Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Trip to the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC

I took my Nikon F2SB with me to the Hirshhorn Museum of Art in Washington, DC.
It was a cold, rainy afternoon.
Museums are Good for Rainy Days, by Reed A. George
Nikon F2SB, 50mm f1.4 AI Lens
Ilford HP5 Film
While photographing the displays or pieces of art in a museum is tantamount to stealing someone else's creativity, I always enjoy photographing people in the interesting environment created by a museum.
Separate Worlds, by Reed A. George
Nikon F2SB, 50mm f1.4 AI Lens
Ilford HP5 Film
I like how the left and right of the frame above could have come from completely different photographs.
The more I use the F2SB (which is a normal Nikon F2 SLR with the photomic finder that uses a very sensitive silicon sensor for light metering), the more I like it. Mine's in very nice user condition - not so nice that I'm afraid to take it out, but certainly well-preserved for its age. I enjoy shooting film with older manual Nikkor lenses, as well.

Monday, March 30, 2015

End of the Winter Season

End of Winter, by Reed A. George
Nikon F2SB, Nikkor Non-AI 135mm f3.5 Lens, Yellow Filter
Ilford HP5+ Film
I hope this will be one of the last images I take this season that includes ice. I like the layers in this composition, most notably the dark layer at the top, with its ordered rows of trees and shadows they cast.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Adams Memorial Statue by Saint-Gaudens - And Connections

Adams Memorial Statue, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AIS Lens
iso 100, f1.2, 1/2000 sec.
My friends Charlie and Bill introduced me to this beautiful piece of art in the Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, DC. It was made by Saint-Gaudens in memory of the wife of Henry Adams, Marian "Clover" Hooper Adams.
The first connection with photography is the fact that Mrs. Adams perished after drinking potassium cyanide, which she normally used to process photographs. Another photographic connection is that the statue was inspired by the Buddhist Bodhisattva of Compassion, Kannon. Kannon (Kwannon) was the namesake of the Japanese camera company Canon.
Adams felt very strongly that this statue should never be named. In fact, he cursed anyone who names it. (Click Here) to read his wishes, and the full history of the memorial.
I am pleased with the way my new 50mm f1.2 AIS lens rendered the statue. I used out of focus regions resulting from the very thin depth of field the lens produces wide open to bring attention to the shrouded face. The hand also serves as a compositional element that leads to the face.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Nice Candid With the Nikkor 135mm f3.5 Non-AI Lens and Nikon F2SB

Juan and David, by Reed A. George
Nikon F2SB, Nikkor 135mm f3.5 Non-AI Lens
Ilford HP5+ Film
Not much to say here. Just a shot I happen to really like a lot. I captured it while Juan and David took a little breather from practicing parkour.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Master of Darkness - My New Lens

I've just sprung for a new lens for my Nikon kit. It's the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AIS manual focus from Nikon. They've been making it since 1981, and they still make it today.
I bought my very late production unit from my friend, Alain, for a great price. It's truly like new. It's also the fastest lens I own.
I'm hoping that it will be the perfect extreme low light lens for my Nikon Df. Given the Df's high iso capabilities, I should be able to do some incredible things with this combination.
I can already tell that it's tough to focus, though. The depth of field at f1.2 is just plain razor thin. But, that's the whole idea of a lens with an incredibly wide maximum aperture.
This lens will be going with me to Japan this spring. I can't wait to try it out in the Tokyo night time!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

More Parkour, Again With the Nikon F2SB

Here are my favorites from the second roll of HP5 that I shot of Juan, Garrett, and David practicing parkour in DC:
As with the first roll, these were all shot with my Nikon F2SB. This could become a habit for me...

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Parkour! The Benefits of Simply Getting Out to Shoot

It has been a long winter. Last weekend, cabin fever got the best of me, and I drove into DC with my Nikon F2SB (loaded up with HP5+), 50mm f1.4 AI, 28mm f3.5 pre-AI, and 135mm f3.5 pre-AI lenses. Having literally no idea what I was going to photograph, I decided to park at L'Enfant Plaza and walk over to the Smithsonian castle.
As soon as I got out of my car, I noticed two young men practicing parkour at the Department of Energy building. Don't know what parkour is? (Click Here) to find out.
That was all I needed. I wound up following them around for two hours, shooting their acrobatic antics. I've only developed the first of two rolls of HP5 I shot, so there are more to come. Here are some that I liked from the first roll.
I ended up shooting mostly with the 28mm lens, getting as close as possible to the action. I also shot a few with the 50mm f1.4.
It took me a little while to get comfortable and find the right angles to shoot from. The first two traceurs, David and Garrett, were joined by Juan. All three of them were extremely friendly and welcoming of a tag-along.
This experience reminded me that finding an interesting subject is not always a contemplative exercise. I never would have dreamed up the idea of finding a local parkour group. I had to be out there looking. And now, I'm sure this is something I'll continue to photograph for some time to come.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Rolleicord / Rolleikin (35mm in a Medium Format TLR) at the Farmer's Market in DC

I've been shooting twin lens reflex (TLR) cameras more and more lately. I've always loved TLRs, especially Rolleis. One of the things I love is the square (6x6) format that most of them are set up to use, on medium format 120 film. Today, I'll share something different - an older (1954-1957) Rolleicord V (cheaper version of the Rolleiflex), fitted with a Rolleikin attachment.
The Rolleikin, produced by Rollei as an add-on option, allows you to use 35mm film in a TLR. It shoots full-frame on the 35mm format, in portrait orientation. Since the Rolleicord has a 75mm lens (a Schneider Xenar in my case), shooting on 35mm film yields a medium telephoto result. The telephoto lens and portrait orientation make the Rolleicord/Rolleikin a lovely portrait camera.
(Click Here) to read more about my Rolleicord/Rolleikin.
(Click Here) to see some earlier shots I made with this camera.
Here are some shots I made at the farmer's market in DC with my Rolleicord/Rolleikin. All are shot on Ilford HP5+.
Farmer's Market, DC, by Reed A. George
Rolleicord V with Rolleikin Attachment
The Rolleikin is quite easy to use. The viewing lens on the Rolleicord, which is used for focusing, is not as bright as my Rolleiflexes, being f3.2 versus f2.8 on the 'flexes. In the bright sunlight of the market, that was not a problem at all.
I've also come to realize that I need to wear my reading glasses when focusing a TLR. That's kind of a pain. I understand that there are diopters that can be fitted to the Rollei finder, but have not located one for my camera yet.
It's fun to experiment with these lovely old cameras, and the Rolleikin is an interesting attachment that changes the character of the camera.

Monday, March 23, 2015

"Cool Camera" - a Blessing and a Curse

My friends Charlie and Alain have recently pointed out the difference in how people react to a camera when they think it's cool or interesting. Specifically with Rolleiflexes, they have noticed that people come up to them to talk about the camera. It's certainly true.
Willing Subject, by Reed A. George
Rolleiflex 2.8F Planar, Kodak TMax 100 Film
In the case above, Charlie's Leica IIIC (just back from a CLA) attracted attention. This gentleman recognized both Charlie's Leica and my Rolleiflex.
Italian Gentleman, by Reed A. George

Rolleiflex 2.8F Planar, Kodak TMax 100 Film

Now, I won't deny that it's nice to have people come up to talk cameras. Sometimes when I'm out shooting, that's exactly what I'd like to have happen, and it typically results in at least one or two images.
But, other times, I don't want to be noticed at all. The Rolleiflex is not the best camera for that situation. It's a camera for someone who wants to engage their subject. That said, I have had the experience of using the Rollei inconspicuously, at waist level. Not having it at your eye and noticeably pointed at the subject can really help.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Decisions, Decisions

Selecting Fruit at the Farmer's Market, by Reed A. George
Rolleiflex 2.8F Planar, Kodak Tmax 100 Film
Boy, it feels good to get outside and see people outside, not running for protection from the elements.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Another One From a Year Ago

Santa Fe Diner, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7
I guess I was smart enough to travel to Santa Fe last winter. I took this shot with my GX7 sitting on the restaurant table. I like that you can see each of the couple's heads three times (the heads themselves, reflections in the mirror beside them, and reflections on the table surface). Pretty cool.

Friday, March 20, 2015

What Was I Shooting a Year Ago? 35mm f1.4 Summilux Version 3

Jammin' Java, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Leica Summilux 35mm f1.4 v. 3 Lens
iso 1600, f1.7, 1/15 sec.
I was just thinking about the end of the winter season, and how excited I am to get outside again as the weather gets nice. That got me thinking about what I was shooting at this time a year ago.
Apparently, I was shooting my M9 and my most valuable Leica lens - the classic Summilux 35mm f1.4 version 3. At nearly wide open, this lens has character to spare. Sharp yet glowing. Love it.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

French Quarter Photo Tour

French Quarter, by Reed A. George
I'm honored to have been asked to lead a morning photo tour of the French Quarter in New Orleans as part of the LHSA's Spring Shoot, April 15-19. I will be leading the Saturday morning group.
The Quarter's not exactly an early morning kind of place, but that's okay.
Now I have to put my mind to planning a route that will give my fellow photographers the best chances of capturing a Leica moment!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Back to New Orleans

Scooter in The Quarter, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7
iso 400, f4, 1/200 sec.
I just made my room reservations (on AirBnB) for a trip to New Orleans next month. I'll be attending the LHSA (International Leica Society)'s Spring Shoot.
(Click Here) to learn more about the LHSA, and the Spring Shoot event. If you're a Leica enthusiast, you may really enjoy the Society. I do.
I also have a couple of great friends in the area, so will also get to spend a little time with them.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Visit to a Buddhist Temple - With My Rolleiflex 2.8F

Wat Lao Buddhavong, by Reed A. George
Rolleiflex 2.8F, Kodak TMax 400 Film
I made a visit to a local Buddhist temple that I'd never been to before - Wat Lao Buddhavong in Catlett, Virginia. Anticipating a festival that never materialized (I guess my information was wrong), I took the opportunity to walk around the grounds. These are a few of the things I saw there.
Shooting with TMax 400 in the bright sunlight and with snow still on the ground meant very fast shutter speeds (1/250-1/500) and small apertures. I did use a yellow filter, which reduced the sensitivity by about 1 - 1 1/2 stops, so really, I was shooting at an equivalent of about iso 150.
The square composition worked well for me here. The detail that the 2.8F's Carl Zeiss Planar bring out are just amazing.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Readers and Reading - On Books

Reading Japanese Books with Upside Down Face Covers, by Reed A. George
I absolutely love to read. Always have. Even though I'm not a fast reader by any means, I enjoy both fiction and non-fiction.
So what got me on this subject today? An incredible portfolio by Lawrence Schwartzwald, featured on Elizabeth Avedon's blog. (Click Here) to see it. You really must.
Japanese Subway Reader, by Reed A. George
So, go grab a book and learn something! Looking for something to read? Try The Lotus Eaters, by Tatjana Soli (see the link below).

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Some Panoramic Pinhole Images - Buddhist Temple

Here are three 6x17 shots I recently made at my meditation class:
These were made with the "Reality So Subtle" panoramic pinhole camera that my wife bought for my on my 50th birthday. It shoots four exposures on a roll of 120 film (TMax 400 in this case, which I developed in Kodak D-76 diluted 1:1 for 13 1/2 minutes). The top and bottom images were made with about ten seconds of exposure; the middle one took one hour.
(Click Here) to read more about the camera.
(Click Here) to see the images above at full size on my flickr page.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Spring Really Coming? And Some Thoughts on Cheap Cameras.

Previous Spring, by Reed A. George
Polaroid 103, Fuji FP100C Instant Film
I was talking with a couple of friends today about favorite and not-favorite photographers, what I like about cameras and photography and why, and the like, today.
It was an interesting discussion, starting off with the fact that neither of them is fond of Gary Winogrand's work; I find it fascinating. Then, we moved on to cameras. Now, you probably know that I love fine cameras. But, I also love cheap ones. This brought me to the realization that some of the images that stick in my mind were made with the cheaper, less precision-made cameras. This image is a good example of that. I can still remember the smell of spring in the air, and the fact that my allergies had started up. It almost makes my eyes itch to look at this picture. But, it also reminds me that spring is right around the corner.
Would this image win any popularity contests? Almost certainly not. But, it works for me.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Ruslan Pelykh and the Leica D-Lux 6

Made with the Lumix DMC-LX7, Sister to Leica D-Lux 6
As you may know, I recently purchased a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100, which is the approximate equivalent to the new Leica DLux (Type 109). It was a tough decision to buy the LX100, as the previous camera in the LX series, the LX7, is so darned good. The LX100 has the LX7 beat hands-down in image quality; the Micro 4/3 sensor stuffed into the LX100 assured that. But, the LX7 has some features (built-in ND filter, manual focus memory, real depth of field preview) that the LX100 lacks. All that said, I'm very happy with my purchase of the LX100.
I was just reading about Ukrainian photographer Ruslan Pelykh, and how he's used the Leica DLux-6 (equivalent to the Lumix LX7) to make both films and still photographs that are most impressive. Pelykh now lives in NYC, and is "obsessed" with the hazy weather that sometimes comes to the City. While Pelykh focuses a lot of effort on his movies, I find his still work to be very good. He tends to plan his shoots roughly, but then let the unexpected factors take control. He likes to add some chance to his plans. Pelykh likes to use the DLux-6 in low light situations, usually at iso 200, which necessitates very long exposures.
(Click Here) to read the article on the Leica blog, and see Pelykh's movies and still shots with the DLux-6. I bet he's really going to love the DLux (Type 109) when he gets his hands on one.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Winter Bamboo

I was one of the few who made it into the office today. We had several inches of snow, and it's still coming down. I shot this from the warmth of inside, looking into the atrium.
Winter Bamboo, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100
iso 200, f2.8, 1/125 sec.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Changes Coming in Leica's Financial Future?

Maybe We'll See More of This in the Future?
Image Source: http://assets.hardwarezone.com/img/2014/03/thumb-0112.jpg
My friend Bill sent me a very interesting article about a potential riff in the company management at Leica.
(Click Here) to read "Leica in Troubled Waters - Strategic Investor Blackstone Ups Pressure" on the Theme blog.
Now, I want to be clear here. I love Leica, and am not hoping for trouble in the company. Unlike many, I don't automatically hate industry leaders (think Microsoft), or even those who carve out and own a niche (think Leica). In fact, I can see good things coming for Leica. There's a hint at the bottom of the article on Theme about Panasonic becoming more official in its relationship to Leica (as in sending funds in some form, which will certainly increase Panasonic's influence, who knows to what degree). That could be good for Leica. My opinion of Panasonic's materials science and manufacturing capability couldn't be higher. And, that opinion comes from some real hands-on experience, as twenty one years ago today, I was living in Japan for a year and training at a Panasonic Factory Automation facility. Anyway, I digress.
I drove a Jaguar during the period that Jaguar was owned by Ford. I would say that my car was reliable, not something that most would have said about Jaguars built before that period.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

High Contrast, Asian Style - Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 Sample Image

Asian Restaurant, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100
iso 400, f2.8, 1/1000 sec.
I'm loving my new LX100. Lots more to come.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Fountain at Bryant Park, NYC

I'm getting ready for a quick weekend trip to NYC. I love the place, and can't wait to walk around the City with my camera(s).
Here's a rather unremarkable shot I made earlier in the winter at Bryant Park, when it wasn't too cold:
Bryant Park Fountain, by Reed A. George
Leica IIIG, Summicron 50mm f2 Collapsible Lens
To see a truly remarkable image of the fountain as I assume it looks today, (Click Here).

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Some Old Friends Play Purcellville

Some of my friends in bands got together for somewhat of a reunion last night in Purcellville, Virginia. I knew most of the people in the audience, as well as in the bands.
First, Jake and the Burtones opened the show.
Jake and the Burtones, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 24mm f2.8 AF-D Lens
iso 3200, f3.5, 1/125 sec.
with SB-600 flash and Gary Fong diffuser
Then, Timmy (Tmoney) Griffin and his band SpaceCanoe took over. Tmoney has moved to North Carolina for college, so we don't get to see him so often. A true creative, Timmy has been busy writing new songs.
TMoney, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikon Series E 100mm f2.8 Lens
iso 3200, f2.8, 1/60 sec.
with SB-600 flash and Gary Fong diffuser
In addition to his original tunes, Timmy and SpaceCanoe played some carefully-selected covers, including one of my favorite Grateful Dead tunes, "Brokedown Palace." I actually requested that song years ago, and Timmy worked it out for me! Awesome.
SpaceCanoe, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AF-D Lens
iso 3200, f4, 1/60 sec.
with SB-600 flash and Gary Fong diffuser
This was a very tough show to shoot, even with my shoot-in-the-dark Nikon Df and 50mm f1.4 lens. Using the Nikon SB-600 and Gary Fong light diffuser saved the day (night). I was quite pleased with the results, given that the stage lighting was so poor (non-existent).
I'm especially pleased with the second image, which I made with my recently purchased, inexpensive, Nikon Series E 100mm f2.8 lens. Manual focus, in the dark. That's right. I'm proud of it. This lens will be in my travel bag in Japan; it's very sharp and oh so light compared to the also amazing 105mm f2.5 AIS Nikkor.

Abstracts - Winter Moon

Just a little fun with my new Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100. See if you can tell what this is:
Winter Moon, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100
iso 200, f2.8, 1/25 sec.
This is indeed the moon, but those aren't clouds. They are snow/ice drifts deposited on the glass in the building where I work. I thought they made an interesting juxtaposition.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Lion and Dragon Dancers - Leica IIIG Film Shots

Here are some images of the lion and dragon dancers from the Chinese New Year celebration in DC this year. All were shot with my Leica IIIG rangefinder and 50mm f2 Summicron collapsible, on Ilford HP5+ film.
And here's my favorite:
I absolutely love using the IIIG. The viewfinder is wonderful. Focusing is a bit of a pain, but works. The early Summicron really performs.
Burning through that 100' of HP5+!