Thursday, October 31, 2013

"Why I Killed Street Photography" - Great Post by A.D. DeMesa on Eric Kim's Blog

I Guess This Is Street?, by Reed A. George
Agfa Record III, 6x9 Folding Medium Format Camera
I read a very interesting introspective post by A.G. DeMesa, a Manila-based photographer, who wrote a guest piece on Eric Kim's street photography blog.
Basically, A.G. is talking about breaking free of restrictions, any restrictions, imposed by trying to shoot in a particular style or genre. He has a significant body of work (10,000 images) to look back on, which helped him decide to "Kill" street photography. DeMesa refers back to historic photographers (Meyerowitz, Frank, Moriyama and others) and how they each pursued something new, different from the accepted styles of their times. Now he's doing the same.
I particularly like this quote:
"That was it. All of them had one thing in common: It was about seeing something. No dogma, no photographic gods, no one true photography. That is what I’m going to do."

Yes. Now if only I could decide what it is that I'm seeing, and communicate it.
(Click Here) to read DeMesa's post on Eric Kim's blog.
I've been considering taking a 1-on-1 skype or Google+ street workshop with Eric Kim. I just need to find a time when I know I'll be able to get out and shoot.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Autumn Leaves in Motion

Autumn is coming slowly here in Northern Virginia this year, or at least it feels that way. Lots of browns amongst the yellow and orange trees.
I was out playing around with my new Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 yesterday, and decided to put some motion into my images. Nothing new here, but I think they're interesting. I started by putting the camera on shutter priority exposure (S), picking the lowest speed I could use without serious overexposure. First, I tried moving the camera linearly, upward, to follow the lines of the trees.
Leaves in Motion 1, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, 14-42mm Series II Kit Zoom
iso 200, f22, 1/6 sec.
This first shot has a little mood to it, I think. While the sky was actually completely clear and blue, the blur gives it a little feel of fog. I think there are multiple smaller images within this one. I could imagine cropping to just the lower 1/3 of the image, for example. Actually, I can see three images, each 1/3 of the vertical height of the original. I think I'll give that a try.
Here's another with upward movement, this time with some branches that go off the vertical quite a bit.
Leaves in Motion 2, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, 14-42mm Series II Kit Zoom
iso 200, f22, 1/6 sec.
Then, I started rotating the camera around different centers in the image. Here are my three favorites:
Leaves in Motion 3, 4, 5, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, 14-42mm Series II Kit Zoom
iso 200, f22, 1/6 sec.
I realize that these are the first images I've shared from the new GX7, and they don't help much if you're trying to see the capabilities of the camera or new kit lens. I promise to share some sharp, more traditional images soon. But for now, I can say that I am enjoying the new camera, and the lens is quite impressive for what it is.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Beautiful Sunset Outing - Fishing and Kayaking With the Lumix DMC-TS5

If you follow my blog, you've probably read that I enjoy using the little Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5 when I go kayaking, fishing, diving, or just about anything that threatens to get me and the camera wet. On a Friday evening, I decided to get out for an hour or two for a sunset kayak paddle. Luckily, I have a nice reservoir near home, so it's easy to do on a moment's notice. Even with the shorter days of autumn, I was able to get out after work, and before the sun went down.
On this particular day, I decided to fish a little, using my ultralight rod and reel, and a twister-tail jig. I happened to catch a nice smallmouth bass, shown below.
Smallmouth Bass, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5
This fish was clearly fattening up for a long winter nap. Only about 1 1/2 pounds, this stocky little fish had quite a full stomach, and was still eating. Lucky for him, the only thing I took was a few extra minutes of his time, to photograph him (her?). Here's my favorite shot:
Sunset Catch, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5

Satisfied, I paddled back to where my car was parked before it got dark. Looking back, here's the sunset that followed.
Sunset (16:9), by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5
The little TS5 sure does a good job. These images look great at full-size on my screen. I'm sure these would print just fine at 8"x12".

Monday, October 28, 2013

Japanese Kyu Do Archery

Click to See the Series (Five Shots)
Panasonic DMC-G1
Here are the individual shots in order:
Kyu Do, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, Pana-Leica Macro-Elmarit 45mm f2.8 Lens
I was recently going through old images, looking for something I could share at the Glen Echo Photoworks monthly critique. I came across these five images of a Japanese Kyu Do master, which I took in Japan a couple of years back.
The exposure for these was really rough, since the archer was in shade, and the target area was in bright sunlight. This time, I decided to stop fighting the high contrast, and go ahead and push it. In post-processing, using SilverEfex Pro, I chose a "Noir" style. It's stark, very strong contrast, but I like it.
The critique was pretty, well, critical. Most people who saw the five prints did not pick up that it was a series. Some didn't even see it as archery, one person saying they thought he was holding a fishing pole. This is one of thos examples where my own experience of being there influenced how I feel about the images. To me, it's quite obvious; not to anyone else, apparently. I can even see the arrow in flight (white streak in the fourth image); no one else saw it.
So, this is why we have critiques. Not to see if people "like" our work or not, but do they get it? In this case, no. So, I'll keep working on it.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

From the "Broad Creativity" File - Melting Ceramics

Image Source:

Sometimes I like to look outside the confines of photography to broader creative pursuits. Usually, the things I'm interested still fall within the visual arts, as does this really cool project shown on the creative site Lost at E Minor.

Here, artist Livia Marin has converted porcelains into very diffferent works of art. I don't have a clue how she's done it, but I really like the effect. What strikes me is that the patterns are not melted or distorted. I imagine they're Marin's original designs, painted after the flowing background is produced. But, I can't be sure of that.

(Click Here) to read the original post on Lost at E Minor.

A nice diversion for a Monday morning (when I'm writing this).


Saturday, October 26, 2013

One Camera (Leica M Monochrom), One Lens (28mm Summicron) in Tokyo, by Dave Powell

Image Source:

Dave Powell of the photo blog "Shoot Tokyo" has posted some images and notes on the experience of using a single lens and camera, narrowing the options so that he can focus on composition and light.

In this case, Dave chose the Leica M Monochrom and Leica Summicron 28mm f2, a lens I've written about before.

(Click Here) to read my experience of borrowing a 28mm Summicron at an LHSA event. In my case, I shot with color film and my M4-2 body. I found this lens to be quite impressive.

(Click Here) to read the original post and see more pics on Shoot Tokyo.

I don't see any amazing or once-in-a-lifetime shots in this post, but I do get the feeling of walking around in Tokyo, probably my favorite city in the whole world. That's a tough call, actually, because San Francisco and New York City have their positive points. But, overall, Tokyo really does it for me.

Dave emphasizes concepts that resonate with me - single lens excursions, shooting every day. I tried to arrange to meet up with him the last time I was in Tokyo, but he was in Boston at the time. Talk about reversals. I'll try again next time, as I'm sure we'd have plenty to talk about.


Friday, October 25, 2013

A Shot From Last Autumn

I am noticing that I tend to miss some nice images by reviewing them too soon after I capture them. As I mentioned before, my expectations are tough to meet, and images that don't do it tend to be ignored. However, looking back later, I often find some that are not so bad.
Here's an example:
Sunset, Whitefield, New Hampshire, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Lumix 14-140mm f4-5.8 Lens
iso 200, f8, 1/15 sec.
I did some post-processing on this shot. Most notably, I changed the white balance from Auto to Fluorescent. Believe it or not, that best replicates the color I remember from the scene. I also adjust the color of the reflection on the water surface, making it more like the sky. Finally, I added a brush stroke of increased clarity along the mountain ridges and tree silhouettes on the water. I hope none of that is too obtrusive, as I really feel that it now looks like I remember.
I have been neglecting my Micro 4/3 gear this year, in favor of other systems. This shot reminds me that I need to get back to it sometime soon.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sacrilege! The M9 is Better Than the New M (240)?

Forest Art, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Carl Zeiss Sonnar 50mm f1.5 Lens
Always on the lookout for new blogs, and especially those focused on Leica, I recently came across Prosophos.
Peter, the blog's host, is of the opinion that the image quality from Leica's CCD cameras, specifically the M9, is better than the new CMOS sensor in the M240. I am not necessarily of the same mind, but I do love my M9, and for very different reasons than I love my CMOS-based Nikon D700, for example.
(Click Here) to get started reading Peter's thoughts on the Leica CCD vs. CMOS topic.
Better and worse are very absolute terms. In art, absolute terms can be dangerous. To be fair, Peter is careful not to use them too much in his discussions.
I don't necessarily think either the M9 or M240 are better than each other. If you're shooting in the dark, or need to shoot video, the M240 is better. If you like the look of CCD images without AA filters, the M9 is better. If you're like me and still feel the weight of the investment you've made in the M9, guess which one is better?
One more thing, which I feel more strongly about, is the touting of all of the new features on the M240. Let's face it, folks, CMOS low light performance and video capability have been around for years now, and in a wide range of cameras, including other full-frame ones. Just not in Leica rangefinders. So, I'm not wowed by those features. And for me, the thought of an add-on electronic viewfinder (EVF) for a Leica rangefinder is just mixing two very different worlds. I'm completely at home with the add on EVF on my Micro 4/3 camera. Not so with the most pure of cameras in my opinion, the Leica rangefinder.
What would change my mind about the value of live view and add-on finders for the new M? Well, if I had a collection of R lenses, which can now be adapted and brought back to life, that would be a start. I'm not in that situation.
So, as always, different horses for different courses. And to end it positively, I still feel that my M9 is a camera that has no peer - not in my collection or anyone else's.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"Terrified" Street Photographer? My Advice Is to Pick Another Hobby

Crabby, by Reed A. George
Rolleiflex T Twin Lens Reflex Camera
I'll admit that sometimes I'm not completely comfortable doing street photography - that is, photographing people I don't know in the street, at work, or really anywhere they're living their lives. Some days, it flows like water; other days, it seems everyone's angry to see you lift your camera. That's part of the attraction for me. What fun is an activity that's always easy?
Anyway, I read an interesting post by photographer Mridula Dwivedi on Digital Photography School, about ways to do street photography, even if you're "terrified" of it. Here are Dwivedi's tips (which I will say from the outset I largely disagree with):
  • "Shoot Things" (not people)
  • "Use a Zoom Lens"
  • Frame wider
  • Photograph busy people - I don't disagree with this one
  • Position yourself at a corner - this can also work
In my opinion, shooting "things" is not street photography. It's a fine hobby, just not street photography. Using a zoom lens (which really means using a telephoto so you don't have to get close) is pretty close to spying. Framing your images wider can work. In fact many street photographers really like wide angle lenses, but they usually get extremely close to their subjects in order to use them. I don't think that's what Dwivedi means. The last two are good ideas, in my opinion.
(Click Here) to read Dwivedi's entire post.
I believe that if the photographer is truly terrified while shooting on the street, it shows in the images. It certainly shows if they stand on the sidelines and shoot with a long lens. I don't know of any great street photographs that were shot in this way. I also believe if you feel like a spy, look like a spy, and act like a spy, your street images will be about as intimate as a spy satellite image taken from space.
So, if I were truly terrified of street photography, I'd move to a different hobby. Just my $.02.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Unboxing - It's Here!

Click to See the Unboxing!
My Lumix DMC-GX7 arrived today. I'm in the process of charging the battery, upgrading to the latest firmware, etc.
I'm sure you'll be hearing more about this camera in the coming days. It certainly feels good in the hand, but I won't speculate on how much I'm going to like it. We'll see how the images look once I get it up and going!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Skeletons From The Closet - Nikomat at Glen Echo Park

I took my Nikomat to Glen Echo Park, a historic amusement park in Maryland, near DC.
I must start taking notes on my film photography. I'm not sure which lens I used in each case below, but will make my best guess.
The carousel at Glen Echo is so beautiful. I got this shot before it opened for business. Finishing up an old roll of Walgreens 200 speed film that was in the camera from a long time ago, I'm impressed with the subtle color that came through here.
Carousel, by Reed A. George
Nikomat FTn, Nikkor 28mm f3.5 Non-AI Lens
Walgreens iso 200 Color Print Film
There are some old structures around the park, leftover from the years before the entire creek was paved over; the lot subsequently crumbled and fell into the creek. The creek has now been returned as close to its natural state as was feasible.
This old bridge made for an interesting composition.
Trusses, by Reed A. George
Nikomat FTn, Nikkor45mm f2.8 GN Lens
Kodak TMax 400 Film

It's interesting to me how the older Nikon cameras and lenses, pre-AI, as so inexpensive. Essentially a dead line of equipment after newer bodies stopped having the mechanical f-stop coupling (with the F3 body, I believe), there are some real gems out there. I could use my non-AI kit as a complete solution for film photography if I so chose. Including AIS lenses, which retained the f-stop coupler, I have a full range of focal lengths, from 28mm to 200mm. Image quality is great.

The other interesting thing is that with a Nikon F - Micro 4/3 adapter, all of these old lenses come back to life, albeit at 2X the equivalent field of view. But, that's an opportunity. I have shot my AIS 28mm f2.8 on the Lumix G3, and at 56mm equivalent field of view, it does very nicely.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Time for a New Micro 4/3 Body

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I have been focused on other camera systems for most of this year, and have left my Micro 4/3 lenses (mostly Panasonic or Pana-Leica, but also the awesome Olympus 75mm f1.8) largely unused. I think I really need the latest advance in sensor technology (beyond my DMC-G3 and DMC-GX1 bodies) to get me back into the wonderful world of Micro 4/3. Not that the G3 or GX1 are slouches; they're not.
I have been having a lot of fun shooting my Leica M9 this year (see Whole Lotta Leica), and will not lose focus on Leica. I've also had a blast with my film cameras (see Skeletons From The Closet), but am ready to settle in with a few of those cameras for deeper concentration in the coming year. And of course, my Nikon D700 continues to impress and serve as my only choice for extreme low light applications (think live music in small dark venues).
So, with all that, why get back into Micro 4/3? Shouldn't I just sell my Micro 4/3 stuff and focus on the other outfits? Well, no. While many users consider a Leica rangefinder a great travel camera, I frequently need more focal length options than that system offers. I love to travel, so the optimum travel camera is something I'm always seeking. Film cameras fall from this category simply because of the issues of traveling with film. My Nikon DSLR can be a great travel camera, but at great cost of bulk and weight. So, once again, I'm pursuing Micro 4/3 mainly for this purpose.
I've always been a proponent of Panasonic Lumix cameras in Micro 4/3, preferring them over Olympus. This is not a decision based on performance. I have a long history with Panasonic, including working with Matsushita Denki (Panasonic's parent company) over multiple decades in my engineering career.
Olympus is testing my resolve in my Panasonic dedication with the E-M1. In fact, Steve Huff, while being very complimentary about the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, says the E-M1 outperforms it in most ways. Yes, the E-M1 is $500 more than the GX7, but that would not be a deciding factor for me.
(Click Here) to ready Steve Huff's GX7 review.
I am nearing the decision point, and need to look more into the E-M1 before making it final. Subjectively, I like the form factor of the GX7 more than the SLR-like E-M1; that may be enough to keep me with Panasonic.
Regardless of which way I go, I'm encouraged that Micro 4/3 may now be at the performance level to really hold its own against APS-C and larger sensors. I'm hoping that my next Micro 4/3 body will give me the equivalent jump in performance that I experienced in Nikon DSLRs, when I went from the D200 (which is a solid performer) to the D700 (which is simply amazing). If I can get that sort of improvement, specifically in high iso performance, I'll be very pleased. I know Micro 4/3 will not give me the same high iso as the full-frame D700. But, a similar jump in performance relative to the earlier generation will go a long way.
On top of that, I will get in-body stabilization, built-in EVF, and the silent shutter - all nice features that I'll love using.
So, as soon as my "due diligence" in exploring the E-M1 is complete, I anticipate pulling the trigger on a new Micro 4/3 body.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Revisiting Japan Pictures - Six Months Later

I have the great fortune of visiting Japan often, usually every spring. This year we went in late March, and had a wonderful time, as usual. My wife's cousin, Yoshiko, is a highly-experience guide focusing on the Kyoto area, one of Japan's most historic places. Yoshiko and I spent a half-day walking around Kyoto for a photo tour. It was not the best weather, and in fact rained quite hard. I carried my Leica M9 and 35mm f1.4 Summilux.
(Click Here) to read about the Summilux, or use the tab at the top of this page to see all of my Whole Lotta Leica posts, including results posts for this lens.
To be honest, I was not very pleased with my own photographic results. Yoshiko took me to some amazing places, and weather is no reason to fail to bring back excellent images. I remember looking through them and thinking that I just had not hit the mark on that day.
I decided to go back through those images, and see if I'd missed anything. Here are two shots that I now quite like:
Gion Crossing, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Summilux 35mm f1.4 Lens
iso 640, f6.7, 1/90 sec.
Gion, in Kyoto, is the most famous geisha district in Japan. What I really like about the shot above are the secondary elements (the two ladies in kimono sharing an umbrella are the primary element). I love how the ladies across the street are turning to look at them. The Japanese have a fascination with their past and culture, even if many of them no longer practice any aspects of it regularly. They are always interested to see someone who is. The other element I like is the painting of a geisha on the wall to the left of those ladies. It was an announcement for an event, and adds another nice touch of historic Japanese imagery.
Here's another that caught my eye:
Noren, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Summilux 35mm f1.4 Lens
iso 640, f6.7, 1/90 sec.
I always love the graphic arts in Japan. For example, restaurants frequently hang "noren," decorative curtains, in their doorways. In this shot, you see the purple noren dominating nearly half of the image, and the semi-line of red paper lanterns pulling you further into the picture. The person looking out between the second and third lantern really adds a nice finishing element in my opinion.
So, maybe I did a little better than I initially thought. I find that I sometimes need to take a good long time to let my expectations for a particular shoot or event fade before I can fairly judge my own results. I was not able, due to my own limitations, to get the shots I expected on that day, even though I was presented with a rare opportunity and an expert guide. As I'm learning through other pursuits in life, expectations can be expensive; Buddha says they're the root of suffering. Once I get past expectations, I can usually find beauty.

Friday, October 18, 2013

New Pana-Leica Lens! 15mm f1.7 Summilux Aspheric

Pana-Leica 15mm f1.7 Summilux
Image Source:

Well, it seems that Panasonic and Leica's collaboration continues. I'm pleased to hear it.

While I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of my newly-ordered Lumix DMC-GX7, Panasonic has just announced the latest addition to the Pana-Leica lens set for Micro 4/3. While 30mm equivalent field of view is a little odd, being neither here nor there between 28mm and 35mm traditional fields of view, I'm sure it's going to be a great lens. It will be a nice addition to my 25mm Summilux and 45mm Macro-Elmarit. A tiny three lens prime kit that covers lots of ground.

As you probably know, I am a Leica nut. I have been focused on shooting my M9 this year, which is appropriate given the investment I made in it. I didn't want to stray from Leica, but my Micro 4/3 lenses have been calling me, albeit with a muffled voice, from inside my equipment drawers. So, I decided to jump back in with the purchase of a DMC-GX7 camera. Now it seems I can really have the best of both worlds - the latest Lumix features and Micro 4/3 size advantage with the highest quality Pana-Leica lenses.

Exciting times in photo equipment!

Now, please, Panasonic. Please ship my GX7!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Watermelon Park Festival, 2013 - Shot With Nikon D700

I've been shooting a lot of live music and local musicians over the past few years. It's a wonderful project, and has helped me to meet a lot of great people, musicians and fans alike.
Every September, I look forward to the Watermelon Park Festival, held in Berryville, Virginia, about an hour from my home. It's a great time of year to be outdoors, camping, listening to great music. This year was no exception.
There will soon be a review of the festival written by Jim McWalters on the live music blog Cosmic Vibes Live. It will include photos from both Jim and myself.
(Click Here) to check out Cosmic Vibes Live.
Here are my pics from the festival.
Impromptu Music with David Van Deventer, Danny Knicely, and Jared Pool, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AF-D Lens
iso 1600, f2, 1/125 sec.
The Plank Stompers, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 85mm f1.8 AF-D Lens
iso 400, f4.8, 1/250 sec.
The Bumper Jacksons, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AF-D Lens
iso 3200, f1.4, 1/250 sec.
The Green Boys, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AF-D Lens
iso 800, f4.8, 1/125 sec. With Fill Flash
The Green Boys, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 85mm f1.8 AF-D Lens
iso 800, f4.8, 1/125 sec. With Fill Flash
Watermelon Boat Float!, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AF-D Lens
iso 400, f8, 1/250 sec.
Dwayne Brooke of The Woodshedders, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AF-D Lens
iso 3200, f1.7, 1/125 sec.

Dwayne Brooke and Jared Pool of The Woodshedders, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AF-D Lens
iso 3200, f1.7, 1/125 sec.

David Van Deventer of The Woodshedders, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AF-D Lens
iso 3200, f1.7, 1/125 sec.
Dwayne Brooke and Jared Pool of The Woodshedders, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AF-D Lens
iso 3200, f1.4, 1/125 sec.
Larry Keel, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 85mm f1.8 AF-D Lens
iso 1600, f2, 1/180 sec.
Larry Keel, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 85mm f1.8 AF-D Lens
iso 1600, f2, 1/180 sec.
Aimee Curl and Danny Knicely of Furnace Mountain Band, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 85mm f1.8 AF-D Lens
iso 800, f2.8, 1/125 sec.
Hoopin' It Up!, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AF-D Lens
iso 800, f2.8, 1/2 sec.
This festival presents a lot of opportunities to test my photographic skills. This year, I took the D700, 20mm f2.8, 50mm f1.4, and 85mm f1.8 autofocus lenses. I shot in daylight, dark, with and without flash. The flash came in real handy in the dance tent during the day, as in the Green Boys shots above.
I will admit that I was a pretty lazy photographer on this particular weekend. This festival has become a great relaxation for me. I guess that's a pretty good thing in itself.
I do have some film shots, taken with my Leica CL and Rokkor 40mm f2.8, but the film is off at The Darkroom for processing. I'll share those later.
This book (below) includes some great festival photography, including some by my buddy J. Milo Farineau.
(Click Here) to go to Milo's site. He's a master.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

New Lumix G Vario 14-42mm Series II Kit Lens - Cousin To the Leica X Vario Lens?

Indulge me in a little fantasy, please. Read on.
I have decided to jump back into Micro 4/3 in a big way, with the new DMC-GX7 from Panasonic. I packed up my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 and G3, sending them off to KEH for resale. Hard to see them go, but it was time. So now I'll be shooting with the new GX7, and the GX1 as my backup body. Two tiny, full-featured cameras.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7
Image Source:
I happened to order the GX7 with the new Panasonic kit lens, the 14-42mm G Vario Series II. Interested to see what had changed from the last version of the cheap 14-42mm Lumix kit zoom, I was intrigued to find that they've made it smaller, and reportedly better, through the use of two aspheric elements. This rang a bell in my head.
Here's how Panasonic describes the new lens:
"Lens Construction:  9 elements in 8 groups (2 aspherical lenses)"
Intrigued, I decided to look up the new, highly-acclaimed zoom on Leica's new X Vario camera. Here's how Leica describes their lens:
"Lens Leica Vario-Elmar 18-46 mm f/3.5-6.4 ASPH. (corresponds to 28-70 mm in 35 mm format),
9 lenses in 8 groups, 2 aspherical lenses."
Now, I know they're not the same lens. They're not the same focal range, but they're close. And, the Leica lens must cover the larger APS-C sensor. But, it does seem a little ironic to me that they have the same number of elements, groups, and aspheric lenses, especially since we know Panasonic and Leica collaborate at some level, as evidenced by the excellent Pana-Leica lenses (the 14-42 is not one of those, and is branded solely by Panasonic).
So, I'm going into this with the probably-unrealistic belief that my new kit zoom has some influence in design from the X Vario!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Swedish Rally Championship, Photographed on Micro 4/3 by Lars Martensson

Image Source:

Swedish photographer Lars Martensson made the image above with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1, Micro 4/3 camera, and Olympus 17mm lens. He didn't say whether it was the original Oly 17mm f2.8, a much-maligned but probably very capable lens, or the newer f1.8 lens (which gets great reviews).

(Click Here) to see all of the pictures Lars posted on

(Click Here) to see Lars Martensson's web page.

I appreciate a photographer who can put a wide angle lens to good use in an event like this. Martensson also used a 300mm lens on an Olympus E-M5, but I think his wide angle usage adds significantly to the series. My first thought would be to grab a telephoto, and I may bring something wider to shoot the crowd, drivers up close, etc. That would be conventional. Lars shows us how to do that, and still make some unique images using the wide angle lens.

As I've mentioned, I've made the decision to add Micro 4/3 back into my active kit very soon. Just waiting on delivery of my new DMC-GX7.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Accidental Degas (Impressionism) on THEME blog

Image Source:

I love this. On the photography daily blog THEME, the author describes how they got the image above by accident - using an iPhone to photograph in low light at a gala dinner party.

It appears to me that noise reduction software in the iPhone provided the impressionist smearing. The colors are just magnificent.

(Click Here) to read about it, and see the image compared to a real Edgar Degas painting on THEME.

It is so easy to get hung up in technical perfection. Sometimes the impression is more important than the details. It was shown by the impressionists, who really weren't accepted at the time by more realistic painters. This picture proves that it translates to photography as well.



Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Fishing Camera - Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5 - Strikes Again

I got out in my kayak for a couple of hours this weekend. I have a nice reservoir near my home, and have fished it a few times, never catching anything of any size. This time, I caught a nice smallmouth bass. Or was it a largemouth? A friend and I have been debating that back and forth. Every fisherman will have an opinion.
Smallmouth(?) Bass, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5
iso 325, 160, 125 (in same order as photos), f3.3, 1/250 sec.
The TS5 works great for this kind of shooting. In the kayak, fish on the line, I'm able to quickly open my waterproof bag and pull out the TS5. In iAuto mode, all I have to do is turn the power on and shoot. It autofocuses quite nicely for these types of shots.
I always want to take those cool images where the lens is partially underwater, partially above. That is particularly difficult with the TS5, as the lens element is so small, it's difficult to position it correctly to capture the water line.
Here's the smallmouth above the surface. My friend and I agree that he looks more like a largemouth in this picture:
Smallmouth(?) Bass, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5
iso 200, f3.3, 1/640 sec.
In all, I caught six fish - two smallmouth bass (the second was quite small, but more clearly a smallmouth), three white bass (all small) and one crappie (small). This was the first crappie I've ever caught in this particular reservoir. Here's what it looked like:
Crappie, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5
iso 100, f3.3, 1/125 sec.
I was tempted to stay and fish a while longer, but sunset came and went, and it was time to go.
Reservoir Sunset, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5
iso 160, f3.3, 1/800 sec.
I notice that iAuto mode on the TS5 seems to choose f3.3 often. I suppose with such a small sensor, getting enough depth of field is never an issue. I'm quite impressed with this little camera.