Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dreaming in Monochrom - Jake and the Burtones in Lovettsville, VA

I haven't added to my "Dreaming in Monochrom" series in a while. In this series, I am using my Leica M4-2 with black and white film (only). In the beginning, the series was a way for me to explore whether or not I really wanted a Leica Monochrom rangefinder camera. While I love shooting black and white, I do find limiting myself to monochrome images is, well, a limitation. I think the exercise saved me a lot of money.
Anyway, that said, I do have a blast shooting black and white film still. Here are a couple of shots of one of my favorite Old Time music bands in the area, Jake and the Burtones. They were playing at the Mad Horse Brewery in Lovettsville, Virginia, and I was able to convince them to pose for a few shots.
Jake and the Burtones, by Reed A. George
Leica M4-2, Leica Summilux 35mm f1.4 v.3 Lens
Ilford Delta 3200 Film
I'm finding that I enjoy shooting images of the bands I know off-stage as much as on-stage at this point. In fact, I'm a little saturated with on-stage shots. That's good, as I'm getting more requests to shoot promo shots as time goes by. An additional skill to add to my favorite photo project.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Eastern Market Flea - Mirrors, Mirrors, Mirrors

Eastern Market is a great place to do street photography in Washington, DC. In the weekend flea market, there are a couple of vendors who sell mirrors of various designs. I have shot them several times myself, and see them pop up in my friends' portfolios pretty often as well.
Here's one shot I made there in 2012, of my daughter looking into one of the mirrors. Hard to believe how much she's changed in the intervening two years.
Eastern Market Mirrors #1, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Lumix 14mm f2.5 Lens
iso 160, f8, 1/400 sec.
Here's a more recent shot from Eastern Market, taken last weekend.
Eastern Market Mirrors #2, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 Aspheric
iso 400, f5.7, 1/500 sec.
And no, the second image isn't of my daughter; she hasn't changed that much in two years! I like how the lady provides a nice focal point, and how my camera shows up in a couple of the mirrors, along with various parts of other bystanders.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Instant It Happened - Eastern Market Flea Market, DC

The Instant It Happened, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 Aspheric Lens
iso 400, f8, 1/750 sec.
My friend Charlie and I visited Eastern Market in Washington, DC this weekend. The flea market there is an old standby location for getting some community in the city.
This shot shows a young couple at the book/magazine stall, looking at an Associated Press photojournalism compilation called The Instant It Happened. It warms my heart to see people interested in real books with real photographs, black and white even, in them. See my link below if you're interested in the book.
Charlie lent me his 50mm Summilux Aspheric for the day, which is what I used for this shot. That lens is a beast. Heavy, sharp as a tack, very nice.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Leica M240 in Mexico City - AlejandroI on Rangefinder Forum Shares His Results

Image Source:
Rangefinder Forum member AlejandroI has posted a wonderful series of images from Mexico City. He shoots with a Leica M240 rangefinder body, 50mm f1.4 Summilux Pre-Aspheric, and 28mm f2.8 Elmarit.
You must (Click Here) and take a look at the rest of AlejandroI's images.
(Click Here) to go to his blog.
I use the earlier version Leica rangefinder, the M9. The M240 is the first Leica rangefinder to use CMOS sensor technology, which has real advantages in handling high iso noise. I really enjoy the images from my M9, which uses a CCD sensor. Alejandro's images show what the M240 can do in street photography.
Alejandro does mention that dust on the sensor seems to be a real issue for the M240. I had not read that, but other commenters agree. I don't know why it would be any worse than other CMOS cameras, especially compared to Micro 4/3 cameras, where the sensor is completely exposed when you remove the lens. Interesting.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Korean War Memorial Reflecting Pool - Leica M9, 90mm Elmarit f2.8

Korean War Memorial Reflecting Pool, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Leica Elmarit 90mm f2.8 v.1 Lens
iso 160, f4.8, 1/500 sec.
I went into DC with my friends Alain and Charlie today, to do a little shooting at the National Mall. It was a gorgeous day. While I find the national monuments a bit challenging to shoot, mainly because they've all been done so much, I do like this image. I think the combination of the curved lines, reflections, and people interacting with the environment are just enough to make it a decent composition.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Great Egret - Super Telephoto on Micro 4/3

Yesterday, I posted an image of a green heron, shot with my GX7 and modern Lumix 100-300mm f4-5.6 OIS lens.
Just for fun, I decided to try shooting at the same place with my very old (Nikon Pre-AI mount) Sigma 400mm f5.6 lens, adapted to fit the GX7. Here's a great egret shot with that combination.
Great Egret, Ardea alba, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, Sigma 400mm f5.6 Manual Focus Lens (Pre-AI Nikon mount)
iso 1600, f11, 1/1000 sec.
Not bad for an old lens, huh? By the way, this is the lens that I won at the Film Photography Project's Walking Workshop in May. (Click Here) to read more about that.
I know that most of you can't click and zoom on this image, due to the way I post from flickr. Here's a ~100% crop from the image above:
You can see that he's just caught a minnow. While the results from this 30-40 year old lens don't match the modern Lumix 100-300mm zoom, they're pretty good, in my opinion. This is an extremely low-cost 800mm equivalent field of view combination for someone who has the patience to shoot nature with a manual focus lens. The GX7's manual focus magnifier really helps out, but is obviously only useful for static subjects. The Nikon-to-Micro 4/3 adapter is also very inexpensive, and available on Amazon (please buy yours from the link below and support my blog!).

Friday, July 25, 2014

Green Heron - Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 and Lumix 100-300mm f4-5.6 Lens

Green Heron, Butorides virescens, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, Lumix 100-300mm f4-5.6 Zoom Lens at 300mm
iso 1600, f6.3, 1/800 sec.
In our neighborhood suburban "nature preserve," I've been noticing a pair of green herons on our occasional evening walks. I took out a telephoto lens at sunrise last weekend, but they were nowhere to be found. Having seen them again last night, when I didn't have a long lens along, I decided that was it. I was coming back today with a long lens and tripod.
Well, I was rewarded with the presence of this little guy. I wasn't able to catch him feeding, so there's reason to try again (and again, I'm sure).
I'm pretty pleased with the result, especially given that I was shooting the GX7 at iso 1600. Not bad. Not bad at all...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Magnum Workshop in Provincetown, MA - I'm Going to Apply

September 15-21, 2014 is Magnum Days at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. Along with an impressive array of lectures, reasonably priced at $15 each, they're running a week-long workshop where students get to improve their work by studying directly with a Magnum photographer.
New Orleans Musicians, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7
iso 400, f2.8, 1/200 sec.
(Click Here) to go to the Magnum Days web page.
The workshop requires submission of a small portfolio, photographer's statement, and a non-refundable deposit. This is just the application phase, and I may not get in.
While I'm a big fan of Bruce Gilden and Constantine Manos, I will select David Alan Harvey or Bruno Barbey as my first choice for a mentor. Both of them have published work that fits with my interests, and shows how much I have to learn.
For example, (Click Here) to see Barbey's work at Magnum.
They only allow a maximum of 12 students per mentor, so I'd better get busy and put in my application. What a boost it will be if I get in and spend a week with this group!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Gate - Leica Landscape

The Gate, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Leica Summicron 35mm f2 v.3 Lens
iso 200, f16, 1/250 sec.
I shot this old gate at the site of a bluegrass show I attended recently. It's odd, the unique old gate and a single piece of fence. No reason to worry whether it's opened or closed at this point, is there?
I like it silhouetted against a field of green. I also like how the small clump of daisies in the foreground provides another focal point.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Caught in the Maze

The National Building Museum in Washington, DC is currently hosting an exhibit called the BIG Maze.
(Click Here) to read about the museum and the maze.
The BIG Maze, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 Series 2 Kit Lens
iso 800, f5.5, 1/80 sec.
I like the context of the enormous museum interior to help show where the maze is in the larger space. I also like the single person in the very middle of the maze in this picture. She adds a lonesome element. People tended to gather in the center of the maze; I'm not sure why.
If you decide to attend this exhibit, be sure to get your maze entry tickets early. We came late and were not able to get it. But, that gave me the opportunity to photograph it from above as we watched others go through.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Just A Shot I Like - San Pedro Home

San Pedro Home, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7
iso 200, f5.6, 1/2000 sec.
This image would really have benefitted from a person in the composition, especially just the right person. As it is, I still like it. The tied curtain in the door on the right is the most important element. If I'd had time, I would have waited for the right person.
I still think the image says something. The distinct sunlight/shade line reminds me of the time of day, and the Carribean sun. I can imagine how it may feel inside, in the cool darkness. The door on the left is a little mysterious to me.
Maybe I'm reading too much into a simple picture of a Belizean house front. That's okay, too.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Belizean Palm

Belizean Palm, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, Lumix 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 Series II Kit Zoom
iso 800, f11, 1/125 sec.
Getting up at sunrise on the final day of our vacation in Belize, I was rewarded with this image. It could only be taken at dawn or dusk, as the contrast would have been excessive at any other time.
The Series II 14-42mm kit zoom is really quite impressive. Paired with the diminuitive GX1, they can really deliver in good light such as this.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Business, Island Style

Things move at a different pace on a Carribean island. On our recent trip to Ambergris Caye in Belize, we decided to explore the other side of our resort (as opposed to the beach side), the road that runs behind and into the town of San Pedro. So, we rented bikes and headed out.
Along the way, we decided to stop for drinks at a grocery store. Next to the store, we found Aurora's Grill.
Aurora's Grill, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5
iso 100, f4.3, 1/250
The only problem? No Aurora. No one at all working the grill, even though it was about lunch time. Oh, wait a minute - look over there.
Aurora's Staff?, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5
iso 100, f4.7, 1/60
I just didn't have it in me to wake either of them up to ask if they worked at Aurora's. So, after a drink and ice cream from the market next door, we got back on our bikes and moved on.
The little DMC-TS5 waterproof, everything-proof camera was easy to slide into my pocket for the bike ride. Pretty handy.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Belizean Bike Repair Shop

Belizean Bike Repair, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7
iso 400, f4, 1/80 sec.
While walking around San Pedro, Belize, I came across these two young gentlemen, working away in what appeared to be their own bicycle repair shop. They were really excited by and jumped at the chance to get their picture taken.
The signs in the back of the shop are really interesting: 50 cents for tire repair, no lending of tools, etc.
I enjoy shooting environmental portraits, and this one fits the bill for me. I appreciated their willingness to pose for me. A few seconds, and we were off again, walking down the street.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Belize - Fisherman and Frigate Birds at the Docks

At the dock in San Pedro, Belize, I came across this gentleman, cleaning the morning catch of snappers at the docks. These enormous frigate birds had gathered, much as you'd see seagulls and sometimes pelicans do in the US.
Sharing the Catch, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7
iso 200, f5.6, 1/1600 sec.
In the shot below, I really like how the birds form a curve leading to the food source. To me, it looks like the image is a composite of several shots of the birds; it's not. Just good timing.
Frigate Birds Lining Up, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7
iso 200, f5.6, 1/1000 sec.
And finally, a look at the barracuda that was lying at the fisherman's feet
Barracuda, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7
iso 200, f5.6, 1/800 sec.
On the Belize trip, as in the past, I found the LX7 camera to be so capable. I sure hope Panasonic continues to market and develop the LX line of cameras. The LX7 represents a very powerful combination of compact size, full manual control, lots of imaging features, and overall image quality. If I'm going on a trip where I have to pack light, carrying just the LX7 lets me have confidence that I can capture high quality images with a very small, lightweight camera.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Iconic Leica Images - Assembled on the Leica Website for the 100th Anniversary of the Leica Camera

"Flood in Wetzlar - Oskar Barnack, 1920"
Image Source:
100 years ago, Oskar Barnack started a revolution in photography by making a 35mm still camera that was worthy of commercialization. Originally built to test exposures for movie films, Barnack quickly recognized that the smaller negative (as compared to the standard 4x5 or larger of the day) was a reasonable compromise in image quality that gained you amazing portability. This eventually turned photojournalism on its head.
As part of their 100th anniversary celebration, Leica has added a very nice section to their website, including a collection of iconic Leica images taken over those 100 years.
(Click Here) to see the images, many of which you'll probably recognize.
The small camera revolution, started back in 1914, continues today. In my way of thinking, the new compact digital cameras, including those in cell phones, are pushing the compromise between ultimate image quality and the ability to have your camera ready and get the picture at all. I think APS-C and Micro 4/3 sensor technologies are both cases in point. It's pretty well-accepted these days that APS-C can provide professional image quality, even at high iso settings. Micro 4/3 is right on the cusp, in my opinion. We'll see where this all leads in the coming years.
In the meantime, I'm still having lots of fun with Leica cameras, including those designed early on by Barnack himself!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Film Photography Project (FPP) Giveaway - My Sigma 400mm f5.6

I attended the FPP Walking Workshop back in May, and won two great pieces of gear in the giveaway - a Nikkormat FT3 and a Sigma pre-AI 400mm f5.6 telephoto lens. Of course I had to try this big old lens, so I mounted it on my plain prism Nikon F body and took it on the FPP walk to a local military commemorative event. Here are two examples of what I got.
At first, this young guy wasn't sure about having a 400 mm lens pointed in his direction. Than he settled down and had some fun "shooting" the 50 caliber machine gun on this vehicle.
Rat-a-tat-tat!, by Reed A. George
Nikon F Film SLR, Sigma 400mm f5.6 Pre-AI Lens
I was pleasantly surprised by the sharpness of this old lens. Shooting iso 400 film, I was able to keep the shutter speed up at 1/1000 of a second, which allowed me to handhold the lens. The lens is a little low in contrast, but I find the result quite nice. Thanks, FPP!
(Click Here) to learn more about the FPP.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bug Closeups with the Micro 4/3 Panasonic-Leica 45mm f2.8 Macro Elmarit

I have had the Pana-Leica 45mm f2.8 Macro Elmarit lens for quite some time. When I purchased it, the Macro-Elmarit was the only medium telephoto available for the Micro 4/3 mount. Had the Olympus 45mm f1.8 been out at the time, I probably would have bought that instead.
The extra >1 f-stop of the Olympus would be nice. That said, the macro ability of the Pana-Leica is great. I like to be able to take closeups of details when I travel.
I have not really explored the capabilities of this lens in more classical macro applications. Yesterday, I had the time and opportunity to go bug hunting while my wife practiced free swimming in a local quarry. I decided to see what the Macro-Elmarit could do. So, I mounted it on my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, set up the touch screen to focus and trigger exposure (I rarely use the touch screen features of the GX7), and connected my Nissin flash with a remote cord. Having mounted the camera on a sturdy tripod, I was ready to go.
Well, it was hot, and the bug hunting was a little tough. After waiting an eternity (okay, about 30 minutes) for a gorgeous dragonfly to return to a particular perch to no avail, I started stalking. By the way, dragonflies usually will come back to exactly the same spot over and over. I think maybe I was just too close for comfort. This is where a longer macro focal length would come in handy, giving me more working distance.
My stalking actually resulted in finding a stationary dragonfly, but my best subject of the day was this bug you see below. I'm not sure of his exact species, but guess that he's part of the hemiptera family of true bugs.
Bug, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, Pana-Leica 45mm f2.8 Macro Elmarit, Remote Flash
iso 200, f11 1/100 sec.
I used a mini softbox mounted on the flash head, and handheld the flash. Even with the camera on a tripod, I had too many things to hold, and the flash-to-subject distance wasn't well controlled with my hand holding method. I should work on mounting the flash to a bracket if I continue this line of imaging. I did use the touch screen to identify where to focus and trigger the exposure. I must admit it's a pretty cool tool, as long as the camera is held stationary. It was a little difficult to get the focus point just right, on the bug's head, at this magnification. But, I did get it a few times.
I was not at the closest focus distance of the lens, but was at about the shortest useful working distance for this subject. Here's a 100% enlargement of the same image (a little clarity and sharpness applied in Lightroom):
100% Crop of Image Above
So, I'd say this lens is pretty capable in the true macro realm. I don't shoot a lot of nature macro images like this, and would normally tend toward the large sensor of my Nikon D700, and either my true macro 60mm Micro-Nikkor f2.8, or a longer lens (say 105mm f2.5) with extension tubes. The longer lens would make the working distance more reasonable. Now I know that the Micro 4/3 sensor in my GX7 and Macro-Elmarit are quite capable in this realm.
On top of that, the Macro-Elmarit is a reasonably good portrait lens (limited in its shallow depth of field potential by the relatively small maximum aperture of f2.8), and an excellent lens for capturing closeup details when on travel.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Green Anole - Audubon Park, New Orleans, Nature Shot with Leica Rangefinder

Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis), by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Leica 90mm f2.8 Elmarit (v.1)
iso 200, f6.7, 1/350 sec.
I shot this image of a Caroline Anole (aka Green Anole) in Audubon Park in New Orleans. I used my early Elmarit 90mm f2.8 lens on my Leica M9 digital rangefinder. Rangefinders are not used for nature photography all that often, as you're limited in the longest telephoto lenses that are practical (135mm is reasonable, though very hard to focus). I usually shoot a 90mm as my rangefinder telephoto. Rangefinders also don't have good closeup capabilties, without going to great lengths with accessory lens googles or reflex housings, which essentially turn your Leica rangefinder into a single lens reflex camera.

In this case, the 90mm was a fine focal length, and I didn't need to get any closer than the lens normally allows. In fact, I like the context of the leaves around the lizard. They help the composition. I love how his body is silhouetted from the other side of the leaf. I got the focus just right as well - a 1:1 zoom shows his eye is really, really sharp.

I printed this at about 7.5" x 10" and it looks great. I think I'll make a 12" x 18" print of it.
So, use the camera you've got in your hand, rather than worrying about if the gear fits the subject. I couldn't be much more pleased with this shot.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo - Modern, Instant, Analog - My New Toy on the 4th of July

Image Source:
When I attended the Film Photography Project (FPP) Walking Workshop several weeks back, I sort of got re-energized about instant film photography.
(Click Here) to read about FPP. Support them - they're keeping film alive and available for us all, with the help of us all.
One of the many nice people I met there at the workshop had a Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo camera, the one shown above (and available from Amazon with the link below - please buy yours with the link!). This camera uses the newer Fuji Instax Mini film, which I hope will be around for a very long time. It produces prints that are about the size of a 6x9 medium format image. They seem to scan pretty well.
While most of the Instax cameras are completely automatic and not controllable to a large extent, the Neo has several features for more involved photographers. For example, it as a B setting for time exposures, for example. The following shots show you how I used the B setting to photograph our family fireworks on the 4th of July.
In B setting, the Neo has a maximum exposure time of 10 seconds. That proved to be plenty, since Instax film has a speed of iso 800. I also used an external flash to light up my daughter while the shutter was open.
In the shot above, a car drove by during exposure, leaving the horizontal streaks.
Areas with severe overexposure take on a crazy look, as shown above. I like it.
This shot is my favorite of the bunch.
I'll continue to explore the Fuji Neo in coming posts. It's a lot of fun for the money (~$150). In addition to the cool functional features, the Neo is styled after other Fujifilm cameras, and looks like a slightly mis-shapen X100.
So, join the modern world of analog instant photography! Buy your Neo and film with the Amazon link below.

Friday, July 11, 2014

What to do on the 5th of July? Smithsonian Folkways Festival.

Image Source:
Well, as I write this, it's the 4th of July, Independence Day here in the USA. I have time to get out and do some photography tomorrow, but where to go? What to do?
While it's not easy to get into Washington DC this weekend, I think I'll explore the Smithsonian Folkways Festival. An annual event, this year's festival is focused on Kenya and China.
(Click Here) to read the post on the S+Art blog that got me motivated to fight the crowd tomorrow.
I think I'll probably be able to find parking tomorrow if I get into town early enough. Unfortunately, the festival doesn't really start until 11:00AM, when the worst light of the day will be out. But, I'll just get in there early and make the best of the morning light before things get going.
Now to decide how and what I want to photograph. I'm sure that the performers will be a great attraction. Maybe I'll shoot Leica. Or, there's that new 35mm f2.8 pre-AI Nikkor that I recently got a deal on and haven't tried yet... Maybe I'll put that on my F2.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Whirling Disks and Rear Curtain Sync

Rear curtain flash sync is a function on many cameras. The way it works is that instead of triggering your flash when your shutter opens (generally for a much longer time than the length of the flash light pulse itself), it opens the shutter, then triggers the flash right before the shutter closes.
Why would you want this? Well, if you're using a slow shutter speed, you'll get motion blur or light trails from anything that's moving fast. With normal (front curtain) sync, the flash goes off, the shutter stays open, and you get trails that are made after the flash. With rear curtain synch, the trails are made first, then you get flash and light the rest of the scene at the end of the exposure. The classic example is a moving car, where you get an image of a car that's already gone by you, with fantastic blur behind it. Using front curtain sync, you'd get the car before it passes by, and light streak in front of the car, not nearly as cool.
Well, I find it's pretty difficult to find applications other than moving cars for this cool technique. At the River and Roots music festival, I found one. These guys were playing what I would normally call "Frisbee," but with a disk that has its own light in it. They were playing in the dark. I thought, hmm. I bet that disk would make a great light streak. So, I tried it. Amazing! It made this really cool nested helix shape as it flew by. Next step, try rear curtain sync to see if I could capture the streaks and the player. Here's how that looks:
I like this shot a lot, but I wanted the streaks to be longer, and I didn't like the distracting lights in the background (at left).
First, the background lights. One of the other players was near the river, which was completely dark. Goodbye background distractions:
Getting the timing just right was tough, but I was getting the hang of it.
So, how to lengthen the light trails? Longer exposure, of course. So, I went to a full second exposure, with the flash at the end. Since the ambient scene was so dark, I didn't even have to change my f-stop or flash settings. This is exactly the effect I was looking for:
Whirling Disk, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor AF-D 50mm f1.4 Lens
iso 1600, f4, 1 second exposure, rear curtain sync flash
Great fun. I don't think any other photographer at the festival captured a shot just like this.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Letting the Water Run By

At last weekend's festival on the Shenandoah River (River and Roots, that is), I shot a few pictures of this young man relaxing in the rapids:
Letting it All Roll By, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 180mm f2.8 AF Lens
iso 1600 f2.8, 1/750 sec.
Moving On, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 180mm f2.8 AF Lens
iso 1600 f2.8, 1/750 sec.
I like the layers of light rapids, dark still water and tree shadows, and low green of the leaves. In the first shot, the boy provides just enough of a focal point, and some mystery or question to the image. A nice diversion from shooting the music event.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Nick DeMarco Shoots Mamiya Universal and Fuji Pack Film

Nick and His Mamiya Universal Press Camera
Image Source:
Nick DeMarco runs the blog "Rangefinder Chronicles." He's a serious Leica user, and shares results made with both old Barnack screwmount and M film cameras.
Now, Nick's doing something different. He's picked up a Mamiya Universal (medium format press camera, shoots 6x9 images), with a Polaroid back. It takes the Fuji pack film, just like my old Polaroid does.
(Click Here) to see a post about my Polaroid.
There's just something about instant print photography. Even for my teenager, who is growing up in the digital age, her and her friends love to watch an instant print come into being. In fact, I've been considering the new Fujifilm Instax Neo as my next instant shooter (see Amazon link below). It's styled in the Fujifilm rangefinder motif, and has some good creative controls. It also uses the more modern Instax film, which I hope will be around a while. The black and white pack film from Fuji (FP3000B) is discontinued.
Nick shares several great images he made with his new Universal.
(Click Here) to see them on his blog Rangefinder Chronicles.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Every Once in a While, You Catch One Just Right

I spent most of last weekend shooting pictures at the River and Roots Festival in Berryville, Virginia. Using my Nikon D700, I shot a lot of photos, more than I care to edit to be honest. But, there was one that I knew as soon as the shutter clicked would be a keeper for me. Here it is:


Danny Catches Air, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikon 180mm f2.8 AF Lens
iso 1600, f5.6, 1/250 sec.
My friend Danny Knicely snuck out to the front of the stage for a little mid-song dance, as he's wont to do. I was so pleased to capture him with both feet off the ground, and literally filling my frame. Just this one shot makes all the weekend shooting worthwhile to me.
Danny's one of the nicest guys around, and a master of the mandolin. He constantly gives back to the community, and shares his songs and his skills freely.
(Click Here) to check out Danny's music.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

And Here's the Image My Friend Picked from My New Orleans Trip

My friend James did me the amazing favor of lending me his house in New Orleans. This enabled me to spend a long weekend without any responsibilities, to explore the city. When I returned, I shared my favorite images with James, and asked him to pick one to have framed for his place, if he wanted. He chose several, and told me to surprise him with the final selection.
Because James felt a little funny about having his neighbors in any of the images, he selected only those without people in them.
Here's the one I chose to frame for him:


Trompe O'eil, by Reed A. George
Leica M6 Titan, Leica Summicron 35mm f2 v.3 Lens
The subject is a Trompe O'eil (Fooling the Eye) mural, accompanied by a bronze statue of a girl. For fun, someone gave her a paper hat from Cafe Du Monde.
I think it's a fitting print for James' French Quarter home away from home.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5, Macro, and Damselflies

Damselflies - American Rubyspot (Hetaerina americana)
by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5
Last weekend, I took a little float trip down the Shenandoah River. Part of the River and Roots music festival, held at Watermelon Park in Berryville, Virginia, this educational event was led by musician and teacher Josh Bearman of The Hot Seats.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand - damselflies. This potential couple of American Rubyspots was perched very near the water surface. I say potential couple, because at this stage, the female (to the right) is being held by the male, and allowed to evaluate him for suitability. If she approves, her abdomen and terminal genitalia will connect to his body, forming a sort of circular orientation between their bodies.
These guys spend 1-3 years as aquatic larvae, with only a couple of weeks as adults, during which they mate and then die.
The tiny sensor on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5 has all of the drawbacks of a small sensor, of course, which includes digital noise at high ISO settings. However, a big advantage of the small sensor is the closeup capability, as demonstrated here. This would have been exceedingly difficult to capture with a DSLR, even forgetting about the risk of getting it wet. In this case, I simply left the camera in iAuto mode, and slid it down into the grass next to the damselflies. I shot several images in a few seconds, but found this one to be the best.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Music Festival Photography

I really like shooting at music festivals. I love live music, creative people, and nature. The festivals give me all of that.
I especially like the smaller local festivals here in Northern Virginia. In fact, I'm headed out to one this weekend at Watermelon Park, in Berryville. This one's called "River and Roots," and I'll get to see many of my friends there.
By shooting at festivals, I've met a few of the best live music photographers there are. One of those is Milo Farineau. Another, his mentor, is Chester Simpson. Both are fabulous photographers and people.
Chester recently posted a link to his friend's thoughts on modern festivals, including Glastonbury in the UK.
(Click Here) to read Barry Wolman's thoughts, which include comparing Glastonbury to a "prison yard."
While the festivals I attend do focus as much on camping and spending time with friends, they also clearly celebrate the music, something that seems to be lost at some of the larger festivals. The music is what really brings us all together around here. If I felt as Wolman does, it would be time for me to stop attending festivals. As it is, I can't wait for this weekend!
Oh, and Happy Fourth of July!