's an example shot of a great blue heron.
Portrait of a GBH, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, Nikkor AiP 500mm f4 Lens (Manual Focus)
iso 1600, f8, 1/1000 sec.
With an equivalent field of view to a 1000mm lens on full-frame 35mm, it's obviously a challenge to manually focus this big lens, and hold it steady enough to get a decent shot, even at 1/1000 second exposure. The manual focus magnifier and focus peaking helped immensely, especially the magnifier. The peaking seems to be a little too forgiving, overestimating the depth of field at this long focal length.
This bird actually was a little too close for me to get the shot I wanted, not your normal situation in bird photography.
Even at iso 1600, the noise levels are quite reasonable with the GX7.
So, rather than worry about carrying a tele-converter to get just a little more reach from my 500mm lens, I can just carry the GX7 body! It probably weighs less than a converter, and you don't lose an f-stop of light gathering. Pretty cool.
Now that I know it technically works okay, I need to go back and see if I can get some more interesting images with this combination.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Tips for Better Hiking Photography, Skip Spitzer on Luminous Landscape

I love to do outdoor and nature photography. I love to hike. My family hates to hike with me because I do too much photography on our hikes. Balance is important. However, now I have the excuse that I'm just staying aerobic, after reading Skip Spitzer's post on the Luminous Landscape blog.
Family Hike at Shenandoah National Park (Will They Ever Go Again?), by Reed A. George
In Skip's post, he gives quite a lot of information about how to be a better hiker and photographer at the same time.
(Click Here) to read the full post. Here are the points that were most important to me:
  1. Have a real relationship with the nature you're photographing
  2. Be skillful enough in your hiking to be at ease, feel the "flow" of the experience
  3. Focus on keeping your energy usage aerobic (go slow, with only short bursts of intense activity)
  4. Learn about the best hiking gear and materials (a cotton shirt isn't the best idea)
  5. Learn to understand, respect, and manage the risks so that you can enjoy the experience
In the post, you'll also see a link to Skip's video program, which you can view for only $10. I'll probably do that when I have time.
So, you see, the reason I stop every ten feet or so to shoot several pictures is that I'm trying to stay aerobic. Yes, I quite like that excuse.