Monday, March 31, 2014

Fisheye Image - Zen Heart - Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 and Bower 7.5mm Fisheye Lens

As I write this, I'm on the final day of a trip to New Mexico. I've had precious little free time, which means the meeting I'm attending is actually pretty good.
I decided to make this a "Micro 4/3 only" trip, in an attempt to bond with my new GX7. I must say it's working. The image quality from this camera is stunning. I'm still not completely sold on how it feels in my hand, actually preferring the feel of either the earlier DMC-GX1 (which is also along for the trip), or one of the more SLR-shaped Lumix cameras (which I've now sold off).
Here's a shot I made at the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe:
Zen Heart, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, Bower 7.5mm f3.5 Fisheye lens
I visited the Center for an early morning meditation session (7:00 am). It was really worth the drive up from Albuquerque, where I'm staying. I was back in time for my meeting.
(Click Here) to read about Upaya Zen Center. They host a no-charge meditation session every morning.
This silver heart pendant (about 2" in size) was attached to the fence around Upaya's community garden. My lens was about 4" away from it, which is one of the cool features of the fisheye. You can get very close focus. In the background, you can see the Center and the base of their windmill (on left) and prayer flags on the back fence (on right). I like how this single image has the focal point of the heart, but also includes a lot of information about the place.
I really am impressed by the image quality of the GX7. Now if I can just get comfortable with it in my hand.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Want Some Color? See "Through Harold's Lens" Blog

Once in a While, I Actually Do Shoot Color (by Reed A. George)
I'm always on the lookout for new blogs to follow. One useful place to find them is on Munchow's periodic list of the best blogs he's found. (Click Here) to see his latest list, #10.
One of those blogs, "Through Harold's Lens," really impresses with bold color.
(Click Here) to go to Harold's blog.
I didn't repost any of Harold's images, as he includes a copyright in everything he posts on this blog. His colors are much more impressive than what you see above in my shot.
I have really been focusing on black and white a lot lately. But, I'm currently in New Mexico for a business trip, and can't help but think I'll have to share some of the color of this place, if I can make any time to get out on a break from the meeting. I have been out at sunrise, before the meeting starts, so I will have a few things to share coming up...
In any case, it's good to look at a wide range of photography, and Harold's blog challenges me to remember color as an element in my photography.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Photos on the Music Blog, Cosmic Vibes Live - Larry Keel Experience

Larry Keel, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 85mm f1.8 AF-D Lens
iso 1600
I have collaborated with the live music blog Cosmic Vibes Live in the past, and continue to enjoy doing so. One of the recent shows I attended, the Larry Keel Experience at Gypsy Sally's in Washington, DC, was covered by Cosmic Vibes. While I don't mind writing up my own posts for them, this time I got to focus solely on the photography, which made it nice. Joe Cariola took care of the writing, and did a great job.
(Click Here) to read the post on Cosmic Vibes Live.
You can also (Click Here) to download a recording of the show by my friend, Bret Evans.
Oh, and to find out more about the Larry Keel Experience, (Click Here). Larry is an amazing guitarist, and surrounds himself with only the best musicians, including his wife Jenny Keel on the bass and Will Lee on guitar and banjo. If you get the chance to see them, take it.
PS - stay tuned for more Larry Keel pics. My two rolls of Delta 3200 arrived at The Darkroom today!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Simplicity - "The Ultimate Sophistication"

My Nikon F
As you know, this blog is loosely focused on the interface of equipment and artistic approaches to photography. I for one don't believe that the "equipment doesn't matter." I do believe the standard adage that equipment should not get in one's way. Therefore, I tend to enjoy using simple cameras more than technologically complex ones.
This may seem limiting, and sometimes it can be. When I think of simple cameras that I love to use, most of them are film cameras, which is in itself a limitation. Leica's Barnack cameras, film M cameras, Nikon film SLRs (made before autofocus), folding medium format cameras, twin lens reflexes (e.g. Rolleiflexes or the lovely Minolta Autocord) all come to mind. In the digital realm, there are much fewer choices. My Leica M9 reigns supreme here. I think maybe a Nikon Df would suit me similarly.
Other times, I simply need to compromise and use a more complicated camera to help ensure that I get the shot, and that the results are technically superior. This is where the awesome, but awesomely complicated Nikon D700 DSLR comes in. I still use it a lot, and love the results.
I read a post on the blog Leicaphilia about the Leica IIIG. I think the author and I share a lot in how we think about cameras.
(Click Here) to read why the author chooses the IIIG more often than any other camera.
All that said, I'm packed for a quick trip to New Mexico for business. I've decided to carry only Micro 4/3 gear, in an effort to re-engage myself with that modern, more complicated gear. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I'm Going to the Film Photography Project Walking Workshop in May!

If you like shooting film, you must know the Film Photograph Project (FPP). I love listening to their podcast, which is about to record its 100th session. These guys really have fun with film photography.
Image Source:
To check out the FPP, their podcast, film camera and film stock store, flickr community, and more, (Click Here).
I'll be attending the Saturday session of their Walking Workshop in Findlay, Ohio in mid-May.
(Click Here) to read about the workshop.
I've been buying film from the FPP once in a while, as their prices basically match the big NY stores, and I like to support the little guys. The Ilford Delta 3200 I've been using lately comes from them.
So, check out the FPP, support them, and join the Walking Workshop if you can!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

New Orleans by Night - Frank Relle's Project on NYT's Lens Blog

Image Source:

The New York Times blog, Lens, has reported on a project by photographer Frank Relle, a New Orleans
native. Relle started photographing New Orleans houses (from rich to poor) while in college, as a sort of therapy for a broken heart (his girlfriend had broken up with him). Thinking that Hurricane Katrina had ruined his project, Relle actually found that it extended it, gave it new life.

(Click Here) to read the story on Lens.

Personally, I really like Relle's approach to these images. Moving over the years from long exposures with existing light (or lack thereof) to his current approach of bringing his own lighting (in the form of a lighting truck) to some of the scenes, His goal is to provoke his viewers to make up their own stories about the lives inside these structures. This is not an explicit expose' of others' lives. Just hints are given, enough to make us think on our own.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Live Music, Film Emulation, This Time With the Leica M9

Will and Larry (of the Larry Keel Power Trio), by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Zeiss Sonnar C 50mm f1.5 Lens
iso 1600, f1.5, 1/125 sec.
I'm really having fun with this film emulation approach to my live music photography. Last week, I had the pleasure of seeing the Larry Keel Power Trio (aka Larry Keel Experience) twice. The image above is from the first show, at the Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville, Va.
I shot this image with my Leica M9, and used my Lightroom preset to emulate the contrast and grain of Ilford Delta 3200 film.
(Click Here) to read about my emulation settings in Lightroom.
I also saw the band a second time, in Washington, DC, over the weekend. For that show, I shot my Nikon D700, and used the same Lightroom settings to process the images. The preset works just as well with the D700 images.
For both shows, I also carried my Leica M4-2 (which I use for my "Dreaming in Monochrom(e)" series. I have two expose rolls of real Ilford Delta 3200 sitting next to me at my desk right now. So, I'll share those images in a week or so when I have results from the processing at The Darkroom (
By the way, have a listen to the Keels. A quick search for "Larry Keel" on iTunes will get you plenty of results. I'd suggest the album "Classic" as a start.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Joy of a Film Leica Rangefinder

Yoko Ono's Tree, by Reed A. George
Leica M4-2, Summicron 50mm f2 Lens
If you know me, you know that I love to shoot Leica rangefinders. And, I love to shoot film.
Having read a post by Rikard Landberg on Steve Huff's site, I just felt the need to find an old film Leica image and share it. Mr. Landberg writes of his experience of selling off all of his digital (Canon) gear and shooting film only for a year.
(Click Here) to read Mr. Landberg's post on Steve Huff Photo.
While I don't find it necessary to be exclusive of digital (or exclusive of anything in particular) in my photography, I do appreciate the narrowing of variables and focus on attention and concentration that Rikard discusses in his post.
He shoots Kodak TMax 400 film, usually at iso 1600, which leads to the high contrast you'll see in his shots there. I like the look. However, I also notice that all of his images have extremely large depth of field. This is likely due to the need to shoot at small apertures while shooting at iso 1600 outdoors. Not really a problem, but as you can see in my image above, I like to take advantage of very shallow depth of field in some cases. For me, if I had to pick a single iso to shoot at (thank goodness I don't), it would probably be 400.
If you're wondering, the note just left of center in the image of Yoko Ono's tree, above, says:
"I wish I was happy and no one I love feels sad."
That's a pretty noble wish.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Metabones Speed Booster Adapter - Will This Attract Me to the Lumix DMC-GX7 More?

I have read about the amazing new adapters from a company called Metabones a few times, but didn't pay much attention. What's amazing about them? Not that they simply adapt various SLR lenses (including Nikkors) to Micro 4/3; I've had an adapter for that for a while now. Two things make this adapter different:
  1. The adapter reduces the crop factor from 2x to about 1.4x on Micro 4/3, meaning that my Nikkor 20mm f2.8 SLR lens will have an equivalent crop to a 28mm lens on the GX7. That's useful.
  2. The adapter makes the lens the equivalent of 1 full stop faster! So, that same 20mm f2.8 lens becomes an equivalent 28mm f2 lens on Micro 4/3.
Now, I figured this had to be some kind of gimmick. The only explanation I've seen is that it's sort of the opposite of a tele-converter (which reduces f-stop rather than increasing it). But now, I've seen it enough to look closer. For example, here's a shot from SOUNDIMAGEPLUS, using a Nikon 50mm f1.4 on the GX7 with the Metabones adapter.
Image Source:
(Click Here) to read the post on SOUNDIMAGEPLUS and see several sample images.
I've read several reviews of this component, and am pretty convinced it's for real, and high quality. I may just have to give it a try.
(Click Here) to read more about the adapter on
These things aren't cheap at about $430. Also, there are a few things I don't understand at this point. For some reason, the Nikon to Micro 4/3 Speed Booster adapter is listed as being for "G" series lenses. I don't know if they are fully compatible with non-G lenses (those Nikkor lenses that have an aperture ring). I also don't know if they allow for open aperture metering. I guess I'd like to test one before purchasing.
In any case, it's on my mind now, and I'd like to try it.
If anyone has answers to how these work with non-G lenses (and even non-AI manual focus lenses), please comment and let me know!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Plank Stompers - Leica M9, Summilux 35mm, Emulating Ilford Delta 3200

The Plank Stompers, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Leica Summilux 35mm f1.4 v.3 Lens
iso 1600, f2, 1/125 sec.
I think this shot of my friends' band, The Plank Stompers, really shows the character of the older 35mm Summilux lens. It's simultaneously sharp (look at the eyeglasses) and dreamy.
I shot this with my digital Leica M9, and emulated the look of Ilford Delta 3200 film as described (here).
I am really enjoying this look to my live music images.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Dreaming in Monochrom(e) - Taarka (Live Music) on Ilford Delta 3200 Film

I recently wrote about how I wanted to try Ilford Delta 3200 for my live music photography.
(Click Here) to read about what sent me in this direction.
Well, here are my first results, from a great show by the band Taarka at the Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville, Virginia, on March 1, 2014.
I shot all of these with my Leica M4-2 (ca. 1978) and Zeiss Sonnar C 50mm f1.5 lens. On some of them I use just a tiny touch of fill flash (1/32 power on the compact Nikon SB30 flash). The shot immediately above is one of those. It helped to fill in some of the shadows.
I exposed all of these as if the Delta 3200 were rated at iso 1600, and had them developed by The Darkroom ( normally (as if shot at 3200). This decision was based on my previous experience with Delta 3200, where my negatives were a bit thin when shot at 3200. I found lots of references to shooting it this way (at 1600), and I agree.
So, how does Delta 3200 compare to Kodak TMax 400 pushed two stops to iso 1600? I think it did help me to tame the extreme high contrast of pushing TMax 400, which was one of my goals. The grain is more pronounced with Delta 3200, but I kind of like it. So, as far as I'm concerned, this experiment was a success. I'll certainly be shooting more Delta 3200.
(Click Here) to see how I've made presets in Lightroom to emulate Delta 3200 in my Leica M9 shots.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dreaming in Monochrom(e) - Single Shot I Like

Here's a shot I made of my kid, using the Leica M4-2, Kodak TMax 400 film, and the awesome Zeiss 50mm f1.5 C-Sonnar:
I have learned some things from my "Dreaming in Monochrom(e)" project. I started the project to investigate how much I'd enjoy having a modern digital monochrome rangefinder camera, the Leica Monochrom.
One thing I learned is that I can do a lot with black and white only. That said, I'm not sure I want my camera to limit me to monochrome only.
Using the M4-2 for live music shots has actually changed the way I shot concerts, whether with film or digital. Shooting in low light with TMax 400 pushed two stops and with Ilford Delta 3200, I re-learned at least one style I like for my music photography - high contrast and with grain. So, I am processing some of my digital concert images to emulate that look. An unexpected lesson.
As with most of my projects, the answers I find are not absolute. But, they do add to my overall knowledge and enjoyment of photography.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sunday Afternoon Jam Session - Leica M9 and Summilux 35mm Lens

As you may have seen, I've been exploring the use of high iso film in my Leica M4-2, specifically for shooting live music. I've also worked on emulating the look of that film in Lightroom, during post-processing of files shot on my digital Leica M9. Today's post shares more of those digital emulations.
(Click Here) to learn more about Jammin' Java.
Jammin' Java, a local music venue in Falls Church, Virginia, periodically has afternoon jam sessions. For this one, I only had an hour to spare, so had to leave early. Lighting was about as challenging as it gets, with bright open sunlight outside, black curtains in the windows and very low light inside. However, I think that made the light quite interesting. Shooting my Leica M9 and Summilux 35mm f1.4 v.3 lens wide open at iso 1600, here are some of the images I captured in the short time I was there.
Jammin' Java, by Reed A. George
That fourth image shows a strange internal reflection I was getting in the Summilux, even though I was using a lens hood. It was repeatable, but I've never had it happen before with this lens. The light coming in around the black curtains was very bright and very directional. I doubt I'll ever see that artifact again.
All shot wide open at f1.4, these images show the characteristics of the older Summilux lenses - quite a lot of flare and coma wide open, while remaining mostly sharp. This is one example of what people call the "Leica glow."
I don't mind these imperfections, and in fact added to them with my settings in Lightroom designed to emulate Ilford Delta 3200 film. Big increases in contrast and grain are what gets them there.
I'm having lots of fun with this new approach to music photography. I feel that I can get the same style now out of either real Delta 3200 film or my M9, shooting at iso 1600. Very nice.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

CineStill iso 800 Tungsten Balanced Color Film - Something Else to Try

Image Source:

I read a very interesting post on the blog "APhotoContributor," about a type of film I've never used before, known as "CineStill." It's an iso 800 film, color balanced for tungsten light sources. Not something I'd want to use every day. In fact, I think I've only used tungsten-balanced film once or twice, and it was film that a friend gave to me. The author used a conversion filter (85B) when shooting the film in daylight.

(Click Here) to see the post on APhotoContributor. There are lots of examples shot on this film, in many different lighting situations.

So why would I be interested in trying this film? I think it could be a very interesting way to shoot low light concerts in color. Granted, many modern music venues use the dreaded LED light sources, which are impossible to balance for. The issue is that they only emit a very narrow wavelength range, so you get full saturation in one color channel, nothing in the others. But, for those beloved stages still lit with filtered tungsten lights, this could be very interesting.

The CineStill film is available from Freestyle, but for quite a high price ($9 per roll). I'm going to assume these are 36 exposure rolls, but don't know that for sure. CineStill can be processed in normal C41 chemistry (what your few remaining drugstores who develop film use). I would send mine to The Darkroom (

What makes the film even more interesting is that you can push it to iso 3200. That would definitely come in handy for some low light music clubs.

(Click Here) to see CineStill on Freestyle's site.

What I may do is try a roll or two, then see if I can replicate the look using my Leica M9 and adjustments in Lightroom, similar to what I've already done with Ilford Delta 3200.

I'm discovering new things to try, working between film and digital. What I've come to realize is that I should not try to make the same image style with my Leica M9 at iso 1600 as I would at iso 200. Once I understand that, it opens some doors. If I'm emulating Delta 3200, with its high grain and contrast, shooting the M9 at iso 1600 is no problem whatsoever. The grain added in Lightroom works just fine with the CCD noise generated in the M9 at such a high iso setting.
I feel like I'm leaving a plateau in learning over the past couple of months, and things are getting more interesting again.

Monday, March 17, 2014

How Leica Killed "Leica Photography" on Leicaphilia

Now this is an interesting post, especially for me to be reading one day after I posted about taking a modern digital image from my Leica M9, removing many of the gray levels through boosting contrast, adding grain, and in my opinion, improving it.
The blog Leicaphilia provides a perspective on how Leica has killed its own style of photography by abandoning their expertise in making compact, functional, straightforward rangefinders and instead shifting their focus to exacting optical designs and products.
(Click Here) to read the post on Leicaphilia.
What do I think of all of this?
Sketching, by Reed A. George
Leica IIIC, Canon 50mm f1.4 Lens, TMax 400 Film
Well, I certainly agree that the attraction to Leica, especially old Leica cameras like the IIIC I used for the shot above, has something to do with the camera body design. Simple, effective, obviously hand-built. And, I must agree about the quality of some of Leica's competitors' lenses back in the day. The Canon 50mm f1.4 I used for the shot above is really quite nice.
I'm not sure that I agree that other brand lenses were actually better than Leica's back in the day. No, I don't judge them by micro-contrast or even necessarily sharpness, but my Leica Summar and Summaron lenses make beautiful images. They take quite a beating in the above-referenced post. There also seems to be a marked lean toward Nikkor lenses in that post. Not that I disagree; I have a nice Nikkor 3.5cm f2.5 in Leica thread mount (LTM) that does quite a nice job. Honestly, though, I prefer my Leica Summaron 3.5cm f3.5 in terms of the images it produces.
Finally, I don't agree that Leica has turned away from its design basics. The Leica M9 is about as straightforward to use as you could make a modern digital camera, while still giving the user complete control. I can easily switch back and forth between the M9 and a 1955 M3, without having to worry about differences in controls.
Now, the same cannot be said for some of Leica's other cameras. Some of them do have the same issues with complicated controls and multilayer menus that their Japanese counterparts have. Anyone notice the differences between shooting a Nikon F film camera and the wonderful, but complicated D700, for example?
So, I agree with some of the points in the article, not with others. I would say it's a call for Leica to be vigilant about future designs.
The author is correct that optical perfection does not necessarily lead to a great image. I'm learning to remove some perfection to get to the image that I really want.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Emulating Delta 3200 Film Look in Lightroom

I've been shooting real Ilford Delta 3200 film in my Leica M4-2 recently. I've been using it at live music events, and really like the look, especially shooting it at iso 1600 and developing it normally (at
I've been interested in emulating that look with digital files, specifically with shots from my Leica M9, shot at iso 1600. Now that my M9 is back from Leica Service, I will likely carry the M9 and M4-2 together to some shows.
First, I decided to try the preset in Nik software's SilverEfex Pro. I didn't find it to be particularly comparable to my film results. So, I decided to work through adjustments in Lightroom 5 until I got something closer and save them as presets. I've now done that. Here's an example of a shot made with the M9 (at iso 200 in this case). The first version is what I would normally do to process this type of image from the M9 in black and white. The second is done using my Delta 3200 presets.
Charlie - "Normal" versus "Delta 3200" Versions, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Leica Summilux 35mm f1.4 v.3 Lens
iso 200, f1.4, 1/125 sec.
For this particular shot, I strongly prefer the "Delta 3200" version.
I made two separate presets. Here are the adjustments I made in each.
Preset #1 - Delta 3200 Contrast Settings 
Contrast = +38
Clarity = +18

Preset #2 - Delta 3200 Grain and Sharpening Settings

Sharpening Amount +2
Sharpening Radius 0.7
Sharpening Detail 25
Sharpening Masking 0

NR Luminance 26
NR Detail 50
NR Contrast 0

Grain Amount 60
Grain Size 17
Roughness 94
I find it very interesting that adding this amount of grain and removing gray levels (in the form of increased contrast) can actually improve some images.
I hope others find the settings useful.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Getting More Acquainted With the Lumix DMC-GX7

I took my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 out for a hike last weekend. It was the first nice weather we've had in quite some time, and I simply had to get out. Hoping to photograph some birds or other wildlife, I packed up my GX7, 100-300mm f4-5.6 OIS zoom, and the new Series II kit zoom (14-42mm f3.5-5.6) and headed for a Virginia State Park known as Sky Meadows.
The birds have not yet come back to this part of the world. So, after sitting in the woods for a while (not an altogether bad experience), I walked around some of the old farm buildings at the park. Here's an image I saw and was able to capture in side one of the barns:
In the Shadows, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, Series II 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 Kit Zoom
iso 200, f8, 1/40 sec.
I am quite pleased with the dynamic range of the sensor, and the sharpness of the image overall. There are still a few setup options I need to explore with this camera, but nothing too difficult. The GX7 has several programmable function buttons, and I need to find the optimum setup for them.
So far, so good!

Friday, March 14, 2014

A Nice Shot From My Nikon F and Non-AI 135mm f3.5 Nikkor Lens

I recently bought a Nikon F with plain prism from KEH. It is in "BGN" condition, which as far as I can tell means the body is in truly excellent condition, but the prism (the most valuable component) has a ding at the apex of the pentraprism. The ding has absolutely no effect on functionality, and is not all that noticeable. So, I'm quite pleased with the purchase.
I put a roll of color print film (Kodak 400) through it, just to test the light seals, etc. Here's one shot I happen to like.
Paintball Champion, by Reed A. George
Nikon F, Plain Prism, Nikkor non-AI 135mm f3.5 Lens
Kodak 400 Color Print Film
I picked up the non-AI 135mm f3.5 lens at a local camera store for $50, also in great condition. It's not fast, with the maximum aperture of 3.5, but it is quite sharp. It's also really compact and light.
I thoroughly enjoy using all of this old gear that can now be had for so little money.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Spur of the Moment - Pentax K1000 in the Snow and Ice

I am a firm believer in having a camera (or cameras) with me at all times. For example, in my office at work, I keep a Pentax K1000 on my bookshelf. Completely functional (except for the dead battery), and with a 40-80mm SMC Pentax-M f2.8-4 lens mounted, this camera is ready to go at a moment's notice.
Pentax K1000 at the Ready, by Reed A. George
Photographed with Apple iPad Air(!)
A couple of weeks back, on a cold winter afternoon, the cabin fever just became too much. I loaded up a 24 exposure roll of Walgreens iso 200 film and went out to shoot the entire roll in about half an hour. Here are a few results from that outing:
All Shot with Pentax K1000, SMC Pentax-M 40-80mm f2.8-4 Lens
This little diversion really helped me get my head back into work. Every time I use the K1000 I'm reminded of my photographic beginnings, and the joy I've derived from it over the years.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Four of Twenty Nine Chicago Sun-Times Photogs Return to Work - But Is It Really Good News?

Image Source:
Last summer, I posted about the Chicago Sun-Times laying off all of their staff photographers, including the legendary John White. Well, apparently they've hired four of them back.
(Click Here) to read my post from last summer.
While this sounds like great news, the details in a post on tells that the rehiring was really due to union contract negotiations, rather than necessarily being related to their need for professional photographers. It also says that in their rehired positions, they'll need to be "multimedia," with significant focus on videography.
(Click Here) to read about it on
Well, I hope it's good news for these four photographers; it doesn't really sound like great news for the photojournalism trade.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Five Obvious But Useful Tips for Nature Photography

Eastern Kingbird, Tyrannus tyrannus, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor P 500mm f4 Manual Focus Lens
I am so ready for spring. I want to get out in the kayak, paddle to my favorite little island to photograph ospreys and other birds, and feel the warmth. Last year, I only made it out to that island once, and didn't get any really special images. The year before was better. So, I can't wait for the weather to warm up so that I can try again.
I read an article on that gives five good tips for improving your wildlife photography:
  1. Get a good telephoto lens. Definitely, couldn't agree more. There's no substitute.
  2. Use a fast shutter speed (1/500 for a stationary subject, 1/1000 or faster if it's moving). Agreed. But, that means a fast lens and low noise sensor. You kind of have to balance of all that.
  3. Capture the moment, including using continuous shooting. I definitely believe in capturing the moment. Sometimes that comes from continuous shooting. For me, it more typically comes from careful release of the shutter once or twice.
  4. Know your subject. Again, I totally agree. I know where my ospreys nest every year, and when.
  5. Don't get attacked by your subject. I remember being chased a little distance by an angry buffalo once, in Oklahoma. I also remember stepping on a (harmless) snake, while getting out of my kayak. So, yes, be careful.
(Click Here) to read the whole post on
I'll be out there, as soon as the warm weather comes.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Olympus Body Cap Fisheye Lens for Micro 4/3

Image Source:
I recently purchased a fisheye lens for my Micro 4/3 kit, a Bower 7.5mm model.
(Click Here) to see a post of images I shot with the Bower fisheye lens.
I haven't used the fisheye too much yet, but plan to.
Now it seems that Olympus has made a "body cap" lens with fisheye optics. These near-flat lenses that are so thin they double as body caps are really pretty cool. I have the older version Olympus 15mm body cap lens (not fisheye), which again, I have yet to use very much. You know the story, too many cameras, not enough days off.
The body cap fisheye is an ideal combination if you ask me. Since most of us will rarely use a fisheye lens, one of the challenges is that you don't tend to carry it along with you. Even the Bower lens, which is quite light and compact, takes up precious camera bag space. I think the body cap fisheye would solve that issue. And, it's pretty cheap at ~$100.
With a fixed aperture of f8, it's not real flexible, but again, this will be rarely-used equipment for most people. But, when you need it, you need it.
(Click Here) to see an example image posted by matt-pro on
If I hadn't already purchased the Bower, I would certainly go for the Olympus body cap option.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

O'er the Beautiful Snow

It's another snowy, stormy day here in Northern Virginia as I write this. Rather than let it keep me inside, I decided to take a walk in the woods and try to capture the mood. Choosing a simple and durable setup, I grabbed my Lumix DMC-TS5 (waterproof, everything-proof compact camera) and figured out how to set long shutter speeds manually. I wanted the longest exposures I could get, so that I could get some nice motion blur as I walked.
In order to use 1 second (or 1/2 second in some cases), I had to hold up a 3X neutral density filter over the lens on the TS5. No problem.
I've set a short selection of the images (unedited jpegs from the TS5) to one of my favorite songs, "O'er the Beautiful Snow," by Melissa Wright and the Acoustic Burgoo. The mood of the song is perfect for what I wanted to portray.

O'er the Beautiful Snow, by Melissa Wright and Acoustic Burgoo
Images by Reed A. George

(Click Here) to see the slideshow set to the music (~4 minutes playing time). Be sure to have your volume up to hear the music!
Melissa was nice enough to give me permission to use the song for this purpose. I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I Would Do This! Amtrak Writer's Residency

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Author Alexander Chee had a great idea, and something really came of it. Apparently, he mentioned in an interview with PEN magazine that he wished Amtrak had a writer-in-residency program, since riding a train seems an ideal way to get creative.
(Click Here) to read a little more about the program.
I would definitely do this. I think I could be Amtrak's first photographer in residence, and would be happy to write up a trip across the country, or even up or down one of our coasts.

Friday, March 7, 2014

About to Try Ilford Delta 3200 For My Concert Photography

As you may know, I've been shooting some concerts with black and white film in my Leica M4-2 film camera, as part of a series I'm calling "Dreaming in Monochrom(e)." The idea is that I'm exploring using one of my Leicas in monochrome only, exploring how I'd really work with a digital Leica Monochrom if I had one.
Anyway, I've been shooting concerts with Kodak TMax 400 black and white film, pushed two stops to iso 1600.
River Whyless, by Reed A. George
Leica M4-2, 50mm Zeiss C-Sonnar f1.5 Lens
Kodak TMax 400 Film Pushed to iso 1600
While I'm really liking this new look to my concert photography, I'm finding the extreme contrast that I get by pushing 400 speed film two stops a little bit limiting. So, I've decided to try some Ilford Delta 3200 black and white film. My experience with Delta 3200 in the past was that the negatives can be a little thin; I've had better luck shooting it at iso 1600 than the labeled 3200. Apparently, the native iso is more like 1000, but it's got extremely wide exposure tolerance.
So, I think I'll shoot it at 1600 this time.
Here's an example concert shot on Delta 3200by Kontantinos Bezios:
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Konstantinos shot this on a medium format Plaubel 67 camera. I think the gray tones are very nice, and I hope to get a similar effect in my Leica.
(Click Here) to visit Konstantino's blog and see more of his work.
My only question now is whether or not I need to inform The Darkroom (my favorite mail-in film developer) that I shot Delta 3200 at 1600 or not. I tend to think not, as I read a lot of posts about shooting it at 1600 and developing normally.
By the way, if you want truly excellent film developing, (Click Here) to visit
With any luck, I'll have some interesting new concert photos to share in a week or so!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

4X5 Photographer Visits Abandoned Kodak Building in Toronto

Mike B. of the blog "A Year On Film" has posted a nice shot of the entryway and stairs at an abandoned Kodak building in Toronto, Canada.

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He shot this image through a classic Kodak Ektar 127mm f4.7 lens ("normal" focal length for 4x5), mounted on a Calumet camera. Ironically, he used Ilford FP4+ film instead of Kodak!
I love reading about other people like me who enjoy the process as much as the pictures. While I'm sure this image would look great a 4' X 5' on a wall, it's tough to see the advantage of large format film for blog posting. That said, I do see the fun associated with this slow type of photography. I bet it took ten minutes to set up this shot. I think it's very nicely done. Inspires me to get the 4x5 out again soon!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Most Beautiful SLR Ever? Nikon F, Plain Prism

Image Source:,4_f%3D5,8cm.JPG
Author: Dnalor 01

I started getting serious about photography in sixth grade, back in about 1977. My camera at that time was a Pentax K1000. I still have that camera, and it's close to my heart.

Lately, I've continued to explore Nikon SLRs, which were simply outside my financial reach back in the day. I've had several Nikon film SLRs, including an N2000, which is a manual focus SLR with built-in motor drive, an FM2N, and a few others. My most recent additions have been a pair of F2s, which a just plain lovely cameras. Both of mine have the DP-1 Photomic finder.

I've always wanted to try a regular Nikon F with plain prism. I recently bought one, an early example, from KEH. The price of the BGN condition F with prism was about $15 more than a BGN prism ONLY! Well, that $15 bought me a lot. The camera body is in excellent condition. The only thing that makes the overall condition BGN (by KEH's rating) is a dent at the apex of the prism, which has absolutely no effect on the function. I fell in love immediately with this beast from 1962. I've read it being described as the SLR equivalent of a Leica M3. I think that's appropriate. The layout of the original F was borrowed from the Nikon S series rangefinders. No electronics whatsoever. 100% viewfinder coverage. It's really very nice to carry and use.

My first roll of film from the new F is on its way to The Darkroom as I write. Hopefully I'll have some results to share with you in a few days.
Is the F "better" than the F2? Almost certainly not. But, it sure is a beauty, and quite fun to use. At $144 from KEH, I decided I couldn't really go wrong. This is one of those cameras I always told myself I'd own someday.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Bert Stephani Shares Snowy Tokyo / Yokohama

Bert Stephani, blogger and photographer, has posted some great pictures from a recent trip to Yokohama, Japan, at the invitation of Fujifilm.
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It is pretty rare for the Tokyo/Yokohama area to get snow, especially enough to really stick and be around for a while.
(Click Here) to read Bert's story about visiting Japan for the CP+ show at Fujifilm's invitation, and equally important, the several images he shares.
Seems that Bert got some experience with Fujifilm's new X-T1, which is getting a lot of press at the moment.
I have to admit, I'm so far left on the equipment/time balance, I haven't kept up with this new camera (or several others). I think this is okay, as I want my focus to shift toward creative use of my cameras more and more anyway. Of course, that doesn't stop me from looking...